“Loyalist Trails” 2019-27: July 7, 2019
In this issue:
– 2019 UELAC Conference
– The Prince Who Dined with Loyalists, Part 1: New York City, by Stephen Davidson
– John Moores UEL: New Jersey to Grimsby
– Seeing Canada in a Different Light During the American Revolution
– Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Loyalist History On the Ground in Kings County, NB
– Borealia: The French Colonial Historical Society, Longueuil, 2019: A Template for Early Canadian History?
– JAR: Benedict Arnold and James Wemyss: Similar Experiences Contrasting Legacies
– JAR Book Review: Quarters: The Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution
– The Junto: Food and Friendship in Early Virginia
– Ben Franklin’s World: Celebrating the Fourth
– Ben Franklin’s World: The Reintegration of American Loyalists
– Loyalist Quarterly Newsletter, June 2019, by Paul J. Bunnell, UE
– Where in the World?
– Region and Branch Bits
+ Grimsby, Ont., Renames “Civic Holiday” to “Colonel Robert Nelles Day”
+ W. Thomas Molloy, Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
© Stephen Davidson, UE
How should history remember a British prince? As the man who was known as the Sailor King? As the father of his mistress’ ten children? As the first member of the royal family to visit North America? As the monarch in power when slavery was abolished within the British Empire?
For those whose ancestors were refugees during the American Revolution, His Royal Highness Prince William Henry (see drawing) could be remembered as the prince who dined with Loyalists. Between 1781 and 1788, King George III’s third son was hosted by Loyal Americans in New York City, Long Island, Halifax, Quebec City, Sorel, Montreal, Cornwall, Shelburne, Birchtown, Spanish River and Sydney, Cape Breton. Here are the stories of those royal encounters.
Prince William Henry was just ten years old when the War of Independence began in 1775. It seems the royal youngster was a bit of a handful, so his parents had him join the Royal Navy as a midshipman on board the Prince George at the tender age of thirteen. He was under the watchful eye of Admiral Robert Digby, a man who would later be a major figure in securing the settlement of Loyalists in Nova Scotia.
Unsure of how the crew should address their royal crewmember, the prince replied, “I am entered as Prince William Henry but my father’s name is Guelph and therefore if you please you may call me William Guelph, for I am nothing more than a sailor like yourselves.”
Within a year of becoming a sailor, “William Guelph” was present at the defeat of a Spanish naval squadron in what became known as the Battle of Cape St. Vincent. Also referred to as the Moonlight Battle, this engagement was fought off the coast of Portugal, pitting 24 British vessels against 11 Spanish ones. Fortunately for the king and queen, their teenaged son was not among the 32 British casualties or the 102 wounded sailors. The British fleet then went on to resupply Gibraltar, which had been under a Spanish blockade.
History remembers that Prince William Henry and his shipmates were arrested for a drunken brawl in Gibraltar (he would have been fourteen and a half at the time). He was quickly released once his identity was revealed. The prince’s experiences on board ship were typical for the era as well. In addition to his on-deck duties, he also helped to prepare meals. He was, however, the only crewmember to have a tutor on board.
William Henry enters Loyalist history with the arrival of his ship in New York City’s harbour on September 25, 1781. Once he was given the command of the “American Station”, Admiral Digby based his fleet – and his royal ward – in what had been British headquarters in the rebellious colonies since the fall of 1776. New York, filled with British military personnel and thousands of Loyalist refugees, lionized the young Prince William Henry. Its newspaper published poems singing his praises, officers, and its upper classes hosted splendid feasts and balls in his honour. Despite his efforts to remain quietly on his ship and his quarters, enthusiastic hosts paraded him around for the common soldier and Loyalist to see.
Everyone had something to say about the prince who had endeared himself to a garrison city with his boyish charms. One British officer’s diary noted, “The Prince has been on shore, and visited most of the places in the city and the posts around it. He is very shrewd and sensible, making many pertinent remarks and observations”.
A London magazine reported on William Henry’s efforts to learn a new skill while in New York: One of his favorite resorts was a fresh-water lake in the vicinity of the city, which presented a frozen sheet of many acres, and was thronged by the younger part of the population for the amusement of skating. As the Prince was unskilled in that exercise, he would sit in a chair fixed on runners, which was pushed forward with great velocity by a skating attendant, while a crowd of officers environed him, and the youthful multitude made the air ring with their shouts for Prince William Henry.
A British officer’s wife candidly observed, “He is about seventeen years old, very stout (my father thinks) for that age. The royal family are said to be inclined that way. King George is portly. The young Prince wears the British army uniform; he has a pleasant countenance, but very crooked, knock kneed legs.”
For many Loyalists in New York City, the presence of a member of the royal family was seen as a token of the crown’s commitment to defeating the Patriots. One Loyalist imagined that the revolution would inevitably “sink at the approach of so fair a representative of the Royal Virtues.”
Despite desiring to just be “William Guelph”, the prince had to attend his share of public functions during his time in New York City. And in so doing, he met and dined with Loyalists on a number of occasions.
When the presentation of colours was made to a new regiment – the King’s American Dragoons – near Flushing, New York, William Henry met two Loyalists who would go on to enjoy illustrious careers after leaving their homes in America.
Benjamin Thompson, a Massachusetts Loyalist, commanded the King’s American Dragoons. Thompson was noted as a scientist and inventor. Following the revolution, he became an aide-de-camp to a Bavarian prince. Today’s visitors to Munich, Germany can tour the English Gardens which Thompson designed – one of the largest urban parks in the world.
The clergyman in attendance at the military ceremony was the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Odell, a New Jersey Loyalist. In addition to serving as a chaplain to a Loyalist regiment, Odell also had political poetry published in Rivington’s Gazette. The Anglican minister eventually settled in the newly-minted colony of New Brunswick where he was appointed the provincial secretary, register, and clerk of the council.
Col. Beverley Robinson, a rich New Yorker entertained William Henry on his 1,000-acre estate that contained several mills and 146 tenants. Robinson’s son John – a Loyalist like the rest of his family – settled in New Brunswick following the revolution. He became part of the powerful commercial elite of Saint John, a member of the House of Assembly and – eventually – the mayor of the Loyalist city.
While some Americans wanted to entertain Prince William Henry in their homes, others hoped to kidnap him. In March of 1782, Col. Matthias Ogden outlined a detailed plan to George Washington that would secure the capture of the prince. Washington approved of the plan: “You have my authority to make the attempt in any manner, and at such a time, as your judgment may direct”. Given that His Royal Highness walked about New York unescorted, it seemed to be foolproof. However, British intelligence learned of the plot and increased security around the King’s son.
Next week’s Loyalist Trails will continue this four part series that highlights the Loyalists who dined with a British prince.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
I read with interest the piece by Richard J. Werther published in the May 19th Loyalist Trails, entitled “JAR: Reconciliation between the Colonies and Great Britain – A Close Call.” Both Joseph Galloway and Isaac Low, are referred to in that article as Loyalists who had participated in the “aye” votes to cut off commercial dealings with Great Britain in the First Continental Congress of 1774 on September 5, in Philadelphia. Both those gentlemen died in the U.K, I believe.
Another Loyalist, John Moores, was a New Jersey delegate to that First Continental Congress. His graveyard stone (see picture) together with that of wife, Dinah Pettit Moore, is one that was part of a UEL tour of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church 225th Anniversary “tour” in June in Grimsby, Ontario.
Once here, in ‘The Canadas”, fleeing as refugees from American lands they loved, he and his friends founded the First municipal council in Upper Canada, at “The Forty” in 1780. It was held at John Green’s home, John Moore was secretary and the other council members were John Pettit, John Beamer, and Levi Lewis.
Page 30 of my brother Paul Bingle’s book In The Shadow of the Escarpment, Vol. 4 (see picture) shows where I obtained this information. It pleases me to think that my ancestor, father of Elizabeth Moore-Nelles of Nelles Manor, Grimsby, was politically involved and concerned about the type of democracy his grandchildren would grow up in.
…Catharine Bingle-Gonnsen, UE
By Linda Stufflebean, 25 June 2019
I thought I knew quite a bit about the American Revolution, having studied the subject in school and having researched six American Patriots and 6 Loyalists who sailed to Canada in 1783 at the close of the war.
Until now, I hadn’t really given much thought to political stances of residents in Canada in the 1776-1783 time period. I guess I pretty much classified them as loyal to the king. That is, until I read the reports in the first journal published by the New Brunswick (Canada) Historical Society in 1894.
I wanted to share a page with you that I found because it absolutely fascinated me and I have never seen anything like this entry in all the years I’ve been doing family history research – 39 years, to be exact.
First, a bit of biographical background is necessary. Major Gilfred Studholme (1740-1792) enlisted with the Loyal Nova Scotia Volunteers when the American Revolution began. He later fought with the Royal Fencible Americans, who successfully defended Fort Cumberland in 1776. both military units were based in Nova Scotia.
The New Brunswick Historical Society PDF on HathiTrust includes several articles that are mainly lists of residents found living in the Amesbury Tract, New Brunswick, Canada after the war ended in 1783.
Major Studholme had ordered a survey of inhabitants and their familial and economic status on 15 June 1783.
By Leah Grandy, 3 July 2019
Now I had only the more adventurous phase of my expedition to complete: the Kingston Peninsula. The loyalists arriving at the St. John River in the spring of 1783 envisioned the Peninsula as a central location for their new colony. Experiencing the terrain first hand, however, I see where issues may have arisen in establishing successful farms. I was thrilled that there was a road through the grant of one of my subjects, Jonathan Ketchum, and that of his son, Samuel Ketchum. Indeed, the road was named for them – Ketchum Road. Jonathan Ketchum was a tavern keeper from Norwalk, Connecticut, a town that was burned to the ground by the British Army in 1777, making the Ketchum family refugees for the duration of the Revolution. I headed to Ketchum’s grant first, avoiding portions of the road along the Kennebecasis River damaged by spring flooding.
Read more, including a photo of the plaque “United Empire Loyalist Burial Site” placed recently by New Brunswick Branch.
By Samuel Derksen, 2 July 2019
The 45th Annual Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society (FCHS) was held from June 13-15 at the Université de Sherbrooke campus in Longueuil, Quebec. In many ways, Longueuil was a perfect setting for reflection about French colonial history, particularly in the Americas. No, I’m not referring to the charming new Université de Sherbrooke campus that provided an ideal venue for the conference, but the historical connection of Longueuil to the Le Moyne family. Charles Le Moyne was granted title to the seigneury of Longueuil (South Shore of Montreal) in 1672. Over the following decades, his sons played a key role in the expansion of French colonial projects and commerce in the Atlantic. Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville was an early commandant of Louisiana and oversaw the foundation of New Orleans, while conducting extensive sanctioned and illicit trade in the Atlantic World. In this location that reminds us of the breadth, connections, and history of the French colonial world, a diverse set of scholars studying all corners of France’s empire gathered to share their research and knowledge. I wanted to take this opportunity in the conference’s aftermath to reflect upon the lessons and insights that the FCHS can provide for the study of early Canada.
Having attended the last two meetings of the FCHS (Seattle 2018 and Longueuil 2019), the conference’s welcoming and inclusive bilingual nature stands out as one of the society’s great strengths. As a native English speaker, I felt encouraged to attend French language panels and emboldened to speak my second language, which admittedly has lots of room to improve.
By Gene Procknow, 1 July 2019
Often, a person’s legacy is defined by decisions made at pivotal moments rather than a lifetime of previous accomplishments. The is especially true for two aspiring, highly competent military officers in senior leadership positions during the fractious American Rebellion. Although initially on opposing sides, the wartime and personal experiences of the infamous Maj. Gen. Benedict Arnold of the Continental Army (later the British Army) and the little-known Maj. James Wemyss of the British Army are uncannily similar. While both possessed a flair for combat leadership and exhibited heroics on the battlefield, their contemporaries’ esteem and their historical legacies are vastly different.
James Wemyss purchased an ensign’s commission in 1766 at age eighteen and embarked on a promising military career in the British Army. Equally aspiring, Arnold, a self-made man, developed a thriving merchant and shipping business trading throughout North America and the Caribbean. Both men tragically lost their first spouses to an early illness and later remarried.
Quarters: The Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution, by John Gilbert McCurdy (Cornell University Press, 2019). Reviewed by Don N. Hagist, 3 July 2019
Question: “Why did the colonists fight the British?”
Answer: “Because the British Army stayed in their houses.”
This question and answer comes from a United States government practice test for the U. S. citizenship test. Which is unfortunate, because the answer is wrong. We see this error in many places, including manuscripts that are submitted to Journal of the American Revolution. In fact, the Quartering Acts passed by the British government after the French and Indian War all expressly forbid quartering troops in private homes. One need only read the text of the Quartering Acts, which are available online, to see this. The misconception probably comes from misunderstanding one of the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence: “For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.”
A new book by historian John Gilbert McCurdy not only explains the true controversy over quartering in North America, but does so in a well-paced, highly readable fashion. The author delves into the history of quarters and quartering, taking a detailed but rapid journey through the challenges faced by the British government in managing the conflicting demands of the American colonies in the 1760s and 1770s. Managing the new colonies and borders established in 1763 required regular troops stationed in the colonies during peacetime, a new and expensive proposition.
By Rachel Winchcombe, 20 June 2019
A few weeks ago, my ten-year-old nephew earnestly declared, “Rachel, sometimes meat makes me really happy!” Whilst this made me laugh, I could not deny the sincerity of the kid, or the veracity of his statement. After all, we all recognise the power of food to improve our mood and to provide comfort in times of sadness and heartache. For our early modern forebears, I would argue that this emotional aspect of food was no less powerful. In this post I will explore one facet of the emotional power of food, illustrating how it had the potential to irrevocably alter Anglo-Indigenous relations in early Virginia. March 1622 marked a watershed moment in the history of the early Anglo-American settlements. On March 22, the indigenous population launched a devastating attack on the English settlements. In its aftermath, hundreds of English colonists were left dead, and a number of settlements razed to the ground. The attack also, unsurprisingly, resulted in the breakdown of positive emotional relationships between the English and the indigenous population, relationships that I will argue had been constructed around food exchange and commensality in the wake of the First Anglo-Powahatan War of 1609-1614.
How do our fireworks displays, barbecues, parades, and sporting events compare to the first and earliest celebrations of independence? How and why do we celebrate the United States and its independence as we do?
Historical experts Benjamin E. Park, Jay Hinesley, and Shira Lurie take us through the early American origins of Fourth of July celebration.
From the archives, Episode 126: Rebecca Brannon, an Associate Professor of History at James Madison University and author of the award-winning book, From Revolution to Reunion: The Reintegration of South Carolina Loyalists, joins us to explore what happened to some of the loyalists who stayed in the United States.
During our investigation, Rebecca reveals details about the War for Independence in South Carolina; Patriot plans to reintegrate loyalists back into South Carolinian Society after the war; And, how loyalists worked to make amends to earn their way back into South Carolinian society after the war.
Published since 2004, the June 2019 issue is now available. At twenty-three pages, it features:
• Loyalists and Canada’s First Residential School – Part One: New Brunswick by Stephen Davidson
• Québec American Loyalist Settlers (National Institute)
• BOOK – Loyalist Refugees, Non-Military Refugees in Quebec 1776-1784, Second Edition
• By Gavin K. Watt
• What is a Female Loyalist? By Kacy Tillman
Vol. 16 Part 2 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
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From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.
The Nelles Manor Heritage House Museum Board works diligently to promote and support this built heritage treasure of Grimsby. In June, the Town of Grimsby Council voted to rename Civic Holiday to “Colonel Robert Nelles Day” in honour of Robert Nelles UEL.
In my humble opinion however, this is an honour that could have equally so, if not more rightly been, bestowed to his father in law, John Moore UEL. John Moore was politically involved as a leader in civic politics before he left the Thirteen Colonies to be Loyal to the British Crown, and the British Parliamentary system of government we enjoy today in Canada, and come to Grimsby. Once here he helped form the First Municipal Council of Upper Canada.
I am sure his beautiful daughter Elizabeth caught the eye of Robert Nelles and the rest is history.
…Catharine Bingle-Gonnsen, UE
W. Thomas Molloy passes away after a battle with cancer.
- On Canada Day morning, I visited historic Fort Anne and the Garrison Graveyard in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia known as the cradle of Canada. In the Graveyard I viewed the gravestone of Captain John Lichtenstein, a United Empire Loyalist who was born near Saint Petersburg in Russia and traveled to Georgia in 1762. During the American Revolution he obtained a commission as a Captain in the New York Volunteers. His daughter Elizabeth married William Johnstone, a member of the Georgia Loyalist elite. The family moved to Nova Scotia after the conflict ended and one of their sons William became Premier of Nova Scotia. Captain Lichtenstein is buried beside Laura Johnstone, wife of John Johnstone, another of his grandsons. View the short video.
- Vandals stole historic plaques from the Carl, Misener, Bald Cemetery, the resting place of some of the earliest settlers of the Port Robinson village area in the former Thorold Township. It is closely associated with the first two non-native residents in the Port Robinson area and their families – United Empire Loyalists John Carl, who set aside this land which was part of his crown grant for a burying ground, and Leonard Misener, who is buried here, along with his wife Barbara Bender.
- I’ll share this freshly dug 1790s New Brunswick Provincials button with you folks. Were these found in Saint John or Fredericton areas?
- Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
- 5 Jul 1775 Congress offers Crown the “Olive Branch Petition,” appealing for reconciliation with Colonies.
- 4 Jul 1776 Congress approves the text of the Declaration of Independence, two days after voting for independence.
- 3 Jul 1775 Sword aloft, George Washington takes charge of Continental Army, leading it to eventual victory.
- 2 Jul 1776 Congress votes for outright independence, severing all connections with the Crown.
- 1 Jul 1775 Congress decides to seek alliances with Indian tribes, if Britain does so first.
- 30 Jun 1775 Congress adopts Articles of War against Britain, begging King George to restrain Parliament’s abuses.
- 29 Jun 1776 South-Carolina’s delegate Rutledge to Continental Congress expresses opposition to independence.
- Monument to Samuel Vetch at Fort Anne, Nova Scotia, commander who captured fort from French in 1710
- Family Trails: What’s My Line? A general post about lineage societies
- Wishing you well with a mid 18th century brocaded French silk fragment replete with summery flowers & berries
- I for Indienne. Owning Indienne (chintz, typically floral patterned), was an 18th-century status symbol. Pricier than silk, it was desired for its perceived exoticism and bright colours. In fact, it was so popular that the authorities temporarily banned its import!
- Lovely palette for this Spitalfields brocaded silk Robe à l’anglaise, 1775-80. And that pattern matching! From Historic Deerfield
- These formal 1750s to 1770s stays are a feat of engineering, the pattern of the brocade perfectly matched amongst the rows of boned stitching. Not worn every day, this is the equivalent of putting on a more striking pair of Spanx to a party.
- 18th Century blue silk petticoat & overdress: loose fitting bodice & full skirt; sack back, worn over trimmed corset, 1730’s
- 18th Century men’s court coat and waistcoat ensemble, silk with detachable cuffs, c.1765, French
- 18th Century men’s suit, 1770-1780’s
- Celebrating Independence Day this year in Scotland Fourth On The Forth. My fave research find here: the Stars And Stripes carved into a door at Edinburgh Castle by an American POW in the American Revolution
- A beautifully detailed 1753 George II Hibernia Halfpenny found in the Thames mud. The Thames really is the best history teacher. I learned something new again as I had not realised that Hibernia is the classical Latin name for Ireland.