“Loyalist Trails” 2005-30 August 25, 2005
In this issue:
– Loyalist Information Directory
– Camp Security at Risk
– Battle for a Nation’s Birthright
– Ottawa B&B – do you need a place to stay while researching in Ottawa?
– Arthur St. Clair, Died This Day, August 23, 2005, Globe & Mail
– John Harris, Died This Day, August 25, 2005, Globe & Mail
+ W.A.C. Bennett and Harvey R. MacMillan
One of the UELAC objectives is the development of a directory of Loyalists. Several books with lists of Loyalists have been published over many years. These include the three volumes of Loyalist Lineages published by Toronto Branch UELAC, Loyalists of Quebec published by Heritage Branch, Loyalists of New Brunswick, Reid’s Sons and Daughters etc. In Upper Canada there was the UEL Executive List which was reprinted in the 1870’s or thereabouts.
The Loyalist Information Committee has developed an Internet based directory which offers the possibility of a more comprehensive directory which can be grown over time. The first phase, now completed, is drawn from the UEL Executive list, which was an Upper Canada, essentially now Ontario, list. This list includes many entries for those who were entered onto the list in the 1790’s, but who were then ruled ineligible (who says government programs only recently begat scandals) and are marked as expunged or suspended. Some of those were successfully appealed and are listed as reinstated.
As is the case with the UEL list, there is very little information about each individual. However, the Committee designed the directory to allow additional information to be added. It is quite possible that more changes will come yet, but this is what we will start with. You can review the directory here.
Two records differ from the UEL Executive List.
See Samuel Anderson. He has been accepted as a UELAC proven Loyalist, and the status is shown accordingly. Samuel is the Loyalist ancestor of George Anderson of Sir Guy Carleton Branch. George has provided data for many of the different fields of information and you can see these by clicking on “Details”.
The second record is for John James Hagerman, a New Brunswick Loyalist.
The Committee plans three actions to increase the number of Loyalists and the amount of data in the directory.
1. to add the names of the Loyalists who have been proven since 1971 when genealogical proofs were first required. The data will be very sparse – just the Loyalist name, and the branch proved through, and probably date.
2. to seek some individuals who can contribute a number, perhaps a minimum of twenty, of Loyalist names with some additional information
3. to accept a small number of individuals who would add data to a new or existing Loyalist record, as we need to sort out the best procedure for this.
We are excited by this Directory and hope it will help people identify a possible Loyalist ancestor while we continue to expand the content of the Directory.
…Loyalist Information Committee
As one of the Americans who was involved in saving and preserving Deadman’s Island in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I was surprised to learn that a similar situation has been on-going in Pennsylvania, this time with the roles reversed. This time, the final resting place of honored British dead of the American Revolution is threatened with development and obscurity. Frankly, I think it is time for Americans to step up and do the right and honorable thing, as the people of Halifax, Nova Scotia have done. However, pressure being brought to bear by the UELAC would assist the efforts undertaken by locals to save and preserve the site. I would direct you to the following link for full details and information. Surely this is a worthy cause for the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada. Visit the web site for more information.
“Battle for a Nation’s Birthright”
It’s heritage versus homes in row over Revolution site
By Randy Boswell – National Post, August 11, 2005
Hundreds of Canadian and British soldiers held as prisoners of war during the American Revolution lie buried in a Pennsylvania farm field that is now the focus of a bitter legal battle between a housing developer and heritage advocates.
The struggle over the former site of Camp Security a sprawling prison compound near the present-day city of York that was used to house captured Red Coats between 1781 and 1783recently resulted in its being named one of the top 10 most threatened historical places in the United States.
Its proponents hope to turn the site into an international memorial and tourist attraction.
But the history it holds is largely Loyalist. And those fighting to save Camp Securitythe country’s only prison site from the Revolutionary War not yet destroyed by developmentbelieve the undisturbed acreage contains a wealth of 18th century artifacts and the graves of hundreds of prisoners who died when a typhus epidemic swept through the camp in 1782.
“I’m sure there are many Canadians whose ancestors were there,” says Melinda Higgins, executive director of Historic York and one of the leaders of the campaign to preserve the site. “This story is much bigger than York. It’s internationally significant.”
The uproar over the Pennsylvania site follows a similar struggle in Canada that resulted in the creation of a commemorative park for captured American troops who were held at a Nova Scotia prison camp during the War 1812. About 200 U.S. soldiers died in captibity and were buried at Deadman’s Island in Halifax, where a group of history-minded residents recently rallied to stop a proposed development that would have obliterated the burial ground.
In May, a memorial was unveiled at the Canadian site by U.S. military officials, who expressed deep gratitude that the prisoners’ graves had been preserved and honoured.
“They were lost and now they have been reunited with us, thanks to the people of Halifax,” U.S. Navy Cmdr. Brad Renner said at the time. “Because you have given us this site, we can walk peacefully through this sacred ground in quiet reflection. We can tell our fallen brethren that you helped us keep an age-old promise not to forget.”
Camp Security was built after a series of American victories in the late 1770s led t othe surrender of thousands of enemy troops. Most of the captured soldiers who ended up at Camp Security had served with British Gen. John Burgoyne, who was defeated in a pivotal battle at Saratoga, N.Y., in 1777.
There were at least 600 Canadian militiamen under Gen. Burgoyne’s command, along with several thousand British regulars and a large unit of Hessian mercenaries from Germany. The surrendered troops were marched to temporary prisons in Massachusetts, Virginia and Maryland before being moved to Camp Security in 1781 for the duration of the war, which ended in April, 1783.
As was common at that time, the wives and children of many of the captured men were permitted to join them in captivity and lived in a makeshift village nicknamed Camp Indulgence, located adjacent to the prison enclosure. But the prisoners and their families died in droves in the winter of 1782-83 when a camp fever killed about 1000 people and prompted the creation of a large burial ground outside the central stockade.
So far, property developer Timothy Pasch has rebuffed calls to scrap his plans to build about 100 upscale homes on the Camp Security lands, which are already surrounded by suburban sprawl. The project has been approved by municipal officials, but state permits and lawsuits launched by heritage advocates have help up construction for two years.
Ms. Higgins says Mr. Pasch has offered to sell his opponents about 100 acres, which he purchased for less than $600,000, for $4.5-million, an unthinkable sum for the volunteer groups fighting the development.
“Some folks just don’t get the significance of this place; they don’t stop to think about the principles involved,” says York resident Carol Tanzola, president of Friends of Camp Security.
“Camp Security is a doorway to a little-known chapter in the story of America’s war for independence,” Richard Moe, president of the U.S. National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in June after the organization listed the camp among the country’s most threatened sites. “If the property is turned into a residential subdivision, that door will slam shut forever. If we want to fully understand the struggle that led to the birth of our nation, we must act to keep this site unspoiled and permanently protected.”
Ms. Tanzola says the National Trust designation has put added pressure on Pennsylvania to preserve Camp Security. But until there’s a greater outcry from people in Canada and Britain, she says, the site will remain at extreme risk of destruction.
“This is an absolute treasure,” she says, “one of the ones you’d lie down in front of a bulldozer for.”
Bed and Breakfast opportunity for researchers in Ottawa for a limited time. Sylvia and Bill Powers, U.E.each, have a home in Nepean with three extra bedrooms. It is currently listed for sale and so we are not able to rent out rooms to students as in the past. However, it is close to the bus station which would take people near the Archives, National or City, or to the Latter Day Saints. We would be willing to offer bed and breakfast to any researchers on a short term basis. We could also pick someone up at the airport, bus station, or train station. Phone us at 613-225-6377 or 613-484-6377 to make arrangements and decide on costs.
…Sylvia Powers, UE, Past President, Sir Guy Carleton Branch
Arthur St. Clair, 1818 – Soldier and politician born in Thurso, Scotland, on March 23, 1736.
Educated at the University of Edinburgh, he purchased a commission in the British army and was sent to Canada. He took part in the capture of Louisburg, N.S., on July 26, 1758 and fought under General James Wolfe at the Plains of Abraham. In 1762, he resigned his commission, bought a vast tract of Pennsylvania land and acquired wealth. In 1776, he threw in his lot with George Washington under whom he held the rank of brigadier-general. In 1787, he served as President of the Continental Congress and was named governor of what today is Ohio and Michigan. He sought to end native American land claims and to clear the way for white settlement. The policy was meant to provoke Indians into fighting, so that U.S. forces could them wipe them out. Instead the U.S. army met a series of defeats. In 1791 he personally led a punitive expedition that ended up being routed at the Battle of the Wabash, with 600 dead. He resigned from the army and, in 1802, was removed as governor. He retired to his Pennsylvania property, where he suffered a series of business reverses and died in poverty. Lake St. Clair is named for him.
John Harris, 1850
Sailor, surveyor and politician born in Devonshire on June 21, 1782.
The son of a curate, he ran away to sea at 12, joined the Royal Navy and was sent to Kingston, Upper Canada, during the War of 1812. He took part in the defeat of the U.S. at Crysler’s Farm near what is now Morrisburg, Ont. After the war, he remained in Canada to join a team that surveyed the Thousand Islands and Great Lakes for the Royal Navy. In 1815, he married Amelia Ryerse and moved to her birthplace of Port Ryerse on Lake Ontario. He resigned from the navy but continued his work as a surveyor. In 1832 he purchased land in London, Ont., became involved in politics and served as treasurer of London District for 30 years.
The Education and Outreach Committee is working on an Educational Resource for the Prairie and Pacific Regions. Part of that consists of family histories of notable families. There are two individuals who supposedly have Loyalist ancestry but it is not noted in their stories that are already in the public domain. Does anyone have information on the Loyalist ancestry of W.A.C.Bennett or Harvey R. MacMillan of MacMillan and Bleodel – the lumber company?