“Loyalist Trails” 2017-38: September 17, 2017

In this issue:
New Johnstown’s Refugee Blacksmiths: An Embarrassment of Riches, by Stephen Davidson
The Oldest Building (Cont’d)
Battle of Bennington 16 August 1777
Loyalist Connections: A City in Panic – Cholera Strikes Saint John
Borealia: The First Book – Advice From Someone Barely Qualified To Give It
JAR: The French Bread Connection
JAR Book Review: A Tale of Three Gunboats: Lake Champlain’s Revolutionary War Heritage
The Junto: Q&A with Coll Thrush
Ben Franklin’s World: Defining the American Revolution
Georgian Papers Programme: Queen Charlotte Online
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Editor’s Note
      + Responses re John McArthur UEL


New Johnstown’s Refugee Blacksmiths: An Embarrassment of Riches

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Following 1783, refugee blacksmiths could be found in almost every loyalist settlement from Niagara in the west to Halifax in the east. Cornwall, Ontario became the sanctuary for at least four such craftsmen when it was founded under the name of New Johnstown. Could one loyalist settlement provide work for so many blacksmiths? Did they share bellows, tools and anvils as they set up shop in the wilderness? These are questions that the records do not answer.

However, documents of the loyalist era do answer our queries about the wartime adventures of these blacksmiths. Here are the stories of Christian Schtick, John Staring, Michael Cline, and Philip Chrysler.

Christian Schtick (or Sheck) had once served as blacksmith for the settlers of Johnson’s Bush in New York’s Tryon County. Living on a 40 acre farm just outside of town, this German immigrant had built his house and stable near his forge just as rumours of civil unrest began to reach western New York. A fellow loyalist would later recall that Schtick did “considerable business as a blacksmith”. He must have done well as he had both apprentices and journeymen working for him.

Schtick’s first contribution to the war effort was to release his employees so that they could join Sir John Johnson’s loyalist regiment. The loss of skilled workers would have limited the blacksmith’s income – and drawn attention to his loyalist convictions. Because he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the new republic, local patriots imprisoned Schtick on several occasions over the next few years.

By 1779, Schtick had also enlisted with Johnson’s regiment, serving with them for the remainder of the revolution. Upon leaving Johnson’s Bush, the blacksmith lost all of his possessions and property. Rebels seized his buildings and sold off his cows, sheep, ox, horses, hogs, furniture, utensils and his valuable blacksmith tools. His forge also contained a “sleigh load” of iron that Schtick had bought at the outbreak of the revolution.

At war’s end, Schtick and his family found refuge in New Johnstown along with other loyalists – and other blacksmiths.

Like Schtick, John Staring had once lived in Tryon County and later joined Johnson’s First Battalion. Staring worked as an apprentice in a Johnstown blacksmith shop near the Mohawk River. His intentions to go and fight with the British upon the completion of his apprenticeship were thwarted when rebels put him in prison. After escaping, Staring made his way to Canada in 1780 where he joined the famous loyalist corps.

Among Staring’s wartime losses was the land his grandfather, Henrick Markil (Markle/Markley), had left him. Also a loyalist, Markil was driven from his property by rebels and died in 1781. Patriots also confiscated all of Staring’s blacksmith tools and seized the forge he had opened before his imprisonment.

The third loyalist blacksmith from Tryon County to settle in Cornwall was Michael Cline (Clyne). He, too, was a German immigrant and fought in the revolution as a member of Sir John Johnson’s 2nd Battalion. He had a house and forge on a single acre of land with just a cow and heifer for livestock.

Cline’s story differs from other blacksmiths in the fact that he described himself as an “armourer”. His specialty, then, would have been the creation of hatchets, knives and daggers rather than such traditional smithy products such as horseshoes, nails, and tools. Often an armourer would travel with an army, using a portable forge to make bullets or repair rifles. Cline must have been older than his blacksmith peers as he only joined his loyalist regiment in January of 1782, saying that “his age prevented his coming in sooner”.

Philip Chrysler is the last of the known blacksmiths to have made New Johnstown his home following the revolution. American born, the loyalist had a potash work and store in addition to his blacksmith shop, farm, and house in Tryon County. Chrysler joined the British forces that were stationed at Fort Stanwix in 1777, serving first with Johnson’s Regiment and then Butler’s Rangers.

When the war drew to a close, Chrysler had to reconcile himself to the loss of all that he had acquired as a blacksmith and the owner of a potash works. The latter involved gathering wood ash that was then soaked and leached before being boiled in large tubs. The end product was white potash, a material essential in the making of glass.

In the inventory of all that Chrysler lost because of his loyalist principles are the various tools of the blacksmithing and potash making trades: three kettles, iron ladles, 30 large tubs, two tons of boiled (and five tons of unboiled) potash, 500 pounds of iron and 200 pounds of steel. In addition to his cattle, horses, sheep, and hogs, his rebel neighbours auctioned off Chrysler’s well-furnished home, potash works and blacksmith shop.

Tyron County’s loss was Upper Canada’s gain for Chrysler brought a wealth of skills with him to his frontier community. How he and three other loyalist blacksmiths set up their shops and forged new lives for themselves is a story waiting to be told.

The next edition of Loyalist Trails will feature the stories of more iron-workers who put down roots in other Upper Canadian settlements.

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

The Oldest Building (Cont’d)

John Scadding’s SECOND log house was built in early 1794 (replacing the first one that had burned down on New Year’s Eve, 1783. Lady Simcoe record’s in her diary on January Ist, “last night Mr. Scadding’s house burned down”). It was moved, log-meal, to the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition in 1879 (photo of men helping move it), where it is loving preserved by the York Pioneer and Historical Society to this day as Toronto’s oldest building. It clearly pre-dates by several years any of the buildings mentioned in the article.

(Note: Lady Simcoe does not say what Mr. Scadding and his guests, perhaps including her husband the Lt. Governor, were doing to welcome in the new year that might have caused that fatal fire! Hmm.)

…Jim Houston (AKA the Rev. Dr. Henry Scadding)

Battle of Bennington 16 August 1777

The Battle of Bennington was a battle of the American Revolutionary War, part of the Saratoga campaign, that took place on August 16, 1777, in Walloomsac, New York, about 10 miles (16 km) from its namesake Bennington, Vermont. A rebel force of 2,000 men, primarily composed of New Hampshire and Massachusetts militiamen, led by General John Stark, and reinforced by Vermont militiamen led by Colonel Seth Warner and members of the Green Mountain Boys, decisively defeated a detachment of General John Burgoyne’s army led by Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum, and supported by additional men under Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich von Breymann.

Baum’s detachment was a mixed force of 700 composed primarily of Hessians but also including small amounts of dismounted Brunswick dragoons, Canadians, Loyalists, and Indians.[7] He was sent by Burgoyne to raid Bennington in the disputed New Hampshire Grants area for horses, draft animals, provisions, and other supplies. Believing the town to be only lightly defended, Burgoyne and Baum were unaware that Stark and 1,500 militiamen were stationed there. After a rain-caused standoff, Stark’s men enveloped Baum’s position, taking many prisoners, and killing Baum. Reinforcements for both sides arrived as Stark and his men were mopping up, and the battle restarted, with Warner and Stark driving away Breymann’s reinforcements with heavy casualties.

The battle was a major strategic success for the American cause; it reduced Burgoyne’s army in size by almost 1,000 men, led his Indian support to largely abandon him, and deprived him of much-needed supplies, such as mounts for his cavalry regiments, draft animals and provisions; all factors that contributed to Burgoyne’s eventual defeat at Saratoga. The victory galvanized colonial support for the independence movement, and played a key role in bringing France into the war on the rebel side.

Read more.

Loyalist Connections: A City in Panic – Cholera Strikes Saint John

The citizens of Saint John, New Brunswick were gripped by fear during the mid-nineteenth century as a haunting spectre was sweeping the globe. Yet, this menace was not of a paranormal nature. Rather, it was one of humanities oldest foes: contagious disease, this time in the form of cholera. During both the 1830s and 1850s, Saint John would experience two outbreaks of this deadly illness, profoundly changing the lives of the town’s vulnerable population.

The disease known as cholera is transmitted to humans via water and food that is contaminated, specifically with the bacterium vibrio cholerae. Those infected often display no symptoms; however, if left untreated, severe dehydration can occur and ultimately can lead one to die of shock. Thus, in order to prevent exposure to the disease, individuals must avoid polluted fluids and ensure the provision of clean drinking water and waste management. Unfortunately for our mid-nineteenth century Saint John friends, sanitation efforts were not nearly as advanced as they are today.

Read more.

Borealia: The First Book – Advice From Someone Barely Qualified To Give It

Jeffers Lennox on Sept 11, 2017

Having a first-time author give advice about publishing a book is kind of like having a new parent offer tips on surviving an infant. In both cases, the person is likely sleep-deprived, the process was a blur, and it’s too early to tell if the book/child will be any good. And yet, I find myself sitting in the backyard trying to think of some useful information to share with graduate students and junior faculty curious about getting the dissertation published.

I was fortunate enough to have my first book published in May. It has one of those academic titles in which the first part is (meant to be) catchy, and the post-colon is a bit of a word salad. There are some traditions you just don’t mess with. The process of publishing the book was far less daunting than I had imagined, though it certainly required a lot of work. Writing a book is weird because as an historian you exist in two worlds: academia (largely a weird made-up world), and the actual world where you have friends and uncles and have to explain what you do in the summer. In academia, publishing a book is exciting but expected and even required (if you want to keep your job, anyway). In the real world, writing a book is really cool. You get to be on Amazon, your friends will promise to buy it (suckers), and you can do things like sneak into bookstores and put your tome on the table of staff recommendations. But how do you get to the point where you’re tricking Indigo patrons into thinking that “Amanda” loves your work? Here are the steps that I took.

Read more.

JAR: The French Bread Connection

by Tom Shachtman, September 12, 2017

It was the letter that forced Washington to give up his dream of recapturing New York.

Gen. Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, encamped with his French army at Phillipsburg on the Hudson River, received it on August 14, 1781 and showed it immediately to Gen. George Washington, whose headquarters was nearby. Written on July 28 by Adm. François Joseph Paul de Grasse, leader of the French naval force in the Caribbean, who had sent it by fast cutter to Newport, whence it had been forwarded to Rochambeau, it announced that de Grasse and his formidable fleet were en route to Chesapeake Bay, “the spot which seems to be to be indicated by you, M. le comte, and by MM Washington, de La Luzerne [French minister to the U.S.] and de Barras [leader of the French naval contingent in Newport] as the surest to effect the good which you propose.”

That “good” was the capture or destruction of a British force sizeable enough to bring the Revolutionary War to a successful end. Ever since the fall of 1776, when Washington had been forced to abandon New York City to the British, he had been convinced that New York was the only such target whose recapture could win the war – but the news that de Grasse and his fleet was going to the Chesapeake forced Washington to give up the dream of recapturing New York.

Read more.

JAR Book Review: A Tale of Three Gunboats: Lake Champlain’s Revolutionary War Heritage

Book by Philip Lundeberg, Arthur Cohn, Jennifer Jones, et al. (Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, 2017)

Review by Michael Barbieri, September 15, 2017

Sitting on the shore of Lake Champlain a few miles south of Burlington, Vermont, is the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM). Like your typical museums, it has displays explaining the history of its chosen topic, the story of human interaction with the lake. Unlike your typical museums, however, it has built three full-scale reproduction boats – the bateau Perseverance, the canal schooner Lois McClure, and, most germane to this article, the gunboat Philadelphia II.

A Tale of Three Gunboats is much more than a history – two-thirds of it deals with the treatment of artifacts like the Philadelphia and the Spitfire. But those pages are not simply a discussion of preservation outcomes: they also address the challenging questions of ownership, conservation, and display of those boats left in their original surroundings and those recovered.

Anyone looking for a detailed account of the historical subject matter presented in A Tale of Three Gunboats will need to look elsewhere. That is not the focus of the book. However, for anyone interested in underwater archaeology and the conservation of vessels, this book is a “page-turner” and well worth acquiring.

Read more.

The Junto: The Junto: Q&A with Coll Thrush

by Rachel Herrmann, Sept. 12

Col Thrush’s most recent book, Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of Empire, examines that city’s history through the experiences of Indigenous travelers—willing or otherwise—from territories that became the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. He is Professor of History at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in unceded Coast Salish territories, and affiliate faculty at UBC’s Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies.

Q: You say in your first chapter that you expected to discover an “invisible Indigenous version of the urban past,” and then admit your error and admission that the people you ended up writing about “did not need discovering.

A: Indigenous people never do.” This project seems like it required constant readjustment of what you knew, or thought you knew. What have you learned that you’d share with other historians keen to engage more deeply with Indigenous studies?

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Defining the American Revolution

Listen to the podcast.

Georgian Papers Programme: Queen Charlotte Online

by Karin Wulf

Scholars of women, gender, family, domesticity, fashion, food, and so much more will have plenty of fodder in the Georgian Papers Programme. Queen Charlotte was invested in literature and learning, for herself and her children. She and the women around her generated important materials that will reveal a great deal about not only her life and that of her family and courtiers, but the men and women who came into even attenuated contact with them through the goods and services they provided to the royal family and household.

Among the first of the newly released materials is Queen Charlotte’s diary for the years 1789 and 1794 (Diary of Queen Charlotte, 1789, RA GEO/ADD/43/1, Royal Archives).

The truth is that like the Georgian Papers Programme in its entirety, we are only hinting from past and present experience at a future that is likely to be very surprising indeed. The materials contained in the Royal Archives will surprise us; so, too, will their digital uses.

Read more.

Where in the World?

Where is Brian McConnell of Nova Scotia 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.

  • Saturday, September 23, the Kingston and District Branch UELAC meets at 1:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Church Hall, 137 Queen Street, Kingston. Topic: “Loyalist Clothing: Design and Fabric for Period-appropriate Costumes“. Garments will be modelled and discussed and other resources will be available for our consideration. With our Branch approaching its 40th Anniversary in 2018, we want to encourage members to dress up for the occasion. We hope anyone in the area interested in costume will attend. www.uelac.org/kingston.
  • 225th provincial celebration was held Sunday, Sept. 17. It was a Monday, Sept. 17, 1792, when the first session of the first Parliament of Upper Canada was held in Newark, now Niagara-on-the-Lake. NOTL is known as a town of many provincial firsts: the first newspaper, the first library, the first historical museum, the first law society, agricultural society and Indian Council, but none more important than the establishment of the first capital by John Graves Simcoe in the town he named Newark. Read more…
  • Descendants wanted for dedication ceremonies War of 1812 and Loyalist Veterans. The Sparta Historical Society is looking for descendants of the Parker, Ryckman, McAfee and Pickard families to attend dedication ceremonies at the Sparta South and Seminary cemeteries Monday, Sept. 25. The cemetery will also be plaqued as a United Empire Loyalist burial ground because it’s the resting place of Sgt. John Parker of the New York Volunteers (a Loyalist regiment during the American Revolution). Re-enactors will honour the dead with a musket and cannon volley. Read more…

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • A Revolutionary battlefield is saved in Chester County PA. In a freshly-cropped field in Chester County, three men in thick, wool coats and tricorne hats lifted 10-pound muskets and fired them toward a burning September sun. A fife and drum corps played “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and smoke billowed from the musket locks, on Friday morning, some 240 years after the Battle of Brandywine nearly ended America’s budding revolution.”Now imagine thousands of muskets going off, all day,” said John Foskey Jr., 46, a Wilmington resident playing the role of a captain with the 1st Delaware Regiment Friday. “People lost their lives here, shed their blood. This is hallowed ground.” The Civil War Trust, a nonprofit focused on preserving battlefields, has purchased this 10-acre patch in Birmingham Township, known as the Dilworth Farm, for $850,000. Read more…
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 16 Sep 1779 Savannah GA besieged by Americans & French; ends in failure.
    • 15 Sep 1776 British occupy NYC, dealing a heavy blow to the American rebellion.
    • 14 Sep 1776 General Court at Watertown, MA blocks sale of two black prisoners, rules they be treated as other POWs.
    • 13 Sep 1778 Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant leads raid on German Flats, New-York, killing 3 & burning town.
    • 12 Sep 1780 Skirmish between Loyalist and Patriots at Cane Creek, NC is a prelude to Battle of King’s Mountain.
    • 11 Sep 1776 British Adm. Howe meets John Adams, Ben Franklin, & Edward Rutledge for fruitless peace talks.
    • 10 Sep 1779 USS Morris surprises and captures HMS West Florida in Battle of Lake Ponchartrain.
    • 9 Sep 1776 Congress formally adopts “United States of America,” replacing “United Colonies.”
  • Townsends: Sanitation and Brewing in the 18th Century – if sanitary conditions are necessary for successful brewing, how did our ancestors do that? Or did they? Watch more…
  • Hurricane Irma unearths canoe in Indian River in Brevard near Orlando Florida. Officials from the Florida Department of State’s Bureau of Archeological Research in the Division of Historical Resources said they are working to preserve the the canoe, estimated to weigh 600 to 700 pounds. Read more…

Editor’s Note

We are travelling until Thanksgiving. At the moment we are in Leipzig, Germany, following the Trail of Martin Luther for a week. For one who had little knowledge, this journey has proved quite fascinating. What the conditions prove to be on our next leg may well determine the delivery and content of the next issue.



Responses re John McArthur UEL

There were three responses to the query about John McArthur UEL from last week’s issue. Thanks to those who replied.

I don’t know if this will completely answer your question, but it might help you exclude some McArthur from your research.

A few years ago, Randy Saylor and I worked on figuring out the various McArthur of Thurlow and Belleville. The work is available online at Randy’s site.

Hopefully, it will help you figure out whether your John McArthur and the McArthur of Thurlow are related or not. Or at least help you narrow down your research.

…Guylaine Petrin

Several Upper Canada Land Petitions available at Library and Archives website mention various McArhurs. These two are or might be John:

• 1276,McArthur,John,1793,,Upper Canada Land Petitions,RG 1 L3,448A,S 1,167,C-2806,

• 1277,McArthur,,1793,,Upper Canada Land Petitions,RG 1 L3,448A,S 1,167,C-2806,

Good luck.

…Don Matthias Mattice

Further to your inquiry in Loyalist Trails, I think the fellow your studying is the same as the one I describe below.

To interpret [Gavin’s record] — this John McArthur began his loyalist service in Hugh Munro’s company of Jessup’s King’s Loyal American listed in July 1777. Munro was asked to set up a bateaux company, which he agreed to do. Suddenly, his new company was amalgamated with Captain Daniel McAlpin’s ‘American Volunteers’, albeit still as a bateaux company. He was not very happy about this transfer, as he had a relationship with Jessup; however, McAlpin prevailed and Munro served almost to the end of Burgoyne’s campaign of 1777 as part of McAlpin’s unit.

Although all of the loyalist units serving under Burgoyne took severe punishment, Munro’s men continued to serve under McAlpin in the following years. McArthur was returned in that unit until 1781, although in January 1780, he was recommended as an artificer/carpenter.

Then in the years 1781 to 83, he showed up in Captain John Munro’s company of the King’s Royal Regiment of New York commanded by Sir John Johnson. So, at the end of the war, he was mustered out of the KRR NY. He was still in lower Quebec with his wife Mary in 1784 and his daughter, a girl over six who was sick with measles. By 1786, he had settled in what later became Upper Canada in Royal Township No. 5 (Matilda). One of the military returns showed him as a Connecticut labourer before the war.

…Gavin Watt