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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2010 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2010-11: March 14, 2010

Articles

A Loyalist Victory of Note -- © Stephen Davidson

If the American Revolution had been won by the loyal colonists, North American history books would be filled with a completely different set of noble heroes and noteworthy battles. The British capture of Charleston or the rout of rebel forces at Camden --as just two examples-- would be the stuff of songs, historical re-enactments and Hollywood blockbusters.

However, one loyalist victory during the American Revolution did manage to be celebrated in the newspapers of the day as well as in a very popular poem. The battle was a story of David versus Goliath -- of the less-than-100 loyalists who fought off 1,800 rebels. You haven't heard of the bravery of the Loyalist Refugees? Gather 'round then, and hear their story.

In the summer of 1780, seventy loyalist soldiers (some records say 84, others say as many as 122) were under the command of Colonel Cuyler and Captain Thomas Ward. At least twenty of the Loyalist Refugees militia were free Africans. These men defended a newly built blockhouse at Bull's Ferry on the New Jersey shore of the Hudson River.

The wooden building afforded protection for neighbouring loyalist farmers and woodcutters. The latter supplied firewood to the British forces in nearby New York City. This wood was as vital a resource during the revolution as oil is in today's warfare. There were also a number of cattle and horses near Bull's Ferry -- two very desirable commodities for the poorly supplied patriot army that was camped just to the west of the New Jersey palisades.

On the morning of July 21st, 1,800 patriot troops under the command of General Anthony Wayne attacked the blockhouse. Wayne's goals were simple -- to destroy the loyalist military outpost and take what cattle they could to provide for their troops. While one column of troops lay siege to the loyalist stockade, another was to make off with as much cattle as it could.

After coming as close as 160 yards, the rebels began a fierce cannon attack, firing at the blockhouse walls for three hours with seven pieces of artillery. Eyewitness accounts testified that "almost every shot...penetrated through the Block-house, and an Attempt to carry the place by Assault {was} repulsed by these brave men."

In rebel accounts of the battle, General Wayne tried to excuse his failure to destroy the blockhouse, claiming that his cannon were not powerful enough and "made no impression upon the walls of the house". The fact that almost every loyalist who was killed or wounded in the battle was inside the blockhouse is ample evidence that the rebel shots did, indeed, penetrate the stockade's walls.

Every time the patriots made an attempt to charge upon the gates of the blockhouse, they were repelled by the loyalist defenders. In the end, the rebels were forced to retreat.

During the assault on the stockade, Wayne's soldiers had stolen twenty head of cattle from the surrounding countryside. A party of loyalists from the blockhouse gave chase for four miles and eventually caught up with the cattle thieves. They successfully recaptured the livestock, killing one rebel and capturing two others.

General Henry Clinton, the commander in chief of the British forces, was so impressed by the loyalist victory that he went to visit the blockhouse at Bull's Ferry. In his letter to Lord Germain in Britain he reported that "the blockhouse which I visited was pierced with 52 {cannon} shots in one face only".

The death toll in the battle was very lopsided. Ninety rebels were killed and another thirty were wounded. Thomas Philips, John McMurdy, two unnamed soldiers, and a free black were the only loyalist casualties. Lieutenants George and Absalom Bull, Alexander Sharp, John and Ezekiel Fealy, and John Mullan were wounded, but lived to fight another day for their king.

The Royal Gazette of New York later reported "no veterans could have behaved better on this occasion than these few Loyalists. And his Excellency the Commander in Chief, has expressed his thanks and approbation to this LOYAL BAND, for their spirited and gallant behaviour."

One of the British officers who visited the hardy little blockhouse was Major John Andre, the adjutant general of the British army in America. General Clinton had Andre write a letter to Colonel Cuyler, the commander of the stockade. It said, " The Commander in Chief admiring the Gallantry of the Refugees, who in such small Numbers, defended their Post against so very considerable a Corps, and withstood both their Cannon and Assault, desires his very particular Acknowledgement of their Merit may be testified to them."

These were not the last words Major Andre was to write about the assault on the Bull's Ferry blockhouse. The story of just four score loyal colonists who not only fended off the Continental Army, but also recaptured their stolen cattle was too good a bit of propaganda to ignore. Soon Andre had written a three part satirical poem titled "The Cow Chace". It was published by Rivington's Royal Gazette in New York City in serial form over the next few months. Andre's account of the loyalist defense of the blockhouse is filled with taunts.

Not all delights the bloody spear,
Or horrid din of battle,
There are, I'm sure, who'd like to hear
A word about the cattle.

Andre belittled the excuse that rebel cannons could not penetrate the blockhouse walls:

Five Refugees ('tis true) were found
Stiff on the block house floor,
But then 'tis thought the shot went round,
And in at the back door.

The poet described the victors of the battle in this verse:

The firmer as the Rebels press'd,
The loyal Heroes stand;
Virtue had nerv'd each honest Breast,
And Industry each Hand.

This poem was widely circulated, and would no doubt be memorized by school children to this day had the loyalist cause been victorious in the American Revolution. Nevertheless, it is an interesting record of an almost forgotten loyalist victory of note.


To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.


[Editor's note: This is the 150th article which Stephen has submitted and we have run in Loyalist Trails. Without submissions there would be no newsletter, and the help of everyone is much appreciated. Stephen has obviously gone a step beyond, and for me, and I expect for most of you, his articles have introduced me to many different aspects of the American Revolution and the Loyalists, aspects of which I had no knowledge. Stephen, thank you so much for helping bring more, much more, of our Loyalist heritage to the readers of Loyalist Trails... For anyone wishing to hear Stephen firsthand, he will be speaking at the Halifax Branch on March 25. -- Doug]

Ebenezer Dibble (1715-1799): Fifth Generation in America (Part 4 of 13; © 2009 George McNeillie

(See parts one, two, and three.)

A few years ago my cousin Maria (the late Mrs. J.J. Bedell) showed me at her home in Woodstock a beautiful letter written by the old Rector of Stamford in 1787 to his oldest grand-daughter, Margaret (or Peggy) Dibblee, on the occasion of her marriage to John Bedell, late of Woodstock. The letter is today in possession of Berton Bedell, who lives in the old Bedell place in Woodstock. It will be quoted later in this book.

The children of Rev. Dr. Ebenezer and Joanna Dibblee were:

1. Ebenezer, born at Stamford   Dec’r. 19, 1737

2. Joanna,   ditto   June 15, 1739

3. Fyler,   ditto   Jan’y. 18, 1741

4. Frederick   ditto   Dec’r. 9, 1753

The sons Fyler and Frederick were Loyalists, but the oldest son, Ebenezer, went into the New York Colony and sided with the Revolutionists. This son afterwards settled in the town of “North East” – name now changed to “Pine Plains.” It is in Dutchess County up the Hudson. A grandson, advanced in years, Mr. W.W. Dibblee of East Orange, New Jersey, wrote me in 1894 that the ashes of his grandparents repose in the little cemetery of the village where they were honoured and loved to their latest day.

The next son in the family, Fyler Dibblee, was a man of ability and education, who filled important offices in his native town. He married, June 18, 1763, Polly Jarvis, the eldest daughter of his father’s Church-Warden, Samuel Jarvis. He was then a young man of twenty-two and she was just “sweet sixteen”. Her father in addition to being a Church Warden was town-clerk of Stamford. Her brothers, Munson and John Jarvis, were strong Loyalists and came to New Brunswick at the peace in 1783. m ore will be said of them under the head of our Jarvis ancestry [Editor’s note – please see previous issues of Loyalist Trails for the Jarvis family history].

In May, 1774, Fyler Dibblee affirmed his loyalty to British institutions in the controversy which was brewing. He was called to account by the General Assembly of Connecticut, the charge being that holding the position of Captain of the First Stamford Company of the 9th Connecticut Regiment, he did in January, 1775, “endeavour to prevent the introduction of certain barrels of gunpowder into this colony.” He was also charged with having drawn up a paper disapproving of rebellion against the mother country, to which a number of Loyalists had affixed their signatures. He was soon afterwards obliged to flee for protection to the British garrison at Lloyd’s Neck, or Huntington, on Long Island.

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

...George McNeillie

At War With Relatives, By Neil A. Patterson

The America Revolution created deep wedges in many families. Those called Tories remained loyal to the British Crown and others took up arms to fight for their independence. Much has been written about the Tories who joined British Units or formed Militia Units to fight along side the British Regulars. They fought against their neighbors, their friends and their relatives. There are stories of an uncle who attacked a Regiment in which he knew his nephew was part or a brother who was confronted with the fact that his brother was facing him across the battle line. The conflict wrenched families apart and others saw their brothers and fathers marched off to jail. When the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783 many thousands of these Tories had made their way to Canada. They became the only settlers in what would become Ontario, the Eastern Townships of Quebec and large tracts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Twenty nine years later, when war again broke out between the United States and Great Britain, the young province of Upper Canada (Ontario) became the major battle ground. There were only 6,000 British troops spread across over two thousand miles of the Canadian border.(1) Augmenting these troops fell to the newly created County Militia and Volunteer Reg’ts.(2) In many cases the officers and non-commissioned personnel who formed these militia units were the same officers and men who had been the officers and the men of the militia and regiments which fought in the war for American Independence. The situation was complicated even further because of the arrival of what has been termed the “late Loyalist”. These settlers, many from New York State, came to Upper Canada because of cheap land. Cross-border trading and cross-border marriages developed ties between the two countries, especially in the St. Lawrence Region.

Explore the complications arising our of family relationships in this article, partially centred around Joel Stone of Gananoque, and three families with extensive involvement on both sides - the Stone, Wiltse and Soper families. The article is six pages.

...Neil A. Patterson

Commemoration of the 250th anniversary of The Battle of the Restigouche July 4 - 11, 2010

We would like to acknowledge that our Project has been partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage...

This event is one of the largest historical events to take place in the Canadian Maritimes and is a first in regards to its inter-provincial location, taking place in the Restigouche River estuary.

The Age of Sail Maritime Alliance (ASMA) has sanctioned the “Battle of the Restigouche” event. The Age of Sail Maritime Alliance is a not-for-profit historical and educational organization that was formed in 2008 to help organize and support 18th and early 19th century living history maritime events. Each year the ASMA sanctions several events where it encourages its members to lend their support. Only three events being held within Canada and the U.S.A. were chosen!

Restigouche 1760 would like to open the doors of history and take you back to the era of French & British soldiers, the Mi’gmaw People, settlers, missionaries, and others from that era.

During our festival in July the historic Fort Listuguj, after being closed for many years will be reopened for our event with a special opening ceremony dedicated to Joe Gray. If you have never been to the Fort, July will be a great opportunity.

As part of the festivities and to honour the people of 1760 there will be a wreath laying ceremony in the river, Historical schooners and longboats, French & British Militia Encampments, Military drills, cannons and demonstrations!

Pirate day for adults & children, everyone wants to be a Pirate, outdoor musical concerts, including local cultural musicians, cemetery walks, scavenger hunts and a first time actual Treaty signing re-enactment.

Visit our 1760 era villages representing the life and cultures of 1760; Acadian & French in Pointe-a-la-Croix, Mi’gmaq in Listuguj & Scottish in Campbellton.

- Friday July 9th, “Big Stage” event with Jimmy Rankin – Hert LeBlanc – Dr. Bernie Francis

- Catch a glimpse of the Chaleur Phantom

- Non-denominational church service and brunch at Fort Listuguj

Restigouche 1760 will raffle a beautiful handmade replica of a Birch Bark Canoe, complete in every detail that has been made locally in Listuguj. We have raffle tickets available now and the drawing for the canoe will be held July 11th. Contact Matt Metallic 418-788-3022 or Valerie Babin 506-759-7566 for raffle tickets.

Don’t forget to purchase the first in our set of collector pins. These along with a limited amount of calendars are available from Irene Doyle, snobunting@hotmail.com or (506) 789-7759.

For a view of the actual historical boats that will participate in July, visit YouTube.

Visit our website often for updates.

Another Use of Google

After reading the latest issue of Loyalist Trails, I thought listers may like to hear my use for Google.When researching genealogy/history I access Google Books. Entering a keyword and selecting Full View Only, I am able to access a vast library of older publications that offer a glimpse into the past through contemporary authors.These can be downloaded for free and/or read online. Original images, or modern type, you choose the view. 1000's of long ago authors, printed from 1600-1900. A treasure trove of information. Happy hunting.

...Karen Graf, Kingston ON

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are:
- McKinnon, Gregor - from Thomas Murray (Volunteer Jo Ann Tuskin)
- Wees, David - from Catherine Fryer, with certificate application
- Wees, John Sr - from Catherine Fryer
- Williams, John - from Jack Havrilchak

Last Post: Marilyn Frances Haslinger, UE

Marilyn passed away at the Norfolk General Hospital on Saturday, March 6, 2010 of Simcoe in her 74th year, peacefully with her family at her side. Daughter of the late Frank and Alma Smith and much beloved wife of Joe Haslinger. Loving mother of Alecia Novak (Colin) of Windsor and their four kids, loving step-mother of Joe Haslinger (Jane) Melinda Evans (Paul) all of Tillsonburg and Darryl Cainey (Terry) of Vineland, cherished grandmother of Mitchell and Mya. Also surviving is her sister; Betty Molnar of Port Dover and brother-in-law; Arnold Johnson of Simcoe, nieces and nephews, and was predeceased by her sisters; Orla Lindsay and Georgina Johnson, brother-in-law; George Molnar.

Marilyn worked in the Admitting and Accounts Payable Departments of Norfolk General Hospital for 45 years, was a United Empire Loyalist, a member of Trinity Anglican Church Canterbury Club, The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #79, The Genealogy Society and a volunteer for the Museum. Friends are invited to meet with the family on Thursday, March 11, 2010 from 2 – 4 and 7 – 8 p.m. at THE BALDOCK FUNERAL HOME, 96 Norfolk St. N., Simcoe where the funeral will be held on Thursday evening at 8 p.m. Reverend Dr. Timothy Dobbin and Reverend Bryan Robertson officiating. Cremation. Those wishing to make a donation in Marilyn’s memory are asked to consider the Norfolk General Hospital Foundation, The Canadian Cancer Society or the Charity of One’s Choice. Online condolences at www.baldockfuneralhome.com.

Marilyn was a most valued and dedicated member of the UEL Association and the Grand River Branch. She served as the Branch Treasurer for several terms and was instrumental, along with others, in the plaquing of the cemeteries in the Grand River area in which Loyalists are buried. Her UE ancestor was Daniel Servos of Niagara. She will be missed by all who knew her.

...Bill Terry UE

Last Post: Anna Catharine "Kay" Rogers

Kay Rogers, mother of Peter Rogers UE, President of the Manitoba Branch and Jane Tunney of Saint John, NB died peacefully on Tuesday morning, March 9, 2010 in Arnprior Hospital. A Queen's 49 graduate, Kay taught at Arnprior and District High School for over 20 years. She was an active member of her community, volunteering and canvassing for charities. She enjoyed her association with the Arnprior Historical Society, the University Women's Club, her book club, her church and the Parkinson's Society amongst others. Additional information can be found in the Ottawa Citizen.

Queries

John (Jonathan) Williams (Jr., Sr.)

In the Loyalist Directory there are several listings for John (Jonathan) Williams (Jr. Sr.). Would appreciate help with any one or combination of them to see if some of them are the same person, which ones have been proved, what other Williams if any they are related to etc. If you have proved to one of these, or if you have some information from your research into the Williams family or other families and can help a bit, please get in contact.

...Doug Grant

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