“Loyalist Trails” 2019-18: May 5, 2019

In this issue:
2019 UELAC Conference: Saturday Workshop and Seminars
A Loyalist’s Diary of the Final Years (Part 1), by Stephen Davidson
A Tribute To William A. Smy
Borealia: Settler Colonialism and Recipes in the Early Modern Maritimes
JAR: Gunpowder, the Bahamas, and the First Marine Killed in Action
Ben Franklin’s World: Mixed-Race Britons & the Atlantic Family
The Longboats of Shelburne, Nova Scotia & Loyalist Landing 2008
Oldest Loyalists at Time of Death
Film Update: The Good Americans
Loyalist Gazette: Spring 2019 Issue Has Been Mailed
Books: The Best Historical Fiction About the American Revolution
Morrisburg Research Centre and Lynne Cook’s Records
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
      + Leeds Heritage Day event, May 25
      + American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference, June 6-9
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Dr. Richard Hugh Longfield, UE


2019 UELAC Conference: Saturday Workshop and Seminars

You still have time to register, meet old friends and make new ones.

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 Saturday after the AGM in the morning, take in either a workshop:

• 2-4pm – Workshop: “Writing Loyalist Family History,” by Jean Rae Baxter (Hotel – Chaudiere B)

or, in parallel with the workshop, two seminars:

• 2-3pm – Presentation: “Traitors, Spies and Heroes: Loyalist Espionage,” by Jennifer DeBruin (Hotel – Frontenac)

• 3-4pm – Presentation: “Researching Your Loyalist Roots on Ancestry,” by Lesley Anderson (Hotel – Frontenac)

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

A Loyalist’s Diary of the Final Years (Part 1)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Many histories of the American Revolution make it seem as if the Patriot victory at Yorktown on October 19, 1781 completely deflated all of Britain’s resolve to continue to wage war against its rebelling colonies. But rather than the War of Independence suddenly collapsing like a house of cards, the final ceasefire and peace treaty were more like the fall of a thousand dominoes, taking sudden and unexpected turns over many months. The slowly growing realization that the colonial war could not continue is evident in the diary entries of a Massachusetts loyalist who had sought sanctuary in Great Britain for the duration of the Revolutionary War.

Here then, is Samuel Curwen’s eyewitness account of the end of the war as seen by a loyal American living in London.

It wasn’t until November 22 that Samuel Curwen made note of the British defeat at Yorktown — and then only because the government feared that the French fleet might be heading to attack the British West Indies following “Cornwallis’s surrender … of himself, officers, army, baggage, artillery, {and} ammunition … to the American General George Washington.” Rather than seeing this as the end of the revolution, Curwen surmised that the British forces, having sailed to New York, would be “returning back to their winter amusements and useful employment of dancing, card-playing, acting farces on mock stages, and decorating their pretty persons for the astonishment and delight of their female admirers.”

In a letter written on December 15th, Curwen said, “Since Lord Cornwallis’s surrender, government, I am told, has laid aside all other thoughts than to maintain, if practicable, Carolina, Nova Scotia, New York city, Charleston, and Georgia perhaps since the majority for carrying on the war in America, when the House of Commons consisted of more than four hundred, fell to forty-one only…” Curwen feared that France might “dispossess Great Britain of every foot of ground on the continent of North America; and it will be well if not the {Caribbean} islands too.”

Anxious as to how the geography of the New World might change, Curwen also feared the loss of something more immediate and personal. Since their arrival in England following the Battle of Lexington, loyalists had been granted allowances to sustain them until the war was won. In January of 1782, Curwen wrote a friend that “it is thought to be determined in the cabinet to withdraw from the American refugees in England all government support.”

With one eye on the fate of loyalists in Britain and the other on the situation back in the colonies, Curwen’s entry for March 2nd noted, “General Carleton, who is confessedly of superior ability in point of military knowledge and execution, is now appointed general-in-chief in America”. The House of Commons, Curwen recorded, made a resolution “that a further continuance of an offensive war in America for the purpose of subduing by force the revolted colonies is totally impracticable.” King George III, however, still held out hope that there would be a “restoration of harmony between Great Britain and the revolted colonies.”

By March 26, there was a new government, but Curwen had doubts about its success “in settling with America”. Five days later, a loyalist friend told Curwen that “the ministerial plan is to govern America by a lord-lieutenant, and create nobility; and if she will not agree to Great Britain’s proposal, to make a partition treaty of the colonies with France, to whom the northern colonies and Canada would be ceded, the southern colonies remaining to Great Britain, a fine bargain, truly.”

In June, Curwen read a local newspaper article that he considerered “ill-natured and I hope untrue”. It said “{The} administration have very laudably determined on withdrawing their pensions from the American refugees; so that next year we may hope for some more haymakers than we are able to get for the present harvest.” (In other words, during the course of the revolution, loyalists in England had come to be regarded as “welfare bums.”)

In July, various members of Parliament had been dismissed for “declaring the independency of America to be agreed upon”. Obviously, the topic was still a matter of debate and much controversy.

The early 1780s were subject to their own variety of rumours and “fake news”. In late August, it was announced that Prince William Henry, the king’s third son, had died in New York City. (He would live to become King William IV, reigning from 1830 to 1837). There were also reports that two Massachusetts counties did not want to remain with the colony and were inquiring of Sir Guy Carleton under what terms Britain might receive them. Four colonies, it was said, wanted to end Congress’ alliance with France.

When the mists of rumour had cleared, an announcement was made which Curwen dutifully recorded on September 26th. “It is announced that a commission was … perfected … empowering General Sir Guy Carleton and Admiral Digby at New York to acknowledge American independence; and to treat with Congress, or either of the thirteen states, or any body of men.”

The conclusion of Samuel Curwen’s diary for the last years of the American Revolution will appear in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

A Tribute To William A. Smy

I would like to recognize one of the greatest and ablest loyalist historians, William A. Smy. Bill’s legacy includes a sizeable number of important publications and a remarkable record of in-depth research, most specifically concerning Butler’s Rangers, arguably the most effective military formation of the Revolutionary War as it was waged from Canada, and certainly the most significant loyalist element in the settlement of south-western Ontario. Bill not only followed the regiment’s epic campaigns, but also researched and published the individual records of all of the men who served in the regiment.

Personally, I am forever in his debt for his generous gift of two, cram-packed, three-ring binders containing copies of all his transcripts of original documents regarding the Rangers’ formation, management and activities. These transcripts have become a major source for my own writing and have saved me years of painful digging at the archives.

Reference: Lieutenant Colonel William Arthur Smy, OMM, CD, UE.

…Gavin K. Watt

Borealia: Settler Colonialism and Recipes in the Early Modern Maritimes

By Edith Snook, 24 April 2019

The region now known as the Maritime provinces of Canada had before 1800 a diverse population that included Indigenous, French, English, other Europeans, and free and enslaved people of African descent. That the majority of recipes included in the Early Modern Maritime Recipes database are in English, however, is a consequence of colonialism, the region’s political history, and the fact that recipe writing—though not of course knowledge-making and sharing—was a European rather than Indigenous practice. The wars, displacements, violence, and treaty-making and breaking impacting the region known to the Mi’kmaq as Mi’gmagi, to the French as Acadia, and to the British eventually as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island all informed how knowledge circulated and a textual archive of recipes could be produced and preserved.

What I am interested in here is how recipe culture is a component of settler colonialism, which Arvin, Tuck, and Morrill define as the “persistent social and political formation in which newcomers/colonizers/settlers come to a place, claim it as their own, and do whatever it takes to disappear the Indigenous peoples that are there.” In the eighteenth century, recipes were a textual instrument of settler colonialism, working both to claim space and render invisible the Indigenous peoples already inhabiting it.

Read more.

JAR: Gunpowder, the Bahamas, and the First Marine Killed in Action

by Jeff Dacus, 2 May 2019

In the summer of 1775, George Washington assumed command of the Continental Army outside Boston and immediately began the process of organizing his forces. He demanded strength returns of all the regiments and an accounting of supplies available. In August, Washington learned that instead of 308 barrels of gun powder he had been led to believe were on hand, the total available was only ninety! They had enough powder to give each man in the army nine cartridges. Washington immediately began a campaign to get more powder from the colonies. Congress recognized the need for powder and noted a place where the powder could be found: “Information being given to Congress that there is a large quantity of powder in the Island of Providence, Ordered, that the foregoing Committee take measures for security and bring [ing] away said powder and that it [be] an instruction to said Committee in case they can secure said powder to have it brought to the port of Philadelphia or to some other port as near Philadelphia as can with safety.”

While Washington worried where he would find powder for the fledgling army, Congress organized a fleet of ships to carry out a naval campaign against the British. The little fleet was to be commanded by Commodore Esek Hopkins, a gruff, blunt New Englander born on a farm who had spent his adult life at sea, including a brief stint as a slaver. The ships were given a twofold mission; first, “to seek out and attack all the Naval forces of our Enemies” in the Southern colonies and secondly, “to proceed Northward directly to Rhode Island, and attack, take and destroy all the Enemies Naval force.” As the ships were fitted out and crews were recruited, Washington in Boston lamented: “Our want of Powder is inconceivable—a daily waste, & no Supply, administers a gloomy prospect.”

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Mixed-Race Britons & the Atlantic Family

Daniel Livesay, an Associate Professor of History at Claremont McKenna College in California, helps us explore the evolution of British ideas about race with details from his book Children of Uncertain Fortune: Mixed-Race Jamaicans in Britain and the Atlantic Family, 1733-1833.

As we investigate eighteenth-century British notion of race and family, Dan reveals details about Jamaica, where it fit within the British Empire, and why it’s an ideal place to study ideas about race; How we can see ideas about race evolve by studying the lives of colonial Jamaica’s elite, mixed-race population; And, why and how studying the Caribbean can help us better understand early American history.

Listen to the podcast.

The Longboats of Shelburne, Nova Scotia & Loyalist Landing 2008

By Brian McConnell, UE

What is the origin of the two longboats in Shelburne, Nova Scotia? They are based on the type of longboat used by the Royal Navy during the Loyalist period. How they ended up in Shelburne and used for events throughout the summer can be learned by the answer to another question. What was Loyalist Landing 2008 in Shelburne about?

Planning for Loyalist Landing 2008, a celebration of the 225th anniversary of the arrival of Loyalists after the American Revolution in Shelburne, Nova Scotia in 1783 began two years before.

Read more.

Oldest Loyalists at Time of Death

Some Loyalists lived to a very old age, in spite of all the hardships they experienced during the American Revolution. Below is a list of the eldest who have been identified thus far.

Most of the entries in the list are “UE Loyalists” i.e. those who actually fought in the war, or otherwise actively took up the royal standard. However, for interest sake, we have included a few relatives of Loyalists as well.

Check out the list.

Film Update: The Good Americans

Størmerlige Films is thrilled to announce that Amber Marshall – from Heartland on CBC – is set to narrate and present The Good Americans, a feature documentary about the loyalists of the American Revolution & their impact on modern Canada & the United States (set for release January 2020).

Loyalist Gazette: Spring 2019 Issue Has Been Mailed

The Spring issue of the Loyalist Gazette has been printed. Although we were unable to verify on Friday 3 May, it probably went into the mail on Friday.

A note with access instructions was sent to those who receive the digital version of the Gazette last week. If you are a current member of UELAC or have a paid subscription to the Loyalist Gazette, and would like to try the digital version, please complete the request form.

…Publications Committee

Books: The Best Historical Fiction About the American Revolution

By Editors of Journal of the American Revolution, 1 May 2019

Although Journal of the American Revolution publishes only factual material based upon primary sources, we recognize that historical fiction can be a valuable source of inspiration and understanding in the study of history. We posed this question to our contributors about their own favourites:

What is the most historically accurate fictional writing about the American Revolution or founding era (circa 1765-1805) that you have read?

Surprisingly few offered the same author or title, revealing a wide selection of accurate and engaging offerings for those who wish to venture outside the realm of nonfiction history.

See their recommendations.

Morrisburg Research Centre and Lynne Cook’s Records

Just a short note to let you know that we are moving Lynne Cook’s records and Morrisburg research centre to the Dundas County Archive.

We will be closed at Lynne’s house for next few weeks while we get everything ready for the move.

After that we will have to get organized at the Archive before we can open.

We will make another announcement when we are open to the public with email, address, location etc.

Where in the World?

Where is Linda Nygard of Vancouver 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.

Leeds Heritage Day event, May 25

History comes alive with inaugural Leeds Heritage Day event May 25. The Leeds County Heritage Network will showcase their individual heritage sites at with about a dozen sites open without charge. Looking for information on The United Empire Loyalists? Check out an exhibit and find research assistance at the Elizabethtown/Kiltley [sic] library, County Road 29 at Spring Valley. Colonel Edward Jessup Branch of the USLA [sic] of Canada.

Read more.

American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference, June 6-9

Presented by The Fort Plain Museum

We have a great line-up of 12 notable historian/authors presenting on a wide variety of topics related to the American Revolution.

Presentations start the evening of Friday, June 7th, continue on Saturday, June 8th and finish on Sunday, June 9th. A Lunch will be provided on Saturday and beverage breaks will take place throughout.

Bus trips on Thursday and Friday are pretty much sold out.

For details, registration, and information about accommodations, visit www.fortplainmuseum.com/conference.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • May 1, 1770, conflict opened between the public meetings at Faneuil Hall, first called by Boston’s merchants to advocate a boycott of goods from Britain, and 50 “real Merchants” who wanted to resume trading. A Crown informant wrote, “the Merchants have raised a power which is now got above their controul.” 
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 3 May 1775 Governor of North-Carolina Colony instructed by British gov’t to organize Loyalist militias.
    • 2 May 1776 France loans 1 milli0on livres to a company created to support the American cause.
    • 1 May 1775 NY’s Committee of 100 suggests that every man acquire weapons & school himself in military discipline.
    • 30 Apr 1780 British force takes possession of Lempriere’s Point, where rebels had abandoned cannon and guns.
    • 29 Apr 1776 General Greene sets up defense of Long Island, crushed in Aug 1776.
    • 28 Apr 1776 In Savannah, GA, Col. McIntosh writes that procurement is difficult due to lack of local manufacturing.
  • King’s Orange Ranger at rest in Nova Scotia
  • Townsends
  • 18th Century court dress, rear view, robe à la francaise, 1740-1760
  • 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 dress, Robe à la Polonaise, American
  • 18th Century dress front detailing, Robe à la Française, 1770’s
  • Neither its beautiful materials nor its typical shape are the most intriguing aspect to this 1770s-80s gown – but a little piece of paper inside: a very rare example of a maker’s label from this period. Read more…
  • 18th Century men’s silk frock coat and matching waistcoat, 1750’s
  • 18th Century men’s French Ballooning Waistcoat, c.1784. The balloons are not Montgolfiers, but the first hydrogen balloon, which took off in Paris, Aug 1783. Ben Franklin witnessed the event – ‘Le Globe’ was easily recognizable as the balloonists waved flags.
  • A machine for Rippling corn? Could this be the first combine harvester design. Looks hard work for the horse pushing it. Taken from Arthur Youngs Annals 1780s. Fantastic drawings and a great record of Georgian Agriculture.
  • Washday Blues – Duties of a Georgian Laundrymaid from All Things Georgian. The average annual salary for a laundry maid in 1750 was £5 (approx £450 in today’s money). In 1685 Hannah Woolley wrote a book which explained exactly what the duties of servants was; this book could still be purchased in the 1750s for a mere 1 shilling. Read about her duties, and needless to say, occasionally accidents happened!
  • Another from from All Things Georgian: 18th Century Female Bruisers. We have previously written about women fighting whether it be ‘Lady Barrymore, the Boxing Baroness’, ‘The Petticoat Duellists’ or the 18th Century boxing match for the hand of a farm lad. We know that pugilism was not totally a male domain and that women fought for money including the likes of Hannah Hyfield and Elizabeth Wilkinson.

Last Post: Dr. Richard Hugh Longfield, UE

It is with profound sadness that the family of Richard Longfield announce his passing at St. Marys Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 surrounded by his family. Rick was born in Sarnia in 1951 and later moved to Deep River Ontario. He graduated from the University of Guelph, Ontario Veterinary College in 1975. He practiced Veterinary medicine in North Battleford Saskatchewan for a short time and later moved to St. Marys, where he was a partner in St. Marys Veterinary Clinic and later an employee in Kirkton Veterinary Clinic until his retirement in 2015.

His is survived by his wife of 47 years, Sue, his sons, Jay (Karolyn) of Mattawa, and Ian of Stratford and his daughter Robin (Leon Maclean) of Newport Pagnell, U.K. The joys of his life were his six grandchildren, Sophia and Alesha, Ashlyn and Gavin and Hayden and Willow. He is also survived by two brothers, James Longfield (Lissa) of Stonecliff and Dr. John Longfield (Lois) of Cambridge. He was predeceased by his parents Hugh and Elaine Longfield.

The family would like to thank the many doctors at Victoria hospital, especially Dr. Joy Mengal as well as Dr. Jon Scheidel and the nurses in St. Marys for their care and compassion.

He will be remembered for his caring nature and his unusual sense of humour. He loved his work as a large animal veterinarian.

Keeping with his scientific interests, his remains will be donated to the University of Western Ontario to further scientific research and education. Following cremation, a private family service will be conducted. Memorial donations can be made to the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society of Canada.

Hugh, a member of St. Lawrence Branch, was awarded a Loyalist Certificate to Barnabus Hart UEL in 2010.