“Loyalist Trails” 2016-16: April 17, 2016

In this issue:
Conference 2016
The Nine Legends of Kate Fowler (Part One), by Stephen Davidson
Ships Bringing Loyalists to Canada: New Data for the John & Jane
Conference: The American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley, June 9-12
Borealia: White Tribism, Viking Explorations and Indigenous Erasures
JAR: Advertising for Deserters
Digital Gazette: Request Your Copy
Petition: Apology to British Home Children
Canada 150: Join the Celebration!
Where in the World?
Certificates Issued in January and February
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Joy Ruby (Bell) Tweney-Austin


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.

Information about the conference, including the registration form, is now available read here.

The Nine Legends of Kate Fowler (Part One)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

She dashed through the enemy’s forces on a horse – or was it a farm wagon? Her father was a patriot – or was he a loyalist? Did a rebel’s bullet kill her – or a broken heart? Such is the confusion surrounding the exploits of the loyalist heroine, Kate Fowler.

The War of 1812 has Laura Secord as its brave heroine, a woman who walked twenty miles to tell the British forces of an impending American attack. The British newspapers of the 1850s described Florence Nightingale as a “ministering angel” for her role in providing medical care during the Crimean War. Four centuries earlier, the guidance of Joan of Arc led the French army to victory in the Hundred Years War. All of these examples raise the question, Is there no loyalist woman from the American Revolution whose accomplishments would make her the equal of these heroines of the past?

Kate Fowler might be such a candidate. But before we can consider her worthiness as a loyalist heroine, we need to review some facts regarding the Siege of Fort Ninety-Six in the summer of 1781.

Built to protect the settlers in South Carolina’s backcountry, Fort Ninety-Six gained strategic importance during the American Revolution because it was where several important roadways converged. The fort was built as a star redoubt, a design favoured by Europe’s military engineers, and thus it was sometimes referred to as the Star Fort. Fort Ninety-Six was in a part of South Carolina that had witnessed horrendous violence; rebels and loyalists routinely murdered and pillaged one another.

After 1780, the British command put Lt. Col John Cruger, a New York Loyalist, in charge of the fort. (Everyone who served at Fort Ninety-Six was a colonist except for one British officer.) Ann Cruger accompanied her husband to his new posting where she “lived in the garrison, fared as the people did, was beloved … for her kindness and hospitalities upon all occasions.”

In May of 1781, Continental troops led by General Nathanael Greene and a local militia laid siege to the Star Fort for 31 days. (Cruger saw to it that his wife was safely installed in the home of a Presbyterian minister a mile away.)

Cut off from military supplies and food, Cruger wondered if he should surrender and risk entrusting his loyalist forces to the mercy of the Continental Army. Sometime around the twelfth of June, word came to the Star Fort’s defenders that Lord Francis Rawdon and two thousand British troops were on their way from Charlestown to rescue the besieged loyalists.

Revolutionary War records note that the bearer of this good news was a man named Hugh Aiken. His report raised the morale of Cruger’s men, giving them the spirit to continue their fight until Rawdon arrived.

One more set of facts needs to be kept in mind before we turn our attention to young Miss Fowler. Today in South Carolina’s Ninety Six — a town that is very proud of its patriot history– there is a Kate Fowler Road. About two and a half miles from the town is a stream called the “Kate Fowler Branch”. Why would these places bear the name of a woman who had absolutely no connection to the victorious patriots?

It seems that if a story about a woman has sufficient elements of heroism and romance, it has the power to make generations of patriotic Americans cherish her even if she had been a loyalist. For this is how Kate Fowler’s name has survived to the 21st century. There are no less than nine different versions of this loyalist woman’s adventures.

In the first of these legends, our loyalist heroine is described as “a young woman of the neighbourhood” of Ninety-Six — a pioneer’s daughter, who fell in love with a British officer of “Star Fort”. A later novel (perhaps William Gillmore Simm’s 1855 book, The Forayers) is credited with naming her Kate Fowler. This brief account was the “grain of sand” around which eight other legendary “pearls” would eventually grow.

In 1896, Francis Muench published a book of poems called Palmetto Lyrics. Included in this volume was an 18 stanza-poem titled Kate Fowler. This would become her second legend.

Notes from William Gilmore Simms’ 1842 History of South Carolina accompanied Muench’s ode to the loyalist heroine. This historian maintained that Kate was the “instrument employed by the British for encouraging Cruger to protract the siege”. She lived near the fort; her father and brothers were all patriots. Kate had been on such good terms with General Greene as to have once shared a meal with the patriot officer.

However, the young woman had “formed a matrimonial engagement with a British officer” and so she did what she could to aid her lover’s cause. Reference is also made to the Kate Fowler Branch, describing it as flowing from the old fort into the Saluda River.

Muench’s poem introduces his heroine in stanza six: “Kate Fowler twas who –plain and short–loved Major Cruger of the fort”. After overhearing that Rawdon was on his way to help the besieged loyalists, Kate wrote a letter to Cruger, “her lover-friend”. Disguising herself as a young man, she mounted a horse, and made a dash for the fort. Just as Kate came close to the ramparts, a rebel musket found its mark, and she fell to the ground. The loyalist soldiers took the letter from her upheld hand.

When Cruger realized it was Kate, “Called he with wild emotion: Kate, thou? My Kate! It cannot be”. The melodrama continued. “He held her still in his embrace and with his tears he bathed her face.”

Cruger’s men opened fire on the rebels “with thunders of resentment”. Greene could not capture the fort — and all because of Kate, the “martyr-carrier”. The rebels retreated, and Cruger returned to where Kate lay and discovered that she had not died of her gunshot wound. Thanking God, Cruger exclaims, “to thee alone we owe, to thee, our rescue and our victory — then smiling she expired!”

This legend contradicts several facts. Cruger was an American loyalist and not a British officer. Although officers had certainly taken mistresses with them on military campaigns, Cruger’s alleged relationship to Kate seems improbable given the proximity of his wife during his time at Ninety-Six. Also, contemporary sources had identified the messenger as being a man.

Confused yet? Read seven more legends about Kate Fowler in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

Ships Bringing Loyalists to Canada: New Data for the John & Jane

Many Loyalists came to Canada by ship, especially those who settled in the Maritime provinces and, to a lesser extent, in Quebec.

Stephen Davidson writes:

I was working on an article having to do with the Book of Negroes and got sidetracked – but in a good way. I ended up compiling the list of loyalists (black and white) who sailed from New York to (present day) Saint John on the evacuation ship, John & Jane.

By using David Bell’s Victualing Muster List in his American Loyalists to New Brunswick and Carleton’s Book of Negroes, I have been able to make a fairly thorough manifest. (Some loyalists may have slipped through the cracks, but the attached list is more complete than either source by itself).

When the terms of peace became known, tens of thousands of the Loyalists shook the dust of their ungrateful country from their feet, never to return. The party sailed from New York, in nine transport ships, on October 19, 1782, and arrived a few days later at Annapolis Royal.

On April 26, 1783, the first or ‘spring’ fleet set sail. It had on board no less than seven thousand persons, men, women, children, and servants. Half of these went to the mouth of the river St John, and about half to Port Roseway, at the south-west end of the Nova Scotian peninsula. All summer and autumn the ships kept plying to and fro.

In June, the ‘summer fleet’ brought about 2,500 colonists to St John River, Annapolis, Port Roseway, and Fort Cumberland. By August 23 John Parr, the governor of Nova Scotia, wrote that ‘upward of 12,000 souls have already arrived from New York,’ and that as many more were expected. By the end of September he estimated that 18,000 had arrived, and stated that 10,000 more were still to come. By the end of the year he computed the total immigration to have amounted to 30,000. As late as January 15, 1784, the refugees were still arriving.

See the Loyalist Ships section.

Go directly to the information about the John & Jane.

Conference: The American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley, June 9-12

The topics and speakers for the conference include:

• Lois Huey: Molly Brant A Legacy of Her Own;

• Todd Braisted: Grand Forage 1778: The Battleground Around New York City;

• J.L. Bell: The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War;

• James Kirby Martin: Benedict Arnold in the Mohawk Valley: The Rescue of Fort Schuyler (Stanwix);

• and more – see the schedule.

The Mohawk played a key role in the struggle for American independence. Four great days of history, nine fascinating presentations, two distinct bus tours of Mohawk Country Historic Sites, banquet with keynote speaker at the historic 1765 Goose Van Alstyne Tavern and much more.

See also the flyer and the registration package.

Contact Brian Mack who also handles registration at fortplainmuseum@yahoo.com or 518-774-5669.

Borealia: White Tribism, Viking Explorations and Indigenous Erasures

by Douglas Hunter

The Vikings are back in North America, although in truth they’ve been with us since at least the eighteenth century, when the Vinland sagas began to fuel speculation about the lands Leif Eiriksson and his compatriots tried to colonize around 1000 AD. Their latest sighting is at Point Rosee in southwestern Newfoundland, where American archaeologist Sarah Parcak claims to have found evidence of Norse iron processing. If she is right, Point Rosee would be only the second broadly accepted Norse site in North America, after the L’Anse Aux Meadows find of the 1960s.

In my research into processes of colonialism and the historic construction of race and migration theories, I deal with a phenomenon I call White Tribism. The Point Rosee find has nothing to do with White Tribism, but White Tribism has a lot to do with why so many people are fascinated with efforts to prove Europeans colonized North America, long before Columbus. White Tribism comes in several variants, but they all involve the idea that Old World peoples we would recognize as Caucasian, “white,” or northern European (or their Old Testament ancestors) arrived in the Americas at some point in pre-Columbian antiquity. Read more.

JAR: Advertising for Deserters

Newspapers are among our favorite things at Journal of the American Revolution, providing endless information and insight about America’s Revolutionary era. In addition to news, notices, and opinion pieces, newspapers carried advertising that reveals important aspects of the people who placed ads and read them. Some of the ads were actually about people. When soldiers absconded from their duty, for example, army officers sometimes placed advertisements in newspapers, giving a description of the deserter and offering a reward for his return. American newspapers advertised thousands of deserters during the course of the war; this week, we’ll present one ad each day as a very brief survey of these important sources of information.

First off is the first deserter advertisement of the war – as a substantial American army coalesced on the heights around Boston in April, May and June of 1775, bringing order to this disorganized composite force was the greatest challenged faced by the army’s leaders:

Deserted from the subscribers company in Col. Wooster’s Regiment, one James Parker, a transient Irishman, about 36 years of age, middling stature, his face pitted with gun-powder, short black hair, had on a light colour’d coat, and is a taylor by trade. Whoever shall take up said deserter, and return him to the subscriber, shall be reasonably rewarded by Thomas Porter.

Five short posts:

  • Introduction and James Parker
  • The deserter advertisement presented today illustrates several important facets of the Continental Army. Looking at this list of thirteen deserters, we see:
    • Men born on both sides of the Atlantic
    • A variety of ages
    • A soldier accompanied by his wife
    • Some men with short hair
    • Desertion was sometimes a very, very big problem
  • Desertion was as much a problem for the British army as it was for the American. Once the war began, however, British officers seldom placed ads for deserters in newspapers. This may be because the British army was largely confined to areas around major cities.
  • The soldiers from several German principalities who were contracted to supplement the British army in America are often called mercenaries, a misnomer. The British government paid the German princes who then sent regiments from their own armies to fight in America. The soldiers themselves were no more mercenary than any other soldiers in the pay of their own governments.
  • Deserter advertisements and runaway notices, fascinating though they are, provide only single elements of what were certainly more complex stories. In rare cases, further research reveals much more about a person. Take this ad, for example.

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

The Loyalist Gazette is on track to be shipped around the first of May, subject to the vagaries of the printer and the mailing house.

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

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 Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

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

…Publications Committee

Petition: Apology to British Home Children

We, the undersigned, Citizens and Residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to Issue an unequivocal, sincere and public apology to the elderly yet living British Home Children and all the descendants of Home Children. We seek this apology in order to acknowledge that this child migrant scheme is an important part of Canadian history and to recognize that it is a legacy that has roots in the harm and displacement of thousands of vulnerable children. An apology would ensure a higher profile for British Home Children, thus enabling the education of the public. An apology would help to heal the wounds of separated families and providing a chance for more people to discover their family history within the context of a proud Canadian culture.

To support the petition, sign it at the Government of Canada website.

Canada 150: Join the Celebration!

In 2017 Canada will mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation. This is your celebration! How will you join Canadians taking part from coast to coast to coast? The Canada 150 adventure awaits you.

The logo is composed of a series of diamonds, or “celebratory gems”, arranged in the shape of the iconic maple leaf. The four diamonds at the base represent the four original provinces that formed Confederation in 1867: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Additional diamonds extend out from the base to create nine more points–in total representing the 13 provinces and territories.

The Canada 150 logo will become an evocative symbol and an enduring reminder of one of Canada’s proudest moments. The maple leaf motif is recognized at home and abroad as distinctively Canadian, and it fosters feelings of pride, unity and celebration. This unique and colourful design is simple enough to be drawn by children, and versatile enough to appear in color variations. The possible uses of the symbol are as unlimited as the spirit and imagination of the Canadian public.

The Canada 150 website contains information, including details about government funding of projects. Many of us are old enough to remember centennial projects from back in 1967 and may want to do something similar next year. Every year is an opportunity to celebrate the loyalist refugee heritage!

…Stephen Davidson

UELAC has struck a Canada 150 Celebrations committee, co-chaired by Sandy McNamara and Andrew Fleming. Get involved, consider a project for 2017.

Where in the World?

Where are Ken and Barb Law of Col. Edward Jessup 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.

Certificates Issued in January and February

Region and Branch Bits

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

  • Go for a walk, long or short. The organizing committee for Settlers Trek 2016 have been hard at work for many months, in preparation for a landmark event which will begin in Brockville on May 15th. The group of volunteers with a keen interest in local history is planning the re-enactment of the original journey made by Scottish settlers and some Loyalists who left Brockville in the spring of 1816 to found the military settlement of Perth 200 years ago. The six-day 100 km trek will follow a route from Brockville and travel through Lyn, Delta, Portland and Rideau Ferry, and then on to Perth, which closely follows the route of the original settlers. Many events are being planned by local groups along the way. Read more details.
  • A few years ago, Fred Hayward gathered information about the formation of the branches of the UELAC and posted that to the UELAC website. Each year a Gazette is issued, the Branching Out section for any  branch which contributed to the prior issue is added to that branch’s history. Initial information about the newest branch – Assiniboine – has now been added to the Branch History page.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • The Adverts 250 Project. An Exploration of Advertising in Colonial America 250 Years Ago This Week.  What was advertised in a colonial newspaper 250 years ago this week?  “A parcel of HOUSEHOLD AND KITCHEN FURNITURE.
  • A declaration by Sir William Howe. August 28th, 1777 to reassure those loyal and forgive those who return to the fold.
  • Loyalists made a difference. As a former history teacher and guidance counsellor I was well aware of the term United Empire Loyalists. What I was not aware of, however, was the fact that more than 8,000 of these displaced individuals were black. (A column from the Cape Breton Post)
  • Black history researcher David Peters is seven generations removed from his ancestor Thomas Peters, but says he feels a strong connection to the man. “Thomas Peters, being worshipped, as he was, around the black community, other kids turned up. I’m the descendant of one of them,” said Peters. (Column at CBC)
  • Cairn to Hessians from American Revolution on Waldeck Line Rd., Annapolis Co., Nova Scotia
  • Postcard of memorial at landing of United Empire Loyalists, Saint John, New Brunswick and another postcard of the Saint John, NB, Sesquicentennial of the landing of the United Empire Loyalists, 1783 – 1933.
  • The person (or group?) who puts British “Loyalist” flags in Old Burying Ground in Arlington, Massachusetts every April has visited.
  • It was on this day in 1828 that Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language was published. Webster put together the dictionary because he wanted Americans to have a national identity that wasn’t based on the language and ideas of England. Read more (scroll down)
  • DAR supports of the Museum of the American Revolution, a new museum set to open in Philadelphia in 2017. In part, DAR will underwrite a copy of the painting Siege of Yorktown which hangs in the palace of Versailles.

Last Post: Joy Ruby (Bell) Tweney-Austin

Long-time Bicentennial Branch member, Joy Ruby (Bell) Tweney-Austin died on April 11th in her 88th year. She was predeceased by her parents, George Bell and Agnes Selkirk, and her son, William Ray Tweney. She is survived by her sons, Thomas Edward Tweney and Ernest Selkirk Austin, 7 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild.

Joy was the Bicentennial Branch Newsletter Editor for many years before retiring in 2008. Most of this time was before newsletter software, digital photography and scanners so the task of producing 4 annual newsletters was not so simple. High quality photocopies of photographs taken at meetings and details of meetings including guest speakers plus certificate presentations were provided to her. She took this information, added seasonal anecdotes, humorous asides and created a folksy, entertaining and educational newsletter year after year.

Because of mobility and other health issues Joy seldom left her apartment. She owned a photocopy machine and produced the newsletter literally ‘in-house’. Joy was a great supporter of the Branch and was very proud when she proved descent from Loyalist John Helmer for her son, Thomas, in 1994 and her granddaughter, Susanne Joy, in 2006. She was a very special person who contributed much to the heritage of the Bicentennial Branch and she will be missed.

…Margie Luffman UE, for the Bicentennial Branch