As winter approached, the British authorities inside besieged Boston tried to remove civilians who didn’t want to be there and would only add to the difficulty of keeping the garrison and Loyalist families fed and warm. Selectman Timothy Newell recorded one of their actions in his journal on 24 Nov 1775:
A transport Ship carried about 400 of our Inhabitants to Point Shirley [in Winthrop]. One poor Dutch woman attempted to carry with her about 60 dollars. Morrison the deserter seized them and carried them to the town Major. Ten dollars was stopped by him.This was the third time that Newell complained about John Morrison.
On 28 November, Gen. George Washington reported to the Continental Congress:
About 300 Men, Women and Children of the poor Inhabitants of Boston, came out to Point Shirley last Friday, they have brought their Household furniture, but unprovided of every other necessary of Life: I have recommended them to the attention of the Committee of the Honorable Council of this Province, now sitting at Water Town.The Council was the upper house of the Massachusetts legislature. With the royal government broken down, it had taken executive authority in the province. And now it was responsible for the poor refugees from Boston.