“Loyalist Trails” 2014-02: January 12, 2014
In this issue:
– The Disappointed Loyalist (Part 1), by Stephen Davidson
– Capt. George Bennison, Loyalist of St. John (Part 1)
– UEL Heritage Centre (Bay of Quinte Branch) Completes Digitization Project
– New Brunswick Branch Donates to Loyalist House in Memory of John Chard
– Missing Images of the Upper Canada Branch UELAC
– The Col. Jacob Ellegood House and Benedict Arnold
– Branch Charter of Mysterious UELAC Branch Rescinded – 1975
– Bay of Quinte Branch to Restore Loyalist Monument; Help Needed
– Loyalist Projects by Branches Across Canada
– Still They Stand: Book by Col. Edward Jessup Branch
– Who was that lady? (1993 UELAC Conference)
– Comment on Article: The Royal Metaphor – A Servant
– Where in the World is Bonnie Schepers?
– The War of 1812 and Loyalists
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
– Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Joshua Chandler is a tragic example of a loyalist who had second thoughts. The saga of his wife and children following the events of the American Revolution is a tale of how bad things happen to good people.
Before the outbreak of the first American civil war, Joshua Chandler seemed destined for a prosperous life. He came from a well-respected family in his native New Haven, Connecticut, had graduated in law from Yale, and was a successful businessman. Chandler became a justice of the peace in 1769, served New Haven as a selectman, and was a member of the Connecticut legislature in 1775. His land holdings were valued at £30,000. Chandler and his wife Sarah (Miles) had four sons and three daughters.
Before following the tragic course of Joshua’s life, it is worth taking a moment to consider his two oldest daughters and the impact that the American Revolution had on their lives.
Sarah married Amos Botsford in 1770. Eighteen years later, they joined the loyalist exodus to New Brunswick. Amos became the first speaker of the colony’s House of Assembly, serving in that role from 1786 until 1812. Because he was a friend of Stephen Jarvis, Botsford boarded with the family in their Fredericton home when fulfilling his legislative responsibilities. Stephen’s third son, William Botsford Jarvis, was named in honour of the Connecticut loyalist.
Joshua Chandler’s daughter Mary wed Joshua Upham sometime after her family became refugees. During the revolution, Upham served as commander of Long Island’s Fort Franklin, was an aide de camp to Sir Guy Carleton and became an agent of loyalists who wanted to secure homes in Nova Scotia’s Sunbury County (now New Brunswick). Upham and Mary later settled in French Village near Fredericton. Before he died, Upham was appointed a supreme court judge and was on the loyalist colony’s governing council.
When Britain responded to the Boston Tea Party by outlawing trade to pass through the city’s port in 1774, communities all along the Atlantic seaboard created Committees of Correspondence. Joshua Chandler was a member of New Haven’s committee. At that time, objecting to British policy did not mean rebelling against the mother country or seeking independence.
Loyalists and future rebels both felt that the Royal Navy’s blockade of Boston was unjust. They said that it unfairly punished everyone in the city rather than just those behind the Tea Party. The ban on commerce with Massachusetts’ capital gave American colonies a cause around which to rally. Protesting the blockade and providing aid to Boston would become the first step in uniting the thirteen colonies of the seaboard.
Indignation over the treatment of Boston, however, did not make a rebel out of Joshua Chandler. But by 1775 – as it became apparent that there would be armed rebellion – Chandler chose to side with Great Britain. Aware of his loyalty, the people of New Haven put the Chandler home under guard in fear that he might “give intelligence to the enemy.”
On July 5, 1779 the British army invaded New Haven. Rumours immediately spread that Chandler’s sons, William and Thomas, had served as pilots for William Tryon, the British general. His sons were described as “violent partisans of the Royal cause” by their patriot neighbours.
As a result, the entire family was forced to leave New Haven with the king’s men. To stay behind would be to face the wrath of their rebel townsmen. So sudden was the family’s departure that a young neighbour who entered their home the morning after the Chandlers fled remembered seeing the table set for a large meal with all of the food laid out but left uneaten. In retribution for the family’s participation in the British attack on New Haven, the Connecticut government seized Chandler’s estate.
The Chandlers found sanctuary within the British lines on Long Island and lived among other loyalist refugees until the end of the war. In an Address to Governor Franklin, August 10, 1782, Chandler said: “After placing the most unlimited confidence in the Royal assurances we have at different times received, and after our sacrifice and loss of property, we should feel outselves but ill requited, were we to be abandoned and dismembered from the empire; but our misery and distress must be complete should we become subjected finally to a Republican system.”
However, Chandler’s happiness at being free from a monarch-less government would be very short-lived.
The stories of the Chandler family as refugees will be found in the next two editions of Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
Capt. George Bennison, was born in England, went to sea on his Majesty’s merchant ships, was taken prisoner by an American ship at the beginning of the American Revolution, was exchanged, met and married a young widow in New York City, sailed with her to New Brunswick, had four children by her, and became a successful merchant sea captain. Then by some misadventure he ended up in debtor’s prison where he may have died at the age of about 45. But his children produced numerous offspring whose descendants helped people Canada and the United States. Here is his story.
According to family notes in a Bible owned by Deborah Matilda Lunt, who married his son Edward, Capt. George Bennison was a native of Yorkshire, England. The surname Bennison was, even then, particularly abundant in Yorkshire, a county that historically has produced many mariners. He was born about 1750. The first record we have found for him is in a list held at the Massachusetts State Archives. There are actually two related lists. One is identified as a list of American sailors taken prisoner from an American privateer captured by HMS Milford. These Americans are to be exchanged for an “equal number” of British prisoners. The other list has no identification but lists 109 persons, including “George Benison, mate”. Above him on the list is Richard Pickering, “master”. According to the website “The American War of Independence at Sea”, Richard Pickering was the master of the British ship “Charming Sally” a brigantine carrying oats for the British troops in New York, which was captured by the Massachusetts Navy Brig “Freedom” about November, 1776. Also listed is Charles Harford, master of the British ship “Hero” captured in October, 1776, on a run from Jamaica to Quebec with 250 tons of rum, sugar and coffee. Also listed is Peter Regan, master of the British brig “Georgia Diana” which was captured September 26, 1776 on its way from Grenada to London. Also listed is Thomas Archdeacon, master of the British ship “Betsey” from Honduras to London that same year. There are other ships masters listed among the British prisoners, so we can’t be sure which ship George Bennison was serving on when he was taken prisoner, but we can be pretty sure he was a British sailor taken by the Americans and exchanged sometime around November, 1776. We don’t know what happened between this time and about 1781, but somehow after his exchange he ended up in New York City.
There he met his future wife. By birth, she was Mary Strong, who according to the same family Bible was “a native of Darracott, Devonshire, England.” She was christened March 16, 1752, at the parish church in Sandford, Devonshire, the daughter of James Strong and Mary Laddy. At the time of George’s arrival in New York City, she was likely married to James Timothy. With him she had sons James Timothy born January 12, 1779, and William Timothy born August 28, 1780. Her husband died April 30, 1781 and six months later their son William died. These births and deaths are recorded in the registers of Trinity Church in New York City. Her other son James Timothy apparently died before she left New York for New Brunswick. According to “N.Y. Marriages”, by O’Callaghan, George Bennison and Mary Timothy were married November 14, 1781. Their first child together was John Bennison, born March 5, 1783, and christened at Trinity Church April 13, 1783.
According to David G. Bell’s “Early Loyalist Saint John”, George Bennison, by trade a seaman, sailed with his family, a wife and one child under ten, plus one servant, on the ship Tartar. The Tartar was part of the “June Fleet” of ten ships, which after many delays sailed from New York on June 16 and arrived in St. John on July 5, 1783. George, Mary, and John arrived safely in St. John, and were still all there in May of 1784. In Prize Essay on St. John, New Brunswick 1783 – 1883, George Bennison is listed as one of the original loyalists to found St. John, New Brunswick. “He drew lot #109 on the East Side of Germain Street (7th lot) coming north.” There he probably built a house. A few months later, in October 1783, George Bennison returned briefly to the states, probably to New York. From Bell’s book Loyalist Rebellion in New Brunswick, “At the end of October the commissary of Fort Howe recorded nine heads of household just then sailing back. They gave varied reasons:” “Cap’n [George] Bennison, for trade – has a good character.” No one else’s character is mentioned, so one may assume that the others’ characters might be under some suspicion for wanting to return to the rebel states.
[to be continued next week]
The United Empire Loyalist Heritage Centre and Park, located in Adolphustown, Ontario, has completed a project aimed at creating digital family lineage resources. The project was made possible through grant money from the Museums Technology Fund of the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Funds allowed for the purchase of new computer, printer/scanner, family tree software, and other related digitizing equipment to carry out the project. In addition, money was provided for hiring of staff to carry out the project during the 2013 operating season of the UEL Heritage Centre. Most items for digitizing were provided by the Bay of Quinte Branch UEL.
The aims of the project are: to provide a secure digital backup of all printed membership file resources for the UEL Hertitage Centre & Park, and its partner, Bay of Quinte Branch UEL, to increase and improve the digital collection of the UEL Heritage Centre & Park, to create Loyalist Family tree resources using information and images from these files, and to increase awareness of the overall collection of the UEL Heritage Centre & Park, for research by staff, Loyalist descendants and the general public.
Over 5000 items have been digitally scanned or photographed during the project. Some highlights of the digitized items included are:
– All Old branch membership files, covering 1956-1971
– Some of the current membership files, from 1972-present
– Adolphustown School papers (original documents) 1840-1900
– Miscellaneous documents and images of artefacts
Up to date family tree software was installed in the library/research room at the UEL Heritage Centre so these records could be added to the existing Database, giving a total of over 100,000 names linked to Loyalist families that can now be researched. Some of the digital scans were linked to the names, but due to privacy regulations, not all records will be accessible to the general public.
Should you wish to have more information or to do research using these records, you may contact the UEL Heritage Centre and Park through its website at www.uel.ca.
…Brian Tackaberry UE, Bay of Quinte Branch
New Brunswick Branch recently made a donation to the New Brunswick Historical Society to help with restoration work currently ongoing at Loyalist House, Saint John, New Brunswick and in memory of John Chard UE.
Mr. Chard was a past Dominion President of the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada and was instrumental in the formation of over fifteen branches of the UELAC across Canada. He was of member of the NB Branch and made annual donations to our branch. Mr. Chard was very interested in Loyalist House, visiting it most recently in 2010 during the Dominion Conference held in Saint John. Mr. Chard passed away on May 17, 2013 in his 91st year.
Read the full article (PDF).
In 1985 a charter was granted to the Upper Canada Branch UELAC centered in Oshawa but it disappeared shortly after 1994. The 2014 Celebrations Committee found enough reports in the Branching Out section of The Loyalist Gazette to prepare a draft of its brief history. However, the committee does not have any pictures to use in the 2014 Commemorative Book to show the leaders and events during its period of activity. If you have something that might be used, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP.
I was most interested in the mention of Col. Jacob Ellegood in issue 2013-48 of Loyalist Trails (Dec. 22, 2013) in the article While (Loyalist) Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, by Stephen Davidson. Jacob had a property in the Parish of Dumfies on the west side of the Saint John River, a few miles south of Woodstock. In 1965 I was engaged by the New Brunswick Power Commission to make a study of early buildings along the Saint John River that would be affected by the Mactaquac power project. In the course of this, I learned that the Ellegood house was in the way of the Trans-Canada highway, then being built through New Brunswick, and was going to be demolished. I had a look at the house and determined that it was a fine example of a late 18th century timber-framed house, and its original interior details were largely intact. I attempted through official sources to have the house moved for preservation, but to no avail. So I appealed for help from Ken Homer and his father-in-law, Dr. George Clark for help, and it worked out that the three of us, plus an Indian friend of Dr. Clark’s dismantled the building, with all the pieces being numbered for re-erection.
While I was working on the dismantling, between two studs in the back wall I found a cache of papers that had fallen down inside the wall. Among them was a letter from Benedict Arnold to Ellegood, asking Ellegood (in a nice way) to make up his mind whether he wanted certain pieces of Arnold’s furniture, as the Arnold’s wanted to get their affairs settled, and move to Britain.
The letter went to Dr. Clark, and it is illustrated in his book Someone Before Us, which was published in 1968 by Brunswick Press. Nothing was ever done with the house parts, unfortunately. The Ellegood house should have found a home in the King’s Landing Museum Village built near the Mactaquac Dam site. Many of the buildings preserved in this project were ones I had covered in my 1965 survey.
It was good to read more about Colonel Ellegood and his background in your Newsletter, which we appreciate getting every week.
…John & Marion Stevens
While UELAC Branch names increasingly reflect the geographic area being served, the Association has a long history of honouring key leaders of the United Empire Loyalist period. Gov. Simcoe Branches (1933), Sir Guy Carleton (1962), and Sir John Johnson (1967) are still active but what do you know about the Governor Thomas Carleton Branch (1932) or Cornelius Thompson Branch (1969)? This past week I discovered another Branch similarly named as an honour while searching for other information in The Loyalist Gazette Volume XIII # 2 or the Autumn issue of 1975. “The Dominion Council of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada regrets to announce that the charter of the Major Samuel Holland Branch of the Association has been rescinded effective September 20, 1975”. If a charter can be rescinded, it must have been given, but when? What is its history? Where was the Branch located?
Could it have been located near Lake Simcoe? Motorists driving north on Highway 400 in Ontario pass through a rich agricultural area known as Holland Marsh. This area is drained by the Holland River which flows into Cook’s Bay of Lake Simcoe. Holland River was named after Dutch born Samuel (Johannes) Holland, (1729-1801), who was appointed as the Surveyor-General of North America on March 6, 1764 following the Seven Years War.
Could it have been located in Prince Edward Island? With his appointment, Holland received instructions to survey all British possessions north of the Potomac River, which included St. John’s Island (Prince Edward Island – post 1798), the Magdalene Islands and Cape Breton Island. By 1767, Holland had divided St. John’s Island into 67 lots. He was given Lot 28 for his services. Watch for news on the celebrations of the 250th anniversary of this project.
Could it have been located along the St. Lawrence? When Governor Frederick Haldimand decided in 1783 to allow settlement of the United Empire Loyalists west of the Ottawa River, he ordered Major Holland to survey five townships bordering on the Bay of Quinte. The next year, the survey party mapped eight new townships along the northern shores of the St. Lawrence River. Perhaps the Major Samuel Holland Branch UELAC was located in this area.
Celebrating one hundred years of UELAC challenges us to learn more about the history of our association. Branch Presidents have submitted short histories for a special commemorative book, but if there is neither an active Branch nor records, our past will not be documented accurately. If you can supply either information or directions about this mysterious Branch, please send it to email@example.com ASAP.
The Monument to the United Empire Loyalists – the oldest monument to the Loyalists in Canada – is located in the United Empire Loyalist Heritage Centre and Park in Adolphustown, Ontario. It was erected in the old Loyalist Cemetery, established shortly after the first Loyalists to Ontario landed on this site on June 16, 1784.
Due to its age, the monument is listing and needs to be levelled and the original limestone bases replaced. The flagstone walkway must be removed and levelled.
This joint project by the UEL Heritage Centre and Park and the Bay of Quinte Branch UEL with a planned completion date in 2014. However, the estimated cost of $35,000 is beyond our normal financial operations.
To date, close to $20,000 of the cost has been pledged, a portion of that by UELAC. We need your help: our members, UEL branches, other individuals, as well as other historic groups.
Click here for more information or to make a donation.
…Sharon Spears, Bay of Quinte Branch
More than one of the objectives of the UELAC are about the preservation and promotion of our loyalist heritage. Much of this work is performed within the scope of specific branch projects which are defined and supported locally, often with some assistance from the UELAC. These Branches which make up the Association are located coast to coast in Canada.
Read more about many of the projects which are underway at the moment, or have been completed.
Congratulations to the Jessup Branch for such a wonderful accomplishment – a very beautiful, entertaining and informative book. The decision to employ superbly-executed pen and ink drawings rather than photography contributes greatly to the book’s appeal. Author Don Galna has provided a wonderful text. The introduction about building methods, materials and styles is very educational. Many thanks
…Gavin Watt, Honorary Vice President, UELAC
One of the bigger challenges for those who are submitting Branch histories for the special 2014 commemorative book is the identification the people in the photographs selected to tell some of the story. In this case, on the occasion of the period fashion competition at the 1993 conference held in Hamilton, the judges narrowed down the results to five ladies. They can be identified as Phoebe Hyde (Heritage), Vera Vanderlip (Grand River), Mary Scott (Kawartha), Unknown and Elizabeth Richardson (Kawartha). Mary is centred as she was the ultimate winner, but who is the lady to her left? If you can provide the name and Branch, the accuracy will be increased.
Send the information regarding this mystery lady to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for including the link to Col. Matheson’s article “The Royal Metaphor – A Servant,” in the January 5, 2014 edition of Loyalist Trails. His essay presents a clear and thoughtful explanation of the relationship between the Queen and her North American subjects and why Canada is governed the way it is. It seems perhaps more relevant today than when written.
…Dan Odell, Cohoes, NY, 12047
Where is UELAC president Bonnie Schepers??
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.
If you have a family ancestry which qualifies (see the heading of the page with entries), please submit to email@example.com. Our rich history continues to emerge through these family histories.
- Letter Tied to Fight for Independence Is Found in Attic of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, a museum in Upper Manhattan which once served as George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War.
- As reported last week, the ride of Deborah Champion is raising significant controversy it seems.
- Tecumseh and Conflicting Native Views on the War of 1812: A lecture by noted historian at the College of Southern Maryland on Jan 19
- Bicentennial commemorations of the War of 1812 are far from over. And, according to expert George Sheppard, a Laurentian University professor, 1814 was a particularly important year in this part of the world.
- The Chatham-Kent Museum, one of two in Ontario, is now hosting the travelling War of 1812 exhibit that is part of the Canadian War Museum’s collection.
- Your appetite for War of 1812 information not yet sated? Check out “The War of 1812 website” for articles and much more, brought to you by The Discriminating General
- The release of the latest 60-second Heritage Minute featuring Sir John A. Macdonald coincides with our founding prime minister’s 199th birthday. Watch for it.
As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
– Lightheart, Daniel – from Ronald Weston (volunteer Sandy McNamara)
– Rogers, Major James – by Robert Rogers
Please help us build the directory by contributing more information for it. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions and guidance.