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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2008 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2008-24: June 15, 2008

Articles

Two Ordinary (Loyalist) Fellows, by Stephen Davidson

One has to wonder what the folks in 1783 considered "ordinary". As British officials recorded the names of Black Loyalists who were sailing for Nova Scotia on board the ship Joseph, they described both Thomas Peters and his friend Murphy Steel as "ordinary fellows". They were anything but!

In 1776, when Peters was 38 and Steel was 27, the two men took advantage of Lord Dunsmore's promise of freedom to anyone enslaved by rebels. They escaped from their masters in Wilmington, North Carolina and joined the Black Pioneers, a unit that had been organized by General Henry Clinton.

In the military jargon of the 18th century, a "pioneer" was a soldier who cleared land, dug latrines, and performed other engineering duties. He did not take up arms and fight. When the British recruited those enslaved by rebels, they allowed them to serve as pioneers, rather than as regular soldiers. Free blacks could be non-commissioned officers, but the commissioned officers were always white. Nevertheless, the Black Pioneers were adequately clothed and fed, treated with respect, and promised freedom at the end of the war. Their numbers never grew to more than 60; new recruits were barely able to replace those who died from smallpox and fatigue.

The Black Pioneers served under Clinton in Rhode Island, New York, Philadelphia, South Carolina, and, finally, in New York City. They were the last unit of colonial soldiers to leave the former British command post with other refugees in August of 1783. After being blown off course by autumn hurricanes they sought refuge in Bermuda. In the spring, the Black Pioneers once again struck out for Nova Scotia.

During the course of the war, Thomas Peters was wounded twice, so his duties must have taken him close to battles. He eventually was made a sergeant. When the Black Pioneers were in South Carolina in 1779, he met and married Sally, a single mother from Charleston.

Murphy Steel (sometimes spelled Stiel) also became a sergeant in the Black Pioneers, serving in the unit from 1776 to 1783. In late July of 1781, Steel had a vision that was so amazing its message was passed along in a letter to General Clinton.

It was noontime in the barracks on New York's Water Street when Steel heard a man's voice call him by name. He was told that General Washington " must surrender himself and his troops to the king's army and that if he did not, the wrath of God would fall upon them."

The voice went on to say that if Washington failed to surrender, then Clinton would raise "all the blacks in America to fight against him". Steel was repeatedly commanded to take the message to Clinton, but he was afraid to do so until finally the voice revealed itself as being the Lord. If Washington did not surrender, Steel was warned, then Clinton and Cornwallis were "to put an end to this rebellion for ... the Lord would be on their side." Things, however, did not work out according to Steel's vision.

Steel eventually married a Black Loyalist woman, sailing with her and his fellow pioneers to Nova Scotia. Only months after the establishment of the black settlement of Brindley Town near Digby, Steel signed a petition with his old friend, Thomas Peters. The men asked the Nova Scotia government to grant Black Loyalists the land to which they were entitled. Racism towards these loyalists was already becoming evident. The Black Pioneers and their families had only been given enough food for 80 days (rather than 3 years), were required to do roadwork to earn their support, and had only been given one-acre lots of land.

Conditions for the Black Pioneers did not improve. Thomas Peters sailed over to New Brunswick to petition for land, but was unsuccessful. Fed up with the inaction of colonial governments, Peters sailed for England in 1790 to seek justice for his people. While there, Peters met abolitionists who wanted to found a colony of free Christian blacks on the west coast of Africa. He had gone to Britain to secure the rights of every Englishman, but Peters returned with the amazing news that all willing Black Loyalists would be freely transported to Sierra Leone where they could enjoy free land, racial equality, and full British rights.

By the fall of 1791, Peters had recruited almost half of the nearly 1,200 emigrants who sailed for Sierra Leone. While John Clarkson had been sent to Nova Scotia to organize the Sierra Leone expedition, Peters was unofficially its second in command. His years of leadership during the revolution and in the postwar settlement of Black Loyalists had certainly qualified him for the post. However, before the 15-ship fleet left Halifax, tension was already growing between the two leaders.

Peters' frustration only increased when he discovered that the British government had appointed white officials to govern Sierra Leone. Within a month of arriving in the colony, Peters angrily confronted Clarkson. The desire for the success of Sierra Leone forced both men to keep cool heads. Peters could not forget the promises that had been made; Clarkson had the Black Pioneer sergeant watched.

A month later, Peters appeared in court. Although he maintained he was reclaiming goods from a dead man's trunk, others accused him of theft. The charges undercut the setters' long held respect and trust of their leader.

On June 25, 1792, Thomas Peters died of fever. Although he died with a tarnished name, the Black Pioneer sergeant deserves to be remembered (in the words of historian James Walker) as a "courageous opponent of injustice and discrimination." He was hardly what anyone could call "ordinary".

History is silent concerning Murphy Steel, the man who heard prophecies of loyalist victory. His last recorded act was the signing of a petition seeking better conditions for his fellow loyalists. It is a legacy that also makes him much more than "an ordinary fellow".

...Stephen Davidson {stephendavids AT gmail DOT com}

[Stephen will generally approve reprints of his articles in other publications, in return for including a bit about him and his books; please feel free to contact him. This applies to most content in Loyalist Trails. -- editor]

Long-lost shipwreck located; HMS Ontario Sank in 1780 in a Storm

A 22-gun British warship, the HMS Ontario, that sank during the American Revolution and has long been regarded as one of the "Holy Grail" shipwrecks in the Great Lakes has been recently discovered at the bottom of Lake Ontario, astonishingly well-preserved in the cold, deep water.

The 80-foot sloop of war is the oldest shipwreck and the only fully intact British warship ever found in the Great Lakes. The sloop was discovered resting partially on its side in an area where the lake is up to 500 feet deep, with its two masts extending more than 70 feet above the lake bottom. The dark, cold freshwater acted as a perfect preservative. At that depth, there is no light or oxygen to hasten decomposition, and little marine life to feed on the wood.

A rare feature tha helped identify the ship was the two crow's nests on each masts. Another was the decoratively carved scroll bow stem. The clincher was the quarter galleries on either side of the stern - a kind of balcony with windows typically placed on the sides of the sterncastle, a high, tower-like structure at the back of a ship that housed the ollicers' quarters. The finders of the wreck said they regard it as a war grave and have no plans to raise it or remove any its artifacts. The ship is still considered the property of the British Admiralty.

On October 31, 1780, the Ontario went down with a garrison of 80 British soldiers, a crew of about 40, mostly Canadians, and possibly about 30 American war prisoners on board. The warship had been launched only five months earlier and was used to ferry troops and supplies along upstate New York's frontier. Although it was the largest British shp on the Great Lakes at the time, it never saw battle. After the ship disappeared, the British conducted a sweeping search of the area, although they tried to keep the sinking secret from General George Washington's troops because of the blow to their defenses.

Click here for the story as reported in the Toronto Star, Jun 13, 2008 by Bill Taylor, Feature Writer.

[submitted by Bill Smy, Bill Glidden and several others]

Government of Canada Supports Shelburne County Archives & Genealogical Society to Celebrate Loyalist Landing

SHELBURNE, Nova Scotia, June 5, 2008 -- The 225th anniversary of the first Loyalists landing in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, will be celebrated, thanks to an investment by the Government of Canada. Gerald Keddy, Member of Parliament (South Shore-St. Margaret's), on behalf of the Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages and Minister for La Francophonie, today announced funding for the Shelburne County Archives and Genealogical Society.

Funding of $4,000 will help the Shelburne County Archives and Genealogical Society present a variety of activities to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Loyalists landing in Shelburne, which is recognized as the first Loyalist settlement in Canada. Celebrations, to be held from June 6 to November 30, 2008, will offer residents and visitors an opportunity to attend concerts and various arts performances, as well as a historic re-enactment and history and heritage conferences.

"The Government of Canada is pleased to announce funding for the Shelburne County Archives and Genealogical Society," said Minister Verner. "We are proud to partner with communities to support activities that celebrate local history, arts, and heritage." "Festivals like this one bring people of all ages and backgrounds together and contribute to the quality of life in our communities," said Mr. Keddy. "I am proud that our Government supports this important initiative that celebrates the richness of our culture and our history."

"The 225th anniversary of the landing of the Loyalists in Shelburne is an important event in our community," said Wallace Buchanan, President of the Shelburne County Archives and Genealogical Society. "Without the incredible work of volunteers and the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, our numerous activities in celebration of this event would not be possible."

The Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage program, announced in September 2007, provides Canadians with more opportunities to take part in local activities that present arts and culture and celebrate local history and heritage. This program will benefit many community events and celebrations in Canada. The Government of Canada is committed to building stronger communities and to providing all Canadians with opportunities to get involved in their communities and in celebrating Canadian arts and heritage.

Book: The Man Who Said No: Reading Jacob Bailey, Loyalist, by Kent Thompson

In this unusual biography of an unusual man, Kent Thompson tells the story of Jacob Bailey, a Harvard graduate, Anglican clergyman, dedicated diarist, satirical poet and eventual Loyalist. Born in Rowley, Massachusetts, in 1731, Bailey graduated from Harvard last in his class (in the days when the list was arranged by family wealth). He taught school in less than pleasant conditions in New Hampshire before embarking on a life-changing trip to London in 1760 to receive ordination as an Anglican minister. On his return, wearing obvious ties to the British Empire and its church, Bailey found himself subject to violence and ridicule as the American Revolution gathered steam. Fleeing to Nova Scotia with his family in 1779, Bailey eventually settled in the town of Annapolis Royal, where he lived until his death in 1808.

Wary of aggressive women, fond of polite girls, in love with literature, poor and sharp-witted, Bailey was a man apparently at odds with himself. Using contemporaries Tobias Smollett and Laurence Sterne as points of reference for Bailey’s character and literary interests, Thompson opens a cross-section in which his subject’s seemingly disparate religious, cultural and social identities align.

Affable and informative, Thompson’s biography sidesteps a more literal account, instead pursuing the quirks in Bailey’s character, the mysterious vengeance of two enemies, and the context for Bailey’s rather racy satires. Part social history, part literary adventure, The Man Who Said No delights in the foibles of subject and author alike.

"In the early spring of 2001," says Thompson, "a plain brown cardboard box arrived at the O’Dell Museum, Annapolis Royal. It was not exactly a surprise; arrangements had been made. It had been sent from British Columbia by a descendant of the Rev. Jacob Bailey and contained, among other things, letters from one of his descendants, Aunt Minnie, in the 1920s to a Professor Baker in the United States concerning Jacob Bailey’s journals. Aunt Minnie wanted Baker to write a biography of Jacob Bailey. Other items included Jacob Bailey’s letterbook of 1755, as well as moral stories for girls and a surprisingly rude poem entitled ‘The Corn-Husking Bee’. Perhaps Bailey’s greatest value now is as a diarist. He lived in tumultuous times, and he kept serious journals all his life, and most of them can be found in the Provincial Archives of Nova Scotia. But a couple of key journals slipped away and did not re-appear until 2001, when they arrived in the box from British Columbia. These missing journals cover the time from his departure from Massachusetts in December 1759 to sail to Britain, and his time in London before and after his ordination as an Anglican cleric. He also evidently pursued travel-writing and fiction in his journals, and it is not always clear when he was writing which. Some of this material must have seemed shocking to his first biographer, William Bartlet, in 1853, and scandalous even to Professor Baker in 1929. But Bailey’s writing gives us the man and his times – and both are more revealing than the reader might have presumed."

Kent Thompson was born in Waukegan, Illinois, and now lives in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

This book is a smyth-sewn paperback, bound into a paper cover and enfolded in a letterpress-printed jacket. The text was typeset by Andrew Steeves in Bell and printed offset on cream wove paper making 288 pages trimmed to 5.3 × 8.5 inches.

Publisher: Gaspereau Press. 288 pages trimmed to 5.3 × 8.5 inches. $29.95 / 9781554470556 / trade paper. Release date: 21 June 2008.

U.E. Loyalist Centennial

Nancy Conn, while researching at the Archives of Ontario came upon this article in the Daily Evening Review newspaper, Peterborough published 1 Nov 1883. Under the above heading, it read:

"The centennial anniversary of the settlement of Upper Canada happening to fall during the year 1884, it has been thought desirable and proper that some special notice should be taken of an event so fraught with interest to the people of this province. Accordingly a number of descendants of Loyalist and others interested in the movement met yesterday in Dr. Canniff’s office to discuss the question. The following, among others, were present - Dr. Canniff, Rev. Dr. Withrow, Mr. King, Lieut.-Col. G. T. Denison, Dr. Sprague, C. Egerton Ryerson, D.B. Read, Q.C., W.A. Foster and Dr. G.S. Ryerson. Dr. Canniff was elected chairman and C. E. Ryerson secretary. A circular will be sent out, and it is hoped a large number of persons interested in the matter will attend the next meeting."

Book about Loyalist Henry Cronkhite

The Cronkhites came as United Empire Loyalists. Henry Cronkhite (Loyalist) married the widow Grant. Ruth Cleghorn Ker and Don Rushbrook compiled a book on the Cronkhite Family. The Cronkhite book, 458 pages, is in libraries and the Archives in Fredericton. I also have copies available for sale.

...Ruth Cleghorn Ker {jackruth AT nbnet DOT nb DOT ca} how do I email her?

Loyalist Directory Additions

Additional information for the following people has been added to the Loyalist Directory. Thanks to those who have provided this additional information. This week information was added for:
- Clark, John - from Ivy Stevens
- Dingman, Gerardus (Gerhard) - from John W. Kelly Sr.
- Girty, Simon - from Kimberly Hurst
- Haines, Joseph - from Rod MacDonald
- Hogle, Francis, Sr. & Jr. - from Clinton Shirley Clark
- Kilbourn, Benjamin - from Rod MacDonald
- Pastorius, Abraham - from Bonnie Schepers
- Tripp, Robert - from Lani Mitchell
- White, Joseph Jr. - from Rod MacDonald
- Wigle, John Wendel - from Julie Wigle
- Wright, Asahel - from Rod MacDonald
- Wright, Ebenezer - from Rod MacDonald

Last Post: Ida Elizabeth Rogers, UE

At the Kingston General Hospital after a brief illness on Friday, June 6, 2008. Ida (nee Embury), in her 93rd year, wife of the late John A.C. (Jack) Rogers. Mother of John R. (Gus) Rogers and his wife Dolores of Kingston and Carole A. Taugher and her husband Jack of Oakville and grandmother to many. Survived by her brother John Embury and sister Doris Cranfield. Predeceased by sisters, Helen McKee, Ruby Pyear and Marjorie Redmond. A memorial service in celebration of Ida's life will be held in the chapel of the JAMES REID FUNERAL HOME (1900 John Counter Boulevard), Kingston on Saturday, June 14, at 11:00 am. Private family inurnment at Frankford Cemetery at a later date. Donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario, in Mrs. Roger's memory. 11120387 Kingston Whig-Standard

Mrs. Rogers was Member No. 225 of UELAC, Bay of Quinte Branch. She was a descendant of Magistrate and Loyalist John Edward Embury and also of Valentine Detlor. Her grandfather was John Detlor Embury who died at Thomasburg, Hastings Co., Ontario in 1934.

[submitted by Lynne Cook, UE, and Brandt Zätterberg, UE]

Who was BETTY SCOTT?

We have been searching for some years as to the parentage of BETTY Scott who was married to Timothy Street on 21st May, 1815 as shown in the register at St Peter's in Brockville, ON, by John Bethune Jr., Anglican. Timothy and his brother, John, were baptised in 1792 by John Bethune Sr. Presbyterian.

Joseph Scott married Lisa??? Sherwood in December of that year and Margaret Scott married Orin Sherwood Feb 3rd ,1819.

There's also a gravestone at the Maynard Cemetery for Ruth, daughter of Joseph and Loviey Scott.

Photo shows she died in 1816 which wouldn't fit Joseph and Loviey's ages. Another source says she died in 1846 and buried at Maynard.

Perhaps a close examination of the gravestone shown in the photo would clear up the date considerations.

Is it possible that BETTY, Joseph/Loviey and Margaret were siblings? If so, finding Joseph/Loviey's parents would give us the answer.

All responses will be acknowledged.

...Ray Lewis {raylewis AT sympatico DOT ca} how do I email him?

Loyalists who Later Returned to the USA

Captain Isaac Corsa of Westchester NY left his home and property for Nova Scotia in 1784; he served the British during the Revolutionary years. As far as is known to date, all of his property was confiscated; however because his son Andrew had fought for the Patriot side, he was allowed some leeway in using the property to "pay his fathers debts" during which process it was auctioned off to non-family members.

Captain Isaac Corsa descendants are the COURSER family of New Brunswick.

In trying to identify and sort out the members of the NY family, we have discovered that one of Isaac's children who left NY with him in 1784 at about the age of 4 to 9 years, returned to NY by 1810 and resided in the area of Fordham, Westchester Co.

He had property in the area and there are indentures describing this property that was sold in the 1850's. There is some indication (although at this point unclear) due to wording in the indentures, that parts of this property may have come to "Isaac Jr" as an inheritance. It is also possible that his father Isaac returned to NY for a period of time.

Does anyone have knowledge of Loyalists who had had their "estates" confiscated managing to hold on to some property? Or any means by which they could bequeath or deed such property to an heir? Or: of a returning Loyalist being allowed to purchase property?

Any help welcome.

...Marian Elder, Burnaby BC {melder AT telus DOT net} how do I email her?

Seeking Missing Families Descended from the Widow Grant, NB Loyalist

In the search for descendants of Peter, William, Lawrence and Finlay Grant, sons of N.B. Loyalist settler Elizabeth "the widow Grant", and her first husband John, I would like to highlight five missing families. We would to hear from possible descendants in order to tell them about the Grant Gathering, August 1-3, 2003 in Southampton, New Brunswick (see LOYALIST TRAILS #22 of June 1, 2008) and we also wish to plug these holes in our genealogy!

Peter Grant UE's daughters were Sarah Bennett Grant, b. 1794, and Sophia Lockwood Grant, b. 1798, who married John Ketchum in 1734 in Lr. Woodstock, or Northampton. Can KETCHUM specialists help? John Willliam Ketchum (1788-1854) was a son of Isaac of the Norwalk CT loyalist family. In the 1871 Census in Wakefield, Sophia Ketchum, 74 years old, "Scotch, Church of England" lived with her son Isaac Ketchum, 30, shoe and bootmaker, his wife Sarah A., 22, and 2-year old Clarissa who were Methodists and "English"; she died 8 years later.

Another Loyalist family is descended from George MILLER, Queen's Rangers, also granted land in the area. His daughter Phoebe Chase Miller married Peter Grant's son, the "Captain" John in 1796. George's son William H. Miller married John's cousin, Phoebe Sophia Grant. We are looking for descendants of both these couples.

Two Loyalist and New Brunswick "First Family" names were passed on as middle names to the second, New Brunswick-born, generation. One is COLWELL, apparently used by Lawrence Grant (only his baptism date is known, 1789) to commemorate his unknown wife"s family. We would like to identify her and locate descendants of their daughter Lydia Mott Grant (Mrs. William Thomas Price) and their sons Levi Colwell Grant (m. Sarah Ford Way), John Colwell Grant (m. Abisha Cronkhite) and Thomas Colwell Grant (m. Charlotte Way). Is there Colwell genealogy showing the Colwell-Grant link?

The other lost family is LOCKWOOD. The Loyalist Jabez Lockwood (m. Polly, or Mary) is said to have been the father of Peter's Grant's wife, Abigail; Abigail and Peter named a child Sophia Lockwood (see Ketchum above) in 1798, and in 1793 Peter's mother Elizabeth named a son of her second marriage Jabez Lockwood Cronkhite. One researcher has stated that Elizabeth herself was a "Lockwood". No daughters but siix sons (born 1800-1810) are today recorded to Jabez Lockwood who sold his Northampton property in 1832 to John Colwell Grant, above. Has anyone a Lockwood family tree?

Finally, Finley (Finlay) Grant, UE, baptized 1789, is said to have married an Ann before 1807 and owned property with "YORK" in-laws in Wakefield/Victoria Corners. Can anyone claim him as an ancestor?

[see more about "the Widow Grant" and the family gathering in issue 2008-22 -- ed.]

...Mary J. McCutcheon, {marymccut AT primus DOT ca} how do I email her?

Response re Maritime Hawleys

The descendents of Capt Matthew Hawley b. ca. 1749 who was 1st married to Chloe Brown on 30/5/1773 and later married between 1780-1783 probably in Connecticut, Abigail Squires, b. 1750-65, can be found in the book Early Settlers of Ingonish published by myself, Lark Blackburn Szick. The book is available at the Halifax Library, and at The Beaton Institute and the McConnell library in Sydney. I also have copies for sale, please contact me. Please click here for more details. Two other of my books noted there are:

(1) Sparling, Musgraves and Other Related Loyalist Families. This book deals with people who settled in Cape Breton. Information on the book can be viewed at the above link.

(2) Ross Family of Margaree, Cape Breton: Pioneers and Descendants. This book deals with four Ross brothers, James, William, Edmond and David who settled in Margaree:

James Ross b. ca. 1757 Ireland d. _/12/1825 in Margaree. He served in the American Revolution as a private in William Cunningham’s Company, 76th Regiment of Foot, the MacDonald of Sleat Highlanders. He m. 18/3/1793 widow Marie Henriette LeJeune in St George’s Anglican Church in Sydney. Marie-Henriette LeJeune was b. 13/8/1762 Rochefort, France d. _/5/1860 in Margaree d/o Joseph and Martine (Le Roi) LeJeune.

The family was living in Northeast Margaree by the year 1800. She was known in the community as Harriet, or Granny Ross, and was a midwife and nurse. Marie-Henriette LeJeune m1) 17/2/1780 Joseph Comeau, s/o Jean-Baptiste and Anne-Marie (Thibodeau) Comeau in La Rochelle, France. She m2) 26/8/1786 Lamaud Briard DeGong [L’Amand LeJeune dit Briard] of Little Bras d’Or, at St. George’s Anglican Church, Sydney. Marie-Henriette m3) 18/3/1793 James Ross.

James brought his 3 brothers to Margaree and the whole family settled in the area.

"Weilhausen Descendants 1785 - 2003". Frederick Wielhausen b ca. 1762 d. ca. 1829. Hessian Loyalist, married Elizabeth Roberts d/o John Henry Roberts and his first wife Love Derkindiren

- St George's Parish records, Frederick Wilhausen m1) 12/07/1789 Eleanor Horne who died in 1790, m2) 27/01/1791 Elizabeth Roberts d/o John Henry Roberts & Love Derkindiren.

- Frederick Officer of high Rank was given a free grant of land at Georges River CB.

- Frederick is listed in a list of CB Loyalist as follows: Frederick Wilhausen, N.W. Arm, (Point Edward) Sydney Harbour to Englishtown, Gen Von Lossbag's Reg., Hessian armies, served for 8 years and was discharged in 1783 returned to Germany after discharged then came back and settled in Cape Breton in 1785.

- He was an officer of the English Imperial Army, Loyalist, veteran of the Revolutionary War and settled in Cape Breton in 1785.

- He was also in a Reg’t. that fought in Louisbourg.

- For a time he operated a store and a saloon in the Lower section of Englishtown.

- It is a good possibility that he is the s/o Carl Moriz Wilhausen b. 24/8/1736 and Dorothea Charlotte Brauns from Minden, Westfalen, Germany and gr. s/o Johann Henrich Christoph Wilhausen b. 10/10/1706 m. ca 1734 ___ in Minden, and gr. grand s/o Christoffer Eberling Welhusen ca 1680 who m. 26/10/1723 Magdalena Gerd. Hardewig.

- It is also possible that his daughter Dorothy Wilhausen b. 04/02/1804 was named after his mother Dorothea Charlotte Brauns.

- Frederick also named his youngest daughter Charlotte Wilhausen b. 1811

...Lark Szick {bmwlark AT sympatico DOT ca} how do I email Lark?

Response re Description of Armorial Bearings

Information about the UELAC Armorial Bearings was published on the front page of The Loyalist Gazette Vol. X No. 2, Autumn, 1972. Over the next few weeks, we will see if we can have that transcribed and posted to our website. Lynne Cook UE was the first to respond; thanks to her and several others who have done likewise.

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