“Loyalist Trails” 2018-25: June 24, 2018
In this issue:
– Concluding the Saskatchewan Conference: The Regina Cairn
– Loyalist Occupations, by Stephen Davidson
– Nova Scotia Branch Brochure: Map With Loyalist Settlements
– Guy Johnson (c.1740 – 5 March 1788)
– Book on the Blakeney Family
– Borealia: What HBC’s Peter Fidler Didn’t Report
– JAR: Peter Salem? Salem Poor? Who Killed Major John Pitcairn?
– Washington’s Quill: Remembering Washington Irving’s Life of George Washington
– The Junto: Book Review: Colonial Complexions: Race and Bodies in Eighteenth-Century America, by Sharon Block
– Ben Franklin’s World: A New History of King Philip’s War
– Ongoing Research on Southern Loyalists
– Why We Stopped Teaching History before the 1860s from a National Perspective
– UE Loyalist Certificates Issued Recently
– Where in the World?
– Region and Branch Bits
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
+ Loyalist Rose
+ The Loyalist Who Died at Birth
After the Dominion Conference ended with the church service on Sunday in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, I made my way in the afternoon to Regina where I stopped to visit the Cairn to the United Empire Loyalists erected in 2005.
In 2014 a third plaque was added to the Cairn, details of which I have noticed do not yet appear on the UELAC website. I am sending a photo and a transcription.
…Brian McConnell UE
The UELAC webpage about the Cairn has now been updated with a photo of the plaque, the transcription and a video recorded by Brian during his visit. Thanks Brian.
A week later on June 19 – Loyalist Day in Saskatchewan as well – members of the Saskatchewan Branch celebrated at the cairn.
© Stephen Davidson, UE
In last week’s Loyalist Trails, we encountered David Beveridge, a New York loyalist who made his living as a hairdresser or – as the manifest of his evacuation ship described him – a hair draper. Beveridge reminds us that loyalists came from many walks of life and pursued many different occupations.
For those with loyalist ancestors who had settled on the frontiers of New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire just before the American Revolution, it is a fairly safe assumption that these couples worked as farmers. But it would be wrong to assume that loyalist refugees were just farmers. During the Victorian era, loyalist descendants made assumptions that placed their ancestors at the other end of the economic spectrum. Paintings and popular histories portrayed the loyalists as the cream of American society; university graduates, judges, and landed gentry. The truth is that loyalists came from all walks of colonial American life and held a number of different occupations.
Given that the majority of loyalist refugees settled in what is now Atlantic Canada, a great way to gain an appreciation of the varied backgrounds of loyal Americans is to refer to documents pertaining to those who settled in the Maritimes. In addition to the sheer number of refugees who flooded into the eastern colonies, this region is worthy of consideration given that the loyalists who sought sanctuary there came from all along the Atlantic seaboard, representing the largest cities of the thirteen colonies as well as its small towns.
One especially rich resource for discovering the occupations of loyalists is the victualing musters of Fort Howe. Thanks to the painstaking work of Dr. David Bell, these musters can be perused in his 2015 book, “American Loyalists to New Brunswick: The Ship Passenger Lists”.
Between the summers of 1783 and 1784, the British garrison at the mouth of the St. John River gave out provisions to thousands of loyalist refugees from its commissariat. Fort Howe’s victualing musters give the names of the heads of households, the evacuation ships on which they sailed, the members of their households (spouse, children and servants) and – of most interest to us today – their former occupations. The variety of trades, crafts, and professions is unexpectedly diverse.
Some of the loyalists who lined up for their rations at Fort Howe had skills that would be crucial to the initial success of the refugee settlements. They were farmers, blacksmiths, farriers (craftsmen who trim and shoe horses’ hooves), carpenters, surveyors, coopers (barrel makers), wheelwrights (making and repairing wooden wheels), tanners, curriers (leather workers), sawyers (a person who saws timber), butchers and millers.
Once these basic skills were available within loyalist villages, then other occupations would be able to thrive – if they could find other forms of work while the refugee communities grew large enough to employ them. Fortunately, New Brunswick had among its loyalist pioneers: weavers, tailors, shop keepers, traders, millwrights (those who design or build mills or who maintain mill machinery), millers, plumbers, saddlers, bakers, shoemakers (also known as cordwainers or cobblers), turners (working wood on a lathe), nailers (makers of nails), ministers, and school masters.
As villages grew into towns and cities, these communities would eventually appreciate the services of the loyalists gathering at Fort Howe who were: glaziers (those who fit glass into windows and doors), tobacconists, breech makers, brick makers, brick layers, caulkers, masons, surgeons, public servants, labourers, papermakers, joiners (craftsmen who make building components such as stairs, doors, and window frames), cabinet makers, merchants, watchmakers, hatters, servants, gunsmiths, gardeners, painters, printers, hairdressers, clerks, tinsmiths, backers, scrapboilers, yeomen, watermen, blockmakers, curriers, miners and cartmen.
For seaside settlements, there were refugees who had fled the United States trained as: chandlers (dealers in supplies and equipment for ships), boatbuilders, shipwrights (ship builders), sailmakers, and seamen.
The victualing musters only listed the occupations of male loyalists. Single women were described by their marital status (widows or spinsters) rather than by their skill set. We know from other sources that loyalist women held a variety of occupations within colonial society: seamstresses, laundresses, innkeepers, cooks, housekeepers, teachers, confectioners and midwives, to name but a few.
While the Fort Howe victualing musters do not record every occupation that loyalists would have held, they remind us of the diversity of skills these American refugees brought to British North America. The foundational work force for a new society was there in embryonic form, it was just a matter of waiting for loyalist settlements to grow to the point when this rich diversity of skills would finally be appreciated and used. And while it is interesting to consider all of the talent that the loyalists brought with them to Canada, it is also sobering to think about how much the United States lost in rejecting their friends and family members who did not support the new republic.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
The Nova Scotia Branch UELAC has published a new brochure this month to encourage interest in Loyalist history and also lead more people who have Loyalist ancestors to investigate this part of their family heritage.
On one page of the brochure are four photographs and information about our Loyalist heritage.
The other page is a map which shows thirteen main areas of Loyalist settlement in Nova Scotia. It also notes four museums with a Loyalist Theme. The map was prepared by Branch members Jill Mattinson, UE and Deborah Trask, UE.
…Brian McConnell, UE; President, NS Branch, UELAC
Guy was an Irish-born military officer and diplomat for the Crown during the American War of Independence. He had migrated to the Province of New York as a young man and worked with his uncle, Sir William Johnson, British Superintendent of Indian Affairs of the northern colonies.
This painting by Benjamin West is usually identified as a portrait of Guy Johnson, although some historians argue that it depicts Sir William Johnson, Guy’s uncle.
He was appointed as his successor in 1774. The following year, Johnson relocated with Loyalist supporters to Canada as tensions rose in New York before the American Revolutionary War. He directed joint militia and Mohawk military actions in the Mohawk Valley. Accused of falsifying reports, he went to London to defend himself after the war, and died there in 1788. Read more on Wikipedia.
Colonel Guy Johnson and Karonghyontye (Captain David Hill) is a 1776 portrait by Benjamin West, an Anglo-American painter of historical scenes around and after the time of the American War of Independence.
Ray Blakeney UE recently noticed an article in the Loyalist Gazette on Blakeney. He wrote a book – My Help Comes From Above – (see cover and table of contents) about this family which is still available. A former premier of Saskatchewan, Allan E. Blakeney, was a descendant of Chambers Blakely; Allan was born in Nova Scotia. In Loyalist Refugees from East Florida, Stephen Davidson notes: “For further reading on the southern loyalists, see Ray Howard Blakeney’s remarkably detailed My Help Comes from Above.”
Ray highly recommends another book, Three Peoples, One King: Loyalists, Indians, and Slaves in the Revolutionary South, 1775-1782, by Jim Piecuch. The University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-57003-737-5. It is an excellent account which “rescues the lost stories of the Loyalists of the lower south – white, black, and red – in this richly detailed and closely argued book”.
Contact Ray at email@example.com.
Ray Blakeney is presently doing further research on this family as well as other South Carolina Loyalists. He is doing this research for historical references to South Carolina Loyalists in the Revolution with the hope that others will take it up and expand on it or find one of their ancestors therein. It will not be complete but gives a timeline of the events of the Revolution in the South and the Loyalists caught up in these events. He notes:
I started this research with the idea I would expand on the further information my cousin Ron Blakeney and I had acquired since I published “My Help Comes From Above”. I wanted to add to the history of my own family but what I found was a fascinating history of the struggle of many of my ancestors neighbours and friends.
But not all neighbours turned out to be friends.
Read more of this early “forward” to his research…
Interested parties can email Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By George Colpitts 18 June 2018
Peter Fidler was going where few Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) traders had gone in the summer of 1800: the South Branch territories of present-day southern Saskatchewan and Alberta. He was to build Chesterfield House at the junction of the South Saskatchewan and Red Deer Rivers, deep in the drier, xeric grasslands of the Northern Great Plains. Likely carrying his instruments, nautical almanacs and books to continue his work as a company mapmaker, Fidler also had at hand the diary he was to keep daily records in, his “Journal of daily Occurrences” as the HBC called them. Every trader at a post was to keep them, day in, day out.
My interest in Fidler’s journey to build Chesterfield House is not really what he wrote in his journal, but what he didn’t.
We know fur traders left a lot in their post journals, correspondence and reports. The earliest HBC post diary survives from Fort Albany covering 1705-06 on James Bay. Those kept at other posts at James and then Hudson Bay, constitute a window into the “long” 18th century in Canada’s environmental history. That record expanded when the company rapidly built posts far into the interior of North America beginning in the 1780s and continued to grow in its proliferating post system in the early 19th century. What makes the HBC archives one of the premier collections in the world for Indigenous, botanical and zoological historical studies, not to mention historical climatology, is the wealth of information found in the hundreds of the post journals left by its traders. They were written because the company’s London Committee insisted almost from the very beginnings of its fur trading in 1670 that its “factors” (or traders) keep a daily post journal, post lengthy letters to home and do bookkeeping accounting of their trading.
by J. L. Bell 18 June 2018
Maj. John Pitcairn of the British marines became notorious among New Englanders after the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. The Massachusetts Provincial Congress published depositions from dozens of men declaring that he had ordered light infantrymen to fire on the peaceful Lexington militia company. (Modern historians discount those claims, agreeing that Pitcairn shouted something like, “Lay down your arms, ye villains, and disperse!”but never ordered his men to shoot.)
As a result of that notoriety, Massachusetts men were struck by the news that Major Pitcairn had died of wounds during the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17. Five days after the battle, the New-England Chronicle reported that British soldiers “were sure that they had a Thousand or more killed and wounded,”and that”A great many other Officers are dead.”But the newspaper’s correspondent named only one casualty: “Among the Dead was Major Pitcairn.”
At that time, Pitcairn was the British forces’ highest-ranking death. But even after Lt.-Col. James Abercrombie succumbed to his wounds a few days later, locals focused on Pitcairn. The Rev. Dr. John Eliot, left inside Boston, made this note about the major in his 1775 almanac:
This amiable and gallant officer was slain entering the intrenchments. He had been wounded twice; then putting himself at the head of his forces, he faced danger, calling out, “Now for the glory of the marines!” He received four balls in his body.
Even after the war, New Englanders remained interested in Major Pitcairn’s death.
By William M. Ferraro, 22 June 2018
George Washington’s towering stature as a historical figure has attracted several multivolume biographical treatments. John Marshall’s The Life of George Washington, 5 vols. (Philadelphia, 1804-7) – which enjoyed full support from Bushrod Washington, who inherited Mount Vernon and was given control of his uncle’s papers – initiated such works. Probably the best known today are two 20th-century efforts: Douglas Southall Freeman, George Washington: A Biography, 7 vols. (New York, 1948-57); and James Thomas Flexner, George Washington, 4 vols. (Boston, 1965-69). Freeman’s biography commands attention for its thorough research and graceful writing. Flexner’s study draws readers through bold assertions and colorful prose.
Most famous for comic literature and fictional tales such as “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Washington Irving (1783-1859) undertook his Washington biography at the end of his distinguished career.
Book by Sharon Block. Review by Vanessa Holden.
At the opening of Colonial Complexions: Race and Bodies in Eighteenth-Century America, Sharon Block poses two provocative questions: “What were the meanings of black, white, and red in the colonial eighteenth century; and how did Anglo-American colonists describe people’s appearance?” To answer these queries Block presents a cultural history race in Britain’s 18th century American colonies. She makes a careful study of the descriptors advertisers and editors used in missing colonial persons adds for runaway African descent and their European and Native American servants.
Block argues that the terms “black”; “white”; “red”; and “yellow” did not have static meanings that neatly corresponded to racial identities for 18th-century Anglo-colonists. Those terms evolved into markers of racial difference right alongside American constructions of race that would not become commonplace until the 19th century. Block challenges readers to understand how humoral theory influenced European colonists’ ideas about physical appearance and how the form of the missing person ad reflected and shaped the meanings of signifiers like age, height, and health for colonial subjects.
by Lisa Brooks June 2018
Lisa Brooks, an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College and the author of Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War, helps us re-think what we know about King Philip’s War by introducing us to new people, new ways we can look at known historical sources, and to different ways we can think about what we know about this event.
During our re-investigation of King Philip’s War, Lisa reveals details about King Philip’s War and when it took place; What caused the war and who the war was really between; And, how King Philip’s War and the stories of its lesser-known participants can help us better understand early American history.
By Thomas Peace 18 June 2018
The life lived by Jean Baptiste Point du Sable has all the necessary components for the pre-Confederation Canadian History survey course. Though we know little about his early life, du Sable was supposedly born to a French sailor and an enslaved woman in the French colony of Saint Domingue around 1745; there is also an argument suggesting he was born in the St. Lawrence Valley. Regardless, he was well educated and, by the time concrete evidence emerges about his life, he was active in the fur trade. It was in that capacity that, during the 1770s, he met and married a Potawatomi woman named Kitihawa according to Potawatomi customs and then, years later, in a Catholic ceremony in Kaskaskia in the Illinois Country. By the 1780s Jean Baptiste and Kitihawa moved to the place known as Eschikagu (“the place of the bad smells”), today known as the north bank of the Chicago river, where they established a trading post, a mill, a smokehouse, and a workshop. The businesses they established brought them considerable wealth. In 1800, with the United States now claiming this place, Point du Sable sold his businesses and moved to French Louisiana. There the French governor commissioned him to operate a ferry across the Missouri River.
Here, in this one man’s life, we have seeds for much of what we teach in the pre-Confederation Canadian History survey course. His birth in French America provides an opportunity to discuss the French Atlantic and the integrated systems of American, African and European slavery. His entry into the fur trade and the relationship he struck with Kitihawa provides for discussions of kinship, gender, trade and religion; while also drawing attention to how — from a Eurocentric perspective — France controlled the two major waterways into the heart of the continent; providing good opportunity to circle back and emphasize that the French settlements at Kaskaskia were located on Cahokia’s fourteenth-century remains. And finally, their establishment at Eschikagu points to the development of infrastructure upon which the eastern settler colonial regime would be built and extend further westward.
Read more about how the approaches to examining our history are evolving.
The list of UE Certificates issued since late in 2012 – showing the Loyalist ancestor, name of descendant (when permission is granted), branch and date – has been updated with the certificates issued in May 2018. The same updates have been applied to the Loyalist Directory.
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 email@example.com.
From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.
- On Tuesday, July 10, 2018, the American Revolution Round Table: Hudson/Mohawk Valleys and Siena College’s McCormick Center for the Study of the American Revolution are proud to present, “The Battle of Hubbardton: the Rear Guard Action that Saved America” by Dr. Bruce M. Venter. The event starts at 6:30 PM with socializing and the program at 7:00 PM. The event will be held at Siena College, in Albany, NY. The battle of Hubbardton was perhaps the loss that saved the war for the patriots. British and German troops ran into stubborn rebel resistance at Hubbardton, Vermont, on July 7, 1777. After easily capturing Fort Ticonderoga, Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne pursued a retreating Continental army under Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair. In the fields and hills around Hubbardton, a tenacious American rear guard of about 1,200 derailed the British general’s plan for a quick march to Albany. The British won a tactical victory, but they suffered precious losses. Patriots, under Col. Seth Warner, left the British and Germans bloodied, if victorious. Burgoyne and his weakened force ultimately surrendered at Saratoga on October 17, 1777, paving the way for a French alliance which ensured American independence. Dr. Bruce M. Venter is an independent historian and president of America’s History, LLC, a tour and conference company. Location details and registration.
- The Royal Commonwealth Society celebrates its 150th anniversary with a grand buffet luncheon on Sunday 12 August in Toronto with Guest Speaker, The Hon. David C. Onley UE, Former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Ruth Ann Onley UE as Vocalist. See details. Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II has devoted herself to keeping the Royal Commonwealth Society, which represents one third of the world’s population, together through social and political change. In its 150th year, it continues to promote the principles of tolerance, diversity, freedom, justice, democracy, human rights and sustainable development to a generation living in an increasingly interconnected world.
- The Age of Revolution: 1775-1848 free online resource launches today – bringing together museums, universities, teachers, and students. Check out “Age of Revolution – Making the World Over“
- Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
- 23 Jun 1776 British position fleet to attack Charleston, repulsed by defenders within improvised palmetto-log fort.
- 22 Jun 1775 Congress issues first currency, unbacked fiat “Continentals,” which suffer instant runaway inflation.
- 21 Jun 1779 Spain enters the war, allied with France, leading to British loss of Mississippi River & Gulf of Mexico.
- 20 Jun 1779 6,500 Americans attack just 1,200 British at Stono Ferry, SC, only speed retreat slightly, lose 146 men.
- 19 Jun 1781 Siege of Ninety-Six, South-Carolina, held by 550 Loyalists, is broken; 185+ Americans & 75 British lost.
- 18 Jun 1778 Facing arrival of French forces to back rebels, British give up occupation of Philadelphia.
- 17 Jun 1775 British win Pyrrhic victory at Breed’s Hill in Boston, recorded in history as the Battle of Bunker Hill.
- A musket ball, gunflint, cannonball — here’s a look at some of the best Revolutionary War artifacts we have in Boston.
- The dusky pink cotton of this late 18thc robe a l’anglaise brings a subtlety of palette that contrasts with prevailing trends from a decade earlier. Both the size of motif & the shade of fabric are smaller & quieter than previously
- Early 18th Century wedding Dress, (silk), Spitalfields, England, circa 1725.
- 18th Century men’s waistcoat, 1730’s
- 18th Century men’s frock coat, French c.1790
- By the beginning of the 18th century, gender differences in upper-class footwear was pronounced. Women favoured shoes like this one, with very pointed toes and slender high heels, while men tended to wear broader-toed shoes with heavier heels.
- High style, brocaded silk rococo shoes, made in London by Cordwainers Ridout & Davis; 1740s. Shoes by Ridout and Davis (they worked both together & independently) are found in numerous American collections, including Colonial Williamsburg
- Woman’s shoe, one of pair, fashioned of yellow silk satin trimmed with silk braid, with leather, kid and silk linings. The shoe has a pointed toe, straps over the instep for fastening with a removable buckle, squared tongue, and 1 3/4″-high, thick heels. Narrow woven braid, known in the period as “lace,” is stitched in parallel lines over the shoe as trimming. White rand. Kid leather and silk lining.
- All things Georgian: the last three in a series of six prints by Robert Dighton, held in the Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, which illustrate a selection of the sports played during the latter half of the eighteenth-century, today prints depicting fives, quoits and cricket.
- Q&A with the author of Women and the Gallows 1797-1837: Unfortunate Wretches a book on the female unfortunate wretches hanged 1797-1837 in the UK, for murder, stealing and setting fire to hayricks, etc.
- One of the earliest English bare-knuckle boxers was Elizabeth Stokes, known as the “Cockney Championess”. She was active in the 1720s.
Following last week’s note and photos of the Loyalist Roses comes a question from Bob McCarey:
Where might one acquire a Loyalist Rose?
As undoubtedly a few people might be interested and if you are or know of a source, please let me know and terms, conditions and contact details so I can publish here in Loyalist Trails.
…Doug Grant, Loyalist.Trails@uelac.org
A few years ago I heard about or read about a UE Loyalist who was, but wasn’t. He obviously “was” as he came I recall to what is now Ontario. He came from (I think) Connecticut.
In his family he was apparently the only Loyalist, the rest turned to the rebel side. Nothing terribly unusual about that turn of affairs.
At the same time he “wasn’t”, with a little revisionist history or record keeping. Considering our Loyalist to be such a black sheep, the family proceeded to alter the family records which thence forward showed him as having “died at birth”, written out of the family history.
If you know the story and can point me at the Loyalist and his story, both Jean Rae Baxter and I would appreciate it.