“Loyalist Trails” 2015-08: February 22, 2015

In this issue:
2015 Conference Loyalists Come West: Loyalist “Stones”
Refugees in Her Diary (Part One), by Stephen Davidson
Journey of a Lifetime: The Hardings (Part One), by Carol Harding
The Mapping of Prince Edward Island
Where in the World is Doug Grant?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post
      + Elizabeth (Libby) Hancocks, UE
      + Norma Jean Moug (née Willard), UE


2015 Conference Loyalists Come West: Loyalist “Stones”

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

British Columbia celebrates Loyalist Day on July 22nd. This date was chosen to recognize Sir Alexander Mackenzie’s, the son of a United Empire Loyalist, significant accomplishment. He crossed the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean at Bella Coola. He wrote a message on a rock near the water’s edge of Dean Channel, using a reddish paint made of vermilion and bear grease, and then returned east. The inscription read: “Alex Mackenzie from Canada by land 22d July 1793”. The words were later inscribed permanently.

The Victoria Branch 2014 Loyalist Day Picnic, held in Beacon Hill Park, celebrated both the 100th anniversary of the UELAC as well and the 75th anniversary of the planting of the Loyalist Tree. These anniversaries were commemorated by the installation of a new stone at the base of the Loyalist Tree.

We are anticipating the installation of a new Loyalist commemorative planting, located in close proximity to the Conference Hotel, in time for the 2015 Conference.

Read about the Stones and Plantings, and the people and the people and events they commemorate.

When you attend the 2015 Conference, please plan on including a visit to these two sites.

2015 Conference Planning Committee Victoria BC

Refugees in Her Diary (Part One), by Stephen Davidson

For five years, Elizabeth Simcoe lived in Upper Canada, a colony comprised of loyalist refugees. As the wife of its governor, she travelled from Quebec City to Niagara, making sketches of what she saw, meeting the settlers, and writing down her observations of life in the new colony.

Among the entries to be found in the diary that she wrote between 1791 and 1796 are references to meeting loyal Americans. Elizabeth Simcoe provides us with a unique glimpse of these settlers who for seven years prior to her arrival had been establishing homes and communities along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

On December 26, 1791, the new colony of Upper Canada was brought into being by an act of the British Parliament. The colony’s first lieutenant governor, John Graves Simcoe, was in Quebec City on that date – along with his wife Elizabeth, his daughter Sophia, and his infant son, Francis. Simcoe was preparing to take his family further west to Niagara, the settlement that was being considered for the new colony’s capital.

In 1785, Upper Canada’s European population was made up of 5,500 loyal refugees who had fled the United States following the American Revolution. By the time of Simcoe’s arrival, the population had grown to 30,000.

This four-part series will restrict itself to the diary entries that refer either to settlers that Elizabeth identified as loyalists or to those who have subsequently been shown to have merited the designation “U.E.”. Rather than giving details about individual loyalists, Elizabeth’s entries usually just noted that she had visited a particular family’s home. But if nothing else, these entries give posterity the specific dates for what some loyalists were doing on a particular day in British North America in the 1790s.

The first loyalists that Elizabeth Simcoe met were those who lived in the newly created “Lower Canada”. Her initial refugee encounter was with Janet Smith, the wife of Chief Justice William Smith. Simcoe’s diary simply notes that she had “supped at Mrs Smith’s” on February 8, 1792. What goes unrecorded is that Mrs Smith was from New York, had eleven children, and was married to a man that many loyalists doubted was completely committed to the crown. The Smiths initially sought sanctuary in Great Britain after the revolution, so the two women might have had British lords and landscapes as common ground for conversation. Although dubbed a “weathercock” by loyalists who settled along the St. Lawrence River, William Smith had the trust of the British government. King George III’s son, Prince Edward, led his funeral procession in 1793.

On March 4, 1792 Elizabeth met an officer who had, fifteen years earlier, fought Washington’s army under her husband in the Queen’s Rangers. Captain Aeneus Shaw and four others had just arrived in Quebec City after a snowshoe journey from Fredericton, New Brunswick – a distance of 240 miles completed in 19 days. Her diary records “They steered by the sun, a river, and a pocket compass. Captain Shaw is a very sensible, pleasant Scotchman, a Highlander. His family are to come from New Brunswick to Upper Canada next summer.” Shaw, then in his 52nd year, delighted Elizabeth with his description of the “moose deer”, an animal “frequently met with in New Brunswick”.

Two days later Elizabeth and her husband “dined and supped at the Hon. Hugh Finlay’s, the Deputy Postmaster-General of Canada”. There is no mention of Finlay’s wife Mary or their ten children – or the topic of the evening’s conversations. Finlay would one day be described as the father of the Canadian post office. On Tuesday, the Simcoes “supped at Mr Isaac Ogden’s, Judge of the Admiralty”, followed by dinner on Wednesday at the home of Thomas Ashton Coffin, the private secretary to Lord Dorchester.

As is immediately evident, the Simcoes’ initial encounters with loyalists involved those who made up the governing elite of Lower Canada. That elite could also include clergymen. On June 12, 1792, Elizabeth noted that during a visit to Sorel, a former refugee camp for loyalists, she and her husband “took some refreshment at Mr. Doughty’s, a clergy-man whose wife is from New York, and the house was the cleanest and the neatest I have seen.” The Rev. John Doty had once served in Schenectady, New York before losing all that he had for his loyalist principles. After serving as a regimental chaplain, Doty settled in Sorel where he founded the first Protestant church in Quebec.

Twelve days later, the Simcoes came to their first loyalist home in Upper Canada. “We arrived here about sunset, and at a small inn on the Point found the principal inhabitants of the Township of Glengarry (Highlanders in their national dress). They came to meet the Governor, who landed to speak to them. They preceded us in their boat, a piper with them, towards Glengarry House, Mr. McDonell’s, where the gentlemen went”.

Although the men stayed with Helen and Colonel John Macdonell, poor weather prevented the Simcoes from remaining with the officer who had once served in Butler’s Rangers. Instead, they sped along and spent the night with a much more common loyalist family. “We met with a miserable, wretched, dirty room at a Highlander’s, the only house within some miles.”

The next day, the Simcoes moved to better accommodations, sleeping at the home of Col. James Gray “at Gray’s Creek, four miles below Cornwall”. Captain John Munro brought a horse named Jack for Elizabeth to ride through the countryside. Munro had once been an officer in the King’s Royal Regiment of New York, and had lost a great deal of property. When he escorted Elizabeth to Cornwall, she saw “about fifteen houses and some neat gardens in them”. Later she would visit Munro’s sawmill that could cut a tree “into 16 planks an inch thick in an hour”.

Munro’s neighbour, Captain Richard Duncan, owned the horse that Elizabeth rode that day. He had lived in America since 1755, served under General Burgoyne, guided General Allan McLean safely to Canada, and had a commission in Johnson’s corps until the end of the revolution. Elizabeth noted that Duncan had a Dutch wife and that their “house was excessively neat and clean, and one of his daughters very handsome”.

On Thursday, June 28th, the Simcoes “took some refreshments” at the home of John Munro’s son-in-law, Colonel Thomas Fraser, and then dined at the home of his brother, Captain William Fraser. Both men were Scottish immigrants who served the crown during the revolution. Rebels had imprisoned them in 1777; they fought with Burgoyne after escaping, and served at Quebec’s Yamaska blockhouse for the remainder of the war. But whether their wartime adventures were topics of dinnertime conversation goes unrecorded in Elizabeth’s diary.

Apparently Elizabeth was not aware that many of Upper Canada’s loyalist settlers were originally from the continent and not the British Isles. She noted “There are many Dutch and German farmers about here, whose houses and grounds have a neater and better appearance than those of any other people.”

Read about more of the loyalists that Elizabeth Simcoe met in 1793 in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

Journey of a Lifetime: The Hardings (Part One), by Carol Harding

The True Story of Israel and Sarah (Harris) Harding

When one looks for and finds the path of their life back to a Loyalist or any other ancestor in their family tree, we at first are more concerned with those oh-so-important documents that “prove” by vital statistics who they were, and that they surely are who we come from. Bone of our bones, we say. After a while, though, we begin to ask ourselves, “Is that all there is?” So the journey to the sum of all the parts of who we are begins.

Before the internet evolved, obtaining documents was painstaking and often required travel and money for hiring researchers. About all of the early information passed to me through the family was referenced to George S. Brown’s book ca.1900, Yarmouth Genealogies. For the Harding surname it begins, “Col. Israel Harding came to Horton (NS) from New London, Connecticut a few years after the expulsion of the Acadians…” There was the first documentation error that caused so much perplexity researching this family. ‘Col’ may have been a nickname, and ‘Col’ and ‘Capt’ is seen in a few old American publications, or possibly it was a title lost to time in their chaotic Revolutionary life, but extensive research turned up no designation of Colonel in any primary documents. He might conceivably have been known to his contemporaries as Captain since from his own words he owned a boat or two which he used until they were confiscated.

Israel Harding was non-military during the Revolution years. He said he worked with a Capt Nehemiah Hayden. Could he have been in a militia or auxiliary unit? His military designation of Lieutenant was earned in New London, CT. during the French and Indian uprising. Israel enlisted as a young soldier in His Majesties Service in 1755, Capt. Stephen Hosmer’s Company out of New Salem, CT. Capt. Hosmer and a number of soldiers under his command served as a garrison at Pantusick, 30 miles north from Canaan, CT. until 08 September 1755. In the summer of 1756 he became a Lieutenant in the Fourth Company under Capt. John Slapp. His final assignment was Lieutenant with the Third Regiment, also under Capt. Slapp, from July to December, 1756. Several men of this company were captured by Indians, and at least one was carried to Canada and kept captive 18 months. (Connecticut Historical Society records). Soon after discharge Israel is newly married and off with his bride to pioneer in the new colony called Nova Scotia.

Sarah Harris was born 18 December 1739 the oldest child to Lebbeus and Alice (Ransom) Harris of New London, Connecticut. Alice (Ransom) Harris died and Lebbeus Harris married second Eliphal Noyes. Sarah must have admired her for she named her first daughter Eliphal. Israel Harding and Sarah Harris were married in 1759 in New London County, CT. Together with their family and friends and all they needed to start a pioneer home they soon left and sailed to Horton in Kings County, Nova Scotia with the New England Planters. In 1760 they were grantees there (Note 1).

Israel and Sarah settled as farmers on their grant in the town plot in Lower Horton. Israel was a member of the committee chosen to mark the boundary of Horton and Cornwallis Townships, “beginning at a tree marked H…”, signed 27 March 1765. Less well known is the fact that a little over a decade after coming to Nova Scotia for some obscure reason, Israel and Sarah left and took their children back to Connecticut to start a new life in their homeland. A few short years later they perhaps had some regrets as they were caught in the ambiguity and for them, terror and heartache, of the American Revolution.

Israel and Sarah had in total seven children, five that were born before they left Nova Scotia – two sons, Rev. Harris (married Mehetible Harrington of Liverpool, NS) and Israel Jr. (married Rachel Fowler of White Plains, New York); and five daughters Eliphal (married 1st, Benjamin Lee of Digby; 2nd,William Allison); Sabra (married Charles Dewolf of Horton, died young); Alice (married M.P.P. Joseph Allison Jr. of Horton); Mary (married Benjamin III Peck of Horton); and Sarah (married Joseph Starratt of Cornwallis Township, lived and are buried in Chipman’s Corner). The last two children were born after the family departed Horton around 1771 to return to New London, CT., the youngest was born 1780. The children all married into local families and initially settled in Nova Scotia, but Mary and Benjamin Peck later removed to Johnston, Licking, Ohio, USA.

It is not clear why they returned to Connecticut, but by 1771 Israel was buying and selling land in at least Colchester County, CT. and in 1774, Israel appears to have come to Horton to settle their affairs, as in a lengthy complex deed Israel then sold their grant land in Kings County, NS to two Nesbitt men from Windsor, NS, witnessed by Sarah’s sister-in-law’s parents. This deed is telling of their early distress and supports his later claims of Rebel harassment. He says, “To all People unto whom these Presents shall come Greeting. Know ye that I, Israel Harding, late of Labanon in the County of Windham now of Saybrook in the County of New London in the Colony of Connecticut, Yeoman…” Another deed shows he bought and sold a certain same parcel of land all in the same year. Norwich and Windham counties inland were where suspected Tories were detained. To the interested, read the excellent and colourful book, The History of New London Connecticut by Francis M. Caulkins (1895) , particularly Pg 503-4. which explains the historical events of 1777 and why a Tory in New London, CT or any other Colony, would fear for his life. https://archive.org/stream/bub_gb_HgIPz4OPYNoC#page/n523/mode/2up For instance, he would not have been able to get provisions for the family such as were promised to the families of the Continental soldiers. If citizens “unnecessarily expend any gunpowder at game or otherwise” they were to be fined “20 shillings …for every musket charge” and were generally restricted (note 2). These happenings were often not recorded, but were voted on and enforced by the Committee of Correspondence. The author goes on to explain what the various Continental “Committees” were about. Further, the very meeting house where the Rebels had planning meetings was in the neighbourhood of the old Harding farm.

(To be continued next week.)


1. Planter Studies Center, Acadia University Library, Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

2. History of New London Connecticut from the first survey of the Coast in 1612 to 1860; (1895), pg. 503, Francis M. Caulkins. (Online)

The Mapping of Prince Edward Island

This short article with two maps combines a biography of Samuel Johannes Holland, how he became a surveyor and the British mapping of Île Saint-Jean (St. John’s Island). Then the Island separated from Nova Scotia. After the period of the article which ends at the time of the American Revolution, the Island was renamed to Prince Edward Island. Read more.

Where in the World?

Where is Gov. Simcoe Branch member Doug Grant?

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.

Region and Branch Bits

From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.

  • On February 14th at Bonsor Recreation Centre in Burnaby, B.C., Vancouver Branch celebrated Black History Month by featuring guest speaker and author Jean Rae Baxter discussing her book, Freedom Bound. – Carl Stymiest, Vancouver Branch

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Traveling and writing? Be inspired by this Revolutionary War period lap desk (Be sure to follow the link for a bit more detail)

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Arner (Amer), Jacob – with history from Ruth Nicholson
  • Burwell, Samuel – with certificate application from Bev Craig
  • Campbell, Colin Sr. – from Ian Campbell and Brian McConnell
  • Phillips, Jacob – (volunteer Sandra McNamara)
  • Sills, John Conrad – (volunteer Sandra McNamara)

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

Last Post

Elizabeth (Libby) Hancocks, UE

Elizabeth Hancocks, for nearly a quarter of a century Dominion Genealogist of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada, died at Grace Hospital in Scarborough on February 13, 2015, after a short illness. She was 87.

Elizabeth was a research genealogist with more than a half-century of experience. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art in 1951, she first became interested in genealogy in 1962 as a result of the accidental excavation of a family cemetery during a construction project at Finch and Dufferin Avenues in northwest Toronto.

She was a founding member of the first branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society in Toronto, and has been a member of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada since 1962.

Libby, as she was known to friends and colleagues, served the OGS publication Families as its Queries Editor from 1969 to 1978, and was fully familiar with the in’s and out’s of query genealogy.

As she gained genealogical expertise, she became a member of the National Genealogical Society of Washington, D.C., and held the rank of Certified Genealogist for the Board for Certification of Genealogists in the United States. She was the first Canadian – indeed the first non-U.S. citizen – ever to be certified by that century-old organization. In 1985 she was elected to its Board of Trustees where she represented a Canadian professional voice in North American genealogical research matters.

The descendant of a Loyalist – William Casey of Rhode Island – she has always been vitally interested in Loyalist lineages, and played an active role in the affairs of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada.

She was Branch Genealogist for the Governor Simcoe Branch (Toronto), 1965-1972, then assistant Dominion Genealogist at U.E. headquarters for several years. In 1972 she was named Dominion Genealogist, a post she held until 1986. In 1977 she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Medal for her work on Loyalist pedigrees. She was again nominated Dominion Genealogist in 1998, a post she held to the present day.

A professional researcher for hire, her work was accurate and methodical. She was researching in the 1970s when the Ontario Archives was just a room over the Sigmund Samuel Museum in Toronto – a time when researchers were handed original documents to check (no microfilm), and was indexing by hand long before computers gained ascendancy.

Norma Jean Moug (née Willard), UE

At her residence on Monday February 16th, 2015 while with her family Norma Moug entered into rest, she was 91 years of age. Norma Moug beloved wife of the late Alexander Moug and dear Mother of Wendy, Wayne (Corine) and Robin. Norma was the cherished Grandmother of Lisa Geneau (Jim). Much loved sister of Veita Hutton, Wilma Smith, Dory Serviss, Leslie and Carl Willard. Norma was predeceased by a sister Audrey and by brothers Gladwyn in infancy, Gerald and Dalton. Also survived by many nieces and nephews.

The Colonel Edward Jessup Branch UELAC lost another valued long-time member with the passing of Norma Moug, U.E. Norma was an avid genealogist and loyalist. Her thoughts during her last few days concerned her research and the fact that she had not completed all she wished to.

…Myrtle Johnston, UE