“Loyalist Trails” 2008-03: January 20, 2008

In this issue:
Ann Bates: His Majesty’s Loyalist Spy, by Stephen Davidson
Col. John Butler Branch Loyalist Cemetery Plaquing Program
Family History Becomes a Passion
“Loyalist Landing 2008” in Shelburne NS Black History Month
Boston 1775: A History Website
Course in Toronto: Introduction to Genealogical Research in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
Research Resources for Glengarry Co. Area in Ontario
Additions to Loyalist Directory
      + Information about Family of Michael Davy, son of Peter Davy
      + Connecting the 78th Fraser Highlanders with the American Revolution and the Loyalists
      + Family of John Dixson and Elizabeth Johnson
      + Response re MacBass


Ann Bates: His Majesty’s Loyalist Spy, by Stephen Davidson

If, in 1778, you could have asked the neighbours about Mrs. Ann Bates, they would have told you that she made honey from her own beehives, raised a few sheep, operated a small store and taught in a local school. She was married to Joseph Bates, an artillery repairman employed by the British army. She was hardly one of Philadelphia’s noteworthy citizens, and yet by the end of her life, espionage historians would regard Ann Bates as one of world’s “most remarkable female agents”. Here is the story of a loyalist spy.

Bates’ career as a secret agent began with the British evacuation of Philadelphia in May 1778. In some way the loyalist teacher had come to the attention of John Cregge who worked with British intelligence, and he instructed her to report to Major Drummond when she arrived in New York City.

Bates must have impressed the British commander, for she was sent out on her first mission within a month. Ann was ordered to meet an agent who had infiltrated the rebel army and was serving in White Plains, New York. She used the five guineas she had been given for expenses to buy items for a peddler’s pack — thread, needles, combs, knives and some medicines. As far as anyone would know, Ann was just “Mrs. Barnes”, one of the many peddlers who travelled the colony’s muddy roads.

Several days later after a trek that at one point forced her to wade across the Crosswicks River up to her armpits, “Mrs. Barnes” found the camp of the Continental Army, but her contact was nowhere to be found. Unflustered, Ann decided to gather what information she could on her own.

As she sold her wares, Ann Bates noted the number of cannon, the state of the ammunition, and the strength of each brigade in the rebel army. The soldiers believed that military strategy was too complicated for a woman to understand, and so no one thought to censor his conversation when a shabby peddler walked by. Because she was the wife of a man versed in artillery, Ann was able to describe the rebel ordnance that she saw in accurate detail. Having gathered intelligence on troop movements, Ann started her journey back to British headquarters. However, she was arrested “on suspicion” just outside of White Plains. A patriot woman strip-searched her, but found nothing. Ann was released unharmed but more than a little upset. The rebel woman had taken her silver thimble, a silk handkerchief, and her silver shoe buckles!

The British were so pleased with Ann’s work that she was sent out on another mission within a day’s time to General Washington’s camp. The information that Ann gathered warned the king’s forces about an impending rebel attack on the British garrison in Newport, Rhode Island. Consequently, so many troops were sent to defend the colony that the American and French armies had to withdraw from Rhode Island in late August.

Ann Bates continued to spy between 1778 and 1780. A British deserter to Washington’s army recognized Ann on one mission, but she was able to elude capture. Later she was involved in conveying information having to do with Benedict Arnold’s plans to side with the British. The female agent who had provided important intelligence had to be rescued, and Ann was sent to escort her from Philadelphia to New York.

A series of safe houses provided shelter for the female spies until they came to the New Jersey shore of the Hudson River. To avoid both a storm and detection by patriot scouts, the women had to stay hidden in a loyalist’s cellar for three days. In addition to rescuing a fellow spy, Bates also provided her superiors with a report on Philadelphia shipping and the amount of flour to be found in its rebel mills.

When her husband’s skills as an artillery repairman were needed in Charleston following the British capture of the city in May 1780, Ann Barnes travelled with the troops to South Carolina. Her superiors in British intelligence did not forget their loyalist schoolteacher, and they twice alerted her to potential missions. However, throughout her time in Charleston, Ann did not spy for the British. On March 6, 1781 she sailed to England with her husband, never to return to the Thirteen Colonies.

History tells us very little about the details of the Bates’ marriage. No doubt Joseph Bates had very little notion that the schoolteacher he married in Philadelphia would become of the British forces’ most valued agents during the course of the revolution. Ann’s actions showed her to be a very independent woman, unafraid to take on challenges and ready to make decisions without consulting Joseph. All that is known of their life after their arrival in England is that Joseph Bates eventually deserted Ann.

Although she may not have been appreciated by her husband, Ann was able to secure a small pension from the British government for her espionage work during the War of Independence. Ann Bates’ life –that at one time was so full of adventure and intrigue– came to a quiet end in England. She deserved better in her own lifetime, and today certainly deserves to be remembered as one of the most remarkable of the Loyalists.

(For more information on loyalist spies, see Turncoats, Traitors and Heroes, by John Edwin Bakeless)

Col. John Butler Branch Loyalist Cemetery Plaquing Program

CJB Branch has installed six cemetery plaques in 2007, in:

– Carl-Misiner-Bald, Port Robinson

– Plato Cemetery, Fort Erie

– Dell Cemetery, Niagara Falls

– Lyons Creek Cemetery, Niagara Falls

– Warner Cemetery, Niagara-on-the-Lake ( Dedication of the Plaque is tentatively set for May 03, 2008 )

– St. John’s Anglian Church, Ridgeway ( Dedication of the Plaque is tentatively set for 2008 )

The following Cemeteries are in the queue for a Plaque:

– Stamford Presbyterian Cemetery, Niagara Falls ( June 29, 2008 )

– Steele Cemetery, Port Colborne, Aaron Doan UEL ( Aug. 02, 2008)

– St. John’s Anglican Cemetery, Grimsby, David Palmer UEL

And there is currently one outstanding request for a Plaque:

– Windecker Cemetery, Dunnville/Cayuga, Hendrick Windecker UEL

Our membership has been very interested in this project and several have indicated they would try and get further information on additional cemeteries and Loyalists. For a description and pictures, see the Branch Projects part of our web site, Colonel John Butler Branch Marks Plato Cemetery and Marks Carl ­ Misener – Bald Cemetery.

…Gord Dandy, PhD (Post hole Digger)

Family History Becomes a Passion

I subscribed some months ago to the Loyalist Newsletter and I want to tell you that I enjoy reading it very much. I am learning more and more about that difficult conflict that separated families and friends because of their beliefs. Here and there, I take some hours and look up family history and it seems that you can get carried away on the computer with that. It is so time consuming, but sooooo fascinating. As I said in my original note to you, my Mother was a Davy from the Kingston area and there is quite a bit on the web in regard to the Davy(s) as they were apparently a very prolific family some two hundred years ago. It is amazing that these families had so many children that survived! And, it is so difficult to separate it all out, as every generation seemed to use all the same names over and over. Anyway, I believe we can trace that particular branch back to a Michael Davy and I have found instances were others have found documentation that he was considered a U.E.

I have been speaking with my sister (who presently lives in Virginia) and she would also like to receive your newsletter. We are perhaps considering joining the Kingston branch of United Empire Loyalists and I would like to know just how you go about achieving the U.E. status……what has to be submitted and to whom? Are there lots of other Americans that are able to claim this title? I must admit, I had never considered the “whole” issue before and never realized that there were so many Americans who did not want to be a separate country…….and the fact that these “loyalists” played such a large part in the settlement of Canada. Wow, so much to learn.

I will tell you something that I think is quite amusing……my sister’s father-in-law worked very hard to get the verification that his ancestor was an American soldier in the Revolutionary Army so that he could be a member of The Sons of the Revolution and he was so proud of that fact. Here is the funny part, would my sister’s daughter be eligible to join the DAR and at the same time, (if we indeed are able to offer the required proof for U.E. status) be a member of the United Empire Loyalists? Does that happen very often?

Again, thank you for all your effort in researching and writing this newsletter. I am thinking that it must truly be a labor of love on your part.

“Loyalist Landing 2008” in Shelburne NS Black History Month

The next LL08 signature event will be a “Movie & Pasta Night” on Mon, 4 Feb. This event will be hosted by the Black Loyalist Heritage Society as a kick-off to Black History Month. The featured movie will be the film premiere of the docu-drama Rough Crossings, a film based on the book “Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution” by Simon Schama.

In 1792, almost 1,200 former slaves boarded ships in Halifax harbour to make the last of the “rough crossings” to Sierra Leone, Africa, to form a new society. Rough Crossings follows them on their epic journey out of the new slave owners’ Republic, into the harsh Nova Scotian wilderness, and then back over the Atlantic to a “free and virtuous black society” in Sierra Leone.

It will be an evening that will not only feed your tummy, but also feed your spirit. Look for the full details in next week’s Coast Guard!

…Suzanne Mahaney, Secretary, Loyalist Landing 2008 Society

Boston 1775: A History Website

If you have an interest in history, especially history in and around the city of Boston in 1775, you will enjoy J. L. Bell’s writings in “Boston 1775.” The web site contains “history, analysis, and unabashed gossip about the start of the American Revolution in Massachusetts.”

Bell writes in a manner that shows the true daily life in and around Boston in the early days of the American Revolution. He also gives special insights into the motivations of many of the leaders of the day, both the Loyalists and the Revolutionaries. Recent articles include:

– Colonial Boston Vocabulary: “caucus”

– Did the Union Flag Disappoint Boston’s Loyalists?

– The Great Union Flag and the Boston Gentry

– King George Addresses the “Unhappy and Deluded Multitude”

J. L. Bell is a Massachusetts writer who is an expert in the events surrounding the Boston Massacre and the start of the American Revolution. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

If you like to read about Boston history, you’ll probably spend hours reading the various stories in the local history buff’s haven, “Boston 1775,” at boston1775.blogspot.com.

[submitted by Nancy Conn, a suggestion from Dick Eastman]

Course in Toronto: Introduction to Genealogical Research in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

These courses are offered by the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. You can register separately for these sessions.

You will receive an overview of genealogical research in Nova Scotia beginning in the 1750s and New Brunswick when it became a province in the 1780’s. The focus will be on the historical background of the province, immigration patterns into the province and genealogical resources unique to the province.

Course: Tuesdays, 7-9 PM: March 18 (Nova Scotia); March 25 (New Brunswick)

Location: North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge Street, Meeting Room 2 (NS); Auditorium (NB)

Instructors: David Reed

Fee: $15 for each session

How To Register: Pre-registration is required to guarantee your space. Your cancelled cheque is your receipt. You will be contacted only if there is a problem. Download the registration form (PDF) and mail it to the address provided with a cheque.

For further information, to discuss prerequisite equivalents and to check before mailing a late application:

(416) 733-2608 or email: courses@torontofamilyhistory.org

Click here for other course offerings.

[submitted by Nancy Conn]

Research Resources for Glengarry Co. Area in Ontario

Four new recently-published books on Glengarry area contain Church BMD 1833-1977, 144 years of baptisms, deaths, and marriages with gaps. Surname index of over 9000 entries as follows for–

Salem, Summerstown; 232 page, with alphabetical name index cross referenced, index has 1270 entries ISBN13 978-0-921307-90-7, Cat# 2097 $65.00 Cdn hardcopy + shipping & handling

Knox, Lancaster; 1881-1977 Lancaster, Ontario: 374 pages, with alphabetical name index cross referenced, index has 2517 entries ISBN13 978-0-921307-86-0, Cat# 2096 $75.00 Cdn hardcopy + shipping & handling

St Andrews, S. Lancaster; 1884-1978, South Lancaster, Ontario 282 pages, with alphabetical name index cross referenced, index has 2094 entries, ISBN13 978-0-921307-88-4, Cat# 2094 $65.00 Cdn hardcopy + shipping & handling

St Andrews – 2nd Conc., Bainsville, Ont. 1833-1978, 2nd Concession Lancaster Township Bainsville, Ontario 460 pages, with alphabetical name index cross referenced, index has 3173 entries ISBN13 978-0-921307-84-6, Cat# 2095 $75.00 Cdn hardcopy + shipping & handling

Click here for more details.

Special: Any book order placed that is over CA $90.00 before shipping charges made before March 31st 2008 will get free shipping.

…Alex W Fraser, 1-866-338-6334

[submitted by Bev Loomis]

Additions to Loyalist Directory

– about Thatcher Sears from Ray Sears

Click here for the directory.


Information about Family of Michael Davy, son of Peter Davy

My sister and I are descended from Michael Davy who settled in the Kingston area. I believe his father was Peter Davy, and that Michael had brothers Peter and John.

However there are others with the surname Davey, including a Michael.

We are hoping someone has developed a set of family relationships for this family so we can better understand who is who. We would be interested in communicating with anyone who can help us sort this out, and then point us to the needed proofs.

…Aloha Humphrey Burnard, Watertown, NY {alohaburnard AT twcny DOT rr DOT com}

Connecting the 78th Fraser Highlanders with the American Revolution and the Loyalists

The 78th Fraser Highlanders are considering initiating an education program in 3 elementary schools in Waterloo. Since I have given Loyalist talks in grade 7 and, sometimes, grade 3 classrooms, I have been contacted to assist. The contact person hopes that the 78th’s history can be related to 1759, 1776, 1812 and settlement in Upper Canada. If we can accomplish a Loyalist connection, I can use most of my overheads, quill pens, and drawing for lots from a tricorn hat. Since this is not the area of study with which I am familiar, I seek advice. I have been on the 78th and other websites and found some interesting references. However, input from U.E.’s would be most appreciated. Thank you.

…Doris Ann Lemon, UE {hlemon AT jubilation DOT uwaterloo DOT ca}

Family of John Dixson and Elizabeth Johnson

I am reading an interesting book “Lost Villages, Found Communities” by Anne Marie L Shields.

The book says that John Dixson, UE married Elizabeth Johnson, daughter of Sir John Johnson. (They are said to be the first family to settle in Moulinette, ON … 200 acres, Lot 31, Con 1 …)

From elsewhere I find 11 children by Sir John Johnson and wife Mary Watts. I have 2 children listed by Sir John Johnson and Clarissa Putman. Of those 13 children listed, I do not have one named Elizabeth nor do I see any girls married to a John Dixson ….

Can anyone shed any light on this mystery, of a daughter of Sir John Johnson, named Elizabeth, who married a John Dixson (settled Moulinette, ON.)

I am interested in any details of the John Dixson family – who were John Dixson’s parents, and who was Elizabeth’s mother … (Putman, Watts? someone else?)

…Wendy Cosby UE {wendycosby AT shaw DOT ca}

Responsere MacBass

I don’t have an answer to why he was called MacBass but I can only add that in the Scottish Clan Encyclopedia ,which lists all clan names and associated septs that there is no listing for MacBass or even Bass.”Mac” means son of in Scotland.I have found many cases where early hand writing was not legible or understood and it was transcribed incorrectly.

I think MacBass is a dead end. There is no MacBase in this list of all the MacB’s: MacBain, MacBaxter, MacBean, MacBeath, Macbeth, MacBeolain, Macbheath, Macbrayne, MacBride, Macbrieve, Macburie.

Here is link to Bass origins, and they are not Scottish.

Until you can find his birth certificate you won’t know for sure. My cousin Colleen looked for 5 years for my 3 rd Gr Grandfathers marriage certificate.An online source had reprinted Aeneas as Enos.When I saw his signature in the 1814 marriage book at the church I knew it was his instantly.Good luck.Let me know how you fair.

…Richard Shaw, Town of York