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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2011 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2011-01: January 2, 2011

Articles

The Party Girls of 1778: Part Two -- © Stephen Davidson

The most infamous party of the American Revolution was celebrated in Philadelphia on May 18, 1778. Appreciative British officers raised 3,300 to give a triumphant send-off to their commander-in-chief, General William Howe before his return to England. Four hundred guests were invited to the Mischianzia, the name given to the party because of its variety of events. The Mischianzia's fourteen guests of honour were lovely young loyalist women --some as young as 17 years old-- from Philadelphia's elite families.

Last week's Loyalist Trails described the regatta that began the Mischianzia as well as the medieval jousting contest. British officers, attired in knights' armour, had challenged one another to a joust to defend the honour of their fair guests.

Once again, let's crash the party of the century and watch our loyalist party girls of 1778.

Following the challenge to fight for their ladies, the two costumed parties of British officers entered into a series of contests -- tilting with lances, firing pistols, and fighting with swords. After the two chief knights engaged in single combat, the marshall ran out into the field and declared that the "fair damsels ... were perfectly satisfied with the proofs of love ... and commanded ... that they instantly desist from further combat". In obedience to their ladies, the knights saluted and left the field.

The third entertainment of the Mischianzia was about to begin. As the bands played, squires, knights, and guests promenaded through an elaborate arch honouring General Howe, walked past troops down a 300-foot long avenue, and entered the gardens of Walnut Grove. This mansion, the site of the Mischianzia, was the home of the loyalist Joseph Wharton.

The fourteen lovely guests of honour then went up a flight of carpet-covered stairs into a spacious hall. Everyone sat down in chambers off of the main room and had "tea, lemonade and other cooling liquors". Each of the fourteen knights visited his lady, falling down on one knee to receive her veil as a token of favour. (Can't you just hear the echoes of the girlish giggles from our loyalist lasses?) One chamber had been turned into a casino and featured the card game known as faro.

Captain John André, the officer in charge of Mishianzia, scheduled a grand ball as the next event. The ballroom was painted in pale blue and filled with festoons of flowers. 85 mirrors were hung on the drapery-covered walls with 34 branch-candlesticks spaced between them. (The mirrors were borrowed from various Philadelphia homes. Two of the looking glasses -- as well as one party invitation and one souvenir booklet-- have survived to the present day.) One can only imagine the wide-eyed amazement of the loyalist girls. The officers, guests, knights, and ladies danced until ten. On a signal, the servants threw open the ballroom's windows. Staring up into the night sky, the assembled guests thrilled to a magnificent fireworks display that featured "twenty different exhibitions".

Do you think any of the guests remembered that they were in the midst of a revolution? A band of patriot soldiers decided to make a quick attack on the British lines outside of Philadelphia while the Mischianza distracted Howe's officers. The British fired their cannon, a noise that could be heard in Wharton's ballroom. The officers at the Mischianza assured their young ladies that it was all just part of the fireworks, and instructed the band to play louder

At midnight, the guests were treated to a banquet that had, until that moment, been hidden in a hall behind large folding doors. André certainly did things up in style. There were 300 candles illuminating supper tables covered by 430 tablecloths. Twenty-four black slaves in oriental costumes served 1,200 dishes. Near the end of the feast, toasts accompanied by flourishes of music were made to the royal family, the military, the knights and their ladies. The guests then returned to the ballroom where they danced until four o'clock.

And then --suddenly-- it was all over. The loyalist beauties returned to their homes, exhausted by the long day, but like 14 Cinderellas, were left wondering if so marvelous an evening had only been a dream.

Talking about the Mischianza over afternoon tea must have kept the tongues of Philadelphia's elite wagging for weeks afterwards. Mind you, not everyone was impressed by the effusive British pageantry.

The diary of a local Quaker woman, Elizbeth Drinker, records: "This day may be remembered by many from the scenes of folly and vanity promoted by the officers of the army under pretext of showing respect to General Howe. How insensible do those people appear, while our land is so greatly desolated, and death and sore destruction has overtaken and impends over so many!"

The loyalist, Thomas Jones, had very little respect for General William Howe. In writing about the Mischenzia ten years later, he said, "The exhibition of this triumphal Mischianza will be handed down to posterity, in the annals of Great Britain and America, as one of the most ridiculous, undeserved, and unmerited, triumphs ever yet performed."

The British sense of fashion adopted by the young ladies of Philadelphia certainly did not impress the patriots when they marched into the city in the weeks that followed the Mischianza. A delegate to the Continental Congress wrote his wife, saying that they "found the Tory ladies... wearing the most enormous high head dresses after the manner of the mistresses and whores of the British officers."

The fourteen young loyalist ladies, however, were not tarred and feathered when the patriots took control of Philadelphia. At first they were held in social disfavour, but by 1781 --when patriots staged a party to honour the French officers-- most of the 14 "Mischianza ladies" were among the guests. They were, after all, among the richest and most beautiful young women in Philadelphia.

And what happened to the Mischianza ladies after the Revolution? Next week's Loyalist Trails will tell the tale.


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

Reverend John Beardsley (1732 - 1809) © George McNeillie

The interest of both Mr. Beardsley and of his father-in-law, Bartholomew Crannel, in Woodstock was increased at this time by the settlement there of a number of their friends and relations. Of this we shall speak more particularly by and by. They obtained grants from government. After his return from this town the parson's attention was largely taken up with the completion of his church. One of his best friends and parishioners in the early days of his work in Maugerville was Col. Abraham De Peyster, the first high sheriff of the county of Sunbury. De Peyster had served in the Revolution as Captain of the Grenadier Company of the "King's American Regiment," in which his commission was dated December 13, 1776. He was a grantee of Parr-town, but settled at Maugerville, where in 1785 he was appointed first sheriff. He was a Church Warden and was active in the building of the new Church, and several accounts connected with the work, and some letters of the Rev. John Beardsley are filed among his papers, now in the Canadian Archives at Ottawa. Shortly before the church was finished Col. De Peyster became Province Treasurer and went to St. John to live. He died there at his residence, opposite the Customs House in Prince William Street, on February 19, 1798, aged 46 years. On the eve of his leaving New York for St. John in 1783 he had married a daughter of John Livingston (of New York). She and her husband were friends of Bishop Charles Inglis, and the latter mentioned the kind way in which he was entertained by them when passing through St. John.

Bishop Inglis, on his return to Halifax from his tour in New Brunswick in 1792, writes the S.P.G.: "The clergy of New Brunswick are a respectable body of men, exemplary, and respected by the people. Their congregations flourish, their communicants increase."

The annual reports of the S.P.G. show that the Rev. John Beardsley continued to labour zealously in his mission. In the course of time his children married and made homes of their own, and his second wife, Gertrude Crannel, passed away. He was now growing old and had some rather unfortunate matrimonial experiences. He was married by the Rector of Gagetown to the widow Mary Quain and later there were some other singular matrimonial episodes, concerning which our information is meagre. So far as my information goes he was forced to separate from a later wife (who may or may not have been the widow Quain) on account of incompatibility of temper. To this woman he paid through Col. De Peyster an annual allowance after she left him. There is in my possession a letter from the Colonel in which he informs his friend the Rector of Maugerville that he had learned on good authority that this wife had married another man named Bell, and the Parson thereupon ceased to pay her the allowance. I think he was afterwards informed of her death, whereupon he in the course of time once again married. But unfortunately the wife, supposed to be deceased, proved to be yet living, and he was obliged to send away his last wife. Bishop Inglis wrote several letters respecting this matter in which he eventually seems to have exonerated the old parson from any intentional wrongdoing. He intimates in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury that he deemed Mr. B at his advanced age to be in a state of comparative dotage. On receiving authentic information, later on, that the wife who had been the source of so much distress had actually died, he very properly re-married the woman he had been forced to put away. There was much gossip about the matter at the time, in which public sentiment was largely with the old minister, who, his friends were satisfied, had no intention of wrongdoing. He, however, felt himself constrained to resign his parish; and for a short time his half-pay was suspended. To my mind the surest proof of his innocence is the resolute way in which such men as Colonel De Peyster, Colonel Edward Winslow, Governor Carleton and Brook Watson stood by him! The Free Masons also warmly supported him, and, at their request, he preached before them at Trinity Church on the 24th of June, 1803, what was perhaps his last public sermon, from the text, "Let Brotherly love continue."

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

Burial Ground for the Family of James Hough UE

James Hough UE was with the KRRNY and died at age 16 on 17 Feb 1784, why & where unknown but before the regiment was disbanded.

His commanding officer, Sir John Johnson, signed a memo stating that "the brothers and sisters, if any, of the deceased are entitled to the proportion of land that he would have received had he lived".

In 1785 a document on behalf of the Lt. Governor stated "Bearer widow Huff and son (and two children) Loyalists, being entitled to 200 acres of land, drew Lot 7 Concession 3 Osnabruck Township".

Widow Huff/Hough and 12 year old son Samuel settled on the land where a Family Burial Ground was designated and used until 1889. The land was passed down within the family to the 3rd generation but in 1931 the land was sold to a farmer from outside the family. He took down the fence thus letting in cattle; over time all the grave markers were knocked down and smashed.

In 2005 the Burial Ground was dowsed, and 28 graves were located.

In 2010 two bronze plaques were fastened to a big rock which was found elsewhere on the farm. One plaque refers to the original Hough grantees of the Farm; the second identifies a white grave marker for Henry Feek spouse of Nancy Hough, which is the only one which has survived all these years.

The memorial is clearly visible on county road 18 near Lunenburg ON. See the photo here.

This project was undertaken by Don Maxwell.

War of 1812: A Series of Articles

The bicentennial of the War of 1812 is approaching quickly and many people are planning some detail of the commemoration. UELAC Honorary VP Zig Misiak is writing a series of articles about and around the War of 1812 for the Brant News and Tekawennake Six Nations and New Credit News.

All the information is collaborated from a variety of qualified sources with the hope of stimulating interest amongst our general population and supporting the student curriculum. Zig is the Chairman of the War of 1812 200th for our local communities as well as of the WNED TV Bi National Legacy Council Education Committee.

Zig has developed a Real People's History - War of 1812 website. On this site one tab or section is devoted to these War of 1812 articles - the articles currently posted are:

War of 1812 still holds significance for Brant

Stepping back in time leads to understanding

Remembering Veterans of past and present military

A Turning point in local history (part a)

Considering a different Canada (part b)

Thanks Zig for helping to bring more of our history to life.

The Tech Side: E-Book Readers – by Wayne Scott, UE

Happy Holidays everyone! I have heard that Santa has been good to all of our readers. Now that much of the rushing around has been completed, it is time to sit down and figure out how all of the new toys work. Maybe this article will help.

One of the most popular gifts this year has been the E-Book Readers. There are dozens of them on the market, all with their own slant on electronic books and magazines. Many of the readers have their own proprietary book formats, but most of them will download and play Adobe Acrobat PDF files. From my research, most models are good at what they do; giving you a book-like experience reading electronic material. It will be important to read the instructions on how to charge your new reader, how to upload reading material and how to fine tune it for reading outdoors – or so my wife says.

If you are still wavering about purchasing an e-book reader, you can compare models on this site. Here 16 readers are reviewed. You can also find out quickly some of the strengths of each model and see what formats the reader will support.

Most of the e-book readers have only black and white screens. They use a system called e-ink which gives a good viewing surface even in bright light situations. Some models are showing up with colour screens. Although these tend not to be as bright and crisp in sunlight they do add more richness to pictures and diagrams what may accompany the material you are reading. Companies who produce (and sell) coffee table type books of art, architecture, etc. in addition to children's books, are jumping on the colour bandwagon because of the added richness offered.

Your reader will want you to use their library of electronic books. Many of these libraries are quite extensive and have many titles to keep you interested. One curious thing though, once you have read your book, you cannot transfer it to someone else's reader. It is yours and yours alone, unless you exchange readers with someone else.

You don't really have to be shelling out $10.00 or more for each novel you wish to read, you can just visit your public library. Yes, novels can be downloaded to your reader. These will probably be in e-Pub, or pdf versions. These two are the most common of the public formats for electronic material distribution. In addition, most readers support the e-Pub format, and almost all readers will display pdf material.

When visiting your local library, a library card and a pin number will be needed to download books. Find the libraries 'virtual library' space, select the book you want and download to your reader. If it is your first time doing this, your library will likely have a tutorial for you to follow. The St. Catharines Library uses a system called Over Drive. There are many short video tutorials here to help become comfortable with the process. Please be aware, you will not have the downloaded book for as long as you want. Many have an expiration date of a week or two. Some libraries will allow you to extend the loan period a short bit if a longer time is required. Physically going back to the library isn't necessary to 'return' the electronic book, it can be done right from your computer or reader. After the loan period is up, the book will cease to function. Now is the time to delete the book if you have finished reading it.

There are many sources of good reading material that are free. One source is the Gutenberg Project. They have a large selection of books already digitalized and add new ones every day. Another source is free-ebooks.net. Many readers like to re-read authors or books that impressed them years ago. Sources such as listed above are a great source of the older books. It may surprise you how many recent books are also available at these sites.

A Google search will identify a myriad of e-books for sale. Google itself is in the e-publishing business. Don't forget to check out Google Books. This site is an ever growing source for interesting books and magazines that you can purchase for a cost of between $1.99 and $29.99 US dollars. The selection continues to amaze.

Books are not the only thing available electronically. Magazines and newspapers are also available, although newspaper reading is easier and less work if you are using an i-Phone or any one of a dozen or so 'smart phones'. Some magazines require subscriptions also.

The New Year will bring challenges but much enjoyment with your E-Book Reader. Have a happy and safe holiday. I will be back in the New Year.

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

The Tech Side: USB Typewriters Revisited

In today's Jan. 2nd Sunday Sun, there is an article about the old typewriters converted to USB, as I had read it the Loyalist Trails. The reporter, Connie Woodcock, writes, "my husband stumbled across the answer in a United Empire Loyalist newsletter someone sent him in which there was a story about a company that has taken the old way and the new way and put them together." The Loyalist Trails article by Wayne Scott, titled "Something Old That is New Again" was in the Nov 28, 2010 issue, which is not yet posted. See the article here.

...Jo Ann Tuskin

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
- Marsh, Matthias - by Linda Smith, with certificate application
- Milliken, Benjamin - from Carl Stymiest (Volunteer Wendy Cosby), with certificate application
- Rose, Daniel - from Stephen Bowley

Happy New Year from the Editor

I hope everyone had a great New Year's celebration; I wish you and yours the best in 2011.

...Doug

Queries

Family of Adam Crysler (Chrysler)

I am descended from Baltasaar Crysler who was a brother of Adam, a loyalist. My lineage from Baltasaar is through his son John, then Harmanus and my great grandfather Flavious. Although I have been given this detail, I am interested in getting sources for these connections, and more details about the family.

I would be interested in understanding more about Adam and his ancestry too. Is he connected to any of the other Loyalists noted in The Loyalist Directory ie Geronimous, John, Peter, Philip, and William.

Thanks in advance for any leads and direction - looking forward to perhaps meeting some cousins.

...Kate Terry

Response re Father of George Nelson

Answer: NELSON, WILLIAM, teacher; b. 1750 in Newsham (North Yorkshire), England, son of George Nelson; d. 10 June 1834 in William Henry (Sorel, Que.). See Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.

In addition he had, in his own words, "four, often even five scholars of poor Canadian parentage, whom he instructed from principles of consideration, say compassion – say for Nothing!" He also taught his own children, three of whom became medical doctors; Wolfred* and Robert* would later gain prominence in the political struggles of Lower Canada. The eldest son, George*, became a fur trader.

...Charles Bury, Cookshire-Eaton QC

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