“Loyalist Trails” 2013-34: August 25, 2013

In this issue:
Samuel Peters: Part One, by Stephen Davidson
Commentary on Loyalist-related slavery issues
Log cabins: Exposed walls, exposed history (Eastern Townships)
UELAC Centennial 2014: Vancouver Branch Projects
Where in the World?
Loyalists and War of 1812: William Hutchinson and son Alexander
Comment on William Caldwell (Loyalists and the War of 1812)
Webinar: Professional Development for Teachers
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Response re Machiche, Quebec & Other Refugee Camps


Samuel Peters: Part One, by Stephen Davidson

Very few loyalists weathered nine decades of turbulence in North America; the Rev. Samuel Peters was one of that number. Born in Connecticut in 1735, Peters survived smallpox, become an Anglican minister, had three wives, fled angry patriot mobs, kissed the hand of King George III, wrote a history of his colony, saw his daughter join Upper Canada’s high society, and travelled as far west as Wisconsin before dying in poverty in New York City. This loyalist was a man that Connecticut’s governor once described as “a dangerous enemy to America” who ought to be “driven out of his native country for the safety of it”. This is his story.

Samuel Peters was the tenth of John and Mary (Marks) Peters’ twelve children, a native of Hebron, Connecticut. One of Peters’ nephews described him this way: “He was a man of very commanding appearance. He was full six feet high, remarkably erect, and of a large and muscular body, but not fat; his eyes were blue, and his face strongly marked by the small-pox.” Given that the average height for a male at this time was five feet eight inches, Peters would certainly have stood out in a crowd.

The Church of England was growing in Connecticut, and by the time he was 23, Peters felt called to minister to the Anglican parishioners of his hometown. Having taken theological studies at Yale, he went to England to be ordained. The previous three candidates for Hebron’s pulpit had all died after going to sea, and Peters almost joined them, contracting smallpox upon his arrival in Great Britain. He was finally ordained in 1759, and in the following year he returned to Hebron where he pastored St. Peter’s Church.

Peters then married 20 year-old Hannah Owen. Their daughter Hannah was born in 1763; Mrs Peters passed away two years later. Within four years’ time, Peters married a 17 year-old named Abigail who died less than a month after their wedding. In 1773, the unlucky vicar married Mary Birdseye. She expired the following year, nine days after giving birth to William Birdseye Peters.

By the summer of 1774, Samuel Peters could be described as a respected clergyman, a thrice-bereaved widower, or the single parent for an eleven year-old daughter and a newborn son. But it would be that year’s events in Boston that would forever define the Anglican vicar’s life.

Reacting to the Boston Tea Party, the British government ended self-government in Massachusetts and blockaded Boston’s harbour. Outraged, Jonathan Trumbull, the governor of Connecticut, thought that the British were trying to starve the citizens of Boston and began to organize a “general contribution” for their support. He issued a circular letter to be read at the Sunday worship service in every church in his colony.

Soon after, the citizens of Hebron gathered to vote on the governor’s proposals. The Rev. Samuel Peters refuted both the charges Trumbull made against the British and the relief collection. His opposition to the governor’s letter swayed Hebron’s town meeting; all but four of those in attendance voted against the general collection for the “poor” of Boston.

The dominoes began to fall. Hebron’s negative response was duplicated at the citizen’s meeting in Hartford, the capital of Connecticut. Suddenly, all the other communities in the colony decided not to bother convening to consider the governor’s plans.

Trumbull was furious. When he discovered that the Rev. Peters was behind his efforts to aid Boston’s rebels, the governor accused the clergyman of writing anti-colonial letters to the British prime minister and England’s bishops. In August of 1774, Peters denied having any such correspondence, saying, “these controversies are out of my business as a clergyman.”

If he was going to win the propaganda war, Trumbull realized that he would have to quickly back up his accusations against Peters. Just after midnight on August 15th, approximately 300 rebels surrounded the Anglican manse, demanding to make a search the house for copies of Peters’ letters. The loyalist directed them to his library, begging that they would not destroy his papers. Twelve hours later, the leaders of the mob reported that they could not find anything “against the liberty and rights of America; and as we have been misinformed, let us return home.”

Not satisfied, Trumbull sent a second mob bearing sticks, swords, and muskets to Peters’ home, demanding that he sign eighteen articles in support of the rebels. When the crowd learned that the loyalist minister refused to sign, they attacked the manse.

The rebels broke the doors and windows with clubs and stones, wounding Peters’ mother, his son’s nurse and his two brothers who were living with him. (His eleven year-old daughter Hannah was at boarding school in Boston.) The mob grabbed Peters, tearing off his wig, hat and clothes except for his breeches, stockings and shoes. They bludgeoned him with their sticks, spat in his face, and carried him off on a horse to a liberty pole. There they gave Peters one last chance to sign the articles before they tarred and feathered him. Again Peters refused, saying they could kill him, but not destroy his immortal soul.

The rebels sent for a local minister to pray for “this stubborn old tory before we send him to his own place”. When the Rev. Pomeroy refused to come to the liberty pole, they decided to have him share Peters’ punishment, but Pomeroy was nowhere to be found. By this time, the people of Hebron, armed with pistols, came to their minister’s rescue. Seeing they could do nothing more, the mob left, threatening to return in four days’ time. The rebels spotted Peters’ sister, Mrs John Manee, as they retreated and fired three shots at her in spite. Fortunately, they missed her.

The next four days would be crucial ones for the Rev. Samuel Peters. Should he cave-in to the patriots who threatened his family and his life – or stand up for this king? Follow Peters’ adventures in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

Commentary on Loyalist-related slavery issues

After reading the article “Resisting Loyalist Racism in New Brunswick” by Stephen Davidson in today’s issue, I wondered just why anyone would want to claim to be a descendant of a Loyalist. The nasty examples cited were unpleasant and despicable. I remember my daughter coming home in grade six, deploring the Expulsion of the Acadians, with a tone of despising her British/Loyalist heritage, armed with a very scant knowledge of the facts, as set out by her history teacher.

These examples in New Brunswick are not typical of my own experience, or of examples I have found in the course of doing research on things Loyalist.

I grew up in Chatham, Ontario, where many of my classmates’ surnames were those of early Loyalists, as I later learned from reading Romantic Kent by Victor Lauriston, and also learned from my own later pursuit of Loyalists, including my own Loyalist lineage. Many of my classmates, as I also later learned, were the children of Black emigrants to Canada who came up via the Underground Railway. Just as they were referred to by Martin Luther King in his great speeches, they were indeed referred to, by others and by themselves as Negroes. It was a proud title at that time. While playing baseball as a kid in the Squirts and Peewees, I played with many such Black kids, and I was a catcher who caught Fergie Jenkins one season, another of this group of Black kids – and my left hand was always seriously sore after catching his ‘fastballs’. When I was a Boy Scout in Chatham I sold apples one year, on the corner with Lennie and Kennie Milburn, twins – and when my mother told me they were Black, I must admit it was a surpise, as I honestly hadn’t noticed. In Chatham were early Black Baptist Churches, and near Chatham was Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which I visited twice, once with my parents, and once on a school field trip in grade seven.

So, if we imagine that many of Canada’s great institutions were founded or fine-tuned by the Loyalists, and yet the Loyalists as we read about in New Brunswick were so racist, so despicable – then there is a disconnect. Why did one branch of the Underground Railway end near Chatham: that is, why would the abolitionists choose to bring their precious cargo to Southern Ontario, the heartland of a large group of Loyalists, a group which fought under the co-leadership of Tecumseh in the War of 1812 – why send exiled slaves there, if the Loyalists who pioneered the area were such a racist clique?

But the fact is, that the real founding spirit of modern Canada did not emanate from those wealthy Loyalists of New Brunswick or elsewhere, the elitists who left America simply to retain their own prestige and power. Our Loyalist history veered around them and left them in the dust of history.

Consider John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada from 1791–1796. His signature affected the lives of many Loyalist pioneers and their descendants. He put forward the first anti-slavery law passed on July 9, 1793. It is true that this bill was opposed & watered down by six of the sixteen members of the Executive Council of Upper Canada, who owned slaves. The bill was weak and muddled at first, but it had a long reach. So, imperfect as this was, Upper Canada was the first place in the British Empire to put a serious bump in the path of slavery.

Still it was not the stubbornly slow progess of abolition and freedom which was remembered; it was the final victory of freedom which won out, and which led the abolitionists to choose the routes to Canada, for the Underground Railway. It was not the racists who created modern Canada; they were a minor obstruction to the flow of the waters of Canadian history. So maybe we can be proud of our Loyalist ancestry anyway.

…Richard Ripley, UE

Editor’s Comment

A number of comments have been received about the articles on “Loyalists and Slaves” by Stephen which ran over the last four weeks. They ranged in sentiment, as you can probably appreciate.

To me the articles described a situation that by today’s standards we would find abhorrent, but which were accepted in enough circles that, as Stephen pointed out, rules, regulations, laws, and common practice had an element of racism embedded in them. Most of us of retirement age or older can well remember when such were, and may be still in some cases, part of our culture and practice.

As Richard has noted, times have changed since 1783. Stephen noted examples of people who opposed racism then, but they were not of sufficient influence to overcome the decisions that others made. In Upper Canada we were fortunate to have a first Lieutenant Governor who felt strongly about the issue, whether from his own personal experience or because he was influenced by the budding anti-slavery movement in Britain before he came to Canada in 1792 – after all ten years had passed since the end of the Revolution, and a lot can happen in that time. But Simcoe had a fight on is hand – as noted, his preferences were watered down by the influence of those who may or may not ave been Loyalists but were presumably slave owners or at least preferred to keep that option open.

To me the point of Stephen’s articles were as much to have us look at the Loyalist times through clear rather than rose-coloured glasses which we are often inclined to do. We tend to ascribe to our ancestors values that we have; that may not be valid. Most of us will never know what or ancestors thought individually about the issue, but the discussion can at least have us think about the question.

Nonetheless, as Richard has pointed out and I know Stephen would agree given the content of his many articles, from which I at least have learned so much, we do indeed have much to be proud of in our Loyalist ancestors collectively, regardless of the area of the country they settled in.


Log cabins: Exposed walls, exposed history (Eastern Townships)

In August 2012, Nadja-Maria Daveluy and her husband, François Vincent, began peeling the siding off their recently purchased farmhouse near Stanbridge East, in the Eastern Townships. It had taken the couple five years to find the perfect property – one that would fulfil their dream of owning a small farm. But after removing just a few feet of covering to see how much renovation work would be needed on the exterior, they stepped back in amazement: massive wood logs stacked one on top of another had appeared beneath the siding, some more than 18 inches wide. It took them a moment to grasp the reality of the situation, but they soon realized that the exposed wall was proof of a long-forgotten log cabin. Click here to read the story.

UELAC Centennial 2014: Vancouver Branch Projects

Vancouver Branch UELAC has completed one of its Centennial 2014 projects. About a year ago the Vancouver Branch decided to design a new Branch Pin from an old UELAC graphic that was used in the late 1930’s.

Please have a look at the new pin. It is truly a great design and is a definite collector’s piece for any collector. Since its launch on the Vancouver Branch UELAC Facebook; Pin Orders have been brisk. On this Vancouver Branch Website you will find a “pin order form”, including cost and charges.

Profits from the sale of this pin will go towards the publication of our Centennial 2014 Project’s book, Moving Ever Westward: Loyalist Descendants in British Columbia’s History (farther down the same page as the “pin” description). The book is being researched by Vancouver Branch members. Dr. Peter Moogk UE, chief author, writer, compiler and editor is a Past-President of the Vancouver Branch, and recipient of the Phillip E. M. Leith Memorial Award.

We hope that Members across the nation will support these Centennial 2014 Projects, as well as your own.

…Carl Stymiest, UE, Vancouver Branch

Where in the World?

Where is Hamilton Branch past president Ruth Nicholson?

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 William Hutchinson and son Alexander thanks to Eileen Crouch.

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.

Comment on William Caldwell (Loyalists and the War of 1812)

See William Caldwell at Loyalists and the War of 1812.)

I was thrilled to see the article on William Caldwell UE though I would like to correct a few misconceptions. I live in Amherstburg, Ontario. I have an ancestor, Edward Hazel UE who fought and lived during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. My husband worked at Fort Malden National Historic Site for 32 years as the Educational Coordinator. So I have heard many of the stories of the brave men who fought in this area.

First of all, the change of the name of the fort at Amherstburg. When the British established the fort, they were going to call the place Fredericksburg after the Prince of Wales and the ‘burg’ was added to represent the German heritage of the royal family. Soon after, though, the name was changed to Amherstburg, to commemorate the recent death of a General Amherst who never came to our area. The British named the fort “Fort Amherstburg,” not “Fort Amherst.”

During the War of 1812, the Americans referred to the fort as the “fort at Malden” because our area was Malden Township before the town existed. During the American occupation, the name of the fort became Fort Malden. Since the British had burned the original fort, the Americans built another fort in the same place. After the War of 1812, the name of Fort Malden seemed to stick.

Second, I wish to disagree with the final footnote that Marvin Recker added to his article. There are Loyalists in our area who fought from the Detroit area and got their UE status. Refer to the “Third Report of the Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario,” by Alexander Fraser, 1905 (printed by the Order of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Toronto, 1906). Most of this report discusses the Loyalists of the Western District. My husband’s ancestor, Rudolph Huffman, from the Detroit area, is listed as a Loyalist in the book.

My own ancestor, Edward Hazel UE was a part of the British Indian Department located in Detroit. His job was to deliver messages for Governor Haldiman. He was granted land as a Loyalist and all five of his daughters received land as Daughters of a Loyalist (DUE).

There are many members of the Bicentennial Branch who can trace their ancestry back to a Loyalist who served in the Detroit area. We are all very proud of our Loyalist ancestors in the Western District.

…Debra Honor, UE

Editor’s Comment

At the end of the American Revolution, Britain did not transfer occupation of such forts as Detroit, Niagara, Carleton and areas between Vermont and Quebec immediately to the Americans. They instead remained in possession of those places for another ten years until 1794 and Jay’s treaty when command was handed over. Many of those who preferred the King’s guidance settled in those areas, even before the Revolution had wound down. They may well have weighed the odds and decided to stay where they had cleared some land and perhaps built even a second log house. To move meant starting to clear land over again. After 1794, some did decide to move but by that time may have lost their opportunity to apply for land, or just decided not to. Others however did not move at all.

I am not clear if there is a standard policy about who in these various situations qualifies or does not as a UE Loyalist. Generally in Upper Canada (Ontario) – although it does not apply well in other areas – if the person applied for land as a Loyalist and received it, then they would be a UE Loyalist (there are some exceptions such as when the successful applicant urns out to have been a British Regular, and should have been a military claimant rather than a Loyalist claimant).

If anyone can provide a better description of the situation, I look forward to publishing it in Loyalist Trails.


Webinar: Professional Development for Teachers

Using Ontario’s new History and Social Studies curriculum; Presented in partnership between the Ontario Historical Society and the Ontario Elementary Social Studies Teachers’ Association, this session will feature Jill Colyer from the Historical Thinking Project.

Participants can expect both pedagogical and practical information for adapting this new curriculum into their classrooms and museums, as well as lots of resources to take away!

This webinar will discuss new approaches to history education, and therefore, all elementary-level educators are invited to attend (curriculum examples will focus on grades 6-8).

For more information visit Webinar for Historical Educators.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • The Friends of the Indian King Tavern recently acquired a grant from the USA National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program to create a map brochure of Revolutionary War battle sites in Camden and Gloucester counties in SE New Jersey.
  • Fort Ticonderoga. An evening summer thunderstorm approaches Fort Ticonderoga. Photo by Drifting Focus
  • August 23, 1775: Britain’s King George III proclaims the American colonies in a state of open rebellion. Proclamation, by The King, for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition
  • The Loyalists, also called Tories, will have their story told when Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Massachusetts, hosts a program titled “Liberty or Loyalty?” that features Loyalist reenactors and more.
  • In Charleston Museum, a Revolutionary War period uniform coat, c. 1776. It was reputedly worn by General Thomas Pinckney with the 3rd Continental Light Dragoons. Though the use of silk is rare, officers were responsible for their own uniforms, so there would be nothing to restrain an officer from ordering a silk coat.
  • In recent years, Dr. Joseph Warren has earned more of the spotlight in the American Revolution’s cast of Rebel characters with some portraying him as a swashbuckling political activist, inspiring speaker, and ladies’ man. However, for decades, Warren’s legacy lurked in the shadows of other American Founders. During and after the American Revolution, his star shone brightly for many years. Why the rise and fall?
  • Oakville woman lands $3 stack of colonial documents at Buffalo yard sale
  • Chatham-Kent area slate of activities planned for 1812 bicentennial event through the Fall of 2013
  • Approximately 600 re-enactors from England, USA and Canada turned out for the annual Siege at Fort Erie event last weekend: report and photos.
  • Toronto lawyer has undertaken a nationwide campaign to bring the Magna Carta, one of the most famous documents in the world, to Canada for a 4-city display in 2015.
  • 15 Historical Complaints About Young People Ruining Everything – some things never change!

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
– Willson, Benjamin – from William Mullins

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


Response re Machiche, Quebec & Other Refugee Camps

This 2007 query by Marilyn Astle followed earlier entries beginning in the Feb 5, 2005 issue of Loyalist Trails with Sources for People Resident in Refugee Camps like Machiche, Quebec (from Jean Norry).

Further to your inquiry in Loyalist Trails of February, 2005, I have spent most of a year working on identifying the non-military refugees in lower Quebec during the Revolution and must report that I have not found any mention of a Flowers in the Machiche barracks.

I trust you have a copy of A.D. Flowers book “Loyalist of Bay Chaleur.” He reports that Robert Flowers was a soldier in the 29th Regiment. As such, his wife and family would not have been entitled to housing and provisioning at Machiche, which was built for loyalists only. At least, none of the many returns that I have consulted have shown any British or German Regulars’ wives or families housed there, nor has the ‘camp’s’ commandant, Conrad Gugy, mentioned Regulars in his correspondence.

The 29th Regiment was one of the primary British regiments to defend Canada during the war and was very active on various campaigns. It arrived in Canada in 1776 and was quartered in many different posts over the year. In 1782, elements of the regiment were at Isle aux Noix on the Richelieu River to garrison the fort and help to improve the works. That year, regimental headquarters were at Terrebonne and detachments were at La Chenaye, Mascouche, Montreal and Lachine. I wish I could tell you where the regiment was in 1778 when Sarah was born, but alas…

It would appear that Alice was an army wife and her children army ‘brats.’ She would have been on the regiment’s rolls as a follower and entitled to ½ ration and the children ¼ ration each. Her duties would be laundry and repair of clothing. In emergencies, followers were required to act as nurses in the regiment’s hospital.

Over the past ten years, you may have already found out all this information. Sorry if I am repeating.

…Gavin Watt, Honorary VP, UELAC