“Loyalist Trails” 2007-42: October 28, 2007

In this issue:
Lifetimes in Mere Sentences: Black Loyalists in the Book of Negroes, by Stephen Davidson
Saint John 225 Loyalist Conference July 10 – 13, 2008
New Holiday Should Mark Ontario’s Roots: Letters to the Editor, Oct. 13 (Toronto Star)
Loyalists Rally to the Cause Campaign!!
A New Honour For Eleanor Moult UE
Century Family Farm Award
“Follow the Waterdown Trail”: Annual Flamborough Heritage Book Fair Nov. 10
Additions to the Loyalist Directory: Jarvis, Jones, Read, Lyons
The United Church Archives Finds a New Home
Surprise Handout at the 2007 Western Frontier Symposium
      + Names of Ships Accompanying Fleet from New York to Nova Scotia
      + Dougald MacMillan (From Ewen MacMillan Query)


Lifetimes in Mere Sentences: Black Loyalists in the Book of Negroes, by Stephen Davidson

Although it was compiled to be an official record of the American Revolution’s African refugees in the event that they might later be considered stolen patriot property, The Book of Negroes is a compelling primary source for anyone interested in loyalist history. As fleets of ships evacuated some 30,000 white loyalists from the port of New York between April and October of 1783, the British government made note of almost 3,000 blacks who sailed with the Revolution’s refugees.
The Book of Negroes recorded the names of both Black Loyalists and slaves as well as brief physical descriptions, their places of origin, and –sometimes– the circumstances that brought them to New York City. The entries clearly reflect the racism of the 18th century. However, by taking the time to make an imaginative and compassionate reading of The Book of Negroes’ entries, these sentence-length descriptions of the Africans who sailed to British North America, one receives fascinating insights into what these people endured.
A 24 year-old free mulatto woman named Elizabeth Black was from Madagascar originally, having been an indented servant of a Mrs. Courtland for the previous 15 years of her life. Miss Black sailed to Parrtown on the Aurora. A fellow passenger on that ship was Bob Stafford, a 20 year-old Virginian who had been freed from his master by a party of Royal Navy sailors in 1779. The British Army had seized John Vans in Pennsylvania in 1777, but he became a slave of a Sam Barber. However, eight months before the Aurora sailed, Vans was given his freedom. How he came to have a blind right eye is not recorded. A 12 year-old girl named Joyce had lived as a slave to James Moore for half her life, but she was numbered among the Black Loyalists because her father had died in the king’s service.
Many a Black Loyalist boarded an evacuation ship clutching a Birch certificate, the official document that recognized their freedom for having served with the British forces for at least one year. Among the Africans on the Ariel was 25 year-old Sam Brothers, his wife Betsy and their two “stout and healthy” children. The Brothers family, like the overwhelming number of Black Loyalists, were from Virginia.
On board the Spencer was Sarah Fox, a woman who purchased her own freedom from her master in Antigua. A fellow passenger was 27 year-old Isaac Core. He had once been a slave of William Mott of Long Island, but because Mott was a Quaker, he gave Core his freedom.
The Lady’s Adventure carried Black Loyalists with a variety of wartime experiences. 21 year-old Dick Jackson had been a trumpeter with the British forces. At least two men had First Nation members as one of their parents. William Hanson of Maryland became a free man after he was taken by a British armed boat in 1782 and then served his liberators. Thomas Morgan of Connecticut had a lame arm, but managed to run away from his master and earn a Birch certificate. James Anthony was abandoned by his master when the latter fled to England. 38 year-old Samuel Edmond was noted as being “remarkably tall”. He had been the slave of Liven Ballad for the first 21 years of his life. George Roberts was a free born African, but he was “totally ignorant of the place of his birth”. This 30 year-old had also came aboard the Lady’s Adventure with a Birch certificate.
Other sentence-descriptions hold the potential for a book’s worth of story. John Tyny was a 19 year-old who had been belonged to a Colonel Tyng , a “slave bred in his service”. James, a 25 year-old Georgian, was the cook on board the Two Sisters, the loyalist ship whose journey was recorded by Sarah Frost of Connecticut. Nine year-old Andrew sailed aboard the King George. He was in the company of Lt. Cox who had found him wandering in the woods of North Carolina.
Three Africans tried to board the Mars which was bound for the mouth of the St. John River. But 27 year-old Mingo and his 26 year-old wife, Diana, would never enjoy freedom. They and their 18 month old daughter Phebe were “returned to owner” in Flushing, Long Island.
Not all of the stories in The Book of Negroes were tragic ones. Caesar Closs had once been enslaved in New Jersey until he ran away in 1781. He earned a Birch certificate and eventually settled in Saint John, New Brunswick as a labourer. By the time he died in 1797, Closs had amassed enough of an estate that it had to be processed in the province’s probate records.
Another Black Loyalist, Jack Patterson, came to New Brunswick as an indentured servant, but later acquired his own farm along the St. John River. The story of how Jack Patterson captured the notorious Henry More Smith ( the subject of Walter Bates’ best-selling book, The Mysterious Stranger) will be told in a forthcoming issue of Loyalist Trails.
For more information, visit the Black Loyalist Heritage Society Website.

…Stephen Davidson, member of a team of scholars at UNB that is designing a website to tell the story of the Black Loyalists who settled in New Brunswick to school children

Saint John 225th Loyalist Conference, July 10 – 13, 2008

The New Brunswick Branch of the UELAC looks forward to celebrating in 2008 the 225th anniversary of the Landing of the Loyalists from the evacuation of military quarters and refugee camp in New York City. Although there will be many celebrations throughout the Atlantic provinces, we especially look forward to welcoming you to the UELAC conference and annual meeting.

Our Conference will feature a number of unique elements. The first unique feature is the time of year, with the Conference being held in July. The Conference Centre is the Hilton Hotel, built on the site where our Loyalist ancestors landed. We will go by bus and cross the Kennebecasis River on a modern cable ferry for the closing event in the Loyalist Church built in 1789 in Kingston on the Kingston Peninsula.

If anyone is interested in travelling by train to the conference, we suggest you contact VIA RAIL immediately if you wish the best rates. It appears that a senior and companion can travel by train, including a bedroom for two and meals for $1,262.00 return from Toronto or $ 973.00 from Montreal. These rates will increase sometime in November when the 2008 rates are set, and a limited number have been set aside for seniors, so act now. The train drops you off in Moncton and a bus, arranged by VIA and cost included in the rain fare, will take you to Saint John. (The travel by train option was noted by David Ellsworth – thanks David)

…Jim McKenzie, RVP Atlantic Region

New Holiday Should Mark Ontario’s Roots: Letters to the Editor, Oct. 13 (Toronto Star)

I agree with the letter writers who are not keen on a Family Day holiday, but for a different reason; I object to the name. It would be more meaningful if it were called Loyalist Day. The United Empire Loyalists – an estimated 90,000 to 100,000 of them – actually founded what is today Ontario and they performed an invaluable role in the War of 1812, a role without which there might well be no Canada today.

The Ontario Coat of Arms contains the Shield of Arms, a part of which consists of the Cross of St. George, emblematic of our heritage, and below the shield a banner reads in Latin: Ut incepit fidelis sic permanet. The translation is “Loyal she began, loyal she remains.”

If Journée Louis Riel is considered to be an appropriate name for Manitoba’s recently legislated February holiday, what harm is there in giving our new holiday a positive name, like Loyalist Day?

…Ron Bezant, Milton

Response Letter on Oct. 15

The idea of naming our new February holiday Loyalist Day instead of Family Day is an excellent idea because the Loyalists played a very large part in the history of our nation. However, each year since 1998, June 19 has been set aside by the provincial government to celebrate the United Empire Loyalists in Ontario.

…Daryl Currie UE, President, Gov. Simcoe Branch

Loyalists Rally to the Cause Campaign!!

The Friends of the Loyalist Collection at Brock University would like to thank those who contributed so generously to our plea for funds to Purchase the New Brunswick Land Petitions Microfilm.

As we mentioned previously we required $2000.00, and $1300.00 in donations has been received from individual members and one Branch to date, so we are over half way there.

It would really be great if we could order these films before year end. Please keep in mind also that any donation over $10.00 made before December 31, will earn you a credit on your 2007 income tax.

Donations can be made through Canada Helps, the Friends of the Loyalist Collection Web Page, or by mail to:

The Friends of the Loyalist Collection at Brock University,

P.O. Box 23041, RPO Seaway Mall, 800 Niagara Street, Welland, ON L3C 7E7

…Ed Scott UE

A New Honour For Eleanor Moult UE

Congratulations to Eleanor who was given recently a Life Membership in Quinte Branch, OGS. Eleanor is well known in genealogical circles, and she is the genealogist for Quinte Branch UELAC.

…Peter W. Johnson, President, UELAC

Century Family Farm Award

Congratulations to Gerry and Pat Adair UE as their Saskatchewan farm has been awarded a “Century Family Farm Award”. In this case the family connection to the property goes back to 1886. Well done!

…Peter W. Johnson, President, UELAC

“Follow the Waterdown Trail”: Annual Flamborough Heritage Book Fair Nov. 10

The stories and adventures of the United Empire Loyalists fleeing the Thirteen Colonies to a better life in the Canadas are recorded in many of the publications available from vendors at the 17th Annual Heritage Book Fair on November 10, 2007 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., sponsored by the Flamborough Heritage Society.

Many early pioneers did indeed “Follow the Waterdown Trail” the theme of this year’s event to be held at St. James United Church, 306 Parkside Drive in Waterdown, Ontario.

The “Antiques Guessing Game” will challenge your history skills as you enjoy the heritage music of fiddler Stephen Fuller and Periwinkle Rose. Re-enactors dressed in heritage clothing will add to the atmosphere as you leisurely browse through the many books and genealogy supplies available.

There will be a special presentation by Joseph Hollick author of “Waterfalls of Hamilton – A Natural Heritage” at 11:00 a.m. Dr. David Beasley will present on modern art at 1:00 p.m. Admission is free and there is ample free parking available.

Homemade lunches, a good cup of tea and a slice of pie will round out an enjoyable day of enlightenment and entertainment. Help us to keep the history alive! “Follow the Waterdown Trail”.

…Lynn Nicholson and Marilyn Hardsand UE

Additions to the Loyalist Directory: Jarvis, Jones, Read, Lyons

Information can be found here about the following, and many more:

– Jarvis, Stephen – from Bob Jarvis

– Jones, James – from Faye West who has a web site on her family

– Read, Moses – from Muriel Weadick

– Lyons, John – from Stephen Davidson.

In his early days in Redding, Connecticut John Lyon proved himself to be a shrewd farmer, adding to the property left to him by his father, running two separate farms, and renting out a house to tenants. His home was well furnished and as sturdily built as any to be found in Redding. John was also clearly a man of principle, stepping forward as the first in his town to declare his loyalty to Britain. Given the patriotic climate of the times, this was an act of bravery as well as conviction. His commitment to the empire was more than just a gut feeling or an embracing of his forefather’s traditions. John, with the other signers of the Redding Resolves, was able to articulate his loyalist convictions with intelligence and clarity. See a four page biographical sketch here.

The United Church Archives Finds a New Home

The United Church of Canada announced that in early 2008, The United Church Archives (Toronto) will be moving from the Victoria University campus at the University of Toronto to The United Church of Canada’s General Council Office at 3250 Bloor St. West in west-end Toronto.

Currently The United Church of Canada supports a regional network of archives situated in 10 different locations throughout Canada. In Ontario, the United Church Archives (Toronto) manages the records of the General Council, the antecedent denominations, and the records of Bay of Quinte, London, Hamilton, Manitou, and Toronto Conferences and their respective presbyteries and pastoral charges.

Public access at this new location will be facilitated by its proximity to major transportation routes, the Islington subway station, and on-site parking. The new location will also allow for more immediate access and integration of the archives collection into the life and work of the church’s national office and the church’s governing body, the General Council.

The archives will be housed in space presently used by The United Church’s in-house television and audiovisual production facility, Berkeley Studio, as this in-house function is being phased out by the end of 2007.

The project manager says that the studio space has great potential for storing archival records. The studio is self-contained, with a separate, existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit, allowing precise control of the environmental conditions of the storage vault. Immediately adjacent to the archives’ new vault are offices that will become the new reading room and staff workstations. Compact shelving will be installed to maximize archival storage capacity in the available floor space in a single vault. The new location will meet the institutional standards set by the Canadian Council of Archives and all the records of the General Council and the Ontario Conferences will be administered by professional staff.

Due to the move, the collection will be temporarily unavailable for research after December 21, 2007. The Archives plans to reopen its reading room to the public by Monday, May 5, 2008 at the 3250 Bloor St. West location.

During the transition, the church remains committed to providing continued access to all archival records related to residential schools, and will offer full co-operation with all aspects of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. This includes uninterrupted, open access to its archival records for the purposes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Conference archives outside of Ontario are not affected by this transition at the United Church Archives (Toronto). For up-to-date information about their programs, see the website.

Additional information with regard to the move of the United Church Archives (Toronto) will be posted to the archives website.

Surprise Handout at the 2007 Western Frontier Symposium

On Sunday morning, Oct 21, while at the 2007 Western Frontier Symposium, held at the Fulton-Montgomery Community College located between Amsterdam and Johnstown in the Mohawk Valley, attendees received a very nice surprise. Each participant at the two day symposium, covering the history and culture of the Mohawk Valley at the time of the American Revolution including an extensive look at the Johnson family, received a computer disk which was the Legacy Project in NYS undertaken by the NYS French & Indian War 250th Anniversary Commemoration Commission. The disk includes the many volumes of Sir William Johnson papers and other works at the NYS Library, over 16,000 pages with each word indexed. The initial cost of this project was estimated at $35,000 but finally completed at $17,000.

The initial copies distributed were a limited edition of give-aways to institutions, persons attending the symposium, libraries, et al. Also announced was a forthcoming project that will be an expanded version of the disk that will be available for purchase and will be made available to gift shops at historic sites and other locations.

As historian of the Valcour Battle Chapter, SAR, I plan to donate my copy to the history department at SUNY-Plattsburgh. In the Spring semester of 2008, SUNY-Plattsburgh is starting for the first time an experimental course of NYS history covering the Champlain Valley. The instructor is Dr. Kevin Dann, who has written extensively about the Champlain Valley. Many factors will determine whether the course becomes a regular offering.

We hope to invite the Saratoga Battle Chapter, SAR, the Saranac Chapter, DAR and the Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch of the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada, to join us in the presentation.

…Bill Glidden


Names of Ships Accompanying Fleet from New York to Nova Scotia

There were, we understand, two British ships that escorted the flotilla of boats carrying Loyalists from New York City to Nova Scotia in 1783. My 4xgr-grandfather Robert Atkinson was a ship’s carpenter on one of these vessels. He jumped ship, swam ashore and landed on the mainland. He apparently walked through the woods to Barrington where he met a fisherman named Richard Pinkham. He was taken by Mr Pinkham to Cape Sable Island where he settled. In 1785 he married Hannah Nickerson who had lived on the island for some time. Robert and Hannah had 13 children. The family lived Cape Sable Island up to my grandfather’s generation – he was born in 1882.

We have documented the history of our family from Robert and Hannah, but we do not know prior history such as where he came from in England. If we can determine the names of the accompanying ships, we can then go to British Naval records to get whatever information they have about him through the ship’s company lists.

Can anyone help by telling us how we might go about finding the names of those accompanying naval escort ships.

…Anne (Atkinson) Hancock {av_hancock AT yahoo DOT com}

Dougald MacMillan (From Ewen MacMillan Query)

Read your query in Loyalist Trails with intense interest. As you may know, I’ve researched the King’s Royal Regiment of New York for thirty years and have managed to turn up a great deal of information on the men who served. I am always trying to resolve questions and inconsistencies in the information.

Military records show your ancestor as Dugald McMullen. It is a tiny leap to move from Dugald to Dougald, but a bigger one to go from McMullen to MacMillan. On the settlement rolls, McMullen, McMullan, McMillan, McMullon are all shown, but with Scots and Scots-Irish names, I’ve found that assumptions sometimes bite back. Could you share any records to help show that Dougald MacMillan and Dugald McMullen are likely one and the same.

I note that a Hugh McMullen enlisted on the same date as Dugald. Would you have any information that relates them, as father and son, brothers, cousins?

Dugald was listed on an army roll as a deserter as of 01 August 1778. I always take that ‘factoid’ with a grain of salt, as so many men were sent off on scouting missions and failed to return. Someone just made up their minds that the man deserted, as no information came in to say otherwise. Have you any information about his death, where, when, maybe from a postwar petition by his wife or some other documentation.

As guidance, Hugh McMullen also was shown as a deserter. His date was given as 20 May 1778. However, in a different roll, he was shown as a “prisoner with the rebels”. Hugh was returned on KRR rolls in 1781 and 82 in Capt. Angus McDonell’s Company, but I have a suspicion that his name was being used as a contingent man to collect allowances and pay for various company expenses. This was allowed in the system of the time. By 1790, Hugh had settled at the Bay of Quinte according the Linda Herman, “Pioneers of Hastings County.”

I try to gather as much information as possible about the men and their immediate families. Dougald was married to Isabella and had a daughter Mary. Does anyone know the maiden name for Isabella? The marriage date?

Isabella and Mary were settled in Glengarry County by 1790. Always looking to add to the information and as Crowder’s book, “Early Ontario Settlers,” does not show their names, is there some information or records which show which township they were living in ie Charlottenburg, Cornwall, Osnabruk. Perhaps they were with family relatives which could tie back to the bigger picture?

Very exciting stuff. Hope you can help me.

…Gavin Watt (McGeachie), HVP UELAC