Loyalist Ships: The Union

[In an 1893 article about the history of New Brunswick, the arrival of The Union at Long Island and then New York to pick up evacuees and bring them to New Brunswick is described to represent that exodus.]

The account given by Walter Bates doubtless very fairly illustrates the general mode of procedure in the emigration.

In this particular case the agent, Rev. John Sayre, came to announce to the Loyalists at Eaton’s Neck, Huntington, Lloyd’s Neck, and places in the vicinity on Long Island, that the king had granted to all Loyalists who did not incline to return to their homes and would go to Nova Scotia the privileges just mentioned. The ‘king’s offer’ was duly considered and gladly accepted. Then followed the hasty collection of such possessions as the unfortunate exiles had been able to preserve amid the wreck of their fortunes, and their embarkation in the transport Union, Capt. Consett Wilson. The vessel took in her complement of Loyalists at Huntington, Long Island. The embarkation began on Friday, April 11, and was completed on Wednesday following, in which time there were placed on board 209 souls, viz., 65 men, 35 women, 107 children and 2 servants. The deputy agent in charge was Fyler Dibblee, of Stamford, Conn., attorney-at-law.

The Union proceeded through East River to New York, the place of rendezvous. A week was consumed in getting together the transports, preparatory to setting sail, but at length, on Saturday, April 26, a fleet of upwards of twenty vessels under convoy set sail from Sandy Hook light, bound for ‘St. John’s river, Nova Scotia.’ This fleet sailed in company with a large number of transports bound for Shelburne and Halifax. The total number of passengers, including some troops, amounted to 7,000, with all their effects, also some artillery and public stores. According to Walter Bates, the Union was the best ship in the fleet. She proved her capacity as a fast sailer by leading the van for fourteen days and arriving at Partridge Island before the other vessels had come in sight. She was soon afterwards moored in the most convenient situation for landing, the place of anchorage being under the shelter of Fort Howe, opposite Navy Island, in sight of the position where once stood Fort la Tour. To the right lay the ‘upper cove,’ and beyond rose the rocky peninsula, named by the Indians Monneguash, now the site of a city of nearly 50,000 inhabitants, but then covered for the most part with scrubby pine, spruce and cedar-a rough and forbidding prospect indeed to eyes familiar with the fertile lowlands of Connecticut and New Jersey, and the undulating cultured fields of Long Island.

The 18th of May has been held sacred by the descendants of the founders of St. John as the day on which their Loyalist forefathers landed. Whether there was any formal or systematic act of landing is problematical. The Union, and the majority, if not all of the vessels of the fleet, must have arrived (according to Bates’s account) on the 10th of May. It had taken the Union more than five days to embark her contingent of refugees and their effects. It may therefore be taken for granted, as the facilities for landing were of the rudest description, that the work of getting upwards of 3000 people and their effects on shore was a work of several days. Moreover, there was no common mode of procedure employed. Walter Bates speaks of Capt. Wilson’s kindness in allowing his passengers to remain on board the Union whilst a deputation was employed in exploring for a proper place of settlement up the river, and contrasts their good fortune with that of others who were ‘precipitated on shore.’


An excerpt from the Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB, April 27, 1893.
GLIMPSES OF THE PAST, Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.
For the full text, click here.
For the passenger list of The Union, click here.


Addendum: Who Missed the Boat?

The Union, one of the vessels carrying Loyalists from New York to New Brunswick in the Spring Fleet, began taking on passengers at Huntington, New York, on 11 April 1783 and sailed to New York with 209 passengers on board.

At New York, 43 of those passengers disembarked, and the ‘Union’ set sail for Saint John, N.B. on 24 April 1783 with 164 passengers. More details can be found in both Esther Clark Wright’s “The Loyalists of New Brunswick” and David G. Bell’s “Early Loyalist Saint John” for those who wish to get additional background information.

In the course of checking background information on a particular Loyalist, a long look at the manifest of the ‘Union’ prepared by Fyler Dibblee, revealed mostly familiar names. An hour or three later, all but three of the names on Fyler Dibblee’s list had been found at Saint John as arrivals with the Spring Fleet.

Of the three missing names, Thomas Burden was a grantee at Parr, Wright lists John Seaman as having gone to Kingston, Kings County, followed by the notation, “left,” indicating that he had departed, destination unknown. The third missing name, Nathan Shippy, is listed by Wright, but nothing more seems to be known of him.

It appears that all but perhaps one of those on Fyler Dibblee’s list did reach Saint John, either via the ‘Union’ or some other vessel in the Spring Fleet, but in order to know who did arrive on that ship, we need to know exactly who those people were who did NOT arrive on the ‘Union.’

So, who missed the boat?


We wish to thank Wallace Hale, from whose website and with whose permission the information above is drawn, as well as the following table listing the families who embarked upon the Union.


Table of Families

Return of the Famelies, &c., Embark’d on board the Union Transport, Consett Wilson, Master, began Huntington Bay April 11th, & Compleated April 16th, 1783.

Signers names No. of
Women Children
above 10
years old
under 10
years old
Servants Former Place of Abode Occupation
Fyler Dibblee 1 1 3 1 2 Stanford Connecticut Attorney at Law
Walter Dibblee 1 do Farmer
William Dibblee 1 do Farmer
John Lyon 1 1 4 1 Reading, Connecticut Farmer
John Lyon, Junr. 1 do Farmer
Reuben Lyon 1 do Farmer
David Picket 1 1 3 4 Stanford, Connecticut Farmer
Joseph Caswell 1 1 2 2 Massachusetts Blacksmith
Ephraim Deforest 1 1 2 1 Reading, Connectic’t Shoemaker
Ebenezer Slocum 1 1 2 2 Rhodeisland Farmer
William Boon 1 1 4 2 do Farmer
Seth Squires 1 1 3 3 Stratford, Connecticut Farmer
Seth Squires, Junr. 1 do Farmer
John Baker 1 Massachusetts Seaman
Abra’m Carrington 1 1 Milford, Connecticut Farmer
William Straight 1 Killingsworth, Connectic’t Refiner of Iron
Seth Seely 1 1 4 3 Stanford, Connecticut Farmer
Seth Seely, Junr. 1 do Farmer
John Hendrickson 1 1 Duches County Farmer
Israel Hait 1 1 4 2 Norwalk, Connect Shoemaker
Wd. Mary Raymond 1 0 do
Nathan Shippy 1 Duches County Carpenter
Martin Trecarty 1 1 do Carpenter
Silas Raymond 1 1 3 1 Norwalk, Connect Carpenter
Jaremiah Holcomb 1 1 2 Hackingsack, Jersey Farmer
George Happie 1 1 1 Duches County Shoemaker
Joseph Rothburn 1 Rhodeisland Farmer
James Picket 1 1 1 1 Norwalk, Connectic’t Carpenter
Lewis Picket 1 do Carpenter
John Underwood 1 1 Newport, Rhodeisland Farmer
Wd. Ruth Nichols 1 0 1 1 do
Johannes Chick 1 1 1 1 Eaton’s Neck, Long Island Farmer
John Chick 1 Eaton’s Neck, Long Island Farmer
Walter Bates 1 Stanford, Connectic’t Farmer
John Gorden 1 1 Danbury, Connecticut Farmer
Joseph Lyon 1 1 1 Reading, Connecticut Farmer
Simon Losee 1 1 4 2 Long Island Shoemaker
Thomas Carle 1 1 4 2 Duches County Farmer
Jacob Maybee 1 1 2 do Farmer
Will’m Maybee 1 do Farmer
Wd. Hester Burlock 1 0 1 1 Norwalk, Connectic’t
Stephen Fountain 1 1 Stanford, Connecticut Blacksmith
Thomas Burdin 1 1 3 1 Massachusetts Farmer
George Sweet 1 1 1 Rhodeisland Wheelwright
Thomas Wade 1 1 do Farmer
Abra’m Dickerman 1 Nw. Haven, Connectic’t Shoemaker
Eleazor Slockum 1 1 1 Massachusetts Seaman
Samuel Boon 1 Rhodeisland Farmer
Massy Harris 1 0 do
George Lumsden 1 1 1 3 Nw. Haven, Connectic’t Shoemaker
Robert Comely 1 Pennsylvania Mason
John Fowler 1 1 2 Massachusetts Farmer
John Hand 1 1 1 1 East Nw. Jersey Carpenter
Elias Scribner 1 1 2 3 Norwalk, Connectic’t Shoemaker
Hesekiah Scribner 1 1 do Farmer
Thaddeus Scribner 1 do Shoemaker
Joseph Ferris 1 Newtown, Connecticut Joiner
Gideon Coree 1 Rhodeisland Cooper
Solomon Tucker 1 1 1 3 Stanford, Connectic’t Weaver
Daniel Smith 1 Nw. Milford, Connecticut Farmer
Andrew Jostlin 1 Rhodeisland Farmer
Abel Bardsley 1 1 1 Fairfield, Connect Farmer
Ephraim Lane 1 do Farmer
John Marvin 1 Norwalk, Connecticut Farmer
John Seaman 1 Duches County Farmer
65 35 59 48 2

65 Signers; 35 Women; 59 Children over 10 years old; 48 Children under 10 years old; 2 Servants

Total, 209. A True Return
Test. FYLER DIBBLEE, D. Agent.



We wish to thank Wallace Hale, for his permission to use the above table, taken from his website (no longer accessible online as of 2021).