“Loyalist Trails” 2007-15: April 15, 2007

In this issue:
“At The End Of The Trail”, UELAC Conference: Did You Know? – more about Windsor Area
“At The End of The Trail” Calendar Now Available
The Burdens of Loyalty by Stephen Davidson
Loyalist Rose Garden on the Causeway: 2007 Victoria Branch Project
Correction to Information on Miles McDonell
Loyalists and the Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-1782
Remembering Vimy Ridge
Congratulations to Betty Fladager on Thirty-seven Years a Member
Genealogical Workshop by Bay of Quinte Branch
Died This Day 11 April 1839, John Galt (Globe & Mail, 11 April 2007)
UELAC Website Updates: Loyalist Directory
      + Information on two John Lawson’s and other Lawson’s
      + Information on Peterson family of Agnes (Peterson) Helmer
      + Information on Loyalist John Ross who settled in Hopetown, Gaspe


“At The End Of The Trail”, UELAC Conference: Did You Know? – more about Windsor Area

Missionary François Dollier de Casson and his followers were the first white men to arrive in Essex County in 1670 while on their way to Sault Ste. Marie.

In 1760, when British and American colonial troops marched to fight the French at Detroit, Pontiac met the force and learned of the British victory at Quebec. He smoked the peace pipe with the British and even helped them take Detroit, but he did not get the recognition for this that he felt he deserved.

In 1762, when Pontiac heard that the French were going to reinvade, he turned against the British and tried to organize a vast Indian conspiracy against them.

Pontiac rallied tribes in the vicinity of the Great Lakes to a great conference near Detroit in April 1763. Here he made a stirring speech, calling the tribes simultaneously to attack the nearest British posts. He personally led the attack on Detroit on May 7, 1763. However, his plan became known to the British, and all he could do was lay siege to the post, eventually retreating. The Conspiracy of Pontiac, as this uprising was known, did succeed in capturing 8 of the 12 posts attacked, and it inflamed the entire western frontier. And Pontiac did manage one victory, the Battle of Bloody Ridge on July 31, 1763, at which his warriors killed 60 of the 250 British troops.

“At The End of The Trail” Calendar Now Available

This 18-month calendar has been produced by London and Southwestern Ontario Branch U.E.L.A.C. in co-operation with Bicentennial Branch U.E.L.A.C. to celebrate a rich history of the area which will be highlighted during “CONFERENCE 2007”.

For many years, this history has been largely unknown to most Loyalists and was regarded literally as the end of the Loyalist Trail. To others, this area was a beginning. A “new settlement” which has contributed greatly to the development of our country.

We hope that the Conference and the Calendar will help Loyalists understand and appreciate this part of our history.

Original sketches of many of the historic sites featured during the Conference Tours are shown on the calendar as well as historic maps of the area.

We have added a selection of important dates in Loyalist history to the calendar pages as well as many significant dates from the ‘war of 1812-14 era.

Prints of the sketches, by Jane Hughes of London Branch, as well as the calendars will be sold at the Conference, or they may be ordered. The cost of the calendar is $15.00 and each print is $8.50 (plus mailing costs where necessary). Further information may be obtained from Marvin Recker, U.E. 1460 Norman Avenue, London, Ontario, N6K 2A7. Tel: 519-471-9546. email {mrecker AT mnsi DOT net}.

[submitted by Bernice Flett UE]

The Burdens of Loyalty by Stephen Davidson

ISBN: 9781897306505, English, 212 pages, First edition (Trinity Enterprise), released April 12

Price per Unit (piece): $5.25 (including 6 % tax)

Burdens of Loyalty: Refugee Tales from the First American Revoloution comes to us from teacher and history buff Stephen Davidson of Lower Sackville, NS. Stephen began investigating his Loyalist roots, and the results are encapsulated in this e-book. John and Hepzibeth Lyon and their children were forced to leave their home in Redding, Connecticut, because they chose to remain loyal to King George III. They eventually made their way to Saint John, New Brunswick. In between, they encountered dangers and made friends with other loyalists. Burdens of Loyalty will make you want to examine your own family tree.

To purchase this e-book, click here for the order page.

More about the book:

– There are over 100 different refugee stories to be read, not to mention the stories of those loyalists who stayed behind in the United States or did not live to see the end of the Revolution.

– Refugee tales include those of Black Loyalists, octogenarians, and Jewish loyalists.

– There are stories about life in a loyalist refugee camp (I have yet to come across any references to this part of the loyalist experience in my research) and how loyalists supported themselves in that situation.

– For the FIRST TIME EVER the manifest of the passengers who sailed on the FIRST ship to bring loyalists to New Brunswick is “fleshed out”, giving readers an appreciation for the variety of refugees who sailed together. This anecdotal data is UNIQUE. As far as New Brunswick loyalists go, it would be comparable to Americans knowing about each passenger on the Mayflower.

– Very few hometowns are described in loyalist accounts. “The Burdens of Loyalty” describes the tensions in two Connecticut towns: Redding and Stamford.

– Few books describe the raids that loyalists made on patriot towns (yup, “Burdens” does).

– Two battles that saw loyalists defend and attack are described with the names of the ancestors of Maritimers.

– Descendants of the characters in my book now live along the St. John River, in Saint John, Kingston, Woodstock, Gagetown, and Maugerville. Local historical societies and genealogists would be (very) interested.

– I have uncovered a number of stories that have never been brought to the attention of loyalist historians before. The chapter about Polly Jarvis Dibblee contains so much detail about a previously unknown woman that I have been asked to contribute her biography to a UNB website project that will feature the lives of loyalist women.

The book is more than just a collection of genealogically relevant data. It has all sorts of stories about people that didn’t come to New Brunswick. Benjamin Franklin’s loyalist illegitimate son has a fort named after him, we follow the life of Hepzibeth Lyon’s patriot brother (a “lapsed” loyalist), and there is a loyalist who died in a shipwreck trying to get to New Brunswick. A favourite of mine is Rev. Beach who was shot at during a sermon, almost beheaded by rebels, and died in his sleep in Connecticut.

Loyalist Rose Garden on the Causeway: 2007 Victoria Branch Project

As a 2007 Branch Project, Victoria Branch is going to plant a small garden in a concrete planter that is on the Lower Causeway that borders two sides of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. This causeway is a focal point for tourists, cruise boat passengers and Victorians who walk along it and enjoy the view, the antics of the buskers and the merchandise and snack foods offered by vendors.

The planter has a planting area five feet in diameter. A Loyalist Rose will be planted in the centre. A circle of red geraniums will surround the rose. There will be an outer circle of low flowers. These plants, of the same type, will alternate blue and white in colour.

Plaques will be added. One will identify the garden as that of the Victoria Branch, United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada. Also the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority will be thanked on this plaque for the use of the planter. Another will give the story of the Loyalist Rose.

If things go well, next year we will add two more planters of the same size.

…Alvin Huffman UE, President

Correction to Information on Miles McDonell

Just a brief note to advise that Miles’s father, Spanish John McDonell ‘Scotus,’ was not the John McDonell of Butler’s Rangers. The latter was a cousin of Spanish John and his family was designated as ‘Aberchalder.’

Spanish John, Adam Crysler and Schoharie Indians led an uprising in the Schoharie Valley in August 1777 in the hopes of being joined by Sir John Johnson and Barry St. Leger’s expedition coming down the Mohawk River from Fort Stanwix. Unfortunately, St. Leger felt unable to bypass Fort Stanwix and the expedition did not proceed further.

In consequence, McDonell and Crysler were forced to abandon their enterprise and take to the woods. McDonell led his men through the back country to Oswego where he joined Sir John and took his position as a company commander in the King’s Royal Yorkers. In 1778, McDonell’s company was designated Grenadiers and Spanish John continued in this role until disbandment on 24Dec1783. He, and a great many of the Grenadiers, settled in Royal Township No.3 Osnabruk in 1784.

…Gavin Watt, H/VP UELAC

Loyalists and the Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-1782

During the Revolutionary War a far greater threat loomed over the Thirteen Colonies than death at the hands of rebel or British forces. 130,000 colonists died during the course of the war — and all because of smallpox. In fact, between 1775 and 1782 more people died due to the variola virus than were killed in all of the war’s battlefields.

The impact of the smallpox epidemic on the Revolution was greater than any general’s victories or any politician’s negotiations. Here is just one part of that larger story, the interplay of the great smallpox epidemic of the War of Independence and the loyalists who lived through it.

Smallpox was nothing new to the Thirteen Colonies. Between 1636 and 1698, there were six major outbreaks in Boston alone. During the most severe epidemic in 1721, fleeing Bostonians spread the virus throughout the colonies. Fifty years later, smallpox returned once more, just at the outbreak the Revolution.

It was not a coincidence that a smallpox epidemic and the American Revolution broke out in the same decade. Historian Elizabeth Fenn says, “Armies were formed. Meetings were held. People gathered and dispersed repeatedly. For a virus that needs a constant supply of new, unexposed human beings to thrive, conditions were perfect.”

Smallpox took no notice of whether its victims were loyalists or patriots as it raged through the colonies. (The British troops were immune to the virus, but more on that in a future chapter.) It is impossible to know the exact death tolls of all the various combatants in the Revolution, but numbers have been determined for some groups. 1,200 of King George III’s German soldiers were killed in action; but 6,354 died from smallpox or accident. However, it was the Black Loyalists who suffered the greatest losses during the epidemic. It is estimated that more than half of the Africans who joined the British forces died of the variola virus, never enjoying the freedom they had been promised.

In 1775 Lord Dunmore invited the enslaved Africans in Virginia to leave their masters and form the Ethiopian Regiment to fight for the king. The new recruits were not inoculated, and after coming in contact with the British, most of them died. This not only depleted the forces of the king, it also dissuaded other slaves from enlisting with the loyalists.

Six years later, another Ethiopian Regiment was formed. A Connecticut soldier who was advancing into Virginia with the Continental Army said he saw almost twenty Africans laying dead by the road. “These poor creatures, having no care taken of them, many crawl’d into the bushes about & died, where they lie infecting the air around with an intolerable stench & great danger.” The rebels felt that the abandoned Black Loyalists had been left behind as a deliberate attempt to infect their advancing army.

A few stories have survived which tell of the havoc smallpox brought upon Americans who were loyal to the king. John Freeman fought under General Burgoyne in 1777’s Battle of Saratoga. After the rebel victory, the twelve members of the Freeman family and other loyalists retreated to Canada with the British troops.

Escape from death at the hands of rebels, however, was to have fatal consequences. Within the first two months of 1778, smallpox spread throughout the settlements along Lake Champlain’s eastern shore. Nine Freemans died of smallpox. Only twelve-year-old Thomas and his sisters Mary and Dorcas survived. Their descendants are among us still.

Smallpox allowed Stephen Jarvis to evade capture and death. In early 1777 he was a teenage fugitive from rebels, and was desperately trying to find away to safety across Long Island Sound. For a time he hid in the Stamford, Connecticut home of his cousins, William and Munson Jarvis. Opportunities for escape were nonexistent, and smallpox was spreading through Stamford. But the epidemic offered Jarvis a way to elude the rebels who pursued him.

After Jarvis and a cousin were inoculated with the live smallpox virus, they were removed to a hospital where, as was the custom of the day, they were quarantined for a week or so. This was a risky gamble. Jarvis could have developed full-blown smallpox and died.

Fortunately, his journal records that “We both had the disease favorable”. By March first Jarvis left Stamford and made a midnight visit to his family in Danbury to say goodbye. He would not see them again for seven years. After returning to the coast, Jarvis hid himself in a skiff of potatoes and calves, making good his escape to Long Island.

The smallpox epidemic made a hero of one loyalist. Dr. Isaac Winslow’s efforts to quarantine and inoculate both rebels and loyalists saved the lives of many of his townsfolk when the epidemic struck Marshfield, Massachusetts in 1778. As a result, Winslow did not suffer the cruel persecution that was the lot of most loyalists, and his property was not taken from him.

If you want to learn more about the smallpox epidemic that shaped a continent’s history, be sure to buy or borrow Elizabeth Fenn’s book Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82.

…Stephen Davidson

Remembering Vimy Ridge

As you know, (or should know,) the 90th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge took place on Monday, \par April 9th. As President, I occasionally receive invitations to events outside of UELAC activities. This was the case with the Vimy Ridge commemoration held at Queen\’92s Park, Toronto on that cold Monday morning. The Honourable James K. Bartleman, O.Ont. Lieutenant Governor of Ontario as well as the Premier of Ontario were among the Vice Regal Party. I was honoured to represent the UELAC at this event.

As an aside, while this was taking place in Toronto, my youngest daughter was at Vimy Ridge in France for the large commemoration there.

…Peter W. Johnson UE, President, UELAC

Congratulations to Betty Fladager on Thirty-seven Years a Member

In 1970, Betty (Chrysler) Fladager U.E. had heard about a Branch of the United Empire Loyalists in Calgary. Since Edmonton did not have a Branch at that time, she inquired about membership with the Calgary Branch and was invited to join. During this time, Betty’s husband was researching the Chrysler family and had obtained documents to prove Betty’s descent from Geronimous Crysler. With the assistance of the Calgary Branch Genealogist, Betty applied to Dominion office for U.E. Certification. Her application was approved and her Certificate issued and dated 25th February 1971.

Betty became a Vice President of the Calgary Branch and represented the Edmonton members and there were a number of them at that time. She held the position for 14 years. In May, 1987, Edmonton created its own Branch and Betty transferred her membership to there.

Betty held the position of Sec/Treasurer for the years 1994-1995 and then became Secretary again in 2004. She still holds that position.

Betty is entering her 37th consecutive year as a member of the United Empire Loyalists’ of Canada. She is very proud of her loyalist history and a dedicated member.

[editor’s note: in reviewing the perhaps incomplete list of certificates issued since 1971 when Dominion Office first started the more formal review of proofs, which had been done previously by individual branches, and issuing a certificate to successful applicants, Betty appears to be the currently active member with the earliest issued such certificate — our congratulations to Betty]

Genealogical Workshop by Bay of Quinte Branch

Congratulations to Bay of Quinte Branch President Brian Tackaberry UE and the members of Bay of Quinte Branch for a great Genealogical Workshop held at Adolphustown on Apr. 14th. It was very much “hands on” experience and the meeting was well attended. Many left feeling that they had accomplished something in their Loyalist documentation quest. Given the success of the day, I am sure it will not be the last.

…Peter W. Johnson UE, President, UELAC

Died This Day 11 April 1839, John Galt (Globe & Mail, 11 April 2007)

Author and land agent born May 2, 1779, at Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland.

The son of a sea captain, he grew up in the the Glasgow port of Greenoch, where he was sent to a good school. After working as a clerk, he relocated in 1804 to London, where he first went into business and then entered law school before becoming ill. To recuperate, he toured the Mediterranean and formed a friendship with Lord Byron, the poet. He returned to London, married Elizabeth Tilloch and became a parliamentary lobbyist. In the course of his work, he represented property owners from Upper Canada who sought compensation for damages suffered during the War of 1812, with the result that he helped to establish the Canada Company and to found Guelph, Ont. He returned to Britain bankrupt but wrote the novels The Ayrshire Legatees and Lawrie Todd. He was the father of Alexander Tilloch Galt, a Father of Confederation.

UELAC Website Updates: Loyalist Directory

Loyalist Directory: information about these Loyalists has been added to the directory this week:
– Charles Green Sr. from Diane Wixted


Information on two John Lawson’s and other Lawson’s

I believe my family is descended from a Loyalist, John Lawson of Dutchess County, New York. They settled along the Bay of Quinte, where there is still a Lawson Settlement Road.

A John P.Lawson from Dutchess County, who was living in Poughkeepsie in 1775, and who had served with the British Army from 1776, arrived in Nova Scotia in 1783, and was apparently living on Musquash Island, near Gagetown, NB in 1787, when he sent a Loyalist claim to England with Captain Vandeburgh.

I need to make a connection between that John Lawson and my great-grandfather, George Reddick Lawson, born in Brighton, UC, 30 October, 1818, and married to Catherine Stimers, born in Trenton, UC, 16 March, 1826.

A Lawson known as “John the Muskrat”, who served with the batteaux men in the War of 1812, appears also to have been a member of the family. I would be grateful for any help.

…Donald Warren Lawson {bearandbook AT southkent DOT net}

Information on Peterson family of Agnes (Peterson) Helmer

I am currently applying for my UE certificate to Loyalist John Helmer. John married Agnes Peterson. I know little of Agnes, except some references that she was born in the USA, born in “Potsdam” -New York, when she came to Canada she came with her “brothers”. Some of the Peterson’s listed in the Loyalist Directory are Abraham (Proven), Christian, Conrad?, Contrad (Proven), Nicholas (Proven), Paul. I wonder if one or more of them might be her brothers, or at least related to her.

…Betty Scharff, Edmonton Branch {bscharff AT telus DOT net}

Information on Loyalist John Ross who settled in Hopetown, Gaspe

We are looking for more information on the life after the Revolution of a United Empire Loyalist named John Ross. I see there is a proven Loyalist with that name in the Loyalist Directory [but located in Eastern District, in now eastern Ontario]. Our tree stops at a John Ross who seemingly was a Loyalist from stories told but we have no proof of his prior history or from where he came. John Ross was a private with his Majesty’s 53rd Regiment and then a lieutenant with the Quebec British Militia. He settled in Hopetown on the Gaspe coast. He was born 1756, died in 1827 and left a large line of descendants through the south shore of the Gaspe.

He married Catherine Morrison, daughter of Hector Morrison, a loyalist who moved to the same region in 1784 to a town called New Carlisle. Its a few miles away.

We are willing to share information and hope that someone can help us with more details on John Ross.

…Wendell Gaudin