“Loyalist Trails” 2008-20: May 18, 2008

In this issue:
UELAC Scholarship Winners: Gregory Wigmore and Catherine Cottreau-Robins
Gregory Wigmore Studies Allegiances in the Detroit River Borderland
Elderly Loyalists, by Stephen Davidson
John Letteney, the last survivor of the “American Loyalists”
Canadian Victoria Cross Unveiled
Annual Fort Chambly Memorial Service
      + Responses re Andrew Thompson
      + Information about Family of Schuyler Moor (Moore), Windsor ON and Danville QC


UELAC Scholarship Winners: Gregory Wigmore and Catherine Cottreau-Robins

From the 2008 applications for the UELAC Scholarship, we decided to award a one-year scholarship to each of two well-deserving applicants: Gregory Wigmore and Catherine Cottreau-Robins.

Greg is working on his doctoral dissertation at the University of California, Davis. His dissertation is entitled “The Limits of Empire: Allegiance, Opportunity, and Imperial Rivalry in the Detroit River Borderland” (see next article).

Catherine (Katie) is a PhD candidate in the Interdisciplinary PhD program at Dalhousie University. The title of her thesis is “Exploring the Daily Life of Slaves in Nova Scotia, 1783-1810” (see last week’s issue).

Our congratulations to these two students who are adding more pieces to the puzzle of our loyalist heritage.

…Irene MacCrimmon UE, Chair, Scholarship Committee

Gregory Wigmore Studies Allegiances in the Detroit River Borderland

Born in Welland, Ontario, Gregory Wigmore graduated from Carleton University in 2002, receiving a bachelor’s degree with combined highest honours in Journalism and History. He worked briefly as a historical researcher for the federal government’s Office of Indian Residential Schools Resolution. In 2003, he traded the snow and slush of Ottawa for the sunshine of Northern California and began graduate studies in the history of early North America. He received his MA in history in 2005 from the University of California, Davis, and is currently working on his doctoral dissertation under the direction of Alan Taylor, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of Early America and Upper Canada.

His dissertation, entitled “The Limits of Empire: Allegiance, Opportunity, and Imperial Rivalry in the Detroit River Borderland,” examines the emergence of the Canadian-American border during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Between the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, the British Empire and the new American republic vied for the allegiance and cooperation of borderland inhabitants in order to achieve sovereignty over the Great Lakes region. During this period, the Detroit River valley served as a hub of transatlantic trading networks; as the vital centre of a web of Indian diplomacy stretching into the heart of the continent; as a theatre of hostilities during the wars for dominion over North America; and as a far-flung settlement in the British colonial and American territorial projects along the Great Lakes.

Three turbulent events compelled the inhabitants of the Detroit River region to demonstrate their allegiance and choose sides in the Anglo-American struggle over North America: the Revolutionary War, which threatened British Detroit; Britain’s belated evacuation of Detroit in 1796 and its attempts to persuade loyal residents to resettle across the river in Upper Canada; and the War of 1812, during which control of the region changed hands several times.

This project examines the question of whether, and in what circumstances, local peoples identified themselves as a part of a larger entity, extending well beyond the banks of the Detroit River, or whether the rugged hardships of frontier life and pursuit of a livelihood rendered them indifferent to such lofty concepts as national identity. Examining the actions of local inhabitants during this period of Anglo-American competition, Greg’s research reveals the fluid and complex nature of individual loyalties, which presented several challenges to British and American authorities.

Even the allegiances of renowned Loyalists and Indian agents such as Alexander McKee and Matthew Elliott proved less than clear-cut. Like several of their colleagues in the British Indian Department, McKee and Elliott developed close kinship ties to neighbouring First Nations. These relationships, and their own experience as refugees, enabled them to more readily identify with the plight of natives dispossessed by American expansion than did most of their fellow subjects and servants of the Crown. They worked toward a convergence British and native aims, seeking to assemble about a joint military force to resist American expansion, a goal often at odds with the aims of British officials overseas, who sought a rapprochement with their former colonies. They also joined local merchants, land speculators, soldiers, settlers, enslaved peoples and other civil servants in seeking to exploit unprecedented opportunities along the emerging border, in order to improve their own circumstances.

Some government officials viewed the actions of border peoples as opportunistic or disloyal. However, for many individuals, such aggressive behaviour proved essential, in order to provide for their families and get ahead on the margins of empire.

Elderly Loyalists, by Stephen Davidson

One of the many stereotypes of the loyalist refugees is that they were primarily younger adults who fled the United States with small children in their arms. However, as these stories of three seventy-year old refugees demonstrate, loyalists of all ages had remarkable experiences during the American Revolution.

John and Jane Glasford, who settled in modern day Quebec, were in their late seventies in 1788. John had come to the Thirteen Colonies from Scotland when he was just a boy. He married Jane, had two sons, and eventually established a 300 acre homestead in New York’s Susquehanna River Valley. The Glasfords never shifted their allegiance from the British crown. A neighbour remembered Glasford as “one of the ablest men in the place”. Although John was too old to fight against the rebels, his two sons served the British with Captain Brandt on the western frontier.

In 1779 rebels attacked the Glasford family, plundered their goods, and “stript them of everything”. Their losses included a horse, 15 sheep, 11 cattle, five hogs, and all of their furniture. Jane later recalled how “she was almost starved in her own house” following the vicious raid. Left with nothing to eat, John and Jane fled the Susquehanna Valley and headed for the safety of British-held Niagara.

The Glasfords stayed in the refugee camp at Yamachiche (near modern day Trois Rivieres), and then settled in Osswegatchie. How a man described as “near 80 years of age and infirm” could once again establish a home in the wilderness is difficult to imagine, but such was the determination of the loyal Americans.

Richard Cartwright, a loyalist who settled in Cataraqui (modern day Kingston, Ontario) was also described as being “aged 70 and infirm”. He came to to New York in 1742 and settled in Albany where he appointed a deputy postmaster 14 years later by Benjamin Franklin. A visitor to Cartwright’s home said “he seemed to have everything comfortable about him and to be in good circumstances.”

Once the revolution broke out, the local Commissioners of Conspiracies identified Cartwright as a British sympathizer. The elderly postmaster was known to advance money to local loyalists at different times, helping them to pay fines for not serving in the patriot militias and aiding them in their escape to Canada.

In 1778, Cartwright’s refusal to take a rebel oath resulted in a violent attack on his home. In a second assault, a mob of almost 4,000 people surrounded his house, beat Cartwright, and destroyed what was left of his furniture and clothes. On July 20, 1778 rebel soldiers escorted the elderly loyalist to the British lines at Crown Point. At first the former postmaster lived in Montreal, but by 1787 he had made his home in Cataraqui.

By the end of the American Revolution, Christian Sing had been uprooted from his home in the 96 District of South Carolina to Ship’s Harbour, Nova Scotia. The German immigrant had settled in the southern colony in 1764, where he had three sons and a 150 acre farm.

In 1775 Sing took up his musket to help rid the town of its rebels. The patriots returned in force and recaptured 96. They took Sing prisoner and marched him to Charlestown. However, he was eventually released “being an old man”.

Within three years, Sing and his sons joined the British army. The four loyalists fought patriots in Florida, Georgian and back in Charlestown. Obviously Sing’s principles were more important to him than his land, cattle, horses, hogs and grain which he abandoned in 96 to serve his king. However, the elderly loyalist’s wartime losses were more than just lands and goods.

Christian Junior — Sing’s third son — was wounded by a musket shot during the course of a scouting mission. Peter Sing, the oldest son, was taken prisoner while he served at a British garrison and hung by his rebel captors. Sing’s second son died as the British army lay seige to Savannah.

When Charleston’s loyalists were evacuated to Halifax and Britain in the fall of 1782, Sing decided to go to Nova Scotia. Getting through to the government for a senior’s pension was difficult even in the 18th century. Christian Sing — who had given land and sons to the loyalist cause — almost missed the opportunity to receive compensation for his losses. He had settled in Ship Harbour in May of 1783. The news of compensation finally reached Sing when a sailing vessel came to his community in the late fall. However, the harbour’s ice formed so quickly that the ship could not leave with Sing’s claim until the spring.

While the revolution put loyalists of all ages through much persecution and hardship, it must have been particularly stressful for those in their declining years. These older refugees were no doubt an inspiration to both their children and grandchildren as they worked to establish loyalist communities in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec.

…Stephen Davidson {stephendavids AT gmail DOT com}

John Letteney, the last survivor of the “American Loyalists”

A subscriber writes from Digby, N.S., as follows: “There was a death here last summer which is not unworthy of mention in the Annual Register … It was the death of the man who was probably the last survivor of the American Loyalists, that is those who actually came over from the Colonies as Loyalists at the close of the Revolutionary war. It was John Letteney, who died at the age of 97, having come here with his parents in 1783, when he was two years old, his father being a Loyalist of German descent, from the old Province of New York. The old man thought himself 101 years old, but his sons tell me that old documents prove that he was but two years old when he came.”

Interesting notice from the Dominion Annual Register and Review for 1878, p.356.

[submitted by Mary F. Williamson UE]

Canadian Victoria Cross Unveiled

May 16, 2008 OTTAWA — Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, unveiled the Canadian Victoria Cross at Rideau Hall today, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Canada, parliamentarians, members of the Canadian Forces, veterans and other distinguished guests.

The Victoria Cross was created for the members of the Canadian Forces, to recognize the highest acts of valour, self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty, in the presence of the enemy.

“The Victoria Cross is the highest degree of recognition one could hope to receive in the course of a lifetime,” said the Governor General. “It was important to us that we create a design that would honour tradition and that we produce the Canadian Victoria Cross right here in Canada.”

The Canadian Victoria Cross is almost identical to the original decoration. It bears the Canadian floral emblems and the motto on the obverse has been changed from “For Valour” to its latin equivalent “Pro Valore”. To keep a symbolic link to its past, the decoration was made by including a percentage of the gun metal used in the manufacture of the Commonwealth Victoria Cross. To make a similar link with a Canadian historic event, a percentage of the copper used to produce the Confederation Medal in 1867 was also included.

The Chancellery of Honours, at the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, the Department of National Defence, Natural Resources Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint, Veterans Affairs Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom worked in partnership to produce the Canadian Victoria Cross.

For more information, photos and a booklet on the production of the Canadian Victoria Cross, please visit www.gg.ca.

[submitted by Bill Smy]

Annual Fort Chambly Memorial Service

On June 7, 2008 at the Fort Chambly in Chambly, Quebec a Memorial Service will be conducted to remember the 200 men of the 4th Dutchess County Militia and 4th New York Lines and their commander General John Thomas who succumbed to smallpox at Fort Chambly while retreating south from the Battle of Quebec. The event is organized by the Saranac Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution with participation by both American and Canadian organizations and dignitaries.

A bus leaving from American Legion Post #20 at 9:00 AM will be available for transportation ($15 fee) and Lunch will be served by the Royal Canadian Legion at their Post facilities.

Please contact Elinor Hays at (518) 834-1568 to RSVP by May 30, 2008.


Responses re Andrew Thompson

Andrew Thompson: From my book, “An Annotated Nominal Roll of Butler’s Rangers, 1777-1784, with Documentary Sources:

Thompson, Andrew. Captain. From Koingsland, Tryon County, NY. Son of Samuel Thompson and Elizabeth McGinness, the daughter of Sara Kast McGinnis. On Butler’s original submission for a Captain’s commission on St Leger’s expedition, 1777, before the Rangers were formed. In Walter Butler’s company as a 1st Lieutenant 24 Dec 1777, although his commission was dated 1 Aug 1778. A Captain in the Rangers, 23 Dec 1779. On Sir John Johnson’s raid into the Mohawk Valley in the fall of 1780; sent with a flag of truce to the Middle Fort at Schoharie, and was twice shot at while doing so. Destroyed the community about Fort Hunter on 18 Oct 1780. “On Command” to Detroit 29 Nov 1780. His company posted to Detroit. Drowned on Lake Erie in the spring of 1782 when returning from Detroit. “He had by some means been engaged in a quarrel with the Captain of the vessel, and Captain Thompson, in the fury of the moment, made a pass at the commander of the ship, which the latter warded off, when the force with which it was directed caused the former to tumble over the vessel’s side.” McDonell stated he was a “very active, spirited officer.” Land entitlement in the District of Niagara in 1792 totalled 3,000 acres. When his two sons, Samuel and Timothy, petitioned for their father’s land in July 1796, they were rejected, “Captain Thompson having died previous to the termination of the war, the Committee do not recommend the prayer of this petition”. Name on the UE List in 1797, annotated “dead”.

From the wife’s name, and that neither of the two sons who petitioned for his land was named John, I conclude that the Gaspe Thompson is not the Captain in the Rangers.

…Bill Smy

A wonderful source on the Thompsons is H.C. Burleigh’s, “Deforests of Avesnes and Kast, McGinness”, a small, card covered pamphlet. Check your local Branch library for a copy. If not, the Dominion Library will have a copy. If that fails, get in touch with me and I’ll photocopy mine. It may not have the answers you’re looking for, but you’ll enjoy it.

…Gavin Watt H/VP, UELAC

Information about Family of Schuyler Moor (Moore)

I’m looking for information about the family of my great-great grandfather, Schuyler Moor or Moore, who was born about 1812/14, and who came to the Windsor ON area at an early age. At some point before or when he married, he appears to have moved eastward into Quebec. He and Mary Brown, of Shipton, Quebec, were married in February 14 ,1843 in Melbourne Quebec. I see on Mary & Schuyler’s marriage certificate that a James Moor and another Moor signed it but I can’t make out the first name. Danville, where I was always told they lived, like Shipton and Danville, is a community east of Montreal and north of Sherbrook . Here are some family details:

Born: 1812-1814
Wife: Mary Brown from Shipton
Married: June 14,1843 at Eglise Methodist
Occupation: farmed his father-in-laws (Samuel Brown) 150, or more acres in the township of Shipton
Children: all born in Danville Quebec
(1) Alson G. born January 18 1844 died in Baudette MN in 1914
(2) John A. born September 1846 Died March 2 1901, or so, son ? Nathan Alvin Moore Vancouver Simoon Sound B.C. Canada
(3) Mary Elvira born June 1850 died in Los Angeles California husband William Gilson, sons John & George Gilson
(4) Albert C. born 1855 or 1856, died 1934 buried at the Hillside Cemetary Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, by second wife Christine Murray, first wife Henrietta Bedard born Mansonville Brome County Quebec 1857- Died 1886 buried in Hallock MN, next to other Bedards, children Charles born 1892 – 1958, Annie born 1894, died 1964, Elvira 4-9-1897, Irene 1899, all born in Kittson County, but moved back to Canada
(5) Bessie Ella born Sept. 9 1857 died in Calgary in 1960 at her daughters, was married to Joseph Lumley, daughter Mildred ( Mrs Sidney Green) grandsons Murray and Kent, great grandchildren Catherine Ann Green ( David Beer), Norma Ruth Breen ( Frank Grech), Peter Michael Green ( Barbara Messenger), Barrie, Richard, Keith, Cheryl Green, great great grandchildren, Robert, Diana, Daniel Grech, Ryan & Christine Green
(6) William Henry born May 26 1860 died October 27 1940, Hallock Minnesota married Alberta Bedard Dec. 7, 1887, children: Merton, Hall, Bessie, Hall Moore is my grandfather
(7) Arthur James born August 1 1863 died June 30 1942 in Kirkfield Park Municipality of Assiniboia Manitoba wife Sarah

I am looking for information about the parents of Schuyler, and what county are they from. I’m looking for their native country is it Ireland, England or Scotland? Where was Schuyler born? etc.

…Betty (Moore) Younggren, Hallock MN, {bjy AT frontiernet DOT net}