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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2009 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2009-36: September 6, 2009


The Loyalist Fugitives of Natchez and a Man Named Paro -- © Stephen Davidson

In the spring of 1781 over a hundred loyalists faced the prospect of an attack by Spanish forces on their settlement in Natchez, Louisiana. Reluctantly, they abandoned the farms they had tended for the past five years, sold what they could, and bought provisions for an overland trek. Little did they know that in a few months' time all of their lives would hang in the balance -- dependent on the actions of an enslaved African named Paro.

Paro was one of the 60 slaves that belonged to Alexander McGillivary. Despite having such a British name, McGillivary was actually a leader of the Creek Indians, the son of a Scottish trader and a First Nations woman. Before settling among his mother's people in western Alabama, McGillivary had been educated in Charleston, South Carolina and had worked in Savannah, Georgia. Rebels seized McGillivary's property in South Carolina because his father was a loyalist. The trader's son became a colonel in the British army, and worked with the British superintendent of Indian Affairs, arranging a number of alliances between the Creek people and the British.

By 1781, McGillivary operated a plantation near present-day Wetumpka, Alabama, owned African slaves, and maintained herds of cattle. One of the Creek leader's most trusted slaves was a man named Paro. He would become the saviour of the loyalist fugitives of Natchez.

The hundred or more exhausted loyalists had just crossed the Coosa River when they made the discovery that they were approaching a Creek First Nations' village. Three men went into the town on horseback, and were quickly surrounded by warriors. The loyalist deputies were clearly not welcomed. Their saddles were made like those of the rebels, the enemies of the Creek, and so enemies they must be. Had Alexander McGillivary been at home that day, the three loyalists could no doubt have convinced the crowd of the good reasons why they were approaching from the west and that they were, indeed, friends of King George III. But they could not explain themselves to the suspicious warriors. It looked as if the loyalists long, grueling journey was to be in vain, ended beneath the knives of the Creek.

Just at that moment, McGillivary's trusted slave, Paro, rode into the village. When he asked what was going on, the Creek told him that they planned to kill the visitors whom they believed to be rebels, enemies of McGillivary and King George III. The three loyalists quickly told the African their story. Paro took the men at their word, but despite name-calling and arguments, he could not persuade his master's people that the men were friends. All of the intruders, the Creek declared, must be put to death.

One of the Creek gave the loyalists a chance to prove themselves. Assuming that all whites "put their talk on paper", the warrior demanded that if the loyalists were indeed telling the truth, the three men should "make the paper talk". In other words, they should read out an account of their journey from Natchez. But no such record had been made.

All would have been lost at that moment, except for the quick wits of Paro. He urged the three loyalists to find a piece of paper -- anything that might have writing on it. Finally, one of the loyalists found a letter found in his pocket. The African quickly told the man to read his letter, but instead of reading what it actually said, he should slowly and earnestly recount their flight from Natchez. As the "journal" was read, Paro enthusiastically interpreted the story, adding hand gestures. By the end of Paro's translation, the Creek men put down their knives. The "talking paper" had persuaded them that the loyalists were allies. They welcomed the loyalists to their village.

The deputies returned to get the others in their group, and soon the caravan of over a hundred loyalist men, women and children were enjoying the hospitality of the Creek people. They were fed, housed, and entertained. When the loyalists had recovered their strength and spirits, they divided into two groups and made their way to Georgia. It was now July, they had been travelling since late May. Finally, in August, the fugitives of Natchez arrived safely in Savannah. Thanks to Paro, none of the loyalist caravan died on their 149-day trek.

As for the quick-witted African slave, he slipped back into anonymity as yet another one of the many forgotten black heroes of loyalist history.

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

"Thanksgiving: The Plants": A Native Loyalist's View

"The Plants.

Now we turn toward the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. With our minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.

Now our minds are one."

Canada is a nation of trees, grasses and tundras. Our Loyalist ancestors looked at the forests as their source of shelter and economy and we can still see them for their beauty and inspiration. Being respectful and grateful of the natural flora that has protected us - and the natural animal world - helps to preserve a heritage of all Canadians.

...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.]

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

[Part 1Part II,   Part III]

Huntington Bay, on the north shore of Long Island is formed by Eaton's Neck on the east and Lloyd's Neck on the west, both of which project a considerable distance into the Sound. In those days, Huntington Bay was large enough to receive the entire British fleet. The anchorage was good, the water deep enough for the largest man-of-war, and the bay secure from almost every wind. It is today a very commodious and secure retreat for the palatial steamers that ply the Sound in case of bad weather. From the Bay, we enter Huntington Harbour, a large basin land-locked on all sides. It was described at the time of the Revolution as - "A decent, complete, pretty place with an Episcopal Church."

I was informed in 1890 by the Rev. Theodore M. Peck, the Rector of St. John's Church in Huntington, that the ramparts erected in the vicinity of the British troops were still visible. The Rev. Richard B. Post wrote, in 1889, that he was baptized and received his first communion in old St. John's Church in Huntington, which was then standing, as it was when the British soldiers worshipped in it. He remembered a gravestone through which a six-pound cannon ball had gone, with the tradition of a man killed behind it. Huntington, as a parish, dates back to 1734, but there are no registers back of 1853.

The Raymonds, with other homeless exiles from Norwalk, seem to have settled themselves at Eaton's Neck, where Israel Hoyt and his wife, a sister of Silas Raymond, are known to have resided. Walter Bates of Stamford, who came there about this time, commenced teaching a school for the children of the little colony. I presume that Grace and Samuel Raymond may have been among his scholars.v

The surrounding country was for some time under the protection of the 3rd Battalion of De Lancy's Brigade, a Loyalist corps raised almost entirely in Queen's County, on Long Island. The commander of the Battalion was Colonel Gabriel G. Ludlow, who was afterwards first mayor of the City of St. John, N.B., and thereafter for some years, Administrator of the government of New Brunswick. Part of the duty of the 3rd De Lancy's was to protect Refugees from Connecticut and other Loyalists resident on the Island. For two years they lived secure beneath their protection. A Fort was built at Lloyd's Neck for the defence of the wood-cutters.

Loyalists thereupon organized a corps for their own defence, under command of Major Joshua Upham, - afterwards a Judge of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick. The following incident, which occurred at Lloyd's Neck, is recorded in the Journal of Benjamin Marston, under the date July 12, 1781: -

"Lloyd's Neck, Long Island, was attacked by the French; the party (covered by a 36-gun frigate and the Romulus and some armed vessels) mustered about 400. They were defeated by Major Upham, who commanded the post at the Neck, with some loss. This post is of importance to the New York garrison, supplying it with great quantities of fuel, notwithstanding which it was ordered a few days ago to be evacuated by the troops who kept post there, and but for the entreaties of the above-mentioned Major Upham would have been left, with some thousands of cords of wood, a prey to the enemy. He was permitted to take post there with about 100 to 150 Refugees. With this handful, aided by the crews of some vessels that were a-wooding, he defeated the enemy who came to take possession of it."

The Loyalists who took part in the repulse of the French were mostly natives of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. In their task as wood-cutters, they used to go up the hill-side above the Fort, where they had constructed a kind of sluice, or spout, to convey the wood down the hill-side. When the alarm was raised every man repaired to the scene of danger. From the nature of the work, as well as from the exigency of the times, the wood-cutters wore sheep-skin breeches. On the occasion of the alarm a number of them slid down the spout to save time. "I tell you," said one of the participants in the affair, "it made the leather breeches pretty hot!"

Silas Raymond was very likely one of the defenders of the post, since in his sworn testimony before the Commissioners on the Loyalist claims, given at St. John on February 1, 1787, he mentions the fact that he "used to act with the Refugees on Lloyd's Neck."

We learn more from the narrative Walter Bates that the colony at Eaton's Neck at this time was composed of Loyalists from Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford, Reading, etc. These exiles were bound together by the tie of a "United defence of the British Empire" in a crisis. (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?

Loyalists of Gaspesia

This week, Matthew Farfan, editor of the Gaspesian Heritage WebMagazine, September 4, 2009 (Vol. 8, No. 7), has included an article of interest to many of our membership. The Loyalists of Gaspesia: 1784-1984, written by Raymond Garrett, with illustrations by Normand Desjardins and edited by Cynthia Dow, was originally published in 1982 and reprinted in 2006 by the Committee for Anglophone Social Action (CASA)

For several years now, our chief resource on Loyalist settlement in the Gaspé region has been the fine articles written by the late Donald J. Flowers and published in The Loyalists, Pioneers and Settlers of Quebec.


Col. John Butler Branch Membership Breaks 300

At the Col John Butler (Niagara) Branch luncheon meeting on September 05, Membership Chair, Bev Craig, announced that their membership had surpassed 300 (302). At the end of 2008, the number was only 274. With the additional 28 new members, they had reached their first goal of 110% and thus had qualified for a cash reward from the UELAC Membership Committee to apply to their work. 24 certificates were presented at the meeting. Speaking of big numbers it should be noted that Betty's Restaurant in Chippawa had no difficulty serving the varied meals to the 107 diners present.


Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration, 7-13 Sept. 2009

On 7-13 September 2009, the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration will take place in Plattsburgh, New York, on beautiful Lake Champlain. The commemoration recognizes an event in 1814 which some historians call the end of "The Second Hundred Years War".

One of the biggest draws during the commemoration has always been the parade. The parade will take place on Saturday, 12 September, at 1 p.m. Its theme is "The French Connection", linked to the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Lake Champlain by French explorer Samuel de Champlain. Plans for the 12th annual parade are now in its final steps. This year there are several more units signed in than usually are signed in at this point in time with still plenty of room for more.

The selection of the grand marshalls, Celine Paquette and Claude Bachand, together with a number of units and marchers in period clothing reflects the theme, "The French Connection". Celine Paquette, is vice chair of the Quadricentennial Committee for New York State, and a descendant of early French settlers who walked with Champlain; and Claude Bachand, is a member of the Canadian Parliament for the federal riding of Saint-Jean, Quebec, and co-chair of the Standing Committee on National Defense. He has been active in Canadian politics for more than three decades.

In the parade organization will be three major brass bands, two bagpipe bands and several fife and drum corps. Also participating will be marching units, veterans organizations, school and community groups and floats. The "Beat Retreat" will be held immediately after the parade in front of the reviewing stand. Al the bands, more than 150 musicians, play together in an inspirational finale in the afternoon.

Activities during the week long commemoration will include the battle encampment and re-enactment, the bateau race (including fifteen American and Canadian bateaus), craft demonstrations, entrance to all local museums (The War of 1812 Museum, Clinton County Historical Association, Lake Champlain Transportation Museum, Kent DeLord House), five dance events, period games and entertainment for kids, street entertainment, the Israel Green Tavern with musical entertainment, history lectures, and more than 15 musical events ( to include concerts given during the week by the U. S. Navy Band of the Northeast and the Royal Marine Band of Canada). Entry to all events is included with the purchase of the $10 commemoration button.

...William Glidden, Historian, Valcour Battle Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are:
- Milliken, Benjamin by Robert Hurrie
- Carns, Jacob by Mahlon Cook


Response re Stockings finished! (See Knitting Pattern & Responses)

Thank you to Ivy Trumpour, UE, Elizabeth Hancocks, UE, Mary Anne Bethune, UE, Sandra DeYoung and Concetta Phillipps for all their suggestions and websites for making knitted stockings. I combined ideas from several patterns and my own experience, but essentially used the pattern found in the webpage Hand Knit Hose, a Knitted Stocking Pattern by Donna Flood Kenton, although I modified the number of stitches and rows to suit my yarn and size.

The clock patterns are from Notes on 18th Century Stockings and I embroidered them on afterwards using a duplicate stitch, aka Swedish embroidery. I used 100% cotton yarn in a natural colour and the contrasting colour is an indigo blue. I did do a more modern ribbed and turned heel and grafted the toe with the Kitchener stitch for a better, more comfortable fit. I learned a new technique while doing this - of making a real 'garter stitch' while doing round knitting by using the 'wrap and turn' method (as found in the above "Notes on 18th C Stockings").

I wore the stockings with my outfit to the North Lanark Highland Games in Almonte, ON, where the Clan Munro Association of Canada (of which I am Secretary) has an information booth. My stockings and outfit were both well received. See the photos. In the photo at the Games, Stuart McVey is 90 yrs old and still the bass drummer for the Kemptville Legion Pipe Band which wears a Munro tartan.

...Jo Ann Munro Tuskin, UE {jmtuskin AT sympatico DOT ca} how do I email her?

Response re Solving a Revolutionary War Document Mystery

In the August 9th issue of Loyalist Trails, we published a query from James Pagter of Connecticut who had just acquired a Revolutionary War document. This week, we received a progress report on the continuing quest.

I promised to get back to you if I was able to solve the riddle concerning that Revolutionary War document, asking American soldiers to go over to the British. A genealogist at a CT library was able to locate records of 4 marriages of people in the manuscript. It seems certain that the area from which the document came is Christchurch, VA. I too, from my research, was pointed to that area.

It appears that this is an investigation by a Safety Committee looking into people trying to convince American soldiers to go over to the British. -- Jim Pagter

Response re A Proof Showing Philip Deforest son of Simon and Mary DeForest

I don't think that Philip Deforest was the son of Simon Deforest and Mary. Here are some unverified thoughts on Philip's parentage.

Note the 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia > Canada West (Ontario) > Halton County > Nelson

(All Wesleyan Methodist)

Simon Deforest, farmer, born Upper Canada, married, age 60;

Mary, housekeeper, born UC, married, age 50;

Simon (Jr), labourer, born UC, age 24;

John, Labourer, born UC, age 20;

Esther Abigail, born UC, age 21;

Gilbert, born UC, age 17;

This would indicate that Mary Pear wife of Simon Deforest was born in 1801.

Now, here is the entry in the 1861 Census of Canada > Ontario > Wentworth

Philip Deforest, labourer, married 1843, born Canada West, age 49, frame house.

Eliza, m. 1843, born CW, age 34;

Benjamin, 14;

Susan, 12;

Isabella, 10;

Joseph, 9;

Elsie M., 7;

Andrew, 3;

Thomas, 2.

This would indicate that Philip Deforest was born in 1812. Mary Pear would not likely have been the mother of Philip. Also, the locations (Nelson in Halton County vs. Wentworth County), and the descriptors used are suggestively different (ie Simon's family born Upper Canada vs. Philip's family born Canada West).

I think that Philip was in fact, not the grandson of Abraham Deforest, U.E.L. (1764-1842) & his wife Elizabeth Bowman (1768-1849), but the SON of Abraham. This would mean that the Loyalist Commissioners simply missed Philip for their OC list. This was not uncommon. Notice how scattered the OC list is for the family of Abraham:

from Sons and Daughters of American Loyalists, page 86:

DEFOREST, Abraham of Stamford and Toronto, 2nd Battalion, KRRNY, married Elizabeth daughter of Jacob Bowman UE.


John of Stamford, bapt. 22 July 1792. OC 26 March 1817.

Mary, mar. Adam Bowman of Stamford. OC 26 March 1817.

James of Stamford. OC 20 May 1817.

Simon of Toronto. OC 16 June 1819.

Abraham of Nelson. OC 28 Feb 1833.

Hannah, mar. William Weir of Nelson. OC 4 Feb 1830.

This means that the land commissioners were gathering scattered information during the years from 1817-1833, trying to get the heirs sorted out, and they likely missed one or more children of Abraham.

Notice above, the son Abraham Jr. who received his OC on 28 Feb 1833. Well, Abraham Jr. was born 1814, and in fact was the older brother of Philip. Here is Abraham Jr. in th 1861 Census of Canada > Ontario > Halton at Nassagaweya

Deforrest: Abraham, labourer, born Upper Canada, age 47, born Flamboro;

Jane, ditto, age 30;

Nelson, age 16;

Easter C., age 15.

This would mean that Elizabeth Bowman mother of Abraham Deforest was age 44 when her son Philip was born, and age 46 when her son Abraham was born. In family research, we are more accustomed to girls marrying young, and having their children young. But the Loyalist settlers often had children until their wives reached menopause, as the uncertainty of their early lives as Loyalist exiles made them insecure: they wanted to be sure to have enough children to care for them, should hard times come in their later years. My own Loyalist ancestor's wife was age 50 when my direct ancestor was born to them. This I thought improbable for many years, until I finally unearthed the will, where it is all set out in detail.

To prove your Loyalist lineage, I think that you should find the will of Abraham Deforrest, and there, all or many of his children may be named. This could be a daunting search, but you should be able to find it with patience and a bit of luck.

...Richard Ripley UE

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