“Loyalist Trails” 2013-23: June 9, 2013

In this issue:
A Dozen Widows’ Tales (Part 2 of 2), by Stephen Davidson
Past Presidents Plus One
Presidential Peregrinations: Grand River Branch
Where in the World?
Loyalists and War of 1812: Latham Stull
Black Creek Pioneer Village, Father’s Day and the Rev. War
June 30 Commemoration of the 1813 Skirmish at Hooples Creek
Library and Archives Canada: Preserving our History?
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
      + UEL Decoration 1931


A Dozen Widows’ Tales (Part 2 of 2), by Stephen Davidson

Men have generally written history, and so it is often men’s stories that take centre stage. Women’s stories are significant, but hard to find. Of all the stories from the American Revolution, the tales of loyalist widows are the most difficult to discover. However, because the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL) heard the petitions of widows seeking compensation for their dead husband’s property, we have a handful of such accounts. Here the stories of seven loyalist widows who settled on land that now comprises Ontario and Quebec.

There were no social services to protect or provide for the widows of loyalist soldiers. Whether it was for love or necessity, many widows had to quickly find new husbands if they were to survive and provide for their children in the Canadian wilderness.

At the beginning of the revolution, Deborah Tuttle lived with her husband Elisha and their sons on a 100-acre farm in New York’s Charlotte County. By the winter of 1777, Deborah and her oldest son had to seek sanctuary in Canada because “she would not stay with the rebels”. The British Army had not done very well by the Tuttle family either. Both the king’s men and the rebels had destroyed the loyalists’ garden and stolen furniture and utensils. Sailors and Natives took the Tuttles’ calves and hogs. Although Elisha Tuttle’s service was not identified in her claim, Deborah’s son, Andrew, was old enough to serve on board the British ships in the Great Lakes. By 1787, Tuttle had died, and Deborah had married Charles MacArthur. Both of the newlyweds were loyalist refugees who had been born in the rebelling colonies.

Jane McArthy (or McArty) also had a different husband after the revolution than she did before the “troubles” began. John McArthy was an Irish immigrant who became a farmer in Saratoga, New York. The couple had one son named John who was born during the war in 1778. John Senior joined General Burgoyne at Fort Miller and served as a skilled mechanic (artificer) in the “King’s Works” at St. John’s on Lake Champlain. Jane and young John were there until the end of the war. After her first husband died, Jane married a loyalist from Connecticut named Jared Taylor who had worked with her husband.

Sarah Collenger’s first husband was Henry Fyker, a native of Germany. His wartime service took him away from his family and farm in New York’s Tryon County. In 1780 he was in the garrison at Lake Ontario’s Carleton Island. Fyker died three years later. Sarah and her two children eventually settled in New Johnstown (present day Cornwall) with her new husband, Christopher Collenger. As with the other widows, the stories of how Sarah met Christopher and how her children adapted to both a new father and a new land are nowhere in the historical records.

Mary Brown not only lost her husband John in the revolution, but she lost track of where all but one of her five children were living. John Brown, “always a friend to the king”, died in 1777 after taking his family within the British lines. The family later learned that their livestock, clothing, and Dutchess County farm, were all “vendued by the rebels”. Four of Mary’s sons served under Col. Beverley Robinson.

Four years after the end of the war, Mary only knew that her boys were somewhere in Canada. Described as “a very industrious woman”, Mary married a Mr Elgood, and her daughter Sally married a Mr Tilney in the Second Township. Given that the RCLSAL commissioner thought that the loyalist widow’s evidence was “feeble”, it is good that the Brown women had other resources upon which to draw. The sacrifices of John and his four sons seemed to matter little to the compensation board.

Sarah Buck’s story was a short one. Her husband, Benjamin (?) Buck, lived in Pownal, Vermont until he joined Sir John Johnson’s corps in 1777. After Buck left Sarah and their four children, his wife watched rebels plunder the family’s livestock, clothes, and grain. Sarah’s oldest son joined the British army, and –like his father– he died in battle.

Catherine Cryderman was another loyalist widow who did not remarry following the loss of her husband. Although her husband Valentine was “a loyalist, very true to {the} King”, he was too old to serve as a soldier. Local rebels imprisoned Valentine in 1776. He was “used terribly ill” — so much so that his three months of incarceration caused him to lose his senses. After four years as a bedridden invalid, Valentine died. However, he sent his three sons to serve in the army. Michael and Joseph were the two oldest of the eight Cryderman children.

By 1785, Catherine and seven of her children had settled in New Johnstown; Michael decided to live with loyalists on the Bay of Quinte. In this case, the commissioner of the RCLSAL seemed to be moved by Catherine’s story. The notes on her compensation claim recorded that it “seems a good family”. As her children requested, the compensation given for all that they had lost was awarded to Catherine.

Isabel (Isbel in the records) Macbain also appeared before the RCLSAL when it convened in Montreal in 1787. She and her husband Andrew were Scottish immigrants who had settled on the Mohawk River just two years before the revolution began. Andrew left Isabel and his two children in 1776 to serve with Sir John Johnson. Discharged because of illness, Andrew was taken prisoner on his way home to take his family to safety in Canada.

Before Isabel saw Andrew again, she was “driven from the place {their home} by the rebels and obliged to leave all these things”. Isabel and the children were reunited with Andrew at St. John’s on Lake Champlain after he escaped from jail. However, it would not be for long. He died in 1783, and for the next four years, Isabel had to look after their young children on her own. Again, whatever financial compensation the crown could offer the loyalist widow would be greatly appreciated. The names of the Macbain children and the ultimate fate of the family are unknown.

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

Past Presidents Plus One

Among the guests at the Gala evening of the 2013 Conference “At The Head of Lake Ontario” were five UELAC Past Presidents. The Past Presidents kindly allowed the newly elected President to step in for a photo op.

Past Presidents assembled

In the photo (left to right): Doug Grant, UE (2004-06); Robert McBride, UE (2011-13); Bonnie Schepers, UE (2013–); Myrna Fox, UE (2002-04); Fred Hayward, UE (2008-11); William Terry, UE (2000-02).

We hope to see these and more of the UELAC Past Presidents at the 2014 AGM and Conference in Toronto, Ontario as we celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada.

…Bonnie Schepers, UE, President, UELAC

Presidential Peregrinations: Grand River Branch

The May meeting was held May 19 in Brantford. The guest speaker at the meeting was Paul Carroll, author of The Tiger, the story of Dr. William “Tiger” Dunlop and his exploits during the War of 1812. David Kanowakeron Hill Morrison UE, presented his latest version of a pamphlet describing the heritage of the Branch and how the Loyalists came from all walks of life, united under the belief that Monarchy is the best policy. I had the honour to assist Cathy Thompson with a presentation of certificates to some of my cousins by Loyalist Adam Young, and then to relate a few of his adventures.

Read more details with photos (PDF) of this visit.

…Bob McBride (now Past-President as of June 1st)

Where in the World?

Where are Grietje and Bob 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 Latham Stull thanks to John C. Haynes, 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.

Black Creek Pioneer Village, Father’s Day and the Rev. War

The King’s Royal Yorkers (aka King’s Royal Regiment of New York) will be defending Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto against a threatened invasion by rebels (including the foul 2nd Connecticut that has been so brazenly publicized in the UEL Gazette). Butler’s Rangers, Queen’s Rangers and The Company of Select Marksmen are other loyal regiments that will be represented.

Visitors will be able to visit the camps, talk to soldiers and civilians, see various scenarios showing what our loyalist ancestors faced during the rebellion and see battles between the loyal forces of the crown and the traitorous ones of congress.

Visit Black Creek for more details.

…Capt. Alex Lawrence, KRRNY

June 30 Commemoration of the 1813 Skirmish at Hooples Creek

The Lost Villages Historical Society, which promotes and preserves the history of the villages and hamlets that were lost during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway, is presenting the “Bicentennial Commemoration of the Skirmish at Hoople’s Creek” on June 30, 2013 at the Lost Villages Museum on County Rd. 2 between Cornwall and Long Sault.

The Skirmish at Hooples Creek occurred on November 10, 1813 on a now submerged area near the former village of Dickinson’s Landing, between members of the American invasion force and the 1st and 2nd Stormont Militia. Between November 8th and 9th 1813, members of an American invasion force, which included the Forsythe Rifles, landed near Doran’s Bay between Iroquois and Cardinal. Over 4,000 American soldiers continued their way towards the military stores in the small garrison town of Cornwall by land and by river. The British military commanders located in Prescott at what is now called Fort Wellington, ordered LCol Morrison and an observation force to follow them and report on their movements. At the Long Sault rapids, now below the flooded waters of the St. Lawrence, the American naval advance had to portage around them and near Hoople’s Creek were met with force by members of the 1st and 2nd Stormont Militia. While our brave militia soldiers met with defeat, retreated and fought the next day at Crysler’s Farm, this “skirmish provided enough time to begin the successful movement of important military stores from Cornwall northward to St. Andrew’s West on the way to the secure garrison at Coteau du Lac, before the occupation of this town by American military forces later that day. It also allowed LCol Morrison at his headquarters in the home of LCol John Crysler, UEL the time to plan the successful routing of the American forces at the Battle of Crysler’s Farm. This halted the American march on Montreal and resulted in the British retaining control of the St. Lawrence River which was used to move supplies westward.

On Sunday June 30th at the Lost Villages Museum, there will be an action-packed day commemorating this important event in Canadian History. Beginning at 10am and continuing throughout the day there will be something for everyone with displays, a settler’s market, live entertainment featuring local entertainers such as Tammy McCrae and Candy Rutley. The day concludes with a military style “Tattoo at Two” featuring local cadet and pipe bands, Sine McKenna, the McCulloch Dancers and the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencible troop from Fort Wellington and the 1st Grenville 1812 Militia. At the conclusion of the Tattoo, there will be a Beef on a Bun dinner with all the trimmings for $12.00 per person, advance tickets only. Special thanks go to our sponsors including Canadian Heritage, Ontario Power Generation and the Township of South Stormont. For more information please contact carol.goddard@sympatico.ca or the Lost Villages Historical Society.

…Carolyn Goddard, UE

Library and Archives Canada: Preserving our History?

“Huge cache of Canadian history hits U.K. auction block, tests Library and Archives”: A huge cache of Canadian history, stored for 200 years in three wooden chests held at a British estate, is set to be auctioned next month in London — a possible test of whether the controversy-plagued, funding-challenged Library and Archives Canada is still in the business of acquiring newly available treasures of documentary heritage. An extensive and important collection of letters, maps and other original artifacts left to posterity by Sir John Coape Sherbrooke – the Nova Scotia governor who conquered Maine during the War of 1812 and later served as Canada’s governor general – is to be sold on June 19 as the showcase lot in a major Bonhams auction of rare books and manuscripts.

A message from CAUT on saving Library and Archives Canada: “Librarian and Archivist of Canada Resigns”: On May 15, 2013, Daniel Caron, Chief Librarian and Archivist of Canada, resigned from his post. Caron’s leadership at LAC has been immensely unpopular. He oversaw the introduction of a “modernization” process which led to the cessation of purchased acquisitions, a severe decline in on-site service, a 20% cut to staff, a punitive code of conduct for employees, and the elimination of both the National Archival Development Program and the Inter-Library Loans program at LAC.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond


UEL Decoration 1931

I recently acquired a copy of the 1931 bylaws of the UELAC and it displays this medal, a rosette, pre-armorial bearings badge and other interesting accoutrements that were authorized after the UELA of Ontario became the UELAC.

I am looking for an example or colour photograph of the original U.E.L. medal issued in the 1930’s and, if possible, a history of its use and if it is officially recorded as a medal in Canada and to whom it was issued or who is allowed to wear it.

Dave Clark