“Loyalist Trails” 2012-39: September 30, 2012

In this issue:
Know When to Fold ‘Em – by Stephen Davidson
First Generation in America: Richard Raymond (1630-1692) by George McNeillie
Prairie Regional Mini-Conference Sept 21-23 in Regina
Presidential Peregrinations: The Atlantic Region
Resource Book: Col. James DeLancey’s Westchester Refugees
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
      + Response re Was John Butler a Slave-Owner?


Know When to Fold ‘Em – by Stephen Davidson

Depending on the family in which you were brought up, playing cards was either a harmless diversion or the slippery slope to moral degradation. Cards were regarded in pretty much the same way in the loyalist era, as these stories will reveal.

In her diary’s accounts of the evacuation journey from New York City to modern day New Brunswick, Elizabeth Frost wrote about playing cards. Here was a woman who clearly needed a little diversion. Not only were the pregnant Mrs. Frost and her husband travelling with two children, they also had to share their cabin with six (!) other families. The passengers on board the Two Sisters had not seen land in six days, and measles were rampant aboard the ship. Little wonder then, that the young Connecticut mother looked back with fond recollection of a few precious moments spent in the company of adults: “Mr. Whitney and his wife, Mr. Frost and myself have been diverting ourselves with a few games of crib.”

John Cochran of New Hampshire brought very little to New Brunswick in 1783. Seven years later, however, his probate record noted that he owned a Bible, a backgammon table and a cribbage board in addition to some “household goods”. Having suffered a stroke after fleeing the United States, Cochran must have found some small joy in being able to play a card game such as cribbage.

The diary of another loyalist, Samuel Curwen of Massachusetts, also makes reference to playing cards. Despite his status as a successful businessman, a commissioner of the peace, and a judge of the admiralty, Curwen so feared patriot persecution that he fled to England. He remained there until well after the peace treaty was signed. Curwen filled his days with attending concerts in London, touring the countryside, and keeping in touch with other loyalist refugees.

On May 25, 1778, Curwen rented a horse and galloped off to visit his friend, John Carsluck, in Wishcombe. Following dinner, the two men “passed the evening at cards” with Carsluck’s sister and a Miss Snell. Although he was invited to stay overnight, Curwen declined and bade farewell to his hosts at nine o’clock. Card playing to this Massachusetts judge was the epitome of civilized entertainment.

However, cards were sometimes mute witnesses to acts of violence. Patriot soldiers captured Colonel Samuel Tynes of South Carolina’s Loyalist militia in a midnight raid on his encampment. Not all of Tynes’ men were asleep despite the late hour. Some were feasting, some were playing cards, but no one was on guard duty. The patriot attack was so sudden that “the luckless Tories were killed with cards in their hands.”

American history remembered another loyalist for his cruel use of cards. Gilbert Totten was a member of a “party of marauders”. After capturing a French doctor, the loyalists “played a game of cards to determine who should kill him.” Totten won the right to execute the doctor. Despite pleading for his life in broken English and using his fingers to show how many children he had, it was all for naught. Totten shot the doctor where he knelt on the ground.

Elizabeth Johnston was only twenty-two years old when she fled to Jamaica with her loyalist husband. A devout Christian from Georgia, Elizabeth led her children in family prayers and read them The Whole Duty of Man each day. During her time amongst loyalist refugees in Jamaica, she only went to one party and two private dances. Resisting peer pressure, Elizabeth persuaded her husband not to invite people to their home for dinner on Sunday. She did not want to join their neighbours in violating the sacredness of the day. Elizabeth was horrified by the morals of the island, recording that they were at “the lowest ebb” in 1786. The fact that “cards were played on Sunday” was sufficient proof as to the depths to which people had sunk.

The Johnstons eventually moved to a more northerly British colony, settling in Nova Scotia. Elizabeth would not be alone in her disdain for cards. In nearby New Brunswick, a ban on the use of playing cards was a standard part of the colony’s contract for those who wished to be apprentices to local craftsmen.

According to the 1787 apprentice agreement, a youth who wanted to learn a trade from a master “… shall not waste his Master’s goods, nor lend them unlawfully to others. He shall not commit fornication nor contract Matrimony within the said term. At Cards, Dice or any Unlawful game he shall not play whereby his said Master may be damaged with his own goods or the Goods of others during the said term, without Licence of his said Master…. He shall not… haunt Ale House Taverns or Playhouses…”

It is clear from the context that playing cards was grouped with such behaviour as sexual misconduct, vandalism or drunkeness because it could be the means to a ruin a man. The consequences of a card game could have financial consequences for the master as well as the apprentice if one were to incur gambling debts. So while all of the social classes played cards in the loyalist era, only the working class –or those with strict religious principles– had any sort of limitations put upon them. Gambling, as the loyalists of the upper classes discovered much to their dismay, could be a very costly vice.

In next week’s Loyalist Trails, we will visit a “loyalist casino” and rub elbows with those members of the colonial elite who remained “friends of the king”. A game of Faro, anyone?

First Generation in America: Richard Raymond (1630 – 1692) © George McNeillie

About the time he became a freeman at Salem, in 1634, Richard Raymond married his wife Judith, whose maiden name we do not know. In the Historical Collections of Essex, Mass., we find the following entry about 1637:- “We whose names are hereunder written, members of ye present Church of X at Salem,” &c, &c. [Among the names are Richard Raymond and Judith Raymond.]

The frame of the little church in which they used to worship in Salem is yet in existence and is preserved with great care [See image First Church, Salem, Massachusetts – built 1634 (postcard c. 1910)]. An account of the building of this first church at Salem in 1634 was printed in 1889 and I once had a copy of the little pamphlet. The frame of the building has been carefully removed from the original site and is now safely housed within a building on the green between Plummer Hall and Essex Institute. Richard and Judith Raymond had quite a large family. The baptisms of all their children except the oldest son, John, are recorded in the Salem Church records. The names are as follows:

Children of Richard and Judith Raymond
1. John, born about 1635
2. Bathsheba, baptized 06 Aug 1637
3. Joshua,   do.   03 Mar 1639
4. Lemuel,   do.   03 Jan 1640
5. Hannah,   do.   12 Feb 1642
6. Samuel, baptized 13 Jul 1644
7. Richard,   do.   02 Jan 1647
8. Eliza,   do.   28 Apr 1649
9. Daniel,   do.   17 Apr 1653

It is to be noted that all of the above were born at Salem, which was the home of the Raymonds for over thirty years. A deed is recorded at Salem by which Richard and Judith Raymond convey their property at that place to John Gardner on the 10th of August, 1662, on the eve of their removal to Saybrooke [editor’s note: It is now spelled Saybrook. The name is derived from a combination of the Lords Say, Sele, Brooke and others who sponsored founder Lion Gardiner’s expedition in 1635].

About this time Richard Raymond removed temporarily to Norwalk in Connecticut. He removed from thence in 1664 to Saybrooke, where he died in 1692 at the age of about 90 years. The fact that he lived at Norwalk is established by documents which describe him as “formerly of Salem and late of Norwalk”. While living at Norwalk he engaged to some extent in a coasting trade with the Dutch and English settlers on the Island of Manhattan. The old Salem Church records state that “Bro. Rayment and his wife, was dismissed to Seabrook, Sept 10th, 1762 [sic]”.The stay of Richard and his wife at Norwalk was evidently very brief, but that of his son John and his family, who went to Norwalk about the same time, was of a more permanent nature.

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

Prairie Regional Mini-Conference Sept 21-23 in Regina

The annual mini-conference for the Prairie region was held in Regina with delegates from the branches and some guests from the national UELAC executive. A good program with a number of presentations also included time for discussion of issues and challenges. There was some good fun, and an opportunity to explore Canadian and local history. Read more about the conference here (PDF).

…Gerry Adair UE, Vice-President, Prairie Region

Presidential Peregrinations: The Atlantic Region

This was the first opportunity that I have had to visit the UELAC branches – Halifax/Dartmouth, Abegweit and New Brunswick – in the Maritimes. Thanks to the combined efforts of Regional Vice-President, Jim McKenzie UE, and the three Branch Presidents, we were able to co-ordinate our schedules so that I was able to meet all three branches while I was in the East Coast.

Read the report of the branch visits with photos (PDF).

…Robert McBride UE, President UELAC

Resource Book: Col. James DeLancey’s Westchester Refugees

A number of people have got in touch with me regarding DeLancey’s Westchester Refugees. Much information and research is still required on this elusive group, but I have recently come across a useful text that I am about to begin reading. I thought I would share it with the readers of Loyalist Trails:

Harry M. Ward, Between the Lines: Banditti of the American Revolution, Studies in Military History and International Affairs (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002), 17–32, passim.

…Christopher F. Minty, Ph.D. Candidate, U. of Stirling

From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Response re Was John Butler a Slave-Owner?

Four people very quickly answered my query about my maternal ancestor Colonel John Butler, each one adding details. He did indeed own slaves, gifted them to his children, some of whom later advertised in the newspaper to have runaways returned. I shudder at the thought of the punishment they may have suffered when they we dragged back. Colonel John did provide in his will for those slaves, and their children, who survived him.

One source noted by Bill Smy was A July 1796 petition by Butler stated “he has three slaves…” (See my Annotated Nominal Nominal Roll of Butler’s Rangers, 1777-1784, with Documentary Sources)

It makes me sad and ashamed, but better to know the truth. What prompted my query was the recent discovery that my paternal great, great grandmother was an African slave named Sara in South Carolina.

…Jim Houston