“Loyalist Trails” 2016-03: January 15, 2016

In this issue:
Mother Goose, Loyalist-Style: Part 2 of 2, by Stephen Davidson
Reader Challenge: A Revolutionary Nursery Rhyme
Loyalist Songs: “Yankee Doodle”
Revolution’s Georg[i]e
Loyalist Quarterly, by Paul Bunnell: December 2016 Issue Now Available
Muskets of the Crown
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Help with Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Given Names
JAR: Blame Canada: The Quebec Act & the American Revolution
Borealia: “The Mighty Waters of Democracy”: Thomas Chandler Haliburton on American Populism
The Junto: Women’s History, Primary Sources, and the United States History Survey
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Mother Goose, Loyalist-Style: Part 2 of 2

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Last week, we asked the rhetorical question: Can we retro-fit Three Men in a Tub to help us recall some events from the American Revolution? Let’s see if Mother Goose can remind us of loyalist history.

“A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker” easily describes the trades of some middle-class loyalists. One butcher who served his king was David Gosling. The Englishman had immigrated to New Jersey in 1751. Five years later he married his wife Elizabeth who, over the next twenty years, produced eight children (including a set of twins). Their last child, Howe Carleton Gosling, was born in 1776, the year that David joined the British army. Gosling served the troops –as he had the citizens of Amboy, New Jersey– by being their butcher. He died of an unspecified cause in 1778. Five years later, his widow and six of their children settled in Wilmot, Nova Scotia. In 1786, James was the oldest surviving son; one Gosling daughter married a local man named Henry Potter.

Interestingly, there are compensation claims for three loyalist bakers who all once tended ovens in Boston prior to the revolution. Benjamin Davis described himself as “a baker in government service” who had made himself “very obnoxious” to the rebels. He was one of 1,100 loyalists who fled when the British forces retreated to Halifax from Boston in March of 1776. When Davis attempted to sail to New York City that summer, patriots arrested him and imprisoned him for twelve months. By 1783, the loyal baker had settled in Halifax.

Another Bostonian baker that Davis might have known was Archibald MacNeil. This loyalist had an “extensive line” of baked goods in his shop. When the rebel tradesmen of Boston refused to supply the British troops with bread, MacNeil “engaged to do it and supplied them for a long time”. Like Davis, MacNeil fled Boston in 1776; he was later murdered while travelling to Quebec. His second wife, Elizabeth MacNeil, and their unmarried daughter Sarah settled in Canada, leaving at least one married daughter behind in Boston.

McNeil’s partner in supplying bread to the British troops in Boston was William Hall. In his interview with the loyalist compensation board, he testified that he had supplied the 14th regiment with bread for six weeks without charge. In 1774, Hall had the misfortune to be among the jurors who heard the case against the British captain charged with instigating the Boston Massacre. Patriots threatened his life, tarred his house, and “frequently insulted’ the loyalist baker. When he fled Boston, rebels seized his furniture and one of his houses; he left his mother in possession of a second house. Like the baker Davis, Hall also settled in Halifax.

Candle-making was usually a do-it-yourself necessit, especially if one needed light in a pioneer farm house. However, city dwellers during the loyalist era could buy their candles from local shops. James Hoyt was a loyalist whose store in Norwalk, Connecticut carried a wide variety of items, including candles.

Hoyt’s loyalty got him in trouble with local patriots even before the first shots were fired at Lexington. They once put him in jail on the suspicion that he had brought tea into the colony. In 1776, rebels once again imprisoned Hoyt on suspicion of carrying intelligence to British frigates. This proved to be the last straw, and the Norwalk shopkeeper left home to go within British lines in the fall of 1777.

After a short stay in the army, Hoyt became the captain of a loyalist privateer vessel. His ship was captured in the spring, and he was put in prison until the fall. Following a prisoner exchange and a short command of another privateer, Hoyt decided to become a New York City shopkeeper. After a year, he was appointed the cashier of the barrack master department, and then served as a clerk in the fuel department. When loyalists left New York in 1783, Hoyt was among those who settled in Parrtown (Saint John, New Brunswick).

Within three years time, Hoyt had the opportunity to tell his story of wartime losses to the loyalist compensation board. In addition to the plundering of his property and store, the seizure and sale of his ship the Little George, and the loss sold, and the theft of eighty-six boxes of soap, Hoyt duly noted that patriots had taken sixty-three boxes of tallow candles. The candles were carried off and sold at an auction to raise money for the rebel cause. The 63 boxes were condemned because they had been hidden away in the store belonging to Hoyt’s father “for the use of the enemy” (the British). And thus we have our candlemaker for our loyalist Mother Goose.

“Turn them out, knaves all three” is the final line in the nursery rhyme. One might wonder how the term knave (meaning a dishonest or unscrupulous person) could ever be applied to a loyalist refugee. And yet, over a two day period in September of 1787, the commissioners of the loyalist compensation board felt a trio of veterans of the American Revolution could best be described as “knaves all three”.

Alexander Simpson’s story would seem to merit sympathy. He had come to New York in 1762 and made a living by trading with the colony’s Natives. Patriots imprisoned Simpson for ten weeks in Albany, and later incarcerated him for not taking an oath to the new republic. The loyalist gathered up 44 men and headed north to Canada in 1780 to join the king’s men. When he appeared before the board in Montreal, Simpson was 60 years old and “afflicted with rheumatism”. Surely here was a man who deserved to be commended for his loyal service. But, for reasons that go unexplained the claims commissioners called Simpson “a damned rascal”.

Later that same day, David Jackson stood before the compensation board. This Englishman had settled in New York in 1772. He joined the British army in 1780 and served in Sir John Johnson’s 2nd Battalion. For his loyalty, Jackson had forfeited a 100-acre farm, 3 steers, a horse, furniture and “utensils”. Instead of calling him a “zealous loyalist” as it had done for so many others, the board said that Jackson was “a drunken dog”.

On the next day, James Mackim came before the board. It’s too bad he wasn’t aware of the commissioners’ foul mood. He recounted his story, beginning with his arrival in America in 1774, his service throughout the revolution, and his arrival in Sorel in 1783. For the third time in just two days, the loyalist claims commissioners were not impressed. They claimed that Mackim was ” a drunken Irishman, very little to be allowed”. Loyalists could be (and were) “turned out, knaves all three”.

And so our exercise in infusing loyalist history into a Mother Goose rhyme has come to an end. While it may never be as popular as “Yankee Doodle Went to Town”, the verse about the Three Men in a Tub can –when needed– be conscripted for the cause of loyalist history. Loyalists were tarred and feathered, they jointly owned ships to serve their cause, knowing who they were was immensely important, they were usually ordinary tradesmen, and at least three of them could be refused compensation for being rascals.

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

Reader Challenge: A Revolutionary Nursery Rhyme

A wee opportunity to let loose your poetic skills and energy. Are you up to the challenge? Write a nursery rhyme based on one you are familiar with but change the content to reflect the Revolutionary War period – events leading up to it, during it or afterwards, including loyalist settlement in Canada. Indicate the title of the nursery rhyme it is based on. Preferably short ie one, two or three verses, but longer ones won’t be refused.

Submit to the editor at loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

Loyalist Songs: “Yankee Doodle”

Loyalist songs were altered (and written) during the un-natural rebellion. Here is an excerpt from and article I wrote on the subject of Loyalist songs for the Yorker Courant some time ago.

“Yankee Doodle”

Yankee Doodle took a saw with Patriot’s devotion
To trim the Tree of Liberty according to his notion
He set himself upon a limb, just like some other noodle.
He sawed between the tree and him,
And down came Yankee Doodle!

Yankee Doodle broke his neck and every bone about him,
And now the Tree of Liberty does very well without him!

Yankee Doodle took his gun and went to join the fighting.
Once he saw our [Yorker] line his thoughts all turned to hiding.
He ran away ‘cross fields and vales, his gun left far behind him,
And many were the craven who went running off beside him!

Yankee Doodle’s run away and nowhere can we find him,
And now the Tree of Liberty does very well without him!


These verses are at the bottom of a caricature lampooning General Putnam and the Yankee Militia (British Museum, Political and Personal Satires, No. 5329). One could be led incorrectly to assume from the chorus line that the tune might be “Yankee Doodle.” The correct tune is from a quite different song, “Doodle Doo.”

I was unable to find a tune for Doodle Doo (originally published in 1779 as The New Raree Shew of a Touch on the Times) but the lyrics fit pretty well to the verse of Yankee Doodle. The pa, pa, pa, pa, pa part replaces the chorus…and, to my ear, would be well accompanied by five hearty bangs of a mug of ale on a tavern table. I have left spelling and capitalization as published.

“The Yankie Doodles Intrenchments Near Boston 1776”
Publish ‘ d as the Act Directs.

Behold the Yankies in there ditch ‘ s
Who se Consciance gives such grip ng twitch ‘ s
They ‘ r ready to Be S–t their Brech ‘ s ,
Yankie Doodle do [pa, pa, pa, pa, pa]

Next see the Hypocritic parson
Who’ thay all wish to turn an A–s on
Altho’ the Devil keeps the farce on
Yankie &c

See Putnam that Commands in Chief Sir
Who looks & Labours like a thief sir
To get them daily Bread & Beef sir,
Yankie &c

Their Congress now is quite disjoint’d
Since Gibbits is for them appointed
For fighting gainst ye Lords Annointed.
Yankie doodle doo, [ pa, pa, pa, pa, pa]

…Alex Lawrence, UE

Revolution’s Georg[i]e

Georgie Porgie, Pudding and Pie
Kissed the girls and made them cry
When the boys came out to play
Georgie Porgie ran away.

Georgie Washington dreamed on high
Kissed wealthy Phillipse and Shippen girls
And made them cry.
When his rebel soldiers went home to play
Georgie banished Mary and Peggy for treason that day.

Doug, what fun. The meter is not perfect, best I could figure.

My research, may not be totally correct. Washington was sweet on heiress Peggy Shippen, and on Mary Philipse. Peggy turned him down for Benedict Arnold. George courted wealthy Mary Philipse who owned 50,000 acres along the Hudson. She married Roger Morris. But by being turned down by these two women he was free to marry Martha Custis, who was reported to be the wealthiest woman in the 13 colonies.

During the war, Washington took over the estate and made his headquarters in Mary’s second floor sitting room overlooking her gardens.

NOTE: I paid attention to the Shippen family after I learned an aunt of my immigrant Abigail Axford who came to Upper Canada in 1796, married into the Shippen Family. Axfords were Quaker so it was a Quaker marriage which the mother Shippen never recognized. However, when she died the father Shippen put those children into his will.

…Doris Lemon, UE

Loyalist Quarterly, by Paul Bunnell: December 2016 Issue Now Available

The latest issue of the only U.S. journal devoted to Loyalist studies contains, among others, these topics:

• Editor’s Comments

• That Ship on the New Brunswick Flag

• Passing of a Massachusetts Loyalist

• Occupation of Philadelphia

• Loyalist Muster Roll of 1777 — New York

• Individuals Denounced as Loyalists in Georgia, c. 1777

• apt. James C. Chitwood, Sr.

• Loyalist Trails

• Provincial Loyalist Days and Annual Observances

More information, including subscription details ($21 U.S. & $24 Can./yr – Paul Bunnell, 32 Hoit Mill Rd. #202, Weare, NH, 03281, USA) at Paul J. Bunnell’s website.

Paul J. Bunnell

Muskets of the Crown

This is a non-profit organization dedicated to accurately portraying the lives of 18th-century British Soldiers in North America. We portray:

• His Majesty’s 42nd Regiment of Foot: The Royal Highland Regiment, Grenadier Company;

• His Majesty’s 77th Regiment of Foot: Montgomery’s Highlanders, Grenadier Company;

• Distaff: The Women of Muskets of the Crown.

Read more.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Help with Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Given Names

By Leah Grandy, a Microforms Assistant at the Harriet Irving Library.

Following from last week’s post, you will find in this entry a listing of practical “Tricks” to help in identifying surnames in primary documents, as well as a collection of resources which will aid in this undertaking.

Read more.

JAR: Blame Canada: The Quebec Act & the American Revolution

By Geoff Smock on January 12, 2017

Ask a group of my 8th grade U.S. History students what the causes of the American Revolution were and they are likely recite a catalogue of British actions: the Navigation Acts, the Stamp Act, “No Taxation without Representation,” the Proclamation of 1763, and the Boston Massacre, among others (or at least their teacher would hope so). One British action that they, or the average American, are unlikely to be aware of, let alone mention, is the Quebec Act of 1774. Yet not only was the Act among the list of causes of America’s war for independence, it was perhaps the major demarcation point for the thirteen colonies’ ultimate divorce from Great Britain.

To many colonists, the Quebec Act was the culminating offense in “a long train of abuses and usurpations,” as Jefferson memorably described it in the Declaration of Independence; which, taken together, constituted a deliberate attempt on the part of British parliament, ministry, and crown to overwhelm Americans under a curtain of “absolute Despotism.” The Act’s establishment of the Catholic church in a neighboring colony, its territorial extension of that colony into western lands, and its institution of a civil government appointed by — and serving at the pleasure of — the Crown corroborated their darkest suspicions of British intentions. At the very least, it seemingly confirmed the dire warnings of Patriot firebrands and undercut the assurances of American Loyalists pleading for forbearance. As one of the latter would lament, the Act was as successful as any other previous to it in “enraging the Americans against the measures of government.”

Read more.

Borealia: “The Mighty Waters of Democracy”: Thomas Chandler Haliburton on American Populism

On Nov 8 2016 reality-show star and billionaire Donald Trump won by a landslide the presidency of the US. Despite the still-ongoing collective head-scratching over the exact causes of the victory, nobody contests that the unlikely candidate rode an unprecedented wave of populism and nationalism whose long-term consequences remain to be seen.

Canadian concerns over American populism and its impact on existing institutions are not new. In 1836, the conservative Nova Scotian judge and writer Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865) published The Clockmaker, a volume of satirical sketches that rapidly became a surprising global success. Its protagonist, Sam Slick, a charismatic and shrewd Connecticut Yankee, entertained colonial audiences with the shortcomings of the American political model, while ostensibly exalting “the greatest nation on the face of the airth, and the most enlightened too.” Haliburton’s America sounds hauntingly familiar. In the 1830s, the country was in the thralls of economic and political turmoil, of virulent populism and anti-elite antipathy, all punctuated by the extension of the franchise to white males, the expansion of slavery, and the Indian Removal. Like other early Canadians, Haliburton was watching with apprehension the chaotic political dramas unfolding next door, at a time when British North America itself was debating responsible government and elective councils.

Read on.

The Junto: Women’s History, Primary Sources, and the United States History Survey

A recent call for historians to assign more readings by and about women prompted me to reflect back on the Week Nine class period and my survey course more generally. In her review of the excellent edited collection Women in Early America, Amanda Herbert provocatively urged historians to “Make the experiences of women—half of humankind and more than half of the population of most American colleges and universities—constitute at least half of your syllabus.” In a post on her blog, Ann Little likewise sounded the alarm about syllabi which perpetuate “the continuing, ongoing, perpetual exclusion of women as historical actors and writers” and suggested using peer review as a remedy. And on Twitter, Zara Anishanslin challenged historians to at least have higher percentage of female scholars on their syllabi than the percentage of women in Congress, while Kevin Gannon reflected on his experience teaching a Civil War course featuring only female-authored monographs.

While teaching secondary sources by female scholars and about the historical experiences of women is a worthy goal for instructors, I approached my survey syllabus with a different but parallel aim: assigning sufficient primary sources by and about women, including lower-class women and women of color. Because my survey course emphasizes developing students’ ability to analyze historical evidence, my course’s readings consist almost entirely of primary sources. During the fall semester, twelve out of thirty-nine (31%) assigned primary sources in my survey course were by or about women; this spring, thirteen out of thirty-three (40%) are by or about women. While I admittedly have not achieved complete parity in the number of assigned sources concerning men and women, I see my reading list as a step in the right direction. What follows are four reflections on my experience designing and teaching this version of the United States History survey.

Read more.

Where in the World?

Where is Ruth Nicholson of Hamilton 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.

  • Jennifer DeBruin UE will speak about her journey back 230+ years to the Mohawk Valley at the Macaulay Heritage park in Picton ON on Sunday Feb 22, 1:00 pm. A special talk in honour of Ontario’s Heritage Week.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Very interesting find. Possible belt plate worn by Royal Highland Emigrants (84th Regiment) during American Revolution. Photo. posted by Brian McConnell
  • On this day (by @LarsDHHedbor)
    • 8 Jan 1777 British withdraw all forces from New-Jersey except posts at West Brunswick and Perth Amboy.
    • 9 Jan 1779 After shprt bombardment Maj Joseph Lane surrenders Fort Morris to Gen Augustin Prevost – east Georgia in British hands.
    • 10 Jan 1776 NC Royal Gov. Martin issues proclamation calling on Loyalists to restore Crown rule in the province.
    • 13 Jan 1776 British attempt to raid Prudence Island, Rhode-Island for sheep, are driven back by Patriot forces.
  • Musket Ball Starter and Powder Measure Tool (photo; short description)
  • Shoes and The Enduring Flame Stitch. The bargello or flame stitch was an important embroidery style throughout the later 17th century and into the 18th. Its appearance on shoes provides a wonderful geometric burst of colors.
  • Gorgeous, c1777 silk brocade dress, possibly for wedding of Abigail Byles. Trim, robings removed, some alterations. Photo.
  • This recipe for “batter pudding” comes from The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse.