J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Miss Lloyd, or the Third Mrs. Wilson?

Yesterday I noted the London Stage Database’s reference to an actress called “Mrs. Lloyd” (formerly “Mrs. C——we”), who had performed in Boston’s “military theatre” a few years before 1779.

Another multi-volume resource from the 1970s, A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800, provides more information about this actress’s career in the British Isles.

In 1779 “Mrs. Lloyd” made her debut in The Citizen at the Haymarket Theatre in London. That was when the Morning Post said she had formerly been at Boston under another name. Another newspaper said “her laugh (which is of material consequence in this part) [is] uncommonly clear and natural.”

After that, Lloyd performed at the Haymarket every year through 1785 in such plays as The Irish Widow, Love for Love, The Young Quaker, Who’s the Dupe?, and The Beggar’s Opera.

In April 1786, Lloyd had become a couple with the British comedian Richard Wilson. He had left his second wife, Sarah Maria Wilson (shown above), who had left her first husband for him.

After 1787 Lloyd appeared as “Mrs. Wilson” in several plays in Edinburgh. The reference book notes a report that Elizabeth Lloyd and Richard Wilson married in Dublin but deemed that “doubtful.” Elizabeth (C——we) (Lloyd) Wilson disappears from the theatrical records in 1788. Richard Wilson married yet again in 1791.

Unfortunately, the press on this actress’s British career offers no clue on when and where she was born, when she died, and how she came to be in Boston during the siege of 1775-76.

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