“Loyalist Trails” 2017-42: October 15, 2017
In this issue:
– Loyalist Blacksmiths of New Brunswick, by Stephen Davidson
– Blacksmith: The Further Adventures of Barnabas Hough
– Digby’s Loyalist Burial Ground of 1797, by Brian McConnell
– Scholarship: Where are they Now? Stephanie Seal Walters
– Loyalist Gazette: Progress and Digital Edition
– Scapegoat Frontiersman Simon Girty Gets His Due at Last
– Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Lost Loyalists: Loyalist Women
– Borealia: New France and Indigenous Agency in the Hudson Bay Watershed
– JAR: Whale Boats on the Hudson
– Ben Franklin’s World: Pauline Maier’s American Revolution
– 1932 Wedgwood Loyalist Plate Finds a Good Home
– Where in the World?
– Region and Branch Bits
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
– Additions to the Loyalist Directory
© Stephen Davidson, UE
Iron-workers were among the 40,000 loyalists who sought sanctuary in the Maritime provinces following the revolution. The Union –the very first ship to bring loyal refugees to what is now New Brunswick — had three blacksmiths listed on its manifest.
Killingsworth, Connecticut’s William Straight was one of the “refiners of iron” that sailed for the mouth of the St. John River on the Union in April of 1783. The blacksmith’s wife Mary had died during the war, and his two sons decided to remain in the new United States. Straight settled on Great Musquash Island in Queens County. Given that he later bequeathed a cow, four sheep farming utensils, and his land to his children in 1798, it seems that he was only able to earn a living as a farmer rather than as a blacksmith during his fifteen years in New Brunswick.
The second blacksmith on board the Union was Stephen Fountain. All that we know about this loyalist was that he hailed from Stamford, Connecticut. While details on these men are minimal, the third blacksmith to board the Union has a more detailed story.
Joseph Caswell was a blacksmith who left his family in Bedford, Massachusetts on October 1st, 1777 to join the British forces in Rhode Island. He had served as a pilot for exactly a year when he was taken prisoner and “cruelly used” by the rebels. He was in irons for three months and 18 days. Patriots sentenced Caswell to death for guiding the British in their attack on Bedford, but was able to “cut his irons” and return to the British lines.
Caswell was once again a wanted man in February of 1779. He and Captain William Crossing of Wightman’s Corps of Loyalists escaped from their prison in Providence, Rhode Island. His “wanted” poster described Caswell as “about 40 years old, 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, full faced, well set, very dark complectioned, has a remarkable black bushy beard, wears his hair short and was clothed with a blue coat and a waistcoat, and a dark brown breeches.” There was a one hundred dollar reward for his capture.
Caswell’s unit was stationed at Fort Franklin, the largest British garrison on Long Island. He acquired a house nearby and was eventually joined by his wife and children. On November 24, 1779 patriots attacked and burned Caswell’s home, and took him prisoner, leaving his family desolate. Once again, the loyalist blacksmith eventually broke free, rejoined his family, and set sail on the Union for friendlier shores.
These three men were among the 19 blacksmiths whose names are found on the “victualling list” of Fort Howe.* The British garrison that guarded the mouth of the St. John River issued food to the newly arrived refugees for their first year in the colony. In time, these men received land grants in other parts of the colony, turning their hand to farming when they weren’t making the nails, horseshoes, and tools so necessary for life in the late 18th century.
Benjamin Stanton set up his blacksmith shop in the settlement that was to become Saint John, New Brunswick. His 1823 will reveals that he had land lots as well as buildings on the city’s Dock Street and Main Street as well as a home on Union Street. Left to mourn the loyalist blacksmith were his wife Mary, sons Benjamin, James, George and Isaac, and daughters Mary Gaynor and Sally Whitney.
Another Saint John blacksmith was Thomas Mullins of Leominster, Massachusetts. Able to trace his ancestors back to the Puritan Fathers, Mullins was nevertheless “proscribed and banished” by the patriots. His wife Prudence died when just 34, eight years after their arrival in New Brunswick. Thomas died at 51 in 1799. A stone in the city’s Old Burial Ground marks the final resting place of this refugee couple.
At least one Black Loyalist who settled in New Brunswick relied on blacksmithing skills to earn a living. Twenty-seven year old Charles Cambridge was a passenger aboard the Tartar, an evacuation brig that was among the twelve ships which comprised the “June Fleet”. He was born a free black in Maryland’s Worcester County where he “served his time” with Joseph Ducheel. Like the six other black Tartar passengers listed in The Book of Negroes, Cambridge’s subsequent life in New Brunswick has been lost to history.
In 1783, Joshua Knight, a loyalist blacksmith from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania led 254 Quaker and Baptist refugees to Beaver Harbour on the Bay of Fundy. There they founded Belle View as the first and only intentional anti-slavery settlement in British North America. The Charlotte County community had posted a sign alerting visitors: NO SLAVE MASTERS ADMITTED. Belle View is the only known exception to the universal slavery of early loyalist New Brunswick.
In 1789, the founders of the abolitionist community witnessed the utter destruction of their settlement. Within hours, a raging fire had destroyed the dream that seven years of poverty, inclement climate, and hunger had not been able to quash.
Following the conflagration, Knight and his family moved to the nearby community of Pennfield. The loyalist blacksmith died 12 years later. In addition to his blacksmithing tools and three guns, he bequeathed “assorted books” to his wife Sarah and four children: Isaac, Jonathan, Joshua and Mrs. Priscilla Paul.
Daniel Babbit, a blacksmith who settled in Gagetown, had once called New York’s Dutchess County home. Forced to flee to the British lines, he used his iron-working skills in the relative safety of Long Island until he and his family sailed for New Brunswick in the fall of 1783. In time his three children all found spouses in their riverside settlement. Rebecca Babbit married Richard Yeomans (March 20, 1796), Daniel Babbit Jr wed Dolly Hobin (March 20, 1797), and Elizabeth Babbit became Mrs. Samuel Morton on Dec. 23, 1798.
Nicholas Bickle, a blacksmith from New Jersey’s Hunterdon County, settled along the Kennebecasis River. He had “suffered a great deal” during the revolution. After refusing to take an oath of allegiance to the new republic, his rebel townsmen fined the blacksmith £30 and put him in prison on several occasions. Bickle escaped his jail cell and joined the British in Philadelphia. A jack of all trades, he served in the wagon department and worked as a carpenter as well as a blacksmith. Meanwhile, his New Jersey neighbours seized and sold his horses, cows, oxen, sheep, hogs, furniture, farm implements and blacksmith tools.
Whether their stories are brief or rich in detail, the adventures of the loyalist blacksmiths put a human face on all the challenges and sacrifices that loyal Americans endured during the War of Independence. In eulogizing the village blacksmith, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow summed it up best in the final verse of his famous 1840 poem:
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought!
* Blacksmiths recorded in Fort Howe’s victualing muster as compiled by David Bell:
- Silas Alwood/Allwood
- Ezekiel Barlow
- James Beatty
- Samuel Bound
- Joseph Caswell
- Josiah Disbrow
- Stephen Fountain
- Joseph Harnsworth
- Gershom Lockwood
- Thomas Miles
- Robert Napier
- Richard Penny
- Patrick Quark
- Benjamin Stanton
- William Straight
- John Thompson
- Henry Tisdale
- Gideon Walker
- John Watson
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
One of the Blacksmith articles by Stephen Davidson Four Loyalist Blacksmiths Who settled in Upper Canada (2017-39, Sept 24) references Barnabas Hough. Deb Shunamon has contributed more information.
The HOUGHs are said to have been a very old, large family, possibly Palantine, who came from England and were living in Massachusetts by the 1650s. Barnabas Hough was somewhat prosperous, able to exchange property and cattle to buy his land in Pawlet, Vermont about a year before the American Revolution officially began. Not only was he a known Loyalist to his neighbours, his name was on the Vermont ‘Act Relating to Tories’ for joining the enemy, which threatened his death if he dared to return. His Vermont property was confiscated and sold at vendue during his absence as a Queen’s (Peter’s), then Jessup’s, Loyal Ranger where Corporal Bruin Hough served alongside his father for a time, as did a very young Asa towards the end of the War. At the age of 50yrs Barnabas Hough was still with the Loyal Rangers, serving at Ft.St. Johns, River du Chine.
Barnabas lost all his farming utensils, blacksmith tools, animals, ‘tenements’, a 50 acre lot in east Pawlet, and another 50 acre farm with his house and blacksmith’s shop, during the confiscation. Now homeless, his wife Eunice (Weeks) and their 7 children managed to make their way to him with the assistance of William Fairfield and his friends. It took 8 days for Abigail Fairfield; Bethetle Castle; Sarah Williams of Arling; Ester Hindmand of White Creek, NY; Minimis Cimon; and their 22 children (13 under the age of 10) to make their way to Crown Point. R.Dupont later records 5 women and 25 children, including a ‘Unis’ (Eunice) arriving at Ft. St. John’s where they gave as much intelligence as they could before joining their husbands. During the Claims for Losses process, Barnabas Hough and William Fairfield would serve as Witnesses for each others claims.
The Hough family regularly appear on victualling lists from 1779-1783, after which Barnabas, his sons, and 11 other men expressed their determination to remain at Missiquoia Bay, on a possible lease at Caldwell’s Manor. They were already clearing land and building houses, and were not interested in settling along the St. Lawrence with the other Loyal Rangers. But by threatening to cut-off their provisions, Haldimand ensured that they, and most of the nearly 301 men who had originally sought to live at Missiquoia, settled in the newly surveyed townships instead.
Barnabas was able to produce Governor Chittenden and John Fasset certificates during his Claim for Losses, where he asked for 218…04 pounds but was granted only 54 pounds along with an initial 750 acres of land in Sidney, Sophiasburg, and Ameliasburgh townships. Later on, Barnabas and his son Bruin would both serve as Constables in Ernestown where the Houghs and their expanding family were living. Barnabas Hough UE lived a further 20 yrs after The Peace, dying at abt 70yrs of age with a confirmed burial on 19 May 1803.
…Deb Shunamon, Vancouver, BC
Gravestones of early residents of Digby, Nova Scotia are visible in the Old Loyalist Cemetery but how many were Loyalists and who were they? Are there Loyalists buried there without a stone? Beginning with a 1797 Deed which traces the origin of the cemetery to a Loyalist Burying Ground this article will answer these questions.
It is not easy to always find the grave of a Loyalist. When the Loyalists first arrived in Nova Scotia after the American Revolution in 1783 many settled in areas where there were no churches and cemeteries yet established. Their graves often therefore could be on family private lands and not marked. Records may also have been destroyed or lost.
The Old Loyalist Cemetery in Digby on the corner of Warwick Street and First Avenue is believed to date back to the time of the arrival of the Loyalists in 1783. It was at one time known as the Rutherford Burying Ground. Henry Rutherford, a Loyalist from New York, owned land which included the burying ground. After Trinity Anglican Church was constructed on Queen Street in 1788 it had the first church cemetery in the Town.
This week we caught up with Stephanie Seal Walters, UELAC Scholarship recipient (2016) and PhD candidate at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. Stephanie’s calendar is filled through 2018 with some very interesting activities. You may need a map to track her busy schedule. For those wishing to follow Stephanie online, her blog is found at Royal Seal – stephanieanneseal.com. We wish our UELAC scholars every success in the coming academic year.
It’s been a crazy summer, but in the best way possible. I was lucky enough to receive one of our university’s Summer Provost Fellowships which meant I got to spend the entire summer working on my final archive adventures, dissertation organization, and now I am writing. As of right now, we are looking at a December 2018 graduation.
Since the Provost Fellowship, I’ve been accepted to the Southern Historical Association’s 2018 annual meeting to present “Together We Survived: Loyalism, Community, and Networks in Revolutionary Virginia.” The conference will be held in November in Dallas, TX.
I was also accepted to my first digital history conference called Digital Commonwealth, which will be held at the University of Virginia in October. I’m very excited to report that I will be presenting my project “Forgotten, but Not Lost: Digitizing the Virginia Loyalist Claims.” This project is very important to me because it’s something I’ve tried to get going for a long time. One of my blog posts on using the loyalist claims went semi-viral and I was contacted by a few groups about having the Virginia Loyalist Claims digitized and indexed by topic and theme (with a possible transcription project).
I was also asked to be American History LLC’s Emerging Scholar for their March 2018 Conference on the American Revolution. I will be giving the talk, “Civil War of the Heart: Virginia’s First Families & the Revolution’s Devastation at Home.”
And last, but not least, I was also lucky enough to receive a Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies research fellowship from the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and will be spending a month at Monticello starting May 1, 2018.
As you can tell, it’s been busy! My blog is restarting in about a week to detail all the exciting/crazy things that have been happening lately.
The Fall 2017 issue of the Gazette is now undergoing final proof-reading and polishing and if all goes well, that could be completed late this week of Oct 16.
From there to the printer and finally the mailing house.
Experience suggests that those two steps usually require more than a week, so the Fall Gazette may well go to Canada Post somewhat later than the intended Nov. 1.
We will keep you informed about the progress.
Would you like to be one of the first to see this issue? Sign up for the digital issue.
By Brian O’Neill.
A Pennsylvania Historical Marker will soon rise outside a little 18th-century cemetery in Greenfield, a big step in restoring the reputation of a frontiersman unfairly villainized for more than 200 years.
Simon Girty, born in 1741 about where Harrisburg is now, “crossed cultural boundaries between native and white societies.” He had been captured and adopted by the Senecas when he was 15, settled with his family where Turner Cemetery is now upon his release, and three years into the American Revolution “defected to the British,” according to the sign.
There’s only so much that fits on a plaque, but even this is more than a man once branded a traitor could have expected a generation or two back. Much of the credit for this more nuanced appreciation of a man straddling two warring cultures goes to an 81-year-old former television writer from California.
By Annabelle Babineau
In this special edition of Lost Loyalists you will learn about five amazing women’s lives during the American Revolution. Loyalist women are often under-researched as they did not typically participate in the war as part of the military, but that does not mean that they did not have an impact on its outcome. These women have fascinating stories, and I am happy to share them with you.
The only surviving sources for women often are Audit Office claims that have been put in for them (or by them) because they were widows. However, some of these extraordinary women were never married and were loyalists because they personally helped in the British war effort.
• Janet Cumming was living in Charleston, South Carolina
• Lorenda Holmes was a native of America
• Eleanor Lestor, from South Carolina, was a native of Ireland.
• Margaret Locke was from Pennsylvania.
• Sarah McGinn (maiden name Cass) was from New York.
By Scott Berthelette
Well before the Revolution, and even prior to the Seven Years war, throughout the 1730s and 1740s, the French established a series of forts northwest of Lake Superior in present-day Northwestern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Minnesota, and North Dakota. French colonial officials hoped that these postes de l’Ouest, or Western Posts, would secure New France’s pick of prime northern furs, which would undermine the English dominance over the fur trade in the Hudson Bay watershed. Secondly, the Western Posts were part of an ongoing French effort to discover a Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean; preeminent French geographers of the period surmised that a gulf-like interior sea, which they referred to as la Mer de l’Ouest, or the Western Sea, existed in the middle latitudes of North America. Therefore, the success of these two colonial enterprises would bestow a decisive advantage to the French Empire over its two prominent imperial rivals of the eighteenth century – Britain and Spain.
French metropolitan authorities and colonial officials tasked a succession of colonial officers from the Compagnies Franches de la Marine to form alliances with the Indigenous peoples of the Hudson Bay watershed – Crees, Assiniboines, Monsonis, Ojibwes, and Dakotas. Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye, a member of Canada’s military elite and a lieutenant in the Compagnies Franches de la Marine, was the first Commandant of the Western Posts from 1731 to 1743. La Vérendrye stumbled into a complex Native geopolitical situation that involved a protracted and tumultuous conflict between the Indigenous peoples of the region. A coalition of Crees, Assiniboines, and Monsonis fought the Ojibwe and Dakota for control of hunting and trade territory in the Upper Mississippi River Valley and the Northern Great Plains.
By Phillip R. Giffin on October 12, 2017
By March of 1778 Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam, “Old Put” to his men, was exhausted. He had been writing to General Washington for months begging for retirement. His wife had died recently in his encampment and the general was worn out from his impossible assignments. His two under-strength brigades had been working in the ice, snow, and bitter wind since January constructing a massive complex of fortifications on the banks of the Hudson River at West Point, New York. The bastion was beginning to take shape, but it was months away from completion and with the spring thaw Putnam would have too few men, materials, and cannons to prevent the British Royal Navy from pushing up the river and blasting past his unfinished ramparts.
The men of Colonel Samuel Webb’s 9th Connecticut Regiment had been working on the wind-swept, frozen banks of the Hudson River since late January. Among them was my distant grandfather, Sgt. Simon Giffin of Capt. Caleb Bull’s Company; he was keeping notes of their arrival in his journal.
January 27, 1778 at Fishkill, NY a cold but clear morning. We marched down to the place [Constitution Island] that Ft. Constitution was built on. There we made a halt and marched over the North River… and marched back again for there was no place to lodge there on the west side of the river so we … went into the woods and made fir beds to rest on the snow. We made a hut that 15 of us lay in pretty warm considering the weather being so cold.
Mary Beth Norton, Joanne Freeman, Todd Estes, and Lindsay Chervinsky join us as we journey through Pauline Maier’s body of work to better understand the American Revolution and how one historian can impact how we view and study history.
Pauline Maier spent her life researching and investigating the American Revolution and over the course of her lifetime, she wrote four influential books about it: From Resistance to Revolution, The Old Revolutionaries, American Scripture, and Ratification.
class=”trails”Thank you for the last Loyalist Trails. As soon as I saw the commemorative 1932 UEL plate (scroll down on the page) I emailed the seller and no-one had bid on it, maybe because it was listed under Wedgewood rather than United Empire Loyalists or Loyalists.
I asked him to put a “Buy Now” price on it and relist it and I got it for about $100 USD. The last one I saw maybe 10 years ago went for $1000. It is very rare for these plates to come on the market. Of the original 600 plates who knows how many are still in existence. My thanks to Loyalist Trails for this amazing find.
…Dave Clark, UE
Another Plate: Stephen Botsford UE notes “After reading the Loyalist Trails yesterday, I went online to eBay and won this plate! It’s not one of the old ones, but I did buy it at a very reasonable rate – my winning bid was $4.99 US!“
Where is Carl Stymiest of Vancouver 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.
- Exhibit: The Reformation: Martin Luther & his Legacy – 500 years ago, on 31 October 1517, Martin Luther mailed his 95 Theses enclosed with a letter to Albert of Brandenburg, the Archbishop of Mainz. This date is now considered the start of the Reformation and is commemorated annually as Reformation Day. Luther posted the Theses on the door of All Saints’ Church and other churches in Wittenberg in accordance with University custom. The Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto has organized an Exhibit The Reformation: Martin Luther & his Legacy which will run from Wed Oct. 25 though Wednesday Nov. 1. See details. Some portion of the immigrants to North America were seeking greater religious freedom. Nancy Mallett, exhibit organizer, notes that the programming includes information about the immigration of what had been Palatine refugees to Canada from New York as Loyalists.
- The 38th Annual Kawartha Branch Banquet, on Saturday, 21 October 2017, social time beginning at 5:00 p.m. with dinner being served at 6:00 p.m. Please contact our Branch Treasurer Frank Lucas (Tel: 705-876-9800; e-mail: email@example.com) and note chicken or beef. Professor Emeritus Elwood Jones is our guest speaker that evening and will be talking about Loyalist history and his involvement with it over the years, especially in the 1990s, possibly including the Rogers family – you’ll recall that the lift locks was designed by Richard Birdsall Rogers, descendant of Rogers Rangers, and the Peterborough Canoe Company was managed by James Z. Rogers. Our theme for our Loyalist banquet is Canada 150 and how the Loyalists settled in what became Upper Canada and is now Ontario. Looking forward to hearing back from you soon.Cost: $25. At Emanuel East (George Street) United Church Corner of George and Murray Streets, Peterborough. The cut-off for tickets is today.
- Kathryn Lake Hogan ” October 22 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. This lecture focuses on what defines a ‘Loyalist’ or a ‘Patriot’ of the Revolutionary War and what constitutes accepted proofs of loyalty or patriotism and where to find them. Oakville Public Library, 120 Navy Street, Oakville, ON
- After 200 years without land title, Nova Scotia black communities offered hope. The empty lot in North Preston, N.S., has been in the hands of Elaine Cain’s family for many years, a connection that stirs in her a sentimental bond with the piece of land. But despite the fact her family has long paid property taxes on it, they have never held the deed. On Wednesday, Cain welcomed as a “bright day” an announcement by the Nova Scotia government that it will provide funding to help people in five historically black communities gain legal ownership over land they’ve claimed as theirs for generations. Read more…
- Visiting grave of Loyalist Walter Willett in Pioneer Cemetery at Belleisle, Nova Scotia. Brian McConnell UE.
- Happy to find Loyalist display in Shelburne County Museum. Brian McConnell UE.
- Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
- 14 Oct 1774 The merchant ship Peggy Stewart arrives at Annapolis carrying tea; later burned in protest of Tea Act.
- 13 Oct 1776 The Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain marks the first fleet action of the American Navy.
- 13 Oct 1775 Continental Congress orders construction of a naval fleet, marking birth of the U.S. Navy.
- 12 Oct 1776 Americans thwart effort to land British forces at Throg’s Neck, New-York.
- 11 Oct 1776 British defeat Gen. Arnold on Lake Champlain, but delay causes them to return to Canada for the season.
- 10 Oct 1780 Great Hurricane strikes Caribbean, killing over 22,000 & sinking over 50 British & French warships.
- 9 Oct 1779 Polish General Pulaski mortally wounded leading Patriots in attack on Savannah.
- 8 Oct 1775 General officers of Continental Army meet, decide to bar slaves & free blacks from enlisting.
- Townsends: Historic Kitchens vs. Modern Kitchens. Imagine not having a refrigerator, a sink, or even hot water on demand in your kitchen today. This was the reality of kitchens during the 18th century. Join us as we cover the main differences between historic and modern kitchens. Watch now…
- Check out the exquisite pattern matching for this brocaded silk, robe a l’anglaise; Canadian, 1750 – 1775
- 18th Century Polonaise gown, painted silk, 1780s via Victoria and Albert Museum.
- What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today? (South-Carolina Gazette & Country Journal 10/13/1767). By his Majesty’s Royal Letter-Patent. The famous new-invented STOMACH PILLS.
- More red Georgian shoes, likely worn in New Hampshire, c. 1780s.
- Our week beginning with Canadian Thanksgiving was also World Chocolate Week. From All Things Georgia, 18th Century Drinking Chocolate
As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
- Wheaton, Thomas – from Marilyn J. Keller