“Loyalist Trails” 2006-41 October 29, 2006
In this issue:
– Reading Clarkson’s Journal: A Guilty Pleasure of the Loyalist Era, by Stephen Davidson
– We Came; We Saw; We Surrendered (sort of): Yorktown 225th
– Loyal then? Loyal now.
– The Valiants Memorial to be Unveiled 5 Nov. 2006
– Records of Freed Slaves to go Online
– 2007 will mark the 400th Anniversary of the Jamestowne Colony
– Died This Day, 19 October 1868: Laura Secord (Globe and Mail)
– Died This Day, 13 October, 1812: Isaac Brock (Globe and Mail)
– Last Post: Malcolm Dalton Loucks, M.B.E., U.E. (1910-2006)
+ Reponses re Revolutionary War Era Novels
Poring over indecipherable census records and meandering through soggy graveyards are sometimes necessary evils for both professional and amateur historians. However, reading diaries, letters and journals from the past is unquestionably our greatest “guilty pleasure”.
These handwritten documents reveal the human drama of the passing eras with an immediacy that compels their readers to recognize –yet again– that those who lived in the past were every bit as much alive as we are today. In the diaries of old we find out what was had for dinner, what was thought of the current music, and who was an irritating neighbour.
One such first-hand account is found on the Collections Canada – Black Loyalists website. John Clarkson, who was entrusted with organizing and overseeing the expedition of Black Loyalists to Sierra Leone, kept a daily journal that not only records the various letters and documents he produced, but also reveals the day to day drama of the first years of loyalist settlement in Nova Scotia. Here, then, are just some of the fascinating details that can be found as one browses through his on-line journal Clarkson’s Mission to America: 1791-1792:
– Clarkson was appalled by the conditions in which he found the Black Loyalists. One couple he met had to sell their property, clothing and beds to maintain themselves.
– On his return trip to Halifax from visiting Preston for the first time, Clarkson tries some maple sugar.
– A short conversation between Clarkson and a man born in Africa is recorded, giving a sense of the dialect spoken by the Black Loyalist.
– Clarkson was fascinated by a Mi’kmaq canoe he saw in Halifax and gives a detailed description of the craft and its passengers.
– There is a great description of the Windsor area as it was in 1791. Clarkson was intrigued by its gypsum deposits and the Fundy tides.
– Just fifteen miles outside of Halifax he meets a man he considers to be the richest Black Loyalist in the whole province. Clarkson discourages him from leaving Nova Scotia.
– Clarkson’s comment on the Black Loyalists of Preston: “I would match them for strong sense, quick apprehension, clear reasoning, gratitude, affection for their wives & children, and friendship and good-will towards their neighbours….I have good grounds for having formed a favorable opinion of the whole.”
– Many English and German soldiers with tears in their eyes asked to be allowed to go to Sierra Leone along with the Black Loyalists. It is amazing to think that, even though they had no cultural or familial ties to Africa, these white loyalists’ conditions in Nova Scotia were so desperate that they were willing to cross the Atlantic to help found a new British colony in a tropical setting.
– Clarkson often begged white Nova Scotians to give up their slaves to go to Sierra Leone with their loyalist families, but he was not always successful. Some of these left-behind slaves were mere children.
– Clarkson even lists the daily menu the Black Loyalists would have on their journey across the Atlantic: molasses and Indian meal for breakfast, salt fish or beef for dinner, and a repetition of breakfast for supper. Wine was allowed for the sick. Breakfast was at eight sharp. Could this menu have been much different from what other Nova Scotians were eating at the time?
– Said Clarkson: “I know of no place where there is such universal hospitality shown to Strangers as at Halifax.”
– Amazingly, one of the passengers on the voyage to Sierra Leone was a 104 year-old woman. She had appealed to Clarkson to allow her to go to Africa with the other Black Loyalists so that she could be buried in her native land.
And these are only just some of the amazing glimpses into the events surrounding loyalist Nova Scotians and the exodus to Sierra Leone.
To read more from Clarkson’s journal, go to the Black Loyalist website. Click on “Documents”. Under “Personal Accounts” click on “Mission to America.” There are even more guilty pleasures to be found.
[submitted by Stephen Davidson. A contributor to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography and a classroom teacher, Davidson has completed a young adult novel recounting the story of the expedition to Sierra Leone.]
The 225th Anniversary of the Battle of Yorktown was held Oct 19-22 at both Yorktown, Virginia, and nearby Endview Plantation. There were upwards of 2,000 reenactors in attendance – far short of the original predictions, but a good number nevertheless. The largest group from Canada was fielded by the King’s Royal Yorkers with about 20 men, and another 10 with related Loyalist Fifes & Drums. Delancey’s Brigade included a Canadian, and one of the (American) members of Butler’s Rangers is a UELAC member. Three of the King’s Royal Yorkers were especially pleased to be back in 2006, because we were present at the 200th in 1981: David Moore UE, Brock Dittrick and myself, (two UELAC members out of three). It is worth noting that during the melancholy surrender, a certain Sgt. Major Moore and some musicians managed to keep their weapons!! Look for a more complete report and photos in a Gazette next year.
I looked for an opportunity to represent the UELAC as well, but it became clear rather quickly that such celebrations as were scheduled focused strictly on the Rebels and their French allies.
…Peter W. Johnson UE, President, UELAC
I’ve been thinking about the letters we carry with our names. Those two simple letters, UE, carry so much meaning. Our ancestors earned the additional letter “L” because they did so much more than we are doing.
They created a new nation with an old ideal, loyalty to the Crown.
Surely there were arguments which threatened to destroy the movement, but these persons put aside their personal agendas for the greater good. They knew if they divided, they would be conquered and returned to the United States under very unpleasant circumstances. Unity was the keyword then.
We need to carry forward what our ancestors created, a willingness to contribute to the continuance of those ideals. Unity is the keyword now.
You wonder why an American is saying this? Well, I feel the same way about my Patriot ancestors. Both groups achieved something remarkable in the New World. Let us share their contributions by working together and continue to celebrate them forever.
…Joyce Stevens UE, Col. John Butler Branch
“On the unanimous advice of the distinguished military historians of the Valiants Foundation, fourteen valiant men and women have been chosen to be honoured for their heroism during five periods of conflict and resolution which marked Canada’s road from a seventeenth century European colony to a twentieth century North American nation. Their statues or busts will be placed on Confederation Square in the heart of the nation’s capital, Ottawa. As part of its mandate to make the Capital a symbolic meeting place for all Canadians, the National Capital Commission (NCC) manages and provides direction for commemorative monuments of national significance. As such, the NCC is a key partner for the Valiants project and has been involved with the project since its inception. In 2004, the NCC conducted a national design competition and has been working with the selected design team John McEwen and Marlene Hilton Moore to develop the concept. The NCC will continue to guide this project until it is unveiled on Sunday November 5 2006 and will maintain this commemoration in the future.”
John Butler was born in 1728, the son of a British army officer. His father’s service in the Mohawk Valley of northern New York brought the young Butler into contact with the Six Nations Confederacy and with Sir William Johnson, Superintendent General of Indian Affairs. During the Seven Years’ War Butler served as a lieutenant with the Indian Department, acted as an interpreter, and as a captain was at the siege of Ticonderoga and the capture of Fort Frontenac ( Kingston ) in 1758. When the American Revolutionary War began, Butler was a lieutenant colonel of the New York militia. He became a deputy superintendent of Indian affairs, and organized a corps of loyalists, dubbed Butler’s Rangers, to act together with Indian allies along the frontier. From his base at Fort Niagara , Butler directed a series of highly successful raids by these forces from northern New York as far south as Kentucky . After the war, Butler and his family settled in the Niagara Peninsula , where he served as colonel of the 1st Lincoln Militia and deputy superintendent of Indian affairs. He died at Niagara on the Lake May 13 1796.
Joseph Brant: This Mohawk war chief and statesman was born in 1742 in Indian territory south of Lake Erie claimed by New France, grew up in the colony of New York , and fought with the British in the Seven Years War. During the American Revolutionary War he served the loyalist cause and participated in the Battle of Long Island. British officers commended his physical stamina, courage under fire and dedication to the cause, and he gained the reputation of an able and inspiring leader. After the war he persuaded the Governor of Canada to grant the Six Nations Indians a huge tract of land along the Grand River near what is now Brantford, Ontario, where he died in 1807.
…Ed Scott and Bill Smy
By DIONNE WALKER, Associated Press Writer Fri Oct 27, 2006, RICHMOND, Va. – Records the Freedmen’s Bureau used to reconnect families — from battered work contracts to bank forms — will be placed online in part of a new project linking modern-day blacks with their ancestors.
The Virginia Freedmen Project plans to digitize more than 200,000 images collected by the Richmond bureau, one of dozens of offices established throughout the South to help former slaves adjust to free life.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Thursday unveiled the project and a state marker near the site where the bureau once stood in downtown Richmond.
“This is the equivalent for African Americans of Ellis Island’s records being put up,” said Kaine, who was joined by Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, the nation’s first elected black governor and a grandson of slaves.
Researchers will eventually transfer data from all of the southern states to an online database, said Wayne Metcalfe, vice president of the Genealogical Society of Utah, a partner in the project.
Records from Virginia should be ready to go online by the middle of next year, Metcalfe said.
“It was one of the larger states and one of the most complete collections available,” he said. “It’s a gold mine, as far as a genealogist is concerned.”
About a half-million slaves were left to establish a new life following emancipation, Metcalfe said.
Established in 1865, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands — also called the Freedmen’s Bureau — helped former slaves find clothes, food and jobs.
Bureaus kept meticulous records, documenting marriages and work histories. Those records will be scanned from microfilm and compiled into an electronic index families will eventually be able to access, Metcalfe said.
Twenty-four years removed from slavery in rural Virginia, Hawkins Wilson had established himself as a respected Texas minister. But there was something missing from his life as a free man: the mother and sisters he left behind.
In a letter dated May 11, 1867, he offered bureau officials details of his family’s old home in Caroline County, and urged them to pass along a note to his sister, Jane.
“Your little brother Hawkins is trying to find out where you are and where his poor old mother is,” reads the letter, which will be included in the database. “Your advice to me to meet you in Heaven has never (lapsed) from my mind.”
Historians don’t know if he ever found his family.
[submitted by Bill Smy]
A number of events are being planned to celebrate the occasion. Join us for America’s Anniversary Weekend as we commemorate an American milestone with commemorative festivities, cultural and heritage events, interactive exhibits, original productions, and family friendly programs. It all takes place May 11-13, 2007 at Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement and Anniversary Park in Virginia.
Date specific tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children under 12. Anniversary weekend tickets and accommodations are available through Colonial Williamsburg. Each day of America’s Anniversary Weekend festival will feature special activities and performances. Evenings will conclude with concerts, symphonic works and fireworks displays honoring Jamestown’s pivotal role in American history.
Only 30,000 tickets will be released; click here for ticket plans, or click here to purchase tickets.
Farmer and heroine of the War of 1812. born Laura Ingersoll on Sept. 13, 1775, in Great Barrington, Mass.
On the night of June 22, 1813, she overheard two American army officers billeted in her house near Queenston Heights discuss a plan to attack a nearby British army post at Beaver Dams. Sometimes leading a cow as a decoy, she set off through the American lines to warn British forces 30 kilometres away. The Americans mounted the attack only to be ambushed and captured. The only recognition she received in her lifetime was 100 Pounds Sterling sent by the Prince of Wales during a Royal visit in 1860.
Army officer and colonial administrator born on Oct. 6, 1769, at St. Peter Port, Guernsey.
After joining the British army at 15, he served in Jamaica, in Holland and aboard ship at the Battle of Copenhagen. He enjoyed rapid promotion and in 1802 he was posted to Canada with 49th Foot Regiment. In 1811, he was promoted major-general and named acting lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada. With meagre forces at his disposal, he prepared the colony for impending war against U.S. In June of 1812, the U.S. declared war. On Aug. 16, he surprised the enemy by capturing Detroit with a small out-numbered army. On Oct. 13, American forces crossed the Niagara River. He sent for reinforcements , and led a bold counterattack to drive the invaders back. He was shot in the wrist and then the heart while leading a second charge. His attack allowed reinforcements time to capture the enemy.
A distinguished former member and President of Heritage Branch (Montreal) passed away on October 9, 2006 at the respectable age of 96 years, in the person of Malcolm Dalton Loucks, formerly of Westmount, Quebec, and latterly of Oakville, Ontario. Born in Montreal, the middle child in a family of five, Malcolm embarked on a career of some 49 years with Sun Life immediately after high school. He served first as a successful agent, then as Superintendent of Agencies for the eastern U.S. and later as manager of the company’s operations in Western Canada, before passing into a well-earned retirement of some 31 years. His loyal service to Sun Life was interrupted just once, by five years of World War II spent with the R.C.A.F., stationed in Linton, England, where he rose to the rank of Squadron Leader of the 426 Thunderbird Squadron, which played, among other things, a major role in the “dam busters” raids on Germany. After the War, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, and in 1945 was made an M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire, Military Division) – a distinction which he received from the hands of Canada’s then Governor General, His Excellency Lord Alexander of Tunis.
Married first to Edith Sellar, who predeceased him in 1982, Malcolm was father to two sons, Malcolm George and Ronald Campbell. He subsequently married Barbara Heward in 1984, herself then a widow, and together, their expanded family grew to five children and nine grandchildren. The two lived most happily in Westmount until their relocation to Oakville in 1995. Malcolm lived an active life, greatly enjoying skiing, boating and waterskiing (which he did not give up until turning 75!) He was an active supporter of two churches in Westmount, Quebec, as well as of St. John’s United in Oakville, Ontario, and was fiercely proud of his U.E.L. ancestry (his U.E.L. ancestor was Jacob Loucks from the then Province of New York). Malcolm presided over Heritage Branch in the late 1970’s and was duly recognized for his services by the award of the “Past Branch President’s medallion”, presented to him at the Branch’s annual Charter Night Dinner in 1999. His humour, love of the outdoors and of sweets were among his most endearing traits.
A memorial service was held on October 12, 2006 at the Ward Funeral Home in Oakville. In lieu of flowers, donations would be greatly appreciated to The YMCA Foundation of Montreal (Loucks Family Summer Camp Fund) or McMaster University, Hamilton (Loucks Family Health Sciences Scholarship Fund).
Malcolm will be greatly missed by Barbara, his large family and scores of close friends, including his fellow-members and admirers in Heritage Branch and in other circles within the U.E.L. Association.
[submitted by Robert C. Wilkins, U.E., C.M.H., President, Heritage Branch, Montreal]
Here is another Revolutionary War novel that contains a tremendous amount of history as well as an exciting and accurate story line. John Graves Simcoe and the Queen’s Rangers have a fairly large role and there is near the end of the book mention of the Nova Scotia settlement.
Christian Cameron, “Washington and Caesar – Master and slave. Two heroes fighting for freedom. But on opposite sides.”
This book has been published in hardcover and trade paperback in Britain and the US. Should be available through Chapters, etc…
Christian is a very senior reenactor and his scenes of social life, the military and battle are superb.
…Gavin Watt, Honorary VP, UELAC
In addition to David McCullough’s “1776”, here are some more good books:
– Harvey, Robert. “A Few Bloody Noses”: The Realities and Mythologies of the American Revolution. Woodstock & New York: The Overlook Press, 2001. ISBN 1-58567-414-1
– Hibbert, Christopher. Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes. New York London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1990. ISBN 0-393-32293-9
– Mackesy, Piers. The War for America, 1775-1783. Lincoln & London: University of Nebraska Press, 1964 & 1992. ISBN 0-8032-8192-7
– Pearson, Michael. Those Damned Rebels: The American Revolution as seen through British Eyes. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, Perseus Books Group, 1972. ISBN 0-306-80983-4
– Phillips, Kevin. The Cousins’ Wars: Religion, Politics, Civil Warfare, and the Triumph of Anglo–America. New York: Basic Books, Perseus Books Group, 1999. ISBN 0-465-01370-8
…John Fisher, UE