“Loyalist Trails” 2016-03: January 17, 2016

In this issue:
Conference 2016: Extra Time in PEI Around Conference; Book Now
1780, The Loyalist Leap Year (Part Four): The “Leap” to Freedom, by Stephen Davidson
Loyalists John Kane (Cain) and Daniel Prentice
That Time Again: Loyalist Scholarship Application Deadline
Billy Bishop’s Loyalist Roots
JAR: The Polish Engineer and Fortress West Point
Borealia: Colonial History in the Age of Digital Humanities
UELAC Conference Memories Made: A Blast from the Past
Loyalist Directory and Certificates
Where in the World?
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Gordon William “Bill” Glidden


Conference 2016: Extra Time in PEI Around Conference; Book Now

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.

Extra Time in PEI Around Conference; Book Now

It wouldn’t come as much of a surprise to most people that sleepy little PEI explodes into a tourist trap come the first day of July. With our Canadian dollar being low in relation to the American dollar, we are expecting a large influx of American tourists this summer. It seems that they have already gobbled up many of the car rentals, the hotel rooms and the cottage rentals.

Japanese tourists are infatuated with everything “Anne of Green Gables” to the point where many of the young couples get married on the lawn in front of Anne’s house. On the very same weekend that our conference is happening, there is a huge outdoor concert in Cavendish (at a later time, I will talk more about the concert). All of this is consuming the tourist accommodations, etc. If you haven’t booked your hotel or cottage, I suggest that you do so without delay.

…Peter Van Iderstine, Abegweit Branch

1780, The Loyalist Leap Year (Part Four): The “Leap” to Freedom, by Stephen Davidson

© Stephen Davidson, UE

The Book of Negroes lists the names of over 3,000 free Black Loyalists and enslaved Africans who left New York City on loyalist evacuation vessels in 1783. For 146 of those recorded in the ledger, 1780 – the loyalist leap year— was their year of emancipation.

Little Nanny – the youngest 1780 escapee – was just three years old when her fifteen year-old mother Chloe Johnson made a dash for freedom from George Robinson’s plantation on Crane Island, Virginia. Fifty-seven year-old Esther – the oldest 1780 escapee – had fled Norfolk, Virginia with her 14 year-old daughter Seelah. Esther was not a typical runaway. Only two former slaves in their fifties are noted as escaping their masters in 1780. No doubt there were many more, but these are the only two whose names are listed among those who sailed away to freedom within the British Empire.

While middle-aged Black Loyalists are rare among the runaways of 1780, little Nanny Johnson was part of a much larger group. Eighteen percent of all of those recorded in the Book of Negroes as 1780 runaways were children between the ages of three and twelve. Many of these fled their masters while carried by their parents, but some made their way to New York City alone. When he was six years old, Tobias Walker’s father ran away from his master, leaving his family behind in Virigina. In 1780, the boy ran away and was reunited with 60 year-old Henry Walker. Sadly, neither the details on how 10 year-old Tobias escaped nor how he found his father in New York are recorded in the Book of Negroes.

A nine year-old boy named Fortune was liberated from his Virginian master by a privateer named Captain Dempsey. Circumstances brought the youth to New York where he joined other free Africans aboard the Fishburn, bound for the St. John River in July of 1783.

Elizabeth Mitchell was just ten years old when she decided that it would be in her best interest to join with the British Army after it took control of Charleston, South Carolina in 1780. Because she was born free, Elizabeth did not receive the General Birch certificate that affirmed the freedom of other Black Loyailsts. She may have sided with the British in fear that if the patriots reclaimed South Carolina, she would be treated as an enslaved black and put in chains.

These are the very minimal stories that one finds for the child runaways of 1780 in the Book of Negroes. Sometimes one or two more personal details find their way into the ledger. (Frank Addie, eleven years old at the time of his escape, is noted as being “a good looking boy”.) The remainder of the stories of the 27 youngsters twelve and under who escaped in 1780 are left to speculation and imagination.

The second largest age group of those listed in the Book of Negroes who escaped during the loyalist leap year were teenagers, comprising 29% of that year’s runaways. Testimony to the abuse that many teenaged girls received is that a number of these runaways were single mothers. While white teenagers were allowed to fight for the loyalist cause, Black Loyalist youth were not. Instead, Bristol Borden (escaping at 17) and Amelia Connor (escaping at 16) were able to find work with the wagon master general department, transporting food supplies and munitions around Long Island and New York City. The vast majority of teenagers who ran away in 1780 attached themselves to the British army after the siege of Charleston, South Carolina.

A full 37% of the Black Loyalists who ran away in 1780 and lived to have their names written in the Book of Negroes were young men and women in their twenties. Samuel Mason and his wife Polly fled masters in Virginia. Samuel bore pock marks from smallpox, but both runaways were noted as having scars on their foreheads. This may indicate the scarring that was traditional among some West African tribes – or abuse suffered at the hands of their masters.

James was 23 when he ran away from his owner in Georgia. In the years following his escape, he hired himself to William Bell, the captain of the loyalist evacuation ship, Sally. James’ last known whereabouts were in Parrtown (the future Saint John, New Brunswick) in August of 1783 when, as a member of the Sally’s crew, he would have watched loyalist refugees pitching their tents.

Nancy Dixon and her six year-old daughter were bound for Abaco in the Bahamas in 1783. Three years earlier, she was a 27 year-old single mother who had escaped from a master in Virginia. The soldier who noted her name in the Book of Negroes in August, 1783, also recorded that Nancy was “sick at present”. Did this successful runaway survive her evacuation journey and see the shores of Abaco? History does not give us the answer.

Twenty-five year old Christopher travelled the furthest to gain his freedom. In 1780, he had been enslaved in East Florida (the part of the present state that includes St. Augustine). Somehow, he managed to make his way north to Savannah, Georgia where he joined the British troops. Remaining with them, he travelled to New York City where in September of 1783 he boarded the William, a loyalist evacuation ship, bound for the mouth of the St. John River.

Five members of the Princes family have their names recorded in the Book of Negroes as well as the fact that they crossed into the British lines in 1780. Prince Princes was 50 years old when he left Second River, New Jersey. Princes had at least two masters during his lifetime, but was able to buy his freedom for £45 (a fairly typical price) from his last enslaver. Princes’ wife Margaret, 13 years his junior, was from the same county as her husband, but she was born free. The couple had been married for at least 18 years when Prince was finally able to buy his freedom. Their daughter Elizabeth was seventeen and already had a small child. Her brother Nicholas was nine years old when the family fled to New York City. Both Elizabeth and Nicholas were born free, an advantage they derived from their mother’s legal status. All five family members sailed for Shelburne, Nova Scotia on the Baker and Atlee in the spring of 1783.

Details are minimal for individual Black Loyalists who ran away in 1780. However, by looking at the 146 listed in the Book of Negroes, some interesting statistical data can be determined. Forty per cent of 1780’s Black Loyalists ran away from masters in Virgina, 32%, from South Carolina, and 14% from New Jersey. Africans also fled from Connecticut, East Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Males accounted for 58% of all successful runaways. Eight-four per cent of all Black Loyalists who escaped slavery in 1780 were under thirty years of age.

Only two of 1780’s runaways settled in Quebec, the vast majority settled in Shelburne, Nova Scotia or along the St. John River. Five made new homes in the German states, and at least one joined other Black Loyalists in England. For 146 men, women, and children, 1780 marked the beginning of new lives that would be lived in communities scattered over the northern hemisphere.

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

Loyalists John Kane (Cain) and Daniel Prentice

Sarah Carr McEwan returned from the States to her father William Carr KRRNY and husband David McEwan Sr. KRRNY who held Lot 3 Front Cornwall Twp. (Reference last week’s issue: “Loyalists William Carr and David McEwan”). Sometime circa 1786 daughters Margaret and Mary McEwan were born. I think Margaret later married a Campbell, while Mary McEwan married Barnabas Barney Cain son of John Cain KRRNY and Elizabeth Prentice [this is my line].

In Gavin Watt’s revised book KRR [NY] 1984, we find John Kane [Cain] Sr born 1761 America. Joined KRRNY 2nd battalion 2 Nov 1780, as a Private, in 1784 a wife but no kids are noted. He was 5′ 10″. His brother Barney [Barnabas] Kane [Cain] born 1762 joined 2nd battalion as a Private 25 August 1781, in 1784 no wife or kids noted. He was noted as 5′ 7″ and was from Tryon Cty NY, so I take it that John was from there also. Barney and John apparently served out the Rev War together, and when the KRRNY disbanded in 1783, it was noted that Barney was returning to the States for family, and he probably settled later in Western Ontario. On McNiff’s Map 1786, John Kane [Cain] shares Lot 13 South Side of South Branch Raisin River [present day Glen Road, Charlottenburg Glengarry] , with sergeant William McLeod.

John Cain [Kane gradually morphed into Cain, and it remains so today with his Glengarry descendants] married Elizabeth Prentice daughter of Daniel Prentice KRRNY and Mary Hamilton. Daniel Prentice also served 2nd battalion KRRNY and settled on Lot 22 South Branch Road [SBR] Charlottenburg Glengarry [about 2 miles from John Cain’s Lot 13 Glen Road]. This Daniel Prentice family is extensive and warrants review at a later date.

John Cain KRRNY Lot 13 Glen Road and Elizabeth Prentice children are as follows [as ever, this is a work in progress and is subject to changes and or revisions].

• Barnabas Barney Cain Order in Council [OC] 14 June 1811 [named after his uncle Barney Kane KRRNY].

• Lenah Cain OC 17 Feb 1816 [she married George Crites of Cornwall].

• Daniel Cain OC 23 Nov 1816.

• Stephen Cain [baptised 4 Jan 1795] OC 14 Nov 1721.

• Eleanor Cain [married ???? Barry] OC 28 July 1819.

This Barnabas Barney Cain then marries Mary McEwan [daughter of Sarah Carr & David McEwan Sr KRRNY] ; among others their daughter Mary Ann Cain marries John Snetsinger of Cornwall in 1843 [this joins into even more of my KRRNY ancestors ; but that is for another day].

…Jay Young

That Time Again: Loyalist Scholarship Application Deadline is February 28, 2016

Do you know a Masters or PhD student undertaking a program in Loyalist history? We are looking for graduate students whose field of research will further Canada’s understanding of the Loyalist influence on the development of Canada.

As part of the application a written, succinct research proposal outlining the planned program, along with a reference letter from the student’s academic advisor is required. Further details are available at Application Requirements.

Providing Loyalist education resource materials and encouraging research through scholarship support is integral to our mission to preserve, promote and celebrate the history and traditions of the United Empire Loyalists.

Our 2008 Loyalist Scholarship recipient, Tim Compeau writes, “I want to thank the UELAC again for their very generous assistance which allowed me to travel to archives throughout Canada and the United States. Additionally I have been flattered with many kind invitations to speak to branches and share my work in progress, which was always fun and led to some very illuminating discussions.”

Tim’s Dissertation, “Dishonoured Americans: Loyalist Manhood and Political Death,” is available free to download via Western University’s Electronic Thesis Depository.

The UELAC scholarship review committee is looking forward to meeting this year’s applicants. Questions may be sent to scholarship@uelac.org.

Billy Bishop’s Loyalist Roots

by Helene Weaver, February 1993, Vol.5 No.1, Pages 10-12 of the Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches

At the end of World War I, William Avery “Biliy” Bishop, still only 24 years of age, held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Flying Corps. He had been awarded the Victoria Cross, D.S.O, and Bar, Military Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Honour and the French Croix de Guerre. He was the youngest flyer to receive these honours and the only man on whom King George V pinned three medals at the same time. He later received the Order of the Bath.

Billy Bishop, born February 8, 1894, had at least three loyalist ancestors: James Kilbourn, Caleb Seaman and David McCready. Read the article. Billy as a cadet in 1914: Photo and link to the Canadian Encyclopedia article.

JAR: The Polish Engineer and Fortress West Point

In 1775, the Continental Army was in dire need of engineers. In April of 1776, Congress sent Silas Deane to France. One of his duties was to recruit engineers for the Continental Army. He (and later Benjamin Franklin) would enlist Philippe Charles Tronson du Coudray, Louis Lebegue Duportail, Jean Baptiste Joseph de Laumoy, and Louis de Shaix La Radiere. Little did Deane or Franklin realize that the greatest engineer to come from France was not French at all, but rather Polish. He was Thaddeus Kosciuszko. Washington had originally mistaken him for a French engineer because, not knowing English and not sure if anyone in the colonies spoke Polish, Kosciuszko chose when he arrived to speak French. On December 9, Washington gave the “French Engineer of eminence in Philadelphia” his first task: “to view the Grounds and begin to trace out the Lines and Works” — in other words, fortify the city.

Read the blog post by Bob Ruppert about Kosciuszko and his works, especially West Point.

Borealia: Colonial History in the Age of Digital Humanities

by Robert Englebert

Well before digital humanities was a hot commodity and seemingly a must for every grant application, I was cutting my teeth as a grad student and inadvertently became involved in digital history. Working for my PhD supervisor, Nicole St-Onge, at the University of Ottawa, I helped manage a team that digitized over 35,000 fur-trade contracts of indentured servants who were hired in Montreal between the 1730s and 1830s. The Voyageur Contract Database project (VCD), while far from fully comprehensive, quickly became the largest collection of its kind for the fur trade. After my PhD, I continued on as assistant director of the project, helping to build and clean up what had become a very large database from my post at the University of Saskatchewan. One of the project partners, Saint-Boniface Historical Society, migrated the core data to an online platform on its website so that researchers, genealogists, and other interested parties could use this resource.

Some might ask whether these exciting new approaches to colonial history might in fact signal the end of traditional empiricism. I think that would be to overstate the foundational aspect that empirical methodology plays for most of us. Instead, I have come to think of these newer approaches as additional tools for effectively carrying out the historian’s craft. It does beg the question, however, of whether one can, or to what extent one can conduct North-American colonial history without due consideration of these new tools in the age of digital humanities.

Read the post for more details about the new approaches that have been developing.

UELAC Conference Memories Made: A Blast from the Past

From Ray H. Blakeney, UE: I was a member of Halifax-Dartmouth Branch of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada since its formation and got my UE certificate in 1982. I was past president of the Branch during Bicentennial celebrations in 1983. I have three children, all with their UE designation, and four grandchildren. I have always been interested in Loyalist history and have been at several Conferences in the USA re: Southern Loyalists. I have seen where my Loyalist ancestor settled and battled to protect his family.

I am most interested in getting Loyalist history to our school age children and making them aware of a UE heritage. I have noticed that the Americans are awakening to a part of their history that has been denied or distorted until now. I have seen where the USA has been protecting Revolutionary War sites, both Loyal and Patriot.

Be proud of your heritage and your ancestors who suffered for their beliefs. My hope is that someday we can have a contingent of UE members attend such battle sites as Kings Mountain (Oct. 7, 1780) and Fort Ninety Six (2 battles 1775 & 1781) where we can raise the flag and pay homage to those killed in the Revolution. Let’s draw attention to ourselves!!!

Photo: Period Clothing at UELAC Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1996; Ray’s wife, Mrs. Charis Blakeney and daughter Charneill are shown in 1996 – along with Shirley Dargatz and David Ellsworth. The news item is captioned for the occasion. Ray is now working on another certificate, this time for Charneill’s son, Maddox. Both of Ray’s Loyalist ancestors were part of the 84th Regiment or “The Second Battalion of His Majesty’s Royal Highland Regiment of Emigrants” as self-styled on the muster rolls.

…Carol Harding, UE, Nova Scotia Branch

Loyalist Directory and Certificates

The list of UE Certificates and Loyalist Directory have been updated to include the certificates issued in December 2015.

Where in the World?

Where are Ruth Nicholson of Hamilton Branch, and Stephen Botsford & Debra Honor of Bicentennial 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 your submission to the editor at loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • At Find A Grave there is a nice memorial to John Craig UEL (-1833) of the 84th Regiment, Royal Highland Emigrants
  • Brian McConnell UE: Presented this week with uncommon ‘antique’ Nova Scotian powder horn
  • Weston MA: Local archives reveal new [Loyalist] approaches to U.S. history.  The Golden Ball Tavern Museum on Boston Post Road explores the life of one of those loyalists, a group that is an often unheard voice in American history. The historic building once belonged to Weston resident and Selectman Isaac Jones during the Colonial era, and although it has been a museum since 1967, a recent discovery has given new life and depth to Jones’ story and the story of the Revolutionary War itself.

Last Post: Gordon William “Bill” Glidden

Gordon William “Bill” Glidden, 78, of Washington Place, Plattsburgh died Monday, January 11, 2016 at the UVM Health Network, CVPH in Plattsburgh. He was born in Fort Edward, May 10, 1937, the son of Gordon and Eleanor (Featherson) Glidden. Bill graduated from South Glens Falls High School and Russell Sage College.

He served in the New York Army National Guard for 23 years prior to retiring in 1985 with the rank of Major. Bill was active in military history and civic organizations, including: Kiwanis Breakfast Club, Sons of the American Revolution, New York State Military Museum, Clinton County Historical Association, and as Assistant Historian of the Town of Plattsburgh.

He was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church.

He is survived by his wife, Martha Bachman; step children, Brett Smith (Niki) and Marisa Sargent (Harold); grandson, Gregory Smith; great granddaughters, Brooklyn and Arabella Smith; his brother, Gary Glidden (Carole); and two nephews and their families.

Relatives and friends may gather Friday, January 22, 2016 from 6 to 8 PM at their home, 6 Washington Place, Plattsburgh, NY, 12901.

In lieu of flowers or food, donations in his memory may be made to the NYS Military Museum, Clinton County Historial Association, or the window fund at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Plattsburgh.

Arrangements are in the care of the Hamilton Funeral Home, 294 Mannix Road, Peru, 643-9055.

Bill was a member and very good fried of Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch,. He provided numerous items for Loyalist Trails, frequently about events being held in Plattsburgh each year to commemorate the Battle of Plattsburgh, also known as the Battle of Lake Champlain, on 11 September 1814. He also contributed information about the Edward Jessup family.

In his memory, here is a photo of Bill participating in a Branch activity – this at the Branch Semi-annual Meeting held on October 16, 2005 in Stanbridge East when Doug Grant was our guest-speaker.

…Michel Racicot, UE, Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch