“Loyalist Trails” 2019-13: March 31, 2019

In this issue:
UELAC Notice of Annual General Meeting
UELAC Conference – The Capital Calls: Thursday Evening Reception
Loyalists Who Could Not See: Part 3 of 3, by Stephen Davidson
Assiniboine Branch Project: UELAC 2020 Calendar
Resources: Wolfe Island Cemetery Transcriptions
Loyalist Quarterly Newsletter by Paul J. Bunnell, UE
JAR: Henry Champion: An Officer Resigns
Terror in the Ramapos
Ben Franklin’s World: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond


UELAC Notice of Annual General Meeting

UELAC AGM Notice of Meeting

Saturday, 01 June 2019 at 9:30 a.m.

Gatineau, QC

NOTE: Proxy forms and the Members Package will be made available in April.

UELAC Conference – The Capital Calls: Ottawa/Gatineau and Area Attractions

Join fellow Loyalists and friends at UELAC Conference 2019 “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.

On Thursday 30 May, following the two afternoon presentations:

• 4-5pm – Hospitality Suite

• 5:30-9pm – Reception featuring Algonguin Elder Albert Dumont

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

Loyalists Who Could Not See: Part 3 of 3

© Stephen Davidson, UE

In King’s Bounty, Marion Robertson’s landmark work of Loyalist research, the Nova Scotian historian refers to George Gracie as a “remarkable blind man”. He was the founder of a whaling company, a ship owner, a merchant, an active Presbyterian layman, and a member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. Here is a story worth telling – but it contains an unanswered question.

Exactly when did this Loyalist lose his sight? Was it a wartime injury, the result of a disease, or a simply an inevitable consequence of growing old?

Within its first year, Shelburne had swelled from being a small fishing outpost known as Port Roseway to being the fourth largest city in all of North America. Among the 10,000 Loyalist refugees who eventually settled along its magnificent harbour were 150 merchants anxious to ply their wares in a boomtown that had aspirations of becoming the new capital of Nova Scotia.

One of those merchants was George Gracie, a Loyalist who conducted business in Boston until his unpopular political views compelled him to leave. It seems that Gracie sought sanctuary in Nova Scotia in 1776. The first 1,100 refugees from Massachusetts sailed into Halifax’s harbour in March of that year. Although, Gracie’s name is not among those who arrived on the 120 evacuation vessels from Boston, he is known to have met a Massachusetts’ loyalist in Halifax sometime in 1776. It is conceivable that, being a merchant, he used his own ship to take him to safety in Nova Scotia.

It is also interesting that Gracie’s name is not on the long list of Loyalists contained in Massachusetts’ banishment act of 1778. Over 300 men were condemned as traitors for “joining the enemy”. Those named in the act would be executed should they ever return to Massachusetts.

Nevertheless, Gracie risked arrest (and execution) by returning to Boston in 1783. While he wrapped up his affairs and made arrangements to have his two-story log house moved to Shelburne, Gracie saw David Black in a “cell in a horrid place” in a Boston jail because this fellow Loyalist had “acted against the State.” The unfortunate Black (described as being in a “wretched state and almost out of his senses”) was imprisoned from August 1783 until February of 1784. The latter month was the second time Gracie visited Black. This account is significant because its vivid description and the twice used word “saw” indicate that Gracie still had his eyesight as late as February of 1784.

Hard as it is to imagine, Gracie had his Boston house moved across the waters of the North Atlantic from Massachusetts to Shelburne, resting it on Dock Street with a view of the settlement’s harbour. Significant for being one of the city’s original houses, Gracie’s house is now a popular bed and breakfast in Shelburne’s historic district.

If Gracie’s sight began to fail him after settling in Shelburne, his business activities certainly gave no sign of his declining abilities. Within his first year in the loyalist city, the 37 year-old Gracie helped to found a whaling company that operated for the next five years. Besides a brig that he used in this endeavour, Gracie also shared ownership in the Experiment, a schooner built for trade between Nova Scotia and the West Indies.

A local privateer sold him the Good Intent, a ship captured at sea, and he also owned shares in the Nelson, a brig that was licensed by the government to prey on ships of other nations in the waters off Nova Scotia. When employed as a cargo vessel, the Nelson brought casks of mint water, aniseed water, cocoa and indigo to Shelburne’s shopkeepers.

In 1794, Gracie and Henry Negust had the 41-ton Annan built in the local shipyards. (One of the earliest ships built in Shelburne). It sailed to New York City carrying flour, corn, tar and turpentine.

Fourteen years of living among his fellow refugees earned him the confidence of his townspeople and Gracie was elected as Shelburne’s representative in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 1798, a seat he would hold for eight years. In 1802, he served on a committee to investigate the budget for the proposed Government House that would serve as a home for the colony’s governor and a guest “palace” for visiting members of the royal family. He also wrote a report on the Mi’kmaq, the Indigenous People of Shelburne County, commenting on who would succeed the local chief who was then a very old man.

By the turn of the century, Gracie must have been known as a man who would not let blindness deter him in either business or politics. The Presbyterians of Shelburne made him vice-president of the committee mandated to build a new church to replace the one constructed in 1784. Gracie witnessed the dedication of St. John’s Kirk, the new church, on July 4, 1805.

Since later property deeds of Gracie’s mention two children – George William and Mary Agnes Blair Gracie – it seems that the loyalist businessman either moved to Shelburne as a widower or lost his wife soon after settling in Nova Scotia. He married again in 1803, making Ann Marie Campbell, a loyalist’s daughter, his second wife. It may well be that Ann was the reason that Gracie was able to continue to be so active in his community, relying on her to act as his eyes.

All in all, Gracie deserved the reputation that he left to posterity as being a “remarkable blind man”. Sadly, his blindness may have been a contributing factor in his death. On November 22, 1805, George was a passenger on a schooner bound for Halifax. Aboard the vessel was Captain Davis, a friend from Shelburne. What happened to the two men was later noted by Simeon Perkins of Liverpool and Archibald Cunningham of Shelburne.

Gracie and Davis, Cunningham recorded, were “leaning against the rail of the schooner when it broke, and the two fell overboard”. (Had Gracie not seen the weakness of the railing?) Perkins went on to say that the schooner was sailing in the evening when, “by some accident, {the men} fell overboard and were drowned. The body of Mr. Gracie was floating on the water, his head being under. Captain Davis was sunk, and the schooner returned to Shelburne”.

Gracie was laid to rest in the graveyard next to the church that he had helped to build. His flat granite tombstone reads, “Sacred to the memory of George Gracie Esquire, a respectable member of the House of Assembly, who was drowned on his passage from Shelburne to Halifax on Friday the 22 Nov A.D. 1805. Aged 58 years.”

Ann Gracie was a widow after just three years of marriage. Her mourning clothes were charged to Gracie’s estate. Dying without a will, Gracie’s possessions and property were inventoried, providing us with a glimpse at the blind Loyalist’s holdings. The items in his store on Mason’s Lane were worth 2,458 pounds, 18 shillings and 9 pence. He left a house and several ships – one of which had only recently had its cargo of sugar insured by Gracie and nine other subscribers. It is noteworthy that of the 150 merchants who first settled in Shelburne, Gracie was one of only four traders who remained in the Loyalist town until their deaths.

Coping with all of the upheavals of refugee life, the fact that Loyalists not only survived but thrived in their new settlements is remarkable. That so many who had lost their eyesight could also make new lives for themselves is a testimony to an amazing resilience.

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

Assiniboine Branch Project: UELAC 2020 Calendar

Last year our branch fund raising project was a 2019 UELAC calendar which contained information about UELAC and Branches. The money raised from this project provided us with the opportunity to place more cemetery plaques which mark cemeteries where descendants of our UEL Ancestors are buried. It was a successful and worthwhile endeavour for us in our initial fund-raising project.

I am putting another calendar together for 2020, a somewhat different format than last year’s calendar (2019). With this in mind I’m hoping branches would forward to me branch-related photos from last year (2018-2019), special occasions your branch may be celebrating in 2020, any historical facts about your branch, and it could even be a member of your branch who you would like to have honoured on a page/partial page of the 2020 calendar. I’m also including some old Loyalist recipes that members of our branch have contributed; if you have any of these they would be most welcome!

I will be bringing 50-60 calendars with me to the Gatineau AGM to set-up at a table. Pre-orders would be welcomed, and appreciated. Price is $20, same as last year. Calendar can be mailed; inquire for shipping and handling cost.

…Liz Adair

Resources: Wolfe Island Cemetery Transcriptions

From GlobalGenealogy.com, new books, transcriptions of cemeteries on WOLFE ISLAND, Frontenac County, Ontario: Transcribed by Ottawa Branch, Ontario Ancestors (formerly known as Ontario Genealogical Society, OGS). Book descriptions include an online INDEX for each cemetery: Available as printed books or downloadable PDF. More details.

• Christ Church Anglican Cemetery

• Trinity Church Anglican Cemetery

• Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Cemeteries

• St. Lawrence United Church Cemetery

• Horne Cemetery / Point Alexandria United Church Cemeteries

Loyalist Quarterly Newsletter by Paul J. Bunnell, UE

Published since 2004, the March 2019 issue is now available. At twenty pages, it features:

• The Capital Calls

• Loyalist Axes

• How to Research Loyalists

• Dispossessing Loyalists and Redistributing Property in Revolutionary New York

• Loyalists to the South

• Quebec American Loyalist Settlers

• Connecticut’s Loyal Subjects, Toryism and the American Revolution

• Loyalist Cartoon Art

Vol. 16 Part 1 2019 Quarterly Issue “In Publication since 2004”

Editor: Paul J. Bunnell, UE, Author, Koasek Abenaki Chief

BunnellLoyalist@aol.com; 978-337-9085, 32 Hoit Mill Rd. #202, Weare, NH 03281

The Only U.S. Newsletter Devoted to The study of The American Loyalists

Subscription Rate: $21 U.S. $24 Can. $5 each copy – (March, June, September, December issues)

JAR: Henry Champion: An Officer Resigns

by Michael J. F. Sheehan 28 March 2019

Some people are drawn to flame, perhaps just a momentary fascination, but it can get one scolded, especially by the Commander-in-Chief. “I had just finished my letter when a blundering Lieutt . . . without knowing what he did pickd up a Candle & sprinkled [the letter] with grease.” It was excused, however. Lt. Henry Champion, Jr. had just brought news of the taking of two vessels, the Industry and Polly, both out of Nova Scotia. They contained needed supplies of “Hay, live Stock, Poultry, &tc,” welcome supplies, no doubt, on the eve of winter 1775 outside a besieged Boston. Like thousands of others, Champion had been in the greater Boston area for months. Born to Henry and Deborah Champion on March 27, 1751, Henry Jr., the twenty-four-year-old second lieutenant in Well’s Company of the 2nd Connecticut Regiment marched from home in Colchester, Connecticut, to Boston in May 1775. As part of the tens of thousands of soldiers in the American army surrounding British forces under Lt. Gen. Thomas Gage, Champion’s unit embedded itself in Roxbury, to the south of Boston.

In mid-June the American forces hurriedly fortified Bunker and Breed’s Hill near the Boston suburb of Charleston. On June 17, the British reacted, launching a three-wave assault to dislodge the Americans in the battle that bore the name “Bunker Hill” after the larger of the two hills. Detachments of 2nd Connecticut served in the action, including Champion, though his location is uncertain and he did not leave any recollections of the action.

Read more.

Terror in the Ramapos

by Charles Dewey 25 March 2019 Journal of the American Revolution

While there were many Revolutionary-era outlaws, Claudius Smith and the Cowboys of the Ramapos stand apart. Their story has long been exaggerated and romanticized through local legends, but the true account of their actions is far more violent. Smith and his band – comprised of his children, outlaws, deserters, Native Americans, and local Tories – terrorized the Whigs of Orange County in southeastern New York during the Revolution. The gang used beatings, robberies, and murder against combatants and noncombatants alike throughout the middle years of the Revolution, retreating into the dens of the Ramapo Mountains for safety. In committing these acts, the gang executed one of the era’s first and only campaigns of terrorism.

Claudius Smith was born on Long Island in 1736 and relocated with his family to Orange County, New York, near present day Monroe. In 1762 at the age of twenty-six, Smith enlisted in the Ulster County Militia under Captain James Clinton to fight for the British in the French and Indian War. In the following seven years after the war, Smith’s criminal reputation grew. In 1769, a newspaper advertisement appeared in the New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury offering a fifty-dollar reward for Smith who recently escaped from jail after being confined for “debt, theft, and rioting.” The advertisement depicted Smith as having a white beard, pale complexion, short hair, and powder burns under his right eye. The newspaper warned that Smith went by the aliases James Reed and John Wright, and that he was “a great bully and will fight wherever he goes, being very conceited of his strength.” At the time of his escape, he wore raggedy clothes but would not for long, as he was a remarkable thief as well as “a noted horse stealer.” Four years later, an advertisement in the New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury boasted that Newark, New Jersey, lawmen apprehended “the notorious Claudius Smith, who justly deserves to be rank’d among the first in his profession [horse stealing] in this country.” According to the advertisement, Smith escaped from prison four separate times because he had, “a dexterity peculiar to himself,” and added that he utilized multiple disguises to mask his crimes.

Read more. (Note: See also “Claudius Smith: Loyalist Cowboy of the Ramapos,” by Stephen Davidson, April 1, 2007.)

Ben Franklin’s World: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family

Sara Georgini, Series Editor of The Papers of John Adams, invites us to join her inside the Massachusetts Historical Society so we can take a closer look at the historical details provided by the Adams Papers and the role these manuscripts played in helping her write her book, Household Gods: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family.

As we pull back the curtain on how historians work in the archive and why Sara felt compelled to follow the Adams Family’s religious history, Sara reveals how early American families used Christianity as a cultural lens to view their world and the world around them; Details about the religious experiences of the Adams Family progenitors Henry and Edith Adams; And how John, Abigail, and John Quincy Adams used religion to understand the American Revolution, the new republic, and how the new republic would thrive and survive in a world full of monarchies.

Listen to the podcast.

Where in the World?

Where is Doug Grant of Gov. Simcoe Branch?

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

Region and Branch Bits

From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.

  • Decision-Making in the British Military Justice Process: On Thursday, April 11, 2019, the American Revolution Round Table (ARRT): Hudson/Mohawk Valleys and Siena College’s McCormick Center for the Study of the American Revolution are proud to present, Decision-Making in the British Military Justice Process by William P. Tatum III, Ph.D. The event starts at 6:30 PM with time for socializing and networking followed by the program at 7:00 PM. Read more.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Name those historians…. #THEGOODAMERICANS …with intriguing thoughts about the Loyalists
  • If you want to see the future of public history, check out The Tattoed Historian’s efforts, part of a growing movement to take history to where the people are and engage them there. This pub hit with our own @sas_walters is just the thing. The Tattooed Historian was live at the Garryowen Irish Pub in Gettysburg with Stephanie Seal Walters, a UELAC Scholarship recipient.
  • Interpreters in our re-created Continental Army encampment are tasked with the care and set up of our tents and camp layout. When doing so, they go straight to the source – Baron Von Steuben’s manual, “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States.”
  • Hamilton’s Revenge: by Geoff Smock 26 March 2019 Journal of the American Revolution. [some biographical details, but the main subject is his philosophy and perception about how the new USA would move forward. “This also made him one of the two poles in the quickly-escalating political party system, opposed on the other side by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson…. More fundamentally still, Jefferson’s political organization would posit an understanding of human nature so distinct from Hamilton and the Federalists that the ensuing rancor between the two factions rendered that of our current discourse tepid in comparison” Read more…
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 29 Mar 1776 Washington appoints Major General Putnam commander of the troops in New-York.
    • 29 Mar 1776, a Boston town meeting chose Thomas Crafts, Thomas Marshall & Paul Revere to ask Gen. Washington to return four cannons slipped out of Boston before the war. He had a war to win, and didn’t. Two of those cannons came back in 1788.
    • 28 Mar 1781 Sampit Bridge SC Patriot troops under the command of Gen. Francis (Swamp Fox) Marion skirmish and defeat British troops Lt. Col. John Watson Tadwell-Watson.
    • 28 Mar 1774 Parliament passes Coercive Acts in punishment for the Boston Tea Party.
    • 27 Mar 1776 the British evacuation fleet, after hovering off Nantasket for more than a week, finally departed for Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Royal Navy left a few warships in Massachusetts Bay to protect British ships & bottle up American ones.
    • 27 Mar 1778 Captain Abraham Whipple runs the USS Columbus aground. Whipple was one of the most prominent American seamen of the Revolution. Whipple led the expedition of citizens from Providence that destroyed the HMS Gaspee, whose captain had been harassing colonial ships.
    • 27 Mar 1775 Thomas Jefferson elected to represent Virginia to the Continental Congress.
    • 26 Mar 1770 The Boston Evening Post To be sold by Edes and Gill (Price One Shilling Lawful) A Print, containing a Representation of the late horrid Massacre in King-street. Comment: Masterful propaganda – and highly influential.
    • 26 Mar 1776 The South-Carolina Provincial Congress adopts a new constitution & government.
    • 25 Mar 1774 Parliament orders closure of port of Boston in retribution for the Boston Tea Party.
    • 24 Mar 1765 Parliament passes Quartering Act; when US Constitution framed, 3rd Amendment resulted from this Act.
    • 25 Mar 1774 Parliament orders closure of port of Boston in retribution for the Boston Tea Party.25 Mar 1774 Parliament orders closure of port of Boston in retribution for the Boston Tea Party.
    • 23 Mar 1775 Patrick Henry gives speech with famous phrase, “Give me liberty or give me death!”
  • Townsends
  • 23 March 1752 The Halifax Gazette is published by John Bushell – the first newspaper in Nova Scotia (and Canada). By 1758, Anthony Henry, a veteran of British forces at Louisbourg, became Bushell’s partner. He continue to publish the paper after Bushell’s death in 1761.
  • The most exquisite kid leather gloves (1800-1810) with embroidery grace our Majesty & Mystery exhibition. The leather was so thin and supple, it was meant to mold to your hand like a second skin – and might require the help of a ladies maid or glove stretcher!
  • 18th Century stomacher detail of the Fanshawe Dress, made from Spitalfields silk, London, 1752 via Museum of London
  • 1730-1750 stomacher, embroidered with silver thread and coloured silks, depicting a rose with swirling and scrolling stems. The petals and leaves are carefully embroidered to produce the effect of shading.
  • 18th Century robe à l’anglaise dress & men’s court suit, 1770-1790
  • 18th Century men’s court suit, matching 3 piece, silk with fine & elaborate embroidery, 1790’s
  • 18th Century men’s waistcoat, striped silk velvet with silk chenille embroidered couching, silver thread, and silver sequins, French, 1785-1790
  • All Things Georgian: Invisible dresses? Oh, knickers! With the turn for the century, fashions began to change from the tight-laced bodiced dresses to a softer, flimsy and floating style, often made from lightweight fabrics. Presumably it was this change of style that required women to preserve their modesty. Did Georgian women wear knickers or not? Yes, there were drawers worn by ladies in the Regency period as I had seen ads for them. Read more…
  • 29 March 1867 Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the British North American Act (BNA Act) – ‘An Act for the Union of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and the Government thereof; and for Purposes connected therewith.’ In 1982 it was renamed the Constitution Act, 1867.