“Loyalist Trails” 2018-47: November 25, 2018

In this issue:
Congratulations to Stephen Davidson, and Thanks
The Loyalists Are Coming! The Loyalists Are Coming! (Part 1), by Stephen Davidson
Virtual Cemetery of Past Members of UELAC
Book: Lewis and Mary Fisher, Loyalists in the American Revolution & New Brunswick Settlers
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Fighting for the Crown? Irish Catholic Loyalists in the Military
Borealia: Mapping the End of Empire
JAR: Alexander Clough, Forgotten Patriot Spymaster
Ben Franklin’s World: The Pilgrims of Plimoth
He’d Rather Be Painting … [than fighting for either side]
Helping to Restore Johnson Hall, Mohawk Valley
Reading Disability in a Pair of Eighteenth Century Shoes: Mary Wise Farley, 1764
UELAC Resources: Books for the Young at Heart (Christmas gifts, perhaps?)
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Ross Wallace, UE, B.A., M.S.W.
      + Response re Dating a British Flag


Congratulations to Stephen Davidson, and Thanks

Both from me personally – as the editor of Loyalist Trails, I am always in search of good content – and on your behalf as readers of Loyalist Trails, I wish to extend a special thanks to Stephen.

I suspect a few of you have read all of his articles which have been published in Loyalist Trails – I know I have. The stories have certainly had a significant impact on my understanding of the era in which the Loyalists made their decision, made their contributions to the Loyalists’ cause, and lived through the aftermath of the War. Thank you Stephen for the many months – probably years – of research and writing that you have put into these articles.

Why a special thanks, and why today? This just happens to be the 600th article from Stephen that has been published in this newsletter. Wow! Special thanks is more than warranted.

… Doug

The Loyalists Are Coming! The Loyalists Are Coming! (Part 1)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

On the evening of Sunday, May 4, 1783, Benjamin Marston sat down at his journal , dipped his quill pen in his inkwell and wrote, “About 4 o’clock p.m. some of the fleet from New York hove {come} in sight. Weather fair, wind north-westerly, fresh”.

On first reading, this is hardly a very exciting diary entry. Understated though it may be, Marston’s entry is significant because it is an eye-witness account of the arrival of the first fleet of evacuation vessels that brought Loyalists to sanctuary at Port Roseway. The settlement along Nova Scotia’s southern Atlantic shore would, within a year, have a population of 10,000 souls, making it the largest city in British North America, surpassing Quebec, Montreal and Halifax. In fact, it would become the fourth largest city in all of North America.

Benjamin Marston’s journal gives us one of the very few records of the founding of a loyalist settlement. Through his eyes we can see – warts and all – how the first refugee settlers cleared a wilderness and founded a new kind of America. (Warning: there will be stories of loyalists behaving badly!}

On May 5th, Marston again wrote the day’s events in his journal. “Last night the fleet got in below, upwards of thirty sail in all, in which there are three thousand souls”.

A Loyalist from Marblehead, Massachusetts, Marston knew what it was like to persecuted and driven from one’s home. He had found refuge in Nova Scotia in March of 1776, living in poverty until April of 1783 when – thanks to a character reference from his cousin, Edward Winslow – he was appointed surveyor of Port Roseway, despite having absolutely no background in the field.

Winslow had described Marston as “a gentleman of liberal education, was formerly an eminent merchant at Marblehead in the province of Massachusetts Bay, and was employed in various public offices there. He was distinguished as a magistrate for his zealous & spirited exertions, and always supported the character of a man of integrity.” And being someone used to working with the public, Marston took it upon himself to go down to the shore of Port Roseway’s harbour on May 5th and greet fellow refugees who would soon become the founders of a city of Loyalists.

Since November of 1782, a number of Loyalists who had found temporary sanctuary in New York City had been making plans for a new home in Nova Scotia. The Port Roseway Associates eventually numbered over 300 men, which – when their families were included – brought the association’s membership to nearly 1,500 souls. Before they struck out for Nova Scotia in April, this number had swelled to more than 5,000, souls. Among that number were some unwilling emigrants – the Loyalists’ African slaves. They would continue to live in bondage outside the new United States.

Despite their earlier correspondence with the Nova Scotia government, the Port Roseway Associates were disappointed to discover upon their arrival that no land had been cleared for their settlement – nor had the site of their town been finalized. It was definitely not the kind of situation that would make the government’s official surveyor the most popular member of their welcoming party.

After discussions with the leaders of the Port Roseway Associates, Marston spent all of Tuesday exploring both sides of the bay, hoping to quickly fix the final site of the new Loyalist settlement. There was clearly a lot of potential. Recognized as one of the world’s finest, Port Roseway’s razor-shaped harbour was sheltered, deep and nearly nine miles in length. There was every possibility of a thriving fishery. Optimistic Loyalists thought their new settlement could become a port that would rival New York and Boston for commerce and trade.

By Wednesday, Marston and the captains of the Loyalists’ 20 companies had judged that the northeast branch of the harbour was “the most convenient situation for a town and ’tis accordingly determined to fix it there”.

Ah, but the best laid plans of mice and men…

Despite what the official surveyor and their leaders had determined, the “multitude” had its own ideas. The members of the Port Roseway Associates thought the chosen site was “a rough uneven piece of land”, so they suggested that three men from each of the 20 companies “do the matter over again”. You can almost here the grinding of Marston’s teeth as he wrote “that is to commit to a mere mob of sixty what a few judicious men found very difficult to transact… so this day has been spent in much controversial nonsense”.

Marston’s journal reveals the essential American – rather than British – character of the Loyalists. Instead of following the advice of their “betters”, these refugees wanted to gather, discuss and vote on major decisions as they had done in the Thirteen Colonies. “This cursed republican, town-meeting spirit has been the ruin of us already, and unless checked by some stricter form of government will overset the prospect which now presents itself of retrieving our affairs. Mankind are often slaves, and oftentimes they have too much liberty.”

With the eastern side of the harbour finally fixed as the town site, Marston got down to work on Friday and “laid out the centre street of the new town, and the people began very cheerfully to cut down the trees – a new employment to many of them”. Despite a few initial hiccups, it looked as if the days ahead would proceed on a more even keel for both the surveyor and the Loyalist settlers.

Saturday was foggy and “at times drizzly”, but the refugees kept at their work. Sunday, of course, was a day of rest. Marston was up and at it by five on Monday morning, and spent the day “in running the lines of the streets”. His journal notes the first death of a Port Roseway settler, a Mr. Mason who had been sick over the previous three days.

Tuesday was busy with more laying-out of streets. Five of the settlers had gone off in sloops to catch fish, and after a day’s efforts returned with 800 codfish. Whether it was too much fish for supper or feeling overwhelmed by all that remained to be done, the settlers were, in Marston’s words, “turning very indolent, some parties not at work until 11 o’clock” on Wednesday.

Marston was never hesitant to offer his opinion of the Loyalist settlers and by his tenth day with them, he had concluded, “Many of the people who came in this fleet are of the lower class of great towns. During the war such employments as would not cost them much labour afforded them a plentiful support. This has made them impatient of labour.” In other words, some of them had a serious lack of work ethic.

How would the settlement of Port Roseway proceed? Find out as we continue to examine Benjamin Marston’s journal in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

Virtual Cemetery of Past Members of UELAC

Do you know the location of a grave of a past member of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada? I am creating a virtual cemetery to help share information about them.

I would like to honour all of them.

If anyone has has made contributions to the their branch or the Association as a whole, or in some other way to the Loyalist heritage. I would like to note that too. There are over more than included now.

Some examples of those who have made special contributions and are included in the virtual cemetery so far are:

E. John Chard, who as President of the Association helped found over 15 Branches;

Elizabeth “Libby” Hancocks, Dominion Genealogist for over 25 years;

Dr. Hereward Roy Senior, Honourary VP of the Association and member of Heritage Branch in Montreal;

Phyllis Ruth Blakely, first Branch Genealogist of the Halifax-Dartmouth Branch and Nova Scotia Provincial Archivist.

Please see link here and send grave locations to me if you have any you would like to add. I will add information if you send a photo along with location of grave, date of death, and indicate Branch membership.

… Brian McConnell, UE

Book: Lewis and Mary Fisher, Loyalists in the American Revolution & New Brunswick Settlers

The Grandmother & Grandfather’s Story: Lewis and Mary Fisher, Loyalists in the American Revolution & New Brunswick Settlers, by Rob Fisher (ISBN: 9780995863804; 165 pp.; $24.95; order from www.lulu.com/).

This books tells the story of New Jersey loyalists Lewis and Mary Fisher who helped found the town of Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1783. More than just a family history, this is a story of remembering, and how a family kept its history alive. At its heart is a mysterious manuscript, “The Grandmother’s Story,” that reveals fascinating details of family life, and the manuscript’s once-anonymous author.

Lewis Fisher enlisted in the New Jersey Volunteers in 1776, a loyalist regiment, but was captured by the patriots. Held prisoner for two years in the Simsbury Copper Mines, he escaped only to see British fortunes collapse. Lewis and Mary fled New York City at war’s end, with their three youngest children, but were parted from their eldest daughter Mary, a separation that would be permanent. Without provisions or shelter in the wilderness on the St. John River, they endured a bitter winter, evoked in “The Grandmother’s Story”, but survived to see their descendants flourish in New Brunswick and beyond. Through three generations, in peace and war, this is the story of a North American family.

Rob Fisher is an archivist and historian who has written widely about Canadian history, military history, and archives, in publications like Archivaria, Canadian Military History, and Legion Magazine, among others.

Rob Fisher

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Fighting for the Crown? Irish Catholic Loyalists in the Military

by Leah Grandy, 22 November 2018

An entire regiment of soldiers of Irish Catholic origin fighting for the British Crown was quite an unusual situation in the British Atlantic World at the end of the eighteenth century, but two such a groups were created in the colonies of Pennsylvania and New York during the American Revolution. Irish Catholic participation in British military campaigns during this period is particularly intriguing for two reasons. Firstly, instances of Catholics in the British Army during the eighteenth century were rare, as Irish Catholics could not hold firearms or serve in the British armed forces officially until 1793. Secondly, Irish Catholics had little reason to feel supportive of British colonial ventures owing to the imperial policies forced upon them in Ireland.

There were, however, two provincial (American loyalist) regiments composed of Irish Catholics during the American Revolution: the unsuccessful Roman Catholic Volunteers and the decorated Volunteers of Ireland. Why would Irish Catholics offer service to the British Crown after a long history of oppression under the English? Each individuals’ reasoning was peculiar to their circumstances, opportunities, and beliefs, but these factors combined to push a significant group toward active participation in the loyalist cause.

Read more.

Borealia: Mapping the End of Empire

by Jeffers Lennox, 7 November 2018

If we accept the argument that maps helped create and resist empires (and we should, or else I’ve just wasted a decade of my life), we should also explore how mapping offered geographers and their readers an opportunity to understand and influence how empires transitioned into something else. And since this is a blog about early Canadian history, I’m going to write about the American Revolution. Two examples that offered an alternative vision of empire come to mind: the first is a whimsical map that reimagined the British empire as an imperial federation, and the second is a famous geography textbook for citizens of the new United States that became less American than its author might have hoped.

Just before the War for Independence, John Cartwright, a prominent British campaigner for parliamentary reform, believed he could resolve the American problem. He outlined his plan in American Independence and its accompanying map. His solution was not terribly popular, as imperial officials were hardly willing to reorganize their empire as a federation; Cartwright himself was concerned that the pamphlet would hinder his “advancement in my profession.” But the reformer’s tract illustrated the entangled nature of French, English, and Indigenous concerns and his geographic response attempted to create a federation that would address the needs of each group and thus preserve, although alter, Britain’s North American empire.

The challenge for Cartwright was balancing imperial reform with requisite protections for Indigenous lands. Reducing the size of Quebec (which had been greatly expanded in 1774) created space for new states in the Ohio Valley. The division of the remaining territory resulted in new states, ostensibly to be filled with settlers, but with names that reflected an Indigenous presence. Cartwright noted that Great Britain’s role would be to protect “the rights and independencies of the several tribes or nations of Indians in amity with or under the protection of the British crown, until these points shall be more particularly adjusted by treaty.” Cartwright consequently reversed the typical imperial geographic practice of marginalizing or removing the Indigenous presence. The map that accompanied American Independence is striking because it presents the reader with a complicated image of North America.

Read more.

JAR: Alexander Clough, Forgotten Patriot Spymaster

by Charles Dewey, 20 November 2018

Television series and popular books such as TURN: Washington’s Spies and Alexander Rose’s Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring recreate and immortalize the exploits of intelligence officers and spymasters such as Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge, Lt. Caleb Brewster, and Maj. John André. In the late summer of 1778, Washington’s intelligence services did provide him with reports of British activity in New York City. However, the most reliable source was not Tallmadge but another talented, yet mysterious major named Alexander Clough.

He entered the Continental Army on November 7, 1775 as a second lieutenant in 1st New Jersey Regiment, known as the “Jersey Line” under the command of Col. William Alexander (Lord Stirling).

Clough could certainly train young officers and horses for service in the regiment, but he was also a brilliant tactician and a courageous presence on the battlefield. Colonel Moylan reported to Washington again on either May 7 or 9, that after scouting a 200-man British woodcutting detail heavily guarded by several small redoubts, Major Clough “Sent two of the Militia horse in sight of their Lines, which as he expected brought out twelve of the enemies Light horse.” Clough and his men charged at the fooled British cavalry, capturing four prisoners and three horses in total.

Around this time, Clough became one of Washington’s carefully chosen intelligence officers and he began directly communicating with the commander-in-chief to collect accurate intelligence concerning British movements near Philadelphia.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: The Pilgrims of Plimoth

Rebecca Fraser, a writer, biographer, and the author of The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America, joins us to explore the historical facts behind the Pilgrims and their establishment of Plimoth Colony in 1620.

As we investigate the lives and experiences of the Pilgrims, Rebecca reveals details about the group we know as the Pilgrims and why they chose to migrate to North America; How the Pilgrims experienced their transatlantic crossing aboard the Mayflower; And information about how the Pilgrims established Plimoth Colony and celebrated the so-called first Thanksgiving.

Listen to the podcast.

He’d Rather Be Painting … [than fighting for either side]

by Don N. Hagist, 21 February 2014

The 38th Regiment of Foot, consisting of about 450 officers and men (not to mention about 60 soldiers’ wives and an unknown number of children) arrived in Boston in the summer of 1774. Along with the 5th Regiment of Foot, they were sent to bolster British military presence in a city where political strife was rapidly fomenting open hostilities. In the ranks of the 38th Regiment was a soldier named Joseph Dunkerley.

If Joseph Dunkerley had ambitions of advancement, they did not pan out. He camped with his regiment on Boston Common, went into winter quarters in the city, donned his knapsack and took up his arms and accoutrements for training marches into the countryside in early 1775, and saw members of his regiment return harried, exhausted and wounded from the expedition to Concord that April. He was probably in the ranks when the 38th Regiment plunged into the fray at Bunker Hill part way through the battle. After this excitement, though, duty in the Boston garrison became routine and then harsh. Sentry duty, sometimes harassed by rebel musket and cannon fire; fatigue duty, working on improvements to the city’s fortifications; the boredom, tedium and danger of living under siege.

Read more.

Helping to Restore Johnson Hall, Mohawk Valley

As noted in last week’s Loyalist Trails, “Bridge Annex Virtual Branch Launches Support for Johnson Hall Restorations.” Johnson Hall is an important part of both our Loyalist heritage and of Colonial North America.

Listen to site manager Wade Wells at Johnson Hall State Historic Site in Johnstown, N.Y., as he looks at how 18th century settlers prepared for winter. Historians Podcast Episode 239, posted 2 November 2018.

Learn more about our Loyalist support for the project and about the background at Bridge Annex Branch; please donate there too.

Reading Disability in a Pair of Eighteenth Century Shoes: Mary Wise Farley, 1764

by Kimberly S. Alexander, 21 November 2018, at Johns Hopkins University Press

Everyday life for many in early America involved endless rounds of backbreaking labor, grueling travel into dense forests, across frozen rivers, or through putrid swamps, and the ever-present risk of illness, accident, and injury. How did early Americans cope with physical disability? The research for my recent book, Treasures Afoot, led to the examination of dozens of pairs of shoes, many that revealed a variety of difficulties associated with feet-bunions, overpronation, hammer toes, and the accommodation of expanding feet due to pregnancy or illness. The records and account books of New England cordwainers even report the use of cork shoes to relieve gout, which frequently begins in the foot.

A rare surviving example of how one woman addressed her disability may be found in the nuptial footwear of an eighteenth-century New England bride. Mary Wise Farley’s wedding shoes reveal that she was “lame.” It appears that she never wrote down her story, but her extant shoes give her a voice – if we can take the time to listen. Indeed, were it not for the survival of her shoes, very little would be known about her.

Read more.

UELAC Resources: Books for the Young at Heart (Christmas gifts, perhaps?)

Due mainly to much effort by Fred Hayward UE, one of the Past-Presidents of UELAC, under his leadership of the Education Committee, there are several good resources that you are free to use, or to extend to others who might use.

On the UELAC.org Dominion website, the left-hand navigation drop-down menu under Resources lists are several different categories of information. One of these is Education. Here you will find teachers’ resource books by area across Canada. Lots of Loyalist information and stories in them.

But given that Christmas is upcoming soon, one that may be of special help if you are looking for a gift – consider a book. Check out Books for the Young at Heart – a recommended reading list for elementary schools.

Where in the World?

Where are Marilyn Hardsand, UE, and Bob Rennie, UE?

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

  • Gravestone of James Wilmot, died 1804, a United Empire Loyalist in Trinity Church Cemetery at Digby, Nova Scotia. He was first Customs Officer and Registrar of Deeds and Wills as well as schoolmaster… Brian McConnell UE
  • This circa 1776 miniature of a Revolutionary War soldier, an officer in Crane’s Artillery, one of the two major Boston regiments, was painted by portrait miniaturist Joseph Dunkerley, a deserter from the British Army.
  • From RevWarTalk.com, a sortable table of Revolutionary War Battles – location, date, duration, number of people on and commander of each side, and victor.
  • Jamestown-Yorktown: Hessian Johann Conrad Dohla wrote on 18 October 1781 that the troops had been issued “much sugar and chocolate” for 2 weeks, that they drank it 4 times a day & “ate it with sugar on bread.” This chocolate had been taken from a Dutch ship captured by the British.
  • During Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia this Thursday-Saturday, discover how food was gathered, preserved and prepared in 17th- and- 18th century Virginia, including hunting and cooking techniques of Powhatan Indians at Jamestown Settlement.
  • American Evolution exhibit showcases tenacity of women in early Virginia history. The stories of these women take center stage in and their effect on the Jamestown colony. The exhibition kicks off Nov. 10 and is a cornerstone attraction of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution. American Evolution is a national commemoration of the 400th anniversary of important historical events that happened in Virginia in 1619. Jamestown Settlement & American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 23 Nov 1783 Annapolis Maryland, becomes US capitol until June 1784.
    • 22 Nov 1775 Congress authorizes humanitarian aid to starving Bermuda, in exchange for salt and military supplies.
    • 22 Nov 1777 Americans evacuate Ft. Mercer NJ, leaving Delaware River open to British all the way to Philadelphia.
    • 21 Nov 1775 Loyalists end first siege of Ninety-Six, South-Carolina, which marked first serious conflict in SC.
    • 20 Nov 1789, NJ ratifies the Bill of Rights, becoming the first state to do so. New Jersey’s action was a first step toward making the first 10 amendments to the Constitution law and completing the revolutionary reforms begun by the Declaration of Independence.
    • 20 Nov 1776 Washington leads garrison fleeing Ft. Lee over “bridge that saved a nation.”
    • 19 Nov 1776 Congress begs states to recruit for Continental Army in addition to their own militias.
    • 18 Nov 1781 British evacuate Wilmington NC in the wake of surrender at Yorktown.
    • 17 Nov 1777 Congress submits Articles of Confederation to states for ratification.
    • 16 Nov 1776 Ft Washington NY falls to British under Hessian Knyphausen.
  • Townsends:
  • Perfect autumnal brocaded silk robe à l’anglaise, 1740-60. Exquisite pattern matching.
  • 18th Century dress, robe à la francaise, 1750’s Spitalfields silk remodelled in 1770’s via Colonial Williamsburg
  • 18th Centurystomacher detail of the Fanshawe Dress, made from Spitalfields silk, London, 1752 via Museum of London
  • 18th Century dress, robe à l’anglaise, c1770-80’s
  • How (not) to dress a 17thc Puritan Maid. Historical clothing is one of our favorite topics on this blog, and readers of both our posts and books will know how hard we try to get things *right*. Yet I’m also willing to concede that there can be considerable wiggle-room when it comes to theatrical costumes and other artistic expressions of past fashion. But what happens when that artist’s vision becomes such a potent image that it wipes the real thing clear away? That was my thought while reading one of my favorite blogs, historian Donna Seger’s Streets of Salem. A recent post featured the 19th c. Anglo-American painter George Henry Boughton (1833-1905), and how his paintings of 17th c. New England Puritans have influenced how we today imagine those early settlers. (Two Nerdy History Girls)
  • Man’s cloak of English superfine wool, circa 1770 and worn by loyalist Peter Oliver (1713-1791), Chief Justice of Massachusetts Bay from 1772-1775
  • 18th Century men’s court suit and waistcoat, silk, c.1775, probably British
  • 18th Century men’s Waistcoat of embroidered silk, France, 1790-1800

Last Post: Ross Wallace, UE, B.A., M.S.W.

Ross passed away peacefully at Royal Victoria Hospital, in Barrie, On November 21st, 2018.

Harold Ross Wallace in his 89th year, was the son of the late Harold and Helen (nee Guest) Wallace. A proud descendant of Dalhousie Settlers who came from the Glasgow area of Scotland to Dalhousie Township, Lanark County, Upper Canada in 1819 and to Innisfil in 1832. A descendant of Luke Brady; a United Empire Loyalist who came from Crown Point, New York and settled in Cornwall Township, Stormont County, in 1784. Also, a descendant of Thomas Jobbitt.

Friends may call at the Innisfil Funeral Home, Stroud, on Sunday, November 25th, 2018 from 2:00-4:00pm & 7:00-9:00pm. A Funeral Service will be held at St. James United Church, Stroud, on Monday, November 26th, 2018 at 2:00p.m. with visitation starting at 1:00p.m. Spring interment at St. James United Cemetery, Stroud. If desired memorial donations may be made to St. James United Church or to a charity of choice.

Ross was a member of Toronto Branch who participated in many meetings, events and UELAC conferences and tours. He earned UELAC Loyalist Certificates to Loyalists Luke Brady (Bready) in 1976.


Response re Dating a British Flag

While I don’t claim to be a vexillological expert I can state the following:

Your flag is a Union Flag dating from 1801 to the present (after the controversial Irish Act of Union of 1800). Our “loyalist flag” is the Union Flag of 1603-1800.

Presuming that your flag is indeed cotton (rather than wool), that dates it to likely between about 1890 and 1945. It looks like it is stitched rather than printed, which while far from determinative again makes the above dates likely.

To get more precise, I’m pretty certain that the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau or the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa can assist you (more likely the former).

…Edwin Garrett