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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2008 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2008-34: September 22, 2008

Articles

Elizabeth Woodward: Loyalist Castaway -- © Stephen Davidson

A young mother from Pennsylvania was one of only six women who survived the shipwreck of the Martha, a ship chartered to carry 181 loyalists from New York to the mouth of the St. John River in September 1783. Being shipwrecked was only a small episode in the amazing life of Elizabeth Beard-Jasper-Woodward-Hopkins. Here is the story of a loyalist woman that would later be described as a "venerable Amazon".

Elizabeth Beard was born in Philadelphia in 1741. By the time she was 35 years old, she had become Mrs. John Jasper, the wife of a marine sergeant serving aboard the Stanley. This brig was one of the escort vessels for the Roebuck, a 40-gun British frigate.

In May of 1776, Elizabeth Jasper was with her husband when the Stanley battled three French ships off Cape May, New Jersey. As she helped to work the cannons, shrapnel pierced Mrs. Jasper's left leg.

Following the battle, her husband went ashore with four others from the Stanley and two crew members from the Roebuck to do some foraging. While the Stanley's men took a nap, the two from the Roebuck decided to desert, and reported the whereabouts of the other sailors to the local rebels. The patriots arrested Elizabeth's husband and sentenced him to death.

Taking matters into her own hands, Mrs. Jasper worked out an escape plan for her husband and 22 rebel deserters, supplying them with guns and ammunition. As she led the escaping prisoners to safety, rebels on horseback fired after them. None were killed, but Mrs. Jasper was shot in the left arm. She turned, raised the firelock that was in her right hand, and shot the man who fired on her. Mrs. Jasper then took the man's horse as a prize of war. She eventually sold it when the escapees arrived in Philadelphia.

John Jasper fought throughout the war, and died in action sometime before 1781. Elizabeth then married Samuel Woodward, a soldier in the Maryland Regiment of Loyalists. When Woodward left to fight the Spanish in west Florida in March of 1781, Elizabeth accompanied him into the midst of battle.

Loyalist regiments fended off an overwhelming number of Spanish troops that were laying siege to Pensacola's Fort George. Although Mrs. Woodward was not involved in firing on the enemy, she stayed within the walls of Fort George and helped to prepare the soldiers' muskets. As the five-week siege wore on and supplies ran low, she even tore her skirts into small pieces for wadding.

The siege ended when the Spanish shot a shell into the British main powder magazine. The explosion killed 75 men. The Spanish streamed into Fort George, killing 30 more. Recognizing that all was lost, the British surrendered and thereby lost control of the Gulf of Mexico. Elizabeth and Samuel Woodward, along with the others in the Maryland Regiment were sent back to New York.

Two years later, pregnant and with a young child in her arms, Elizabeth boarded the Martha, a ship that was part of an 12-vessel fleet which was formed to take loyalist refugees to the mouth of the St. John River. She was one of 21 women on board.

Six days after leaving New York, the Martha ran into a fierce north Atlantic storm and was driven onto shoals near Seal Island off of Nova Scotia's Cape Sable. Deaf to the pleas of the mothers who held up their children in an appeal to at least save their young lives, the captain and crew abandoned the Martha's passengers.

As the wind, waves, and rocks shattered the ship, its loyalist passengers desperately clung to bits of the vessel's wreckage. Elizabeth, Samuel, and their young child managed to stay afloat for two days until three fishing sloops from Boston came to their rescue. While all of the castaways were given fish chowder, only the women were warmed up with cups of tea.

68 castaways were too many for the sloops to carry, so they were put ashore where bonfires dried their clothes and warmed them. The trauma of the shipwreck and her rescue brought on Elizabeth's labour. There, on an uninhabited island, she gave birth to triplets.

Within two days' time the six Woodwards were put up in a home in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Eventually, Martha's surviving passengers hired two ships to take them north to the St. John River.

Elizabeth and Samuel initially settled in Beaver Harbour, New Brunswick. When Woodward died, Elizabeth married Jeremiah Hopkins, a sergeant in the 104th New Brunswick Regiment. Six of her sons and a son-in-law were among the regiment's thousand men who fought in the War of 1812.

Travelling by snowshoes, the 104th undertook an historic overland march of 435 miles from New Brunswick to Quebec in the winter of 1813. One member of the regiment died of illness before leaving the province; the rest arrived safely. Given the fact that Elizabeth was present at some of the Upper Canadian battles, the seventy-year-old woman must have travelled alongside her husband and sons.

Elizabeth's twin sons as well as her son-in-law, James McDonough, were killed while defending Fort Erie. Family legend recounts that the elderly Mrs. Hopkins gathered her remaining four sons around her and charged them to take revenge on "the hated Yankees". In 1816, at 75 years of age, Elizabeth Hopkins appealed to the New Brunswick government for compensation. She was granted a pension of 100 pounds a year. Her veteran sons were given grants of land along the St. John River in Carleton County.

Those who gathered for Elizabeth Hopkins' funeral no doubt felt she had lived a long and amazing life. Her service aboard the Stanley, her rescue of loyalist prisoners, her defense of Pensacola's Fort George, her shipwreck experience, and her support of her sons in battle put her accomplishments far above those of her 18 sons, 4 daughters, and three husbands.


To secure permission to reprint this article contact the author at {stephendavids AT gmail DOT com} how do I email him?

UE Address Sign Now Available from UELAC

The Promotions Committee has introduced a new item for the Fall: a UE Address Sign with your house number as well as the UEL flags.

Now you can display your UEL Ancestry to all your friends and visitors. The sign can be attached to the front of your house or hung in a window or door. The sign is carved from a plastic material that will last for years and then hand painted. The numbers and the flag are raised for better viewing. The numbers can be easily read from the street or roadway.

The sign is 16 inches wide by 13 inches high. Sign comes with 2 brass screws for mounting on a wall.

It comes in two styles, Painted Numbers or Gold Leaf Numbers. You can have up to five numbers per sign.

Cost: (including all taxes; Shipping and handling are additional; Delivery 4 to 6 weeks

- Painted Numbers $ 69.00

- Gold Leaf Numbers $ 89.00

(If you want a brass chain to hang the sign rather than attaching it permanently to the wall please add an additional $ 3.00)

To see examples of the UE Address Sign, visit our online catalogue.

Special orders or different designs will be considered. Please contact us for further information.

...Noreen Stapley UE, 1-905-732-2012 or {gdandy AT iaw DOT on DOT ca} how do I email her?

Johnstown's 250th Anniversary

Johnstown NY in the heart of the Mohawk Valley has been celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of the town in 1758. There are many Loyalist descendants who should have an interest in this.

The town was founded by Sir William Johnson, and of course it was his son Sir John Johnson who commanded the King's Royal Yorkers – largest Loyalist regiment to settle in what is now Ontario. Not surprisingly there were a lot of Loyalists from this area.

The celebrations centred on the Sep 13/14th weekend with a parade through Johnstown to Johnson Hall being the highlight. The King's Royal Yorkers and the Loyalist Fifes & Drums were the largest group, and deemed worthy enough to make the front page of the the local newspaper the next day.

The Guests of Honour were the 8th Baronet, Sir Guy Johnson and Lady Johnson from England. They rode in style in the parade in s pristine 1957 Chevrolet Belair convertible.and afterwords spent quite a bit of time at the camp with the Yorkers. The local Masonic Lodge (St. Patrick's No. 4), had reason to celebrate the presence of Sir Guy as well, as Sir William had formed that Lodge back in 1766. Another highlight was one of Sgt. Major David Moore's famous speeches regarding proper loyalties during the American Revolution and his legendary remarks about George Washington!

In the evening Sir Guy Johnson and Lady Johnson escorted by Lt. Col (ret) Gavin Watt were involved with the presenting of a wreathe at the grave of Sir William Johnson in the town. The Yorkers fired a ceremonial volley.

The next morning as the Yorkers were embarking on the way home to Canada, a short stop was made at Johnstown Cemetery to pay respects at the burial site of Jeremiah Dorn U.E. a veteran of the Yorkers who eventually returned to the Mohawk Valley where he died at the age of 86 in 1846. Also present were Rebel officers Noel Levee and James Morrison, respected reenactors and historians from the area.

There were no reenacted battles. No tactical. No skirmishes. Nevertheless it was a very important weekend for Johnstown, for the King's Royal Yorkers and Loyalist Fifes & Drums, and I trust for Sir Guy Johnson and Lady Johnson.

...Peter W. Johnson UE, Past President, UELAC

A Visit To St. Lawrence Branch

Angela and I wish to thank Branch President Jack Warner UE and the Members of St. Lawrence Branch UELAC for the invitation to visit the Branch and the hospitality. We attended their banquet on Sep. 20th and I was asked to do a presentation on Early Photography. It was also an opportunity to talk briefly about Loyalist uniforms, as I always take one with me.(I think it has become rather expected). The area is steeped in Loyalist History, and it was a pleasure to visit there.

...Peter W. Johnson UE, Past President, UELAC

Addendum to Reunion of Jonathan Sewell (Sewall) June 2008 in Quebec City

Making a connection with the past - Sewell's infamous and controversial law book that sent the whole Sewell family back to the UK in 1814 to defend charges against Jonathan Sewell. Rules and Orders of Practice Made for the King's Bench District of Montreal - February 1811. This rare book (subject to prior sale) is available from Lord Durham Rare Books Inc. Duncan McLaren, duncan@LDRB.ca or 905 680-8115. Click here for more details.

On 22 Aug. 1808 Sewell was appointed chief justice of Lower Canada in succession to Henry Allcock*. It was a post he had been seeking since 1801 with the assistance of a battery of influential people. Immediately after taking office, he consulted with his colleagues on ways to systematize and streamline court procedures, and in 1809 he published orders and rules of practice for the Court of King¬'s Bench at Quebec and for the Court of Appeals. Monk followed suit in Montreal two years later.

Nahum Mower was a printer from Worcester, MA prior to moving his press to Montreal in 1807, where he began to publish a newspaper and soon after a monthly magazine. Montreal bookseller's label of Edouard R. Fabre on front pastedown. RLG locates just one copy of this title at Harvard which lacks the index.

In January 1814 the relative political calm in the colony was shattered when the assembly attacked the rules of practice published by Sewell in 1809 and by Monk in 1811. Following the lead of Stuart, Sewell¬'s former pupil, who for personal reasons had developed a rancorous hatred towards him and his brother Stephen, the assembly impeached Sewell and Monk, in part on the grounds that some of their rules constituted legislation and that the judges had thereby usurped the role of the assembly. More than three-quarters of the assembly's charges were political, however, Sewell being accused particularly of poisoning Craig against the Canadians, attempting to extinguish all reasonable freedom of the Press, and promoting American dominance. Sewell was soon in a state of pitiable distress, noted Assistant Civil Secretary Andrew William Cochran; although he was a man of great talent, his feelings are fine and his nerves weak. The other judges and the Executive Council quickly declared themselves included in the indictments relating to the rules of practice. Sewell and Monk were thrown together to prepare a defence with the assistance of Richardson. Sewell, it was decided, would defend their cause in London.

In early June 1814 the entire Sewell family left for England. At the Colonial Office Sewell quickly learned that the political charges against him would not even be considered: to heed them, Colonial Secretary Lord Bathurst claimed, ¬"would be to admit that a councillor was responsible for the acts of a Governor [which is] contrary to every principle. The rules of practice were referred to the Privy Council for examination. In his defence Sewell asserted that the assembly's ultimate objective was the revolutionary project of transferring the Executive Power and Prerogatives of the Crown, to the Legislative. The crown had therefore to rescue its judicial and administrative officers from dependence on the elected body. Sewell transformed his own defence into an attack on Prevost's conciliatory administration. In the end Prevost attributed his recall more to Sewell's efforts than to possible displeasure over his conduct of an attack on Plattsburgh, N.Y., in 1814. In June 1815 the Privy Council announced that none of the rules of practice was unconstitutional. In 1818 they would be reprinted without change.

Loyalists of Balls-town NY

Ballston Center is about 45km north of Albany. The primary settlement was in 1770 by the Rev. Eliphalet Ball with settlers from New England, New Jersey, Scotland, and the North of Ireland. The Scotch families settled in Scotch Bush and Paisley streets. At the time of the Revolution Ballston was in Albany County NY and is currently in Saratoga County. The 2nd Albany County Militia Regiment saw action in 1777 at the Battle of Saratoga, the Battle of Kloch's Field in 1780, and the Battle of Johnstown in 1781. Today the towns in the area are: Ballston Center, Ballston Spa, Ballston Lake, and Burnt Hills (History of Ballston published by the Saratogian, Boston History Company).

The following contains names of Loyalists which may be of interest to other U.EL. members.

- As part of my continuing research of my Hunter ancestors I purchased a book titled, Ye Olds Days - A History of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake [NY] by Katherine Q. Briaddy, published in 1974, Presented by the Women's Club, Copyright 1974, Printed by the Journal Press, Ballston Spa, N.Y. (purchased on the Alibris books website). The following excerpts are from pages 22-23 and page 44.

- pages 22-23: "The War of Revolution deeply affected the settlers of of Balls-Town. By comparing names with the roster of soldiers, it can be seen that they took an active role as revolutionaries. .... while others believed in loyalty to the Crown. Known as Tories, the loyalists were driven from their homesteads and forced to flee to Canada, suffering heavily for their loyalty.

- Balls-Town is credited with five Tories, however, more are apparent in the records in Canada. John Lane, a native of Ireland, lived in Balls-Town in 1775; Joseph Knapp also lived in the town in 1775; James McLlonoyle, a native of Ireland lived in Balls-Town and witnessed the signature and declaration of Abraham Hyatt, who had a farm of his own in Balls-Town ...; Peter Macpherson, of Scotland, .... was in Balls-Town in 1775.

- William Fraser and his father Thomas lived in Balls-Town [and] were Captains in Jessup's Rangers. A man named Frazure and described as a former neighbor prevented the scalping of George Scott in 1779. David Hunter joined the British in 1779. His brother Francis was also a loyalist who joined Great Britain. William Grant of Balls-Town purchased 279 acres in 1773 from Gaspart Lundy.

- The Loyalists banded together. Many were of Scotch-Irish ancestry. They fought vehemently for the preservation of the English Crown, having been brought up with the memory of Charles I versus Oliver Cromwell.

- Jessup's Rangers, later known as The King's Loyal Americans, was formed in Fairfield county. They were friends of Sir William Johnson and went to towns, recruiting supporters for the corps. One Nathaniel Jessup is listed as being assessed for some 132 pounds in 1779 in Balls-Town."

- page 44: "Many farms on Scotch Bush Road state that the land was taken in the War of Independence from a Tory and then purchased from the government."

As part of my research for my Hunter ancestors who came to New York from Ulster in 1774 and originally from Ayrshire County Scotland, I found 1779 tax records and 1790 census records for Ballston NY here and here. This was very helpful because the Hunters were a divided family and these records provide a before and after the war comparison.

...Jean Clark, UE, Carlisle Kentucky {clark_pr AT hughes DOT net}

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest addition is as follows:

- Everts, Roswell Sr. - from John W. Kelly Sr.

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