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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2010 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2010-33: August 15, 2010

Articles

Prosperous Black Loyalists -- © Stephen Davidson

Among the many myths that haunt loyalist history is the fallacy that all black loyalists were poor. Given that they had been slaves in the years before the Revolution, had little or no personal effects, and received smaller land grants than white loyalists, it would only seem to be common sense to suppose that the black loyalists would be among the lowest of wage earners. And most of them were -- but not all. These are the stories of some of the prosperous black loyalists of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

One indicator that a person enjoyed some measure of economic success was whether he or she had property to leave to heirs. The early New Brunswick probate records note that twelve black loyalists were in such a situation. Most interesting is the fact that one of them was a woman.

Sylvia Johnson died in Saint John, New Brunswick in August 1801. She bequeathed a house and grounds to her godchild, Sylvia Bryant, a black woman. Her household furniture and clothing were left to a second black woman, the wife of Johnson's executor.

And how did Sylvia Johnson come to have enough worldly goods to require a will and executor? Her husband was Gabriel Johnston, a mariner by trade. Johnson, a 27 year-old bachelor in 1783, had arrived in Saint John with thousands of other loyalists. The Book of Negroes notes that he had been a slave in Quibbletown, New Jersey before he joined the British troops. Over the next few years he met and married Sylvia. With the growing importance of Saint John as a port city, a mariner's life offered Johnson enough financial compensation that he could provide Sylvia with a good home. In 1801, she was prosperous enough to bequeath a house, land, and belongings to other black women in Saint John.

Another economically successful black loyalist couple were Stephen and Margaret Blucke who settled in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. Blucke, a man of mixed heritage, was a native of Barbados and a former commander of a black loyalist regiment known as the Black Pioneers.

His wife Margaret, a woman nine years his senior, was the daughter of a slave to the Coventry family in New York City. By the time she was 26, Margaret had saved enough money from her labours to purchase her freedom. A surviving letter of Margaret's indicates that she was well educated as well as a devout Christian. At the outbreak of the Revolution, she decided to serve the crown, and in the final years of the war, Margaret married Stephen Blucke.

The Bluckes sailed for Nova Scotia on the L'Abondance in 1783. With the couple was a twenty year-old woman named Isabel Gibbons. Margaret Blucke had bought Gibbons from Mrs. Coventry, her former mistress, and had given the young woman her freedom. Margaret obviously knew how to manage and use money to its best advantage.

Stephen Blucke opened a school in Shelburne where the couple built and furnished a large home. (An archeological dig has revealed a superior level of furnishings at a site which may have been the Blucke house.) In time, Blucke's school had 40 students ranging in age from 5 to 11. Blucke's leadership abilities were quickly recognized. Nova Scotia's governor made the school master the lieutenant colonel of Shelburne's black militia.

Blucke not only occupied the higher echelons of Shelburne society; he also looked the part. The black loyalist used snuff, wore ruffled shirts, a cocked hat and wig, and carried a walking stick as he made his way about the streets of town.

However, Blucke had only been in Shelburne six years when things began to unravel for him. By 1789, Margaret had left him and returned to the United States. When Lt. John Clarkson arrived in Nova Scotia with the opportunity for black loyalists to found their own colony in Sierra Leone, Blucke opposed the scheme. The parents of most of his students, however, did not. Blucke's school diminished as hundreds of black townsfolk set off for Africa. Blucke mysteriously disappeared; torn clothes found along a local road suggested that he may have been killed by wild animals.

Lt. John Clarkson, as has been mentioned, was an English abolitionist who came to Nova Scotia in 1791 to offer black loyalists a "new deal" -- the opportunity for a fresh start in a colony free of racial discrimination. While he was collecting names of prospective colonists, Clarkson received a visit from a black man who wanted to know more about Sierra Leone.

During the course of their discussion, Clarkson learned that the man "had never received the least proportion of land to which he was entitled from Government, and had for several years been cultivating the estate of a white man". The man and his story inspired Clarkson. "By indefatigable perseverance and industry" the black loyalist "had surmounted the greatest difficulties" to become "the richest man of his complexion in the whole province".

When Clarkson took into account the black loyalist's present situation and what would be involved in starting all over again in a new settlement, he persuaded the man not to entertain "any idea of leaving a country in which he was doing so well, promising at the same time to exert all of {my} influence with the Governor to obtain for him that grant of land which had hitherto been withheld and which he so richly deserved." Here was a black loyalist who had come to Nova Scotia with nothing and had impressed Clarkson with his industry and ambition. Unfortunately, his name was never recorded!

Black loyalists came to the Maritimes with very little. Had it not been for the racism of the colonial governments, their measure of success in British North America would no doubt have been greater. Nevertheless, there were those among the black loyalists who were able to rise above the circumstances of their day and enjoy prosperity.


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

William and Sarah Frost (Part 11; © 2009 George McNeillie)

James Hoyt, who settled in the Kennebecasis, was one of the Captains of a Company of Loyalists who came to St. John with the Frosts in June 1783 in one of the vessels of the "Summer Fleet." The names of all the Captains are found at page 342 of this book [see "Notice To Refugees" -- "Loyalist Trails" UELAC newsletter 2010-24 June 13, 2010], among them Captains Peter Berton and Jas. Hoyt. Other individuals in the Fleet were Nathaniel Underhill, Abel and Francis Flewelling, Andrew Pickens, Joseph Dickson, John Clark, Zephaniah Beardsley, William Secord, Simon Flagler, Joshua Gidney, Dowe Vandine, Nathan Roberts, James Chase, Samuel Whitney and Jacob Loder.

The first resident clergyman to minister at Hampton and Lower Norton was the Rev. Joseph Cookson, who came to Hampton in 1819. For a considerable time the revenues of Hampton Ferry were devoted to the maintenance of the Church in Kingston. A very interesting diary was kept for years by Azor Hoyt of Lower Norton, of which I had at one time a copy. It mentions a good many of the local residents by name and has a good deal of Church news and some reference to the Masonic order. Also many local happenings of historic interest.

My wife's mother Mary Secord spent her early life in Lower Norton and was twice married by Canon Walker in the old Hampton Parish church. Her second husband, John Nelson, was a well-educated man, a native of Inniskillen, Ireland, who taught school for a time in Hampton and afterwards moved with his family to St. John, where he went into business on Nelson St. with another gentleman under the firm name of "Wellington and Nelson". He afterwards had a leading drug store which subsequently passed into the hands of Mrs. Nelson's brother Frederick Secord.

About 1840 or thereabouts when Harriet [Julia Nelson's older sister] was a baby the family, including the Ellison children [by Mary Secord's first marriage to George Ellison], migrated to Upper Canada (the Niagara Peninsula) where some of them contracted fever and ague. They returned to St. John driving all the way and taking six weeks on the journey. Mr. Nelson later went to California, engaged in gold mining and made some money. He educated his stepsons, George, Sylvester, Thomas, Robert and Charles and his stepdaughter Eliza. John Nelson was, I think, rather a rolling stone. He died while absent from home while his children Annie, Julia and Alice were small; I do not know just where or when.

Mrs. Nelson was a devoted mother and greatly esteemed by all who knew her. I think that her favourite child was my wife Julia, who in her turn was very devoted to her mother. Julia was educated in part in St. John and partly at Quebec, where she lived 2 years as a little girl. She received her art training chiefly at Cooper Institute in New York. We met in her mother's native place, Norton, King's Co., N.B. for the first time in June, 1876, and afterwards again met in October same year at Fredericton where, on the 11th October, we became engaged. She, for the first time, visited Woodstock at the ensuing Christmas. After an engagement of about 2 years 8 mos. we were married on the 18th June, 1879, by the Rev. George M. Armstrong in St. Mary's Church. The groomsmen were my old College friends, Allan A. Davidson and W.J. Wilkinson. The bridesmaids my sister Fannie and Bessie Whitney of St. John, daughter of Geo. W. Whitney of the firm of J. & S. McMillan, booksellers. Miss Whitney has been for more than 20 years a missionary in India.

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

Civic Holiday Gets a New Name in Hamilton

For most members of UELAC, the summer holiday on the first Monday in August has always been known as Civic Holiday. It also appears by other names across Canada. In British Columbia, it is British Columbia Day and in Nova Scotia it is Natal Day, but there is no Ontario Day. Post Centennial Year (1967), the holiday in Ontario has been observed by many names, reflecting the heritage of the local municipality. Those who live in the shadow of Toronto are more familiar with Simcoe Day, named after the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada (Ontario). Further afield you will have Colonel By Day ( Ottawa); Joseph Brant Day (Burlington) ; Peter Robinson Day ( Peterborough); McLaughlin Day ( Oshawa); and John Galt Day (Guelph).

This year, the Civic Holiday was a very special day for David Ricketts , a member of the Hamilton Branch UELAC. The City of Hamilton proclaimed the first Monday in August to be George Hamilton Day in recognition of "the founder and developer" of the early town. Gloria Oakes, Membership Chair of the Hamilton Branch has provided two articles from the Hamilton Spectator with further information about the ancestor of David Ricketts.

...Fred Hayward

Senior Vice-President Back to Work

As the Senior vice-president with all the responsibilities that go with the office including building the 2011 budget as Chairman of the Finance Committee and reviewing applications for Branch Small Project Grants, Bob McBride continues to serve as the editor of The Loyalist Gazette. However in these past two months, Bob has faced a number of major health issues which reduced his ability to work on those responsibilities of office with his usual attention. This week, as he continues his recovery at home, he has told me that things are beginning to come together once more.

"The Fall 2010 issue of The Loyalist Gazette is progressing along quite nicely with a bevy of articles and reports being submitted. My apologies that I've been under the weather for the past two months".

Bob and Grietje both appreciated the many wishes for a speedy recovery.

...Frederick H. Hayward UE, President

Last Post: Frederic R. Branscombe U.E., C.D., Ph.D., F.C.C.T.

Peacefully at York Central Hospital, Richmond Hill on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 in his 97th year. Survived by his loving wife Dorothy and devoted daughters Ellen and Margaret and predeceased by his son Frederic. Fondly remembered by his sister- in-law Margaret (the late Reverend John Branscombe) of Campbellford, Ontario and niece Esther Keir. He was a Life Deacon of Yorkminster Park Baptist Church and 33rd Degree Mason. A Masonic Service was held on Sunday, July 18th at the Morley Bedford Funeral Home. A public visitation and memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Yorkminster Park Baptist Church Memorial Bells Fund or the Masonic Foundation of Ontario.

Fred was a long-time member of the Toronto Branch and served on the executive, and as President in 1959/60. He maintained his membership and attended Branch special events, most recently at Loyalist Day a year ago in 2009.

...Elizaberth Hancocks UE and Karen Windover UE

Last Post: Mabel Aleene Clark, UE

Peacefully in her 91st year, passed away on Friday, August 13, 2010 at her home in Niagara Falls. Mabel is now reunited with her husband Welburn (2001). Dear mother of Olwin Beth Jones (Tim) and Martha Ann Buchanan (Barry). Loving grandmother of Benjamin and Andrew Buchanan. Loving sister of Elliott, Harold and John. Predeceased by her brothers; Ross (1942), Roy (2000), sisters; Grace Beck (1998), Donna Climenhaga (2001) and her parents; Esther (1973) and Howard Bertran (1975). A private graveside service will be held at Grove Cemetery in Dundas, Ontario. Donations to the Canadian Cancer Society would be greatly appreciated by the family. Arrangements in care of Morse & Son Funeral Home, Niagara Falls (905-356-3550). Please sign the on-line guest register www.morseandson.com

Mabel was a faithful member of Col. John Butler (Niagara) Branch and was very proud of her Loyalist ancestor David Bertran.

...Bev Craig UE

Queries

Response re "McMullen", "McMullin" or "McMillan" Family

As a descendant, I am looking for a "McMullen" or "McMullin" or "McMillan" family, in which the husband was born in Massachusetts and the wife was born in New York. This couple they moved to Ontario, and had a daughter Sarah or "Sally" born about 1800.

Alburgh, Vermont (aka: Caldwell's Upper Manor) was settled by Loyalists beginning in 1782. Many families stayed in Alburgh, but many others moved on up to Canada. There is a possible mention in History of Alburgh, Vermont: Vol. 1, by Allen L. Stratton. Page 372.

On 25 Oct. 1819 Peter McMillin/McMillen was named as a charter member of the new Columbus Lodge, No. 11, Alburgh in a charter granted to member of the new Masonic Lodge.

The following Probate Court record is cut and pasted from "Unfinished Typescript of The History of Alburgh, VT: Volume 2," by Allen L. Stratton.

McMILLIN Family.

Probate Records, Dist. of Grand Isle Court House, North Hero, Vt., Book No. 9, pg. 53-57.

"PETER & SALLY McMILLIN's Estate - Petition for Division"

To the Hon. Probate Court..........the undersigned PHILYER L. McMILLIN & WILLIAM S. McMILLIN two of the heirs of the estate of PETER MCMILLIN & SALLY McMILLIN,. his Wife, both late of Alburgh, decsd., intestate, respectfully represent that they hold & own 5/8ths. of sd. Estate jointly, with the other heirs thereof, and being desirous of holding the same severally. They pray the Court to order a division of sd. Estate and to appoint a Committee for that purpose.

(signed) PHILYER L. McMILLIN, WILLIAM S . McMILLIN

At a Probate Court holden at the Court House in North Hero, Vt. on 8 Jan. 1848 upon the application of PHILYER L. McMILLIN & WILLIAM S. McMILLIN, it is ordered by the Court cause the several persons interested to appear before sd. Court to make objection if they see cause... . .

(signed) JOHN M. SOWLES, Register of Probate

To HIRAM SWEET & ELISHA REYNOLDS of Alburgh - Greeting - The Court doth appoint you a

Committee ..........you will appraise all the real estate whereof PETER & SALLY McMILLIN of

Alburgh, died & possessed

When you have completed sd. appraisal.......and inventory of sd. Estate you will faithfully divide to and among PHILYER L. McMILLIN, JANE NILES, MARIA KENYAN(sic), WILLIAM S. McMILLIN, PETER McMILLIN, GUSTAVUS (sic) McMILLIN, NORMAN McMILLIN and SARAH McMILLIN, the heirs of PETER & SALLY McMILLIN, to each 1/8th. equal part.

10 Jan. 1848 (signed) JOHN M. SOWLES, Register of Probate

Pursuant to a warrant to us directed by the Hon. Probate Court we the subscribers have appraised all the Real Estate of PETER & SALLY McMILLIN decsd. at the sum of $1767.00 and the Buildings at $108.00 a Total of $1875.00

There being 8 Heirs, each Heir's share is $ 234.37

We divided sd. Estate as follows:

To PHILYER L. McMILLIN situate in Alburgh, part of Lot No. 7 & 8, 6th. Range

To JANE NILES part of Lot No 7 & 8, 6th. Range

To MARIA KENYAN part of Lot No. 7&8, 6th. Range

To WILLIAM S. McMILLIN part of Lot No. 7 & 8, 6th. Range.....

To PETER McMILLIN part of Lot No. 7 & 8, 6th. Range

To GUSTVUS McMILLIN (ditto)

To NORMAN McMILLER (ditto)

To SARAH McMILLIN (ditto)

22 Jan. 1848 (signed) HIRAM SWEET, ELISHA REYNOLDS Committee

I hope that these leads may prove of some use in your search.

...Lewis Kreger, UE

Next Generation Descendants of the Palatine - Charleston Loyalists

Carrol Timmerman has done significant research on a group of Loyalists who originated in the Palatine, emigated to England and then at New Years of 1764-65 arrived in Charles Towne South Carolina, at that time a colony of King George III. For more information see former Loyalist Trails articles at Canadian Refugees from Charles Towne South Carolina at end of the American Revolution.

The main objective was to research as many of these families as possible back to their Palatine home villages. So far we have located a number of old church records that would verify the village for approximately. 25-35% of the total 125+- families who arrived aboard the Dragon, the Union and the Planters Adventure.

Carol continues to research, primarily via the LDS ancient church record books film records. We do not obtain copies of the images, nor do we translate, but simply track down and provide the 'batch' number, which anyone can then request the roll of film from the local LDS library. In the US, the cost to have the roll shipped is $3.00 ($5 or 6 in Canada).

As an example, we did get the roll of film for the ZIMMERMAN family, which was not our own family., and it is in what is described as 'Old German'; so the reader will will have to track down a translator. We found a lady, actually in Nova Scotia, who was a great help.

If you may be descended from one of these Palatine families - follow the link above or go to Gordon Rampy's list at http://www.upamerica.org/roots/rootsappC.html which was compiled from the Revill Lists, and contact us to see if there is some more information. Or if you have more informaiton, we would most appreciate it.

To make the records a little more helpful and complete, we would also like to add the names of the next generation ie the children of these loyalists, to the records. If you have family information on any of these families - we are in Nevada, so it is difficult to access and research Nova Scotia records - please contact us - we would appreciate your help.

...Carroll and Chuck Timmerman

Mary Crone, Wife of John Galbraith

I am seeking information about Mary Crone, wife of John Galbraith. Mary's family is reputed to be UEL from Augusta, Grenville Co., ON. John Galbraith (b. 1768, Scotland) married, in 1794, Mary Crone (b.1767).

Their first two children, both boys, were born in Augusta. The third child Margaret (b. 8 July 1801) was the first white child born in Blenheim Township. She was followed by five more: Mary, Christina, Tamar (or Tammer), Jane (my ancestor) and William.

John and Mary deeded most of their farm to Margaret, Christina and Jane (some of the land was sold to a minister and some was given to the Presbyterian Church). Descendants of Jane through Jane's daughter, Maggie Tamar [Lindsay] Williamson, still live on the Princeton property. John died in 1843 and Mary on 3 July 1837.

I know nothing about Mary Crone, her parents or siblings. I would be grateful for any help!

...Audrey Fox UE

Proofs for Susannah Jones, GGDau of Loyalist James Jones

I am trying to prove my descent from Loyalist James Jones and have come to a stumbling block.

James Jones was born in 1733 at Jamaica, Queens County, New York. He married Christianah Folk, daughter of Johannes Folk and Anna Mary (Mareitje) Speikkerman, about 1764. He was living near Kingston, Ulster County, New York when the revolution broke out. He was imprisoned for three years. After his escape or release he served as a private in Butler's Rangers. He came to Niagara in 1780. James appears on the Loyalist Victualing List at Niagara of Murray's District, 14 Dec 1786 with a wife, 3 male children over 10, 2 female children over ten, and one female under 10 (note - he actually had 3 female children under 10, however, children over 10 were entitled to more provisions). He died in 1794 at Thorold/Grantham, Niagara District, Ontario. He was probably buried at Hodgkinson Family Burying Ground, Grantham Twp, Lincoln County, Ontario.

Fourth child, Andrew Jones was born on 11 January 1767 at Ulster County, New York. He married Anna Mary Slough, daughter of George Jacob Slough and Anna Catherine Gee, on 6 March 1790 at St Mark's Church, Niagara, Ontario. Andrew's land petition dated 5 May 1797 says married 9 years with 2 children living. He purchased land and lived in Beverly Twp, Wentworth County, Ontario.and died there on 23 May 1850 at age 83. He was buried at Copetown Cemetery, Beverly Twp, Wentworth County, Ontario. Andrew and Anna had 12 children, the fourth one of whom was James.

James Jones was born on 16 April 1795 at Niagara District. Though scarcely 18 years old, James advanced from private to colour sergeant during the War of 1812 and fought in the battles of Queenston Heights, Lundy's Lane and Stoney Creek. He married Hannah Goodale, daughter of Johnson G Goodale and Elizabeth Persall, on 11 March 1817 at Ancaster Twp, Wentworth County. He lived at Lot 11 Con 3, Beverly Twp, Wentworth County, Ontario. When James and Hannah Jones retired from farming, they became keepers of a toll-gate between Troy and Lynden. When someone tried to sneak through without paying, they rang a bell to call them back. This bell is now on display in Rockton, ON. He died on 24 July 1860 and is buried at Troy Cemetery.

James and Hannah had ten children, the third one being Susannah, born on 14 June 1822 at Troy. Various dates have been given for her birth; most agree on 1822. She married Thomas Clement, son of William Clement and Jane O'Brien, in 1842. She died on 3 April 1882 at Troy, Beverly Twp, Wentworth County, Ontario, at age 59, and was buried at Troy Cemetery.

I am descended from Susannah. I have thus far been unable to find an acceptable proof that Susannah was indeed the daughter of James and Hannah. Can anyone provide a proof, or point me in the right direction - all help would be appreciated.

...Barbara de Groot

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