In this issue:
- United Empire Loyalist Day in British Columbia: 22 July
- Well-to-Do Loyalist Widows Who Sought Compensation. Part 4, by Stephen Davidson UE
- JAR: “That a General be Appointed to command”
- JAR: A Video Tour: New York City’s Bowling Green and the Statue of King George III
- Ben Franklin’s World: Past and Prologue (or rewriting history)
- Ridgefield CT: Battlefield Research Blog: Entry #4, June 2021
- Curious Canadian Cemeteries: Juggler’s Cove Burial Site, Bay Roberts, NL
- Refuge Canada Exhibit on Loan to PumpHouse Museum
- National Trust: Live Virtual Tours July 28 Shingwauk Residential School ON
- National Trust for Canada: Live Virtual Tours July 30 Van Horne Estate NB
- Materializing Race: An “Unconference” on Objects and Identity in #VastEarlyAmerica
- Fort Plain: American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference, 6-8 Aug 2021
- From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Connect with us:
United Empire Loyalist Day in British Columbia: 22 July
“Whereas the British Columbia Lieutenant Governor, Steven Point OBC, by and with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, has been pleased to enact Order in Council 903; Proclaim and Declare that July 22, 2012, shall be known annually as BC Loyalist Day.” (See Proclamation.)
Significance: July 22 was chosen whereas Sir Alexander MacKenzie, the son of a United Empire Loyalist, was documented by the Vancouver Branch as being the first European to successfully cross the North American continent north of Mexico on July 22, 1793
Observances: BC Loyalist Day has been observed annually since 2012 by the Pacific Regional Branches of Victoria, Vancouver, Chilliwack and Thompson-Okanagan with suitable ceremony and celebration.
This year the celebration organized by Vancouver Branch is today Sunday 25 July 2021 with a picnic, 11:30 am – 3:30 pm at Queen’s Park in New Westminster, Picnic Shelter #2. Due to Covid restrictions, some things are different
- Bring our own food (no sharing outside of family), chairs and blankets
- No cake this year
- There won’t be a draw.
but on the positive side
- The coveted 2020 and 2021 picnic buttons are ready for us.
- We will have the opportunity to SEE EACH OTHER IN THE FLESH!
Well-to-Do Loyalist Widows Who Sought Compensation. Part Four of Four
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
By June of 1785, there were only two Loyalist widows who had not yet had their opportunity to testify to their late husbands’ loyalty and to seek financial compensation from the British government for the losses they suffered as a result of that loyalty.
Mary Evans was already a widow when she met Joseph Price, the man who would become her second husband. Price, an Englishman, was the surgeon for a British regiment that began its colonial service in New Jersey in 1772.
It must have been a whirlwind courtship, given that the couple got married before the year was out. Two years later, Dr. Price and his regiment went to St. Vincent’s, but Mary remained in their home in New Brunswick, New Jersey until his service in the Caribbean was over.
A West Indies island valued for its sugar production, St. Vincent’s had recently experienced fighting between the British sugar plantation owners and the Caribs, the indigenous people of the island. Two British regiments had quelled the violence after a year of conflict that ended in a peace treaty in February of 1773. It may be that Joseph Price’s regiment was sent to the island to maintain the recently established peace.
Whatever the reasons for the military assignment, St. Vincent’s became the site of Price’s grave. He died there in January of 1775. Thanks to a combination of money left to her by her first husband and a pension that she received as the widow of a surgeon, Mary was able to continue living in New Jersey until 1778. By that year, she felt that she could no longer remain in the colony.
The Continental Army had just defeated British forces at the Battle of Monmouth on June 28th. Flushed with the excitement of a military victory, it is more than likely that Mary’s neighbours were making it difficult for the wife of a British surgeon to continue living in their midst.
All that Mary could take away from New Brunswick was “part of her furniture” since she “could not bring the whole away”. Although she was born in the colonies, Mary decided to settle in England, arriving there in 1782.
Although no witnesses were with her when she testified before the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL), she did bring with her certificates to verify the truth of her testimony that had been signed by William Franklin, the last royal governor of New Jersey, General Courtlandt Skinner, the former attorney general of New Jersey, and Dr. Thomas Chandler, who had once been the Anglican rector in Elizabethtown, New Jersey.
Six days after she went before compensation board, the RCLSAL determined that Mary was a Loyalist and would receive Â£30 a year from the British treasury.
Rebecca Aitcheson was the second last person to have her claim for compensation considered by the RCLSAL when it convened in Great Britain. After July of 1785, it would no longer hear Loyalists’ testimonies on British soil, but would interview Loyalist claimants in the major settlements of the Maritimes and Canada.
Rebecca Aitcheson’s claim is also unique in that it was made on her behalf by four men: her brother, Lt. Col. Jacob Ellegood, her husband’s business partner, James Parker, and two of her husband’s friends, Thomas MacKnight and James Ingram. Rebecca and her youngest children were still living in the United States when these four Virginian Loyalists presented a memorial on her behalf.
William Aitcheson had been a merchant who enjoyed “considerable business” in Norfolk, Virginia before the outbreak of the American Revolution. He had an “elegant house” that was “very well furnished”, and he was rich enough to own several slaves. In addition to his two mercantile concerns, he also was involved in the manufacture of rope.
Known for his “great influence and his example”, Aitcheson had served his city as an alderman. When Lord Dunmore, Virginia’s last royal governor, took refuge on a British warship in the York River, Aitcheson “joined with the people of the town in inviting Lord Dunmore to come on shore”. Later, he ordered the doors of the Norfolk courthouse to be broken open after local Patriots had locked them so that a meeting could be convened in support of the governor.
By 1776, the Patriot leaders of Virginia began to silence Loyalist opposition. Among those imprisoned for siding with the crown were William Aitcheson and his brother-in-law, Jacob Ellegood. Not being in good health, Aitcheson died while incarcerated or — as James Ingram reported it — “his sufferings hastened his death”. The merchant was remembered as being “uniformly loyal to the hour of his death”.
Aitcheson’s business partner, James Parker, was also imprisoned at this time. Local Patriots confiscated his property and burned his home to the ground, forcing his wife Mary and their children to flee with only the clothes on their back. Mary Parker was Rebecca Aitcheson’s sister. The two Loyalists’ wives and their children sought refuge along the colony’s eastern shore where, for the duration of the war, they lived in a cottage on a small plantation belonging to Rebecca’s late husband.
Rebecca’s oldest son left his family to join the British forces and died while fighting for the crown. A second son made his way to England for undisclosed reasons, staying there until 1785.
The fact that all four Loyalists had previously appeared before the RCLSAL with regard to other claims may have helped to speed the compensation board’s decision regarding Rebecca Aitcheson’s memorial. On the day that they heard the Virginians’ testimonies — June 25, 1785– the commissioners decided that although William Aitcheson had not borne arms during the revolution, he had nevertheless “rendered services” for the crown and was therefore determined to be a Loyalist.
It is doubtful that Rebecca Aitcheson ever learned of the RCLSAL’s compensation grant. She died in Virginia later that year. As in the cases of the other 24 well-to-do widows, a life of wealth and influence had not protected Rebecca from the privations and sufferings common to Loyalist wives of all classes during the American Revolution.
(Editor’s note: Stephen Davidson did not include three well-to-do widows in this series because each of them had been featured in her own article in earlier editions of Loyalist Trails. To read their stories, click on the following links:
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at email@example.com.
JAR: “That a General be Appointed to command”
by Jeff Dacus 22 July 2021
After the events at Lexington and Concord on April 19, it appeared that military force of some sort might be warranted in dealing with Great Britain. There was a mass of militiamen and volunteers outside of Boston but there were many questions about their purpose, organization, and leadership. When George Washington set off for the Second Continental Congress on May 4, 1775 there was no Continental Army, no army acting for the entire thirteen British colonies.
Before leaving Virginia, Washington had served on a committee to explore how the colony should prepare its defenses. He had also taken the time to drill five militia companies in his local area. Arriving in Philadelphia he joined other men from across the Thirteen Colonies to explore what actions, military or diplomatic, Congress should adopt in dealing with any British attempt to forcibly deal with the recalcitrant colonists.
During the First Continental Congress in the fall of 1774 prominent men of the colonies had become acquainted with Washington, learning of his experiences as a soldier in the French and Indian War, as a wealthy landowner, and as a member of the House of Burgesses. When the new Congress opened, on May 15, he found himself asked to serve. Read more…
A Video Tour: New York City’s Bowling Green and the Statue of King George III
by Bridget Barbara 20 July 2021
The bronze Charging Bull sculpture is not the only iconic statue to have stood at the southern tip of Manhattan. In 1770, a large gilded equestrian statue of King George III was erected just a few feet away in New York’s oldest park, Bowling Green.
But what had begun as an exhibit of appreciation and esteem for the King was, by the mid 1770s, nothing more than a glimmering display of the tyranny the colonists felt they could no longer endure. On July 9, 1776, right after the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in New York City, the statue was torn down in a furor of anti-monarchic sentiment. Surprisingly, and incredibly, physical remnants from that historic day still exist. The wrought-iron fence that stood around the Green in 1776 still stands, and fragments of the destroyed statue have survived to be viewed at various museums.
Though the statue only stood for six short years, its creation and destruction were a microcosm of the fluctuating relations between Britain and the colonies. To peer into the display case holding the horse’s tail at the New-York Historical Society feels almost unreal. To be able to touch that fence and see the rough surfaces left after colonists sawed off its ornamental crowns, is to literally have history in your hands. These metals, fence and fragment, were eyewitnesses to events that shaped a nation over 200 years ago, and yet here they are, just as they were then, ready to be rediscovered by history-savvy passersby. Read and watch video (5 min)
Ben Franklin’s World: Past and Prologue (or rewriting history)
Michael Hattem is a historian of Early America who works as an Associate Director of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. His research interests are in the cultural memory of the American Revolution and in Early America more broadly.
Using details from his book Past and Prologue: Politics and Memory in the American Revolution, Michael reveals the idea that history broadly and American History in particular are constructions; How Americans who lived in revolutionary and post-revolutionary America viewed and related to the past and history; And, how and why the United States’ first historians used the events of the past to fashion a new history and history culture for their new nation. Listen in…
Ridgefield CT: Battlefield Research Blog: Entry #4, June 2021
Research continues. Of note, the Westport Museum director Ramin Ganeshram offered information on a past exhibit that the society had produced on Tryon’s Expedition (the British raid on Danbury in 1777 that included the Battle of Ridgefield) and several videos the society produced on the subject. Read the update. For a list of previous items in Loyalist Trails, go here.
Submitted by Ken McCallum
Curious Canadian Cemeteries: Juggler’s Cove Burial Site, Bay Roberts, NL
11 May 2021 by Robyn S. Lacy
Hello again readers, we are back today with another ‘Curious Canadian Cemeteries’!
My husband, Ian, and I have been hiking a lot lately as the weather has been getting warmer out here. We’re looking forward to hiking the Gros Morne Mountain Trail later this summer, and are hoping that once vaxxing happens everywhere we can finally go on our honeymoon next year, which will involve hiking. Basically, it’d time for training! Last weekend we decided to hike the Shoreline Heritage Walk in Bay Roberts, an 8km loop with amazing ocean views and interpretive signs along the way. You pass through French’s Cove and Juggler’s Cove, communities which have seen European settler occupation since at least the 17th century, and possible the 16th century as seasonal fishers. The Bay Roberts website states, “French raids by Pierre LeMoyne d’Iberville in 1697 and Jacques Testard de Montigny in 1705 destroyed the communities; however, the English settlers quickly rebuilt.”
With the long history of settlers in the area, it was no wonder we could see the old foundations and flattened areas of land where houses used to stand, the stones removed from the ground while clearing farm fields, and the depressions and walls of root cellars dug into the hill or straight down into the ground. Some of these root cellars have been restored today as part of the trail, and are definitely worth taking a peek at! Read more…
Refuge Canada Exhibit on Loan to PumpHouse Museum
By Michelle Dorey Forestell 19 July 2021 in Kingstonist
This summer and fall, the PumpHouse Steam Museum will proudly host ‘Refuge Canada,’ an exhibition on loan from the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.
Opening Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2021, the fully-bilingual exhibit dives into Canada’s place within the current global refugee crisis, while bringing to light the challenges faced by refugees before coming to Canada. Moreover, it doesn’t shy away from hard questions about how refugees are treated once they arrive.
“This show is really good for Kingston in the sense that it takes a critical look at how Canada’s doing. You know, you don’t want to say bad things in Canada, but our track record is not probably as good as many think, and this show takes a good critical look at that,” explains Curator, Tom Riddolls, pointing out that Kingston is a city built on refugee history.
“We may not think of it that way, but if we think of the UEL (United Empire Loyalists), [they] greatly influenced early Kingston in that sort of English-speaking white history. With that 1784 influx of people from the states — they were considered refugees, [but] they were pushed out [of the US]. They went to New York City, at the time Manhattan was actually a refugee camp, they stayed there, [then] they were pushed out, they went to Quebec, where they stayed in camps over the winter and then they dispersed along Lake Ontario,” he says. Read more…
On July 28th at 11:00 join the Shingwauk Residential School staff for a virtual tour of the former Shingwauk Indian Residential School property in Sault Ste Marie Ontario. The tour will take you through the grounds, buildings, and the Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall exhibition, and will have time for questions at the end of the tour. Shingwauk was the recipient of a 2020 Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Award for Resilient Historic Places. It was also recently designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
On July 30th at 10:30 join Natalie Bull, Executive Director of the National Trust, as she tours the Van Horne Estate on Ministers Island, New Brunswick. Discover the restoration and conservation of the iconic Van Horne livestock barn, as well as Sir William Van Horne’s vast house and bathhouse/artist’s hideaway. Excavations in the 1960’s and 70’s turned up evidence of a Passamaquoddy settlement dating back thousands of years.
In a commitment to fostering nuanced interpretations of early American objects and meaningful dialogue on historical constructions of race and their legacies, we propose a virtual “unconference” to share and discuss scholarship on the intersections of identity and material culture in #VastEarlyAmerica. These open sessions seek to promote a diverse cross-section of scholarship energized by Dr. Karin Wulf’s call for broader, more inclusive histories of early America.
The beauty of material culture is that it often takes non-verbal forms, in the process bearing witness to the lives and experiences of those absent from or written out of traditional archival records. As a participant-driven, virtual conference, we are committed to recovering those stories through object-centered scholarship.
Call for Papers: Deadline 1 Aug.
Event to be held August 24 and 25, 2020, 1 PM EST both days (Zoom). More…
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
- In Weymouth, Nova Scotia take in Loyalist cemetery tour this summer. Brian McConnell UE
- At Point Prim Lighthouse at mouth of Digby Gut where Bay of Fundy meets
- Annapolis Basin. First Lighthouse here built 1804. Brian McConnell UE
- Colourful old postcard of Admiral Digby Well in Digby, Nova Scotia. Brian McConnell UE
- This Week in History
- 22 July 1771 Colonial newspapers contributed to perpetuation of slavery. Advertised 250 years ago today: “TO BE SOLD, A likely hearty Negro Boy … has had the Small-Pox, can do any Sort of Work, and would make an excellent Servant in the Country.” (Boston-Gazette 7/22/1771)
- 20 Jul 1775 Patriot forces destroy lighthouse in Boston Harbor, return in 10 days to defeat British repair team.
- 20 July 1775, fishermen from New England ports were legally barred from the Grand Banks under Parliament’s New England Restraining Act, passed in March. Of course, since then war had broken out in New England.
- 17 Jul 1776 Congress backs Washington’s refusal to meet British peace mission because they didn’t call him General.
- 18 Jul 1776 Declaration of Independence read from the balcony of Boston Town Hall to great celebration.
- 23 Jul 1776 Congress declines to give Washington direction for defense of NYC, citing confidence in his judgement.
- 21 Jul 1778 North-Carolina delegates sign the ratification of the Articles of Confederation.
- 19 Jul 1779 Massachusetts launches disastrous attack in what is today Maine; worst naval defeat until Pearl Harbor.
- 22 Jul 1779 British-allied Mohawk Chief Brant defeats forces responding to his attack in Neversink Valley, New-York.
- 20 Jul 1780 “Mad” Anthony Wayne leads failed assault on New-Jersey blockhouse, defended by Loyalists.
- Clothing and Related:
- Sarah Rogers’ 1772 sampler is the stuff of summertime dreams. Her work shows birds in trees, flowers in vases, and a shepherdess sitting in a pastoral landscape. Her lush sampler includes verses from a variety of sources, including the poetry of John Dryden
- 18th Century cream-coloured silk dress with woven stripes, floral scrolls, chain motif and multi-colored embroidered with bouquets and garlands, c.1760-1780’s
- 18th Century dress and matching petticoat, 1780-85 (altered c.1900) The restraint in decoration illustrates the growing influence of the Neo-classical style in textile design
- 18th Century men’s waistcoat, mauve striped silk with silk & metallic thread embroidery, metal beads, silk satin, printed & painted, 1790’s
- 18th Century men’s suit and waistcoat, of fine purple silk, metallic embroidery and spangles with delicate buttons, c.1790’s
- 18th Century Royal Marines dress coat belonging to Major General Arthur Tooker Collins (1718-93), of red wool with cuffs & lapels faced with blue. Buttons are stamped with a laurel wreath enclosing a crossed sword & baton.
- During a heatwave, the #gloriousGeorgians let it all hang out… Saucy seaside postcards are nothing new! Summer amusement at Margate, or a peep at the mermaids, 1813, Thomas Rowlandson. Via the British Museum.
- While the young ladies upstairs ogle some lads in the buff, these #frockingfabulous #gloriousGeorgians are suffering for fashion! Summer by John Collet, via the British Museum.
- With its gilded icicles and fountain handle, what other object could possibly satisfy the scintillating heat here in London than this SÃ¨vres ice-cream cooler.
This piece is part of a dinner and dessert service for 60 people, produced between 1776–9 for #CatherineIIofRussia
- This heatwave continues to have us thinking about vibrant, bright needlework. The colours of this unfinished embroidered picture, circa 1720, remain as true today as they were 300 years ago. The central panel shows the finding of Moses. The drawing is of a professional standard
Published by the UELAC
If you do not now receive this free newsletter directly but would like to, you can subscribe here.