“Loyalist Trails” 2013-39: September 29, 2013
In this issue:
– Eighteen of Fort Haldimand’s Men: Part One, by Stephen Davidson
– Where in the World?
– Loyalists and War of 1812: Cyrenius Parke
– Loyalists and War of 1812: Pieter Forsyuer; Grandson Alexander
– Resources: Historical Record Collections
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
– Additions to the Loyalist Directory
– Last Post: Ellen Stevenson
– Last Post: Ruby Bonnell
+ Loyalist and the 1837 Rebellion
+ Family of Jeremiah Moore, UE
When eighteen Loyalists recounted their wartime experiences, they proudly pointed out the fact that they had been at Fort Haldimand on Carleton Island. Given its location at the head of the St. Lawrence River, this island was something of a New World Gibraltar. Upon its completion in 1778, Fort Haldimand defended Canada from would-be invaders travelling eastward from Lake Ontario. It also provided a secure post on the supply route to distant frontier posts in the continent’s interior.
As well as being a military installation, a storage depot, and a naval yard for Great Lake ships, Carleton Island also became a refugee camp for loyalists fleeing the Mohawk Valley and Britain’s Native allies. The historian Dennis McCarthy estimates that at one point there may have been as many as one thousand people on Carleton Island, consisting of British and German mercenary soldiers, Natives, loyalist regiments, civilians, slaves, and Black Loyalists.
Twenty-five of these people never left the island; they were laid to rest in its cemetery. One of those who died on Carleton Island was Captain George McDougall, an officer in the 84th Regiment. This loyalist’s most notable descendant is Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former American First Lady and Secretary of State.
In 1787 and 1788, Carleton Island was still part of British North America; red-coated soldiers still manned Fort Haldimand. However, the loyalist refugees and soldiers who had made the island their home during the American Revolution were now settled along the shores of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. During these two years, eighteen loyalists who had served on Carleton Island journeyed to Montreal to appear before the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL). Thanks to the transcripts of the RCLSAL, we can gain a glimpse into the lives and experiences of eighteen of the loyalist soldiers who served on Carleton Island.
Like Hillary Clinton’s ancestor, Jacob Best Junior’s father died while serving at Fort Haldimand. Jacob Best Senior was born in New York and — up until the outbreak of war — lived with his wife Catherine and their five children in Hoosick. Because he was “steadily loyal”, Best joined General Burgoyne’s forces and then Sir John Johnson’s regiment, serving until his death in 1783.
Best left his family in the care of his children’s grandfather in 1777. Ten years later, Jacob Junior had come to Canada to live with his Uncle Hermanus. His mother, brother and three sisters were still in Hoosick, so apparently the family had divided itself along patriot and loyalist lines. In the end –at young Jacob’s request– the RCLSAL granted Hermanus Best the compensation that would have been granted to Jacob Best’s family.
Henry Beaker was another loyalist son who hoped to be compensated for his father’s losses in the revolution. In any other circumstance, Beaker would have expected to inherit the family farm and livestock along with his two sisters and his brother Conrad. However, the rebels of Schoharie Creek had seized the Beaker property. And adding insult to injury was the fact that a deserter from Burgoyne’s defeated army “was in possession of it”! Henry’s father, Bostine Baker, had passed away on Carleton Island while in the king’s service.
Sarah Collenger’s first husband, Henry Fyker, also died while on duty at Fort Haldimand. When she testified before the RCLSAL, she told about her husband emigrating from Germany to establish a farm in Tryon County. Fyker was among the loyalists who sought refuge in Canada with Sir John Johnson in 1780; he served the crown until his death at Carleton Island in 1783. Sarah and Fyker’s two children settled in New Johnstown (Cornwall, Ontario) where she married Christopher Collenger.
Donald Cameron was a member of the 84th Regiment of Foot that guarded Carleton Island. This Scot had come to America in 1773 and, like Best and Fyker, had joined Sir John Johnson’s regiment. All he sought from the RCLSAL was compensation for three cattle taken by the patriots of Tryon County. John Macdonnell had the same wartime experiences as Cameron, but sought compensation for five cows, lost grain, furniture, and utensils since he had “left all these things behind when he joined the British army”.
William Cameron was a Scot who had settled in Kingwood, New Jersey in 1766 after serving in Fraser’s Highlanders. Among his assets that local rebels had seized were a house, barn, furniture, clothing and an iron works. Cameron served in the 84th for the duration of the revolution. Following his term of duty at Carleton Island, he then settled along the Raisin River with his family. Another Scot who was at Carleton Island and settled in Raisin River was Donald Fraser. He and his son fought for the crown with Sir John Johnson’s regiment “all the war”. Angus McDonell was a third Raisin River settler who had served with the 84th on Carleton Island. Like so many others, he had built a house and cleared land in Tryon County only to see all of his hard work go up in flames. In 1776, rebels burned his home as well as all of the wheat and potatoes that he had stored.
David Shorey had served with the 84th Regiment for eight years when he was honourably discharged from duty at Carleton Island in 1783. The Vermont native had first served his king as a member of General Burgoyne’s ill-fated army. That action incited Shorey’s rebel neighbours to confiscate his cattle, sheep, hogs, furniture and utensils as well as his 25 acres of cleared land.
The stories of the remaining nine loyalists who served on Carleton Island will be told in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
Where is Barbara Law?
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.
Thanks to those who have contributed to the slowly growing index of Loyalists and the War of 1812.
We have added new entries for Pieter Forsyuer (Forshee) and Grandson Alexander and for Cyrenius Parke thanks to Karen Borden, UE.
If you have a family ancestry which qualifies (see the heading of the page with entries), please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our rich history continues to emerge through these family histories.
Family Search can provide a vast amount of information. This page (or search) yields a variety of Canadian content, including births, deaths, and marriages, baptisms, census records, probates and other court records, etc.
Those in the Elgin County area, or searching for family information there, will find a trove of information at the Elgin OGS website – cemeteries, census, funeral homes, land records, newspaper indexes, vital records, places of worship, military etc.
- Times of intrigue; Duplicitous Dr. Church Shares Intelligence with Samuel Adams in September of 1774
- Journal of the American Revolution: Ten Top Stories in September
- Battle of the Thames. Oct 4 & 5, Chatham-Kent. See the website and check under Education Day and Battle Day and Schedule of events for details
- Recounting of the War of 1812: Adam Shoaltz on Brock in Dunnville ON
- Fayetteville to host War of 1812 living history re-enactment of 1813 muster with Andrew Jackson, Fayetteville physician Dr. Charles McKinney, who ministered to the troops during the Creek War, Ensign Sam Houston and Private Davy Crockett.
- Six years ago Stanley Park was badly damaged by a powerful windstorm. But as Brian Coxford reports, the devastating act of nature presented an unexpected benefit – it uncovered of a piece of the city’s history (video, 2 min).
- Haunting reminder of millions of lives lost in war as artists stencil 9,000 bodies onto Normandy beach to mark Peace Day
- New on the Nova Scotia archives website: Nova Scotia Census, Assessment & Poll Tax Records, 1767-1827
- What libraries used to look like in Toronto
- The Cambridges have a new Conjugal Coat of Arms to represent them in heraldic terms as a married couple.
As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
– Elliott, John – from Barry Gardiner
– Pennock, Samuel – from Barry Gardiner
Please help us build the directory by contributing more information for it. Contact email@example.com for instructions and guidance.
(1914 – 2013) Nieda Ellen Branscombe Stevenson, UE, passed away at the Moncton Hospital on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. Born July 28, 1914, the day Austria declared War against Hungary which triggered World War I. 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) of Nanoose Bay, BC; and Nancy Eileen MacPherson (Daniel) of Moncton;
She was predeceased by her sister Melba Hollis and brother Ralph Branscombe. Ellen was a descendant of John and Priscilla Alden, passengers on the Mayflower and Arthur Branscombe and William Burke, both British Empire Loyalists. She was born in Moncton, NB, she graduated from N.B. Normal School and taught in New Brunswick and Quebec. She lived 60 years in Montreal and returned to Moncton in 2004. She served Secretary of Heritage Branch of the United Empire Loyalists Association.
Ellen was a descendant of John and Priscilla Alden, passengers on the Mayflower and Arthur Branscombe and William Burke, both British Empire Loyalists. She was born in Moncton, NB, she graduated from N.B. Normal School and taught in New Brunswick and Quebec. She lived 60 years in Montreal and returned to Moncton in 2004. During her retirement years she served as President of the Montreal West Women’s Club, President of the Eventide Home Auxiliary of the Salvation Army and Secretary of Heritage Branch of the United Empire Loyalists Association, a longtime member of the Westmount Baptist Church in Montreal and Director of the Baptist Women of Quebec and served on many Boards and Committees of her church and the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec. She enjoyed travelling, classical music, reading and bridge.
…Ann Boa, UE, Heritage Branch
After a lengthy illness Ruby passed away at CHSLD, St. Lambert-Sur-Le-Golf on May 6, 2013. She leaves Paul, her husband of 62 years, daughter Susan (David), and son Peter (Dena). She also leaves numerous grandchildren.
Ruby was the wife of Paul Bonnell, UE, both of them being stalwart, long-time members of Heritage Branch.
…Ann Boa UE, Heritage Branch
I continue to read with interest about Loyalists and the War of 1812 – thank you. Have any UEL members researched UEL ancestors who took part in the 1837 Rebellion? If so, any details or documentation of this participation would be especially helpful to me in my own research.
I’m trying to specifically understand who it was that rebelled – names, background, personal motivation, etc. It is often assumed that rebels were American born (or descendants of American born), but not Loyalists. Yet I know of a few who had UEL roots, ie Loyalists or descendants of Loyalists.
I am interested in names and stories, and the source of the information. Any light that can be shed by people who know their UEL ancestors would be helpful indeed.
The deeper question is the conflict between loyalty to one’s country and loyalty to reform democratic ideals. If you have ancestral lines to the 1837 Rebellion which are not Loyalist lines, and have information you would share with me, that too would be helpful. Thanks in advance.
I am doing research for a cousin and have her Moore line pretty much documented back to Jeremiah Moore, UE, Pelham. I have copies of the Pelham Quaker records and what I see in them (including their complete disapproval of Jeremiah Sr. claiming land as a UE) agrees with Reid’s Loyalist Families.
What I have, through Journals, Township Papers etc. is that Jeremiah had at least three sons: Jacob, James and Jeremiah. However, the Pelham records seem to indicate that Jeremiah also had a son, “Massey”, who I suspect might be Moses Moore, father of Benjamin Canby, Andrew and Whitson C. Moore.
If anyone has information or can point me at information about the sons of Jeremiah, especially about Massey/Moses I would certainly appreciate it.