“Loyalist Trails” 2007-10: March 11, 2007

In this issue:
“At The End Of The Trail” Conference 2007 in Windsor – Sunday Program
Bus to Conference from Toronto (and return)
Remembering Americans, and the Choice that was Made
Skeletons in the Loyalist Closet, by Stephen Davidson
War of 1812 Resurfaces; Well Actually it is Still Underwater
Six Degrees of Separation: Nederland to New Amsterdam to Nederland Again
Last Post: Allan J. Cohoe UE


“At The End Of The Trail” Conference 2007 in Windsor – Sunday Program

Join us Sunday morning for an amazing experience in Olde Sandwich Towne. Dressed in period dress we will parade through the town to St. John’s Anglican Church, the oldest Anglican Parish west of Niagara. Revel in the charm and character of this amazing historical area as you walk the streets that General Brock and Tecumseh walked. Following Church Services join us for an old fashioned luncheon in the Church Hall. For those staying longer, please join us in Amherstburg for a re-enactment of the 1796 Loyalist Landing. It is sure to be a memorable day.

…Kimberly Hurst UE, 2007 Conference Chair, May 31st-June 3rd 2007, Bicentennial Branch

Bus to Conference from Toronto (and return)

The bus is almost half full now. This will be a convenient, fun and perhaps even educational means of getting from Toronto to Windsor, at a cost just marginally more than the train. Given the group registered so far, the fun and education are pretty much guaranteed. Departure Thursday May 31 after about 9:00 and arrival in Windsor in time for registration, dinner and the opening reception. Return following the luncheon on Sunday. For information contact Doug Grant.

Remembering Americans, and the Choice that was Made

Many thanks to Chuck Ross, UE, for remembering the Americans held on the prison ships at Wallabout Bay (Brooklyn). Only last year, by accident, I discovered their memorial at the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, while visiting a friend who lived in the area. A Saturday afternoon social visit to my wife’s friend turned into an extremely moving experience.

In New Jersey, it is difficult to discuss human rights violations against Loyalists; for that matter, it is hard to even intelligently discuss Loyalists. Many discussions in patriotic circles end with, “he was a Loyalist, and he fled to Canada.” It is intriguing that, at the present time, the United States is a more conservative place than is Canada — yet Americans find it hard to understand why people would remain loyal to the established Crown. I try to portray Loyalists as people who made different choices, and not just bogeymen who decided to “flee.”

…Bill Volonte, N. J.

Skeletons in the Loyalist Closet, by Stephen Davidson

What would you risk to determine the ship that brought your loyalist ancestors to New Brunswick or Nova Scotia? If you were willing to learn that your UEL forebearers were slave owners, then you have an amazing resource at your fingertips. Not only will it tell you the name of the ship which brought your ancestors, it will also give you the date the ship left New York City, the name of its captain, and its destination. But you have to be willing to confront some unpleasant truths.

A number of years ago I was helping a cousin-once-removed in tracking down her loyalist ancestors. Since I had been doing a lot of research using “The Book of Negroes”, I thought I would browse through its lists to see if I could find any reference to Frinks being the owners of slaves.

It is an odd quirk of history that almost all of the manifests for ships that carried 90% of the loyalist refugees have been lost. European loyalist descendants have few resources to help them discover how and when their ancestors arrived in the Maritimes. However, 10% of UEL refugees, the Black Loyalists, have a ledger that provides such information. Their fellow Africans who came to the Maritmes as slaves are also recorded in “The Book of Negroes”, giving their descendants an incredible primary document for family research.

My search for my relative’s loyalist ancestors was successful, but the price we paid was to discover that the Frinks came to New Brunswick as slave-owners. Using the data I discovered in The Book of Negroes, here is the previously unknown story of the Frinks:

On September 18, 1783, Captain Watson took his ship the Elizabeth out of New York harbour. On board was the family of Nathan Frink and his two African slaves. James (16 years old) had been given to Hester by her mother, Mrs. Culyer. Diana (just seven years old) had been bought from a Mrs Beadle/Bedell of Staten Island.

The date of departure from New York tells us that the Frinks arrived in Parrtown near the end of September as part of the “fall fleet”. They would have had little time to get ready for their first New Brunswick winter which came early in November and was noted for being particularly cold and snowy. If the Frinks could not find shelter with those loyalists who had arrived in the summer, they and their slaves would have had to live in tents or in poorly constructed shacks.

It would be fascinating to know what happened to the two young Africans, but their is no record of the fate of Diana and James. I consulted the probate records for the province and discovered that Hester Frink died a widow in St. Stephen in 1825. Forty years after the family had fled Staten Island for New Brunswick, their slaves were no longer in their possession. The probate record states “Personal property had been given away prior to decease.”

If you are the descendant of a Black Loyalist, you owe it to yourself to visit the online version of The Book of Negroes. If your refugee ancestors were European and you are willing to learn if they were slave owners, this is a valuable resource for your family research, too. Visit the Black Loyalist Heritage of Society of Nova Scotia website to begin your search.

…Stephen Davidson

War of 1812 Resurfaces; Well Actually it is Still Underwater

Interesting article appeared in Military History, April 2007, page 10, titled “British Claim ownership of sunken, stolen, War of 1812 relics found off Nova Scotia”:

“An ownership debate about valuables looted from Washington, DC, by loyalist troops during the War of 1812 has pitted the British against the Americans once again. Last fall divers from U.S. – based Sovereign Exploration Associates finished a reconnaissance of a double shipwreck site off the Nova Scotia coast, uncovering artifacts that include White House china, silverware, Capitol relics and coinage from the U.S. Treasury. One of the vessels is believed to be the British frigate HMS Fantome, which sank while leading a convoy back to Halifax after the 1814 sacking of Washington.

Following the discovery, the British High Commission claimed ownership of the warship and its contents under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Based on that British claim, the provincial government of Nova Scotia rejected a recovery permit application filed by the salvage company. The site will remain off-limits until the Americans and the British can come to terms. (Dueling pistols, anyone?)”

[submitted by Bill Glidden]

Six Degrees of Separation: Nederland to New Amsterdam to Nederland Again

My friend Ed van Elten in Zeist (Province of Utrecht), a retired colonel of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, related to me that at the end of the war, in late April 1945, he and his family were living in Amersfoort, where there were large barracks then occupied by Canadian troops, including the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment. Playing near one of these barracks, he fell down the air shaft of an air raid shelter and badly lacerated his knee. He was hauled out by members of the North Shores and one of them took Ed to the regimental aid post, had the knee stitched up and bandaged, took the boy home in a military ambulance and visited him periodically over the next few weeks to check the wound and change the dressings.

Ed told me he had never known the soldier’s name but had always wanted to thank him for his kindness. I offered to help Ed find him.

I started by consulting the regimental history at the CWM library; no email address or telephone number for the regiment. I then wrote to every Legion branch in New Brunswick ; a couple responded, but no information. Over lunch with Dr. Chuck Gruchy, my successor as Treasurer of the Canadian Battlefields Foundation, he said “Why don’t you talk to Marc Milner? He’s writing a new history of the North Shores!”. Marc gave me the email address of Graham Wiseman, President of the North Shores Regimental Association. Graham was about to send out a mailing to his members, and he included my request in the mailing.

Months went by, and no responses. In the meantime, I wrote a message to be included in the “Lost Trails” section of Legion Magazine. Like most large magazines, it has a substantial pre-publication lead-time and it was only a few weeks ago that the number with my notice was published. A few days ago, I received a call from Colonel Fred Moar of the North Shores. He had been contacted by a SGT Bill Savage of his regiment who told him “I know who that fellow Needham is asking about.”

He identified Ed’s benefactor as SGT Robert (“Bud”) Daley. Colonel Moar told me that Daley had been in poor health since the war, had died in the 1980s, and is buried at Chatham, N.B. His wife survives, but suffers from Alzheimer’s and lives in a home. There do not appear to be any family whom Ed could thank. But at least Ed now knows the name of his benefactor. I am now trying to find any surviving family.

Playing a small role in incidents like this has made me wonder how many dozens, perhaps hundreds of such incidents happened during the war in the Netherlands and elsewhere and it should make us all proud to honour the memory of these men. What a pity that so many of those stories remain unknown.

The fact that these incidents took place in Nederland are all the more meaningful for me personally as the first of my ancestors to arrive in the “New World” was my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Abraham Wartman, born at Amsterdam in 1738, who emigrated with his wife Christianna v. Weissenberg to the Mohawk Valley of the Province of New York in 1758 and fought as a Loyalist in Butler’s Rangers, as did his son, my great-great-great-grandfather Peter Wartman. My late wife’s grandparents also emigrated, in the early years of the 20th century, also from Amsterdam. I thus have a strong personal attachment to Nederland, though all I have seen of that country was what could be glimpsed from a train window going from Den Hoek to Venlo.Some day, I hope to return.

…Harry Needham, Kanata ON

Last Post: Allan J. Cohoe UE

Allan Justus Cohoe, in his 96th year, died on Saturday, March 3rd, 2007. He was the son of the late William Justus Cohoe and Kate Croxford and was born 31st of October 1911 on the family farm in Burgessville, Ontario. During his 43 year career, he worked in Royal Bank Branches at Norwich, St. Thomas, Kitchener, North Bay, Hamilton, Aldershot and Kingston. In 1942 Allan volunteered to join the Canadian Army, serving until 1945 in the Canadian Army’s Ordnance Corp. and in the 7th Field Security Section in England and in Europe. He was a keen Mason and a member of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, 33rd Degree, and the Commander-in- Chief in Ottawa Consistory, a Shriner and chosen member of the Royal Order of Scotland. He was always interested in history and was treasurer then president of the Kingston Historic Society, and a charter member of Frontenac Historical Foundation. Allan was predeceased by his wife Peggy. Left to mourn him is his son, Justus Albert Cohoe (Rose McCarthy) of Kanata and his daughter Fran (Dick Tymchyshen) of Etobicoke. Predeceased by his sister Edith Lees, and brothers Jack and Frederick Cohoe.

Allan Justus Cohoe U.E. became a member of the UELAC Bay of Quinte Branch on August 17, 1979.

…Brandt Zatterburg