“Loyalist Trails” 2008-33: September 14, 2008

In this issue:
Loyalist Shipwreck © Stephen Davidson
The Arrival Quest, Williamstown Monument
Reunion of Jonathan Sewell (Sewall) June 2008 in Quebec City
Book Review Opportunity for Simon Girty; Turncoat Hero
Loyalists Quarterly, Sept Issue now Available
      + Response re Loyalist Bumper Stickers
      + Response re Matthys Lampman, son of Frederick
      + Response re “Neutralists” and Samuel Benedict Family
      + More Response re Joseph Doan Sr. Family


Loyalist Shipwreck © Stephen Davidson

One historian estimates that there were as many as forty shipwrecks among the hundreds of vessels that carried loyalists to safety. Of all of these shipwrecks, the one whose story can be told in the greatest detail is that of the Martha. A loyalist officer aboard the ship provided an eyewitness account of all that happened on its fateful voyage.

The Martha‘s last weeks were uneventful ones. Like the other eleven ships in the September evacuation fleet, it had taken on provisions and loyalists in New York City. A few passengers did notice the signs of the Martha‘s 30 years of service– its spliced-together rigging and patched sails. Could it weather the winds and rains of the north Atlantic?

On board were 110 members of the Regiment of Maryland Loyalists. Their party included a dozen women, 10 children and 5 enslaved Africans. The other 71 passengers were with the Third Regiment of Delancey’s Brigade. They had 9 women, 8 children and 5 slaves with them.

The Martha left New York on September 15, 1783. Because it had failed to meet the fleet’s other 19 ships at the set rendezvous point, it had to sail for the mouth of the St. John River alone. Within six days, the Martha sailed into the most dangerous waters along the Nova Scotia coast. Stretching over a 20-mile area was a series of shoals and islands around which swirled currents powered by the highest tides in the world.

A vicious gale began to beat down on the Martha. Around midnight the sounds of the mainsail crashing to the deck rudely wrenched the passengers from their sleep. Repairs were hastily made, and some of the loyalist soldiers were put on lookout duty with the Martha‘s crew.

At two o’clock, everyone aboard the Martha was again awakened, this time by a great shock that ran the length of the ship. The Martha was caught atop a ridge of rocks. The raging winds and waves repeatedly lifted the ship up and then dropped it down on the shoals. Unable to escape its rocky snare, the Martha would be broken to pieces within hours.

In the light of dawn, land could be seen and the sense of doom lifted. Passengers and crew readied the ship’s single long boat. Five of the Martha‘s crew were already out on the waters in a small sailing craft known as a yawl. It would tow the long boat from ship to shore as many times as was needed to evacuate the Martha. Just as the first of the women and children were about to board the long boat, the sails and rigging of one of the ship’s masts fell and crushed the long boat.

The crewmembers in the yawl would not return to the ship, even though the women held up their children. Promising to make his sailors return, the Martha‘s captain went out to the yawl in a small jolly-boat. However, as soon as he joined them, the captain turned his back on his ship and abandoned the passengers to their fate. Those who swam after the yawl died in the attempt; the crew did not stop to pull any of them from the sea.

Battered by rain and wind, the loyalist passengers were left to their own devices on a ship that was breaking apart. The skies grew darker; and the storm intensified. Tiring from clinging to the ship’s rigging, many passengers could hold on no longer and were washed into the ocean.

Finally, the quarterdeck broke away and turned over. Here 25 passengers, including two women and three children, sought refuge. Within a few hours, the other sections of the Martha drifted away from the deadly shoals; their castaways eventually lost sight of one another.

After six hours on the freezing Atlantic waters, only 10 of the passengers on the quarterdeck were still alive. Then –in the last light of day — there was land! In the same moment that hope reinvigorated the castaways, they realized to their horror that the tide was taking them away from the shore.

Determined to stay within sight of land, the castaways paddled with planks all through the night. Their frantic efforts kept them from being taken further out to sea, but it had utterly exhausted them. Only six of their number were still alive, and none had the strength to paddle any more that day.

As sunset approached, one of the castaways saw a sail on the horizon. The Martha‘s castaways desperately waved a plank with a handkerchief tied to its end. Sighting the castaways, three New England fishing sloops turned. The fisherman took the castaways into their punts and brought them aboard.

Within a few minutes of hearing the survivors’ story, the fishermen sighted other passengers clinging to wreckage from the Martha, and pulled them from the sea. In total, 68 Martha passengers were rescued, a number that included 6 women and 5 children.

The three sloops were too small to accommodate so many passengers, so the castaways were taken to a small, uninhabited island. Bonfires provided heat as the passengers slept warm and dry under the stars.

Within 48 hours, all were taken to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia where the Martha‘s castaways were put up in private homes. Two weeks later, the loyalist survivors hired two boats to sail them up the coast and across the Bay of Fundy to the mouth of the St. John River. There the astonished passengers of the fall fleet’s other 11 ships greeted the Martha‘s survivors.

113 people died in the shipwreck of the Martha, including 15 women, 13 children, and all of its enslaved Africans. Many of the ship’s passengers settled in New Brunswick; some sailed for Great Britain. One of the six women who survived the shipwreck went on to have 18 sons and 4 daughters, living well into her seventies. The story of Elizabeth Woodward will be told in the next Loyalist Trails.

To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at {stephendavids AT gmail DOT com}

The Arrival Quest, Williamstown Monument

The quest for Loyalist monuments can some times lead you back and forth across the country. Back in 2001, while attending our conference in Cornwall, I took several photographs of a tiny bronze sculpture at the entrance to St.Andrew’s United Church in Williamstown. Weeks later, Doris Ferguson of the St. Lawrence Branch sent me a package of information related to the artist, Ralph Sketch. However the development of this subject for the Monuments and Commemorative Folder remained in the dormant file on my desk. While Ralph Sketch was primarily an equestrian sculptor, his love of Canadian history drove him to create many similarly small works portraying key moments in our history. Now thanks to an article from the April/May 1987 issue of Canadian Geographic, and the sleuthing of Joan Clement of Victoria Branch and Wendy Cosby of Vancouver Branch, I now have photographic images of two of his portrayals of Loyalist descendants – Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Simon Fraser. With some fresh measurements taken by Carol Edwards of Williamstown, the documentation of “Arrival – United Empire Loyalist 1782” has finally been posted to our website.

Monuments to our Loyalist ancestors do not need to be big.

…Fred H. Hayward

Reunion of Jonathan Sewell (Sewall) June 2008 in Quebec City

The families of a Loyalist met in Quebec City in June. Two years in the planning and 20 years in assembling the family tree, 82 Sewell’s [Sewall’s] enjoyed the sites of the city and 2 days of planned activities. They came from England, Barbados, New York, Connecticut, Maine, California, Vancouver, Florida, other American Cities and many Ontario and Quebec Cities and Towns.

Jonathan Sewell [Sewall], lawyer, musician, office holder, politician, author, and judge; born in Cambridge, Mass. in 1766, son of Jonathan Sewall [Sewell] and Ester Quincy, died 1839 in Quebec.

Jonathan was born into a prominent and cultivated Massachusetts family and with his younger brother grew up on the love and encouragement of their parents. His loyalist father, attorney general of the colony, earned the enmity of American patriots, and on Sept.1, 1774 a terrified 8 year old witnessed the sacking by a patriot mob of the family mansion. A week later they moved to Boston, a year later they arrived in England and settled in Bristol.

He briefly attended Brasenose College, Oxford and left in 1785 for New Brunswick under the care of Attorney General Jonathan Bliss of New Brunswick to study law. In 1788 he was called to the bar. In 1789 he moved to Quebec where there was greater scope for his abilities. His private practice flourished, its growth was partly due to his rapid mastery of French civil law.

In 1796 he married Henrietta Smith daughter of the late chief justice. They had 16 children, losing only 4 in infancy. In 1805 the family moved into a mansion he had built just inside the Porte-Saint- Louis – it remains there today. They constantly entertained, were prized guests in British and Canadian homes. Jonathan was a member of the exclusive Barons’ club and an active shareholder in the Union Company of Quebec, which in 1805 built the Union Hotel. He was obliged to purchase it at a sheriff’s auction in1824 in order to protect his investment.

For many years he presided over the Quebec branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and was a leading member of the cathedral of the Holy Trinity. By 1824 the cathedral was too small and Jonathan offered to build a chapel of ease. His son Reverend Edmund Willoughby Sewell was the first rector. It closed after the war when many parishioners had settled in the suburbs of Sainte-Foy. Many of the chapel’s treasures, stain-glass windows, statues, plaques and artifacts, were transferred to the new church, Trinity on Quatre- Bourgeois in Sainte-Foy.

It was a great, great, great grandson who planned this gathering and found the chapel unoccupied and derelict and wanted to help have it recognized as part of the legacy of his ancestor and part of the city’s English history. This he was finally able to accomplish.

Jonathan’s reputation as a judge and legal thinker had reached into the United States: he had been consulted in 1822 on the preparation of a penal code for Louisiana; later he was elected to the American Philosophical Society; in 1832 Harvard University conferred an honorary LLD. During the 1830s he continued to add threads to the cultural fabric of Quebec. He gave concerts and formed a generation of amateur musicians.

Chief Justice Jonathan Sewell died in 1839 and a monument depicting him was erected by his wife i n Holy Trinity Chapel.

His descendants enjoyed a day at the LaMalbaie Gardens, owned and managed by a second generation ancestor of Jonathan. Another day at Mt. Hermon Cemetery where many Sewell’s are buried, and a church service at Trinity Church. This was followed by a reception at Morrin Centre, formerly prison and court house, now home of the Literary & Historical Society of Quebec – founded 1824 – Jonathan Sewell one of the founders.

[Submitted by Bob Jarvis, whose mother was a Sewell]

Book Review Opportunity for Simon Girty Turncoat Hero

American History Imprints of Franklin, Tennessee AmericanHistoryImprints.comis publishing a new book, Simon Girty Turncoat Hero, by Phillip W. Hoffman.

A copy of this book will be made available to someone who will read it in a timely manner and write a good quality unbiased professional book review, for publication in Loyalist Trails, posting to our book review page and possibly for publication in the Loyalist Gazette.

If multiple people respond by Wed. Sept. 17, priority will be given to someone related, or to someone from Bicentennial Branch, which is in the area where Simon settled. To make an offer, reply to the editor and include any pertinent information.

Loyalists Quarterly, Sept Issue now Available

The latest issue of the only U.S. Journal Devoted To Loyalist Studies contains among others, these topics:

Loyalist Landing at Nova Scotia, Canada, 1783

Results of UEL Conference, Saint John NB;

Loyalist Ships List;

Disbanded Loyalists at Sorel Quebec;

Boston Massacre Trial;

Some Loyalist Native American References;

The Great New York Fire;

Census of Canada Regarding Loyalists;

John Andre Life & Times;

Elizabeth Lichtenstein Johnston Loyalist Woman;

Loyalist Fifes & Drums Return to Forth George;

Hereditary Order of descendants of Loyalists & Patriots;

Queens Loyal Rangers;

Loyalist Cannons;

Great Books For Vermont Loyalist research;

More information at bunnellgenealogybooks.citymaker.com

…Editor, Paul J. Bunnell, UE, Author {bunnellloyalist AT aol DOT com}


Response re Loyalist Bumper Stickers

Kawartha Branch has a good supply of Loyalist Bumper Stickers.. They are of the loyalist flag with the Crown & Cipher in gold, size is 5″ X 51/2″.

Cost is $5.00 plus S+H. Please check our website for other items.

…Chuck Ross UE, {cgross_uel AT cogeco DOT ca}

Response re Matthys Lampman, son of Frederick

A census of the male and female inhabitants of the Township of Barton was taken in March 1816. It lists the inhabitants Name Males over 60, Males under 60 and over 50, Males under 50 and over 16, Males under 16 and Females Total. Here are the first few entries from that census:

Aaron Kribs

William Rymel

David Young

Philip Hough

Jacob Rymel

Matthias Lampman

George Smith

David Hotrum

David Kern

Jacob Hess

…Howard Lawrence {howardl AT inreach DOT com}

Response re “Neutralists” and Samuel Benedict Family

I use the term Neutral in relation to the frontier state , such as Vermont was neutral except for the likes of Ethan Allen and mountain boys, whose presence made my ancestor Samuel Benedict -1820 and wife Mary Dibble who left Connecticut during the war, to settle in no-man’s land. IT was Ethan Allen committee who motivated the hanging of David Redding, older brother of Francis Redden of Kingston Twp. My Benedict, Samuel and son Samuel II, relocated to Hull (Gatineau) in 1801. He bought 600 acres from Philemon Wright from Ware Mass.

My mother always referred to Samuel the old pioneer as a late loyalist ( no capital L ) Back in 1973(?) the local historical society placed a bronze? plaque off Gamelin Blvd. uphill from his log house ( gone then too) I met a couple of Third cousins whom I knew existed, that week-end. at the unveiling. The relative who used to own a sliver of the original farm lot, Janet Benedict still lives not far from Champlain Bridge, rue du Château off Raymond street, and her father about 1960 sold his farm lot to suburb growth, though the stone home of Samuel Benedict III which also missed the great Hull fire of 1870, still stands, with upgraded kitchen.

Grandmother Myrtle Eva Benedict 1888-1962 Mrs. Jowsey, did not know too much about her family for her father Samuel IV – “Ezra” to the family – Benedict, died suddenly in Feb. 1893. An only child, Grandmother knew more about her mother’s family, up the Eardley Road.

The Benedict UE folk of Nova Scotia were second cousins to Samuel Benedict I.

…Philip Smart

More Response re Joseph Doan Family

I have done a lot of extensive research on the Doan’s including Aaron, Joseph Jr. & Joseph Sr.

Aaron & Joseph Jr. Doan came to Humberstone Township in 1787.

Joseph Doan Sr. along with his wife Hester (nee Vickers), daughter Mary “Polly” & daughter Elizabeth “Betsy” came in 1799 to Humberstone Township. Thomas Doan was already in Humberstone Township prior to 1795.

[Note:] The latest account of him [Joseph Sr.] in Bucks Co. [Pennsylvania] is had from the minutes of the [Quaker] Meeting at Buckingham of date 1799,9,2, when Hester Doan and her husband Joseph, applied for a certificate to remove to Canada, where their sons Aaron and Joseph were living. The Certificate was granted and a contribution was made by their sympathizing friends. Later accounts show that Joseph and his wife arrived safe in Canada, where they sojourned with their children many years, dying at the home of their son Joseph, Jr.

Black List – A list of those Tories who took part with Great Britain In the Revolutionary War and were attainted of High Treason – Commonly called the Black List – to which is prefixed the legal opinions of Attorneys-General McKean & Dallas, etc. Philadelphia, Printed For The Proprietor. 1802. –

Secretary’s Office, Lancaster. – September 18th, 1802

I do certify to all whom it may concern, that the foregoing is a true copy of the Original, remaining on file, in the said Office.

Witness my hand and seal the day and year aforesaid. (Sgd.) T. M. Thompson, Sec.

An Alphabetical List Of All Persons Attained of High Treason, In Pursuance Of The Laws Of The State of Pennsylvania.

Joseph Doan’s name is on this list. [Note:] this is Joseph Doan Sr.

…Jerry Fisher UE {jfisher14 AT cogeco DOT ca}