“Loyalist Trails” 2012-36: September 9, 2012

In this issue:
Your Essential Numbers (Part 2 of 2) – by Stephen Davidson
John Davis Beardsley (1771 – 1852) by George McNeillie
George Galloway: A Loyalist’s Story (Part 3 of 3) – by John P. Galloway, Jr.
The Lincoln and Welland Regiment to Receive New Colours with 1812 Battle Honours
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Editor’s Note
      + Response re Family of David Fraser


Your Essential Numbers (Part 2 of 2) – by Stephen Davidson

In the last issue of Loyalist Trails, I gave a brief survey of recent loyalist research to examine the numbers of the “king’s friends” that were to be found in the Thirteen Colonies at the beginning of the American Revolution. Of that number, 60,000 (and 15,000 of their slaves) fled for other parts of the British Empire. This week will consider the numbers associated with the greatest movement of refugees in North American history before the 20th century

According to Maya Jasanoff, the author of Liberty’s Exiles, loyalists scattered to Great Britain, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and East Florida — but more than half of them went to territory which is now within modern day Canada. They overwhelmed local populations wherever they went.

Before the Revolution there were 150,000 Canadiens in the colony of Quebec. In The Loyalists in Canada, Christopher Moore states that 10,000 loyalists (and 5,000 loyal Natives) settled in this colony while Jasanoff says that up to 6,600 may have settled there. The Canadian Museum of Civilization places the number of loyalists who settled in modern day Ontario (which would one day separate from Quebec) as 7,500.

In 1780, there were 3,000 Mi’kmaq First Nations people scattered through what we now call peninsular Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. That’s the same number of loyalists who arrived in the first fleet of ships that anchored at the mouth of the St. John River in May of 1783.

Simon Schama, in his 2005 book, Rough Crossings, estimates that there were 10,000 whites in the Maritimes before 1783. 40,000 loyalists arrived by 1784 — quadrupling the population. Only a few hundred settled on PEI (Island of St. John), and enough went to Cape Breton to allow it to become its own colony in 1784.

Jasanoff is more comfortable with a maximum estimate of 33,000 refugees for those who settled in Nova Scotia (and what would become New Brunswick). This represents more than half of all loyalists who fled the Thirteen Colonies, making the Maritime Provinces the most popular destination for refugee colonists. One return for 1783 notes that 27,009 loyalists went to Nova Scotia (14,162 of which settled in what was to become New Brunswick, the first colony founded by loyalists). With refugees from the Revolution arriving in Nova Scotia from Boston in 1776, Savannah and Charleston in late 1782, and then East Florida in 1784, the colony’s loyalist population included more than just those who evacuated New York in 1783.

Schama estimates that 15% of those bound for the Maritimes were black, and of these only a half to two thirds were “free Britons”. Black Loyalists, he notes, numbered around 3,500. Fewer than half of these were ever granted land, despite the fact that half of Nova Scotia’s 26 million acres had been set aside for loyalists.

It is a sad fact of history that loyalists were as blind to the evils of slavery as their rebel countrymen. When two thousand white loyalists left Savannah, notes Thomas Allen in his 2010 book Tories, they took 5,000 slaves with them. 1,278 loyalists in Charleston took 2,613 slaves to Jamaica. Jasanoff reports that the 3,000 loyalists took 8,000 slaves to Jamaica. As has been noted earlier, the loyalists who left the United States took with them a total of 15,000 enslaved blacks.

Eight thousand loyalists and five thousand Black Loyalists found sanctuary in Great Britain after the Revolution. Those who fled there felt they were part of a much larger number of refugees. The loyalist Thomas Jones wrote in his memoir of the war that “The number who went to Great Britain and Ireland, especially the former, was very great. There is scarcely a town of any size in England and Scotland, where many expatriated Loyalists were not found for thirty years after the peace, and where their tombstones cannot now be seen.”

The Americans who found refuge in Britain may not have been the largest group of loyalists, but they were the first to be able to receive compensation from the crown. Despite the fact that 52,000 loyalists had settled elsewhere, the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL) initially only heard the petitions of loyalists who could afford the long and expensive trip to Britain.

However, by 1788, the RCLSAL had sent commissioners to North America to consider granting compensation to the loyalists of the Maritimes and Canada. According to Jasanoff, of the 5, 656 refugees who appeared before the board, only 2,291 received compensation. (In other words, only four per cent of all loyalist refugees.) 468 claims were made by women; 47 by black men; 300 were made by those who could not write their own names. No Black Loyalists living in British North America received any compensation. Although loyalist refugees sought compensation for a total of £10,358,413 in losses; they only received £3,0033,091 (about one third).

Such disheartening treatment and an understandable homesickness prompted hundreds of loyalists to return to their homes in the new United States of America. Unfortunately, it has been impossible to put a precise number on those who did not remain in Canada, Britain or the Maritime colonies. No matter how disheartened they were, at least white loyalists had options. The Black Loyalists did not. If those of African descent were to return to the USA, they would immediately be put back in the chains of slavery.

Those Black Loyalists who were dissatisfied with the way the British government treated them had only two options: stay where they were in Britain and the northern colonies — or immigrate to Sierra Leone to found a free, Christian black colony. In January of 1792, 1,196 loyal blacks from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia sailed out of Halifax for Freetown, Sierra Leone. Sixty-seven of their number died on the voyage.

Living on the bottom rung of racist British society, some Black Loyalists’ only means of survival was to turn to crime. Having lost the Thirteen Colonies as a dumping ground for their prison population, the British began to transport their criminals to Australia. In 1787, seven of the prisoners in the first fleet to arrive in Botany Bay were Black Loyalists.

Over fifty Black Loyalists made new lives for themselves in the German states. They settled there with the Hessian regiments in which that they had served during the Revolution.

In 1773, 60,000 colonists along the seaboard of North America would have laughed at anyone who predicted that they would be forever leaving their homes for far-off shores within a decade. They would have been even further amused to have been told that by 1793 some of them would be scattered across the globe.

Truth, however, is stranger than fiction. Within ten years of the end of the American Revolution, loyalist refugees could, indeed, be found thousands of miles away from their homes — in India, Australia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and British North America. The stories behind those numbers are what make the history of the loyalist era so compelling.

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

John Davis Beardsley (1771 – 1852) © George McNeillie

Uncle John’s sister, “Aunt Hannah”, married Andrew Currie, and reared the largest family of John D. Beardsley’s many sons and daughters. She had in all thirteen children, seven sons and six daughters. Andrew Currie was of Scotch race and was deeply pitted with small-pox. He was a man of sterling worth and very hospitable. “Going to Aunt Hannah’s” was always a treat to us children. The family were all very fine people, industrious and honourable, not one black sheep in the flock. In after life their descendants wandered far, with varying fortunes. I met in Vancouver a few years ago, a Mr. Jonah, who married Jean Currie, the youngest of the family. She was a great friend of mine, when we were in our teens. She had then only recently died, and I said to her husband, “Cousin Jean was one of the finest women I ever knew.” He replied, “Indeed she was, and it’s me that knows it.” Andrew Currie was the first settler in North Richmond, but notwithstanding the size of his family few of the name are now living there.

Mary Beardsley, a sister of Hannah, married a Ray, and lived in the half-acre lot at my Brother Lee’s lower line. They had children, William, James, Ellen and perhaps others. One of the boys, “Jim Ray”, lived for some years with Uncle John’s family at “The Grove”. I do not remember the Ray house, which was I think removed from the lot before my recollection but the cherry trees, planted near it, we boys used to climb, and my brother Lee bears the marks of a tumble from the cherry tree, upon the stones beneath, upon his nose to this day. The Peabodys bought the half-acre lot but in after years my Father bought it back, and paid for it by the assistance he rendered his neighbour, Stephen Peabody, in building his large new barn. This was I think in 1863 or thereabouts.

The three youngest children of John D. Beardsley, Sr., married and settled at the Grand Falls, about 72 miles further up the St. John River. Lavinia Matilda, married Andrew MacRae of Grand Falls. Two of their children, William and Charlotte Irene, were schoolmates of mine and lived at “The Grove” when they were young. Paul Fyler Beardsley married Elizabeth MacRae, the sister of his brother-in-law Andrew. They had no children. Punderson Herbert, the youngest of the family of John D. Beardsley, Sr., married a clever wife, Florinda Hamilton, and lived at the Grand Falls for years. Their children displayed marked ability and enterprise. One of them, Herbert, studied law with L.P. Fisher (for many years Mayor of Woodstock and the foremost lawyer in the town). Herbert was an able man and soon sought a larger field than Woodstock offered.

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 3 of 3) – by John P. Galloway, Jr.

[Continued from last week]

The decision of some of the refugees to immigrate to the Cataraqui area, on Lake Ontario in “Upper Canada,” rather than to Nova Scotia or other Maritime provinces came about as a result of a plan proposed in New York City in May 1783 by Michael Grass and Peter Van Alstine. Grass and Van Alstine had both served as officers for the British and each had spent time in Upper Canada, and they viewed the mostly uninhabited area around Catarqui as a more promising opportunity for resettlement than throwing their lot in with the thousands of other refugees looking to be relocated to the already established areas in the east. They recruited several hundred refugee families eager to be pioneer settlers in Upper Canada, and George Galloway — having lost everything to this point — decided to go the more adventurous route and join with them. They were organized as Companies of Associated Loyalists, with George being a Lieutenant in Company #4 under Captain Daniel McGuin. In early July 1783, nine ships carrying the first group of Associated Loyalists, under the overall leadership of Michael Grass, set sail from Staten Island bound for Quebec; Company #4 with George sailed on the ship Elizabeth. Accounts indicate it was a difficult voyage, with the ships straggling in to Quebec City from mid to late August. The Governor of Quebec, Sir Frederick Haldimand, had received very little notice from the British officials in New York City regarding the plans for the Associated Loyalists, and as a result he was not well prepared for their arrival. A camp was set up for them at a new British post at Sorel, about three-quarters of the way up the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City towards Montreal. The second group of Associated Loyalists under Peter Van Alstine sailed from New York City in September, arriving at Sorel in October.

The Associated Loyalists spent a difficult winter in Sorel, surviving under very trying conditions with the limited shelter and provisions the Governor was authorized to provide them. It was likely at this time that George first met his second wife, Catherine “Olive” Aussem. Catherine was the daughter of Dr. Johannes Heinrich (John Henry) Aussem and Anna Elizabeth Weberen, who had immigrated from Germany to Philadelphia, probably around 1764. Catherine and her older sister, Marie Elizabeth Appoline (“Polly”) were born in Germany, and baptismal records for St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Philadelphia record four additional children, one girl and three boys, baptized between 1765 and 1773. The Aussem family settled in Ulster County NY prior to the Revolution, and Dr. Aussem took an active role in support of the Loyalist cause. The Aussems sailed from New York City on the Blacket as part of Associated Loyalists Company #1 under Captain Alexander White.

Haldimand did not receive final approval from the Crown for the settlement at Cataraqui until June 1784, causing a good bit of despair among many of the refugees that they would not be able to relocate in time to prepare for the next winter. As a result of the difficult living conditions and the uncertainty regarding final settlement, a large number of the Associated Loyalists who originally signed up to move to Cataraqui had a change of heart along the way and looked elsewhere for settlement – Cape Breton, or Montreal, or other locations in Quebec. J.H. Aussem and all his family (except for Catherine) chose to stay in Montreal. Captain McGuin’s Company #4 started from New York with 135 people, but only 19 stayed over the winter at Sorel. And only McGuin, George Galloway, and one other person from the original Company #4 actually arrived in Cataraqui. The groups that still desired to press on to Cataraqui began mustering in Montreal in late May 1784, where they received desperately needed supplies and joined with Canadian batteaux-men for the physically challenging journey upriver, finally arriving at Cataraqui later in June.

Land surveying for the prospective townships at Cataraqui had begun in the summer of 1783, and Township #1, which became Kingston, was assigned to those who were left from Michael Grass’ companies. The land was divided up into parcels and the parcels were distributed to the settlers by a lottery system, with acreage received based on the settler’s rank and whether he had a family. An index of land owners from 1790 shows LT George Galloway owning three 200-acre lots and one 100-acre lot in Kingston.

A 9 October 1784 muster of the Loyalists settled in Township #1 shows George living there with a wife but no children, indicating that George and Catherine either married while encamped at Sorel, possibly in the spring of 1784, or in Montreal just before departing for Cataraqui. Henry, the first child of George and Catherine, was born 20 November 1785. George and Catherine had a total of 10 children – two boys and eight girls – born between 1785 and 1803. At some point after settling in Kingston, George arranged for his two children from his first wife (John and George Jr.) to leave New York and join with him and his new family in Kingston. A Militia Roll for Kingston and Ernestown compiled by Captain Robert Macaulay in March 1791 shows George (age 40) living with Catherine (age 31), sons John (age 10) and George (age 8), as well as the three children born by Catherine at this point (Henry, Margaret and Hannah). John, like other children of George, was eligible as an adult to receive 200 acres of land by virtue of being a son or daughter of a United Empire Loyalist. In John’s land petition in 1822 it says he served in defense of Ontario during the “late War,” presumably the War of 1812. John settled in West Oxford Township and lived to age 87, but George Jr. disappears from the record and it is currently unknown what happened to him.

As the years passed, George and his family prospered in their new home in Kingston, and later in life George moved slightly further west to Ernestown, which had been Township #2 in Cataraqui. His life followed a truly remarkable arc, achieving early respect as a leader in an idyllic, rural Orange County community; then falling into tragedy and exile in time of War; and ultimately triumphing in peace and prosperity in his new homeland. George passed away on 18 January 1813 but Catherine lived on in Ernestown (Bath) until 1858. George handed down the 1783 letter from his parents to his son Henry. Henry died in 1870 in Prescott, Minnesota, where he was living with his son Joseph, who acquired 160 acres of land there under the 1862 U.S. Homestead Act. Joseph was married to Sarah Jane Ruttan, who was the daughter of Joseph Brant Ruttan and granddaughter of Peter Ruttan, UEL. Joseph gave the letter to his daughter Alice, but she had no children so she later passed it on to her cousin, L. Dexter Galloway. It has since been passed on to the eldest son in each generation – a total of six generations now, down from George – still to be preserved today!

…John P. Galloway Jr.

The Lincoln and Welland Regiment to Receive New Colours with 1812 Battle Honours

The Countess of Wessex, Colonel-in-Chief of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment, will present a stand of new Colours to her Regiment on 15 September 2012 at Queenston Heights. The current Queen’s Colour is based on the Union Jack, while the new will be based on the Canadian Flag. The design of the Regimental Colour will remain unchanged except for the addition of the Battle Honour “NIAGARA” . The Linc & Welld R will be the first regiment to carry a Battle Honour from the War of 1812 on its Colours. In addition, additional Battle Honours from the First World War, granted in the 1920s, have been authorized for emblazonment on the new Regimental Colour.

Unfortunately the plans of the presentation have precluded the emblazonment of other Battle Honours from the War of 1812. Since the manufacture of the new Colours, the Governor General has approved addition Battle Honours, the first of which is “Detroit”, but time constraints have prevented it from being placed on the new Regimental Colour. It is expected that other Battle Honours for that war will be announced in the future, and any awarded to The Lincoln and Welland Welland Regiment will be emblazoned, along with “Detroit”, on future new Colours.

For more information, click here.

…Col. Bill Smy UE

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:
– Corman, John-George – from David Clark

Editor’s Note

We have now started our trek homeward. From Budapest, we took the train to Vienna where we have been three days now. Both cities have been magical, in slightly different ways.


Response re Family of David Fraser

With reference to the query by Barry Baker UE in the last edition (August 26 2012) of Loyalist Trails – I was inspired to take a look, because Barry Baker made the comment that his ancestor David Fraser had lived in Ernestown. This rang a bell, because I had just returned from a holiday trip to the Loyalist country around the Bay of Quinte and eastward. This is an inexpensive and priceless trip which everyone should take, everyone who is interested in things Loyalist, and in the founding of modern Canada. With the emphasis on the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812, and it’s particular importance to Ontario, this summer seemed like the time to do it.

It struck me on that trip, how little physical evidence there is of the many hundreds of Loyalists who arrived there around 1783, at the end of the Revolutionary War. This includes my own Loyalist ancestor, as well as the Fraser-surname Loyalists of Barry’s ancestry. Looking at Loyalist records and archives, we see hundreds of land petitions and other records which name places like Ameliasburgh, Adolphustown, Ernestown, and other places, yet they are nothing but tiny villages now. We can find small museums and a pioneer village, and a couple of small cemeteries with faded inscriptions, but that’s about it.

To get a sense of what happened on a personal level, one has to see the painting, the Landing at Adolphustown 1783, which is hanging in the museum there. It shows a number of well-dressed, polite people, exchanging greetings and sitting on trunks and luggage which is being unloaded from canoes in the water. Just behind the beach, is the towering hardwood forest which offers no immediate shelter, no places to purchase anything, no hope for the future. Their fine homes in America are gone forever, usually never to be seen again. They survived for a time in shanties and log houses, and finally moved on.

Inside the Adolphustown museum, we see notes which these loyal settlers wrote years later, where they state that at the time of their landing, they expected that their situation would be temporary. They fully expected that the Rebels would be driven away, and that they would be able to return to their homes.

It was not so easy to get from Ameliasburgh to Adolphustown. Trying to get from Ameliasburgh to Adophustown, we discovered that there was a ferry, called the Glenora Ferry, which would accomplish the trip quickly. The only other route was a long, roundabout highway trip back up through Belleville, and then back down. Here’s an amazing thing – that ferry trip was free. Most of the museums and attractions are either free, or have very nominal admission fees. Also, there is inexpensive gasoline, available to all, on the native lands at nearby Tyendinaga – natives who are also Loyalist descendants who came to Canada from New York.

Well. Back to the Frasers. I decided to have a look for land petitions, as these often contain interesting details and family information. Unexpectedly, I found a land petition for Matthew Fraser at Madoc, dated 1837. In that petition, Matthew asks for grant of land as a Son of a UE. This was unexpected, since I was thinking that Matthew must be the grandson of a UE, due to the dates which I located for the family. The 1851 Census at Madoc, finds Matthew (Dies) Fraser age 52, with his wife and family. This means that Matthew Fraser would have been born about 1798 – 1800. On reading Matthew’s petition, I found that he was applying as son of David Fraser UE, and one of the witnesses signing the petition, said that David Fraser was well known to him, still living and about age 70. This would mean that David Fraser was born about 1767. Matthew’s petition was approved by the Loyalist commissioners, and he was granted 200 acres. This means that the Loyalist commissioners agreed that David Fraser was a UE Loyalist.

Think of the ages here. At the start of the war in 1776, David Fraser would have been nine years old, and at the end of the war in 1783, David would have been 16 years old. This seems like a very young soldier. So next I looked up David’s own petition, which he filed in 1797 in Ernestown, and indeed it is approved by the Loyalist Commissioners, and he is granted 200 acres.

It was quite common to sign up their young sons for service, usually with their own regiments, and usually as a drummer or fifer with the father’s regiment, not as a combat soldier. If you recall my previous article in Trails about George Barnhart UE in the Cornwall area, you will remember that George also signed up a nine year old son. So, who was the father of young David Fraser?

Next I looked that The Old UE List, Appendix B, page 177. There, it is shown that David Fraser was the son of Daniel Fraser Senior, a very prominent Loyalist from New York, who served as a Magistrate, and described as ‘an artificer’ or spy, who received 700 acres in all.

Yet the mystery was not solved. On looking at Sons and Daughters of American Loyalists, page 114, at the notes for Daniel Fraser Senior, Daniel is indeed described as ‘an artificer’ who served in Col. Bam’s regiment. Several of his children are named, with their land grants and Orders in Council, but David Fraser’s name is not there. The solution to this, is as follows: since David was approved for land as a UEL in his own right, he was not entitled to additional land as the son of a Loyalist.

So, the query is answered. David Fraser, born NY c. 1767, was the son of Daniel Fraser Senior, and David also probably served in Colonel Bam’s regiment, as a drummer or fifer. And from SDAL page 114, we learn that Daniel’s Fraser’s wife, David’s mother, was named Sarah Conklin, whom Daniel married 2 April 1760; and we see from that page, that Daniel Fraser Sr. died 1812, just when the threat of American invasion was looming. He is probably buried at or near Ernestown.

Those are the names of David Fraser’s parents, two of the Loyalist ancestors of Barry Baker UE, and that is the story of another interesting Loyalist family. And likewise they left the small and poorly constructed settlements near the Bay of Quinte, perhaps on the new threat of American invasion in 1812, and made their way to Madoc. From Madoc, this branch of the Frasers later moved to Darlington in Durham County, where his grandmother Natalie Gertrude Love Fraser was born on 09 September 1891, later marrying Frederick Baker in Pontypool on 02 September 1911.

Richard Ripley, UE, Loyalist Genealogist