“Loyalist Trails” 2011-08: February 27, 2011

In this issue:
Conference 2011: St. Lawrence Seaway – by Roy Lewis
Stories Told ‘Round the Hearth — © Stephen Davidson
Reverend John Beardsley (1732 – 1809) © George McNeillie
The Making of a Loyalist – Brian Bethune
Plastic Loyalists Found on the Internet
The Tech Side: Safe Computing, Strong Passwords – by Wayne Scott, UE
Last Post: Gary Fulton Worth, UE


Conference 2011: St. Lawrence Seaway – by Roy Lewis

New visitors to Brockville or anywhere along the St. Lawrence River shoreline in the 1000 Islands are usually not aware that the waterway is a major inland transportation corridor.

That is until they observe a large ship threading its way either upstream or downstream through the islands in the river which is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway system. At the time of its construction in the 1950s, the St. Lawrence Seaway and associated power generation project was described as the 8th wonder of the world. It remains the largest civil engineering endeavour in North America in terms of the area it covers and the number of people affected by the development.

The concept of building a waterway for ocean-going ships to travel up the St. Lawrence to the Great Lakes had been under discussion for a century before the project was actually started.

A water transportation bottleneck existed between Montreal and Prescott because of the rapids in the St. Lawrence River. Large ships from Europe and other countries could only navigate to Montreal where their cargos were transferred to much smaller boats for shipment to the town of Prescott east of Brockville. There the cargo was transferred to larger sailing ships to be taken further west on Lake Ontario. The cargo had to be transferred again to get around the natural barrier of Niagara Falls, a problem later solved by the building and later enlarging of the Welland Canal.

Eventually, a narrow canal and locks to lift small cargo boats, was built along the Canadian side of the river to bypass the rapids. This canal was substantially enlarged in later years and parts of it are still visible along the river today. But even the larger canal could only accommodate small ships. The whole system of transferring cargo at Montreal from larger to smaller ships was time consuming and very expensive.

But what if the St. Lawrence could be reshaped to accommodate ships from around the world? They could travel up the river to the Great Lakes turning the port cities on these five inland seas into world shipping centres.

The heady days of rapid expansion after the end of the Second World War renewed interest in the Seaway concept. Canada was keen on the project but there were interests in Washington that lobbied against the plan fearing it would hurt their commercial hold on Great Lakes shipping.

Two situations developed that renewed interest in the massive undertaking. With the growing economy, there was an increasing demand for electric power both in Ontario and Quebec as well as New York State. Large deposits of iron ore, found in Labrador, were needed for the steel mills on both sides of the border.

The most efficient way to move the iron ore was through a system of locks and canals that could handle large lake freighters, some of which were even larger than ocean-going vessels. Blending in the power-generation portion of the project would satisfy the need for additional electricity. Both countries officially launched work on the Seaway in August of 1954.

Developers of the Seaway accomplished two major achievements. Not only did they come in on budget, at $1.2 billion, but also on time when the last temporary dam was removed on July 1, 1958. The waterway was officially opened in 1959 by Queen Elizabeth II and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The third of a series of articles describing interesting historical facts about Brockville and the surrounding region of the St. Lawrence River and the 1000 Islands where Conference 2011 “Catch The Spirit” of our Loyalists’ Ancestors will be held. Hosted by the Col. Edward Jessup Branch, the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada’s annual Conference will be held from June 2 to 5.

Stories Told ‘Round the Hearth — © Stephen Davidson

Some loyalists might have had a Bible, but only the very rich or highly-educated would have shelves of books in their homes. Stories would have to be told rather than read — folk tales, local ghost stories, or grandparents’ accounts of the “good old days”. Thanks to the letters of Lt. Thomas Anburey that were written during the American Revolution, we have a record of some of the stories that would have been told around the fireplaces of loyalist and patriot homes throughout the Thirteen Colonies.

Although she lived a century before the Revolution, the Native princess, Pochahontas, was still the subject of stories that people told in Richmond, Virginia. Anburey wrote about one such story that he heard from a patriot officer.

“After Colonel Carey had given us the brief history of Pocahunta {Pocahontas}, relating to her friendship for the English, in their first settlement in this province, and her marrying an Englishman with whom she went to Europe, he related the following anecdote of a great man of her own nation, that she had in her suite, when she left Virginia.

This man had orders from {Chief} Powhatan to count the people of England, and give him an account of their numbers. As the Indians have no letters or figures among them, he, at his going ashore, provided a stick, in which he was to make a notch for every person he saw; but he, as you may suppose, soon grew weary, and threw away his stick.

Upon his return, the King asked him how many people there were? He desired him to count the stars in the sky, the leaves upon the trees, and the sand on the sea shore, for so many people he said were in England. At this conclusion, Colonel Carey {turned to Lt. Anburey and} archly remarked, “Don’t you think you could make that reply to your King, if he asked you how many people you saw in America?”

Perhaps loyalist children who huddled around a fire in the wilds of Upper Canada or Nova Scotia would ask to be told about New York City, the British stronghold during the American Revolution. If so, their parents might have related something very much like Anburey did in 1781.

“The city of New York stands on the southern extremity of the island, and its situation is extremely delightful … The city is mostly built upon the East River, on account of the harbour. In many of the streets are rows of trees on each side, for shelter from the amazing heats in summer.

Most of the houses are built with brick, very strong and neat, and several stories high; many of them have balconies on the roof, where company sit in the summer evenings, to enjoy the prospect of the opposite shores and harbour; and the roofs are covered with shingles. The streets are paved and clean, but in general very narrow; there are two or three, indeed, which are spacious and airy.

The length of the town is somewhat more than a mile, and the breadth of it about half a mile. The situation is reckoned healthy, but subject to one great inconvenience, which is the want of fresh water.

There are several public buildings, though but few deserving attention. There were two churches, the Old or Trinity Church, and the New one or St. George’s Chapel, both very large; the former was destroyed by fire: by the remains it appears to have been in the Gothic taste. The latter is built upon the model of some of the new churches in London, and opposite to it is a spacious square, where stands the park of artillery. Besides these two, there are several other places of worship, consisting of two Low Dutch Calvinist churches, two High, one French; meeting houses for Lutherans, Presbyterians, Quakers, Anabaptists, Moravians, and a Jews synagogue.”

Any loyalists who had once lived near Windham, Connecticut would have told their children the story of the town that was invaded by frogs.

“One Summer night, in the month of July, 1758, the town of Windham, which stands on the borders of Winnomantic River in Connecticut, was greatly alarmed by a number of these reptiles {sic} which were marching, or rather hopping in a body, from an artificial pond…that, by the exceeding heat of the weather was dried up. This pond was about five miles from Windham, in their way to the Winnomantic, they were under the necessity of keeping the road that led through the town. They entered about midnight. The bullfrog, as being the most powerful, in the front, the rest following. They were so exceedingly numerous that they were some hours passing through, and for want of water unusually clamorous.

The inhabitants were greatly terrified, and fled from their beds naked, near half a mile, imagining it was the French and Indians. The men, after a little recollection, finding no enemy in pursuit, mustered courage to return. When they came near the town, they imagined they distinctly heard the words Wight, Helderkin, Dier, TéTé , which resembles the noise they make, and in their fright they thought the last word meant treaty. When three of them in their shirts approached to treat with the General of the French and Indians; but being dark, and no answer given, their terrors were greatly increased, and they were distracted between hope and fear. At length day appearing, they were eased from all their anxiety, by discovering that this terrific enemy was an army of frogs, dying with thirst, going to the river for a little water.

The people of Windham have ever since been laughed at for their timidity by the New-Englanders; but I really believe, in a similar situation, these Yankees would not have felt themselves much bolder.”

The fire in the hearth has dimmed.

Anburey’s stories –and ours– have come to an end.

Reverend John Beardsley (1732 – 1809) © George McNeillie

– Appendix to Beardsley Ancestry – ‘C’ –

Note concerning “Spruce Grove,” otherwise known as “The Grove,” or “Beardsley’s Grove,” at Woodstock.

Lot No. 32, in the “Grant made to De Lancey’s 1st Battn” at Woodstock in 1784, was originally drawn by Lieutenant Thomas Cunningham. It extended from the present “Back Road”, or “Beardsley Road”, to Lot 33, next above, which lot in 1804 was the property of Michael Smith, and which is now occupied by his grandson Charles L. Smith – the latter was in boyhood my old school-fellow and play-mate. The original parchment of the Woodstock grant of 1784 is I believe now in his possession.

Lot 32 was never I believe settled by Lt. Cunningham, and in the course of time passed into possession of Joseph Dickson, who seems to have been the owner before 1804, but his stay was brief. He died in consequence of running a rusty nail in his foot and the lot passed into the hands of John D. Beardsley, Jr. – our “Uncle John”.

As a former occupant of the lot, a few words may be said about Joseph Dickson. He was a native of America and at the time of the Revolution lived in Fairfield, Connecticut, only a few miles from Stratford, the home of the Beardsleys – both being little towns on Long Island Sound. He was a pronounced Loyalist and joined the British forces in 1776. He went to the Queen’s Rangers, where his brother was an officer. He was sent to recruit and was employed a good while in recruiting and brought in a good many men for the King’s service. The next Spring he enlisted in Major Stark’s Regiment, served in it two years and then took his discharge. Afterwards, he served with the “Loyal Rangers” at Lloyd’s Neck. He was Ensign under Colonel Joshua Upham and took part in every expedition in the Sound. He owned land in Fairfield County, Conn., purchased four years before the war, which he paid for in “hard money” at six pounds, 10 shillings per acre. He cleared the land and built a house which he left behind him when he came away. Values the whole property at 100 pounds currency.

In his evidence before Commissioner Pemberton at St. John, N.B. on February 9, 1787, he produces a certificate from Major Upham of his having served as an Ensign, and his good character and loyalty.

He came to St. John in the June Fleet of 1783, having been commissioned by Sir Guy Carleton as Lieutenant of a company of Loyalists. At the date on which he gave his evidence (1787) he was settled in Kingston.

It is quite probable that the Joseph Dickson of Kingston County is not identical with the one who owned the Grove in 1803. Since writing this I have concluded that this Joseph Dickson settled at Lower Norton and the Joseph Dickson who lived and died on lot 32 was another man in De Lancey’s 1st Battn.

Lot 32 passed into the possession of the Beardsleys and became the home of the oldest son John D. Beardsley, Jr., who owned the land from the “Back Road” up to Michael Smith’s farm. As already mentioned, the place was known as “The Grove”. It was in its prime a beautiful place with its lovely garden, its shady walks, its cosy nooks and swings for the young folks. Picnics were often held there, and garden parties, and the place seldom lacked summer visitors.

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

The Making of a Loyalist – Brian Bethune

The February 28 issue of Maclean’s contains an article on page 51 that will interest many members of UELAC. Recent publications by American Historians have provided the basis for The Making of a Loyalist by Brian Bethune. The author mentions The War of 1812 by Alan Taylor promoted in the fall issue of the Loyalist Gazette, but he references the recent release of Liberty’s Exiles by Harvard’s Maya Jasanoff to present a very informative overview of “American Loyalists”. ( LT readers will remember the 4 July 2010 issue with the link to Empire and Diaspora: How the Loyalist Refugees Shaped the British Empire. ) While the content in the print copy and the e-article are the same, editors have chosen to use different sub-titles. In the magazine, you have “Individual decisions to fight-and to leave the U.S. often turned on the degree of violence and loss suffered”; on the internet, you will read “Rich, white, and virulently anti-democratic—they still suffer from an image problem”. Bethune’s article in a national magazine may help us with our “image problem”.


Maclean’s had an article about Loyalists in the issue of February 28, 2011, called “The Making of a Loyalist.” It seems to be a review of Liberty’s Exiles by Maya Jasanoff (2011). Of course, UEL members will be amused that “a new understanding has emerged” from American historians. The Maclean’s reviewer seems to think his previous image of Loyalists is prevalent everywhere in Canada. (Maybe he’s right, who knows? 🙂

…Brenda Dougall Merriman, CG

Plastic Loyalists Found on the Internet

By visiting Toysaim.com, readers of Loyalist Trails can order 2.5-inch plastic loyalist solders. One packet of “Armies in Plastic” contains five figures in the loyalist cavalry in five poses. Another packet contains 20 infantry soldiers. The figures are green and have sharp edges. Sanding is recommended. Each packet of loyalist soldiers is $13.95 in US funds.

The Tech Side: XYZ – by Wayne Scott, UE

If you are like us, your Facebook account has been hijacked. You may also have had your email account(s) hijacked. It is happening so often that it is old news in discussions. Is this really a problem? It sure is! Account hijacking can be the first step in identity theft.

Many of us use passwords that are simple to hack. According to Ask.com and others, the most common username login is “username”, and the most common password is, “123456”. Names of children or grandchildren are common. Street addresses are often used along with important dates that can often be gleaned from social networking sites like Facebook. Because passwords are often difficult to remember, or at least keep track of, the same password is often used for many login situations. I have heard of people who use only a half dozen passwords, and those are often variations of the same letters and numbers. It is often said by IT professionals that passwords should be changed on a regular basis, even weekly. Do you do this? Likely not.

The solution is to create strong passwords that will stand up to hacking. A strong password is sometimes defined as one that contains a combination of letters and numbers. The letters should be random and not be a word found in a dictionary. In addition, the letters used should be both upper and lower case. The entire password should be at lease 8 characters long including numbers. The longer the string of letters and numbers, the stronger your password becomes. It is important to emphasize this – the password becomes stronger if the letters and numbers are jumbled and in random order.

If the task of generating a strong password seems daunting, there is help. PC Tools has a free strong password generator with many variables. I caution you to copy and paste your password to a safe location, because you will likely not remember it for long. Your anti-virus program may have a password vault built in. Mac users have a program called Key Chain that is password protected that will work quite well. Otherwise, a password can be pasted into a file that you keep in an encrypted location on your hard drive, on an encrypted portion of a flash drive, or written in a journal. Software can also be used to handle these tasks.

One of the many commercial programs is called Roboform. There are a few versions available. The full program will generate strong passwords and allow you to save them to a password-protected file. If you use less than 10 passwords, Roboform is free. Otherwise, the full version with all the bells and whistles is about $30.00. This is a reasonable price for the quality of the program. I have been using Roboform for many years. It is constantly being upgraded at no additional cost.

Another program called Password Safe is receiving good reviews. It has the advantage of being free, being an open source program. You can be sure that the open source community will keep improving Password Safe and notify you of updates as they become available.

Armed with software such as mentioned above, the task of updating your passwords on a regular basis is far less daunting. The only requirement will be remembering one strong password to allow you to enter the password storage area of your computer. This one will have to be remembered. When the master password has been created, check the strength of it online.

I am not one to have a program such as Facebook or Google, etc. remember my password. Yes, they are often put into encrypted files; however, these are being hacked on a regular basis. I am of the opinion that if the effort is spent in setting up your own password/encrypted local storage system your information and passwords are safer.

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

Last Post: Gary Fulton Worth, UE

Gary Fulton Worth UE, Lifetime member of the Vancouver Branch died suddenly on February 05, 2011. Born in Mission, British Columbia on January 27, 1947, he was the son of the late Fulton and Susan (Tingle) Worth. Gary leaves his wife of thirty-five years, Mary (Meredith) Worth; daughter, Joanne Day (Justin); and son, Benjamin; his sisters, Cath Cloutier, Sue Verchére, Barb Maxwell, and many nieces, Nephews, cousins and their families.

His career took him many places, but mainly, he worked for BCFP, Air Canada and until the present day for Peoples Drug Mart. He was a lifetime member of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada. A Memorial Service was held 11:00 a.m. on February 12, 2011 at Gordon Presbyterian Church in Burnaby.

…Carl Stymiest UE, President Vancouver Branch UELAC