“Loyalist Trails” 2008-44: November 30, 2008

In this issue:
White Collar Loyalists: A Lawyer — © Stephen Davidson
Prairie Regional Seminar Rocks
Senator Grafstein to Push National Portrait Gallery Plan for Ottawa – Petition
Award Winning Authors: Jean Rae Baxter UE and Lawrence Hill
Beacons Mark 1783 British Exit: Manhattan Evacuation
The Loyal American Regiment
Participants in the Battle of Saratoga
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Demorest/Demarest family of Foxboro, Hastings Co, ON
Last Post
      + Charles Lindsay Gerow UE
      + Vida “May” Dorland


White Collar Loyalists: A Lawyer — © Stephen Davidson

We commonly refer to professionals in government, law or academics as having “white collar” jobs. Although they were just a minority of the loyalists, there were certainly representatives of this strata of society among the refugees of the American Revolution. Here is the first of three articles on white collar loyalists. Meet Thomas Phepoe, the “Tory Lawyer”.

A native of Ireland, Phepoe immigrated to Charleston, South Carolina in 1771 where he joined the law firm of Gordon and Savage. The legal profession paid well in those days; Phepoe earned between £1,000 & 2,000 each year.

Upon the advice of one of his law partners, Phepoe stayed in Charleston after the outbreak of the revolution. In 1777, he represented the predominantly loyalist Prince Frederick’s Parish in the colony’s assembly, doing “everything to promote the Cause of Great Britain”. He voted against an act to banish loyalists, doing all that he could to oppose any violent measures the rebel members of the assembly proposed. Phepoe was well aware that “whilst a member of the assembly, he was an enemy to all their councils and measures.”

As he tried to work within the system for the loyalist cause, Phepoe gained a reputation in South Carolina as being the “Tory lawyer”. He was “always employed by those who were tried for sedition”; in other words, he regularly defended loyal colonists when rebels brought them to court on charges of treason. Said Phepoe in a later testimony, “No other lawyer dared to plead for them”.

At Phepoe’s compensation hearing in England in 1784, several of the loyalists he had defended in court spoke on his behalf. The Rev. James Stewart testified that Phepoe had “pleaded his cause without fee or reward. He refused money when he offered it.”

The wife of William Fortune spoke of how Phepoe had befriended her and her husband “when the rebels took almost their all because they were loyalists.” Recognizing the danger into which his defence would put him, Mrs. Fortune asked Phepoe to defend them with a written testimonial rather than appear in court. But the “tory lawyer” felt that if the rebels were to discover such a written document, he would surely be hanged.

Phepoe was an interesting case for the members of the loyalist compensation board. He had taken an oath of allegiance to the rebels (as most South Carolinians were compelled to do). Was he, in fact, a rebel sympathizer? No, claimed Phepoe, for he did not consider the oath a binding one. If he had refused to take the oath, he would only have been safe by fleeing the colony. By swearing allegiance to the new state, Phepoe had a way of remaining in South Carolina to do whatever good he could on the crown’s behalf.

It was a very risky bit of fence-straddling. On one occasion in 1779, the rebels imprisoned Phepoe because he defended a particular loyalist. The “tory lawyer” was later described as being “the most obnoxious man to the new State” of South Carolina. As a loyalist within the system, Phepoe was clearly not a popular man in rebel circles.

When the British regained control of South Carolina in April of 1780, Lord Cornwallis recognized Phepoe’s loyalty by making him a captain of the militia. However, within two years’ time, Phepoe had to flee Charleston with other loyalists. Although he managed to sell his house before leaving the city, Phepoe listed a number of losses, including a good law library, a “chariot”, a pew, and a Negro. Rebels confiscated his remaining property, and he was formally banished by the colony he had tried his best to serve.

In May of 1784, the British government recognized Phepoe as a loyalist, but a loyalist who “took the oath of fidelity to the State of South Carolina and served as a member of the assembly”. It was no doubt the kind of legal hair-splitting of which the Tory lawyer heartily approved.

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

Prairie Regional Seminar Rocks

No visit to Regina would be complete without a visit to the United Empire Loyalist Cairn on the shores of Lake Wascana. Regina member Ken Fader made sure that was the first thing we did on our way into town. Situated by a running path in front of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, the 2005 monument to the Loyalists is a major key to public recognition of the settlement of Saskatchewan by many of their succeeding generations.

Thanks to many members of Regina Branch and the organizing skills of RVP Gerry Adair and Prairie Region Councillor, Barbara J. Andrew, the Prairie Region Mini-conference was filled with good discussions, informative presentations and varied venues. The Friday night discussions, moderated by Pat Adair, focused more on issues raised at the 2007 mini-conference and the developments over the past year. On Saturday morning, Senior Vice President, Carl Stymiest, suggested six key elements for classroom presentations in addition to a promotion of the Beyond the Mountains – 2010 conference to be held in Vernon, B.C. Having the opportunity to speak twice, I was able first to review Recognition, Resolution and Relevance in terms applied to the Prairie Region. The second theme contrasted the role of Dominion assistance to Branch executive roles with other options for our outreach to the Branch, Community and Youth and ended with the dramatic appearance of the Irish Palatine, Philip Embury.

The afternoon session was spent at the RCMP Interpretive Centre guided by Ken Fader.

As a former member of the RCMP, Ken is seeking further information regarding possible Loyalist descendants being part of that first contingent of the NWMP in 1873. Such information will be of use in developing a book on family histories of Loyalist descendants who helped settle Saskatchewan, one of the Regina Branch’s 2014 projects. A donation to the Interpretative Centre similar to the one made to the Black Loyalist Heritage Society would also ensure UELAC visibility on the Wall of Support.

On Sunday, members of the UELAC in period clothing were highly visible front and centre at Knox Metropolitan Church. Having accepted the invitation to make a presentation on United Empire Loyalists to the congregation during the service, we were all kept busy answering questions during the coffee session which followed.

Overall, even with the lack of representation from either Calgary or Edmonton Branch, the Prairie Region Mini-conference was quite successful. Not only was I able to make new contacts with both the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society and members of the Regina Branch, but a number of new developments to strengthen UELAC’s presence in the Prairie Region were initiated as well. Once again, the value of regional meetings to the work of UELAC was affirmed.

…Frederick H. Hayward UE, UELAC President

Senator Grafstein to Push National Portrait Gallery Plan for Ottawa – Petition

Senator Jerry Grafstein wants to get plans for a national portrait gallery back on track by resurrecting an old proposal to put the gallery in the former U.S. embassy in Ottawa. Grafstein plans to introduce a private member’s bill in the Senate on Thursday to re-establish the former embassy, just steps away from the Parliament Buildings, as the site of a national portrait gallery. “Essentially, it says that the [Library and Archives] Act should be amended to set up a national portrait gallery at 199 Wellington St., which is the American embassy site, right across from the Parliament buildings,” Grafstein told CBC cultural affairs show Q on Wednesday.

Grafstein, who has been involved in planning the gallery for eight years, said the Ottawa proposal would be the least expensive for the country. The National Archive, which is currently custodian of Canada’s portraits, has tens of thousands of paintings and photographs of everyone from Sir John A. Macdonald to Douglas Coupland. It owns a full collection of works by world-renowned photographer Yousuf Karsh, as well as thousands of historic and famous photos.

“If you don’t have it in Ottawa, that will never been seen,” Grafstein said. “Here it is, Canada’s largest treasure trove of history, living visual history, and nobody will see it or very little of it.” “One of problems in Canada, in my view, is we have huge lobbies for oil, we have huge lobbies for the auto pact, we have no lobby for the cultural life of this country, except when it comes to something like television where money can be made,” Grafstein said. “Here is visual history with no lobby except for some hardworking, fairly poor artists who put their life and soul into the visual history of this country. Why don’t we support them?”

For full Nov.19 2008 CBC News article, go here.

In 2005 UELAC became aware of a potential purchase and was asked to help. The Portrait Gallery of Canada had been approached by a family which owned a portrait of Louisa Billopp by Robert Field and were seeking to sell it. The portrait shows Louisa, daughter of the Loyalist Christopher Billopp, one of the founders of New Brunswick. The work is of high quality, rarity and impeccable provenance, and is oil on canvas, 43 x 38 cm (about 17″ x 15″ for those non-metric types). See Loyalist Trails 2005-33 Portrait Gallery of Canada, Query about an Acquisition The story unfolded more in issue 2005-39 Louisa Billopp Portrait by Robert Field and concluded successfully in issue 2006-11 Portrait Gallery of Canada Acquires Important Loyalist Portrait.

Still there is no gallery to show it.

If you are in favour of Senator Grafstein’s initiative and would like to support the general thrust, then consider signing the online petition which reads:

To: Government of Canada

As a national institution, the Portrait Gallery of Canada should have a physical presence and exhibition space both in the National Capital Region and in one or more cities elsewhere in Canada.

…Hugh MacMillan and Doug Grant

Award Winning Authors: Jean Rae Baxter UE and Lawrence Hill

At Hamilton Branch’s General Meeting on November 27th our member and author, Jean Rae Baxter U.E. was in attendance. Last month, Jean’s young adult book, The Way Lies North was short-listed for the Red Maple award that is part of the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading program. This is a great honour. It means that this Loyalist story will be read by thousands of Ontario children this year as many school libraries take part in this particular reading program. Last evening Jean received the 2008 Arts Hamilton Award for “Best Young Adult Novel.” The accolades keep coming in for Jean and her writing.

It is also important to note that Burlington author, Lawrence Hill, who was our keynote speaker at U.E.L. Day – June 19th 2007 and who wrote the award winning novel, The Book of Negroes has received another honour. His book received the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and it has been chosen by CBC Radio as one of five books for “Canada Reads” this spring. It will be debated along with four other books between March 2 and 6, 2009. Last evening Lawrence Hill received the 2008 Arts Hamilton Award for Best Adult Novel. More good news as this book tells the story of Aminata from age eleven to old age, from freedom to slavery and back to freedom. It is a must read.

I encourage everyone to obtain copies of these two marvelous books that tell very different aspects of our Loyalist story. They are both excellent choices for yourself and your extended family.

…Ruth Nicholson, UE, President, Hamilton Branch, UELAC

Beacons Mark 1783 British Exit: Manhattan Evacuation

July 4, 1776? Fuhgedaboutit!

The date every New Yorker should know is Nov. 25, 1783, the day the British evacuated Manhattan at the end of the Revolutionary War.

“When they left, we won. It doesn’t get much bigger that that.” said Deke Hazirjian, a Brooklyn-born lighting designer who’s helping New York State commemorate the evacuation’s 225th anniversary by placing powerful spotlights at five locations in the Hudson Valley.

Those lights, along with seven others located in New Jersey, will be turned on Tuesday evening, creating a 108-mile string of illumination from Mount Beacon in the Hudson Highlands to Princeton, N. J. Organizers say it will symbolize the system of beacon fires Gen. George Washington’s forces used in the Hudson Valley and New Jersey to quickly communicate between units spread over a wide area.

“It was really a form of strategic communications,” said retired Army Colonel Jim Johnson, a former history professor at West Point and military historian for the Hudson River Valley Institute, one of the organizations staging the event.

Hazirjian’s company, Manhattan-based New York City Lites, will haul truck-mounted, 2000 watt xenon spotlights to five locations in the Hudson Valley, including four mountain sites. Hazirjian, whose studio clients typically include ESPN and MSNBC, said the outdoor gig has its own set of challenges.

“You don’t normally light by the mile,” said Hazirjian, who lives in Cornwall-on-Hudson, near West Point.

The other Hudson Valley sites taking part in the beacon project are Bear Mountain State Park, Storm KIng Mountain State Park in Cornwall, Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh and Spy Rock in New Windsor.

New Jersey’s Crossroads of the American Revolution Association came up with the beacon lighting idea. Organizers said Sky Tracker spotlights will be located in New Jersey at Oakland, South Orange, Morristown, Summit, Green Brook and Princeton, with the Navesink lighthouse in Highlands adding its illumination to the project.

The New Jersey lights will be turned on at 5 p.m., with the New York spotlights to follow at 1-minute intervals. All the lights will remain on until 9 p.m. and organizers said they would be visible for miles, depending on weather conditions.”

Tuesday, 25 November 2008, Albany Times Union “Beacons Mark 1783 British Exit: Spotlights being turned on tonight commemorating Manhattan evacuation”


On page A3 in today’s Albany Times Union is an article “Beacons Mark 1783 British Exit: Spotlights being turned on tonight commemorating Manhattan evacuation.” The article is very interesting but I would like to make a point that those who are setting up this commemoration should also remember at the time of the American Revolution the number of families still loyal to the Crown, sailing in the convoys accompanying the British troops for the Atlantic Maritimes. They had lost family members, their homes, possessions and worst of all former friends to begin settlements in the wilderness of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, etc. Others would depart from the valleys of upstate New York for Quebec and Ontario.

There are many members of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada, who have ancestors on both sides of this conflict. So let us remember this is a commemoration. With the statement “When they left, we won. It doesn’t get much bigger than that”, one hopes that the level of commemoration does not become one of celebration.

…G. William Glidden, MAJOR (R) NYARNG, Historian, New York State Military Heritage Institute & Valcour Battle Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution {historian70 AT verizon DOT net}

The Loyal American Regiment

Raised in mid-March of 1777 by wealthy Beverley Robinson, the LOYAL AMERICAN REGIMENT consisted almost entirely of New York loyalists from lower Dutchess and Westchester Counties. Robinson managed sixty thousand acres and 146 tenant farms in Dutchess County. Not surprisingly, his own tenants (and relatives) accounted for a large percentage of the soldiers and officers of the regiment.

Robinson’s men were quick to distinguish themselves. The LOYAL AMERICAN REGIMENT participated in the storming of Fort Montgomery on October 6, 1777.

The Loyal American Regiment served with distinction in numerous battles from New York to the Carolinas. Check out their story here. My ancestor, Samuel Tidd (Teed) was a member of this regiment.

…John Rudzik UE

Participants in the Battle of Saratoga

Heritage Hunters in conjunction with the Saratoga National Historical Park has assembled an index to the [American] participants in the Battles of Saratoga.

As an example, Colonel Daniel Morgan’s Frontier Rifle Corps with all of the companies under his command can be found here. My ancestor Robert John Eager served under Captain Thomas Posey who served under Colonel Daniel Morgan and much information about these three individuals can be found here. For mine, look under “E”, find Eager, then find John and it will show that he was from Va., served under Capt. Thomas Posey (including dates of service), and shows that Capt. Posey was part of Daniel Morgan’s Frontier Rifle Corps. A click on the reference number will take you to the section that gives instructions where to find additional information. Heritage Hunters has done a great job for all of us whose ancestors served here, but please read the …Chuck Ross UE, President, Kawartha Branch

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

Joshua Knight by Kathleen Smith
– Samuel Tidd (Teed) by John Rudzik UE


Demorest/Demarest family of Foxboro, Hastings Co, ON

Last Post

Charles Lindsay Gerow UE

Passed away at Abbotsford BC on his 87th birthday Sunday October 26th 2008. Born in Souris Manitoba, Charlie was the youngest of 5 sons born to Perry Ward Gerow and Margaret Ellen McDougall. Predeceased by his parents and brothers, his wife Elsie (Jamieson), his eldest son Norman Gerow and his eldest grandson Ken Jones. Survived by his children Barbara Gerow Ruault, Darlene Gerow Jones UE, and Roy Gerow,and by 10 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

Charlie was a business owner and operator of Parker Cedar Products (shingle mill) in Surrey BC for over 30 years.

A member of the Thompson Okanagan Branch for many years, Charlie descended from many Loyalist ancestors, including Isaac Gerow of Westchester County New York who with his family fled to New Brunswick, families Wiggins, Slocum, Corey, Lawson and Allen in New Brunswick and families Young, Stinson and Conger in Ontario.

Charlie’s great grandfather John Lawson Gerow operated a prosperous farm near Warkworth Ontario where the original stone home is still occupied. Grandfather Andrew Wellington Gerow moved to Souris Manitoba in 1882 where he homesteaded a large farm and was reeve of the Souris Council for many years. In 1936 father Perry Ward Gerow with his family moved to BC where he owned and operated a farm in the Cloverdale area.

Charlie was a member of a family which proudly acknowledged their UE heritage and told their children and grandchildren the stories of how their ancestors stood up for their rights and beliefs. Those stories will remain with his family, to cherish forever.

Vida “May” Dorland

DORLAND, Vida “May” (nee Greer) at Westgate Lodge, Belleville, Ontario on November 11, 2008. May was born Oct.10, 1922, in Wellington, Ontario, daughter of Charles Greer and Dell Amanda Stevenson, and was a descendant of Captain Peter Ruttan UE. She was the beloved wife of 65 yrs to her late husband Terry Dorland (died Oct.12, 2008) and survived by daughter Bonnie (Jim), sons Joe (Anne), Arthur (Debby), and Allan (Kathie), six grandsons & one great grandson. May was also a long time member of Bay of Quinte branch.

…Brian Tackaberry UE, President, Bay of Quinte Branch