“Loyalist Trails” 2007-51: December 30, 2007

In this issue:
Tally-Ho: Any Loyalists for a Fox Hunt? by Stephen Davidson
Additions to Loyalist Directory
Last Post: Margaret Best
      + Information about Maybee Family


Tally-Ho: Any Loyalists for a Fox Hunt? by Stephen Davidson

At the outset of the American Revolution, Charles Loosely and Thomas Elms were business partners who made paper for the Continental Congress. However, the two men were not rebels by conviction and may have used their trade as a means to avoid actively serving with the patriot militia. When the British seized New York City, Loosely and Elms did not flee with those who were rebels. Instead, the two friends remained in Brooklyn and became innkeepers. Ever mindful of how to turn a profit, these two loyalists served the cause of a United Empire by entertaining British officers throughout the course of the revolution.

Loosely and Elms bought themselves a large two-story stone tavern on Fulton Street near the ferry from Brooklyn to New York. Anxious to attract a clientele with deep pockets, the loyalists decorated their public house with statues of King George and Queen Charlotte as well as the royal coat of arms. Much to the chagrin of patriots in the area, the newly renovated public house was christened the King’s Head Tavern.

Besides buying a bottle of wine or a tankard of ale from the loyalist operators, British army officers could bet on the local horse races, play games of chance in the back rooms, and even purchase lottery tickets. In the August 8, 1781 edition of the Royal Gazette, Loosely and Elms advertised that a lottery prize of £12,500 would soon be drawn.

One autumn, the loyalist innkeepers bravely risked the wrath of local patriots by advertising that they would be celebrating the anniversary of the king’s coronation on September 20th, promising their customers that no rebels would approach “nearer than Flatbush wood”. The year before that, “loyal friends” and officers were invited to the King’s Head Tavern to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Wales. Loosely and Elms would “give them dinner at three, entertain them with good music, and fireworks and illuminations”. At times it must have been hard for the loyalist businessmen to remember that there was a war going on.

In the summer of 1781 this ad caught the eye of some British officers: “Gentlemen that are fond of foxhunting are requested to meet at Loosely’s Tavern, on Ascot Heath, on Friday morning next, between the hours of five and six, as a pack of hounds will be there purposely for a trial of their abilities. Breakfasting and Relishes until the Races commence. At eleven o’clock will be run for, an elegant saddle, etc., value at least twenty pounds, for which upwards of twelve gentlemen will ride their own horses.” During one fox hunt “God Save the King” was played every hour. At another, a guinea was given as the prize for “a good strong fox”.

1781 was also the year Loosely and Elms offered bull baiting as entertainment “after the true English manner”. Popular since the Middle Ages, this sport involved tying a bull to a ring with a long rope and sicking several dogs on it. Spectators bet on which dog would pin the bull down by biting its nose. Dogs were sometimes crippled or killed as the bull defended itself with its horns. Loosely and Elms included “a British dinner at two o’clock” as part of their bull baiting entertainment.

Life was good for the owners of the King’s Head Tavern. Thomas Elms married a woman named Freelove, and by 1778 they had a son whom they named Charles in honour of Loosely. At some point Elms became more active as a loyalist, for in later life he would be referred to as Captain Elms. In 1783 the former innkeeper was put in charge of the loyalist passengers who sailed on the ship, Generous Friends.

Operating the King’s Head Tavern gave Charles Loosely enough wealth to buy a slave in his twenties name Jack. He also had a black teenager as his indentured servant and hired Isabella, a black woman, after she escaped her patriot master in 1778. There are no records that Loosely ever married.

But the good times did not last. By the spring of 1782, Loosely and Elms realized that their days of entertaining British officers were coming to an end. An ad in the Royal Gazette requested “those gentlemen who are preparing to leave this country to settle their accounts”.

Within a year’s time, Thomas Elms and Charles Loosely were both sailing on the Generous Friends, bound for the mouth of the St. John River with other loyalist refugees. Elms was eventually given a grant of farmland along the St. John River on the Kingston Peninsula. Charles Loosely did not stay in New Brunswick, but moved to Shelburne, Nova Scotia where, by 1785, he was the owner and operator of one of that settlement’s hotels.

The last known event in the life of Loosely’s former business partner is found carved in stone on a tombstone in Saint John’s Old Burial Ground: “Here lie the bodies of Mrs Freelove and her only child Charles, who were the wife and son of Capt Thomas Elms, and were unfortunately drowned together on the 8th day of September 1787, the mother in the 40th and the son in the 9th year of their age.” The tragic losses that had been suffered by so many loyalists during the Revolution were, in the end, visited upon the merry loyalist tavern keeper of Brooklyn.

Additions to Loyalist Directory

– information about Andrew Rusk from Donald Rusk;

– about Gilbert Pugsley, Stephen Haviland, John Haines, Charlotte Haines, Samuel Peters and John Peters from Fran Rose;

– about Samuel Jarvis from Alex Lawrence;

– about James Clement, John Clement from Lee Harris.

Last Post: Margaret Best

BEST, Margaret (nee Barnum) It is with great sadness that the family of Margaret Best, lovingly known as “Grannie” announces her passing on Monday, December 24, 2007, at the age of 90 years. Grannie will be lovingly remembered by her children, Jim (Janet), George (Celeste), and Peter (Brenda), six grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, her sister Jocelyn and many loyal and long time friends. Margaret was predeceased by her dear husband John, and her sister Elinor. Margaret is an honorary member of the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association and was John’s “right hand girl” for many many years in his work with the AVMA. Her retirement project was authoring a book about her father’s 97 year journey of life and of the people and places which influenced him. Her book, Changing Gears, was published in 1990 and a copy has been placed in the library at the Alberta Legislature. She was also very proud of her heritage as a United Empire Loyalist.

Published in the Edmonton Journal on 12/27/2007 – full obituary.

Margaret was a founding member of the Edmonton Branch and was also a past president.

…David Rolls


Information about Maybee Family

I am looking for further information about the Maybee (and other spellings) Family, primarily from the 1600’s.

It is my understanding there was a Secord (Secor-Sicar, etc) Family connection during that time frame. I am aware the Secord’s were French Huguenots. I also understand some Huguenots did move into the Netherlands from France. However, the Secord-Maybee connection apparently took place in what is now New York State. It is my understanding that Huguenots blended into the communities in which they subsequently lived, e.g. Secord’s became Anglicans after their removal to the Niagara Peninsula.

It is also my understanding that the town of Maybie, Michigan is named after this same family who arrived in Michigan during the early 1800’s. I believe this branch of the family was not descended from Loyalists.

Were the early Maybee’s Huguenots as well, or some other form of Protestantism?

Can anyone verify the above information. I do not have confidence in the credibility of my source of information.

…Joyce Stevens {joycestevens AT twmi DOT rr DOT com}