“Loyalist Trails” 2015-34: August 23, 2015

In this issue:
The Loyalist Ancestors of a Commercial Empire, by Stephen Davidson
Anthony and Andrew Westbrook (Part 13), by Doug Massey
Paul Holland Knowlton House Opens
Dedication: Stymiest & Riverside NB Loyalist Burial Grounds, and More
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
UE Loyalist Certificates Issued in July
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post: Patricia Corinne Craig Hughes, UE


The Loyalist Ancestors of a Commercial Empire, by Stephen Davidson

Looking back at history from the perspective of the present, there are very few surprise endings. We know how events were resolved, how wars were won or when a notable person died. Sometimes a mere name gives away the entire story. If you were to read a book about the Titanic, you would know that things are not going to go well once an iceberg is sighted.

But if I could be allowed to use a pseudonym for a loyalist family’s name, I might be able to share some history that does have a surprise ending — and that eventually connects to the Titanic itself.

Let’s call the loyalist family the Dranucs. Both the father, Robert Dranuc, and his son Abraham were loyalists, the descendants of German Quakers who had settled in Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia County.

Following the American Revolution, Robert decided to settle in Indiantown near Saint John, New Brunswick. Just 34 years old at the time, Robert was made a lieutenant in the local militia. His commission said that he had “jurisdiction over the territory from Nova Scotia to the Peninsula of Florida”. Hardly “local”!

Robert’s first wife was a native of Ireland whose family had settled in South Carolina; unnamed in the records, she seems to have died during the revolution. Some time after settling in New Brunswick, Robert married Elizabeth. She had been just a teenager when her loyalist family arrived at the mouth of the St. John River in 1783.

The refugee couple had several children, including Robert Junior and Thomas who lived, respectively, to be 88 and 95. These brothers, both Masons, could recall the early days of settlement, when Indiantown had only 8 or 10 houses, their materials having to be “brought from the States”. Except for a by-path, there was no communication with Saint John “other than water”.

When Elizabeth Dranuc died at 86 in 1852, her obituary noted that she “lived to see her descendants of the fourth generation”. What is not certain is if her family stayed in touch with her stepson, Abraham Dranuc who had settled in Halifax.

For reasons unknown, Abraham had not followed his father to New Brunswick. Instead, he accompanied the evacuated British forces to the garrison at Halifax where he was employed as a foreman carpenter with the army. Within four years of settling in Nova Scotia, he married Margaret Murphy. Their son Samuel was born in 1787. When Joseph was born in 1799, Abraham had been made the master carpenter to the Contingent Department of the Royal Engineers by no less a personage than Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent.

Ignoring the fact that he was supposed to “give up every other occupation” while a master carpenter, Abraham bought up land along the Halifax harbour and built wharves to capitalize on the British navy’s need for houses, docking facilities, and commercial premises during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. Abraham Dranuc would later be described as a “merchant, ship-owner, and entrepreneur” rather than a simply a loyalist carpenter.

Abraham and Margaret raised their children to be thrifty. The story survives of their Samuel knitting socks as he took the family cow to the Halifax commons. Both Samuel and Joseph sold vegetables from the family garden at the city’s market. Their early training in hard work and commerce would prove to be very helpful when the Dranuc boys reached manhood.

Samuel began by trading goods from the ships docked at his father’s wharves. In 1812, he entered into a partnership with his father to sell timber and to trade in sugar, molasses, and rum from the West Indies.

Samuel’s biographer, Phyllis Blakely notes that “Throughout his life Samuel was to carry out his belief that no one succeeded without application and close attention to business, and he was long remembered for his brisk step, quick and ready movements, and his air of “push.” He had the skill to choose for his staff men of high calibre who were hard and faithful workers and to inspire them to work as quickly as he did.”

Samuel’s brothers, Joseph and Henry, struck out for Chatham, New Brunswick where they became involved in lumbering, milling, and shipping. By 1832, Joseph had become one of the wealthiest merchants in New Brunswick and was the owner of two shipyards.

Seven years later, Joseph accompanied Samuel to England. There the two wealthy sons of a Pennsylvania loyalist obtained a contract to carry transatlantic mail by steamship. From this point on, the fortunes of the Dranuc family mushroomed. Their company, the British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company ran the fastest transatlantic ships for the next thirty years.

When the company fell behind its competitors, the Inman and White Star Lines, it reorganized itself under a new name in 1879. And the name? Simply spell the pseudonym “Dranuc” backwards. The son of a loyalist carpenter founded the line that eventually became the Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd.

Samuel Cunard, the loyalist’s son, died in 1865, fourteen years before the company that he founded would bear his family’s name. Two of its superliners that were built in the early 20th century are still known a hundred years later. The Mauretania held the speed record for crossing the Atlantic for twenty years. The Lusitania was the largest passenger ship in the world when it was launched in 1906. And that’s where we connect the final “dots” to the Titanic.

In an effort to surpass the Cunard Line, the White Star Line commissioned the building of its Olympic class vessels. The Titanic, the largest ship in the world, was launched in 1911. When it tried to become the fastest ship to make the trip between England and the United States in 1912, it ran into an iceberg and became the most infamous of all shipwrecks.

In 1934, the two rival companies merged to form the Cunard-White Star Line. Sixteen years later, the company rebranded itself as the Cunard Line. Today, a company that bears a loyalist family’s name operates the only transatlantic passenger service between North America and Europe.


It is only Lorenzo Sabine who claims that Robert was Abraham’s father. Their connection has no other verification. The two loyalists may only share a common surname rather than a common genealogy.)

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

Anthony and Andrew Westbrook (Part 13), by Doug Massey

© Doug Massey, UE

Two Myths

Both Americans looking at their Revolution, and Canadians viewing the War of 1812, created similar myths, myths that substituted a patriotic narrative of glory and unity for the horror and division of the actual combat. The parallel is really quite uncanny. On August 6, 1877, New Yorkers “celebrated” the one hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Oriskany with a huge gathering that featured marching bands, military units, and the descendants of the veterans who fought in the battle. The festivities also included glowing speeches by political dignitaries such as Lt.- Governor Dorsheimer who addressed his brother “sturdy Germans” telling them that their forefathers at Oriskany, simple farmers with little military training, had stood their ground and fought all day such that “the Indians… had enough and did not want to fight ‘Dutch Yankee anymore'”. [76] Not to be outdone, the Honourable W. J. Bacon followed, claiming that these same sacred dead had “stood at the pass of a modern Thermopylae, at Fort Stanwix, and stopped St. Leger, like the Greeks stopped the Persians….” [77] Three years later, in Ontario, Egerton Ryerson echoed Bacon’s metaphor when speaking of the War of 1812. Waxing eloquent, he announced,

The Spartan bands of Canadian Loyalist Volunteers… aided by a few hundred English soldiers and civilized Indians, repelled the Persian thousands of democratic American invaders and maintained the virgin soil of Canada unpolluted by the foot of the plundering invader. [78]

In reality, Thermopylae was a bloody slaughterhouse and so an apt analogy for the Battles of Oriskany or Lundy’s Lane. But from the point of view of those who faced the horror of battle, where was the glory? And there was none to be celebrated in Tryon County or among the “Indians” immediately after Oriskany. Five hundred Tryon militiamen died that day, and there was no talk anywhere in the county of a glorious victory, just stunned silence and tears. Pretty much every family mourned the loss of a loved one and faced the prospect of famine, for who would harvest the crops? On the British side, Seneca losses were so high that they considered the battle a defeat. And following the battle, the Oneida village of Oriska was destroyed and many of its inhabitants were killed out of revenge. During the War of 1812, the Niagara Peninsula, like Port Talbot, Delaware Township and Oxford County, was repeatedly attacked, as the Mohawk and Schoharie Valley settlements had been during the American Revolution. The pattern was ever the same — settlers murdered or left destitute, facing famine. Then after 1814, Upper Canada was hit by a depression that lasted two decades. What is to be celebrated in any of this?

Along with glory, the myths featured unity. In 1874, Canadian Agnes Machar proudly declared, “…in town, village and sparsely populated townships the staunch Canadians rose as one man to stand by the old flag…to fight to the death for King, country and home”. [79] In the late 19th Century and early Twentieth, it was unpatriotic to think otherwise.

The Upper Canada militia myth developed as a result of a deliberate and sometimes expedient reinterpretation of events that served a political and social usefulness during and after the War of 1812. [80]

Indeed the myth began during the war itself as part of British propaganda, and as an attempt by men such as Bishop John Strachan to silence disaffection. If Canadians rose as one, why did so many settlers leave the province to avoid militia duty at the beginning of the war? Why during and after the war was Delaware Township a “nightmare of split families, neighbour against neighbour…and family hatreds [created] that would last generations”? [81] Why was Andrew Westbrook able to find other men of Oxford to accompany him on his raids and with such success? Why did Benejah Mallory of Burford, or Joseph Wilcox and others from farther afield form the Canadian Volunteers and fight for the Americans? Why was there a need for the Bloody Assizes in Ancaster in 1814? Had the British been able to capture Andrew Westbrook, there would have been nine, not eight men executed at Burlington Heights on July 20, 1814. Here was an attempt to quash any further support for the enemy. In 1813, and 1814, British officials and the local conservative elite faced disunity and answered with hysteria, the same kind of folly exhibited by many Committees of Safety during the early years of the American Revolution in their heavy handed treatment of moderate Loyalists.

For the longest time, Americans have considered it “the most unthinkable kind of un-American behavior” to see disunity as part of their Revolution. [82] In the 1970’s, J.W. Beardslee, pointed out that Dutchmen, like others of the American Revolution have been depicted as

…almost to a man enlightened, liberty loving Americans who backed the national self government with enthusiasm, suffered willingly for the cause and stood at the forefront of the Patriotic rising against the backward and oppressive British. Dutch Tories were few…a little group of rich magnates and officials guided by self-interest and quite out of touch with the spiritual dynamic of their community. [83]


[76] The Battle of Oriskany, Address of Lieutenant-Governor Dorsheimer.

[77] Ibid., Address of Hon. W.J. Bacon.

[78] J.L. Granatstein, Canada’s Army: Waging War and Keeping The Peace, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 2010, pg. 4.

[79] Steven D. Bennett, “The Militia Myth in the War of 1812,” quoting Agnes Machar, For King and Country, Adam Stevenson and Co., 1874, pg. 167.

[80] Ibid.

[81] J. Maher, op cit.

[82] John W. Beardslee, in “The American Revolution,” ed. James W. Van Hoeven, op cit., pg. 17.

[83] Ibid.

Doug Massey

Paul Holland Knowlton House Opens

The Historic Paul Holland Knowlton log house open to the public after being saved from demolition. Visitors to the house will be able to read about Knowlton and the United Empire Loyalists. (short article, brief video). The Loyalists came to celebrate and offer support, an article in the Aug 18 issue of the Brome County News notes the presence of many Loyalists and comments by Anne Redish, VP of Central East Region, UELAC. Heritage Branch, UELAC, represented by President Robert Wilkins UE made a donation towards the restoration and maintenance of the house; accepted by Donald Gray-Donald, President of the Brome County Historical Society.

Dedication: Stymiest & Riverside NB Loyalist Burial Grounds, and More

The STYMIEST Cemetery and the RIVERSIDE Cemetery located in Tabusintac, Northumberland County, New Brunswick, a small village on the northwest side of Miramichi River were designated as Loyalist Burial Grounds at the Stymiest Family Reunion and Old home Week this August 1-8.

Carl Stymiest UE, UELAC Dominion Archivist and Co-President of Vancouver Branch UELAC nominated and identified these two cemeteries as Loyalist Burial Grounds. Two of Carl’s loyalist ancestors are buried in each of these cemeteries. In fact, the Stymiest Cemetery is part of the original land grant that Benjamin Stymiest, Jr. obtained from the crown in 1785.

Read the article with photos from Carl Stymiest UE.

Journey Through New Brunswick

In late July, Co-President of the UELAC Vancouver Branch and UELAC Dominion Archivist, Carl Stymiest UE visited the Maritimes to attend two huge Reunions:

1. The 50th Reunion of his T/C Class of 1965 from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, York Co., New Brunswick in late July.

2. the 65th Old Home Week and Family Reunion in Tabusintac, Northumberland Co., New Brunswick.

Read about the many stops, visits and activities that Carl participated in and enjoyed during his summer Journey Through New Brunswick.

Where in the World?

Where is Donna Little of Vancouver Branch?

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.

  • Saturday, August 29th, 2:00 p.m. – Hamilton Branch will be plaquing the DeForest Pioneer Cemetery at the corner of Derry Road and Walkers Line, Milton, Ontario. The unveiling of the Loyalist Burial Plaque is in honour of Abraham DeForest UEL. All are invited to attend the ceremony at 2:00 p.m.
  • Saturday Sept. 12, 2015 – St Lawrence Branch Charter Night Banquet. will be at St. Mathew’s Presbyterian Church, Ingleside, Ontario. (on Google, search for 15 Memorial Sq., South Stormont ON, Canada. The social time starts at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 6 p.m. Tickets $20.00 per person. Contact lynnecook@personainternet.com or 613 543 2045; fancylass@hotmail.com or 613 821 2327 before September 7th. The Guest speaker will be Murray Barkley, an author from Avonmore.
  • On Saturday Sept. 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm the family of Capt. William Park and Pvt. Elijah Williams will be holding a dedication service at the Gore Cemetery, (1467 Trafalgar St – near the Hale St roundabout) London,. to honour their service during the War of 1812-1815. All are welcome. For more details about the relationship between the two details and about the event, read this. (Sue Hines, Mark Morse)

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • interesting article about the Tantramar Marshes area near Sackville NB, first settled by Acadians, then Planters, and then a number of Loyalists. (Mount Allison University)
  • An ongoing project at the Lake George Battlefield Park site has uncovered sections of a stone wall that project lead archaeologist David Starbuck believes belong to a British fort dated to 1759.
  • Brandywine, site of a pivotal defeat during the American Revolution, is often overlooked. Nearly 250 years later, the rolling battlefields are still largely pristine. It’s not as well known as Gettysburg, but the Battle of Brandywine — a turning point in the Revolutionary War — might have had an even more dramatic effect on American history. Even though it cost the fledgling nation its capital. [short, just a few notes]
  • African Americans in the Revolutionary War: a summary of the practice and experience on both sides. [posted in RevWarTalk]
  • St. Mary’s Church [photo] at Auburn, N.S. consecrated 1790 by Loyalist Charles Inglis, first Anglican Bishop of N.S. Plaque [photo] in remembrance of Charles Inglis, UEL, at the same church. [Brian McConnell]
  • While looking around in back issues of The Globe, I came across this portrait of John Graves Simcoe in the July 2, 1892 issue. It’s scan from microfilm, so there are a few wear lines on it. [David Raymont]
  • Canada’s First Railway. July 21, 1836, a wood-burning steam locomotive chugged out of La Prairie, Quebec, pulling the first train on the first public railroad in Canada.
  • Museums face challenges: over-abundance of artifacts from donations being one of them. Some will expand, but as the New Brunswick museum found out, the space into which they wish to grow – their backyard – has historic artifacts which could prove to be a problem, or an opportunity.

UE Loyalist Certificates Issued in July

Many of you readers have UE Loyalist ancestors; a good number have genealogically proven their descent and been awarded a Loyalist Certificate stating that fact. The certificates approved in July have been noted on the website in two places.

(1) Late in 2012, the certificate application form was revised so that those people who would like their name, branch and ancestor to be listed on the UELAC website and in the Loyalist Gazette could authorize that on their application. These have been listed since late 2012 at List of Certificates.

(2) Also, when authorized, the descendant’s name is included in the ancestor’s record in the Loyalist Directory.

Check these out for more details. Many of these same people have given approval to post their certificate application (pages one to nine, after removing personal information) in the Loyalist Directory. In order to do that though, we need the computer version of the application (pages 1 – 9); if you have a computer version of your application form which has not yet been posted, please email it to the editor loyalist.trails@uelac.org so that it too can be added.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Forbes, Alexander [a British soldier] – from Carol Harding
  • Cosman (Cossman), James – from John Noble

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

Last Post: Patricia Corinne Craig Hughes, UE

In Loving Memory of Patricia Corinne Craig HUGHES UE On August 9th, 2015, beloved wife of the late Donald J. Hughes (2015), dear mother of the late James Craig Hughes UE (2013). Predeceased by her parents L. Leigh Craig, UE (1972 ) and Cora Marshall Craig(1977). “Mama P.” will be sadly missed by her adopted family Judy Heath, Tom Adamtau, Tim, Heather, Alicia, and Dawson Wilson.

She was the Last Regent of Lord Halifax Chapter of the I.O.D.E., life member of Loretto Alumnae and the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, member of St. Andrews United Church, Niagara Falls and was the welcome wagon hostess for 8 years. A private burial has taken place in Lundy’s Lane Cemetery, Niagara Falls. As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations to the charity of one’s choice would be appreciated and may be made through Hetherington & Deans Funeral Chapel, 905-354-5614.

Patricia was a long time member of Col. John Butler(Niagara) Branch, United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada. While serving as Vice President, she played a major role in the successful revival of Col. John Butler Branch by initiating the very popular luncheon meetings. Pat was very proud of her Loyalist ancestors Christopher and James Craig. She will be missed.

…Bev Craig, UE, Col. John Butler Branch