“Loyalist Trails” 2020-06: February 9, 2020

In this issue:
Thomas Knox, Deputy Muster Master (Part Two), by Stephen Davidson
St. Lawrence Branch Project to Mark Cemeteries with Loyalist Burials
JAR: Information Operations: The Provincial Congress Shapes the Narrative in Great Britain
JAR: “Mad Anthony” – The Reality Behind the Nickname
The ‘Forgotten Soldier’ exhibition in Yorktown tells the sacrifices of African Americans during the Revolution
Brockville, ON: Connection to the Group of Seven
National Trust for Canada: 5 Historic Places With a Soft Spot for Romance
Region and Branch Bits
      + St. Lawrence Branch Outreach: Feb. 22
      + American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference, June 11-14
From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Thomas Knox, Deputy Muster Master (Part Two), by Stephen Davidson

© Stephen Davidson, UE

On July 25, 1784, Thomas Knox submitted his second report to his superiors. Mustering Loyalist settlers who were scattered along the length of the St. John River was no easy task. It turned out to be a long, drawn out process because Knox was obliged to “take account of them wherever I met them, this has induced delay and will prevent my return as soon as I hoped.”

Not everyone was pleased with Knox’s work. He refused to let former officers draw rations for their servants, reasoning that while the officers were actual Loyalist settlers, the servants were not. Unless servants had received their own land, Knox considered them to be members of the officers’ household and not settlers. Otherwise, the deputy muster master feared, “many people will be fed by government who do not mean to settle in the province.”

One Loyalist’s complaint against Knox’s decision has survived to this day. Stephen Jarvis, who would one day play a significant role in the history of Toronto, wrote to Thomas Carleton, the lieutenant governor of New Brunswick, asking that Knox’s decision be overturned and that he “be allowed provisions for himself and servant”. Perhaps citing both his service record and sufferings during the American Revolution swayed Carleton. In the end, the latter ordered that Jarvis and his servant should receive provisions.

Another abuse that Knox discovered was the practice of some Loyalists drawing rations for absent families “who were expected in the province”. Other refugees had drawn “a considerable quantity of provisions” – double the usual ration, in fact – because they were listed as both civilian and military settlers.

Knox felt sorry for soldiers who, having gone up river as much as 40 miles above St. Ann’s (today’s Fredericton), were still waiting to receive their lots of land a year after arriving in the colony through no fault of their own. He recognized that “the settlement of this river requires more and more the assistance of an able manager”.

When Knox returned to Parrtown, he was pleased to discover that Major General Campbell agreed with his policy of victualing children “born in this province”. Henceforth, each child certified by Knox would receive half rations from Fort Howe.

On the 25th of September, Knox submitted the “general return of the numbers of persons of all descriptions who have been mustered by me”. Each person listed had received a certificate for “the royal bounty of provisions as settlers”. After “inspecting and correcting the abuses which had been practiced on government”, Knox’s list had fewer names than found on earlier musters.

More than just a census taker, Knox had to play judge and jury, deciding which of the St. John River settlers were truly Loyalists. Only those who held one of his certificates could expect to receive “the royal bounty” from Fort Howe’s commissary.

The last report that the deputy muster master submitted to his supervisor is dated November 3, 1784. Knox quickly recognized that asking the refugee settlers to travel as much as 90 miles down river to Parrtown (today’s Saint John) to receive their provisions was completely unreasonable. He was glad to learn that Major General Campbell had just ordered the creation of a “magazine of provisions” at St. Ann’s Point that would look after distributing food to settlers in that area.

While helping out those with legitimate claims, Knox was not afraid to “strike off the roll” more than 200 men and women who had previously drawn on the royal bounty. By refusing to continue issuing “certificates for the royal bounty of provision” to those who Knox termed “nominal servants”, he was able to substantially reduce a lot of government expenses. For example, servants of the New Jersey Volunteers who received certificates dropped from 35 to 9; the Loyal American Regiment’s servant count went from 46 to 8.

Despite having encountered so much abuse of the victualing program, Knox did not become cynical. He retained his compassion for those who were truly in need. During his travels along the St. John River, he interviewed its first English settlers, the New England Planters who had lived in the colony for the past 20 years. These “old inhabitants” had been “reduced to circumstances of great distress” because they had been “obliged to relinquish their possessions and {land} in favour of refugees to whom they are allotted.” Knox issued the Planters certificates for “two months of provisions as a donation from government”.

As he concluded his report as deputy muster master, Thomas Knox restated his purpose. “In the whole of my Proceedings I have endeavored to preserve the Rights of the People and to guard against impositions to which Government was exposed. Such only as were entitled in their own right have received my certificates – among these I considered disbanded officers & soldiers without a question, and Loyalists who from an attachment to His Majesty’s Government had abandoned the United States and decided to continue his subjects in this Province. Every other description of Persons have been rejected by me as having no claim.”

The authorities were pleased with the deputy muster master’s work. Recognized for his expertise, Knox became a member of a select group of consultants. Chosen by Thomas Carleton, New Brunswick’s newly appointed lieutenant governor, the group was commissioned to select a capital for the colony. Parrtown was considered to be vulnerable to an attack from the sea (as it had been during the American Revolution), and so it was felt that a capital situated inland – surrounded by disbanded soldiers and officers – would be a more secure site.

Thomas Knox travelled with Carleton, Jonathan Odell, and William Hazen as they considered a number of locations along the St. John River in November of 1784. They decided on building the new colony’s capital at St. Ann’s Point, the sight of an old Acadian village that was 90 miles inland from the Bay of Fundy. On February 22, 1785, the governor in council ordered that immediate steps be taken to establish the new settlement, naming it “Frederic’s Town” in honour of the second son of King George III.

Those who had been the consultants in the choice of Fredericton as New Brunswick’s capital later assumed positions of authority within the colony. Jonathan Odell, an Anglican minister from New Jersey, became the provincial secretary, registrar, and clerk of the council. William Hazen’s political career began when he became the only New England Planter appointed to the colony’s executive council. In the years that followed, he served as commissioner of highways and the overseer of the poor. Thomas Carleton, the brother of Sir Guy Carleton, had been the quartermaster general in Quebec during the revolution. He began his term as New Brunswick’s first lieutenant governor in 1784, but always hoped that he would be given a more illustrious post within the empire. He moved back to England in 1803, leaving the administration of the colony in the hands of Loyalist politicians until his death in 1817.

Thomas Knox also went on to assume greater responsibilities. What we know of the rest of his life will conclude this series in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

St. Lawrence Branch Project to Mark Cemeteries with Loyalist Burials

Beneath the ground, in numerous cemeteries located in Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry (SD&G), lie the mortal remains of Loyalists. The UELAC St. Lawrence Branch launched a project, in 2018, to formally recognize these sacred locations. The project mandate: To identify and confirm the locations, and to erect an enduring plaque to signify the special importance of these sites (with the full permission of the landowner, of course). The plaque commemorates the site in general; it does not name specific Loyalists.

We will unveil the latest plaque this spring. The location is the historic Iroquois Point Cemetery, at 6013 Carman Road, Iroquois, Ontario. June 14, 2020 at 2:00. The unveiling will take place during the Annual Memorial Service. All are welcome.

See more about this special occasion.

…Stuart Manson (Director, UELAC St. Lawrence Branch)

JAR: Information Operations: The Provincial Congress Shapes the Narrative in Great Britain

By Patrick Naughton, 4 February 2020

The efforts of the American Provincial Congress at the beginning of the revolutionary war against Great Britain offer the perfect case study to understand how best to utilize information against an enemy during conflict. After the initial skirmishes at Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, the Provincial Congress sought to influence Great Britain’s political apparatus and public opinion prior to the start of major combat operations, with the main objective of dividing the British Nation in their support for the coming war. The material used to accomplish this consisted of detailed sworn depositions from American participants in the battles, a copy of the Essex Gazette newspaper describing the events, and an official narrative of the battle, all of which painted a positive picture of events from the American perspective. This action initiated one of the most successful information campaigns in the entire history of conflict.

Within days of the events at Lexington and Concord, the Provincial Congress realized that Gen. Thomas Gage, Commander in Chief of all His Majesty’s forces in the American colonies and Governor of the Province of Massachusetts, was publicly declaring “that the provincials fired upon his detachment before the troops fired upon the provincials.” Some believed that Gage was being “scandalously deceived by his officers” on the facts of the engagement. Either way, it was determined that England must hear of the true story of events – as the Americans viewed it – as soon as possible. In addition, they also realized that they must attempt to stop the British narrative from reaching England first.

Orders were soon issued to attempt to prevent the British ship of war Lively, and any others, from sailing with accounts of the event, as their arrival in England first would “injure the most important cause we are engaged in:” the American information campaign. Gage, besieged in Boston and feeling the effects of this, complained to the Secretary at War how the Provincial Congress “Published the most false and inflammatory Accounts of the Skirmish on the 19th . . . and robbed the Mails of all letters giving a different account of the Affair from their own.”

Read more.

JAR: “Mad Anthony” – The Reality Behind the Nickname

By Michael J.F. Sheehan, 6 February 2020

It is often a tradition among soldiers and sailors to give monikers to their commanders. American military history resounds with names like Gen.Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Gen.Lewis “Chesty” Puller, Gen. Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson, and so on. One such sobriquet, “Mad Anthony” for Gen. Anthony Wayne, has stuck on and off in the American consciousness for near two centuries. Its origin is not precisely known nor is it totally clear through which veins it most enduringly entered the public mindset, though there are clues. There is, however, one unifying theme to nearly each documentable time Wayne is referred to as “mad” prior to the era of the Mexican-American War: it is not endearing, and it generally carries harsh criticism.

A number of Wayne’s biographers attribute the start of the “mad” nickname to a mysterious soldier under Wayne’s command called Jemmy the Drover/Rover, or sometimes the “Commodore.” Ultimately traced back through printed records to the earliest documentable version of this tale, we find that it appears in 1829 in a Philadelphia magazine called The Casket.

Read more.

The ‘Forgotten Soldier’ exhibition in Yorktown tells the sacrifices of African Americans during the Revolution

Zoom in on Paul Revere’s famous engraving, “Bloody Massacre.”

Zoom closer, to the far left corner. The piece is a re-creation of the 1770 Boston Massacre, one of the stepping stones to the Revolutionary War.

Almost out of the frame, among several dying colonial patriots, is the brown-faced rebel and former slave Crispus Attucks.

A copy of the engraving – with a focus on Attucks’ face – opens the special “Forgotten Soldier” exhibition at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

“Forgotten Soldier” highlights the often-overlooked enslaved African Americans and freed blacks who fought on both sides of the war.

The collection contains several, gawk-worthy stops – rare items from England, the U.S. National Archives, Library of Congress and art commissioned by MacArthur “genius” grant-winner Titus Kaphar.

Read more.

Brockville, ON: Connection to the Group of Seven

Few locals know of Brockville’s connection to the Group of Seven.

That link will become a lot clearer this spring, when the Brockville Museum hosts three works of A.Y. Jackson alongside the paintings of a lesser-known artist who called Fernbank home at least part of the time.

Painting Picnic with Prudence Heward, which will run Mar. 31 to Oct. 9, will highlight the work of Heward, a member of the Beaver Hall Group whose paintings of Brockville and the area will be shown together here for the first time.

Museum curator/director Natalie Wood also hopes the exhibit will introduce locals to a significant artist whom they can claim as one of their own.

Her grandfather, Chilion Jones, was descended from the founding Brockville Jones family, while her grandmother, Eliza Jones, was born Eliza Harvey, from a United Empire Loyalist family in Maitland.

Read more.

National Trust for Canada: 5 Historic Places With a Soft Spot for Romance

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we’ve been on the hunt for sweet love stories in historic places – and our Passport Places did not disappoint. We found lovers’ secrets hidden in nooks and crannies, sites for stolen kisses, and dramatic betrothals in gracious spaces.

• Lougheed House, Calgary, AB – check out the “kissing spot”

• Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON – what an ingenious idea for a proposal

• Historic Stewart Farm, Surrey, BC – with beautiful old structures, cultural landscape or heirloom gardens, a very popular spot for engagement photos!

• Leacock Museum National Historic Site, Orillia, ON – a stash of love – in the ductwork?

• Newman Wine Vaults, St-John’s, NL – “I think it’s the atmosphere that makes it a romantic spot. Minimal lighting, candlelight, stone walls and a wooden floor”

Read more.

All the historic places above are part of our Passport Places program, a National Trust for Canada membership benefit where members get complimentary access to these beautiful places, as well as 1000+ National Trust Places abroad.

Region and Branch Bits

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

St. Lawrence Branch Outreach

Cornwall Square, 1 Water St. E., Cornwall.

Saturday, February 22, 9:00-4:00. St. Lawrence Branch will be one of a dozen heritage groups at this annual well-attended event.

American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference, June 11-14

The Fort Plain Museum’s Annual American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference is June 11-14, 2020!

See our lineup of Historians/Authors for this year.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • On April 8, 1822, Jane James, Black woman, possible wife or daughter of Black Loyalist Robert James, signed Deed with an X. It was for land in Brinley Town near Digby, Nova Scotia & was very uncommon for a black woman to own land at this time.
  • George Washington Spy Letter. This original letter, written on February 4, 1777 by George Washington, enlisted Mr. Nathaniel Sackett, a New Yorker who had proven himself a valuable spy catcher, as his “intelligence director.” Washington agreed to pay him $50 per month plus $500 to set up a spy network.
  • Gershom Prince was the only Black soldier to die on July 3, 1778 at the bloody Battle of Wyoming in northeastern Pennsylvania. His powder horn, on loan from @LCHS1858, is believed to be the only surviving powder horn of a Black Revolutionary War soldier killed in action.
  • Old postcard “Admiral Digby’s Well, First Well in Digby, Nova Scotia”
  • This Week in History
    • Feb 3, 1766, in Connecticut, future Declaration signer Roger Sherman fined future general Benedict Arnold 50 shillings for disturbing the peace when he oversaw the whipping of a sailor who had threatened to turn him in to the Customs office.
    • Feb 8, 1770, “about 10 o’Clock in the forenoon, a board was stuck up, on the Town pump, with a Hand painted on it, pointing to Mr. Jacksons Shop and below, the word Importer, in Large Letters.” Whig schoolboys started to picket certain shops.
    • Feb 6, 1775 “The Provinces seem, at least many of them to have been in a state of open Rebellion & there is nothing that can finally determine the General state of the whole but the Determinations from home.” – Gen. Thomas Gage to Gov. John Wentworth
    • Feb 7, 1775 Franklin tweaks British, remarking in part on Colonies’ higher birth rate.
    • Feb 4, 1776, Gen. Charles Lee arrived in New York City. Royal governor William Tryon was on a ship in the harbor. A British fleet carrying Gen. Henry Clinton & his army hovered nearby. Lee set to building fortifications & demanding loyalty oaths.
    • Feb 6, 1778 France formally allies with the Americans in their war against the British.
    • Feb 2, 1781 Innkeeper Elizabeth Steele donates nest egg to American cause, reviving effort.
    • Feb 3, 1781 American General Greene escapes Cornwallis using flat-bottomed boats from Polish military advisor.
    • Feb 5, 1781, Rev War becomes world war: combined Franco-Spanish forces wrest control of Minorca from the British.
    • Feb 5, 1783 Sweden formally recognizes the United States; first nation not directly involved in war  to do so.
    • Feb 4, 1789 Washington elected first President under the Constitution, succeeding Cyrus Griffin as US head of state.
  • Townsend’s
  • Clothing and Related:
    • Vibrant with high quality finish work, c1770s brocaded silk buckle shoes by London cordwainer, James Adams, exhibit ‘Italian’ heel & pattern matched heels & toes; evidence of multiple buckle piercings on straps/lachets; possibly wedding shoes
    • 18th Century stomacher, front portion that attaches and closes an open gown, silk embroidered with flowers and leaves, 1730-1750
    • A stunning view of dress for SackBackSaturday from @HistDeerfield.  Check out the pattern matching across the deep pleats, floss fringe & sumptuous brocaded silk; textile c1735-40; garment made, 1760-75. Maker & wearer unknown.
    • A cream floral brocade from the mid 1760s is given an additional lift with borders of hand knotted silk fringe that highlight contours of the bodice and sleeve, browns and reds contrasting with the pale foundation
    • 18th Century dress, An open robe and petticoat of pale yellow silk brocade featuring bunches of flowers in shades of white, purple, blue, pink, red, with green leaves floating over a grid of fine violet and brown check. c.1770, English
    • 18th Century men’s frock coat, striped silk with silk embroidery, French, 1780-1790’s
    • Detail of 18th Century men’s court suit and waistcoat, silk, c.1775, probably British
    • 18th Century men’s ribbed silk coat with matching covered buttons, paired with a beautifully fine silk waistcoat embroidered with floral design, 1790’s