Connect with us online:

Make a donation and help preserve Loyalist history
Make a donation and help
preserve Loyalist history

Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2013 Archive

Previous Issue   |   Index   |   Next Issue

"Loyalist Trails" 2013-03: January 20, 2013

Articles

The Forgotten Sandemanian Loyalists (3 of 3) – by Stephen Davidson

On December 4, 1804, a fifty year-old loyalist named John Howe welcomed his eighth child into the world. He and his wife named the boy Joseph. Their child would grow up to become Nova Scotia's most important political figure, asserting the freedom of the press and ushering in the first responsible government within British North America. But even if he had not been the father of Joseph Howe, John Howe would be a man of note. Not only was he a loyalist, but he was also a member of the Sandemanian church. This is his story.

The Sandemanians were a small denomination that splintered off of the churches that embraced a Calvinist understanding of Christianity. Chief among their beliefs were obedience to God and king, charitable works, and pacificism. In colonial times, there were only a handful of Sandemanian churches in Connecticut and Massachusetts. The last of their churches in the United States closed in 1890; the last British congregation ceased to exist in 1984.

Born in Boston in 1754, John Howe joined the city's Sandemanian congregation when he was in his teens. As he absorbed a theology that admonished loyalty, the young Howe was surrounded by an ever growing rebellion and violence against the crown.

When he was just twenty-one, Howe was an eye-witness to the Battle of Bunker Hill. His account of the incident was published in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News Letter. The paper was the oldest English newspaper in the British colonies and was published by a loyalist widow. John Howe had been a member of Margaret Draper's staff since he was 13 --when he became an apprentice to her husband. John would later tell his children of seeing the British charge up Bunker Hill with their bayonets and recount how he had helped a British officer whose leg had been amputated during the battle.

During 1775, Howe proposed to Martha Minns and became Mrs. Draper's business partner. He continued publishing Boston's loyalist newspaper until February 22, 1776. Three weeks later, Howe boarded an evacuation ship for Halifax. Among his fellow passengers were members of the Sandemanian church, his fiancée, and her brother. The newspaperman did not stay in Nova Scotia for very long. He followed the British troops to Rhode Island where, in 1777, he become the publisher of the Newport Gazette, a decidedly loyalist newspaper.

In June, Howe married Martha and found his name on Massachusetts' banishment act. The Sandemanian loyalist was forbidden to return to his native colony. In 1779, Howe once again joined evacuating British troops, this time arriving in New York. Following the birth of their first child, the Howes left the rebelling colonies and settled in Halifax.

Printer's ink was in Howe's blood, and on December 28, 1780 he published the first issue of the Halifax Journal. The newspaper would continue to be printed for the next 90 years. But the Sandemanian loyalist was more than a mere journalist. His use of type, layout and illustrations became a model for other newspapers in the loyal British American colonies. Howe also published an almanac, a literary magazine, sermons, and pamphlets on a variety of topics.

Howe's love of literature played a part in his loyalty to Great Britain. The historian J. M. Beck points out that John Howe was devoted to "British heritage, the contributions of Britons over the centuries to politics, the arts, science, and literature. He was determined never to relinquish his membership in a nation whose accomplishments he admired and idealized."

However, his love of Britain did not in anyway diminish Howe's "filial regard" for New England. His family had lived in Massachusetts for five generations; he was the only member of his family to remain loyal to the crown. In his later years, Howe often returned to Boston when he was ill, and he came back feeling better on each occasion.

Howe's love of journalism and the British Empire were two of the major influences on his life. His faith was the third and over-arching influence. Anyone could become a Sandemanian Christian by simply giving cold mental assent to the basics of the faith. Yet Howe demonstrated a passion for spreading his theological understanding.

During the War of 1812, freed slaves from the United States fled to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Howe was a lay preacher to these people as well as to prison inmates and Jamaican Maroons. One of the latter remembered that the jist of a Sandemanian sermon was that one ought not steal, not meddle with someone's wife and not quarrel -- and one must sit down softly. Another story of John Howe that has survived to this day tells of him knocking together the heads of two young fellows he came upon who were fighting on the Sabbath.

Howe continued to rise in the esteem of Halifax's citizens. In 1801, he was made responsible for printing the debates of the provincial assembly. He became the city's postmaster and agent manager of His Majesty's packet boats. By 1815, Howe was commissioned to establish an "active, vigorous and effectual police" for Halifax. He was instrumental in creating a "house of correction" for the city and often helped his son Joseph in producing his own newspaper, The Novascotian.

John Howe's legacy to his last child was profound. J.M. Beck states that the most lasting influence upon the future politician was his loyalist father. Although he could not provide Joseph with a formal education, John imparted a reverent attitude toward Britain, a familiarity with the Bible, a knowledge of colonial history, and a moral courage to stand up for one's rights.

In December of 1835, John Howe stayed at the home of friends in Dartmouth after leading a Sunday evening worship service. He died in his sleep at 81 years of age. One of Nova Scotia's most influential citizens had left the stage – a man who was both a devoted loyalist and Sandemanian.


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

Note to the Previous Instalments of the Sandemanians

The article on the Calvanist Sandemanian sect in Loyalist Trails 2013-#01 and 2013-#02 mentions Joseph Pynchon of New Haven, Connecticut; presumably he was a descendant of William Pynchon, Assistant Treasurer of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and founder in 1636 of Springfield, Massachusetts, the first settlement north of Hartford on the Connecticut River (and hence a relative of both the novelist Thomas Pynchon and the actress Fay Wray).

...Edwin Garrett

Charles William Raymond (1820-1901) © George McNeillie

I can faintly recall two old barns that were taken down by my father in 1860, one of them just back of his own house, the other near Grandfather's old house. Between the two a large new barn was built the same summer. This with later additions is still standing, one of the best barns in the neighbourhood. Here Lee and I had the task, before we went to school, of feeding and watering the horses and colts every morning. The old horses were "Jack" and "Gill", the colts "Jerry" and "Jessie". The last named "Jessie" was my father's war-horse at several military camps. She was twenty years old when I parted with her and was still a serviceable animal. Good old Jessie!

Four years after the new barn was built by my father – (or, to speak more exactly, on the 9th of April, 1864 --) our house was burned while Brother Lee and I were at school. Through the kind help of the neighbours most of the furniture was saved. Before the ashes were cold a large party of men were at work, all volunteers, preparing the frame for the new house. On the 19th of April – only ten days after the fire, it was raised, and we moved into it on the 28th of May, having for seven weeks been billeted among the neighbours. In the Ell of the new house, which was all that was at first built, we lived four or five years until the main building was added. The house was finished about 1869. We never knew how the first house caught fire. It most probably originated from a small stove in the carpenter's shop, which (the shop) was commonly filled with shavings. We had not a cent of insurance.

While the house was yet unfinished the Woodstock Branch Railway was built and the land damages, which amounted in all to $600.00, enabled my father to finish the house free of debt.

During this time there occurred the Confederation of the provinces in the Canadian Dominion. My father was a warm advocate of Confederation, though afterwards a Liberal in Dominion politics. My mother was rather a staunch Conservative and her loyalty to the "Church of England and the Tory-party" was unquestioned.

After her death in 1893, my father continued on the homestead with Sister Bessie and Brother Lee. The latter on June 19th 1900, married Gertrude Mary Brock, daughter of Canon Brock of Kentville, N.S. Meanwhile my father had built for Brother Arthur in 1883, a house nearly on the site of Grandfather Raymond's old house.

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

"At the Head of Lake Ontario" Highlights: Battle of Stoney Creek

By the end of May 1813 the war had reached a critical phase. The Americans were advancing and were now in possession of Fort George and Fort Erie. General John Vincent, commander of the British forces on the Niagara frontier, ordered his forces to withdraw to Burlington Heights. American Generals William Winder and John Chandler were in charge of the pursuit of the British army. The American forces, marching along the shore road, reached Stoney Creek on June 5, and made camp there.

Local scout Billy Green may have originated the idea of a night attack on the American encampment. When Colonel John Harvey made the suggestion to General Vincent, it seemed a good idea. As matters turned out, it was a good idea. The American camp was disorganized. There was no watchword. Once the British had bayoneted the American sentries and charged, everything was chaos. Both American generals were taken prisoner. By morning, the Americans were short of ammunition. With both generals captured, the American command devolved to Colonel James Burn of the 2nd Light Dragoons. After a hasty conference of field officers, the Americans withdrew to Forty Mile Creek (Grimsby) and then to Fort George.

The British victory at Stoney Creek halted the American advance. Henceforth the Niagara frontier remained in British hands.

On June 6 1913, exactly one hundred years after the battle, Queen Mary unveiled the magnificent Battle of Stoney Creek Monument, doing this by transatlantic cable from London. The monument is constructed of all-Canadian materials: Georgetown, Hamilton and Queenston limestone. There is an internal spiral staircase. Whosoever climbs it will be rewarded by a spectacular view for mile around.

(My principal source is The War of 1812 Land Operations, George F. G. Stanley, Canadian War Museum publication no. 18., 1983.)

Please watch for another vignette coming soon. For details and registration, visit "Meet us at the Head of Lake Ontario".

...Jean Rae Baxter UE, Conference Committee, Hamilton Branch

NWMP and the Loyalist Connection

During my visit to Regina in November 2008 for the Prairie Regional, Ken Fader seeded an idea that took a long time for germination. It was at the RCMP Heritage Centre that Ken raised the idea of a connection of the westward trek of the North West Mounted Police in 1874 and possible Loyalist roots of the officers from Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces. He felt confident that when they left the force, many would have settled down in the prairie provinces. Proving the idea would be a challenge.

Shortly after the successful conference in Winnipeg this past year, Ken, now President of the Saskatchewan Branch, sent several pages transcribed by Bill Mackay in 1999. The names on the seven pages [PDF] have the familiar ring of many Loyalist families. Proving the connections between the original refugee families and the young men several generations later is a challenge that needs to be shared.

Readers are encouraged to compare notes on their family trees with the names in the list. As part of the buildup to 2014, the Prairie Regional Branches are developing histories of families with Loyalist roots who have settled and developed the west. The members of the NWMP mentioned in “The Loyalists, Pioneers and Settlers of the West” arrived after the trek. If you can assist with this research, contact education@uelac.org or the Prairie branch of your choice.

Help Ken bring his idea to fruition.

...FHH

UELAC Vancouver Branch Presented with Six Nations Flag

At the AGM and Regular meeting of the Vancouver Branch 15 January 2013, out-going branch president, Carl Stymiest UE presented to the branch a flag of The Six Nations (Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy Flag) donated by David Kanowakeron Hill Morrison UE as an 80th Anniversary gift of the founding of the Vancouver Branch in 1932.

A letter from David was read to the membership and received with resounding applause. David explained in his letter the significance of the flag and its symbols.

The Vancouver Branch will proudly display the Six Nations Flag alongside the Canada, Loyalist and Provincial flag during our formal and outreach and education events.

Niawen (“nay-way”) – Thank You, David.

...Carl Stymiest, UE, Past President, Vancouver branch

War of 1812 Novels added to Books for the Young at Heart

Making classroom presentations on our United Empire Loyalist heritage has proved to be a true give and take situation. Having finished one session and waiting for the next group, I seized the opportunity to see what supplementary books were available in the classroom. While two discoveries were not Loyalist in theme, they were connected to our heritage interests in dealing with two different aspects of the War of 1812.

For those who are planning on attending the UELAC conference in Burlington later this year and looking for a bit of local history, Ben Guyatt's Billy Green Saves the Day is clearly a novel. "Struggling with his father's ideals and with his attraction to Sarah, the daughter of an American sympathizer, Billy soon finds himself faced with a series of fateful decisions."

The other novel, The Schooner's Revenge, by Robert Sutherland, is more nautical in its description of the adventures of fourteen-year-old Ben Random. Beginning with the American invasion of York, the reader will discover new details about the War of 1812 including the destruction of the HMS Nancy and the defence of Fort Mackinac.

Both books have been added to our Books for the Young at Heart, a recommended reading list for elementary schools, under "War of 1812".

Freedom Bound by Jean Rae Baxter was also added to the historical fiction list. It was reviewed in the March 18, 2012 issue of Loyalist Trails.

...FHH

Where in the World?

Guess where Doug Grant was recently!

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.

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:

- Mattice, Adam – from Don Matthias
- Mattice, Nicholas II – from Don Matthias


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

Queries

William Roe and General Leonard Smith

This week we had a query from Massachusetts. The author had purchased a box of old documents at an auction in Amherst, MA a few months ago. One was a paper document which reads "Rec'd Montreal April 26, 1824 of General Leonard Smith the sum of One hundred and fifty dollars in full for my horse, harnnefs, Waggon and Buffalow Skins" and was signed by "William Roe", with a distinctive flourish under the signature . He had hoped that UELAC might have knowledge of this "William Roe" with possible involvement with the Hudson Bay Company or the North West Company?

Our Loyalist Directory lists a William Row who settled in Didgeguash, NB but there are no other details.

We did find a reference to a Brigadier General Leonard Smith, Commanding Thirty-fourth Brigade, New York Militia, 1813-14.

If you can help the author discover anything further about his new acquisition, please forward the information to public.relations@uelac.org. The Archives of the Hudson's Bay Company in Winnipeg has already been suggested.

...FHH

Back to Top   |   Loyalist Trails index   |   Subscribe Now