“Loyalist Trails” 2015-26: June 28, 2015

In this issue:
Loyalist-Era Lie Detector, by Stephen Davidson
Anthony and Andrew Westbrook (Part 5), by Doug Massey
Vancouver Branch Presents BC Heritage Awards
The Haudenosaunee Flag Moves West
Book: Descendants of Francis Harris UEL, by Ross McCurdy
Where in the World is Jo Ann Tuskin?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post: Mary Bernice Levitt (née Peterson)
      + Samuel Demarest (Demaray) Family
      + Lundy’s Lane United Church and Loyalists


Loyalist-Era Lie Detector, by Stephen Davidson

Molly Rideout Carroll was the wife of the Maryland loyalist Joseph Carroll. Wrenched from her home in New Brunswick by the promise of better opportunities, Molly and her eight sons followed Joseph to Upper Canada. They arrived just two years before the first guns were fired in the War of 1812. Leaping from one bad situation to another, it is little wonder that Molly suffered from depression for the next three years. It took a fire that totally destroyed the Carroll home to snap her out of her “melancholy”.

Ready to face life once again, Molly packed up the family’s remaining belongings and put them in a two-horse wagon. She then took the youngest of her brood from Grand River to Niagara while her husband and older sons fought in the war. Despite all of the hardship of a marriage troubled by alcoholism and depression, Molly showed remarkable ingenuity as she solved the mystery of who stole ten dollars from a farmer. It all happened at the farm of George Lawrence, just four miles outside of Niagara.

Molly’s son, John, was also impressed by his mother’s ingenuity, so much so that he included a particularly memorable incident in his autobiography. The story of how Mrs Carroll created a lie detector to solve a theft is recorded in her son’s book, My Boy Life.

“Some person in the house had lost ten dollars (in two five dollar bills, I think), and search was made for it in vain; and every person disclaimed all knowledge of the money.

But a hired girl, out of a low family, one Maria Gesso, because of her antecedents, was suspected, but denied the perpetration of the theft.

Mother devised a plan of detecting her, or frightening her to return the money. One day she said, in the cook-house without, to young Mr. Peter Lawrence, purposely, when Maria was within hearing, “Peter, I have a plan for finding out the money-thief”

“How is that, Mrs. Carroll?”

“I will go to-night to the barn and fetch in one of the young roosters, and put it under a tub; and, every person in the house shall put his hand under the tub and stroke the chicken’s back; and when the person who stole the money touches him, he will crow.

Her intention was to daub the back of the fowl with something which would adhere to the hand. She knew that the guilty person would fear to touch him; and when palms were scrutinized, when the course of stroking was gone through with, the person with a clean hand would be charged with the theft, and if necessary searched. But the necessity for this “hocus-pocus” work was rendered unnecessary by the money being left on one of the beds in plain open sight, where the guilty person knew it would be found.

It was found, and restored to its owner.”

Loyalist women served the crown as spies, cooks, and seamstresses. They hid fugitives and operated the family farm in their husbands’ absence. Sometimes their greatest service was to keep the home fires burning in a world turned upside down. Thanks to her son’s memoir, we can see the kind of homely entertainment that members of Molly Carroll’s household enjoyed in York after 1815.

“To have room for the whole family and labouring men whom they sometimes hired and boarded, and accommodation for their cattle and teams, they had to have larger premises. … The building was only of logs, but they were new, and they were dressed, or ” hewed,” as it was called. True, there was only five rooms in all, besides a capacious cellar, which served to store our potatoes and apples. There was also a barn and horse-stable, with sheds.

The reason why the remembrance of this homely place is so precious to me is this: all the brothers excepting William (lately married) were still at home, and he was often there. There was then a great deal more talking than reading. Most persons were dependent on conversations or oral communications for learning and mental entertainment; and our household contained several very great talkers.

The oldest boys had all seen life, and had their war stories to rehearse. Scores of old comrades or war acquaintances called and remained a longer or shorter space. Father was an old man of long observation in the world in Ireland, the old Colonies, New Brunswick, and Canada. He had experiences as a mechanic, a soldier in two wars, farmer, lumberman, hunter, fisher, and I know not what else, with a great memory and great volubility.

Mother, too, had her tales from her own side of the house, relating to two or three generations which extended back to New Brunswick, and both New and Old England. Then, there were some half-dozen others, who in some way belonged to the household and joined the circle around the large open fire in the largest room, which was kitchen, parlour, dining, and sitting-room all in one. …

Next to story-telling of all kinds, song-singing was one of the ingredients of our social enjoyment. None of these songs were very bad, but I fear they would all fall under the condemnatory prohibition of John Wesley, as those which “do not lead to the knowledge and love of God.” Father was a melodious singer, with a memory well stored with songs of all kinds embracing love, war, and Masonry.”

Molly Carroll and her family enjoyed simple pleasures to see them through the long cold winters and the dark nights of the summer. These quieter, happier hours must have helped in healing psychological scars from the uprootedness experienced by so many loyalist families. And as we have seen with the “lie detector”, loyalist wives such as Molly Carroll could — when required display the wisdom of King Solomon despite having suffered from tragedy and overwhelming circumstances. Molly is an example of just the kind of people we needed to build a new nation.

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

Anthony and Andrew Westbrook (Part 5), by Doug Massey

© Doug Massey UE

What were the immediate implications of Anthony’s decision in 1777 for Sara, nine-year old Elizabeth, three-year-old Andrew, and baby Haggai? There are a number of possibilities. They may still have been on the family farm, eking out a subsistent existence and hungry. Were they shunned and persecuted there by neighbours, or other Westbrook family members who were Patriots? They may have been in jail at Goshen or elsewhere. [30] Or they may have been held at Fort Dekker in Minisink. In an interview years later, a Solomon J. Westbrook stated, “A son of this Westbrook had his family there and all his goods. He turned out to be a Tory and went and got Brant to come down through the valley.” [31] If by “there” Solomon Westbrook meant Fort Dekker, then after having helped burn down that fort in 1779, Anthony took away his remaining family to Fort Niagara under rather harrowing conditions – in the midst of the Sullivan Campaign.

There is yet another possibility. Early in 1777, Loyalists were ordered to take the oath of allegiance to the United States, or remove with their families within the British lines. This decision was vigorously enforced, and in April 1778 a second law strengthened this act and made banishment perpetual after July 18, 1778. Sometime in 1778, Anthony’s farm, property, everything, was confiscated by the local committee of safety. [32] If Sara and the children were still there, they would have been forced to leave. Perhaps they trekked to Oquaga New York, Brant’s home base on the Susquehanna River. If that were so they would have become homeless again in October when Oquaga was utterly destroyed by American forces. For a second time they would have been refugees. This time they would have faced the long, dangerous three hundred-kilometre trek west to Fort Niagara, arriving there in late 1778 or early 1779 along with a company of two hundred and eighty-seven former residents of Oquaga. [33]

But whatever scenario, Andrew was but five or six years old and had already faced much more upheaval than a child his age should ever have to do. With Anthony off fighting for extended periods, spiritual guidance would be left up to their mother, or to an army chaplain or a lay preacher if present. Where Anthony had grown up with all the benefits of a religious Dutch Reformed education and caring community, this was not the experience of the Westbrook children at Niagara. “No fixed address” had become part of their lives. The time of want had just begun. For Andrew, camp life, disease, rations, hunger, cold, and an absent father were a large part of his life for the next decade, and would greatly shape his character for the rest of his days.

At Fort Niagara, Dr. McCausland, surgeon of the 8th or King’s Regiment, was the busiest man in the place. His days were crammed full with patients since, “…everybody suffered from malnutrition, scurvy, respiratory complaints, malaria, and all kinds of digestive upsets”. [34] People were scattered up and down the Niagara River in huts and tents in the six miles or more between Fort Niagara and the landing (present day Lewiston) and beyond. [35] Brant’s Volunteers may have been located on small farms near Buffalo Creek (opposite present day Fort Erie). [36] As well there were Walter Butler, all the Rangers, most of the Indian Department, thousands of Haudenosaune allies, and throngs of other Loyalist refugees, their families, and numerous prisoners. [37] Most were hungry. Ironically, much of this had to do with the British successes of 1778. Raids had been made on Cobleskill, Wyoming, Springfield, Andreus Town, German Flats, Minisink, and Cherry Valley. The burning of the Mohawk, Schoharie and Hudson valleys was devastating. These raids, which owed much of their success to Loyalists such as Anthony Westbrook, had destroyed towns, farmhouses, barns and crops. The rebels went hungry in the winter of 1778-79 because there was very little grain to be had. But then so too did almost everyone at Niagara.

For young Andrew Westbrook and his siblings, their father became a stranger. Brant’s Volunteers were “almost irremittingly on actual service” throughout the war. [38] For Anthony who stayed with Brant from 1777 to 1781 this meant long campaigns, danger and great privation. The earliest specific evidence we have of Anthony’s service comes with the First Minisink raid of October 13, 1778 when Brant and company swooped down on the “upper neighbourhood”, killing Philip Swartout Sr., two of his sons, and Joseph Westfall. All had been active rebels. Swartout Sr., as a member of the local committee of safety, had ordered the confiscation of Anthony Westbrook’s property earlier that year. The raiders got clear away after causing damage and great alarm. Later, on July 7, Anthony and others were indicted in absentia for the murder of Joseph Westfall; and Anthony, his brother Joel ( later in Butler’s Rangers in Captain Dame’s company) and others, were found guilty in the murder of Philip Swartout. [39] Anthony was now a murderer in the eyes of his former neighbours in Minisink. If ever caught, he would be hanged. But that did not deter him from coming back.

This resolution might have squared him with his conscience, but at the same time it exposed Sara and the family to dire consequences. His political decision would also be Sara’s: In the heated atmosphere of the times, a wife’s expected loyalty to her husband, once a private commitment, would become a political act if he refused to renounce his loyalty to the king. And the children would be judged guilty by association. All would be considered traitors. Moreover, the family would be split up. Anthony was away fighting, yes, but if twelve-year-old Alexander were left home with Sara, he could be arrested and forced into the rebel army. To avoid this, Anthony may have been forced to take the lad with him with all the attendant dangers of war.


[30] New York in the Revolution as Colony and State, Vol. 44, Comptroller’s Office, Albany, 1904, pg. 233. Record of women and children held in Goshen Jail, July — Nov. 1776.

[31] Solomon J. Westbrook, interviewed by Solomon Van Etten, 1889.

[32] New York in the Revolution as Colony and State, Vol. 44, pg. 258.

[33] Isabel T. Kelsay, op cit., pg. 235.

[34] Ibid., pg. 236.

[35] Ibid., pg. 275-76.

[36] Ibid., pg. 324. Some were there in 1782, “raising corn and vegetables.”

[37] Ibid., pg. 235.

[38] Ibid., pg. 192.

[39] Kenneth Scott, “Ulster County New York Court Records 1779-1782”, The National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 1, March 1980.

Doug Massey

Vancouver Branch Presents BC Heritage Awards

British Columbia operates a cross-province program of Heritage Fairs for students. From school or community projects and competitions, the better projects proceed to regional fairs and then the best at a provincial fair.

Vancouver Branch participates each year. This year has selected fifteen from Vancouver and another five from other regions for awards.

Congratulations to the recipients, and to Vancouver Branch for offering the awards. Read more about the BC program, and see who were awarded the twenty prizes and for which project – click here.

…Carl Stymiest UE, Vancouver Branch

The Haudenosaunee Flag Moves West

At the UELAC 2015 National Loyalists Come West Conference held recently in Victoria, BC, a Six Nations / Iroquois Confederacy or Haudenosaunee Flag was presented by Conference Co-Chairperson, Carl Stymiest UE to each of Victoria and the Thompson-Okanagan Branches on behalf of David Kanowakeron Hill Morrison UE, Central West Regional Councillor, United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada (UELAC) and member of the Grand River Branch.

This photo shows the subsequent flag presentation from Sheila Brownrigg UE to the Thompson Okanagan Branch President William Adams UE at the branch’s 20th Anniversary Luncheon June 20th at the Prestige Inn. There were 12 in attendance. Cake was beautiful and good camaraderie.

…Pat Kelderman, Thompson Okanagan Branch

I’m truly honoured and moved by the thoughtfulness of the Pacific Region Branches. By expressing a desire to include the flag of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy with two other solemn symbols of allegiance — the Maple Leaf and the Union Flags — this gesture acknowledges the sacrifices and fidelity of the Loyal Haudenosaunee alongside their United Empire Loyalist friends and neighbours. Together, our ancestors faced a common foe and stood firm in their united commitment to defend a principle and a just cause. Today, as then, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy recognizes the many nuances that give rise to a better way of life for us all. Joseph Thayendanegea Brant’s visionary convictions would be validated — over and over — in the many decades to follow his life. Truly, from sea to sea to sea, the flag of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy now flies proudly as a reminder of yet another contribution made by the First Nations of Canada. For that, I’m pleased and grateful to all who were and are involved. Loyally

…Dave (David Kanowakeron Hill Morrison UE)

We missed you enormously at the Conference!! You were with us in spirit and among us in our thoughts and conversations — and prayers.

His Honour Steven L. Point (previous Lieutenant Governor, BC) spoke at our Carman United Church about a month and a half ago. I mentioned you to him. We opened up the opportunity for anyone in the community to come and hear him talk. Had a wonderful crowd.

Then, just last week, Tues/Wed June 16/17, I spent two wonderful days in the Sto:lo Squiala Band Long House in Chilliwack as a representative of Carman United Church. It was called Bright New Day First Nations Reconciliation Circles. People came from various parts of BC and around the Fraser Valley. Sponsorships, First Nations, Community Leaders, University Professors, etc. His Honour, Steven Point, spoke there as did many others. He calls me Mrs. Dargatz because I was his teacher at Sardis Secondary School (a few years ago!). I told folks at our gathering about “Your Flag” which we are so honoured to have and to fly!

…Shirley Dargatz UE, Chilliwack Branch

Book: Descendants of Francis Harris UEL, by Ross McCurdy

Francis Harris (1740-1816) came from Dutchess County, NY in 1783 to Sandy Cove in Nova Scotia. He and his first wife Catharina Lent had two children: Peter and Catharine. He and his second wife Engeltjie Vandewater had four children: Stephen, Hannah, Francis, and Sarah. Francis lived out his life in Sandy Cove, where he is buried.

Catharine, Stephen, and Francis moved to Ontario. Peter and Hannah remained in Nova Scotia, and Sarah, not listed in the will of Francis, apparently died young.

Today descendants are scattered all over the U.S. and Canada, with some of the more frequent names being Burns, Carty, Comfort, Corson, Crowell, Edison, Eldridge, Fulton, Gidney, Harris, Kennedy, Kentner, McCurdy, Merritt, Morehouse, Outhouse, Patterson, Peterson, Royce, Saunders, Scott, Scriver, Thompson, and Winchester.

The book (picture) has a wealth of genealogical data, but where accurate information was available, “flesh was added to the bones”. It has 270 pages with 2 indices – one of descendants and one of othe names.. Cost $14 US + postage. Contact the compiler, Ross W. McCurdy, at rwmccurdy@comcast.net

Author: Ross McCurdy. Over the years he has published such books on a number of Loyalists: Wm Elsworth of Grand Lake, NB; John Stilwell of Grand Lake, NB; Abraham House of Elgin County, ON; James Matthews of Norfolk County, ON. If enough new information is accumulated, each of these may be republished. The edition of the book about Daniel Hazen of Walsingham Twp, ON is a final edition, hardcover, which is available at $30 US + postage.

Where in the World?

Where is Gov. Simcoe Branch member Jo Ann Tuskin?

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.

  • Kawartha Branch celebrated Loyalist Day both here in Peterborough and in Lindsay on Friday, June 19, 2015, with Graham Hart UE, long-time television personality at CHEX Television, as our Master of Ceremonies at both the flag-raising ceremonies at Peterborough City Hall, and again, in the afternoon at the Olde Lindsay Gaol. Read, see and hear the coverage on CHEX television. Bob McBride
  • Hamilton Branch’s Loyalist Day celebration included Robin McKee who had a slide show of a good number of early Loyalist settlers to the area now downtown Hamilton who are buried in the Hamilton Cemetery on York Street.
  • Young Family Reunion Sat. 11 July at Caledonia. Adam Young and Catharine (Schremling) Young lived in the Mohawk Valley when the American Revolution started. Adam and his four sons all joined the Butler’s Rangers. One son died during the war. Adam and his remaining sons were offered Brant Leases. Adam settled on the Young Tract along the Grand River near present day Caledonia. At the 17th Annual Young reunion their grandson and Daniel Young’s son Peter Young will be honoured by placing a veteran of the War of 1812 graveside marker at his grave located in the Caledonia Old Methodist Cemetery. See the announcement. Bill Young UE (through Daniel Young) billyoungue@gmail.com
  • The 4th Annual Loyalist Day Picnic in Queens Park, New Westminster, BC hosted by Vancouver Branch is scheduled for Sunday, July 19th, 2015. See the poster.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Black Loyalists Heritage Centre chronicles turbulent history. The impressive new museum opened this month. It tells the story of the Black Loyalists (CBC)
  • Several provincial Loyalist Days have been celebrated so far this year; more to come. Never to late to drink to “Loyalists”
  • Battle of Bunker Hill fought outside Boston on this date (June 17) in 1775. One of the earliest American views of the battle in this painting.
  • Sez Who? Why citation is a hard lesson to learn. A short article on being accurate as a genealogist/family historian. Verify everything. Record and lost everything you found, and where. Short article (a good quick read) from Kawartha Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Corey, Gideon – from Shirley Thorne with certificate application
  • Phillips, Jacob – from Guylaine Petrin & David Phillips & Elizabeth Maize with certificate application

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

Last Post: Mary Bernice Levitt (née Peterson)

Peacefully, on June 17, 2015 at Mount Sinai Hospital. Loving wife of the late George William Levitt; mother to Peter; mother-in-law to Michelle; and Gramma to Megan and Kaitlyn; loving sister to the late Bruce Peterson (the late Barbara), she will be missed by her nieces and nephews. Born March 13, 1927, Mary, known as Bernice, graduated from the University of Toronto (MA), 1949. She was a dedicated Ontario Public Servant for 35 years, a philanthropist, environmentalist and historian.

Active member of the Islington United Church Women (UCW), United Empire Loyalist Association and Genealogical Society of Ontario. She will be missed. A Memorial Visitation will be held for Bernice at the Islington United Church, 25 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W., on Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 1 p.m., until time of Memorial Service at 2 p.m. Arrangements entrusted to the Turner & Porter Butler Chapel, 416-231-2283. In memory of Bernice donations may be made to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Online condolences may be made through www.turnerporter.ca.

Bernice received her Loyalist Certificates as a descendant of Nicholas Peterson Sr and of his son Nicholas Jr., both Loyalists. Nicholas Sr. settled in Ernestown, Lennox & Addington in Ontario in what became Upper Canada, now Ontario. Bernice was a member of Toronto Branch, and more recently also of Gov. Simcoe Branch.


Samuel Demarest (Demaray) Family

I’ve been researching my family history for some time and have hit a bit of a road block with an ancestor, Samuel Demarest (Demaray) who was born in NJ and emigrated to Sutton Twp about 1780 with his young family. Eventually his sons moved on to Whitby Ontario, and I believe he did too. I am trying to determine if Samuel was a Loyalist (his father Nicholas, was a Patriot), and if not why would he move his family to the Eastern Twp? Any information or pointers for more research would be appreciated.

Although Ontarian born and bred, I am now living in the USA.

Aingeal Stone

Lundy’s Lane United Church and Loyalists

I am interested in doing a short write up about the closing of Lundy’s Lane United Church and the Loyalists who are buried in the cemetery there. Does anyone have Loyalist ancestors buried there, or know where I can find information about said Loyalist families. Thanks in advance for any help.

Donna Magee