In this issue:

  • Margaret Draper: Boston’s Loyalist Newspaper Publisher – Part 1 by Stephen Davidson UE
  • Isaac Bonnell: A Loyalist who Willed his Slaves to Freedom
  • A plan (map) of Boston, and its environs
  • JAR: Traders or Traitors? The New Jersey Shop License Law of 1780
  • Book Article: Stuart Manson’s Sacred Grounds: Loyalist Cemeteries of Eastern Ontario
  • JAR: Easy as Falling Off a Horse
  • Historic New England: Meet Deborah Sampson
  • History: Stitches of Resistance in Martha Washington’s Purple Silk Gown
  • How did the Georgians socialise at Easter?
  • Ben Franklin’s World: Origins of American Manufacturing
  • Fifteen Things a Good Georgian Coachman Would Not Do
  • Borealia: Was New France a society of the “long Middle Ages”? Part 2
  • Query about Research: Samuel Brown and Upper Canada Land Petitions
  • Events:
    • Fort Plain: VALCOUR The 1776 Campaign That Saved the Cause of Liberty – Jack Kelly
    • Gov. Simcoe Branch: “WHEREAS it is Unjust . . .” by Jean Rae Baxter Wed 7 April 7:30pm
    • Toronto Branch UELAC: Quakers and the American Revolution Tues. 13 Apr @7:30
  • From the Twittersphere and Beyond


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Margaret Draper: Boston’s Loyalist Newspaper Publisher – Part One of Two
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
Given that Boston, Massachusetts was such a hotbed of Patriot fervour, it comes as a surprise to learn that among the city’s five newspapers there was one that had a decidedly Loyalist slant — and one that for at least eleven months was the only paper published in the city. But even more surprising is the fact that during the last two years of The Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter’s printing history, its publisher was a woman. Despite drawing the wrath of Massachusetts’ Patriots, Margaret Draper kept her newspaper “staunch and firm in its allegiance to the empire”. She is a Loyalist who deserves to be better known.
The Boston Newsletter (BNL) was founded in 1704 by John Campbell and printed by Bartholomew Green. Within 17 years, Green bought the newspaper. Margaret Green, the future Mrs. Richard Draper, was Bartholomew’s granddaughter. Born in 1727, Margaret grew up in a family that had printer’s ink in its veins. When she was six years old, the BNL passed into the hands of her uncle, John Draper. He would be the newspaper’s publisher for the next 29 years.
Journalism and publishing were two professions that were seen as the rightful domain of men, and it seemed that Margaret would always be at arm’s length from either vocation. At age 23, she married her cousin Richard Draper, the son of her Uncle John. Within 12 years’ time, Margaret’s father-in-law died, leaving the BNL to his son Richard.
Richard renamed his father’s newspaper the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News Letter (MGBNL). Under his term as publisher, the newspaper became the official printer for the governor and council of Massachusetts. In this capacity, the MGBNL not only published pamphlets and broadsides, but also news articles that favoured the colony’s royal government.
Because the Stamp Act enacted by the British Parliament had put a tax on colonial newspapers, four of Boston’s five newspapers reacted by taking a pro-independence stance. While the MGBNL remained pro-British, it attempted to give balanced news, printing articles that reflected a variety of opinions on the issues of the day.
During all of this time, Margaret Draper maintained the couple’s brick house on Newbury Street. Compared to most of the middle class wives of Boston, Margaret would have had fewer domestic responsibilities due to the fact that she and Richard did not have any children of their own. They did, however, adopt one of Margaret’s nieces.
Not having to care for a brood of young children, the middle-aged Mrs. Draper had time to enjoy the city’s literary community. She gained an appreciation for the poetry of Phillis Wheatley, a young African woman enslaved by a Boston tailor. Wheatley was just 13 when a Rhode Island newspaper published one of her poems in 1767. Three years later, her poem about the death of Rev. George Whitefield was published in London, and brought the enslaved girl into the international spotlight. Her collection of poems, which was available for purchase in England in 1773, was the first volume of poetry by an African American ever to be published. A year later, her Boston masters granted Phillis her freedom much to the joy of the readers of her work such as Margaret Draper.
In May of 1774 Richard Draper made John Boyle his partner in printing the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News Letter. The partnership did not last long. Margaret’s husband died at the age of 47 on June 5, 1774. Mourned as the “best compiler of his day”, and recognized for the “remarkable for the delicacy of his mind and gentleness of his manners”, Draper died due to “feeble health”.
Four days after Richard’s death, Margaret Draper put a notice in the MGBNL to inform its readers that the newspaper would continue to be published. And without batting an eyelash or offering any explanation or apology, she announced that she and John Doyle would be the newspapers publishers. This was a double shock to Boston society. In a male-dominated world, a woman was now a newspaper publisher, and in a city known for its enmity toward the crown, that new publisher was a Loyalist. Margaret’s notice to her readers went on to assure them that “the utmost Endeavours will be taken to maintain the Character it has had for upwards of Seventy Years past.”
And part of that character was the MGBNL’s Loyalist perspective. Under Richard Draper, the weekly journal had been “devoted it to the maintenance of the British sovereignty, and the defence of all the proceedings of the British troops in Boston.” Historians of the era noted that when Margaret took the reins of power, the newspaper gave even greater support to the British government and Massachusetts’ royal council than it had during her husband’s time as publisher. Although accounts from this time do not go into specifics, Margaret thwarted all attempts to make her newspaper “subservient to the party of rebellion”.
Draper continued to publish pamphlets, government broadsides (one-sided notices) and at least one book. A year after its release in England, the book of Phillis Wheatley’s poems was regularly promoted by the MGBNL despite the fact that no American publisher would even consider printing the enslaved African’s verse anthology. Margaret did more than support the arts. She made the public aware of the poems of a woman at a time when female writers often hid their gender behind a pseudonym. What is more, Margaret made her readers aware of the thoughts and feelings of an African in the midst of in a slave-owning society.
As noted by historian Hannah Metheny, Margaret’s newspaper “carried vehement defenses of the Intolerable Acts, attacks on the patriot press, and warnings that rebellion would result in defeat.”
Margaret was aided in keeping the Loyalist stance of the newspaper with the help of John Howe. The latter had been hired by Richard Draper in 1767 when Howe was just 13. By the time Margaret had assumed the position of publisher, Howe had become one of the paper’s reporters. He wrote pro-British articles about the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and, in the following year, he was an eyewitness to the Battle of Bunker Hill. His account of that historic battle also reflected a Loyalist point of view.
This did not go down well with John Boyle. Just two months after Boyle had begun his partnership with Margaret Draper, the two publishers announced that “their connection in that business is now dissolved by mutual consent”.
The notice of August 11, 1774 went on to say, “Mrs. Draper being under the Necessity of procuring some reputable Means of Subsistence, proposes to continue publishing the Paper herself; and hopes by the assistance of her Friends to give full Satisfaction to it’s former Customers, and the Public in general.” Unknown to her at the time, Margaret Draper had become one of the first American women to oversee an independent business.
The story of Boston’s Loyalist publisher concludes in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at

Isaac Bonnell: A Loyalist who Willed his Slaves to Freedom
By Brian McConnell UE
My desire is that my Black Boys George, Tom and Bob be taught to read distinctly in the Bible and to write a legible hand that they be set at Liberty as they severally arrive at the age of twenty four years. Each to be allowed a suit of good new clothes of every description beside their common wearing apparel. George was born in November, 1790, Tom was born in May 1792, and Bob was born in February, 1794
These words expressing a desire to educate and give freedom to three black slaves were included in the Will of Isaac Bonnell dated May 2, 1803. He was a Loyalist who arrived in Digby, Nova Scotia in 1783 from New York as a refugee after the American Revolution.
Who was Isaac Bonnell, this Digby Loyalist who desired to educate and free his black slaves? He is believed to have been born around Elizabethtown, New Jersey between 1736 and 1738. His grandfather may have been Nathaniel Bonnell, of New Haven, Connecticut and one of the founders of New Jersey. Read more…

A plan (map) of Boston, and its environs
By Richard Williams 1776
One of the John Carter Brown Library’s (JCB’s) many maps and battle plans of the American Revolution, this English map, drawn in October 1775 and published in 1776, depicts the site of the successful 11-month siege of Boston by the Continental Army under the command of George Washington. This remarkable map also lays the stage for one of the pivotal battles of the critical opening phase of the Revolution: the Battle of Bunker Hill, in June 1775. The cartographer was Richard Williams, a young officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, and in the map, he carefully drew the deployment of both the British Army and the troops of the ‘Rebels’ in and around Boston, the location of batteries, and the encircling fortifications erected by the Continental Army. Williams died upon his return to England in 1776 before the map was published. See the map…

JAR: Traders or Traitors? The New Jersey Shop License Law of 1780
by James P. Sieradzki 31 March 2021
Following the campaign of 1776, New York City and environs were occupied by British forces. For the rest of the war, George Washington threatened, planned, and hoped to retake the city, although that did not happen until the British evacuation in 1783. New Jersey, particularly the eastern region of the state, became the front lines of the war, a no-man’s land between British-held Manhattan and the Continental Army to the west.
For the citizens of New Jersey, day-to-day life carried on in the midst of the war. Farmers, tradesmen, and merchants still needed to support themselves by their trades. Despite appeals to patriotism and the best intentions and efforts of numerous laws enacted by the New Jersey Assembly, commerce carried on between New Jersey and the British in New York in what was known as the “London Trade.” New York City was a major North American trading port, second only to Philadelphia, and its proximity provided a ready market for New Jersey goods, as well as access to consumer goods that were arriving at New York Harbor. Historians debate whether the illicit trade was the result of loyalty to the Crown, economic necessity, greed, or a combination of those or other factors.
By 1780, the New Jersey Assembly saw the need to take renewed action to curb the black market that was running rampant, and passed “An Act more effectually to prevent the Inhabitants of this State from trading with the Enemy, or going within their Lines, and for other Purposes therein mentioned,” and for the first time included a provision that dealt with shopkeepers. Read more…

Book Article: Stuart Manson’s Sacred Grounds: Loyalist Cemeteries of Eastern Ontario
To Give Them A Voice
By Carol Goddard 2 April 2021 in Seaway News
On March 16, Stuart Manson of Cornwall released “Sacred Grounds: Loyalist Cemeteries of Eastern Ontario. Manson, a co-owner of Public History in Ottawa, lives in Cornwall with his family and is the son of Lyall and Margaret Manson. Lyall was a local historian and genealogist who worked tirelessly to preserve, protect and promote our history. Sacred Grounds was dedicated to Lyall for as Manson commented, his father had a “great influence on my historical pursuits in general, and more particularly relating to his advocacy of heritage cemeteries”.
The book examines “the history of the Loyalists who settled in our region in 1784” as well as heritage cemeteries. Manson mentioned how heritage cemeteries provide an opportunity to “naturally display our history and honour the people who came before us”. Read more…

JAR: Easy as Falling Off a Horse
by Joseph Lee Boyle 1 April 2021
Horses have been used for transportation for thousands of years, but have caused countless injuries and deaths. There is a saying that the only men who have never fallen off a horse, are the ones who never rode one. Wikipedia lists scores of famous and not-so-famous individuals who have died in or, more often, out of the saddle. One historian goes so far to claim that “We might even say that the later history of Christianity depended not on just any one person, but on one horse, the one that stumbled in 450, causing the death of the pro-Monophysite emperor Theodosius II.” The author claims that “had he lived, the history of the world would have been quite different.” There would have been no Council of Chalcedon, and there would not have been the split which resulted in the Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Perhaps there would have been no Declaration of Independence had Thomas Jefferson’s 1766 trip to New York gone a bit more awry: “Twice on the first day Jefferson’s horse broke away from him, ‘greatly endanger[ing] the breaking my neck.'” The name of George Washington might be unknown had Col. Joshua Fry, “a Man of good Sense, & an able Mathematn,” not died on May 31, 1754, due to injuries from falling off his horse, and Washington succeeded to the command of the Virginia Regiment.
The Revolutionary War years provide numerous incidents of equestrian accidents, from civilians to privates to general officers. A sample is presented here. On May 4, 1778 in Philadelphia, Capt. John Peebles wrote that “General Howe reviewed the Hessians stationed here . . . As the first flags passed the General in salute, his horse was so frightened that the General was thrown off, without, however, being injured.” Read more…

Historic New England: Meet Deborah Sampson
A quick look at this dress — a round gown made of linen printed in indigo with a repeating pattern of floral sprays and seashells — would never provide a clue to the fascinating story behind the woman who wore it on her wedding day.
Robe a l’Anglaise originally made as an open front gown in 1770s but altered to a round gown during the 1780s. Linen plate-printed in indigo with a repeat pattern. It is believed to be the wedding dress of Deborah Sampson – a woman worth looking up!
Deborah Sampson Gannett (1760-1827) led a life that, with one extraordinary exception, was typical of impoverished women of her time. In 1782, Sampson enlisted in the Continental Army as a man, first giving her name as Timothy Thayer and then enlisting in the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment as Robert Shurtleff. Read more & see dress…

History: Stitches of Resistance: Reclaiming the Narratives of the Enslaved Seamstresses in Martha Washington’s Purple Silk Gown
By Dr Cynthia E. Chin 24 March 2021
A single object was the subject of my doctoral dissertation: a heavily faded purple silk gown owned and worn by Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802), the wife of ‘His Excellency’, President George Washington. One of three surviving intact dresses belonging to Washington, the garment visibly still retains her embodied presence. The gown’s underarm areas are watermarked by her perspiration, its skirt hem frayed due to the constant friction of her walking — all evidence of her corporeal form activating and inhabiting the gown. However, Washington is not the only individual embedded within the dress. The physical presence of Moll, Caroline Branham, Charlotte, Betty, and Ona Judge, enslaved seamstresses at Mount Vernon, the Virginia plantation home of the Washingtons, are likewise inextricably present within this object. Evidence of their bodies, lives, and physical exertion also remain as they cleaned, mended, and remade this gown over several decades. Read more…

How did the Georgians socialise at Easter?
By Sarah Murden 13 April 2017
With Easter almost here, we would like to wish everyone a Happy Easter and share with you some snippets about the way Georgians spent their Easter with some extracts from the newspapers of the day – partying being the most obvious!
We begin with a letter of complaint, clearly, from someone who didn’t appreciate many of the celebrations that took place during the year and felt it appropriate to vent his/her annoyance to the editor of the Whitehall Evening Post, we’re only focusing on a snippet from it about Easter though… Read more…

Ben Franklin’s World: Origins of American Manufacturing
Lindsay Schakenbach Regele is an Associate Professor of History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and the author of Manufacturing Advantage: War, the State, and the Origins of American Industry, 1776-1848.
During our investigation into the origins of industrialization in the early United States, Lindsay reveals why the young United States viewed manufacturing as an issue of national security and wanted to establish factories during the 1790s; Information about the investment of knowledge and capital required to start a factory in the early United States; And details about the United States’ earliest manufacturing industries: textiles and firearms. Listen in…

Fifteen Things a Good Georgian Coachman Would Not Do
Geri Walton 14 August 2015
The Georgian coachman was the person entrusted with the management of a person’s carriage and horses and people like Napoleon Bonaparte, Eliza de Feuillide, and Madame Récamier were some of the people who had their own carriages and their own coachman. It was important Georgian coachmen be reliable, honest, and wise, as a traveler’s safety depended on these traits. For instance, when traveling in a coach, loose nuts and bolts occurred frequently. “A Careful Coachman” was said to be the person willing to check the coach every fortnight for such possibilities and then screw these items tight. However, such coachmen also needed to be able do it with such “care [as to] not to injure the Paint with the Wrench.” Read more…

Borealia: Was New France a society of the “long Middle Ages”? Part 2
Arnaud Montreuil on 29 March 2021
Could it be interesting for historians of New France and early Canada to compare New French society to medieval society? In the first part of this post, I suggested that this might be the case, and that this avenue deserves to be explored.
The point of this comparison is not to diminish New France in relation to New England, as a historiographical tradition dating back to Francis Parkman has done. It is neither aimed at praising the dubious merits of an ideal Ancien Régime society, formed of benevolent lords and devoted censitaires, such as that described by Philippe-Aubert de Gaspé in Les Anciens Canadiens. The sole purpose of this comparative perspective is to contribute to a better understanding of how medieval and New French societies changed over time.
But back to New France. It is obvious that the society that flourished along the St. Lawrence River was very different from the France of Philippe Auguste in many respects, not only in terms of material culture and techniques, but mainly because of the dynamic contacts and exchanges between French settlers and First Nations. This post does not constitute an appeal to just placate the description of Old France on New France.
However, the structural similarities that I have evoked in my previous post justify a historical comparison in terms of the dynamics of the two societies. Read more…

Query about Research: Samuel Brown and Upper Canada Land Petitions
I am researching Samuel Brown. I see there is an entry in the Loyalist Directory that Samuel Brown settled in the Eastern District. That he was “restored to this list 7 March 1807 see the petition of Mary?” I would like to find the petition that supports his reinstatement, but I do not know Mary’s last name in order to search the Upper Canada Land Petitions. I have tried Mary Brown,but the entries found do not mention a relationship with Samuel. Would there be anyway for someone to look at the information that was used to support the reinstatement to find Mary’s last name or even the contact information for the person who submitted this information to the Loyalist Directory?
Thanks so much
Wanda Nelson


Fort Plain: VALCOUR The 1776 Campaign That Saved the Cause of Liberty – Jack Kelly

Monday, April 5, 2021 – 7 PM EST
During the summer of 1776, just three days after patriots declared independence from Britain, an enemy invasion from Canada loomed. In response, citizen soldiers of the new nation mounted a heroic defense. Patriots constructed a small fleet of gunboats on Lake Champlain in northern New York and confronted the Royal Navy in a desperate three-day battle near Valcour Island. Their effort stunned the British and forced the enemy to call off the invasion.
More details and registration.

Gov. Simcoe Branch: “WHEREAS it is Unjust . . .” by Jean Rae Baxter Wed 7 April 7:30pm

The title is the opening words of the Preamble to “An Act to prevent the further introduction of SLAVES and to limit the Term of Contracts for SERVITUDE within the Province.” The focus is this legislation, introduced on the initiative of Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe to the Upper Canada House of Assembly on May 31, 1793. Look at the conditions leading up to it and to its lasting consequences. This involves a critical look at a time when individuals from almost all levels of society in Upper Canada owned slaves. Finally, it points ahead to the role which the people of Canada would play during the last decades of slavery in the United States.
Jean Rae Baxter wrote her first historical novel, The Way Lies North (2007) telling the story of a Loyalist family driven from their home by the violence of the American Revolution. Sunsequent books focused on the issues facing the native people at this time and on the plight of the enslaved Black population. The Knotted Rope, the sixth and final book (to be published in the Fall, 2021) in the “Forging a Nation” series, is set in 1793 during the last days of slavery in Upper Canada.
April 7, at 7:30pm, on Zoom; More details and register here

Toronto Branch UELAC: Quakers and the American Revolution Tues. 13 Apr @7:30

During the American Revolution Quakers were under tremendous pressure by the rebels for their refusal to bear arms and it is no surprise that when some Quakers did assist the British, they were disowned by Quaker Meetings for not maintaining their neutral position. Some of these “Loyalist” Quakers claimed a grant as UE Loyalists and remained Quakers within Canada.
Randy Saylor. Randy has had extensive experience transcribing Quaker Records for the Canadian Friends (Quakers) Historical Association, a project that continues to this day. He will share his knowledge of Quaker Loyalist history and their families, as well as available online resources for Quaker research.
To register, contact Sally Gustin, Programme,

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