“Loyalist Trails” 2012-28: July 15, 2012

In this issue:
The Diary of Henry Nase: Part 1 of 3 – by Stephen Davidson
John Davis Beardsley (1771 – 1852) by George McNeillie
The UELAC Dominion “Conference at the Confluence” 2012
American National Anthem
Help Avoid a Second Battle of Ridgeway: British Soldiers Unfairly Depicted
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Luella Alice Cross (nee Cramer), UE


The Diary of Henry Nase: Part 1 of 3 – by Stephen Davidson

On December 28, 1783 the loyalists who were settled along the frozen St. John River peered out of their log cabins and tents. It had been snowing every day for the past two weeks. Warming himself over a crackling fire that morning was a 30 year-old bachelor. Although Henry Nase had very little, he was nevertheless thankful for shelter, warm clothing and food to guard “against the attacks of this rigorous season of the year”.

Nase’s most valuable possession was not furniture, weapons, or gold; it was a diary. For seven years, the native of Dover, New York had kept a record of his experiences in the American Revolution. Nase’s diary is one of a small handful of documents that puts us at ground level in the American Revolution. It is an eye-witness’ perspective on the violence and hardships of the continent’s first civil war.

Almost exactly seven years prior to the day that Nase was warming himself over a fire along the St. John River, he and his brother William had learned some alarming news. It was 1776; the British were in control of New York City. Fearing that the British would send troops up the Hudson River, the rebels of Dutchess County began to conscript local young men into their militia. The two Nase brothers were among the draftees. In the dark of night, Nase fled his home and headed for New York City. He would never see his family again.

Smallpox was raging throughout the Thirteen Colonies. Before it had run its course, it would kill more people than all of those who died fighting in the revolution. Twenty-three year old Nase wisely sought out a loyalist doctor to inoculate him. (Dr. Christopher Tobias, who treated Nase that day, survived the war and eventually settled in Digby, Nova Scotia.)

Over the next few months, Nase stayed with acquaintances. Perhaps he hoped that the British would soon crush the rebellion, allowing him to return home. On April 10, 1777 Henry joined the Kings American Regiment (KAR) stationed in Brooklyn; his brother William, who had also fled Dover, remained a civilian and worked in the nearby town of Jamaica.

Over the next two months, the KAR marched between various forts in Long Island and the outskirts of New York City. “The severity of hardships a soldier is exposed to, and the manner of living, not agreeing with me,” wrote Nase, “it threw me {into} a fever”. But despite the fact that he suffered severe fevers (or “ague”) at least once a year for the next 6 years, Nase did not consider resigning. He served with his regiment for the entire course of the Revolution.

The KAR’s first encounters with rebels must have bolstered the hopes of its loyalist soldiers. Commenting on the patriot soldiers that they met at VerPlank Point, Nase recorded that “their dexterity in running was here again experienced, as they ran off without firing a shot.” Later the regiment “went to Esopus, reduced the same to ashes”. But the fighting was only just beginning.

More than a list of troop movements and military engagements, Nase’s diary also reveals the conflicting emotions of a loyalist in the midst of the Revolution. In March of 1778, he poured out his heart to his absent parents. He described feeling a “certain joy, intermixed with melancholy for the hard and adverse fate of my dearest lands”, empathizing with his family’s “troubles and adversities in this dark and gloomy land of distress.” He looked forward to being restored to the “bosom and arms of my poor, distressed bleeding friends”, praying that God would “see fit to restore a system of happiness in this distracted land”.

In the spring, Nase and the KAR set sail for Rhode Island. By this time the French had become the allies of the rebels. The Count D’Estaign, the commander of a twelve ship fleet, fired upon the Aquidneck Island fort which the KAR were defending. So incessant was the exchange of cannon fire that for ten days “no man took off his clothes or accoutrements nor quit his arms night or day”. Finally, under the cover of a violent storm, the French fleet fled the waters of Rhode Island for Boston.

The KAR then turned its attention to the local rebel troops, driving them off the island in a series of “smart skirmishes”. Of the patriot general, John Sullivan, Nase wrote that he “could say nothing in praise of his conduct, but that he had made a glorious retreat.” The KAR remained stationed in Newport, Rhode Island until June.

During the summer of 1779, Nase took part in a number of assaults on the coastal towns of Connecticut. His diary entry for July 8th noted that his regiment “Landed at Fairfield … in the Morning without Opposition, we Burn’d the town”. Two days later, “Landed, at break of Day, at Norwalk marched through, where we had the Satisfaction to see Several of the Scoundrels Bayonetted”. Stricken with fever again, Nase spent most of the fall on the Caledonia, a hospital ship. He finally recovered after a long rest on Long Island.

At this point, Henry Nase had been a loyalist soldier for two years. What happened to him in the remaining four years of the revolution will be the subject of next week’s article in Loyalist Trails.

[Editor’s note: The original diary of Henry Nase is in the collections of the Archives of the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John, New Brunswick.]

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

John Davis Beardsley (1771 – 1852) © George McNeillie

Both Grandfather Raymond and his wife had a prodigious number of nephews and nieces, and I have heard my Father say that his cousins numbered probably at least one hundred. Most of the Beardsley men were tall, powerful chaps. Perhaps the most so of all was our “Uncle Ralph”, who lived in Richmond, some six miles from our place. Here is a story by way of illustration.

The brothers Ralph and Punderson found the remains of a fine steer that had been killed and partly devoured by a bear. They determined to watch for the bear the next night, presuming that he would return to continue his banquet. Armed with old fashioned flint lock muskets they lay in wait beside the remains of the steer. A thunder-storm came on and one of the brothers said, “The bear will come with the storm.” This proved true. A flash of lightning revealed the bear, and taking aim, as best they could in the rather uncertain light, the brothers fired. The priming of Punderson’s gun had been dampened by the rain and the gun missed fire, but the ball from Uncle Ralph’s musket passed directly through the bear’s head and he rolled on the ground. Punderson ran forward, eager to administer the coup de grâce, but tripped over a root and fell on his face, the bear rolling directly on him. Uncle Ralph at once seized his gun by the muzzle and swung the heavy butt with all his strength upon the head of the bear. The butt was splintered by the mighty blow but the bear was not rendered unconscious. Seizing the iron gun barrel Ralph proceeded to belabour the bear until he had spoiled the gun barrel. He said afterwards, that blows on the creature’s head seemed of no avail, and it was not until he pounded him on the nose that that he got the better of him. To his great relief he succeeded in saving his brother uninjured. The bear was a very large one and Ralph Beardsley’s feat was often spoken of in the neighbourhood.

John D. Beardsley, Sr., the father of these stalwart sons, died in 1852 at the age of 81 years. There is a memorial window to him and his wife Sally Munday, in the parish church in Woodstock. He was a leading man in the community and his children and grand-children were among the most refined and cultured people of the place. His half-brother, Judge Bartholomew Crannel Beardsley resided on the river road about five miles below near Balls Creek, and was an able and public-spirited man.

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 UELAC Dominion “Conference at the Confluence” 2012

[Click here to read with photos in PFD format]

Hosted by the Manitoba Branch of the UELAC at the Hotel Fort Garry

Winnipeg, MB, June 7th-10th, 2012

For some delegates the ” Conference at the Confluence” started on Wednesday, June 6th with a day of pre-conference tours. Several delegates were met at the Hotel Fort Garry by the Manitoba Branch Secretary Mary Steinhoff and were escorted to the Manitoba and Hudson Bay Archives, where they were joined by three additional delegates. A charming and knowledgeable archivist gave us an excellent tour. The group then proceeded to The Forks for lunch and a brief time to explore The Forks Market.

Next stop was the Parks Canada Western and Northern Service Centre at 145 McDermot, where a senior employee escorted us to various labs and workshops, at each of which a craftsman, researcher, or restorer described the work being done. Last stop was the Manitoba Museum Complex. Some chose to return to their hotels, others to take in the Planetarium show, and others to visit The Nonsuch and the HBC Collection.

Thursday, June 7th saw a flurry of activity as delegates checked into the hotel and registered for the conference. The Boutique and the Hospitality Room were in operation. The afternoon featured two optional tours: of Dalnavert Museum and of the Exchange District, “Death and Debauchery”.

At 5:00 PM delegates were transported to Government House in retro -style by the Winnipeg Trolley Company. The Lieutenant Governor’s reception began with a receiving line, followed by wine and hors oeuvres and a short program. The “light supper’ that followed was in fact a lavish spread.

The Honorable Phillip Lee and her Honour Anita Lee proved to be warm and gracious hosts, making this evening a wonderful start to the more formal events of the conference.

Friday, June 8th was a marathon of events, beginning with a trio of workshops. The first, a genealogy presentation by Manitoba Branch genealogist Alice Walchuk and her husband Bruce, was very well-received. The second, on early nineteenth century clothing, ran afoul of dreaded technology: the McPhersons’ power point program malfunctioned. The third workshop, on the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, was interesting and informative.

The luncheon which followed in the Manitoba Club was doubtless a high-light for four members of the Manitoba Branch: Reg Eamer, Bob and Marjorie McConomy, and Alice Poyser all received their UELAC certificates.

Lunch was followed by an excellent presentation by Gary Hilderman, a member of the Friends of Upper Fort Garry, on the plans for the preservation of the site surrounding the Governor’s Gate.

After lunch some eighty delegates boarded buses for Lower Fort Garry, where they had an excellent tour. At 5: 00 PM they were transported to Little Britain United Church Hall for a country-style dinner.

Dinner was followed by a three part program: a family genealogy presentation by Zoe Thornton, the Membership Awards by Barb Andrew and Doug Grant, and a presentation by the Hamilton Branch, hosts of the 2013 Dominion Conference.

The evening ended with a lively concert of eighteenth and nineteenth century music by Simpson’s Folly.

The morning of Saturday, June 9th was devoted to the AGM. This was followed by a lunch hosted by the Hotel Fort Garry.

The afternoon was at leisure, save for an optional tour of the Manitoba Legislative Building.

The Gala Banquet in the Concert Hall of the Hotel Fort Garry began with a Costume Parade and the entrance of the flags, followed by the entrance of the Vice Regal Party accompanied by piper Graeme McCombe.

Dinner was preceded by toasts to the piper, the Queen, and our Loyalist forebears, followed by a Loyalist grace. Conference Co-chairs Lorraine Cook and Gerry Lane had promised a surprise and there it was: a beautiful jeweled program designed by web-mistress Beverly Boudreau.

The post-dinner program included greetings by Lieutenant Governor Phillip Lee and remarks by Dominion President Robert McBride and Manitoba Branch President Peter Rogers. The 2012 Dorchester Award was presented by Prairie Region Vice-President Gerry Adair to Shirley Dargatz UE, President of the Chilliwack Branch. Manitoba Branch Conference Planning Committee Co-chairs Lorraine Cook and Gerry Lane passed the Loyalist flag to Hamilton Branch 2013 Conference chair Ruth Nicholson, UE.

A high-light of the evening was the knowledgeable and interesting presentation, “Finding UEL/HBC Connections” by guest speaker Judith Hudson Beattie, who was dressed as Lady Selkirk.

The evening ended on a lively note as delegates and guests joined in the dancing with the English Village Country Dancers.

The main event on Sunday, June 10th was the Church Parade at Westminster United Church. Again delegates travelled in style on the trolley. The large group, in costume, was piped into the nave by a piper.

The Reverend Robert Campbell, a UE descendant, focused his sermon, “Born to Serve”, on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It was exemplary, as was the choir, with Nicky Kirton’s solo, “Jerusalem”, being a highlight.

Then, for some it was back to the Hotel Fort Garry for the famous brunch. For others, it was off to the airport or highway to head home.

The Manitoba Branch thanks all those who attended and helped to make “The Conference at the Confluence” a success. We had fun. We hope you did too.

…Mary Steinhoff, Secretary, UELAC- Manitoba Branch

American National Anthem

Bill Glidden of Plattsburg in Loyalist Trails issue 2012-#26 wondered: “Had not Francis Scott Key witnessed the British Navy’s bombardment of Fort McHenry, who knows what we would be singing at the opening of sports events and the like?”

What we would be singing is “All Hail to the Land” written by Major John Richardson, the first Canadian novelist, with music by Nicholas Bochsa, the great harpist. Premiered as the US national anthem by Bochsa in Tripler Hall in New York City in October 1850, the song was played by the biggest orchestra ever seen in New York with a 200 voice choir. [vide: The Canadian Don Quixote, p.259].

Regarding the War of 1812, I issued Richardson’s A Canadian Campaign; Operations of the Right Division of Upper Canada During the American War of 1812, issued anonymously in London England 1826-27. Mr. Glidden will find a graphic description of the fighting by a boy participant and an unique narration of Canadian-American relationships during Richardson’s imprisonment in Kentucky [vide: www.davuspublishing.com].

…David Beasley

Help Avoid a Second Battle of Ridgeway: British Soldiers Unfairly Depicted

In May of this year, the Ridgeway BIA had new flags put up on all street light poles in Downtown Ridgeway. Most are very nice, however, one, immediately caught my eye: a US-Irish Fenian, standing over dead and dying Queens Own Rifles soldiers.

Because I felt this very wrong to be hanging in Downtown Ridgeway, I obtained the email for the lady who convinced the BIA that this depiction should be used and emailed her, but no response. I contacted Ridgeway Historian, Earl Plato who is a fellow member of The United Empire Loyalist Group. We are both descendants of British UEL and both have our U.E. designation. Earls response: “Enemy invaders rewarded for killing our valiant men – no way!”.

This depiction is not in the spirit of our town’s claim to fame, “The Battle of Ridgeway 1866″ which led to Confederation the following year in 1867!

I then emailed the head of the Ridgeway BIA and he told me he would pass the email to the new head of the Ridgeway BIA, Derick Day. I wrote a letter of protest to Derick and both Earl and I signed it and in it we asked that they remove the flags. I hand delivered it to Derrick last Friday and his response to me was “Anyone who knows about local history and this being the 200th anniversary of the war of 1812, know that this is the year of the fallen soldier and that’s why we have that up there, in their honor”. (However its clear that this is a depiction of the Fenian Raid in 1866!)

He said he would bring it up in the BIA Meeting last Tuesday, but no response, so it sounds like they have “Stood their Ground” and we will continue this fight on the 2nd Battle of Ridgeway! /p>

We would certainly welcome any assistance in our endeavour. If you agree with our position, please contact the Ridgeway BIA and let them know these flags must come down? Contact: Derrick Dea (905-894-6590).

Thanks for your help.

Rick Doan, UE, 905-894-1342

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

Last Post: Luella Alice Cross (nee Cramer), UE

Luella passed away in Windsor, Ontario on July 12, 2012 in her 96th year. Lou was born in Boston, Mass. in 1916; grew up in Montreal, Quebec and Aultsville, Ontario. Predeceased by her loving husband Robin (1999) and mother Addie Hickey (Cramer -1978). Mother of Mickee Mezzullo of Westland, Michigan and Bonnie Clarke (husband Drew) of Amherstburg, Ontario. Will be missed by grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Sister of Margaret (Peggy) Barkley, Cornwall, Ontario and brother Allan Hickey of St. Petersburg, Florida. Lou had many great years on the St. Lawrence River in Aultsville where she and Robin had cottages and a marina. After the seaway, they owned and operated Long Sault Marina for many years before retiring in Ingleside. In 1992 they moved to Amherstburg to be close to their two girls.

Donations to the Alzheimer’s Society would be appreciated. Visitation will be held at the Brownlee Funeral Home MacDougall Chapel 14815 County Road 2 Ingleside on Tuesday until 9pm and a service in celebration of her life at the Chapel on wed. July 18 at 10am. Interment to follow at St. Lawrence Valley Cemetery. Online condolences may be made at www.brownleefuneralhomes.com.

Lou was a former member of the St. Lawrence Branch, UELAC.

…Lynne Cook