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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2011 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2011-20: May 22, 2011

Articles

The Story of the Loyalist's Slave and the Carpenter's Revenge -- © Stephen Davidson

The folk tales of West Africa are rich with stories of the weak cleverly defeating powerful bullies. Using only his keen wits, Anansi, the spider-man, wins out over much larger adversaries time and again. When these stories crossed the Atlantic Ocean with enslaved Africans, they became the tales of little Br'er Rabbit who triumphed over the evil schemes of Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear. Perhaps it was the memory of the Anansi stories that inspired an enslaved African to win his own victory over a bully. The man in question was the slave of the loyalist Timothy Ruggles, and he stood up to a carpenter in Wilmot, Nova Scotia back in 1795.

It is a sad fact of history that well-to-do loyalist refugees brought with them the largest number of slaves ever to enter British North America at one time. Clergymen, lawyers, and politicians --in addition to plantation owners-- had grown accustomed to purchasing Africans to work in their homes and on their lands.

Among these people enslaved by the loyalists were Jasper and Hetty Jenkins. Little is known of them before their arrival in Nova Scotia. They may have been on the staff of Ruggles' Massachusetts estate or Ruggles may have bought them while in New York. They were among half a dozen or so Africans that Ruggles held in bondage, and are the only ones whose names have been remembered. Despite their enslavement, the Jenkins had an attachment to their loyalist master.

Timothy Ruggles was once the "most noted Tory in Massachusetts". A Harvard graduate, Ruggles practiced law in Hardwick, Massachusetts where he lived in a grand home modelled after an English manor. In 1762, he was appointed the chief justice of Massachusetts, a post he held until the outbreak of the Revolution. He fell out of favour with his fellow colonists when he refused to sign a petition opposing the Stamp Act. Eventually, Ruggles fled Boston with other loyalists. His wife and daughters refused to leave Massachusetts, and he never saw them again.

At the conclusion of the Revolution, the 72 year-old loyalist was given 10,000 acres near Wilmot, Nova Scotia. Ruggles brought with him "his" enslaved Africans, including Hetty and Jasper Jenkins. Hetty was Ruggles' cook; Jasper looked after the horses. With the help of his staff, Ruggles planted the region's first apple orchard and "advanced the agricultural interests of the Province."

However, Ruggles managed to make a few enemies in Nova Scotia. In his book, Loyalists of the American Revolution, Lorenzo Sabine said "General Ruggles was a good scholar, and possessed powers of mind of a very high order. He was a wit and a misanthrope; and a man of rude manners and rude speech ... and he had a full share of personal foes."

One of these "personal foes" was the local carpenter, Samuel Carter. The nature of his quarrel with Ruggles is unknown, but the date of his vengeance is: August 4, 1795, the day that Timothy Ruggles died.

In the late 18th century, the grieving family made all of the funeral arrangements. There were no undertakers to prepare the body or provide a choice of coffins. When their loyalist master died, it fell to the members of the Ruggles household to contact a carpenter to build a coffin. The reception following the funeral service would be Hetty Jenkin's responsibility.

On the day before the funeral, Samuel Carter dropped off the coffin he had built for the six-foot-six loyalist, but he left quickly before the family could raise any objections. What Ruggles' servants discovered at their door was a pauper's coffin -- a plain, unpainted pine box. There was no time to build a second coffin; there was no paint nearby. When the mourners came to Timothy Ruggles' funeral the next day, they would find the distinguished old loyalist laid out in a poor man's casket. Samuel Carter had found the way to have the last laugh.

But the carpenter had not counted on the cleverness of Ruggles' enslaved man, Jasper Jenkins. Calling his two sons and the other servants to him, Jenkins reminded them how they had once used the soot from a cooking pot to polish the master's black boots. If they could blacken the bottom of the large pot used for boiling maple syrup, they just might be able to make enough "blackning" to cover Ruggles' coffin. The men dug a pit behind the shed, gathered birch bark, and made a large fire under the copper pot. When Jenkins was satisfied with the amount of soot on the pot's bottom, he had the servants scrape it off and apply the "blackning" to the coffin with cloths and brushes.

This process had to be repeated a number of times. As night fell, the more superstitious of the men found it nerve-racking to be working so close to a coffin, but by sunrise the job was done. The loyalist's casket was a uniform black.

Jenkins would not let anyone outside the family know what had transpired. They laid Ruggles in the coffin and covered it with a cloth. The household staff and all of the gathered mourners solemnly escorted the earthly remains of the loyalist from his mansion down to Wilmot's Pine Grove Church. Samuel Carter rode near the procession, waiting for the moment when the coffin would be uncovered at the gravesite. Then everyone would see that Ruggles was being buried in a poor man's casket.

But it was not the mourners who were shocked when the pall was pulled back, revealing a black coffin. Carter's face is remembered as having a "setback" look. Jasper Jenkins had outsmarted the bully. Carter's shock and disappointment were a source of amusement every time the story of Ruggles' coffin was retold.

Like the clever Anansi, Jasper Jenkins became the hero of a story that might easily have brought smiles to his long lost family members gathered around a distant West African campfire.


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

John Moore (1730 - 1827): Fourth Generation in America © George McNeillie

After our Cousins moved to Woodstock in 1867, the old Carman place was sold, and the house was soon after taken down, having stood for about eighty years. If I remember correctly the old house passed into the hands of people named Robinson and Uncle Odber Carman's house was bought by people named Wisely. The lower line of Grandfather Carman's farm was the boundary between York and Sunbury Counties. A highway road ran back from the River here, called "The County Line Road". In early times bears were frequently encountered there and were taken by my uncles in traps from time to time.

Wolves were not uncommon in the "forties" and bounties were paid by Government for their snouts. At the time of the Great Mirimichi Fire, in 1825, the Carman House is said to have narrowly escaped destruction.

The little church called Trinity in lower St. Marys, in which my father and mother were married in 1850, still stands surrounded by the graves of the old parishioners, among them are representatives of about four generations of our ancestors. The church was one of the early chapels, consecrated I think by Bishop Medley not very long after his arrival at Fredericton.

We undoubtedly inherited some of our best blood through the Moore ancestry. Our mother was I think rather proud of some of her possessions inherited from this family.

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

Loyalist Week Celebrations in New Brunswick

Loyalist Week started on Sunday with a church parade at Trinity Anglican Church in Saint John. (Trinity is the oldest congregation in the City, having been founded by Loyalists very shortly after their arrival in 1783. The current building was constructed following the Great Fire of 1877 and houses many historical artifacts, including the Royal Coat of Arms that used to be located in the Council Chamber of the old State House in Boston, which was removed when the city was evacuated by the British.) Several of our members participated in the service and enjoyed the fellowship of the congregation afterwards.

The festivities on Loyalist Day (Wednesday, 18 May) started at 10:00 in the Atrium of Market Square with a concert presented by St. Mary's Band. (The original plan was to be outdoors at City Hall Plaza but the weather didn't co-operate.) St. Mary's Band has been a part of the fabric of Saint John for more than 100 years and has participated in many Loyalist Day celebrations in the past.

At 10:30 the gathered dignitaries were led on to the stage by UELAC member Don Flewelling, UE and Master of Ceremonies, Terry Keleher, in the role of Major Gilford Studholm, the commander of Fort Howe in Loyalist times. The crowd was welcomed by Councillor Chris Titus, on behalf of the City of Saint John, Minister Trevor Holder, on behalf of the Government of New Brunswick and MP Rodney Weston, on behalf of the Government of Canada. Councillor Titus then invited all attendees to enjoy a piece of the City's birthday cake.

At noon the City was honoured by a 21-gun salute by the 3rd Field Artillery (the Loyal Company). Saint John is the only Canadian city that is permitted to be honoured in this way without the presence of the Monarch. Following the salute the dignitaries were invited to inspect the company.

The Loyalist Day celebrations closed with a reception and dinner held at the historic Union Club in Saint John. Following the dinner we were privileged to hear a presentation by noted architect John Leroux who talked about "The Loyalist influence on Architecture". His visual presentation attracted a lot of interest and his lively style meant that nobody was bored. In fact, your president had to prematurely end the question and answer period so that Mr. Leroux could make the drive back to Fredericton in reasonable time.

Citizens of the City and surrounding area were invited to celebrate our Loyalist heritage with a finale - a Loyalist Block Party - featuring a neighbourhood yard sale, parade of flags, barbeque, First Nations exhibit and free tours of the oldest church building in continuous use in Saint John (190 years) at St. George's Anglican Church, corner of Watson Street and Duke Street, on the City's west side later in the week.

For a series of photos, click here.

...Dave Laskey, President, UELAC NB Branch

Free Shipping Offer On UEL Flags

With summer just around the corner it is time to display our colours. Why not purchase a 3 x 5 satin/polyester UEL Flag?

Fly it proudly, show everyone you have Loyalist heritage. Promotions UELAC is offering a limited time special, purchase a UEL Flag for $ 22.00 ( tax included ) and we'll ship it anywhere in Canada Free. Shipping to the USA is an additional $ 3.00.

Be proud of your heritage, let's see how many Flags we can fly this summer.

To order contact Promotions UELAC, c/o Noreen Stapley UE at 905-732-2012 or by e-mail.

Don't forget to check the catalogue for other items.

...Noreen Stapley UE, gdandy@iaw.on.ca

Victoria Day Message from Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada

May 22, 2011 OTTAWA -- Victoria Day is always cause for celebration in Canada, and perhaps this year more than most.

Once again, we have the opportunity to express our affection for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as we mark her official birthday in Canada. While Her Majesty's actual date of birth is in April, Canadians have long celebrated her birthday on the May long weekend in honour of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who was born on May 24, 1819.

This occasion also allows us to honour the continuity of our links to the Royal Family, so recently renewed with the wedding of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We are looking forward to their visit to Canada this summer, and to another joyous occasion to come -- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, in 2012.

During her reign of six decades as Queen of Canada, Her Majesty has served our country with great dignity and dedication. In homage to Her Majesty's achievement and as a symbol of our appreciation, the new Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal will honour deserving Canadians who have contributed so much to this nation, and who have helped to define our ideal of service. The Queen has dedicated her life to encouraging excellence among Canadians, and this medal is an opportunity to recognize outstanding service to Canada and to see how we are brought together through action.

As we celebrate the return of spring on this May long weekend, let us take a moment to wish Her Majesty a very a happy birthday, and to reflect on the pride and joy we feel to live in this blessed land.

...David Johnston

United Empire Loyalist Commemorative Service June 12, 2011

A cordial invitation is extended to all to attend the United Empire Loyalist Commemorative Service at St Alban The Martyr Anglican Church, Adolphustown. The service will be held on Sunday June 12th , 2011 at 2 PM. It will commemorate the 227th anniversary of the landing of the Loyalists at Adolphustown in June, 1784.

The service will be Sung Evensong, conducted by Rev. Dr. John Walmsley with the Choir of St Mary Magdalene, Picton.

The Guest Speaker will be Mr. Peter Lockyer, Local Historian and developer of History Lives Here Inc.

A Loyalist Tea follows the Service.

For inquiries and additional information please contact me.

...Diane Berlet, Chairperson, St. Alban's history committee, Tel: 613 373 8865, Dianeberlet4@aol.com

A Timeline of Events Pre-1812 Bicentenary

This week a three messages were delivered indicating further activity in preparing fore the 1812 Bicentenary.

Adrienne Horne, Regional Project Manager for the Western Corridor War of 1812 Bicentennial Alliance, forwarded the electronic newsletter for the Western Corridor Alliance of the seventh region in Ontario. While it has been distributed to the Branch Presidents in the Central West Region, David Hill Morrison has also created a War of 1812 commemoration webpage on the Grand River website so the newsletter can be made available to a wider audience. You may want to check out the map for the Route 1812 formerly known as Brock's Walk.

Doris Lemon has redirected an invitation from Paula Whitlow, the Museum Director for the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford.

"Ever wonder what impact the War of 1812 had on the Grand River Watershed, Ontario and Canada? Or, where John Norton's cabin was? Or what a Princess Point site is? What is the difference between settlement patterns then and now? What happened to the Delaware Nation? Do we really drive over gravesites along Highway #54? On behalf of the GRCA's Heritage Working Group, we extend an invitation to join us in visiting sites of interest related to social and human history, settlement patterns and First Nations engagement in the War of 1812 in the southern half of the Grand River watershed. This all day bus tour will commence at Brantford Tourism, 399 Wayne Gretzky Parkway, Brantford at 9:00 a.m., on Monday, June 27th, 2011. For a minimal fee of $10.00 (the cost of lunch), you will be escorted, entertained, and astounded at the rich history this area has to offer. RSVP by Friday, June 10th, 2011 to pwhitlow@woodland-centre.on.ca"

The third announcement came from the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. A special exhibition to look at the War of 1812-1815 through the eyes of American, British and First People participants is being planned to run from May 31, 2012 to January 8, 2013.

...FHH

War of 1812, Part 4: The Battle of Naticoke Creek, by Doris Lemon

Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Bostwick of the 1st Regiment, Oxford Militia, reported to Major J.G.Glegg on November 14, 1813:

"Sir - I have the greatest satisfaction in communicating to you for the information of the Commander of the Forces at Burlington, the complete success of the expedition determined upon at the meeting of the inhabitants of this place.

On the night of the 12th instant, we received information that the party of brigands mentioned in my last letter was in the neighbourhood: the few militia that were here immediately proceeded in search of them. They, however, suspecting our intentions, hastily returned down the lake.

Yesterday, as early in the morning as possible, the number of volunteers proposed commenced their march down the lake in pursuit of them. After a tedious and circuitous route through the woods we surprised them at the home of John Dunham, which had for some time been one of their principal places of rendezvous. After having ascertained that they were there, a small party under the command of Captain Daniel McCall was detached across a point of woods in order to intercept them should they attempt to escape. Captain John Bostwick with another small party proceeded towards the house near the lake shore while the remainder, being the greatest number, with myself took a circuitous direction through the woods in order to come in rear of the house and surround it. Capt. Bostwick in coming near the place and not observing any person there, immediately entered the house with Lieut. Austin and was not a little surprised to find it crowded with the band we were in pursuit of.

They instantly flew to their arms but he desired them to surrender themselves, telling them that they were surrounded. Most of the men consented and gave up their arms. Capt. Bostwick however, not being supported as soon as he wished, they resumed possession of their arms, discharged two muskets at him and he in turn became a prisoner. On hearing the report of the guns the whole of the party with me hastened with as much expedition as possible towards the place, and on their discovering us they commended a fire from the house upon us, which was immediately returned, we not knowing that Capt. Bostwick was still there. After a warm fire on both sides for a few minutes, some of them escaped from the house and fell in with Capt. McCall's party who attacked them with spirit. When a few took to the woods the remainder were either killed or wounded and those in or near the house surrendered.

Too much praise cannot be given to the militia who composed our party for their steady perseverance, coolness and courage. Most of them had been out the whole of the night before and nothwithstanding the very fatiguing march through woods and swamps not a word of complaint was heard. Not being able to get any information that could be relied on, that induced us to think there were any more embodied between this and the Grand River, and having fully attained the object of the expedition, we returned to this place last night about11 o'clock.

The prisoners, with two others of the party who fell into our hands the day before (one Mabee and one Harris), I shall send from this place tomorrow for Burlington under a strong escort. Should it be thought advisable I would be extremely glad if the escort could be met by a sufficient number of Indians, and relieve them at the Grand River or Burford Gore. One of the men (Mabee) fired upon a good fellow (Bonnet) a few days since when on his way down the lake to see his family, broke his thigh, and the party took him to Buffalo. This Bonnet received a wound at Fort Erie, last fall, which had crippled him.

I send with this the examinations of Mabee and Harris, that you may see what villains the are; from the others you will be able to get some information respecting the view of their party.

The good conduct of the militia upon this occasion will, I trust, meet with the consideration from the Commander of the Forces which they so highly deserve.

The horses, saddles, etc., taken, I propose having sold to the best advantage and divide the avails among the men who have so well earned it. Enclosed is a list of names of the volunteers. I have to regret the loss of Chandler who was shot through the neck. The loss of the enemy is 3 killed and perhaps 2 or 3 wounded.

Capt. (John-dal) Bostwick received a wound to the face from discharge of musket in the house. The man who fired at him was immediately shot through the body by one of their own party, who fired another shot at Capt. Bostwick but missed him."

[Ref: Cruickshank, E.A. Documentary History of the Campaigns on the Niagara Frontier 1812-14 Vol 8 p 183 and Canadian Archives C681 pp 142-4]

Report from the Major-General, November 25,1813. Col. Henry Bostwick was cited for his "very gallant and patriotic conduct and an association of 45 officers and men of the militia of Norfolk in capturing and destroying a band of traitors who in violation of their allegiance and of every principle of honor and honesty had leagued themselves with the enemies of their country to plunder and make prisoners the peaceable and well disposed inhabitants of the province. Col. Bostwick and every individual of the Association were thanked for their zeal and loyalty in planning and gallantry in carrying into execution this most useful and public spirited enterprise."

[Ref: Cruickshank Vol 8 p233]

Epilogue

Lt. Col Henry Bostwick is remembered by a historic plaque in the Community Park, Oakland:

To the Battle of Malcolm's Mills, 1814

Which marks the site of a clash on November 6, 1814

Between a force of Canadian Militia under

Lieutenant Colonel Henry Bostwick

And an invading American Army led by

Brigadier-General Duncan MacArthur

There is also a historic plaque at Nanticoke Public School, Norfolk County:

Lieutenant Colonel Henry Bostwick

On November 13, 1814

He led the Norfolk Volunteer Militia

To route a band of enemy marauders

Who had terrorized the County.

...Doris Lemon UE, Grand River Branch

Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told -- Paul Bunnell, by Jane Wilcox

Paul Bunnell, FACG, Koasek Abenaki Sub-Chief, professional genealogist and author from New Hampshire, talks about the fascinating story of New York Loyalists during the American Revolution and how to go about finding out information about your Loyalist ancestors. (Loyalists were those who supported the King of England during the war—which quite a few New Yorkers did.)

Jane Wilcox is a professional genealogist and hosts The Forget-Me-Not Hour radio show on AM 950 radio WHVW in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and of "Your Ancestors Want Their Stories To Be Told" radio show on BlogTalkRadio.com/JaneEWilcox.

Paul Bunnell was recently Jane's guest. Listen to the program here.

Illustrated Toronto: Past and Present Online

For those whose loyalists or their first or second generation descendants were in Ontario, following the formation of Upper Canada, Toronto became the legislative centre of Upper Canada and evolved into a major commercial and transportation centre through the 19th century. The book Illustrated Toronto: Past and Present by Justin Timperlake, about 1877, is now online.

...Donna Magee, UE

Sir John A. Macdonald Cairn Unveiled in 1968 by John Diefenbaker

I read with interest news of your trip. In particular, the cairn at Rogart. My husband Jim's grandfather, Norman James Alexander Macdonald Lockhart, for many years the Conservative MP from the St. Catharines area, was part of the Diefenbaker party at the dedication of the Sir John A. MacDonald cairn. We have many pictures of the event. Click here to see a few of them.

...Shirley Lockhart UE

Last Post: Mary Wright Bradshaw, UE

It was with deep sorrow that the Abegweit Branch UELAC learned of the passing of their charter member and genealogist, Mary Wright Bradshaw. The Abegweit Branch was founded on Feb 24, 1973 and Mary was one of the thirteen charter members. At various times, Mary held the offices of President, Vice-president, secretary and genealogist. She wrote extensively and contributed information for the book "An Island Refuge", a history of the loyalists who came to Prince Edward Island. For many years she wrote a branch newsletter, which high-lighted the activities of the branch. Mary attended several UELAC national annual conferences across Canada.

Mary passed away March 21, 2011at the age of 84 years. She was pre-deceased by her husband, Reginald Bradshaw, Summerside PEI. Survived by her daughter Janet Bradshaw of Summerside, sister Ruth (Norman) MacDonald, Crapaud, and brothers Charles Wright, Searlstown and George (late Marie) Wright, Simcoe Ont.

Mary graduated from the Prince Edward Island Hospital, School of Nursing and received her operating room training at St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto. She worked at Prince County Hospital, Summerside, for many years.

Mary was an accomplished artist and craft person. Her family and friends have been proud recipients of her gifts of art.

Mary Wright was a proud descendant of Loyalist William Wright.

...Ruth MacDonald, UE, Abegweit Branch

Queries

How did your ancestors celebrate Christmas?

How did your ancestors celebrate Christmas? What traditions might they have brought with them when they fled to Canada after the Revolution? Nancy Mallett, Archivist at Toronto's St. James' Cathedral, is chairing a major international convention on the crèche or small nativity scene, not only as an object of faith, but an iconic art form closely connected to the history of the world.

Sponsored by The Friends of the Crèche, an American branch of a world organization of Friends with headquarters in Rome, it is being hosted and organized by St. James' Cathedral from November 10 to 12, 2011, and will be the first conference of its kind to have been held in Canada. Ecumenical in nature and reflective of the cultural diversity Canada today, it is open to all, member and non-member alike, and a major focus will be placed on the history of the crèche in Canada.

We know that Jacques Cartier marked Christmas back in 1535 when he and his crew wintered in Quebec. We know about the early missions and connections with the fur trade.

Can any of you add to the story? What happened as a result of the American Revolution and the coming of so many Loyalists into Canada? We are asking for your help. How was Christmas celebrated in your family?

The Protestant Reformation meant those of you with a British background may not have traditions associated with the crèche, but what about any of you whose family originally came from Germany and and other parts of Europe, or elsewhere? Traditions associated with the crèche were not discarded in continental Europe the way they were in Britain.

For further information about the convention and how to register, you can check the Cathedral web-site at www.stjamescathedral.on.ca.

...Nancy Mallett

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