“Loyalist Trails” 2016-15: April 10, 2016

In this issue:
Postscript: Loyalist Scholarship Fund Challenge 2016
Conference 2016: Registration Form
This Nova Scotia Loyalist Trail leads to North PEI and St Peter’s Bay
Spring Cleaning Discoveries, by Stephen Davidson
Reminiscences of Saint John
Borealia: Transplanting the Irish Agrarian Rebellion into Upper Canada
JAR: Revolutionary Tourist: Chastellux in America
Digital Gazette: Help Save Costs; Sign up by April 14
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Carl Stephenson, UE


Postscript: Loyalist Scholarship Fund Challenge 2016

Donations received this week bring our campaign total to $8,146.00. Thank you!

You know that feeling when you reach the last page of an especially good book? You want the story to go on, and so imagination steps in to continue the narrative. At the close of our 2016 scholarship fundraising campaign we are calling on you to use your imagination. Where do you see UELAC Loyalist Scholarship in five years, in ten years, and beyond? How can we have a lasting and significant effect on academic research? What more can we do?

Encouraging research through scholarship is integral to our mission to preserve, promote and celebrate the history and traditions of the United Empire Loyalists. With imagination, enthusiasm, and continued commitment, we see a great future for Loyalist scholarship. Your donation directly supports this vision.

The United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada gratefully acknowledges the financial support from our generous donors.

Donations to the scholarship fund are welcome throughout the year.

…Bonnie Schepers, UE, Scholarship Committee

Conference 2016

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.

For information about the conference, including the registration form – click here.

This Nova Scotia Loyalist Trail leads to North PEI and St Peter’s Bay

For the adventuresome visitors to PEI and the UELAC conference an interesting historical place to visit is Kinloch Cottage. The book linked below includes tales and genealogy of several families, including some who settled Brackley Point (where the bus tour will stop on the Friday Conference bus tour) and other places such as St Peter’s Bay.

One of our Nova Scotia members has a proven line through Ebenezer CUTLER, UEL who was born in Weston, Middlesex, Massachusetts and his second wife, Mary HICKS. Ebenezer and Mary settled in Annapolis Royal in 1784 where he was a merchant and a prothonotary. Some of this family’s baptismal and marriage records are in the book Gravestones of Old Acadie (1929), by William I. MORSE.

One of Ebenezer’s daughters, Susanna Ford CUTLER, married Peter MACCALLUM, born 1800 in Ross-Shire, Scotland who emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1815. In 1828, Peter and Susanna (CUTLER) MacCALLUM moved to Kings County, Prince Edward Island and built Kinloch Cottage at St Peter’s Bay. Today it is a registered Canadian Heritage site – read more. There Peter was a carpenter, post master, farmer, shipwright, and politician.

Their daughter, Miriam Louisa MACCALLUM, married Stephen MACCALLUM, son of Neil MACCALLUM and Rebecca BOVYER. The Loyalist BOVYER family is included in the book linked below.

Read the book: History of the Montgomery Settlers and Others at Stanhope, Covehead, Brackley Pt 1770-1970 – it loads slowly; be patient.

…Carol Harding, Nova Scotia Branch

Spring Cleaning Discoveries

© Stephen Davidson, UE

It’s never too early to do some spring cleaning. Just as there are always “interesting” items in the back of the refrigerator or dust bunnies under the guest room bed to be found in April, so too are there small, forgotten loyalist stories – bits of history that weren’t quite large enough to be the subject of their own Loyalist Trails articles. Here are some bit-sized historical discoveries made while spring cleaning my loyalist files.

Some loyalist descendants treasure swords, diaries, or jewelry as heirlooms from the American Revolution’s refugees. At one time, a descendant named J. A. Grant had a piece of paper as his inheritance from a New York loyalist named Thomas Mitchell. Born in Scotland in 1758, Mitchell moved to New York at the time of “the Troubles”. There he married Janet Patton in 1781; within two years the newlyweds had joined the loyalist evacuation and settled in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. Although Mitchell was a farmer, he was also noted for his exquisite penmanship. He once wrote out the entire Lord’s Prayer in a circle the size of a shilling. And it was that novelty that was J. A. Grant’s loyalist heirloom.

One need look no further than Seth Seely to see the ingenuity of loyalists. On September 3, 1776, he eluded arrest by his patriot neighbours in Stamford, Connecticut by using his brain – and boots. Seely slit the leather of his boots so that he could wear them backwards. He then walked west through the woods to the British lines, leaving a trail of footprints that looked as if someone had hiked east to Stamford.

Not all loyalists were committed to the crown because of personal convictions. Thomas Skynner was a loyalist baker who lived in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Besides making bread for the British army, Skynner also did everything in his power to convince his two sons to leave the Continental Army. The baker refused to speak to his sons until they could show him their discharge papers. When that threat failed to produce results, Skynner threatened to disinherit them both. Given this ultimatum, one son obtained his discharge papers and returned home.

Of course, other Americans joined the loyalist cause out of deeply held beliefs – and a twenty dollar bounty. It’s not very slick by today’s standards, but here is a recruitment ad for loyalist soldiers that was once printed in a New Jersey newspaper:

“All Gentlemen volunteers, who wish to serve his Majesty, in the noted Loyal Battalion of New Jersey Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Commandant Joseph Barton, for two years, or during the present wanton rebellion, shall on their being mustered, and approved of by the Inspector General, receive twenty dollars bounty, and everything necessary to complete a gentleman soldier. The above bounty will be given to those who enter before the first day of May next; All who are desirous of entering in the above corps, are requested to repair to the quarters of the regiment on Staten Island, or to Col. Barton’s quarters in Dock Street, No. 330, New-York, where an officer will attend to receive them.”

Any loyalists who read colonial newspapers was just as likely to give up and join the rebel cause as they were to be galvanized into action against the revolutionaries. From the vantage point of the 21st century, we don’t fully understand what it was like to pick up the daily paper and read about events as they happened – not knowing which side would ultimately triumph.

Consider some of the following stories: In August of 1777, a “poor farmer, named Andrew Innis, was the week before last, hanged by order of one of the rebel generals, near his own house at Second River, on suspicion of being privy to the desertion of some of their soldiers, as they passed that way on their route to the southward.”

Two years later the Royal Gazette reported “By a gentleman arrived last night from Jersey we are informed that, the real estates of more than two hundred loyalists, natives of that province, are advertised for sale; that the Pennsylvania Assembly have rescinded their former resolve for calling a convention to take the sense of the constituents for altering the old constitution.”

The same paper ran this story two months later: “On Sunday morning last, a party of refugees went from New York, in boats to Closter, a settlement abounding with many violent rebels, and persecutors of loyal subjects, and who are almost daily affording some fresh instance of barbarity. The party, on their approach to their settlement, being fired upon by the militia from houses, were obliged to lay them in ashes, and after pursuing the runaways, killing five or six, wounding many, and bringing in four prisoners, returned to this city, having one man slightly wounded from a random shot on re-embarking. On the party’s first arrival at Closter they found affixed on several houses, printed papers, with the following; “No Quarters shall be given to Refugees, etc.”

Some time since Mr. Myers, an ensign in a company of refugees, was killed in a skirmish with a party of rebels near Closter, the inhabitants of that place after his death, stripped his corpse naked, hung him up by the neck, where he was exhibited as a public spectacle for many hours.

The inhabitants of Closter have been remarkable for “their persecution1 of, and cruelty to all the friends of government, and had fixed up in many of their houses advertisements, in which they expressed their determination of giving no quarter to refugees, and requested all Continental soldiers and militia to refuse them quarters.”

No doubt the patriots also inspired fear in loyalist children. Consider this story that was reported in a loyal newspaper:

“New York, October 21,1776. A body of the rebels skulked over on Saturday night from the New Jersey shore, to Staten Island, and, after cowardly setting fire to two or three farm houses, skulked back again to their former station. Probably, from their conduct, it may be judged, that these were the people, who about the middle of last August, committed such an act of villainous barbarity, as cannot be recited without indignation. A very little boy, belonging to an officer of the army, was playing by himself, upon the shore of Staten Island opposite the Jerseys, when about seven or eight of the rifle men or ragged men, came down slyly, and discharged their muskets upon him. Immediately upon the poor creature’s falling; they gave three cheers and retired. This was a most cruel, dastardly, and infamous murder upon a defenseless innocent child. Such poltroons will always run away at the appearance and approach of men!”

Were these news items propaganda or accurate accounts of loyalist sufferings? New questions continually arise as one sifts through the documents of the loyalist era.

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

Reminiscences of Saint John

[Readers of Loyalist Trails may remember a request for stories that involved loyalists and fire. Here is an article that originally appeared in the March 16, 1861 edition of Saint John, New Brunswick’s Morning News. Not only does it tell the tale of the rescue of a loyalist’s child, but it recounts stories of some of Saint John’s more colourful loyalist settlers in the early days of the city.]

The impression on the minds of many of the loyalists after their arrival and a brief inspection of Saint John was that the Lower Cove would be the best part of it for business purposes and many of their number selected lots in that locality, among whom were Dr. SMITH, father of Thomas M. SMITH, Esq.; John CLARKE, who officiated as Clerk of Old Trinity{Church}, made his home in that quarter and resided there till the day of his death which took place a few years ago.

General ARNOLD erected a large store near the S.E. corner of Charlotte and Britain streets, filled with a valuable stock of goods and it with all its contents was destroyed by fire. It is said to have been well insured. The General was not well appreciated by the Loyalists. They could not have approved of the course he had pursued during the war. His wife was styled the ‘fair American’, being considered by the ladies one of the most beautiful women in America. General Arnold also built the house which now stands on the corner of King and Cross streets opposite Hendrick’s corner, occupied by Messrs. A. & T. Gilmour and others.

The late Stephen HUMBERT also erected a house at the Lower Cove, but finding that business was destined to centre at Upper Cove and the Market Slip was the grand centre, he removed the building and placed it on the lot in Prince William St., a part of which was recently purchased by Messrs. Ennis & Garden.

In 1795 that house was burned. In the excitement of the moment, the babe who had been put to sleep in his cradle was for a few moments forgotten. Such was the rapid progress of the flames that, had it not been for the determined courage of the late Christopher SMILER, father of the late proprietor of the ‘Temperance Telegraph’, who at great personal risk forced his way to where the child lay asleep and brought him out in safety, it is highly probable that we of the present day should not have the pleasure of the acquaintance of John HUMBERT, Esq.*

The lot subsequently passed into the hands of the grandfather of the present Samuel GARDNER. Mr. Smiler was a man of short stature, but the strongest of his size that the province has ever produced. He once carried on his shoulders from Market Slip, up King St., across King Square, past the gaol and so on to his residence near the back shore, a bundle of hay weighing a quarter of a ton.

{* A merchant and shipbuilder as well as the captain of a “Company of Rifles”, Humbert served as a member of Saint John’s city council and a representative in the New Brunswick provincial assembly for Kings County.}

…A Nova Scotia contributor

Borealia: Transplanting the Irish Agrarian Rebellion into Upper Canada

By Laura J. Smith

In the summer of 1824 the British Colonial Office instructed the Upper Canadian government to give a soon-to-arrive Irish emigrant named John Dundon a “gratuitous” land grant of 200 acres and provisions for a year. Such assistance was not unusual. Assisted emigration programs targeting disbanded soldiers, dispossessed peasants, and unemployed craftsmen had already contributed substantially to the Upper Canadian settler population. But why did this particular emigrant warrant individual attention? A second letter sent a few weeks later went further: “John Dundon rendered some important services to the Irish government as an informer and… has been provided for as a settler.” Dundon was to be sent to the Lake Simcoe region, the letter instructed, for “the vicinity of the other settlers would be hardly safe for him.

John Dundon was a notorious “Captain Rock”; a leader within the Rockites, a secret agrarian protest group active in the Blackwater region of North County Cork in the mid-1820s. Like similar Irish groups of the period, the Rockites agitated for social and economic change and particularly for the reform of access to and ownership of land.

Read the rest of her essay.

As always you can follow Borealia on Twitter or Facebook, and can pitch an idea for a post.

JAR: Revolutionary Tourist: Chastellux in America

By Jack Kelly, March 4, 2016

Almost every day, I drive past a Revolutionary War roadside marker. It commemorates a house that served as the headquarters of patriot Gen. Israel Putnam in 1777. Putnam occupied the elegant brick building briefly while he mustered militia to oppose a British incursion up the Hudson River. The enemy raid was intended to relieve Burgoyne’s army, then stalemated at Saratoga.

But I always think of the house, which was an inn during the eighteenth century, in another context. Three years after Putnam’s stay, Francois-Jean de Beauvoir, Chevalier de Chastellux, a general in Rochambeau’s expeditionary force (and later a marquis), spent a night there during his travels in America. Chastellux was using the time following the military campaigning season to gather material for a travelogue describing the landscape, people and customs of America.

Read this review of Chastellux’s travels through America and his thoughts about the people and places.

Digital Gazette: Help Save Costs; Sign up by April 14

Enjoy the benefits of the digital copy: early delivery, colour throughout, and save on storage.

Last chance to help the environment while helping us to reduce paper usage for the magazine and the envelope, reduce ink and printing costs, and eliminate mailing costs for your copy.

We need to know if you will accept ONLY the digital copy before April 14 when the printing order will be placed. Last year’s Spring 2015 issue is now available publicly – a lot of colour. Have a look.

People who are paid-up members and Gazette subscribers can register for the digital copy of the Spring 2015 issue). Each request is processed at Dominion Office (to check that the requirements are met) before the access details are returned (the office is open Tues, Wed, Thurs).

Those who received access last year will need to reapply, as the address and password are new.

We hope you will enjoy this year’s issues of the Loyalist Gazette – in digital full colour.

…Publications Committee

Where in the World?

Where is Bonnie Shepers?

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.

  • In downtown Toronto, human remains over 200 years old were found while a crew was doing renovations to a building on Britain Street. The remains are likely part of the Duchess Street Burial Ground, belonging to the Presbyterian Church. Archaeological investigation for the Toronto site has revealed that the burials may have been on the edge of the Duchess Street Burial Ground or beyond it. Watch the news story by Amanda Ferguson from CityTV News.
  • In Ottawa, a discovery was made in December on Sparks Street in Ottawa’s downtown core when workers were repairing underground utility lines. Archaeological investigation revealed that the Ottawa site is the location of the Barrack Hill Cemetery, established circa 1827 and closed to further burials circa 1845. Look at this story, by Joanne Schnurr from CTV Ottawa News.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Submerged fortress of doom: An island fort under the St. Lawrence River. Driving south of Ottawa on the 416 for about an hour you can cross the border into the United States over a bridge which spans the St. Lawrence River near Prescott. Like thousands of others travelers, I’ve crossed the suspension bridge at a great height over the water and islands below, gazing in wonder at the mighty river that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. But it is only now that I am discovering there is a submerged fortress island of great historical significance in the waters below. Read more.
  • Parenting. Whether due to war, sickness or accident, many youth must have been raised by other than their biological parents. George Washington had no biological children of his own, and it took many years for Washington to come to grips with the fact that he was not going to father his own children. Despite this difficulty, the Washingtons’ home at Mount Vernon was filled with children for nearly all forty years of their marriage. For most of these children, George Washington stood in the role of father or grandfather. Read more.
  • A Well-Loved Georgian Doll and Her Wardrobe, c.1790 by Two Nerdy History Girls Thursday, April 7, 2016. Modern girls may believe that Barbie has the ultimate fashion wardrobe, but the long-ago owner of this 18thc wooden doll in the collection of Colonial Williamsburg would have argued otherwise – and she’d win.
  • Oliver Goldsmith, poet, civil servant (b at St Andrews, NB 6 July 1794; d at Liverpool, Eng 23 June 1861). The son of Loyalists and grandnephew of Irish poet Oliver Goldsmith, he was employed for most of his life in the commissariat of the British army at Halifax. Read more.
  • James Bagnall, printer, publisher, politician, officeholder (b at Shelburne, NS 1783; d at Bedeque, PEI 20 June 1855). The son of New York LOYALISTS, he moved with his parents to Charlottetown as an infant. Read more.
  • Cromwellian Guns, Gilt Brass Gorgets, and the Tales they tell that make us want more. Description of a few artefacts in the City of Toronto Museum and Heritage Services collections that tell directly about the history of Fort York National Historic Site. The new Fort York Acquisitions Fund will help them acquire more.
  • The History Of The Sir John Johnson Manor House Williamstown, Ontario. The national historic significance of the Sir John Johnson House lies in its historical association with Sir John Johnson, its age as one of the oldest surviving buildings in Ontario and in its architectural design.

Last Post: Carl Stephenson, UE

On Tuesday March 8, 2016, Carl Stephenson passed away after a lengthy illness at age 86. He is remembered with great love by his wife, Marian, and children, Julie (Todd Hansen), Paul and Rob and his grandchildren Maggie, Owen, Eric and Andrew. He was always close to his siblings and their families in Cornwall and is survived by Norma, Boyd, Edna, Winona, Mavis, Myra and Ann. Carl was predeceased by his sister Elaine. For Carl, family was most important. He was the second child of 9, born on 1 Feb 1930 to Leslie and Ruby (nee Watson) Stephenson of Cornwall, Ontario. Carl was the happiest as a boy on the family’s backyard skating rink with his brother and sisters and their friends.

Carl graduated proudly from Queen’s University as a Chemical Engineer in 1953 and worked for Imperial Oil for over 30 years. He was highly respected by his peers for his engineering expertise and great sense of humour. Marian and Carl were married for 58 years and nurtured a loving environment for children, grandchildren and pets in Sarnia, Montreal, Toronto and finally in Calgary for 38 years.

Carl was always active and interested in healthy living. He volunteered for Knox United Church, the Boy Scouts and the Interfaith Food Bank. He enjoyed the outdoors, the Esso Hiking Club, his friends at the Esso gym and travelling with Marian.

He was very proud to be a descendent of United Empire Loyalists and a Canadian, writing 2 books about his family history. We will miss him dearly but we thank God for freeing him from dementia. Even in his last days. Carl loved to share memories about his early years with his visitors.

One of many of his many Loyalist ancestors – the one for which a certificate was issued in 2013 – was Barnabus Hart.

…Julie Stephenson