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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2009 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2009-03: January 18, 2009


The Loyalist Tailor of Charleston, South Carolina -- © Stephen Davidson

Be careful for whom you sew clothes. Your financial fate and your family's security in a new country just might depend on the cause for which you made your stitches.

William Snow was a man of mixed African and European heritage, a native of Charleston, South Carolina. Snow was a tailor by trade, and he lived in the house of a James Simpson where his wife was a servant. He was known to be an industrious man and a Protestant.

When the troubles began, the patriots of Charleston tried to get Snow to take oaths of loyalty to the rebel Congress, but he refused. When he was called up for militia duty and declined to serve, a "file" of patriots was sent to arrest him, but Snow fled into the countryside.

The tailor spent many years in the country, and had to sell what property he owned in order to pay for someone to be his substitute in the rebel militia. Despite his failure to take an oath of allegiance to the new republic, Snow was hired to make 500 suits of clothes for the patriots. The income from this contract allowed him to buy £280 worth of cattle.

When Charleston once again came under British control in 1780, Snow returned to the city and took an oath of loyalty to the king. Like many other loyalists, the tailor is described as joining the British because "he thought that Great Britain would succeed."

With the fall of Charleston and the evacuation of its loyalist population in 1782, Snow went to England. At some time either in South Carolina or while in Britain, Snow made the acquaintance of Lord Charles Cornwallis. Cornwallis was in charge of the British forces in the South. After initial successes against the patriots, he was defeated by a combination of American and French forces at Yorktown in 1781. His surrender led, eventually, to the end of the War of Independence.

Cornwallis advised Snow to apply for an allowance. Beginning in October, he received £10 a year upon which to live. A year later, William Snow appeared before a compensation board that was convened to hear the stories of loyalists.

Despite Snow's declaration that he had no wish to return to South Carolina, the fact that the tailor had made clothes for the rebels cast some doubt on Snow's political loyalties. The commission was concerned that he might take financial compensation and then return to the United States. Then, James Simpson, the employer of Snow's wife, stepped forward to speak on the tailor's behalf. It was a crucial testimony for Simpson had been the loyalist attorney general of South Carolina and an invaluable aide to Lord Cornwallis. His had "rendered very essential service" to the British cause.

The former attorney general testified that Snow was a "taylor and an industrious man" -- and that the rebels would not employ "any person of his Complexion" at "the beginning of the Dispute". In other words, due to the racism of the period, Snow only became a tailor to the rebel forces out of their necessity, not because of Snow's convictions. Simpson felt that Snow's tailoring assignment for the rebels was work done from compulsion and not conviction. The fact that Simpson, a man of such high position and regard, testified on behalf of a black loyalist was in itself indicative of the regard the former attorney general held for the tailor and the value he put on Snow's loyal service. It certainly settled the matter for the compensation board.

On November 4, 1784, it determined that William Snow was a true loyalist, but one who "did not bear arms". He was eventually able to find work as a tailor in London and made a life for himself and his wife along with the many hundreds of black loyalists who were to call Britain their home at the end of the American Revolution.

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

[New Brunswick Branch has posted a web page about Stephen Davidson, which also indicates how to order his books.]

UELAC Conference "Loyalist Settlement Experience: 225th" (Correct Date: June 11-14)

The annual UELAC Conference & AGM is being held in the Central East Region by Bay of Quinte Branch, June 11 - 14, 2009. For more information about the 2009 UELAC Conference & AGM, please refer to this page and to page 8 of the Fall 2008 issue of The Loyalist Gazette where the costs were printed.

Stephen Burritt: Soldier, Settler, Spy

During the Revolutionary War, thousands of Americans fought their own friends and neighbors in support of British rule. They lost and were driven away, largely vanishing from the pages of history books. Most headed north across Eastern Canada. The village of Burritts Rapids, on Ontario's Rideau River, was named for its first white settler, Vermont Loyalist Stephen Burritt. Canadian writer Mark Jodoin will detail Burritt's adventurous life next Tuesday evening at the Merrickville and District Historical Society's Annual Dinner. Jodoin discussed Burritt, his turbulent times, and the region's many cross-border ties with Ottawa correspondent, Lucy Martin, along the banks of the Long Island Locks near Manotick, Ontario.

Mark is a member of the Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch. For a six minute podcast of Mark's discussion of Stephen, click here.

...Adelaide Lanktree UE

Library and Archives Canada Winkworth Collection Calendar Available

Subsequent to the LAC Acquisition article in the last issue, arrangements have been completed for UELAC members to acquire a copy of the LAC/BAC 2009 calendar featuring works from the Winkworth collection. Distribution will be on a first come/first served basis. Send your request to Roseanne, Ducharme at {publications AT lac-bac DOT gc DOT ca} how do I email her?


Following a Thread of Needle Arts: A Black Powder Quilt

Relating our Loyalist heritage, particularly in the needle arts, to works created by our fellow members is an ongoing challenge. Back in the 4 May issue of LT, I responded to a query from Nova Scotia about Loyalist period quilt patterns with a final and hopeful expression that I would see samples at Digby or Shelburne in July. I never made it to either 225th celebration. Instead, while touring Kings Landing, I focused more on taking images of the many quilts throughout the village even though the docents were not always able to make the connections to our period of study.

The decorative role of quilting was most evident in the Spruce Row Museum in Waterford when we were witness to the double certificate presentation to Ruth Ann Onley by her husband, The Honourable David C. Onley, Lt. Gov. of Ontario on 20 July. Over fifty quilts of varied size and design crafted by Catherine Thompson, genealogist of Grand River Branch, were on display in the museum from June to September. This impressive collection represented her exploration of needle arts over the previous fifteen years.

To the west and beyond the mountains, Judy Scholz of the Chilliwack Branch and her husband, Wolfgang, also belong to the Fraser Valley Frontiersmen, a local black powder club that portrays the time of the mountain men. At the Pacific Regional Mini Conference she proudly showed me her "Powder, Patch & Ball Quilt" created as a wall hanging. Measuring 53" x 64", the quilted work is pieced with 100% cotton, including the backing material, but it is Judy's explanation of the process that makes the story. "The process of loading a black powder gun requires the use of black powder, a cotton patch and lead ball. Following the shoots, I collected some of these shot out patches, washed them and put together this quilt. You will note the patches on the squares. I then put my border around which features hand-quilted powder horns and circles to represent the lead balls. A real patch quilt!" Judy couldn't resist adding an unrelated comment to her message: "It was great fun showing our President Fred Hayward, Vice-President Carl Stymiest and other UE's how to shoot a black powder gun at the mini conference in Chilliwack last year. Next time perhaps they will graduate to actually having a target." See quilt here.

Judy is equally proud of a more practical bedcovering. Her "Around the World Quilt" is a king size quilt, made with 100% cotton and also hand pieced, but the batting is from sheep wool from her brother Arthur's farm. "A very warm quilt!"

I suspect that Cathy and Judy are probably just two of the many UELAC members who have found unique and expressive ways to reflect or perpetuate the skills of our ancestors. The search for more examples of the combination of Loyalist heritage and needle arts will continue from shore to shore.


BOOK: United Empire Loyalists, A Guide to Tracing Loyalist Ancestors in Upper Canada (Ontario)

By Brenda Dougall Merriman. There has long been a need for descendants to have a general guide to assist the tracing of Loyalist ancestors, not only for the beginner, but also for those who encounter stumbling blocks on their way. Brenda Dougall Merriman accomplishes this in spades. Merriman defines what a Loyalist is, then goes on to discuss the necessary sources and background information that is available to trace a specific Loyalist in Upper Canada (Ontario). An essential guide for everyone researching Loyalist heritage.

NEW Softcover Edition: 200 pp. index, softcover, 8.5 X 11", maps, illustrations, ISBN 978-1897446-95-9 (coil-bound).

Click here for more information.

BOOK: African Hope Renewed, Along the Grand River 1400s-1800s (Ontario, Canada)

By Angela E. M. Files. African Hope Renewed Along the Grand River 1400-1800s is a compendium of African settlement in the five counties along the Grand River in Ontario. Starting with the story of slavery in West Africa in the 1400s, it also covers slavery in the West Indies and colonial America, and freedom in Canada with the arrival of black refugees in Ontario on the underground railway system. ISBN: 0973704004

Click here for more information.

Black History month is celebrated in February in Canada and USA (and in October in Britain).

Michael Grant Ignatieff: a Loyalist?

New Liberal leader Michael Grant Ignatieff, b 12 May 1947 in Toronto, has a diverse and socially elite ancestry.

He is the son of Canadian immigrant and diplomat George Ignatieff (1913-1989), the grandson of Count Pavel Ignatiev (1870-1945) who was Minister of Education to Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Princess Natasha Mestchersky.

His mother, (Jessie?) Alison Grant (1916 - 1992) had high profile Canadian roots stretching back several generations in the Maritimes. Jessie's mother, Maude Erskine Parkin was sister to Alice Parkin the wife of Canada's first native-born Governor General (Charles) Vincent Massey. The sisters' father, Sir George Robert Parkin (1846-1922) m. Annie Connell Fisher whose Loyalist grandfather, Peter Fisher (1782-1848), was the first historian of New Brunswick.

For further details, see John D.Reid's blog entry on Michael Grant Ignatieff's ancestry.

[Obviously Peter himself was not a UE Loyalist, being too young to take up the royal standard. Can anyone provide the tree from Annie to a Loyalist?....editor]

...Nancy Conn UE

Hillary Clinton and the King's Daughters

Eastern Canada was originally settled by French adventurers, fur trappers, and soldiers. There were plenty of men but few women in the early days. The French government realized this was a problem and soon recruited young, single women to travel to New France. These women, known in French as the "filles du roi" or in English as the "King's Daughters," agreed to travel to the new settlements in North America and marry a settler there in exchange for a 50 pound dowry from the French King. Of the nearly 1,000 women who undertook the journey, about 800 made it to Canada.

Upon arrival, the women made contracts of marriage with the men who had originally settled the New World and usually married within a few days or weeks of the contract signing. Sometimes the women broke the contracts, only to remake them or make new contracts with other men.

These couples were the founding families of Quebec and today have millions of descendants all over the world. Rosemary E. Bachelor has published an article that lists some of Hillary Clinton's descent from those early Quebec families. Hillary shares ancestors with former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, writer Jack Kerouac, singer Shania Twain, Madonna, Celine Dion, Angelina Jolie, Camilla Shand (wife of England's Prince Charles) [Camilla is a Loyalist descendant as well] and with myself [Dick Eastman].

One of Hillary's ancestors was Louis Hebert.

[submitted by Nancy Conn UE]

Sod Turned for New Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg

The Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper was in Winnipeg recently to assist the Gary Doer the Premier, Gail Asper and other dignitaries for the sod-turning ceremony for the Human Rights Museum expected to open in 2010. Actual construction for the $265 million will commence in February. Funding includes $100 million in federal funds, $40 million from the province, $20 million from private donations. The capital campaign is only $3 million away from its goal. The museum, envisioned by Israel Asper until his death in 2003, is the first new national museum to be built outside of the national capital region.

...Margaret Carter UE

"The French Connection" and Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration

In recognition of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Lake Champlain, the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration Committee has chosen "The French Connection" as the theme for the September 2009 parade.

"Since our 2008 parade, people have been asking us to decide on the theme for this year so they can get started with planning their entries. We want to tie it in with the discovery of the lake 400 years ago" said Vicki Giroux, parade committee chair.

The committee came up with several suggestions to start participants thinking: the tie to settlers from French Canada, the French-Canadian troops who participated, the French explorers, French culture in the North Country, Franco American relations, the fur trade, area commerce with Quebec then and now. Items like blunderbusses and muskets, armor, ostrich plumes, fleurs de lis, telescopes, period flags and 1600's period costumes could be incorporated. Native Americans in costume, sailing ship replicas and boat styles , birchbark canoes, Champy etc. The ideas are endless once the brainstorming starts.

The committee chair sees the possibility of a very colourful and interesting parade this year. She hopes that the community will start thinking during the winter months and be ready to move when the weather warms.

"We also want to be sure that kids remember to enter their decorated bikes this year as they did in 2007, " Giroux continued. "Last year we didn't get the word out to them and had only one brave entry. We'd like to see lots of bikes this year. There will be a prize for every one".

The Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration parade has grown in scope and popularity to become a premier attraction to the Plattsburgh area drawing thousands of spectators. It is noted for its fine bands, floats and marching units.

...Adelaide LanktreeUE, Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch

Eastman's Online Newsletter: Lost US War Office records for the period 1784 to 1800

On the night of November 8, 1800, fire devastated the War Office, consuming the papers, records, and books stored there. Two weeks later, Secretary of War Samuel Dexter lamented in a letter that "All the papers in my office [have] been destroyed." For the past two centuries, the official records of the War Department effectively began with Dexter's letter.

The project to reconstitute the War Department Papers was begun more than a dozen years ago, and it has involved years of painstaking work, including visits to more than 200 repositories and the consulting of more than 3,000 collections in the United States, Canada, England, France, and Scotland.

Click here for the full story at Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.

Last Post

Charles Raymond Hardy

Chuck was born in Brantford, Ontario, Jan. 31, 1921 and passed away Jan. 9, 2009. Chuck is predeceased by his parents, Benjamin and Violet Hardy, and his brother, Ross. Chuck is survived wife, Phyllis (nee Dunn), whom he married in December, 1951, daughter Pamela Carnesi (Tom) of Torrance, California, son, Dr. David Hardy (Anne) of Calgary, granddaughter, Islay Fraser-Hardy, of Calgary and by special daughter, Brenda Hardy, of Calgary. Chuck was a direct descendant of the Hardy family who became known as United Empire Loyalists and who pioneered in the Brantford area of southern Ontario about 1783, after leaving the United States following the American Revolution. During World War II, Chuck served in the R.C.A.F. for four years during which time he was stationed in England and North Africa. After the war, he attended the Ontario Veterinary College and earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1951. For several years, he and his wife, Phyllis, had their own small animal practice in Calgary. He later obtained a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Calgary. In 1986, he retired and moved permanently to Campbell River. There will be no service; donations to the Campbell River and District Hospital Foundation. Courier Islander

...Lynne Cook

Norma Shaver

At the Woodland Villa in Long Sault on Saturday January 10, 2009 age 90 years. Norma Fern Shaver nee - Swerdfeger formerly of Ingleside. Wife of the late Donald Charles Shaver. Mother of Claire Markell (Doug Atchison) of Ingleside. Grandmother to many. Predeceased by her parents Thomas and Alice (Pitts) Swerdfeger; one brother Bryce Swerdfeger and one sister Wilda Dean. Memorial donations to the charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family.

Norma and her late husband Donald were both members of the St. Lawrence Branch of The United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada. Their daughter Claire is a member, having received 7 certificates for different Loyalist ancestors.

...Lynne Cook


Family of Christopher Huffman

Christopher Huffman, U.E. (c. 1755-c. 1804) married Ann (1762-1850), eldest child of Jacob Smith U.E and Elizabeth Lewis. Christopher's 1801 crown grant was for Lot 6, Concession 1, Glanford Twp. (Ryckman's Corners, Hamilton ON). Christopher and Ann had six children.

Their first child was my direct ancestor Henry (b. Sussex Co. NJ 1781-d. Halton Co. 1862), and I am very anxious to learn the maiden name of his wife Catherine (b. USA 1785-d. Trafalgar Twp. 1858). Their children were Henry m. Agnes Milroy, John m. Jane Milroy, Eliza m. Robert T. Hill, and Charlotte m. Alexander McKenzie.

The second child Jacob (1786-1853) married Elizabeth Finch (1786-1873). Children: John, Christopher, Paul, Godfrey, Henry, Mary and Nancy (twins), Nathaniel, Lorany, Phoebe, Elisha Bingham, and Joseph.

The third child Elizabeth (1788-1832) m. James Choat. Children: William, Jacob, Nathan, Hiram, and Gertrude.

Fourth, Paul, m. Phoebe (surname unknown). Children: Godfrey, and Christopher. I have no further data.

Fifth, Godfrey, m. Eliza A. (surname unknown). Children: Eliza Jane, and Phoebe Ann. No further data.

Sixth, Ann (1797 - ) m. Elisha Bingham (1794 - ). Children: John, James, Alfred, William, Wesley, Melissa, and Edgerton K.

I am anxious to make contact with other descendants of my great- great- great grandfather. People from Grand River and Toronto Branches have also proved to Christopher, but I have not been able to make contact with them or their families yet. I would like to add to the data above, as well as ancestry data for Christopher and Ann and their children's spouses. Any assistance is welcome - I am quite willing to share information.

...Ted Huffman UE,