“Loyalist Trails” 2014-50: December 14, 2014
In this issue:
– A Loyalist Minister Remembers the “Joyful Season”; by Stephen Davidson
– James Humphrey UEL of Jessup’s Rangers
– Kingston Branch’s Library Available for Research
– Videos: Cemetery at St Mark’s Church, Niagara-on-the-Lake
– Loyalist Quarterly by Paul Bunnell: December 2014 issue now available
– New York State History Conference: Call for Proposals
– Where in the World?
– DVD: A Thousand Miles to Freedom
– Region and Branch Bits
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
– Loyalist Certificates Issued in November
– Additions to the Loyalist Directory
– Last Post: Another Resting Place
+ Passengers on the Clinton; Evacuation of New York
The American Revolution interrupted the theological training of Frederick Dibblee, a Connecticut loyalist. After operating a store on Long Island, marrying his sweetheart, migrating to New Brunswick, and teaching First Nations children, Dibblee finally fulfilled his lifelong dream of serving God in the Church of England. In 1791, at 38 years of age, he became the first Anglican clergyman in the loyalist settlement of Woodstock, New Brunswick.
In his 50th year, Rev. Dibblee began to keep a diary, taking a moment each day in the succeeding 22 years to record the seasonal changes, family gatherings, and community events that he thought were significant. Dibblee’s diary provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of a loyalist town, including how it celebrated Christmas.
Mind you, the Anglican minister could have been a bit more verbose. His first entry to mention Christmas was in 1804. Despite being surrounded by family and friends, tending to the needs of Anglicans along the upper St. John River, and remembering the 30 Christmases he had celebrated in Connecticut, Dibblee’s entry is only two lines in length. “Cloudy but not Cold. Wind North-East, and Soon begins to Snow Continues all Day and Night.”
However, his record of the events just before and after December 25th help to give us an insight into what Christmas was like in a loyalist settlement. Three days earlier, Dibblee noted that he had worked with his sons to “get wood for Christmas”. The need for fuel to keep the settlers’ homes cozy was greater than usual. Two weeks earlier, Woodstock had “been attended with the greatest cold weather than ever experienced this season before.” The positive side of this cold snap was that the St. John River had frozen over so competely that people could ride their sleighs on its smooth surface along its 90 km course to Fredericton. This Christmas was the first time this natural highway had provided such “good travelling” since the Dibblees had settled in Fredericton. Instead of trudging overland through snowy forests, family and friends found it much easier to visit one another over the holidays in 1804.
Two years later, Dibblee noted that the holiday weather was warm and things were thawing. The Woodstock Anglican Church had a large congregation at its Christmas service, making the sanctuary “too warm for comfort”. While no mention is made of the festivities at the minister’s home, he noted that the young people had “gone to celebrate the Holy Days” with a neighbour. In 1808, Dibblee noted “A most Excellent Christmas – Warm enough for Pleasure.” If only he had taken a moment to record what it was that his family did outdoors! Five days after Christmas, the minister and his wife Nancy butchered a cow and invited nine friends over for dinner.
As in the 21st century, Maritime Christmas weather could vary greatly from year to year. In 1809, “it rained severely all night and has carried the snow almost off … the cattle are all over the fields.” A holiday thaw meant that Christmas correspondence might be delayed. The frozen highway provided by the St. John River was breaking up. Three days after the 25th, the local mailman just managed to make it to Woodstock with the “English mail” (letters from abroad) before crossing the river became impossible. A grateful minister gave the mailman a bed for the night.
Sawing wood was a major chore during the Christmas of 1810 – and Wiggins Everett, the Dibblees’ hired hand, was kept busy constructing a bridge. The minister and his wife enjoyed a Boxing Day dinner with fourteen others; but the next day was filled with smoking meat and grinding wheat at the local mill. The hired hand was given the 27th as a holiday since he had had to work on Christmas Day. Dibblee and his wife were among eleven loyalists who had “a very pleasant evening” attending a tea party at Captain Bull’s home three days after Christmas.
Christmas 1815 was the year of a bad cold in the Dibblee household. It started with the minister’s two sons being “laid up” on Boxing Day. On the 27th, there had been a “party of 21 with us, celebrating the joyful season”. The following day Dibblee noted that he was “very unwell with a bad cold”, so miserable in fact that there was no church service that Sunday.
Turkeys are noted as being part of the Christmas meal in the entries for 1816. There were the usual round of parties, including a sewing part and a singing school. Typically, the latter involved a music teacher instructing parishoners to read notes in the hymn book and to sing in harmony. Singing schools were held in the evenings when the chores of the day were done. In addition to benefitting congregational music, the singing schools also provided colonists of all ages and genders with a means to “meet and mingle.”
In the following year’s holiday entries, Dibblee noted that the family was “preparing for Christmas – fixed church for the Great Festival of the Birth of Christ”. In 1819, the minister described this as putting “up the emblems of the approaching season”. Again, no details as to what these decorations were! Dibblee’s sons had time to go skating when they weren’t hauling wood. During one Christmas, A Dibblee son attempted to make a bobsled. The “joyful season” was a favourite time for weddings, and many of the minister’s diary entries over the years note the fact that he had married a young couple between Christmas and New Year’s.
In 1820, Rev. Dibblee celebrated his 67th birthday. His Christmas entries begin to reflect the declining activities of an aging pastor. Twice over the holidays, he notes that “the young celebrated the season”. Missing from his diary are references to feasts with his friends and family – although he was able to preside over “the largest congregation we ever knew at Christmas” and hear the vows at a “large wedding”. In the following year, Dibblee was one of 55 people at a holiday gathering – “never a larger company in Woodstock” – that included “dancing and rejoicing”. However, one gets the sense that the Anglican minister was more a spectator than a participant. In 1822, Dibblee and his wife did nothing to observe the holiday, but the “boys had a party to dine and girls at night to dance”.
At seventy, the minister’s social life got a second wind. On 1823’s Boxing Day, his diary records “celebrating the season with a party at dinner and a large party at night dancing”. There were other dancing parties on both the 29th and 30th. The loyalist settlers of Woodstock were hardly a dour lot.
What is interesting by its omission in the first eight years of Dibblee’s diary entries is the celebration of New Year’s Day. Everet, the hired hand, was given a day off on January 2, 1811 as his “keeping New Year”, so it was clearly part of the loyalist holiday calendar. However, New Year’s was not mentioned again for seven years. In 1818, the Bull family hosted a “most extensive” ball “to all the young ladies and gentlemen”. Five years later, Dibblee mentions a “merry party last night”, but – as was typical for his diary – gives no details of a loyalist New Year’s Eve party. In 1823, “all hands” were at “a large party, celebrating the New Year by eating, drinking and dancing.”
The last entry in the Rev. Dibblee’s diary that refers to “the joyful season” is the one for Christmas 1824: “Never a better Christmas”. The diary stops in June of 1825; on May 17, 1826 Frederick Dibblee died. Thanks to his diary, we can still hear the voice of a loyalist who, like Ebenezer Scrooge, ended his days knowing “how to keep Christmas well”.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
There is a picture which hangs in a prominent location in our home of my great grandmother, Ellenor “Nellie” Ann Augusta Umphrey (1869 – 1931). She passed on stories of loyalist ancestors to her daughter who then retold my mother. I recall hearing from a young age how they came to Canada during the American Revolution, having remained loyal to the Crown.
Read this summary report of James, his sons and the resettlement of Jessup’s Rangers (PDF).
…Brian McConnell, UE, Nova Scotia Branch
Kingston & District Branch have just placed our book collection on permanent loan with Kingston-Frontenac Public Library. This means our books will be in a climate-controlled secure area (non-circulating, with RFID chips to prevent them leaving the building) and will be available any time the Central Branch is open: for use by the public as well as our members. Previously, members could only access them during the times of our four meetings per year, and the material was being underused. Read the details.
…Nancy Cutway, UE
The cemetery of St.Mark’s is the oldest in continuous use in Ontario and as the town was once the capital, it remained very important well into the 19th century. Many Loyalist and prominent citizens lie interred in this graveyard.
I have been the sexton at St Mark’s for many years and have acquired an extensive knowledge of the many historic and fascinating characters buried in the cemetery.
To better share some of that, Tony Chisholm and I worked on some videos last spring and summer about the local history of the people buried in St Mark’s cemetery. The videos are fun and easy to watch but have been carefully researched and offer an excellent and unique historic insight. They have been loaded onto YouTube, and vary from five to nine minutes in duration.
- Donald Combe 2 at St Mark’s cemetery in Niagara-on-the-Lake
- D Combe & Fred 5 Historic tour of St Marks Cemetery
- D Combe & Fred 3 at St Marks Cemetery in Niagara-onthe-Lake
- D Combe 4 St Marks Church, Niagara-on-the-Lake Canada
People seem to be enjoying them – I hope you will find them of interest.
The latest issue of the only U.S. journal devoted to Loyalist studies contains, among others, these topics:
- 1793-2015 Conference Loyalists Come West
- Natives in Her Diary, by Stephen Davidson
- Quaker-Loyalist Settlers in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia
- More Research Completed
- Loyalist Settlement in New Brunswick
- Loyalist Diaries
- Bio of William Franklin Odell
- UELAC Magazine: The Loyalist Gazette
More information including subscription details ($21 U.S. & $24 Can./yr) at Paul J. Bunnell’s website.
…Paul J. Bunnell, UE, Editor/Author
The Conference on New York State History is now seeking proposals for the 2015 event at Niagara University June 18 – 20, 2015. Don’t miss the chance to take part in the premier annual meeting of academic and public historians, librarians and archivists, educators, museum professionals, and publishers in New York State.
Proposals can be for a number of different formats: Panels, Group or Individual Presentations or Workshops. Some conference information and proposal forms/details.
Submit proposals by January 15, 2015 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gayle Ann Livecchia, who was noted in Loyalist Trails for an award, is planning a submission and comments that she would to see some from Canada. After all our Loyalists forebearers contributed significantly to the history of that former province, now state.
Where this Sextet on a Strategic Mission?
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.
This is the story of the Underground Railway, told in the words of slaves and others who were an essential part of its story. “A Thousand Miles to Freedom” documents the experiences of slaves who made the perilous journey to the safety of Canada via the Underground Railway. Using historical transcripts and archival photographs we learn what it was like to experience their terrifying and dangerous journeys over mountains, across lakes and through vast forests, braving the cold of winter in summer clothing – all for the right to be free.
“A Thousand Miles to Freedom is a chapter in North American history that, until now, has never really been told. And what better way to tell it than in the carefully documented words of the escaped slaves themselves ” – The late Hon. Dr. Lincoln Alexander, Former Lt. Governor of Ontario.
The DVD has an introduction by the late Hon. Dr. Lincoln Alexander, former Lt. Governor of Ontario. Further information and a video clip.
From the UELAC Branches, News & Events of Interest to Others
- The latest issue (Winter) of County and Quinte Living magazine has an article on the United Empire Loyalist Centre and the Daverne Farm in Adolphustown: flip to article is on pg 54-55. Contributed by Beverly Pulver
- Just to advise that the Edmonton Branch has now completed the Centennial Book Project and has gone to the printer for completion. The book should be available within the next two weeks. Earle Fladager, Branch Membership co-Chair
- Detroit – An 18th century British cannon retrieved from the Detroit River in October 2011 before undergoing a three-year restoration process was unveiled this afternoon and goes on display for the public this weekend at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle. This was reported previously in Loyalist Trails when the cannon was first discovered. Great to learn more about it.
- Be part of history: mark the start of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial in his hometown, Kingston! All are invited to commemorate Sir John A. Macdonald’s 200th birthday at Kingston City Hall on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Read plans for the day.
- A time capsule buried in 1795 by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams was unearthed Thursday in Boston at the Massachusetts Statehouse, possibly the oldest such U.S. artifact ever uncovered.
- Sandwiched Between Omens of Discord and Rum, the Infamous Mrs. Loring Announces Marriage Vows, as noted in the Essex Gazette, October 24, 1769. She of later notoriety as the alleged Loyalist mistress of General Howe during the New York campaign and British occupation of Philadelphia.
- George Washington drank hot chocolate…but, so did everyone else. Turns out, hot chocolate was a pretty common beverage in colonial America – before and after the Revolution. Who knew? Of course, we all know the colonists had a vested interest in tea, after
all, the Boston Tea Party was no minor incident. But what else did the colonists drink?
- Wow, almost three hundred years old is this Woman’s pocket, silk needlework, 1737 from Colonial Williamsburg
- We all print things on paper. But what is this new 3D printing, which “builds” things in 3 dimensions. This example may help you understand – it did me: 3D Printing Allows Man to Preserve & Replicate a Piece of Family History in Incredible Fashion
- For those into royalty and those who love baby pics, put the two together and you have the Royal family releasing Christmas photos of Prince George in soldier jumper
The Loyalist Directory and list of UEL certificates issued have been updated with the information (name of applicant, name of Branch, Loyalist ancestor) from Loyalist Certificates issued to members in November 2014.
As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
- Cartwright, Richard – volunteer Sandra McNamara, UE
- Harrison, Christopher – from Ed Lester with certificate application
- Humphrey, James – from Brian McConnell with certificate application
- Miller (Mueller), Peter – Loyalist Burial Project (via Phyllis Hamilton)
- Ruttan, Peter – volunteer Sandra McNamara
- Trumpour, John (Johannes, Haunts) – from Ivy Trumpour
- Winter, Joseph – from Heather Traub
- Wood, John – from Heather Traub
Please help us build the directory by contributing more information for it. Contact email@example.com for instructions and guidance.
Susan Leitch, UE, of Saskatoon, a reader of Loyalist Trails, indexes and uploads our Last Post entries to obituarynetwork.org so that they will all be in one place. It’s great to see them put to more use.
I have been reading your Loyalist Trails for a number of years. I have deeply researched my “Planter” genealogy in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia and have cousins in Yarmouth County who like me have Planter and Loyalist ancestors. My Planter surname is Hamilton but marriages with Loyalists add Gavel, Hatfield, Hurlburt, Martling and Raynard.
Barnet Martling is the Loyalist that I am most interested in at the moment. There was one progenitor of the Martling name, Johannes Martlinghs, born about 1650, who arrived in New York from the Dutch West Indies and was married to Aeltje Jans Barents.
My Barent Martling was born about 1749 and most researchers (there are few) say they show him dead by 1790. I tell them that’s because he was a passenger to Nova Scotia on the ship Clinton, Sept 1873 from New York. Called Barnet Mailing # 21 along with #72 Hannah Mailing.
He drew Lot 47 on Pell’s Road, Shelburne, NS but soon after left for upper (what is now Yarmouth County) an area then called Tusket Lakes, now Raynardton (named for Loyalist Job Raynard).
My grandmother, born a Marling in 1888, Raynardton, Nova Scotia, was Barnet Marlings great granddaughter.
That he was a Loyalist seems clear. Martlings in New York all seemed to be Patriots. The name is not common and can be spelled Martlings, Mertling, and Marlin. Many by the name are buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, NY.
Is there anyone who knows more about the Clinton passengers? Were the passengers random or was there any order to who went when? I have checked out the list of Loyalist Ships and that links to more about the Clinton and that in turn has a couple of links too
Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
…Cynthia L. Hamilton, Massachusetts