In this issue:


Editor’s note: As we are at the UELAC Conference this weekend, I started developing this issue early in the week. Sometime Saturday a technical + finger issue stole away what had been developed thus far. As a result this is a last-minute and very shortened issue. Hopefully I will be able to resolve the issue and return to a more normal issue for next week. ….doug

The Loyalist Association of London. Part One of Two
copyright Stephen Davidson UE
        No matter the time or place, it is a truth of the human condition that “misery loves company”.  If you were a Loyalist who had found refuge in London, England during the American Revolution, you sought out the company of fellow refugees at the Loyalist Association.  This club was comprised of anywhere from 25 to 29 members depending on the year in which one attended the weekly meetings. This is the story of 15 of those members.
Known variously as the Brompton Row Tory Club, the Loyalist Club, the Loyalist Association – and sometimes the New England Club — this home-away-from-home for Yankee Loyalists formed early in 1776. The club met in a private home in the Brompton district of London, a part of the city where a number of displaced Loyalists had found living quarters.
The members of this fraternity gathered for two reasons: conversation and dinner. They were far from their homes, often separated from their families, and disconnected from the networks of influence and commerce they had once known.
In addition to the gossip of the week and a discussion of the latest headlines, political questions were the focus of the Loyalist Association’s conversations. How would the revolution be resolved? What would life be like in its aftermath?  And sometimes the members just wanted the sympathetic ear of someone who shared their overwhelming homesickness.
Walter Barrell was a Loyalist for at least two reasons. The former inspector-general of customs for the port of Boston had been an employee of the British government, and so his livelihood was attached to the existence of a united empire. But Barrell, his wife, and their four children were also Sandemanians, a Calvinist sect that believed obedience to the king was as binding on them as the injunction to fear God. They could not in good conscience, therefore, join the Patriot cause. This faith-based loyalty made them the objects of rebel violence, and so they became refugees of the revolution.
The Barrell family was among the 1,100 Loyalists who left Boston for the safety of Halifax, Nova Scotia in March of 1776. In the summer of that year, they set sail for England. Walter joined the Loyalist Association soon after.
One of the most prestigious Bostonians to attend the weekly Loyalist Association dinners was John Singleton Copley, the famous artist.  Once his loyalist political views were known, Copley left Massachusetts in 1774 for Italy. Two years later, he was in London where he quickly became a much sought-after painter. He died in England, September 1815, aged seventy-eight.
Edward Oxnard had been a merchant in the town of Falmouth (today’s Portland, Maine) before the outbreak of the revolution. Following the British naval attack on Falmouth, Oxnard sought sanctuary in London. With him were his wife Mary, and his sons, William, Edward, John, and one daughter. Although Massachusetts’ rebel government “proscribed and banished” Oxnard in 1778, he was able to return to Falmouth, where he became an auctioneer and commission merchant. He died on July 2, 1803.
Jonathan Bliss of Springfield, Massachusetts had served as a member of the general court of his colony before being condemned by Patriots in 1778.  Just 36 years old at the time, Bliss sought sanctuary in England, and soon joined other New Englanders in the Loyalist Association. After the war was over, he settled in the new colony of New Brunswick where he eventually became its Chief Justice.
The historian Phillip Buckner has noted that Bliss’ was not content in “this wretched corner of his Majesty’s Dominions” and that “New Brunswick was for Bliss, as it was for many of the loyalists whose careers had been shattered by the American revolution, a poor second choice.
Like Bliss, Sampson Salter Blowers was born in Massachusetts and educated at Harvard. A lawyer, he defended the British soldiers who were accused of murder in the infamous Boston Massacre. When the rebel government closed the courts, Blowers and his wife Sarah sailed to sanctuary in England. They managed to live on a bequest Sarah had received as well as Blowers’ savings. But life in England was difficult, and so when the British occupied Newport, Rhode Island, the couple returned to the New World. On a visit to Boston he was imprisoned, and then freed in a prisoner exchange.
Finally, in 1783, after postings on both sides of the Atlantic, Blowers and his wife settled in Halifax. He eventually became Nova Scotia’s chief justice. He died on October 25, 1842, seven months after his 100th birthday.
Before being labelled a traitor by Massachusetts’ Patriot government, Harrison Gray had been both the receiver-general and a mandamus councillor for the colony. He and his family were among the Loyalists who left Boston for Halifax in March of 1776. While poorer Loyalists had no option but to remain in Nova Scotia, Gray ‘s family were among the passengers on the six vessels that arrived in England on June 10, 1776.
The historian Lorenzo Sabine summed up Gray as a “timid man; and was accused of being on both sides in politics, according as he met Whig or Tory.” Although Gray would never see Massachusetts again, his daughter returned to Boston; her son would become a statesman in the new republic.
It was not uncommon for members of London’s Loyalist Association to abandon life as refugees and return to their homeland. Massachusetts had condemned and banished David Greene in 1778, but by 1789, it had restored his citizenship. It may be that his network of friends helped him to reintegrate into Massachusetts society. A contemporary said of Greene, “Very few persons have passed through life so much beloved and esteemed as Mr. Greene, by a numerous circle of friends and acquaintance… he was justly considered, both at home and abroad, as one of the most accomplished gentlemen of New England. He was for many years a distinguished merchant, and was alike esteemed for his integrity and his attention to business.” David Greene died in 1812 at the age of 63.
Ward Nicholas Boylston also hailed from Boston, where his father was one of the commissioners of customs. A traveller, Boylston eventually made his circuitous way to London after visiting Newfoundland, Italy, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, the Barbary Coast, France and Flanders. At one gathering with his fellow Loyalist exiles, he showed them the curiosities that he brought from the Middle East.
Boylston was able to return to Boston in 1800. Ten years later, this world traveller presented Harvard University with a valuable collection of medical and anatomical works and engravings. He died at Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1828, aged seventy-eight.
This series on the members of London’s wartime Loyalist Association will conclude in next week’s Loyalist Trails.
To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at


Eight Clues: Recovering a Life in Fragments, Arthur Bowler in Slavery and Freedom
by Jane Lancaster 6 June 2024 Journal of the American Revolution
In January 1792 forty-three-year-old Arthur Bowler left Halifax, Nova Scotia, on his second Transatlantic journey. Captured in Africa almost thirty years earlier, enslaved in Newport, Rhode Island, for nearly twenty years, a free man for ten, he was returning to Africa.
He left fragmentary clues buried in archives on three continents which illuminate an “ordinary” person caught up in extraordinary circumstances. While he was not a major historical figure, leaving no personal papers or images, fighting in no wars, these clues allow insight into slavery in urban New England before and during the American Revolution. They also illustrate the dislocations and opportunities resulting from American independence, as well as the complex and intertwined worlds of abolition and empire.
Bowler’s experience contributes to the growing scholarship on Loyalists and also complicates the treatment of the “back to Africa” movement, often seen as a negative step for formerly enslaved people.

First clue: Cesar Lyndon’s Account and Memorandum Book 1765.
Our first glimpse of Arthur is when his name appears in an account book. On July 8, 1765 Cesar Lyndon wrote: “To cash to Arter Bowler for ye ordr [. . .] or 18/ & 2 Coppers 1—0—6.”  Arthur was selling something to the enslaved and literate Cesar Lyndon in Newport, Rhode Island. Read more…


France Pays Tribute to Benjamin Franklin
by Bob Ruppert 3 June 2024 Jpournal of the American Revolution
Benjamin Franklin died at his home in Philadelphia at eleven o’clock p.m. on April 17, 1790; he was eighty-four years old. On June 4, Benjamin Vaughan, a doctor, Member of Parliament and friend of Franklin, wrote to the Duc de la Rochefoucauld, another friend of Franklin. In his letter that arrived on June 10, he informed Rochefoucauld of Franklin’s death:

    “His funeral was attended by every person, public & private of any consequence or description, the procession being ½ an English mile in length, & viewed by such a concourse of people as was probably never before assembled in America . . . I know no person, among those not belonging to the British empire, who will leave more friends to regret him in it. . . . Your grace will indulge me by communication news of Dr. Franklin’s death to the Marquis de LaFayette. Mons. De Mirabeau . . . and such of his friends as it more immediately concerns”

The three men decided that the Assemblee Nationale needed to be informed; they decided that Mirabeau would speak for them. On the morning of June 11, 1790, the Assemblee Nationale was about to adjourn when Mirabeau asked to be heard; his request was granted. His first three words were “FRANKLIN est mort.” His speech was brief but well prepared. At the end of the eulogy,
The National Assembly decree[d], that their Members shall wear, during three days, mourning for Benjamin Franklin, to commence on Monday next (June 14), – that the discourse, pronounced on this occasion, be printed; and that the President write to the American Congress, in the name of the National Assembly.
That same night the Generale de la Commune de Paris passed a motion that the Assemblee should “consecrate the memory of Benjamin Franklin with a historical eulogy.” Abbe Claude Fauchet was chosen to deliver the eulogy and a committee was chosen to select the place. Read more…

Events Upcoming

McCAW’S ADOLPHUSTOWN ADVENTURE 2024, June 13-17, Adolphustown ON

Re-enactment encampment on the grounds of the UEL Heritage Centre & Park, Adolphustown. Celebrating the 240th anniversary of the Loyalist Landing. This will be  a civilian camp with traces of military and naval influence. There will be historical wooden boats propelled with oar and sail, ongoing camp life, demonstrations, crafts and cooking and period sutlers selling a variety of goods. For the first time ever seen, we are offering a period barber with special skills. (See next item for Sunday service and Loyalist Day flag raising.  The camp is open to the public 10 am – 5 pm. Adult entrance fee $5.
Visit THE UNITED EMPIRE LOYALIST HERITAGE CENTRE AND PARK for directins, camping information etc

The Revolutionary War Conference 250 in the Mohawk Valley – June 14-16, 2024

Johnstown, NY
Bus Tour – “1774: The Rising Tide”  Friday 14 June. (sold out; get on waiting list)
In 1774, the politics of the Revolution had arrived in the Mohawk Valley with a vengeance. At the eastern end of the Mohawk another violent Liberty Pole riot was having a detrimental effect on the local citizens of Schenectady. Meanwhile further west along the Mohawk River, in Johnstown, events took a turn when Sir William Johnson passed away in July, thus starting a new chapter in political unrest.
Speakers include:

  • Mark Edward Lender“Liberty or Death!” – Some Revolutionary Statistics and Existential Warfare
  • John L. SmithThe Unexpected Abigail Adams: A Woman “Not Apt to Be Intimidated”

The Bus Tour (sold out, add to the waiting list) will include several stops in both Schenectady and Johnstown, such as the Schenectady Stockade, Johnson Hall and more. Details and Registration.

Col. John Butler Branch, Loyalist Day (Ontario) Sat 15 June

On Saturday, June 15, 2024 the Colonel John Butler (Niagara) Branch will celebrate our annual United Empire Loyalist Flag Raising at 10 am at the Cenotaph in Niagara-0n-the-Lake  in recognition of United Empire Loyalist Day on June 19th.  The Lord Mayor will proclaim the following week as Loyalist week during which time the Loyalist Flag will be flown.  The Fort George Fife and Drum Corps will perform at the Flag Raising ceremony.  Everyone is invited to come.  Those who have period clothing are encouraged to wear it.  Questions to

ST. ALBAN’S CENTRE, Landing of the Loyalists, Sunday June 16, 11am

COMMEMORATE the 240th ANNIVERSARY of the Landing of the UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS in Adolphustown on June 16, 1784. All Welcome!
Stephen Bruce Medd: In the troubadour tradition of passing on history through song, balladeer Stephen Bruce Medd will bring to life the stories of first peoples, early explorers and settlers through a selection of his compositions inspired by local history and by his own Loyalist roots.
Guest Speaker: Major (Ret’d) Tanya J. Grodzinski, Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Royal Military College of Canada
A Sweets & Savouries Tea at the adjacent Old Adolphustown Town Hall.

Flag-raising Ceremony at the Old UEL Burying Ground at 2pm. Located in the UEL Heritage Centre and Park, a 10-minute walk, parking available
Inquiries: 613-373-8865 or

Loyalist Day in Ontario, Branches (more details later in June)

  • Tuesday 18 June. Toronto and Gov Simcoe Br. Queen’s Park. 12:00
  • Saturday June 22. Grand River Br. 11:00 at Vittoria. Lunch (fee) and program Flyer

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