“Loyalist Trails” 2018-05: February 4, 2018

In this issue:
The Claimants of February 1788 (Part One), by Stephen Davidson
“Deluded and Ruined”: Diana Bastian – Enslaved African Canadian Teenager
Save The House of Captain John Moore UEL of The Forty
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Smallpox and Fear of Inoculation
JAR: The Route is by Way of Winnisimmet: Chelsea and the Refugees
Washington’s Quill: Washington and the Governors
Ben Franklin’s World: Native Americans, British Colonists, and Trade in North America
Where in the World?
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Response re James Hughes, UE, Marysburgh


The Claimants of February 1788 (Part One)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Whether it’s a leap year or not, the second month of the year always feels like the longest month. Even with Valentine’s Day in its middle, we’ve all experienced the “February blahs”. So for 2018, let’s brighten up the month with a little time travel — going back 230 years to the February of 1788 in Montreal.

Hundreds of “out of towners” were descending upon the old city, but the most popular destination was not a store or tourist attraction. The Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL) had convened; loyalists who had settled up and down the St. Lawrence River were taking advantage of the last opportunity to seek redress for all that they had sacrificed in the American Revolution.

Throughout the month, we will discover the stories of the loyalists who petitioned the British government for compensation during February of 1788. Over the 22 days of hearings in February, 121 different witnesses also travelled to Montreal to speak on behalf of friends and family members who hoped for financial grants from the crown. While a complete record of all the compensation hearings is not possible due to the loss of some transcripts, we know of 149 loyalists who fervently trusted that their “February blahs” would be banished by the end of their visit to Montreal.

On Friday, February first, John McCaffrey was the lone loyalist to go before the RCLSAL. Noted as being “a fair man”, this native of Ireland had immigrated to Sir William Johnston’s land in New York back in the 1740s. McCaffrey’s petition was brief, stating that he joined the British in 1777, served under Lieutenant Allan McDonell, and was now living in the Second Township. The RCLSAL commissioners preferred to have witnesses speak on behalf of the petitioners, but in McCaffrey’s case they accepted a certificate of service from his commanding officer.

On the following day, the commissioners once again only considered one loyalist’s request (unless both of these days’ transcripts are among those that were lost). John Treple was born in the thirteen colonies and lived in Albany County, New York at the outbreak of the rebellion. He served with Sir John Johnson as a sergeant from 1777 to 1783. Since finding refuge in Canada, Treple had made his home in nearby Sault de Recollect. Again, a certificate from Alexander Campbell, Esquire, was sufficient proof of Treple’s loyalty.

Two loyalists came before the board on Monday. Philip Roblin, a Bay of Quinte settler, had served the crown for the last four years of the revolution in the barracks department. Prior to his service, rebels had imprisoned and tried Roblin because he had “always acted as a friend of government”. John Ross was able to bring his friend Thomas Munro to serve as his witness. A young man, Ross stayed on the family farm until 1780 to look after his mother while his father served with Sir John Johnson.

On February 5th, the RCLSAL commissioners considered the merits of five refugees’ claims for compensation. A settler at Oswegatchie, William Leahy Jr had not been old enough to join Jessop’s Corps until 1781. Leahy saw rebels take all of his family’s livestock from their Fort Edward farm. Two affidavits and liner notes in his transcript describing Leahy as “a fair man” served him in good stead.

Jacob Van Camp called Saratoga, New York his home in 1776. When General Burgoyne’s forces made their way down the Hudson River, Van Camp had been a prisoner in Hertford for five months. He eventually made his way to Canada in 1780, served with Johnson’s regiment, and then made New Johnstown his home.

This loyalist’s witness was John Boyce, a man who had escaped to Canada with Van Camp. He also appeared before the RCLSAL that day, trying to clear up confusion around a petition that he had made to the British government two years previously. It was not unusual for loyalists to have sent their compensation claims to England with military officers or friends, only to find that things got “lost in the mail”.

Boyce also served as a character witness for Peter Van Camp, his father-in-law. This loyalist who had been too old to serve. “He had been read to give all the assistance in his Power to Loyalists … he had four sons and four sons-in-law in the army.” Boyce testified that his wife’s father “was not very loyal at first, but soon joined the king’s party and became very loyal.” In fact, Mary Boyce’s father was fined and imprisoned before he found sanctuary in Canada in 1780.

John Wist, a farmer on Renssalaer’s Manor, joined General Burgoyne as the latter marched through New York. Like Boyce, Wist had submitted a claim two years earlier.

On February 6th, a group of loyalists who knew each other prior to the revolution appeared before the RCLSAL, submitting their own claims and serving as witnesses for one another. Jacob Conterman had lived on the Mohawk River for four years before fleeing to Canada in 1776. After serving as a soldier in the First Battalion for the remainder of the conflict, Conterman settled in the Third Township.

John Dulmage was an Irishman who had emigrated to the New World in 1756 Twenty years later, he joined Major Jessup’s Corps to put down the rebels. After rising to the rank of lieutenant, Dulmage settled at Oswegatchie. The commissioners noted that the loyalist “seems a respectable and good man”.

Paul Heck, who testified for Dulmage, was also an Irishman who had made his first home in Charlotte County. He had initially signed “an obligation to be quiet”, but when his family was “burned out” by rebels, he joined Major Leake’s Corps, serving as a sergeant. He also settled in Oswegatchie along with Dulmage.

Like Heck, John Lawrence had Dulmage testify on his behalf. This Irishman came to America 18 years earlier, married Margaret Embury, and settled on land that had belonged to Philip Embury, Margaret’s first husband. The loyalist joined the British in 1776, served in Burgoyne’s campaign, and then moved to Montreal. His two step-children, Samuel and a Mrs. Fisher, settled nearby.

John Dulmage witnessed for a third loyalist named John Wilson, but his full transcript is in the now-lost Volume 19 of the RCLSAL records. There are no transcripts for the hearings for Thursday, February 7th – which may be due to the fact that they were also collected in Volume 19. Only three transcripts exist for the following day.


Discover the stories of those who sought compensation in Montreal during the second week of February in 1788 in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

“Deluded and Ruined”: Diana Bastian – Enslaved African Canadian Teenager

by Afua Cooper, Dalhousie University

This essay explores the vulnerability of enslaved African Canadian Black women by examining the death of Diana Bastian, an enslaved Black teenager who in 1792 was raped by George More, a member of the Governing Council of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Though Bastian begged for assistance during the resultant pregnancy, More denied her such aid and cast her aside. Bastian further appealed to More’s brother, a local magistrate, who also denied Bastian any help, and Bastian died giving birth to the twins More sired. Bastian’s owner, Abraham Cuyler, appeared to have been absent from the province at the time of Bastian’s rape, pregnancy, and labour. Bastian’s brief and tragic history is told in her death certificate recorded at the St. George’s Anglican Church, Sydney. This very succinct document brings to light the story of racial and sexual abuse on the Canadian frontier, and helps us to understand the marginal status of Black women’s lives in colonial Canada. I suggest in this essay that when we place enslaved Black women at the centre of Canada’s historical and colonial past, we come to a new understanding of the power and privilege White men possessed, and the catastrophic impact it had on Black women’s bodies.

Read the full article, recently published in Brock Education Journal 27, 1 (2017). Submitted by Guylaine Petrin.

Save The House of Captain John Moore UEL of The Forty

This is the story of a large white farmhouse that has dominated the streetscape, juxtaposed against an escarpment backdrop, along Main St. East in Grimsby. The house itself doesn’t look like anything from the late 1700s, but the story that goes with it, not just of John Moore, but of many others who followed at that location. The house should I think be saved.

See links below to various reports and submissions concerning efforts to save a building slated for demolition in Grimsby which has a direct relationship to Captain John Moore UEL of The Forty who was arguably the founder of Municipal government in Upper Canada. My brother Paul Bingle UE, spent considerable time and effort researching our ancestor John Moore, who was oh so much more than the mere “hat maker” he is often depicted as having been. Paul’s book on this man can be purchased from the Grimsby Historical Society Archives, and it is called “In The Shadow of the Escarpment Volume 4”.

There is a robust group of Moore family descendants who have an annual reunion where Paul has actually spoken about our loyalist ancestor to Grimsby. Sadly John Moore died in 1803 and so much more about his prominent son-in-law, Robert Nelles, has overshadowed and overtaken any adequate remembrance of Captain John Moore in Grimsby. Ironically Paul and I share family ties with both men because although Col. Robert Nelles UEL was the husband of Elizabeth Moore-Nelles, his second wife was Maria Jane Waddell (the widow Bingle) our third great grandmother, whose son Thomas Bingle grew up in Nelles Manor in this Town and we trace family ties from generation to generation in Grimsby through both loyalist and British Army blood.

We would appreciate all assistance in saving this Loyalist ancestral home. The reports and submissions:

Town of Grimsby Report About Heritage Designation;

Letter from Alex Nuttall MP;v

Letter from Karl Gonnsen.

Catharine Bingle-Gonnsen, UE

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Smallpox and Fear of Inoculation

Children suffering in any form will always cause a reaction from parents and making the right choice isn’t always easy. It was no different when Dr. John Jeffries inoculated children at the hospital on Georges Island near Halifax, Nova Scotia in the eighteenth century. In 2018, parents are fearful of giving their children vaccinations, just as parents were fearful of inoculation in the eighteenth century, but both of these practices can save children’s lives.

A smallpox epidemic in Nova Scotia took place during the years of loyalist migration in the late 1700s; sickness was inevitable for most children in this period. During the American Revolution, Dr. Jeffries left Boston with the British army and moved to Nova Scotia after declaring his public trust in the King. He was a military medical practitioner in Nova Scotia between the years 1776 and 1778, during which time there was a large smallpox outbreak. Dr. Jeffries was able to save many children’s lives by performing inoculation.

Read more.

JAR: The Route is by Way of Winnisimmet: Chelsea and the Refugees

By Katie Turner Getty 1 February 2018

It was August 1775 and Belcher Noyes, worried about his son Nathaniel, was writing to him from Boston for a third time. “My dear son: Have received no letter from you since May 27, which I duly answered 3d June … I wrote you May 25, both of which I hope came safe to your hands.”

To his great anxiety, sixty-five year old Belcher Noyes found himself trapped in Boston that summer, frantically penning unanswered letters to his adult son, and surrounded by thousands of seething British troops and distressed townspeople. Boston and the Massachusetts countryside roiled with unrest. Patriot forces had locked up thousands of British troops on the Boston peninsula after the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Forming a ring around the town, militia and minute men managed to contain the British in Boston and prevent further forays into the country. Those men had since been organized into the Continental Army and were laying siege to Boston.

Rumors swirled that the destruction of Boston was nigh and dysentery wracked the town. People were desperate to escape. Belcher wrote to his son. “Provisions scarce and bad; no fuel nor money … Last week there was a notification posted up, that all those who were desirous to leave the Town, to give in their names to James Urquhart, Town-Major; and in two days time upwards of two thousand entered their names, and passes are now granted … The route is by way of Winnisimit.”

If places could have memories, then Winnisimmet’s would be a long one. By the time of the Siege of Boston in 1775, Winnisimmet Ferry had already been in continuous operation for 144 years.

Read more.

Washington’s Quill: Washington and the Governors

By Benjamin L. Huggins 2 February 2018

Washington faced some of his thorniest fights with state leaders over the deployment of Continental troops. He summed up his problem in a letter to his friend Gouverneur Morris:

“When I endeavour to draw together the Continental troops for the most essential purposes I am embarrassed with complaints of the exhausted defenceless situation of particular states and find myself obliged either to resist solicitations made in such a manner and with such a degree of emphasis as scarcely to leave me a choice, or to sacrifice the most obvious principles of military propriety and risk the general safety.”

The general’s diplomacy smoothed the redeployment of the New Jersey brigade in 1779. When he decided that the brigade should join the army assembling for an expedition against the British-allied Iroquois Indians in western New York, he wrote an official letter to the state of New Jersey that merely stated the fact. Displaying his tact in dealing with the state governors, Washington covered his first letter with a “private and confidential” missive to New Jersey governor William Livingston explaining why he needed the brigade and that he would be unable to replace it on the defensive lines. Militia would have to take over that task. “It is very disagreeable to me to throw any burthen upon the Militia … but you will readily perceive my dear Sir, that it is not in my power to avoid it.” Livingston raised no objections; the state called out the needed militia. The expedition would benefit the New Jersey frontier.

Washington, though, lost some of these battles.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Native Americans, British Colonists, and Trade in North America

Jessica Stern, a Professor of History at California State University, Fullerton and the author of The Lives in Objects: Native Americans, British Colonists, and Cultures of Labor and Exchange in the Southeast, takes us on a journey into the southeast during the early 18th century to show us how trade between Native Americans and British colonists really took place.

During our journey, Jessica reveals information about Native American peoples in the southeast during the early 18th century; The different types of trade Native Americans and British colonists conducted; And how using anthropology and its techniques can better help us understand the past.

Listen to the podcast.

Where in the World?

Where are Jill Mattinson, UE, Carol Harding, UE, and Dianne Hancock, UE, 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.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Seeking out Loyalist history in our own back yard. Spooner, platter and pitcher from Vermont in Museum in Windsor ON
  • Following the conquest, Montreal was a city of divided loyalties, an often volatile, rowdy and disease-ridden place. The city fell for fourteen months to the Continental Amy in 1775 during the American revolution when Benedict Arnold served as military commander. The Yankees threw the bust of George III on Place d’Armes down a well but the locals were not impressed. For one thing, Arnold had no coin to pay for goods and services. For another the American revolutionaries couldn’t speak French. Those French-speaking residents who could speak English wouldn’t. Benjamin Franklin came up from Philadelphia to enlist the population in the fight for liberty. But Franklin wouldn’t promise continued protection of the French language which the British Parliament had already guaranteed the year before with the Quebec Act. Franklin was sent packing. He remarked that if he had had the money it would have been easier to buy Canada than to win it over to the American cause by persuasion. Read more…
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 3 Feb 1781 American General Greene escapes Cornwallis using flat-bottomed boats from Polish military advisor.
    • 2 Feb 1781 Innkeeper Elizabeth Steele donates nest egg to American cause, reviving effort.
    • 1 Feb 1776 Pacifist Moravian group refuses North-Carolina Royal Governor Martin’s order to join in supporting Crown.
    • 31 Jan 1776 Congress accepts newspaper accounts of appointment of MA delegates, in absence of formal credentials.
    • 30 Jan 1781 MD is last to ratify Articles of Confederation, establishing 1st national gov’t.
    • 29 Jan 1777 Patriots abandon attack on Fort Independence in Bronx County, NY, ultimately defeated by weather.
    • 29 Jan 1820 King George III dies, blind, deaf, and insane, having ruled for longer than any British monarch before.
    • 28 Jan 1777 British plan to split New England from other Colonies via Lake Champlain & Hudson is submitted.
  • Townsends: Steaks Fried in Ale – A Recipe from The Art of Cookery
  • The robe à la française or sack-back open robe was the most popular and lasting dress style for the fashionable women in the 18th century. So named for its association with the French court at Versailles and for the loose double box pleat of drapery that falls down the back from the shoulders. The gown is slipped on like a coat and is open at the front to reveal a matching petticoat and a triangular shaped bodice piece (which covers the corset) called the stomacher. Read more…
  • Glimpses of Revolutionary Camp Followers. In recent months Susan Holloway Scott at Two Nerdy History Girls shared a couple of artifacts that offer glimpses of the families who traveled with eighteenth-century armies. Read more…
  • 18th Century men’s waistcoat, detail of embroidery and buttons
  • Vibrant 18th Century dress, robe à l’anglaise, The Netherlands, 1780-1795
  • 18th Century men’s court coat, 1775-1789
  • George Washington’s Masonic apron, believed to have been presented to him at Mount Vernon in 1784 by the Marquis de Lafayette. Picture. Description

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Palmer, David Sr – by volunteer Jo Ann Tuskin


Response re James Hughes, UE, Marysburgh

In last week’s issue, Michael Umpherson was seeking more information about James. Guylaine Petrin responded with:

When I look for marriages and baptisms in that time period (1777-1800), there are two places that I look, and sometimes I find some materials.

One is the anglican parish registers for Montreal and Quebec for that period. They are available on Ancestry.ca in the Drouin collection. Christ Church Cathedral Montreal and also the garrison parish registers.

I find it is best to browze them by date, since the indexing is pretty horrible on Ancestry.ca.

they are also available on FamilySearch.org.

The second place I look is in the Anglican parish register of Dr. Bethune.

Register of baptisms and marriages performed by Rev. John Bethune, photocopy, 1779-1817, AO microfilm M2232.

In Library and Archives, Canada it is “Register of baptisms and marriages, 1779-1817” , is also available on microfilm, reel C-3030. I believe the microfilm C-3030, which contains many different parish registers is now online at heritage.canadiana.ca.

Regarding the baptisms and marriages in Colonial and Revolutionary New York, in the past I had the pleasure to use the UELAC branch library in Toronto on Scollard Ave, and their library collections has a huge amount of published parish registers for New York, all together. Many are parish registers compiled and indexed from originals in the Albany NY Archives, and some are published from newspapers or other NYC parish registers. I am sure many of these books are also available elsewhere, but they have a superb collections for that time period, all together.

I wish you good luck in your research.

Michael in turn responded:

Thanks for the tips and leads. I checked out the microfilm C-3030 and the records of the Rev. John Bethune. They were mostly in the Eastern Ontario/Cornwall area and I struck out on Hughes who “should have been” either in the records of the Kingston diocese of Rev. Robert McDowell or Rev. John Langhorn. No luck there either. Another possibility is that James Hughes second marriage c. 1790-95 and children’s baptism’s (Joseph 1795, James 1799, Benjamin 1805) was by a travelling Methodist Minister whose records have long disappeared (?).

According to the book Pioneer Life on the Bay of Quinte, James Hughes second wife was a Mrs. LAPPIN. I cannot find that surname anywhere but I did discover through land petitions, etc. that James Hughes held a Prince Edward County lot originally granted to a Sergeant James APPLIN in 1785. Applin drowned in the early 1790’s and I wonder if Hughes married his widow. Hughes did not appear in P.E. County until 1794 so that fits with him marrying the Widow APPLIN and living on that lot.

As for New England church records- since Col. Beverly Robinson was a large estate owner in Dutchess County pre- revolution and James Hughes was one of the Privates in his Regiment, I assume that Hughes also came from Dutchess County and was possibly one of his tenants. I found three references to a Hughes family in the Southern precinct of Dutchess County in old Tax Lists. David Hughes 1740/41- 1758; James Hughes 1767-68 and Moses Hughes 1740/41-Feb. 1744/45. Moses Hughes is not a common name in our family but David was a recurring first name for the UE James’ Grandsons. So this could be my family in Dutchess County. I wrote a letter to the Dutchess County Genealogical Society in early December and they returned my deposit and said that they had no research staff anymore and could not help me. They did look in their “standard” research indexes and found no Hughes’. They also referred me to the Westchester County Gen. Society.

There seems to be a wealth of Dutchess County BMD publications for the time period I am looking in authored by an Arthur C. M. Kelly. The closest repository for these books that I can find, online, is the Syracuse, NY Onondaga County Public Library. I might have to make a trip down there in the spring. It’s a 3 hour drive from here- Toronto Branch of the UELAC may have the same publications but it’s a longer drive for me.

Anyhow – I appreciate all your help and comments.