“Loyalist Trails” 2020-23: June 7, 2020

In this issue:
2020 Scholarship Challenge: A Word from Tim
Scholarship Update: Week 2
A Loyalist Doctor of New Brunswick: A Fatal House Call, by Stephen Davidson
Remembering the Soldiers Who Didn’t Die in Combat
Was Banestre Tarleton That Bad?
JAR: Williamsburg on the Eve of War
Borealia: New Books in Early Canadian History, May-December 2020
Ben Franklin’s World: Pets in Early America
Book Review: George Rogers Clark and William Croghan: A Story of the Revolution, Settlement, and Early Life
The Militia…would never act against the Rioters
Is Monday Laundry Day In Your House?
Life of a 1700s Surveyor
Kelly Arlene Grant: Fighting Feelings of Perceived Laziness
Where in the World?
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
      + Surveying in British North American Colonies
      + Jonathan Bedford Jr., Son of Jonathan Bedford Sr., UEL


2020 Scholarship Challenge: A Word from Tim

I can’t say enough in support of the UELAC Scholarship and the help your contributions provide to graduate students. Many years ago, I was a lucky recipient, and it helped me immeasurably. History students work on shoestring budgets and need to travel far and wide to track down their sources. Even just maintaining basic supplies and computers can be a challenge. The UELAC Scholarship allowed me to travel to New York, Connecticut, and the Maritimes for the research I needed to complete my dissertation and that now forms the basis for my book project.

The scholarship makes UELAC an even more critical part of expanding knowledge and the understanding of loyalist history. It was an honour to receive a scholarship and it is a privilege to continue to help support the next generation of loyalist historians.

…Timothy J. Compeau, UELAC Scholarship Committee

Scholarship Update: Week 2

The goal for this challenge is $8000.00 by July 1!

“Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Providing Loyalist education resource materials and encouraging research through scholarship support is integral to our mission to preserve, promote and celebrate the history and traditions of the United Empire Loyalists. Your donation is a confirmation of the value you see in the UELAC scholarship program. This week’s donations bring our amount raised to date to $1140.00.

With the commitment of members and friends we will reach our goal. But we need you to make that happen. This week Vancouver Branch and Kawartha Branch top the list of 2020 donors. We look forward to hearing from all regions and branches over the next three weeks.

How Can You Help?

See how to donate and follow our progress on the 2020 Scholarship Challenge page. A twenty-dollar ($20) individual donation puts your name on our list of generous donors. Please make cheques payable to UELAC and mark your donations ‘Scholarship Endowment Fund.’

Thank you!

…Bonnie Schepers UE, UELAC Scholarship Chair

A Loyalist Doctor of New Brunswick: A Fatal House Call

© Stephen Davidson, UE

The Royal American Fencibles were still stationed at Fort Howe when thousands of Loyalist refugees began to pour into the settlement, beginning in the spring of 1783. While midwives would have tended to the birth of the Loyalists’ babies, Dr. Ambrose Sharman would have been responsible for treating those who had contracted measles or any other ailments during their two-week voyage from New York City.

When Sharman and his wife greeted the Loyalists at Fort Howe, they would have had their 3 year-old daughter Ann in tow. She had been born in the garrison on February 7, 1779. Ann would later marry William Samuel Carmen, and the two would become the parents of Bliss Carmen, one of New Brunswick’s most prominent poets.

Samuel Denny Street and his wife Abigail had two children while they were stationed at Portland Point. Samuel Lee was born on June 25, 1782 and Charles Freeman was born on January 25, 1784. Both were christened by the fort’s resident chaplain.

The beauty of the St. John River valley must have grown on Sharman during his six years of service at Fort Howe. When he retired from the Royal Fencible Americans as a lieutenant on half-pay, he petitioned the New Brunswick government for land. On July 6, 1784, he received 500 acres on the Oromocto River, a tributary of the St. John River. By that fall, he had been granted 400 more acres.

Samuel Denny Street had also established his home in nearby in the village of Burton and named his new estate “Elysian Fields”. Located downriver from Maugerville and upriver from Gagetown, Burton was on the major water route between Saint John and Fredericton.

Given its prime location and the proximity of his friend Street, Sharman and his Bostonian wife decided to build their first house in Burton. There they raised their three children. Two years after Ann’s birth, she had a sister named Mary Ann. The second Sharman daughter married Thomas Horsfield Peters and had five children, many of who went on to have careers in law, shipping and politics. Harriet, the youngest Sharman daughter, married Robert Hannah with whom she had one child.

One of Sharman’s doctor bills has survived from this time period. In May of 1791, he went to the home of his neighbour, Col. Abraham DePeyster, a Loyalist who had been appointed as the first sheriff of Sunbury County. Sharman charged for “medicine and attendance” for the two weeks he attended to Caroline, the DePeysters’ daughter.

Much as his river valley neighbours must have appreciated Dr. Sharman’s “attendance” in their homes, it was the Loyalist veteran’s willingness to see patients in any weather at any time of the year that proved to be fatal.

On Tuesday, December 17, 1793, Sharman crossed the St. John River at Burton “in the discharge of his profession”. The fact that one account states that Mrs. Sharman accompanied her husband suggests that Ambrose may have been on his way to attend to a female patient. (Another source says that Mrs. Sharman had died some years before 1793).

Some calamity befell the Loyalist couple on that December day, and they both drowned. Given the time of year, it may well be that the Sharmans were riding in a sleigh. As happened every year, the St. John River froze to such an extent that it created an icy road from Fredericton as far south as Westfield. However, this speedy “highway” had its dangers, and many a New Brunswicker died when his horse and sleigh fell through a thin patch on the ice.

It may also be true that the Sharmans were attempting to cross the river in a boat. If it hadn’t frozen over completely, the river might have been clogged with broken, floating chunks of ice that may have upset the Sharmans’ boat as they tried to cross to the opposite shore. Whatever the cause, the three Sharman daughters were now orphans just eight days before Christmas.

At some point in his relationship with his fellow officer, Sharman had made Samuel Denny Street the administrator of his will. By January 3, 1794, Street advertised for “all persons having demands against the estate of Dr. Ambrose Sharman” to see him at his home in Burton. The Loyalist lawyer also requested that those in debt to the doctor should “make payment without delay”.

Street was remembered in his later years as being “thick set, short in stature, wore a {pigtail}, knee breeches and gaiters”. But whatever his outward appearance may have been, Street was a loyal and compassionate friend, going far beyond the required duties of an administrator.

As King David of old took the son of his friend Jonathan under his care, Street brought the three Sharman daughters into his home where they became part of a blended family that included Samuel and Abigail Street’s six children. Within two years of the death of their friend, the Streets named their seventh child, John Ambrose Sharman Street.

Over the years that followed, the Streets would have five more children. Combined with the three Sharmans, this Loyalist couple raised a total of 15 children in their home. In addition to the namesake of their doctor friend, the Streets had Charles Freeman, Edwin Denny, James Wallis, George Frederick, Thomas George, William Henry, Alfred Locke, Samuel Lee, John Ambrose, Ann Frances (Mrs. George Duncan Berton), and Susanna Maria Louisa (Mrs. Nathaniel Hubbard). Considering that the Streets had such a large family, it was fortunate that Samuel had become one of New Brunswick’s more noteworthy lawyers and was able to command legal fees large enough to support his children and those of his old friend.

Being raised and educated in such a large household did not leave either the Sharman daughters or the Street children with any psychological scars. When they grew up, the siblings’ occupations included a captain of the East India Company, two lawyers, a sailor, a mayor of Saint John, a Supreme Court judge, a clergyman, a merchant, a member of the New Brunswick assembly, and two farmers.

Within a year of moving to his Elysian Fields estate after his military discharge in 1784, Samuel Denny Street renewed his legal career, becoming one of the first admitted to New Brunswick’s bar. He failed to win a seat in the new colonial assembly in 1792, but two years later became a representative for Sunbury County. He would retain his seat for seven years. Street was then re-elected in 1809, serving until 1816. Constantly denied a position on the colony’s supreme court, he was made a member of the lieutenant governor’s council in 1819. Street died at the age of 78, outliving his wartime friend by 37 years.

Saint John looks back on Ambrose Sharman as its first physician – a man who helped to build Fort Howe in 1777 and then practiced medicine within its walls for seven years. After settling in Burton with his wife and three daughters, he continued to see to the health needs of the Loyalist refugees of the St. John River valley from 1784 until his death in 1793. His legacy includes the accomplishments of his patients’ descendants, his three daughters and their offspring, and the deeds of his namesake, John Ambrose Sharman Street.

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

Remembering the Soldiers Who Didn’t Die in Combat

Susan Holloway Scott 24 May 2020

Because I’m still following the covid-19 stay-at-home order for Pennsylvania, I won’t be making any pilgrimages to historic sites this Memorial Day weekend. But I didn’t want to let the day pass unnoticed, so I’ve thought back to a visit I made three years ago to the then-new Museum of the American Revolution.

Part of the Museum’s observation of the Memorial Day weekend was a quiet reminder that not all those who gave their lives for the Revolution did so in battle. Only a few blocks away from the Museum is the site of a mass grave where Continental soldiers were buried by the British then occupying the city.

The Graves of the soldiers, who have been buried, in this Ground, from the Hospital and bettering House, during the Course of the last Summer, Fall, and Winter, dead of the small Pox, and Camp Diseases, are enough to make the Heart of stone to melt away. The Sexton told me, that upwards of two Thousand soldiers had been buried there.

Read more.

Was Banestre Tarleton That Bad?

One of the items in last week’s “This Week in History” from the Twittersphere put forward this claim:

• 29 May 1780: British Col. Tarleton has surrendering rebels shot at Waxhaws, SC, cementing a reputation for brutality.

That elicited this response

You published an historical error in this newsletter (Loyalist Trails 31 May 2020) Colonel Banestre Tarleton did not order the shooting of American Rebels at the Battle of Waxhaws. This is a falsehood that was first spread by rebel propagandists during the war and by later American historians. The witnesses “supporting” the false story were all American rebels.

Here’s what happened based on the most reliable accounts: The American Rebel commander, Buford raised the white flag to surrender, “expecting the usual treatment sanctioned by civilized warfare”; at this time Colonel Tarleton’s horse was shot with a musket ball, felling horse and man. On seeing that, the Loyalist cavalrymen believed that the rebels had shot their commander “under a white flag” they had raised asking him [Tarleton] for mercy. Enraged, the Loyalist cavalry attacked the rebels with an (to quote an American rebel) “indiscriminate carnage never surpassed by the most ruthless atrocities of the most barbarous savages”; The Loyalists gave no quarter.

There is no historical evidence to show that Col. Tarleton ordered the action.

…Stephen McDonald

Given the affairs of the last weeks and months, we seen see the impact of fake news which can be multiplied many times, especially in times of stress and tension like wartime. Reminds me of similar stories we have noted in the past about Simon Girty, and others who became somewhat larger than life in either a bad or a good way.


JAR: Williamsburg on the Eve of War

by Michael Cecere, 2 June 2020

A visitor to Williamsburg prior to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War would have discovered a city of just 1,900 inhabitants, roughly 900 of whom were white and free and the remaining 1,000 black and mostly enslaved. These were the year-round inhabitants who lived in the several hundred wooden and brick dwellings that sat upon the city’s mile-long main street (Duke of Gloucester) and its several side streets.

With no significant manufacturing or trade to speak of and limited water access to the James and York Rivers, Williamsburg’s prosperity depended on its status as Virginia’s capital. The business of governing attracted many visitors to the city and they arrived eager to conduct political, judicial, and commercial affairs. When sessions of the colonial legislature (House of Burgesses), the courts and the merchant exchange were held, the city’s population swelled to more than double its normal size. Most of this activity was concentrated in the eastern part of Williamsburg, between the capitol and palace green.

At the east end of Duke of Gloucester Street stood Virginia’s capitol building, a fine three story brick structure built in 1751 upon the foundation of the original which had burned several years earlier. Virginia’s legislature met regularly in the capitol, as did the governor’s privy council (his advisors) and the General Court (which heard all felony cases brought forth in Virginia).

Merchants and planters from all parts of Virginia, as well as some from Maryland and North Carolina, met outside, in the shadow of the capitol building several times each year to transact business.

Read more.

Borealia: New Books in Early Canadian History, May-December 2020

Dani Reimer and Keith Grant, 25 May 2020

Welcome to Borealia’s Spring 2020 roundup of forthcoming books on early Canadian history. The list is drawn from publishers’ catalogues and websites, featuring books scheduled for release between now and the end of the year.

What kinds of books made it into this preview? Works of historical scholarship on any region of what eventually became Canada, to about 1914. We have included books that place “Canada” in transnational studies, and books whose chronological coverage extends beyond 1914, as long as there is substantial discussion of the earlier period. Naturally, this is all quite subjective, and our survey has likely overlooked a few titles. So readers, authors, or publishers please use the comments below or the contact form to suggest additional titles.

The books are listed by month of scheduled release. All descriptions have been supplied by the publishers, unless otherwise noted.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Pets in Early America

Ingrid Tague, a Professor of History at the University of Denver and the author of Animal Companions: Pets and Social Change in Eighteenth-Century Britain, joins us to answer listener questions about pets and pet keeping in Early America.

As Ingrid answers your questions, she reveals where an when the practice of keeping pets originated; How the tradition of pet keeping in Great Britain and Early America began; And, why early Americans chose to keep pets and the different types of animals they kept as companions.

Listen to the podcast.

Book Review: George Rogers Clark and William Croghan

George Rogers Clark and William Croghan: A Story of the Revolution, Settlement, and Early Life at Locust Grove by Gwynne Tuell Potts (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2020)

Review by Gabriel Neville, 3 June 2020

“The phenomenon of fame confounds and fascinates, indiscriminately raising some to glory while consigning apparent equals to exile.” This is Gwynne Tuell Potts’s insight in her new book on George Rogers Clark and his brother-in-law, William Croghan. “In its most satirical form,” she continues, “fame dooms an occasional soul to both states.” Potts’s 300-page volume is an exploration of the vagaries of fame and fortune.

George Rogers Clark was famous, once. He was a towering figure on the western front of the Revolutionary War. Potts quotes French Gen. Henri Victor Collot describing Clark as the person who had “gained from the natives almost the whole of that immense country which forms now the Western states.” Collot said Clark was “the rival, in short, of George Washington.” Clark’s reputation was diminished in his own lifetime and his fame has since waned. His story is not taught in most schools and his Virginia commission excludes him from the pantheon of well-known Continental generals.

William Croghan has never been famous, but his life illustrates the aspirations and achievements of America’s early frontiersmen. He fought for national expansion and then played an important role in that expansion by moving to Kentucky and running the office that parceled out bounty land to veterans. This was a lucrative position. Croghan prospered and built a stately home, which he called Locust Grove.

…Gwynne Potts has done an admirable job of bringing the history of Locust Grove to life. More than that, she has shown her readers how important the Clark and Croghan families were to the history of Kentucky, Ohio, and the frontier. For a great number of colonists, the Revolutionary cause began in 1763 when the Proclamation Line was drawn to seal off the west from further settlement. The familiar Boston- and Philadelphia-centric narrative of the Revolution unjustly ignores the frustrated aspirations of thousands who wanted to go west. Those early pioneers are the connection between the Revolutionary era and the America we know. If this book reaches the audience it deserves, many more will understand that.

Read more.

[Editor’s Note: Some discussion of the participation in the Revolutionary War and the troubles between the colonists and the natives of the west is included in this review.]

The Militia…would never act against the Rioters

by J.L. Bell, 5 June 2020

In August 1765, eighteen years after Gov. William Shirley struggled to deal with anti-impressment riots, his successor Francis Bernard faced a similar challenge.

This time the people of Boston were upset about the Stamp Act. On 14 August, there was a full day of public protests under what was later dubbed Liberty Tree, followed by an attack on the office and fence of stamp agent (and province secretary) Andrew Oliver.

The next day, Gov. Bernard wrote to the Board of Trade from Castle William: “I sent a written order to the Colonel of the Regiment of Militia, to beat an Alarm; he answered that it would signify nothing, for as soon as the drum was heard, the drummer would be knocked down, & the drum broke; …”

Read more.

Is Monday Laundry Day In Your House?

It would have been washing day for the Revere women *every* week! Read up &appreciate your modern appliances in Alex Powell’s latest #RevereExpress blog.

When visitors to the Paul Revere House make it to the end of their tour in the back bedchamber, having seen neither bathroom, nor mudroom, nor laundry room in the kitchen, hall, or best chamber, their questions often tend towards matters hygienic. Visitor awareness of 18th century hygiene practices runs the gamut – some are shocked that indoor plumbing did not yet exist, others already expected it and want to know exactly where Revere’s outdoor privy might have stood. Soon the question of laundry arises – where and how did the Reveres wash their clothes?

Read more.

Life of a 1700s Surveyor

In the 1700’s, there were a number of appointed and elected positions that a man of quality could hold, those being a Gentleman Justice, Captain of the Militia and of course Sheriff of the county. But no position offered up more of a romantic image than that of the County Land Surveyor. A man of genteel up bringing hobnobbing with his peers at the court house one day, and leading a survey team through the wilds of the back country the next, was profound and exciting.

Not everyone could nor wanted to be the county surveyor. But many landowners did own surveying instruments for their own private use, such as confirming boundaries, right-away’s, laying out fields and buildings. A study done of 325 Virginia and Maryland probate records dating from 1740 – 1810, revealed that 48 of them owned surveying instruments at the time of their death, although few were professional surveyors. In Virginia, there was no formal course of study to become a surveyor. Young men could read such books as John Gibson’s “Treatise on Surveying”, or John Love’s “Geodesia”, but hands-on practice was essential. So they learned their profession on the job.

Read more.

[Suggested by Elsie Schneider]

Kelly Arlene Grant: Fighting Feelings of Perceived Laziness

Why put off til tomorrow that you can do today, right now even, five minutes ago…even better. When Kelly gets stressed out, she doesn’t procrastinate, she goes into overdrive, but it has to be productive. It’s the being productive part that I grapple with. In the last month I have been…

Read more.

Where in the World?

Where are Nancy Conn and Doug Grant of Gov. Simcoe Branch?

To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is (if you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well). Send your submission to the editor at loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Young, Jacob (of New Brunswick) – contributed by Linda Young

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

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Colonial newspapers contributed to the perpetuation of slavery. Advertised 250 years ago today: “There is to be sold Cheap for Cash…a Mohogony Desk and Book Case,…Poland Starch, Ship Bread, a fine marble Mantle-piece, several Negroes,” (Boston Post-Boy 6/4/1770)
  • History Lives here: The Loyalist Settlement, by The Waring House (Picton ON). Watch short video
  • Deed to “Inhabitants of Tiverton” from Israel & Nicholas Outhouse & their wives Mary Ann & Harriet for Pleasant Hill Cemetery where gravestone of Tiverton, NS founder & United Empire Loyalist Robert Outhouse (1750-1849), native of Westchester Co., New York, is located.
  • 29 May, 1935 – The Halifax Citadel is formally recognized as a National Historic Site. Though the Citadel was established as a British post in 1749 by Governor Edward Cornwallis, the present fort dates from the 1828-1856 era and is the fourth generation of defence works.
  • See Martha Washington’s shoe, Benjamin Tallmadge’s orderly book, Nathan Hale’s letter, Baron de Steuben’s liquor chest, and other treasures from the Fraunces Tavern Museum in New York
  • This Week in History
  • Townsend’s
  • Clothing and Related:
  • Miscellaneous:
    • DID YOU KNOW? That Walter Chrysler, the founder of Chrysler Corporation was a Loyalist descendant? During the American Revolution his ancestors fought in a Loyalist regiment against the American Rebels. See the full story on our Facebook page “St. Lawrence Branch UELAC” St. Lawrence Branch on twitter
    • Old Westminster Bridge, London by Canaletto 1747
    • Charlotte Cibber (in pink) found fame playing male roles on stage. After a failed marriage she took to living as a man named Charles Brown off stage too. Charles worked as valet to the Earl of Anglesey and was even wooed by a supposedly unsuspecting heiress!
    • Just an amazing 200 years old secretary cabinet (amazing, watch closely. Does anyone know where this is located? any provenance?)


Surveying in British North American Colonies

Many Loyalists came to the remaining North American British Colonies after the American Revolution. An article or number of articles about land allocation and the surveying process would be quite interesting and informative. Articles could be about one person or family experience, or general covering an area such as the Royal Townships in what is now eastern Ontario, or in a long established colony like Nova Scotia, or its offspring, New Brunswick before, during and after it was created. This could be an existing article or a new one if you would point me or indicate a willingness to research.

…Doug <loyalist.trails@uelac.org>

Jonathan Bedford Jr., Son of Jonathan Bedford Sr., UEL

Looking for the will and burial location of Jonathan Bedford Jr. (1770 – died between 1852 and 1860) and his wife Amy Wood. From the land records, it appears that he was in Esquesing Township in 1834, when he purchased lot 19, concession 11. He sold that lot in 1852 to his son Hiram, who paid for it by a mortgage provided by his father, Jonathan Bedford Jr.

In 1860, the mortgage was discharged by the executor of Jonathan’s estate. No other indication of his presence in Esquesing has been found, either in the 1842 census, the surrogate records, or the cemetery inscriptions.

…Brenda Heartwell