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Eloped from Bed and Board, Part One of Two
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
Marriage breakdown. It comes with a certain element of shame and grief. Losses of affection, spousal abuse, or infidelity are among its most common causes. It’s not something one would want to advertise. And yet, during the American Revolution over 40 people paid New York City’s newspaper to tell the world that their marriages were over. Most, if not all, of those posting those notices were Loyalists.
About half of the notices announcing that a husband and wife had parted ways do not cite the separations as being legal ones. Rather, the offending spouse simply walked out on the other. Verbs such as “quit”, “desert”, “abandon”, “left”, and “abscond” are used to describe the actions of the departing partner. A sixth verb that was used in 14 of the notices is one that will sound strange to the 21st century reader. Note the first ad to be placed in the October 24, 1778 edition of Rivington’s Gazette:
Mary Keach has eloped from her husband, Joseph Keach of New York City.
Today, we use the word “elope” to mean a couple running off to get married in secret. However, in the 18th century “elope” was another word for “escape” or “run away”. In 1774, a New Jersey newspaper ran a notice for an indentured English man named Thomas Griffiths who “eloped from” the service of Baldwin Wake. In the fall of that same year, a runaway African slave named Frank was said to have stolen a horse “at the time of his elopement” near Bordentown, New Jersey.
It is interesting that a word that is generally used to indicate freedom from imprisonment (“escape/elope”) was used to describe the fleeing spouse. It says something about how the person viewed the marriage relationship – it was seen as bondage rather than as a partnership. Tragic as they are, the notices of marital breakdowns in revolutionary times provide interesting insights into 18th century colonial society.
For example, after 1780, the notices use a particular phrase rather than simply the word “elope”. On February 23, Jacob Vanderbelt reported that his wife Catherine “has eloped from his bed and board”. This phrase not only indicates that the couple no longer had a physical relationship, but that the wife was no longer receiving shelter or food from her husband. Note that the phrase is not “their bed and board”, but “his bed and board”. The husband was seen as the owner of the home and as the one who provided shelter and food.
In addition to indicating what the escaping wife had left, the notices of marriage breakdown also provide insight into the economics of the era. Patrick Tonry placed an ad concerning his former wife Margaret on September 16, 1780 that said he would “not pay debts contracted by her in the future”. In an era before credit cards and cheques, women charged goods in their husbands’ names. The husband was master of the couple’s financial resources. Tonry and other husbands who experienced being abandoned by their wives had to place notices to prevent accumulating more debt or a run on their bank accounts.
Notices were placed to clarify the legal status of the former couple, to cut off credit, and –sometimes– to explain why a couple had broken up. “Escape” was not the only motivating factor, but before examining the reasons for marital breakdowns in New York City, let us look at the frequency of such notices.
Rivington’s Gazette only carried one such “elopement” notice in 1778. However, it ran three in 1779, seven in 1780, twelve in 1781, nine in 1782, and eleven in 1783. As the American Revolution progressed –separating colonies from their imperial powers and giving enslaved Africans the opportunity to achieve freedom– married couples were going through their own separations and emancipations. How did the social upheavals of war impact the institution of marriage?
It is important to remember that during the years in which these notices were published, New York City was the headquarters for the British military in North America and was a city of sanctuary for Loyalists. Following the British occupation of the city in the fall of 1776, only 5,000 of its civilians remained. By February of the following year, the civilian population grew to 11,000; in 1781 it was 25,000. Two years later, when New York City was inundated with even more loyal refugees waiting to be evacuated to other parts of the British Empire, it had 33,000 residents. Add to this the 10,000 British and German soldiers who were stationed there.
Any Loyalist couple that sought refuge in New York City in this time frame faced circumstances that would test the mettle of any marriage. Women were torn away from their homes and families because of the political convictions of their husbands. Once having secured sanctuary for their wives and children, husbands often joined militias, provincial corps, or the British army to go to battle in other parts of the rebelling colonies. As a garrison town, New York City was filled with soldiers looking for pleasure as well as local inhabitants looking to profit from so many customers. Women left on their own often ran businesses, acquiring a taste for economic independence. Their earlier choices for husbands were limited to the men in their small towns. Now colonial women had British and German soldiers as potential lovers. It was not a series of scenarios that would help to strengthen family ties.
Although women were typically cast as the offending party in the notices of “elopements”, they also made use of the press to tell their side of the story. As early as February 1779, Alice Widdowson published her version of her husband James’ assertion that she had eloped from him. Two years later, Mary Boss posted a notice to say that she had “left her husband, Joseph Boss … because of ill usage at his hands.” When Peter Garrison said he would no longer be “accountable for debts contracted in future by his wife Elizabeth“, she countered his claims seven months later in Rivington’s Gazette. She cautioned “the public not to trust her husband, Peter Garrison.”
While it is safe to assume that most of the notices of dissolved marriages had to do with Loyalist couples, there were instances of wives losing their husbands to the “other side” as well as to other women.
In the May 14, 1783 edition of New York’s newspaper, Barbara Saunders recounted her story. In 1777 she had married a gunner in the British artillery named John Saunders. Within two years’ time he had “abandoned her and deserted from the army; in Philadelphia he has now married another woman.”
Anna Catarina Zimmerman divorced her husband Jacob after he deserted from the Erprintz Hessian Regiment in 1781. Anna Martha Beirhenne did the same when her spouse Henrich went absent without leave from the Von Donop Hessian Regiment. Although he did not go over to the rebel side, Corporal Ludwig Bertram of the Hessian Jaeger Corps divorced Anna Maria in December of 1781. Germans, it seems, opted to go through legal separations rather than simply abandoning one another.
Loss of affection, physical abuse, the chance for a better life, and infidelity were factors in breaking up the marriages of Loyalists who sought sanctuary within New York City during the American Revolution. More of their stories – including those of two abandoned husbands who settled in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick – will be told in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at

The Morehouse Brothers, Connecticut to New York to Nova Scotia
John Morehouse, esquire and his three brothers, Daniel, James, and Jonathan from Reading Ridge. Connecticut were loyalists sequestered in New York City at the end of the revolutionary war. When England turned the city over to the patriots in 1783, the four brothers and their families were taken up the Bay of Fundy on the British ship Atalanta to be given land grants by the crown.
Daniel was offloaded in St. John New Brunswick. His descendants live in the St. John river valley and his home is in the historic Kings Landing on the St. John river.

The other three sons were offloaded in Digby Nova Scotia which was then called Conway until they receive their land grants in 1788. Jonathan resided in Granville ferry across the Annapolis River from historic Annapolis Royal and is buried on the grounds of the Fort Anne National Historic Park. James the third brother was given his land grant in Centerville, Digby Neck, Nova Scotia, and is buried there.

My great great great grandfather John, Esquire received a 263 acre land grant in Sandy Cove, 8 km below Centerville along the coast of Saint Mary’s Bay. His son Jones built my house in 1860 and the Anglican Church of the Nativity in 1844 where he and his father John are buried. To this day 16 of his descendants have homes in the village of Sandy Cove.
Submitted by Dr. Stephan Morehouse Brayton

The First Four Days at Valley Forge
by Gary Ecelbarger 8 Dec. 2022, Journal of the American Revolution
The following timeline narrative attempts to unite previously disjointed events and occurrences regarding the first four days of the Continental army’s six-month stay at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania. For clarification purposes, all references to “Valley Forge” are for the winter cantonment and not the iron forge on Valley Creek for which the encampment was named. Temperatures listed for each date were readings recorded in Philadelphia each day at 7:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. by Thomas Coombe.
Prelude: Sunday December 14, 1777
General orders issued from Gen. George Washington’s headquarters near Gulph Mills on December 13, 1777 specified that the army encamped in the area was “to be ready to march precisely at four o’clock to morrow morning.” No reason has come to light to explain why the march failed to commence, or at what location it was supposed to end. The intended single-night encampment at Gulph Mills unexpectedly stretched out to six nights. It cannot be ruled out that this Sunday the 14th was the day intended to reach the Valley Forge cantonment, less than eight miles from the height on which the infantry encamped at the Gulph (today’s “Rebel Hill”) by a road aptly named Gulph Road. George Washington’s headquarters near Gulph Mills stood merely six miles down the Gulph Road from Valley Forge. He naturally would have ridden out to Valley Forge and studied the encampment at least once during the army’s protracted stay at Gulph Mills, although no evidence exists to confirm this.
Friday December 19: 29 degrees (7:00 A.M.), 30 degrees (3:00 P.M.)
On a cold, clear day the Continental infantry departed Rebel Hill at about 10:00 A.M. and followed the army wagons on the Gulph Road on a very slow march, likely dragged out by several protracted halts. Soldiers revealed that the march was “plaged So bad With our waggons as the Roads was Excessive Bad and our horses very poor and weak.” No provisions existed during the trip with an uneven dispersal of food when they pulled off to the side after sunset. Read more…

Are there any Female Loyalists in the UELAC Directory?
This question was recently posed to Branch Genealogists on a Facebook forum. This site was created a while ago to provide quick assistance to Branch Genealogists to help each other and thus our members.
The answer – YES! A number of us have proven female Loyalists.
If you go to the webpage and scroll down to Loyalist Directory you can find more. Here are a few names: Hannah Sypes #8144; Catharine Leech #4638; Agnes Hutchinson #4123; Mary Cline (Clyne) #1605; Elizabeth Cline (Clyne) #1585; Martha Phillips #6613; Rachel Doan #2305;
Mary Polly Jarvis Dibblee #2228; Mary McGinnis De Forest #2113.
There are more if you look at the names in the Old UE List – Ontario; Loyalists of New Brunswick and many others in references to Land Grants during the period.
Here is an interesting article Uncovering the Experiences of Female Loyalists that you might find informative from the American Philosophical Society by Elizabeth Lilly from October 21, 2020 (Thank you to Heather Smith, Genealogist Grand River Branch for this reference.)
From Chilliwack Branch’s December issue of Link Up by Marlene Dance UE.

Sir Guy Carleton’s Ledger: The Book of Negroes at NGBS
The New Brunswick Genealogy Society is pleased to announce the addition on their website of the complete transcript of Sir Guy Carleton’s Ledger: The Book of Negroes, edited and enhanced by Stephen Davidson.
From the transcript we learn that “In New York, the Book of Negroes listed the names and some distinguishing details of the 2,744 people evacuated as free people on the evacuation ships that were inspected by American and British commissioners from April to November 1783. The ledger contains the name of Black Loyalists, indentured servants, slaves and their designated escorts.
Also in the ledger are details of their military service, the names of the ships, dates of departure and destinations.
Two versions of the ledger are included. One is a transcript of the full ledger; the other included only those bound for the St John River and Fort Cumberland.
This item is available in the “Members only section”.

If you are interested in New Brunswick genealogy and its history, then this is a “must join” group. The “members only” section not only includes the above, but also: First Families of New Brunswick, Anglican Registers, Cemetery Records, Land Records, Marriage Records, Ancestral lines and Family Histories, just to name a few of the twenty-seven categories.
Please go to the home page and click on “Genealogy Resources”. You can easily see what is available to the public and members only in this well organized website.

A One-Act Defense Drawing on Thomas Paine’s Common Sense
The article in last week’s Loyalist Trails Thomas Paine on Popular Government in America: Evolution of a Radical’s Thinking elicited some memories for one reader of Loyalist Trails.
When I defended my thesis for my Master’s Degree, I used Thomas Paine’s Common Sense as a source material and did a one-act play with my husband Lyle’s ancestor Reuben Hale and his wife Dianthia “discussing” if he should go off to the Rev War having read Common Sense at the local pub.

At the beginning of the one-act play, I am the narrator:
The background of the play is that Reuben Hale takes a wagon load of corn to the settlement mill to be ground into flour for his wife Dianthia’s kitchen, mash for chickens and feed for his cattle. While he waits in line for his turn at the mill, he walks over to the local pub. It is at the pub where he discovers Common Sense and reads the barkeeper’s copy.
Reuben comes home busting with enthusiasm for “joining up” – only Dianthia isn’t quite the fan as Rueben. She is pregnant, their oldest son is only 14 years old with several younger sisters and the farm will not run itself:
Then the play becomes the dialogue between Dianthia and Reuben (where I ‘play’ both Dianthia and Reuben):

D: who will help with the harvest
R: Our son is a strong lad and knows all about harvest
D: who will plant / cultivate come spring
R: My brother lives just down the road and has 4 fine sons who will help I am sure
D: what about our daily chores – the milking, caring for the horses and sheep, getting in the wood for winter
R: Maybe I can get home for 2/3 days to get in wood
D: who will be here for me during delivery of our child
Who Reuben – Who?
R: Ah —–

YET, the argument went on – Reuben won – he went to war.

Fun to remember how nervous I was – not much fun at that point, I cried so hard once the committee informed me I had indeed passed and earned my master’s! Goodness, that must be 20 years ago.
224 years later all four of our children are either members of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) or Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) because we could prove our descent from a Patriot.

My husband Lyle Wood UE is a member of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada with a Loyalist certificate from St. Lawrence Branch (2018) based on descent from Peter Eamer UEL, because we were able to prove that descent too.
Ancestors – to be treasured!
Helen Stoltz Wood

William & Mary’s Nottoway Quarter: The Political Economy of Institutional Slavery and Settler Colonialism
Buck Woodard and Danielle Moretti-Langholtz, Dec 2022, Common Place
The dispossession of Native lands for the purposes of organizing English tobacco plantations was a deepening and broadening of merchant capitalism in Virginia.
This essay examines the sources of two historical funding streams used to establish and support the College of William & Mary in Virginia, an institution founded in 1693 to educate elite English colonials and “Western Indians” in North America. Initially, the College was funded, in part, by taxation of colonized Indian lands, Virginia and Maryland colony tobacco exports, and the lucrative trade in hides and furs obtained from Native Americans. Expropriated labor from enslaved persons on tobacco plantations, and their profits, made substantive contributions to the maintenance and support of the college. With new research on William & Mary as a direct financial beneficiary of institutional slavery and the colonization of indigenous territory by non-Native settlers, we examine the intersection of slave labor and Indian treaty land through the documentary evidence about the College’s historical plantation, known as Nottoway Quarter.
In 1718, the College of William & Mary acquired the 2,119-acre plantation in what is today the “Southside” of the Virginia Tidewater region. Over a dozen years earlier, the landscape was first surveyed for English occupation as a result of the House of Burgesses’ removal of the political barrier called the Blackwater Line—a territorial division that separated the Virginia colony from Indian lands south of the Blackwater River. Read more…

Amateur Musicians in the Early United States
By Glenda Goodman 6 Dec 2022, Ben Franklin’s World
Glenda is an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Cultivated by Hand, leads our investigation of the role of music in the lives of wealthy white Americans during the earliest days of the early American republic.
During our investigation, Glenda reveals the musical landscape of the early United States, including the instruments early Americans played; The development and cultivation of music education in the early republic; And, the impact women and the post-revolutionary generation had on the development of musical culture in the new United States. Listen in…

Forecasting the Weather in the 18th Century
by Anna M. Thane 8 June 2022 in Regency Explorer
Will there be rain, sun or snow within the next days? Should I plant my crops – or rather delay a journey? Predicting the weather was an art by itself in the 18th century. A scientific approach to weather forecasting started in earnest from the early 18th century, but progress was slow. So how did people like Jane Austen forecast the weather?
In the 18th century, people relied on observations, almanacs, and ‘indicator journals’ to predict the weather . Moon, clouds and wind, but also certain animal behavior provided important clues. Here are some examples from almanacs – read more…

Call for Nominations: The 2023 UELAC Dorchester Award
If you know of a long serving member who has contributed to your branch, the region, or the Association as a whole, please consider nominating them for this prestigious UELAC Association award. The deadline – 28 February – is not too far away!

The UELAC Dorchester Award, established October 2007 by UELAC Dominion Council (the Board), exemplifies Volunteer Excellence and Participation, by conferring recognition on recipients for their 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 annually since 2008. Who are the recipients?
Nominations must be for a member of the UELAC Association; Nominations must be made by members.
Members, log in at and in the members’ section, in the table of contents, see the Dorchester Award for:

  • Terms of Reference
  • Call for Nominations
  • Nomination form

Deadline for nominations to be received is Midnight (ET) 28 February 2023.
Carl Stymiest UE, UELAC Dominion Vice President, Chair of UELAC Volunteer Recognition & Awards,

Royal Canadian Mint Honours Queen Elizabeth II with a Circulating Twonie
For 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II dutifully and gracefully served as Canada’s head of state. And, until her passing on September 8, 2022, she was the only sovereign many Canadians had ever known.
This $2 circulation coin is a solemn tribute to Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022) that marks the end of a historic reign. Like a mourning band, the black outer ring surrounds the polar bear design at the centre of the coin’s reverse. The same effect carries over to the obverse, which features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. Like her effigy itself, she was a constant presence in the lives of Canadians, who will forever remember her unwavering dedication to public service and deep affection for Canada. Read more…

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

  • Kevin Wisener has a particular interest in Loyalists of Prince Edward Island, and has submitted this recent addition.
    • Pvt. David Stage possibly from New York before the war, served in the King’s American Regiment – Grenadier Company; commanded by Col. Edmund Fanning. He, wife Hannah, daughter Elizabeth age 11 and a child under ten sailed on the Clinton. He was granted Land at Bedeque, Prince County, Prince Edward Island and was settled near other members from his Regiment in New York.

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

Upcoming Events

St Albans Centre Book Sale Sat. 17 December

Saturday DEc 17 from 9am-1pm
Buy One Book
Get Another One Free!
We are also inviting members of our community to donate to the
Morningstar Mission Backpack Program.
10419 Highway 33, Greater Napanee, Ontario K0H 1G0
St Albans Centre

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • The Black Loyalists founded settlements throughout Nova Scotia. The largest was at Birchtown, near Shelburne, with an initial population of about 1500. Birchtown today is the home of the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre.
  • An 18th-century powder horn inscribed with Wabanaki patterns, thought to be Penobscot.
  • On Dec. 9, 1824 William Jones, a United Empire Loyalist from New York who settled in Clements Township died aged 68. He is buried in Old St. Edward’s Church Cemetery at Clementsport, Nova Scotia with a headstone. Brian McConnell UE
  • That time-warp feeling when only 6 feet but 250 years separates you from a Revolutionary soldier
  • This week in History
    • 7 Dec 1773 1773: The brig Beaver, captained by Nantucket mariner Hezekiah Coffin, the 3rd of 4 Boston-bound tea ships enters Boston Harbor with 112 chests of East India Company tea AND a case of smallpox and therefore is held at Rainsford Island, also known as Hospital or Quarantine Island.
    • 8 Dec 1773 1773: Ship owner Francis Rotch tells the Boston Committee of Correspondence that he hasn’t made a request for a ‘pass’ with customs for his vessel Dartmouth to leave the harbor with the tea. The Committee urges him to apply for that pass to appear in “good light” to the people.
    • 6 Dec 1774, Gov. Thomas Gage sent the customs office the royal order barring gunpowder and other military stores from Britain into North America without a special permit. The colonial resistance was already seeking armaments from other sources.
    • 3 Dec 1775 British revive fear of smallpox by sending victims of the disease from Boston to the patriot lines.
    • 7 Dec 1775 Dr. Benjamin Gale writes to Silas Deane in Congress of progress on submarine invented by David Bushnell.
    • 8 Dec 1775 Arnold & Montgomery besiege Quebec City, in a doomed attempt to bring Canadian provinces into the revolt.
    • 9 Dec 1775 Patriots defeat British forces, including 800 slaves freed for the purpose, to secure Virginia.
    • 9 Dec 1775, the Continental naval agent reported the capture of the British supply ship “Jenny.” The captured captain had thrown his papers overboard, but the American crew retrieved them, gaining Britain’s private naval signals.
    • 5 Dec 1776 Washington asks Congress to create standing professional army, to reduce dependence on militia.
    • 6 Dec 1777 Tipped off by Quaker housewife, Patriot forces outwit Cornwallis in skirmishes north of Philadelphia.
    • 6 Dec 1777 With news of Saratoga, French Compte de Vergennes agrees to military alliance with United States.
    • 9 Dec 1778 Virginia annexes all territory captured by George Rodgers Clark, naming it Illinois.
    • 4 Dec, 1780 Col. William Washington forces surrender of Loyalists at Rugeley’s Mills SC with fake cannon made from pine log.
    • 7 Dec 1787 Shay’s Rebellion demands published, spurring reconsideration of Articles of Confederation.
  • Clothing and Related:
    • Shoe buckles, late 18th century
    • The back of these mid 18th century stays look like a sculpture. The symmetry of the construction, the equidistance of pattern and form seems separate from the body and yet 250 years ago it encased a woman now unknown and a life left behind
    • Advent Calendar day 6: The earliest 18th century fashion plate in the newly acquired Randolph Schwabe collection Glasgow Museums is a rather oddly hand-coloured ‘Dress of the Year’ from 1757
    • 18th Century Caraco gown, detail of bodice showcasing the delicate, beautiful silk embroidery, c.1780
    • 18th Century court dress, rear detail showing the bodice intricately decorated with a floral pattern made with flattened wire and lacework c.1750
    • Rear view of an expanse of fine silk embroidery on an 18th Century men’s Court coat, French, 1780-1790
    • 18th Century men’s Court Coat with cutaway fronts, embroidered with sprays of stylised flowers & leaves in yellow, green, pink & cream silk. At the very edge is a simple border of leaves and sprigs. c.1790’s
    • 18th Century men’s suit of uncut voided silk velvet with embroidered silk waistcoat, c1790–1800
  • Townsends:
  • Miscellaneous

Last Post: TREE UE, Barbara “Ellen” (nee Fink)
Ellen passed away at home, surrounded by her family on December 3, 2022 in her 83rd year.
For 49 years Ellen was married to her loving husband Gerald “Jerry” Tree. She delighted in being Mom to Paul (Karen) and Timothy, and Nana to Brayden and Connor. She is lovingly remembered by her sister Mary Goddard, brothers Jim (Mary), John (Janice). She is predeceased by her parents James Edward Fink and Lillian Gertrude Culver and youngest brother Ronald Fink.
Ellen spent many years working as a secretary and volunteered many years in her local church at First Baptist Church Woodstock, with the Oxford Brant Association of Baptist Churches and Baptist Women of Ontario & Quebec, the Grand River Branch of the United Empire Loyalists and Christian Service Centers.
Service details and personal condolences at Smith-LeRoy Funeral Home. Donations in Ellen’s memory may be made to First Baptist Church Woodstock or Grand River Branch UEL, and can be arranged through the funeral home.
As a member of Grand River Branch UELAC, Ellen proved her descent from Timothy Culver UEL in 1991 and from Jabez Cullver Sr. UEL in 2019.
Ellen has been a mainstay of the branch for many, many years. She served as Branch President, Treasurer/Membership and Secretary over the years.
Submitted by William “Bill” Terry UE

Last Post: ERHARDT, Jane
With much gratitude for a life well lived, Ann Erhardt ( Konkle ) passed away on December 2, 2022. Ann was of United Empire Loyalist ancestry. Predeceased by Lawrence, her husband of 50 years. Ann was much loved by her five daughters Debbie Ward, Karen Erhardt, Carol Garneau, Cindy Forbes and Sharon Mitchell, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She is survived by her sister, Jean Fairbanks. A cremation has taken place which will be followed by a private family funeral. Online condolences and notes of sympathy may be left at (Published by The Hamilton Spectator on Dec. 7, 2022)

Published by the UELAC
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