“Loyalist Trails” 2018-18: May 6, 2018

In this issue:
UELAC Conference 2018
UELAC’s AGM, Members’ Information, Voting
A Loyalist’s Two Orphaned Daughters, by Stephen Davidson
Map of Loyalist Lots allocated in Parr Town, Dec. 1783, by John Noble
New Brunswick Floods and the Loyalists
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: The Benedict Arnold Papers
Borealia: History on Appeal: Originalism and Evidence in the Comeau Case
JAR: John the Painter: Terrorist for America
Washington’s Quill: Janet Livingston Montgomery
The Junto: The Attention Economy of the American Revolution
Ben Franklin’s World: Thundersticks: the Transformation of Native America
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Earl Plato


UELAC Conference 2018

Conference 2018: “Loyalist Ties Under Living Skies”

June 7-10, 2018

Temple Garden Hotel and Spa, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Visit the Information and registration.

UELAC’s AGM, Members’ Information, Voting

The Annual General Meeting of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada will be held Saturday 9 June 2018 in Moose Jaw SK.

Members of the Association may vote in person or by proxy.

Members: For information on your voting options and the Annual Reports package, go here for instructions about how to access them.

A Loyalist’s Two Orphaned Daughters

© Stephen Davidson, UE

With the death of both of their parents, Helena and Elizabeth Zubly were in a desperate situation. Although King George III had granted their father, David Zubly, a plantation in the Bahamas for his loyalty during the American Revolution, this was of little value to the two young sisters whose nearest living relatives were far to the north in the United States.

The girls had been without a mother for four years; Elizabeth Zubly died in 1788 giving birth to a son, John. When Zubly died four years later, the girls were put in the care of a guardian. However, the latter decided to farm the sisters out as boarders in the homes of other islanders. As family lore would later recall, the two Zubly sisters “had a hard time”.

But life had been hard for the girls right from the very beginning. There was nothing normal about their childhood — and all because their father had been a loyalist during the American Revolution.

David Zubly was a first generation American born to his Swiss immigrant parents when they lived in Purrysburg, South Carolina. The son of a Presbyterian minister, Zubly chose to pursue a legal career rather than a theological one. He studied law at the College of New Jersey (today’s Princeton University), and eventually entered politics. Sharing his father’s Calvinist theology, David was convinced that war against the crown was a violation of God’s will.

Nevertheless, Zubly did not support all of Britain’s colonial policies. In 1787, when David faced the royal commissioners who granted compensation to loyalist refugees, he frankly stated that in the years before the revolution, he “thought that Great Britain had no right to tax America, but he did not approve of opposition by force of arms, neither did he wish for independence.”

Helena Zubly was born in Georgia in 1776 at the outbreak of the American Revolution. Because of their opposition to an armed rebellion, the loyalist family had to abandon their home in Georgia, seeking sanctuary by fleeing to nearby South Carolina with a baby who was only a year old.

By March of the following year, David was among those charged with “treasons and other atrocious crimes” in an act of the Georgia legislature. It seized his property and withdrew any protection from his person. However, the tide seemed to change in favour of Georgia’s loyalists when the British seized control of Savannah in December of that year. The Zublys returned to the occupied city, and by 1780, David was serving as a lieutenant in Sir James Wright’s loyalist militia.

The revolution divided David’s family. Although his father was a staunch loyalist, his brother John sided with the patriot cause, joined a rebel regiment, and was on at least one occasion a prisoner of the British army. John survived the war, dying on July 15, 1790.

In 1774, Zubly’s sister Ann (Nancy) married Dr. Peter Bard who was also a merchant in Savannah. His political views are not known, but given that he died in New York City — the headquarters for the British army during the revolution– he may well have been a loyalist.

David and Elizabeth joined the loyalist evacuation of Georgia in the fall of 1782. They sought sanctuary in the British colony of East Florida, taking their enslaved Africans with them: 16 men, 12 women and four children.

While in St. Augustine, David had set up a printing press in their house, publishing the first book produced in Florida, John Tobler’s Almanack, in 1783. The Zublys’ second daughter, Elizabeth was born the following year.

When Britain gave East Florida to Spain, its American loyalists had to find new homes. The Zublys sailed for the Bahamas. Very little is known of their success in this British colony other than the two appearances of David’s name in The Bahama Gazette in July and December of 1785. In both cases, the South Carolina loyalist had published advertisements having to do with escaped slaves.

In July, a “short stout black” named Robin (who David had hired out to the ordnance department) had runaway. He was suspected of either hiding with (or working for) someone on the island.

David took advantage of his published notice to remind “his friends and the public” that he continued to operate a school for “the education of youth in Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic: Also Latin, Greek and Geography, if desired.” In December’s advertisement, David gave notice that a slave (presumably his own) named Polydore had escaped from the town jail.

Two years after these ads appeared in The Bahama Gazette, David Zubly travelled all the way to Quebec City to seek redress for his wartime losses from the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists. He sought restitution for 2,500 acres in Georgia and South Carolina, the loss of 11 slaves, and his destroyed possessions. In total, his claim came to £5,600.

Within a year, Elizabeth Zubly died giving birth to the couple’s only son. By 1790, the youngest Zubly was buried next to his mother. David died two years later, leaving Helena (16) and Elizabeth (8) in the care of a guardian. It was the beginning of “hard time” –living with strangers and far from anyone who loved them. It was hardly the inheritance that their father would have wished for the sisters.

Both the girls’ grandparents and their uncle John Zubly were dead and buried in Georgia; their Aunt Ann Bard had become a widow seven years earlier. It seemed highly unlikely that anyone would come to their rescue — let along know of their situation—in the far-off Bahamas.

However, despite the distance, the limitations of 18th century correspondence, and their extended family’s situation, Helena and Elizabeth Zubly’s story has a happy ending. Somehow their Aunt Ann (now Mrs James Seagrove) heard of her nieces’ desperate situation and sailed to Nassau to bring them home. Never having children of her own, Ann Seagrove raised the girls as her daughters in St. Mary’s, Georgia, a community just to the north of the border with Florida.

When she was twenty years old, Helena Zubly married a 38 year-old widower named Archibald Smith in 1796. They had at least one child, Archibald Smith Junior, born in 1801. Eight years later, Elizabeth married Charles Magill when she was 25 years old. In the following year, Mrs. Magill gave birth to Seagrove William Magill — his name no doubt being a tribute to the aunt and uncle who had rescued Elizabeth from an orphan’s life in the Bahamas.

The descendants of the two orphaned Zubly girls were influential in the history of the American South. Would those Southerners have been horrified to realize that they had a loyalist ancestor? What would their reaction be to the knowledge that as such they could bear the initials “U.E.” after their names? One can only speculate.

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

Map of Loyalist Lots allocated in Parr Town (Saint John), Dec. 1783, by John Noble

One of my Loyalist ancestors, Daniel Smith, was aboard the Union which led the May 1783 Spring Fleet into Saint John Harbour. He was also among the 1146 Loyalists to be granted land in Parr Town (now Saint John) on 27 August 1784 by Governor John Parr of Nova Scotia. The grant was re-registered in New Brunswick on 2 January 1785. The grant to Daniel Smith was for lot 981. There is no indication on the NB Land Grant Maps CD-ROM for Saint John of where Lot 981 was located.

However, I have recently found a detailed lot plan of these Parr Town grants done on 17 December 1783 by Paul Bedelle, Deputy Surveyor – see a thumbnail. It can be found on the UNB Libraries web-site under “NB Loyalist Journeys” for George Sproule (1743-1817) who was a Loyalist from New Hampshire who had been Surveyor General there and who became Surveyor General in New Brunswick.

On the right side of the first page for George Sproule there is a list of 13 items. Click on item 6 “Land Lease: Parr Town” and the plan for Parr Town appears on the left side of the page. Click on the plan and it becomes a full page which can be enlarged using the zoom function found in the “…” button at the top right of the page.

I found that lot 981 was on the North side of Queen Street just west of Queen’s Square. In a later land petition Daniel Smith claimed he never stayed in Saint John but went immediately to Maugerville and was granted land on the South West Branch of the Oromocto River in 1787 and again in 1789. He claimed that he had been settled on the Oromocto since 1785.

I lived at 51 Queen Street from 1956-59 which was the parsonage for Germain Street Baptist Church. It was in the same block as Lot 981 and on the same side of the street. I never knew it could have been the first abode of my Loyalist ancestor Daniel Smith!

John Noble

New Brunswick Floods and the Loyalists

Flooding on the St. John River is once again making national headlines as rising water levels are compared to the disastrous floods of 1973 and 2008. Known locally as the spring freshet, the rising banks of the St. John River are a yearly phenomenon for those who live along its shores — but came as a complete surprise to its loyalist settlers.

When the refugees of the American Revolution came in their thousands to what is now New Brunswick, they were quick to establish settlements along the St. John River. It seems the First Nations people and New England Planter setters may have neglected to mention that they could expect a “freshet” — a spring thaw of the winter’s snow that would fill the river’s flood plains. Although this incredible flow of water would later benefit the province’s timber trade, providing a speedy conduit for log drives to sawmills, it caught the early loyalist settlers completely unaware in the spring of 1784.

The winter of 1783-84 came early, just as the last of the loyalist refugees arrived at the mouth of the St. John River. The snowfall for that year was higher than average as loyalists did their best to cope with the freezing temperatures as they huddled for warmth in old army tents and log cabins. Thinking that the worst of winter was behind them with the melting of the snow, the loyalists were in for a rude shock. The snow that threatened their survival in their land of refuge had become flood waters that might drown them all.

Benajah Northrup, a Connecticut loyalist, is one refugee whose experience with the flood waters of the St. John River has become part of his descendants’ family history. He and his family established themselves in Maugerville (pronounced “Major-ville”), seventy-five miles up river from Parrtown (now Saint John). As – readers know from following the news of this year’s flood, this is the area that is experiencing the worst consequences of the rising St. John River. Northrup family history notes: “The freshet of the following spring gave him a bad impression of the county, and with his family he moved {50 miles down river} to the high hills on the east side of Portage Creek {near modern day Kingston, New Brunswick} settling on Lot # 6 which has since remained in possession of his descendants.”

Northrup, his wife, and three children thrived in their new home, far from the dangers of future flooding. When Benajah died in 1838 at 88 (his modern grave marker), he had 118 grandchildren and 111 great-grandchildren — descendants who would never have been born if the family had been swept away in the flood of 1784.

…A descendant of Benajah Northrup

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: The Benedict Arnold Papers

by Christine Lovelace 2 May 2018

The Loyalist Collection at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) is incredible. You can search on “Benedict Arnold” and get a detailed catalogue of what is available on microfilm in the collection, but also information as to where the originals reside.

You will see that documents mentioning Arnold or created by Arnold are to be found in archives around North America, including the Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California, the Nova Scotia Legislative Library, the Carleton County Historical Society, the New Brunswick Museum and UNB’s Archives & Special Collections.

There are nine original documents in UNB’s Archives related to Benedict Arnold’s litigious doings.

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Borealia: History on Appeal: Originalism and Evidence in the Comeau Case

By Bradley Miller 3 May 2018

The Supreme Court declined this month to radically change the way that Canada works. In R v Comeau, lawyers for a New Brunswick man ticketed for bringing too many bottles of beer into the province from Quebec urged the justices to use the history of the Canadian federation to improve its future, at least as they saw it.

I don’t agree with either the strength of the originalist case or its alleged abuse by the justices. Instead, as I try to show below, the courts took history and historical evidence and inquiry seriously in Comeau. In fact, historical analysis was central to the case against Comeau’s right to bring beer over the provincial boundary. We may not like the policy outcomes of the Supreme Court’s decision, but if unfettered free trade didn’t triumph, it’s not because the justices decided to ignore Canada’s past.

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JAR: John the Painter: Terrorist for America

by Lars D. H. Hedbor 1 May 2018

The mizzenmast of HMS Arethusa rose over sixty-four feet high into the spring morning, forming a gallows the likes of which had never before been seen on England’s fair shores. It had been unbolted from the ship where she lay at anchor in Portsmouth harbor, and raised for this purpose both to enable the unprecedented throngs to witness the fate of the condemned, and also because his crimes were felt to have been a particular assault upon the Royal Navy.

James Aitken, a disheveled-looking, redheaded Scotsman, was drawn in chains on a wagon toward the site of his impending execution, and his date with infamy. Most of the residents of Portsmouth, and more from the surrounding towns crowded into the public square, amounting to as many as 20,000 witnesses to this moment in history.

As Aitken neared the gallows, his wagon was directed to pass by the burnt-out ruins of an immense structure within the walls of the naval storeyard. The prior fall, it had bustled with activity, as scores of workers labored within its walls, winding and twisting mile upon mile of hempen rope for His Majesty’s ships’ rigging and anchors. The lines that had issued forth from the now-ruined building had helped the Royal Navy impose a cordon around the ports of rebellious cities in the American colonies, and the loss of this facility was but one stroke in a series of attacks to further impede the ability of the navy to impose the King’s will upon his unruly subjects across the sea.

Read more.

Washington’s Quill: Janet Livingston Montgomery

By Kim Curtis, 4 May 2018

In my blog post from this past March, I discussed the life of Janet Livingston Montgomery, a member of the wealthy and politically elite Livingston family of New York’s Hudson River Valley. This current post will explore Janet Livingston Montgomery in relation to her era’s traditional gender ideals.

Janet Livingston Montgomery demonstrated the traditional gender ideals of the early American republic by educating herself and her surrogate sons; embodying a sentimental view of courtship, marriage, and widowhood; and symbolizing republican virtues. In addition, she assumed a more progressive stance by surpassing these conventions, and actively engaging with and influencing the political culture around her.

During the late colonial period, Americans’ opinions about women’s characters and intellects began to change. This transformation, combined with increased economic growth, led to the promotion of female education among the privileged classes.

Read more.

The Junto: The Attention Economy of the American Revolution

By Jordan E. Taylor 30 April 2018

A few months ago, a New York Times investigation uncovered the secret economies of social media bots. C-list celebrities such as Paul Hollywood, John Leguizamo, and Michael Symon, purveyors of “fake news,” and several businesses have boosted their Twitter profiles by purchasing fake follower “bots” and retweets from these accounts. This underground economy feeds on a manipulation of algorithms. More “likes” or “favorites” push a post up to the top of a feed.

This principle was as true in the era of the American Revolution as it is today. In one of my favorite academic articles, scholar Trish Loughran shows that the illusion of a ubiquitous readership was essential to the impact of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense. Because they imagined that everyone had read it, Anglo-American colonists treated it not as a pamphlet but as a phenomenon.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Thundersticks: the Transformation of Native America

David J. Silverman, a professor of history at George Washington University and the author of Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America, joins us for an exploration of Native America and the ways Native Americans used guns to shape their lives and the course of North American and indigenous history.

During our investigation of Native America, David reveals information about the arrival of guns in early America and Native Americans’ interest in them; Details about Native American’s trade for guns; And, the ways Native Americans used guns to revolutionize their lives.

Listen to the podcast.

Where in the World?

Where is Gov. Simcoe Branch member Nancy Conn?

PLEASE NOTE: Thanks for three submissions this week; but still not many in the cupboard. Think about rewarding a member or three from your branch; click a pic of them in front of something historic, indoors or out. Sent the pic and a description of the historic item along.

Please submit a photo of a person or two (or more), preferably with a loyalist connection such as clothing (UELAC promotional gear or heritage attire) at a place or event with some loyalist or related historical aspect and tell us about it. If you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well – send to the editor at loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

Region and Branch Bits

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

A very special Loyalist Day commemoration for Grand River Branch is being planned! We think we need to pause and recognize this special day by paying tribute to the importance that the Grand River had to our ancestors.

Along with being our Branch’s namesake, the Grand River was designated a Canadian Heritage River in 1994. A cruise on the Grand is perhaps as ‘up close and personal’ as many of our members and guests will ever have.

The Program Committee is finalizing the details for 3-hour Boat Cruise down the Grand River on SATURDAY June 16, 2018. We’ve currently reserved for 20-30 people, but are hoping for 40 or more so that we can have a private boat.

To reserve a private boat, we do need to confirm numbers prior to our May 27th meeting.

The Cruise Details

It will be 20 km (3 hour) cruise between Caledonia & Brantford, with the Captain offering a commentary as we move along.

The Cruise is open to family and friends regardless whether they are Branch members or not.

A great Father’s Day gift, the cost per person will be $40.00

The boat holds a maximum of 60 people. If we have fewer than 40 people, we will not have a private boat and will be sharing with the general public. Accordingly, this will then include the on-shore entertainment prior to departure.

If we are successful in having 40 to 60 people sign up, we’ll be able to decide if we want the on-shore entertainment – or – meet at 12:00 pm to board the boat without.

Please contact Lori Scott to confirm attendance by SUNDAY MAY 20

What better way to celebrate than to gather and share a fine meal as we travel through the history and heritage of our region?

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • John and Mary Blackburn settled in former Chatham Twp. in 1796. The settlement of the Blackburn family in Chatham Township will be celebrated this weekend with a new monument at a nearby cemetery. John and Mary Blackburn settled in the area in 1796. John had lived in western Pennsylvania starting in the 1770s and decided to fight for the British in the Revolutionary War, according to the Blackburn Family Association. As part of his service, John received the United Empire Loyalist [designation] and tracts of land in Ontario.
  • I used to live near the Jordan River. No, not the one that the Israelite Tribes crossed once upon a time on their way to the Promised Land but the one in Southwest Nova Scotia, in Shelburne County. There can be little doubt that today, among the thirteen thousand or so denizens of Shelburne County, no more than a handful would know why the otherwise unremarkable river dumping its tannin-colored waters into the North Atlantic Ocean is called Jordan or what the origin of the name Shelburne is. Read more…(very strange title “Rome’s Most Lasting Creation — The Palestinian Psy-Op” and an off-beat article)
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 4 May 1776 Rhode-Island renounces allegiance to the English King, but continues to call itself an “English Colony.”
    • 3 May 1775 Governor of North-Carolina Colony instructed by British gov’t to organize Loyalist militias.
    • 2 May 1776 France loans 1 mil livres to a company created to support the American cause.
    • 1 May 1777 Free black men allowed to enlist in the Continental Army. The first to do so was 18 year old Agrippa Hull May 1 1777. Hull became the personal aide to Gen Tadeuz Kosciuszko in 1779. He served in some of the most decisive battles
    • 1 May 1775 New-York’s Committee of 100 suggests that every man acquire weapons & school himself in military discipline.
    • 30 Apr 1780 British force takes possession of Lempriere’s Point, where rebels had abandoned cannon and guns.
    • 29 Apr 1776 General Greene sets up defense of Long Island, crushed in Aug 1776.
  • Townsends
  • What the Maidservant Wore, c1770 (as a follow-on to What Ordinary People Wore in the Early 1800s in last week’s Loyalist Trails). “It is hard to see a woman dressed in some of the outfits of the 18thc or post-1820s doing something as normal as changing a diaper or holding a teething baby.” The majority of women in the 18thc did manage to lead active, fashionable lives in the clothing of their times. As for the practicality of 18thc clothes: elite women in hoops, stays, and powdered hair danced all night in heeled shoes. They rode to the hunt, made perilous voyages by sea from Europe to America and India, and explored classical ruins. Women wearing stays, ruffled caps, and heels worked in nearly every one of the traditional skilled trades, as blacksmiths, printers, weavers, cooks, bakers, tinsmiths, jewelers, silversmiths, and much more. Now Abby Cox from Colonial Williamsburg shows us what a woman in domestic service might wear.
  • A spring sack back (robe à la francaise), 1770s. Chine silk taffeta woven in shades of green pink and stripes; self fabric trim, linen linings.
  • A Robe à la française and petticoat, maker unknown, either France or England, 1760-1765. Check out the pattern matching and the soothing palette.
  • 18th Century dress, Robe a la Francaise, 1770
  • 18th Century men’s waistcoat, 1720-40
  • 18th Century men’s waistcoat, detail of embroidery and buttons
  • 18th Century men’s silk waistcoat and frockcoat detail of suit, 1775-80, British
  • Charming mid-18th century pocket American, prob. New England crewelwork embroidery on linen
  • And from somewhere in king heaven, George III smiles down on British soldiers lining the front lawn of Mount Vernon.

Last Post: Earl Plato

Earl’s ancestors fought in the American Revolution as Butler’s Rangers under Joseph Brant’s Mohawks. The Rangers were created by John Butler, a wealthy landowner from the Mohawk Valley, in what is now central New York state. Loyal to Britain, many Empire Loyalists fled to Canada after the Revolution. Earl’s relatives moved to Bertie Township, now called Ridgeway, receiving hundreds of acres to farm. Earl and his wife Elaine of 61 years joined the United Empire Loyalist’s Association of Canada, very proud of their UEL lineage.

Read the touching tribute.