“Loyalist Trails” 2008-27: July 6, 2008

In this issue:
Farewell and Thanks: President Peter Johnson UE
Brothers Who Bore Arms Together, by Stephen Davidson
Another Loyalist Doctor: Dr. Robert Kerr
Lyons Creek United Church Closing
Ottawa Citizen Feature on Inundated Villages of The St Lawrence Valley
Rev War Reenactors and Loyalist Sympathizers – Shelburne NS on TV
Wish “Yankee Doodle” a happy 250th birthday
Loyalist Directory Additions
      + Response re Abraham DeForest
      + Black Powder Club and The Loyalist Cup
      + Descendants of Benedict Arnold


Farewell and Thanks: President Peter Johnson UE

This is my last opportunity to address you in Loyalist Trails before my term as President ends in the very near future. I have had two very busy, often interesting and certainly challenging years as President, and as always I thank the Membership for the support. There was never time to make all the visits I wished to make, but I certainly appreciate the opportunities that did unfold. Most recently I attended Grand River Branch and one of their UEL Cemetery Plaque dedications, and last weekend I spoke about the Loyalists at Harry Danford’s Church north of Belleville ON. (Harry Danford when a member of the ON Provincial Legislature introduced the Bill which created Loyalist Day in ON). While not strictly a Loyalist outing, I also spent twenty-four hours in Ottawa with the Crown Forces Fifes & Drums 1812 who participated in the Canada Day Parade on July lst.

…Peter W. Johnson UE, President, UELAC

Brothers Who Bore Arms Together, by Stephen Davidson

In the history of warfare it is not uncommon to read stories of brothers who decide to go off to battle together. The American Revolution was no different. Here are the stories of two sets of brothers who left their colonial homes and fought for a united empire.

The four Snider brothers were loyalists who lived near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the summer of 1777 Peter and Elias Snider joined 160 others who were making their way to join the king’s forces on Staten Island. On the journey through New Jersey, the loyalist volunteers were intercepted. The two Snider brothers were among the 60 who were taken prisoner.

The leaders of the loyalist party were singled out and executed. It seemed that many others would share their fate. Peter Snider was imprisoned for six months to await his hanging. Elias also faced execution, but for reasons unknown was kept in jail for 18 months.

While Elias Snider was in prison, his wife Mary did her best to maintain their rented farm in Pennsylvania. She was forced to sell their horses, cows and an ox along with three tons of hay to put food on the table. Elias and Peter’s father sold 175 acres of land to pay the fees required to provide for his sons while they were incarcerated.

Elias was finally released on the condition that he would join the rebel army. His time in prison had taken a severe toll on Elias’ health. Seeing that he was in no condition to fight, the patriots permitted Elias to go home “on furlough”. He never quite made it. He evaded the patriots by hiding in the woods for a year, and eventually made his way to the British garrison on Staten Island.

Peter Snider was also offered a pardon if he would serve in the Continental Army and pay his jail fees; an offer he willingly accepted. After only three months in the rebel army, Peter deserted, hid for 30 days, and then fled to Philadelphia to join with other loyalists.

Elias and Peter along with two more of their brothers joined the New Jersey Brigade and served in the corps for the remainder of the war. Peter sailed from New York to New Brunswick with Col. Allen’s Regiment in October 1783, settling his family along the St. John River near present day Fredericton. Within four years’ time, he had settled near his brothers Elias and Baltus in Sussex along the Kennebecasis. River.

When Baltus Snider died in 1808, he willed his farm to his six children James, Mary, Betsey, Henry, Jacob and Kezia. Elias Snider died in 1811, leaving his estate to his sons Peter and Elias. The last of the Snider brothers, Peter, died in 1830. His homestead was divided among his children: Elizabeth (Byram), Magdalen (Dole), Charlotte, Jacob, Peter, Elias, George, and Leveritt.

Little else is known of the brothers who fought side by side during the revolution. When they made their claims for compensation in 1787, each of the Sniders mentioned the loss of a prized mare. More than houses and land, what these two loyalists may have missed the most in their first years in New Brunswick was a good horse.

Before Israel, Richard and Farrington Ferguson settled along the Bay of Quinte, they had lived on Cameron’s Neck near Albany, New York. Their father Richard had already distinguished himself in the king’s service by carrying “dispatches of consequence” that told of the rebel army’s advance on Quebec.

Israel joined the British army in 1777 when he was 25. Two younger Fergusons wanted to fight against the rebels, but Richard Junior and Farrington were only boys when their older brother enlisted.

After Israel went off to war, his five sisters, one of his three brothers, and his mother Charlotte were all put in jail in Albany. As soon as they were released, Mrs. Ferguson took her children north to Canada. Her husband, either delayed by imprisonment or military service, did not join his family until 1778. The records of the day do not indicate if Nancy Singleton, Israel’s wife of five years, fled with her in-laws or stayed in her home.

Richard Jr. Ferguson finally joined the British forces when he turned 16, and Farrington managed to enlist at the tender age of 14. All three brothers were with the King’s Rangers until the end of the revolution. Israel was discharged as a lieutenant; Richard as an ensign.

The records of the loyalist compensation board note that the Fergusons were “good people” and a Lt. Walter Sutherland gave testimony that “the whole Family were Loyal” so it would seem that the suffering borne over six years of war received some form of recognition from the British crown.

Richard Ferguson Jr. married Frederica Grant after the revolution. Following her death, he married Clarissa Sherwood around 1800. The names of his children are not known.

Israel Ferguson was claimed by disease at the age of 39. He had settled in a community called Carrying Place where he had established a trading post. Whether he and Nancy had any children to survive them is not recorded.

Farrington Ferguson, the youngest loyalist soldier, married Elizabeth Cole in 1789. Over the next 29 years the couple had 16 children: Mary, Israel, Patience, Rachel, Elizabeth, Hulduh, Eleanor, Farrington, Barent, Daniel, Sarah, Arra, James, Charlotte, Esther, and Catherine.

The War of Independence was in fact the first American civil war, bitterly pitting brother against brother. It is heartening to see that in the case of the Snider and Ferguson families, these brothers who were loyal together, stayed together — and helped to found a new nation despite hardship and tragedy.

The Story Behind the Story

As I was researching this piece about brothers who were loyalist soldiers, it suddenly dawned on me that I had a student in my grade three class whose last name was Snider. I couldn’t resist asking her father if his family was from Sussex, New Brunswick. He chuckled and said that they were — and that many local landmarks bore the Snider name. He was a descendant of one of the Snider brothers, either Elias, Peter, or Baltus! Unbeknownst to me when I started researching this article, I was actually piecing together the story of the loyalist ancestors of one of my own students. A story which began near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 1770s was connecting people who lived just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia in the 21st century.

…Stephen Davidson {stephendavids AT gmail DOT com}

[Stephen will generally approve reprints of his articles in other publications, in return for including a bit about him and his books; please feel free to contact him. This applies to most content in Loyalist Trails. — editor]

Another Loyalist Doctor: Dr. Robert Kerr

Dr. Robert Kerr was born in 1755 in Scotland and as a young man, emigrated to the New York Colony. During the Revolutionary War he served in the 2nd Batt’n KRRNY and was at the Battle of Saratoga where he was captured in October 1777. He managed to escape to Quebec by 1779 and was a friend of Dr. James Macnab of Machiche, both having served as Assistant Surgeons in Burgoyne’s Battle of Saratoga. Dr, Kerr attended his friend, Dr. Macnab during his final illness and at his death. Years later Dr Kerr was to write, on February 23, 1818, “I do certify that I was aquainted with Doctor James Macnab when he acted as assistant-surgeon to the Loyalists during the first war with America; and that I attended him in his last illness, at Machiche in Lower Canada, where he died about the beginning of the year 1780.” (signed) Robert Kerr, Surgeon I. Department.

Dr. Kerr remained with the militia for several years , stationed at Niagara and at York . He was, according to Cruikshank and Watt in “The History and Muster Roll of the King’s Royal Regiment of New York”, page 149, “appointed surgeon to the Indian Department in 1788”, and was still connected to it when he wrote, in 1818, the letter that attested to the Loyalty of Dr. James Macnab.

Dr. Kerr married in Niagara in 1783, Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir William Johnson and Molly Brant. They moved to Fredericksburgh Township, in the Cataraqui Townships by 1789 where Dr. Kerr had received a land grant of 300 acres and also a land grant of 400 acres in Thurlow Twp. Elizabeth Johnson Kerr died 24 January 1794. There is no record of a family.

Dr. Kerr soldiered on. That there was a continuing relationship between Dr. Kerr and the two young sons of Dr. James Macnab, Simon and James Macnab Jr, is apparent because of the inter marriages of the Sir William Johnson, Ferguson and Fraser families and correspondence between James Macnab Jr. and Dr. Kerr. Dr. Robert Kerr , was a Loyalist doctor who settled in Upper Canada and remained here until his death forty one years later at the age of 69.

…Joan Lucas, UE, Kawartha Branch {jflucas AT sympatico DOT ca}

[See last week’s issue about Dr. James Macnab; in addition, several Loyalist doctors were noted in “Is There a (Loyalist) Doctor in the House?” by Stephen Davidson]

Lyons Creek United Church Closing

The last service at Lyons Creek United Church is planned for October 2008.

Crowland’s first Church, first white cemetery, first school and first bridge over Lyons Creek were all on Buchner property. Henry Buchner helped start the first Methodist meetings in the Niagara area at Lyons Creek.

The first Church in Crowland Township, constructed of logs, was built in 1806 on Peter Buchner’s property. Known as Lyon’s Creek Methodist Meeting House it was replaced in 1861 by a brick building, the bricks made nearby by Reuben Buchner. The Church is still standing today, practically unchanged since 1861. It is known today as Lyons Creek United Church. The plaque over the door reads: Wesleyan M. Church 1861.

Property adjoining the Church was donated by Captain Henry Buchner as a cemetery and it is here that Captain Henry was buried on May 31, 1842 at the age of 82 years. His wife, Joanna, had predeceased him on April 3, 1820 in the 55th year of her life. They are buried directly south of the huge oak tree which still stands.

Based on a formula supplied by a former Lands & Forest Officer the tree is 242 to 245 years old. A member of the White Oak Family it is 15 feet 10 inches in diameter.

Captain Henry Buchner Sr. UEL. Henry Buchner fought with the British army under Lieut. James Moody during the American Revolution. By aiding the British cause Henry put his life and that of his family in danger. For reasons of safety they fled to the Bay of Quinte area where they stayed for some time. Eventually arriving at Niagara, they traveled along a creek, later called Lyons Creek, to stake their claims on both sides of the Creek in the White Pigeon area of Crowland Township.

The first recorded burial was Joanna, wife of Henry Buchner, April 3, 1820, at 55 years of age.

Their Monuments bear the following inscriptions:

In memory of Joanna, wife of Henry,
who departed this life April 3, 1820
in the 55th year of her life.
‘As you are now, so once was I
As I am now, so you will be
Prepare yourself to follow me.’

In memory of Henry Buchner,
died May 31st 1842.
Age 82 years 10 months and 15 days.
‘Blessed are they who die in the Lord from henceforth,
yea, saith the Spirit:
That they may rest from their labours
and their works do follow them.’

…Phyllis Cosby

Ottawa Citizen Feature on Inundated Villages of The St Lawrence Valley

The Ottawa Citizen is doing a series of articles on the villages/hamlets that were inundated when the St. Lawrence Seaway went through in the mid to late 1950s. This is relevant to the Loyalists community because many of the villagers and farmers that were uprooted and displaced were descendents of the original UEL families that settled the land in the late 1700s.

Besides the hard-copy articles that are appearing in the newspaper, the Citizen has an excellent website that includes videos,maps, interviews, audio clips, the newspaper articles, photos, slide shows, etc. They can be accessed here (www.ottawacitizen.com/lostvillages/).

I am the descendant of UEL families (several times over) and the grand-daughter of one of the families that lost their general store and home when the village of Farran?s Point was inundated (village named after Jacob Farran, an officer in the KRRNY).

…Kathryn Johnson Joly (as posted to Rootsweb)

Rev War Reenactors and Loyalist Sympathizers – Shelburne NS on TV

The quaint Nova Scotia town of Shelburne – and military and civilian members of B.A.R. units King’s Orange Rangers and 3rd New Jersey Volunteers (Col A Van Buskirk’s Coy) were featured on an American Stories with Bob Dotson segment on Friday July 4th. Dotson was chasing accounts of connections to Nova Scotia by Ben Franklin (he owned property here) and Benedict Arnold (he visited here).

The producers found us via the website for the B.A.R.-sponsored 25th Loyalist Landing Reenactment July 18-20. Click here for information on other 225th Celebration events this summer.

NBC shot 11 hrs of footage for 3.5 minutes of airtime, including lots of footage of our great new longboat (built by LL2008 Society). We had a ball on the shoot. Click here for photos of the TV shoot.

Looking forward to seeing some of you here during the Loyalist Landing Celebrations!

…Timothy Gillespie,civilian, attached to 3rd New Jersey Volunteers, {novascotiaarts AT klis DOT com}

Wish “Yankee Doodle” a happy 250th birthday

The original lyrics to one of America’s best-known songs, one associated more with the American Revolution, were actually written a couple of decades earlier, during the French and Indian War, although an exact date has eluded historians. Some sources peg the year as 1755, when the war’s first major battles were fought, or 1756. The other year often cited is 1758 and now a state archaeologist believes he has narrowed down the date to sometime in June of that year, when a large British-led army was mustering at Albany for an expedition against the French.

Dr. Richard Shuckburgh, a British army physician, is generally credited with penning the “Yankee Doodle” lyrics to mock the ragtag New England militia serving alongside the redcoats. Shuckburgh’s own correspondence documents support the June, 1758 date, according to Paul Huey of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Studying surviving documents from the era helped Huey trace Shuckburgh’s whereabouts between 1755 and 1759.

In 1755 Shuckburgh visited London and returned to New York in early September, after an English army had already marched north to attack the French. He then spent most of the next two years pursuing land deals in Manhattan, which likely kept Shuckburgh away from Albany. In the spring of 1758, Shuckburgh returned to Albany. Thousands of ill-equipped New England militiamen were bivouacked around Fort Crailo, a fortified manor house in what is now the city of Rensselaer, located on the east side of the Hudson across from Albany.

The undisciplined and disheveled New Englanders were easy targets for the derision of the spit-and-polish redcoats, Shuckburgh among them. He and other British officers were the guests o;f the Van Rensselaer family, wealthy Dutch landowners whose holdings included Fort Crailo. According to Van Rensselaer family lore, Shuckburgh wrote the lyrics in 1758 while sitting on the edge of a well at the rear of the brick house. He wrote the ditty sometime before June 28, because the army had marched by then. An old English nursery rhyme provided the tune. In August 1773 Shuckburgh died in Schenectady.

Two years later, the Revolutionary War was under way and the British troops used the song to taunt the rebellious colonists who would later take “Yankee Doodle” as their own and struck up the tune after beating the redcoats in battle.

…G. William Glidden, MAJOR (R) NYARNG, Historian, Valcour Battle Chapter, SAR

Loyalist Directory Additions

Additional information has been added to the following names in the Loyalist Directory. Thanks to those who have provided this information.

– Buchner, Henry – from Phyllis Cosby

– Dulmage, David – from Greg Piasetzki

– Hover, Caspar – from Lois Davis O’Hara

– Hover, Henry – from Lois Davis O’Hara

– Kerr, Dr Robert – from Joan Lucas & Phyllis White

– McNabb (Macnab), James – from Joan Lucas & Phyllis White


Response re Abraham DeForest

Others have tied in Hester (DeForest) Burlock of Wilton CT. Hester is descended from Jesse DeForest of New Amsterdam, who came with Stuyvesant, and had a 100 acre farm on the Hudson. The DeForest family is well documented within the Hugenot genealogies. However, we no record of an Abraham in any of our records.

…Ed Gorber

Black Powder Club and The Loyalist Cup

My husband and I belong to the Chilliwack Blackpowder shooting club. I was given a page from The Loyalist Gazette Spring, 1976 pg. 11. It mentions a Black Powder Rifle Match that was held in Ottawa, Ontario Sun. Aug. 8, 1976. The winner was presented with The Loyalist Cup.

With regards to the blackpowder clubs. There are a number of clubs in BC. These clubs are made up of people who re-enact the time of the American Mountain Men, early 1800’s. (Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, etc.) We shoot percussion or flint lock guns. Clubs in B.C. host shoots where you can go for the weekend, set up your canvas tents, wear period clothing, take part in shooting, knife and tomahawk throws, bow & arrows or just rendezvous. (great fun) My husband and I and a friend spoke at the Vancouver Branch Loyalist meeting in May about this time period.

Here is an excerpt from the the Gazette article:

“The Dominion of Canada Rifle Association, established in1868 and incorporated by Act of Parliament 63-64 Victoria, Chapter 99, will sponsor on August 8th, 1976, at the Connaught Ranges near Ottawa, an all-day program of historically authentic old fashioned black powder rifle matches.

Authentic 1868 Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be offered for the first, second and third place winners in each of four main events, and a large silver challenge trophy, The Loyalist Cup, will be won by the highest aggregate scorer in the two most difficult matches.

The Loyalist Cup was donated by Major Donald C. Holmes, a former commanding officer of the Second Ottawa Field Battery, the original Bytown Gunners, a volunteer unit raised in Bytown, Canada West,on September 27, 1855, and commemorates the Canadian Loyalist Heritage. Engraved on the trophy under the Royal Cipher of George III is a portion of the Proclamation of1789 bestowing the title U.E. on registered Loyalists and their descendants in perpetuity…….

At 2:00pm the Loyalist Cup series begins with the Black Powder Open, followed by the Long Range Black Powder Match (fired at a distance of approximately 1/8 mile). Here, the emphasis is on the ultimate in long range accuracy. Any breech or muzzle loading black powder rifle may be used, and many fine old target and buffalo rifles may be seen in action, exactly as they were used a century and more ago.”

My question is, out of curiosity, does this competition still go on? Where might The Loyalist Cup be found now? Any related information would be appreciated.

…Judy Scholz, UE, Chilliwack Branch {juwol AT shaw DOT ca}

Descendants of Benedict Arnold

NBC did a feature on the “Today” show the morning of July 4 about the Loyalists who settled in Nova Scotia after the Revolution. [See Shelburne NS on TV above]. They included in the story about how Benedict Arnold settled in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, and talked with his closest living relative, Steve Arnold, a descendant.

That got me thinking, it would be interesting to have a descendent of Benedict Arnold attend a commemoration for the Battle of Valcour. The naval Battle of Valcour Island, also known as the Battle of Valcour Bay, took place on 11 October 1776, on Lake Champlain in a narrow strait between the New York mainland and Valcour Island during the American Revolutionary War. It is generally regarded as the first naval battle fought by the United States Navy. Although the American ships under the command of Benedict Arnold were mostly destroyed, the campaign delayed by one year the British attempt to cut the colonies in half.

If anyone can put us in touch with those who are descended from Benedict Arnold, we would be most appreciative.

[Editor’s note: there is a wonderful sharing of Rev War and War of 1812 celebrations every year by the Canadians and Americans up and down the whole Champlain Valley.]

…Bill Glidden {historian70 AT verizon DOT net} and Richard Wingler {winglerr AT charter DOT net}