“Loyalist Trails” 2018-34: August 26, 2018

In this issue:
Loyalist Tales of the Unexpected, by Stephen Davidson
Cossit House in Sydney NS, by Brian McConnell
Cornwall To Host National UELAC Loyalist Conference in 2021
JAR: Communities Divided: Massachusetts, January to March 1775
Washington’s Quill: “Poore Billy”: Apprenticeships in Late 18th-Century Virginia
The Junto: Q&A with Randy M. Browne, author of Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean
Ben Franklin’s World: Everyday Life in Early America
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Loyalist Tales of the Unexpected

© Stephen Davidson, UE

For all of the many shared experiences that the refugees of the American Revolution endured, Loyalist history contains many “tales of the unexpected” – unanticipated turns of event, surprising facts, and characters who defy stereotypes.

Consider these questions: Which loyalist would you expect would have a New York City tavern named for him? Which Connecticut native settled with loyalists in New Brunswick’s Northumberland County? For which loyalist was Nova Scotia’s Isaac’s Harbour named? The answers may surprise you.

During the American Revolution, New York City was the headquarters for the British army and a sanctuary for loyalists from Georgia to New Hampshire. Before the advent of electricity and neon lights, taverns made themselves known with catchy names painted on brightly coloured signs. A sampling of these drinking establishment’s names include: the Sign of the Golden Checkers, the Sign of the Hand and Pen, the Sign of the Prince of Hesse, the Sign of the Jolly Sailor, the Sign of the Dolphin, the Sign of the Fried Oysters, and the Sign of the Brave Lord Hood.

Only one tavern is known to bear the name of a contemporary loyalist hero. Rivington’s Royal Gazette, the loyalist newspaper of New York City, revealed that noteworthy American in its April 19, 1783 edition when it reported that a local man had been living “at the Sign of Joseph Brant, the Indian chief” at 69 Cherry Street. (Today, this address is just a few blocks northeast of the Brooklyn Bridge.) Who would have expected that Thayendanegea, known to most Americans as Joseph Brant, would be the only loyalist so honoured? Sadly, the contributions of most Indigenous people who backed the crown have been forgotten or unappreciated.

Jared Tozer of Lyme, Connecticut became a soldier in the American Revolution in 1781 when he enlisted as a private at the age of seventeen. He was present at the siege of Yorktown, which ultimately decided the outcome of the war. After receiving an honourable discharge, Tozer married Eunice Ives, the daughter of Captain David Ives, a loyalist who found refugee in what is now New Brunswick. How the two young lovers met is not recorded.

Eunice’s father, an officer in the Associated Loyalists, had been imprisoned numerous times, but managed to escape a death sentence. He settled in Burton in New Brunswick’s Sunbury County.

In 1789, Jared and Eunice had settled in Sunbury County, but later moved to North Esk, a community on the shores of the Miramichi River in Northumberland County. The Tozers had eleven children who lived to adulthood. When a Baptist church formed in 1819, Eunice Tozer was one of its charter members; her son James became the first man from Miramichi to be ordained as a Baptist minister in 1826.

To this point, the story of Jared Tozer seems to follow the general pattern set by the many thousands of loyalists who made their home in New Brunswick. However, it is anything but typical. Tozer, you see, did not fight for king and crown. He had fought as a soldier in the Continental Army under General George Washington.

Some fifteen years after settling in New Brunswick with his loyalist wife, Tozer returned to the United States to make a claim for his pension as a patriot soldier. The new republic was pleased to honour his services, paying him $500.00 in arrears, and granting him a pension of $100.00 a year. Tozer drew on that pension until his death at age 86 in 1850. While the local newspaper printed a eulogy and poem in his memory, there is no mention made of how his fellow villagers felt about having a patriot soldier as their neighbour for more than 45 years.

A marriage between a patriot and a loyalist was not uncommon. On June 23, 1786 a loyalist from Maryland named Joshua Hill sought compensation from the British government for his wartime losses. Hill operated a store that sold “dry and wet goods” near Baltimore before the revolution. Declaring his unwavering allegience to the crown from the very beginning, Hill became the target of patriot attacks on his home and person. In the end, he had to seek sanctuary in New York City.

However, “his wife took part with the rebels” and continued to live in one of Hill’s houses after he became a fugitive. While Hill’s oldest son shared his father’s loyalist principles, the other children sided with the patriots. Hill left New York on the Blacket in April 1783 and settled in Port Roseway (Shelburne), Nova Scotia while the rest of his family remained in Maryland.

Hill’s patriot wife shatters our expectations; she does not fit the stereotype of the 18th century’s demure and obedient wife. In contrast to the Tozers’ marriage, the Hills demonstrate that political differences could drive an irreconcilible wedge between husband and wife.

Finally, it would seem to be fairly safe to assume that loyalist settlements were named for British royalty, towns in the thirteen colonies, or for their white founders. But until the discovery of gold prompted the changing of its name, Isaac’s Harbour near Port Bickerton, Nova Scotia is noteworthy for being named for a Black Loyalist.

Occupying land that had once been home to the Mi’kmaw people, Isaac Webb and his family established a homestead in 1783, settling on the east side of the harbour that still bears his name. Other black families such as the Clykes, Harrigans, and Parises joined the Black Loyalist, but eventually left for better opportunities in nearby settlements. White settlers began to move into the area in the early 1830s.

Isaac’s Harbour was renamed Goldboro after the Richardson Hold Mining Company began to extract gold from a quartz veins along the eastern side of the settlement. Henry Webb, the last known Black Loyalist descendant in Goldboro, died in 1935 and was buried in the Red Head cemetery near Webb’s Cove, yet another point on the map to bear Isaac Webb’s name.

Given the many treasures yet to be found in the documents pertaining to the loyalist era, there will no doubt be future “tales of the unexpected” in future editions of Loyalist Trails.

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

Cossit House in Sydney NS, by Brian McConnell

This week I visited historic Cossit House in Sydney, Nova Scotia. It was built in 1787 by United Empire Loyalist Ranna Cossit, first Anglican minister in Sydney.

Cossit lived in the house with his wife Thankful and their children. It is furnished to appear as it did in 1790 when the Cossits had six children.

Watch a short video I have prepared which shows the inside of this 18th century home which is maintained by the Province of Nova Scotia:

…Brian McConnell, UE

Cornwall To Host National UELAC Loyalist Conference in 2021

By Sophie Poirier at Cornwall Tourism. Read full article with photo.

Cornwall will be hosting an event of historic proportions.

The City will play host to the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada (UELAC) 2021 conference, ‘Join the rEvolution,’ with upwards of 400 people from across Canada and the U.S. expected to attend the event from May 27-30.

“We’re thrilled to be hosting this national conference in Cornwall given the City’s own Loyalist history,” said Jennifer DeBruin, President of the United Empire Loyalists Bridge Annex, the host branch for the UELAC 2021 conference in Cornwall. “In the spirit of the conference theme of ‘Join the rEvolution,’ we will be building bridges beyond our membership to develop a conference that features exciting opportunities to engage individuals and partners locally, regionally and internationally.”

The announcement was made during Sunday’s re-dedication ceremony for United Empire Loyalist plaque at the Cornwall Community Museum. It was a fitting venue as the museum is in the same general area where Loyalists first drew their lots to settle the Cornwall area in 1784.

“It’s important to us that we create a conference that makes UE Loyalist descendants and other interested residents feel excited about exploring the past by using a mixture of traditional and new features, and inviting others beyond our membership to join us,” added Mrs. DeBruin.

The conference will be held at the NAV CENTRE and the sprawling facility will play host to conference lectures, a Loyalist encampment and more. Conference organizers are also planning additional community activities for delegates such as boat cruises and bus tours.

“This is a terrific opportunity to showcase our community and an important part of our past,” said Kevin Lajoie, Tourism Coordinator with Cornwall Tourism. “We’re hoping the community-at-large will embrace this conference and help give our visitors an experience they will never forget.”

Organizers are hoping the benefits of the conference will continue on long after the official agenda closes.

“We are committed to being active before, during and after this conference,” said Mrs. DeBruin. “We want to showcase the area and our history and help others understand that exploring the past can be fun and exciting, even as we help preserve the legacy of the UE Loyalists. We’re looking forward to building on our past, while safeguarding our future!”

Stay up to date!

For more information on the conference, make sure to follow the UE Loyalists Bridge Annex website and check them out on Facebook. The UE Loyalists Bridge Annex is the first virtual branch of UELAC and offers unique opportunities for members to determine how and when they would like to experience the UELAC.

For more about events and places to say etc in Cornwall, visit www.CornwallTourism.com.

[Submitted by Jennifer DeBruin]

JAR: Communities Divided: Massachusetts, January to March 1775

by Will Monk 23 August 2018

On January 1, 1775, Charles Stockbridge visited his neighbor’s house in Hanover, Massachusetts, twenty five miles south of Boston. He heard a rumor that opponents of the government would visit nearby Marshfield to harass Tories (supporters of the king), who were well known and vulnerable to trouble. His neighbor doubted the rumor was true.

Yet it was true. On January 2, a man wrote to a friend, without signing his name, “Whenever government shows itself in earnest, ‘Down with the Tories’ is the cry and no stone left unturned to insult England.” Three days later a man in Boston wrote, “We are in a terrible situation pent up both by sea and land. Military duty in every respect is daily performed in this town, as much as any garrisoned town in His Majesty’s dominions. The general does all he can do to keep the peace and quiet.”

Elizabeth White was in her house in Marshfield when her brother came to visit. They argued over politics, and he said, “I pity you, for the Tories will be taken care of soon.” She replied, “Can you put a gun to my breast and kill me as your only sister?” He said, “No, but don’t say I did not give you timely warning.”

Read more.

Washington’s Quill: “Poore Billy”: Apprenticeships in Late 18th-Century Virginia

By Lynn Price, 17 August 2018

Martha Washington shared the more personal facets of her life in letters to only a handful of close family members – often in one long run-on sentence. In 1794, Martha had no surviving children and corresponded with her niece Frances “Fanny” Bassett Washington often with news, advice, demands (disguised as advice), and opinions. These letters between Martha and Fanny are a treasure trove of historical tidbits, perfect for additional research.

For example, Martha wrote to Fanny from the presidential mansion in Philadelphia on Nov. 10, 1794. After commenting on family health issues and the president’s return from western Pennsylvania, she added:

Poore Billy Dandridge how does he like to be bound out – I hope and trust it is for his good yet I cannot say but I am sorry to have him taken from his friends – such a distance – his Brothers – I am sure thinks it is the best that they can do for him – and I hope he will turn out well.

Who was this Billy? Martha Washington was born a Dandridge and had seven siblings. Her brother William, born in 1734, died in 1776 from drowning. Another brother, Bartholomew, named one of his sons “William.” What does it mean to be “bound out”? In 1672.

Read more.

The Junto: Q&A with Randy M. Browne, author of Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean

Randy M. Browne is a historian of slavery and colonialism in the Atlantic world, especially the Caribbean. He is an Associate Professor of History at Xaverian University (Cincinnati). Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean is his first book and he discusses it here with Jessica Parr.

I got interested in this project because I wanted to understand how enslaved people in the Americas fought to survive in spite of the brutal conditions they faced. Historians have known for a long time that Atlantic slave societies were death traps, that slave populations outside of the United States did not reproduce themselves, and that planters relied on the transatlantic slave trade to replace slaves they worked to death. But rather than simply acknowledging these demographic facts, I wanted to know what the unrelenting struggle to live in a world of death meant for enslaved people’s daily lives.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Everyday Life in Early America

In celebration of Episode 200, Johann Neem, Joseph Adelman, and Ann Little help us explore answers to your questions about the establishment of schools in early America, how the colonial postal service functioned, and about colonial health and hygiene practices.

Listen to the podcast.

Where in the World?

Where are Peter Milliken, Bob & Grietje McBride, and Carl Stymiest?

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.

  • On Thursday September 20, 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, “Washington’s Lieutenants: The Generals of the Continental Army” by William M. Welsch. The event starts at 6:30 PM; the program at 7:00 PM. At Siena College, 515 Loudon Rd, Albany, NY. More details.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • This map of Philadelphia was made in 1777 during the American Revolution and shows the fortifications constructed by English troops. Zoom in to see the intricate details! “A survey of the city of Philadelphia and its environs shewing the several works constructed by His Majesty’s troops, under the command of Sir William Howe, since their possession of that city 26th. September 1777, comprehending likewise the attacks against Fort Mifflin on Mud Island, and until it’s reduction, 16th November 1777.”
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 25 Aug 1780 The “Swamp Fox” Francis Marion rescues 150 prisoners, only 3 of whom opt to return to the American Army.
    • 24 Aug 1775 USS Hannah, first ship of the Continental Navy, acquired.
    • 23 Aug 1775 King George III declares American Colonies to be in “open and avowed rebellion,” demands suppression.
    • 22 Aug 1777 British Colonel Barry St. Leger abandons Fort Stanwix for Canada as Arnold’s forces approach.
    • 21 Aug 1775 Quartermaster-General in Cambridge issues broadside requesting provisions.
    • 20 Aug 1776 Washington asks Gen, John Sullivan to relieve the ill Gen. Nathaniel Greene in defense of Long Island.
    • 19 Aug 1779 Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee successfully leads daring raid on British at Paulus Hook, New-Jersey.
  • Townsends: Pine Nuts and Spinach? – 18th Century Spanish Cooking
  • Sack back (robe a la Francaise) with brocaded silk pattern of harps, ribbon & florals 1750-80 Met Museum
  • Rear detail of 18th Century dress, block printed and painted cotton, c.1785
  • 18th Century court dress, contains almost 10lb weight of silver thread in an elaborate ‘Tree of Life’ Design. Signed ‘Rec’d of Mdme Leconte by me Magd. Giles’. The name Leconte has been associated with Huguenot embroideresses working in London 1710 – 1746
  • Detail of 18th Century dress bodice, 1750-70
  • Detail of 18th Century men’s waistcoat & frock coat, c1770
  • 18th Century men’s frock coat and waistcoat, French, c.1775
  • Brocaded silk shoes, buckle shoes, London made; worn in America; possibly Elizabeth Lord’s wedding shoes c1760
  • Please join Kimberly Alexander at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto on Sunday 21 Oct. at 2:00PM for a talk on Georgian wedding shoes & self-fashioning.
  • Linen – the original sustainable material. Produced as part of “Fashioned from Nature” at the V&A, until January 2019. Flax (Linum usitatissimum), from which linen is made, is one of the oldest continuously cultivated plants in the world. Ancient Egyptians used the finest woven linen as an expression of class and, most notably, wrapped their mummies in linen bandages. The fabric’s ability to absorb water and conduct heat made it ideal for hot climates and undergarments. Read more…

Editor’s Note

Still travelling – this issue from the Aegean Odyssey, owned and operated by Voyages to Antiquity, while traversing the Bay of Biscay from Nantes to Bordeau, France.