“Loyalist Trails” 2016-44: October 30, 2016

In this issue:
The Fury of the Mob: Introduction, by Stephen Davidson
Resource: United Empire Loyalist Graves and Gravestones in Canada
A Black Loyalist: Harry
Peter Newman’s Hostages to Fortune Publishes 1 November
Book Review: Hector Maclean: The Writings of a Loyalist-Era Military Settler in Nova Scotia
Age of Revolutions: Loyalist Women and the Fight for the Right to Entry
Borealia: Beyond Borders: Transnational, Multidisciplinary Scholarship
JAR: The Weather Influence: Washington Heeds Jeney, Takes Trenton
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: A Barbados Poltergeist? The Chase Vault
Fall 2016 Issue of the Loyalist Gazette
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post: Marian Hamilton (Hart) Conn, UE


The Fury of the Mob: Introduction

© Stephen Davidson, UE

During the American Revolution, loyalists lived in fear of a monster. It stalked the streets of even the smallest towns, threatening life and property. Like a dragon, it came with flames, a loud roar, and many legs. The monster roamed from Massachusetts to South Carolina. More powerful than any political arguments, it made rebels out of loyalists and neutral colonists alike, and left permanent psychological scars on those who resisted it. Loyalists referred to the monster as simply “the mob”.

Dr. Myles Cooper, the president of New York’s Kings College, enraged the mob to such a degree that they marched on his home, intending to drag him from his bed, cut off his ears, slit his nose and strip him naked. Fortunately, he was able to escape before the mob arrived at his house.

When insults and stone throwing could not change Philip Henry’s loyalty, the mob threatened to burn down his house with Henry inside it. The mob was prepared to pull down the house of Henry Barnes in 1775 because the loyalist issued orders for Bostonians to provide board for British soldiers. When the mob dragged John Watson out of his house, they threatened to “pull him to pieces” if he did not damn the king.

Sometimes the mob was as small as five men, but it was deadly nonetheless. In 1775, rebels demanded that George Walker “drink damnation to King George”. When he refused, he was seized by five men, stripped naked, tarred and feathered, put into a cart, and then pelted with mud. After five hours of this grueling torture, his captors put Walker under a water pump, forcing water on him for an hour, and then threw him into a river. In addition to the damage done to his skin and dignity, Walker also sustained two broken ribs.

These stories are typical of the thousands of attacks made on loyalists by “the mob”. It is difficult to come across a loyalist diary, letter or claim for compensation that does not refer to the persecution that these Americans endured at the hands of neighbours and ne’er-do-wells who so readily coalesced into violent, bloodthirsty mobs.

Mob attacks were the dirty underbelly of the American Revolution, a rebellion that was more than heroics on the battlefield or the lofty ideals of the founding fathers. While loyalists read the words that said “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, they were all too familiar with the violent persuasion of the mob.

For many colonists, it was the fear of a future republic ruled by those who comprised “the mob” that convinced them that loyalty was the only sane option. As the loyalist Mather Byles put it, “Which is better – to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?”

Patriots did not stop to analyze the mob phenomenon since it served to further their cause. However, as the objects of mob violence, loyal Americans wanted answers. Where did these mobs come from? Was their motivation patriotism or plunder? What forces were making monsters out of their fellow colonists?

In 1781 — in the midst of the revolution — Peter Oliver, a Massachusetts loyalist, sat down and tried to fathom what had made his particular colony rebel. In doing so, he pinpointed the origins of “the mob”. Initially the mob was a tool of private business, not of politics. The smuggling merchants of Massachusetts resented the British Empire’s interference in their trade in the early 1770s and made regular use of the lower classes as thugs to attack British officials. Businessmen went on to see that the colonial legislature represented their interests.

The freedom of the press, a British value, allowed rebels to engage in a war of words that helped to further stir up the mob by printing propaganda along with actual events. “Printers who were inclined to support Government,” wrote Oliver, “were threatened and greatly discouraged so that people were deprived of the means of information”.

Added to this was what Oliver dubbed “the black regiment” — the dissenting clergy of Massachusetts. Representing the descendants of denominations that had fled Britain for religious freedom, these ministers used their pulpits to promote politics rather than the gospel. Oliver cited a case of one preacher who, when giving a sermon on the sixth commandment, told his congregation that “it was no sin to kill the Tories”. Later, the church bells would be used in some communities to rally the mob to descend upon the home of local loyalists.

Newspapers, businessmen, and ministers were further augmented by the rhetoric of charismatic rebel leaders. Little wonder, then, that “the mob” was spawned.

The formation of violent mobs is a phenomenon we know well even in our century. Whenever a city has a police strike, it takes very little time for a certain segment of the population to begin looting and burning. Mina Cikara and Adrianna Jenkins’ investigation of mob mentality, cited in Time Magazine, discovered that “people may get swept up in the excitement of acting as a member of a crowd, making them less attuned to whether or not they’re adhering to their personal moral code and, in turn, more likely to violate it.” Like members of the Ku Klux Klan, the rebels of the American Revolution took courage from being members of a crowd with a common purpose against the loyalists, enemies that could be terrorized or lynched with impunity.

Another factor that led to the creation of the mob is a long-forgotten fact of colonial history. Up until the outbreak of the American Revolution, Britain routinely sent one thousand of its convicts each year to the Thirteen Colonies, totaling 52,000 prisoners by 1776. Such malcontents would no doubt take advantage of any opportunity to plunder those who identified with the British government, profiting from being part of a mob with a righteous cause.

Next week’s Loyalist Trails will continue this six part series on “the fury of the mob” and its impact on loyal Americans.

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

Resource: United Empire Loyalist Graves and Gravestones in Canada

Brian McConnell, President of the Nova Scotia Branch, UELAC, has been researching the location of United Empire Loyalist graves and gravestones in Canada. He has been preparing a new online reference source for approximately a year.

The fruits of this research is now available as virtual cemeteries, many with photographs, organized separately for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario as well as Canada as a whole on the FIND A GRAVE website.

There are 516 identified so far, including pictures of ones he has visited and photographed in Nova Scotia. This includes some 51 United Empire Loyalist Burial Grounds in Nova Scotia.

Hopefully you will find this interesting and helpful. If you know of other Loyalist graves and gravestones in Canada please let Brian know at brianm564@gmail.com so he can add them.

A Black Loyalist: Harry

A rather poignant story. Harry, a slave, was frequently employed as a rather successful spy. But he was eventually caught, and beheaded. See Harry (On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies, by Todd Braisted).

Peter Newman’s Hostages to Fortune Publishes 1 November

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 defense of what would prove to be the social and moral foundation of Canada.

In Hostages to Fortune, Peter C. Newman recounts the expulsion and migration of these brave Loyalists. In his inimitable style, Newman shines a light on the people, places, and events that set the stage for modern Canada.

Watch Peter talk about why he wrote the book, see the description and read an excerpt at Hostages to Fortune.

NOTE: See “Region and Branch Bits” below for an invitation to a book launch in Toronto on Nov 3.

Book Review: Hector Maclean: The Writings of a Loyalist-Era Military Settler in Nova Scotia

By Jo Currie, Keith Mercer, John G. Reid (Gaspereau Press, 2015). Review by Don N. Hagist.

Recent scholarship has placed more focus on the plight of Loyalists who were displaced from their homes and livelihoods in the United States, and the struggles they faced settling tracts of newly-surveyed land in Canada. A number of excellent books and articles tell portions of the countless tales of individuals and populations, but there are few published accounts by the participants themselves. The stories become more poignant when we can read the words of those who experienced them. A new book from Gaspereau Press allows us to do that.

Hector Maclean: The Writings of a Loyalist-Era Military Settler in Nova Scotia is a compilation of material written by a man who served as an officer in the Royal Highland Emigrants, a regiment raised by the British army in America in 1775 which, by the time the war ended, had become the 84th Regiment of Foot. Hector McLean spent most of the war recruiting for the regiment, including an unfortunate sea voyage along the Nova Scotia coast that ended by being shipwrecked in Ireland. The resilient officer returned to North America, fought in one campaign in the Carolinas, and then was among the thousands of Loyalists forced to resettle in Canada after hostilities ceased. McLean’s letters and journal, although often personable and upbeat, reveal the struggles he faced for more than a decade with displacement, debt, and deprivation caused by war. Contrary to the impression given by the books title, a substantial amount of the content was written by McLean during his service in the Revolutionary War. He was in only one major battle, but it was a significant one, Eutaw Springs in September 1781, and his letters include the most detailed surviving first-hand account of that action. Read more of the review.

Age of Revolutions: Loyalist Women and the Fight for the Right to Entry

If I believed in ghosts, I would have thought I’d just met Grace Growden Galloway, herself. Galloway was a woman whose loyalist husband, Joseph, fled with their daughter, Betsy, to London during the war. Galloway refused to flee with her family because she assumed remaining there would protect her house from property confiscation. She was wrong. When men came to evict her, she barricaded herself inside and stood in the dark as they beat on her doors. She would not be moved. It was this image of Galloway standing stock-still, furious, immovable that flashed before me when the tenant shut the door in my face. I had to smile. Galloway would be proud, I thought, that this woman would not go quietly from this house.

Read more.

Borealia: Beyond Borders – Transnational, Multidisciplinary Scholarship

Beyond Borders: A Reflection on the Challenges of Transnational, Multidisciplinary Scholarship in the Twenty-first Century, by Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy, Oct 24

This fall, when nationalism is marking an unwelcome return in European and American politics, it behooves Early Canadianists to reflect on the relevance of borders–disciplinary and national–in studying and publishing about Early Canada. The paradox of academic life in the global village in an age of instant connectivity and seemingly endless access to resources, is that national borders still matter in our intellectual and professional lives. We grapple with them when conceptualizing our fields of study; as scholars and researchers, our training is informed by national orthodoxies that have the potential to shape the focus of our research; funding institutions are grounded in national locales, and even the process of academic publishing cannot fully escape the nation. All these challenges are present in various degrees when venturing into interdisciplinary research on cross-border Canadian-American topics.

Read more.

JAR: The Weather Influence: Washington Heeds Jeney, Takes Trenton

(by Don N. Hagist October 24, 2016) Attacking at night, during a snowstorm: genius or folly? For Gen. Richard Montgomery at Quebec on December 31, 1775, it was a fatal disaster, but for Gen. George Washington at Trenton, New Jersey on December 26, 1776, it was a stroke of tactical brilliance that resulted in a complete and game-changing victory. There were many factors that contributed to each outcome, but the weather certainly played a part. Was Washington being reckless in light of the failure a year before, or was he thinking creatively? Or, was he simply playing the odds by following the recommendations of military literature?

Washington had gained valuable military experience during the French and Indian War, experience that he supplemented by reading some of the foremost military authors of the era. When he took command of the Continental Army in 1775 he knew the literature well enough to make recommendations to other officers of what books to obtain, and his choices are noteworthy in that they emphasize the type of irregular warfare that would be practiced in the American Revolution. Among the books that he owned and recommended was The Partisan; or, The Art of Making War in Detachment by Mihály Lajos Jeney. Originally published in French, an English translation had been available since 1760.

Read more.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: A Barbados Poltergeist? The Chase Vault

Unhappy spirits? Witchcraft? Seismic activity? Flooding? The Loyalist Collection has many hidden gems, but one of the most intriguing accounts is “An Unsolved Barbados Mystery” which was originally written by Sir Algernon Aspinall and summarized in a letter by Eleaner J. Dailey to Roger Senhouse. Cultural, spiritual, and scientific explanations have all been offered for the unusual activities that occurred in the Chase Vault at Christ Church Parish Church, Barbados during the early nineteenth century, but a consensus on the cause of events has yet to be reached.

Read more.

Fall 2016 Issue of the Loyalist Gazette

The Fall Loyalist Gazette is at the printers – anticipated date to be mailed is still during the second week in Nov.

A note with instructions to those who have already requested the digital copy should be sent later this week.

As a paid-up member or a subscriber to the Gazette (published twice each year), you can still request the digital copy.

…Publications Committee

Where in the World?

Where are Greg Childs and Peter Van Iderstine?

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.


Life in Canada for the Syrian refugees Magda and Anas Saied who were featured with Joni Fraser two weeks ago in WITW has continued to move ahead. Read more at ‘Thank you Canada‘: Syrian refugee fulfilling dreams of becoming a pharmacist on Haida Gwaii.

Region and Branch Bits

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

  • A book launch (see the flyer) for Peter Newman’s book – Hostages to Fortune – about the Loyalists will be held in Toronto on Thursday 3 November at Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay St., 6-8pm. You are invited, but as space is limited, be sure to RSVP to rsvp@simonandschuster.ca Watch for more signing events in Brockville Nov 9th, Belleville, Nov 17th, Rideau Club in Ottawa Nov 25, and Hamilton McMaster Nov 28th.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Wear a poppy to honour those who served, to remember. Canadian Legion. On Facebook. Read about the Legion’s virtual poppy drop on Parliament Hill each evening until Nov 11 – 117,000 poppies, one for each of Canada’s fallen.
  • Donation of German Regulars’ Collection – August 2016. First of all let’s put this in perspective so there is no confusion as to nature of the German Regular Troops in the American Revolution. They were veterans of the War, but not Loyalists, and numbers of them settled near to the Bay of Quinte Loyalists in Marysburgh Township in ‘The County’ afterwards. The German Regulars were professional soldiers sent from Germany for the purpose of supplementing the British Forces facing the Rebels in America. Loyalists were resident in America prior to the War, hence the difference between the two groups. The German Regulars are often referred to as “Hessians”, but many of them came from areas other than Hesse. Read more…(Oct 24 post)
  • American Revolution Round Tables – Mohawk and Hudson: Nov 17. Usually overlooked as a minor skirmish on the way to Saratoga, the Battle of Fort Anne was one of the fiercest fire-fights of the American Revolution as 190 British Regulars fought off the determined attacks of over six times their number of American Continentals and Militia. Fort Anne is a superb example of the professionalism of the British Army and the bravery of the untried Americans in battle. Influenced by events at Fort Anne and Hubbardton, Burgoyne would make the fatal decision to halt his offensive and consolidate his army for the final push to Albany. See details about the Round Table program and this particular one.
  • Got to visit Powley house in Kingston yesterday. 5th grgrparents built it in 1815
  • Excited to receive photo of monument to my UE Loyalist ancestor, James Humphrey, and others at Johnstown, Ontario – Brian McConnell
  • (Photo) Ivory figured silk shoes worn in Portsmouth, NH., c. 1780s-90s. Photo shoot on site at The Warner House in Portsmouth New Hampshire
  • All Things Georgian. Was green fashionable in the 18th century? As we haven’t written any fashion related posts for a while we thought it might be interesting to look at both clothing and paintings showing the vast array of colours worn in Georgian fashion, but, as our regular readers will be aware we got side-tracked when we realized that there were relatively few outfits and paintings of people wearing the colour green and we wondered why, so began to investigate! Read more…
  • From Two Nerdy History Girls: An Agreeable Tyrant: Fashion After the Revolution, is a new companion book to an exhibition currently on display at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Washington, D.C., through April 29, 2017. This beautifully written and designed book is much more than a mere exhibition catalogue, however. It contains dozens of full-color photographs of surviving garments – many shown on mannequins, complete with accessories, right – plus fashion plates, portraits, and other images from the era.
  • In Saint John in Canada, Exploring the Legacy of the Loyalists – NY Times. Oh, Canada. Not our home and native land; but: so close. But also: so not. Cross the northern border and things look and sound pretty much the same: the mountains, the trees, the rivers, the houses, the roads, the big-box buildings, the clothes, the faces, the accents, the billboards and slogans, the chirp of the walk/don’t walk monitors. And yet: The gas is more expensive, and priced in liters; the traffic lights act oddly (what, exactly, is one supposed to do at a flashing green?). Canadians have different fast-food franchises, different chain stores, different potato chip flavors (ketchup; poutine; Montreal smoked meat). They spell “harbor” and “theater” differently; pronounce “been” as “bean” and “process” as “proe-cess” and “out” in a way that’s impossible to render on the page; call America “the States,” refer to bathrooms as “washrooms” and profanity as “coarse language”; have beavers and loons and children playing hockey on their currency. Read more…

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:

  • Redden, Francis

Last Post:

(March 2, 1925 – September 7, 2016) Died at Humber Heights Retirement Home in Etobicoke, Ontario, in her 92nd year. Beloved wife of the late Dr. Alan William Conn (1925 — 2010), eldest child of Alexandra Victoria (nee Hoard) and Douglas Hamilton Hart. Dear sister of Isobel (Hart) Davey and predeceased by brother Don Hart (2014). Proud mother of four daughters, Nancy Heather (Doug Grant) of Toronto; Mary Ann (Dr. Robert Brody) of Shaker Heights, Ohio; Wendy Elizabeth (Bruce Weir) of West Bolton, Quebec; Heather Victoria (Frank McElroy) of Roberts Creek, British Columbia. Cherished grandmother of Elizabeth (Ahlgren) Matejka, Julia (Benton Foster) and Heather Ahlgren (Alex Jones), Matthew Hutchinson, Hartley and Ian Brody, Cameron and Corcoran Conn-Grant; great-grandmother of James and Claire Matejka of Cranbrook, British Columbia.

Born in Woodstock, Ontario, Marian graduated in Household Economics from Victoria College, University of Toronto, in 1947. She worked for two years at the Women’s Institute, Department of Agriculture, in Northumberland and Victoria Counties, Ontario. After her marriage in 1948, she volunteered at the Women’s Auxiliary (Hospital for Sick Children) for over 25 years, sewing and crafting items for sale in their 555 Shop. She was a lifelong member of the United Church of Canada and the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada.

She followed Al when his career took him to the northern Ontario town of Chapleau in 1949, to England in 1952-53, and then to the Toronto suburb of Mimico where they lived for 46 years. They moved to the Village by the Arboretum in Guelph in 1999. Since 2013 she lived at Wellington Park Terrace, Guelph and Humber Heights, Toronto.

With her interest in history, art, old houses and antique furniture, Marian was always very proud of her Scottish and Loyalist heritage. As a child she took piano lessons, passed her Grade VIII Royal Conservatory exam and appreciated classical music. She loved gardening, flower arranging, cooking, reading and sewing. CBC radio was the background of her daily routine, especially Morningside with Peter Gzowski. She taught herself to spin wool and to type, sending Christmas cards and letters to over 350 people. She also enjoyed foreign travel and journeyed with Al to five continents.

Memorial service on Saturday, November 12 at 9:30 a.m. at Turner & Porter, Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor Street West (at Windermere, east of Jane), Toronto. Private interment at Park Lawn Cemetery, Toronto. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer Society of Canada or the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging.

…Nancy Conn, UE