“Loyalist Trails” 2007-45: November 18, 2007

In this issue:
Justifiable Frustration: Compensation Claims of Loyalists, by Stephen Davidson
Down The Highway To Brockville and Col. Edward Jessup Branch
Looking for that special Christmas gift for the ‘hard to buy for’ person?
Col. John Butler Branch Marks Lyons Creek Cemetery, Niagara Falls
UELAC Honorary VP Todd Braisted Makes An Appearance On Television
Mrs. Braidwood Rode by Horse from Belleville to Washington to Deliver an Invitation
      + The Revolutionary War in Bergen County, by Todd Braisted
      + Than Ever Loyal Island: Staten Island and the American Revolution, by Phillip Pappas
      + Information about Captain Cyrenius Parke


Justifiable Frustration: Compensation Claims of Loyalists, by Stephen Davidson

There is a stereotype of the loyalist as a person of unwavering convictions, staying true to the British government throughout the darkest days of the American Revolution. What is missing from this portrait is the fact that most loyalists were a terribly frustrated lot. The crown was very particular about who was eligible for financial compensation following the revolution — and then it typically only gave out a third of what the loyalists claimed for the losses they sustained. It is little wonder that many loyalists felt that their devotion to the crown was unappreciated. The petition that Samuel Jarvis made to the lord commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury in November of 1785 is a good case in point.

The fourth of July, 1776 was perhaps the most significant day of the American Revolution; it was also Samuel Jarvis’s 31st birthday. He and his wife Elizabeth lived in Stamford, Connecticut. His family were all steadfast loyalists; a political stance that would forever put them at odds with their neighbours. Samuel’s father was imprisoned many times and had his house and farm plundered by patriots.

Samuel, like his brothers Munson and William, fled Stamford and joined the British forces across the Sound on Long Island. He was made a brigadier general and managed to recruit 30 men for a loyalist regiment. However the promised refund for the expenses Samuel Jarvis incurred in recruiting new troops was never given. In disgust Jarvis resigned, but he did not waiver in his loyalty. He took a job in the fall of 1776 in the British commissary department which supplied the king’s troops with food.

In the spring of 1778 rebels captured Jarvis and dragged him off to Poughkeepsie, New York where he was imprisoned in a 10 foot square prison with 14 other loyalists for six months. For three weeks he was chained by the hands and feet to a dungeon floor. Adding insult to injury, Jarvis had to pay for his own food or starve to death. As his trial date for high treason approached, Jarvis and his fellow prisoners were able to break through the prison wall. The escaping loyalists were fired upon, several were wounded, but Jarvis and one other managed to elude their captors, hiding in the woods and neighbouring barns for six weeks. Later in his petition to the crown, Jarvis described how he “suffered beyond description with hunger, wet and cold … not once enjoying the comfort of a bed.”

Meanwhile, Samuel’s father died a broken man in prison. The Stamford patriots took away the Jarvis family’s “common necessarys” as well as their property. How Elizabeth Jarvis fared during her husband’s absence is not noted in the petition.

By the winter of 1778 Jarvis had rejoined the staff of the commissariat in New York City. He noted that he received nothing more than “his small pay and allowance for fuel and provisions which was not adequate to the necessary expenses in a garrison town.” A year later the men in the commissariat were made into a corps. Jarvis became a lieutenant, had to buy his own uniform, and found himself doing a great deal of garrison duty in addition to his earlier responsibilities.

The winter of 1779 froze the city’s harbour to such an extent that the British forces on Staten Island were cut off from supplies. Jarvis was one of the officers who oversaw the brave journey of 102 food-laden sleighs over 12 miles of ice through patriot territory to relieve the soldiers on Staten Island. Despite some shots fired at them, the mission was a success.

As the British began to evacuate New York City four years later, Jarvis was put in charge of the public accounts and papers of the commissary general, eventually following him to England. Presumably, Elizabeth Jarvis travelled across the Atlantic with her husband.

But a Connecticut loyalist who had spent the last nine years of his life defending the crown in America was poorly treated even on British soil. By July 1785 the commissary general dismissed Jarvis, leaving him without any source of income. The loyalist who had lost his inheritance, had been imprisoned, and actually lost money while serving the crown was, in his words, now “reduced to the melancholy necessity of laying his unhappy circumstances” before the loyalist claims commission. He presumed “to hope from his length of services and sufferings” that he might be considered “to merit some attention.”

The success of Samuel Jarvis’s petition is unknown. He eventually moved to Saint John, New Brunswick where he became “a surveyor and searcher”. But it is highly unlikely that he ever got over the frustration of seeing loyalists so poorly compensated for all that their loyalty had cost them. His brother Munson, who also lived in Saint John, only received £250 of his £600 compensation claims. His sister Polly Dibblee, the widow of a suicide victim, was reduced to living in a mud-floored log cabin in Kingston. His brother John had become an alcoholic.

Life is not fair — a tragic fact of life for any loyalist who sought compensation from a government for which so much had been sacrificed. The letters “U.E.L” were a very small reward for thousands of people who, like Samuel Jarvis, had lost so much.

To read more loyalist compensation claims, visit personal.nbnet.nb.ca/halew/ and royalprovincial.com.

Down The Highway To Brockville and Col. Edward Jessup Branch

On Nov. 12th, Angela and I drove to Brockville for a visit with the Col. Edward Jessup Branch, and it was a most pleasant trip. My thanks to Branch President Myrtle Johnston UE and the Members for their hospitality and the invitation. On this occasion I delved into the 19th century history of Photography at their request. As an added benefit, the UEL meeting was held in combination with the Leeds & Grenville Branch of OGS. There were also UEL members present from Kingston Branch and St. Lawrence Branch.

…Peter W. Johnson UE, President, UELAC

Looking for that special Christmas gift for the ‘hard to buy for’ person?

Promotions UELAC may be able to help you. Why not consider the following:

– Ladies UEL Scarf or Men’s Tie – We have very few left and when they are gone they will not be re-ordered.

– Scarf $ 25.00

– Tie $ 30.00

– 2014 UEL Plates – Christmas Special, buy one at the regular price $ 40.00 and get a second plate at half price. This is an $80.00 value for $60.00 (Shipping is additional)

– Leather Coasters – a set of 4 with the Crossed Flags design $ 10.00

– Licence Plate Frame $ 5.00

Check out our online catalogue for a complete list of everything we sell. Prices include all taxes; shipping and Handling are additional.

…Noreen Stapley UE {gdandy AT iaw DOT on DOT ca}

Col. John Butler Branch Marks Lyons Creek Cemetery, Niagara Falls

On Sunday October 28th the Colonel John Butler Branch dedicated their Loyalists Burial Site plaque at Lyons Creek Cemetery, Schisler Road, Niagara Falls ( Crowland Twp.). The adjacent Church, Lyon’s Creek United Church, was celebrating its 221st Anniversary Service and we were invited to attend. The dedication took place after the service with descendants of the Loyalist Buchners, Henry Buchner Sr. and Captain Henry Buchner, in attendance. When those assembled were asked to raise their hands if they were descendants of Loyalists – not necessarily Buchner – at least half so signified. Crowland’s first Church, first white Cemetery, first school and first bridge over Lyon’s Creek were all on land owned and donated by the Buchners. After the dedication we enjoyed a time of fellowship and refreshment with the Church members.

To date Loyalists Burial Site plaques have been placed in:

– the Carl-Misener-Bald Cemetery in Port Robinson: John Carl UEL and Leonard Misener UEL;

– Plato Cemetery in Fort Erie: Christian Plato UEL and Peter James Plato UEL;

– Lyons Creek Cemetery in Niagara Falls: Capt. Henry Buchner UEL;

– Dell Cemetery in Niagara Falls: Henry Dell UEL; and

– the Warner Cemetery in Niagara-on-the-Lake: Christian Warner UEL, Joseph Clement UEL and McGregory Van Every UEL.

Plaques will be placed at Stamford Presbyterian Church during Heritage Days, 2008 and at the Steele Cemetery in Port Colborne next summer to coincide with the Doane Association’s Biennial Reunion in Canada.

At this time we are concentrating on the smaller, less known cemeteries some of which are on a Loyalist land grant. If you have a Loyalist Ancestor buried in the Niagara Peninsula, please let us know the name of the Loyalist and the name and location of the cemetery.

…Gord Dandy, Loyalist Burial Sites, {gdandy AT iaw DOT on DOT ca}

UELAC Honorary VP Todd Braisted Makes An Appearance On Television

Honorary VP Todd Braisted appeared on the genealogical TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” on November 15th. The show was tracing the ancestry of Retired Maj.Gen. Lewis MacKenzie whose Nova Scotia roots go back to Revolutionary War era. The show took his Wharton line back to Israel Wharton, a Quaker prior to the Revolution. During the War, Israel became a Loyalist, and lost his membershiip in the Quakers, who wanted nothing to do with either Loyalists or Rebels. He joined The British Legion, that famed regiment which saw extensive service in the South. Todd’s contribution was to provide information about the British Legion and documentation regarding Israel’s service. The television show was almost the only time I have ever seen Todd not in usual New Jersey Volunteers’ uniform.

…Peter W. Johnson, President UELAC

Mrs. Braidwood Rode by Horse from Belleville to Washington to Deliver an Invitation

Gwendolen Lazier Braidwood, who made history in 1924 when as a Belleville teen she travelled 1200 km (720 miles) on horseback to Washington D.C. to hand-deliver an invitation to U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, died recently and her funeral was held 17 Oct 2007. She was 102.

Gwendolen Lazer, when she was 19, rode from Belleville to Washington D.C. to present President Calvin Coolidge an invitation from the Canadian people to the 140th Anniversary of the landing of the United Empire Loyalists in Quinte.

Her account of this event (3 pages) as published in “When Years Would Count Us Old” a collection of stories profiling Prince Edward Country senior citizens and as reprinted in the Belleville Intelligencer on 20 Oct. 2007 following her funeral can be read here. This same event is referenced in the UEL Log Cabin Monument description.

[transcribed and submitted by Don Galna UE, Col. Edward Jessup Branch]


The Revolutionary War in Bergen County, by Todd Braisted

Todd has been busy in other areas too. Just published is the book, “The Revolutionary War in Bergen County” which includes Todd among twenty other authors. This account of the War in Northeastern New Jersey is, “from the perspectives of all involved”, which is undoubtedly a refeshing change. I am looking forward to reading it, and a review will appear in the Spring Gazette. In the meantime, if you desire a copy check out the History Press, and it retails for $22.99 US. The editor of the book is Carol Karels.

I belive Todd may have copies for sale as well – Todd Braisted {IVBNNJV AT aol DOT com}

…Peter W. Johnson, President UELAC

Than Ever Loyal Island: Staten Island and the American Revolution, by Phillip Pappas

New York: New York University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-8147-6724-5. Illustrations. Maps. Appendixes. Notes. Bibliography. Pp xi, 184.

In this slim volume (110 pages of text), Phillip Pappa has produced a micro-history that examines one community, Staten Island, that remained loyal to the Crown and was occupied by British troops for most of the Revolution. Initially, Staten Islanders did not oppose the Revolution, but they were content with their place in the British Empire. Harassment by the pro-revolutionary governments of New York and New Jersey, however, turned many Staten Islanders into Loyalists, who realized that their economic interests lay with the Crown. Staten Islanders did little to assist the revolutionaries and in fact some of them did provide provisions to the British. Fearful of losing their property to the Whigs, the islanders defied orders from General George Washington to move their livestock to the mainland. Instead, many of the colonists hid their animals in the woods of Staten Island.

Most Staten Islanders were pleased when the British drove the Continental Army out of New York City and its environs in the early phases of the war. Occupied by the British Army for nearly the entire conflict, one would think the Staten Island Loyalists would have been happy with this turn of events.

Papas’ book, however, is not only a micro-history, it provides lessons in the winning – and keeping – the “hearts and minds” of a local civilian population. New York and New Jersey’s Revolutionary governments needlessly alienated the Staten Islanders at the beginning of the conflict and turned a mostly indifferent population into British partisans. For the British, occupying Staten Island meant that soldiers and civilians had to live side by side. By the end of the conflict, the colonists had tired of the British and their officers’ inability or unwillingness to discipline soldiers accused of stealing or destroying the colonists’ property.

[submitted by Bill Glidden]


Information about Captain Cyrenius Parke

I was interested in the fact that Gavin has been researching the Kings Royal Regiment of New York for thirty years. I believe my loyalist ancestor Captain Cyrenius Parke served with the Kings Royal Rangers from 1777. His brother James was a sergeant in the same regiment. During the war years James was imprisoned for a year and became blind. Later they were both captured and released with a guarantee not to serve again during the war and escaped to Canada.

Cyrenius had his farms and belongings confiscated during the war.

Cyrenius remained in the military after the revolution. In 1809 he was appointed lieutenant of the First Regiment of the Militia in the County of Lennox. In 1812 he was promoted to captain and served actively in the war of 1812.

I have read two conflicting articles and wondered if Gavin had Cyrenius listed in the Kings Royal Regiment? Or if anyone might know more about his military involvement during the Rev War.

…Karen Borden UE, {pennellpalace AT shaw DOT ca}