“Loyalist Trails” 2015-09: March 1, 2015

In this issue:
Refugees in Her Diary (Part Two), by Stephen Davidson
Journey of a Lifetime: The Hardings (Part Two), by Carol Harding
The Loyalist Coat c.1770
Digital Gazette: Spring 2014 Available; Order Spring 2015 Now
Where in the World?
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post
      + Lola Jean Timson (nee Norsworthy), UE
      + Jean Louise (Muma) (Chambers) Mellor
      + Henry Gordon (Gary) Aitken, UE
      + Response re Where Did The Loyal American Regiment Disband?


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

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

On Sunday, July 15, 1792, Elizabeth Simcoe went to church twice where she listened to sermons by Dr. John Stuart “from the United States”. “He preached good sermons with an air of serious earnestness in the cause which made them very impressive.” Stuart was born in Pennsylvania and served as an Anglican missionary to the Mohawks, spending many years translating the New Testament into their language. Stuart became the pastor for the first Protestant church in Kingston, Upper Canada just a year before Mrs. Simcoe sat in its pews.

Fifteen days later, Elizabeth had breakfast at the home of Robert Hamilton, a loyalist merchant and brewer who lived near Queenston. “Mr. Hamilton has a very good stone house, the back rooms overlooking on the river. A gallery, the length of the house, is a delightful covered walk, both below and above, in all weather.” Hamilton would soon become a member of Governor Simcoe’s first executive council.

In August, Elizabeth wrote more about the Hamilton family. “We like this place much better than Kingston. Mrs. {Catherine} Hamilton and her sister, Miss {Madeleine?} Askin, daughters of Col. John Askin, a wealthy merchant of Detroit, dined with us. They are French women from Detroit.” John Askin had settled in Albany, New York in 1759. After serving the crown during most of the revolution, Askin made his home in Detroit which was then still in British hands. By 1796, Askin would move to Upper Canada.

On Sunday, December 9th, the Simcoes met one of the great loyalist heroes of the American Revolution, Joseph Brant. Identifying him as Thayendanegea, chief of the Six Nations Indians, Elizabeth went on to say, “He has a countenance expressive of art or cunning. He wore an English coat, with a handsome crimson silk blanket, lined with black and trimmed with gold fringe, and wore a fur cap; round his neck he had a string of plaited sweet hay. It is a kind of grass which never loses its pleasant scent.”

Since John Graves Simcoe had been the commander of a loyalist regiment, the Queen’s Rangers, it is not surprising that many of the loyalist settlers Elizabeth Simcoe met in Upper Canada were old army friends of her husband.

The first loyalists that were recorded in Elizabeth’s diary for February 18, 1793 were “pleasant women from New York” with whom she “drank tea” — Catherine McGill and her sister, Miss Rachel Crookshank. John McGill, Catherine’s husband, had been Simcoe’s adjutant when rebels captured the two men during the revolution. McGill settled in New Brunswick initially, but Simcoe later made him the military commissary of Upper Canada. McGill’s brother-in-law, George Crookshank also left New Brunswick to seek better prospects in Upper Canada.

New Brunswick became the topic of conversation on Friday, April 26th as Elizabeth admired a tea chest made of bird’s eye maple, a gift from Aeneus Shaw, a loyalist whom she had met in 1792. The chest had been constructed in New Brunswick, a colony where there were “many instances of persons … who having marry’d women from the United States, were persuaded by them to quit the country, as they would not live without the apples and peaches they had been used to at New York. The Americans are particularly fond of fruit.”

Three months later, Elizabeth visited Burch’s Mills, just two miles above Niagara Falls. The sawmill and gristmill that the governor’s wife visited belonged to John Burch, a loyalist from New York. After his home was attacked, plundered and set afire on three different occasions, Burch escaped into the woods and settled at Niagara.

After viewing the loyalist’s mill, Elizabeth found that the “heat was so excessive we were obliged to stop on the road and drink milk and water, and eat fruit at Mrs. Tice’s, wife of Lieut. Tice, of the Indian Department, who lived at the Falls.” Gilbert Tice, his wife and four children had kept a large inn at Johnstown, New York before the revolution. They had been living in Niagara for six years when they entertained the governor’s wife with fruit.

In 1782, Edward Wright had been the Quartermaster for the Queen’s Rangers under Simcoe. Ten years later, he is mentioned in Elizabeth’s diary as returning in a boat with Richard Herring from Niagara rather than walking or riding overland through the late December snow. Wright eventually operated a tavern in York. His son, John Graves Simcoe Wright was purported to be the first white child born in the settlement. Herring had also been a member of Simcoe’s regiment, the Queen’s Rangers.

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

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

The True Story of Israel and Sarah (Harris) Harding (Continued from Part One)

Caught in the cross currents of Rebel and Tory family members, those years must have been a very difficult time for Israel and Sarah. While Israel saw no reason to reject the British rule and saw the Tories as those, in his own words, “whose greatest crime if it may be deemed so has been love for their King and affection for the Parent Country” .

Of the five known sons of Stephen, born in 1733 Israel was the youngest, and the only one who continued to support the British side. It is clear the family who came to Nova Scotia united were deeply divided later both geographically and politically. His oldest brother, Capt. John Harding removed to the frontier of Kentucky. It is said he dropped the ‘g’ from his name and the Hardin line there is well known; Capt. Stephen II removed with his family to the infamous Jenkins Fort in Wyoming Valley frontier. Abraham settled in PA, also a frontier then, and is the ancestor of US President Warren G. Harding, and Thomas seems to have stayed quiet or neutral in Colchester. Many years before, Israel’s father, Captain Stephen Harding Sr. had purchased a 400 acre farm in Waterford, CT between 1729 and 1736 and retiring from sea life, moved his young family from Providence, RI. This is said to have “remained the center of the Harding family for many years.” [4]

In July 1778 the Battle of Wyoming occurred and Israel’s brother, Stephen Harding’s two innocent sons Benjamin and Stukely were brutally killed by Indians near Fort Jenkins while working in the corn fields, sparking the Wyoming massacre. The Wyoming incident left much bitterness toward the British. It is clear the war events divided this family politically and geographically forever. By about 1781 Israel had fled to New York with a permit from the Governor at the request of his brother Thomas. Later he was joined by Sarah and their seven children. They lived in a Rebel’s house assigned to them by General Robertson [5].

In September the same year the town of New London was attacked by General Arnold who by now had defected to the British, and the consequence was that the town was burned [6]. In Colchester 1783, an advertisement for the sale of over 288 acres of “that very valuable land known as the Harding farm” appeared in the Connecticut Gazette. It was not in the ownership of a Harding anymore. Israel stated he had his own homestead in Saybrook, CT confiscated and later sold for $800 dollars. No record was found. Saybrook is closer to the coast than Waterford where the old Harding farm was located, and more suited to the activities he participated in with his boat to assist the British troops and navy in Gardiner’s Bay.

According to a letter written to Sir Guy Carleton by Israel from New York in June 1783, and later his application to the British Commissioners for Compensation in 1786, Israel supported the British during the American Revolution and their life became difficult. Basically, he was a civilian spy and supplier. His depositions in his Loyalist compensation claim state he worked with his oldest son, Harris and a Capt. Nehemiah Hayden who states he met him in 1777 when Israel was imprisoned in New England. No court, committee, or confiscation records have been located. His brother, Thomas was more sympathetic to Israel’s situation. After years of harassment, being dragged before courts and committees, imprisoned in 1777, and no doubt his nephews’ death the following year, made Israel’s situation unbearable. By about 1781, Israel had to leave Sarah and their seven children, one an infant, and flee to Long Island to the British for protection. Later she joined him, but even while there living in a Rebel home assigned by General Robertson, a rebel party (whom they knew) found them and one midnight again broke the door down, insulting and frightening the family, and robbed Israel.

His job during the revolution was to observe the French Fleet and rebels at Rhode Island or elsewhere and pass dispatches as requested. In Israel’s own words,

“at the hazard of his life he often assisted in supplying the British Fleet and Army with fresh provisions and other supplies for which services and for being averse to the measures carrying on in America against His Majesty’s government, he became obnoxious to the Americans, was apprehended, imprisoned, harassed, dragged from place to place by files of armed men and Constables, leaving a wife and seven children behind with no way to support them but by what money I had, which with defending myself before courts and committees and other expenses arising therefrom, amounted to a sum of five hundred and twenty dollars; also two boats which were taken from me I made use of in carrying sheep and cattle from Connecticut to the Fleet and Army. That after your memorialist escaped to Long Island he had a house assigned him by Government from which house he was taken by Capt. Elijah Smith and a party of men, and robbed of goods, wearing apparel, and other effects to the amount of one hundred and twenty eight dollars; that your Memorialist by his attachment to His Majesty was dispossessed of a house and land in the Town of Saybrook in Connecticut which was afterward sold for eight hundred dollars….”

(To be continued next week.)


4. Harding, Wilbur Judd, The Hardings in America: a genealogical register of the descendants of John Harding, of England, born A.D. 1567. Keystone, Iowa: Harding Print Co. (1925).

5. Ibid. See Reference #3.

6. Ibid. See Reference #2.

The Loyalist Coat c.1770

The Identity of English-speaking Quebec in 100 Objects:

“I am the coat that was worn by Andres Ten Eyck, a United Empire Loyalist in the 1700s. I was fashioned with care and sewn with attention to detail. I am not worn and thread-bare like others my age. I am stylish and clean, with gleaming brass buttons. I make an entrance wherever I go and an impression on all who see me.”

Andres Ten Eyck was a United Empire Loyalist of Dutch descent who served King George III in the American War of Independence. He came to Missisquoi Bay in the early 1790s and received land for his service to the Crown. He settled in Dunham, Quebec. Among the objects transported into Lower Canada by his family was a scarlet wool coat that was likely worn by Mr. Ten Eyck during the 1770s-1780s. Lovingly preserved by generations of his family, Andres Ten Eyck’s coat tells the tale of a Dutch man who remained faithful to his English King.

Read the full article.

Digital Gazette: Spring 2014 Available; Order Spring 2015 Now

As you may recall, we began really creating in colour and making available a digital copy of the Loyalist Gazette in 2014. The two 2013 issues (mostly b&w) were also made available. Two objectives:

(1.) to offer our UELAC periodical – The Loyalist Gazette – in a digital format with enhanced features (colour) for those who prefer it.

(2.) to contain and reduce costs when printing and mailing costs.

The digital version of the Spring 2014 issue of the Loyalist Gazette until now has been available only to members and Gazette subscribers. It is now available publicly – a lot of colour. Have a look.

As well people who are paid-up members and Gazette subscribers can now register for the digital copy of the Spring 2015 issue (and get access to the Fall 2014 issue in the same place). Each request is processed at Dominion Office (to check that the requirements are met) before the access details are returned (the office is open Tues, Wed, Thurs).

Those who received access last year will need to reapply, as the address and password are new.

We hope you will enjoy this year’s issues of the Loyalist Gazette – in digital full colour.

…The Publications Committee

Where in the World?

Where is Toronto Branch member Taylor Roberts, with his son, Tomas?

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

  • The Arrival of the Loyalists in Canada: With America declaring its independence, Great Britain lost 2.5 million subjects in one fell swoop. However, over 100,000 settlers who remained loyal to the Crown — hence the name “Loyalists” — left the Thirteen Colonies that had become the United States, since they were no longer welcome there, to return to England or settle in other British colonies. In 1783, some 8,000 of these Loyalists sought refuge in the “Province of Québec”, while another 35,600 fled to Nova Scotia. Since at the time the combined population of Québec and Nova Scotia totalled 166,000, with Québec accounting for 113,000, one can imagine the extent to which the Loyalists transformed the demographic makeup of British North America, especially in the colony of Nova Scotia, and, as a result, the languages commonly spoken there. Apart from a few rare exceptions (for example, the French Huguenots), all the Loyalists who migrated to Canada were English speakers. (we could quibble with some of the details, but a good synopsis) from the U of Ottawa, Languages.
  • Podcast of Loyalists in early America. Features Christopher Minty as one of two main speakers. From The JuntoCast: a monthly podcast dedicated to roundtable discussions of issues related to early American history.
  • In the 1770s & 80s the English fashion was away from the bling of the French to clothing less ostentatious. In this case a Man’s jacket, from the ROM collection. And the ladies wore a 1780 woman’s kerchief embroidered with silk thread on cotton, from Colonial Williamburg.
  • A committee of historical reenactors takes umbrage with the History Channel’s popular miniseries Sons of Liberty, first aired January 25-27, 2015. Their letter raises several interesting points regarding the depiction of history in fiction, academic historians’ participation in pop culture, and representation of place in screenplays and television.
  • Being history-minded, many of us have a sense of our Prime Ministers. Here is a fun little review of them – Enjoy SALON Theatre’s The Prime Ministers Song

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Best, Adam – from Albert Smith
  • Best, Conrade – from Albert Smith
  • Burwell, James – from Bev Craig with certificate application
  • Ferriss, Joseph – from Ruth Nicholson
  • Snider (Snyder), John A. – (volunteer Sandra McNamara)
  • Snider, Elias Sr. – (volunteer Sandra McNamara)
  • Van Blarcom, Anthony – from Brody Daniel Mader

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

Last Post

Lola Jean Timson (nee Norsworthy), UE

Passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 22, 2015 at the Stedman Community Hospice in Brantford. Predeceased by husbands David H. Young and Roy Timson. Loving sister to Doris Thompson, Mable Fisher and Barbara Lalonde (Larry). Predeceased by siblings Ina Herod, Slim Norsworthy, Howard Norsworthy and Margaret Hunter. Will be sadly missed by her children Patricia (Rob) Kelderman, Beverley Balch, Jane Pettigrew, David (Denise) Young, Ken (Jenn) Young and Frank (Kim) Young. Dear grand mother to 12, great grand mother to 18 and great great grandmother to 2. Cremation has taken place as has a memorial service. Interment of ashes in Caledonia Cemetery.

Lola Timson, UE, was a valued member of the Grand River Branch and mother of the branch’s current President, Bev Balch, UE. Lola served the Branch well.

…Bill Terry, Grand River Branch

Jean Louise (Muma) (Chambers) Mellor

At University Hospital, London on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 Jean L. (Muma) (Chambers) Mellor of London in her 91st year. Beloved wife of J. Lloyd Mellor and the late Ronald W. Chambers (May 1997). Dear mother of James N. (Jim) Chambers and his partner Cindy L. Jenkins of London and Reverend Dr. Steven J. Chambers and his wife Reverend Beth Hayward of Vancouver, BC. Loving grandmother of John, Leah and Anna Chambers.

Beyond her own family, Jean cared greatly for Lloyd’s family, her church community and a wide circle of friends. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 from 9:30 am until the funeral service at 11:00 am at Calvary United Church, 290 Ridout Street South, London. Interment in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens, London. On-line condolences, memories and photographs accepted at www.amgfh.com.

Lloyd Mellor for many years served as a Vice-President of Gov. Simcoe Branch in Toronto until they moved to London to be near family a few years ago. Jean and Lloyd were active members.

Henry Gordon (Gary) Aitken, UE

Henry Gordon (Gary) Aitken, U.E., March 28th, 1941 – February 20th, 2015 It is with shock and heavy hearts that we announce Gary’s sudden passing at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. Gary was born in Montreal to Henry Gordon Aitken and Dorothy Hart (nee Kertland). He will be greatly missed by his wife Valerie (nee Josset), his sons Robert (Margaret) and Andrew, and his sisters Susan Haglund (Bruce) and Linda Kochman (William). Beloved Grandpa to Ian and Daniel. Gary will also be missed by his nieces and cousins. Gary was active in multiple groups including his roles as a Past President of the Grace Dart Foundation and a member of the board of directors of the Montreal Chest Institute Foundation of the MUHC. Gary was a proud United Empire Loyalist, an Ensign in the 78th Fraser Highlanders and an avid genealogist. His first compilation of family history “Good People” covering the history of the Kertlands in Canada was a work of passion and dedication. His second book “The Aitkens of the Island” was underway at the time of his passing. Gary had a proud career with Marsh & McLennan of 40 years in the Montreal office. Gary was a loving husband, a great father and a superstar in the eyes of his grandchildren. He will be sorely missed by all those whose lives he touched.

Donations can be made to the Grace Dart Foundation or the Montreal Chest Institute Foundation. A memorial will be held at a later date.

As Heritage Branch’s Branch Librarian, Gary was a major contributor to the running of our Branch and will be sorely missed.

…Robert Wilkins, UE


Response re Where Did The Loyal American Regiment Disband?

(Previous response)

I searched all through the St. John River settlement land records of the Loyal American Regiment for my ancestor Arthur Yeomans and I think I even hired a researcher in Fredericton in about 1999 to search his records as well for Arthur’s land. There wasn’t any record, but Arthur was reported at Sorel in the winter of 1783 with his son David. He was seen and reported by a Mr. Dorlands (Thomas and Phillip Dorland were with the Peter Van Alstine refugees in Adolphustown in 1784). This information about Arthur and David was on page 279 of the Old United Empire List, (the Rose Book). So, when I was writing a story about Arthur Youmans/Yeomans and his family I wrote that I thought he didn’t get any land in the St John River valley.

I wrote he didn’t have time in the fall of 1784 to go to St John to get land. The Loyal American Muster Rolls had a note that he had “gone to the country for his family”. I think this Muster Roll report was August 22, 1783. But the port of New York was handed over to the Americans on Sept. 15th of that year, so they probably left New York on one of the last troop ships leaving in September.

No doubt went directly to Quebec City and then in a river boat up to Sorel Island.

You might be interested that Arthur and his family didn’t get to Kingston to claim Loyalist land until 1787 so I thought they must have stayed in Montreal. I didn’t find any exact record of them in Montreal, but they had a son James born there and a grandson of Eleazer, their oldest son, remembered in his memoirs, that his grandfather had worked on the docks and spoke a bit a of French. Also, David wrote he was a blacksmith in his land records in Thurlow Twp. Hastings Co, (or maybe he said this in his Methodist Church reports), but my point was that these things could have happened in Montreal. Also, their youngest son Arthur who had a mill at Cherry Valley (near Picton Ontario) seemed to have gone to school. His will and his petitions were well done. And they had time for Arthur to go to school in Montreal, and I think Arthur had money to pay for it from his house sale in Smiths Clove in Orange Co., New York (but maybe not), when they were in Montreal.

I hope this helps you in your search.

Jean Norry