“Loyalist Trails” 2019-25: June 23, 2019

In this issue:
2019 Loyalist Scholarship Challenge: 7 Days To Go
The Defiant Loyalists of Lower Canada: Part 2 of 3, by Stephen Davidson
A Concord Revolutionary War soldier’s “long-lost” journal is being digitized
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Loyalist History On the Ground in Kings County, New Brunswick
JAR: George Farragut: The Epitome of an American Colonial
JAR: The Tea that Survived the Boston Tea Party
Washington’s Quill: Martha Washington’s Preoccupation With Health
The Junto: Food and Hunger in Vast Early America
The Junto: Damming Fish and Indians: Starvation and Dispossession in Colonial Massachusetts
Ben Franklin’s World: Revolutionary Print Networks
UELAC Archives Seeking Past Issues of Loyalist Gazette
Region and Branch Bits
      + Prince Edward County Celebrations
From the Twittersphere and Beyond


2019 Loyalist Scholarship Challenge (May 21 – July 1): 7 Days To Go

“There are seven days in a week and Someday isn’t one of them.”

This week we added another branch to our list of donors. Welcome Toronto Branch! And to show our appreciation we are sending a special countdown shout-out to all UELAC branches supporting scholarship in 2019 – Assiniboine, Bicentennial, Colonel John Butler (Niagara), Grand River, Governor Simcoe, Kawartha, Manitoba, Toronto, Vancouver. But wait, there’s more! Several individuals have also donated and to you we extend our most scholarly appreciation.

• Amount raised to date: $7,055.00

• Number of donors: 39

Please don’t leave me hanging. We have 7 days left to reach our goal of $8,000.00. That means we need only $945.00 to end this celebration with a bang. When the fireworks begin on Canada Day let us join in a cheer for a job well done.

If you have not done so yet, please donate now and follow our progress on the 2019 Scholarship Challenge page. Your gift to scholarship opens doors to opportunity. A twenty-dollar ($20) individual donation adds your name to our list of generous donors.

For donations of $20 or more, a tax receipt will be issued by UELAC Head Office, or by CanadaHelps if donating online. Donations for this challenge must specify ‘Scholarship Endowment Fund.’ Should you wish to make a memorial gift we will ensure that recognition is given to those you wish to honour through your donation.

Meet you here in 7 days for the closing announcement. Let’s make it happen. Thank you!

…Bonnie Schepers, UE, Scholarship Chair

The Defiant Loyalists of Lower Canada: Part 2 of 3

© Stephen Davidson, UE

They had given up their homes and their livelihoods in the thirteen rebelling colonies out of loyalty to the British crown during a bloody revolution. Despite their sacrifices, the American refugees who had settled in and around Caldwell Manor were saddened to learn that Sir Frederick Haldimand had “such a bad opinion” of them in 1784.

The reason for such displeasure? The Loyalists had disobeyed Canada’s governor general and made their homes in territory near Lake Champlain that was off limits to them. In fact, as many as 300 heads of Loyalist households had already established farms by March of 1784 despite Sir Frederick Haldimand’s specific orders given over a six year period to seek land elsewhere. Considering that King George III himself approved of the policy to discourage settlement along the new international border, the defiance demonstrated by these Loyalists is quite remarkable.

Haldimand had Captain Justus Sherwood of the fort at St. John’s investigate the extent of illegal settlement along the lower Richelieu River and Missisquoi Bay. He was flabbergasted to think that any Loyalists would dare to settle contrary to his directions.

Sherwood discovered Loyalist war veterans erecting houses and harvesting crops. There were three families at Caldwell Manor and 14 more at Missisquoi Bay. He quoted the refugees as saying that they would settle the land at all costs and that “nothing but superior force shall drive them off that land”.

Infuriated, Haldimand “weaponized” the provisions and allowances that the British government provided its loyal American refugees. He decreed that anyone who did not leave the region to settle in Upper Canada would no longer receive support from the government. The defiant settlers complained to Britain, and Haldimand was recalled. By August of 1785, the defiant Loyalists of Lower Canada were once again receiving their government provisions and allowances.

Who were these defiant Loyalists? Most were refugees from New York and Vermont, settling in those colonies before the revolution after having emigrated from Ireland, the German states, Scotland or England. The most detailed accounts of their stories are found in the transcripts of the loyalist compensation board’s hearings when it convened in Montreal in 1788. In this handful of accounts, we can better understand the character and experiences of the refugees who became the defiant settlers of Caldwell Manor.

Abram Concklin was born in the colony of New York and, until the outbreak of the American Revolution, had made his home in Saratoga where he raised hogs and sheep. “Obliged to live in the woods” because of his loyalty to the crown, Concklin joined General Burgoyne’s forces as they marched toward the Hudson River in 1777. Following the defeat of the British general, Concklin served with Jessup’s Corps for the remainder of the war. By 1788, he had settled on Caldwell’s Manor where he considered himself a British subject.

Jeremiah Spencer was a native of Clarendon, Vermont when the rebellion broke out. He demonstrated his support of the crown by “attending” Burgoyne’s army with his oxen and cart for five weeks. Following the British defeat, Patriots imprisoned Spencer for almost four months. Although he returned to his family, local rebels drove him from his home, forcing Spencer to hide in the woods to evade capture. The British frequently employed him as a scout before he was compelled to find sanctuary in Canada between March and June of 1782.

After fetching his family that July, Spencer and three of his sons then joined Roger’s Rangers. The boys were so young that they could only be members of the regiment if their father accompanied them for what turned out to be the final year of the revolution.

Jacob Marsh, another Vermont Loyalist, had not survived his time with Burgoyne’s forces. He was killed at the Battle of Saratoga. William Marsh, Jacob’s brother took his grieving sister-in-law and her children north with his own family to find sanctuary, settling at Caldwell’s Manor.

Jacob’s son, William Marsh, married Elizabeth Huntington, another manor settler. In 1794, when William was 27 years old, he became the pastor of Caldwell Manor’s Baptist Church, the first of that denomination to be established in Lower Canada. One of William’s contemporaries described him as “a man of good sense, amiable in his deportment, and an able and useful minister”.

John Gibson emigrated to American from Ireland in 1764, and established himself at New Perth (now Salem) in New York’s Charlotte County. His home was remembered as a “snug house” on 100 acres of leased land where he raised cattle and hogs. His training as a member of the local militia came in handy when he joined the British army at Skenesborough, New York as it marched south.

Although he “carried arms”, Gibson proved most useful as a guide and a dispatch carrier. After serving throughout 1777, Gibson joined the “King’s Works” – the engineer department – as a carpenter. Having all of his property and livestock seized by rebels, Gibson decided to settle in Caldwell’s Manor at the end of the war.

Another Irish immigrant who “came young to America” was Andrew Liddel of Schenectady, New York. He earned his livelihood as a blacksmith, doing well enough to have two apprentices and a well-furnished house. Like so many other Loyalists in the region, he joined Burgoyne’s troops. Local rebels immediately seized his blacksmith tools, furniture and cash. Following the British defeat, Patriots made Liddel a prisoner of war in Albany for seven months. After escaping jail, the blacksmith went to Canada, moving from Quebec City to Montreal and then Chambly, eventually settling at Caldwell Manor.

For many Loyalists, Caldwell Manor was just a stopping point along the way to their final homes in British North America. Having begun as defiant refugees, many of them saw the advantages of life in other parts of Lower Canada and the lands around the Great Lakes. Their stories will be told in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

A Concord Revolutionary War soldier’s “long-lost” journal is being digitized

These experiences – and many more – from Melvin’s time as a private during the Revolutionary War, are detailed in the centuries-old pages of the soldier’s manuscript, a trove of firsthand accounts from the front lines of the battlefield that was recently acquired by the American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, in Washington, D.C.

And soon, the original contents of Melvin’s “long lost” musings will be conserved and digitized, making it more accessible to a wider audience.

The manuscript is a day-to-day account of Melvin’s life in the Continental Army, after enlisting and marching from Cambridge in Captain Henry Dearborn’s company, and joining Colonel Benedict Arnold’s “arduous” expedition through the woods of Maine to Quebec.

In a post about the acquisition, the institute said a good portion of the journal focuses on the many months that Melvin spent in captivity in Canada, after being apprehended by British forces.

That experience, listed under the title “Prisoner in Quebec” in the manuscript, includes excerpts like one dated Feb. 24, 1776.

It reads, “Various Reports Concerning us: some say we shall be sent to England & sold as slaves to some Island, Others say that we shall be sent to Boston & exchanged; others say that we shall certainly be hanged; but we are in hopes that our people will release us by taking the Town.”

Read more in the Boston Globe.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Loyalist History On the Ground in Kings County, New Brunswick

by Leah Grandy, 19 June 2019

I recently attended an event in the Hampton area of New Brunswick, and I decided to use the opportunity to locate some of the physical locations for loyalists I had been researching in Kings County over the past year: Gabriel Fowler, Alexander Fairchild, and Jonathan Ketchum. I was very interested to get a sense “on the ground” of both the geographic location and physical challenges they may have faced during their relocation to New Brunswick following the American Revolution. In preparation, I was able to use land grant maps (seen above) to match grant locations with their modern counterparts. Armed with both historical and Google maps, I was ready for an adventure.

For my first stop, I took advantage of a lunch break to follow the Hammond River from Smithtown to French Village, where I was easily able to find St. Andrew’s Anglican Church perched on a hill just above the river. The church is located on a plot that was first granted to Josiah Fowler, and adjoined by land owned by his son, Gabriel Fowler, originally of Harrison, Westchester County, New York.

Read more.

JAR: George Farragut: The Epitome of an American Colonial

by Jaume Sastre Moll, 18 June 2019

Jordi Ferragut Mesquida, better known by his anglicized name George Farragut, was the only known Spanish volunteer who fought under the American flag in the War of American Independence. Over one hundred thousand Spanish soldiers and sailors fought against Britain during that war, such as Bernardo de Gálvez in the Gulf Coast, as well as overseas at the Great Siege of Gibraltar. An equal number of French soldiers and sailors also fought Britain during the war, including thousands of volunteers who fought under the American flag, like Lafayette and Fleury. But Farragut’s name, now most closely associated with his son, the Civil War admiral David Farragut, also deserves its place in the pantheon of émigré volunteers who fought side by side with their fellow America colonials, and epitomized the spirit of independence.

Farragut was a native of Minorca, one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean (along with its better-known neighbor Majorca) which has had a long and complicated history with Spain.

On April 2, 1772, Jordi (George) followed his adventurous spirit and emigrated from Minorca to North America via Barcelona. At that time, Barcelona was one of the Spanish ports on the Mediterranean that was directly linked to Cádiz on the Atlantic coast, from where most of the ocean vessels departed for the Caribbean ports in the Spanish American empire. Being a young man of twenty, with nautical knowledge, allowed him the opportunity, in 1773, to be appointed captain of a small cargo ship which periodically would make the voyage between Havana and Veracruz, where his name is recorded in port registry books as captain of a merchant ship. This experience allowed him to gain accurate knowledge of sailing the Caribbean Sea.

Read more.

JAR: The Tea that Survived the Boston Tea Party

by James R. Fichter, 20 June 2019

The Boston Tea Party famously saw the destruction of the almost 300 chests worth of tea, tossed into the harbor by “Indians” on December 16, 1773. Initial reports described “the total destruction of the Teas aboard the Ships Dartmouth, William, & Eleanor and the Beaver” – the four ships bringing the East India Company’s tea to Boston in 1773. Passed down ever since, the story of the tea’s universal destruction and Bostonians unanimous approval of it has been a founding myth of the American Revolution.

But this is not quite accurate. The William never joined the other vessels in Boston Harbor. It wrecked off Cape Cod instead. Jonathan Clarke, one of the consignees who was to have received the East India Company tea, rushed out to the Cape and salvaged what he could.

In early January 1774 the consignees were holed up in Castle William, located on an island in Boston Harbor, to escape angry crowds. They reported “the Teas which were saved out of the Brig William were arrived at this place . . . and are safely stored here,” save one chest which “could not be found” and three others which had suffered damage and which Clarke sold off “on the spot” to avoid further losses. This left fifty-four chests of tea stored in the castle, saved from the wrecked William and safe from Boston crowds.

Read more.

Washington’s Quill: Martha Washington’s Preoccupation With Health

by Kim Curtis, 21 June 2019

The Washington Family Papers editors have been hard at work on our upcoming Papers of Martha Washington volume, which is generously funded by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Over the past four years, we have been collecting, transcribing, and annotating Martha Washington’s correspondence and any other significant materials that might offer more context to scholars, students, and the general public. In addition to these 400-plus documents, the volume will include maps, family trees, and essays. The print edition of The Papers of Martha Washington is scheduled to be published by the University of Virginia Press in spring 2020; these resources (and more) will also be available on UVA Press’ digital imprint, Rotunda.

I wrote an editorial essay about Martha’s domestic duties during the period between the end of the Revolutionary War and the beginning of George Washington’s first presidential term (January 1784-April 1789). I discovered that contrary to the stereotypical image of Martha as a dowdy and passive matron, she actually acted as a hands-on manager, overseeing the vast operations of Mount Vernon’s house and plantations. One of her responsibilities as manager of the Mount Vernon estate was acting as primary caregiver to family members as well as to enslaved and non-enslaved workers. This emphasis on the physical wellbeing of herself and of those around her influenced Martha’s everyday decisions and interactions.

Read more.

The Junto: Food and Hunger in Vast Early America

Dams that powered grain mills but choked off fish migrations. Cassava bread that replaced wheat. A breakfast that turned into an ambush. The lenses of food and scarcity can transform our views of familiar places in early American history – Massachusetts, Virginia, the Caribbean.

Putting food and hunger at the center of the story enables these scholars to reinterpret crucial topics such as indigenous land loss, Caribbean enslavement, and indigenous resistance to colonization. As the field of early American food studies continues to grow, we look forward to seeing how it might transform other fields along the way.

Read more.

The Junto: Damming Fish and Indians: Starvation and Dispossession in Colonial Massachusetts

By Carla Cevasco on 18 June 2019 in Food and Hunger Series

Compared to other Native Americans in southern New England, the Ninnimissinuok community of Natick, Massachusetts seemed to have secure footing going into the eighteenth century. Located only fifteen miles outside of Boston on the Charles River, Natick was the largest community of Native American converts to Christianity – or “Praying Indians” – in mainland New England with a population exceeding two hundred persons. These Praying Indians owned their land in corporation to safeguard their enclave against land hungry colonists. To passersby, Natick residents farmed like their English neighbors, dressed like them, and even worshipped like them too. Yet, in contrast to their English neighbors, this community steadily declined over the course of the eighteenth century.In 1753, Natick’s Praying Indians had dropped to “twenty-five families, besides a few individuals.” Eleven years later in 1764 there were only “eight or ten families.” By the 1790s there were only twenty-some “clear blooded” Indians in Natick.

Anglo observers were mistaken in thinking that Natick’s Indians disappeared. Many moved, intermarried with African Americans, or became itinerants that were harder to track down. But these Praying Indians certainly did not thrive in Natick as they had originally hoped. Historians have explained the “disappearance” of Natick’s Praying Indian community by arguing that a combination of war and disease placed many Praying Indians in debt and precipitated land sales.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Revolutionary Print Networks

Joseph Adelman, an Assistant Professor of History at Framingham State University and author of Revolutionary Networks: The Business and Politics of Printing the News, 1763-1789, joins us to investigate the roles printers and their networks played in developing and spreading ideas of the American Revolution.

As we explore the work of printers and their ability to create and spread information, Joe reveals the physical and intellectual labor of the early American printer; How print shops worked and the different media they produced; And, details about how printers developed and used information networks to feed their presses and the American Revolution.

Listen to the podcast.

UELAC Archives Seeking Past Issues of Loyalist Gazette

In March, the UELAC Archives requested donations of past issues which are missing from the UELAC Archives.

In April a revised list of missing copies was distributed.

Thanks to the Donations from Brian Tackaberry and other UELAC members for sending extra issues. Almost all have been received. However, we are still missing the following TWO copies of EACH of:

• Spring 1995

• Fall 1996

• Spring 1999

If you are willing to donate any of the missing copies, please send a note to leonwwu@gmail.com.

Carl Stymiest, UE, UELAC Dominion Archivist

Region and Branch Bits

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

Prince Edward County Celebrations

Two milestone anniversaries doubled the celebrations in Ameliasburgh on Saturday. The Seventh Town Historical Society marked 50 years, while the Marilyn Adams Genealogical Research Centre celebrated 25 years at the County Road 19 premises the organizations share. Angela and Peter Johnson, UELAC Dominion Genealogists gave an informative presentation on how Loyalist descendants gain their designation as United Empire Loyalists.

Read more.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Størmerlige Films extended Loyalist Day June 19 commemoration wishes to Ontario, Saskatchewan, & Edmonton on twitter and on instagram and on twitter
  • Gravestone of Edward Winslow (1746 – 1815) prominent United Empire Loyalist in Old Burial Ground in Fredericton, New Brunswick
  • On this day in 1749, Halifax was founded by Col. Edward Cornwallis.
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 21 Jun 1779 Spain enters the war, allied with France, leading to British loss of Mississippi River & Gulf of Mexico.
    • 20 Jun 1779 6,500 Americans attack just 1,200 British at Stono Ferry, SC, only speed retreat slightly, lose 149 men.
    • 19 Jun 1781 Siege of Ninety-Six, South-Carolina, held by 550 Loyalists, is broken; 185+ Americans & 75 British lost.
    • 18 Jun 1778 Facing arrival of French forces to back rebels, British give up occupation of Philadelphia.
    • 17 Jun 1775 British win Pyrrhic victory at Breed’s Hill in Boston, recorded in history as the Battle of Bunker Hill.
    • 15 Jun 1776 Lower Counties of Pennsylvania declare independence from Britain – and Pennsylvania – as Delaware.
  • Townsends
  • Would you wear a deceased shipmate’s clothing? When a sailor died his clothes were marked DC – “Deadman’s Clothes” and sold off w/ proceeds given to his widow or family. Many shoes found on Invincible are stamped DC
  • Hand embroidery twists and trails across the creamy expanse of a mid 18thc ensemble, floral motifs that climb over bodice and skirt and creep over the shoulders
  • I shared this dress but take a moment to look at the beautiful detail of pattern, block printed & glazed onto a cotton weave. French, 1775-1785
  • A 1780 Italian Robe á la Piemontaise. The bodice is cut like a robe à l’Anglaise, pleats on the back like a robe à la Francaise, and the skirt is draped like a robe à la Polonaise. It was only in fashion for a few years in the 1780s.
  • 18th Century Court Coat, front & pocket detail of stunning silk embroidery, French, c.1790
  • 18th Century men’s coat, velour decorated with cream satin appliqué, gold silk, silver metallic embroidery and spangles, c.1780’s
  • 18th Century men’s waistcoat, 1770-1790
  • Staff and volunteers have been hard at work on the split rail fence around the orchard on our farm at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Our fruit trees have had a good year for growing, hopefully the new fence will keep them protected for many seasons to come!
  • During the Siege of Yorktown, Washington used only 131 artillery pieces to overwhelm Cornwallis and his 244, forcing a British surrender. See this type of artillery in action during daily demos with cannons firing at 11 am and 3 pm in our re-created Continental Army encampment.
  • What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today? (Pennsylvania Gazette 6/22/1769)
  • Rev250 quote of the day – Lt. Col. James Abercrombie to the Earl of Loudon, June 20, 1775, about the Battle of Bunker Hill: “A few of such Victories would Ruin the Army.” Abercrombie died of his wounds two days later.