“Loyalist Trails” 2007-43: November 4, 2007

In this issue:
Jack Patterson, Unsung Loyalist Hero, by Stephen Davidson
An Act to Prevent the Further Introduction of Slaves [into Upper Canada]
Saint John 225 Loyalist Conference: Pre-Conference Event to Fredericton or King’s Landing
“Flamelocks and Flames” by Lucille Graf
Riding the Rail: From Military Punishment?
Preservation Tips for Family Records
New postings on the UELAC Website
Last Post: Clarence Taylor, Regina Branch
Last Post: Muriel Tuford UE, Col. John Butler Branch
      + Information on the Robert Wilkerson Family


Jack Patterson, Unsung Loyalist Hero, by Stephen Davidson

What happened to most Black Loyalists after their arrival in British North America is usually completely unknown. However, one teenager who came to New Brunswick in 1783 became the key player in capturing of one of that province’s most notorious criminals.

Jack Patterson’s story started out like that of most of the 3,000 Black Loyalists who left the United States at the end of the American Revolution. He sailed on the Generous Friends, an evacuation ship chartered to take loyalist refugees to the mouth of the St. John River.

Three of the ship’s nine black passengers were with the loyalist Charles Looseley. A 28 year-old man was listed as Looseley’s “property”. A 26 year old woman had escaped slavery in Brooklyn, had received her freedom for serving the British forces, and was now Looseley’s hired help.

The youngest black who travelled with Looseley was a 15 year-old named John (Jack) Patterson. The Book of Negroes, which recorded Jack’s circumstances, even gives a hint as to his appearance. He was of mixed parentage and described as “a fine boy”.

Although he was born a free black, Jack had indentured himself to Looseley just before The Good Friends set sail from New York City. The practice of leasing one’s labour to an employer for a set number of years in exchange for food, shelter, and the chance to learn a trade was a common practice in the colonial period. Indenture was a way that the poor could take advantage of opportunities beyond their financial reach — and Jack had his heart set on a better life.

The teenager’s fate in New Brunswick would have been completely lost to history except for the fact that at the age of 46, Patterson discovered the province’s most wanted criminal hiding on his property.

In the summer of 1814, a young Englishman named Henry Smith was convicted of horse stealing and put in the Kings County prison until the date of his hanging. Smith’s skills as an escape artist, puppeteer, and fortune teller were such that he became the subject of a book written by the local sheriff, Walter Bates. Despite the watchful eyes of both sheriff and jailer, Henry Smith escaped his prison and made his way north to cross into the United States. However, he was apprehended just before he reached the border.

Escaping his captors, Smith once again stole a horse. Within a few days he had discovered a hiding place (described by Bates as a “barrack”) just two miles outside of Fredericton. As it turned out, Smith had hidden himself and his horse in the small barn where the Black Loyalist Jack Patterson stored his hay.

At first Smith’s presence in Patterson’s barrack went unnoticed by the former indented servant. The Englishman rode into Fredericton each night, boldly stole what valuables he could find, and then hid himself beneath hay in Patterson’s small barn during the day. (Smith brazenly stole the coats of guests dining with the provincial attorney-general!) Not only did Patterson’s hay provide cover for Smith during the day, it was a free meal for his stolen horse.

However, Patterson eventually paid a visit to his hay barn where he noticed that things were not as he had left them. Moving a pile of hay to one side, Patterson found a sleeping man in a white scarf. Smith claimed that he was from the Kennebecasis River and was hoping to buy land near Fredericton. He apologized profusely to the black man for any harm done to his hay.

Suspicious, Patterson decided for the moment to take Smith at his word, and let him stay in the barn. But the black farmer kept an eye on his strange guest. Later, Patterson spied Smith sneaking out of the barrack’s window and heading for the woods. The Black Loyalist was now convinced that his suspicious visitor was an army deserter. Quickly he formed his neighbours into a posse, and went off in pursuit of Smith. Patterson captured the fugitive, and delivered him to the sheriff in Fredericton.

Patterson noted that Smith was not wearing his white scarf when he was arrested, so the Black Loyalist returned to his barrack to see if it had been left behind in the hay. There, to his amazement, Patterson discovered the coats that Smith had stolen from the attorney-general’s dinner guests. When everything was returned to its proper owners, the Frederiction judge ordered Smith handed over to Walter Bates, the Kings County sheriff. Until Bates arrived, the judge wisely shackled Smith in handcuffs and an iron collar that was secured by a ten-foot chain.

Bates arrived by sloop to take Henry Smith back to Kingston, a voyage of sixty miles. Jack Patterson, the black farmer who found and arrested Smith, accompanied Bates, holding Smith’s chain throughout the entire journey. By midnight on October 30th, Bates had secured Smith in the county jail and was thanking Jack Patterson for catching the fugitive prisoner and serving as his guard.

The Black Loyalist’s role in recapturing Henry Smith earned him a place in Walter Bates’ book, The Mysterious Stranger, the first international best-seller to be written by a loyalist. The black teenager who had his name recorded in The Book of Negroes in 1783 last appeared in the public records of 1816. The York County Roll Book notes that John Patterson was a labourer that year. For a Black Loyalist to have his name noted once is significant; the fact that we know anything else after Jack Patterson received his freedom is truly remarkable.

An Act to Prevent the Further Introduction of Slaves [into Upper Canada]

On Wednesday, March 21st, 1793 Peter Martin appeared before members of the Executive Council: Lt.-Gov. John Graves Simcoe, Chief Justice William Osgoode and Hon. Peter Russell, a prominent citizen who owned slaves. Martin informed the Council that a violent outrage had occurred to an African-Canadian woman named Chloe Cooley who worked for him. According to Martin, a resident of Queenston named William Vrooman, Chloe’s master, decided to sell Chloe to someone in New York state. When she resisted leaving the province, Vrooman forcibly transported her across the Niagara River to her new owner. Martin said he knew of another person who had suffered a similar fate and he reported hearing that several other slave owners in the area intended doing the same thing with their slaves. A concerned Simcoe resolved that steps would be taken immediately to prevent further acts of this nature. Council directed the attorney general to prosecute the man who had sold Chloe Cooley, however, both Simcoe and his Attorney General, John White, knew that under the existing law, Vrooman was acting within his rights and there was little that could be done.

Simcoe decided to act to rid the colony of this great evil. While Simcoe’s loyal supporter in the Assembly, Attorney-General John White, piloted the government-sponsored legislation through the legislature, Simcoe was the driving force behind it. He was the only person in the colony with the authority to initiate such legislation. White introduced the bill in the second session of the first Parliament, which opened in Newark on Friday, May 31st, 1793. Chapter VII was titled “An Act to prevent the further introduction of Slaves and to limit the term of contracts for servitude within this Province.”

Peter Martin was a black soldier in The Butler’s Rangers.

The entire article can be found here.

…Charles Thompson

Saint John 225 Loyalist Conference: Pre-Conference Event to Fredericton or King’s Landing

The UELAC Conference, hosted by New Brunswick Branch, will be held in Saint John NB July 10-13, 2008

There will be a pre-conference visit to Fredericton or King’s Landing on Thursday, July 10th that will be of interest to many. A bus holding 55 attendees who register for the pre-conference event will take members to Fredericton and drop those off who wish to spend the day at the New Brunswick Provincial Archives or the Loyalist Centre at the University of New Brunswick. From Fredericton the bus will proceed to King’s Landing, an historic village on the Saint John River that was built from homes and businesses that were displaced by the building of the Mactaquac Power Dam. There will be a conducted tour of the village and a high tea at the King’s Head Inn in the Village.

At end of the visit, the bus will return to the Hilton Hotel in Saint John in time for the official opening of the conference which will take place in the Kennebecasis Room and Veranda overlooking Market Slipp where our ancestors landed. You may walk down the stairs and dip your hand in the ocean.

As the number is limited to 55, if you are interested in the visit to King’s Landing, please register as soon as possible – details in the Fall Gazette. Note that participating in this pre-conference event will require you to arrive at least a day early.

“Flamelocks and Flames” by Lucille Graf

Discovered an interesting work of fiction titled “Flamelocks and Flames” set in a background of Revolutionary War history. Trials and tribulations are set forth in the novel between friends and neighbors in the Mohawk Valley, dividing them between Loyalist and Patriot persuasions.

Recently at the Western Frontier Symposium held at the Fulton-Montgomery Community College located between Amsterdam and Johnstown, New York, had the pleasure of meeting Lucille Graf, who has published fiction and nonfiction about historical events in the Mohawk Valley of Central New York. Her work has appeared in national and local magazines and newspapers. She recently published her first historical novel titled “Flintlocks and Flames”.

“Flintlocks and Flames” deals with the trials and tribulations of three friends prior to, and during the years 1775 to 1781. In 1765, Lauri Howell, Jason Dayemon, and Walter Butler formed a bond, a bond so strong it was not broken until 1781 when Walter Butler was killed in a skirmish beween British forces under the command of Major John Ross, backed up by Butler’s Rangers at West Canada Creek; and patriot forces under the command of Colonel Marinus Willett. An action occurring eleven days after Cornwallis surrendered. It is set against a background in which one becomes familiar with the lives and relationships of the Johnson family, the Butler family and others to include the different cultures that existed with the English, the Palatines and Native Americans. Military actions include the Battle of Oriskany.

The historical novel is published by PUBLISHAMERICA, LLLP, Baltimore, Md; and is listed as: ISBN I-4241-2292-9.

…Bill Glidden

Riding the Rail: From Military Punishment?

The Calgary Branch hosted the Prairie Regional meeting the last weekend of October. An enjoyable Saturday afternoon was spent at the Glenbow Museum. One display among a large presentation of the military caught my attention. It dealt with military discipline and I quote:

Discipline – In large military forces, discipline has always been necessary to train the warrior to use his weapons effectively, to move and fight in massed formations, and to keep him from running during battle.

Prior to the 20th century, desertion was a major problem in most military and naval forces. The rank and file suffered from austere service conditions, inadequate food, low pay and boredom.

Punishment ­ Until the Second World War, the penalty for desertion in battle was death. During the First World War, 25 Canadian soldiers were executed for desertion. In the British Army of the early 19th century, other offenses carried either the death penalty or transportation for life to a posting in such unhealthy colonies as East Africa or the West Indies.

These offenses included:

– violence to a superior

– disobedience

– giving false alarms

– quitting or sleeping on post

– embezzlement

For minor offenses, punishment in most European armies included imprisonment, flogging, running the gauntlet or riding the wooden horse, where the offender was forced to sit astride a sharp backed wooden horse for several hours, sometime with weights tied to his ankles.

Riding the wooden horse made me wonder if riding the rail, much used by the rebel colonists against the loyalists, was an adaptation of that punishment. That punishment and tar and feathering certainly convinced the undecided to join the rebel cause.

…Logan W. Bjarnason UE

Preservation Tips for Family Records

For hints and tips about storing and preserving all your family treasurers, from photographs to furniture, visit this Library of Congress website.

…Audrey Fox, Toronto

New postings on the UELAC Website

November 2: New entries in the Loyalist Monuments section describe the plaque to Aeneas Shaw in Toronto ON.

November 1: New entries in the Loyalist Monuments section describe the Loyalist Landing plaque and Loyalist Memorial Church, both in Adolphustown ON.

October 31: Read a book review of Charlotte by Janet Lunn.

October 30: New or expanded entries in the Loyalist Monuments section describe monuments and plaques in Dartmouth, Shelburne and Birchtown, Nova Scotia.

Last Post: Clarence Taylor, Regina Branch

The Regina Branch is saddened with the loss of long time member Clarence Taylor. Clarence and Doris farmed for many years on the outskirts of Regina. He was President of the Regina Old Timers Association. Although he had no Loyalist ancestor, Clarence was a valuable member of the Regina Branch UELAC and could always be counted on for any of our events. Clarence seemed to know everyone in the province and as a history buff, he was always doing research for another historical book about people and places around Regina, many of which are published by the Old Timers Association. Many of you will remember him as the tour guide for the Farm Tour of the Westward Ho Conference 2005.

On Monday, October 29, 2007 Clarence Louis Taylor passed away at the age of 88 years. Predeceased by his wife, Doris October 23, 2003; daughter, Nancy; sister Betty Held. Clarence is survived by his son, Barry (Terry) of Medicine Hat anf family, sister Dorothy (Wally) Mickleborough of Caronport; three brothers, Ed (Audrey) of Rapid City, U.S.A., Bert (Vionne) of Pier, U.S.A., Bill (Ruth) of Regina; as well as many loved nieces and nephews. Online book of condolences may be signed here.

[obit from the Regina Leader Post]

…Pat Adair

Last Post: Muriel Tuford UE, Col. John Butler Branch

It is with sadness that we announce the death of our member Muriel Tufford UE at the age of 94. After retirement from teaching in Brantford in 1978 Muriel returned to the family farm in Beamsville owned by Tuffords since the early 1800’s, where she and her brother Malcolm farmed the 15 acre vineyard. With help from her family and neighbours Muriel enjoyed life there until 2006, when she moved to the United Mennonite Home in Vineland.

Muriel will be lovingly remembered and sadly missed by her family and friends. Muriel’s sister Margaret Romagnoli and her children Dale, David, Sandra, Sharon and Susan are members of Colonel John Butler Niagara Branch. Their Loyalist ancestor is John Freel.

…Bev Craig


Information on the Robert Wilkerson Family

The Wilkerson I am most interested in is Robert Wilkerson. He was born in 1785, died July 21st 1843, and married about 1811 to Mary Ball UEL, b.May 31st 1793, died July 19th 1877. Her parents were Jacob Ball Jr. and Mary Magdalene Zelloner.

Robert Wilkerson’s parents’ names were Robert and Elizabeth.

Robert and Mary had 10 children, John Ball, Jacob, Catherine Elizabeth, Henry Lewis, George Augustus, Robert Morgan, Charity Matilda, Mary Margaret, Eliza Ann and Mary Jane.

Robertt, my Wilkerson ancestor, came from Pennsylvania and I think they were UEL. I hope somebody can help me prove it!

Wilkerson is also spelled Wilkinson or Wilkenson. Willing to share information and look forward to hearing from someone soon, maybe even meet some new relatives!

…Bryan J. Wilkerson {bjvwguy68 AT 295 DOT ca}