In this issue:



The Loyalist Privateers of Rhode Island
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
American Patriots referred to them as “a Tory covert action group that preyed upon American men and women indiscriminately”. They were “a perfect banditti or gang of pirates unfit for any society but that of devils”. The Sons of Liberty called them “baser-born spirits”. However, to the Loyalists living in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, these privateers were the Loyal Associated Refugees, a legally sanctioned sea-going raiding force that attacked Patriot settlements along the Atlantic coast from March to October of 1779.
Created by Edward Winslow, James Clarke and George Leonard, the Loyal Associated Refugees had a clear mandate: “retaliate upon and make reprisal against the inhabitants of the several Provinces in America in actual rebellion against their Sovereign.” This sea-bound militia was formed in response to frustration with the British army’s failure to go on the offensive against rebel forces and out of a desire to avenge all of the violence that loyal Americans had suffered at the hands of Patriots. But, being gentlemen, the officers of the Loyal Associated Refugees (LAR) avowed that they were on a righteous crusade against a dangerous foe.
James Clarke of Newport, Rhode Island issued a proclamation on behalf of the new privateers in March of 1779, declaring that the LAR had been formed “To further in some degree, the service of our most gracious Sovereign, and to afford the means by which the greatly injured may in part redress themselves.”
Given letters of marque by the British that gave the LAR official sanction –including the right to “make prizes” of whatever it captured– the corps had a select membership. George Leonard, a Massachusetts Loyalist, asserted that these men were “a rank in life superior to the class from which the common seaman and soldier are taken, they were averse to entering into the service as such, and still more to remaining idle spectators in the contest”.
Regarding George Leonard, Timothy Compeau has noted, “For such a man, privateering was an opportunity to make a living, retaliate against the patriots, and yet remain free from the humiliation of taking lowly positions in the British service.
The historians Thomas Allen and Todd Braisted state that the Loyal Associated Refugees had about 400 sailors, five major ships as well as armed schooners and transports. The flagship of the fleet was the Restoration with George Leonard as its captain. Its schooners included the Charlotte, General Leslie, and General Garth, along with the sloop General Prescott.
Allen and Braisted’s research reveals that in the 10 months of its existence, the LAR captured 18 rebel vessels, took 3,000 head of livestock and captured 35 patriots. The loyalist naval militia targeted numerous New England towns –including Nonamesset Island, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Norwalk, Green’s Farm, and Mill River–. Privateering was profitable. The LAR sold its booty for £23,400.
Posterity has been left with very few references to the activities of the Loyal Associated Refugees. On May 8, 1779 a loyalist named Thomas Hazard joined forces with what he described as “a band of Tory raiders from Newport” led by George Leonard. “We went by my advice to Point Judith and brought off eleven hundred sheep … also brought off 60 head of cattle all for the use of said {Newport} garrison”.
In the following month, the LAR joined with General William Tryon in his attacks upon the coastal towns of Connecticut. In its July 3rd edition, New York City’s loyalist newspaper reported raids that Lt. Col. Edward Winslow led against 3 other rebel Connecticut settlements.
Were it not for an account of a raid on Nantucket, Massachusetts on April 5, 1779, we could only speculate as to what occurred during a privateer attack. The American Journal and General Advertiser of Providence, Rhode Island, reprinted a story from a Boston newspaper (Patriot in its politics) that recounted the actions of “the fleet of miserable Tory refugees”.
Led by Edward Winslow, the loyalist privateers initially had planned to raid Falmouth, Massachusetts. But as their rowboats landed on the shore, rebels ambushed them. The newspaper claimed that the rebels killed 25 and wounded 20 others, including Winslow who supposedly had been hit “by a ball through the breast”. However, George Leonard, the second-in-command, said that Winslow had only accompanied the wounded privateers back to Newport due to “gout in his stomach”. Leonard led the subsequent raid on Nantucket with John Murray of Rutland, Massachusetts as his second in command.
When the Loyal Associated Refugees sailed into the harbour at Nantucket, “the inhabitants sent off a boat to know what the demands they had or what their business was. They were told that they were come after the property of rebellious subjects of America … They immediately landed near 200 men and entered the town with fixed bayonets and drawn swords… They immediately began to break open and plunder the stores, warehouses, etc.” The Loyalist privateers “cleared of a great quantity of goods: 260 barrels of oil, 2000 weight of whale bone, and stript it of everything, even to some chalk and an old grindstone, broke open a number of others stores, took a large quantity of oil, molasses, sugar, coffee, and all kinds of goods that fell in their way”, including 30-40 “suits of sails”, anchors, cables, towlines, cordage, and rigging.
The newspaper account continued: “A hundred and fifty men or more were employed from 4 p.m. Monday to 6 next morning in plundering insulting and abusing the inhabitants, compelling them to truck down to their vessels what they had taken from them. ...”
When the privateers became aware of a 20-gun ship making an approach to Nantucket, “they retreated precipitately, carrying off most of what they had plundered, but leaving some loaded carts which they could not take with them – carried off two brigs with their cargoes bound to the West Indies and two or three schooners and a large number of boats; some things they could not carry off, they destroyed. They told the people they should come again very soon and if they abused those who were friendly to them, they would chastise them, {and} that they intended to attack Falmouth again in a fortnight.”
Rebels responded with outrage in the press. One editor said, “Those who make it their business to disturb, steal from and murder harmless industrious men, women, and children are not only hungry vagabonds, but a perfect banditti or gang of pirates unfit for any society but that of devils.”
More ominously, the Sons of Liberty replied, “Those base born spirits ever repining at the prosperity of others have lately formed as association at Rhode Island, the manifest design of which is commit warfare and destruction on the well disposed inhabitants of this and the neighbouring states … When anyone is taken, let him receive the punishment justly due to hell-born crimes … let them never be suffered to commit crimes of a like nature again, but be immediately suspended between heaven and earth. This will have a very beneficial effect in preventing others from like transgressions.”
From the perspective of the 21st century, it is interesting to note the double standard these Patriots had when it came to privateering. From the earliest days of the American Revolution, New England privateers had raided and harassed the coastal towns of Nova Scotia, carrying off both plunder and captives to such a degree that Nova Scotians pleaded for protection from the British navy.
As it turned out, New England rebels would not live in fear of the Loyal Associated Refugees for long. When the British ceased their occupation of Newport, Rhode Island on October 25, 1779, the Loyalist privateers lost their base of operation and ceased to exist. However, the legacy of the LAR was the provision of a template for later loyalist associations whose chief aims were retaliation and revenge against Patriot atrocities. The most famous (infamous?) of these was the Board of Associated Loyalists that used guerrilla tactics to fight Patriots in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Its founder was William Franklin, the loyalist son of Benjamin Franklin.
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The two Archibald Thomson UELs: Part Four of Five
copyright Stephen Bowley UE
Archibald Thomson of Scarborough Township Upper Canada, a carpenter by trade, was born in Knock, Parish of Westerkirk, Scotland, and baptised 7 May 1749. In 1773 Archibald Thomson had emigrated from Britain to America and settled near Johnstown NY along the Mohawk River. In 1775 due to “attachment to his Sovereign” he relocated to the Province of Quebec.
Other than he had “suffered much from the Rebels on the Mohawk River” we don’t know the particulars of Archibald Thomson’s departure from Tryon County. He was likely one of the Loyalists that accompanied Superintendent Guy Johnson and Haudenosaunee Allies that left the Mohawk Valley at the end of May 1775 when the headquarters of the Northern Colonies Indian Department was moved from Guy Park, Tryon County, to Montréal.
During the relocation, a number of the men were employed with pay by Johnson and, at Montréal, many enlisted in the King’s Service. At least four men did not enlist at that time, returned to Tryon County, and were examined by the Tryon Committee of Safety that November. The minutes for two and a partial of one of the examinations have survived and offer further details on the travel to Montréal and the daily wages provided. In their testimony they indicated they were coerced to go with Johnson, but this was likely a means to gain their release. Three of the men, James Cameron, George Crawford and John Friel, subsequently joined the KRRNY (Friel later transferred to Butler’s Rangers) and the fourth, John Picken, joined the Indian Department.
Archibald Thomson was engaged as a carpenter at a number of garrisons. He assisted with work at Forts Oswegatchie, Niagara and Detroit. He was appointed a Master Carpenter on Lt.-Gov. Edward Abbott’s expedition in 1777 to the remote outpost at St. Vincennes on the Wabash River. There he was involved with the construction of a stockade about the main building and other repairs from May 1777 to Feb 1778; Lt.-Gov. Abbott named the fortification Fort Sackville.
Thomson and the other men departed for Detroit on 3 Feb 1778 when Lt.-Gov. Abbott quit the post having received no orders from Gov. Carleton and “was obliged to leave the place agreeable to a former order of his not to incur any [further] expence.”
In August 1778 Rebel Capt. Leonard Helm took possession of Fort Sackville. To re-establish British control, Lt.-Gov. Henry Hamilton organized an expedition to retake the Fort at St. Vincennes—a settlement he would later refer to as “a refuge for debtors and Vagabonds from Canada.”
Archibald Thomson stated that he had “enter’d a Volunteer in the Detroit Militia and was three months with Govr Hamilton on his expedition to post St. Vincennes.” Hamilton’s advanced party left Detroit on 24 Sept 1778 to prepare the carrying place between the Maumee and Wabash Rivers. They were followed by the main party on the 7th October. During the travel to St. Vincennes the carpenters repaired the carriages and constructed wagons at Miamis Town.
Fort Sackville was recaptured the 17th December and over the next two months a well was dug within the picketed walls and the fortifications strengthened with two blockhouses and other alterations. At the end of December, about 57 men were discharged and allowed to return to Detroit. Their discharge was post-dated to the 24th of January and they were given 10 days provisions for their journey back to the Miamis.
Based on subsequent events, Archibald Thomson was likely discharged at that time. When a force led by Lt.-Col. George Rogers Clark arrived 23 Feb 1779 the rebuilding effort was incomplete. Clark’s siege, combined with major deficiencies in the Fort’s design and the local militia siding against the British, resulted in Lt.-Gov. Hamilton capitulating. At 10 am the next day the garrison marched out with fixed bayonets and surrendered to Clark. On March 8th the 27 principal prisoners, including Lt.-Gov. Hamilton, his loyal officers, and Amos Ansley (Master Carpenter), were sent to Williamsburg VA. The French Volunteers from the Fort Sackville garrison were dismissed by Lt.-Col. George Rogers Clark.
Subsequent to his return to Detroit, Thomson became involved with the merchant trade and began operating a trading company called Thomson and Company. By 1780 he had relocated to Carlton Island in the St Lawrence River and was trading merchandise both there and at Detroit.
At Carleton Island he was supplying both the troops and the Navy. In early May 1780 Thomson requested permission to transport merchandise from Carleton Island to Detroit. Most of the shipment destined for Detroit was liquor: 2000 gallons for his company, 25 barrels for Alexander Maisonville, and 9 barrels for White and Lyons. There was also a further 500 gallons that would remain for consumption at Carleton Island.
Gen. Haldimand considered Thomson to be a sutler to the soldiers and that the quantity of rum he requested to move to be excessive since “the purchasers are chiefly soldiers … are [already] allowed as much of that pernicious article, as can be necessary for them, out of the King’s store.” Concerned that the service of the soldiers and the Indigenous Allies would suffer with the quantity of spirits involved, Haldimand limited Thomson’s shipment of rum to six or seven barrels.
On 27 Jul 1781 Archibald Thomson married Elizabeth McKay in Québec City; she was a daughter of Hugh McKay Assistant Commissary and acting Barrack Master in the 1st Battalion KRRNY stationed at Carleton Island. Elizabeth and her mother Mary were trading spirits and dry goods alongside the garrison.
Archibald Thomson continued supplying the troops from Carleton Island and by 1782 he was also operating out of Niagara. That year he requested permission to expand his base of operation to trade with the Indigenous Peoples at Toronto.
Thomson continued trading for the remainder of the War. He and his family (wife, son, and daughter) were enumerated on the October 1784 provision list for Cataraqui Township No. 3. Archibald was listed as having been discharged 23 Sept 1778 from the 2nd Battalion KRRNY indicating that Thomson had been sutler/supplier to that unit.
An additional notation on the 1784 provision list indicated he was at Niagara. There he was involved with the merchant trade and, quite likely, assisting with the erection of homes and buildings for the new settlers.
By the next year the family were back in Cataraqui and again listed on the 1785 provisioning list for Township No. 3. Thomson and his family (wife, son, and two daughters) were also recorded on the Township 3 provisioning list for mid-summer 1786.
The post-war activities of Archibald Thomson, the Carpenter/Merchant, will be featured in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
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Loyalist Certificates Issued
The publicly available list of certificates issued since 2012 is now updated to end of November 30, 2023.
When a certificate is added there, it is also recorded in the record for the Loyalist Ancestor in the Loyalist Directory.

Scholarships ! Help Get the Word Out
The value of financial support for graduate students cannot be overstated. The difficulty in alerting qualified graduate student to apply for that financial aid is made somewhat easier with today’s social media options such as Twitter, Facebook. Regular publications such as Loyalist Trails, Loyalist Gazette and branch newsletters also help to get the word out. However, readers…. you can also help.
The UELAC Loyalist Scholarship is available to Masters and PhD students who are undertaking a program in relevant research. This topic should further Canada’s understanding of the Loyalists and our appreciation of their, or their immediate descendants, influence on Canada.
If you have a contact in an academic institution on either side of the border please think about forwarding the UELAC web address that contains the scholarship details –
The deadline for scholarship applications for 2024 is February 28, 2024. Sincere thanks to committee volunteers and to the UELAC members and financial supporters of the Loyalist Scholarship program
The scholarship committee is under the care and guidance of the following who are all UELAC members: Tom Compeau, Heather Smith, Jayne Leake and me.
Happy New Year, Christine Manzer UE, Chair: UELAC Scholarship Committee

Hessian Soldiers Travelling to America: Describing Philadelpia Jan 1778
From a Hessian Diary of the American Revolution.
This excerpt from the diary of Johan Conrad Dohla (170 pages).

1778 – January description of Philadephia (Continued – page 49)
This pitching of hay is not to be understood, however, as like what happens in the month of July in the fields and meadows at home, for it is only of such hay and forage as the officers buy in the surrounding area and transport back to town themselves, since as little grass grows in America during the winter as at home. It was comical to see when the soldiers sent out on these buying trips returned to the city in a caravan, because often two or three hundred wagons entered so close to one another that a man could not pass between them. The main loads consisted of hay, straw, and grain, alongside miscellaneous loads of barrels, geese, chickens, pigs, and such. It was often funny when the blacks on the hay wagons held the reins of the horses in the right hand and drove with a solemn expression while under the left arm they carried one or two young pigs, which emitted loud cries and complained about the bad, bad times and their fate.
The rebels often visited while we were in and near Philadelphia, but they were welcomed and handled in such a manner that their coming and going was more a spectral appearance than a warlike maneuver. Surrounding the city from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill, fourteen defensive positions were established, from which one could protect the other. Each was occupied by a captain, two lieutenants, and fifty men, who were relieved every day. On one side lay the English Grenadiers and Light Infantry, which was an exceptionally fine corps of troops taken from all the regiments, and on the other side the Hessian Grenadiers in barracks as a reserve. It must indeed make a fearful sight when the army is set in motion.
General Howe is an intelligent man, daily more highly thought of by the army the more they get to know him. He exactly and sharply ensures that his orders are fully carried out, always shows his knowledge of the art of war and, at the same time, his philanthropy. He looks after everything and allows only the best-quality necessities to be delivered. He was a man without pride or arrogance, despite his many and important responsibilities and duties, so sociable and out-going that he seldom missed the daily social gatherings, balls, comedies, and other such activities.
2 January. Corporal [Johann Wolf] Haberland, of Eyb Company, died in the field hospital at Philadelphia.
5 January. I went across the Schuylkill River on a work detail. We had to cut firewood for the regiment.
7 January. I was with a large command sent over the Schuylkill River to protect the woodcutters.
8 January. I went on the city watch at the new prison, where many American captives are confined. General Washington had this strong and well-guarded building constructed.
12 January. In the morning I marched out with the reserve to an execution. An English soldier, who had disobeyed and attacked his captain, was hanged.
18 January. Today was the birthday of the Queen of England, and this was celebrated here in a festive manner.
19 January. I sent a letter to my parents.
(to be continued)

Advertised on 6 January 1774: “Favour of the different Societies”
What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

“They now beg the Favour of the different Societies … That they would send the ANTHEMS, usually sung, that they may be inserted.”

Alexander Robertson, James Robertson, and John Trumull, the printers of the Norwich Packet, placed a notice in their own newspaper to announce that “an Elegant Edition of DR. WATTS’s PSALMS, with several Anthems,” was “NOW IN THE PRESS.” It was not too late for customers to qualify for the bargain price, “no more than one Shilling and eight Pence,” as long as they reserved their copies “before they are published” and offered for sale to the general public. In addition, “Those who take twelve Copies shall have one gratis.” Printers sometimes offered such discounts to retailers who purchased in volume to sell again, though in this case the Robertsons and Trumbull likely had congregations in mind as well. Read more…

Loyalist Gazette, Printed Copies
The Fall 2023 issue of the Loyalist Gazette was mailed over Christmas.
Lots of good reading from Guest Editor Stephen Davidson UE and the whole Gazette team under Bill Russell UE, Chair of the Communications Team.
Bill, from Moncton New Brunswick, indicates that his issue arrived mid-week. As a member in October 2023, if you requested a paper copy, you should have received it by now, or will do so in the next short while.
The digital copy is available for all members who log in, from the Members’ page.

From the Social Media and Beyond

Last Post: DARGATZ UE, Shirley Anne – 24 February 1937 – 31 December 2023

On December 31st, 2023, our much treasured Sister, Aunt, and Matriarch of the Thornton family, Shirley Anne Dargatz, has gone to dance and sing in the angels choir with her Lord.
Born in Chilliwack, BC, she was nearing her 87th birthday. Funeral Services will be held at Carman United Church on January 13, 2024 at 1:00pm, with a reception to follow at Bridlewoods Event Center (Chilliwack Lake Rd).
Shirley was predeceased by her loving husband, Kenneth Dargatz (2020); Father Russell Thornton (1982) and mother Constance Thornton (1995).
Shirley devoted her life to her family, Carman United Church, her community and country. Her grandparents were pioneers of Chilliwack United and in 1898 founding members of Carman United. Shirley was an integral member of her church, served on a myriad of committees and was honoured with the church naming her to be a Trustee Mentor.
She taught 32 years of her 35 years at Sardis Sr. Secondary School, in English, Social Studies, Physical Education and grade 12 counsellor. Her impact on her fellow teachers and students was profound and she was known to be the students favourite teacher. Shirley maintained friendships with her fellow teachers for the duration of her life.
Shirley was awarded “Chilliwack’s Woman of the Year” (1997) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). In 2000 she received the Betty Urquhart Service award for her commitment to changing lives and building community. She was past president of the United Empire Loyalist Chilliwak Branch and had a deep passion for learning about her Loyalist roots.
Along with teaching, Shirley enjoyed expressing her beauty and creative side when she became a Mary Kay consultant. She continued to impact the lives of people she came in contact with and her fellow Mary Kay consultants for several decades. More details, donations, service etc at Henderson’s Funeral Homes.

Shirley was the recipient of the UELAC Dorchester Award in 2012.

Shirley retired from being the President of the Chilliwack Branch in March of 2018. But was always available to the management team in the capacity of Past President.
She lost her husband of over 60 years in 2020 and moved into a seniors care centre in 2022.
Rest in Peace Shirley, your journey is over and you are now back with Ken.
Marlene Dance UE, President, Chilliwack Branch

Last Post: STENNETT UE, Gloria Louise
Gloria passed peacefully at Granite Landing in Cambridge on December 29 in her 92nd year. Beloved wife of the late Richard (2011) with whom she shared 59 years of marriage. She is the beloved daughter of the late Lyle (Josh) Meredith and Edna Silverthorne and her dear stepmother Florence Spackman Meredith. Also predeceased by her brother Bob Martin.
Loving and cherished mother of – Melanie and Murray Cornwell: Paul and Megan (Aidan and James), Teresa and Ali Williams (Isaac and Solomon), Sarah Cornwell and Junsik Jun, Emily and Geoff Dietrich (Jack and Elyse) – Lisa Fletcher: (Jeremy and fiancée Alexandra, Gillian and Chad McCarthy (Keira) – Susan and Marc Tremblay (Tyler). Gloria is remembered by her sister Pat Hanley, and the Martin, Hanley and Harrison nieces and nephews who had a special place in her heart.
Former Support Services Manager at Madame Vanier Children’s Services. She was a devoted member of St. John the Evangelist Church in London serving as the People’s Warden and Altar Guild President. Mom was a scholarly genealogist researching over a dozen of our families and volunteering countless hours to the London Genealogy Library for which she was recognized by the Ontario Genealogical Society. rier and Zeus the Poodle. They were her constant and loved companions.
Gloria spent a wonderful Christmas celebration on Saturday enjoying her grand and great grandchildren drinking wine, eating chocolates, turkey, and having fun with the family. We were blessed to have her for 91 years living by her motto “the more the merrier!”
More details, service, donations etc. Harris Funeral Home, London ON

Gloria proved Loyalict ancestry to Henry Buchner Sr., Benjamin Fairchilds Sr., Charles Green, and Hendrick Nelles.
Carol Childs UE, President, London and Western Ontario Branch

Editor’s Note: Wishing you the best of health and happiness for 2024.
As anticipated, this is once more an abbreviated issue.
A year ago we had planned a cruise half a world away, from Sydney Australia to Bali. Somewhere along the way, plans changed.
Still almost half a world away. I would never have guessed that in the first week of 2024 I would experience zodiac and small boat excursions, zodiac landings, kayaking and a submarine experience all while on an expedition to the land of penguins, seals, whales, icebergs, glaciers, endless snow and daily high temperatures within a couple of degrees of freezing, plus or minus. For such novelties – to me anyway – this trip to Antarctica is unique.
As we expect to arrive home late in the week, I anticipate another short newsletter next week.

Published by the UELAC
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