In this issue:
- Abegweit Branch, UELAC launches new website
- Conference 2023: Visit Vancouver, Virtual Speaker Mike Woodcock UE, Registration
- Sybil Kane: A Loyalist’s Wife Remembered – Part One, by Stephen Davidson UE
- “Earned By Veteran Intrepidity”: Spencer’s Ordinary, June 26, 1781
- Newspapers as a Rebel Source of Intelligence
- “Nativity Gives Citizenship”: Teaching Antislavery Constitutionalism through the Black Convention Movement
- Upcoming Events
- ‘Clothes optional’ marriages of the 18th century
- From the Twittersphere and Beyond
- Last Post: ROBINSONG UE, Marion Ann
- Editor’s Note
Connect with us:
Abegweit Branch, UELAC launches new website
Prince Edward Island’s Abegweit Branch of the UELAC is pleased to announce the launch of its new website which replaces the previous Island Register hosted website which hasn’t been active for a few years.
If you have an interest in Prince Edward Island history or a United Empire Loyalist ancestor who resided in PEI come visit us at Abegweit Branch. We would love to hear from you.
Kevin Wisener UE, President, Abegweit Branch
For those attendees at the 2023 UELAC Hybrid Conference & AGM, be sure to read up on Vancouver City.
With links to Nova Scotia’s Black Loyalist History, professional wrestler, and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sings the city’s praises, saying, “it’s one of my favourite cities in the world.”
There’s nothing quite like Vancouver in the spring. With the sun making a longer appearance each day, the breeze a little gentler, and…
Vancouver is much more than a gateway city, it’s a destination on its own. Whether it’s exploring the city and its unique neighbourhoods, climbing mountaintops, getting out on the waters of the Pacific, or dining in style, visitors can fill their days with endless adventures.
Read more about Vancouver.
On the Friday, or consider taking Tour “A” – Vancouver
Eleven great topics by expert speakers, and a bargain
For all virtual attendees. Eleven expert guest speakers from across Canada; all for the price of $50.00 – Canadian Funds!
Introducing Guest Presenter #6: Mike Woodcock UE (Pacific Region) “Loyalist Descendants in Ross Bay Cemetery”
Mike Woodcock is the Branch President of Victoria UELAC. He is descended from two Loyalist families (Woodcock from New York and Peterson from New Jersey) who fought and then fled to the Bay of Quinte area.
Like other “Loyalists Come West” families, Mike’s were part of the early 20th century western expansion. His ancestors were among the first settlers of Saskatoon. As a lifelong British Columbian and (now retired) government administrator, Mike had the fortune to live and travel in all parts of B.C.
He has a passion for tracing, recording, and sharing the early UE descendant presence and impact on British Columbia history. The on-line Vancouver Island Loyal-List is available at www.uelvictoria.ca.
“Researcher, author, and speaker Jennifer DeBruin has deep ancestral roots in Quebec, Eastern Ontario, and Colonial America, and a passion for researching and sharing the stories of ordinary people who experienced extraordinary history. With a focus on North America from the 16th – 20th centuries, she seeks to expand the understanding of our complex history from a variety of perspectives.”
All Guest Speaker Presentations will be available at an appropriate scheduled time and Zoom Invite Links will be forwarded closer to the Conference date.
To register, complete one of the in-person or virtual portion at 2023 Conference Registration.
Pay the necessary Registration Fee via the online, secured Paypal portal OR forward your 2023 Registration Form and Cheque to
Christine Manzer UE, Conference Registrar
208 — 7180 Linden Ave,
Burnaby BC V5E 3G6
Please make all cheques payable to: The UEL Ass’n of Canada Vancouver Branch
If you have any questions regarding registration, please contact UE2023Registrar@gmail.com.
See all conference details at https://uelac.ca/conference-2023/
Sybil Kane: A Loyalist’s Wife Remembered, Part One of Two
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
Thanks to the fact that her descendants held on to the family’s correspondence from the late 18th century, it is possible to piece together the experiences of a New York Loyalist’s wife. Sybil Kane is an interesting case study because she –like many American wives– did not share her husband’s political beliefs. In her own words, she was “always a Whig in feeling”. Her brother, Moss Kent, “openly espoused the cause of the rebellion”. Nevertheless, as a Loyalist’s wife, Sybil endured all of the hardships and persecutions that loyal Americans suffered at the hands of their Patriot neighbours.
Sybil was born into a Presbyterian minister’s home in 1738. At that time Rev. Elisha Kent lived in Putnam County, New York. He and his wife Abigail would have four daughters and a son. While Sybil was still a young girl, the family moved to South East Township in Dutchess County where Rev. Kent had a farm to supplement his income as a clergyman.
An Irish immigrant named John Kane arrived in Dutchess County in 1752, where he established a trading business. Within four years he had met and married Sybil. The groom was 22; the bride just 18. Religious differences, rather than political ones, were the first hurdle the young couple had to conquer.
Sybil’s father was described as “a stern Old-School Presbyterian, and a sturdy Whig of the earliest period: he was the great man of his parish, the arbiter of all disputes, the controller of opinions.” Sybil’s husband, on the other hand, had migrated from the Roman Catholic Church to the Church of England. He was remembered as being an “ultra-Tory, ultra-Churchman, and not very moderate in anything at any time.” Even though Rev. Kent preached a sermon on the occasion of Sybil’s marriage to John Kane, his son-in-law “could never be persuaded” to go to Kent’s meetings.
Despite their religious differences, John Kane “perfectly adored” Sybil. Although he believed that there was no salvation outside of the Church of England (Sybil being the only exception), he allowed his wife to take their children to the local Presbyterian Church.
John and Sybil Kane had 13 children over a span of 22 years. Martha (Mrs. Gilbert Livingston) was born in 1758, followed by John in 1759 (wife Maria Codwise), Maria (Mrs. Joseph C. Yates), Charles (Maria Wray) in 1762, Abigail (Mrs. John P. Lawrence) in 1765, Oliver (Anna E. Clarke) in 1767, Elisha (Alida Van Rensselaer) in 1770, James (bachelor) in 1772, Elias (Miss Leavenworth then Deborah Van Schelluyne) in 1771, Sybilla (Jeremiah Van Rensselaer), Archibald (circa 1777)(wife: a West Indian), Sarah (Mrs. Thomas Morris) in 1778, and finally Susan in 1780.
Sybil’s sisters married men who, at the outset of the American Revolution, also remained loyal to the crown. Mary became the wife of Malcolm Morrison, a prosperous merchant. Lucy Kent married Charles Cullen, and Sarah Kent married Lt. Alexander Grant of the 42nd Highland Regiment. By December of 1776, Sybil’s John, and brothers-in-law Cullen, and Morrison had been brought before Dutchess County’s Committee on Conspiracies. It was the beginning of the end of the three Loyalists’ fortunes.
The New York legislature confiscated the Kane mansion and property in 1777. In the following year, General George Washington made Sharvogne, the Kane estate, his official headquarters for 8 weeks. At this time, John and his two oldest sons had fled to sanctuary on Long Island.
Although rebels had seized the Kane home due to John’s loyalty, they allowed Sybil (who, as an 18th century woman, was not expected to have political convictions) and the remaining children to remain at Sharvogne for three more years. Being pregnant with her 12th child may also have made Sybil an object of Patriot mercy. Washington and his officers were in the Kane home when Sarah Kane was born.
Following the passing of New York’s forfeiture act in 1779, that named Sybil’s husband John and her brother-in-law Malcolm Morrison among those “who have adhered to the Enemies of this State“, Patriots seized the Morrison’s home, slaves, and worldly goods.
While the political situation in 1779 was glum for Sybil, it was also the year in which Martha, her oldest child, became Mrs. Gilbert Robert Livingston on September 30th. Both bride and groom were in their 21st year. Sybil’s first son-in-law was a Loyalist and the son of a prominent New York merchant.
At some point in time, Sybil gathered up the ten children who remained with her at Sharvogne and “escaped by night to the banks of the Hudson, and embarked by night under cover of the darkness in a sloop which was waiting for them.” Two of the family horses were ridden by the Kane’s slaves Cato and John as Sybil and the children made their escape. They were reunited with her husband and the two oldest Kane sons in Newtown Landing on Long Island. Susan, the 13th and last of the Kane children, was born there in 1780.
Later, the family moved to New York City where Sybil’s husband established two stores in the area. However, with the evacuation of the royal army in 1783, the Kanes joined the thousands of Loyalists who sought sanctuary in other parts of the British Empire.
Sybil and her sisters were all refugees due to their husbands’ stance as Loyalists, but only one of them had become a widow. Her sister Sarah’s husband, Alexander Grant, had died in the Battle of Fort Montgomery on October 7, 1777.
Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander, then gave Sarah a rebel’s farm on Long Island that enabled her to support her family until they joined other Loyalists in seeking refuge in Nova Scotia. Accompanying her to the Annapolis Royal were her four children: Robert (born 1768), Helen (1769), Elizabeth (1770), and Lucy (1773). The Widow Grant would later be joined by her sister Mary and brother-in-law Malcolm Morrison.
Family lore remembers that in the fall of 1783, the Kane family boarded a “large vessel bound for Nova Scotia”. In addition to Sybil, her thirteen children, and her Livingston grandson, the group included the Kane’s two male slaves, several cows and a horse. (Sybil’s John had sailed for England to seek compensation for the family’s wartime losses.)
The voyage was uneventful until it reached the Bay of Fundy. A “terrible snowstorm” drove the ship back to Cape Cod. The ship’s passengers expected they would all die. In a desperate attempt to lighten the ship’s load, the Kanes’ cows and horse were thrown overboard.
The storm abated and the Kanes’ evacuation ship eventually sailed into the Annapolis Basin. “The ground and the mountains all around were covered with snow, and the weather was intensely cold.” Sybil’s sister and fellow refugee, Mary Morrison “most hospitably received” the Kanes in her Annapolis Royal home.
Sybil Kane was no longer the wife of a loyal New York merchant; she had become the wife of a Loyalist refugee in the wilds of Nova Scotia.
Learn the rest of Sybil’s story in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at email@example.com.
Captain Johann Ewald had much to thank the Almighty for. A heroic stand on the picket line before Norfolk, Virginia, parried an American thrust and covered the captain and his men with glory, but it had nearly cost him his leg and left him bed bound and bereft of the command of his beloved Jӓgers. Returning to them without a limp after a three-months recovery, Ewald “found the greater part of the Jӓgers had pieces of cowhide around their feet in place of shoes, which they showed me with laughter.” Ewald marveled “how the German soldier . . . despite his strict discipline, never grumbles when he is alone and makes the best of everything.”
Now, taking post near a crossroads on the road to Williamsburg, the Hessian captain longed only to sleep. No sooner had he closed his eyes than gunfire erupted to his left front. Springing upward, Ewald demanded to know the source of it. Hushed back to sleep by assurances that it needn’t worry him, Ewald closed his eyes once again only to rise as the volume of fire intensified. Rousing his Jӓgers, the captain rode with two men into a nearby orchard only to stumble upon a blue-coated Frenchmen of Armand’s Legion, who reported the Americans to be “Very near, sir!” Confirmation came as no more then “three hundred paces away, just on the point of moving forward,” a battle line materialized. American General Lafayette’s advance guard was before him, in force, readying to sweep Ewald and his men from the crossroads of Spencer’s Ordinary, Virginia. What followed this day, June 26, 1781, gave him even more reasons to count his blessings. Read more…
Newspapers as a Rebel Source of Intelligence
by Jeffrey H. Michaels 7 Mar 2023 The Journal of the American Revolution
The study of intelligence has always suffered from a bias towards the derring-do of spies, stealing of secrets, breaking of codes, and covert action. This is particularly the case with studies of intelligence during the American Revolution. Books and articles on the topic have been premised on an understanding of “intelligence” as effectively limited to spies and secrets. Yet this reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the term “intelligence” was used at the time.
When George Washington wrote of “intelligence,” he was referring to a much broader concept, one that encompassed both secret and non-secret sources of information. Nor was he the only one to do so. In their written correspondence, “intelligence” was typically used by rebel leaders as a synonym for “news.” Thus, upon receiving newspapers from his subordinates, Washington would reply with words to the effect, “I am much obliged to you for the intelligence.” As such, the acquisition of intelligence meant acquiring newspapers in addition to the reports of spies in enemy territory, military reconnaissance and similar collection methods.
Newspapers acquired from behind enemy lines, from Britain, and from Europe, were a critical input into the American intelligence system, informal though that system may have been. The important role of newspapers as a source of intelligence has nonetheless been generally ignored. Instead, to the extent newspapers have been of interest to historians, it is the roles they played as instruments of propaganda or as chronicles of the period that have received the bulk of attention. Read more…
“Nativity Gives Citizenship”: Teaching Antislavery Constitutionalism through the Black Convention Movement
Erik J. Chaput about 10 March 2023 Common Place
As a teacher, the Black convention movement in the 1850s has helped me to broaden my story of the origins of the Civil War, especially the pitfalls to avoid when it comes to focusing too heavily on the controversy over slavery in the territories.
As part of the Compromise of 1850, the new Fugitive Slave Law, a much more stringent version of its 1793 cousin, permitted African Americans in the North to be seized solely based on the affidavit of anyone claiming to be his or her owner or working on the owner’s behalf. It was without question the most intrusive enactment of federal authority prior to the Civil War. Black abolitionist H. Ford Douglas, who hailed from Cuyahoga Falls not far from where I teach at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, declared at the Columbus gathering that after nine months of debate about how to settle the vexing question of slavery in the territories, Congress, with the Fugitive Slave Act, ended up striking “down the writ of Habeas Corpus and Trial by Jury—those great bulwarks of human freedom.” It was a law, according to Douglas, “unequalled in the worst days of Roman despotism.” Western Reserve Academy has a rich history in the abolitionist movement in northeast Ohio. By the late 1840s, a prominent group of young Black activists, including John Mercer, Charles Langston, William Day, and H. Ford Douglas were well-known figures in the area. Read more…
Our guest speaker for this occasion will be member Jane Simpson, who will share her research on Delancey’s Brigade in Westchester County around 1781. The presentation will be followed by the AGM.
It is scheduled for Wednesday, 22 March at 2:00 pm (Atlantic time). Register with firstname.lastname@example.org (the zoom link will b returned closer to the event)
‘Clothes optional’ marriages of the 18th century
Sarah Murden 3 March 2023 All Things Gorgian
As the old saying goes, you learn something new everyday, and this is certainly a new subject to me, at least. One of my lovely readers said that they had read about such marriages in ‘Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England’ and hadn’t seen anything on All Things Georgian about such a type of marriage, so it seemed only right to correct this omission!
So, what was this type of marriage? It was often referred to as a ‘shift’ or ‘smock’ marriage and occasionally a puris naturalibus or a naked marriage.
At Cranborne, Dorsetshire on 10 December 1757 a young woman who was married at our church, had only a shift on for a wedding garment; and the reason she gave for her coming to perfectly undressed, was, that she might be entirely quit of all debts she owed before marriage. Read more…
- This week in History
- 5 Mar 1770 Boston Massacre inflames Colonists as British fire on mob, killing 5.
- 4 Mar 1776 Cannon seized from Fort Ticonderoga are placed overlooking Boston, dooming British occupation.
- 6 Mar 1776 NY Provincial Congress dispatches force to disable Sandy-Hook lighthouse to confound British invasion.
- 7 Mar 1781 Gen. Sumter’s men burn Ratcliff’s Bridge at Bishopville, SC & escape into swamp from British detachment.
- 9 Mar 1781 Spanish Gen. Galvez besieges British-occupied Pensacola, eventually winning all of Florida for Spain.
- 8 Mar 1782 PA Patriot militia kills 96 pacifist, Christian-convert Indians at Gnadenhuetten.
- 10 Mar 1783 Last naval battle of the Revolution is fought off the Atlantic coast of Florida.
- Clothing and Related:
- 18th Century folding fan, leaf of vellum painted in watercolours with carved mother-of-pearl sticks, leaf design after Jean-Baptiste Pillement, France, 1760-70
- 18th Century dress, Robe a l’anglaise of silk needlework on cotton; linen bodice and sleeve linings. English, c.1780
- 18th Century dress made of 1750’s Spitalfield’s silk, this Robe a l’Anglaise was constructed in 1780-1785
- Scarlett O’Hara wasn’t the only woman who had the idea of making curtains into a gown. Susanna Courtenay’s glorious vibrant wool-embroidered dress, re-modelled between 1760 and 1780, probably started life as bed hangings much earlier in the century.
- pocket detail from an 18th Century men’s waistcoat, from a matching 3 piece silk Court suit, French, 1740’s
- 18th Century men’s three piece silk suit, 1780-1785
- Object 11 for @museumoflondon: #Executions in 15 objects – Convict token: Those awaiting execution engraved images and messages into smoothed coins. These examples feature the gallows – a double execution and the execution of a woman. c.1755-80.
Last Post: ROBINSONG UE, Marion Ann
Marion passed away on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at the age of 80 years. She is survived by her husband John Robinson, sons Alex (Eva) Robinson of Konigslutter, Germany, Tim (Kayla) Robinson of Houston, Texas, four grandchildren and sister Flora Barrows of Portland, Oregon.
A private interment service was held on Thursday, February 23; a celebration of life will be held at a later date. More information at Rae’s Funeral Services
Her Loyalist ancestor was Philip Eamer UEL who was born in 1727 in Weinheim, Baden, Germany. He married Catrina Lysergin in 1749.
They moved from Germany to Philadelphia in 1756. They had 9 children, one of whom, was Peter Eamer born 1759, New York. The family moved to Charlotte County, New York in 1756. Peter married Catherine Gallinger UE (daughter of Michael Gallinger, UEL). They had 10 children. In1781 the family moved to Canada. In the spring of 1784 Philip, Catrina and 5 of their children and families traveled with hundreds of other Loyalist families up the St. Lawrence River to settle in their new land. Philip and Peter received land side by side which was later named Eamer’s Corner and is now part of Cornwall, Ontario. Both Philip and Peter served in the Stormont Militia.
Submitted by Barb Andrew UE, Assiniboine Branch
Editor’s Note: This issue is shorter than usual. It was time for some R&R; we are away for two weeks. The combination of “time off” to do things one ought to do on vacation and some technology challenges reduced the time available to search out relevant content. Next week will also be brief. …doug
Published by the UELAC
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