“Loyalist Trails” 2010-23: June 6, 2010

In this issue:
The Honest Refugee and his Family — © Stephen Davidson
William and Sarah Frost (Part 2 of 14; © 2009 George McNeillie)
Book: Disappearing History of Niagara: The Graveyards of a Frontier Township, by David F. Hemmings
St. Alban Commemorative Service June 13, 2:00pm
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Information About Thomas Fuller, Named on a St Alban’s Church Tile
      + Source for Early Pioneer (i.e. Loyalist) Sketches


The Honest Refugee and his Family — © Stephen Davidson

In 1774, John Chandler, the father of 16 children, was forced to abandon his wife and children and flee to Boston, Massachusetts to escape persecution at the hands of angry rebel neighbours. The fifty-three year-old loyalist eventually found refuge in England where, because of his small request for compensation, he became known as the Modest Tory and the Honest Refugee.

Although he lost a great deal of property, power, and valuables, Chandler’s greatest loss was his wife. When she died in Worcester, Massachusetts, Mary had been separated from John for 9 years. But Chandler still had his children. These are their stories.

Shortly after John Chandler fled Worcester, rebels confined his oldest son John to his home. The younger John must have renounced any loyalist sympathies for he remained in Massachusetts after the Revolution and operated a successful mercantile business in nearby Petersham. He died in 1794, leaving five children to inherit his estate.

The next son, Clark Chandler, was a bit of a town character. Known for his inclination to wear red knee breeches, a short stature, and a caustic tongue, Clark was Worcester’s clerk. When he noted the protest of 43 loyalists in the town records in 1774, he was forced to strike it from the ledger “in the presence of the inhabitants”. Not pleased with how poorly Clark had scratched out the protest, the rebels put his fingers in an ink well and used them to blot out the loyalist protest. It was not long before Clark fled to Halifax. Later, he returned to Worcester, but was imprisoned for having held “correspondence with the enemy of this country”.

Clark appealed to be released due to health concerns. After paying a fine of pounds sterling 1000 and submitting to banishment to a nearby town, he was set free. Clark was later allowed to visit the ocean for “a peculiar bodily indisposition”. Following the Revolution, Clark returned to his hometown where he operated a store. In 1804, he died in his sixties, a confirmed bachelor and an example of a loyalist who remained in the United States.

Rufus was John Chandler’s first son by his second wife. A graduate of Harvard, he practised law in his hometown until the courts were closed in 1774. Rufus joined his father when he escaped from Worcester and sought refuge in Boston. He followed him to Nova Scotia and then to England. It is interesting that there is no record of Rufus making any appeal for compensation. Rebels banished Rufus from Massachusetts as they did his father, separating him from his wife for the rest of their lives. He has descendants in the United States today through his daughter Elizabeth.

Rufus’ younger brother Gardiner had been a merchant in Hardwick, Massachusetts before the Revolution. He, too, was forced to leave the colony because of his loyalist principles. His wife Elizabeth was the daughter of the noted Tory, General Timothy Ruggles. The citizens of Hardwick later voted to reinstate Gardiner because he said “he is sorry for his past conduct”, and they would “treat him as a friend and neighbour as long as he should behave well.” Gardiner moved to Vermont and then New Hampshire, leaving children and grandchildren.

The next Chandler brother was Nathaniel; he was just 24 years old when his father had to flee to Boston. Like his brother Rufus, he was a Harvard graduate and a lawyer. During the war Nathaniel commanded a loyalist volunteer militia, and for a time lived in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Royal.

William Chandler, two years Nathaniel’s junior, also settled with the loyalist refugees in Annapolis Royal. He sailed on the Ranger with a six year-old African slave who coincidentally was named William. Both Nathaniel and William Chandler eventually left Nova Scotia and returned to Massachusetts.

The younger sons of John Chandler all sided with the patriots. Charles was 19 when his father escaped to Boston; Samuel was 17, Benjamin was 13, and Thomas was just six years old. Since the “United Empire” designation is given to all those descended from loyalists, it is interesting to note that these sons and their descendants could all rightfully bear the designation “U.E.” thanks to the loyalty and sacrifice of their father, John Chandler the Modest Tory.

After receiving his “modest” financial compensation in 1785, John Chandler decided to visit his loyalist children in the Maritime colonies. At 65 years of age, he crossed the Atlantic with his son Rufus to visit Nathaniel and William in Nova Scotia and his daughter, Elizabeth Putnam who had settled in New Brunswick. Her husband James — another loyalist from Massachusetts — was now a judge of New Brunswick’s Supreme Court. Rufus Chandler toyed with the idea of opening a law practice in Halifax, but it was an impractical dream.

After a 15-month stay in Annapolis Royal, father and son returned to London, never to return to North America. The two Chandlers lived near one another; Rufus was noted as dining with his father every day. John Chandler died in 1800 in his 80th year and was buried at Islington. Twenty-three years later, Rufus Chandler was buried next to his father.

John Chandler’s wife and their 15 other children were all laid to rest in the soil of the North America. His daughter Elizabeth died in Saint John at 66 years of age. Her four sisters had married patriots, and her five brothers who were loyalists had all been re-assimilated into Massachusetts society. But all was not as it had been before the Revolution.

The Chandler family fortune had been lost as was the family’s place in the corridors of power. Men such as John Adams, the 2nd president of the United States, held fond memories of the Chandlers, but their influence had forever been diminished by the events of the American Revolution.

Such was the fate of the family of John Chandler, the man British society hailed as the Honest Refugee.

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

William and Sarah Frost (Part 2 of 14; © 2009 George McNeillie)

The Family Record of William and Sarah Frost here follows: Children:

1. Henry, born July 17, 1774

2. Polly, born Jan. 5, 1776. Married William Secord. (Polly’s daughter married Robert Ellison)

3. Sally, born July 3, 1779. d. April 8, 1780.

4. Sally (2?), born April 9, 1781, d. April 22, 1782.

5. Hannah, born July 30th, 1783.

6. William, born August 17, 1785.

7. Ezra, born July 17th , 1787.

8. Betsy, married Monmouth Fowler, Hampton

9. Sally (3?)

10. James, m. Miss Sharp of Millstream

In this family there occurs a marked example of the old-time practice of passing on the name of a deceased child to another one in the family — no fewer than three infants having received the name “Sally” Frost.

The two oldest children in the family, Henry and Polly, were aged respectively 9 and 7 years when they sailed from New York for their future home in New Brunswick. The next two children (both named Sally) died during the war. The fifth, Hannah, was born a month after they landed at St. John and is said to have been the second female child born at Parr-town.

Polly the second child was but a young Loyalist when she arrived in New Brunswick. She married William Secord and was the mother of Mary Secord my wife’s mother. The latter was born December 31, 1806, and died on the 12th of April, 1872. She was twice married, and had by her first marriage to George Ellison, five sons and one daughter, and by her second to John Nelson, four daughters. Of her mother’s children my wife was the ninth. George Ellison was a native of Yorkshire, England and came to America with his father. John Nelson was a native of Inniskillen, Ireland.

Mr. Nelson was one of those who went to California at the time of the “gold fever” and returned with some gold dust. He died away from home when his own children were quite young, and they were brought up by a very capable and devoted mother, who was a most consistent member of St. John’s Church in the days of good Mr. George Armstrong. Mrs. Nelson was buried in Hampton Church-yard, not far from Lower Norton the place where she had lived as a child. She was twice married in the old Hampton Church. John Nelson taught school in Hampton for a time.

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

Book: Disappearing History of Niagara: The Graveyards of a Frontier Township, by David F. Hemmings

The early settlers in Niagara Township, many of them were U.E.L.s, contributed greatly to the freedom that Canada now enjoys. As studies of Upper Canada are starting to become more local, David Hemmings has produced an indispensable guide to the lives and burials of this township. In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War in America and again in the 1812 War, loyalists poured into Niagara Township to provide supplies for the troops and a more settled homeland for themselves. They suffered destruction of their homes and property, and they fought for peace. These were ordinary people who were loyal to the British crown and who were prepared to survive the constant uncertainties of frontier township living.

This body of work starts to unravel and simplify some of the documented evidence about these people over two centuries in this frontier area. It also describes the limitations on existing historical records for this area, and on the disappearing evidence that now hampers research on eighteenth century Niagara. The book, for the first time, highlights the population fluctuations in the township and the improvement in longevity of these loyalists’ lives over the years; and it provides a detailed analysis of gravestone motifs, reflecting the economic and social fabric of many settlers during the first 200 years since European settlement began in 1780. This work uses surviving church records, family genealogies and gravestone documentation to account for burials in all 30 known graveyards in the township. The bulk of the book is dedicated to a detailed list of 10,000 burials in Niagara Township by graveyard, and alphabetized by surname for ease of search. The listings begin with the smaller, village and family graveyards in the township outside Niagara-on-the-Lake, and conclude with those in Niagara-on-the-Lake by church, and finally a summary of those in the new Lakeshore Cemetery.

In the preparation of and as background for this book, data was collected from numerous sources and entered into searchable electronic databases. First, all 6,000 visible gravestones that could be found in all 30 church, public and private graveyards in the township were photographed and put into a database, indexed by surname. Numerous written materials were researched to add to this current evidence in order to develop as complete a record as possible of all those who have been buried in Niagara Township since its initial settlement. Finally, the genealogies of 200 early families who made significant contributions to the development of the area have been developed, and information from this data also helped to confirm the compilation of all those believed to have been buried here.

This work will serve as a definitive record of those settlers who have lived in, and contributed to, Niagara Township since the area was first settled. This book is part of a larger study of the early families of the region which is currently in progress and which will follow in the near future. It is intended primarily for those interested in genealogical research in this area, and it is expected that those with an interest in the early history of Canada will also find it useful.

Released: 1 June 2010

ISBN 978-0-9865772-0-8
Softcover / 6″ x 9″ / Pp. xvi, 358 with illustrations
$34.95 + GST/shipping
Order online from Bygones Publishing

St. Alban Commemorative Service June 13, 2:00pm

You are invited to attend the United Empire Loyalist Commemorative Service at St. Alban the Martyr Anglican Church at Adolphustown on Sunday June 13 at 2:00pm. The service will commemorate the 226th anniversary of the landing of the Loyalists at Adolphustown on June the 16th, 1784.

The service will be Sung Evensong, with Rev. Joyce Blackburn and Fr. Bradley Smith, Chaplin of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal of the Mohawks officiating, with participation by the Mohawk Choir. Guest speaker will be Rev. Canon David Smith, Stewardship and Congregational Coordinator, Diocese of Ontario.

A Loyalist Tea will follow the service.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
– Munro, Daniel (Nova Scotia) – from Linda Hart with certificate application


Information About Thomas Fuller, Named on a St Alban’s Church Tile

One of the projects at the St. Alban Loyalist Church is to write a book with pictures of the the tiles found on the Church walls. For some of these individuals, little information has been found to date.

Thomas Fuller, died 1814. See image of tile.

Thomas was the son of Richard Fuller and Jane Roe. Thomas married Mary England. Their son, Thomas Brock Fuller (1810 – 1884) married Cynthia Street (1818-1892).

As you can read on the tile, Thomas was a Brevet Major in the 41st Regiment. If any of your military specialist readers can shed light on what that means it would be helpful.

This tile was paid for by Cynthia Fuller of Hamilton Ontario in 1889.

If you have additional information about these people or this family, or know of a probable source, please contact me.

Diane Berlet

Source for Early Pioneer (i.e. Loyalist) Sketches

I am a UEL descendant and work in school libraries in the Cornwall ON area (Roxmore PS, North Stormont PS, RO School, Longue Sault PS), an area in which the first European settlers were Loyalists. I have come across a series of “sketches” of early pioneer, ie. Loyalist, activities which were drawn by James Laughlin in 1966 (quite possibly for the Bicentennial Year). Copyright is with the Book Society of Canada Ltd 1996.

Does anyone know where I can get copies of these?

Carolyn Goddard, Elementary Library Tech