“Loyalist Trails” 2010-47: November 21, 2010
In this issue:
– UELAC 2011 Conference Heritage Tours
– A Breach of Faith: Part Two — © Stephen Davidson
– Reverend John Beardsley (1732 – 1809) © George McNeillie
– Enjoy Heritage Foods and Traditions
– Book Review: Laura Ingersoll Secord: A Heroine and her Family, by David F. Hemmings
– Additions to the Loyalist Directory
+ Response re Mary Lewis and Lewis Family of Parrsboro NS
– Last Post
+ Harry Clifford Fawcett, UE
+ Kathleen Richmond Barclay Bowley, UE, BA
+ Gilbert Jerome (Gil) Hutton
Conference 2011 will be hosted by the Col. Edward Jessup Branch. During the conference, two concurrent Heritage Tours will be conducted from the UELAC 2011 Conference base in Brockville Ontario. These tours are previewed in a new “Conference’s Heritage Tours Video” posted here (The first video – “Introduction” – is followed by this new one).
The Conference website contains information about the conference, and includes a link to the videos page. We look forward to seeing you at “Catch the Loyalist Spirit” next June 2-5th in Brockville, Ontario. Additional information, including registration details, will be available early in the new year.
…Your UELAC 2011 Planning Committee
In the summer of 1783, a black loyalist named Zimri Armstrong approached Samuel Jarvis with a plan to free his enslaved family. Armstrong would become Jarvis’ indentured servant for two years on the condition that the Connecticut loyalist would secure the freedom of the Armstrong family, provide Zimri with clothing and provisions, and help him to acquire a trade. Both men signed the indenture agreement.
The Jarvis family eventually settled in Saint John, New Brunswick. After living there for just a year, Samuel Jarvis decided to move his family back to Stamford, Connecticut, his hometown. Zimri Armstrong was left behind to complete the terms of the indenture agreement as a servant for Samuel’s brother, John Jarvis. The black loyalist had every reason to believe that once Samuel Jarvis had returned to Connecticut, he would be making arrangements to free his wife and children.
However, in the summer of 1785, it was clear something was wrong. With the conclusion of his two years of indentured service drawing near, Armstrong had not received the provisions –or even the clothes– he had the right to expect. He appealed to Munson Jarvis, Samuel’s loyalist brother, who was now a merchant in Saint John, but he did not receive even “the value of one penny”. In desperation, the black loyalist sought out the help of Mr. Leonard to compel John Jarvis to honour the terms of the indenture. Under oath, John Jarvis said that his brother would be back in the city in a matter of weeks to settle matters with Armstrong.
And then came news from people in Saint John who knew Samuel Jarvis. Upon returning to Connecticut, Jarvis had not freed the African family — he had sold them to a new master! When Leonard approached John Jarvis about this, Samuel’s brother admitted that he knew the African family had been sold.
The impact of the news must have been devastating to Armstrong’s morale. He had worked for the Jarvis family for two years — and all for nothing. Besides losing his family, he had not received anything that had been promised in his indenture agreement. All hope of being set up in a trade was lost. Armstrong’s new master, John Jarvis, had nothing to give the black loyalist. John’s struggle with alcoholism had reduced him to such a state that his family would not even have had a roof over its head had his brother Munson not paid to have a house built for him.
Armstrong appealed to his regiment’s former captain to give him the provisions that were allocated to other loyalist settlers, “having drawed neither land nor clothes, being almost naked”. However, Captain Whitmore would not give Armstrong anything besides some meat and flour until he had documents proving that the African was indeed a free man.
In June of 1785, Armstrong appealed to Thomas Carleton, the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick. He related the story of how he had been left “destitute of both clothes and provisions in a strange country” and how the Jarvis brothers had failed to live up to the “paper about our agreement”. The black loyalist hoped that Carleton would give him what was “asserted by credible people in this town and –if there is any land to spare– to grant me some”.
Despite documentation, character references, and the support of other loyalists, Zimri Armstrong did not receive justice; the lieutenant-governor did nothing to help him. Two years of indentured service had failed to earn him his family, provisions, clothes or a trade. Because of his servant status, he did not receive the land that was granted to other black loyalists after they arrived in New Brunswick — and all because of Samuel Jarvis’ breach of faith.
Outside of his 1785 petition, Zimri Armstrong’s name never appears again in the public records of New Brunswick. His ultimate fate is shrouded in mystery. He may have become a labourer in Saint John or joined a black loyalist settlement. In 1791, large groups of free blacks left New Brunswick to settle in a new West African colony. Armstrong might have left British North America as one of the almost 1200 black loyalists who founded Sierra Leone. If so, he was never reunited with his family.
However, this does not seem likely, given the glimpses of Armstrong’s character that are revealed in his petition. He was a very determined man, not one that was likely to quickly abandon his wife and children. In the end, did he risk being enslaved once more by returning to the United States, and buying his family’s freedom?
There is one small, tantalizing clue regarding the fate of Zimri Armstrong found in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a town about 100 km northwest of Philadelphia. Its weekly paper, The Gleaner, reported that on Sunday, June 6, 1813 “Zimri Armstrong, a black man, drowned” while crossing a stream. This Armstrong had been the town fiddler.
If the Zimri Armstrong who had been so cruelly treated by Samuel Jarvis was in his 20s or 30s during his indenture in New Brunswick, he would have been in his 50s or 60s in 1813. The black loyalist could have journeyed to Pennsylvania and become Wilkes-Barre’s town fiddler. If so, then there is the possibility that before his life was over, Armstrong may have been reunited with his family.
If he did so, it was certainly not due to any actions on the part of the Jarvis brothers. While their lives were filled with hardship and displacement, neither Samuel nor John Jarvis had tasted the bitter betrayal or separation from loved ones that they had visited upon a desperate black loyalist soldier. Had he not petitioned the New Brunswick government, Zimri Armstrong would be yet another forgotten loyalist.
Click here to read Zimri Armstrong’s petition to the New Brunswick government (and to see its photograph).
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
As already observed the founders of Kingston believed in the motto, “Fear God; honour the King.” That they feared God is abundantly shown in this book. That they honoured the King is seen in the fact that they selected for their township the name of “Kingston”, in lieu of the older name of “Amesbury”. The latter name, however, continued in use for a year or two. See the following extracts –
The Rev. John Sayre, on Oct. 2nd, 1783, wrote the Secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, Dr. Morice: – “Another town-plot is laid out in the Township of Amesbury, on Belleisle River, and will be built up next summer. This spot is very delightfully situated between the Grand Bay and Belleisle.”
The Rev. John Beardsley himself writes on October 26, 1783:- “A body of loyal refugees, who are settling at Amesbury, about twenty-five miles from Fort Howe, up the St. John River, have solicited me to be their incumbent. These people, a few excepted, formerly belonged to Fairfield County in Connecticut and to Dutchess County in New York, and are strongly attached to the Church of England and of very good morals. It is easy to conceive that men, turned off from their estates naked and destitute, with large families, and sitting down in a wilderness, cannot have anything to spare for a missionary, and yet as they are very worthy, and I have no hope of ever returning to Poughkeepsie, I will, with the Society’s approbation, remain among them, relying that when they are able they will not be unwilling to contribute something towards the maintenance of a clergyman.”
Six months later, Mr. Beardsley writes:- “That agreeably to the intentions expressed in his last letter he had gone up the St. John Rover about 25 miles from his usual place of abode, through a wilderness tract of country, thirty by fifteen miles in extent, where he found about thirty-four families sheltered in small log houses, mostly covered with bark, generally in poor circumstances, but honest and industrious and of the Church of England excepting four or five. He preached to them sundry times and in different parts of the township and baptized their children.”
Mr. Beardsley was well-fitted for pioneer work. A man of restless energy, who could wield the axe and paddle the canoe and was reputed to be “fully as good a farmer as preacher”. He was at this time the only active missionary on the river. In consequence there devolved on him the duty of ministering to more than ten thousand people, settled all the way from Parr-town to Meductic, a distance of nearly 150 miles. He could do little more than keep the church alive. For about two years he did his best to cover the ground, and truly he was “in journeyings often”. We need no further proof that he was in “labours abundant”, than the fact that during the first twelve months in New Brunswick he baptized 155 persons (of whom 12 were blacks and a good many were adults) besides officiating at 69 funerals and solemnizing 75 marriages. After the death of the Rev. John Sayre on August 5, 1784, Governor Carleton, who was shortly to take up his own residence at Fredericton, just above Maugerville, urged the Rev. Mr. Beardsley to remove to Maugerville as Mr. Sayre’s successor. To this he assented at the expiration of another year, when the Rev. Dr. Cooke had arrived at St. John, and other missionaries were expected soon to arrive in the province. Already a church corporation had been formed in Maugerville. This was on September 29, 1784, only a few weeks after the death of Mr. Sayre.
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].
Col. John Butler (Niagara) Branch member Joyce Stevens, UE of Livonia, Michigan forwarded the Henry Ford Museum website for everyone interested in heritage foods and traditions. The site is maintained by the Henry Ford Museum located in Dearborn, Michigan. It celebrates and brings to life more than three centuries of authentic experiences and products inspired by American food heritage and traditions. The historic recipe bank features 2 cookbooks from the 1700s. The earliest cookbook featured is Jean Brown’s Paistry Book, 1724 with digital images of the actual handwritten recipes for delicacies like Diet Loaf, Beef Alamode and Pottie Py. Visit this site and enjoy the digital recipes, displays of historic cookware, scenes of working pioneer farms and heritage gardens maintained as part of the Greenfield Historic Village Museum complex.
…Bev Craig UE
How do you recognize the achievements of a woman, a civilian and a spy in the time when only men went to war and women were supposed to be looking after the home and children? A well-researched non-fiction book by David F. Hemmings is the most complete description of Laura Secord’s life and times yet published. The world of a married lady in unsettled times, influenced by her husband’s physical and business limitations, being behind enemy lines in wartime, relying on the handouts from a succession of provincial lieutenant governors and the good references from a benign British Army officer in peacetime, and the evolving lives of her seven children. All the primary evidence has been transcribed in the book, which offers many new insights into places Laura Secord visited and lived, land records, war claims, family records, petitions, early publicity and plaques. This comprehensive book also contains all the direct descendants and many ancestors of Laura Ingersoll Secord. It is a good read for those interested in social history before, during and after the 1812 War.
Bygones Publishing. xii+167 pages. Illustrations. $19.00 softbound. ISBN 978-0-9865772-1-5
David writes local histories of Niagara Township, and this book has been reviewed by Niagara Parks Commission and Laura Secord Homestead Museum staff. It includes Life of Laura Ingersoll Secord; Petitions & Publicity; Descendants Listing; Ancestry chart; Belongings; Bibliography; Index, 180pp.
As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are:
– Bell Sr., William – updated by Linda Smith with certificate application
– Comfort, John – from Phyllis Cosby (Volunteer Wendy Cosby) with certificate application
– Etter, Peter – from Dorothy Francis (Volunteer Alice Walchuk)
– Goodick, Andrew – from Jack Havrichak (Volunteer Dave Cooper)
– Winters, (Henry, Jacob and Peter) – from Guylaine Petrin (updated since last week)
Working with multi-generation same-name ancestors is one of the biggest challenges in genealogy. Usually it takes intensive research in contemporary, original sources to make the distinctions and verify the family links.
Maybe typos were at work in the query by Mr. Coldwell – it is always good to check dates so that those of us who may be able to help can have the best possible data to work from. If the dates are as intended, then it is good to note those items which are strange, indicate why and note any sources.
“Jesse Oman Lewis 1st was born Dec 30, 1760. He died February 12, 1869. … He married Chloe Olney in 1772 in Parrsboro, Cumberland Co., Nova Scotia. [their son] 1. Jesse Oman Lewis Jr. b. 1789, d. January 23, 1868.”
If Jesse’s date of birth is accurate, it’s possible, but unlikely, that he died at the age of 109. It’s more unlikely that he married at the age of 12, and that he married in Parrsboro which didn’t exist in 1772. The first known child’s birth in 1789 coincides much better with a father who would have been 29 at the time, and begs another look at the marriage date.
These oddities in dates can be a challenge to resolve, but can also be valuable clues in working out the next round of hypotheses and then with some diligence and a dab of good luck, verification or new data.
Best of luck with the research – I hope you have or will receive some more family information, and that you will publish a follow-up article when you have gathered some of the missing pieces. It will be interesting to see the “next version” of the picture.
…Brenda Dougall Merriman, CG
Harold passed away peacefully at his home in Vineland on Monday, November 8, 2010, in his 80th year. Husband of Louise (nee Passmore) for 56 years. Father of Patricia and Ed Thiffault, Deborah and Gary Brown, Brenda and David Mundy and Donald and Linda Fawcett, and a cherished grandfather and great- grandfather. He was predeceased by his brothers and sisters Thelma (Arnold) Killins, Keith Fawcett, Doreen Merritt and Verne (Doris) Fawcett. The funeral service was held at Merritts United Church (Church Rd. and S. Chippawa Rd.) internment at Merritts United Church Cemetery. Harold was a member of Colonel John Butler (Niagara) Branch. He was a proud descendant of Loyalist Christian Warner.
…Bev Craig UE, Col. John Butler Branch
On Tuesday, 16th November 2010, in Peterborough, Kathleen Richmond Barclay, wife of the late Robert Eric Bowley. Mother of Gordon (Brenda Shannon), and of Frances Mary Thornington (Rob). Delighted grandmother and great-grandmother. Daughter of the late Sarah Richmond Stovel and Robert George Barclay, sister of Mary Jane Gray and Robert Barclay of Toronto and John Barclay of Ottawa. Served overseas in W.W.2 in the W.R.C.N.S. (W-169) 1942- 1945 as Petty Officer Wren Writer. Achieved U.E. designation in 1988.
Family historian for Barclays of Pickering, Dows of Glen Dhu, Mackenzies of Kirkfield and related families. Past President and Honorary Life Member of the Kawartha Branch of O.G.S. Costumed volunteer for twenty years at Lang Pioneer Village. Former member of Anglican church choirs in Ottawa, Toronto, Richmond Hill and Peterborough, and of the Peterborough Symphony Choir. Memorial Service was held Saturday, 20th November. For those who wish to commemorate Kathleen through donations, a gift to The Ban Righ Foundation of Queen’s University, 32 Bader Lane, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N8, would be much appreciated.
…Chuck Ross UE, Kawartha Branch
Peacefully after a brief illness at the Hamilton General Hospital. Gil Hutton, husband of the late Eileen Hutton (Church). Father of Nick Hutton and Margaret Webster-Hutton, Susan Hutton and Richard Haché, Esther and Garry Clark, Rachel Hutton and Darren Brewer and beloved grandfather. Brother of Don and wife Stephanie.
Gil grew up in Hamilton. His father, Gilbert (Bert) Lawrence Hutton, played First Cello for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and Gil enjoyed a lifelong love of classical music. His mother, Edna Eloise Hutton (née Jerome), was a graduate of the U of T.
Gil was proud of his United Empire Loyalist roots and was a member of many historical organizations. He received his Bachelor of Science from McMaster and did his graduate work in metallurgy at the University of Toronto. He was a Don at Hart House and lectured at Royal Military College (RMC) in Kingston. While at Mac, he joined the UNTD (University Naval Training Division) and later interrupted his graduate work to serve in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Korean War, including a tour of duty in the Pacific aboard HMCS Huron.
While at RMC after the war, he noticed a picture of Catherine May on her brother’s dresser and asked for an introduction. Catherine and Gil were married for 20 years and had four children. He accepted a position with the Defence Research Board (DRB) – Atlantic and the newlyweds relocated to Halifax in 1960. Gil loved Halifax and the Maritimes. He and Catherine played a pivotal role in the civic effort to save the Historic Properties on the Halifax Waterfront from demolition. Gil served as president of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia and as chair of the Halifax Landmarks Commission. While at DRB, he worked extensively in the Canadian Arctic including one memorable field study conducted from tents outside CFB Alert in February.
In retirement, he returned to Hamilton and was active in many local historical groups. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of Canadian and naval history and enjoyed organizing tours, talks and contributing articles on the many topics that interested him.
In 2002, he asked former WREN Eileen Church on a date to see the Buffalo Symphony. They were quickly inseparable. On June 7, 2008, Eileen and Gil celebrated their combined 170th birthdays (his 80th and her 90th) and were married at HMCS Star in Hamilton. Unfortunately, shortly after their honeymoon, Eileen contracted a rare condition which she fought courageously for 18 months before she passed away last January. Gil seldom left her side and poured the last of his enormous energy and vitality into her care.
Despite failing health, he was determined to attend his daughter Susan’s wedding in Ottawa on October 2, just over a month ago – and convinced the doctors to release him from hospital in order to do so. With much help, he spent three days in Ottawa enjoying the type of large social gatherings he thrived on – his last big hurrah.
A celebration of Gil’s life will be held at HMCS Star in Hamilton (650 Catharine St. North) at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 27. All who knew him are invited to attend. The family asks anyone wishing to share stories or photos being collected for the Celebration to please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dodsworth and Brown Funeral Home in Burlington: 905-637-5233. Donations to any charity of your choosing would be entirely appropriate.
…Gloria Oakes UE, Hamilton Branch