“Loyalist Trails” 2018-26: July 1, 2018

In this issue:
The “Very Clever” Loyalist Wife (Part 1), by Stephen Davidson
The Lone Loyalist in the Gilbert Family
Kings Landing Pithouse Illustrates Challenges Faced by Black Loyalists
A Vancouver Member’s Connection to Peter Fidler, Canada’s Forgotten Explorer
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: What’s a Muster Roll?
JAR: Richard Augustus Wyvill: A British Officer’s Journal as the War Winds Down
The Junto: The Marriage of Angelica and John
The Junto: Child Trafficking in 18th-Century French Louisiana
Ben Franklin’s World: The Secret History of the New Jersey Devil
Cemetery Where Lies Maj. Samuel Vetch Bayard UEL
Book review: 38 Hours To Montreal: William Weller and the Governor General’s Race of 1840
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Descendants of James Matthews, UE, of Woodhouse Township ON
      + 84th Regiment of Foot and UE Loyalist Eligibility


The “Very Clever” Loyalist Wife (Part 1)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Piecing together the story of a loyalist woman is not an easy task. Too often she is simply a checkmark on a ship’s manifest, an irrelevant detail in a claim for compensation, or merely a name cut into her husband’s tombstone. Typically, more of her life is revealed if she became a widow during the American Revolution, able to tell her story in her own words in a petition or a will. Margaret Hutchinson, a woman described as “very clever…sensible and…prudent in the management of family affairs”, left enough of a paper trail in the records of the loyalist era for us to make her acquaintance. This is her story.

Margaret Jefferson was born about 1737 in Yorkshire, England. At eighteen, she married John Hutchinson on September 22, 1755 in Wensley. Two children were born over the next two years. In 1758, William joined them. A son named Major was born, followed by Francis in 1763, Margaret in 1764, Ralph in 1767, and Ann in 1772.

Just two years before the Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence, the Hutchinsons and five of their children were passengers on the York Packet, sailing from Liverpool to New York City. William, the oldest, was 16 and Ann, the youngest, was just two. (Family lore suggests that the two adult first-born Hutchinson children remained in England.)

John Hutchinson acquired 200 acres in Hanover Township in New Jersey’s Morris County where he planned to raise the “remarkable fine horses and some stallions he brought from England”. Given the importance of horses for transportation in the 18th century, John was his era’s equivalent of an imported automobile dealer – offering the best in British horses to a colonial clientele. Upon buying his American property, John drained and fenced the land, and built stables for his livestock.

There are no details of the Hutchinsons’ new home outside of the fact that its furnishings, provisions and farming utensils were valued at just over £563. Clearly, the Hutchinsons were a prosperous family. They could pay for an Atlantic crossing that involved transporting horses and then buy enough land to support their livestock. The Hutchinsons also had at least two servants to manage the household, the stables, and grazing fields. Some of these may have come with the family from England. Given that slavery was prevalent in New Jersey, these “servants” could have, in fact, been African slaves.

It did not take long for the Hutchinson horses to come to the attention of New Jersey’s gentlemen. Just a year after John and Margaret’s arrival, a May 1775 edition of the New York Gazette reported that the “last famous bay stallion imported by Mr. Hutchinson, called Bold Forrester” would be in Troy, New Jersey. No doubt Margaret was pleased with the early success of her husband’s business.

But her happiness would not last long. Revolution was in the air. Both patriot and loyalist neighbours courted the newly arrived Hutchinsons, trying to persuade them to choose sides in the war. However, John Hutchinson remained “uniform in his attachment to Great Britain” and “conducted himself always as a loyal man”.

Although the specifics of John’s personal service to the crown are not given, he is known to have sent two of his male servants into the British army. Enlisting one’s servants or slaves to bear arms in one’s stead was a common practice for both loyalists and patriots. About one sixth of the total rebel army was comprised of soldiers who were considered the property of white colonists.

But the loyalist family also made a far greater sacrifice than contributing two servants to the war effort. In 1786 – ten years after the Declaration of Independence – Margaret Hutchinson testified before a British commission that her husband had “sent” William, Major and Ralph, the couple’s oldest sons, to serve in the loyalist militia. How Margaret Hutchinson felt about sending her sons to war goes unrecorded. Francis – just 13 years old – stayed in Hanover Township with his sisters, Ann and Margaret, and his parents as the war’s events unfolded.

The older Hutchinson boys served with the New Jersey Volunteers, a loyalist (or “provincial”) regiment. General Cortlandt Skinner and Major Thomas Millidge, both officers with the Volunteers, would later lend their support to Margaret at the end of the revolution.

Following the patriot victory at the Battle of Springfield on June 23, 1780, rebels captured William Hutchinson at a “Mr. Veal’s barn” and took him to General Washington’s headquarters at Morristown, New Jersey where he was charged with spying for the enemy. Rivington’s Royal Gazette reported that “Mr. Hutchinson” was “lately executed at Washington’s camp”. The family remembers this incident in the words that William was “done to death in public without trial”.

The patriot victory at Springfield and William’s execution may have emboldened Margaret’s neighbours to threaten her family with violence as 1780 is the year given when John Hutchinson (and presumably the rest of his family) “came into” British lines. In other words, Margaret and her three youngest children sought out sanctuary in New York City, the headquarters for the British army during the American Revolution.

The story of Margaret Hutchinson’s wartime experiences as a loyalist wife concludes in the next edition of Loyalist Trails.

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

The Lone Loyalist in the Gilbert Family

My Loyalist ancestor Isaac Gilbert appears to be the lone family loyalist; I don’t know if he was written out of the family record. Despite that, when the family left CT for New Brunswick with the Queen’s Rangers, they had to leave behind a daughter Phebe who was about 3 years of age at the time and was sick. Supposedly they left her with one of Isaac’s brothers and his wife. They never “retrieved” her. Apparently one of Isaac’s sons travelled to CT about 1811, met with his sister and uncle/aunt, and left her there. She died the following year (1812) in Ridgefield, CT.

I have never explored the 7 brothers of Isaac, to see if it is true that they all served on the Patriot side.

…Nancy Cutway, Kingston & District Branch

Kings Landing Pithouse Illustrates Challenges Faced by Black Loyalists

Graham Nickerson built replica at historic settlement.

From afar, the pithouse at the Kings Landing historical settlement may look like a simple structure, a dirt hole in the ground, with a log roof overtop and a stone staircase.

But for Graham Nickerson, who constructed it, the pithouse is an enduring reminder of the conditions his ancestors lived through as Black Loyalists building new lives in British North America.

Read more.

A Vancouver Member’s Connection to Peter Fidler, Canada’s Forgotten Explorer

Thank you for the article on Peter Fidler (see Borealia: What HBC’s Peter Fidler Didn’t Report), an important figure in Canada’s history. Peter was my husbands 4th great grandfather. Peter Fidler’s wife, Mary Macagonne, was a full blood Cree and the basis for my husband, children, and grandchildren’s Metis heritage.

One book on Peter Fidler is named Peter Fidler: Canada’s Forgotten Explorer. He was a well-educated man and made sure that all of his many children could read and write. Peter married Mary in a native ceremony in the late 1700s. In the early 1820s – when Peter knew he was dying – he married Mary in a white man’s ceremony so that she would be protected after his death. At a time when many Hudson Bay Company workers from England and Scotland took country wives in Canada – and then sold these wives if they returned to Europe – Peter was quite unusual.

…Linda Nygard, UE, Vancouver Branch Genealogist

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: What’s a Muster Roll?

by Leah Grandy 27 June 2018

The words “muster roll” flow easily off the tongue of a military historian or veteran genealogist. Some researchers, however, may have some recollection of the term, but are unsure as to its exact nature.

Muster rolls can be a valuable document when researching an individual, family, military unit, or conflict. In this post, we will go over some of the general properties of Revolutionary era muster rolls, and how they might be used for research purposes.

What can you get from a muster roll? The official function of muster rolls was that of enumeration of a particular military unit or a crew of a ship, recorded by officers for administrative purposes to distribute pay. The term muster has also been used in a broader sense for any list of names. The most basic information which a muster roll contained is the location of a person, or a group of people, at a certain place and time.

Read more.

JAR: Richard Augustus Wyvill: A British Officer’s Journal as the War Winds Down

by Don N. Hagist 26 June 2018

The 38th Regiment of Foot disembarked in Boston in the summer of 1774, and spent the next nine years in America involved in some of the war’s most storied campaigns. There was considerable turnover of personnel during those years; the regiment had, nominally, thirty-five officers at any given time, but a total of eighty-eight men served as officers in the 38th over the course of the war. Not all experienced the rigors of campaigning in the colonies. One of the last to arrive was Richard Augustus Wyvill.

Wyvill kept a journal during his three decades of military service, the first few pages of which record his Revolutionary War experiences. His reflections on his brief service in America provide an entertaining look at military activities when the war was winding down. The memoir begins with a quick summary of his early life and military education.

Read more.

The Junto: The Marriage of Angelica and John

By Tom Cutterham 25 June 2018 (Book excerpt).

Of course, John Carter was an utterly unsuitable match for a daughter of Catherine and Philip Schuyler. Like the other old families of Albany, the Schuylers were deeply intertwined with local and provincial oligarchies. Marriage was the most important means by which these bonds were maintained.

Read more.

The Junto: Child Trafficking in 18th-Century French Louisiana

Julia Gossard 27 June 2018

Separating and abducting children from their families has been a tactic that many regimes have used for centuries to bolster their power. Trafficking children has been an enduring state tactic. In addition to the forced migration and abduction of thousands of enslaved Africans, many of whom were children and adolescents, eighteenth-century French Louisiana was also populated with trafficked French children.

In the early decades of the eighteenth century, the French faced a demographic problem – few wanted to move to the Gulf South. For the French crown, this spelled disaster. In an era where population size meant power, French colonial officials declared that they needed to “populate these colonies immediately with French subjects” so as to hold on to their imperial claims along the Mississippi River Basin.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: The Secret History of the New Jersey Devil

Brian Regal, an Associate Professor of History at Kean University and the co-author of The Secret History of the Jersey Devil: How Quakers, Hucksters, and Benjamin Franklin Created A Monster, takes us on our first official foray into New Jersey’s past by taking us through the origins of the New Jersey Devil story.

As we explore New Jersey’s most famous myth, Brian reveals details about colonial New Jersey and its population; Information about the political and religious culture of early New Jersey; And how a dispute between Quakers led to the creation of New Jersey’s most famous legend.

Listen to the podcast.

Cemetery Where Lies Maj. Samuel Vetch Bayard UEL

Today I visited the Bayard Family Cemetery in Annapolis County where Maj. Samuel Vetch Bayard of the King’s Orange Rangers is buried.

The Cemetery is located in the middle of a productive farm field now. At one time it was land owned by the Bayard family and it was behind the home they built when they settled on 5,000 acres in the area after the American Revolution.

See my short video of the visit.

Happy Canada Day Weekend!

…Brian McConnell, UE

Book review: 38 Hours To Montreal

38 Hours To Montreal: William Weller and the Governor General’s Race of 1840, by Dan Buchanan, UE. Victoria: Friesen Press, 2018. 276 pages. View cover. Reviewed by Peter W. Johnson UE.

Dan Buchanan is a champion of lesser known, but significant historical personages. Don’t go looking for a Tecumseh, Brock or much on Sir John A. Macdonald here. This is the realm of William Weller and it is debatable how widespread his name is known. Dan focuses on, “that second tier of individuals who toiled in the trenches of society but reached the pages of history books only for a line or two”. He also notes that he is considering a time period that is usually overshadowed by the earlier War of 1812 and later Confederation.

William Weller was hired in February 1840 to transport by modified sleigh, Governor General Charles Poulet Thompson from downtown Toronto to downtown Montreal in no more than thirty-eight hours…if Weller wished to receive his pay. It was a tall order, but Weller with meticulous planning, the right equipment and favourable conditions more or less, managed to turn this daunting journey into a triumph, clocking in under the designated time.

The amount of detail in each chapter could be a bit overwhelming to the reader, but Dan avoids that problem by arranging his text into thirty-seven short chapters which tend to encapsulate the events concerning the twenty-four stops along the way. Thus the reader is essentially ‘along for the ride’ in comfort. In a sense the author is our “Rick Steves of 1840,” and that is intended to be a positive comment. The details concerning various locations and Toronto in particular are remarkable. It’s almost as if Dan travelled back in time and set out the landscape for us. Speaking of which, a map or two in the book would be a helpful addition.

As for Governor General Thompson, a fair bit of 1840 politics is included. This is important because without this background the great ride would have been seen as no more than a whim. It was very much wrapped up in the post-1837 Rebellion political climate.

The last part of the book includes extensive notes, sources and an index- all testaments to the serious research Dan engaged in.

For the genealogist there is a brief but welcome consideration of William Weller’s family background. Too frequently this William has been filed as a son of Carrying Place pioneer Asa Weller who came from Vermont in 1791. While there is a linked Weller heritage here, the common ancestor is a few generations farther back. Asa’s son William is not the William of stagecoach fame. As well, Asa’s wife was a Marsh and there are several references to this Loyalist family as well as other Loyalists throughout the book. You might find one of your own ancestors within these pages? A sampling of the Loyalist surnames includes: Ault, Bethune, Bleecker, Cartwright, Casey, Chisholm, Fralick, Gordanier, Herkimer, Hoople, Jarvis, Jessup, Johnson, Jones, Louck, Meyers, Post, Ryerson, Simpson and Singleton.

This is a book that agitates to be picked up and not put down. Once you immerse yourself in the world of 1840, you’ll be reluctant to set it aside unfinished. There are a lot of photographs to enhance the presentation and the opening images in each chapter featuring frigid winter forests serve to remind us how challenging that February ride must have been!

Dan is currently busy with various Book Signings and other public events to promote the book. Some of the forthcoming events include: July 6, Warkworth Market, July 10, Port Hope Library, July 14, Chapters, Belleville, July 21 Chapters, Ajax and July 22, Chapters, Oshawa. Check his website for the details.

Where in the World?

Where are David Kanowakeron Hill Morrison, UE, of Grand River Branch, and Carl Stymiest, UE, and Mary Anne Bethune, UE, both of Vancouver Branch?

To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is (if you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well). Send your submission to the editor at loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

Region and Branch Bits

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

  • Rupert, Frederick – from Kristina Harrison

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Bay of Quinte Branch unveils its first “United Empire Loyalist Burial Ground” Plaque on Saturday 21 July 2018 at 7:00PM. Buried here are a number of Loyalists including Paul Huff UE and Peter Frederick UE. Peter served in the King’s Orange Rangers. The ceremony will be followed by a Sunset Church Service, Rev. Phil Wilson presiding. Refreshments to follow. You are invited. See flyer.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • The Battle of Stono Ferry was an American Revolutionary War battle, fought on June 20, 1779, near Charleston, South Carolina. The rear guard from a British expedition retreating from an aborted attempt to take Charleston held off an assault by poorly trained militia forces under American General Benjamin Lincoln.
  • Temperance Wick (October 30, 1758 – April 26, 1822), also known as Tempe Wick and Tempe, was the subject of many early American legends, one at least centred on the The Pennsylvania Line Mutiny. She is traditionally regarded as an example of female patriotism in the early Republic, though many scholars and historians dispute the historical accuracy of the stories and traditions surrounding her life. Read more. The Wick House at Jockey Hollow still stands, and is now a part of the Morristown National Historical Park.
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 30 Jun 1775 Congress adopts Articles of War against Britain, begging King George to restrain Parliament’s abuses.
    • 29 Jun 1776 South-Carolina’s delegate Rutledge to Continental Congress expresses opposition to independence.
    • 28 Jun 1776 Spongy palmetto walls @ Ft Sullivan, Charleston SC absorb British navy shot, enable repulsion of attack.
    • 27 Jun 1775 Congress sends Gen. Schuyler to assess Lake Champlain situation, Canadian interest in joining rebels.
    • 26 Jun 1775 Washington states intention to return to private life following the “establishment of American liberty.”
    • 25 Jun 1775 Washington arrives in NYC, inspects Hamilton’s forces as he passes through on his way to Boston.
    • 24 Jun 1776 Congress orders New-Jersey Royal Governor Franklin (son of Benjamin) sent under guard to Connecticut.
  • Townsends
  • An Account of Peggy Jones (c1765-1805), the London Mudlark. [Life at the other end of the spectrum from those who wore the fancy gowns noted below.]
  • We are particularly fond of the blue and grey floral brocade and soft pink ribbon in this mid-18th Century corset.
  • Woman’s gown made from a Spitalfields silk brocade dating to the 1730s or 1740s, probably remade in the 1760s and possibly worn in Anglo-colonial America
  • Conservation Team at The Bowes Museum. Textile Conservator Cecilia working on and 18th Century floral brocade dress. Beautiful colours and excellent condition
  • 18th Century open front dress accessorised for a masquerade, 1765-70
  • Patches of delicate colour interspersed with the silver on this 18th Century man’s sleeved waistcoat, England, 1740’s
  • 18th Century men’s waistcoat, featuring courting couples, silk, 1790’s
  • Boston-made silk satin shoe with embroidery at toe transitional style c1785-90
  • To be clear: Cobblers have never designed or made footwear, they repair or restore old footwear. A craftsman who designs and makes footwear is and always was a Cordwainer.
  • 18th Century Silk Dyers in London‘. A selection of 68 trade cards and bill-heads from 1703 to 1818 demonstrate some fascinating facts of the dyers and cleaners of London. To regard oneself as silk dyer dominated, whilst secondary titles were scarlet dyer, scourer or cleaner of various garments, dyer of cotton/calico or woollen fabrics. 


Descendants of James Matthews, UE, of Woodhouse Township ON

A 2nd edition of Descendants of James Matthews, United Empire Loyalist of Woodhouse Township, Ontario is being prepared to replace the 1998 Work in Progress which is considerably obsolete now that so many new descendants have been traced. The intent has been to enumerate all of them to the 7th generation, with those carrying the Matthews surname continuing into the 8th and 9th generations. Those persons who are, or think they may be part of this family, should contact the compiler to assure that data is correct and complete.

…Ross W. McCurdy, Cape Cod, 508-258-0029, rwmccurdy@comcast.net

84th Regiment of Foot and UE Loyalist Eligibility

A reader has two ancestors who are listed on a muster roll of the 84th Reg’t of Foot and wonders if descent from them offers eligibility for a UE Loyalist deisgnation, given that professional soldiers were not eligible.


The short answer to your question is apparently “Yes” as you have found both gentlemen on Muster Rolls for the 84th. Perhaps confusion arises because the Royal Highland Emigrants were eventually placed on the British Establishment as the 84th Reg’t of Foot. It makes them appear to be British Regulars rather than Loyalists. In fact there were plenty of Loyalists within the ranks of the 84th and it is considered a Loyalist Regiment.

…Peter W. Johnson UE, co-Dominion Genealogist

Happy Canada Day!

Editor’s Note

Today is the anniversary of Canada’s confederation. Celebrate and enjoy.

And for everyone who celebrates Independence Day, happy 4th of July!

… Doug