“Loyalist Trails” 2010-22: May 30, 2010

In this issue:
O’Keefe Ranch Extends early Welcome to UELAC Conference
John Chandler, the Modest Tory — © Stephen Davidson
William and Sarah Frost (Part 1 of 14; © 2009 George McNeillie)
The Loyalist: Philip Skene of Skenesborough
Honours and Recognition
St. Paul’s Windows Restored; Dedication June 27 in Birchtown (added link)
The Tech Side — Spring Cleaning Your Monitor, Keyboard and Mouse — by Wayne Scott
Additions to the Loyalist Directory


O’Keefe Ranch Extends early Welcome to UELAC Conference

The historic O’Keefe Ranch, which presents the Cowboy Dinner Show with Rob Dinwoodie and Friends on this coming Friday evening to those attending Conference, extended an early welcome with the UEL flag flying – see the photo of the flag at the ranch. This is the oldest ranch in the Interior of British Columbia, where we will see black powder demonstrations, and try our hand at gold-panning with the Vernon Placer Miners. The guest speaker is O’Keefe Ranch curator Ken Mather.

John Chandler, the Modest Tory — © Stephen Davidson

1774 was not a good year to be a loyalist in Massachusetts, and yet John Chandler was. His loyalty provoked such animosity, that rebels carried him through the streets, fired shots into his home, and labelled him “Tory John”.

1785 was not a good year to be a loyalist in Great Britain, and yet John Chandler was. More than half of the refugees who fled the Thirteen Colonies during the Revolution settled in the United Kingdom. While the British government may have appreciated all that the loyalists had sacrificed during the war, it was suspicious and stingy when it came to making financial restitution. Many officials suspected that the loyal colonists were making false or inflated claims. Consequently, very few loyalists received a fair or full compensation for all that they had sacrificed in remaining true to the crown.

1785 was a bad year to be a loyalist, but for John Chandler, it was a moment in the spotlight of celebrity. This is his story.

Like so many New England loyalists, Chandler’s roots in the Thirteen Colonies were very deep, going back to 1637. The first two generations of Chandlers were farmers, but within two more generations the family were members of the colonial aristocracy.

One John Chandler’s descendants later described him with these words. “He succeeded to the military, municipal, and some of the judicial offices of his father and grandfather, and inherited the characteristic traits of his ancestors. He was cheerful in temperament, engaging in manners, hospitable as a citizen, friendly and kind as a neighbor, and industrious and enterprising as a merchant.”

Chandler was exactly the kind of man that many loyalist descendants liked to believe was typical of all of loyalist refugees — a member of the American colonial aristocracy. But of course, the vast majority of loyalists were members of the middle or working classes. Nevertheless, Chandler is an interesting example of an upper class loyalist.

John Adams, the second president of the United States, wrote about Chandler’s family in his diary. “The Chandlers exercised great influence in the County of Worcester until they took the side of government in the Revolution, and lost their position … The family of the Chandlers were well bred, agreeable people, and I visited them as often as my school, and my studies in the lawyer’s office would admit.”

Despite his success in business and politics, John Chandler’s life was touched by tragedy. A widower with three children, he wed Mary Church in 1746. They would have 13 children of their own by 1770.

Within four years of the last Chandler child’s birth, the battle lines between patriot and loyalist were well defined. John was one of 52 loyalists who signed a protest against the rebels of Massachusetts, making himself “very obnoxious” to the patriots of the colony.

Within three months, an angry mob attacked Chandler and others, dragging them through the streets in an attempt to intimidate them and bring them over to the rebel cause. Repeated attempts to force Chandler to renounce his loyalty failed until the day came when he felt that he would be executed if he did not sign a rebel oath.

Chandler’s signature spared his life, but it did not carry any conviction. He quickly fled Worcester, and sought the protection of the British army in Boston. He became a member of a loyalist militia and defended the city from rebel attacks. Four sons eventually joined Chandler in Boston; his son John V was confined to his home while his son Clark was imprisoned in the local jail. Chandler’s wife stayed in Worcester to hold onto the family estate.

Mary Chandler was more than capable of looking after herself. A story has survived which describes how she had two kettles of water boiling over the kitchen fireplace to scald freshly butchered pigs. When rebel soldiers walked into the kitchen, Mary ordered them to leave immediately or — indicating the kettles with her hand– “in you go”. The loyalist wife was so fearsome that the soldiers beat a hasty retreat. Mary’s tenacity was also evident in the fact that she repeatedly made petitions to the Massachusetts government to retain family property that the state had confiscated in retaliation for John’s loyalty.

When the British evacuated Boston in March of 1776, “Tory John” Chandler went to Halifax with them. By July, he had found refuge in England. He would never see his Mary again; she died in 1783.

In the wake of the Revolution, the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists began to hear petitions from displaced Americans in Britain. The commissioners had been interviewing loyalists since September of 1784, and six months of hearings had only made them highly suspicious of the validity of some refugees’ claims. It was not a good year to be a loyalist.

Thursday, March 31, 1785 was John Chandler’s day to speak before the commissioners. They must have paled when they saw that Chandler’s American property and possessions were valued at pounds sterling 36,190. However, Chandler decided that he would make “no claim for any part of his estate but what appears to be confiscated.” He firmly believed that he would “be able to recover such parts of it as are not confiscated”. He asked the commission for compensation for only a third (or –according to one account– one fifth) of his losses — those sustained “from income from office, from destruction of business, and other causes”.

The commissioners were awe-struck that a loyalist did not seek restitution for all of his losses — or inflate the value of his land. They immediately ruled that he was “a zealous and meritorious loyalist”. Wherever the story of his request was told, Chandler was described as “the Modest Tory” and the “Honest Refugee”. It would be his claim to fame for the rest of his life.

The fate of John Chandler, the Modest Tory, and his loyalist sons will be revealed in the next edition of Loyalist Trails.

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

William and Sarah Frost (Part 1 of 14; © 2009 George McNeillie)

[Julia Nelson was the wife of W.O. Raymond, and, on her mother Mary Secord’s side, was directly descended from four Mayflower passengers: John, Joan and Elizabeth Tilley and John Howland — a fact of which both she and Raymond were evidently unaware. Her Loyalist ancestors included William and Sarah (Schofield) Frost and William and Ruth (Hunt) Secord].

The Stamford local historian has something concerning the Frost and Scofield [sic] families. William Frost’s people were I think all Loyalists, but some of the Scofields seem to have been in sympathy with the Revolutionary party, and Frost’s was one of the sad instances of the many families which were divided in consequence of the war.

Early in the controversy, William Frost was regarded as a Tory. In consequence he was harshly treated by the “Sons of Liberty,” proscribed and banished, and threatened with death if he ventured to return. The insults and injuries he had received rankled in his heart, and on a Saturday night in July, 1781, he crossed the Sound from Lloyd’s Neck on Long Island to Connecticut at the head of an armed party bent on retaliation. Most of the leaders of the Revolutionary party in Stanford belonged to the Rev. Dr. Mather’s congregation, the Doctor himself being a staunch advocate of American Independence. There was no good-will between the Doctor and the Loyalists. The expeditionary party, guided by Capt. Frost, secreted themselves in a swamp near the meeting-house, and on the next day, which was Sunday, they surprised and captured the whole congregation while at church. Selecting forty-eight of the most ardent “patriots,” including the minister, the party hastened to their boats, conveyed the prisoners across the Sound, and took them to the fortified post at Lloyd’s Neck, where it is needless to say they were greeted in no complimentary fashion by their old neighbours, whom they had persecuted and banished.

This exploit is characterized by the Stamford historian as “a sacrilegious foray,” but was regarded by the Loyalists as a just retaliation for the ill-treatment they had themselves endured.

Needless to say this exploit rendered William Frost very obnoxious to the Stamford “patriots,” and made it out of the questions for him to return at the peace. When he fled to Long Island for refuge in 1777, his life had been threatened by his enemies, and he is said to have been conveyed to the vessel in which he took passage across the Sound concealed in a load of hay. He was afterwards joined at Lloyd’s Neck by his wife and two little children.

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 Loyalist: Philip Skene of Skenesborough

Among American colonists at the outbreak of the Revolution, a number adhered to the political cause with which they had been affiliated and never wavered in their beliefs in and loyalty to Great Britain and its King. At the end of the war they would find their lands forfeited and having to face a new start in strange surroundings. The following is an account of a neighbor of the Jessup Brothers in the Southeastern Adirondack area of New York , Philip Skene.

THE LOYALIST. In “Philip Skene of Skenesborough” by Doris Begor Morton, it is slated “the story of the Loyalists of the American Revolution had never been justly or sympathetically told. While our libraries are full of biographies of our founding fathers, the life stories of those same founders who espoused the British side of that conflict of 1775 have been left a great blank”. Published in 1959, the account of Philip Skene filled part of that void. Now with the passage of forty-three years, “Divided Loyalties, How The American Revolution Came To New York” by Richard M. Ketchum depicts in detail both sides to the American Revolution in New York, both sides, just as dedicated, equally certain of their beliefs. Especially for Loyalists, it is worth asking whether a quick death may not have been preferable for some of those individuals who were forced to endure what amounted to a slow death in poverty and exile, deprived of what they regarded as their country, the land they loved.

In regard to Philip Skene, the same attributes of steadfastness and perseverance that made him persist in his efforts to establish his colony at the head of Lake Champlain (now known as Whitehall, New York) from the year 1759 to the period of the American Revolution dictated his adherence to the political cause with which he had been affiliated and he never wavered in his belief in and loyalty to Great Britain and its King.

Skene became acquainted early with the territory around Skenesborough. He knew the value of its land and its trees. His close association with General Jeffrey Amherst disclosed the General’s idea that some bulwark settled by disbanded soldiers should be established between the old enemies, the French in Canada and the English at Albany.

In the year 1759 Skene began to settle Skenesborough. Through executive ability and foresight he obtained over 56,000 acres of land and settled a large number of tenants on it. His fair terms, tact, and aid during the lean years brought him respect and loyalty. On October 22, 1779, however, during the American Revolution, the State of New York took this sizable piece of property. By an Act of Attainder, the state confiscated the Skene property; and declared Philip and his son Andrew outlaws. The state declared them as adherents to the enemies of the State.

Philip and Andrew Skene should not have lost their land. On November 30, 1782, the Articles of Peace between Great Britain and the United States, signed in Paris, declared that no more confiscations of land should be made and that provision for the restoration of estates of real British subjects should be made. In January of 1784 Congress ratified the articles. Philip and Andrew did not live in America after the Declaration of Independence, and therefore should have been considered real British subjects. In 1785 they requested the restoration of their lands but to no avail.

According to the Book of Forfeitures containing the record of confiscated lands in this area, the state sold 35,000 acres of Skene’s land for about 20,729 Pounds. Not all his acreage is listed. The Skene’s lost a rich estate that gave them a large annual income and received nothing for the land so unjustly wrested from them.

With the news of the confiscation of his lands authenticated, Philip began a long and exhaustive campaign, not for reimbursement but for compensation for loss of income and actual property expended for the use of the British army. Other men in like positions and even lower in rank had received their pay with rations, forage, bat money and other sums.

An extraordinary one-man letter-writing campaign occupied Skene’s time. Over the years he asked for affidavits, thanked those who gave information, urged correction of misinformation, and sought every scrap of aid he could find. The final result became a memorial to the King through the proper channels asking for his back salary as Lieutenant Governor of Ticonderoga and Crown Point and payment for items of sustenance he had furnished the British army. He held this memorial until proof became secured that the lands at Skenesborough could not be saved for him.

Finally convinced that he had lost everything in America and could not return, he appealed to the commissioners who heard Loyalist cases. They decided that Philip Skene because of his great losses in America, his great services to the government, and his large family, should have an allowance amounting at least to half pay of a colonel. From October 10, 1784, he received an annuity of 180 Pounds. This annuity and sums collected from several other accounts enabled him to live independently for the rest of his life.

Personal integrity became an outstanding trait that ruled Philip’s life. He kept his oral and written promises, performing his duty in all things and expecting others to do the same. His belief in the integrity of others led in a large measure, to the British defeat in the Battle at Bennington.

Citizens of Whitehall can be grateful to Philip Skene — soldier, builder, proprietor, farmer — for carving out a settlement at the head of Lake Champlain, which some consider the birthplace of the United States Navy.

To this day, it is not known as to how the settlement received the name Whitehall during the early days of the republic. Is it possible that the naming of the settlement became a decision made by early governing officials as a memorial to the memory of one who could not return to his home and land he loved?

…G. William Glidden, MAJOR ( R ) NYARNG, Vice President, Regional Development and Historian, NYS Military Heritage Institute

Honours and Recognition

The strength of our association is embedded in the willingness of so many members to tackle a variety of tasks or projects to ensure awareness of our Loyalist heritage across Canada. Over the past 96 years, these voluntary actions have resulted in bronze plaques and unique monuments, accumulative research and broader publication, as well as jubilant celebrations and improved organization. A new folder is being developed on the Dominion website to serve as an ongoing resource wherein the varied forms of recognition and the names of the honoured are recorded and accessible. Honours and Recognition will contain information on the national as well as regional acknowledgements of those who have served the association over the years. Starting with our Honourary Officers, the UELAC Dorchester Award, the Order of Meritorious Heritage, the Loyal Americans Wall of Honour and the Philip E. M. Leith Memorial Award, history of the awards and biographical information about those so honoured will be added as one more way for UELAC to express its gratitude for past services.

In addition, the Honours and Recognition folder will serve as a resource for the Book of Remembrance, Memorial Fund, and Loyalist Obituary Protocol.

…Frederick H. Hayward UE, President.

St. Paul’s Windows Restored; Dedication June 27 in Birchtown

The Black Loyalist Heritage Society has sent an invitation to UELAC to attend the dedication of the stained glass windows in St. Paul’s Church, Birchtown, Nova Scotia on 27 June 2010.. As a result of a Dominion project in 2007, the Vancouver Branch and many individuals stepped forward with sufficient funds to assist with the restoration of four of the windows.


The Tech Side — Spring Cleaning Your Monitor, Keyboard and Mouse — by Wayne Scott

Do you eat breakfast in front of your computer? How about snacks? It is quite possible that tiny crumbs have been left behind and are gumming up your desktop peripherals. The cleaning process is easy and could be done often.

Cleaning Kit

– Distilled Water
– Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol)
– Q-Tips
– Small dish for mixing
– Can of compressed air
– Soft cloths
– Glass Cleaner

The first step is to shut your computer off, and to disconnect the monitor if easily accessible, the keyboard and mouse. The mechanical mouse is connected to your computer by either a USB wire or a plug. Write down which sockets the mouse and keyboard are connected to.

The Monitor

If you have one of the old style monitors which is boxy and heavy, it is likely a CRT (cathode ray tube). With power disconnected, first use a dry cloth to wipe the surface completely. Spray some glass cleaner onto a soft cloth and gently clean the glass surface. Do not spray the cleaning solution directly onto the screen as some may run behind the plastic moulding and into the wiring inside. A vacuum works well to suck up any dust that is in the crevices.

The newer flat panel and laptop screens can seem like dust magnets. Using a soft cloth, wipe the entire surface of your disconnected monitor gently. Do not use cleaning sprays. Mix some distilled water and rubbing alcohol in equal parts. Dip a soft cloth into the solution to dampen the cloth; do not wet the cloth too much. Please do not use a spray bottle to apply the cleaning solution. Gently rub screen, not applying too much pressure. Damage can be done to the LCD screen if too much pressure is applied. Be sure to wipe off any excess liquid. Paper towels and napkins are not recommended as they often leave trace amounts of the paper behind.

The Keyboard

Please make sure the keyboard is not attached to the computer that has already been shut down. Gently turn your keyboard over and let the majority of dust and crumbs fall out. You might want to gently press the keys to dislodge some of the debris. Now turn the keyboard onto its side and use the compressed air to blow out more dust etc. Be sure to get between the keys. Dip a Q-Tip into the distilled water and alcohol cleaning solution and rub all sides of the keys to get rid of dust and grime. A vacuum can be used to help remove deep down dust. A soft cloth dampened with your cleaning solution can be used to clean the key tops and the sides of the keyboard.

The Mouse

The original mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbaft in 1963. It has evolved a lot since then. Please make sure that the mouse is detached from the computer. If you have a mechanical mouse, one that is tethered to your computer by a cable and has a ball located in a socket in the bottom, you will have to take it apart. There is likely a plastic ring that keeps the ball in place with arrows to signify which direction to turn the ring to release it and the rubber ball. With a cotton swab dipped in your cleaning solution rub the inner wheels that the ball spins on. These wheels collect dust and may be quite caked. You may need tweezers to remove the dust and lint. The ball itself can be cleaned with a dampened cloth and the mouse can be reassembled. It should work quite fine when reattached to your computer once Spring Cleaning is completed.

You may have an Optical mouse. These have a red light (LED) on the bottom that comes on when the mouse is being used. This type of mouse does not have a ball. There is nothing to remove on this mouse. With your Q-Tip dampened slightly, rub the lens of the red light on the bottom. Do this gently trying to get into all the corners. As the mouse moves across the mouse pad, it picks up dust and lint. Cleaning the LED often keeps it working smoothly. It only takes a few moments to clean an optical mouse. Since it is touched all the time, sometimes by multiple users, wiping the surface with a cloth dampened with your cleaning solution will help prevent the spread of germs. If you have done a good job, one could say that your mouse will be squeaky clean.

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

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

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
– Carmen, Michael Sr. – from Barbara Andrews (Volunteer Alice Walchuk)
– Middaugh, Martin – from Gary Middaugh with certificate application
– Walker, Daniel Sr. – from Dianne Rempel (Volunteer Alice Walchuk)