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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2013 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2013-11: March 17, 2013

Articles

The Loyalist Three Rs: Refugees – by Stephen Davidson

A basic education is often described as being comprised of the 3 Rs: "reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic". It's good to get "back to the basics" every so often, even when considering the loyalists of the American Revolution. They were a complex and varied group. Some loyalists have been studied to such an extent that they are considered the one and only true type of loyalists. Other loyalist groups have been marginalized to the point where they are not even considered to be part of loyalist history. However, if we are to appreciate the rich tapestry of the loyalist era, it is important that we give each type of loyalist its due regard. Let's take a step back and consider the basics of loyalist identification, using a different set of three Rs: "refugee, resident, and returning".

As Canadians, we have tended to approach loyalist history from our particular northern perspective. This means that we have spent most of our time in either historical or genealogical pursuits considering the refugee loyalists. These were the loyal citizens of the rebelling thirteen colonies who left the new United States during or following the American Revolution. Since this is our country's primary experience with the loyalists, we tend to write our history in "shorthand", using the word loyalist to describe this (and only this) particular group. But as we shall see, there are two other groups that merit the label loyalist.

It would also be foolhardy to think that all refugee loyalists fled the United States for the same reason. The most common assumption that Canadians make about the refugee loyalists is that they abandoned their homes in the rebelling colonies out of political principle – that they could not abide living in a republic. That is true for some refugees, but not all. There are, as we shall see, subcategories that are worthy of our consideration.

The American Revolution was not so much a battle against a colonizing empire as it was a civil war between two groups of colonists that had differing views on how they should be governed. Take a moment to consider other civil wars, and it is evident that most of those who found themselves on the losing side decided to remain in their country and to make the best of the new political reality. (An obvious example is the fact that Southerners did not flee their newly reunited country at the end of the American Civil War in 1865.)

Many of the refugee loyalists who made their way to Canada and the Maritime Provinces had at one time assumed that they could continue living in the towns or on the farms that had been their homes before 1776. However, thousands were saddened to discover that their patriot neighbours had no intention of letting them return. They became refugees because of persecution.

The story of Cavalier Jouet illustrates this category of refugee loyalist. Even though he had demonstrated the "strictest loyalty and fidelity to the cause of my rightful Sovereign", Jouet still had "every reason to believe that he would be allowed to continue living among them after the Revolution." However, the townsmen who greeted him were carrying sticks and whips. "They were determined that no such damned rascals should ever enjoy the benefits of this country." When the patriots started chanting "hang him up", Jouet realized that he had no hope of remaining in New Jersey.

Jouet had been a loyalist of principle, spending much of the revolution as a prisoner. Other loyalists of principle expressed their convictions by serving as soldiers, actively fighting the rebels. Stephen Jarvis, who would later settle in York, Upper Canada, had served in the British army during the war. When he returned to his home, despite having a pass issued by the patriot government, Jarvis was told that if he was "seen within thirty miles of Danbury after sunset ... {he} must stand the consequences."

Four other loyalist soldiers – Nathan Hubbill, John and James Wall and Josiah Fowler – also tried to return home after the revolution. They wrote Commander in chief Guy Carleton about their experiences. (Notice the surprise that they felt.) They reported that were "set upon by a party of men and beaten ... the reason assigned for the abuse being solely that they ... had fought for the king." Even loyalist soldiers had entertained hopes that they would be able to return to their homes, but they were compelled to become refugees.

In Massachusetts, many loyalists who would have been happy to remain in the colony found their names on the banishment act of 1778. This declared that their estates had been forfeited and that they would be killed if they should ever return. Massachusetts's loyalists who were forced to become refugees found sanctuary in Halifax or England.

Another example of a loyalist who was compelled to become a refugee can be found in Stamford, Connecticut. John Jarvis was ready to renounce his loyalist stance if his neighbours would only let him stay. They would not, and so he was forced to join the evacuation fleet; becoming one of the revolution's most reluctant refugee loyalists.

One tenth of all loyalists who found sanctuary within the Maritime Provinces were of African descent. The Black Loyalists had to become refugees if they wished to remain free men and women. The British government liberated these patriots' slaves after a minimum of one year's service to the crown. With former slave masters arriving in New York City to reclaim their "property", the Black Loyalists' only hope of freedom was to abandon the only home many of them knew, and become refugees.

To recap, refugee loyalists fled the United States for a number of reasons: political principle, military service, banishment, persecution, and freedom from slavery. A very small percentage of these refugees received financial compensation from the British government for their wartime losses, if they had the required deeds and character witnesses – and could manage to attend a compensation hearing. All refugee loyalists received the right to bear the title of United Empire Loyalists.

What is sometimes hard for Canadian genealogists and historians to recognize is that the refugee loyalists represent a minority group within the larger loyalist community. Most loyal colonists were, in fact, resident loyalists. They received no financial compensation or UE title. They will, however, be featured in the next edition of Loyalist Trails.


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

William Odber Raymond (1853-1923) © George McNeillie

One of the early settlers, John Thomas, living at Green Hill Settlement – four miles from Stanley Village – was long known as "Friday". On that day every week he walked into the post office, and on the arrival of the mail-driver produced an empty grain bag into which he received all letters and paper for Williamsburg, Cross Creek, Green Hill and Maple Grove, and delivered them to the people to be left there to be called for at convenient places. Mr. Thomas was a man of excellent education and sometimes visited the schools and examined the pupils. On one occasion he called at the Stanley Village School and asked the children, among other questions, "Who is the Governor of New Brunswick?" The children promptly replied "There isn't any." He was rather shocked at their ignorance and said, "I'm surprised that you don't know the name of your own Governor: why it's Governor Chandler." The children at once replied, "He's dead!" Mr. Thomas gasped, "Well if he is, I haven't heard of it!" on his arrival at the Post Office, however, he learned the news was true.

The schools of that day were excellent, all things considered. Many of them, including those at Stanley Village, English Settlement, Red Rock, Lisne Kiln, Tay Creek, Ward Settlement, Williamsburg, Maple Grove, Cross Creek, were taught by graduates of the Normal School, who had received their early training under Charles A. Miles at Stanley. Mr. Miles pupils were remarkably proficient in mental arithmetic, and famous for the fine-colored maps they produced at school, which might be seen later adorning the walls of their homes. Life was then somewhat primitive. One of the bright young men of Stanley, an excellent book-keeper, informed me that he had never been as far as Fredericton in his life and had never seen a brick building or heard a steam whistle or a church bell. At school in the new settlements the boys and girls were accustomed to run bare-foot all summer. They were as a rule healthy and clever children. On one occasion the writer, hearing that a boy had met with an accident and received a severe cut in his leg, asked his young brother, whom he chanced to meet, "How did Jimmy get his leg cut? Was it an accident?" "No, sir," he answered, "it wasn't an accident, it was a broad-axe."

Not long after my first visit to Stanley in 1875, Bishop Medly and the Diocesan Board of Missions, decided on uniting Stanley and the adjacent part of the parish of Douglas in a new mission, and the writer, after his ordination as Deacon in Dec. 1877, was appointed the resident missionary. A severe illness, however, interfered with the immediate carrying out of this arrangement, and left the young deacon for some weeks hovering between life and death. Not until November, 1878, was he sufficiently recovered to begin work in the mission. That is now more than forty years ago, but the welcome extended by the warm-hearted people of Stanley will never be forgotten by one who learned to love them very dearly.

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

UELAC Scholarship Winner Wins Additional Honour

The 2013 winter edition of the University of Western Ontario's Impact Western contained an article that is well worth circulating. While "Exploring Honour and Loyalty" was written chiefly to provide background on the inaugural recipient of the Eleta Britton Graduate Scholarship in History, it also serves to emphasize the length of time taken to complete a PhD.

Tim Compeau earned a BA at Queen's, and also a Master's degree in Public Presentations especially in History. He credits his interest in Loyalist history to a summer spent working in his hometown museum Gananoque. There, he discovered a suitcase filled with hand-written correspondence from the 1780s penned by loyalist Joel Stone, founder of Gananoque. "For the rest of the summer, I got to explore these 200-year-old letters, put them in order and archive them," says Tim, who was 19 years old at the time. "That was a formative experience which left a lasting impression on me."

In 2007, after being accepted into the PhD programme of the University of Western Ontario with his thesis "Reconciling Revolution: Loyalists and the United States, 1776-1815", Tim received the first of three UELAC Scholarships. Since then, he has shared his knowledge as a speaker at many an Ontario UELAC Branch and the Central West Regional as well.

In 2008 Tim wrote "the financial assistance provided by the UELAC is greatly appreciated and will allow me to undertake research trips, afford supplies and books. Your organization's continued support will help us both achieve our mutual goal of understanding the Loyalists and ensuring they are remembered in Canada and the United States."

Congratulations Tim on your most recent honour! Your work and enthusiasm for "our mutual goal" adds great value to the UELAC Scholarship programme.

...FHH

Where in the World?

Where is Rod Craig?

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 new entries for Alexander Rose and Jesse Wright, thanks to John McLeod, UE.

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

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

Seeking Loyalist Assistance from UELAC

Ten years ago, family historians would post messages on genealogical internet sites hoping to reach other members of a common family tree. Often the purpose was to break through a brick wall, but from personal viewpoint, seldom was a chink made in the solid block. However, looking back it is now a greater challenge remembering where you left those messages especially before you changed your email address.

This past month, the UELAC Facebook page has attracted considerable interest from across North America. Many of the messages have indicated a discovery of a connection to United Empire Loyalists and request assistance with details. Rather than provide a general answer on Facebook, it was suggested that they contact public.relations@uelac.org so that an answer specific to the query could be provided. Other new visitors discovered the response and thus a number of solicitations have been made. If you can be of help with directions or advice, please respond using the same email address to begin a conversation that might break through that brick wall – see the queries below.

It was easy helping this request from Kentucky – HELP!! I am Canadian by birth I am in America and I want to become a United Empire Loyalist. The assistance given directly to Terri-Lynn by so many members of the Facebook UELAC group is greatly appreciated.

Join in the discussion with us on Twitter or Facebook – there is lots of good information.

...FHH

Queries

Griffin/Cronk – Hatfield Grant

I was looking through UELAC Facebook site and saw in a post that if you require assistance, this email address is the one to use. I am pretty sure that my ancestors are UEL, though I have not been able to find out for sure. This is my "brick wall", as it seems to be for other distant cousins searching for the same answers. I am trying to find out where William Griffin was from and how he came to Canada. I will list what I have with the hope that someone can assist me.

- William Griffin born 1769 in Digby, Nova Scotia (I am unsure if this is his birth place)

- Married to Julianne Cronk on Aug 29, 1802 Trinity Anglican, Digby, Nova Scotia

- Died 1804, Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, Canada

There is a William Griffin listed on the 1801 Hatfield Land Grant that has him aged 17 years old.

His wife Julianne Cronk was born in 1773 in New York. Her parents were Joseph and Sarah Cronk. Joseph b. 1750 in New York.

I have info on all my ancestors up to these two. From what I understand the majority of people that were entitled to land from the Hatfield Grant were loyalist.

If someone could help me figure if William and/or Julianne were indeed Loyalist, I would be most grateful.

...Larsen (contact public.relations@uelac.org)

Was John Demsey a member of the 2nd Bn. 84th Regimental?

Where is the land in Hants County?

On 4 April 1785 of Windsor John Demsey purchased lands provisions and donations allowed by his Majesty's Royal instructions and orders from a former Private of the 2nd Bn.. 84th Regt., name Daniel Morissy.

There is no information regarding the location of the land in Hants County which probably indicates that Demsey was purchasing Morissy's right in the regimental grant lands in Douglas Township. The deed was witnessed by two former Sergeants of the 2nd Bn., 84th Regt., Sgt. Thomas Blackburn and Sgt. John Dillon. (HC Reg. Bk. 4/365

Source: Hants County Registry

...Baltzer (contact public.relations@uelac.org)

Two Names on the Same Nova Scotia land Grant

Can anyone tell me under what circumstances two names would appear in conjunction with Nova Scotia Loyalists land grants?

I've noticed a number of examples like this in documents listing land grants. For example, in the Brudenell Letter-Book, we see Thomas Fowler and Adam Belcher in Division 'O' in Township of Digby listed together as co-grantees #56.

...McCallister (contact public.relations@uelac.org)

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