“Loyalist Trails” 2013-24: June 16, 2013

In this issue:
No One Ever Bought Him Toys – by Stephen Davidson
Final Phase of FDYP Marked with Wampum
2013 Dorchester Award Recipient
Where in the World?
Loyalists and War of 1812: John Askin and grandson George Hamilton
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Loyalist Directory: Descendant Names Posted
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post
      + Last Post: Rev. J. William Lamb
      + Last Post: Nieda Ellen Branscombe Stevenson, UE
      + Ransier Family


No One Ever Bought Him Toys – by Stephen Davidson

Have you ever noticed how grandparents enjoy telling their grandchildren about what it was like when they were young? Many years after John Carroll became a grandfather, he put the memories of his childhood in an autobiography titled My Boy Life. The book begins with Carroll’s birth on a Bay of Fundy island in 1805, and recounts his boyhood as he grew up in Toronto.

John’s father was Joseph Carroll, an Irishman who had immigrated to Maryland. Sometime during the American Revolution, Joseph joined the Maryland Loyalist corps. In the fall of 1783, the corps boarded a ship to take them to the mouth of the St. John River. One hundred thirteen of the Martha’s passengers died when the ship wrecked off of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Joseph was among its 68 survivors.

The loyalist veteran eventually settled near Fredericton, and at 40 years of age, he married an 18 year-old Quaker girl. Molly Rideout’s family were Planters, the settlers who preceded the loyalist settlement of New Brunswick. By the time the family decided to move to Upper Canada, Molly had given birth to 10 children. John Carroll, who wrote the story of his boyhood, was her 11th child –the first born in a set of twins.

Here are some of the things that John remembered about being a loyalist’s child when Canada’s largest city was still known as York.

This first fact will certainly shock today’s children. John’s parents never bought him any toys. He made his own. When he wanted to pretend that he was riding a horse, he snapped a branch off an elder tree and galloped on it down the road. He put a wild flower in his cap and imagined that he was a soldier in the cavalry.

John had no video games or board games. Instead, he made up his own games. He took bits of leather from his father’s harness shop and put them in rows. He and his twin brother pretended that the leather fragments were two armies. Isaac commanded one army, and John was the general for the other. The brothers took turns rolling a bullet or marble at each other’s soldiers. Whoever knocked down the most bits of leather won the battle.

Sometimes the brothers pretended to be farmers. Using chalk, they drew squares on the flat stones of their fireplace’s hearth. The twins pretended that the squares were fields of grain and vegetables. They used brown and white coloured beans for cattle in the meadows; pussy willow buds were the sheep. They made miniature farmhouses and barns out of bits of wood.

The Carroll boys also liked to build pretend forts and farmhouses in the woods. On other days, they imagined that they were bakers, making pies and cakes out of mud. If they wanted something they could really eat, they bent a pin into a hook, attached it to a thread, and went fishing. Chub was a favourite.

Candy was not readily available in York’s shops, but John satisfied his sweet tooth with “new maple molasses”, recalling fondly “nothing can be more delectable”. He had the opportunity to see how maple syrup was produced when he visited the farm of William Carroll, one of his married brothers.

“Sugaring off” was a very nice process, as it required an experienced manager and a very slow fire…Some of the richest molasses was taken in pails, put over some coals in a pot, and slowly simmered away till it became gritty when cool; it was then nearly ready to pour out into the moulds… William made a square box, which could be taken apart when the sugar became hard, which made a very pretty mould. …If the desire was to make flour sugar, instead of cake sugar, they kept stirring the pot till it was thoroughly cool, or poured it out into a receptacle, and stirred it, and it became loose and nearly like brown sugar bought in the stores.”

There were no playgrounds or skateboard parks in York when John Carroll was a boy. He played in the woods — or sometimes the local graveyard. His friends especially enjoyed playing around one tombstone that was supported by four pillars. Some said that the grave was haunted. People claimed to have seen a shining vapour floating over the tombstone. This scared John and his friends so much that they never played near the grave after sunset.

There were no organized sports such as baseball or hockey 200 years ago, but the twins enjoyed playing games with other boys in their neighbourhood. A favourite one was called Hunt the Bear – a rough and tumble type of hide and seek.

Even without television and comic books, John could entertain himself. Once, after finding a quarter, John rushed to a shop on King Street to buy a book of adventure poetry. The book contained the kind of stories that John knew his older brother James would enjoy, but they would hardly find an audience among today’s children. One poem was titled “The Wanderer of Switzerland” and the other was “The Borders”.

James Carroll had gone blind while fighting in the War of 1812 and had lost almost all of his hearing. Little John knew that “a book was a great solace to him in his loneliness. He was very hard of hearing as well, and one had to sit very near him to make him hear what was read: but I was so small, and he was so big, that I could sit on his knee opposite his best ear, and make him hear.” The stories were so moving that John remembered crying as he read.

On another occasion, some visitors to John’s home put on a puppet show for his family’s amusement. It is hard to believe now, but such marionette shows were once illegal in some parts of North America.

So the next time the power goes out at your house and there seems to be nothing to do, think about John Carroll, a loyalist’s son. His parents never bought him any toys, and yet he fondly remembered his boyhood.

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

Final Phase of FDYP Marked with Wampum

At the opening reception of the “Meet Us at the Head of Lake Ontario” UELAC Conference held in the Burlington Holiday Inn, the final phase of the Four Directions Youth Programme was suitably marked. After opening remarks from David Hill Morrison, UELAC Central West Regional Councillor and descendant of Joseph Brant, and a keynote address by Honorary Vice-President Zig Misiak dressed in his green Caldwell uniform, the third part of the evening was dedicated to completing the intent of the 2009 sDominion project. A cheque for the $5000.00 raised by several branches and individuals was presented to Janis Monture of the Woodlands Cultural Centre by Past President Frederick H. Hayward. In addition, to mark the occasion, a gift of wampum was passed to Don Monture, Elder of the Six Nations Legacy Consortium and a member of the Six Nations Veterans. Further information and pictures can be found here (PDF).


2013 Dorchester Award Recipient

The Dorchester Award was created in 2007 to honour those volunteers in the Association who have gone “that extra mile” with their contributions to the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada. Every year the UELAC recognizes one or more of its members who have made significant contributions to our Association. This is the highest award presented to one of our members by the Association.

In June 2013 at the Dominion Conference in Burlington, Ontario, the Dorchester Award was presented to Elizabeth “Libby” Hancocks UE from the Governor Simcoe Branch. She has now been added to the list of honoured recipients of this award as listed at National: UELAC Dorchester Award.

…Gerry Adair UE, Chairman, Volunteer Recognition

Where in the World?

Where is UELAC President Bonnie Schepers?

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 John Askin and grandson George Hamilton thanks to David G. P. Ricketts O.N., UE, 5th-great-grandson of John Askin.

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

  • JUNE 19 is Loyalist Day in Saskatchewan and Ontario. Join us as we honour our United Empire Loyalist ancestors. “The significance of Loyalist Day“, by Alexander Roman
  • Town of Wellington in Prince Edward County, in an area settled in part by United Empire Loyalists, to celebrate 150th birthday
  • Every Moment Expect Them to Sally Out” Extract of a Letter from the Camp at Cambridge, June 14 [1775]. Probably by a rebel, Joseph Warren, commenting on a proclamation by Gov. General Thomas Gage, three days prior to the battle of Bunker Hill on June 17
  • On this day 15 June 1775: George Washington was unanimously appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. Delaware declared itself independent
  • Prize-winning novel The Book of Negroes to become TV miniseries. Long-awaited screen adaptation begins shooting in fall, will air on CBC and BET
  • New Heritage Minute from The Historica-Dominion Institute spotlights First Nations warriors: Mohawk Chief John Norton and a small group of roughly 100 Six Nations warriors at Queenston Heights
  • One glimmer concerning cuts at Library and Archives Canada. Heritage minister looks at restoring local archives program; James Moore ‘not happy’ with pace of preservation efforts after Library and Archives cuts
  • Ontario Commemorates the War of 1812 Bicentennial: Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport Supporting Launch of TALL SHIPS® 1812 Tour (schedule of stops). A longer description is here.
  • The birds of 1812: feathered heroes played small but key roles in the war on the Eastern Shore: A rooster, a goose and three murdered chickens
  • Cemetery discovery brings history to life; A Pembroke man uncovered the graves of three McDonald brothers, all veterans of the War of 1812

Loyalist Directory: Descendant Names Posted

On the UELAC website, there is a directory (by no means complete) of Loyalists, possible Loyalists and even a few who have been proven to not be UE Loyalists, but are related.

When a descendant proves to a Loyalist, UELAC at that point officially acknowledges that the ancestor was in fact a UE Loyalist. The record in the directory is so noted.

For several years, people have been welcome to submit information about any person in the Loyalist Directory, or to add an appropriate new person. See below for new additions this past week, as submitted by Joy McCallister.

When a certificate is issued, the “Proven Descendants” field in the record is subsequently updated to show that a certificate has been issued. The date and branch are noted, but not the descendant’s name as that would contravene the UELAC privacy policy. The name will be added if the proven descendant submits permission.

In November of 2012, a new signatures and permissions page for the certificate application was instituted. Applicants can now indicate a number of specific permissions, including adding their name to the Loyalist Directory.

Recently, the names of the applicants who have submitted an application with the new page, whose application has been approved up to the end of May, and who gave permission to have their name displayed on the directory record, have been added to the directory.

For example, Gerry Adair proved to Isaiah Bartley several years ago and later submitted information about this ancestor. Sharon Edna Dixon submitted an application to the same ancestor. She used the new signatures page and gave permission for her name to be included. The “Proven Descendants” field of the directory record now shows:

Regina (Gerry Adair) 2008.04.14; Saskatchewan 2013.04.29 (Sharon Edna Dixon);

We may not get to this every month, but will try to keep reasonably current in the postings.

Would you like to add your name? If you are a proven descendant and would like your name added to your loyalist ancestor’s record, please send an email to loyalist.trails@uelac.org with the following:

  • Loyalist ancestors name as it is in the directory
  • The branch to which you belonged when you received your certificate
  • The date the certificate was issued (should be on the certificate; approx. will work)
  • Your name as it would be on the certificate
  • your name as you would like it in the record (explain if different)
  • in the email subject line, put “LD name: [ancestor’s first and last name] by [your name]

…Doug, Chair of the Loyalist Information Committee

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
– Graham, Mires – from Joy McCallister
– Ritchie, Andrew George Sr. – from Joy McCallister
– Waggoner, Richard Edward – from Joy McCallister
– Wilson, William – from Joy McCallister

Please help us build the directory by contributing more information for it. Contact loyalist.trails@uelac.org for instructions and guidance.

Last Post

Last Post: Rev. J. William Lamb

Husband of Gina Lamb, father of Alex Onyemenam, grandfather of Obi, Ife, Chike (the lights of my life), went home to glory on June 10, 2013. Ordained by the United Church, he served pastorates for 16 years. Then Telecare, part of Lifeline International. After further training as a psychotherapist he became associated with the Institute of Family Living. He was also a devoted trustee and historian of the old Hay Bay Church (1792) for 46 years. But his ‘home’ church was St. Giles Kingsway Presbyterian where he led a large seniors group and co-lead a bible study. He was elected to the World Methodist Society. Engrossed by early Canadian methodism research and writing, he was writing his fourth book when he passed away. At times, stubborn, but a very caring person who loved people and was loved in return. He always sought to find the good in others and help them be their best. A good listener, and a true Christian. Private cremation has taken place. There will be no visitation prior to the memorial service which will be held at St. Giles Kingsway Presbyterian Church on July 4th at 5 o’clock. (Globe and Mail, 15 June 2013)

Participants of the 2009 UELAC Conference in Napanee will well remember the involvement of Rev. Lamb both at Adolphustown and the Hay Bay Church service. Evidence of his research in early Canadian Methodism and the Old Hay Bay Church can be found by in the links to The Beginnings of Primitive Methodism in England and Canada and The Significance of Old Hay Bay Church , delivered September 15, 2001 at the unveiling of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board’s plaque designating Old Hay Bay Church as a National Historic Site of Canada.

Brian Tackaberry reviewed The Founders: The Twenty-two Persons who Established Old Hay Bay Church in 1792 for this website.


Last Post: Nieda Ellen Branscombe Stevenson, UE

Passed away at the Moncton Hospital on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. She was the wife of the late Donald Robert Stevenson and the daughter of the late Walter and Ada (Burke) Branscombe. She is survived by two children Robert Ralph Stevenson (Jill); and Nancy Eileen MacPherson (Daniel); five grandchildren; special cousins Rev. Donald Burke and Harold Burke. She was predeceased by her sister Melba Hollis and brother Ralph Branscombe. During her retirement years she served as Secretary of Heritage Branch of the United Empire Loyalists Association, a longtime member of the Westmount Baptist Church in Montreal and served on many Boards and Committees of her church. Funeral service will be held from First Baptist Church, Queen St. Moncton, on Sunday, June 9, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. If so desired, donations in Ellen’s memory may be made to First Baptist Church, Moncton. Interment will be in Montreal Memorial Park, Montreal, PQ on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. Arrangements by Tuttle Bros. Funeral Home. Online condolences at www.tuttlefuneralhome.ca. [Published in the Montreal Gazette on June 6, 2013]

Ellen was a longtime Heritage Branch member and former Branch Secretary. Although she lived in Montreal for many years, she moved to near Moncton, N.B., a few years ago to be closer to her daughter. Her obituary is attached.

…Robert Wilkins, UE, Heritage Branch


Ransier Family

The earliest ancestor I have worked back to is a John Ransier born in the US around 1811 and is buried at Duntroon, in the Collingwood, Nottawa region of Ontario. I know nothing yet about his parents.

I was raised by my grandmother Jane (nee Sampson) on the family farm (10th line Nottawasaga Township, now RR1 Nottawa) and she stated the Ransier family was originally Pennsylvania Deutsch (German). I do not know where that came from but it had been passed down. I will state this

“As a kid, I would go through our attic which was stuffed full of wonderful “stuff” – antiques, and family items. Numerous times, I remember picking up this old rifle, holding it up and dry firing it. Many years later after doing considerable research (and long after the rifle has gone) I have determined with a reasonable degree of certainty it was a Springfield 1868 Model Carbine (45-70). No one knows where it came from; my uncle who remains on the family farm did fire it once many years ago – had a bit of a kick to it for sure.

When attending the U of Guelph, I took a number of history courses and regret not doing more Canadian ones. Now that I am retired, I would like to discover where my famiy came from; with some good fortune, hard work and solid research, I hope to determine just where.

There may well not be a Loyalist connection but any help would be appreciated.

Captain Stephen Ransier