“Loyalist Trails” 2016-01: January 3, 2016

In this issue:
Conference 2016: Getting to and from PEI
1780, The Loyalist Leap Year (Part Two): A Loyalist Soldier’s Diary, by Stephen Davidson
An ‘Exceedingly Fortunate Campaign’, by Capt. J. MacDonald
A Teacher’s Resource for Ontario UELAC Studies Available Online
Update on Book: American Loyalists to New Brunswick
Can We? Reflections on “Refugees: Yesterday and Today”
Sheet Music for “Loyalists’ March”
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Bertha Scott (nee Ryerse), UE
      + Further Record that Donald McDonell Killed at Fort Stanwix NY
      + Montmorency Falls and Sir John Johnson


Conference 2016: Getting to and from PEI

The 2016 UELAC Conference in Summerside PEI will be hosted by the Branches of the Atlantic Region: Abegweit, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on July 7-10. Information about the conference is now available online.

A “welcome” stands by the gate to the Loyalist Country Inn.

Getting to and from PEI

About 150 years ago, the only way to get to PEI from the mainland during the winter time was to pay for passage on one of the ice-boats that ran periodically between New Brunswick and PEI. You would have to man an oar and be prepared to help slide the ice-boat across the floating ice. No meal service. Occasionally passengers were known to perish during the passage to the Island.

Fortunately, less brutal modes of travel are available for today’s traveller. Nine flights land daily in Charlottetown from Halifax (4), Montreal(1) and Toronto (4). You can get a 10% discount with Air Canada by using promotion code AGJ6A991,valid 30 June-17 July through on line bookings. Also a 10% discount is available through WestJet between July 6th-July 17 by quoting promotion code YYG02 and coupon code KRENYGW at the time of booking.

If you were bringing your car to the conference, there is no charge to get onto the Island but getting off is a different matter. $46.00 if you leave via the Confederation Bridge and it is $70.00 if you choose the ferry to Nova Scotia.

Peter Van Iderstine, Abegweit Branch

1780, The Loyalist Leap Year (Part Two): A Loyalist Soldier’s Diary

© Stephen Davidson, UE

“There is not a regiment or detachment of his Majesty’s service, that ever went through the fatigues, or suffered so much, as our detachment”. Thus wrote Anthony Allaire at the end of 1780. Allaire was a New York loyalist who served as a lieutenant in the Loyal American Volunteers. Most of his tour of duty was in North and South Carolina. His many exploits fill the diary that he kept in 1780 – a journal that he took with him as he sought sanctuary in British North America three years later.

February 29th had already come and gone when Allaire put ink to paper to record the march of 1,500 loyalists and regular soldiers from Savannah, Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina. March fourteenth was marred by a skirmish between Allaire’s American Volunteers and the British Dismounted Legion; each thought the other was a rebel corps. In addition to a number of wounded, the friendly fire incident resulted in the deaths of two of Allaire’s men and one from the Legion.

The march to Charleston, South Carolina was slowed by having to repair bridges along the way. Col. Banstre Tarleton, a noted British officer, joined the advancing army as it marched into Jacksonburgh, “a pleasant little place…but the inhabitants are all rebels…the women were treated very tenderly, and with the utmost civility, notwithstanding their husbands were out in arms against us.”

Two days later, Allaire described how one officer did his king and country justice “by protecting friends, and widows, and destroying Rebel property; also to collect livestock for the use of the army, all of which we effect as we go, by destroying furniture, breaking windows, etc., taking all their horned cattle, horses, mules, sheep, fowls, etc., and their negroes to drive them.”

After numerous skirmishes with rebels, Allaire’s regiment arrived at a point across the river from Charleston at the end of March. Here they endured “constant firing at our works from the rebels all day.” Despite the ongoing assaults, on April 8th, the British fleet “hove in sight, coming up under full sail”, passing the rebel Fort Moultrie with minimal damage and loss of life. Three days later, the British demanded that the rebel forces within Charleston surrender, but they replied that they would defend the city “to the last extremity.”

As the seige of Charleston continued, Allaire’s daily accounts noted the various battles with rebels in the surrounding countryside, the date that General Cornwallis took command of the British forces, and the changing weather conditions. Then, on Sunday, May 7, news came that the British had taken Fort Moultrie, “the key to Charleston harbour.”

Five days later the authorities in Charleston agreed to terms of surrender; the British forces marched into the city, “soon levelled the thirteen stripes with the dust, and displayed the British standard on their ramparts.” Three days after the city surrendered, its magazine blew up, creating a fire that burned several houses and killed a number of soldiers. Allaire’s regiment took command of Fort Moultrie on May 16th. Beyond noting that he got caught up on writing letters to correspondents in New York, Allaire failed to record his response to the successful siege of Charleston. If he saw this as the beginning of the end of the revolution, he did not confide that belief in his diary.

Allaire and his Loyal American Volunteers spent most of early June marching inland to garrison Fort Ninety-Six. It was still remembered as the place where a year earlier rebels had hanged five loyalists as traitors. The American Volunteers left Ninety-Six on July 9, spending the next month marching about South Carolina in search of rebel units.

After successfully attacking a group of rebels near Cedar Springs in the first week of August, word reached the army that patriots had defeated loyalist forces in the Battle of Hanging Rock. Allaire noted that there were a “hundred men taken prisoners”.

Almost two weeks after this disheartening news, word came of a stunning British victory. Lord Cornwallis had defeated General Gates’ army in Camden, South Carolina. Allaire noted, “Twelve hundred were killed and wounded, left on the field; and one thousand prisoners, eight brass field pieces taken, being all the Rebels had in the field, several stand of colors, all their ammunition wagons, a hundred and fifty wagons of baggage, provisions, and stores of different kinds.”

Allaire’s regiment received orders to pursue General Sumter who had “the only remains of what the rebels call a corps in these parts.” As it turned out, Colonel Tarleton’s men got to Sumter first and “with his usual success” defeated the rebels, taking 150 prisoners.

On September first, Allaire’s American Volunteers received the “disagreeable news” that they were to be separated from the British army in order to guard the frontiers with the local loyalist militia.

The young loyalist lieutenant’s life took a sudden turn of fortunes on October 7th at what would later be called the Battle of King’s Mountain. Twenty-five hundred rebel soldiers surrounded the British troops – a full third of Cornwallis’ army. Allaire’s captain “thought it necessary to surrender” when all but twenty men in his company had been killed or wounded. The young loyalist lieutenant and the other vanquished soldiers were now prisoners of war.

The entries in Allaire’s diary for the next three weeks record a long and painful march across North Carolina. At one point, the men had to go without bread or meat for two days. About 100 prisoners were able to escape during this march; others died in the attempt. At one juncture “several Tory women brought us butter, milk, honey, and many other necessities of life”. Finally, the loyalist soldiers were put in a prisoner of war camp near Moravian Town, North Carolina.

Life as a prisoner of war held its own terrors. “The Rebel officers would often go in amongst the prisoners, draw their swords, cut down and wound those whom their wicked and savage minds prompted…This kind of treatment made our time pass away very disagreeably.”

After two weeks in the POW camp, Allaire and two other officers asked if they could be released on parole – a promise that they would return home and not fight for the remainder of the revolution. Athough this was a common practice, the rebels would not allow the loyalists to return to the British lines.

Allaire and his companions decided to “trust the hand of fate” and escaped from the camp, hoping to find sanctuary 300 miles away at Fort Ninety-Six. After 18 nights of travelling through enemy territory (sleeping outdoors or in loyalist homes by day), Allaire and his fellow officers arrived at Fort Ninety-Six on Thursday, November 23rd. Two days later, the lieutenant set out again, this time journeying across 200 miles for the sanctuary of Charleston.

By the end of the year, Anthony Allaire was “in Charleston in good quarters”. Within three years’ time, the lieutenant would be far from the the ravages of war, settled among other loyalist refugees near Fredericton, New Brunswick. No doubt Allaire’s memories of 1780 would always be a bittersweet mixture of triumph and suffering.

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

An ‘Exceedingly Fortunate Campaign’, by Capt. J. MacDonald

Recently I received a transcribed copy of a letter sent on March 18, 1778 by Captain John MacDonald, Officer in the 2nd Battalion, 84th Regiment of Foot. The letter is part of a collection held by family relatives. (1) I was very interested to read how he explained the conduct of the war in America. It was sent from Halifax, Nova Scotia to his sister Helen (Nelly) in Prince Edward Island. At the time Halifax was the Headquarters of the 2nd Battalion, 84th Regiment of Foot, also known as the Royal Highland Emigrants. Read about John and this letter, in this composition by Brian McConnell, UE, Nova Scotia Branch.

A Teacher’s Resource for Ontario UELAC Studies Available Online

As it has been said, the first shall be last or at least that is the way it appears in the creation of digital copies of United Empire Loyalist resources for provincial school boards.

In her UELAC Education Committee report to the 1998 AGM in Kingston, the Late Lois Dickinson stated:

“‘Education is for Everyone‘ was the theme for the Education Seminar in Winnipeg in June 1997.

It is emphasized that the U.E.L. education is for the Branch, the community, and schools across our nation. Since then there has been encouraging response to this message. Our focus has been on Ontario where under the leadership of Bernice Flett UE, school materials have been prepared for the first province-wide Loyalist Day on June 19. This curriculum guide will be for Loyalist studies during the year and will be helpful in other provinces as well.”

Subsequently additional support material entitled United Empire Loyalists – Pioneers and Settlers was produced by committee members Bernice W. Flett, Doris Lemon, Beverly Craig, Myrna Fox, Wm. C. Terry and Elizabeth Richardson.

While the other provincial UELAC resources had been posted, the Ontario materials were available only in hard copy versions. However, in the last month of 2015, Marvin Recker, Education Chairman for the London and Western Ontario Branch UELAC scanned both U.E.L. Day, June 19th Ontario, A Teacher’s Resource and Loyalist Pioneers and Settlers, A Teacher’s Resource.

It is hard to believe that it took nineteen years to satisfy the Winnipeg theme – “Education is for Everyone”.

…Fred H. Hayward, UELAC Education /Outreach Chairman.

Update on Book: American Loyalists to New Brunswick

As recently as December 15, 2015, David G. Bell’s book, American Loyalists to New Brunswick: The Ship Passenger Lists, sold at Amazon.ca for $34.95. (See description in last week’s issue of Loyalist Trails.) It is now out of stock, and the price is advertised as being $999.11! Interested Loyalist Trails readers should consult the website of the book’s publisher, Formac Lorimer Books, which offers the book at $34.95.

Reader Comment:
“I find it an excellent resource book. Many of the petitions, passengers lists etc that he uses in his book Loyalist Rebellion in New Brunswick are transcribed for the reader. I find the petitions included very useful as the originals are in the New York Historical Society collection. Anybody doing research on Loyalist society in this region should have one.”
– Dr. Bonnie Huskins, Department of History, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB

Can We? Reflections on “Refugees: Yesterday and Today”

I read with interest the item “Refugees: Yesterday and Today” by David Moore in Loyalist Trails 2015-#51. I am publishing the following as an editorial in the New Brunswick Branch newsletter:

Thousands of refugees fleeing war and persecution. Families uprooted. Boats lost and floundering. Families marooned in squalid camps. Careers shattered, property stolen, homes destroyed. These are contemporary reports, of course, but for Empire Loyalists there is -­ or should be – a ringing echo from another time. Our ancestors were also refugees fleeing war and the aftermath of war, and not so long ago.

Many Canadians ­and Americans ­have reacted positively to the notion that we should open our borders to refugees from the Middle East, but a majority (according to recent polls) have instead expressed fear and resentment. Will the newcomers take our jobs? What about our own homeless? What if there are terrorists among the asylum seekers?

Perhaps this is understandable, albeit lacking in courage and generosity, but I suggest that as descendants of Loyalists we have an imperative (if not an obligation) to view the matter in a somewhat different light.

It is tempting to assume that two hundred and thirty-two years ago our Loyalist ancestors were welcomed in British North America, and found immediate succor there. In fact, the arrival of large numbers of refugees, many of them disbanded soldiers, was a source of anxiety for both the native population and the ‘old’ settlers.

“Capt. Munro, ascending the river on his return to Quebec, in October, 1783, found ‘the most part of the Indians were moving off to the eastward for fear of the number of provincial troops and settlers coming upon the river.'”

From the outset the political views of the Loyalists clashed with republican sentiment in the Maritimes. “Those of the old inhabitants who had covertly or openly sympathized with the rebellion … regarded the coming of the Loyalists with disfavour. Many of them, having neglected to obtain any legal title to their lands, were, in the words of Amos Botsford, ‘seated on the bank of the river without leave or license, merely to get their living.’ It must be admitted that the Loyalists were rather supercilious in their dealings with this class of the old inhabitants, but it is probable that they were actuated not so much by a consciousness of their own superiority in point of education and social standing as by a hearty dislike for those who had in any way identified themselves with their enemies …”

Nevertheless, “On their first arrival, the Loyalists in many instances received much personal kindness at the hands of the old inhabitants. Mrs. Mary Bradley … in 1849, says, “After the conclusion of the American war, a great number from the States flew to this place . . . . My heart was filled with pity and affection when I saw them in a strange land, without house or home, and many of them were sick and helpless. I often looked at them when they passed by in boats in rainy weather, and wished for them to call and refresh themselves, and was glad when they did so.”

Mrs. Bradley was then living at Maugerville. She mentions the fact that during the winter one of the Loyalist families lived in a portion of her father’s house. The boats to which she refers were the famous Durham boats, supplied by government to the Loyalists for the transportation of their few possessions to their several destinations.”

We are proud of our Loyalist ancestors. They prospered in a new land. They refused to submit to tyranny. They played a role in making Canada what it is today. But make no mistake: they were refugees, Americans by choice or birth, British only in their allegiance. They were not ‘coming home’; they were fleeing oppression.

I hope you may agree with me that the plight of Syrian refugees in 2015 is not so very different. It would be fitting as an organization, and as individuals, if we were sympathetic, welcoming and active in recognizing their hardships. Indeed, who better suited to do so than us?

My modest suggestion is that the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada sponsor a refugee family, and that branches such as ours contribute financially. You may feel that such an endeavour is outside of our mandate, but I can scarcely think of a better way to honour the memory of our ancestors.

To stand aloof, to confine ourselves to ‘historical’ re-enactments, cemetery markers, church parades and the dusty minutiae of genealogy … is to admit after all that the blood we admire and remember so ardently is running pretty thinly in our veins.

…Gord Ripley ripleygord@gmail.com

Sheet Music for “Loyalists’ March”

The Spring 2015 edition of the Loyalist Gazette contained an article by Barry Gilmore about a piece of music found in his mother’s music collection called the “Loyalists’ March”. The article did not include the five pages of music. For those who may be interested to see and perhaps play the march, the music has been posted on the Sir Guy Carleton Branch web site.

…Dorothy Meyerhof

Where in the World?

Where is Where is Bicentennial Branch member Greg Girty?

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 your submission to the editor at loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

Region and Branch Bits

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

  • On Facebook, David Kanowakeron Hill UE changed the name of the group “United Empire Loyalists : Grand River Branch UELAC” to “Grand River Branch UELAC“.
  • London and Western Ontario Branch of UELAC revised their Facebook presence to be open to all, whether the visitor has a facebook account or not. New address

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution. This podcast by the folks at Ben Franklin’s World features Professor David Preston, Professor of National Security Studies at The Citadel, who is the author of a book by the same name. During the conversation, David reveals where the Battle of the Monongahela (1755) took place and why it happened; The roles that British, French, and Native American soldiers and warriors played in the battle; And, why we should remember the Battle of the Monongahela when it took place 260 years ago.
  • Tensions were a long time building in British North America, well before 1875. This letter “I Hear the Voice of the People in Favor of Freedom” was penned by Dr. Joseph Warren in March 1768. The prose may be difficult to understand, but it had to be written in a way to criticize but avoid serious charges; be sure to read the commentary following for context.
  • Drinking in Early America. During the colonial period it was a commonly held belief, that drinking ground water in the British American colonies could possibly make one sick. To combat this real or imagined danger, colonists of every rank, age, race, & gender drank alcohol often – from fermented, homemade, aged cider to distilled liquors. Generally, families drank with every meal, while at work, and at every social & public gathering except church. Almost everyone was something of a tippler. (In the 14C, a tippler was a seller of liquor rather than an avid consumer. It came to mean a habitual drinker 200 years later. Tipsy was used to describe the slightly intoxicated as early as 1577.) Be sure to scroll down for the list of terms in the 1737 Drinker’s Dictionary, interspersed with images of groups in taverns etc.
  • The bicentenary of the War of 1812 has passed by. If you are interested in reading more about it, from an American military history perspective, a 7-booklet series with maps “U.S. Army Campaigns in War of 1812” is available free of charge for download from the Center for Military History. Two booklets are about the Canadian Theatre, one for 1813, the other 1814.
  • Happy New Year everyone!! Many of you probably attended a New year’s levee somewhere. Great photos promoted the New Year’s Day Levee at Navy Hall in Niagara-on-the-Lake!
  • My 10 favourite genealogy collections and initiatives in 2015 by Gail Dever. These are my ten favourite new Canadian genealogy collections and initiatives in 2015. So much more information is being digitized and coming online.

Last Post: Bertha Scott (nee Ryerse), UE

Passed away peacefully in her sleep at the Allendale Nursing Home, Milton, on Thursday, December 17, 2015, at the age of 98. Beloved wife of the late Stewart Scott. Loving mother of John (Thelma), Donald (Jane), Jim (Glenda) and Judy (Jim Makosky). Cherished grandma of Jackie, Sarah, Courtney, Zach, David, Rob, Philip and Theresa. Fondly remembered by Doug Walpole.

Bertha graduated at the top of her class in the Macdonald Hall Domestic Sciences Program at the University of Guelph. She soon met and married Stewart and applied her numerous talents to her baking and homemaking. Bertha was a devoted mother and grandmother, and nobody that came to visit left the house empty handed.

Friends may call at the Turner & Porter ‘Peel’ Chapel, 2180 Hurontario St., Hwy 10 N. of QEW, on Saturday, January 9, 2016, from 2:00 p.m. until the time of the memorial service in the chapel at 3:00 p.m. Memorial donations to Halton Women’s Place would be gratefully appreciated by the family. Online condolences may be made through www.turnerporter.ca.

Bertha was a member of the Gov. Simcoe Branch. For many years until the mid-1990’s when the combination of age the long drive to the heart of downtown Toronto prevented her from attending, Bertha was a star attraction at meetings, for she not only made coffee and tea, but also brought and served her above-mentioned baking for people to enjoy during the gathering after the formal part of the meetings.

…Doug Grant, UE, Gov. Simcoe Branch


Further Record that Donald McDonell Killed at Fort Stanwix NY

From a Land Petition (Upper Canada) dated 1818 my Nancy / Ann McDonell Grant applies for land as the only child and heir at law of said Donald McDonell killed at Fort Stanwix NY. She was married to Alexander Alex Grant eldest son of John Duldreggan Grant who had served as an early Justice of the Peace, and who apparently had filed an earlier 1802 Land Petition for her as a daughter of UE Donald McDonell [John Duldreggan Grant JP then dies later in 1802; she apparently received 100 acres on west half Lot 27 Con 8 Charlottenburg Glengarry County].

This 1818 claim is asking for an additional 100 acres , but the land board clerk in Toronto said she received 200 acres in Montague Twp. for her 1802 claim [Montague Twp. might just as well been on the Moon as it was too far away], so I guess she just settled for her Lot 27 Con 8.

Anyhow I mention this 1818 OC mainly because the 2 witnesses on that document are Hugh McDonell [I think he was in Alexander McDonell Coy as a Private enlisted 6 May 1777-1783] and his father-in-law Alexander Cameron KRRNY [these two shared Lot 51 NSRR at Williamstown Glengarry] . And these two men vouch for her being the daughter of said Donald McDonell being killed Fort Stanwix NY 1777.

This Donald McDonell was probably quite young, as was his daughter Nancy / Ann McDonell Grant because she had her first child in Dec. 1791 and she was still alive in 1851 Census. Family lore says her mother had settled at Glenbrooke [which is only half mile from where she lived and raised her family] .

I have three such McDonell women in my tree; Margaret McDonell [sister to James and John McDonell – both KRRNY] married to Sergeant James Clark Lot 20 Front Charlottenburg ; and Flora McDonell who married Robert Young Queen’s Ranger in 1782 on Long Island NY and eventually settled near her relatives on Lot 2 Con 5 Indian Lands Charlottenburg Glengarry.

The last time that I did a head count , I had about 35 direct ancestors , their brothers and brothers in law who served in the KRRNY .

I continue to hope that some additional record will be uncoverd that will show that my lost Donald McDonell did in fact die at Fort Stanwix. Surely some note must have been taken of such fallen soldiers, if for nothing less then notification of their families.

…Jay Young


Could discharged be a euphemism for killed or died?

Definitely not, at least not intentionally. I’m sure there were instances where a man was designated “discharged” when in fact he was dead, but that would be an error, not purposeful.

I’ve found many instances in which men are reported “deserted,” but had in fact transferred to another regiment or type of duty, or had been captured, or….

All McDonells are particularly difficult to track unless they held a commissioned or non-commissioned rank. Then, it becomes easier. Note – not easy, but easier.

When I compiled my master roll of the KRR decades ago, I did not find a Donald McDonell who was killed at Fort Stanwix.

The Donald McDonell who enlisted on 18Aug77 and participated in the uprising in the Schoharie Valley was not involved in the Battle of Oriskany (August 6), nor in the siege of Fort Stanwix. After the Schoharie uprising was repelled, he came overland through the woods and joined the regiment at Oswego, to which place St. Leger had retired after abandoning the siege. Records show that this Donald McDonell was discharged at Oswego on August 24. No reason was given.

If he had been an older man, he may have decided to return home to look after a large family. Some men were allowed to do so after making an application. That’s one possibility; however, you believe your Donald was a younger fellow.

So, sticking with him being younger – then he may have been discharged due to a bad wound sustained in the Flockey action in the Schoharie, or during the quite arduous trip to Oswego. Another possibility is that he had fallen seriously ill. Of note, it appears he was not taken along on the trip downriver to Montreal and left there in the hospital, so whatever problem he exhibited must have been judged incurable, such as the loss of a hand or foot. Or, he had contracted consumption (TB) and it was thought best to cut him loose. Where he would have gone is anybody’s guess.

If he recovered from whatever wound it was, or from whatever illness he had incurred, he may have rejoined the regiment later, such as the Donald who enlisted sometime in 1782. Usually such men were allowed to retain their earlier enlistment date, but not always. I haven’t been able to determine the reasoning.

I’m unable to analyze the Donalds once they settled in Canada. There were seven Donalds and one Donell. Just too much digging required. Sometimes one gets lucky. For instance, Sam Anderson’s and Patrick Daly’s Companies settled at RT2 (Cornwall.) So, if the service records show a Donald in either of those companies and then the settlement record shows a Donald settled at RT2, there’s a good chance this is the same man. A good chance, but not conclusive.

The only worse men to track are John and Alexander McDonells!

Sorry I could not be more helpful.

…Gavin Watt HVP UELAC

Montmorency Falls and Sir John Johnson

The painting of the Montmorency Falls referenced this week reminded me of a little known fact: Sir John Johnson acquired these falls on September 20, 1805, for £650 from the then seignior of Beauport. The Haldimand House located upon the property was ultimately acquired by Peter Paterson who made it over into his residence in 1815.

Lesser known however, is the manner and the extent to which this impressive property was used by Sir John and his family. Can anyone shed further light on Sir John and the property at Montmorency Falls?

Ray Ostiguy, Chambly, P.Q., Sir John Johnson Branch