“Loyalist Trails” 2017-16: April 16, 2017

In this issue:
2017 UELAC Conference: Discover Your Roots
A Weekend Like Any Other: Loyalists and Easter, by Stephen Davidson
UELAC Scholarship Challenge
American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Surprising Church Records
Borealia: Canadian Exceptionalism is about Land and Resources
JAR: A Runaway A Day
Georgian Papers Programme: A King Muses on History
New York Public Library: Transportation, Communications, and Colonial War
The Junto: The Influence of the Scottish Highlands on the British Army in early America
The Loyalist Gazette
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.

A Weekend Like Any Other: Loyalists and Easter

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Unless one’s loyalist ancestors were members of the Roman Catholic or Anglican Churches, one would search in vain for how they celebrated Easter during the days of the American Revolution. In the late 18th century, Easter was not considered a holiday in America; only a few Christian communities celebrated it as a “holy day”. Lent, a 40-day period of fasting leading up to the commemoration of Christ’s resurrection, would have been observed by a very small minority of loyal Americans.

For the most part, the American colonies had been settled by religious dissenters – men and women who did not feel comfortable worshiping in the Church of England. New England was founded by the Puritans, a group of Christians who limited their religious practices to what was found in the Bible. They believed that Sunday– the day that Christ rose from his tomb– was the only day to be kept holy. Extra “holy days” such as Christmas and Easter were not a part of their congregational life and were frowned upon as being “of the devil”.

Quakers, the first settlers of Pennsylvania, also advocated a simpler form of worship and life style. Except for Maryland, a colony founded as a haven for persecuted British Roman Catholics, all of the colonies along the Atlantic seaboard were Protestant. And therefore, they did not celebrate Easter as a holiday.

Denied the opportunity to see how the majority of loyal Americans celebrated Easter, let us consider, then, some of the events that occurred on and around the Easter weekend during the course of the Revolution.

The Easter Sunday of 1775 was on April 16th. On the following Tuesday, two Bostonians jumped on their horses to deliver an urgent message to their countrymen. Paul Revere, a silversmith, and William Dawes, a tanner, spread the word that the British were on their way to Concord, Massachusetts to seize rebel munition supplies. While this was alarming news to those who supported the revolution, the news that the British army was advancing must have been heartening to loyalists who feared the growing violence of rebel mobs.

The rides of Revere and Dawes would later be celebrated in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem of 1861. However, what made the news in the days that followed the Easter of 1775 was the number of prominent (and ordinary) men who had affirmed their loyalty to the crown.

On April 20th, New York City’s Royal Gazette listed the names of over 300 men from Westchester County who had “declared their determined resolution to continue steadfast in their allegiance to their gracious and merciful Sovereign, King George the Third; to submit to lawful authority; and to abide by and support the only true representatives of the people of this Colony — the General Assembly”.

That same edition also carried the names of 141 men who were members of the Redding Connecticut Association of Loyalists. All of the latter had signed the Redding Resolutions which said that its supporters were open enemies to any change in the present happy Constitution, would continue to render all due obedience to his most Gracious Majesty King George the Third, and that a firm dependence on the Mother Country was essential to our political safety and happiness.

Given that James Rivington, the editor of the Royal Gazette, had to seek refuge in Great Britain in 1776 and did not return to New York until late in 1777, the next Easter weekend that was covered in the newspaper was that of 1778. Easter Sunday was April nineteenth.

The Saturday edition of the Royal Gazette reported that in the middle of the previous month a young British soldier was executed for attempting to desert His Majesty’s army at Crompond in Westchester County. However, the source of this story may have been rebels who wanted to demonize the British. According to the published report, James M’Naughton was crucified for his desertion!

March 26th was Easter Sunday in 1780. Three days later, New York’s loyalist newspaper contained stories of death and new life. The Rev. Matthew Graves had been an Anglican missionary in New London, Connecticut for 32 years, had died sometime after being forced to find sanctuary. where he died. Robert Kupperth, a 19 year-old black drummer, had deserted the “Hessian Regiment Landgrave”, beginning a new life as a free man.

The following year saw Easter Sunday fall on April 15th. Beginning on that date, rebel forces lay seige to Fort Watson that guarded land and river routes between the Atlantic coast and the interior of South Carolina. The 120 British soldiers and loyalists who defended the fort eventually surrendered on April 23rd.

Easter Sunday 1782 fell on March 31st. Samuel Curwen, a Massachusetts loyalist who had found refuge in England seven years earlier, recorded his Easter activities in his journal. Despite growing up in the Puritan culture of Massachusetts, Curwen sought out a house of worship on Good Friday. The minister’s voice was too low to hear at Westminster Abbey and the service next door at St. Margaret’s was late in starting, so the loyalist attended the chapel at Whitehall. “The preacher was Dr. Noel … the only Episcopal preacher that I ever saw or heard repeat the Lord’s Prayer by heart; not one of them daring to trust their memory except this man.”

Curwen worshiped at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Easter Sunday. While the service did not receive any comment in his journal, Curwen described a very interesting conversation that he had with a fellow loyalist over a cup of tea. “He informed me {that the} administration would not consent to the independence of America; the ministerial plan is to govern America by a lord-lieutenant, and create nobility; and if she will not agree to Great Britain’s proposal, to make a partition treaty of the colonies with France, to whom the northern colonies and Canada would be ceded, the southern colonies remaining to Great Britain, a fine bargain, truly.” Now there was a vision of a post-revolutionary America that never made it into the history books!

The last Easter Sunday of the American Revolution was on April 20, 1783. By this time, Congress had ratified the preliminary peace treaty with Great Britain. In the countdown to the official signing of the treaty in September, loyalists faced two equally odious choices: leave their homes as refugees or stay behind in a country that continued to persecute them. In the weeks leading up to the Easter of 1783, seven thousand loyalists made the decision to find sanctuary in Nova Scotia. They boarded 20 vessels in New York City and, on April 24th, set sail for the mouth of the St. John River.

The Spring Fleet (the name historians would later give this evacuation flotilla) arrived at its destination on Saturday, May 10th. For the loyalist passengers who had celebrated Easter in 1783, the story of death and resurrection that had been the focus of their worship in New York City might have given them some hope. Having experienced the death of the America that they had always known, these loyalists founded a new colony where life could begin again.

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


Stephen appreciates all of the information that Mike Mallery supplied to correct, clarify and enrich the story of the PWAR men who settled in New Brunswick. Read the revised version of The Prince of Wales American Regiment.

For the same article, from Ray Adams: Thanks for the great article on THE P.W.A.R. My GGGG grandfather was Cpl. Isaac Adams who received 200 acres of a land grant and 2 of 40 acres on Cleoncore Island, (not 600 as first reported). I have since discovered (from his Family Bible) that he was from N. or South Carolina (not Connecticut), ran away from home and joined The PWAR.

Titus Finch:

From last week’s Loyalist Trails Titus Finch: The name Titus Finch sounded familiar so I looked up the name in my family tree. His daughter Nancy Finch, married Luke Teeple, son of Peter Teeple (my 4th great grandfather and a well-known Loyalist, as was Luke). Luke’s sister, Phoebe Teeple married Henry Tisdale, son of Ephraim Tisdale and so on – all the Loyalists being connected as they were!

…Gail Faherty, Vernon, CT

UELAC Scholarship Challenge

At the Nova Scotia Branch meeting held in Port Mouton on April 8th, the following two resolutions were passed:

1. Whereas this year recognizes the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation and whereas the Dominion Scholarship Committee of the UELAC has challenged all branches to raise $300 in support of the UELAC Loyalist Scholarship Endowment Fund by July 1, 2017, it is hereby moved that the NS Branch accept the challenge.

2. It is moved that the NS Branch donate $150 in support of the Loyalist Scholarship Endowment Fund and encourage all of its members to make individual donations in whatever amounts they can.

Read more about the current challenge to each branch: Target $300 for Canada 150 Scholarship Project.

…Brian McConnell UE, President, NS Branch

American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference

3rd Annual American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference Set.

The Fort Plain Museum’s 3rd Annual American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference will be held June 8 to 11, 2017; registrations are now being accepted. Space is limited.

There will be 10 presentations, 2 bus tours, a colonial tavern/dinner, an opening reception and more.

On Saturday June 10 and Sunday June 11 at the Fulton-Montgomery Community College, ten presentations related to the American Revolution, Mohawk Valley and upstate New York will be given by noted historians including

• Gavin K. Watt – Neighbours Against Neighbours – Fort Schuyler and Oriskany;

• Todd W. Braisted – The Royalist Corps in the Burgoyne Campaign;

On Thursday June 8, Bus Tour #1 will feature the Mohawk Country Historic Sites located in Montgomery County. The historic sites included are the Fort Plain Museum, the 1747 Nellis Tavern, Fort Klock, Old Fort Johnson, the Stone Arabia Battlefield, the Stone Arabia Church, and the Grave of Colonel John Brown, the Fallen Hero of the Battle of Stone Arabia.

On Friday June 9, Bus Tour #2 will feature a tour of the “Drums Along the Mohawk” Historic Sites. The bus tour will follow the historic sites included in Walter D. Edmonds famous American Novel. The historic sites included are the Palatine Church, Fort Stanwix (Fort Schuyler), Oriskany Battlefield, General Herkimer Home, Fort Herkimer, Fort Herkimer Church, and Fort Dayton.

For details refer to:

The Conference Details

The Registration Form

For more information or to register, email info@fortplainmuseum.org or call (518) 774-5669.

Path Through History: If you are visiting the Mohawk area and have an interest in history, this website has lots of interesting sites – grouped into different categories – to see. Visit Path Through History – Plan My Trip.

…Brian Mack

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Surprising Church Records

The crucial interactions and key events of a community in colonial North America were often played out within the confines of the church. The Loyalist Collection includes a wide range of church records from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec which hold very useful information for locating and identifying individuals, such as baptismal, marital, and burial records. They also contain some fascinating documents that give a vivid picture of life in the colonial Atlantic World. By just perusing the records of a single church, a researcher can come across some remarkable and easily overlooked pieces of information.

Seats for Rent

Within many Christian denominations in North America, pews were often rented to individuals or families to support the preacher and/or church upkeep; one of the reasons for this was the lack of tithing in the New World although tithing was widely practiced in Europe.

Read more.

Borealia: Canadian Exceptionalism is about Land and Resources

By Rachel Bryant

Canadian exceptionalism has emerged (or re-emerged) in the Trump/Brexit/Canada 150 era as a useful concept for scholars and journalists seeking to understand how Canadians and their institutions are (or are not) unique in hemispheric and global contexts. But exceptionalism is about more than the ways in which vast geopolitical entities relate to one another.

Exceptionalism is the code system Settler peoples have used across centuries to signify their cultural preeminence. It is the vocabulary through which they articulate themselves and their self-defined national subjectivities onto a plane positioned high above any perceived cultural or economic rivals. But exceptionalism is also the fundamental justification and motivation for the so-called civilizing mission: the compulsive logic through which Settlers from multiple states and across centuries have come to imagine themselves as deserving of the great material bounties that were supposedly bequeathed to them as they aggressively seized control of Indigenous lands.

Read more.

JAR: A Runaway A Day

Throughout the eighteenth century, newspapers advertised servants, slaves, soldiers, spouses and others who had fled from contractual obligations. The advertisements give us remarkable textual descriptions of everyday individuals about whom little else is known. Each day this week, we’ll present an advertisement for a runaway woman, accompanied by an illustration of carefully researched, handmade clothing modeled to represent how the person may have looked.

1. One Hundred Dollars Reward. Ran away on Monday morning the 20th instant, an Irish servant girl named Jane Smith;

2. Ran away from the subscriber in Newport, on the night of the 1st instant, an indentured Irish maid servant;

3. Run away, the 13th of this instant July, from the subscriber, near Newtown, Bucks County, an Irish servant girl, named Judy Fagan;

4. Two Dollars Reward. Run away from the subscriber, living in Upper Salford township, Philadelphia county, on Friday, the 27th of August last, a Dutch servant Girl, named Catherine Thillen;

5. Forty Shillings Reward. Run away, the 1st of this instant August, from the subscriber, living in Salisbury township, Lancaster county, a servant girl, named Catherine McDaniel.

Georgian Papers Programme: A King Muses on History

“Long a Dispute Amongst Antiquarians”: How a King’s Understanding of History Changes our Understanding of a King (and History), by Nathaniel F. Holly

[be sure to jump to “transcription and Images”]

Transcription: America is Lost! (Essay on America and future colonial policy)

America is lost! Must we fall beneath the blow? Or have we resources that may repair the mischiefs? What are those resources? Should they be sought in distant Regions held by precarious Tenure, or shall we seek them at home in the exertions of a new policy?

The situation of the Kingdom is novel, the policy that is to govern it must be novel likewise, or neither adapted to the real evils of the present moment, or the dreaded ones of the future.

In what is surely one of the best examples of early modern clickbait, King George III laments the loss of Britain’s American possessions with what was must have been a tortured scream of anguish: “America is lost!” But what if that was a primal howl of relief instead? Part of what makes reading the voluminous essays of King George III so refreshing is his instinct to retreat to the safe confines of historical perspective to assuage his anxieties….

For an essay that begins with an exclamation, the bulk of the “America is Lost” piece seems to either be a cowed post hoc rationalization of a colonial order gone awry or a reasoned assessment of a decidedly difficult situation. I vote for the latter. For King George III, it seems that questions of commerce were more pressing than questions of governance or political power….

As you would expect, a monarch has more (much more) to say about governance. Yet the foundation for these beliefs on governance emerge from a particular understanding of history. For King George III history is a progression. Though the “first rudiment of the state” began as a “purely domestick” affair, eventually, “When many Familys came to reside it together it could not be long before some head…gain’d Authority over the rest.” The only logical conclusion to this process, of course, was either “Monarchy, or a Republic.”

For my own research interests – southeastern American Indians – seeing this information confirmed in the handwriting of King George III allows for a more nuanced interpretation of early cross cultural encounters in the Americas. What does it mean that British officials frequently labeled indigenous leaders “Kings” instead of something less…progressive?

Read more.

New York Public Library: Transportation, Communications, and Colonial War

By Mark Boonshoft

War was nearly unrelenting in colonial America. Europeans fought Europeans from other empires. They fought Indians. And sometimes, alliances of Indian groups and Europeans faced off against each other. The British Empire emerged victorious from nearly a-century-and-a-half of colonial warfare, which culminated in the Seven Years’ War (the American theater of which is better known as the French and Indian War). They won that contest for Eastern North America with guns and money, of course, but also by building effective transportation, communication, and intelligence networks.

The strategic heart of the Seven Years’ War lay in the Ohio Country–especially the area running from backcountry Pennsylvania, north to Lake Erie, and west as far as Detroit. It was in this riverine world that Imperial armies, land-hungry colonists, and Indian groups all converged, with violent results. Far from their coastal strongholds, British success depended on successfully transporting supplies, munitions, and information. So they obsessed over transportation routes. This unattributed hand-drawn map comes from the recently digitized “Papers Relating to Philadelphia” in the Library’s George Chalmers collection. It documents the roads and waterways between Fort Pitt (modern-day Pittsburgh) and Presqu’Isle, in Lake Erie. The map even contains notations of obstacles on certain paths, which routes could best handle carriages, and improvements that might make various spurs more efficient. This attention to detail was characteristic.

Read more.

Note: About the Early American Manuscripts Project. With support from the The Polonsky Foundation, The New York Public Library is currently digitizing upwards of 50,000 pages of historic early American manuscript material. The Early American Manuscripts Project will allow students, researchers, and the general public to revisit major political events of the era from new perspectives and to explore currents of everyday social, cultural, and economic life in the colonial, revolutionary, and early national periods.

The Junto: The Influence of the Scottish Highlands on the British Army in early America

By Nicola Martin

On April 16, 1746, the British army defeated its much smaller Jacobite counterpart in a battle on Culloden Moor, Scotland.

Standing alongside Cumberland on the battlefield at Culloden were James Wolfe and Thomas Gage, men who later gained both fame and notoriety in British North America. John Campbell, fourth Earl of Loudoun, was approximately one hundred miles away on the Isle of Skye, commanding Independent Companies for the British army. These three men, and numerous others involved in the British response to the rising, would be instrumental in the shaping (and eventually unmaking) of British America over the following three decades. More than this, though, the experiences of the British army more generally in the Scottish Highlands shaped British imperial attitudes and policies in a very real way.

Read more.

The Loyalist Gazette

The Loyalist Gazette should be printed, then delivered to the mailing house this coming Friday April 21. It could well be delivered to Canada Post by its May 1 target date.

As a member of a branch of UELAC, or as a subscriber to the Loyalist Gazette, there is still time to try out the digital version – earlier delivery, full colour.

An email with instructions to access the digital version will be sent out to those registered, prior to the paper copy going into the mail.

…Publications Committee

Where in the World?

Where is Brian McConnell of Nova Scotia 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.

  • The Loyalist House 200. Read a snapshot history, which concludes with: “Now in 2017, The Loyalist House is celebrating 200 years for Canada 150. There is still work to be done to the interior of the house which will require further fundraising. Members of the New Brunswick Historical Society continue to volunteer their time so that visitors may still walk through the doors of The Loyalist House and experience stunning examples of early 19th century Saint John craftsmanship and the many treasures enjoyed by Loyalist elite of the day. A lasting and proud reminder of Saint John’s British Loyalist heritage and an early and sometimes overlooked chapter of the Canadian refugee story.”
  • In the April 9 issue of Loyalists Trails, the Last Post: Evelyn (Powell) Denton, UE did not mention that Evelyn (Powell) Denton was 108 years old when she passed away in Halifax. I had known Evelyn for several years. She was perhaps the oldest United Empire Loyalist descendant in Canada. From Lew Perry UE, formerly a President of the Halifax-Dartmouth Branch (now Nova Scotia Branch) UELAC

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • What happened to one of the local New Hampshire stamp masters when the 1765 stamp act was enacted?
  • 14 April 1775. The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage was founded in Philadelphia, PA.
  • The Battle of Lexington: perhaps this grave of a British soldier – honoring the “enemy” – speaks to compassion.
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 15 Apr 1783 Congress ratifies peace treaty with Britain, formally ending hostilities.
    • 14 Apr 1780 Battle of Monck’s Corner SC British under Lt Col Banastre Tarleton route a body of American cavalry in pre-dawn attack.
    • 14 Apr 1777 Congress establishes a large magazine at Springfield, MA that become the famous Springfield Arsenal.
    • 14 Apr 1780 Staten Island Expedition against the British begins, succeeding only in capturing 17 before retreating.
    • 13 Apr 1776 George Washington arrives in New York with General Gates.
    • 12 Apr 1770 Townshend Acts, except for tax on tea, repealed by Parliament; Americans continue to revolt anyway.
    • 11 Apr 1781 American Col. Harden captures 2 British officers & 7 enlisted men at tavern in Pocotaligo, SC.
    • 10 Apr 1778 John Paul Jones departs Brest, France, commanding USS Ranger, to attack British shipping & shorelines.
    • 9 Apr 1776 The General Assembly of SC creates a Court of Admiralty to dispose of any captured British ships.
    • 8 Apr 1780 British attack on Charleston, South-Carolina begins, culminating in the worst patriot defeat of the war.
  • Odawa model canoe made circa 1820 by Jean-Baptiste Assiginack, an Odawa chief.
  • Video: Today Hannah Zimmerman from Historic Locust Grove sits down with Jon to discuss the history of early American dairy, as well as demonstrating the process of making butter. Jas. Townsend & Son
  • A New Museum of the American Revolution, Warts and All (Article in the New York Times). If it doesn’t quite throw the old heroic narrative out the window, it does draw on decades of scholarship that has emphasized the conflicts and contradictions within the Revolution, while also taking a distinctly bottom-up view of events.
  • Sophie Jones, UELAC Scholarship recipient, is working hard over the bank holiday weekend, doing research into the origins of Loyalism & activities of Loyalists during the American Revolution, finding some great material at the New York State Archives.
  • At the Victoria and Albert, and a sack-back gown & petticoat, painted silk, painted, China; made in Great Britain, 1760-70.
  • A Chintz-Lined Hat for Spring, c1780-1830: