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Extending the Search: A Case in Point. Part One of Two
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
In chasing down the biographical details of a Loyalist, it is tempting to stop searching the era’s newspapers after the person’s death notice. But as the case of William White, a Loyalist who settled in New Brunswick, shows there is much to be discovered in newspapers that were printed half a century after a person’s death.
Of course, it is always best to start with primary documents that coincide with a Loyalist’s arrival in what is now Canada. When researching New Brunswick Loyalists, a great starting point is the victualing musters of Fort Howe. These lists show the names of Loyalists who received rations during their first year in what is now New Brunswick. Compiled by David Bell, these musters are invaluable for data concerning the name of individual Loyalist’s evacuation ships, the number of family members, their colony of origin, and previous occupation.
The musters of Fort Howe list four William Whites — a man who sailed with his wife and two young children in the spring fleet, a single man, a man who travelled with his wife in the June fleet in Captain Robert Chillas‘ militia company 28 on the Ann, and a man who came with the October fleet in Captain Thomas Wooley’s militia company 49 on board the Nancy.
The William White who is our case study to demonstrate the value of reading later newspapers is the first of the men named above. This White family settled in the parish of Waterborough, Queens County — a fact that is borne out in the 1807 probate records of New Brunswick. When James Bell, a neighbour of the Whites, died that year, he included many of the family members in his will. William White received “his lot of land with one half the crop of hay and grain” as well as his farming utensils.
William’s son Philip was granted a young cow and the corn growing on the land, Peter —another son–was bequeathed “my old cow”. A third son, Samuel, was given Bell’s silver watch, and his brother Vincent White received a “trunk of clothing as it now contains”. Deborah White, the men’s sister, was given a heifer calf.
It is interesting to note that of all the White family members, only William’s brother Vincent wrote a will (1817), and that will only made a very brief reference to two of William White’s sons. Were it not for James Bell’s probate record, there would be no contemporary document that listed the members of William White’s family.
Another invaluable resource for those plumbing the depths of New Brunswick’s Loyalist history is the archive of vital statistics in the province’s newspapers that can be found at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. Newspapers that were published between 1784 and 1896 can be searched online. In the quest for more data on a Loyalist like William White, common sense would tell one to estimate a year of death for him and limit one’s search to newspapers between 1784 and that year.
And this is where William White becomes an example of the importance of reading newspapers far beyond the date of a Loyalist’s death.
On June 7, 1888, a White descendant submitted an article on the Loyalist family to the Daily Sun, a newspaper based in Saint John. Its 1,222 words contain a wealth of genealogical and historical data — information that did not appear in the musters of Fort Howe or the probate record of James Bell.
William White was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey on October 28, 1759. Twenty years later he married Deborah Tilton of Middleton, New Jersey (born May 7, 1754). William served in the royal army throughout the American Revolution, and had received a lieutenant’s commission for his services. The White’s first son died before they fled from New York, bringing their second son Philip with them on their evacuation ship to Saint John where they lived for three years.
Peter White was born on March 22, 1785. The Loyalist family then moved to land on the Kennebecasis River (a tributary of the Saint John River). The annual floods that both rivers experienced every spring discouraged William from remaining in Kings County. Following the birth of Samuel White, the family uprooted and settled on the shores of Grand Lake in Queens County. Their 300–acre homestead became known as White’s Cove. William and Deborah lived there until “old age and infirmity” compelled them to move in with a neighbour.
After attaining the age of 97, the Whites died and were buried in the Anglican graveyard. These names and dates are all–important — and would have been lost had the White descendant not written the article. But even more important is the inclusion of family lore that would otherwise never make it into the public record.
The writer often sat at the feet of the aged sire and listened to his war stories and then heard him recite the facts of his privations and disadvantages while struggling to make a living for himself and family, and the hardships he endured, of which many of today know nothing. Not having hay for his cattle he, with others, was obliged to go to Indian Point in the summer and cut wild grass.
The first winter he hauled his hay from there on a toboggan, himself being the motive powers. This journey he was compelled to make every day for two months and through the week could only gain enough to feed his cattle through Sunday; and this work had to be performed until relief came from another source. … Flour mills at that day not being in existence, the subject of my narrative had to go to the stone quarry and there prepare the rock and bring it into requisition for the purpose of grinding his grain. In this he was the motive of power, and this work had to be performed after the usual day labor on the farm. He and his family interested themselves in erecting the Episcopal Church at White’s Point, where all the surrounding country at that time worshipped.

This account of a Loyalist pioneer in New Brunswick was found because the search for data in old newspapers went far beyond what seemed to be a “logical” death date for William White. But as it turns out, there were two more articles written about the family five year later in the spring and fall of 1893 — articles that would contain even more “lost’ family lore.
The story of William White and his family will conclude in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at

JAR: The Yorktown Tragedy: Washington’s Slave Roundup
by Gregory J. W. Urwin 19 October 2021
On October 19, 1781, Gen. George Washington attained his apex as a soldier. Straddling a spirited charger at the head of a formidable Franco–American army, Washington watched impassively as 6,000 humiliated British, German, and Loyalist soldiers under the command of Lt. Gen. Charles, Second Earl Cornwallis, emerged from their fortifications to lay down their arms in surrender outside Yorktown, Virginia. The following day, Washington voiced the elation filling his heart in a general order congratulating his subordinates “upon the Glorious events of yesterday.” Ordinarily a stickler for discipline, Washington authorized the release of every American soldier under arrest “In order to Diffuse the general Joy through every breast.”
Five days later, October 25, the Continental Army’s commander–in–chief issued quite a different order. Thousands of Virginia slaves–“Negroes or Molattoes” as Washington called them–had fled to the British in hopes of escaping a lifetime of bondage. Washington directed that these runaways be rounded up and entrusted to guards at two fortified positions on either side of the York River. There they would be held until arrangements could be made to return them to their enslavers. Thus, with the stroke of a pen, Washington converted his faithful Continentals–the men credited with winning American independence–into an army of slave catchers.
This is not the way that Americans choose to remember Yorktown. When President Ronald Reagan attended the festivities marking the battle’s bicentennial in October 1981, a crowd of 60,000 nodded in approval as he described Washington’s crowning triumph as “a victory for the right of self–determination. It was and is the affirmation that freedom will eventually triumph over tyranny.” For the African Americans who constituted one fifth of the young United States’ population in 1781, however, Yorktown did not mark the culmination of a long and grueling struggle for freedom. Rather, it guaranteed the perpetuation of slavery for eight additional decades.
…A clear–eyed look at the sources–including those recorded by British and German participants–reveals that for the 200,000 African Americans who composed 40 percent of the Old Dominion’s population, freedom wore a red coat, not blue, in 1781. Read more…

JAR: A Video Tour of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and the Yorktown Battlefield
by Bridget Barbara 21 October 2021
Considered the last major battle of the American Revolution, Yorktown is synonymous with American victory. It was the beginning of the end of the war, and a crucial moment of triumph for the fledgling United States of America.
The Yorktown Battlefield is part of the Colonial National Historical Park, and you can tour the grounds from your car. On the ~100°F day I visited, this was a welcome relief. A handy map takes you to the different positions utilized by the British, the French, and the Americans, and a smartphone app provides helpful supplemental information and context. While you’ll have to use a bit of imagination to bring to life the now–empty grassy fields where historically vital events took place, it’s a great day out for anyone eager to explore one of the most important battlefields in the United States. Watch 8 minute video…

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Research Finds in the Graveyard, Part 1
By Leah Grandy 20 October 2021
Many history enthusiasts and genealogists are drawn to cemeteries and graveyards, often to the dismay of their companions and families. Grave markers can prove to be great sources of information when doing historical biographies, family history, demographic history, and cultural history of settlers in eastern North America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Information on grave makers can indicate general demographic patterns if they are not available through historical documents: number of burials per year, deaths during epidemics, life expectancy, disposable wealth levels in the community, etc.
Epitaphs sometimes offer short profiles of individual lives that could include basic biographic information such as place of birth, occupation, cause of death, accurate birth/ death dates, and family members. The script on a women’s marker most usually attached her to a man (a husband or father).
Typical beginnings of epitaphs in the late eighteenth century Maritimes included “Here lies” or “Sacred,” with “In memory of” becoming more popular in the nineteenth century. In earlier marker text, a common inscription would be, “Here Lyes Buried the Remains of. . .”
The materials used in the making of grave markers show import trends in trade and transportation networks, Boston being the general centre for gravestone manufacture in the Atlantic World during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Directly after the American Revolution during the 1780s and 1790s, the absence of symbols on grave markers was very common. Also in the post–war period, the Neo–Classical movement–constituting a revival with an adaptation of classical culture from Ancient Roman and Greece–had a huge impact on art and material culture in North America and Britain, and this was reflected in funerary decoration. Read more with many photo examples…

First Issue of Newsletter by Nova Scotia Branch UELAC
Thank you to Susan Sears for showing the initiative to start this publications and volunteering to take on the role of Editor. Thanks also to everyone else who has contributed to this issue. Brian McConnell UE, President
Nova Scotia Branch has issued the first issue of its newsletter “Loyalist Tidings“. Read now

Members Only: More Branch Newsletters Now Available
Copies of newsletters published by several branches have been contributed to the Members’ Section of the UELAC website Login and from the landing page go to “Newsletters”. Currently twenty-six issues from fifteen branches are available.

Loyalist Gazette Fall 2020 Issue Publicly Available
The Loyalist Gazette is published by UELAC twice each year, Spring and Fall, in May and November. Recent copies are posted in the Member’s Section. After about a year, an issue is made available to all on the public part of
In anticipation of the next issue being published in November, the Fall 2020 issue is now available to all. Articles include:

  • Loyalist Quarantine and the British North American Legislative Database by BY Richard Yeomans, recipient of the 2020 United Empire Loyalist Scholarship Award
  • Loyalist Heraldry in Canada by Dr. Jonathan Good UE
  • Unhappily seduced from his allegiance: Prison Boxes from 1837 Rebellion by Chris Raible
  • Two Cemeteries. Two Provinces. Same Problem. By Peter W. Johnson UE
  • 2020 recipient of the UELAC Dorchester Award: Robert Collins
    McBride UE

Early Loyalist Roots in Victoria BC
By Mike Woodcock, Victoria Branch, UELAC , in Sooke News Mirror, 2 October 2021
This year — 2021 — is the 150th anniversary of British Columbia becoming part of Canada. For B.C. descendants of United Empire Loyalists (UEL), this honours the 1871 addition of B.C. to the 1867 Canada that their ancestors helped form.
Unlike Eastern Canada, only 25 UEL descendants could be identified in 1881 Victoria. As the Canadian railroad was not completed until 1885, the primary options to get to Victoria from the east was train travel across the U.S. or the Panama isthmus. These routes then required a sea voyage up the coast to B.C.
Two loyalist descendants in Victoria for the 1881 census got to Victoria from Ontario by very challenging journeys. As an 18–year–old in 1862, Robert McMicking was an overlander who walked and canoed across Canada to get to the Cariboo Gold Rush.
Another onerous journey to Victoria was made by loyalist descendant Vernon Lane. In 1872, he travelled with his wife and two children from Kansas to the Pacific coast on a prairie schooner. Read more…

Original Aikman Homestead Has Roots Going Back 230 Years
By Mark McNeil, 19 October 2021, Hamilton Spectator
In the rolling hills of Ancaster, in the hamlet of Mineral Springs, there’s a tree–canopied dirt road that leads to a gabled white farmhouse. It’s next to a field of roaming chickens, a goat, some horses in a stable and ruins from an old mill.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the forebears of retired teacher Murray Aikman being among the area’s first United Empire Loyalist settlers. And this is where his ancestors ended up in 1789 after fleeing the United States.
you can still find the bones of the original Aikman cabin inside the current house. It is held firmly in place by a sturdy stone fireplace that still works.
They say the first non–Indigenous child born in the area took his first breaths directly in front of that fireplace on Jan. 26, 1790. The son of John and Hannah Aikman (Showers) was named Alexander, and he would become Murray’s great, great, great grandfather. Read more…

Bridge Annex Unveils the Life of John Baker Memorial Plaque
21 October 2021, CORNWALL, Ontario
The installation of the John Baker memorial was held on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. Baker was a Loyalist, born into slavery in the 1780’s. In 1804, he was released along with his family, later going on to fight in the war of 1812 and the battle at Waterloo, who later died as a general labourer in 1871.
Bridge Annex is the first virtual branch of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada (UELAC), an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of others through knowledge of the past, particularly the history of the United Empire Loyalists and their contribution to the development of Canada.
Bridge Annex chose to honour John Baker’s life by installing a memorial storyboard during the UELAC’s annual conference they hosted virtually, May 2021, featuring the history of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (SDG).
They stated that the life experience of John Baker and other early Black citizens of Cornwall and SDG is an important historical interpretation.
Baker was born into slavery in Quebec, which at the time was known as Lower Canada, in the 1780s. Baker and his family were enslaved to Maj. James Gray, who eventually relocated to Cornwall.
Read more in Kingston Whig Standard…; in the Seaway News…

About Town With Iconic Canadian Author Peter C. Newman
Postmedia Staff. 20 October 2021
Seeing Canadian icon Peter C. Newman around town was a “Wow!” moment. It was late 2012.
Years after that first encounter, I set out to discover: “What is Peter C. Newman doing living here in Belleville?”
Recipient of seven honourary degrees and author of 36 books on Canadian history, businesses and politics, including his 2005 autobiography Here Be Dragons that spans an impressive 733 pages, he seems more Canadian than many born here.
Peter also loved Belleville: the beautiful heritage homes, and the art community. It was a good location for Alvy’s work, and for Peter, who was researching his next book on the United Empire Loyalists. Read more…


Toronto Branch Meeting: Ontario Archives and Loyalists: Tues. 26 Oct. 7:30ET

Serge Paquet has been working at The Archives of Ontario for over 20 years. He will discuss access to records pertaining to United Empire Loyalist research, family history and lineage (church and marriage records, land records, estate files and wills). He will highlight resources available on the Archives’ website and note some lesser known record sources.
Register with Sally Gustin UE Toronto Branch UEL <>; the Zoom link will be sent to you prior to the meeting.

Fort Plain Museum. Celebrate Hallowe’en.Rebels, Recoats & Zombies“. Costume Judging at 7 PM. Saturday, October 30th, 5 PM to 8 PM. More

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Interesting Deed for property in Digby, NS dated Jan. 27, 1786, recorded in Registry of Deeds for NS (Digby County, Book 1B, Page 303) from Samuel Hitchcock, Loyalist who served in King’s Orange Rangers to Loyalist Robert Ray for land including ‘my former dwelling’. Brian McConnell UE @brianm564
  • “A view of the entrance of the gut of Annapolis Royal‘ published in 1781 (Source: Library of Congress). Brian McConnell UE @brianm564
  • This Week in History
  • Clothing and Related:
    • #SackbackSaturday: Brocaded silk Robe à la française, 1760–70 From the @museodelamoda. Deep box (aka Watteau) pleats with lovely drape, floss fringe & pattern matching.
    • Rear view of a stunning 18th Century Court dress, Robe à la Française of Chinese cerulean blue silk woven with a large–scale white and platinum floral, 1750–1770
    • 18th Century casaquin or jacket, cut like a dress but came only to the hip. Usually the skirt was of a contrasting material or colour & ended at the ankles.This is an elaborate example of the style, which enjoyed great popularity in Italy. c.1785
    • This 1780s robe could be sculpted from pistachio ice cream, so subtle is the shade of green chosen by the maker. No bells and whistles here, no lace or embroidery or patterned fabric, just self coloured ruching and dyed to match
    • 18th Century Court suit and waistcoat, looks like it has been embroidered with delicate dandelions, 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.
  • Townsends
  • Miscellaneous
    • This expertly stitched silkwork picture shows a windswept woman watching a ship toss and turn in turbulent waves. Her costume suggests the piece was made at the end of the 18th century. Her face, hair, and hands are painted, while the rest of the scene is embroidered
    • One of only two authentic old Jolly Rogers known in the world. The red background meant that the ship flying the flag would take no prisoners if their opponents put up a fight. The 18th–century pirate flag is now on display at the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Editor’s Comment. I prefer to distribute this earlier on Sunday, but late Saturday a technical glitch and a faulty assumption deleted the work to that point. The second time is much faster, but I still deferred two articles until next week. My apologies to the two who contributed them.

Published by the UELAC
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