“Loyalist Trails” 2016-48: November 27, 2016

In this issue:
Conference 2016
The Fury of the Mob: Southern Colonies, by Stephen Davidson
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: The John Saunders Edition
Borealia: The Wilson Institute for Canadian History
JAR: The 3rd New Jersey Regiment’s Ill-Fated Patrol
Above the Glebe: A Farming Family’s Heartbreak during the American Revolution
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
      + Drawing Lots in the Royal Townships


The Fury of the Mob: Southern Colonies

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Persecution of loyal Americans was often prompted by a difference in political views, but sometimes patriots attacked their neighbours’ homes for no other reason than personal gain and the opportunity to acquire property. Becoming part of a mob that descended upon the home of a loyalist, a rebel could rob with few pangs of conscience — and then later buy the loyalist’s abandoned land when it had been confiscated by a patriot committee. Mob attacks thus wrested developed property from its owners as part of what one American Revolution historian has described as the largest land grab in the annals of the republic.

To date, this series has considered all that loyalists endured at the hands of patriot mobs in the Middle and New England colonies. However, their destructive power was felt throughout the southern colonies as well.

Philip Henry had settled in Charleston, South Carolina in 1768 where he made a living as a merchant. Within nine years, patriots tried to compel Henry to take an oath to the rebel cause. When he refused, his opponents pelted him with stones in the street. Henry eventually abandoned his business, fled the city, and sought refuge in the countryside. However, even in rural South Carolina, a mob formed, insulting the loyalist and threatening to burn down his country residence and Henry within it.

Finally, in 1778, the patriots of South Carolina gave Henry an ultimatum. Either he would take an oath of allegiance or flee the colony within sixty days. If he did not leave by that time, he would be executed. Henry fled for the Netherlands, but was captured and released in New York City. In the meantime, he was banished by South Carolina and his property was confiscated.

William Donaldson was a Scottish immigrant who had established a grocery store in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1763. Twenty years later, he was once again putting down roots in another British colony — in the refugee settlement of Shelburne, Nova Scotia. When he sought compensation as a loyalist, Donaldson mentioned the actions of the rebel mob four times in his claim.

Following the flight of Lord Dunmore, the last loyalist governor of Virginia, Donaldson stayed behind to “settle his affairs”. Rebels soon arrested him. He was ordered to leave Portsmouth and could not come within two miles of the town. After Donaldson packed up his worldly goods and stored them with a blacksmith friend named Stewart, he “retired into the country”. Within five months’ time, patriots arrested him and put him in the Williamsburg jail. While the loyalist was behind bars, a rebel mob attacked the Portsmouth house where Donaldson had stored his belongings, plundering all of his effects.

After Donaldson was released from prison upon providing a cash security and a promise of good behaviour, he went into hiding until the British arrived in Virginia in 1778. For the remainder of the war, his life was an ongoing series of flip-flops between being an ally of the British army and a prisoner of the rebels. Before he finally fled to New York City in 1782, Donaldson felt the fury of the mob when rebels seized four of his enslaved Africans as well as cattle and horses that belonged to the loyalist.

James Amot, who had once been Donaldson’s apprentice in Virginia, had also settled in Nova Scotia. His testimony provided more details on his master’s experiences and the violence of the Virginian mob. Amot recalled how Donaldson had stored his goods with the local blacksmith. While Donaldson was in jail, he asked for his goods to be removed. Stewart, the blacksmith, hired carts to do this, assuring Mrs. Donaldson that all would be well. But the next day, the carts were gone and Stewart was found tarred and feathered. The mob had its way without any opposition.

Another Virginian loyalist who eventually settled in the Maritimes was Elias Hardy. He had the misfortune to settle in Virginia after the battle in Lexington. Although he disapproved of taxation without representation, Hardy could not agree with the sentiments of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, and he remained loyal to the crown. The mob seized Hardy, fully intending to tar and feather him, but he managed to escape. Local rebels took his weapons and forced him to seek sanctuary in the “back parts of Virginia”.

Hardy finally escaped on board the Phoenix, a British man of war, and served the crown in New York City until his evacuation in 1783. He and his wife Martha made their new home in Saint John, New Brunswick where he died in 1799. Among the items bequeathed in his will were a mahogany desk and a library. Whether these were acquired after the revolution or were rescued from the fury of the Virginian mob is not known.

In 1775, a mob demanded that George Walker “drink damnation to King George”, a request that was not likely to be obeyed given that Walker had been the commander at Fort Johnson, a British garrison near Charleston, South Carolina. Five rebels seized Walker, stripped him naked, tarred and feathered him, put him into a cart, and then pelted him 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 nearby river. In addition to the damage done to his skin and dignity, Walker also sustained two broken ribs.

Next week’s Loyalist Trails will bring this six part series on loyalists and the mob to a conclusion with stories told by the refugees from rebel Massachusetts.

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

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: The John Saunders Edition

9 Nov, 2016 in the Loyalist Collection

John Saunders was born and raised in Virginia from a well-established and wealthy family. Saunders’s staunch loyalism had a two-fold motivation: firstly, because of the economic considerations, and secondly, and even more importantly, because he strongly believed that being a loyalist would help determine the importance and influence of his family. Later in his life, he stated that he had been taught since infancy “to fear God and honor the King.”

After the American Revolution, as a refugee coming to New Brunswick, John Saunders believed that there would be an elite group of loyalists in this new province. This idea of an “elite” group in New Brunswick is a constant theme throughout the rest of his life, which also becomes a prominent subject matter in the Saunders Papers and evident in his online biographies, such as the biography in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

Read more.

Borealia: The Wilson Institute for Canadian History

An Introduction and Vision of Canadian History, by Maxime Dagenais

Since I last posted with Borealia — a post titled “The ‘Canadian Revolution,’ the Early American Republic, and … Slavery?” — my SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies ended and I took up a new position as the research coordinator for the Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University, an institute I know quite well from a postdoctoral fellowship I held there from 2012 to 2014. In this post — the first installment in an ongoing series on the institute — I will introduce the Wilson Institute, offer a brief reflection on our vision for Canadian history, and discuss some of the projects we are currently cooking up.

Founded in 2008, the Wilson Institute for Canadian History (then called the Wilson Centre) was created with a simple vision: rethink Canadian history, pre- and post-Confederation, within a transnational framework. We seek to understand Canada’s place in a global perspective and how Canada has influenced — or been influenced by — transnational phenomena.

Read more.

JAR: The 3rd New Jersey Regiment’s Ill-Fated Patrol

By Philip D. Weaver, 22 Nov 2016

In the summer of 1776, the restored Fort Stanwix (renamed as Fort Schuyler) sat on what was the western edge of civilization in present day Rome, New York. The surrounding area was barely populated, but immediately to the west was unoccupied Indian territory. Therefore, the threat of Indian attack was a serious concern of the troops garrisoning the fort, the 3rd New Jersey Regiment commanded by Col. Elias Dayton. Frequent patrols were required to assess that threat and provide critical information.

On August 7, 1776, one such patrol was sent some seventy miles west to Fort Ontario at Oswego, on the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario. The patrol was commanded by Sgt. Maj. Isiah Younglove, from Capt. Thomas Patterson’s company, and included a Mr. Richard Bell, the guide, and from Capt. Samuel Potter’s company: Sgt. William Aitkin, Pvt. Samuel Freeman, and Pvt. James McGuiness. It seems to have been rather a small group to travel such a great distance into hostile territory, but as they sent out other unspecified patrols, one needs to presume this was normal.

Read more.

Above the Glebe: A Farming Family’s Heartbreak during the American Revolution

By Pamela Gilpin Stowe

Life was good for the Holmes family, and they didn’t want to see the British colonies engage in rebellion, especially against the most powerful empire in the world. But as the unrest grew, many men loyal to the King looked at enlistment to put down the uprising. They thought if they enlisted in the spring, after planting season, they could help suppress the revolt in time for the fall harvest. They thought it would be that simple.

Above the Glebe follows a farming family as the American Revolutionary War drags on. It is the story of loyalty and vengeance, of death and survival. It is also the story of a family divided. On the one side are the five Holmes brothers, who enlist on the Loyalist side. On the other are a vindictive cousin and the two Holmes sisters, both married to revolutionaries. Their choices will have a marked impact on their lives and their futures. Above all, though, this is a story of a family and its strength.

From a Review by George Smith

Of course, I’m not going to spoil the book by telling you about the finish, but I can tell you this: The subtitle, A Farming Family’s Heartbreak During the American Revolution, doesn’t begin to describe this engrossing story of the divisions, challenges, disappointments, and tragedies that the Revolution brought to our country.

The Holmes family was divided by the Revolution, with members on both sides, and their torment gives the reader a very good understanding of just how difficult this was on that family. Five Holmes brothers enlist on the Loyalist side, while their two sisters marry revolutionaries.

Stowe brings it all home, in a very compelling way, and gave me a much different perspective of the Revolution than I’d had before reading the book. Heartbreak indeed, on both sides of the conflict.

Her dialogue is exceptional, and carries the story well. Be prepared to sit for a while, because you too will not want to stop reading!

Available at Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, etc.

NOTE from Pamela: Interestingly, I have had ancestors on both sides of my family who were caught up in the American Revolution. On my mother’s side some were Loyalist. On my father’s side a Pennsylvania Quaker, store owner, Thomas Gilpin, was arrested by revolutionaries in 1776. His crime, selling goods to the British. The rebels put him into prison in Winchester Virginia. Poor Thomas died within two years at the age of 51. That story is heartbreaking.

Fall 2016 Issue of the Loyalist Gazette

The Fall Loyalist Gazette was delivered to Canada Post a little over a week ago, on Nov. 17. [Editor: My copy arrived on Tuesday.] Most paid-up members and Gazette subscribers should have received their copy by now.

As a paid-up member or a subscriber to the Gazette, you can still request the digital copy should you wish to see how it looks.

…Publications Committee

Where in the World?

Where is Doug Grant of Gov. Simcoe 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.

  • Congratulations Rachelle Bunbury, 2016-2017 Recipient of Nova Scotia Branch, United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada Bursary. Letter of thanks from The University of King’s College.
  • Joni Fraser, Little Forks Branch gave a gift package to the Royal family when they visited British Columbia. Prince George received “The Salmon Forest” book by David Suzuki and Princess Charlotte received “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. Both authors are Canadian, and the illustrators and publishers are also Canadian. Also four Sandspit Volunteer Fire Dept. t-shirs, 2 pins and the written material “A Short History of the United Empire Loyalists” and “The Armorial Bearings of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada” with the Armorial Bearings and the Badge added to the front of the document. Read the thank you letter from Kensington Palace.
  • Waterloo Memorial Pioneer Tower. Descendants of the early 19th century pioneer settler Oberholtzer family who settled along the Grand River would like to re-open the tower in time to celebrate Canada 150. Read more…
  • Col. John Butler (Niagara) Branch Annual General Meeting on Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 11:45 sharp, at Betty’s Restaurant, Chippawa. Cost: $20 per person. This is also the Christmas Social – no featured speaker – but lots of fun and networking. Reply by Dec 1 to Dale Flagler csmdale@outlook.com with names of those attending

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • CBC. After years of research, officials at Montreal’s archaeology and history museum say they’re now able to pinpoint the precise location of the city’s first European settlement. Although archaeologists have been digging the Fort Ville-Marie site for years, a recent discovery has allowed them to confirm the exact dimensions of the structure that housed the city’s early French settlers. “For the first time we know what it looked like in the mid-17th century, what it was made of, and where the site of the future pavilion was inside the fort,” said Louise Pothier, an archaeologist at the Pointe-à-Callière museum. It is building a pavilion to showcase the site, and the city hopes to make it accessible by May 17, 2017 — the 375th anniversary of Montreal.
  • Fighting for the Unity of Empire. on November 14, 2016 by Paula Dumas at “Isles Abroad“. For the past few weeks I have been writing about the digitised sources available for historians and genealogists (family historians) alike for finding out information about Canada’s Loyalist ancestors. I wanted to take a slightly different perspective on the blog today by looking at what it meant to be a Loyalist. Who were the Loyalists? United Empire Loyalists were men and women who were in the thirteen colonies in America and who opposed the American revolution. Estimates of their numbers vary, but there were perhaps around 50,000 Loyalists. Read more…
  • Smell the Revolution: Rum-scented mug among museum’s items. History buffs will be able to peer into the eyes of a “most excellent likeness” of George Washington and get an actual whiff of the Revolutionary War when Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution opens next year. Curators have scoured the country for the priceless artifacts to display in the museum, including a 1770s-era creamware mug that stills smells of rum, due to the material it’s made of. The vessel was created to celebrate Boston’s fight for liberty. Read more (The Washington Post)
  • On this day 24 Nov. 1807 in Canada, Six Nations Mohawk Chief, Joseph Brant dies. Read more…
  • Abigail Adams and Her Dimity Pocket, late 18th Century. I was fortunate to take a bit of a detour and view an accessory associated with Abigail Adams (1744-1818), the second First Lady of the United States. The MHS has a pieced dimity pocket, which belonged to her in the late 18th century. The pocket is 14 inches long and comprised of eight pieces of dimity. Read more…
  • The Freshest Breakfast Sausage (1808 Recipe) (video). Marie Schultz, from Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, NY, shares with us a very simple but absolutely delicious recipe for fresh pork sausage. Marie is a long-time historical interpretor at the village. For today’s episode, she draws upon Hannah Glasse’s 1808 book “Plain and Fancy” as well a similar recipe passed down from her great-grandmother. If you’re ever in the Rochester, NY, area, be sure to put Genesee Country Village & Museum on your itinerary – you won’t regret it!

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Hart, Barnabas – from Dr Richard Hugh Longfield
  • Seaman, Jacob – from William Morrison


Drawing Lots in the Royal Townships

I am (still) writing a little story about Johan Adam Pabst who’s son Rudolph acquired 100 acres of land in Township No. 3, Osnabruck ca 1784. This is an extension of a previous query “Royal Township Off-loading Points” in the issue 2016-41 Oct. 9.

There were 9 (some exclude Lancaster) Royal townships on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River.

  1. My gt Uncle Willie has written before he died in 1929, that, “..they imigrated…..by way of the Oswegatchie……in flat boats or scows, coming back the Hoople Creek….above D. Landing”.
  2. William Canniff has written in his book, The History of the Settlement of Upper Canada (1869): “The original mode of granting lands, at least to soldiers, was by lot.The process was simple. The number of each lot to be granted in each concession, was written on a separate piece of paper, and all were placed in a hat and well shaken, when each one to receive land, drew a piece of paper from the hat. The number upon the paper was the number of his lot. He then received a printed location ticket.”
  3. James Croil in his book, “Dundas or A Sketch of Canadian History” (1861) has written, “The difficulty of dragging their boats up the rapids of the river was very great; to us it is quite inconceivable. Arrived at Cornwall, they found there the Government Land Agent, and forthwith proceeded to draw by lottery the lands that had been granted to them. The townships in which the different corps were to settle, being first arranged, the lots were numbered on small slips of paper, and placed in a hat. when each soldier in turn drew his own.
  4. Artist, C.W.Jefferys, depicts; “Loyalists Drawing Lots For their lands, 1784” as in a forested clearing along a river or lake.
  5. The township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal has written; “The drawing of lots in Edwardsburgh was unusual in that every Loyalist head of household drew from the hat, giving one and all an equal chance of receiving the most desirable piece of land near the front and close to the river.”

My question: Did each Township have a “draw location” or did they all stop at New Johnstown (Cornwall), camp for a day or more and undertake the draw at that location?

There is lots of data re the 5 townships of Cataraqui, but for the townships on the river, slim.

Richard Poaps, UE