“Loyalist Trails” 2010-10: March 7, 2010

In this issue:
New Hampshire’s Beloved Loyalist — © Stephen Davidson
Ebenezer Dibble (1715-1799): Fifth Generation in America (Part 3 of 13; © 2009 George McNeillie)
Toronto Public Library Updates “Ontario History Quest” Including More Loyalist Content
Maybe You Didn’t Know That Google Could Do This
Response to Book Review: From Bloody Beginnings: Richard Beasley’s Upper Canada
Last Post: Barbara Joan Avery, 1927-2010


New Hampshire’s Beloved Loyalist — © Stephen Davidson

The next time you are in Concord, New Hampshire, make a point of visiting the Council Chambers in the state legislature. As you enter from the outer office, you will see the table around which the council meets with the governor. Turn to the wall on the right. There you will see the portrait of a former governor of New Hampshire, John Wentworth. A loyalist, Wentworth was also the last Royal Governor of the colony. And despite the fact that he fled New Hampshire in 1775, his portrait still looks down upon the political leaders of the state. It isn’t the sort of place you would expect to find the portrait of a loyalist, but then John Wentworth was an unusual man.

Born into the wealthy and politically prominent Wentworth family of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, John was use to the privileges of the mercantile aristocracy. His father was one of the richest men in the colony; his uncle Benning was its governor, an office his grandfather had also once held. At fourteen years of age, John attended Harvard College and graduated seven years later. He then worked with his father, Mark Wentworth, in the merchant trade. Eight years later, Wentworth was sent to England to represent the family’s business interests. Here the young Wentworth began to form an important network of friends, including the Marquis of Rockingham. By 1763, his friend had become the prime minister of Great Britain.

After the imposition of the Stamp Act, the American colonies reacted with great alarm and anger. Wentworth tried to explain to Rockingham the impact such a tax would have. Whether it was his influence that helped to repeal the act in 1766 is debatable, but one thing is certain. Wentworth’s advice earned him the gratitude of the British prime minister. At the age of 29, John Wentworth was made the new governor of New Hampshire, replacing his retiring uncle.

Two years after becoming the Royal Governor, Wentworth married his widowed cousin Frances Atkinson. Frances raised many an eyebrow when she married Wentworth. Their wedding was just two weeks after her first husband’s funeral.

The two young people had been all but engaged before Wentworth went to England in 1763. Frances was extremely upset at the prospect of John being across the ocean for a number of years. In attempt to force Wentworth’s hand, Frances became engaged to Theodore Atkinson. But John sailed for England anyway, and Frances reluctantly became Mrs. Atkinson. Wentworth would later defend his speedy marriage, saying that Uncle Benning and his family had forced him to wed quickly.

During his term of office, Wentworth was a very popular governor. He made it easier for the people of New Hampshire to acquire land, divided the colony into five counties, and helped to establish Dartmouth College. While he could not always agree with British colonial policy, he felt constitutionally bound to obey it. With no strong spokesman for the rebel cause to oppose him, Wentworth was one of the few New England governors who held onto power for a relatively long time. But his days in office were numbered.

In October of 1774, Wentworth hired carpenters to build barracks for British soldiers in Boston. When this secret project was brought into the light of day, the governor lost the support of the people of New Hampshire.

By June of 1775, Wentworth, Frances, and their infant son had sought sanctuary in a coastal fort guarded by a ship of the royal navy. Eventually, the Wentworths fled to the safety of Boston. Feeling unsafe in the Massachusetts capital, Frances took little Charles to England. Within two months, George Washington forced the British and their loyalist allies to leave Boston. After some time in Halifax, Wentworth accompanied General Howe and his troops to New York City where he served in the army for the next two years.

By 1778, Wentworth realized that things were not going well for the British, and he joined his family in England to wait out the war. Always a practical man, Wentworth began to seek out a lucrative government position. In the end, he was appointed the surveyor general of Nova Scotia. As loyalist refugees evacuated New York by the thousands in 1783, Wentworth sailed for Halifax, once again leaving his wife and Charles behind. After putting their 8 year-old son in the care of relatives, Frances joined Wentworth in Halifax the following year. It only took two years for her to grow weary of life in Nova Scotia.

Between 1786 and 1789, Prince William, the third son of King George III, made it a habit to bring his ship, the Andromeda, to Halifax for repairs and supplies. It did not take very long for the young prince to be introduced to Frances Wentworth. Despite an age difference of twenty years, Frances became the prince’s loyalist mistress.

Although Wentworth was aware of what his wife was doing during his absences from Halifax, he ignored her dalliances and poured his energies into his role as surveyor general. His system of licensing crown forest lands became the principle for crown land disbursement across British North America.

In 1791 John and Frances Wentworth sailed for England to look after their financial affairs. By this time, Frances’s affair with Prince William Henry was over; she and John had come to some sort of reconciliation. While the couple was in England, John Parr, the governor of Nova Scotia, died. Having friends in high places in both Halifax and London coincided perfectly with the fact that the Wentworths were in England. John Wentworth was appointed the new governor of Nova Scotia in 1792, twenty-six years after being made the royal governor of New Hampshire.

The intervening years had been difficult ones for John Wentworth. If you want to see him at the height of his success and popularity –as a dashing young man– you need only look at his portrait in the council chambers of the New Hampshire legislature.

To secure permission to reprint this article, contact the author at {stephendavids AT gmail DOT com} how do I email him?

Ebenezer Dibble (1715-1799): Fifth Generation in America (Part 3 of 13; © 2009 George McNeillie

(See parts one and two.)

I may here pause to remark that a considerable diversity of usage now exists as regards the pronunciation of the name. There can be little or no doubt that in early times in America the name was pronounced Dib’-bel, but in the course of time this proved distasteful to many of the name, and they have substituted Dib-blee’ and Dib’-blee, so that there is now a very considerable diversity of usage. In my young days I remember none in Woodstock. There, Judge Dibblee, Colonel Dibblee, and Sheriff Dibblee, used the older pronunciation, as did all their neighbours. [in the olden days also, the Bedells pronounced their name as if spelled Be’adle, whereas today the pronunciation almost universally accepted is Be-dell’.]

It is really wonderful how staunchly loyal the Episcopal clergy in the old colonies were as a rule to the Church of England. The story of the long continued appeal for a Bishop in America is tragic, and even when those who desired ordination to the ministry went home, they were not invariably very warmly received. The following story illustrates the point.

Among the candidates for the ministry who went from America to England for ordination, about 160 years ago, was Bela Hubbard of New Haven, Conn. He was a worthy man and made a devout and exemplary parish priest, but he was extremely diffident and possessed of a nervous temperament, and it is said that the Archbishop of Canterbury frightened the poor man half out of his wits in their first interview, although the candidate did not come off too badly in the opinion of his Grace’s chaplains. The following dialogue is recorded in a little missionary publication, printed in Connecticut some few years ago:

The Archbishop: “Well, sir, what is your name?”

The Candidate: “My name, your Grace, is Bela Hubbard.”

The Archbishop: “Bela! Bela! I have never heard of such a name.”

Poor Mr. Hubbard stammered out: “Oh, very likely not, your Grace, it’s—it’s in the Bible.”

The reply was enjoyed more by the chaplains than by the candidate when he came to reflect. I may add, in passing, that Bishop Inglis at one time hoped to induce the Rev. Bela Hubbard to come to New Brunswick. He was of the same family as Sheriff William Hubbard of Burton, Sunbury County, from whom was descended (on his mother’s side) the late Canon William Hubbard De Veber, rector of St. Paul’s (Valley) Church in St. John, N.B. for many years.

The Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee, D.D. was for fifty-one years rector of Stamford. He died May 9, 1799, at the age of 84 years. His wife, Joanna, died in 1796. The worthy couple lived to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of their marriage.

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

George McNeillie

Toronto Public Library Updates “Ontario History Quest” Including More Loyalist Content

The award-winning learning resource Ontario History Quest (OHQ) has now been updated and improved. Designed for both teachers and students, OHQ supports the Grade 7, 8, 10 and 12 history curricula through classroom-ready teaching activities and digitized primary sources. OHQ covers content from the 1780s to the 1970s.

Some of the new and improved features of Ontario History Quest include:

– Updates to reflect the latest Ontario curricula

– An additional grade 7 module covering 1780s -1820

– More than 1,200 new images.

All Ontario History Quest content is classroom-ready. The webquests (educational learning activities which encourage learners to read, analyze and synthesize information using the web) are supplemented by teacher packages. OHQ also offers:

– Two new interactive learning features – The Loyalist Adventure Online and Curator’s Showcase

– New discussion forum for teachers

– New French website with two Grade 7 modules and The Loyalist Adventure Online in French.

OHQ was created by Toronto Public Library in partnership with the Archives of Ontario, the City of Toronto Archives and Library and Archives Canada, with funding provided in part by the Ontario Ministry of Culture Library Strategic Development Fund and the Department of Canadian Heritage, Canadian Culture Online Program.

To experience Ontario History Quest visit ohq.torontopubliclibrary.ca.

Toronto Public Library is the world’s largest urban public library system. Every year, more than 17.5 million people visit our 99 branches and borrow more than 31 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit torontopubliclibrary.ca or call 416-393-7131.

The Tech Side by Wayne Scott: Maybe You Didn’t Know That Google Could Do This

Google, one of the more popular Search Engines, has a few tricks up its sleeve that you may not be aware of. Some of them are quite handy. To familiarize yourself with regular and advanced search features, check out this guide prepared by the giant search engine.

There are more features coded into Google than for just searching. First of all, Google can be used as a quick calculator. In the Google search box you can use any of the following operations: + addition, – subtraction, * multiplication, / division, or % percent. Just place an operator between a set of numbers, press = and then Enter. The answer will be shown.

Let’s say you want to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius. Type in the following: 50F in C then press Enter. (The answer given is 10 degrees Celsius). Not only can you convert temperature, you can convert measurements, weights, distance etc. You can even convert money: $1.00 cad to usd then press Enter. Of course the answer will change on a daily basis.

An easy dictionary is found in the Google Search Engine also. Type the word “define” followed by the word you are interested in and press Enter.

Let’s say that you have come across a foreign word that you don’t know. If you are searching online, highlight the word and paste it into your search engine like this: translate Großvater into English then press Enter. (Großvater is the German word for Grandfather).

Google Search is also a world clock. Just type the word “Time” followed by the city you are interested in and the country, and press the Enter key. If it’s the map of that city you want, type the word “map” and the city (and country) you are interested in and Google will show you.

If you are interested in a flight departure or arrival, type your carrier and the flight number into a Google Search and when you type Enter, you will get the latest status of that flight. You can also check for delays at airports by typing in the city (or 3 letter airport code) followed by airport. Click on the airport name and you will get the information you are looking for.

Maybe you want to know what the weather will be when you get off the plane somewhere. Type: weather then city and country, or area code then press Enter. You will likely get a four or five day forecast.

Have you got something being sent by UPS or any other major delivery service? Just type the tracking number into the search field and press Enter. You will be taken directly to the delivery service’s tracking site.

You may be wondering what is playing at the theatre in your town, or in a town you are visiting. Just type the following into the Google search bar: movies + area code then press Enter. You will be shown a short list, but by clicking on “more…” you will find a lot more information.

Maybe you want to have some fun with Google. There is a game called Google Whacking. The object is to find a search item of two words (without quotation marks) with the fewest number of pages. This is referred to as the one true Google Whack! For instance, I typed in “Blue Squid” and Google came back with 3,000,000 pages. When I typed in “Silly Frilly” Google came back with only 1,700,00 pages. With successive tries, maybe you can come up with a search with less than a thousand. Play along and let me know what your lowest page count is.

You can email Wayne Scott to get in touch with questions or comments.

Response to Book Review: From Bloody Beginnings: Richard Beasley’s Upper Canada

Review was by Ronald Stagg, in Ontario History, September 22, 2009, which began:

In this work of what the author calls “creative non-fiction,” David Richard Beasley has attempted to tell the story of the life of his ancestor Richard Beasley (1761-1842, called ‘Richard’ in this review), and of the events which touched it. The author has used documents associated with his great-great-great-grandfather and supplemented it with information from other sources. From Bloody Beginnings is creative in the sense that he includes extensive dialogue which he believes represents what various historical characters might have said at the time, based on the material he has gathered, and includes information on characters that his ancestor might or…

David Beasley responds:

I understand criticisms from academics as I have written a dissertation and know the restrictions it requires; this book was not a dissertation. I did not write a biography but a history from Richard’s viewpoint, backed by facts, as I made clear. Much of the first part of the book deals with the American Revolution to explain the backgrounds and principles of the characters who developed Canada. The political stands, actions of disaffection and war taken by Beasley, Cartwright, Simcoe, Brant et. al. cannot be understood without knowing this background. I wanted to weave a comprehensive story with all its parts, none that were gratuitous or without significance to the whole.

I take Stagg’s point that the story of the battles of the War of 1812 comprised a “compressed” section, that, by the way, Richard was involved in intimately, and just mentioned the battles outside his Niagara purlieu. But I hope I gave a comprehensive picture when other articles and books on the War deal with individual battles, except for John Richardson and Pierre Berton. As I am an “authority” on John Richardson, having spent many years writing about him, I refer readers to his poem “Tecumseh” and other of his writings which describe the skinning of Tecumseh [and the questionable denial by Indians in my publication Major John Richardson’s Short Stories]. But the point of this slight reference to Tecumseh’s skinning was to reflect what everyone believed, couched in the same sentence as the flight of the general and his staff from the Battle of the Thames, all of which had an affect on the populace. Likewise, references to Yonge Street and Baldwin were not made up. If Arnold did not command the assault on Quebec, who did? [Readers: read Kenneth Roberts’ Arundel]. As for everyone not agreeing with Richard’s view of politics, that should be evident from the great opposition he faced and suffered from.

…David Beasley

Last Post: Barbara Joan Avery, 1927-2010

Joan passed away peacefully with her beloved dog, Shelby, by her side on Sunday, February 14, 2010. She was the daughter of the late Helen and Billy Ellis. Joan had been a member of the Victoria Branch since 2006 and was researching the Henry Ellis family which settled in the vicinity of Mount Pleasant Ontario on land granted to the Six Nations Indian Confederacy in the Haldimand Agreement of 1784. Henry Ellis, a weaver, led a group of people from the Mohawk Valley in 1798. He first settled on leased lot 7E and later bought 200 acres. Joan was also researching the John Cousins family of Prince Edward Island. Unfortunately, the necessary connections were never made to prove her Loyalist descent. Joan will be missed for her vigour, laughter, and support of the Branch.

…Joan Clement