“Loyalist Trails” 2005-20 June 7, 2005

In this issue:
Music Dedication on CBC2 to Logan and Shirley Bjarnason
Loyalist Days in Saint John May 18
Molly Brant, by Augusta Cecconi-Bates
Field Experiences in Canadian History
Compensation for Loyalists vs Loyalist Land Grants
The Earl of Wessex: Prince Edward: in Saint John and then in Toronto
Stamped Book
      + Western New York
      + Information on Robert Wright of Sidney
      + Information on the Wickwares
      + Display and Joel Stone


Music Dedication on CBC2 to Logan and Shirley Bjarnason

I have dedicated a piece of music to Logan and Shirley and the Regina Branch for their efforts in celebrating Loyalist heritage in Saskatchewan.

If you are not familiar with “Here’s to You” it is a CBC2 Program generally devoted to “classical” music as opposed to “pop”. As I said to Logan ” My musical choice originated not so much in the Loyalist repertoire but in my attendance two weeks ago at a concert presented by the Hannaford Street Silver Band here in Toronto. The composer, seated less than two seats away, was remarkably young but his enthusiasm reminded me of your enthusiasm and hard work in building Loyalist Heritage on the Prairies. Your efforts , and those of Shirley, deserve to be recognized across Canada.”

According to the website, the selection should be played shortly after 9:06 Eastern Daylight Time.

…Fred Hayward UE

Loyalist Days in Saint John May 18

The Loyalist Day celebrations in Saint John NB were organized by the New Brunswick Branch. A description of activities and pictures of the event can be found here. At the home page, second item, headed “Remembering the Loyalists” is a picture of Frances Morrisey. Follow the links to some 30 additional pictures which show a good number of Loyalists and members.

Molly Brant, by Augusta Cecconi-Bates

A musical play based on the life of the Mohawk Loyalist

Eileen Strempel, soprano as Molly

Joan Sutherland, violin

Clare Gordon, piano, and

Garry Martin as Sir William Johnson

featuring the Quinte Mohawk Dancers, re-enactors in period costumes, and local school children as narrators

AT FAIRFIELD HOUSE – Hwy. 33 (Loyalist Parkway), AMHERSTVIEW

5:00 P.M., Saturday, July 30th


Admittance: $5.00 at the door

— bring your lawn chairs —

Presented by T. W. O. Music

Field Experiences in Canadian History

Perhaps it has been a long time since many members of UELAC were directly involved in the traditional field trip to enrich student knowledge of Canadian history. Thanks to Ruth Nicholson UE, we have a short report on just what happens on these educational excursions. In addition to being an active member of the Hamilton Branch Education/Outreach Committee, Ruth teaches grade seven at Kilbride Public School.

As a culmination to their studies in Canadian history and the special local heritage project previously describe in Loyalist Trails, her students participated in a field trip rich in history and activity on Friday June 3. First they visited Dundurn Castle and learned about Richard Beasley and the early Upper Canada government through to McNab as premier of the Canadas. Then they went on a tour of the Hamilton Cemetery with local cemetery historian Robin McKee beginning with the location of the fort on Burlington Heights and the 4 earthworks levels of defense now in the cemetery. They saw the Robert Land vault, the Hamilton stone, the Gage raised stones and the Zealand stone; Robin had all the stories to go with these sites.

At Battlefield House in Stoney Creek, Ruth’s class was split into two groups for greater participation in the annual War of 1812 era program. Her group listened to a great talk from an “American” soldier who addressed the propaganda on both sides and included the treasonous Canadians who were hung, drawn and quartered from Ancaster. He was extremely informative and humourous. Ruth also said that “he pointed out how to today’s US army propaganda about joining the army is similar to that during the Rev War days. You never see the soldier who peels potatoes for five hours or who stands at attention in the rain for 3 hours. You only see the glory things: the tanks and guns! “

Next One Feather talked about the traditional artifacts of the Iroquois. “The kids loved the turtle shells.” Following an investigation of the battlefield monument, the students played some traditional games with spinning tops and tried walking on stilts. They listened to Tecumseh and paused to watch the blacksmith form a hoe. At the stocks, the students learned about old fashioned punishment and humiliation. After wandering through the suttlers, Ruth’s group rejoined the other half of the class as they were listening to Ron Dale talk about military life and the musket. That was the topper to one terrific day. As Ruth said, “it was informative and fun packed right from when one of the grade seven boys tried on a lady’s corset in Dundurn to the musket firing at Battlefield. They thoroughly enjoyed the adventure and so did I.”

Susan Ramsay of Battlefield House Museum is also to be commended for the operation of the annual school event. (http://www.battlefieldhouse.ca)

…Fred H. Hayward UE, Chairman Education/Outreach Committee UELAC

Compensation for Loyalists vs Loyalist Land Grants

The land grant was a reward for loyalty and service, amounting to 5,000 acres for men who held field rank in a Loyalist corps.

…Bill Smy, UE

For those researchers unfamiliar with military parlance, “field rank” means officers of the ranks of major or above that.

…John Ruch, UE

The Earl of Wessex: Prince Edward: in Saint John and then in Toronto

We met the Earl of Wessex last night at a Duke of Edinburgh awards dinner here in Saint John. Frances Morrisey and I managed a brief private chat. Mentioned we were representing the UEL and Edward knew he was going to meet some more UEL members in Ontario while on this visit. He is a very friendly and approachable man.

…Steve Bolton, New Brunswick Branch

The Monarchist League arranged a gathering of members and friends from other Loyal Societies on Tues June 7 to meet the Count and Countess of Wessex. Past President Myrna Fox, and Nancy Conn and I attended from the UEL, along with perhaps 150 others, from seven provinces and the USA as well. How delightful the royal couple are.

…Doug Grant, UE

Stamped Book

My 1984 article for the Loyalist Gazette provides the most comprehensive summary of attempts to sort out the abbreviations used to identify source-documents for the UE List. I remember being frustrated by references to the “Stamped Book” and a few other still-obscure items. Was that “Stamped Book” linked to the Niagara district? If so, I have a suspicion what it might have been. Here is the logic:

1. Haldimand’s privy seal was impressed in blind on the pages of three surviving oath registers of 1784-1786 now found in RG 4, A 1, (the S Series) volume 29. Pages 9327-9387: delivered to the Council Office in April 1786 by John Collins, who had been given a writ of dedimus potestatem to administer oaths of allegiance in the Montreal District. This register covers the numbered townships below Cataraqui. Pages 9388-9408: delivered to the Council Office in May 1786 by Justus Sherwood, who administered oaths in the numbered townships above Cataraqui. Pages 9409-9441: delivered some time after August 1786 (the last entry) by Lieutenant Governor Nicholas Cox , whose writ of dedimus potestatem authorized him to administer oaths in the Gasp√© district.

2. Some months after my close examination of these registers in June 2002, my review of some sources relating to Oaths of Allegiance uncovered an obscure reference in the records of the clerk of the Executive Council. This particular text referred to an oath register; which my memory says had been compiled in for the Niagara region, circa 1784-1786. It gave the name of the JP who had administered the oaths; his name may have been the reason for my linking the item to Niagara. Time constraints and lack of clues prevented my searching for that register. (Having put my notes on Oaths in a very safe place, I cannot for the moment locate them and must rely on memory of the incident. Pray that I mentioned the reference to Fawne Stratford-Devai, who has an excellent retrieval system.)

3. Haldimand’s instructions accompanying the Writ of Dedimus Potestatem stated that these men were to administer the oath of allegiance to all persons being assigned land pursuant to the Additional Royal Instructions of 16 July and 7 August 1783, and quoted an extract from the 24 July 1783 despatch of Lord North stipulating that the allegiance of all settlers be confirmed [see pages 9373-9376; 9389-9393, and 9409-9413]. Both in terms of the context in which these registers were compiled – the instructions to the compilers – and the notations in the remarks column which recorded regimental affiliations and other information about each individual’s origins – these records would have been considered invaluable as a means of verifying entries in the UE List. The abovementioned three volumes were at Quebec, but the Niagara volume was more accessible. (I’ve never come across any reference to a similar register for the Detroit/Hesse/Western District, but believe that one was compiled. Would it have been kept by someone involved in the District Land Board? Might it have survived with John Askin’s papers?)

4. If the “Stamped Book” related to the Niagara District, might it be the elusive oath register of 1784-1786? The registers were simple sewn notebooks, folio-size, with a (marbled) paper cover. Deterioration of the sewing and cover might have led to loss of the pages bearing the instructions and the assignment of a “working title” based on a distinctive characteristic – the seal impressed/stamped on each page.

Sufficient unto this day.

…Patricia Kennedy, Economic & Governance Archives, Library & Archives Canada

I have had the good luck to speak to an archivist who has over several years found clues to this volume. There are several possibilities, but to narrow down these to the right one still requires the results of more investigation.

The archivist writes: <>

Hasn’t someone already found a number of “Stamped Book” references for Loyalists in the same location? If we can get these results to the archivist, we will be hot on the trail.

…John Ruch


Western New York

In terms of today’s geography, what geographical area would have been considered “Western New York” in the year 1795? If there isn’t an easy specific answer, how would I go about determining the answer?

…Carole (Wilkins) Newberry {carolevin2004 AT sympatico DOT ca}

Information on Robert Wright of Sidney, from Sons and Daughters

Wright, Robert of Sidney.

Charity, m. Caleb Benedict of Thurlow. OC 16 Feb 1811

* Mary, m. (1) Joseph Sarles of Sidney. OC 13 Feb 1816. m. (2) *James Brooks

John of Sidney, OC 13 Feb 1816

Eleanor, m. —-Althouse of Sidney. OC 3 March 1836

Thomas of Sidney. OC 27 June 1833

Daniel of Thurlow. OC 7 June 1826

In Mary’s petition (1811) it states that she is the daughter of the late Robert Wright. Her application was witnessed by James Mc Nabb . In a different hand, a note was made at the bottom of the page – Land Grant 1811 51-2-A. I found this on one of my trips to the Archives in Ottawa. Do you know if it is possible to get a copy of the land grant? My branch of the family is from Mary’s second marriage to James Brooks. Although Mary’s first husband is listed as Sarles I believe it was Searles. IGI records show a Selah Searles & Mary Wright as the parents of Robert Searles (1816 and Joseph Searles (1818). It is possible that he went by Joseph in the army – I suspect it was probably a second name but not sure. I do know Mary had two children by her first husband.

Also in the IGI I found a Robert Wright b 1741 in York Co. Penn. s/o John Wright Jr. & Eleanor Barber. If you go by the old naming line of thought – this could make sense. John Robert’s first son named after his father and Eleanor, Robert’s daughter could be named after his mother – ALL of this is strictly speculation. Time frame also works.

A petition from “subscriber inhabitants” of Sidney, Thurlow & Ameliasburg prevails on Capt. John Meyers to erect a mill. It was signed 21 Dec. 1798. The signature of a Robert Wright is on this petition. In view of the location it is probably Mary’s father but I have no real information on Robert, his family or who his wife was and her family. The petition does narrow down Robert’s date of death to a 10 year period, if it is him.

At the Archives in Ottawa a couple of years ago I found two Roberts. One I believe was a Sgt. quartermaster in New York and part of Capt Wm Fowler’s Company (Muster Roll for Loyal American Regt. Apr 1779). Due to the fact Mary’s father was deceased by 1811, I suspect this is the more likely candidate (age wise). The other was a Pvt in Capt. Peter Mc Phersons Company of Guides & Pioneers (1780s) under the command of Col. Beverly Robinson. He was taken prisoner on an “expedition” to S. Carolina.

…Sheila M. Brownrigg, BC {genie AT cablelan DOT net}

Information on the Wickwares

I am very disappointed to advise that I’ve found very little in my papers and books about the Wickwares. I have one other group of sources to look through, but I thought I’d give you a report of progress to date. I’ve found nothing about Philip Wickware, “The Spy.” I had hoped my books on the Secret Service in Canada would have brought up something, but no. I also checked rebel records from Albany County to see if they had arrested him for disaffected activities, but no luck. If Philip’s sobriquet refers to the Revolutionary War, I suspect he was involved in Secret Service work out of New York City, rather than Canada. I can find no record of him coming to Quebec at the end of the war. He is not among the early loyalist settlers at Sorel.

Nor have I found any mention of Libious/Lewis/Lebeous. Only one Wickware settled in western Quebec between 1784-92 and that was Jonathon.

On a muster roll of Major Edward Jessup’s Loyal Rangers taken at Riviere du Chene on January 1, 1783, Jonathon Wickwire was returned as a 30-year-old private soldier in Captain Justus Sherwood’s company. He was recorded as 5’7″, born in America and with 5years, 5mos service. This would put his year of enlistment as mid-1777, probably during the Burgoyne expedition of that year. A transcript of this information is found in Mary Beacock Fryer & William A Smy’s book, “Rolls of the Provincial (Loyalist) Corps, Canadian Command American Revolutionary Period” (Dundurn: Toronto: 1981). The original is from War Office 28, Vol. 10, part 4, pp.457-73.

It would seem that Jonathon took to the woods after the failure of the Burgoyne expedition in Oct77, as orders for the arrest of Jonathon Wickwire and John Smith on a charge of multiple robberies in Livington’s Manor, Albany County, were given by the Committee for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies on June 12, 1778. It would appear that Jonathon and John Smith evaded capture and Jonathon made his way back to Canada to rejoin his regiment. I am hoping to uncover more information on this by checking other muster rolls that I have in my possession.

“Minutes of the Commissioners for detecting and defeating Conspiracies in the State of New York, Albany County Sessions, 1778-1781”, Victor Hugo Paltsits, State Historian, tr. (Albany: NYS, 1909)

Of some interest, Jonathon was settled in Augusta Township (Royal Township No.7) in 1785. Again, the surname is spelled “Wickwire,” so when Wickware became common is an open question. See, Norman K. Crowder, “Early Ontario Settlers” (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993)

In William D. Reid’s “Loyalists in Ontario, The Sons and Daughters of The American Loyalists of Upper Canada” (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.,1973) 337. All three names are shown, again as Wickwires.

Jonathon of Elizabethtown and Augusta. Lists his six children, the first being Livius. Livius of Elizabethtown is listed next with his wife’s given name as Margaret followed by four children, the last of which is another Livius.

Philip of St Johns, Lower Canada is listed next with two sons. He is not to be confused with Livius’s, the son Philip of Elizabethtown.

…Gavin Wat

The Wickwires and Wickwares, and 12 other spellings are all the same family. I use the Wickware form as that was how my mother spelled her name.

The years before 1820 are very difficult for me to figure out. Like with so many families, names are repeated over and over, and sorting out who is who is quite a task.

I have E. Keith Fitzgerald’s Loyalist Lists. (I haven’t seen Reid’s yet.) Fitzgerald lists

– Libious Wickwire on the Roll of King’s Rangers, #814, page 44, from New York

– Jonathan Wickwire, Jessops Rangers#1868, page 88 from New York, lost a house and land

And from somewhere, I recall there was a Lewis named as a drummer. I wondered if this is a good indication he was perhaps a teenager? I don’t suppose there is any chance there is an age for Jonathan anywhere?

The Philip who died at St. Johns, Lower Canada is most curious, as two of his children turn up asking for land, saying he died at St. Johns – I think c 1781.

Libeous and Margaret Seeley of Elizabethtown are my direct line. They must have married about 1789 or 90. Their first child was a son Philip born in 1791(supposed to have been in war of 1812- according to sworn statements during a land dispute c 1818)

Lebeous died about 1802, and Margaret married Benjamin Salts.

Samuel Wickware was also supposed to have been in war of 1812, and granted land at Romney Twp. (on north shore of Lake Erie).

In the letters where lot 14 con 2 Elizabethtown is in dispute, it is obvious Justus Sherwood played a large role. It seemed like he was a land agent, and reassigned the same land when he shouldn’t have.

Thank you for the colourful description of Jonathan’s activities.

If this Jonathan is older, I would guess he is the one that worked making treaties with the Indians in the Mowhawk Valley with Wm. Johnston.

There are marriages to Seeley, Griffin, Salts,McCrea, Huff, Hotchkiss, Spencer and Clark, Mallory.

The Wickwire’s didn’t seem to leave a great paper trail.

…Jan Blommaert

A couple of things — first, you just missed it when I gave Jonathon’s age. He was 30 in 1783.

Second, when you challenged me with Fitzgerald, I went through one of my muster roll transcripts again and did find in the 2Bn King’s Rangers – Libeons Wickwire from New Hampshire. Aged 17. 5’4″ tall with 2 years service. The roll was taken at Fort St Johns on 21Jun83. The transcript is from Fryer and Smy as previously cited. It’s original source is Manuscript Group 13, War Office 28, Vol. 10, pp.490-91.

After finding him on the one King’s Rangers roll, I checked a later roll dated 27Jan84 at Fort St Johns that shows Libeons Wickware as a Drummer and serving in Major James Rogers’ Company. Oddly enough, this roll was taken after disbandment, which occurred on 24Dec83.

An archival transcript of this roll is in the National Archives, Haldimand Papers, B160, 153-56. The transcript I consulted is found in LCol H.M. Jackson, “Rogers’ Rangers – A History” (author, 1953).

As promised, I went through my original muster rolls of loyalist units that served in Canada and I’ve found some additional information on all three men.

1) Philip Wickwire

He entered LCol John Peters’ Queen’s Loyal Rangers (QLR) on 09Jul77. The QLR was one of five loyalist units that supported Gen John Burgoyne’s expedition against upstate New York in 1777.

Philip was taken prisoner on 02Aug77. This date holds no particular significance during the campaign, so I suspect he was taken on a scout of the enemy lines.

Another QLR roll suggests he may have been a serjeant, but I cannot confirm this.

As he does not appear in any of the muster rolls of the various Northern Dept units after this date, I think he may have been incarcerated in NY State or released to his home under parole and watched very closely.

Why he earned the nickname, “The Spy,” is not at all apparent.

2) Jonathon Wickwire

A 1783 source suggests that Jonathon entered the QLR in Sep77; however, more contemporaneous records indicate it was 16Aug77, and I always trust the earlier records. This is a very significant date in the history of the QLR, as it marks the battle of Bennington where the loyalist, British, Germans and natives took a real beating. That Jonathon joined on that day is a bit strange, as most men with that enlistment date joined the Loyal Volunteers. Oh well…

In one 1777 record, he is shown as a Private soldier in LCol John Peters’ own company.

In a QLR return of 29Jun78, Jonathon is shown as being on furlough. Other men are returned as either being “on the Convention” or not. The Convention was an instrument of surrender signed by General Burgoyne when he capitulated in Oct77. Those men who were ‘on the convention’ were not able to do duty in Canada after they returned there (i.e. they were in limbo); however, after the US Congress welched on the articles of the agreement, Governor Haldimand decided in 1779 to employ these men on military duties. In any event, it appears that Jonathon had escaped with Col Peters and many other men before the surrender ‘went down.’ Surprisingly, the men who managed to escape surrender weren’t welcomed with open arms in Canada, as many suspected them of abandoning General Burgoyne in his time of need. Peters never recovered from that suspicion.

As far as I can determine, Jonathonan continued in the QLR until 1781. There is an 09Mar80 muster listing him as a Pte in the QLR. An 01May81 return shows him in the QLR but serving with several other rangers as a marine on the lakes, probably Lake Champlain. That is, he was a shipboard soldier.

The 1783 record noted above lists him as a member of the garrisons of the two blockhouses on the Yamaska River in lower Quebec. By that time, the QLR had been disbanded and he was serving in Jessup’s Loyal Rangers. A comment was written beside Jonathon’s name – “Always been a good subject.”

3) Livius Wickware

The only additional piece of information that I discovered on this man was a King’s Rangers’ roll taken at Fort St Johns on 10Jan82. This shows Libavous Wickwire as a ranger. The interpretation of that given name takes some imagination. It’s almost as if the clerk messed it about to disguise his inability to discern the name. This roll shows no indication of Livius’s rank.

By the way, extant rolls of the King’s Rangers are few and far between as they were not accepted into the Northern Department until late 1781.

Hope this adds to your knowledge.

…Gavin Watt

Display and Joel Stone

My name is Tim Compeau, a beginning Grad student currently working with the Arthur Child Heritage Museum in Gananoque, Ontario. I am working on a project to create a museum display about our Loyalist founder, Joel Stone.

I have quite a good start, but was wondering if your Association would be interested in helping in some way, if you have any relavant material in your own collections that you would be willing to lend or make facsimiles of (ie artifacts, documents) that may better help to flesh out the display.

Also, I was wondering if there is any existing work that may perhaps contain a master list of where Loyalists settled, the lands they received, etc. throughout Upper Canada. I find I have but a few examples of other Loyalist experiences to compare, although I do have access to Talman’s “Narratives” which I’m sure will prove helpful.

In any event, thank you for your time. I very much appreciate the work your organization undertakes, and I hope to able to add to my own area’s understanding of the essential and pivotal place the Loyalists hold in so many local histories and in that of all Canada.

…Tim Compeau {t_compeau AT hotmail DOT com}