“Loyalist Trails” 2009-25: June 21, 2009

In this issue:
A Loyalist Constable in Africa — © Stephen Davidson
Elizabeth Cline: A Sketch of Her Families
Loyalist Day “Junteenth” Celebrated in Texas
2010 Mohawk Valley Bus Trip in Memory of Doris Ferguson
The Canadian History Report Card by the Dominion Institute
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Searching for UEL history – Rankin/Campbell/Saxton


A Loyalist Constable in Africa — © Stephen Davidson

Richard Corankapone was one of the constables who maintained law and order in Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1801. It was his duty to see that the warriors of the Temne tribe did not succeed in their violent attack on the governor’s mansion. Struck down during the battle, Corankapone’s sacrifice was the last grand gesture in a life full of risk, initiative, and determination.

As Corankapone’s remains were lowered into the soil of the west African colony a few days later, very few of the mourners at his funeral could have appreciated all that their town’s constable had endured. This founder of Sierra Leone had begun life as a slave in New Jersey where he was known as Richard Wheeler.

Corankapone’s character as a man of vision and determination was evident early in his life. At 23 years of age, he earned enough money to buy his freedom in the same year that the United States made its own Declaration of Independence. Corankapone could have joined with the patriot side or — like about a third of the American colonists– remained neutral during the Revolution. Corankapone chose the loyalist side, serving the crown for seven years.

In 1783, Corankapone sailed for New Brunswick with thousands of other loyal refugees. When the black loyalists met with unfair treatment, they turned to Richard Corankapone to petition the colonial government for enough land to sustain them. What future destiny this determined African might have had in the history of New Brunswick can only be a matter of speculation. The rest of Corankapone’s story was to unfold far from the grant of land he had been given along the St. John River Valley.

News from England in 1791 prompted Corankapone and his fellow black loyalists to pack up their worldly goods and sail for Halifax. From there they would join other African settlers in Nova Scotia to journey eastward to Sierra Leone. British abolitionists offered the African refugees a unique solution to their unjust treatment — the opportunity to found a free, Christian colony on the shores of west Africa. Prevented from boarding the ships in Saint John in late November, Corankapone and four friends walked overland to Halifax.

The fact that the word “impossible” did not seem to exist for the black farmer from the St. John River Valley had already bought him his freedom from slavery and his victory over injustice — now it would prepare him to found a new British colony in Africa. On Sunday, January 15, 1792, Richard Corankapone and 1190 other Africans set sail from Halifax in fifteen ships bound for Sierra Leone. After a two month journey that included violent storms, fatal diseases, and near encounters with slave ships, the amazing exodus of black loyalists came to an end with the sighting of the “lion mountains”.

What was not apparent from sea was how little had been done to prepare for the arrival of the free settlers. The promised fortifications had not been built; the land had not been cleared or surveyed. Still in need of a governor for the colony, the Sierra Leone Company appointed Corankapone’s new friend, Lt. John Clarkson. The 28 year-old abolitionist had been looking forward to immediately returning to England, but felt responsible for the black loyalists.

The lack of proper preparation was nothing new to the black loyalists; it had been the same when they arrived on the shores of Nova Scotia in 1783. The fact that men such as Corankapone had many experiences with petitioning local governments to receive justice would be a very important asset for the fledgling loyalist community. By December, Corankapone’s name was on a petition to the directors of the Sierra Leone Company, asking that it allow Lt. Clarkson to continue as the colony’s governor. However, the abolitionist was recalled to England, never to see his black loyalist friends again. Corankapone kept in touch with Clarkson, confiding in a letter that “the Body of the Colleny is Bent for your honer to Com and Be our governor.”

Clarkson did not forget his friends in Freetown. In 1793 he made a point of trying to fulfill a request Richard Corankapone made to him — to find the British army officers who had assisted Corankapone during the Revolution. The success of this quest is unknown.

Corankapone’s leadership qualities were obviously recognized by those in authority as well as by his peers. During the terms of the next two governors appointed over Sierra Leone, he served as both a marshall and a constable.

In 1800, a rebellion rose up against Governor Ludlam. Corankapone and a fellow marshall named Edmonds went to arrest the rebel leaders. Some witnesses said that the marshalls found unarmed rebels in a house and immediately began to fire on them, forcing the leaders to defend themselves with fence rails. Corankapone said that the rebels attacked them with clubs, knocking out Edmonds, compelling him to fire upon their assailants.

The rebellion culminated in a battle between the rebels and those loyal to the governor. As he had in 1776, Corankapone fought for the governing authority of the day, serving with the loyalist forces. The latter were joined by the crew of the Asia, a supply ship from England which had only just arrived in Freetown. Thirty-three rebels were banished; two were hanged.

A year later Governor Ludlam faced attacks from members of the Temne tribe who had initially welcomed the black loyalist settlers in 1792. Richard Corankapone once again put himself between armed attackers and the recognized government, but he did not survive the battle.

In less than a decade after the arrival of the black loyalists in Sierra Leone, one of their most capable leaders was dead. Corankapone’s loyalty in North America led to his relocation to New Brunswick. His loyalty in Sierra Leone secured the peace for a struggling colony. The 48 year-old grandfather’s life ended as it had been lived — with determination and dedication.

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

Elizabeth Cline: A Sketch of Her Families

John and Elizabeth Cline migrated from Germany and resettled at New Petersborough N.Y. in 1765 where they raised their family, cleared and worked their 100 acre farm. After ten years there and growing instability, they moved for reasons of safety to the fertile fields of German Flatts. Here they completed their family of six daughters, the last being born in 1778.

When the revolution began to swirl around them, John Cline, being infirm, was unable to bear arms; he would not go to fight against the King. He was loyal and for his beliefs was killed and scalped by the Indians.

Soon after his death, his widow, with her father John Lang and her daughters moved to Canada, settling in at Carleton Island. They left farm and possessions behind, taking only what they could carry.

Here Elizabeth Cline struggled to provide for her family. However, in November 1779, Hessians who had been refusing to work on the fortifications at Niagara were transferred to Carleton Island.

Elizabeth Cline met and married John Nicholas Weitzel and the couple started a new family in 1781 and were in Cataraqui (Kingston) by 1783. She was thus a founding family at Kingston before the influx of Loyalists in 1784.

Weitzel would return to Sorel, Quebec for his official discharge in 1783 and when he returned to Kingston he traveled with a fellow Hessian, John Gottlieb Loede. The trip from Sorel by bateaux would include about thirty portages and take about three weeks.

Loede soon married daughter Mary Cline and started a family with the birth of a son in 1784 in Kingston.

John and Mary Loede were both eligible for free land grants, he for his war services and she as DUE. They settled on their land grants in Leeds Township being the first settlers in that area.

First hand accounts by the family are available and describe the dense wilderness in every direction, with only blazed tracks through the woods. There were only two other houses between Gananoque and Kingston; one of them was Mr. Franklin’s, 13 miles to the west.The only house east of Gananoque for 14 miles was a small shanty at the mouth of Legge’s Creek occupied by a man named McGowan.

Gananoque contained one small log house and a better one occupied by Col. Stone whose arrival was after that of Loede. Stone built a saw and grist mill on the west side of the Gananoque River.

Before the grist mill was built, Loede had to get his grinding done at Larue’s mill down near Escott. The round trip might take a week as the mill was slow to grind and easily put out of repair.

Indians were a terror to the settlers, but mostly on account of their reputation. On one occasion, five aborigines entered the Loede house and demanded food which could not be given them without depriving the family of all they had. The Indians proceeded to help themselves where upon Mary Loede, whose father had been scalped by Indians, grasped a large iron poker and laid about them so lustily as to soon drive the intruders out of the house, which was barred and defended with guns.

Nicholas Weitzel died in 1796 and Elizabeth Cline moved to Stormont County where there were friends and family from the Mohawk Valley.

Such were the perils of the early Loyalist pioneers.

…Don Brearley

Loyalist Day “Junteenth” Celebrated in Texas

Jacob van Allen, formerly van Alen, was from the Mohawk Valley, in Tryon county of the colony of New York. He came to Canada in 1780 having served in Sir John Johnson’s 1st Battalion. He later appeared on the 1783 roster of Captain Samuel Anderson’s Light Company, King’s Royal Regimant of New York, 1783.

Jacob subsequently settled in Matilda twp., Dundas Co.

Jacob was my Great-great-great-grandfather. My grandfather W.J. Frank van Allen, D.D.S. was born in Canada but immigrated to Camden NY in the late 1800s. I have many Canadian cousins in the Kemptville, Toronto, and Vancouver areas.

In doing family research I became more familiar with and interested in the United Empire Loyalists. One result has been my purchasing a “George III Flag” which I proudly display here in Austin, Texas on June 19th – see photo.

Note that June 19th in Texas is celebrated as “Junteenth.”

…W. M. Dirk van Allen, CDR, USN, (ret)

2010 Mohawk Valley Bus Trip in Memory of Doris Ferguson

Sir John Johnson was a Loyalist who left the Mohawk Valley with his Scottish retainers during the American Revolution to come to Canada. Here Sir John Johnson founded and commanded the King’s Royal Regiment of New York. This Loyalist Regiment conducted several successful raids into the Mohawk Valley. The First Battalion of the Yorkers settled in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. Sir John later founded New Johnstown (Cornwall, ON) and built this manor house at Williamstown, Ontario. Today the Sir John Johnson Manor House Committee is preserving this historic site.

Doris Ferguson was a descendant of Sir John Johnson. She was a pillar of the Sir John Johnson Manor House Committee and St. Lawrence Branch of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada. This trip is in memory of Doris Ferguson.

The Manor House Committee is planning this four-day historic trip to the Mohawk Valley from September 26 to 29, 2010 to visit and learn about historic sites pertaining to Sir John Johnson and the Loyalists. The trip purpose is to raise funds to help preserve the Manor House. Edward and Elizabeth Kipp and George and Janet Anderson are leading this tour. They have previously conducted over ten successful historic trips to the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys.

The bus will leave from the Manor House at Williamstown and travel east along 401 and the South Shore near Montreal, Quebec. From there it will visit historic sites pertaining to Sir John Johnson in Quebec before heading south to Lake George and the Mohawk Valley to visit historic sites in the Mohawk Valley. The return trip will be via Interstate Route 81, the Ivy Lea Bridge and Highway 401 to Williamstown. Free parking is available at the Manor House in Williamstown.

The trip is open to friends of the Sir John Johnson Manor House Committee, Loyalists and the general public. The number of people is limited to 56 people. This four-day trip will cost $460.00 in Canadian Funds per person based on sharing double accommodation. Single accommodation will cost $600.00. This fee will include transportation, hotels, and admission to each site. Meals and health insurance are not included. Participants should have their own health insurance and must have a valid Canadian passport.

You can register now by making a $200.00 ($300.00) non refundable deposit. The balance of $260.00 ($300.00) will be payable by July 1, 2010. Cheques should be made payable to the Sir John Johnson Manor House Committee. To register or for more information, please use the following contact details:

Wendy and Les Wert
P.O. Box 123
Williamstown, ON
K0C 2J0

(613) 347-3098
{les_wert AT sympatico DOT ca}

[submitted by George Anderson]

The Canadian History Report Card by the Dominion Institute

The Dominion Institute recently undertook a Curriculum Analysis of High Schools in Canada. They assigned each province and territory a grade based on the quality of its Canadian history curriculum at the high school level (grades 9-12). The results are troubling. They found that:

– Four provinces failed and deserve the “F” they received.

– No province received an “A.”

– Only four provinces–Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia–require Canadian history as a mandatory course in high school. The others do not.

– Most provinces simply offer courses in “social studies”, catch-all courses which generally ignore Canadian history (with the notable exception of British Columbia).

Find out more: Read the Report – the full results for your province or territory.

Take action now: Sign our petition and demand better history education in high school.

In the report, read the seven recommendations to improve Canadian history curricula across the country. We think every province and territory should require students to take not one, but two courses in Canadian history to graduate.

Canadian students deserve better!

[submitted by Sue Hines]

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
– Butler, Ephraim and Peter – from Tom Moffatt
– Holland, William – from Tom Moffatt
– Murdoff, George Sr. – additional information from Marg Hall
– Lake, Nicholas – from Marg Hall
– Robins, John – from Lynne Charles
– Robins, Richard – from Lynne Charles, with certificate application
– Bates, William – from David Clark


Searching for UEL history – Rankin/Campbell/Saxton

I am studying the history of Dr. Allan Coats Rankin, first Dean of Medicine at the University of Alberta. He was aware and proud of his UEL history that descended from his mother’s side. I am trying to learn as much as I can on this history and would be interested in any comments that readers may have. This is what I know:

Archibald Campbell (1753-1818) married Charlotte Saxton (1762-1830) at a military establishment in New York while fleeing the US after the American Revolution. With them were Charlotte’s father Captain John Quelch Saxton (1733-1809) and Charlotte’s sister Harriet. The Saxton’s had emigrated from England and were living on the Delaware River until they decided to leave for Canada. They left Boston where 3-4,000 other Loyalists had gathered and sailed for Shelburne (NS). They eventually moved to Sillery (Quebec) where the family became active in the timber business.

One of their descendants, Judge Jonathan Saxton Campbell Wurtele (Dr. Rankin’s uncle) was the first President of the United Empire Loyalists Association of the Province of Quebec, formed on May 1st, 1895.

Anyone with information on this family can contact me by email. As he lived in Edmonton for much of his life, there may be records in that province as well as Quebec or Nova Scotia.

…Hugh Whitney {whitney AT nf DOT sympatico DOT ca}