“Loyalist Trails” 2017-50: December 10, 2017

In this issue:
Unpacking an Execution Notice (Part 3 of 3), by Stephen Davidson
Obituary for William Botsford, 1773-1864
Battle of Chelsea Creek (May 27-28, 1775)
Daniel Morgan, Rebel
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: What Does That Say Again?!
JAR: Rascally Cousins: Whig or Tory in America’s Mother Town
Ben Franklin’s World: The American Revolution in North America
Reference: Guide to Finding Your Loyalist Ancestor in Upper Canada
The Georgian Papers Programme: New Releases
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
      + Coin of Interest to Loyalists


Unpacking an Execution Notice (Part 3 of 3)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

No documentation can be found to shed light on the efforts to save Ezekiel Tilton, an incarcerated Loyalist, for the period between September and December of 1782. In the end, the pleas of a wife, fellow loyalists and the British commander had no effect on New Jersey patriots still seething over the execution of Joshua Huddy.

They hanged Tilton on Friday, December 13, 1782. The charge: high treason. Two other loyalists shared the gallows with Tilton that day: John Lokerson and Peter Eaton. Judah Lippincott and James Fisher had also been sentenced to hang as traitors but received a reprieve. Within eight days, the news crossed Anchor Bay to New York City where Rivington’s Royal Gazette printed the sad news.

Elizabeth, Tilton’s 36 year old wife, now had four children who were completely dependent upon her. Given that her two brothers-in-law, Clayton and John, were among the loyalist refugees who had sailed for the mouth of the St. John River, the young widow had few resources or family members to support her. Although rebels had confiscated and sold her husband’s property, Elizabeth decided to remain in Middletown. She lived for 55 more years, dying on March 9, 1837. Her tombstone and those of other family members can be found in the town’s Fairview Cemetery. No doubt only a few –if any– of Elizabeth’s descendants realize that her husband was a committed Loyalist and friend of the king.

But others would remember the service of Ezekiel Tilton. When not engaged in guerilla warfare in New Jersey, Ezekiel’s brother, John Tilton, had worked as a carpenter in New York City. In 1783, his family boarded an evacuation ship for the mouth of the St. John River. The victualing muster for Fort Howe shows that John and his wife had two children under the age of ten and two children who were ten or older. At the time the Tilton family was drawing food supplies from the British garrison in Parrtown, John was listed as a millwright. In time, he became a mariner, owning part of a vessel called the Repulse. Captain John Tilton lived in New Brunswick for twenty-two years, dying in 1805.

Clayton Tilton, the last of the three Loyalist brothers, died three years after John. He and his wife Catherine had come to what is now New Brunswick with their children: William, Samuel, Ann and Elizabeth. The family eventually settled in Musquash, a community about 35 km west of Saint John, where they operated an inn.

Clayton died at the relatively young age of fifty-two. He would have lived longer had he not tried to arrest a deserting soldier. But then, Clayton Tilton had a history of capturing deserters.

Back in August of 1782 —the same summer in which his brother Ezekiel had been imprisoned– Clayton was a witness at a court martial for a young Loyalist soldier accused of desertion. With the help of another officer, Clayton captured Michael Meany six miles from his post. The deserter blamed his absence on the fact that he was intoxicated. Nevertheless, the military court sentenced Tilton’s prisoner to receive 500 lashes with a cat-of-nine-tails.

Twenty-six years later, Clayton Tilton once again gathered local men to round up a deserter. This time the culprits were three privates in the 101st Regiment that was stationed in Saint John. Henry Baldwin, James Lannon and Patrick McEvoy abandoned Fort Howe in October of 1808, heading west for the American border. Six days later, the armed deserters knocked on the door of a house near that of Clayton Tilton’s to ask directions to Dipper Harbour. Knowing that there were deserters in the neighbourhood, Tilton called on two servants to help him capture the soldiers.

Tilton confronted the deserters on St. Andrews Road as they were leaving Musquash. Private Baldwin shot and killed Tilton with his musket, and then escaped into the woods with his two companions. The local militia eventually captured the three privates and took them back to Saint John for trial. Lannon and Baldwin were found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. Both men testified that they had persuaded Patrick McEvoy, a teenager, to desert with them. Since the youth had no part in Tilton’s murder, he received mercy.

The deserters’ execution was set for November 23, exactly a month following the murder of Clayton Tilton. Lannon and Baldwin marched to the King Street gallows that Wednesday morning in the company of a Methodist layman who sang hymns in the hope of comforting them. Many who witnessed the men swinging from their nooses must have wondered if there was some form of divine intervention. Both of the deserters’ ropes snapped and the men dropped to the ground unharmed. The convicts then had to stand beneath their gallows until new rope could be acquired and put up a second time. With fresh nooses around their necks, Lannon and Baldwin once again stood on the gallows. This time the ropes held, and the men died.

Almost six decades later, while working along King Street, city labourers unearthed some rotten boards and bones. Digging further, they discovered two coffins that contained scraps of red cloth and tarnished military brass buttons. These artifacts were evidence of a speedy burial in 1808. Still dressed in their regiment’s uniforms, Lannon and Baldwin had quickly been consigned to shallow, unmarked graves at the foot of their gallows. The discovery of these remains was the final chapter in the story of the men who had murdered Clayton Tilton, the loyalist of Monmouth.

Brass buttons and uniform fragments may not be the only the surviving artifacts to bear witness to the tragic story of the three Tilton brothers. In his last will and testament, Clayton Tilton bequeathed a number of possessions to his children, and these may still exist as heirlooms in some 21st century New Brunswick home. Among other things, the New Jersey loyalist left his heirs a mahogany dining table, six chairs, a china tea set of nine cups and saucers, and a silver coffee pot with six silver spoons.


This article began with the news of Ezekiel Tilton’s death as recorded in a New York City newspaper on December 21, 1782. The very last time that any of the loyalist Tiltons would have his name appear in a newspaper would be over a century later. The February 7, 1891 edition of the Saint John Daily Telegraph carried an article that featured the memoirs of a Loyalist’s child. Born in 1796, 95 year-old Henry Melick still had vivid memories of the city’s earliest days, including the execution of Clayton Tilton’s murderers.

By piecing together oral history, obituaries, probate records, court transcripts, genealogical data, scraps of uniforms, and newspaper articles spanning more than a hundred years, one can discover the amazing story of three loyalist brothers — a story that started with a single sentence in a New York newspaper.

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

Obituary for William Botsford, 1773-1864

Hon. William Botsford, at West Cock, Sackville, New Brunswick, May 8, 1864 in the 92nd year of his age.

He was born at New Haven Con., April 1773. He was the son of Hon. Amos Botsford, b. at Newtown Con., Jan 1744. Y.C. 1763, whose “adhesion to his allegiance in the Revolutionary war forced him from his native home, but who was appointed, 1782, by Sir. Guy Carleton, an agent for the loyalist who were then embarking at New York, to seek an asylum in Nova Scotia, and arrived at Annapolis, with the first Fleet, in the autumn of that year.

On the erection of the Province, he represented the County of Westmorland, and was elected Speaker by the first House of Assembly in 1786. He was afterwards re-elected by each successive House, until his death, 14 Sept 1812.

The mother of Hon. William Botsford was Sarah Chandler, born at New Haven Con., March 1752, dau. Of Col. Joshua Chandler, Esq, of New Haven Con. (a loyalist and a refugee), by his wife Sarah Miles of New Haven.

Sarah Chandler was grand dau. of Joshua Chandler of Woodstock Con., by his wife Elizabeth Cutler, of Medway, Mass. She was the great grand dau. of Judge John Chandler, of Woodstock by his wife Mary Raymond of New London; and gr. gr. grand dau. of Deacon John Chandler, of Woodstock, Con., son of William and Annis Chandler, of Roxbury, Mass, by his wife Elisabeth Douglas.

At the age of 9 years William Botsford accompanied his parents to Annapolis; but was afterwards sent back to Con., and fitted to enter Yale College under the instruction of Rev. Eleazer Goodrich of Durham. Graduating in 1792, he went home and pursued the study of Law, partly with Hon. Jona Bliss, Chief Justice of the Province of N.B. He was admitted to the bar in 1795, and commenced the practice of his profession at St. John N.B. In 1803 he was appointed Judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court, over which he presided until 1807, when at the removal from St. John to West Cock, his father’s seat in Westmorland County, resigning this position.

On the death of his father in 1812, he succeeded him in the representation of the country in the Assembly of the Province. In 1817, he was elected Speaker of the House, and continued so by re-election till 1823, when he was promoted to the Executive and Legislative Council. In 1817, he was appointed Solicitor-General, and he held this position till his elevation to the bench of the Supreme Court in 1823. In this office he remained twenty two years. His hearing having then become slightly impaired, he resigned his seat on the bench; and during the remainder of his life, resided on his estate at West Cock, active in promoting the public welfare and especially interested in the advancement of agriculture.

In 1802, Judge Botsford married Sarah Lowell Hazen, dau. of Hon. William Hazen and widow of Thos. Murray, Esq. Her death occurred May 1850, at the age of 74 years, leaving 8 sons and 2 daughters.

“The late Hon. William Botsford was a noble specimen of a man, and his heart was warm with love to all”

…Submitted by Rebecca Grant; from the N.E. Historical Genealogical Society, 1865, p.79

Battle of Chelsea Creek (May 27-28, 1775)

The Battle of Chelsea Creek was the second military engagement of the Boston campaign of the American Revolutionary War. It is also known as the Battle of Noddle’s Island, Battle of Hog Island and the Battle of the Chelsea Estuary. This battle was fought on May 27 and 28, 1775, on Chelsea Creek and on salt marshes, mudflats, and islands of Boston Harbor, northeast of the Boston peninsula. Most of these areas have since been united with the mainland by land reclamation and are now part of East Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop, and Revere.

The American colonists met their goal of strengthening the siege of Boston by removing livestock and hay on those islands from the reach of the British regulars. The British armed schooner Diana was also destroyed and its weaponry was appropriated by the Colonial side. This was the first naval capture of the war, and it was a significant boost to the morale of the Colonial forces

Read more from Wikipedia.

Daniel Morgan, Rebel

Daniel Morgan (July 6, 1736 – July 6, 1802) was an American pioneer, soldier, and United States Representative from Virginia. One of the most gifted battlefield tacticians of the American Revolutionary War, he later commanded troops during the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion.

After the American Revolutionary War began at the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, the Continental Congress created the Continental Army. They called for the formation of 10 rifle companies from the middle colonies to support the Siege of Boston, and late in June 1775 Virginia agreed to send two. The Virginia House of Burgesses chose Daniel Morgan to form one of these companies and serve as its commander with the rank of captain. Morgan had served as an officer in the Virginia Colonial Militia since the French and Indian War. He recruited 96 men in 10 days and assembled them at Winchester on July 14. He then marched them 600 miles to Boston, Massachusetts in only 21 days, arriving on Aug. 6, 1775. He led this outstanding group of marksmen nicknamed “Morgan’s Riflemen.” What set Morgans Riflemen apart from other companies was the technology they had with their rifles. They had rifle barrels with thin walls and curved grooves inside the barrels which made them light and much more accurate than the British muskets.

At the start, the Arnold Expedition had about 1,000 men, but by the time they arrived near Quebec on Nov. 9 it had been reduced to 600. (Note: historians have never reached a consensus on the use of a standard name for this epic journey.) When Montgomery arrived, they launched their assault, the Battle of Quebec, on the morning of Dec. 31. The Patriots attacked in two thrusts, the two groups commanded by Montgomery and Arnold.

Arnold led the attack against the lower city from the north, but went down early with a bullet in his leg. Morgan took over leadership of this force, and they successfully entered the city following him over the first barricade. Montgomery’s force was attempting to storm the wall, unfortunately in the midst of a terrible blizzard. Montgomery and most of the front line, with the exception of the young Aaron Burr, were killed or wounded in the first volley. When Montgomery fell, his attack faltered, and the British General Carleton led hundreds of local Quebec militia to encircle the second attack. He moved cannons and men to the first barricade, behind Morgan’s force. Split up in the lower city, subject to fire from all sides, they were forced to surrender piecemeal. Shortly before surrendering, Morgan surrendered his sword to a local French-Canadian priest, refusing to give it up before Carleton for a formal surrender, which Morgan viewed as humiliating to him. Morgan was among the 372 men captured. He remained a prisoner of war until exchanged in January 1777.

Read more.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: What Does That Say Again?!

By Leah Grandy 6 December 2017

Tips for Transcription: The end result of palaeography often is transcription of a document. Transcription practices are not standardized, but there are some general “good practices” to keep in mind:

  • Details are important: try to stay as close to the original text as possible without biases.
  • Keep original spellings, punctuation, capitalization, and brevigraphs — for example, the ampersand (&).
  • Crossed out words should be struck through.
  • Insertions are indicated with a caret mark ^.
  • Use square [ ] brackets for guesses by the editor.
  • Use braces { } to indicate where original text is missing.

Notations can be made on particular scripts, change in hand, etc. at the end of the final transcription.

Working Through a Palaeographic Problem: The following is an example of how to work through a tricky spot in transcription. This problem arose during the creation of a finding aid for the Port Roseway Associates Minute Book from the Township Records of Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, Local Records: 1782-1860. We could not decipher a particular, frequently occurring word in the handwritten index of the record.

Read more.

JAR: Rascally Cousins: Whig or Tory in America’s Mother Town

by Chaim M. Rosenberg 4 December 2017

Whig or Tory, which side to support in the coming Revolutionary War? Every adult in the thirteen British colonies of North America faced the task of declaring allegiance. The drama played out even among the Mayflower descendants in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the first successful British settlement in North America, which by 1775 had grown to 2,000 residents. Scions of the oldest and most revered families of New England, Edward Winslow senior and junior were principled Tories, and their cousin, James Warren, a passionate Whig. Their choices of allegiance profoundly changed their lives and their places in history.

The story began in 1620 when their ancestors Edward Winslow and Richard Warren left the Old World for the New with the first company to sail on the Mayflower. Winslow was the third and Warren the twelfth signers of the Mayflower Compact. As loyal subjects of King James, they and thirty-nine other men pledged to form “a civil body … for our better ordering, and preserving and furtherance” of the Plymouth settlement. Edward Winslow acquired a 1,000-acre estate in what is now Marshfield. Four generations of the Winslow family made it their home.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: The American Revolution in North America

Historians Claudio Saunt and Alyssa Mt. Pleasant help us explore the American Revolution within the larger context of the history of North America during the revolutionary era.

During our exploration these scholars reveal why we only think about the eastern seaboard of North America when we think about the American Revolution; The independence and interdependence of North America and its people; And what the Revolution looked like and meant for the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois people. You will discover:

  • Why we think only of the eastern seaboard of North America
  • Consequences of dividing North America along the Mississippi River
  • Native American violence on the Great Plains
  • Spain and the American Revolution
  • Russians in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest
  • Spanish colonization of California
  • Spanish colonies in North America
  • Native American peoples in North America
  • Independence and interdependence of North America
  • The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people and their culture
  • Haudenosaunee diplomacy
  • Gayaneshagowa or the Great Law of Peace
  • The Treaty of Paris, 1783
  • Native American resistance to American territorial claims
  • Treaty of Canandaigua, 1794

Listen to the podcast.

Reference: Guide to Finding Your Loyalist Ancestor in Upper Canada

by Lorine McGinnis Schulze.

The Guide will help genealogists find their Upper Canada Loyalist ancestor. Explanations are given for each of the set of records available for research. The reader will learn how to manoeuver through the more challenging obscure records.

The Guide is available in paperback or as an e-book on Amazon.com and on Amazon.ca

Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian author and genealogist who has been involved in the fields of genealogy and history for more than thirty years. Her author site is http://lorineschulze.com and her Olive Tree Genealogy website has been online since 1996. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books. See her list of published works.

The Georgian Papers Programme: New Releases

What’s new in Georgian Papers Online

Recently it was announced that phase II of the Georgian Papers Programme is online! 50,000 pages have been scanned and published online so far. The additional items mostly relate to the times of multiple Monarchs.

  • Additional papers (GEO/ADD/18) relating

    to warrants, orders, appointments and receipts dating from the reigns of George I to George IV

  • Georgian mensil books providing details of the supply of goods to the households of George III, George IV, William IV, and Queen Victoria, 1812-1865

For more details, read the announcement.

Where in the World?

Where are Brian and Ann 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.

  • Congratulations to Nova Scotia Branch UELAC members Jill Mattinson and Dianne Hancock on recently proving their descent from United Empire Loyalist ancestors Joseph Denton, Sr. and Hugh Pudsey.
  • The 2018 History Symposium will be held at the Visitor’s Centre of Old Fort Erie in Fort Erie, Ontario.  Fort Erie is a beautiful, reconstructed fort from the early nineteenth century.  It is the perfect location for a Conference on the War of 1812.  Wednesday Feb 24, 2018. A day full of speakers and workshops. Read details…
  • An American Revolution conference will take place the weekend of March 23-25, 2018, at the Colonial Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel in Williamsburg, Virginia.
    • Friday, March 23 to Sunday, March 25, 2018Colonial Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel Williamsburg, Virginia; Conference registration: $245 (details) optional bus tour; Speakers include Stephanie Seal Walters — Emerging Scholar—Civil War of the Heart: Virginia’s First Families & the Revolution’s Devastation at Home  See more details…
    • Steph tweets: “I’m so excited to be 2018’s Emerging Scholar. If you are in Williamsburg in March, this is a not-to-miss event! The Must-attend American Revolution Conference of 2018”

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 10 Dec 1777 Col. Samuel B. Webb attempts to raid Setauket, Long Island; thwarted by weather & captured.
    • 9 Dec 1775 Patriots defeat British forces, including 800 slaves freed for the occasion, to secure Virginia.
    • 8 Dec 1775 Arnold & Montgomery besiege Quebec City, in a doomed attempt to bring Canadian provinces into the revolt.
    • 7 Dec 1787 Shay’s Rebellion demands published, spurring reconsideration of Articles of Confederation.
    • 7 Dec 1775 Dr. Benjamin Gale writes to Silas Deane in Congress of progress on submarine invented by David Bushnell.
    • 6 Dec 1782 HMS Ruby John Collins & French ship Solitaire under Jean-Charles de Borda (both 64 guns) engage off the coast of Martinique. Solitaire strikes colors after 40 minute combat. 
    • 6 Dec 1777 Tipped off by Quaker housewife, Patriot forces outwit Cornwallis in skirmishes north of Philadelphia.
    • 5 Dec 1776 Washington asks Congress to create standing professional army, to reduce dependence on militia.
    • 4 Dec, 1780 Col. William Washington forces surrender of Loyalists at Rugeley’s Mills SC with fake cannon made from pine log.
    • 3 Dec 1775 British revive fear of smallpox by sending victims of the disease from Boston to the patriot lines.
  • Townsends: There is nothing like cooking over an open fire! Today we are doing a very simple recipe for Open Fire” Roast Beef from “American Cookery” by Amelia Simmons.
  • Two Nerdy History Girls:  Since we’re officially in the holiday season now, it seems like the appropriate time to share a video on how to make a traditional plum, or hunter’s – the same pudding goes by different names – pudding c1775. This is one of many excellent 18thc cooking videos produced by Townsends.
  • Detail of 18th Century men’s waistcoat embroidery, 1770-90
  • An 18th century Watteau pleat/sack back robe and matching petticoat, circa 1775.
  • 18th Century open robe dress with quilted petticoat, Italy, c.1750
  • 18th Century quilted caraco & petticoat, 1770’s, Musée Galliera
  • 18th Century men’s embroidered waistcoat, from the Greenleaf collection, 1770-1780
  • A New England 18th century winter wardrobe staple – a red wool cloak, cape or roquelaure. This example was worn by Chief Justice & Loyalist Peter Oliver.


Coin of Interest to Loyalists

I recently purchased this coin on eBay for a couple of dollars from a seller in the USA who did not know anything about its history. See the front and back. The back photo explains the history of United Empire Loyalists in both of Canada’s official languages.

Can anyone tell me or help me determine the origin of the coin?

…Brian McConnell, Nova Scotia Branch