“Loyalist Trails” 2016-36: September 4, 2016

In this issue:
Browsing Through an Orderly Book: Life in a Loyalist Corps, by Stephen Davidson
JAR: Sir John Johnson, The Hard Luck Baronet, by Gavin Watt
RevWarTalk: Joseph Brant
Loyalists And Old Hay Bay Church: A Diverse Group
A Successful “Roots 2016” Celebration
Borealia: New Books in Early Canadian History, 2016
The Challenges of Preserving Our Loyalist Built Heritage
Digital Gazette: Fall 2015 Issue Publicly Available
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Donald Arthur Cameron, UE
Editor’s Note


Browsing Through an Orderly Book: Life in a Loyalist Corps

© Stephen Davidson, UE

The orderly book of the First Battalion of Maryland Loyalists provides invaluable, ground level insights into the workings of a loyalist corps that was constantly on the move. From June 18 to October 12, 1778, Captain Caleb Jones, an officer in the battalion, made entries in this unique primary source. Over 240 years later, his orderly book gives the modern reader lists of promotions, ration portions for the day, troop movements, duty rotations, decisions of court martials, the treatment of camp followers, and the posting of lost and found items.

Unless you are a member of a loyalist re-enactment group, you may be surprised at the revelations of what the day-to-day life of an 18th century soldier was like. The provision of food for the troops was a major concern. Long before Napoleon made his famous quote, the orderly book aptly illustrates how the loyalist army “marched on its stomach”.

When the Maryland Loyalists moved from one posting to another, they often received their food rations for the march all at once. On July second, for example, every soldier received two days’ worth of salt, bread and rum to tide him over until the battalion arrived at its destination. On another occasion, the men were given two days’ worth of rice rather than flour. Later in the summer, they received flour instead of bread. (Was it assumed that they would make their own?) In October of 1778, each regiment was instructed to construct “proper kitchens or cooking places”. However, soldiers were not to make fires in their tents.

Cleanliness and hygiene were also an ongoing struggle. Each morning, every corps was ordered to make clean sweeps from the staff tents to ten yards behind the quarter guard. Company tents had to be properly marked; commanding officers were to insure the cleanliness of the “streets” along which their company’s tents were lined. Officers had their own “streets”, and no servant tents were to be found along them. Officers’ servants were encouraged to attend drill exercises when the troops were in camp. Servants had to carry arms, and “to fall into the ranks” when the regiments were on the march.

The orderly book also contained instructions pertaining to the pioneers, those who set up the battalion’s camps. These men (often free Black Loyalists) were to receive the same portion of rum as the men in uniform. Once, “on account of the great heat of the day and the dryness of the march”, General Tryon ordered that each soldier would receive a quarter of a pint of rum. The officers were to see that the rum had been mixed with a proportion of water.

Officers were also responsible for the sanitation of their respective camps – including the immediate construction of proper “necessary houses” (outhouses). No horses were to be allowed to drink from local wells nor was well water to be used for horse washing since there was a perfectly good pond “on the right of the camp”. To underscore the importance of this order, sentries were posted at every well “to which the regiment drinks water”.

On September 8th, the loyalist troops were informed of a camp inspection to be conducted by officers on the following morning. No doubt many soldiers spent a sleepless night in a panic as they put things to right. The officers would search every tent and hut, making prisoners of anyone found selling spirits and confiscating their liquor. The camp hospital would be inspected for anything amiss; officers’ tents had to be swept clean and properly pitched. The camp sentries had to be at their proper posts; night fires and lights were to be extinguished, and everyone (soldier or camp follower) was to be in his/her tent. Just before dawn, the officers would see that the guards were still carrying their arms and that they had not laid them down until reveille had been played.

Punctuality was a challenge for some. On one occasion the general was “so sorry to have occasion to take notice of the sorry scandalous and irregular behaviour of some disorderly soldiers.” He went on to say that he had every confidence that he could look forward to “the Zealous Exertion of the Officers” and “a punctual Obedience from the Soldiers in the Regard of their Duty”.

When the troops were ordered to march from New York City to Long Island’s Huntington they were given very specific orders of how to conduct themselves. Officers were to “take as little baggage as possible”. The men were allowed four days’ provisions that would be carried on “press wagons”. These same vehicles were commandeered to carry the “sick that can be moved”. The worst news of all – the time of departure – was left at the end of all the other orders. The tents were to be struck at 3:30 a.m. following reveille, and everyone was to be ready to march by four. (!)

During the trek, surgeons were attended to the sick. Officers – and all men able to carry arms – were to march with their companies. No one – not even officers – was to “quit his rank” except in case of sickness. The men were not allowed to “straggle from them under any pretense.” (One gets the feeling that the loyalist soldiers did not particularly enjoy long marches.) And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. Orders in August announced that the troops would begin their march at two o’clock in the morning. Later that month, the troops were told that they should be ready to march with just an hour’s notice.

The orderly book of the Maryland Loyalists reveals much of the drudgery of a soldier’s life. While engaging the enemy was more exciting, it was also much more dangerous. Sometimes just getting along with the local civilians could be trying – as will be seen in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

JAR: Sir John Johnson, The Hard Luck Baronet, by Gavin Watt

(By Gavin K. Watt HVP UELAC, August 29, 2016) John Johnson was the only white son of the Anglo-Irish immigrant William Johnson, the superintendent of Northern Indians, who gained considerable fame, fortune and a knighthood by commanding the 1755 action at Lake George, defeating a French and Canadien expedition and capturing its commander. William gained further recognition and notoriety by assuming command of the 1758 siege of Fort Niagara, and a few days later accepting the surrender.

William’s fair dealings with the Six Nations and his genuine admiration for their society led to his acceptance into the Mohawk tribe, and his influence spread across the confederacy and its network of allied tribes. Although his common law Palatine German wife had delivered him a son and two daughters, the randy Sir William sired several mixed race children, including two sons who, following Native custom, lived with their father in their teens.

Thirteen-year-old John accompanied his father at Lake George, at Fort Niagara as a cadet, and as his military aide for Detroit’s 1761 official capitulation. John grew up in a centre of Native trading and diplomacy surrounded by warriors and sachems, and British and colonial officers. He developed a deep knowledge of Iroquois governance and customs, a fluency in Mohawk, and a keen interest in the military.

After John’s mother’s death, Sir William brought a lively Mohawk named Mary (Molly) Brant into his home, ostensibly as housekeeper. In a short time, she was sharing his bed and became a critical element in the baronet’s continued success, as she was an energetic, intelligent clan matron of considerable influence. Her younger brother, Joseph, also entered the household and was treated as another son by Sir William; Joseph Brant became John’s life-long friend. The union of William and Mary added seven more children to the mix, two sons and five daughters – truly a complex family.

Read more.

RevWarTalk: Joseph Brant

Thayendanegea or Joseph Brant (March 1743 – November 24, 1807) was a Mohawk military and political leader, based in present-day New York, who was closely associated with Great Britain during and after the American Revolution. Perhaps the American Indian of his generation best known to the Americans and British, he met many of the most significant Anglo-American people of the age, including both George Washington and King George III.

While not born into a hereditary leadership role within the Iroquois League, Brant rose to prominence due to his education, abilities and his connections to British officials. Through his sister, Molly Brant, and his later leadership, he was associated with Sir William Johnson, the influential British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the province of New York. During the American Revolutionary War, Brant led Mohawk and colonial Loyalists against the rebels in a bitter partisan war on the New York frontier. He was accused by the Americans of committing atrocities and given the name “Monster Brant”, but the charges were later found to be false. After the war, he relocated with most of his people to Canada to the Six Nations Reserve, where he remained a prominent leader.

Read more.

Loyalists And Old Hay Bay Church: A Diverse Group

For the “Roots 2016” Event at Old Hay Bay Church, 27 Aug 2016. Old Hay Bay Church is on the south shore of Hay Bay which is located north of Adolphustown which in turn is between Picton and Kingston Ontario.

Many of the 22 Subscribers of Old Hay Church were Loyalists.

Loyalists were those individuals who supported the British during the American Revolution 1775-1783. They were residing in the American Colonies prior to the outbreak of the War. In the United States the Loyalists can be referred to as “Tories” or less charitably as “Traitors”. There are those of us who regard the Loyalists as people to be admired. As for those who rebelled against Great Britain, in the US they are usually referred to as “Patriots” but in Canada they are often called Rebels.

In the Quinte area there were four main groups of Loyalists who settled beginning in 1784. They included:

  • the 2nd Battn, King’s Royal Reg’t of NY in Fredericksburgh Township
  • (Roger’s) King’s Rangers also in Fredericksburgh
  • (Jessup’s) Loyal Rangers a part of whom settled in Ernestown Township
  • the Major Peter Van Alstine portion of the Associated Loyalists who settled in Adolphustown Township. This last group is especially interesting as they formed near the War’s end, so many of those therein had previous military experience worth noting.

Another local group was our Native Allies in Tyendinagea, but none of the 22 Subscribers are known to have had that origin. As you may have noticed the average Loyalist had military experience during the War, but there were also Civilian Loyalists and women could and did help the Cause too.

Turning to the 22 Subscribers here are some statistics:

  • about 77% were Loyalists. Among the five who weren’t or at least have not been confirmed are Henry Davis a British Regular soldier, Joseph Clapp a Quaker oddly enough, settlers Solomon Huff and Daniel Steel, and Elizabeth Roblin. More on her later.
  • Almost 60% of the Loyalist Subscribers hailed from New York. In second place at 23% were those from New Jersey. At least two were foreign born. Andrew Embury was born in Ireland, and William Ketcheson in Yorkshire England but both were in America prior to 1775. Of course British Regular William Davis was also born Overseas. Some of the places of origin in New York included Orange County, Joseph Allison, the Hoosick Valley, Daniel Dafoe, Ft. Edward, Christopher German, with several including the Van Dusens from Dutchess County.

Let’s look at some of the individual Loyalists:

  • Sgt. Andrew Embury – served in the 2nd Battn of the King’s Royal Reg’t of NY and had seen even earlier service in the Queen’s Loyal Rangers. He settled along Hay Bay some distance east of the Church. He was the nephew of the famous Methodist Philip Embury.
  • Daniel Dafoe – served in (Roger’s) King’s Rangers although was barely old enough to join. He lost a brother at the terrible Battle of Bennington in 1777
  • Henry Hoover – served in Butler’s Rangers, and he was imprisoned by the Rebels for a period of time.
  • Arra Ferguson – served in (Roger’s) King’s Rangers.
  • Peter Frederick served in the King’s Orange Rangers. His 1811 grave marker is the oldest surviving at Hay Bay.
  • The Greens may have served in (Jessup’s) Loyal Rangers.
  • William Ketcheson – served in Emmerich’s Chasseurs and later in the British Legion. He settled initially in Nova Scotia before relocating in Upper Canada early enough to be a Subscriber. He was at the disastrous Battle of Yorktown in 1781
  • Several of the Subscribers arrived in 1784 in Van Alstine’s Associated Loyalists. Almost 50% of the Loyalist Subscribers had some connection to the Associated Loyalists. They included:
    • Joseph Allison who had previous experience in Delancey’s Brigade
    • Conrad Van Dusen who served in the King’s American Reg’t.
    • Christopher German who had served in (Jessup’s) Loyal Rangers
  • The Ruttan Brothers William and Peter were from Bergen County NJ. The ancestors of the Ruttans were French Huguenots. At one time Peter served as a captain in the 4th Battn of the New Jersey Volunteers- largest of all Loyalist Regiments.
  • Paul Huff – had served in Delancey’s Westchester Refugees

I can’t end without a more detailed mention of Subscriber Elizabeth Roblin. From Orange County NY, she was the daughter of a Rebel, Capt. Garrett Miller who died of smallpox while in British captivity in 1777. She married Loyalist Philip Roblin who died in 1788 and would likely have been a Subscriber had he lived longer. Elizabeth’s second husband was a Canniff and she is said to have been buried in 1815 in the now terribly vandalized Cannifon Cemetery north of Belleville. As the daughter of a Rebel and the wife of a Loyalist, she must have witnessed some interesting dinner time conversations in that household!

I can only touch on the topic in this brief time. For further reading I suggest you read J. William Lamb’s book, The Founders. More about Hay Bay at www.oldhaybaychurch.ca.

(Photo: Nancy Conn, UE, and Peter Johnson, UE, at Hay Bay Church; they share ancestor Solomon Huff, not UEL.)

…Peter W. Johnson, UE, July 2016

A Successful “Roots 2016” Celebration

Old Hay Bay Church (south of Napanee, Ontario) had its successful “Roots 2016” Celebration August 26-28, 2016. Attached is a picture taken by Merton Davis on the bus tour. It depicts the contrast between the oldest and newest sites in the area.

In the foreground is the “Upper Gap Archaeological Site.” A huge rock bearing three plaques: one written in English, one in French and one in Mohawk all declaring this as a ceremonial burying ground and sacred space. Indians dwelt in this strategic location in three main periods spanning the years between 700 and 1400 AD.

Across the Loyalist Parkway, aka Highway 33, the oldest public road in Ontario, is the construction site of Ontario’s newest natural gas powered electricity plant.

…Lois O’Hara

Borealia: New Books in Early Canadian History, 2016

(By Keith Grant) Welcome to Part 2 of Borealia’s 2016 roundup of forthcoming books on early Canadian history. The list is drawn from publishers’ catalogues and websites, including books scheduled for release in 2016. I have included a few recently-released titles that escaped my attention in January.

What kinds of books made it into this preview? Works of historical scholarship on any region of what eventually became Canada, to about 1870. I have included books that place “Canada” in transnational studies, and books whose chronological coverage extends beyond 1870, as long as there is substantial discussion of the early period. Read more about twenty-five books – the descriptions of roughly five are in French, the remainder are in English.

The Challenges of Preserving Our Loyalist Built Heritage

The purpose of this report is to notify and provide Council with a recommendation in response to a notice of intention to demolish an accessory building (former barn) on a non-designated ‘listed’ heritage property at 1572 Sunnyside Road (part of the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area property), in accordance with Section 27(3) of the Ontario Heritage Act.

A demolition permit application was received and the notice of intention to demolish was provided July 15, 2016. The existing accessory building, formerly a barn with historic living quarters, has been vacant and unused for many years. Over the past winter the building suffered a massive roof collapse. The owners, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, wish to remove the roof debris while retaining the remaining stone walls, prior to divesting themselves of the property. The clearing of debris from the property requires a demolition permit pursuant to the requirements of the Ontario Building Code Act. The property is also occupied by a farmhouse which will not be impacted by the demolition.

The Powley Farmstead is one of the oldest remaining in this area [City of KIngston ON], dating from before 1820. It has direct association with one of the first United Empire Loyalist settlers, Johann Jacob Powley, whose son, Jacob Powley, built this farmhouse and raised ten children in it. The house is a good example of an early 19th century limestone farmhouse and is in remarkable condition.

The barn was likely built around the same time and contained what appears to be small living quarters with a partial second floor; a rare surviving feature for a barn of this age. The extensive use of limestone in the gable-end and side walls is also not common in more contemporary barn construction.

“The Powley Farmstead has two limestone farm buildings: a woodshed and a barn. Although limestone farm buildings are typical of an early farm complex, they are also increasingly rare survivors. … The one-storey rectangular plan barn is located to the northwest of the farmhouse. Constructed of limestone with a wooden addition on the east side, the barn features a steep-pitch side gable roof, a single limestone chimney, and a small low-pitch front gable dormer.”

Read the full report to City Council. This report contains many photos of the buildings, inside and out, including the barn as it is now. There is a history of the Powley family, photo of the Ontario plaque to the Cataraqui Loyalists, copy of the land grant and snippets of census record entries.

Digital Gazette: Fall 2015 Issue Publicly Available

As you may recall, we began really creating in colour and making available a digital copy of the Loyalist Gazette in 2014. The two 2013 issues (mostly b&w) were also made available.

Two objectives:

• to offer our UELAC periodical – the Loyalist Gazette – in a digital format with enhanced features (colour) for those who prefer it.

• to contain and reduce costs when printing and mailing costs.

The digital version of the Fall 2015 issue of the Loyalist Gazette until now has been available only to members and Gazette subscribers. It is now available publicly, with a lot of colour. Have a look at the Fall 2015 issue. For more information and past copies, click here.

…Publications Committee

Where in the World?

Where is Donna Little, UE (a member of Vancouver, Chilliwack and Nova Scotia branches), with Carl Larsen?

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.

  • The Vancouver Branch’s Library Collection was moved to the BC Genealogical Society’s Library. It will be dedicated on Friday Sept 16 and there will be an open house the next day. More details (and photo of the moving crew)
  • Kingston and District Branch. Next meeting is Saturday, September 24, 2016, in St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall, 130 Queen Street at Montreal Street. Meeting begins at 1:00 pm. Our speaker will be author Jennifer DeBruin on the topic “In Search of “Home” – The Loyalist Experience through War, Displacement, and Settlement from the Mohawk Valley to the St. Lawrence River. As usual, the meeting will be preceded by a Sandwiches ‘n Squares lunch starting at noon. Lunch $3.50 for those not contributing food. Hall is open from 11:30 a.m. to allow time to mingle with friends or make new ones.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

Last Post: Donald Arthur Cameron, UE

October 28, 1922 – August 18, 2016 Proud Veteran of World War II; CANLOAN Volunteer to the British Army; United Empire Loyalist

Peacefully, on Thursday, August 18, 2016, at Vision Nursing Home, Donald Arthur Cameron passed away at the age of 93. Beloved husband for more than 65 years to the late Shirley Elizabeth Scott who passed away in February, 2016. Son of the late Luella Mae (McKay) and James Robert Cameron, South Branch and Cornwall.

Born in Cornwall, Don served as Lieutenant in the 7th Battalion, Kings’ Own Scottish Borderers, 1st British Airborne Division, and Air Landing Brigade (gliders). Captured at Arnhem, Holland, he was transferred to Oflag 79, Germany, where he remained until his release by American forces on April 10, 1945.

Don completed his formal education at Queen’s University (1945 – 1949). He joined the store management program sponsored by Zeller’s Ltd. During his 34 year career, he managed seven stores and lived in 11 Canadian cities from British Columbia to Quebec, including Kingston (1970 – 1975). In 1983 he and Betty retired to Kingston enjoying life in the city and at their cottage on Eagle Lake, Parham. Over the years, friends and relatives would gather to swim, garden, read, boat, fish and barbecue. He loved to curl and was a life member of the Royal Kingston Curling Club. A true gentleman, he was a friend to all. His spirit and humour will live on in the hearts he leaves behind.

Predeceased by his beloved sister Isobel (Fennell), his brother McKay (Mack), and a sister and brother in infancy, Elizabeth and Robert. Survived by his sister Jean (John Adams). Special friend to neighbours Janice and Doug McDonnell for over 30 years. Betty and Don relocated recently to Sarnia, Ontario, close to caring members of the Scott family who oversaw their residency in Landmark, originally, and then Vision Nursing Care. Through all their efforts, Betty and Don were able to end their years together as they wished. At Don’s request, no visitation or service. Cremation; interment in North Branch Cemetery in Martintown, Ontario near the original home of his Loyalist ancestors. Donations to the children’s charity of your choice.

…Helen McCuaig, Sir Guy Carleton Branch

Editor’s Note

May you have a labour-free (or at least labour-lite) Labour Day celebrating all of the hard work that our ancestors have done to give us the opportunity to enjoy all of the wonderful things that we have.

By next Sunday we will be travelling. During past vacations I have been able to distribute an issue of Loyalist Trails almost every week, and usually on schedule. This time, I am getting the sense that internet access may be a problem. I will do my best to set up a short newsletter (perhaps little more than Stephen Davidson’s article) for each week. According to plans, things should return to “normal” for the first issue in October.