Loyalist Trails Newsletter 2020-45 (November 15, 2020)

In this issue:

  • UELAC Face Mask
  • Interesting Scraps of Loyalist Research by Stephen Davidson
  • Henry Williams, Son of Samuel by Phil Eschbach
  • Borealia: A root “that our French call rosary”: Foodways in Indigenous and French North America
  • Major Benjamin Tallmadge and the Battle of Fort St. George
  • JAR: Native Americans at Valley Forge
  • Ben Franklin’s World: Smugglers & Patriots in the 18th-Century Atlantic World
  • Book: The Loyalists of Massachusetts and The Other Side of the American Revolution
  • Additions to the Loyalist Directory
  • From the Twittersphere and Beyond


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Interesting Scraps of Loyalist Research
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
Exploring the era of the Loyalists is always a fascinating experience. One never knows what there is to be found. And sometimes what is found doesn’t quite develop into a larger article or fit into a particular series. But even the “scraps” and “leftovers” of research into the era can be interesting as can be seen in the three stories given below.
One takes mail delivery for granted nowadays. But how did Loyalist refugees communicate with one another as they formed settlements in the Canadas and the Maritime Colonies? An old inhabitant of Woodstock, New Brunswick answered that question when a reporter for The Dispatch interviewed him back in the summer of 1894. He recalled that an Acadian man named Martin used to carry the mail from Fredericton to Quebec. In the wintertime, he loaded the mail onto a sled that was hauled by a dog. In the warmer months, he piloted an old hand cart.
The depth to which the American Revolution divided families is illustrated in an incident involving the Loyalist John Sargent and his Patriot brother Paul Dudley Sargent. Following the war, their half-brother, Daniel Sargent hoped that he could bring about a reconciliation between his siblings who had not seen each other since 1778. This was made difficult by the fact that John lived in Barrington, Nova Scotia and Paul lived in Sullivan, Maine.
Sometime after the war, John — who was noted for being “mild and genial”—made a visit to Daniel’s family at his home in Boston. Both men went to a worship service at First Church. Unaware of his Loyalist brother’s presence in the city, Paul Sargent had just arrived by ship that Sunday. Knowing that he would find Daniel’s family at First Church, Paul visited the sanctuary and headed for the Sargent family pew just as the sermon began. Here at last, thought Daniel, would be the moment of reconciliation between Loyalist John and Patriot Paul.
However, following a bow of acknowledgement to Daniel and his wife, Paul looked over his spectacles to see his Loyalist brother sitting in the pew. Instantly, the Patriot veteran “grasped his cocked hat and hurried out of the church”. Following the service, Daniel confronted Paul, asking how he could behave so towards his estranged brother. Paul replied, “I’ll never sit down, knowingly, with a Tory, in God’s house nor in any other.
This last story is a tale in which justice was meted out eventually rather than immediately, a story of the murder of a Loyalist’s grandson.
John Mitchell was a Loyalist who lived at Cow Neck, Queen’s County, New York. On October 21, 1776, he was one of dozens of Long Islanders who signed an oath of allegiance to King George III following the British capture of New York City. The signatories looked forward to “the pleasing prospect of returning peace and security, long banished by the many calamities surrounding us”. They described their life among rebel Americans; “from happiness we had fallen into misery; from freedom to oppression! We severely felt the change and lamented our condition”.
After assuring the British commanders-in-chief of their loyalty, Mitchell and his fellow Long Islanders hoped that their county would be recognized as being at peace with His Majesty and that it would be allowed “to receive the benefits flowing from his most gracious protection”.
In the weeks that followed, the inhabitants of Queen’s County were recognized as Loyalists (or as repentant rebels) and were allowed the “peaceable possession of their property” under the British occupation. While there were inconveniencies such as having to provide quarters for officers or billeting soldiers in their homes, Long Islanders had the advantage of access to a new market — the thousands of British troops stationed in and around New York City. There was an ongoing demand for horses, firewood, hay, straw and grain. Although these items were sold at prices fixed by the British commander, the Loyalists received payment in silver and gold.
Farmers often hid this hard currency in their homes or buried it in their cellars. The knowledge that some inhabitants had stashed away British silver and gold tempted some to become home invaders, torturing their Loyalist victims until they revealed where they had buried their “treasure”. Given that John Mitchell and his adult son John Junior were on a list of those who supplied the British with wood, it seems likely that they would be among the Loyalists who had gold and silver on their farms.
Lorenzo Sabine, the compiler of hundreds of Loyalist biographies, records the rest of the Mitchells’ story. He recounted how on a spring night in 1783, six men crossed the Long Island Sound from Connecticut in a whale boat and broke into the Mitchell home. Jackson, one of the robbers, had once lived with the Mitchells and so may have been acquainted with their wealth. The Loyalist family fought back, but were overwhelmed. Both John Mitchell senior and junior were beaten over the head with the butt-end of a musket. Despite the fact that she had an infant in her arms, Mrs. John Mitchell Junior was assaulted until she fainted. Jackson then took her young son Benjamin outdoors, held him down and shot him through the body with two musket balls. The wounds proved to be fatal, and the boy died.
On May 21, 1783, Sir Guy Carleton, the last commander in chief of British forces in North America, learned of the brutal attack on the Loyalist family when he received a letter from John Mitchell Senior. Although the matter was brought before a judge, it does not seem to be resolved by the time the British and their Loyalist allies left New York. John Mitchell Junior, the father of the murdered boy remained on Long Island, dying in Queen’s County in 1833 at the age of 81.
The story would have ended there if Lorenzo Sabine had not come across documents that told of an execution in 1785 in Saint John, New Brunswick. Described as a “marauder and murderer”, a man named Jackson was hanged on the gallows outside of Fort Howe. Sabine’s sources recount that the condemned was “contrite for his sins”. Jackson was quoted as saying “there is only one thing {I} dared not hope pardon for — that was the murder of Benjamin Mitchell”.
In some inexplicable way, Jackson had joined the Loyalist migration to New Brunswick despite his history of attacking Loyalists on Long Island. And in equally inexplicable ways, he was finally brought to justice and punished for the murder of a young boy.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at stephendavids@gmail.com.

Henry Williams, Son of Samuel
By Phil Eschbach
(This follows last week’s “Loyalist Samuel Williams’ Journey to Florida“)
Patriarch Samuel’s eldest son, Henry Williams, born about 1738, married Margaret Burton and settled in Anson County, North Carolina, near his other family members. From British Governor Josiah Martin in 1773, he acquired a grant on the north fork of Mountain Creek of 169 acres for £40 and made improvements. He also bought 100 acres from his father for £100 in 1774, splitting the cost of the construction of a sawmill with his father. After the battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge, Henry continued the fight in South Carolina and Georgia while sending his wife and children south to Georgia’s ceded lands in what is now Wilkes County, where he had purchased 200 acres for £60. They made the hazardous journey on back country roads on foot. The journey took several weeks, covering over 200 miles. They slept on the ground and faced many hardships, walking with two horses carrying their possessions. Joining them in 1778, Henry established a plantation there.
When the British entered Georgia in 1779, Henry joined the loyalists with a rank of Major. In February of 1779, Henry and his brother Jacob were captured in the battle of Kettle Creek, along with about 150 loyalists, and imprisoned at the Ninety-Six jail in South Carolina from March 10 to April 12, 1779. This militia unit, led by Colonel Boyd, had been on its way to Augusta when they got involved in the battle at Kettle Creek. Later in August of 1779, the Grand Jury of Wilkes County indicted Henry and several others on a charge of aiding and abetting the British, and his property was seized. One William McIntosh purchased Henry’s confiscated land. Henry had improved it, clearing 75 acres and building a house, all valued at £200. He lost 20 enslaved people that he valued at 20 guineas each, who were seized and sold. He also had 200 head of cattle, valued at 20 shillings each, as well as 15 horses at £10 and 1000 bushels of corn, also taken and sold or destroyed.
In May-June of 1781, Henry, along with two of his brothers and their father, joined Colonel Brown’s militia at Fort Cornwallis in Augusta, Georgia. They were captured after the loss of the fort, known as the Siege of Augusta and later exchanged. Henry had been ordered to send 20 of his enslaved workers to help fortify the fortress there. They were captured and sold by the rebels. After capturing the fort, the rebel, Colonel Light Horse Harry Lee, struggled to keep his soldiers from murdering the prisoners. Lee wrote to General Greene about the local rebel militia under Elijah Clarke, “They excel the goths and the vandals in their schemes of plunder, murder and iniquity, all under the pretense of supporting the virtuous cause of America.” Greene responded, “The idea of exterminating the Tories is not less barbarous than unpolitical, and if persisted it will keep this Country in the Greatest confusion and distress.” It was at Augusta that an angry rebel, Andrew Shulus, went to Henry Williams’ prison cell and “shot him through the body.” He was transferred to a hospital in Savannah and not expected to live. Fortunately, he survived, but barely, with the loss of the use of his arm caused by the bullet wound. He was paroled after the evacuation of Savannah in 1782. By then, the revolutionary government of Georgia had issued a bill of attainder, aimed at a long list of loyalists they called traitors, Henry among them.
Henry left the military, taking his family from Georgia to East Florida, where he joined his brothers Wilson, Abner, and William, as well as his sisters Jane and Susan, on land near Doctor’s Lake on the St. Johns River, just west of St. Augustine. In 1783, he joined a local militia of South Carolina Royalists with a rank of Sergeant. But by 1784, after the receding of Florida to Spain, he refused to take the oath of allegiance to Spain and planned to move to the Bahamas with his children and their families, along with his brother William. He made a request to leave with his wife and eight children. He declared he owned twelve enslaved people, one horse, and two cows.
In 1788, from the Bahamas, Henry had a dispute with Spanish Governor Zespedes over the possession of a few other enslaved people. He wanted to bring Molly, an “old wench,” Reynor, Hector, and Sam to the Bahamas. Reynor claimed she had been sold by Henry’s brother William to Louis Fatio, who lived across the St. Johns River at the Francis Fatio plantation called New Switzerland. Hector claimed that he had accompanied Henry’s brother William to Florida and was free because he had done military service. Henry declared that they had run away when he decided to move to the Bahamas. His claim was denied by Zespedes, and they were granted the right to stay in Florida. The Williams never got compensation and the former slaves hired them-selves out to Louis Fatio.
After Henry moved to the Bahamas, he lived on Watlings Island where he died only a few years later in 1791. Henry also lost all his property back in North Carolina through seizure by the new American state government. In 1789, he petitioned the American government for compensation but was denied. Though, previously in April of 1776, he had managed to sell a 100-acre piece of property, back in North Carolina, before he left for Florida.
However, he was able to retain substantial wealth and in his will left money to educate his children as well as all his grandchildren, most going to England for their education. His children were Burton, Henry Micajah, Wilson, Samuel, William, Mary, Elizabeth and Charity, according to Henry’s will. Little is known about Henry Micajah, Wilson, or William. The girls, Mary and Charity, were sent to England for their education and while there, married brothers Robert and John Gwilt and remained there. Elizabeth married a lawyer named William Kerr in the Bahamas. William had formed a law partnership in Nassau with Elizabeth’s nephew, Henry Paxton, son of her brother Burton.
In the next installment, I will discuss Henry’s children, two of whom were fervent loyalists, fighting with their father and grandfather in north Florida against the rebels.

  • Fraser, Alexander, comp. & ed. Second Report of the Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario. Vols. I & II, Toronto: L.K. Cameron, 1904.
  • Moss, Bobby Gilmer. Roster of the Loyalists in the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge. Blacksburg, South Carolina: Hibernia Press, 1992.
  • Coldham, Peter Wilson. American Migrations 1965-1799. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000.
  • Davis, Robert S., Jr. Georgia Citizens and Soldiers of the American Revolution. Greenville, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1983.
  • Davidson, Grace Gillam. abstracted and compiled. Early Records of Georgia, Vol. 1, II. Macon, Georgia: 1932.
  • Lee, Henry. Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department of the United States. New York: University publishing Co, 1870.
  • Cashin, Edward J. The King’s Ranger, Thomas Brown and the American Revolution on the Southern Frontier. Athens & London: The University of Georgia Press, 1989.
  • DeMond, Robert O. The Loyalists in North Carolina During the Revolution. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1979.
  • Clark, Murtie June. Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. Baltimore: Clearfield Company, 1981
  • East Florida Papers,” archives at Smathers Library
  • Bethell, A. Talbot. The Early Settlers of the Bahamas and Colonists of North America. Nassau, Bahamas: Rounce & Wortley, 1937.
  • McBee, May Wilson, comp. Anson County, North Carolina Abstracts of Early Records. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1978.

Borealia: A root “that our French call rosary”: Foodways in Indigenous and French North America
By Renée Girard 9 November 2020
In early modern France, foraging practices were associated with a ‘primitive’ style of food procurement, with times of dearth, and with poverty. God had given nature to his children for them to control, and agriculture was understood as a determinant of civilization. Foraging practices, it was believed, brought humans back to the level of animals. The French explorers and missionaries who wrote about their culinary experiences in the Northeastern part of the North American continent at the time of contact paid little attention to the non-cultivated plants used by the diverse Indigenous groups they encountered. Imbued by their own food culture, they failed to acknowledge not only the plants, but also the Indigenous science behind the management of those natural resources.
In a document dated to 1666 and attributed to the Jesuit Pierre-Joseph Chaumonot, we find a depiction of the crests or totem of nine Iroquoian families. Among the Turtle, Wolf, Bear, Beaver, Deer, Small Plover, Large Plover and the Kilion (Hawk), an organic shape stands out. Chaumonot identifies it as the totemic symbol of “la famille de la pomme de terre.” The only information he provides is that the “pomme de terre” is the sixth family, and that it belongs to the second band known as Sconeschionoron. The crest brings to mind the description Thomas Harriot gave in 1590 of a root that grew in Virginia, “a kind of roots of round forme…growing many together one by another in ropes, or as thogh they were fastened with a string.” This root is in fact the Apios Americana, known as the groundnut in English, or, as the French like to call it, la patate en chapelet, because of its visual resemblance to a rosary. Read more…

Major Benjamin Tallmadge and the Battle of Fort St. George
by Sarah Friedman 9 November 2020
It took only a few moments for the British works and their military supplies to go up in smoke. The British had just purchased 300 tons of hay as well as 275 sheaves of oats from local farmers on Long Island to support their large garrison around the City of New York. The British were forced to rethink their plans when they received word that all 300 tons of hay had been burned by a certain Major Benjamin Tallmadge of the Continental Army.
In late October 1780, after receiving the hard blow of Benedict Arnold’s treachery, Benjamin Tallmadge returned to Westchester County, New York, to continue his “former scheme of annoying the enemy.” Before long, Tallmadge’s agents sent him intelligence concerning the nearly-finished Fort St. George, also known as the Fortress at Smith Manor, on the south shore of Long Island. Having determined this was an optimal place to launch an attack, Tallmadge sent a letter to George Washington appealing for permission to raid the fort. Despite the fact that Washington denied him permission, Tallmadge believed that neutralizing this fort would prove to be extremely helpful.
To gather more intelligence about the fort, Tallmadge crossed Sound and infiltrated Long Island. He returned with the information that the British completed Fort. St. George, and it contained a reserve of arms, dry goods, and forage. Tallmadge also received notice from his informant, Caleb Brewster, that the British had recently stockpiled three hundred tons of hay in the small town of Coram, a few miles away from the fort. With this new-found knowledge, Tallmadge wrote to Washington on November 7, 1780, appealing again for permission to attack. Upon learning these new details, Washington gave his consent to attack the fort and burn the hay. Read more…

JAR: Native Americans at Valley Forge
by Joseph Lee Boyle 10 November 2020
At the Bethlehem Hospital near the Continental Army cantonment at Valley Forge on November 21, 1777, John Ettwein visited a “Narragansett Indian in great distress about his soul, at the near approach of death.” On March 18, 1778, Ettwein noted the passage of a company of New England soldiers that included “a few Stockbridge Indians.” Ettwein was one of many to make note of the Native Americans who served and suffered in the most famous encampment of the American Revolution.
Surgeon Albigence Waldo inoculated two Indians for small pox in the Spring of 1778, and on January 4, recorded that:

I was call’d to relieve a Solder tho’t to be dying—he expir’d before I reach’d the Hutt. He was an Indian—an excellent Soldier—and an obedient good natur’d fellow. He engaged for money doubtless as others do;—but he has serv’d his country faithfully—he has fought for those very people who disinherited his forefathers-having finished his pilgrimage, he was discharged from the War of Life & Death. His memory ought to be respected.

Cato Griger/Greger, a Delaware Indian, enlisted in the 1st Massachusetts Regiment on January 20, 1778, for three years “and soon after marched . . . to Valley Forge.” Griger was about thirty-six years old at the time of his enlistment. In the New England regiments there were some Stockbridge Indians including Benjamin Waunechnauweet and Daniel Wauwaunpeguannant, privates in the 8th Massachusetts. A few others, such as Unkus Abimeleck, served in Connecticut regiments.
In April 1778, a Hessian officer saw several Mohawks in a troop of Americans at the White Horse tavern on the Lancaster Road. Read more…

Ben Franklin’s World: Smugglers & Patriots in the 18th-Century Atlantic World
Tyson Reeder, an editor of the Papers of James Madison and an affiliated assistant professor at the University of Virginia, is a scholar of the Atlantic World, who specializes in the Luso-Atlantic or Portuguese-Atlantic World. He’s also written a book on the subject, Smugglers, Pirates, and Patriots: Free Trade in the Age of Revolution.
During our investigation, Tyson reveals details about the Luso-Atlantic and who traded within the Portuguese sphere of imperial influence; Why so many British-American traders turned to smuggling as a way to trade in the Portuguese-Atlantic; And, how British-American experiences with smuggling and trade in the Portuguese-Atlantic led to the development and spread of ideas about free trade and republicanism.During our investigation, Tyson reveals details about the Luso-Atlantic and who traded within the Portuguese sphere of imperial influence; Why so many British-American traders turned to smuggling as a way to trade in the Portuguese-Atlantic; And, how British-American experiences with smuggling and trade in the Portuguese-Atlantic led to the development and spread of ideas about free trade and republicanism. Listen in…

Book: The Loyalists of Massachusetts and The Other Side of the American Revolution
by James H. Stark
Published 1907
To The Memory of the Loyalists of The Massachusetts Bay
At the dedication of the monument erected on Dorchester Heights to commemorate the evacuation of Boston by the British, the oration was delivered by that Nestor of the United States Senate, Senator Hoar.
In describing the government of the colonies at the outbreak of the Revolution, he made the following statement: “The government of England was, in the main, a gentle government, much as our fathers complained of it. Her yoke was easy and her burden was light; our fathers were a hundred times better off in 1775 than were the men of Kent, the vanguard of liberty in England. There was more happiness in Middlesex on the Concord, than there was in Middlesex on the Thames.” A few years later Hon. Edward B. Callender, a Republican candidate for mayor of Boston, in his campaign speech said: “I know something about how this city started. It was not made by the rich men or the so-called high-toned men of Boston—they were with the other party, with the king; they were Loyalists. Boston was founded by the ordinary man—by Paul Revere, the coppersmith; Sam Adams, the poor collector of the town of Boston, who did not hand over to the town even the sums he collected as taxes; by John Hancock, the smuggler of rum; by John Adams, the attorney, who naively remarked in his book that after the battle of Lexington they never heard anything about the suits against John Hancock. Those were settled.”
These words of our venerable and learned senator and our State Senator Edward B. Callender, seemed strangely unfamiliar to us who had derived our history of the Revolution from the school text-books. These had taught us that the Revolution was due solely to the oppression and tyranny of the British, and that Washington, Franklin, Adams, Hancock, Otis, and the host of other Revolutionary patriots, had in a supreme degree all the virtues ever exhibited by men in their respective spheres, and that the Tories or Loyalists, such as Hutchinson, the Olivers, Saltonstalls, Winslows, Quincys and others, were to be detested and their memory execrated for their abominable and unpatriotic actions.
This led me to inquire and to examine whether there might not be two sides to the controversy which led to the Revolutionary War. I soon found that for more than a century our most gifted writers had almost uniformly suppressed or misrepresented all matter bearing upon one side of the question, and that it would seem to be settled by precedent that this nation could not be trusted with all portions of its own history. But it seemed to me that history should know no concealment. The people have a right to the whole truth, and to the full benefit of unbiased historical teachings, and if, in an honest attempt to discharge a duty to my fellow citizens, I relate on unquestionable authority facts that politic men have intentionally concealed, let no man say that I wantonly expose the errors of the fathers.
In these days we are recognizing more fully than ever the dignity of history, we are realizing that patriotism is not the sole and ultimate object of its study, but the search for truth, and abiding by the truth when found, for “the truth shall make you free” is an axiom that applies here as always. Read more…
NOTE: From C. Testar that this book is available in the Gutenberg Project, and probably other places. The Gutenberg project in its introduction references “This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries.”

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

  • James Alpin – contributed by Michael Umpherson
  • George Harding – contributed from Branch records by Jo Ann Tuskin
  • Reuben Hughes – contributed by Michael Umpherson
  • Abraham Iredell – contributed by Kevin Wisener
  • Titus Knapp – contributed by Barry Curran (with certificate application)

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

WitW: Note. A couple of photos arrived but we got our wires crossed and none were posted – next week.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

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