“Loyalist Trails” 2020-21: May 24, 2020

In this issue:
Loyalist Gazette Spring 2020 Issue
Scholarship Challenge 2020: Looking Ahead with 20/20 Vision
The Refugee Doctors of Fredericton, New Brunswick (Part 2), by Stephen Davidson
Addendum to “Leading Loyalists through No-Man’s Land”
Christ Church Anglican in Karsdale, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia
New Material Published on Georgian Papers Online
1832 Cholera Chronicle (Part 6), by Chris Raible
JAR: Orders Issued by Benedict Arnold, Commander-in-Chief, to the Captain of the Liberty
JAR: Blue Mountain Valley and the Rise of Lord Stirling
Borealia: Teach My Research
Ben Franklin’s World: Walter Ralegh, Architect of Empire
More on Fort Churchill, and Goose Quills in Particular
An American in Paris, 1786: John Trumbull and Marie Marguerite Carreaux de Rosemond
Virtual Presentation: Palatine Loyalists from the Hudson Valley
Region and Branch Bits
      + Queen Victoria: How Well Do You Know Her
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Loyalist Gazette Spring 2020 Issue

The mailing house delivered the Gazettes to Canada Post on Tuesday 19 May. With the Covid-19 pandemic “stay at home” edicts in force, many people are ordering items to be delivered. As a result, Canada Post is currently operating at “Christmas Level”. Canada Post also must abide by the social distancing rules in their workplace. Due to these two factors, processing is slower, and delivery may may take a few extra days.

I have yet to receive my copy in downtown Toronto as of Friday 22 May, but I did receive a note on Friday from Jean Bailey of Oshawa indicating that her copy had just arrived. If you are expecting a copy, it should arrive in the next few days in most cases.

Scholarship Challenge 2020: Looking Ahead with 20/20 Vision

We’re back! Thank you for saving a place for us. Do you remember weeks ago in mid-March when we promised the launch of a 2020 fundraising campaign? Well, it starts today, right here, right now, and you are all invited.

Now more than ever students need our support. These are days of uncertainty. University libraries, archives, and research centers are temporarily closed. But UELAC is looking ahead with 2020 vision. Giving to graduate students now ensures that when academic life resumes they will be well-equipped to take up their studies without interruption. The UELAC scholarship program currently supports four graduate students and in the coming weeks you will get to know more about each of them.

The 2020 Scholarship Challenge begins today, May 24. Our closing date is Canada Day. That gives us 5 weeks to reach this year’s goal of $8000.00. Last year we exceeded our goal with donations totalling $10,350.00. You made that happen!

Leading the way in 2020 is Vancouver Branch whose members have already approved a donation to the Scholarship Endowment Fund. Thank you! We look forward to sharing donation updates and adding more branches to the list of ‘Branches in Support of Scholarship’. We also acknowledge the many individual donations whether large or small that come to us from across the country. Thank you so much for taking the time to show your support. More details will follow as we set up the 2020 Scholarship Challenge web page and donation tracker. Watch for updates in both Loyalist Trails and Executive Notes newsletters.

Just a quick reminder – For donations of $20 or more, a tax receipt will be issued by UELAC Head Office, or by CanadaHelps if donating online. Donations for the 2020 Challenge must specify ‘Scholarship Endowment Fund’. Should you wish to make a memorial gift we will ensure that recognition is given to those you wish to honour through your donation. Donation cheques sent by Canada Post will be picked up at UELAC Dominion Office weekly.

Please make cheques out to “UELAC” or “United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada,” with ‘Scholarship Endowment Fund‘ in the note or memo line, and mail to: UELAC, 50 Baldwin St., Suite 202, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T 1L4

Thank you again for your ongoing support. And in the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC Provincial Health Officer, “Be Kind. Be Calm. Be Safe.”

…Bonnie Schepers, UE, Scholarship Chair

The Refugee Doctors of Fredericton, New Brunswick (Part 2)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Dr. Charles Earle was a Scottish immigrant who had settled in Virginia before the outbreak of the American Revolution. Little is known of the details of his war time service beyond the fact that he joined the 2nd New Jersey Battalion of Skinner’s Brigade as its surgeon in 1778 when he was 26 years old.

This battalion defended South Carolina’s Fort Ninety-Six when rebel forces had it under siege in June of 1781. Records of this siege include the fact that the battalion’s captain and lieutenant were badly wounded during a surprise attack they made on the American troops. Earle’s skills may have saved their lives.

Skinner’s Brigade also fought at the Battle of Cowpens (January 1781), the Battle of Guilford (March 1781), the siege of Charleston (May 1780), and at the Battle of Eutaw Springs (September 1781). Dr. Earle’s interventions would have made the difference between life and death for many of the Loyalist soldiers wounded in these bloody encounters.

In the fall of 1783, Charles Earle was acting as the surgeon for the 1st Battalion of Skinner’s Brigade under the command of Stephen DeLancey. Like many of New Brunswick’s early doctors, he sailed to the colony along with the other men in his regiment. The war veterans disbanded and then settled together as neighbours.

Earle was 31 when he was granted land at Mill Creek near Ste. Anne’s Point. Within two years, the old Acadian settlement on the St. John River was renamed Fredericton and made the capital of New Brunswick. The colonial capital would be Earle’s home for the next three decades.

The historian W.G. MacFarlane gives us a description of Fredericton in its early years of settlement. Waterloo Row bordered the St. John River where travellers could find accommodation at the Royal Oak Inn, read the latest British newspapers, and have some refreshment. This street was also the site of the play house. The next street in from the river was Queen Street, which, in 1792, was a row of log and frame houses. The next street in was King Street where one could find the log jail. Fredericton also had such attractions as a billiard hall, a provision store large enough to accommodate dances and band concerts, and the governor’s house.

MacFarlane notes that the capital’s population fell into one of three groups. There was the military establishment, the government’s civil servants, and the “civilians”. The latter was comprised of the middle and working classes. Unfortunately, even within a brand new settlement there were those who struggled to earn a living. The colonial capital had a slave population as a well as a Black Loyalist component. Whether white or Black, if a person became a homeless pauper the only “social net” to support him was a fund that was disbursed through an auction where the lowest bidder was the “winner”. The colonial government paid out money to the family or individual who would care for the pauper for the lowest amount of money.

Having settled at the lower edge of Fredericton, Dr. Earle maintained his contact with the military. Ten years after leaving his loyalist battalion, he became the surgeon for the King’s New Brunswick Regiment. France had declared war on Britain in 1793 and regular British forces were needed elsewhere in the empire. To defend the colony, lieutenant governor Thomas Carleton established the King’s New Brunswick Regiment on April 25, 1793. Carleton had a large pool of experienced Loyalist officers in the Fredericton area to serve in the new regiment. It was he who appointed Earle as the regiment’s surgeon. The Loyalist doctor would serve in the KNBR – and its successor, the New Brunswick Fencible Infantry – until January of 1812.

According to historian John R. Grodzinski, Earle’s duties as a surgeon would have included the administration of the regimental hospital, the care of the sick, and the treatment of battlefield casualties. (In the case of the KNBR, there were – fortunately – no battles.) Surgeons did not have the same academic qualifications as physicians. Combined with their experience in the field, surgeons usually had a university degree or could verify that they had attended medical lectures. They were licensed by the College of Surgeons and passed a medical boards’ examination.

Dr. Charles Earle and his wife raised a family of seven daughters; we know the names of four of them: Ann (Mrs. Alexander Fraser), Mary (Mrs. James Griger Jr.), Eliza (Mrs. Lionel Anderson), and Charlotte Fitzgerald (Mrs. Carleton H. Leonard). One of the administrators of the doctor’s estate was William Hugh Earle, who may have been a son.

Not surprisingly, a number of the Earle daughters married men in the military. One of Earle’s son-in-laws was a member of the King’s New Brunswick Regiment. Charlotte’s husband eventually moved to Toronto in Upper Canada where he was an employee with the Farmer’s Bank.

Dr. Charles Earle’s tombstone is his only eulogy: “Benevolent, Charitable and Mild, He was Esteemed by All Who Knew Him”. He died on January 23, 1814 at 62 years of age.

Dr. Thomas Emerson was a Loyalist doctor who, at various times, worked alongside two other Loyalist surgeons who had settled in New Brunswick. Initially he was a “surgeon’s mate” to Dr. Ambrose Sharman, the chief physician at Saint John’s Fort Howe from 1777 to 1784. After Emerson settled in Fredericton, he was – once again – a surgeon’s mate for Charles Earle in the King’s New Brunswick Regiment.

While posterity knows little of Earle’s services to the new colony, there is even less historical data for Emerson. For a time he practiced medicine in Charlotte County where he served as coroner. He later lived in Saint John, but settled in Fredericton by 1811. Emerson married Rebecca, a woman three years his junior. There are no records to indicate that the couple had any children. The only fact that has survived to give us an indication of Emerson’s character is that he was known to be “a dashing rider and loved fast horses.”

After serving with the King’s New Brunswick Regiment, Emerson continued with the New Brunswick Fencibles. The NBF became the 104th Regiment of Foot, which gained fame for marching 1,100 km on snowshoes from Fredericton to Kingston, Upper Canada in 52 days (February 16 – April 12, 1813). Emerson would have been 51 years old at the time.

At some point after 1830, the Emersons welcomed Ann Johnston into their Fredericton home. Ann and her brother James became orphans after the death of their father, Alexander Johnston. Initially cared for by an uncle, the siblings each received an inheritance of £200. The Emersons may have served as Ann’s guardians if they had not hired her as a household assistant. Rebecca, Emerson’s wife, died at 67 in 1832, and 9 years later Ann died “at the residence of Dr. Emerson”. The Loyalist doctor was 79 years old when Ann passed away. Three years later Emerson died in Fredericton on Saturday, October 21, 1843.

Loyalist doctors also served in other communities in New Brunswick. At least six tended to the needs of fellow refugees in the first decades of Saint John’s settlement. Their stories will be told at a later date. Next week’s Loyalist Trails will feature the known events in the life of Dr. Ambrose Sharman, a military surgeon who made the village of Burton his home following the American Revolution.

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

Addendum to “Leading Loyalists through No-Man’s Land”

Regarding the article “Zadock Wright and John Peters: Leading Loyalists through No-Man’s Land,” by Stephen Davidson, in issue 2020-#17 (April 26, 2020).

It was with great interest that I read your account of the escape from Saratoga by Zaddock Wright and John Peters. My wife and I have several ancestors who seem to inter-relate to that story.

My GGGG Grandfather, Evan Royce (Roys, sometimes Rice) was a corporal in Connecticut Militia during the French and Indian War and was at the fall of Fort William Henry. By 1777 he and his family had settled in New Ashford, Massachusetts just below the border with Vermont. He, his son, John, and Son-in-law, Jesse Wright, were drafted into the Rebel militia as Burgoyne was advancing south. On the way to the meet-up point, they managed to find a Loyalist company to which they joined. Eventually they ended with Burgoyne at Saratoga. The record from the Claims Commission, summarizes their escape from Saratoga. I have to wonder if the three of them were part of the 30 men led to their escape by Wright and Peters. I also have to wonder if there was any connection between Zaddock Wright and Jesse Wright.

My wife’s direct ancestor, David Farrier, was a soldier in the 53rd Regiment of Foot and was a member of the company which was left to guard Fort Ticonderoga. That company remained in Canada for most of the duration of the War. Upon the completion of his enlistment David remained in Canada, eventually settling on land granted him in Markham, Upper Canada. His wife, Mary Sabin, was the daughter of William Sabin, a loyalist killed in the Battle of Bennington.

Lastly Jerimiah French, had a direct family relationship with the Marsh Family. Another of my GGGG Grandparents was Samuel Place, who had settled in Clarendon, Vermont, on a parcel next to Amos Marsh, a member of that family. Both had purchased their property through New York Deeds, and both were threatened by Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys. They both joined the Loyalists at the Battle of Bennington, both were captured, but, were released on parole after Saratoga by the Vermont Government.

In Evan’s short account of his departure from Saratoga, there is mention of a Fort Miller, could that be the name of the one of the stops described in Zaddock’s account of his escape?

In any event, I greatly enjoyed your account.

…Gerald Chase

Christ Church Anglican in Karsdale, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia

Christ Church Anglican is one of the oldest surviving Loyalist Churches in Nova Scotia. It was built in 1791 according to the wishes of Loyalist Charles Inglis, Nova Scotia’s first Anglican Bishop, who specified the dimensions of the building (46’x30′), and consecrated the church on September 1, 1793. The weather vane mounted on the steeple bears the date 1791. It was originally called St. Paul’s and changed its name to Christ Church in 1882. That same year the village surrounding the Church was named Karsdale in honour of General Sir William Fenwick Williams of Kars, a native son who distinguished himself during the Crimean War.

Among the early graves of United Empire Loyalists are Jonathan Anderson (1745-1809), born in Connecticut who served in NY Volunteers, Capt. Stephen Thorne (1717-1800), from Nassau County, New York, and Thomas Robblee (1735-1796) from Dutchess County, New York.

Watch a video showing the Church and gravestones. I hope you find it interesting.

…Brian McConnell, UE

New Material Published on Georgian Papers Online

The latest tranche of Georgian Papers has been published by the Royal Archives as part of the Georgian Papers Programme to digitise, publish, interpret and foster use of this neglected collection of historic papers. The latest batch of nearly 19,000 pages includes important collections which shed light on the lives of Princess Charlotte (1796-1817) and Princess Mary (1776-1857), two key women at the heart of the royal family. There are also continuations of the long series of George III’s and George IV’s papers. This rich and diverse group of collections sheds light on many important issues such as gender, health, material culture, and politics.

Read more.

1832 Cholera Chronicle (Part 5), by Chris Raible

By Chris Raible

Day after day Lesslie continued to name the victims. “Dr. Cathcart dies and is buried after a post mortem examination of the nature of his disease – Cholera.” “Mrs. Carfrae’s remains conveyed to the Potter’s Field for interment this morning.” “The Jailer in Hamilton dead, and all the prisoners except the Criminals liberated.” “This day Cap’t Bowket & mother die of Cholera and are buried in one grave!” “Thursday poor Mackenzie the Watchmaker is cut off on about 3 hours illness of Cholera – a poor & helpless widow & 3 children cast upon the charity of the public by his death.”

The Board of Health urged the town magistrates “during the present Extremity from Sickness” to make use of statute labour “in draining and even in cleaning those Yards still remaining n a State of Filth where the Inhabitants discover an Indifference prejudicial to the State of the public Health.” On August 7th the Board was tired. In frustration it voted a long series of resolutions, declaring that cholera “has within a Short period increased… to an alarming degree,” that “Medical Gentlemen [suffer] with the very Labourious Duties, the public sickness imposes on them by day as well as by night,” that “at the present time Several Nuisances Exist in various parts of the Town (Prejudicial to the Health of the Inhabitants),” and that the Board had “no authority by Law to enforce the carrying into Effect, or observance of any Salutary regulations, for preventing the Increase of the Disease.”

The Board also complained “nor hath [it] any funds at its disposal” and “his Excellency, the Lt. Governor [has] declared that he has no funds within his control for any further Grant.” Noting “that there will be ere long, Imperative Calls on the public benevolence in behalf of the numerous Widows & Orphans left Destitute by this Distressing and fatal Malady,” and doubting “that a sufficient sum could be raised by public subscriptions for the purpose,” the Board addressed “the Lt. Governor, Praying his Excellency to summon the Legislature, at the earliest possible period.” Four days later, Saturday, August 11th: “Resolved that the Board of Health, being at length, fully convinced from their want of legal Enactment, as well as from the want of funds – of their total inability to be of any further service to their fellow Townsmen, have this day Dissolved themselves as a public body.”

A new Board was appointed, but town authorities were desperate. Saturday, August 18th, Lesslie recorded: “The Magistrates in order to have the Town thoroughly cleansed have appointed overseers to each Block for the purpose of calling a meeting of the residents upon it to take such plans as may to them be advisable for the General good to prevent the extension of the Cholera among the inhabitants.” The next day: “Many cases of Cholera since yesterday – some say 14.”

Conscientious citizens tried to help. If they could not to stop the spreading, they could relieve the suffering. Lesslie gave time to “the Soup Kitchen as one of the Committee… upwards of 300 poor persons daily supplied with Bread & soup from the Kitchen.” One person in twenty was being fed.

Hopes rose and fell. Wednesday, August 22nd: “The Cholera subsiding apparently.” Saturday, August 25th: “The pestilence not much abated.” Wednesday, August 29th: “Cholera seems to decrease daily & perhaps the providence of God may not deliver this afflicted Town from its destructive power and may sanctify the terrible visitation to those who have been spared & unharmed by it.” Saturday, September 1st: “The number of cases of Cholera have again increased.” Sabbath, September 9th: “The Cholera subsides very much but visits other parts of the province severely.”

At last, Thursday, September 20th: “The Cholera has it is said quite subsided throughout the Canadas and altho not entirely in the U. States has however become much milder and seems to be fast decreasing.” Pious as always, testifying to the faith that had carried him through the summer, Lesslie penned a reflective paragraph, “These awful visitations to such as believe in the dominion of a supreme Being possessed of the attributes of Holiness and Justice appear not as a mere contingent effect arising from the action of some contingent cause but as a clear manifestation of His existence – His power – His hatred of Evil – a manifestation which bears or has a natural tendacy [sic] to bear these truths with power to the hearts of men and to make them remember that they are but dust. – that transient at the longest and uncertain is the tenure of human Life, and that therefore it should be improved diligently as preparatory to an unchangeable and eternal state. These ends being accomplished mankind may behold in all these afflictions the corrections of a gracious & merciful Father.” One wonders if most York inhabitants would have been as sanguine.

The town had known horror for a hundred days, and James Lesslie made only one more diary reference, Tuesday, September 25th: “It is cheering that no cases of Cholera are now heard of – the period of this terrible visitation is perhaps now terminated. Confidence is now restored – people visit Town from distant parts and all moved on as if it had not been. – Fruit and vegetables are seen in abundance in the market.”

This series of articles is now available as a single document – access it here.

JAR: Orders Issued by Benedict Arnold, Commander-in-Chief, to the Captain of the Liberty

By C. E. Pippenger 18 May 2020

Just weeks after war broke out at Lexington and Concord, Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold, working in grudging consort,captured Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain, as well as the settlement of Skenesborough (now Whitehall) at the southern end of the lake. Under orders from Arnold, Eleazer Oswald also captured a small vessel there. Oswald reported: “We set sail from Skenesborough [for Fort Ticonderoga] in a schooner belonging to Major [Philip] Skene, which we christened Liberty.”

By the time Liberty arrived at Fort Ticonderoga disagreements regarding command were growing heated between Arnold and Allen and his Green Mountain Boys. In addition to arguing with his ostensible comrades-in-arms, Arnold worried about solidifying American control of strategic Lake Champlain. To gain that control, and to get away from Allen and the Boys, Arnold organized an expedition, consisting of Liberty and a number of bateaux, against the British garrison at St. Johns at the lake’s northern end. There they “surprised & took a Sargeant & his party of 12 Men, the King’s Sloop of about 70 Tons with 2 brass 6-pounders & 7 men.” thus capturing the only British warship on Lake Champlain. Upon his return to Ticonderoga Arnold recognized and wrote that, with their fleet of two small armed vessels, the Americans were now “masters of the Lake” with himself in command.

Read more.

JAR: Blue Mountain Valley and the Rise of Lord Stirling

By Eric Wiser 19 May 2020

“A Most Dreadful Voyage” was how the captain of British supply ship Blue Mountain Valley described his mission to North America in the fall and winter of 1775-1776. The ship’s young Scottish captain, James Dempster, was an experienced merchant sailor with voyages to China, India, and the West Indies. The mission Dempster embarked on when Blue Mountain Valley left her moorings on the Thames in October 1775 was unlike any he had undertaken before. Blue Mountain Valley was just one of the many military supply ships in the American Revolution. Yet her story is emblematic of the frustrating difficulties the British Crown faced in the trying to supply an army 3,000 miles away. The terminus of Blue Mountain Valley’s mission also marked the beginning of Lord Stirling’s swift rise to Patriot hero in the Revolutionary War.

In the spring of 1775, New England militiamen had traded drilling on their village greens for building dirt redoubts around Boston, sealing the town from the mainland. The authority of the Crown in Massachusetts had now been reduced to the beating hearts of its 8,000 soldiers compacted into one and half square miles of peninsula. Maj. Gen. William Howe and the soldiers he commanded were cut off from the world save for the harbor. By November 1775, the decision had been made to remove the soldiers, artillery, supplies, and loyal Tories from the city. It wouldn’t be until the following spring that enough transport ships would be available. In the interim, Howe had the difficult task of supplying and feeding his army. Howe summed up the situation in a letter to Treasury Secretary John Robinson in December:

I am in great pains from the small quantity of provision now in store . . . some observations are made, especially in this advanced season of the year, when navigation of the coast is so uncertain, and the arrival of a fresh supply is still rendered more precarious by other dangers . . . If victualling ships should not arrive before the latter end of this month . . . I shall be obliged to put the troops upon short allowance.

Morale was already being put to the test because no military objective remained except survival. Twenty to thirty people, both soldiers and civilians, were dying every day from smallpox and dysentery.

A new, difficult logistical reality had emerged in the Crown’s effort to maintain authority over the colonies.

Read more.

Borealia: Teach My Research

Borealia is launching a new occasional series called Teach My Research to help connect research and teaching, putting the latest scholarship on early Canadian history – Indigenous, French, British, or early national, to about 1900 – into our classrooms.

We are inviting authors of recent historical monographs or research articles to think about how their scholarship could translate into high school or university classrooms, providing teachers and students with curricular connections, discussion questions, and primary source materials.

Here are some of the questions we hope authors will take up:

• What is your book or article about? Briefly, what are its main themes, central argument, narrative structure, and historiographic contributions?

• What are some curricular connections between your research and common class topics or courses in early North American history? When might teachers include your work, and how does your research affect common narratives? Feel free to make suggestions for secondary, undergraduate, and graduate teaching situations.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Walter Ralegh, Architect of Empire

What do we know about how and why England came to establish its first permanent colony at Jamestown? And what do we know about the English colony that came before it, the Colony of Roanoke?

Alan Gallay, Lyndon B. Johnson chair of United States History at Texas Christian University and author of Walter Ralegh: Architect of Empire, leads us on exploration of the life and work of Sir Walter Ralegh, the man who crafted the blueprint for England’s colonization plans in the Americas.

During our exploration of Walter Ralegh’s life, Alan reveals who Walter Ralegh was and details about his life as an alchemist, soldier, and colonizer; Information about how Ralegh became acquainted with Queen Elizabeth I; And, Ralegh’s efforts to colonize Virginia.

Listen to the podcast.

More on Fort Churchill, and Goose Quills in Particular

I received several responses to the question of why goose quills were in the goods taken by the French from Fort Churchill when it was captured by the French near the end of the Revolutionary War

• Goose quills were a writing instrument of choice prior to the advent of metal pen nibs, fountain pens, etc. A hunting knife produced a sharp point, but I imagine the quills wore out rather quickly. – Lorna Jones

• Goose quills were used for writing before the invention of the metal dip pen. You can buy ready-made quill pens online. I expect they were meant for export along with the beaver pelts, etc. – Richard A. Keirstead UE

• Your question about the goose quills – I believe the goose quills would have been for pens. Google “goose quills” or “goose quill pens”. – Mike Fowler

It still seemed strange. Europe must have had lots of geese. Who gathered them? Did they get paid? What was a goose quill worth?

But – imagine if you were a lowly scribe in England who received a package of dozens of goose quills from your relative in Fort Churchill. If each one was equivalent to a half-day’s pay you would be pleased to get them, yes? Or how about the monks who spent their lives transcribing those gorgeous manuscripts? They prized a good quill and likely wore out quite a few in a year. Or the fellows toiling in the libraries and counting houses of the country – any country. Somehow they each were provided with a sharp writing instrument to use every day.

At the other end of the supply route, the geese drop a lot of feathers during the yearly molt in early summer, so the harvest is readily and predictably available, if the gatherer knows where to be, at the right time. The weight as cargo would be negligible, even in a canoe, or for a peddler/chapman heading off to sell his wares at the monastery.

I like your suggestion of snob appeal – something like Hudson Bay blankets, or Scottish whiskey, Known everywhere. “I use a Fort Churchill Goose Quill pen!”

Obviously, I don’t have enough to keep me occupied.

Quills as Priming Tubes in 18th Century Cannon

A recent issue of the Loyalist News mentioned a JAR publication which described the capture and looting of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s post, Fort Churchill on Hudson’s Bay, in 1782, by the French Navy.

Bill Davidson, Potsdam, NY,, was curious about the the loot; he found that it included 7,500 beaver skins, 4,000 marten skins, and 17,000 quills.

17,000 QUILLS !!! Bill, a retired 18th century artillery reenactor and owner of two muzzle loading cannon, suspected that these quills would have been used as priming tubes for muzzle -loading cannon.

But first, a brief explanation of the firing procedure. The main propellant charge of powder was loaded, a ‘pricker’ was inserted in the touch hole to tear a hole in the powder bag, a 0.2 in diameter priming tube, tin/quill/reed, packed with fine powder, was inserted in the touch hole and ignited by a port fire or slow match.


Most discussions of the firing procedure feature the Royal Regiment of Artillery, which used tin tubes, and so this extensive use of quill priming tubes will surprise many.

Perhaps you have witnessed a demonstration of 18th British artillery firing and noticed that the gunner had a small brass hammer and brass punch holstered on his lapels.

Once upon a time a clever lad at the British Board of Ordnance had a great idea for speeding up the firing. He proposed lengthening the tin tubes, and sharpening the tips so they would tear the powder bag, thus eliminating the need to use the “pricker” in a separate operation.

The reconfigured tin tubes were issued to the Royal Regiment of Artillery without field testing.

The result; the tin priming tube tips deformed upon the firing and the tube would not eject.

Ans so, a brass hammer and punch were issued to punch the deformed priming tube into the bore where it could be fished out.

— NET RESULT – Time Lost !

The Royal Navy which consumed 9/10’s of the ordnance procured by the British Board of Ordnance , and the British merchant marine, generally refused to use tin tubes and relied on quill and/or reed priming tubes.

“Although there was reference to the use of tin tubes at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759, generally the naval service disliked them; salt water corroded them quickly, and they cut the sailors’ bare feet on the fighting decks after they had been used.” (p. 365, McConnell, David. British Smooth-Bore Artillery: A Technological Study, 593 pp.(8 1/2′ x 11″). Parks Canada, 1988. ISBN 0-660-12750-4.)

McConnell provides considerable detail on priming tubes pp. 365-371, as does Adrian B. Caruana (dec), on pp. 47-49, British Artillery Ammunition – 1780. 50 pp, 8 1/2″ x 11″ .Museum Restoration Service, 1979, Bloomfield, ON, ISBN 0-919316-73-5.

The ‘high-light’ details are found in Adrian B .Caruana (dec.), The History of English Sea Ordnance, 1523-1875, Vol. II, The Age of the System, 1715-1815. 500 pp. h/b, d/j, (9 3/4″ x 12 3/8″). ISBN -0-948864-22-2

Quills had succeeded tin tubes by 1780 in the Royal Navy; (p.394).

• Thirty quill priming tubes were authorized for each gun; (p.306).

• A 74-gun ship would have had 2,220 quill priming tubes.

• The fifty-five 74’s in the fleet would have had 122,100 quill priming tubes !!!

This would be a great subject for someone’s doctoral dissertation. The Hudson Bay Company archives might be the likeliest beginning point.

…Bill Davidson, Potsdam NY, US0.A

An American in Paris, 1786: John Trumbull and Marie Marguerite Carreaux de Rosemond

By Susan Holloway Scott 17 May 2020

Today the American artist John Trumbull (1746-1843) is best known for his iconic paintings of American history, including The Declaration of Independence, Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, and The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, June 17, 1775. He also painted portraits of famous early Americans such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. He painted Alexander Hamilton numerous times, with one of these portraits inspiring Hamilton’s likeness on the ten dollar bill.

Trumbull was himself a member of the Revolutionary generation. During the war, he witnessed the Battle of Bunker Hill, served (like Hamilton) as an aide-de-camp to Commander-in-Chief General George Washington, and deputy adjutant-general to General Horatio Gates, giving him the credibility and connections to create his history paintings.

But unlike the majority of young American officers, Trumbull resigned his commission early in the war, and instead of returning home to Connecticut, he made his first of several trips to Europe to pursue his artistic career. His first voyage to London in 1780 to study with another American artist Benjamin West became a political nightmare for the twenty-four-year-old Trumbull. Great Britain was in an uproar over the American capture, trial, and execution of British agent Major John André. Because Trumbull had served Washington, he arrested in retaliation on inflated charges and threatened with execution. Only the intervention of West, a favorite artist of King George III, rescued Trumbull from imprisonment and possible death.

Another trip to London in 1786 led to an introduction to Thomas Jefferson, the American minister to France.

Read more.

Virtual Presentation: Palatine Loyalists from the Hudson Valley

The Irish Palatine Special Interest Group (IP-SIG), a virtual branch of Ontario Ancestors/ Ontario Genealogical Society, is sponsoring an upcoming virtual presentation, via Zoom, by Garry Finkell, President of the New York Chapter of the Palatines to America (PALAM) organization. His talk is entitled “Seeing Clear Across the Border: Palatine Loyalists from the Hudson Valley”.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting on Saturday, June 13, at 2:00pm Eastern Time

Register in advance for this meeting: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUocO-srT4oEtez5U0zZ6rgdsEtcIxbHuD8

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Genealogy is like archaeology: the deeper we dig, the more layers of history we uncover. The further back in time we trace, the greater is our understanding of our present family.

The presenter’s Finckel/Finkle ancestors were among the 3,000 Palatine Germans who arrived in New York in 1710 and he believed they had always lived in New York. In doing further research, he was puzzled to find a large number of relatives with the same surname who lived in Ontario, and he set out to learn when this migration occurred and why it happened. During the course of his research, he started seeing references to his family as “United Empire Loyalists.”

What did this mean both in American history and in his own family? Continued research revealed that his family were not the only Palatine Loyalists from the Hudson Valley – there were many. He discovered that many Canadian descendants of Palatine Loyalists do not know about their German ancestry because their Loyalist ancestors were one or two generations removed from their original ancestor’s immigration from Germany.

This presentation highlights the persistent cross-border connections between Ontario and New York State, and reminds us that our long-buried roots are often more diverse than we realize.

…Garry Finkell and Phyllis Chapman, Communications Chair, IP-SIG

Region and Branch Bits

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

Queen Victoria: How Well Do You Know Her

Last weekend, many Canadians celebrated Queen Victoria’s birthday. In this image, see her as a young woman.

UELAC President Sue Hines created a crossword puzzle about aspects of Queen Victoria’s life and reign. How is your royal knowledge? (Here are the answers – no peeking!)

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Samuel Holmes – contributed by Carolyn Brown
  • Nicholas Amey – from branch records by Jo Ann Tuskin

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

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • King’s Chapel member Dr. John Jeffries inoculated both British soldiers & American prisoners against smallpox during the Siege of Boston, including his own children. As a Loyalist, Jeffries evacuated Boston in 1776 & became Chief Medical Officer in Nova Scotia during part of the RevWar
  • Saint John NB marked the 235th Birthday Virtually on Monday 18 May. It marked the 237th anniversary of the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists.
  • Boston celebrates Deborah Sampson (Gannet). She fought in the AMREV as Robert Shurtliff. Learn about her involvement with G. Wash. and Paul Revere and her early struggles. Read her story.
  • This Week in History
  • Townsend’s
  • Clothing and Related:
    • Colonial Williamsburg: Our milliner & mantua makers say their inspiration for this short sacque polonaise is a 1778 French fashion plate, which was “Englished.” Yes, that is an 18thC. term – to make it more to the English taste by making it more smoothly fitted to the stays & simplifying the trim.
    • British made shoes (maker unknown), silk, leather & deep red wood heels, c. 1720. Check out the heels – stunning work! Via @batashoemuseum
    • we wanted to share this wonderful pair of English shoes, dated 1660-80s. Originally believed to belong to Queen Elizabeth I, but alas! Research proved them to be a fabulous treasure regardless.
    • Today’s favourite objects are two late 18th/early 19th-c. American patchwork pockets at Colonial williamsburg. I love patchwork because it’s like a time capsule, a representation of the fabrics people were surrounded by at a specific point in time
    • Evening overdress 1797-99, @metmuseum collection. This overdress indicates the fine craftsmanship used at the end of the 18th century to produce textiles and decoration compatible with the Empire silhouette and its ideas, readily identified with its origins in the chiton.
    • Close up of bodice of 18th Century dress, 1778-80, This winged polonaise is so small that it must have been worn by a girl of no more than 14 years old
    • 18th Century court dress, detail showing the bodice intricately decorated with a floral pattern made with flattened wire and lacework c.1750
    • 18th Century dress and matching petticoat, 1780-85 (altered c.1900) The restraint in decoration illustrates the growing influence of the Neo-classical style in textile design
    • 18th Century set of stays, shaped with sewn in whalebone and rear-lacing, damask silk undergarment of 1740-1760
    • This tiny bone object from the 1990s excavations at Brook Farm may seem insignificant, but it’s actually representative of a major part of women’s fashion history: the corset! It is a grommet (B19-1446) which would have reinforced the eyelet holes used to lace up a corset
    • 18th Century men’s Court suit, embroidered silk frock coat and waistcoat, 1785-1790 via Fashion & Lace Museum, Brussels
    • 18th Century men’s ribbed silk coat with matching covered buttons, paired with a beautifully fine silk waistcoat embroidered with floral design, 1790’s
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Gorgeous image featuring Letitia Ann Sage – who in 1785 became the first British woman to fly. On her first attempt the previous year, the balloon was too heavily weighed down & she had been unceremoniously booted out & replaced by a pigeon, a cat & a dog
    • Female Prisoners at Newgate and Elizabeth Fry. By Geri Walton 18 May 2020. There were many female prisoners at Newgate during the 1700 and 1800s. Part of the reason why is that the living standards for rural women in England and Wales appears to have worsened as the Industrial Revolution progressed. Among the 300 female prisoners at Newgate not all were adult women. This was demonstrated by Mrs. Elizabeth Fry, often referred to as Betsy Fry. She discovered that both women and children were “crowded together in two wards and two cells.” Most of these children were under the age of seven. Read more…