“Loyalist Trails” 2012-32: August 12, 2012
In this issue:
– Forty-Four Friends from the Cobblegate Mountains (Part 1 of 3) – by Stephen Davidson
– Winners of Loyalist Directory Challenge III
– First Nations War of 1812 Bicentennial: More than Tecumseh
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
– Additions to the Loyalist Directory
– Last Post: John Heath
– Editor’s Note
In October of 1786, the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL) convened in Saint John, New Brunswick. Many in the new colony had already sent claims to Great Britain. However, they had received nothing to compensate them for their losses. Their hopes of ever being recognized as loyalists had all but died.
When the news of the RCLSAL’s arrival spread up the St. John River and along the Bay of Fundy’s shores, loyalist refugees scrambled to make their way to Saint John. After three years of living in poverty and dependence upon the supplies of the British government, this was their last chance to receive cash for the land and possessions that rebels had taken or destroyed.
Forty-four loyalists in Nova Scotia’s Cumberland County boarded a ship and sailed down the Bay of Fundy for Saint John. If their journey was successful, at least some of them would finally receive compensation for all that they had lost in the American Revolution.
The records of the period do not tell us where these 44 loyalists stayed during their ten days in Saint John. We do not know how they made their way around an unfamiliar city or how they spent their time when they were not testifying before the RCLSAL commissioner. What we do know is that all but one of them had once lived in New York; all had served with Delancey’s Refugees. Only one of the claimants was a widow. Most of them had known one another before the Revolution had shattered their lives. The Cumberland County friendships must have been strong ones; 17 of them had travelled to Saint John without any hope of receiving compensation. They were there to serve as witnesses so that their friends would receive their due.
On Monday, October 30th, Samuel Kipp stood before the compensation board. A resident of North Castle, Kipp joined the British after the Battle of Long Island in 1776. He served in at least four different regiments during the Revolution, including Col. Knapp’s Troop of Refugee and Militia Light Horse. Kipp’s claim notes the loss of several horses once he joined the British. During a battle with rebel troops, one of the loyalist’s horses was killed.
Among Kipp’s losses were his share of his loyalist father’s estate, furniture lost in the burning of his sister’s home, and a runaway African slave. His father died during the war and a brother died after leaving New York. The latter’s wife and son returned to the United States where the oldest Kipp brother still lived. Samuel Kipp’s brother Thomas, also a loyalist, had settled in Digby, Nova Scotia. The loyalist from Cumberland County left the hearings that day without any money. He would only be compensated if he acquired New York certificates of sale.
Peter Maybee had served in Delancey’s regiment under Samuel Kipp. Being only a teenager at the beginning of “the troubles”, Maybee did not join the British until 1781. He achieved the rank of sergeant during his two years of service. Although he only claimed four horses, two saddles, muskets, and clothing as his losses, Maybee received nothing from the RCLSAL. His trip to Saint John had been in vain. However, James Totten, a private in Delancey’s regiment who lost two horses during the war, was granted compensation.
Not discouraged by their friends’ disappointments, four more loyalists from Cumberland County appeared before the RCLSAL on October 31st. Solomon Horton of Philip’s Manor had a number of high placed friends. Edmund Fanning, commander of the King’s American Regiment and David Matthews, the last loyalist mayor of New York City, signed papers on Horton’s behalf. This was significant as Horton’s two years of wartime service was not spent on the battlefield but in guarding Delancey’s mill and serving as a wagon driver. Nevertheless, rebels seized him, and while he was in jail, they took all of his livestock, furniture and farming utensils. Because Horton’s father sided with the patriots, he and his loyalist brother lost their inheritance. In the end, the commissioner decided to award Horton the value of his lost livestock, but nothing more.
Robert Keech also had patriots in his family, three brothers who still lived on the family farm in Ulster County. However, his father, William Keech, had remained loyal to the crown. The latter died a year after joining the British, and although he had made out a will, he “lost all by being a loyalist”. Following his father’s example, Robert served in Delancey’s corps for four years. The RCLSAL commissioner’s notes indicate that he thought Keech was a “fair man”. Here at least was one Cumberland County settler who received some compensation.
Kesia King, had testified on Robert Keech’s behalf. Now she stood before the commissioner to make her own claim. Her late husband, James King, had been a private in Captain Purdy’s company for three years before his death at Bergen’s Point. Kesia remained on their 192-acre farm two years after James joined the British. However, in 1779 she was “turned away from this estate” and had to travel on foot to New York City. Returning the favour Kesia had done him, Robert Keech spoke on her behalf. As a result, the commissioner believed Mrs. King to be “an honest, poor creature” and compensated her for some of her losses.
The last Cumberland County settler to appear before the compensation board that Tuesday was Charles Vincent. He had owned a 46-acre farm at Fishkill, New York, but after joining the Queen’s Rangers in 1776, his rebel neighbours confiscated his property. When sickness prevented him from serving with the Rangers in Philadelphia, he joined Delancey’s regiment, continuing with them until 1783. The commissioner felt that Vincent valued his farm too highly and told him that he could only receive compensation if he could prove that his Fishkill farm had been confiscated. Again, it had been a disappointing day for the 44 friends from the Cobblegate Mountains.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
Almost a year ago, Loyalist Directory Challenge III was announced (in Loyalist Trails issue 2011-25: June 26, 2011). In essence, the names of those who contributed information to the Loyalist Directory, information which was posted by the end of May, 2012 would be entered into a draw to be held at the recent UELAC Conference in Winnipeg, hosted by the Manitoba Branch. Although the winners did not receive a monetary award themselves, they could each direct their $100 prize to a UELAC function or a UELAC Branch. See details of the challenge.
Here are the winners, the branch they belong to (if they are or were a member) and the designated recipient of their award.
– David Clark, Victoria branch, to the branch;
– Wendy Cosby, to the Vancouver Branch;
– Hugh Potter, Gov. Simcoe Branch, to the branch;
– Linda McClelland, Calgary Branch, to the branch for the 2014 Project.
– Rick Smith, Col John Butler (Niagara) Branch, to the Branch for Butlers’ Rangers.
Congratulations to each of them and a hearty thanks not only to them but to all who have contributed information to the Directory.
To those who have contributed and whose data has not yet been posted, my apologies. For personal and work reasons, not as much was posted last year as was received. We will work on catching up this year.
For those who are wondering, the funding for the awards was made by a couple who wishes not to be named (and no, it was not me although that question has been asked). Our thanks to them as well.
…Doug Grant, Loyalist Information Committee
It is well known that the An-ishinaabeg (Ojibwe, Odawa, Potowa-tomi, Mississauga, Algonquin, and Nipissing) fought during the War of 1812, the majority siding with the British, although some sided with the Americans. It is also well known that Shawnee Chief Tecumseh was a dynamic and charismatic leader who worked to form a confederacy of Nations to resist American ex-pansionism. The War of 1812 is definitely synonymous with the names Tecumseh, General Brock and Laura Secord. If any other “Indians” are mentioned, it is likely Tecumseh’s brother the Prophet (another Shawnee), Roundhead (A Wyandot), or John Norton (A Scotchman with Cherokee blood and adopted by Mo-hawk Chief Joseph Brant), but many would be hard pressed to name 10 Anishinaabe warriors who fought in 1812. “Deserving Chiefs Receiving Presents at Manitowaning in 1843” is a list of thosde who received some belated recognition. See article here (16 pages).
- U.S. Navy, Coast Guard And Canadian Navy Ships Head To Chicago
- ‘The Town That Fooled The British‘ In The War of 1812, Prepares For Bicentennial
- Amherstburg Businesses reap benefits of thousands of Roots to Boots visitors
- New biography on Brock by Cheryl MacDonald released
- USS De Wert Visits Canada For War Of 1812 Commemoration
- War of 1812 bicentennial commemorations in Chicago‘s Fort Dearborn
- Sackets Harbor celebrates War of 1812 bicentennial
- War of 1812 display in Concord (then in Buffalo)
- Reliving the War of 1812 at Ft. Erie
As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
– Guiou, Isaac by Gwen Guiou Trask
Suddenly passed away in his sleep on Monday August 6, 2012 in Georgetown at the age of 61. John, beloved husband of Jessica. Cherished father of Shauna and Andrea (Simon). Outstanding grandpa of Heath and Kiera. Dear son of Elizabeth and the late Douglas. Caring brother of Anne (Daniel), James, Margaret, Robert (Marivic) and Colin. He will always be remembered by his many nieces and nephews. A Celebration of his Life will be held on Friday, August 10, 2012 at the Glen Oaks Memorial Chapel, Oakville. Inurnment to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Arthritis Society or the Canadian Mental Health Association would be appreciated by the family.
This email comes by the wonders of a laptop, WiFi and the Internet, on a canal boat, from a spot on the Dnieper River, at Zaporozhye, about halfway between Kiev and the Black Sea. Toured Kiev, and today Zaporozhye, with river cruising and lectures between. Our Canadian history grows richer by the day as we pay more attention to it. Thank goodness we don’t have the tragic history of the Ukraine with its centuries of repression from all sides.
George McNeillie, one of our regular weekly contributors, is also on vacation; his column will continue around the end of August.