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Organizing the Last Great Loyalist Exodus: Part Three of Three
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
Christmas Day 1792 had come and gone, and the fleet that had been organized to carry over 1,100 Black Loyalists to Sierra Leone was still anchored in Halifax’s harbor. Nevertheless, the 28 year-old naval lieutenant who had been put in charge of the expedition had used the past two months well. He had overcome local opposition to “the Plan”, recruited willing settlers, hired seaworthy vessels, and saw to it that they were both commodious and well provisioned. John Clarkson had clearly risen to the challenge he had been given by the British government and the Sierra Leone Company. In the final days of preparation, he began to draw up instructions to guide both passengers and ships’ crews in how they were to conduct themselves on their transatlantic journey.
As the number of would-be emigrants increased, Clarkson realized that it was important to delegate authority and keep the lines of communication clear. To that end, he appointed three Black Loyalists as superintendents, bringing the emigrants concerns to Clarkson and Clarkson’s instructions to the emigrants. He also divided the emigrants into 40 companies and selected a captain for each one — something that Sir Guy Carleton had done in during the evacuation of Loyalist refugees in New York in 1783.
Clarkson now had to set the menu for the voyage to Sierra Leone and insure that the requisite provisions were put on board. Molasses and Indian meal were to be served for breakfast, salt fish or beef for dinner, and then a repetition of breakfast for supper. Breakfast would be served at eight sharp, dinner at noon, and supper at four o’clock. The ships in the fleet would carry potatoes, turnips, bread, fish, butter, pork, beef, rice, Indian meal, molasses, brown sugar, and vinegar. Tea and wine would be provided for the sick.
On December 19th, Clarkson met with the captains of the 15 vessels that would make up the fleet to Africa to review details of the transatlantic voyage. The ships that had been hired to transport Black Loyalists bound for Sierra Leone were Felicity, Lucretia, Eleanor, Venus, Brothers, Sierra Leone, Beaver, Catherine, Prince William Henry, Morning Star, Somerset, Parr, Betsey, and two brigs both carrying the name Mary. On Christmas Eve, the first of the passengers’ luggage began to be stowed away on board their evacuations vessels.
As a naval officer, Clarkson was also mindful of the importance of having muskets, bayonets, ordnance, musket balls, powder horns, and other combat gear on board. He was able to obtain the needed supplies from His Majesty’s Stores in Halifax. Another last minute realization – Clarkson also needed charcoal to burn to dry out the passengers’ sleeping quarter during the voyage.
On January 9th, Clarkson had the ships’ captains review the routines that were to be followed each day. Their vessels’ floors were to be swept each morning, noon and night after meals. The decks were to be scrubbed each day. The beams were to be washed with vinegar; a hot iron in tar would fumigate the ships three times a week. These tasks were to be carried out by the crew, not the passengers. Mattresses were to be aired every day on the deck. Laundry was to be done two days a week.
Clarkson had rules for the ships’ passengers as well as their captains and crews. They were to demonstrate “a modest and decent behavior” toward the captain and crew. Worship services were to be held on a regular basis. It was important to pay “particular attention to cleanliness in person and clothes”. Drunkenness or quarrelsomeness would face the consequences outlined by 5 “good men” appointed by the Black Loyalist captains. More serious crimes were to be brought to Clarkson’s attention. These regulations were to be read every Sunday after the ships’ worship services until they reached Sierra Leone.
In an era that valued documentation, Clarkson had a certificate created for each departing Black Loyalist that granted them land in Sierra Leone. As an example, the certificate for David George read:
The bearer David George having produced to us a satisfactory Certificate of character, as required by the Company, we do hereby certify, that upon David George’s arrival at Sierra Leone David George shall receive free of expense 45 acres of land, for David George and family consisting of five persons being the proportion David George is entitled to, agreeable to the printed proposals of the Company.”
Among the last supplies to be put aboard the 15 vessels at anchor in Halifax’s harbor were the underclothes that Clarkson had requested for those in his care. They included 234 men’s woolen and linen nightshirts, 153 pairs of men’s linen underwear, 234 pairs of women’s linen underwear, 106 petticoats, 55 “bed gowns”, and 276 woolen and linen gowns for children.
On January 11, 1792, Clarkson wrote a letter to let its recipient know that he was “sailing from Halifax with fifteen sail of vessels, having on board 1,193 Free Blacks, from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.”
Fearful of the crews’ possible racist attitudes toward the Black passengers, Clarkson sent off a final letter to the 15 captains on January 13th. It ended with these words: “I wish you to be attentive to your ship’s Crew, and not permit them to treat the Blacks with ill language and disrespect, as is too often the case, but that you and your Crew exercise patience towards those unfortunate people, whom the King is endeavouring to render more happy by sending them to their native Shore.”
On January 14, John Clarkson and his second-in-command Lawrence Hartshorne made one last inspection of the provisions carried by each ship. They were happy to discover that there was an extra day’s worth in the holds — rather than being short of a day’s worth of provisions.
Clarkson owed much of his success to Hartshorne, a New Jersey Loyalist who had settled in Dartmouth. His journal entry for the day of the fleet’s departure gushed with praise for his assistant.
I cannot express too strongly the obligations I am under to Mr. Hartshorne, who upon every occasion gave me his advice and assistance, and it would have been impossible for me to have brought this business to a conclusion, as far as we have already gone, if it had not been for his good and unwearied application to it. He never considered his own business which is upon an extensive scale, when compared to the forwarding the views of the Company, and his house was at all times open to myself, and to any other person who could aid us in it. I consider myself extremely fortunate in his being appointed to act with me, and though Halifax is divided into various political parties, he has the confidence and good will of the whole.
Then — finally—the fleet of ships bound for Sierra Leone left Halifax’s harbor at noon on Sunday, January 15, 1792. Clarkson wrote that “all {are} in good spirits, properly equipped, and I hope destined to be happy.” Clarkson’s journal entry for that day resonates with optimism and excitement. He was, of course, one of the passengers on board an African bound vessel. “The Plan” would only be completed when he had personally seen all of the Black Loyalists put safely ashore in Sierra Leone.
Seven weeks later, on the morning of March 6th, Clarkson caught sight of Cape Sierra Leone from the deck of the Lucretia. The passengers on board the other ships gave three cheers and fired their guns.
Five months after he first arrived in Halifax, Lt. John Clarkson –a 28 year-old naval officer—had fulfilled his mission to Nova Scotia. In the face of logistical headaches and sometimes-violent opposition, he had successfully orchestrated the last great Loyalist evacuation.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at

Loyalist Gazette Fall 2022; Paper Copy is in the Mail
The printed copy of the Gazette was delivered to Canada Post on Thurs 17 Nov. Jim Bruce of Dominion Office received a bulk shipment same day.
The Guest Editor for this issue, Nathan Tidridge, Honorary Fellow, UELAC received his shipment on Friday. He noted his appreciation to the team who helped make it happen:

My copies of the Loyalist Gazette arrived here today, and I have to say how wonderful it is to see the magazine “in the flesh.” It turned out beautifully – the formatting is excellent Amanda [Faskin UE].
Jennifer [deBruin UE] – thank you for your very kind article – I am overwhelmed by the generosity you and the rest of the Loyalist family have shown me. It was an extraordinary thing to navigate a major world event together during the creation of this magazine.
Carl [Stymiest UE SVP] I really appreciated your support and motivation throughout these past few months.
Patricia [Groom UE, President], your message quoting Albert Dumont, was very moving. It is a privilege to be with you on this journey of learning. This is not an easy path, but it gets us closer to reconciliation.
Thank you so much for this experience,

The digital version is available to members at
In this issue you will find articles such as:

  • Guest Editor Nathan Tidridge Brings his Love of History into the Present
  • Scholarship Challenge 2022
  • The Chapels Royal in Canada
  • Allies or Subjects? The Haudenosaunee and their place in Canadian History
  • Book: The Knotted Rope by Jean Rae Baxter UE
  • British-Indigenous relations during the War of 1812
  • The Queen is dead! God save the King!


UELAC Bridge Annex Closes as a Branch
The UE Loyalists Bridge Annex Board of Directors would like to thank our branch members and the historic community for supporting our efforts over the last few years.
We have made the decision to close Bridge Annex as a branch. We founded the branch with an innovative technology-based approach, but we’re happy to see that many more branches and organizations have embraced this as a way to connect with others.
We are proud of the work we have done as a branch from installing the John Baker Memorial in Cornwall, Ontario,to creating an historic tour of the Mohawk Valley, New York,and hosting the first ever virtual UELAC annual conference in 2021.Of course, there are many more achievements,and we thank you for joining us in the adventure!
Our website will remain available for research and information purposes: – it is also the home of the UELAC Store.
Refunds will be offered to those with 2023 memberships.
Read the full announcement.

Smallpox by Inoculation: The Tragedy of New York’s Rosewell Beebe
by Philip D. Weaver 17 Nov. 2022 in Journal of the American Revolution
The day following the legendary taking of Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775, Lt. Col. Ethan Allen reported the successful mission to New York’s Albany County Committee of Safety, as well as plead for their immediate assistance:
“I have the inexpressible satisfaction to acquaint you that at day-break of the tenth instant, pursuant to my directions from sundry leading gentlemen of Massachusetts-Bay and Connecticut, I took the fortress of Ticonderoga, with about one hundred and thirty Green Mountain Boys. Colonel Easton with about forty-seven, valiant soldiers, distinguished themselves in the action, Colonel Arnold entered the fortress with me side by side….”
Records are sparse, but five companies of the “Albany County Provincials Employed for the Common Defense of the Continent of North America” were raised to aid Allen. Capt. Hezekiah Baldwin commanded one of these. It was regionally recruited in southeastern Albany County, which today is southern Rensselaer County. Second in command was 1st Lt. Nathaniel Rowley, who was backed up by 2nd Lt. Rosewell Beebe. Read more… follow Bebbe through the invasion of Canada to Quebec City and into 1776.-

Captain James Morris of the Connecticut Light Infantry
by Chip Langston 15 Nov. 2022 in The Journal of the American Revolution
In 1812 when the British attacked the United States for the second time, Captain James Morris of the South Farms District of Litchfield, Connecticut, took quill to parchment to capture his six years of experiences during the Revolutionary War as an officer in Connecticut’s Light Infantry.[1] The light infantry was the battle-hardened, elite fighting force of Washington’s army and was at the front of the battle lines. Over the next several years when the spirit moved him he recounted for posterity his many battle experiences, including his heroism during the siege of Yorktown where he helped take redoubt 10 which broke the back of the British defenses and forced their surrender. He also described his survival as a prisoner-of-war for three-and-a-half years. This is Capt. James Morris’ story, one of unheralded heroism, patriotism, suffering, and triumph. Read more…

Things Named for People: Cardigans to Wellington Boots
By Geri Walton 6 February 2015
In the 1700 and 1800s there were a number of things named for people. Sometimes they were named for the inventor and sometimes a person made the item popular enough his or her name became associated with it. Among some of the things named for people include the cardigan, chesterfield coat, graham crackers, guillotine, Mackintosh raincoat, Melba toast, mesmerize, Napoleon complex, Payne’s grey, raglan sleeves, saxophones, and Wellington boots. Read more…

UELAC Loyalist Directory: New Contributions
Entries which have been added, or revised, this week, with thanks:

  • Andrew Payzant has provided a lot of detailed information for a number of Nova Scotia Loyalists. He has provided additional information beyond that provided by Lynton “Bill” Stewart.
    • Sgt. James Glass of the British Legion, prior to the war in Edenton, North Carolina, settled in Port Mouton, Nova Scotia
  • Lynton “Bill” Stewart has been contributing information about those given Loyalist land grants as transcribed from the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, in this case Shelburne County, NS land grants. These more recent additions have an id between 12057 (Benjamin Abbott) and 12090 (John Anderson)

If you are willing to submit some information, send a note to
All help is appreciated. …doug

Christmas Ornaments and Gifts at the UELAC Store
Looking for some Loyalist related items to help with your Christmas plans.
Visit the UELAC Store for suggestions: Ornaments, Apparel, Accessories, Men’s & Women’s Rings and more. See the flyer.

Vancouver Branch on Remembrance Day; Recognizes Loyalist Descendants
Following two years of virtual ceremonies, we were very happy this year to have our Branch President, Coco Aders-Weremczuk, lay the wreath.
Traditionally we enjoy lunch together after a photo opportunity in the chilly air.
This year our Genealogist, Linda Nygard UE was able to present two more UE Certificates to our long time member Janet White UE. Janet joined us at the lunch to accept the certificates for her youngest grandchildren. Janet’s Loyalist ancestors, the John CARL family, were also Quakers. John fought with Butler’s Rangers.
Read more with photos.

Upcoming Events

Kawartha Branch Sun 20 Nov 2:00 ET: “Birchtown: Its People and Their Stories”

Speaker: Stephen Davidson UE.
Based on his 2019 book Birchtown and the Black Loyalist Experience: From 1775 to the Present. Available in bookstores, richly illustrated with photos of Birchtown and the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre,
this book recounts the saga of Canada’s first free Black founders.
Join a few minutes early at
Bob McBride UE

Toronto Branch Thurs 24 Nov.7:30 ET. “A Beginners look at DNA”

This seminar is meant for those who are considering having their DNA tested for family history research and those who have tested and aren’t sure what to do with the results. Beth has tested with several companies and worked with the results for about 8 years. She will go over what should be considered before testing, a brief comparison of the different companies and take attendees on a tour of the Ancestry and MyHeritages DNA sites.Beth is an active member of the Toronto Branches of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) and UELAC, as well as the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group in Pembroke.
To register, email Sally Gustin, Programme Coordinator = she will return the link early in the week of the meeting.

Kingston and District Branch Sat 26 Nov 1:00 ET “The Treaty of Niagara (1764).”

Author Nathan Tidridge is the speaker.
This is a hybrid meeting. To attend in person: 137 Queen Street, St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall, access off Montreal Street. Arrive after 12:30 pm, possibly with a bagged lunch. This will be our AGM.
To join by Zoom, visit after 12:45pm, Sat Nov 26, and click the link under EVENTS.
All are welcome for this free event.
Submitted by Nancy Cutway

Nelles Manor Museum Celebrates Christmas

Candlelight Christmas is our annual evening with food, drinks and music, Saturday December 10 at 7:00 p.m. The 1790s Upper Canada Georgian Manor is decorated for Christmas. Harpist Mary Volk will entertain. Fabulous and delicious food will be served, along with some special drinks. Tickets are $40 per person and are limited. Ticketing

Christmas at the Manor Tours November 26, 27 and December 3 and 4. This event includes a guided tour and the wonderful Manor dressed in holiday finery. Tours begin at 10:00 a.m. with the last tour starting at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children (3 to 13 years). Ticketing

In The News

Salem Chapel Underground RR Cemetery Project
Thrilled to announce that our Underground Railroad gravestone restoration project has been awarded $2000 from the Ont Genealogical Society and $1000 from Niagara OGS. ! This brings us right to our initial goal of $10,000. Thank so much to both organizations! Canadian Cemetery History @CaCemeteryHist Read more…

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • This week in History
    • 18 Nov 1774 “[T]he New England Governments are in a state of Rebellion, blows must decide whether they are to be subject to this country or independant.” —King George III to Lord North, prime minister.
    • 13 Nov 1775 General Montgomery takes Montreal without a significant fight.
    • 13 Nov 1775, two of the army schooners sent out of Marblehead by Gen. George Washington captured the ship “Speedwell” and sent it into port as a prize. Unfortunately for those captains, that ship belonged to Gen. Nathanael Greene.
    • 14 Nov 1775 George III notifies Lord North that he has contracted 4,000 German recruits for Great Britain.
    • 14 Nov 1775 Tories assassinate North-Carolina militia leader Capt Francis Bradley.
    • 12 Nov 1776 North-Carolina elects delegates to Provincial Congress, begins writing Bill of Rights and Constitution.
    • 14 Nov 1776 London’s St. James Chronicle denounces Ben Franklin as “head of the rebellion.”
    • 16 Nov 1776 Ft Washington NY falls to British under Hessian Knyphausen.
      • The British army stormed Fort Washington on Manhattan. About 3,000 Continentals were killed, wounded, or captured. New York City was firmly in British hands for the rest of the war.
    • 15 Nov 1777 After six days’ bombardment by British fleet, Americans abandon Ft. Mifflin PA.
    • 17 Nov 1777 Congress submits Articles of Confederation to states for ratification.
    • 18 Nov 1781 British evacuate Wilmington NC in the wake of surrender at Yorktown.
  • Clothing and Related:
    • The Coronation gloves of Elizabeth I (1559) and Elizabeth II (1953)
    • Gotta love a good nightcap. This 18th-c cap is made of 4 sections of cloth joined and bordered with braided #lace made of silver-wrapped thread. It was most probably embroidered by women and contains exotic-looking flowers that represent a fanciful European idea of the East.
    • 18th Century Court Mantua, c.1750’s. It came into the Museum’s possession from the Earl of Haddington at Tyninghame house. It is likely that it belonged to the Countess of Haddington, or one of the Earl of Haddington’s close female relations.
    • 18th Century robe à la française, c.1760 Western chinoiserie is often a compound of exotic elements, not all indigenous to China. Palm trees signify the foreign, the pagoda-inspired follies are posts with tented swags.
    • 18th Century dress, Robe à l’Anglaise of cream-coloured silk embroidered in a design of flowing stems and leaves with flowers. Silk dates 1760’s, dress originally made 1765-1775 updated 5 years later. The stomacher altered for fancy dress c.1900
    • 18th Century embroidery sample for a men’s frock coat. Patterned with delicate flowers and feathers. c.1790\
    • 18th Century men’s Banyan. Gentlemen wore loose, informal gowns in the privacy of the home. This one is quilted for warmth and would have a matching waistcoat. 1760
    • 18th Century men’s waistcoat, delightfully embroidered with a selection of birds perched on floral branches, 1790’s
  • Townsends:
  • Miscellaneous
    • Born 15 Nov 1738 Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel, astronomer & inventor of Great Forty Telescope. Herschel constructed his first large telescope in 1774 and spent nine years carrying out sky surveys to investigate double stars and discovered Uranus.
    • A truly incredible artefact – This portable bronze writing case was found in an elite male burial in Thessaloniki, dating to around 350 BC. The fold-up case consists of two hinged half-cylinders with lidded compartments and a built-in inkwell. The gilded bronze writing case, contemporary with the life of Alexander the Great, is the most complete and sophisticated case of its type surviving from the Hellenistic world. A diagram illustrating the compartments and folding mechanisms of the writing case. It is theorised that the owner’s papyrus sheets may have been rolled around the cylindrical case for travel. Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum.
    • Corn. Cranberries. Pecans. Potatoes. All of these foods have their roots – literally – in the indigenous foodways of the Americas. The history of domestication & knowledge of preparing these foods by Native American people would completely alter our global food systems.

Happy Thanksgiving to Our American Neighbours
Our wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to our American members and the rest of our American neighbours. In addition to moments with family and friends, eating well and taking advantage of shopping savings, do take a few moments to recall the true meaning of this special day celebrated by the First Nations long before Europeans set foot in the Americas but since then adopted by most everyone.

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