“Loyalist Trails” 2018-15: April 15, 2018

In this issue:
More Claimants of February 1788 (Part 4 of 4), by Stephen Davidson
Loyal Then, Loyal Now – by Brian McConnell, UE
Loyalist Andress/Andrew Ostrander
Loyalist Margaret Green Draper
Washington’s Quill: Washington and the Governors (Part III)
JAR: How to be a Revolutionary War Spy Master
Ben Franklin’s World: The Martyr and the Traitor: Nathan Hale & Moses Dunbar
Connecting the Loyalist Families Gesner and Sypher in Nova Scotia
All Things Georgian: A Brief History of Coffee in the Georgian Era
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Noreen Frances Stapley, UE
      + Cattle Droves Through Western NY in 1780s and 90s
      + James Hughes and Beverley Robinson Pre-War and Wartime Questions


More Claimants of February 1788 (Part 4 of 4)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

February 26, 1788 had been a busy Tuesday in Montreal. By the end of the day, the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL) had heard the petitions of seventeen loyalists who had made the long journey down the St. Lawrence River from their new homesteads in what would become Upper Canada. Here are the stories of four of those refugee claimants.

When Moses Williams stood before the RCLSAL commissioners he was not seeking compensation for himself, but for the losses of his wife Sarah’s late father, James Corry (perhaps Corway). Corry was an Irish immigrant who had settled in America twenty years before the beginning of the American Revolution. He established a farm in Tomhannock, Rensselaer County (near today’s Pittstown, New York). His twenty acres were under “high cultivation”, and he kept horses, oxen, cows and fourteen sheep as well as a weaving loom on his property before it was all confiscated by rebels.

Known to be “a loyal subject”, Corry joined General Burgoyne’s forces as they marched south from Canada. After being taken as a prisoner at Bennington, Corry was put on parole. He remained at home until the family sought sanctuary in St. Johns, Canada in 1782. With Corry were his wife Margaret and their children Sarah, John, George and Catharine.

In addition to Corry’s son-in-law, a former neighbour named Henry Jackson also testified on the dead loyalist’s behalf. Jackson had sought compensation for himself the day before and stayed in Montreal another day to help to bolster the Corry family’s petition.

Lambert Van Alstine Junior also sought compensation for a loyalist who could not appear before the RCLSAL. His grandfather, also a Lambert Van Alstine, was over seventy years old and was unable to make the journey to Montreal. The older Van Alstine had been a soldier in the First Battalion of the King’s Regiment of New York after leaving his farm on the Susquehanna River. The Connecticut native had built a house and cleared six acres of land before the war. Rebels took his horses, cows, furniture and farming utensils.

Two more loyalists appeared before the RCLSAL that Tuesday and both men had the support of a fellow New Yorker as their witness.

However, whoever transcribed the witness’ name spelled it differently in the day’s transcript — and posterity has provided a variety of spellings as well. When he spoke for John Empey/Empy, he was recorded as Silvanus Casamur; when he testified for Christopher Servos/Seron, his name was spelled Soveraines Casamure. Other documents render his given name as Sephrenus, and Suffrenus while giving his surname as Casselman. Since the UELAC’s loyalist directory spells his name as Cephrenus Casselman, that is how this account will refer to him.

John Empey was a loyalist who was born in America. Up until 1775, he lived in Rheiman Snyders Bush, ten miles northeast of Little Falls, New York. There he served the community as a shoemaker while maintaining a farm with horses, cows and hogs.

In 1777, Empey joined the British army at Fort Stanwix, journeyed to Canada, and remained in uniform until the end of the revolution, serving with Sir John Johnson’s First Battalion. On April 30, 1780, a group of Loyalists and First Nations warriors raided Rheiman Snyder’s Bush, burning down a ten year old grist mill and taking 19 people as prisoners. Whether Empey was one of the raiders is not recorded. Local histories note that after this raid, the town was deserted “by all but Tories”. By 1788, Empey had settled in New Johnstown (Cornwall, Ontario). Cephrenus Casselman, who remembered Empey’s farm, testified on his behalf and on behalf of another loyalist from New York.

Christopher Servos was a native of Mecklenburgh, Germany and had lived in America for 32 years. He settled in Stone Arabia, a German community just north of present-day Canajoharie, New York. Servos’ farm had a windmill as well as horses and cows. The loyalist testified that he had often tried to find sanctuary in New York City, but in the end, he could not leave his large family behind him. After the peace, Servos also settled in New Johnstown. His friend, Casselman, spoke on his behalf, affirming that he was “a loyal man”.

Other loyalists who appeared before the compensation board on February 26th were Nicholas Faymire and Robert McAuley. Their stories have been told in previous issues of Loyalist Trails.

The Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists heard the petitions of 27 more loyalists on February 27th and 28th. However, their stories will be told in the third and final installment of this series of Montreal petitioners in future issues of Loyalist Trails.

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

Loyal Then – Loyal Now

By Brian McConnell, UE

In October, 2014 I completed an article entitled “UE and Me” which described some of the history and background surrounding the use of the post nominal letters UE by descendants of United Empire Loyalists. My conclusion was that the history of the letters UE was one aspect of my Loyalist Heritage and to be appreciated in that context.

Persons who were interested in my article might be further interested to know that an attempt was made in Ontario in 1897 to have the recognition which was granted by Lord Dorchester in1789 more formalized and how the purpose and mission of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada has evolved over time.

Read more.

Loyalist Andress/Andrew Ostrander

A dedicated Loyalist like his father, Andries, better known as Andrew, set out three times to join British forces during the Revolution. In August, 1777, Andrew signed on as a private in a Loyalist unit during General John Burgoyne’s invasion of New York. Captured in the Battle of Bennington, he escaped and returned home to Normanskill.

In July, 1778, Andrew was among a party of forty to fifty Loyalists making their way from the Albany area to Niagara. On the third day, when he was sent across Schoharie creek to obtain provisions, Andrew was captured by Patriot riflemen waiting in ambush. During the exchange of fire across the creak, Andrew escaped and with other survivors returned home.

Four months later Andrew was among sixty Loyalists who set out from Normanskill. The year’s campaigning was ended for the winter by the time they reached the British stronghold at Niagara, but in the spring of 1779, Andrew took up arms as a private in Colonel John Butler’s Loyal Rangers. Two weeks later as the Rangers advance to attack the German Flats area, Andrew and three others were captured while foraging for food and were jailed in Cherry Valley. His captors, Massachusetts militiamen, offered Andrew his choice of a hangman’s noose or life as an officers’ servant.

From then to the end of the war Andrew was a captive serving his enemies, at first in the 6th Massachusetts companies of Captains John Parker and Asa Coburn and then in the 7th Massachusetts companies of Captains W. W. Ballard and William White. His captors took Andrew with them to Amesbury, Massachusetts, during the winter lull. The Massachusetts regiments were often called to defend the embattled Mohawk Valley, and in 1780 the commander of the 6th Massachusetts, Colonel Ichabod Allen, a descendant of the pioneer settler John Alden of Jamestown, was killed along with several other officers during an attack by Butler’s Loyal Rangers at Cherry Valley.

Transferred to Colonel John Brooks’ 7th Massachusetts, Andrew was among the Patriot forces besieging Cornwallis at Yorktown, when his company commander, Captain William White, was killed by an exploding enemy shell. On his discharge at West Point on June 6, 1783, Andrew was among the several named to receive an honorary badge for faithful service. But in 1840 when Andrew’s widow, Jane Davis Ostrander, applied for a pension in response to recently passed legislation, the application was rejected, perhaps because Andrew’s name already appeared on Canadian lists of United Empire Loyalists. Military records of Massachusetts describe him as a farmer by occupation, 5 feet 6 inches tall, with light complexion and dark hair.

In 1785, Andrew with his wife Jane Davis and their firstborn child immigrated to Canada. Jane’s father was also a Loyalist, and together Andrew and Jane received several grants of land in Peel county, Ontario, and made their home in St. Davids.

During the War of 1812, Andrew and his sons took up arms to resist American invasion. On 25 Jul 1814 they fought near their home in the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, repelling a major American advance into Canada.

Source: Ostrander: A Genealogical Record, 1660-1995, by Emmett Ostrander, Vinton P. Ostrander and Collin Ostrander; Published by the Ostrander Family Association; Walsworth Publishing Company, Marceline, Missouri; Published 1999; Library of Congress Catalog Card #99-70921

I have a copy and am a member of the Ostrander Family Association. Toronto Branch also has a copy.

…Linda Young

Loyalist Margaret Green Draper

Margaret was an American printer and journalist. She was the great-granddaughter of pioneering American printer Samuel Green. She was one of the first American women to run an independent business. A United Empire Loyalist, she supported the British monarchy during the American Revolutionary War. On May 30, 1750, she married her cousin Richard Draper. They had no children, but adopted one of Margaret’s nieces. Richard died on June 6, 1774 and Margaret took over the Loyalist paper The Massachusetts Gazette and The Boston News-Letter. Six of her competitors were driven out of business during her tenure at the paper. Following the Siege of Boston, Draper and other Loyalists left for Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 17, 1776 (Evacuation Day). She then went to England where she successfully petitioned the British government for a pension. She died in London, circa 1804. (Source: Wikipedia.)

Washington’s Quill: Washington and the Governors (Part III)

By Benjamin L. Huggins 13 April 2018

In this post, I continue my survey of George Washington’s relations with the state governors. A more complicated example of the contending interests involved in Washington’s relations with the governors than those I examined in my most recent post occurred when Washington sought increased militia support from Pennsylvania for the expedition against the Iroquois. The ensuing quarrel shows an important contrast in the different concerns of the general and the governors. The political context is crucial for understanding the controversy. The Pennsylvania government was operating under a contested constitution adopted in 1776 that gave the frontier counties increased representation in the unicameral assembly. Two political factions had developed around the constitutional question. The Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council and its president Joseph Reed were members of the more radical Whig Society. They were opposed by the Republican Society moderates led by Philadelphia merchants like Robert Morris. In May, riots led by militiamen supporting the radical cause would break out in Philadelphia.

This political situation formed the background for Washington’s April 19 request to Reed for 600 militiamen to support an expedition against the British-allied Iroquois Indians; these militiamen would include the state’s five independent ranger companies (about 380 men) already being raised in the frontier counties.

Read more.

JAR: How to be a Revolutionary War Spy Master

by Don N. Hagist 12 April 2018

George Washington is credited with being a great spy master, and the feats of his Culper spy ring have become famous. How did he learn this clandestine craft? Although he had military experience, prior to 1775 he hadn’t served in the headquarters and staff positions that were usually the hub of intelligence gathering activities. But Washington had other experienced men around him, and he also had the resource through which officers in all of the era’s armies learned much of their trade: books.

Many military textbooks were available in the English language during the eighteenth century, many readily available from printers and booksellers in America. Anyone who could read could easily learn the theory of marching maneuvers, tactics, fortification, and other aspects of the military arts. There was no one book devoted solely to intelligence gathering, but some texts included sections and chapters on the subject, providing common-sense general instructions on the employment of spies. With a few good books, every officer of rank on both sides of the conflict had the rudiments of spycraft at his fingertips.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: The Martyr and the Traitor: Nathan Hale & Moses Dunbar

Virginia DeJohn Anderson, a professor of history at the University of Colorado-Boulder and author of The Martyr and the Traitor: Nathan Hale, Moses Dunbar, and the American Revolution, takes us through the lives, politics, and decisions of Nathan Hale and Moses Dunbar.

As we explore the lives of Dunbar and Hale, Virginia reveals biographical details about Moses Dunbar and Nathan Hale; Information about the political atmosphere in Connecticut both before and during the American Revolution; And details about what drove Moses Dunbar and Nathan Hale to support the imperial and revolutionary causes during the American Revolution.

Listen to the podcast.

Connecting the Loyalist Families Gesner and Sypher in Nova Scotia

I was very pleased to read the account submitted by Brian McConnell about the Gesner Family in the previous (April 7) issue. My interest in his story has a potential link to my Sypher Family. Here’s how it went down.

Information about the Family of Loyalist Lodewick Sypher was left in an account by his Granddaughter Eleanor Troop in the early 1900’s. Details of the account suggest Eleanor’s father, John Tompkins Sypher, spent some time with a ‘Mr. Gesner.’

“On the voyage a Mr. Gesner, a wealthy man of Nova Scotia took a great liking for John, aged six and begged to be allowed to have him to educate. Owing to this the mother finally consented to let Gesner have the boy and he went to NS where he spent that winter and the following summer. But the mother wrote such pitiful letters that Gesner had to bring him back.”

The UELAC directory includes a Henry Gesner, who may be the ‘Mr. Gesner’ in question.

In researching my Sypher Family, circa 1785, Lodewick applied for Land in behalf of his son ‘John’ who at the time was away at ‘Annapolis’ on business! This was quite interesting for at the time, John Tompkins Sypher was just 11 years old.

…Trevor Angel

All Things Georgian: A Brief History of Coffee in the Georgian Era

Oxford holds the distinction of being the location of the first coffee-house in England; an establishment trading under the sign of the Angel was opened in 1650, acting as a centre for gossip, news and academic discussions in equal measure. Coffee-houses were soon open in London and elsewhere and their popularity grew. Their heyday was the eighteenth-century. In time, they adapted to meet the requirements of their clientele; Lloyd’s Coffee House was a favourite haunt of merchants and sailors and so shipping information was shared and deals conducted. It is better known today as the insurer, Lloyd’s of London. The Grecian Coffee-House in Devereux Court just off Fleet Street catered for the Whigs while the nearby Rainbow attracted Freemasons and French refugee Huguenots. Slaughter’s (later Old Slaughter’s) establishment, on St Martin’s Lane, boasted an artistic clientele while the British Coffee-House on Cockspur Street was popular with the Scots in London and privy to Jacobite plotting. Some, such as Moll King’s coffee-house in Covent Garden, catered for lower tastes.

So, how to make the perfect cup of Georgian era coffee? Mrs Maria Eliza Rundell, in A New System of Domestic Cookery, 1808, gives us a recipe.

Read more.

Where in the World?

Where is Col. Edward Jessup Branch member Barb Law?

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.

  • The Nova Scotia Branch Spring meeting was yesterday 14 April. They visited historic St. Paul’s Church wherein Branch President Brian McConnell is pictured beside a plaque to Loyalist Charles Montagu on a wall in the Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Brian says “One of the most significant Loyalist heritage places in Nova Scotia. I am very happy it is a national historic site.The church is normally closed on Saturday this time of year however I arranged for it to be opened and we were given a private tour and then time to look further on our own.See his video.
  • London & Western Ontario Branch (London Branch) will be celebrating the 45th anniversary of their Branch Charter on Saturday 26th May, 2018. The event will feature the presentation “pinning” of 8 past president medals and the presentation of about the same number of loyalist certificates. Past UELAC Dominion Presidents Bernice Flett UE and Arnold Nethercott UE will be honoured. For more information, see the details in Message, Invitation and Map. As seating is limited, should you wish to attend, RSVPs are required before 14 May.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • William Morrison @piperwilly shows a plaque raised during the Bicentennial of the arrival of the Loyalists in what is now Ontario in 1784 at Benmiller Ontario.
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 14 Apr 1780 Staten Island Expedition against the British begins, succeeding only in capturing 17 before retreating.
    • 13 Apr 1776 George Washington arrives in New York with General Gates.
    • 12 Apr 1770 Townshend Acts, except for tax on tea, repealed by Parliament; Americans continue to revolt anyway.
    • 11 Apr 1781 American Col. Harden captures 2 British officers & 7 enlisted men at tavern in Pocotaligo, SC.
    • 10 Apr 1778 John Paul Jones departs Brest, France, commanding USS Ranger, to attack British shipping & shorelines.
    • 9 Apr 1776 The General Assembly of SC creates a Court of Admiralty to dispose of any captured British ships.
    • Apr. 8, 1775 Royal Gov. Josiah Martin orders the NC Assembly dissolved.
    • 8 Apr 1780 British attack on Charleston, South-Carolina begins, culminating in the worst patriot defeat of the war.
    • Apr. 8, 1776 At Friedberg, NC, a number of Moravian congregants are forcibly compelled to take part in military drills.
  • Townsends
  • A unique steel and ivory measuring knife
  • Cast Bronze French 95th Regiment Coat Button
  • Woman’s dress, French about 1770. Gorgeous c1770 ensemble Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Sumptuous brocaded silk cascades gracefully from neck; floss/fly fringe. Watteau pleats, box pleats, panniers
  • 18th Century wedding dress, 1758, cream silk. Worn by the mother of William Hazledine, Shrewsbury Ironmaster. Via Shrewsbury Museums
  • detail of 18th Century men’s court coat, French, 1780s, embroidered with silver thread, spangles & pastes
  • 18th Century dress, robe à la polonaise, France, c.1775
  • 18th Century women’s riding habit, 1750’s
  • The man’s neckcloth. A reader asked what an English gentleman’s stock was made of, saying, “In painting of the era it seems to be of a very light material as there are multiple folds.” The answer is, “It depends.” A gentleman’s choice of fabric to put around his neck would depend on the time period as well as the occasion, his bank account, and his personal taste.
  • Collar detail of 18th Century of men’s French court coat, 1780’s
  • The Shoe Seller presents a tempting tray w/array of colorful footwear: sturdy boots, beribboned mules & women’s metallic laced buckle shoes. Her wares would have been familiar to 18thc viewer. M. Engelbrecht c.1750
  • Wall Street & the Tontine Coffee House: New York City in 1797. This is a view of Wall Street in New York City around 1797, between the modern Water and Front Streets, in what is now the heart of the Financial District. At this time, Wall Street led directly to the waterfront and the East River wharves, the source of much of the city’s wealth and power. Coffee houses played an important role in 18thc New York, and two of the most notable appear in this painting. The small clapboard building on the corner with the gambrel roof is the Merchants’ Coffee House, one of the gathering-places for political discussions during the Revolution, and later, during the 1780s, the site of the creation and organization of the Bank of New York. Across the street and nearly out of the left side of the painting is the Tontine Coffee House. This was the first home of the New York Stock Exchange, and of merchant activity of every kind.

Last Post: Noreen Frances Stapley, UE

The members of Colonel John Butler(Niagara) Branch of the UELAC are saddened to report the passing of long time member, Noreen Frances Stapley, UE. Noreen became involved in the preservation of Loyalist History and Heritage because she was a proud descendant of 5 United Empire Loyalists: John Richard Bleeker, William Ketcheson Sr., John Walden Meyers, Garret Miller and Philip Roblin.

Noreen and her partner the late Gord Dandy, became actively involved with the Dominion UEL Association when they accepted then President Bernice Flett’s invitation to initiate and co-chair the United Empire Loyalist Association’s Promotions Committee. They were very successful and their dedicated work provided eye-catching promotional items for members to wear and use. The sale of these items raised thousands of dollars for the UEL Association projects and also for the Branches. Some of the proceeds were used to fund the 2014 – 100th anniversary celebrations of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association.

Noreen was a humorous, informative commentator on the UELAC bus tours to Albany, New York and along the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers; many of us participated and walked in our Loyalist ancestors’ footsteps. Her significant collection of pictorial scrapbooks illustrating many of these Loyalist events are preserved and available in the Loyalist History Collection at Brock University. She was a founding Director of the Friends of the Loyalist Collection at Brock University.

Over the years Noreen held every Col. John Butler Branch office and served on every committee. Her dedication and hard worked helped make it the largest Branch in the country. The Loyalist period clothing that she made and wore, was great PR, she wowed the public at every Heritage event.

When Noreen was Branch President, she led a project to honour Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee. Her committee presented a successful petition to St. Catharines City Council ensuring that a flag pole was raised in St. Catharines’ Memorial Park next to the Loyalist Memorial Boulder. The Loyalist flag has flown there continuously since the dedication, May 31st 2003.

Another of Noreen’s projects that has inspired other UEL Branches to follow her lead was the plaquing of the Niagara Peninsula cemeteries where Loyalists were buried. A total of 33 cemeteries were plaqued and a colourful CD was produced.

Noreen was a very special person, we are very fortunate to have known and worked with her. Read the formal obituary.

…Bev Craig, UE


Cattle Droves Through Western NY in 1780s and 90s

I am looking for any suggestions concerning records pertaining to cattle droves by Silas Hopkins Sr. from New Jersey to the Niagara settlement in the late 1780’s and extending beyond 1790. Hopkins sold the cattle to the British garrison or Loyalist settlers. Silas Hopkins was related by marriage to the Swayze family of Niagara and they also may have been drovers as apparently was Joseph Marlatt of Trafalgar Township, Halton Co.

The only accounts that I can find concerning these droves were in a book written by Orsamus Turner in 1849 called The Pioneer History Of The Holland Purchase Of Western New York. The only section of the book relevant to the droves contained reminisces of two young men who were hired by Silas Hopkins Sr. to assist the droves, that is Silas Hopkins Jr. and John Gould. The entire book can be found on-line now. See a pdf extract from Turner’s book copying the relevant section.

I have been attempting to locate any references to other young men who were hired by Silas Hopkins Sr. for these droves. My third great grandfather, Abraham Marlatt then likely 18, and a cousin, Paul Marlatt then likely 19, were each granted 200 acres of land in Clinton Township, Lincoln County, on 9 Feb 1791. They obviously were not of an age to have been Loyalists and overall I think the majority of the Marlatt family branches favoured the American side. I can think of no other reason for Abraham and Paul to have come to Canada at that age without family unless hired by Silas Hopkins. I also suspect that the two young men would need the recommendation of someone of importance in order to receive such grants from the Land Board then meeting in Grimsby.

I think that I have exhausted the typical locations for such records but wonder if anyone has any thoughts on this subject. NOTE: I am away until April 27 and unable to respond in that period but will reply to any emails thereafter.

…Greg Marlatt

James Hughes and Beverley Robinson Pre-War and Wartime Questions

My ancestor James Hughes enlisted in the Loyal American Regiment in January 1778 and was discharged in October 1783. For the full 5 years he was a Private in Colonel Beverly Robinson Sr.‘s “personal” regiment. Most of that time there was another Private in the very same regiment named Arthur Youmans who eventually ended up in Prince Edward County, Ontario as did Hughes. I can trace my Loyalist ancestry back to both of these men as Youman’s 4th Great Grandson married Hughes’ 4th Great Granddaughter, many years later. ie. MY Grandparents.

In Clifford M. Buck’s book, Dutchess County, New York Tax Lists, published in 1990, both the Hughes and Youmans family appeared in the Southern Precinct for the County, which was the land holding/estate of Beverly Robinson. Robinson played a huge role in swaying Benedict Arnold to defect to the British and was also a boyhood friend of George Washington.

The Tax Lists show the Hughes family in Dutchess County (now Putnam County, NY) from 1740 to 1768 when the Height/Haight family took over. So the evidence points to my James Hughes living in Dutchess County up to 1768 and probably a tenant of Beverly Robinson. And local Prince Edward County history books mention that Hughes was living in “America” “some years” before the revolution. So that fits.


1. Was 1768 an important year pre-revolution when families may have left for New York City?

2. Was Beverly Robinson still on his estate in 1768? I cannot find the year when he actually left for New York City.

3. James Hughes was in Col. Robinson’s “personal” LAR regiment all through the war. Is there significance to this? Am I making the wrong assumption connecting him as a Robinson tenant who later signed up to fight in New York City? (the Regiment was in Harlem, Flushing, Bloomingdale for most of this time). He was recruited by LAR Ensign Nicholas Purdue Olding, a NY city lawyer and confidant of Robinson’s.

Thanks for any help.

…Michael Umpherson