“Loyalist Trails” 2019-06: February 10, 2019

In this issue:
Savannah Farewell, Part 2: Bonjour, Quebec!, by Stephen Davidson
Scholarship Update: Applications, Scholars, Film, Donate
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Institutional Discrimination in the 1785 Saint John Royal Charter
Borealia: Book Review: Boundless Dominion: Providence, Politics, and the Early Canadian Presbyterian Worldview
JAR: Henry Knox’s “Noble Train of Artillery:” No Ox for Knox
Casualty of Revolution: The Sad Case of Betty Smith
Ben Franklin’s World: Aquatic Culture in Early America
Using New Technologies to Explore History
Daniel Lightheart UEL, by Lynn McAlister
Early Sicard-Secor Families of New York: Origins of United Empire Loyalist William Secord
The History of Ridgefield CT Records Slaves
UE Loyalist Certificates Issued Recently
Where in the World?
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
      + Response re Eleanor DUE and Francis UEL Stephenson


Savannah Farewell, Part 2: Bonjour, Quebec!

© Stephen Davidson, UE

The Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL) could be brutally frank as it interviewed the loyalists who had fled Savannah, Georgia and then later sought compensation at its hearings. Following their cross-examination of John Bonnell, the commissioners wrote that the “claimant appears a suspicious character and his account {is} scarce{ly} credible.”

While most of Georgia’s loyalists fled the colony in July of 1782, Bonnell left for Florida in the summer of 1784. Within two years’ time, he was in Nova Scotia. Bonnell’s delay at joining his fellow refugees must have sounded suspicious to the commissioners.

The Savannah loyalist’s account of his services sounded legitimate. He joined Thomas Brown’s militia and was with him for 9 months. Then he returned to his father’s farm where he had 60 head of cattle. Bonnell was just 20 when he brought his cattle and four horses down to Savannah where he claimed that Patriots seized them and then imprisoned him. One witness noted that ten of Bonnell’s cattle had been a wedding present from his father. A second friend who had known Bonnell since he was a child offered the theory that the loyalist had been sick and that this had delayed his departure from Georgia. Given the RCLSAL’s estimation of this Savannah refugee, it seems highly unlikely that John was ever compensated for his service to the crown or his confiscated livestock.

Not all loyalists from Georgia settled in Nova Scotia. Alexander MacNaughton appears to have made Lower Canada his home. In 1787, he made a claim for compensation in Quebec City and his friend William Read spoke on his behalf. MacNaughton had immigrated to Brier Creek, Georgia from Ireland in 1771. He demonstrated his loyalty by joining with the British forces when they took the southern colony in 1778. While with the militia, he fought in several battles.

One such engagement was the Battle of Brier Creek on March 3, 1779. Patriot General John Ashe, who commanded 1,000 militiamen, faced Lt. Col. Mark Prevost and his 900 soldiers who served in the infantry, cavalry, grenadiers and militia. In the end, the British forces were victorious, killing at least 150 rebels and taking 227 prisoners. This victory extended the revolution by a year and allowed the British to invade South Carolina in 1780. Georgia reverted to British colony status from 1779 to 1782.

Following the Patriot defeat at the Battle of Brier Creek, rebels descended upon Alexander MacNaughton’s home, destroying it and seizing 30 cattle, 80 hogs and four horses as well as his furniture, corn, and utensils. Following the loyalist evacuation of Georgia, the Scot went to St. Lucia, then Tortola and then to St. Augustine, Florida before heading north to begin life anew.

David Zubly was another loyalist from Georgia who appeared before the RCLSAL in Quebec City three months after MacNaughton. His story is not a typical loyalist tale by any means.

In 1775, Zubly was a member of a Georgia government committee that was “inimical to Great Britain”. He even bore arms as a captain in the rebel militia for a year. Zubly frankly admitted that “he thought that Great Britain had no right to tax America, but he did not approve of opposition by force of arms, neither did he wish for independence.” In the midst of all of this political turmoil, Zubly met and married Deborah Houston from Savannah, thus giving him title to a house, a garden lot and 45 acres of farm land.

Once Zubly realized that his fellow Georgians were plotting a revolution, he drew back from rebel activity in 1776 and successfully hid his true political beliefs for almost two years. Patriots demanded that he subscribe to the test act (an oath of allegience) and because Zubly refused, he was “obliged to go into South Carolina”, staying there until he moved to British-occupied Savannah in June of 1779. Having taken an oath of allegiance to the crown, Zubly went on to serve as a member of the (loyal) Georgia House of Assembly in the following year.

In the wake of the British defeat at the Battle of Yorktown, Zubly and his second wife, Elizabeth Pye, left Savannah with other loyalists, going to Florida and then settling in Nassau. At his hearing in Quebec, Zubly hoped to be compensated for the loss of furniture, 1,500 books, tools, eleven enslaved Africans, a brick house and hundreds of acres of land.

See next week’s Loyalist Trails for stories of Savannah’s refugees who found sanctuary in Great Britain.

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


Pathkiller (c 1720 to January 8, 1828) was a Cherokee warrior, town chief, and Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Pathkiller (with some backing by Britain) fought against the Overmountain Men and American Wataugan frontiersmen settled in the Washington District at the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. Afterward, he joined with Dragging Canoe and the Chickamauga Cherokee faction fighting in the Cherokee-American wars, until the conclusion of hostilities in 1794.

Pathkiller was the last hereditary chief of the Cherokee. A full-blooded Native American, he was the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation (1811-1828).

Read more at Wikipedia.

Scholarship Update: Applications, Scholars, Film, Donate

The deadline for scholarship applications is February 28, 2019. Since its creation in 1998, the scholarship program has provided financial assistance to twelve deserving graduate students. It is an honour to support the quality academic research undertaken by our UE Scholars. Through scholarship we are opening doors to opportunity for students and for UELAC.

Where Are They Now?

In October of 2018, Stephanie Seal Walters (2016 UE Scholar) Fairfax, VA was a keynote speaker at the Army and Navy Club at Washington DC for the anniversaries of Saratoga and Yorktown. Her presentation was on the Byrd and Randolph families of Virginia who had family members in both the British Army and the Continental Army. In November, she completed a fellowship at Monticello where she was able to get the final documents needed for dissertation chapters. Stephanie’s PhD completion date is Summer 2019.

The dissertation of Dr. Sophie Jones (2016 UE Scholar) Liverpool, UK is now available and will soon be added to the UELAC resource library at George Brown House in Toronto. Sophie has secured a post-doctoral position at Keele University, Newcastle working on an AHRC-funded project, ‘Business News in the Atlantic World, 1620-1763′. The project involves looking at merchants’ correspondence to understand the importance of personal networks spreading information in the early-modern Atlantic.

Kelly Grant (2018 UE Scholar) Montreal, QC is currently busy writing her dissertation proposal, a paper outlining her proposed research, to be defended in the spring. You can read more about Kelly’s interests in her article, ’18th Century Refugee Material Culture’ in the Fall 2018 Loyalist Gazette.

What’s Coming?

An exciting new film project is in the works led by Dr. Taylor Stoermer, a member of the scholarship committee. Størmerlige Films is producing an innovative, engaging feature-length HD movie to promote the importance of understanding the loyalists of the American War for Independence. It is built around a book – The Consequences of Loyalism – soon to be released by the University of South Carolina Press, written by Loyalist scholars in Canada and the United States.

Several UELAC scholarship recipients are contributing to this project: Tim Compeau (2007 UE Scholar and current member of the scholarship committee); Catherine Cottreau-Robins, author (2008 UE Scholar); Christopher F. Minty, author (2012 UE Scholar); Stephanie Seal Walters (2016 UE Scholar); and Alexandra Garrett (2016 UE Scholar).

Proceeds from the distribution of this film will benefit the UELAC Scholarship Fund and the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, Shelburne NS. Stay tuned for news as this project unfolds.

The Pitch

You can join in the success of the Loyalist scholarship program with a donation to the Loyalist Scholarship Fund or Scholarship Endowment Fund. We welcome your support. Your donation today ensures our heritage for generations to come. Thank you!

…Bonnie Schepers, Scholarship Chair

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Institutional Discrimination in the 1785 Saint John Royal Charter

Zoe Louise Jackson 6 February 2019

Located on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Canada, Saint John (or Parrtown, historically) was to become the first English incorporated city in what would later become the Maritime Provinces in Atlantic Canada. However, Indigenous communities such as the Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, and the Mi’kmaq have traditionally inhabited the Bay of Fundy area and Saint John River valley for centuries; long before the British and French empires established colonial settlements in New Brunswick. The town’s Charter of Incorporation, submitted on April 30, 1785, two years after the landing of the Loyalists, was supposedly a testament to the inhabitants’ “exertions” in “conqueror[ing] many of the difficulties attending settlement of a new country.”

What the 1785 charter does not explicitly state, however, is that the Loyalist inhabitants mentioned above were white colonials. Under the charter, Black Loyalists who settled in New Brunswick were precluded from selling goods, practicing a skilled trade within the city limits, or fishing in the Saint John Harbour.

Read more.

Borealia: Book Review: Boundless Dominion: Providence, Politics, and the Early Canadian Presbyterian Worldview

Book by Denis McKim (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017).

Review by Todd Webb 4 February 2019

Writing about Wesleyan Methodism in Canada, or most anywhere else in the world for that matter, obliges the dutiful historian to begin with the founding moment at ‘about a quarter before nine’ on the evening of 24 May 1738, when John Wesley felt his heart ‘strangely warmed.’ Scholars of Presbyterianism in Canada seem equally obligated to quote from Stephen Leacock’s satirical masterpiece, Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich. In that book, as Denis McKim notes, Leacock, with malicious glee, tells the story of the ‘Presbyterian church of St. Osoph’: a ‘quarrelsome…congregation’ that had ‘severed its ties to virtually every other Presbyterian group due to an elaborate series of disputes’ (McKim, 3). As with all the best satire, there is more than a little truth to Leacock’s portrait of denominational factiousness; it was a characteristic that metropolitan and colonial Presbyterianism shared with other Anglo-American Protestant groups and that became especially acute during the mid-nineteenth century. That period witnessed devastating divisions among English, Scottish, Canadian, and American Protestant churches, including both established and dissenting denominations in Britain and its colonies. And yet, by the 1870s, this process of schism had been transformed into one of growing unity, at least among the Protestants of the newly-created Dominion of Canada. While not ignoring the complex divisions among Presbyterians in Britain and British North America, in this book McKim emphasises the deep cultural roots of that later period of unity. In doing so, he positions Canadian Presbyterians at the centre of a series of constantly evolving and interacting transatlantic worlds.

Read more.

JAR: Henry Knox’s “Noble Train of Artillery:” No Ox for Knox

by Derek W. Beck, 4 February 2019

The best-known scene of Col. Henry Knox’s train of artillery in the winter of 1775-1776 is Tom Lovell’s painting The Noble Train of Artillery. It shows a caravan of ox-drawn artillery that the Continental Army moved from the recently conquered Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York (pictured near the top left of the painting) through the snowy Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts to where they were needed most: Gen. George Washington’s siege lines outside of Boston. The painting probably depicts a young and thin Knox on horseback to the right. The guns were necessary for Washington to establish sufficient fields of fire over Boston town, thereby putting the besieged British there in an inferior position and thus forcing the end of a stalemate that had gone on since April 19, 1775. With these guns overlooking Boston, on March 17, 1776, the last of the British evacuated the city, ending a near eleven-month siege.

Knox’s Noble Train became deservedly famous given its instrumental role in ending the British occupation of Boston and giving Washington his first victory of the war. Yet there is one major flaw with this story and the many variations of its depiction: it did not happen. Or, at least, it did not happen as depicted. For in truth, Knox did not have oxen. So then why do many of the sources and pictures say otherwise?

Let’s start at the beginning:

In the spring of 1775, the British attempted to raid a militia weapons cache outside Boston. Shots were fired, the countryside militia swarmed the British, and after a daylong running battle, the British found themselves besieged in Boston.

Read more.

Casualty of Revolution: The Sad Case of Betty Smith

by Len Travers 5 Feb 2019

On October 1, 1768, two regiments of British infantry with an artillery detachment – witnesses estimated 700 to 800 men in all – disembarked from transports in Boston Harbor and formed up on Long Wharf. Then, in a procession lasting several hours, they marched “with muskets charged, bayonets fixed, colours flying, drums beating and fifes . . . playing” through the town’s commercial and government center, to their temporary encampments on Boston Common.

Among the largely subdued throngs of citizens who witnessed the spectacle, one likely onlooker was a young Boston resident named Elizabeth Smith. She could not have known it, but the Revolution had come to claim her, seven years before the shootings on Lexington Green, though not in that violent way. Elizabeth, known as “Betty” to some, already possessed a reputation for being difficult. What seems certain is that she resented authority, and in the event proved sadly vulnerable when the British arrived to “lend assistance” to harried customs officers.

As is true for the vast majority of Boston’s eighteenth-century residents, we would scarcely know of Betty’s existence, except for a handful of documents from Suffolk County court records and Boston’s newspapers. Through these we can glimpse moments when the town’s authorities took notice of her. But in Betty’s case, adding context and perspective to the official data is the extraordinary diary of a twelve-year-old girl, Anna Green Winslow. Two years before the redcoats’ arrival, young Miss Winslow had come to Boston to live with an aunt while she finished her social education. She kept in contact with her parents in Halifax, Nova Scotia through a series of journal-letters, keeping them abreast of her activities, as well as of local news and gossip.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Aquatic Culture in Early America

Kevin Dawson, an Associate Professor of History at the University of California-Merced and author of Undercurrents of Power: Aquatic Culture in the African Diaspora, joins us to explore African and African American aquatic culture and how different aspects of that culture impacted the growth and development of colonial America.

During our investigation, Kevin reveals information about the African Diaspora and how it brought African peoples to the Americas and the Caribbean; Why it’s important to view people as working, living, and operating on both land AND water; And, the ways in which water featured into the lives of Africans and African Americans and how their water cultures impacted the development of colonial America.

Listen to the podcast.

Using New Technologies to Explore History

Congratulations Dr. Timothy Compeau, a UELAC Scholarship recipient on the publication of “Seeing the Past with Computers: Experiments with Augmented Reality and Computer Vision for History” with Kevin Kee. Timothy is a professor with the Department of History at Huron University (part of Western University).

See Huron University’s Twitter post or read more about the publication.

Daniel Lightheart UEL, by Lynn McAlister

Daniel’s Grandparents arrived in NY with the Palatine immigration of 1710 and settled on the Beekman Patent in Dutchess Co. about 1716. The family is on record there until at least the late 1750s. In 1766 Daniel’s parents were living in Albany County , and by 1776 Daniel and his brother were renting a farm in Stillwater. Their father had a farm nearby.

This area was the site of several critical battles during the Burgoyne campaign.

Daniel started his own family in Sorel and hoped to remain there; eventually they moved to Adolphustown before finally settling in Darlington – where several of them (including Daniel) appear in court records convicted of assault in an ongoing feud with another family!

Some of their descendants remain in the Darlington area; the youngest son, William, moved his family to Collingwood and they ended up in Hamilton; another line headed west. At least one of the daughters appears to have moved with her husband to the US and died in Michigan.

See the the Loyalist Directory for mote details. Lynn included a wonderful set of footnotes and sources with her submission. As family historians, we all appreciate that.

Early Sicard-Secor Families of New York: Origins of United Empire Loyalist William Secord

By R. Kirk Moulton

William Secord, with his wife, Ruth Hunt, and children, emigrated to the Province of Nova Scotia as part of the 1783 exodus of Loyalists from New York City. By his testimony given in his Loyalist claims of 1784, he was “formerly of Keakett [Kakiat]1 in the County of Orange and Provence of New York.”2 Although record of William Secord can readily be established in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, until now his origins in New York have relied solely on undocumented family tradition.

The first of likely five parts of this research has been published in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volume 150, Number 1. January 2019.

The History of Ridgefield CT Records Slaves

This history notes examples of slave ownership in colonial times.

In 1740, David Scott sold his slave “a negro woman named Dinah, and a negro boy names Peter to be servants or slaves” for 200 pounds.

In 1777, during the Revolution, Jonathan Ingersoll freed his slave Cyphax.

In 1798, Stephen Smith registers the birth of a Negro female child, named Nancy, who by law will be free at the age of 25. Nancy was born to his Negro Slave Jenny.

That same year a record from a town meeting when three men were nominated to be assistant assessors, to ascertain the value of Houses and Lands, and enumerate Slaves… See the three pages.

Thanks for this information from Elsie Schneider, who was quite bothered that her ancestor owned slaves – it was a different time. Her 5th great grandfather is Jonathan Ingersoll. His daughter Esther married Ebenezer Olmstead and several Olmsteads are mentioned as witnesses.

Thee last incomplete item notes the whipping post. The article above in this newsletter about Betty Smith, Boston, references at least one public whipping.

From The History of Ridgefield Connecticut, by George L. Rockwell (1927, hardcover).

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 November and December of last year. The same updates have been applied to the Loyalist Directory.

Where in the World?

Where are Edmonton Branch members Robert, Dorothy, David and Cathy Rogers?

To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is (if you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well). Send your submission to the editor at loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • These regimental buttons were excavated in Birchtown, Nova Scotia. How did the buttons get there? Two possibilities: they were available to the Black Loyalists as surplus, or the person who lived in the house played a military role in the American Revolutionary War.
  • Prince Estabrook was an enslaved man who lived in Lexington & was one of the Lexington militia. He was wounded on Lexington Green. He thus became the first recorded black soldier to fight in the American Revolution. Here we see him buying flip at Munroe Tavern on 2/23/1787.
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 8 Feb 1776 New-Hampshire Provincial Legislature asks Continental Congress’ help in defending seacoast.
    • 7 Feb 1775 Franklin tweaks British, remarking in part on Colonies’ higher birth rate.
    • 6 Feb 1778 France formally allies with the Americans in their war against the British.
    • 5 Feb 1783 Sweden formally recognizes the United States; first nation not directly involved in war to do so.
    • 5 Feb 1770 “A few Demagogues govern the people, they sett the town bells a ringing, gather all the tag-rag together, then harangue the Mob, talk treason, stir up sedition, pass resolves.” – Henry Hulton, Customs Commissioner
    • 4 Feb 1774 King George III interviewed Gen. Thomas Gage about a new opening in America: royal governor of Massachusetts. Gage assured the king he was willing “if the conduct of the Colonies should induce the directing coercive measures.”
    • 4 Feb 1789 Washington elected first President under the Constitution, succeeding Cyrus Griffin as US head of state.
    • 3 Feb 1781 American General Greene escapes Cornwallis using flat-bottomed boats from Polish military advisor.
    • 3 Feb 1775, the selectmen of towns around Marshfield wrote to Gen. Thomas Gage, protesting his decision to station soldiers in that town at the request of local Loyalists.
  • in 1776, Continental captain John Manly captured two ships near Boston Light and within sight of the British fleet. Both were carrying coal that wasmuch needed by the redcoats.
  • Townsends
  • “Portrait of Abigail Congdon Packard” by James Earl, c1795. Mrs. Packard is wearing a wonderfully complicated cap, and extra ruffled trim…
  • Pink Indulgence: 1790s slippers & 1957 evening shoes. It appears that I am still feeling “in the pink” after the previous entry on Mrs. Eliza Hamilton, so decided to be indulgent by posting two lovely pairs of low heeled shoes or slippers from that ever-informative treasure trove, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Eliza Hamilton’s Cross-Stitched Handkerchief. This is one corner of a large linen handkerchief or kerchief that once belonged to Eliza Schuyler Hamilton. Now the property of Eliza and Alexander Hamilton’s fifth-great-grandson Douglas Hamilton, the handkerchief is currently undergoing textile conservation.
  • Clay pipes, 16th-19th century, all found on the Thames foreshore. The earliest were tiny because tobacco was expensive
  • 18th Century dress, c.1785-1795, Spitalfield’s silk
  • 18th Century dress, Robe à l’Anglaise rear detail, c.1780
  • Rear view detail of 18th Century caraco and petticoat, 1790-1800. Very fine white cotton, embroidered with garlands of vine and grape clusters
  • 18th Century men’s silk waistcoat, c.1790
  • Detail showcasing embroidery from 18th Century men’s court suit, 1770-90
  • 18th Century men’s 3 piece silk suit, 1780-1788
  • Thank God for Canada? Actually, Canadians should be thanking God for our good fortune.
  • Those who are checking the new book “The Consequences of Loyalism” have their advance copies.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:

  • Lightheart, Daniel – from Lynn McAlister


Response re Eleanor DUE and Francis UEL Stephenson

The January 20 edition of Loyalist Trails queried “An Old House, Eleanor Stephenson, and a Loyalist Connection?”

Yes, Eleanor Stephenson was a daughter of Captain Francis Stephenson, UE, who joined the British Standard in 1775.

He was wounded and unable to farm for himself, but he did received land grants for his wife and his 9 children. There is a petition dated in 1806 with much details about his life and his family, which details the land granted to his children.

See UCLP of Francis Stephenson, Volume 453A, Bundle S8, petition 63, on microfilm C-2809.

The petition was read on January 13, 1807, and it appears in book G of the Upper Canada land books.

The petition and attached documents states that the family of Captain Francis Stephenson received most of their land grants in Etobicoke and Vaughan twp, but they mostly just patented it and sold it. It does not look like they actually settled it.

The children (all Stephenson): Sarah; Simcoe; Harriet; Louisa; Geo. Beckwith ; Eleanor; David Townsend; Francis Hay; and John Augustus.

In 1806, all nine children were residents of Upper Canada, and it is likely that the sons took part in the War of 1812.

There are many other documents by Francis Stepheson, but this list of children can be found online on digitized UCLP. on LAC website.

It is quite likely that there are many other descendants of Captain Francis Stephenson.

…Guylaine Petrin