“Loyalist Trails” 2017-20: May 14, 2017

In this issue:
2017 UELAC Conference: Discover Your Roots
Lorenzo Sabine: The American Historian Who Venerated the Loyalists, by Stephen Davidson
Study Early America? You Should Look at the Loyalist Claims: Steph Walters
Book: Fire and Desolation, by Gavin K. Watt
Book: Paper and Spit: Family Found: How DNA and Genealogy Revealed My first Parents’ Identity, by Don Anderson
RevWarTalk: 09/17/1775 Siege of Fort St. Jean in Quebec Begins
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Hannah Ingraham, A Child’s Perspective
Junto: Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, Jamestown Women
JAR: How many troops did Cornwallis actually bring to the Battle of Guilford?
Ben Franklin’s World: The Nat Turner Revolt, with Patrick Breen
Three Copies: Loyalists and their Sons and Daughters In the Long Point Settlement
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Who is This Man? An Old Portrait is a Puzzle


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.

Lorenzo Sabine: The American Historian Who Venerated the Loyalists

© Stephen Davidson, UE

One of the first resources that genealogists and historians consult as they investigate the loyalist era is The American Loyalists, a book that was initially published in 1847. Also known as Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, this book contains data on over 4,000 Americans who maintained their allegiance to the British Empire. Given the fact that The American Loyalists was first on sale a mere 60 years after the War of Independence concluded, it resonates with the voices of a much maligned generation that had only just gone to its grave. Most amazing of all, this chronicle of the loyalist experience was written by an American, a man named Lorenzo Sabine.

Sabine took a great risk when his biographical dictionary was published in 1847. Loyalists were still regarded as traitors — the villains of the American Revolution. (Consider how our own generation still regards the Nazis seven decades after the end of World War Two.) What would possess a good Yankee to spend years researching those who had turned their backs on an independent, republican American? Why would he risk being seen as an advocate and sympathizer for the “losers” of the American Revolution?

In his introduction to The American Loyalists, Sabine provides us with his rationale. He spent years of painstaking research, correspondence and fact-gathering, believing that he had “done something for the cause of human brotherhood, by lessening the rancor even the hate which long existed between the children of the winners an the children of the expatriated losers, in the civil war which dismembered the British Empire.”

A noble goal, indeed, but geography also played an important part in Sabine’s fascination with American loyalists. “As my home, for twenty-eight years, was on the eastern frontier of the Union, where the graves and the children of the Loyalists were around me in every direction; as I enjoyed free and continual intercourse with persons of Loyalist descent; as I have had the use of family papers, and of rare documents; as I have made journeys to confer with the living, and pilgrimages to graveyards, in order to complete the records of the dead”, Sabine noted. He hoped that his research would “add something to the stock of knowledge … {for} this interesting branch of our Revolutionary Annals”.

Moving to Eastport, Maine as a teenager was a pivotal event in Sabine’s life. Before that time –as he confessed to a fellow historian– he was “revolution mad”. Until his family moved east in 1814, it never crossed his mind that “there was more than one side to the Revolution.” To Sabine, “Every ‘Tory’ was as bad as bad could be, every ‘son of Liberty’ as good as possible.”

Entering the working world as a clerk, Sabine went on to found his own trading firm, became the editor of the Eastport Sentinel, helped to found two institutions of higher learning, served in the Maine House of Representatives, and was Eastport’s deputy customs collector. At some point in all of this sea-faring and journalistic work, Sabine came to a more sympathetic understanding of the loyalists. Despite some negative reaction to his first loyalist essays in the North American Review, Sabine continued to solicit stories of loyal Americans from their descendants, history books, primary documents, and biographies.

After outlining the breadth of his research in the introduction to The American Loyalists, Sabine wrote, “Of several of the Loyalists who were high in office, of others who were men of talents and acquirements, and of still others who were of less consideration, I have been able, after long and extensive researches, to learn scarcely more than their names, or the single fact, that, for their political opinions or offences, they were proscribed and banished. But I have deemed it best to exclude no one, whether of exalted or humble station, of whose attachment to the cause of the mother country I have found satisfactory, or even reasonable, evidence.”

Given that many histories of the mid-19th century focused on the accomplishments of the upper classes, Sabine’s willingness to gather details pertaining to the most humble of loyalists is commendable. His attention to the wider scope of the loyalist population overturned a number of common myths that were accepted as given truths in Sabine’s era.

The historian Eileen Cheng summarizes Sabine’s discoveries in The Plain and Noble Garb of Truth. His exhaustive analysis challenged the belief that the American Revolution had represented a unanimous movement for independence. Sabine asserted that the loyalists were “powerful in all the thirteen colonies” and “in some of them they were nearly, if not quite, equal in number to its friends.” He came to see that the conflict was, in fact, a bloody civil war, and he did not withold any gory details of the horrific violence that ensued. “Whatever the guilt of the Tories, the Whigs disgraced their cause and the American name.” Sabine deplored the tendency to glorify the patriots at the expense of the loyalists. “All who called themselves Whigs were not necessarily and on that account disinterested and virtuous, and the proper objects of unlimited praise”, while “the Tories were not, to a man, selfish and vicious, and deserving of unmeasured and indiscriminate reproach”.

Remember, this is an American historian writing these words just sixty years after the War of Independence. It is amazing that Sabine did not suffer the same tarring and feathering that was meted out to so many of the loyalists in his biographical dictionary. Fortunately for him, he published his book at a time when Americans were beginning to appreciate the fact that a country could operate with a party system in which people could hold opposing views and still have patriot intentions. If one understood that conflicts between political parties were disagreements over the best way of protecting a country’s interests, then healthy competition between differing parties was vital to the preservation of liberty.

Sabine maintained that both the patriots and the loyalists loved their homeland, but the loyalists disagreed with how to achieve the best for America. In its day, this was quite a revolutionary thought. However, the historian did not hold both sides in equal regard; in the end, he felt that the patriot cause was the correct one. “While intending to be just, I have felt that I might also be generous. The winners in the Revolutionary strife are now twenty millions of people; and strong, rich, and prosperous, can afford to speak of the losers in terms of moderation.”

A bit condescending? Yes, but nevertheless, Sabine was brave enough to criticize the actions of the patriots. Learn more about his defense of the loyalists in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

Study Early America? You Should Look at the Loyalist Claims: Steph Walters

(May 8, 2017) I find it interesting that when I bring up the Loyalist Claims in my Early Americanist circles that the majority of people scratch their heads when I ask if they’ve checked for evidence in this vast document collection. Why would someone who studies anything outside of loyalism care to look through the thousands of documents dedicated to a mass reimbursement program? Well, I’ve got about 2000 words to go, so let me convince you.

In 1783, the Loyalist Claims Commission was created by parliament with the purpose of compensating those who’d lost their livelihoods and/or been exiled for supporting the Crown during the Revolutionary War. Loyalists either submitted a claim with supporting documents or they were interviewed in person to prove their losses and loyalty for themselves and as witnesses for other loyalists who were in similar circumstances. While the commission was only supposed to last a few years, it lasted nearly a decade as loyalists from across the empire poured in asking for compensation. Some people even submitted claims as late as the 1800s. Loyalists were asked to submit an affidavit of their loyalty and attach any type of evidence that proved their loyalty and their property losses. Many of these claims included witness testimonies from other loyalists who knew each other before the war or served in military regiments together. These testimonies were used in instances where evidence was destroyed or left behind. So neighbors and friends could personally vouch for loyalty and property losses. The original commission included at least one loyalist representative from every ex-colony and weighed whether the loyalist’s claim and losses were worth a monetary compensation. Loyalists could be completely denied for their losses due to insufficient evidence, or if proven a true loyalist paid one lump sum, or receive an allowance per annum. Full compensation requests were rarely granted. Instead, limited or partial compensation was the norm. If the loyalist was denied or believed they did not receive sufficient compensation they could submit additional claims.

Read more.

Book: Fire and Desolation, by Gavin K. Watt

The Revolutionary War’s 1778 Campaign as Waged from Quebec and Niagara Against the American Frontiers

How misrule and fraying alliances led to a ferocious campaign that changed the course of the American Revolution.

Following a disastrous campaign in 1777, the alliance between the Six Nations and the British Crown became seriously strained. Relations were made even more difficult by the hands-off stance of Quebec’s governor, General Guy Carleton, which led to the Native leaders developing their own strategies and employing traditional tactics, leading to a ferocious series of attacks on the frontiers of Vermont, New York, and Pennsylvania, supported by Loyalist and Regular troops. Among these were two infamous actions, referred to as “massacres” by American historians — attacks on the Wyoming and Cherry Valleys. This destructive campaign prompted the Continental Congress to mount three major retributive expeditions against the territories of the Six Nations and their allies the following year.

In Fire and Desolation, Gavin Watt details individual historical conflicts and illustrates the crushing tactical expertise of the Senecas and their Loyalist allies and provides a fresh perspective on Canada’s involvement in the American Revolution and the unfolding events of 1778.

Available in bookstores in June; Preorder now.

Read more.

Book: Paper and Spit: Family Found: How DNA and Genealogy Revealed My first Parents’ Identity, by Don Anderson

RevWarTalk: 09/17/1775 Siege of Fort St. Jean in Quebec Begins

The Siege of Fort St. Jean (also called St. John, St. Johns, or St. John’s) was conducted by American Brigadier General Richard Montgomery on the town and fort of Saint-Jean in the British province of Quebec during the American Revolutionary War. The siege lasted from September 17 to November 3, 1775.

After several false starts in early September, the Continental Army established a siege around Fort St. Jean. Beset by illness, bad weather, and logistical problems, they established mortar batteries that were able to penetrate into the interior of the fort, but the defenders, who were well-supplied with munitions, but not food and other supplies, persisted in their defence, believing the siege would be broken by forces from Montreal under General Guy Carleton. On October 18, the nearby Fort Chambly fell, and on October 30, an attempt at relief by Carleton was thwarted. When word of this made its way to St. Jean’s defenders, combined with a new battery opening fire on the fort, the fort’s defenders capitulated, surrendering on November 3.

The fall of Fort St. Jean opened the way for the American army to march on Montreal, which fell without battle on November 13. General Carleton escaped from Montreal, and made his way to Quebec City to prepare its defences against an anticipated attack.

Read more details.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Hannah Ingraham, A Child’s Perspective

By Annabelle Babineau, a student assistant at the Harriet Irving Library. She is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in the English Honours Programme.

Many existing primary sources for loyalists are from the point of view of men, especially well established men. These documents come in various form, such as letter books and court records. However, there is a narrative that still exists today that helps researchers and curious minds discover what life was like for a loyalist from the perspective of a young girl: Hannah Ingraham. Hannah was born in New Concord, New York in 1772 and died in Bear Island, Queensbury Parish, New Brunswick.

The recollections Hannah shared in her senior years contain extraordinary details about her life. These include: events before the war, during the war, her journey at the age of eleven to New Brunswick, her first Canadian winter, building the settlement in Fredericton, bartering to exchange goods in her community, and her relations with the French and Indigenous communities.

So, without further ado, here are ten tidbits in Hannah’s narrative about her amazing experience as a child loyalist refugee…

Read on.

Junto: Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, Jamestown Women

By Tom Cutterham (May 9)

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to watch the new TV series, Jamestown, that recently premiered in the UK. But the television critic Mark Lawson has. Last week he wrote a column that criticised the show, and other recent British period drama, for featuring female characters who were, in his own words, “feisty, cheeky and rebellious.” In the name of historical accuracy, Lawson called out the makers of Jamestown for pandering to 21st-century sensibilities. Apparently, he believes women four hundred years ago raised neither hand nor voice against the patriarchy. Instead, they “willingly accept[ed] sexual and social submission.”

Fortunately, there were plenty of historians ready to respond. On Twitter, Suzannah Lipscomb offered her own research on sixteenth and seventeenth-century French women as a counterpoint to Lawson’s ahistorical assumptions. The women in Lipscomb’s archives “called each other ‘drunk’, ‘harlot’…

Read more.

JAR: How many troops did Cornwallis actually bring to the Battle of Guilford?

by Ian Saberton on May 10, 2017

A re-evaluation in the light of The Cornwallis Papers

Works about the Revolutionary War are littered with references to troop numbers, whether to rank and file or not, and betray some confusion between the two. On analysing British and British American regimental returns I discovered that the proportion of officers, staff, non-commissioned officers and drummers was consistently 17.5% of all ranks. I apply this factor to rank and file returns in order to calculate Tarleton’s total force at the Battle of Cowpens, Cornwallis’s remaining force for the winter campaign, and use it in attempting to re-assess Cornwallis’s total force at the Battle of Guilford — all of which had previously been uncertain. That the factor is accurate is borne out by the correlation of the two returns, one for rank and file appearing in The Cornwallis Papers, and the other for all ranks provided by Johnston, that capitulated at Yorktown.
Read more to discover how many.

Ben Franklin’s World: The Nat Turner Revolt, with Patrick Breen

The institution of African slavery in North America began in late August 1619 and persisted until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in December 1865.

Over those 246 years, many slaves plotted and conspired to start rebellions, but most of the plotted rebellions never took place. Slaveholders and whites discovered them before they could begin. Therefore, North America witnessed only a handful of slave revolts between 1619 and 1865. Nat Turner’s Rebellion in August 1831 stands as the most deadly.

Patrick Breen, an Associate Professor of History at Providence College and author of The Land Shall Be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt, joins us to investigate the ins and outs of this bloodiest of North American slave revolts.

During our investigation, Patrick reveals details about how Nat Turner’s Revolt began and progressed; Who Nat Turner was and why he chose to lead a slave revolt; And, information about the end of the rebellion and the trials that ensued after it ended.

Read more and listen.

Three Copies: Loyalists and their Sons and Daughters In the Long Point Settlement

Would you like a copy? Only three remain. First come, first served.

This UELAC centenary project of Grand River Branch compiled by Doris Lemon UE was published in soft cover. Two hundred and twenty names with Lot number locations are in the index with daughters’ names cross referenced under under maiden and married names. This reference workbook provides a page for each entry with a list of where to find references.

This quick reference for future researchers provides resources — with page number — in which these Loyalists appear: Tasker, Owen, Wright, Loyalist Families, Loyalist Lineages, Long Point Settlers, Reid and Other.

Other includes: UCLP, The Old U.E. List, Toronto and Hamilton Branch books, Col. Smy’s Butler’s Rangers, Family histories and Cruickshank’s History of the Campaigns on the Niagara Frontier in the War of 1812-14. Researchers are cautioned that Owen and Wright are not solid proof of Loyalist documentation, but provide direction in a search.

Individual detail includes: Origin; Son/of; Origin; Regiment; Settled (includes Lot and Township and grant details); Spouse; Buried (which sometimes leads to an ancestor’s location) and Issue. And War of 1812-14 involvement as found in the nine volumes of Cruickshank’s History of the Campaigns on the Niagara Frontier in the War of 1812-13.

See Long Point Settlement: Loyalists and Their Sons and Daughters for more details.

Three copies remain: $50.00 each plus postage if mailed; could be delivered to UELAC Conference in London.

Contact Doris Ann Lemon, UE, at dalemon1783@gmail.com.

Where in the World?

Where is Nancy Conn of Gov. Simcoe 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.

  • United Empire Loyalists of all stripes: The spine of a nation. Hamilton interview with Pat Blackburn and Fred Hayward, Hamilton Branch UELAC. Note: Hamilton became home to many Loyalists and their descendants. And still actively welcomes immigrants – read about today in Global Hamilton.
  • Brewer, Baker, Candlestick Maker – Fort Klock Opening Day. Saturday 20 May, 10:00 – 4:00. A special living history event: blacksmith, weaver, cooper, 18th c. music, tinsmith, sewing, 18th c. kid’s games, kid’s militia muster, chandler, brewer, bread oven baking, medical surgeon. Free admission. Fort Klock, 7203 St. Hwy, Route 5, St. Johnsville NY. www.fortklockrestoration.org
  • Sir Guy Carleton Branch, United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada invites you to a Loyalist flag raising by His Worship, Mayor Jim Watson Ottawa City Hall, 16 June 2017 at 11:00 a.m. There is no charge. Attendees must arrange their own transportation. Those wishing to attend are requested to contact the Sir Guy Carleton Branch at: carletonuel@hotmail.com. Everyone is welcome!
  • Follow the Drum to Shelburne ( Nova Scotia’s ) Founders Days, July 14 – 16, 2017; the historic waterfront comes alive with fun, food, history, music and games.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • RevWarTalk: British First Model/Longland Pattern 1756 Brown Bess Musket; A classic example of an American-Used French & Indian/Revolutionary War Pattern 1756 Longland Pattern Brown Bess Musket
  • RevWarTalk: Samuel Sutton (1760 — June 1832) was an officer in the Royal Navy.
  • RevWarTalk: Governor Blacksnake. Tah-won-ne-ahs or Thaonawyuthe (born between 1737 and 1760, died 1859), known in English as either Governor Blacksnake or Chainbreaker, was a Seneca war chief, who, along with other Iroquois leaders (most notably Joseph Brant), fought on the side of the British during the American Revolutionary War from 1777 to 1783, most notably at the Battle of Oriskany.
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 13 May 1776 Antigua-based British Adm. Young relays intel to Jamaica that Americans plan to attack West India ships.
    • 12 May 1780 Charles-Town, South-Carolina falls to British General Clinton, marking terrible defeat for rebel forces.
    • William Pitt, Earl of Chatham and strong proponent of the rights of Britons in the North American colonies, dies.
    • 11 May 1776 Washington suggests raising companies of Germans to sow discontent among England’s Hessian troops.
    • Benjamin Franklin’s political cartoon “Join or Die” was published on May 9, 1754 in the Pennsylvania Gazette.
    • 10 May 1775 Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold take Ft Ticonderoga in New-York, securing cannon for patriot forces.
    • 9 May 1775 Benedict Arnold unsuccessfully challenges Ethan Allen’s right to lead the expedition to Fort Ticonderoga.
    • 8 May 1775 Nathaniel Greene was appointed Brigadier General of the Rhode Island Militia.
    • 8 May 1783 Gen Washington and NY Gov. Clinton receive first 17 gun salute by a British Ship, recognizing America as a new Nation.
    • 8 May 1776 Patriots attack British warships Roebuck & Liverpool on the Delaware River; minimal damage to both sides.
    • 7 May 1776 Congress takes measures to protect Philadelphia from threat of two British warships on Delaware River.
    • 7 May 1782 Spanish naval expedition under Gov Juan Manuel de Caxigal seizes New Providence from British. No fighting occurs.
  • Webinar, Wednesday May 24, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT. Ontario Historical Society. Ontario’s WWI History: 100 Years on at Vimy, Passchendaele and Hill 70, with acclaimed Canadian stage and screen actor, R.H. Thomson. R.H. Thomson’s project The World Remembers — Le Monde Se Souvient shows the names of those killed in WWI in the 100th year after death. The 2017 displays that will appear this fall will show the 700,000 names of those killed in 1917 from Canada and twelve other nations. In building the project, Robert has been exploring the WWI histories of each participating nation and how they differ from Canada’s framing of WWI history. Robert’s talk will address the contextual frame of Canada’s WWI history and how other nations have framed the events and aftermath of 1914-1918 differently. The ‘frame’ that is consciously — or unconsciously — placed around a nation’s history can sometimes be as influential as the facts contained within the frame. Register here…
  • Pair of silk satin women’s shoes c1760
  • A needlework sampler by English novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855). whose work includes the novel ‘Jane Eyre’
  • Jas. Townsend & Son. Whitepot Pudding: One Of Our Top 5 Recipes Ever!
  • Tea Rituals and Its History in England. Tea was not always a part of English history. In fact, the first tea drinking royal, was not even English but rather Portuguese. She was Catherine of Braganza, bride to Charles II of England, who, when she arrived on English soil, also carried a tea-chest filled with her treasured teas.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:

  • Ward, Asahel – from Marilyn Sapienza with biographical document


Who is This Man? An Old Portrait is a Puzzle

In doing some ‘spring cleaning’ I came across an old charcoal drawing I have had for years. I thought it was gone, but there he was, hiding behind my filing cabinet!

I bought a picture frame with a print of Queen Elizabeth II at least 20 years ago at the Silver Fox Museum Antique Shop (now closed) in Summerside, PEI. When I took the print out of the frame, I found this portrait of a man hiding behind the Queen. I just kept putting the picture aside. At one point, I did have it hanging up, hoping that something might come to me.

When I rub the drawing with my finger on his suit, the charcoal comes off on my fingers.

I’m guessing mid-late 1800s, he is someone of some importance, or someone of money as having a portrait done was quite expensive.

My goal isn’t to find lost monetary value, but to have it once again framed, and donate it to somewhere it may belong. Perhaps this belongs to a family. From an amateur genealogical point of view, frustrating. He belongs to someone. It breaks my heart to see something like this lost. Whether it belongs somewhere or if not and I hang it up somewhere in the house, I’d like to know who he is, or perhaps the artist.

Can anyone identify this man, but knowing that that is a long shot, can anyone offer suggestions of approaches or organizations or websites that can help solve the puzzle.

Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated.

Kathy Gallant, PEI