“Loyalist Trails” 2017-24: June 11, 2017
In this issue:
– 2017 UELAC Conference: Discover Your Roots
– Unpacking a History Book’s Paragraph: Dying in a Land of Strangers (Part 2), by Stephen Davidson
– Canada 150 Scholarship Project: Three Weeks to Go!
– The World Remembers WWI: 2017 Project
– The 1772 Gaspee Affair, Rhode Island’s Own Tea Party>
– The Smithsonian: When Nova Scotia Almost Joined the American Revolution
– The Prussian Nobleman Who Helped Save the American Revolution
– Borealia: Book Review – Colonial Relations: The Douglas-Connolly Family
– JAR: William Bingham, Forgotten Supplier of the American Revolution
– Ben Franklin’s World: The Washingtons’ Runaway Slave, Ona Judge
– Branches and Loyalist Day, Canada 150, Canada Day Events
– Where in the World?
– Region and Branch Bits
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
– Last Post: Dr. Doug Emmons
June 22 – 25, 2017; London, Ontario
Hosted by: London & Western Ontario Branch and Grand River Branch
© Stephen Davidson, UE
For seven years, the town of Jamaica, Long Island was a centre for supplying the British army with food, horses, and firewood. In winter, its inhabitants provided billets for the royal army’s soldiers. And while the local rebels might have chaffed under these conditions, the seven years of the American Revolution were a period of prosperity for the loyal Americans of Jamaica.
With the signing of the peace treaty in 1783, the fortunes of the loyalists of Jamaica forever changed. A 19th century history book noted that many sought sanctuary in Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, breathing their last “in a land of strangers”.
One such Long Island loyalist was Dr. Charles Arding (Arden). In 1775, he had signed a declaration of loyalty to the king along with 134 other men from Jamaica. Rebels resented the fact that the doctor opposed local committees and the continental congress. By 1781, Arding decided to pull up stakes and sail for England. The advertisement that he placed to sell his home was one the earliest ones for loyalist real estate.
“Charles Arding, being under a necessity of leaving this country, will embark, the first opportunity. He offers for sale the farm where he lives, near Jamaica, of sixty acres, half in grain and grass for mowing. The house is large and neatly finished, has a spacious arched hall through the middle, and every accommodation for a gentleman; two gardens neatly paled in, plentifully stored with all kinds of vegetables, a variety of the best fruit-trees, and necessary outbuildings. Cattle, horses and household furniture sold at same time.”
But Arding was not the only Jamaican loyalist to flee to a land of strangers. Alexander Wallace was a New York City merchant who took up residence in a house that once belonged to a rebel of Jamaica. He had initially supported the patriot cause, but when it was discovered that he still “adhered to the royal cause”, was put on parole in Middletown, Connecticut.
Wallace returned to Long Island by appealing to the local committee of safety, saying that he had private papers buried near Jamaica that would perish if he did not recover them. Once freed, he never returned to Connecticut.
Later, a patriot prisoner of war who was at Wallace’s home remembered the loyalist putting a glass of wine into the hands of his eight year-old son. When asked whom he would toast, the young Wallace said “Church and King”. By 1783, Wallace, his brother Hugh, and their families had sailed for Ireland. Alexander Wallace “breathed his last” in Waterford, Ireland in 1800.
Theophylact Bache was a friend of Wallace’s who before the revolution had been a dry goods merchant with contacts in Newfoundland and the West Indies. He was a “determined loyalist” while his brother Richard was a patriot — and the husband of Benjamin Franklin’s only daughter. Theophylact’s loyalty “obliged” him to leave New York in 1775, settling near Jamaica in the town of Flatbush. He served the crown by reconnoitering parts of Long Island before the British launched the Battle of Brooklyn, and found local loyalists to guide the British army.
In 1778 patriot raiders under Captain Marriner attacked Bache’s home, carrying him off to New Jersey without even giving him time to put on his clothes. The rebels struck Ann (Barclay) Bache several times as she begged for her husband’s release. Not content with assaulting Bache’s wife, the patriots plundered the loyalists’ silverware, wounded a female servant, and kidnapped four slaves.
The loyalist eventually returned to Long Island, but continued to suffer losses to his ships and wharves. Bache’s property sustained damages during the revolution — not due to patriots, but to the actions of British and Hessian troops.
The loyalist had the opportunity to tell his story to the compensation board that convened in Halifax in May of 1786, but instead of remaining in Nova Scotia along with other New York loyalists, Bache returned to New York City where he died in 1807, aged seventy-eight. Said a contemporary account, “He is remembered as a fine specimen of a gentleman, — courteous, hospitable, with a touch of the sportsman, loving his gun and his dog, and everywhere acceptable as a polished and agreeable companion.”
Patriot historical records remember the loyalist Charles McEvers as a man of mercy. Once the “stamp-master” of New York, he knew he had been put in danger by the British government’s legislation of 1765, declaring, “If I attempt to receive the Stamps, my house will be pillaged.” He found refuge in Jamaica just as the British were arresting patriot sympathizers. One elder rebel named John Smith appealed to a local loyalist to intercede for him. Instead, the man replied “Ah, John, you’ve been a great rebel.”
Then Smith spied Charles McEvers in the crowd. “McEvers, this is hard for an old man like me, to go to prison; can’t you do something for me?”
“What have you been doing, John?” asked the former stamp-master.
“Why, I’ve had opinions of my own.”
“Well, I’ll see what I can do for you.” McEvers then went to the officer in charge and was able to effect Smith’s release.
James Hughston, a native of Ireland, had settled in Jamaica in 1770 just as the clouds of the revolution were gathering. He did “everything to suppress the rebellion” but to no avail. Although local patriots disarmed him, they failed to get his pledge of allegiance to their cause. After being plundered a number of times, Hughston watched his home and shop burn down in March of 1776. The losses he sustained due to Carpenter, a rebel arsonist, came to £5600.
One of the witnesses who testified on Hughston’s behalf during his compensation board hearing in Halifax, Nova Scotia was Hope Mills, another loyalist from Jamaica. During the revolution, Mills and his brother Joshua acquired wagons, horses, livestock and food supplies on Long Island for the British army. They also operated a stage service that connected the Queen’s County town to the Brooklyn ferry. The Mills brothers advertised that they carried both freight and passengers, and that proper care would be taken of all mail and newspapers. Because Mills had transported liquors, spirits and molasses to Hughston’s Jamaica store, he was able to verify the value of what his fellow loyalist had lost. Both Mills and Hughston seemed to have made Nova Scotia their home following the revolution.
More stories of loyalists who lived in New York’s Queens County and the town of Jamaica will be shared in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
Are you sitting down? We have good news! With three weeks to go to our July 1, 2017 end date donations are flying in. UELAC branches and individuals across the country are showing their support of scholarship through giving. Thank you! The most recent donations to our 2017 Scholarship Challenge page bring the total to $3650.00. And we know there is more to come.
I am humbled and thrilled as we receive letters and emails pledging support of the Loyalist Scholarship Endowment Fund. There is still time to be a part of this dynamic project.
On July 1 we will celebrate Canada and the 150th anniversary of Confederation. As Loyalist descendants we also celebrate the valuable contributions our Loyalist ancestors made to the development of this great country. The history of Canada does not begin in 1867 but is an evolution of every individual who has left their imprint on the Canadian cultural landscape. The United Empire Loyalists are an integral part of that Canadian identity. Your donation to scholarship today helps to preserve, promote and celebrate the history and traditions of the United Empire Loyalists.
Philosopher and writer Nikos Kazantzakis observed, “True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.”
Let us use this opportunity to provide a bridge to the future of Loyalist research. The UELAC gratefully acknowledges your financial support. Please mark your donations Loyalist Scholarship Endowment Fund.
…Bonnie Schepers, UE
The Ontario History Society recently organized a webinar on “Ontario’s WWI History: 100 Years on at Vimy, Passchendaele and Hill 70,” presented by R.H. Thomson, Producer of The World Remembers. The webinar recording (plus slides) is now available online.
If you represent an organization (museum, historical society, community college, university, library, archives, legion, municipality, community group, etc.), would you be interested in participating in The World Remembers by displaying the names of those killed in 1917 at your location this fall? Please feel free to email our presenter (email@example.com) and to visit the website for more information (www.theworldremembers.org). This is an international project with many countries involved and participating.
Read The World Remembers 2016 Year in Review. The last page notes the 2017 activities and gives contact details should you wish to help or help arrange a viewing location.
…(But the Ship Burned)
The real first shot of the American Revolution may have been fired at the HMS Gaspee, a British customs schooner, on Narragansett Bay in 1772 rather than on Lexington Green in 1775.
By June 9, 1772, the Gaspee’s crew had almost daily been boarding and searching colonists’ vessels, even little packet boats, in search of smuggled goods. Americans sailing Narragansett Bay were especially offended by the Gaspee’s arrogant and aggressive commander, Lt. William Dudingston.
So on that June night, a young man sitting in a rowboat noticed Dudingston in a white shirt leaning over the starboard gunwale of the Gaspee. Joseph Bucklin realized he had a shot at Dudingston — and took it.
Bucklin wasn’t the only patriot on Narragansett Bay that night. He was one of a hundred or so Sons of Liberty who rowed out in longboats to capture the crew of the Gaspee. Then they burned the ship to the waterline. What happened that night is celebrated to this day in Rhode Island’s annual commemoration of its own Tea Party.
New England expats felt a strong allegiance to the struggles felt by their American friends to the south.
Early in 1776, while in the midst of overseeing his army’s siege of British-held Boston, General George Washington received at his headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, an anonymous letter from a citizen on the fringes of the British colonial empire.
“Sir,” the letter began. “You may reasonably imagine that it is presumptuous in me to take such liberty in writing to your Excellency; still, its going from one whose principles are actuated from the genuine feelings of liberty, and an indelible anxiety for the happiness of his country.”
The writer went on to express solidarity with America’s “great struggle” against the crown; and strongly hinted that rebellion could be fomented in his neck of the woods—with support from the general. “We would greatly rejoice could we be able to join with the other Colonies, but we must have other assistance before we can act publicly.”
Scholars today believe that the unsigned letter was likely written by John Allan, an influential merchant and politician in Nova Scotia—today, one of Canada’s Maritime Provinces, but then a crown colony.
When American troops faltered, Baron von Steuben helped whip them into shape. The baron wore an eight-pointed silver star on his chest, etched with the word Fidelitas. “Squad, halt!” he shouted—some of the few English words he knew. He walked among the 100 men in formation at Valley Forge, adjusting their muskets. He showed them how to march at 75 steps a minute, then 120. When their discipline broke down, he swore at them in German and French, and with his only English curse.
It was March 19, 1778, almost three years into the Revolutionary War. The Continental Army had just endured a punishing winter at Valley Forge. And a stranger—former Prussian army officer Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben—was on the scene to restore morale, introduce discipline and whip the tattered soldiers into fighting shape.
To one awestruck 16-year-old private, the tall, portly baron in the long blue cloak was as intimidating as the Roman god of war. “He seemed to me the perfect personification of Mars,” recalled Ashbel Green years later. “The trappings of his horse, the enormous holsters of his pistols, his large size, and his strikingly martial aspect, all seemed to favor the idea.”
Read more about the Baron.
Ann Little reviews Colonial Relations: The Douglas-Connolly Family and the Nineteenth-Century Imperial World, by Adele Perry (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
Perry’s book is a model study that puts four generations of one family’s history into the larger context of the rapidly evolving North American colonial world across the nineteenth century, ranging from colonial Demerara to Scotland, Rupert’s Land, Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River (now in the U.S. state of Oregon), and finally to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. In sum, everybody with pre-1867 ancestors in Canada—whether you identify as Indigenous, white, or Black—probably has a connection to the world this book brings to life.
Perry’s book is a “translocal” study of the family formation strategies of transnational creole elites set against the backdrop of the hardening racial lines of the emerging settler states of the U.S. and Canada in the nineteenth century (15). But as she warns, “this is not a story of cheerful pluralism and timeless multiculturalism, about how we were all happy then. It is very much a history of slavery and the racism that remained after abolition and the exploitation of the fur trade …. At its very core, it is a history of Indigenous dispossession and settler ascendancy.”
Who were the Douglases and the Connollys? James Douglas (1803-77), one of the two central actors in this family history, was a longtime officer of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the second governor of Vancouver Island and eventually of the crown colony of British Columbia. Traditional histories of the governor (like his entry in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography) note that he was born in the West Indies, but they don’t delve too deeply into the circumstances of James’s birth.
by Richard J. Werther on June 7, 2017
William Bingham. Does the name sound familiar to you? Some of the readers of this journal will recognize it. For many others, including myself, who have read extensively about the American Revolution it may be a name they have either never encountered or may vaguely recall from a footnote someplace. In this era of “Founders Chic” where it seems everything remotely connected to the founding has been covered ad infinitum, Bingham remains remarkably obscure. The last biography of him (and the only one I could find) was published in 1969.
Yet Bingham played a pivotal role in the success of the Revolution at a young age and more than merely rubbed elbows with the key figures of the Revolution and later the founding era. He had a record of achievement that is worth recalling.
William Bingham was born April 8, 1752 in Philadelphia. He was enrolled in the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) at age 6(!), started there in 1765, and graduated cum laude in 1768. Following the death of his father in 1769, he resumed his education there and earned a Master of Arts degree in 1771. He initially developed his business acumen managing his father’s business interests in the Caribbean, and in 1770 at the age of eighteen (living in America but still a British colonial subject) he was named British consul to Martinique. In early 1773, he travelled to Europe, furthering his business connections and experience. He returned to Philadelphia to find a city and country embroiled in conflict with the British. The fever was stoked as the blows came one after the other — the Stamp Act, the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the resulting Boston Port Bill, and eventually Lexington and Concord.
George Washington was an accomplished man. He served as a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, first President of the United States, and on top of all that he was also a savvy businessman who ran a successful plantation.
Erica Dunbar, a Professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware and author of Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge, leads us through the early American life of Ona Judge.
During our exploration of Ona’s fascinating life, Erica reveals who Ona Judge was and how she came to be one of the Washingtons’ enslaved women; What George and Martha Washington were like as slaveholders; And, the story of how Ona Judge ran away and lived the life of a fugitive slave.
George Washington was also a slaveholder. In 1789, he and his wife Martha took 7 slaves to New York City to serve them in their new role as First Family. A 16 year-old girl named Ona Judge was one of the enslaved women who accompanied and served the Washingtons.
- Monday June 12: Kingston and District Branch will raise the Loyalist flag on Monday, June 12th at noon across from historic Kingston City Hall at Confederation Park. We celebrate June 12th as Loyalist Day in Kingston because that was the date — in 1784 — when Governor Haldimand received at Quebec a Royal Proclamation from King George III which read, “His Majesty approves the plan you have proposed for settling some of the Loyalists at Cataraqui and places adjacent”. Although Kingston celebrates its founding date as 1673 when Count Frontenac began building a small French fort, the real arrival of permanent residents began as of June 12, 1784.
- Peterborough, Monday 19 June. Kawartha Branch will conduct their annual UEL Flag Raising Ceremony at 10:00 a.m. at the Peterborough City Hall.
- Ottawa, Friday, June 16, 2017: The Loyalist Flag will be raised at Ottawa City Hall to honour the arrival of the first Refugee Loyalist Settlers to Adolphustown in 1784 under the leadership of Peter Van Alstine. The event will take place at 11 a.m. in the presence of His Worship Mayor Jim Watson. Period dress is encouraged. Please notify the branch of your intention to attend carletonUEL@hotmail.com.
- Adolphustwon, Sunday June 18: You are cordially invited to attend the annual UNITED EMPIRE LOYALIST Commemorative Service at St Alban The Martyr Anglican Church, Adolphustown, ON; June 18th 2017 at 3:00 PM; Guest Speaker: Bishop Michael Oulton, Bishop of the Diocese of Ontario
- Hamilton, Monday June 19:Celebrating Canada150: Hamilton Branch Banquet. Good food and an evening of celebration.
- Toronto, June 19: Toronto Branch with Gov. Simcoe Branch at Queen’s Park in Toronto at 2:00 for a ceremony and Loyalist flag-raising.
- Regina SK: Monday, June 19, 2017 at 11:30 am. UEL DAY Luncheon at The Chimney Restaurant – followed by the program at 2:00 pm at the UEL Cairn, south shore of Wascana Lake on the Saskatchewan Legislative grounds – period dress optional
- Friday June 30th: Celebrate Bay of Quinte Branch UEL Heritage Fundraising Dinner in South Fredericksburg in support of Allison House; speakers Gavin Watt and Todd Braisted. Loyalist Parkway Canada Day celebrations)
Where is Gov. Simcoe Branch member Nancy Conn?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.
- At Fort York in Toronto, National Aboriginal Day on June 21 (see schedule) will be celebrated as part of the Indigenous Arts Festival, June 21 – June 25 presented with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. It will celebrate the very best in Indigenous and Metis culture. Enjoy traditional and contemporary music, educational programming, storytelling, dance, theatre, and food. Experience powerful ancient traditions and compelling contemporary creations by Indigenous artists. Part of TO Canada with Love honouring Canada’s 150th birthday.
- Revolutionary War At New Windsor Historic Huts. The New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site and National Temple Hill Association will present a night of Revolutionary War military drills, musket firings and other period activities on Saturday June 24 from 7 to 9:30 pm.
- Last September, the Hamilton Branch UELAC took a cruise on the Grand River on September 10th. We decided to interview and photograph some of the participants on the cruise for CTV, “Canada in a Day” to be viewed sometime in 2017. Some of our material was included in the final cut and will premiere on CTV, Canada in a Day. Please tune in to CTV, Sunday, June 25 at 8:00 p.m.
- Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
- 10 Jun 1775 Congress starts the process of organizing the militia besieging Boston as a Continental Army.
- 9 Jun 1772 Angered by Townshend Acts, Colonists board & burn grounded British customs ship Gaspee, off Rhode-Island.
- 8 Jun 1776 Rebels lose 400+ men to British in running battle at Trois-Rivieres, between Quebec City and Montreal.
- 7 Jun 1776 Richard Henry Lee introduces Independence Resolution in Continental Congress; tabled until 1 July.
- 6 Jun 1776 Gen. Clinton proclaims the people of Charleston, SC must “return to their Duty to our common Sovereign.”
- 5 Jun 1775 Williamsburg magazine is looted of 400 guns by rebellious mob.
- 4 Jun 1775 Ethan Allen is surprised at armed response to reconnaissance party by Canadians; was hoping for support.
- The Battle of Mobley’s Meeting House (also sometimes called Gibson’s Meeting House) was an engagement that occurred during the American Revolutionary War on 8 June 1780 in the Mobley Settlement, Fairfield County, South Carolina during the southern campaign of Lord Cornwallis. A small body of Whig militia led by Colonel William Bratton surprised a gathering point of Tory militia at Mobley’s Meeting House, about 6 miles (9.7 km) west of present-day Winnsboro. Read more…
- Printed perfection: a two-piece gown of India Chintz, c1790
- Gavin Watt speaking at the conference on the American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley.
- Townsend: Q&A: Butcher Shops In The 18th Century and a variety of other questions.
- National Trust for Canada announces the 2017 Top Ten Built Heritage Endangered List.
It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Douglas Byron Emmons on Monday May 29 at the age of 87. Emeritus Research Scientist (Dairy) for Agriculture Canada. Lovingly remembered for his kindness to all with many happy times spent at family gatherings and in the great outdoors.
He leaves behind his wife and partner of 31 years, Judy Dunlop. Doug was a proud and beloved father, with Mavis (Wharton), to Phillip, Peter, Christina Nadeau, Jennifer (Michael Cotter) and Beryl Emmons (Jason Maxwell). Stepfather to Jane Dunlop (Denis Trudeau), Bruce (Thandie), Margo (Kevin Staniforth) and Jill Dunlop (Mark Bourbonnais). Fondly remembered by his sister Betty Ruth “Y” Emmons (Arthur I. Persofsky “R”) and brother-in-law Jim Love (Lisa Makarchuk). Predeceased by his parents Margaret (Fitchett) and Thomas, his sister Shirley Love and brother Garrett. Many grand-children.
A Memorial Reception was held Saturday June 3, 2-5pm at Rideauview Golf Club. Service and Celebration of Doug’s Life will be held at First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, 30 Cleary Avenue, July 8 at 3:30pm. Donations can be made to Child Haven International.