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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2009 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2009-39: September 27, 2009


Patriot's Sister, Loyalist's Wife -- © Stephen Davidson

When the revolution broke out in Connecticut, in 1775, 35 year-old Hepzibeth Lyon found herself in a situation that would become increasingly common to women of the Thirteen Colonies. The War of Independence had divided her family into two distinct and very bitter factions. Her younger brother Stephen Betts had joined the Continental Army of the patriots; her husband John Lyon was fighting for the British with a loyalist regiment.

Not only did the revolution divide her family, it threw her life into utter chaos. Previous to 1775, Hepzibeth had been busy as the wife of a prosperous Connecticut farmer, occupied with all the responsibilities of raising six healthy children. She was involved in the congregational life of Christ Church, regularly visited her siblings' families, and enjoyed shopping trips to Fairfield and Danbury. The seasonal occupations of putting aside preserves for the winter, making butter, and gathering the fall harvest were the warp and woof of Hepzibeth's rural existence. All in all, it was a very good life for the tavern keeper's daughter from Wilton.

But from the outbreak of war until 1783, Hepzibeth's life was anything but enviable. Faced with neighbour's death threats, her husband had fled Redding in June of 1775. Local authorities seized John's lands and chattel, selling them off to his neighbours. A month after John fled for his life, Hepzibeth gave birth to little George. She was now responsible for the care a new born baby as well as six other children.

Hepzibeth watched her neighbours break into two vicious camps: loyalist and patriot. Her minister's life was threatened, her brother-in-law, Joseph Lyon, went into hiding in the woods, and her brother, Stephen Betts, joined the Continental Army to fight against his king.

When the British army marched through Redding in 1777, it captured Stephen and incarcerated him in the prison ships anchored in New York harbour. Meanwhile, John Lyon had joined a loyalist regiment and was serving his king on Long Island. Hepzibeth must have wondered if she would ever see her brother or husband alive again.

In the fall of 1778, the Continental Army camped in Redding for the winter, bringing hardship to the local farmers and subjecting the town to two brutal public executions. John Lyon, now a captain in the Prince of Wales Regiment, was fighting in Rhode Island.

Finally "in much distress", Hepzibeth and her seven children slipped out of Redding and sailed to Long Island. Until 1783, their new home was the community of loyalist refugees that had collected around Fort Franklin, a British garrison at Lloyd's Neck. Here the Lyon family was finally reunited, and Hepzibeth was able to introduce little George Lyon to his father John for the first time. Father and son would know each other for no more than a year before George's untimely death.

During their years at Lloyd's Neck the family made new friends, most of whom were other Connecticut loyalists. John was regularly involved in raids on patriot towns across the Sound and defended Fort Franklin from a French naval assault. Their refugee community was also subject to sudden night attacks from patriots in whaleboats. It could never have been very easy for Hepzibeth to sleep soundly or to be free of anxiety about a rebel raid. The one bright moment in all of the stress of life on Long Island was when Hepzibeth gave birth to William Henry Lyon on June 25, 1782.

The constant insecurity felt by the refugees at Lloyd's Neck came to an end in 1783. The mighty army of King George III of Great Britain had been defeated by the Continental Army of the United States of America. Hepzibeth and her family, unwelcomed in Connecticut, accepted the offer of a new home in the northern colony of Nova Scotia and sadly bid good-bye to the land of their birth.

In April 1783 Hepzibeth and John Lyon entered the third phase of their lives as they walked onto the deck of the Union. Two weeks later, their evacuation ship sailed into Parrtown's harbour. After fellow refugees had scouted out land for a settlement, the Lyons headed up the St. John River to found the town of Kingston.

For the next thirty-four years of her life, Hepzibeth Betts Lyon was a pioneer, a contributing citizen, and then a venerable elder. Despite their wilderness setting, Hepzibeth's childhood skills as a tavern keeper's daughter in Wilton, Connecticut enabled the Lyons to earn a living through innkeeping, the first loyalists to do so on the Kingston Peninsula.

Following the Revolution, Hepzibeth's patriot brother, Stephen Betts, continued to operate the family's inn on the main road through Redding, Connecticut. A veteran of imprisonment and battles, Betts had also served on various committees to raise money for the Continental Army and had represented Redding in the colony's legislature. He died at 86 years of age in 1826 and was buried in an Anglican cemetery. His tombstone notes that he was a veteran of the revolution.

Far to the north of Connecticut, a gray, weathered tombstone stands in Trinity Church's graveyard bearing the names of Stephen Betts' sister and her husband John Lyon. Hepzibeth died at seventy-seven on September 25, 1817.

Some Kingston townspeople had known Hepzibeth since the days when they sought refuge at Lloyd's Neck. Others first met her on the deck of the Union. Many simply remembered her as the innkeeper's wife. To John Jr., Sabra, Abigail, Ruth, Reuben, Peter and William Henry, she had been the mother who kept the family together during the darkest days of the revolution. The news of Hepzibeth's death slowly made its way up and down the St. John River, causing many in its refugee villages to pause and remember Mrs. Lyon, a patriot's sister and a loyalist's wife.

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

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

"The Animals.

We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We are honoured by them when they give up their lives so we may use their bodies as food for our people. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so.

Now our minds are one."

Far from a barren' land, Canada's first arrivals from other lands would have unquestionably seen the abundance of animal life flourishing in their chosen new homelands. Providing both food and clothing, these animals gave their lives that saved and enriched countless Loyalists. Today, animals often act as icons for the Canadian experience... the beaver, moose, elk and caribou all are national emblems of a nation owing much of its existence to animals.

...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 VII - © 2009 George McNeillie

[Part 1Part II,   Part IIIPart IVPart V, Part VI ]

It is remarkable that of the twenty or more ships that came to St. John in May, 1783, the only one of which the Manifest seems to have been preserved is the ship "Union", Captain Cousett Wilson, which brought the Raymonds and their friends. The Deputy Agent in charge was Fyler Dibblee, attorney-at-law, a son of the Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee, Rector of Stamford only a few miles from Norwalk. More will be told of Fyler Dibblee and his family hereafter.

Walter Bates writes in his diary some details of the voyage of the Ship "Union" from Huntington Bay to Saint John, New Brunswick, or "Saint John's River, Nova Scotia," as the place was then known, and extracts from his diary are here quoted:

"It seemed as if God's blessing attended us, selecting for us the best ship in the fleet and by far the best Captain. And so with warm loyal feelings we all embarked on the good ship "Union" . Capt. Wilson received us on board like the father of a family. Nothing on his part was wanting to make us comfortable on board. This blessing seemed providentially to attend us throughout. From Eaton's Neck the ship sailed to New York.

"Having on board a couple who wished to get married, we called upon the Reverend Mr. Learning, who received us with much kindness, most of us having been formerly of his congregation, who after the marriage reverently admonished us with his blessing, to pay due regard to Church and School as means to obtain the blessing of God upon our families and our industry."

The clergyman here mentioned, Rev. Jeremiah Learning, D.D., was the S.P.G. missionary [editor's note - The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, a missionary organization of the Church of England] at Norwalk and vicinity. He was an eminent Loyalist and suffered much during the Revolution. He was the first choice by the convention of the clergy of Connecticut for their Bishop. They regarded him as a confessor by reason of the sufferings he had endured during the War. He, however, declined the honour proffered, on the ground of bodily infirmity, and the Rev. Dr. Samuel Seabury was then commended to the English Bishops for consecration. Subsequently, he was consecrated in Scotland.

The "Union" now joined the fleet of transports, that was being collected at Staten Island, to sail for Nova Scotia under convoy. Some of the vessels in the fleet were to sail to Port Roseway (or Shelburne) on the south-east coast of Nova Scotia. Others were bound for St. John harbour on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy. A week was spent in getting the fleet together and completing the preparations for the voyage. We again quote the narrative of Walter Bates:-

"On the 26th of April, 1783, (the day was a Saturday) upwards of twenty sail of ships, under convoy, left Sandy Hook for Nova Scotia. >From whence, after the pleasure of leading the whole fleet for fourteen days, our good ship "Union" arrived at Partridge Island in St. John Harbor before the rest of the fleet was come within sight. Next day the ship was safely moored by Capt. Daniel Lovett, the pilot, in the most convenient situation for landing in the Harbour of St. John, all in good health. Here we remained comfortably on board ship, whilst, in other cases, the people were sickly and were precipitated on shore. This we viewed as a providential favour. We were also allowed to remain on board until we could explore for a place in the wilderness for our purpose of settlement.

"A boat was procured for the purpose and David Pickett, Israel Hoyt, Silas Raymond and others proceeded sixty miles up the River Saint John and reported that the inhabitants were settled on Intervale land by the river; that the highlands had been generally burned by the Indians, and that there was no church, or church minister in the country. They were informed of the existence of a tract of timbered land that had not been burned on Bellisle Bay, about thirty miles from the Harbour of St. John, which they had visited, and considered the situation favourable for our settlement.

"Whereupon all agreed to proceed thither, and having disembarked from on board our good ship "Union", with Captain Wilson's blessing, we embarked on board a small sloop all our baggage. The next morning, with all our effects, women and children, we set sail above the Falls and arrived at Bellisle Bay before sunset. Nothing but wilderness before our eyes, the women and children did not refrain from tears."

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?

The Three Solomon Huffs of Adolphustown

There were three Solomon Huffs in Adolphustown in the early 1800's and it is no wonder that some people get them confused when they are doing their research for a UEL Certificate. I know I was confused, but George Trigg's book on the Huff family was a great help in sorting out these brothers in Dutchess Co. NY and particularly in Westchester Co., NY ... I found an article George wrote for the OGS Journal, "Families" in 1985, (Vol.24, No.3), which outlines the early generations of this family in America since about 1637.

Solomon Huff Sr. (1751) was a brother of Paul Huff, (1747) and they each had a son called Solomon... Paul's son Solomon was born in 1772 and married Sarah Alger in about 1796 and he is usually called Solomon of Huff's Island. (See page 414 and 415 of Pioneer Life in the Bay of Quinte for a story of their first trip to Huff's Island and how their sleigh fell through the ice). Solomon's son, however, was much younger. He was born in 1796, married Charlotte Lobdell in about 1820 and was living in Adolphustown until 1851, when he was listed as a gentleman of 56 and Charlotte 52. He is usually referred to as Solomon Huff Jr., at least when his father Solomon Sr. was alive. From the land records as evidence Solomon died in 1828 He is probably buried in the same cemetery as his son Richard Huff was buried in 1875. One of the oldest tomb stones there is for a Daniel Wright, buried on April 9th in 1828 at 84 years. This is the Ross Carson Wright cemetery in North Marysburgh., in Prince Edward County.

Paul Huff had an illustrious career in the military during the American Revolution and came to Canada as a Lieutenant in 1783. He was baptized as Poulus, son of Willim Hof and Elizabeth Retan, daughter of Paul Retan and Elizabeth Foseur, (Baptism #1243 on page 85 of the Tarrytown Church Records) in the Old Dutch Church, in Westchester County, NY on 26 July, 1747. He married Polly Krank (or Cronk) in about 1765 or 66.

Larry Turner, in "Voyage of a Different Kind" has precise information about Paul. He lost his farm at Fishkill in Dutchess County. He served in James DeLancey's Regiment in New York, (was this a cavalry unit called the Westchester Cowboys, commanded by General DeLancey's nephew James?). Paul served with Major Ward at the famous battle of the Blockhouse at Bull's Ferry and he was a Lieutenant in Cuyler's Regiment on Long Island, noted for transporting supplies to New York City during the British occupation. When he left New York City in September of 1783 to go to Quebec City and Sorel, he was with Abraham Maybee's Company. He came to Adolphustown with Peter Vanalstine's group in 1784 with five children. He gave land to be used for the site of the Hay Bay Methodist church in 1792 and he let the Court House crowd use his new barn in 1794 while the new Court House was being built in the village of Adolphustown.

There is so much good information about Paul, that it is embarrassing to find almost nothing about his brother Solomon... George Trigg found the same difficulty with Solomon and also with two other Huff brothers who came to Canada. at the same time (Shadrack, born 28 May, 1767 and Engelhart, often called Angel, baptized 25 Sept. 1742) A petition which Solomon Sr. wrote in August 1797 states he had arrived in "this province"in 1788 with a wife and six children. He said he had purchased land here. He was definitely here in 1792 when he gave two pounds towards the building of the new Methodist church on Hay Bay. He was one of the trustees of this church on May 17th, 1811. when the Christian Guardian, an early Methodist newspaper in Toronto, reported a deed to the property had been executed between Paul and Mary Huff and the seven Trustees of the Hay Bay Church.

Solomon may have come to Adolphustown because his brother Paul had written him a letter about this new Methodist Church. We don't know where Solomon was in 1788, but he managed to avoid the American Revolution and keep his family, as well as his in-laws Peter and Eve Swade out of harms way. I doubt if he thought of himself as a Loyalist. I didn't find his name in any Loyalist regiment. And, from the early land records of Adolphustown, it is clear he bought a farm on the second concession at lot 17 and 18 for about 100 pounds from Thomas Dorland. They lived beside our Davis family on the second concession of Adolphustown, and perhaps his children and ours walked to the Old Hay Bay Church together. Our father said there used to be a road or at least a pathway through to the third concession on our lot 16 farm. I never saw it, but it could have been there then.

It was probably no surprise to anyone that Solomon was "expunged" from the UEL list, or "suspended", as another reference says. But, it is surprising that nearly all his children made petitions for land as sons or daughters of a Loyalist. As far as I know, they all received their 200 acres.

My 3x great grandmother was Solomon's daughter Jane. She was baptized in Rumbout Presbyterian Church, Dutchess County, on August 3rd. 1773, and married Henry Hoover, the young fellow who was chained to Jacob Bowman in the Lancaster Jail in 1780. I was very moved by that story. It seemed so sad that Jacob walked all that way to Adol.phustown to see Henry and had to leave a note on the door because Henry wasn't home.

Solomon Huff Sr.'s descendants in the Bay of Quinte area could be numbered in the thousands. He and Eve had nine children between 1773 and 1796 and most of them had large families. Perhaps there were 81 grandchildren. Sarah married Jacob Dulmage and they had 10 children. Jane married Henry Hoover and they had nine children. Elizabeth married William Wright and they had seven children. William married Maria Cole and they lived in Camden Twp. in Lennox and Addington. Pioneer Life on the Bay of Quinte, page 415, has four children listed for them. Catherine married Peter Maybee, (third son of Abraham), and they moved to Murray Twp. Their children were Peter, Henry, Abraham and Samantha and maybe more, but PLBQ has six children listed for them. Richard married Sophia Snider and they had three daughters in Marysburg. When Eve married John Carr in 1852 they were given the home farm in Adolphustown. Mary married Henry VanDusen in South Marysburgh and they had three children... Peter married Anne Heald and they had nine children in South Marysburgh. The youngest son Solomon married Charlotte Lobdell and they had seven. So that adds up to about 60 grandchildren, not 81, but it is an amazing legacy to leave.

...Jean Norry {jeannorry AT sympatico DOT ca} how do I email her?

Edmonton Presentation to Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

Forewarned by the Loyalist Gazette Editor, Robert C. McBride, many Branches like Sir Guy Carleton and Hamilton pre-ordered extra copies for distributions to the Cdn. Legion and local military groups. You will remember that the Vol. XLVII No. 1, Spring 2009 issue of the Loyalist Gazette featured an article on Jonathan Snyder UE (1981-2008) who died while serving with the Canadian Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team in Afghanistan. Since the publication in May, additional copies were sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party and other political representatives at both provincial and federal levels. In this way, a completely different section of Canada would be reminded of the long standing military tradition of serving one's country held by our Loyalist ancestors and their descendants.

Al Dodd, a Sergeant (Ret.) from the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineers, and a Past President of the Edmonton Branch, developed the groundwork for a presentation of several copies of the spring issue to The First Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry while I was in Edmonton for the Prairie Regional. With his acceptance, Major Steven Grubb CD, Officer Commanding Rear Party, The First Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, reminded us of the role family tradition continues to play in the operations of the regiment. Major Grubb was personally very aware of Jonathan's Loyalist connections and greatly appreciated the tribute.

Prior to the Regional Seminar, and at the request of Lt. Colin Mackenzie of the Family Support Centre in Edmonton, we were able to post the two Snyder articles to our Military folder of the dominion website. Readers may appreciate the opportunity to share the article with other members of their community.

...Frederick H. Hayward, President UELAC

Cornwall Marks Anniversary with Unveiling of Plaque - Supplement

What was not mentioned in the Cornwall Standard -Freeholder's account of the unveiling of the plaque was the highly visible presence of the St. Lawrence Branch. In addition, Peter W Johnson, Past President UELAC represented our Association at this 225th anniversary.

In reference to the heading, " CELEBRATING 225: Mohawk role in settlement of community publicly acknowledged ", Loyalist Trails readers may take the opportunity to learn more about the Mohawk history in that area by linking to The Mohawks of Quebec from the Loyalist Gazette Vol. XXIX, No. 2 Fall 1991 and as adapted for The Loyalists, Pioneers and Settlers of Quebec.

This may also be a good time to refresh your knowledge of the Four Directions Youth Fund campaign as approved at the Annual General Meeting in Adolphustown.


Past President Myrna Fox UE Recovers at Home

Following the successful bypass and valve replacement surgery on September 03, Myrna Fox, UELAC President 2002-2004 continues to recover steadily at home. By exercising up to 14 minutes twice a day, she is regaining her strength and endurance. While she asked that I express her appreciation for the flowers and cards that she has received, she also wanted me to pass on her encouragement to everyone to take care of their health now.


Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are:
- Boon(e), William - from Alex Lawrence
- Dickie Sr, Hector - from Alex Lawrence
- For(e)man, James - from Alex Lawrence
- Green, Daniel - from David Clark
- Green, William - from David Clark
- Rees, David - from Marshaleigh Bahan
- Vankleek, Simeon - from Sue Fleck with certificate application

Last Post: Mildred Jane (Rikely) Roblin, UE

Mildred passed away peacefully, with her husband at her side, at Village Green, Selby, on Thursday, September 24, 2009, in her 102nd year. Bbeloved wife for 67 years of John (Jack) Roblin, Adolphustown. Loving mother of Herb Roblin (Carol) of Napanee. Caring grandmother of Barbara Mirza (Alex) of Santa Monica, CA, and Eric Roblin (Lynne) of Ajax. Great grandmother of Julia Roblin and Sophia Mirza. Predeceased by her parents, George Herbert Rikely and Agnes Almeda Rikely (Gilbert). The funeral service will be held at Adolphustown UEL United Church at Dorland on Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 1:30 p.m. Interment Riverside Cemetery, Napanee.

...Kathy Staples and Lynne Cook

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