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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2013 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2013-10: March 10, 2013


Loyalists Behaving Badly – by Stephen Davidson

There are those who like their loyalists to be pure as the wind-driven snow and as upright as plaster saints. However, since the loyalists were humans like the rest of us, they certainly had their flaws, their bad days, and serious lapses in judgment. There were – as with all groups of people – rotten apples in an otherwise wholesome barrel.

If one were to read older American history books, one might assume that everything that loyalists did was bad. This is obviously a biased and unbalanced view. There are, however, records written by loyalists which show that their peers were imminently capable of committing crimes while professing loyalty to a united empire.

One such archive of loyalist misbehavior is the orderly book maintained by Captain Caleb Jones of the First Battalion of Maryland Loyalists. About 700 men made up the loyalist forces under the command of General Tryon in 1778. These men were members of Delancey's Brigade, the Pennsylvania Loyalists, the Maryland Loyalists, and the Roman Catholic Volunteers.

Maintained between June and October of 1778, the battalion's orderly book records the friction and temptations experienced by soldiers serving side by side for four months. The decisions of courts martial – and the execution of those sentences – were all part and parcel of the experiences of loyal colonists fighting for their king. Here, then, are the stories of loyalists behaving badly as recorded by an officer in a loyalist corps.

Sometimes poor behaviour could be as trivial as minor thefts. The orderly book records a reward posted for a "red pocket book" that was lost between DeLancey's and the Maryland Loyalists' encampments. As it contained "only papers that can be of no use to no one but the owner", whoever returned the book to Captain Key would receive a reward of a guinea with "no questions asked".

On one particular day, if any soldiers saw a man missing two fingers on his left hand, he was to be arrested and brought to the officers. His crime was not noted. Other cases of stealing were dealt with more severely.

John Monk, a wagon driver, was tried for stealing broadcloth blankets left in his care. He was found guilty and was punished with 1000 lashes. John Morgan, a ship's sergeant was tried for plundering but was acquitted. His fellow shipmates were not so lucky. The mate, John Nathersall, a gunner named James Creaton, and the carpenter, Thomas Arrowlin were charged with "plundering and secreting his majesty's stores". All were found guilty. Nathersall received 500 lashes; Arrowlin and Creaton received 100 lashes each. Oddly, all three sailors were put back in service with the navy.

The wives of loyalist soldiers and single women accompanied the regiments as camp followers. Their work could include laundry duties, nursing, cooking, or tailoring. These women, loyalists though they were, could also be disruptive. On July 3rd, two women faced the court martial on charges of plundering. The court's members declared Mary Colethrate innocent of the charges, but found Elizabeth Clark guilty. She was sentenced to "receive 100 lashes on her bare back and to be drummed out of the army in the most public manner."

An unidentified loyalist member of the 27th Dragoons deserted, taking with him a black stallion. The horse was described as being 15 hands high, having a regimental saddle and bridle, and having a holster camp of white goatskin. The thief was described as being a "short man marked much with the small pox". In this case, there was a reward of 5 guineas for the return of the horse and a reward of 40 shillings for the capture of the deserter.

Unfortunately, desertion was a chronic problem for the loyalist regiments. At one point in the orderly book, General Tryon offered a reward of a guinea to any local inhabitants who caught and returned deserters to camp.

Straggling was positively forbidden. In late September, a lieutenant and sergeant were to "hold themselves in readiness" to go to New York City "in order to pick up any straggler from the regiment that may be there". Any soldier found half a mile from the camp would be arrested and made a prisoner of the provost. Camp sentries were under strict orders to stop any officer or soldier from walking out of the camp after nine at night. Anyone trying to leave would be made a prisoner.

The orderly book quotes General Tryon's speech concerning the number of desertions. He attributed the "frequent desertion among some of the troops" to the "anxious desire to see their absent families and not disaffection". He urged his men to "persevere in their duty which will entitle them to honour and fame in the field and happiness with their families when his majesty shall {have} no further need of their volunteer's service."

But the desertions did not stop. John Connelly, a private in the 64th Battalion received 1000 lashes; Peter Brown of the Maryland Loyalists received 500 lashes. Lieutenant James Ryder Mowatt of the 38th Regiment of Foot was charged with staying out of New York without leave and with lying about received permission to do so. He was "reprimanded by his commanding officer at the head of the regiment".

John Summerton Matross of the royal artillery was tried for deserting his post and taking one of his majesty's horses. He was executed. Sergeant Joseph Calvert, Corporal James Mason, Private George Howell and Private Thomas Corner were all charged with deserting from the ship the King George. Calvert, Mason and Corner received the death sentence while Howell received 1000 lashes. Other deserters who were sentenced to 500 lashes were Stephen Beachem, Francis Bouchet, John Gosan, Caleb Boyle, William Warden, and Peter Brown. They were all loyalist soldiers. Richard Jasper, a deserter from the Pennsylvania Loyalists received 1000 lashes.

John Fisher, a drummer in the 28th regiment, was tried for desertion and bearing arms with the rebels. He was found guilty, sentenced to death, and was executed at dawn. Clearly, loyalists could behave just as badly as anyone else – and, on occasion, a small minority did just that.

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

William Odber Raymond (1853-1923) © George McNeillie

With regard to preparation for the ministry, I never attended a Theological college, but after graduation in arts studied divinity and Hebrew with the late Bishop Medly at Fredericton until December, 1877, when I was ordained a deacon and appointed to the new mission of "Stanley and Tay Creek." Illness of an obscure nature (probably appendicitis) kept me from going to the parish until nearly a year after ordination. During the next two years many things of interest happened. These included my marriage on June 18, 1879, in the old "Stone Church" in St. John to Julia Nelson. Then came the building of the new Parish Church of St. Thomas in Stanley, the erection of a nice Rectory in the course of the next summer, and the birth of our first child, William Ober, on the 23rd of November, 1880. He was baptized on Christmas Day in the new church, the God-parents being William Clarkson, William Patchell and Martha B. Douglass.

Extract copied from "Episodes of Local Church History" written by W.O.R., published by the St. John, N.B. Daily Telegraph in June, 1920.

- Stanley, York County –

"In the month of December, 1875, nearly forty-five years ago, the writer of this paper paid his first visit to Stanley on the invitation of the Rev. William Jaffrey, missionary at St. Mary's and Stanley. For more than twenty-five years, this old veteran pioneer missionary, Rev. Wm. Jaffrey had held services fortnightly in Stanley, travelling on the discharge of this duty about 1,500 miles annually, over a rough road, and facing many a severe snowstorm.

"Parson Jaffrey was born on "Jaffrey's Hill" in St. John, where his father had a famous garden, from which the name of "Garden Street" is derived. The parson was now growing old and began to think of the future of this part of his mission. During his ministry he must have driven, at a moderate estimate, 40,000 miles, or very nearly, in his work at Stanley. He could not, under the circumstances, expect to do great things in the way of building up the church in Stanley. Nevertheless, he faithfully ministered the word and sacraments, and from time to time prepared the young people for confirmation. The writer, at the time of his first visit to Stanley in Dec., 1875, was a divinity student attending the University of New Brunswick, and at Mr. Jaffrey's request preached at Stanley and at the church at Durham Bridge on the Nashwaak. It was intimated, I believe, to the people that the young divinity student might be a possible successor to the old parson at Stanley, though to be honest the prospect did not at the time seem very inviting.

Communication with the outside world was very inadequate. There was but one mail a week, which came by way of Cardigan and Tay Creek, arrived late on Friday afternoon, and returned to Fredericton early the next morning. The roads were rough and very hilly. In winter the snow was sometimes six feet deep, and all the men except the grandfathers went to the woods for three months. There were, of course, no daily papers, no telegraphs or telephones, and railways, motor cars and electric lights were undreamed of.

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: Ravine Winery and Loyalist House

When Waterdown high school teacher Nathan Tidridge learned that the Ontario curriculum for Civics in Grades Five and Nine made no mention of Prime Minister, Lieutenant Governor, Parliament, Governor General, Monarch, and other key offices and institutions, he did the best thing an expert on Canada's Constitutional Monarchy could do: he wrote a book.

Its title, not surprisingly, is Canada's Constitutional Monarchy (Dundurn, 2011). This well-written, authoritative account makes clear the intricate "whys" and "hows" of Canadian government. At a ceremony honouring the book at its unveiling, Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley stated that if he possessed today the powers of Upper Canada's first Governor General John Graves Simcoe, this book would be mandatory reading for all of us.

Nathan Tidridge will be the keynote speaker at the conference banquet on June 1st. This date will coincide with the release of his new book Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, Father of the Canadian Crown. Both of Nathan Tidridge's books will be available for purchase.

Nathan Tidridge is not the only great speaker you will have an opportunity to hear. On Friday morning, May 31, the first talk will be given by James Elliott, author of the critically acclaimed If Ponies Rode Men and Strange Fatality: The Battle of Stoney Creek, which received the 2011 Ontario Historical Society's J. J. Talman Award for the best book on Ontario's social, economic and political history.

James Elliott's speech will be followed by two other fascinating talks, both of which include hands-on presentations of materials. Jim Taggart will let you in on the secrets of 19th-century medical remedies and instruments. Doug Adams will show and tell the story of "Ontario's Furs—Then and Now."

There will be much to learn from these excellent speakers.

Please watch for another vignette coming soon. For details and registration for UELAC Conference 2013 in Burlington by Hamilton Branch, visit "Meet us at the Head of Lake Ontario".

...Jean Rae Baxter, UE

Where in the World?

Where are Little Forks Branch members Bev and Milt Loomis?

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.

Loyalists and the War of 1812

Thanks to those who have contributed to the slowly growing index of Loyalists and the War of 1812.

We have added a new entry for Corporal Peter Wintermute and Son William thanks to William Reid, UE.

If you have a family ancestry which qualifies (see the heading of the page with entries), please submit to Our rich history continues to emerge through these family histories.

Clarification: Government Marker Programme to Honour War of 1812 Veterans, Part 3

The initial article “Help Required: Government Marker Program to Honour War of 1812 Veterans” in the Feb. 3 issue of Loyalist Trails obviously touched off a firestorm of interest. Two weeks later it was necessary to emphasize that the UELAC Loyalists and the War of 1812 Project had different expectations (primarily the Loyalist connection) than the Marker Program (Veterans of the War of 1812).

This week, Lyn Downer of The Historic Military Establishment of Upper Canada, passed on more immediate information for all those interested in marking the burial sites of the veterans of that conflict. The information linked here should resolve a few more concerns until the website is created with the recommended steps and procedures.


Canadian War Museum Touring Exhibit about War of 1812

Did you know that, at 43 years of age, Sir Isaac Brock, known as the "Saviour of Canada", stood 6'3" and was a great friend of Shawnee warrior Tecumseh, aged 44, 5' 10"? You will find out about these two protagonists and their roles when the acclaimed exhibition "Four Perspectives, War of 1812" comes to your area from the Canadian War Museum.

As a Friend of the Canadian War Museum, we are reminding you to take advantage of the opportunity to experience this exhibition at the St. Catharines Museum (1932 Welland Canals Parkway, St. Catharines) between 6th April and 25th August, 2013.

So, who won the War of 1812? Come and find out!

And note, if you should be in Ottawa any time, please let us know so we can meet and welcome you to the Canadian War Museum.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Loyalist Connection for Boyles of Gaspé

Jim Caputo of the Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch has hit a brick wall in his search for the elusive Loyalist connection to his ancestral Boyle family who arrived in Gaspé in 1789. They were said to be Loyalists from the Boston area. Please forward any advice or leads to


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