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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2010 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2010-26: June 27, 2010

Articles

Halifax in the Loyalist Era -- © Stephen Davidson

Great Britain founded Halifax in 1749 as a counterweight to the formidable French fortress of Louisbourg. With the fall of New France, there was no obvious threat to the northern colonies, and no great need for Halifax. However, revolution in the Thirteen Colonies in 1775 suddenly gave Halifax a new significance. Situated in the only seaboard colony that did not rebel, the garrison town would come to fill a crucial role during the course of the American Revolution.

Halifax's harbour, which could shelter hundreds of ships, was guarded by a hilltop citadel with cannon trained on the narrow entrance to the Atlantic Ocean. Before the revolution, the British had established the Halifax dockyard to build and repair its vessels. The presence of the dockyard made some fear that General Washington's rebel forces would march overland to capture it --and Halifax. After fortifying the dockyards, British engineers built a redoubt on a hill north of the citadel. Later named Fort Needham, this redoubt guarded the only land approach to Halifax, quelling concerns about rebel attacks.

While new fortifications were the first tangible consequences of the Revolution for Halifax, March of 1776 would suddenly put a more human face on the rebellion. 10,000 British troops and 1,100 loyalists had fled Boston in 120 ships bound for Halifax. An officer looking back in disgust at Boston said "neither hell, hull nor Halifax can afford worse shelter than Boston."

He was in for a surprise.

In 1776 Halifax was a town with a population of only 2,000. Suddenly half as many loyalists and five times as many troops were in need of housing and food. Some found shelter in overflowing barracks; others in tents on the windy slopes of Citadel Hill.

The Bostonians and soldiers brought smallpox to Halifax. Dr. John Jeffries, a Massachusetts loyalist, oversaw the garrison's first mass inoculation against the disease. Not one of the soldiers stationed in Halifax lost his life to smallpox.

There were other ways to die. Halifax was a very unsanitary town. People threw sewage into the streets; disease-carrying fleas and lice abounded. Halifax's winters were more severe than those of Boston.

Although some Boston loyalists stayed in Halifax to await the Revolution's outcome, wealthier ones set sail for England, happy to put "Nova Scarcity" behind them. Some loyal Americans attached themselves to the British forces that left Halifax for New York in June of 1776. But Halifax was not finished sheltering loyalists.

Over the next seven years, the Nova Scotia seaport provided safe haven for British military forces, repaired damaged vessels, and provided supplies for naval ships. Farms sprang up around Halifax, raising livestock for the British navy. Loyalists continued to find refuge in the garrison town.

In the fall of 1782, Dr. William Paine, a Massachusetts loyalist, was sent to Halifax to deal with a "malignant fever" that had broken out amongst the troops. Recognizing the necessity for a facility where soldiers and sailors could be treated for yellow fever, malaria and smallpox, the Royal Navy finally built itself a hospital in Halifax in the following year.

In late 1782, naval officers ordered over 25 ships docked in Halifax to empty their holds and sail for Charleston, South Carolina. British troops and southern loyalists needed rescuing from advancing rebel troops. Convoys returned to Halifax with soldiers and 500 loyalists. Feeding and housing so many in a Nova Scotia December was a daunting task.

Beginning in May, the flood of loyalist settlers bound for Nova Scotia increased dramatically. Most of the 30,000 American colonists who were given free passage to the northern colony in 1783 decided to settle along Nova Scotia's coast or the St. John River Valley rather than Halifax. Ironically, while patriot forces had never harmed Halifax, loyalist settlement threatened to reduce it to a mere military base.

150 miles to the south of Halifax lay Shelburne, a magnet for loyalist settlers. They were convinced that the fertile land, the rich fishing banks, and the large harbour would make it a thriving loyalist city. The first settlers disembarked in May of 1783. Within two months, Shelburne was as large as Halifax. By December, it was a city of 12,000 people!

Shelburne --not Quebec, Montreal or Halifax-- was now the largest city in all of British North America. Governor Parr foresaw that the loyalist settlement would become the colony's leading port; its settlers dreamed that their city might become the new capital of Nova Scotia.

But Halifax need not have worried. Within a year, Shelburne's population declined sharply. Loyalists sought better opportunities in New Brunswick or pursued business interests in Halifax. The last great threat to Halifax to arise from the American Revolution was no more.

As Nova Scotia slowly absorbed its loyalist settlers, Halifax was poised to assume a new significance. According to British economists, Halifax's merchants would replace those of the Thirteen Colonies and maintain the Caribbean trade. Maritime fish, lumber and foodstuffs would be exchanged for West Indies molasses and sugar which would be traded for British manufactured goods for sale in the Maritimes.

This trade triangle, however, only "worked" on paper. There were not enough loyalists to grow food or to cut timber for trade. They were certainly in no position to buy great quantities of British manufactured goods.

In the end, Halifax would not find its destiny in commerce. The outbreak of hostilities with France in 1793 made it clear that the city's significance would always be tied to its strategic location. Sparing no expense, Great Britain proceeded to make Halifax the strongest fortress anywhere in the world outside of Europe.

The loyalist era saw Halifax grow from an outpost for the Royal Navy to a sanctuary for loyalist refugees to a strategic fortress for the British Empire. Like the loyalists who came to live within it, Halifax proved to be tenacious and resourceful -- a city that survived the greatest shift in political power in North American history.


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

William and Sarah Frost (Part 5 of 14; © 2009 George McNeillie)

Friday, May 30. I went on shore and went to Mr. Partelow's where I spent the whole day. Mrs. Schofield and Miss Lucretia Bates came there towards evening, and they gave me an account of my Parents' welfare and my friends in the Country. I am afraid I shall not hear from them again before I leave New York. I grow tired as I think to quit for the night.

Saturday, May 31. I got up early in the morning at Mr. Partelow's, waited some time for breakfast and then I went amongst the shops to trade. I dined at Mr. McKay's and went out with Mrs. McKay afterwards. Called at Mrs. Partelow's for my children and came back and met Billy at Mrs. McKay's, and we drank tea there and then came on board again.

Sunday, June 1. I got up early in the morning intending to go on shore, but being fatigued with yesterday's walk and not feeling well Billy went on shore without me. When he came back in the afternoon Major Hubble came with him and drank tea with us in the cabin.

Monday, June 2. We are still lying at anchor in the North River [Editor's note – now the Hudson River], not having any orders for sailing. Nothing happens worth mentioning.

Tuesday, June, 3. I went on shore again to see my friends and make some purchases.

Wednesday, June 4. It being the King's birthday there was such a firing among the ships as to astound one [the leaf of the diary here is torn and part of the page missing].

Thursday, June 5. Billy went on shore and while he was gone the ship was taken out into the stream and I was afraid he would never find me again.

Friday, June 6. Still lying at anchor [leaf of diary torn and part of narrative missing]. Daddy [Editor's note - Josiah Schofield, III , who fought on the American side with Crane's Company, Fourth Westchester Militia] will come on board in the morning if Billy can go and fetch him. I long to hear from Mama and my brothers and sisters in the Country which I expect I shall by Daddy. We have a very bad storm this evening, our ship tosses very much, and some of the people are quite sick, but I am in the hopes that the storm will soon abate. It grows too late, so I conclude for the night hoping to see Daddy in the morning.

Saturday, June 7. Billy went on shore and brought Daddy on board to breakfast. He carried him on shore again, for he expected to go home in the same boat he came down in, but hearing there was a vessel coming from Stamford this day, he concluded to stay and go with them, and so he came on board with Billy to dine.

We had green peas for dinner, but I could eat no dinner today, though I have a great liking for peas. I have sent on shore for another mess, but I don't know whether he will get them for me. He was so cross with me. [Later] He has come on board and has brought the peas.

Sunday, June 8. We are still lying at anchor in the North River. We expected to sail tomorrow for Nova Scotia, but I believe we shall stop at Staten Island or Sandy Hook for some days.

Monday, June 9. Our women all came on board with their children, and there is great confusion in the cabin. We bear with it pretty well through the day, one cries in one place and one in another whilst we are getting them to bed. I think sometimes I will go crazy. There are so many of them, if they was as still as common, there would still be a great noise amongst them. I stay on deck tonight till nigh eleven o'clock, and now I think I will go down and get to bed, if I can find a place for myself.

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

Plaque at Bishop's University, Lennoxville, QC

The plaque honouring the United Empire Loyalists has been posted to the Monuments and Commemoratives section. Dedicated by His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh during the 1989 Annual Conference in Lennoxville, the plaque commemorates the 200th Anniversary of Lord Dorchester's Order-in-Council of 9 November 1789 and the 75th anniversary of UELAC.

...FHH

A 1933 Loyalist Certificate for Edith Isabella Montgomery UE Creates Its Own Story

The Saskatchewan Branch UELAC recently received in the mail an original UE certificate made out to Edith Isabella Montgomery UE dated June 16, 1933 to the Regina Branch. (see the certificate here - the certificate will display rotated - if viewing in your browser, try right mouse click and then rotate....doug). The number of the certificate is 620, and it does not include the name of the Loyalist ancestor. The individual who sent it to us was from British Columbia and referred to Edith as a foster Aunt.

Gerry and I undertook to look up Edith's lineage. We started with the information that "she had lived and done office work in Regina, Saskatchewan during the 1930's. She later moved to Winch Street in North Burnaby, BC, where her parents bought a home. She had a brother Vernon Montgomery, who lived in the lower mainland. Isabella never married, became a piano teacher, and passed away about 1969. I believe she was born in Manitoba."

We first found Edith Isabella Montgomery born 04 Feb 1891 in Brandon, Manitoba. The registration (#1891 – 001696) gave her mother's maiden name as Edith Marian Crooks. We then proceeded to look for a marriage of Edith Marian Crooks (Montgomery) and lucked out. We sent for her marriage registration (#1890 – 06 –001483) which showed that she married 05 Feb 1890 in the Municipality of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba to John Alex Montgomery, son of Hugh and Isabella Montgomery. Her parents are given as Allan McCauley Crooks and Jane Johnson. We next checked in Loyalist Lineages of Canada and found Allan McCauley Crooks on page 97 (28 Oct 1826, in Grimsby ON – 16 Apr 1883) son of William Crooks and Mary Butler (May 1788 in Niagara ON – 30 Dec 1856 in Niagara ON). This lead us to the discovery that Mary Butler is the daughter of Thomas Butler on page 96 (b. 30 Nov 1755 in Montgomery NY – 12 Dec 1812 in Niagara ON) and his wife Nancy Tenbroeck. Thomas was the son of John Butler (Colonel Butler's Rangers, b 28 Apr 1728 in New London CT – 15 May 1796, buried Butler's Burial Ground Niagara ON) and his wife Catharine Pollock. What a discovery! Edith Isabella also had a brother Vernon and a sister Kathleen.

We followed with more research in the 1881, 1901 and 1911 Canadian Census records; we also found death registrations for Allan McCauley Crooks in Ontario, and John Alexander Montgomery, Edith Marion Montgomery and Isabella Montgomery in British Columbia. Isabella's registration information is given by a nephew (her sister's son) who gives her second name as Crooks. It was also interesting to note that on the 1901 census Edith Marion Montgomery and children are visiting with her husband's sister Frances Isabel Crooks and her husband John Barclay Barbour in the Selkirk area of Manitoba. While visiting Shirley Dargatz in Chilliwack BC we happened to be looking through some old Loyalist Gazettes and were interested to note in the August 1932 issue that her mother Edith Marion Montgomery UE was one of the petitioners for the first Saskatchewan Branch. She was also noted as member of the Genealogy Investigating Committee for the Branch – no doubt how Edith Isabella first received her certificate. The information will be stored in the Saskatchewan Branch Archives.

...Gerry and Pat Adair, Saskatchewan Branch UELAC

[Editor's Note: The President of the UELAC who signed this certificate was Major Vaughan MacLean Howard. A week ago on Loyalist Day in Ontario, Elizabeth Davidson received a Loyalist certificate. She is the daughter of Vaughan MacLean Howard. The applications for Elizabeth and several family members were assembled by Elizabeth's daughter Suzanne Davidson of Calgary Branch, who along with her children will be receiving their certificates there.]

Loyalist Day 2010 and Constitutional Monarchy

Just eight years earlier a youthful, Nathan Tidridge addressed the gathering at Hamilton's United Empire Loyalist Monument as a "youth speaker". This year, with considerable experience gained from excellence in the classroom and from his work with the Monarchist League, as the keynote speaker, Nathan focused more on the general lack of knowledge of our constitutionally monarchy in our country.

"Loyalist Day is one of these touch points were we can stop and stand here, reflecting on what the loyalist ancestors did for this country. This day re-injects our collective memory with the stories of a people that changed this region into the Ontario we now recognize – as our provincial motto attests "Loyal she began, loyal she remains." By crossing into British North America, loyalists ensured a way of life was preserved that included the development of a uniquely Canadian constitutional monarchy."

His address helped remind the many members and supporters of UELAC at Hamilton's 13th Annual Service of Remembrance and Honour that we still have a long way to go to meet item six in the UELAC Mission Statement: To preserve, promote and celebrate the history and traditions of the Loyalist epoch in Canadian history by defending and promoting the values and institutions fundamental to Canada's United Empire Loyalist heritage and, in particular, the Constitutional Monarchy, the Commonwealth, Parliamentary Government, the Rule of Law, Human Rights and Unity.

I encourage all readers of Loyalist Trails to consider his comments posted here (PDF).

...FHH

St. Alban Commemorative Service Was Held June 13

In the June 6 issue of Loyalist Trails, an invitation to attend the United Empire Loyalist Commemorative Service at St. Alban the Martyr Anglican Church at Adolphustown was extended. The service commemorated the 226th anniversary of the landing of the Loyalists at Adolphustown on June the 16th, 1784.

For a description of the event and some pictures, see here.

The Ham House in Bath has Proud New Custodians

You might very well like to inform those members of the UEL who came to Bath last year, and signed the petition to council re delisting The Ham House, that the house has been saved by an earnest young couple from Kingston. Ron Tasker and his wife, Bonnie Crook, plan to restore it . One might guess that it will be on proud display for the 1812 event in Bath. Those of us who have wished for this miracle, thank you for helping us realize it.

...Virginia Thompson

Conservation of Revolutionary and Civil War Objects

When you read each issue of Loyalist Trails, it is difficult to imagine the expanse covered by the subscription list. This week we received a notice from Christopher Lawson, the Wayne County Museum Assistant Director requesting a posting of an upcoming event:

Speaker: Myron Rolston will discuss conservation of Revolutionary and Civil War objects covering the "why" of conservation and how to evaluate condition; and address specific treatment methods. July 6, 2010 at 7:00 pm. For more information please call (919)-734-5023.

The aim of the museum is to collect, preserve, study, and exhibit objects illustrating the history, science and cultural heritage of Wayne County and Central Eastern North Carolina. Further information on Wayne County Museum in Goldsboro, North Carolina can be found here.

...FHH

The Tech Side: Office on a Cloud - by Wayne Scott

I am having fun today. My head is in the clouds. No, I didn't get a nice new IMac for father's day; I am using Microsoft Office Word Web App. Yes, one of the latest versions of Microsoft Office now has a web (cloud) version. On first looks, the program sports many of the basic features that I have become accustomed to in the desktop version. In fact, I am beginning to wonder if I need all the bells and whistles of the full desktop version.

Visit www.office.live.com, use your Microsoft Live (or Hotmail) login and password, or sign up for a free Microsoft account then choose Word, Excel, Power Point or One Note. These are the same options as found in the Home and Student Microsoft Office suite. Having selected Word, for example, you will be prompted for a title, and this will be saved in a docx format. You possibly don't use docx as a file extension; however, this is Microsoft's way of having a proprietary file format that cannot be edited by any other program or system other than Microsoft Office 2007 or newer. If you have MS Office 2003, a viewer can be downloaded here. A viewer for Open Office is available here. The download file is on the left side of the page.

Office Live is not designed to compete with Microsoft Office, because it doesn't pack the punch of the full version. If anything, it would be considered a 'lite' version. In many cases, though, this lite version may just be enough. This version of Microsoft Office may well be a contender to Zoho Office or Google Apps. I must admit, though, Zoho Ofice and Google Apps have more robust writing applications.

Like many new products, there are bugs. One that I found while writing this article; I could not open this document in Word, as the tab on the end of the task bar suggested I could. I am sure this will be fixed soon. Another problem is that you can only save this document in your Sky Drive account (which comes with your Microsoft Live account). It would be nice to save documents to your own hard drive, and in a format that you are used to using. One way around this would be to highlight the article and paste it to Microsoft Word then save as you normally would. I am wondering, if you have to go through all this trouble, why use this web app in the first place?

For folks collaborating on articles or spread sheets, you can have other people view and edit your work by clicking the File tab and selecting Share. People you choose to edit your work will receive a url to open your document and be able to edit, add to or delete parts of your document. Both Excel and OneNote will allow multiple users to log on and work on the same document together. For now, if you need to send a physical copy of your document to someone else you will have to cut and paste it to a regular Word document. No doubt some of these inconsistencies will be addressed by Microsoft as time goes by.

The biggest plus of this app is that it is free. Many of us have held off upgrading older versions of Office because of the cost. Now that isn't as big an issue as it used to be. However, are you willing to give up those features not found in the cloud version, like saving in an older version because the recipient doesn't have a newer version of MS Office?

Since we are considering both pros and cons, one factor that enters into the conversation is whether you are on dial-up or high speed. Since you are ‘on-line' for your entire writing session, this will rack up the dial-up hours. If you are on a fixed time allotment for dial-up, cloud computing is possibly not for you at this time.

While using MS Word on the web, I experienced a problem which turned out not to be directly related to the application. While I was typing, it was as if my keyboard took on a life of its own and it had decided to not show all the characters I typed. Even though my document I was creating had many typing errors, the problem turned out to be an Explorer problem. It turns out that some of the ‘add-ons' I was using with Explorer conflicted with the typing process. If this happens to you, open Explorer, click on Tools, then Internet Options, then the Advanced tab along the top and finally Reset to restore Explorer's default settings. This action will have to be verified. In addition, you will likely want to re add the ‘add-ons' that you like such as your Google Bar or Roboform, etc. Following this process should cure this glitch.

Will there be changes? Most assuredly there will. There is a handy feedback form right on one of the pages. If the majority of people dislike what they see and offer constructive suggestions, then positive change will happen.

You can email Wayne Scott to get in touch with questions or comments.

New Loyalist Book to Be Published: Liberty's Exiles

A new loyalist history book by Harvard professor Maya Jasanoff will be published in February of 2011. Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World is described as follows:

At the end of the American Revolution, sixty thousand Americans loyal to the British cause fled the United States and became refugees throughout the British Empire. This groundbreaking book offers the first global history of the loyalist exodus to Canada, the Caribbean, Sierra Leone, India, and beyond. Following extraordinary journeys like the one of Elizabeth Johnston, a young mother from Georgia, who led her growing family to Britain, Jamaica, and Canada, questing for a home; black loyalists such as David George, who escaped from slavery in Virginia and went on to found Baptist congregations in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone; and Mohawk Indian leader Joseph Brant, who tried to find autonomy for his people in Ontario, Liberty's Exiles challenges conventional understandings about the founding of the United States and the shaping of the post-revolutionary world. Based on original research on four continents, this book is at once an intimate narrative history and a provocative new analysis --a story about the past that helps us think about migration, tolerance, and liberty in the world today.

Loyalist Directory Challenge II Until May 31, 2011

Once again our benefactors, who are keen to see us present more of our Loyalist heritage, and thus help promote and preserve it, has instigated a challenge for the Loyalist Directory, and has contributed some funds with that intent.

A raffle will be held at "Catch the Spirit" conference in early June. Tickets to the raffle can be earned by "contributing" information to the Loyalist Directory.

The basis of the challenge:

1. Provide a ticket in a draw for anyone who organizes and manages to get a loyalist certificate application (or equivalent amount of data) into the Loyalist Directory. The certificates could be new ones, or with the cooperation of the Branch genealogist, could be old ones from the branch which would entail getting permission.

2. Two tickets for each set of data: 1 for gathering including permission, and 1 for preparing the data for loading to the directory.

3. The winners can direct their prize to their choice of a branch or UELAC project (scholarship fund, etc.).

4. Five Prizes of $100 each - each winner is limited to one prize.

5. Time Period: Information submitted or posted since 1 June 2010 and before May 31, 2010.

6. The draw to take place at Conference 2011 in Brockville.

...Doug Grant, Chair, Loyalist Information Committee

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