“Loyalist Trails” 2011-34: Aug 28, 2011
In this issue:
– Africans Bound for Quebec City — by Stephen Davidson
– Joseph Orser, UE: A Sequel
– Horsfield Ancestry: First Generation in America © George McNeillie
– Rulofson Connection to Wyckoff house
– REAL; Genealogy; Loyalists
– Resources Available for Wentworth Area
– Family History Conference, Sept. 17, Toronto
– Cumberland Museum Tour On September 21
– The Tech Side — Using a Wiki — by Wayne Scott UE
Africans Bound for Quebec City — by Stephen Davidson
Of all the ships that evacuated loyalists from New York City to Quebec in 1783, only seven of them had enslaved Africans or Black Loyalists among their passengers. There were a total of 29 Africans who made this journey — a fact that has been overlooked by both loyalist and Quebec historians. Their stories warrant closer study. With the help of The Book of Negroes, the descendants of Black Loyalists and enslaved Africans now living in Quebec and Ontario have some important clues to begin the search for their ancestors.
The seven ships that had Africans among their loyalist passengers were: The Baker and Atlee, the Blackett, the Camel, the Grace, the Hope, the Mary, and the Three Sisters. Of the 29 blacks who sailed for Quebec from New York City, 16 were either emancipated by the British or were born free. Thirteen of the Africans passengers were considered the property of white loyalists.
As is true of any attempt to try to piece together Black Loyalist history, the available data is minimal. How these Africans survived in their first years along the St. Lawrence River is a matter of conjecture, but how they first came to its shores is revealed in the brief entries found in The Book of Negroes.
For example, the two Black Loyalists on the Mary were both single people from the southern colonies. Phillis Duet had been a servant in Pedee, South Carolina. Although born free, Phillis decided that her interests were best served by joining the loyalists’ cause rather than the patriots’. In 1780, at the age of 43, she left her employer and joined other free blacks in New York City to wait out the Revolution.
The other African aboard the Mary was George Flanders, a 23 year-old who had escaped from his master in St. Augustine, Florida in 1781. The loss to posterity of the stories of how these two single people survived in a racist society in the cold northern frontier is an ongoing tragedy for the Black Loyalist historian.
The descendants of the New York loyalist Joseph Orser might be surprised to discover that their ancestor took two African children with his family when he sailed on the Camel. Abigail was fourteen; little Oliver only eleven. Did these enslaved children survive to adulthood? Were they ever set free? Are their descendants among us today? These are questions that remain unanswerable.
The Hope carried only one Black Loyalist, a 37 year-old spinster named Lucia. She had left Charleston, South Carolina in 1781.
The Book of Negroes was compiled in 1783 to refute the claims of any American slave owner who might, at a future date, protest that the British had stolen his property as loyalists fled New York City. Meticulous details on the appearance, age, colony of origin, and legal status of departing Africans were recorded in two large ledgers. If any slave of a patriot had served the British cause for a year or more that person was granted a General Birch certificate to prove his or her emancipation.
All but one of the six Africans who sailed on the Blackett carried this precious certificate. Nicholas and Lena Clouse, both 40 years-old, had fled their masters in Tappan, New Jersey in 1779, crossed the Hudson River, and joined the British forces in New York City. Their fellow passengers, Dick and Elsee Boon (with daughter Celia) also held Birch certificates. This family had escaped from their master in Charleston in 1778. Rosetta, a 30 year-old woman like Celia Boon, would lead a very different life from that of the other blacks on the Blackett. She was the property of the loyalist David Whitehill, and he had the bill of sale to prove it.
Like the Boon couple, the only Black Loyalist aboard the Baker and Atlee was also fifty years old. Tampier had escaped his master in Paramus, New Jersey five years earlier. The other African who sailed on Tampier’s ship was Mary, an eleven year-old girl who was “the property of Thomas Darling”.
All but two of the eight Africans on the Grace were women. Thirteen year-old Betsey Graham was the slave of John Graham; 38 year-old Jenny Miller was the property of Alexander Hare. Hannah Harris, a single mother of thirty nursing her four month old Polly, came to Quebec as a free woman.
The Book of Negroes’ entry for Peter Matthews and his wife Margaret hints at an interesting –but lost– story. The fact that he was a free man was underscored in Matthews’ discharge, a document that was signed in London, England by Major Stephenson in 1780. Sometime during his service to the British army, Matthews met Margaret. She had once been enslaved by a colonial government official. When the British captured New York City in 1776, Margaret’s master abandoned her. For unexplained reasons, the Matthews couple decided to pursue life under the British flag in Quebec rather than in Nova Scotia where three thousand of their race had settled.
Other African passengers on the Grace included John Martine and Betsey. The latter was the 16 year-old slave of the loyalist Guy Johnson; the former had escaped from his master in Charleston in 1780 when he was 19. Martine served the British for three years before sailing for Quebec.
Most of the black passengers who took passage on the Three Sisters were loyalist slaves. York, an 11 year-old boy, belonged to the loyalist John Huych/Hough. Peter Van Alstyne brought three slaves to Quebec with his family: 30 year-old Pusie, her 18 month-old baby, and Cuff Van Alstine, a 16 year-old.
Eleven year-old Ben Johnson belonged to John Johnston; Casper Hellenbeck considered 19 year-old Simon Helenbeck his property. Only Cato Huggenel sailed as a free African aboard the Three Sisters. He received his General Birch certificate after fleeing the seige of Charleston in 1782. When he disembarked at Quebec, Huggenel had been a free man for only one of his 44 years.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
This is a sequel to Stephen Davidson’s article “Joseph Orser, UE, Dead on Arrival” in the previous issue of Loyalist Trails (August 21, 2011).
After Joseph died in 1783, the Orser family possibly spent the first winter in Sorel, Quebec before continuing on to Cataraqui, Ontario. They received land the following spring in No. 1 Township (now Kingston).
The chart below follows only one of the Orser family who eventually moved west and homesteaded in Alberta.
Generation 1. Joseph Orser m. Anna Jurckes
G2. Gilbert Orser m. Sarah Wright
G3. Samuel Orser m. Elizabeth Johnson
G4. J.J. Orser m. Eliz P West
G5. Willet H. Orser m. Annie Haskins
G6. Ray, Orville and Hulbert
Sir Clifford Sifton, new minister of immigration for the Liberal government led by Sir Wilfred Laurier, wanted to open up the Prairies for settlement. He wanted to make Canada look attractive and affordable to people abroad so he offered “free” land to settlers. Three million people came to Canada between 1896 and 1914. The land was free but the registration fee was $10.00 per ¼ section (160 acres).
Willet Henry Orser (bp April 1858; d. 1935) made his first visit to Alberta in 1896.
He arrived in the North West Territories (now Alberta) to view the land in the Ellice district in 1896. He selected a homestead and stayed for several years. As a carpenter, he helped to build pioneer buildings in the area including the first school in Lacombe. He returned to Wilberforce, Ontario, to gather together a boxcar of settlers’ effects and then he and two of his sons (Ray and Orval) headed back to Alberta. Annie and their youngest son, Hulburt (Hullie, age 6 years), arrived in the summer of 1903. The family residence changed from a tent, to a one-room shack, to a well-built house.
On September 1, 1905, Willet and two of his sons (Orval and Hullie) attended Inauguration Ceremonies in Edmonton. The area in which they lived was becoming the Province of Alberta. They got up at 2:00 am, milked the cows, travelled by buggy to Ponoka, and caught the train carrying people from Calgary to Edmonton. They had to be ferried across the Saskatchewan River to see the parade that included Governor General Earl Grey and Lady Grey, Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier and G.H.V. Belyea who was to be sworn in as Alberta’ first Lieutenant-Governor. 20,000 people attended. At the end of the day, they repeated the trip by ferry, train, and buggy in order to return home to milk the cows.
Willet, Annie, and Ernest Fry organized the first post office in the area. They called it Tristram and it was officially opened in 1907. The post office was moved to the Orser home in 1908 and Willet was postmaster for 21 years.
Hulbert Henry Orser (b.1897) volunteered for duty in WW1. He was injured at Passchendaele. While convalescing, he met and married an entertainer from London, England, by the name of Agnes Pitcher. They moved to the farm in Alberta and had one daughter who was raised by her grandparents.
That baby was Evelyn (Orser) deMille who is a member of the Calgary Branch of the UELAC. Evelyn was the first woman in Alberta to own her own stand-alone bookstore. She also founded a bookstore chain. Evelyn was awarded an honorary PhD degree by the University of Calgary in 1998.
Much of the Orser information is taken from the Orser Family History book written by Daniel Turner in 1975.
[A Calgary Branch undertaking is to writing down information about our members.]
Submitted by Linda McClelland, UE
Horsfield Ancestry: First Generation in America © George McNeillie
4.) Sarah Horsfield, the daughter of William, was born Nov. 5, 1761, and at the time of her marriage to Richard Carman of Hempstead, in 1779, was only 17 years of age. She had seven sons and four daughters. The oldest sons (one of whom was Grandfather Carman) were born at Hempstead and the others in New Brunswick. Richard Carman and his wife lived in Maugerville from 1784 until about 1815, when they sold their property there and moved to Manawagonish (usually pronounced “Mahogany”) in the Parish of Lancaster, near West St. John where he died about two years afterwards. His widow staid [sic] there for seven or eight years on the farm, which was owned by her Uncle Thomas Horsfield. The latter died on June 29, 1819, and left no surviving children. By his will he left to his niece Sarah, widow of Richard Carman, the farm of 300 acres at Manawagonish on which she lived, also “the upper farm and premises, near by, of 300 acres, with all the stock of both farms, also a number of ten acre lots adjoining the latter farm, and a lot on the south side of the main road, known as the Munday lot, 25 acres.” Among the personal bequests to his niece Sarah, mentioned in the will, are “two silver butter boats and his own and his mother’s pictures.”
The fate of the two family portraits was rather melancholy. In the course of time nearly all of Mrs. Carman’s children married, and about 1823, being left almost alone, she went to live with her son Samuel, my grandfather, at Lower St. Marys. The oil painting of Thomas Horsfield was left on the wall of her house in “Mahogany” and, according to the late Miss Mary Carman, was eaten by the rats. The portrait of his mother was saved and removed from the Carman house, built by John Mount in 1800 in Musquash, where I saw it. It remained on the wall and was exhibited with much family pride until the great Musquash fire, about 1903, when it was burned along with the house and many old heirlooms. It is probable that the house and its contents might have been saved, but the conflagration caused by the huge forest fire was so general in the neighbourhood that all the able-bodied men were engrossed in the endeavour to save their own property. Miss Mary Carman and her aged brother Leverett could do little more than save their own lives. The house was built of brick manufactured near by, the lime burned in a kiln on the place. All the partitions were made of brick.
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].
Rulofson Connection to Wyckoff house
I enjoyed the information about the Wyckoff house in New York City [see Twitter Points to A Loyalist in The Wyckoff Farmhouse in Loyalist Trails 2011-33 Aug 21, 2011].
The name rang a bell and I went to my 15 generation chart. Although I am still proving my connections to Rulof Rulofson, Loyalist who settled in New Brunswick it appears that he is related to Pieter Wyckoff. Pieter Wyckoff married Grietje Cornelis Van Ness. Their daughter Annetje Wyckoff married Roelof Martense Schenck. Their daughter Margaretta married Cornelis Van Kouwen Hoven. Their daughter Annetje married Abraham Van Horne (ancestor of the Canadian railway builder William Van Horne). Their daughter Margaretta married Hermanes Abraham Rulofson. Their son is Rulof Rulofson.
Rulof Rulofson lived to the age of 85 and may be of interest to you in your search for the longest lived Loyalist.
Rulof Rulofson was born in Middlesex Co., New Jersey 8 Dec 1754. He married Mehitable Phinney in Granville Township, Nova Scotia in March 1784. They moved to New Brunswick and on 26 March 1785 he petitioned for land stating in the petition “your petitioner Rulof Rulofson Ensign late of the Second Batallion of New Jersey Volunteers”. (NB Provincial Archives: RS108: F1028). This petition was granted 28 March 1785 and he settled in Hampton. Land Grant #107 indicates that he received 177 Acres (NB Archives: RS686: F16302). He became active in the life of the new colony and became a magistrate. He had 11 children. He died 1 Oct 1840 and was survived by six of his daughters and his wife who died in 1849 (NB Archives: Daniel F. Johnson’s New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics: Volume 12, Number 1557).
…Sharron King, Vancouver, BC
Trying to interest a grandchild in genealogy? Want something with a loyalist connection? The Summer 2011 junior edition of REAL: The Canadian Kids Magazine has a story about how children can use the resources of the internet to track down lost relatives. “Charlie Hay and the Case of the Lost Cousins” is written by Stephen Davidson, a regular contributor to Loyalist Trails. The story of how a New Brunswick boy finds his lost Australian cousins using century-old letters is a true one, just one name has been changed.
REAL is only available through the mail and costs $5.95 for a single issue. To get your copy, visit the magazine’s website at www.realkidsmag.com. Future issues of REAL will feature two other Loyalist stories for children by Davidson in 2012.
Resources Available for Wentworth Area
The Head of the Lake Historical Society sells original copies of most of the 15 Wentworth Bygones booklets and even some of the Journals and Proceedings of the Wentworth Historical Society from early in the 20th century. I was able to acquire the complete series of Wentworth Bygones between them and one purchase on the internet. Many of the booklets have the list of Crown patentees for entire districts, e.g., Vol. 6 from 1965 has Saltfleet Township where one of my Loyalist ancestors is listed. Vol 3 from 1962 has the 1808 voters’ list for Saltfleet.
Family History Conference, Sept. 17, Toronto
The conference will be on Saturday, September 17, 2011 9 am to 5 pm at the Family History Centre 24 Ferrand Drive, Toronto ON (near the Ontario Science Centre).
There will be over 30 presentations throughout the day on topics ranging from Preservation of Photos and Records to Genetic Genealogy. Of particular interest to members of the United Empire Loyalist Association are Brian Gilchrist’s workshops on
– Session 1: Wandering relatives: an overview of resources for tracing people coming to Canada through the United States and for people going to the United States through Canada from 1776 to 1900, including references to the American War for Independence and the War of 1812.
– Session 2: Ontario Municipal records: an introduction into what they are, where they are and how they can help you.
– Closing Session: Making choices — or have you got the correct person in the right documents at the right time otherwise known as the story of the five documents and nothing agrees — what do you do?
To see the other fascinating workshops and to register, go to www.oneworldonefamily-theevent.com.
Cost is $20.00 for the day, including lunch. During the lunch hour, registrants will have an opportunity to see displays by groups like the OGS and Ancestry. If you would like to have a table (no charge) for the UEL Association, we would be happy to arrange it.
Cumberland Museum Tour On September 21
The Cumberland Museum is located 15 minutes from Ottawa at 2940 Old Montreal Road. The Museum is the only one of its kind in North America as it depicts life during the 1930’s (Upper Canada Village depicts the 1860’s) The 1930’s were very interesting as the impact of emerging technology and social changes made for a time of rapid changes. The Cumberland Heritage Village Museum is located on a 100-acre site and features 28 living history buildings including an operating sawmill, one-room schoolhouse, farmsteads, a fire hall, forge, train station, church, and more! Costumed interpreters recreate what rural life was like in the early depression era, with activities for the kids so you won’t run out of things to do or see. It is also home to Ottawa Valley Live Steamers and Model Engineers.
Cumberland Museum Tour: On September 21, 2011, at 1 pm the Sir Guy Carleton Branch of the UELAC will be having a tour lasting 1.5 hours of the Cumberland Museum. Fees are $7 for adults and $5 for Seniors. If you wish to be included on the tour please phone 613-274-3331 or email Bob Adair.
The Tech Side: Using a Wiki – by Wayne Scott, UE
A Wiki is a website that allows for the creation of any number of linked pages, where any number of people can contribute and/or edit the material. Wikis can be on any topic, often with guidelines as to the parameters of the subject information being presented and sought.
If you are interested in a full discussion of Wikis or Wikipedia, check out Wikipedia’s entry. A Google search will list over a billion sites relating to Wikis, along with the well publicized ‘wikileaks’.
Wikis are finding their way into Genealogy with increased interest lately. Just think about it; you are trying to do the genealogy of your family and once you have traced a number of family lines back a half dozen generations or so, the sheer number of branches of relatives becomes astounding. Maybe you could get help. By contacting other interested relatives and setting up a standardized page where pertinent information could be entered, different people could research different portions of the project and post their findings on a centralized website, or wiki.
The wiki doesn’t have to start off being a “Public” offering as yet. At some point input from other people might be helpful so the wiki would be opened up to the public. Other people who have some input would be able to add their material. Errors can be caught and corrected.
Often contradictory information will appear. This might necessitate the group to look at and publishing alternative information until a definitive answer is available. In this case, a collaborative approach to problem solving opens up lines of communication that can prove beneficial.
Genealogy organizations may find wikis useful. Maybe your group is documenting the cemeteries in a geographical area. In many cases, the job is far too challenging for one or two people to handle on their own. If a wiki is set up, different people can collaborate on the project by documenting different cemeteries or sections of cemeteries. At some point, additional information can be added to the wiki on particular families, such as a particular grave belonging to a United Empire Loyalist or a particular regiment of an army or militia.
To get started, see here. This site offers free wikis for individuals and groups. Large organizations will have to pay for their wiki hosting. It would be more complex to host a wiki on a club website. The software or wiki engine is server based in order to allow a number of users to access the wiki at a given time. Again, a Google search will turn up other wiki hosting services with a number of options and pricing structures. Wikispaces offers an option which may prove quite useful. A discussion forum can be set up where various topics can be presented and the group can weigh in on the issues or topics.
To get a broader understanding of how to use a wiki, check out this YouTube video. Some wiki hosting services have video tutorials to help you along the way. Cyndi’s List has a section on Genealogy Wikis. There are a number of tabs to help clarify your search including: general resources, finding and using wikis, software and services for wikis, to name a few.
Wikis can be used as an alternative to publishing a project, whether club based or individual. The project information presented in book form cannot be changed once it goes to print. By going the wiki route, as new information becomes available it can easily be added to the body of knowledge created by your wiki. Experts and enthusiasts from around the world can participate and help expand your work. Unfortunately, if the reason for publication is connected to a profit motive, then the wiki is not the route to go.
Again, Google can be a great help with wikis. A Google search of Genealogy Wikis produced 14 million results. An example of a family wiki can be seen here. Maybe you can find a family specific wiki to enhance your research.
You can email Wayne Scott to get in touch with questions or comments.