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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2012 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2012-51: December 23, 2012

Articles

The Settlers of Raisin River (2 of 3) – by Stephen Davidson

If you were to take a drive through eastern Ontario's Glengarry County, you might be surprised to find yourself travelling along a highway called Loyalist Road. Step out of your car and look north. You'll see the Raisin River. Here, hundreds of loyalists led by Sir John Johnson established new communities in the years following the American Revolution. Almost all of these refugees had fled New York's Tryon County to find sanctuary in Quebec by 1776

However, some Raisin River settlers arrived in Canada after 1776. John Cameron first left New York's Johnstown in 1777 to serve with Captain McDonnell. He returned to Tryon County to be with his family. Cameron never again served as a soldier, but he "was of use in assisting scouting parties" and in "procuring intelligence" for the British. One of his sons enlisted in Johnson's 1st Battalion. Patriots plundered his seven-acre farm a number of times before he finally found sanctuary for his family at St. John's near Lake Champlain.

Alexander Kennedy, Duncan MacDonell, and John Hagart, settlers of "Johnson's Bush", all came to Canada in 1780. After abandoning his livestock and rented land, Kennedy served in the engineers' department as did Hagart. MacDonell was in Sir John's regiment and then the 84th. At the end of the revolution Kennedy and MacDonell were living in the loyalist refugee community at Sorel between Montreal and Quebec City.

Duncan McIntire also found sanctuary in Canada in 1780. Although he was too old to fight for the king, three of McIntire's sons took up arms for the loyalist cause. One was killed at Fort Stanwix. McIntire stayed on his land as long as he could, but finally fled from his rebel neighbours "as he was a Tory".

Three loyalists named MacDonell sought sanctuary in Canada in 1780. Donald McDonnell had tried to escape earlier, but his patriot neighbours had taken him prisoner and robbed him. Donald may have been the brother of Hugh McDonell. The latter remained in Tryon County after two of his brothers fled to Canada. Hugh stayed home to take care of his parents, but their situation became so dangerous by 1780 that they left and found sanctuary in Sorel. Like his neighbour, Alexander Kennedy, Donald served in the engineers' department until the end of the revolution. The third brother may have been John McDonell who testified that "a large family kept him from joining sooner. He served in the Company of Artificers (construction craftsmen) until 1783. He, like a number of future Raisin River settlers, was living in the Yamachiche refugee camp at the end of the revolution.

Donald McNaughton's experience was unique for a Raisin River settler. Despite the fact that he had lost a 100-acre farm in Tryon County, served with Sir John Johnson's 1st Battalion from 1777 to 1783, and had earlier given a claim to his captain, McNaughton's request for compensation was "rejected on a personal examination". The Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of the American Loyalists (RCLSAL) was very wary of tapping the British treasury to compensate loyalists who seemed intent on returning to the United States. During his testimony, McNaughton explained that he had been "out of the country on a visit to the States when the other loyalists sent their claims."

This short journey back to Tryon County may have been the Highlander's undoing. After "a personal examination" of McNaughton, the board's commissioner must have felt that he was likely to abandon his Raisin River homestead and return to the States. McNaughton's round trip to Montreal had been in vain.

The loyalist experiences of 13 Raisin River settlers who appeared before the RCLSAL were practically identical. Angus Cameron, William Chisholm, James Dingwell, Peter Ferguson, Donald Fraser, Angus Grant, Donald Grant Jr., Donald Grant Sr., John Grant, Angus McDonell, a second John McDonell, Murdoch McPherson, and Hugh Munro were all Scottish immigrants who arrived in western New York in the early 1770s, fled to Canada, and served in at least one loyalist military unit. They represented thirty percent of the Raisin River settlers who went down the St. Lawrence River to Montreal to seek compensation.

Ronald McDonell was one of ten loyalists whose only reason for attending the compensation hearings was to serve as witnesses for friends and family. These men are to be commended for making 100-mile round-trip journeys over the icy St. Lawrence River in January and February – journeys that would in no way enrich them or their families. Despite not having the necessary papers or sufficient losses to merit personal compensation, they went to the hearings to support their fellow loyalists. Here, indeed, is a strong indicator of the community bonds that linked the settlers of Raisin River.

Ronald McDonell had been too young to serve during the Revolution. He only left Tryon County to find sanctuary with his family in 1781. However, his later departure allowed him to see what happened to the loyal Highlanders, property and livestock.

John McIntosh had been McDonell's neighbour. He served in the engineers' department in Sorel as well as in the 84th regiment. In testimony on McIntosh's behalf, young McDonell recounted how "all the property of the Highlanders who fled" was seized by order of the patriot Col. Fisher. The young man was astounded that the rebels went so far as to take livestock from the loyalists' wives.

Other Raisin River loyalists who served only as witnesses at the RCLSAL were Alexander Cameron, Hugh Chisholm, John Dingwell, Thomas Graham, Finlay Grant, Duncan MacDonald, John Mackay, and Walter Sutherland. Alexander Grant appeared before the compensation board on five occasions to support fellow loyalists. While Duncan McDougall and Neil McLean did not appear in person, they provided certificates to testify to the character of Raisin River loyalist, Kenneth McDonell.

While some settlers recounted stories that sounded very similar, there were those who had to start new lives along the Raisin River without the benefit of husbands or fathers. The stories of some of these widows and orphans will conclude this series on the settlers of Ontario's Raisin River.


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

Charles William Raymond (1820-1901) © George McNeillie

I remember this camp well because the haying season came on while my father was absent. I urged my old Grandfather to make a start at the haying at the same time as did our neighbours. We had a not very ambitious hired man named John Ferris, and Grandfather was 78 years old, while I was a boy of 13. When Father returned from "Camp Torryburn", about the 1st of August, he was much astonished to find the haying two thirds finished – to our great delight. We had planned to surprise him, and we did. It was one of the rare occasions in my life when my mother had to exhort me "not to work too hard!" even the hired man caught the infection of our youthful enthusiasm. Lee manipulated the hand-rake and fork at the age of ten, and I "made the load" and drove the hay wagon. We stuck it out for the three weeks, and were very proud, though our hands were blistered and we perspired in the Sun.

After the Confederation of the provinces in 1867, it was decided by the authorities to organize a Battalion of "Active Militia" in the Upper St. John. The Hon. Charles Connell, M.P., who was rather unfriendly to Col. Baird, wrote to my father offering to obtain for him the command. This at once he declined in favour of Colonel Baird, who he thought had the prior claim.

The Battalion was formed and named the 67th Battalion, or "Carleton Light Infantry," with my father as Junior Major. In the course of time he became Senior Major, and ultimately succeeded to the command. He was considered an excellent officer and proved a popular commander of the regiment. He took great interest in rifle shooting and for many years was president of the "Carleton County Rifle Association". His sons Major Arthur J. Raymond and myself were good shots and won leading prizes, the former on one occasion capturing the "Prince of Wales Cup" at Sussex, and subsequently representing the Province of N.B. at Ottawa in the Dominion Competition.

My brother Lee was the only one of my father's sons to go to the front at the time of the Riel Rebellion in 1887, at which time I had charge of St. Mary's Church, and the company only got as far as Sussex, when the war ended.

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

Graphic ON Licence Plate Project Update and Contest Winner

After receiving 90 paid orders before our contest deadline, we are pleased to announce that the winner of the draw for a free set of plates, and the very first plate number (01UE01), is Ruth Nicholson of Hamilton Branch. Congratulations, Ruth!

We still hope to sell enough to reach our minimum order threshold by the end of January. Perhaps you're still looking for a thoughtful and unique holiday gift....

For full details on how to order, visit our Dominion Projects page or download a printable order form.

As ever, if you have any questions, please contact me at plates@uelac.org or 905-486-9777.

...Ben Thornton UE, Toronto Branch

Where in the World?

Guess where Robert Tordiff was in September!

To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is. If you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well – send to Jennifer Childs.

Who Were The First Settlers at the Head of the Lake? (Cont'd)

(Following from last week...) The debate continues. Marjorie Freeman Campbell concluded that John Depew preceded George Stewart and Robert Land to the lakehead, in 1786 "making him Hamilton's first settler." (p.10). She further concludes that Land left Niagara for the Head of the Lake in 1787.

Robert L. Fraser, Executive Director of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, wrote that, in 1783, Beasley "formed a partnership with Peter Smith in the Indian trade and they built trading houses at Toronto and Pemitescutiang (Port Hope). Five years later [1788] they petitioned for land at both places but the government preferred other sites". . . Fraser goes on to state that "In the early 1790s, Beasley settled on the southeast end of Burlington Heights . . . where he built a house, stable and barn." -- four or five years after Depew's settlement at the Head of the Lake.

As for Robert Land's children, they were born in Pennsylvania and three of them. Abel, Robert and Ephraim, served as officers in the 5th Lincoln Militia during the War of 1812.

I share David Richard Beasley's hope that Robin McKee make every effort on his tour of Hamilton Cemetery to present the facts based on historical evidence.

...R. Brian Land, UE

Loyalists and the War of 1812

A new list is underway and your help is needed to help populate it. A number of Loyalists who had participated in the American Revolution also took up arms again in the War of 1812. A greater number of sons, daughters and family members of Loyalists also joined the war effort. See the beginning of the collection at Loyalists and the War of 1812.

A few submissions have been received. If you have Loyalist ancestry, or know of other, that meets the criteria above, please contribute to this collection. Submissions of about 500 words would be great, but size within reason is not a big concern.

Thanks in advance for your help; submit articles to loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:

- Ettinger, Lewis – from William Morrison


Please help us build the directory by contributing more information for it. Contact loyalist.trails@uelac.org for instructions and guidance.

Last Post: (William Frederick) Gordon Perry

Born April 30, 1918, passed away in Calgary on December 13, 2012. Gordon retired as a Superintendent from the RCMP after serving in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario for 35 years. Gordon is survived by his wife, Kathleen (Ball), U.E., of 67 years and four children. Gordon travelled extensively in the line of duty to the USA, South America, Europe, and the Caribbean. His list of work experience includes counter-espionage in WWII, Ombudsman for Alberta, Director of Security at U of A, and writer/publisher (Keep on Drummin Mountie). He was also a past president of the United Empire Loyalists Association, Calgary Branch. Donations can be made in Gordon's name to the Canadian National Institute For The Blind (15 Colonel Baker Place N.E., Calgary, AB, T2E 4Z3).

...Linda McClelland

Editor's Notes

On this, the day before Christmas Eve, on behalf of all those in UELAC and the Branches who contribute to the success of the Association, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and joyous holiday. Do take a moment to think about, and even do something about, those who are less fortunate.

NOTE: Late this past week my fingers did something to my email system before my brain realized the implications. If you have sent me anything since the beginning of December that I have not yet responded to or taken care of, please send me a reminder. Thanks for your patience and my apologies.

...Doug

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