“Loyalist Trails” 2019-05: February 3, 2019

In this issue:
A Milestone: 2,000. Thank you!
Savannah Farewell, Part 1: Ahoy, Nova Scotia; by Stephen Davidson
The Revolutionary Memories of New York Loyalists: Thomas Jones and William Smith, Jr.
JAR: 1776 – The Horror Show
Ben Franklin’s World: A Native American History of the Ohio River Valley & Great Lakes Region
Recognizing African Heritage Month
Problematic Prostheses
Preserving Historic Hair from Alexander Hamilton & George Washington
UE Loyalist Certificates Issued Recently
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post: William ‘Bill’ Stanley Fowler, Maj. (Ret’d), CD, UE


A Milestone: 2,000. Thank you!

In January, a number of people subscribed to Loyalist Trails, and as a result, our subscriber total blew past the 2,000 mark.

Thank you to those who promote the newsletter. And another thank you to those who provide content for Loyalist Trails – I really appreciate queries, Loyalist-related anecdotes, family stories to supplement the content by Stephen Davidson and those in the other sources I draw upon every week.


2019 UELAC Conference: Discover Your Roots

Join fellow Loyalists and friends at the 2019 UELAC Conference, “The Capital Calls,” May 30 – June 2, 2019, at DoubleTree by Hilton Gatineau-Ottawa (1170 chemin Aylmer, Gatineau, Quebec), hosted by Sir Guy Carleton Branch.

See more details, including a flyer, the schedule, speakers, venue, directions and the registration form. Registration is now open!

Savannah Farewell, Part 1: Ahoy, Nova Scotia

© Stephen Davidson, UE

During the American Revolution, Georgia was unique among the rebelling 13 colonies for returning to its allegiance to Great Britain. In December of 1778, British troops reclaimed the colony, and it would remain loyal until 1782. For the loyalists of Savannah, these changes in government were times of great upheaval. Many of them left due to Patriot persecution and then returned in the wake of the victory of the British army. In July of 1782, Savannah loyalists evacuated their homes for the second – and final time – sailing for England, New York, and the Caribbean.

The exodus for white and Black loyalists from New York City in 1783 is well documented, but the stories of those who were forced to leave Savannah have been harder to bring to the light of day. This is the beginning of a six-week exploration of what it was like to be among the loyalists who bid Savannah farewell.

Martin Weatherford was an American colonist who, at the outbreak of the revolution, was the owner of a plantation in Augusta, Georgia. In addition to growing indigo, tobacco and corn, this loyalist had ten enslaved Africans who worked at maintaining 100 hogs, 36 head of cattle and ten horses.

To safeguard his property – including a house he had just finished building in 1775 – Weatherford took oaths of allegiance to the new republic. He avoided serving in the local militia by paying fines and was able to “remain quiet” for much of the revolution. In 1778, Weatherford bought 200 acres of land, “expecting the British would be successful”. The royal army had just taken Savannah, and by early 1779, under the command of Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell, had also taken control of Augusta.

Weatherford was among the 1,000 loyalists who joined the local militia under Campbell, taking a commission as a captain. Loyalists who served Col. Thomas Brown manned Fort Cornwallis, Augusta’s primary fortification. 300 Loyalist militia and 200 Black Loyalists defended the fort when it was attacked by Patriot forces in early June of 1781, but were ultimately defeated. Weatherford “remained behind” – presumably to hold on to his plantation – and was tried for taking arms against America. However, he was acquitted, as the charges could not be proved. Since Weatherford gathered intelligence for the British forces, it may be that Patriots could not produce evidence of his espionage work.

Unable to try him as a traitor, Georgia’s patriots seized Weatherford’s land, livestock and slaves. Like thousands of other loyalists, Weatherford sought refuge in Savannah, the last British stronghold in the colony. When the city was evacuated in July of 1782, Weatherford fled to Florida and then to Abaco in the Bahamas. Four years later, this loyalist travelled to Halifax, Nova Scotia to seek compensation for his wartime losses.

Many of the Savannah loyalists who would later seek compensation for their lost property in Georgia had been immigrants to the colony in the days before the revolution.

Jacob Beehler left Germany in 1770 and settled in Ebenezer, a town just outside of Savannah, Georgia. He operated a store, and by 1775 had built a house on farmland that was worked by four enslaved Africans. As Beehler listed a riding chair among his lost possessions, he must have had his four slaves carry him around the town in that vehicle. After Patriots seized his house in 1782, they turned it into a general hospital. Rebels also confiscated Beehler’s store and its goods valued at £150.

The German loyalist would later testify that he “uniformly supported the British Government and was obliged to hide himself in the woods for safety”. He proudly pointed out that he was one of 21 Germans who “refused to take any oath or sign any association”.

Like Weatherford, he became a captain in the loyalist militia after Lt. Col. Campbell took control of Georgia. Rebels imprisoned Beehler during the French siege of Savannah in October of 1779. After five weeks in jail, the loyalist was freed as part of a prisoner exchange. He remained in Georgia until the evacuation of Savannah in 1782, eventually making his way to Nova Scotia. Within four years’ time, Jacob Beehler had established a home in Annapolis Royal.

William Read was an Irish immigrant who had settled in Georgia in 1769. His dreams of being a successful farmer in the southern colony were dashed by the events of the revolution. In 1786, he was among the loyalist refugees who had settled along the Canso Strait far to the north in Nova Scotia. When “the troubles” broke out, Read abandoned his 200-acre farm and his livestock to join the Florida Rangers under Col. Thomas Brown. He stayed with this regiment for a year. After the British took control of Georgia, he became a lieutenant in the loyalist militia in Savannah. Read’s first choice for sanctuary after evacuating Savannah was St. Augustine in East Florida. When that was handed over to the Spanish crown, he sought refuge in Nova Scotia in 1784.

When Read appeared before the loyalist compensation board in Halifax, one of his witnesses was John Todd, a fellow loyalist from Georgia who had also sought refuge in Florida. Todd was a Scottish immigrant who had left his homeland in 1771 to settle in the parish of St. George. There he married the widow of Charles Jordan and became stepfather to her son. Through this marriage Todd became the owner of a 100-acre farm where, with the help of an enslaved African, he raised cattle, horses, hogs, and crops. In addition to two houses, the farm also had a peach orchard.

In the early years of the revolution, Todd took an oath of allegiance to the Patriot cause, but joined the British forces when they took control of Georgia in 1778. Although he confessed that he was “not as good a subject as the man who took no oath”, Todd demonstrated his commitment to the crown during the siege of Savannah. A prisoner of the rebels for four months, Todd refused their offers of liberty if he would join their cause. In the final analysis, the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists determined that Todd was indeed a loyalist and granted him compensation at its hearings in Halifax on December 2, 1785.

Another loyalist with Scottish roots who settled in Nova Scotia was Edward Crawford. Having testified on John Todd’s behalf in the winter, Crawford travelled to Halifax from his new home in Chezzetcook (30 km outside of Halifax) to tell his story in August of 1786.

Crawford had come to the New World as a child in 1752. Twenty-three years later he had settled in Georgia where he operated a gristmill. Crawford and his family lived on a 300-acre farm replete with horses, sheep, goats and hogs. These – along with a twelve year-old slave boy – were “all left on the place to the mercy of the rebels, and the rebels had them.” The local Patriots also burned down his house. Crawford, like so many other Georgian loyalists, joined a militia unit in Augusta when the British re-asserted control over the colony. What makes Crawford’s story stand out from others is that he was the captain of a troop of horse militia, a task for which he was well suited as he raised horses of “different kinds, saddle and working horses” on his farm.

In next week’s Loyalist Trails, learn about the refugees from Savannah who travelled to Quebec City.

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

The Revolutionary Memories of New York Loyalists: Thomas Jones and William Smith, Jr.

by Cho-Chien Feng, January 31

The American Revolution produced different meanings for Patriots and Loyalists. After the end of the Revolutionary war, the pressing issue was no longer the problem of independence or the Imperial Crisis, but the problem of nationhood, and how this newly created nation should be run. Arthur Shaffer argued that the fact that “a diverse group of historians could produce . . . a nearly uniform picture of the American past can best be explained as a response to political and social conditions in the early republic.” Partisanship and division in politics were two pressing political issues in the early republic. Under such political turbulence, the intellectual elites called for the unity of the new nation. Shaffer pointed out that as intellectuals in a new nation, the historians “were anxious to define those qualities that made the nation unique, to provide an identity that would set it apart from its former metropolis.” Attempting to solidify the accomplishments of the American Revolution and redefine the new nation, the intellectuals launched a series of endeavors, including writing new histories of America. Some chose to write a more general history of the American colonies, and some chose to write the history specifically about the American Revolution.

Many scholars have focused on this patriotic phenomenon and explained how the history writings in this period consolidated a national identity. Loyalist historical writings, however, became the outsiders in this nationalist narrative. Not only the Patriots recalled their revolutionary experiences and then created and solidified their memories, but the Loyalists also left writings to construct their own historical memories of the Revolution. The diverse experiences among these two groups inevitably generated differing explanations on the Revolution’s causes and consequences. Most Americans today have been made familiar with the historical interpretations from the perspective of the winning side. In most cases, these interpretations came from the elites and attempted to establish an impression of a unified American nation. On the other hand, Loyalists attempted to justify their Loyalist cause by writing and publishing their descriptions of the Revolution.

Unlike the Patriots, the Loyalists did not have a new union to defend, but through writing histories and constructing historical memories, they attempted to justify their decisions and examine the origins of their miseries. They were the real losers of the American Revolution since they lost their properties, honor, and homes for the Loyalist cause. In their historical memories, they endeavored to defend their political decisions and demonstrated a view of the origins of the Revolution differing from the traditional Patriot view. The writings of two New York Loyalists, Thomas Jones and William Smith, Jr., illustrate their historical perspectives.

Read more.

JAR: 1776 – The Horror Show

by Brian P. O’Malley, 29 January 2019

The British Army held New York City from 1776 to November 25, 1783. In prisoner exchanges, royal forces in New York periodically released prisoners of war who were “sickly and emaciated.” Sometimes the prisoners numbered a few dozen, sometimes a few hundred. In 1776, however, British military commander Lt. Gen. Sir William Howe released more than 2,000 prisoners. The sudden appearance of 2,000 dying men was a national trauma for the United States.

In a series of clashes, from the Battle of Long Island (August 27, 1776) to the capture of Fort Lee (November 20, 1776), Howe secured New York City. Joshua Loring, a Massachusetts Loyalist, served Howe as commissary general of prisoners. According to Loring, Howe captured 4,101 privates, 304 officers and 25 staff of the Continental Army. Historian Edwin G. Burrows noted Loring’s list overlooked an unsuccessful Patriot raid on Montresor’s Island, now Randall’s Island (September 23, 1776), that brought the number of captive soldiers to 4,114 and captive officers to 305.

On October 7, Howe extended to Continental officers the customary right of parole. On their pledge as officer-gentlemen to not escape British lines, the American officers found lodging on British-held sections of Long Island. Continental soldiers, however, remained warehoused in prison ships, and in sugar refineries, non-Anglican churches, and other large buildings appropriated by Howe. Many paroled Continental officers visited the captive soldiers. As the health of the soldiers deteriorated, however, some officers found it unbearable to witness suffering they could not alleviate.

From late December 1776 through January 1777, Howe released just under 2,300 Continental soldiers on parole, an arrangement usually reserved for officers.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: A Native American History of the Ohio River Valley & Great Lakes Region

Susan Sleeper-Smith, a Professor of History at Michigan State University and author of Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women and the Ohio River Valley, 1690-1792, helps us explore the Ohio River Valley and Great Lakes region and the important roles they played in the early American past.

During our foray into the 17th- and 18th-century Ohio River Valley and Great Lakes region, Susan reveals why the Ohio River Valley proved to be such a unique, lush, and fertile area for agriculture; The role of the fur trades in connecting the Ohio River Valley with the Great Lakes region; And, how American conquest of the Ohio River Valley altered the region’s prosperity after the American Revolution.

Listen to the podcast.

Recognizing African Heritage Month

As we recognize African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia, this weekend I visited one of the resting places of African slaves of Loyalists in Auburn, Nova Scotia.

Some of the Loyalists who settled in the area after the American Revolution had brought with them their African slaves.

St. Mary’s Anglucan Church at Auburn was consecrated in 1790 by Loyalist Bishop Charles Inglis and has a strong connection to the Inglis family. The family had a home in the area and his grandson Dr. Charles Inglis was buried at the Church.

Another prominent Loyalist family who attended St. Mary’s Church were the Van Buskirks, originally from New Jersey. The Church records inducate that Cuff Van Buskirk born about 1743 was a Black slave owned by Henry Van Buskirk who died in 1833 and was buried there. He was one of several Black slaves who are believed to have been interred there.

Watch a short video taken on my visit.

…Brian McConnell, UE

Problematic Prostheses

by Jennifer Van Horn, 10 April 2017

Prosthetic limbs can increasingly be found on American streets, Olympic tracks, and even fashion runways. Approximately 1,500 American soldiers lost limbs in the Iraq War, many to the blasts of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Returning lower-limb amputees have donned sleek robotic-looking legs, including the Flex-Foot Cheetah, now famous as the prosthesis worn by double-amputee and Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius. More fashion-forward artificial legs gained publicity when athlete and model Aimee Mullins appeared on the runaway wearing Alexander McQueen along with carved wooden legs.

We might imagine that the first time prosthetic legs grabbed the American public’s attention was during the Civil War. But in fact, the American Revolution was the first armed conflict when controversy swirled around men’s amputated limbs. The number of amputees rose dramatically in the conflict, since amputation was the primary medical procedure used to save soldiers whose bones had been shattered by cannon and musket balls. Wooden legs were the predominant form of artificial limb in the eighteenth century (the Americans’ wounded British foes also donned them). However, only one lower limb prosthesis is known to survive from early America. It belonged to American statesman Gouverneur Morris and is now in the collection of the New-York Historical Society.

Read more.

Preserving Historic Hair from Alexander Hamilton & George Washington

By Susan Holloway Scott 24 July 2017

In the days before photographs, a lock of a loved one’s hair was often the single most lasting link that the living could have with the deceased. Whether cut while the person was alive or dead, the hair could be elaborately woven or braided, preserved under glass or incorporated into jewelry, or simply tied with a ribbon or thread and tucked away as a precious memento.

But hair from from a famous head became more than a mourning memento. It was history, a surviving reminder of a notable man or woman. Famous hair was collected and treasured as a tangible reminder of a more glorious past.

Read more.

Where in the World?

Where are Kingston & District Branch members Nancy and Steve Cutway?

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.

  • Fort Ticonderoga on 16 Feb 2019. Living History Event:1775 British Garrison.  Discover British garrison life in February 1775, three months before Ticonderoga was pulled into the American War of Independence. Living history demonstrations feature the weapons, tactics, trades, and people during peacetime at the fort. Highlighted programming throughout the day brings to life the routine of soldiers in the 26th Foot and their wives and families who made their homes inside the Fort Ticonderoga’s barracks. Read more…

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Dear Tweeps: @StormerligeFilm is making a documentary short to support the release of “Consequences of Loyalism“, in honor of the great Bob Calhoon. Jack Greene will be in it, along with editors, authors, & others, like @uelac. But we need music. Does anyone know loyalist tunes?
    • Spent today filming one of the great, & radical, scholars of the #AmericanRevolution about loyalists & their scholars. His most passionate point? “Dissident voices” – determined by greater inclusivity & diversity – are key to reshaping a misleading, nationalistic Master Narrative.
    • 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.
    • Hey, Canadian friends: For our title about loyalists currently in production, we’re looking to sync license the modern music of traditional/folk singers from the Maritimes to help us tell our story. If you have a favorite group, send them our way!
    •  We’re all in this together, so we donate all our net proceeds to worthy causes. @UELAC’s scholarship fund – and the terrific students it supports – is our partner for #CostofLoyalty #scholarship #canadianhistory #loyalists #americanrevolution
    • @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.
    • The number of scholars that this fund has supported is long and increasingly distinguished, helping us understand the multicultural, diverse nature of the loyalists. Its work is important and under appreciated. We hope to stress the former and resolve the latter.
  • Here is an episode of a recent podcast interview with our UE Scholar 2016 Stephanie Seal Walters. January 22, 2019. There’s a great shout-out to UELAC beginning at the 29 minute mark. https://lnns.co/ho7cAzJsMZU
  • Gravestone of Ross Currie Carr Fanning Esq. (1791 – 1871 ), son of Loyalist leader Col. David Fanning, in Fairview Cemetery at Digby, NS
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 2 Feb 1781 Inkeeper Elizabeth Steele donates nest egg to American cause, reviving effort.
    • 1 Feb 1776 Pacifist Moravian group refuses North-Carolina Royal Governor Martin’s order to join in supporting Crown.
    • 31 Jan 1776 Congress accepts newspaper accounts of appointment of MA delegates, in absence of formal credentials.
    • 30 Jan 1781 MD is last to ratify Articles of Confederation, establishing 1st national gov’t.
    • 29 Jan 1820 King George III dies, blind, deaf, and insane, having ruled for longer than any British monarch before.
    • 29 Jan 1777 Patriots abandon attack on Fort Independence in Bronx County, NY, ultimately defeated by weather.
    • 28 Jan 1777 British plan to split New England from other Colonies via Lake Champlain & Hudson is submitted.
    • 27 Jan 1781 Pompton Mutiny is put down by General Robert Howe, leaders executed by firing squad on the spot.
  • Jan 31, 1766, a New Haven grand jury indicted Benedict Arnold for whipping a sailor who had tried to blackmail him over smuggled molasses. In the following days, Roger Sherman fined Arnold 50s, & a crowd paraded with effigies of two grand jurors.
  • Townsends
  • The palette and pattern of the brocaded silk used for this c. 1770s Robe a la francaise is so pleasing.
  • 18th Century dress, 1775, American: Round Gown, similar to a Robe a l’Anglaise
  • 18th Century dress, Robe à la Polonaise, 1775
  • Well-preserved bourgeois male attire of red broadcloth – coat, waistcoat and breeches – dating ca 1770. | Original owner: Lauritz Møller (1743-1796), Denmark.
  • Collar detail of 18th Century of men’s French court coat, 1780’s
  • 18th Century men’s court suit and waistcoat, silk, c.1775, probably British
  • Detail of 18th Century men’s waistcoat, 1770’s, woven silk with silver thread, enamelling, silver purl & spangles, silk thread
  • A little Barbara Johnson is needed this afternoon, I think! From her Album of Fashions and Fabrics, textiles from 1767-68.
  • Teaching the Age of RevolutionS. Bryan Banks PhD explores the Power of “S”: Diversity and Inclusion in the Age of Revolutions Classroom.
  • MHS: Mentioning Unmentionables: An Exploration of Victorian Underclothes. Nineteenth century fashion shaped and added to the body in a variety of ways. This inside tour of the myths and realities of Victorian corsets, crinolines, bustles and more
  • And here he is, from Capt. Manley‘s A Favorite New Song in the American Fleet, 1776.

Last Post: William ‘Bill’ Stanley Fowler, Maj. (Ret’d), CD, UE

December 27, 1935 to January 20, 2019

Bill died peacefully at Victoria General Hospital, BC on Sunday January 20th after a short hospital stay.

He was born in Tisdale, Saskatchewan to Aurelia Harriet (nee Hilts) and Stanley Thomas Fowler, a teacher. His youth featured moves to Star City, Birch Hills, and Invermay. The rural Saskatchewan lifestyle fostered an early love of the outdoors and hunting while participation in Army Cadets solidified an interest in things military and competitive shooting. The 1948 passing of his mother and the later blending of two wonderful families with the marriage of Stan to Enid Turner (nee Campbell) no doubt solidified the importance of family in his mind. But his Grade 12 report card showed no great love of school, so in 1955 the obvious career choices were either to join up or become a game warden like his grandfather once was. In his words, the Army had the first solid offer and he was away like so many Saskatchewan sons to find out what was beyond the horizon. After initial officer training he was commissioned in the Infantry and began Regimental service with QORC stationed in Gordon Head, Victoria, followed by service in Germany, Calgary, and UNFYCIP Cyprus. A tour in Ottawa at NDHQ and rebadging to PPCLI enabled a 1969 return to northern Germany where in 1960 he had first met and married Ursula, a relationship that endured for 58 years. Army service is rarely stable, and a brief stay in the north soon became a move south to be with 3 Mech Cdo. In 1972, the family moved to Victoria and a more static existence came with successive postings to Pacific Region Operations, a 1976 UNSTO tour in Damascus and a return to Pacific Region working with Cadets. It was during his time at Pacific Region Operations he came to work with the Canadian Rangers, a component of the Canadian Forces in which he held an abiding interest until his passing.

On retirement from the Canadian Forces, Bill worked for many years at Specialty Guns, where his knowledge and interest in shooting sports was put to full use. Bill’s hobbies and interests reflected his roots: he was a keen believer in the value of Cadet youth programs, active member of Vancouver Island Arms Collectors Association, CORE Instructor for BCWF, the Royal Canadian Legion, and member of the QORC and PPCLI Regimental Associations. Researching Canadian Ranger history in BC served well to keep him active in his later years.

Bill is survived by his wife of 58 years Ursula Fowler (Behle), son Thomas Fowler (April Crysler), daughter Belinda Schroeder (Ron), sister Starla Thiessen (Roy), brother Ken Turner (Patricia), sister Lynne Fowke (Larry), granddaughter Lauren (Kevin), grandson Eric, and numerous nieces, nephews, grand nieces, and grand nephews. Bill’s genuine smile and sense of humour will be missed by all.

The family sends heartfelt thanks to all of the team at Victoria General Hospital who took such great care of Bill.

The funeral service is at 1:00pm on Saturday February 2, 2019 at Sands Funeral Chapel Colwood. Interment is at 2:00 pm at Hatley Memorial Gardens. Reception to follow at 2:30 pm at the Six Mile Pub.

Bill was a supporter of a broad range of charities. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the charity of your choice.

…David Clark