“Loyalist Trails” 2007-06: February 11, 2007

In this issue:
A New York Loyalist Remembers: Part One
Promotions Committee: UEL Tie and UEL Lady’s Scarf
Culinary Historians of Ontario
Black History Month: Identifying More Loyalist Era Blacks
Hail the Unknown Heroes, by Lawrence Hill, Author of Book of Negroes
Last Post: Christopher Cleave Wright 1911-2007 [honorary Loyalist]
Last Post: John E. Ruch, UE
Died This Day 9 Feb. 1857, David Thompson (Globe & Mail)
      + Plans for a Loyalist Era Long Boat
      + Trees in Canada Planted by HM Queen Elizabeth II
      + Loyalist Descendants Wanted


A New York Loyalist Remembers: Part One

While in exile in Great Britain between 1783 and 1788, Thomas Jones, a former judge of the Supreme Court of the Province of New York, wrote his memoirs of the War of Independence. However, what this loyalist had to say about the “late unnatural, unprovoked, American rebellion” was kept hidden by his family for several generations.

The manuscript for A History of New York During the Revolutionary War was finally published in 1879 by the New York Historical Society. Finding this volume in an antique bookstore today would be a noteworthy accomplishment — the discovery of a lost treasure trove of information and insight. Here are just a few crumbs from what is, without doubt, a sumptuous banquet of loyalist history.

Despite the large number of loyalist colonists in New York, they were continually attacked by patriots with great ferocity. One of Judge Jones’ chapters includes a patriot’s letter that relates the story of a loyalist who went to visit his parents. The unfortunate man was immediately arrested by rebels. They shaved his head and eyebrows, tarred and feathered him, and them decked him out with a hog yoke and a cowbell around his neck and a high cap of feathers on his head. A sheet of paper was glued to the front of the cap. It showed caricatures of Benedict Arnold and devil’s imps. Little wonder, then, that the letter reports that refugees were fleeing from the colony.

Another rebel’s letter is quoted to give a description of “the smoking of Tories”. This form of political persecution involved confining a loyalist in a small room before a large fire that was burning green wood. The resulting thick, sooty smoke was made worse by having the chimney of the fireplace covered. The poor loyalist died (or was allowed to nearly die) of smoke inhalation.

In another part of the book, a patriot boasted that “we had some grand Tory rides in this City this week”. He goes on to describe how loyalists were handled “very roughly”, being carried through the streets on rails. Their clothes were torn from their backs and their bodies were “well mingled with the dust”.

There is also the story of a man who killed a loyalist named John Richards. The murderer was recommended to Congress, and it awarded the murderer a captain’s commission.

A long time resident of New Jersey, Richards had fled to New York after the Declaration of Independence. He left his family behind him until the day that he heard they had contracted small pox. On his way back to New Jersey, he stopped at a pub. A man who recognized him, railed against Richards and demanded his watch. When Richards refused, the rebel pulled out his pistol and shot the loyalist in the head. His murderer then took Richards’ watch, money, personal effects, and his clothes. Rather than censuring the man or having him tried for murder, Governor Livingston recommended that Congress reward the rebel.

It is not difficult to understand why such behaviour should disturb Judge Jones, a man who had dedicated his life to overseeing the administration of justice in the colony of New York. Although A History of New York During the Revolutionary War recounts many stories of atrocities committed by the patriots, Jones’ book is a very objective, retelling of the course of Revolution. It also cites where the British failed their subjects on the battlefield, at the negotiating table and in providing compensation to loyalist refugees.

Beyond what Judge Thomas Jones recorded for posterity, the story of his life and how his book finally came to be published is fascinating in its own right. But that account (and how you can read his history for yourself) will have to wait until the next edition of Loyalist Trails.

…Stephen Davidson

Promotions Committee: UEL Tie and UEL Lady’s Scarf

The UEL Tie and the Lady’s Scarf are still available in limited numbers. There are only 21 ties and 8 scarves left. Both are navy with gold UEL lettering. The cost of the tie is $30.00 plus Shipping and Handling. The cost of the Scarf is $25.00 plus Shipping and Handling. Please note that once these are sold they will not be reordered. For ordering, contact me.

To see what is available for sale, please see the online catalogue of items. Please note that for other clothing, we do not carry all sizes and colours. When we order an item, it may take 4 to 6 weeks for it to come in – so please give us plenty of time to fill your order.

…Noreen Stapley {gdandy AT iaw DOT on DOT ca}

Culinary Historians of Ontario

Further to queries and comments about early foods & recipes, there is a site which may be helpful to researchers. In these pages members of the Culinary Historians of Ontario…

– share back copies of their newsletter and details of upcoming meetings and events;

– respond to culinary queries;

– publish historic recipes;

– direct you to working historic kitchens in Ontario museums; and

– provide a wealth of other information for food-history buffs, including a bibliography of Canadian culinary history sources and links to key international food-history web sites.

Click here for the web site.

[submitted by Audrey Fox]

Black History Month: Identifying More Loyalist Era Blacks

During Black History month, we might contribute not only data on blacks who served in loyalist units, but slaves brought here or bought here by Loyalists.

Here is one. Lt. Paul Heck U.E. and his wife Barbara settled in Augusta twp in 1785. Nine years later, on 22 Feb. 1794, Paul wrote his will in which he bequeathed his young female slave to his wife. He wrote:

“I give and bequeath to Barbaray, My Dearly Beloved wife this house . . . I also give unto her Bett my Servant Maid to have and to hold till she arrives to the age of Twenty Five Years and then she shall have her Freedom given her.”

Of course the reference to her freedom at age 25 was in response to Simcoe’s legislation of 1793, “An Act to prevent the further introduction of Slaves, and to limit the term of contracts for servitude within this Province.”

Obviously Bett was not the black servant touted as the first black to attend a Methodist class meeting when it was formed in New York City by Philip Embury in 1766 and included the Hecks. We do not know whether she was purchased in New York or Montreal, or was inherited as the child of a previous servant.

Can others be added?

…Bill Lamb

Hail the Unknown Heroes, by Lawrence Hill, Author of Book of Negroes

In 1792, a group of brave black Loyalists inspired abolitionists everywhere when they left Nova Scotia for an uncertain future in Africa. Their little-known tale deserves to be celebrated today, writes Lawrence Hill. Two hundred years ago, on March 25, 1807, King George III signed a Parliamentary law abolishing the British slave trade. Though slavery itself would not be abolished for another 27 years, it was a key moment in the struggle for freedom, and its anniversary is being loudly celebrated in England and Jamaica this year. In Canada, however, the reaction so far has been muted. That is a pity, because blacks here played a pivotal role in the move toward abolition when, in 1792, 1,200 of them boarded a ship in Halifax to resettle in Sierra Leone – showing the world what lengths people will go to in order to be free.

[submitted by Fred Hayward: Article by Larence Hill in Jan 28 2007 issue of Toronto Star, click here for the online version]

Last Post: Christopher Cleave Wright 1911-2007 [honorary Loyalist]

Christopher was born in Kamloops on Dec 7, 1911 and passed away peacefully on February 6, 2007. He was predeceased by his wife Evelyn [Bradley] UE. His four children and seven grandchildren survive Chris.

He was involved in education as a teacher (Darlington, Chase, Kamloops), principal (Armstrong) and superintendent (Smithers, Burns Lake, Vanderhoof, Creston, Kaslo, Salmon Arm and Enderby), retiring in 1974.

While residing in Salmon Arm, he and his wife became members of the Thompson-Okanagan United Empire Loyalists. He was the first genealogist, while his wife, Evelyn [a charter member] was the librarian. Between them they helped many of our members realize their dream to get the proofs for their UEL certificates!

He will be greatly missed by our members for his good advice about where to go looking for the next clue!

After Evelyn’s death he moved to Kelowna, where he continued to be involved in history and genealogy by giving talks to the residents of Hawthorne Park Retirement Home.

…M. Marie [Loyst] Ablett UE Genealogist/librarian

Last Post: John E. Ruch, UE

June 1, 1929 – February 4, 2007 John’s unique journey through life came to a pain-free end. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Sherry (nee Elizabeth Sheridan), his daughter Carol Fox, Kamloops, B.C. John graduated from University of Toronto and obtained a Post Graduate diploma in Art History at the Courtauld Institute, London University, England. John played an active role in the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada where he was named Honorary Vice President. He was chairman of 2 Bicentennial Projects, one for the Montreal Branch and one for the Ottawa Branch. He was also active in the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada where he was Master of the Roll for many years, was an Honorary Fellow 1989 and Fellow 1998. He was Editor of Newsletters for the Ottawa Branches of these 2 organizations. He was recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, 2002. He contributed many scholarly researched articles to numerous international genealogical, heraldic and art historical journals.

The United Empire Loyalists’ Association lost one of its most dedicated supporters with the passing of Honourary Vice President John Ruch on February 4, 2007. John was descended from Palatine Loyalist Peter Hendershot who settled in Pelham Township in Ontario.

John worked initially worked at the CBC and then on his own. He played an active role in the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada. He was chairman of two 2 Bicentennial Projects, the Book “Loyalists of Quebec” for Heritage Branch and the “King’s Names Project” and the “Carleton Book of Negroes” for Sir Guy Carleton Branch. John Ruch was also a Past President and a Past Editor of the Ottawa Loyalist for Sir Guy Carleton Branch. He was nominated by Sir Guy Carleton Branch for the Order of Meritorious Heritage and awarded this medal by Heritage Branch. John was also made an Honourary Vice President of the United Empire Loyalists’ of Canada in recognition of all his efforts on behalf of the Loyalists.

John was very also active in the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada where he was Master of the Roll for many years, an Honorary Fellow 1989 and Fellow 1998. He was Editor of Newsletters for the Ottawa Branch His arms may be reviewed on the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada website. He was recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, 2002. He contributed many scholarly researched articles to numerous international genealogical, heraldic and art historical journals.

To sum up John was an unassuming man who “got things done” and who will be sadly missed by his friends. In honor of his memory Sir Guy Carleton Branch is donating the proceeds of the King’s Names Project equally to the Loyalist Collection at Brock University, the Loyalist Scholarship and a bursary in his name at Carleton University. Our deepest sympathy is extended to his spouse, Sherry, his partner for fifty-one years.

…George Anderson, with contributions by many others in the branch.

John was a quiet man with a brilliant gift for research. He was always happy to help others with a genealogical puzzle. He was the author of an amazing number of articles and was involved to a very large extent in the production and collation of the data contained in the CD the Carleton Loyalist Index and the Book of Negroes.

John bore his disability with quiet dignity and his sense of humour was always bubbling beneath the surface as seen in his subtle jokes and the twinkle in his eyes. It was an honour to be acquainted with him, and our organization and our community are the poorer for his passing.

…Marh Hall UE

Died This Day 9 Feb. 1857, David Thompson (Globe & Mail)

Fur trader, explorer, surveyor and mapmaker born in London on April 30, 1770

In 1784, he was apprenticed to the Hudson’s Bay Co. at 14 and sent to Canada to learn the fur trade. He became a successful woodsman and trader but longed to go exploring. While recovering from a broken leg, he learned surveying and the arts of navigation. In 1797, he joined the North West Co. to perform mapping. Three years later, he set out to explore the West and map the then-uncharted Columbia River. On July 15, 1811, he reached the Pacific Ocean near the present site of Astoria, Ore. In 1812, he settled at Williamstown, Upper Canada, as a freelance surveyor and subsequently charted the international boundary from the St. Lawrence River to Lake of the Woods. He later published a now celebrated account of his explorations. He died in poverty at what is now Longueuil, Que.


Plans for a Loyalist Era Long Boat

I have a query from the civilian side of things – can you please ask if anyone out there has plans they would be willing to share with us for a long boat that might have been used on the ships that carried UELs to Nova Scotia in 1783 and beyond. We have tried our NS museum community to no avail, and we would like to be able to build period-correct long boat replicas for our 2008 celebrations. Can you assist us?

To date, information on longboats is sketchy at best, but one of our local re-enactors believes that longboats were directly proportionate, length-wise, to the ships that carried them. And, of course they tended to be rather narrow due to the limited space that a ship had to store them.

We have in our possession a drawing by John Gardner of a modified-for-racing “gig” that is supposed to resemble a longboat, according to at least one source. Because this is a racing gig, it would not serve our purpose at all (planks are only 1/4 – 5/16 inches for example and the information is incomplete for us. However, there are four rowing stations and the boat is 27′ 3″. The beam is only 47″ so that would seem consistent with our belief that longboats are indeed long and narrow.

In discussions that I have had with local wooden boat builders, a 20-foot length longboat would be a good size, but we do want it to be historically correct. It would be particularly great if we knew that whatever info we can get could relate somehow to the ships involved in bringing Loyalists to this area. That information is not currently known by anyone in this area, as far as we can tell.

Jim here, Suzanne’s other half and hopefully one of the builders of our longboat(s).

Suzanne Mahaney, Secretary, Loyalist Landing 2008 Society {loyalistlanding2008 AT ns DOT sympatico DOT ca} and Jim Mahaney hopefully one of the builders of our longboat(s)

Trees in Canada Planted by HM Queen Elizabeth II

I am a British journalist working on a book and TV programme about trees planted by HM Queen Elizabeth II. Obviously they are all over the world , and since HM has made 23 visits to Canada since 1959, I imagine there are number in your country. For example I know that one was planted in Coronation Park, Edmonton in July 1959. Do you know of any others please?

I know there are several trees at Rideau Hall, alsoi Q Eliz Park Vancouver from Fall 1951 and also Ravenwood House, Charlottetown, from 1951.

I suspect that there are dozens. But the records at Buckingham Palace, to which i have had access, rarely record the plantings.

…Wesley Kerr {walbert AT ntlworld DOT com}

Loyalist Descendants Wanted

I work for a documentary film company based in Toronto. We specialize in history/genealogy documentaries and are developing a series of films on historic American conflicts and the descendants of people involved.

We have just completed a series here in Toronto for History Television Canada, which explores the history of certain conflicts within Canada, through the personal stories of the characters involved and their descendants. We followed the descendants embarking upon ‘quests’ to find out more about their ancestors and the historic event, which brought them into contact with other descendants of people similarly involved in that moment in time.

The loose premise was that the meeting of descendants of two people who fought together/against each other might be able to answer certain questions about the events as a whole. The films were about oral histories, family stories and bringing the history to life, grounding it in the present day.

Some of the conflicts we are hoping to pull interesting stories from and trace descendants for include the Revolutionary war and the Civil War.

We are looking for poignant, personal stories perhaps with an element of mystery which could be presented as some sort of ‘quest’. Anyone with any interest into a mysterious aspect of/question about their ancestor’s involvement in the Revolutionary War please do get in touch!

…Rebecca Snow, Yap Films, Toronto, 416-504-3662 x228 {rsnow AT yapfilms DOT com}