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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2010 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2010-25: June 20, 2010


Agnes Frankland: the Loyalist Cinderella -- © Stephen Davidson

On the evening of June 17, 1775, the victorious British forces carried their wounded away from the battlefield at Bunker Hill with all the speed they could muster. Their garrison was just half a mile away in Boston. As the soldiers entered the city, they passed a magnificent brick mansion where a 49 year-old widow stood on her doorstep.

Agnes Frankland had watched the battle from the third story of her home. A dedicated loyalist, Mrs. Frankland invited the men to bring their wounded comrades into her home. She cleared the dining room table and supervised her servants as they bandaged up the bleeding men.

Despite the decisive victory over the rebels at Bunker Hill, revolutionary fervour continued to grow over the next seven months. Boston was no longer a safe place for a rich widow who befriended the British. Finally, on March 17, 1776, Boston's loyalists fled the city. Among those who sailed for England was Agnes Frankland.

Although Agnes was a leading member of Massachusetts' aristocracy, forty-two years earlier she had only been an illiterate tavern maid. Her remarkable rise through colonial society later became the subject of an 1861 novel and an 1887 poem. This is the story of the loyalist Cinderella.

Agnes Surriage was scrubbing floors at the Marblehead Inn when her beauty caught the eye of a 26 year-old Englishman named Charles Frankland. He was utterly smitten by 16 year-old Agnes, and eventually received permission from her fisherman father to take her to Boston as his ward. Frankland promised to have Agnes learn reading, writing, grammar, music and embroidery with the best tutors in Boston -- the same education received by the daughters of Massachusetts' elite.

Four years later, Frankland was made the baronet of Thirsk. Becoming "Sir Charles" meant that he could not marry a commoner. But it did not stop him from living with Agnes. They "became as man and wife without having wedded." Boston society was scandalized.

When Agnes was 26 years old, Sir Charles took her away from the wagging tongues in Boston to a 480-acre estate in Hopkinton. Orchards of fruit trees imported from England surrounded the Georgian manor house. Henry Cromwell, just 15 years younger than Agnes, also went to live on the estate in Hopkinton. Sir Charles' illegitimate son had been born in the year after the nobleman first arrived in Massachusetts.

In 1754, Sir Charles took Agnes to England where his family gave her a frosty reception. After a tour of Europe, the ostracized couple eventually settled in Lisbon, Portugal, a city that was all too willing to tolerate Sir Charles' "alliance libre". Agnes might well have remained an American mistress to her English lover for the rest of her life had it not been for the most destructive earthquake in Europe's history.

On November 1, 1755, Sir Charles had driven off to an All Saints Day mass, leaving Agnes at their rented villa. At 10 o'clock, the first quake struck, bringing a wall down on the nobleman's carriage. Buried under the rubble, Frankland vowed that he would marry Agnes if his life were spared.

Meanwhile, Agnes ran into the streets to find her lover. Hearing his voice, she clawed at the fallen brickwork until her fingers bled. After convincing others to help her, Agnes rescued Sir Charles and took him to a nearby community. True to his vow, Sir Charles summoned a priest, and the two were married.

To be sure that they were indeed truly wed, Sir Charles had an Anglican clergyman hear their vows aboard the ship that took them home to England. The scandalous Miss Surriage was now Lady Frankland, the wife of the baronet of Thirkleby. The Frankland family welcomed Agnes with open arms. Commoner or not, she had saved Sir Charles' life.

Within a year, the baronet and his lady were back in Boston, where Agnes was warmly received into the "polished circles" of the city's aristocracy. After purchasing a 26-room mansion in one of the capital's more prestigious neighbourhoods, the Franklands entertained those who only a few years before had snubbed Agnes.

Sir Charles was appointed consul general for Brazil, and in 1758 the Franklands moved to Portugal. A decline in Sir Charles' health compelled the couple to journey to Bath to enjoy "the benefit of its mineral waters". Henry, Frankland's illegitimate son (now 23) joined them. Agnes and Henry enjoyed a warm relationship, but his very existence must have always been a sad reminder that Agnes was unable to bear Sir Charles any children of their own.

Four years after their arrival in Bath, Frankland died. Agnes could have stayed in England, but decided to return to Hopkinton. For the next seven years, she shared her country estate with her sister, Mary Swain, and her children. Henry also lived with her.

By April of 1775, rebel antagonism toward loyalists was bubbling over into violence. The Massachusetts congress permitted all loyalists living outside of Boston to gather up their possessions and seek refuge in the colonial capital. In June, Agnes had Henry and her servants load up the Frankland carriages with trunks, furniture, and food, and headed for Boston. There, old friends welcomed her back to her Garden Court Street mansion. Within just two weeks, Lady Frankland's magnificent home would become a field hospital for the British soldiers wounded in the Battle of Bunker Hill.

In March of 1776, Lady Agnes took Henry to England to stay on the Frankland estate until the war was over. She met a wealthy Chichester banker named John Drew, and the two were married in 1782. However, Mr. Drew did not have long to enjoy the company of his American wife. Agnes died on April 23, 1783. The loyalist Cinderella who had won the heart of a British nobleman and scandalized Boston society was buried in Chichester far from her beloved Massachusetts.

To see how Massachusetts remembers its loyalist Cinderella, click here.

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

William and Sarah Frost (Part 4 of 14; © 2009 George McNeillie)

The diary of Sarah Frost on the voyage from New York to St. John was kindly loaned me by Miss Caroline Frost of Saint John a good many years ago – I copied it and will now insert it in these pages. It has been printed in part in my St. John River History [Raymond's book The River St. John was first published in 1910 and re-issued in 1943 with edits by Dr. J. C. Webster, C.M.G., Member of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada]. I give it as nearly verbatim as I can. Some parts are missing.

The Diary of Sarah Frost

May 25, 1783. I left Lloyd's Neck with my little family and came on board the "Two Sisters", commanded by Captain Brown, for a voyage to Nova Scotia with the rest of the Loyalist sufferers. This evening the Captain drank tea with us. He appears to be a very clever gentleman. We expect to sail as soon as the wind shall favour.

We have very fair accommodation in the cabin, although it contains six families besides my own. There are two hundred and fifty passengers on board.

Monday, May 26. Nothing happened today worth mentioning. We lay at anchor in Oyster Bay* the whole day, not having got all our passengers on board.

Tuesday, May 27. At 8 o'clock we weighed anchor; at Oyster Bay with a fair wind for New York. Half after eleven we are brought to by the Guard-Ship at City Island; our Captain was very angry that they should bring him to, but they did not detain us long. We went on with a fair breeze through Hell Gate, but just as we got through the wind and tide headed us, and we had like to have gone on shore. They tried twice to go on but at length were obliged to anchor at the mouth of Harlem Creek, where we lay that night.

Wednesday, May 28. We weighed anchor at Harlem Creek at a quarter after six in the morning with a fair breeze, but the tide being low we struck a rock fifteen minutes later. We soon got off, but in a few minutes struck again. About half past seven we got off and went clear. About ten we anchored at the lower end of the City of New York, the tide not serving to go around into the North [Hudson] River. At eleven o'clock I went on shore in Captain Judson's whale-boat and went to Mr. Partlow's, where we dined and spent the afternoon. Major Hubble was there -- who formerly commanded the Loyalists at Lloyd's Neck.

At evening we returned on board ship, where we drank tea and spent the evening with my little family in playing a game of cards with "Billy". As I have not mentioned him before, I may say he is my affectionate Husband [Capt. William Frost] in whom I take delight.

Thursday, May 29. I arose very early, intending to go on shore, but after breakfast I had such a bad head-ache I was obliged to go to bed. Billy went on shore without me and came on board to dine. In the afternoon he went on shore again with my little son [Henry, aged 9]. I long to hear them come on board again to hear what observations the child will make, for he has not been in town for some years now.

He has come on board again, and he pleases me very much with his discourse about all he has seen.

* Oyster Bay was the home and burial place of the late Theodore Roosevelt. It is just west of Lloyd's Neck 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

Little Forks Unveils Interpretation Panel at Little Hyatt Schoolhouse

Sunday June 13 was truly a banner day for Bev and Milt Loomis and the Little Forks Branch. Surrounded by over eighty supporters, they unveiled the new interpretation panel on the grounds of the Little Hyatt One-room Schoolhouse in Milby in the Eastern Townships Region of Quebec.

The new two sided structure is permanently sheltered by a cedar shingled roof and rests on a 10' x 20' cement platform enabling the handicapped, along with others to have access. The magnificent panels include pictures of the seven covered bridges that existed in this area, along with histories of Huntingville and Milby including churches, schools and long ago business enterprises in the area.

This addition to the schoolhouse complex clearly unites the Loyalist epoch with the early development of the area. A full report complete with photographs of the event and links to supporting material is available here.


Book: The Other Side of Revolution: Loyalists in the British Empire

Maya Jasanoff of Harvard University is featured in an issue of the William and Mary Quarterly. For those of you who like searching the internet, put in the title of the article: "The Other Side of Revolution." Here is a paragraph from the introduction:

Indeed, for all that scholars have attempted to correct bluntly patriotic portrayals of American independence, it remains surprisingly controversial in the United States today to count loyalists among the victims of republican chauvinism. It must be remembered, though, that the American Revolution really was a civil war and was clearly seen as such by contemporaries on both sides of the Atlantic, some of whom experienced its divisive effects within their own families, as in the conspicuous example of William Franklin, loyalist governor of New Jersey, and his patriot father, Benjamin. Loyalists expressed their views passively and actively: they refused to swear loyalty oaths to the new assemblies; they moved to cities and regions under British control; and nineteen thousand joined loyalist regiments to fight for their vision of British colonial America. In retaliation they faced harassment from their peers--most vividly, if rarely, by tarring and feathering-- and sanctions from state legislatures, which could strip them of their land and possessions or imprison or formally banish them.

Special Events in Shelburne, NS

In addition to the dedication of the stained glass windows at St. Paul's Anglican Church on the Old Birchtown Road in Shelburne, N.S., Shari Shortliffe, Office Administrator of the Black Loyalist Heritage Society has indicated that there will be another event to attend for those who will be in the Shelburne area on Sunday June 27. (On May 23 we included this note: "The Black Loyalist Heritage Society has sent an invitation to UELAC to attend the dedication of the stained glass windows in St. Paul's Church, Birchtown, Nova Scotia on 27 June 2010.. As a result of a Dominion project in 2007, the Vancouver Branch and many individuals stepped forward with sufficient funds to assist with the restoration of four of the windows.")

Pat Watson will be performing at 8pm at the Osprey Arts Centre in Shelburne -- special guests are the Shelburne Christ Church Choir. Tickets are $15. See attached poster for more details.


Loucks 300 Anniversary Celebration & Family Reunion June 25-27

In York, Pennsylvania, from June 25-27, descendants of the proud, old Loucks family will be gathering together to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the arrival of the first Loucks settlers in the British colonies in 1710 aboard those so-called ‘sailing coffins." A complete weekend of activity, like a journey through time, has been in the planning for over three years now under the theme: " What is your Legacy?", with Orie Loucks speaking on our German ancestry, Edna Loux on our Buck County, PA ancestors, and Terry Loucks on the Loyalist trek to Ontario. A high-lite of the event will be a presentation on the new field of genetic genealogy, and how your DNA testing can help genealogists. Descendants of the Palatine emigrants who left Gravenweisbach, Germany, in 1708-10 and settled in the far reaches of the British Empire, including the Hudson Valley in New York and beyond, may soon be able to connect with long-lost family members, and learn far more about their German roots than they ever thought possible.

This exciting and memorable weekend can be viewed here.

For more information, interested Loucks descendants can email the emcee of the event, a Canadian with Ontario roots, Terry Loucks.

Winners of Loyalist Directory Challenge

In Loyalist Trails issue 2010-05 on Jan 31, a challenge was issued to earn tickets to a raffle by submitting data for the Loyalist Directory. Thanks to many contributors, some 66 submissions were received, almost three each week. During the reception on Thursday June 3 at the UELAC Conference in Vernon BC, the three winner's names were drawn - to be noted though that the winners do not receive the money, but get to direct it to a UELAC Branch, or a UELAC purpose of their choice.

The three winners are:

1. Alice Walchuk $125

2. Lois O'Hara $75

3. Jack Havrilchak $50.

Many thanks to all who submitted data for the directory - you made a difference; congratulations to our winners.

...Doug Grant, chairman of Loyalist Information Committee


Response re Information About Joel Ingersoll, Named on a St Alban's Church Tile

One component of this question was a possible connection to Laura Secord.

Laura (Ingersoll) Secord, the famous Canadian hero of the War of 1812, was indeed an Ingersoll. She was born 13 September 1775 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and died 17 October 1868 in Chippewa, Niagara. She is buried at Drummond Hill Cemetery. Her father was Major Thomas Ingersoll (1753 -1844), and her birth mother was Elizabeth Dewey (1758-1783).

Thomas faced enormous decisions about which side he would fight on. Like many local men in Massachusetts, he chose to fight for the colonies. He became a captain in the state army of Massachusetts. He earned the rank of Major when he helped to end Shays' Rebellion.

Because of the time her father had spent away from home, Laura became very close to her mother. Laura's entire life was changed dramatically when her mother died in 1783, leaving Laura the oldest of four girls.

In 1784, Thomas Ingersoll remarried. Unfortunately for Laura, her stepmother passed away only four years later. Thomas immediately remarried. His third wife, Sarah provided Thomas with four sons and three daughters. The Ingersol family now had 11 children. Thomas, unhappy with the policies in America, had relocated his family to Canada in hopes of regaining his lost family fortune. The large family was given a plot of land near Queenston, opened a tavern and it is here that Laura met the love of her life, James Secord.

Laura Ingersoll married Sergeant James Secord UE (1773-1841) in February 1795, near Niagara Falls.

This is the Ingersoll connection you wondered about; certainly on first blush it is unlikely there is a connection to Joel Ingersoll.

...Richard Ripley, UE

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