“Loyalist Trails” 2010-18: May 2, 2010

In this issue:
Loyalist Teamsters — copyright Stephen Davidson
Ebenezer Dibble (1715-1799): Fifth Generation in America (Part 11 of 13; © 2009 George McNeillie)
The Peregrinations of Captain Gideon Vernon, UE
The Tech Side: Publishing Your Research (Continued), by Wayne Scott
Creating 1812
Milliken’s Historic Decision
“Branching Out” Extracts From Loyalist Gazette Now Online
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Sorting Samuel Smiths in the Loyalist Directory


Loyalist Teamsters — copyright Stephen Davidson

During the War of Independence, not all loyal Americans fought on the battlefield; some were invaluable to the British war effort as teamsters. Napoleon is often quoted as saying, “an army moves on its stomach”, but an army can only move if it has adequate ground transportation.

After British soldiers disembarked from naval vessels to serve on American soil, they depended upon fleets of wagons to transport their munitions, food, tents, and wounded throughout the rebellious Thirteen Colonies. None knew the roads and landscape better than loyal colonists who came to the aid of their king.

Some loyalist wagon drivers had fled persecution in towns where they had been craftsmen; some had escaped slavery to become free men. Loyalist teamsters were generally recruited from those who lived out in the countryside, but men who worked in towns were also valued for their knowledge of the local roads. Enslaved Africans, who had been forced to drive wagons for their patriot masters, willingly did the same work to earn their freedom by serving the British. Following the revolution, a high percentage of the settlers of a Nova Scotia community were black loyalist teamsters. These are their stories.

With no railways, the only means of overland transportation in the 18th century were horse-drawn wooden wagons. The British brought their own wagons, but they also employed local loyalists’ vehicles and made use of captured patriot wagons. One colonial model was the Conestoga wagon. It cost about $250.00, but after purchasing horses and harnesses, the final bill came to around $1,500.00.

Built to navigate across the rough dirt roads of the Thirteen Colonies, the Conestoga had high wheels to ford shallow rivers, keeping its cargo dry. Four to seven horses hauled the wagon which could hold a maximum load of five tons. However, since sufficient fodder for long trips had to be carried for the horses, the usual load was three to four tons. The teamster in charge of a Conestoga wagon did not sit and ride; he either rode his own horse next to the wagon, walked with the lead horse, or rode upon the latter’s back.

Being a teamster was much more than simply guiding horses. One had to know the tricks of the trade. A heavily laden wagon made of wood was very noisy, and it was impossible to approach enemy territory with any degree of stealth. A good teamster knew that the sound of squeaking wheels could be muffled with straw.

Both the patriots and the British had their own wagon departments. A Wagon Master General looked after the entire “fleet”, with wagon masters under him who were in charge of smaller units made up of 40 wagons.

Once such wagon master was a New Jersey hog farmer named Richard Robins. After the rebels imprisoned him for his loyalty, Robins joined the British in Trenton. During the years that he was in charge of the king’s teamsters, rebels stole 7,850 pounds of pork from his wagon train, and later three horses. The unlucky wagon master eventually settled in Prince Edward Island.

Elijah Jones was a Massachusetts farmer before he was appointed a colonel in the wagon department. Part of his responsibilities also included foraging the countryside for patriot livestock and crops that were then used to feed the British army. Jones died in January of 1783, just months before loyalists were evacuated to the safety of the Maritime colonies. His widow Mahitabel and five of their children settled in New Brunswick. Two patriot children remained behind.

Seth Seely had also been a farmer before his loyalist principles brought down the wrath of his patriot neighbours. He had been robbed, smeared with eggs, put in stocks, and ridden through Stamford, Connecticut on a rail. No wonder he fled to a refugee camp on Long Island! There he became a teamster. His horses pulled many wagonloads of local timber that had been cut down by loyalist refugees to ships that took the much-needed fuel down the Sound to New York City. Seely settled in Kingston, New Brunswick.

David Pickett, like Seely, had also grown up in Stamford, Connecticut and settled in Kingston. He eventually became the judge of the Court of Common Pleas and the Treasurer of Kings County. But before all this, Pickett had been a successful weaver, an employer whose shop kept three looms in constant operation. After being charged with planning “assist the king and his vile minions in their wicked oppressive schemes to enslave the American colonies”, Pickett fled to safety on Long Island where he became a teamster. His involvement in the wood trade eventually cost him a schooner. Rebels captured Pickett’s vessel as it took timber to New York.

The teamsters were among the last of the British support system to leave the Thirteen Colonies at the end of the war. The loyalist evacuees and British soldiers who oversaw the conclusion of the revolution had to wait for wagons to carry their goods down to the docks in November of 1783. It was loyalist teamsters who had to transfer the evacuees’ livestock, furniture, munitions, and personal effects from the flatbeds of their wagons, and then, after joining the ship’s passengers, had to abandon their teams and wagons to the victorious rebels.

One such loyalist teamster was Charity French. In November of 1783, he drove the last of the British army’s cattle to the coast of Long Island. Rebels ambushed him, stealing his wagon, horses, slave, and provisions. After three years of imprisonment, French was eventually reunited with his family in New Brunswick.

Next week, we will consider a town that was settled in large part by those teamsters who were among the last to leave New York. Port Mouton, Nova Scotia became a haven for almost one hundred black loyalist teamsters.

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

Ebenezer Dibble (1715-1799): Fifth Generation in America (Part 11 of 13; © 2009 George McNeillie)

(See parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X.)

The present Kingston Chapel of Ease, St. James, at the “Cedars” on Long Reach, is faintly shown in the photograph [left side of photo; click on “photograph” and then in your browser use the zoom function, Ctl +, or the “view” button on your toolbar to enlarge the photo. The photo is high resolution so can be enlarged dramatically] across the River, just over the extreme end of “Oak Point”. The present Oak Point Church, on the West Side of the St. John, is seen at the right of the picture near the base of the Point. The Island, of which the head or Point is just over the “Oak Point” Church spire, is the historic “Isle Emenenic,” where the first known Celebration of the Holy Communion in New Brunswick was held in the month of October, 1611 , by the French missionary, Pierre Biard, for the benefit of a small colony of Fishers and Traders of St. Malo, more than three centuries ago.

On visiting the Oak Point Church a few years ago I recognized the Pulpit in it as the work of my father. I had seen it in his shop in Woodstock when it was being made and remembered it as the first of many pieces of Church furniture he made for Bishop Medley [Editor’s note- John Medley, 1804-1892, was the first Anglican Bishop of Fredericton]. I remembered where he had written the words with his pencil, “For a Church at Oak Point,” with the date, and on looking I found the words still there. I think his name was written as the maker of the pulpit, and the date. On the historic “Isle Emenenic”, the N.B. Historical Society and the Natural History Society placed a memorial in October 1911 to mark the tercentenary of the first settlement.

Capt. Peter Berton. Loyalist, moved to St. John, where his descendants are still to be found. Samuel D. Berton’s substantial brick residence still stands at the corner of Elliot Row and Carmarthen Street in St. John [Editor’s note — according to Google street view, there is only a large white clapboard house on one corner and a large office building on the other corner; across the street is a cemetery].

We now return from this long digression to speak further of the Dibblee family at Woodstock. William Dibblee, the second son of Fyler, was no doubt named by his mother for her younger Brother Hon. William Jarvis, the first Provincial secretary of Upper Canada, under its first governor, Sir John Graves Simcoe. He died at Toronto in 1817, leaving many descendants.

The year 1788 probably saw William Dibblee and others of the family safely arrived at Woodstock. The first Woodstock Grant, made October 15, 1784, antedated the formation of the Province of New Brunswick and was made by the Governor of Nova Scotia, Col. John Parr, to the 1st Battalion of Brigadier General Oliver De Lancey’s Brigade.

It extended from a point about two miles above Eel River for about 12 miles up the west side of the River St. John, and, as originally surveyed it included 46 lots, the lots containing 550 acres each, the grants to the officers being interspersed among those to the men. At the expiration of four years many changes of ownership had taken place. The majority of those by whom the lots were drawn had by that time either abandoned them without compensation or sold them for what they could get, which was usually but little. In consequence our friends the Dibblees, Bedells, Beardsleys and Raymonds were able to secure good locations. That of Rev. Frederick Dibblee was just below the lots received for the Church and Glebe. That of John Bedell was at “Bedell’s Cove”, less than two miles above. Those of William Dibblee and John Beardsley were hardly a mile further up the river.

The neighbourhood was at first, and still is, inhabited by Church of England people. I remember that a Baptist preacher once called at our house and asked my mother if she could direct him to the nearest Baptist family, where he might be entertained. My mother said the nearest Baptist was “Deacon Slipp”, four miles below. He said, “I did not suppose that one could travel four miles in New Brunswick without finding a Baptist.” My mother asked him to stay for supper and he gladly accepted the invitation.

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

The Peregrinations of Captain Gideon Vernon, UE

Gideon Vernon was born in 1743 in Nether Providence Township, Chester County (now Delaware County), Pennsylvania the son of Moses and Abigail (Woodward) Vernon. He married Phoebe Farr (daughter of Edward and Jane [Smith] Farr) of Edgemont Township, Chester County 6 Month 21, 1775 under the care of Newtown (Chester County, Pennsylvania) Monthly Meeting of Friends. And resided in Neither Providence Township before the Revolution.

In 1781 he was commissioned as a Captain in the Associated Loyalists by Lt. General Sir Henry Clinton and was employed in carrying dispatches into Pennsylvania from New York and in intercepting the mails. In his deposition to the Loyalist Claims Commissioners he stated that he had been in command of a Whaleboat raiding along the Delaware River.

He had become a military loyalist during Lt. General, the Hon. Sir William Howe’s Pennsylvania Campaign of 1777 being employed as a guide and in raiding and intercepting the mails. He was disowned by Chester Monthly Meeting 5 Mo. 25, 1778 for “appearing in arms and assisting in taking several persons from their dwellings in a violent manner.”

There was doubtless some connection in his official capacity between Captain Vernon and the “Doan gang” of Bucks County. Jesse Vickers, a member of this gang captured following their robbery of the county treasury, stated that he had met Capt. Vernon at a planning session of the gang. The Supreme Executive Council [of Pennsylvania] remitted the jail sentence of John Briggs of Chester County on June 3, 1783 for having sheltered Gideon Vernon but confirmed his fine of Pounds Sterling 50 and additionally required of him, the fees and costs of the prosecution and his good behavior for the next three years. In September of 1783 an act of the Pennsylvania General Assembly named Gideon Vernon as an accomplice of the “Doan gang” and offered a reward of Pounds Sterling 300; or a pardon and Pounds Sterling 100 to any member of the gang who aided in the apprehension of two other members.

With the Evacuation of New York, Gideon Vernon and his family were members of the “Quaker Company” that settled “Belle View” Beaver Harbour- Pennfield, New Brunswick.

Following the deterioration of the Beaver Harbour settlement following two devastating forest fires he, his wife and his five younger children returned to Chester County, Pennsylvania. Following an apology to Chester Monthly Meeting of Friends he was reinstated on 3 Mo. 25, 1799. In the same year he removed to Goshen Township, Chester County, six years later he removed to Darby, Delaware County, and in 1807 he removed yet again, his letter of removal going to Southern District Monthly Meeting in Philadelphia.

On March 29, 1809 Gideon his wife Phoebe and three of their children: William, Joshua and Peyton were granted a certificate to Yonge Street M.M. in Upper Canada. There he resided in the vicinity of Newmarket, Upper Canada and died 2 September 1829.

…Edwin A. Garrett IV, Esq., J.D.

The Tech Side: Publishing Your Research (Continued), by Wayne Scott

I want to begin by thanking Paul Caverly and Doug Grant for their comments and remarks regarding self publication. They are both well versed and good resources on this topic.

There are a number of us who know how to set up a Table Of Contents, Index, Footnotes, etc. in Microsoft Word, Corel Word Perfect, or Adobe InDesign. All of these programs will take in material from a favourite genealogy program and help create a publication. Adding photos, charts, maps or diagrams is not a problem. Touching up pictures, resizing and adjusting colour balance are all in a day’s work. In this method, the author has total control over their work and how it looks upon publication.

Some people would find learning these techniques a fairly steep learning curve. By upgrading your genealogy program, you will have the options of creating most of your publication right inside the program. (Older versions will not necessarily have all of these options that would be useful in publishing your material). I have found that the instructions are quite straight forward and fairly easy to follow.

Self publication with a company like Lulu can be quite easy also. Paul Caverly points out that your genealogy program will produce an Index of names and a Table of Contents, Copyright page, Preface and Introduction pages. Paul also mentioned that at Lulu, he created a cover, a Book Review and announcements among a number of other services. All of this was done for free. Your books are made available for sale online, and a profit on each book sold, can be built in if you wish. Again, all of these services and more are absolutely free.

Another point Paul made which bears repeating is that copies of the book need not be purchased and paid for by you then sold or distributed in some way. There is no stock on hand, just the website where copies can be purchased. He also added that for people who do not have computer access, books can be ordered for them. What’s not to like about this system?

For some people, this type of publication requires software updates and working through the tutorials and manuals to get an understanding of the process. This in itself may be a daunting task. Many UEL branches have members who have published and would likely help walk a new publisher through the process. Look for community programs that are aimed at self publication of books. Maybe this would be a good workshop to have through U.E.L. either regionally or at your local branch.

There are many Self Publishing guides available. A Google search will find a number of them, such as the iUniverse publishing guide, available for free by request; alternatively, check out wikiHow.

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

Creating 1812

On April 23 and 24, the Niagara 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council with the City of Hamilton Culture Division, the Grimsby 1812 Bicentennial Committee and representatives from Six Nations conducted the 2010 symposium: Creating 1812: Commemoration, National Identity and Role of the Arts. It was described as “An examination of the impact of the War of 1812 on shaping Canadian/American/First Nations identity and how the Arts can contribute to our understanding of that impact.” The keynote speaker on the Friday night was R.H. Thomson who with Martin Conboy produced The Vigil 1914-1918 Project in 2008.

That night also showcased the world premiere of Warships Down in which the War of 1812 shipwrecks the Hamilton and the Scourge from History Television’s Dive Detectives series produced by yap films.

In the depths of Canada’s Lake Ontario rest two of the best preserved wooden shipwrecks in the entire world – the Hamilton and the Scourge that were sunk in the War of 1812. The Fletchers join forces with a team of archaeologists, scientists and marine engineers in an attempt to penetrate the wrecks for the first time in almost 200 years to find out why they sank and why so many lives were lost.

WARSHIPS DOWN will be broadcast on History Television on 5 May 2010 at 6:00.pm and 11:00 p.m.

There were many exciting opportunities explored in the ten workshops held on the Saturday. Clearly, as we get closer to the commemoration of the War of 1812, it was obvious there is much that can be done to show the Loyalist connection to this event.


Milliken’s Historic Decision

At the Annual General Meeting held on 8 June 2002, the delegates established a Mission Statement with six approaches to” preserve, promote and celebrate the history and traditions of the Loyalist epoch in Canadian history”. By his actions in the House of Commons on 27 April 27, the Speaker of the House, Peter Milliken UE, made it very easy for the grade seven students gathered for a Loyalist presentation a few days later to understand our connection to the sixth area: defending and promoting the values and institutions fundamental to Canada’s United Empire Loyalist heritage and, in particular, the Constitutional Monarchy, the Commonwealth, Parliamentary Government, the Rule of Law, Human Rights and Unity. According to John Ibbitson of the Globe and Mail, “House Speaker Peter Milliken’s powerful ruling holding the Conservatives in apparent contempt of Parliament is nothing less than a plea to save our system of government.” In that classroom, I could point to one living Loyalist descendant whose daily life is focused on our Parliamentary Government. Our history had relevance.

For new members of UELAC who are unaware of the strengths Peter Milliken brings to both our Government and UELAC, I would recommend the article ” A Speaker who Knows his Stuff” by Michael Valpy also in the Globe and Mail.

When you think of our ancestors’ desire for peace, order and good government, reflect on the ongoing efforts of Peter Milliken, the Honorary President of UELAC.


“Branching Out” Extracts From Loyalist Gazette Now Online

In the last edition, it was noted that Grand River Branch was the first to pick up the suggestion to post the “Branching Out” section of the Loyalist Gazette to the individual branch histories. The extracts were transcribed from a limited collection of previous issues and posted to the Grand River website. As David Hill Morrison finds the other issues, he will post the additional extracts until he has a complete coverage of the thirty-five years of the Grand River.

The editor of the Loyalist Gazette, Bob McBride, has submitted the “Branching Out” reports from the fall 2004 to the fall 2009 issues. These will be posted to the individual Branch links as soon as the format is adjusted.

When each Branch sends me a transcription of the Loyalist Gazette reports in Word or rtf, they will be uploaded to the Branches of the UELAC section of the Dominion website. This week we have added the Abegweit Branch reports from 1989 to 1997 as well as Little Forks Branch reports from spring 1991 to fall 2009. Transcribers should note the format. As David said, “Along with documenting a running history of Branch activities and notable events, it’s a great way to inspire pride and rekindle memories.” Having ready access to the collected reports will also strengthen the development of the history of the UELAC.

…Frederick H. Hayward, President, UELAC

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are:
– Fairlamb, Samuel by Edwin Garrett
– Ross, Thomas Taylor to Bathias (Ross) Fortune – from Linda Drake, with certificate application
– Seeley, Augustus – from Barbara Andrew (Volunteer Alice Walchuk)
– Smith, Samuel by Marlene Kerr with certificate application
– Vankleek, Simeon to the Pringle Family (Volunteer Alice Walchuk), with certificate application
– Vernon, Gideon by Edwin Garrett


Sorting Samuel Smiths in the Loyalist Directory

In the Loyalist Directory there are currently four entries for Samuel Smith.

The second one is simply a placeholder where a note is placed when a Loyalist Certificate is issued to a Samuel Smith. As I don’t have access to the records in enough detail to tell which of the other three a new certificate has been issued to, there is little choice but to do that.

1. As people moved to get better land or for whatever other reason, does anyone know if Col Samuel Smith of the Home District is the same as either Samuel of New Brunswick, or Samuel of the Midland District, or if he is unique from either of those other two?

2. The redundant (placeholder) second entry for Samuel Smith shows Loyalist certificates issued to people in the following branches:

– Bay of Quinte 1983.04.12; Bay of Quinte 1983.05.31;

– Col. John Butler 1998.05.25; Col. John Butler 2003.11.24;

– Fredericton 1984.06.19; Fredericton 1996.08.06;

– Vancouver 1988.10.20;

Although I could make some assumptions, that would not be in anyone’s better interests. Can anyone identify which of the other three Samuel’s any one or more of those people are descended from.

Thanks for any help.

Doug Grant