“Loyalist Trails” 2019-34: August 25, 2019

In this issue:
Explore the Mohawk Valley This Fall, Sept. 29 – Oct. 4
Loyalists and Canada’s First Residential School, Part 4: Indigenous Apprentices, by Stephen Davidson
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Medical Pioneers: Peter Huggeford and the Horrors of 18th Century Surgery
JAR: Cornwallis Quits Charlotte, Abandoning the Autumn Campaign of 1780
Prospect Hill, Bunker’s Hill, and Psychological Warfare During the Siege of Boston
JAR: Augustine Barrett, Escaped British Prisoner of War, Pleads his Case
Washington’s Quill: The Fulcrum of the Revolution? George Washington Explores the Possibility of a Southern Campaign
The Junto: Call For Papers: The Age of Revolutions in the Digital Age
Ben Franklin’s World: The Highland Soldier in North America
Cemetery at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Auburn, Nova Scotia
Book: Brutal Virtue: The Myth and Reality of Banastre Tarleton
Front Line Staff are Valuable
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Explore the Mohawk Valley This Fall, Sept. 29 – Oct. 4

Only 30 Spots! Some are booked already.

Looking to ‘experience’ history? Enjoy a week of unique, custom-designed experiences that will allow you to immerse yourself in the rich history of the Mohawk Valley and surrounding area. The American Revolution swept people of the region up in the chaos of war, forcing people who had lived, worked, and fought together, to choose sides. The complex history of this time is best understood when we are able to visit the places, and explore the lives, of these once neighbours, friends, and family.

Whether you are a United Empire Loyalist descendant, Patriot descendant, or both, or someone looking to experience a more hands-on exploration of Mohawk Valley colonial history, this is the package for you!

See the full schedule of events.

Come step back in time with us…Created by passionate historians and descendants connected to the region, we designed events we wanted to experience ourselves! This opportunity to explore history through sight, sound, taste and feel experiences in a small group setting, will allow for greater engagement and interaction.

Event Partners: UE Loyalists Bridge Annex; Johnson Hall Historic Site; Johnstown Historical Society; Fort Plain Museum & Historical Park

Hands-On History Starts Here! Only $200 USD for a full week of custom events! (+$10 USD processing fee – does not include travel, accommodation or all meals)

Only Full-Week Purchases until August 26th. Email ExploreHistoryMV2019@gmail.com for the booking link.

To attend individual days, please email your interest; we will respond after August 26th with Registration Information.

Book 3+ days and you will receive a FREE SWAG bag! Spaces are limited. Book today!

Loyalists and Canada’s First Residential School, Part 4: Indigenous Apprentices

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Two Loyalist refugees who settled in the Maritimes following the American Revolution had two very different perspectives on the effectiveness of Canada’s first residential school in Sussex Vale, New Brunswick.

Bishop Charles Inglis had only positive things to say: “This college, if properly managed, might be productive of much good. So far from the Indians manifesting any jealousy or dislike to the plan, they voluntarily bring their children from the woods for admission; the committee have not to seek for or to entice them to come. There are generally more applicants than can be admitted.” Inglis seems to have been unaware of the fact that the school’s original intentions of providing education and vocational training had been twisted into a system that provided cheap Indigenous labour for local farmers and tradesmen.

Joseph Leggett, the last teacher at the residential school, condemned the practice of indenting his Wolastoqiyik students as apprentices, saying “It can hardly be supposed that under these circumstances they received a great amount of systematic training; indeed, no mention is anywhere made of any attempt at any time to teach them more than the catechism and the arts of reading and writing.”

The trusting parents of the Sussex Vale students regularly signed indentures of apprenticeship in the hope of giving their children a better life. The 1806 indenture of 17 year-old John Ketch Sis to the family of the Rev. Oliver Arnold may be the only surviving document from the school that illustrates how the local Loyalist settlers exploited Native students.

Arnold, the original teacher at Sussex Vale and then its subsequent superintendent, not only received a salary from the New England Company that operated the residential school, he also employed a number of its students as his indentured apprentices – having up to as many as seven Wolastoqiyik children at a time. One writer described this as the Loyalist minister taking “his full share of the duty of teaching the natives the art and mystery of a farmer”, but failed to mention that Arnold received a premium of £20 a year from the New England Company for each apprentice. (The residential school teacher’s annual salary in 1806 was only £16.) As the historian Judith Fingard observed, about Arnold, ‘That he benefited more from his position than the Indians did from his care seems unquestionable”.

Nevertheless, the 1806 indenture of apprenticeship signed by the Rev. Oliver Arnold and the father of John Ketch Sis serves to demonstrate the best hopes of Wolastoqiyik parents who wanted their children to proper in the Loyalist colony – and the power that Loyalist masters had over their charges.

As part of the indenture agreement, the Arnold family promised to teach John the “art” of farming on the condition that the New England Company paid them £20 a year for the “care, trouble and expense” of having the teenager in their home for the next four years.

The Arnolds were responsible for providing the Indigenous youth with “sufficient meat, drink, apparel, lodging and washing fitting for an apprentice … and shall also endeavor to teach or cause to be taught the said apprentice to read and write, by providing him with proper schooling for that purpose during the said term, and shall also endeavor to teach or cause to be taught or instructed the said apprentice in the principles of the Protestant religion”

When John Ketch Sis’ indenture came to an end, the Loyalist family was to “furnish, supply and give to the said apprentice one full suit of clothes without any compensation therefore, and also one pair of steers worth eight pounds sterling money of Great Britain, one cow worth four pounds like money, one axe worth seven shillings and sixpence like money, and one hoe worth four shillings like money, for all which said last mentioned articles the said company in London shall pay.”

For his part, John was to faithfully serve Arnold “and his lawful commands everywhere readily obey”. The teenager was to “do no damage to his said master, nor see it to be done by others without letting or giving notice thereof to his said master; he shall not absent himself day nor night from his said master’s service without his leave, but in all things behave himself as a faithful apprentice ought to do during the said term.”

Since the New England Company was a partner in this apprenticeship indenture, it reserved the right to stop paying Arnold his allowance if it felt that he failed to comply with the terms of the contract. It also was at liberty “to remove or cause to be removed the said apprentice to any academy, school or college that may be by the said company instituted or established in the said province for the better educating and instructing the said heathen natives.” This is an interesting clause as there were no other schools for Indigenous youth in New Brunswick. Their one and only best hope for advancement in white society was to enter into an indenture arrangement.

The majority of the Sussex Vale students did not complete their apprenticeships, and so they did not receive the stock and tools promised in their indentures. Ultimately, it was the local Loyalists who received all of the benefits of the apprenticeship program. They used the Indigenous children as workers on their farms and received an annual allowance from the New England Company. The students, who left the farms after enduring a demanding work environment for one, two, or three years, received nothing for their years of service other than the day-to-day necessities spelled out in the indenture contract.

The historian Judith Fingard noted that the residential school’s program took students out of their classrooms and away from their teacher, making “the indentured children … virtual slaves to the leading families of Sussex Vale”.

A different approach to Indigenous education would have been far less expensive for the New England Company and much more beneficial to the Indigenous youth they wanted to help. As an outside observer commented, “The principle that was adopted of apprenticing their children at an early age to different settlers I found was not generally approved by the Indians themselves, nor has the plan proved beneficial to their morals.”

Happily for John Ketch Sis, one of the small minority that completed a four-year apprenticeship, he received the £13 worth of articles that were promised in his indenture agreement. Whether he ever made use of his training, the tools and the livestock that were his apprenticeship earnings has been lost to history.

By 1826, the New England Company closed down the Sussex Vale residential school, admitting its lack of success. Its Loyalist teachers and the Loyalist settlers in its vicinity had failed to achieve the company’s objectives. “It is not by such means {the apprenticeship program} … nor any similar forced process that has been acted upon, nor any means that compel {the Native children} to be “hewers of wood and drawers of water” in a menial capacity, that a just expectation can be raised of any conversion in their state.”

The failure of the Sussex Vale residential school for Indigenous students offered the Loyalist settlers of the Maritimes and their kin in Canada an opportunity to learn valuable lessons from this flawed model of education. Sadly, no one paid attention, and Indigenous communities would bear the consequences of those lost lessons for the next two centuries.

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

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Medical Pioneers: Peter Huggeford and the Horrors of 18th Century Surgery

By Harrison Dressler, 21 August 2019

Blood-curdling shrieks filled Peter Huggeford’s operating room. Trails of blood pooled onto his oaken table, seeping into its crevices and staining the wood a dark burgundy colour. The sickly smell of gangrene and death filled the air. With a newly sharpened bone saw in hand, Dr. Huggeford went to work.

Born around 1725, Peter Huggeford grew up in England until his early twenties, when he crossed the Atlantic to emigrate to Westchester County, New York in 1745. Once in New York, Peter settled down and married a woman named Elizabeth (b. 1730, d. August 24, 1792). Before their deaths in the late 18th century, Peter and Elizabeth had 12 children, four of whom have been confirmed to have been named Martha, Jane (b. circa 1750), John (b. 1750, d. October 14, 1795), and Peter (b. 1766, d. September 27, 1795). Martha and Jane went on to marry Elias Hardy and Tertullus Dickinson respectively, two prominent New Brunswick loyalists, whilst John and Peter chose to follow in their father’s footsteps and became physicians in New York. In Westchester, Peter established his medical practice, choosing to specialize as a surgeon- a relatively grisly affair at the time.

Peter was fiercely loyal to Britain throughout his entire life, a trait that would evidently be tested by the mid-1760s. Peter operated in Westchester up until the earliest rumblings of the Revolutionary War, choosing to stay loyal to the British rather than comply with the American revolutionaries. Peter stayed in New York until 1776, at which point he was “violently taken from his Family” and “carried to the White Plains,” where he would be confined in jail for the next two months.

Read more.

JAR: Cornwallis Quits Charlotte, Abandoning the Autumn Campaign of 1780

By Ian Saberton, 19 August 2019

On 26 October 1780, the British entered Charlotte. They encountered the revolutionary militia’s resistance and a hornet’s nest of opposition stirred up by the village’s occupation.

So what did indeed transpire next? In short, “Events, my dear boy, events,” as Harold Macmillan, a British Prime Minister, remarked when asked by a journalist what would throw his administration off course. So it was while at Charlotte that unforeseen events conspired to terminate the autumn campaign.

The first of these was the entirely unexpected ferocity with which the inhabitants of the locality continued resolutely to oppose the occupation of Charlotte itself. On October 3 Cornwallis commented to Lt. Col. Nisbet Balfour, the Commandant of Charlestown, “This County of Mecklenburg is the most rebellious and inveterate that I have met with in this country, not excepting any part of the Jerseys.” It soon became apparent that the village was completely unsuitable for a small intermediate post, so effectually would it have been blockaded and so high would have been the risk of its being taken out in detail. Preoccupied with defending itself, the post would have exerted no control over the surrounding territory and afforded no protection to messengers coming to and from Cornwallis as he pursued his onward march. Extraordinarily difficult as it already was to communicate with South Carolina (almost all of the messengers being waylaid), Cornwallis faced the prospect of totally losing the communication if he proceeded farther.

Read more.

Prospect Hill, Bunker’s Hill, and Psychological Warfare During the Siege of Boston

Massachusetts Historical Society — This appears to be the only surviving copy of a handbill (a small printed sheet, often an advertisement, distributed by hand) that is an early example of psychological warfare used by the Americans during the Revolutionary War. It is a satiric comparison of living conditions for soldiers on both sides of the lines during the Siege of Boston, 1775-1776, printed to encourage British soldiers to desert. A separate appeal to British soldiers about to embark for America not to support the war effort is printed on the verso (the back of the sheet).

The Siege of Boston — On the evening of 19 April 1775, after a daylong battle, the Massachusetts Minutemen and militia who had driven back the British expedition to Lexington and Concord surrounded the British garrison of Boston. Overnight, the eleven-month Siege of Boston began. While the British won a bloody tactical victory at Bunker Hill on 17 June, they had won at such terrible cost that they could not risk another battle. With few cannon and little knowledge of siege warfare, George Washington’s citizen army could not batter down the British defenses, so they turned to psychological warfare.

Read more (note how the article concludes: “Over the eight years of the Revolution War, the British would lose more soldiers to desertion than in combat”).

JAR: Augustine Barrett, Escaped British Prisoner of War, Pleads his Case

By Don N. Hagist, 22 August 2019

“About five weeks after he made his escape from Prospect hill,” Augustine Barrett told the board of inquiry, “he was confined in the Prison Ship at Boston where he continued between 5 & six Months.” Barrett was stating his case to a board of officers convened to settle claims of British soldiers owed paid and other entitlements. It was January 1783, the eighth year of a conflict in America that had seen many British soldiers displaced from their regiments for extended periods due to the fortunes of war.

The most common form of displacement was captivity. From the day hostilities broke out on April 19, 1775, soldiers on both sides had been captured here and there, separated from their own ranks and swept up by their enemies, wounded and left on the battlefield, captured at sea, and taken in an assortment of other circumstances. Sometimes large numbers were captured at one time – two British regiments garrisoning forts along the route from Lake Champlain to Quebec in 1775, several thousand Continental and militia troops on Long Island in August 1776 and again at Fort Washington that November, and almost six thousand British and German soldiers at Saratoga in October 1777. Those captives were marched across Massachusetts to barracks on Prospect Hill (for the British soldiers) and Winter Hill (for the Germans) outside of Boston.

Washington’s Quill: The Fulcrum of the Revolution? George Washington Explores the Possibility of a Southern Campaign

By Dana Stefanelli, 23 August 2019

The decisive and final major battle of the Revolutionary War was fought at Yorktown, Va., in September 1781. Just a year earlier, however, the prospect of a conclusive American victory in a southern state might have been deemed unthinkable. For one thing, most of the war’s major engagements had been contested in the mid-Atlantic states and New England; for another, the major military actions previously undertaken in the South – at Savannah, Charleston, and Camden – had ranked among the greatest American losses of the war. Also, George Washington and much of America’s political leadership remained focused on reclaiming New York City, which had served as British headquarters during most of the war. So, when and why did Washington begin to contemplate shifting his major operations to the southern theater?

Circumstances might suggest that Washington adopted a southern strategy during the summer of 1781. But evidence indicates that the American commander in chief had been weighing southern prospects by late 1780.

Read more.

The Junto: Call For Papers: The Age of Revolutions in the Digital Age

Information landscapes are changing profoundly. In order to absorb, circulate, and share knowledge, we all must balance “old” and “new” media… The late eighteenth century age of revolutions included similarly dramatic upheavals in media and power. Understanding this history offers considerable insight our present moment, and harnessing the potential of digital tools enables new insights into this crucial historical period.

The Institute of Thomas Paine Studies at Iona College invites scholars of history and digital media to join us in exploring how digital tools offer new insights into the Age of Revolutions and how the history of this era can help us better understand our own digital age. Participants working at the nexus of these two fields are encouraged to apply for a workshop-symposium that will take place at Iona College May 13-14, 2020.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: The Highland Soldier in North America

Matthew P. Dziennik, an Assistant Professor of History at the United States Naval Academy and author of The Fatal Land: War, Empire, and the Highland Soldier in British America, leads us on an investigation of the eighteenth-century world of the Scottish Highlands and how the 12,000 soldiers the Highlands sent to North America shaped the course of the British Empire during the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution.

As we explore the Highlands and British Empire during the eighteenth century, Matthew reveals information about the Scottish Highlands and Highland culture; How the Scottish Highlanders both resisted and support the British Empire during the eighteenth century; And, details about the military experiences of the Highland soldiers in North America during the Seven Years’ War and the War for American Independence.

Listen to the podcast.

Cemetery at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Auburn, Nova Scotia

On a recent visit to historic St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Auburn, Nova Scotia which has very strong ties to United Empire Loyalists, I was shown an interesting sign.

St. Mary’s was built in 1790 by United Empire Loyalists who settled in this area of Nova Scotia and consecrated by Bishop Charles Inglis. He built his summer home nearby at Clermont. His grandson, Dr. Charles Inglis, who remained in the area and was also a strong supporter of the Church, is buried underneath it and his grave can be viewed in the crypt.

The sign (see photo of sign and cemetery) is located at the western boundary of the adjacent Church Cemetery and reads:

“St. Mary’s Anglican Church Cemetery, 1790
Here lie souls known only to God.
In the early days of the Church only
those who were known to be baptized
were permitted to be buried in
consecrated ground.
Among those who rest here are
shipwreck victims, strangers, and
African Nova Scotians, some brought
here as slaves.”

Watch a short video with John DeCoste, Warden of the Church, speaking about the sign.

…Brian McConnell, UE; Regional VP (Atlantic), UELAC

Book: Brutal Virtue: The Myth and Reality of Banastre Tarleton

By Anthony Scotti

Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton is one of the most infamous figures in the annals of American Revolutionary War history. His British Legion, popularly known as the “Green Horse” or “Tarleton’s Legion,” was an extremely mobile military formation, consisting of both cavalry and light infantry. It participated in most of the major engagements fought in the Southern theater and its Loyalist members committed frequent excesses on and off the battlefield. For Tarleton, suppressing the rebellion was a “disagreeable exertion of authority.” To the Rebels, the Legionnaire too often “discriminated with severity.” Historian Christopher Ward, in his classic The War of the Revolution (1952), asserts that the Englishman “was shrewd, sudden, and swift to strike” and had no equal for “dash, daring, and vigor of attack.” Yet, “as a man, he was cold-hearted, vindictive, and utterly ruthless,” and “he wrote his name in letters of blood” for posterity.

This book is more than a mere reassessment of Banastre Tarleton and the British Legion in the Southern campaigns. Present-day Americans have an image of the dragoon leader as “Bloody Tarleton” and they do not question its validity. The author attempts to dispel that misconception by first introducing his readers to the myth-making process in American history and then providing objective background information on Tarleton’s early career and his command’s formation and structure. The campaign activities of the Legion and how the regiment conducted itself in battle as well as in bivouac influenced how contemporaries perceived the Green Horse. Tarleton employed a more brutal version of virtue than his American counterparts, and it is this “brutal virtue” that has dictated the course of American historiography and the legacy of “Bloody Tarleton.”

Consequently, the author focuses on two areas where Tarleton and his men have received the most condemnation: the lack of discipline and the use of terror. The book concludes with a summary of the Englishman’s postwar career and a judgment on the myth and reality of Tarleton and his unit.

Brutal Virtue: The Myth and Reality of Banastre Tarleton (2002), 2008, 5½×8½, paper, index, 314 pp. ISBN: 0788420992 101-S2099 $24.00 Book Available at HeritageBooks.com.

Front Line Staff are Valuable

By Kelly Arlene Grant, Public Historian, 13 August 2019. Kelly is a recipient of a UELAC Scholarship.

I would hazard to say that the front line staff are among the most valuable staff a museum or historic site can have. Not only do they work the cash registers, which bring in the money for the site, but they can make or break an experience for the visitor.

These staff members give the tours, talking about the artifacts in our collections. They tell the visitor why the site and its collection is important to the community’s heritage and culture. Often times, as part of ‘other duties’, they assist curators in mounting exhibits, they keep things clean, including the toilets, they provide security for each other, the site, and the valuable collection.

And yet, they are often the lowest paid people on staff, if they are paid at all…

We need to start appreciating these folks better than we are currently.

Read more.

Where in the World?

Where are Ruth Nicholson, of Hamilton Branch; Jean Rae Baxter, of Kingston Branch; and Louise Ferriss, of Bicentennial 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.

  • Chilliwack Branch is planning to participate in the Genealogy Expo at Abbotsford, BC @ The Reach on September 14

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Savage, John the Younger – from Linda Mazrimas

Please help us build the directory by contributing information. Contact loyalist.trails@uelac.org for guidance.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • The Old Loyalist Burial Grounds, Saint John, NB: Amazingly, despite circa 235 years (1784!), the stone for Loyalist Coonradt Hendricks survives. Hendricks was the first person interred here after it was established in 1783. The beautiful soul effigy still looks back at us. Brian McConnell UE.
  • Memories of “Mr. Balch’s Mimickry”. Nathaniel Balch was a hatter. But at heart he was an entertainer, known across Boston for his humor and charm. Most of our descriptions of Balch come from after independence, when he became known as a bosom friend of Gov. John Hancock. The most lively pictures of Balch appear in the memoirs of men writing in the mid-1800s who had been boys growing up in Hancock’s Boston. So what material did Balch pull out for the Sons of Liberty dinner in August 1769, with more than three hundred of Boston’s leading gentlemen present? Read more…
  • British Regiment.  The Black Company of Pioneers also known as the Black Pioneers was a British Provincial military unit raised for service during the American Revolutionary War. This unit was raised in Philadelphia in late 1777 and early 1778. In 1778, it was merged into the Guides and Pioneers in New York. Its commanders were Captain Allen Stewart and Captain Donald McPherson. It was disbanded in Port Roseway, Canada in 1783.
  • This Week in History [Now sorted by year from earlier to later – Editor]
    • 20 Aug 1770 Under Bostonian pressure, the merchants of Newport voted to rejoin the non-importation movement. The merchants of Providence held out. With all Townshend duties but the tea tariff repealed, people were eager to get back to business.
    • 21 Aug 1774: “This evening two officers of the 38th were very severely drub’d for going into a house in Pleasant street and ill-using two women, whose husbands happen’d to be at home.”
    • 22 Aug 1774, men surrounded the Taunton house of Daniel Leonard, demanding he quit the governor’s new Council. Hearing Leonard was away, the crowd dispersed, but at 11pm someone fired “four bullets and some Swan-shot” into the windows.
    • 17 Aug 1775 Major Roche, “bearing a large purse of Gold,” raises recruits in Cork, Ireland for American effort.
    • 19 Aug 1775, a Massachusetts committee agreed to pay Col. Benedict Arnold less than half of what he’d sought after his mission to Fort Ticonderoga. Meanwhile, Arnold was meeting with Gen. George Washington about going through Maine to Québec.
    • 21 Aug 1775 Quartermaster-General in Cambridge issues broadside requesting provisions.
    • 23 Aug 1775 King George III declares American Colonies to be in “open and avowed rebellion,” demands suppression.
    • 20 Aug 1776 Washington asks Gen, John Sullivan to relieve the ill Gen. Nathaniel Greene in defense of Long Island.
    • 22 Aug 1777 British Colonel Barry St. Leger abandons Fort Stanwix for Canada as Arnold’s forces approach.
    • 19 Aug 1779 Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee successfully leads daring raid on British at Paulus Hook, New-Jersey.
    • 18 Aug 1780 Americans & British clash in two different places in SC, with a victory – and a defeat – for each.
    • 22 Aug 1792, Elizabeth Freeman received notice that she had formally won her freedom suit, which effectively ended slavery in Massachusetts in the 1780s.
  • Townsends
  • Clothing and Related:
  • Miscellaneous: