“Loyalist Trails” 2012-12: March 25, 2012

In this issue:
Tales of the Lost Slaves: Part Three — by Stephen Davidson
Samuel Carman (1782 – 1864) by George McNeillie
A Loyalist Ancestor’s Ancestor and the Colonial Tavern Keepers
“Vignettes of Winnipeg, Past and Present”: Union Station-123 Main Street
Latest Philip E. M. Leith Memorial Award Recipients Honoured
Dr. George J. Hill to Receive “Good Scout” Award
Biggest Loyalist Families: Conrad Vandusen (15 children) by Ivy Trumpour
Freedom Bound Successfully Launched
Family Research Resources: Digitized Family History Books
Last Post: Mildred Ruth (nee Gray) Livingston, UE
      + Seeking Early Daguerreotypes of Women
      + 1812 Sign in Rockport Maryland


Tales of the Lost Slaves: Part Three — by Stephen Davidson

The lot of loyalists’ slaves during the Revolution was a most difficult one. In most cases, they were booty — valuable property that rebels seized either for resale or to keep as one’s own. Sometimes they managed to run away; at other times they were killed trying to protect the masters or empire that enslaved them. Hundreds were unwilling participants in the loyalist exodus from the Thirteen Colonies. As we shall see from a review of the transcripts of the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL), the slaves of loyalists were also a valuable source of manpower and income during the years of the American Revolution.

Dr. Robert Tucker, a loyalist from Wilmington, North Carolina, owned an African boy whom he apprenticed to a local shoemaker for three years. Had the Revolution not interfered, the doctor could have earned money from the labour of such a skilled slave. However, rebels discovered that Tucker was spying for Governor Martin, and the doctor had to flee the colony so hurriedly that he could not bring his slave with him.

Robert Caldwell hired out his slave, “a negro man employed to drive a team in the British army”. When rebels defeated the British army at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, the White Creek loyalist lost his African driver. Robert Cooper, a South Carolina loyalist, hired out his slave to the Engineers Department at nine dollars a day. Cooper testified to the RCLSAL that he “lost him, he believes he went to the Rebels”.

In a rarity among references to loyalists’ lost slaves is the mention of the names of two African men. Alexander Cumming of Charleston testified that his slave Jake was hired out as a carpenter. A second man named Caesar was also a source of revenue for the loyalist, but this slave died or was killed before the British took Charleston.

Samuel Hallet supplied a wagon, horses and an African slave to help the British war effort. While the transportation equipment went to Philadelphia with the king’s army, his slave was hired out as a pilot. The latter died in New York City before 1783. Hallet sought 42 pounds sterling in compensation for the horses and wagon and 100 pounds sterling for the loss of his slave.

In 1781, the British army needed help to turn Augusta, Georgia’s St. Peter’s Church into Fort Cornwallis. Colonel Thomas Brown issued an order that all loyalists should lend their “working slaves” to help build the fort’s defensive works. Two hundred slaves and 300 loyalist militia responded. Richard Peavis supplied 14 slaves to construct the garrison’s earth embankments. Four of them were children. Major Henry Williams initially sent twenty slaves “to put Fort Cornwallis in a state of defence”. When the patriot forces attacked the fort in late May, the loyalist lost these slaves as well as six men, eight women, and five children. Samuel Williams also contributed four Africans in response to Brown’s summons. As part of the spoils of war, rebels made off with the loyalist’s slaves who included a “likely boy about 14”.

James Gordon had fled patriot persecution in rural Georgia, marching through the woods with his slaves to what he thought would be the safety of Fort Cornwallis. His other possessions were packed up and sent down river by canoe. Despite this division of property, Gordon lost his “baggage” at the fall of Fort Cornwallis, and had “15 working Negroes and seven children” taken by patriots. His slaves were “carried away into the mountainous part of the Country and never got back.”

All five of these southern loyalists eventually made claims for the slaves that they lost at the capture of Fort Cornwallis. Brown, the officer who surrendered to patriots, ended his days in a loyalist settlement in the Bahamas. The enslaved Africans spent the rest of their lives in servitude to southern patriots.

In 1784, Peter Dean testified before the RCLSAL in London that the legislature of Georgia often “obliged” its colonists to provide “Negroes to the Public Works”. However, slave owners were compensated for this labour, receiving “a reasonable price for the labour of Negroes” of two shillings a day. As part of his compensation, Dean not only received money for his lost slaves, but £47 for their labour.

The transcripts of the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists are a chilling testimony to the racist attitudes of colonial America. Sir James Wright, the loyalist governor of Georgia once had as many as 200 slaves working on his plantations; loyalists in New England may have had just one as a cook or coachman. But however many a loyalist owned, men, women and children of African descent were treated with as little (or with only as much) respect as pieces of furniture, valued livestock, or bushels of harvested grain. No feelings of sympathy or regard are to be found in the blunt recounting of the slaves who were kidnapped by rebels or who died in the service of the crown.

Of the thousands of enslaved Africans who are listed in the RCLSAL transcripts only nine men were given any dignity in being mentioned by name: Caesar, Jake, Peter, Joel, Harry, Abraham, Tom, Prince, and Joseph. At the distance of over two centuries, these names are our only means of acknowledging the slaves who loyalists left behind them in the Thirteen Colonies.

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

Samuel Carman (1782 – 1864) © George McNeillie

It should nor be forgotten that when my father’s house in Woodstock was burned in 1864, with no insurance on it, Uncle Dick Carman, who had little money to spare sent him $20.00, which was a good deal for him to give in those days.

Grandfather Carman’s fourth child was named Odber Miles, after his Aunt Sarah Ann’s husband, old Colonel Odber Miles. This leads me to observe, in passing, that as I am very likely the only one who now knows the origin of my second name of “Odber”, it may be worth while to set it down in black and white — not as a thing of any real importance but to answer a question that I have been often asked, “Where did you get your second name?”

The founding by the Loyalists of a city in 1783, which was organized as such in 1785, with its mayor and Common Council (more than half a century before there was another incorporated city in British North America), naturally was followed by the establishment of a number of business houses at St. John. Among these was the firm of “Hall, Lewis, Odber & Co.” Their advertisements appear in old St. John newspapers as early at least as 1786. Among my old manuscripts, deposited at Ottawa in the Dominion Archives in 1916, were some accounts of this firm splendidly kept by Mr. Odber, the junior partner of the firm. He is mentioned in letters of that period. (See Winslow Papers, page 335, and also this book at page 337). The firm had I think a branch of their business at Fredericton and it appears that Col. Edward Winslow sent letters by Mr. Odber to his friend Mather Bylis, Jr. in St. John. I rather think that Mr. Odber was from England, and that his stay at St. John was not for many years. His name in full appears to have been “Thomas Treadway Odber” and I think I remember to have seen his signature so written in his own hand. He must have been a friend, possibly a relative, of Colonel Elijah Miles of Maugerville.

At any rate the Rev. John Beardsley records in his baptismal register the baptism of a son of Elijah Miles (not long after the parson came to Maugerville in 1786) by the name of Thomas Treadway Odber. This Thomas Treadway Odber Miles subsequently became a very leading man in the Maugerville community. He was Colonel of the Militia (as his father had been). Also, the leading parish magistrate, specially licensed to celebrate marriages. As his full name was rather cumbersome to use as a signature, in view of the amount of legal business he was called upon to transact, he usually signed his name “Thos. Odber Miles”. He married on March 11, 1815, my Grandfather’s sister, Sarah Ann Carman, and the children of the two families, being near neighbours and about of equal age, as well as being own cousins, were exceedingly intimate. My Mother visited much, in her young days, in the home of her Aunt Mrs. Odber Miles, and often spoke with amusement of some of the queer weddings that Colonel Miles had to celebrate.

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

A Loyalist Ancestor’s Ancestor and the Colonial Tavern Keepers

Many (perhaps most) readers of Loyalist Trails have enjoyed tracing their genealogies back to United Empire Loyalists. Often, we stop there, but it can also be fun to learn about the ancestors of our forebears. For example, one of my Loyalist ancestors, Henry Vanderburgh (1717-1792), was a judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Dutchess County, New York, where his family had owned extensive estates and held public office since the beginning of the eighteenth century. After the American Revolution, he went to New Brunswick, where he was appointed a magistrate. Henry was both highly respectable, and highly respected.

I’m not sure the same was true of the founder of his family, Lucas Dircksen, nicknamed “van der Burg” (“from the fort”). Lucas came to New Netherland (New York) with the army of the Dutch West India Company. He retired in 1656, and bought a house at 21 Broadway in Lower Manhattan, just across the street from where the statue of the “Charging Bull” now stands. Lucas sold beer and wine out of his house, and eventually opened a tavern, “The Signe of the Fort Orange,” a few blocks to the east, at 16 Stone Street. The Signe was a popular place, and Lucas was a good host. He had to deal with his fair share of bar fights, and in 1661 he was fined for serving after hours.

I am proud to be descended from both Lucas Dircksen, the soldier and tavern keeper, and his great-grandson Henry Vanderburgh, the judge and Loyalist. Thanks to Lucas, I have been admitted to an organization called Flagon and Trencher: Descendants of Colonial Tavern Keepers, which holds its annual meetings in colonial taverns in the United States. If you think you might be eligible to join Flagon and Trencher, consult their website, www.flagonandtrencher.org, or contact me.

…John McLeod, UE

“Vignettes of Winnipeg, Past and Present”: Union Station-123 Main Street

The construction of Union Station was a joint venture by three railways, the Grand Trunk, the Canadian Northern, the National Transcontinental, and the Dominion Government. Operating out of a common terminus, the railways hoped to better compete with the CPR.

The West was growing rapidly in population and wealth. More and more miles of rail were needed to carry people and freight into the West and, increasingly, grain and other commodities out.

Construction began in 1908 and by completion in 1911, it was the hub of 24 rail lines.

Union Station was designed by Warren and Wetmore, the architects of New York’s Grand Central Station, and bears a resemblance to its big sister. It is in the Beaux-Arts style, with stone exterior, marble interior, and a terrazzo floor. The pillared front façade is flanked by symmetrical wings. The building is surmounted by a copper dome.

Over the many decades Union Station has seen the arrivals and departures of throngs of immigrants and thousands of soldiers in two World Wars. In happier times it served cottagers and day-trippers bound for the beaches of Lake Winnipeg and the cottages of Lake-of-the Woods.

Today Union Station is used by Canadian National freight trains and by Via Rail. Travelers are fewer in number, mostly tourists on the Via Rail tri-weekly service east and west and the weekly service to Churchill on the Hudson Bay Line.

The upper storeys now house government offices such as Environment Canada and Red River College’s English language school.

On the second level, tracks one and two, the Winnipeg Railway Museum, run by volunteers, displays vintage engines, rail cars, and memorabilia of the hey-day of the railways.

The jewel in the crown of the collection is the Countess of Dufferin, the first steam engine in Western Canada. Her arrival in 1877 on the steamboat Selkirk heralded the end of the steamboat era on the Red River.

In the fall of 1877 Governor General Lord Dufferin and Lady Dufferin were touring Manitoba. It was they who hammered in the first spikes of the rails on the Pembina line. To mark this event the little steam engine was given a vice-regal name.

For years the Countess of Dufferin stood outside the CPR Station on Higgins Avenue. In 1970 she was removed for repairs and languished in storage until a generous benefactor paid for the refurbishment and she was installed in the Winnipeg Railway Museum.

Today if you visit Union Station in the quiet between trains, you may stand beneath the majestic dome and perhaps hear a murmur of voices, an aural mosaic of languages, echoes from the past when this beautiful building thrummed with the bustle of arrivals and departures.


Street of Dreams: The Story of Broadway, by Marjorie Gillies

Winnipeg: An Illustrated History, by Alan Artibise.



[Manitoba Branch is hosting Conference at the Confluence 2012, the UELAC annual gathering and annual meeting from June 7 to 10 in Winnipeg. These vignettes will provide some of the local history and whet your appetite for more. Now is a good time to plan your trip to the conference, and join us there.]

Latest Philip E. M. Leith Memorial Award Recipients Honoured

Each year the Pacific Region UELAC recognizes one or more of its members who have made significant contributions to one of the branches. The award is given in the name of Philip E. M. Leith who was a kind benefactor.

Two people – Judy Scholz UE, Chilliwack Branch and Audrey Viken UE, Vancouver Branch – received their awards in late 2011. They have now been added to the list of honoured recipients of this award: see Philip E. M. Leith Memorial Award.

This is one part of that section of the UELAC website which notes various UELAC Honours and Recognition, at the national, regional and branch levels of the association.

…Gerry Adair UE, Chairman, Volunteer Recognition

Dr. George J. Hill to Receive “Good Scout” Award

On Wednesday May 16, 2012, Dr. Hill will be presented the Health Care Industry “Good Scout” Award at the 20th Annual Northern New Jersey Healthcare Awards Dinner, an event held in West Orange, New Jersey. Although he has written more than a dozen books on a wide range of topics, Dr. Hill is still searching for that primary source document that would prove Anna Maria Saxe was the daughter of Godfrey Saxe and granddaughter of the Loyalist John Saxe. The Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch UELAC is very proud of the achievements of one of their Associate Members. More about Dr. Hill and his family (PDF).

…Michel Racicot

Biggest Loyalist Families: Conrad Vandusen (15 children) by Ivy Trumpour

Conrad Vandusen, with 15 children, has been added to the List of the largest Loyalist families – submitted by Ivy Trumpour. See more of the Loyalists’ biggest families – four entries so far – and note the submission guidelines if you have a large family you would like to contribute.

Freedom Bound Successfully Launched

Last month, Ronsdale Press released the third historical novel in the series by the award-winning author Jean Rae Baxter.Following The Way Lies North and Broken Trail, the completion of the trilogy takes the reader deeper into the southern conflict of the American Revolution. How has this latest novel been received? In its March 16th publication the National Post appeared to be the first to publish a review of Freedom Bound, suitably choosing the viewpoint of a young teenager. It is posted here for the benefit of our LT Readers.

While preparing for her upcoming presentation to her fellow members of the Hamilton Branch UELAC, Jean Rae Baxter noted that as a result of her research for her earlier novel Broken Trail, she was struck by the fact that there were two big issues motivating those who sought independence from Britain. Although the one we hear about most is, No Taxation without Representation, Britain’s imperial policy for the wilderness, summed up in the Royal Proclamation of 1763, caused even more outrage in some quarters than did the notorious Stamp Act. As a result, she will show that in the profound differences between Britain’s attitude to the native people and that of those leading the fight for independence, the differences had more to do with land than with anything else. (The process of writing Broken Trail was described earlier in Loyalist Trails.) Revelations about the research for Freedom Bound will no doubt be revealed as well.


Family Research Resources: Digitized Family History Books

From the Toronto Branch OGS electronic newsletter, Dick Eastman wrote recently about the fact that over 40,000 digitized genealogy and family history books are available free at familysearch. The website is still in the Beta test phase. It can be found at http://books.familysearch.org.

I entered my Loyalist surname using “Advanced Search” and found over 1,000 entries! – any my loyalist ancestor is not particularly prominent.

…Nancy Conn UE, Gov Simcoe Br.

Last Post: Mildred Ruth (nee Gray) Livingston, UE

Passed away peacefully at Mauno Kaihla Koti with family by her side on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at the age of 93. Beloved wife of the late Edwin. Dear mother of Wayne and Brian Livingston and Fay Hodson (Barry). Grandmother of Eric, Jordan and Allyssa. Great grandmother of Sunnie-Rose. Sister of the late Earl Gray. Remembered by brother and sisters-in-law and many nieces and nephews. A private family viewing was held. Interment Pinecrest Cemetery, Ottawa, Ontario. Memorial contributions to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 or your local branch would be appreciated. (Arrangements entrusted to the Arthur Funeral Home & Cremation Centre 705-759-2522). Expressions of sympathy may be offered at www.arthurfuneralhome.com

Mildred was a member of the Colonel Edward Jessup Branch UELAC for many years. Her husband, Edwin was a President and genealogist of the branch. Before moving east alng the St laarence River, Mildred and Ed were members of the Gov. Simcoe Branch, memberships which they also maintained until their passing.

…Myrtle Johnson UE


Seeking Early Daguerreotypes of Women

I am a Master’s of Fashion student and the Costume designer at Black Creek Pioneer Village. For my final academic project this year I am researching daguerreotypes of women with a Canadian connection as documentation of early Canadian dress. I recently visited the archives in Kingston and was inspired by two beautiful daguerreotypes of Sarah Macauley. It occurred to me that other UEL families may have daguerreotypes of family members.

So far I’ve been able to find close to fifty daguerreotypes of women from the early Victorian period in Canada West. They show women as adolescents, in wedding dresses, as mothers with children of all ages, and as older grandmothers. Some are of exceptional quality but it is amazing how much can been seen in even poorer daguerreotypes. I’m finding that while there is a certain uniformity of fashions in most of the images, each woman brings a unique style to her portrait.

If you have a daguerreotype showing a early-Victorian Canadian woman, please contact me – it would be a great help with my research into our early Ontario heritage. Thanks in advance.

Elaine MacKay

1812 Sign in Rockport Maryland

When my niece and I were in Plymouth for the Congress, we took two bus tours, one of which took us to Rockport, MA. I don’t know if you have ever been there, but it looked like a little Village with lots of shops and boats. As we wandered around I spotted a sign with a row of 9 men in uniforms – white pants, black tops, and black hats (see photos) – and the sign below said:

OLD STONE FORT — Site of fort erected by public subscription as a protection against British warships during the war of 1812, captured in a sneak attack and dismantled by frigate NYMPHE. Ammunition gone, all 9 sea fencibles taken prisoner, the townsmen hurled rocks, using their stockings as slings.

That’s all the information I have about this, but I would be quite interested in learning more about it if anyone has more details.

Marian Tait, UE, DAR