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2022 UELAC Conference Presentation: “Joseph Brant”
Conference: “From Heartbreak to Hope in the Heart of the Continent”
May 25th to 29th, 2022. Hosted by Manitoba Branch, UELAC. Mark the dates.

The 2022 Dominion Conference Presentations: “Eclectic and Inclusive”.

Dr. Richard Monture of McMaster University will be presenting “Joseph Brant”.
Dr. Monture is a member of the Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. He received his post secondary education from McMaster, attaining an MA in combined history and English, did further studies at Cornell University on a Canada-US Fulbright Scholarship. His PhD dissertation for McMaster, “Teionkwakhashion Tsi Niionkwariho ten (“We Share our Matters”). A Literary History of Six Nations of the Grand River” was accepted in 2010. In that year he was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Cultural, and Indigenous Studies.
Dr. Montour’s areas of interest and research include the history and literature of the Haudenosaunee, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. He holds positions on several Six Nations cultural organizations including the Chiefswood Historic Site and the Grand River Post Secondary Education Office.
Read more about Dr. Montour, his research, publications, teaching etc.
Mary Steinhoff, Chair, 2022 Conference Planning Committee, Manitoba Branch

UELAC Annual General Meeting
The UELAC AGM will be held Saturday, 28 May 2022 at 11:00 a.m. ET. during the annual conference.
Please note that registration for the AGM is separate from that of the conference
Please see the Notice of Meeting for further details. Forms and additional details are available in the Members’ section – log in at for more information.

The Dorchester Award: Call for Nominations: Reminder of 28 Feb Deadline
The deadline – 28 February – is not that far away.
The UELAC Dorchester Award, established October 2007 by Dominion Council (now the Board of Directors), exemplifies Volunteer Excellence and Participation, by conferring recognition on recipients for their lengthy contribution to the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada. Exclusive to the UELAC membership, this award salutes the “best in volunteerism” amongst our members within the Association.
One individual has been honoured each year since 2008. See the list, with details of each.
As this award goes to members of UELAC, and nominations must be by members, members can log in where they will find in the members’ section, in the table of contents, the Dorchester Award:

  • Terms of Reference
  • Call for Nominations (deadline: Feb. 28 each year)
  • Nomination form

Don’t delay as the deadline for nominations to be received is 28 February.
Carl Stymiest, SVP, Chair of UELAC Volunteer Recognition & Awards

Escaping Slavery in Totowa
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
Unless you are from New Jersey, the name Totowa may sound odd to you. The word is an Indigenous one that means “sinking or falling water” and refers to the Great Falls of the Passaic River in Paterson, a larger community to the east of Totowa.
Like other parts of the colonies along the Atlantic seaboard, New Jersey imported men and women from Africa as slaves. With the outbreak of the American Revolution, enslaved Africans had the greatest opportunity and motivation to escape their masters. Britain promised full emancipation to any Blacks enslaved by Patriots when they crossed over into the British held territory surrounding New York City. For two Black men held in bondage to Patriots in Totowa, it was an offer to which they gladly responded.
Although we know that Joseph Cox escaped his master, John Bybank, in 1781, we don’t know the details. He may have travelled down the Passaic River from Totowa to Newark; he may have gone overland to the Hudson River before heading south to freedom. The Black man was 38 years old at the time and worked as a cooper.
Cox’s name appears in the Book of Negroes, a ledger maintained by the British that listed all free and enslaved Blacks who left the port of New York City between April and November of 1783. After earning his keep as a free man in New York, Cox boarded the Nautilus, sailing for the Bahamian island of Abaco with 38 other Black Loyalists. His fellow passengers ranged in age from 2 to 64 years of age. Almost every one of them carried a General Birch certificate, a document issued by the British authorities to verify their status as free people.
Only two other Black Loyalists aboard the Nautilus had been enslaved in New Jersey. Others found sanctuary in New York City after fleeing from masters in South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut, New York, Barbados, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Georgia.
One 31 year-old Black woman passenger had been born free; a 30 year-old couple and their 3 young children had purchased their freedom from their white enslaver. Other passengers had been set themselves free by escaping from their masters as early as 1776, while others had been emancipated by the fall of 1782. Of all the Black Loyalists on board the evacuation vessel, only Joseph Cox is listed as having a trade. His skills as a barrel maker held the promise of a degree of prosperity that other Black Loyalists would be unable to achieve in their new home.
Nothing else is known of Cox’s life as a slave in Totowa, as a free man in New York City, or as a Black Loyalist settler in Abaco. It is an odd twist of history, however, that more is known of Cox than of John Bybank, the man who had once enslaved him.
The only other Black man known to have escaped slavery in Totowa was John Woodie. He had been enslaved by Gerebrandt Van Houten until he made his escape at the age of 20 in 1780. Woodie may have known Joseph Cox in Totowa, but when the opportunity came to settle elsewhere in the British Empire, he chose to set sail for Nova Scotia rather than the Bahamas. Woodie was one of eight Black Loyalist passengers who set sail on the L’Abondance for Shelburne, Nova Scotia in the fall of 1783. Seven of his fellow passengers travelled north as the property of white Loyalists.
While no trade is listed next to Woodie’s entry in the Book of Negroes, the fact that he had been a slave in the household of a prominent Totowa family provides us with some clues as to his life prior to emancipation.
Woodie was enslaved by Gerebrandt Van Houten, the great- grandson of Roelof Cornelissen Van Houten, one of the original settlers of the Totowa area. Van Houten would have been 68 years old when Woodie successfully escaped to the British lines. A father of four children, the prosperous farmer would have used Woodie to work his land — a tract that contained 313 acres when Van Houten was a boy of 12.
When Van Houten died in 1789, his former slave would have been among the Black settlers who established a home in Birchtown, Nova Scotia. And while life was difficult for Woodie, it was still an improvement on what he would have experienced had he stayed in Totowa.
As documents of the early 19th century reveal, Van Houten’s descendants continued to buy and sell slaves. Despite being pew-owning members of Totowa’s Dutch Reformed Church, their faith did nothing to challenge the family’s views on keeping fellow human beings in bondage.
When Woodie’s evacuation ship arrived in Shelburne, there was a very severe gale blowing. Thanks to the journal of a local Loyalist, we know that on October 23rd “several {vessels} arrived from New York”, which would have included L’Abondance. A week later it was still raining, and on November 2 it was a “snow squally day”. The Loyalist diary writer noted the “southern people are much frightened at the weather; poor people — they are to be pitied.”
Although some Black Loyalists established homes in Shelburne, most joined fellow African descendants across the harbour in Birchtown. In the last weeks of August 1783, land had been allotted for members of the Black Pioneers corps and other Black Loyalists under the leadership of Col. Stephen Blucke and his officers. The settlement for free Blacks was created by order of John Parr, Nova Scotia’s governor. Once the Black leaders viewed the proposed location, “they were well satisfied with it”.
Arriving late in the year, John Woodie may not have had time to construct a proper home to weather his first Nova Scotia winter. While some Black Loyalists had built log cabins in Birchtown, others were forced to live in pit houses. The memory of these shelters has been retained in local lore.
They just dug a hole in the ground and put a little peaked roof over it. They chose a hill for their purpose because the ground was drier. The peak roof would shed the water when it rained. There was a small trapdoor in one side of the roof and the {owners} entered the house by dropping right down through. And that was the Black man’s home — a hole in the ground with a roof over the hole.”
Recent archaeological digs have shown that these pit houses were holes measuring 1.5 metres by 1.5 metres and were about half a metre deep.
While period journals and archaeological evidence provide some background for what John Woodie would have experienced upon arrival in Nova Scotia, there are no specific details attached to his name. The only record that might provide further data on the former Totowa slave is a muster that lists a John Moody who was about the same age as Woodie. If this entry is a typographical error (or the true rendering of John’s name), then by 1784 he had both a wife and a seven week-old daughter.
By the end of 1783, two men who had once been enslaved in Totowa were making new lives for themselves far from their New Jersey home. Separated by 2,350 km, Joseph Cox was preparing to ply his trade in Abaco in the Bahamas while John Woodie was readying himself for his first Nova Scotia winter in Birchtown. Neither man could have imagined himself on such distant shores just seven years after the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence. Such were the unexpected destinies of those known as Black Loyalists.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at

The Underground Railroad in New Brunswick
The Tomlinson Lake Hike to Freedom trail is a natural hiking trail approximately 3km long that follows the footsteps of the many Black families who immigrated from Maine to New Brunswick from 1850 to 1865. This route would have been North America’s northernmost route of the Underground Railroad.
Each year the organization hosts an annual hiking event on the first weekend of October. Hikers experience traditional food cooked over a fire, Civil War reenactors, a pop-up museum by the New Brunswick Black History Society, interpreters in period clothing and many artefacts.
The National Trust for Canada launched Canada Historic Places Days 2021 with an exclusive live tour of Tomlinson Lake Hike to Freedom. The tour featured live interpretation, a replica squatters cabin and Black Loyalist pithouse, and stories about the struggles that Black families faced upon arriving in Atlantic Canada. Take the tour…

Boston 1775: “The infamous Capt. Beeman”
8 February 2022 by J.L, Bell
The Rev. Jeremy Belknap’s account of how Gen. Thomas Gage’s plan for the march to Concord leaked out to the Patriots, quoted yesterday, mentions four men by name.
Three of those people were well known Patriot leaders: Dr. Joseph Warren, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock.
The fourth was a Loyalist scout for the British troops identified as “the infamous Capt. Beeman.” Is there any more evidence about such a figure, especially evidence not publicized by October 1775? If so, that would suggest that Belknap truly heard some inside information.
And indeed we can identify “Capt. Beeman.” That must be Thomas Beaman (1729–1780), a Loyalist refugee from Petersham, Massachusetts. Read more…
Note: Beaman kept the position of wagon-master under Gen. William Howe. He traveled with the king’s army, working in and around British-occupied New York until he died in November 1780. By then the state of Massachusetts had banished him and confiscated his property. Beaman’s widow and children settled in Digby, Nova Scotia.

JAR: African Americans and Native Americans of the Revolutionary War Era Who Should Be Better Remembered
by Editors 15 February 2022
We regularly ask our contributors questions about the American Revolution and founding era. This month we’ve asked them to tell us about an African American or Native American associated with the 1765-1805 era who does NOT have a Wikipedia entry, but who should.
Example: by Jonathan Bayer
Sophia Burthen Pooley was an enslaved woman who at age seven was kidnapped from Fishkill, New York, with her sister and eventually sold to the Kanien’keháka (Mohawk) leader Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant), who brought her to Canada following the end of the American Revolution. She was sold at the age of twelve to former Loyalist captain Samuel Hatt, who she remained enslaved to for seven years when neighbors informed her that she was free due to recent anti-slavery legislation. Hatt did not stop her leaving and she lived the rest of her life as a free woman in Upper Canada. Pooley’s account of her life can be found in Benjamin Drew’s 1856 book A North-Side View of Slavery. The Refugee: or the Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada. Related by Themselves, with an Account of the History and Condition of the Colored Population of Upper Canada. Read others…

Wedding Fashions Of Yesteryear 1830 to 1900’s in Loyalist New Brunswick
By Barbara Pearson UE
Fashion in the European cities and in the cities of the Thirteen Colonies was quite different than that of rural New Brunswick. Brides dressed in their Sunday Best, usually darker tones that could be worn several times before cleaning. From 1830 to the 1900’s fashions changed with the times. By 1887 Julia M. Wetmore’s family was able to afford her gorgeous white wedding dress. The couples in “Wedding Bells” are of Loyalist descent, their ancestors having arrived in 1783. My mother’s family is descended from the “Oram” family who arrived from Pennsylvania to Kingston, NB. In the Loyalist Exodus of 1783.
Families mentioned include: Oram, Williams, Jenkinson, Reid, Pierce, Porter, Northrup, Benson, Crawford, Wetmore, Flewwelling, Aiton, Murray, Sharp, Patterson, Secord, Kiser, Raymond, Kilpatrick, Reidle, Gray, Muir, Boyd, Moore, Simpson….
Read more…
I know personally the descendants of those in the wedding parties. Many wedding gowns are in the collection of the Kings County Museum in Hampton. …Barb

Borealia: “What would Lord Durham advise?”
By E.A. Heaman 15 February 2022
No, “not assimilate your French”: I think he’s been misread. Lord Durham would have better advice than that because he lived in a world not unlike our own. Devastating and state-discrediting pandemic? Check. Disaffected fringe looking to topple the state? Check. Popular American violence lending strength to popular violence everywhere, including Canada? Check. Belligerent Russian autocrat looking to expand borders and lending strength to autocrats everywhere? Check. Conservatives politicians and media moguls looking to nudge politics to the right, capitalize on those crises, and precipitate themselves back into power? Double check.
Durham, for a few crucial years, was on the front line of all of those battles. He spent the 1820s denouncing the “gonzo conservatism” of the ruling British Tories, riding out their final years of heavily-militarized, oligarchic corruption (formerly misgoverned through violence, we are now misgoverned through corruption, Durham told Parliament in 1821, arguing for an expanded franchise). He spent the early 1830s chairing the committee that wrote the Great Reform Act of 1832 that doubled the British electorate. He spent the mid-1830s as a trouble-shooter in Europe, sent to the various spots, including twice to Tsar Nicholas I’s Russia. And, as all readers of Borealia know, he spent a few months of 1838 as a trouble-shooter in Canada, with the outcome his famous report recommending colonial self-government. He also recommended the union of the Canadas and assimilation of the French Canadians, but as a form of self-civilization by politically empowered voters, not the coercive version that would become Canadian Indian policy.
To understand what advice Durham might have for us in 2022, we should read his observations and recommendations in those three registers: the domestic, the international, and the imperial. Read more…

JAR: Rev. George Whitefield’s Influence on Colonial Chaplains in the American Revolution
By by Kenneth E. Lawson 16 February 2022
Rev. George Whitefield (1714-1770) was an ordained Church of England priest with an exceptional speaking voice who in his lifetime swayed countless people towards historic Christianity. In a time of the liberalization of historic Protestant Christianity, Whitefield preached the simple biblical message of the Protestant Reformation, that people could not reach God or merit God’s favor by their own efforts. Religious sincerity, ecclesiastical rituals, and pious self-sacrifice, Whitefield believed, could never earn heaven. Instead, he advocated for the new birth in Christ as the way of salvation. His message was not popular within his own Church of England, but colonists in America, many of whom dissented from that church, flocked to hear him preach by the tens of thousands. Read more…

Canada’s History: Controlling Customs
By Matthew Rankin, 14 February 2017
A young, beautiful, and virginal bride and groom paired in eternal troth is the usual stuff of love’s sweet dream. But a wakeful world knows better. Many lovers through history have stubbornly resisted social standards.

Bundling: Premarital Permission
We tend to generalize nineteenth-century sexual mores as being pathologically straight-laced. While on the surface this may have been true, a little-known courtship ritual from the Canadian backwoods serves to challenge this popular perception. This custom, particular to the labouring poor, was known as “bundling.”

Charivari: Postmarital Censure
If a marriage offended public opinion, from the early days of New France well into the twentieth century, Canadians voiced their disapproval through the obstreperous and humiliating ritual of the charivari.
Read more about both items…

Ben Franklin’s World: Running From Bondage in Revolutionary America
Karen Cook-Bell, an Associate Professor of History at Bowie State University, joins us to investigate the experiences of enslaved women who fled their bondage for the British Army’s promise of freedom.
Using details from her book, Running From Bondage: Enslaved Women and Their Remarkable Fight for Freedom in Revolutionary America, Karen reveals details about the records we have that tell us about the enslaved women who ran away from their bondage in the revolutionary era; Why we need to consider the experiences of runaway enslaved women apart from the experiences of runaway enslaved men; And, how women planned and executed their plans to escape from their enslavement. Listen in…

Who are the People In The Picture? A New One, and One Identified
Go to Who’s In The Picture (WitP). Feb. 16, 2022. This group photo (Ref. Code 2-17-6) has only the attribution ‘Phyllis Hamilton‘ – we don’t know which woman she is. The photo is from the 1989 Royal Convention (May 18-22 at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville QC), part of the Okill Stuart Fonds.
Do you recognize any of them?
If so, please send an email to Carl Stymiest, Leader of the Library and Archives Committee at — please note the date and reference number of the photo. Any additional relevant comments are welcome, and appreciated.
Carl Stymiest

We Know (maybe) Who’s In This Picture!
In photo 2-17-2, the ladies in the golf cart: in the Dark dress Joan Lucas, and in the light dress Jean Lake, both of Kawartha Branch
Identified by Grietje McBride UE, Kawartha Branch.

UELAC Loyalist Directory: New Entries
The reworked version of the Loyalist Directory is now active and people looking for it are directed there. The data brought over from the older version is the same. So what is new?
Entries which have been added, or revised, this week.

Upcoming Events:

Kawartha Branch: War of 1812 Veterans by David Smith UE Sunday 20 Feb @2:00 ET

David Smith UE will speak about the War of 1812 Veterans and their grave markers.
David is a Director with the Bay Of Quinte and Bridge Annex Branches of the UELAC, as well as a Re-enactor soldier with the 1812 Canadian Fencibles.
Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 841 5959 8639 Passcode: 759889

St Alban’s Centre: “Loyal They Remained” by Jean Rae Baxter Monday 21 Feb 7:00 ET

Hosted by the St. Alban’s Adolphustown Centre. Honouring Loyalist history through fiction. This event is supported by The Writers’ Union of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts.
See flyer with more details. about the presentation, Jean Rae Baxter and St. ALban’s Centre. To register and obtain link, please email

Fort Plain: Leadership of George Washington by P. Henriques Feb 21 @7:00 ET

Feb 21: Professor Peter Henriques examines the unique set of personality traits and variety of talents that enabled Washington to achieve success that would not have seemed possible given the obstacles he faced. On Zoom. Details and registration

Feb 28 @7:00 ET. The Revolutionary World of a Free Black Man: Jacob Francis: 1754-1836. Presented by William Larry Kidder. A free Black man, Jacob of Hunterdon County, NJ was indentured out by his free Black mother to age 21. Five different men “owned his time” during his indenture and each provided a different experience for him. Details and registration.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Hmmm.. A Loyalist (check the flag) in the rebels (protesters) group? The chap in the foreground is carrying two flags, one over each shoulder.
  • Do you recognize these 2 buttons? Kings Orange Rangers & 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants); 2 Loyalist Regiments in American Revolution. Brian McConnell @brianm564
  • For African Heritage Month I am sharing photo of David Peters, a New Brunswick UELAC member, & myself attending Christmas celebration in Saint John, N.B. in 2019. He is descendant of Black Loyalist leader Thomas Peters.
  • 12 cannons that may date to the Revolutionary War period have been recovered from the Savannah River by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has been deepening the channel in Savannah’s harbor. The British captured the city in 1778 and held it until 1782.
  • This week in History
    • 13 Feb 1776 Patrick Henry is placed in command of defense of Virginia’s gunpowder supply.
    • 15 Feb 1776 Governor of Nova Scotia warns Crown that corruption crackdown may spur Patriot sympathizers to rebel.
    • 16 Feb 1776 Congress debates re-opening ports declared closed by Parliament, in an act of outright defiance.
    • 18 Feb 1776 Virginia Royal Governor Dunmore objects to sending Gen Clinton to defend “insignificant” South-Carolina.
    • 14 Feb 1779 Patriots defeat Loyalists at Kettle Creek, GA, after mortally wounding Colonel Boyd, leading to a rout.
    • 17 Feb 1782 British and French naval forces clash in Indian Ocean, in a little-known front in the Revolutionary War.
    • 12 Feb 1789 Ethan Allen, of Green Mt. Boys, dies of stroke, possibly following a night of drinking & carousing.
  • Clothing and Related:
  • Townsends:
  • Miscellaneous
    • How much did adverts in colonial newspapers cost? Most printers did not regularly publish advertising rates, but some put them in the colophon on final page of every issue. S. & E. Hall, printers of Essex Gazette, did so: 3 shillings for adverts “not exceeding eight or ten Lines”
    • What was advertised in a Colonia American newspaper 250 years ago today? (Providence Gazette 2/15/1772): Choice Connecticut Pork & Beef by the Barrel. Also a few barrels of new Flour; choice Firkin Butter & Pepper by the bag… Read more
    • This #MuseumMonday offering is a token of love between a grandmother and granddaughter. Pincushions with messages spelled out on them were popular presents between women in the 18th century.
    • Today’s Super_Bowl matchups pit the collections of both #JYFMuseums against each other!
      • First up– a 17th c Wan Li bowl with English liver-gilt mounts ca 1600 VS a 1775 Chinese export porcelain punch bowl made for the European or American market.
      • matchup 2: an early 17th c Kraak Ming bowl designed for use by Europeans who didn’t eat with chopsticks, and a 1775 Delftware punch bowl made in London! Tin-glazed earthenware is called Delft even when it wasn’t from Holland, and had been made in England since 1550.
      • Our final matchup– a ca 1620 earthenware milk pan by Thomas Ward, first English potter in Virginia VS another 1770s Delft punch bowl. Man, those guys sure liked their punch! Maybe we’ll have to take a closer look at that one of these days…

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