“Loyalist Trails” 2010-28: July 11, 2010

In this issue:
The Story of One Thousand Scalps — © Stephen Davidson
William and Sarah Frost (Part 7 of 14; © 2009 George McNeillie)
Loyalists, Canada Day and Royal Tour — Part Two
Loyalist Quarterly: July Issue Now Available
We Get Letters
The Tech Side: Digital You — by Wayne Scott
Last Post
      + Robert H Wolfenden, UE
      + Harriet Aileen Guymer, UE
      + Response re Alexander McQueen
      + Solomon Johns and/or Solomon Jones


The Story of One Thousand Scalps — © Stephen Davidson

In April of 1782, members of the French aristocracy living just outside Paris gasped in horror as they pored over a supplement to the Boston Independent Chronicle. With graphic details, the colonial newspaper recounted how a patriot officer in New York had intercepted eight packages of human scalps “cured, dried, hooped, and painted with all the Indian triumphal marks”.

Captain Samuel Gerrish of the New England militia found the scalps among animal skins that a loyalist Indian agent named James Craufurd had sent to Governor Haldimand in Quebec City. While the furs were destined for the hat makers of England, the scalps were to be presented to King George III for “his gratified amusement”. Collected over three years of military expeditions, the thousand scalps were shocking evidence of how the British had incited their Native allies to violence all along the American frontier.

A petition from an unnamed Seneca chief that was found among the animal furs included details of the scalpings and how the human skin and hair had been sorted after being stretched over hoops. The list begins with the scalps of 43 rebel soldiers, followed by 259 scalps of farmers killed in their homes or fields, 105 women’s scalps, 193 boys’ scalps, 211 girls’ scalps, and, finally, the scalps of 29 babies.

It was almost too much for the French to believe. Such atrocities against their American allies! Such cold-blooded disregard for human life amongst the British and their loyal natives!

Within months a Philadelphia newspaper reprinted the Indian agent’s letter. It assured its readers that the letter was “found in the baggage of General Burgoyne after his surrender to General Gates;” that it “was probably sent by an Indian … to be forwarded to the governor,” and that Crauford ” was probably a resident British agent with the Senecas.”

The horrific scalp story was later included in a number of history books of the Revolution. For years the account of the intercepted war trophies underscored the savagery of First Nations’ warriors and the cold-blooded nature of British military tactics. The loyalists who sided with such an empire and such ruthless allies were considered equally heartless. Accepted as historical fact, the scalp story helped to justify to later generations the American government’s disregard for loyalist land claims and its harsh treatment of Natives.

And yet the story of the thousand scalps was completely false.

There was no such newspaper as the Boston Independent Chronicle. Neither Captain Gerrish nor agent Craufurd ever existed. No Seneca chief thought that King George would be happy to receive one thousand rebel scalps. No part of the account was actually written within the Thirteen Colonies. It was composed in Passy, France by an American diplomat. Does the name Benjamin Franklin ring a bell?

In 1782, Franklin was living along the Seine River, preparing for the final and most crucial negotiations with the British government. In the midst of all of this stressful preparation, Franklin decided to create a bogus supplement to a nonexistent Boston newspaper and circulate it among his French associates.

Run off on his own printing press, Franklin’s Supplement to the Boston Independent Chronicle was dated March 12, 1782. On one side –surrounded by advertisements and notices that looked completely authentic– was an account of the British treatment of American prisoners. On the other was an “Extract of a Letter from Captain Gerrish, of the New England Militia.” –the story of 1,000 scalps bound for London.

Was Franklin trying to garner more support for the American cause in France? Did he think that the English public would be swayed by the story if it was believed to be true in France? Or was it just a way for Franklin to let off some creative “steam” as he prepared to meet with British negotiators?

Some historians believe that the scalp story was simply political satire — not unlike Jonathan Swift’s famous Gulliver’s Travels. It was not to be read as true, but as a commentary on the American Revolution. Although the Seneca chief’s style of address to Governor Haldimand and his detailed description of the scalp hoops sound credible enough as one begins to read the article, Franklin may have given a wink to his audience that this was really all a sham when he concluded the article. There the Indian agent’s suggestion that the scalps ought to be hung up on “some dark Night on the Trees in St. James’s Park, where they could be seen from the King and Queen’s Palaces in the Morning”.

“Amusing” as the piece might have been to more sophisticated readers, there was definitely harmful intent behind the article. After later confessing to a correspondent that he was the story’s author, Franklin ascertained that while the article’s “form may perhaps not be genuine, {nevertheless} the Substance is truth.” In other words, Franklin believed that loyal Natives had done such things and that the British had encouraged them.

Although Franklin may have printed only a dozen copies for his French audience, the scalp story took on a life of its own. A Philadelphia newspaper’s reprinting of the Supplement to the Boston Independent Chronicle later in 1782 — where it was received as an authentic document rather than a satirical piece– spread the slander and defamation to a far wider audience.

Whether it helped to deepen the prejudices against loyal Natives in his own day or served to keep racist sentiment alive by its inclusion in later history books, Franklin’s story of 1,000 scalps defamed and denigrated a people whose only crimes were to remain allied with the British monarchy and to defend the land which had been theirs for generations.

To read the full text of “An Extract of a Letter from Captain Gerrish, of the New England Militia”, see Vol.II, Ch.35 of Edgerton Ryerson’s book, The Loyalists and their Times.

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

William and Sarah Frost (Part 7 of 14; © 2009 George McNeillie)

The Diary of Sarah Frost (continued)

Monday, June 16. Off at last! We weighed anchor about half after five in the morning, with the wind north-nor’west and it blows very fresh. We passed the Lighthouse about half after seven. We have twelve ships belonging to our fleet besides the Commodore’s. it is now half after — and a signal has been fired for the ships all to lie to for the Bridgewater, which seems to lag behind, I believe on account of some misfortune which happened to her yesterday. It is now 9 a.m. and a signal has been fired to crowd sail again. But once more we have orders to lie to — what for I do not know, as the Bridgewater has come up. It is now two o’clock, and we have again got under way. We have been waiting for a ship to come from New York, and she has now overhauled us. We have now a very light breeze, have got all our fleet together. We have thirteen ships, two brigs, one frigate belonging to our fleet. The frigate is our commodore’s. It is now three o’clock, and the men are fishing for mackerel. Mr. Mills has caught the first one. I never saw a live one before. It is the handsomest fish ever beheld. We are becalmed, and I feel unwell and retire.

Tuesday, June 17. The wind has begun to blow very fresh, and I am too unwell to leave my bed. The captain says we have sailed about six and twenty miles from the Lighthouse, the wind south-west. They say that is a fair wind for us. We are out of sight of land at half after nine.

Wednesday, June 18. I feel very well this morning and go to work, soon the wind blows fresh and I have to go back to my berth. At noon we are 110 miles from Sandy Hook Light, with the wind very fair at south-west.

At half after five we saw something floating on the water. Some thought it was a wreck; others said it was a dead whale. One of our ships put about to see what it was, but we can’t tell. I wish I knew. At sunset we are one hundred and fifty miles on our way.

Thursday, June 19. We are still steering eastward with a fine breeze. We make seven miles an hour the chief part of the day. About noon we shift our course and are steering North by East. At two o’clock Captain says we are 250 miles from Sandy Hook, with the wind West Nor’ West.

At six o’clock we saw a sail ahead. She crowded sail and put off from us, but our frigate knew how to speak to her, for at half past seven she gave her a shot which caused her to shorten sail and lie to. Our Captain looked with his spy-glass at her. He told us she was a Rebel brig; he saw her thirteen stripes. She was steering to the westward. The wind blows so high this evening I am afraid to go to bed for fear of rolling out.

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

Loyalists, Canada Day and Royal Tour — Part Two

UELAC had a second opportunity to witness the 22nd Royal Tour by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip on 30 June 2010. Representatives from the Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch, Heritage Branch, Sir Guy Carleton Branch and Col. Edward Jessup quickly rewrote their personal planners with less than 24 hours notice to be present at the ceremonial planting of a red oak at Rideau Hall. Once again, our Association can thank the Canadian Secretary to the Queen for this honour.

In 2009, when it was first announced that His Royal Highness Prince Charles was coming to Canada, Kevin S. MacLeod, Canadian Secretary to the Queen, was asked if UELAC could be involved. As Her Royal Highness, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was a United Empire Loyalist descendant of Rev. John Stuart through his granddaughter, Mary MacNab wife of Sir Allan Napier MacNab, Dundurn Castle was a most appropriate site to establish our presence. A similar request was made when the Royal Tour of 2010 was announced.

Biographies of Mr. MacLeod can be found on line, but in Maclean’s July 19th issue (Volume 124 Number 27) Patricia Treble has provided additional information of his duties as “master planner of Canadian Royal Tours”. Our presence at Rideau Hall can be linked to his statement – “Today, [a tour] must carry a very strong message of relevancy”. UELAC was made to feel relevant at Rideau Hall.

As for the choice of the tree, George Anderson reminded me that no one in the media mentioned the significance of the Oak. “King Charles II hid in a oak tree during the English Civil War after losing a decisive battle while the Roundhead soldiers searched the forest for him. Shortly afterwards he fled to France. Hence it became the Royal Oak. A oak still grows on the site of this historic event in England. It is either the third or fourth generation of the original oak. Members of UELAC are well aware of the significance of the oak leaves in the Members Badge.

Global TV has posted Carolyn Jarvis’ news coverage which includes images of UELAC members and a quote from Dorothy Meyerhof of the Sir Guy Carleton Branch.

I appreciate that, in turn, Dorothy Meyerhof has provided a personal review of the ceremonial planting of the tree at Rideau Hall by Her Majesty for Loyalist Trails. To read the details and view the photographs, click here.

…Frederick H. Hayward UE, President UELAC

Loyalist Quarterly: July Issue Now Available

The latest issue of the only U.S. journal devoted to Loyalist studies contains, among others, these topics:

– American Loyalist Regiments

– White Loyalists of Williamsburg

– Loyalist Reading

– The 2nd Annual Harold Cromwell Arts Festival

– For Scottish Research

– The Black Loyalist Heritage Society

– Canada During the American Rebellion Material

– What is A Loyalist

– Black Loyalists in the American Revolution

– Plaque at Bishop’s University, Lennoxville, QC

– Some Loyalist Regiment Histories

– The Gaspe Loyalists

More information including subscription details at Paul J. Bunnell’s website.

Editor/Author Paul J. Bunnell, UE

We Get Letters

Like Perry Como, the Dominion Office receives a variety of communications each week keeping us up to date with our allied heritage groups and supporters. The easiest way to share them with members across Canada is to advise you of the source and provide the link.

– The Black Loyalist Heritage Society held its Annual General Meeting on 27 June 2010. Shari Sutcliffe has provided the minutes here.

– Laura E. Beardsley, Executive Director, Germantown Historical Society in Pennsylvania has shared her newsletter, Drums, Fifes and Flags! here.

– In June, we published his speech at the United Empire Loyalist Monument in Hamilton. This week, Nathan Tidridge, Education Chairman for the Monarchist League of Canada, was published in the Letters to the Editor of the Hamilton Spectator. Here is the link to his editorial.


The Tech Side: Digital You — by Wayne Scott

Genealogists are great at organizing any and all information relating to relatives. Do you use the same zeal in gathering all of your personal information into one spot? Is it safe on your computer? The people at InformationSafe don’t think so, or at least help is needed.

In order to help this information gathering process, InformationSafe has gathered together about 250 templates to guide the personal information gathering process. For instance, they have templates to gather emergency information, computer password(s), web accounts, credit cards, family medical history, home alarm settings, memberships and education specifics. Templates are available for Financial, Medical, Insurance, Property, Legal, Passports and Key Contacts categories. InformationSafe has an online version, but well over 60% of its sales go for a desktop version. At present, the cost is $50.00 US, which will run on either a Windows or Macintosh system. InfoSafe’s online backup service is available for $30.00 a year.

There are other resources available to do this job. Orggit also guides the user through the information gathering process. This service is strictly online. The cost is $50.00 US a year. With the number of email and other online accounts being compromised these days, some people wonder if they really want all of their vital information posted online with the possibility of being hacked. However, the company takes their security seriously, offering multiple layers of passwords, doing everything it can to protect your information. Another kudo for Orggit is they have an IPhone App that allows quick access to this information.

The good thing about online services and backups is that they are accessible anywhere in the world. You never know when you might need this type of information when you’re travelling.

I know that personal computers are not necessarily as secure as we would like them to be. Not everyone uses strong passwords, nor do they use industrial strength firewalls. In light of this, InformationSafe allows the user to backup their information onto flash drives. The flash drive files can be password protected and encrypted if desired. It is also easy to make copies that can be left with family members or placed is secure locations, and flash drives travel well.

The InformationSafe program also allows for automatic backup of your information if it is changed. As we age, this type of incremental backup is really beneficial as we sometimes forget to back up our information. When was the last time you backed up your email account records, inbox or contact lists?

There are many features of this type of information organization that stand out. One which would be particularly appealing would be the fact that scanned documents can be saved either online or on your computer/flash drive. We are used to working with documents and records and saving scanned versions. From what I see, these programs encourage us to use techniques that we are familiar with.

Another technique that is often useful, particularly if you want to cut down on the size of the information file that you are saving is to ‘zip’ it. Many people use winzip or stuffit. Unless you have an evaluation copy, there is a fee for downloading the programs. An alternative might be jZip. This free program has received some good reviews online.

With all said and done, programs such as InformationSafe and Orggit cause us to focus on our own world and what makes it tick. They help us keep track of important things and put information right at our fingertips. Do yourself a favour, gather your personal information together and make sure those closest to you have up to date copies.

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

Last Post

Robert H Wolfenden, UE

WOLFENDEN, Robert H (Bob) – UEL Entered into rest at his home, with his loving family by his side, on Sunday, June 27, 2010 at the age of 73 years. Husband of Judith (Curran) Wolfenden of Maitland. Father to Philip (Marianne) Wolfenden, Laura (Marc Ford) and Dawn Kennedy (Scott Clucas). Loving grandfather of Logyn, Derek and Kathleen Ford, Kayleigh and Dawson Kennedy and Dylan Clucas. Also survived by his sister Joan Kuby and by his niece Mary Jo Kuby.

The Liturgy of the Christian Funeral was held at St. Francis Xavier Church on Friday, July 2, 2010 followed by cremation at Roselawn. Private interment will take place at St. James Cemetery, Maitland. Visit a Celebration of Life online memorial at www.irvinefuneralhome.com – via Brockville Recorder & Times

…Lynne Cook UE

Harriet Aileen Guymer, UE

GUYMER, Harriet Aileen UE – September 1, 1916 – July 6, 2010, Aileen Guymer of Calgary, passed away at the age of 93 years. Aileen was born in London, and lived in Woodstock, Ontario, for most of her life. She taught music to many students over the years, and was also an organist and choir director. Aileen moved to Calgary in 1988.

She was a life-long member of the I.O.D.E., and a member of the Calgary Branch of the United Empire Loyalist.

A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. To email expressions of sympathy: ccl@hffs.com, subject heading: Aileen Guymer. Heritage Funeral Services, “Calgary Crematorium Chapel” – via London Free Press

…Lynne Cook UE


Response re Alexander McQueen

I have transcripts of the following documents which show Alexander’s Loyalty…

Memorial signed in St. Augustine, Florida, to Captain & Governor Patrick Tonyn, on 11 Sept 1783. This memorial notes that there is considerable disorder at the northern border of the area due to incursions of Patriots & other brigands, and requests that more than ten thousand loyal inhabitants be resettled to other British colonies. Alexander McQueen signed this document.

A transcription of page 50 from the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, showing names of Loyalists receiving land grants, where we see… McQueen, Alexander, 1785, in ‘Merigumush’, receiving 100 acres, for his service as a Private in the 82 Regiment.

Richard Ripley

Solomon Johns and/or Solomon Jones

I’ve been motoring along with my master rolls of Burgoyne’s Loyalists who went on his expedition of 1777 and had deluded myself into thinking that these two names represented the same fellow. However, not so!

What I cannot determine is if the fellow who is most frequently referred to as Johns is actually a Jones and, if so, what relation he is, if at all, to Dr. Solomon Jones, the brother of John, Jonathon and David.

Is Solomon Johns/Jones a son of one of the brothers? If so, when did he join the army from Canada? He submitted a memorial which claims he joined in 1777, but he is not found on any of the rolls and lists of the various loyalist regiments that served under Burgoyne.

Everything you see below was under the one name — S/Mate Solomon Jones — until today. I have now divided the entries to look like this:

S/Mate Solomon Jones. Personal: b.1756 — CT; d.1822 – ON.(P49,S37) Wife — Mary Tunnifcliff. b.1765; d.1820.(S23) Property of Solomon Johns confiscated by VT, 1778.(S51) Dr. Jones, mother Sarah & girl Ann at Montreal, 22Jun78.(T38) Daughter above 10 at St. John’s, 01Jul79.(P47) A surgeon.(T95) Services: Surgeon’s Mate, Jon Jones’s Coy, ’76&24Jan77.(T25,T27) Name struck out on Convention Call Roll in Eben Jessup’s Coy, 17Oct77.(T31) A roll of enlistments and casuals for 25Jun-24Oct77, shows Jones as Surgeon’s Mate in Eben Jessup’s Coy, appointed 25Jun77.(P4) Appointed to the General Hospital, 01Nov77.(WO28/10/8) The muster roll, 14Jul81, noted Jones was appointed S/Mate 04Nov76.(T47) Solomon Jones was surgeon’s Mate, LR on disbandment.(P49,S27)

Solomon Johns. Services: Petitioned on 29Mar79 that he had “gone upon several very hazardous & fatiguing scouts and signed Solomon Johns.(HP, AddMss21874, 98) Jones in Secret Service at St. John’s, 01Jul79.(P47) Solomon Johns noted as joining the King’s troops in 1777 and being appointed Lieut of KR in 1779.(PRO, CO42/46, ff.246-53) Lieut Solomon Johns, KR, 08Sep80.(T97) Lieut, Pritchard’s Coy, KR on 27Jan84.(T97)

I have found no record of what capacity Solomon Johns served in with Burgoyne’s army in 1777. The only reference to having joined in that year is that petition found in CO42/46.


Crowder’s “Early Ontario Settlers lists the men separately.

Lieut Solomon Jones was settled at Cataraqui Township No.3 (Fredericksburgh) with a woman and a boy over ten and two servants by 06Oct84. A second entry shows Solomon Johns was settled at Cataraqui Township No.3 (Fredericksburgh) by 1785. As he had been a lieutenant of the King’s Rangers, that makes perfect sense that he would settled at CT3 where the majority of the KR settled.

Dr. Solomon Jones settled at Royal Township No.7 (Augusta) in 1785 and, in a second entry, Doctor Sol’n Jones was noted at RT7.


Reid’s “Loyalists in Ontario lists the two men separately. On p.163, there’s Solomon Johns of Elizabethtown. On p. 167, there’s Solomon Jones of Augusta.


Does anyone have any information about either of these two men or their families which might answer at least some parts of this mystery? Many thanks,

Gavin Watt