“Loyalist Trails” 2014-22: June 1, 2014

In this issue:
Quick Survey: Loyalist Ancestor(s)?
Focus 230: Good Things in Small Packages, by Stephen Davidson
Massacre Averted: Two British Saved 350 Americans – Todd Braisted
2014 Annual UELAC Conference: Silent Auction & Raffle
Loyalist Day in Ontario: Grand River Branch
Where in the World is Ivy Trumpour?
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
      + Loyalist Statuette


Quick Survey: Loyalist Ancestor(s)?

Do you have a Loyalist Ancestor? or two? or more? Please tell us in this simple, three-question survey if you do or if you don’t. If you don’t know for sure the answer to a question, use your best judgement. We will report back next week, or the week after.


Focus 230: Good Things in Small Packages, by Stephen Davidson

When 60,000 loyalist refugees fled the United States during and following the American Revolution, they scattered to the four corners of the British Empire. While some stayed in North America, others found homes in the West Indies, the United Kingdom, and even India. Some of them became members of existing colonies while others formed something entirely new, the loyalist colony. In August of 2014, New Brunswick, the very first such colony, celebrates the 230th anniversary of its founding. It would be the first of four refugee enclaves within the British Empire.

Cape Breton Island was partitioned from the colony of Nova Scotia on August 26, 1784. It was the second loyalist colony created after the American Revolution, complete with its own capital city and governor. With an area of 10, 311 square kilometres, it was less than a seventh of the size of New Brunswick. As a separate entity, Cape Breton Island lasted for less than 40 years before being re-absorbed by the Nova Scotia mainland in 1820.

In 1791, Upper Canada became the third colony created for loyalist refugees. Its inhabitants were loyalists who had –for the most part– fled the western frontiers of the Thirteen Colonies. It was created because of the colonial administration’s desire to prevent any possible friction between the native Roman Catholic “habitants” of Canada (the former New France) and the 6,000-some loyalist refugees who were largely Protestant and English speaking.

A different distinction led to the creation of a loyalist colony in western Africa. Black Loyalists who had initially settled in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick founded Sierra Leone in 1792 as a colony for “free Christian blacks”. The former slaves of patriots in the Thirteen Colonies, they carried with them the expectation that they would enjoy all of the liberties, rights and privileges of the British people. More than any other loyalist colonists, they would suffer the greatest disappointment and discouragement.

While some loyalist refugee colonies experienced great difficulties, Upper Canada did especially well. In time it became Ontario, Canada’s most populous province and the centre of the nation’s industries, media, entertainment and politics. Today Ontario’s population is nine times that of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia combined. But 230 years ago, Upper Canada’s loyalist settlers amounted to only a mere sixth of the multitude of loyalists who found refuge in Nova Scotia before its separation into three colonies. In other words, five out of every six loyalists living in British North America were to be found in Nova Scotia. This fact of history has been largely forgotten in the subsequent 230 years, but it is significant nevertheless.

When one accepts the fact that the overwhelming majority of loyalists made their homes in the Maritimes, it leads to the realization that the “typical” loyal American was to be found along the Atlantic Coast. More loyalist diaries, letters, and memoirs were written by New Brunswick loyalists than any others. More clues to loyalist society (culture, political aspirations, architecture, art, and worldview) are waiting to be discovered in the archives of this small province than anywhere else in the world.

Want to experience the American Revolution or the years of refugee settlement from first hand sources? Just refer to the amazing number of diaries, memoirs, and correspondence written by those who first settled in New Brunswick.

Hannah Ingraham, whose family settled above Fredericton, provides an amazing first hand account of loyalist settlement, describing everything from chilling winters to river journeys, lost cows, and Native encounters. Mary Fisher was also a child when her parents fled New Jersey to settle in New Brunswick. The memoir that she dictated to her grandchildren sparkles with eye-witness details. Sarah Frost’s diary is the only surviving document that allows us to experience the journey of a loyalist evacuation ship from New York City to the mouth of the St. John River.

Lt. Anthony Allaire was taken prisoner while he fought in the southern theatre of the American Revolution. His many exploits make up the diary he kept in the 1780s before settling with other veterans in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Benjamin Marston of Marblehead, Massachusetts made his new home along the Miramichi River after surviving an amazing number of wartime adventures which he recorded in his journal. Henry Nase was a loyalist soldier from New York. His wartime diary also includes glimpses of what it like to establish a homestead along the St. John River during the first months of settlement. David Fanning, whose very name struck terror in the rebels of South Carolina, had been both a wounded prisoner of war and a victorious military leader. He initially settled in East Florida, but when it was given to Spain, he moved to New Brunswick in 1784. There he established a mill, became a member of the colonial assembly, and wrote a memoir of his wartime career.

Walter Bates, the first “Canadian” to pen an international bestseller, recorded his memories of persecution, evacuation and settlement in Kingston and the Loyalists of the Spring Fleet. The Rev. Frederick Dibblee was the first Anglican minister in the loyalist settlement of Woodstock, New Brunswick. The diary that he kept from 1803 to 1825 is gives today’s reader an unparalleled understanding of the early years of loyalist settlement. Everything from New Year’s balls to crop failures, funerals, and sleigh rides finds its way into the diary. The papers of Edward Winslow and Ward Chipman, both loyalists from Massachusetts and early colonial administrators, can be found in the collections of the University of New Brunswick.

Even those loyalists who could not write for themselves are represented in the wealth of New Brunswick loyalist documents. The Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists convened in Saint John from October 1786 to March 1787. Hundreds of refugees, literate and illiterate, had their stories recorded in the board’s transcripts. Petitions to the government written either by friends or lawyers offer an insight into the desires of the Black Loyalists who tried to establish homes in New Brunswick. They comprised ten per cent of the refugee settlers in the Maritimes. Finally, the newspapers that loyalists established within the first months of their settlement reveal what was important in their pioneer communities and the goods that were available. Wills and probate records round out New Brunswick’s amazing primary sources that give us a greater understanding of the loyalist era.

In terms of geographical and demographic size, the New Brunswick of the 21st century is a very small component of Canada. However, in terms of its dimensions within global loyalist history, it is both large and significant. Besides being the first colony created by the refugees of the American Revolution, it also had the largest concentration of loyalists to be found anywhere in the world. It is certainly a heritage worth celebrating.

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

Massacre Averted: Two British Saved 350 Americans – Todd Braisted

In the early morning hours of September 28, 1778, British Troops under Major General Charles Grey surprised and decimated an entire regiment of Continental cavalry commanded by Colonel George Baylor. Over twenty were killed, more than forty captured, and many others wounded. Their major lay dead, and their colonel nearly so. And it could have been much, much worse. Now called the Baylor Massacre, the story of the British Light Infantry surprising the 3rd Dragoons at Old Tappan (modern River Vale) on that September morning is well known. Few are aware, though, that two other British detachments were in motion that evening with a much larger target in view.

Read the article – fascinating detail – at the Journal of the American Revolution

[NOTE: Todd, an Honorary Vice President UELAC will be at the UELAC conference, to deliver a lecture “The New Jersey Volunteers, 1776-1783; a genealogist`s guide to the Military Records of the largest Provincial Regiment of the American Revolution” on Friday morning June 6]

2014 Annual UELAC Conference: Silent Auction & Raffle

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.

Less than a week to go! The weather forecast looks sunny and warm, a perfect weekend in Toronto!

Head to the Windsor Room for registration. This is where you will find the Promotions Table, Loyally Yours sales table, Zig Misiak, Jennifer DeBruin, the Upper Canada Chapter of the NSDAR!

The Silent Auction and Raffle baskets will be here as well. We’ve had some very generous donors from artwork to wine to Tiffany bracelets to Blue Jays tickets.

Here are a few of the Silent Auction items:

  • – Loyalist Needlepoint chair
  • – Tiffany silver bracelet (1)
  • – Tiffany silver bracelet (2)
  • – Zig Misiak framed print
  • – Collection of Zig Misiak books
  • – Hudson’s Bay Co. Book,tote,water bottle
  • – Hudson’s Bay fleece travel rug & thermos
  • – The Wine Connoisseur (3 bottles)
  • – Blue Jays vs Boston Red Sox: 4 tickets
  • – Mats Jonasson Crystal

There are lovely raffle baskets too with tickets at $2 or 3 for $5! Something for everyone!

Be sure to plan time in the Windsor Room – a place to meet and network, things to see, things to do.

…Martha Hemphill UE, Conference Chair, Toronto Branch

Loyalist Day in Ontario: Grand River Branch

By order of the Government of Ontario, June 19th is Loyalist Day in Ontario. As well, 2014 is the Centennial Year of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada.

Therefore, the Grand River Branch UELAC, is planning a special celebration and flag raising ceremony at Governor Simcoe Square, 50 Colborne St. S, Simcoe, Ontario. The celebration will begin at 2:00 p.m., Saturday June 14th, 2014 with the raising of the Loyalist Flag and some brief remarks by loyalist descendants and some of our local dignitaries.

Following the flag raising ceremony all are welcome to recess across Court Street to the Trinity Anglican Church Hall for a special presentation by the Cottonwood Brass. This renowned group plays music of the 18th, 19 and early 20th centuries using antique brass instruments. Following their one hour presentation refreshments will be served.

Everyone is cordially invited to attend this special celebration and presentation.

…William Terry, UE, Grand River Branch

Where in the World?

Where is Calgary Branch member Ivy Trumpour?

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.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • First News of the Capture of Ticonderoga Extract of a Letter from Joseph Warren to John Scholly Esq: Dated Watertown May 17:th 1775.  “Colonel Castor [Arnold?] is now giving his Account in the Congress of the Reduction of the Fort Ticonderoga by a Body of Troops from Connecticut and the Western parts of this Province, Commanded by himself and Colonel Allen. The Garrison were surprised and therefore made very little resistance. . .”
  • United Empire Loyalists led by Sir Robert Digby settled the Digby area in June 1783. Celebrating Digby’s Founder Day on June 21
  • Jody Bodnar, great-great-grandson of United Zebulon Landon, wins a heritage award in Norfolk County Ontario
  • Read about the 1814 great cable carry: 9,000-pound, 600-foot-long and 22-inch-thick cable (rope) intended for the USS Superior’s anchor line and rigging. A scond description of the Bicentennial ‘Great Cable Carry‘ Will Honor War of 1812 Militia Effort

Query: Loyalist Statuette

For several years my wife and I ran an antique store here in Dartmouth Nova Scotia. Among many things we acquired was this Loyalist(?) statuette in a jumble sale. Unfortunately I don’t have any provenance. It is about fourteen inches tall, it appears to be of a cast bronze material and from the patina I would judge it to be at least one hundred years old.

I would quite appreciate any information about it, or suggestions about how I might discover more.

…Frank Crowell Leaman, UE (via Editor, loyalist.trails@uelac.org)