“Loyalist Trails” 2008-40: November 2, 2008

In this issue:
A Most Amazing Town — © Stephen Davidson
More about Port Mouton NS – Sheep Overboard
The First Winter at Port Mouton
Fall Issue of the Loyalist Gazette is at the Printer
UELAC Takes Part in War of 1812 Celebrations
UELAC Executives Travel to Branches
“The Way Lies North” by Jean Rae Baxter Short-listed on Forest of Reading Program
Fort Ticonderoga’s Fifth Annual Revolutionary War Seminar
Poster and Brochure about The 1984 Loyalist 32¢ Canadian Stamp
Special Offer for Irish Roots Magazine
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Response re South River
      + Response re George Waggoner/Wagner
      + Family of Lucinda Thompson
      + George Jacob Bowman
Last Post
      + DODDS, Joan LeVatte (nee Burke)
      + GRIFFIN, John Alexander


A Most Amazing Town — © Stephen Davidson

What would be your nominee for the most interesting community founded by the loyalists? Kingston, Ontario? Yamachiche, Quebec? Shelburne, Nova Scotia? Saint John, New Brunswick? While all of these are worthy of consideration, there is another almost forgotten loyalist town that might have the greatest claim to the title. Before I ask for the “envelope” to reveal the settlement’s name, here are some of its amazing “claims to fame”.

The loyalist refugees who founded this remarkable town left New York City in 1783, but did not establish their settlement until the early 1790s. Despite this late start, the town was prospering within two years of the loyalists’ arrival. There were several retail stores, a printing press, a church, a school, and even a library. The 100-feet long hospital had been constructed from pre-fabricated sections brought to the colony on sailing ships. The town had a fishing port, a justice of the peace, a constabulary, and two open spaces for public gatherings.

The settlement boasted twelve streets with a view of the shore that could be seen from the timber-frame houses of the settlers. Everyone had their own gardens which produced squash, pumpkins, melons, corn and beans.

Women made up a third of all of the household heads, and so they were given the right to vote along with any men who were over 21 years of age. This was very radical for its day — in fact, these loyalist women were the first of their sex to vote in elections anywhere in the word. (A fact that should be more widely celebrated as an aspect of the loyalist experience.) Spouses who abandoned their wives or husbands for a lover were required to pay the same fine whether they were male or female — another amazing example of gender equality.

While the community had only 400 households, its political campaigns had all of the trappings of a 21st century election. Placards were posted in public venues, heartfelt speeches caused crowds to gather, and even some Sunday morning sermons contained endorsements for particular candidates. Magistrates and judges were elected offices; juries of peers decided the guilt or innocence of those charged with crimes. These are amazing political developments for the 18th century, but it grew out of the loyalist refugees’ profound belief that they were “free British subjects and expect to be treated as such”.

Life had its ordinary pleasures in this loyalist settlement. The refugees celebrated their first Christmas with children carolling from house to house. There was fife and drum music as well. The children had dogs and cats for pets, even Newfoundland dogs.

Have you guessed the name of this loyalist settlement? A few more facts may help. By 1798 three thousand trees planted near the town yielded hundreds of pounds of coffee beans a year, the first significant export crop for the colony. Cassava, groundnuts, rice, and papaya also grew in the family gardens.

In less than six months after the town was established, African-Americans voted in an election for the very first time. The first free black labour negotiations in the world were also successfully concluded in this settlement.

Perhaps a few more clues will make the identity of the loyalist settlement crystal clear. Leopards often stalked the streets of this town at night, hoping to make a quick meal of pets, livestock, or children. Infestations of ants, spiders, and cockroaches were all too common. One had to be careful where one stepped. There were boa constrictors, cobras and other dangerous snakes. One night a baboon almost snatched a little girl right out of her bed. The intervention of a number of settlers scared the animal off.

No, you would certainly not find this loyalist town on any map of Canada. Look a little further west on the globe. Try west Africa.

Freetown, Sierra Leone was certainly not a typical loyalist settlement by any means, but it is a major contender for the title of the most interesting town created by the refugees of the American Revolution. Founded by black loyalists who had initially settled in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Freetown was the brainchild of abolitionists in Great Britain who wanted to provide a homeland for former slaves. It was an opportunity for a once-enslaved population to show all of its potential.

It is certainly incredible to think that men and women who had been treated as mere property in the Thirteen Colonies and who had gained their freedom through fighting for a united empire should help to found a colony that would grow into a nation in west Africa. But history is full of such surprises. These people were loyalists who had cut down trees along the St. John River valley, who had fished in the Annapolis Basin, and who had founded Birchtown, the largest community of free blacks in the western hemisphere. They left the Maritimes in January of 1792 to create a colony of loyalists that to this day looks back in pride at ancestors who were Nova Scotians.

To learn more about Freetown and its black loyalist settlers, be sure to read Simon Schama’s fascinating book, Rough Crossings. The British historian sheds a much-needed light on an often overlooked chapter of the loyalist experience that every loyalist descendant can read with pride and –often– downright amazement.

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

More about Port Mouton NS – Sheep Overboard

In issue Volume 7, issue #2 of Coastal Communities News, staffwriter Scott Milsom wrote an article about Port Mouton, an early Nova Scotia loyalist settlement. (CCN is published bi-monthly by the Coastal Communities Network, a non-profit society registered in the province of Nova Scotia). Here is an excerpt that gives Milsom’s account of how this settlement got its name.

“In 1604, Frenchmen Samuel de Champlain and Sieur deMonts were exploring along the coast of Nova Scotia’s South Shore. While sailing in one harbour, a sheep on deck decided it liked what it saw: it jumped overboard and swam to shore. Nothing was ever again heard of that animal, but its antics prompted the party of adventurers to name the place “Sheep’s Port,” or, in French, Port au Mouton. Today, the Queens County community a few miles west of Liverpool is known simply as Port Mouton.

That four-legged ball of wool was hardly the first on legs to be attracted to the area. For generations before and after, Mi’Kmaq who wintered in the interior of the province would come down the Mersey River and spend summers along the coast to fish and dig clams. Evidence of their temporary camps, in the form of large piles of ancient clam shells, have been found along all the area’s beautiful white-sand beaches.

In the 1760s, a few families from New England and Northern Ireland were attracted to the area by the rich fishing grounds. Then, in 1783, well over 100 Loyalist veterans of the American War of Independence, known as Tarleton’s Legion, and their families settled in Port Mouton. They called their community Guysborough, but it was to be short-lived. A fire the year after the settlers arrived destroyed the community, and most of the surviving Loyalists relocated to what we call Guysborough today. Not until after the War of 1812 did most of the ancestors of people now living in the Port Mouton area arrive here.”

The First Winter at Port Mouton

But at least 150 officers and men remained with the corps and left New York as a unit when the troops, regular and loyalist, began to withdraw in September. Tarleton’s Legion and their women and children embarked about September 15th, and had a rough passage to Nova Scotia in the teeth of the easterly and north-easterly winds prevailing at that time. (See Perkins’ Diary and Benjamin Marston’s Journal for weather entries, Perkins adds ominously on Sep. 30th, 1783, “Very cold for the Season.”)

The Legion transports arrived at Shelburne with the rest of the troops, mostly regulars, consigned to that place, on or after September 23rd. At Shelburne they found a desperate situation, a raw-new town in the edge of the forest, swarming with 10,000 refugees, most of them still without a decent roof over their heads, and all clamoring for the attention of the commissaries and surveyors. The weather had turned cold, and there was a Nova Scotia winter to be faced. As a temporary refuge Shelburne offered little to the late-coming troops. As a permanent location it was impossible, because the best of the land had been taken up months before by the refugee civilians; indeed, the government surveyors, Marston and Morris, at their wits’ end to find space for the growing mob of claimants, had adopted the desperate expedient of laying out “farms” in the wilderness along a projected road across country to Annapolis.

Faced with a choice of evils, some of Tarleton’s Legion disembarked at Shelburne, and in the following summer we find 24 of them, with 15 women and children, included in General Campbell’s muster of the Shelburne settlers. But the rest of the corps sought something better, a place of their own, where they could settle as a group and stick together in peace as they had in war. On October 5th and 6th, the government surveyors, Marston and Morris, dined together aboard H.M.S. Cyclops in Shelburne harbor, and on the 7th Morris set out in a boat for Port Mouton, 40 miles to the eastward. They or some higher authority had made a wild decision. Tarleton’s Legion was to be alloted lands at Port Mouton and to be dumped ashore there forthwith, men, women and children, to get themselves housed as best they could.

The remnant of the corps followed close on Morris’ heels; for on October 10th, 1783, we find Simeon Perkins of Liverpool recording in his diary, “A ship with part of the English Legion is arrived at Port Mutton.”

Now let us do what the authorities failed to do back in 1783 – take a good look at Port Mouton – which Perkins called “Port Mutton” and the modern inhabitant pronounces “Port Matoon”. It is a sandy bay about six miles wide and reaching about four miles into the land. There is some shelter inside the islands at the mouth but in general the bay is exposed to the easterly gales which are so frequent and so fatal on the Nova Scotia coast.

[This description is continued as part of “Tarleton’s Legion” by Thomas H. Raddall. This paper was written in the late 1940s, and published in the Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society in 1949. It remains, by far, the most comprehensive research document concerning the Guysboro settlement at Port Mouton. The electronic version was created by the Mersey Heritage Society in 2001 for posting on the Society’s web site, with the kind permission of Dalhousie University. The first half of this document seems to mostly describe Tarleton’s Legion and its history during the war; the second half is mostly about the settlement at Port Mouton. To read the document, click here.]

Fall Issue of the Loyalist Gazette is at the Printer

The printer received the Fall 2008 issue on October 30th and expects to run it on November 3rd. It should be in the mail by mid-November at the latest. A big thank-you to Michael Johnson, our designer, to the proofreading team and to everyone else who contributed items for this issue. Articles have already begun arriving for the Spring 2009 issue. A reminder that the deadline is January 15, 2009. Please send articles in MS Word and images as jpeg attachments with 300 dpi resolution.

…Bob McBride, UE, Editor, The Loyalist Gazette.

UELAC Takes Part in War of 1812 Celebrations

Once again UELAC was invited to participate in the annual commemoration of the 1814 Battle of Plattsburgh in September. ( www.battleofplattsburgh.org) With re-enactments, historical lectures, fireworks and street entertainment, this family event attracts considerable attention to the Plattsburg community in New York State. Okill Stuart, President UELAC 1994-96, accepted my invitation to be our representative and was supported by Robert C. Wilkins, President of Heritage Branch, and Rod Riordon, President of Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch. Michel Racicot, Sir JJCB genealogist and other members of both branches also contributed to the UELAC presence. Rod Riordon has submitted a number of photographs which have been posted on our site – see pictures.

The participation of this UELAC contingent in the 194th anniversary celebrations was appreciated by both the Plattsburg organizers and your Executive.


UELAC Executives Travel to Branches

Thank you to Hamilton Branch President Ruth Nicholson UE and members who extended a warm welcome to me on October 23, 2008 at their regular branch meeting. It was a pleasure to participate in the meeting and to assist in the presentation of four UEL certificates along with Dominion President FH Hayward UE, Ruth Nicholson UE and Branch Genealogist Michele Lewis UE. I look forward to visiting other branches in the Central West Region as the opportunity arises.

…Bonnie L. Schepers UE, Central West Region Vice President

“The Way Lies North” by Jean Rae Baxter Short-listed on Forest of Reading Program

Hamilton author, Jean Rae Baxter has just had her young adult novel, The Way Lies North, short-listed on the OLA (Ontario Library Association) Red Maple part of the Forest of Reading program. This is a huge accomplishment as many Ontario schools participate in this reading competition. The students must read at least five out of the ten chosen books to be able to vote for their favourite book and ultimately their favourite author at the end of April ’09. The listing of Jean’s novel is good news for all of us as many intermediate readers (grade 7-9) will be learning more about the Loyalist experience as they read this book.

The Way Lies North is the story of fifteen year old Charlotte Hooper who is separated from her sweetheart, Nick who has joined with the Rebel side. As the situation in the Mohawk Valley becomes more violent between the Loyalists and the Sons of Liberty, Charlotte and her family decide to begin the difficult journey north to Fort Haldimand (Kingston area). There are many harrowing and emotional experiences during this journey that extend to the end of the book. Charlotte, her family and the collection of refugees heading north are aided by the local Oneidas, who become part of the Iroquois confederacy. This novel is rich in both history and drama as the reader tread the many paths led by Charlotte.

This is novel is well liked in my school, Kilbride Public, amongst the grade 7 and 8 readers. They are currently reading historical fiction novels and everyone wants The Way Lies North. There are no copies to be had at our intermediate end of the school and we have at least a fifteen copies. Jean introduced us to her book last fall when it was first launched and she led a very interesting writers’ workshop for our students. I highly recommend this book for both young and old adults. Check out Jean Rae Baxter’s web site at: www.jeanraebaxter.ca The Way Lies North is available at local book stores such as Chapters/Indigo.

…Ruth Nicholson, UE, Teacher/Librarian at Kilbride Public School, Halton District School Board and President of the Hamilton Branch of the UELAC

Fort Ticonderoga’s Fifth Annual Revolutionary War Seminar

On Saturday and Sunday, October 25 &26, 2008, Fort Ticonderoga presented its Fifth Annual Seminar on the American Revolution. Speakers included both established and new scholars studying the Revolutionary era. The first two speakers presented topics on Loyalists with a mention of the UELAC.

Erik Goldstein, Curator of Mechanical and Numismatics for the Colonial Wiilliamsburg Foundation and the author of “18th-Century Weapons of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers from Flixton Hall” and “The Socket Bayonet in the British Army 1687-1783”, amongst other titles. His presentation debunked some long-believed myths concerning the only mass-produced cavalry sabers, The Potter Dragoon Sword, by a known maker, James Potter, whose shop stood on Maiden Lane in New York City. By substituting facts made an even more incredible story in the supply of such weaponry to Provincial Cavalry Units.

Todd Braisted, Honorary Vice President of UELAC, a long-time researcher, author and lecturer in the field of Loyalist Studies, presented a discussion of the various Loyalist troops that accompanied and were raised on the Burgoyne Campaign in 1777. A history of each unit, where it was raised and the commanders, along with statistics on the actual numbers in various catagories were provided for the following units: The Kings Loyal Americans (Jessup’s Corps); the Queens Loyal Regiment; Francis Phister’s unit; Daniel McAlpin’s unit; Samuel Adams; Peter VanAlstyne; and James Howitzer. Altogether Braisted came up with a total of 1241 provincial officers and men. Presentation needed a visual graphic of these units in order to obtain the correct title of these Provincial units.

Click here for the seminar’s agenda.

…Bill Glidden

Poster and Brochure about The 1984 Loyalist 32¢ Canadian Stamp

The 1984 32¢ stamp “The Loyalists” was designed by Will Davis – more information about it here. The stamp was announced by Canada Post with an 8″ x 11″ poster and an information brochure that provided an historical overview and information on the stamp itself. The posters are suitable for framing.

David G. Jones, Member, Ottawa Stamp Club, Royal Philatelic Society of Canada has a number of posters and brochures,in mint condition, available for sale.

Cost of poster: $15.00

Cost of information brochure: $3.50

Additional brochure: $1.25

Both items: $16.00

Shipping $3.00 Canada, $5.00 USA

15% of the net received will be contributed to the UEL Museum at Adolphustown which secured the rights to the stamp.

Contact Mr.Jones at 184 Larkin Drive, Nepean, Ontario. K2J 1H9 {commadore AT sympatico DOT ca}

Special Offer for Irish Roots Magazine

Irish Roots Magazine is an Irish based genealogy and family history publication. Irish Roots Magazine aims to empower its readers with the tools and information to enable them to trace their Irish ancestry. Many people claim tracing Irish ancestry can be difficult and frustrating and we hope that our publication can help people to overcome many of the obstacles that they frequently encounter.

Irish Roots Magazine is also a celebration of Irish ancestry and further includes many articles on Irish heritage, customs and traditions. We are currently running a special promotion on Irish Roots magazine with about a 10% discount on subscription rates. This offer is available until 15 December 2008 only.

Check their web site for details about the magazine, and if you wish to take advantage of the special, send a note to {loyalist DOT trails AT uelac DOT org} for details.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions are:
– Bowman,Jacob (and sons Abraham,Adam and Peter) – from Bill Bowman
– Lindsey (Lindsay), James – from Peter Rogers
– Munro, Samuel – from Jo Ann Tuskin
– Murdoff, George Sr. – from Jacqueline Murdoch
– Phillips, John – from Richard Ripley


Response re South River

Like you, I had never heard of the South River.

In answer to your question, I don’t believe there was any sort of camp for refugee loyalists in the area suggested. The largest ‘camp’ was at Yamachiche (Machiche) east of Montreal on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, but there were groups of loyalist families at Sorel and Montreal as well. Members of these families supported themselves by working as servants to add to the rather meagre allowances granted by the administration.

Also, there were a number of women (with their children) who ‘followed’ the army to perform duties such as washing and mending clothing and nursing the sick. Those women would be where their regiments were posted. Unfortunately, their names were not recorded on military rolls.

…Gavin Watt H/VP UELAC

Response re George Waggoner/Wagner

A quick search of the rolls of the following loyalist regiments that served in Canada did not yield a George Waggoner/Wagner: King’s Royal Regiment of New York, Butler’s Rangers, Loyal Rangers, King’s Rangers. Nor did I find anyone of that name who settled in Nova Scotia/New Brunswick circa 1783-90.

There are still a few possibilities to be checked, but this does narrow the field considerably.

Nor did I find a George Waggoner/Wagner in Preston’s, “Kingston Before the War of 1812”, so his family’s arrival in Kingston/Frontenac must have been quite late – say 1790 or later.

Best wishes for your search.

…Gavin Watt, H/VP UELAC

Family of Lucinda Thompson

I have submitted my application for a Loyalist certificate to the Bay of Quinte Branch. This application shows my descent from Loyalist James Lindsay UE.

This Loyalist James Lindsay UE was married 3 times and his 3rd marriage was to a Anna Hannah Wager, daughter of Johann Everhart Wager UE and Magdalena Carver, they had 11 children and the eighth child was Jane Lindsay born 24 Feb 1801 in Ernestown Twp, Lennon & Addington Co, Upper Canada. Jane married a James Matthew Rodgers/Rogers in Marysburg about 1816 a son of Gideon Rogers and Rachel Vanzuylen. Now Jane received a 200 acre land grant as she was a daughter of a Loyalists, which she sold to her husband’s brother William Rogers.

James Matthew Rodgers/Rogers and Jane Lindsay had 11 children. The first child was a son Matthew P Rodgers/Rogers born about 14 Feb 1817 in Hungerford Twp. He married 12 May 1839 in Kingston ON to a Lucinda Thompson, b. about 20 Sep 1817/1818 in Marysburg, Upper Canada and d. 30 Mar 1901 in Denbigh ON. They had 2 witnesses, Isaac B Thompson and William Denn of whom I can also find no information.

This Lucinda Ann Thompson seems to be without any recorded parents or siblings. It was reported that she was born in Marysburg and married in Kingston 12 May ,1839.

I have searched many sources but there doesn’t seem to be any information about her family. Was she really born in Canada or did she immigrate? Did she really marry Matthew P Rogers in Kingston in 1839 or did they marry in another area like Hungerford Twp where they baptized several children. Does anyone know anything about Lucinda Ann Thompson or have her connected to any Thompson family. I would appreciate any information no matter how little about her. Any leads or potential leads are appreciated.

…Marlene Rodgers {marlene_rodgers AT hotmail DOT com}

George Jacob Bowman

I am looking for some specific information about George Jacob Bowman. In the Loyalist Directory there is an entry for George Jacob Bowman, showing that people proved to him in 1990 and 1991. The branch of record was St. Catharines (now Col. John Butler). The loyalist line was through a daughter – Eve Bouck – of George Jacob Bowman. She had married Frederick Bouck and was claiming land as the daughter of George Jacob Bowman. As the directory shows, George Jacob Bowman was not on the Upper Canada UE Executive List.

I know little of George Jacob (Jacob George) Bowman. What I have heard was he was a preacher or lay minister of the gospel in the New Jersey Volunteers. However, I can not find his name on any lists. Do you know if they kept some kind of list for those who did not serve a military function? What sort of proof do I need in this case to show that George Jacob Bowman was a UE Loyalist and where might I find that?

I worked on my family history many years ago and as a member of UELAC, I was able to prove back to Jacob Bowman through a son John. However, I am no longer comfortable with that as I cannot otherwise find a son named John for Jacob Bowman, rather than George Jacob Bowman, two different people, and both listed in the Loyalist Directory.

The descendant line was straight as my family had been on the farm granted by the Crown in 1797 and reissued in 1817 until 1942. All of the deeds and wills were in place to prove this. As I continued to trace family and find new information it just started to make me feel that George Jacob Bowman seemed to be my ancestor. I am trying to get the information to clear up this problem.

…Bill Bowman, UE {bill DOT bowman AT sympatico DOT ca}

Last Post

DODDS, Joan LeVatte (nee Burke)

Suddenly at her home in Niagara Falls on Sunday September 28th, 2008 in her 88th year. Joan was predeceased by her husband Lloyd and by her sister Marjorie Goodier. Joan is survived and much loved by her brother Bill and his wife Dorothy, their sons Michael (Jill), Bill (Denise), Pat (Krstana) and by Marjorie’s daughters Lorraine Sconci (AL) and Sharon Goodier. Cremation has taken place and a private family service will be held. Joan was a long-time member of Colonel John Butler (Niagara) Branch and served for many years as Secretary and Director. She was very proud of her loyalist ancestor Samuel Man. Our deepest sympathy to her family. Her gracious presence will be sincerely missed at our Branch meetings.

[submitted by Beverly Craig]

GRIFFIN, John Alexander

John Alexander Griffin WWII Veteran F/Lt. Retired October 5, 1922 – September 7, 2008 Born Three Rivers, Quebec. Predeceased by his parents, Christie Belle Stewart and Robert James Griffin and his step mother Antoinette Griffin. Husband for 63 years of Beryl (Mavety) Griffin. Proud father of Patricia Griffin and Donald Griffin. Survived by brother Robert Griffin of Elmvale, Ontario. John joined the R.C.A.F. in October 1941 and served until September 1945. He saw service overseas for 2 years in West Africa and India with 200 Squadron R.A.F., a Liberator pilot with Coastal Command. Post war, his career was with General Electric and later Industry, Trade and Commerce in the Aerospace Division until retirement. An Aviation historian, early President of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. Author and long time volunteer at the Canadian Aviation Museum. He loved to spend time in his ‘mini-archives’ with his books and his workshop. Memorial donations to the charity of your choice would be greatly appreciated.

John was a member of the Sir Guy Carleton Branch, UELAC

[submitted by Sylvia Powers]