“Loyalist Trails” 2016-10: March 6, 2016
In this issue:
– Week Five Update: Loyalist Scholarship Fund Challenge 2016
– Conference 2016
– Natives in Her Diary (Part One), by Stephen Davidson
– Response to Ontario’s Lost Black Loyalists
– Response to Black Loyalists in Ontario
– Borealia: Canadian Fugitive Slave Advertisements – An Untapped Archive of Resistance
– JAR: The First “No Taxation Without Representation” Crisis
– Where in the World?
– Region and Branch Bits
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
+ Response re Heraldry Protocol
+ Richard Morris, Guysborough
+ Upper Canada Land Board Records
Thank you to the generous donors who this week brought the amount raised for the scholarship fund to $3,136.00. With four weeks to go we are more than halfway to reaching our goal of $5,000.00. The campaign continues to April 1, 2016. Give Now.
This week the donation spotlight shines on Calgary Branch, Sir John Johnson Branch, and Governor Simcoe Branch. To date, seven UELAC branches have added their names to a growing list of donors.
On Wednesday, March 2nd, Governor Simcoe Branch, Toronto took the Scholarship challenge to their annual general meeting. Dominion President Barb Andrew was in attendance and members and friends were treated to a glimpse of life on the prairies for pioneer Loyalist families who left their homes in Ontario to settle in western Canada. At the meeting a special sale of books from the Governor Simcoe Branch book inventory,and books donated to the branch brought over $144.00 to the Loyalist Scholarship fund.
Committee members are currently reviewing Loyalist scholarship applications received on February 28. Your donations will have a direct impact on education and research in the field of Loyalist studies. Watch for an announcement in the coming weeks.
Our 2011 Loyalist Scholarship recipient was Denise McGuire. Denise commenced her doctoral research at Newcastle University in 2011 under the supervision of Dr. Jane Webster and Professor Susan-Mary Grant. The central objective of her thesis focuses on the material culture recovered from the archaeological investigation of the Colonel John Butler homestead in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario to examine the family’s homestead and household formation processes during the early period of Loyalist community foundation in the Niagara region. The Butler homestead site has unique cultural and heritage value in Ontario and is one of the few Loyalist homesteads in the province to have been the subject of a full-scale archaeological excavation. You can read more about Denise here.
For those on Facebook and social media, please use your voice to draw attention to the Loyalist Scholarship Fund Challenge using the hashtag #UEscholars.
…Bonnie Schepers, UE, Scholarship Committee
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.
© Stephen Davidson, UE
“Some Indians of the Ojibway tribe came from near Lake Huron. They are extremely handsome, and have a superior air to any I have seen; … Some wore black silk handkerchiefs, covered with silver brooches, tied right round the head, others silver bands, silver arm bands, and their shirts ornamented with brooches; scarlet leggings or pantaloons, and black, blue or scarlet broadcloth blankets.”
For five years, Elizabeth Simcoe lived in Upper Canada, a colony comprised of loyalist refugees. As the wife of its governor, she travelled from Quebec City to Niagara, making sketches of what she saw, meeting the settlers, and writing down her observations of life in the new colony.
Among the entries to be found in the diary that she wrote between 1791 and 1796 are references to First Nations people. Some were native to Upper Canada while others, like the Mohawk, were refugees from the American Revolution. Elizabeth Simcoe provides us with a unique glimpse of the life of Native Americans as they were coming to grips with the thousands of loyalist refugees who were settling on traditional Native lands along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
After achieving fame as the leader of a loyalist regiment during the American Revolution, John Graves Simcoe had returned to England in 1782 where, at the age of thirty, he married Elizabeth Gwillim, a 16 year-old heiress. Nine years (and six children) later, Elizabeth learned that her husband had been appointed as the lieutenant governor of Upper Canada — a portion of North America that was larger than Great Britain itself.
In 1785, Upper Canada’s European population was made up of 5,500 loyal refugees who had fled the United States following the War of Independence. In addition to them were 2,000 First Nations people who had cast their lot with the British Empire and found themselves on the losing side. By the time of Simcoe’s arrival the population had grown to 30,000. Clearly, the Native people were now a minority in the loyalist colony.
Arriving with all of her European prejudices and preconceptions of Natives, Elizabeth Simcoe nevertheless had an artist’s eye. She was open to new sights and experiences. She recognized beauty and compassion no matter what their sources might be. Consequently, her record of encounters with the First Nations people of British North America is remarkable for its degree of objectivity.
The first references to “Indians” in the entries for December of 1791 reveal that Natives were considered a valuable source of local knowledge. Elizabeth sampled elk meat which was “much esteemed” by the Natives, relied on them for news from the countryside, and appreciated them as the creators of moccasins that she was glad to buy for her children “on account of their softness”.
The first Natives that she met were Hurons. She learned that they were “converted but reluctantly by the Jesuits” and were so intermixed with the French that they “scarcely appear to differ but in dress. They wear shirts, leggings and blankets, and the men wear fur or cloth caps.” Elizabeth recognized cultural assimilation, neither praising nor condemning it.
In June of 1792, the Simcoes travelled to Montreal on the first leg of their journey to Upper Canada. As they journeyed along the road to the city, she noted a group of Natives sitting around a fire near the river that “in the dark night afforded a good subject for a picture”. Near Lachine, she saw the village of Caughnawaga, recording that the Natives there were Roman Catholics and had “a neat church”.
In a later discussion with a priest who had an Iroquois congregation near present day Cornwall, she recorded that the people were regular in their church attendance and that the “women sing psalms remarkably well”. When her husband went to visit this village, the Iroquois “received him with dancing in a fierce style, as if they wished to inspire the spectators with terror and respect for their ferocious appearance.”
After being in Canada for just over a year, Elizabeth was beginning to construct her own understanding of its First Nations people. Some tribes impressed her; others did not. When she met members of the Mississauga in July of 1792, she compared them to the worst elements of London’s society, but did not see them as typical of all Natives. “They are an unwar-like, idle, drunken, dirty tribe. I observe how extremes meet. These uncivilized people saunter up and down the town all day with the apparent nonchalance, want of occupation and indifference.”
A week later another group of Natives came to the Simcoe home. They were “highly painted and in their war costume, with little clothing. They were near enough to the house for me to hear their singing, which sounded like a repetition in different dismal tones of ‘he-he-‘he’, and at intervals a savage whoop. They had a skin stretched on sticks imitating a drum, which they beat with sticks. Having drank more than usual, they continued singing the greatest part of the night. They never quarrel with white people unless insulted by them, but are very quarrelsome amongst themselves. Therefore, when the women see them drunk they take away their knives, and hide them until they become sober.”
Fluent in Spanish, German, and French, Elizabeth Simcoe had interacted with the local Iroquois to such a degree that she could record some of their language in her diary. “Manitou means the ” Evil Spirit ” or “Devil” in the Iroquois language; Niche is “friend,” and sago “How- do-you-do?”
Three months later, Elizabeth made several references to First Nations in a Sunday entry. She noted that some of her husband’s officials had gone to “to distribute presents to the Indians…near Buffalo” — this was a typical form of diplomacy, assuring their continued loyalty to the crown. One of these officials brought her “a cake of dried hurtleberries made by the Indians, which was like Irwin’s Patent Black Currant Lozenges, but tastes of smoke.” Now the Natives were a source of medicine as effective as British lozenges!
Thinking of sore throats made Elizabeth reflect on Native elocution. “The Indians make very long speeches at their councils. One of them, named Cowkiller, spoke for five hours in a late debate between them and the people of the United States. I have seen some translations of speeches, full of well-expressed, fine sentiments, marking their reliance on the Great Spirit. They appear to have great energy and simplicity in their speeches.”
Read more of Elizabeth Simcoe’s diary entries in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
(Re “Ontario’s Lost Black Loyalists” in Loyalist Trails 2016-08, Feb 21.)
I must confess that I was rather disappointed to see the note in Loyalist Trails about finding a number of black settlers in Lancaster Township and being quite surprised about it. Most, if not all, of these men had served in Captain Johan Jost Herkimer’s Bateaux Company, which had operated out of the post at Coteau-du-Lac from 1781-84.
Here’s an excerpt from one of my books entitled, A Dirty, Trifling Piece of Business — Volume I: The Revolutionary War as Waged from Canada in 1781 (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2009) Chapter Five, p.211.
Haldimand wrote to Sir John about a difficult issue: “Several complaints having been made upon the subject of selling Negroes, brought into this Province by Scouting Parties, who alledge a Right to Freedome, and others belonging to Loyalists, who are obliged to relinquish their properties or reclaim them by paying the Money for which they were sold,” he ordered him to make “the most minute Inquiry” and send Maclean a return of all blacks brought into the country, giving their names, identifying their former owners whether loyalists or rebels, by whom brought in, and to whom sold, for what price and where they are at present. Claus and Campbell were instructed to supply similar lists.
Sir John’s list reported forty-one blacks, twelve of them female. Nineteen persons were from his own estate; fifteen others had been rebel owned and at least a half dozen were serving in Herkimer’s Bateaux company.
The endnote to this excerpt reads –
Survey of Blacks: Haldimand to SJJ, July 16, 1781, LAC, HP, B159, 152. John Ruch,. “Blacks Among the Loyalists,” in The Loyalists of Quebec, 1774—1825, A Forgotten History (Montreal: Heritage Branch, UEL Association of Canada, 1989). Ruch’s article and transcript of SJJ’s list are confusing as the dates seem incorrect. Despite their service in the boats, their former owners demanded their restoration in 1783. Haldimand ordered this be done if sufficient proof of ownership was provided;
Ruch’s study provides many of the names of the men involved and you’ll find several in common with your list.
That all said, there were not a great number of black soldiers in the loyalist regiments; however, they were not uncommon. Richard Pierpoint in Butler’s Rangers is the best known, as someone fortunately was able to collect a fair amount of information on his background, and he went on to see service in the War of 1812 in Runchey’s Company. That he was so prominent suggests he was unique, but that’s hardly the case.
Identifying blacks is a difficult proposition. Sometimes they are noted in regimental rolls as negro, which makes it easy. And, often there are men listed with classical Greek or Roman names, such as Cato Prime on your list, which was a common method of naming black slaves. However, there were many more with quite simple names like John Baker and nothing identifies them as black.
I am currently working on a history and master roll of Major Edward Jessup’s Loyal Rangers and the attached shows a number of men who were most likely black. I say likely, as there is nothing to say that a man born in Africa or the Barbados was black; entirely possible he is European.
There were also black soldiers in the two battalions of the King’s Royal Regiment of New York. Pompey Dockstader for example, and shamefully he was labelled a “negro not entitled to provisions” on a settlement roll for Cataraqui Township No. 3, despite having served the King for three years. Thankfully, I’ve only found one other black soldier who received that ugly label.
…Gavin Watt, HVP, UELAC
Regarding the Queries about Black Loyalists in Niagara, can I recommend the two excellent books that can probably found in Public Libraries.
• Power, Michael, Nancy Butler, and Niagara Historical Society. Slavery and Freedom in Niagara. Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.: Niagara Historical Society, 1993.
• French, Gary E. Men of Colour: An Historical Account of the Black Settlement On Wilberforce Street and in Oro Township, Simcoe County, Ontario, 1819-1949. Stroud, Ont.: Kaste Books, 1978.
Regarding Black Loyalists in the Eastern District, from a prior query:
• The excellent Dictionary of Glengarry Biography, by Royce MacGillivrary, published in 2010 by the Glengarry Historical Society includes vignettes of the Black Loyalists who settled in Glengarry County.
by Charmaine A. Nelson, published on Feb. 29, 2016.
Fugitive slave advertisements, claim historians Shane White and Graham White, are “the most detailed descriptions of the bodies of enslaved Africans Americans available.” I would argue that their contention also applies to most regions of the Americas in general, including the territories that were to become Canada, particularly places where abolition predated the development of photography. Such newspaper notices provide evidence of the ubiquity of resistance by the enslaved as well as the types of heightened and invasive scrutiny and surveillance under which they lived. Read more.
By Bob Ruppert, published March 2, 2016.
“No taxation without representation” was not a notion born in the American colonies in 1765 with the passage of the Stamp Act, or with James Otis’s 1764 pamphlet The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved, or in his 1761 courtroom oration against Writs of Assistance. It was born with the “Pistole” fee in Virginia in 1753.
To better understand the notion, it is necessary to understand the affair that brought it on. Virginia was a royal colony, and all land issued by the royal governor was done so in the name of the Crown. The method of distribution was known as the Treasury Right System. Read the full post.
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 email@example.com.
From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.
- “A Stitch in Time: Exploring the Eileen Collard Collection” New Exhibit at the Joseph Brant Museum, Burlington, ON. Eileen Collard (1912-2002) was a couturier, costume collector and instrumental in founding the costume collection at the Joseph Brant Museum. She was a pioneer of her day, becoming one of a few self-published authors and resident authorities on historical fashion. Eileen was passionate about her craft and between the years 1969 and 1983 wrote 12 books on Canadian fashion history. This exhibition will explore the Collard costume collection and the lady behind the designs. More information here. Admission is free. (from Ontario Genealogical Society)
- Interesting video of Loyalist Landing in Shelburne Nova Scotia Re Enactment in July 2008 (Brian McConnell UE)
- While Jamestown Settlement’s Susan Constant is in drydock, a ship caulker applies putty to waterproof a joint between two bottom planks of the ship. (Jamestown Settlement / Yorktown Victory Center)
- Arthur Pegg, member of Col. Edward Jessup Branch and of London & Western Ontario Branch, has been published twice by Thousand Islands Life for articles that relate to two of his Loyalist ancestors – Jacob Carns KRRNY and War of 1812, and Pt. Dorman DeWolfe – War of 1812 – Glengarries – read here. Thanks for reaching out with loyalist history, Arthur.
- This locket once belonged to Georgina Pope, known as PEI’s Florence Nightingale. The daughter of William Pope, a Father of the Confederation, she served in the second Boer War and in WWI. Georgina is one of fourteen figures from Canada’s military history commemorated at the Valiants Memorial in Ottawa. (Canadian War Museum)
- Floral tribute unveiled for Queen’s 90th birthday. The Royal coat of arms is surrounded by flowers in the commemorative collection. Official commemorative china featuring British wildflowers has gone on sale to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday. Forget-me-nots and cornflowers — which traditionally flower in April, the month the monarch was born, and in June, the month of her official birthday, respectively — have been chosen to decorate the Royal Collection Trust pieces.
In the Feb 28 issue of Loyalist Trails, Howard Browne UE asked about Heraldry Protocol
Howard, you are correct. A Loyalist descendant may indeed have a UEL coronet (or several, depending on factors) on their arms granted by the Canadian Heraldic Authority (CHA). A few criteria must first be met. Here are some points:
- The person wanting the arms must prove to the UELAC that they are a bona fide descendant and entitled to the use of “U.E.” after their name. Associate members of the UELAC do not count as entitled to the use of the coronet.
- I note that you are in Williamsburg, VA. Are you a Canadian citizen? If so, the CHA grants arms to Canadian citizens residing in other countries than Canada as well.
- If you are armigerous through the CHA (meaning you have a grant of arms from the CHA) and are only now wishing to add the UEL coronet, you need to apply to the CHA for the augmentation. In effect, you will be creating new arms.
- If you are wishing to apply to another arms-granting authority (ie College of Arms in London or the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh) they do not grant UEL coronets. It is a distinctly Canadian honour.
- The use of either coronet has never been fully defined by the CHA, an issue I have raised with them several times over the years. 3 of my Loyalist ancestors were military so I used three military coronets. A fourth ancestor was a Quaker so I tried to use the civil coronet but was told it should be the military coronet (and it does look much nicer as an afterthought). Common practice has devolved into the military coronet being used for ancestry, and the civil coronet for municipal (non-person) arms.
- To answer your specific question on the ancestors of Lt Robert Melvin, his descendants would most likely be entitled to use the military coronet if they are being granted arms.
- And to call it by its proper name, it is a coronet, not a crown. The Crown is the monarch; all others wear a coronet.
- Many examples of the use of Loyalist coronets may be viewed at the website of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada www.heraldry.ca under Roll of Arms. Mine appears under “R” and has 4 Loyalist coronets in it.
I hope this helps. If there are any more questions, or someone wants help designing arms please let me know.
…David Rumball, CD, UE, FRHSC(Hon)
I am a new subscriber to Loyalist Trails. Thank you so much for all the information! I am researching Richard Morris, deputy surveyor in Guysborough? I am struggling to find information about him, especially from his life before he landed in Nova Scotia.
I would welcome any information or suggestions, and would be interested in connecting with anyone who has an interest in Richard. Thanks in advance.
An applicant is working to prove Loyalist descent from Jacob Van Allen. The Land Petition for the Jacob Van Allen that was found was not by the original Loyalist.
However, there is an index entry for Jacob Van Allen in the Land Board of Upper Canada 1765-1804. I suspect this may have been the original request by the Loyalist. The Microfilm numbers for these records are C-14027 and c- 14028. The Canada Collection I found only seemed to be for the Land Petitions and the microfilm numbers only go to about 3000.
Have the Land Board records been digitized? If so, where can they be accessed?