“Loyalist Trails” 2012-46: November 18, 2012

In this issue:
The Pine Barrens: A Robber and a Devil (part 4 of 4) – by Stephen Davidson
Robert Dibblee (1587–1666) by George McNeillie
In the Archives, Part VI: Who was Joseph Allicocke?
UEL Heritage Centre Completes Successful Digitization Project
Remembrance Day Revisited: Okill Stuart Review
Loyalists and the War of 1812: Help Build A New UELAC List
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + The Mother of “my” James Cummings


The Pine Barrens: A Robber and a Devil (part 4 of 4) – by Stephen Davidson

The million acres that comprise the pine barrens of New Jersey were a great place to hide if you were a loyalist during the American Revolution. Dubbed “pine robbers” by the patriots, these loyal fugitives served the crown as they lined their own pockets by raiding towns at the barrens’ edge. The cedar swamps and pine forests were also a great breeding place for stories of strange creatures. Here are the stories of a pine robber and a devil.

James (in some accounts Bonnell) Moody was a farmer in Sussex County, New Jersey before the outbreak of the revolution. Described as “untiring, bold, and sagacious”, Moody recruited soldiers for the Royal Army and spied on patriot troop movements. Patriots knew him as the leader of “a band of Tory marauders.”

It wasn’t an easy life in the pine barrens. “His place of retreat” noted the historian Lorenzo Sabine, “was among rocks which were sheltered by a thick growth of trees. At times he and his party slept in the snow, in the open air, wrapped in blankets.” The loyalist marauders had a fixed hideout as well — Moody Rock, located two miles south of modern day Newton, New Jersey.

Moody was famous for his spy missions. On one occasion, he was gathering intelligence while observing some new Continental Army recruits. During the drill activities, the officer in charge noted a stranger on horseback. The man was dressed in rags and rode an old broken-down horse. He seemed “a simple-hearted and rather softed-head rustic”, but he was just a little too curious. One of the soldiers recognized the stranger as the infamous Moody. The officer ordered men to follow the man and arrest him. Moody knew that he was being pursued and ambushed the rebels. He shot one of their number, dragged the body into the pine barrens, and then vanished into the swamp.

In another instance, Moody slipped into the Newton jail at midnight. He found the jailer in bed, and demanded the keys to the cells. The loyalist set all of the prisoners free, including two men who were to be hanged. After receiving three loud cheers, Moody proclaimed the men free in the name of King George III. The whooping, which sounded like Native war cries, frightened the people of Newton so badly that they all fled the town.

According to Sabine, Moody’s story did not have a happy ending. As he attempted to cross into the British lines with another man, the two were captured by rebels. Both men were convicted of being spies, and hanged. However, it was Moody’s brother who was captured and hanged.

Contrary to Sabine’s account, James Moody was imprisoned by patriots, but not hanged. After enduring cruel treatment at West Point under the command of Benedict Arnold, he escaped and sailed for England. Following the war, he published a book about his adventures which can be read online, Lieut. James Moody’s Narrative of his Exertions and Sufferings in the Cause of Government since 1776.

Moody settled near Weymouth, Nova Scotia in 1782 and represented his loyalist community in the provincial legislature for 13 years. Not bad for a man who was once described by George Washington as “that villain Moody”.

Following the American Revolution, the fear of “villainous” loyalists who once roamed the pine barrens evolved into a distrust of anyone who lived in the wastelands — a group of people who became known as “pineys”. Outsiders came to think of the “pineys” as dangerous and somewhat insane. Living in virtual isolation, they had very little to do with the rest of the state. Were they the desendants of Hessian soldiers who had deserted the British army — or perhaps the descendants of loyalist fugitives?

The strangest story to grow out of the mists of the pine barrens dates back to the Revolution, but involves neither loyalists nor Hessians. A strange creature was said to make the barrens its home, a creature referred to as the New Jersey devil.

According to one legend, a young woman from Leeds Point, New Jersey fell in love with a British soldier during the American Revolution. Her town put a curse on her, and when she gave birth to the soldier’s child, it was a monster. It had the head of a horse supported by a long neck, glowing red eyes, large leathery wings, claws, and a long snake-like body resting on two legs that ended in cloven hooves. The creature was six feet in height and was infamous for a high pitched scream that had an eerie human quality to it.

Devil sightings began in colonial times, reaching a fever pitch in late January of 1909 when thousands of people claimed to have seen the creature. The last reported sighting was in 1991 when a driver saw a white, horse-like creature as he was delivering pizzas in Edison, New Jersey. However, after a little sober thought, the simplest explanation for the devils sightings might be the lowly sandhill crane.

Sandhill cranes, in addition to having long thin heads and great height, have a wing span of almost seven feet. They have a fierce scream and have been known to attack people. The crane was once indigeneous to New Jersey, but due to development, it has been forced to live further south — a very plausible explanation for why devil sightings are so rare today.

Life often travels in circles. Loyalists fled to the pine barrens for refuge during the American Revolution. Fear of what dwelt within the barrens led to legends of a monstrous devil. A National Hockey League team searching for a name tapped into local mythology and called itself the New Jersey Devils. Hockey, the citizens of Windsor, Nova Scotia will tell you, was a game invented in their town by college students. Windsor was the site of Nova Scotia’s very first college, an institution founded by — you guessed it — loyalists.

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

Robert Dibblee (1587–1666) © George McNeillie

The following may be regarded as an incomplete genealogical table of our branch of the Dibblee line of descent from Robert the immigrant ancestor:

  1. Robert Dibblee, came from England to Dorchester, Mass. in 1633, and removed later to Windsor in Connecticut.
  2. Thomas Dibblee (wife Jane Filer), married and had several sons, one of whom was Ebenezer, born 1644 [editor’s note: later research has shown that Thomas’ wife was Mary Grant]
  3. A son of the foregoing, perhaps Ebenezer named above [editor’s note: yes, this was Ebenezer Dibblee, 1641-1675, and his wife was Mary Wakefield, 1645-1705]
  4. Wakefield Dibblee, of Danbury in Connecticut [editor’s note: Wakefield’s wife was Jane Fyler, 1671-1760]
  5. Ebenezer Dibblee of Danbury Apr 16, 1715 [records show 18 Jul 1715], d. May 9, 1797 AE 86. Married Joanna Bates abt. 1736. She died in 1796
  6. Fyler Dibblee, b. Jan 18, 1741, d, May 6, 1784 AE 43; m. Polly Jarvis, b. Feb. 21, 1747, on June 18, 1763; she died May, 1826, AE 80
  7. Sarah (Sally) Munday Dibblee, b. Nov 22, 1774, d. July 26, 1826, AE 52; m. on June 20, 1793, John Davis Beardsley, b. Feb 4, 1771, d. Jan 25, 1852, AE 81
  8. Polly Sylvia Beardsley, b. May 17, 1794, d. July 29, 1855 AE 52; m. on Mar 16, 1817, Charles Raymond, b. May 21, 21, 1788, d. May 17, 1870 AE 90
  9. Charles William Raymond, b. Oct 22, 1820, d. June 10, 1901 AE 81 yrs.; m. Mary Elizabeth Carman on July 19, 1850, b. May 30, 1825, d. Dec. 28, 1893, AE 68
  10. William Odber Raymond, b. Feb. 3, 1853, m. Julia Nelson b. May 16, 1846
    1. William Ober Raymond, b. Nov 23, 1880, m. on Sept. 26, 1907 Florence Josephine Gillespie, b. Apr 18, 1876
      1. Eleanor Nelson Raymond, b. Oct. 13, 1909 at Ann Arbor [Michigan]
    2. George Gardiner McNeillie, b. Jul 26, 1885, m. on June 25, 1913, Alice       Winifred Raymond, b. Apr. 26, 1886
      1. James Richardson McNeillie, b. July 25, 1914, Vancouver;
      2. William Raymond McNeillie, b. July 25, 1914, Vancouver [twins];
      3. Frances Gardiner McNeillie, b. May 2nd, 1922, Toronto

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

In the Archives, Part VI: Who was Joseph Allicocke?

In the mid-eighteenth century Lorenzo Sabine became the first historian to seriously examine the Loyalists of Revolutionary America. Biographical Sketches, to this day, remains one of the most useful sources available for students, historians and the general public who are interested in the first “enemies of the State.” Whilst writing, Sabine wrote to a respected colleague and friend, Henry Onderdonk, author of Revolutionary Incidents in Queens County, that he was “obtaining new materials almost every day” in a desire to “make the work as perfect as possible.” When Sabine finished, in July 1849, he lamented: “At last, at last, the Tories are off my poor brain.” His study was ground-breaking, comprising thousands of mini-biographies of varying detail that historians have used almost religiously for Loyalist research. Gregory Palmer, author of a very useful text on locating Loyalist materials, published an updated version of Sabine’s work; although, perhaps not as useful as he omitted a great deal of anecdotal material. For over a century, Biographical Sketches has provided a foundation and an insight into the life of a Loyalist in colonial and Revolutionary America. Some Loyalists were, of course, omitted, ignored, not identified, and left out, and so on and on it can go. In fact, the majority were not included in either study, whereby thousands of Loyalists remain lost in History. Joseph Allicocke, for example, provides one such case where very little is known about him that be definitively demonstrated. This essay will attempt to address this.

Joseph Allicocke was a prominent wine merchant from Antigua living in New York City during the 1760s. Historians such as Richard Ketchum (Divided Loyalities), Joseph Tiedemann (Reluctant Revolutionaries) and Donald Grinde, Jr. (journal article in Afro-Americans in New York History) have speculated that Allicocke may have been Irish, owing primarily to a comment in the published journal of Capt. John Montresor in the mid-1760s (see Collections of the New-York Historical Society), although from my own research this seems highly unlikely. Allicocke’s wife, however, held familial ties to England, being the daughter of Mr. Charles Jardine, “a Master Builder” and her mother was “a Daughter of Mr John Smith of Newport in Buckinghamshire”. Allicocke was educated in Philadelphia, upon the recommendation of his father and during his time there he met and became friendly with would-be Loyalist Governor of New Jersey, and son of a notable Patriot, William Franklin. Franklin described Allicocke as “an honest industrious Man” who held a relatively prominent place within the schema of New York society prior to the American Revolution. This statement was echoed by Hugh Wallace, a Scots merchant, who described Allicocke as “a good Citizen” and “worthy of the highest Confidence of his Fellow Citizens.”

Allicocke established this commendable reputation during the imperial crisis in New York, owning a store that sold wines, “Excellent Lisbon Lemons,” “Jamaica Spirits,” “Souchong Tea,” “very extraordinary, Velvet Corks,” “Holland Geneva” and “Old French Indigo”. Throughout the 1760s, however, Allicocke increased the number of items and the variety of items he had in stock, bringing in goods from across the Atlantic. Beginning with a few items for sale in the early 1760s, by the early 1770s he was taking part in the sale of houses and became Inspector of Pot and Pearl-Ashes in New York. By the coming of the American Revolution, Allicocke “lived respectably” and “was supposed to be in a prosperous way.” Allicocke directly engaged with the British Atlantic world throughout the 1760s and it was during this period that he operated within the culture of sociability that New York cultivated. Interacting with individuals on a daily basis, Allicocke soon rose to relative prominence after the passing of the Stamp Act (1765) and the formation of the Sons of Liberty.

The Sons of Liberty, as has already been discussed in this series, formed as a result of the passing of the Stamp Act and participated in violent riots in New York City, aimed primarily at the Lt.–Gov. Cadwallader Colden. They attacked Colden by Stuart and Jacobite symbology, burned him in effigy and destroyed his carriage, after previously forcing the New York stamp distributor, James McEvers, to resign. The Sons of Liberty aligned themselves with the DeLancey faction during this period, and Joseph Allicocke was a prominent advocate of DeLancey politics and consequently a harsh critic of the Livingstons, then the dominant faction. Allicocke, along with the majority of the Liberty Boys, vehemently opposed the British reconfiguration of the imperial polity and it was even rumoured that he struck a British officer during a scuffle in the 1770s.

Subsequently, upon the coming of the American Revolution, a gang of Patriots soon targeted Allicocke to join them. This was not the case and Allicocke was soon charged with providing the British army with supplies. A mob “threatened his life” in late 1775 and during a meeting of the New York Social Club, he announced that he was leaving for Antigua on 3 Jan. 1776. Allicocke actually left on 6 Jan. 1776, “in a Pilot Boat” that cost him £8. He left his wife and five children in New York and would not return until the following year. Upon his return, however, Allicocke’s many friends — owning to the culture of sociability –“were so good to lend him money to commence business again,” despite suffering from what could be described as depression. Isaac Heron, New York watchmaker, described, however, that by the fall of 1778 Allicocke’s business was “prosperous and [in a] flourishing way!” and he continued in the wine trade until Dec. 1782, when he decided, along with many other Loyalists, that he could not stay in the colonies.

Joseph Allicocke and two of his children endured a relatively painless journey across the Atlantic until they saw St Helens, when “they fell in with and were captured by a French private Vessel of War.” The privateer commandeered the ship and directed them to Calais and then to Dunkirk. Since Allicocke was starting a new life in Britain, he, obviously, had a great deal of personal possessions on board “…in Chests and Trunks” that contained “the wearing Apparel of himself and family, Beds and Table Linen, and . . . his Books and Papers.” He also lost silk, gowns with petticoats, linen, handkerchiefs, aprons, ruffles, caps, buckles, rings “and other Valuables.” The Frenchmen took these goods, worth £450 sterling, and they were all “totally lost”. According to one contemporary observe, he heard “Joseph Allicocke lament the loss of his Papers.”

(It would seem, then, that, perhaps, his papers are somewhere in France. Being a young historian, this does nothing but excite me and spur me to find them [if they exist…]).

Although Sabine’s Biographical Sketches set the foundation for Loyalist research, we must appreciate that he merely skimmed the surface. It was a gargantuan effort for a nineteenth-century scholar which clearly dominated his every thought, to compile data for thousands and thousands of people. In the modern digital age we have the gift of the internet and technology that enables us to pluck people from the brink of history and tell their stories. This is the real joy of historical writing: to write about those that could and would be lost forever without historical research. Joseph Allicocke was one such individual. We have bits and pieces of information regarding his origins that amount to nothing more than speculation. Some historians have written how he was Irish, some have written that he was from Antigua; similarly, some denote him as a Loyalist Son of Liberty (as I do), whilst others do not. It was only when we take advantage of the sources we have so readily at our disposal that we can really paint an accurate picture of who people were in colonial America — it is not easy; but that’s the joy in it and, really, it’s why we do it: to tell the forgotten tales.

…Christopher F. Minty, Ph.D. candidate, University of Stirling

UEL Heritage Centre Completes Successful Digitization Project

The United Empire Loyalist Heritage Centre and Park, located in Adolphustown, Ontario, has completed a project aimed at digitizing Loyalist-related artefacts and documents. The project was made possible through grant money from the Museums Technology Fund of the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Funds allowed for the purchase of new computer, scanner, digital camera, and other related digitizing equipment to carry out the project. In addition, money was provided for hiring of staff to carry out the project during the 2012 operating season of the UEL Heritage Centre. Some items for digitizing were also provided by the Bay of Quinte Branch UEL.

The aim of the project was to provide digital copies of many items in the collection of the museum, which would allow greater access of these items to the general public and those doing Loyalist or family tree research, while protecting the integrity of these early fragile documents. This will be available to any visitors to the research library of the UEL Heritage Centre starting in 2013. In addition, it has provided the museum with digital records of the items in its collection, complying with standard museum practices.

Over 3000 items have been digitally scanned or photographed during the project. Some highlights of the digitized items included are:

  • Benjamin Seymour’s original Store account books, from 1794 to 1810
  • Records of the UEL Butter and Cheese factory in Adolphustown
  • The original master Loyalist Executive list
  • Selected Loyalist discharge certificates and land grant petitions 1784 to 1840
  • Over 500 Photographs related to local Loyalist families
  • Various other documents and objects making up the collection on display or in storage.

In addition, photo-frame and power-point presentations have been created that can be used for outreach activities, such as presentations to schools or community groups. Should you wish to arrange a presentation, you may contact the UEL Heritage Centre and Park through its website at www.uel.ca.

…Brian Tackaberry, Presiddent, Bay of Quinte Br., btacka@trytel.com

Remembrance Day Revisited: Okill Stuart Review

A very detailed, five-page article on Okill Stuart was published by the Lake Champlain Weekly (a publication serving northern Vermont and New York) in connection with Remembrance Day (“Veterans Day” in the U.S.). They even put on the front page a photo of Okill as he looked in uniform during W.W.II. The carefully-drafted text, based on materials Okill provided and interviews with him, paints a very human portrait of our distinguished former Dominion President, which, I think, will bring a smile to the faces of many who know him. Read the article (PDF).

…Robert Wilkins UE, President, Heritage Branch

Loyalists and the War of 1812: Help Build A New UELAC List

A new list is underway and your help is needed to help populate it. A number of Loyalists who had participated in the American Revolution also took up arms again in the War of 1812. A greater number of sons, daughters and family members of Loyalists also joined the war effort. See the beginning of the collection at Loyalists and the War of 1812.

A few submissions have been received. If you have Loyalist ancestry, or know of other, that meets the criteria above, please contribute to this collection. Submissions of about 500 words would be great, but size within reason is not a big concern.

Thanks in advance for your help; submit articles to loyalist.trails@uelac.org

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:
– Keeler, James – from Meredith Andrew
– Varnum, Benjamin – from Meredith Andrew


The Mother of “my” James Cummings

Thomas Cummings and his son James often worked as a team. They lived in Chippawa on land granted Thomas for his services in Butler’s Rangers during the Revolution. Thomas had been working for John Burch, assisting with his thoroughbred horses in Papacunk, New York and his mother was Burch’s housekeeper. Burch had been avoiding taking the oath, but was finally driven out with all his staff. From 1792, he was associated with the Commissariat Department, which seems to be a continuation of his services before fleeing Papacunk. Thomas was prominent in the development of the new community and area. He was elected town clerk and pathmaster in 1796 and continued as town clerk for many years. In 1812 his son James became town clerk. In 1807, Thomas became a trustee of Public Schools. When the War of 1812 began, Thomas was already an issuer of provisions at Fort George, so he continued to 1815. He relinquished about 5 acres of his land at the mouth of Chippawa Creek to the government, and barracks were built there.

James is accounted to be the first white child born in Chippawa. He was a Lieutenant the 3rd Lincoln Militia when war was declared in 1812. He was soon in the Quarter Master General’s service and became a Captain in the 2nd Lincoln Militia. Col. John Clark requested James’ recollections of the war. He replied, 11 May 1860: “the night of the Stoney Creek battle; I was with a party of dragoons at Secord’s Mills to keep a lookout in case the enemy took that road from Stoney Creek to gain the position we held at the cross-roads. When the firing commenced my little party were on the watch, and so soon as light appeared, we went to the scene of action, where many of our gallant and noble red-coats lay sleeping in death.”

He mentioned “a few of the scenes I witnessed and was personally engaged in: The Beaver Dam, where Col. Chapin gave me his sword. The Battle of Chippawa and Lundy’s Lane. The taking of Fort Schlosser, a daring and bold adventure, with the 24th Militia, and six of the 49th, where we took 14 regulars and two officers, with four civilians, one brass six-pounder and three boat loads of stores. Afterwards, the taking of Black Rock, where Col. Bishop received his wounds, close by where I was.”

Thomas and James spent the rest of their lives serving their community in various capacities. Thomas was a trustee for the construction of Trinity church, the first in Chippawa. James continued as a J.P. and was warden of Welland County and a Member of the Legislative Assembly as of 1844. He had several business interests: warehouses, tannery and a steam-powered grist mill. He helped start up the Erie and Ontario Railway and the Niagara Suspension Bridge. Above all, he looked after the interests of the people of Chippawa, no matter what service he could provide.

Judith Chidlow