The UELAC: Its Beginnings and Evolution

In general, any history, whether it be oral or written, is lost if it is not made available to others. The history of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada is no different.

Leading up to 2014 when the UELAC prepared to celebrate its 100th anniversary as a national association, a project to publish a history of the Association was undertaken. That culminated in the book Loyally Yours — 100 Years of The UELAC. Details of the book along with ordering instructions are available here.

Several years prior to the centenary, in 1997, the Dominion Historian, Elizabeth Richardson UE with the assistance of Arnold W. Nethercott UE, prepared An Historical Outline of The United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada. The history which follows is based on that document, although a great amount of complementary and supportive detail has been added since.

The history is split into these five chapters:

  1. Commemorating the Loyalists in the 19th Century
  2. The Founding of the UELAC
  3. Growth of the Association – Branches
  4. Biographies of the Petitioners to form a Canadian UEL Association
  5. Presidents of UELAC

 

Important Dates In Loyalist History

  • December 31, 1775: Defeat of the Americans and death of General Montgomery at the walls of Quebec.
  • May 19, 1776: Nineteen day flight of Sir John Johnson and tenants through the Adirondacks to Montreal.
  • June 19, 1776: Formation of Sir John Johnson’s 1st Kings Royal Regiment of New York.
  • November 4, 1776: Loyalist groups join the British fleet at Crown Point.
  • August 6, 1777: Battle of Oriskany on the Mohawk River.
  • August 16, 1777: Battle of Bennington.
  • September 15, 1777: Formation of Butler’s Rangers.
  • September 19, 1777: First Battle of Freeman’s Farm near Saratoga
  • October 16, 1777: Capitulation of General Burgoyne at Saratoga.
  • July 19, 1780: Defence of the Blockhouse in Bergen Wood, New Jersey.
  • May 4, 1783 :First Loyalist Landing at Port Roseway (Shelburne), Nova Scotia
  • May 18, 1783: Landing of the Loyalists with the Spring Fleet in St. John, New Brunswick.
  • July 30, 1783: Landing of the 2nd Battalion, Kings Royal Regiment of New York at Cataraqui to rebuild Fort Frontenac and prepare for the arrival of Loyalists.
  • September 20, 1783: Cessation of hostilities in the American Revolution.
  • December 24, 1783: Disbandment of Loyalist troops stationed in Lower Canada.
  • May 22, 1784: Landing of Mohawks at Tyendinaga, the First Loyalists on the Bay of Quinte. Commemmorated annually on the Sunday nearest May 22 with a church service at the altar of the up-turned canoe.
  • June 16, 1784: Landing of the Peter VanAlstine’s band of Loyalists in Adolphustown.
  • June 24, 1784: Disbandment of Loyalist Troops stationed at the Upper Posts.

 

UELAC Armorial Bearings and Badge

In the 1960s, the UELAC decided to pursue armorial bearings. An official request was made by by E. John Chard, UE, in 1969. With the assistance of Sir Conrad Swan, York Herald of Arms-in-Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen, a formal application was made and accepted. Design work commenced and the Armorial Bearings were granted by Royal Authority through the legal instrument known as Letters Patent, dated 28 March 1972.