In this issue:



Anthony Stewart and That Detestable Weed: Part One of Three
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
The historian James MacDonald wrote that Anthony Stewart was one of a number of Scottish merchants who had settled in Halifax following the American Revolution. He was described as “a leading importer, and most enterprising merchant of our city, a man possessed of great intellectual abilities, which he devoted to the public good.” When St. Andrew’s Day was celebrated in Halifax on November 30, 1784, it was Anthony Stewart, “the great Loyalist merchant” who presided over a dinner of 100 members of the Scottish Mercantile Guild.
By 1785, Stewart owned 2,000 acres of land in Halifax. It was also the year that he sailed for England to appear before the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists to seek compensation for all that Patriots had taken from him in Maryland. When he returned, he had secured an annual allowance of £135. The Stewart family eventually moved into a house on Halifax’s Grafton Street.
The transcripts of the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists reveal that Stewart showed continued support for those who had suffered for their loyalty. In 1786, he testified on behalf of Hugh Dean, a Maryland Loyalist and fellow Scot, when the RCLSAL convened in Halifax. A year later he wrote an affidavit on behalf of Gideon Vernon, a Pennsylvanian Loyalist Stewart had come to know while the latter was secretary of the board of Associated Loyalists. Vernon was employed “in secret business”, acting as a dispatch courier behind Patriot lines.
Stewart’s fortunes changed in the years following his return from England. Jean — his wife of 22 years– died in Halifax in June 1786 at the age of 44. Two years later, Stewart wrote to the British government, pleading for an increase in the allowance he had been granted in 1785.
By a sudden stroke of the palsy, your memorialist has been for some time placed in that absolute state of inability which totally unfits him for any attention to his concerns in life. Entirely deprived of the use of the right side, he labours under every inconvenience that can possibly operate as an obstacle to his subsistence. His commercial views, the chief dependence of himself and a numerous family, are in a great measure frustrated; his bad health, and consequent confinement render it impossible for him to look out for other means of support, and his advancement in years banishes all hopes of a perfect recovery.
In a country like this, where the most active industry and diligence are barely competent to secure a livelihood, misfortunes such as these are attended with a double grievance. Your memorialist even in his present infirm state would exert every nerve left him in order to his relief, had not experience convinced him of the utter impossibility to succeed. Nothing but the melancholy, consideration of his incapability to support himself by his industry would have induced him to take the present recourse.
It seems that both Anthony’s health and fortunes improved after his “sudden stroke of palsy”. The annals of Halifax’s North British Society give the following description of Stewart. He “was received by all classes as a born leader. He soon proved his value to the place and was looked up to for advice and direction. He was a fearless, outspoken man; vigour and enthusiasm marked his every movement; and it addition to amassing a large fortune, he gave freely to Church and State … he was a clever, enthusiastic speaker, with a well-pronounced Scottish accent; in addition, a good singer.
Anthony Stewart died in December 1812 at the age of 74 and was buried in St. Paul’s churchyard. All but one of his children would leave Nova Scotia. At some point, Peggy, the oldest Stewart daughter, returned to the United States, remaining a single woman for the rest of her life. Her younger siblings, John and Mary had also returned to the land of their birth. John married and had descendants until at least the turn of the 20th century. Mary married Dr. Shaaff of Annapolis, Maryland and lived well into her 90s. Isabella married a British naval officer and died in South Africa five years after her father’s demise. The fate of Wilhelmina and Alexander, the two youngest Stewarts, is not known.
Only James, the oldest of the Stewart siblings, remained in Nova Scotia. Educated in both Halifax and Scotland, he married Elizabeth, the daughter of John Halliburton, in 1790. Eight years later, James was elected to the Nova Scotia assembly. He was later named the colony’s solicitor general. In 1815, he became a justice in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
James and Elizabeth had a number of children. In 1905, a member of the Nova Scotia Historical Society noted that Anthony Stewart’s great-grandson, Douglas Stewart, was Halifax’s assistant post office inspector. Others who could look back to James Stewart as their ancestor were alive in both Great Britain and the United States at this time.
So descendants of Anthony and Jean Stewart survived into the 20th century. It would be interesting to discover if any of them knew of their forefather’s life and how he had to burn a ship named for their great aunt, Peggy Smith.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at

Book: To The Last Extremity: The Battles for Charleston, 1776–1782
Author: Mark Maloy (El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie LLC, 2023)
Review by Timothy Symington 31 July 2023 Journal of the American Revolution
Historian Mark Maloy’s book successfully relates some of the important moments of the American Revolution in Charleston, South Carolina. Whereas many people are more familiar with Revolutionary Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, Maloy shows that Charleston also has an exciting and notable history, making the city equal to the “big three.” Charleston was an important port for the British to attempt to capture, which they would try to do more than once before they were successful. Maloy’s book is not only a succinct history of Charleston, but it also includes descriptions of tours where tourists can go to see and learn about that history. Perfect for the travelling historian!
The story of the Revolutionary War in Charleston begins in 1775 when South Carolina responded in solidarity with the other colonies in their support for Massachusetts after the outbreak of war at Lexington and Concord, becoming an early advocate for independence. Henry Clinton and Charles Cornwallis led the first invasion of Charleston in June 1776, which became known as the Battle of Sullivan’s Island. Read more…

Thomas Hutchinson and His Letters
by Will Monk 1 August 2023 Journal of the American Revolution

(Note: Thomas Hutchinson was Lt. Governor of Massachussetts from 1758 – 71 and Acting Governor 1769 – 74)

We often remember the controversy surrounding the Hutchinson Letters, which inspired many colonists to oppose the provincial government in Massachusetts, by talking about Benjamin Franklin (who found and sent the letters) and Samuel Adams (who helped publish them). Our memory of the letters’ author, Thomas Hutchinson, is often colored by a 1774 print by Paul Revere, in which Hutchinson is being attacked by death in the form of a skeleton. Yet we rarely see the story from the author’s perspective.
On March 14, 1771, Thomas Hutchinson went to the State House in Boston and took the oath of office as governor of Massachusetts. He had grown up in Boston, graduated from Harvard College, and worked in his father’s merchant business along the waterfront. He married Margaret Sanford, granddaughter to a governor of Rhode Island. Hutchinson was elected a Boston selectman (member of town council) and member of the colony’s House of Representatives—officially known as the General Court. By 1758, he was lieutenant governor, and he appointed Andrew Oliver, who was married to Margaret’s sister, as his secretary. In a time when men could hold multiple offices, Hutchinson became chief justice of Massachusetts—although he was not a lawyer. While he juggled a great deal of political work, much of his time was spent on a literary project, which became a three-volume history of Massachusetts.
In 1768 and 1769, Oliver and Hutchinson wrote letters to friends in Britain, including Thomas Whateley, a member of Parliament. Oliver complained that government officials were paid by the colony, putting them at the mercy of local whims. He wrote, “If officers are not in some measure independent of the people (for it is difficult to serve two masters) they will sometimes have a hard struggle between duty to the crown and a regard to self.” Read more…

Advertisement 5 August 1773: It was intirely the Printer’s mistak
What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?
A mistake, misinformation or planned advertising?

“It was intirely the Printer’s mistake in advertising last week that Mr. BATES would perform only once more.”
nce, but the same day he inserted a much shorter advertisement in Rivington’s New-York Gazetteer. “MR. BATES,” that notice proclaimed, “PROPOSES to perform on Tuesday next, and on Friday the 30th instant, and no more, before he leaves this City.” Read more …

How bed bugs were dealt with in the Georgian era
By Sarah Murden 4 April 2019 in All Things Georgian
Admit it – many of you are scratching already, aren’t you? I was whilst writing this, if I’m honest. One of my readers asked about turpentine being used to kill head lice and this set me off to find out more about the subject and somehow ending up looking at how they dealt with bed bugs (buggs as they were known, somewhere we lost that second ‘g’) in the eighteenth century.
They were clearly a major problem, with many cures being offered to eliminate these little critters such as this from ‘The family jewel, and compleat housewife’s companion or, the whole art of cookery made plain and easy’ by Penelope Bradshaw in 1754. Read more…

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

  • Information about Capt. David William Babcock has been added to the Loyalist Directory. Thanks to Dawn Horstead who contributed information. David was of Blockhouse renown. He served with the Orange Rangers and later Embodied Loyalists. He came to Tusket River, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia; then Kingston, Upper Canada. Another person named David Babcock, an immigrant but not a Loyalist, came to Kingston UC – easily confused.

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

My Country: A Poem by Ruth MacDonald UE
H. Ruth Wright MacDonald was one of the thirteen charter members of the Prince Edward Island Abegweit Branch of the U.E.L. Association. She served various roles on the executive and contributed information for the book, An Island Refuge. Ruth penned this poem in 1967, Canada’s Centennial. – contributed by Holly MacDonald UE (one-page for storing or printing)

My Country

When I look in the face of my child,
It is Canada there, I see,
A mingling of races, by the hand of God
That she a Canadian might be.

Her hair just like the gold in the sunshine,
Her eyes as gray as the sea,
Skin as white as the driven snow,
What could her ancestry be?

Maybe from the highlands of Scotland,
There was one with vision looked west.
And saw in this grand northern country
The fulfillment of his quest.

From the crowded countries of Europe,
Where freedom was a word little known,
Stalwart folk came to carve a new country,
From a wilderness of forest and stone.

The Loyalist here found a refuge,
When his country was bitter with strife.
And love for the Monarch in Britain
Meant more to him than his life.

These then are the people who builded,
Who builded so much better than they knew.
And passed down the century a heritage,
Which, our children, we now give to you.

Dear child may you find in your homeland,
There is warmth in the ice and the snow;
In her clear running brooks there is laughter,
That only the children can know.

And freedom that runs like a river
Across this great noble land,
Celebrate little children this birthday,
Little brothers hand in hand.

H. Ruth Wright MacDonald UE (1928-2020)

Upcoming Events

St. Alban’s Centre, Hallowed Grounds Café & The Rectory Book Room

Thursday to Sunday in July and August, 9am – 1pm, Weather permitting
Open-air Hallowed Grounds Café for drinks, nibbles and ce cream
Rectory Book Room used books for sale, also CD’s and DVD’sale
Ongoing garage sale – pay what you will
Self-guided tours of church and cemetery
test your skills in the Escape Room
St. Alban’s Centre, 10419 Loyalist Parkway (Hwy. 33), Adolphustown ON

Grand River Branch Celebrates 50th Anniversary on Sunday 17 Sept.

At the Arlington Hotel in Paris, Ontario.
Reception & Mingle 4:00 p.m. Buffet Dinner 6:00 p.m.
Tickets: $50.00 Payable to “Grand River Branch UELAC” by Sept. 1.
RSVP Ms Jane Adams, 92 Brewster, Cambridge, ON N3C 3T9
Period Costume is encouraged
Guest Speaker: Nathan Tidridge, Honorary Fellow, UELAC
Topic: “Crown Indigenous Relations“.
Questions to Bill Terry UE

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • My last full day here in the archives at Halifax. This “Loyalist Colouring Book” (1980) is fascinating for how it depicts life in Loyalist NS. I’m hoping to get back sometime soon: there is a great project to be done here about loyalist memory as we approach #AmRev250
  • In Grafton, Nova Scotia the Covenanter Church is celebrating 180th anniversary on August 6th with Welcome Home Sunday
  • Good morning from Fort Anne National Historic Site (with Brian McConnell UE in period uniform)
  • Townsends
  • This week in History
    • Aug 3, 1773, ministers from Boston & other towns met in Bolton to support the Rev. Thomas Goss against that town’s congregation. After 30 years of preaching, he’d been dismissed for drunkenness. Study of the episode.
    • 3 Aug 1775 Cambridge, MA Gen Washington calls a council of war to discuss the scarcity of gunpowder and resolves to ask Congress for help from the colonies for fresh supplies.
  • Clothing and Related:
    • A project to make linen.
      Wednesday was a banner day — Sophie, Sydney (museum studies grad students) & I harvested 1 of our 2 flax plots – pulled the plants, tied them in bundles, loaded them in a wheelbarrow & created the stooks for drying.
      Experiencing this process on a blue sky August day made it possible to imagine those who have completed this same task year in, year out, over decades, centuries…
      and makes powerful the time involved in making #linen. This is really just the beginning much labor will be involved .…#retting, #scutching, #combing and more with the hope of creating even a small bit of #linen.
    • Putting these madder, walnut and hopi sunflower swatches together today. As usual the phone camera has flattened the colours but in natural light they are vibrant, especially the madder coral pink.
  • Miscellaneous

Editor’s Note:
This issue is still shorter that usual, but my technology is getting closer to being “together” again. There are some items I wish I had time to include in this issue – for next week hopefully. ….doug

Published by the UELAC
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