“Loyalist Trails” 2017-25: June 18, 2017

In this issue:
2017 UELAC Conference: Discover Your Roots
Unpacking a History Book’s Paragraph: The Famous and the Obscure (Part 3), by Stephen Davidson
Canada 150 Scholarship Project: 2 Weeks and Counting
Book Review: Fire & Desolation, by Gavin Watt
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Researching Recipes – A First-Hand Look
JAR: James Abercrombie, much lamented victim of Friendly Fire at Bunker Hill
Junto: Ideology, Power, and Thrill
Ben Franklin’s World: Frontier Politics in Early America
British Forces Land at Staten Island New York, the New York Campaign Begins
UE Loyalist Certificates Issued in May
Branches and Loyalist Day, Canada 150, Canada Day Events
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post: Margaret May (Clement) Wilson, 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.

Unpacking a History Book’s Paragraph: The Famous and the Obscure (Part 3)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

In Henry Onderdonk’s 1846 book, Documents and Letters Intended to Illustrate the Revolutionary Incidents of Queens County, the author included this paragraph:

“At the close of the Revolution there was an exodus of the more active Tories, who feared the vengeance of the returning Whigs. Had they quietly remained on their farms they would have suffered but little if any harm. But they dared not trust to the unknown future, and hastily sold off their possessions and embarked for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada and the British Isles. The departure of so many wealthy, talented and respectable inhabitants was no doubt a great loss to the Island, and a greater loss to the emigrants themselves. After wasting their money and their energies in the unpropitious climate and soil of Nova Scotia, many returned to the land of their birth, where, for a generation at least, they had to bear the taunts and jeers of the Whigs.”

The three DePeyster brothers, Long Islanders who fought for the loyalist cause, may have been in the historian’s thoughts as he penned this paragraph. James enlisted in the King’s American Regiment when he was just nineteen. Abraham achieved the rank of colonel in the King’s American Regiment and was second in command at the Battle of King’s Mountain. He later settled in Fredericton as a merchant and became the province’s treasurer. Frederick was a captain in the Kings Third American Regiment. He initially settled in Saint John, but later returned to New York.

While the latter two brothers were among the loyalists who found refuge in New Brunswick, James Depeyster pursued a career in the Royal Artillery. Physical descriptions of loyalists are rare, but James was remembered as being “one of the handsomest men in the British Army”. It was a distinction he would only enjoy for ten years.

In 1793, DePeyster was among the British troops battling the French in the Battle of Lincelles during the War of the First Coalition. In the forefront of the attack — and among the first to fall– was the New York loyalist. General F.C. White discovered the body of a “remarkably fine-looking dead officer”, which the French troops had propped up in the crotch of a tree.

Upon lifting the cocked hat that hid the corpse’s face, the general discovered that it was James — shot through the forehead. Adding more poignancy to the loyalist’s death was the fact that he had been engaged to a “lady of fortune, won by his physical and mental advantages”. DePeyster had decided to postpone their wedding until the war was over.

Another loyalist who had once lived in Jamaica, Long Island was Abraham C. Cuyler. A businessman who imported metal ware, Cuyler had been the mayor of Albany, New York before the outbreak of the revolution. Caught celebrating King George’s birthday in June of 1776, Cuyler was arrested by local patriots and imprisoned in Hartford, Connecticut. Cuyler was only able to secure his release after asking for a visit with his wife Jane/Jannetie who was sick and unable to care for their three sons and two daughters. Later, the loyalist was given permission to raise a battalion of 600 men, the Regiment of Loyal Refugees. Cuyler recruited his soldiers at Bett’s Tavern in Jamaica.

In 1779, Cuyler sailed to England to seek financial aid, and eventually returned to Albany. Unable to retreive any of his property, Cuyler realized that he would have to become a refugee.

The Cuyler family moved to Montreal in 1782 where he served as the inspector of refugees who had settled around Quebec City. Following discussions with a man who had surveyed Cape Breton Island, Cuyler asked the British government to make the island a separate colony from Nova Scotia. He recruited 3,000 refugees from Lower Canada, and, by 1784, had founded a loyalist settlement in Louisbourg.

However, Joseph DesBarrres, rather than Cuyler, had been made the lieutenant governor of the new colony. Cuyler was unwilling to play a minor role in the new colony’s government, and the years that followed were filled with bickering and conflict. Unable to achieve opportunities for advancement, the frustrated loyalist left Cape Breton in 1791.

Over the next few years, Cuyler moved back and forth between Lower Canada and Albany, trying to establish himself. Although he was granted 4,000 acres in Farnham Township (on the Yamaska River east of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu), by 1802, Cuyler (then 60 years old) decided to live in Montreal. Like many loyal New Yorkers, he died in a “land of strangers” eight years later.

Cuyler eventually merited a 1,200 word account in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Other refugees who had once walked the streets of Jamaica had their lives summed up in mere sentences in the Book of Negroes, a ledger containing the names of slaves and Black Loyalists who left New York City in 1783.

Richard Stanley (39) had once been considered the property of the Stoddart family of Jamaica. His wife Letitie (26) and son Peter (10) had once belonged to the Deanes. However, all three Africans had been granted their freedom by their Long Island enslavers and received their General Birch certificates. The latter indicated that they had served the British for at least a year before boarding the Peggy, an evacuation vessel bound for Shelburne, Nova Scotia in April of 1783.

Fifteen year-old John would spend the rest of his life as the slave of a Hessian officer in what eventually became Germany. Quarter-master Hunter of the Knoblauch Garrison Regiment bought the boy from Benjamin Carpenter of Jamaica.

In October of 1783 Mary Bright sailed for Nova Scotia’s Port Mouton with her nine year-old and 18 month-old sons, Matthew and Silas aboard the Elijah. All three had been born free in Jamaica.

Bright may have known another Black Loyalist family which had once lived in nearby Jamaica South. Samuel Willis escaped slavery in New Jersey in 1779 and married Rachel, who had been enslaved by Increase Carpenter of Jamaica. When they boarded the Nesbit (also bound for Port Mouton), they brought three children with them: Charles (5), Jenny (3) and Joseph (9 months). Aboard the same ship was Jamaica South’s Henry Derling, whose “owner” had also been given his freedom in 1777.

Following a fire which levelled Port Mouton, the Black Loyalists made new homes for themselves in other parts of the Maritimes. Most of the loyal refugees resettled in Nova Scotia’s Guysborough County. Receiving a total of 3,000 acres in grants, the Black Loyalists formed Tracadie, one of the oldest continuously Black communities in Canada. Like the other loyalists of New York’s Queen’s County, these refugees of African descent “breathed their last in a land of strangers”.

Whether members of New York’s elite or the slaves of Queens County’s Jamaica, the loyal refugees of Long Island gambled with their lives, placing their bets that they could live in peace in “the unpropitious climate and soil of Nova Scotia”. As this “unpacking” has shown, it was a gamble that some loyalists won and that others lost.


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

Canada 150 Scholarship Project: 2 Weeks and Counting

It’s happening! This week we added two more branches to the 2017 Scholarship Challenge. Thank you to Kawartha Branch and Kingston Branch who have joined with Assiniboine, Governor Simcoe, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Vancouver as branch supporters of the Loyalist Scholarship Endowment Fund. Because of your commitment we have never been closer to our goal.

As of June 15, 2017, the amount raised is $5650.00. And we’re not finished yet. UELAC branches, individual members, and friends of UELAC are showing their support of the UELAC mission to provide education resource materials and to encourage research through scholarship support. Thank you!

The end date for this challenge is July 1, 2017. Many of our branches have exceeded the Target $300.00 and we couldn’t be happier. A special wrap-up announcement will take place on June 23rd at the UELAC Conference in London ON. There is still time to join the list of generous donors and show your support of academic research in the field of Loyalist studies. For this challenge please mark your donations ‘Loyalist Scholarship Endowment Fund.’

See how to donate and follow our progress as we count down to Canada Day 2017.

“Success is not how high you have climbed, but how you make a positive difference to the world.” – Roy T. Bennett

Thank you for your part in making a difference in the world of Loyalist studies.

…Bonnie Schepers, UE

Book Review: Fire & Desolation, by Gavin Watt

Author: Gavin K. Watt

Toronto: Dundurn. 2017. soft cover. 398 pages

Reviewed by Peter W. Johnson UE

Books by Gavin K. Watt can be divided roughly into two categories. While all include a lot of information regarding events during the Revolutionary War, one group includes varying amounts of information on individuals- and not just the officers. Such books are a delight to the descendant who uncovers new information about an ancestor. The second group focuses on the historical events and ensures that the reader is better acquainted with the circumstances faced by that ancestor. Fire & Desolation falls into the second category and follows the 1778 Campaign Season.

Gavin undoubtedly wants to be viewed as having taken an objective look at the events of 1778. For over two hundred years most authors in the United States were not troubled by such niceties. The formula was simple: Patriots- good, Tories- bad… along with most “Indians”. To reach his audience across the Border, Gavin uses the term “Tories” rather than the more comfortable “Loyalists”. However, at the same time, he refers to the opposing side as “Rebels” rather than “Patriots”. As well, there are no heroes as such in this book. Some may have admirable qualities, but none are as one-dimensional as the stereotypical hero.

The events of 1777 had left the Loyalists and their Native Allies bloodied but not defeated. The stage was set for considerable raiding with the Native component front and centre. The area covered included mainly parts of New York and Pennsylvania but actually reached as far down as New Jersey. It’s amazing how much territory was covered.

The first Part focuses on Lake Champlain, the Upper Hudson River and Quebec. Then the narrative shifts to the Mohawk area. The next chapter covers the events at Wyoming with a return to the Mohawk Valley and Cherry Valley to end the book. Covering the 1778 events in chronological order works very well as there is an increasing sense of foreboding as one nears the most famous raids. In a sense Wyoming and Cherry Valley are the climaxes.

The events of 1778 were not pretty. This was a Civil War and they are often especially brutal. One is left wondering how people on either side survived? The raids on Wyoming and Cherry Valley have been referred to traditionally as “massacres” which served the Rebels as propaganda. Of course, ‘had the shoe been on the other foot’ the two raids would have been viewed as glorious victories by the Rebels with no references to massacres. My second re-enactment in the United States was the Bicentennial of Cherry Valley in 1978. What struck me at the time was the contrast. The hospitality afforded to us was beyond question, but at the same time it was clear that “us green-coated Tories were the bad guys” even after two centuries. The challenge for Gavin has been to take a neutral stance which is tricky with all the baggage which comes with Cherry Valley in particular. He does this very well. The only instance that jumped out at me was a comment about the relief of Ft. Stanwix wherein the word “Fortunately” is used to describe the event. As viewed through my Loyalist bias, there was nothing fortunate in Ft. Stanwix getting relieved, (p 282).

The book isn’t just about raiding and violence. It’s also a study of the complex relationships between the British Crown, the Loyalists and Six Nations, the latter having been divided into differing sides favouring either the British or the Rebels. With all the personal agendas, and politics, one could be forgiven for wondering how either side managed to accomplish anything.

What did the 1778 Campaign accomplish? There are certainly enough references in the book to show that the raiding greatly hampered the Rebels’ ability to provide grain for their hungry troops. It also set the stage for the horrific Sullivan Campaign of 1779, which ultimately didn’t stop more raiding.

If you have Gavin’s other books, this one is a welcome addition. If you’re new to Gavin’s work, this will be a treat!

Read more about the book.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Researching Recipes – A First-Hand Look

At interview with Siobhan M. Carlson is a master’s student at the University of New Brunswick.

I am currently working on Dr. Edith Snook’s project entitled “Early Modern Maritime Recipes.” It is a SSHRC funded research project partnered, with collaborators at Dalhousie University. The objective of the project is to collect recipes from early modern history (pre 1800s) in the Maritimes. Eventually, the goal of the project will be to develop a database of recipes. There are similar databases around the world dedicated to the collection and dissemination of early modern recipe culture.

With this kind of project, it is important to remember that recipes were not only just for food but also had medical properties as well—sometimes because there was little to no differentiation between the two.

Read more.

JAR: James Abercrombie, much lamented victim of Friendly Fire at Bunker Hill

by Don N. Hagist, June 14, 2017

Bunker Hill is one of the best-known battles of the American Revolution, recognized by name even among those who know little about the war. In spite of this recognition, many important facts of the battle are overshadowed by misconceptions and romantic images. Undeniably, it was a British victory won at a cost so great that it improved the American cause and diminished that of the British. This fact has caused popular history to present the battle as an example of British ineptitude and American prowess. Among the misconceptions are that the British made an overconfident frontal assault on a fortified position, that their soldiers marched into fire encumbered by heavy knapsacks, that superior American marksmanship greatly influenced the flow of the battle, and even that an African American named Salem Poor personally killed the senior British officer to fall in the fight. Like much popular history of the war, many of these perceptions change or evaporate completely when weighed against first-hand accounts.

That the British made a frontal assault on a fortified position cannot be disputed. Widely overlooked, however, is the fact that this frontal assault was more an accident of war than an intentional, tactical blunder. Understanding this is critical for appreciating British tactical doctrine throughout the war. The commander of the attack, Gen. Sir William Howe, won repeated victories later in the war with bold and decisive flanking movements. Often this is seen as a response to the massive casualties taken at Bunker Hill. In fact, the Bunker Hill redoubt was also intended to be taken by a flanking maneuver, the first and last of Howe’s to go awry.

Read more.

Junto: Ideology, Power, and Thrill

In his classic study, The Great Cat Massacre, Robert Darnton captured what to me has always seemed as the moment when cultural or intellectual history becomes truly thrilling: “when you realize that you are not getting something—a joke, a proverb, a ceremony—that is particularly meaningful to the natives, you can see where to grasp a foreign system of meaning in order to unravel its meaning.” Fifty years later, Bernard Bailyn’s classic The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution still stands out in my mind as one of the prime examples of such a moment in the historiography of early America. His writing in that piece exudes the intellectual rush Bailyn and many of his students felt as they fleshed out a new promising analysis of what later came to be known as “republican” thought. Leafing through the book one can still feel the sense of excitement Bailyn shares with the reader as he explores the significance of hitherto little-understood intellectual traditions. It might seem counter intuitive for a junior historian with unambiguous leftist tendencies, but it is one of those few books that keep reminding me that history can be exciting.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Frontier Politics in Early America

Did you know that Connecticut and Virginia once invaded Pennsylvania? During the 1760s, Connecticut invaded and captured the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania just as Virginia invaded and captured parts of western Pennsylvania. And Pennsylvania stood powerless to stop them.

Patrick Spero, the Librarian of the American Philosophical Society and author of Frontier Country: The Politics of War in Early Pennsylvania, takes us through the intercolonial invasions of Pennsylvania and reveals why the government of colonial Pennsylvania proved unable to defend its territory.

During our investigation, Pat reveals information the founding of Pennsylvania and the form of its colonial government; Early American ideas about the frontier and how those ideas changed over the course of the 18th century; And, how problems in its frontier caused Pennsylvania’s colonial government to collapse by 1776.

Listen to the podcast.

British Forces Land at Staten Island New York, the New York Campaign Begins

The New York and New Jersey campaign was a series of battles for control of New York City and the state of New Jersey in the American Revolutionary War between British forces under General Sir William Howe and the Continental Army under General George Washington in 1776 and the winter months of 1777. Howe was successful in driving Washington out of New York City, but overextended his reach into New Jersey, and ended the active campaign season in January 1777 with only a few outposts near the city. The British held New York harbor for the rest of the war, using it as a base for expeditions against other targets.

First landing unopposed on Staten Island on July 3, 1776, Howe assembled an army composed of elements that had been withdrawn from Boston in March following their failure to hold that city, combined with additional British troops, as well as Hessian troops rented from several German principalities. Washington had New England soldiers as well as regiments from states as far south as Virginia. Landing on Long Island in August, Howe defeated Washington in the largest battle of the war, but the Continental Army was able to retreat to Manhattan under cover of darkness and fog. Washington suffered a series of defeats in Manhattan, with the exception of a victory at Harlem Heights, but was nevertheless chased north to White Plains, New York. At that point Howe returned to Manhattan to capture forces Washington had left in the north of that island.

Read more.

UE Loyalist Certificates Issued in May

A list of UE Certificates issued since late in 2012 — showing the Loyalist ancestor, name of descendant (when permission is granted), branch and date — has been updated with the certificates issued in May of this year. The same updates have been applied to the Loyalist Directory.

Branches and Loyalist Day, Canada 150, Canada Day Events

  • Wishes from Nova Scotia, Happy Loyalist Day on June 19th to those in Ontario, Saskatchewan and everywhere recognizing the United Empire Loyalists!
  • Peterborough, Monday 19 June. Kawartha Branch will conduct their annual UEL Flag Raising Ceremony at 10:00 a.m. at the Peterborough City Hall.
  • Adolphustown, 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 in the World?

Where is James Adair of Assiniboine 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.

  • Help restore Loyalist House in Saint John NB. You can cast your vote once per day. Competition and challenge by National Trust of Canada. You can donate too, if you wish.
  • Saturday, July 8, 2017 the 19th Annual Young Family Reunion. Descendants of Adam Young (1717-1790) & Catharine Schremling (1720-1798). Potluck lunch in Caledonia ON at noon. Guest speaker Karen Richardson. Read the flyer for more details, contacts, etc.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

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

  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 17 Jun 1775 British win Pyrrhic victory at Breed’s Hill in Boston, recorded in history as the Battle of Bunker Hill.
    • 16 Jun 1783 Mutinous soldiers march on Philadelphia for back pay; Congress flees to Princeton, New-Jersey.
    • Jun 15 1775, George Washington is unanimously elected Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.  He accepts next day.
    • 15 Jun 1776 Lower Counties of Pennsylvania declare independence from Britain – and Pennsylvania – as Delaware.
    • 14 Jun 1777 Continental Congress specifies that the American flag will be 13 stripes and 13 stars.
    • 13 Jun 1777 The Marquis de Lafayette arrives in South-Carolina, offering military leadership to rebel forces.
    • 12 Jun 1776 Virginia adopts Declaration of Rights, derived from England’s “Glorious Revolution” Bill of Rights.
    • 11 Jun  Joseph Warren, the Patriot spy, rabble rouser, and martyr of Bunker Hill, was born in Roxbury in 1741.
    • 11 Jun 1776 Committee appointed by Congress to draft Declaration of Independence, incl. Jefferson, Adams, Franklin.
  • 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…
  • MHS: Wooden plaque with crossed swords; Prescott and Linzee swords. Silver-hilted small-sword belonging to Col. William Prescott, created by Jacob Hurd, circa 1730-1750 and small-sword for an officer of the Royal Navy, belonging to Capt. John Linzee, created by unidentified maker, circa 1780s. This plaque displays swords owned by Colonel William Prescott of the Massachusetts revolutionary army and Royal Navy Captain John Linzee, who fought on opposite sides during the Battle of Bunker Hill, the first major military engagement of the American Revolution. The swords descended through their respective families, until both ended up in the possession of historian William Hickling Prescott, who married a Linzee relation. Read the story of the swords and of the two men.
  • In soil near Charleston’s Elizabeth Street, a search for 237-year-old fortifications. The physical evidence of South Carolina’s largest Revolutionary War battle has vanished from view but Charleston archaeologists hope that changes this week as they dig behind a grand home.
  • Huzzah! The mispronunciation of a cheer. Randolph Bragg, who works as a costumed interpreter at Mount Vernon, shares his pet peeve with us this week. “It’s not really a myth, but I wish you’d try to help bust it anyway,” he writes. “I hear this waaaaay too often [at Mount Vernon] and it sets my teeth on edge every time.” What is it? The mispronunciation of the colonial era cheer: Huzzah! (Our version of Hooray!)
  • In 1861, a shooting contest had been held on the field beside Fort York in Toronto for the 5th Militia District. In November the award ceremony was being planned and William Botsford Jarvis, Toronto Sheriff offered his home “Rosedale”. The ceremony – see photo –  was a high occasion that included the Mayor Lt. Gen. Sir William Fenwick Williams who is pictured wearing a hat decorated with ostrich feathers. On his right stands Colonel George Duggan wearing an 1840’s-style uniform with its large peaked hat. Submitted by Bob Jarvis UE
  • Townsend’s: The No-Meat Survival Food Pt. 2. In last weeks episode we demonstrate several methods for preparing parched corn. Today is all about preparing our corn to eat in the easiest and most palatable ways.
  • Merrickville Blockhouse Festival! Back again today representing Loyalists. Jennifer DeBruin UE
  • 18th Century plaid silk caraco jacket, c. 1770. Narrow sea green vertical stripe over cream & tan
  • Such a pleasing pattern for this robe a la Francaise, c. 1765-80
  • A blog post on shoes & style shifts for a forthcoming ‘Georgian Shoe Stories
  • Travels with Elizabeth Simcoe: A visual journey through Upper and Lower Canada, courtesy of the Archives of Ontario (Scroll to the bottom of the page for different sections containing a number of her paintings with selected descriptive text).

Last Post: Margaret May (Clement) Wilson, UE

Passed away peacefully at Caressant Care, Cobden on Saturday, June 10, 2017 in her 96th year. Margaret Wilson, formerly of Vanessa, ON, wife of the late Donald J. Wilson (1999). Daughter of the late James and Abbie Clement (nee McCoy). Sister of the late Wray Clement (the late Aileen), the late Harold Clement, the late Marian Hyde (the late Ted), sister-in-law of Betty Mawhiney (the late Bill) and Willa Wilson (the late Robert). Survived by step-daughter Victoria “Vicki” Wilson and step-son David (Marybeth) Wilson; grandchildren Andrew (Anna), Christopher (Meghan), and Amanda, and five great-grandchildren.

Margaret was Past President of The United Empire Loyalists, London Branch (ancestor Lewis Cobes Clement), Past President of the Bell Collectors of Ontario, and a Member of the Huguenot Society of Canada. At Margaret’s request, there will be a simple graveside service at Delhi Cemetery, Delhi, ON, Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. As an expression of sympathy, donations to Colborne Street United Church, London, ON or the charity of your choice would be appreciated. Arrangements entrusted to the MALCOLM, DEAVITT & BINHAMMER FUNERAL HOME , Pembroke. Online donations/condolences are available at www.mdbfuneralhome.com.