In this issue:
“Join the rEvolution”: UELAC Conference 2021 by Bridge Annex
The Head of Elk: A Turning Point for Loyalists (Part 2 of 5), by Stephen Davidson
Book Review: 18th Century Loyalist Recipes
JAR: The Battle of Shallow Ford, October 14, 1780
JAR: Thomas Pownall, Governor of Massachusetts, January 1759-1760
Borealia: Success/Failure? Louis Riel and the History of Policing Canada
Colonial Williamsburg: Creating an Embroidered Coat for George Washington
Crossing the Atlantic: Passengers of the Arbella, 1630
The Loyalist Gazette, Fall Issue 2020
Where in the World?
Additions to the Loyalist Directory
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
+ Migration into the Royal Townships in 1784


“Join the rEvolution”: UELAC Conference 2021 by Bridge Annex

Come Be Part of the Story

UELAC Conference & Historical Event 2021

May 27-31, 2021 – Cornwall, ON

The first virtual conference in UELAC history!

We’re producing a mix of multimedia and live elements to engage our audience. The opportunity of a virtual conference is that we can produce expanded content and bring in partners from across Canada and the US to participate and share their knowledge. In fact, our list of possibilities just keeps growing because of the enormous enthusiasm and sense of cooperation from our many partners on this journey.

Our major partner Cornwall Tourism is on board. Their support has been critical to developing our vision for sharing the rich history of the region – Loyalist and more.

Watch the two-minute video trailer.

Read the announcement (PDF).

The Head of Elk: A Turning Point for Loyalists (Part 2 of 5)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

When 17,000 British troops under the command of General Howe disembarked from more than 260 ships at the Head of Elk, Maryland in August of 1777, it was a turning point in the lives of many local Loyalists. While most of their stories have been lost over time, seven Loyalists who appeared before the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL) had the opportunity to share the personal impact of the events of the summer of 1777.

William Smith had immigrated to Maryland from England in 1769. He set up shop as a rope maker near Baltimore. Because “upon all occasions {he} conducted himself as a Loyalist”, rebels in Baltimore threatened Smith and finally drove him out of the city in December of 1776. He returned to the city six weeks later, but by the following summer was in the vicinity of the Head of Elk (today’s Elkton, Maryland). He joined with the British troops, but as he “removed, he was pelted out of town for his loyalty”. Following the capture of Philadelphia, Smith stayed in Pennsylvania until his declining health compelled him to return to England.

Susannah Marshall is the only Loyalist woman to have her story of the Head of Elk preserved for posterity. A native of Wales, Susannah and her Irish husband settled in Baltimore where they kept a lodging house “and sold liquors”. Local Patriots began to pester her husband to join the rebellion, forcing him to leave both Baltimore and Susannah. After seeking sanctuary in the West Indies, Susannah’s husband died.

Left on her own, Susannah was “obliged” to provide rooms for rebel soldiers and sailors at her inn until sometime in 1776. Her refusal to side with the rebels was not well received, and when Susannah later refused to stop housing rebels, local Patriots confiscated “a great many of her goods” and damaged her inn. After selling her remaining furniture, Susannah was forced to “quit her house, otherwise she would have been tarred and feathered”. (This was an unusual threat to make against a woman. Men were usually the victims of this painful form of assault.)

Susannah left Baltimore for the Head of Elk, a distance of about 60 miles. It seems she sailed there as she mentions that the hams and flour that she had purchased from the sale of her effects was taken and sold by a privateer.

After General Howe had marched through the Head of Elk and later seized, Philadelphia, the rebel capital, Susannah decided to set sail for England in October of 1777. For the next eight years, she lived on an annual allowance of £20 given her by the British government. In June of 1785, the compensation board recognized that she and her husband were loyalists and compensated her for her losses.

John Watson was a Scot who had immigrated to New Castle, Delaware in 1767. Situated just 20 miles outside of the Head of Elk, he served the region as both a surgeon and an apothecary. During his first ten years in the colonies, he had done quite well for himself. Although he had not bought a house or land, he had “a very large shop full of drugs”. His assets were the drugs he sold, a small carriage, two horses, a cow, an African slave and her child, his furniture, apothecary instruments, his family’s clothing and a still. Watson was noted as having “a very extensive practice”, given that it was a “sickly country”. For three years in a row his annual income was at least £1,000.

Watson’s prosperity would have continued had he not “publicly expressed his sentiments in favour of the British Government”. When General Howe’s troops landed at the Head of Elk, the Patriots of New Castle forced him to choose between serving as a surgeon in the rebel army or being put in jail. Grudgingly, Watson chose to join the Patriots, but he confided to a friend that “he hated the rebels and meant to make his escape to the British Army.” He lost no time in deserting and joined the British troops at the Head of Elk in August of 1777.

Watson was remembered as being “a very active man… ready to give every service in his power.” His commitment as a Loyalist led to his appointment as the apothecary for the British military hospital in New York City in 1780. Four years later, the compensation board rewarded his services as a Loyalist. Watson’s claim was bolstered by the testimony of Colonel Thomas Robinson, another Loyalist for whom the Head of Elk would be a significant place name.

When General Howe’s troops arrived in Maryland, Thomas Robinson “offered his services to raise men in the lower counties of the Delaware”. Robinson had a long career of service in Pennsylvania. In addition to being a farmer, he had been a magistrate and a member of the colonial House of Assembly. As early as 1774, Robinson had opposed sending representatives from the colony to the Continental Congress, and he refused to take any oaths of allegiance to the rebel cause.

James Galloway, a prominent Pennsylvanian Loyalist, said that Robinson had “exerted himself as much as any man could do in endeavoring to quiet the minds of the people when the disturbances commenced”. In the spring of 1776, Robinson formulated a petition against independence and was able to find 5,000 other loyal signatories.

Such flagrant opposition to their cause compelled the Patriots to put Robinson in the pillory. While his head and hands were held within the wooden framework, the Loyalist was – in the words of the era – “very used” by those who passed by. Following his release, Robinson signed a bond promising “not to oppose any measure whatever of the state”.

Nevertheless, with the approach of General Howe, Robinson did his best to procure pilots for the British ships sailing into the Delaware River and to recruit Loyalists to join Howe’s army.

Having “gone over to the enemy” in such an active way, Robinson continued to serve the crown throughout the revolution. He was part of the 1778 expedition against Georgia. A year later he was made a “captain of safeguards” and was part of the expedition against Charleston. No longer welcomed in Pennsylvania, Robinson retired to England where he received an annual allowance of £100. On July 1, 1784, the compensation board that convened in London declared Robinson to be “an active and meritorious Loyalist {who} rendered services to the British government”.

The stories of those whose lives were shaped by the events at the Head of Elk continue in next week’s Loyalist Trails.


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

Book Review: 18th Century Loyalist Recipes

Loyalists At Table: 18th Century Loyalist Recipes for the 21st Century Kitchen – book project by St. Lawrence Branch UELAC

Reviewed by Christine Manzer, UE, Vancouver Branch

With more time on my hands than in the fall of 2019 and with a renewed interest in cooking and baking at home I was delighted to receive my copy of Loyalists at Table in the mail earlier this week. St. Lawrence Branch members Laurie McDonald and Darlene Montgomery-Fawcett have contributed value time and expertise to the success of this publication.

Huzzah for the mention that photos and recipes were used with permission where that was applicable. The introductory paragraphs for almost all recipes are enlightening and worth reading. Photos from older cookbooks give a wonderful authenticity to the book. I would love to raise a 2-handled posset cup with a hot drink of King William’s Posset with the editors of this book. (see page 14)

I hope many of you will order a copy from the St. Lawrence Branch. Check their Facebook page for details. Expect a reasonable amount to be added for postage and handling. The spiral bound book is 214 pages and a comfortable size to hold. I am pleased to offer my congratulation to the Branch on this fund raising project. Eat well and heartily.

See announcement of Loyalists At Table with ordering instructions.

JAR: The Battle of Shallow Ford, October 14, 1780

by Travis Copeland 29 September 2020

In September 1780, writing from Hillsborough, North Carolina, just one month after the disastrous defeat at Camden, Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates penned a disconcerted letter to Thomas Jefferson, the then governor of Virginia, broadly sketching the situation in the colonial South: “Should Wilmington in this State and Portsmo[uth] in Yours, be the posts they intend to take, I conceive the Southern Army would be intirely misplaced at Charlotte Salisbury and the Ford upon the Yadkin.”

The situation in the Carolinas had deteriorated for the Patriots after Camden. Gates not only suffered a rousing defeat in battle, but thoroughly embarrassed the Continental Army when he fled the scene. Duel British victories at Charlestown in May and Camden in August 1780 put the patriot cause in the South on a meager footing. The presence of the Crown’s army in the South sought to further insight Loyalists to curb the rebellion. Although Gates reminded Jefferson that the British remained vulnerable at times, British strength had been continually fortified. Their fortification continued on September 26. Gen. Charles, Lord Cornwallis and the British Army overran the Patriot militia defending the small backcountry town of Charlotte, North Carolina, near the Catawba River. British cavalry pushed the Patriot militia from the small courthouse at the center of town, and secured another rout of the Whigs in the South. Charlotte was now in British hands. Since the transition by British leadership to a Southern campaign, they had seen demonstrable victories throughout the Carolinas and Georgia, further emboldening British commanders and their backcountry allies.

The Carolina backcountry was the hotbed of civil war as Cornwallis overtook Charlotte. Difference of sentiment concerning British oversight boiled over in towns and cities to wholesale violence. Neighbor turned on neighbor with suspicion and ferocity. Tories and Whigs fought a constant campaign of indistinct violence. Although the British held Charlestown and Charlotte, the backcountry had no distinct loyalties. Militia mustered in various towns. Towns even rose in division, as one portion declared for Parliament and the other Congress. Tensions and emotions catalyzed into actions. Loyalist militia marauded the countryside as far as the Appalachian Mountains, while Patriot militia pushed to regain their losses north of Charlotte and in the central Carolinas. An increase in British strength and presence emboldened a particular group of Tories from Surry County began to move to support Cornwallis.

Read more.

JAR: Thomas Pownall, Governor of Massachusetts, January 1759-1760

By Bob Ruppert 30 September 2020

On May 7, 1757, Thomas Pownall sailed from England for Boston to take his post as the governor of Massachusetts. Aboard the ship was George Lord Howe, an army officer. The two men developed a friendship over the three month voyage. On July 8, 1758, Lord Howe, a brigadier general, led the right center column in Abercromby’s ill-conceived attack on Fort Ticonderoga. He was second in command to Abercromby. Two miles south of the fort, his column encountered a large French reconnaissance force. Shortly after the fighting began, Lord Howe was fatally shot. Abercromby after the battle wrote to Pitt, “I caused his Body to be taken off the field of Battle, and sent to Albany, with a Design to have it embalmed, & sent home . . . But the Weather being very hot, Brig. Stanwix was obliged to order it to be buried.” Howe’s body initially was laid in the Schuyler family vault; later it was buried in St. Peter’s Church in Albany.

At the beginning of 1759, Thomas Pownall had been Governor of Massachusetts for nearly a year and a half. During this time he had, unlike his predecessor, developed a working relationship with the colony’s general assembly. With their support he was able to recruit, provision and deploy the militia to defend the colony’s frontiers, support each commander-in-chief – Maj. Gen. John Campbell then Gen. James Abercromby and finally Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Amherst – secure partial reimbursements for the colony’s expenses incurred during the last two campaigns, and per Secretary of State William Pitt’s request, draw up a campaign plan for the taking of Quebec. He also came to realize that friends of the previous governor who were members of the colony’s council, along with Thomas Hutchinson, the colony’s lieutenant-governor, and Andrew Oliver, the colony’s secretary, were working against his efforts.

On January 19, 1759 Pownall informed Secretary Pitt that the assembly was prepared “with their utmost abilities to support His Majesty’s Administration and Measures” as soon as they “received any Orders from England as to the Operations of Warr” for the upcoming year. In the same letter he finalized plans for the monument to his fallen friend George Howe.

Read more.

Borealia: Success/Failure? Louis Riel and the History of Policing Canada

Max Hamon 21 September 2020

The toppling of the statue of John A. Macdonald during a protest against policing in downtown Montreal last month was part of a global revolution in public opinion. As Peter Gossage remarked, “this is no longer Macdonald’s Canada.” Some dismissed this as the continued discords between the two solitudes: “here they go again.” Others, with a certain knowing condescension, attempted to separate Macdonald and policing. But Macdonald and policing are part of the same story.

Repeatedly, John A. Macdonald used law enforcement to silence objections to his own government’s unlawful occupation of Indigenous territory. Most notably, Macdonald played a key role in the creation the North West Mounted Police, as well as the Dominion Police. Indeed, Canada’s police system was created to oversee Indigenous people and impose “civilization.” Policing sits at an intersection between the state’s capacity to impose order and the need to represent the public. Thus, just as in the nineteenth century, in the twenty-first century policing remains integral to the representation of the state and how Canadians understand civil society.

The toppling of the statue invites historians to consider how Macdonald’s Canada and the history of policing are related.

In my work, Louis Riel’s life has afforded an opportunity to unpack “Macdonald’s Canada” and given me the mental space to understand how certain ideas about Canada are realized, or passed over. While the executions of 1885 are undoubtedly important, I suggest that understanding Riel’s life helps us to better understand why Macdonald’s presence in public space is unwanted on a number of issues. Riel offers us a way of getting at numerous fissures that run through Canadian history. Policing is an important one.

Read more.

Colonial Williamsburg: Creating an Embroidered Coat for George Washington

By: Melissa Mead 7 August 2020

Late last year the Costume Design Center was tasked with constructing a civilian suit for George Washington interpreter Daniel Cross to wear for dance programs at the Governor’s Palace, portraying Washington before the Revolution. Today this would be considered a “semi-formal” dress suit.

To inform our design, we consulted the known record – surviving artifacts, contemporary depictions, and Washington’s papers. Clothing worn by Washington does indeed still exist, though generally from after the Revolution. Images recorded during his lifetime abound but the earliest depict only military attire. While evidence can be gleaned of his sartorial choices from the written record, an actual suit belonging to him from this period is not currently known to have survived. We decided to use an example from Colonial Williamsburg’s collection as prototype and design inspiration.

I am Melissa Mead, the Accessories Team Leader at the Costume Design Center and below, I’ll share how our staff adapted and reproduced this coat using both current and antique processes.

Read more.

Crossing the Atlantic: Passengers of the Arbella, 1630

Would the ocean crossing have changed much between 1630 and the pre-Loyalist period of 1750-1775?

John Winthrop wrote a journal of the voyage of the Arbella on March 29, 1630.

Winthrop tells us that Lady Arbella and the gentlewomen dined in the great cabin. They slept there also.

The men of quality occupied the round house. They included Governor Winthrop and Sir Richard Saltonstall Deputy Governor.

For seventy-five days the ship sailed westward through gales, cold, fog and fair weather. Winthrop gives a novel cure for sea-sickness. He says the wind was north, a stiff gale with fair weather.

“In the afternoon less wind, and our people began to grow well again. Our children and others, that were sick and lay groaning in the cabins, we fetched out, and having stretched a rope from the steerage to the mainmast, we made them stand, some on one side and some on the other, and sway it up and down till they were warm , and by this means they soon grew well and merry.”

A passage across the Atlantic in 1630 was an affair of great discomfort and suffering. Passengers were confined to narrow quarters, lived on short rations, and were without the common conveniences of life.

Read more.

Digital Gazette: Help Save Costs; Sign up by April 14

The Loyalist Gazette is published twice each year and distributed in May and November.

It is a benefit for members of UELAC, but separate subscriptions are available.

The digital copy of the two most recent issues is available in the Members’ Section at An archive of older copies is open to all.

Although many members choose to access the new issue when it arrives in digital format, many still like to receive a paper copy via Canada Post – one copy for each member other than families who can receive one copy per family.

The material for the 2020 Fall issue has been delivered by editor Bob McBride to the layout and design editor Amanda Fasken.

I wonder what the cover will feature? and I do look forward to the contents.

…Publications Committee

Where in the World?

Where are Richard Parry, Bill Russell and David Smith of Bay of Quinte 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

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • William Banks – contributed from Branch records by Jo Ann Tuskin
  • Isaac Hall – contributed by Pam Wood Waugh

Please help us build the directory by contributing information. Contact for guidance.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Migration into the Royal Townships in 1784

I have transcripts of several letters from my great uncle Willie (1848-1929) and I am trying to write a book on the doings of his great-grandfather and his great-uncle after the Revolutionary war. Adam Pabst was in Butlers Rangers and his son Rudolph was in the KRRNY.

I would welcome your opinion as to whether the trip described could be from Lachine in the spring of 1784. (There are a few inconsistencies throughout, but not unexpected as Willie died in 1929, almost a century and a half after the trip).

The first settlements of Loyalists in now Eastern Ontario were in 1784 after approval to do so from England and subsequent surveying. [See Loyalist Settlement in Present Day Ontario: The Royal Townships (Eastern Ontario) ]

Rudolph landed at twp #3 in the spring of 1784, was advised in Sept 1784, “His land not run out”. Willie notes:

“My grandfather’s uncles, the Mattice’s, Tykes,(Fykes?), Wearley’s immigrated to Canada by way of the Oswegatchie river that empties into the St. Lawrence at Ogdensburg, in flat boats or scows coming back the Hoople Creek…..above Dickinson’s Landing and settled east of and north of the present village of Lunenburg”.

I posit the following:

1. Many flat boats called bateaux or scows were built over the winter of 1783/4 in Lachine.

2. These craft had a flat bottom.

3. They were large enough to transport 4 or 5 families up river.

4. They loaded reduced soldiers, their families and Loyalists in Lachine, transported them to the Royal twps and disembarked them near Hoople Creek.

5. He does not mention Montreal.

6. The person described would have to have been his great-grandmother Eva Pabst and her children as Adam was not likely discharged from Butlers Rangers until mid 1784.

I think that Eva Pabst and some of her children were transported from Ft Oswegatchie, downstream to Montreal before winter 1783, reunited at Lachine with her son from the KRRNY and then transported back up stream to twp #3 in the spring of 1784. I would greatly appreciate any directions to information which would support or contradict my suppositions. For example, would the Haldimand Papers have any details?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

…Richard Poaps