“Loyalist Trails” 2016-41: October 9, 2016

In this issue:
Unpacking a Family Bible’s Inscription: Part Two, by Stephen Davidson
Borealia: Good Fences, Good Neighbours?
JAR: General Washington’s First Spy
Digital Gazette: Fall 2015 Publicly Available; Order Fall 2016 Now
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post
      + Jean Mildred Honor, UE
      + Dr. Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess, UE
      + Royal Township Off-loading Points


Unpacking a Family Bible’s Inscription: Part Two

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Recorded in fading ink, an inscription in the family Bible that once belonged to Peter and Ann Berton of Long Island provides the first clue to the story of this loyalist family’s trek from New York City to what would become the colony of New Brunswick. Although Peter Berton and his family settled in the “whiles of Noviscotia” in the summer of 1783, a year later they could count themselves among the founders of New Brunswick, the first loyalist colony formed after the American Revolution. An act of the British Parliament created the new colony in 1784, the year that Berton turned fifty-five. It was hardly an ideal time to begin a new life, especially in “a cold and barren uncomfortable country”.

Berton recorded the latter phrase in his Bible, a source of comfort and inspiration to the New York refugee. The loyalist’s religious convictions must have helped sustain his family, giving Berton a sense of purpose and resolve. Besides appearing before the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists in 1786, Berton was also made a member of the vestry of Oak Point’s new Anglican congregation. He would remain in the same position of leadership for the next two years. Peter Berton had no way of knowing that following his compensation as a loyalist and his election as a vestryman he would only have five years to live. He served his community well during that time. In 1787, he is listed as a “fellow bondsman” in the probate record of John Hendrickson, along with other loyalist passengers of the Union such as John Lyon, John Marvin, Israel Hoyt, and Martin Trecartin. Berton must have been highly regarded by his fellow refugees. Not only was he elected a captain of a loyalist company and a vestryman in his parish, but was also appointed as a judge of the court of common pleas. Berton’s youngest son, James –just five years old when he arrived in New Brunswick– would serve the province in the same capacity before his death in 1848.

Peter Berton donated part of his land grant at Oak Point to be the site on which St. George’s Anglican Church was built. He died at the age of 62 on November 15, 1791, his wife Ann having predeceased him a year earlier at the age of forty-nine. How many of the Bertons’ eight children were still alive at the time Peter died is not known. The youngest son, James, was just fourteen while Frances, the youngest daughter was 11. Helped by their sister congregation across the river in Kingston, the Anglicans of Oak Point finished building their log chapel in 1790, just in time to be visited by Bishop Charles Inglis, a fellow loyalist refugee. Both Peter and Ann Berton were buried in the new church’s cemetery, but their gravesite did not receive a tombstone until their daughter, Frances McAlpine Berton, placed one there “as a tribute of filial affection” in 1855.

It seems that the Berton children left Oak Point shortly after their parents’ deaths. (What became of the family’s two servants who accompanied them in 1783 remains a mystery.)

George Duncan Berton –just nine years old when the family found sanctuary in New Brunswick– became the high sheriff of York County. His son, George Frederick Street Berton, served as a master of the court of chancery. The latter’s son, William Street Burton, had two boys named Francis and John. William died at 39. Desperate to find a way to care for her orphaned sons, Lucy Berton, William’s widow, decided to place six year-old Francis (Frank) in Saint John’s Wiggins Male Orphan Asylum. An 1883 news item in the Daily Sun of Saint John lists the names of the boys who gave recitations at “a pretty party” at the Wiggins Orphanage. Among those who made presentions that day was Frank Berton. He was just eleven when his name appeared in the newspaper. The young loyalist descendant would remain in the “asylum” for five more years.

Two other children of the loyalist Bertons moved from Oak Point to Fredericton where they lived for the rest of their lives. James D. Berton died in the provincial capital in 1848 at 70 years of age; Frances died a single woman in 1873 at 92 years of age. James D. Berton’s only daughter, Maria Gertrude, married Col. George Campbell of the 52nd Light Infantry. She died in Jalandur, India, far from her loyalist grandfather’s farm.

Louisa, one of the Bertons’ granddaughters, married William Pullen of London. Ambrose Berton, her brother, became a vice admiral in the Royal Navy. Another granddaughter, Elizabeth, married Augustus Bedell of Woodstock, New Brunswick.

Two other grandsons of the loyalist captain, Samuel D. and William J. Berton, established Berton Brothers, a merchantile firm in Saint John. A director of the Protestant Orphan Asylum, Samuel was also the superintendant of the Sunday School at St. Mary’s Anglican Church on Waterloo Street. A stained glass window of the Good Shepherd was placed in the sanctuary in his memory.

By 1898, Frank Berton, the boy who had grown up in the Wiggins Orphan Asylum, left New Brunswick to seek his fortune in the Klondike Gold Rush. This great-great-grandson of the loyalist Bertons, married Laura Thompson in Dawson City in 1907. The couple had two children; they named their youngest child Lucy, and gave their son a French variation on his loyalist ancestor’s name.

What Pierre Berton thought of his loyalist heritage will be explored in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

Borealia: Good Fences, Good Neighbours?

(By Patrick Lacroix) “The President also desires me to assure Lord Durham, ‘in the strongest manner’, of his sincere desire to do all in his power to keep up a good understanding between the two Countries.”

So wrote British emissary Sir Charles Grey (the son of a British prime minister and father of a Canadian governor general) after meeting U.S. President Martin Van Buren in June 1838. The diplomatic encounter followed six months of turbulent Anglo-American relations that had fed fears of external aggression in Washington, in London, and across the Canadian colonies.

These tensions grew out of the Canadian Rebellions of 1837. Following their defeat to loyal forces in November and December 1837, Upper and Lower Canadian insurgents found refuge on American soil. With American accomplices, many then launched raids into their home country in hopes of destabilizing British power. Perhaps they would even gain the formal support of the U.S. government.

Read more.

JAR: General Washington’s First Spy, and Why His Mission Was Doomed from the Start

(by J. L. Bell) On July 15, 1775, less than two weeks after he arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to take command of the Continental Army, Gen. George Washington penned this entry in his expense notebook:

“To 333 1/3 Dollars give to —— ——* to enduce him to go into the Town of Boston; to establish a secret correspondence for the purpose of conveying intelligence of the Enemy’s movements & designs”

The asterisk led to a note that said, “The names of Persons who are employed within the Enemy’s lines, or who may fall within their power cannot be inserted.” That £100 expenditure was the second largest that the general made in 1775. The only bigger outlay was the £239 he paid for five horses when he started out from Philadelphia. Espionage was thus a very big investment for the commander-in-chief.

Read more.

Digital Gazette: Fall 2015 Publicly Available; Order Fall 2016 Now

People who are paid-up members and Gazette subscribers can help trees, and reduce Association expenses. Register for the digital copy of the Fall 2016 issue (and get access to the Spring 2016 issue in the same place). 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).

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

…Publications Committee

Where in the World?

Where are Dave Laskey and Nicole Bolton of New Brunswick 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.

Region and Branch Bits

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

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Byles Family Papers at Massachusetts Historical Society. This collection consists of papers of the Byles family, primarily letters to Loyalist Mather Byles (1707-1788) and his daughters Mary and Catherine Byles in Boston from family and friends who fled to Halifax, Nova Scotia, during the American Revolution. Includes a short biographical sketch of Mather and children Mather Jr, Elizabeth, Mary and Catherine. Read more
  • Major John André Monument, also known as the Site of Major John André’s Hanging and Burial, is a historic monument located at Tappan in Rockland County, New York. Read more
  • Gentlemen: Your attire for Thanksgiving Day! Perfect pumpkin hue for a dashing gentleman’s autumn ensemble, c.1750-60 Orange silk moire, embroidered w/ silver thread spangles.
  • Luxurious silver travelling sets like this one became fashionable in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They were known as ‘nécessaries’ because they contained all the necessities of life. This set includes tea, coffee and chocolate utensils, as well as a mirror, candlestick holder, scissors and comb. It was given by Napoleon I to his adopted daughter, Stéphanie, in 1806.
  • Starting a Living History Group from Scratch. It took an idea and a group of friends, and it went from there. Albert Roberts tells the story of how the innovative historical interpretive group “The HMS Acasta” was born. (video, 6 minutes)
  • How to Shop for the Revolutionary War. A cottage industry of craftspeople is dedicated to making accurate reproductions of objects used in 18th-century life. The Battle of Harlem Heights was scheduled to begin around 2 p.m., and before it started, Rob Morris, commander of the 84th Regiment of Foot, needed to order a new coat. The one he was wearing, bright red, worn and dirty at the edges, had been purchased in 1995, and everything about it was wrong — the color, the buttons, the epaulettes, the trimming. He didn’t need to go far from where the fighting forces were camped in neat lines of white canvas tents, at Monmouth Battlefield State Park in New Jersey. Just outside the camp, there was a cluster of larger tents, where the sutlers had set up their shops.
  • The National Trust for Canada launches “This Place Matters” competition. This online, social media-driven competition allows Canadians to vote and donate to save places that matter to them. Fourteen communities from across the country are participating in this national crowdsourced competition with the chance to win $40,000. In addition to earning votes, participating community groups can use this innovative web platform to raise money for their projects and gain access to training and tools to help them run a successful campaign. Canadians are invited to visit www.thisplacematters.ca to view the participating projects and vote for the project that resonates with them.

Last Post

Jean Mildred Honor, UE

Long time Bicentennial Branch member, Jean Mildred Honor UE, died on September 30, 2016 at the age of 98. She received her certificate for ancestor Rudolph Huffman on February 23, 2009. Jean was a gifted teacher and started her career in a one room schoolhouse in Anderdon, ON. She taught for the Windsor Board of Education for many years and was one of the pioneers of Special Education practice. After her mandatory retirement at age 65 she volunteered for 20 years at the Children’s Rehabilitation Centre.

She loved learning and obtained her first B.A. in 1939. She returned to university after retirement and at age 80 she obtained another degree in Fine Arts. She was a talented artist and faithfully attended her art class in Windsor until almost 3 weeks ago. Jean was awarded a lifetime membership of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #157.

…Margie Luffman, UE, on behalf of Bicentennial Branch

Dr. Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess, UE

Dr. Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess, O.C., A.O.E., LL.D (Hon.), B.A., D.F.A. (Hon.), F.R.C.G.S., U.E. (May 3, 1916 – September 2, 2016)

Community leader, internationally recognized art historian and lecturer, businesswoman and rancher Dr. Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess passed away peacefully on Friday, September 2, 2016 leaving a remarkable legacy of contributions to the quality and fabric of life in Calgary, Alberta and Canada.

Earlier this year Marmie celebrated her 100th birthday with friends, colleagues and associates at the Rotary Club. She will be dearly missed by the many people and organizations impacted by her incredible contributions as a friend, mentor, advocate, volunteer and philanthropist. Throughout her lifetime, Marmie was described as the quintessential ‘western’ Canadian who was a proud champion of her heritage and culture.

Born and raised in Calgary, Marmie had a lifelong love for education. In her formative years, she attended Earl Grey School, Western Canada High School and St. Hilda’s School for Girls. In 1934 she began her post-secondary studies at the University of Alberta and graduated from the University of Toronto in 1938 with a Bachelor of Arts. In Toronto Marmie met several members of the Group of Seven who encouraged her love for art and her strong interest in the Canadian wilderness.

She began her teaching career during World War II at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (now the Alberta College of Art and Design) as well as the Banff School of Fine Arts. She completed her post-graduate studies at the University of Iowa in 1947.

Through her subsequent careers as a businesswoman and community leader Marmie continued to research, write and lecture at various universities, museums and art galleries throughout North America, Israel, Japan and China. An interest in indigenous peoples, along with her pioneering spirit, led her to Canada’s West Coast and the North, where she developed a close relationship with the Inuit. She was honoured to receive her Inuit name ‘Angauka Nu Natsiut.’

Marmie introduced Calgarians and Canadians to Inuit art by establishing Calgary Galleries Ltd. in 1970. She also helped establish the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary. In 1988, the Government of Canada recognized her contributions to the Inuit by naming the archeological site on Ekkalluk River ‘Hess Site.’ Marmie was regarded as a world authority on Northern Inuit and First Nations art and crafts and generously shared her extensive knowledge with students and scholars alike.

In addition to her love for education and art, Marmie was passionate about Alberta and its environment. In 1952 she acquired Spencer Creek Ranch and went on to build its reputation as a successful horse breeding and cattle operation.

Marmie received numerous awards and honours for her many accomplishments and community service. She was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1981 and an officer in 1993.

Over the years Marmie gave selflessly of her time and expertise. Through her love of learning, she inspired students across Canada by supporting scholarship and endowment funds and donating numerous pieces of her collections. Marmie’s board and volunteer activities crossed a wide spectrum including the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada.

Marmie was a member of many clubs, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and served with many including the RCMP Committee for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. She helped bring the famous pandas to Calgary.

Marmie was a true pioneer. She received a Certificate of Merit from the World Who’s Who of Women as a testament to her role as a champion of women.

Marmie lived her whole life at the highest standards. She will be greatly missed by family, friends and her community, but her legacy will live on.

A Funeral Service was held on Friday, September 16, 2016. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

Read full obituary.

Marmie was a long time member of the Calgary Branch, UELAC.

…David Hongisto


Royal Township Off-loading Points

My Great Uncle Willie writes in 1929 that his gt grandparents immigrated in flat boats and……by Hoople Creek.(Twp #3, Osnabruck) [Eastern Ontario, North shore of the St. Lawrence River]

Is there a source that could confirm the specific location as to where the Loyalists landed? Could they have off-loaded at the old French fortification and Indian Camp ground of Dickinson’s Landing which is next door to Hoople Creek? Did the British build temporary facilities, at each off-loading point, to provide sustenance to the loyalists during the next few years?

One author indicates that about 500 souls were landed at township #2 (Cornwall) but this did not become the site of Cornwall.

I assume that as per (Jim Peachey’s?) painting of, “Loyalists Drawing Lots for their Lands, 1784” (see painting by CW Jefferys Loyalists Drawing Lots For Their Lands), that this occurred at each of the Royal townships, not just at Johnstown, as per his other painting, “Encampment of the Loyalists at Johnstown…..”. Is this a valid assumption?

I would appreciate any information or research direction.

Richard A. Poaps, UE