“Loyalist Trails” 2008-42: November 16, 2008

In this issue:
Three Loyalist Padres — © Stephen Davidson
Ontario Lt. Gov.and Mrs. Onley Visit Grand River Branch
Simon Girty, Turncoat Hero – book review by David Beasley
Book, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry 1975-2007, Now Available
Past President Okill Stuart Honoured Again
Butler Homestead Monument Unveiled
“Immigrants to Canada” by Library and Archives Canada
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Sarah Corey Family


Three Loyalist Padres — © Stephen Davidson

British army regulations required that every regiment should have a chaplain of the Church of England. However, at the outbreak of the American Revolution, there were only a handful of Anglican ministers who were interested in accompanying the British army to the Thirteen Colonies. Sir Guy Carleton is quoted as saying “not any of the chaplains of the regiments serving in this army are come over”.

However, since American rebels were forcibly evicting scores of Anglican ministers from their churches, there was a plentiful supply of displaced loyalist vicars who could be called upon to serve as army chaplains. Here is a glimpse of three of the loyalist padres who served in the British army.

Rev. George Panton, a native of Scotland, arrived in the Thirteen Colonies in 1770, and was appointed the rector at St. Michael’s Church in Trenton, New Jersey three years later. In conjunction with other Anglican clergy, Panton published persuasive essays in an attempt to maintain the loyalty of American colonists. In 1775, he authored a petition that was signed by “notable inhabitants” and sent it to the New Jersey assembly, urging the members to “use their endeavors to promote a reconciliation with Great Britain”. When Trenton’s rebels learned that Panton was the man who wrote the petition, they forced him to leave town. Panton’s church would eventually become a barracks for German soldiers and then a hospital for Continental soldiers. In the vicar’s absence, rebels destroyed his library of 200 books along with linens, manuscripts, furniture and clothing.

For a while Panton travelled through Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York to support other loyalists in their efforts to stem the growing revolutionary fervour. By October of 1776, Panton was doing all that he could to assist the British army. He recommended colonists that could be trusted as allies and even made a sketch of the area for the commanding officer.

In 1778, Sir William Howe appointed Panton to serve as chaplain for the Prince of Wales American Volunteers, a position he held until the end of the revolution. Unfortunately, there are no records of all that Panton did as chaplain for his loyalist regiment beyond the fact that he operated a military academy in New York City for a time in 1783.

Panton was invited to be the minister for Shelburne, Nova Scotia’s loyalist refugees, but he was delayed by poor health. In the meantime, Dr. William Walter, the rector of Boston’s Trinity Church and a chaplain with Delancey’s Brigade, offered to go to Shelburne. Both chaplains arrived in the loyalist settlement within two days of each other. Walter claimed he should be rector as he had the popular support of the refugees; Panton said he was the pastor because the Anglican Church had chosen him. The conflict between the two former chaplains led to the creation of two Anglican churches in Shelburne. Finally, in 1785, Panton returned to Great Britain, commissioned with the task of raising funds to build churches in Nova Scotia. Although he was offered a church in Yarmouth, Panton stayed in Scotland to be near his ailing mother and sisters. He died in Kelso, Scotland on August 8, 1810.

The Rev. John Stuart was a loyalist from Virginia who had spent seven years among the Mohawk people. After the “troubles began”, Stuart sought the safety of the British lines. In 1781, he was appointed a chaplain to the Second Battalion King’s Royal Regiment of New York. Sadly, no records of his term as padre have survived.

Four years later, Stuart settled in Kingston, earning his place in history as the first Anglican clergyman in modern day Ontario. He not only ministered to loyalist refugees, but was able to continue serving the Native people he loved so well. Not one to remain near his church, each year Stuart would travel hundreds of miles both east and west of Kingston to visit his “flock”.

The man responsible for the creation of the first Anglican church in modern day Quebec was also a loyalist chaplain. The Rev. John Doty began his ministry as the rector of the Church of England in Schenectady, New York. A progressive young man, Doty instructed enslaved Africans in the basics of the Christian faith and baptized a number of them. He used his sermons to urge his congregation to remain loyal to the king.

In 1776, his church was shut up, and the young vicar was accused of plotting against the revolution. Receiving nothing more than threats, Doty was left unmolested for a few weeks. Armed rebels later dragged him from his bed and put him in a wagon with other loyalists bound for Albany’s prison. The others eventually took an oath of neutrality, but not Doty. He was permitted to return to Schenectady, but after the defeat of General Burgoyne’s army, the rector and his wife were given permission to flee to Canada. The young couple lost all that they had, including a chamber organ and a sizable library.

Doty became chaplain to the 34th Regiment of Foot and then the First Battalion of Sir John Johnson’s King’s Royal Regiment of New York. Again, no accounts survive of Doty’s years of chaplaincy to these regiments. Following a year’s stay in England, Doty returned to Sorel, Quebec in July of 1784 to found the first Protestant church in the colony of Canada. Doty served in Sorel until 1803, and then taught at Trois Rivieres until his death in 1841 at the age of 96.

One historian described the spiritual counsellors of the British army, by saying “the majority of chaplains had but a poor reputation, and were typical of an age of spiritual torpor.” However, if Panton, Stuart, and Doty are any indication, the loyalist padres who served the British crown during the revolution were clearly men who possessed a much more vigourous faith and a greater moral resolve than most of their English contemporaries.

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

Ontario Lt. Gov.and Mrs. Onley Visit Grand River Branch

July 2008 was an exciting time for the Grand River Branch. We had known for a few weeks that we might have the honour of hosting the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and his wife, but we were sworn to secrecy until we had been given the ok from the Lieutenant Governor’s office. It was also a little nerve wracking for the Waterford Museum staff where we were planning the event. After visits from the Ontario Provincial Police, we did pass muster, and were delighted to welcome the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David Onley and his wife, Mrs. Onley.

There was more excitement. We had learned that Mrs. Onley had Loyalist ancestors. We managed to keep this a secret from Mrs. Onley until we presented her with two certificates, one for Loyalist Timothy Culver and the other for Loyalist Lucas Dedrick. It was also rather fitting to have a visit from a branch of the Culver family, as well as Governor and Mrs. Simcoe.

Marilyn Branch, a Culver descendent told the story of the meeting between the Culvers and Governor and Mrs. Simcoe, while the Governor was visiting in Norfolk. The Culvers, who were seeking permission to build a mill, are reported to have taken watermelons and fresh white bread with them.

Governor Simcoe was reportedly so impressed with the gifts, and especially with the white bread which they had not had in some time, that he declared that whenever he passed this way in future that he would look forward to receiving loaves of bread. The Culvers, it is reported, were given permission to build the mill.

As you might guess, lunch included slices of fresh Norfolk watermelon and raisin bread.

Click here for more details and pictures.

Simon Girty, Turncoat Hero – book review by David Beasley


The prevailing reputation of Simon Girty from the era of the American Revolution was, like Joseph Brant and Walter Butler, a MONSTER. Phillip Hoffman, as did Isabelle Kelsay with Brant and Howard Swiggert with Walter Butler, makes Simon Girty very human and likable, although still formidable as a fierce fighter. Simon, an illiterate, was indispensable to European and Indian for his fluency in several Indian languages. Hoffman gives us a full picture of Simon and his brothers from when they were captured as boys by Indians and brought up in Indian ways. The Girtys started off as rebels in the Revolution but switched sides when they understood the hypocrisy of the rebels toward the Indians, to whom they pretended friendship while planning to exterminate them and take their lands. Simon was blamed by the rebels for the savagery and gruesome torture practised by the Indians on their prisoners, as if he could have stopped them when to try to do so would have meant his torture and death.

As it was, Simon did risk his life at times to save Indian hostages from death. He sympathized with the plight of the Indian because he had been brought up as one but he retained a humaneness that helped him to avoid the brutal instincts of both Indian and white. This sense of compassion for both sides motivated most men who had lived in both the Indian and white worlds such as for example Capt Billy Wells, who, brought up by Indians, lost his life trying to prevent the slaughter of white women and children at Fort Dearborn.

Hoffman gives us a clear and detailed picture of the negotiations, battles, deceptions, Indian alliances and follies during the Indian conflicts with the implacable Americans following the Revolution that only many years of research could have attained. “Thousands of acres,” he wrote, “were needed to fulfill the enlistment promises of land that had been made to officers and men. If there was no other way, America would clear the Indians off by force.” To do this the Americans had to demonize the Indians. Hoffman gives us the tragic human nature of this struggle for land and power in which Simon Girty played a major role. The book will be a valuable addition to those written on the men and women who shaped this period of our history.

…reviewed by author David Beasley

[The Girty brothers have been of interest to me for a long time. John Richardson wrote about them in The Canadian Brothers because he knew them in Amherstburg when growing up. I mention them in McKee Rankin and the Heyday… because they knew Col Alexander McKee in the Revolutionary War. I mention Simon in my latest book, From Bloody Beginnings, because Joseph Brant picked a fight with him. He was one of many white boys captured and brought up by Indians and bears comparison to Capt Billy Wells, Ben Fairchild, etc. Wells, by the way, is featured in Richardson’s Wau-nan-gee. Yours, David Beasley ]

Publisher is American History Imprints. Click here for more details.

Book, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry 1975-2007, Now Available

At the conclusion of the American Revolution, tens of thousands of United Empire Loyalists arrived in British North American to make new homes. The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry became settled by a large number of these refugees. Within a few generations, Lunenburg, or the Old Eastern District was written by Judge Pringle. This book provided the first glimpses into the early settlement of the counties and is now a must read for students of local history.

In the 1940’s, John Harkness, descendent of loyalist Peter Fetterly, wrote the history of Stormont Dundas and Glengarry from 1783 to 1945. This history followed the settlements and communities from the earliest times until the conclusion of the Second World War. Eloquently written, it contained a large number of photographs helping to chronicle the life and times in SD&G. In 1982, “Stormont Dundas and Glengarry 1945-1978”, an updating of the Harkness history was published. Frances and Clive Marin had been hired by the United Counties to write this book. A committee of Counties Council guided them in this undertaking, with the end result being an informative and comprehensive accounting of life in this easternmost area of Ontario.

In the late 1990’s there began to be speculation as to whether or not another volume in our history was being planned. The rumblings turned into murmurings as we changed centuries and finally in the summer of 2008 the announcement from the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Historical Society that everyone had been waiting for was made. On October 19, 2008, at the Cornwall Community Museum in the Wood House the book, “Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry 1975 -2007” by Clive Marin and Frances Marin would be launched.

Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry 1975-2007 was to document and record the last 32 years in the history of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. Once again the Marin’s were hired by the United Counties Council to research and write this book. For over 10 years, they worked to produce this chronicle of the life and times of a land which was undergoing significant social, economic and cultural change. This history is well written, easy to read and resplendent with pictures, tables and appendices. While it is over 800 pages long, it is divided into manageable chapters which deal with the various aspects of life in SD&G. There is an extensive bibliography and index, containing a wealth of information, which will be important to the researcher and reader alike.

Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry 1975-2007 retails for 59.85 plus shipping and handling and can be ordered from the Cornwall Community Museum in the Wood House – contact information.

[Submitted by Carolyn Goddard, UE]

Past President Okill Stuart Honoured Again

Congratulations to J. Okill Stuart UE, UELAC President 94-96, once again. On November 16, he was admitted to the Sports Hall of Fame of Saint-Lambert, Quebec, in recognition of his initiative and efforts as one of the founders of the Saint-Lambert Curling Club.

Last August, the City of St-Lambert gave a Lambertois Award in the “Humanitarian” category to Okill for his commitment to his country and community. Previously, Okill had received the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation. This distinction formally recognizes exemplary contributions to Canada and the well-being of its veterans especially those efforts to increase public awareness of the sacrifices and achievements of the veterans.

Well done Okill!

Butler Homestead Monument Unveiled

In this year of many heritage celebrations, including the 225th anniversary of the Census of Niagara in 1783, it is equally important that the military leader of Butler’s Rangers receives further recognition. After many years of archaeological studies, The Butler Homestead monument was unveiled on Sunday, May 18, 2008. This cairn is located in the newly- created Colonel John Butler Homestead Park just off Regional Road 55 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. For images and more details, visit the Butler Homestead Monument page.

…Frederick H. Hayward

“Immigrants to Canada” by Library and Archives Canada

This appears to be another new database available from LAC.

In 1803, the British Parliament enacted legislation to regulate vessels carrying emigrants to North America. The master of the vessel was required to prepare a list of passengers. Unfortunately, few such lists have survived and therefore, there are no comprehensive nominal lists of immigrants arriving in Canada before 1865.

Some lists have been identified and indexed by name in this database. It also includes other types of records such as declarations of aliens and names of some Irish orphans.

View immigrants.

…Nancy Conn

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions are:
– Mitts (Mitz) John by David Turnbull with certificate application
– Col. John Butler by Carolyn Cragun with certificate application


Sarah Corey Family

I have had previous contact with Stephen Davidson concerning my 5th great grandmother Sarah Corey(nee Smith). Some of her story was related in Loyalist Trails 2008-41 Nov. 9, 2008, in Stephen Davidson’s article. From what has been discerned her maiden name was Smith, the only proof being that Smith was quite a popular middle name in descending generations.

I descend from Sarah’s son Gilbert who married Bethenia Eagles.

Gilbert’s son William married Elizabeth Victoria Burke, who was the granddaughter of Dr. William Burk, the first settler in Salmon River, NB and the first physician on the Grand Lake. His wife Elizabeth Nevers was a direct descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, Mayflower passengers.

William and Elizabeth’s son, Gideon Corey, married Susan Anna Sowers and they had my great grandfather, Clarence Corey.

If anyone is researching this Corey family and would like to exchange information they can contact me.

…Cori Leigh Landry {canadarock1970 AT gmail DOT com}