“Loyalist Trails” 2006-13 March 26, 2006

In this issue:
Family notes from Doris Ward, North Carolina
Mohawk Valley Bus Trip, Oct 1-4, 2006 to visit Schenectady
Census Day 2006 Coming Quickly; Say Yes
Philipsburg Ledgers Surface; More Loyalist Information
Visit to Halifax last week; Niagara Col. John Butler Branch April 1
      + Did He Fire the Long Distant (Lucky) Shot? Can you help?


Family notes from Doris Ward, North Carolina

Interesting – have immigrants coming through all the ports from Halifax, Boston, Plymouth, New Amsterdam/New York, and Philadelphia, besides the Tide Water Virginia ports and Charleston, SC of my husband’s family, and am now finally finding a trace to William Penn’s 23 ships coming to Philadelphia and the Delaware area. This may affect not only my husband’s family, but I may find the ancestry of the Barber family who eventually showed up as pioneers in Norfolk County. (My line of Barbers married Nancy Nelles – UEL.) One last horizon to push back. It’s exciting!

My grandfather’s first pastorate was the early Baptist Church in Halifax, (now I think on Oxford St.,) and he was UEL, grandson of Nancy (Nelles) Barber of Boston, Norfolk Co., ON. I provided them with a picture to hang in their gallery of former pastors. [Rev. Dr. William Henry Cline.]

…Doris Ward

Mohawk Valley Bus Trip, Oct 1-4, 2006 to visit Schenectady

Schenectady was the first white settlement in the Mohawk Valley. Its history goes back to about 1661. Around that time Arent Van Curler received a deed of land from the Mohawks. Van Curler maintained a good relationship with the French and so had no problems with raids. However he drowned while attempting to cross Lake Champlain.

During the winter of 1690, a raiding party of French and Indians burned the town; destroyed the homes; massacred most of the inhabitants, and carried several captives off to Canada. Several of these inhabitants were the ancestors of Loyalists.

The tour of Schenectady will include a narrated walking tour of the Old Stockade District; a visit to the Schenectady Historical Society and a visit to the historic Tellier House. Many of the pre-revolutionary houses still survive in this area. Some were owned by Loyalist Families.

St. Georges Episcopal Church will also be included in the tour. Sir William Johnson headed a list of subscribers to raise funds to build this church. Margaret Johnson, the daughter of Sir John Johnson and Clarissa Putman used to sit in the Johnson’s pew in St. George’s Episcopal Church. Today you can sit in the spot where the original Johnson pew was situated.

The bus will also pause by the Vale Cemetery where Clarissa Putman, the mother of some of Sir John Johnson’s children, is buried. The remains of the Schenectady inhabitants who were massacred in the French raid of 1690 have also been re-buried in the Vale Cemetery.

There are still places on the bus for this tour which will visit original Palatine, Dutch and Loyalist sites. For example, any Loyalist whose ancestors came from Stone Arabia will be able to visit both Trinity Lutheran and the Dutch Reformed Churches and their cemeteries. Click here to view complete details of the trip.

…George Anderson {andrew1 AT magma DOT ca}

Census Day 2006 Coming Quickly; Say Yes

The next National Census of Canada is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 16 May 2006. For the first time in the 340 years Censuses have been conducted in the territory that was destined to become Canada, respondents will be asked to provide consent for the release of information they provide, 92 years after collection. Until now, no such consent was required. The question that will appear on the Census schedule is as follows:

The following question is for all persons who usually live here including those less than 15 years old.

If you are answering on behalf of other people, please consult each person.

53. The Statistics Act guarantees the confidentiality of your census information. Only if you mark “YES” to this question will your personal information be made public, 92 years after the 2006 Census. If you mark “NO” or leave the answer blank, your personal information will never be made publicly available.

Does this person agree to make his/her 2006 Census information available for public release in 2098 (92 years after the census)?

Yes / No

Genealogists and historians can be expected to be more aware of the need to answer YES to the ‘informed consent’ question than are the general public. In fact, the general public’s knowledge of the issue is probably non-existent. They must be made aware. This can be done by word-of-mouth, by writing letters to editors of newspapers and by calling radio talk shows. There are many ways to educate the public, and I mention here only a few. The important thing is that we all do our part to ‘spread the word’.

On Census Day 16 May 2006, make sure you answer YES to allow your information to be made available to your descendants in 2098. Make sure everyone you know does as well.

…Gordon A. Watts

Read Gordon’s latest report on this and much more right here.

Philipsburg Ledgers Surface; More Loyalist Information

On February 28, 2006, the Montreal Gazette, at page A-8, published a report by a reporter called Jeff Heinrich, concerning the finding, in a cupboard in a house in Philipsburg, Quebec, of three ledgers from the period 1786 to 1816. The books were originally kept by the (Loyalist) Reuter family, which ran an inn in late 18th and early 19th century Philipsburg. Apparently, the finder was one Robert Galbraith, a freelance photographer who now owns the house and is married to one Phyllis Montgomery, granddaughter of the former owner, the late Mr. Justice George H. Montgomery, once a judge of the Quebec Superior Court, and an historian. Apparently, the late judge had kept these three ledgers in a leather case in the cupboard concerned, near a stove-pipe in the house, which may have protected them from mould down through the years. So they are still in excellent condition and legible, written in black ink on sturdy paper. It would seem as well that the late Mr. Justice Montgomery, at some previous time, sent three other ledgers from the same Inn to the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa.

What is intriguing is that the ledgers show clearly that at least some of the blacks who lived in Philipsburg in the period 1786-1816 were not slaves, because the ledgers indicate that different blacks (mentioned by first names – e.g. “Maurice the Black Man”) bought goods, paid bills and were paid for work they did. This is interesting, because it was generally believed hitherto that they were all slaves, brought into the country by the Loyalists, and who were eventually buried at “Nigger Rock” in nearby Saint-Armand. It would now appear that at least some of them, if not all, were free, perhaps because they had fought for the King in the Revolution, or perhaps because they had been freed by their white owners before or during or after the Loyalist exodus from the Thirteen Colonies. Of course, when all of this came to light, it was most newsworthy for Black History Month, which explains why the Montreal Gazette published the piece in February.

When I first heard of these ledgers, on a CBC radio morning show just after the publication of the article, it was said that the Missisquoi Museum in Stanbridge East, Quebec, was or might be interested in acquiring the ledgers from Mr. Galbraith and perhaps digitizing them, so that they could be made available to historians, students and the general public on the Internet. I am not sure what, if anything, has come of that idea. It has occurred to me that the Association might contribute a small grant (e.g. one of the $450 grants administered by good old C. William Terry) towards the digitization of the ledgers by the Missisquoi Museum. After all, they are original Loyalist-created documents, which give us a precious window into life on the Lower Canada/Vermont frontier in the Loyalist era and into race relations at that time.

…Bev Loomis UE Little Forks Branch and Robert Wilkins UE, Heritage Branch

I received a cc of Robert Wilkin’s email to you about the Philipsburg ledgers.

Heather Darch, UE, a member of Little Forks Branch and a branch member of Sir John Johnson Branch, is curator of the Missisquoi Museum. She has met with Robert Galbraith on behalf of the Missisquoi Historical Society and hopefully will be able to obtain these ledgers to digitize them.

There is a black burial ground in St. Armand/Philipsburg by a large black limestone rock known as “Nigger Rock” located on property which was originally owned by Loyalist Colonel Philip Luke. These black Loyalists had been his slaves and the story is that he not only gave them their freedom but that he traveled to Florida to buy more slaves whom he brought to Canada and gave them their freedom. The Luke family cemetery is on another part of the same property.

Sir John Johnson Branch has a thick binder of clippings about the black cemetery and the struggle to have this cemetery receive proper recognition. Hank Avery, a black school teacher in Bedford, Quebec received the Frederick Johnson Award at the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations in Montreal on May 10, 2002 for his effort to have this cemetery receive proper recognition.

Hank spoke to students of Farnham Elementary School in May of 2002 as part of the Loyalist Education project.

…Adelaide Lanktree UE Sir John Johnson Br.

Visit to Halifax last week; Niagara Col. John Butler Branch April 1

Nancy and I spent almost three days this past week travelling to Halifax. Our hosts from the Halifax/Dartmouth Branch – Lew Perry and his executive members – were most kind in helping us see some of the sites, in discussing branch issues and challenges (which are mostly common with many other branches across the country) and meeting the branch members at a meeting. They took us to St Paul’s Church where we saw the oldest Protestant place of worship in Canada. It was the first overseas cathedral of the Anglican Church (then the Church of England) in the British Empire (1787-1865) and is the home of the oldest Sunday School in Canada. Here we saw the hatchments in which the Branch has taken significant interest and with UELAC has contributed to their restoration. (On the outer walls of the gallery hang several large, diamond-shaped Hatchments which are paintings of family arms ordinarily kept within the home of the bearer, but hung outside the door at the time of his death.)

At the Thursday evening meeting, held at the University held at King’s University), we met Dr. Paul Bennett, father of Kelly who us currently holder of our Bernice Wood Flett Scholarship. He invited us to tour the Halifax Grammar School where he is Headmaster.

Not ones to miss an opportunity, we also managed to see St. George’s Church, the Old Dutch Church, The Maritime Museum, The Nova Scotia Art Gallery and Pier 21. Oh yes, and had lunch with my cousin and his wife.

Only enough to whet our appetites and know that we must visit again this historical city.



Did He Fire the Long Distant (Lucky) Shot? Can you help?

Looking over a Loyalist Trails from early 2005, I found a brief discussion of a Crown soldier (British? Canadian?) who had been killed by an American soldier firing across the Niagara River during the War of 1812. Given the probable distance and weaponry used, this was described as being an incredibly lucky shot, possibly at odds of “a million to one.”

This parallels an oft-told story from my loyalist heritage. It was said that my gggg grandfather, Reuben Green UE, serving in the 2nd Lincoln County Militia, killed an American sentry at Fort Niagara by firing a shot across the river from the Canadian side. Furthermore, the Americans somehow found out who had fired the shot, and put a price on the head of Reuben Green. He survived the war after having fought in the battles of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane, and died in 1873 at the age of 90 having fathered 14 children.

I was told this story by my grandfather Leon A. Douglas UE, who had heard it many times from his grandfather James M. Douglas UE, who had heard it many times from his grandfather, Reuben Green. I always assumed that Reuben must have used a rifle of some kind rather than a Brown Bess, but that is just conjecture. Also, from my readings of the War of 1812, both sides constantly benefited from and suffered from information supplied by traitors in their midst. That makes the story about the price on Reuben Green’s head more feasible.

Does anyone out there know anything more about this supposed incident? Reuben Green’s father was Charles Green UE (1740-1827), a well-known Loyalist from New Jersey whose large and prominent gravestone is just outside the Lundy’s Lane Cemetery on the north side of Lundy’s Lane. The stone and bronze plaque was placed there a couple of decades ago, I think, by a historical group whose name I cannot recall. During the Revolutionary War, Charles Green refused induction into the local rebel militia, was imprisoned, escaped, and joined the King’s Rangers. He was badly wounded, lost his farm, and about 1874 walked with his wife and two children (one was Reuben) to the Niagara frontier, where eight days later his wife gave birth to Rebekah Green UE, the first white child born on the west side of the Niagara. Charles Green’s land grant included all the land that is now the Lundy’s Lane and Drummond Hill Cemeteries, as well as the Methodist church at Drummond Hill and a good part of Lundy’s Lane itself (supposedly originally named Green’s Lane).

…Michael Douglas Trout, UE, Corporal, Frey’s Company, Butler’s Rangers, Selkirk, New York {michaeldtrout AT earthlink DOT net}