“Loyalist Trails” 2007-46: November 25, 2007

In this issue:

The Lost Loyalists of Britain: Part One, by Stephen Davidson
Samuel Jarvis
OES and UELAC Connection at 85th Session of Quebec Grand Chapter
Loyalist Landing Celebrations in Shelburne NS in 2008
UELAC Conference 2008: Loyalist Saint John 225
Loyalist Directory Updates
      + Response re Cyrenius Parke
      + Information on John (Jan Langestraat) Longstreet, Jr.


The Lost Loyalists of Britain: Part One, by Stephen Davidson

The number of loyalist refugees from the American Revolution is sometimes placed as high as 100,000; but they did not all flee the United States for other North American destinations. Approximately half of King George’s loyal Americans escaped to England, Scotland, and Ireland. Where, then, is the United Empire Loyalist Association of Britain?

While the descendants of loyalists in Canada, Bahamas, and Sierra Leone are justifiably proud of the ancestors who helped to found their respective nations, it seems that the multiple-great grandchildren of loyalists now living in Great Britain have no knowledge — let alone appreciation — of their ancestry. A very sizeable group of people who could bear the designation of “U.E.L.” are basically a “lost tribe” of loyalist descendants.

Here are just a few of the things we know about the colonial refugees who fled across the Atlantic Ocean — the forgotten loyalists of Britain.

As early as September of 1775, Americans who were devoted to their king left their colonial homes to avoid imminent imprisonment or death. The British government offered these refugees aid, but there was always the understanding that it was only a temporary arrangement — that the loyal colonists would one day return to their homes. Who would have foreseen that the Thirteen Colonies would actually achieve independence?

The loyalists who managed to make their way to Britain were for the most part men of influence and wealth. Who else could afford to take one’s family and possessions on a long transatlantic journey?

At first the colonial exiles were seen as brave symbols of commitment to the crown; they were even presented to the king at court. In time, however, the novelty of life in Great Britain evaporated, and the communities of loyalists that had formed in various parts of London no longer took pleasure in gathering at coffee houses to talk of news from home. They had difficulty in making influential Britons see their point of view no matter how much they lobbied members of parliament.

As the War of Independence progressed, more and more American loyalists boarded ships for Britain. Christopher Moore, in The Loyalists, estimates that as many as seven thousand arrived before the revolution ended.

The experience of seeking refuge in the motherland impoverished many loyalists; they had no resources to draw upon but charity or aid from the crown. At first support was doled out every three months, but with the lengthening conflict, this changed to annual allowances.

However, since aid of varying sums had been granted at different times, some loyalists received ” a great deal more and others a great deal less than their relative situation and circumstances required.” By the fall of 1782 an inquiry into the aid provided to the loyalists revealed that 315 people had been the beneficiaries of £40,280 in total.

Great Britain was far safer and more comfortable a sanctuary than the Bahamas, Jamaica, or chilly Nova Scotia, but it was an established society with a clearly defined social hierarchy that made little room for the loyalist plantation owners, clergy, or attorney-generals who had washed up on its shores. The loyalists really had no role to play, Christopher Moore claimed, unless they abandoned their American roots and became Britons. As the American Revolution continued, United Empire loyalists in Britain were dismayed to discover that there was a weakening resolve to win the war. What were cherished ancestral homes of the refugee loyalists were merely distant colonies to most Britons.

Whether prosperous or poor, significant or superfluous, the early loyalists who sought refuge in Great Britain saw their numbers swell at the end of the War of Independence. Throughout the course of 1783, the greatest exodus of people in North American history scattered loyalists to Nova Scotia, Canada, the West Indies, and Great Britain .

One of the earliest descriptions of these last loyalists was written in 1788 by Judge Thomas Jones in his History of New York During the Revolutionary War. He recounted how the refugees came to New York from all over the Thirteen Colonies in 1783 “to embark for almost all parts of the world, for England, for Scotland, {and} for Ireland” . As the descendant of loyalists who came to New Brunswick, it is a bit of a shock to see Great Britain given as the primary destination of fleeing loyalists. Canada and the Maritime colonies come later on the list, followed by Jamaica and the “Lesser West India Islands”.

Jones wrote that loyalists “who had the means formed companies and hired vessels themselves”. The newspapers of New York City were “full of advertisements of the sailing” of these ships. Judge Jones continues, “The number who went to Great Britain and Ireland, especially the former, was very great. There is scarcely a town of any size in England and Scotland, where many expatriated Loyalists were not found for thirty years after the peace, and where their tombstones cannot now be seen.”

Nearly every town in Britain as late as the 1810s had a loyalist? Every graveyard held a refugee tombstone? Who are these “lost loyalists”? What stories have been forgotten by their British descendants?

To answer these questions — and to gain a greater understanding of who made up this group of loyalist refugees — the next three editions of Loyalist Trails will feature stories of the lost loyalists of Britain.

Samuel Jarvis

Todd Braisted’s website has a transcription of Samuel Jarvis’ memorial.

It says that he was given a warrant to raise a company in a regiment to be commanded by Governor Montford Brown. It would appear that Brown, not Jarvis, was to have the rank of Brigadier General. Companies were usually commanded by captains. In November 1776 Jarvis resigned his warrant and obtained “a small position in the commissary generals department”. Details of Jarvis’ imprisonment, escape and further service are also given.

Brown’s (or Browne, who was governor of the island of New Providence) regiment was the Prince of Wales American Regiment. A brief history of this regiment is given here.

It includes the information that: “Apparently Old Countrymen were not the only people BROWNE strung along. Samuel JARVIS, a native of Connecticut, was also one who received a captain’s warrant with the promise that his recruiting expenses should be refunded.

JARVIS produced thirty men to BROWNE at Flushing but received no reimbursement, prompting him to take a minor position in the Commissary General’s Department. At least three other members of this family continued to serve under BROWNE, including Munson JARVIS, who was a lieutenant until forced to resign in order to better support his family.”

…Alex Lawrence UE

OES and UELAC Connection at 85th Session of Quebec Grand Chapter

At the 85th Session of Grand Chapter of Quebec Order of the Eastern Star which was held in Granby Quebec on October 11th and 12th Brenda Stone UE, was installed as Worthy Grand Matron for 2007-2008. OES members who are also members of Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada had an active part in session.

At the Friday evening installation ceremonies, Beverley Howman UE installed her niece as Worthy Grand Matron and presented Brenda with the gavel that Brenda’s grandfather had when he was Worthy Grand Patron of Quebec OES in 1974. Beverley’s daughter, Associate Member, Linda Howman was her cousin Brenda’s Grand Page; Brenda’s daughter, Tiffany Stone UE, presented her mother with a bouquet of flowers; Stephanie Stone UE, Brenda’s other daughter, was unable to be present; Louise Hall UE was installed as Grand Electa; Associate Member, Evelyn Lewis, was Grand Soloist; Adelaide Lanktree UE was a Grand Page; and Wesley Larocque UE was a Grand Guard.

Associate Members, Heather Larocque, and Brian Allen were active during the session Heather on registration and Brian as official photographer.

Phyllis Hamilton UE who had been a member of the OES when she was younger was present at the open installation.

…Adelaide Lanktree UE

Loyalist Landing Celebrations in Shelburne NS in 2008

The Loyalist Landing 2008 Society has something going on most every week and most of those are geared towards celebrations to be held throughout 2008. More details are on their web site.

From their latest committee reports distributed by secretary Suzanne Mahaney, two items of a historicla nature:

Did you notice that gorgeous full moon last night? It’s called the Full Beaver Moon, as November was traditionally the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, in order to ensure a good supply of warm furs for the winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.

Picked up a most interesting and timely Christmas ornament at the Community Centre yesterday – made from a black locust tree. Although the tree is not indigenous to Nova Scotia, the seeds were brought to the area by none other than the Loyalists in the late 1700s. The wood is extremely hard and very resistant to rot, so it was often used to build fences and small boats.

UELAC Conference 2008: Loyalist Saint John 225

My copy of the Loyalist Gazette finally arrived this past week. It was great to see such a wealth of information. On page 14 is some information about the 225th celebration of the landing of the Loyalists in the Maritimes at our UELAC Conference to be held July 10 – 13 in Saint John, hosted by New Brunswick Branch.

The web site address for the New Brunswick Branch is http://personal.nbnet.nb.ca/fmor/ as noted in the Gazette. However, there are no conference details present there yet. We will put a note in this Loyalist Trails as soon as details have been posted.

Also, since the information for the Conference was submitted to the Gazette back in the summer, my offer and plan to organize a bus trip from Toronto through Montreal etc. to Conference and then the Shelburne NS Loyalist landing the following week has been cancelled. Due to too many other things on my plate, I have been unable to undertake the planning, which should have been done last summer at latest. As a result, unless someone else is willing to undertake it, there will NOT be a bus going to Conference from Ontario. If someone else undertakes it, I will do all I can to help promote it.


Loyalist Directory Updates

New information has been added to the Loyalist Directory for Cyrenius and James Parke (contributed by Karen Borden) and for John Longstreet (aka Jan Langestraad) (contributed by Howard Ray Lawrence).


Response re Cyrenius Parke

Neither James, nor Cyrenius Parks served in the King’s Royal Regiment of New York, but both men served in James Rogers’ King’s Rangers, a sister regiment. On a 1784 roll, James is listed as a serjeant and Cyrenius a corporal.

As the 2nd Battalion, King’s Royal Yorkers (KRR NY) settled at Cataraqui Township No.3 with the 2nd Battalion, King’s Rangers (James Rogers’ battalion), confusion has reigned supreme ever since. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see both regimental names blended together as the ‘New York Rangers’ – go figure.

…Gavin Watt HVP, UELAC

Information on John (Jan Langestraat) Longstreet, Jr.

John (Jan Langestraat) Longstreet, Jr. b. 24JUN1744, Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey, m. on or before 23 Sep 1784, Helena (Helen Conover) Covenoven. John died 20Aug1788, Parrsboro Township, Cumberland Co., Nova Scotia, and is buried at St. George Anglican Chruch, Parrsboro, N.S.

From “Summer 1776, Staten Island, New York, Morris’s Memorial History of Staten Island, pp 345-346:” LONGSTREET, JOHN. There was an ardent loyalist by this name on Staten Island at the commencement of the Revolution, whose boldness attracted considerable attention. What became of him is (was) not positively known. General Stryker, in his History of New Jersey Volunteer’s, (Skinner’s Brigade), cays “John Longstreet was captured on Staten Island and confined to the goal at Trenton, New Jersey. He never returned to the service.” There was a Longstreet connected with the Hatfield band, who disappeared mysteriously shortly after the close of the war, and we are inclined to believe that he is the one who served in Skinner’s Brigade.

From the on-line transcript of “Property Confiscations, Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1787”: A John Longstreet, Jr. is listed as having property in Monmouth County, New Jersey, confiscated in 1787.

Late in the war, Hayden’s Company is known to have guarded rebel prisoners on a prison ship in Halifax harbour before being sent to the Island of Saint John [Prince Edward Island] in 1782. They stayed on the sparsely populated island for the rest of the war and were given land grants there when the unit was disbanded in 1783/1784.

As soon as they arrived, the King’s Rangers tried to bring other loyalists to the island. They went so far as to place ads in Rivington’s Royal Gazette (the loyalist newspaper in New York City) to encourage re-settlement on the Island of Saint John. This, however, didn’t really work as planned. Most of the exiled loyalists wound up in Nova Scotia.

John Longstreet is my 3 x great grandfather. I am looking for some advice about finding, and photographing, my great grandfather’s tombstone, and finding the burial location of his three slaves. He is buried at St. George Anglican Church, Parrsboro, N.S.

…Howard Ray Lawrence.U.E./Benjamin Fairchild, Sr. {howardl AT inreach DOT com}