“Loyalist Trails” 2017-28: July 11, 2017

In this issue:
UELAC Gear: Order Before July 12
Canada 150 Scholarship Project: Let the Good Times Roll
Sarah Winslow: The Spunky Sister (Part 2 of 2), by Stephen Davidson
Honouring Simon Girty in Pennsylvania: Addendum
Loyalist Surge Changed Makeup of Canada
Borealia: Anguish in the Loyalist Archives, Part 1
Atlantic Loyalist Connections Loyalist New Brunswick and the Absence of Party Politics
JAR: Avenging Francis Bradley, the Mecklenburg Marksman: A Family Story
Ben Franklin’s World: A Declaration in Draft
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Editor’s Note


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.

Canada 150 Scholarship Project: Last Week, Your Last Chance

While Canada Day 2017 may be a sparkling summer memory, we’re still celebrating! This past week we added Calgary Branch to the list of those who accepted the 2017 Scholarship Challenge. Thank you, Calgary! That brings the number of participating branches to eight, and our donor count to 35. We still have room for more.

Since the conference weekend I have received letters of encouragement and shared in conversations that confirm the importance of our efforts. As descendants of United Empire Loyalists and members who uphold the UELAC vision statement we are the best advocates for continued support of academic research in the field of Loyalist studies. Thank you for your part in this valuable initiative.

By special request, we will continue to receive donations through the month of July. This means we are open for business on this fundraiser for three more weeks! And we have saved the best for last. Cue the drum roll …

As of July 10, the 2017 Scholarship Fund Challenge has reached $8,500.00. UELAC gratefully acknowledges each person who gave a ‘toonie’ in support of this challenge and those who donated above and beyond our expectations. Thank you!

Please read more about the scholarship and join us in giving. Please mark your donations “Loyalist Scholarship Endowment Fund.”

Your gift today will have a lasting impact on Loyalist research and education. Thank you so much,

…Bonnie Schepers, UE

Sarah Winslow: The Spunky Sister (Part 2 of 2)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Up until her 40th year, Sarah Winslow was a prisoner of her era’s expectations for aristocratic women. According to the unwritten script of the 18th century, she should have enjoyed all the benefits of her father’s position in society — attended by servants, enjoying glittering balls, wearing the latest English fashions– until she made an advantageous marriage and produced children to carry on her husband’s name before returning to all the perquisites of her place in colonial New England. But that script did not forsee the American Revolution or the fact that Sarah Winslow’s family would remain loyal to the crown.

By 1785, Sarah’s life bore little resemblance to what she had been led to expect. Patriots had chased her family from their home in Plymouth, Massachusetts, depriving them of all their worldly goods. After years as sanctuary seekers in New York City, the Winslows settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Well past the age that would make her attractive to a loyalist seeking a wife, Sarah filled her days with social visits, card parties, and balls, depending on her father and brother to sustain her lifestyle.

While her brother, Edward Junior, was seeking a government position in the newly created loyalist colony of New Brunswick, Sarah’s father, Edward Senior died. — leaving a widow and two spinster daughters in desperate need of financial resources. Their only hope lay more than 4,500 km across the ocean.

For the past year, loyalist settlers in Nova Scotia had been aware of a new form of financial salvation — monetary compensation provided by the British government through the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists. One only needed to sail for London to seek compensation. But the Winslows of Nova Scotia were now a widow and spinsters — not the socially appropriate champions of a family’s destiny.

Having failed to follow the “script” for the life of an upper class woman for the past 40 years, Sarah Winslow now boldly ignored the social conventions of her times. She would leave Halifax and travel to London — alone.

Edward, Sarah’s younger brother, confided in a friend, that if Sarah “succeeds in England I shall be relieved of what (was I able to support ’em) would not be considered a burden, but in my present situation is a weight which added to my own family fairly sinks me. On her success depends in some degree my operations.”

Given that a sailing ship could take anywhere between six and eight weeks to travel from North America to Britain, Sarah must have left Halifax in late December 1784 or in early January of 1785. While her departure date is uncertain, the transcripts of the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL) reveal that Sarah survived her perilous sea journey and was standing before the commissioners to speak on her family’s behalf on Thursday, February 17, 1785.

Any Loyalist who hoped to receive compensation from the British government needed to have certain proofs to substantiate his/her claim. The RCLSAL’s commissioners expected to hear witnesses, examine property deeds, and peruse statements of character from prominent, trustworthy loyalists. The transcripts of Sarah’s hearing show that she had a “memorial” from her mother and sister giving her the authority to represent the Winslow family as well as a “release” from her brother

Sarah hoped to draw upon the circle of old Massachusetts friends living near London as her family’s witnesses. As soon as she arrived in England, Sarah sent a letter to Benjamin Hallowell, a friend from her hometown of Plymouth, asking him to give “evidence of her father’s character”. Illness in the family prevented him from helping Sarah.

In the end, Thomas Aston Coffin, an old Boston acquaintance, attended the RCLSAL hearings with Sarah, but he did not serve as a witness. Nevertheless, Sarah would later record “It was in his power and inclination to do more for me than the rest of my friends could. From the first hour of my getting to London until he saw me on board ship at Gravesend his every moment was employed in my business and pleasures.”

Without witnesses, Sarah’s best chance for compensation lay in a recounting of the services of the Winslow men and mentioning their connection to men of influence. The fact that a noteworthy loyalist such as Brook Watson had secured an allowance for Sarah’s father spoke volumes as to the Winslows’ connections.

(Watson, who would go on to become the Lord Mayor of London in 1796, was already something of a celebrity in 1785. He was the subject of a 1778 John Singleton Copley painting that portrayed a Cuban shark attack, and had been elected to represent London in the House of Commons in 1784. Watson’s influence would later be instrumental in seeing Sir Guy Carleton being chosen as the governor of Upper and Lower Canada.)

The RCLSAL took its time making a decision on the merits of Sarah’s appeal for compensation. In the week that they deliberated, Sarah took advantage of being in London, sampling “all the amusements of the great world”. Among other delights, she had the opportunity to see a Drury Lane performance by Sarah Siddons, the leading actress of the British stage.

Meanwhile, back in Nova Scotia, the Winslow family wondered how Sarah was faring in London. Her sister Penelope confided to a correspondent that she hadn’t think her sister would even consider crossing the Atlantic “at this early season”. “I know not what to wish or expect; some important intelligence must soon reach us, to despair is impious. I will cherish the fond hope that some days of content may yet be alloted to her who is with esteem and affection.”

Sarah once again stood before the compensation board on Saturday, February 26. The RCLSAL declared that Miss Winslow was “a loyalist and her father and family very loyal” and granted the Winslow women a small penion that they would receive for the rest of their lives. Mission accomplished!

Boarding the St. Lawrence at Gravesend in early March, Sarah arrived back in Halifax on April 11. Had the delights of London forever ruined her for life in the colonies? Apparently not. Sarah wrote to a friend living in New Brunswick that despite all that she had enjoyed in Britain, it “does not alter my determination of becoming an inhabitant of your woody country.” Sarah, her mother, and sister left Halifax for Saint John, New Brunswick in July. By 1787, the three Winslow women were settled in Fredericton, their home for the remainder of their lives.

Sarah Winslow, the Loyalist woman who was unafraid to cross the Atlantic, died in Fredericton at 83 years of age, outliving her mother, sister and brother — the family that she so ably represented in London forty-three years earlier.

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

Honouring Simon Girty in Pennsylvania: Addendum

There is a flyer for the event, Sat., Sept. 30, Turner Cemetery, Pittsburgh. Numerous activities. Also a photo of the plaque.

Contact Eric Marchbein emarch333@icloud.com for more details/information.

Loyalist Surge Changed Makeup of Canada

By Kathleen Lynch in the Times Colonist, Victoria BC

Four of my great-great-great-grandfathers were New Englanders who fought in the American Revolutionary War. They fought on the British side, and were known as United Empire Loyalists or UELs.

When Britain lost the war, the UELs fled north to Canada.

The UEL surge in 1783 changed the map of Canada. Since the French were already established in present-day Quebec, it left Nova Scotia and Ontario for Loyalist settlement. With their arrival, the new province of New Brunswick was formed by partitioning Nova Scotia. In 1783, Ontario and Quebec were a single region called “Canada.” After the UEL arrival, it was split into Upper and Lower Canada — present-day Ontario and Quebec.

The Ontario Loyalists travelled up the St. Lawrence past Montreal. My ancestors settled 40 miles beyond the Quebec border, 80 miles west of Montreal at a town called Cornwall. Because of the Loyalists, Cornwall was already a thriving little town when Toronto was still a wilderness, referred as “muddy little York.”

Read more.

Borealia: Anguish in the Loyalist Archives, Part 1

There is a wealth of information about early Canadian history online, and for those of us who like to go back to original source but live some distance from Ottawa, Toronto, or London, online databases of digitised primary sources are vitally important to our work. Recently I’ve been looking into some Loyalist records from early Canada. Thanks to government-funded digitisation programmes such as Héritage and the work of Library and Archives Canada, many sets of records once only available in the British Library or on 1960s-era microfilm at select national libraries are now online and free to access.

The digitised, handwritten documents found in such collections as the Upper Canada Land Petitions and the Haldimand Papers (two sets I’ve used quite a bit) also serve as excellent reminders that just because a source has been put up online does not mean that it will be easy to search through, read, or use. Even databases with an integrated online search application can give difficult or incomplete results due to many different factors.

However, the hunt can be well worth it. In these two posts, I’d like to use examples from my own Loyalist research as an example of the benefits and challenges of using online sources.

Read more.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Loyalist New Brunswick and the Absence of Party Politics

For many living in present day New Brunswick, Canada party politics has become normalized. People vote for the party that has the most agreeable party platform, and the elected Member of the Legislative Assembly becomes an ambassador of the party first and their riding second. Many do not know that party politics was imported into New Brunswick with the signing of Confederation in 1867. Prior to 1867, New Brunswick’s House of Assembly was divided by the local counties only. The holdings of The Loyalist Collection , in particular material relating to the House of Assembly, has helped to shed light on this fascinating subject of political tradition of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This political reality for New Brunswick loyalists, however, has remained largely unexplored by academic historians.

Read more.

JAR: Avenging Francis Bradley, the Mecklenburg Marksman: A Family Story

by Hershel Parker June 26, 2017

As I summarized in The ‘Battle at McIntire’s Farm’, on October 3, 1780 Lord Cornwallis sent Maj. John Doyle on a foraging party north from Charlotte with over 500 men and 40 wagons. Capt. James Thompson, Lt. Francis Bradley and twelve other Patriots ambushed them at McIntire’s, killing several of the British then harassing Doyle’s men during their panicked flight back to Charlotte laden with twelve dead, eight wounded, and only two wagons of forage. The humiliated Doyle may have always thought he had been defeated by a great troop of Americans. A quarter century on, the Royal Military Chronicle “Life of Lieutenant-general sir John Doyle” simply skipped the Charlotte interlude. George Graham, one of the fourteen ambushers, told the story to his brother Joseph, who had been left for dead the day the British took Charlotte. Decades later, once Charlotte had a newspaper, Gen. Joseph Graham published the story.

Contentious Confederate Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill welcomed Revolutionary stories in his Charlotte paper, Southern Home, founded in 1870, and reprinted Graham’s story on May 3, 1875 from an issue saved for half a century. At last, the marksmen Thompson and Bradley were being honored, for earlier in 1875, writing in Hill’s paper as “S. C. A.,” the Presbyterian minister Samuel Caldwell Alexander (a descendant of Mecklenburg Revolutionary heroes), had told of Thompson’s warning his “lady-love” that she might hear his rifle while she was in Charlotte selling poultry and eggs to the British. From “a thicket of Chinquepin bushes,” one hundred yards away, he fired, killing an officer, whose “blood spurted upon the young woman.” Thompson followed his fleeing sweetheart and reassured her: “his rifle never missed the mark,” so “she need never fear being shot when he pulled the trigger.” In a parallel story, Bradley and his wife Abigail came into Charlotte during the occupation. Concealing himself in the same chinquepin thicket, he sent her to sell her butter to a “British chief.” An orderly came out instead: “While this orderly was looking at the butter, Bradley, who was almost a hundred yards distant, leveled on him and fired, killing him instantly.”

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: – The Junto:

The Declaration of Independence stands first in a series of documents that founded the United States. It also stands as an early step in the long process of establishing a free, independent, and self-governing nation.

In this episode, we speak with Danielle Allen, Patrick Spero, and Peter Onuf and go behind the parchment of the Declaration of Independence.

During our exploration, these scholars reveal why the Second Continental Congress needed a declaration of independence; who Congress elected to serve on its declaration drafting committee; And, the influence John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson had on the ideas and language of the Declaration of Independence.

Listen to the podcast.

Where in the World?

Where is Colonel Edward Jessup Branch member Barb Law?

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.

  • Hamilton Branch is participating in “the Quilt of Belonging in the exhibition Peace by Piece: Stitching Together Canadian Stories from July 10 to August 16, 2017” with a branch exhibit, and a presentation of a sample in-school presentation to be featured July 25 starting at 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. See the announcement.
  • The Black Loyalist Heritage Society is putting together the final details for the Canada 150 “Journey Back to Birchtown” event this weekend July 15-16 in Shelburne NS.  Read more…
  • As members of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada, we continue to establish a new visual link to those who opened the Hamilton area to new settlement areas 230 years ago.  The United Empire Loyalists were Canada’s first refugees.  They lost everything during the American Revolution and came here to start over again in what was to become Canada. The Loyalists along with their sons and daughters fought during the War of 1812-14 to keep this area free for future generations.  They cleared the land and started the first settlements in Hamilton and area. To honour their enormous labours and contributions, we are erecting specially designed plaques that mark specific cemeteries as the final resting places of these Loyalists.  On Saturday August 12, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., we will be hosting a special unveiling of a Loyalist Burial Site plaque at the Cooley-Hatt Pioneer Cemetery, 243 Lime Kiln Road, Ancaster, Ontario, in honour of Loyalist Preserved Cooley UE and Loyalist Peter Gordon UE. You and anyone who wishes to attend are indeed invited to this historic event. Refreshments will be provided, and please bring a lawn chair.  Please mark this date on your calendar and join us to uncover and discover two of the remarkable pioneers in the history of Hamilton and area. Doug Coppins UE — Chairperson of the Hamilton Branch Loyalist Burial Plaquing Committee of the UELAC.  coppins2861@rogers.com
  • United Empire Loyalists built Toronto, Ontario, and Canada. You fail to mention, recognize, and honour one group of people — the United Empire Loyalists and their descendants. The United Empire Loyalists were the first refugees to Canada. They left the tyranny of the United States during and after the American Revolution, and came to Canada. Read more…
  • Port Perry: Settled in the early 1800s by United Empire Loyalist Peter Perry on the shore of Lake Scugog, the community of 9,500 residents draws all-season visitors thanks to its easy access from Toronto and its many cultural and recreational attractions. You can delve deeper into the region’s history at the Scugog Shores Historical Museum, which speaks eloquently of pioneer life. The site includes a colonial village with 10 heritage buildings. The Scugog Shores Heritage Centre & Archives allows you to search historical documents and explore artifacts. Read more…
  • Philadelphia’s New Museum of the American Revolution. A review by Anna Leigh Todd. If the museum overall tends toward the celebratory, it does not do so without pause, presenting accomplishments alongside enduring challenges. In fact, proceeding through the exhibits and the galleries, one notices a subtle but crucial shift in the museum’s message from revolutionary ideas to the impact of the revolution itself, leaving patrons pondering the conflicted legacy of the nation’s founding, its place in historical memory, and its lingering effects in the modern era. For this reason, the special Washington’s Headquarters Tent feature is an appropriate conclusion as both a striking example of material history and an intriguing story of 19th-century memorialization. Ultimately, the museum’s American Revolution is complex, contingent, and full of contradictions—as close as a 21st-century visitor can get to imagining the full scope of the founding event in our nation’s history.
  • Mohawk Valley Events. A number of historic events occurring in July and early August
  • Carol Goddard UE of St. Lawrence Branch honoured by Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 8 Jul 1776 Liberty Bell is rung to announce public reading of Declaration of Independence.
    • 7 Jul 1777 The only battle of the Revolution fought in Vermont, Battle of Hubbardton, ends in Patriot defeat.
    • 6 Jul 1777 Ft. Ticonderoga retaken by British, with great loss of critical military supplies, light casualties.
    • 5 Jul 1775 Congress offers Crown the “Olive Branch Petition,” appealing for reconciliation with Colonies.
    • 4 Jul 1776 Congress approves the text of the Declaration of Independence, two days after voting for independence.
    • 3 Jul 1775 Sword aloft, George Washington takes charge of Continental Army, leading it to eventual victory.
    • 2 Jul 1776 Congress votes for outright independence, severing all connections with the Crown.
    • 1 Jul 1775 Congress decides to seek alliances with Indian tribes, if Britain does so first.
    • 30 Jun 1775 Congress adopts Articles of War against Britain, begging King George to restrain Parliament’s abuses.
  • Gravestone of Jane Hill, b. Ireland, wife of Loyalist Richard Hill, d. June 6, 1800 in Digby, Nova Scotia
  • Brian McConnell UE Beside Monument unveiled today to Black Loyalist Rose Fortune in Annapolis Royal , Nova Scotia
  • Elfreth’s Alley: This charming colonial pathway in Philadelphia is the oldest continuously used residential street in the U.S.
  • A Dessert Fit For The Washingtons.  This is our final cooking episode at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. For this last recipe, Deb Colburn joins us and makes us “
  • Holger Hoock in his new book ‘Scars of Independence'”: The American War of Independence was really the First American Civil War: Americans fought against fellow Americans and both sides committed grave atrocities. Read more about it.
  • Why Can’t Anti-Monarchists Get the Basic Facts Right? Read the blog post.

Editor’s Note

Last week I spent with family members paddling the Teslin and Yukon Rivers in the general area of Whitehorse. It was a good trip, a nice break, another item that I had wanted to do for many years. Without internet, it is rather difficult to assemble a newsletter. As I arrived home only early Monday morning, this issue of Loyalist Trails is somewhat late. With luck, next week I will be back to the usual Sunday distribution. Regardless, I wish everyone an enjoyable summer.