“Loyalist Trails” 2009-05: February 1, 2009

In this issue:
Biographical Fragments from the Montreal Loyalist Compensation Hearings: Part One: Johnson’s First Battalion — © Stephen Davidson
Celebrating the Centenary of Loyalist Settlement in Upper Canada, Part 2
1884 Celebrations Reference and 2009 UELAC Conference
A Tale of Winter Survival From the Ketcheson Family
Queenston Heights & Brock’s Monument Re-Open
Recognition of Loyalists in Periodicals
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Happy Birthday: Yvonne Hough Fleming, UE


Biographical Fragments from the Montreal Loyalist Compensation Hearings: Part One: Johnson’s First Battalion

From September of 1787 to March of 1788, a loyalist compensation board met in Montreal to consider the claims made by refugees of the American Revolution who had settled in the Canadas. Among these refugees were men who had served in Sir John Johnson’s First Battalion. Also known as the Royal Regiment of New York, the veterans of this battalion were, for the most part, relatively recent immigrants who had settled in the Mohawk and Susquenna Valleys.

Despite the fact that there were many applications for financial compensation, the accounts of individual loyalists and their wartime struggles are disappointingly brief. And yet, when the compensation board had its hearings in England and the Maritimes, the transcripts of the proceedings contained far more details about the refugees who testified, giving us a greater understanding of the loyalist experience.

The case of Angus McKay is typical. All that we learn from his claim is that he came from Scotland in 1772, settled on Sir John Johnson’s land in the Mohawk Valley and then fled to Montreal with him in 1776. There he became a soldier in the First Battalion and served until the end of the revolution. Before the war, McKay grew grain on his farm. He had a barn, house, and stable on 13 acres of land which sustained 3 cows, 2 heifers, and a calf. A witness named Alista McPherson vouched for all that McKay claimed. The struggles that the loyalist settler would have endured from rebel attacks, the long march to Montreal, and his family’s settlement in the Canadas go unrecorded.

Despite the paucity of details, some accounts of the Montreal hearings rise above mere lists of lost property. This is the first in a three-part series that will explore the experiences of the loyalists who appeared before this particular compensation board.

Alexander Grant was the oldest of the four boys and two girls in his family. The Grants had emigrated from Scotland to America before the beginning of the revolution. Alexander’s father, John Grant, had cleared 18 of the 100 acres on their farm in Johnson’s Bush, Tryon County, New York before joining Sir John Johnson’s battalion in 1777. Alexander was left in charge of the family’s meager resources: a mare, a colt, a cow, furniture, utensils, and the corn that they raised.

Within a few months, John Grant died, and Alexander became head of the household. In 1780, young Grant left his family to join the British. He served as a sergeant for the next three years. At the end of the revolution, Alexander, his mother, and family relocated to Oswego.

In January 1788, Grant travelled to Montreal to seek financial redress for the loss of his family’s farm. His mother, brothers and sisters all agreed that he should receive whatever compensation the British government had to give.

Catharine MacDougal was another orphan of the American Revolution. She lost her Scottish father in 1777 after he enlisted in Sir John Johnson’s battalion. Alexander Grant (obviously a common name) fought with the regiment in the Canadas and died in the King’s Hospital in Montreal. (Just knowing where Grant drew his last breath is a rare glimpse into the loyalist experience. Not every soldier met his end on the battlefield.) Within three years, John Grant’s widow died, leaving Catharine and Isabella, her youngest daughter, to fend for themselves among the other loyalists who had fled north from New York.

In 1784, when Catharine married the loyalist, John MacDougal, she was still not yet 21. Her husband had served under General Burgoyne in 1777, and then lived with Colonel Campbell, serving in the 84th regiment. When the loyalist compensation board convened in Montreal in January 1788, John and Catharine MacDougal were living in nearby New Johnstown (Cornwall, Ontario). Isabella was still unmarried and not yet 21. John made the winter journey to Montreal to seek financial redress for his wife and sister-in-law’s losses.

John Glasford and his wife Sarah, both born in the Thirteen Colonies, had been farming 100 acres along the Susquehanna River until the revolution began. Rebels took everything that they had. Glasford first joined with Joseph Brant’s native forces and then served in Johnson’s battalion. He survived the revolution, but left Sarah a widow in 1787.

Glasford’s brother, Lewis, appeared before the board to speak on his sister-in-law’s behalf. He said his brother “came almost naked into Niagara” when the family fled north. Although Sarah Glasford had a twenty-year old son, her other five children were still young. Given that the notes taken by the compensation board describe the Glasfords as “a good family”, it seems likely that it recognized John’s service in the First Battalion and gave Sarah some much needed aid.

From the outset of the revolution, Philip Impey was known as a loyalist. His rebel neighbours took his firearms because “they found he did not approve their principles”. Six of his sons took up arms for their king.

Impey was a loyalist of greater means than many of the men who served in Sir John Johnson’s regiment. He had an estate of 600 acres along the Mohawk Valley, had built a frame house and barn, established an orchard, and had just started to construct a gristmill. Impey owned three enslaved Africans to work his estate. Although rebels took the loyalist’s land in 1777, Impey’s house and barn were destroyed by the king’s own troops. This incident of “friendly fire” is given no further elaboration.

The family eventually settled in Cornwall (Johnstown), Ontario. The board noted that Impey “seems a good man”. Sir John Johnson himself testified “to his loyalty and good character”.

These stories of the loyalists who served in Sir John Johnson’s First Battalion are hardly the stuff of family legends, but they do give small and fascinating glimpses into the experiences of those who first settled in modern day Ontario.

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

Celebrating the Centenary of Loyalist Settlement in Upper Canada, Part 2

In 1884, celebrations of the initial settlement of Upper Canada by the United Empire Loyalists a hundred years earlier were held in three different locations; Adolphustown, Toronto and Niagara. The selection of June 16th for the celebration in Adolphustown was in recognition of the first landing of the Loyalists at the point in 1784. (See the Ontario Plaque to “The Loyalist Landing Place 1784”.) Unlike the plans for the other two venues, the events at Adolphustown would be spread over three days, after two prior days of special activities.

The names of the organizing committee are familiar to many historians of the area and UELAC. L.L. Bogart served as president of the Adolphustown Celebration Committee, J.B. Allison as secretary and J.J. Watson was the Cor. Secretary. Other individuals listed were Parker Allan, D.W. Allison, H.H. Allison, W.R.H. Allison, Dr. Canniff, E. Clapp, Robert Clapp, S.M. Conger, A.C. Davis, P.D. Davis, J.B. Diamond, J. W. Dorland, Redford Dorland, Geo. German, Sampson Green, D. Griffith, Geo. Ham, Geo. Harrison, Hy. Huff, W.H. Ingersoll, S.S. McCuaig, N. W. Mallory, A.L. Morden, Wm. Peterson, John Prinyer , H. Rikely, C.A. Roblin, Jacob Roblin, Jno H. Roblin, Dr. Ruttan, S. W. Ruttan, E. Ruttan, J.H. Trumpour, L. W. Trumpour , Paul Trumpour, Thos. Trumpour and S. Wright.

Prior to the actual period of celebration, there were several related activities in the area. The first event was on Saturday 14th June when the corner stone of the Methodist U.E.L. Memorial church was laid. Mrs. Joseph Allison, one of the few remaining ones of the first generation succeeding the U.E. Loyalists performed the ceremony in the presence of Rev. D V. Lucas of Montreal, Rev. J.J. Leach of Odessa; Rev. M.L. Pearson of Napanee; Rev. Adams of Bath, Rev. Briden of Newburgh, Rev. M.I. Bates of Tamworth and Rev. Mr. Gibson. Refreshments served in a gospel tent, which had been erected across the road, were followed by an address by Rev. Lucas and a “few brief words” by Revs. Leach and Gibson. On Sabbath, Rev. Mr. Lucas preached three sermons in the tent to large audiences, his addresses being marked by power, force and a practical application to present circumstances and requirements.

On Sunday, 15th June, a sermon was preached at St. Paul’s church, Adolphustown, and St. Paul’s Church, Fredericksburg by the Rev. C.E. Thompson, grandson of the late Sheriff Ruttan, one of the United Empire Loyalists. A highly eloquent discourse based on Ezekial xxxvi, 28, terminated with a reference to the wild idea of independence. He gave six months as the time the independence craze would continue.

The 15th Battalion under the command of Col. Lazier held a Divine service on the United Empire Loyalists burying ground in the afternoon. Rev. Forneri preached an eloquent sermon. He held up the Christian loyalty of the sires of Canada as a pattern to modern Canadians.

Day One

On Monday, the 16th of June, the celebration commenced. From early dawn carriages began to arrive; all Adolphustown and adjacent places were well represented. The day was most auspicious. By noon, a number of boats from Belleville on the west and Kingston on the east arrived with decks crowded from all the intervening points. The Picton troop of cavalry under Major Fred White was among the arrivals. Three bands discoursed sweet music at frequent intervals, the fine band of the 15th Battalion, the band from Picton, and the band of Kingston. The military display was very fine.

In the afternoon the people were summoned about the speakers’ stand and addresses were delivered. Above the speakers’ heads floated the handsome flag of the Native Canadian Society of Belleville. The programme was opened by the playing of the National Anthem, and the invocation of the Divine blessing and returning thanks for the prosperity which has attended the U.E. Loyalists and their descendants, and the nation which they founded.

Following addresses given by Lewis L. Bogart*, A.L. Morden*, and Dr. Canniff*, the 15th Battalion headed by their band, came down from the camp and made their way towards the spot where one of the genial events of the day was to take place, the laying with Masonic honours of the corner-stone of the new monument to the U.E. Loyalists. The conclusion of the ceremony was announced by the National anthem by the band, followed by a grand salute by the 15th Battalion, “B” Band, Kingston, and the Picton Silver Cornet Band, which had arrived on the grounds early in the afternoon, played some lively selections near the speakers’ stand. See the UEL Monument at Adolphustown.

Mr. D.W. Allison, M.P. for Lennox as chair, then introduced the following speakers: Sir Richard Cartwright*, Rev. D.V. Lucas* of Montreal.

Day Two

The second day of the celebration was marked by the arrival from Napanee of Lieutenant Governor John Beverley Robinson. At eleven o’clock he was met at the wharf by a guard of honour of the 15th Battalion, Argyle Light Infantry, under the command of Adjt.-Captain T.C. Lazier, and conducted to St. Paul’s Church, the present Anglican Church of Adolphustown to participate in the laying of the corner-stone of the Memorial Church to be named St. Albans.

At the proper time, a beautiful silver trowel, suitable engraved, was handed to the Lieutenant-Governor, with which he laid on the cement, saying: “We lay this stone of foundation to the honour and glory of God, and in memory of the United Empire Loyalist, who one hundred years ago laid the corner-stone of our Province in peace and righteousness and in loyalty to the British Crown and Empire”.

Brief speeches were made by a number of clergy. The ceremony completed, the Lieut.-Governor and a large party were invited to the residence of J.J. Watson, Esq., where lunch was served.

The Lieut.-Governor paid a visit to the camp of the 15th Battalion, and was right royally entertained at the officer’s mess. During that time it appears that the speeches were started elsewhere. Chief Sampson Green* was the first to deliver an address, “The Union of the Six Nations”. Other speakers included Capt. Grace of Lindsay; G.E. Henderson, Q.C., Belleville, County Crown Attorney; Mr. J.S. McCuaig, ex M.P. for Prince Edward County; Parker Allen; The Rev. C.E. Thomson of St. Mark’s Church Carlton West and grandson of William Ruttan.

When the Lieut.-Governor* arrived, he expressed regret at the delay that had occurred, but claimed that he was hardly responsible as the hospitality of the clergy and citizens, and afterward that of the militia had prevented him from appearing sooner. He considered it a duty for the Lieut.-Governor to show on every occasion his appreciation of the volunteer militia and acknowledge the great things they had done for Canada.

Following the address of Mr. D.W. Allison, M.P., Mr. J.J. Watson read the letters of regret from those unable to attend. He explained Sir John Macdonald’s absence by stating that he had a letter from the Premier stating that owing to ill health and press of work at home, he would be unable to attend. This concluded the afternoon proceedings.

Third and Closing Day

The main feature of to-day’s proceedings were speeches under the shade of the trees and over the graves where the U.E. Loyalists lie buried. Speakers were Dr. J.H. Sangster* of Port Perry; Mr. Wm. Anderson*, Warden of Prince Edward County; Mr. Robert Clapp of Prince Edward County. Another speaker, W.A. Reeves of Toronto was unable to attend. The people soon after began to leave the grounds, and the Adolphustown U.E. Loyalist Centennial Celebration was over.

*(See the recorded text of the addresses as displayed in the book, The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada by the United Empire Loyalists, 1784-1884).


1884 Celebrations Reference and 2009 UELAC Conference

Just as a followup on the article on the 1884 celebrations there is another available text reference that might be mentioned. The OLD UNITED EMPIRE LOYALIST LIST which was reprinted by the Genealogical Publishing Company, contains the full Rose Publishing Company issue from 1885, and might be a worthwhile library edition for any branch if they do not have it. I think it is available from Global Genealogy in Milton. Interesting to see each chapter on the Adolphustown, Toronto and Hamilton Celebrations which you plan to discuss.

Our Friday banquet will be focusing on the 1884 Adolphustown celebrations which established our UEL monument, and we will have a wreath laying ceremony there on the Saturday.

…Brian Tackaberry UE, President, Bay of Quinte Branch

A Tale of Winter Survival From the Ketcheson Family

The cold snowy winter weather this year brought to mind an article from the Ketcheson Family Book. The article was taken from the Belleville paper – many years ago – no date given and put into a scrapbook. In 1965 at the Ketcheson Family picnic, the item was duplicated and distributed at the picnic, copied as published.

In 1820, Gatrey Ketcheson, an older sister of my ancestor Matilda Ketcheson, at the age of six was lost in the woods in chill October weather for eight days before being found by a search party on the ninth day. Sent on an errand to a home some distance away, she become lost in the woods as darkness fell. Despite not being clothed for cold weather she survived, her only sustenance being wintergreens. She recalled that one night, as she lay still, an animal lay on her feet. Gatrey not only survived, but recovered and lived to the age of 84.

The school teacher at the time wrote a 16 verse poem about Gatrey’s ordeal.

Gatrey was the granddaughter of Loyalist William Ketcheson Sr. Her parents were William Ketcheson (Col) and Nancy Ann Roblin, d/o Loyalist Phillip Roblin . My 2nd great Grandmother, Matilda Ketcheson was a younger sister of Gatrey.

…Noreen Stapley UE, Col. John Butler Branch

Queenston Heights & Brock’s Monument Re-Open

Brock’s Monument at Queenston Heightswill re-open in May, 2009, after a long 4 year closure. Restoration work will be complete and The Friends of Fort George will again offer an interpretive program for the season.(May to September). School Groups and independent non-school groups and individuals who visit the site will once again have the opportunity to take guided tours of the Queenston Heights battlefield, learn more about Brock’s Monument and enjoy the spectacular view from the top.

As the bicentennial of the War of 1812 quickly approaches, The Friends of Fort George are pleased to be able to once again offer tours and stir the interest of students and the general public about this significant historic site and our Canadian hero – General Sir Isaac Brock.

Please visit www.friendsoffortgeorge.ca to learn about 2009 events and activities.

[submitted by David Ricketts UE]

Recognition of Loyalists in Periodicals

In the midst of another blast of winter, it is great to receive a reminder of the warmth generated by the 2008 Conference in Saint John. Eight pages of text and pages in the February/March issue of Our Canada will remind members of the historic charm of our host city. Just to underline our connection, the word Loyalist is used at least nine times, with a full paragraph devoted to the Loyalist House National Historic Site. It is great to see such recognition in a national magazine.

The February/March issue of The Beaver also contains some references of interest. Our Roots, the source of the digitized The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada by the United Empire Loyalists 1784-1884 I used for the 1884 Centenary series is detailed. Readers need to check out www.ourroots.ca . With the combination “United Empire Loyalist, the search engine finds 376 titles from ” 200 years of Hudgins, 1776-1976″ to the 1911 publication of ” Who’s Who in Western Canada.” In “The Long Way Home”, Nancy Loucks-McSloy tells the tale of “her great-grandmother’s brave journey from an English orphanage to a new life in Upper Canada ” and marriage to Edward Castle Loucks a descendant of United Empire Loyalists. In “Caught in the Net, Dr. Fraser Dunford, executive director of the Ontario Genealogical Society warns beginning genealogists of the dangers of the internet.

Searching for those Loyalist references in our every day activities definitely provides a more enjoyable alternative to shovelling that pile of snow left at the end of the driveway by the snowplow.


Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions are:
– Day, Barnabas by Amanda Cliff
– Grant, Isabella by Vancouver Branch
– Fraser, Simon by Vancouver Branch
– Dibblee, Polly by Audrey Fox
– Markle, Henry by Kirsten Bowman
– Green, Adam – from David Clark

Happy Birthday: Yvonne Hough Fleming, UE

Yvonne Hough Fleming, U.E. will celebrate her 99th birthday on Tuesday, 27 January 2009. She has been a member of The St. Lawrence Branch of The United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada since 1978. Her first certificate was for George Kentner ($5.00), Garton DeWitt in 1990, Henry Bush in 1992, Michael Warner, Sr. in 1994, Adam Hartle and widow of James Hough both in 1995, Martin Alguire in 2000 and Peter Service 2001.

Yvonne is a retired teacher and despite her senior moments, enjoys having visits from friends and family, and loves cards, whether they arrive in time or not. Mrs Yvonne Fleming, 53 Long Sault Drive, Room #20, Long Sault, Ont., K0C 1P0.

…Lynne Cook UE, St. Lawrence Branch