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Happy Independence Day
July 4. There will undoubtedly be lots of celebrations today, as well there should be.
For those of us with Loyalist ancestors who lost a great deal in that conflict – lives, health, property, homes, friends, neighbours, loved ones – we may well celebrate too, but usually with a little less enthusiasm.
On the other hand we did create two new provinces in British North America and eventually contributed to a new country too, although along a different path. It is not perfect, and we know that. Like many citizens round the world, we too generally like what we have, while we work to improve it.
When the Fathers of Confederation put the pins in place for Canada, was the choice of July 1 just a coincidence, or was there more to a date just ahead of July 4? I wonder?

UELAC and Scholarship
The Scholarship Committee has been renewed and recharged, and is now set to make some new strides in UELAC’s support for Loyalist research. New co-chairs Sue Hines UE (Past-President) and Dr. Taylor Stoermer (Johns Hopkins University), along with new committee members Dr. Rebecca Brannon (James Madison University) and Dr. Steph Walter (a UELAC scholarship alumna) and continuing members Christine Manzer UE and Dr. Tim Compeau (Huron University College and the University of Western Ontario), are looking to build on the work of former chair Bonnie Schepers UE, who did so much to strengthen UELAC’s commitment to promoting original scholarship.
The committee also wants to share its deep appreciation for the service of Murray Barkley UE, who has stepped down from the committee after several years of invaluable contributions to Loyalist history.
Stay tuned for announcements about UELAC’s 2021 scholar — Benjamin Anderson of the University of Edinburgh — along with updates on the work of continuing scholars and alums, new media channels to spotlight UELAC’s academic efforts, and this year’s challenge campaign.
Dr. Taylor Stoermer

Well-to-Do Loyalist Widows Who Sought Compensation. Part One of Four
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
(Editor’s note: In September of 2020 Stephen Davidson began a series on 25 upper class Loyalist women who sought compensation in London following the American Revolution. Only 13 widows’ stories were told at that time. Here is the concluding sequel to that four-part series.)
It was not easy to seek compensation for wartime losses if one were a Loyalist’s widow. In the 18th century, women were not credited with having political opinions, and it was assumed that any property a family had was owned by the husband. Qualifying as a Loyalist was not easy either. The definition that guided the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL) was rather gender specific. An American colonist was considered a loyalist if he or she had rendered services to Great Britain, had borne arms against the Revolution, had been a uniformed loyalist, was a loyalist living in Great Britain, had taken an oath of allegiance to American states, but afterwards joined the British; or was someone who had taken up arms with the American rebels and later joined the English army or navy.
When a widow appeared before the RCLSAL, her best hope for receiving financial compensation from the British government was to tell as much of her husband’s story as she could. Her own experiences in the war were not seen as being important, despite the fact that a Loyalist’s wife often suffered from severe deprivation and violent rebel persecution during years of conflict. Initially, the only way these widows could receive compensation was if they travelled from North America to London, something that only the well-to-do could even consider doing.
Despite all of these hurdles, 25 upper class widows were able to seek compensation at the RCLSAL’s London hearings between October 21, 1783 and June 25, 1785. Although the vast majority of Loyalist widows were from the working and middle classes, nevertheless, the stories of these elite women give us insights into the experiences of a particular segment of the Loyalist refugee population.
The case of Mary Rothery is of particular interest because it raised issues around the importance of acting from loyalist convictions and about the point in time when one became a political refugee. Strangely enough, vaccinations against smallpox are also a part of her story.
Matthew Rothery’s widow appeared before the compensation board on February 25, 1784, but it would take a week for the commissioners to decide if she genuinely deserved financial assistance. Mary and her husband had been married for 20 years and had lived in Norfolk, Virginia where Matthew was regarded as “a man of property and substance”. He owned a large home, several warehouses, a blacksmith shop and a wharf. They were wealthy enough to own seven enslaved Africans, having a total value of £400.
In addition to being known as the wife of a prominent Virginian, Mary was also of note for being the daughter of Mr. Orange. Although his first name has been lost to history, he is remembered by the fact that he promoted inoculations to prevent the spread of smallpox. Vaccinations were controversial at the time, and when the procedure was brought to Norfolk County in the late 1760s, Virginian opponents rioted on both occasions. A mob burned down one doctor’s home because he administered the smallpox vaccine. According to a witness at Mrs. Rothery’s hearing, her father had “taken a strong part in this inoculation business and had made himself very unpopular”.
Apparently the strong resistance to smallpox inoculations had not diminished over time. The people of Norfolk were still disputing the merits of the procedure in the summer of 1774, the very time that Mary and her 9 year-old son set sail for England. The widow left her slaves, and the management of her late husband’s estate to John Elebeck.
Given that the Rotherys left Virginia two years before the Declaration of Independence, the colonists had not yet been compelled to identify as either Patriots or Loyalists. The year of Mary’s departure raised an important question. Had she become a refugee because of her father or because of her loyalist convictions?
Robert Gilmour, a witness at her hearing, felt that Mary’s claim for compensation was “very doubtful because she came away before the troubles”. Col. Jacob Ellegood, another witness, did not think “the troubles were any reason for her quitting America”. He felt that “she did not come within the description of an American Refugee”. Nevertheless, he volunteered the fact that the Virginia assembly confiscated her property because “she was considered to be a Tory”.
William Farrer felt that Mary’s departure was based on her politics. Mary, he said, “appeared to be well affected to government” and that she had “not much respect shown to her on account of the loyalty of her father”. Bartlett Goodrich, speaking as a member of the committee that investigated the claims of Virginian Loyalists, said that its members “thought no person entitled to claim but those who had been active or driven away.”
Another witness, Henry Fleming, thought that Mary and her son had left Norfolk because she foresaw “the troubles which have since divided the two countries.” What, then, was the motivation for Mary seeking sanctuary in Great Britain?
The commissioners put the question to Mary after hearing from the witnesses. She said that her departure “was caused partly by the disputes about inoculation and partly by the dispute ‘twixt the two countries”. She said that before she left Virginia, Norfolk was in “equal divisions” over whether to condone the Boston Tea Party. Some citizens were already siding with the Massachusetts rebels by refusing to drink tea in their homes. Mary admitted that she often “blamed the {rebel} Americans in conversation”. Nevertheless, she was not “driven away” for her opinions.
A week later, the RCLSAL commissioners made their decision on Mary Rothery’s claims for compensation. Despite her early departure from Virginia and the questions around her reasons for seeking refuge in England, Mary was recognized as a Loyalist. Four years later, the Virginian widow married Samuel Ingham, a farmer in what is now the city of Leeds. Her second husband died in 1789; his inclusion of Mary in his will is the last record we have of this well-to-do Loyalist widow from Norfolk, Virginia.
The stories of more widows will appear in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at

We can repeat Boston’s 1776 freedom summer
The Washington POst 2 July 2021
While fighting the war for independence, Bostonians sought freedom from another menace: smallpox
President Biden recently announced his intention of marking this July Fourth as the start of a “summer of freedom,” thanks to the amazing success of the coronavirus vaccines.
This joining of Independence Day with “independence from the virus” echoes the dual freedom the people of Boston felt in the summer of 1776. Smallpox, a deadly viral disease known as the “king of terrors,” broke out again across New England in 1773 and exploded during the Revolutionary War. And so, as Americans were fighting the British and drafting the Declaration of Independence, they also recognized that political independence did not mean much without security from disease — and that meant seizing the opportunity to be immunized when it arrived.
The best way to acquire immunity to smallpox was through inoculation or variolation, which had been known in Africa, Asia and the Middle East for generations before Europeans learned of it in the early 18th century. A precursor to vaccination, inoculation was the direct insertion of pus taken from a smallpox victim into a slight incision on the arm of a healthy person. The process in the 18th century could be harrowing, with considerable risk. Between 1 and 2 percent of patients died of inoculation, but that was far better than the 10 to 25 percent fatality rate for those who contracted the disease naturally. The typical patient received a mild case of smallpox and lifelong immunity. Read more…

Historic US document found in Scottish ancestral home sells for £3.2m
BBC News 2 July 2021
A rare piece of founding American history has sold in the USA for $4,420,000 (£3,210,000) after being discovered in the attic of a Scottish ancestral home.
A signer’s copy of the 1776 Declaration of Independence, one of only six known to still be in private hands, was uncovered by a Lyon & Turnbull expert.
It is the second highest price paid at auction for a copy of the declaration.
It quadruples the world record for a William J Stone declaration print.

The historic document, which has been unaccounted for for almost 180 years, was one of two copies presented to founding father Charles Carroll of Carrollton in 1824, a wealthy American and the first United States senator from the state of Maryland. Read more…
Malcolm Newman UE

JAR: Charlotina: Proposal for a 14th Colony
by George Kotlik 28 June 2021
In the fall of 1763, a pamphlet was published in Edinburgh titled The Expediency of Securing Our American Colonies by Settling the Country Adjoining the River Mississippi, and the Country Upon the Ohio, Considered. The publication of this pamphlet points to the interest aroused in western land speculation among many in North America and Great Britain after the French and Indian War. In essence, the pamphlet’s writer advocated the establishment of a province carved out of the newly-acquired lands taken from France. It was to be called Charlotina, named in honor of Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Charlotina’s boundaries would have been “betwixt the Missisippi and the fresh water Lakes, extending north-west from this proposed bound.” A portion of the eastern boundary extended “from Lake Errie, up the river Miamis to the Carrying-place, from thence down the river Waback to where it runs into the Ohio, and from thence down the Ohio to the Forks of the Mississippi.” Charlotina encompassed parts of the modern-day states of Ohio and Minnesota while including the entirety of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
If properly encouraged, Charlotina offered numerous political and military benefits to the empire. Read more…

Maps: 1775-76, Battle and Siege of Quebec City, Plan & Map
The failed attack and resulting siege of Quebec by the American army led by Major General Richard Montgomery and Colonel Benedict Arnold is depicted in this beautifully colored and detailed map. After several unsuccessful attempts by Montgomery to convince the British garrison to surrender, the Americans conducted a two-pronged assault during a snow storm on December 31, 1775. A force under Montgomery attacked the lower town gate (marked by L) where he received his mortal wound. Arnold’s force moved against the city from the north (marked by M) and he too was wounded in the assault. The important locations to the siege and assault on the city are annotated.
This excellent battle plan was published by William Faden in September 1776, just four months after the raising of the siege. Read more… (NOTE: Maps are for sale)

JAR: “Gazette Françoise,” The French Gazette in Newport, Rhode Island
by Norman Desmarais 29 June 2021
When General Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur Comte de Rochambeau arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, on July 10, 1780 with over 5800 troops, most of the officers and men could not speak or read English. Admiral Charles Louis d’Arsac, Chevalier de Ternay’s fleet brought a printing press, probably aboard Rochambeau’s flagship Ville de Paris or the transport Neptune. The naval officers established a newspaper, the Gazette Françoise, or French Gazette, in Newport. The newspaper intended to translate various news items printed in American newspapers to keep officers and men abreast of political events in this emerging nation.
The Gazette Françoise is the first known service newspaper published by an expeditionary force. It may well be considered a bibliographic ancestor of other service newspapers such as Stars and Stripes. The news items that it covered reveal what the French considered important. They also provide French commentary on American events, such as Benedict Arnold’s Proclamation to the officers and soldiers of the Continental Army on the front page of the first issue. Comparing the Gazette to other newspapers also reveals what was censored or considered unimportant to our French allies. Read more…

Ben Franklin’s World: The Horse’s Tail: Revolution & Memory in Early New York City
In honor of the Fourth of July, this episode explores the history of revolutionary New York City and how New Yorkers came to their decisions to both install and tear down a statue to their king, King George III, and what happened to this statue after it came down. It’s a story that will reveal the power of visual and material objects and how they help us remember the American Revolution.
Our guests for this episode are Wendy Bellion, a Professor of History and the Director of the Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware and the author of the book, Iconoclasm in New York: Revolution to Reenactment; Leslie Harris, a Professor of History and African American Studies at Northwestern University and author of In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626 to 1860; and Arthur Burns, a Professor of Modern British History at King’s College London and the Academic Director of the Georgian Papers Programme. Listen in…

Getting Dressed in the 18th Century – Dido Elizabeth Belle (1779)
Dido Elizabeth Belle undresses and and dresses for her 1779 portrait by artist David Martin. Dido is accompanied by her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray. Watch…

John Adams and Farming Improvements: A Recipe for Manure
250 years ago – John Adams writes down a recipe for manure. Adams famously loved his farm, but with the General Court meeting in Cambridge in 1771 you can’t help wonder if Adams is lampooning the “Gentry at Cambridge.”
Recipe to make Manure
Take the Soil and Mud, which you cutt up and throw out when you dig Ditches in a Salt Marsh, and put 20 Load of it in a heap. Then take 20 Loads of common Soil or mould of Upland and Add to the other. Then to the whole add 20 Loads of Dung, and lay the whole in a Heap, and let it lay 3 months, then take your Spades And begin at one End of the Heap, and dig it up and throw it into another Heap, there let it lie, till the Winter when the Ground is frozen, and then cart it on, to your English Grass Land. — Ten or 20 Loads to an Acre, as you choose. — Rob. Temple learnt it in England, and first practised it at Ten Hills. From him the Gentry at Cambridge have learnt it, and they all Practise it.
I will bring up 20 or 30 Loads, of this Salt Marsh Mud, and lay it in my Cow Yard upon the Sea Weed that is there, bring up that which lies in the Road by James Bracketts as we go to Mr. Quincys. Q [Query]. Would not a Load of fresh meadow Mud, and a Load of Salt Meadow Mud with some Sand, and some dung &c. make a good Mixture.
From John Adams diary 18, 17 June – 6 July 1771 (see June 25)

Response to Query: John and Paul Bedell, Loyalists in New Brunswick
Many thanks to Doug Grant, editor of Loyalist Trails, for publishing my query regarding John and Paul Bedell, United Empire Loyalists who left family and friends in New York, to settle in St. John, NB and then Woodstock, NB. Before the end of that Sunday afternoon I had heard from three folks who offered really substantial genealogical information to help me in my quest!
Thanks to your newsletter, we can be informed again of what it was like to live in those Revolutionary War times, and for thousands of people to make a choice that affected generations of their families yet to come.
Joyce Bedell Merletti

Query: Where Can I Purchase a Loyalist Rose?
Legend has it that the Loyalist Rose originated in the Damascus region of today’s Syria and was brought to Britain by Crusaders in the 11th Century. Identified as “Maiden’s Blush” of the Rosa Alba family it appeared in Renaissance paintings and is described as “a cupped, very double fragrant pale pink rose fading almost to white, bushy, densely branched, blooming well in June.”
The role of Highland emigrants John and Mary Cameron of Inverness-shire in bringing this antique rose to the New World and safeguarding its Canadian future in the aftermath of the American Revolution is justly celebrated. Read more at The Camerons, the MacLeods, and the Loyalist Rose. (See more — Loyalist Monuments, Memorials and Commemoratives)
I would like very much to purchase a Loyalist Rose. Could someone help me or point me at a source, preferably in southwestern Ontario if possible. Thank you in advance for your help.
Arthur Pegg <>


Fort Plain: American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference, 6-8 Aug 2021

The American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference includes 11 Speakers and a Bus Tour. Includes

  • Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy – The Architect of the British War for America: Lord George Germain
  • John Knight – Banastre Tarleton and the British Legion: The Elite Loyalist Regiment Fighting for the King
  • Todd W. Braisted – In Reduced Circumstances: Loyalist Women and British Government Assistance, 1779-1783

More details and registration

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

Last Post: BINGLE UE, Paul Leslie
Paul was born November 30, 1948, to George Hamilton Bingle and Celia Feme Nevills­ Bingle. The oldest of four children, he passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family after a lengthy illness on Wednesday June 8, 2021. Paul will be deeply missed by his devoted wife Dorothy Cross-Bingle, son, Adam (Nicole), his daughters, Amanda (James), Kelly (Bob), and Diane, many grandchildren, siblings and cousins.
Paul grew up early years on the farm of his maternal grandparents, Leslie Nevills and Lilly Belle Holloway-Nevills. He and his three siblings, Dwight, Rhonda, (Daniel Donn) and Catharine (Karl Gonnsen), attended a one room school house, SS#5, for elementary school. At age 13, owning to his parents concern that Christian Education was very important, he was sent to board at Great Lakes Christian College in Beamsville. By grade 11 parents had sold the farm, and moved to Beamsville so their sons could live at home with the family and walk to day school at Great Lakes, rather than board .
Paul was an avid genealogist and very proud of both his UEL and British Army / Navy and Scottish stonemason settler heritage. He was a skilled writer and published a book about ancestor Captain John Moore UEL, one of the first settlers to The Forty, where that man was clerk of the First Town Council of Upper Canada in 1790. Paul also wrote several articles and facilitated many heritage researchers with his extensive databases from both Canada and the UK where he poured over archives gathering detailed information over many years and several trips abroad.
On a trip to England with his wife Dottie, sister Catharine and husband Karl, he was pleased to share the extensive Bingle shipbuilder lineage he had previously discovered in the Chatam Kent Historic Dockyard, and to visit the Unitarian Church where Maria Jane Waddell, (Mrs. Col. Robert Nelles of Grimsby , Ontario,) had been baptized as an infant. It was on this trip that the name of the Grimsby Ontario home “Canterbury Cottage” built in 1836 by Thomas Bingle, became apparent.
In his professional career Paul worked as an electrical engineer and loved building audio components and tinkering with electronics of all kinds, following in his master electrician father George’s footsteps. In his retirement years Paul worked for Partners International, a Christian organization which has missionaries globally.
Paul was a proud member of the Hamilton Branch UELAC serving as librarian of that group for some years. He had proven lineage to Adam Green, Casper Springstead, Thad Davis, Allan Nixon Jr. and Captain John Moore, but there were many others not proven from both parents’ lineage.
Paul as a member of the Grimsby Historical Society ran UE gravesite tours for the 2012 House Tour in St. Andrews churchyard where generations of family rest in eternity.
Catharine Gonnsen

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