“Loyalist Trails” 2013-12: March 24, 2013

In this issue:
The Loyalist Three Rs: Residents – by Stephen Davidson
William Odber Raymond (1853-1923) by George McNeillie
“At the Head of Lake Ontario”: The Niagara Escarpment
Prime Minister Stephen Harper a Loyalist Descendant?
Some Thoughts On Membership From “The Other Side”
Where in the World?
Loyalists and War of 1812: Thomas and John Hatter
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
      + Responses re Griffin/Cronk
      + Response re Two Names on the Same Nova Scotia land Grant


The Loyalist Three Rs: Residents – by Stephen Davidson

Loyalists can be broken down into three categories: refugee, resident, and returning loyalists. This week we will consider the largest – and most marginalized—group, the resident loyalists.

Canadian history and genealogy tend to focus on the loyalists who made their way across our borders – the refugee loyalists. However, if one were to stop and consider the number of loyalists involved in American Revolution, it becomes obvious that not every loyalist in the rebelling thirteen colonies pulled up stakes and left the United States after 1783.

While around 60,000 people living in the rebelling colonies eventually became refugees, there were an estimated 500,000 to 833,330 colonists who remained loyal to the crown during the revolution. Simple arithmetic leads to the inevitable conclusion: most loyalists continued to be residents of the United States. Most were able to make peace with their rebel neighbours and stayed in the homes they had created before the events of 1776.

While interesting, what these numbers fail to include is the number of loyal colonists in Britain’s other North American colonies. The English New World Empire also included the colonies of West Florida, East Florida, Canada, Nova Scotia, Bermuda, Newfoundland, and the islands of the Caribbean. While these colonies may not have joined the thirteen rebelling colonies, many of them had patriots in their midst who were defeated by the actions of the local loyalists. The stories of the resident loyalists of Nova Scotia and Canada, in particular, have been neglected for far too long.

As with the refugee loyalists, there are subcategories of resident loyalists. The most obvious category is that of American loyalists who died during the revolution. They never had the option of becoming refugees. They died in their colonies either through natural causes, in the defence of their homes from rebel mobs, or from the violence of the battlefield. Their loyalty was later recognized and rewarded when their widows and orphans sought compensation from the British government at hearings in Canada and the Maritimes.

Not every fighting loyalist died or became a refugee. There were parts of the new republic where loyalist soldiers from within their population were allowed to remain. The Lloyd family of Long Island, New York allowed the British to build the largest British garrison in the colony on their estate, and yet at the end of the revolution the new state government did not confiscate their land. Given the high number of loyalists within New York, the government was not as vindictive as it was in other former colonies.

Loyalists of principle also opted to stay among rebels. Cadwallader Colden once said that he “should ever oppose independency with all his might, and wished to the Lord that his name might be entered on record as opposed to that matter, and be handed down to latest posterity.” Despite his strong views, he remained in New York. In a 1790 letter, he confessed “I much fear that I shall not retrieve the time and losses occasioned by that (I had almost said cursed) rebellion, now called glorious revolution, as I sincerely wish it may ever prove to be, though I cannot yet help thinking that we might have been happy at this day had we remained as we were.”

Once it is recognized that most loyal American colonists (numbering between 440,000 and 773,330) remained as residents of the USA, an interesting fact becomes apparent. The vast majority of loyalist descendants live within the United States – not Canada. But their descendants are completely unaware, for the most part, of their “traitorous Tory” ancestors.

The most interesting group of resident loyalists — at least to my mind — are the loyalists of Nova Scotia and Canada. Both French and English colonists decided not to join the revolution. They fought rebels within their own communities as well as from the thirteen revolting colonies.

The New England settlers who had made Nova Scotia their home in the twenty years before the revolution were not — as some historians have claimed — “neutral Yankees”. They suffered raids from patriot privateers and had to quell rebel violence within their own borders. One case is worth spotlighting at this point.

James Simonds, a merchant at Portland’s Point (the future Saint John, New Brunswick) resented that British ignorance of the colony’s resident loyalists. The powers-that-be were considering the idea of seizing resident loyalist land to give to the refugee loyalists who began arriving in 1783. Simonds wrote “Instead of our being stripped of our rights to make amends for the losses of the Loyalists, who were plundered in New York or elsewhere, we have at least as weighty reasons as they can possibly offer to claim restitution from Government for the value of all the property taken from us, our distress by imprisonment, etc. They had a numerous British army to protect them; we had to combat the sons of darkness alone. In a word, we had much less than they to hope for by unshaken loyalty and incomparably more to fear.”

An especially interesting component of the resident loyalist population of Nova Scotia were the Acadians. These French settlers were expelled from their land in 1755 and scattered around both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. And yet those who settled on the upper reaches of the St. John River provided invaluable service to the British, acting as couriers between Nova Scotia and Quebec City. Native tribes were wooed by the rebels, resisted, and also served the British as couriers.

It should not be forgotten that the habitants of what had been New France lent their aid to the British cause. Rather than joining rebels against the British Empire, the French settlers defended their homes against patriot attacks and rejected invitations to become the 14th rebellious colony. And yet their service within a loyal colony has merited little attention. (Watch for future Loyalist Trails articles on the forgotten resident loyalists!)

While the residents’ contribution to the history of the loyalist era has been underappreciated, the loyalists who are pariahs to both loyalist historians and genealogists are the third and final category — the returning loyalists. They will be examined in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

William Odber Raymond (1853-1923) © George McNeillie

I had written the people of Stanley to expect me at their church on Sunday morning, November 3rd, 1878, for my first service as their clergyman. On the way, there were some detentions, and in consequence the young minister found himself at nightfall on Saturday still nine miles from his destination, his horse and himself too tired to go further. He decided to put up for the night at “Bell’s” at the mouth if the Tay Stream. Next morning the nine long miles through English Settlement were traversed, and the parson arrived at the church at the appointed hour only to find a slim congregation, as the news of his non-arrival had been circulated the night before.

There was no surplice at the church: the minister’s had not yet arrived; so he decided to officiate in the only garment the church owned, an old black gown, which he used for the first and last time at this initial service. The church was old and dilapidated, and very barely furnished. The young deacon was determined not to be a pessimist and chose as the text of his sermon the first verse of the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd, therefore can I lack nothing.”

The old Stanley church had rather an unusual history. The main body of the church was built by the New Brunswick Land Company as a school-house about 1840 in the early days of the settlement. For a while it was used as a school-house on weekdays and for Divine Services on Sundays. It was a building with low sides, the windows six feet wide and only about three feet in height; they were fixed so as to swing on the centre and afford ventilation on warm days in summer. In winter the church needed no ventilation. The walls were of pine boards nearly two feet in width painted white with surface in red. The building was devoid of plastering and in winter very cold. Before it was consecrated by Bishop Medly, in 1845, the humble edifice was made more church-like by the addition of a small chancel at one end and a large square tower at the other, surmounted by a cross. These additions, not being not being built on the original foundation, in the course of time began to separate from the main body; openings appeared, and through the chinks the snow drifted in, and sometimes remained un-melted through the service. The frosty breaths of the congregation on cold Sundays testified to the warmth of their hearts and their religious zeal, but all agreed that we needed a new church.

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

“At the Head of Lake Ontario”: The Niagara Escarpment

If you want to see one of the world’s natural wonders, then look around you! What you’ll see is the spectacular Niagara Escarpment, recognized as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

The Niagara Escarpment runs predominantly east/west from New York State, through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. Its length is 725 kilometres. It cuts through rural north Burlington. It divides the City of Hamilton in half, with residents defined in terms of whether they live “on the Mountain” or below it.

The City of Hamilton, known widely as “Steel Town,” should also be know as “The City of Waterfalls.” Within Hamilton’s borders are 126 waterfalls, all resulting from its location on the escarpment. Some of the most beautiful are Webster’s Falls, Albion Falls, Tew’s Falls and the spectacular Devil’s Punchbowl Falls. All are readily accessible by car.

Over 450 million years ago, the Niagara Escarpment began to take shape as the bed of a tropical sea. During the millions of years that followed, the sediments were compressed into rock, mainly magnesium-rich limestone (dolostone) and shale. These two kinds of rock weathered at different rates, resulting in the very dramatic land forms we see today. As well as the spectacular cliffs and waterfalls, there are sea stacks, karst formations, deep valleys, and rugged hills.

For those who love to hike, the Bruce Trail Conservancy provides nine different sections through Niagara Escarpment lands. If you have a month to spare, you can do an end-to-end trail that covers the entire 890 kilometres on foot.

Too much to fit into this visit? You can enjoy a breathtaking sample of the Niagara Escarpment’s richness by a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens. As well as beautiful gardens, there are miles of trails through the RBG’s natural lands.

Please watch for another vignette coming soon. For details and registration for UELAC Conference 2013 in Burlington by Hamilton Branch, visit Meet us at the Head of Lake Ontario.

…Jean Rae Baxter, UE

Prime Minister Stephen Harper a Loyalist Descendant?

I was led into this possible lineage after looking into a famous Harper family mystery. One of the stories which has floated around genealogical circles, and in the news and in biographies, is the story of the disappearance of the PM’s grandfather, Harris Chapman Harper. Harris was born 27 August 1903 in Port Elgin, Westmorland, New Brunswick. He became principal of a school there; and on Saturday 21 January 1950, he disappeared from the face of the earth, never to be seen again. There was a police investigation at the time, and various theories were explored.

Years later, when the family heard that the school had been sold & was about to be demolished, they decided to look into the matter thoroughly. But even then, there was still no absolute final determination of the outcome. It remains a classic cold case. It is likely that Harris crossed a bridge on his walk home, and he might have fallen into the river. This possibility was investigated at the time, but no body was found.

It did surprise me at the time, to learn that PM Harper had New Brunswick roots. The Alberta time of his family ancestry came later.

I contacted the PM about the story, and in a letter to me dated June 13 2012, he told me that his father, Joseph Harris Harper, (1927 – 2003) had carried out an extensive investigation, and ‘discovered just about everything that there is to know’. He stated that his uncle, George Coy Harper, had published a letter in the Globe and Mail, dated August 10, 2009, with regard to his grandfather’s disappearance.

The purpose of this letter in the Globe, was to add fuller details of the few hours prior to the disappearance of Harris Chapman Harper, and to discredit an account written earlier by a writer named Lawrence Martin. In Martin’s article, it was suggested that Harris Harper committed suicide. However, the response by George Coy Harper, provides much medical detail and other evidence, to almost prove that the disappearance was not a suicide. Prime Minister Harper’s letter to me of June 13 2012, calls Lawrence Martin’s article ‘malicious’ – perhaps with respect to the fact that Martin described the disappearance as a suicide.

In the Globe article, George Coy Harper says that the disappearance happened the day after a week of teaching. Harris had left his un-cashed pay cheque sitting on a dresser and had gone to a doctor’s office. Harris had a slight speech impediment, says George Harper. Harris went to the doctor’s office, left, and then disappeared. There were sightings reported, but then all trails went cold.

This letter to the Globe and Mail may be read here.

If you read this article, be sure to read the cross-link, which suggests that PM Harper quietly initiated some tax reforms and benefits on behalf of people with mental issues and illnesses. I have not verified this information.

Now at the time this story was unfolding, I had unearthed a series of deeds, wills, and other records, in New Brunswick, in search of a possible (completely unrelated) Loyalist lineage from Oliver R. Frost (1803 – 1875) of St. Stephen Parish, Charlotte County, New Brunswick. I was attempting to show that Oliver was the son of proven Loyalist Jeremiah Frost (1743 – 1820), one of the early pioneers of that part of Nova Scotia at the border of Maine, which became incorporated into the new province of New Brunswick, on August 16, 1784.

With these records at hand, I found an interesting transaction. Here’s how it unfolded.

The father of Harris Chapman Harper was Joseph Crandall Harper.

Joseph Crandall Harper (1872-1952) of Port Elgin and Westmorland NB, married Agatha Blanche Chapman on 29 April 1896, in Westmorland.

The interesting thing here, is that Harris Chapman Harper was named for Agatha Chapman’s father, who was named Harris Chapman. His full name was Harris Tingley Chapman (1845-1906). This would mean that Harris Tingley Chapman was ONE of the PM’s 2nd Great Grandfathers.

Harris Chapman’s family must have been very important to Joseph Crandall Harper. In fact I located a set of deeds in Westmorland County NB: on 9 October 1894, as recorded in Westmorland County Deed Books, 1894-1895 vol G6., Joseph C. Harper and Amos Chapman (b. 1872), brother of Joseph’s future wife Agatha Blanche Chapman, teamed up to sell land to W. Fred Monroe, in Port Elgin, along with Susan Monroe, widow of the late James Monroe.

The PM responded by email on March 21 2013, indicating his interest and pleasure of learning these details. Will he formally pursue UE Certification? He didn’t say.

The Loyalist thread follows the PM’s Chapman’s ancestors.

Tracing the Chapman family back several generations, we arrive at William Chapman (1729 – 1813), who is found recorded in ‘Loyalists and Land Settlement in Nova Scotia, Public Archives of Nova Scotia’, page 44, date 1784, settling in Preston Township, receiving 100 acres, probably having served with the 82nd Regiment, as all of the others on that page served either with the 82nd Regiment (more names), or with the Royal Garrison Battalion (fewer names).

As UE status follows bloodline and not surname, if this is correct and proven, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his children would be UE descendants.

This is not a full proof to UELAC standards, but I think it could be proven.

…Richard Ripley UE, Genealogist

Some Thoughts On Membership From “The Other Side”

How are we really doing? Sometimes it’s worth taking a look at other organizations which have a few similarities to us. Consider the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution), who honour Rebel ancestors much as we honour Loyalists here.

The head of the SAR is called the “President General” and in his remarks in the SAR’s Winter 2012-13 magazine he wrote:

Our membership as of Dec. 31, 2012, reached an all-time high with 31,358 members. In my opinion, this increase is due in part to our shortened application approval time, the recent TV shows addressing celebrity ancestry searches, an increased interest in history, and expanded Internet search capabilities. (p3)

First of all if the United States has ten times our population then our membership numbers don’t look so bad. Think again. The SAR is for men only. There is a companion organization, the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), which has a much greater membership. The combined total far exceeds our efforts here, even when population differences are a factor.

Shortened application approval times sounds like a good move, but in the defence of the UELAC I have found that SAR application approval period has traditionally been about twice the length of UELAC approval times.

What celebrities with Loyalist ancestry could we use to give a higher profile to the UELAC? Problem here is we have not been a country known for promoting our heritage to any degree near our neighbours to the South. Indeed, even one Canadian comedian remarked that the best thing about 2013 was that we wouldn’t have to hear more TV advertisements about the War of 1812 Bicentennial. Yes. It’s a dumb remark, but it is a bit telling.

The SAR President General continued with some further remarks:

Recall the “four Rs” of membership. The first is to Recruit a new member…The second is to Retain that person as an active dues-paying member. What is the goal of your chapter or society for member retention? What is your retention rate – 90 percent or 95 percent? Whatever it may be, let’s commit to reducing the loss by one-half this year…The third R is to Reconnect with the person who has dropped his membership. Learn why he dropped his membership. Invite him back to meetings and see if you can rekindle his interest. When that happens, then the fourth R is to Reinstate the member as an active, dues paying member. (p3)

There are certainly some words of wisdom there, and from a Rebel!

…Peter W. Johnson, UE, Past President, UELAC

[Reference: Leishman, Stephen B. “Recalling the Four R’s of Membership.” SAR Magazine. Winter 2012-13. Vol. 107. No. 3 p.3]

Where in the World?

Where are Kawartha Branch members Bob and Grietje McBride?

To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is. If you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well – send to Jennifer Childs.

Loyalists and the War of 1812

Thanks to those who have contributed to the slowly growing index of Loyalists and the War of 1812.

We have added a new entry for Thomas and John Hatter thanks to Donald Praast, UE.

If you have a family ancestry which qualifies (see the heading of the page with entries), please submit to loyalist.trails@uelac.org. Our rich history continues to emerge through these family histories.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Responses re Griffin/Cronk

If William Griffin was born in Digby (or anywhere in what is now NS/NB) in 1769 he would not be a Loyalist who by definition had to be living in 13 colonies during American Revolution (1774-1783). If he was born in Digby in 1769 his parents probably came there from New England in 1762 as part of the backfill of Acadian lands “vacated” when the Acadians were expelled in 1755.

My Snow ancestors arrived in Granville Ferry (not far from Digby) in 1762 from Mass. That pre-Loyalist migration is called “Planters”. Birth date you give for William and his age on 1801 grant do not match. Most Loyalists would have received their land grants much sooner than 1801. NS government started granting them in 1784 including those in what is now New Brunswick. I know nothing about the Hatfield Grant. You indicate grant was made in 1801, the year before he married Julianne Cronk, so if her family was Loyalist, it had nothing to do with the grant made in 1801.

I have seen one file on Ancestry.ca which gives William’s birth date as 1769 and shows record of marriage to Julianne Cronk in 1802. It also shows his date of death as 1840, not 1804. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

…John Noble UE

Second response:

In response to the query I offer a quick pastiche of a few on-line notes meant to convey a direction for future search. To really study the matter would necessitate a fair-sized outline of a number of inter-related families. But I suspect you know all about that sort of thing. I believe feel that your suspicions that William Griffin was not born in Digby are likely correct. Consistent with the location, time and persons, I would suspect William to be from Westchester or Dutchess counties in NY, that he arrived with his parents in 1783 and that he was a member of the Quaker family of Edward Griffin, one of the signers of the Flushing Remonstrance.

I am going to give you some fragments hastily gathered which might convey why I believe the above to more accurately reflect William’s origins. I had noted offhand the Griffin’s in Charlotte Co., NB (some cousins having married into the family) and suspected their origins to be Edward’s family. I feel slightly more certain now.

WILLIAM GRIFFIN b. ca. 1769, m. St. Luke’s Church, Annapolis FEB1891 SARAH HUNT, possible d/o Lt.-Col. Benjamin Hunt.

(LIEUTENANT-COLONEL BENJAMIN HUNT, THE LOYALIST, HIS ANCESTRY AND DESCENDANTS. By A. W. Savary, M.A. The New York genealogical and biographical record (Volume 84). (page 15 of 53), APR1912.)

The Hunt’s had very much a background similar to the Quaker Griffin’s; also coming from Long Island, NY to Westchester Co., NY and as Loyalists to Canada. See also here

The Hunt’s, Purdy’s, Wright’s, Griffin’s, Budd’s, Fowler’s, etc. were families long associated from the mid 1600’s, tending to move (more or less) together or to gather from diverse locations (i.e., Long Island and Connecticut) to merge before the Revolution in Westchester Co.

“From the Trinity Parish Church, Marriage Registry, Digby N.S. — May 4, 1797, Obediah Griffin jr., of Marshalltown, to Hannah McIntyre, daughter of Samuel, Marshalltown. (pg. 361, History of Digby County, Isaiah Wilson).”

Obadiah Griffin is given as b. Dutchess Co., NY ca. 1766-7. See here

“246. Obadiah5 Griffin (Jr.) (Obadiah4, Edward3, Richard2, Edward1), born Mar 1777 in , Dutchess, New York; died abt. 1871 in Talbot, Elgin, Ontario, Canada. He married on 4 May 1797 in Digby, Annapolis, Nova Scotia, Canada, Hannah (McIntyre) Griffin, born abt. 1779 in , of Nova Scotia, Prob. New York.”

This signifies that Obadiah was a member of the Quaker family. See also here

Obiadiah Griffin is mentioned in reference to a ‘Botsford Grant, Block E, No. 23″ in Digby as is Edward Griffin “Block I, No. 10”.

Amos Botsford acted as an agent for Loyalists in 1782. The area had been Conway Township as of about 1760. There were settlers there. See here

This rather suggests that none of the early settlers were surnamed Griffin.

A James Griffin is mentioned as amongst the Port Roseway Associates. There were earlier Griffin’s, in Halifax; and apparently Loyalist Griffon’s, in Guysborough Co. (Antigonish?). There was a Samuel Griffing in Horton Township, Kings Co., NS in 1765. See also 1770 here

A head-of-household census for Annapolis and Conway in 1770 shows no Griffin’s. See here and here

The Estabrooks, Leavitt’s, Peabody’s and Kimball’s, noted pre-Loyalist families in New Brunswick later, are a surprise as is especially Zebedee Ring as I thought them to have been Loyalists. Zebedee and his wife, Sarah Estabrooks, later went to Saint John, NB where his descendants married into Loyalist families. In fact this Conway Township is very likely not Annapolis or Digby but a place on the River Saint John in what is now New Brunswick. See, for example:

RING: Zebedee Ring b. 11 Mar 1750 in Salisbury, Essex County, MA, died Jul 1825, s/o Jarvis and Sarah Ring: m. 1772 Hannah Estabrooks b. 14 Aug 1751 in Haverhill, Essex County, MA, died on 12 Jul 1837 in Fredericton, d/o Elijah Estabrooks and Mary Hackett: may have first settled in Fredericton, York County area and later moved to Wakefield Parish, Carleton County:


1) Theophilus Ring b. 13 Feb 1773 at Salisbury, MA, d. 15 Jul 1824;
2) Mary Ring b. 8 Aug 1776, d. 12 Mar 1817;
3) Hannah Ring b. 23 Jul 1778, d. 4 Dec 1827;
4) Sarah Ring b. 20 Jul 1779, died 10 Dec 1819;
5) Jarvis Ring b. 14 Sep 1780, d. 22 Apr 1868, m. Sarah Hart d/o Samuel Hart and Mary/Molly Estabrooks of Maugerville, Sunbury County, NB;
6) Deborah Ring b. 15 Sep 1782, d. 28 Feb 1832;
7) Zebedee Ring b. 25 Dec 1784, m. Mary Ann Hart;
8) Olive Ring;
9) Elizabeth Ring m. Henry Blakeslee: had six children;
10) Jacob Ring married Hannah Hart d/o Samuel Hart and Mary/Molly Estabrooks.

Source: MC80/1705 Darryl A. Bonk’s The Estabrooks family in New Brunswick, pages 3,6.

See here

So referring to a Conway Township may be tricky.

Basically I do not find any reason to believe that a Griffin was in the area before 1783, but several reasons to believe that they were there by 1783, therefore were members of the Quaker family of Edward Griffin. This is not the only instance of difficulties with the Griffin family ( I have one as well) and it may be insoluble.

…Thomas A. Murray

Response re Two Names on the Same Nova Scotia land Grant

I know that the son of my Loyalist ancestor, Daniel Smith Sr, named Daniel Jr., received half of a 200 acre 1784 grant near Gagetown on the Saint John River in what is now New Brunswick, but the original grant was made from Halifax. He shared the grant with Hezekiah Kierstead. That may have been due to the fact that Daniel Jr. was single and not yet 21. I also know that in a 1785 petition, Daniel Smith Sr. asked for 500 acres of land along with several others. The instructions from the NB government was that grants were limited to 200 acres for persons with families (not always respected). But I think there was a difference made between a married man and one who was single. The latter getting 100 acres. Not sure this was always case in NS after 1785, so above may be irrelevant.

…John Noble, UE