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National Acadian Day August 15
Today, August 15 marks the National Acadian Day, an annual celebration in recognition of Acadian peoples’ distinct culture and unique contributions to Canada’s history. The day has been celebrated since 1881 with events that help the rest of Canada understand and appreciate Acadian culture.
The National Acadian Day is observed in parts of Canada each year on August 15, to celebrate Acadian culture. It was during the first National Convention of the Acadians held at Memramcook, New Brunswick, in 1881 that the Acadian leaders received the mandate to set the date of this celebration, which is also the feast of the Assumption of Mary. More in Wikipedia.
Since in-person events may not be available, we dove deep into the NFB archives for some films that spotlight Acadian Canada. If this is new terrain for you, start with Tintamarre – On the Trail of Acadians in North America, a feature documentary that shows how the Acadian peoples came to be a quintessential thread in the Canadian cultural fabric. And since food is one of the best ways to understand a culture, we’ve selected two short documentaries that take us on a journey into Acadian eats: Bittersweet Blues and Turning Tides.

Newfoundland’s Most Pre-eminent Loyalist = Part One of Two
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
Given that almost 40,000 Loyalist refugees flooded into the Maritime colonies following the American Revolution, one would be hard pressed to single out the most important of those displaced persons. But in the case of Newfoundland, which only had “some” or a “few” Loyalist settlers (depending on the source that is consulted), it is an easier task to identify that colony’s most pre-eminent American refugee. Meet John Ryan of Newport, Rhode Island.
Born on October 7, 1761, Ryan was just 15 when the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed. In 1777, he became the apprentice of John Howe, the publisher of the Newport Gazette. Howe was a Massachusetts Loyalist who — up until March of the previous year– had been the business partner of Margaret Draper, the publisher of The Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter. Both Draper and Howe were part of the evacuation of British troops and Loyalists who sailed for Halifax in the spring of 1776. While Draper eventually settled in England, Howe decided to move to British-occupied Rhode Island to continue serving the crown as a newspaper publisher.
Howe’s Loyalist newspaper closed down in 1779 when he became part of a second evacuation of British troops and Loyalist civilians, this time from Newport to New York City. Howe, his new wife, and his apprentice John Ryan accompanied the troops to British headquarters where they remained until Loyalist civilians were sent to safety in Nova Scotia.
There are few details concerning John Ryan’s activities during the next four years. As an apprentice to Howe, he came in contact with John Mott, a Loyalist printer who lived on Long Island. On November 22, 1781, Ryan married Mott’s daughter Amelia. The newlyweds were both in their early twenties.
The officiating clergyman was the Rev. John Sayre, an Anglican minister who had been forced to flee Fairfield, Connecticut for his Loyalist principles. At the time of the Ryan wedding, Sayre was serving as a chaplain to the British Legion. He would later became an agent for Loyalist relocation, spreading the word of the opportunity to settle in Nova Scotia to the refugees who had found refuge on Long Island during the revolution. Sayre eventually sailed for what is now New Brunswick in the fall of 1783 and settled in Maugerville. In less than a year’s time, he died of dropsy (edema).
As for John Ryan’s professional life, despite his youth he became the partner of William Lewis, the publisher of New York Mercury and General Advertiser.
John and Amelia Ryan travelled to the mouth of the St. John River aboard the Neptune, a ship that was part of the last Loyalist evacuation fleet found for what is now New Brunswick. They were among the 51 members of William Lewis’ company. How this printer and partner of Ryan’s came to lead a Loyalist company goes unrecorded. However, records of the era indicate that John and Amelia arrived in Parrtown (today’s Saint John) with one child under ten years of age and one servant. (The latter is not listed in the Book of Negroes, so we cannot be sure that this person was a slave or of African descent.)
The Neptune arrived in Parrtown in mid-October of 1783. In addition to his family’s worldly goods, William Lewis had included a press and type in his evacuation vessel’s cargo hold. Within two months’ time, William Lewis and John Ryan had once again entered into a publishing partnership, creating the first newspaper in what would become New Brunswick: The Royal St. John’s Gazette and Nova-Scotia Intelligencer.
In less than six months’ time, Lewis and Ryan were charged with publishing libellous material in their newspaper, now known as The St. John Gazette and General Advertiser. Their coverage of unfair land distribution practices brought down the wrath of the bureaucracy of the day. So in addition to becoming the colony’s first newspaper publishers, Lewis and Ryan also became its first litigants in a libel case.
A few months later, Ryan and Amelia had their second child, Michael, born on June 23, 1784. Although Amelia’s family had been part of the Loyalist exodus from New York City, their first impression of Parrtown was anything but positive. Her mother is quoted as saying she “would never live in such a god-forsaken place”, and so the Motts returned to New York.
While having survived their 1784 indictment of libel, Lewis’ and Ryan’s partnership came to an end in 1785. This may have been due to the fact they had once again been charged with publishing inflammatory articles during New Brunswick’s first general election. The two publishers went on trial in May of 1786 and “pleaded guilty, and put themselves on the mercy of the Court … It was ordered that they severally pay a fine of twenty pounds, and find security in fifty pounds each for their good behaviour for six months, and to pay the fees of the Court.”
Despite this blow to his reputation, Ryan continued to prosper in what was by this time the incorporated city of Saint John. In addition to publishing his newspaper, Ryan operated a store on the south side of Market Slip at the foot of King Street. The building was three stories high and also contained his family’s home.
Given that he was only 23 at the time, it is interesting that in the fall of 1784, John Ryan was selected to be one of the 19 men who comprised the grand jury for New Brunswick’s first murder trial. It was just one of many “firsts” in the colony’s history to which his name became attached.
In December of 1786, John Ryan became one of 58 men who formed Saint John’s first Masonic Lodge. Ryan’s membership lasted for ten years. In 1796, he and 21 others were “expelled for apostasy”, making them “unworthy of admittance into any regular lodge, or holding any masonic conversation with any of the free and accepted fraternity”. The leaders of the lodge instructed the remaining members to “withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he hath received from us.” Exactly what “apostasy” brought about Ryan’s expulsion is never defined.
While the Masons may not have appreciated Ryan’s company, the members of Saint John’s first social club welcomed him with open arms. In 1803, the proprietor of the very popular Exchange Coffee House on Prince William Street advertised that he was establishing a club for the men of the city. Known as the Subscription Room, the club’s original membership was made up of 44 of Saint John’s leading citizens. Most of them were –like John Ryan– American Loyalists.
Although he enjoyed both professional and societal success, John Ryan did not remain in Saint John, New Brunswick. The story of how he became Newfoundland’s pre-eminent Loyalist settler will conclude in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at

Comment about the “Fourteenth Colony”
In last week’s issue of Loyalist Trails, from Journal of the American Revolution (JAR) this article “Phraseology and the ‘Fourteenth Colony’“, in particular Nova Scotia.
I had some issues with the article about the Fourteenth Colony and left this comment on the JAR site:

“I was disappointed with the article’s coverage of the revolution in Nova Scotia. The fact that Western Nova Scotia (Sunbury County) spontaneously revolted was overlooked, as were the two invasions by Eddy and Allen. This was also the only area that I am aware of where a spontaneous rebellion was successfully suppressed by the British. Otherwise, an interesting article.”

Gary Campbell

New Book: Old St. Edward’s Church & the Loyalists by Brian McConnell UE
Brian’s fourth book about United Empire Loyalists is now available. Entitled “Old St. Edward’s Church & the Loyalists” it is the first book to tell the history of one of the few remaining Loyalist churches in Nova Scotia by using primary sources as well as colour photographs. The Church was completed in 1795 and consecrated by Bishop Charles Inglis in 1797.
In the cemetery beside the historic church are headstones marking the graves of over 20 United Empire Loyalists. Colour photos of these are included in the book along with descriptions.
The book is dedicated to the memory of Adrian Ruggles Potter, a descendant of General Timothy Ruggles, renowned Loyalist leader from Massachusetts who settled near Wilmot, Nova Scotia. Adrian was proud of his Loyalist heritage and was a former curator of the Church. In September, 2016 he provided a tour to the Nova Scotia Branch of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada and his photo along with others of inside the Church with its’ museum are included.
The book is now available in paperback or kindle format.
For further information see Amazon’s listing.
Brian McConnell, UE

JAR: Virginia’s Swamp Fox: Captain Amos Weeks of Princess Anne County
by Drummond Ball and Mike Cecere 10 Aug 2021
Anyone who has ever tackled genealogical or historical research knows that the process is very much like putting a jigsaw puzzle together or working on a cold case crime. Sometimes you are fortunate and all of the pieces or clues are available and easily come together to produce a definitive result. More often than not, one finds that pieces or clues are missing, possibly to be discovered through exhaustive research but sometimes never to be found because they simply no longer exist. Such appears to be the case with Captain Amos Weeks.
We first came across the name Amos Weeks in reading about the Revolutionary War in Princess Anne County, Virginia in 1781. Two published primary sources, the journal of Capt. Johann Ewald and the journal of Lt. Col. John Graves Simcoe, provided interesting detail on British operations during Benedict Arnold’s occupation of Portsmouth in the winter and spring of 1781. We noted that both officers were particularly interested in capturing a militia commander named Amos Weeks who had staged a series of ambushes upon British detachments in Princess Anne and Norfolk County.
Curious to learn more about this bold American militia commander, we began our jigsaw puzzle and immediately noticed something unique. One would normally expect a captain of militia in the Revolutionary War to be a person of some standing in his local community, involved in local governance or with property and a higher social status than your typical rank and file soldier. If this was the case, then one would expect a paper trail to shed more light on the officer. Alas, our search for records of Captain Weeks in Princess Anne County prior to 1775 has been disappointing. Read more…

JAR: “A Mere Youth:” James Monroe’s Revolutionary War
by John A. Ruddiman 12 Aug 2021
Late in his life, after retiring the presidency, James Monroe drafted his own history. He was still struck, five decades after the War for Independence, by the “high character of that epoch and of those in whose hands its destiny fell.” … What was this Virginia teenager thinking, feeling, and choosing?
Considering James Monroe as a youth reveals the process of political and military mobilization in the American Revolution. Benjamin Franklin notwithstanding, the “Founding Fathers” were not old men. In 1776, Alexander Hamilton was twenty-one, Thomas Jefferson thirty-three, George Washington forty-four. More significantly, half the American population was younger than sixteen; during the long war, military labor would have to be drawn from this youthful pool. James Monroe was born in 1758 into a propertied but unremarkable Virginia family. He only knew a British empire in turmoil. When James was seven, his father, Spence, protested the Stamp Act, along with practically everyone else. But Spence died young in 1774, leaving James and his siblings under the direction of their politically connected maternal uncle, Joseph Jones.
When the fighting began in 1775, Williamsburg patriots organized a raid on Governor Dunmore’s palace to seize weapons. Monroe participated, apparently the youngest in this heist crew, which carried off 300 swords and 200 muskets… Patriotic enthusiasm in 1775 demanded action, and Monroe’s social station pointed him towards military service as an officer.
Revolutionary soldiers and junior officers were young men; on average, Virginia’s continental soldiers were between twenty and twenty-one years old at enlistment. Paul Fussell, a literary critic and World War II veteran, rather cynically remarked that “War must rely on the young, for only they have the two things fighting requires: physical stamina and innocence about their own mortality.” The rage militiaire of 1775 points out a third component at play in the Revolution: messianic political enthusiasm. Nobody believes likes a true-believing teenager—this appears to have been the case for James Monroe.
If Monroe was naïve about what war was, the battles of 1776 quickly disabused him. Read more…

McNab’s Island (Formerly Cornwallis Island)
11 August 1787 – Diarist, Captain William Dyott, went on a fishing trip, going out around Cornwallis Island (now known as McNabs Island). Later noted,”…we set the cooks to prepare dinner…and all the dishes I ever tasted, I never met so exquisitely good a thing as the chowder. Retweeted by Rian McConnell UE

The island saw seasonal Mi’kmaq and Acadian use and was surveyed by the French Navy as a possible site for a fortified seaport prior to the selection of Louisbourg. After the founding of Halifax in 1749, it was first known as Cornwallis Island. One of the early settlers was Joseph Rous (1758). Halifax merchant Joshua Mauger used the long beach which still bears his name as a base for a fishing operation in the 1750s and ’60s. The island was purchased by Peter McNab (d. 1799, buried at Old Burying Ground) in the 1780s beginning a long settlement by generations of the McNab family on the island. Peter McNab’s son Captain John McNab, Nova Scotia Fencibles, lived with his daughter Catherine Susan Ann McNabb on McNabs Island. She married Joseph Howe on February 2, 1828.
Peter McNab, namesake of McNab’s Island, Old Burying Ground (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
McNabs Island contains many forts belonging to the “Halifax Defence Complex” including Fort Ives, Fort Hugonin, Sherbrooke Tower, and Fort McNab.
Maugher Beach, where a lighthouse stands, is also known as “Hangman’s Beach” because of its use by the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars to hang the bodies of executed mutineers as a warning to crews of ships entering the harbour that this was a port where they had best behave themselves.
The remains of Fort McNab were designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1965 as being reflective of the significant changes in defence technology that occurred in the late 19th century. Read more at Wikipedia…

A Boston 1769 Confrontation: “Play up the Yankee Doodle tune”
By J L Bell 13 Aug 2021 in Boston 1775
The June 1769 confrontation in Boston over military music on a Sunday. On one side, the town’s wardens, keeping the Puritan peace, and the Whigs. On the other, a governor’s son and a British army officer who had eloped with a Customs official’s daughter.
This series [of blogs] started with a letter from three of Boston’s wardens reporting an incident of martial music played on Sunday, 11 June 1769.
As I’ve been quoting, the Boston Whigs complained about that noise disrupting church services almost since army regiments arrived in town the previous October. That incident wasn’t the only conflict.
The Whigs’ “Journal of the Times” addressed the event the wardens wrote about, but not until the dispatch dated 24 July 1769, or six weeks afterward. That dispatch said:
Some Sabbaths past, as the guards, placed near the Tavern-House, were relieving, there was a considerable concourse of people, chiefly boys and Negroes to partake of the entertainment given by their band of music;
Read more…

Black Refugees and the Legal Fiction of Military Manumission in the American Revolution
By Sean Gallagher, a research article, published online 6 August 2021
Black loyalists in the American Revolution were early crafters of modern international asylum. Using testimony and document-gathering, enslaved people within British lines transformed themselves from runaways into refugees with a right to evacuation from the United States. Rather than recipients of military manumission, most Black loyalists freed themselves by convincing officers that returning them to their enslavers jeopardized their lives. By communicating slavery’s violence in the language of political persecution and retribution, Black loyalists helped develop the concept of non-refoulement in international law. In negotiations over the Jay Treaty (1795), however, U.S. and British diplomats used a narrative of military manumission to silence the legal contradictions of Black self-emancipation and the power of Black refugee practices.
NOTE: Unless you can access this through your university, there appears to be a fee to access this document here.
Editor: I have included this as it seems to add a new dimension to The Book of Negroes.

These six showcase gardens are our favourites in Ontario
By Mark and Ben Cullen, 10 Aug. 2021 in The Peterborough Examiner
Right now is a great time of year to get out and enjoy some of the great public gardens this province has to offer. It’s the perfect opportunity to combine a change of scenery with some people-watching.
Manidoo Ogitigaan (The Spirit’s Garden) is a new garden on the shore of Lake Ontario in Kingston, Ont., and designed to tell the history of Alderville First Nation, who were relocated from the Kingston area to north of Cobourg in 1837.
Described as a “homecoming” for Alderville First Nation after a brutal history with United Empire Loyalist settlers, it is intended to acknowledge the harms of colonization and attempted cultural assimilation on Indigenous communities. A worthwhile stop to pause and reflect. Read about others…


Old Hay Bay Church Hosts Annual Pilgrimage Service, Sunday 22 August

Elaine Farley, Board of Trustees
On Sunday, August 22nd Old Hay Bay Church will host its annual pilgrimage service at 3:00 pm.
This year the service will be similar to a traditional ‘Camp Meeting’, being held outside so that large numbers can be accommodated. The congregation is asked to bring their own chairs or blankets to rest upon during the service. The church is located at 2365 South Shore Road, Napanee.
The guest speaker for the service will be Rev. Dr. Orville James.
The church will be open for viewing, and there will be books, prints and various other souvenirs for sale inside as well, payment by cash or cheque. A collection will be taken during the service to support the church. Envelopes will be provided so that tax receipts can be issued. More details about the Pilgrimage Service Day; about the Church

St Alban’s Centre. A fish fry Sat 21 August

On Saturday August 21st, we will be hosting our first major event of the summer, a fish fry catered by Kingston’s Mike Mundell, between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15 (adults) and $10 (children under 10) at the Hallowed Grounds Café, by emailing us at, or by phoning Sharon at (613) 373-2167 or Joan at (613) 373-2134. Please note that COVID-19 regulations limit us to 100 attendees. Seating will be socially distant, and in the event of rain we will seat people at tables inside the church and under a tent on the lawn.
Updates on events and news at, as well as in our bi-weekly posts on our Facebook page, which has been renamed “St Alban’s Centre”.

Fort Plain Museum Conference: Sir William Johnson and the Wars for Empire. Oct 15-17

Registration is now open for the Conference on October 15-17, 2021 in Johnstown, NY.
This Conference includes 9 speakers and a bus tour. David L. Preston, an award-winning historian of American military history and author of Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution is the conference’s Head of Faculty. See details and registration.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • SACRED – to the Memory of – ROBERT OXLEY – Private Soldier Royal Staff Corp – who after serving his King & Country – 22 Years Departed this life 18th May – A.D. 1816 Aged 42 Years – This stone is erected by the Noncommissioned – Officers & Privates as a token of their respect
  • Slavery: Today’s archival find: Phillis, an enslaved woman in Virginia, runs away, is recaptured by loyalists and sent on board a ship headed for St. Augustine, ship is captured by Continental Navy, Phillis is sold at auction in PA with part of the money reserved for Continental treasury. (August 1776)
  • This Week in History
  • Clothing and Related:
    • Natalia de Shabelsky, a Russian noblewoman, amassed a large collection of intricately embroidered hand-woven household textiles and opulent festival garments with rich decoration and elaborate motifs. See these cuffs, fourth quarter 18th century. More background.
    • 18th Century dress, Robe à la française, linen with colourful wool embroidered flowers, c.1760’s
    • 18th Century dress, robe à la française, c.1780, It is extremely small in size and may have been a young woman’s first formal gown, to be worn at local dances & assemblies
    • 18th Century dress, matching silk caraco jacket and petticoat, 1778
    • George IV, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1820-1830, was born On This Day 12 August in 1762. George wore this c. 1780 printed cotton and silk banyan whilst he was Prince of Wales.
      Can’t believe it’s nearly twenty years since I mounted this lovely chintz banyan. The integrated waistcoat fronts that were unfortunately not photographed show evidence of its attributed wearer’s growing girth with added panels at the sides and stressed buttons & buttonholes. Rebecca Quinton @rpzquinton on twitter
    • 18th Century men’s matching coat & waistcoat, 1760-1780, pinkish mauve silk coat, waistcoat and breeches in alternating diagonal weave, Worn by Thomas Carill-Worsley, who lived at Platt Hall
    • 18th Century men’s white cotton waistcoat with woven white satin stripe, embroidered with metal thread & spangles in a bow & tassel design, c.1790
  • Townsends
  • Miscellaneous
    • Unrolling an 18th century Knitted Masterpiece – it is enormous and very colourful! Fascinating stranded knitting technique, multiple colours per row achieved by knotting the threads together
    • Brown velvet hat that belonged to a street dentist in London in the 1820s-50s. It is covered with 88 decayed teeth of his former patients. In the days before anaesthetic, this hat was supposed to communicate the “magical” skills of the dentist.
    • I absolutely love this 18th Century doll’s house, it’s relatively modest compared to the more famous of the surviving doll’s houses. A miniature version of the houses commonly found of the time. Made of mahogany, probably commercially made in England between 1750 – 1800

Memorial Service – Ronald M Fink UE
A Last Post: FINK UE, Ronald Mernon, January 18, 1947 — January 20, 2021 was published in Loyalist Trails 2021-04 Jan 24
The Memorial service:
Family & friends will be received at the Keith Ovington Funeral Home, 134 King Street, Burford on Saturday August 21, 2021 from 12-1 p.m. followed by a service at 1:00 p.m. Interment Vanessa Cemetery. Donations in Ronald’s memory may be made to the UELAC Memorial Fund or a charity of your choice. Keith Ovington 519-449-1112 More details.

Ron served as President of the Grand River Branch UELAC two times and in several other roles as well. He also served at the Dominion level in different capacities, advising on a new organization and on By-laws, and as Parliamentarian at more than one AGM.
Ellen Tree UE

Published by the UELAC
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