“Loyalist Trails” 2019-04: January 27, 2019

In this issue:
Loyalist VanDines and Vanderbilt Millionaires, by Stephen Davidson
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: To be Free or Not to be – That is the Question
Borealia: CFP – Before Canada: Northern North America in a Connected World, ca. 1000-1800 AD
JAR: The Molasses Act: A Brief History
Washington’s Quill: The Adams Family and the Washingtons: A Political Friendship
Ben Franklin’s World: The Early History of Washington, DC
La plus vieille maison patrimoniale de la Gaspésie vandalisée
The Food We Eat [When Hungry Enough]
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Loyalist VanDines and Vanderbilt Millionaires

© Stephen Davidson, UE

The Loyalist refugees who settled in the river valleys of what is now New Brunswick brought very little to their new homes. Bits of furniture, old legal papers, and basic kitchen implements were often all that they had to remind them of life before the American Revolution.

Phoebe Brill’s brother David came to the colony with a powder horn that he had etched and decorated as a teenager. When Phoebe accepted the marriage proposal of Dow VanDine, she joined a Dutch family whose ancestral treasures were a stone pitcher and a mortar for grinding corn. But as it was with the Brills of Long Island, the story of the VanDine family is far richer than the mute artifacts that had survived their loyalist owners.

While the Dutch name “Dow” was shared by VanDine men for several generations, it was often misspelled by English scribes of the revolutionary era, being rendered as “Dowe”, “Douw”, “Done”, and “Donn” in various ledgers. (“VanDine” also reads as “Van Dyne” in some period documents.)

The patriarch of the loyalist family was Dow VanDine of Newton, Long Island, New York. Born and raised in Queens County, VanDine “never took any part with the rebels”. And he was not alone. The number of Loyalists on Long Island in early 1776 was large enough to prompt the Continental Congress to send Col. Nathaniel Heard and 500 soldiers to seize all cutlasses, swords, muskets, and blunderbusses in the Tory households of Queens County.

This effort to suppress Loyalists resulted in a bit of comic verse that was sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle:

Colonel Heard has come to town
In all his pride and glory.
And when he dies he’ll go to hell
For robbing of the Tory.

However amusing this may have been for some, the raids had a serious impact on Dow VanDine and his family. The Patriot soldiers wounded VanDine in the head, and consequently he “was obliged to fly to the British army on Staten Island”. He later returned to Long Island as part of a group of 30 armed men under Colonel Brownton when the British took control of coastal New York in the fall of 1776.

VanDine remained on the family farm with his wife, their four sons and three daughters until they were compelled to join the Loyalist evacuation in June of 1783. (A daughter who married into the Vanderbilt family remained behind in New York.) Along with the family members who sailed on the Little Dale bound for the mouth of the St. John River were two enslaved Africans: 12 year-old Jacob and his sister 14 year-old Jude, both of whom had been born on the VanDine farm.

Cornelius, VanDine’s oldest son, was reunited with his family in October of 1776. He sailed with James Thorne’s Company 46 aboard the John and Jane. With him was yet another family slave, 25 year-old Caesar.

Hoping against hope that he would one day be able to reclaim his 250-acre farm, VanDine gave one of his sons all of his Long Island land and the power of attorney. However, in December of 1783, a New York judge allowed the VanDine farm to be seized on the basis of the fact that “that on the 8th June in the 5th year of the Independence of that State he, Dowe Vandyne, did join the Enemies of America.”

The VanDine family spent their first year as refugees in Parrtown (the future Saint John) where they received food rations from Fort Howe, the local British garrison. Arthur VanDine and his brother Cornelius are listed separately on the victually lists, so they must have been adults in 1783. (William VanDine, who may have been related, also appears on this list as a fellow Little Dale passenger and Long Island resident.) Dow VanDine’s son Dow Junior and three daughters were still minors. In the summer of 1784, the VanDines travelled up the St. John River to settle with other New York Loyalists around the shores of the colony’s Grand Lake.

Three years later, Dow VanDine journeyed to Saint John to seek compensation for his lost farm. It is not known how successful the Long Island loyalist was in his petition. Whatever the outcome, he only lived a year after the compensation board hearings. Cornelius distributed his father’s estate, seeing to it that his three sisters (Mrs. Edward Earle, Mrs. Ezekiel Veley, and Hetty VanDine) each received £153 and that his surviving brothers (Arthur and Dow) each received £294.

Dow VanDine Junior married Phoebe Brill, the daughter of another Long Island Loyalist who had settled on New Brunswick’s Grand Lake. His brother Arthur returned to New York for a short period of time, but came back to Scotchtown to marry a Miss Stone. The couple had seven sons (Dow, Ezekiel, Eben, Eber, William, Arthur and Joseph) and three daughters.

One account says that all of the sons of the loyalist Dow VanDine – except for Arthur – eventually returned to the United States. If that is true, then all of the province’s VanDines are descendants of Arthur, the son who remained in Scotchtown.

Joseph, Arthur VanDine’s youngest son, married a Miss Simmons of Saint John. Three of their sons settled in Carleton County. Arthur Junior moved to Detroit, Michigan. Joseph Junior served as an alderman of Fredericton for seven years and was a member of the 71st Battalion. Dow Junior was a sergeant with the Fredericton police and a member of the volunteer fire department before joining the staff of the city’s custom house. Their brother Samuel Dow VanDine carried on the family tradition of farming. In 1896, he was living on the Tobique River and caring for his 86 year-old mother.

In September of that year, the Fredericton Gleaner carried a story about the VanDines, recounting how the family had hopes of a great forturne based on their loyalist ancestor’s holdings on Long Island.

While going over documents at the custom house, Arthur VanDine’s grandson Dow remembered how one of his great-aunts had not joined the loyalist evacuation because she had married a Vanderbilt. Recalling that a great-uncle had been entrusted with (or perhaps been given a lease of) the VanDine farm in 1783, Dow VanDine began to wonder if his family was related to the New York millionaire, William H. Vanderbilt. Were they, in fact – in the words of the Woodstock Dispatch – the rightful heirs to “valuable lands in the heart of Long Island”? Dow was in the process of “communicating with the other surviving descendants of the alleged lease with a view of taking steps to secure the property”.

However, the fantasy of forgotten loyalist land providing descendants with millions of dollars was simply that – a fantasy. The millionaire Vanderbilts’ first ancestor to settle in New York came in the mid-17th century and lived on Staten Island. The VanDine’s Vanderbilt in-laws had immigrated in the mid-18th century and had settled on Long Island.

In the end, the only “treasures” from the past were the mortar and pitcher found in the New Brunswick farmhouse of Samuel VanDine, the great -grandson of Dow VanDine, a loyalist from Newton, Long Island.

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

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Atlantic Loyalist Connections:

By Isabelle Goguen, 23 January 2019

One of the first motions recorded in the Journal of the House of Assembly of the Province of New Brunswick was that of Mr. James Campbell, a representative for the County of Charlotte, who moved to bring in a bill to regulate servants. Although this bill, proposed on January 24th, 1786, was rejected by the vast majority, the push for such law early in the history of the province reveals the desire to legitimize the institution of slavery in New Brunswick.

The desire to legitimize the institution of slavery finds it origins with the Loyalist settlers, accompanied their “servants”, who arrived to British North America after the American Revolution. For clarification, servant and slave were interchangeable terms; in 1899, according to Methodist minister and early historian, T.W Smith, the title “servant” was a euphemism for a slave at this time and place, and even more so, asserted that most servants were actually slaves.

Read more.

Borealia: CFP – Before Canada: Northern North America in a Connected World, ca. 1000-1800 AD

Conference at McGill University, Montreal, 26-27 October 2019. Call for Papers

This conference will look at the long-distance movement of people, goods and ideas that put Canada in touch with global circuits before there was a Canada. For centuries, the northern half of the continent functioned as an unlikely international carrefour. Long-distance travel under daunting conditions long served to connect far-flung peoples and places. Starting out from the Bering Sea, Thule bands pushed westward across the Arctic rim toward Greenland and down into Labrador, just when Norse seafarers were approaching these same regions from the North Atlantic. Basque whalers and cod fishers from western Europe visited Newfoundland and penetrated into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, coming every summer in large numbers and linking these regions to the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Indigenous captives from the American southwest as well as Africans caught up in the toils of the Atlantic slave trade found themselves in involuntary servitude in Montreal and Quebec. Well before the age of the railroad and the telegraph, canoe routes thousands of miles long were linking Indigenous nations of the prairies to Europe via Hudson Bay and the St. Lawrence. The connections were obviously economic, but they also had political, cultural and intellectual dimensions. The subject is one that Harold Innis pioneered in the 1930s, but his vision was highly eurocentric and imbued with the teleologies of settler nation-building. The time is right for a more balanced and decolonized appreciation of spaces and connections.

We welcome submissions from junior and senior researchers working in any relevant discipline, including History, Archeology, Art History, Literature, Geography. Proposals in either English or French are welcome. The programme committee will make a selection from the proposals submitted with a view to establishing a varied and coherent programme.

To submit a proposal for a 20-minute presentation, please send a 300 word abstract, together with a brief biography by March 15, 2019.

More details.

JAR: The Molasses Act: A Brief History

by Ken Shumate, 24 January 2019

The Molasses Act of 1733 levied a duty of six pence per gallon on foreign molasses imported into British colonies in North America. The duty was not intended to raise revenue, but to be a prohibition against the importation of molasses from foreign sugar plantations. It was at first a nullity, a dead letter, but three decades later was enforced and amended into an act intended to produce revenue, thereby becoming part of the dispute over the authority of Parliament to tax the colonies. Molasses was important; other duties were imposed by the Molasses Act, but the molasses prohibition was the motivation for its enactment. John Adams, in a reflective mood long after Britain and America went separate ways, wrote to a friend, “I know not why we should blush to confess that molasses was an essential ingredient in American independence.” There is a backstory to the Molasses Act, beginning in the early eighteenth century.

The Molasses Trade

British sugar colonies – islands in the West Indies – were in dire competition with foreign sugar islands (largely French). In addition to sugar, all these islands exported the by-product of sugar production: molasses. Over time, northern continental colonies had developed an economy dependent on plentiful and inexpensive molasses; it was there distilled into rum, an export necessary to obtain specie for further trade. These colonies imported molasses from all the sugar islands, most often in exchange for fish, lumber, horses, and other provisions necessary for the livelihood of the largely single-crop plantations. The British islands, not faring well against the competition, resented that their sister colonies supplied the French with these indispensable provisions, and complained to British officials that the trade should be prohibited.

Read more.

Washington’s Quill: The Adams Family and the Washingtons: A Political Friendship

By Neal Millikan, 22 January 2019

The Adams Papers editorial project at the Massachusetts Historical Society began in 1954, and from its inception, the Washingtons have played key roles in the volumes we have published. The very first volume of Adams Family Correspondence includes a letter written by John Adams in 1775 from the Continental Congress to his wife Abigail Adams at home in Braintree, Massachusetts. In the letter, John introduced the new commander in chief: “I can now inform you that the Congress have made Choice of the modest and virtuous, the amiable, generous and brave George Washington Esqr., to be the General of the American Army, and that he is to repair as soon as possible to the Camp before Boston. This Appointment will have a great Effect, in cementing and securing the Union of these Colonies.”1 The following month, Abigail wrote to her husband after meeting America’s new military leader in person: “I was struck with General Washington. You had prepaired me to entertain a favorable opinion of him, but I thought the one half was not told me. Dignity with ease, and complacency, the Gentleman and Soldier look agreably blended in him. Modesty marks every line and feture of his face.”2 Thus began a friendship between the Adamses and the Washingtons that would continue for the rest of their lives.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: The Early History of Washington, DC

Adam Costanzo, a Professional Assistant Professor of History at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi and author of George Washington’s Washington: Visions for the National Capital in the Early American Republic, joins us to consider why and how the United States Congress built the national capital on the banks of the Potomac River.

During our exploration of the national capital’s journey to Washington, D.C., Adam reveals why the national capital of the United States occupied nine different cities and towns between 1774 and 1800 and why Congress felt it needed a new, permanent seat of government; How Congress came to settle upon building the United States’ seat of government along the banks of the Potomac River; And, the ideas, money, and labor needed to build the District of Columbia.

Listen to the podcast.

La plus vieille maison patrimoniale de la Gaspésie vandalisée

The oldest heritage house in Gaspésie vandalized

The Busteed house at Pointe-à-la-Croix, the oldest still rising to the sky on the Gaspé Peninsula, is abandoned. Classified by the Quebec State in 1987 for its historical value, it was purchased in 2009 by Ottawa to be subsequently sold to the Listuguj Mi’kmaq community. The house is now at the center of a whirlwind of passions that plunge into the depths of the history of colonization.

Loyalist Thomas Busteed, a faithful of the British crown, built this house around 1800. This is the oldest house in the Gaspésie still standing, said Michel Goudreau, president of the Machault Historical Society, which urges the Minister of Culture Nathalie Roy to intervene.

Read more in English (via Google Translate) or access the original article in French.

The Food We Eat [When Hungry Enough]

A comment about “Think Twice Before You Attend a Banquet of Loyalist Dishes” from last week’s Loyalist Trails:

In 1842 when John C. Fremont was exploring the west coast of the United States (then part of Mexico) he and his group of mostly Canadian trappers generally ate the burros [donkeys] that carried their supplies.

At one point a group of the pathfinders ate a dog that had adopted them, when the burros were back with the main group.

On their way back to the east coast they continued to eat burro even though they had reached the plains where the bison roamed. I think they liked it better.

Dog is not an uncommon food in other parts of the world.

As a side note, I just read somewhere that the number one animal raised for meat, worldwide, is the goat.

…Doug Noble

Where in the World?

Where are Calgary Branch members Jack Twells and Ivy Trumpour?

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.

  • The Jordan Museum is an important institution for the town, with its valuable collection of artifacts that goes beyond Lincoln’s first families, like the United Empire Loyalists. The redevelopment received a boost with a grant from the Government of Canada.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • The Junto: This call for blog posts is for Food and Hunger in Vast Early America, spanning the fifteenth through mid-nineteenth centuries that cover a broadly defined Atlantic World. Topics might include (but are not limited to) agriculture, cookbooks, diplomacy, foodways, hunting, livestock, medicinal recipes, markets, pharmacopeias, dietetics, single-commodity foodstuffs, and warfare. Details.
  • @UELAC is one of the only groups actively supporting new loyalist scholarship, a subject that eliminates the almost imaginary line between Canadian and American history. The recipients of their funding turn out to be leaders in an exciting field and deserve our attention. from @TaylorStoermer
  • Spent today filming one of the great, & radical, scholars of the American Revolution about loyalists & their scholars. His most passionate point? “Dissident voices” — determined by greater inclusivity & diversity—are key to reshaping a misleading, nationalistic Master Narrative. @TaylorStoermer  and don’t miss @TimCompeau in a star turn….  Also note that all proceeds from distribution of this film will go to the @uelac loyalist scholarship fund, which has been supporting the most penetrating loyalist research, and wicked smart scholars, of the last several years.
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 26 Jan 1782 In Battle of Frigate Bay, Royal Navy repulses larger French force, cannot stop surrender of St. Kitt’s.
    • 25 Jan 1776 Congress orders creation of memorial to General Montgomery, killed in attempt to take Quebec City.
    • 24 Jan 1781 Lee & Marion’s combined forces raid Georgetown, SC, capturing commander of British garrison there.
    • 23 Jan 1775 Merchants in London ask Parliament assist with financial losses from interruption of American trade.
    • 22 Jan 1782 French Navy recaptures Caribbean colonies of Demerara and Essequibo, taken from Dutch in 1781.
    • 21 Jan 1776 Washington directs regiments to purchase firearms, offers enlistees bonuses for bringing own weapons.
    • 20 Jan 1781 300 weary American troops at Pompton, New-Jersey mutiny, in echo of earlier Pennsylvania Line mutiny.
  • See what a Loyalist Certificate looked like in 1976 – thanks to Brian McConnell @brianm564
  • Townsends
  • Colonial Living: Life in a Colonial Home (1957). Shows daily life in Virginia in the mid 1700’s. Walks the viewer though common activities such as making items used by residents, how they spent time, and the opportunities and challenges of colonial life. Set around the time of the American Revolution, and displays a wealth of information about colonial America and this colony, Virginia. By Visual Education Films, and from the Perlinger Archives. (15 min)
  • Jan 24, 1776, Col. Henry Knox reached Framingham with his train of 42 cannons & 16 mortars from Lake Champlain. The guns would stay there for about a month as the artillery regiment prepared them for firing from the siege lines. January 24 is the traditional anniversary of Knox’s return, but it’s wrong – read more about the cannon and the date.
  • Jamestown-Yorktown: Winter is an excellent time for our staff to get some extra training in. Here, we exploreearly methods for starting fires. Turning on the lights or oven are much faster today!
  • “This dress is believed to have been worn by Ann Willing Francis (1733-1812), wife of prominent lawyer and Federalist Tench Francis, Jr. of Philadelphia, whom she married in 1762.” Textile, c. 1760-65, Lyon, France w/ subsequent alterations.
  • 18th Century dress, detail of robe à la française, c.1770
  • Bodice detail of 18th Century European sack back court dress, 1765
  • 18th Century men’s silk embroidered waistcoat, decorated with floral sprigs and motifs, c.1780
  • 18th Century men’s silk embroidered waistcoat, c.1790s