“Loyalist Trails” 2017-18: April 30, 2017

In this issue:
2017 UELAC Conference: Discover Your Roots
Canada 150 Scholarship Project Update
The Portrait of Sarah Hay: Part Two, by Stephen Davidson
Loyalist Trails Archives Update: John Barbarie
Molly Brant: “One of most devoted United Empire Loyalists”
Dispelling the Norfolk Loyalist Myth, by Steph Walters
JAR: Neglected Histories: The Cruger Family and the Roots of American Independence
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Surprising Church Records Part 2: Historical Clues Revealed Remarkable Baptisms
Ben Franklin’s World: Paul Revere’s Ride Through History
The Junto: “Meditations on Archival Fragments”: Review of Dispossessed Lives
The Loyalist Gazette: Status of the Spring 2017 Issue
UELAC Scholarship supports Friends of the Loyalist Collection at Brock U.
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Ruth Ilene Ellis (nee Nichols), UE


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.

Canada 150 Scholarship Project Update

We are well on our way!

The Canada 150 Project in support of the Loyalist Scholarship Endowment Fund is only 8 weeks away from the end date of July 1, 2017.

Here’s a quick recap – This year the scholarship committee introduced a 2017 fundraising project to promote the Loyalist Scholarship Endowment Fund. Our goal is to build a strong foundation to support UELAC scholarship for years to come. We have asked UELAC branches to each collect $300.00 or 150 toonies to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Our thanks to — Assiniboine Branch, Governor Simcoe Branch, Nova Scotia Branch, Saskatchewan Branch, and Vancouver Branch who have already donated or pledged to this challenge. We also received a generous individual donation from a member of the Manitoba Genealogical Society. Thank you! All donations are welcome.

Please let us add you to the list of enthusiastic donors who support of Loyalist research through UELAC. A special wrap-up announcement will take place at the 2017 UELAC Conference: Discover Your Roots in London June 22-25.

Please direct your donations to the UELAC Loyalist Scholarship Endowment Fund, UELAC, 50 Baldwin St., Suite 202, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T 1L4.

Read more about the 2017 Scholarship Challenge and the Endowment Fund.

The Portrait of Sarah Hay: Part Two

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Sarah Harding had come to Saint John, New Brunswick as a six year-old girl in 1783. A loyalist’s daughter, she died in 1867, the year of Canada’s Confederation, at 90 years of age. She had witnessed the founding of New Brunswick as a haven for refugees and lived to see her colony become one of the first provinces in the new Dominion of Canada.

By 1815, Sarah Harding was a 35 year-old a widow responsible for raising the seven children left to her in the wake of her husband John Hay’s death. While this was a personal tragedy that would have a profound impact on Sarah’s immediate family, an event in another part of the world would eventually bring hardship on all New Brunswickers.

An 1815 volcanic eruption in far off Indonesia shot so much dust into the atmosphere that the following year became known as the Year Without A Summer. In some parts of New Brunswick 1816 was dubbed “Eighteen-Hundred-and-Froze-to-Death”. Every month had its frost. Snow fell in June. Crop failures were common all along the Atlantic seaboard. In May of 1817, New Brunswick recorded its first earthquake since the beginning of European settlement in the province. How such events affected the family of Sarah Hay goes unrecorded.

1818 — the year Sarah turned 41 — was bittersweet. Her father, William Harding, died that March. (Her mother Leah would die seven years later.) Out of consideration for her status as a widow, Harding left Sarah his Duke Street house and property.

Elizabeth, Sarah’s 18 year-old daughter, was the first of her children to marry. Mrs. Hay’s new son-in-law was a tobacconist named Robert Wood. The next year Thomas, her second oldest son, became a chair maker.

William, Sarah’s oldest son, married Martha Andress. She died in childbirth in 1822, leaving a son in the care of her husband. Sarah came to her William’s aid and took his infant child into her own home. As well as caring for her new grandson, Sarah also tried to console her daughter Elizabeth Wood. Her husband Robert had died that same year — and Elizabeth was pregnant with their first child.

Although it began as a loyalist refugee settlement, Saint John had become quite a modern city. In 1825 it had two public libraries, a grammar school, seven churches, a female benevolent society, a poor house, a prison, a hospital, a provincial bank, an insurance company, a chamber of commerce, and a water company. Shipbuilding had become increasingly important. 68 tall ships were built in the previous year alone.

Saint John’s busy shipping business meant that New Brunswickers could also readily take a ship to any point on the globe. Thomas Andress Hay, Sarah’s first grandson, became a sailor and settled in Australia by the time he was 27. Despite the distances involved, Thomas kept in touch with his New Brunswick cousins. Descendants of Thomas Hay’s two daughters live in New South Wales to this day. Sarah’s third son, James Man Hay, became a tailor in New London, Connecticut. Moving to the United States was not an uncommon choice for the children of Saint John’s loyalist founders.

1836 was the height of New Brunswick’s booming timber trade. So many jobs were available in the colony’s shipyards and lumber camps that farmers had difficulty in hiring labourers to work the land. Sarah Hay’s children did well during these boom years. Thomas was an accomplished chair maker while Stephen, George, and John were housepainters. Elizabeth, Sarah’s widowed daughter, had married a farmer with land along the St. John River. William Hay continued to operate the family bakery. He and his second wife had six children.

Sarah Hay turned 60 the year that Victoria became the queen of the United Kingdom and its empire. The baker’s widow could read all about the new monarch in The Saint John News, the first penny newspaper in the empire.

Two years later the city was engulfed in a fire that destroyed the customhouse, the lunatic asylum and the towers of the suspension bridge over the Reversing Falls. In 1840, Saint John became the site of the first hot air balloon flight in Canada. Abraham Gesner’s Museum of Natural History, with over 2,000 displayed items, opened its doors. It would eventually become the New Brunswick Museum.

In her sixty-fourth year, Sarah Hay once again put on her mourning clothes. When her parents had settled in New Brunswick, they were given a point of land on the St. John River as part of their loyalist grant. Thomas, Sarah’s chairmaker son, had moved out to Harding’s Point because of the plentiful supply of canes. They were used to weave the seats for his chairs. A good business move, however, turned into a family tragedy. Eight year-old George Hay had been fishing on the dock in front of his father’s house. Unseen by his parents, he fell into the water and drowned. Thomas Hay sold the Harding Point property and returned to the city.

In 1843, Sarah Hay’s shopping habits changed. New Brunswick issued its first official coins. The copper penny and halfpenny replaced the British, Spanish, and American coins that had been commonly used in daily transactions. Within two years, the streets of the loyalist city brightened as the St. John Gas Light Company installed street lights in the downtown area.

See next week’s Loyalist Trails for the story of the final years of Sarah Harding Hay’s life.

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

Loyalist Trails Archives Update: John Barbarie

Were you one of the readers who appreciated Stephen Davidson’s three-part series on the loyalist John Barbarie, which appeared in the June 26, July 3, and July 12, 2016 editions of this newsletter? If so, you will want to visit the Loyalist Trails 2016 archive to see a revised and expanded version of the series. Data from a descendant of John Barbarie has clarified a number of genealogical points.


Molly Brant: “One of most devoted United Empire Loyalists”

By Tom Villemaire, Thursday, April 27

When the American Revolution broke out, a First Nations woman played a key role in protecting Loyalists and supporting the troops of King George III.

Mary Brant, who is better known as Molly Brant, or Konwatsi’tsiaienni, sister of Joseph Brant, was an important Mohawk in western New York. When the war began, she worked hard to feed and protect colonists loyal to the Crown who had fled persecution of the rebels and sought refuge in the forests. She also helped arm Tory, or loyalist militia, as well as regular British forces from her tribe’s stockpiles.

In the heat of the summer of 1777, British forces had besieged Fort Schuyler, located where Rome, N.Y., is today. In early August, American forces tried to break the siege, but Brant sent First Nations runners to warn the British that a column of Americans was marching their way. The warning gave the British the opportunity to organize an ambush, which stopped the American advance.

Read more.

Dispelling the Norfolk Loyalist Myth, by Steph Walters

April 26, 2017 by Steph Walters

I am the world’s worst at keeping secrets. This is starting to become an issue now that I’m finishing up my final tallies for the statistical portion of my research. I’ve made so many incredible discoveries over the last few months that not only bolster my main thesis but also dispel a lot of myths we’ve all been told about Virginia during the Revolutionary Era. This can range anywhere from loyalist population size, their activities, and their identities as Virginians. It’s a dissertation after all. I want portions of this to become articles and books. I can’t ruin the element of surprise constantly. There have been multiple times I’ve pulled up my post box in Word Press and started typing away all of my big finds for the handful of people who would actually dig this information. But then I remind myself–“Stephanie. Save it for the dissertation. Those handfuls of people will actually read it and you won’t get slapped on the wrist by journals and presses.” Even if it’s just 3 people, I’ve still gotta keep some of this juicy statistical material secret for at least a conference presentation.

But can’t I just dispel one teeny tiny finding? Just one? I mean… it couldn’t hurt that much could it? Just one! Ok. Here it goes!

Read the juicy part.

JAR: Neglected Histories: The Cruger Family and the Roots of American Independence

by R. Paul Mason, April 27, 2017

One of history’s little mysteries is why some people become famous and others of similar, or even greater, accomplishment do not. Among those overlooked is the Cruger family of New York, which gave us two Mayors of New York City (one of whom was the host for the Stamp Act Congress), early New York’s most successful merchant trader (who built the largest wharf there), a man who gave Alexander Hamilton his first job, a brave Loyalist who fought in South Carolina, and a man who was actually an elected member of the House of Commons when war broke out and later returned to the newly created United States to serve as a New York Senator.

John and Henry Cruger were brothers living in the city of New York during the years that rebellion was fomenting in the American colonies. Their father, who died in 1744, was a merchant who had been active in politics including five years as mayor of the city.[1] It was only natural that John and Henry would also have influential roles in the events of the era.

Read about the families.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Surprising Church Records Part 2: Historical Clues Revealed Remarkable Baptisms

There are many interesting tidbits to be found among baptismal and burial records besides names and dates. For instance, the baptismal records of St. John’s Church in modern Port Williams, Nova Scotia, lists an individual as a “natural child,” who would have been born outside of marriage and publicly labelled as such.

Also occurring in St. John’s Church records was an example of a child listed as property. James Burbidge was the slave holder in this case; he appeared on poll tax records for 1786 and in 1791 as a farmer, and was of pre-loyalist ancestry. The legal status of slavery in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick was never clear; the institution of enslavement slowly died out in the region and likely did not exist after the 1820s.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Paul Revere’s Ride Through History

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere rode to Lexington, Massachusetts to spread the alarm that the Regulars were marching. Revere made several important rides between 1774 and 1775, including one in September 1774 that brought the Suffolk Resolves to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

So why is it that we remember Paul Revere’s ride to Lexington and not any of his other rides?

Why is it that we remember Paul Revere on the night of April 18, 1775 and nothing about his life either before or after that famous ride?

Why is it that Paul Revere seems to ride quickly into history and then just as quickly out of it?

In this episode, we speak with Sarah J. Purcell, Jane Kamensky, Patrick Leehey, and Christoph Irmscher to explore Paul Revere’s ride through history.

During our exploration, these scholars reveal details about historical memory and how it works; facts about Paul Revere’s ride to Lexington on April 18, 1775; And information about why Paul Revere and his ride stick in our national memory.

Read more and listen.

The Junto: “Meditations on Archival Fragments”: Review of Dispossessed Lives

by Casey Schmitt, Apr 26

It should go without saying that the historical profession depends on archives. Near or far, we need those repositories to craft historical narratives about past worlds. There is also no shortage of books and articles critical of the construction of colonial archives, perhaps the most famous among them being historian Ann Laura Stoler’s Along the Archival Grain. Despite the popularity of that book, however, historians still rarely discuss their archival methodology. Monographs always provide a list of consulted repositories, which for early American history can often read like a top ten greatest hits of national and state archives. And yet, try looking for the word “archive” or “archival knowledge” in the index of most books and the result might be surprising.

Among other things, it’s for this reason that historian Marisa J. Fuentes’ new book, Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive is so significant. Unlike Stoler’s focus on archival silences, Fuentes meditates on imbalances within the archival representations of enslaved women in eighteenth-century Bridgetown, Barbados. She applies what she describes as “theoretical approaches to power, the production of text, and constructions of race and gender to the written archive” (6). The resulting portrayal of “the machinations of archival power” exposes the ways in which colonial power structures pervade the archive and, therefore, historical epistemology itself.

To say that Fuentes’ book is a critique of the colonial archives, however, would be missing the point. Rather, she challenges the profession itself in bold, broad strokes.

Read more.

The Loyalist Gazette: Status of the Spring 2017 Issue

The Loyalist Gazette was to have been mailed late this last week; that remains unconfirmed.

This past Tuesday, those who had registered for the digital version were sent details about accessing it. We hope you have been enjoying.

As a member of a branch of UELAC, or as a subscriber to the Loyalist Gazette, you can still request access to the digital version.

…Publications Committee

UELAC Scholarship supports Friends of the Loyalist Collection at Brock U.

The UELAC Scholarship committee is donating print copies of Loyalist Scholarship graduate dissertations to the Friends of the Loyalist Collection at Brock University. Four published dissertations will be added to the Loyalist Collection at Brock University in the next few weeks. To see the collection in person, visit the Special Collections and Archives on the 10th floor of the Brock Library, St. Catharines, Ontario. Learn more about the work of the FOLCABU. and about Brock U’s Special Collections and Archives.

Where in the World?

Where is Barbara Law of Col Edward Jessup 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

Presentation on “Canada a New Hope: Loyalists after the American Revolution,” by Bonnie Schepers

Meeting of Jane Austen Society – London, Ontario Chapter, 2-4pm, Sunday, May 7, 2017.

Location is First St. Andrew’s United Church, 350 Queens Ave (at Waterloo), London ON. Free Parking: enter parking lot from Waterloo or park on a nearby street. We ask for a $5.00 donation at the door toward room rental costs.

Please join us as we welcome Bonnie Schepers UE from Windsor who will be speaking about the experiences of the United Empire Loyalists as they came to Canada. As a result of the American Revolution they constituted the largest influx of refugees in Canada’s history.

Bonnie will present a view of Loyalist settlement in Canada from 1783 to 1812, illustrating the determination and hope required to re-imagine life after the upheaval of war. She will focus on the concept of “home” — in the colonies, in England, and in early Canada – using examples taken from the personal writings and observations of the Stone family, Pastorius family, and Elizabeth Simcoe who was the wife of the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada.

Bonnie is well-qualified to speak on this topic being the Chair of the UELAC Scholarship Committee and a past President of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada and is an enthusiastic and engaging speaker.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Interesting of Loyalist Descent” gravestone found in Forest Hill Cemetery at Digby, Nova Scotia, a town first settled by Loyalists.
  • Nova Scotia Archives
    • Account of Stephen Blucke, freeborn African-Nova Scotian Loyalist in Shelburne, 1789
    • And from more recent times, Searching for old copies of African Nova Scotian newspaper ‘The Clarion
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 29 Apr 1776 General Greene sets up defense of Long Island, crushed in Aug 1776.
    • 28 Apr 1776 In Savannah, GA, Col. McIntosh writes that procurement is difficult due to lack of local manufacturing.
    • 27 Apr 1773 Parliament passes Tea Act, propping up British East India Tea company at colonists’ expense.
    • 26 Apr 1777 Sybil Ludington rides through the Connecticut night, mustering the militia to repel a British attack.
    • Apr 25 1775 Late afternoon… word of Lexington & Concord arrives in Philadelphia by fast rider.
    • 25 Apr 1775 Patriots in Baltimore seize military supplies.
    • 24 Apr 1781 Petersburg, Virginia attacked by traitor Benedict Arnold & British Gen. Philips.
    • 23 Apr 1776 Congress resolves that an expedition should be undertaken against Detroit, recently taken by British.
  • A very fine revolutionary war period American-made officer’s “Committee of Safety” fusil/musket. Wow, who ever knew there were so many named parts of a musket! Same can be said for this Prussian Hessian-type revolutionary war period military smallsword/rapier.
  • Tongue in cheek: Nice to see the USA finally recognizing the importance of the United Empire Loyalists!
  • Georgian Shoes in Transition. I recently became the proud owner of a pair of charming and delicate Boston-made, Neoclassical slip-on shoes. The silk satin shoes feature embroidery at toe and are a good example of a ‘transitional’ shoe — moving from the earlier 18th century Rococo style towards a post-Revolutionary age with lighter color palette, limited ornament. Read with photos.
  • Don’t let the bold façade of this leather-covered couch fool you. What appears to be a solid piece of furniture is in fact an eighteenth-century sofa bed. A bed frame pulls out from the interior of the lower case, and the seat back lifts to form a canopy fitted with curtains that enveloped the sleeper in the same manner as a high-post bedstead.
  • A photo of Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, daughter of George III, who had been born in April 1776.

Last Post: Ruth Ilene Ellis (nee Nichols), UE

Passed away at Oxford Gardens, Woodstock on Friday April 21st, 2017, in her 88th year. Beloved wife of William “Bill” Ellis for over 62 years. Mother of Marilyn (Ivan Romanow) Ellis Romanow, Debra (Michael) LeClair, James (Carol) Ellis, and Susan (Francois Bourgeois) Ellis. Grandmother of Lara (Rory), Ilana (John Paul), Heather (Nick), Hayley, and Kevin. Ruth will be missed by her extended family and friends. Predeceased by her sister Dorothy and her brother Lloyd.

Ruth was a very active member in the Woodstock community. With her husband, they owned and operated Ellis Glass for over 40 years. She was a member of St. David’s United Church and the U.C.W, Oxford Genealogy Society, Woodstock Horticultural Society, Southgate Senior Centre, Oxford Women’s Probus Club, a proud United Empire Loyalist and especially enjoyed being active in the Bridge Club, and Lawn Bowling Club.

Ruth and her family also enjoyed many summers cottaging in Kincardine and participating in the many activities in that community.

Friends and relatives are invited to join the family at BROCK AND VISSER FUNERAL HOME , 845 Devonshire Ave., Woodstock (519-539-0004), on Tuesday April 25, 2017 from 6 pm to 8 pm where the funeral service will be held in the chapel on Wednesday April 26, 2017 at 11:00 am with Rev. Jane Van Patter officiating. If desired, memorial contributions to St. David’s United Church Memorial Foundation or a charity of one’s choice would be appreciated. Personal online condolences at www.brockandvisser.com.

Ruth has been a member of the Grand River Branch since 1980, when she received her Loyalist Certificate as a descendant of James Crawford. She was Secretary of the Branch from about 2002 to 2006. Ruth was always talking to people about finding out more about their Loyalist ancestor(s).

…Ellen Tree, Grand River Branch