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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2009 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2009-34: August 23, 2009

Articles

The Loyalist Fugitives of Natchez -- © Stephen Davidson

When we think of long journeys taken by loyalist refugees, our first thought may be of those who made overland treks to Ontario from the American frontier, of those who followed rivers to find sanctuary in Quebec, or of those who sailed north along the Atlantic seaboard to the Maritimes in 1783. Loyalists also fled Boston for Halifax in 1776 and evacuated Charleston, South Carolina for England in December 1782. However, one of the most harrowing and amazing loyalist journeys of them all began in Louisiana in 1781, involved scores of refugees, and took five months to complete. These forgotten refugees are the loyalist fugitives of Natchez.

In April of 1776, a party of settlers set sail from Middleton, Connecticut with their families and their slaves, bound for New Orleans. Once in Louisiana, they planned to establish homesteads on a grant of land that was between the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers. The Connecticut settlers arrived in Louisiana (or, as it was known then, British West Florida) in August and began an arduous 400-mile journey up the Mississippi River.

Over the next two years, the Connecticut settlers established farms on land that would later become the site of Natchez, Louisiana. An old French garrison, Fort Rosalie, was near the new settlement.

In 1778 agents of the rebel Congress started arming English settlers along the Mississippi River to fight the revolution on the western frontier. The settlers of Natchez, however, were loyalists.

A patriot named James Willing came down the Mississippi River to wreck havoc on "upon everyone suspected of being sympathetic to England". Willing captured a well-known loyalist, Colonel Anthony Hutchins, and forced the others to sign an oath of neutrality. The rebels then took their prisoner, gathered what they had looted, and headed down river.

Within a matter of weeks, Willing's party once again headed north to the Natchez, pillaging settlers' homes as they travelled. Hearing of the rebels' approach, the loyalists of Natchez secured themselves in old Fort Rosalie. Despite the fact that he flew a flag of truce, Willing had his men fire their artillery on the loyalists in February of 1778. After losing a number of men, the rebels retreated. The Connecticut settlers denounced their neutral position and resolved to remain loyal to the crown. The British rebuilt the fort at Natchez, naming it Fort Panmure.

But actions far to the east of the Mississippi were sealing the fate of the loyalist settlers. France sided with the American rebels and, in retaliation, England declared war on France and Spain. The Spanish decided to attack the British in Louisiana, and in the fall of 1779 they went up the Mississippi River, capturing all of the British outposts as far north as Natchez -- including Fort Panmure.

After the Spanish returned to New Orleans, the Connecticut loyalists of Natchez received word that the British fleet was on its way to the Gulf of Mexico to subdue the Spanish forces. It gave them new courage.

Through strategy more than force of arms, the loyalists seized the weak Spanish garrison which had been left behind at Fort Panmure. But the accounts of an approaching British fleet were false. In fact, Spanish forces were now heading up the Mississippi to destroy the loyalist settlement.

The loyalists only hope was to make a journey across the wilderness east to the safety of Georgia. Hurriedly, they sold what possessions they could to buy horses and bags.

The loyalists' trek began in May of 1781. They had no tents for shelter at night and were forced to sleep on the ground. Recalling the trip years later, one survivor wrote "we endured every distress in crossing wide rapid rivers where we risked our lives by plunging often under violent waters where our horses were obliged to dive rather than swim and that we must climb steep frightful precipices all the while pursued by savages."

The most direct route required travelling through territory belonging to First Nation tribes who were allies of the Spanish. For safety's sake, the loyalists often took a more circuitous path. Native raiding parties sneaked into the loyalists' camp, stealing horses and baggage. Disease took its toll. Finally, the fugitives came to the Tombigbee River which they crossed on log rafts. Fearful of following any well-worn path that might lead to an encounter with Natives or rebels, the loyalists wandered through Alabama's northern mountains. A kindly trader shared what provisions he had with the "forlorn and famine-stricken troop", cautioning them to avoid Tennessee's mountains. The loyalists walked for 200 miles, often with torn and bleeding bare feet.

In central Alabama, the Coosa River blocked their way. By ferrying people three at a time in a canoe they had found, all of the fugitives managed to make it safely across this final hurdle.

The loyalist fugitives arrived in Savannah, Georgia in August of 1781. They were "weary and worn and almost naked" but understandably so. It had been an overland journey of 149 days.

While they had been seeking sanctuary over the past five months, the loyalists of Natchez were not aware of the unfolding events of the revolution. Things had not gone well for the British forces. Within less than a year of their arrival in Georgia, the Natchez loyalists were forced to evacuate Savannah. Some went to New York; some sailed for England. Dr. Sereno Dwight made plans to settle his family in Port Roseway -- the future loyalist settlement of Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

There are two more stories to be told about the loyalist fugitives of Natchez. One involves Cynthia Dwight, the wife of the loyalist doctor, and the other is the account of Paro, an enslaved African. Had it not been for these two, the trek of the Louisiana loyalists would have ended in tragedy. Their stories will be told in the next two issues of Loyalist Trails.


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

"Thanksgiving & What it means": A Native Loyalist's View

"The Waters

We give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms-waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water.

Now our minds are one."

Just as the Haudenosaunee used the rivers and lakes as a means for transportation, our Loyalist ancestors followed many of these same waters as a means to escape to safety. Loyalist history is rife with references to water: lakes, rivers and oceans would sustain them as well as form a natural and political defence. The very country of Canada is a history and heritage of water and the life-sustaining qualities it possesses.

...David Kanowakeron Hill Morrison UE


[Editor's Note: Read the full Thanksgiving Address For details, visit Four Directions Youth Project - donations are needed, and appreciated.]

...Update of FDYP Fund Raising Campaign


[OLD OLD -Two significant donations have helped to get this fund raising project for FDYP underway. They total $685., which puts us over 13% of the way to our objective. As much as larger donations have a quick impact, $25 or even smaller donations are most welcome and appreciated.]

...Carl Stymiest UE

Silas Raymond (1748 - 1824) - Fifth Generation in America - © 2009 George McNeillie

Silas Raymond was one of the party of Refugees who were settled at or near the British Post at Lloyd's Neck on Long Island, about the close of the year 1776. A fort was built here for their protection, and they were employed in cutting wood for the King's troops in New York. The post was at one time commanded by Major Joshua Upham, and at another by a Major Hubble. Among the woodcutters were Silas Raymond, his brother-in-law Israel Hoyt, and their Stamford neighbour David Pickett. It is stated by Judge Jones, in his Loyalist History of New York, that the Connecticut Loyalists at first took post at Eaton's Neck without any permission, but soon afterwards obtained an order to hold and keep possession from His Excellency James Robertson, Governor and Commander in Chief of the Province of New York. The Refugees under this order cut down and carried to New York and sold for their own benefit large quantities of wood. The former owners, who had sided with the American "rebels", applied to have the Refugees restrained from cutting down, destroying and selling the wood. This was refused, Robertson publicly declaring that the Refugees should not be turned off the Neck to please any persons whatever, adding that if the poor fellows had not the privilege of selling wood, how were they to subsist? There were at this time about twenty of the refugees living on Eaton's Neck.

They had their troubles too from those who should have been their protectors and friends. This we learn from their memorial address to Governor Robertson, dated Jan'ry 8th , 1782, signed by John Fowler, Israel Hoyt, and David Pickett, in which the petitioners state: -

"That having left their properties in the country and come within the Royal Lines for protection they obtained, with others, a grant of Eaton's Neck, the property of John Sloss Hobart in rebellion to the King.

That being settled upon the place and endeavouring to support their families by honest industry, they found themselves prevented from enjoying the fruits of their labours by the crews of the armed vessels stationed in Huntington Bay for their protection, who have appropriated their property without any pay or satisfaction. They therefore apply to His Excellency, as Governor of the Province, the patron and director of all Loyal Subjects driven from their habitations, to represent their distressed case to Admiral Digby and to interpose in their favour, so that they with others in a similar situation may have effectual redress and a stop may be put to such ravages for the future."

But we have somewhat anticipated our story. We have first to tell how the families of the Connecticut Refugees got to Long Island.

In July, 1779, the English General Tryon left New York on an expedition up the Sound, with about 2,000 troops, of which part belonged to the Loyalist regiments recently organized in America. The troops as they sailed up the Sound were convoyed by several vessels of the English navy. They landed first at New Haven.

"This town," says Judge Jones, "they completely plundered. Even bedding and wearing apparel did not escape the licentious hands of this marauding party. From New Haven they went to Fairfield, about twenty miles to the west. This town they took and plundered and then burnt. From Fairfield they went to Norwalk about ten miles west of the former. Here they again landed on the 11th of July, plundered the inhabitants and burnt the town with every building appropriate to the worship of God. From hence they crossed the Sound, and anchored at Huntington upon the Long Island shore. In a few days they returned to New York.

"In the course of this Expedition all the small privateers in the harbours and creeks along the Connecticut shore were destroyed by the navy. This was an essential piece of service, but to rob, plunder and burn defenceless, unfortified towns, could answer no purpose.

"Whether the general exceeded his orders or not, or whether some other motive occasioned it, he was on his return to New York received at Head Quarters with great coolness. From the well-known humanity, charity, and generosity of General Tryon, no man in his senses can imagine the troops under his command were with his consent suffered to plunder peaceable inhabitants, towns to be burnt, holy buildings destroyed, and thousands of innocent people of both sexes and all ages, and the greater part of the Loyalists , divested of all the comforts of life and turned into the open fields with no habitation to protect them, exposed to the inclemency of the weather and covered by the canopy of heaven only.

"New Haven, Fairfield and Norwalk were during the war regarded with a jealous eye by the New England rebels; were called Tory towns - in short at a moderate computation at least two-thirds of the inhabitants of those towns were Episcopalians, and the greater part of that profession favoured the royal cause during the whole rebellion." (To be continued).

Excerpt from Book of Family History written by The Ven. William Odber Raymond, LL.D, FRSC. © 2009 George McNeillie - all rights reserved [published here with permission; see footnote]

...George McNeillie {ggm3rd AT sympatico DOT ca} how do I email him?

New Titles for Young at Heart

Finding readable books on the United Empire Loyalists for your children, or grandchildren, can be a challenge. Finding the appropriate gender-based material is becoming easier. With our overwhelming number of examples of historical fiction with the focus on the heroine annotated in Books for the Young at Heart, I am always looking to improve the balance. This summer I was able to add three more titles that feature the experiences of young boys. They are not new publications but are still readily accessible through your local book dealer.

Two are storybooks from Harper Trophy's "I Can Read" Book series, originally published in 1969. George the Drummer Boy tells the story of a drummer boy with the British forces under General Gage in Boston in 1775. He provides an eye witness account of the march to Concord to investigate the rumours of a build-up of armaments by the Minutemen.

The second book, Sam the Minuteman, presents the observations of young Sam Brown who lived with his parents near Lexington prior to the outbreak of the American Revolution. Like his father, Sam becomes involved in the early skirmishes as the local colonists defend what they think was right. Both books were written for the grade three reading level. Although they do not feature the problems of the Tories, both books provide an interesting balance to our view of that period.

The third new offering is The Fighting Ground by Avi. Originally published in 1984, this 25th anniversary publication focuses on the experiences of 13 year old Jonathan in the colony of New Jersey in 1778. His older brother is with General Washington in Pennsylvania, and his father had been wounded earlier near Philadelphia, but Jonathan daydreams of being a soldier. Within 24 hours, Jonathan's views are challenged by both local militia and Hessian forces. The author includes the use of German dialogue to increase the sense of confusion in the young hero, but also provides translations at the end of the book. The Fighting Ground will also add a sense of balance to our understanding of the challenges facing the young people during the American Revolution.

If you discover a new title not already on our UELAC list, please send the information with brief annotation to education@uelac.org.

...FHH

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are:
- Clendenning, James and son Abraham - from John Haynes
- Hainer, Henry and sons - from John Haynes

Queries

Responses re Sour [_?_] in Loyalist Brown Bread Recipe

The question about the missing ingredient in Loyalist Trails brought the following comments and recipes in return.


A. These recipes use buttermilk.

- Steamed New England Brown Bread

- Irish Brown Bread

- Boston Brown Bread

- Molasses Brown Bread

Therefore in my opinion, the missing ingredient would be one cup sour milk or you could substitute buttermilk.

...Jean Clark U.E. Carlisle Kentucky


B. You need some liquid in that recipe. It has to be sour milk. Think about it.......no refrigerators. It separates into whey and curds. I know it says "add milk a drop at a time." at the end.

In Denmark we used to put some lemon juice in the milk and leave it for 24 hours at room temperature..........it separated into whey and curd.............get rid of the whey and eat the curd...........not yogurt but better.........great on cereal!!!

I was just talking to my Dad. When I read the reciped to him........he said "Buttermilk". He's the cook!!

...Mette Griffin


C. I agree, it's sour milk. Good recipe - thanks!

Compare your recipe to this one I had:

Paddy O'Toole's Sour Milk Bread

This is one form of soda bread; good to know about if you're out of yeast and the milk's gone west. This is a good dependable loaf. If the milk isn't sour yet, add a good spoonful of vinegar to sweet milk and use that. Or use a mixture of yoghurt and sweet milk. You can also use all white flour, if you like, or all whole-wheat, though a mixture of both is better.

1-1/2 c. white all-purpose flour; 1-1/2 c. whole-wheat flour; 1 t. baking soda; 1 t. salt; 3 T. butter; 1-1/2 c. sour milk.

Mix well till it's soft and not-too-wet dough, then put it in a greased loaf tin (making a little trough down the middle so it will rise evenly) or put it in a round heap on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 to 400 degrees for about an hour.

One tip on soda breads; unlike yeast breads, which depend on goodly amounts of kneading, soda bread cannot stand it. Too much handling will turn them into what is commonly known as a BRICK! (or a great demo loaf for the amusement of crowds - to show them the privations of our ancestors - the poor soldiers away from home and from good bakers, but it makes for poor eating) . Take it from me, I know. If they had good bakers, they didn't turn out a brick like my first over-kneaded soda bread!

...Chris Ellyson, novice baker, 7th Virginia Reg't.


D. From Dorothy Duncan, HVP, UELAC:

Dorothy has a large and wonderful collection of heritage cook books, as any of you who have attended an event where Dorothy provided some samples, or even prepared some food at the event, would know. She found the "original" recipe, complete with the missing word, in one of those books:

The Sugar Bush Connection by Beatrice Ross Buszek, published 1982 by Cranberrie Cottage, part of the Connection CookBook Series. Copies are available on the Internet, although the publisher now shows as Nimbus Publishing Inc., also of Nova Scotia.

The recipe calls for "sour milk".


E. Sour Milk, but Not a Loyalist Recipe

The missing ingredient is milk, as in sour milk. This recipe would have little connection with the Loyalists. Soda as a leavening agent was rare before the 1850s. Graham flour, a coarse unbleached flour, was invented in the US in the 1830s, but wasn't commonly used in Canada until much later. In the early 1800s loyalists would have used molasses for bread -- not maple syrup -- and its purpose was to work on yeast and get the action going, but there is no yeast in this bread. Maple syrup was rarely used in cooking or baking. This is like an Irish soda bread -- the Irish would use either sour milk or buttermilk, but probably not Graham flour.

With heavy flours and with soda, not yeast, it's not easy to make a light bread. Stomach-ache time!

...Mary F. Williamson


F. Recipe is a bit of an Anachronism

I certainly agree with you about the dating of this recipe. The language is no earlier than the early 20th century, likelier later, into the 1920s. Phrases such as "pinch salt" and "combine all ingredients" aren't 19th century. Bake in medium oven at 375 degrees for one hour = introduction of thermometer, which did appear on some iron cookstoves, but wasn't soon reflected in recipe writing. So, that's an instruction for gas and electric stoves. "If batter is too heavy, add milk, a drop at a time" isn't a 19th century sentence either. The missing ingredient is sour milk. Without making the bread, it seems to me that sour cream would be too thick for the proportion of cornmeal and rough graham flour. The dairy is soured (made acidic) to balance the alkaline soda. The acid and the alkali together produce the carbon dioxide leavening.

...Fiona Lucas


G. Personal Comment: I Tried The Recipe

Doug, I tried out the Brown Bread recipe last night with 1 cup of sour cream, the 14% type, because there isn't any melted butter in the recipe. I thought it would turn out like the Johnny Cake that we used to have at home years ago with maple syrup poured over it. This Brown cake would take a lot of maple syrup. It is hard and thick and very brown. It would ruin the teeth of our hardy Loyalists, but they could carry it in a knap sack for weeks and weeks.

However, it tastes good. I think a few nuts would improve it. Actually, more baking soda would improve it too and make it rise a bit.

I dropped a few drops of milk in the batter, and it got up to almost 2/3 of a cup. I think it could have absorbed a lot more liquid to make it a lighter cake.

Doug, there are more problems with this recipe than the "1 cup of sour ?" something or other,, but it does taste good.

...Jean Norry

A Proof Showing Philip Deforest son of Simon and Mary DeForest

Seeking proof documents to show Philip Deforest was the son of Simon and Mary DeForest to complete my United Empire Loyalist linage. Loyalist lineage from 1. Abraham (UE), 2. Simon (SUE), 3. Philip

Philip DeForest born abt 1819, son of Simon DeForest & Mary Pear. Philip married Elizabeth Skinner in 1842. Philip died in 1868, unknown location.

Philip & Elizabeth had possibly 10 children - Mary Ann, Benjamin, Susan, Isabella, Joseph, Andrew all born in Beverly Twp, Wentworth Co. Ont. and Charlotte Lottie, Elsie Marie, Thomas and David unknown birth locations.

Philip appears to have been a residence in Thompson's Corners (later called Orkney) Beverly twp., Halton County and listed as a blacksmith.

1861 census Beverly Twp., Wentworth County, Philip 49, Eliz 34, Benjamin 14, Susan 12, Isabella 10, Joseph 9, Elsie M 7, Andrew 3, Thomas 2. They are living next to Benjamin and Emily Skinner.

...Paul Caverly {pcaverly AT rogers DOT com} how do I email him?

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