“Loyalist Trails” 2014-10: March 9, 2014

In this issue:
Frontline Reporting in Loyalist Newspapers: 1779 – by Stephen Davidson
But I Know I am Descended From a …
Bus Trip to Essex County, July 25-26, 2014, by Hamilton Branch
Where in the World can Doug Grant be? Who is he with?
A Loyalist Descendant with Custer at the Battle of The Little Big Horn
Go Digging, Find Things: Lost Cemetery in Ottawa
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post
      + R. Douglas Stewart
      + John Frederick Gillett Charters
      + Robert Wallace “Wally” Hale


Frontline Reporting in Loyalist Newspapers: 1779 – by Stephen Davidson

The history of the American Revolution – like that of any war – was written by the victors. One way to appreciate the other side of the story is to read the loyalist newspapers that were published during the years of the rebellion. Here are just some of the stories that were to be found in the press of 1779.

While much of the reporting of military activities dealt with British regiments and rebel raiders, Joseph Brant, the leader of loyal Native tribes, appeared in the April 12th edition of the New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury. “Colonel Joseph Brant, had sent a Flag into Sussex County, in New Jersey, to inform the Inhabitants of his having been apprized that many of them who last year pretended Friendship and Attachment to the Cause for which he was carrying on Hostilities, had since taken up Arms; he now gave them Notice, that no longer any Regard for Professions of that Kind would be attended to, for that every Man who did not join him upon his Approach to their Country, should be deemed and treated by him as an Enemy, and that he should soon lay the Country waste as low as the Muskankunk. His Troops had been again at Wyoming, drove off all the Cattle and every Thing else without the Fort that was moveable, where several of the Rebels had been killed and taken Prisoners.”

A week later, the New Jersey Volunteers, soldiers for the “loyal party” made front page news. “Last Monday night a detachment of the 4th battalion of New Jersey Volunteers, (Lieut. Colonel Buskirk’s) Commanded by Capt. Van Allen, Lieut. Haslop, and Ensign Earle, surprised a Rebel guard at the Little Feirry, consisting of two non-commissioned Officers and 12 Privates of the Carolina Brigade and one Militia man. Lieut. Haslop and Ensign Earle with 18 or 19 men were ordered by Capt. Van Allen to cross the river, which they did by lashing two Canoes together, and after marching through Swamps and Woods about 3 miles (during the violence of the Storm) to get in the Rear of the guard, they came up undiscovered to the Gentry at the Door, and upon being challenged rushed in, killed two, wounded two that attempted to escape and made Defence, and took the Remainder Prisoners, with all their Arms and Accoutrements, without any loss to the Loyal Party, who returned on Wednesday morning, after Sunrise, with their pockets filled with paper Dollars.”

While these loyalist soldiers enjoyed success, they had to beware of towns such as Closter, New Jersery, “a settlement abounding with many violent rebels and persecutors of loyal subjects.” In May, The Royal Gazette reported on how a loyalist militia “found affixed on several houses, printed papers, with the following: “No Quarters shall be given to Refugees, etc.”

The Royal Gazette continued: “The inhabitants of Closter have been remarkable for their persecution of, and cruelty to all the friends of government, and had fixed up in many of their houses advertisements, in which they expressed their determination of giving no quarter to refugees, and requested all Continental soldiers and militia to refuse them quarters.”

“Some time since Mr. Myers, an Ensign in a company of refugees, was killed in a skirmish with a party of rebels near Closter, the inhabitants of that place after his death, stripped his corpse naked, hung him up by the neck, where he was exhibited as a public spectacle for many hours.”

Sometimes loyalist persecutors were captured, good news that appeared in the New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury in June of 1779. “Last Thursday Night a Party of Loyal Refugees landed at Shrewsbury, in New Jersey, and brought off Cols. Hendrickson and Wyckoff; Major Vanbrunt, Captain Chaddock, Captain McKnight (who broke his Parole here some Time ago) one of the Militia and a Continental Soldier. The first five were Tory Persecutors. About 9 o’clock on Friday Morning in returning to their Boats they were attacked by a Body of the Militia, whom they repulsed, after killing three and wounding 14; they then brought off their Prisoners, and a considerable Number of Cattle, Sheep, &c.”

Letters to the editor were not uncommon in 1779. William Franklin, the loyalist son of Benjamin and the last royal governor of New Jersey, wrote a letter dealing with an attack on his honour. Its conclusion is a bold statement of fidelity to the crown. “Depend upon it, Gentlemen, that whatever unmanly attacks may be made upon my character. . ., they will not in the least induce me to lessen my endeavours to manifest that duty I owe to the best of Sovereigns, and that regard and affection which I entertain for the real Loyalists of New Jersey in particular, and America in general.”

A later letter reveals the attitude of a reader who styled himself simply as “a refugee”: “I am informed from good authority that the Rebel Chiefs, particularly those tyrannical, persecuting and infamous Vandals in and about Elizabeth-town, have it in contemplation to remove a number of peaceable people from their habitations in that place ten miles into the country, in consequence of their having relations and friends who chose to reside within his Majesty’s lines, rather than join with, and assist an infernal banditti to complete the destruction of the finest country in the world; of all men, the inhabitants of that rebellious town ought, to be very cautious of their proceeding in this new-fangled business, and seriously consider their peculiar situation and what will be the consequence to them when visited by their injured countrymen”.

In September of 1779, the threads of the year’s events all came together with a report from “the rebel country”. “A large detachment of their troops… on the March to join Gen. Sullivan, had fallen into an ambush concerted by Capt. Joseph Brant, and were totally defeated; and that of the Elizabeth-Town brigade of General Maxwell, which consisted of 320, upwards of 200 had been killed or wounded.”

Next week, we will take our third and final look at loyalist newspapers as we consider the events of 1780.

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

But I Know I am Descended From a …

One question that I’ve seen pop up from time to time is “Why should I do all the work to prove that I am a descendant of a DAR/SAR/SCV/UEL/Mayflower/etc. ancestor? I already know I am.”

For some people it is just for bragging rights. Yet for many others it goes much deeper than that.

Often times the interest starts because they have heard a story from their grandparents that, according to their grandparents, they are descended from a famous person that fought in the American Rebellion Revolution or the Civil War or arrived in the colonies on the Mayflower.

It might begin with that but as you start to dig into the family tree you then realize that you just might have the documents that prove the story is true. So wouldn’t it be nice if you could put the rumours to rest and prove all those naysayers in the family wrong? Even better, if you do the research work yourself and it is accepted as valid, you also validate your own research skills.

In my own case, it was the story that my mom’s mom’s line was descended from a United Empire Loyalist that settled in New Brunswick that helped get me started in genealogy research. We even had the certificate from 1930s stating that her father was a member of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada. I even came across newspaper articles talking about him attending meetings. But … there was no proof handed down through the ages and the standards of evidence weren’t as strict as then. So it became for me one of those questions that just had to be answered once and for all without any question of doubt.

Over a 10 years period I gathered from the files held by various family members documentation such as life insurance applications, birth, marriage and death certificates, along with the stories they recalled. Then it was off to Ancestry.ca to work backwards starting with what I knew and could prove. The easiest route was census records along with birth, marriage, and death registrations. But, as with most lineage proofs you sooner or later run out of civil records. Yet this line were Baptists and many of those records have been lost in the mists of history. I then learned that the New Brunswick land deeds were online so it was off to FamilySearch.org to locate those records. I also needed to find out when and where my ancestor served so I needed to consult the RG 8, C Series files at Library and Archives Canada . Suddenly I was learning about additional record sources I would never have thought to look in plus I was learning about the history of the time. But beyond all the research knowledge I acquired I also connected to distant cousins I never even knew I had.

Was it worth it to me to do the all that work? Let’s see:

1. I improved my research skills,

2. I found out more about history,

3. I connected with previously unknown cousins,

4. I learned more about my own family’s role in history, and

5. I was able to confirm the story

So yes, I would say it was definitely well worth the effort.

This was originally posted on my blog Family Tree Knots on March 2, 2014.

…Ken McKinlay, UE

Bus Trip to Essex County, July 25-26, 2014, by Hamilton Branch

Join us in a trip of discovery to Essex County. Along the way we will take you to sites of early Delaware Nations, Black History, War of 1812 battle fields and lake battles as well as Loyalist settlement. Visit the location of the Loyalist New Settlement where 97 lots were granted to the Loyalists in 1792.

The cost: double occupancy is $220 & for a single is $265, 2 lunches, 1 breakfast & Sat fish dinner is included. Read the description for details and reservation information

Questions to glohward@shaw.ca or ruth.nicholson@sympatico.ca. Only 20 of 47 seats remaining – don’t miss out.

…Ruth Nicholson, UE, Hamilton Branch

Where in the World?

Where is Gov. Simcoe Branch member Doug Grant, and who is he hanging out with?

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.

A Loyalist Descendant with Custer at the Battle of The Little Big Horn

The Battle of the Little Big Horn, or Custer’s Last Stand, has been told many times from a number of different perspectives. But few accounts take note that the last surviving order issued by Custer was written for posterity by a descendant of a United Empire Loyalist who had settled in Ontario at the end of the American Revolution.

“Benteen. Come on. Big Village. Be quick. Bring Packs. P.S. Bring Pack.” was written by Custer’s Adjutant, Lieutenant William Winer Cooke. Custer had instructed trumpeter Giovani Martini to ride with the message to Captain Benteen, but Cooke, not trusting Martini’s command of English, wrote out the order.

The original United States plan for defeating the Lakota called for the three forces under the command of Crook, Gibbon, and Custer to trap the bulk of the Lakota and Cheyenne population between them and deal them a crushing defeat. Custer, however, advanced much more quickly than he had been ordered to do, and neared what he thought was a large Indian village on the morning of 25 June 1876. Custer’s rapid advance had put him far ahead of Gibbon’s slower-moving infantry brigades, and unbeknownst to him, General Crook’s forces had been turned back by Crazy Horse and his band at Rosebud Creek.

On the verge of what seemed to him a certain and glorious victory for both the United States and himself, Custer ordered an immediate attack on the Indian village. Contemptuous of Indian military prowess, he split his forces into three parts to ensure that fewer Indians would escape. The attack was one of the greatest fiascos of the United States Army, as thousands of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors decimated Custer’s 7th Cavalry.

William Winer Cooke was born at Mount Pleasant, Brant County, Canada West, on 29 May 1846, the son of Doctor Alexander Hardy Cooke and Angeline Augusta Winer. His grandfather, Abraham Cooke, was a UE Loyalist who had settled in Brant County. The family homestead was called Brucefield. Cooke attended schools in Mount Pleasant and Hamilton.

In 1864, at the age of 16, during the American Civil War, Cooke joined the Union Army as a Private soldier and fought at the Battle of the Wilderness and the Battle of Petersburg where he was wounded and hospitalized. He earned a commission and served in the 24th New York Cavalry. For gallant service he received three brevet ranks: Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel. At the end of the war he was discharged as a Lieutenant at which time he returned to Brant County. He re-enlisted in the United States Army in 1866 and was posted to the 7th Cavalry. He was described as “one of the most able officers” and a “Crack marksman and horseman.”

Cooke became a personal friend of George Custer who visited the Cooke family home in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1869.

Cooke served as Regimental Adjutant of the 7th Cavalry from 1871 to his death at the Little Big Horn on 25 June 1876. A Cheyanne warrior recounted years later, “Not far from this spot lay the body of a soldier whose sweeping side whiskers at once caught the attention of the sparse-bearded Indians. So luxurious was the growth of beard covering all of the dead man’s face save only his chin, that Wooden Leg who was leading his horse among the dead stopped and ‘scalped’ the dead soldier’s cheek. ‘I have a new kind of scalp,’ he announced proudly to his companion. He tied the strange scalp to an arrow shaft and carried it about as he wandered on among the bodies.” Lieutenant Cooke, Custer’s adjutant, had had such a beard.

Cooke’s remains were brought back to Canada the following year, and were buried at Hamilton, Ontario, where a Grand Army Post was named after him.

…Bill Smy

Go Digging, Find Things: Lost Cemetery in Ottawa

The province of Ontario is asking descendants of people buried in a forgotten cemetery near Elgin and Queen Streets in Ottawa to come forward to determine what should be done with their remains. Human remains and casket material were discovered on Sept. 19 last year under Queen Street during preparation work for the city’s light-rail transit tunnel. The discovery stopped work on the LRT there.

The province informed the public of its intentions in a notice in newspapers last week. “The individuals buried at the Barrack Hill Cemetery lived alongside the founders of the nation’s capital, were its earliest inhabitants and some of them possibly helped build the Rideau Canal. Accordingly, these grounds can be considered to be of great historical and archaeological significance,” the notice read.

Until 1828, the bodies of those who died in what was then known as Bytown were ferried across the River and buried in Hull, according to historian Alexander Herbert Douglas Ross in his 1927 book Ottawa Past and Present. But that year so many canal workers died a 50 x 50 metre cemetery — called the Barrack Hill Cemetery — was cleared near what is now Elgin and Queen.

Michael D’Mello, Ontario’s Registrar of Cemeteries, said the remains of Prostestants, Anglicans, Catholics and later, some Methodists could be there. If descendants can’t agree on what to do, the question goes to an arbitrator, said D’Mello. If no family comes forward, the work falls to a minister who will oversee their respectful re-interment at an existing Ottawa graveyard.

Glen Shackleton, who runs Haunted Walks Ottawa, has researched the cemetery. Shackleton said when it became full, sometime in 1845, families were permitted to take the bodies to newer Sandy Hill graveyards. “I suspect that many of the wealthiest members would have been moved. . . even at the time they knew they were leaving bodies behind. There was just no money to move them,” said Shackleton.

People whose ancestors are buried at the site must contact the registrar by March 21.

[CBC News; submitted by Barry Baker, UE]

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

Last Post

R. Douglas Stewart

R. Douglas Stewart passed away peacefully on Monday, September 16th, 2013, at the age of 91. Beloved husband of the late Annie. Loving father of Brian and the late Neil. Cherished grandpa of Jordan. Doug will also be fondly remembered by his partner Pearl. A special thanks to the members of his family and his airport buddies who helped Doug through these difficult times. In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place.

Doug, a member of Col. John Butler Branch, was very proud of his Loyalist ancestor James Stewart Sr.

…Bev Craig UE Col. John Butler Branch (Niagara)

John Frederick Gillett Charters

Passed away suddenly on March 4th 2014, in his 89th year. Born December 22nd 1925, the son of Eugene and Stella (Gillett) Charters, he is survived by his wife of 67 years Barbara (nee Lamb), his son David (Mary) Charters, and two daughters, Dianne (David) Stroeder and Debra (Jacques) Lalonde, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and great- grandchildren.

John attended Westmount High School, and served in the RCAF from 1943 to 1945 as a Navigator/ Bombardier in Eastern Air Command. After the war he joined the family business Charters and Charters, Stationers and Printers, starting in sales and eventually succeeding his father as president of the firm. During that time he also served as president of the Stationer’s Guild. He returned to military service in 1948 joining the Army reserve in the Victoria Rifles of Canada, rising to the rank of Major.

Upon retirement from the family firm he worked for the Tanzer sailboat company, and later served as Manager of the Fritz Farm Community Centre in his home town of Baie d’Urfe. In his personal life he was a man of many enthusiasms, especially skiing and sailing, which he pursued late into his 80s. He ran the Ste-Marguerite Ski School in the Laurentians, and served as Commodore of the Baie d’Urfe Yacht Club, president of the Tanzer 22 Class Association, and for many years was Editor of its newsletter. In the early 1960s he was active in sports car racing and rallying, serving as president of the Sports Motor Car Club, and as a driver for the Renault Factory team. In recent years he and Barbara toured much of North America in their RV. He lived life to the full, and is deeply missed by his family and his many friends. A memorial service was held Saturday March 8th at 11am at the Church of St. Francis of the Birds, rue St.-Denis, Saint Sauveur des Monts, Quebec.

John and Barbara were long-time members of Colonel John Butler (Niagara) Branch of the UELAC. John was very proud of his loyalist ancestor Andrew Miller. Each May he and Barbara visited Niagara in their RV, to visit other Miller descendants and attend the CJBN Branch meeting. He will be missed.

…Bev Craig UE Col. John Butler Branch (Niagara)

Robert Wallace “Wally” Hale

(1935-2014), Woodstock, NB – R.W. “Wally” Hale, 78, of Fredericton, NB, passed away peacefully at Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital on Sunday, February 23, 2014, surrounded by his loving family. Born in Woodstock, NB on September 16, 1935, Wally was the only son of the late Robert and Evelyn Hale (nee Palmer). He described his childhood in Grafton, NB as “divided among a one-room school, the woods, and Cousin Ern’s shingle mill. Talk about fun, though!” He later attended public schools in Woodstock and the University of New Brunswick.

Wally worked for a number of Woodstock area businesses in various capacities before joining the Canada Border Services Agency where he worked as a customs agent at the Port of Woodstock for over twenty years.

Living by the creed “anything worth doing is worth doing to the hilt” Wally was a keen hunter and fisherman, avid bird-watcher, competitive pistol shooter, journalist and professional photographer. In later years, he combined his aptitude for technology with his passion for genealogy and local history, leaving a rich legacy of transcribed research materials which are now part of the New Brunswick Provincial Archives collection. Wally also published several works, the most ambitious of which was Province of New Brunswick Probate Records, 1785-1835 published by Heritage Books Inc.

Those who knew Wally will remember him as an entertaining raconteur with a wealth of colourful stories collected over a lifetime. Wally is survived by his wife, Irma Trueman; two sons, Michael (Debbie) Hale and John (Ann) Hale; step-children and grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Phyllis (nee Ash) and his daughter, Frances Scullion.

At Wally’s request, there will be no visitation or funeral. A celebration of his life was held on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Personal condolences may be offered through www.yorkfh.com.

He was a generous and witty man who helped so many of us find our roots. See also Wallace Hale’s Fort Havoc and The Loyalist Research Network

…Beverley Clarkson