“Loyalist Trails” 2019-01: January 6, 2019

In this issue:
Six Weeks on a Bed of Dried Fish: Part One, by Stephen Davidson
Loyalism in the Age of Revolutions
JAR: Captain Lambert Wickes and “Gunboat Diplomacy, American Revolution Style”
Washington’s Quill: Prospecting for the Real George Washington
Ben Franklin’s World: Taverns in Early America
Book: The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War
Get Published: Contributions For The Loyalist Gazette Appreciated
Resource: Canadian Online by Canadian Research Knowledge Network
Fund-raising for Restoration Project: “Majesty on the Frontier”
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Betty Wilhelmina Stubbs, UE (née Williamson)
      + Photographs of Loyalists


Six Weeks on a Bed of Dried Fish: Part One

© Stephen Davidson, UE

The stories of individual Loyalists are always stranger than any fiction. Joseph Hooper is just one example. A Massachusetts Loyalist, Hooper was so desperate to escape violence at the hands of his Patriot neighbours in May of 1775 that he snuck onto a fishing vessel bound for Spain. After 42 days of sleeping on dried fish, Hooper safely arrived in the port of Bilbao and then made his way to sanctuary in England. He would never see Massachusetts again.

It was hardly the turn of events this Harvard graduate could have imagined, especially given the fact that at age 32, Hooper was one of the richest men in Marblehead. This is his story.

Joseph was born into wealth. His father was Robert “King” Hooper, a man who began life in abject poverty and thanks to the demand for North Atlantic fish, became one of the wealthiest men in Marblehead, Massachusetts. “King” Hooper bought up the fish brought into Massachusetts’ ports and sold it to the Spanish who paid him in gold and silver. Hooper then bought goods in England with this hard currency that he sold in Massachusetts. His control of the fishing business of Marblehead and other interests was so pronounced that he was popularly called “King Hooper.”

Hooper’s fortune grew so large that the family had a splendid house in Marblehead and a second one four miles outside of town in Danvers. Loyalists that they were, the Hoopers gave their palatial home in Danvers to Major General Thomas Gage, the last royal governor of Massachusetts, to use as his headquarters in June of 1774.

Unwittingly, many of the local citizens sealed their political doom on that day. They signed an “address” from Marblehead’s loyalists in which they stated how pleased they were to see Gage given the governorship of the colony. That list of signatures — which included young Joseph Hooper as well as four other members of his family—would become a ready-made list of men that the Patriots would banish from Massachusetts in 1778 under pain of death.

In August 1774, “King” Hooper received a royal appointment as one of the colony’s mandamus counselors. Termed an “unconstitutional board” by the colony’s Patriots, it replaced the colonial assembly with men appointed by Gage. No wonder it was hugely unpopular. Hooper was one of twelve who resigned before ever holding a seat. Nevertheless, the Hooper family had by this time done enough to indicate they were Loyalists through and through.

Up until the summer of 1774, both Patriots and Loyalists in Marblehead had been able to co-exist. Joseph Hooper, who would one day spend six weeks on a bed of dried fish, was thirty-one and enjoying success as a rope manufacturer. He and Mary (Harris), his wife of eight years, lived in “one of the best houses in town” where they were raising their son Benjamin and daughter Elizabeth. The family had two enslaved Africans.

The Hooper rope factory was known in the Massachusetts’ shipping industry as a “ropewalk”. It was a long pathway (or walk) where strands of hemp were laid out before being twisted into rope. With a spinning mechanism at one end of the walk and a melon-shaped guide or runner in the middle, the hemp fibres were “spun” into cords of rope. The standard length of rope for the British Royal Navy was 305 meters. Given that some ships needed up to 50 km of rope, its easily seen how essential rope was in the days of sailing ships.

With all of its tools and implements, Joseph Hooper estimated the value of his ropewalk at £2500. (Spent on other items, this sum of money could have bought 31 slaves or 125 horses or 62 carriages). The “walk” generated £700 of profit each year.

In addition to his ropewalk, Joseph Hooper also garnered £400 a year through his father’s fishery trade. It is not surprising, then, that his mansion was valued at £1450 or that he rode about Marblehead in a “phaeton”, the sports car of the era. (This open carriage was pulled by two horses and was infamous for being fast and dangerous.)

But all of Hooper’s wealth could not protect him from the anger of his Patriot neighbours. Knowing that he was a loyalist, the local rebels referred to Hooper’s house as “Tory Hall” and threatened him to such an extent that he “was obliged to go armed for some time”.

When the British troops that had been stationed in Marblehead left to fight at the Battle of Lexington, Hooper had to follow them for continued protection from Patriot violence. Following the Battle of Lexington, Hooper returned home where the Loyalists in town appointed him to mediate with Captain Bishop of the Lively. This British ship had been blocking the town’s harbour, bringing shipping to a grinding halt. The fact that Captain Bishop was known to have dined with Joseph’s father only deepened Patriot rage at the Hooper family.

After this, rebels in Marblehead “constantly attacked and insulted” Joseph Hooper, and he was “put in danger of his life”. Three times Patriots tried to burn down “Tory Hall”. On the last attempt, Hooper killed one of the would-be arsonists.

The situation finally came to a head on May 1, 1775 when a town meeting ruled that all who were “adherent to the British cause” must renounce their allegiance to the crown. Every Marblehead Loyalist except Joseph Hooper complied. The town’s officers drew up a recantation form for Hooper to sign and sent one of his friends to persuade him to “sign before Friday following or his life would be forfeit”. Recant or die? Joseph chose a third option: escape.

A local minister’s diary notes that on May 3, the Nancy, a brig belonging to the Hooper fishing fleet, left Marblehead for Europe with Joseph and his younger brother Swett as passengers. The bulk of the Nancy’s capacity must have been given over to dried fish rather than cabins for extra passengers. Even though they were the sons of the “king”, the two Hooper brothers were forced to sleep on the dried fish in the brig’s hold for the next six weeks.

Find out what happened to Joseph Hooper after his arrival in England in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

Loyalism in the Age of Revolutions

January 4, 2019; written by Matt Lakemacher, posted by John Fea

I wrote a research paper last semester on the ways in which evangelical women used religion to interpret and defend the American Revolution. I included a section on Phillis Wheatley. The original plan for my paper had been to include Loyalist women, whose evangelical faith led them to the opposite position, but space and time constraints forced me to narrow my focus to Patriots only. Thus, I was thrilled to see two sessions titled “Loyalism in the Age of the Atlantic Revolutions” on the agenda today at American Historical Association 2019 (AHA19). Both sessions were arranged by AHA President Mary Beth Norton.

Timothy Compeau [UELAC Scholarship recipient] started that session off with his paper “Retributive Justice? Loyalist Revenge and Honorable Manhood in the American Revolution.” It offered a fascinating look at the ways in which Christian virtue and masculine honor culture were in conflict during the Revolutionary Era and how this acutely affected Loyalist men. According to Compeau, these men provide an excellent window into studying that culture. He pointed out how Patriots specifically attacked the manhood of Loyalist men, such as when Alexander Hamilton claimed that Samuel Seabury was impotent or when Thomas Paine wrote that Tories were unfit to be husbands or fathers. He also explained how due to the war, Loyalist men were limited in the ways that they could respond to such questions of honor.

Read more.

JAR: Captain Lambert Wickes and “Gunboat Diplomacy, American Revolution Style”

by Richard J. Werther on 3 January 2019

The Continental Navy. Words that didn’t exactly strike fear into the heart of the mighty British Royal Navy. For most Americans, knowledge of the early American Navy likely begins and ends with the daring exploits of John Paul Jones, starting in 1778. Indeed, it was not the Continental Navy, but the French Navy, that was decisive in defeating the British at Yorktown. But why were the French there? Conventional wisdom identifies the American victory at Saratoga in 1777 as a major reason. While it may have been the triggering event, sealing French aid for the American rebels was not a one-event story; it was a process involving diplomatic as well as military maneuvers.

Historians debate the contribution of the Continental Navy to the success of the Revolution and France’s entrance into the conflict. Some, acknowledging that naval actions were instrumental to the outcome, dismiss the notion that the Continental Navy had much impact at all, contending it was the mighty Royal Navy and the French Navy that determined outcomes. In terms of size, the Continental Navy acquired nearly sixty ships over the course of the war, but there were fewer than forty owned in any one year and many fewer in service. The Continental Navy, even before Jones had yet begun to fight there, played a pivotal role in this process through their activities in the European theater in 1776 and 1777. And while many people were involved in this effort, this story is focused on one. His name was Capt. Lambert Wickes.

Read more.

Washington’s Quill: Prospecting for the Real George Washington

George Washington was not by nature a patient man. Yet he summoned patience when the situation required, and he exemplified that virtue’s close relation—perseverance—throughout his life. General Washington’s patience and perseverance won our independence, and, as president, his exercise of those same qualities established for the new nation a solid footing on which to build a lasting republic.

The Washington Papers project at the University of Virginia begins the new year by celebrating 50 years of patient perseverance in collecting, scrutinizing, and analyzing the documentary bits and pieces that shape our understanding of our nation’s first and greatest hero. As we mark the golden anniversary of the project’s founding as The Papers of George Washington (PGW), perhaps we may be permitted the indulgence of celebrating as well the long-anticipated fruits of our labors. The past 20 years have seen a proliferation of Washington biographies, as well as monographs and treatises on the Revolutionary War and the Early American Republic, whose authors and researchers have found deep scholarship and unprecedented accessibility in the annotated volumes of the PGW edition.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Taverns in Early America

Adrian Covert, author of Taverns of the American Revolution, guides us on an exploration of taverns and the many roles they played in early American life.

As we explore these roles, Adrian reveals the differences between country and city taverns; The types of beverages early Americans might order and consume in a tavern; And how revolutionaries, loyalists, and the British Army made use of taverns during the American Revolution.

Listen to the podcast.

Book: The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War

The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War, by J. L. Bell (2016)

In the early spring of 1775, on a farm in Concord, Massachusetts, British army spies located four brass cannon belonging to Boston’s colonial militia that had gone missing months before. British general Thomas Gage had been searching for them, both to stymie New England’s growing rebellion and to erase the embarrassment of having let cannon disappear from armories under redcoat guard. Anxious to regain those weapons, he drew up plans for his troops to march nineteen miles into unfriendly territory. The Massachusetts Patriots, meanwhile, prepared to thwart the general’s mission. There was one goal Gage and his enemies shared: for different reasons, they all wanted to keep the stolen cannon as secret as possible. Both sides succeeded well enough that the full story has never appeared until now.

The Road to Concord by historian J. L. Bell reveals a new dimension to the start of America’s War for Independence by tracing the spark of its first battle back to little-known events beginning in September 1774. The author relates how radical Patriots secured those four cannon and smuggled them out of Boston, and how Gage sent out spies and search parties to track them down. Drawing on archives in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, the book creates a lively, original, and deeply documented picture of a society perched on the brink of war.

Get Published: Contributions For The Loyalist Gazette Appreciated

The Spring 2019 Loyalist Gazette will be published in the May timeframe. Articles about your Loyalist ancestor and/or family, your research, life and times of the Loyalists, significant UELAC branch events or projects, other Loyalist-related undertakings etc. would be welcomed. As development of this next issue will commence in the next couple of weeks, if you have something in mind, or have some questions, please reach out to discuss/ask.

…Bob McBride, gazette.editor@nexicom.net

Resource: Canadian Online by Canadian Research Knowledge Network

On January 1, 2019, some 60 million pages of Canadian digital documentary heritage became available at no charge to users. The Canadiana collections are the largest online collections of early textual Canadiana in the world.

The Canadiana collections include three flagship collections: Early Canadiana Online, Héritage, and Canadiana Online. For information about the project, read the press release issued by CRKN in November.

Check out this new free resource for Canadian history, including family history! Go to the search function for any one of them and there ask it to search one or any combination of the three collections. A search for ‘United Empire Loyalists’ across all three listed over 5900 results of which 5200+ were English, over 200 in French, one in Latin and one with no linguistic content. Happy New Year!

Fund-raising for Restoration Project: “Majesty on the Frontier”

Read an update on funds disbursed to the current restoration project at Johnson Hall, the 1763 Georgian-style estate of Irish immigrant Sir William Johnson and Molly Brant.

For more details about the project, visit Johnson Hall Restoration Fundraising Campaign (UELAC), managed by UE Loyalists Bridge Annex, part of UELAC.

Where in the World?

Where is Kingston & District Branch member Anne Redish?

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, January 10, 2019 at 6:30PM, the American Revolution Round Table and Siena College present, “Slavery and Dutch-Palatine Farmers: How did middle class farmers in New York interact with slavery?” by Travis M. Bowman. Usually considered a Southern issue, slavery played a surprisingly large role in colonial and revolutionary era New York. Mr. Bowman will examine how slavery evolved in New York under the Dutch, British, and American systems of government and how the institution was utilized at a local and personal level among the Palatine immigrants and their descendants in the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys. Read more…

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • I stopped at Middleton, Nova Scotia today to visit historic Old Holy Trinity Church (video) which was built by United Empire Loyalists beginning in 1789 including Rev. John Wiswall, Maj. Samuel Bayard, and Capt. Timothy Ruggles.  Some who have not been there might find my short video interesting.  The temperature was – 6 celsius outside; however it was a bright sunny afternoon which made it more pleasing, although it took my fingers which had been holding the camera several minutes to recover afterwards when I got inside the car.
  • Happy new year everyone! A day late, but three pages out of Loyalist Mary Robie’s diary from New Year’s Eve 1783 written from Halifax, NS. After reading her entries for the past year, she reflected on all that had occurred in her year and life.
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 5 Jan 1781 British force led by turncoat Benedict Arnold burns Richmond, Virginia.
    • 5 Jan 1776 The assembly of New Hampshire adopts the first American state constitution.
    • 4 Jan 1781 Virginia militia completes an expedition of eradication against the British-allied Cherokee.
    • 3 Jan 1777 Washington departs Trenton NJ under cover of darkness, engages British at Princeton in decisive victory.
    • 2 Jan, 1776 Continental Congress passes the “Tory Act”, set forth how colonies should handle Americans who remained loyal to King George. Called on colonial committees to persuade. and enlighten.those “honest and well-meaning, but uninformed people…”
    • 2 Jan 1777 Second Battle of Trenton, results in British withdrawal from New-Jersey for the winter.
    • 1 Jan 1781 1500 men of Pennsylvania Line kill officers in mutiny, march on Congress.
    • 1 Jan 1782 Loyalists begin widespread evacuation from America, heading to Nova-Scotia and New-Brunswick.
    • 31 Dec 1775 Patriot attempt to take Quebec City fails & Gen. Montgomery is killed in the effort.
    • 30 Dec 1775 Washington permits recruiters to discuss enlistment with free blacks, reversing earlier policy.
    • 29 Dec 1778 In the First Battle of Savannah, Georgia, militia and Continentals are defeated by British forces.
  • Dr. James Lloyd’s ledger from Boston’s smallpox inoculation hospital (1764)
  • Lovely, lovely- brocaded silk sackback (Robe a la Francaise) with deep box pleats cascading from neck (aka Watteau back or pleats), American, 1765 – 1780.
  • Beautiful printed cotton robe a l’anglaise that is a positive meadow of florals, the late #18thc obsession with printed cotton as the fashionable fabric of choice in evidence here in a riot of colour, Musée de la Toile de Jouy
  • From current exhibition The Gold Standard at The Bata Shoe Museum. Glittering c. 1760s brocaded silk buckle shoes with gold thread & gold lace trim; textile is an earlier bizarre pattern all that glitters 18th century
  • Colonial Williamsburg’s Annual Antiques Forum “Hidden Treasures: New Findings and Rediscoveries” Feb 22-26, 2019. More accessible archives and new research methods mean constant discoveries and rediscoveries.  Join curators, conservators, collectors, scholars, and material culture aficionados from across the United States and England as we reexamine forgotten objects and reassess long-known treasures to unveil new findings and tell new stories.
  • Today for Georgian January the theme is handmade. A close up of a 1760s formal gown demonstrates the impact of hands. Here every tiny stitch was worked by hand from lace cuffs & metallic trim to tucks at the sleeve. The hands are unknown to us but the artistry survives.
  • 18th Century women’s jacket & waistcoat, c.1790
  • “Behind me in the pit sat a young fop who continually put his foot on my bench in order to show off the flashy stone buckles on his shoes; if I didn’t make way for his precious buckles he put his foot on my coat-tails.” Carl Moritz, in London in 1782
  • The theme of today’s Georgian January looks at Animalia and whilst I rarely share menswear, this is glorious. A late 18thc waistcoat, it has been finely embroidered with flora & fauna, but most noticeable are the beautiful macaque monkeys scampering around the hem
  • 18th Century men’s Naval uniform from later half of 18th Century. This uniform, worn by Alexander Hood (1758-98), is a dress coat for a captain over three years seniority. A particular feature is the double row of lace on the cuff.
  • 18th Century men’s ensemble, delicious red coat, 1787-1792
  • All Things Georgian: We have looked at trade cards in a previous blog and if we’re honest this post is slightly self-indulgent as we’re fascinated by them. Today we thought that we would focus on the trade cards for those women who chose to run their own business or were forced out of necessity to continue running their husband’s business after his death as they would most likely have no other source of income.

Last Post: Betty Wilhelmina Stubbs, UE (née Williamson)

Passed away peacefully at Chartwell Ballycliffe Long Term Care on December 11, 2018 at the age of 90. Predeceased by her beloved husband John (Jack) Stubbs. Loving step-mother to Jo Ann Blais (Chuck) and Irene Quirk (Tom). Cherished grandmother to Erin, Travis and Michaela. Dear aunt of Carol and Glenda. Betty will be missed by many extended family members and friends.

Betty was a lifetime resident of Burlington, Ontario, where she taught elementary school and was a parishioner of Wellington Square United Church. She was also a proud member of the Burlington Historical Society and the Hamilton branch of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada.

In keeping with Betty’s wishes, cremation has taken place. Funeral Service will be held at Wellington Square United Church, 2121 Caroline Street, Burlington, on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at 11 a.m. followed by reception. Interment at Greenwood cemetery. As an expression of sympathy, donations to Wellington Square United Church or Joseph Brant Hospital would be greatly appreciated. www.smithsfh.com

It was through the Williamson line that Betty was a UE. Our grandfather John Williamson of Burlington was married to Hannah Maria Walker (Walker’s Line is named after that family). Betty received her Loyalist Certificate to William Walker UEL in 2007.

…Mary Williamson, UE


Photographs of Loyalists

I sometimes see articles and collections about the Revolutionary War Soldiers who lived long enough to have their photographs taken, such as those referenced in this article. Photography was not invented until well into the 19th century, and would not have been at all common until at least mid-century.

Are there collections – or singletons – of Loyalist photographs like this?

…William D. Romanski, Rhode Island, wdromanski@hotmail.com | boombridgegenealogy.com