In this issue:

  • William and Priscilla McKinstry: Forgotten Loyalist Ancestors – Part 2 by Stephen Davidson UE
  • Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Loyalists A to Z, Part 2
  • JAR: “She had gone to the Army . . . to her Husband”: Judith Lines’s Unremarked Life
  • JAR: Reflections on the Siege and Capitulation of Yorktown and Gloucester
  • Washington’s Quill: A General Loses His Cool
  • JAR Book Review: Resisting Independence: Popular Loyalism in the Revolutionary British Atlantic
  • Heels, Flats & Ankle Straps: Transitional Shoes In Jane Austen’s World
  • Events:
    • Documentary: Lost Villages of the St. Lawrence Seaway, April 25
    • Fort Plain Museum: After Saratoga: The War that Britain Nearly Won, May 3
    • Gov. Simcoe Branch: Andrew Denike: my Loyalist’s family in Europe and North America
  • From the Twittersphere and Beyond
  • Last Post: FRANCIS UE, Lynn


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William and Priscilla McKinstry: Forgotten Loyalist Ancestors – Part Two of Four
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
Being the wife of the town’s popular and respected doctor must have given Priscilla McKinstry a certain degree of social standing in Taunton, Massachusetts. Well, at least until 1775. That is when her husband William was “outed” as a Loyalist when he tended the wounds of a Loyalist militiaman in the spring of that year. Once William sought sanctuary in Boston, Priscilla became the focus of persecution by the Patriot women of Taunton. In an era when only men were expected to have political opinions, it is noteworthy that Priscilla McKinstry became the target of rebel abuse for having her own Loyalist convictions.
To appreciate what Priscilla endured, we need to step back and learn a little bit about Taunton’s flag. As tensions grew between Massachusetts and the British government, Taunton decided to adopt its own flag. Created in 1774, the banner consisted of a red ensign that featured the Queen Anne’s flag in the upper left hand corner and the words “Liberty and Union” in white in the main body.
At that time, breaking away from the British Empire was not being considered, so the flag demonstrated an ongoing connection to the United Kingdom but it was to be a connection that gave colonists “liberty” — that is, all of the rights of British citizens. And of course, being taxed without being represented in Parliament was seen as a clear denial of those rights. The Taunton flag was one of the very first to be used in Britain’s colonies to express dissatisfaction with the status quo.
By October of 1774 the Sons of Liberty had — according to one historian—“all but taken over the town of Taunton”. They had raised a 112 foot high Liberty Pole, flown the new “Liberty and Union” flag, and pledged “to resist, even unto blood” any attempt to restore English laws. Clearly, it was not a good time to be known as a Loyalist.
Within six months time, the political climate of Taunton was so volatile that Priscilla McKinstry’s husband felt it best to leave his wife and their eight children in the relative safety of their home while he sought sanctuary in British-occupied Boston. According to one historian “The wife of William McKinstry was the only Loyalist permitted to remain” in Taunton. If so, one would think that the doctor’s wife would tread very carefully around her Patriot neighbours, considering every word she said. But Priscilla was not that kind of woman.
In a book about Taunton’s early history, the author notes that Priscilla “…took no pains to conceal her contempt for the Patriots. Her neighbors endured her scorn for a while; then, one morning, these women … jealous because Mistress McKinstry was still enjoying her afternoon tea, proceeded to her house on High Street … dragged her from her fireside, marched her down to the Green, and around the Liberty Pole in humiliating token of allegiance.”
This was the final straw for Priscilla. She gathered up her children and servants and promptly joined William in Boston.
We pick up the story of this Loyalist woman as she and her husband board the hospital ship, Dutton, in March of 1776. They were part of the evacuation of British troops and loyal Americans who were fleeing Boston for the safety of Halifax. With William and Priscilla were William (13 years old), Priscilla (10), Sarah (8), John (7), the twins Mary and Thomas (5), Elizabeth (3) and David (who may not have yet celebrated his first birthday). Three servants also accompanied the McKinstrys in their flight to safety.
Unfortunately, Dr. McKinstry’s long history of poor health (he was described as having a feeble and “consumptive” constitution) finally caught up with him. He died of tuberculosis onboard their evacuation vessel just days before it set sail and was buried on George’s Island in Boston harbour. Remembered as “alert and cheerful, and obliging and agreeable”, the Loyalist doctor left Priscilla a widow at an extremely difficult time. Their fellow evacuees were aware of the family’s tragedy. Records of the era note that the McKinstrys were “treated with that sympathy and kindness their unhappy condition required.”
How Mrs. McKinstry fared in Halifax is not known. While richer refugees from Massachusetts quickly sailed on to England from Halifax, the doctor’s family remained in the port city for two years. Young William joined the British navy; his mother eventually decided to take his seven siblings (now ranging in age from 3 to 12) to Newport, Rhode Island. Occupied by the British since 1776, Newport must have appealed to Priscilla more than the rustic conditions of Halifax.
When the British left Rhode Island three years later, Priscilla took her children to Haverhill, Massachusetts, the home of her older sister Sarah (Mrs. John) White. 1779 was the same year that Priscilla’s home on Taunton’s High Street was confiscated by the Massachusetts Legislature. Having no home to which she could return, the outspoken Loyalist widow remained in Haverhill until she died at age 54 in 1786. She was remembered as being “honoured and loved” by those who knew her, so her last ten years were free of the strife that she had known in the opening days of the American Revolution.
William McKinstry Junior is the only family member known to have actively demonstrated his parents’ Loyalist convictions. While still a young teenager, “he lost right hand and was shot overboard” when the British naval vessel on which he was serving engaged a Patriot privateer. He left the navy and attended Oxford University. (How he acquired the funding needed to do this is not revealed in any family records.)
Upon graduation, William became a minister in the Church of England. For a time he was the rector of East Grinstead and Lingfield near London. He then became a tutor for children of a number of British noble families. In this post, he had the opportunity to see much of Europe as he accompanied his charges on their travels. Known as a “good scholar and a polished gentleman”, William never married. He died in 1823 at the age of 61 while visiting one of his nieces in Concord, New Hampshire.
As for the other seven McKinstry siblings, their stories will be told in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Loyalists A to Z, Part 2
By Leah Grandy 21 April 2021
We continue this week with our exploration of important loyalist terms.
Muster Roll
An official list of the soldiers in an army or some particular division of it, or of the sailors in a ship’s company, colonial settlers, convicts in a penal colony, etc. Muster rolls are key documents in researching military loyalists.
Neutral Ground
During the American Revolution, Mamaroneck and Westchester Counties, New York were considered Neutral Ground, belonging to neither the British Forces in New York City, nor the American Forces in Connecticut. This designation meant that there was no civil government or law to protect the residents from roaming bands of looters. The region between Morrisania and the Croton River in Westchester County, which was considered neutral ground between the British and American camps, was pillaged by both sides. Read more…

JAR: “She had gone to the Army . . . to her Husband”: Judith Lines’s Unremarked Life
by John Rees 20 April 2021
When the War of the Revolution began in April 1775, Connecticut resident Judith Jeffords née Philips was nineteen years old, had been married for two years, and had at least one child. She was, in the descriptive jargon of the time, a mulatto, meaning of mixed Afro-European lineage. We would know little to nothing of Mrs. Jeffords if her second husband, John Lines (Lynes), had not enlisted in the Continental Army and applied for a veteran’s pension in the early nineteenth century.
Judith Philips was born on January 24, 1756, likely in Windham, Connecticut, where she grew up. Her childhood friend Zeruiah Hebard recalled,

from my birth until June 1784 I resided in Windham Con[necticut]. (at which time I was married) . . . a near neighbor of my Father was a Mr. [Samuel] Philips who had a daughter by the name of Judith & was two years older than myself . . . when girls we attended the same school, and was quite intimate / after . . . Judith was 17 or 18 years old she did not reside so constantly at Windham

Zeruiah continued, “Judith married one Jefford a colored man when she was quite young and . . . he soon died . . . to the best of my recollection within three or four years.” The pension papers even have a letter to Judith from her fiancé: Read more…

JAR: Reflections on the Siege and Capitulation of Yorktown and Gloucester
by Ian Saberton 21 April 2021
Lt. General Earl Cornwallis, the British general officer commanding in the south, occupied Yorktown and Gloucester on August 1 and 2, 1781, the evacuation of Portsmouth was completed on the 18th, and four days later he was joined by the remaining troops from there.
Meanwhile momentous events were taking place elsewhere. On August 14, while posted with General Washington on the Hudson, Lt. General the Comte de Rochambeau, commander of the French expeditionary force, received notice from Rear Admiral the Comte de Grasse that he would quit Santo Domingo, the capital of Hispaniola, on the 13th for the Chesapeake, bringing with him twenty-five to twenty-nine ships of war, over 3,000 troops, ten field pieces, and a number of siege cannon and mortars. He would return with the troops on October 15.
Displaying a decisiveness that does them great credit, Washington and de Rochambeau decided in concert to abandon their plans for taking New York City and to strike south for Virginia as soon as possible. On August 21 their march began, with 2,000 Continental and 4,000 French troops, and was conducted in such a way as to mislead General Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander-in-chief, that an attack on Staten Island was in prospect. It was not until September 2, when the Continentals were marching through Philadelphia, that Clinton received intelligence that the allied forces were bound for the Chesapeake. Even if he had known a few days earlier, there would have been no window of opportunity to fit out a troop reinforcement for Cornwallis in time to reach him before the French blockade of the Chesapeake began. Read more…

Washington’s Quill: A General Loses His Cool
George Washington’s Response to Military Advice from Gouverneur Morris
23 April 2021
George Washington was known to have a temper as a young man, and his ability to master that flaw promoted his rise to leadership positions. That emotion, however, likely lurked beneath his typically composed exterior. Purportedly, it exploded in the sizzling heat of the battlefield at Monmouth, N.J., on June 28, 1778, when Washington saw troops under Maj. Gen. Charles Lee withdrawing contrary to orders. An observer later recalled that Washington’s wrathful bellowing shook the leaves on the trees. Legitimate doubt surrounds that recollection, but unquestionable documentary evidence can be advanced to support Washington’s capacity for anger.
Fall 1780 had been a difficult period for Washington in the struggle against the British. Hopes for a combined attack with French allies on New York failed to materialize because of miscommunications and caution. He aborted another plan to attack the northern approaches to Manhattan Island in late November when a final reconnaissance found the defenses to be too strong for the American assault force. Dismal news of enemy successes came regularly from the southern states. Simply finding sufficient food and clothes to feed and outfit the army taxed Washington and his subordinates every day. Money of any kind, let alone real value, was even more scarce. Read more…

JAR Book Review: Resisting Independence: Popular Loyalism in the Revolutionary British Atlantic
Author: Brad A. Jones (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2021)
Review by George Kotlik 19 April 2021
In this book, Brad A. Jones reminds readers that “the American Revolution . . . was as much a story of loyalty as it was rebellion”. Jones’s book seeks to show how revolutionary challenge inadvertently created a new, shared loyalist ideology. As such, Resisting Independence focuses on four major port cities: New York City, Kingston (Jamaica), Halifax (Nova Scotia), and Glasgow (Scotland). These cities show how the American Revolution shaped a transatlantic understanding of British loyalism. In response to patriot arguments against the Crown, which caused loyal Britons to question what defined their attachment to the empire, a new understanding of loyalism emerged, characterized by a strengthened defense of monarchy and constituted government. Prior to Jones’s study, assertions from notable scholars claim that the development of British loyalism was the result of efforts from British inhabitants on the mainland. Jones argues that British subjects who lived and worked beyond mainland Britain were just as involved in the reimagining of loyalty and loyalism. On balance, the inhabitants of the aforementioned four communities emerged from the Revolutionary War even more committed to “a balanced, representative British monarchy.” Consequently, they helped shape a new empire-wide definition of loyalism.
Redefinition did not occur uniformly. It was shaped by local experiences and circumstances. The American Revolution brought about a crisis of what it meant to be British. Read more…

Canadian Black history largely overlooked in classrooms
Students, educators advocate for updates, additions to diversify Manitoba’s curriculum
Julia-Simone RutgersBy: Julia-Simone Rutgers
Posted: 3:00 AM CDT Monday, Apr. 19, 2021
“It’s a little bit embarrassing on the Manitoba government, because Winnipeg in particular is full of immigrants… and we don’t even know the history of Black Canadians,” said Ojo, 17, the leader of Black History Month events at St. Mary’s Academy.

Heels, Flats & Ankle Straps: Transitional Shoes In Jane Austen’s World
By Kimberly Alexander 6 July 2017
That we have come to associate the emergence of Regency style in North America with Jane Austen is, of course, a tribute to the strength and power of her writing… During the heady years of the Early Republic, as Jane Austen’s work was reaching a wider audience, society witnessed changes brought about by the era of Revolutions –the American Revolution, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Empire (known as the Federal or Neoclassical era in the United States and the Regency in England.) Synonymous with social changes was a dramatic transformation in fashion for both men and women at the close of the eighteenth century and into the early nineteenth century.
So, too, we can trace a transition in shoes during the Regency period. This revolution in footwear styles was inspired by three revolutions: political upheavals that popularized attitudes of republicanism and egalitarianism, an ongoing consumer revolution that provided broader access for middle class peoples to expanding markets, and an industrial revolution that increased mechanization in all aspects of textile manufacture. Read more…


Documentary: Lost Villages of the St. Lawrence Seaway, Sunday 25 April 9:00PM ET

The last living survivors of the thousands who were uprooted by the St. Lawrence Seaway come together to preserve the legacy of their lost villages.
The construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway began in 1954 and is recognized as one of the most monumental engineering and construction achievements in history. In the name of economic progress and nation building, over 6,500 residents were relocated from their villages as they watched their homes flooded and submerged under the great St. Lawrence River.
In a visual journey to the past and present, the last generation of these Lost Villages share their memories buried and unearthed, lost and found, and their commitment to keeping the legacy alive as they strive to build their own future.
The lost villages of the St Lawrence Seaway: Sunday April 25 at 9 p.m. EST (rebroadcast midnight EST) – on CPAC – simultaneously broadcast across CPAC’s English and French channels
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, in partnership with Sound Venture Productions

Fort Plain Museum: After Saratoga: The War that Britain Nearly Won. Mon. 3 May @7:00PM ET

By John Ferling, Professor Emeritus of History, University of West Georgia.
It was 1778, and the recent American victory at Saratoga had netted the U.S a powerful ally in France. Many, including General George Washington, presumed France’s entrance into the war meant independence was just around the corner.
Meanwhile, having lost an entire army at Saratoga, Great Britain pivoted to a “southern strategy.” The army would henceforth seek to regain its southern colonies, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia,Deep into 1780 Britain’s new approach seemed headed for success as the U.S. economy collapsed and morale on the home front waned. By early 1781, Washington, and others, feared that France would drop out of the war if the Allies failed to score a decisive victory that year. Sir Henry Clinton, commander of Britain’s army, thought “the rebellion is near its end.” Washington, who had been so optimistic in 1778, despaired: “I have almost ceased to hope.”
Ferling provides the dramatic story of how and why Great Britain-so close to regaining several southern colonies and rendering the postwar United States a fatally weak nation ultimately failed to win the war.
Register here

Gov. Simcoe Branch: Andrew Denike: my Loyalist’s family in Europe and North America

By a descendant Wed 5 May @7:30pm
Andrew Denike of the New Jersey Volunteers, settled in Kingston, Ontario.
The presenter will speak about his family in both Europe and North America. From a poor emigrant, his great-great-grandfather Conradt Ten Eyck became one of the wealthiest citizens of New Amsterdam. She will continue with three generations of his descendants down to her great-grandmother.
Research uncovered a myriad of facts as well as conundrums and perennial further questions.
To explore the life, times and family of Andrew Denike, UEL in a virtual meeting on Zoom, register here < >

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Headstone marking grave of Loyalist Stephen Goucher from Monmouth Co., New Jersey, died April 27, 1837, in Wiswall Cemetery, Wilmot, Annapolis Co., Nova Scotia – Brian McConnell UE
  • This Week in History
  • Clothing and Related:
  • Townsends
  • Miscellaneous
    • These embroidered chairs depict the four stages of courtship: the ‘meet cute’, the chase, the proposal and post-marital embrace
    • If you’ve 15 mins to spare & would like to learn more about this 18th century folding fan, then head over to @TheArtsSociety_ YouTube channel where I present the latest episode in their #lecturesfromhome series:
    • Consult Dr. Samuel Johnson’s landmark 1755 dictionary of the English language, now completely transcribed and searchable online but also available in page views for the 18th-century experience: See more…

Last Post: FRANCIS UE, Lynn
Lynn Francis 98 of Winnipeg served war years with Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service, one of the oft-overlooked Canadian veterans of the Second World War.
Francis, who died Oct. 11, 2020, at 98, was born Dorothy Evelyn Hammett — a later Glenlawn Collegiate grad who grew up in St. Vital.
On Nov. 19, 1942, as a 20-year-old, she enlisted with the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service, a section of the Royal Canadian Navy.
About 7,000 Canadian women served in the war unit known as the Wrens (the same nickname as a similar organization that was part of the Royal Navy in Great Britain).
“She just on a whim decided to go down to the naval barracks and get an application and join up.
…It’s how they became engaged that would bring laughs that would last for 57 years of marriage, until Jim’s death in 2002.
“They were on leave, and went to Toronto, and mom was expecting the ring and she didn’t get it,” Kathleen says. “She was teasing dad that she was going to start seeing other men, so he better get her a ring quick.
“So he sent it in the mail, but he sent it in an envelope with no return address, no note. Just the ring in an envelope. He said afterwards that if she didn’t know who it was from, then he didn’t want to marry her anyway.”
Jim learned his lesson, and later used semaphore flags to pop the question, navy groom to navy bride.
…Francis volunteered for the Manitoba Genealogical Society, and tracked her roots to the 1600s in Switzerland. Another branch of her family tree connected her with the United Empire Loyalists — loyal British subjects who had settled in what were then the 13 colonies in America but fled to Canada during the American Revolution. Read more…

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