Loyalist Trails Newsletter 2021-07 (February 14, 2021)
In this issue:
- The Many Legacies of Frederick William Hecht: Part Two by Stephen Davidson UE
- Restoring the legacy of a ‘trailblazing’ Black Saint John writer
- Trumpeter “Black Barney” of the Queen’s Rangers
- JAR: Francis and Gottlieb Otto: Rebels or Loyalists?
- JAR: Nineteenth-Century Remembrances of Black Revolutionary Veterans: Edward Hector, Bombardier and Wagoner
- Boston 1775: Searching for Mr. Molineux’s Cannon
- Pandemic boredom sparks record drive to prove Loyalist roots
- Borealia: Debating (Canadian) Presentism: Narrative, Nation, and Macdonald in 2021
- Query: Where are the Missing Muster Rolls Mentioned in the Loyalists of Quebec
- NS Branch Resource: Biographical Sketches of Loyalist Ancestors
- The Loyalist Directory Conversion Project
- Focus on Canada’s Royal Heritage Afternoon Talk and Tea Programme
- The New Jersey Volunteers, 1776-1783: An Overview
- From the Twittersphere and Beyond
- Editor’s Note: Blocked messages
Connect with us:
The Many Legacies of Frederick William Hecht: Part Two of Four
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
Both Thomas Knox and Edward Winslow were still alive when a New Brunswick newspaper reported the death of Frederick William Hecht in Digby, Nova Scotia on January 20, 1804. They had encountered Hecht 20 years earlier as they helped Loyalist refugees establish homesteads in New Brunswick. Neither of them had positive memories of the man who had once been stationed at Saint John’s Fort Howe as its senior assistant commissary.
Being in charge of the commissariat meant that Hecht was responsible for acquiring, storing, and distributing food and provisions to the Loyalist refugees during their first years of settlement in what would become New Brunswick. Hecht had a dual obligation to be a good steward of the food and hardware provided by the British government and to be a fair distributor of those supplies to the disbanded soldiers and civilian refugees who were totally dependent on the British government’s benevolence.
Frederick Hecht was headquartered at Fort Howe that guarded the mouth of the St. John River. Situated high on a hill, the fort looked down on the loyalist refugee settlements of Parrtown, Portland Point and Carleton. In addition to feeding (“victualing”) the soldiers stationed at Fort Howe, Hecht was tasked with providing rations to the 12,000 Loyalist refugees who had flooded into what would become New Brunswick.
At first the settlers received regular provisions of flour, butter, peas, oatmeal, beef and pork. But when supplies ran out or transport ships were delayed, the refugees had little more than potatoes to keep them alive. Add to the problem of food shortages was the fact that there were some within the Loyalist community who were abusing the “royal bounty of provisions”, falsifying the ages of children and drawing separate rations for their servants to obtain more food.
So as to make sure that the garrison was only feeding true refugees, Thomas Knox was tasked with enumerating the Loyalists who had settled along the St. John River. The data that he collected would then be used by Hecht to appropriately distribute the much-needed provisions to the refugee settlers.
When Knox completed his first list of Loyalists who should receive rations from Fort Howe’s commissary, he wrote a letter to Hecht in September of 1784, underscoring the fact that children born to Loyalists after their arrival in New Brunswick were to be issued the same half rations as children who came to the colony as infants in 1783. From the tone of the letter, it seems that Hecht was being a stickler on the finer points of his orders from British headquarters. He had only been distributing rations to Loyalist children born before November 1783.
A man who denied food to newborns would certainly not have been popular with either the refugees or the officials trying to help the latter establish themselves. Knox also gave Hecht certificates for the families who were entitled to provisions to clear up any confusion as to who should receive government assistance. A copy of the muster of deserving Loyalists was also sent to Edward Winslow, the agent for the loyalist regiments.
When Winslow moved from Granville, Nova Scotia to New Brunswick in July of 1785, he immediately established a board to review the accounts of various local officials. Given that Hecht’s commissariat was distributing vast amounts of food and provisions, Winslow thought that the assistant commissary general’s accounts “were of the most importance”. However, Hecht had declined to submit his accounts. Angered by this lack of cooperation, Winslow wrote to a superior saying that Hecht’s conduct was “very reprehensible”.
A number of suppliers were waiting for the commissariat to pay them for what had been sold to Fort Howe. Said Winslow, “I regret Hecht’s obstinacy, because there are a considerable number of people to whom he is at this time indebted who are really distressed and who cannot possibly go to Halifax for their money. I will not presume to advise relative to the mode of paying the sums due at this place, but have only to say that whatever method is adopted, I shall hold myself obliged without fee or reward to afford every assistance in my power.”
By November of 1785, Winslow received a letter that related how the colony’s highest military officials were “concerned for the embarrassments and inconveniences that you have experienced from Mr. Hecht’s unaccommodating temper and ill humor, but the more the difficulties, the more credit results from bearing with and overcoming them.”
Viewed from a distance of over 200 years, it is hard to determine why Hecht was so reluctant to submit accounts. He had been a stickler for following rules up to this point. Were personal grudges a factor or was it simply a matter of procedural red tape?
Hecht’s refusal to promptly obey orders to submit the commissary reports would eventually have its consequences. By some point in 1786, he was removed from his position and then transferred across the Bay of Fundy to Digby, Nova Scotia.
Thus in Knox’s eyes, Hecht would be remembered as a man who denied newborns their rations; in Winslow’s memory Hecht would be a man who dragged his feet.
However, the loyal German would be remembered in a much more positive light by Joshua Moore, a young Black man who Hecht set free the end of 1786. When Hecht appears in the historical records of New Brunswick, it is this granting of a manumission to his slave of 20 years that is most often cited. It is his most significant legacy to the province’s history.
A closer examination of the manumission document raises questions of the degree of Hecht’s compassion. Joshua Moore was the child of a white (unnamed) man and an enslaved Black woman. As the document states, he was “born in the City of New York in America the nineteenth day of April 1766 in a state of slavery to the said Frederick William Hecht“. Moore was “discharged from a state of slavery” under Hecht’s “hand and seal” in the presence of two witnesses on December 19, 1786, and this was certified by Gabriel Ludlow, Saint John’s mayor, on the following day.
It is commendable that Hecht freed the young man who had just turned 20 that year. But why had he waited so long? The Hecht family was preparing to leave Saint John for Digby in 1786, so was Moore’s emancipation simply a way of getting rid of someone who had to be fed and clothed by the family?
Countering this cynical supposition is the fact that under the laws of New Brunswick, Hecht could have sold Moore to a fellow Loyalist before leaving Saint John and thus profited from his family’s “downsizing”. Freeing Moore –rather than selling him– was an economic loss for Hecht, so perhaps the manumission was granted on compassionate grounds. (Could paternity have been part of the motivation? Hecht was 29 at the time of Moore’s birth in 1766).
Whatever the motivation, Hecht’s legacy to young Joshua Moore was the freedom to live his life on his own terms. Whether Moore continued to reside in New Brunswick or joined the Black Loyalist exodus to Sierra Leone five years after his emancipation is unknown. Like so many slaves who were granted a manumission, he disappears from the historical record.
Hecht’s death would have brought back memories to a loyalist doctor’s daughter. Discover more of his legacy in the next edition of Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Restoring the legacy of a ‘trailblazing’ Black Saint John writer
By Julia Wright, CBC News 7 Feb. 2021
Steep streets, tall spires etched against the sky,
Grey wharves that know the way of wind and tide,
Dim, drifting fog, the sea-gull’s plaintive cry,
A city, old and assured, wearing the pride
Of epic memories and heritage …
Few poems have so perfectly captured the grit and dignity of Canada’s oldest incorporated city.
These lines, titled Saint John, N.B. become even more remarkable when you learn the author was a Black woman born in 1887.
Anna Minerva Henderson, the daughter of a schoolteacher and a barber, grew up to be an award-winning civil servant and literary pioneer. Black literary critic and Governor General’s Award-winning author George Elliott Clarke describes her as “the first Black woman in English in Canada to dare to publish a chapbook of verse.” Read more – awesome…
Trumpeter “Black Barney” of the Queen’s Rangers
I am currently reading a book on the Queen’s Rangers. Of course, as their commanding officer, John Simcoe features strongly in the story. Ever watchful for the mention of Black Loyalists, I noted several references to a trumpeter within the ranks of the Rangers. He was referred to as “Black Barney”, and was instrumental in one particular battle.
Determining the identity of Barney took some sleuthing, aided by Simcoe’s letter to the War Office recommending the young black trumpeter:
B E Griffiths has applied to me for his Discharge from the Queens Rangers. The Particulars of his Situation I take the Liberty of Submitting to you, & entreating the Protection of the War Office on his behalf.
He joined the Queens Rangers at The Siege of Charles Town, & was very useful as a Guide; He served as a Dragoon & was frequently distinguished for his Bravery & Activityâ€”in particular at the action near Spencer’s Ordinary, by his presence of mind when sentinel, He was principally concerned in betraying the Enemy into an unfavourable [situation], & in the consequent Charge of Cavalry was distinguished by Fighting hand to hand with a French Officer who commanded a Squadron of the Enemy & taking him Prisoner. When the Cavalry afterwards charged the Rebel Infantry, He by his gallantry preserved the Life of his Captain & was severely wounded. His Activity had made him so remarkable That I personally interfered with The Baron Steuben at the Surrender of York Town to obtain that He might not risk the Hazard of being sent Prisoner into the Countryâ€”& had I been with The Regiment when it was disbanded, I should have felt it my Duty to have recommended him as a proper Object for his Majesty’s Bounty of Chelsea, not having that Power, I humbly hope that you will direct him to be examined; in particular, as being a Loyal Negro, He has no other means of reaping the Protection his Services in The Opinion of Every Officer of the Corps as well as mine most amply merit.
I have the honor to be Sir, your most obt.
& most Humble St.
J G Simcoe
An excellent account of Black Barney can be found at the Journal of the American Revolution Trumpeter Barney of the Queen’s Rangers
Stephen Davidson UE
JAR: Francis and Gottlieb Otto: Rebels or Loyalists?
by Mark Sullivan 10 February 2021
During the American Revolution it could be difficult to determine who was supporting the American cause and who remained loyal to Great Britain. Many times support changed from one side or the other depending on the fortunes of the war. This was especially true in upstate New York, in the valley of Schoharie. A case in point is Francis and Gottlieb Otto, two brothers from Schoharie, who served at times as patriots and at other times as loyalists.
The Ottos came from a typical working class family. Franz Otto, the father of the Otto brothers, was a doctor of sorts and established the first distillery in the county, famous for its cider brandy. In fact, he was one of that useful class who could turn their hand to almost anything, being a brandy-maker, a doctor, a phlebotomist, a barber, or a fortune-teller as the occasion required. He believed in witchcraft as well. Franz Otto married Maria Elizabeth Schnall in Schoharie around 1755 and they had three children. Johan Gottlieb was born in 1758 and Francis came in 1762. Franz Otto, Senior, died just before the start of the Revolution.
Schoharie was then part of the New York frontier, the borderland between the Indian country and the white settlements. Schoharie valley’s rich soil and prosperous farm families were the ingredients which made abundant crops of grain, principally wheat. James Madison noted the importance of the area, writing, “The settlement of Schoharie alone was able to furnish 80,000 bushels of grain for public use.” The British employed a strategic policy of disrupting the flow of supplies to Washington’s army by destroying grain harvests, farms, and livestock throughout the valley. Their raids began in 1777 and continued till the end of the war in 1781. Read more…
JAR: Nineteenth-Century Remembrances of Black Revolutionary Veterans: Edward Hector, Bombardier and Wagoner
by John Rees 9 February 2021
Nat Turner launched a bloody uprising among enslaved Virginians in Southampton County in 1831 the same year that William Lloyd Garrison of Boston began publishing The Liberator, the most famous anti-slavery newspaper. In 1833, the American Antislavery Society, led by Garrison, was organized in Philadelphia. For the next three decades, the Society campaigned that slavery was illegal under natural law, and saw the Constitution as “a covenant with hell.” Within five years, the organization had more than 1,350 chapters and over 250,000 members. In 1834, August 1 became a Black American and abolitionist holiday when Britain abolished slavery in its colonies. That was also the year that Revolutionary War veteran Edward Hector died. Read more…
Boston 1775: Searching for Mr. Molineux’s Cannon
J.L. Bell 10 February 2021
Last month I wrote about William Molineux obtaining eight cannon for the Massachusetts resistance in the last weeks before he died on 22 Oct 1774.
When I did, Joel Bohy of Bruneau & Co. and Antiques Roadshow, a truly dedicated local and living historian, sent me a letter from the Massachusetts state archives showing what happened to those guns.
Dated 3 Feb 1775, this letter was addressed to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress’s committee of supply by four men from four different towns. It began: Read more…
Pandemic boredom sparks record drive to prove Loyalist roots
by Jon Tattrie, CBC 8 February 2021
United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada sees 25% jump in people seeking certification
The 2020 coronavirus lockdowns led record numbers of Canadians to dig through history to prove their United Empire Loyalist roots.
The United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada reported a 25 per cent jump in certifications over 2019. Many were from people stuck at home in Ontario and the Maritimes, two of the main settling areas for the Loyalists.
The Loyalists date back to the late 1700s. Many had migrated to British North America from Europe. But in 1776, American insurrectionists overthrew the Crown and declared their independence. Those who remained loyal to Britain suddenly found themselves branded as traitors. Read more…
Borealia: Debating (Canadian) Presentism: Narrative, Nation, and Macdonald in 2021
Jerry Bannister 2 February 2021
Like many Canadian historians, I have followed with interest the ongoing debate over John A. Macdonald, including the recent letter sponsored by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Among the thoughtful responses to the letter, I’d highlight three points. First, as Andrew Nurse explains in Borealia, we should be wary of pro-Macdonald calls for “balance,” which serve as a type of conservative doublethink. Second, as Christopher Moore argues on his blog, we should recoil from conservatives’ vision of Canada qua Macdonald. And, third, as Chris points out in a pithy summary of the pro-Macdonald essays in the National Post, we should be skeptical of, “well, he was not as bad as people are saying, and presentism is dangerous.”
I have 2 cents to add, perhaps with a loonie thrown in for good measure. Others may have already made this point and I’ve just missed it, but it’s important to note the emotional tone of the discussion. There seems to be an unspoken presumption that everyone has strongly personal feelings about Macdonald, for or against, as if we’re discussing an elderly uncle living upstairs, with a family arguing over what to do with him. Read more…
Query: Where are the Missing Muster Rolls Mentioned in the Loyalists of Quebec
I have been looking at a book called “The Loyalists of Quebec”, 1774-1825, published by the Montreal branch of the UELAC in 1989, in which there is a list of Quebec Loyalists taken from 21 muster rolls, originally compiled in 1784 by Major John Barnes. The list is a contemporary one, compiled by Elizabeth Ruch, and it lists the names and the number of the roll from which they came.
My question is about those original rolls. I saw that they were said to be in the Haldimand Papers, Add MS. 21828. Using a conversion chart, I believe that is film H-1655, which is available on Heritage Canadiana. But I’m not seeing the muster rolls on that film. I was then told to try C-1475, which I did.
The names are in the index to that film, but when I look them up, they are on ship’s lists, not the original muster rolls. According to the internet, these lists were a census that was sent to Haldimand by Governor Cox. I tried looking at B202 of the Haldimand Papers, which is correspondence with Cox. Again, no original muster rolls.
I see that the Archives of Ontario has a copy of the Ruch index, but I’m not seeing anything in their database which says where those rolls were found.
Does anyone have any insight on where I might find those original rolls?
Linda Corupe email@example.com
NS Branch Resource: Biographical Sketches of Loyalist Ancestors
In 1983 members of the then Halifax-Dartmouth Branch prepared a booklet called Our Loyalist Ancestors – Biographical Sketches of Loyalist Ancestors of the Membership.
There has been great assistance from volunteers who have offered to do transcribe the 22 Loyalists included in the original. They have taken on all the Loyalists and about two thirds have been submitted.
Next steps will include:
- gathering the outstanding transcriptions
- assembling them into a document and standardizing them
- Adding diagrams etc which could not be transcribed
- Polishing into a final version
It will take some time yet before it is completed.
Doug firstname.lastname@example.org Project coordinator
The Loyalist Directory Conversion Project
A team of five students at Fleming College in Peterborough ON is working on the conversion as one of the courses in their final year. They began by determining the technology components which would meet the requirements. As is normally the case, one of the challenges is bringing the data from the old directory, making some adjustments and loading into the new system. They are in the midst of that task now.
Concurrently they are developing some new functions.
Their timeline is fixed by the semester schedule which has faced some adjustments due to the pandemic. At this point we hope they can complete at least the basic conversion before the school year winds down.
The Loyalist Directory continues to be available, but we have restricted any changes so that those changes don’t have to be reapplied to the new version when it is ready.
Focus on Canada’s Royal Heritage Afternoon Talk and Tea ProgrammeMonday 15 Feb at 2:30 p.m. EST. (Registration by midnight Sunday, 14 Feb. to email@example.com – a link will be returned on Monday)Speaker: Richard Fiennes-Clinton
(virtual, so unfortunately, without the tea)Topic: Scurrility and Street Names
This presentation explores the connections between the old Town of York, which became the City of Toronto in 1834, and members of the House of Hanover. Kings George III, George IV and William IV, and Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, all had streets in the oldest part of Toronto named for them. Additionally, in keeping with “Family Day”, a major theme of the presentation will be the married lives of King George III and his four eldest sons, and their race to provide an heir for the House of Hanover.
In a light hearted way, the talk will contrast the first monarch to reign over all of Canada, King George III, who never had a mistress, and his four eldest sons, George, Frederick, William and Edward, who had different reputations, and who were suddenly thrust into the necessity of providing an heir to the Throne in 1817.
The New Jersey Volunteers, 1776-1783: An Overview
Sat. 20 Feb at 10 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Speaker: Todd Braisted
Todd will examine briefly the career of the largest Provincial Regiment raised during the American Revolution. With over 3,300 officers and men, serving from Connecticut to East Florida, the New Jersey Volunteers definitely left their mark on history!
Go to Todd Braisted’s Facebook page, under “Events”
Or send a note to editor Doug
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
- Interesting Deed of Sept 26, 1802 from Thomas Cornwall, Esquire of Annapolis to James Langford, “Black Man & Ship Wright, of Township of Digby” for 100 acres, consideration 25 pounds. Cornwall was Captain in King’s American Regiment in American Revolution. Brian McConnell UE
- Did you know Paul Revere made his own #SuperBowl in 1768? The silver Liberty Bowl honors the 92 members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives who refused to rescind a letter sent throughout the colonies protesting the Townshend Acts (1767).
- This Week in History
- 11 Feb 1774, the British government’s highest legal officers concluded that a group of Boston Patriots had committed “high treason” in how they treated tea consignee Richard Clarke and blocked the landing of his East India Company tea.
- 7 Feb 1775 Franklin tweaks British, remarking in part on Colonies’ higher birth rate.
- 8 Feb 1776 New-Hampshire Provincial Legislature asks Continental Congress’ help in defending seacoast.
- 9 Feb 1776 Gen. Lee asks Congress to send a battalion to NYC to build fortifications against newly-arrived British.
- 11 Feb 1776 Sir James Wright, Royal governor of Georgia, escapes Patriot house arrest; returns to office 1779-1782.
- 6 Feb 1778 France formally allies with the Americans in their war against the British.
- 10 Feb 1779 Americans outfight Loyalists at Carr’s Fort, GA, turning away to rout enemy at Battle of Kettle Creek.
- 10 Feb 1780 Mobile, West Florida. Spanish forces under Gov Don Bernardo de Galvez invest the British garrison. As Gov of LA, Galvez made a series of strikes against British outposts in the Gulf of Mexico & the Missippi valley.
- 12 Feb 1789 Ethan Allen, of Green Mt. Boys, dies of stroke, possibly following a night of drinking & carousing.
- Clothing and Related:
- This #Frockingfabulous 18th century court dress comes with built-in social distancing. It also contains 10lb of silver thread, so picture the shimmer… and try not to think about the weight.
- 18th Century Stomacher for a women’s gown, the stomacher would be pinned to the overcoat of a silk dress, closing the dress over the chest, and worn with a petticoat. c.1720’s decorated with silk and metal embroidery
- 18th Century Purple silk brocade dress with lace cuffs. Worn by Sophia Maskelyne (nee Rose), wife of fifth Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne. Possibly worn on her wedding day on 21 August 1784
- Unusual 18th Century women’s banyan, It would have been worn over stays & petticoats in the privacy of home, either in the morning before dressing formally for the day or in the evening before changing for bed. 1750-1770
- 18th Century day dress, comprising of striped overcoat and pretty pink quilted petticoat, shown with fichu, 1785-1795 via American Textile History Museum
- 18th Century women’s cape, this particular type of cloak, called a “cardinal” because of its colour, made of closely woven wool. The vestee is a practical solution for keeping the upper torso warm while leaving the hands free. 1770-1790’s
- Detail off Spitalfields silk dress probably designed by Anna Maria Garthwaite premiere British textile designer in 1730/40s pattern of flowers trees & picket fences. Brocade was v expensive & C18th gowns were often altered to make them fashionable in later periods. More about Anna Maria Garthwaite
- 18th Century men’s waistcoat, embroidered with silk leaves and fruits, 1780-1800
- 18th Century men’s Court coat, rich green velvet with silk embroidered flowers & foliage, French, c.1790
- Public Transportation Was a TRAINWRECK in the 18th Century. The carriage ride from …
- A Loyalist descendant notes “The decline of Arts and Humanities” in education systems. A massive ‘fail’ to our Anglosphere universities. By James Allan. Last week the Times newspaper of London reported a hefty decline in the numbers of British students entering university who were opting to take their degrees in English, history and modern languages. Read more…
- The Wood Street London plane tree, in 1901 and today; no one knows for certain how old it is, but Wordsworth mentioned it in the 1790s and by the 1850s it was the most famous tree in the City of London. Love a celebrity tree.
- Some very beautiful handwriting here, 1780
- Jamestown Settlement: The Kingdom of Ndongo. Join Raeven as she talks to us about the Kingdom of Ndongo in the region of west central Africa from where historians believe the first documented west central Africans at Jamestown may have come. Watch video… (8 min)
Editor’s Note: Blocked messages
We strive to keep our email subscriber list in order and create messages with content which would not be considered spam. For this latter point, our distribution system does extensive checks for spam before it will distribute items. We normally about four to six messages each week noting that a problem was identified by the ISPs of the subscribers, errors from bad or inactive mailboxes to spam. Last week we experienced about 80 messages, almost all of which came from Cogeco, each of which carried the notation “This message has been blocked for containing SPAM-like characteristics.“. Oh well, we do the best we can….
For those of you who did not receive it on Feb. 7, you can access it at Loyalist Trails 2021-06 (February 7, 2021).
Published by the UELAC
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