“Loyalist Trails” 2009-13: March 29, 2009

In this issue:
The Loyalists of Massachusetts: Part One — © Stephen Davidson
Loyalists Parade Through Wind and Rain and…
The Devil’s Disciple – A Melodrama by Bernard Shaw
Dr. Charles Duncombe (1791-1867)
New Jersey Resources
Addendum to Pioneer life on the Bay of Quinte article
Last Post
      + Hilda Grimwood, UE (née Aikens)
      + Mary Carol Hastings, UE (nee Orr)
      + Response re Samuel Willson: Loyalist or Not?
      + Response re Proof that Hezekiah Ingraham was a Loyalist
      + Bibles of Isaac Frazer, son of Daniel, Loyalist
      + Research Assistance for the Family History of Conrad Sills
      + Copyright and Transmission of Genealogical Source Material
      + Seeking a Copy of Building Our Pedigree, by Ida Florence Crozier


The Loyalists of Massachusetts: Part One — © Stephen Davidson

Anyone with even the smallest knowledge of the American Revolution would quickly identify Boston, Massachusetts as a hotbed of patriot sentiment. The violent Tea Party, the devoted Minute Men, and the heated opposition to King George III’s tax policies are all images that quickly come to mind. Imagine, then, what it must have been like to call oneself a Bostonian and have loyalist sympathies.

Edward Stow was in his late seventies when he stood before the loyalist compensation board in Saint John in 1787 to tell his remarkable story. He had gone to sea at nine years of age, becoming a “master and commander” before he eventually settled in Boston in 1758. From the beginning of “the troubles”, Stow “declared himself a friend to the British government” and “was very active in opposing the rioters”.

Stow’s work with the commissioners of customs permitted him to examine the cargo of ships sailing out of the city. When he discovered a ship smuggling arms and ammunition for the patriots, Stow seized the supplies “for his majesty’s use”.

Inflamed with patriot indignation, Bostonians hammered libelous posters on his door “abusing him in the grossest terms as an outrageous Tory”. When rebels tarred his “grandly furnished” three-story house and threatened his life, Stow hired two bayonet-bearing sentries to guard his home. His estate also included a store, a wharf, a chocolate house and a garden.

Stow was forced to flee to Halifax with other loyalists in the evacuation of March 1776. Although he was able to bring “his plate and some articles” when he left Boston, he had to leave his household goods and furniture behind. Stow later lived in the British stronghold of New York, and then settled along the St. John River in the summer of 1783.

While the old sea captain lost a great deal for his commitment to the king, not all Massachusetts loyalists were treated with great sympathy by the compensation board commissioners as the case of John Lovell demonstrates. Born in Boston, Lovell served General Gage as an undercover agent. The spy claimed to have gone to great personal expense to acquire papers from rebel committees –risking a hot coat of tar and feathers– and yet the British had never paid him for his efforts. Lovell’s wife died during the revolution, and he left their three children in Boston when he fled to Halifax with other loyalists. As so often happened in the bitter civil war, the revolution divided the Lovell family. During the same time that Lovell was living in Halifax as a refugee, the city jail held his son James for being a rebel.

When asked about his losses, Lovell dodged the question by saying that as long as the king and the parliament offered to negotiate for it, his property was not yet lost. But neither the Bostonian’s sad story nor his confidence in the British government failed to sway the commissioners. They discovered that Lovell had gone bankrupt in 1769, a circumstance which raised the board members’ suspicions. They bluntly asked him “whether he was worth a farthing”.

Lovell claimed to be owed £1800 by loyalist refugees in Canada, but in the end, he owed his creditors more than his property in Massachusetts and his outstanding loans were worth. The commissioners rejected the Boston loyalist’s claim, saying that he “seemed to have received more from the government than he ever lost”. If this was how the British treated their secret agents, what hope was there for a loyalist who did not take up arms for the king?

Martin Gay was the first coppersmith in Massachusetts, and a successful one at that. His annual income was £500, he had built himself a three-story brick house, owned a sloop, and had two African slaves. Other loyalists described him as “a very respectable man in his private character and connected with persons the most forward in opposing the measures of the rebels… a good citizen … equal to that of any man in America.”

When Gay left Boston to settle in Nova Scotia’s Cumberland County in March of 1776, the rebels seized his home, slaves, workshop and stock. Mrs. Gay stayed behind in Boston where the courts allowed her to hold onto a third of her husband’s property. (If she joined her husband, the Gays would have lost all that the family still owned in Massachusetts.) As it turned out, Mrs. Gay would not see her husband for another 8 years.

The only battle to be fought in Nova Scotia during the War of Independence occurred in Cumberland County. However, Gay was not there in November of 1776 when rebels failed to take the British outpost near modern-day Amherst, Nova Scotia. Gay’s continued loyalty to the crown was apparent in that he used his sloop to transport provisions to the British garrison in Boston from Cumberland County’s farmlands. American privateers eventually captured The Polly.

Those who heard Gay’s case were puzzled. In 1784, a year after the war was over, the coppersmith returned to Boston where he was reunited with his wife and two children. He stayed there until he made his appearance before the compensation board in Halifax in 1786. Gay said that he had no thought of remaining in the United States and “looked upon Cumberland as his place of residence”. It was his intention to be an inhabitant of Nova Scotia under the British government.

His friends gave testimony that he had only returned to Boston to settle his financial matters. One witness said he thought that Mrs. Gay did not want to leave the city. In the end, the Gay family settled in Nova Scotia where about two-dozen other loyalist families established their homesteads.

The American Revolution was devastating for anyone with loyalist principles, especially for those who were the most powerless in 18th century society. Next week, we will consider the stories of two loyalist widows of Massachusetts.

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

Loyalists Parade Through Wind and Rain and…

Loyalist heritage is not only celebrated in the cold month of February. Both the Vancouver and Heritage Branches take advantage of local St. Patrick‘s Day parades to draw attention to their involvement in the community. Robert C. Wilkins, President of the Heritage Branch, had hoped that a “one-week postponement will permit the event to be held in temperatures a little more clement than some of the sub-Arctic ones in which we have had to parade in years past.” Inclement weather does not bother Adrian Willison who drives the float as much as it does the hardy Loyalists on board. (See pictures.)

Judging by the pictures, Vancouver perhaps should also think of a later date. Linda Nygard commented that the “weather was not a hit……rain, sleet and snow…By the time we started the parade; we were almost frozen, but being descendants of such brave loyalist, we succeeded with a great showing. Thank God, we were near the front of the parade right behind our favourite neighbours, the 78th Fraser Highlanders. Definitely, the sound of the pipes warmed our hearts.”

Vancouver Branch President, Wendy Cosby, added “My hats off to the Education and Outreach team of Grace Anderson and Linda Drake for all the hard work they put into making sashes for the St. Patrick’s Day parade this week. And look where it got us, in the online Province newspaper this morning with Jacklyn Kolber and Madleine Gaul dressed in period clothing! (See story.) We were mentioned in the hard copy of The Province newspaper as well. Irish have fun, weather or not! The United Empire Loyalists’ period costumes were authentic and more weather-friendly…” (See pictures.)

Congratulations to those plucky Loyalist descendants and Branch supporters for the fine impression they made. As one Vancouverite said as the snowflakes fell toward the end of the parade, “this is nothing compared to what our Loyalist ancestors did, walking all the way from New Jersey in the snow!”


The Devil’s Disciple – A Melodrama by Bernard Shaw

“I knew from the first that the devil was my natural master and captain and friend.” – Dick Dudgeon

Set during the American War of Independence in a New Hampshire town, this is Bernard Shaw’s only full-length play set in America. In it, he takes all of the essential elements of a standard melodrama, and the notion of the ‘romantic hero’ in the form of Dick Dudgeon, and turns them inside out.

Shaw sets the political scene: “The year 1777 is the one in which the passions roused by the breaking-off of the American colonies from England, more by their own weight than by their own will, boiled up to shooting point, the shooting being idealized to the English mind as suppression of rebellion and maintenance of British dominion, and to the American as defence of liberty, resistance to tyranny, and self-sacrifice on the altar of the Rights of Man…suffice it to say, without prejudice, that they have convinced both Americans and English that the most high-minded course for them to pursue is to kill as many of one another as possible…”

The play opens on a wintery night as Mrs Dudgeon waits to hear news about her husband. His brother was hung as a rebel and he had fallen ill on the journey to see him. Her son Christy brings news that her husband has died. When the minister, Anthony Anderson, arrives to bring the news of Mr Dudgeon’s will he brings even more distressing news. Her other son, Richard (Dick) Dudgeon, had also attended his uncle’s hanging. The minister announces that a new will had been written and all of her husband’s money has been willed to Dick Dudgeon – the black sheep of the family, known as the devil’s disciple.

The final act of the play centres on the trial of Dick Dudgeon, where the play’s sense of humour kicks into high gear. We’re introduced to one of Shaw’s funniest characters – General John Burgoyne and he and Dick wage a war of wits where Dick’s motives are questioned. Is he a hero? A martyr? Why did Dudgeon, who seems to revere nothing outside of his own instincts, give himself up? Was it for love, country, duty?

Directed by Polish director, Tadeusz Bradecki. Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-The-Lake. Play runs 14 June – Oct 11. Click here for more details. If you are from a distance, catch it after conference at Bay of Quinte.

…Carl Stymiest UE, Senior Vice President, UELAC

Dr. Charles Duncombe (1791-1867)

Who is Dr. Charles Duncombe ? As far as our present research goes, he is not descended from a Loyalist. However, at least one brother, Dr. David Duncome, married into the Loyalist Nelles family. While Dr. Charles Duncome is credited with the development of the first medical school with Dr. John Rolph, the Talbot Dispensatory, he is perhaps better known for his participation in Upper Canada’s Rebellion of 1837. This spring, his story is told in an upcoming production by the Living History Theatre. Its web site will give further biographical information as well as links to purchase tickets for one of the presentations to be held in Western Ontario and Michigan.

Like many of my discoveries, this has a very intriguing trail. The website information was sent to me by Gloria Oakes, Membership Chair for Hamilton Branch. She had received it from her friend and former UELAC Public Relations Chair, Doris Lemon whose neighbour Duncombe Ball moved into her Luther Village last year. His son. Michael Ball, is the president of the Toronto Branch of Ontario Genealogical Society which will be hosting the 2010 OGS Conference. It appears that Michael started the whole chain of communication. It also turns out that Doris Lemon and Sue Hines, Councillor for the Central West Region, can claim that their gggg uncle was the jailer in London at the time of the rebellion and saw to the execution of six prisoners. Exploring the political activities of the second and third generations of our Loyalist ancestors can definitely enrich our history.


New Jersey Resources

As to further Loyalist research sources, I found out that the New Jersey State Archives has a name index to the old colonial land records. In their on-line catalogue, I was able to locate the correct book for a deed to my Loyalist ancestor Adam Green and John Moore, Amos Pettit and Stewart Archibald, of a lot on Jenny Jump Mountain c. 1754. A copy of the deed has been ordered which with mailing to Canada totalled $7 USD (about $14 CDN using a postal money order).

For revolutionary war maps on a CD or paper prints of maps of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania – have a look here. The paper prints come in three sizes (13×18, 18×23, 23×32) for $14, $19 and $28 USD with shipping in a tube starting at $5 USD and up. Having a 1780 map of New Jersey showing the towns, counties boundaries and geomorphology helps immensely with understanding what was going on and where my Loyalist ancestors were moving. The maps are in the public domain so they can be extracted and used without royalty or consent according to the website. The CD is, however, copyrighted.

…Dave Clark

Addendum to Pioneer life on the Bay of Quinte article

In case folks don’t know it, this volume is available in its entirety online at ourroots.ca. By the way, there are many other volumes on that site which are of interest to researchers. It’s a good resource. Another is the Internet Archive.

…Gerald Britton

Last Post

Hilda Grimwood, UE (née Aikens)

Hilda Evelyn Gertrude Grimwood UE passed away peacefully at Locust Hill, her home in Ancaster, in her 95th year, on March 21, 2009. A long-time member of the Hamilton Branch UELAC, Hilda had served as a Branch Councillor 1985 -89 and Branch Genealogist 1990 – 2000. Years earlier, in 1975, she had proven her lineage to Samuel Aikens UEL. A life-long resident of the township of Ancaster, where members of her family settled in 1806, Hilda also served as an executive member of the Ancaster Township Historical Society. She was a member of the former Zion Hill United Church and an adherent of Central Presbyterian Church, Hamilton. A prolific reader, she was also known to her friends as an active gardener and quilter.

The mother of Paul of Jerseyville, and Donald and his wife Joie of Inglewood, Hilda was the wife of the late Edward Bradfield Grimwood, and daughter of the late William John Aikens and Sarah Etta Smith. She was equally a proud grandmother of Shayna Grimwood and David Jones & Lauren McDowell as well as the great-grandmother of Avery McDowell-Jones.

The funeral service was held March 25, with interment at Zion Hill Cemetery in Summit. If desired, memorial donations may be made to Central Presbyterian Church Organ Fund in Hamilton. (www.canadahelps.com)


Mary Carol Hastings, UE (nee Orr)

Beloved wife and constant companion of Lionel, passed away peacefully at the age of 85 on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at the Regina General Hospital. Mary was born in Toronto, ON. A graduate of Victoria College, U of T (home economics) in 1948, Mary met Lionel while at school, married in 1951 and moved to Thunder Bay, ON. She was a kind, gentle and most gracious lady, who held a deep seated loyalty to her husband, family and friends. In 1972, the family moved to Regina, SK where she continued to be active with her church, her heritage as a United Empire Loyalist (U.E.) and many other volunteer activities. Mary was predeceased by her daughter, Nancy Jane Hastings; infant brother, Billy; brothers, Jack Orr and Douglas Orr and sister, Dorothy Quinn. Mary will be lovingly remembered by her husband, Dr. Lionel Hastings; sons, Edward Ted (Michele) Hastings of Regina and Dr. David (Mary) Hastings of Saskatoon and son in law, Ian Muggridge of Toronto and cherished by her grandchildren, Darren, Kevin, Tymon, Asher, Edward, Daisy and Rose. A Memorial Service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at All Saints Anglican Church, 142 Massey Rd., Regina, SK.

Mary was a long time member of the Regina Branch UELAC, being there since its inception in 1984 and was a faithful supporter of all Branch activities while her health permitted. She was a former Secretary of the Branch and was instrumental is getting a flowerbed of red geraniums planted at Government House, Regina.

…Gerry and Pat Adair, Regina Branch


Response re Samuel Willson: Loyalist or Not?

The story on Samuel Willson brought in several e-mails one of which gave more specific details of the disastrous 1777 recruiting expedition of James Moody. In the 1777 recruiting expedition mentioned in my short article on Samuel Willson, a follow-up e-mailer detailed that there were 125 men on the expedition not the 100 in my source, but James Moody and eight others did escape to Staten Island, and a few men returned home while many others were killed or captured. So some of the details match my source while others are at variance to the 1910 article I based my story on. As usual the Loyalist Trails has opened more doors for research for me.

Another gave me the name of a recently published biography of James Moody and details his adventures – “So Obstinately Loyal, James Moody, 1744 – 1809” by Susan Shenstone, published by McGill-Queens University Press. 392 pages with illustrations and maps. Cost is $33 CDN. It can be ordered over their website. Search under “S” in the author’s category for the details.

…Dave Clark

Response re Proof that Hezekiah Ingraham was a Loyalist

I wish to thank Lew Perry for his response to my query in Loyalist Trails concerning two NS Loyalists, Josiah Hart and Hezekiah Ingraham. His response has opened up new avenues of approach in search for proof of loyalty of two Nova Scotia men we believe to be Loyalists. For Out-of-Province researchers it is often difficult to acccess Provincial records or even to know where to seek them out. While many records are now on the internet, they are not always easy to manipulate our way through and some are more user-friendly then others. Lew’s answer has given us an insight to the early settlement of Guysborough County NS which early Loyalists founded, and books of possible interest. His answer also in part connects with the “family legend” of the applicants that all together is welcome help to our search and answer to our query.

The two books of interest offered as sources of Loyalist information in Nova Scotia are as follow and I am searching for them, with a view to purchasing them:

The Loyalist Guide, Nova Scotia Loyalists and their Descendants by Jean Peterson, first published by the Public Archives of Nova Scotia in 1982 and that now is out of print.

A History of the Hart Family, Cape Breton Island, Margaree Centre, 1961, by John Hart.

…Joan Lucas, UE {jflucas AT sympatico DOT ca}

Bibles of Isaac Frazer, son of Daniel, Loyalist

I am a descendant of Daniel Fraser UE through his son, Isaac Fraser, and his grandaughter, Nancy Storring Fraser. They settled in Ernestown, Lennox & Addington County, Ontario. The relationship I’ve been trying to prove for quite a few years is the one between Isaac and his daughter, Nancy. I couldn’t find her baptismal or death records. I have her marriage to David Aylesworth in 1825. No parents. The really frustrating part was the fact that Daniel Fraser’s signature as a JP is all over the last few petitions I’ve found for other ancestors of mine. The finding of Isaac Fraser’s will was a lucky accident.

I was trying to prove another ancestor and needed the will of William Rogers UE. I found the will indexes online and ordered the film GS1, Reel 1224, which contained copies of early wills filed in Frontenac County, R through Z. I found William Rogers’ will on this film but what was most amazing was the information contained at the end. After the Z’s there were probate files, apparently not in any order. One of them was the will and probate of “my” Isaac Fraser, who died 1 June 1858, with enough information in it for me to infer that the Nancy Fraser who married David Aylesworth, is the same Nancy Fraser, daughter of Isaac, grandaughter of Daniel. It was a pretty exciting moment. When I was reading it I was almost afraid to go to the next page in case her name wasn’t there.

My query is as follows: In Isaac’s will he leaves the family bible to his son, Charles Fraser, and his cottage bible in two volumes to his daughter, Sarah Brown. Do these bibles still exist out there and are there copies of any family information from them? Births, marriages and deaths etc. I don’t need this information to file my application for a certificate through Daniel Fraser, I’d just like it to flesh out the information I already have on the family. Additional sources are always welcomed, especially bibles. Thanks for any help and guidance.

…Catherine Fryer UE {cfryer AT shaw DOT ca}

Research Assistance for the Family History of Conrad Sills

I would like to have more research done to add to the family tree. We do have quite a bit of data already. Many of the family members are buried in the cemetery at Sillsville, Lennox & Addington County, Ontario by the Bay of Quinte.

1. Conrad Sills (Butler’s Rangers) b 1738 d 1816 (Emigrated from Germany to Susquehanna), m. Anna Maria Emigh (Amey) dau of Father Lawrence Emigh

2. Reverend George Sills (KRRNY) b 1773 (New York) d 1860 m 1819 Margaret Bell dau of William Bell Sr UE

3. Reverend John Sills b 1797 d 12/21/1851 m Elizabeth Wright d 6/23/1855

4. George Elisha Sills b 11/26/1818 Died young in threshing accident in Sillsville m Mary Atkins Embury UE b 1830 d Chicago, Illinois 1941

5. William Henry Sills b 1836 d 1922 Came to Chicago, Il with his mother m Josephine Antoinette Troost d 1943

6. Clarence William Sills, Sr m Ruth Hartwell b 12/8/1886 d 1986

7. William Henry Sills II b 12/6/1914 d 8/12/1956 m 1934 Mary Dorothy Trude b 1912 d 1972

8. William Henry Sills III *** ME

My brother, John Michael, his family, my son, William Henry IV and I attended the Colonel John Butler Sesquicentennial memorial. My brother, Michael, lives in Syracuse but I live in Eastport, Idaho. I leave the frigid frozen wastes of farthest North Idaho every weekday morning to have breakfast in sunny, tropical Kingsgate, BC.

I would appreciate any contacts, and would like to hire a researcher if anyone could make a recommendation for me.

…William Sills III {whs3 AT yahoo DOT com}

Copyright and Transmission of Genealogical Source Material

I have a question regarding copyright law that affects transmission of genealogical source material from the US state of Delaware to the Canadian province of Ontario. I have an ancestor whose brothers, father, and other relatives were Loyalists. At least the brothers and their grandmother’s second husband relocated to NB or NS.

I would like to send a cousin in Ontario scanned or photographed material on a disk. So far, he has send me Word & Word Perfect documents, but I would like to send photographs/scans of pages of books, copies of wills, and other sources which I obtained in Pennsylvania from state and historical society archives. Some of these may be out of copyright, and I’m pretty sure about wills from the 18th century being public domain, but I’d like some guidance if anyone else has had similar issues.

Can anyone help me sort out any copyright and legal ramifications.

…Michael Gallagher {arbregen AT gmail DOT com}

Seeking a Copy of Building Our Pedigree, by Ida Florence Crozier

I would like to find an original copy of “Building Our Pedigree” by Ida Florence Crozier to buy for my genealogical book collection. Would anyone with a copy for sale please email me.

…Dave Clark {landmenbc1 AT shaw DOT ca}