“Loyalist Trails” 2019-40: October 6, 2019
In this issue:
– Ship Harbour, Nova Scotia: Part 2: More German Loyalists, by Stephen Davidson
– New Additions to Loyalist Monuments, Memorials and Commemoratives
– Fort Edward National Historic Site in Windsor, Nova Scotia
– Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Ephraim DeForest – The Shoemaker’s Ultimate Fate
– JAR: How Magna Carta Influenced the American Revolution
– JAR: The Whitall Family and the Battle of Red Bank
– Washington’s Quill: A Glimpse of William “Billy” Lee: George Washington’s Enslaved Manservant
– Ben Franklin’s World: John Dickinson – Life, Religion & Politics
– Book: De Kalb: One of the Revolutionary War’s Bravest Generals
– Where in the World?
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
+ Duncan Bell UEL (Son of William Bell UEL)
© Stephen Davidson, UE
Many of the Loyalists who settled in present day Ontario and Quebec were born in Germany’s Palatinate region. Having initially established homesteads primarily in the Middle Colonies before the American Revolution, many sought refuge in Canada following the Patriots’ victory. An often forgotten segment of the Palatine Loyalists is the group that first settled in South Carolina and then was compelled to seek sanctuary in Nova Scotia where they established new communities in Hants County and along the Atlantic coast in Ship Harbour.
As noted in last week’s Loyalist Trails, some of the Palatine Loyalists who settled in Ship Harbour bore the names of Crane, Eisan, Marks, Mehl, and Webber. Other German founders included members of the Meyer, Shelnut, Siteman, and Zong families.
Given that the history of the Loyalists springs from documents created by English speakers, it comes as no surprise that many of the German Loyalists’ names are rendered in a variety of spellings in the manifests, transcripts, and records of the 18th century. Hans Georg Schildnecht, for example, became George Shelnut (as well as Shellnut, Shelnutt, Shellnutt or Shobert).
Born in Germany in 1759, George came to Nova Scotia when he was 23 years old. Prior to 1777 “when the Troubles began”, he had been living on his father’s farm in the 96 District – the “back country” in westernmost South Carolina. George’s father had served in the British army, but had died before the end of the American Revolution. George followed in his father’s footsteps, joining the king’s forces and leaving his mother and two brothers on the farm. He was among the troops and refugees who were evacuated from Charleston, South Carolina in the fall of 1782.
Within four years’ time, Shelnut had been granted land in Ship Harbour and had married Mary Elizabeth Mehl, the daughter of a German Loyalist veteran. As there was not yet a church in the small settlement, George and Mary were married at St. George’s Anglican Church in Halifax, a journey of over 70 km. Between 1787 and 1801, the Shelnuts had six sons and four daughters who married into the Glawson, O’Bryan, and Webber families.
The children of another German Loyalist also created a familial network of marriages within Ship Harbour. Heinrich Seidemann (Henry Siteman) and his wife Barbara Margaret Myers also came to Nova Scotia via South Carolina’s 96 District. A tailor as well as a farmer, Siteman was imprisoned by local Patriots on two occasions as they suspected that he was still loyal to the king. After being released, Henry joined the British forces in 1780.
During the time that Henry was serving in Col. Pearson’s Regiment on James Island just south of Charleston, Barbara appeared on a list of “distressed refugees” living in the colony’s capital in October 1782. Within a few months the couple and their seven children were on an evacuation vessel bound for Halifax. Upon arriving in Nova Scotia, Siteman was one of the organizers of the Associated Loyalists of South Carolina, which advocated for the concerns of these displaced persons.
Although he was granted 40 hectares of land in Ship Harbour, Siteman did not move on to his property for a number of years. In 1786, he sought £325 in compensation for his lost land in South Carolina, but in the end only received £60. Over the years, Siteman added to his initial Loyalist grant so that by the time he died at 72 in 1813 his estate was valued at £457 – quite an accomplishment for a man who had arrived in Nova Scotia with nothing.
Henry Siteman’s brother-in-law was another one of Ship Harbour’s German Loyalists. Andreas/Andrew Myers/Meyer/Mires was born in Baden-Wurttemberg, and while he was still a child, his family moved to South Carolina’s 96 District with assistance from the British government. After turning 21, Andrew Myers received a grant of 40 hectares, which grew to 160 hectares within three years. After the outbreak of the revolution, Myers joined the same Loyalist company as Henry Siteman and the Webber men – all Palatines who would eventually settle along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast.
Sometime before his evacuation to Halifax, Myers married Magdalene. The couple would eventually have eight children. Myers’ 1786 petition to the loyalist compensation board for £209 in lost property resulted in a disappointing grant of £34 – representing less than 20% of the value of his estate.
Although Andrew and Magdalene are included on a 1784 muster list of those at Ship Harbour, it seems that the couple decided to settle in nearby Jeddore instead. Myers’ name appears on a petition for the building of a road along the eastern shore and in a census record. However, his lasting legacy seems to be one that is found on a map. Today a peninsula juts out into Jeddore Harbour that bears the name of Myers Point.
One of the men who fought next to Andrew Myers in Col. Thomas Pearson’s Regiment of the Little River Militia was Christian Sing/Zong. He, too, would eventually find sanctuary in Nova Scotia.
The German immigrant had settled in South Carolina in 1764, where he had three sons and a 150-acre farm. In 1775, Sing took up his musket to help rid the town of 96 of its rebels. The Patriots returned in force and recaptured 96. They took Sing prisoner and marched him to Charleston. However, he was eventually released, “being (in the words of his testimony) an old man”. (He would have been about 51.)
Within three years, Sing and his sons joined the British army. The four Loyalists fought patriots in Florida, Georgia and again in Charleston. Obviously Sing’s principles were more important to him than his land, cattle, horses, hogs and grain, which he abandoned to serve his king. However, the elderly Loyalist’s wartime losses were more than just lands and goods.
Christian Junior – Sing’s third son – was wounded by a musket shot during the course of a scouting mission. Peter Sing, the oldest son, was taken prisoner while he served at a British garrison and hanged by his rebel captors. Sing’s second son died as the British army lay siege to Savannah.
When Charleston’s loyalists were evacuated in the fall of 1782, Sing (now 58) and his wife Julianna decided to go to Nova Scotia, settling in Ship Harbour with their daughter, 18 year-old Elizabeth. Having sacrificed land and sons for the Loyalist cause – Christian almost missed the opportunity to receive compensation for his wartime losses.
The news of the possibility of restitution from the British government finally reached Sing when a sailing vessel came to his community in the late fall. However, the harbour’s ice formed so quickly that the ship could not leave with Sing’s claim until the spring. Nevertheless, Sing was able to stand before the loyalist compensation board when it convened in Halifax on July 10, 1786.
Sing’s daughter Elizabeth eventually married Jason/Jesse Chapman. The couple was still alive in 1827 when a census of Ship Harbour revealed that their household contained 3 men and 2 women. Elizabeth Chapman would have been 62 that year.
These are just some of the stories of the Palatine Loyalists who settled in Nova Scotia’s Ship Harbour. But the Loyalist settlement was home to others besides the German refugees of South Carolina. Next week’s edition of Loyalist Trails will tell the tales of Irish, English, and New York Loyalists who settled among the Palatines of Ship Harbour.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
The mission of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association calls on members to “preserve, promote and celebrate the history and traditions of the Loyalist epoch in Canadian history” in a variety of ways. Over the years the contributions of the United Empire Loyalists have been recognized by the Association, governments, community groups and individuals in the form of monuments, memorials, plaques, and commemorative stamps and plates. The following (in the Resources section of the website) will both remind and inform about how the Loyalists are honoured and remembered across Canada: Monuments and Other Commemoratives (Stamps and Plates, the Loyalist Rose, the Loyalist Flag, Coins, Trophies, etc.).
Under the stewardship of Fred Hayward, and the contributions of Brian McConnell, the following have been added this week to Monuments:
• Abraham Pineo Gesner Monument, Kings County, NS: Kings County honours the memory of United Empire Loyalists with monument to Abraham Pineo Gesner, the inventor of kerosene.
• De Lancey Family Burying Ground, Tupperville, NS: The gravestone for Col. James De Lancey, commander of the De Lancey Volunteers, is a short walk from Highway 201 near Tupperville.
• Garrison Cemetery (Captain John Lichtenstein), Fort Anne, Annapolis Royal, NS: This cemetery on the grounds of Fort Anne at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, contains the burial site of Captain John Lichtenstein UEL.
• Old Saint Edward’s Anglican Church, Clementsport, NS: Consecrated in 1797, Saint Edward’s Anglican Church is located at 34 Old Post Road, Clementsport, Nova Scotia, on land originally settled by the Ditmar family.
• Loyalist Burial Ground, Saint John, NB: The Loyalist Burial Ground was established shortly after the landing of the United Empire Loyalists in 1783. After its closure as a cemetery in 1848 the site became a memorial garden, with tree-lined walkways and flower beds.
This weekend I visited Fort Edward National Historic Site in Windsor, Nova Scotia. During the American Revolution the 84th Regiment of Foot (also known as the Royal Highland Emigrants), which was made up in part of Loyalists from the southern colonies including Capt. Allan MacDonald, husband of Flora MacDonald, was stationed at the Fort. Known as the Jacobite saviour of Bonnie Prince Charlie for helping him to escape after the Battle of Culloden, Flora visited her husband here and spent one winter.
It was quite windy and due to background noise I stayed sheltered beside the historic blockhouse which dates back to the 1750s and is the oldest of its’ kind in North America.
…Brian McConnell, UE
By Graham Segger, 2 October 2019
This is the story of an industrious tanner and shoemaker from Redding, Connecticut, and how he found himself on the losing end of the Revolutionary War and on a ship sailing north for the mouth of the St. John River. It will illustrate the risks of choosing sides in a conflict too early and the rewards for sticking with that conviction.
Ephraim DeForest moved to Redding sometime before 1764 where he married local girl Sarah Betts. We are very fortunate to have available a fascinating portrait of the political and social structure of Redding at the time of the American Revolution. W.E. Grumann wrote a book in 1908 titled The Revolutionary Soldiers of Redding and buried in its long rambling subtitle is the phrase “with some Account of the Loyalists of the Town and Vicinity; their Organization, their Efforts and their Sacrifices in Behalf of the Cause of their King; and their Ultimate Fate.” The town had a strong loyalist tradition but also a revolutionary fervour. Ephraim joined a group of Tories called the Redding Loyalist Association which wrote an open letter of February 23, 1775 to Rivington’s New York Gazetteer. The letter condemned the actions of the Patriot Congress and declared their allegiance to the King. The first letter was not signed but after a series of letters to the editor both condemning and supporting the resolutions contained in the first letter, a full list of signatories was published, including the name of Ephraim DeForest.
The Battle of Lexington came two months after the publication of the letter of February 23rd, and the War was on. By November 1776 Ephraim had to abandon his home which included a house, barn, tannery, shop, 2 horses, 3 cows, 36 sheep, 2 swine, and 15 acres of land, which was a fairly sizeable estate for a 34-year-old man. His land was confiscated and sold off through a series of legal actions in 1777 and 1778 in consequence of his political stance.
By Jason Yonce, 3 October 2019
In 1984, Ross Perot purchased a copy of the 1297 reissuance of the Magna Carta from the Brudenell family who had held the document for centuries. In 1988, it became a permanent fixture of the National Archives Museum where it stayed in the rotunda along with the American charters of freedom for several years. Nearly two decades later, in 2007, Perot sold the copy for twenty-one million dollars to David Rubenstein who also placed it again on long-term loan at the Archives as well as giving a generous donation for renovations to the rotunda. The Archives re-encased the charter and placed in a new exhibit in 2010. The 2500-word Latin document is a remarkable sight. In many ways it is in better condition on vellum than the parchment copies of the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution.
The Magna Carta, and how the American founders viewed it, is fundamental to any Whig interpretation of the period. While economic interpretations are valid, it would be wrong to dismiss the founders’ vision of the Magna Carta as a foundational text and patrimony, and its power in propaganda and legal argumentation. For patriot or loyalist, the Magna Carta took on a covenantal role to which all else was subordinate.
Nevertheless, the centuries-long history of the document before the Revolutionary War complicates the history for those in the present. It is difficult to draw a very straight of a line from 1215 to 1776 without losing focus and winding up in a thicket of legalese or mentioning every single colonial and founding figure who even once mentioned the charter in speech or letter. Yet despite unforgiving contemporary views of the charter’s significance, and those in the Revolutionary period who saw it as a wellspring of everything it meant to be of English descent, we can see that the path may be quite tortuous but one can look backward from 1776 and see a clear beginning in the distant past.
By Gregory Safko, 1 October 2019
James W. Whitall (1717-1808) was a prominent Quaker businessman and farmer in the southern region of New Jersey. In 1739 he married Ann Cooper (1716-1797), a devout, no-nonsense Quaker, and together they built a house situated on a farm consisting of over four hundred acres of land along the Delaware River in Red Bank, New Jersey. Completed in 1748, the house offered a commanding view of the southern Philadelphia skyline, and it was from this house that James operated his many enterprises, which included farming his lands and orchards, raising livestock, and running a ferry service that transported people and goods between New Jersey and Philadelphia. Their house was always filled with people, from their nine children (six sons and three daughters), and as many as thirteen indentured servants.
The lifestyle of the wife of a successful entrepreneur was somewhat troubling to Ann Cooper Whitall, as she wrote in her journals of her difficulties in raising a proper Quaker family. Several disheartening entries discussed her fear of death, how she dreaded the future, and how she was saddened that her boys chose to play ball, skate, and go fishing on “First Day” (Sunday) rather than attend Quaker Meetings. Yet her duty as wife and mother carried her beyond her sadness, as she grew into the steadfast matriarch of the Whitall family. When she completed the last of her three journals in 1762, she wrote no more.
Around 1766 an extension was added to the house, which allowed the kitchen area to expand, and offered James a separate room where his business could be conducted. This pleased Ann, as it offset her husband’s business affairs from the mainstay of a traditional Quaker home.
When war broke out in 1775, life changed dramatically for the Whitall family. In the spring of 1777, as a proactive effort to block British warships from navigating up the Delaware, the Continental Congress ordered a fort built on the north end of the Whitall farm, and the lands in the center of the Whitall apple orchard were seized for the project. Fort Mercer (named in honor of Brig. Gen. Hugh Mercer who died at the battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777) was designed and built by Polish engineer Thadeusz (Thaddeus) Kosciuszko. Fort Mercer consisted of a series of earthworks, surrounded by a ditch, with wooden spikes mounted on log palisades, all facing towards Philadelphia. Chevaux-de-frise (portable wooden frames affixed with wooden spikes aimed at the enemy) were strategically placed around the fort. In addition, several chevaux-de-frise were built with their wooden spikes topped with sharp metal points; these were sunk just below the water line in the Delaware River, with the intent of puncturing the hulls of any British warship or transport ship that sailed up the river to Philadelphia. Across the river was Fort Island Battery.
By William M. Ferraro, 4 October 2019
Information on George Washington and slavery rose to a new level with the publication of Mary V. Thompson’s “The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret”: George Washington, Slavery, and the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon (University of Virginia Press: Charlottesville, Va., 2019). Thompson’s decades of work as a research historian at Mount Vernon has made her one of the foremost experts on many aspects of Washington’s life through an unparalleled command of primary and secondary sources. Her recent book brings that mastery to bear on the topic of slavery so that readers can widen and deepen their understanding of the individuals and institution under Washington’s control.
Unsurprisingly, Thompson frequently refers to William “Billy” Lee, arguably the most famous slave whom Washington owned because of Lee’s service as the general’s valet during the full course of the Revolutionary War. Lee also was the only slave whom Washington freed outright in his will at the time of his death.
The Second Continental Congress voted for independence on July 2, 1776 with 12 colonies and one abstention. The delegation from New York abstained from the vote. And Pennsylvania voted in favor of independence because two of its delegates were persuaded not to attend the vote given their opposition.
John Dickinson was one of the two delegates who absented himself from the vote. Later, he would refuse to sign the Declaration of Independence. But why?
Jane Calvert, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Kentucky and the Director/Editor of The John Dickinson Writings Project, joins us to explore the life, religion, and political views of John Dickinson.
During our conversation, Jane reveals information about John Dickinson’s Quaker upbringing and education; Details about how Dickinson’s Quaker upbringing and education informed his politics and fueled his desire to help common people; And, what John Dickinson’s politics really were and why America’s first internationally famous political celebrity refused to vote for independence.
By John Beakes
People who saw Major General Johann de Kalb’s heroic actions at the battle of Camden, South Carolina on August 16, 1780, never forgot it. A soldier who fought there wrote fifty-three years later that de Kalb was “…perhaps the bravest man that ever lived.” Bleeding from eleven wounds, de Kalb died three days after the battle. British officers attended his funeral to respect an honored foe. American leaders spoke and wrote of their high regard. Congress authorized a memorial statue in Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, whose sons he had led in battle. This military biography chronicles the life and legacy of this fine military leader. He gave his all for us. We should remember him.
Where are Calgary Branch members Jack Twells and Ivy Trumpour?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Westminster Abbey: After his death, John André became a romantic hero in England and his monument was erected at the expense of King George III. The monument’s relief shows George Washington with officers, Major André being led away to be hanged and a woman wringing her hands in grief.
- “Mourning in the Afternoon“: Day 3 of In the Footsteps of the Ancestors – Mohawk Valley tours 2019 was “Mourning in the Afternoon“: 18th century death and mourning practices presented by Wade Wells at Johnson Hall, and a ghost walk this evening in the colonial cemetery in Johnstown hosted by the Johnstown Historical Society. Another informative and fun day!!! ..Jennifer Debruin
- Sergeant Mathew Howell who served with King’s Orange Rangers described in Memorial of Oct. 20, 1797 how moved to Upper Canada since [he] found lands in Nova Scotia unfit for agriculture ..Brian McConnell
- This Week in History
- 4 Oct. 1769: At a Boston Town meeting, Samuel Adams says those who violate non-importation agreements are guilty of treason and proposes that violators be listed as “enemies to their country.” The town meeting approves the proposal.
- 1 Oct. 1773: Gov. Thomas Hutchinson reported to Lord Dartmouth, Secretary of State, about the number of voters in Massachusetts: “In 1761 the rateable Polls appear to lie near 54000. I am informed that in 1771 they had increased to 73000.”
- 4 Oct. 1774: the Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company drilled. With redcoats camped on the Common, the company went to Copp’s Hill in the North End. The appearance of 50 men with muskets alarmed the crew of HMS Lively in the Charles River.
- 29 Sept. 1775: after hours of questioning Mary Butler identified the lover who’d asked her to help slip a ciphered letter into Boston. The man was Dr. Benjamin Church, leading Boston Patriot & head of the Continental Army’s medical wing.
- 30 Sept. 1775: “The Author is found. You cannot guess. . . . the famous Doctor Church…is now under arrest, but whether the letter was wrote with a good or ill intention remains to be prov’d from the Contents of the Letter.” – Gen. Nathanael Greene
- Dr. Church would be arrested and put on trial. You can learn more about the saga of Dr. Church – read more…
- 5 Oct. 1775: Gen. George Washington sent all of his generals a series of questions about how the Continental Army should be organized for the upcoming year:
- 1 Oct. 1776: Benjamin Franklin learns that the French plan to supply arms to Americans through West Indies.
- 2 Oct. 1776: Thomas Jefferson resigns from Continental Congress to serve in Virginia House of Delegates.
- 30 Sept. 1777: Congress convenes in York, Pennsylvania for one day, then adjourns.
- 4 Oct. 1777: Americans defeated at Battle of Germantown; nonetheless, Washington’s audacious attack impresses French.
- 28 Sept. 1778: In the Baylor Massacre in River Vale NJ, American regiment slaughtered & captured by Col. Maitland.
- 29 Sept. 1780: British spymaster Major John André sentenced to hang.
- 3 Oct. 1781: French cavalry & British forces skirmish at Gloucester, Virginia; French block supplies to Cornwallis.
- A New Food In The New Frontier – Corn Over An Open Fire
- Clothing and Related:
- Yes, the Amish are (somewhat) Fashionable. It has been a crutch at most living history sites in Canada, to order Amish menswear for their interpreters rather than making them proper, historical clothing. After all, the Amish wear old fashioned clothes, who’s going to notice the difference? What may look “old fashion” to most people isn’t as old as one might think. Look closely, and you may actually see that they are really rather fashionable – vintage maybe, but not so “old” as you’d think. The current trend in Amish women’s wear sits mid 1970s, Laura Ashley style. Kelly Arlene Grant. Read more…
- The boarding-school hair-dresser, 1786.
- Tie-wig, Bob-wig, and Bag-Wig of the 1700s By Geri Walton. Of all the fashions of the 1700s, perhaps the wig most resembles “character of that period, embodying the artificiality, the mixture of dignity and affectation, and the pompous conventionality.” The wig did not suddenly appear over night but rather grew into popularity until at one point wigs were so fashionable, if you wore your own hair you tried to make it appear as if it were a wig. Read more…
- 18th Century court dress, worn by a new bride being presented at court as a married woman 1775-80
- 18th Century stomacher for a women’s gown, the stomacher would be pinned to the overcoat of a silk dress, closing the dress over the chest, and worn with a petticoat. c.1720’s made of silk and metal thread
- On Wednesday’s we wear… pink Robe à la Française?! A wealthy woman during 1775 may well have! Silk plain weave (taffeta) with silk supplementary warp and weft patterning, silk chenille and linen lace (the back pleats are to die for)
- There is great subtlety to this 1790s robe a l’anglaise. It is made from a deeply ribbed changeant silk in blue and rose, the textured surface meaning that, like a hologram, the colour shifts as the fabrics moves, a ripple of shade in structured silk
- 18th Century men’s matching three piece suit, wool plain weave, with sequins and metallic embroidery, 1760’s
- 18th Century men’s waistcoat, striped silk velvet with silk chenille embroidered couching, silver thread, and silver sequins, French, 1785-1790
- Detail of 18th Century men’s waistcoat, 1770’s, woven silk with silver thread, enamelling, silver purl & spangles, silk thread
- Colonial newspapers contributed to the perpetuation of slavery. Advertised 250 years ago today: “A likely Negro Woman, about 36 years of age, can do all sorts of housework” (Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-letter 10/5/1769)
- Jamestown-Yorktown: We took a page from Hannah Glasse’s book – “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy,” published in 1747, to be exact – and whipped up this scrumptious recipe for pea soup in the re-created farm kitchen at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
On May 6, 2019 I received my Loyalist Certificate as a proven descendant of Duncan Bell UEL, son of William Bell UEL. That said, I would like to continue my family research.
William Bell was born in Liddesdale, Scotland, about 1720 and went with his wife, Flora McCorquodale, and family to the US in 1772. They settled on the Argyle Settlement near Fort Edward up the Hudson River north of Albany. Strongly, pro-British in the American Revolution, they were forced out after the war and came to Fredericksburg in 1774.
William Sr.’s first son, William McCorquodale Bell UEL also has several proven Loyalist descendants.
However the focus of my research is Duncan’s family and descendants. I would appreciate the opportunity to contact and exchange information with any descendants, or others who are researching that family.