“Loyalist Trails” 2013-49: December 29, 2013
In this issue:
– A Loyalist’s Daughter Celebrates the New Year, by Stephen Davidson
– CBC’s “Ideas on the Loyalists” Reissued for UELAC Centenary
– 2014 Annual UELAC Conference: Details Available
– 1965 Loyalist Monument in a Park with Many Names
– UELAC Promotion Committee Launches New eStore
– Book Review: The Crown and Canadian Federalism
– Book Review: The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict
– Movie Review: A Desert Between Us and Them (War of 1812 in SW Ont)
– Where in the World are Gerry, Pat, Joyce and Barb?
– Loyalists and War of 1812
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
– Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Christmas was not necessarily the most exciting time of the year for loyalist children. For some, Christmas was seen as a holiday that “the pope and his associates have ordained”. At least that was the way it was described in the diary of Anna Winslow, a loyalist’s daughter studying in Boston in the early 1770s. For this particular twelve year-old, her greatest opportunity for receiving gifts was not December 25, but January first.
Anna was born in Halifax on November 29, 1759 to Joshua and Anna Winslow. Originally from Marshfield, Massachusetts, Winslow was a descendant of Edward Winslow, one of the Pilgrim Fathers who arrived in the New World on the Mayflower. At 33 years of age, Joshua took his new bride to Halifax where he served as a commissary-general for the British troops that were stationed there.
To provide their daughter with the best education available in colonial America, the Winslows sent Anna to Boston to live with the family of Joshua’s older sister. As the events leading the American Revolution swirled around the Winslow’s daughter, Anna applied herself to mastering the skills expected of every refined young lady: lace-making, penmanship, dancing, sewing, embroidery and deportment.
In the month that she celebrated her twelfth birthday, November of 1771, Anna began to keep a diary. On January first, she wished all of her family and friends back in Nova Scotia a happy new year and noted the fact that she had not yet given anyone a New Year’s gift. Exchanging Christmas gifts was not a custom in New England, but giving gifts on the first day of the new year was. Anna happily noted that she had received a “very handsome” gift — an abbreviated copy of The History of Joseph Andrews that had gilded flowers on its cover.
Originally sold in 1742, this book was one of the first novels to be published in English. It recounted the adventures of an absent-minded minister’s footman; the main character was regarded as a sort of English Don Quixote. Seeing as the humour in the book was a bit off-colour and that its plot had to do with the identity of someone’s parents as well as a forthcoming marriage, one can understand why Anna’s copy was “abbreviated”. Later, Anna also received “one eighth of a dollar piece” from her grandmother.
While one book and a tiny bit of money may seem like a poor substitute for Christmas gifts, Anna did not complain. Neither did she feel the absence of the whirl of Christmas parties that now make up the holiday season. The New Year in Puritan Boston provided its own type of festive gatherings. Within two weeks, Anna’s diary described a “constitation” (party) that she attended at the home of her friend, Hannah Soley. Anna spoke of Hannah as being the “mistress of the ceremony”; she had earlier helped her friend by writing out all the invitation cards (Anna’s handwriting impressed even the adults who saw it).
The party was held in a “handsome, large upper room”; two fiddlers provided the music. Anna and Hannah got the dancing started by doing a minuet together. Those too shy to go out onto the dance floor nibbled on “nuts, raisins, cakes, wine, and punch (hot and cold)”. It should be pointed out that 18th century Boston had no “legal drinking age”. The children at the party drank the same wine as their elders. Another girl –who was sent to Boston for her education at the same time as Anna– was very upset when she was not allowed to have wine with her meals. Her parents protested, saying that she “must be treated like a lady and have all the wine she wished.”
In addition to good food, good company and good music, the guests at the Soley party played games such as “Woo the Widow”, “Hunt the Whistle” and “Thread the Needle”. The party lasted until ten o’clock; Anna noted, “we had an agreeable evening.”
While it may be hard for us to think of a winter without any of its Christmas celebrations, a loyalist’s daughter in Boston thoroughly enjoyed herself by making the most of New Year gifts and parties.
Anna Winslow stopped writing her diary in May of 1773. By this time her parents and two younger brothers had returned to Massachusetts from Halifax. The growing political crisis put members of the extended Winslow clan on opposite sides of the approaching civil war. Given his strong loyalist convictions, Joshua was soon identified as a “tory sympathizer”. Rebels arrested him in 1776, but he was freed by one of his nephews. After fleeing to the safety of Halifax, Winslow was appointed as the deputy paymaster for the British troops in Quebec. His wife, two sons, and Anna remained in Marshfield.
Anna’s health began to decline. Some of Joshua’s letters indicate that he hoped to be joined by his wife and children; his correspondence included careful preparations for Anna’s comfort on the sea journey from Boston to Quebec City. Family history has always maintained that Anna died of consumption in her twenty-first year on July 19, 1780. As was far too common in loyalist families, Anna died without the comfort of her father’s presence. She had last seen him when she was sixteen. Within three years of Anna’s death, Mrs. Winslow was reunited with Joshua in Quebec. Their two sons, George and John, had also died at sometime during the revolution.
The girls that Anna had known in Boston went on to marry young men from the new republic’s “best families”. Generals, merchants, clergymen and lawyers became their husbands. Had Anna survived the revolution, her fate as a loyalist’s daughter would have been different only in degree. She would no doubt have been a member of the English elite in Lower Canada — perhaps the wife of Montreal merchant or a Quebec lawyer –and the mother of future politicians. Instead of continuing through her descendants, Anna’s name has lived on through the pages of the diary that she wrote in 1772, a diary that since its publication in 1894 has never gone out of print. Thanks to her writing, we know what it was like to be the child of a rich loyalist family — and how New Year’s Day was celebrated long ago.
Almost five years ago, we began the new year looking back to “Celebrating the Centenary of Loyalist Settlement in Upper Canada”, a four part series in Loyalist Trails. Now, a few short days away from UELAC’s centenary year, we can follow tradition one more time with an audio visit to another celebration, the Bicentennial of Loyalist Settlement in Canada. In 1983, the CBC and Lister Sinclair presented two episodes written by David Cayley that explored “Who were the Loyalists” and “What was the Impact of the Loyalists on Canadian Society”. Some of you may still have access to the cassettes from the 80’s. However, through special arrangements with the CBC, UELAC has secured the rights to reissue the programmes on our website: “Ideas on the Loyalists.” Timelines for each episode will allow you to review specific sections from time to time or serve as markers as you listen to each programme. The efforts of Corcoran Conn-Grant in posting the series using SoundCloud are greatly appreciated.
…FHH, 2014 Celebration Committee
The theme for the next conference is “UELAC: A Centennial Celebration 1914 – 2014.” It is being hosted by Toronto Branch and will be held at the Chelsea Hotel, Toronto ON on June 5-8. Martha Hemphill reports that more details are now available on the website. These include:
– The conference agenda day by day
– The conference venue including room booking details
– Conference registration form
Complete your first new year’s resolution by booking now, and get 2014 off to a great start.
From time to time, a cursory look through past issues of The Loyalist Gazette will result in what could be called investigative research. Included in Peter J. Mitham’s article “Samuel Vetch Byard, 1757-1832: a Loyalist in Transition” (LG Volume XXXVII Spring 1999), was a picture of “the plaque placed in front of the Macdonald Consolidated School in Middleton, Nova Scotia, in June 1965, honouring the contribution of Samuel Vetch Bayard and other Loyalists to the development of the area.” Thanks to the assistance of Brian T. Smith, Acting Chief Administrative Officer for Town of Middleton, Jennifer Coolen, Director of Recreation and Community Services and the staff of Annapolis Valley Macdonald Museum (Sherry Griffin, Director; Anne O’Donnell, Library Tech) , another monument has been documented for to the UELAC resources. Use this link to view the monument as it stands today and as it appeared in the Middleton local paper in 1965.
Just in time for the 2014 Celebrations, the UELAC Promotions Committee is launching a new line of clothing and gifts designed to bring wider visibility of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada. Access to the catalogue of previous offerings is still available, but the stock is decreasing. Working with Land’s End Business Outfitters, the committee has created two eStores, one for Canadian members and one for Americans. Now, customers will have the choice of two logos for embroidery. While the traditional image of the Loyalist Flag with UELAC identification is still available, Land’s End Business Outfitters will also offer the cypher or member’s badge design for placement on clothing, blankets and even golf towels. Step-by-step instructions for ordering can be found here (PDF).
From time to time, the company may offer such specials as free logo or free shipping, as well as conventional sales. This information will be passed on as it is received, but UELAC customers can also sign up for these promotional emails when they make a purchase. UELAC Promotions has clearly moved into the electronic age.
As Loyalists, we have respect for our Queen and value her role in our government system. Many of us welcomed the opportunity to review the place of the Crown in our Dominion and Provincial governments provided by Nathan Tidridge in 2011 in his book “Canada’s Constitutional Monarchy”. Now comes another book which explores the Crown role in Canada and other former British colonies in extensive detail in “The Crown and Canadian Federalism” authored by D. Michael Jackson. ( Dundurn ISBN 978-1459709881 $27.99 (Can.)). Mr. Jackson writes with the benefit of much personal experience, especially in his home province of Saskatchewan.
In tracing the establishment of Canada’s governing system, Mr. Jackson points out that by 1759 when Britain conquered New France “Kings or Queens reigned but did not rule”. He then notes that whereas “American democracy revolted against the Crown, Canadian democracy evolved with the Crown”. The book goes on to revisit the Confederation history with special attention to the role of Sir John A. Macdonald. Macdonald favored a dominant federal government headed by a reigning monarch. The author includes a quotation of Macdonald speaking in the Legislative Assembly of Canada in 1865 which concludes with the following: “By adhering to the monarchial principle, we avoid one defect inherent in the constitution of the United States. By election of the president by a majority and for a short period, he never is the sovereign and chief of the nation. He is never looked up to by the whole people as the head and front of the nation. He is at best but the successful leader of a party.” (Methinks that kind of rings a bell today.)
Having covered the establishment of our “Canadian Federalism”, the author proceeds to review how it has worked out. One subject covered in detail is the exercise of discretionary power by the Governor General. Dating back to my days studying political science in university, I have always been intrigued by the “Byng King Affair” when Governor General Byng declined to dissolve Parliament (for an election) as requested by Prime Minister Mackenzie King. It’s all in the book along with the development of control over honour awards, division of authority between Dominion and Provincial Governments over subjects not considered at Confederation like airways, unemployment insurance, inflation and the role of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Throughout this review can be seen an ongoing decline in Federal authority as envisaged by Sir John A. Macdonald.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the book, at least to me, is that outlining in detail the history of the relationship between Federal Governments and the Governors General and between Provincial Governments and their Lieutenant Governors. Given that Lieutenant Governors are often appointed on the advice of a Federal Government of a political party different than the party in power in the Province, there has often resulted a difficult relationship. This can be especially awkward when the Lieutenant Governor is a former politician who was a member of a different political party than that of the current Provincial Government. Another area of interest, if not of concern to Loyalists, is the ongoing attempt to broaden the roles of the Governors General and the Lieutenant Governors at the expense of that of the Queen. There is some comfort in the fact that laterally there has been some reversal in that trend.
I commend this book to anyone who has an interest in our monarchy, our political system and our country’s history.
…Colin Morley, UE, Hamilton Branch UELAC, 2013 November
The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict, Bicentennial Edition, by Donald R Hickey. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012. 454 pages. Illus., maps, tables, notes, biblio., index. $24.95 paper. ISBN: 0252078373.
A good general account of the “Second War for Independence.” Prof. Hickey (Wayne State) integrates military policy, strategy, and operations into the political and economic life of the nation, rather than giving us a detailed treatment of campaigns and battles. He usefully touches upon many of the more unique aspects of the conflict, often neglected in books on the subject. So we learn about some unusual political and military leaders, from the pusillanimous Maj. Gen. James Wilkinson to the very efficient governor of New York Daniel Tomkins, the curious British practice of licensing American ships to carry goods in support of their war against Napoleon, while otherwise trying to sweep the seas of American shipping, the efforts of several states to strengthen the war effort (e.g., the raising of standing “state line” to supplement the otherwise unreliable militia), Congressional action on national conscription, and so forth.
Nevertheless, despite the tag “Bicentennial Edition,” the book does not reflect much work done since the original 1989 edition. Although his discussion of American strategy remains sound, Hickey retains the dated focus on the Battle of New Orleans, devoting more attention to that than to the British campaign in the Chesapeake region, and even less to the critical Champlain/Plattsburgh Campaign, which were far more important in prompting the British to agree to peace.
A good overall treatment of the war, but a dated one.
This film is broken into 3 episodes of 50 minutes each. Raiders, Traitors and Refugees in the War of 1812.
With excellent narration and firsthand account of events, what a great insight to the life and times our ancestors endured during this difficult period. I was particularly interested in the Bloody Assize of 1814, in which my 5th Great Grandfather, Adam Chrysler was hanged and the circumstances surrounding his demise. Seeing the context in which he and 14 others were arrested explains the feelings at the time and why loyalties were mixed. It was wise to be loyal to the winning side, but who was winning?
As a retired soldier of 25 years, I have been to war and seen its devastation on people and infrastructure. It seems that history has a way of repeating itself, perhaps through ignorance of the past. This film gives an excellent insight as to the impact on everyday life at the time and the horrors of war. Displaced refugees struggling for food, shelter and medical treatment is an ultimate result of every war.
As in other wars, to control supply routes is to control the war. This film concentrates on the Detroit road (path) through South Western Ontario and the inhabitants in proximity. Since the British Navy controlled the lakes, the Americans used land routes to attack from Detroit up to Burlington Heights and York. This piece of land became the “no man’s land” between us and them. To live in this area was to endure many battles compared to their neighbours in the east.
Due to the American tactic of burning and pillaging in the fall of 1814, hearts and minds were not in the American’s favour. A leadership mistake that was noted, but too late to stop. At the beginning of the war, the question of Canadian or American would be pondered. 85% of the inhabitants of South-Western Ontario were from the US. After the war, the question was easily answered . . . . CANADIAN.
An excellent insight into the conditions endured by the local population during a very difficult time!
[The production was aired in 2013 by TVO, and it appears that it will be run again in 2014. More details, including purchase information.]
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 a new entry for William Hamilton Merritt, son of Thomas Jr. thanks to Suzanne Davidson UE, Calgary Branch.
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.
- Today in History (1781): Friedrich, Baron von Riedesel erects Canada’s 1st Christmas tree for the garrison in Fort Sorel
- The Masons in Boston at the time of the Tea Party. Short item but fascinating for me, and I suspect anyone at all interested in Masonic history
- On 29 December 1778, 3,600 British regulars defeat a mixed colonial force of 900 men and capture Savannah Georgia.
- In war and politics, stories spread, none faster than those which are untrue. One such fabrication “Jump’d on His Stomach and Cut Off His Head” following the death of Joseph Warren. Be sure to read the commentary
- “A Season for Reflection“: A Loyalist’s (John Randolph) Last Letter to Thomas Jefferson and to America, from the History Doctor
- Naming a Woman’s Gown dating to about 1775 — 85 – A dress in this shape was called a robe a l’anglaise retroussee (with photos, well sourced).
- The British Empire Christmas Pudding Recipe, approved by His Late Majesty’s chef with ingredients from every corner of the Empire. Look at he quantities – must have been some pudding!
- Recipe for the Washingtons’ Yorkshire Christmas Pie
- An 1815 school principal decrying modern technology [quite short, you will enjoy]
- The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast 2013
- The Art of Season’s Greetings: Canadian Compliments of the Season (Christmas cards printed in Canada)
- The Beaver Magazine Shares Twenty Historic Yuletide Celebrations
- Windsor Ontario family gets a box full of history for Christmas
As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
– DeBlois, George – from Robert Rogers
– DeBlois, Lewis – from Robert Rogers
Please help us build the directory by contributing more information for it. Contact email@example.com for instructions and guidance.
I hope everyone had a good Christmas. The weather in many places certainly did not help, here in Toronto where a few are still without power since Sat Dec 21, we were fortunate as we incurred not even a power blip.
I wish everyone a good celebration to bring in the new year, and the very best in 2014. It promises to be an interesting year.