“Loyalist Trails” 2018-49: December 9, 2018

In this issue:
The Loyalists Are Coming! The Loyalists Are Coming! (Part 3), by Stephen Davidson
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Fighting for the Crown? Irish Catholic Loyalists in the Military (Part 2)
Borealia: Appraising Affect in the Transatlantic Correspondence of Richard Popham and John Large
JAR: The Extraordinary Life of Isaac Grant of Judea, Connecticut
Ben Franklin’s World: Charity & Sylvia: A Same-Gender Marriage in Early America
UE Loyalist Certificates Issued Recently
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post
      + Lloyd Horning Oakes, BA, ARCT, UE
      + Agnes Theresa (Stymiest) Peever, UE


The Loyalists Are Coming! The Loyalists Are Coming! (Part 3)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

“Two of the captains were appointed to fight a duel this morning.” Thus, Benjamin Marston concluded his journal entry for June 19, 1783. The captains he spoke of were the leaders of groups of settlers rather than military units. It was hardly the behaviour that one would expect from civilian leaders – especially from those who were living in a refugee settlement. But this is how Loyalists were resolving their differences just five weeks after arriving in Port Roseway, Nova Scotia.

Benjamin Marston had been given the task of surveying a settlement that would become North America’s fourth largest city. What made this assignment so historically significant is that the city’s founders were refugees from the American Revolution. And like them, Marston was a Loyalist.

An educated businessman before he was banished from Massachusetts, Marston kept a journal, recording his experiences in Nova Scotia. Unbeknownst to him, that journal has provided posterity with an invaluable eyewitness account of how one group of Loyalists established their new homes. It wasn’t always pretty. Marston spoke plainly and did not suffer fools gladly. The task of laying out the streets and assigning land grants was difficult enough, putting up with the pettiness of his fellow Loyalists was at times even more trying.

After five weeks of thankless work, Marston and his team of surveyors had laid out several blocks of Port Roseway. On Thursday, June 19th, he recorded that he had been “laying out 50 acre lots for private parties. ‘Tis a hard service, and though I make good wages, ’tis all earned. The heat in the woods and the black flies are almost insupportable.”

Although the first Loyalist settlers had arrived at Port Roseway back on May 4, ships carrying evacuees from New York City continued to arrive at the settlement. On the day of the unbearable blackflies, more vessels sailed into the harbour, including some that bore Loyalists from what is now Maine. Rather than finding unity in a shared past of persecution and loss, the groups of Loyalists that were settling Port Roseway found it difficult to get along.

“Our people {are} much at variance with one another, a bad disposition in a new settlement.” Two of the captains of the companies into which the Loyalists had been divided to facilitate settlement demonstrated just how bad this “variance” was. They had planned to fight a duel that morning, but in the end were dissuaded by friends.

On June 24, the Freemasons who were among the Loyalists, celebrated St. John the Baptist’s Day – perhaps the first time their patron saint had been honoured in a one of Nova Scotia’s refugee settlements. On the same day, there were two boxing matches. Once again, one of the Loyalist captains was involved. Marston was not impressed. “The devil is among these people…These things ought not to be here as yet. They are a miserable lot. They have no men of education among them, none to whom to look up for advice and direction.”

Work absorbed so much of Marston’s time that he was not able to write his journal for another seven days. By June 26, General Patterson, the commander in charge of the British forces in Nova Scotia, had travelled 150 miles from Halifax to see how the thousands of Loyalists pouring into Port Roseway were faring.

Marston noted that one of the agents of the Port Roseway Associates, the group who made the initial plans to settle in the Nova Scotia fishing outport, had thought that it would be good to “effect a settlement without the assistance of the clergy”. Marston disagreed heartily, feeling that Port Roseway “if they had one or two sensible discreet ministers”.

Back on June 6th, one such minister had visited the Loyalist settlement, but he did not receive a very positive reception. The Rev. William Black, a Methodist minister, was initially “gladdened by the sight of some of our friends from {New} York, just set down in the midst of these barren woods with not a single house in the town.” One of those old acquaintances shared his tent with Black. Over the next few days, the Methodists in the settlement “put up some notices on some of the tents, announcing preaching for eleven o’clock, three in the afternoon and six in the evening.” But there were some rowdies in the congregation that gathered on June 8th.

Black wrote “Me speaks of three individuals, one in the garb of a gentleman” who came at the Methodist minister “like the mad bulls of Bashan”, swearing and threatening. Fortunately, members of the congregation protected Black. That didn’t stop a man from throwing a rock “with much violence” at Black from the back of the meeting place.

On the June 25th, another minister arrived in Port Roseway, but Marston failed to take notice of him. David George, a Black Loyalist from South Carolina, had been in Halifax since the previous fall. Hearing of the arrival of a large number of free Blacks in Port Roseway, the Baptist preacher was able to arrange passage on the ship that brought General Patterson to the Loyalist settlement. George’s first preaching service took place in the woods. To draw a congregation, he sang hymns a cappella, attracting a curious crowd that recognized his voice as having an African timbre. Encouraged by the reception that he received, the Baptist preacher remained in Port Roseway for the next 8 years. In time, David George would play a pivotal role in the development of Black Loyalist communities in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

A man who thought he would have a very important role in the history of Nova Scotia was the colony’s governor, John Parr. He never quite made the impression he felt that he deserved – and his welcome to Port Roseway was certainly not as enthusiastic as he must have hoped. That story will be told in the concluding chapter of this series in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Fighting for the Crown? Irish Catholic Loyalists in the Military (Part 2)

By Leah Grandy, 5 December 2018

The second Irish-based regiment was also raised in Philadelphia and New York during 1777 under the Northern Irish commander Colonel Francis Lord Rawdon. General Sir Henry Clinton, writing in a letter to Lord George Germain in October 1778 regarding the idea for the formation of the Volunteers of Ireland realized the antipathy many Irish felt towards the British government. He stated that, “The Emigrants from Ireland were in general to be looked upon as our most serious Antagonists. They had fled from the real or fancied Oppression of their Landlords. . . To work up on these latent Seeds of national Attachment appeared to me the only Means of inciting these Refugees to a measure, contrary perhaps to the particular Intrests of most of them. On this ground I formed the Plan of raising a Regiment whose Officers as well as Men should be entirely Irish.” A recruiting notice was printed in the The Royal Gazette, New York on May 9, 1778 proclaiming that, “ALL Gentlemen, Natives of Ireland, who are zealous for the Honour and Prosperity of their Country, are hereby informed, that a Corps, to be st[y]led the VOLUNTEERS of IRELAND, is now raising by their Countryman, LORD RAWDON.”

Read more.

Borealia: Appraising Affect in the Transatlantic Correspondence of Richard Popham and John Large

By Michael Borsk, 19 November 2018

When the Irish merchant Richard Popham found that his fortunes in New York had turned sour during the fall of 1826, he penned a letter to his acquaintance living in Upper Canada, John Large. “My mind is in a dreadful state of agitation,” Popham wrote. He confessed: “I have nearly made it up in order to stop expense to take refuge in the Poor House till matters come round.”

The immediate sense that arises from reading Popham’s correspondence with Large is a feeling of pity; these emotive letters detailed Popham’s estrangement from his family in Ireland, his exile to America, and his struggles to establish himself as a merchant on this side of the Atlantic. But as historians have become increasingly aware of the ways in which nineteenth-century epistolary networks offered a forum for both the creation and expression of individual identities, it is crucial to read Popham’s highly affective correspondence with some suspicion and ask what precisely was his relationship with Large. While Popham’s letters were written to gain Large’s support, they were more than base begging. In fact, when Popham related his sufferings to Large in such affective terms, he was inviting Large to join him in the sort of commercial friendships that organized mercantile relationships in this period.

Read more.

JAR: The Extraordinary Life of Isaac Grant of Judea, Connecticut

by Michael J. F. Sheehan 3 December 2018

The old man stepped out into the sun, shut his door, and turned north, leaving his home in Gainesville, New York, for the county seat in Batavia; a roundtrip journey that would take him a few days and near fifty miles. Luckily, the weather was cool and clear for the middle June, and he had every reason to be optimistic about his journey; a year earlier the United States Congress passed an act for the benefit of Revolutionary War veterans on behalf of a grateful nation, and this veteran intended to collect. Upon reaching Batavia in the heart of Genesee County, he gave his deposition “before the Court of Common Pleas,” on the “twelfth day of June in the year of our Lord,” 1833. After swearing to his residence in Gainseville and giving his age as seventy-three, the veteran told the tale of his Revolutionary War services. Many of his peers gave accounts of one or two pages, but this man provided seven highly detailed pages of his service. Some of his service was boring and tedious work – not uncommon for the average enlisted soldier of the time – but some was absolutely extraordinary, perhaps a bit overstated. A clergyman and a neighbor swore that they believed his services were rendered as he had said, and with that his pension application was signed (in his own hand), sealed, and delivered to the proper authorities.

Seventy-three year old Isaac Grant returned home. When news of his application was received some time later, he found that it had been rejected: he had provided no written discharge, no proofs of his services, and he had had no witnesses on his behalf who remembered him during the war. As far as the War Department was concerned, it was an open and shut case. Grant made no attempt to appeal, nor did he try to collect again when Congress passed another such act for the relief of old soldiers in 1838. In fact, the next time we have a record of Isaac Grant it is his burial in Albion, Michigan, following his November 9, 1841 death; he was interred next to his wife of fifty-seven years, Hannah Tracy Grant, whom he had survived by just ten days.

That should have been the end of Isaac Grant’s story. However, a close analysis of his pension application combined with a modern understanding of muster rolls and other military documents reveals that there is much, much more to his tale.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Charity & Sylvia: A Same-Gender Marriage in Early America

In this episode, we chat with Rachel Hope Cleves, an Associate Professor of history at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, about the story of Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake, two women who lived openly as a married couple in Weybridge, Vermont between 1807 and Charity’s death in 1851.

Rachel will reveal who Charity Bryant & Sylvia Drake were and whether their relationship stood as unique; Why William Cullen Bryant and other friends and family members described Charity and Sylvia’s relationship as a “marriage;” And, more information about early American views on marriage, and single, unmarried women.

Listen to the podcast.

UE Loyalist Certificates Issued Recently

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 October of this year. The same updates have been applied to the Loyalist Directory.

Where in the World?

Where is Doug Grant of Gov. Simcoe 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.

  • Long history of Penetanguishene Road recounted.This summary of a presentation includes reference to “Mr. Davenport, a master chopper, and a wizard at squaring logs, endures. A person of colour, he was likely a veteran of the British forces, a United Empire Loyalist and a settler.”

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Episode Three – Anglo-American Loyalists. Dr Sophie Jones (a recent UELAC Scholarship recipient) discusses her research into the lives and motivations of American colonists who were loyal to British sovereignty during and after the American War for Independence.
  • Joseph Allicocke, one of New York’s leading Sons of Liberty and later a loyalist, writing about “LIBERTY.” Posted by Christopher F. Minty, a recipient of a UELAC Scholarship.
  • Brian McConnell UE, President, NS Branch, UELAC recorded a short video during a recent visit to the Admiral Digby Well in historic Digby, Nova Scotia which was settled in 1783 by United Empire Loyalists. He also sends Seasons Greetings and wishes for a Merry Christmas to all.
  • Gravestone of Henry Oakes, died 1860, son of Loyalist Jesse Oakes and father of Edwin Randolph Oakes, Member of Parliament for Digby. Located in Fairview Cemetery at Digby, Nova Scotia.
  • Boston 1775 : “Whether we are or are not a proper garrison town”. It’s time for another peek into the Boston Whigs’ complaints about soldiers being stationed in their town. Here’s the entry from their “Journal of Occurrences” dated 30 Nov 1768, or 250 years ago today. An honourable gentleman of his Majesty’s Council, lately riding over Boston Neck in his coach, was stopped by some soldiers on guard, one of which had the assurance to open the door, and put in his head; upon being asked what had occasioned such freedom, he had the insolence to reply, that he was only examining whether any deserter was concealed there. Read more…
  • On Oct. 8,1783, the first settlers arrived at Fredericton. They were of Dutch origin and try as they may, their efforts to build some shelters were not enough to help most of them pass the hard cold winter and many were buried along the river.
  • Jamestown-Yorktown. As winter approaches, it’s time to start breaking out colder weather clothing. For the Powhatan Indians, this meant the use of large fur mantles that could be decorated with copper or shell beads, and worn fur towards the body for better insulation or outwards for wetter weather.
  • Jamestown-Yorktown. According to Robert Beverly, Powhatan “spoons which they eat with do generally hold half a pint and they laugh at the English for using small ones, which they must be forc’d to carry so often to their Mouths that their Arms are in danger of being tir’d before their Belly is full”
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 7 Dec 1775 Dr. Benjamin Gale writes to Silas Deane in Congress of progress on submarine invented by David Bushnell.
    • 6 Dec 1777 With news of Saratoga, French Compte de Vergennes agrees to military alliance with United States.
    • 6 Dec 1777 Tipped off by Quaker housewife, Patriot forces outwit Cornwallis in skirmishes north of Philadelphia.
    • 5 Dec 1776 Washington asks Congress to create standing professional army, to reduce dependence on militia.
    • 4 Dec, 1780 Col. William Washington forces surrender of Loyalists at Rugeley’s Mills SC with fake cannon made from pine log.
    • 3 Dec 1775 British revive fear of smallpox by sending victims of the disease from Boston to the patriot lines.
    • 2 Dec 1776 Jefferson proposes resolution in Congress for exchange of Ethan Allan, captured by British at Montreal.
    • 1 Dec 1775 Gen. Montgomery’s forces join Gen. Arnold’s outside Quebec, preparing to besiege British there.’
  • Recently purchased this interesting souvenir coin with image of “The Loyalist”, a ferry which was built in Shelburne, Nova Scotia and used on the Miramichi in New Brunswick from 1955 to 1961.
  • Townsends:
  • 27 November 1784 – Brook Watson (1735 – 1807) is appointed Agent for Nova Scotia in London. Watson had come to N.S. as a young boy and later became a successful merchant. He later became Lord Mayor of London in 1796 and a director of the Bank of England.
  • Two Nerdy History Girls: Friday Video: Getting Dressed for a Dickensian Christmas. Friday, December 7, 2018 Perfect timing for the Christmas holidays – our friends at Crow’s Eye Productions have just released this splendid video in their “Getting Dressed” series. The maidservant’s clothes are wonderfully presented, and the candle-lit atmosphere of a winter’s night in Victorian England is gorgeous. Plus there’s a guest appearance by a very special celebrity….
  • Hannah Snell served as a Royal Marine for 4.5 years in the mid-1700s by cross-dressing as a man; a time when a woman’s place was in the home & single or gay women struggled to survive financially without a husband.
  • The maker of this c. 1730-35 silk embroidered baptismal apron was Mary Woodbury Beverly MA. Featuring Asian motifs including exotic flowers such as the carnation, she may have attended a female academy in Boston. The piece is on view at MHS1791.  Read more…
  • 18th Century dress, an American dress made from British 1730’s fabric, worn by Mary Waters, Salem, MA at her marriage to Anthony Sigourney of Boston in 1740. Dress was restyled in 1763 when their daughter wore it at her own wedding
  • 18th Century dress, robe à la polonaise, c.1780
  • 18th Century dress, pretty green & pink striped gown, 1775
  • 18th Century men’s waistcoat, 1780-1790
  • 18th Century men’s court suit and waistcoat, c.1780’s
  • In this shopping season, I’m reminded of a bachelor brother buying a bonnet for his sister in 1830. His *comical* instructions on how to tie it survive in a delightful letter in the Powell Family Papers

Last Post

Lloyd Horning Oakes, BA, ARCT, UE

Peacefully at Wentworth Lodge on Friday, December 7, 2018, Lloyd Oakes aged 91, beloved husband of Gloria (nee Sheppard) UE and loving father of four sons, David (Nancy), Daniel, Peter and Jamie (Ravinder). Grandfather of Brandon, Ayreal, Jaya, Ruby and Rohan. Survived by sister Ruth Donovan of Port Stanley, and many nephews and nieces. Predeceased by his parents James and Naomi (Horning) Oakes, and siblings Gordon, George and Jean Hostein.

Respected music teacher and church organist, and member of The Scottish Rite where he played the organ for over sixty years. Past Master of Meridian Lodge, Ancaster and honorary president of The Duet Club of Hamilton. Visitation will be on Thursday, December 13th from 12:00-1:00pm at MARSHALL MEMORIAL UNITED CHURCH, 20 Gilbert Avenue, Ancaster, the Memorial Service will begin at 1:00pm. Arrangements entrusted to the M.A Clark & Sons Funeral Home 905-383-3323. Memorial donations are welcomed to Marshall Memorial Church.

Lloyd was a direct descendant of John Depew UEL of the Indian Department to whom Lloyd received his Loyalist Certificate in 2001. He was a long-time member of the Hamilton Branch UELAC, for which he served in many roles including a term as President.

…Fred Hayward, UE

Agnes Theresa (Stymiest) Peever, UE

The passing of Agnes Theresa Stymiest (Melanson) Peever UE of Fredericton, York Co., New Brunswick, wife of Roy Peever occurred on Monday, November 05, 2018 at the York Centre Care Centre. Born on November 26, 1932 in Loggieville (Miramichi), Northumberland Co., New Brunswick, Canada, she was the daughter of the late William Carlyle “Bud” and Bessie (Tait) Stymiest.

Agnes worked as an Administrative Office Clerk for the Ontario Provincial Police for many years before she and Roy retired to Fredericton.

In addition to her husband, Agnes is survived by her daughter, Sherie DeSaulniers of Fredericton, NB; sons, Lee Melanson (Toni) of Summerside, PEI and Chris Melanson (Sherrie) of Fredericton, NB; grandchildren David and Danielle DeSaulniers, Terra Cruz, Jeff (Leah Graham), Ryan, Amy, Josh and Jordan Melanson; five great-grandchildren; sister, Pauline W. Skidd UE (Edward) of Miramichi, NB, brothers, John A. (Jack) Stymiest of Leamington, Ontario, and Carl W. (Budd) Stymiest UE of Vancouver, British Columbia. Besides her parents, Agnes was predeceased by her sister-in-law, Gaida (Akmen) Stymiest, Toronto, ON.

A Graveside Service will take place at Pine Grove Cemetery, Loggieville (Miramichi), Northumberland Co., New Brunswick at a later date.

For those who wish, remembrances may be made to the Charity of the donor’s choice. Personal Condolences may be offered through www.yorkfh.com.

…Carl Stymiest, UE