“Loyalist Trails” 2016-02: January 10, 2016

In this issue:
Conference 2016: Loyalist Country Inn is Already Sold Out
1780, The Loyalist Leap Year (Part Three): A Female Perspective, by Stephen Davidson
Loyalists William Carr and David McEwan
Loyalist Quarterly, by Paul Bunnell: December 2015 Issue Now Available
JAR: Did Oliver Hazard Perry’s Father Kill a Quaker?
Borealia: Rural Diaries Online: Experience Daily Life in the Backwoods
Where in the World are Jo Ann Tuskin and Martha Hemphill?
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Ethel Beryl Griffin, UE


Conference 2016: Loyalist Country Inn is Already Sold Out

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 – read here.

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

Loyalist Country Inn is Already Sold Out

The 2016 planning committee reserved 80 rooms for the Lobsters, Lighthouses and Loyalist conference and they have all been booked already. Luckily, the committee also reserved an additional 50 rooms about 3 minutes down the road at The Quality Inn as overflow for conference delegates; online at www.choicehotels.ca/cn009 or call toll free 1-800-265-5551. Identify yourself as being with the United Empire Loyalists and you can reserve your room at a reduced rate.

I encourage everyone who plans to attend the 2016 conference to book your hotel room straight away as there is a Country and Western Musical Festival happening at Cavendish on the same week-end as our conference.

If you were planning to rent a cottage by the beach, I recommend that you do it now, lest you be disappointed.

…Peter Van Iderstine, Abegweit Branch

1780, The Loyalist Leap Year (Part Three): A Female Perspective

© Stephen Davidson, UE

In March of 1780, newlywed Elizabeth (Lightenstone) Johnston wrote her husband that “a spirit of matrimony has got among” the loyalist families of Savannah, and claimed that people were “following our example in the matrimonial way.” The fifteen year-old girl was still quite thrilled about her new status as a wife, having married William Martin Johnston, a captain in the New York Volunteers in November of 1779.

No doubt Savannah’s young adults were experiencing a “spirit of matrimony” during the early months of 1780 due to the fact that the city was no longer being beseiged by French and Patriot forces. Throughout history, war has tended to interrupt courtship and marriage. In the case of Savannah, loyalist men were kept busy fighting off invaders while women and children anxiously sought shelter at nearby Hutchinson’s Island.

During October of 1779, those left behind in the city’s population endured a brutal shelling. Women and children who managed to flee the city found refuge in barns and farm houses in the outlying countryside. When the fighting was over, British and loyalist soldiers once again had the time to court the local girls. Savannah would remain in British hands until 1782 – the only rebellious colony to be restored to its original allegiance during the course of the revolution.

While romance may have been in the air of 1780, it would be a difficult year for the young Mrs. Johnston. Since the siege of the Savannah, Captain Johnston had been regularly travelling along the 130 mile long route between the beleaguered city and Augusta, Georgia, wearing himself to a frazzle delivering intelligence to the British garrison in the northeastern part of Georgia.

Although Elizabeth and William had married surrounded by loyal family and friends in Savannah, their “honeymoon period” came to an abrupt end when they learned that William’s regiment would be soon be sailing north to New York City. Added to this sudden uprooting was the fact that at some time around her sixteenth birthday, Elizabeth discovered that she was pregnant with her first child.

“Very disconsolate in my own room in tears”, Elizabeth was overjoyed when she was told a month later that she would be allowed to accompany William to New York. She would later recall that she had only half an hour to pack, stuffing her wet linens in a trunk and seeing it safely aboard a ship in Sir Henry Clinton’s convoy. Eight days later, after a trip that she described as “very delightful”, Elizabeth found herself in New York City, the headquarters for the British army in the rebellious colonies.

For Elizabeth Johnston, 1780 was the year that newlywed bliss quickly transmuted into the harsh realities of a military marriage. Over the course of the Revolution she would pack up goods and children to live in Savannah (again), Charleston, South Carolina, St. Augustine, Florida, Edinburgh, Scotland, Jamaica, and then – in 1806 – Nova Scotia. No doubt such upheavals were the reason Elizabeth came to sign her letters to William “your once truly happy, tho’ now afflicted wife”.

Sarah Fowler had a somewhat different perspective on the events of 1780. She was a New York loyalist whose husband did not survive the American Revolution. Solomon Fowler was forced to flee his home in East Chester after opposing his rebel neighbours. He hid for “a time” and then took his family to Long Island where he became a militia captain. During an attack on patriots at Horse’s Neck, Long Island in 1780, Solomon lost his life “in the service”. Beginning in that year – and for the next six years – Sarah had to fend for her family, see to their evacuation to Granville, Nova Scotia, and seek compensation as a loyalist’s widow. Where Elizabeth Johnston left a memoir of her life to her Nova Scotian descendants, Sarah Fowler’s only biography is found in the transcripts of the loyalist compensation board.

Another woman from New York shared Sarah Fowler’s sad memories of 1780. Before the revolution, Rachel Ogden’s husband Benjamin had been a prosperous carpenter who “employed a good many apprentices”. Local patriots arrested Ogden for being a “friend of government” as early as 1775. The following year, Benjamin left Rachel and his four children on Staten Island while he went on spy missions for Governor Tryon. The loyalist family eventually found sanctuary on Long Island with the British troops. The New York carpenter recruited 45 other loyalists for Governor Brown’s Brigade, became a lieutenant, and left Rachel once more to fight in South Carolina. On August 6, 1780 Benjamin Ogden died at the Battle of Hanging Rock, an attack described as a “slaughter” of loyalist and British soldiers.

Without the benefit of her husband’s military pay, Rachel Ogden now had to care for nineteen year-old Rachel, 14 year-old Benjamin, ten year-old Albert and her youngest son, Andrew. (At some point in the revolution, Benjamin Junior also went off to war.) The only course of action left open to Rachel was to ensure security for herself and her children by finding a new husband. She married a loyalist lawyer named Timothy Wetmore.

Three years after losing her first husband, Rachel Wetmore sailed to New Brunswick, but later moved to Antigonish, Nova Scotia where her daughter was married. The family then moved to Georgetown, New Brunswick; Timothy Wetmore became an attorney at law. Forty years after her husband Benjamin’s untimely end in 1780, Rachel Ogden Wetmore was living in New York, the city in which her son Albert had become a merchant and in which she became a widow for a second time.

As these three accounts demonstrate, 1780 would be remembered by some loyalist women as a very hard year.

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

Loyalists William Carr and David McEwan

In Spring of 1773 the ship Brittania left Ross – Shire Scotland with many Scottish emigrant families (From Book , Colonists from Scotland: Emigration to North America 1707-1783 by Ian C. Graham. p. 83). The ship Brittania then put in at Dublin Ireland where William Carr and family boarded, including his daughter Sarah Carr and her husband David McEwan Sr. and their son David McEwan Jr.

It is unclear to me whether the Scottish or Irish emigrants had chosen a specific place to settle before they boarded ship, but by the time the ship arrived at New York City in mid May 1773 it seems many if not most chose to settle on Irishman William Johnson’s Kingsborough Patent in New York Province.

There is an online list compiled by Bill Martin of Thunder Bay, titled Sir John Johnson’s Rent Roll of the Kingsborough Patent. Scrolling down that list is a grouping with Rent Due Date 25 Sept 1778 , and Wilim [William] Carr and his son in law David McCune are listed there.

William Carr [sometimes Kerr ] and David McCuin [McEwan] are both found in Gavin Watt’s book, The History & Master Roll of the KRR NY, 1984 edition, with both joining Daly’s Coy 19 June 1776. David stayed there thru 1783, while William was much older and switched to An. McD. Coy 1782 . Gavin Watt has 5 different spellings of David’s last name , but I have settled on McEwan as that seems to be the way they spelt it once they settled in Cornwall Twp., Stormont County, Upper Canada after the Rev War ended in 1783. (As an aside , I googled: Accepted Spellings of MacEwen ; and found 110 variations of spelling on that surname.)

Gavin Watt also has Daly’s Coy settling in Cornwall Twp. Stormont County. Wm. Carr and David McCoon are found sharing Lot 3 Front Con Cornwall Township, and Wm. Carr Family holding east 1/2 Lot 3 Con 2 on McNiff’s Map 1786 . I think it is worth noting that most wives and children remained behind in the Mohawk Valley NY until the Rev War ended and the KRRNY was disbanded late in 1783, and then these women and children made an arduous trek through the bush and across the St Lawrence River to the Barracks at Cornwall. I am not at all certain of how old Sarah Carr McEwan’s mother and siblings were, or if she and David had other children then David McEwan Jr. But what does seem clear to me is that she probably made that trek with her son David Jr. and possibly some older siblings, where she met up with her husband and father at Cornwall in 1784. The following margin note from Gavin Watt’s book KRR states next to David McCuin entry “From Kingsborough Patent , NY . 1784 Woman gone to States for their family. She made that trek twice. One tough little Irish Lady. David McEwan Sr. then went on to run a Ferry Service on the St Lawrence River.”

David McEwan Jr. married Rachel McLaughlin, daughter of William McLaughlin KRRNY.

This William McLaughlin shared Town Plot [Cornwall] with another of my ancestors named Michael Gallinger Sr. , who with sons Michael Jr. , Christian, Friedrick and George all served in KRRNY. But that is a story for another day.

I was once told that without providing sources , all I have is a good story. Well, a good story is my objective.

…Jay Young

Loyalist Quarterly, by Paul Bunnell: December 2015 Issue Now Available

The latest issue of the only U.S. journal devoted to Loyalist studies contains, among others, these topics:

• UE Loyalist Conference

• Loyalists Lighthouses and Lobsters

• Support Loyalist Trails

• New Loyalist Book — After Yorktown

• The Burdens of Loyalty

• The Loyalist House

• Loyalists in the Maritimes

• Land Petitions of Lower Canada, 1764-1841

• Land Petitions of Upper Canada, 1763-1865

• British Military and Naval Records (RG 8, C Series) – INDEX ONLY

• Black Loyalist Refugees, 1782-1807- Port Roseway Associates

• Loyalist Ships

More information including subscription details ($21 U.S. & $24 Can./yr – Paul Bunnell, 32 Hoit Mill Rd. #202, Weare, NH 03281 USA) at Paul J. Bunnell’s website.

JAR: Did Oliver Hazard Perry’s Father Kill a Quaker?

A Story of Resistance to the Universal Draft. In Rhode Island, as in the rest of New England during the Revolutionary War, a key Patriot institution was the universal draft. Rhode Island required all white men between the ages of sixteen and sixty to serve in the militia, backed by state courts and other state institutions. Most Rhode Islanders supported independence from the Crown and willingly answered the many drafts for military service that the state governments undertook. But not everyone cooperated. There were pockets of friends of King George III—called Loyalists or Tories—in King’s County (now Washington County), in particular on the coast at Quidnessett Neck (now Quonset Point) in North Kingstown; at Boston Neck and Point Judith in South Kingstown; and inland in parts of Exeter. In addition, there were many families who wanted to remain neutral and did not want to join the military for either side.

Read the article.

Borealia: Rural Diaries Online: Experience Daily Life in the Backwoods

This blog post by Catharine Anne Wilson is about a project to make diaries available for research and for interest. The article provides a few examples of the type of material available, including:

Appearing soon for transcribing is the diary of Hannah Owen Peters Jarvis, near Queenston (1842-45). Her scrawl is hard to read, but her dramatic story will grip your imagination. Hannah, the wife of Loyalist William Jarvis, once mingled with the elite and had servants and slaves but by the 1840s, she is reduced to poverty. She is caring for her daughter and several penniless grandchildren who reside in “Willowbank.” In this declining mansion home, which is now a heritage site, she scrubs, mends and cooks. “Society” people sometimes grace her pages. For those interested in culinary history, her cookbook is part of the archival collection.

Would you like to experience daily life in the 1800s? Now you can. For several years I have used rural diaries in my research on Upper Canada (the province of Ontario).[1] These precious old documents, often fading and brittle, are scattered in various archives. Now they have been gathered together in the Rural Diary Archive for researchers to access and enjoy online.

The website showcases over 130 diarists from across Ontario from 1800-1960. The full texts of selected nineteenth-century diaries are available to read, search, and transcribe and more are continuously being added. Diarists provide a wealth of detailed, regularly generated information. They document the trans-Atlantic journey, creating a home in the backwoods, hunting, and the seasonal round of agricultural production and marketing. Many rural men engaged in other non-agricultural pursuits such as logging, hunting, preaching, teaching, and fur-trading. Women made daily entries regarding the management of food resources and caring for the young, elderly and sick. The diarists lead us into the heart of the household economy, inter-generational relationships, and neighbourhood and kinship ties.

Read the article.

The project Rural Diary Archive, hosted at the University of Guelph Library, is there for you to read, enjoy, and even help transcribe.

Where in the World?

Where are Jo Ann Tuskin, Gov. Simcoe Branch, and Martha Hemphill of Toronto and Hamilton Branches?

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.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • A Skeleton, a Catholic Relic, and a Mystery About American Origins. A newly discovered artifact buried with one of Jamestown’s most prominent leaders suggests he could have been a crypto-Catholic. Read more, from The Atlantic
  • In 1765 Harbottle Dorr Jr. started writing comments in the margins of his newspaper leaving great historic insight. The Massachusetts Historical Society presents the complete four volume set of Revolutionary-era Boston newspapers and pamphlets collected, annotated, and indexed by Harbottle Dorr, Jr., a shopkeeper in Boston. This collection is comprised of 805 newspaper issues primarily published between 1765 and 1776 in Boston and surrounding towns. High quality digital images of 3,969 newspaper and pamphlet pages are available. Visit the the Harbottle Dorr Jr. section of the Society’s website for an overview, and the details.
  • A good synopsis of Loyalist refugees coming to Quebec and subsequent settlement out from the several refugee camps. Read Loyalists in the Eastern Townships at Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch.
  • Window (photo) in St. Peter’s Church, Upper Kennetcook, Hants Co., NS in memory of Christian Hennigar, UEL, & sons
  • Canada’s Historic Places: Belle River Pioneer Cemetery, Factory Road, Belle River, Prince Edward Island
  • United Empire Loyalist Burial Ground: St. John’s Anglican Church, Woodhouse, Ontario (photo of Loyalist Burial Ground plaque)
  • ARA Heritage Ontario’s oldest archaeological and heritage consulting firm, uncovering Ontario’s history since 1972 has added a book “A Graveyard Preservation Primer” by Lynette Strangstad to their library. Photo of the bookcover.

Last Post: Ethel Beryl Griffin, UE

Ethel Beryl GRIFFIN (née Mavety), UE. Born in Plum Hollow, Ontario on January 25, 1920 and died In Ottawa after a brief illness, on Thursday, June 4, 2015. Beloved wife for 63 years of the late John Alexander Griffin. Loving and devoted mother to Patricia Griffin (William Pope) and Donald Griffin. Cherished Nana of Andrew Mosley (Isabelle Pouliot) and Katherine Mosley (Harout Koundakjian). Predeceased by her parents Hazel Pearl Stevens and Ephriam Charles Mavety and siblings Cora Hewitt, Preston Mavety, Gerald Mavety, Hazel Kennedy, Thelma Cutway, Hilton Mavety and Reta Rintoul. Survived by sister Winnifred Finlayson and brother-in-law Robert Griffin. Will be fondly remembered by many nieces and nephews.

Memorial Service was held at St. David & St. Martin Presbyterian Church. The family wishes to thank the members of the Women’s Association and the larger community of the “Saints” church who were Beryl’s friends and social network for the past 40 years.

Published in the Ottawa Citizen on June 8, 2015