“Loyalist Trails” 2020-29: July 19, 2020

In this issue:
British Columbia ‘Loyalist Day’
The View from Here: Stephanie Seal-Walters, PhD Candidate
2020 Scholarship Challenge Update: Week 8
The Baileys and the Callahans: Friends in Difficult Days (Part 1), by Stephen Davidson
The American Revolution in the Eyes of Other Countries
Camp Hill Cemetery, Halifax NS, a Loyalist Resting Place
JAR: Creating Order: Rufus King and the Nascent American Republic
Borealia: Teach my Research: Food, Colonization, and Religion in New France
The Junto: Hunting Shirts, Backcountry Culture, and “Playing Indian” in the American RevolutionA
Ben Franklin’s World: Polygamy: An Early American History
Book: The Battles of Connecticut Farms and Springfield, 1780
How the Key to the Bastille Ended Up in George Washington’s Possession
Hard to Read Gravestones: The Mirror Trick
Asking a Question Can Bring Amazing Results
Where in the World?
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
      + Proof for Isaac Culp, Son of John and Elizabeth Smith


British Columbia ‘Loyalist Day’

British Columbia ‘Loyalist Day‘ was proclaimed as July 22 by the Province of British Columbia in 2012. See more.

The View from Here: Stephanie Seal-Walters, PhD Candidate

I’m writing with some happy news! I will be defending my dissertation on August 31. Things got delayed a little bit because we couldn’t figure out how to defend. However, it looks like everything is going to be on Zoom!

Once again, I am beyond thankful/grateful for you and the entire UELAC organization. It’s been a long six years in the PhD program, but I have always had you guys in the back of my mind every time I needed a little boost to move forward. This is an exciting dissertation and I can’t wait for UELAC to have it and the eventual book. Health and good wishes!

…Stephanie Seal-Walters, 2016 Loyalist Scholarship recipient

2020 Scholarship Challenge Update: Week 7 – We Did It!

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh.

This week the scholarship committee received news of a substantial donation to the Scholarship Endowment Fund. We are humbled at this generosity and offer our sincere thanks to The Estate of Dennis Fred Walker.

In a year when life as we know it has been turned upside down, each of you has seized the opportunity to do good. Because of you more students will have the chance to dig a little deeper into questions of loyalty during the American Revolution. There is still much to understand about the Loyalists’ experience and their influence on Canada. With your help, young historians are bringing 21st century insight to age-old conflicts. And that is valuable work. Thank you.

For those keeping track, the amount raised to date in the 2020 Scholarship Challenge is $23,598.00! Donations are still coming in so please continue to follow the 2020 Scholarship Challenge page for updates. Use these links to meet the UELAC Scholars and learn about UELAC Scholarship. We look forward to sharing more news in the coming weeks. Questions may be directed to scholarship@uelac.org.

Thank you for your continued support.

…Bonnie Schepers, UE, UELAC Scholarship Chair

The Baileys and the Callahans: Friends in Difficult Days (Part 1)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

After a two-week sea voyage, Jacob and Sarah Bailey sailed into the safety of Halifax’s harbour on Monday, June 21, 1779. Having faithfully served as an Anglican minister in Pownalborough, Lincoln County, Massachusetts for 18 years, Bailey had been forced to flee to the safety of Nova Scotia. But Halifax was more than a British garrison town. It was the home of Charles and Rebecca Callahan, two close friends who had once been part of the Baileys’ congregation.

The Loyalist minister was embarrassed to be seen “in a strange country, destitute of money, clothing, dwelling or furniture, and wholly uncertain what countenance or protection we might obtain from the governing powers.” Nevertheless, the prospect of a reunion with the Callahans, spurred them on, and so the Baileys endured a half-mile hike through Halifax to the two-story home of their friends.

Unbeknownst to the Anglican minister’s family, Charles Callahan was not at home that day. He was serving as a pilot aboard the HMS North, a 14-gun ship in a flotilla that had left Halifax carrying an occupation force of 750 British troops to the Penobscot peninsula (today’s Castine, Maine). There, they built Fort George as the headquarters for a planned Loyalist settlement. The Patriots responded by sending 40 ships and 3,000 men to capture the British garrison in late July. It was the largest American naval expedition of the War of Independence.

The seemingly inevitable Patriot victory suddenly evaporated with the unexpected appearance of a British squadron, compelling the rebel ships to flee. On August 14th, the British forces destroyed or captured all 40 of the rebel warships; 474 rebels were killed, wounded, captured or missing. It would be the worst American naval defeat until Pearl Harbour.

Without further challenges, the British maintained their presence on the Penobscot River until the end of the war. Though largely forgotten, this defeat of the Patriot navy would be one of Britain’s greatest sea victories during the Revolution. And Charles Callahan, a New England Loyalist, was witness to it all.

News of the victory in Maine would take a while to reach Halifax. In mid-July, the good news for Rebecca Callahan was the unexpected appearance of her old friends, Jacob and Sarah. Bailey wrote in his journal, “we were all so deeply affected with this happy meeting that we could hardly speak to each other, and a scene of silent confusion ensued till our various agitations began to subside.”

It seems counterintuitive that a warship’s pilot, an Anglican minister and their wives would develop so deep a friendship. Callahan was an Irish immigrant and a mariner; Bailey was born in New England and was a Harvard graduate. But despite their different backgrounds, the two men and their wives shared a common faith and common political views. And it was as members of the same parish that the two couples had formed a friendship that would sustain them through a revolution and the years of refugee settlement.

Charles Callahan first enters the records of his day when he married Rebecca Morton in Boston, Massachusetts in September of 1762. The couple settled on the eastern side of the Kennebec River in Pownalborough, Massachusetts (today’s Dresden, Maine). Founded by French and German Protestants, the town saw the construction of its first Anglican Church and parsonage in 1770.

The Callahans were among the 50 -130 congregants who worshipped at St. John’s Church. While we do not know the ages of Charles and Rebecca Callahan, we know that Jacob was 30 and Sarah was 19 when they settled in Pownalborough.

Sarah first met her future husband when Jacob was a school teacher in Hampton, New Hampshire. The eleven-year difference in their ages is explained by the fact that Sarah Weeks had been one of Jacob’s pupils. At this time, it was generally believed that girls only needed to be taught little more than the most basic literacy and numeracy skills. However, things were different in Jacob Bailey’s classes.

One historian has noted that in his early manhood, Bailey had “advanced beyond the age in which he lived, in his ideas of what females were capable of becoming, and the honesty of his convictions was abundantly manifested in his persevering efforts for their improvement in secular and religious knowledge.”

Whatever courtship Jacob and Sarah had while he was her teacher was interrupted by his trip to England in 1760. Jacob wanted to be become an Anglican minister, and to do so, he needed to be ordained by a bishop. He left Boston in January, was ordained in March, and returned to Massachusetts in June as the Rev. Jacob Bailey.

Having secured the position as a missionary for the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts on July 1, 1761, Jacob now had the means to support a wife. He and nineteen year-old Sarah Weeks were married that August, and immediately moved to Pownalborough on the Kennebec River.

Five years later, Sarah Bailey gave birth to twin daughters in a rented, single story log house. (If not twins, then the sisters were born within a year of one another. The records are not clear.) Jacob’s parishioners still had not furnished the clergyman with a parsonage. By November of 1770, Pownalborough’s Anglicans completed building St. John’s Church, and then within a year’s time they finally furnished the clergyman and his wife with a parsonage. During that time, Jacob and Sarah’s involvement in the life of the town and the church would introduce them to Charles and Rebecca Callahan, creating a friendship that would see both couples through difficult days.

By 1774, Charles had been made a warden of St. John’s Church, a position he filled when he was not at sea, commanding a “coasting vessel” that took goods back and forth between Pownalborough and Boston (a distance of approximately 170 miles).

Two events demonstrate the growing bond between the Baileys and the Callahans. In May of 1774, the Baileys asked Rebecca Callahan to be the godmother of Mary, their third child. Just eight days after her christening, little Mary died, having only lived 17 days. The friendship that had made Rebecca a natural choice for Mary’s godmother would be further deepened as Rebecca shared in mourning the loss of Sarah’s infant daughter.

The story of two Loyalist couples continues in next week’s Loyalist Trails.

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

The American Revolution in the Eyes of Other Countries

The U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare researched how a number of other countries present the American Revolution. One part of that was a 1976 publication titled “The American Revolution: Selections from Secondary School History Books of Other Nations”. One section of the publication was Canadian, titled “A British North American Survives the American Revolution”.

Read more – an interesting and balanced summary, 5 pages plus maps.

Camp Hill Cemetery, Halifax NS, a Loyalist Resting Place

On Thursday, while in Halifax, I visited historic Camp Hill Cemetery which was founded in 1844 replacing the Old Burying Ground that had been established almost 100 years earlier. I was looking for gravestones with connections to United Empire Loyalists. The Cemetery is huge with close to 17,000 persons buried there as indicated by the gravestones and possibly another 3,000 without. It includes an area originally reserved for Black Nova Scotians.

On my visit I was happy to find several Loyalists including Elizabeth Lichtenstein Johnston, born in Georgia, daughter of UE Loyalist John Lichtenstein and mother of NS Premier James William Johnston, and Elizabeth Miller, born in New York and daughter of UE Loyalist Jacob Miller. I also stopped at the gravestone of Joseph Howe, Premier of NS and son of UE Loyalist John Howe.

Elizabeth Lichtenstein Johnston (1764 – 1848) had a fascinating life story. She was born and grew up in the southern United States, in Georgia as the daughter of John Lichtenstein, a native of Cronstadt, near St. Petersburg, Russia who came to America in 1762 and as a Loyalist served as a guide British forces during the American Revolution. Her marriage to William Johnston, a Captain in the New York Volunteers saw her move to New York, then back to Georgia, followed by moves to Charleston, South Carolina then to St. Augustine, Florida, later Scotland where her husband completed training as a medical doctor, to Jamaica where Dr. Johnston took up his career and lastly to Nova Scotia where other relatives including her father had fled after the American Revolution. She had 10 children and at the age of 72 wrote her autobiography which was published as “Recollections of a Georgia Loyalist”.

Elizabeth Lichtenstein Johnston is buried here, along with her daughter – in – law, Amelia Elizabeth (Almon) Johnston. The grave of her son James William Johnston is in England where in declining health he had gone for treatment.

While at the Cemetery I also prepared a short video.

…Brian McConnell, UE

JAR: Creating Order: Rufus King and the Nascent American Republic

By Keith Muchowski 16 July 2020

On the afternoon of April 30, 1789, George Washington stepped onto the balcony of the freshly-renovated and renamed Federal Hall on Wall Street in Lower Manhattan and took the presidential oath of office. Then, stepping into the Senate chamber, now-President Washington gave his inaugural address. He began plaintively, admitting in his opening line that “Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the fourteenth day of the present month [when notified of his election].” Washington had reason to be anxious. It had been slightly more than a year and a half since he and other representatives at the Philadelphia Convention had approved the Constitution, sent it on to the Confederation Congress, and celebrated with food and drink at City Tavern before disbanding and going their separate ways. In the contentious year and a half that followed, the states incrementally ratified the Constitution, reaching the required number of nine in June 1788 that established the republic. Now George Washington was president and here on the southern tip of Manhattan he and other dignitaries gathered at Federal Hall, home of the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

In many ways the drafting and ratification of the Constitution were the easy parts. As the framers well-knew, societies, ancient and modern, had written constitutions and founded republics. They also were aware that most if not all of them had eventually failed to sustain that form of government. Washington and the others gathered that spring day were conscious of the enormous challenges, foreign and domestic, they faced. There were state, national, and international debts to be paid and debilitating inflation that hindered economic growth. Politicians disagreed furiously about whether there should be a national bank to handle these and other matters. Before the war British forces had been in place to protect colonists from Native American threats. Now those Redcoats were no longer in place to protect Americans as they moved ever-westward in their insatiable land hunger. It was apparent that state and national militias, such as they were, could hardly protect these settlers.

Read more.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections:

Read more.

Borealia: Teach my Research: Food, Colonization, and Religion in New France

By Mairi Cowan and Whitney Hahn 13 July 2020

The research that we are presenting in this post has two parts. The first is a short article called “Food, Foodways, and Francisation in Seventeenth-Century Québec”. The second part is a package called Quince Jam and Moose Muffles: Food in New France that we created to be a resource for secondary and postsecondary teachers and students.

Q: What is your article about?

Our article examines the relationship between food and power at the Ursuline convent in Québec. In it, we argue that the nuns’ attitudes toward food were rooted in European ideals, but that their thoughts and behaviours shifted in response to the realities of daily life in Canada. This argument adds a new dimension to our understanding of how “francisation” functioned in theory and in practice. As a colonial strategy, “francisation” was a policy centered on the conversion of Indigenous peoples to Catholicism and their adoption of French cultural norms. The foodways at the Ursuline convent show that even people at the forefront of the policy’s implementation knew that it could not work as the Crown hoped.

Q: What are some of the primary sources that you used in your study?

We used a lot of unpublished records from the archives of the Ursuline convent, as well as more familiar and widely available sources

It can be difficult to find primary sources about the social history of New France that are easily available to students, especially when the students require translations into English.

Q: What are some curricular connections between your research and common class topics?

The article and the primary sources could be used in general survey courses on Canadian History, Quebec History, Colonial North American History, and Early Modern History to give students a sense of daily life in New France.

Read more.

The Junto: Hunting Shirts, Backcountry Culture, and “Playing Indian” in the American RevolutionA

By Marta Olmos 14 July 2020

In her 1988 article Rayna Green said that “one of the oldest and most pervasive forms of American cultural expression… is a ‘performance’ I call ‘playing Indian.'” The Indian, in this context, is an amalgamation of white stereotypes of Native people, and the performance of “playing Indian” is carried out by white bodies, using the Indian to explore their own identities, fears, and cultures. As the American Revolution dawned, the Indian was everywhere. Hunting shirts, the makeshift uniform of the Continental Army, were at the center of a movement around “playing Indian.” By exploring the discourse around the hunting shirt, and the performance of “playing Indian” that accompanied it, we can better understand the role of the Indian, and backcountry culture, in forging an early American military identity during the early 1770s.

The fringed hunting shirt, often worn with leather leggings, was part of a long tradition of Native-British hybrid fashions in the American backcountry, the land beyond formal colonial town and city boundaries where Native and non-Native people worked and traded alongside each other. Native people and white traders often adopted elements of each other’s dress to signal their openness for trade. This was known as Indian dress, and its history in the Mohawk valley has been well-researched. The hunting shirt was the Virginian version, combining European construction and materials with the fringed decorations common in the dress of Eastern Woodland tribes in the early eighteenth century.

George Washington, a Virginian with significant backcountry experience, repeatedly advocated for Indian dress as a military uniform. In July 1758, he wrote, “I wou’d not only order my Men to adopt the Indian dress, but cause the Officers to wear it also, and be the first to set the example myself . . . leaving my regimentals at this place, and preceding as light as any Indian in the woods.” Alongside other frontiersmen, he advocated for hunting shirts as a uniform for the Virginia militia, which adopted them in March 1775. When he was put in command of the Continental Army in July 1775, Washington ordered that hunting shirts be given out as provisions.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: Polygamy: An Early American History

Sarah Pearsall, a University Teaching Officer, Fellow, and Historian at the University of Cambridge, joins us to discuss the surprising history of polygamy in early North America, with details from her book, Polygamy: An Early American History.

During our conversation, Sarah reveals how and why many Native American and West African peoples practiced polygamy; The ways in which polygamy offered practitioners economic, social, and political power; And how and why monogamy became so powerfully embedded in the early United States.

Listen to the podcast.

Book: The Battles of Connecticut Farms and Springfield, 1780

The Battles of Connecticut Farms and Springfield, 1780, by Edward G. Lengel. (Yardley, PA: Westholme Publishing, LLC, 2020)

Reviewed by Timothy Symington, 15 July 2020

We have all heard and likely read about the big battles of the American Revolution. Names like Trenton, Saratoga, and Yorktown resonate in our ears. But what about all the smaller battles that took place by the hundreds, often fought away from but related to the bigger battles? It is the contention of this series that these smaller actions, too often ignored, had as much impact, if not more, in shaping the outcomes of the American War of Independence.

Washington in in a precarious position in 1780. Although he was obsessed with recapturing New York City, he was worried about the position of the French fleet and whether he could count on French General Rochambeau’s support. Washington’s situation was improved compared to previous years, however, because by 1780 the Continental Army was no longer an inefficient, undisciplined force. It was now an organized and experienced army, led by talented officers such as von Steuben, Lafayette, Greene, Wayne, and Knox.

At the same time, the British forces under Gen. Henry Clinton saw ultimate victory slipping away from them. Although they were still as strong as they were when the Revolution began, the British were fighting a defensive campaign against the French in the Caribbean, which was draining necessary resources. The hoped-for support of Loyalists had been more than disappointing. Finally, the morale of the British forces was at an all-time low, and Clinton’s lack of enthusiasm for winning was problematic to the war effort.

Read more.

How the Key to the Bastille Ended Up in George Washington’s Possession

President George Washington knew how to curate a blockbuster exhibit – and with just one artifact. Elite visitors who mingled in August 1790 at his New York reception, a meet-and-greet of sorts, clustered around an extraordinary sight: a midnight-colored metal key, just over seven inches in height and a little more than three inches wide, a key that once sealed the king’s prisoners into the notorious Bastille prison of Paris.

Following Washington’s party, newspapers across the country ran an “exact representation” of the key, splayed out in grim silhouette. This “new” relic of the French Revolution, sent by Washington’s longtime friend, the Marquis de Lafayette, soon appeared on display in Philadelphia, hung prominently in the president’s state dining room.

Along with a sketch of the Bastille by Etienne-Louis-Denis Cathala , the architect who oversaw its final demolition, the key hung in the entryway of Washington’s Virginia estate, Mount Vernon. How and why it landed in the president’s home makes for a fascinating tale.

Read more.

Hard to Read Gravestones: The Mirror Trick

We are all guilty of trying every trick in the book to read old gravestones. Almost all of these methods can over time harm the stone. This is a hands off approach used by researchers that will help preserve our old stones for many more years.

David is a Professional Grave Stone Carver who tells his method for viewing stones that he has used to write his book, A Brief Treatise on Tomb and Grave Stones of the 18th Century.

Watch the video.

Asking a Question Can Bring Amazing Results

UELAC President Sue had a family question, either her great grandfather or his brother wearing an HMCS Niobe uniform. She knew a third brother had served in WWI, but he was the only one the family knew had served. She joined the Facebook group Canadian Military Photos Lost and Found and posted:

Here is a puzzle – This is either my great grandfather Len Morse or his brother John. Len was the youngest and was born in 1880 in Elgin County, Ontario and lived there almost his entire life. He was married in 1901. The Niobe was I thought in Halifax and we have no information that Len or John were in the navy or a cadet corps. Their brother Gordon Bruce Morse served during WWI.

Following up, Sue notes:

I can’t get over how amazingly helpful the people on the site have been. Turns out it was great uncle John, brother of my gg Len. A couple of people from the group also took the time to colourize the photo to see what he would have looked like in uniform. Visit the Facebook group and scroll down to the post, then click on “Comments” below the image (you may need to click additional comments a couple of times to see them all).

Sue also found a site with information about Royal Canadian Navy ships, For Posterity’s Sake (“ Dedicated to the men and women of the Royal Canadian Navy and the ships they lived and served in”) – go directly to the Niobe page, the ship was serving as a depot ship in Halifax Harbour at the time of the explosion.

Where in the World?

Where are Kawartha Branch members Dr. Richard Staples and Ken Spry, UE?

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:

  • Zebedee Hammond – contributed by Pam Wood Waugh
  • Mahlon Knight – contributed from Branch records by Jo Ann Tuskin
  • Ralph London – contributed by Dalton London
  • Wilhelm Price Sr. – contributed by John Haynes
  • Joseph Ryerse (Ryerson) – contributed from Branch records by Jo Ann Tuskin
  • Thomas Stockford- contributed by Dalton London

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

From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Proof for Isaac Culp, Son of John and Elizabeth Smith

As Toronto Branch genealogist I’m helping a young man document his loyalist lines from Jacob Culp UE and Joseph Wardell UE. For both lines we have to find proof that Isaac Culp (b.1826 Clinton, Lincoln Co. ON-d. Dunnville, ON) is the son of John Culp (1800-1865 Clinton) and Elizabeth Smith (1803-1855) of Clinton Township, Ontario.

Any information would be welcome!

…Martha Hemphill