“Loyalist Trails” 2014-20: May 18, 2014

In this issue:
Focus 230: Celebrating the First Loyalist Colony, by Stephen Davidson
2014 Annual UELAC Conference: Gavin Watt’s “Non-Military Refugees”
BC Heritage Fairs and UELAC Outreach
Where in the World?
Centenary of The UELAC Marked by Floral Display in NOTL
Digital Copy of the Loyalist Gazette
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
      + Response re Thomas Yearsley
      + American Patriots and 1837 Quebec Patriotes
      + Editor’s Comment re DNA
Last Post
      + Herald Arthur Ferguson, UE
      + Paul David Bennett, UE
      + Liliane M. Stewart (Addendum)


Focus 230: Celebrating the First Loyalist Colony, by Stephen Davidson

The year 2014 will be the occasion for celebrating many significant anniversaries, not the least of which will be the 100th anniversary of the establishing of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada. But loyalist historians and descendants have an even more noteworthy anniversary to commemorate – the 230th anniversary of the founding of New Brunswick. On August 16, 1784 it became the first colony in the British Empire to be established by loyalist refugees. To celebrate this landmark in the story of Canada’s loyal American founders, this week Loyalist Trails is launching a five-part series that spotlights the story of New Brunswick.

In the opening decades of the 21st century, it is easy to dismiss the significance of New Brunswick. After all, it only represents 0.7% of Canada’s land mass and 2% of its population. But when loyalists founded the colony in 1784, it represented the largest concentration of displaced Americans anywhere in the world. Of the 60,000 loyalists who fled the United States of America during and following the War of Independence, only about 6,000 settled in what is now Ontario and Quebec. 8,000 made homes in Great Britain while about 5,000 sailed for colonies in the West Indies.

On the other hand, no less than 33,000 loyalists found refuge in Nova Scotia. That’s over half of all of the Americans dispersed throughout the British Empire – more than five times the original loyalist population that sought refuge along the St. Lawrence River. If this ratio had been maintained throughout the succeeding 230 years, the population of what is now New Brunswick and Nova Scotia would be about 65 million compared to Ontario’s present-day 13 million.

In 1783, Nova Scotia included all of the territory from Cape Breton Island to the present day border of Maine. (The Island of St. John, now known as Prince Edward Island, was its own colony.) Much of what is now New Brunswick was known as Sunbury County (the north-western extremity of Nova Scotia) and Cumberland County (near the modern border with Nova Scotia).

Flowing southward through Sunbury County was the St. John River. This broad, 673 km-long water highway lured settlers into the interior, away from the rocky coast of the Bay of Fundy and provided easy access to fertile valley land. The talk among the loyalists of New England and New York was that the St. John was like a northern Hudson River or the waterways of Connecticut. It was defended at its mouth by the garrison at Fort Howe, and it blocked would-be invaders twice each day because of the treacherous tidal rapids now known as the Reversing Falls.

Neither Cumberland nor Sunbury County were the vacant Garden of Eden (as described in some early history books) just waiting for loyalist settlement. For millennia, it had been home to the First Nations people that took their name from the St. John River – the Wolastoq (Woolastook) in their language. The first European settlers called the Wolastoqiyik people “Malecites”, a derogatory term meaning “imperfect speakers”. It was the name given them by the Mi’kmaq people of present-day Nova Scotia.

Those first settlers were the French, a people who would become so identified with their new land that they called themselves Acadians. Following the expulsion of the Acadians by the British government, 8,000 New Englanders were encouraged to move north and settle in the abandoned farms. Some of these settlers – or Planters – made Sunbury and Cumberland Counties their home for twenty years before the arrival of the loyalists. However, they were not the only white settlers.

Despite British efforts to expel the Acadians, many had been able to remain in the western Nova Scotian frontier. Running counter to what one might expect, they were loyal to the crown during the American Revolution and provided a valuable courier service between Halifax and Quebec City. Had there been no American Revolution, the northwestern part of Nova Scotia would have remained a colonial backwater populated by Acadian and New England farmers who provided lumber for the British navy and raised produce for the local garrison. But there was a war, and it created the greatest number of refugees in the three centuries of European contact with North America.

As with so many other aspects of loyalist history, New Brunswick was never supposed to be. The British weren’t supposed to lose the American Revolution; they were the greatest naval and military power on the planet. The loyalists weren’t supposed to be banished from their home colonies or to have their property confiscated, but their state governments ignored the Treaty of Paris and forced thousands of them into exile. The revolution’s refugees weren’t supposed to settle along the St. John River and the northern shore of the Bay of Fundy; they were supposed to settle in the out ports and rivers of Nova Scotia’s peninsula.

When the British were preparing to evacuate their troops – and the loyalists who had served in provincial regiments – from the victorious Thirteen Colonies, they only anticipated a refugee population in the thousands. However, rebel persecution of the loyalists, the concentration of refugees in New York City, and the thousands of desperate free blacks drove up the number of evacuees, swelling the initial estimates tenfold. Through the diligent pursuit of scarce evacuation vessels and a calculated dragging of his administrative “feet”, Sir Guy Carleton was able to provide escape for every black and white refugee who made it to New York in addition to transporting His Majesty’s troops. Nova Scotia was the closest British colony, and – ready or not – it became the first refuge for the desperate loyalists.

Nova Scotia’s colonial administration, as it turned out, was not ready for the flood of 33,000 refugees. No colony could have been. Already frustrated by Britain’s defeat and what they perceived as a mishandling of the war effort, the loyalists did not arrive in the north Atlantic colony in the best frame of mind. Having lost so much, the refugees expected financial compensation, basic supplies, and land – and they wanted it immediately. When Sunbury’s loyalist settlers learned that the upper class members of their number had sought special land grants even before the evacuation of New York, the spectre of favouritism further sullied their view of colonial administrators.

To the loyalists who had settled at the mouth of the St. John River (as well as along its shores and those of the Bay of Fundy), Halifax seemed far away. The problems and aspirations of the loyalists in Sunbury and Cumberland County required an administration that was close at hand. The best solution was “separatism” – a partition from the rest of Nova Scotia, creating a new colony that would address and satisfy their needs.

To learn the story of Canada’s first separatists – and its first loyalist colony – see next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

2014 Annual UELAC Conference: Gavin Watt’s “Non-Military Refugees&#8221

The “UELAC Centennial Celebration 1914 — UELAC 2014” will be hosted by Toronto Branch at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel, Toronto on June 5-8, 2014, See conference details.

Friday June 6th

On the Friday of the Conference Gavin Watt will join Global Genealogy (outside the Rossetti Room) to sign his new book and answer questions from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

His new book, Loyalist Refugees: Non-Military Refugees in Quebec 1776-1784, is a brand new approach, focusing on the non military Loyalist refugees to Quebec

A primary feature of this book is a detailed compilation of over 2,000 non-military loyalist refugees who sheltered in lower Quebec during the American Revolution. In the past, wives, mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters, brothers and children of the fighting men have been given secondary treatment; now, they are the subject of a study describing the systematic persecution that forced so many to seek refuge in Quebec. How these unfortunate people were housed, fed, clothed and employed is examined, as is their desperate unhappiness and discontent.

The bulk of the book is the roll of individual refugees along with known information about them and source notes. Book cover.

The book is 368 pages, 8.5 X 11 format, coil bound. Price isn’t firm yet but looks like it is going to be 39.95

…Martha Hemphill, UE, Conference Chair, Toronto Branch

BC Heritage Fairs and UELAC Outreach

The season of BC Heritage Regional Fairs is on us and Vancouver Branch UELAC is in full support in school districts of Vancouver, Burnaby, North & West Vancouver and Howe Sound. High school students, teachers, parents and the general-public were invited.

After each district’s Regional Heritage Fair, Vancouver Br. presents a Certificate of Excellence to their winning students(s). The Vancouver District winners will be presenting their projects at the Vancouver Branch fall meeting on 15 September.

  • Fritz Rehmus Gr 7, Queen Elizabeth School on the Hudson Bay Company
  • Serome Kim Gr 7 on the War of 1812
  • Amy Liu Gr 6, Sir Sanford Fleming on the Freedom Train (Underground Railroad)
  • Bethany Lum Gr 7, Sir Sanford Fleming on the Residential Schools in Canada and
  • Farbod Nematifir Gr 7, Sir Stanford Fleming on More Than an Inventor (Sir Alex Graham Bell)

Each student will receive the The Vancouver Branch UELAC Award of Excellence, a GR III Cypher pin and book on Canada’s History and Heritage. With the assistance of the Dominion Grants Committee, the Branch has reprinted and will present forty-four copies of “The Loyalists Pioneers and Settlers of the West- A Teacher’s Resource” to all participating Heritage Fair Teachers for their School Library Teacher`s Resource Centre.

During March, April and early May over 1230 student projects in 11 schools and 44 classes in Grades 4-7 (Vancouver District alone) were adjudicated and interviewed. The students with the top 3-5 projects per class proceeded to Killarney Secondary School in Vancouver for the two-day Regional Heritage Fair. Here the adjudicators selected 60 of the 210 entries to move forward to the Provincial Heritage Fair which will be held at Kamloops in July. See some of the many projects:

On May 2 the Richmond/ Delta Fair welcomed the Patron of our Society, the Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

If you are interested in adjudicating for 2015, check the British Columbia Heritage Fair Society (BCHFS) web site calendar you date and location of the Fair nearest you.

Authentic Audience, Authentic Inquiry

In social studies, students, using the “inquiry” method, plan, create and display their work to the teacher. At a Heritage Fair, however, they publicly showcase their research to other students, parents, adjudicators and the public. This larger audience can motivate students to “up their game”.

The 10 to 15 minute interviews with the adjudicators/judges allow students to articulate what they learned and how they learned. Emily Mittertreiner, a 2013 UELAC Vancouver Branch Award winner gave prospective students good advice for interview preparation: “Make sure that before your presentation, you really know exactly how your topic has affected Canadian history, or maybe talk about what it would be like if your event or person had suddenly disappeared from history. Would we be better off? Or maybe, worse off?”

Romy Cooper and Graeme Cotton, two Heritage Fair teachers have a series of questions for judges that encourage students to reflect on their learning. For example, what evidence exists that supports your conclusion? What new skills did you acquire over the course of this project? How has this project changed your thinking about the topic?

This summer in Vancouver (July 7 to 12) the Historical Thinking Summer Institute will provide teachers and museum educators an opportunity to deepen their understanding of how to design courses and exhibits, and teach using the Inquiry Method and Historical Thinking, the core of the new social studies curriculum.

Student Heritage Fairs from school districts across the province have met annually in July for the Provincial Heritage Fair in different cities: Kelowna, Barkerville, Victoria, and this year Kamloops. About 60 students present their projects to a varied audience. CBC Broadcaster, Rebecca dropped by the Okanagan Regional Heritage Fair in Kelowna. Listen.

…Carl Stymiest UE, Chairperson, Vancouver Branch Heritage Fairs Committee

Where in the World?

Where are Donald Eugene Outhouse and Presenters?

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.

Centenary of The UELAC Marked by Floral Display in NOTL

Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario has gone all out to recognize the centenary of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada this year. Visitors to NOTL, whether for the Shaw Festival, Fort George or for the wine tours, are sure to notice the horticultural display and large sign proclaiming the 100th anniversary of The UELAC. Steven Lumb of the Col. John Butler (Niagara) Branch snapped this picture on May 2 just before the tulips burst into bloom. For the summer a carpet bedding display will acknowledge the rich United Empire Loyalist heritage of the region. What a way to celebrate!

…Public Relations

Digital Copy of the Loyalist Gazette

The Spring 2014 Loyalist Gazette was printed and distributed in record time, thanks to the efforts of all involved. As a member or subscriber you should have received your copy by the beginning of May. For those not familiar with it, see information about the Loyalist Gazette.

The digital version of the current issue is now available, BUT only to subscribers to the Gazette and to current UELAC members. Many of the pictures are in colour, and more colour is used in other places, which enhances the reading experience.

As the digital copy is a perk of membership or subscription, we ask you not to share access.

This issue will be made available publicly online in one year’s time.

In the Summer/Fall, you will be asked if you would be willing to receive the digital copy only (i.e. no paper copy) for the Fall 2014 issue. With our distribution process in place, those wishing the Fall digital version may well receive it earlier than a paper copy.

A always, we welcome any comments or suggestions you may have.

…Doug Grant for the Publications Committee

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • A picture published in 1770 shows a lady in a dress wearing a tricorn hat and holding a powderhorn in one hand and a musket in the other. Read about tracking her down – a fascinating story of publishing pictures in those times.
  • Visiting Boston this summer? Select from a range of Freedom Trail Foundation Costumed Guided Tours.
  • Witness – Canadian Art of the First World War. 54 selected works on exhibit at the Canadian War Museum until Sept 21. Official war artists and ordinary soldiers, from the home front to the Western Front: Canadians sketched and painted the First World War from many perspectives. The result is a surprisingly rich and varied visual record of a cataclysmic conflict that deeply affected those who witnessed it first-hand.


Response re Thomas Yearsley

The response to the query posted in Loyalist Trails 2014-18 May 4, 2014 was phenomenal. We were deluged with assistance from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island and as far south as Colorado. Thank you. All supportive emails have been forwarded. The reader had 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 and registered May 20 1786. It was noted that he was a Freeman. One source of this information is NYGBS: Vol 40 N2 April 1909.”

It was pointed out that NYGBS is the abbreviation for New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. GB also used her subscription to New England Historical and Genealogical Society [NEHG]to bring up that particular volume for New Brunswick Loyalists of the War of the American Revolution. Thomas’ data is printed in columns: Name: Years, Thomas (Yearsley) – Ref. Letter: B – From: [blank] – Settled: Carleton – Note: Silk Dyer, Freeman St. J., 1785

SD suggested that in Esther Clark Wright’s The Loyalists of New Brunswick one can find a Thomas Yearly as the third person mentioned in the “Numbered Companies”. This comes from returns left in the Commissary-General’s records and refers to the com-general in New York City. Thomas was in Company #17 and seems to have been third in command after (Donald) Drummond and Edward Batie. By chasing after the latter two names, the inquirer might find out more about Thomas Yearly.

Another resource that was mentioned several times was Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War: Official rolls of Loyalists recruited from North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana, by Murtie June Clark, published by Genealogical Publishing Com. in 1981. (ISBN 0806309245. 97080639248)

The generous support of this “novice” was overwhelming. Thank you.

..Public Relations

American Patriots and 1837 Quebec Patriotes

In regard to Bob Phillips’ question, and the interesting response by Stephen Davidson, is there any relation between the term Patriots, referring to those residents of the 13 Colonies in rebellion against the Crown during the American Revolution and the term “Patriotes,” the name preferred by the rebels led by Louis Joseph Papineau in the revolt in Lower Canada of 1837-38?

Loyalists played a part in putting down the 1837-38 revolt. One example being the November 9, 1838 Battle of Odelltown in which 200 of Her Majesty’s Loyal Volunteers of Odelltown, under the command of Lt. Col. Lewis Odell (Loyalist from Dutchess County New York), held a far larger force of rebels (or Patriotes) until the British Army arrived. The rebels were thus prevented from reaching the safety of the US boarder, the revolt ended, and the Crown policy of encouraging Loyalists to settle this boarder area proved justified.

…Dan Odell, NY

Editor’s Comment re DNA

There have been several comments about the query last week, “Can DNA Help Prove a Loyalist Ancestor?” My time has been used elsewhere this week – a compilation will [hopefully] be in next week’s issue.


Last Post

Herald Arthur Ferguson, UE

Herald Arthur Ferguson from the Bicentennial Branch died May 16, 2014 at the age of 92. He was the beloved husband of Ruth for 69 years; he was the father of Linda and Kim and had many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Herald was very proud of his UEL ancestry and was descended from John Wendel Wigle.

Herald was a long time cornerstone of the Cottam United Church and later a member of the Essex United Church. He was a member of Local 773 of the IBEW, a member of Central Lodge # 402 A.F. & A. M., Essex, member of Windsor Rose Croix, Life Member of the Lodge of Perfection, 32nd Degree of the Scottish Rite, member of the Sun Parlour Shrine Club, Life Member of the Moore Sovereign Consistory, Hamilton.

Herald coached young men with the Cottam Clippers Hockey Club of the South Essex Church League. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion #201 and enjoyed hunting, golfing and is remembered as a tenacious softball player in his day. He was a farmer from Gosfield North Township, was elected to Gosfield North Public School Board and served on the Gosfield North Town Council. He will be missed.

…Margie Luffman UE, Bicentennial Branch

Paul David Bennett, UE

January 30th, 1928-May 5th, 2014. Paul passed away peacefully at Northumberland Hills Hospital, Cobourg, Ontario in his 87th year. Born in Toronto, the son of the late Major David. L. Bennett (1965) and the late Grace W. Bennett – nee Maidens (1963). Loving brother of Jane Grace Goddard (the late Rev. Morse Goddard-2003), the late Joan St. Albans Bennett (2002) (the late Joan Frith). Loving uncle of Beth Goddard and Rebecca Goddard. Great-uncle of Christian McDonald, Justine Walker, Olivia and Rachel Bowman. Curator, collector, author of Letters to a Small Town and Grass Roots & Water Lilies [the life and work of Paul Bennett], long term resident of Cobourg, Port Hope and Stratford, Ontario, Paul was a superb and valued friend to many and an appreciative member of Trinity United Church in Cobourg. Paul and his sisters Joan and Jane grew up surrounded by and involved in the arts – the visual arts, the decorative arts, the piano, the harp, the harpsichord, the clavichord, singing.

After obtaining a Fine Arts BA, Paul began his remarkable career in the arts in Ontario, with a provincially- funded position as an Arts and Crafts Advisor. After a year in Europe on a Canada Council grant, and while working for the Roberts Gallery in Toronto as a curator, Paul was asked to take over the directorship of the Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery in Oshawa. While working there, Paul and Mrs. Kay Woods developed a unifying concept for the Board, in which the Gallery would actively focus its developing collection on the works of eleven ‘up and coming’ Ontario painters, later collectively known as “The Painters Eleven.” In 1972 Paul was invited to become the founding director of the Canadian Guild of Crafts (Ontario); he helped develop its gallery on Prince Arthur Avenue in Toronto. Paul continued to work actively in the organized arts and crafts field in Ontario for many years, living in Stratford for 20 years and later retiring to Port Hope and Cobourg. Over the decades Paul continued to lecture and jury exhibits. He also encouraged, assisted and promoted the efforts of innumerable young Ontario residents as they strove to create professional lives as artists, crafts persons and artisans.

Paul’s varied interests in the arts of all kinds never diminished. He obtained the greatest joy during his last months in spending time with former students, young artists, friends in the arts, friends who wished they were in the arts and his family members. Paul Bennett will be greatly missed; his contributions to the development of opportunities for professional artists in Ontario and to the growth in interest in the Ontario public in the visual arts have permanently benefited all Ontario residents. Paul’s legacy is one that many could well aspire to emulate.

A Celebration of Paul’s life will be held at Trinity United Church, Cobourg, Ontario on Friday, May 30th, 2014, at 1:00 p.m. Visitation will be at 12 noon. In lieu of flowers, In Memoriam donations to Trinity United Church Chancel Choir would be greatly appreciated. Interment will take place at a later date. A special thank you to the caregivers, doctors and to Richard Randall, for the compassionate care they each gave Paul during his illness.

Editor’s Notes: The above was adapted from the obituary published in the Globe and Mail, Saturday May 17, 2014. Paul received his Certificate of Loyalist Lineage from Capt. John Walden Meyers in 1978 while a member of the Toronto Branch. Like their brother Paul, sisters Jane and Joan contributed greatly to the community of arts and letters in Ontario: Jane G. Goddard will be remembered by her definitive biography Hans Waltimeyer (1980); Joan Bennett Firth and sister Jane wrote the musical “Loyalties” in 1995.

Liliane M. Stewart (Addendum)

In addition to the details in Last Post: Liliane M. Stewart, Liliane assisted many, including the Heritage Branch UELAC in Montreal, the UELAC conference in Lennoxville Quebec in 1989 (Heritage and Sir John Johnson Branches) which was attended by Prince Philip, and the UELAC itself, for which she served as an Honorary Vice President – see more about Mrs. Stewart’s many contributions (PDF).