“Loyalist Trails” 2013-27: July 7, 2013

In this issue:
A Captain’s Letters (Part III), by Stephen Davidson
Granting of Lands to Loyalists: Fifth Document, by Ed Kipp
The Borders Regional Ministry: Historic Roots & Current Formation
Notice of Summer Outing – 80 Years Ago
Book: Loyalist Rebellion in New Brunswick
Where in the World?
Loyalists and War of 1812: Robert Dixon and son Robert Jr.
The Village of Buffalo, 1800-1832, by Wilma Laux
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory


A Captain’s Letters (Part III), by Stephen Davidson

How should Nova Scotia deal with the rebels in its borders during the American Revolution? Alexander McDonald had an idea. Writing in December of 1778, the loyalist captain said ” we understand that when the Rebels find Positive proof of disloyal{ty} to their States (as they call them), they put the person guilty to Death. When they find Strong presumptions only, they order the accused to be Stript of all he has & Drove within our Line. Suppose the Governor & Council {of Nova Scotia} were to hold the Same conduct towards those disaffected in this Province who can neither be Silent nor quiet. It would quickly prevent their Intercourse {of} supplies and intelligence as well as other dangerous proceedings”.

The loyalist captain’s suggestion may seem rather severe, but McDonald spoke out of bitter experience with rebels. When his patriot neighbours learned that he was actively recruiting men for a loyalist regiment in 1774, McDonald realized that he could never return to his home. “{The}Sentence of death is passed upon me.”

A veteran of the Seven Years War, McDonald had stayed in North America after his regiment disbanded in 1763. Settling in New York, the Highlander married into one of the colony’s richest families after falling in love with Susanna Livingston. The couple established their home at Decker’s Ferry on Staten Island. Now an owner of an estate and slaves, McDonald nevertheless maintained contact with the members of his old regiment.

Sensing the growing spirit of rebellion in the fall of 1774, McDonald wrote Major John Small, stationed in Boston, with a plan to recruit men who had been discharged from his Scottish regiment. After receiving approval, McDonald rode through “frost, snow & ice all the way to the Mohawk River”… “in all the different shapes of disguise we could contrive”

“From the Mohawk River I directed my course for Boston…in the very worst weather that was”. McDonald’s recruitment drive was temporarily put on hold, but finally in June of 1775, the British army established two battalions of the Royal Highland Emigrants (RHE). Major John Small commanded the second battalion, and, by mid-month, Alexander McDonald was made one of its captains.

Because of “alarms” that “Yankees are coming to attack this province and town”, the second battalion was sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Major John Small remained in Boston, making McDonald the officer in charge of the daily operations of the RHE as it defended the “fourteenth colony”. McDonald’s battalion was headquartered in Halifax’s citadel from 1775 until he moved them to Fort Edward in the fall of 1778.

During this three-year period, McDonald was kept busy with recruitment, troop training, the tasks of a paymaster, and regular correspondence with his superiors. Fortunately for historians, the captain’s letters have survived to this day. In addition to their insights into military operations, McDonald’s war-time correspondence allows us to appreciate the joys and frustrations of a loyalist officer. Here are just some of the things that McDonald had to say.

In the fall of 1775, the RHE’s captain wrote about the rebelling colonies, voicing the hope that there would be “Mode of reconciliation between Great Britain & her Colonies Consistent with the dignity and Grandeur of Great Britain as well as the interest and happiness of America”. McDonald believed that the revolution would end swiftly and with a minimum of violence. Back on Staten Island, hostile patriot neighbours were on every side of his family “whom I left destitute of money or any other relief … I have sacrificed my wife and four children and all I had in the world to contribute all in my power for the service of my King and Country.”

McDonald’s soldiers were also suffering in the fall of 1775. The British army had failed to give the RHE their uniforms in Boston, and the captain’s letters are filled with repeated pleas: “I think its my duty to inform you of the state of our men, we are without Clothing of any Kind, nor Necessaries no Knapsacks, no haversacks, shirts, shoes, stockings, in short, every thing that a Soldier ought to have, except the rags they had on when they enlisted”. Later he would write “some of the men came to me with their toes through their shoes {with} frost bite.”

Being on the northern fringe of Britain’s North American Empire made it difficult to get reliable news. In January of 1776, McDonald wrote “All America is now in the hands of the Rebels Except this pitiful province and that they swear they will have early in the spring.” The fact that “our men were almost Stark naked for want of clothing of all kinds” would only have furthered McDonald’s gloomy mood. The cold winter temperatures meant that his men “could not stand out so long”. The outdoor administration of 400 lashes to two of the garrison’s soldiers had to be postponed “till another time”.

The seemingly most straightforward activities were thwarted by shortages. McDonald had 14 boys ready to serve as drummers, but he had no drum major to instruct them and only two drums. The officers’ dining hall (or mess) was ” a poor one . . . without a drop of any kind of wine or spirits, only spruce beer to entertain our friends.”

Firewood was always scarce, and McDonald had to “keep four fires…one in my bedroom, one in a spare parlour where I must receive all Gentlemen and others that come upon business. The tailors of the regiments must have a fire and not one stick of wood or one candle is allowed for these things.”

By June of 1776, McDonald was more optimistic. The British army and its naval fleet were preparing to leave Halifax for New York. “We are much divided in our Opinion of the Conduct which the Rebels shall hold on the Appearance of this armament. The one thinks they shall instantly desist & Sue for mercy the others that they look on themselves so far gone beyond the chance of Pardon as to fight desperately to the last Man.”

McDonald did not know that seven long years of war remained. Read more of his correspondence in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

Granting of Lands to Loyalists: Fifth Document, by Ed Kipp

During my research, I have come across a number of files and documents relating to the granting of lands to Loyalists in the Province of Quebec (includes present day Quebec and Ontario).

The fifth one is titled “Quebec Land Books; Lord Dorchester’s Proclamation.”

Documents relating to the granting of lands to Loyalists in the Province of Quebec (includes present day Quebec and Ontario).

Transcriber: Edward Kipp, January 2011

Source: Library and Archives Canada

RG1 L1 Vol. 18. LAC mf C-100. PP. 106-110. Quebec Land Books;

Read Quebec Land Books; Lord Dorchester’s Proclamation.

…Ed Kipp

The Borders Regional Ministry: Historic Roots & Current Formation

A joint ministry of the Diocese of Montreal, Anglican Church of Canada & Diocese of Vermont Episcopal Church USA, with the congregations of St. George, Clarenceville, St. Thomas, Noyan, St. Luke, Alburgh


During the year 2009, the Anglican Diocese of Montreal is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its first Synod meeting. One of the celebrations is a pilgrimage to historic Anglican churches in the Richelieu River valley on Saturday, September 26th. The Richelieu Valley was one of the late 18th century migration routes for United Empire Loyalists, especially those leaving the former colonies now comprising the state of New York and those of western New England. Their presence increased the need for English language services and was a major factor in the establishment of Anglican parishes in the Eastern Townships and the Richelieu Valley.

The first churches to be visited on the pilgrimage are those of St. Thomas, Noyan and St. George, Clarenceville. The histories of these two churches are intertwined with each other as well as with the current Episcopal church of St. Luke, just across the Canadian-U.S. border in the town of Alburgh, Vermont.

Historic Roots: 1790s — 1814

Records are somewhat sketchy for the last decade of the eighteenth century. In addition, the international boundary was rather fluid, and in the early nineteenth century was moved north to its current location.

The first resident Anglican clergyman in the area was the Rev. Dr. Reuben Garelick, a doctor and schoolmaster as well as a deacon, who came in the 1790s to what is now Alburgh, then part of Upper Caldwell Manor. He was a Loyalist who had been ordained by the Rt. Rev. Samuel Seabury, the first bishop of the American Episcopal Church. Because of conflict between the Loyalists and Ira Allen, brother of the better-known Ethan, Deacon Garelick moved to the Townships. (It is ironic to note that St. John’s Episcopal Church in Highgate Falls, some fifteen miles east of Alburgh, was built by Ira Allen.)

Meanwhile ministers from established churches to the north made visits to Christie and Caldwell Manors. One was the Rev. John Doty, rector of Christ Church in Sorel, who made two visits, in March 1798 and January 1799. There was a petition from Caldwell Manor in 1800 to employ another visitor, the Rev. James Nichols, but nothing came of it. More importantly, between 1804 and 1815, the Rev. Charles James Stewart made frequent trips from Quebec City to St. Armand, and from there would minister to those in the manors to the west.

A group of Loyalist settlers in what is now Noyan began in 1810 to build a church in the third concession, about two miles south of the present St. Thomas’ church. Construction was interrupted during the War of 1812-1814. They were of Presbyterian affiliation but unable to raise the two hundred dollars salary required to obtain a Presbyterian minister.

1815 – 1870

On March 6, 1815 a public meeting was held to discuss a proposal made by the Rev. Stewart to provide them with an Anglican minister. The terms included finishing construction of the church in Noyan and deeding it to the Church of England, building a rectory, and paying part of the minister’s salary. The majority of the salary would be paid by the government and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG). The offer was informally accepted. Those living on the east side of the manors (now Clarenceville) offered to pay half of Noyan’s share of the salary, with the stipulation that the minister preach ‘East Side’ once every two weeks. (And it is so, to this very day, that Sunday services alternate weekly between the two churches, first and third at Clarenceville and second and fourth at Noyan.)

This set the stage for the long and productive ministry of the Rev. Canon Micajah Townsend, which lasted from 1815 until the year before his death in 1871. Canon Townsend was born in Vermont, studied and worked in various parts of New England, and as a young adult settled in the Townships where his Loyalist family had received a grant of land. He became a protégé of the Rev. Stewart, who had become archdeacon (and later bishop) of Quebec.

Micajah Townsend was ordained deacon in May 1815 and arrived at his new mission on June 10th of that year. It was not until a meeting on November 1st that the Rev. Stewart’s offer of March 6th was formally accepted by the trustees. The new minister wrote to the then Bishop of Quebec, the Rt. Rev. G.J. Mountain that there had been some serious dissension: “…the leaders of the opposing faction were much enraged at the defeat of their object, yet only two appeared to make objection.”

There is not space here to detail Canon Townsend’s life or ministry to church and community which was wide-ranging throughout the region on both sides of the border. Reminders of the effectiveness of his ministry come to light from time to time. For instance, there is in the library of the University of Vermont an original booklet of a funeral sermon preached by him in Alburgh on February 21, 1856. The funeral was for Mary Marvin, widow of the Hon. Lewis Sowles. Her great-great-great-grandson, a summer resident of Alburgh, presented facsimile copies of the booklet to St. Luke’s Church for the December 22, 2007 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the consecration of the church building.

Very visible reminders of his ministry are the buildings in which he led worship, lived, and taught as well as three cemeteries, in one of which he is buried. The church in the third concession in Noyan, originally called Christ Church, was finished, and in 1822 was renamed St. Thomas. It was decided in 1856 that the wooden building was structurally unsafe and that a new brick church would be built in the first concession. The original cemetery in the third concession still exists and can be seen just off Route 225. The new church and burial ground near the intersection of present-day Routes 202 and 225 were consecrated on July 23, 1862 by Bishop Fulford of Montreal.

In December 1815 the residents of the ‘East Side’ decided to build their own church in the sixth concession, now the village of Clarenceville. Construction of the still-standing wooden church was completed in 1820. In 1822 the Parishes of St. George’s and St. Thomas’ were established as Crown Rectories by Royal Letters Patent, and Canon Townsend became the first incumbent. Eleven years later, in 1842, Bishop Stewart of Quebec consecrated St. George’s church and burial ground. Major changes have been made to the interior of the church over the years but the exterior remains largely as it was when first built. The cemetery next to the church was much larger at one time Canon Townsend’s grave and monument remain, along with a few others including his parents and two wives, the first of whom died of ‘consumption’ in 1834.

Around 1820 Canon Townsend purchased a farm within walking distance of St. George’s and built a rectory where he lived for the rest of his life. The brick rectory, now a private home, still stands on the left side of the road leading north from the village of Clarenceville. Just before it is a larger, rather imposing brick building. This was the school which Canon Townsend began, it being the first English high school in the region. The building now belongs to the local Masonic lodge.

1870 – 2006

The Rev. Edward DuVernet arrived in 1870 to assist Canon Townsend and succeeded him as rector of St. Thomas’ and St. George’s. Some seventeen clergy followed him as rector, serving from 1881 through 1968. Population shifts led to St. George’s and St. Thomas’ being served by non-resident clergy from the Parish of Hemmingford from 1969 through 2006.

Meanwhile in Alburgh, a congregation in union with the Convention of the Diocese of Vermont briefly existed in the mid-nineteenth century but then became extinct. The next sustained Episcopal presence in Alburgh began at the turn of the twentieth century under the direction of the then Bishop of Vermont, the Rt. Rev. Arthur Hall. Bishop Hall was an Englishman who emigrated to Massachusetts with the Anglican religious order known as the Cowley Fathers. The bishop took advantage of the establishment of the railroads, sending diocesan clergy by train from Burlington to Alburgh on the weekends. Land for a church was deeded in 1903, the cornerstone laid in 1905, and the building entirely paid for by the time of its consecration in 1907. There were over 100 at the consecration service on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, including the Rev. William Robinson from Clarenceville among the neighbouring clergy.

The fortunes of the Alburgh congregation waxed and waned throughout the twentieth century. The railroads declined and all but disappeared; today there is one set of tracks used for freight trains passing through East Alburgh, Alburgh Springs, Clarenceville, and Noyan. The first road bridge connecting the peninsula of Alburgh to the rest of Vermont was built in 1933. From then through the mid-1990s the church in Alburgh was served by clergy based in Swanton some twelve miles east. The original ties with the congregations of St. Thomas and St. George were not completely forgotten, however. One of St. Luke’s strong lay leaders was the late June Naylor Stata LaBombard, who before her death told the current vicar that the churchyard in Noyan is well-populated with her Naylor ancestors.

Current Formation

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, a few lay persons had separately envisioned a renewed and strengthened Anglican presence in the area which would combine the resources of three or more congregations: the late Robert Buttress of Noyan, Dorothy Wootton of Alburgh, and Lance Myers of Bedford. These and others were brought together by the Ven. Brian Evans, Archdeacon and Rector of Bedford until his retirement in 2008. They were joined by the Rev. Thora Chadwick when she became Vicar of Alburgh in 2005.

Formal conversations began in the summer of 2005 and continued for a year. Representatives of churches from Hemmingford eastward to Stanbridge East were involved for much of that time. The congregations which decided to join the regional ministry were St. Luke, Alburgh; St. James, Bedford; St. George, Clarenceville; St. James, Farnham; St. Thomas, Noyan; and St. Paul, Philipsburg. The new ministry was inaugurated with a festive Eucharist on September 10, 2006 at St. George’s, Clarenceville with the Rt. Rev. Barry Clarke of Montreal presiding and the Rt. Rev. Thomas Ely of Vermont preaching. Almost 100 attended the service and the meal following at the community hall.

The first year of the new ministry was spent in formation as an elected council and a pastoral team of layreaders and clergy learned to work together. The Diocese of Montreal gave a grant to establish a regional ministry office at St. James, Bedford. The second year the pastoral team inaugurated a monthly educational program, supported by a grant from the Diocese of Vermont. Unfortunately in the fall of 2008 the Parish of Bedford with its three congregations decided to leave the regional ministry.

The congregations of Noyan, Clarenceville, and Alburgh voted at their January 2009 annual vestry meetings to continue as The Borders Regional Ministry. We like to think that the Rev. Canon Micajah Townsend would have been pleased.

Sources of Information


– Elizabeth Allison, archivist, Diocese of Vermont

– Various members of the three congregations


With Heart and Hands and Voices: Histories of Protestant Churches of Brome, Missisquoi, Shefford and Surrounding Area. By Phyllis Hamilton. Price-Patterson Ltd., Montreal, 1996.

– “St. George’s Anglican Church — A Precious Part of Quebec Heritage”. Translated from Les Chemins de la memoire: monuments et sites historiques du Quebec, Vol. II. Publications du Quebec, Sept. 1881.

– Excerpts from journals of Micajah Townsend, edited by F. Townsend, his youngest son. A private publication provided by Robert Pelletier of Clarenceville.

For more information about The Borders Regional Ministry, please contact: The Rev. Thora L. Chadwick, e-mail: tlchadwick@comcast.net telephone: 802-863-8036 mail: St. Luke’s Church, P.O. Box 113, Alburgh, VT, 05440

…submitted by Mark Gallop – reprinted with permission

Notice of Summer Outing – 80 Years Ago

“Rain or Shine, a summer outing and Afternoon Tea” was the promise on a broadsheet found in the UELAC archives. The Men’s Committee of the Hamilton Branch UELAC were inviting all members of the Association to come to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey C. Davis near Freeman on the Toronto-Hamilton Highway on the afternoon of Saturday June 17, 1933. With further details of the Davis homestead property purchased in 1805, travel directions from Main Street Hamilton and reference to a “brick fenced burying ground established by U.E. Loyalists in the early days”, the single artifact offered far more than what appeared in the November 1933 issue of the Loyalist Gazette.

“A very successful season has passed, ex¬¨tending from October 1932, to May, 1933, which included six regular meetings besides a very pleasant afternoon gathering at the Davis Homestead at Freeman.”

Just two years earlier the Loyalist Gazette had reported the organization meeting at the home of the Hamilton Branch President, Stanley Mills ( donor of the United Empire Loyalist Monument in Prince’s Square). As there were forty members from the Toronto Branch at that meeting of 150, it is no wonder the invitation to a summer outing was “extended to our Toronto U.E.L. friends.”

For those who attended the recent “Meet Us At The Head Of Lake Ontario” Conference in Burlington, this single document will be a most interesting supplement to both the local tour and the programme provided for the Friday night banquet.


[Editor’s Note: The mentioned “brick fenced burying ground” was marked with a Loyalist Burial Site plaque by the Hamilton Branch UELAC in 2009.]

Book: Loyalist Rebellion in New Brunswick

A defining conflict for Canada’s political culture By David G. Bell

The American refugees who fled north to Canada after Britain’s defeat by the revolutionary U.S. army were determined to build a culture separate from the U.S. By their numbers and their politics they became effectively the founders of English Canada.

In 1784 Britain carved out the new province, New Brunswick, for these Loyalist refugees, creating a special homeland where they could run their own show. But, given a chance to found a new society, the Loyalist refugees turned against each other in a savage contest for political power. In Saint John, where 10,000 people arrived in a space of months, an elite of well-connected, powerful men mainly from Massachusetts allied themselves with officials appointed by Britain and sought to control the levers of power in the colony. They were opposed by upstart political leaders who, with the support of a majority of residents, bitterly fought the already-entrenched minority.

The result was conflict, a war of words that soon escalated into mob violence and criminal trials. British soldiers were called out in defiance of normal constitutional practice to restore order. When the critics of the governor won an election, the governor and his coterie engineered a reversal of the result. Popular political leaders were charged and convicted of sedition. Then the governor and his supporters passed legislation making even written petitions illegal. The new colony’s conservative elite used every available device to maintain their grip on power. In the end, the governor boasted to London that the new colony was now passive and obedient.

The hostility of colonial administrators in Canada to dissent and political opposition and their labelling their opponents — even Loyalists — as disloyal rebels was long lasting. From his extensive research in early records and his understanding of this crucial period, David G. Bell has written a fascinating account of early Canadian politics that challenges many conventional ideas about the role of Loyalists and British colonial administrators in Canada’s original political culture.

Loyalist Research Network

…submitted by Stephen Davidson

Where in the World?

Where is Past UELAC President Bernice Flett?

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 Robert Dixon and son Robert Jr. thanks to Gina Chester, 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.

The Village of Buffalo, 1800-1832, by Wilma Laux

Buffalo today is a city of 42.67 square miles, hemmed in by Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and neighboring towns, but once several communities stood within this large tract.

This 20-page history, published in 1960 by the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society chronicles the early development of Buffalo, part of the Niagara Frontier. interest due to the rich detail of events concerning the era and of the war of 1812. Buffalo was burned at the end of 1813, presumably in retaliation for the burning of Newark a few weeks earlier. Copies of several pictures are included: “the Burning of Buffalo, Dec 30, 1813” and “The St. John House – only dwelling not burned in War of 1812”.

Read the article in PDF format.

…Wayne MacDonald

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:
– Pringle, Joseph – from James Clark

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