“Loyalist Trails” 2012-34: August 26, 2012

In this issue:
Forty-four Friends from the Cobblegate Mountains (Part 3 of 3) – by Stephen Davidson
John Davis Beardsley (1771 – 1852) by George McNeillie
George Galloway: A Loyalist’s Story (Part 1 of 3) – by John P. Galloway, Jr.
Where in the World is UELAC?
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post: Helen Irene (Page) Sherk, UE
Editor’s Note
      + Parents of and information about David Fraser


Forty-four Friends from the Cobblegate Mountains (Part 3 of 3) – by Stephen Davidson

In the fall of 1786, twenty-seven loyalists who had settled in Nova Scotia’s Cumberland County had great hopes that they would finally be compensated for their losses during the Revolution. By November 5, twenty-one of them had already appeared before the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL). Convening in Saint John, New Brunswick for the first time, the board had allowed (approved) only some of the loyalists’ claims for compensation.

On Monday, November 6, Cumberland County settlers once again stood before the commissioner to have their claims heard. Besides the loss of oxen, slaves, and a horse, Gideon Palmer also sought compensation for a sloop that rebels captured in Long Island Sound. The sloop had been carrying wood chopped down by the loyalists who found refuge near Long Island’s Fort Franklin. Because the sloop’s cargo was destined to be firewood for heating the homes and barracks of British-held New York City, it was a target for marauding patriot whale boats.

John Crawford had suffered a great deal of persecution from his rebel neighbours in Poundridge, Westchester County. Besides fining Crawford for not serving in the patriot militia, they “beat and abused” him, and accused him of being a pilot for the British. He narrowly escaped being hanged by a mob. Rebels confiscated his family’s estate, forcing Crawford to spend the rest of the Revolution as a shoemaker in New York City. A witness recalled that Crawford had “suffered as much as a man could and live”.

Michael Lloyd was an Irishman who had settled in Philadelphia before the Revolution. He served in three loyalist regiments, losing three horses while under Col. Delancey’s command at Morrisania. Unlike his friends Crawford and Palmer, Lloyd was “told to expect nothing” from the compensation board.

The next day was just as disappointing for Amos Fowler. In his all-too-brief appearance, he was “told his claim cannot be admitted”.

Two days later the last of the 27 claimants from the “Cobblegate Mountains” stood before the compensation board. The notes regarding Obediah Akerly indicated that the “claimant speaks very fairly”. Akerly’s losses were unusual not because his family’s clothes and furniture were taken from their Courtland Manor home, but because they were taken a few days after the Revolution was declared to be over. Akerly testified that “the people who took them came in the night {and} were called Skinners”.

Samuel Cornwell, a native of Dutchess County, had served in loyalist regiments since April of 1777. He claimed the loss of a house he had built on rebel land, including the cost of nails, boards, shingles and carpenter’s wages. British troops took Cornwell’s cattle, and a rebel “plundering party” had stolen the wood he had gathered for the king’s army. The loyalist also lost horses, clothes and cash while held prisoner in 1778. It seems such losses did not merit consideration by the compensation board. The transcript notes that Cornwell’s claim was “abominably high”.

The loyalists of Cumberland County had spent ten days in Saint John, and now it was time to go home. The twenty-seven compensation claimants and their seventeen witnesses boarded a vessel to take them back up the Bay of Fundy. It could hardly have been a happy voyage to Nova Scotia’s Cobequid Mountains. One third of those who had journeyed to Saint John to seek compensation received nothing –or next to nothing– from the RCLSAL. Whatever plans they had made for the money that they expected to receive had vanished like sea mist on the Bay of Fundy.

While some mourned the loss of expected compensation, over a dozen of the Cumberland County loyalists must have been saddened by the fact that their testimony had not swayed the RCLSAL commissioner. These men had left family and farms for more than 10 days to testify for their friends. Such sacrifice deserves some recognition. These seventeen witnesses were: John Baker, Titus Brown, Abraham Cover, James Crawford, James Dickens, Thomas Kipp, Tobias Knapp, Samuel Haliday, Adam Ireland, Jeremiah Merritt, Henry Peers, Henry Purdy, Nathanial Purdy, Moses Simmons, Joseph Seers, Isaac Teed, and Elijah Smith.

One can hardly blame these New York veterans of the American Revolution for any bitterness they must have felt as they sailed home. They had fought valiantly for king and country. They had suffered the loss of family members, land, and property. Receiving none of the promised compensation from the new United States of America, the loyalists’ last hope was that their sacrifices would be recognized — and greatly appreciated — by the British government. Their experiences in Saint John had little to do with expressions of gratitude.

After returning to Cumberland County, the forty-four friends’ disappointment may have been tempered by the recognition of what the British government had provided for them. Since the end of the Revolution, they had been safely evacuated from their former homes, granted free land in Nova Scotia, and provided with enough supplies to see them through their first years of settlement in a northern wilderness.

As the winter of 1786 began to take hold of Nova Scotia, it was the camaraderie which had been forged between fellow soldiers on the battlefields of New York that sustained the loyalists of Cumberland County. More than any monetary compensation from the British crown, it was that sense of fellowship that was to be the bedrock of their communities in the decades to come.

This was their loyalist legacy.

John Davis Beardsley (1771 – 1852) © George McNeillie

Soon afterwards he found a man of the stature of Zaccheus, who had tried in vain to get a glimpse of the Prince. He confided his trouble to Uncle Ralph. “Today is the third day he has been here,” he said, “and I haven’t seen him yet. I shall have to go home without seeing him.” Constables were now busy keeping people from climbing the trees, but Uncle Ralph again led the way to his tree. He said to the constable, “Here is a man who has come a long way to see the Prince and I want to help him,” and seizing the little man he chucked him high up among the branches, at which the crowd laughed. The constable looked rather apprehensively at the gigantic man whose smile had something in it of the “nemo me impune lacessit”. He too laughed and suffered Zaccheus to remain, with the big man for his guardian. “Take plenty of time,” said Uncle Ralph, “you may never again have a chance to see the future King of England.”

Aunt Ellen (Mrs. R.D. Beardsley) was a little woman who weighed perhaps 120 lbs. She lived, however, to be upwards of 90 years of age and had eleven children. On one occasion her husband asked her to get on the scales. “Why, Nelly,” he said, “only 120 lbs.; that’s no weight; guess I can double that,” and taking her place on the scales he registered 240 lbs. though he did not strike me as being notably a very stout man. Aunt Ellen kept about 1896 her 90th birthday with a large family gathering and she lived to the age of 97.

Uncle Ralph had a family of four sons and seven daughters, and unlike their Woodstock cousins every one of the Richmond girls married. They were noted throughout the countryside as graceful in the dance and very light of foot, and were always sought as partners. I remember seeing the girls trying to coax Uncle Ralph to dance Sir Roger de Coverley, when he was nearly seventy years old, and none of the young folks was more light of foot than he. In fact, he introduced steps that the younger folks had never learned, and retired amid much applause.

The Ralph Beardsley house, on the Houlton Road, occupied rather an exposed situation, and it received from the family the name of “Bleak House”, a name that often provoked a smile from those who experienced its unbounded hospitality. It was a centre of sociability and good cheer.

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

George Galloway: A Loyalist’s Story (Part 1 of 3) – by John P. Galloway, Jr.

This story begins with an old letter, written in April 1783 from John and Hannah Galloway to bid farewell to their son George, who was preparing to embark from New York City to an as yet unknown destination. George was a Loyalist, who took up arms in support of the British Army in the latter stages of the Revolutionary War. As a result, when the war ended he was compelled to leave his home (a fate that befell tens of thousands of other Loyalists) and subsequently chose to resettle in Ontario. The letter was possibly the last communication between George and his elderly parents, and he treasured it by preserving it and passing it on to one of his sons as a family keepsake. Remarkably, it has remained preserved in the family to this day. (See and read a copy of the letter here.)

Details in the history connected to the letter became lost to the family over time. It was written in “Smith’s Clove,” but no town of that name can be found on the modern maps of the eastern United States. The letter refers to the recent death of George’s wife, but she is not named and her identity remains unknown. It refers to a child of George’s, who was left with the grandparents due to George’s uncertain future, but the child is also not named. It is apparent from the letter that George’s life has been shattered; he had recently written to his father that he now “was left alone with God.” His parents provide words of consolation, love and comfort, as well as encouragement and guidance for the future. His father tells him that he desires for George to keep the letter, so that he can continue to look upon it to keep him “in remembrance of your father’s counsel,” a request that George faithfully followed.

The lost history around the letter only began to be revealed in the last few years, due to the benefits of our new “digital age.” Prior to this time, the only “back story” I had on it came from some notes written up by my grandfather in 1950, including a family tree diagram showing our line of descent from John and Hannah. My grandfather hoped to find pre-1783 history on the family, but when he enquired at the “Maps” section of the U.S. Library of Congress they were unable to find any “Smiths Clove.” He suspected it was somewhere near New York City, but he could find nothing to prove that hunch, or lead him to any further family history covering earlier times. Things stayed that way for over half a century until, in a sudden moment of personal curiosity in April 2007, I found myself on my computer typing “Smith’s Clove” into “Google” and quickly discovered that the town is today named “Monroe” — located in Orange County NY, not far outside New York City. It was renamed just 25 years after the letter was written. One mystery solved!

Another two years passed by before I found the time to start some serious research, however. The effort began over a long holiday weekend — ironically enough, the holiday was the Fourth of July, U.S. Independence Day! I found a wealth of information through Google on the topic of Loyalists, including leads to the website for the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada (UELAC). There, I found a 1790 index of land owners showing a Lieutenant George Galloway, owning 700 acres of land in Kingston, Ontario. My searches also revealed that George Galloway was mentioned in a book, “Voyage of a Different Kind: The Associated Loyalists of Kingston and Adolphustown” by Larry Turner, and I immediately ordered a copy from the publisher; I found the book to be a wealth of information. Other internet searches on the history of Orange County NY showed a widespread presence of the Galloway family name there from the mid-1700s on, including a John Galloway born in 1730 — could this have been George’s father? More pieces were starting to come together!

A vacation road trip from Virginia to Vermont in late July 2009 provided the opportunity to make a stop at the Orange County Genealogical Society (OCGS) in Goshen NY for a little on-site research. And at the OCGS library I found the “missing link” for me: a genealogical history of the Galloway family in Orange, Sullivan and Wayne Counties compiled by Keith Nelson, Professor of History at University of California-Irvine. I was stunned to discover that George’s father was actually a John Galloway born in 1700; he was 83 years old at the time the “farewell” letter was written to his son! The John Galloway born in 1730 turns out to have been his first-born child, and George was the tenth child of this elder John Galloway and his wife Hannah. Biographical information and descendant lists for most of the children were provided, but Prof. Nelson wrote that no one was quite sure what ever happened to George; he seemed to disappear off the record around 1779. Prof. Nelson (who is descended from John, b.1730) had a longstanding collaboration with other Galloway family researchers, and he did note that one of them had a theory that George was the same George Galloway that later showed up in Canada as a Loyalist is 1783. However, Prof. Nelson wrote that there was no conclusive evidence of that.

Since Prof. Nelson included an email address in his genealogical study, I immediately contacted him with news that I could provide the proof of what happened to George after 1779. The past three years have involved a very productive, collaborative effort between the two of us as well as his other colleagues, Jack Plunkett and Paul Galloway, in piecing together their older findings along with more recently discovered information. Loyalist Land Claims that have been digitized and made available online by the Canadian Archives have been invaluable. Specific information regarding George Galloway’s Loyalist military activities has also recently been provided by Mr. Todd Braisted (Honorary Vice President, UELAC). More research remains to be done, but the following provides the most complete story to date on George, his family, and the events leading him to become one of the pioneer settlers in Cataraqui (Kingston), Ontario, Canada:

George was born around 1750, most likely in Orange County NY. His father John Galloway was born in 1700, probably in Scotland, and his mother Hannah Lamb was born in 1709 in New York City. John and Hannah married in 1727 in New York City, and between 1730 and 1750 had a total of 10 children — seven sons and three daughters — with George being the youngest child. At some point they moved their family to Orange County. Their second child, Elizabeth (born 1731) was married in the Dutch Reformed Church in Fishkill in 1748, and Church records list her as being from Haverstraw NY at that time. At just 17 years of age it is highly unlikely she would have been living on her own, so I believe that indicates the family moved out of the city no later than 1748.

(To be continued.)

…John P. Galloway Jr.

Where in the World is UELAC?

With your help, we hope to find that out! Take a travel photo of yourself wearing UELAC gear and we’ll feature it in an upcoming issue of Loyalist Trails. To begin this little bit of fun journalism, our editor has submitted a photograph taken August 15, 2012 in front of the Grigory Potemkin Monument in Kherson, on the Dnieper River in Southern Ukraine. Doug Grant has sent a second picture which will be posted later and challenges each member to similarly promote our cause. Where will you show your UELAC colours?

Step One: Put yourself in the picture with UELAC Promotional gear.

Step Two: Send your photo and similar information to jennifer.childs13@yahoo.ca – we’ll add you to our Where in the World…? UELAC Sightings gallery.

Step Three: Let’s see just where in the world the UELAC colours will appear.

Where in the world is UELAC and you?!

…UELAC Public Relations

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
– Depue (Depew), John Sr. – from Wendy Cosby
– Ryckman, John – from Gwen Dumfries (Volunteer Wendy Cosby), with certificate application
– Ryckman, John (Lt.) – from Wendy Cosby)
– Stuart (Stewart), George – from Wendy Cosby

Last Post: Helen Irene (Page) Sherk, UE

Born in Ridgeway on April 6, 1926, Helen passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family on August 24, 2012. Mother to Gary (Ada) of Ridgeway, Deb (John Weisz) of Crystal Beach and Pat (Bruce Matheson) of Charlottetown. Gramma/Gramdog/G-diddy to Adam (Kailyn Young, fiancée), Thomas, Ben and Luke. Sister of Charlotte Beach. Predeceased by her parents, Walkden and Katherine Page, husband Lewis (1969), sister Eleanor Cooper and brother Jim Page. Helen will be fondly remembered by her remaining Page and Sherk relatives as well as many friends in the Ridgeway area. Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held on Saturday September 1st at WILLIAMS FUNERAL HOME, 722 Ridge Road North, Ridgeway at 12 noon. The immediate family will be available to share memories of Helen before and after the service, from 10 until 3. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Canada. Please share a favourite memory of Helen with her family at www.williamsfuneralhome.ca.

…Lynne Cook UE

Editor’s Note

This email comes from a location a little closer to home – Prague, Czech Republic, where we have been four days now. I was last here in 1969, one year after the 1968 Prague Spring when everyone’s hopes were rising and then suddenly dashed. There is no comparison of Prague today and Prague in 1969. Now the city is clearly western (in our sense of what western means), so full of old architecture that one is completely overwhelmed by it all. But we are not alone in that feeling – there are more tourists here than one could possibly count. On Monday we move on again.


Parents of and information about David Fraser

Many people are looking for the parents of, and information on David Fraser m. Rebeccah Dies the daughter of Matthew Dies. They lived in Ernestown and had sons Matthew and Thomas and daughters, Elizabeth and Catharine. I am researching my lineage through David Fraser> son Matthew Dies Fraser m. Elizabeth Ketcheson in Madoc> son John L. Fraser m. Jessie Love in Madoc area>daughter Natalie Gertrude (Love) Fraser my grandmother who married into my Baker Family line.

A writer for Canadian Explorer newsletter for Clan Fraser Society of Canada annswered a message board query stating she has the name and information of the father of David Fraser but couldn’t reveal the information pending the publication of an article in a future issue of the Canadian Explorer. I have inquired if the article was ever published and if so could I possibly obtain a copy; the response indicated that the article was never published and that Clan Fraser Society of Canada is not in the business of providing genealogical information to non-members. Anyone belong to the Clan Fraser Society of Canada??

I would be grateful for any information that would help to locate the required data to shine any light on the above Family Line.

Barry Baker, UE