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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2006 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2006-44 November 19, 2006


Loyalist Pets, by Stephen Davidson

As I have researched the life and times of my thirteen loyalist ancestors, I have been struck by the lack of any references to the cats or dogs they may have had as pets. Compensation claims to the British government list sheep, cattle, horses, and other farm animals among the lost livestock taken by rebels, but animal companions in the home seem unworthy of mention. In fact, in all of my loyalist research, I have only come across three references to dogs and cats -- and most of those were rather tragic.

Mary Fisher was just a young girl when her family sought refuge in New Brunswick. (Her memoirs are recorded in the Collections of The New Brunswick Historical Society, No. 10 (Saint John, NB.: Bames & Co., Limited, Prince William Street, 1919). Mary's father was "a loyalist who bore arms" from New York. He and his family settled in a small community on the St. John River that would one day become Fredericton. As an elderly grandmother, Mary recounted that "There were no domestic animals in our settlement at first except one black and white cat, which was a great pet. Some wicked fellows, who came from the States, killed, roasted and ate the cat, to our great indignation."

This cat's short life tells us a few things about the loyalists. Cats were held in great affection by the settlers, and therefore must have been appreciated in colonial life before the outbreak of the revolution. Given that there was a cat in early Fredericton, it is clear that the ships which brought loyalist refugees to the northern British colonies carried pets along with their passengers.

Man's best friend fared no better than his feline counterpart in the records of the period. Benjamin Marston was a Massachusetts loyalist who kept his dog, Tiger, by his side on his many sea voyages. (click here for the full narrative) In early December, his ship became stuck in the ice off of Cape Canso, Nova Scotia. Marston and his crew abandoned ship and decided to make their way to Halifax overland on foot. His tail wagging -- with no idea of the perilous journey ahead of him -- Tiger followed Marston and the crew through the forest. The next few weeks were miserable and cold; the provisions from the ship eventually were all been used up. Marston's journal tells the rest of the story.

"Friday, 28. Today so lame, I could go no further, so parted with my people, who left me very unwillingly. Gave them my share of Tiger, whom we killed last night, poor, faithful animal. I lay in the woods two days and two nights, with no other sustenance than some dried moose, when I was relieved by the mate and two Indians. After my people left me they travelled one day before they came across signs of the Indians. The second day they heard their dogs, and soon after discovered them. The Indians received them with great kindness, and treated them with the utmost care and hospitality."

Poor Tiger! At least he was a meal for men he knew and loved. It is interesting to note that the M'kmaq men who rescued Marston's crew had dogs of their own. Whether one of these ever came to replace Benjamin Marston's faithful friend is not recorded.

The only happy reference to loyalist pets that I have found that is one recorded in the journal of Lieutenant John Clarkson. This English abolitionist was in charge of organizing the expedition of Black Loyalists which left Halifax for Sierra Leone in 1792. (His complete journal can be found online at the website for the Black Loyalist Heritage Society of Nova Scotia.)

On November 18, 1791 Clarkson issued a number of instructions for a Mr. Wickham who had been sent to Shelburne, Nova Scotia to oversee the evacuation of free blacks from Birchtown and the surrounding area. Clarkson's journal reveals a kind-hearted man who did all that he could to help a group of loyalists which he felt had been poorly treated by both Britain and Nova Scotia. He obviously understood what it was like to have a pet. His instructions to Wickham included the following permission:

"I think a dog should be allowed if they ask it, to every six families, probably there may not be applications to that amount. I have promised the following people that they shall carry their dogs: David George, Stephen Trickley, a dog and a puppy, John Thomas & Henry. Pigs ought not to be suffered to come into the ship. Fowls may be allowed but no tables or chairs."

It is comforting to know that man's best friend was given a higher priority than furniture or pigs when it came to filling the holds of the fleet for Sierra Leone. Although the entry is brief, it once again allows us to see that dog ownership was common among loyalists, whatever their race, and that Clarkson anticipated that people would want to bring their beloved canines with them.

Though the evidence is scant, it is sufficient to allow us to imagine that no matter what trails the loyalist refugees travelled in their lifetimes, their journeys were made a little more bearable thanks to the company of cats and dogs.

...Stephen Davidson, Author of the forthcoming e-book, One Thread in the Tapestry, and a confirmed animal lover

Loyalist Directory Update: John Collard

Information about Loyalist John Collard has been contributed by Kim Hurst UE Bicentennial Branch and the record on him in the Loyalist Directory has been updated.

William and Martha Casey House Project Underway: Bay of Quinte Branch

The Bay of Quinte Branch $200,000 project to reconstruct the Loyalist William and Martha Casey House is well under way. Phases one and two of the archeological assessment are almost complete. Once an archeological report is submitted and approved by Ontario Heritage Trust we can move to the next step. In the spring of 2007 a foundation will be dug and reconstruction of the timbers will begin. A successful completion of the project will see the official opening of the Loyalist museum during the 2009 Dominion Conference hosted by UELAC Bay of Quinte Branch. The Casey House will then become a central part of the Loyalist Settlement Experience Exhibit.

...Brandt Zetterberg, U.E. Executive Director, U.E.L. Heritage Centre & Park (a preservation project of UELAC Bay of Quinte Branch)

A Loyalist Saluted: Bertha Brown UE (from the Guardian 9 Nov. 2006)

Rotarians warmly salute Second World War combat nurse

Bertha brown left P.E.I. School of Nursing for duty overseas in battle hospiatls in England, Holland and Belgium

Remembering the heroes of war can mean a multimillion-dollar construction project for a battlefield monument, or it can mean warm applause for a long retired combat nurse.

Members of the Charlottetown Rotary Club held their annual Remembrance Day event Monday with a dinner that spoke of recognition at the individual and the multinational level.

With guests that included Lt.-Gov. Barbara Hagerman, Premier Pat Binns, veterans, cadets and members of of P.E.I.'s military forces, the Rotarians spent a few moments remembering the dead and thinking about Canadian soldiers now risking their lives in Afghanistan.

Rotarian Tom DeBlois said he was proud to be a child and grandchild of veterans and impressed to see today's youth still willing to answer the call.

"I am part of a younger generation that has been fortunate not to have had to make the kind of choices our fathers made, but there's a younger generation now that does have to make that decision," he said.

Much of the meeting was devoted to honouring Bertha Brown, the former Lt. Bertha Thompson, who left the P.E.I. School of Nursing and signed up for duty in the Second World War battle hospitals in England, Holland and Belgium.

Brown married another veteran , raised a family after the war and worked for decades as a pediatric nurse in Charlottetown, but she said the war years are still a big part of her.

"I feel that I'm accepting this today on behalf of all the nursing sisters who served in World War II," she said.

The larger scale gestures of remembrance were highlighted when the director general of the Canada Remembers division of Veteran Affairs Canada talked about the $30 million project to restore European monuments, the National Vimy Memorial in northern France, site of the historic battle of Vimy Ridge.

"Canada has control of 80 percent of the First World War battlefields under preservation," said Derek Sullivan. "We consider it a tremendous responsibility."

The project is expected to be complete by April 2007. "We're looking at approximately 100 years before this kind of work would have to be done again," said Sullivan.

[Bertha Brown UE of Charlottetown is treasurer of Abegweit Branch]

[submitted by Ruth MacDonald UE, President, Abegweit Br.]

Let us Remember too Those Who Helped Out on the Home Front

Regarding all the Veterans' honors given out on November 11 each year, they earned every bit of the thanks we have bestowed on them - medals, speeches, parades, flowers and more.

I had two U.of Toronto engineering degree brothers, like me of UE and Palatine Immigrant descent, through Major Henry Nelles of the Canadian Indian Department, who were veterans - one in the RCAF, and one in the RCA. I am very proud of them.

But I would like to add a word on behalf of my oldest brother, with the same credentials, who represented men with top skills, already employed when World War II was declared and who were not allowed to leave their highly technical jobs and join one of the armed forces. In short, they were frozen in industry where they were desperately needed to supply the where-with-all for maintaining the country and the troops.

They worked at the low-level paychecks of the time - $25.00 per week for graduate engineers; and not allowed advancement by being able to move to another company. Where my brother worked, they had a piece of the research and preparation for the Manhattan Project - now recognized as the atomic bomb. There was risk there too…such as when an experiment was being made with a blast furnace, my brother's supervisor advised him that "if an explosion seems imminent, do not to get between me and the exit".

At the end of the war when they could be released for additional graduate university training, there were no veterans' benefits to help pay the cost, and no assurance of a job to return to.

When they applied to universities, they could be told that the graduate slots were being reserved for returning veterans.

After finally securing a Masters Degree at the California Institute of Technology and returning to Canada my brother was again offered wages below industry standards elsewhere, and actually told that he should be grateful for the experience. It is no wonder there was a brain-drain in Canada. Robert Fairbank Cline persevered in his chosen profession in the USA, his excellent work in one job qualifying him for additional projects with other companies with almost no time between contracts, being called in for consultation when staff engineers couldn't find a solution. He remained in demand until he was 81 years of age.

Let us grant some HONORS to this other group, represented by a University of Toronto Graduate, of American Palatine descent with United Empire Loyalist credentials in his family history.

...Doris Cline Ward, Asheville, NC

Phillip Edward Meric Leith

LEITH _ Phillip Edward Meric "Trustee to the end" yet "press on regardless"...... We are saddened at the sudden loss of Squadron Leader Phillip Edward Meric Leith of West Vancouver who passed away peacefully at Lions Gate Hospital on November 14th, 2006. Born in Toronto on June 19th, 1914 to Olga Renfrew Schwartz Leith and Thomas Geoffry Leith OBE, brother to the late Thelma Wall. Educated at Wixenford (Ludgrove) and Eton, Phillip later worked at the Royal Bank. During World War II as a Navigator in the RCAF, he completed a full tour of 30 operations and was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) by King George VI in 1942. In 1944, after spending the year as an Aide-de-camp to the Governor General, the Earl of Athlone and Princess Alice at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, he wanted a second RCAF tour and returned to Europe for the duration of the War. After the War, Phillip received concurrent degrees in Agriculture and Commerce from UBC followed up by a Masters in Agriculture from the U of A. Over the next 60 years, when not found in West Vancouver, Phillip worked his beloved farms in Scotland. Proud of his life long bachelor status, Phillip held strong views on many subjects. Passionate about the Christian faith, his family roots, the UEL and the Christian British Israel World Federation, Phillip was an animated storyteller with a great sense of humour. Frugal in his own demands, Phillip was a very generous and charitable man. Always appreciating nature's beauty, he loved to watch the birds, the changing seasons and his Aberdeen Rose. Phillip will be sadly missed by friends and family including his nieces Jane Nicolai and Susan Hoffman, nephews Richard and Thomas Wall in South Africa, cousins Felix Meister of Vancouver Island, Angela Ritchie and family of Two Mountains, Quebec, the Cox-Rogers family and extended family in London, UK. Special thanks to Phillip's many caregivers for their kind and compassionate care.

[from the Vancouver Sun, 11/17/2006; submitted by Carl Stymiest UE, Vancouver Branch]

Robert Morden UE

Noted in the Woodstock Sentinel Review that Mr. Robert Morden has passed away. He was a member, and Past President from 1984 to 1986 of the Grand River Branch UELAC. Mr. Morden died in Woodstock, where the funeral and burial were held.

In his memory, The Grand River Branch will donate a book connected to Loyalist history to the Norfolk Historical Society's collection in the Loyalist Library in Eva Brook Donly Museum, 109 Norfolk Street Simcoe."

...Ellen Tree UE

Duncan MacDonald

A genealogist of UEL and Clan Donald has passed away. For details and photo of Duncan MacDonald, visit the Irvine Funeral Home site and click on Online Condolences. He was a great piper who lead us at many a dinner.

On Wednesday, November 15, 2006 in hospital, Duncan William MacDonald at the age of 72 years. Beloved husband of 49 years to Irene (Wheeler). Proud father of five children, Pamela Earle (Tom), Duncan MacDonald (Charlotte), Robert MacDonald (Dagmar), Heather Stubbins (John) and Sandra MacDonald (Bill Carrigg). Brother of Bernard (Joan), and Brian (Darlene) MacDonald. Predeceased by his parents, Donald and Margaret MacDonald (Tyo), a brother Gordon MacDonald and parents-in-law, Lloyd and Doris Wheeler.

In remembrance donations to the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund, or the St. John Bosco Parish Mortgage Fund will be gratefully acknowledged.

...Michael C Eamer,CD,UE

Carol Elizabeth Taggart

TAGGART, Carol Elizabeth Passed away peacefully with her loving Partner and best friend - Greg Fontaine - by her side on November 11, 2006 at the age of 67 years. Loving mother of Jane, Marcy, John Paul and the late Beckey. Dear grandmother to Cory, Christopher, Magurite, Benjamin and Hannah. Will be sadly missed by Mei Li. Carol was proud to be a descendent of the Mayflower Association Society as well as a United Empire Loyalist.

(Carol was descended from Captain John Smith. I remember her interest in Brant County where she was raised and where her Loyalist ancestors had settled. Carol was an absolute ball of energy, all packed into a very tiny frame, a fun person. During her last several years, she was unable to participate in branch activities, something she said she regretted.)

[submitted by Joyce Stevens]

14 November 1761, Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Verendrye (Globe & Mail)

Fur trader, explorer and soldier born at Ile aux Vaches, Que., on Nov. 9, 1717.

The youngest of four sons of the famed fur trader and explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Verendrye, he likely received the usual elementary education until 1734, when his father instructed him "to learn mathematics and drawing, so that he will be able to map accurately the regions to be explored." Within six months, he organized his first expedition to the west. In 1738, he accompanied his father to the Missouri River near present-day Bismarck, N.D. In 1739, he explored Lake Winnipeg and, five years later, led the first European exploration to the Great Plains as far as Big Horn Mountains in present-day Wyoming. Liked and trusted by France's Indian allies, he played an important role in the defence of Lake Champlain in the Seven Years War. In 1761, he set off for France on business and died in the wreck of the Auguste off the coast of Cape Breton.

15 November 1813, Leonard Covington (Globe & Mail)

Soldier, landowner and politician born in Prince George's County, Md, Oct. 20 1768.

Raised on a plantation in privileged circumstances, he fought in various Indian wars with distinction and later won election to the U.S. Congress. At the outbreak of the War of 1812, he rejoined the U.S. army, and was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general and received command of the 25th Infantry. His regiment was part of an ambitious invasion of Canada under the command of Major General James Wilkinson. The 5,000 strong army had sailed down the St. Lawrence River with plans to capture Montreal and cut off strategic support to Upper Canada. Obliged to portage near what is now Morrisburg, Ont. the army was harassed by a small Canadian and British force of about 1,000 men. Covington led an attack on the vastly outnumbered but highly trained and disciplined defenders. During what is now known as the Battle of Crysler's farm, his forces were out-manoeuvred and he was shot from his horse. He later died of his wounds. The defeat caused President James Madison to rethink the conquest of Canada and the invaders withdrew across the river to the safety of New York state. Nearby Fort Covington N.Y. is named for him.

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