“Loyalist Trails” 2010-12: March 21, 2010

In this issue:
Follow the “Overlanders” to “Beyond the Mountains” 2010
What’s so Exciting about Loyalist History? — © Stephen Davidson
Ebenezer Dibble (1715-1799): Fifth Generation in America (Part 5 of 13; © 2009 George McNeillie)
Preserving The Lower Burial Ground in Kingston
How Many Loyalist Refugees Were There?
More Historical Books On-line
CBC, The Queen’s Coronation, and You
Planning for the Way of 1812 Commemorations
The Tech Side: “Evernote” by Wayne Scott
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Response re New Brunswick Golder/Goulder Family
      + The Spears Family
      + Babcock Family and a Possible Loyalist Connection


Follow the “Overlanders” to “Beyond the Mountains” 2010

When news of gold in the Cariboo reached Upper Canada in 1861, Thomas McMicking UE, organized a party from Queenston and St Catharines and travelled to Fort Garry (Winnipeg) where he met up with other gold seekers. They organized themselves into a single party of “Overlanders” and set out across the prairies by wagon train. Along the way, one woman, Christine Schubert was allowed to join the party with her family. They crossed the mountains with animal packs and would have starved without the help of the Shuswap natives. Near Kamloops, Christine gave birth to the first white girl born in the interior of BC. You will hear Christine’s story at the UELAC annual conference.

Thomas McMicking and his brother, Robert Burns, continued down the coast to New Westminster. Robert became the Superintendant for BC Telegraph at Yale, BC. He moved to Victoria and became a coroner, Police Magistrate and JP. Inventor of “McMicking Insulator” for telegraph wires, he introduced the telephone to Victoria, BC. He was the second person in BC to own a telephone.

Of the tens of thousands who came to BC for gold, the “Overlanders” represented about 200 who came by land through the mountains. Their journey proved that the geographical barriers to union between Canada and British Columbia could be overcome. Their journey is chronicled in the book, “Overland from Canada to British Columbia”, by Thomas McMicking of Queenston, Canada West.

You can travel through the Rocky Mountains too, only in comfort, on a one-way trip leaving June 1st from Calgary with West Trek Tours. The itinerary has been finalized with a cost structure based on number of registrants.

The three day trip features many stops, two overnights in hotels in Banff and Golden, good food and lots to see. Read the detailed itinerary here.

We are very close to the quorum of 15 people needed to make this trip viable. If you are thinking of including this add-on to your trip, please register now by contacting wendycosby@shaw.ca. (Those who have confirmed registration need not reply).

Wendy Cosby

What’s so Exciting about Loyalist History? — © Stephen Davidson

If someone were to ask you if you would be interested in Loyalist history if you were not a descendant of a loyal American colonist, what would you say? Is the loyalist era simply a portion of North American history that is fascinating to only a handful of enthusiasts — or is it an exciting chapter in the human experience accessible to all?

I have had the immense pleasure of writing 150 articles on this historical era for Loyalist Trails. It only takes a very quick re-cap of those vignettes to demonstrate that no matter what your ancestry might be, loyalist history is chock full of fascinating characters, adventures, and insights into the human experience.

Loyalists deserve our attention for the variety of their stories. Among these refugees can be found future governors of British colonies, the first American to fly in a hot air balloon, officers who would later serve in India, the foremost portrait painter of his era, a scientist who first proposed the theory of natural selection, the inventor of the coffee percolator, the first international best-selling author in Canada, the founders of universities and churches, and the first women to participate in elections anywhere in the world. Statues of a particular loyalist can be found in both Germany and Massachusetts. Only one loyalist is memorialized in London’s Westminster Abbey.

Loyalists were spies, survived shipwrecks, and suffered deprivation as prisoners of war. While only 15% of white adult males actually bore arms for King George III, they nevertheless overcame superior numbers on many battlefields. Some gave their sailing vessels to further the war effort.

The loyalists were thoroughly human characters, not plaster saints. They brought pets with them on their travels, enjoyed music and puppet shows, and staged balls. They became the subject of folk songs, survived the smallpox epidemic that swept 18th century America, suffered depressions and mental illness, battled with alcoholism, disagreed with the older generation, kept mistresses and sustained wounds that handicapped them for life.

Although most loyalists were farmers, their numbers also included doctors, seamstresses, professors, plantation owners, hatters, a variety of smiths, teachers, stonecutters, shoemakers, shopkeepers, ministers, glassmakers, and lawyers. While some loyalists could only sign documents with an “X”, others left diaries, letters, or compensation claims that richly detailed the cost of siding with the crown. Even a ledger recording the circumstances of Africans granted their freedom has proven to be of great value in shedding light on this period of history.

Loyalists deserve our attention because they survived a vicious civil war. The American Revolution was more than a conflict between a mother country and its colony; it was a bitter war between Americans with two opposing views of government. Brother rose up against brother; neighbours spied on neighbours; land was maliciously confiscated; old friends were imprisoned; and bitter memories would forever divide. And when the loyal Americans lost the Revolution, the bitterness with which the war was fought compelled 70 to 100,000 Americans to leave their homes and families forever. The resulting diaspora was the largest displacement of refugees in the history of the Western Hemisphere. That in itself ought to make one sit up and take notice of loyalist stories.

Like 21st century refugees, many loyalists had to quickly abandon their homes. In some cases, they immediately found sanctuary across the British lines or in Britain itself. Others lived in refugee camps, waiting for the defeat of the rebels. There are stories of loyalist guerilla attacks on the patriot villages of the eastern seaboard — of patriots pillaging and kidnapping those within the refugee camps. Like those who are helped by refugee aid agencies today, loyalists lived on food rations, received land grants, and earned their keep through assisting the military.

When the smoke of war had cleared, the loyalists sought financial compensation for their losses. Their petitions were completely ignored by the United States, and in the end they received only miserly monetary aid from a supposedly grateful Great Britain. If loyalist widows and orphans expected to receive justice, it was only through great personal effort and expense that they obtained it. The British government did not actively seek out those who had lost land and family members because of their loyalty to the crown.

The loyalists deserve our attention because of their impact on North America. This tsunami of displaced persons would change the geography and demographics of the continent. Although over half of all loyalists settled in Great Britain; others made homes in the Caribbean, the Maritimes, and the Canadas. Western Nova Scotia became New Brunswick due to the swell of loyalist settlers; the western portion of the former New France became Upper Canada for the same reason. But not all loyalists were compelled to leave their American homes. What comes as a surprise to most loyalist descendants is that the bulk of loyal Americans actually made peace with their patriot neighbours and remained in their homes following the Revolution. Nevertheless, the accounts of the loyalists who left America are incredibly compelling; they are the stories of people attempting to make new lives for themselves far from all that they knew and loved.

These persons displaced by the American Revolution were a diverse group. One in ten of the loyalists who settled in the Maritimes were Africans, having won their freedom by serving the British crown for at least a year. (Sadly, the largest number of enslaved blacks ever brought to Canada came with the white loyalists.) In 1792, almost 2,000 black loyalists would go on to found the future west African nation of Sierra Leone. Roman Catholics and Jews were loyalists. French-, German-, Swedish- and Dutch-born colonists were also displaced for their loyalty. Native people sided with King George III and established new tribal communities in modern day Ontario.

So are the stories of the loyalist era worth preserving?


Past issues of The Loyalist Gazette and Loyalist Trails will more than prove the matter.

To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.

Ebenezer Dibble (1715-1799): Fifth Generation in America (Part 5 of 13; © 2009 George McNeillie)

(See parts one, two, three, and four.)

The children of Fyler Dibblee with the possible exception of the youngest were all born in Stamford. Fyler was by profession an attorney-at-law and a man of ability. His family included four sons and two daughters, whose names and dates of birth appear ion the following list:

Name:     Date of Birth     Died     Age
1. Walter: Feb. 7, 1764 – June 1, 1817 (53 years)
2. William: Jan. 14, 1766 – ???, 1832 (66 years)
3. Margaret: Nov. 28, 1767 – April 20, 1853 (85 years)
4. Ralph: Oct. 22, 1769 – ???, 1799 (30 years)
5. Sally Munday: Nov. 22, 1774 – May 25, 1826 (52 years)
6. Ebenezer: Nov. 26, 1779 – ??? (?)

Some light is shed upon the circumstances under which Fyler Dibblee and his family came to settle on the banks of the River St. John by a passage in Dr. Ebenezer Dibblee’s memorial to Sir Guy Carleton, the Commander-in-Chief at New York, dated Oct. 31, 1783, which I quote:

Your memorialist’s son, Fyler Dibblee, about Christmas, 1776, foreseeing the storm and resigning his commission as Captain of Militia, fled under the Royal Banner to escape the violence threatened his person, and left a wife and five children, who were turned out of doors, and your memorialist was obliged to take them under his care till the next Spring, when they were sent in a destitute condition to his son at Long Island. Thank God they are now, through the favour of Government and your Excellency’s pious and most charitable concern for the poor Loyalists, settled at St. John’s River to their unspeakable satisfaction.

Upon your memorialist’s older son resolving to accept the kind offices of Government and go to Nova Scotia, Frederick his brother became a subscriber with him, among those whom the Reverend Mr. John Sayre had associated, but could not settle his affairs in season to accompany his brother last April.

The Company of Connecticut and other Loyalists on Long Island here referred to came to St. John in the transport ship Union as related in the account of our Raymond ancestry at pages 86-92 in this book. The deputy agent in charge of the party was Fyler Dibblee. The “Manifest” of the vessel, containing the names and signers and some other information, will be found in printed form, at p. 92 [Editor’s note: it can also be found here]. Fyler Dibblee was accompanied on the voyage by his wife, his sons Walter and William, four younger children and two servants. The sons, Walter and William, are entered into the list of passengers as “Farmers.” They were then 19 and 17 years of age respectively. Fyler Dibblee is himself entered as an “attorney-at-law.”

The ship Union took on board her complement of the Loyalists at Huntington, April 11th to 16th , and sailed with the “Spring Fleet” from Sandy Hook, on April 26th . She was the first vessel to arrive at her destination (having led the fleet all the way for fourteen days ), before any of the other ships were come in sight. This would make the date of her arrival at Partridge Island the 10th day of May, 1783.

After his arrival at St. John, Fyler Dibblee was appointed a magistrate and was actively engaged in the settlement of the Loyalists, under the direction of Major Gilfred Studholme, the Commandant at Fort Howe. A committee was named by Studholme, consisting of Ebenezer Foster and Fyler Dibblee, Loyalists; James White and Geroes Say, old inhabitants, to report on the lands upon which the old inhabitants up the River St. John had settled without a license of occupation from the Government.

The committee spent nearly a month in the investigation. Their report is printed in No. 1 of the “Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society” published in 1894 [see pp. 100-118 of the Collections. I supervised the printing of this report as one of the Printing Committee].

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

Preserving The Lower Burial Ground in Kingston

Heritage disaster must be prevented. I am writing as the president of the Lower Burial Ground Restoration Society to ask for your help in preventing the loss of one of Kingston’s significant historic sites, The Lower Burial Ground. This cemetery was laid out in 1783 under the orders of Major John Ross, who was preparing the area for the arrival of the Loyalists after the American Revolution.

The burial ground, where distinguished founding families and ordinary working people buried their loved ones, is located at the corner of Queen and Montreal streets. It was enclosed by a stone wall, built in 1799 by the noted stonemason F.X. Rocheleau.

The burial ground is the oldest cemetery in Ontario, probably the oldest west of Montreal. The wall is the second oldest existing structure in Kingston.

The Lower burial Ground Restoration Society was established to restore and preserve the cemetery for future generations. Cartwrights, Stuarts, Molly Brant and her family, Sir Richard Bonnycastle are just a few of the notables buried here.

We are looking for your help. The wall has been patched too many times in the past and the experts tell us that unless it is properly restored now, it will deteriorate beyond saving in the next few years. To properly restore it to its original condition, it must be completely dismantled , a foundation secured and restored stone by stone. It is actually two parallel walls tied together by connecting stones and mortar, the centre filled with rubble, hence a “double wythe” wall.

This process includes archaeological assessment and monitoring, temporary sidewalk closing with fencing, digging trenches each side to grade and methodically rebuilding. The cost will be large ? running in the neighbourhood of $1,000 per foot, for a total of around $180,000. We hope to include a stone cap to return to its original state.

Our first project, now completed, was the restoration of the Forsythe Monument (1813) with the help of a Healthy Community Fund grant through the United Way. This project received a Certificate of Commendation from the Frontenac Heritage Foundation.

We ask the community to help us in our work to restore and conserve this heritage gem, the burial ground and the wall, for future generations. We hope that many people will choose to support this project through a modest or generous donations. Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $25 or more. For details, call 613-547-8853.

The above item was posted in *Kingston This Week*, February 10, 2010. Photos and contact information. Doug Thompson, President, The Lower Burial Ground Restoration Society, Kingston

…Jen Kolthammer (my ancestor buried here is Sir Richard Henry Bonnycastle.)

How Many Loyalist Refugees Were There?

Thomas B. Allen, the author of the forthcoming Tories: Fighting for the King in America’s First Civil War, believes that there were 80,000 loyal Americans who left the Thirteen Colonies. This figure, which is on the conservative side, comes from one of the relatively few U.S. historians who have spent any time on the Loyalists. He is the eminent Gordon S. Wood, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Radicalism of the American Revolution (Vintage Books, 1991). Said Allen, “I wanted an unassailable source, and he is it. On page176 of the book he says, “As many as 80,000 of them are estimated to have left the thirteen colonies during the American Revolution, over six times as many émigrés per 1,000 of the population as fled France during the French Revolution.” For his discussion of the Loyalists, Wood gives as his source R.R. Palmer. The Age of the Democratic Revolution (Princeton, 1959, Vol. 1, p188.)

…Stephen Davidson

More Historical Books On-line

Just a quick note on finding historical books on-line. In addition to Google Books, there is a website, www.ourroots.ca, which is a collaboration between the University of Calgary and the Universite de Laval. The Universities have scanned many local histories from across Canada and put them on this site. The texts are fully searchable and printable. I have found many treasures here.

…Dorothy Meyerhof

CBC, The Queen’s Coronation, and You

Maria Knight, Documentary Production Unit CBC Television has made a special request of UELAC. Her crew is looking for Canadian individuals who attended the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953.

CBC Television is currently in production of a 1 hour documentary on the Queen and her Coronation broadcast in 3-D. The focus is to show this amazing 3-D footage of the Queen in 1953 in a variety of Royal engagements in the weeks leading up to and after the Coronation; a Royal Epson Derby, a trip down the Thames and a visit to Edinburgh; then of course the time-traveling experience of Queen Elizabeth II and her golden coach leaving Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. We will be looking at the story of the 3-D footage itself, the film-makers, and how this footage was lost for over fifty years and now introducing it to our country.

We are also looking for any footage of Canadians watching the Coronation and hearing anecdotes about their experience. In addition, Maria indicated that they are interested in 3-D footage of Canada in the 1950’s to be used to give our audience context of our country at the time of the Coronation.

Canadian historians, Royal biographers and eye-witnesses are integral to give Canadians a sense of what it was like to be there as they recall their account of the Coronation. If you or anyone you know attended, please contact Maria Knight (collect) at 416-205-8662 or via email.

Planning for the Way of 1812 Commemorations: Commemoration, National Identity, and Role of the Arts

From The Niagara 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council comes information about the symposium that will be taking place in Hamilton on April 23 and 24 called Creating 1812: Commemoration, National Identity, and Role of the Arts. This symposium is intended to explore the heritage themes that arise from the upcomingWar of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration within a broader artistic context. There will be workshops related to a range of artistic disciplines and approaches and some very interesting speakers and presentations.

The Friday evening program features well-known Canadian actor R.H. Thomson, who will be addressing issues related to commemoration and the arts through discussion of his Vigil 1914-1918 project. Thomson’s presentation will be followed by the world premiere of Warships Down, a documentary about the Hamilton and the Scourge, two American warships that sank in Lake Ontario during the War of1812.

The Saturday program will feature a number of workshop topics that include drama, music, the art of re-enactment, documentaries and shorts, visual arts, monuments and statuary, the role of landscape in creating places of pilgrimage, exhibits and material heritage, briefing and dialogue on commissioning opportunities.

The registration fee for the whole symposium is $99, with a Saturday-only option without meals at $49. We will also be making a limited number of tickets available to the community for the Friday night program at no cost, and would love to see community members attend and get inspired about how the issues that arise from the War of 1812 are artistically relevant today.

Symposium details are still being finalized, so check out www.discover1812.com for program updates, and for additional registration information. You may also direct any questions to the Legacy Council at admin@discover1812.com or 905-984-3626 Ext. 345

[submitted by Doris Lemon]

Planning in the Southern Georgian Bay Region

The regional commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 will include the celebration of the coming together of three very different cultures that fought to protect Canada from American invasion. “The war was a defining period in the birth of our nation. This is when we started having Canadian heroes instead of British heroes,” said southern Georgian Bay bicentennial committee project director David J. Brunelle. Hughes is proposing the possibility of a local contribution showcasing the area’s multitude of historically significant sites, while focusing on the cultural importance of British, aboriginal and black soldiers fighting side-by-side to defend the same nation.

“Chippewa First Nations supported the British during the war and fought with Tecumseh. Our former chiefs Yellowhead, Snake and Aisance were given medals for their valour,” said Stinson Henry

As a defence strategy, half-pay officers who fought against Napoleon in Europe were given land along Canadian water-ways, including Lake Couchiching and its adjoining rivers, that may have been vulnerable to post-war American invasion. These half-pay officers included Captain Elmes Steele, father of Sir Sam Steele, who was given land in Medonte. Part of the original home remains as a marker.

According to Tim Crawford, a local historian and author ofThe Oro African Church,a book about the national historic site located in Edgar, the British military had to figure out how to pay off black soldiers after the war. With a clear-cut routine of paying off their own men with land and half-pay, the decision was made to do the same for black soldiers. Those soldiers ended up settling in the Shanty Bay area. “I believe this was the first time in British history where the blacks were given land equal to the whites,” Crawford said.

Also highlighted within the southern Georgian Bay region will be the tall ships in Penetanguishene and The Nancy, a ship located in Wasaga Beach, among other historical sites.

Read the article from the Packet & Times.

…Brenda Ralston-Terelly

The Tech Side: “Evernote” by Wayne Scott

How often have you been working with someone and thought you had brought the correct information, only to find out you didn’t? How many times have you spent precious time wondering how or where to store an important email or website? If you are like me, the words ‘too often’ come to mind.

Cloud computing was initially envisioned as a place for all of this information. In fact, many people are using sites such as Google Docs for such storage. The only problem is, that these sites soon become cluttered and unmanageable. In addition, you can store only a few common types of files such as documents and pictures. The solution may well be Evernote. It is true that Evernote has been around for a while, but originally it only supported the windows computer. At long last, it has evolved into a strong contender for being your best online friend.

Evernote now supports both the Windows and Macintosh computers It also supports a wide variety of devices such as the iPhone, Blackberry, Palm Pre and Windows mobile phones. With this wide array of devices, you can always be in touch with your information. There is one more feature that makes it a top contender – the fact that it is free.

After signing up for an Evernote account, you can download a version to use on your computer or electronic device. The next step would be to decide what you want to store. The choices include pictures, audio files, text files, emails, etc. Evernote will attempt to categorize your information and make it searchable. Even if you take a picture (with your phone) of someone’s business card, Evernote will attempt to apply character recognition to the picture and store the information on the card. Imagine what it could do with a photo of a funeral notice, marriage certificate or other ancestry information. The process is not perfect but it holds much promise.

Evernote has tools that will allows email to be saved. Web pages can be clipped and stored. The app on your computer will synch the new information with what you have already stored on your personal Evernote website. From there, editing, printing or emailing any of this information can be done with ease. The best thing is that you are always a url away from having all of this information at your fingertips. A person doesn’t have to be sitting in front of their computer to have access. An email can be composed from any computer with the information you wish to save and send it to your repository. Simple as that. Even Twitter can be used to get information into Evernote.

I did mention that Evernote is free, and it is. Of course, they have an upgraded version. The cost of the paid version is $5.00 a month or $45.00 a year. I doubt that this would break the bank. The main differences seem to be a) 500MB of documents, etc. can be uploaded each month while a free account only allows 40MB to be uploaded each month, b) whereas the free account will limit the types of files that can be uploaded and synced, the paid version will accept any file.

If collaboration is desired, Evernote is making it easy for you. Check out a video tutorial on their blog that will help set this feature up. If you have signed up for the paid version, others can edit or modify your stored notes. It appears that Evernote is working hard at improving their product and making it very user friendly.

Walt Mossberg, “All Things Digital,” at the Washington Post sums up his review of Evernote by saying that he found the application to be a valuable and easy-to-use tool that simplified his work and made good use of both the Internet and his mobile devices.

[Wayne Scott can be contacted at: mail4wayne AT cogeco.ca if you have suggestions, comments or questions.]

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are:
– Banta, Weart – from Alice Walchuk
– Ives, David – from Heather Brenneman (Volunteer Jo Ann Tuskin)
– Parke, Cyrenius – Gordon Wilkinson (certificate application)


Response re New Brunswick Golder/Goulder Family

A response to the query brought this information from the Keirstead group:

To reply to Susan Hill’s recent posting , the maiden name of Mary Rebecca Golder can be found in the Trinity Anglican Records, Kingston, Kings Co NB.

Kingston Anglican Church Records for 1818 Baptism for Lanah Golder

Sep.22 (Private) [Lenah or Lorah] d/o late John & Mary (his wife) Golder

(m.n. Spears), Hampton, Laborer, by Elias Scovil.

I now know that Lenah’s mother’s name is Mary Golder nee Spears. I feel that I am one step closer to proving that she is indeed the Mary Rebecca Golder who landed with the loyalists in 1783.

I also now know that Lenah’s father’s name was John Golder and that he could be the John Golder according to D.G. Bell’s Early Loyalist Saint John:

Loyalist John Golder, carpenter arrived St John from New Jersey on board the Eagle with John Smiths company, he was single at the time (May 1784).

Susan Hill

The Spears Family

My query now is does anyone have any information about the Spears family who arrived in New Brunswick with the loyalists in 1783

Are the Trinity Anglican records available to the public?

Has anyone got any suggestions of how I might be able to find out more information on John and Mary Golder (nee Spears) and prove my relationship to two loyalist families. Thankyou for any help

Susan Hill

Babcock Family and a Possible Loyalist Connection

My family lore tells us that we have a loyalist connection, but the details thus far are unknown. One of my ancestral lines goes back to my Gr Gr Grandfather Enoch (Thomas ) WOOD, b abt 1830 d bef 1901. He married Eliza Jane BABCOCK b August 21, 1833, Bedford, Ontario d October 06, 1904. Age at death: 71. Burial: Dresden Cemetery, Dresden, Kent, ON, CAN.

The children of Thomas and Eliza were Cornelius b. abt 1857, Abraham b. abt 1858, Nancy Ann b. abt 1862, Eliza Jane b. abt 1865, Thomas Henry b. March 10, 1868 , Filda Jane b. abt 1872?, Alexander A. b. March 11, 1872

I am looking for the parents and siblings of Eliza Jane BABCOCK, or any information about her family.

Linda Neadle Lovell