“Loyalist Trails” 2014-40: October 5, 2014

In this issue:
2015 Conference – “Loyalists Come West”: Castles of Victoria
Five Loyalist Scots in Canada, by Stephen Davidson
Comments about The Loyalist Acadians of the St. John River Valley
Notes from an Interview of Abram Diamond by Dr. Wm Canniff
Book: Loyalist Refugees: Non-Military Refugees in Quebec, 1776-1784
How George Washington saved the life of Abraham Van Buskirk’s Son
Tecumseh Monument: “A Place of Many Grasses”
UELAC Magazine: The Loyalist Gazette – Paper and Digital
Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants Research Holdings
Branch Bits: NS, Grand River
Where in the World?
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Counting Generations Being Canadian


2015 Conference – “Loyalists Come West”: Castles of Victoria

Read the details for Loyalists Come West – the 2015 UELAC Conference in Victoria BC May 28-30, 2015.

Robber coal barons, Robert Dunsmuir and his son James Dunsmuir, both built castles in Victoria during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Robert Dunsmuir had started out as an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company, but on his own time, and due to his anti-strike mentality, the company let him prospect on land in the Nanaimo area that the company held under an Imperial Crown licence to settle Vancouver’s Island. As a result he found a major coal seam and set up his own coal mining company (Wellington Colliery) which propelled him to great wealth. Eventually he also became the owner of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Company and over one million acres of land on the east coast of the island.

Read more about this and other Castles of Victoria (PDF).

David B. Clark, UE

Five Loyalist Scots in Canada, by Stephen Davidson

Loyalist history is waiting to be found in a variety of primary sources. One such untapped treasure trove is the Biographical Register of the Saint Andrew’s Society of New York. Founded in 1756, the society’s purpose was to care for and relieve distressed fellow countrymen, to provide hospitality, and to promote “social intercourse” among the Scots living in the province of New York. The Saint Andrew’s Society had within its membership merchants, gentry, and military officers – some who lived in the colony and others who were simply passing through.

With the coming of the American Revolution, the society divided along political lines. Scots found themselves on “both sides of that eventful and far-reaching family quarrel”. Five of the loyalist members of the St. Andrew’s Society later settled in Canada. Here are their stories as revealed in the St. Andrew’s Society’s biographical register.

Captain John Munro and his wife Helen Simpson left their home in Tullochue, Scotland in 1756 to settle in Albany, New York. Within four years, Munro was a merchant, owned a house facing the Anglican church, and had become a widower. He married Maria Brouwer, a local woman, was made an elder of the First Presbyterian Church and became a justice of the peace.

With the outbreak of the American Revolution, Sir Guy Carleton made Munro the commander of a company of the King’s Royal Regiment of New York (the Royal Greens). One of Munro’s sons, Hugh, served alongside his father for six years. During the course of the revolution, patriots seized Munro’s considerable land holdings in Schenectady.

The only record of Munro’s exploits during the war is found in Pearson’s First Settlers of Schenectady which notes “On the 16th of October, 1780. a party of 400 Regulars and Indians from Canada, under Major Munro . . . made their appearance in the Ballston settlement. They designed to attack Schenectady, but returned without effecting their object. They pillaged several houses and took twenty-four prisoners.”

In 1777, Munro was captured near Ticonderoga and condenmed to death. However, instead of being hanged, he was a prisoner for eighteen months. By April 9, 1785, Munro was making a claim for compensation for his wartime losses. He testified that in order to get to London he had mortgaged his half-pay as an officer, leaving his wife and eight children in Canada without support. The crown awarded him £40 to cover his travel expenses, but said that his half-pay must be regarded as sufficient compensation for his services and losses.

Another member of the Royal Greens was Captain Richard Duncan. This native of Berwick-on-Tweed came to America as a teenager in 1755. Having no interest in his father’s business, Duncan served in Ireland as an officer in the 55th Regiment for several years. He returned to Schenectady, New York in 1775. When John Munro and Allan McLean sought refuge at the home of Duncan’s father in June of 1776, the young man helped the two disguised officers escape to Canada. Consequently, Duncan was made a captain in the King’s Regiment of New York. His wartime record included service under Burgoyne at Saratoga and Ticonderoga as well as participation in the 1780 attacks on the Mohawk River settlements. There it was noted that Duncan commanded with “great gallantry and success”.

The minutes of the St. Andrew’s Society go on to note that Duncan ” served with the regiment eight years until its reduction in 1783, when he was retired on half-pay as Captain. He was never taxed with cruelty or severity by the settlers. On making representations to the Commissioners of Claims he was allowed £1,144 to compensate him for his losses. He was for a time a member of the Executive Council of Upper Canada, and resided at Williamsburgh. He married March 4, 1807, Margaret Radcliff of Albany. After his father’s death Captain Duncan resided for many years at Hermitage, an accomplished Christian gentlemen, of extremely urbane manners, and very much respected. He died February 1819.”

Colonel John Campbell of Glendaruel, Scotland already had a distinguished military career before he was drawn into the American Revolution. An officer in the Royal Highlanders, he had fought in the Seven Years War and had been wounded in the attack on Ticonderoga. Before serving under General Burgoyne as a captain in the 27th Regiment, Campbell had taken part in the conquest of New France, Martinique, and Cuba. He was “distinguished for his spirited conduct as an officer, adorned by that elegance and politeness which mark the accomplished gentleman, and his virtues in private life endeared him to his family and companions.”

Campbell died at Montreal, aged 64 years, on June 23, 1795. “His remains were attended to the grave in a manner suitable to his rank, not only by a very numerous assembly of citizens of all ranks, but by a large body of Indian warriors, whose very decent behaviour evinced the sincerity with which they partook of the universal regret occasioned by the loss of so very respectable a member of Society.”

Lieutenant Ann/Andrew Gordon of Dalpholly, Scotland was living in St. Sulpice below Montreal when the Revolution broke out. No doubt he thought that all of his fighting days were behind him. Gordon had been wounded in the hand and leg in 1758 at the Battle of Ticonderoga, in the leg at the siege of Niagara, and in the neck and shoulder while fighting Natives in 1763.

Gordon owned built a grist mill and a saw mill on the land he bought in New York’s Albany County and operated two farms in Canada to support his wife and five children. In 1774, he “was attacked by cancer in the face”. Six years of treatment was “all to no purpose”. During his battle with cancer, patriots seized his New York property.

On the advice of his doctors, Gordon sought treatment in England. To make the transatlantic journey, he had to mortgage his farm. A shipwreck in the St. Lawrence in which he lost all his money, forced Gordon to return home. In 1781, he again headed off for England, leaving behind a destitute family.

For four years, Gordon remained in London where he was treated for his cancer. In 1786, he again applied to the loyalist claims commissioners for assistance. His doctors certified that he was quite blind; the commissioners themselves stating that he was “a shocking spectacle.” Gordon died on August 22, 1787. The Commissioners decided to award a pension of £20 per annum to his widow and children. One of the Gordon children was sent over to Scotland, another was taken and brought up by a neighbour and friend, and Gordon’s widow received assistance in the working of the farm.

Major William Dunbar was born in Morayshire, Scotland and died in Montreal, Canada in 1788. His military career began with his appointment as a lieutenant in the 44th Regiment of Foot. He saw action at Ticonderoga and Niagara during the Seven Years War, retiring in Canada in 1763 where he married Josette D’Eschambault. The couple had two daughters; one married Dr. George Selby and the other wed Ralph Bruyeres.

In May of 1775, patriots captured Dunbar while he was en route to Boston from Quebec, holding him a prisoner for a month. Rebels made him their prisoner a second time in December when Dunbar was sailing from Montreal to Quebec to help defend the besieged city. The loyalist Scot was made a major of the 1st Battalion of Royal Highland Emigrants (the 84th Regiment), a command he maintained until the end of the Revolution.

Since more loyalists found refuge in Nova Scotia than in any other British colony, it is no surprise that eight members of New York’s St. Andrew’s Society settled there. Their stories will be told in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

Comments about The Loyalist Acadians of the St. John River Valley

Once again you have unearthed a topic of interest to St. John River loyalist descendants. Are the locations of the “dozen” Acadian families in the lower reaches of the valley known?

The French Fort or mission of Meductic was important. Did Studholme mention it? It had overland canoe access to the Indian land around Machias (now in Maine). See Maine Rubicon: Downeast Settlers during the American Revolution, by John Howard Ahlin, 1966.

I made an attempt to locate loyalist roots in Machias (Tompkins, Grant) and found the 1800 (I believe) census in their library. There was a man or two with the family surname in a nearby lumber town. As you write, many with loyalist leanings did not do military service; some may have been happy to remain in the woods until the Massachusetts political situation & border was clarified. My NB ancestor, originally from New York, eventually migrated “from Machias” to live among the demobilized Loyalists on the St. John.

In case you plan to do more digging about this region, I recommend Above The Gravel Bar, The Indian Canoe Routes of Maine, by David S. Cook, 1985 that. One route joined Machias to the St. John River. It was used by a pirate as well as Indians and missionaries, and the notorious John Allan, Francklin’s enemy and recruiter of Indians (and maybe some French or not? If not, why not?) for the future Americans’ side during the Revolution. The Machias Patriots considered they were holding the eastern front in 1812 as well.

A federal monuments board cairn was raised at Meductic about 40 years ago, well off the present Trans Canada highway (now vandalized). As far as I know this important site receives little recognition now. A nearby landing site of Loyalists at Shogomoc (Kings American Regiment) could also do with some historic and touristic “interpretation”. Has the regional UELAC branch done anything about this?

Mary McCutcheon, Montreal

Notes from an Interview of Abram Diamond by Dr. Wm Canniff

Capt Myers [Meyers] and his uncle used to carry dispatches together from New York. Heard Capt Myers tell about once being nearly caught by the Rebs. He was in the house. They came up before he knew it enlved[?] the front door, knowing that if they caught him they would make short work of him, he jumped out the back window and started for the woods a little off. They saw him and ran after him. He reached the woods ahead of them; but out of breath. He justed[sic] entered and lay down behind a fallen tree. His pursuers came to the woods first; but had to tie their horses to pursue him. They rushed on past him, whereupon he got up selected the best horse and started off, and reached New York –

Capt Myers says he buried gold in New York; but never dared go after it after the war closed.

Capt Myers went once from Canada with some men to a Rebel Colonel. The Col had a large gun upstairs, which he fired to alarm the neighbourhood. So the Capt had to run, but he took all his plate off to Canada; but the Capt was compelled to return by the British officers.

Remembers Major Spencer of Fredericksburgh. He died just at the breaking out of the war of 1812. Was at his funeral. He was buried in plain dress. The funeral was quite large. Was about 16 then. He was buried on a knoll, on his own place lot No 9., 1st concession, Fredericksburgh Additional. It was in the winter. He was well in years. His father knew him well. A middling sized man. Col Thompson took his place.

Col Crawford was Col of a regiment got up in this region for the war of 1812. The Yankee fleet came in upper gap chased the schooner Simcoe built of cedar, which escaped by running over a bar off Herelums? Point between some islands. She got several shots through and ?? when she reached the warf at Kingston. The narrator was in 2nd Draft. Went to Kingston, there 7 months.

Remembers going to mill when a boy to Youngs in Fred[ericksburgh]. The mill was a large ?? stump hollowed out in which was placed a bushel of grain, it was large enough to hold 2 bushels. Pounded by a sweep the weight of which was 11 or 12 pounds.

Has heard of persons living during the Hungry summer, for a fortnight on Beech leaves.

[Submitted by Lois O’Hara]

Book: Loyalist Refugees: Non-Military Refugees in Quebec, 1776-1784

Gavin, UELAC Honorary Vice-President was guest speaker at Gov. Simcoe Branch meeting on Wed Oct 1 here in Toronto. He welcomes such opportunities to talk about this (and others) of his books. It was a compelling presentation, thoroughly enjoyed by the audience who asked lots of questions during and afterwards. Distance tends to preclude going beyond Ontario. Visit Gavin on the web at gavinwatt.ca.

Loyalist Refugees. Non-Military Refugees in Quebec 1776-1784
Author: Gavin K. Watt
Publisher: Global Heritage Press (Milton, ON), 2014
Reviewed by Peter W. Johnson, UE
Note: This review was originally published in the Bay of Quinte newsletter, The Quinte Loyalist Muster, summer 2014.

With his latest publication, Gavin K. Watt has charted new territory as he notes at the beginning of the book, To my knowledge, the creation of a master list of non-military loyalist refugees who sheltered in lower Quebec…has not been attempted before. (p. 3) There have been many publications focusing on the fighting men, including several by Gavin, but in striking out in this direction, Gavin will enable researchers and especially genealogists to fill in some of the gaps.

The refugees listed within the pages represent a diverse lot. Certainly there are the wives and children, but there are also men. Often these men will be elderly or unable to fight for one reason or another. Numbers of men who did fight are listed as well, because this book represents a snapshot of a time period. It’s broader than a Muster Roll would be, but there would have been some men who appear for a time, and then were located elsewhere, perhaps back into the ranks.

Roughly the first one hundred pages are set aside to give the reader an overview of the refugees’ situation during the course of the War. The hardships and dangers faced by the women and children will perhaps be eye-opening to the reader who has not delved too deeply into that part of our ancestors’ story.

The rest of the book is a Refugee Roll containing a range of information. What does this book offer especially for those in our Branch who have Loyalists who settled in the Quinte area? Many Loyalist families who did come here had endured periods of time, even years in refugee camps in Lower Quebec. Furthermore our Associated Loyalists of Adolphustown wintered over 1783 at Sorel so they are included in the book.

Let’s consider the Refugee Roll by looking at some sample entries. Under Susanna SIMMONS we find the one source is “P16”. Sources are coded in this manner and the source descriptions are listed by code towards the end of the book. In this case the source was a Return of Unincorporated Loyalists Victualled in the Province of Quebec…24th Jan’1784. (p306) The family included two males over six years, and the location was Coteau-Du-Lac. Under “Remarks” Gavin has noted Bateau Service. This leads me to suspect that this woman was Susannah TREBER wife of Henry SIMMONS of Herkimer’s Bateau Coy, (as opposed to Lt. Henry). An older couple, she was dead by 1803 and Henry no later than 1812 in Murray Tp. Northumberland Co. The entry for Susannah is one of the shorter ones, but it does include a first name for the woman, which is not always the case.

Another one destined for settlement in the Quinte area was Matthew BENSON. Despite arriving rather late with the Associated Loyalists (Capt. Peter RUTTAN’s Coy 6), out of New York City in 1783, his name does turn up in several identified sources. He had a wife and several children and stayed in Sorel before settling in Adolphustown in 1784. He was a blacksmith and what research beyond this book tells us was that he also had previous military service in the King’s Orange Rangers.

As you can see the extent of the information and its detail will vary greatly from entry to entry. At the very least it will give you a sense of what your Loyalist ancestors experienced and some idea where they were settled at different times during the course of the Revolutionary War.

This is certainly a wonderful resource book for those who had Loyalists not only settled in refugee camps in Quebec during the War, but also for those who ended up in the Quinte area. This book is available through Global Genealogy.

How George Washington saved the life of Abraham Van Buskirk’s Son

Abraham Van Buskirk was Bergen County’s leading Loyalist at the onset of the American Revolution. A prominent “Practitioner of Physic” with an income of £ 200 per annum, Van Buskirk lived in Teaneck, across the New Bridge from John Zabriskie. Both men were officers in the Bergen County Militia, Zabriskie a lieutenant colonel and Van Buskirk the surgeon.

The Van Buskirk family, like most others in Bergen County and many across the country, had divided loyalties when war came. One of the family even served in the Continental army for a year. For the most part however, the family threw in their lot with King George III, no fewer than sixteen of them from the metro area serving in the army of the crown. Foremost amongst these was Abraham Van Buskirk of Teaneck, commander of the 4th Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers.

Read the rest of this bit of history by Todd Braisted (HVP, UELAC) in the Journal of the American Revolution.

Tecumseh Monument: “A Place of Many Grasses”

Today Sunday 5th October a dramatic finale to commemorate all the events of the War of 1812 will take place at the site of the death of Tecumseh. “A Place of Many Grasses”, a site-specific sculpture by Chatham-born artist Gordon Reeve, will be dedicated to the great Shawnee warrior and to all First Nations people.

An early evening procession will be followed by a free concert by renowned musician R. Carlos Nakai “My career has been shaped by a desire to communicate a sense of Native American culture and society that transcends the common stereotypes.” says Nakai.

Already the “many grasses” – nearly 500 plantings of different species representing the many diverse First Nations peoples across Canada – have been planted by the Earthworks Garden Centre, Chatham. The 18 foot high sculpture will support 10 panels into which have been cut outlines of clan animals, fish and fowl including a flying black panther, Tecumseh’s namesake. The completed sculpture, measuring 50 feet by 48 feet will touch the ground at only four spots, creating a natural place of assembly for story-telling, dance and performances.

See details with a photo of part of the sculpture.

In response to a tweet from UELAC President Bonnie Schepers noting the event, UELAC Regional Councillor David Kanowakeron Hill Morrison UE commented:

“I’m always inspired and filled with a sense of pride when I learn of gestures and events such as this. Too often, the news headlines are filled with stories of antagonism and strife with respect to the First Nations and their relationship with mainstream Canada, yet there are also the times when positive and uplifting acknowledgements are celebrated by everyone.

This astonishing monument is not only a tribute to a great Aboriginal leader, but it also honours a pivotal figure in Canadian history. It represents a sentiment of pride for everyone.

As I see news items of initiatives that respect the heritage and history of a region – such as the Souharissen Natural Area in Waterdown and the Tecumseh Monument near Thamesville – I’m encouraged and confident that Canadians of all ethnicities are making tangible and lasting statements of their values and priorities. These declarations serve as reminders for the present, as well as lessons for future generations.

Many thanks for making my day!


UELAC Magazine: The Loyalist Gazette – Paper and Digital

the Loyalist Gazette printed periodical, published semi-annually in Spring and Fall by The UELAC for more than fifty years, brings information about the Loyalists and the Association. It expands our Loyalist-era history with articles about Loyalists and reviews of books about the period and the people who lived it. Other pieces describe current activities which promote our history or the association, be they by individuals, branches or others.

All members as individuals or as families are entitled to a copy of each issue as part of their membership in a Branch of UELAC. Others may subscribe. Past issues can be purchased. For more information, see Loyalist Publications.

e-Loyalist Gazette

A myriad of electronic devices now enable people who are so inclined to read publications on them. The 2013 issues are now publicly available, the 2014 Spring edition is available to members and subscribers.

The Fall issue will be available in November to members/subscribers to the Gazette. If you wish to receive it in digital form, you will:

  • Get it earlier when the paper version goes to the mailing house;
  • Get it in colour – not just the front and back covers, but all through;
  • Enjoy the advantages that a digital copy offers when reading;
  • Help keep the costs down by saving on paper, printing and mailing.

If you haven’t previously requested the the Spring issue of the Loyalist gazette – just go to Request the Digital Version.

The 2013 Spring and Fall issues of the Loyalist Gazette are available to all.

We appreciate any feedback to webmaster@uelac.org.

…Bob McBride, Editor, Loyalist Gazette

Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants Research Holdings

A goal of the Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants for many years has been to build a strong Mayflower and New England research library to help Canadians in researching their New England and Mayflower lines. The Society has a collection of more than 320 volumes available in the Canadiana Room of the Toronto Public Library’s North York Central branch.

The library catalogue of over 320 holdings has now been stored in a Word document in table format that can be sorted to best suit any research needs.

Please see http://csmd.org/?page_id=240 (third paragraph in the body of the page) for a link to the document and more information.

…Margaret Dougherty, Deputy Governor, Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants

Branch Bits: NS, Grand River

From the UELAC Branches, News & Events of Interest to Others:

Nova Scotia Branch: At a Sept 27 meeting in Shelburne NS, the Branch thanked Alma Hayward for eighteen years of service on the branch executive. Story, Photo (PDF). – Brian McConnell

Grand River Branch: You are invited on Oct 22, a plaque honouring Col. Titus Williams, Veteran of the War of 1812, son of Loyalist Jonathan Williams will be unveiled in St. Williams, Ontario – Sue Hines

Where in the World?

Where is Governor Simcoe Branch member Audrey Fox?

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

  • In late September 1775, George Washington writes MA General Court to introduce an Oneida chief who arrived at the Continental Army encampment. Good short article describing the Oneida, Six Nations, Loyalists and Rebels with a focus on the first, from the George Washington Mount Vernon website.
  • The Worst Parade to Ever Hit the Streets of Boston. On the eve of the Revolutionary War, loyalist John Malcom was tarred, feathered and dragged through the streets, just for arguing with a young boy. The Smithsonian (Walter Hughes)
  • Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley descended from United Empire Loyalists on both sides of his family. A Father of Confederation, he is believed to have suggested the name “Dominion” for the new country. More at Canada and Wikipedia.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:

  • Hanes, Christopher John – from Hazel Litzgus (volunteer Linda McClelland)
  • McDougall, John – from Guylaine Petrin
  • Melick (Melich/Moelich), William by Fran Rose
  • Vollick, Isaac – from Rick Smith and Bill Oxford with certificate applications

Please help us build the directory by contributing more information for it. Contact loyalist.trails@uelac.org for instructions and guidance.


Counting Generations Being Canadian

What is the correct way to calculate what generation Canadian you are? Many of us say we are 5th generation Canadian, but what does that mean and how does one calculate it? I posed this question to Stats. Canada and they had no idea how to calculate it.

There are two dimensions to the question.

1. Canada did not become Canada as we know it until 1867 Confederation. In counting, do you include the generations that lived in the land before it was called Canada, or not? Those who lived in New France, in Nova Scotia or Newfoundland?

2. Do you count the generations who immigrated to Canada, but were not born here. For example, if my gt grandparents, grandparents and parents immigrated to Canada (as a group or not) and I was next in line but was the first generation born in Canada, am I first or fourth generation Canadian?

As there may not be an official definition, what is common practice? Any light you can shed on this would be greatly appreciated. [Please copy the editor on responses]

Tom Wood