“Loyalist Trails” 2007-35: September 10, 2007

In this issue:
David George: Black Loyalist, Baptist Pioneer, Nation Founder (Part One), by Stephen Davidson
Sir John Johnson Article
Celebrating the Centennial (and Loyalist connection) of Jasper Park
A Visit to Little Fork Branch’s Little Hyatt One-Room Schoolhouse
Support to Save The John Moore House in Sparta: Will You Help Save it?
Hugh Armstrong’s Genealogy Site
      + Responses re Loyalist Cookbook
      + Information about Family of ISRAEL TOMPKINS


David George: Black Loyalist, Baptist Pioneer, Nation Founder (Part One), by Stephen Davidson

“I was born in Essex County Virginia, about fifty, or sixty miles from Williamsburg, on Nottaway River, of parents who were brought from Africa…The first work I did was fetching water and carding of cotton, afterwards I was sent into the field to work about the Indian corn and tobacco till I was about nineteen years old. My father’s name was John and my mother’s name Judith. I had four brothers and four sisters, who, with myself were all born in slavery. Our master’s name was Chapel – a very bad man to the Negroes.”

Thus begins the narrative of the life of one of history’s most important Black Loyalists. David George not only figured prominently in the early days of the Baptist denomination in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, but he was to help found the third nation born of the American Revolution, Sierra Leone.

“I also have been whipped many a time on my naked skin, and sometimes till the blood has run down over my waistband.” George had witnessed the cruel flogging of two of his siblings, but what brought him the greatest misery was to see his mother whipped until she fell to her knees begging for mercy.

David George escaped from the Chapels’ plantation the night his mother was on her deathbed. When a reward was put on his head, George headed for the Savannah River in Georgia where he stayed for two years. A second attempt to recapture George failed, but he fell into the hands of Chief Blue Salt, who kept him as a slave among the Creek Indians. Before the Chapels could give Blue Salt rum, linen and a gun for David George, he fled to a part of Georgia that was nearer the Atlantic coast.

After being enslaved by various people over the next three years, George became the property of a Mr. Gaulphin of Silver Bluff, Georgia. After four years with this new master, George married a woman named Phillis. When he became a father, George became troubled by his unsavoury lifestyle. “I saw myself a mass of sin…. and now the Lord took away my distress. I was sure that the Lord took it away, because I had such pleasure and joy in my soul, that no man could give me.

He sought out George Liele, a childhood friend who sometimes preached to slaves at Mr. Galphin’s mill. After being baptized in the nearby millstream by Liele, George had a “desire for nothing else but to talk to the brothers and sisters about the Lord.” Illiterate, George nevertheless memorized the hymns of Isaac Watts, singing them whenever he was given permission to lead a service.

George continued to enjoy Christian instruction from an older pastor until the beginning of the Revolution. The authorities stopped the itinerant ministers from travelling to the slave churches for fear that they would pass along the news that the British were granting immediate freedom to any patriot’s slave who would join the loyalist forces.

In the absence of the regular pastors, George began to teach himself how to read with the help of white children. “They would give me a lesson which I tried to learn, and then I would go to them, again, and ask them if it was right. The reading so ran in my mind, that I think I learned in my sleep, as readily as when I was awake, and I can now read the Bible..”,

George preached at Silver Bluff until the British captured Savannah in 1778. Galphin, George’s master, was “an anti-loyalist”, so he fled with other patriots, leaving his slaves behind. Perhaps to keep them from running away, George and his family were put in prison until released by the British.

When Savannah was later under siege by patriot forces, a cannon ball came through the roof of the George home. They moved to nearby Yamacrow, making a cellar their home until the siege was over. Having escaped death at the hands of patriot guns and cannon, George confronted the most deadly threat of the Revolution — smallpox.

The black pastor came down with the crippling disease in the fall; sure that he would soon be dead. George was only just able to walk by the spring. During the months that her husband was an invalid, Phillis George washed clothes for General Clinton’s forces, her earnings maintaining the family until word came that the Continental Army was marching on Savannah. Unable to move with any speed, George told his wife to escape the city with their children while he stayed behind.

Living on boiled corn and a little rice, George waited for the patriot assault. “I grew better, and as the troops did not come so near as was expected, I went into Savannah, where I met my family and tarried there about two years in a hut …,where I kept a butcher’s stall.”

With the earnings from meat sales, George was able to get his family to Charleston on the coast. In December of 1782 he left for Halifax, Nova Scotia in the company of at least 200 white loyalists and a few other blacks. Always one to appreciate a good deal, George found it remarkable that his family had been taken so far at no cost whatsoever.

At forty years of age, David George might well have thought that the most exciting years of his life were behind him. However, this Black Loyalist pastor was just at the beginning of the most significant period of his life.

(Follow the continuing story of David George in the next two editions of Loyalist Trails)

…Stephen Davidson

Sir John Johnson Article

Congratulations to Fred Hayward UE for the excellent article on Sir John Johnson iln the Sep 2nd “Loyalist Trails”. The Johnson Vault was a theme of in a recent message of mine in “The Loyalist Gazette” and I think it is more than time that Sir John is recognized.

…Peter Johnson UE, President, UELAC

Celebrating the Centennial (and Loyalist connection) of Jasper Park

Jasper National Park is celebrating its centennial September 14 and is finally giving recognition to the man who established the fur trading post, Jasper House north of present day Jasper. Martin Hanly, a Regina Branch member from Langham, Saskatchewan, is a descendant of Jasper Haws. Lorna MacKenzie and I have been encouraging Martin in this project for some two years and are pleased with his success at convincing Parks Canada to give due recognition.

Because Jasper Haws was the son of a loyalist from Maryland who resettled in southwestern Quebec, Martin has invited us to be present at the ceremony on September 14. Six of us from the Regina Branch, the Adairs, MacKenzies and my wife Shirley and I will be with Martin Hanly, his family and cousins for the launch of the brochure which Parks Canada has prepared. We six will be in loyalist outfits and Martin Hanly and others will be dressed as the fur traders would have been. So we should make a presence.

…Logan W. Bjarnason, UE

A Visit to Little Fork Branch’s Little Hyatt One-Room Schoolhouse

We had an extremely interesting visit from a senior’s group organized through CSSS Val St.François (Richmond area) to our Little Hyatt One-Room Schoolhouse. Some were residents of the Wales Home.There was a full bus and a van load, of which some were former one-room schoolteachers.Oh, they were some excited as they piled into the class-room seats while one lady held a lesson on the pronunciation of vowels along with a sing song conducted from the teacher’s platform. Following this, they went downstairs to our community room where Little Fork’s members served ice-tea and cookies. While they enjoyed the refreshments, one of the ladies played several tunes on the organ and then “Amazing Grace” on the piano. They had a wonderful time, so much so, that it took awhile for the bus driver to get them back in the bus to head home. One spry lady was 97 years old and she made the remark that the class room smelled just like a one-room schoolhouse! Amazing!!

[editor’s note: The Little Hyatt One-Room Schoolhouse has a strong Loyalist connection and is the major on-going project of the Little Forks Branch as we strive to preserve what built-heritage with a Loyalist connection that we can.]

…Bev Loomis UE, President, Little Forks Branch

Support to Save The John Moore House in Sparta: Will You Help Save it?

In a message from Ken Fitchett,U.E., Past President of London and Western Ontario Branch, he notes that a letter about this matter from Bernice Wood Flett U.E., a Past President UELAC, was in the Sept. 4 issue of the London Free Press. Ken notes in his letter to Mayor Sylvia Hofhuis that:

“In addition I am a member of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, London branch, and we are strong advocates of preserving our built heritage. To see a fine example of one of the area’s earliest brick homes destroyed is unacceptable. There are alternatives and I urge you to explore these thoroughly. Destruction of the building must not be an option. The home is described as being “gracious, well-built, and to outward appearances in good repair”. Surely the fate of this important historical and architecturally important building must not be allowed to go the way of Alma College by neglect or by allowing the wrecker’s ball to demolish it.”

We can hope that the tide of public opinion will help preserve the house, but the tide only becomes a tide if we write. If you have not, please do, to: Ms. Sylvia Hofhuis, Mayor, Members of Council, Municipality of Central Elgin, 450 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas, Ontario. N5R 5V1

Hugh Armstrong’s Genealogy Site

The old books on university bookshelves have much to offer family historians — and Hugh Armstrong spent several years searching through them for information. Hugh Armstrong’s Genealogy Site first appeared on the Internet in 1996, and its content grew rapidly over the next few years as Hugh extracted more and more material.

Hugh retired the site in 2003, and moved on to other priorities in his life. Demand for the information has stayed strong, however, so it is back, with a few updates and additions. Hugh also compiled many databases drawn from records about British Columbia, including an index to the 1901 census for Victoria that includes newspaper and civil registration references. That work is on the BCGenWeb site. Special thanks to the Alberta Family Histories Society for giving Hugh’s work a home in the past couple of years.

Click here to visit Hugh’s web site, with references on censuses, history of Ontario Districts and Counties, Ontario Townships, Parliamentary divorces to 1946.

[submitted by Bev Loomis UE]


Responses re Loyalist Cookbook

Eleanor Robertson Smith, a Shelburne, NS UEL descendant and local author, has written a cookbook entitled “Loyalist Foods in Today’s Recipes”. It was originally published in 1983 for Shelburne’s bicentennial celebrations of the Loyalist Landing, and is still available at the local bookshop, the Shelburne Genealogical Society and the Shelburne Museum Complex.

The price is around $16 (Cdn) and if you’re interested in purchasing a copy, I can pass along your request to the appropriate individual.

…Suzanne Mahaney {loyalistlanding2008 AT ns DOT sympatico DOT ca}

Both of Dorothy Duncan’s books have well-researched information about Loyalist food with recipes. See her information at Dundurn Press

1. is “Canadians at the Table. Food, Fellowship, and Folklore: A Culinary History of Canada” By Dorothy Duncan – see www.dundurn.com/bookid/540 – just new

2. “Nothing More Comforting, Canada’s Heritage Food” By Dorothy Duncan from 2003 see www.dundurn.com/bookid/100

…Margaret Carter and Doug Grant

The most recent cook book of which I am aware was generated by the Kawartha Branch, Hearth and Home 1784-2000. It was printed by L. Rasmussen Co. Ltd. in Winnipeg.

Prior to that, Loyalist Foods in Today’s Recipes by Eleanor Robertson Smith was published in 1983 (ISBN 0-88999-183-9). By November 1990, it had gone through six printings. It was produced by Lancelot Press Ltd. Hantsport, Nova Scotia.

Although not a Loyalist cookbook, Nothing More Comforting: Canada’s Heritage Food by Dorothy Duncan is worth reading.(ISBN 1-55002-447-7) It was published by Dundurn Press, Toronto in 2003.

…Fred H. Hayward

Information about Family of ISRAEL TOMPKINS

I am looking for more information about ISRAEL TOMPKINS, where he is buried, his date of death (some time after 1817 when he was about 60). Also I would like to find more information about his family ie his parents; siblings; or other relatives.

ISRAEL TOMPKINS, was about 25 on January 1, 1783 at Riviere du Chene, according to a Muster Roll of the Loyal Rangers {Edward Jussup, Major Commandant}.

“Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution” states: “TOMPKINS OR TOMKINS, ISRAEL AO12/109/294 Of New York, A native of America, Tompkins lived at Stillwater. He joined Burgoyne at Fort Edward and served in Jessup’s Corps for the rest of the war. Tompkins settled afterwards at Sorel, Quebec, and estimated his loss at 18 {Pounds} Sterling. He received 12 {Pounds} Sterling.”

From “American Loyalist Claims, Vol. 1”: “TOMPKINS, ISRAEL (X), Saratoga, Albany Co., N. Y. With five other men, escaped to join Burgoyne’s Army at Fort Edward; served in Maj. Jessup’s Corps until the capitulation, when he came to Canada and served with Corps until their reduction. Was honorably discharged though he has not got his certificate. Memorial 25 Feb. 1786 Sorel. Claim; Cow and crops.

From the 1905 Ontario Archives report: “N. C. February 9. (49) 1091. Claim of ISRAEL TOMPKINS, late of Saratoga. Claimt. says: He was at Isle au Noix in the Fall of ’83. Is a nat. of A. Lived at Stillwater. Joined Genl. Burgoyne. Served all the war. Produces Major Jessup’s Certificate to his services. Had a Cow and Calf on the lands of John Aurie. Claimt. had the land on shares with him. Had Corn & Flax 7 c sown. Claimt came away before harvest.”

From L. D. S.: Rebecca Brown’s Baptism was at William Henry, Quebec, Christ Church, by John Doty, Rector, and was of Hannah Campbell, Rebecca Brown and Dorothy Brown, adults. Witnessed by Mr. Campbell and widow Brown on 09, Nov, 1784. Same film shows MARRIAGE; “09, Nov, 1785, Israel Tompkins, farmer, to Rebecca Brown, spinster, both of this parish; by publishment.”

Any help adding information about Israel Tompkins is much appreciated.

…Loren G. Kelly {Sirkelly55 AT toast DOT net}