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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2011 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2011-03: January 16, 2011


Black Loyalists Sailing for Germany: Part One -- © Stephen Davidson

Jeffrey was just ten years-old when he boarded the frigate London in July of 1783. He was the only black loyalist of any age on the vessel; all of the other passengers were German soldiers bound for the port of Bremer Lee. Although Jeffrey's loyalist parents were alive, they were not with him. During the Revolution, Jeffrey's father brought him from Secaucus, New Jersey to the British stronghold of New York City. Somehow in the turmoil of the loyalist evacuations, the parents and child became separated. Jeffrey's mother and father left on a ship bound for Nova Scotia; the young boy found himself sailing for Germany in the company of Hessian soldiers. It would seem very unlikely that the black loyalist family was ever reunited. Jeffrey's fate among the Germans remains a mystery to this day.

Researchers familiar with The Book of Negroes know that it is a treasure trove of information on the ships and passengers that comprised the greatest migration of free blacks in the annals of history to that point in time. Thousands of black loyalist names are listed on the manifests of ships bound for Lower Canada, England, New Brunswick's St. John River, and various destinations in Nova Scotia. What has been ignored, however, are the 51 Africans who left the United States of America on 15 ships bound for Germany. These are the stories of those forgotten black loyalists.

While ships carrying American refugees, German mercenaries, and British soldiers had been fleeing the rebellious Thirteen Colonies before 1783, it was during that year that the crown organized fleets of evacuation ships to carry loyal subjects out of the port of New York City. Fifteen of the ships hired by the British government carried soldiers from the German state of Hesse-Kassel to the continental port of Bremer Lee. Eight of the German-bound vessels first docked at the Spithead naval station in England where a handful of African passenger disembarked. Eighty percent of the African passengers, however, continued on to Germany to make new lives for themselves on the continent.

The statistics on the black loyalists who sailed for Germany suggest a wealth of lost stories. While some evacuation ships had only one or two Africans, two vessels had as many as 13 Africans travelling together. 75% of the black passengers were loyalists -- men and women who had been given their liberty in exchange for at least one year's service to the British crown. Seven Africans were slaves, and one fifteen year-old boy was an indentured servant to a ship's captain. A remarkable 39% of the African passengers were under 21; thirty-seven of them were male; fourteen were female.

Twenty of the black loyalists bound for Germany had served in the British army since 1779. Four had served for 5 years, and five had served for six years. These terms were longer than those of most white loyalists. Only 15% of all white loyalist men took up arms to fight against their patriot neighbours and relatives.

The majority of freed Africans sailing for Germany had formed some sort of lasting relationships with the Hessian soldiers during their campaigns in the southern colonies. Almost half of all the Africans bound for Bremer Lee had escaped from slavery in South Carolina. A handful originated in Georgia, Virginia, and New York with just one or two hailing from Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Jamaica, the West Indies, and Canada.

The 3,000 black loyalists bound for Nova Scotia in 1783 carried the hope that they would be given the same supplies and land allotments as the white loyalists. They had the opportunity to found new African communities, build schools, and worship as they pleased. But what was it that motivated 38 free Africans to sail for Germany with soldiers from Hesse-Kassel?

Perhaps it was the respect the Hessian military held for the Africans. In November 1775, Virginia's Lord Dunmore had issued a proclamation granting freedom to all patriot slaves who would join the British. Over the course of the Revolution, these newly-freed Africans gratefully served as labourers, pilots, spies, waggoners and cooks. The German army was more than willing to put black loyalists in uniform as fifers and drummers. Many of these musicians were young boys.

Employing Africans as drummers was both practical and decorative. Every black loyalist who filled a regimental position freed a trained German soldier to fight on the battlefield. But it was also a mark of distinction to have a black drummer in a regiment. A holdover from fashions of the Ottoman Empire, the presence of a uniformed black drummer in an army unit was seen as a status symbol; a number of German regiments in Europe had drummers recruited directly from Africa.

By 1783 as many as 83 free Africans had served as drummers for Hessian troops. Of these, four are listed among the passengers of the Polly that was bound for Germany. Two men named George, a South Carolinian named July, and Francis Stewart were all drummers who travelled with another African named George. (The latter drove a wagon for the Knoblauch Regiment.) These five men may have been sailing for Germany to remain in the service of the Hessian army. It was, after all, how they had spent the first four years of their hard-won freedom.

In addition to serving as drummers and waggoners, Africans were also soldiers in the Hessian army. The Hessen-Kassel and Hessen-Hanau regiments had 115 Africans on their muster lists. Most of these men had run away from masters in the southern colonies. The Erbprinz Regiment had enlisted black loyalist soldiers as early as 1777 and then added to those numbers before going off to Virginia in 1781. Africans were among the German dead at the Battle of Yorktown, indicating that Hessian officers did not have the same qualms about enlisting former slaves as the British did.

Next week's Loyalist Trails will tell the stories of the 51 African passengers bound for Germany.

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

Reverend John Beardsley (1732 - 1809) © George McNeillie

In the appendix to our "Beardsley Ancestry", will be found some particulars concerning the Masonic memorial tablet placed in honour of the Rev. John Beardsley in Trinity Church in Kingston in July, 1915, and also some information concerning his old church Warden (at Christ Church in Poughkeepsie) John Davis, Esq., whose name has been linked for many generations to the Beardsley family. For the particulars in these two instances I am indebted to the Rev. C.G. Lawrence, a former rector of Kingston, and to Miss Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, the local church historian of Poughkeepsie on the Hudson.

Grand Master H.V.B. Bridges in his annual address (in 1916), speaking of the Rev. John Beardsley says:- "It is not within the scope of this address to attempt to outline his great work as a pioneer missionary. He passed away at the home of his daughter in Kingston, full of years and of honour. Surely Grand Lodge did well in thus publicly honouring his memory…In coming away from that beautiful and historic spot, I could not but think of the life of service, of his vigorous personality, that he gave the best that was in him to God's service and for the welfare of his country."

- Appendix to Beardsley Ancestry – 'A' –

1. Extract of letter of Rev. C. Gordon Lawrence.

"Hampton, N.B., Aug. 19th, 1920.

"Dear Mr. Archdeacon: - It was a great satisfaction to me to have the tablet erected to Rev. John Beardsley while I was rector of the parish of Kingston...

In January 1915 I was present at the Installation of Officers in the Corinthian Lodge at Hampton. Several of the members of the Grand Lodge were present, including Dr. Thos. Walker, J. Twining Hartt, Dr. H.S. Bridges of St. John, and Dr. H.V.B. Bridges, who was then the Grand Master. When the time for speeches came, I was called upon after nearly all the others had spoken, for I was a very junior mason, and I took the opportunity to suggest a memorial of some sort to the deceased Brother Beardsley, whose contribution to masonry did much to establish that ancient and honourable institution in the home of his adoption.

"The proposal met with ready favour and in July following about fifty masons from St. John, Hampton, and Sussex, assembled for the unveiling of the Tablet. I had the honour of acting that day as Grand Chaplain, an office which I was elected to this year. Dr. Walker unveiled the tablet and read the inscription, and the Grand Master, Dr. H.V.B. Bridges, made an address. I had the pleasure of preaching, Archdeacon Crowfoot read the service and D. Arnold Fox presided at the organ…

"Respectfully yours,

C. Gordon Lawrence"

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

Fragility, Connections, Bastedo

Fragility is a powerful word. Whether it is applied to an emotional state, physical characteristic or memory of the past, its use creates a connection to an earlier time. Window Pain (pictures page 10, page 11; warning, large files!) by Miriam Spies in the November 2010 issue of The United Church Observer took me back to my earlier life as a member of St. Paul's United Church in Milton, Ontario. I can faintly recall a series of five stained glass windows across the back aisle, but when you are young, you seldom read the dedications, or for that matter, remember the images as you pass by with other things on your mind. Back then, remembrance of the fallen of World War One was something that was only done in November. In June of 2010, three of those memorial windows were destroyed by fire. One of them was dedicated to Captain Alfred C. Bastedo.

While I grew up in Milton, the name Bastedo was not familiar to me. At the recent Remembrance Day Sunday Service, while images of the windows were projected on the screen, young people of the St. Paul's congregation shared the stories of those who had died in combat based on files gathered by Jim Dills of the Milton Historical Society. "Captain Bastedo was one of the first men to enlist from the Milton area, on September 22, 1914. He was taken on strength in the CEF 1st Battalion on April 11, 1915, and killed in action on April 23, 1915. On that April day in 1915 the 1st Battalion received orders to move over the Yser Canal to attack Pilckem Village where it was subjected to heavy artillery, machine gun and rifle fire. Officer casualties were 7 wounded and 3 killed. Captain Bastedo was one of many casualties."

Long past my youth, I am now aware that "Bastedo" is also a Loyalist name. Between 1976 and 1991 eight Certificates of Loyalist Lineage were presented in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. In the Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of York, Ontario, (p. 37) a brief family history indicates the connection.

"The Bastedos trace their descent from the important Spanish family of De La Bastido, of whom the chief is the Marquis De La Bastida, member of the Chamber of Deputies for the Balearic Islands. Another is Don Guillermo De La Bastida, treasurer of the Province of Badajoz. The progenitor of the Bastedo family, having embraced the faith of the Reformed Church, was forced to leave Spain and take refuge in Holland, whence about 1778 he or one of his descendants emigrated to America, ultimately settling at Schenectady, New York. Of this branch of the family was Jacob Basted, as the name became Anglicized, who, abandoning a valuable estate in Schenectady, came to Canada as a United Empire Loyalist, and settled first at Cataraqui (Kingston), where he had a grant of 800 acres, but removed to Stamford, County of Welland, Ont. He married Clarissa Jean Van Slyke, whose sister married a Van Buren, and their son, Martin Van Buren, was President of the United States from 1837 to 1841. Another sister was married to Major Tice, a Royalist officer. The children of Jacob and Clarissa Bastedo were: (1) Abraham; (2) Lewis; (3) David; (4) Joseph, killed at the battle of Chippewa; (5) Gilbert Tice; (6) John, of Nelson, married Mary Flewelling and had issue... (7) Cornelius, killed in the war of 1812."

Another connection to UELAC is discovered in the biographies of the petitioners who hoped to create a Canadian UEL Association. In 1882, Lieut. Col. George Alexander Shaw, R.L., UE married Marion Christina, daughter of Gilbert Tice Bastedo, County Crown Attorney, Halton and 2x great granddaughter of Jacob Bastedo. Gilbert Tice Bastedo was also the second Wor. Master of the St. Clair Lodge #135 in Milton, the same Masonic Lodge as that of my father who held that position in 1952.

Those stained glass memorials of 1919 are still covered with plywood as the congregation continues to review the future of St. Paul's. However, the story of Capt. Bastedo and the United Empire Loyalist connection, less fragile than glass, has survived. One more solid brick has been fired to add to the history our Association and our country.

...Frederick H. Hayward, President

Loyalists All, Vol. 2: Biographical Sketches of New Brunswick Loyalists - Submissions

Loyalists All, published by the New Brunswick Branch of the United Empire Loyalists Association, is a collection of biographical sketches of New Brunswick Loyalists, with lines of descent to the contributing author. The first volume of 56 Loyalist Ancestors, was compiled and edited by Gail Bonsall Pipes in 1985, and is still available from the New Brunswick Branch.

If you have genealogical and biographical data related to your Loyalist Ancestor who settled in New Brunswick, please consider submitting their story, and your line of descent, for inclusion in Volume 2 of Loyalists All, by contacting the editor. More information is available here.

...Eric C. Langley UE, Editor

Public Relations: Little Forks Uses Modern Technology

I have used Flickr to help promote the UELAC organization worldwide with one simple beautiful photo taken by a professional photographer and my added comment. Modern Tech helping again. Just click here to see and comment on the photo.

...Terry Loucks, Little Forks Branch UELAC

The Tech Side: Chronicle Of Life – by Wayne Scott, UE

There are a number of companies around who will help reserve your photos and documents for untold years – for a fee. It has been well documented in print and on television that files can deteriorate or become corrupted over time using conventional storage methods such as cds, hard drives and flash drives. Check out this information presented by David Pogue of the New York Times. The problem with a commercial enterprise storing your data; it is almost guaranteed that costs will continue to rise as time goes by, and businesses cease to exist because of changing economic conditions. The Chronicle of Life is setting out to change this.

Chronicle of Life is a Non Profit enterprise. By law, they are bound to uphold their mission statement, that being to offer a guaranteed repository for files and photos forever at a present cost of $1.00 US per 1 megabyte of storage. This is a one-time fee. Although the price is significantly higher than physical storage at home or with many profit based companies, in the long run the cost may prove to be worth the service provided. The company is investing profits into an endowment that will secure their services even with future cost increases. Since we don't know how long "forever" is, we can't be positive how well the company will uphold their end of the agreement. However, the company has performed well since its inception in 2008.

Security is also guaranteed. Files in transit from your computer to their servers are encrypted. Information such as credit card numbers use an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) for further protection. In addition, a "CAPTCHA" field is added to prevent drive by (automated) hacker attacks. A "CAPTCHA" field is where there is a word or two, often just random letters in a squiggly format that you have to type and submit correctly before you can proceed. All in all, it can be said that the latest security systems are in place. One interesting bit of information suggests that if your file format becomes obsolete, (such as jpeg for photos, doc for documents, etc), these files will automatically be updated to the new standard form of that time. Just because Microsoft Word ceases to exist, your doc files would be converted to a format that is readable at that time.

Getting started is easy. Go to the Chronicle of Life website and log on for a 30-day trial. You will be asked for the usual log on features such as name, password, etc. Questions will then be asked for family and friends contact information, should you wish to allow them access. In addition, there will be encouragement to upload a variety of things such as stories, journals, photos, etc. You are on your way to securing your life's work.

In addition to the above, there will be privacy settings to select. The first option is to set the privacy setting so that only you can read or access the files. It should be noted that if you choose this option, when something happens, your files would be lost forever. The second option is to allow Family/Friends to have access. Permissions for other people to have access to your files can be changed at any time. The third option is the 'Anonymous' option where all your files can be viewed by anyone, but they would not be attributed to you. Lastly is the Public option. Where anyone can view your files and know that they are yours.

As mentioned above, the fee is $1.00 per Megabyte. I should mention that there is a minimum requirement of at least 10Mb. This is enough space to store about 10 photos or a thousand pages of text. This is probably not enough to store all of your family tree research, but would go a long way to storing the written information. Photo space can be purchased as needs be. This service might just be a great birthday or Christmas present for a genealogist who's hard to buy for.

It is easy to read this and quickly agree that something needs to be done about all of your research. Decisions need to be made about who has access to your stored research. You need to decide what photos need to be saved, particularly those that are stored on those old 5¼ inch floppies (or even the 3½ inch ones). Do you still have a drive that can read them? The process can be seen as preparing for the future, ensuring that your research will last a long time.

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

"Genealogy Week" in Ottawa July 10-15, 2011

The Ottawa Branch OGS and La Societe de genealogie de l'Outaouais are pleased to announce that the third annual Semaine de genealogie/Genealogy Week will be held from July 10th to July 15th in the National Capital Region of Ottawa/Gatineau.

Participants to this event will be offered their own personalized itinerary, based on individual research needs. Once established, they will then visit and research in such centres as the Library and Archives Canada (LAC), the Bibliotheque et Archives nationales du Quebec (BAnQ), the Archives de la Ville de Gatineau, the United Church of Canada Archives, and the newly-built City of Ottawa Archives. There, they will meet with renowned Canadian genealogical experts such as author Glenn Wright, blogger John D. Reid, and social historian Marie Careau, who will "as part of a team" give lectures on specialized topics including immigration, newspapers, military records, and Canadian families.

There will be an opening "Meet and Greet" on Sunday evening and a closing luncheon on Friday. There are a number of great resources in Canada's capital, and you will be introduced to several of them with tutorials and lectures. You will also receive unprecedented guidance from archival staff and local researchers.

Regular registration will be open until June 15th, 2011, with an Early Bird discount in effect until June 1st. Late registrants are also welcome, although their program may not be as personalized. For more details, or to join our mailing list for updates, please visit our website, follow us on Twitter, or simply send us an email.

Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society; La Societe de genealogie de l'Outaouais

Research Resources: More Newspapers Available

Google news has now digitized additional Canadian newspapers (Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon) in addition to Ottawa and Montreal which had already been processed.

The indexing is not great i.e. many misses and many issues are missing, but it is another in a growing list of resources.

Click here to search,or here to browse.

I found quite a lot of useful information, even before these new additions, just leaving the newspaper blank, and no price when I was doing a search. Happy hunting

...Lynne Cook UE, St Lawrence Branch

Research Resource: Thorold Township and Town

I was browsing the internet yesterday, and ran across a great book online: Jubilee history of Thorold Township and Town : from the town of the red man to the present. -- (August 1897).

The book goes into great detail, describing the founding of the Niagara Area by the Loyalists, including hundreds of names, muster rolls etc. It is great source for anyone with Niagara Roots, and it can be downloaded or read, free.of charge.

...Ed Scott UE, Col. John Butler Branch.

Book: John Saxe, Loyalist, by George Hill

"Hang the Tory spy!!" John Saxe could rightly have expected to hear these words when he was in prison in Esopus—now Kingston—New York, in 1779. Then forty-seven years old, he had staunchly maintained his loyalty to the King of England, to whom he had proclaimed his allegiance when he arrived in Philadelphia in 1750. Indeed, John Saxe was already a subject of the King of England, for the young man was born in 1732 in Saxony, in the Electorate of Hanover, which was ruled by the Prince-elector who was also King George II of England.

John Saxe could surely have been regarded as a spy, for he worked for the King's men -- although not in uniform or with an official position in a military unit -- and that would be considered spying. Perhaps he actually was a spy, or maybe he was just a German - and English-speaking guide for the Ansbach Jaegers. The truth of the matter will probably never be known, but legend has it that he escaped or was released from prison. Perhaps his employers, the Livingstons, arranged for his release. He was their miller. It is, however, known that Saxe returned to his family in Rhinebeck, on the east side of the Hudson River, and he remained there until after the end of the Revolutionary War.

As a "suspected" Loyalist, his property was then confiscated by the state. John Saxe and his wife and their eight sons -- one just a babe in arms -- and many other families, including some of his kinsmen, then made their way up the Hudson River. They crossed the height of land into the watershed of Lake Champlain, and settled in the wilderness at the northeastern corner of that lake at what was then, and still is, called Missisquoi Bay.

This book is the story of the Loyalist, John Saxe, and of his children and their descendants -- some of whom were very successful, while others were ordinary men and women who eked out a living on the frontier. Some settled in Canada and were loyal to the Crown, whereas others were American patriots, heroes in the War of 1812 and the Civil War, and some who were distinguished in public service, law, business, the arts, and government. John Saxe's most famous descendant was his grandson, John Godfrey Saxe, L.L.D. (1816–1887), a poet and statesman, who wrote about The Seven Blind Men and the Elephant, in a book that is still in print today.

One of the most mysterious descendants of the Loyalist was his son, Godfrey, who was named for the Loyalist's father, and about whom very little is known. Godfrey Saxe had a daughter, Anna Maria Saxe, who married Joseph Stockwell and had many descendants -- including George Hill, the author of this book. Based on the documents that he discovered, Hill speculates that Godfrey Saxe may have been shunned by his father and perhaps some of his siblings because he had this child out of wedlock, and that indeed the child's unnamed mother may have been a neighbor and relative. The child, Anna Saxe, grew up in the community of Highgate, Vermont, but after she was married, she moved to New York State, and her descendants have now literally spread all over the world.

Hill's book traces the descendants of John Saxe and his wife, Catherine Weaver, for five generations. Hill thus updates a genealogy of the Saxe family that was published by John Saxe's great-great-grandson in 1930. Hill adds much that is new to this earlier Genealogy of the Saxe Family. He integrates information about the Saxe family and their relatives from other histories of northern Vermont, and he includes copies of many original photographs and previously unpublished letters and documents. Hill's book includes footnotes, endnotes, several appendices, and two indexes. 2010, 8½x11, paper, index, 202 pp. H5176 ISBN: 0788451766 See the cover here.

...Adelaide Lanktree UE, Sir John Johnson Branch

The Archives of Ontario will Extend its Hours of Operation

Effective Tuesday, February 8, 2011, The Archives of Ontario (AO) will offer extended hours of service on Tuesdays and Thursdays to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Services available during these hours will include registration, assistance from reference archivists, access to self service microfilm, microfiche and finding aids, viewing of previously ordered materials, and access to the exhibit gallery. Requests for certifications, reproductions and copyright that are placed during extended hours will be sent for processing on the next business day.

Library and Archives Canada to go 100% Digital

A recent report from Library and Archives Canada announced that, over the next seven years, the records of Canada's heritage will be going completely digital. Going digital means it will be easier than ever to research your ancestry because all of the information held by LAC will be available in searchable databases.

Another benefit of storing the information in digital form is that it reduces the impact to the environment. Library and Archives Canada currently sends out about 750,000 photocopies each year and hopes to completely phase out paper copies by April 2011.

"Taking advantage of new digital information technologies will change not only the way we acquire and preserve our collection but also how we make it accessible to Canadians." explained Dr. Daniel J. Caron, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. "The digital environment is also providing us with opportunities to enhance our services to other documentary heritage institutions. This makes sense from both the client service and business practice perspectives – to stay relevant, we must move forward."

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