In this issue:
- More Members of the Loyalist Rogues Gallery – Part Two, by Stephen Davidson UE
- Providence Merchant John Brown Gets Rich Privateering in 1776 and 1777
- The indecisive Battle of Ushant 1778 — and its farcical aftermath, the guillotine and a “Citizen King”
- Book: Women Waging War in the American Revolution
- Britain, Russia, and the Armed Neutrality of 1780
- Collecting for Salvation: American Antiquarianism and the Natural History of the East
- List of Loyalist Certificates Updated with those issued in 2022 until September 30
- UELAC Loyalist Directory: New Contributions
- London & Western Ontario Branch Needs Help with Their Website
- For Members: UELAC Branch Presentations Recorded
- Upcoming Events
- From the Twittersphere and Beyond
- Last Post: REID, Verna Maud (MacKay), UE, BA, MA, PhD
- Last Post: YOUNG UE, James Benjamin
Connect with us:
More Members of the Loyalist Rogues Gallery – Part Two of Three
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
During the course of the American Revolution, it was not unusual for Loyalist prisoners to use disguise as a means of evading capture or breaking out of prison. While occurring at various times in the record of the war, disguising oneself as a woman did not always achieve the desired results. Take the cases of Stephen Edwards and Crean Brush — two men that Lorenzo Sabine considered to be Loyalist rogues.
A late October 1777 edition of Rivington’s Royal Gazette carried the story of the arrest, trial and execution of Stephen Edwards in just 34 words. After being sent to New Jersey’s Monmouth County to gather intelligence on the strength of rebel forces, Edwards returned to his father’s house in Eatontown.
Somehow, David Foreman, a captain for a group of rebel light horse, found out that Edwards was in the vicinity. The Patriots barged into the Loyalist home at midnight. Stephen jumped into a bed, put on a woman’s nightcap, and hoped that the rebels would not disturb a woman in her bed. Foreman questioned Edwards’ wife about the identity of the person in the nightcap and was told that she was a “laboring woman”.
Rather than pulling back the blankets, Foreman looked under the bed and found men’s clothing as well as instructions from a British colonel for Edwards to spy on Monmouth County’s rebels. Although he denied being a spy, Edwards was arrested, tried as a British secret agent, and sentenced to be hanged. He was executed the following day. A woman’s nightcap had failed to help this “amiable young man” from being tried for espionage.
However, a month later Crean Brush, a Boston Loyalist, disguised himself as a woman and successfully escaped imprisonment in a Patriot jail. Lorenzo Sabine provided quite a substantial biography for this Irish immigrant, recording the fact that during the British evacuation of Boston in March of 1776, the Loyalist led “parties of Tories” in breaking open stores and stripping “dwelling houses”. The plundered goods were then loaded on to ships bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia. According to Sabine, “lawless bands of men from the fleet and army followed his example; and Boston, for the last few days of the siege, was given over to violence and pillage“.
But given that Brush had acted on the orders of Sir William Howe, the British commander in Boston, was he merely being an obedient subject of the crown — or was he in fact a thieving rogue? A closer look at his life in America is warranted.
Brush had been a lawyer in Ireland before immigrating to New York. By 1764, he had settled on land that would eventually become the state of Vermont. Over the next 11 years Brush became –as one historian phrased it– “a man of considerable note and influence”. Following the revolution, a fellow Irish immigrant summed up Brush’s life, saying that he “was undoubtedly a Loyalist, and an active one, at beginning of Troubles had been a Member of Assembly of New York Government, & particularly distinguished himself in support of British Government.”
Brush’s support was such that he had to eventually seek sanctuary in British-held Boston. Brush spoken out against sending New York delegates to the second Continental Congress. In January of 1776, he offered to recruit 300 Boston area Loyalists to fight for the crown. Given his demonstrations of allegiance to the crown, he was made responsible for securing rooms in private homes and merchant warehouses as winter housing for British soldiers.
The incident that forever made Brush a villain in the eyes of Patriot historians was when General William Howe ordered Bostonians who were leaving the city to surrender all their “linen and woolen goods” to Crean Brush who was then in Boston harbour on board the Minerva. The general felt that this bedding was “much wanted by the rebels and would aid and assist them in their rebellion“.
However, rather than waiting for fleeing citizens to deliver their bedding, Brush went into homes and businesses to collect these goods – and other items. Following his example, British soldiers stationed in the city followed suit and pillaged homes and businesses.
Brush loaded his plunder on the Elizabeth, and joined the evacuation fleet that set sail for Halifax on March 17, 1776. However, within a matter of days, a rebel’s diary revealed that a Patriot privateer had captured a “brig laden with Tories and Tory goods, and other effects, which they plundered in Boston. … It is said this was their richest vessel in the fleet: had eighteen thousand pounds sterling in cash, besides an exceedingly valuable cargo of European merchandise.”
Now in rebel hands, Brush was put in prison where he stayed for 19 months. In the fall of 1777, Margaret Brush, his wife, paid him a visit, sneaking in a parcel of her clothing. Donning his wife’s hat and dress, Brush escaped the prison, and –using the money and horse Margaret had provided– found refuge in New York City.
Rebels seized Brush’s property in Vermont. Despite all of his efforts to support the crown in the past, Brush did not receive any help in seeking redress for his wartime losses. Although accounts vary as to whether he died in 1778 or 1780, Brush went to his grave never knowing how the American Revolution was finally resolved.
In 1779, Brush was listed along with 125 other Loyalists who were banished from Vermont – with the threat of receiving 40 lashes should they ever return. On June 1, 1780, his widow Margaret Brush married Patrick Wall, a Boston tailor who was both an Irish immigrant and a Loyalist. Following the evacuation of Loyalists in 1783, the Walls settled in Shelburne, Nova Scotia.
Myths around both Patriots and Loyalists grew and expanded in the years following the revolution. The legends surrounding Brush began their growth soon after his death. Patriot newspapers of the day said that he died by suicide, reporting that he had either shot himself or slit his throat.
The historians John J. Duffy and Eugene A. Coyle have traced the myths of Brush’s life. Vermont history books characterized Brush as being an Irish dandy who became obnoxious to his neighbours with his city manners and fashionable clothing. He was later the protagonist in a moral fable of the moral degradation and corruption of Loyalists who were ultimately defeated by the virtuous Patriots.
The author Daniel Pierce Thompson retold the story of revolutionary hero, Ethan Allen in The Green Mountain Boys in 1839. The historical novel cast Brush in the role of the villain. A foil for the blonde, tall and noble Allen, Brush was described as a foppish, self-seeking officer of the crown.
Truth, as has often been observed, can be much stranger than fiction. Ethan Allen, the Green Mountain Boy hero of Vermont — and enemy of Crean Brush during his time in the legislature—had two wives during his lifetime. Upon the death of his first wife, he married a 24-year-old widow named Frances Buchanan. The latter was none other than the stepdaughter of Crean and Margaret Brush. One can’t help but wonder about which wartime stories Ethan and Frances’ three children were told at bedtime — tales of their father’s wartime exploits or stories of a Tory grandfather who found a permanent spot in the Loyalists Rogues Gallery?
(Editor’s note: For the full story of Stephen Edwards, see Davidson’s article from the March 12, 2017 edition of Loyalist Trails at:
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Providence Merchant John Brown Gets Rich Privateering in 1776 and 1777
by Christian McBurney 18 Oct 2022 The Journal of the American Revolution
Throughout the churning tides of 1776 and 1777, John Brown, a prominent a prominent merchant from Providence, Rhode Island, amassed a fortune by investing in privateers. Through reviewing a comprehensive list of his privateers and their values, along with a list of the captures made by some of his privateers, and the values of the captured prize ships and their cargoes, it is possible to begin to determine just how profitable privateering was for Brown.
America’s most effective weapon at sea, by far, was privateering—the operation of privately owned commerce raiders. While the primary incentive for investors such as Brown was private gain, privateering also harmed Britain’s economy and war effort, while advancing the American war effort. From British ships, Americans captured gunpowder, weapons, food, blankets, cloth for uniforms, and other supplies desperately needed, not only by the Continental Army and Navy, but also by state militias and state navies. Read more…
The indecisive Battle of Ushant 1778 – and its farcical aftermath, the guillotine and a “Citizen King”
France’s entry into the American War of Independence was to prove a critical factor is assuring the survival of the United States. It did so by winning the only strategically-significant victory in all French naval history — that off the Virginia Capes in 1781, which starved British forces at Yorktown of supplies and made their surrender unavoidable. The unforeseen cost to the French monarchy of supporting this upstart republic founded on democratic principles was however to be enormous. French officers returned from America with the conviction that France’s governmental system was rotten and unsustainable. Once that fact was widely recognised revolution was inevitable and the whole bloody process would commence in 1789. The opening event in the sequence, the Battle of Ushant 1778, was to have a farcical aftermath and be the first step towards the guillotine for one of the main players, and to the throne of France for his son. Read more…
Book: Women Waging War in the American Revolution
Edited by Holly A Mayer, University of Virginia Press
America’s War for Independence dramatically affected the speed and nature of broader social, cultural, and political changes including those shaping the place and roles of women in society. Women fought the American Revolution in many ways, in a literal no less than a figurative sense. Whether Loyalist or Patriot, Indigenous or immigrant enslaved or slave-owning, going willingly into battle or responding when war came to their doorsteps, women participated in the conflict in complex and varied ways that reveal the critical distinctions and intersections of race, class, and allegiance that defined the era.
This collection examines the impact of Revolutionary-era women on the outcomes of the war and its subsequent narrative tradition, from popular perception to academic treatment. The contributors show how women navigated a country at war, directly affected the war’s result, and influenced the foundational historical record left in its wake. Engaging directly with that record, this volume’s authors demonstrate the ways that the Revolution transformed women’s place in America as it offered new opportunities but also imposed new limitations in the brave new world they helped create.
See contributors. Holly’s comments at Author’s Corner
Britain, Russia, and the Armed Neutrality of 1780
by Eric Sterner 20 Oct 2022, Journal of the American Revolution
Like a rock dropped into a smooth pond, the American Revolution spread ripples across the European world. French and Spanish entry into the war amplified those ripples to reach the distant shores of the Baltic and White Seas. In 1780, Russia reacted and threatened to upend the entire strategic balance in Europe, which would have thrown British strategy for fighting the American Revolution on its heels. Russia’s creation of the League of Armed Neutrality becomes one of those great “what if?” questions of the American Revolution. It highlights the constant uncertainties and contingencies that British strategists faced as the American Revolution impacted European politics. The immediate issue at stake was how Britain treated neutral states in its wars with the Americans, French, and Spaniards.
Prior to the American Revolution, Anglo-Russian relations were peaceful, benign, and built around a mutually profitable trade in raw materials. In particular, the states surrounding the Baltic Sea, including Russia, were reliable sources of naval stores. For their part, British merchant ships carried most Russian exports to overseas markets. Read more…
Collecting for Salvation: American Antiquarianism and the Natural History of the East
Christen Mucher October 2022 in Common Place
In the summer of 1815, a “strange incident” occurred in Pittsfield, on the western edge of Massachusetts. The news of an “interesting discovery of a Jewish phylactery” at Pittsfield’s “Indian Hill” neighborhood soon “excited much discussion among theologians and awakened the vigilant researches of antiquaries,” including multiple members of the newly formed American Antiquarian Society (AAS). That fall Elkanah Watson, who was then living in Pittsfield, wrote his fellow AAS member Hugh Williamson, in South Carolina, to relay the details. He described examining the object, which consisted of leather strap and pouch containing small parchment scrolls “inscribed with texts of Scripture, written in Hebrew.” That a phylactery or tefillin, which is usually worn for Jewish prayers, had been unearthed in an area with only one Jewish resident in recent memory seemed unusual indeed. Yet Watson and the other antiquaries and theologians made quick sense of what they found: an item forming “another link, in the evidence by which our Indians are identified with the ancient Jews who . . . to this day remain a living monument, to verify and establish the eternal truths of Scripture.” Accordingly, in 1816 the precious Pittsfield phylactery was deposited in the AAS antiquities collection across the state in Worcester for safekeeping and study (it now resides at Harvard’s Peabody Museum). Read more…
List of Loyalist Certificates Updated with those issued in 2022 until September 30
The list of UE Certificates issued since late in 2012 — showing the Loyalist ancestor, name of descendant (when permission is granted), branch and date — has been updated with the certificates issued in September 2022.
The list can be seen at Loyalist Certificates Issued
These have also been added to the appropriate Loyalist in the Loyalist Directory.
UELAC Loyalist Directory: New Contributions
Entries which have been added, or revised, this week, with thanks:
- Lynton “Bill” Stewart has provided Loyalist Land Grant data and some new or added details
- Lieut. Weart Banta who was in New York City in 1774, served with the Kings Milita Volunteers in New York, settled at McNutts Island (Shelburne), N.S. (1783), and then relocated in 1795 toTwp No 2 Stamford, Niagara, Upper Canada. He married Elizabeth Mildeberger.
- Robert Appleby was from Philadelphia and iin 1785 he received a 20 acre Loyalist Land Grant in Port Roseway River E., Shelburne County, Nova Scotia. His family consisted of 6 and a servant; and his losses in consequence of his loyalty were estimated at £600.
If you are willing to submit some information, send a note to email@example.com
All help is appreciated. …doug
London & Western Ontario Branch Needs Help with Their Website
The London Branch is in the process of revamping its website and requires some assistance from someone who has WordPress experience and has done some design work.
If you could offer a couple of hours of direction and guidance in getting started, It would be much appreciated
Please contact Jim Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 519 472 0408.
For Members: UELAC Branch Presentations Recorded
A number of branches have organized virtual branch meetings and some are doing branch hybrid meetings, some of which have been recorded. Several recordings have been submitted for posting in the Members’ Section of uelac.ca. Members are free to enjoy. A description accompanies each presentation:
Some recent ones
- “Subversive Canada: Uncovering Narratives of Family, Slavery, and Self-Emancipation” by Nicole Maskiell to Grand River Branch
- “The Price Of Loyalty” by Gail Copeland to Governor Simcoe Branch
- “British Home Children” by Dan Oatman to Grand River Branch
- “Fascinating Facts from Loyalist History” by Stephen Davidson to Governor Simcoe Branch
- “Loyalist Day Celebration & Remembrance Meeting” at Hamilton Branch
Gov. Simcoe Branch Meeting “The English Language Goes To War” Wed. 2 Nov. 7:30 ET
Attend in person; Join by Zoom. The first hybrid meeting by the Branch.
This presentation will discuss how monarchs, government ministers, the armed forces and the media have used the English language throughout the history of war to initiate, communicate, celebrate and commemorate conflicts, both positively and negatively, in praise and in sorrow, and how wars have in turn left a legacy on the idioms and usages of the language itself. A topic relevant to the upcoming Remembrance Day.
Garry Toffoli is Vice-Chairman & Executive Director of the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust and the Toronto-Hamilton Chairman of the English Speaking Union of Canada. He is author or co-author of several books.
See details and registration.
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
- Jacob Rude (also sp. Rood), a Loyalist from Connecticut, & some of his descendants are remembered in the Rood Hill Cemetery in Indian Harbour Lake, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. Among headstones is one for his son William Rood (1791 – 1873) and wife Catherine (1802 – 1857).
- Silver plate gifted in 1792 to Old Holy Trinity Church in Middleton, Nova Scotia by Mrs. Catherine Roberts, sister of Maj. Samuel Vetch Bayard, formerly of King’s Orange Rangers.
- Inside historic Old Holy Trinity Church in Middleton Saturday listening to presentation by church historian Vivian Morris after meeting of NS Branch of UELAC.
- View in watercolour painting of naval dockyard at Halifax, NS in 1796 (Source: Library and Archives Canada)
- Born 21 Oct 1736 William Shippen Jr. was the first systematic teacher of anatomy, surgery and obstetrics in Colonial America and founded the first maternity hospital in America.
- This week in History
- 16 Oct 1775 British Royal Navy arrives at Falmouth, Maine (later called Portland) and threaten to burn town. Two days later, they made good on that threat; called “an Outrage” by Washington.
- 18 Oct 1775 African-American poet Phillis Wheatley was freed from slavery.
- 20 Oct 1775 Americans capture Chambly, Quebec; abandon & burn it the following spring.
- 18 Oct 1776 At Battle of Pellham, 750 Americans fought 4,000 British troops, ending in strategic American retreat.
- 20 Oct 1776 at Fort Ticonderoga, the Reverend William McKay urges his flock to “do yourselves honor by using the weapons of your warfare with that heroism, firmness and magnanimity which the cause requires.”
- 21 Oct 1776 Congress pleads with Martinique merchants to send much-needed woolen goods for wintering army.
- 17 Oct 1777 British General Burgoyne surrenders army of 6,200 troops at Saratoga, convincing French to aid America.
- 15 Oct 1780 Sir John Johnson and Chief Brant attack poorly-defended fort at Middleburg, New-York, but are repulsed.
- 19 Oct 1781 British General Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, effectively ending American War of Independence.
- 21 Oct 1805 This is the coat Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson was wearing when he was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar – the bullet hole is visible in the left shoulder.
- Clothing and Related:
- Child’s Stays, American. Linen plain weave, baleen, or whalebone, silk braided tape. Dimensions: Center Front Length: 5 3/4 inches (14.6 cm) Waist: 18 inches (45.7 cm). Made in United States of America. This pair of stays is only eighteen inches around, and might have been worn by a small child of eighteen months to two years old. Putting stays on young girls and boys was not seen as harsh, but rather as insurance that their figures would develop the correct form, with chest out and shoulders down.
- 18th Century dress, an American dress made from British 1730’s fabric, worn by Mary Waters, Salem, MA at her marriage to Anthony Sigourney of Boston in 1740. Dress was restyled in 1763 when their daughter wore it at her own wedding
- 18th Century dress, round gown of cotton plain weave with metallic embroidery, c.1795
- Bodice detail of an 18th Century dress, Robe à l’Anglaise, 1775-1785, England, maker unknown. Gift of Mrs B Vye, 1951
- 18th Century men’s coat in shaved velvet with pink ground & vertical green and horizontal white pile, decorated with embroidered flowers in shades of cream and green, spangles & silver thread. c.1780-1790’s
- 18th Century men’s Court ensemble. Frock coat and matching waistcoat, highly decorated with intricate silk embroidery of autumnal sprigs. c.1780’s
- How To Bake In An Earthen Oven – Chicken Pie With Cream – Autumn Cooking
- Historic Harvest Soup with Pumpkin Bowl
- I just love this Blanc de Chine Doccia cup. I particular the vines twisted together to form it’s handle. The raised relief is beautiful. It depicts the god Apollo being tended by nymphs and on his chariot pulled by a winged horse. Venus is also present. Date wise around 1760.
- Lara Maiklem Mudlarking (London Mudlark): Found in the gravel yesterday, this is the smallest bead I’ve ever found. Can you imagine making this or sewing hundreds of them onto a dress, a sampler or a pair of silk shoes? In the Middles Ages, beads were sometimes used in the finest embroidery work, but by the 16th c, with pearls, they were being used more liberally on clothing. By the 17th c, beadwork had become very popular, especially on purses, fancy boxes and small pictures. It fell out of fashion in the 18th c and became popular again in the 19th c. Purses knitted with bead-threaded cotton were fashionable shortly after 1800, and throughout the 19th c gloves, mittens, belts, stockings, and parasol covers were frequently decorated with beads.
- Folding magnifying glass, 1780-1820. Jasperware, enamel; gold frame &seed pearl borders, decorated with a scene of Mars and Victory; the reverse with sprays of flowers; the handle and hinge enamelled in blue with paler blue borders.
Last Post: REID, Verna Maud (MacKay), UE, BA, MA, PhD
March 11, 1928 – October 4, 2022
Verna Reid cherished wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother passed away in Calgary on October 4, 2022. Verna was married to her wonderful husband Craig for 60 years and who predeceased her in 2009. Verna will be dearly missed by her three children John Reid (Tae Nosal), Lois Reid (Brian Brunger) and Susan Reid Billington (Richard Billington)
As a member of Calgary Branch, she received her Loyalist certificate for Peter Brouse Sr in 2012. Verna was an instructor at SAIT, the Alberta College of Art and Design and University of Calgary. Over the years she was also involved in many arts and literary arts boards. This involvement was recognized in 1993 when she received the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award.
Service on Monday 24 October. See more details…
Suzanne Davidson UE
Last Post: YOUNG UE, James Benjamin
passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Saturday, October 8, 2022 at the age of 76. Loving and most cherished husband of Maureen Young (nee Sandelli) of Simcoe.
He spent many enjoyable years as a minor hockey coach and then there were all of the nature hikes, birding, northern vacation car drives but his passion was fishing and more fishing near and far.
Jim opened Simcoe Equipment Centre in 1974 as a manager and then became owner operator until it was sold in 2017.
Friends are invited to share their memories of Jim with his family for a celebration of life at the Jason Smith Funeral Chapel, 689 Norfolk St. N. Simcoe for visitation on Tuesday, October 25, 2022 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. A memorial service will follow in the chapel at 2:00 p.m. More details…
As a member of Grand River Branch, James proved his descent from Adam Young and received his Loyalist Certificate in 2000.
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