“Loyalist Trails” 2018-23: June 10, 2018

In this issue:
2018 UELAC Conference: Discover Your Roots
The Boy Buried in the Chapel Floor, by Stephen Davidson
Borealia: Environmental History – View from the Sixteenth Century
JAR: Mary Robie and the Didactic Qualities of Reading Fiction
Washington’s Quill: “New” Samuel Culper Letter
The Junto: “Trans-American Crossings” Conference Recap
Ben Franklin’s World: The Little Ice Age
Q&A: Holger Hoock: Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond


UELAC Conference 2018

The conference “Loyalist Ties Under Living Skies” here in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, is winding up in its last day as I send this. It has been great to greet old friends and make new acquaintances, see new sites and share different experiences. Thanks so much to the people in Saskatchewan Branch for being great hosts and organizing a wonderful event.

As we had home, there will be thoughts of the next conference: “The Capital Calls” will take place May 30 – June 2, 2019, at DoubleTree by Hilton Gatineau-Ottawa, in Gatineau, Quebec, hosted by Sir Guy Carleton Branch.

The Boy Buried in the Chapel Floor

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Parents should never outlive their children. And yet they do — and have done so in the past. Loyalist history contains far too many stories of parents who had to stand by their children’s graves. This is one of those stories — an account of a minister’s son who died on a Sunday in 1782 and was buried in the floor of his father’s church.

During the American Revolution, one out of every five New York City residents worshipped in the Church of England. Following the 1776 fire that destroyed Trinity Church, New York’s Anglicans either attended services at St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway or on the east side at St. George’s Chapel. Their rector was the Rev. Charles Inglis, an Irish immigrant who had become the city’s Anglican leader when he was just 43 years old.

Although it was only a small item in the January 23rd edition of Rivington’s Royal Gazette, it must have saddened hundreds of New Yorkers who read it: “Inglis, Master Charles (eldest son of the Rev. Dr. Inglis, Rector of Trinity Church) — died January 20 in New York City in his 8th year; his remains were interred January 22 in the chancel of St. Paul’s Church”.

The timing could not have been more tragic. It was less than a month after Christmas. Little Charles died on a day when his father had just delivered (or would soon deliver) a sermon to encourage his congregation in the midst of a war that was entering its sixth year. Sadly, it was not the first such tragedy for the Rev. Inglis.

In 1764, the Anglican minister had married a young woman early in the year, only to lose her during the delivery of two daughters that October. Adding to the thirty-year old father’s grief, the twins also died.

Inglis did not marry again until he was 39. His new bride was 25 year-old Margaret (Peggy) Cooke. In the following year, Charles Junior was born. His sister Margaret was born in 1775, a year when tensions between loyal Americans and their patriot counterparts began to rise.

By September, little Charles and his sister accompanied their mother up the Hudson River to the relative safety of New Windsor, a town in New York’s Orange County. The minister’s family also included Elizabeth’s mother, a nurse, a white servant boy and two white servant women. Far from her husband in a separation that would eventually last 14 months, Elizabeth gave birth to Anne sometime in 1776.

The move to New Windsor had been a prudent one. During the spring of 1776, Charles’ father had been under increasing pressure to stop praying for the king and the royal family — a mandatory part of the Anglican liturgy. Despite threats from patriot officers and the presence of George Washington in one of his services, Inglis kept King George III in his prayers.

When the Declaration of Independence was issued in July, Washington’s officers demanded to be given the keys to Trinity Church, but Inglis refused to hand them over. Finally, in September of 1776 — less than a week after the British army had taken control of New York City—the fire that destroyed a third of the city also claimed Trinity Church, the Inglis family’s house, and the church’s charity school.

Although he was just two years of age, little Charles Inglis was now part of a dispossessed family and the son of persecuted minister. Would the presence of the British in New York change his family’s fortunes?

In November of 1776, Charles’ mother wrote to a local patriot leader in New Windsor, asking permission to be allowed to return to New York City under a flag of truce. Pleading that she “had three helpless babes, was greatly distressed, and had need of every friend to comfort her”, Elizabeth Inglis was finally allowed to return to her husband’s side.

Where 1776 had been a year of violence and destruction, 1777 seemed to mark a turning point. Little Charles became a brother to a third sibling with the birth of his brother John. His father was made the rector of Trinity Church’s parish. Although the mother church was in ruins because of September 1776’s fire, services would continue to be held at St. Paul’s Chapel.

Over the next few years, the outcome of the revolution teeter-tottered back and forth. Little Charles grew up in a city filled with soldiers and loyalist refugees. The boy would have seen British warships come and go, heard of battles on nearby Staten Island, and sat at table with fugitive Anglican clergymen when his parents invited them to dinner.

Finally, in the fall of 1781, word reached New York City that the British had been defeated in Yorktown, Virginia. The worst fears of the Britain’s American allies had been realized and thousands of loyalist refugees began to stream into the city. Ads began to fill the pages of Rivington’s Royal Gazette as loyal New Yorkers gave notice of their intentions to depart for England or Nova Scotia.

And then tragedy struck the Inglis household. Little Charles died on Sunday, January 20, 1782 at seven years of age. The cause of his death is not given in any historical records. Heartbroken, his father and mother secured permission to have their first-born son buried beneath the chancel of St. Paul’s. While this may seem a strange practice to those outside the traditions of the Church of England, it was a mark of high regard to be buried beneath the floor of the area surrounding a church’s altar. Nevertheless, it must have been difficult for the Rev. Inglis to preach from a pulpit that was so near the remains of his beloved son.

In the year of Charles’ death his sister Margaret would be turning six, Anne five, and John four. Each sibling would be old enough to have memories of their brother and feel his loss. Their mother Margaret would be turning 34 and his father forty-eight.

Sixteen months later, Charles’ brother and sister sustained an even greater loss. Their mother Margaret died in September of 1783 just as the evacuation of loyalists from New York City was drawing to a close. The Rev. Charles Inglis was without a country, without a church, and without his wife and oldest son. The last time that St. Paul’s Chapel would hear the voice of its rector would be in November of 1783, just before Inglis and his three remaining children left for England. The resting place of his wife and son would never know his presence again.

The loyalist family settled in Nova Scotia in 1787 when the Rev. Inglis was made the bishop of a new diocese that stretched from the western edge of the colony of Canada, south to Bermuda and eastward to Newfoundland. Now that he was relatively close to his New York parish, Inglis arranged to have a memorial tablet placed in the chancel of St. Paul’s Chapel to commemorate his wife and first born son.

The boy who was buried in the chapel’s floor had his life summed up in these words: “an amiable son who although in age a child, was yet in understanding a man, in piety a saint, and in disposition an angel.”

However, the story does not end there. Forty-five years later, a member of the Inglis family once again stood in the pulpit of St. Paul’s Chapel, not far from the resting place of little Charles and his mother. Charles’ younger brother John, now a man in his fifties, was visiting New York City in 1828 in his capacity as the third bishop of Nova Scotia. An Anglican magazine noted that “the bishop made a simple and unaffected, but deeply interesting allusion to these circumstances which powerfully appealed to the feelings of a few especially who, more than forty years before, had heard his father from that pulpit.”

Today visitors to St. Paul’s Chapel can view six memorial tablets in the church’s chancel. Five of them pay tribute to politicians, clergymen, and beloved wives. The sixth remembers the seven year-old son of a loyalist — little Charles Inglis: “in disposition, an angel”.

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

Borealia: Environmental History – View from the Sixteenth Century

By Jack Bouchard, 4 June 2018

In the 1560s, if you were a European mariner in search of fish in the northwest Atlantic, you did not go to Newfoundland or Canada or New France. These were rarely used terms and the places they represented still lay outside accepted geography, holding sway only with a handful of Italian cartographers. For a while some Portuguese and English geographers thought that there was indeed an island or archipelago called New-found-isle, one that would prove to be like Madeira or Hispaniola, a model island colony carefully enshrined in a wider imperial framework, but these dreams came to a crashing end around 1520 when people actually tried and failed to colonize the region. Instead, in the 1560s mariners visited each year a place they called Terra Nova: Terre-Neufve, Terranova, Tierra Nueva, Terra Nuova, Newland.

It was their own word, used by fishermen from Portugal to Brittany to Holland, to describe the place they visited in their five-month-long fishing voyages. The vast region of encompassed all the waters of what is today maritime Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, and was wholly defined by the way in which humans interacted with the environment: Terra Nova was wherever you went to catch codfish, and its boundaries could shift with the movement of the fish. The name may have been used partly as a wry jest, for it encompassed the maritime spaces of the northwest Atlantic Ocean (certainly not Terra) which possessed an ecology and climate which most closely resembled northern Europe (certainly not Nova). Terra Nova only existed for part of the year, the warm months when a ship could actually move on the ice-free waters, before becoming closed off to visitors with the onset of an early winter. It was a concept of geography (for Terra Nova was articulated by mariners as a definite place on the map) which was defined by water, by ecology and by food production rather than land and cartographic conceits.

To return to the idea of Terra Nova, this was a place that had no place in the Anthropocene. Its boundaries and features were defined by nature in a way that no amount of commercial exploitation in the could alter. It was shaped by the under-appreciated inertia of late medieval social, economic and intellectual structures, so that Breton or Basque fishermen off of Newfoundland in the 1570s interacted with the environment in a way that would have been familiar to a West Country fisherman on the Irish Sea in the 1340s. Yet precisely for that reason we should examine it: the idea of Terra Nova, in being so starkly different from the present while still shaping human behavior, shows how narrow and unhelpful this presentism can be for understanding the past. In studying how European mariners understood space, the environment and food production in the sixteenth century I hope to add to the growing voice of late medieval and earl-early modern environmental historians who are trying to show how much we have to offer the field at large.

Read more.

JAR: Mary Robie and the Didactic Qualities of Reading Fiction

by G. Patrick OBrien 4 June 2018

Mary Robie, a Massachusetts refugee living in revolutionary Nova Scotia, did not mince words when she criticized her friends for simply “passing thro life” in late May 1783. Despairingly, the nineteen-year-old mocked the tedium of her peers’ routines as fitting for those “whose views extend no higher” than the daily humdrum of Halifax. In Robie’s eyes, her friends spent their days frivolously considering “the more interesting points of beauty” or discussing the latest “scandal or fashions.” In the evenings it was “tea, cards, supper, and to bed,” only “to rise tomorrow and do just the same.” When her friends lamented “what little variety” they had in their lives, Mary was quick to highlight why she was different: she read fiction. “Had [they] read novels as well as I,” she pondered, “perhaps they may not have made the observation.” While her comments can be read as either an apt social critique of loyalist Halifax, or the puerile grumblings of a pretentious teenager, her opinion clearly underscores the importance she placed on reading fiction and its informative qualities. While many across the British Empire exhibited a similar enthusiasm for print culture during the “reading revolution” of the late eighteenth century, Robie’s literary tastes and critiques of the literature she read, offer a glimpse of the reading habits of Loyalists in revolutionary Halifax.

Read more.

Washington’s Quill: “New” Samuel Culper Letter

By Jeffrey L. Zvengrowski, 8 June 2018

One of the most enjoyable aspects of documentary editing at The Washington Papers is making annotated transcriptions of relatively inscrutable manuscripts readily available, manuscripts like spy letters with incomplete decryptions. On Sept. 9, 1780, Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge (alias John Bolton) wrote Gen. George Washington from North Castle, N.Y., and forwarded two letters addressed to him that he had received from Abraham Woodhull (alias Samuel Culper), a farmer and spy on British-controlled Long Island, New York. A preliminary transcription of Tallmadge’s letter to Washington, dated September 9, can be found on Founders Online. No transcription, however, is currently available of the enclosed Woodhull letters, which are among Washington’s papers at the Library of Congress.1 Complete transcriptions of the Woodhull letters Tallmadge sent Washington on Sept. 9, 1780 will be presented in volume 28 of The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series. An initial transcription of the principal Woodhull letter with sketch annotation follows …

Read more.

The Junto: “Trans-American Crossings” Conference Recap

By Casey Schmitt 4 June 2018

Over the weekend, an international group of scholars met on the campus of Brown University to participate in a conference focused on various forms of enslaved migrations throughout the Americas from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. Sponsored by the Omohundro Institute and the John Carter Brown Library, the meeting represented the fifth in a series of conferences about the transatlantic slave trade that have been organized by the OI.

What follows here are some of my reflections on the broader questions and themes that drove intellectual exchanges during and after the panels.

Papers addressed a wide range of questions regarding enslaved migrations and the resulting panels cohered around a core set of questions: what role did kidnapping and rendition have in the enslaved experience? How should we think and write about the way the slave trade interacted with science and medicine — both of the enslavers and the enslaved? What did various slave trades throughout North America and the Caribbean look like and how did individuals experience them? How did indigenous peoples in the Americas become victims of slavery and where can we find their archival presence?

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: The Little Ice Age

Sam White, an Associate Professor at The Ohio State University and author of A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe’s Encounter, joins us to explore the Little Ice Age and how it impacted initial European exploration and colonization of North America.

During our investigation of the Little Ice Age, Sam reveals what the Little Ice Age was and when it took place; Evidence historians, climatologists, and glaciologists use to study the Little Ice Age and its impact; And details about how the people of early America experienced the Little Ice Age.

Listen to the podcast.

Q&A: Holger Hoock: Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth

Question: Your book addresses some of the most disturbing episodes of the American Revolution, yet these details are largely unknown in the United States. How did you first encounter this side of the war? What compelled you to study the American origins story?

Answer: I first became curious about Revolutionary-era violence a decade ago. I was studying eighteenth-century art for a previous book when I came across some monuments in churches and cathedrals across England. They all told similar stories of Loyalists being hunted, dispossessed, and driven into exile for opposing the Revolution. And those harrowing accounts of persecution and suffering stayed with me—not least because they were hard to reconcile with the conventional narrative I had in my mind of a restrained and largely nonviolent revolution. So I researched the stories behind those monuments, and I read more widely in British and American sources. What jumped out at me was the sheer scale and pervasiveness of the violence generated by the Revolution’s partisan fury—America’s first civil war—and by a war that resulted in proportionately greater casualties than any other war in American history except the Civil War.

Born and raised in Germany, I had not grown up with the national myths of either Britain or America. But for the past two decades I have been researching and teaching the history of Britain and the British Empire on both sides of the Atlantic. With Scars of Independence, I wanted to bring a fresh perspective to the American founding moment: it’s always tempting for humans to remember the violence suffered by their own but to neglect that endured by others.

Read more. Suggested by Stephen Davidson

Where in the World?

Where are Ruth Nicholson and Louise Ferris of Hamilton and Bicentennial Branches?

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.

  • Kingston & District Branch UELAC celebrates “Loyalist Day in Kingston” on June 12th, because on the 12th of June, 1784, Governor Haldimand received at Quebec the Royal Proclamation of King George III stating “His Majesty approves the plan you have proposed for settling some of the Loyalists at Cataraqui and places adjacent”.  Mayor Bryan Paterson has proclaimed June 12, 2018 to be “Loyalist Day” in the City of Kingston. In its honour, the Loyalist (Queen Anne) flag will be raised at noon on the 12th on a flagpole across from Kingston City Hall, following a brief ceremonial march of the Mayor, appropriately-attired Loyalists and others across the street, escorted by a fife and drum unit of the Fort Henry Guard. After a few words from the Mayor and the singing of “God Save the Queen”, plus photographs, we disperse — to answer questions from the tourists who have gathered around, hopefully sending them back to Germany, the U.K., China and Japan (last year’s groups) with some knowledge of the early settlement of Canada.  Join us on Tuesday in front of Kingston’s magnificent 1841 City Hall, 216 Ontario Street.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • United Empire Loyalists Come to Upper Canada. A recent Toronto Public Library blog post focuses on United Empire Loyalists, and provides links to some digital resources the Library has in their collection.  The blog post refers to several important digital resources available to family historians researching their Loyalist connections: An 1802 Philadelphia Black List of Loyalists who were caught and imprisoned for treason; Gov. Simcoe’s 1796 confirmation of Loyalist land grants; A digital version of the book Spring Fleet 1783 which provides insight into the lives of early Ontario settlers. Read more…
  • Portraying 18th-Century Black Men in Colonial Williamsburg. Q&A with Jeremy Morris, 30, plays the roles of 18th-century black men at Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va. Q: What is your role at this living-history museum? A: I portray free and enslaved blacks. We say “enslaved” to give individuals their full humanity, to be clear that this is a condition placed on a person rather than defining who they are. I tell their stories and provide context for the institution of slavery. I give talks at designated times, and people also engage me in conversation when I’m walking around. Sometimes a crowd gathers to listen.
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 9 Jun 1772 Angered by Townshend Acts, Colonists board & burn grounded British customs ship Gaspee, off Rhode-Island.
    • 8 Jun 1776 Rebels lose 400+ men to British in running battle at Trois-Rivieres, between Quebec City and Montreal.
    • 7 Jun 1776 Richard Henry Lee introduces Independence Resolution in Continental Congress; tabled until 1 July.
    • 6 June: 242 years ago NOW … the HMS Milford is closing in on the Yankee Hero. In response, Captain Tracy orders his crew to commence long range fire – also known as “ranging shots” – at the Milford
    • 6 Jun 1776 Gen. Clinton proclaims the people of Charleston, SC must “return to their Duty to our common Sovereign.”
    • 5 Jun 1775 Williamsburg magazine is looted of 400 guns by rebellious mob.
    • 4 Jun 1775 Ethan Allen is surprised at armed response to reconnaissance party by Canadians; was hoping for support.
    • June 3, 1776 Defending the middle colonies, Congress reinforces troops in NY with 13,800 militia & 3 men from Williamsburg, VA are surprised & injured by gunfire while taking arms from public magazine.
  • Townsends
  • An 18th century Watteau pleat/sack back robe and matching petticoat, circa 1775
  • 18th Century dress, robe à la française, c.1760’s
  • Two 18th Century women’s dresses, c. 1770
  • 18th Century men’s waistcoat embroidered with foliage and caterpillars, 1785-90
  • 18th Century men’s coat, France, 1730-1740
  • 18th Century men’s suit and accessories, c.1760’s
  • Striped silk buckle shoes, late 18thc. Check out the placement of the silk for the straps/lachets vs. the upper
  • Extravagant mid-18th century shoes often came with matching clogs. Clogs were invented to create a flat surface between the sole and the high heel, reducing the chance that the heel would sink into the filth. Shoe with clog, English, 1735-1750.
  • Charles Nelles and the City Book Store [Guelph ON]. Charles Lonsdale Nelles was born on Nov. 16, 1867, in York, Haldimand County. He turned out to be third of the eight children of John and Caroline Nelles, a descendant of United Empire Loyalist stock. In January 1879, the family moved to the Royal City and John Nelles bought out the bookstore established by John Anderson, which stood at 7 St. George’s Square. Read more…
  • Great patriot Abigail Adam’s beautiful 240-year-old Yorkist roses started to bloom yesterday! She brought from London in 1788. May be oldest cultivated plant in America. Very exciting for us history nerds!