“Loyalist Trails” 2004-03: May 14, 2004
In this issue:
– UELAC Conference 2004
– Burial Sites Project
– The Northern Brigade’s George Howse Tactics School
– A Colours Dedication and Presentation Ceremony for the King’s Royal Yorkers and the Northern Brigade
– Wiltse Cemetery Project
– Little Hyatt One-Room Schoolhouse
Preparations for the Conference “Water Links to our Loyalist Heritage” hosted by Kawartha Branch in Peterborough this year June 3 – 6 are going well and there should be a good-sized group. However the deadline is only a couple of days away for the organizers to submit final numbers for meals, seating etc to the various venues. If you are planning to attend, and haven’t registered yet, and/or booked your hotel room, please do so ASAP. You could send a note to Pam Dickey. For more information, see the latest Gazette pages 13-15.
As you may know, Phase 1 of this project has come to a conclusion with about 400 submissions. These are being processed and compiled into a book which will be at the Conference. Council will need to decide how the information will be distributed and under what terms and conditions.
You may not know that Phase 2 has commenced, so please continue to send in your submissions. Although the original intent was to capture a photo of the burial marker before the ravages of time and acid rain obliterated the marker or at least the inscription. However it is quite OK to submit items with a picture of the cemetery, or even of the place where it is believed the Loyalist was buried (farm for example). In fact, just the information without a picture at all will do. Your branch executive has the template to use to submit a Loyalist burial site.
Folks who are interested in seeing British and loyalist reenactors in action can visit Westfield Village near Rockton, Ontario from noon to 1630hrs on Sunday, May 23. There will be a military tent encampment on the site and some entertaining action scenarios.
As well, the village is officially opening the beautifully restored Bamburger House, which was the oldest house left in the city of Hamilton before being moved to the village. Westfield also features a simulated ‘Brant’s Ford’ native village with a number of small buildings forming its core. Amongst them is a wonderful little house built by the Queen’s Rangers in the 1790’s when they were building the Dundas Highway. This was restored and opened two years ago.
Click here for directions to and more information about this lovely little village.
In an extremely unfortunate clash of timing with the UELAC annual meeting in Peterborough, a new stand of Colours will be dedicated and presented in an impressive 18th century military ceremony to the 1st battalion, King’s Royal Yorkers at 1400hrs in Historic Fort York, Toronto. For those who are unable to travel to Peterborough, perhaps a visit to downtown Toronto is in order.
In an eye-catching splash of 18th Century colour, the soldiers and women on parade will be: Staff and Regimental Officers of the British Brigade, the largest umbrella organization of British troops in North America; Captain Frasers British Company of Select Marksmen; the Liebkompanie of von Barners Brunswick Light Infantry; the Light Infantry Company, Queens Rangers, 1st American Regiment; the Artillery, Fife & Drums, Grenadier, Light Infantry and Capt Duncans Line Companies, 1st Battalion and Capt Singletons Light Infantry Company, 2nd Battalion, Kings Royal Yorkers; Captain McDonells and Captain Ten Broecks Companies of Butlers Rangers; Captain Brants Volunteers and Captain Bulls War Party. The Loyal Refugees and Followers of the Northern Brigade will parade alongside the regiments.
Dedicating the new Colours will be the KRR regimental chaplain, Reverend Neil Thomsen. Presenting the King’s Colour to the regiment and brigade will be Honourary Colonel-Commandant Sir Colpoys Guy Johnson, 8th Baronet of New York, the descendant of Brigadier Sir John Johnson, the founder and commander of the original regiment. Honourary Major Judge John R. Matheson, a Royal Yorker descendant, will present the new Regimental Colour.
The shrilling of fifes and crashing beat of rope-tensioned drums will bring the pomp and splendor of 18th Century military life vibrantly alive.
The ceremony will open with the retirement of the old stand of Colours which were dedicated at Historic Fort York in 1982, followed by an inspection of the Brigade by Sir Colpoys and attending officers. Next is the dedication and presentation of the new stand, a trooping across the ranks of the Brigade and then a march past of the units on parade.
The march past will be immediately followed by a demonstration of military tactics of the period. Thereafter, the troops’ military duties will be finished for the day and they will be dismissed to celebrate this momentous occasion.
The celebration will involve an entertainment by the renowned historical trio Gin Lane accompanied by several musicians of the regiments. Although the soldiers will be off duty while celebrating the arrival of the new Colours, the fort will be alive with uniforms, ladies and children of the 1775 to 1784 period. Re-enactors always welcome the opportunity to share their passion for Canadas history and visitors are encouraged to bombard them with questions.
In addition to the martial activities inside the fort, a tent encampment will be located outside of the fort’s walls to greet the arriving visitors to the fort. Re-enactors come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but all share an interest in Canadas early history. Fort York is the ideal venue for an encampment and display of military ceremony and skills, as it represents the time period immediately following the settlement of the loyalists and disbanded Regulars when the first government of Upper Canada was established.
The encampment will continue on Sunday morning when the troops develop their tactical skills inside the fort and on the Garrison Common. Visitors will have the opportunity to see a variety of offensive and defensive drills of the period. At noon, the Drums will beat the old military signal, The General,to mark the official breaking down of the camp and the re-enactors, many of whom face a very long drive home, will pack up and depart.
The Museum of Applied Military History is a provincially chartered re-enactment society composed of historical regiments with members from across Ontario, Quebec and the northern States. The Northern Brigade is the museums grouping of United Empire Loyalist, Native, British and German organizations that garrisoned Quebec during the American War of Independence and mounted expeditions into the rebellious colonies of New York, Vermont and Pennsylvania. After peace was declared, the disbanded veterans and their families founded Ontario, settling along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River from the present Quebec border to the Bay of Quinte and in the Niagara peninsula, the Grand River Valley and the Windsor region.
Click here for information on Historic Fort York.
About the Cemetery: The Wiltse Pioneer Cemetery located on private property just south of Athens, Ontario dates from about 1795 and contains at least 300 early burials, for the most part Loyalists and their direct descendants. Burials in this cemetery took place from about 1795 and tapered downward with the last known burial being in the 1860’s. When the Col. Edward Jessup Branch undertook the restoration of this important cemetery, it was completely overgrown with brush, all stones were down and many had sunk into the earth. The 8th line of Young that once passed by the cemetery entrance had been abandoned sometime in the 1800’s so that direct access to the cemetery property was not possible at the commencement of this 2014 project.
Work During 2003 YTD: During the late summer and fall of 2003, the Col. Edward Jessup branch arranged for a land transfer of the cemetery property from the then owner to the Township of Athens. Further to this, the Township of Athens also agreed and undertook the work of clearing and rebuilding the 8th line road to the cemetery property including clearing sufficient trees and brush to form an entrance. Members of the branch as well as local volunteers spent the balance of the year, clearing the remaining significant brush and growth, removing an old fence, locating, unearthing and cleaning the remaining grave markers in preparation for future re-installation. Additional work carried out in 2003 included preparation for grading by the temporary removal of the 100 or so field stones that had been used as early markers. It should be noted that a site plan of the cemetery was kept locating the positions where the g rave markers were found, so that they could be put back in their original positions.
While the above work was going on, a fund raising campaign was also undertaken by the branch which included promoting the project on several Wiltse related websites, direct contact with known Wiltse descendants and a canvass of local area businesses. Wiltses as well as many local people were generous in their responses and about $3,500 of the estimated required $4,500 has now been raised including very much appreciated financial support by the UEL Association itself. Donations of materials were also received which would relate to an additional $1,500 in value, if not more.
Work for 2004: To complete the project during the 2004 year, the planned work includes grading the surface of the cemetery to accommodate ongoing maintenance, the erection of a fence and main gateway, re-installation of the memorial and field stone markers, the building of a small memorial garden within the cemetery that will feature two informational plaques along with a visitor’s book, a new memorial to the unknowns who rest within and a flag pole which will fly the Loyalist period flag, the only flag most of those within would have known during their life times. Also planned are directional signs on Country Road # 5 so that visitors can now find this long elusive, but important early Loyalist Burying Ground.
For the second year in a row, the Little Hyatt One-Room Schoolhouse in Milby will be hosting a Family History Seminar on May 19, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The schoolhouse is located at 2185 McVety Road – just off Rte. 147, in Milby. The public are invited to attend. At least five speakers will be on hand to share stories from their family history. In short presentations of twenty minute each, speakers will explain where their ancestors came from, on what ships they sailed, where they landed, where they settled, and when. Bev Loomis, President of the Little Forks Branch, will speak about the Stacey Family. Family photos will also be on display, along with family heirlooms. The idea is to show how the past can be brought to life through family history.