“Loyalist Trails” 2007-02: January 14, 2007

In this issue:
The Mystery of the Ruiter Ledgers 1799-1811: Were Thomas, Morris and Joel Black Slaves?
Action: Help Save Captain Richard Duncan’s “Hermitage” from Development
“Polly” by Murray Killman UE Available in Hardcopy
Signed Commemorative Edition of “Loyal She Remains” For Sale
Interest: Books on American Silver & Silversmiths
Interest: Allen, Robert S. (editor). The Loyal Americans
Loyalists Joining Regular British Battalions
Vermont Played Two Ends At Once
Volunteer to transcribe One Sheet for Military
Paul Bunnell’s “Loyalist Quarterly” Available
Military Information on the Web Site
      + Loyalist migrations into Canada
      + Loyalists with Italian Roots
      + John Grant “Ian Mohn Na Catheran” “Big John the Robber”
      + Maritime or Maritimes or ? Loyalists
      + Major-General Isaac Brock’s message about Fort Mackinac in 1812
      + Information about Capt. Andrew Thompson, Butler’s Rangers
      + Did any Black Loyalists Serve Under Sir John Johnson?


The Mystery of the Ruiter Ledgers 1799-1811: Were Thomas, Morris and Joel Black Slaves?

During Black History Month in February 2007, the never-before-seen Philip Ruiter Ledgers (1799-1811) will be exhibited for the first time at the Missisquoi Museum in Stanbridge East QC. Kept in an attic for over a century, the ledgers shed new light on the debate about the presence of Black people living in the shadow of “Nigger Rock” in the St. Armand region of Missisquoi County.

Visitors will discover shopping trends of the community at Missisquoi Bay, identify early families and have the opportunity to study the ledgers to determine if they provide an answer to the ongoing debate about the lives of the Black community that lived in the region at the turn of the 19th Century.

Thanks to a loan from Robert Galbraith and Phyllis Montgomery, the Philip Ruiter Ledgers will have their first public viewing in Black History Month to honour the individuals whose names have not been recognized in conventional local history. The ledgers will be on display each Thursday to Sunday afternoon throughout the month of February 1 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. The opening and vernissage for the exhibit will be held on Thursday February 1, 2007 from 7-9 p.m. at the Missisquoi Museum. All are welcome. Several lectures will be presented to accompany this exhibit throughout the month of February.

Please watch for details on our website at www.missisquoimuseum.ca or call the Missisquoi Museum for more information at 450-248-3153.

From: Missisquoi Museum, 2 River Street, Stanbridge East QC

Re: Black History Month Exhibit

Date: Thursday to Sunday, February 1st to February 25, 2007, 1 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Contact: Pamela Realffe, Executive Secretary, 450-248-3153

[submitted by Bev Loomis UE, President Little Forks Branch]

Action: Help Save Captain Richard Duncan’s “Hermitage” from Development

It has been brought to the attention of Duncan’s Company, of the re-created King’s Royal Regiment of New York that a piece of property (12.5 acres) that once belonged to our lustrous captain is in danger of being destroyed. This piece of land is all that is left of a once large country estate originally owned by the Duncan family. It was called the Hermitage, located in the Mohawk Valley, about five km east of Schenectady, 20 km northwest of Albany. Presently it is a refuge for low income men and women and is run as a charity.

Richard Duncan was an ensign in the British Army and served with the 55th Regiment of Foot during the Seven years War. He re-joined the British Army in 1777 after he was declared a dangerous person by the committee of safety. He was with Major General John Burgoyne at Saratoga but was given permission along with a number of other soldiers to retire to Fort Ticonderoga before the surrender was completed. At Fort Ticonderoga he joined Sir John Johnson’s regiment with the rank of Captain. The Duncan’s were strong Tories and always supported the cause of the King. Richard’s father, John, was an very wealthy business man and was too old to fight but stayed behind to run his business affairs and to aid the Tory cause locally.

The Duncan’s owned an extensive estate comprised of 800 acres in Niskayuna out side of the Schenectady district. Here John Duncan amassed a cache of some 300 stands of arms for the King’s cause and regularly had visitors who were deemed to be enemies of Liberty.

After the peace Captain Richard Duncan settled with his men in the Lunenburgh District of Upper Canada and was instrumental in establishing the first village (Mariatown) in what was to become Dundas County. Captain Duncan served as the first judge in the district as well as in the Legislative Assembly at Québec and in the first Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada. Following the death of his father Richard returned to the Hermitage to take up his inheritance. He died at the Hermitage in 1819. Following his death the estate’s title was taken up by the Stanford family.

Although the Duncan’s home is no longer standing, 12.5 acres of the Duncan’s Hermitage has been preserved, along with the Stanford Family residence which was built in the late 1820’s or early 1830 after the Hermitage burned to the ground.

In recent months application has been made to have the land rezoned and to erect a shopping mall on the property. A local organization called the Friends of Stanford Home are attempting to stop the commercial development of this park-like oasis in the middle of this already heavily developed area.

The Friends of the Stanford need help to preserve this heritage site and have written a electronic petition to try to persuade the supervisor of Niskayuna to preserve this important historical place and building. You don’t have to be a resident of Niskayuna, New York to sign the petition.

You can access the iPetition by clicking here.

…Loyally, Shaun Wallace {uppercanada AT hotmail DOT com}

“Polly” by Murray Killman UE Available in Hardcopy

This book was announced in “Loyalist Trails” 2006-48 December 17, 2006. It is now available in softcover hardcopy.

Persona-non-grata: a Latin term that could describe the status of thousands of New York born American citizens in 1775. The Biography of Mary “Polly” Johnson (grand daughter of one of the most powerful men in America) covers the incredible adventure of one such person.

This is a true story that tells it like it was during the birth of the United States of America. The metamorphosis from thirteen violently revolting colonies to a refined, cultured, carefully structured benevolent Nation did not happen over night. Like a new born child, America came kicking and screaming into existence; weak, in need of nourishment and lacking in direction. The fledgling Nation was so weak that it could not even occupy Fort Niagara until twelve years after the Revolution had ended. France and the new United States were bankrupt along with England, and revolt was everywhere.

This is a story that needs to be told and who better to do that than “Polly,” a sophisticated eleven-year-old child who lost her birthright through no fault of her own.

From the era of Jane Austen, a carefully researched 215 p biography of an 18th, century woman, including the private letters of her sister, Julia Johnson.

This carefully-researched book, titled Polly, is available free of charge on the UELAC website; acquaint yourself with an example of real human tragedy in the American Revolution.

Women in the 18th century were apolitical and Polly’s story is not an attempt to distort the truth with historical revisionism. It is however an example of just how far the women’s movement has gone in America, by illustrating how little power women of Polly’s time enjoyed.

The author, Murray Killman, UE, is a seventh generation non-partisan Canadian with native Indian, Patriot American and United Empire Loyalist roots.

…Murray Killman, UE, author, artist and historian

[The price of the book is $18. The dimensions are 8.5 x 11 x 0.5 inches. The weight exceeds 500 grams, so to Canada Post it is a package. Shipping and handling will be between $8 and 12.00 in Canada, depending on distance. If you want to order a copy, send your name and address and I will return the shipping and handling cost. — Doug Grant]

Signed Commemorative Edition of “Loyal She Remains” For Sale

I have a copy of “Loyal She Remains”, the commemorative edition from 1984, in mint condition and signed by Roland Michener and William Davis. It is number 149 of 500 copies printed, originally retailing for $ 500. Please contact me if you are interested.

…James J. Butler, Stratford ON, 519-305-2000 {liveplanet AT gmail DOT com}

Interest: Books on American Silver & Silversmiths

123. Langdon, John E. American Silversmiths in British North America, 1776-1800. Toronto; printed at the Stinehour Press:1970. Edition limited to 350 copies. An important piece of research work which documents 39 silversmiths who were forced to flee the Colonies during and after the American Revolution because they were Loyalists. These craftsmen settled in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario and built new lives for themselves. Langdon begins by discussing not only silversmiths but also other craftsmen who were forced to flee the American colonies and resettle in Canada, and then offers full biographies of the 39 silversmiths. The superb text carefully documents these individuals, using both printed and manuscript records; the text is fully footnoted. Hardcover. 6.5″x10″, 82 pages; a finely printed book with marbled endpapers -an elegant volume. A fine copy in the original glassine dust wrap and slipcase; glassine split, case slightly soiled. [06863] $450.00.

Click here for books for sale. Click here for the home page.

Interest: Allen, Robert S. (editor). The Loyal Americans

[103061] Allen, Robert S. (editor). The Loyal Americans: The Military Role of the Loyalist Provincial Corps and Their Settlement in British North America, 1775-1784

Ottawa ON: National Museum of Man, 1983. Soft Cover. Fine ISBN: 0660107538. Catalogue of a travelling exhibition of the Canadian War Museum in collaboration with the New Brunswick Museum. $15.00. Click here for more.

Loyalists Joining Regular British Battalions

From “A State of the Expedition, J. Bourgoyne, Evidence p.25” as quoted in the Proceedings of the Vermount Historical Society June 1938:

” On September 21st (1777) one hundred and twenty brave men of courage and fidelity were drafted from the four Loyalist Corps as replacements into the regular British battalions, which had become sadly depleted from the heavy fighting at the first battle of Saratoga.”

This serves to confirm that colonists had indeed served in British regiments.

…Winston Dobson UE

Yes, I’m very aware of this special instance when loyalist Provincials were drafted to serve in Burgoyne’s depleted battalions; however, I’ve never found a list of those men, or any record of how many were lost in combat or illness during the balance of the campaign, or how many stayed with the Regulars and went with the ‘Conventional’ Army.

I have not found a single mention of these men in the records of the Provincial battalions from which they were drafted. Nor, a single record of any veteran from that particular instance in a petition for redress to the government. It’s as if they disappeared into an information vacuum.

If anyone out there in the broader ‘loyalist land’ has any light to shed on this particular topic, please do so.

In any event, in my previous Loyalist Trails query on this subject, the loyal Americans I was attempting to track were those who enlisted in British regiments voluntarily. Recruits who made the decision entirely on their own, without duress, other than the usual recruiting shenanigans.

…Gavin Watt, Honorary VP, UELAC

Vermont Played Two Ends At Once

On Monday, January 15, 2007, Vermont will celebrate an event of becoming an independent republic in 1777. During the American Revolution, relations continued to be on edge between New York and Vermont. If Vermonters could maintain a balancing act between the British in Canada and the American Congress, America might eventually realize Vermont’s value to the cause.


While the battle raged in the Champlain-Hudson corridor during the Revolution, Congress continued to also deny Vermont entrance as a state of the Union. In July of 1777, a convention met in Windsor, Vermont, to frame a constitution for an independent state of Vermont. Ethan Allen thought it ridiculous that Vermonters should be “obliged to defend the independence of the United claiming States, and they, at the same time, at full liberty to overturn and ruin the independence of Vermont”. Delegates therefore declared Vermont an independent state and continued to do so until 1791, when it became admitted as the 14th state in the Union.

In the first couple of years as an independent state, Ethan Allen believed that Vermont’s preservation hinged on the sowing of confusion. The longer the war lasted, the better for Vermont, as long as the British did not decide to invade again.

Beginning in 1779 Vermont leaders entered into negotiations with General Frederick Haldimand, commandant at Quebec, for the exchange of prisoners. By the spring of 1781 Ethan Allen’s brother, Ira, had persuaded the British of the wisdom of not fighting on Vermont’s territory, agreeing to a truce and the prisoner exchange. Ira reasoned any reasonable person would see a truce as a positive step with the British as aggressors on Vermont’s northern borders and in the Lake Champlain country. The truce lasted for the duration of the war. It effectively immobilized British forces in the area and helped to preserve Vermont’s independence.

By the fall of 1781, the British became suspicious that Allen used them for his own purposes. Haldimand thought Vermont a formidable enemy and that they sought only to make Congress jealous so that they could enter the Union. He felt that nothing is to be expected from Vermont but cursed hypocrisy and deceit. Nonetheless, he decided to try again, presenting Ira Allen with a plan. In October, 1781, British troops moved up Lake Champlain and issued a proclamation offering Vermont the status of an autonomous colony within the empire. Haldimand intended moving south anyway, so Allen lost nothing by agreeing to the proposal.

Lt. Colonel Barry St. Leger with 1000 men moved up the lake and occupied Crown Point. To lull the suspicions of the Vermont people, Allen stationed a force, under the command of Brigadier General Roger Enos, across the lake. The two commanders knew that they would not come to blows, but with their subalterns not being in the secret, a skirmish took place.

In attempting to capture a Vermont soldier to act as messenger for Haldimand’s proclamation, British Captain Justus Sherwood accidentally killed one Vermont Sergeant Tupper. Sherwood took the rest of the company prisoner. Lt. Colonel St. Leger, with a letter of apology sent to Governor Thomas Chittenden, returned to General Enos the prisoners taken. He furthermore sent the clothing of the slain with the message that the deceased would be given decent burial, and any of his friends who wished to be present at the same time would be permitted to cross the English lines. Vermonters became baffled and demanded to know what was going on.

An enemy of the Allens intercepted the letter to Chittenden and took it straight to the Assembly. Ira Allen and Chittenden spent several days explaining why a British commander apologized for killing an American soldier. Then news arrived that though not yet attacked, St. Leger had retreated. A few days later word arrived that Cornwallis had surrendered at Yorktown, and St. Leger returned to St. Johns. In an uproar, the Assembly demanded to know what was going on. Though they could not discover any evidence of a conspiracy, they suspected such.

As a fitting end to this bizarre little invasion, Governor Clinton of New York finally decided to move against rebellious Vermont. With the victory at Yorktown, the time had come to settle old scores. Showing both contempt for and ignorance of the forces he faced, Clinton only sent two hundred militiamen, under the command of General Peter Gansevoort, east toward Bennington, Vermont. Chittenden sent an equal number, and on December 20, 1781, the two miniature armies met at the Walloomsac. After exchanging insults and threats, the two sides settled in, each claiming to be laying siege to the other.

Ethan Allen now arrived in the Vermont lines with additional reinforcements. With Allen’s arrival the New York militiamen broke up, stating that they would not fight their neighbors. Allen won the field without firing a shot. Vermont drove the New Yorkers into retreat, and sent Clinton into a rage. By the end of 1781 Allen had succeeded in repelling a British invasion by spinning out treaties and words and a New York army with a grand show. Allen managed to accomplish a brilliant, if occasionally embarrassing, sequence of victories.

[submitted by Bill Glidden, Historian, Valcour Battle Chapter, SAR]

Volunteer to transcribe One Sheet for Military

I have received from Rod Craig a one page listing titled “Military History of the United States – The Principal Battles of the Revolution”. This list has the date, name and place of the battles, the commanders both American and British, the number of Americans engaged with losses and the number of British engaged and losses.

If someone would volunteer to transcribe this document, I will then add it to the Military Information part of our site.

Doug Grant

Paul Bunnell’s “Loyalist Quarterly” Available

The January 2007 issue of “Loyalist Quarterly” has been published. It includes in the contents these topics:

– Life Before The Loyalists;

– A Massachusetts Loyalist;

– Website of Loyalist, Joel Stone;

– Cape Ann Association Loyalists;

– Sir William Pepperell & Isaac Royall, Reluctant Loyalist;

– African Canadian Loyalist Promoted;

– New Brunswick Loyalists Military & Timeline Record;

– Legislative Enactments For The Punishment Of The Loyalists;

Click here for information and ordering instructions

…Paul Bunnell {BunnellLoyalist AT aol DOT com}

Military Information on the Web Site

Thanks to several of you who have forwarded information for our military section – we will add this new information as time permits (things have been a tad hectic lately.)

Rod Craig transcribed a page from an old Gazette which listed many Loyal or British American (Provincial) Regiments and these have been listed. Our advisors Gavin Watt and Bill Smy will tell me when something is incorrect – thank you both. Others will be recognized as their contributions are posted. We welcome more names of units, as well as long or short descriptions of any one of them, and/or links to web sites which represent them.


Loyalist migrations into Canada

I’m a 2nd year student at the University of Western Ontario and currently doing a project on Loyalists in one of my classes. Your website has been very helpful. However I am looking for a basic timeline of the Loyalists’ movements from the United States into Canada from the very beginning. Would you have access to such a timeline or perhaps direct me to a website which would be the most accurate? Any help would be most appreciated.


[editor’s comment: if you can point Waheeda at some information on a web site – a map showing the migration patterns, dates, number of Loyalists, etc., or dates of events such as the various landings of the Loyalists in NS and what became then NB, please also copy me. This would be a good subject for our web site as well…Doug Grant]

Loyalists with Italian Roots

I recently came across an interesting passage in a book mentioning that some Loyalists were Italian (or of Italian heritage). Is there any way to verify this? If so where can I get documentation? I am a freelance writer and if this is in fact accurate it may be a perfect story for a local magazine!

…Alessandro Nicolo, Montreal, {alessandro DOT nicolo AT videotron DOT ca}

John Grant “Ian Mohn Na Catheran” “Big John the Robber”

I have received information about a John Grant “Ian Mohn Na Catheran” “Big John the Robber” who carries the designation United Empire Loyalist. He was born between 1731 -1737 in Dundreaggan, Glenmoriston, Inverness, Scotland. By his first wife, Catherine Grant of Corriemony he had the following children:Angus, Jane, Patrick (Peter), Janet, Hannah, Alexander (Col), Betsey, and Catherine. His second wife (not sure if they were married) produced a son Alexander. His third wife was Mary MacIntyre (supposedly a servant girl from Dundraeggan(by whom he had the following children: Duncan, Margaret, Isobel, Ellen (Helen), Isobel, John, Lewis and Alpin. The family came to Glengarry County. He died in 1802 and is buried in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church cemetery in Williamstown, Ontario.

My connection with the family comes through John Grant the son of John Grant and Mary MacIntyre

Additional information states John Grant arrived in Montreal in August 1786 after spending time in Philadelphia. The following year they made their way to Upper Canada, via New York and Albany. Because he and his orphaned children arrived in Canada via the United States, they were labeled “Immigrant Loyalists” and were eligible for land grants. He became a Justice of the Peace.

Other information says that he succeeded his father in wadset of Duldreaggan in 1779. After the Battle of Culloden he spent 14 years in Barbados, returning to Scotland in 1773. Also, states that he created quite a scandal by marrying Mary MacIntrye.

Can anyone tell if this information is true? Is John Grant “Ian Mohn Na Catheran” a United Empire Loyalist? And is the information I have about him correct?

…Joyce Nagy {s DOT kent AT shaw DOT ca}

Maritime or Maritimes or ? Loyalists

The Spring 2007 issue of The Loyalist Gazette will be featuring a number of excellent academic articles about the Loyalists who settled in the Maritime provinces following the American Revolution. Thus we are interested in learning the correct phrase to use when describing these Loyalists. “Maritimes Loyalists” has been used in the past to describe those Loyalists who settled in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, the latter group being so large that the province of New Brunswick was later formed.

A reminder that all submissions for the Spring 2007 issue should be sent to the editor by January 15th. Please send them to my new e-mail address: {gazette DOT editor AT nexicom DOT net}.

…Bob McBride UE, editor, the Loyalist Gazette. {gazette DOT editor AT nexicom DOT net}

Major-General Isaac Brock’s message about Fort Mackinac in 1812

At the outset of hostilities between the United States and Canada in the summer of 1812, the British Major-General Isaac Brock sent messengers from Fort Joseph near present day Niagara to organize a surprise attack against the United States Fort Mackinac on Mackinaw Island. His men went by canoe across Lake Ontario, up the Humber River, portage to Georgian Bay and then on through Lake Huron. Fort Mackinac and its ranking officer Lieutenant Porter Hanks were not even aware that war had been declared because the information had been sent by regular post from Washington. Lieutenant Hanks surrendered the fort without a fight.

I am looking for primary source documentation of any aspects the above story, but with an emphasis on anything related to the canoe journey. Articles in news papers, private journals or any type of government or military record would be acceptable. Lacking these kind of documents I would even settle for a source coming from a recognized historian of the War of 1812.

…Alvin Glassford {alving AT andrews DOT edu}

Information about Capt. Andrew Thompson, Butler’s Rangers

We Loyalists, though on an isolated ranch beyond the frontier [in Winnipeg], celebrate Dec. 25 to honour our ancestor, Capt. Andrew Thompson of Butler’s Rangers. Thompson became a captain on that date in 1779. Thompson was killed in 1781 in service at Detroit. That’s all I know about him.

I am a journalist, TV documentary producer and writer of history books. I am considering a book about Capt. Andrew Thompson and another relative of ours, Charles Thompson, U.S. president and clerk of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia from 1776 until Washington was elected president after the Revolution.

I would appreciate any direction which your knowledgeable and learned readers might provide.

…Charles Duncan Thompson {cthompson139 AT shaw DOT ca}

Did any Black Loyalists Serve Under Sir John Johnson?

Let us use this momentum to make sure that the Johnson Family Crypt is finally restored above ground, and marked by a cairn of some sort. Also, would you know if there were any Black Loyalists serving under Sir John, or Blacks and their names, as there were with Butler’s Rangers?

…Robert J. Galbraith {perch AT videotron DOT ca}