“Loyalist Trails” 2017-11: March 12, 2017

In this issue:
2017 UELAC Conference: Discover Your Roots
Expanding the Headlines of 1777: Avenging Stephen Edwards, by Stephen Davidson
The Battle of Red Bank
Update from Loyalist Claims
UELAC Loyalist Scholars Update: Stephanie Seal Walters
Target $300 for Canada 150 Scholarship Project
Borealia: British Honour – Anishinaabeg in the War of 1812 (Part 5)
JAR: Benedict Arnold’s Phantom Duel
The Junto: Book Review by Christopher F Minty of The American Revolution Reborn
Ben Franklin’s World: How Many Loyalists There Were? How Many Left the US?
A Loyalist St. Patrick’s Day
Loyalist Gazette: Spring 2017 Issue
So You Think You Know Your Loyalist History
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond


2017 UELAC Conference: Discover Your Roots

June 22 – 25, 2017; London, Ontario

Hosted by: London & Western Ontario Branch and Grand River Branch

Registration and details.

Expanding the Headlines of 1777: Avenging Stephen Edwards

© Stephen Davidson, UE

The news that the loyalist refugees were reading in New York City’s Royal Gazette in the fall of 1777 was anything but encouraging. General Burgoyne surrendered his British forces at the Battle of Saratoga. Colonel Von Donop died along with hundreds of Hessian soldiers at the Battle of Red Bank. The gloomy headlines recounted more than military disasters. Loyal Americans who served the crown as spies were faring no better that autumn.

The October 25th edition of Rivington’s Royal Gazette carried the story of the arrest, trial and execution of Stephen Edwards in just 34 words. It is a story worthy of more in-depth investigation. At a distance of 250 years, let us see what we can discover.

Loyalist historian Lorenzo Sabine described Stephen Edwards as “an amiable young man” who lived in Shrewsbury, a borough in New Jersey’s Monmouth County. After making his loyalist convictions known, Edwards left his wife with his parents, and headed for New York City where he offered his services to the British forces. There Col. George Taylor sent him back to Monmouth County with written instructions to determine the strength of the rebel forces.

Somehow, word of Edwards’ mission reached the ears of Captain David Forman. Suspecting that the loyalist spy might be hiding in the Edwards family home near Eatontown, Forman and “a party of rebel light horse” rode out one Saturday, descending upon the house at midnight.

They found Stephen’s wife in her bedroom. Under the blankets was someone in a woman’s nightcap. When Forman asked who was in the bed, Mrs. Edwards said that it was “a laboring woman”. Despite his suspicions, Forman looked under the bed rather than immediately pulling away the blankets. There he found Stephen’s clothing and –most damning of all– the papers from Col. Taylor.v

Forman confronted the disguised loyalist: “Edwards, I am sorry to find you! You see these papers? You have brought yourself into a very disagreeable situation. You know the fate of spies!”

Despite the evidence in his captors’ hands, Edwards denied being a spy. Nevertheless, he was whisked away to the local courthouse and tried on Sunday. The rebel judges found him guilty of espionage and sentenced him to be hanged at ten on Monday morning. Captain Joshua Huddy, a noteworthy patriot, was among the judges at Edwards’ court martial (later described as an “extralegal tribunal”). Unbeknownst to anyone involved in Edwards’ trial was the fact that these events would set in motion a ripple effect that would eventually involve the governments of France, England, and the United States.

Stephen Edwards’ family rushed to discover what had happened to their son, but by the time they got to the courthouse, he was already hanging from the gallows. His parents went home with his body. The American historian, Michael S. Adelberg, charges that Monmouth County’s rebel leaders had deliberately subverted the court system out of the fear that if Edwards had been put through the normal judicial processes, the governor might have pardoned Edwards. Pardons, says the historian, were common for capital convictions in the early days of the revolution.

No wonder local loyalists were so angered by the death of Edwards. Because Huddy also played a role in Edwards’ 1777 execution, loyal Americans would always regard him as a war criminal. Their hatred for him never wavered. An intense but unsuccessful attempt to capture Huddy in 1780 resulted in the death of the Black Loyalist guerilla fighter, Colonel Tye.

Following the death of a loyalist spy named Philip White at the hands of Huddy’s men, Richard Lippincott finally captured the patriot leader in 1782. As the loyalists questioned Huddy, the spectre of Stephen Edwards was never far away. The patriot boldly acknowledged his participation in Edwards’ trial, and justified the loyalist’s execution on the ground that he was found with treasonable papers in his possession, which conclusively proved him to be a spy. In short order, Lippincott had Huddy hanged.

George Washington saw Huddy’s death as outright murder and wanted the British to turn Lippincott over to him, but they refused. Instead, the loyalist was acquitted of murder by a British court martial. Infuriated, Washington ordered the execution of Sir Charles Asgill, a British prisoner of war who was picked at random. When Asgill’s mother learned of his imminent death, she appealed to the French government to persuade its American allies to be merciful. Congress released the man, and the “Huddy Affair” came to an end.

As for Lippincott, he left New York City in 1783 to settle in Gagetown on the St. John River. Four years later, he was with the Quakers of Beaver Harbour on the Bay of Fundy. After fire destroyed the settlement, Lippincott took his wife and daughter Esther to Upper Canada. He died in Toronto in 1826 at the age of 82.

The execution of Stephen Edwards cast a long shadow across the events of the revolution, something the readers of the Royal Gazette would never have imagined in October 1777, given that the account of the loyalist’s death was only 34 words long.

An equally short sentence described the execution of another spy for the British in the fall of 1777. The story of Daniel Taylor will be told in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

The Battle of Red Bank

Ed Garrett adds to Stephen’s article last week:

“Your article touching on the death of Colonel Carl von Donop at the Battle of Red Bank made me immediately think of several historical articles in The Philadelphia Inquirer over the past few years, which I thought would be of interest:”

• When a breathless Jonas Cattell dashed into Fort Mercer that October day in 1777, the enemy wasn’t far behind. Hours earlier, the 18-year-old had overheard talk… (Red Bank Battlefield to be mined for artifacts)

• Was it an artifact from the Battle of Red Bank in 1777? A lead musket ball? A cannonball? A button? Tim Reno of Toms River, N.J., dug about three inches down and… (Unearthing more Revolutionary history)

• Historians who studied the Battle of Red Bank in 1777 have long known the tragic story of an American gun crew. It was one of several defending Fort Mercer against a … (Archaeologists find possible historic cannon at Red Bank)

Update from Loyalist Claims

One of the American subscribers to Loyalist Trails contacted me earlier this week regarding the methodology for searching Ancestry’s AO 12 and AO 13 files which I suggested in Loyalist Trails (Further comments on Loyalist Claims: Part 1, Part 2). He asked where he could find the memorial of his ancestor. I was able to find the ancestor in Coldham’s work with details of where the file was located in AO13 and was able to send him scanned copies of the file. He was amazed as he said he had been searching for the documents for years.


UELAC Loyalist Scholars Update: Stephanie Seal Walters

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss

It seems that our UELAC scholars have taken this quote to heart. Recent correspondence indicates they are actively seeking and finding, new and interesting information related to Loyalist history. This week we are bringing you an update from UELAC scholar Stephanie Seal Walters, PhD Candidate, George Mason University.

“Please convey to the board how important this scholarship and support from members has been over the last year. Everyone I come into contact with from the UELAC – whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or my blog – have been so positive and supportive. While the dissertation process can be grueling, I receive constant “re-invigoration” from UELAC members.”

In November of 2016 Stephanie travelled to New Brunswick to conduct research at University of New Brunswick. She found the librarians at UNB incredibly helpful, the collections filled with interesting information and she is already counting the days to make a trip back.

Plans for 2017 include:

February 2017 – Stephanie participated at a conference in Charleston, South Carolina, called “Consortium on the Revolutionary Eras” which focuses on major world revolutions. She presented a paper titled, “From Journeyman to Soldier: Professionalisation of Loyalist Militias in the Virginia Tidewater, 1775.”

On March 10, Stephanie learned, “that I’d won my university’s Summer Provost Fellowship. They were really excited about the loyalist topic and are funding me for three months to just work on my research and the dissertation. With this fellowship and my scholarship from the UELAC I will hopefully be done by next summer! A press release will come out from George Mason in April.”

And in May you will find Stephanie conducting research in England and Scotland.

November 2017 – Dallas, Texas. Stephanie writes, “I put together a panel for “The Southern,” an annual conference sponsored by the Southern Historical Association. The panel is on Loyalism and politics in Virginia. I will be presenting ‘Together We Survived: Loyalist Community and Networks in Revolutionary Virginia, 1774-1783’. This is my big digital network analysis I’ve been working on for years.”

Stephanie has also joined with Carlin Media to assist on the United Empire Loyalists documentary for PBS. “Thank you so much for putting me in contact with Bruce Carlin. I spoke with him on the phone about the project last week and I’m joining his research group and advisory committee. I am absolutely delighted to be a part of such an important project.”

Congratulations to Stephanie on Year Two of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada Loyalist Scholarship.

Read about and follow the progress of Stephanie’s dissertation on her blog.

Bonnie Schepers, UE, Scholarship Committee

Target $300 for Canada 150 Scholarship Project

Canada 150 Scholarship Project Update – It’s raining loonies and toonies in Vancouver and Brandon!

This year the scholarship committee introduced a 2017 fundraising project to promote the Loyalist Scholarship Endowment Fund. Our goal is to build a strong funding foundation to sustain UELAC scholarship for years to come. We have asked UELAC branches to collect 150 toonies for scholarship marking Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Assiniboine Branch has budgeted $250.00 to match dollar for dollar the total donations by branch members up to that limit. Thank you to Assiniboine Branch which has boldly stepped up to meet the Target $300 for Canada 150 challenge.

Vancouver Branch created a Donations jar for their February meeting and have already collected $55.00. Thank you! The Canada 150 Scholarship jar will be open for business on the information table at their March 21st meeting.

All donations are welcome. July 1, 2017 is the end date. A special wrap-up announcement will take place at the June 24 AGM.

Our mission is to preserve, promote and celebrate the history and traditions of the United Empire Loyalists. As United Empire Loyalist descendants, members, and friends who support the UELAC vision statement we can be champions of academic research in the field of Loyalist studies. Donations to Target $300 for Canada 150 will help to build a strong foundation for the future of Loyalist research. Now is our time.

Donations may be made to the UELAC Loyalist Scholarship Endowment Fund, UELAC, 50 Baldwin St., Suite 202, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T 1L4.

A gift to scholarship in 2017 is an investment in our future.

Bonnie Schepers, UE, Scholarship Committee

Borealia: British Honour – Anishinaabeg in the War of 1812 (Part 5)

[This is the second in a series of posts that explore this question. Last month I examined Michilimackinac’s importance for Anishinaabe peoples. Today’s post addresses British policy as explained to the Anishinaabeg in Council.]

Prior to the War of 1812 General Brock understood that there were not enough British forces to defend the Canadas. He knew that the only chance to defend the colonies was to enlist the aid of the Native peoples, including the Western Confederacy and the Six Nations. General Brock reported to his superiors that if the British were able to quickly strike and gain Michilimackinac and Detroit, this would allay the suspicions of the chiefs and warriors who no longer trusted the British because of their conduct at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1796 on the Maumee River. The chiefs remembered, and constantly recalled, the disastrous consequences when the Americans overpowered the Western confederacy and the British abandoned the retreating Anishinaabeg by locking the gates to the fort. Brock had to win back their trust and he planned to do this by fighting alongside the Anishinaabeg. Just as Brock had predicted, the quick victory at Michilimackinac brought many more of the western nations to the battlefield.

After the battle, the commanding officer Captain Roberts reported the following speech from the Odawa chief Giiminiijaagan (Keeminajaugan aka the Bastard) in which he expressed his second thoughts:

My Father — When you formerly undertook a game with the Americans you invited us to take a [show] in the [sport] after exerting yourself to the utmost you were thrown on your back and we alone were left to support the [weight] of the contest as a proof of which throw your eyes in every direction and you will behold the bones of our friends scattered on the [plains].

Read more.

JAR: Benedict Arnold’s Phantom Duel

by John Knight, March 7, 2017

Though he was just twenty-two years of age, Walter Stirling already possessed enviable social advantages. He had powerful family connections and enormous personal wealth. A successful banker himself, his renowned father was on the verge of being raised to one of the most prestigious posts in the Royal Navy as Commander-in-Chief, The Nore. If he was considered by many a boorish social climber, his connections, ambition and wealth were compensation enough to make him a much sought-after patron. For those wishing admission to the exclusive court soirees and levees distracting London’s aristocracy during a long and failing war, his acquaintance was considered invaluable.

Yet even with his influence, the Philadelphia-born Stirling must have felt unusually apprehensive as he waited in line outside the Throne Room at St. James Palace to present his respects to King George III. For the man standing alongside him, dressed in the cochineal scarlet of a British general officer, was not just the husband of his cousin Peggy Shippen, but also the most notorious officer of the war, Benedict Arnold. Read about the duel that was, or wasn’t, and an unknown chapter in the relationship.

Nevertheless, there is some consolation for those who wish to study the associated lives of Arnold and Balcarres. If a close inspection of the duel’s circumstances exposes an account that cannot be verified, it unearths an even more tragic story that has passed by virtually unremarked.

The Junto: Book Review by Christopher F Minty of The American Revolution Reborn

The American Revolution Reborn, ed. Patrick Spero and Michael Zuckerman (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).

The American Revolution Reborn accomplishes one of its major tasks: to offer new perspectives on the American Revolution. Whether it will stimulate further research on the period is yet to be seen, but for graduate students and early career scholars, this volume will be a strong starting point. Indeed, it is the most important collection of essays on the Revolution to appear since the 1970s. Collectively, they challenge long-held assumptions about the American Revolution, offering new, refreshing perspectives that will, I sincerely hope, pull early American historians back to the colonial and revolutionary eras. It’s up to scholars, young and old, to take inspiration from this volume to continue challenging long-held views and perspectives, with refreshing language and style, to start a new dialogue about the history of early America. And with The American Revolution Reborn as a model, it looks as if the American Revolution will be reborn, truly.

Read the full review by Christopher F Minty.

Ben Franklin’s World: How Many Loyalists There Were? How Many Left the US?

Episode 123: Revolutionary Allegiances. 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.

A Loyalist St. Patrick’s Day

Not a lot has been written about how loyalists of Irish heritage celebrated their national saint’s day. However, in W.W. Mussel & Company’s 1882 book, History of Queens County, there is a record of how one loyalist regiment celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on New York’s Long Island. On “March 17th 1780 a munificent entertainment was given by Lord Rawdon, colonel of the Volunteers of Ireland, to his regiment quartered at Jamaica in honor of St. Patrick, the tutelar saint of Ireland. Here follow a few lines of a song by Barney Thompson, piper of the regiment: So, Yankees, keep off, or you’ll soon learn your error, For Paddy shall prostrate lay every foe. Hand in hand! Let’s carol the chorus, As long as the blessings of Ireland hang o’er us; The crest of rebellion shall tremble before us, Like brothers while we thus march hand in hand.”

…Stephen Davidson, UE

Digital Gazette: Help Save Costs; Sign up by April 14

The Loyalist Gazette is published twice each year by UELAC in a magazine format with about 52 pages of historical articles, branch news, UELAC activities, book reviews, lots of photos and more.

The publication is also available in digital format, which offers colour throughout and an earlier delivery. Many members have requested the digital copy, and a good portion of those are now receiving the journal only in digital format, although some prefer to also receive the paper copy. All of these digital subscribers were recently reminded of their digital preferences.

The digital version is made public about one year after its release date. You can see past issues up to the Fall 2015 issue here.

The Spring issue is in final steps and will be headed to the printer in the coming weeks. Target date to be delivered to Canada Post is May 1.

…Robert McBride, UE, Publications Committee

So You Think You Know Your Loyalist History

Try this short test brought to you by Grand River Branch to see how you do. Answers and explanations provided at the end.

Try the test now.

Where in the World?

Where is ?

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.

  • The Central West Region Annual Meeting/Seminar will take place on Saturday April 8, 2017, 9:15 am to 4:00 pm at the Local88 Hall, 364 Victoria Street, Ingersoll, Ontario, N5C 3K5. The guest speaker will be author Jennifer DeBruin who will speak about “My Journey Back to the Mohawk Valley“. Refreshments will be served and a donation of $5.00 is requested. If you have any questions reach out by email or phone to Patricia.Groom.uel@gmail.com 416-254-6866 – Interim Central West Regional VP.
  • New Brunswick Branch UELAC will celebrate its 50th anniversary on April 7, 2017 at the historic Union Club in Saint John. with a formal dinner and program (more details). Barbara Andrew, President UELAC guest speaker. A 16-page celebration booklet has been printed. See the cover.
  • Elizabeth, daughter of Sarah (Dowsley) Lampson UE, a member of Hamilton Branch, will be featured with her friend Evelyn on TVO on March 30th at 5:55. You can see them in action volunteering at St. Joseph’s Villa nursing home. Elizabeth received a Super Citizen Award from TVO for her 5 years and counting of volunteering and work to promote volunteering. After March 30th the entire SuperCitizen episode will be available online at www.tvokids.com.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos)
    • Mar 5. Today, in 1770, the “Boston Massacre” took place. The crowd taunted & hurled stones and bats at the guards. In confusion, muskets were fired.
    • 6 Mar 1776 NY Provincial Congress dispatches force to disable Sandy-Hook lighthouse to confound British invasion.
    • 7 Mar 1781 Gen. Sumter’s men burn Ratcliff’s Bridge at Bishopville, SC & escape into swamp from British detachment.
    • 8 Mar 1782 PA Patriot militia kills 96 pacifist, Christian-convert Indians at Gnadenhuetten.
    • 9 Mar 1781 Spanish Gen. Galvez besieges British-occupied Pensacola, eventually winning all of Florida for Spain.
    • 10 Mar 1783 Last naval battle of the Revolution is fought off Cape Canaveral, Florida.
    • 11 Mar 1779 Army Corps of Engineers created to build & maintain fortifications.
  • What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today? (New-Hampshire Gazette 3/6/1767) – Hint: what the ink was on?
  • Margaret Kemble Gage, wife of General Thomas Gage, Commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America (1771). It’s said that General Gage’s American born wife betrayed his plans to the colonists that fateful April morning (Boston Massacre). General Thomas Gage really didn’t want to fight a war against the King’s subjects.
  • Scholars of women, gender, family, domesticity, fashion, food, and so much more will have plenty of fodder in the Georgian Papers Programme. Queen Charlotte was invested in literature and learning, for herself and her children. She and the women around her generated important materials that will reveal a great deal about not only her life and that of her family and courtiers, but the men and women who came into even attenuated contact with them through the goods and services they provided to the royal family and household.
  • Vimy, Ypres lithographs belonging to New Brunswick collector Ray Adams are to go on display at the Canadian Embassy. Six First World War works by F.T. Bush will be exhibited in Washington in April. CBC news item.
  • Detail, scrumptious robe a la anglaise (gown), made from Spitalfields silk, c. 1775-80 polychrome plain weave. Transition to neoclassical from Historic Deerfield
  • All about tomatoes in the eighteenth century. Q&A video with Jas. Townsend and Son. Were tomatoes poisonous?
  • Stanley Cup’s Homecoming at Rideau Hall on March 16. On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will welcome Canadians to Rideau Hall to see both the original bowl and the Stanley Cup on Thursday, March 16, 2017. Rideau Hall, the official residence and workplace of the governor general, will be the first place the public will have a chance to view the Stanley Cup in the National Capital Region. The trophy’s return to Rideau Hall, in honour of this milestone celebration, is made possible thanks to the National Hockey League (NHL), Ottawa 2017 and the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club.