“Loyalist Trails” 2007-36: September 16, 2007

In this issue:
David George: Black Loyalist, Baptist Pioneer, Nation Founder (Part Two), by Stephen Davidson
History Made At Fort Ticonderoga
Gaspé Landmark Saved: Historic Kempffer House Gets a Makeover and a New Lease on Life, by Dan Pinese
Loyalists! Rally to the Cause! The Friends of the Loyalist Collection at Brock University
Loyalist Cookbooks
King’s Orange Rangers
Last Post: Mildred Leitch UE
      + Information on Lt.Francis Fraser and Diadoma Morris
      + Drawings of Black Loyalists and Others for a TV Documentary
      + Descendants of Aeneas Shaw


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

In December 1782, the Black Loyalist David George arrived in Halifax with fellow refugees from Virginia. Forty years of life as a slave were now over. What any Black Loyalist chose to do with this newfound freedom would certainly be an indicator of that person’s deepest dreams and aspirations. Although David George had mended deer skins, been a butcher, and worked as a farm labourer, his greatest desire upon reaching Nova Scotia was to preach. By the spring of 1783, George still had not been able to minister to a Baptist congregation. When he heard of the large number of Black Loyalists that had settled in Shelburne, he was given permission to join them.

By singing hymns in the Shelburne woods, George gathered a crowd of curious onlookers. “The Black people came far and near, it was so new to them. I kept on so every night in the week, and appointed a meeting for the first Lord’s day…and a great number of white and black people came..”

George was thrilled at the positive response to his preaching, a feeling not shared by everyone. He was about to be evicted from Shelburne when a white man who knew him in Savannah allowed George to build a house on his land. People flocked to hear him preach.

When Governor Parr came to visit Shelburne, he brought with him George’s wife Phillis and their three children. George received provisions and a small portion of land to farm. By Christmas, George had baptized new believers and formed a congregation. In the months that followed, “worldly blacks” as well as members of George’s congregation began to construct a church building. By the summer — although there were no seats, pulpit, or flooring– the new Baptists of Shelburne had their house of worship. This was first Baptist congregation comprised of loyalists in the Maritimes.

What is noteworthy is that George’s church was not just made up of Black Loyalists, indentured servants, and slaves. A couple from London, England had joined the church. Another white husband and wife who had been changed by George’s ministry asked him to preach in their home in nearby Jones Harbour. George was then invited to preach to people in the white settlement of Liverpool.

George was not without his opponents. A fight almost broke out at one of his baptisms. Rioters in Shelburne, angry over their loss of income due to cheap African labour, overturned Black Loyalist houses. They would have burned George’s church had not the ringleader of the mob prevented it. Persecution escalated to the point where George and his family moved to nearby Birchtown, the largest community of free blacks in North America. Within months, persecution from other Black Loyalists drove the George family back to Shelburne where they made the church building their home.

But this did not dampen David George’s enthusiasm to preach. He was called to speak at Ragged Island, twenty miles from Shelburne. When the Black Loyalists of Saint John, New Brunswick heard of the Virginian pastor, they invited him to make a two hundred mile journey to preach to them.

George’s sermons were appreciated by many, but there were those who did not want to see other denominations gain a foothold in the new colony. Opponents insisted that George get a license to preach. George made the hundred-mile journey up the St. John River on what his enemies felt was a mission doomed to failure. However, an old friend from George’s days in Charlestown personally introduced the pastor to the governor who subsequently gave George the freedom to preach throughout New Brunswick.

The Baptist preacher seems to have had inexhaustible energy. He immediately went on a circuit, preaching in Halifax, Horton in the Annapolis Valley, and then Saint John once again. Wherever he spoke, George made sure that there was an elder appointed to look after the new congregation. He saw to it that the new churches would live and grow in his absence.

In the fall of 1790, George preached in the Black Loyalist community of Preston, just east of Dartmouth. As his ship made its way back to Shelburne, it was blown off course. George suffered frostbite in both legs right up to his knees. As he slowly recovered over the winter, he was taken to his services in a sled pulled by faithful church members.

Within just nine years, David George’s determination had been instrumental in the growth of the Baptist church in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. No other loyalist pastor travelled so far or had such a far-ranging impact. Had George died in the spring of 1791, he would have made his mark in loyalist history given what he had accomplished to that point.

However, August 1791 was to be a significant month in loyalist history. Thomas Peters, a Black Loyalist soldier during the Revolution, returned to the Maritimes to share astounding news. Any free blacks who wished to found a colony in western Africa would be taken there without charge by the Sierra Leone Company of England. This hope of a new promised land completely captured the imagination of David George. It was a dream that would see him become one of the founders of a new loyalist colony.

(The final chapter of the life of David George, Black Loyalist, will be told in the next edition of Loyalist Trails.)

…Stephen Davidson

History Made At Fort Ticonderoga

A large Revolutionary War reenactment was staged at picturesque Fort Ticonderoga in the former Colony of New York on the Sep. 8th weekend.

I had the pleasure of attending this reenactment, (and it is perhaps no surprise that I was there), but it was much more than just a another weekend with muskets. The command of the King’s Royal Yorkers was assumed by Reg James as Gavin Watt retired from that position in a formal ceremony on the Sunday. Gavin was instrumental in founding this reenacted regiment in 1975 and for an astonishing thirty-two years he has commanded, guided, and inspired the troops, and of course educated UELAC members and the public about the Loyalists. Unparalleled dedication!

Gavin is also known for his scholarly must-read books about the Revolutionary War in the Mohawk Valley, and has been an inspiring speaker at many UELAC events. We also appreciate that he is an Honorary Vice-President of the UELAC.

Retirement for Gavin does not mean leaving reenacting, but a chance to fall back into the lines and fire the musket at any Rebel who dares to venture on to the field of battle.

All the best, Gavin.

…Peter W. Johnson UE, President, UELAC

Gaspé Landmark Saved: Historic Kempffer House Gets a Makeover and a New Lease on Life, by Dan Pinese

“New Carlisle, a small community on Quebec’s Gaspé region, will soon the home to a newly preserved heritage site. The restoration of the house is reaching completion eight years after it was scheduled to be torn down. Originally built in 1784 by Lieutenant Frederick Ludwig (Luis) Kempffer, one of the area’s first Loyalist settlers, and rebuilt by his descendants in 1868, the Kempffer. The two-story house will provide conference spaces, tourist information art exhibition space, and permanent display of local photographs and artifacts.

House is an example of New Carlisle’s unique blend of American, French, and British architecture. The building saved thanks to enthusiastic volunteers who founded Heritage New Carlisle, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting, promoting, and restoring the social, cultural, and architectural heritage of the town. – Historic Kempffer House Gets a makeover and new lease on life.

One third of the cost was funded by the community with two-thirds coming from the MFIF a provincial and federal government cost-sharing initiative that helps municipal projects in Quebec. It is administered by Quebec’s Ministère des Affaires municipals et des Regions.”

…Quebec Heritage News July/August 2007, submitted by Margaret Carter UE

Loyalists! Rally to the Cause! The Friends of the Loyalist Collection at Brock University

The Friends of the Loyalist Collection at Brock University, are very close to purchasing the Upper Canada (323 reels) and New Brunswick Land Petitions, (24 reels) which in all amounts to $18994.00, for the Collection at Brock University.

Unfortunately our bank account is about $2000.00 short of this amount. If only 20 people could see fit to donate $100.00 we could have this added to the collection by year end.

For each $100.00 we will place your name as a donor on a box of microfilm, or you could provide an alternate name for a loved one as a birthday or Christmas Gift or in Memoriam. We will send an appropriate Loyalist Greeting Card and an income tax receipt.

Our web page has been updated to accept online donations directly using “Paypal”, or through “Canada Helps”, and of course cheques are always most welcome.

…Edward Scott UE, Chairman

Loyalist Cookbooks

I had a long talk with Dorothy Duncan last night, in small part about loyalist food. She shares my opinion of the “loyalist” cookbooks which are not about loyalist food — just what loyalist descendants cooked, or cooked now. Her comment on loyalist food is: “starvation”! There really is very little that can be said about loyalist food.

…Mary F. Williamson UE

King’s Orange Rangers

On your Military Units page you might want to include a link for the loyalist King’s Orange Rangers.

Captain Howard’s company of the King’s Orange Rangers, a Royal Provincial Regiment, was stationed in Liverpool Nova Scotia during the American Revolution to defend the town from American Privateers. In addition to supplying the town with a garrison the KOR frequently served as marines aboard Liverpool’s privateer vessels when searching for American privateers reported along Nova Scotia’s southwestern coast.

…Ron Hall, Private soldier, KOR

Last Post: Mildred Leitch UE

At the Woodland Villa in Long Sault on Sat. Sept. 8, 2007. Mildred (Coté) Leitch (former teacher, bookkeeper, business owner, past District Grand Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star and past president of the S.D.& G. United Empire Loyalists); formerly of Cornwall; age 96 years. Beloved wife of the late Douglas Leitch. Cherished aunt of David, Bruce, Garry Hal Coté and Laurel Poirier all of Cornwall. Dear sister-in-law of Dorothy and Eileen Coté both of Cornwall. Dear daughter of the late Hermain Coté and the late Laurel Dingwall. Predeceased by two brothers Hermain and Harold Coté.

Mildred was a member of the St. Lawrence Branch, where she was Corresponding Secretary 77-79 on the first executive of the new branch, served as various VP’s until serving as President & Chaplain 83-85, Past President & Chaplain 85-87, Director, Treasurer & Chaplain 87-89, and Director, Chaplain 89-02

…Michael Eamer, St. Lawrence Branch


Information on Lt. Francis Fraser and Diadoma Morris

FRASER/MORRIS: Seek parents/ancestry for Loyalist Lt.Francis Fraser and Diadoma Morris who married on 26 Jan, 1769 in Church of England Ceremony, Woodbridge, N.J. He served in 3rd N.J. Volunteers; captured late ’77, and exchanged. Died 20 April 1823, aged 89. Received 1784 Land-grant, Fraserville (Parrsboro), Nova Scotia. Where was he born? And was Luther(an) Morris who served in his Company and also removed to Parrsboro a brother of Diadoma?

…Lee Nettnin, Champaign, IL {leenettnin AT mindspring DOT com} how do I email Lee?

Drawings of Black Loyalists and Others for a TV Documentary

I am working on an episode of a documentary series called “Who Do You Think You Are?”, which will be aired by CBC Television, and which focuses on the family tree of Canadian opera singer, Measha Brueggergosman. I am looking for:

– Images of British troops in the New York area circa 1779-1783 ( I have found some but most are pre 1779)

– Drawings of Black men or women attached to the British in New York circa 1778.

– Images of Black Loyalists in the Shelburne area of Nova Scotia and other images from the Shelburne area years following the American Revolution ( I have a few images)

I have already been in touch with the Black Loyalist Heritage Society in Shelburne, and also with the Nova Scotia Archives.

Any images have to be available in broadcast quality resolution. I have found some images in various archives (including online databases) but would be happy to find more. Sources could be anything, including books, pamphlets etc.

I certainly appreciate any help, suggestions, direction.

…Kathie McKenna, My History Productions, {kathie AT bap DOT ca} or 416-979-0676, ext. 256 in Toronto

Descendants of Aeneas Shaw

On November 8, 1969 a plaque was unveiled in Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, in honour of my 4th Great Grandfather Major General The Honourable Aeneas Shaw,U.E. The address was given by Dr.J.G. Dillane, Dominion President, U.E.L.A.C. The plaque was sponsored by U.E.L.A.C. and erected by the Archaeological and Historical sites of Ontario. The Great Great Grandson of General Shaw, Mr.George Shaw spoke at the dedication.

The plaque (see picture) reads as follows:

Aeneas Shaw, a son of Aeneas, 9th Chief of Clan Ay, was born at Tordarroch, near Inverness, Scotland. A Loyalist, he served in the Queen’s Rangers during the American Revolution, and later settled in what is now New Brunswick. Commissioned in the reorganized Queen’s Rangers, he went to Quebec in 1792 and from there led the Rangers’ first division to Upper Canada. The following year he settled at York (now Toronto) and later built a house in this vicinity. He was appointed to the Executive and Legislative Councils in 1794. In 1807 he became Adjutant-General of Militia, was promoted Major-General in 1811, and served in the War of 1812. He died at York, February 6, 1814.

I am hoping to connect with other descendants of the General so as to both add to and share my research of this great servant of the Empire.

…Richard Shaw {divein24 AT sympatico DOT ca}