In this issue:
- Congratulations to Richard Yeomans, a UELAC Scholarship Recipient
- Two Centenarian Slaves of Nova Scotia’s Loyalists by Stephen Davidson UE
- New Spirit Garden to provide link to Alderville First Nation’s past
- Ridgefield CT: Battlefield Research Blog: Entry #1, March 2021
- JAR: The Incredible Story of Hercules Mulligan
- JAR: When War Came to the Thompson-Neely Farmstead
- Maine: a New Royal Province or Part of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay
- Benjamin Franklin’s World: Speaking with the Dead
- Serendipity: A Case Study of a Muff
- All Things Georgian: Joanna Southcott (1750-1814), religious prophetess
- Query: John and Paul Bedele/Bedell, Brothers, and Loyalists in New Brunswick
- List of Loyalist Certificates Updated with those issued in March Through June
- Col. John Butler Branch Celebrated Loyalist Day, and “United Empire Loyalist Week”
- From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Connect with us:
Congratulations to Richard Yeomans, a UELAC Scholarship Recipient
“Congratulations to PhD students Ian Baird and Richard Yeomans on winning the O’Brien Fellowships from The Leonard and Kathleen O’Brien Humanitarian Trust, an organization that provides postgraduate fellowships for current or former residents of New Brunswick who are pursuing advanced (postgraduate) study or research in any academic, artistic, or professional field at any recognized university or research establishment.”
….UNB History Department
Richard says “I am the recipient of a very generous 2021 O’Brien Foundation Fellowship in support of my PhD research. Established in 1971, The Leonard and Kathleen O’Brien Humanitarian Trust provides postgraduate fellowships for current or former residents of the Province of New Brunswick who are pursuing advanced (postgraduate) study or research in any academic, artistic, or professional field at any recognized university or research establishment. The fellowships are administered by a Committee known as The O’Brien Foundation.
I was absolutely thrilled at the news, as you can imagine, and am so grateful for their support and the continued support of UELAC for my research into the early history of New Brunswick.”
Two Centenarian Slaves of Nova Scotia’s Loyalists
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
One of the saddest facts of Loyalist history is that the refugees of the American Revolution were responsible for the largest importation of slaves into what is now Canada. A staggering 15,000 slaves left the new United States by the end of 1783. Most of these slave-owning Loyalists sought refuge in the West Indies where they could employ their human property on large plantations. However, slave-owning Loyalists also settled in Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The majority of the slaves who were compelled to accompany their Loyalist masters to the northern colonies were those who made their new homes in Nova Scotia — about ten per cent of the total of all the slaves owned by Loyalist refugees.
Treated as property, very little can be found in the documents of the era to shed light on the experiences of Nova Scotia’s enslaved Blacks. While the Book of Negroes provides all-too-brief summaries of how Black Loyalists made their way to freedom within the British lines during the revolution, all that is recorded in this invaluable historical ledger regarding enslaved Blacks is their age, a one-word description of their appearance (“stout”, “fine”, “ordinary”, etc.), and the documentation that certified their status as Loyalist property. Some Black Loyalists were able to tell their own stories in petitions to the government or (for the minority who attained possessions and property) their wills, but the stories of Blacks who were enslaved are limited to what white settlers recorded.
Despite the paucity of sources, the stories of some Blacks enslaved in Nova Scotia during the era of Loyalist settlement can be found. Typically, they tend to be accounts written after 1834 when slavery was outlawed within the British Empire. They also tend to contain some degree of sensationalism that made the slave “newsworthy” for a white readership.
A case in point would be the story of Mrs. Catherine Jarvis of Weymouth Falls in Nova Scotia’s Digby County. Her life was summed up in 81 words in the March 4, 1878 edition of The Daily Telegraph, a newspaper published in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Mrs. Jarvis died at the age of 110 on February 6th of that year. “This venerable woman was born in slavery before the Declaration of American Independence, noted the newspaper. Her unnamed master was a Loyalist who initially settled in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, but who later moved to Yarmouth. Set free at some point in time, Catherine married a man named Jarvis.
To learn more of this former slave’s life, one needs to go beyond her all too brief death notice and consult the census records for western Nova Scotia.
It turns out that Catherine Jarvis had several children who settled further up the coast from Yarmouth in the Loyalist settlement of Weymouth Falls in Digby County. While the newspaper noted that Mrs. Jarvis died in the home of her son, Joseph Jarvis, in 1878, she was not living with him when a census was taken in Digby County 40 years earlier. A tailor by trade, Joseph was listed among the community’s Black population, having a wife and two children. By the time another census was taken in 1871, Catherine was listed as living with her son. The census also revealed that she was 102 years old, was born in New Jersey, and was the widow of Emanuel Jarvis.
The primary sources run cold at this point, but thanks to the research of a genealogist named Lisa Postell there a few more details to the slave woman’s story. Emanuel Jarvis was bought as a slave when he was a young boy by a sea captain in Jamaica. After coming to Nova Scotia, he purchased his freedom in either Yarmouth or Weymouth Falls. A second genealogist notes that Catherine’s maiden name was Young and that she had six children. But as for stories about Catherine’s life as a slave, about meeting her husband, and about living as a Black woman in a culture that considered her a second-class citizen, there is nothing.
The death of Hester McKinnon caught the attention of the staff at Yarmouth Light on January 29, 1893 (and The Times in Moncton, New Brunswick in the following week). She passed away in Yarmouth, at the age of 106, and was noted as being born into slavery. Her father was William Berry, a man enslaved by the Loyalist James Lent. The latter, a New Jersey native of Dutch descent, had been an ensign in the Queen’s Rangers during the American Revolution. Although he initially arrived in Shelburne, Lent later moved his family and slaves to Tusket Village just outside of Yarmouth. There he caught fish that he traded in the West Indies for rum and molasses.
Unhappy as a single man, Berry was able to persuade Lent to buy a woman slave whom he could marry. Lent purchased a woman named Dinah for Â£100. Records indicate that she was purchased from someone living in Yarmouth County.
The enslaved couple lived in a log cabin that was attached to the Lent family home. Sometime in 1787, William and Dinah had a daughter who they named Hester for the Lent housekeeper who was in charge of the slaves.
Hester became Mrs. McKinnon at some point in her life, but whether she had any children is unknown. The newspapers of the day did not record the details of her life or more of the story of her parents’ marriage. Instead, Hester was remembered as having a “kind word for everybody, and being an excellent nurse, her presence in times of tribulation and sickness was like a magic wand.”
The Yarmouth Light also noted that Hester’s parents were the ancestors of “the entire race of Berrys who resided on the back road leading to Hebron”. According to one historian, a number of those enslaved by Lent received land grants in the Tusket Village area near their former master’s property. Most of these Black families eventually uprooted and settled in nearby Greenville.
The stories of these two women provide only the smallest glimpse into the lost stories of over a thousand Blacks who came to Nova Scotia unwillingly as the slaves of white Loyalists. Had Hester and Catherine not managed to live for more than a century, they would not have commanded the interest of the media of the 19th century and their stories would have been lost completely.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at email@example.com.
New Spirit Garden to provide link to Alderville First Nation’s past
Gananoque Reporter 21 June 2021
KINGSTON — A new garden in Lake Ontario Park is meant to provide a link to Kingston’s Indigenous past.
The new garden, to be called “Manidoo Ogitigan” (“Spirit Garden”), is to help tell the story of the Alderville First Nation, which in 1837 was relocated from the Kingston area to a 1,450-hectare (3,600-acre) site near Rice Lake in Alnwick Township north of Cobourg.
The finished garden was unveiled on Monday, which was National Indigenous Peoples Day.
“Our people were here for a long long time and after the American revolution everything changed,” said Dave Mowat, chief of the Alderville First Nation.
“The whole wave of settlement history and the whole wave of the British occupation, with resettling the loyalists, it meant that our people had to be moved out of the way. It’s not a pretty history.”
The move, first to Grape Island near Belleville and finally to its present location along the south shore of Rice Lake, was part of a “land surrender,” prompted in part by an influx of United Empire Loyalists following the American Revolution. Read more…
Ridgefield CT: Battlefield Research Blog: Entry #1, March 2021
NOTE: Previously mentioned in Three Skeletons Found Under House In CT, More: Skeletons Found Near Ridgefield Battle Site, Research Continues: Skeletons Found Near Ridgefield. Update on Skeletal Remains Found in Ridgefield CT and The Latest Update.
Heritage Consultants, working with the Ridgefield Historical Society on the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program grant to study the 1777 Battle of Ridgefield, has begun collating and studying materials from a variety of sources, with the help of volunteers from the Historical Society.
The grant’s aim is to create databases and organizational methods for the materials gathered and to overlay important discoveries and events on a mapping program that will extend to the full battleground. Read more…
Submitted by Ken McCallum – as noted in the monthly newsletter of the Ridgefield Historical Society.
JAR: The Incredible Story of Hercules Mulligan
by Richard J. Werther 22 June 2021
When you are a spy, you want to go unnoticed. With a colorful name like Hercules Mulligan, that can sometimes be difficult, especially if you are also a prominent businessman in British-occupied Manhattan during the American Revolution. Recent popular history has focused heavily on the Culper Ring, but Mulligan was not one of the Culpers. His star turn in recent popular history comes not from the Culper vehicle Turn,but from his inclusion as a character in the hit 2015 Broadway musical Hamilton.
The play has brought Mulligan’s name and legend into the spotlight in recent years. Hamilton is a Hip-Hop take on the life of Alexander Hamilton masterfully told by Lin-Manuel Miranda, based on the book of the same title by Ron Chernow. Hamilton is ostensibly non-fiction, though “artistic license” is exercised in places. On the other hand, the life of the real Hercules Mulligan sounds as if it could be fictional. Miranda, in an interview, admitted he could have included many other figures in Hamilton who had bigger roles in Hamilton’s life, but “they don’t have the name Hercules Mulligan, so sorry guys!” Though according to Mulligan’s character in Hamilton, he “needs no introduction,” a song in the show describes him as a New York tailor who while “running with the Sons of Liberty” also does business with the British occupiers, takes their “information and then I smuggle it.” What else did he do? Read more…
JAR: When War Came to the Thompson-Neely Farmstead
by David Price 24 June 2021
Gen. George Washington did not sleep here but many of his soldiers did—that is, on the grounds or nearby. The historic site known today as the Thompson-Neely house and farmstead is located in upper Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and is a featured attraction of Washington Crossing Historic Park (WCHP). In fact, it is the historic focal point of a visitor’s trip to the upper park at WCHP. The house is the only building located within WCHP’s current boundaries to serve as a headquarters for several of Washington’s officers prior to the Continental army’s legendary Christmas night crossing of the Delaware River in 1776.
In December of that year, a rebel army brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. William Alexander, known as Lord Stirling, encamped at the Thompson-Neely house in Solebury Township, two miles south of Coryell’s Ferry (New Hope today), although Stirling himself was headquartered at a nearby residence known as Blue Mount, later identified as Beaumont’s Ferry. The soldiers were part of an exhausted army whose ranks were filled with men lacking winter clothing, shoes, stockings, and blankets, and reeling from a series of unrelenting setbacks during a near-disastrous New York campaign the previous summer and fall. As Washington put it, they had been “reduced by Sickness, Desertion, & Political Deaths (on & before the first Instant, & having no assistance from the Militia) [and] were obliged to retire before the Enemy.” The American defeats in New York had segued into a long, punishing retreat through more than eighty miles of northern and central New Jersey and culminated in the army’s withdrawal across the Delaware River from Trenton to Pennsylvania during the first week of December in order to elude the pursuing Anglo-German forces.
Stirling’s force, when posted on or near the grounds of the Thompson-Neely house, comprised a total effective strength of 673 soldiers (excluding those reported absent, sick, on extra duty or on furlough). Read more…
Maine: a New Royal Province or Part of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay
June 25, 1771: The Massachusetts House writes its agent in London (B. Franklin) about establishing towns in what is today Maine. London is concerned that large pine trees be preserved for later use as ship’s masts.
At the present Session of the General Court, Application has been made to the Court by some of the Grantees of Townships to the eastward of Penobscot River, praying that further Time may be allowed them to procure the King’s Approbation of the Grants that have been made to them. The General Court have divers Times already lengthned out the Time for that Purpose, and the two Houses think it reasonable that still further Time should be allowed them: but the Governor’s Speech at the opening of the present Session has induced the two Houses to postpone that allowance and render the Grantees a more essential Service by writing to you on the Subject of their Grants…
…The Preservation of the Mast Trees is a Matter of great Importance, which the General Court would do all in their Power to effect, if they knew the Means of doing it. The most likely Method we can Devise (unless the Parliament should interpose) is to settle that Country with Inhabitants. Read more…
Benjamin Franklin’s World: Speaking with the Dead
Erik Seeman is a Professor of History at the University at Buffalo. He’s an award-winning historian who has written three books on death practices in early America, including his most recent book, Speaking with the Dead in Early America.
During our investigation of early American death practices, Erik reveals early American ideas about death; Information about the English Reformation and how Anglo-American Protestants came to believe in the possibility of having relationships with the dead; And, the ways in which some Anglo-American Protestants forged relationships with the dead. Listen in…
Serendipity: A Case Study of a Muff
By Alison Larkin – Guest Blog at The Costume Society
[In our mid-week Guest Blog, Alison Larkin examines an 18th-century embroidered muff, exploring the availability of embroidery patterns, and the use of patterns in embellishing garments and accessories.]…
…It sometimes seems that my embroidery career has been largely based on serendipity, and the focus of this blog is just another example. A Facebook post by The Costume Society on 6th April 2021 showed images of two muffs and a pottery handwarmer. One of the muffs was beautifully embroidered, dating from the 1790s, was from the V&A collection. The style looked familiar — a posy of flowers tied with a ribbon, surrounded by a border of flowers and leaves. Very typical of patterns from the late 1700s. I have amassed a collection of embroidery patterns published in periodicals from the late 1700s to the early 1800s, in particular, The Lady’s Magazine. A rapid flip through my files hit the jackpot! The central motif is based on a pattern from January 1781. Various examples of these published patterns on extant items have been identified in the last few years, three of them from the V&A collection. However, this one is particularly interesting, as it is the first pattern identified with a change of suggested use. Read more…
All Things Georgian: Joanna Southcott (1750-1814), religious prophetess
Joanna was born in 1750 and presented for baptism at the local parish church, Ottery St Mary, Devon, by parents William and Hannah on 6th June 1750. If you look to the left of the entry in the baptismal register, you’ll see a faint, handwritten notation which was added at some time. Someone has written the words ‘The Fanatic’.
If you’ve never come across Joanna before, she held very strong religious convictions and in her early 40’s began to experience apocalyptic dreams and visitations. She believed that she possessed supernatural gifts and wrote prophecies in rhyme…
Over time, Joanna acquired a large following who believed in her prophecies, so much so that she began selling paper ‘seals of the Lord’ at prices varying from twelve shillings to a guinea. The seals were supposed to ensure the owners of such would receive eternal life. Read more…
Query: John and Paul Bedele/Bedell, Brothers, and Loyalists in New Brunswick
I am of the Bedell family. I am apparently a 3rd cousin 4x removed from John and Paul. Both of our lines go back to Robert Bedell, who was in Town of Hempstead, Queens Co., NY in 1640’s. John Bedle/Bedell’s family moved to Staten Island sometime before the Revolution. Both John and Paul were in the Spring Fleet in 1783. The two are recognized in Saint John NB. The two apparently moved from Saint John. John is said to have left about 1794 for Woodstock, where he died in 1838. It seems that Paul died in 1797 in Carleton. Paul died young; 3 of his children died in 1810, and his surviving son was only about 5 when Paul died, so I guess it’s not strange that there is so little information on him.
Any information that would verify or add to the following information would be appreciated. Joyce Merletti <firstname.lastname@example.org>
John Bedell in Loyalist Register: (1755-1838)
Bedele, John of Staten Island, NY
Born in 1757. In the Revolution, private secretary to Colonel Biltrop. Went to St.John, New Brunswick, at the peace, and was employed a year or two in surveying that city. Removed to Woodstock about the year 1794, where he was a magistrate for forty years; and after the division of York County was a magistrate, a Judge of Common Pleas and Register of Wills and Deeds for the County of Carleton; he died in 1838. aged eighty-three. He married Margaret Dibble, now (1852) living at the age of eighty-six. His children were ten: William Jarvis and Paul. M. magistrates; John, a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas; George A., Register of Deeds; Joseph, Tyler, Walter Dibble, and three daughters.
Sacred/to the Memory of/John Bedell, Esquire/Born December 9, 1755/At Richmond, Staten Island/In the then British Colony of/New York./He emigrated to this Province at the/close of the Revolutionary war/In the year 1783/and settled at Woodstock, N. B./He was appointed one of the first/Magistrates for the County of York/and upon the division of the County/One of the Judges of the Common Pleas/for the County of Carleton./He died on the 23rd Aprii1838/Aged 83 years/To commemorate the deep feeling of/respect and attachment for the memory/of the affectional Parent,/the honest and upright magistrate,/The sincere Christian/and the truly good man/This stone/Is erected by his children
John is also mentioned in Morris’ Memorial History of Staten Island vol 1,chapter xxxv The American Loyalists, where he is listed as having been born in 1757, in Westfield, Sl.
John Bedel is also mentioned in Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Rev. Vol. 1 American Loyalists Abbott-Kollock.
Paul Bedell, his brother (1757-1796) Very little information; probably due to his death at an early age
History of Saint John, New Brunswick: Loyalist Paul Bedell arrived with the Spring Fleet of refugee ships in 1783. He laid out the streets of the Parr-town peninsula to Lower Cove with military precision. Boatloads of refugee loyalists continued to arrive through the summer and fall of 1783. By winter some 14,000 weary people were crowded into shanties and tents beside the harbour.
Lots were drawn and land given out, sometimes the same plot subdivided many times over as more ships arrived with refugees. Properties on the King Street hill rising up from the harbour were reserved for former military commanders and powerful loyalist families.
By 1824 in spite of Bedell’s map of organized streets stretching across the peninsula, Charlotte Street was the recognized edge of town. Beyond it towards Courtney Bay were a few houses and pasture fields. Cattle had to be restricted from wandering the streets. The map’s military grid did not match the rocky topography. Surveyors and builders battled that rock to define lots and construct roads and buildings for the new community, Saint John.
List of Loyalist Certificates Updated with those issued in March Through June
The list of UE Certificates issued since late in 2012 — showing the Loyalist ancestor, name of descendant (when permission is granted), branch and date — has been updated with the certificates issued since the beginning of March through to June 20th..
The list is now on the new UELAC website https://uelac.ca/certificates/issued/
Obviously with the Loyalist Directory currently locked down, these updates have not been applied to it.
Col John Butler Branch Celebrated Loyalist Day, and “United Empire Loyalist Week”
PROCLAMATION by Niagara-on-the-Lake: “United Empire Loyalist Week”.
Be it resolved that I, Lord Mayor Betty Disero of The Corporation of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, do hereby declare the week of Saturday, June 20th to Saturday, June 26, 2021 “United Empire Loyalist Week” in the Town of Niagara on-the-Lake.
Col. John Butler Branch‘s Loyalist Day Flag raising in Niagara on the Lake (NOTL) was held on Saturday 19, June 2021. Although restricted by pandemic lockdown restrictions The Lord Mayor of NOTL, Betty Disero and Niagara Falls M.P., Tony Baldinelli attended with Past President Carol Clifford, Elizabeth Oliver-Malone and Bev Craig. See the proclamation, more description and a couple of photos.
- Sketch: Town and Harbour of Halifax from George’s Island, 1759, Richard Short – ten years after the British settlement was established on 21 June 1749.
- 23 June 1763 – A ‘Gift of the Halifax Common for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax forever,’ was provided by King George III. Covering an area of 235 acres of common land and 5 acres of roads, laid out under the authority of Lieutenant Governor Jonathan Belcher.
- Happy Fathers Day! Powhatan was the Mamanatowick of the Powhatan paramount chiefdom and a father to many influential children. Most people know his daughter Pocahontas, but he had 20 sons and 20 daughters, including some that held political power like Parahunt and Pochins.
- This Week in History
- 21 June 1771: Colonial newspapers contributed to the perpetuation of slavery. Advertised 250 years ago today: “Ran-away … a Negro Man Servant named ARCHELAS … was born in Africa, and is marked with several Strokes on one or both Cheeks.” (New-London Gazette 6/21/1771)
- 22 Jun 1775 Congress issues first currency, unbacked fiat “Continentals,” which suffer instant runaway inflation.
- 25 Jun 1775 Washington arrives in NYC, inspects Hamilton‘s forces as he passes through on his way to Boston.
- 23 Jun 1776 British position fleet to attack Charleston, repulsed by defenders within improvised palmetto-log fort.
- 24 Jun 1776 Congress orders New-Jersey Royal Governor Franklin (estranged son of Benjamin) sent under guard to Connecticut.
- 20 Jun 1779 6,500 Americans attack just 1,200 British at Stono Ferry, SC, only speed retreat slightly, lose 146 men.
- 19 Jun 1781 Siege of Ninety-Six, South-Carolina, held by 550 Loyalists, is broken; 185+ Americans & 75 British lost.
- Clothing and Related:
- 250 years ago in Newport, RI – “On Wednesday a number of Ladies met together at the Rev. Dr. Stiles’s where they laudably employed themselves in spinning upon 70 Wheels; and afterwards presented upawards of 190 Skeins of good Linen Yarn to Mrs. Stiles.”
- A Georgian, sartorial question for you: which 18th-cen fashion group do you favour? Nobility, gentry, or “of the people?” [styles of both women and men]
- ..very rare ex. of use of velvet in 18thc women’s dress..silk for this fabric is reputed to have cost 36 shillings per yard. With an average of 17 yards for a sack & petticoat, today the fabric would cost about Â£2,200
- 18th Century quilted white cotton skirt, with point de chainette rosebuds, the quilting would allow the wearer some extra warmth. C.1750 -1770
- 18th Century dress, originally a Robe Ã la FranÃ§aise but clumsily converted in 1780’s perhaps suggesting it had been handed down to a maid. The design for this silk was created by freelance textile designer Anna Maria Garthwaite (1690-1763)
- 18th Century women’s pocket, tied around the waist and separate from the gown. The motifs of roses, tulips and carnations are similar to those in samplers worked in Chester County, Pennsylvania in the fourth quarter of the 18th century. c.1784.
- Here’s the sweetest continental lace edging on an 18th century linen cap
- 18th Century men’s waistcoat of pink silk overlaid with machine-made net and embroidered in coloured silks, made possibly in France, 1775-1785
- 18th Century men’s court coat, pocket and button detail c.1765, French
- 18th Century men’s Court matching suit, brown figured silk tailcoat with 11cm-high stand collar, sharply curving front panels, beautifully embroidered in floss silks with sprays of forget-me-nots, c.1800
- I do love ancient glass and this is a superb example of the art! A beautiful colour-band bottle, cascading through shades of blue with flecks of gold and white: ca. Mid-1st Century AD.
- We give you, the evolving shape of the wine bottle (1640 – 1780). Perhaps taking up less space on a busy table but now far more likely to be knocked over! Who here has knocked over a whole bottle of wine…?!
Published by the UELAC
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