“Loyalist Trails” 2013-48: December 22, 2013

In this issue:
While (Loyalist) Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, by Stephen Davidson
The Three (Loyalist) Wisemen, by Stephen Davidson
Loyalist Carol Sing
St. Stephen’s Loyalist Burial Ground Documented
Research: Burleigh Papers Online
Branching Out Reports from Loyalist Gazette Spring 2013 Now Posted
Where in the World?
Loyalists and War of 1812
NORAD Tracks Santa
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post: Doctor Evelyn de Mille, UE


While (Loyalist) Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, by Stephen Davidson

The precise number of sheep that Bethlehem’s shepherds were watching goes unrecorded in the accounts of the first Christmas. However, we know from records of the day that loyal Americans had flocks as small as 10 sheep to ones as large as 220. The four loyalists known to have had the largest flocks once had sheep in Virginia, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New York. Here are their stories.

Unlike New Zealand or Scotland, the rebelling thirteen colonies did not have farms that were exclusively dedicated to raising sheep. In addition to a flock of 160 sheep, Arthur Smith of Orange County, New York also had 16 oxen, 50 cows, 24 steers and heifers, 18 yearlings, 14 horses and 30 hogs on his farm. Because he “sided with the British government” in the early days of the American Revolution, rebels put Smith behind bars before August 1776. After the British captured Long Island, Smith was sent home on parole; in less than a year he was once again put in jail – this time on one of the floating prison ships in Esopus, 146 km north of New York City.

Smith escaped after three months of confinement. He joined the British commissary department in September, using his expertise in livestock management to buy horses and cattle for the king’s army. Fourteen months later, rebels captured Smith while he was seeking out more livestock, keeping him imprisoned until March of 1780. Once again the shepherd of Orange County was able to break out of jail. He remained unharmed in New York til the end of the revolution.

While Smith served the crown, his rebel neighbours seized his land and livestock, selling them “at public vendue.” At least one of the Smith children, John, remembered seeing the family’s possessions being auctioned off. “They sold everything” he later recounted, leaving “only one cow” and a bed for his mother. Mrs. Smith actually had to buy two of her own cows and one of her horses from the rebels. After being reunited with his family, Arthur Smith sailed for Nova Scotia in the fall of 1783. They settled in Wilmot, a town between modern-day Middleton and Kingston.

Charles Slocum, his wife Sarah, and their ten children ran a prosperous farm in North Kingston, Rhode Island until the outbreak of the “Troubles.” In addition to his flock of 230 sheep, he also had cattle, hogs, horses, and oxen. The entire family were loyal to the crown.

Young Ebenezer Slocum served as a spy and delivered military intelligence to the British Army along with provisions. When a rebel mob gathered to arrest Ebenezer, he fled to his parents’ home. Charles tried to block the crowd, but was shot and killed on his doorstep. Besides arresting the loyalist’s son, they also charged his wife with counterfeiting patriot money. Sarah Slocum was made to stand in the local pillory for half an hour. To forever mark her as a criminal, rebels cut off her ear lobes. Adding insult to injury, patriots seized the family’s animals (including the flock of 230 sheep) and property; they also forced the Slocums to move inland away from possible further contact with the enemy. Ebenezer joined the British army in 1778, serving until the end of the revolution. He settled near Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Not too far from where Slocum settled there lived another loyalist who had been a shepherd to 220 sheep. John Leonard once enjoyed working a large farm in New Jersey’s Monmouth County before he found sanctuary in Waterborough, New Brunswick. His brief obituary in 1801 notes that he was an “old farmer, staunch loyalist, {and} formerly of New Jersey.”

Because Leonard refused to sign oaths of allegiance to the rebel government, he was found guilty of “influencing the people against the measures of congress” and compelled to “remain quiet” under house arrest. In December of 1776, he fled his farm to join the British at Trenton. Like Arthur Smith, this loyalist shepherd found work with the commissary department. In addition to attending the Hessian troops, Leonard also guided foraging parties into New Jersey, using his knowledge of the countryside to help the British seize rebel livestock and food supplies.

Like most loyalists, Leonard’s property and chattel were “lost by the Rebellion in America.” In addition to his 220 sheep, rebels seized his four African slaves, 16 horses, 75 cattle, 130 hogs, 90 tons of hay, 1200 bushels of corn, 1000 bushels of wheat, and 30,000 feet of lumber. (No wonder Christopher Billop, a fellow loyalist, described Leonard as “an opulent farmer”!) When this New Jersey loyalist died in 1801, his New Brunswick estate was worth £432 – not a lot when one considers that his flock of sheep alone had been valued at £100.

The last of our four loyalist shepherds settled within a day’s canoe ride of the Leonard family. Colonel Jacob Ellegood could once have boasted about having a flock of 150 sheep at Rosehall, his Virginia plantation. When “the troubles broke out” in 1775, Lord Dunmore, the colony’s governor, put Ellegood in charge of a 600-man militia. Later, Ellegood raised the Queens Royal American Regiment. After suffering defeat with the British forces at the Battle of Great Bridge, Ellegood and his regiment had to retreat. While Ellegood was guiding women and children to the colony’s eastern shore, rebels captured him, keeping him a prisoner for over five years. After many failed attempts to free him through prisoner exchanges, Ellegood finally crossed into the British lines on parole in 1781.

While he was a prisoner, the Virginia assembly passed legislation that reverted all loyalist property to the owner’s family as if he had actually died. Thus, despite numerous attacks on their home and the death of two children, Ellegood’s family was able to remain at Rosehall until the end of the war. After 1783, Jacob and his family settled in New Brunswick. The former shepherd served his new colony as a magistrate, represented York County in the assembly, and oversaw construction of his parish’s first roads. When his will was proved in January of 1802, Ellegood only had slaves and land to bequeath to his heirs. He never again amassed the amount of livestock (including his 150 sheep) that he had once owned in Virginia.

We can only speculate what emotions these four loyalist sheep owners must have experienced each Christmas as they heard the words from Luke’s gospel “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” How could their minds do anything but drift back to the days when they could enjoy the sight of more than 100 of their own sheep?

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

The Three (Loyalist) Wisemen, by Stephen Davidson

While they are often portrayed as three monarchs, the closest modern equivalent to the Christmas wise men would be academic scholars rather than kings. Because they studied the stars and constellations, the wise men decided to make a trek westward toward Israel. In loyalist history, there were once three academics who failed to read the events of their times and found themselves fleeing eastward to Great Britain. These are their stories.

Samuel Clossy was an Irish doctor who immigrated to New York in 1763 to work in one of the city’s hospitals. In that same year, he also joined the faculty of King’s College as its anatomy teacher. This is noted in the college’s history as the first regular medical instruction to be given in the American colonies. By 1768, Clossy and two other professors had organized King’s first medical department. Meanwhile, the Irish doctor’s research was being widely circulated through the publication of his treatise, “Observations on Some of the Diseases of the Human Body, chiefly taken from Dissections of Morbid Bodies.”

With the British occupation of New York City, the college suspended its activities. Its main building became a British military hospital. Clossy, a confirmed loyalist, put his energies into “the service of the hospital” until 1780. By 1784, he was back on British soil seeking compensation for the losses he sustained during the revolution.

A New York native, John Vardill graduated from King’s College and then remained on campus as a tutor. After becoming a professor of moral philosophy and natural law, Vardill maintained personal interest in theology. By late 1773, he had made plans to travel to England for studies in divinity and eventual ordination as an Anglican minister.

However, before the professor left New York, rebels in Boston “destroyed the Tea.” In response to this attack on British authority, Vardill wrote a series of letters under the pseudonym of Publicola (friend of the people) for a New York newspaper. One of his ideas was that New York should disentangle itself from the other rebelling colonies and become its own state. These publications – as well as some loyal songs that he wrote – made the young professor “very obnoxious” to New York’s patriots. It was good that he left for England in 1774.

While overseas, Vardill was appointed as Regius Professor of Divinity for King’s College – a faculty position sponsored by the monarch and only the third such “chair” outside of Oxford and Cambridge. But the events precipitated by the fighting in Lexington and Concord in April of 1775 made it dangerous for Vardill to consider returning to the colonies. At the request of Lord North and Lord Dartmouth, the loyalist professor stayed in England where, according to his own testimony, he “furnished information in the American War and wrote many papers.” Vardill admitted that he was rewarded for this service.

One of the professor’s pamphlets was written specifically for a British readership. Titled Unity and Public Spirit, Vardill hoped that it would “check the spirit of rebellion.” The pamphlet also included two of the professor’s odes to a united empire, The Miseries of Dissension and Civil War and the True Patriot.

Vardill also served the crown as a spy. In addition to keeping an eye on American colonists in London, the loyalist professor also bribed a contact to pass along any pertinent information found in Benjamin Franklin’s dispatches originating in Paris. Thanks to Vardill’s efforts, the British Navy was able to intercept and seize the supply vessels headed for the rebelling colonies. The loyalist sometimes acted as a case officer with other agents and was also known to recruit men for British intelligence operations. On one occasion, Vardill gave an agent the mission of accompanying a woman to France so that the contents of the letters she was delivering to Franklin could secretly be copied before she arrived in Paris. Some of Vardill’s espionage correspondence can be found to this day at London’s British Museum.

It is interesting how secret this secret service of Vardill’s was. When he made his claim for compensation in 1784, he only mentioned his services as a pamphlet writer for the crown. The loyalist “wise man” remained in England after the revolution, dying as Lincolnshire’s rector at the age of 59 in 1811.

The last of our three loyalist wise men from King’s College was the president himself, Dr. Myles Cooper. Although he was an ordained Anglican minister, Cooper had been sent to King’s to serve as its professor of “mental and moral philosophy.” An Oxford graduate, Cooper was elected to the college’s highest position just a year after his arrival. Among his students was George Washington’s stepson, John Custis, who described his professor as “a gentleman capable of instructing him in every branch of knowledge.” During Cooper’s term of office, King’s College increased in prestige, creating a grammar school, a medical school and a hospital.

As the revolutionary tide began to rise around him, Cooper fought back with his pen, composing a number of pamphlets in support of the crown. In response to his assertions that any opposition to the British government was treason, the “republicans and free thinkers” he contradicted in the press threatened him with torture – specifically that they would shave his head, cut off his ears, slit his nose, remove all of his clothes and set him adrift!

Things came to a head on May 10, 1775. Warned by a student that a mob was descending upon his home, Cooper fled across New York City in his nightshirt and found refuge on a British war ship. After sailing for England, he settled in Oxford; he later became the vicar for the first Episcopal church in Edinburgh. This loyalist wise man died a bachelor at age 50 in 1785.

While not bearing gold, frankincense or myrrh, these three loyalist “wise men from the east” did pass on the treasures of knowledge to the students of King’s College, influencing a generation of the brightest minds in the newly-minted United States of America.

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

Loyalist Carol Sing

I have to confess that I let my mind wander as I sing hymns on Sunday morning. I find myself wondering what my loyalist ancestors (whether they were Anglican,Baptists, Methodists, or Congregationalists) sang in their worship services. My eye wanders over to the writer’s vital statistics just above the words and music in the hymnal, and I try to figure out if within that life time the writer could have created hymns that would have been sung in the American colonial period.

When I raised the question of loyalist hymns with a cousin, she passed along this postscript from a letter George Washington wrote on December 10, 1782: “P.S. If you will send Mrs Washington, Watts’ Psalms and Hymns with the price, the Money will be remitted to you.” It was a clue! Washington, like many loyalists, was an Anglican. His favourite hymns may have been sung by the king’s loyal subjects, too.

Finally, I decided to do a Google search to see what Christians were singing in America in the 1760s and 70s. I found that there were two very prominent hymn writers for the period – both of whom were English – and that their hymns are still being sung today.

The writers were Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley. Their hymns were part of the Great Revivals in England and crossed the ocean with Methodists and Anglicans. There are three of their hymns which we still sing today that the loyalist refugees would have been singing during the revolution and in their first years in Canada.

Isaac Watts’ wrote “Joy to the world! The Lord is come”; a reworking of Psalm 98. It was included in his 1719 collection of hymns titled “The Psalms of David: Imitated in the Language of the New Testament.” We no longer sing the first half of the lyrics that Watts wrote, only the final half, so the contemporary version is not exactly what the loyalists would have sung. This carol is usually sung to a tune attributed to George Frederick Handel as it is very similar to the opening of the “Lift Up Your Heads” chorus in the “Messiah” oratorio.

Charles Wesley wrote two classic Christmas carols. Published in 1745, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” has been sung to as many as six different tunes. When Wesley wrote “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” in 1739, it had ten verses that each had only four lines. Today’s version has three 8-line verses and a refrain. These alterations were made in 1753 by George Whitfield, who had studied with Charles Wesley . He also deleted the last four verses at that time, so it is not likely that they were ever sung by the loyalists. They read as follows:

Come, desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Now display thy saving power,
Ruin’d nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.

Let us thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner man:
O, to all thyself impart,
Form’d in each believing heart.

As you sing these familiar carols this Christmas, try to imagine that you are singing along with your loyalist ancestors. It can be quite a moving experience.

St. Stephen’s Loyalist Burial Ground Documented

As we approach our centenary, the reporting of monuments to the United Empire Loyalists continues to enrich our resources. As a result of a visit to the Maritimes, Doug Green of Hamilton Branch returned home with an album of pictures that document the 2008 restoration of the Loyalist Burial Ground in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. The town’s Restoration Committee is to be commended for including the story of the Loyalist settlers of the area and for listing the names of those buried from 1784 to 1859 when the cemetery was closed. Click here to view the documentation of this latest addition to the Monuments and Commemoratives folder.


Research: Burleigh Papers Online

Queen’s University Archives is very pleased to announce the public launch of their latest digital initiative, the digitization of the Dr. Herbert Clarence Burleigh fonds (Locator #2324).

Through the Burleigh Family, and in particular, Peter and Evelyn Burleigh, whose generous donation has made this exciting initiative a reality, and in collaboration with Internet Archive of Toronto, the research amassed by Dr. Burleigh on approximately 1,000 families, who have roots in the Kingston region, is now available on-line.

Start on the Dr. H.C. Burleigh fonds webpage of Queen’s University Archives which has an alphabetical list of individual family names, whose live link will then reveal as many as 800 pages per folder containing information relating to both family members and the area in which they resided.

…Nancy Conn, UE, Gov. Simcoe Branch

Branching Out Reports from Loyalist Gazette Spring 2013 Now Posted

If you were asked to write a history of your branch with a deadline of two months, where would you start? Who would you ask? That is the challenge facing the 27 UELAC Branch Presidents who have been asked to participate in the publishing of a special commemorative book marking the centenary of the UELAC. While some could turn to their “history” on the Branch website or search their archives, others may turn to their individual collection of reports previously submitted to the Loyalist Gazette. Grouped together as The Branches of the UELAC, links assigned to both active and inactive branches will connect you to both a brief statement of the early organization as well as the connection to the semi-annual reports of branch activities.

Fourteen Branching Out reports from the Spring 2013 issue of the Loyalist Gazette have now been transcribed and posted to the UELAC website. Thus each report has become part of a much richer history to be used by members, new and old.


Where in the World?

Where are Victoria Branch members Karen Borden and Catherine Fryer?

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 Thomas Merritt, Sr. & Jr. thanks to Suzanne Davidson of Calgary Branch.

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.

NORAD Tracks Santa

For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) has tracked Santa’s annual flight.

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander’s “hotline.” The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, decided to have his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole, and children who called were given updates on his location. Thus, a tradition was born.

In 1958, Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defense command for North America called the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa. Today, millions who want to know Santa’s whereabouts now visit the NORAD Tracks Santa Website, which opens up on 1 December annually and begins radar tracking on the 24th. Check it out regularly for lots of features for the grand kids this season.

Watch NORAD Tracks Santa Command Video 2013 and see how technology is still striving to catch up with those eight tiny reindeer!

…Bill Glidden

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:
– Trumpour, John (Johannes, Haunts) – from Ivy Trumpour

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

Last Post: Doctor Evelyn de Mille, UE

Dr. Evelyn Doreen de Mille, a well-known bookseller for more than 50 years, passed away on October 31, 2013, in Calgary at the age of 94 after a long, healthy, active and interesting life. The child of Hulbert Orser and his war bride, Agnes Pitcher, Evelyn was born in Tristram, Alberta on August 1, 1919 at the early rural post office administered by her grandparents.

As did so many other farm girls, Evelyn enjoyed riding horseback each way to and from Ellice’s one-room school, collecting gopher tails and crows’ eggs for bounty as well as the wonderful freedom of the unspoiled nature of the countryside. She attended Westmount High School in Edmonton and married Harry de Mille in 1940 who predeceased her in 1968.

Evelyn opened her first bookstore in Calgary in 1956 and in West Vancouver in 1962. She was the first woman to form a bookstore chain and Evelyn Orser de Mille Books Ltd. grew to three more locations. The business was sold to W.H. Smith in 1973.

In 1978 de Mille Technical Books was developed specializing in petroleum books for oil company libraries as well as books covering non-fiction materials for the trades. McNally Robinson purchased that business in 2002 and operated it in Calgary for several more years. Charles Percy acquired the name “de Mille Technical Books” from McNally Robinson and continues to operate to this day with Evelyn’s best wishes and encouragement.

In 1973 Evelyn served as the first female president of the Canadian Booksellers Association. She established the Evelyn de Mille Collection on the Book and the Book Arts at the University of Calgary. Her generous gifts brought delight and wonder to students at the University of Calgary, St. Mary’s University College, many elementary school classes and calligraphy groups. She was named Alberta’s Woman Entrepreneur of the year in 1988 and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Calgary in the same year. She was a lifelong member of the Petroleum History Society. She enjoyed being an active member of the United Empire Loyalists.

A celebration of Evelyn’s life was held on Friday, November 29, 2013. Donations can be made to the Salvation Army or the Calgary Public Library Outreach Program in Evelyn’s memory.

Evelyn was descended from Joseph Orser UEL (The story about Joseph and his family is told in Joseph Orser, UE: Dead on Arrival by Stephen Davidson, and in Joseph Orser, UE: A Sequel by Linda MacClelland.) Evelyn was a member of the Calgary Branch for many years.

…David Hongisto, Calgary Branch