“Loyalist Trails” 2005-2 January 16, 2005

In this issue:
Regina Branch Cairn
Heritage Celebrations in Canada
Disaster Assistance: Bill Powers Volunteering
Saving “Gilbert Hyatt”
Book: “Loyalists of Quebec 1774-1825: A Forgotten History”
Book: “Away Back” by Charlie Armstrong
Loyalist Connection with Christ Church Cambridge
Genealogy can save your life
Not Wanted Dead or Alive (humour by John Ruch)
The Canadian Royal Heritage Trust in Toronto “The Royal Family: A Canadian Family?” and “Scottish Royal Heritage”
      + Helene de Wit
      + Earl Orser


Regina Branch Cairn

The Regina Branch is pleased to report that final clearance of the plaque wording for the loyalist cairn has been given by Wascana Center Authority. We can now proceed with having the plaques made and in place by late April or early May. We are still in need of funding for the plaques and would again invite the branches to help us with our project. Also, if the branches would encourage anyone with Saskatchewan connections to help us with our centennial project to celebrate Saskatchewan becoming a Province in 1905. Looking forward to welcoming many of you in June at the UELAC Conference here in Regina.

…Logan Bjarnason UE, President, Regina Branch

Heritage Celebrations in Canada

Canada’s national Heritage Day falls on the third Monday of February each year, this year Mon. Feb 21. Ontario designates a week, this year Feb. 21-27. The St. Lawrence Branch will display at Cornwall Square Mall Saturday, Feb. 26 between 9.30 am and 4 to 4.30pm. Gov. Simcoe Branch will participate with other members of the Toronto Historical Association at York Gate Mall between Fri Feb 25 and Sun 27.

Disaster Assistance: Bill Powers Volunteering

Off to help victims of the tsunami, Bill Powers, husband of Sylvia Powers, President Sir Guy Carleton Br., flew out with International Rescue of Ottawa, together with a team of doctors and nurses from Texas, to help transport equipment and supplies to the Calang Area in the Aceh Province of Indonesia which has been inaccessible since the highway was washed away. If funds can be raised, additional shipments will be sent.

Plans: the 32 person team, its equipment and supplies will be transported via a 747 donated by the Global Relief Initiative to Blang Bin Tang airport on the Island of Sumatra were we will be transferring relief supplies and a mobile hospital into Zodiac inflatable rafts and heading south along the coast to a remote region (Calang Area) that has been virtually unreachable since the deadly Tsunami hit on Dec 26. Once on site the team will be reducing life safety hazards, erecting shelters and a medical station and treating victims with donated medical supplies and equipment. Secondly, His Glory SRAT and International Rescue will be providing NEEST (Necessary Equipment Emergency Strike Team) services to areas inaccessible to helicopters. Our goal is to shuttle in five thousand pounds of emergency supplies per trip and to medi-evac patients from remote villages to helicopter landing sites. The Indonesian Government has endorsed this idea in principle and is planning it to use as a model for other locations. The mission team is currently scheduled for deployment from Houston, Texas on January 9, 2005.

Donations are welcomed by International Rescue, (P.R.E.P. Services), Indo-Asian Rescue 2005, 2446 Bank St., Suite 455, Ottawa, ON K1V 1A8


Saving “Gilbert Hyatt”

Bev Loomis and the Little Forks Branch continue their struggle to preserve the Gilbert Hyatt name on that section of Rte 43.

A letter written by Rod. McLeod, President of Quebec Anglo Heritage Network appeared in the Sherbrooke Record.

An article by Lewis Downey was printed in the French daily “La Tribune”. Lewis as a Councillor for Ascot, played a major role in having the signs approved and installed in 1992. “…The Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) is a province-wide

organization with a mandate to promote awareness of Quebec’s heritage, notably the legacy of its English speakers. We applaud the past local efforts to honour the memory of Gilbert Hyatt and his family, one of the regions’ key pioneers (they arrived in 1792), after whom the city of Sherbrooke was originally named (Hyatt’s Mills). The loss of a historic place name is no less of a concern for QAHN than the loss of a building; it represents a piece of the past that will fall out of collective memory with nothing tangible to mark it. It is in everyone’s interest to make connections with our history. The council’s decision to remove these signs is not only senseless from the practical point of view, but runs counter to the community’s desire to celebrate its heritage. I can only assume that this decision was made rashly, and that the council will take quick steps to call off their campaign against Gilbert Hyatt.”

A letter to us lending support: Jan 3, 2005, To: Mr. Douglas Grant, President, UELAC

Dear Mr. Grant & members of UELAC; The members of the Lake Massawippi Area Historical Society wish to respond to the situation regarding the road bearing the name of “Gilbert Hyatt” in the Ascot area of Compton County in the Eastern Townships.

Historically the name of Gilbert Hyatt has a profound importance in the Eastern Townships. Gilbert and his associates, including several brothers, were granted the tract of land which would eventually form Ascot township in 1803. The name “Hyatt” is well-known throughout the region, including Sherbrooke and neighbouring municipalities. Naming a segment of the route [Highway 143] in this region makes a lot of good sense…memorials to the pioneers who contributed so much to establishing early sites are something to celebrate.

Many of our society members use Highway 143 and the name “Gilbert Hyatt Highway” on the segment aforementioned has never created a problem. Combined with signs marking Highway 143, the path for travellers is not interfered with and does not lead to confusion on the drivers’ part. This is to lend another voice to those who rightfully wish the name of Gilbert Hyatt to remain!

…P. Skeats. Corresponding secretary for LMAHS

I sent my prepared Dossier with copies of everything received to date to the Commission of Toponymie yesterday so as to be on Mr. Fourcaudot’s desk Monday, January 10th. as promised, with separate copies to Premier Jean Charest and Vice-Premier Mme. Monique Gagnon-Tremblay who also represents this area in question as Deputy of Saint-Francois. I am awaiting a letter from a well-known historian of this area Monique Nadeau-Saumier who carries many titles on the profession of History, and from the Eastern Townships Research Centre at Bishop’s University.

We have a letter from the great historian Marie-Paule Labreque, former teacher at Laval University, at 85 years young, is a great defender of our Loyalist history. “In 2005, is it still fitting to remember the pioneers who started to open our territory around 1792. Let us look at the case of Gilbert Hyatt who is acknowledged as one of the principal leaders. in the development of the township of Ascot and the site of the city of Sherbrooke. Since I had the honor of writing his biography for the “Dictionary of Canadian Biography”, Vol. VI (nobody else cared to do it), I became aware of the challenges and the setbacks he experienced. Born an American, a convinced Loyalist, stripped of his possessions at the end of the War of Independence, he moved to Canada with his large family. In order to establish and consolidate his settlement, he had to initiate endless and costly procedures and invest large funds. But eventually, much of his estate was lost to creditors and his nomination as justice of the peace which he had earned trough probity and public concern was revoked. Finally, even the name of Hyatt’s Mills was replaced in >1818 by the present Sherbrooke. After two centuries marked by modest public recognition, a small bridge and a short street in Sherbrooke, a more recent token set in 1992, the bicentennial year of the opening of the Eastern Townships, seems on the way out. At that time, a section of road 143 had been officially named “Gilbert Hyatt Road, Chemin Gilbert Hyatt” with the full agreement of all the concerned authorities, it now lies in the municipality of Waterville. That initiative was appropriate since Hyatt, with the help of Josiah Sawyer of Eaton, opened the first road betweed Missisquoi Bay and Ascot…”

I wish to thank the support received from sister Branches: Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch, President Adelaide Lanktree; the Heritage Branch, President Robert Wilkins along with our Mother Association UELAC, plus our great friend and Past President of UELAC, Mr. Okill Stuart. Adelaide and Robert have written to the local newspapers too.

Dick Evans, Past President of QAHN and the Lennoxville-Ascott Historical & Museum Society has prepared a bilingual letter to be given to all households on this stretch of road and will be following with a petition. The Toponymy Commission has assured me that nothing can be done at present as Waterville has not written them and that they have informed me that the signs have been removed illegally.

We have delivered a letter to all household and businesses on this route. In a day or two we shall follow with a petition and hopefully get people to sign now that they should understand! Now the copies are off to the newspapers.

…Bev Loomis UE, President, Little Forks Branch

Book: “Loyalists of Quebec 1774-1825: A Forgotten History”

As the official publication of Heritage Branch, “The Loyalists of Quebec” is a collective work of a number of highly reputable writers and scholars, led by Prof. Hereward Senior, still a professor in the Department of History of McGill University, and an Honorary President of the UELAC. Other authors included John Ruch, the late Elinor Kyte Senior, the late Gerry Rogers, Earle Thomas and Mary Beacock Fryer. In some 500 pages, it presents a very detailed study of the Loyalists who came to and settled in Quebec during and following the American Revolution. After a general “Introduction”, it features chapters on topics such as “The Loyalists in Quebec: A Study in Diversity”, “The Loyalists in the Montreal Area, 1775-1784”, “Provincial Troops in the Montreal Area”, “Loyalists in the Inspectorate and the Commissary”, “Minority Groups Among the Loyalists (Indians, Blacks, Quakers)”, “Portraits of Some Loyalists” (presenting a number of representative biographies), “Loyalists in Maritime and Commercial Affairs”, “Occupations of the Loyalists”, “Loyalists in the Arts”, and “What Kind of People Were They?”. Its Appendices include an inventory, a list of Quebec Loyalists in 1784, Petitioners of the Losses Claims Commission 1787-1788, and Loyalist Associations in Montreal (the first of which dates from 1895). There is also helpful bibliography and an Index by family name of persons mentioned in the text, as well as an Acknowledgment mentioning the very great number of individuals and organizations who assisted with the research, writing and publishing.

Copies may be ordered for $24.95 a copy plus $4.95 for shipping and handling (in Canada), from Okill Stuart, U.E., C.M.H., 700 Casgrain Avenue, Saint-Lambert QC J4R 1G7 (tel.: 450-671-7870; fax: 450-671-0058). He does not have e-mail.

The book is the official publication of Heritage Branch and was published by Price Patterson Ltd. in Montreal in 1989, when Okill was Branch President. In that same year, the UELAC Convention was held in Lennoxville, Quebec, co-sponsored by Heritage Branch and Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch, with H.R.H. the Prince Philip as guest of honour (thanks to the savvy and hard work of his former schoolmate from Gordonstoun School – Okill Stuart, then President of Heritage Branch and later Dominion President). That year was also our 75th anniversary as an Association and the 200th anniversary of Lord Dorchester’s proclamation re the “U.E.” designation.

The work was dedicated to the memory of the late David M. Stewart, philanthropist, animator and friend and supporter of Heritage Branch. The Macdonald Stewart Foundation assisted greatly in arranging for the publication.

…Robert Wilkins, UE, President, Heritage Branch

Book: “Away Back” by Charlie Armstrong

Away Back in Clarendon and Miller is a detailed, colourful account of life as it evolved from lumbering in the 1800s, through farming, to the advent of tourism, in what is now North Frontenac Township, north of Kingston. Pioneer families dating back are traced through the years. Many of them, such as the Babcocks and Bartons, could trace their descent from the Loyalists. Period photos, records and maps bring it all vividly to life.

Charlie Armstrong, the author, was a UEL member of the Sir Guy Carleton Branch and third cousin of its President Sylvia Powers. Away Back was first researched, written and self-published over a two year period in the mid-1970’s. Charlie’s interest in local history prompted him to research his UEL roots and in the late 1980s he became a certified member of the UEL association. Charlie died in July 2003.

Profits from the sale of this third edition will go to establish a community archives project in Charlie’s memory.

Copies are available for $20 plus postage: call 613-730-2369 or email {armstronglake AT storm DOT ca}.

…Bethany Armstrong {bethanya AT storm DOT ca}

Loyalist Connection with Christ Church Cambridge

Christ Church Cambridge is housed in the oldest church building in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The church is located in Harvard Square, by Cambridge Common. We are a vibrant parish; diverse in membership and filled with activities for everyone.

The Church was founded in 1759 to provide Church of England services to students at the young Harvard College across Cambridge Common. Since the end of the Revolution (during which the church building was closed and its organ melted down for bullets) the church has continued to be open to the community. The doors, even today, remain open daily, welcoming people from early morning to evening.

Genealogy can save your life

U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona wants all Americans to know that family history and health conditions are inextricably linked. He also wants us to find out as much as possible about the health problems of our ancestors. Tracing this information can help physicians to anticipate potential problem areas and take preventative actions to keep you healthy.

To this end, the Surgeon General has designated Thanksgiving 2004 as the first annual National Family History Day. He asks that Americans set aside some time after the turkey dinner to discuss and document health problems that are common in the family.

According to a recent survey, ninety-six percent of Americans think that knowledge of their family history is important; however, only a third of those surveyed have tried to trace their family’s health history. That level of interest may soon rise thanks to a new computer program created by the Surgeon General’s department, which will create family health history profiles with just a few clicks of the mouse. Individuals are encouraged to print out copies of their completed family health chart for their doctors and other members of the family.

Surgeon General Carmona says, “Knowing your family’s history can save your life.” Windows users can download the free My Family Health Portrait software here.

…New England Historic Genealogical Society

Not Wanted Dead or Alive (humour by John Ruch)

In genealogy it is dangerous to be a know-it-all, and even more dangerous to assume others are as well acquainted with general knowledge as you are.

Because of my familiarity with some United Empire Loyalist sources, a lady asked me if I had encountered any Loyalists named Rosenkrantz. (That is a marvelous name — in German it means “wreath of roses” or “rosary”).

Now, any high school student who has read Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” knows that in it a character named Rosenkrantz met a very sticky end along with his companion, Gildenstern.

With my tongue in cheek and an exaggerated sense of my own wit I replied: “I regret to inform you that Rosenkrantz does not appear in these sources, nor for that matter does Gildenstern. In fact, I have it on good authority that both are dead.”

To this my correspondent replied: “You must have confused my query with someone else’s. I did not ask about anyone called Gildenstern.”

…John Ruch, Sir Guy Carleton Branch

The Canadian Royal Heritage Trust in Toronto “The Royal Family: A Canadian Family?” and “Scottish Royal Heritage”

The Canadian Royal Heritage Trust in Toronto presents:

The Royal Family: A Canadian Family? by Garry Toffoli: This look at the Royal Family’s historical and legal status as Canadians will discuss some little known and interesting facts on this controversial subject that has intrigued both supporters and critics of the Crown. Wednesday 19th January, 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Scottish Royal Heritage, by Garry Toffoli: A special salute to the Scottish heritage of the Canadian Monarchy, celebrating Robbie Burns Day, will discuss the history, music and poetry that captured that heritage, including words by Burns. Tues 25th Jan, 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., and Thurs 27th Jan, 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

For details and bookings 416-482-4909; info@crht.ca, $10 includes refreshments.


Helene de Wit

Helene de Wit (nee Kennedy) passed away peacefully, on Sunday, January 2, 2005 in Winnipeg. She was born on November 2, 1933 in Winnipeg, MB. She was predeceased by her husband Bill in 2000, her sister Sheila Brown, her mother Yvonne Pickwell and her father Gordon Kennedy. She will be remembered as a loving and supportive mother and grandmother with a strong sense of family. She had an interest in genealogy and was proud of her United Empire Loyalist roots. In earlier years she was active in CGIT, Brownies, Girl Guides, Camp Bel-Air, CNIB and Grey Street United Church. If friends wish, donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Diabetes Association or a charity of one’s choice.

…Harold Cook, President, Manitoba Branch

Earl Orser

Respected business and community leader, Earl Orser, U.E. passed away December 26, 2004, in London, Ontario. He was a decendant of Joseph Orser, who served in Delancey’s Brigade and settled in Kingston Upper Canada in 1784. Earl welcomed challenges and faced them with passion, integrity and humour. Following his graduation from the University of Toronto, he earned his C.A. and became a partner with Clarkson Gordon & Co. He later held executive positions with Athnes Imperial, Molson Industries Ltd., Air Canada, and the T. Eaton Co. He moved to London and became President and C.E.O. of the London Life Insurance Co. He also served on many other boards including SPAR Aerospace which he chaired.

Earl believed strongly in community service and gave much time and leadership to educational, medical and arts organizations. He was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1997. His Loyalist ancestry was very important to Earl, and while his many commitments kept him from taking an active part in Branch affairs, he was a loyal member of the London and Western Ontario Branch for many years, always willing to advise and encourage. His Loyalist ancestor was Arthur Orser who served in Delancey’s Brigade and settled in Kingston Upper Canada in 1784.

…Joyce Polgrain, London and Western Ontario Branch