“Loyalist Trails” 2008-43: November 23, 2008

In this issue:
Four Loyalist Shoemakers — © Stephen Davidson
Loyalist Chair Finds New Home North of the Border
When did Settlement begin at Caldwell Manor?
Evacuation Day Celebration Nov 25
Congratulation Indeed to Okill Stuart
Abner Stocking’s Account of the Expedition Against Quebec in 1775
Loyalist House in Prescott Area Available
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + John Pencil (Pensyl) of Butler’s Rangers


Four Loyalist Shoemakers — © Stephen Davidson

The American colonists of the 18th century were a people who walked a great deal. Footwear, whether it be shoes, boots, or moccasins, required constant repair and manufacture. Cobblers who could make sturdy shoes or repair weakened ones were in high demand. Here are the loyalist experiences of four very different colonial shoemakers.

Peter Rose was a Swedish shoemaker who had the misfortune of immigrating from England to Boston, Massachusetts in a very troublesome year — 1776. Within his first twelve months, he established a cobbler shop and had a staff of three indentured apprentices. John Barnard, an old associate who first met Rose in London, considered the Swedish shoe shop “the best business in the Town”. However, Peter Rose was soon caught up in the turmoil of the revolution. A certificate from Sir William Pepperell showed that Rose had been prepared to defend the city against rebels, but in the end, he was evacuated to Halifax with other loyalists. Rose left behind him “some little matters or articles of furniture” which he valued at £15. One of his apprentices joined the rebels, a second escaped to the West Indies, and the third was left behind in Boston. Rose did not stay long in Halifax; he returned to Great Britain to seek compensation for his wartime losses. By 1784, the government declared Rose to be ” a loyalist who did not bear arms” and gave him an allowance of £20 a year in recognition of his losses.

Although once described as being “bred a shoemaker”, Edward Thorp of Stamford, Connecticut obviously knew how to turn his cobbling profits to good use. Over the years he acquired a house, a store, a tailor’s shop, a barn, a tanning yard, and a slaughterhouse. Thorp also had shares in a number of schooners that imported molasses, rum and sugar from Jamaica and transported goods and passengers from Connecticut to New York. When a minister visited Thorp’s Stamford home he was very impressed: “He lived well and his house was well furnished. He was always looked upon as a man of substance and has often heard the neighbours say that he was a man worth £3 or 4000.”

As rebel fervour grew in 1775, the patriots of Stamford considered Thorp “a very obnoxious man, nobody was more active [as a loyalist]”. He was imprisoned several times, being accused of passing on military intelligence to the captain of the British warship, the Asia. Rebels then seized two of his sloops. Thorp was forced to give a £1000 to Stamford’s patriots to show that he would not act against their cause. By 1776, the former shoemaker had fled to British-occupied New York while supposedly on an inspection of his various businesses. He had to leave his wife Sarah and son behind in Stamford. By March of 1784, the Thorps were in England where Edward was recognized as a “zealous and active loyalist”.

David King was an African who had entered the shoemaking trade while a slave to William Kippen of New York. Kippen set King at “liberty to do as he pleased during the rebellion”. Given his newfound freedom, King chose to work at British forts, making shoes for the soldiers. Eventually the British entrusted him with carrying letters between their forts and their ships at sea. This prompted the rebels to offer a reward for Kings’ capture.

In 1780, the black loyalist journeyed to England with letters that noted him as a “trusty and servicable person”. When he sought compensation from the British government, King noted that he had lost £30 worth of leather and the goods from his New York shop. Despite his small claims, King was denied any compensation. The racist commissioners quickly dismissed the validity of the black loyalist’s losses, saying “he has lost nothing by the war and has gained his liberty”. Despite the fact that David King received no monetary compensation, he was recognized as a loyalist. In later years, he could place the initials “U.E” after his name.

Israel Hoyt had been a shoemaker in Norwalk, Connecticut before the outbreak of the revolution. He was one of the first in Norwalk to declare his loyalty to the British and consequently was insulted by a mob, carried before a rebel committee, and was imprisoned to be tried for his life.

After escaping from Norwalk’s jail, Hoyt fled to Long Island where he was given permission to cultivate thirty acres of land. Here British sailors became as great an irritant to Hoyt as his rebel neighbour had been. The seamen often came ashore to steal livestock from Hoyt and other loyalist farmers to add to their ships’ rations. Hoyt and three others complained about the thefts. One British captain got so angry that he threatened to tie Hoyt and his friends to a ship’s cannon and have them whipped.

Threats clearly did not concern Hoyt. Later that year he crossed Long Island Sound to see how much damage his confiscated home had suffered when the British had burned down most of Norwalk. Hoyt’s wife Mercy had been able to save some of their more portable possessions, and these had been shipped to Long Island. However, the Hoyts’ furniture and shoemaking tools had been stored in a neighbour’s home; they were destroyed in the fires that levelled Norwalk. Israel Hoyt’s curiousity almost had fatal consequences. The town’s patriots captured him and put him in prison. Fortunately, Hoyt managed to escape yet again.

In April of 1783 Hoyt and his family boarded the Union, the flagship of the spring fleet, and sailed for the mouth of the St. John River. In the new loyalist settlement of Kingston, Hoyt once again took up leather and nails to make shoes. The ledger that records the names of his customers, the work he did for them, and the cost of his repairs survives to this day.

To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at stephendavids@gmail.com

Loyalist Chair Finds New Home North of the Border

During or after the American Revolution, a family of United Empire Loyalists by the name of Grange made its way north to British territory, together with many other Loyalist refugees, entering Canada near present-day Napanee, Ontario. Among the family’s possessions was a wooden chair, which was later handed down from generation to generation, coupled with the injunction that it should never return to the United States. The years and decades passed. Most recently, the chair belonged to Mrs. Ann Harris, a Montreal lady, whose grandfather was Mr. Justice William Langley Bond of the Quebec Court of Appeal. Her great-grandfather was Col. Frank Bond of the Prince of Wales Rifles, who won a medal during the Fenian Raids and was allegedly the first white man to shoot the Lachine Rapids in the 1870’s. Her great-great grandfather was Archbishop William Bennett Bond, who became second Primate of the Anglican Church in Canada in 1904.

Mrs. Harris moved to Paris this past spring. Unable to take all her belongings with her, before leaving Canada, she retained the services of Nerelle Cooper, a Westmount lady experienced in organizing estate and moving sales and evaluating family heirlooms. Mrs. Harris explained to Nerelle that the famous chair had a Loyalist connection and was never to return to the U.S.A. Nerelle contacted the undersigned, knowing I was President of Heritage Branch (the Montreal chapter) of The United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada. I photographed the chair and consulted with Okill Stuart, my predecessor as Heritage Branch president, who is also a former Dominion President of the U.E.L. Association. We both thought that the ideal home for the chair would be the Missisquoi Museum in Stanbridge East, Quebec, sometimes called the “Loyalist Museum”. Mr. Stuart kindly kept the chair in his home in Saint-Lambert pending an appropriate opportunity to present it to the Museum, which expressed interest in acquiring it.

Such an opportunity arose on November 2, when the Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch of the U.E.L. Association (to which both Mr. Stuart and I also belong) held its annual fall dinner and meeting at the Granby United Church. The guest speaker was none other than the Curator of the Missisquoi Museum, Heather Darch. After her talk, the Branch President of Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch, Roderick Riordon, kindly permitted Okill Stuart and me, on behalf of Heritage Branch, to present the “Loyalist chair” to Heather Darch, together with a written summary of its provenance and a valuation for income tax purposes, prepared by Nerelle Cooper. Heather was delighted with the gift and promised to add it, without delay, to the Loyalist collection of the Missisquoi Museum.

Thus another material link with our Loyalist ancestors of long ago has been preserved for the general public to admire. Even more to the point, the spirits of the chair’s original owners in the next world, as well as Ann Harris in Paris, can now rest secure in the knowledge that their precious heirloom will remain in a land where King George III’s successor still reigns, as Queen of Canada. (Click here for pictures.)

…Robert C. Wilkins, UE, President, Heritage Branch, UELAC

When did Settlement begin at Caldwell Manor?

We have an advertisement that Henry Caldwell published in the Quebec Journal on Jan. 1, 1784, inviting American Loyalists to come and take leases at Caldwell Manor. He had written it out, and signed and dated it, a week earlier, on December 24, 1783. That was the final day, the day of disbanding, of the Provincial Regiments stationed at Fort St. John and surrounding stations. It appears that this Advertisement was aimed directly at those solders who were finally being discharged on that day. The ad tells us that the surveys are complete, the lotting plan is available for inspection, and there are agents on site (today there would be a MODEL HOME.) But like any major real estate development, even in our own time, much had been going on in the months and years leading up to this declaration of a GRAND OPENING in January 1784. The full text of the advertisement can be found here (PDF).

Even before the land surveys were complete, and while the war was still going on, a few families settled at Caldwell and Christie Manors. Earlier attempts at settlement apparently had been erased as the American Revolution began. There is no record of any prior tenants there after 1775. The border area had become a “no-man’s land” — American militia incursions and Indian attacks were possible. In August 1775, at the mouth of the South River, the rebel Capt. Remember Baker became the first casualty of the war, when the Indian forces allied with the British captured him and chopped off his head. Eight years later, in the spring of 1783, it was still considered a dangerous war zone.

Nevertheless, by 1777 a few families were already on the manor. More came in 1778-1781, as they were being forced from their homes in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. But the real flood of Loyalist families began in 1782. They came singly, and in groups of 100’s, and they came by boat and by foot. In The Barley and the Stream, a book about the Molson family, we read: “In the summer of 1782 a party of a hundred and ninety-seven United Empire Loyalists then camping at Burlington, Vermont …. agreed to settle at Caldwell Manor.”

My favorite sources for material about these early refugee families are:

– The Loyalists of the Eastern Townships of Quebec, published 1984 by Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch, UELAC.

– King’s Men—Soldier Founders of Ontario, by Mary Beacock Fryer, 1980, Dundurn Press Limited, Toronto.

[submitted by Lewis Kreger UE, member SJJCB UELAC and Alburgh Historical Society]

Evacuation Day Celebration Nov 25

No doubt you have noticed that considerable attention has been given to the 225th anniversary of the arrival of the Spring Fleet or the Fall Fleet. Last year, an investigation was made regarding the possibility of a UELAC visit to New York City to join in a similar recognition of those last days of British control of the city in 1783, but no plans could be uncovered.

Earlier this month, after attending the first Remembrance Day Observance held in the British Memorial Garden in Hanover Square, Manhattan, I was able to dine at Fraunces Tavern on Pearl Street and tour the upstairs museum. While there, I heard the term “Evacuation Day” for the first time.

Evacuation Day in Boston still receives some public attention, perhaps largely because it takes place on March 17. This official holiday in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, marks the evacuation of the British Forces under Gen. Howe to Nova Scotia following the 11 month siege by George Washington.

Evacuation Day in NYC no longer receives the attention it once did even up to a century ago. According to Clifton Hood in the June 22, 2004 publication of the Journal of Social History, “the memorialization of November 25th was initiated by New York City merchants who prized the evacuation for exemplifying their ideals of elite rule, social harmony, national independence, and local boosterism. Their private commemorations acquired a more public dimension in 1787, when Federalists used representations of the evaluation in their campaign to ratify the Constitution, creating rituals that broadened the anniversary’s appeal. These annual observances, though intensely nationalistic, remained confined to the New York City area and were never celebrated nationally.”

Any history of the early celebrations of Evacuation Day would detail dinners and military parades . However, with the decline of related experiences in succeeding generations and the development of more current recognition of the War of 1812 and the Civil War, observances of this special day attracted diminishing attention. Hood comments further: “By the mid 1890’s the parade was no longer held annually and, when it did,occur, usually consisted of little more than a flag escort and several companies of history buffs wearing colonial military uniforms. From being integral to New Yorkers’ historical memories, the parade had come to exert little cultural resonance beyond the participants themselves. The Sons of the Revolution, preferring dignified events that took place in controlled settings, introduced a new ritual, the dedication of statues that honoured great Americans such as George Washington and Nathan Hale and tablets that commemorated historic sites such as the Battle of Harlem Heights……The patriotic and ancestral societies’ favorite milieu, however, were private gatherings. Every November 25th, the Sons of the Revolution, the Colonial Dames of America, the Daughters of the American Revolution,. And the Children of the Holland Dames held dinners at exclusive venues such as Delmonico’s., the Astor House, the Waldorf-Astoria, and Fraunces Tavern, where their members could socialize and hear historical lectures without rubbing elbows with the hoi polloi.”

With the increasingly more common celebration of the American Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November, recognition of Evacuation Day virtually disappeared, only to surface on major anniversaries such as in 1983. 2008 will be one of those years. On November 20, frauncestavernmuseum.org invites you to celebrate 1783 with Barnet Schecter, author of The Battle for New York in the historic building purchased by the Sons of the Revolution in 1904. Saturday, November 22 will witness “A Parade Most Patriotic”. The Sons of the Revolution will march down Broadway from City Hall to Battery Park, “where re-enactors in period costumes will lower a Union Jack and raise the Stars and Stripes in a symbolic reprise of what happened in 1783. British and French diplomats will be among those invited to take part.” In addition, on the eve of Evacuation Day, the Sons of the Revolution of New York will hold a dinner at Fraunces Tavern. The 225th Anniversary of the Exchange of Control of New York City will be observed.

…Frederick H. Hayward, UE, President, UELAC

Congratulation Indeed to Okill Stuart

Okill Stuart spoke eloquently about his ancestors at St. James Cathedral in February 2006, an evening event which started the Bicentennial celebrations of Jarvis Collegiate.

In the Town of York in 1807, the first public school, the Home District School, was opened. It was a primitive stone building, attached to the frame house of the schoolmaster, the Rev. George Okill Stuart. Rev. Stuart was also the first rector of the Anglican Church. His pupils ranged in age from 6 to 16, and the Rev.Stuart was paid $16 a year plus firewood in the winter.

In 1811 Dr. Stuart succeeded his father as rector of St. Georges Church in Kingston. The Rev. John Stuart, father of George Okill, has been described as the father of the Anglican Church in Upper Canada, and also the father of Education as he opened the first school in what is now the Province of Ontario at Kingston in 1785.

I was looking forward to seeing Okill at the Sewell reunion in Quebec in June and I was sorry he was unable to attend. When we met at the Bicentenary of Jarvis Collegiate, I did not know we were related.

[Submitted by Robert Sewell Jarvis]

Abner Stocking’s Account of the Expedition Against Quebec in 1775

With a full title of “An interesting journal of Abner Stocking of Chatham, Connecticut detailing the distressing events of the expedition against Quebec, under the command of Col. Arnold in the year 1775”, this account was originally published by his relatives, then reprinted in 1921 and now available as an e-book at no charge from Project Gutenberg.

In the month of June 1775 Gen. Schuyler was commissioned by Congress to invade Canada through the lakes ­ to take possession of Ticonderoga and Crown Point; and if practicable to proceed to St. Johns and besiege that fortress. Should he succeed in getting possession of these posts on the lakes, the way would be open to proceed on to Montreal and from thence to Quebec, the capital of Canada.

General Washington calculating on the success of General Schuyler, and foreseeing that the whole force of Canada would be concentrated about Montreal, projected an expedition against Quebec, by a detachment from his camp before Boston, which was to march by the way of the Kennebeck river, and passing through the dreary wilderness lying between the settled parts of Maine and the St. Lawrence, and crossing the rugged mountains and deep morasses which abound in that country, to penetrate into Canada about ninety miles below Montreal.

The object proposed by this hardy enterprise was to take possession of Quebec, which all his accounts assured him was absolutely unable to hold out against any considerable force, and would probably surrender without firing a gun.

This arduous enterprise was committed to Col. Arnold. About a thousand men consisting of New-England infantry, some volunteers, and a company of artillery under Captain Lamb, and three companies of riflemen were selected for the service.

Notwithstanding the utmost exertions that could possibly be made, the detachment could not commence their march until about the middle of September 1775.

Mr. Stocking, a native of Chatham, in Connecticut, was one of the little band of patriots designed for this expedition. As he was a man capable of making judicious observations, and a good penman, he was probably appointed to keep a regular journal of the events of each day during this distressing campaign.

The detachment commenced their march from Cambridge, near Boston on the 23rd of September, at which time and place Mr. Stocking began his journal.

Click here for the e-book.

[submitted by William Dimitroff]

Loyalist House in Prescott Area Available

When we first heard about this home we knew it had a lot of charm. We had the pleasure of restoring it to its glory. Those listed on the title include: Major Jessup obviously owned the township, 1797 grantee Edward Jessup sr., 1812 grantee Edward Jessup jr., 1816 grantee Suzanne Jessup, and from 1828 -1838 Dr. Hamilton Jessup owned it. So this home does have a lot of Loyalist significance. We are convinced it is one of the oldest houses in Prescott. This house has been submitted for the book ” 100 years -100 homes – A book Celebrating the Historic homes in Leeds and Grenville”. This book, a project of the Col. Edward Jessup Branch UELAC, will include mostly homes lived in by either a Loyalist, a child of a loyalist or grandchild of a loyalist. This house would appeal to someone who can fully appreciate its historical significance.

“History for Sale, located one block from the Beautiful St. Lawrence River”. The property has been listed with propertyguys.com ID # 159086 [enter the six digits in the ‘Quick Search’ box mid-screen] – Propertyguys is a ‘For Sale by Owner’ company so the house is not on the MLS.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions are:
– Cryderman, Catherine, Michael, Joseph, Hermanus, and John by Doris Goheen
– Goheen, Thomas by Doris Goheen
– Ashley, William a British soldier by Brenda Anderson


John Pencil (Pensyl) of Butler’s Rangers

Thank you for pointing out in your newsletter that the Brock University Loyalist Centre has the complete collection of Upper Canada Land Books (1787-1841) on microfilm. It was my extreme pleasure to visit the Centre and work so successfully with their kind and knowledgeable assistance.

As always, any answer just leads to more questions and I have one that your readers may be able to answer for me. Two of the petitions of interest I found concerned a Loyalist named John Pencil (or Pensyl). He was a member of Butler’s Rangers from 1778 until 1784 and he settled in Fredericksburgh, Lennox County. He died before 1810. I have a copy of his discharge paper from 1784.

The stories about John Pencil are many but they seem to have all been written by Americans after the end of the Revolutionary War. Since history is written by the victors and victors demonize the enemy, they are suspect.

Among the legends about John Pencil are (a) that he killed his own brother while fighting with Butler’s Rangers at the Wyoming (Pennsylvania) Massacre and, (b) after coming to Canada, he was eaten by wolves! The literature gleefully points out the retributive justice of the latter. To believe it, however, I would like find a credible Canadian corroborative source.

Is there a Canadian reference for John Pencil being eaten by wolves in Lennox county prior to 1810?

…Rod MacDonald UE, Niagara Falls, Ont. {dogonrod AT cogeco DOT ca}