“Loyalist Trails” 2018-31: August 5, 2018

In this issue:
2018 UELAC Dorchester Award: David Kanowakeron Hill Morrison, UE
Desirous of Removing to Canada: Part Two, by Stephen Davidson
Re-Dedicating Loyalist Plaque Where Cornwall Began
JAR: The Canadian Patriot Experience
JAR: War Horses Gone Astray
Washington’s Quill: Washington and the Governors
Ben Franklin’s World: Native American Slavery in New France
Where in the World?
From the Twittersphere and Beyond


2018 UELAC Dorchester Award: David Kanowakeron Hill Morrison, UE

David was born in Rochester, New York in 1954. He was adopted at birth and was raised in the same area he still resides in. He claims he always felt and looked different than his peers due to his Mohawk genetics.

David is Webmaster of UELAC Grand River Branch. Most recently David has taken on the role of Vice President and Webmaster with the UE Bridge Annex Branch, the new virtual branch of the UELAC. He also serves as Central West Councillor and Member of Dominion Board of Directors.

For more information, including biographies of David Hill and the previous honoured recipients, visit UELAC Dorchester Award.

Desirous of Removing to Canada: Part Two

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Many of the American loyalists who sought sanctuary in Canada at the end of the War of Independence simply packed up all that they could carry on their backs, in carts, or in canoes and headed overland for the shores of the St. Lawrence River. However, 1,328 loyalists who had found refuge in New York City during the revolution needed to find ships that would take them to Canada. And to do that, they needed to secure the help of Sir Guy Carleton, the British commander in chief, who had been put in charge of overseeing the evacuation of all loyal personnel. The letters that many Canadian-bound refugees wrote have survived in a collection of Carleton’s correspondence. Let’s see what names those letters contain.

On April 14, 1783 — ten days before the first fleet of loyalist evacuation ships left New York’s harbour—Barrack Hays wrote a memorial to Sir Guy Carleton. He told the commander that he “with others {has} purchased a small vessel to go to Quebec, but knows not what line of business there to pursue.” Hays asked to receive back pay owed to him as an officer in the Guides, and requested that Carleton write him a letter of recommendation to Sir Frederick Haldimand, the governor of the colony of Canada. Carleton promptly saw to it that Hays received $182.00 so that the loyalist guide would be able “to remove with his family to Quebec”.

On the same day that Hays wrote to Carleton, John Monier, the former postmaster and contractor’s agent in Albany, told the commander how he had “lost his landed property and a genteel and easy living”. He wanted to take his family to England, hoping for a government job. “If no provisions can be made for him in England”, he wrote,” {he} would ask some employment in Canada or elsewhere.”

On May 3rd, Joseph Chew wrote to Major George Beckwith, one of Carleton’s officers. He told the major that he knew that “about four or five hundred families will offer themselves for Canada when it is known transports are fitting for that place… They are anxious to know what provision is to be made for them, and in what manner they may expect grants of land.” Chew’s letter included a list of the names of those who had applied to go to Canada, but –alas—the list is not in the record of Carleton’s correspondence.

Twenty-three days later Chew once again wrote to Beckwith. “Several persons belonging to Sir John Johnson’s regiment and to Butler’s Rangers have come in with other prisoners, destitute of money and clothing.” His postscript reminds Beckwith that “numbers of persons are daily calling on him who are desirous of removing to Canada.”

Joseph Chew would later be a witness for Alexander Wallace at the loyalist compensation hearings in London on December 18, 1788, so it appears that Chew himself did not seek sanctuary in Upper Canada. A loyalist with his name eventually settled in Carleton, New Brunswick.

Some men loyal to King George III were forbidden to settle in Canada by order of the crown itself. In a June 6th letter, Carleton had to break the bad news to the German officer, Colonel Lentz, that “all the foreign troops serving in this army {are} to return to Europe; he cannot send the Hesse Hanau Regiments to Canada.”

Four days later, Carleton received a letter from a 26-year veteran of the 47th Regiment. Sergeant Francis Cook, born in the colonies, begged for “his liberty to go to Canada or other of His Majesty’s garrisons in America”.

By August 7th, the first evacuation fleet to take loyalists to Quebec had already departed. On this date, Elias Smith wrote to Carleton on “behalf of himself and other persons bound to Canada, asking such recompenses and immunities as have been granted to other loyalists {who have} previously gone to Canada”. Smith had served the crown as a master carpenter at the engineer department. He had enough of a reputation that a certificate from him was used to vouch for the character of one of his employees three years later at the loyalist compensation hearings in Halifax.

On September 5th, just one day before the second evacuation fleet left New York for Quebec, John and Catherine Driver asked for an advance on the allowance they had been receiving from the government since they were “leaving for Canada”. They reminded the commander that they were “both upwards of sixty years old”.

Although loyalists would never have another chance to sail for Canada in a third squadron of government-sponsored ships, Carleton continued to receive letters. John Cook wrote on behalf of himself and other loyalists who had lived in New York’s Dutchess County. He “prayed to be assisted to remove to Canada in the spring”. Cook’s letter also included an endorsement from William Smith, the last loyalist chief justice of New York. Clearly Cook, Smith and the Dutchess County loyalists had failed to realize that with the departure of the last British troops in November, there would be no one to help them journey to Canada. (After several years in England, William Smith went to Quebec when Sir Guy Carleton was made its new governor in 1786.)

So while some loyalists still had hopes of going to Canada, there were others who were not impressed with the northern colony. Sir Frederick Haldimand, the governor of Canada, sent an interesting note to Carleton nine days after the last fleet bound for Quebec had left New York. He reported that four loyalist families were returning to New York, “disappointed in the sanguine hopes they had formed of this country”.

Carleton’s correspondence records contain many more letters written by loyalists who wanted to find sanctuary in Canada: Alexander White. Michael Grass, Peter Ruttan, William Tanner, John Snow, Ann Houston, Margaret Drake, Captain R. Tongue, and William Robinson. Their stories have already been told in an earlier Loyalist Trails article.*

As this brief examination of Sir Guy Carleton’s correspondence and the Book of Negroes has shown, there are still many gaps in the records that would reveal the identities and circumstances of the loyalists who, rather than plodding through the forests of New York and New England, sailed along the Atlantic coast, through the Gulf of St. Lawrence and up the St. Lawrence River to make Canada their new home.

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

(* Editor’s note: This is Stephen’s fourth article on the Loyalists who sailed to Canada from New York City in 1783. To read more about the refugees mentioned in the second last paragraph, see “The Great and Complicated Business: Beginning the World Again,” from the October 2, 2011, issue of Loyalist Trails.)

Re-Dedicating Loyalist Plaque Where Cornwall Began

“They forged a new life in the wilderness and laid the foundations of this province”

On Sunday, August 12, 2018, at 1:00 pm, at the Cornwall Community Museum, the very site where the Loyalists pulled lots to begin anew, we will be hosting a re-dedication ceremony of the 1934 Loyalist plaque, once proudly displayed on the original Cornwall Post Office. The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SDG) Historical Society have collaborated with the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada (UELAC) for this event to showcase an important part of the area’s rich history. Among the dignitaries and guests will be several members of the national Board of UELAC. There will also be an exciting announcement made by UE Loyalists Bridge Annex, the first virtual branch of UELAC, that will further the sharing of this history and will support history-related tourism in the area. Announcement (with photos); flyer.

JAR: The Canadian Patriot Experience

by Richard J. Werther, 31 July 2018, in Journal of the American Revolution

The American Revolution was in effect a civil war. It included all the heightened acrimony associated with one. In what became the United States, there was hostility and outright violence between those supporting the rebellion (“Patriots”) and those against it (“Loyalists”). Soldiers and families alike faced social ostracism, physical danger, loss of property, and for many, bitter exile for staying loyal to the Crown.

The conflict wasn’t confined to the thirteen colonies; it also spilled into other parts of British North America, primarily the northern colonies that would eventually become Canada (for simplicity, I’ll call them Canada throughout this article). American intentions were to try to incorporate Canada as a fourteenth colony or, failing that, to neutralize the military threat to the thirteen colonies posed by the British presence along the border.

In Canada, the rebellion failed, at least as measured by the first goal. Early attempts by Canadian merchants to assemble a delegation to the Continental Congress were unsuccessful. The sticking point was the non-importation act, the Continental Association, which the merchants feared couldcause them to lose the lucrative fur trade to Canadians who stayed loyal.[1] Ironically, Canada would become an exile destination for many American Loyalists and would eventually achieve its independence through much more peaceful means.

The attempt to incorporate Canada into the Revolution resulted in an interesting dynamic: the Patriots in British Canada in many ways received the same treatment as Loyalists had in the “lower thirteen” colonies. Much has been written about the Patriot-Loyalist conflict in America. The flip-side of this, how that conflict impacted Patriots north of the border, can be seen in two men — one with British roots, John Allan, and the other a French-Canadian, Clement Gosselin. How was it for them to live the “Loyalist” experience, so to speak, in Canada?

Read more.

JAR: War Horses Gone Astray

by Don N. Hagist 2 August 2018

The American Revolution’s armies got their horsepower from horses. These animals carried cavalrymen into battle, pulled cannons, carts and wagons of all description, hauled baggage on their backs, moved messengers swiftly over countless miles, and brought officers and gentlemen to wherever they needed to be.

And they ran off sometimes. Advertising in the era’s newspapers included notices like this one:

Twenty Dollars Reward. Strayed or Stolen out of a pasture in Upper Makefield Township, Bucks County, in the night of the 18th inst. (August) a brown Horse, about fifteen hands high, said to be nine years old, his mane is thick and bushy, and hangs to the near side, his tail has been set, and the hair at the end bob’d square off, shod before, is an imprted horse, did formerly belong to the British light dragoons, and is a natural trotter. Also in the night of the 20th was stolen, or strayed, out of a pasture in Buckingham Township, Bucks County, a bright bay Horse, about eight years old, trots and canters well, and paces a small travel, is shod all round; about fourteen and a half hands high, his tail is short, which has been too close cut in docking, has a small lump on his back just above his kidneys, which is soft, it has been hurt by the saddle, but is not sore; he lately came from Maryland, and if not stolen will probably make towards that state. Any person taking up and securing the said horses so that the owner may have them again, shall be entitled to the above reward, or Ten Dollars for either, and all reasonable charges, paid by the subscriber, living in Buckingham Township, Bucks County. John Lacey, Junior.

Read more.

Washington’s Quill: Washington and the Governors

By Benjamin Huggins 3 August 2018

I continue my survey of Washington’s relations with the state governors, but in this post, I will focus on his relations with local civil authorities. One of the best examples of Washington’s diplomacy and the positive response of civil authorities is the army’s gathering of provisions in New Jersey during the winter of 1780. In a circular letter to the states, the general set out the nature of the crisis: “The situation of the Army with respect to supplies is beyond description alarming.” He asked for “extraordinary exertions” and requested “vigorous interposition of the State.”

To gain immediate relief, he shifted his focus to New Jersey, where the army was camped. Declaring an emergency of a “pressing and peculiar nature,” he described the state of his army in a circular letter to the magistrates of each of the New Jersey counties: “The present situation of the Army with respect to provisions is the most distressing of any we have experienced since the beginning of the War.” Both officers and men were, he explained, “almost perishing for want”; the “uncommon vigour of the Winter” had obstructed the transportation of supplies, and the magazines near camp were exhausted. Unless an “extraordinary exertion” was made in the state, “fatal consequences” were sure to ensue.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Native American Slavery in New France

Brett Rushforth, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Oregon and author of Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France, leads us on an exploration of a little-known aspect of early American history: the practice of Native American slavery.

During our investigation, Brett reveals how Native Americans practiced slavery and how the colonists of New France came to adopt and modify their practices; The day-to-day lives of Native American slaves; And, how Native American slavery controlled French expansion in North America.

Listen to the podcast.

Where in the World?

Where is 2018 Dorchester Award recipient David Hill Morrison, a member of Grand River Branch and Bridge Annex 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.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Only fitting that the United Empire Loyalist statue in Hamilton will front the provincial offences administration offices  – peace, order and good government – in the old Wentworth County Courthouse, now refurnished.
  • A $2 United States note from 1776, printed by Hall and Sellers in Philadelphia, issued by the Continental Congress.
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 4 Aug 1776 King George congratulates himself on securing a German corps “much Cheaper than if raised at home.”
    • 3 Aug 1780 Benedict Arnold appointed commander of West Point; already collaborating with British.
    • 2 Aug 1776 News of the Declaration of Independence arrives In Charleston, SC.
    • 2 Aug 1776 Actual signing of the Declaration of Independence, the language for which was adopted on 4 Jul 1776.
    • 1 Aug 1777 Burgoyne reaches the Hudson after spending a month crossing 23 miles of wilderness from Lake Champlain.
    • 31 Jul 1777 19-year-old Marquis de Lafayette volunteers to lead rebel troops as Major General – without pay.
    • 30 Jul 1776 Washington offers exchange of any British officer for return of Col. Ethan Allen, captured at Montreal.
    • 29 Jul 1776 Patriot forces invade Cherokee territory at North-Carolina to discourage alliance with British.
  • Superb ensemble (dress & fichu), c1798; cotton & silk, prob. European, and worn in America. Check out additional images, including embroidery details
  • Illuminated manuscripts, illuminating medicines. From hunting rare bugs to harvesting the world’s most expensive plant parts, conservator Cheryl Porter will try almost anything to learn more about pigments from the past. These colours weren’t only used to illuminate manuscripts and paintings — they were also important medicines, and artists would often source the raw materials for their work from the pharmacy.
  • Bringing down the patriarchy. After six weeks of single-minded writing, Mary Wollstonecraft produced “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” in 1792. It was an instant international success. The French Revolution was not enough. Mary Wollstonecraft wanted something more. She declared war against the patriarchy. She called for nothing less than ‘a revolution in female manners’. This revolution was not about how to set up or sit at the dinner table. It rather sought to overthrow the system of socialization that made men and women prisoners of each other’s tyranny, rather than the virtuous companions whom they were meant to be.
  • 18th Century quilted petticoat, cotton with woollen embroidery
  • Rear view detail of 18th Century caraco and petticoat, 1790-1800. Very fine white cotton, embroidered with garlands of vine and grape clusters
  • Friday Video: Dressing an 18thc English Gentleman. Here’s another wonderful fashion history video from the Lady Lever Art Gallery and National Museums of Liverpool. There is a companion video demonstrating how an 18thc elite woman dressed for her day.
  • For Wedding Wednesday Emerald green Spitalfields silk damask dress was worn in Boston in 1747 by Rebecca Tailer [Byles]. Though 19thc alterations, esp. to the bodice, have left their mark, the silk is in excellent condition. Silk design was likely the work of Garthwaite
  • What was trendy in 18th c? The monkeys decorating this waistcoat were copied from Comte de Buffon’s popular encyclopedia Natural History.
  • 18th Century men’s frock coat, 1775, British, Made of silk
  • Detail of 18th Century men’s silk waistcoat, British, 1730’s
  • The Cursed Silk Shoes of an Unhappy Ghost, c. 1715. While examples of 18th c. ladies’ silk shoes like this pair aren’t rare, shoes with a lurid ghost story attached certainly are. Know as the Papillon Shoes, this pair has a fascinating provenance that’s more ghost story and legend than historical fact.