“Loyalist Trails” 2009-43: October 25, 2009

In this issue:
The Most Honest of All Loyalists — © Stephen Davidson
“Thanksgiving: The Thunderers”: A Native Loyalist’s View
Silas Raymond (1748 – 1824) – Fifth Generation in America: Part IX – © 2009 George McNeillie
Sir John Johnson Manor House Committee “2010 Mohawk Valley Bus Trip” Update
      + Words to “A Canadian School Song”


The Most Honest of All Loyalists — © Stephen Davidson

Despite the fact that the patriots of the American Revolution considered every loyalist a traitor to a divine cause, the rebels of Massachusetts could not help but admire one loyalist farmer. Richard Jackson was a paragon of honesty; a virtue which saved him from execution in the midst of the war.

The Rev. Timothy Dwight, who recorded Jackson’s amazing story, was a Congregationalist chaplain in the Continental Army when he wrote an article about a Massachusetts loyalist in 1778. Dwight would later go on to become a leading theologian and educator in the new American Republic. He was the author of a popular war-time hymn (Columbia, Columbia, to Glory Arise) and later wrote an epic poem, The Conquest of Canaan. In 1795 he became the president of Yale College. Here, word for word, is the piece Dwight wrote about Richard Jackson titled A Conscientious Traitor. It is a marvellous story and proves that in the midst of a conflict as divisive as the American Revolution, even enemies will always admire a good man.

A Conscientious Traitor

Among the prisoners taken by the Americans at the battle of Hoosac, was an inhabitant of Hancock in the County of Berkshire – a plain farmer, named Richard Jackson. This man had conscientiously taken the British side in the Revolutionary contest, and felt himself bound to seize the earliest opportunity of employing himself in the service of his sovereign.

Hearing that Colonel Baum was advancing with a body of troops toward Bennington, he rose early, saddled his horse, and rode to Hoosac, intending to attach himself to this corps. Here he was taken in such circumstances as proved his intention beyond every reasonable doubt. He was besides too honest to deny it. Accordingly, he was transmitted to Great Barrington, then the shire-town of Berkshire, and placed in the hands of General Fellows, High-Sheriff of the County, who immediately confined him in the County jail.

This building was at that time so infirm, that without a guard no prisoner could be kept in it who wished to make his escape. To escape, however, was not according to Richard’s idea of right; and he thought no more about making an attempt of this nature, than he would have done had he been in his own house.

After he had lain quietly in jail a few days, he told the Sheriff that he was losing his time and earning nothing, and wished that he would permit him to go out and work in the daytime, promising to return regularly at evening to his quarters in the prison. The Sheriff had become acquainted with his character, and readily acceded to his proposal. Accordingly, Richard went out regularly during the remaining part of the autumn, and the following winter and spring, until the beginning of May; and every night returned at the proper hour to the jail. In this manner he performed a day’s work every day, with scarcely any exception beside the Sabbath, through the whole period.

In the month of May, he was to be tried for high treason. The Sheriff accordingly made preparations to conduct him to Springfield, where his trial was to be held. But he told the Sheriff that it was not worth his while to take this trouble, for he could just as well go alone; and it would save both the expense and inconvenience of the Sheriff’s journey. The Sheriff, after a little reflection, assented to his proposal; and Richard commenced his journey – the only one, it is believed, which was ever undertaken in the same manner for the same object.

In the woods of Tyringham, he was overtaken by the Honorable T. Edwards, from whom I had this story. “Whither are you going?” said Mr. Edwards. “To Springfield, sir,” answered Richard, “to be tried for my life.” Accordingly, he proceeded directly to Springfield, was tried, found guilty, and condemned to die.

The Council of Massachusetts was, at this time, the supreme executive of the State. Application was made to this Board for a pardon. The facts were stated, the evidence by which they were supported, and the sentence grounded on them. The question was then put by the President, “Shall a pardon be granted to Richard Jackson?”

The gentleman who first spoke observed that the case was perfectly clear; the act alleged against Jackson was unquestionably high-treason; and the proof was complete. If a pardon should be granted in this case, he saw no reason why it should not be granted in every other. In the same manner answered those who followed him.

When it came to the turn of Mr. Edwards, he told this story with those little circumstances of particularity, which, though they are easily lost from the memory and have escaped mine, give light and shade a living reality, and a picturesque impressiveness to every tale which is fitted to enforce conviction, or to touch the heart. At the same time he recited it without enhancement, without expatiating, without any attempt to be pathetic. As is always the case, this simplicity gave the narration its full force.

The Council began to hesitate. One of the members at length observed, “Certainly such a man as this ought not be sent to the gallows.” To his opinion the members unanimously assented. A pardon was immediately made out and transmitted to Springfield, and Richard returned to his family.

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

“Thanksgiving: The Thunderers”: A Native Loyalist’s View

“The Thunderers

Now we turn to the west where our grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life. We are thankful that they keep those evil things made by Okwiseres underground. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunderers.

Now our minds are one.”

Long before the storm hits, we hear the deep voices of the Thunderers, warning us to seek cover before the impending deluge. Children often cower in fear by these voices but many adults breathe a sigh of relief that rain is on the way. To a forest-fire prone area, these Thunderers could be the sweetest sound but to a mariner far from port, these voices could be an ominous omen of things to come. Our ancestors listened carefully for these sounds, alerting them of weather changes long before meteorological updates were available. Today, some ignore the messages of the Thunderers while others are reminded of the innate connection of humankind to their natural world. Either way, they cannot be silenced and we need to heed their warnings and teachings.

…David Kanowakeron Hill Morrison UE

Silas Raymond (1748 – 1824) – Fifth Generation in America: Part IX – © 2009 George McNeillie

[Part 1Part II,   Part IIIPart IVPart V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII]

When the “Union” arrived at St. John with the first of the Loyalists on May 11th, no adequate preparations had been made for landing at the “Upper leave” – (the present Market Slip) – and several days seem to have been required to clear away the scrub, pitch the tents, erect hurricane houses of sails and various other kinds of shelter. There was probably little attempt at disembarkation until a week had lapsed. Indeed it is not certain that there was any simultaneous or spectacular act of landing.

The facilities were then probably of the rudest sort, and the task would take time. Walter Bates speaks of the humanity of good Captain Wilson in permitting the people to remain on board the “Union” until some of their number could explore for a suitable place of settlement. In the case of other ships the passengers were “precipitated on shore.” This would seem to indicate that there was no uniform plan of disembarkation.

Tradition in the Raymond family has it that the women in the “Union” were anxious to attend to the family washing, and that by the favour of the Captain they were rowed ashore at the foot of Fort Howe hill, where there was an excellent spring – most later used for brewery purposes. Here these enterprising dames for the first time hung out their washing in “Blue-nose-land.”

When the exploring party returned from their tour up the river , they found Captain Wilson impatient to get his passengers speedily ashore in order to return with his vessel immediately to New York. By Sunday the 18th day of May the general disembarkation might be considered completed , and this day has ever since been annually observed as the anniversary of “The Landing of the Loyalists.”

The majority of those named in the manifest of the “Union” were Connecticut farmers and the contrast between the rugged rocks of Saint John and their former fruitful fields must have been rather disheartening. It need not therefore be a matter of surprise that it was unanimously decided to proceed at once to the place in Bellisle Bay which had been recommended by David Pickett, Israel Hoyt, Silas Raymond and others of the exploring committee as their home.

It was a long and wearisome day in the little sloop up the river from Indiantown to Kingston Creek, and weary mothers, whose little children were crowded together in the small vessel, felt their spirits sink as the darkness fell in the lonely woods of Kingston Creek. There is a note of pathos in the simple words of Walter Bates – “Nothing but wilderness before my eyes, the women and children did not refrain from tears.”

The little sloop was so uncomfortably crowded that there was scarcely room for all, and so three young bachelors of the party, Walter Bates, John Marvin and John Lyon, Jr., went ashore, pitched a tent in the bushes and slept in it all night. The first campers in Kingston! In the morning a place for a temporary encampment was selected on the banks of the creek – then known as “Portage Cove”. As soon as the baggage was landed the sloop returned to St. John and the people were left to begin life in the woods. Their possessions were few, for many of their number, like our ancestors the Raymonds, had lost almost everything in the war.

Excerpt from Book of Family History written by The Ven. William Odber Raymond, LL.D, FRSC. © 2009 George McNeillie – all rights reserved [published here with permission; see footnote]

…George McNeillie {ggm3rd AT sympatico DOT ca}

Sir John Johnson Manor House Committee “2010 Mohawk Valley Bus Trip” Update

In Memory of Doris Ferguson, UE

There are now about twenty-five people registered for this trip which Edward and Elizabeth Kipp, and George and Janet Anderson are leading September 26-29, 2010. The bus will only hold 56 people. If you want to make sure you get a chance to go on this trip you should register now. Complete details for the trip will appear in the 2009 Loyalist Fall Gazette.

This trip is open to Loyalists, Manor House friends and the general public. The cost is $460.00 per person in Canadian Funds for double accommodation. Single accommodation is $600.00. The bus will leave from the Manor House at Williamstown, Ontario. Free parking is available at the Manor House. The registration fee includes transportation, luggage porterage, hotels and admission to each site. Meals will be provided at a fixed cost per person. Participants should have their own travel health insurance and must have a valid passport.

If you are interested, please contact: Les and Wendy Wert, P.O. Box 123, Williamstown, ON, K0C 2J0

Tel. 1-613-347-3098, E-mail: {les_wert AT sympatico DOT ca} how do I email Les?

[Submitted by George Anderson and Edward Kipp]


Words to “A Canadian School Song”

Mr. Hayward suggested in the last issue of Loyalist Trails that we explore “Images” on Google for items of interest to our organization. In doing so, I found an image entitled – “A Canadian School Song” dedicated to the United Empire Loyalists. It was published by The Travel Club of Hamilton, Ontario.

I cannot bring it up clearly enough to see the words. I would like to obtain a copy of this song as we do love to sing loyalist songs at our Bicentennial Branch meetings.

Could you put this request in Loyalist Trails to see if anyone has a copy of this song they could send me by E-mail at: wda@mdirect.net or Fax: (519) 733-9188.

…Grace Austin UE, Bicentennial Branch UELA {wda AT mdirect DOT net}