“Loyalist Trails” 2010-44: October 31, 2010

In this issue:
Little Stories in the Petitions: Part Two — © Stephen Davidson
George Kentner and the Hartford Gaol
Fall Fleet Commemoration in Vancouver
Did your ancestor fight at Saratoga? You can check.
Dedication of Briar Lockhart Advanced Imaging Core
The Tech Side: A Magic Wand -– by Wayne Scott, UE
      + Response re John and William Howell Family
      + Parents of Abraham Vanalstine b. 1804 in Stormont or Prince Edward County
      + Henry Stuart


Little Stories in the Petitions: Part Two — © Stephen Davidson

The loyalist compensation board held hearings to consider the financial aid that should be given to American colonists who had supported their king during the American Revolution. These boards convened in Great Britain, Halifax, Shelburne, Saint John, Montreal, and Quebec City. Here are just a few of the “little stories” that are hidden amidst long lists of deeds, wills, and sales receipts.

Jermyn Wright was a loyalist who had left England for Georgia in 1758. Twenty-six years later, he had a great deal that needed compensating. On some of his 111,000 acres he grew indigo, rice and corn. Timber was also a source of income. These resources allowed Wright to have two mansions, one of which had ten rooms on one floor. He also had “common buildings” for 54 enslaved Africans. It is little wonder that Wright was considered “the richest man in the country”. The board determined that Wright was a loyalist, gave him an allowance of 200 pounds sterling a year and gave him 2000 pounds sterling outright.

Not all loyalists had a very high regard for the government for which they had lost so much. Joshua Pell‘s story must not have been the most “politically correct” for the commissioners that convened in Halifax in 1784. At first, his petition recounted how rebels stole 150 bushels of wheat, burned his 30-ton sloop, captured his horses, seized his schooner, and took 54 barrels of pork. However, Pell also suffered losses at the hands of the British army and its allies. Early in the Revolution, his house was used as a barracks for German soldiers, and although it was damaged during this time, Pell received no compensation.

The Hessians also commandeered clothing and goods from his store. Twenty tons of hay, cows and oxen were also “taken away by the British troops”. In 1781, the king’s army camped on his farm, leaving in their wake 500 pounds sterling of damages. How much Joshua Pell received from the compensation board is not given in his transcript, but one can only hope it was generous.

The claim of Richard Robins, a New Jersey loyalist who settled on Prince Edward Island, is an interesting one. After his oldest son recounted why they should be compensated for all that his late father had lost during the Revolution, an unusual witness was called before the board. James Williams testified on behalf of the Robins family, but he was neither a friend nor a relative. He had been a servant (no doubt an indentured servant) to the family. This is perhaps the only recorded instance in which a servant spoke on behalf of his master’s family.

Williams verified all that Robins lost and gave a glimpse at how valuable horses were during the Revolution. He told how three horses had been stolen during the war and how two were lost by “retaliation”. In other words, rebels who had two horses taken by the British went and raided Robins’ home, taking two of his horses. The only way Robins could retrieve his livestock was to buy them back. The fact that James Williams was the only one to recount this to the commissioners suggests that perhaps his chief duties for the family had to do with looking after the Robins’ horses. It is not often that the historical record allows us to hear the voice of an indentured loyalist.

Women usually only appeared before the compensation board if they were the widows of loyalists. Very few of these were senior citizens –and that makes the case of Elizabeth Ross an interesting one. She was between sixty and seventy years of age. Given that the board met in Saint John, New Brunswick in the chilly month February 1787, it is not surprising that Mrs. Ross had her son-in-law, William Tyng, attend the hearings on her behalf.

After making a 45-mile journey from Gagetown, Tyng told the commissioners how his wife’s mother was a native of Falmouth, Massachusetts. Because she feared that she would lose her property, Ross decided not to seek refuge in Boston in 1775 as many loyalists did. When Falmouth was bombarded by British ships under the command of Lt. Henry Mowat in October of 1775, sailors went ashore and set the town on fire. In the ensuing chaos, militiamen who had come to Falmouth to fight the British began to plunder private homes. They also broke into the Ross’ store and made off with its goods — an all too familiar occurrence in our own day.

Four years later, Mrs. Ross received permission from the rebel government of Massachusetts to go within British lines. As she was about to board a ship for New York, rebels threatened to take not only the trunk she had with her, but all of her property as well. Since she could have lost her late husband’s store, wharf, and house, Ross decided to wait out the war in Falmouth. During those years, her house was made into a barracks for rebel soldiers.

Ross finally sailed for New Brunswick in 1783. She and her son-in-law returned to Massachusetts two years later to settle their business matters, returning to New Brunswick in 1786. The compensation board frowned on this return to Massachusetts. Her son-in-law assured them that Elizabeth Ross now considered New Brunswick her home. Another witness pleaded her cause, saying that the only reason for her return to the United States had been to put business matters in order. He felt sure that she would not return to Falmouth. All this worry about a senior loyalist returning to the United States seems rather foolish. Had the commissioners forgotten that Elizabeth Ross was in her sixties and could not even manage a 45-mile river journey to Saint John?

While the records of the loyalist compensation board provide many fascinating glimpses into the experiences of loyal Americans, we must remember that they do not give us a complete picture. The majority of loyalists never appeared before the commissioners.

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

George Kentner and the Hartford Gaol

After the Seige of Fort Stanwix and the Battle of Oriskany the men rested at Fort Brewerton for about a month and then some 36 were sent back to their home area along the Susquehanna River to get cattle, more men and families which had been left there in early 1777, About 18 were captured and confined in the Hartford Gaol for for 4 or more months. Included was my ancestor George Kentner of Butler’s Rangers.

In Loyalist Trails 2010-43 is an article on the Prison Ships which mentions that 150 men were sent to the Hartford jail on 8 Oct 1777. As the time frame is similar I want to pass this on to my group and let them think about the crowding situation which faced our ancestors in the relatively small Hartford gaol.

Here are some details about George and his Family.

George Kentner who was born Germany c1737 and arrived in Philadelphia, with his wife and no children was indentured for 2 1/4 years to Joseph Galloway (Attorney at Law) who paid their ‘freight’ (fare). In the early 1770’s he as listed as a settler on the Susquehanna and noted in the Town Book of Wilkes-Barre. In 1773 17 April George sold his Wilkes-Barre land and moved to Tunkhannock. In 1776, to escape arrest by the Whigs, the Secords, Jacob Anguish & George Kentner forsook the lower settlements and went to Bradford county”. In 1777, at the beginning of the year Kentner moved to Sheshequin (Sugar Creek) and late rin the Spring George Kentner, probably accompanied by his family as he had sold all his property, made the long & arduous journey of several hundred miles to Fort Niagara with Bender et al.

In Aug 6-23 of that same year, George Kentner was with Butler at the Siege of Fort Stanwix and Oriskany but he was “Captured in the retreat from Oriskany” This fits with the report of Scouts sent from the fort “Captured a German who told of the betrayal & murder of scattering Tories by the Indians” Attributed to Ensign Colbrath written on Aug 23 during the defence of Fort Stanwix. ” Days of Siege, a Journal of Fort Stanwix in 1777″

In 1777, 25th Dec, Kentner & some others were captured up the Susquehanna by the Connecticut Westmoreland Militia, Others were captured farther up river on 3 Jan 1778. A total of 28 according to Col Dennison CT Militia. They were gaoled in Westmoreland (Wilkes-Barre) and later moved to the gaol in Hartford. The following February, Hartford CT, General Assembly resolved that George Kentner & total of 19 be treated as prisoners of war and in May Jacob Anguish & George Kentner appealed in writing to the Connecticut Assembly for release as although they had been captured with the others, they were really “friends of the country ..would do their utmost to (contribute) to the support of the United States”. They were released by CT Assembly Decision on 28 May. In 1778 rejoined Butler, at Tioga NY after a 200+ mile walk from Hartford, Anguish had one leg badly injured when frozen to the ground in the gaol but made the walk with Kentner.

In 1779, 6 July George Kentner arrived in Machiche “from Niagara”, George enlisted in the KRRNY and after the war was listed on the Provisioning List Twp #5 (Matilda) 5 children 1b over 10, 1g over 10, 1b under 10, 2 g under 10 and 1786..George Kentner settled in Twp #3 (Cataraqui)

…Don Maxwell, UE

Fall Fleet Commemoration in Vancouver

The multi-layered Commemoration of the 1783 Fall Fleet took place in Vancouver on 24 October 2010. In recognition of the last fleet of ships carrying the United Empire Loyalist refugees from the harbour of New York under Sir Guy Carleton’s command, the Vancouver Branch organized a luncheon at the Bessborough Armouries, named after Canada’s 14th Governor General. Included in the special event were the presentations of Certificates of Loyalist Lineage to members from Chilliwack, Victoria and Vancouver, an introduction and tour of the 15th Field Regimental Museum, a visit from the Dominion President and the honouring of the recipients of the Phillip E.M. Leith Memorial Award. For the full report including links to further history, photographs and biographies of those honoured, click here.

Did your ancestor fight at Saratoga? You can check.

By Chris Carola, Associated Press Writer, Thu Oct 21

STILLWATER, N.Y. – Descendants of Revolutionary War soldiers who fought in one of history’s most important battles can now find their American ancestors in a computer database, and some day they might be guided by GPS to the exact spots where their relatives faced musket fire, cannon barrages and bayonet charges. History buffs spent 12 years gleaning information from 200-year-old military documents to assemble the list of thousands who participated in the Battles of Saratoga. The database, recently unveiled at Saratoga National Historical Park, contains the names of about 15,000 of the more than 17,000 soldiers of the Continental Army and various state militias who defeated the British here in 1777.

About 2,500 more American names are being added, while the names of most of the 9,000 enemy combatants — British soldiers, German mercenaries, Canadians and loyalists — are expected to join the database in several years, according to Eric Schnitzer, a National Parks Service ranger and park historian. The names of some of the Native Americans who fought here — Oneidas for the Americans, Mohawks for the British — also will be added, he said.

Tourists can search the database for names using a touch-screen computer in the park’s visitor center. The list is also available on the website of Heritage Hunters, the Saratoga County-based group of volunteers who scoured 18th century regimental muster rolls and other records to compile the list.

By knowing a soldier’s regiment, park rangers can help visitors find the general area on the 3,400-acre battlefield where each unit is known to have fought or been encamped, Schnitzer said. The park hopes to eventually link the database with GPS data so visitors can stand in the exact spots where their ancestor’s units engaged in some of the bloodiest actions of the war.

The project was made possible by the detailed records kept by many American regiments, dispelling a common perception of America’s first citizen soldiers as ragtag, undisciplined and prone to wandering about at will, Schnitzer said. Muster rolls, often updated every three months, told commanders how many men were available for duty, who they were and how much weaponry, housing and supplies they needed, he said.

“If guys were just coming and going as they wanted, like in a free-for-all, that’s death to an army. That’s a disaster,” Schnitzer said. “That’s why it wasn’t done.”

Members of Heritage Hunters decided in 1998 to compile a list of American participants in the Saratoga battles, said Pat Peck, a member of the group’s board of trustees. The project’s researchers spent tens of thousands of hours poring over 233-year-old muster rolls, pay lists and other documents in the National Archives and elsewhere, she said. “We’re not just taking the fact that you say, ‘Oh, my great-great-great-grandfather was there,'” Peck said. “We’re looking for something hard, firm that says, ‘Yes, this person was actually at the Battles of Saratoga.'”

The digitized “muster roll” at Pennsylvania’s Valley Forge National Historical Park, started on paper in the 1940s, now contains the names of more than 33,000 American soldiers who camped there in the winter of 1777-78. But Saratoga is considered unique for compiling what is someday expected to be a nearly complete list of battle participants, said one parks official. “Saratoga is very much in the lead in getting it digitized,” said James Perry, spokesman for the parks service’s Yorktown Battlefield. Perry said Yorktown is in the early stages of compiling its own database.

At the Saratoga Battlefield, soldiers are listed on the database alphabetically. Each entry includes rank, regiment, length of service and home state. Some hometowns also are listed. Personal information also is included for some soldiers, including details of wartime service and names of family members.

More than 10,000 of the soldiers who fought here hailed from New England. Massachusetts led the way with 7,800, followed by New Hampshire with 1,500 and Connecticut with 1,000. Most of the rest were backwoodsmen from Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The Americans defeated an invading British force on Oct. 7, 1777, nearly three weeks after the redcoats won the first battle but couldn’t advance south toward Albany because of heavy losses. After the second battle, the British force retreated several miles north before becoming surrounded. British Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered on Oct. 17 in what is now a village park along the Hudson River. Many historians consider the American victory at Saratoga one of history’s most significant battles because it persuaded France to join the fledgling United States in its fight for independence. French troops and ships later played a major role in the final defeat of the redcoats at Yorktown in October 1781.

Websites for: Saratoga National Historical Park; Heritage Hunters.

[submitted by Janet Stemmer]

Dedication of Briar Lockhart Advanced Imaging Core

We often look at toddlers trying to recognize family traits – “he has your eyes or her grandfather’s ears”. This characteristic behaviour also appears when we study our family stories, especially those that show how our United Empire Loyalist ancestors contributed to the development of their communities and our country. A tradition of military or political involvement may be easy to spot. The recurrence of a selfless concern for others over the generations can be a greater challenge to recognize. No doubt you will detect the determination and fortitude of our ancestors in this short news article.


A state of the art Lindros Legacy Research facility opened this week at University Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre. Within the Matthew Mailing Centre for Translational Transplant Studies, a laboratory, the Briar Lockhart Advanced Imaging Core, was named in memory of our daughter on October 26, 2010. She had received three liver transplants as well as a kidney, at University Hospital before her passing in 1996. Her legacy endures through this most generous donation from my sister and her family, all Loyalist descendants of Simon Mabee of NB, Frederick and Levinah Mabee of Turkey Point and George Adam Bowman of Grantham Township. Giving back is second nature.

…Shirley Lockhart UE, President, Col. John Butler (Niagara) Branch

The Tech Side: A Magic Wand -– by Wayne Scott, UE

Do you ever wish you had a portable scanner available for immediate use. You may be in a library and find an important article or genealogical link that you want to copy, or run across a marriage certificate in a relative’s collection that can’t be taken home to scan. You may want to see if a certain upholstery cloth will go with the new paint in your living room. I can think of dozens of ways a portable scanner would come in handy.

There are many ‘pen’ scanners on the market. They memorize everything you write, or copy text one line at a time. Some will allow you to drag a small scanning surface across a picture to copy it. Some will only allow you to copy single pages of information. These would not be too handy when it comes to copying pages from bound books. Not to mention that these devices often start around $200.00.

A product that is relatively new to the scene, “Magic Wand” by Vu Point Solutions, is getting a lot of press lately. It was recently reviewed by Dick Eastman who was impressed with the scanner’s versatility.

In a nutshell, the Magic Wand is a 25.4 cm long by 2.5 cm square scanning bar. It weighs about 250 grams, making it easily transportable. Being a scanning bar, scans can easily be made of books, magazines or just about anything. The Magic Wand is powered by 2 AA batteries and uses a micro SD flash card (sold separately) for memory. Scans can be saved directly to a computer by means of the usb cable (enclosed), in a jpeg format. This scanner has two scanning resolutions: 300dpi (dots per inch) and 600dpi. Many reviewers found that the lower resolution was quite adequate for most purposes. Both monochrome and colour scans can be made. The scanner can be expected to take 180 colour or 200 monochrome scans with one set of batteries. It might be a good idea to carry an extra set of batteries in your kit.

600dpi is considered to be ‘high resolution’, and 300dpi is the lower end of ‘print quality’. When scanning records, it is often better to scan at the highest resolution. You can always convert the scan to 300dpi for storage purposes but you cannot convert a 300dpi scan to 600dpi. The higher the resolution of your scan, the clearer it will be when you enlarge areas of your document to view details.

One aspect of the scanner that is attracting attention is the price. In the US, this unit sells for about $99.00, where it can be purchased in Walmart and Bed Bath and Beyond stores. In Canada, the Magic Wand is available from Tiger Direct for about $130.00. I did not see it listed with Walmart Canada.

It is easy to overlook the fact that you will also want a micro SD flash memory card to save your scans. These are available anywhere for about $20.00 for a 4Gb card to $60.00 for a 16Gb card. A 4Gb card can store 285 full page scans in colour at 600dpi, 1081 full page scans in colour at 300dpi, 493 full page scans in monochrome at 600dpi and finally, 1330 full page scans in monochrome at 300dpi.

The Magic Wand works well with Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, and with Macintosh 10.4 and above. Just plug the device in and begin downloading scans. The scanner comes with OCR (optical character recognition) software that is quite good. However, I do believe that it would have trouble with some of the old hand written parish records.

After turning the scanner on, drag the scanner across the article you wish to copy. For high-resolution colour documents, it will take approximately 13 seconds to complete a one page scan. High-resolution monochrome is complete in about 6 seconds. Lower resolution scans take only 2 or 3 seconds. As you can see, there will be some practice needed to get your timing correct. However, considering the portability of the unit, this would be a good investment of time.

Christmas is coming. If you are looking at a gift for a researcher, this is one to consider or maybe it goes on your wish list.

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


re John and William Howell Family

I have no information that suggests that my John Howell is the same man as you are seeking, but the name was sufficiently uncommon in Canada in the late 18C, I would suspect he is. Here’s his regimental background taken from my Master Roll. “Troublesome”? Well that may be, but for John to be promoted to Serjeant-Major of the 2Bn, he must have been very intelligent and tough as nails.

Howell, John

1752 – Am.[T57] ~25Jun77 1&2 Serjeant Major

5’9″[T57] F/Johnstown, 23Apr 77. “in Rebel Service but Deserted… first opportunity.” Maj Gray wrote, he was “very troublesome” at Johnstown to him & SJJ.[T82] Artificer/carpenter, Sorel ’79.[T26] Transf’d 2Bn, 25Aug80.[T46] 2KRR, SjtMjr, ’81-84.[92,T100]

Tryon, Johnstown, near May-field.[T100] Yeoman.[T64]

Spoke Dutch, French & Mohawk.[S65] In ’84, CT3, soldier, two women, two boys<10.[92] Wife - 1. Catharine Eva; Katreen Eve; Eva Catharine Sheets~1789-92.[T104,S90] 2. Mary Ann~1796.[T97] or Nancy Fairman.[S90]

John had a brother Warren. This is his regimental background.

Howell, Warren

1762 – Am.[T57] 01Nov81[83] 2 Private

5’9″[T57] 2KRR, ’81-84[T66,83]; sick at Mtl, May82.[58]

Tryon, May- field.[S69]

Wife – Ann, boy>6 at Mtl, Apr82.[57] In ’84,

CT3, soldier only.[92]

…Gavin Watt, H/VP UEL Association

Parents of Abraham Vanalstine b. 1804 in Stormont or Prince Edward County

I am looking for the parents of Abraham Vanalstine b. 1804 in Stormont or Prince Edward County, found in Roxborough & Cornwall in several census returns, who later moved to Polk County, Wisconsin, where he died. Abraham married twice, first c. 1828 to Isabella Sarah Dunlop (1809 IRE – c. 1853, Cornwall) & secondly to Christiana Gravely (Johnston), 1854, in Osnabruck. Abraham is thought to be the son of James or Jacob Vanalstine and his wife, who is thought to be Mary Alguire. All solid Loyalist names in a prime Loyalist settlement area. Any help appreciated.

Richard Ripley

Henry Stuart

Henry was born July 19, 1766 in Abernethy and Kincardine Parish, Inverness, Scotlandof father James Stuart and mother: Jean Grant.

His Siblings were John, Elspet, George, Mary, and Gilbert

He married Eleonora McLeod and they thev children:

– John Stuart (born May 5, 1792)

– (Jean) Anne Stuart (born Jan. 6, 1794) married name: Anne Orr

– Catherine Stuart (born Feb. 28 ,1796) married name: Catherine Veysey

Henry travelled from Scotland to Ulster County, New York with his parents and siblings in 1774 where his father purchased 100 acres on the Delaware River (‘Tory Hole”). His father, James, settled as a farmer and practised as a surgeon until American patriots took his goods (i.e. farm animals, books, medicines, surgical instruments, guns, swords, and pistols) and property (house, barn, and a year’s crop of hay and grain). He joined the Kings Royal Regiment of New York as Surgeon’s Mate and had also served in the 42nd Regiment in both the French and Indian Wars. He received a concession of 900 acres of land near Cornwall, Ontario (Osnabruck Township) from King George III in 1797. In his later years he worked as a doctor in Cornwall until his death in 1804. There are several references that Dr. James Stuart was descended from James Stuart, Earl of Moray, natural son of King James V and half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots.

Henry also served in the Royal Regiment of New York and was listed as a single man mustered with a disbanded troop and Loyalist receiving 1 ration a day at Osnabruck, Sept. 25, 1784 and again on August 25 – 31, 1786, listed as a single man and son of James in 1786. Henry’s military service is shown as a Lieutenant in the Second Stormont Militia in 1823 having served during the War of 1812 at Ogdensburg, Feb. 22, 1813, at Hoople’s Creek in Dickinson’s Landing, Nov. 10, 1813, at Chrysler’s Farm, Nov. 11, 1813, and to Salmon River, February 19 and 20, 1814. As a Loyalist, he also received 100 acres on August 24, 1792 as Lot 33, Concession 3 of Osnabruck Township (Stormont County). He shared the land with Gilbert, his younger brother. Eleonora Stuart (daughter of William McCloud), Henry’s wife received 200 acres, Lot 1, Concession 5 of Osnabruck Township on August 24, 1792. Henry later sold his lands to his elder brother, John on Feb. 13, 1813, registered Sept. 13, 1813 for 300 pounds.

Records indicate that Henry Stuart died sometime between October 9, 1833 and March 6, 1834 but exactly where and when is not known for sure. He was living in Osnabruck from May 1823 until October 1833, so it is likely that he died there. From Land Records, Henry Stuart purchased property along the Thames River on Concession 6 in Harwich Township (Lots 17 and 19 in 1822, Lot 18 in 1830, and Lot 16 in 1831). It is possible that Henry never left Osnabruck but simply purchased property in Harwich as an investment for his children. As noted above, his wife, Eleonora McLeod, was also a Loyalist and was granted lands in Osnabruck. It may be that Henry sold his lands to his brother(s) and lived on his wife’s property. His only son, John, lived in Harwich Township and had several children. His eldest son, James, was my Great, Great, Grandfather.

I am looking for further information about Henry Stuart, inclduing where and when he died; also for any information on his wife, Eleonara McLeod. Thanks in advance.

Elizabeth Stuart