“Loyalist Trails” 2014-18: May 4, 2014
In this issue:
– The American Revolution in Nova Scotia, 1782-1784 – by Stephen Davidson
– By Royal Proclamation May 9, 2014 National Day of Honour
– 10th anniversary for Loyalist Trails: April 28, 2004
– Where in the World are Albert, Barb and Roy?
– Conference: Indigenous Heritages of the Great Lakes, June 13-14
– Conference: War of 1812 – Battle of Plattsburgh
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
– Last Post: J. Brian Gilchrist
+ When did ‘Rebels’ Become ‘Patriots’?
+ Seeking Proofs That Samuel Cowell is Son of Abraham
+ Prints of Paintings of the Loyalist Landing
+ Information About Thomas Yearsley
The British surrender at the Battle of Yorktown in October of 1781 marked the beginning of the end of the American Revolution. While there would be small battles here and there, the empire had more or less given up any hope of defeating its thirteen rebellious colonies. Nova Scotia, its fourteenth colony, would continue to endure enemy attacks right up until the ink dried on the Treaty of Paris that brought the revolution to an end.
The war with rebel privateers refused to end. After receiving a ransom of cash, potatoes, butter and flour, a Boston ship released the Two Sisters, which it had captured near Mahone Bay. Another privateer that had been harassing Annapolis Royal was captured by the Buckram; the Atalanta destroyed an enemy schooner near Cape d’Or. Both patriot crews managed to escape into the woods. When the HMS Blonde shipwrecked near Yarmouth, two American privateers came to the crew’s rescue, treating them “humanely and kindly . . . amidst the thousand rude and cruel circumstances of war.”
In late June, a handful of rebel privateers forced three Nova Scotians to pilot them to Lunenburg. The twenty men of the local militia were no match for the 90 sailors who marched into town on July first. They plundered the citizenry, burning down one home and the blockhouse, resulting in £10,000 worth of damages.
A month later, Nova Scotia’s acting governor received a letter from Sir Guy Carleton in New York City notifying him that 600 loyal refugees would be sailing for the colony that fall. Like home renovation estimates, this one was a bit low. In September, 500 loyalists arrived in Annapolis Royal followed by refugees from Charleston, South Carolina. Over the next two months, ships leaving New York City, Savannah, and North Carolina disgorged hundreds of loyal refugees and soldiers in Halifax and Annapolis Royal. Among the displaced loyalists were free blacks from the southern colonies. The flood tide was only just beginning.
Before the American Revolution, Nova Scotia’s total population of European settlers was around 10,000. Between 1782 and 1784, the colony would absorb up to 40,000 refugees — more than the number that were given sanctuary in England, the West Indies, and the Canadas combined. One out of every ten refugees who settled in Nova Scotia was black.
Despite the royal proclamation in the fall of 1782 that hostilities had ceased, the American privateer Resolution seized a ship near LaHave in March and dumped its captain ashore. A week later, the Shark captured the Resolution and brought it into Halifax.
The plans for an orderly settlement of the Nova Scotia peninsula went awry when 3,000 loyalists arrived at the mouth of the St. John River in May. What had once been the western county of Sunbury continued to receive wave after wave of evacuation fleets right up until November. Within a year’s time this large population would tear Nova Scotia in two, creating New Brunswick, the British Empire’s first colony of loyalist refugees.
Cape Breton Island received so many Americans that it, too, would also become a separate colony. The number of loyal Americans arriving in Port Roseway was large enough to make it the world’s largest loyalist settlement. With a population of 17,000 at the end of 1784, it was the fourth largest city in North America.
The Hessian corps which had done garrison duty in Halifax prepared to leave in July, but not before suffering desertions by those who wanted to remain in Nova Scotia. They have been forgotten among the colony’s post-revolutionary settlers.
By the fall, the Nova Scotia government estimated that at least 18,000 refugees had arrived in the colony. The assembly granted Governor Parr £500 “towards the support of his table on account of the unusual resort of strangers to this province”. It also issued a “general pardon for treasons committed during the late rebellion”, allaying the fears of Nova Scotians who had sided with the American patriots.
With the formal declaration of peace in October, the various regiments that had served the crown disbanded and became the nucleus of settlements all across Nova Scotia. The British Legion made Port Mouton their home; the 84th Regiment settled in Hants County. Their neighbours were refugees from South Carolina. And this was just the tip of the iceberg.
As the last of the British troops and their loyalist supporters left New York City in November, Governor Parr wrote a letter to acknowledge “the receipt of tools and implements sent out for the use of the American loyalists”. He confided that it was a “most unlucky season” for their arrival and promised to “get them under cover before the severity of winter sets”. The fact that the small colony did not collapse in the face of a four-fold increase in its population is one of the miracles of the loyalist era.
The final dust of the revolution settled during 1784. The year began with Nova Scotia’s governor trying to house “a considerable number of refugee families” in Halifax. He couldn’t send them into the country “at this season of the year”. The first winter that the loyalists endured in Nova Scotia began early and was particularly fierce.
Lord Charles Greville Montagu, the last royal governor of South Carolina, died after bringing his regiment to settle in Nova Scotia. He was buried at St. Paul’s Church where his epitaph records that he “fell a sacrifice to his public zeal through the inclemency of a severe winter in Nova Scotia”. When members of the 74th Highlanders left Castine, Maine to settle in St. Andrews, they had to dig through four feet of snow to erect their tents.
In the spring and early summer, fires devastated loyalist settlements in Port Mouton and Parrtown. In July, a ten-day race riot devastated black homes in Shelburne.
Other loyalists fared better. They began to fill government appointments such as justices of the peace. The new attorney general was the Boston loyalist Sampson Salter Blowers. Stephen DeLancey, a settler in Annapolis, became the first loyalist to sit in Nova Scotia’s house of assembly.
And still, loyalists trickled into the colony. A ship of Black Loyalists that had been diverted to Bermuda by a hurricane finally arrived to establish Brindley Town on the Annapolis Basin. Three hundred Loyalists who had sought sanctuary in London arrived in August, followed by refugees from East Florida.
By the end of the American Revolution, Nova Scotia had experienced all of the battles, hardships, and civil strife of its sister colonies to the south – and then was irrevocably changed in the years following the British defeat. Nova Scotia’s population had quadrupled, its land mass was divided into three colonies, and its people reflected a greater cultural and racial diversity. Nowhere in the world had the loyalist refugees made such an impact.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
During a ceremony on March 18, 2014 to mark the return of the Canadian Armed Forces from the NATO training mission in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement:
“Today, I join all Canadians in welcoming home our men and women who are among the last members of the Canadian Armed Forces to return after serving Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. Our troops demonstrated commitment, dedication and valour during the mission. To honour that exemplary service, I am very pleased to announce that May 9, 2014, has been declared a ‘National Day of Honour’ by Royal Proclamation, in recognition and commemoration of Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan.”
The National Day of Honour will be commemorated with special events across Canada at local military bases and Legion halls. At 1:30 p.m. two minutes of national silence will be held across the country to reflect upon the sacrifices made during the mission.
In a relay of six cities in six days from May 4-9, eighteen Canadians injured in Afghanistan will pass the last Canadian flag flown in Afghanistan from Canadian Forces Base Trenton to the Afghanistan Commemoration Parade in Ottawa.
The Afghanistan Memorial Vigil, constructed by our troops in Kandahar and repatriated to Canada, will be on display in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill during the parade. This memorial, containing 190 plaques representing 201 fallen, will travel across Canada and the United States between 3 May and 26 October 2014.
Of those fallen, the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada remembers Captain Jonathan Sutherland Snyder, UE, of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Jonathan died at the age of 26, on June 7, 2008 while serving in Afghanistan. Jonathan received the Star of Military Valour (SMV) (Posthumous) for valiant actions and extraordinary courage under fire that saved the lives of dozens of Afghan and Canadians, Joint Task Force Afghanistan, 4 June 2008.
Interviews with relatives of Canadians who died during Canada’s mission in Afghanistan were published in a Toronto Star article titled “Legacy of loss: The families of Canadians killed in Afghanistan.” A video clip of Anne Snyder talking about her son Jon can be viewed here.
As we pause on May 9, let us remember those who proudly serve in Her Majesty’s Canadian Armed Forces. The United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada has members with family currently serving in the Canadian military at home and abroad. Let us take a moment to add our voice to the recognition and appreciation of their dedication and sacrifice.
Time moves along quickly – for those with much to do, all too quickly. This past week saw the tenth anniversary of Loyalist Trails; for me that is hard to believe.
The very first issue, 2004-#01, included a welcome and a single item which had come from Paul Bunnell, UE. The newsletter was distributed to something more than fifty people.
Thanks go to so many people who have contributed items, be it a single query or an article about a large loyalist family to several who have contributed regularly and frequently. As editor, I write next to nothing; all the information has been submitted by others.
As editor, I have read every article, some more than once, so I venture that I have also learned more than anyone else from this newsletter which by the way now has a subscriber list of about 1,840. Thank you for being one of them – but please do send along something for me to put into a future issue as well.
Here’s to much more information about the life and times of the Loyalists.
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.
The Great Lakes Research Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Cultures (GRASAC) has organized a two day conference (optional Sunday tour in addition) titled “Indigenous Heritages of the Great Lakes: New Perspectives, New Knowledge”. This event will be hosted in Brantford at the Woodland Cultural Centre on Friday June 13 and Saturday June 14, 2014. The program is very extensive and touches on many aspects of this heritage. There is also an optional tour on Sunday. A detailed agenda and a registration form are available here.
The conference focus is on the War of 1812, and specifically the Battle of Plattsburgh of September, 1814. This Battle had a significant impact on the outcome of the War of 1812 and future military strategy.
Conference day Friday includes engaging speakers describing the Battle and its significance, the events leading up to the Battle, and the contributions by and impact on the varied segments of the communities and populace here in New York, in Vermont, and Canada. Explore on-site exhibits and displays from local museums and organizations. Chat with authors, musicians, and other experts on the War of 1812, the battles here at Plattsburgh, and more. Lunch and break-time refreshments are provided as part of the registration fee.
Comments about the Battle of Plattsburg and its importance to the War of 1812
Donald E. Graves, recognized international expert of the War of 1812, expressed his opinion regarding Plattsburgh when he stated, “Although overshadowed by victories at Baltimore and New Orleans, Plattsburgh was the most important American success of the War of 1812. “
Theodore Roosevelt also wrote in The Naval War of 1812, “…The effects of the victory [at Plattsburgh] were immediate and of the highest importance…leaving our northern frontier clear for the remainder of the war; while the victory had a very great effect on the negotiations for peace.” – plus – “Champlain. This lake, which had hitherto played but an inconspicuous part, was now to become the scene of the greatest naval battle of the war.” Theodore Roosevelt, The Naval War of 1812, page 184, Seven Treasures
Winston Churchill noted, “The defeat at Plattsburgh crippled the British advance and was the most decisive engagement of the war.”
- A Patriot-Loyalist: Playing Both Sides see http://allthingsliberty.com/
- Effort underway to raise money to restore Mackinac Island’s other fort – rundown Fort Holmes (built by British soldiers and originally called Fort George)
- Donald E. Graves, author of Where Right and Glory Lead! The Battle of Lundy’s Lane 1814 is to appear on Monday, May 5th as an expert witness at the Ontario Municipal Board hearing to decide the fate of the last publicly accessible portion of the US position at the battle.
- Bicentennial Walking Tour of the 1814 Battle of Oswego Announced for May 10
- Expert pieces together the fabric of Canadian history through quilting
- What could I write about my military ancestors? If you have trouble seeking out information or just putting what you have already on paper, here are 31 writing prompts that could help you explore and bring it together
When you search for ancestors, you find great friends. At Brampton Civic Hospital on May 1, 2014, John Brian Gilchrist, beloved and only son of Audrey Long (Toronto) and the late John “Jack” Gilchrist (Calgary). Brian, a proud 4th generation Torontonian, and 9th generation Canadian of English, Irish, Scottish, German, and American descent, was born April 7, 1956 in Toronto Western Hospital.
A lifelong interest in genealogy and local history led Brian to a host of friends in genealogical and archival circles. Most recently he was the reference archivist at the Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives (PAMA) happily working in the county of his pioneer McClure family. Brian published a definitive genealogy entitled The “Clan” McClure: Historical Highlights.
Compiler and editor of Inventory of Ontario Newspapers 1793-1986, Brian also wrote many genealogical articles, and contributed to numerous radio and television programs on genealogical topics. His speeches were full of information and humour — with an unmatched style of delivery that drew crowds.
Brian will be missed by many relatives, friends, and colleagues. In April, Brian entered hospital for the last time, after a series of illnesses… “then he slept with his ancestors.” Visitation at Turner & Porter Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor St. W., Toronto, Sunday May 4 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Funeral Service will be held at The Cathedral Church of St. James, Toronto, on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 11 a.m. Interment St. James Cemetery.
Brian noted at a Loyalist Branch meeting that one of his first tasks as a genealogist was to help a UELAC member prove to Christian Warner of Niagara, in order to get a certificate. A few years ago he again helped the Matt Warner family of Gov. Simcoe Branch get their certificates and he attended the award ceremony. He was also more than once a guest speaker.
I notice in the Loyalist Trails articles that the rebels of the American Rebellion are often referred to as “patriots.” I know that is common in the U.S. literature. However, prior to the rebellion, they were for the most part loyal British subjects who signed allegiance to the Crown. At least I presume so if they served in official positions, in the local militias, or possibly even along side British regular troops.
Taking up arms against the Crown, certainly they would be referred to as traitors by the British and any Americans who remained loyal.
So, when did this occur that these rebels were first called “patriots” and by whom?
…Bob Phillips, Mesa, Arizona
Looking for one Primary Proof (at best) or Preponderance of Evidence (at least) to prove that Samuel Cowell, born 06 April 1806 Stanford, Upper Canada, married Catherine Dickhout, Dunnville, Haldimand County, Cayuga, died 14 September 1881, Dunnville, Haldimand County, Cayuga, is the Son of Abraham Cowell, born 1757, Province of New Jersey, Colony of British North America. Abraham Cowell is the son of Christian Cowell and Mary Hufty.
Siblings of Samuel Cowell are Mary Cowell, Sarah Ann Cowell, Elizabeth Cowell, Charles Andrew Cowell, and Jacob Cowell
Children of Samuel Cowell and Catherine Dickhout are Jacob Cowell (1838), Charles D. Cowell (1840), Marilla Catherine Cowell (1834), Elias Cowell (1835), Sarah Ann Cowell (1839), Hezekiah (Ezekial) Cowell (1842) who married Nancy Berry.
Children of Samuel Cowell and his 2nd Wife Hannah Cairns are Delilah Cowell (1854),Â Hannah Cowell (1857), Amy Cowell (1859), and Samuel Cowell (1861).
Application is complete, except for this one missing proof. We are at a brick wall. Any help would be much appreciated.
…M. Stephen Botsford, UE, Genealogist at Bicentennial Branch
I stumbled across 2 quite nice Loyalist Landing at Saint John paintings. Do you know if there’s any way to get prints of these?
The paintings of which I’d like a good quality print:
– Loyalist Landing at Saint John — Adam Sherriff Scott
– Loyalist Refugee Landing at Saint John — J.D. Kelly
Thanks in advance for any directions or suggestions
I have been trying to locate information on a Thomas Yearsley who came from the US to New Brunswick in about 1784. He was granted Lot 103 in Carleton NB which I understand is or was St. John’s West May 18,1785 – registered May 20 1786. It was noted that he was a Freeman. One source of this information is NYGBS: Vol 40 N2 April 1909; which quite frankly I have no idea what that relates to.
My questions are:
1. If he was granted a specific lot in 1785 and registered in 1786 that means to me that he settled there for a year or the lot would not have been registered. Is this thinking correct?
2. He is listed as a Refugee of the Southern Campaign – How do I find where he exactly served and what Company?
3. How do I find where he signed up or as I understand was mustered out of, so I can find where he was living at the time?
Any help in this matter is appreciated as I am brand new at searching for Loyalist information. Thank you.
Denise Moss-Fritch has noted he is listed in the Loyalist Directory.
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