“Loyalist Trails” 2017-06: February 5, 2017

In this issue:
Massachusetts Loyalists Buried in Halifax (Part 3 of 3), by Stephen Davidson
UE Loyalist Certificates Issued in November and December
Borealia: Mookomaanish / The Damn Knife: Odaawaa Chief and Warrior
JAR: George Hanger – His Adventures in the American Revolutionary War begin
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: The Importance of the Book of Negroes
Ben Franklin’s World: Smuggling in Colonial America & Living History
New Website Location: The Friends of the Loyalist Collection
Research: Searching Loyalist Claims on Ancestry.ca and Elsewhere (Part 2 of 2)
Ontario Drivers: A Valentine’s Day (Loyalist) Licence Plate
Celebrating Canada150: Hamilton Branch Banquet
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
      + Loyalist Descendants in the UK


Massachusetts Loyalists Buried in Halifax (Part 3 of 3)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

If you were able to visit the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, you would have the opportunity to see the portrait of an upper class Massachusetts family that was painted by John Singleton Copley* in 1778. A much sought after artist, Copley nevertheless had to flee America due to his loyalist convictions four years earlier. Copley’s wife and children later joined him in England, sailing on the same ship as the subjects of his 1778 portrait – for they, too, were loyalists.

The subjects of Copley’s painting were the six members of the Pepperell family. Despite the turmoil that they had endured in escaping from the rebellious colonies, the faces of the father and children seem to be happy. However, Mrs Pepperell’s face is rather stiff; her eyes unfocussed; she does not seem to “fit” with the others in the painting. And for good reason.

While the father and children posed for Copley in his London studio, Mrs Pepperell had been dead for three years. Using earlier portraits of the departed mother, Copley was able to include her in his painting. How sad it must have been for Mrs Pepperell’s family to look at the group portrait with the knowledge that the young mother was lying alone in a grave far across the ocean in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Elizabeth Royall – the mother in Copley’s portrait – is the only loyalist woman to occupy a lone grave in the Old Burying Ground of Halifax. At twenty years of age, she married William Sparhawk in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In less than eight years’ time, Elizabeth and her husband were charged with attempting to “enslave the free and loyal people of this continent”. The patriots of Massachusetts were told to “immediately withdraw all connection, commerce and dealings” with Elizabeth’s husband. Little wonder, then, that the couple and their children sought British protection in Boston in 1774.

To learn how a young Massachusetts woman became a baronet’s wife, a loyalist, and an occupant of a Halifax graveyard, one needs to review the events leading up to 1774. Although Elizabeth became Mrs. William Sparhawk on their wedding day, when William turned 21, both the couple’s name and fortunes changed.

Sparhawk’s grandfather, William Pepperell, was a war hero who had organized and led the New England expedition that captured Fortress Louisbourg in 1745. The fact that a colonial commander had captured the strongest coastal fortification in all of North America was a matter of great family pride. A year later, the British government made the New Englander a baronet. He would be the only American ever granted an hereditary English title. After meeting the king, Pepperell fought in the Seven Years War, served as the governor of his home colony, and was made a lieutenant-general.

Despite all of these accomplishments, Pepperell had no son to carry on his name and title. By an act of the Massachusetts legislature, he had the surname of his daughter’s son, William Sparhawk , changed, bequeathing both his baronetcy and fortune to his heir.

Before he became Elizabeth’s husband and William Pepperell’s heir, William Sparhawk had completed studies at Harvard University and visited England. Clearly, young Miss Royall had made a good match. The young couple’s future looked prosperous and bright as they settled into life in what is now Kittery, Maine. Pepperell was, after all, one of the wealthiest men in colonial America.

However, rebels seethed at the fact that the governor had appointed the new Sir William Pepperell to the decidedly loyalist legislative council of Massachusetts. By 1774, he “incurred the odium which was visited upon all the councillors.” Flight was the family’s only option.

In the years between their wedding and their seeking refuge in Boston, Elizabeth and William had three daughters: Elizabeth, Mary and Harriet. Little William was born in July 1775, just before the Pepperell family decided to flee to England along with John Singleton Copley’s wife and family.

Initially, Elizabeth and William planned to take their children to the safety of the family plantation in Antigua, but for reasons unexplained the Pepperells set sail for England instead. On a ship crowded with other loyalist refugees, the family sailed out of Marblehead, Massachusetts. It was the last time that Elizabeth would ever see her native land.

Whether she was exposed to the disease before boarding the ship or during her voyage, Elizabeth somehow contracted smallpox. By the time the Pepperells reached Halifax, she had died. Sir William could not return to Massachusetts to bury Elizabeth; he was a despised loyalist. He also had to think of the children. William’s oldest daughter was just six, while his son was only a few months old. In the end, Pepperell had Elizabeth interred in Halifax’s Old Burying Ground. She was just a month short of her 28th birthday.

Following Elizabeth’s funeral, the Pepperell family continued their journey to England. In March 28, 1776, Thomas Hutchinson, a family friend, noted in his diary that “Sir William is more discouraged about the event of American affairs than anybody. His spirits are very low from the loss of his lady.”

Two years later, William was still mourning the loss of Elizabeth, and so he commissioned a fellow loyalist refugee to include her in a family portrait.** Although his baronetcy and wealth would have made Sir Pepperell a fine match for any aspiring British noblewoman, the Massachusetts loyalist remained a widower for the rest of his life.

Until his death in 1816 life, William championed the cause of American refugees in England and helped to found the British and Foreign Bible Society. His three daughters survived him, but his only son died while still a young man. In the absence of a male heir, the Pepperell baronetcy ceased to exist. Now the Pepperell name can only be found in a handful of communities in Atlantic Canada and Massachusetts – including the inscription on the weathered tombstone of Elizabeth Pepperell, a loyalist woman whose quest for sanctuary came to a tragic end.

(To read about other loyalist refugees in Halifax’s Old Burying Ground, see Brian McConnell’s feature.)

* To read more about John Singleton Copley, visit: Loyalist Portrait Gallery: John Singleton Copley

** J.S. Copley’s 1778 portrait of William and Elizabeth Pepperell’s family.

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

UE Loyalist Certificates Issued in November and December

A list of UE Certificates issued since late in 2012 – showing the Loyalist ancestor, name of descendant (when permission is granted), branch and date – has been updated with the certificates issued in November and December of last year. The same updates have been applied to the Loyalist Directory.

Borealia: Mookomaanish / The Damn Knife: Odaawaa Chief and Warrior

By Alan Corbiere

At the commencement of the War of 1812, the British were not totally certain that the Western Confederacy (including the Anishinaabeg: Ojibwe, Odaawaa and Potowatomi) would fight alongside them. The Western Confederacy had lost confidence in the British at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 when the British had abandoned the Anishinaabeg at Fort Maumee. The Anishinaabeg and the other members of the Western Confederacy had to face the Americans on their own and were slaughtered. At subsequent councils the Anishinaabeg reminded the British of this betrayal. The British knew that they needed the Western Confederacy as allies, but they also knew that trust had been broken and actions would have to replace words. So when Captain Roberts, Commanding officer at St. Joseph’s Island, received a second letter from General Brock advising him to take the action he saw most fit, Roberts opted for attacking Michilimackinac because he knew that he had to demonstrate to the Anishinaabeg that the British would fight this time.

On July 17, 1812, Captain Roberts with 30 regular British soldiers, who he described as aged and given to drunkenness, along with 200 Canadian voyageurs, 113 Sioux, Menominee and Winnebago, and 280 Ojibwe and Odaawaa, captured Fort Michilimackinac. This first victory ignited the Western Confederacy to war and many warriors came out to fight the Americans.

Read more.

JAR: George Hanger – His Adventures in the American Revolutionary War begin

By Ian Saberton January 30, 2017

Having pursued a chequered and colourful path in Europe, including a rake’s progress through London high society,[1] George Hanger reached New York City on May 16, 1778 and three days later set sail for Philadelphia to join the Hessian Jäger Corps as a staff captain. He was not unduly surprised to find the two-day voyage up the Delaware fraught with danger, for the revolutionaries controlled the riverbanks, eagerly taking pot shots at passing vessels. He arrived in the city on June 3 only to discover that it was about to be evacuated by the British and Hessians.

By now the war had been running for over three years but had hardly affected the revolutionaries’ control of the revolted colonies, though East and West Florida remained loyal. By the beginning of 1777 the British had been forced to abandon Boston – their last toehold in New England, had captured New York City, Long Island and Newport, Rhode Island, but, after initially occupying New Jersey, had had to withdraw from it in the face of reverses at Trenton and Princeton. It was then that the plan for the Philadelphia campaign was devised.

If Philadelphia was threatened, then, according to Sir William Howe, the British commander-in-chief, it would be incumbent on George Washington, the revolutionary commander, to risk a battle to protect the capital of the confederacy. “My opinion,” said he,” has always been that the defeat of the rebel regular [Continental] army was the surest road to peace.”

Read more.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: The Importance of the Book of Negroes

by Leah Grandy PhD in History, Harriet Irving Library.

With the scarcity of sources for people of African descent in North America during the eighteenth century, the Book of Negroes is an amazing resource – particularly for those individuals who immigrated to what was to become eastern Canada. The Book was produced at the end of the American Revolution in New York and it nominally recorded Black Loyalists during a time when people of African descent were all too often recorded as mere numbers. Those listed in the Book included both enslaved and free people, but the stability of either state was tenuous in the post-American Revolution Maritime provinces.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Smuggling in Colonial America & Living History

In today’s podcast, Dr. Eugene Tesdahl, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, joins us to discuss smuggling in colonial North America.

Gene uses the example of the infamous Albany-Montréal fur trade to reveal how Great Britain and France defined smuggling and why some colonists opted to conduct illegal trade; what types of goods the British colonists in Albany exchanged with the French colonists in Montréal; and the surprising role that Native and Euro-American women played in the illicit Albany-Montréal trade.

Additionally, Gene helps us explore the everyday lives of the colonists who lived in New France by taking us into the world of living history where Gene adopts the role of a French fur trader, or coureur de bois, Henri François Letannier.

Hear more.

New Website Location: The Friends of the Loyalist Collection

The Friends of the Loyalist Collection are delighted that the Brock Loyalist History Collection information is now available on the UELAC website.

Update your “bookmarks” for the Brock Loyalist History Collection. The new URL is www.uelac.org/Friends-Loyalist-Collection-BrockU/index.html

When you access the site click on the “Collection” tab and then “Inventory” at the bottom of the page for an index of the microform topics and books in the collection. A click on any call number will take you to that item in the Brock University Library Catalogue. Some items have a link to a pdf index.

The collection includes:

• Indian Records begun at Montreal, 12 October 1775 by Col. John Butler as Agent of Indian Affairs;

• British Headquarters Papers (Sir Guy Carleton Papers) with the Index prepared by Sir Guy Carleton Branch UELAC;

• A selection of the Haldimand Papers;

• State Minute Books for Upper & Lower Canada;

• The Upper Canada Land Petitions and a selection of the New Brunswick Land Petitions;

• Treasury Papers – relating to refugees 1780 – 1836 American Loyalists;

• The Papers of Sir William Johnson & Sir John Graves Simcoe;

• Family papers for the Jarvis/Powells, the Merritts, Joseph Brant, Wm. Claus & Robert & Abraham Nelles among others.

Don’t forget to update your bookmarks & links.

Thank you for your loyal support.

…The Directors of the Friends of the Loyalist Collection at Brock University

…Rod Craig, Bill Smy, Bill Stevens and Bev Craig

Research: Searching Loyalist Claims on Ancestry.ca and Elsewhere (Part 2 of 2)

The abstract in Coldham’s book for my Loyalist ancestor Peter John shows that his claim, Number 357, dated 7 April 1786, is found in AO 13 file 25 pages 214-216 (“New Claims Including Re Sloop “James”, Nova Scotia “). His claim was listed as “rejected” on 17 April 1786 on the cover page of his claim, not in a separate document. Unlike Daniel Smith, Peter John does not appear to have submitted any supporting documents with his claim nor had any witnesses to support it. It appears the claim was rejected without hearing any evidence. But he was granted two tracts of land in the 1801 Botsford Grant to Loyalists on the Sissiboo River in Digby County, Nova Scotia.

Without Coldham’s work you have to manually search through all of the files in AO 12 and AO 13 to find these documents.

There is no reference in Coldham’s work to another proven Loyalist ancestor James Cosman, who settled in Sissiboo (now Weymouth), N.S. and married Peter John’s daughter Catherine. Presumably that means that James Cosman did not submit a claim for losses to the Loyalist Commissioners. He was young and single during the American Revolution, so he probably could not justify a claim for losses. My research on him uncovered a reference to a memorial submitted by James Cosman which says “”James was a Sergeant in Capt. Preston’s Company of Guides and Pioneers during the late American War and at the battle of Germantown, outside Philadelphia in 1777, lost his pocketbook which contained a certificate from General Sir William Howe saying that he was entitled to 200 acres of land. – Memorial of James Cosman”. From work compiled by Richard E. Cosman (deceased), SSF, HQ&SIGS, SPTP, CFB Petawawa, P, ON K8H 2X3″ and Kaye (Cosman) Nath (deceased). That memorial, which I have not been able to locate, was probably a land petition in Digby County rather than a claim to the Loyalist Commissioners and may be somewhere in the Provincial Archives of Nova Scotia. James Cosman did receive 500 acres of land in the unallocated portion of the 1801 Botsford Grant to Loyalists in Digby County, N.S., but was already settled on part of the 200 acre grant that his brother John Cosman had received in 1784.

There is also no reference in Coldham’s work to another proven Loyalist ancestor, Issachar Currier, who came to Upper Gagetown, N.B. in either late 1783 or early 1784. He submitted a petition for land in Upper Gagetown in July 1785 which was granted. He later received two grants in 1799 at Kingsclear, N.B.

Another source for claims submitted by Loyalists to the Loyalist Commissioners can be found in “The Second Report of The Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario, 1904. Subtitle: United Empire Loyalists, Enquiry into the Losses and Services in Consequence of Their Loyalty, Evidence in the Canadian Claims”. The report was contained in Volume 1 of Wallace Hales’s “Fort Havoc” CD-ROM series which was acquired by the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (PANB). Much of that CD-ROM is on the PANB web-site, but not the Second Report, which can be purchased from GlobalGenealogy.com or viewed at a Family History Library. The Report does not contain all of the claims in AO 12 and AO 13. The claim of Peter John is not listed. Nor does the Report contain either Daniel Smith’s Memorial with statement of losses, nor the determination of the Commissioners for his claim, just the evidence heard by them.

Given that the total number of claims submitted to the Loyalist Commissioners was 5,800, it is clear that the vast majority of Loyalist who came to what is now Canada did not file claims with the Loyalist Commissioners.

Land petitions and land grants made by and to Loyalists are also another primary source of information. The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick has an excellent database which helps identify the petition or grant and can then provide a photocopy of the original for a fee. Ancestry.ca has a data-base “Nova Scotia, Canada, Land Petitions, 1765-1800” which also contains records for early New Brunswick as well. The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources has a Crown Land Index Maps which is a series of 140 maps showing the location of crown land grants in Nova Scotia, the majority of which were issued between 1750 and 1850. You may view or download the maps here. At one time the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources offered a CD-ROM containing maps of all the land grants in New Brunswick, but I could not find any reference to it on its web-site.

John J. Noble, UE

[Editor’s Note: This document has also been added to the small list of Loyalist Research Resources. Thanks, John!]

Ontario Drivers: A Valentine’s Day (Loyalist) Licence Plate

While the United Empire Loyalists arrived long before Confederation you can still share your pride in their heritage as you celebrate the 150th anniversary. You may remember the special centenary Ontario Licence Plate project that kicked off the 2014 celebrations. With less than forty-eight plates beginning with 02UE, you still have a chance to get a plate that you will remember and cause comments wherever you drive.

SAVE: for the rest of the month of February, you can save 30 dollars when you place your order. AND we will also ship your request FREE!

Take these 2 steps now:

1. Email public.relations@uelac.org with your preferred number chosen from the following: 16-19, 23, 24, 26-32, 34, 36-38, 40, 42, 47, 49, 52-55, 57, 59, 67, 69, 72-75, 79, 90-95, 97, 98.

2. Send your cheque for $80.00 and this form to the George Brown House office.

Show your support of the UELAC and your pride in your pre-confederation heritage

…Fred H. Hayward, UELAC Public Relations

Celebrating Canada150: Hamilton Branch Banquet

Hamilton Branch is organizing a banquet on Loyalists’ Day, June 19 in Ontario. The event will celebrate our Canadian history through Loyalists, Confederation and Canada 150.

• Presentation of colours with a piper; singing of God Save the Queen, loyalists’ prayer and a short history of the loyalists and our contribution to Canada.

• Part way through the evening a video of Sir John A. Macdonald and Confederation will be shown before dessert.

• Our speaker from the Archives of Ontario will talk on “Family Ties: Ontario Turns 150”. The meal will be served “Family Style” to go with our speaker’s topic.

• Poems and songs are planned; permission to use “A New Home” by as published in Loyalist Trails 2017-04 Jan 22 has been requested.

The dinner is open to the public and all Loyalists branches will receive an invitation closer to the date. If you are in the Hamilton area please come to dinner.

$50 per plate on June 19th at Michelangelos on Upper Ottawa Street, Hamilton. Contact Gloria Howard for tickets at glohoward@rogers.com.

…Pat Blackburn, President, Hamilton Branch

[Editor’s note. If your UELAC Branch has a project or event which celebrates Canada150, I would be 0pleased to tell our readership about it. Just forward details.]

Where in the World?

Where are Susan Hutchins, Ruth Nicholson, Jean Rae Baxter, and Peter & Carol Davey?

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.

  • Assiniboine Branch has noted their website and have a Facebook page as well.
  • Saturday, April 8, 2017 for Spring Meeting of Nova Scotia Branch United Empire Loyalists’ Association in Port Mouton. Special guest will be Dominion President Barb Andrew. There will also be a presentation by a descendant of a loyalist soldier from the British Legion (also known as Tarleton’s Legion) who settled there in 1784 and a Tour of the Loyalist Cemetery. See Facebook page for further information.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Loyalist Descendants in the UK

From the evacuation of Boston, probably earlier, Loyalists began to flee the rebelling colonies. They went to various destinations, but certainly England was a common refuge. Many anticipated a short stay and a return home.

After the evacuation of New York in 1783, some of those who had removed to Nova Scotia, took another step back to England. Others who wanted to make a claim for their losses right after the war and had the means, went to England to make their claim – the claims commission did not come to Canada to hear claims until a bit later.

And of course, since the end of Loyalist era, people have continued to migrate, some number of Loyalist descendants now in the UK having moved there even recently.

Some years ago, in the 1970’s or eighties perhaps, the Government of Canada published a promotional brochure about the Loyalists, and noted that an estimated one in seven Canadians at that time could claim a Loyalist ancestor. Demographics have continued to shift however.

The question: would anyone know of a guesstimate of the number of Loyalist descendants living in the UK today?

…John Cass