“Loyalist Trails” 2016-20: May 15, 2016

In this issue:
Conference 2016: Loyalists, Lighthouses & Lobsters
Walking With Angels: Procedures for Documenting Cemeteries and Burials
May 18 is United Empire Loyalist Day in New Brunswick
Spies and Refugees on Board the Asia (Part 3 of 4), by Stephen Davidson
The Asia: Also an Ontario Ship
JAR: Paddy Carr, “A Honey of a Patriot”
Book: Hostages to Fortune: The United Empire Loyalists and the Making of Canada
Loyalists and World War I: Casualty – Douglas Vernon Ritchie
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Editor’s Note


Conference 2016: Loyalists, Lighthouses & Lobsters

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.

Walking With Angels: Procedures for Documenting Cemeteries and Burials

By David Walker. NOTE: an additional session, not on the webpage for the Conference.

On Friday afternoon, July 8, 2016 David is offering a 1-hour session at the Loyalist Country Inn at 2:15 pm following the noon buffet lunch. This is a free talk, but space may be limited. Sign Up: You can email the conference anytime to sign up, or sign up at the registration desk when you check in.

In preparation for the cemetery visit, the talk will deal with creating a burial list for each cemetery. A brief technology portion will describe favourite gadgets to bring along. Once at a given cemetery, procedures will be presented on recording the church, cemetery and individual tombstones. At the end of the day one will most likely need to edit the photographs, which leads to a discussion on software for preparing your images for publication. The talk will end with examples of page layouts for a work in progress.

Representing Abegweit Branch, David Walker is an enthusiastic genealogy researcher. His main focus is on his ancestral roots from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New England and the British Isles. His interest was piqued 24 years ago with a tale of an ancestral family from Berkshire having been shipwrecked off the coast of Prince Edward Island. It’s been a journey ever since.

David lives in Ontario and is a regular summer resident of PEI. He regularly utilizes Island resources such as The Public Archives & Records Office (in Charlottetown and on-line), the MacNaught History Centre (Summerside and on-line), Alberton Museum & Archives, cemetery transcripts published by the Prince Edward Island Genealogical Society. He also has a working knowledge of many cemeteries in all three counties.

May 18 is United Empire Loyalist Day in New Brunswick

According to tradition, the Loyalists landed in what became Saint John on 18 May 1783. At that time, the community had a total of 420 souls, including 205 Royal Fencible Americans and their families stationed at Fort Howe. The historian, J.W. Lawrence, stated that the City of Saint John was incorporated on the second anniversary of the landing of the first Loyalists, 18 May 1785, making it the oldest incorporated city in Canada. On 27 April, about 50 ships bound for Halifax, Shelburne, Annapolis and Saint John, set sail from Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Ten of these were headed for Saint John of which The Union arrived first, on the 10 May. The other eight began to come in two days later. Unloading of about 2,150 refugees, disbanding Provincial troops and their dependants with their possessions took about a month. A total of about 10,000 landed in that year.[6] It has been suggested that disembarking began on the 18th, coinciding with the time in which Loyalist Day is celebrated.

The New Brunswick Branch UELAC, with the assistance of the City of Saint John, annually commemorates the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists with ceremony at the Loyalist Rock in Loyalist Plaza and City Hall. Read more: “The Significance Of May 18 As Loyalist Day In New Brunswick.”

Spies and Refugees on Board the Asia (Part 3 of 4)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

By the fall of 1775, George Vandeput, captain of the Asia, had received new orders. They had nothing to do with the treatment of loyalist allies or patriot enemies. Rather, Vandeput was now charged with stopping any and all vessels that were carrying emigrants to New York.

The British considered the recent skirmishes with rebels to be serious enough to start recruiting loyal colonists to fight for the crown, but not so serious as to stop the regular flow of emigrant ships bringing settlers to the British colonies. Colonel Allan MacLean, a veteran of the Seven Years War, proposed enlisting settlers from the Highlands to form a defensive regiment. In fact, he went so far as to suggest that emigrant ships should be stopped before delivering their passengers. With a little coercion, the male passengers would then be persuaded to “volunteer” to join MacLean’s regiment. It sounded like a great plan on paper, and was approved by General Gage. However, the captain of the Asia had his doubts.

In early September of 1775, Vandeput boarded two emigrant ships that had just arrived in New York. The passengers were exhausted from their journey and their supplies had run out. They had no interest in colonial politics and only wanted to establish farms along New York’s frontier. Much to the horror of the British recruiting officer, Vandeput let the emigrants go. It wasn’t too long before Vice-Admiral Graves sent the Asia‘s captain a very firm letter.

Graves informed Vandeput that General Gage had ordered the raising of recruits “among the emigrants already arrived and from those expected from Great Britain and Ireland”. The letter of September 24, 1775 continued. “You are also required to stop any ship which shall in future arrive.” Vandeput was “to send such ship with as much despatch as possible to Boston without allowing any of the emigrants to land at New York”.

Having his knuckles rapped; Vandeput would guarantee that the next emigrant ship that sailed into New York would be redirected to Boston where its passengers would be impressed into military service. In just over a week’s time, 255 unsuspecting Highland passengers aboard the Glasgow were about to encounter the Asia.

Vandeput and his men boarded the emigrant ship and immediately “detained” the Glasgow and its passengers. James Fraser, one of the Highlanders aboard the emigrant ship described what happened next.

The emigrants were “impressed and taken as captives by His Majesty’s Ship of War, Asia, then being in that harbour till such time as they would voluntarily engage themselves in one body, or otherwise be distributed into other corps.”

One of the Asia‘s officers then compiled a list of the Glasgow’s 74 men and boys who were eligible to serve the crown. After the ship was stocked with provisions, Vandeput sent it on to Boston on November 5, 1775.

Despite the presence of the Asia and other ships of the Royal Navy in New York’s harbour, General Charles Lee established a headquarters for the Continental Army at Number One Broadway Avenue in January, 1776. A conflict larger than the incident at the Battery was looming on the horizon.

On February 12th, patriots forced Tryon’s personal secretary, Edmund Fanning, to “fly for refuge on board the Asia“. He later testified that he “had been frequently exposed to insults from the mob while in the execution of the Governor’s Orders”. After the arrival of the British fleet, Fanning served as a colonel in the King’s American Regiment of Foot until the end of the Revolution. In 1783, he became Nova Scotia’s lieutenant governor, and in three years’ time he assumed the same office on Prince Edward Island. He served in this post until 1805.

Tensions mounted in New York when word reached the provincial assembly that Britain was sending its fleet to occupy the colony later in 1776. The presence of the Asia in the waters off Staten Island discouraged Manhattan Island’s patriots from rising up as the citizens of Boston had done a year earlier. It also affected the rebels’ morale. It is little wonder, then, that the Asia became a target of rebel wrath.

One night, New York patriots loaded barrels of gunpowder into a small vessel and set it adrift along the route taken by Asia‘s crew when they went ashore to collect provisions. The rebels had every reason to believe that the British sailors would happily seize the unexpected spoils of war and that they would store the gunpowder in their ship’s ammunition magazine.

What the Asia‘s crew did not know was that the patriots had hidden a musket-lock and some clockwork inside one of the gunpowder barrels. When the clockwork wound down, this 18th century time bomb would explode within the ship’s magazine, setting all of the ammunition on fire. The hated British warship would be thoroughly destroyed by a massive explosion from within.

However, instead of immediately storing the gunpowder within the hold, Captain Vandeput ordered that the barrel-laden boat stay in the water at a distance from the Asia for the night. Had he received a tip about a plot to bomb the ship from one of his local spies?

John Saltmarsh, a New York loyalist, testified that he was employed by Governor Tryon and Captain Vandeput “to get intelligence of the Enemy for five months” in 1776. Rebels imprisoned him for espionage, but he was later able to serve in the British fleet. After being wounded twice, Saltmarsh sailed for Ireland in March of 1779. He made his way to England, and in February of 1784, recounted his war time services aboard the Asia.

David Matthews, the last loyalist mayor of New York City, risked his life to acquire “information concerning the designs of the insurgents which he communicated to Captain Vandeput”. After the Revolution, Matthews became the first attorney general for the colony of Cape Breton before it was made a part of Nova Scotia. He died there in 1800.

The plot to blow up the Asia was known to at least one man aboard the man-of-war, a patriot prisoner held in the ship’s brig. Somehow, this prisoner learned that the booby-trapped powder barrel was near the ship. Time was short; the bomb could go off at any moment. Even at a distance, the exploding barrel might inflict serious damage on the Asia.

The rebel had little desire to die in the hold of a British man-of-war, no matter how worthy the patriot cause. In terror, the prisoner had Vandeput called to the brig and warned him of the ship’s danger. Thanks to Vandeput’s caution and a prisoner’s fear, an explosion that might have ignited a patriot uprising in New York City never happened — and almost disappeared from memory.

In April, the Asia and its entourage anchored off the Narrows, securing British control of the body of water that connects New York City to the Atlantic Ocean. In late June, Captain Vandeput welcomed 45 ships of the British fleet to the Thirteen Colonies. By June 29, more than 100 vessels, “looking like a forest of trimmed pine trees”, had anchored in the Lower Bay. Martha Washington, the general’s wife, was among hundreds of patriots who began to flee New York City.

On July second, the British established their headquarters on Staten Island. Within a month’s time, 45 ships bearing 3,000 troops arrived from South Carolina. Three days later, the 21 ships of Sir William Howe’s fleet from Halifax weighed anchor in New York’s harbour. Finally, 100 more ships sailed into the Hudson, taking an entire day to do so. Three thousand British troops and 8,000 Hessian soldiers had just arrived.

It looked as if the American uprising would be snuffed out in a matter of weeks.

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

The Asia: Also an Ontario Ship

On reading about the Asia in Loyalist Trails, I immediately thought of the book Great Lakes Stories, by author Mark Bourrie.

Chapter 9: The Asia.

On Sept 13. 1882 The Asia left Collingwood laden with horses, freight and people … sometime later a gale struck the boat and it sank. 25 people were lost … a few survived.

A distant relative of mine wrote a poem concerning this event titled “The Loss of the Asia … Dec. 2, 1882.”

It seems unlikely there is any relationship with the Asia referenced in Loyalist Trails – interesting nonetheless.

…Ken Fader, UE, Sask. Branch

JAR: Paddy Carr, “A Honey of a Patriot”

by Wayne Lynch May 9, 2016.

Known primarily through a mix of fact and legend as the most notorious Patriot of the southern campaigns, Paddy Carr was also claimed to have an “amiable and benevolent” nature. As if that contradiction were not enough to create complexity of character, Carr, a stone cold killer of Tories, never swore or uttered blasphemy. Instead, when faced with dangerous situations, he maintained the ability to remain completely calm. In fact, according to one story told by an early historian, Paddy considered himself “insensible to fear.” Just to demonstrate that quality to a friend, Paddy once sat on a keg of gunpowder and requested a candle. Just as he touched the powder with the lighted end, another man walking close by lost his nerve and snatched the powder away. Paddy’s friend considered himself spared from a dreadful explosion only by the “providence of God.” Meanwhile, Carr remained perfectly calm and asked if he were now convinced, which he was. At that point, Carr said that he might have made “a good soldier but nature had formed his heart too tender and compassionate.” Yes, all of those descriptions create a single individual, the man we know as Paddy Carr.

Read more.

Book: Hostages to Fortune: The United Empire Loyalists and the Making of Canada

Esteemed Canadian author Peter C. Newman recounts the dramatic journey of the United Empire Loyalists: their exodus from America, their resettlement in the wilds of British North America, and their defence of what would prove to be the social and moral foundation of Canada.

Simon and Shuster Publisher. To be available 1 Nov. 2016. Amazon.ca is now taking pre-orders.

…Stephen Davidson

Loyalists and World War I: Casualty – Douglas Vernon Ritchie

D.V. Ritchie (he signed himself this way), Great-Great Grandson of Captain Gideon Vernon, U.E. was born in Ottawa, Ontario 16 December 1881 the youngest son of Chief Justice Sir William Johnstone and Lady (née Grace Vernon Nicholson) Ritchie. He joined the 2 Canadian Mounted Rifles [B.C. Horse] (predecessor to the British Columbia Dragoons) 8 December 1914 in Victoria. They embarked for Europe from Quebec City on 12 June 1915 aboard the Troopship Megantic formerly of the White Star Line. After staging in England, they arrived in France 22 September 1915 and were dismounted 1 January 1916.

He was killed in action the afternoon of June 2, 1916 in the opening hours of the Battle of Mount Sorrel in the vicinity of Maple Copse where 2 CMR having been in Brigade Reserve had come up to the line and been thrown into the battle in the frantic attempt to stop the German advance in that sector. He was originally buried in what was to become the CWGC’s Maple Copse Cemetery, however, following over a week of heavy shelling, his body was unable to be located after the battle, and he is commemorated at the Menin Gate (Panel 32).

Edwin Garrett

Where in the World?

Where is Gov. Simcoe Branch member Doug Grant?

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 the Brantford Ontario area, there are a number of War of 1812 Veterans unveilings coming up in the next six weeks. See http://www.brant.ca/en/open-for-business/heritage-events.asp Our ultimate goal is to hopefully find descendants of the veterans. For a full list of all of the veterans that have been found, please click on the link http://dev.1812veterans.ca/ and it will take you to the site of the Gravesite Project. The Federal Government funded 1,000 plaques in total for this project but only 337 Veterans have been identified and their graves marked.
  • It is time to start planning to attend the Adam and Catharine (Schremling) Young potluck lunch and reunion on Saturday, July 9 – 11:30 to 3:00pm – in Caledonia. All descendants of Adam [Johann] Young UE (1717 Foxtown, New York-1790 Seneca Twp, Haldimand Co., Ontario) and Catharine [Cattarina Elisabeth] Schremling (1720 New york state- 1798 Barton Twp., Wentworth Co. Ontario are invited. Location: Grace United Church Hall, 174 Caithness St. E, Caledonia N3W 1C2, https://goo.gl/maps/u5teHJE6C9p Donation of $10 per family at door. Bring food for the potluck lunch; genealogy records, a historical heirloom from Young ancestors AND a brief story to share if you would like! Refreshments will be provided. More information:

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • The Narragansett Pacer — the Lost Horse of the New England Colonies. It’s not exactly clear when the first horse officially called a Narragansett Pacer appeared in Rhode Island, though it was likely in the late 1600s and its emergence marked the first true American breed of horse. Did Paul Revere ride one?
  • A Connecticut Store Becomes a Revolutionary War Office. When Connecticut Gov. Jonathan Trumbull got word of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, he went to his store and began collecting supplies for the men marching off from his hometown of Lebanon. In the two-room building that would be nicknamed the War Office, Trumbull weighed, measured and packed up barrels and boxes of his own merchandise. He sent off teams of oxen and carts and dealt powder and musket balls to the militiamen. Throughout the American Revolution, Trumbull met with his Council of Safety in the two-room building next to his house on Lebanon Green. Visitors who came to see him included George Washington, Henry Knox, Israel Putnam, Marquis de Lafayette and Count Rochambeau. Both the house and the War Office are still on the mile-long green.  Read more…
  • About this date in 1775 a small Colonial militia led by Ethan Allen & Colonel Benedict Arnold captured Fort Ticonderoga and more history.
  • In The Junto: “A Pamphlet War In Song: Teaching Revolutionary Print Culture with the Musical, Hamilton” by Michelle Orihel. When I first listened to the Hamilton soundtrack last fall, the song “Farmer Refuted” caught my attention. The song stages a pamphlet war that began in November 1774 between Samuel Seabury, an Anglican minister in Westchester County, New York, and Alexander Hamilton, then an upstart New York college student. Their war of words over the First Continental Congress carried on for nearly four months and encompassed several tracts. Pamphlets were the social media of the American Revolution. They gave people a place to talk, argue, complain, and gossip about current issues, particularly during times of controversy or crisis. The publication of one pamphlet sometimes prompted another pamphleteer to respond in print, which often provoked a counter-response, and another, and so forth. These pamphlet wars reflected and shaped the arguments that people had in everyday life—in their households and in taverns, coffeehouses, and other public places. If the Revolution had a soundtrack, pamphlets were it. Read more…
  • Jamestown Settlement: Outside a wattle-and-daub dwelling in Jamestown Settlement’s fort, a medicinal herb garden flourishes.
  • Attractive Nova Scotia Our Loyalist Heritage 1783 – 1983 coin from Queens County

Editor’s Note

Parts of Norway, Denmark and northern Germany are beautiful, and our timing thus far has been as good as it can get (warm, Spring, leaves on the trees out or coming out, spring flowers). It is a great way to touch a lot of places in a short period of time, but there is way too much food and it is too good to pass by.