“Loyalist Trails” 2020-01: January 5, 2020

In this issue:
Penuel Grant: Loyalist Officer’s Widow and New Brunswick Pioneer (Part One), by Stephen Davidson
The Black Cemetery at Conway & Brinley Town, by Brian McConnell, UE
The Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress
JAR: Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation: Information and Slavery
JAR: Why Newport, Rhode Island, Scorned the French
Ben Franklin’s World: Paul Revere’s Ride Through History
“Where BOSTONIA lifts her spires”
The Regency Town House: The Servants’ Quarters
Correction to “Loyalist Township acquires three historic properties in Bath”
Region and Branch Bits
      + Kingston & District Branch
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
Last Post
      + Elizabeth Sewell, UE
      + Darrell Percy Sewell, UE
Editor’s Note


Penuel Grant: Loyalist Officer’s Widow and New Brunswick Pioneer (Part One)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

The letter that brings the story of Mrs. Penuel Grant into Loyalist history was written in New York City on October 8, 1783. The Patriots were the victors in the American Revolution. British troops and Loyalist refugees converged on New York to await evacuation to other parts of the British Empire. Penuel, the widow of Major James Grant, had contacted Sir Guy Carleton, the British commander in chief, describing her plans to seek refuge in Halifax with “her family of five sons grown, three daughters, and three servants.”

This was not the first letter that Penuel had written to Carleton, but it gives us the starting point for re-creating her story. Two months earlier, the Loyalist widow had written to the commander in chief hoping to either secure an allowance or an “allotment of lands” as she had “no means of future support” in the wake of the death of her husband, a major with the King’s American Regiment. The rebels had seized the family farm near Albany during the revolution and so Mrs. Grant had no resources to support her family.

As women had to do in the late 18th century, Penuel was compelled to plead for financial assistance based on the accomplishments of her husband. In her October letter, she reminded Carleton that her husband had fought in Flanders, in Germany and on the Rose, a man-of-war, before his service in the American South as an officer in the King’s American Regiment.

Grant was among the 14,000 soldiers and sailors who – under the command of Sir Henry Clinton – left New York City on 90 transports and 10 warships in December of 1779. They were bound for the southern colonies, planning to quash the rebel forces and win the American Revolution for the glory of Great Britain.

During the course of the southern campaign, James Grant had come to the notice of Sir Henry Clinton, Carleton’s predecessor as British commander in chief. Impressed by the major, Clinton had promised to provide for Grant following the war. Unfortunately, when Loyalist and British forces evacuated Savannah, Georgia in July of 1782, Grant died during the voyage back to New York City.

If an officer died while “in the field”, his widow would receive a particular sum for a pension. Penuel hoped that Carleton would authorize that sum for her even though her husband had died at sea. (At the writing of her October letter, Penuel was receiving a £25 pension from the crown every three months.)

In preparation for its departure to Nova Scotia, the Grant family tried to sell off their cattle. The Commissary General Brook Watson would not allow Penuel to take the cattle on board her evacuation ship unless she had the “particular permission” of Carleton. Penuel also had great hopes that she would be allowed to bring the furniture for “two rooms and one kitchen” as well as “one horse and chaise”. Watson cautioned the Loyalist widow that bringing a horse and chaise “could only be done with expense and inconvenience” and would ultimately be a burden to her in the wilds of Nova Scotia. Watson could, however, “accommodate her family with good berths to Nova Scotia”.

Penuel Grant’s hopes of providing for her family were common for women who were the widows of Loyalist soldiers. However, while most women in her shoes were from the working or middle classes, Penuel was from a higher strata of society. Fending for herself and her children in the fringes of the British North American Empire must have been especially daunting for a woman who was used to the life of an officer’s wife. With three African slaves as part of her retinue, she had no doubt been used to delegating domestic tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and child care to others. Atypical as she might be for a Loyalist widow, Penuel nevertheless provides an interesting glimpse into what a particular class of woman experienced during the American Revolution.

Both Penuel and her husband James were natives of Scotland. James Grant was born in 1727, and Penuel Lockwood in 1729. Their first four children were all born in Inveranon, Banff, Scotland: Alexander (1764), Swithun/Joseph (1766), Betty (1768), and Helen (1771). A fifth child only lived to be two years old. By 1772, the Grants were living in the colony of New York, joined by Peter who was either born before their departure from Scotland or after their arrival in North America. William was born in New York in 1774. (If family records are accurate, a younger brother named Finlay was born in Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen in Bavaria in 1775 – which fits with Penuel’s mention of her husband’s service in Germany.) A son named Samuel and an unnamed daughter were born after Finlay. The last Grant child was John, who is said to have been born shortly after his father’s death in 1782. If nothing else, this record of her children’s births demonstrates that Penuel followed her husband on his various military assignments, criss-crossing the ocean at the whim of the British army.

Penuel’s obituary in an 1824 edition of “The Gentleman’s Magazine” , a British periodical, provides further details about the life of the Grants. “In the endurance of peril and privation through a course of warfare, few passed a more arduous ordeal than Mrs. Grant, having with an infant family accompanied her husband from the highlands of Scotland to America, where, previous to the rapture with our colonies, he purchased land, and settled in Albany County; from whence on the breaking out of the war, Major Grant (then an officer on half-pay of Keith’s Highlanders, with which and the Black Watch he had served many years in Germany) joined the British standard, leaving his wife and children without the lines; who after his departure were confined to their farm.”

Penuel’s two oldest sons, Alexander and Joseph, decided to join the British army that was stationed in Manhattan and on Long Island. Out of “regard to their safety”, Penuel felt “impelled to escape with them” and in disguise she left the family farm in Albany County. (No doubt she had insisted on serving as her sons escort due to the fact that both boys were under 12 years of age.) A spy named Tailor guided them, “sometimes walking, at other times on horseback without saddles” until they came to Hackensack, New Jersey about 49 miles north of New York City.

Patriot sympathizers stopped Penuel, her two sons, and their guide in Hackensack. Somehow, their captors determined that the four were on their ways to go within the British lines. Suddenly, Penuel found herself staring into the wrong end of a Patriot’s musket.

This story of a loyalist officer’s widow concludes in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

The Black Cemetery at Conway & Brinley Town, by Brian McConnell, UE

By Brian McConnell, UE

As published in “The Nova Scotia Genealogist” by the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia.

A few kilometers from the Town of Digby, Nova Scotia on Highway 303 you pass by a cemetery at Conway which has been referred to as the Black Cemetery. Conway includes the area where the community of Brinley Town was started after the Loyalists arrived at the end of the American Revolution. Brinley Town consisted of 76 one acre lots of land granted to the Black Loyalists by Governor John Parr of Nova Scotia on July 29, 1785.

Land records dealing with property holdings indicate the cemetery was formerly referred to as “the burying ground used by the coloured population.” This reference appeared in a Deed dated June 21, 1922 from Arthur L. M. Swabey which conveyed a 33 acre lot of land to Gertrude S. Dukeshire and reserved out the cemetery. Later Deeds include references to being “lands of the African Baptist Church and used as cemetery” and “commonly known as the coloured cemetery.”

Read more.

The Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress

October 19, 1765

The Following document is a list of grievances and conclusions drawn by this 1765 Congress in response to the Stamp Act.

[On the motion of James Otis, on June 8, the Massachusetts legislature sent a circular inviting all the colonies to send delegates to a congress at New York in October, 1765. Representatives from only nine colonies appeared. Virginia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Georgia were not represented. The Congress agreed upon the Declaration of Rights reproduced here and, further, petitioned the king and Parliament. Because the credentials of certain delegates authorized them merely to consult and not to take action, the petition was signed by the members of only six colonies.]

Saturday, Oct. 19th, 1765, A.M. – The congress met according to adjournment, and resumed, etc., as yesterday; and upon mature deliberation, agreed to the following declaration of the rights and grievances of the colonists in America, which were ordered to be inserted.

Read the 13 rights declared.

JAR: Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation: Information and Slavery

By Patrick H. Hannum, 30 December 2019

Lord Dunmore, John Murray, the 4th Earl of Dunmore (1730-1809) and Royal Governor of Virginia (1771-1776), was an important political and military figure during the early stages of the American Revolution. One of Dunmore’s most controversial actions involved issuing a proclamation to free all slaves and indentured servants of rebels who would rally to the King’s standard, dated November 7, 1775, but issued a week later. Dunmore’s Proclamation was also an announcement of martial law. One of the original surviving copies of Dunmore’s Proclamation of 1775 is on public display through March 22, 2020, in a special exhibition, “Forgotten Soldier,” at the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown, Virginia.

Dunmore took a significant political risk by issuing the proclamation, but his relatively weak political, security, and military positions may have forced him. His proclamation was intended to quell the growing rebellion in Virginia and draw those on the margins of Virginia’s political processes into the King’s camp, in opposition to the growing rebel insurgency. Dunmore’s Proclamation was an information document, capitalizing on the institution of slavery, designed to influence the population as Dunmore used all available resources to maintain control of Virginia while cultivating both internal and external support.


Information is an important element of warfare and frequently overlooked as a critical tool to shape the military and political operating environment. Information operations seek to address “the cognitive dimension [of warfare and] encompasses the minds of those who transmit, receive, and respond to or act on information.” In other words, information is a tool to shape human behavior, and information provides advantage by impacting an individual or group’s perception, judgement, and ultimately their decision-making.

Read more.

JAR: Why Newport, Rhode Island, Scorned the French

By Norman Desmarais, 2 January 2020

One would expect that a country that had been at war for five years would welcome its first ally with open arms. We might have mental images of civic officials leading throngs of eager citizens to greet the allies or of platoons of soldiers firing salutes. It didn’t happen. No government officials, no military officers or soldiers, nobody was at the pier to greet the French troops when they arrived at Newport, Rhode Island.

The Comte de Rochambeau arrived at 3 PM on Tuesday, July 11, 1780. He ordered the Amazone to be the only ship to dock at Long Wharf. Armand Charles Augustin de la Croix, Duc de Castries noted in his journal: “When he disembarked he [Rochambeau] found no one to receive him. He had to find lodging at the inn and it was only the next day that he could meet the governor of the city (General William Heath).”

General Rochambeau and Mr. Jacques de Béville, quartermaster general of the army, were the only men to disembark on July 11. The rest of the fleet, with about 5,800 troops and 6,000 sailors and marines, anchored in the harbor in very heavy fog after a passage of seventy-one days and three and half months on board ship.

General Rochambeau’s second in command, the Baron de Vioménil (Antoine Charles du Houx baron de Vioménil) did not think it prudent to leave General Rochambeau alone on land, so he ordered the grenadier company of the Bourbonnais Regiment to disembark to be his guard.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Paul Revere’s Ride Through History

In this episode, we speak with Sarah J. Purcell, Jane Kamensky, Patrick Leehey, and Christoph Irmscher to explore Paul Revere’s ride through history.

During our exploration, these scholars reveal details about historical memory and how it works; facts about Paul Revere’s ride to Lexington on April 18, 1775; And information about why Paul Revere and his ride stick in our national memory.

Listen to the podcast.

“Where BOSTONIA lifts her spires”

By J.L. Bell

It’s a Boston 1775 tradition to share a “carrier verse” at the turn of the year. Traditionally those were poems written and printed by newspaper apprentices as a way to cadge tips from their customers.

Often those apprentices commented on political concerns, but usually in a general, patriotic way, looking ahead to a better year. They didn’t want to put anybody in an ungenerous mood, after all.

The Regency Town House: The Servants’ Quarters

The good fortune and comforts of Regency living were not extended to those in service. The basement annexe at No.10 is a vast space laid out for the needs of the working environment and incorporates some spartan living accommodation for the servants.

The family would probably have employed between eight and twelve servants who were given their food and accommodation as part of their wages. Some would live in the attic bedrooms and some above the stables, but if these rooms were full, servants might have to sleep in the servants’ hall and kitchen.

Read more (Brighton, England).

Correction to “Loyalist Township acquires three historic properties in Bath”

This item was included in last week’s Loyalist Trails. In it, one of the three properties was listed as “Fairfield-Gutzeit House”, which is correct. However, further in the article, the description was for “Fairfield House”, which is a different property entirely.

The description from the Fairfield Gutzeit Society website is as follows:

The Fairfield-Gutzeit House – 341 Main Street, Bath, Ontario

The Fairfield-Gutzeit House is the oldest of three properties, built in 1796 by two brothers, William Jr. and Benjamin, both prominent in the community.

They first came to Bath is 1793 when they left their father’s home near Amherstview. The house remained in the Fairfield family until the 1860s, but was not again owned by a Fairfield until 1938 when the estate was purchased by Mabel Fairfield Gutzeit, great-granddaughter of William Fairfield Jr., married to Dr. William H. Gutzeit, a doctor of music.

The Gutzeits enjoyed a very active social life, held musical evenings and had a variety of cultural interests that included the collection of antique paintings and furniture. Mrs. Gutzeit transferred the property to the St. Lawrence Parks Commission which in turn passed it on to the Village of Bath. The original building was a simple 1 1/2 storey structure with an unadorned, steep-pitched roof which reflects the origins of the Fairfield family in Vermont. Considerable alterations were made over the course of time, mostly by the Gutzeits in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.

Region and Branch Bits

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

Kingston & District Branch

Saturday, January 25, 2020 – 1:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall, 137 Queen Street.

James Brownell, President of the Lost Villages Historical Society, will use photos to bring viewers on an armchair tour “Through the Lands of the Lost Villages”. With the construction of the Hydro and Seaway projects of the 1950s, the St. Lawrence Valley lost six villages and three hamlets that had been settled by United Empire Loyalists following the American Revolution. This presentation will highlight the construction, destruction and rehabilitation that took place, in the name of “progress”, between August 10, 1954 and July 1, 1958.

More details.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Interesting map showing location of New Edinburgh NS after arrival of Loyalists in 1783.  Each town lot was 10 acres and also a Common open to all settlers. (Source: “Along the Shores of St. Mary’s Bay” by J. Alphonse Deveau).  Brian McConnell UE
  • This Week in History
    • 30 Dec 1775 Washington permits recruiters to discuss enlistment with free blacks, reversing earlier policy.
    • 31 Dec 1775 Patriot attempt to take Quebec City fails & Gen. Montgomery is killed in the effort.
    • 2 Jan 1776 Jan 2, 1776, Capt. William Palfrey wrote to his wife from Cambridge about leading an Anglican service for Martha Washington. He edited the usual reference to the king and added a prayer for the Continental Congress
    • 3 Jan 1776 “The king’s speech absolutely destroys all hope of reunion—I formerly and indeed not long ago look’d with some degree of horror on the scheme of separation but at present there appears no alternative…” —Gen. Charles Lee,
    • 4 Jan 1776, a Crown informant reporting from Philadelphia described the new Continental naval ensign as “English Colours but more Striped.” In the late 1800s this design came to be known as the Grand Union Flag.
    • 2 Jan 1777 Second Battle of Trenton, results in British withdrawal from New-Jersey for the winter.
    • 3 Jan 1777 Washington departs Trenton NJ under cover of darkness, engages British at Princeton in decisive victory.
    • 29 Dec 1778 In the First Battle of Savannah, Georgia, militia and Continentals are defeated by British forces.
    • 28 Dec 1781 Lt. Col Henry Lee plans attack on British troops on John’s Island, SC; plan fails due to high water.
    • 1 Jan 1782 Loyalists begin widespread evacuation from America, heading to Nova-Scotia and New-Brunswick.
  • Townsend’s
  • Clothing and Related:
    • Sumptuous sackback robe of woven silk with passementerie, self fabric robings; textile possibly from Amsterdam, made in England 1735-40 and altered c1780.
    • a dress from 300 years ago– 1720! The fabric is so luxurious with big floral designs, which was popular at the time. Then it is pleated and draped with such skill and mastery
    • 18th Century dress, sleeve & flounce detail, showcasing floral silk embroidery and trimmings, 1775-1785
    • 18th Century dress and accessories, the silk is of the 1770’s but the dress is of 1785-90
    • 18th Century sample pattern for embroidered floral design for a man’s frock coat, c.1780’s
    • I love this plus-size set of stays (corset) from c. 1745. We tend to think of all C18th women as petite – and surviving clothing, to be fair, often reflects that notion. So this is a rare example of the lived experience of many women – occasionally captured in portraiture.
    • 18th Century men’s frock coat, silver striped silk with bright blue buttons, c.1790
    • 1740s ribbed silk waistcoat with floral embroidery, possibly worked in China for export to the West. The standard dress for a gentleman in the 1700s was a coat, breeches, and a waistcoat
  • Miscellaneous:
    • The little things that humanize the past: Paul Revere’s magnetized lodestone & tin box c1796. Revere used the lodestone to gather metal filings from his work bench & shop floor.
    • 18th C folding fan, the leaf richly painted with an eye-popping medley of trompe l’œil prints amidst Chinoiserie motifs. The large format suggests ornamental rather than practical use.

Last Post

Elizabeth Sewell, UE

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Elizabeth Sewell (Fredericton, New Brunswick), born in Ripples, New Brunswick, who passed away on December 29, 2019, at the age of 102, leaving to mourn family and friends. Leave a sympathy message to the family on the memorial page of Elizabeth Sewell to pay them a last tribute. You may also light a candle in honor of Elizabeth Sewell.

She was predeceased by : her husband Herbert H. Sewell; her parents, John R. Campbell and Lillian B. Campbell (Young); her siblings, Reva Larlee, Clifford and Reid Campbell; her great grandchild Kailey; her son-in-law Rob MacMurray. She is survived by : her daughters, Patricia MacMurray of Fredericton, NB and Linda Kennedy (Brian) of Markham, ON; her grandchildren, Dr. Celynn Klemenchuk (Frank), Michele George (Olaf), Tara, Brynne and Joseph Kennedy (Jamie); her great grandchildren, Andrew, Cole and Alex; her sister Rhoda Holliday of Regina, SK. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, January 1st 2020 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the York Funeral Home (302 Brookside Dr, Fredericton, NB). A funeral service will be held on Thursday, January 2nd 2020 at 2:00 PM at the York Funeral Home’s T. Gordon MacLeod Memorial Chapel (302 Brookside Dr, Fredericton, NB).

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Grace Memorial Baptist Church (Ferne Sewell Chapter).

Elizabeth was originally a member of Fredericton Branch and until a year ago, a member then of the New Brunswick Branch. She claimed her Loyalist ancestry to James Ackerman UEL.

…Andrew Gunter

Darrell Percy Sewell, UE

A resident of Peterborough, Ontario died at Hospice Peterborough on Sunday, December 29, 2019. Born in Toronto on March 10, 1933 son of the late Percy Odbur Sewell and Lillian Webb, both of New Brunswick. Predeceased by wife Noreen Kathleen Emo. Survived by wife Eleanor (Murray), three sons Marc, Robert and Donald (Tracy) and his sister Audrey Sewell as well as four grandchildren Laura, Emily, Matthew and Meghan.

Darrell was a 35 year veteran of the Toronto Police Service, a life member of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada, a member of the United Church of Canada. He enjoyed travelling, all sports particularly lawn bowling and curling. He was a dedicated father and husband and was the family genealogist.

Cremation has taken place. Relatives and friends are invited to attend at Celebration of Life Reception at DUFFUS FUNERAL HOME, 431 George Street South from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, January 4, 2020 with Tributes at 2 p.m. If desired memorial donations made to Hospice Peterborough or the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated. Online condolences may be placed at www.duffusfuneralhome.com.

Darrell was a Life Member of UELAC, first with Governor Simcoe Branch UELAC before moving to Peterborough where he affiliated with Kawartha Branch UELAC.

He was the descendant of ten Loyalist Ancestors:

• George Harding, UE

• James Carr, UE

• Richardson Webb, UE

• Nicholas Sewell, UE

• Joshua Thomas, UE

• Hugh Cowperthwaite, UE

• Richard Jones, UE

• William Banks, UE

• Thomas Phillips, Sr., UE

• William Boone, UE

…Robert McBride, UE

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note

I hope you had a good celebration to bring in the new year and that you have managed to keep – thus far at least – any resolutions you may have made.

I am in a rather hectic period, both at work (a major conference at the end of February) and here at UELAC as we work through all the twists and turns that a new membership system inevitably unfolds, especially in the renewal season and the transition to a new year. As a result, there has been little time to spend on the Loyalist Directory, Where in the World etc. Once we get to March, hopefully things will be back to a more normal state; thanks for your patience.

I wish you a happy, healthy and rewarding year in 2020.