Loyalist Trails Newsletter 2021-06 (February 7, 2021)
In this issue:
- UELAC Conference 2021: Event Map
- The Many Legacies of Frederick William Hecht: Part One by Stephen Davidson
- Captain Jacob Getcheus, Master of ships supporting American Patriots, British, and Black Loyalists
- Col. John Peters Autobiography
- Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Remote Research: Selected Online Resources for Loyalist History
- Ben Franklin’s World: 1774: The Long Year of American Revolution
- JAR: Nineteenth-Century Remembrances of Black Revolutionary Veterans: Hannah Till, George Washington’s Cook
- JAR: Nineteenth-Century Remembrances of Black Revolutionary Veterans: Thomas Carney, Maryland Continental Soldier
- Kelly Arlene Grant: Curtching Experiment
- Getting Dressed: Clothing for a 17th Century English Man at Jamestown
- A Soldier’s Clothing During the American Revolution
- New Silver Coin Commemorates Black Loyalists
- Borealia: The Problem of Legacy: John A. Macdonald and the Politics of History
- NS Branch Resource: Biographical Sketches of Loyalist Ancestors – More Volunteers Needed
- The Loyalist Directory
- The Thrones of Canada and the United Kingdom
- From the Twittersphere and Beyond
- Last Post: CRANFIELD UE, Doris Mildred
Connect with us:
UELAC Conference 2021: Event Map
Hosted by Bridge Annex , May 27-31
EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT: The UELAC 2021 Conference & Historical Event interactive map is now LIVE!: https://uelbridgeannex.com/2021/
You can explore what each section will feature during UELAC 2021 through videos and/or information. We suggest beginning at WELCOME on the map – here you’ll find the conference schedule and information about the ALL-ACCESS pass we’re offering.
Registration opens February 15th.
The Many Legacies of Frederick William Hecht: Part One of Four
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
When one thinks of a person’s legacy, it is usually thought of in terms of the property or money that is distributed after the person’s death. A legacy can also be the person’s high ideals, an inspiring life that becomes a role model for others, or a devotion to a particular cause that is passed on to the next generation. Often times, the content of the legacy a person leaves behind will be different depending on the relationship that associates and relatives had with the deceased person. Such is the case with Frederick William Hecht, a loyalist who would be remembered in many different ways.
On Monday, February 6, 1804, the New Brunswick readers of the Saint John Gazette read of the passing of Hecht in one brief line of type: “Died, Digby, Nova Scotia, Frederick William Hecht, Esquire, Assistant Commissary General, age 66.”
Although he died across the Bay of Fundy, The newspaper reported Hecht’s death because two decades earlier he had played an important role in the early days of Loyalist settlement in Saint John. During those 20 years, his decisions and actions had an impact on civil servants, enslaved Blacks, Loyalist settlers and his immediate family. What was Hecht’s legacy? It all depended on the person you asked.
If you asked Sir Guy Carleton, he would probably have made reference to Hecht’s work as a competent member of the commissary staff. Carleton would have met Hecht in the spring of 1783 when he arrived in New York City to oversee the withdrawal of the royal troops and the evacuation of Loyalist refugees at the end of the American Revolution.
As he became acquainted with the staff team that would help him to orchestrate the massive exodus of soldiers and civilians, Carleton would have learned how the New York Loyalist came to be a member of the commissary department.
Frederick Hecht was born in one of the German states in 1737 and either emigrated to the colony of New York as a young man or as a member of his family. He married a woman named Anne and would have at least two children by the beginning of the revolution.
On October 16, 1776 Frederick was one of hundreds of New Yorkers who signed a declaration of allegiance to the crown following the British occupation of Manhattan, Staten, and Long Islands. Knowing those he could trust, William Tryon, the last loyal governor of New York, made Hecht “a captain in the loyalist service”.
Within two years’ time, Hecht had become a member of the commissary department under Brook Watson. As Assistant Commissary General, Hecht helped procure and distribute food to the thousands of British troops stationed around Manhattan during the course of the revolution. With the Patriot victory, Hecht’s department had the added responsibility of selling off army surplus, stocking evacuation vessels, and sending provisions to refugee settlements in Nova Scotia, Florida, and Canada.
In early May, Hecht was based in St. Augustine, sending reports from East Florida. His regular reports gave Carleton assessments of what was left in military warehouses as he distributed food to departing troops. Hecht remained there until late August.
Recognizing that their positions would become redundant with the removal of Britain’s forces in the victorious thirteen colonies, Hecht and three other Loyalists sent a memorial to Carleton “asking in return for their loyalty and services that he would recommend them to the King for half pay of their respective appointments whenever the full pay shall cease.”
As it turns out, Carleton had other plans for Hecht. The first official that the commander-in-chief had appointed as the commissary general in Parrtown (the future Saint John, New Brunswick) in May of 1783 was William Tyng. Given that he supervised the distribution of food, firewood, and building supplies to the refugees, the Massachusetts Loyalist ought to have been seen as a benefactor to the displaced Americans and disbanded soldiers settling along the St. John River.
However, Tyng proved to be immensely unpopular and was eventually relieved of his duties. It speaks well of Hecht’s abilities that Carleton decided to put the loyal German in charge of the commissariat at Fort Howe, replacing Tyng at the end of 1783. He was now the “senior assistant commissary in Nova Scotia”. (New Brunswick would come into being in the following year.)
Hecht’s wartime service in the commissary department had — in Sir Guy Carleton’s mind — left a legacy of competency. But that is not how an African man named Hector would remember him. Like so many well-to-do Loyalists, Frederick William Hecht was a slave owner. When he came to Saint John from New York in December of 1783, he brought at least three enslaved Blacks with him, a teenager born in his home, a woman, and a man named Hector.
Hecht had acquired the latter while he was stationed in St. Augustine in 1783. Given that the Black man was trained as a cooper, Hecht may have hoped that Hector would become a source of income as he hired out the enslaved craftsman to those in need of his services. Hector’s West Indies accent indicated that the cooper had spent some time in the Caribbean before encountering Hecht in East Florida. A tall, slender man, Hector walked slowly due to the fact that he was still recovering from his feet being frost bitten during the Hecht household’s passage from New York to Saint John.
Despite this handicap, Hector made a bid for freedom, and escaped from his master in June of 1784. Fort Howe’s senior assistant commissary was determined to retrieve his property and posted a reward for Hector’s capture in July 15th edition of the Royal St. John’s Gazette.
Having invested in the labour and talent of this valuable “property”, Hecht was desperate to have his slave returned. In addition to offering a reward of five guineas for Hector’s capture, Hecht offered the same reward to anyone who could identify a ship’s captain who may have carried away his slave.
The documents of the era do not indicate whether Hector was ever recaptured. But the notice of reward for the Black cooper’s return does shed light on another dimension of Frederick Hecht. He whole-heartedly supported the enslavement of Africans, using them both as household workers and as a source of income.
Learn more about the other legacies of Frederick Hecht in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Captain Jacob Getcheus, Master of ships supporting American Patriots, British, and Black Loyalists
By Brian McConnell UE 6 February 2021
By 1784, Jacob Getcheus and wife Mary had settled in Digby, Nova Scotia. How this ship’s captain from Philadelphia came to be in Digby is a dramatic tale of sea voyages, captured ships, imprisonment, and helping Black Loyalists.
The Trinity Anglican Church Cemetery in Digby contains over two hundred graves associated with the first settlers to the area and their descendants. The oldest gravestone is for Mary Getcheus who died on November 17, 1785, at the age of 37, merely two years after the town was settled. While little information remains about Mary Getcheus, plenty was recorded about her husband Captain Jacob Getcheus (sometimes spelled Getsheus) and his activities during the American Revolution. How he came to be in Digby is a dramatic tale.
Jacob Getcheus was residing in Philadelphia when the American Revolution began. In March 1776, he was captain of the commercial ship Aurora, which was contracted by Willing, Morris, & Company to sail to Barcelona, Spain, with a load of wheat and flour. Read more…
Col. John Peters Autobiography
Used in his application for relief to the British government. June 5th, 1786, Pimlico, London, England [Note: The letter (or transcription) is a bit rough]
SIR, I do not mean to take any pride from family, as you will conceive, nor to boast. of my exploits, but to relate my story in simplicity. I was born in Hebron, in Connecticut, in the My father was a wealthy and colonel of the militia. He descended by his father from William Peters, a brother of Hugh Peters, Oliver Cromwell’s chaplain, and of an ancient family of Cornwall, Old England, and by Major General Thomas Harrison, the Regicide.
My mother was a descendant of John Phelps, a considerable man in Cromwell’s Party. I had a liberal education at Yale College, in Connecticut, and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1759; in 1761, I married Ann, daughter of Robert Barnett, a merchant at Windsor, in Connecticut; she was born in the year 1740, and is now the mother of eight sons one daughter. In 1763 I settled in Piermont, in the province of New Hampshire, on the east bank of the Connecticut river, where I had a Tract of land, and had built a house, a saw-mill and I was, by Wentworth, appointed Captain Commandant of the Militia, and Deputy Surveyor of the King’s woods.
In 1770 I removed to Mooretown, on the west side of the Connecticut where I had a large parcel of land, and I built an house, barn, saw and grist mills, and carried on bandry. Being now in the province of New York, I was appointed by Governor Tryon to be Colonel of the Militia, Justice of the Peace, Judge of Registrar of the County, Clerk of the Court, and Judge of the Court of common pleas. Here I was in easy circumstances, and as independent as my mind ever wished.
In 1774 the spirit of and rebellion so prevailed as to became much trouble, a was forming through the Colonies. The counties of Cumberland and Gloucester, (since called Vermont) desired me to attend the congress to meet at Philadelphia in 1114 which appointment I accepted of, and passing through Hebron on my way to Philadelphia, I was mobbed with my Uncles the Rev. Samuel Peters, Mr. Jonathan and Mr. Bemslee Peters. By Go’vernor Trumbull’s we were accused of Loyalty. I was liberated after suffering much ill language from the mob. The Rev. Samuel Peters suffered more than I did. He and I agreed in opinion teachers, bankrupts, and smugglers meant to have a serious rebellion and a civil and religious separation from the mother country.
My Uncle advised me to meet the congress, to find out what their was. I did so, and being certainly convinced that nothing short of independence would satisfy them, I refused to take the oath of secrecy in Congress, and wrote to my uncle who had been forced to fly to England, telling him what to expect, and I to my family at Verdmont; but on my way home I was seized by three mobs, ill treated and dismissed at Weathersfield, Hartford, and Springfield. In April, 1715, in Mooretown, when another mob me and threatened to execute me as an enemy to Congress. Then they carried me to the committee, Deacon Bailey being president (but since a rebel general) who ordered me the same evening to gaol, and discharged me the same evening at 12 o’clock because they had not found proof of my corresponding with General Carleton, on pretense of which I had been committed to prison. Soon after another mob seized me, that I should sign their Covenant, which was to oppose the King and British army with my life and property, which Covenant I did not sign and begged time for consideration, under bonds, which was granted.
In the meantime news arrived that the British troop had marched out of and were murdering the inhabitants, both young and old. Whereupon the committee required me to give orders to the militia to be ready at an hour’s notice to march against the royalists. I gave gained me favor for a few with the mob. However, as the report of the massacre near Boston by the King’s troops diminished away, the mob renewed their attack upon me, searched my house for letters of secret correspondence with General Carleton, with whom in fact I never had corresponded. Read more…
Note: Lt. Col. John Peters settled in Sydney, Cape Breton before going to England to make his claims. He was the father of Ensign John Peters who settled in Marysburgh & Sophiasburgh in what is now Ontario. He received a land grant there. See entries for both in the Loyalist Directory. Information for both entries was researched and contributed by Andrew Payzant.
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Remote Research: Selected Online Resources for Loyalist History
By Leah Grandy 3 Feb 2021
In pandemic days, more and more research has been pushed to online, accessible sources. With this shift in mind, we have created a list of some of the best online resources to use in loyalist research. If you know of other resources, please drop us a line to pass them along.
Happy researching! Look at the list…
Ben Franklin’s World: 1774: The Long Year of American Revolution
Mary Beth Norton is the Mary Donlan Alger Professor Emerita at Cornell University and the award-winning author of six books, including 1774: The Long Year of Revolution. Mary Beth joins us in this episode to make the case that when we think of important years in the history of the American Revolution, we really need to consider and pay due attention to the year 1774.
During our conversation, Mary Beth reveals why she believes the eighteen months between December 1773 and April 1775 were crucial to the development of the American Revolution; The ways the political divide between those who would become loyalists and those who would become revolutionaries increased throughout 1774; And, how conservatives (future loyalists) and future revolutionaries thought about different events such as the Tea Crisis, the Coercive Acts, and the meeting of the First Continental Congress. Listen in…
JAR: Nineteenth-Century Remembrances of Black Revolutionary Veterans: Hannah Till, George Washington’s Cook
by John Rees 2 February 2021
The 1820 Missouri Compromise allowed Missouri to become a slave state, established Maine as a free state, and banned slavery in the territory west of Missouri. The same year saw the first organized emigration of Blacks from the United States back to Africa, from New York to Sierra Leone. In 1822, Denmark Vesey, a free Black, organized an unsuccessful slave uprising in Charleston, South Carolina, while at the same time segregated public schools for Blacks opened in Philadelphia. Two years later Liberia, on the west coast of Africa, was established by freed American slaves. And in 1825 Hannah Till, who had served George Washington for several years during the American Revolution, died in Philadelphia.
Despite the growth of racism in the nineteenth century, and that many Americans did not know African Americans fought for the cause of independence during the American Revolution (or were willfully ignorant on the matter), a small number of aged Black veterans received some recognition for their service.
Gen. George Washington’s wartime military household had a retinue of cooks and other servants, white and black, free and enslaved, with several supervisors to oversee the whole. Few are known at all beyond mention in the household accounts.
Hannah Till’s story, while not as comprehensive, is nonetheless fascinating, as much by what was set down on paper as for what can be read between those lines. A notice of her death read… Read more…:
JAR: Nineteenth-Century Remembrances of Black Revolutionary Veterans: Thomas Carney, Maryland Continental Soldier
by John Rees 4 February 2021
John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish establish the first African American newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, in New York in 1827. The paper circulated in eleven states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe, and Canada. The same year, Sarah Mapps Douglass, a Black educator and contributor to The Anglo African, an early Black paper, established a school for Black children in Philadelphia. The following year, 1828, another newspaper, Daily National Intelligencer, carried the obituary of Revolutionary War veteran Thomas Carney.
Thomas Carney was born in 1754 on Maryland’s eastern shore, and was likely free at birth, He enlisted in the 5th Maryland Regiment in May 1778, and was transferred to the 7th Maryland a month later. Contrary to the information given in his 1828 death notice, Carney’s first service was with the Maryland militia (Sarer’s Company, Washington County) in autumn 1777; he and his comrades joined the army in time to take part in the October 4, 1777 Battle of Germantown. Read more…
Kelly Arlene Grant: Curtching Experiment
Saturday, 30 January 2021
Well, I took the plunge and made an attempt at the curtch!
This was the painting I settled on to really study. It’s a detail from Highland Wedding by David Allen, but other genre paintings from around the same timeframe feature a similar way of wearing the curtch, namely David Wilkie’s Penny Wedding of 1818. This one worked for me though, so I worked from it.
I think her curtch is three layers. I say think, because there’s no extant evidence available online anywhere…trust me, I have looked. I am working from the thought of wearing multiple layers of cap when I do 17thC living history stuff, but also veil wearing in the late medieval period, and also what/how modern veil wearing folks do. It’s a best guess at this point, but it’s my working theory and I wanted to see how well it would work.
I began with a forehead cloth. Read more…
Getting Dressed: Clothing for a 17th Century English Man at Jamestown
Samantha joins us once again with a guest from our recreated fort here at Jamestown Settlement. As Samantha describes the typical clothing of a common English man, Sammy shows some of the amazing recreated pieces of seventeenth century clothing that our interpreters wear. Watch now (7 minutes)
A Soldier’s Clothing During the American Revolution
Newport Historical Society
Living historians Brandon Aglio and Joshua Mason discuss clothing for a Continental Army soldier during the Revolutionary War, from the perspective of both an officer and a lower-ranking soldier. Part of the Newport Historical Society’s “History at Home” initiative; Watch the short video (5 min).
New Silver Coin Commemorates Black Loyalists
Royal Canadian Mint unveils new silver coin commemorating history of Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia
They sought freedom and a better life here. In the time of the War of American Independence (1775-1783), thousands of Black Loyalists—some free, some indentured, and others still enslaved—came to British North America and put down roots in present-day Canada. But the hardships they endured are a reminder of how complex our history can be. Their triumphs and tribulations are a fundamental part of Canada’s story that should be honoured and remembered, as they are on this pure silver coin, which features the armorial bearings of the Black Loyalist Heritage Society. Read more…
Borealia: The Problem of Legacy: John A. Macdonald and the Politics of History
By Andrew Nurse 1 Feb 2021
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) and the Friends of Canadian History have issued a statement in “In Defence of Sir John A. Macdonald and his Legacy.” The statementâ€“which is actually not just a statement but a petition—is a response to the on-going statue wars in which Macdonald and his legacy have come under an unusual public scrutiny. What has become clear is that, for a significant sector of the Canadian population, Macdonald’s legacy is closely associated with the repression of Indigenous peoples. Statues have been relocated, Macdonald’s role in Canadian history questioned and, in one case, a statue was decapitated. “In Defence of Sir John A. Macdonald and his Legacy” self-consciously intends to re-assert a more traditional way of looking at Macdonald and at Canadian history. Indeed, his legacy is presented as little short of “greatness.”
I don’t agree and I’d like to explain why. The argument encapsulated by the statement cum petition, its authors, and the MLI institute is as follows. The deep critique of Macdonald is a form of “myopic” presentism that ignores the positive (“great”) things he did for Canada and so presents an inaccurate picture of both the past and the country. Read more…
NS Branch Resource: Biographical Sketches of Loyalist Ancestors – More Volunteers Needed
In 1983 members prepared a booklet called Our Loyalist Ancestors – Biographical Sketches of Loyalist Ancestors of the Membership .
The publication includes vignettes of 22 Loyalists. Thus far volunteers have agreed to transcribe those which are bold: Samuel Andrews, Robert Bayard, John and Letitia Bell, Chambers Blakely, David Bleakney, David Burlock, Colin Campbell, Edward Crawford, Peter Earle, Joseph Embree, Jacob Fenton, James Hatfield, Stephen Humbert, Elisha Jones, Oliver Lyman, Donald MacAlpine, Samuel Perry, Gabriel Purdy, John Rushton, John George Webber, and Edward Winslow. Would you be willing to transcribe one or two? If so, please contact editor Doug email@example.com
The Loyalist Directory
NOTE: Our Loyalist Directory is now “locked down” for additions and changes, but open for visits. For a long time it has been the section of our website with the greatest number of visits.
The Thrones of Canada and the United Kingdom
By Garry Toffoli, Canadian Royal Heritage Trust / Monarchy Canada Zoom lecture on Thursday, 11th February, 2021, with the option of two times for attending – 2:30 p.m. EST or 7:30 p.m. EST.
Among the most important artefacts of any monarchy are the thrones in which the sovereign sits to preside over official functions or to be vested with symbols of sovereignty. This illustrated presentation will discuss the current and historic thrones used in Canada and the United Kingdom, including their creation, their role and their appearance.
To register contact firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight of Wednesday, 10th February, indicating which of the two times you wish to join. A Zoom invitation will then be sent to you on Thursday with the link by which you can connect.
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
- Bahamas were settled after American Revolution by estimated 8,000 Blacks who joined 3,000 white Loyalists in taking refuge there. Reading about their history this month in “Homeward Bound” an extensively researched book by novelist & historian Dr. Sandra Riley. Brian McConnell UE
- This Week in History
- On 3 February 1775, in response to Loyalists in Marshfield asking Gen. Thomas Gage to station troops in town for their protection, the selectmen of nearby towns wrote to the general in protest.
- 31 Jan 1776 Congress accepts newspaper accounts of appointment of MA delegates, in absence of formal credentials.
- 1 Feb 1776 Pacifist Moravian group refuses North-Carolina Royal Governor Martin’s order to join in supporting Crown.
- 30 Jan 1781 MD is last to ratify Articles of Confederation, establishing 1st national gov’t.
- 2 Feb 1781 Innkeeper Elizabeth Steele donates nest egg to American cause, reviving effort.
- 5 Feb 1783 Sweden formally recognizes the United States; first nation not directly involved in war to do so.
- 4 Feb 1789 Washington elected first President under the Constitution, succeeding Cyrus Griffin as US head of state.
- Clothing and Related:
- reallywallpaper: I forgot to say: this well-traveled bird started the journey in China. Large sets of export papers like this were quite popular in country houses second half of 18th century.
- Adding some 18thc sparkle. Check out the shoe buckles silver set with paste stones in original lined shagreen case. Photo taken in daylight – no filter. Note reflection on lid.
- 18th Century Court dress, 1780-1790, Silk woven with silver-gilt threads, trimmed with silver-gilt lace, sequins & tassels
- This stunning example from the 2017 Cora Ginsburg catalogue. The dress was made in colonial America between 1760 and 1775 of 1760s French brocaded silk
- 18th Century dress, 1760s gown features a rose-red silk with trails of ivory flowers woven in a complex technique. The fabric, a type of silk known as gros de tours, dates from the 1740s, dress was altered again in 1950’s for fancy dress.
- 18th Century dresses, two Robe Ã la FranÃ§aises. In China the colour yellow was associated with the Emperor, as the fashion for chinoiserie grew in popularity so did the colour within fashion, c.1775
- 18th Century men’s nightgown or banyan, this nightgown is an example of one type of informal clothing worn by men over shirt and breeches, in the privacy of home before noon or late at night, quilted silk for added warmth, 1780-1820
- 18th Century Royal Marines dress coat belonging to Major General Arthur Tooker Collins (1718-93), of red wool with cuffs & lapels faced with blue. Buttons are stamped with a laurel wreath enclosing a crossed sword & baton.
- Here’s a different SUPER BOWL! Clay pots were one of the most common types of bowls made by the eastern Algonquian people. The cone shaped bottom made them easy to nestle into a bed of hot coals when cooking. They were also used for storage, eating, and drinking. Jamestown-Yorktown
- In 1720 a pirate called Andy fell in love with a ‘handsome young fellow’ called Mark. But all was not as it seemed. Cross-dressing, boundary breaking, and ‘fighting like men’ â€“ this is the story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read (2 minute video)
- (London Mudlark) 18th century pearlware mustard pot, found on the Thames foreshore. GR is probably George III. Mustard is the perfect accompaniment to roast beef, which was so popular by the 18th century the French started calling Englishmen “rosbifs”. Happy Sunday lunch!
- Archibald Cary to Thomas Jefferson, Oct 12, 1783: “We have a small anamal about the sise of our Fox Calld a Moonack… They burrow in the Earth, are rather darker than a Raccoon, and fight very Fierce.” (A moonack was a groundhog.)
Last Post: CRANFIELD UE, Doris Mildred
It is with great sadness that the family announces the passing of Doris Mildred Cranfield at Willowgrove, after several years of loving care, on Thursday January 28, 2021, at the age of 99. Beloved wife of Earl Keith Cranfield. Loving mother to Earl Robert (the late Margaret Anne) Cranfield, Alan (Debbie) and Bruce Cranfield. Grandmother to Gordon (Shelley) of Toronto, Lianne and Kathleen (Billy) all of Whitehorse, Yukon and Selayna. Great grandmother to Mary Jane, Hazel, and Angus. As per her wishes, cremation has taken place. A private family service will be held at a later date. Arrangements entrusted to the M.A. Clark & Sons Funeral Home. Please sign the book of condolences at www.maclarkfuneralhome.com
The Hamilton Branch UELAC shares the announcement of the loss of its long- time member Doris Cranfield UE. Although she secured her Certificate of Loyalist Lineage from David Embury while with the Kingston and District Branch in 1984 she ensured her three sons were equally documented through the Hamilton Branch in 1987 and 1988. Before her residence at Willowgrove, Doris served many years on the telephone committee keeping members in touch with the branch. Her son Earl Cranfield continues the family legacy as Hamilton Branch Legal Advisor for more than five years.
Fred Hayward UE and Bruce Cranfield
Published by the UELAC
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