“Loyalist Trails” 2008-21: May 25, 2008

In this issue:
Four Spies Who Settled in Canada, by Stephen Davidson
Official Opening of the Butler Homestead Park and Unveiling of the Monument
Table of Contents of Spring 2008 Loyalist Gazette
Oldest University in the Commonwealth Outside the United Kingdom
CD: Tour Guides to Historic Sites in the Mohawk and Hudson Valleys, Eastern Ontario and Southwestern Quebec
Victoria Cross Addendum
Northern New York Newspapers Online
New Internet Address for Col. John Butler Branch
Loyalist Directory Additions
Last Post: Pederson, Lucy Wagar, UE
Last Post: Moody, John Wentworth II
      + Information About Refugee Camp at Yamachiche Quebec
      + Peter Pilkey and the Anchor at Holland Landing


Four Spies Who Settled in Canada, by Stephen Davidson

The American Revolution was an ideal war for British espionage. A colonial loyalist looked, sounded, and behaved just like a colonial patriot. Women and black servants were members of the secret service as well as men. Quite literally, a loyalist spy could be any one in a room where patriots were making their plans — a farmer, a doctor, or even a surveyor.

Samuel Holland was a cartographer who spied for King George III during the War of Independence. His story was told before the loyalist compensation board which convened in Quebec City four years after the close of revolution. In 1756 Holland had come to the New World as a lieutenant in the 60th Regiment, serving as an engineer to General Wolfe at the siege of Louisburg and at the conquest of New France. After a distinguished military career, the British veteran was made the surveyor for the “northern district” of North America. By the time “the troubles” broke out, Holland was living with his family in Amboy, New Jersey.

As Americans began to choose sides in the revolution, Holland’s neighbours urged him to serve as an artillery master for the patriot army. He was obviously a man of ability. Under the direction of the British general, the William Tryon, Holland stayed in New Jersey serving as a secret agent for the king. In November of 1775, Holland took dispatches to England for Tryon. The surveyor returned to America in 1776 as an aide-de-camp to General Hyster, the commander of King George III’s Hessian troops. In 1777, Holland resigned this position and raised a loyalist corps of Guides and Pioneers.

Holland and his men saw action at a number of important battles. Up until 1778, “the chief of the intelligence went through his hands”; a responsibility that he gave up to become Muster Master for the German troops in Quebec. With the defeat of the British army, Holland lost all of his land in the new republic as well as a tavern, houses, a barn and the potential profit he might have gained from the sale of maps he had created. By 1787 Samuel Holland was once again working in his chosen profession, having been appointed the surveyor of the province of Canada.

Thomas MacMiken (or McMeeking) served as a loyalist spy among the First Nation peoples in New York’s Tryon County. He and his family had emigrated from Scotland in 1774. By the outbreak of the war MacMiken and his wife had a flourishing farm and a large number of children. A loyalist from the beginning of the “troubles”, the Scot could not go off to fight on the battlefield due to his responsibilities for a large family and his crippled mother. Nevertheless, he proved to be invaluable in providing British scouts with provisions.

One of those he helped was none other than the loyalist Iroquois leader, Joseph Brant. MacMiken was urged by Brant to stay on his farm and gather intelligence for the British. Later the Iroquois loyalist wrote a certificate to ascertain MacMiken’s value in passing along information about rebel activities.

His patriot neighbours eventually had MacMiken imprisoned for his active support of the king. During his time behind bars, the Mohawk, Delaware and Seneca raided MacMiken’s farm and made off with his stock. Later, Seneca warriors brought MacMiken to the loyalist stronghold of Niagara. Whether this was a rescue mission or a prisoner exchange is uncertain. However, once he was among loyalists, MacMiken enlisted with Johnson’s Foresters, serving with them for a year. He eventually settled in the Niagara region and once again took up farming.

The loyalist secret agent, Lemuel Caswell, told his spy stories to British officials in Montreal in 1788. The New York farmer’s service began in General Burgoyne’s army, but for most of the war he was a soldier with the King’s Rangers. Caswell was frequently “employed in secret service with great hazard”. Rebels captured Caswell and another spy, Thomas Lovelace, while on an espionage mission. The two loyalists were put on trial for their lives. Lovelace was hanged for treason, but Caswell was imprisoned in Philadelphia for two years. Upon his release in 1783, he headed for Canada, settling in Oswegatchie.

Another loyalist spy who eventually established himself in modern day Quebec was Dr. George Smyth. The Irish immigrant had made his home in Fort Edward, New York in 1775. Situated on a bend in the Hudson River, the fort controlled the two routes commonly taken to Lake Champlain. Because Dr. Smyth refused to take patriot oaths, he was frequently imprisoned. On one occasion a certain General Benedict Arnold seized all of Dr. Smyth’s livestock. Despite these setbacks, the Irish doctor was “the means of correspondence being carried on twixt Canada and New York” for a period of five years.

Smyth’s espionage activities were eventually discovered. The doctor fled to Vermont, but he was arrested, handed over to patriots and escorted back to Albany. En route, Smyth escaped his guards and fled to Canada. Frederick Haldimand, the governor of Quebec, employed the Irish doctor as a secret service agent as well as a commissioner for the exchange of prisoners. Smyth’s medical skills were put to good use as a surgeon for Major Jessup’s Corps.

The stories of these four spies are but the smallest tip of a large “iceberg” of loyalist history. In forthcoming issues of Loyalist Trails we will open the files on secret agents who settled in the Maritimes and learn about the long hidden accounts of black loyalist spies.

…Stephen Davidson {stephendavids AT gmail DOT com}

Official Opening of the Butler Homestead Park and Unveiling of the Monument

On Sunday May 18th 2008, 200 people including 30 members of Colonel John Butler (Niagara) Branch UELAC braved cold rain squalls to attend the official opening of Colonel John Butler Homestead Park and celebrate the unveiling of the memorial cairn. The dignitaries present included The Hon. Rob Nicholson, M.P. Minister of Justice; Gary Burroughs, Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake; Kim Craitor, MPP, Bernie Villami, Trillium Foundation and Fred Hayward, UE, Sr. VP of the UELAC. The ceremony and speeches were held in historic Navy Hall because of the stormy weather. Many guests brightened the day by wearing colourful period clothing or UEL clothing. Thirty members of the Lincoln and Welland Regimental Band delighted everyone with their musical presentations and delicious refreshments were served.

Several interesting displays were set up around the room. The homestead was burned during the War of 1812 and its exact location forgotten. When development threatened to obliterate the site steps were taken to find and preserve the homestead. The display of artifacts from the archaeological dig conducted at the homestead site was especially intriguing.

Later in the afternoon a shuttle bus took guests to the Butler Homestead Park and the sun shone briefly for the unveiling of the cairn. There are four plaques mounted on the cairn; Side 1 tells the story of John Butler, Side 2 the story of the Butler Homestead; Side 3 finding the homestead site and Side 4 lists the contributors who made the acquisition of the site possible including Thompson/Okanagan Branch and Colonel John Butler Branch UELAC. A bust of John Butler will be mounted on top of the cairn later this summer.

Congratulations to Ron Dale, Parks Canada and Elizabeth Oliver Malone, member of Colonel John Butler (Niagara) Branch who organized this significant event.

…Bev Craig UE

Table of Contents of Spring 2008 Loyalist Gazette

Earlier this month members of UELAC and other subscribers would have received their copy of the Spring 2008 Loyalist Gazette, another great publication assembled by editors Bob McBride and Michael Johnson. For those who do not receive it, an expanded version of the Table of Contents is now posted by itself (PDF).

The same material has been appended to the more comprehensive list of contents of issues since 1963.

Oldest University in the Commonwealth Outside the United Kingdom

May I query a point in the Nov 2007-44 issue of Loyalist Trails which speaks of either UNB or Kings College as being the oldest [English] university in the Commonwealth outside the United Kingdom [reference]. These two institutions do indeed rank near the top in the order of the founding of Commonwealth Universities outside the United Kingdom. By comparison, however, the [French] Université Laval in Quebec, which traces its origins to the Séminaire du Québec founded with the authorization of the King of France in 1663, is in fact older, as are a number of academic institutions in the Indian sub-continent.

Tom Symons UE, Founding President and Vanier Professor Emeritus, Trent University, Chair of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, 1971/2, Chair of the Assoc. for Commonwealth Studies, 2001–.

CD: Tour Guides to Historic Sites in the Mohawk and Hudson Valleys, Eastern Ontario and Southwestern Quebec

by Edward and Elizabeth Kipp; George and Janet Anderson, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9733749-5-7

[Editors note: The authors organized and ran several Loyalist bus tours in the last ten years.]

This CD-ROM contains the tour booklets in PDF format that were created for the following tours:

– Forts and Battlefields – Chambly to Saratoga

– Eastern Ontario Historical Sites – St. Andrews West to the Blue Church

– Historic Sites in the Hudson Valley – Albany to West Point, NY

– Historic Sites in the Mohawk Valley – Schenectady to Rome, NY

All accessible through a web-like menu. Published by and available from: Edward Kipp, 6242 Paddler Way, Orleans, Ontario Canada K1C 2E7. http://ca.geocities.com/ekipp@rogers.com/. For more information, email Ed at {ekipp AT rogers DOT com}

Price: $25.00 CDN per CD-ROM plus Shipping and Handling $2.00 CDN.

Personal cheques or money orders are accepted. PayPal is also available. Only prepaid orders will be filled.

Note: Ed will have the CD available for sale at the OGS Conference in London May 31 – June 1 2008.

Victoria Cross Addendum

Modern Canadian Victoria Cross unveiled at Rideau Hall – from Canadian Forces release.

Just before Victoria Day weekend, the new Canadian version of the Victoria Cross was officially unveiled by Her Excellency The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada. The ceremony at Rideau Hall was attended by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Walter Natynczyk and past recipients of Military Valour decorations.

The modern Canadian Victoria Cross replaces the British Victoria Cross introduced by Queen Victoria in 1856 and awarded to 81 members of Canada’s military forces in the course of various conflicts up to the end of the Second World War. Australia and New Zealand have also developed modern versions of the Victoria Cross.

Click here for more.

…M.C. Eamer, CD, UE Capt

Northern New York Newspapers Online

Seven Northern New York counties, Ottawa’s near neighbours with a total population under half a million, have cooperated to digitize and OCR more than a million pages of 31 local area newspapers and make them freely available online. This was achieved through a library cooperative. Access them here.

From the blog of John Reid in Ottawa

[submitted by Nancy Conn]

New Internet Address for Col. John Butler Branch

Col. John Butler Branch has moved their web site and it is now located at http://www.uelac.org/ColJohnButler.

Loyalist Directory Additions

Some time and some assistance allowed us to once again post a few additions to the Loyalist Directory:
– Archibald, John – from Susan Feindell
– Craig, John – from Cal Craig
– Eyres, Ephraim – from Marilyn Sapienza
– Nichols, John – from Carrie Mackenzie
– Yurex, Isaac – from Patrick Hartnett

You can access the directory from the main Directory of Loyalists page, where those people for whom additional information has been added are listed. Thanks to those who have provided this additional information.

Last Post: Pederson, Lucy Wagar, UE

At Coronach, Saskatchewan, May 9th, 2008 at the venerable age of 108 years, 6 months. Descendant of Everhard Wagar of Dutchess County, New York Province. Great aunt of Dawn Good Cox of Peterborough and Ronald Good of Port Hope. Cousin of the late Hazel Wagar McKay, U.E., (died Calgary, May 2006, aged 104 years) the mother of Betty MacKenzie of Cobourg. At her death, Lucy was believed to be the oldest person in Saskatchewan. 11089480 Northumberland County Cobourg.

…Lynne Cook UE

Last Post: Moody, John Wentworth II

MOODY, John Wentworth WW II Veteran Led Team that Developed Canada’s Postal Code John Wentworth Moody, 85, passed quietly on May 17. Jack was born January 15, 1923 in Hamilton. He obtained a B.Sc. in Metallurgical Engineering from the U. of Toronto (1950). He met his beloved wife Betty (d. 1990), and married her just before being posted overseas where he served with the Royal Canadian Signals Corp Third Division of the Canadian Army during WW II. Leaving the army in 1960 as a Captain, he joined Canada Post where he became a director and led the team that developed Canada’s postal code. After retiring he and Betty enjoyed travelling, volunteering, and researching family history. Jack was Chair of the Ontario Genealogical Society (Ottawa Branch) and a member of the Hall of Fame of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa. He traced his family back to the 1700s and was delighted when a book was published about his 4th great grandfather, Lt. Colonel James Moody, a Loyalist in the American Revolution. Jack, pre-deceased by brothers Bill and Bob, is survived by sister Pat Green (Maurice), sister-in-law Clemance, 3 loving children, Anne Strang (Nelson), Rick Moody (Jo-Ann) and Lin Moody and many grandchildren. Memorial service – June 25 at 3:30 pm at the Perley Rideau. Condolences and tributes may be made at www.tubmanfuneralhomes.com. [Published in the Ottawa Citizen on 5/23/2008.]

[submitted by Lynne Cook, UE]


Information About Refugee Camp at Yamachiche Quebec

My ancestor Henry Bosch or Van Den Bosch and hiis wife Neltzen (Middaugh) came to the refugee camp at Yamichiche, PQ. They both died there in 1778 and left 4 children. Neltzen’s brother, Martin Middaugh, cared for them. The family then moved on to Osnabruk, Ontario. In searching for information I came across the name of Conrad Gugy. He lived at Yamachiche and in 1778 placed 440 Loyalist supporters there. I guess he was probably responsible for Henry and Neltzen going to Yamichiche.

I am traveling to Quebec City at the end of May and am planning a trip to Yamachiche. I was wondering if there was a cemetery their for those who died in the refugee camp.

…Wayne Daniels {wdaniels AT eidnet DOT org}

Peter Pilkey and the Anchor at Holland Landing

Being that the War of 1812 could be viewed as the final struggle of the War of Separation, could I pose a question about the anchor at Holland Landing? My three greats grandfather, Peter Pilkey was part of the work crew hauling the anchor from Kingston to Penetanguishene. My cousin’s husband ( at Innisfil, Ontario) was intrigued when I wanted to see the anchor as his second great grandfather, Jonathan George Courtney was the head teamster. He tells me there were 32 timber cutters clearing a roadway through the bush for the 32 yoke of oxen driven by 32 drivers hauling the anchor.

The anchor was relocated where it is now in 1870. My cousin’s husband also recalls, when he was 8 or 9 years old, C 1943 ­ 44, going with his parents to Holland Landing for a ceremony for the development of Anchor Park . He tells me there was a wooden sign (plaque) at the anchor with the names of the men who had been on the work crew. It was damaged by vandalism over time and removed and has been replaced by a brass sign following the park renewal project in 2003.

Can anyone suggest where the information relating to that original wooden sign could be located. Would there have been an article in newspapers in 1943 and or 2003? Who would have promoted interest in the anchor initially in 1870 and again in 1943 and 2003? I would like documentary evidence about the anchor crew with, of course, Peter as a member of that work crew.

We will check out the Friends of Fort York web site. Thanks for the info.

…Logan Bjarnason UE, Regina Branch {loganue AT sasktel DOT net}