“Loyalist Trails” 2007-50: December 23, 2007

In this issue:
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year…
Six Loyalist Widows Who Came to Quebec (which included Upper Canada, later Ontario), by Stephen Davidson
Congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II
Chasing Our Tales, Santa’s Progeny
Submissions for The Spring Issue 2008 of Loyalist Gazette due 15 January
Update: Gladstone Baptist Pioneer Cemetery
Note from the editor
      + Responses re Looking for Ralph Connor Book, The Runner


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year…

Wishing all the members of the UELAC (and additional readers of “Loyalist Trails”) a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

…Peter W. Johnson, President UELAC

Six Loyalist Widows Who Came to Quebec, by Stephen Davidson

Discovering the stories of loyalist ancestors is never easy, especially if one wants to learn about the experiences of women who lost husbands in the American Revolution. However, thanks to the records of the compensation board which met in Montreal in 1787, we can receive a glimpse into the lives of loyalist widows. Here are six of their stories.

Elenor Maybee and her husband Peter leased a 100 acre farm in Saratoga, New York. Tending the horses, cattle, sheep and hogs was just part of Elenor’s daily routine before the revolution. Then, in 1776, Peter left Elenor and their 11 year old son John to fight the patriots. After Peter died in a winter battle in Canada, rebels came and seized the Maybee farm. Elenor and her son fled to Sorel, Quebec. By 1783 she had taken advantage of the only social support system open to widows in those days — she remarried. Joseph Hoffman, her new husband, also gave testimony to the compensation board on Eleanor’s behalf, but how successful his efforts were are not recorded.

Another widow who settled in Sorel, was Abigail Lindsey. This New York native had seen her share of persecution during the revolution. Her patriot neighbours tried her husband John for treason three times, fining him each time. After Lindsey joined the British in 1780, the rebels took all that Abigail had, leaving her with two small children to care for alone. By 1782 Mrs. Lindsey had made her way to the safety of the British-held Canada. Following her husband’s death, Abigail also remarried.

Margaret Hare spent part of the Revolution as a hostage of the patriots. In January of 1776, General Schulyer’s Continental soldiers plundered the Hare home. When it was attacked a second time in June, lumber from Margaret’s home was taken to turn the local jail into a rebel fort, and the family’s fences were used for firewood.

John Hare, who had been the local under-sheriff, subsequently joined the British, leaving Margaret and three children behind. Hare died in the siege of Fort Stanwix a year later. Margaret’s only son William joined the Butler’s Rangers in 1780. Bidding farewell to a married daughter, Margaret and her two younger girls tried to flee to Montreal, but they were kept as hostages for a time by a rebel commissioner. Despite all of this rebel persecution, Margaret’s 1787 plea for compensation fell on deaf ears. The commissioners felt that her property was “greatly over-valued” and that she suffered all of her losses “from bad neighbours.” Little regard was given to the death of her husband, the war service of her son, and the fact that a new nation’s border separated her from a daughter.

When Isabel Fraser‘s husband died, she was left with eight children to clothe and feed. Isabel and Simon Fraser had immigrated to the Thirteen Colonies in 1773 and made a home for themselves on 160 acres of land in Mapletown, New York. The Frasers had 20 head of cattle and 24 sheep in addition to other livestock. When war broke out, Simon rallied others to the loyalist cause, joining the British army in 1777. Fraser was taken prisoner following the Battle Bennington and died in an Albany jail. Isabel’s oldest son William served in Sir John Johnson’s Regiment as a lieutenant before moving to Cataraqui (Ontario) with other loyalists in the fall of 1783. By the next year Isabel was able to join her son. Whether William Fraser’s appearance before the compensation board ever secured help for his siblings and a mother who did not remarry is not recorded.

When a Pennsylvanian blacksmith’s widow and three sons appeared before the loyalist claims board, the record states that they were “very good people”, so perhaps the Field family was successful in convincing the board to make compensation for their losses. In 1778 George and Rebecca Field and their sons Daniel, Gilbert and Nathan left their home along Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River to seek refuge in Niagara. Rebels had boldly stolen their horses, and if the family had not fled “in a great hurry … they would have been sent to gaol”. All four Field men joined Col. Butler’s Rangers. George Field survived the revolution, but died in 1785 after making a death bed declaration that his wife was to inherit “everything”. As Rebecca’s sons spoke before the commissioners, Nathan, the youngest, said his mother should receive his share of his father’s inheritance. Daniel, the eldest, shared his brother’s sentiments, but whether Rebecca received any financial support from the British government is not recorded.

The descendants of the loyalist widow, Elizabeth Campbell, can be thankful that the compensation board kept such good notes. Besides mentioning that her husband Moses was a native of Scotland, the records give the names of her eight children: Alexander (21 in 1787), Mrs. Elizabeth Bland, Mrs. Nancy Sutherland, Allen, Catherine, Isabell, James and John. Moses Campbell had been a carpenter in a Lake Champlain community until he joined the British forces under Captain Fraser in 1776. Moses died five years later, and his family fled to Quebec City. By 1787 Elizabeth Campbell had married a Mr. Finlason, her two daughters had found husbands in the area, and her son Alexander was learning to be a shoemaker. Compensation for the Campbells’ confiscated house, 200 acres, boats, furniture, carpenter’s tools and 100 bushels of wheat would no doubt have being very helpful in feeding the four children left in Elizabeth’s care.

…Stephen Davidson (whose ancestor Rachel Kent came to New Brunswick as a loyalist widow)

[If you would like to browse through your own copy of the Loyalist Claims, The Fort Havoc Archives, Volume I, is available on CD for $25.00. Click here to learn more.]

Congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II

As of 1 p.m. on the 20th of December, Queen Elizabeth II has passed a historic milestone: She is now the eldest monarch to have reigned as British monarch, even older than Queen Victoria!

She has another eight years to go to herself have reigned longer than any other. In both cases the person she has or may pass is Queen Victoria. If she reigns another eight years, through Sept 2015, she will then become the longest reigning British monarch.

God save our gracious Queen! Click here for more information.

…Bill Lamb

Chasing Our Tales, Santa’s Progeny

A little genealogy for Christmas: click here.

[submitted by Joyce Stevens]

Submissions for The Spring Issue 2008 of Loyalist Gazette due 15 January

There have been numerous positive responses to the Fall 2007 issue of The Loyalist Gazette. We welcome feedback for each issue as the magazine, the “window to the world for the UELAC”, strives to continue to maintain our high quality. We are always looking for feature articles that pertain to Loyalist themes as well as announcements about up-coming events and reports about Branch events. A reminder that the deadline for submissions for the Spring 2008 issue is January 15, 2008. Please send all material to me as the editor, preferably in Microsoft Word. Photos and other images should be sent as jpeg attachments with 300 dpi resolution. I can be reached at: The Gazette Editor gazette.editor@uelac.org or gazette.editor@nexicom.net . I can also be reached at: Maple Grove Farms, R.R. # 1, Indian River, Ontario. K0L 2B0. Phone: 705-295-4556.

My wife, Grietje, and I wish each and every one of you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2008.

…Bob McBride, Editor, The Loyalist Gazette

Update: Gladstone Baptist Pioneer Cemetery

Thanks for all those who responded to the demolition of the tombstone cairn at Gladstone Baptist Pioneer Cemetery. Here is an update:

The Thames Centre Council has offered an apology and has offered restitution for this tragic mistake. They will be building a monument in memory of those pioneers who were buried at Gladstone Cemetery.

They are hoping to retrieve as many of the markers as possible from the landfill and are storing them in a secure storage area. Plans are to included those that are salvageable in a new granite monument.

The minutes of the Thames Centre Council meeting can be read here (PDF).

…Kimberley Hurst UE

Note from the editor

I enjoy editing and distributing Loyalist Trails. It has been a pleasure to see the subscription list grow this year; I would certainly like to see a larger list yet, so please do encourage others whom you think might enjoy the newsletter to try it for a few weeks. We will unsubscribe anyone anytime with just a simple request. Since it began, we have had only a handful of such requests. I attribute this to the interesting items that you contribute, either as a simple story or anecdote, a query or a response to a query. I would request that you copy me on your responses to queries – many others find the responses of equal or more value and interest than the queries themselves.

I would like to extend a special note of appreciation to Stephen Davidson of Nova Scotia who just recently joined. For well over a year now he has contributed an item for almost every issue, and what a broad range of topics he has managed to research. His submissions have brought to me and I suspect to many of you a whole new appreciation of aspects of the Revolutionary war and the Loyalists that I had never thought of exploring. Thank you Stephen.

That said, we would certainly welcome submissions from others.

On that note, and on behalf of my family and especially Nancy (who puts up with me living on a computer), I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season.



Responses re Looking for Ralph Connor Book, The Runner

Doris Ward commented in today’s Loyalist Trails that she wondered if there were any copies available of the book The Runner by Ralph Connor. I am a genealogy volunteer at our county library here in Cheyenne, Wyoming and we often use the website www.bookfinder.com to find out-of-print books. I queried there and there are several copies available on the used market.

…Sandy Wunder

Check out www.abebooks.com which links a network of used book dealers. It lists 53 copies,ranging from $2 to $65. I have used the site several times over past few years — always great service, helpful people, never a problem of any sort. Note where the bookseller is & what they are charging for shipping (which can often exceed the cost of the book); at least four times I have contacted Toronto sellers, then met in a coffee shop to get the book — no shipping, no tax, no hassles. (Or a seller might be in the same city as a relative to whom you wish to give the book — maybe it can be picked up in person.)

…Audrey Fox, Ray Lewis, David Ricketts UE, Fran Rose, Carol Measham, Paul Caverly

Look on http://used.addall.com, which searches a number of used book networks – looks like 104 copies of from different sellers when I checked.

Also, there are currently two copies on eBay (availability changes constantly)


Email Links Notice

To protect the people who send in queries from unwanted spam email, the online edition of Loyalist Trails no longer uses direct hyperlinks for their email addresses. Simply rewrite “name AT website DOT net” as name@website.net and sent your email to that address. For example, “doug DOT grant AT insurance-canada DOT ca” is doug.grant@insurance-canada.ca. Contact Doug with questions, or to be put in touch with someone whose email address is not listed.