“Loyalist Trails” 2017-43: October 22, 2017

In this issue:
Goin’ Down the Road: Maritime Loyalists’ Migration to Upper Canada (Part One), by Stephen Davidson
Loyalist Gazette: Progress and Digital Edition
Interactive Historical Story Map: “New Brunswick Loyalist Journeys”
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Sleepy Hollow: Headless Hessians
JAR: Joseph Bettys: Revolutionary War Patriot, Traitor, and “Desperado”
The Junto: George Washington’s Mausoleum: Congressional Debates
Ben Franklin’s World: The Power of the Press in the American Revolution
Restoration and Preservation of Old Hay Bay Church
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post: Oemar Halvorsen
      + Newsletters from the US


Goin’ Down the Road: Maritime Loyalists’ Migration to Upper Canada (Part One)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Atlantic Canadians who have wanted to change their fortunes have traditionally headed for Ontario (and then the Canadian West) in search of new opportunities. What may surprise people is that this westward migration dates back to the days of loyalist settlement.

Displaced American colonists who left the United States because of political convictions or persecution did not always put down roots in the first sanctuary they found. Thus, many Canadians living in Ontario who are descendants of loyalist refugees can trace their roots back to Americans who initially settled in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. Lorenzo Sabine was the first historian to make note of the loyalists who initiated the “goin’ down the road” phenomenon. Using his Biographical Sketches as our starting point, here are the stories of six such refugees who left the Maritimes for Upper Canada in the aftermath of the American Revolution.

James Burwell of Rockaway, Virginia settled in Upper Canada after four years as a refugee in Nova Scotia. Enlisting at the age of 22 in 1776, Burwell served his distant sovereign throughout the war, being among the wounded at the Battle of Yorktown. After his time in Nova Scotia, Burwell moved to New Jersey to care for his mother. He married, and –via Pennsylvania– eventually settled in Upper Canada. Talbot Settlement was the site of his firsthome in 1810. Burwell and his wife had ten children: Anne; Susannah; Samuel John; Robert; Mary; James; Timothy; William; Adam and Lewis. The old loyalist soldier who had experienced life as a settler in both Nova Scotia and Upper Canada died at the age of 99 in Elgin County in 1853.

One Virginia loyalist who made his way to Upper Canada via Nova Scotia was Christopher Robinson. Abandoning his studies before his graduation, Robinson left the College of William and Mary to join the loyalist cause in New York. He served as an ensign in the Queen’s Rangers under John Graves Simcoe until the surrender at the Battle of Yorktown. Within two years’ time, Robinson and his men were settling in the St. John River Valley above modern day Fredericton.

At some point in his travels, Christopher met and married Esther Sayre, the daughter of a loyalist Connecticut minister. When the Anglican pastor died, his widow and two of his children moved to live with her patriot daughters in Pennsylvania. Esther and Christopher decided to remain in New Brunswick until 1788, when Robinson moved to Quebec in hopes of greater opportunities.

Four years later, his former commanding officer persuaded Robinson to move to Kingston in Upper Canada. There Simcoe appointed the Virginia loyalist as the surveyor general of the forests. Later, Robinson became a member of the colony’s house of assembly where in 1798 he tried to enact a bill “to enable persons migrating into this province to bring their negro slaves into the same.” A more successful venture was his work in establishing the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The historian R.E. Saunders notes that money problems “haunted Robinson all his life”. Robinson was “able to obtain official preferment only because of his link with Simcoe. He seems always to have been disappointed that the more comfortable life to which he felt his birth, education, and loyalty entitled him did not materialize. One of the few Robinsons from Virginia who supported the loyalist cause, he was cut off from most of the family.” Robinson died in York, Upper Canada on November 2, 1798 following a long trip on horseback.

Benjamin Hallowell had the unenviable position of being the commissioner of customs in the port of Boston in the years leading up to the American Revolution. When he became part of the governing council appointed by the British government, the patriots of Massachusetts regarded him as the vilest of villains. Little wonder, then, that Hallowell and his family of six were among the first loyalist refugees to seek sanctuary in Halifax in March of 1776.

Few records remain of conditions on an evacuation ship. The Hallowells were aboard the Hellespont, a ship that usually carried supplies rather than passengers. For six days, the loyalist family shared a cabin with thirty others: “men, women, and children; parents, masters and mistresses, obliged to pig together on the floor, there being no berths”.

During the three months that he was in Halifax, Hallowell wrote “If I can be of the least service to either army or navy, I will stay in America until this Rebellion is subdued.” When no one took the Massachusetts loyalist up on his offer, he sailed for England.

In 1779, rebels confiscated his estate. His country residence was used as a hospital by the patriot army during the siege of Boston; and his pleasure-grounds were converted into a place of burial for soldiers who died. Despite these losses, the Hallowell family “lived in handsome style” for the duration of the war and for thirteen years afterwards. The British government granted Benjamin lands in Manchester, England and a township in Upper Canada, which bears his name.

In 1796, Hallowell returned to Boston with his daughter Mary and her husband, John Elmsley. The latter was on en route to Upper Canada to become the colony’s new chief justice. Hallowell stayed with his brother for a year, where the historian Sabine notes “the odium which attached to his official relations to the Crown seemed to have been forgotten, since he was received by his former associates with the greatest kindness and hospitality.” Hallowell died at York, Upper Canada, in 1799, aged seventy-five, the last survivor of Boston’s Board of Commissioners.

Sabine records very little about the life of William Hutchinson, another loyalists who went “down the road”. In 1782 he was a captain lieutenant of the First Battalion of New Jersey Volunteers that settled along New Brunswick’s St. John River in New Brunswick. He “removed to Upper Canada where he died.”

John Smith of New Hampshire was “proscribed and banished” in 1778. If he is the same John Smith listed in the victualing muster for Fort Howe (today’s Saint John, New Brunswick) in 1784, this loyalist had with him a wife, six children and a slave. He is listed as a being a former merchant. Smith eventually “removed to Upper Canada”, and died at Belleville.

William Wynn was a Dutchess County loyalist who, Sabine notes “retired to New Brunswick, where he remained nineteen years. He removed to Upper Canada, and died at Queenstown in 1834.” His death was noted in The New Brunswick Courier in February of that year.

See next week’s Loyalist Trails to learn about four more loyalists who left their first refuge in the Maritimes to settle in Upper Canada.

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

Loyalist Gazette: Progress and Digital Edition

The editorial and design team is making final tweaks this weekend and submitting to the printer early in the week. Given the vagaries of schedules and workloads at both the printer shop and at the mailing house, the Fall Gazette is most likely to be delivered to Canada Post about Nov 7, plus or minus a week.

We will do our best to monitor progress.

If you like to be an earlybird, or would like to test drive a digital version of this issue, and have not already signed up for it, you can do so here.

NOTE: To be eligible, you must be a current paid-up member of a branch of UELAC, or separately a paid subscriber to the Gazette.

…Publications Committee

Interactive Historical Story Map: “New Brunswick Loyalist Journeys”

New Brunswick Loyalist Journeys recreates the stories of loyalists of the American Revolution utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology and the resources found within The Loyalist Collection and UNB Libraries. The initial phase of this project features the lives and Atlantic migrations of a variety loyalists settling in York County, New Brunswick, illustrated through maps, images, primary documents, and biography. This project was created by the Microforms Unit of UNB Libraries with the help Student Assistants, the UNB Work-Study Program, and a Canada Summer Jobs Grant. You are invited to visit and explore “New Brunswick Loyalist Journeys” at loyalist.lib.unb.ca/story-maps to discover the stories of New Brunswick loyalists. See the poster – love the painting.

From a blog post by Gail Dever: Between 1783 and 1785, approximately 15,000 loyalists of the American Revolution arrived in what would become the colony of New Brunswick. Most of them landed at the mouth of the St. John River, overwhelming the 400 plus civilians and troops living there, and founding the city of Saint John.

The initial phase of the New Brunswick Loyalist Journeys project features the lives and Atlantic migrations of ten loyalists, who settled in York County, New Brunswick. Their stories are illustrated through maps, images, primary documents, and biography.

Each loyalist has a story map and bibliography.

Visitors to the website can explore the lives of these ten York County loyalists: Stair Agnew, Samuel Cooke, Jacob Ellegood, Elizabeth Green, Joseph Lee, Moses Simpson, George Sproule, Samuel Denny Street, Abraham Vanderbeck, and Samuel Richard Wilson.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Sleepy Hollow: Headless Hessians

“What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path amidst the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy light! –With what wistful look did he eye every trembling ray of light streaming across the vast fields from some distent window!” Ichabod Crane was often “thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among the trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly scourings!”

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving (b. 1783), now known a as classic work of American literature, was first published in 1820 as part of The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Irving was a son of New York City merchant, but had strong family connections in Westchester County, New York and stayed in Tarrytown as a child, during which time he became enchanted with the area, including the village of Sleepy Hollow. In 1835 he bought a cottage in Tarrytown and was buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery upon his death in 1859.

The upstate New York combat zone during the American Revolution made the region around Sleepy Hollow, located between New York City and West Point, a confusing no man’s land or “Neutral Ground” which hosted a traumatic mix of British troops, Germans mercenaries, and patriot militiamen.

Read more.

JAR: Joseph Bettys: Revolutionary War Patriot, Traitor, and “Desperado”

by Michael Aikey on October 17, 2017

The Revolutionary War’s human landscape was populated by the famous, the infamous, and a vast number who have been forgotten. Some like Joseph Bettys were both infamous and largely forgotten. What little that has been remembered and written about him is often sprinkled with a liberal mixture of half truths and falsehood born from the raw emotions of a people who suffered terribly through a harsh civil war. Bettys was also the object of that special loathing which is heaped upon those who switched their allegiance to the losing side of a civil war. He, like his old commander, Benedict Arnold, didn’t just change sides. he made life very miserable for his former comrades and neighbors.

While few today have heard of Bettys, his name was well known in upstate New York for several generations after the Revolutionary War due to his active service to the Crown in New York State. A typical assessment of Bettys was that of the New York historian William L. Stone. Who wrote that Bettys was:

“Bold, athletic, and of untiring activity; revengeful and cruel in his disposition; inflexible in his purposes; his bosom cold as the marble to the impulses of humanity; he ranged the border settlements like a chafed tiger snuffing every tainted breeze for blood, until his name had become as terrific to the borderers, as were those of Kidd and Pierre le Grande upon the ocean in the preceding century.”

Read more.

The Junto: George Washington’s Mausoleum: Congressional Debates

By Jamie L. Brummitt. Her dissertation “Protestant Relics: The Politics of Religion & the Art of Mourning” examines the lively relic culture that thrived in political and religious life of the United States from the 1770s to 1870s.

If the recent acts of iconoclasm in Durham and Charlottesville have taught us anything, it may be this: monuments matter. They matter not just in an ideological sense, but in a material sense. Monuments work as material objects because they embody people, memory, and ideas for better or worse. This post examines the proposed construction of a mausoleum for George Washington’s remains by Congress. The proposed mausoleum was entangled in debates about politics, finances, and the material nature of monuments. Many congressmen argued that a monument to Washington should work with his remains to transfer his virtues to Americans.

On Saturday December 14, 1799, Washington died unexpectedly from a throat inflammation. The following Wednesday, Mrs. Washington saw his remains deposited in the family burial vault at their Mount Vernon estate. Soon after, President John Adams wrote to Mrs. Washington to express his condolences. He also notified her that Congress unanimously voted to reinter Washington’s remains under a marble monument to be erected in the new Capitol building. These acts, Adams wrote, would “commemorate the great events of his military and political life.” The most important site of the new republic would literally stand on Washington’s remains. Mrs. Washington assented to the request.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: The Power of the Press in the American Revolution

In this episode of the Doing History: To the Revolution! series, we explore the role the press played in fomenting and furthering the American Revolution and its ideas.

Alyssa Zuercher Reichardt, Eric Slauter, Seth Coltar, and Trish Loughran help us investigate the power of the press and communications in the American Revolution and the specific role that Thomas Paine and his pamphlet Common Sense played in causing Americans to declare their independence from Great Britain.

Listen to the podcast.

Restoration and Preservation of Old Hay Bay Church

When the Loyalist settlers of Hay Bay prepared to celebrate Christmas in 1791, they were looking forward to giving their community a wonderful Christian present in the new year. By the summer of 1792 they were holding Methodist services in a “meeting house” on the south shore of the bay. This year – 2017 – the church is 225 years old.

The church requires extensive repairs. An exterior inspection and evaluation in 2016, noted foundation repairs; siding, window frame, shutter replacement; as well as entrance and ventilation repairs were required. The interior requires plastering and paint, to secure its place now and for the next generations.

Our capital campaign goal is $300,000.00 to do the restoration and secure funds for future maintenance of the church, the cemetery and grounds.

Your support of the restoration may be done by cheques mailed to Treasurer Kathy Staples 1105-828 Sutton Mills Court, Kingston, On K7P 2S9, or by donating on line at www.Canadahelps.org.

Follow us on Facebook or at www.oldhaybaychurch.ca.

Where in the World?

Where is Barb Andrew of Assiniboine Branch? ?

To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is (if you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well). Send your submission to the editor at loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

Region and Branch Bits

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

  • Photos from UELAC Edmonton Branch Annual Banquet & 30th Anniversary held last weekend.
  • The Military Theaters of the American Revolution Symposium on Sat. Nov. 11 at Schenectady County Community College. renowned speakers will present: The Northern Theatre, The western Theatre, The War at Sea, The Southern Theatre, The Middle Theatre and a panel discussion Which Theatre Was Most Crucial to the Outcome. More…

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Local recognition for Brian McConnell’s research into the names and stories of each person buried in Digby’s Loyalist Cemetery. Well deserved Brian. From last week’s issue, also see Digby’s Loyalist Burial Ground of 1797, by Brian McConnell
  • Heritage Minute: Richard Pierpoint. At 68, a formerly enslaved Black Loyalist enlists men for the Coloured Corps, an instrumental company in the War of 1812.
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 21 Oct 1776 Congress pleads with Martinique merchants to send much-needed woolen goods for wintering army.
    • 20 Oct 1775 Americans capture Chambly, Quebec; abandon & burn it the following spring
    • 19 Oct 1781 British General Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, effectively ending American War of Independence.
    • 18 Oct 1776 At Battle of Pellham, 750 Americans fought 4,000 British troops, ending in strategic American retreat.
    • 17 Oct 1777 British General Burgoyne surrenders army of 6,200 troops at Saratoga, convincing French to aid America.
    • 16 Oct 1775 Portland, Maine (then called Falmouth) burned by the British Royal Navy.
    • 15 Oct 1780 Sir John Johnson and Chief Brant attack poorly-defended fort at Middleburg, New-York, but are repulsed.
  • Townsends: Stale Bread? Don’t Waste It! – 1773 Bread Pudding. This 1773 recipe for “Beggar’s Pudding” is another delicious pudding that uses stale bread as it’s base. Watch now…
  • It seems there is more interest these days in USA in exploring the Loyalists. A class – HSTA 304 – at Framingham University in Massachusetts has a group project and blog exploring the American Revolution from the Loyalist Perspective. Read, and follow if you wish.
  • 18th Century dress, 1775, American: Round Gown, similar to a Robe a l’Anglaise and 18th Century dress, robe a l’anglaise ca. 1760 and 18th Century dress, Robe à la Française, ca. 1770-1780
  • Check out the exquisite pattern matching for this brocaded silk, robe a l’anglaise; Canadian, 1750 – 1775 @WhitakerAuction
  • 18th Century men’s waistcoat, about 1780-90, silk satin coral red, embroidered with sequins, beads and tinsel
  • Adventures at The School of Historical Dress. The second year of my PhD has kicked off in style. Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend a short course at The School of Historical Dress in London. The course I attended — Tailoring in Garments 1400 — 1800 — was all about historical tailoring practices. Taught by Melanie Braun and Claire Thornton, the three-day course was an intensive, hands-on insight into a range of techniques found in surviving garments and sources from across the centuries.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Chandler, Joshua – submitted by Jo Ann Tuskin
  • Hough, Barnabas – from Deb Shunamon

Last Post: Oemar Halvorsen

Born on December 5, 1919 in Saxkjobing, Denmark and died on October 17, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario. Beloved husband of Ellen and father of Mette (Mel) Griffin, Peter (Marlies) Halvorsen and Axel (Leona) Halvorsen. Cherished grandfather of Joseph (Alejandra) Griffin, Julia (David) Estrada and Jesse (Candace) Halvorsen and great-grandfather of Evelyn, Hailey, Scarlett, Anabelle and A.J. Griffin, and Bethany Estrada. We all miss Dad! A memorial service will be celebrated at The Danish Lutheran Church of Toronto, 72 Finch Avenue West, on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to The Salvation Army would be appreciated. Online condolences at newediukfuneralhome.com.

Oemar’s daughter Mette, noted above, has been our UELAC Office Administrator since mid-2004. Our condolences to her and the entire family.



Newsletters from the US

Is there an American group, association, society which publishes a newsletter similar to Loyalists Trails, available to the public, and which has a focus on the Rev War period and the years leading up to it?

…Wilfred L. Cosby, UE