“Loyalist Trails” 2010-34: August 22, 2010

In this issue:
The Man in the Secret Room — © Stephen Davidson
Reverend John Beardsley (1732 – 1809) © George McNeillie
Historical Bus Trip to “East of Toronto” by York Pioneers on Saturday 18 September 2010
The Tech Side — Becoming a Dictator — by Wayne Scott
Last Post: Margeuretta Mellor Allen, August 28, 1912 – July 31, 2010
      + Samuel Rose and Family


The Man in the Secret Room — © Stephen Davidson

On November 20, 1775, Connecticut rebels stormed the vicarage of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Westchester, New York. Pulling the Rev. Samuel Seabury and his family from their beds, the rebels speared nightcaps with their bayonet blades, heaped verbal abuse on the daughters, and threatened the lives of Mrs. Seabury and her five-year-old son. The patriots robbed the vicar of all of his money and silverware, and seized his livestock before carrying him sixty miles north to New Haven, Connecticut. After parading Seabury around town as an obnoxious tory, the rebels imprisoned him for over a month.

Eventually, Seabury managed to escape. Until patriots recaptured him, the Anglican minister lived in a secret room behind the brick chimney of a Connecticut home, receiving his meals through a trapdoor. By the fall of 1776, the New York Committee of Safety had arrested Seabury and confined him in the home of Col. John Brinckenhof, a 73 year-old officer in the Fishkill militia.

1776 was no doubt the darkest year of Samuel Seabury’s life. But by the time of his death, 30 years later, he had become the founder of a new American denomination. He would have his portrait painted three times, a park on Lexington Avenue in New York would bear his name, and Anglicans in both Canada and the United States would observe an annual “lesser feast day” on November 14 in his honour. Not bad for a hated loyalist. This is his story.

On Saturday, September 18, 1784, the Rev. Samuel Seabury stood before the loyalist compensation board in Great Britain and related all that he had done for his sovereign. A witness recounted that the clergyman’s “writings had a considerable effect in stopping the progress of the rebellion — at least in his own parish … it being known that he was a writer, he was still more obnoxious”. In fact, one historian considers Seabury “the most vigorous American loyalist controversialist and as one of the greatest masters of style of his period.”

Seabury had written three pamphlets in the guise of a farmer, demonstrating how impractical and unwise the recommendations of Congress were. Seabury was also one of the leading men who signed the White Plains protest in April of 1775. Endorsed by 312 citizens, this declaration underscored the loyalists’ “honest abhorrence” of unlawful congresses and said they would support the king “at the hazard of our lives”. It was such public opposition that finally prompted the infuriated patriots’ attack on the Anglican priest’s home in 1775. Seabury eventually found sanctuary in New York City, and in 1778, he was appointed as a chaplain to the King’s American Regiment.

Within five years, it was clear that Great Britain was not going to win the war. What would become of Seabury’s denomination in the new republic? How could the Church of England in America consecrate its bishops and not recognize the authority of the archbishop of Canterbury? The hated king would not be accepted as the head of the church; prayers for his health and safety would be forbidden. Already labelled as a traitorous denomination, the Anglican Church would face an uncertain future once the peace treaty was signed.

While many Church of England clergymen would decide to settle in Canada or the Maritime colonies after the end of the Revolution, Samuel Seabury was a loyalist whose greatest allegiance was to his God and the people within his denomination. He was prepared to accept the patriot victory and made plans to stay in the United States to care for his embattled church.

In 1783, ten Anglican clergymen of Connecticut made Seabury their bishop, but according to denominational practice, he needed to be consecrated by other bishops to rightfully hold the office. So, in July of 1784, Seabury sailed for Great Britain for consecration — and for compensation as a loyalist.

The British government recognized Seabury as “a zealous and meritorious loyalist” who had rendered “services to his government by his publications”. Being acknowledged as a loyalist was rather straightforward. Being approved as a bishop, however, was a much more difficult matter.

Parliament and the Church of England balked at the notion of ordaining a bishop who would not recognize the king as the head of the church. Seabury sidestepped this hurdle by travelling to Aberdeen, Scotland where the local Anglicans had duly appointed bishops, but did not swear allegiance to the British monarch.

On November 14, 1784, Seabury was ordained as the first bishop of the United States. He returned home where a general convention confirmed Seabury’s ordination; he was made the presiding bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. American Anglicans have been called Episcopalians ever since. A Connecticut loyalist was now the leader of America’s newest denomination.

Bishop Seabury settled his family in New London, Connecticut, just across the river from his birthplace. In the succeeding years, he helped to shape the liturgy of the Episcopal Church, restoring the invocation of the Holy Spirit at the communion service, celebrating communion each Sunday (not common in that era), and shaping the American church’s Book of Common Prayer.

Bishop Samuel Seabury died at 66 years of age on February 25, 1796 and was buried in St. James Church in New London, Connecticut. There the visitor can see a stained glass window which shows his consecration as a bishop in Scotland.

Seabury did all that he could –risking his life and the safety of his family– to support his king, but when the Revolution came to its unexpected conclusion, he accepted the new order and continued to contribute to the spiritual life of the new United States of America. Recognized by Great Britain as a “zealous and meritorious loyalist”, the Rev. Samuel Seabury could have affixed the letters “U.E” after his name. His life, however, revealed a deeper loyalty to a far different kingdom whose king “is not of this world”.

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

Reverend John Beardsley (1732 – 1809) © George McNeillie

William Beardsley [1605 – 1661], the progenitor of the family in America, in his will names four sons, Daniel, John, Joseph and Samuel, but he had other children, and the family biographer, Rev. I.H. Beardsley, gives the names as follows: 1. Mary, 2. John, 3. Joseph, 4. Samuel, 5. Sarah, 6. Hannah, 7. Daniel, and “probably others”.

The name John seems to have always been very popular in the family. In fact, there has always been a John among William Beardsley’s descendants. The young son John, who accompanied his father [i.e., the immigrant William], left no children to carry on his name. Joseph, his brother, had eight children, the second was John. Samuel had twelve, the fifth was John. Daniel had fifteen, the first son was John. The line of descent to our Loyalist ancestor Rev. John Beardsley is given in the preceding pages. It leads down through four generations from the immigrant ancestor William, viz.: –

1. William, born at St. Albans, England in 1605.

2. Joseph, born at St. Albans, November, 1634.

3. John, born at Stratford, Conn. Nov. 4, 1668.

4. John, born at Stratford, Conn. March 9, 1701.

5. John, our Loyalist ancestor, b. at Ripton, Conn. Apr. 23, 1732.

The reader of these pages may find in the “Beardsley Book”, which may be consulted among my books in the Fisher Library in Woodstock [New Brunswick], some interesting particulars concerning the first four individuals named above, and I shall write no more here about them. But we shall consider in further detail the life-story of the Rev. John Beardsley. There is a short account of him by the late Rev. Dr. E.B. Beardsley in his “History of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut”. Other particulars of interest are to be found in the Rev. H.O. Ladd’s sketch of “The Founding of the Episcopal Church in Dutchess County, N.Y.”

There has now been a John Beardsley in America for well-nigh 300 years. The first John was an infant when in 1635 he landed in the country. Before the links in the chain of descent had all been traced out, tradition said that the father of the Rev. John Beardsley was called “John Beardsley, Jun.”

Our Loyalist ancestor, the Parson, named his first son ‘John Davis’ Beardsley, and that name has been handed on in the Woodstock family for five generations, which make nine successive John Beardsleys in as many successive generations. Some years ago I found in examining the old parson’s baptismal register, which is yet in existence, the following interesting entry made at Maugerville in 1799: – “Baptised John Davis, son of my son John D. Beardsley”. This child we afterwards well knew as ‘Uncle John’, a most kindly and loveable old man, much of cultural refinement, high principle and considerable ability. His home, “The Grove”, in Woodstock was the centre of hospitality and the abode of a clever and cultured family. It is now sadly fallen into decay and even the name of Beardsley — once almost a household word — has disappeared from the neighbourhood — “Sic transit gloria mundi”. But we must begin our sketch of the Reverend John Beardsley at the beginning.

He was born at Ripton, Connecticut, now called Huntington, eight miles from Stratford, on April 23, 1732, and baptized in infancy by the Rev. Dr. Johnson. In the course of time he entered Yale College and, concluding to take Holy Orders, placed himself under the instruction of the Rev. Dr. Johnson to that end.

As there was then no Bishop of the Church of England on this side of the Atlantic, candidates for the ministry were ordained in England — usually by the archbishop of Canterbury. The voyage to England and back was then a serious matter, and it is said that one third of those who undertook the risk perished — some by the dangers of the sea, others by ship-fever, smallpox or other disease.

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

Historical Bus Trip to “East of Toronto” by York Pioneers on Saturday 18 September 2010

A full-day excursion by bus to points east of Toronto includes:

(1) Parkwood Estate and Gardens, a National Historic Site, where you will tour the grand McLaughlin home as well as enjoy a tea and scone break in the lovely gardens. (Auto baron R. Samuel McLaughlin was the founder of General Motors of Canada; his family lived at Parkwood from 1917 to 1972.)

(2) The Oshawa Community Museum depicts the history of Oshawa’s early settlers. We will visit three homes standing on their original foundations, see two Rebellion Boxes that did not make it into the 2009 inventory and visit a house owned by one of our society’s very early members.

(3) Pickering Museum Village, a pioneer village of 13 buildings from the 1830s. Plans not yet finalized for lunch and/or a visit.

(4) Scarborough Historical Museum and Thomson Memorial Park, land donated by David and Mary Thomson to commemorate the area’s first settlers. Plans not finalized as we went to press but we are hoping a local historian will join us.

Bus Pick-up: there will be three or four pick-up points across Toronto, beginning in the west end at Montgomery’s Inn at 8:45; all are easily reached by TTC and/or have parking if you drive. The bus should be back at Montgomery Inn for the last drop-off between 6 and 7:00 pm.

Cost: $69 for members, $72 for non-members. This includes bus transportation, all museum admissions, morning tea at Parkwood and lunch in Pickering.

Deadline: payment must reach us by Friday, Sept. 3. We need eleven more people to go ahead; otherwise the bus trip will have to be cancelled.

Booking: To reserve your seat on the bus, please contact Diane Reid, UE, at (416) 483-0907

The Tech Side — Becoming a Dictator — by Wayne Scott

You probably don’t have an office aide following you around, pencil in hand, writing down your words of wisdom. When it comes to putting your thoughts and stories to paper, you likely wish that your fingers could write as fast as the words come to mind. There is hope.

Dragon Speaking Naturally (version 11) just came out. It is a speech recognition suite that works very well. The latest iteration boasts a 15% increase in accuracy, which sounds impressive. What is impressive is the fact that the program already achieves about 99.6% accuracy in recognizing your spoken words. Imagine, sitting at your computer and talking to it and seeing your words come to life on screen. I did say ‘talk’ to it, not yell at it as some people do.

Dragon Speaking Naturally was the brain child of Dr. James and Janet Baker. In 1982 they began working with algorithms which could convert the spoken word into editable onscreen text. Their work wasn’t all that successful in the early years, and a number of companies saw the need for this kind of tool and began their own software building programs. In 1997, Dragon Systems (the Baker’s company) issued the first release of Speaking Naturally. Since then, each release has brought a wealth of improvements. Nuance has purchased the company and continues to work on improvements.

It might seem unusual that Nuance continues to improve their product if you knew that it has bought out all of the major competitors including MacSpeech Dictate. The only surviving rival is the Microsoft Speech program.

Once installed, (after spending about $100.00 US), you can plug in a microphone, open the program and begin. In past years, you were required to read a 4 minute training test document into the microphone so that the program would accustom itself with your speech patterns, accents, etc. Not any more. Once installed and open, you can begin dictating. Even young children can now use the program and Dragon Speaking will recognize their words and print them on the screen.

The program has come a long way. Yes, it will allow you to dictate directly into a Word, WordPerfect, Open Office, or one of a dozen more word processing programs. Spread Sheets can be created and by using an enclosed cheat sheet of commands, even desktop publishing programs can be used. Surfing the web is a snap for Dragon Speaking Naturally, as well as email. Many of the programs we use on a regular basis can be controlled by voice commands and Dragon Speaking Naturally.

Programs like this keep getting better because they ‘learn’ from mistakes. If you have to correct an error, it is better to use your voice to navigate to the mistake and correct it because the program will remember the mistake and what the correct word was. For those people who use a mouse to highlight a mistake and then type in a correction, their program’s accuracy rate never gets better. When an error is highlighted, a list of possible corrections is presented, you would select the appropriate correction, – and the program learns from its mistake.

Using a program like this is not for everyone. To get the benefit of its capabilities, the person dictating will have to be ready. If you have a habit of mumbling when you are trying to find the right word, these mumblings will find their way onto your page. Of course you don’t want the radio blaring near you.

Even though the program is expensive, it would be a boon for someone with severe arthritis or movement limitations in their wrists or hands. It is sometimes the case that as the body slows down, the mind doesn’t. A dictation program such as this one will facilitate the creative processes.

One word of caution, when finished with your dictation session, remember to shut the program down and disconnect the microphone. If you forget and just minimize the program, you may be surprised what will be on your screen when you go back to your computer later.

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

Last Post: Margeuretta Mellor Allen, August 28, 1912 – July 31, 2010

On Saturday, Margeuretta ‘Margo’ Allen nee Mellor passed away in her 98th year. Daughter of Margaret Longshawe Bridgewood Mellor/Bitton London UK and step-daughter of Albert Edward Bitton, Hull, Quebec, Pte. 25th Battalion CEF WWI leg amputee hero; loving and devoted wife of 53 years Donald Llewellyn Allen, of Hallville, Dundas County, ON, 1784 United Empire Loyalist descendant. Remembered by her son Leonard Howard Allen UE, daughter-in-law Joan Margaret Allen (nee Durno), son Donald Bruce Allen UE, BA, and many grandchildren. Chapel Service was at the Humphrey Funeral Home on August 21; interment at Pine Hills Cemetery.

…Lynne Cook UE


Samuel Rose and Family

I am researching Samuel Rose and his Family. Three different men with the name Samuel Rose are listed in the UE Executive List, and someone has proved their loyalist ancestry to one of those three. My Samuel Rose was born in Pittown NY and was married to Elizabeth, whose surname may have been Hales. Samuel and Elizabeth had several children, including:

– Peter who married Christina Bongard (Christina is the half sister of John Carr/Kerr who married Rachel (below); they had the same mother Susannah Stauss)

– James

– Samuel, who was a miniter

– a daughter Rachel who was born about 6 December 1785, and baptized, in Prince Edward County, Ontario. I believe she married John Carr/Kerr, half-brother to Christine Bongard (above), and I am also interested in his family. Rachel and John Carr/Kerr had about 13 children, some of whom kept the name Carr and others Kerr. In 1861 Rachel was living with Andrew Kerr who married Matilda Snider. I have been unable to find any details about Rachel’s death.

Any information or direction would be greatly appreciated.

Marilyn Meyer