“Loyalist Trails” 2007-17: April 29, 2007

In this issue:
“At The End Of The Trail”, UELAC Conference: Did You Know? – more about Windsor Area
Note about one of last week’s points – The Hudson Bay Company
More Details of Route Toronto-to-Windsor Bus will Follow
Conference Special: “Textual Evidence for the Life of Simon Girty…” by Anne Marie Goodfellow
OGS Seminar: “Ottawa, the Nation’s Capital for 150 Years – the Peopling of Canada”
Smallpox and the Continental Army
Cemetery Protection, or lack thereof, in Ontario
Congratulations to Lori Mifsud on her Marriage
UELAC Website Updates: Loyalist Directory
      + About Windsor Area
      + Response re Abraham Deforest and Family


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

– The power source of ferryboats in the early 1800’s crossing the Detroit River were Horses.

– Babylon was the name suggested by a pundit for a local village to honour a prominent local family, the Baby’s (pronounced Baabee).

– The Argo was the name of the first Ferry to travel across the Detroit River.

– Windsor had one Police Officer prior to 1865.

Note about one of last week’s points – The Hudson Bay Company

The Hudson Bay Company had a trading post established on the Detroit River. It was later renamed the “Moy.”

Re: the fort/trading post at Detroit. Suspect this was a NWCo. operation if established between 1779 and 1821 (the latter being the year of the forced merger of the 2 companies – but after the give back of Detroit to the US). During that period the HBC forts were In James Bay/Hudsons Bay – except in Western Canada where the HBC started moving inland in northern MB, SK and AB – all serviced from Hudsons Bay, while the southern forts in those provinces, ON and the northern US, were easily serviced out of Montreal. This moving inland is what produced the conflict between the 2 companies, ultimately leading to the take-over by the HBC to stop the bloodshed (Scots were involved with both – here and in England – but the HBC was a joint stock co. with permanent capital, and the NWCo. was only a partnership).

However, this is without research – just best guess from my experience with the NWCo. as a director for 20 years.

…James G Oborne

More Details of Route Toronto-to-Windsor Bus will Follow

Regarding “Fairfield on the Thames” and that general area:

– if you are descended from those who were captured at Ruddles Station by Indians in Kentucky in 1780 and brought up to Detroit, your ancestor may have been among the captives who got respite at a Moravian mission on the way north.

– the Longwood Conservation area has a nice display on the Delaware indians.

– “Wilderness Christians: The Moravian Mission to the Delaware Indians” by Elma E. Gray includes that area and related battle and is well-worth the read.

– “The Valley of the Lower Thames” by Fred Coyne Hamil covers areas you will pass on the bus.

– “The Time of the French in the Heart of North America (1673-1818)” by C.J. Balesi is another book with information about the area.

[submitted by Sue Henry]

Conference Special: Textual Evidence for the Life of Simon Girty, American Revolutionary Turncoat: An Historian’s Guide to the Draper Manuscript Collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society, by Anne Marie Goodfellow

[book retails for $129.99 US but is available to us for $39.99 US until July 1, 2007. This is something every historian should have in his or her collection.]

This volume makes certain materials from the Draper Manuscript Collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society accessible to researchers interested in the life and history of Simon Girty. Girty, a figure maligned as much as praised, served as an interpreter between Americans, British, and Native Americans during the American Revolution, and is remembered by some as a turncoat and by others as a hero. Lyman Draper, founder of the Wisconsin Historical Society in the mid-19th century, was keenly interested in Girty’s life and attempted to show that Simon Girty really was an honorable man. Here presented are annotated reproductions of the Draper manuscripts of interest to Girty scholars and historians of the American Revolution.

“Through a Herculean effort of investigation, collection, and organization, Goodfellow has overcome the significant obstacles inherent in the Draper Manuscripts to provide researchers with a comprehensive and coherent volume containing almost all of the collection’s numerous passages and papers pertaining to Simon Girty. In creating this singularly unique reference source, her task has been neither brief nor easy, yet the results are overwhelmingly successful … By maintaining the balance and integrity of the sources, rather than selectively editing the lot to advance a predetermined point of view, Dr. Goodfellow has provided posterity with an invaluable resource from which to draw their own conclusions, a foundational body of evidence that will allow a new generation of Girty scholars to assess, and reassess, the life and legacy of this extraordinary individual. Finally researchers and historians have at their disposal a valuable tool with which to engage the still lingering premise forwarded by W. Marshall Anderson to Lyman Draper more than one hundred and sixty years ago: “If the Devil is entitled to his due, I suppose the same justice should be rendered to his lieutenant.” – (from the Foreword) Daniel P. Barr, Robert Morris University

There will only be 10 available at the 2007 Conference in Windsor so please contact me for the order form to take advantage of this outstanding offer.

…Kim Hurst {gypsygirl2002 AT aol DOT com}

OGS Seminar: “Ottawa, the Nation’s Capital for 150 Years – the Peopling of Canada”

Ottawa Branch hosts the society’s annual seminar which will feature historians and speakers sharing their expertise with the 600 expected registrants. There will be a marketplace of genealogical and historical materials, a computer room for registrants researching computer-related genealogy products, on-line access to Ancestry.ca.

The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation will be collecting genealogical DNA samples. A non-profit, SMGF is building the world’s foremost collection of DNA and corresponding genealogical information, currently more than 60,000 DNA samples and family trees from around the world. Add your DNA sample and four-generation genealogy – more at smgf.org.

At Algonquin College in Ottawa, June 1st to 3rd, 2007. Keynote Speaker: Victor Suthren. More information at ogsseminar.org.

Smallpox and the Continental Army

While American rebels fought against British troops and loyalist forces during the Revolution, the century’s worst smallpox plague was raging across the continent. The rebels were actually fighting on two fronts throughout the war. Besides combating the experienced and well organized British army, Continental soldiers also waged war with a much smaller — but more deadly– foe: smallpox. Had it not been for just one man’s crucial decision, the epidemic might well have secured a resounding victory for the king’s forces.

That one man was someone who almost died of smallpox in his youth. At nineteen,George Washington contracted the variola virus. Within twelve days, he began to experience the telltale symptoms: nausea, severe headaches, and fever. Pus filled blisters formed inside his mouth and nose, and then emerged on his face, neck, back, arms, and feet. By December of 1751, George recovered. Twenty-six years later as the commander of the Continental Army, Washington would once again face the threat of smallpox.

Scholars estimate that 6,824 Americans were killed on the battlefields of the Revolution; 8,445 others were wounded. However, as many as 18,500 died from disease and non-combat causes. Despite the high death toll, Americans were reluctant to undergo inoculation against the variola virus, a procedure that involved scratching the skin of a healthy person with a sharp quill and applying pus from a small pox blister to the open cut. (Vaccination with a weakened cowpox virus was not developed until 1796.)

As early as 1721 Rev. Mather, a New England minister, learned of “variolation” from his African slave, Onesimus. Although common in Asia and Africa, inoculation was unfamiliar to 18th century Americans and thus was highly suspect. Racist attitudes and fear of the unknown delayed colonists turning to inoculation to combat smallpox. Many churches also forbade variolation (along with surgery) as an assault upon the body. The cost of inoculation was high — two to five pounds. Wealthy Americans could afford to be treated, but not the rural farmers or city’s working classes, the very people who made up the majority of the population.

When the revolution broke out in 1775, the Continental Army forbade immunization, fearing that it would incapacitate its soldiers. According to General Benedict Arnold’s February 1776 orders, officers who were inoculated would be “immediately cashiered” and privates “punished at the discretion of a Court-Martial.”

During 1775’s siege of Quebec City, hundreds of rebels contracted smallpox. Nevertheless, their commanders maintained the order against inoculation. Desperate soldiers pricked the skin under their finger nails and performed their own variolations. When additional reinforcements arrived, they quickly contracted smallpox, adding to the death toll. The assault on Quebec collapsed in early 1776. As well as news of a disastrous military defeat, the retreating troops also brought smallpox back to the Thirteen Colonies.

Smallpox death rates in rebel camps were high for many reasons. Infected soldiers fought alongside the healthy, hospitals were unsanitary, and those who were to be treated for smallpox were first bled and then fed a diet of milk, water and mercury(!).

Rebel recruitment was becoming more and more difficult; those who would bravely face a British enemy, held a greater feared of contracting smallpox from fellow soldiers. Quarantines did not stop the spread of the virus; soldiers often did not stay within camp during the two weeks they were contagious. It became painfully apparent that the rebel army would never survive another major outbreak of smallpox.

In early 1777 Washington made a momentous decision and asked the Continental Congress for the funds necessary to treat his soldiers. “… I have determined that the Troops shall be inoculated. Should the disorder infect the Army in the natural way and rage with its usual virulence, we should have more to dread from it than from the sword of the enemy.”

Keeping the inoculation secret from the British, the entire Continental Army was eventually immunized, beginning with its newest recruits. For the next few weeks at least one third of the rebel forces was incapacitated with the virus at any one time. But the gamble was worth it. Variolation reduced the smallpox death rate from 160/1,000 to 3/1,000. The inoculation was America’s first state-sponsored immunization campaign, and it was a critical factor to the narrow victory of the rebel colonists.

When the inoculations were complete, the rebels fought at full strength without fear of smallpox. This was a critical factor in the final years of the revolution. An inoculated army of paid soldiers was able to engage in battles that had earlier scared off the volunteer militias.

“Washington’s unheralded and little-recognized resolution to inoculate the Continental forces must surely rank with the most important decisions of the war,” writes historian Elizabeth Fenn. “The general had outflanked his enemy”.

Amazing, isn’t it, that something as small as a virus should shape the history of a continent? Rebel victory eventually made refugees out of a third of Thirteen Colonies’ population. Had the Continental Army not been inoculated, there might never have been an exodus of loyalists to British North America.

…Stephen Davidson

[see previous Loyalists and the Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-1782 and Redcoats and Pox Americana: 1775-1782]

Cemetery Protection, or lack thereof, in Ontario

I spoke to Diane Clendenan and to Rob Lefferty re the Palermo situation and I gather it all got sorted out with heritage designation etc being passed by the municipality. Now it remains for the Ontario Heritage Trust to approve this.

I was very disturbed at the comment “It is our understanding that U.E.L. cemeteries are protected in perpetuity by the Ontario Cemetery Act.” [see Cemetery Protection “Murison Restoration”]

No one is protected under the Cemeteries Act. The First Nations have a little more clout but not very much Even their native burial grounds or ossiaries are continually threatened as happened in Vaughan where a road was cut through a conservation area and through areas where First Nations archaeological siites were well known.

I feel strongly that Rob Leverty of The Ontario Historical Society should be addressing U.E.L. groups in Ontario. Rob has been criss crossing Ontario speaking to heritage groups anout The Cemeteries Act and Closure. I think he has addressed nearly every OGS Branch. He sometimes hosts workshops.

To contact Rob call OHS at 416-226-9011 I just spoke with him. He is off to Waterloo tonight and Manvers Township where there is a potential closure and next weekend he will be in Elliott Lake for a meeting of the Voyageur Network – a group of heritage groups from North Bay to Sault Ste Marie.

…Marjorie Stuart

[submitted by Nancy Conn]

Congratulations to Lori Mifsud on her Marriage

Just wanted to make a note to you and let you know that I will be getting married this coming weekend, April 29th 2007. My new name will be Whitwell, I may hyphenate it for a short while so that folks can make the connection until they are use to Lori Whitwell instead of Lori Mifsud.

…Lori Mifsud Whitwell UE, President, Hamilton Branch, UELAC

UELAC Website Updates: Loyalist Directory

Loyalist Directory: information about these Loyalists has been added to the directory this week:
– Smith, Frederick – from Margaret Hayward (see Certificate application – PDF format)
– Frank(s), Frederick, and
– Frank(s), William John, from Helen Frank Aukerman
– Flewwelling, Abel, from Eric Langley – see especially the Biography and Family History fields


About Windsor Area

This is about the fish (book) that got away. I was at a used bookstore SW of London. I saw a book in German called The District of Hesse or something like that. In the index I saw my Weigele ancestor’s name. Not speaking German and not having the fee, I left it in the store. I recently heard of this book: District of Hesse, U.C. by Alexander Fraser.

I wonder if anyone coming to the annual conference has a copy that I could look at?

Also on the internet, I saw implied that Michigan was a part of the District of Hesse at one time. Does anyone know those (start and end) dates?

Regarding Windsor being south of Detroit: The only time that I say I am going “down south” with a smile on my face is when I am going to Canada (because it brings happy thoughts and fond memories and because of those in Canada that I love).

…Sue Henry {tnth AT provide DOT net}

Response re Abraham Deforest and Family

Abraham was one of the last men to join the 2nd battalion, King’s Royal Regiment of New York. He did so on 25 April 1783. On 25 August, recruiting was ordered to cease. Hostilities had ended in approx. July 1782.

He had been captured on 23 July 1779 when serving in the 1st New York Continental Line. The 1NY was at the time garrisoning Fort Stanwix in the upper Mohawk Valley. Whether he was taken from around the fort or when on a surveying mission to the British post at Oswegatchie (present day Ogdensburgh) is unknown. At a glance, I don’t know whether he was held in lower Quebec from then until 1783 when he chose to enter the Royal Yorkers. A more thorough search might yield that information.

He was returned in the 2nd battalion for the two years, 1783 & 84. The battalion was disbanded on 24Jun83.

He is shown as settling at Cataraqui Township No.3 (Fredericksburgh) in the fall of 1784 as a single man.

…Gavin Watt, HVP, UELAC