“Loyalist Trails” 2012-24: June 17, 2012

In this issue:
Short Stories from Lorenzo Sabine – by Stephen Davidson
John Davis Beardsley (1771 – 1852) by George McNeillie
UELAC Vancouver Branch Supports Heritage Fairs Across BC
Fall 2011 Gazette Branching Out Reports Added to Branch Histories
New Section: Loyalists and the War of 1812
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: David Edward Embury
      + Proof of Marriage: Sarah Reed and Joseph Parks
      + Sites and Travel in Loyalist New York
      + Addendum to Response re James Blakely and Indian Root Pills


Short Stories from Lorenzo Sabine – by Stephen Davidson

First published in 1864, Lorenzo Sabine’s Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution is still a valuable resource for identifying and understanding those involved in North America’s first civil war. But beyond being a treasure trove for the historian and genealogist, the book also recounts stories of the loyalist era that might otherwise have been lost. Here are five of those stories.

Twenty-seven year old Abraham DePeyster owed his life to the fact that the soldiers in his regiment, the New York Volunteers, were paid in the morning. Being a captain in the loyalist regiment meant that DePeyster received, among other coins, a gold doubloon. His men were preparing to march off to confront patriot forces that had amassed near modern day Blacksburg, South Carolina. DePeyster quickly put the coins into his vest pocket.

The Battle of King’s Mountain was one of the patriots’ great victories in the south. After just over an hour of fighting, DePeyster’s commanding officer was dead, 553 men were wounded, 668 became prisoners of war, and 244 died on the battlefield. The loyalist captain had been shot in the chest, but did not die. The bullet which should have ended DePeyster’s life struck the gold doubloon in his pocket, “and his life was thus saved.”

Three years after this battle, Abraham and his wife Catherine settled in Saint John, New Brunswick. He was one of the first treasurers for the loyalist colony and served as a colonel in the provincial militia in the 16 years before his death in 1799.

While DePeyster might be a good candidate for the Luckiest Loyalist, Henry Rugely could easily claim the title of the Most Embarrassed Loyalist. Rugely owned Clermont, a plantation in South Carolina. It was strategically situated at the intersection of a creek and road, and for that reason 103 British troops were garrisoned there in 1780. By this time Rugely had also taken up arms; he was a lieutenant-colonel in the local loyalist militia.

When rebels tried to attack Rugely’s plantation one night, a fence of felled trees that surrounded the house prevented their horses from advancing. The rebel commander had his men prop up a tree trunk on a carriage so that it looked like a cannon. They brought it up to where Rugely and the soldiers could see it “in military style”. The rebels “made a show of fight, and … sent a flag warning Rugely of impending destruction”. Apparently, this was not a new trick. Rebels referred to such wooden field pieces as “Quaker cannon” – an apt name since the Quakers were pacifists.

Peering down the road at the mouth of the “cannon”, Rugely surrendered. While local rebels chuckled at how they defeated the king’s forces with a tree trunk, Lord Cornwallis wrote an angry letter to Henry Rugely’s superior officer. “Rugely will not be made a brigadier. He surrendered, without firing a shot.” After the revolution, Rugely decided to remain among his patriot neighbours, even though they had confiscated Clermont in 1782. His name last appears in the public records of South Carolina as a plaintiff in an 1812 court case.

Although his book was about the loyalists of the American Revolution, Lorenzo Sabine also included the occasional story about changes of allegiance during the war. North Carolina’s Zack Spencer was a loyalist who was seized by rebels while he slept. When he sentenced to be hanged, Spence begged for his life, promising to recant he allegiance to the crown. But no Bible could be found upon which he could swear his fidelity to the patriot cause. Anxious to gain a convert, the rebels had Spencer swear on an old almanac “for want of a Bible”. How valid, one wonders, was Spencer’s oath of allegiance?

Joseph Stansbury‘s troubles all began with a sing-along in his home. In 1776, neighbours reported that the Philadelphia merchant had “sung God Save the King in his house, and that a number of persons present bore him chorus”. Although he was eventually “committed to prison” for his demonstration of loyalty, by 1777 Stansbury was made a commissioner for overseeing the “city watch” by Sir William Howe after the British occupied Philadelphia. When the rebels reclaimed the City of Brotherly Love three years later, they threw Stansbury into prison once more.

The singing loyalist pleaded to be allowed to move to New York, but he was only finally permitted to do so on the condition that he arrange the return of two rebel prisoners and refrain from anything that would harm the patriot cause. After Stansbury, his wife, and six children were safely in New York City, he decided to wage war on the rebels by writing “on the side of the crown”. His Loyal Verses were finally collected and published 51 years after his death. Publishing them during Stansbury’s lifetime might have caused some difficulties. Although the family sailed to Nova Scotia in 1783, they eventually returned to the United States. They settled in New York City where the singing loyalist became the secretary of an insurance company.

Not all of the loyalists of Philadelphia escaped persecution as easily as Stansbury. Roger McCarty and his companions were seized as they sailed their schooner down the Delaware River to buy provisions. Although these loyalists were not attacking – or spying upon – rebel positions, they were arrested and taken to Wilmington, Delaware. There they were sentenced to be “tied arms and legs to the gallows”. The rebels ripped the shirts from the loyalists’ backs and then, using a wired and knotted cat of nine tails, gave each man 250 lashes. McCarty and his friends were then “allowed to depart”. What became of these loyalists remains unknown.

Tragic and humorous, amusing and shocking, Lorenzo Sabine’s biographical sketches of those who remained loyal to the king are fascinating glimpses of revolutionary times. We will return to his book for even more stories in a future edition of Loyalist Trails.

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

John Davis Beardsley (1771 – 1852) © George McNeillie

As has already been mentioned in this book John Davis Beardsley and his twin sister Sylvia, were born at Poughkeepsie on February 4, 1771. The sister doubtless was named for her mother Sylvia Punderson. She probably died young but her name was handed down to my Grandmother, the eldest child of John Davis Beardsley, who was called Polly Sylvia. John D. Beardsley was a boy of twelve years old when he came to New Brunswick. His father sent him to King’s College, Windsor, in 1789, when it was merely an Academy and not yet incorporated, being desirous that he should enter the ministry; but the res augusta domi (his father’s straitened circumstances) obliged him to relinquish the idea. Late in life Bishop Inglis – not improbably at the suggestion of the Rev. Frederick Dibblee – proposed to young Beardsley his preparing for Holy Orders as missionary of Queensbury and Prince William. The Bishop, however, wrote to the Secretary of the S.P.G. [editor’s note: Society for the Propagation of the Gospel] on March 1, 1798: “Mr. Beardsley has declined the mission of Queensbury and Prince William.”

After his short course at the Academy in Windsor young Beardsley taught school for a while at Maugerville in 1792 and then went to Woodstock where he married, on June 20, 1793, Sarah Munday Dibblee. The wedding we may presume took place at the home of the mother of the bride, which was very near the site of “Rosebank”, my brother Lee’s residence. The bride was 18 years of age and the bridegroom was 22. The Rev. Frederick Dibblee, uncle of the bride was no doubt the officiating minister.

The young people may have lived for a short time afterwards in Maugerville – at least we find mention in the Rev. John Beardsley’s baptismal register of the baptism at Maugerville in 1799 of “John Davis, son of my son, John D. Beardsley”. It is of course quite possible that the young people may have been visiting the parson at the time.

John D. Beardsley was school-master at Woodstock for a time. In 1809 Bishop Inglis writes as follows:- “The Reverend Mr. Dibblee requests me to state that John D. Beardsley, son of the late missionary of Maugerville, might with advantage be appointed school-master at Woodstock deeming him well qualified for the office. Mr. Beardsley formerly taught at Woodstock for two years, but has not received any salary from the Society for his services.”

The amount of the school-master’s stipend was not extravagant, about £10 Stg. or say $50.00 per annum. This was nearly the whole thing, for the remuneration received by Mr. Beardsley from his pupils was so small, in those days, that he soon gave up teaching and settled down on the farm beside his wife’s mother and her brother William Dibblee. The house in which John D. Beardsley lived stood near the site of the house occupied for some years by our nearest Woodstock neighbour, Charles A. Beardsley – which house and farm were lately owned by my Brother Arthur.

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

UELAC Vancouver Branch Supports Heritage Fairs Across BC

This is the third year that the UELAC Vancouver Branch has participated in the BC Heritage Fairs across the province. In keeping with the Education Vision Statement (see below) of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada, the UELAC Vancouver Branch is excited to be a part of this worthwhile program. “To enrich the lives of Canadians through fostering public awareness of our national history, and, in particular, of the United Empire Loyalists and their contributions to Canada, while also celebrating their memory and perpetuating their heritage as an integral part of the Canadian identity.” This vision statement was adopted at the Annual General Meeting June 8, 2002.

“The Heritage Fairs Program is an educational initiative designed to increase awareness and interest in Canadian history. A ‘history fair’ actively involves Canadian youth, schools, businesses and community groups in a contemporary celebration of our shared traditions and heritage. Students are encouraged to research any aspect of Canadian history that interests them, and then present the results of their efforts in a public forum.

The UELAC Vancouver Branch Award

Ideally, the selected Project will have a theme centred on the settlement and growth of Canada prior to Confederation (1867) and in particular, the Loyalists or their descendants. This year we were fortunate to make awards for three Loyalist Projects.

Criteria: Project may be presented in English, French, or an Aboriginal language, at any grade level from Gr 4 to 10. Ideally, the selected project will be concerned with the Loyalists or their descendants. Where there is no project meeting this criterion, the award may be presented to a project related to the settlement and growth of Canada prior to Confederation.

Prize: Vancouver Branch UELAC Award Certificate, a George III Cypher UELAC pin and suitable book to the winning student(s).

The UELAC Vancouver Branch members adjudicate within the schools in Vancouver and Burnaby; the other 12 regions are completed by other regional volunteer adjudicators. From the school adjudications, several are chosen to represent the region at a Regional Fair at a later date. It is at the Regional Fair that UELAC Vancouver Branch chooses and presents its Award.

The following are the provincial winners of the British Columbia Heritage Awards 2012.

Region Student Project
Central BC (Prince George) Jenna Soles Dr. Emily Howard Jennings Stowe
Okanagan (Vernon) Shane Hopkins Canadian Underground Railway
Lower Mainland South (Richmond) Andrea Lin & Vanessa Cheung Sir Alexander MacKenzie
Rivers to Sea (Burnaby) Montana Wegner Fort Langley
Thompson/Shushwap (Kamloops) Eden Saari Rooted in the Birth Place of Canada
Vancouver Kirra Little
Veronica Chen
Diego Castelo-Cory
Loyalist Ancestor Eliz. Aitkens
Fort Langley (French Immersion)
Spanish Explorers in the Pacific Northwest (French Immersion)
Vancouver Island North (Port Alberni) Lilli Wickham My Loucks Family Line and their Loyalist Farm
Vancouver Island South (Victoria) Faith Linley Brown The Acadians

The War of 1812 was also the subject of this project, which won an honourable mention at the Fair.

…Carl Stymiest UE President UELAC Vancouver Branch

Fall 2011 Gazette Branching Out Reports Added to Branch Histories

The Branch News Highlights as found in The Loyalist Gazette fall 2011 edition have now been appended to the Branching Out reports which are posted on the Branches’ History page on the Dominion website. The sixteen updates include Abegweit, Bay of Quinte, Chilliwack, Col. John Butler, Edmonton, Gov. Simcoe, Grand River, Heritage, Kawartha, Kingston, Little Forks, Manitoba, Sir Guy Carleton, Sir John Johnson, Toronto and Vancouver Branches. The next update will occur following the 2012 fall publication.


New Section: Loyalists and the War of 1812

We have had numerous submissions for two recent sections on the UELAC website: Loyalists who lived long lives and Loyalists who had large families.

With Tues. June 18 being the 200th anniversary of USA’s declaration of war against Great Britain and thereby Canada, we would like to start a new section on Loyalists who also participated in the War of 1812, and a second section on Sons and Daughters of Loyalists who participated in that same war.

Here are the guidelines for submissions:

– Describe the loyalist experience ie where settled before the Rev War, participation in it and where settled afterwards.

– Describe the war of 1812 experience ie where settled, participation in it and life afterwards.

– Length up to about 500 words. If you have longer materials, consider submitting the longer item(s) for posting in the Loyalist Directory (a single document is fine if not preferred) and a separate summary for this War of 1812 section – we will link the two.

– Please prepare your submission carefully and proof read them. If it needs work, it will be returned or will sit on the shelf untouched.

Please ask questions if you have any and we will refine the criteria as a appropriate. Send submissions to loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

Last Post: David Edward Embury

David Edward Embury (July 26, 1930 – June 4, 2012). David passed away after a short battle with cancer. He was predeceased by his wife Sheila (2005) and brother John Embury. He is remembered by brothers, Fred, Bob, and Jim, daughter Lynn, son Jim, and their families.

Dave served as a vice president of the Calgary Branch of the UELAC for many years. He was a professional engineer and worked at Shell Canada in Calgary after coming from the East in the 1950s.

A memorial service will be held in Calgary on June 20 at 2:00 pm at St. James Anglican Church, 6351 Ranchview Drive, N.W., Calgary.

…Linda McClelland


Proof of Marriage: Sarah Reed and Joseph Parks

I have been trying to prove that Sarah Reed, daughter of William Reed, UE married Joseph Parks, son of Cyrenius Parks, UE.

In the Parke Society newsletter “Ancestral Safari: Ethelwulf and Alfred the Great, William G. Cook, The Parke Society Newsletter, Vol 31, No 1, 1994” it stated that they were married 08 Jul 1801. I have not been able to verify this by another source.

A paper about the Schermerhorns ‘Some Notes on The History of the Hoffman and Schermerhorn Family in Canada’ stated that she married Cyrus Parks. There is no known Cyrus Parks.

One correspondent stated that they were married in St Thomas Anglican Church in Belleville. A query to the Anglican Archives in Kingston did not result in a confirmation.

No Land claim was filed because William Reed claimed sufficient land for the whole family, and since Sarah was still single at the time of William’s will, she was not given any land.

Any suggestions as to where I can obtain proof of the marriage would be greatly appreciated.

Arnold V. Weirmeir, UE

Sites and Travel in Loyalist New York

My Mother proved her ancestry in 1989 to Loyalist Philip Crysler of Schoharie in the Mohawk Valley, New York. I have recently become very interested in the whole story and am in the process of becoming a certified UE. My husband and I and my sister are going to the Mohawk Valley in September and I am looking for suggestions for our driving trip. I live in Victoria but we will start out from Burlington Ontario.

I printed the details of the UEL Bus Trip 2010 to the Mohawk Valley.

Any further information and suggestions about planning materials, “don’t miss” sites, and background would be so helpful. Thanks in advance.

Marilyn Dryden

Addendum to Response re James Blakely and Indian Root Pills

In May, J A William Whiteacre queried about the lineage between Col. James Blakely UEL and Helen Blakely Anderson. In a subsequent issue in early June, Richard Ripley UE provided a Response re James Blakely and Indian Root Pills.

Paul Bunnell UE has provided more information about Indian Root Pills and their history. To get a sense of the size of the bottle in which some of them were sold, view this photo which is shown within an article about a modern day project – in Australia – to recreate an advertisement for them which was painted on the side of a country barn. (Read it here).

More interesting is the history of the medicine. The Indian Root Pills were first manufactured by Andrew B. Moore and A.J. White in Buffalo, N.Y., around 1850. They were produced in the United States until 1959; even longer in Canada and Australia. Quite a fascinating story of pills with family conflicts, partnerships gone wrong, the sales pitch and the ingredients. The article is short, about one page – read it here.