“Loyalist Trails” 2017-10: March 5, 2017
In this issue:
– 2017 UELAC Conference: Discover Your Roots
– Expanding the Headlines of 1777: The Victim of Ambition, by Stephen Davidson
– UE Loyalist Certificates Issued in January
– Further Comments on Loyalist Claims (Part 2 of 2), by John Noble
– Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Lost Loyalists: Volume 1
– Borealia: The Importance of Michilimackinac – Anishinaabeg in the War of 1812
– JAR: A ‘Heavenly Harvest’ of Vulnerable Women in North Carolina
– The Past is Never Dead, Only Deadly Boring: the Newport ‘Radicals’
– Ben Franklin’s World: How many Americans supported the Patriot cause?
– Where in the World?
– Region and Branch Bits
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
– Last Post
+ Catherine Letitia Harradence, UE
+ Donald Cousens, UE
+ Map showing New Brunswick Settled by Regiments
June 22 – 25, 2017; London, Ontario
Hosted by: London & Western Ontario Branch and Grand River Branch
© Stephen Davidson, UE
Sometimes ignorance is bliss. That would certainly have been the case for British soldiers and loyal refugees who made up the readership of Rivington’s Royal Gazette in the fall of 1777. The stories in the decidedly loyal newspaper were anything but cheery. Rebels hanged British Lieutenant Daniel Taylor on charges of espionage. New Jersey patriots executed Stephen Edwards within 48 hours of his capture. Rebel gunfire mortally wounded the brilliant Hessian commander, Colonel Carl Emil Kurt Von Donop, at the Battle of Red Bank.
What is startling to a 21st century reader is the brevity of the news stories in the Royal Gazette. The death of the German officer mentioned above does not even exceed the character limit for a “tweet”. It reads: “Donop, Count — died of wounds received in the late attack on Red Bank where he was buried.”
While the refugees living in New York in 1777 may have been content with this dearth of details, their 21st century descendants want a more comprehensive account. Here then, is the story of Colonel Carl Von Donop, a man who –had the British forces been victorious– would have been among the heroes of the thwarted American Revolution.
Donop was just thirty-seven years old when he left his native Kassel, a city in Hesse (northern Germany) to volunteer his services in defeating the rebels of the American Revolution. A veteran of the Seven Years War, the young nobleman was given the command of a Jäger Corps (a group of men skilled as scouts, couriers and sharp-shooters) and four battalions of grenadiers. The latter were noted for their physical strength and their skill in storming fortifications. Military success seemed to be a foregone conclusion.
Like every soldier, the young count’s motives for going to war were mixed. Aware of the New World’s potential, the Hessian officer left Europe in the hope that a grateful King George III would grant him land and wealth in one of the conquered American colonies.
But all of Dunop’s dreams of riches came undone in the fall of 1777. Smarting from defeat at the hands of Washington’s forces during the Battle of Trenton in New Jersey in December 1776, he volunteered to capture the rebel Fort Mercer in Red Bank, just 80 km from Trenton. Crossing the Delaware River with 2,000 Hessian troops, Donop arrived at the fort on October 22nd. He immediately sent off an officer with “a flag and a drummer” to demand that Colonel Greene surrender Fort Mercer.
“The King of England,” he proclaimed, “orders his rebellious subjects to lay down their arms, and they are warned, that if they stand the battle, no quarters whatever will be given.”
Refusing to give up without a fight, Greene replied, “We ask no quarter, nor will we give any.”
The 400 rebels fended off three attacks led by Donop, maintaining a steady hail of musket-shot. Almost 400 Hessians died that day. During a lull in the fighting, a French engineer with the rebel forces ventured out of the fort to repair some palisades. Recoiling at the number of dead and dying heaped upon one another, Thomas-Antoine de Mauduit du Plessis heard a voice: “Whoever you are, draw me hence.” It was Colonel Donop. Seeing that the Hessian’s thighbone was broken (other accounts say that his leg was “shot apart”), du Plessis ordered his men to carry the officer into the fort.
Recalling that their commander had sworn that there would be no quarter given, the rebels considered killing Donop then and there. Donop was ready for his fate. “I am in your hands. You may revenge yourselves.” When he realized that du Plessis was a French officer, Donop switched languages. “Je meurs entre les mains de l’honneur meme.” (I am content; I die in the hands of honor itself.)
But rather than executing Donop, the rebels took him to Ann Whitall’s house which had been commandeered for a temporary military hospital. There he was tended with other wounded soldiers. The rebels then carried him to the home of Joseph Low.
Three days after the Battle of Red Bank, Donop died of his wounds. Israel Angell, a patriot colonel who kept a diary during the revolution, noted that “Col. Donop died last evening, half past eight o’clock in the evening and was decently interred this evening. Attended with all the honours of war”.
Rather than placing the colonel in a local graveyard, the rebels buried Donop on the path leading to the Whitall’s house. His headstone simply read, “Here lies buried Count Donop”.
In 1829, a monument was erected on the Fort Mercer site to commemorate Colonel Greene’s bravery during its defense. On it plaque is also inscribed, “Among the wounded was found their commander, Count Donop, who died of his wounds and whose body lies interred near the spot where he fell.”
The plaque failed to mention that vandals shattered Donop’s tombstone; visitors to the site took away pieces as souvenirs until nothing remained. Not content to let sleeping enemies lie, others dug up the Hessian’s bones. These were scattered across the state; Donop’s skull became a treasured relic in the office of a New Jersey physician.
It was the sad end to a life full of potential. As he lay dying, the 37 year-old Donop said, “It is finishing a noble career early; but I die the victim of ambition and of the avarice of my sovereign.” (One patriot record of Donop’s last words adds another sentence. “But full of thankfulness for the good treatment I have received from my generous enemy.”)
It may have been just as well that Donop’s “noble career” ended that October. His defeat would not haunt him as Burgoyne’s surrender at the Battle of Saratoga did for the rest of his life.
Perhaps by exercising a little more caution and by tempering his desire for personal glory, Colonel Carl Von Donop might have won the Battle of Red Bank. That, in turn, might have changed the tide of the war by providing the king’s army with a strategic victory. Instead, the rebel success at the Battle of Red Bank was a much needed morale booster for the Continental Army. That victory, following so quickly on the heels of the defeat of the British at the Battle of Saratoga, resulted in France’s decision to enter the war as an ally of the new United States of America.
Hoping for a place in the annals of military history, Von Donop had his death noted with just seventeen words in Rivington’s Royal Gazette. An obituary that — despite its brevity– must have saddened its loyalist readers.
Next week, discover the story behind the execution of a loyalist spy in October of 1777.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
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 January of this year. The same updates have been applied to the Loyalist Directory.
Page 20 “It soon became evident, that, to do justice to the Loyalists, Commissioners must be sent to Canada and the United States. Commissioners Col. Thomas Dundas and Mr. Jeremy Pemberton came to Canada and had similar powers as the Board sitting in London. Their work began on the 17th Nov., 1785, and continued until 1789. Evidence was taken at Halifax, St. John, Quebec and Montreal, and six reports were made, showing that 1401 claims were heard; and that 834 were, for various reasons, not heard. On 432 claims under the Act of 1783, $1,061,000 was allowed, and on 969 claims under the Act of 1785, $1,684,000 was allowed, making a total of $2,745,000 passed for claims in Canada. Of the claims examined, nearly two-thirds in number and value were from New York State. Many of those who had large fortunes at stake went directly to Britain to have their claims adjusted, and after the Commissioners left Canada, petitions were still sent to London”.
From page 21: “At first soldiers were allowed 40 per cent. of their claims and civilians 30 per cent., but finally no distinction was made. Payments were first made in installments but eventually Pitt’s scheme was adopted providing for the payment of property losses on a fixed scale of percentage according to the amount of claim. Petitions for compensation ranged from $60 to $777,000, and the sums allowed, from $50 to $221,000, which was granted to Sir John Johnson.”
“The total outlay on the part of Britain during the war and after it closed for the Loyalists in food and clothing, in temporary relief and annuities in establishing them in Canada and in monetary compensation, amounted to not less than $30,000,000.”
“The claimants by States were as follows: — New York, 941; South Carolina, 321; Massachusetts, 226; New Jersey, 208; Pennsylvania, 148; Virginia, 140; North Carolina, 135; Georgia, 129; Connecticut, 92; Maryland, 78; Vermont, 61; Rhode Island, 41; New Hampshire, 31; Delaware, 9; a total of 2,560”.
From page 24: “The volumes containing the notes of the proceedings and evidence taken before the two Commissioners sent to Canada, were retained by Col. Thomas Dundas, at his home, Carron Hall, Stirlingshire. A transcript from his pages have been placed in the Public Records Office.
In 1844 General Sir Henry Lefroy who had been sent by the British government to Canada to organize a magnetic survey, selected Toronto as the proper site. Two years afterwards he married a daughter of Sir John Beverley Robinson, Bart. In 1860 he married the granddaughter of Col. Dundas and while staying at Carron Hall in 1864, saw the original manuscript for the first time.
Being at that time deeply interested in the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, which had, in addition to its scientific work, issued a circular pointing out the advantages of accumulating all manuscript material relating to the history of America, Sir Henry advised that these papers be sent to that institution. This was done, and there the papers remained for some years apparently neglected, till an Act of Congress was passed transferring all manuscripts in possession of the Smithsonian Institute to the Archives of Congress, where they have since remained.
The manuscript differs from the transcript preserved in the Public Records Office in London in that it contains notes and references made by the Commissioners during the proceedings, many of which are characteristic and sum up the position more pungently than appears in the official record.”
R. Wallace Hale in his transcription of the Second Report which he included in his CD-ROM “Fort Havoc Archives Volume 1” added additional information after the end of the Report that “the transcripts of the hearings of the Commissioners in Canada were originally published in two volumes, covering the proceedings during which evidence on some 1245 claims was heard. Intensive examination of these reveals the documentation of some of the hearings is missing, which may not be apparent from casual reference to the work. The Commissioners reported that 1,401 Claims were heard, indicating at least transcripts of 156 claims are missing.”
“3 volumes of the claim hearings over which Commissioner Dundas presided are missing, along with 5 volumes of those of Commissioner Pemberton. Whether these eight volumes were not transcribed due to deterioration of the originals, or whether the originals had been lost cannot be determined”.
The initial reply I received from Ancestry about the missing File AO12: “Piece 64 Decisions for New York” was rather generic saying that the “the databases contain information that the sources have given us. If they update the information on their end then we will update it on our end. At this time, it has not yet been updated which is why it may not have all the information you are searching for. Unfortunately, we do not have an estimated time frame as to when it will have the correct information. Again, it is dependent upon the source where we receive the information.”
I have looked at the U.K. National Archives web-site which confirms that AO12/64 is held by the National Archives in Kew as a “public record, open document”. I have sent them a message asking whether there was a reason the microfilm for AO12/64 was not copied to Ancestry along with the other AO 12 and AO 13 files.
There are many prominent loyalists who have been the subject of extensive research, such as Edward Winslow, John Saunders, and Johnathan Odell; however, there remains much to uncover about a myriad of loyalists that came to New Brunswick as refugees as a result of the American Revolution. We challenge you to engage in the recovery of these “Lost Loyalists.”
Here are five loyalists that did not make the cut due to time constraints, but for whom we had compiled some interesting information:
• William Young
• Francis Staples
• Peter and Elias Snider/Snyder
• Mary Smith
• Isaac Clark
Read more about each.
The Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe, Odawa, Potowatomi) have always revered the island of Michilimackinac. So much so that at the conclusion of the War of 1812, the Odawa tried to keep it in their possession. The Odawa suggested that the British negotiators offer the Americans a greater quantity of Anishinaabe land on the mainland in order to keep Michilimackinac in the possession of the Anishinaabeg with trading access allowed to the British. We know that this did not happen, but was it possible? This is the first in a series of posts that explore this question; first by examining Michilimackinac’s importance and then by focusing on British policy as explained to the Anishinaabeg in Council (second part of series) and the final installment in the series will focus on Anishinaabe reactions to the news that Great Britain and USA had entered into a peace treaty. There are two versions of the meaning of the name Michilimackinac.
Historians have long reported that the Anishinaabeg believed that Michilimackinac island is the place where creation happened. The island looks like a giant turtle floating on the water, the same turtle that promised to bear the weight of the world upon its back when Nenabozhoo re-created the world. This meaning was challenged by Odawa Chief and author Andrew J. Blackbird who wrote that according to the traditions of the Odawa, the island was home to a nation called “Michinemackinawgo (Mishinimakinago)” who were all but exterminated by the Naadwe (Haudenosaunee aka Iroquois). Only two members of this nation survived, they fled and eventually had children but they shunned humans because of the massacre. The Mishinimakinago ended up becoming a race of supernatural beings now called Bgoji-nishnaabensag “Little people.” The Odawa and Ojibwe named the island in honour of the Mishinimakinago. Regardless of whether the island is the turtle of creation or the place of origin of the spirits now called Bgoji-anishnaabensag “little people” it is a place of spiritual significance for the Anishinaabeg.
By Hershel Parker
Strong in the memories of North Carolina veterans of the Revolution were images of Tory (Americans loyal to the British government) terrorists, mounted on horses (some stolen from Patriots) and flourishing guns and swords. Few of these soldier veterans had been at home during a Tory raid. More often, what the men said in their pension applications in 1832 was a mixture of what they had witnessed in their own ranging through North Carolina counties, what they had been told, and what they had imagined. In the 1830s E. W. Caruthers heard of pillaging and molestation by the occasional single Tory or pair of Tories, but the aged veterans, many of whose unprotected women and children had been victimized, remembered “bands of Tories,” “bodies of Tories,” “herds of Tories,” an “assemblage of Tories,” “forces of Tories,” or a “party of Tories.” The veterans recalled “a company of Tories,” “corps of Tories,” “troop of Tories,” “regiment of Tories,” “set of Tories,” “guard of Tories,” “collection of Tories,” “great masses of Tories,” a “parcel of Tories,” a “passel of Tories.” They used still other terms — “a number of Tories,” “gang of Tories,” “detachment of Tories,” even “banditti of Tories.” These mighty predators could descend as a handful of mounted men or as hundreds. The veterans seem to have remembered these Tories not as opponents sometimes met in battle or more often glimpsed in skirmishes. Instead, they visualized legendary marauders thundering up to isolated farm houses to do their worst, much the way surviving eighteenth century Jews remembered Cossacks in Ukraine, a comparison current in the colonies during the Revolution.
A rumor is growing like a pernicious weed through certain quarters of the field: History is dead and the heritage sites that depend on it are dying. It’s a rationale being deployed by some of the largest and oldest living history sites in America to justify dramatic changes in their programming to chase revenue from other, hopefully younger, sources, such as the coveted, yet elusive, Millennials whom, the thinking goes, want leisure experiences, they say, like spa treatments and wine pairings, not challenging engagement with the people, events, and ideas that continue to shape our collective lives. They want resolution, not conflict. History is dead, these wishful trailblazers declare, and the only way to save heritage spaces is to kill them and their archaic missions.
It’s a topic that our panel of radicals were eager to tackle, perhaps because, for all of our claims to radicalism, and record of causing trouble in the museum world in several time zones, we were uniform, even resolute, in response: to channel Faulkner’s fictional attorney Gavin Stevens in Requiem for a Nun, “The past is never dead. It isn’t even past.” In other words, history — especially a public history that actively seeks to connect the past to the present in ways that shape the future, and a preservation ethos that rehabilitates stories as much as buildings — is alive and well, even amongst Millennials.
So what’s the deal? Why are some sites losing guests and dollars, jettisoning boatloads of human capital in the process, while seemingly similarly situated ones are looking forward to a sustainable future? In the end, we concluded that the issue isn’t about history being dead, it’s about history being deadly boring. From Hamilton to Plimoth, success clearly appears to lie in a consistently strong yet diverse helping of mission-driven historical programming designed to educate and entertain, connecting audiences — even Millennials — in ways that are natural, that taste and feel real because they are.
In December 1773, the Cape Cod Tea Crisis revealed that the people of “radical” Massachusetts were far from united in their support for the American Revolution. An observation that leads us to wonder: How many Americans supported the Patriot cause?
In this episode, we speak with Sara Georgini, Maya Jasanoff, Vincent Carretta, and Kathleen DuVal to explore the complexities of political allegiance during the American Revolution.
During our exploration, these scholars reveal how contemporaries like John Adams viewed the American Revolution and what they had to say about patriots and loyalists; Why it’s so hard for us to know how many people supported the Revolution; And what the American Revolution meant for Native Americans and people of African descent and their political allegiances.
Read more and listen to the podcast.
The well has run dry. Recognize a fellow member. Submit a photo of a person or two (or more), preferably with a loyalist connection such as clothing (UELAC promotional gear or heritage attire) at a place or event with some loyalist or related historical aspect and tell us about it. If you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well – send to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.
- Loyalist Flag Raising, by OGS Conference 2017. Sir Guy Carleton Branch, United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada, invites OGS Conference 2017 attendees to join them on Friday, 16 June at 11:00 am for a Loyalist Flag Raising at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, with His Worship, Mayor Jim Watson, to commemorate the arrival of the Loyalists in Ontario. The event will end in time to return to Algonquin College for those wishing to attend the afternoon workshops, including Kathryn Lake Hogan’s presentation at 1:30, W-8 “How to Search for Your Loyalist Lineage”. There is no charge. Attendees must arrange their own transportation. Those wishing to attend are requested to contact the Sir Guy Carleton Branch at: email@example.com.
- American Revolution Round Table of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys – Joseph Brant’s Attack on Canajohary. Tues April 4 at the Van Alstyne Homestead, by Wayne Lenig. On Sept 9, a newspaper reported 51 houses burned, 42 barns as well, 17 killed and 52 taken prisoner. Read more…
- Hello handsome! For the dapper dashing gentleman, a lavishly embroidered waistcoat, c1750–70; silk, metal, linen
- 1st Regt. of Foot Guards Drummer’s coat circa 1780. From National Army Museum That’s a lot of lace!
- Nova Scotia Archives: It’s Shrove Tuesday! Is anyone looking for a recipe for pancakes? We’ve got one from ca. 1786 you could try! And from the Royal College of Physicians: Indulgence in the archives: beer, wine, spice and cream all needed for these Pancake Day recipes.
- Drum used by 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, circa 1815 (notice the George IV cypher).
- Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos)
- 26 Feb 1776 Spain orders West Indies fleet to observe and detain British merchant shipping to gather intelligence.
- 27 Feb 1782 British House of Commons votes against continuing war in America.
- 28 Feb 1776 Washington prepares to take heights above Boston, writing that it will “bring on a rumpus” with British.
- 1 Mar 1781 The Articles of Confederation ratified, forming first national gov’t for new United States of America.
- 2 Mar 1776 Patriot bombardment of occupied Boston begins, eventually leading to British evacuation.
- 3 Mar 1776 Silas Dean departs to negotiate in secret for French contributions of arms and military materiel.
- 4 Mar 1776 Cannon seized from Fort Ticonderoga are placed overlooking Boston, dooming British occupation.
March 14, 1928 – February 27, 2017. It is with great sadness that the Harradence family announces the sudden passing of our much loved and adored Catherine Letitia Harradence; Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, and Cousin. Catherine was predeceased by her husband, the Honorable A. Milton Harradence, her two sons Roderick Richard and Milton Bruce, her brother Dr. Thomas Richardson, sister- in-law Alvera Richardson and her husband’s only brother, J. H. Clyne Harradence. Catherine is survived by her only daughter Catherine Cecelia (The Hon. Terence Semenuk),
Catherine remarked just recently that her life was so organized! She met (at age 17) and five years later married her only true love, had the family and life she had always wanted enjoying much happiness throughout her almost 89 years. Catherine also endured much tragedy with the loss of her husband, her two sons and many illnesses during her life. Her indomitable strength was always the quiet power within her and what carried her through her incredible life. Catherine survived cancer twice, a number of childhood and adult illnesses showing and proving to us all that life is always worth living and enjoying regardless of the challenges it brings.
Catherine’s passion for her family retreat at Gull Lake Alberta was well known to us all. Catherine lived out her life in Calgary where her Mother’s family roots dated back to the early years of the City. TJS Skinner, Catherine’s grandfather was one of the City’s founding father figures. As a little girl Catherine was told that her grandfather was a “pillar” in getting Knox United Church built.
Those wishing to pay their respects may do so at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY on Sunday, March 5, 2017 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Services will be held for Catherine at Knox United Church (506 – 4th Street S.W.) on Monday, March 6, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.
A long time member of Calgary Branch, Catherine was a descendant of James Jackson UE, with a certificate from 1988. Details of her life that were compiled with the help of Linda McClelland for our 2014 book are in the Loyalist directory.
…Suzanne Davidson, UE
Died peacefully with his children at his side on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Predeceased by his loving wife, Aline (July 29, 2016), Don is survived by his cherished children, Mary and Paul, their spouses Kevin and Lesley and his three exceptional grandchildren, Suse, Charlotte and Drew and many adoring nieces and nephews. A graduate of Queen’s University (B.A. 1963), University of Toronto, Knox College (M. Div. 1964), LLD, York University (2007) Don was a lifelong learner who embraced all of life’s adventures. Following a career as a Presbyterian Minister in Penetanguishene, Don worked in the high tech industry in an executive role from 1967-1992.
Elected to the York Region District School Board in 1972 as trustee, he served as Board Chair in 1978-1979. From 1981 to 1993 he was Markham’s MPP, serving as Deputy Speaker, Minister of Corrections and Opposition Critic for Environment and Finance. Don was first elected Mayor of Markham in 1993 and served four successive terms. Proud accomplishments include introducing anti-smoking legislation in Ontario, establishing Markham as a High-Tech Business hub and helping to build Highway 407.
He was instrumental in implementing the Character and Community Initiative in the YRDSB. Don served as an executive member of World Vision and served on many other community organizations. He served his community with honour, good character and hard work. Don touched countless lives through his public service and personal willingness to help others.
A Memorial Service was held at Angus Glen on Thursday, March 2, 2017.
Don, as a member of Gov. Simcoe Branch, received his Loyalist certificate to Ithiel Towner.
I am an intern with Kings Landing, in Prince William, New Brunswick. I am wondering where the map captioned “New Brunswick Settled by Regiments” in your resource Loyalist Settlement in New Brunswick is from or where the information to make the map came from. I am working on an exhibition at Kings Landing and would like to use an image of this map or a similar one in the exhibition.
The map appears to have first been used in Loyalists, Pioneers and Settlers of the Maritimes: A Teacher’s Resource, published in 2000. The book was widely distributed to schools in New Brunswick and is still available today at a price that simply covers the cost of printing. It is also available here on the Association’s national website.
The authors and compilers of the Teacher’s Resource were not particularly assiduous in documenting the sources of all the material and the origin of the map is now shrouded in mystery. At this point we just don’t know who prepared it.
If you wish to use the map we suggest that you simply attribute it to the book, Loyalists, Pioneers and Settlers of the Maritimes: A Teacher’s Resource.