“Loyalist Trails” 2017-26: June 25, 2017

In this issue:
Canada 150 Scholarship Project: Last Week, Your Last Chance
UELAC Gear: Order Before July 12
2017 UELAC Conference: Discover Your Roots
That Ship On the New Brunswick Flag, by Stephen Davidson
How Tall was the Average Eighteenth-Century Soldier?
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: First Nations and Local Courts of New Brunswick
JAR: From Yorktown to England – Cornwallis’s fraught passage home
The Junto: Research at the Bodleian – A Guide
Ben Franklin’s World: The Other Slavery – Indian Enslavement in the Americas
First Nations: Algonquian Tribe
Remembering the Loyalists at St. Alban the Martyr UEL Memorial Church
Toronto’s Oldest Home, Built By John Cox – A Loyalist?
Where in the World?
Loyalist Day, Canada Day Events
Region and Branch Bits
Editor’s Note: Happy Canada 150!


Canada 150 Scholarship Project: Last Week, Your Last Chance

More donations this week; now at $5,750 and 22 donors.

Last call to make your contribution to this project. Every few dollars helps.

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

…Bonnie Schepers, UE

UELAC Gear: Order Before July 12

New UELAC logo’d clothing items have been previewed for the last while at some events.

These items are available now online, but only until July 12. See flyer.

During this time, orders will be collected and then the goods will be made and shipped. Take advantage of this period to get free shipping right to your home.

To order, visit www.headaboveuelac.deco-apparel.com/ – for item detail questions, see the contact page.

If you have questions about the overall program, email Trish Groom at patricia.groom.uel@gmail.com.

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.

That Ship On the New Brunswick Flag

© Stephen Davidson, UE

With Canada’s 150th birthday approaching, it’s a good time to remind New Brunswickers of their province’s role in the founding of our country and the symbols that we use to illustrate our heritage. A good starting point is the province’s distinctive flag, a design that is based on New Brunswick’s coat of arms. In every website and reference book that one can consult, the assertion is made that the ship sailing on the bright blue waters is a recognition of the province’s shipbuilding industry.

While New Brunswick’s heritage of ship-building during the age of sail is certainly worth celebrating, this interpretation of the design of the province’s flag and coat of arms is false. The sailing vessel actually represents a refugee evacuation ship making its entrance into the narrows of Saint John’s harbour in 1783.

The government of New Brunswick website states that the ship and water design is based on the Great Seal of New Brunswick. That seal was created in 1784 when of New Brunswick became the newest colony in British North America. During the previous year, over 14,000 loyalist refugees from the American Revolution flooded into the territory in hundreds of evacuation ships. They sailed out of New York City between April and October of 1783 in British naval vessels (and hired American-owned ships), heading north to sanctuary in Nova Scotia.

Within a year, these displaced Americans formed New Brunswick, the first colony comprised of political refugees in the British Empire. When New Brunswick became a founding province for the Dominion of Canada in 1867, it was joined by the second colony founded by loyalists — Ontario (Upper Canada). But only the coat of arms and the provincial flag of New Brunswick reflect the refugee heritage of Canada.

Naturally, the ship shown on New Brunswick’s flag does not look like an evacuation ship of 1783 — and certainly does not resemble the tall ships from its 19th century ship building heritage. (The galley is the conventional heraldic representation of a ship.) But if one were to look at the Great Seal of New Brunswick, one can immediately see that the evacuation ships of 1783 are the true source of inspiration for the galley ship on the provincial coat of arms.

The Great Seal of New Brunswick shows an 18th century ship sailing in a narrow passage bordered by small homes and forests. Remember, this design was created at the founding of the province in 1784. New Brunswickers were happy to have completed building their log cabins at this point in time — it would be awhile before they would be renowned for building globe-straddling sailing ships.

The only explanation that makes sense for the design of the great seal is the origin story for New Brunswick — a colony founded by refugees who sailed into the mouth of the St. John River. The narrow band of waves at the base of the provincial flag represents the St. John River, not the Atlantic Ocean. The ship is a reminder of 18th century ships seeking sanctuary, not 19th century tall ships built in New Brunswick.

One example of the Great Seal of New Brunswick can be seen on the final page of the charter that incorporated the city of Saint John in 1785. (See PPS below; The seal was also used to notarize land grants in the early years of settlement.) The similarities between the seal and the modern flag are too great to ignore. It is more than coincidence. Given that New Brunswick’s own government website maintains that the coat of arms design was based on the 1784 provincial seal, the true significance of the ship-and-river image cannot be disputed.

Having experienced a year when New Brunswickers welcomed refugees from overseas (as they have welcomed refugees of famine and war over the centuries), it is important to recognize that the very symbols of the province (from the ship on the flag to the ship in the government’s logo) celebrate New Brunswick’s heritage of providing sanctuary since 1783.

PS: See the New Brunswick website, where it states: “The design was based in part on the first Great Seal of New Brunswick which featured a sailing ship on water.”

PPS: See The Great Seal: two photos from Canada’s First City: Saint John (forward by Mayor Eric L. Teed), 1962.

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

How Tall was the Average Eighteenth-Century Soldier?

One of the most pernicious and hard to eradicate myths about the eighteenth-century is that people were quite short, roughly 3/4ths the size of Americans today. Visitors to historic sites and reenactments frequently offer it as an example of their knowledge of the period, or inquiry regarding soldiers’ height.

In response to statement from a historic site employee: “soldiers often slept 4-6 men to a tent,” or “in barracks, men slept 2-3 to a bunk,” there is often a liturgical response of: “yes, but people were short back then…”. How true, if at all, is this rumor? Or, put another way, what was the average height of soldiers in the eighteenth century?

Once again, I am standing on the shoulders of scholarly giants as I write this post. The painstaking work of John Komlos, Willfred Fann, Kenneth L. Sokoloff, Georgia E. Villaflor, and to a lesser extent, Matthew Spring, has allowed us to obtain a rather large sample size with which to arrive at an average. When taken together, this data includes measured heights from over 13,000 soldiers between 1754 and 1783. These soldiers came from the American (Continental and Provincial), British, and Prussian armies during this era. Without further adieu: how tall was the average eighteenth-century soldier?

Read more.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: First Nations and Local Courts of New Brunswick

The real, daily interactions between indigenous people and setters of European ancestry in British colonies was an ongoing process and often involved a clash in lifestyles. Formation and negotiation of relationships between colonial groups were recorded through petitioning and court cases initiated by both indigenous and settler populations. The rough construction of these relationships can be observed within the court records of Northumberland County, New Brunswick.

The Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace for Northumberland County records consist of the minutes of the Court, with accounts of criminal and civil matters such as boundary and fishing disputes, appointment of officials, and the resolution of minor offences.

Read more.

JAR: From Yorktown to England — Cornwallis’s fraught passage home

by Ian Saberton June 22, 2017

Based preponderantly on The Cornwallis Papers, this article describes in part Cornwallis’s last days in Virginia, his brief sojourn in New York, and events thereafter leading up to his arrival in London.

Immediately after the capitulation of Yorktown and Gloucester Cornwallis began to write his letter of October 20, 1781 reporting the outcome of the siege to Clinton. He wrote it, he says, “under great agitation of mind and in great hurry, being constantly interrupted by numbers of people coming upon business or ceremonies.” In fact the interruptions were becoming so great that he had sought the assistance of the French in order to exercise some measure of control.

Of pressing concern to Cornwallis was how to protect those loyalists particularly obnoxious to the enemy who had been serving or assisting him in either a military or civilian capacity. If they remained prisoners, they were liable to be brought rigorously before revolutionary courts with the risk that, if found guilty, for example of treason, they might be sentenced to death. Cornwallis did lessen the problem to some degree by straining article 8 of the capitulation so as to extend from troops to civilians the persons who, without examination, might sail for New York with his dispatches in the Bonetta sloop of war. Yet more was needed, given that article 10, which would have provided comprehensive protection for loyalists, was not granted by the enemy. So Cornwallis came to a tacit agreement with Washington — who did not wish to sully his victory with the blood of his prisoners — whereby Cornwallis was permitted to spirit away in flag vessels, for example the Andrew, Cochran and Lord Mulgrave, those loyalists who feared falling foul of revolutionary law. Not a party to the agreement was Gov. Thomas Nelson Jr. of Virginia, whose following two letters to Cornwallis illustrate the nature of the problem.

Read more.

The Junto: Research at the Bodleian – A Guide

A few summers ago, I wrote a guide to navigating London-area archives, as part of a roundtable The Junto published about research. I have updated that piece, but today, I wanted to share some thoughts on doing research at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford.

As with most major research universities, Bodleian Libraries describes a system of multiple separate repositories (comprehensive list here). There are larger central ones, like Duke Humphrey and the Weston, some subject-specific ones, and Oxford’s individual also colleges have their own libraries.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: The Other Slavery – Indian Enslavement in the Americas

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He also played a central role in the European adoption of Indian or Native American slavery.

When we think of slavery in early America, we often think of the practice of African and African-American chattel slavery. However, that system of slavery wasn’t the only system of slavery that existed in North America. Systems of Indian slavery existed too. In fact, Indians remained enslaved long after the 13th Amendment abolished African-American slavery in 1865.

In this episode, Andres Resendez, a professor of history at the University of California, Davis and author of The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in Americas, leads us on an investigation of this “other” form of American slavery.

During our investigation, Andres reveals how and when the practice of Indian slavery started; Details about Indian slavery and the role It played in the Mexican Silver Rush and the Pubelo Revolt of 1680; And what happened when Indian slavery became a United States institution after the Mexican-American War in 1848.

Listen to the podcast.

First Nations: Algonquian Tribe

The Algonquian are one of the most populous and widespread North American native language groups, with tribes originally numbering in the hundreds. Today hundreds of thousands of individuals identify with various Algonquian peoples. Historically the peoples were prominent along the Atlantic Coast and into the interior along the St. Lawrence River and around the Great Lakes. This grouping consists of peoples who speak Algonquian languages.

Read more.

Remembering the Loyalists at St. Alban the Martyr UEL Memorial Church

By Don Aitchison

This past Sunday, I took a drive down through lovely Prince Edward County to Glenora, where I caught the ferry to Adolphustown and attended the annual church service to commemorate the landing of the first Loyalist settlers in Upper Canada on June 16, 1784.

The service is held in St. Alban the Martyr UEL (United Empire Loyalist) Memorial Church. This charming stone church was constructed between 1884 and 1890; the cornerstone having been laid on the centennial anniversary of the landing by the then Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable John Beverley Robinson. He was the son of Sir John Beverley Robinson, a leading figure in the development of Upper Canada, who served as Chief Justice of the province from 1829 to 1862. Of more relevance to me personally, his wife, Mary Jane Hagerman was a cousin of mine.

Read more.

Toronto’s Oldest Home, Built By John Cox – A Loyalist?

How an electrician’s visit led to the discovery of Toronto’s oldest home.

The unassuming house sat on Broadview Ave. in Toronto’s east end behind a hedge for many years, not really attracting attention to itself.

Nothing was out of the ordinary except for some things that were out of the ordinary. The odd angle it had in relation to the houses around it, for example, or the generously large sash windows that faced south but didn’t let much light in, because they faced the next-door neighbour’s brick wall.

Then, one day in the 1990s, a previous owner hired an electrician who opened a wall and found that it wasn’t made of red brick, like the other houses on the street, but of solid logs with a wood finishing.

“It was a discovery by accident that he was living in a log house,” says Don Procter, one of the house’s owners.

Research traced the house to John Cox, a Loyalist who was granted hundreds of acres of land east of the Don River in 1796.

Built by 1807 (when Cox died and his widow, Mary Cox, sold the land), it may or may not be Toronto’s oldest building — that distinction may go to a log cabin a few years older that’s been a museum since 1879. There’s also a cabin in Scarborough (now a historic site) that historians have found it hard to date, and could possibly be older.

But as far as we know, it’s Toronto’s oldest home, in the sense that it’s still used as a home.

Read more.

Editor’s Note: I wonder if John really was a United Empire Loyalist, or an SUE even?

Where in the World?

Where is Doug Grant 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.

Loyalist Day, Canada Day Events

  • 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)

Region and Branch Bits

From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.

  • BELLEVILLE – United Empire Loyalist Day brought Belleville back to its roots. Members of the community, Mayor Taso Christopher, and organizers gathered on Monday in downtown Belleville to commemorate United Empire Loyalist Day which was made official in Ontario on June 19, 1998. “Today commemorates the settlement of the Loyalists in 1784 onwards. They were a founding group of Ontario along with their native allies. We wouldn’t be the Canada that we are today without them,” said Peter Johnson, branch president for the Bay of Quinte Branch United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada. Read more…
  • The Loyalist flag flies over the entrance of the Saskatchewan Legislature for UEL day on June 19.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 24 Jun 1776 Congress orders New-Jersey Royal Governor Franklin (son of Benjamin) sent under guard to Connecticut.
    • June 23 1780 “Soldier Parson James” Caldwell helps win Battle of Springfield NJ one of last major Rev War battles in the north
    • 23 Jun 1776 British position fleet to attack Charleston, repulsed by defenders within improvised palmetto-log fort.
    • 22 Jun 1775 Congress issues first currency, unbacked fiat “Continentals,” which suffer instant runaway inflation.
    • 21 Jun 1788 – . NH became 9th and last needed state to ratify Constitution of US, making the document the law of the land.
    • 21 Jun 1780 Gen de Kalb arrives at Hillsboro, NC with 1400 Continental Line – senior American in Southern Dept till Gates was appointed
    • 21 Jun 1779 Spain enters the war, allied with France, leading to British loss of Mississippi River & Gulf of Mexico.
    • 20 Jun 1779 6,500 Americans attack just 1,200 British at Stono Ferry, SC, only speed retreat slightly, lose 146 men.
    • 19 Jun 1781 Siege of Ninety-Six, South-Carolina, held by 550 Loyalists, is broken; 185+ Americans & 75 British lost.
    • 18 Jun 1778 Facing arrival of French forces to back rebels, British give up occupation of Philadelphia.
  • Do you enjoy photos of reenactors? Have a look at the photo gallery of the King’s Royal Yorkers at their various events.
  • Townsend: Fried Catfish With Turnip Greens. Today historic interpreter Brenda Parker from George Washington’s Mount Vernon gives us a first person portrayal of “Silla”, an enslaved woman who worked on Washington’s estate. In this special cooking episode Brenda shows us a delicious recipe for fried catfish that you have to try!
  • Lots of Loyalist descendants stopped by to chat and check for their ancestors in the reference materials at Display by the St. Lawrence Branch UELAC at the Merrickville Blockhouse Festival. Keith Linsey, UE wore his KRRNY 2nd Battalion uniform, so Jennifer DeBruin UE could see what her Loyalist ancestors wore!
  • Coat and Waistcoat. Coat, c. 1790, striped satin weave silk, self fabric wood buttons; waistcoat, prob French, c1780s-1800. Note shorter length & narrower cut of waistcoat, indicative of fashion shifts in closeup photo.
  • Francisco Cabarrús holds popular tricorne and wears suit with matching coat, waistcoat (hip length) and breeches, 1788.

Editor’s Note: Happy Canada 150!

This coming Saturday, July 1, is of course Canada Day. I wish you wonderful celebrations.

As I plan to be away from June 30 until July 10, and essentially out of touch by voice or email, I hope to set up earlier in the week for distribution on July 2 what will likely be a rather short issue of Loyalist Trails. The subsequent one is most likely to be a couple of days late ie quite possibly not until July 11. It too may be rather brief.