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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2013 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2013-13: March 31, 2013


The Loyalist Three Rs: Returning – by Stephen Davidson

Over the past two weeks we have been considering the basic types of loyalists. Refugee loyalists have enjoyed the greatest amount of study because of their pivotal role in Canadian history. Resident loyalists, although comprising the largest group of loyal Americans, have been largely ignored because they decided to remain in the United States at the end of the revolution. They ceased to be of historical interest since (for Canadians) they did not form the foundation for a future nation, and (for American historians) they are usually dismissed as traitorous Tories who fool-heartedly failed to join the patriot cause.

The third type of loyalists – and the smallest group – is made up of those who returned to the United States after the great loyalist migrations. They are an embarrassment to many loyalist refugee descendants who see them as "lapsed loyalists". For patriot historians, returning loyalists illustrate that the colonial rebellion was something that even its opponents eventually accepted. Like an embarrassing relative, returning loyalists are not seen as an appropriate topic of conversation. Today, however, we will consider this most misunderstood of loyalist groups.

Returning loyalists were, of course, refugee loyalists to begin with. They fled the thirteen rebelling colonies for a variety of reasons, seeking sanctuary in different parts of the British Empire. Some gave testimony to the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists as early as the fall of 1783. Their wartime actions left no doubt in the minds of the British government that they were indeed loyal Americans, and they were granted financial compensation for their property losses. What surprised the British government was that once some refugee loyalists were granted compensation, they immediately turned around and returned to the United States.

Cadwallader Colden, the orphan son of the loyalist David Colden, received 2,720 pounds sterling for the 10,282 pounds sterling that his family had lost during the revolution. Within two years' time, he returned to New York and bought back some of his father's land. He later wrote "we were able to save something from the wreck."

This kind of behaviour angered refugee loyalists of the era. In 1802, Edward Winslow, a loyalist who settled in New Brunswick, berated such colonists as being "a few giddy, eccentric and discontented characters {who} ... meanly skulked into the United States", a country in which they were "compelled to consider the most meritorious actions of their lives as the most atrocious offences which they ever committed." A line was being drawn between the refugee loyalists (who saw themselves as noble and long-suffering martyrs) and those among their number (perceived as eccentric and discontented) who returned to live among rebels.

But what Edward Winslow and later historians have failed to see is that the returning loyalists had not turned their backs on their principles. They were simply very human people. In the end, the "blood" of family relationships was "thicker" than the "water" of political opinion.

Dr. William Paine became a deputy surveyor of the forests, a justice of the peace, and a member of the House of Assembly in New Brunswick. Nevertheless, this Massachusetts loyalist returned to Salem. On the occasion of his death in 1833, an old friend said that Paine was "an inflexible loyalist". Paine had not changed his allegiances, he had merely changed his address.

Often the loyalists who returned were widows. When their husbands died in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or elsewhere, they felt that they had no reason to continue living among the loyalists and set sail for the United States to rejoin their families.

Other refugee loyalists were depressed about their economic prospects in remaining British North American colonies. Some settlements had inadequate soil, poor harbours, or few resources to exploit for trade. Other loyalist settlements experienced devastating fires within their first few years. Those who hoped for careers in government or the courts were in competition with too many others. It was overwhelming for some, and they returned to the family and surroundings they had known and loved before the revolution.

The Black Loyalists did not have the luxury of choice that the white loyalists enjoyed. If they were to return to the United States, their patriot masters would put them back in chains. Instead, they had the opportunity to "return" to Africa. Hearing of the hardships of the Black Loyalists in the Maritime Provinces, abolitionists in England offered to provide transportation and supplies to any who wish to found a free Christian colony in Sierra Leone. Almost 1,200 Black Loyalists set sail for west Africa in January of 1792, representing the only "returning loyalists" within their particular population.

For the most part, the returning loyalists headed southward for one of two reasons. Either they could not make a life for themselves in British North America or they were very homesick. There was a third reason for a very small group of returning loyalists.

During the revolution Isaac Wilkins' "zeal and extreme loyalty rendered him very obnoxious to the Whigs" of New York. After 14 years in Nova Scotia (where he was a judge of the court of common pleas), Wilkins returned home and became a minister of the Church of England. His epitaph reads that he was "placed" in the parish "as he believed, by his Redeemer". A number of other Anglican ministers among the refugee loyalists made a similar return to the United States to serve patriot congregations. Their return was seen as a response to the call of God, not a traitorous act to their king.

This concludes our "back to basics" look at the three types of loyalists, leaving us with a tantalizing question. Which group's stories are the most significant – and why? Refugee? Resident? Returning?

(To read about other loyalists who returned to the United States, see past issues of Loyalist Trails featuring John Hicks, Samuel Sneden, Mary Swords, Thomas and Susanna Barclay, Samuel Seabury, Samuel Jarvis, William Tyng, Samuel Curwen, and Phineas Bond.)

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

William Odber Raymond (1853-1923) © George McNeillie

At Tay Creek the outlook was sounding better. A wee little church, called "St. James the Less", had been built by the late Canon Roberts and consecrated by Bishop Medley on August 23, 1860. It would accommodate, if I remember rightly, about thirty people, and has since been replaced by a new church.

The events of the first few years in the mission stand out in memory as if they were of yesterday. During the winter after my arrival, Colonel C. W. Raymond, of Woodstock, visited us and by request submitted plans and specifications for a new church at Stanley Village. He generously offered to supervise and assist in the work. The lumber required was promised at the meeting and was got out by the people during the winter. Early in May the ground for the new church was marked out, and the foundation wall laid, and in a few weeks the frame was erected. The day of the church "raising" was a red letter day in the parish. People came from far and near. More than a hundred able men assisted in the task and dinner was provided on the grounds by their wives and daughters. All denominations cordially joined in the work and the building was raised in perfect order without any accident or untoward feature. A very happy day for all concerned.

The happiest man present was undoubtedly old Mr. John Douglass, the patriarch of Stanley, then I think in his 74th year. He had long hoped to see the day when there would be a new church, and as he sat in the arm chair placed for him in the grounds and watched the work, in which his sons and grandsons had a leading part, his face was radiant with delight. One could not but help recall the words of the aged Simeon, "Lord, now Lettest Thou Thy Servant depart in peace."

The work went on with few interruptions, and in six months the church was finished and ready for consecration. It received several notable gifts, including a beautiful chancel window, formerly in the west end of the Cathedral in Fredericton. The church was consecrated "St. Thomas", on January 7th, 1880. The Cathedral choir, Bishop Medley, and all the clergy of the deanery -- nine in number -- were present and took part in the service., which was one long to be remembered. The Bishop preached a most appropriate sermon from the text, "Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house, and the place where Thine honour dwelleth". Psalm XXVI.8. In the building of the new St. Thomas Church much volunteer work was done by members of the congregation and their friends, and people of other communions then the Church of England gave valuable assistance. There was no debt on the church at the time of its consecration. A missionary meeting was held in the evening in the village hall, the Bishop presiding. The proceedings of the day were fully reported in the Daily Telegraph by its Fredericton correspondent, J. Douglas Hazen (now Sir J. Douglas Hazen, Chief Justice of New Brunswick).

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

Book: The British Campaign of 1777, Volume Two

The Burgoyne Expedition: Burgoyne's Native and Loyalist Auxiliaries
By Gavin Watt. With research assistance of T.W. Braisted, and acknowledgement of Dr. P.L. Stevens' works.

This new book is a companion piece to Volume 1, The St. Leger Expedition. Similar to the first volume, the second will appeal to readers who enjoy the minutiae of the military campaigns of the American Revolution. While essentially a military work, many will find the book useful for genealogical research.

The majority of accounts about military campaigns concentrate on the big-name personalities who directed operations or commanded large formations. Their backgrounds and characters are minutely examined and their performances critiqued in depth, whereas the 'little' fellows who commanded batteries, companies and platoons and the even 'littler' men who did the rowing, heaving, carrying, digging, patrolling, guarding, fighting, bleeding and dying are rarely more than nameless ciphers. In contrast, this book is primarily about the 'little' and 'littler' men.

As Burgoyne's army was a great deal larger than St. Leger's "light expeditionary corps," other than a brief 'background' section about his Canadiens, the focus of Volume 2 will be on his native and American loyalist auxiliaries. Hopefully, a third volume will cover the Canadiens in detail - his two militia companies; body of fighting volunteers, and artificers and cart drivers.

For the loyalists - i.e. the Provincials - names, ranks, regiments and service details are supplied and, in many cases, domicile, trade, family details, and place of postwar settlement. Of no surprise, some men appear on unit rosters once or twice and then disappear without a trace. In other cases, substantial military details have been found, but nothing about a man's civilian background or later settlement.

Once again, it has proven impossible to identify more than a handful of natives, but the participating nations, their alliances, and a detailed analysis of the Quebec Indian Department are provided.

Details: 368 Pages, Index, 8.5" x 11", Index, Bibliography, Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2013, ISBN 978-1-926797-70-0 (Hardcover)

See a list of contents and ordering information.


The Hatfield Grant and Research Assistance

The Hatfield Grant and Research Assistance

Two weeks ago a query Griffin/Cronk - Hatfield Grant mentioned the Hatfiled Grant but did not provide much detail about it. From the Admiral Digby Museum more details:

The Hatfield Grant was issued on January 29, 1801 in order to settle land claims in what was then known as Annapolis County. The land in question had previously been granted under the "Botsfield Grant" in 1784 but the grantees didn't fulfill the conditions of the grant and the property was forfeited to the Crown. The land in question had been settled by other people who had made improvements and wanted to have legal title top their property. Many of those included as grantees were given their property as a reward for military services during the American Revolution or as compensation because their property in the US had been confiscated because they had remained loyal to England. The "Hatfield Grant" consisted of 91,632 acres and was issued to 275 individuals and one Church. It was also known as the Grant of Confirmation. The area was designated by the name of the Township of Digby and was still part of the County of Annapolis.

There were conditions attached to the grant and they were strictly enforced. Each Grantee was required to:

  • Pay to the Receiver General two shillings per hundred acres. Payment was to be made on the Feast of St. Michael and was to start ten years from the date of the grant.
  • Agree top clear and work three acres of land for every fifty acres of plantable land granted or clear and drain 3 acres of swampy or sunken ground or drain 3 acres of marshland within three years of the date of the grant.
  • Keep three neat cattle upon each 50 acres of cleared land.
  • Erect a dwelling house at least 20 feet in length and 16 feet in breadth.
  • If the granted lands were stony or rocky ground and not fit for planting or pasture, to operate a stone quarry and hire one able hand for every 50 acres.
  • Swear an Oath of Loyalty to the King within 12 months of the grant.

The proclamation of this land grant enabled those who had made improvements on the lands they already occupied to obtain legal title and therefore sell or mortgage their property as they saw fit. The King reserved for teh Crown all white pine, gold, silver, copper, lead and coal that might be found in the granted lands. During the ensuing years the Towsnship of Digby propsered asnd in january 1837 Digby County was declared as being separate from Annapolis County and the division being made in the middle of the Bear River.

The staff at the Admiral Digby Museum can look up the deeds at the Deeds Office which is exactly what I did yesterday for someone who had one of these land grants in 1801.

...Sue, Genealogy Dept., Admiral Digby Museum

Another New Biography added to Loyal Americans Hall of Honour

The many contributions to our Canadian heritage by Jean Welbanks Gemmell Minhinnick have been detailed in her induction biography now on-line. In 2003, the Bay of Quinte Branch UELAC created Loyal Americans Hall of Honour to both identify and celebrate those descendants of the United Empire Loyalists who made significant achievements, either locally, nationally or internationally. The resumés of all the inductees can be found in the UELAC Honours and Recognition /Bay of Quinte Branch: Loyal Americans Hall of Honour folder.

Brian Tackaberry, Past President of the Bay of Quinte Branch, is currently developing the remaining three biographies.


"English Quebec Through 100 Objects" QAHN SOFTI Project

Last September, the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) launched a project called "Significant Objects for Telling Identity (SOFTI): English Quebec through 100 objects". With this project, QAHN aimed in collecting the stories of 100 objects that together would create a portrait of Quebec's English-speaking communities, past and present. This project was realized in partnership with historical societies, museums, community groups, and individuals across Quebec, Canada. It is a portrait of the English-speaking communities of Quebec, in all their diversity.

The official launch of QAHN's much-anticipated "100 Objects" website took place on March 26, 2013 at Uplands Heritage and Cultural Centre in Lennoxville (Sherbrooke), Quebec. Members of Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch, Michel Racicot, Heather Darch, Adelaide Lanktree and her son John were present at the launch. Heather Darch was the SOFTI Project co-manager. Also present were Beverley and Milton Loomis of Little Forks Branch.

The new website contains photos of artefacts, stories, essays, and an historical timeline. It identifies resources for further research. It also offers six audio-visual capsules that help bring selected stories alive. While browsing through this website, please take a special look at object 13 "Gravestone of Sir John Johnson-1830" presented by Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch, object 20 "Sampler by Adela Hyatt" presented by Little Forks Branch and also object 5 "Loyalist Coat" presented by the Missisquoi Museum, Stanbridge East, Quebec. A DVD of this project is presently being made and should be available within the next 2-3 weeks and will be distributed to libraries across Canada.

...Michel Racicot, Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch

Where in the World?

Where is Edmonton Branch member Marilyn Astle?

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.

Loyalist Genealogy Workshop, Bay of Quinte

The Bay of Quinte Branch of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada will be presenting a workshop to help people find their Loyalist Roots on SATURDAY APRIL 13th, 2013 at the old Adolphustown Township Hall in Adolphustown, located on old Highway #33 along the Loyalist Parkway. We invite anyone doing research on their Quinte area ancestors to come out for help with their family or Loyalist links, and to bring along any other individuals who may be interested to discover their Loyalist connections or non-loyalist roots.

The program begins at 10:00AM and runs throughout the day until 3:00PM. We will have several handouts, including application forms and tips for Loyalist Lineage, a list of UEL names for the Bay of Quinte area, examples of acceptable proofs and where to find them, and a certificate of participation. There will also be tours of the UEL Museum and research library.

There will also be a series of short talks on researching your links during the morning. Shelley Respondek from the Lennox and Addington Archives in Napanee will be one of the presenters. Well known researcher and author Linda Corupe, as well as genealogist Angela Johnson, and Branch President Brian Tackaberry will also be making presentations. In the afternoon several branch members will be available to give you one-on-one assistance with your family search. There will also be books for sale to help with your Loyalist research.

The cost for the day is $10 which will include the handouts, coffee/tea/water and a certificate of participation. You are asked to bring along a bag lunch for the day. If you wish to attend the workshop, you may obtain a registration form at their website or phone Angela Johnson at 613-398-6871.

...Brian Tackaberry, Bay of Quinte Branch

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 Randy McDonell (McDonald) thanks to Jim Willis, UE, of Hamilton Branch.

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.

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:
- Dibble, Asa – from Sharon Labchuk
- Harding, Israel – from Carol Harding, with certificate application

Please help us build the directory by contributing more information for it. Contact for instructions and guidance.

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