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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2013 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2013-17: April 28, 2013

Articles

Interesting Times: The Life of Elizabeth Dodd (2 of 2), by Stephen Davidson

In June of 1783, Elizabeth Dodd stood next to her husband on a wharf in New York City, ready to board an evacuation ship for Nova Scotia. The 45 year-old woman could not help but have feelings of deja vu. Twenty years earlier, Elizabeth had been among a group of English colonists who had settled along the Alabama River. Captured by enemy forces, the colonists had been deported to three different prisons on the Gulf of Mexico's coast before finally being liberated by the British navy. Now that same navy was taking Elizabeth and her husband far to sanctuary in Nova Scotia -- from the grasp of patriot persecution.

The Dodds (listed as Thomas and Mary in the records of the day) were among 2,500 loyalist refugees that left New York City that June. Most of the Dodds' fellow refugees were members of Tarleton's Legion, so it is likely that the couple had been attached to this particular loyalist corps during the war. Other refugees would later follow the summer fleet to the Dodd's new settlement. They included members of the British commissary service, 265 Black Loyalists and three enslaved Africans.

The soldiers and civilian refugees founded a new settlement near Port Mouton, Nova Scotia. Guysborough --named in honour of Sir Guy Carleton-- was initially larger than Halifax. However, the settlement was doomed to failure. No amount of government surveys or provisions could compensate for a mediocre harbour and barren, rocky land. After enduring a bitter winter, the loyalists had had enough of Guysborough's isolation and meagre soil. In addition to poor climate, there was also dissension between the veterans and the commissary staff. No one was happy. Some settlers planned to move to Digby in the summer, others wanted to join loyalists in Truro or along the St. Croix River.

But just when it seemed as if matters could not possibly get any worse, they did. As Elizabeth and Thomas Dodd began to pack up their belongings in late May of 1784, a fire swept through Guysborough, destroying what little clothing and furniture the loyalists had brought with them. The roaring flames drove the settlers down to the shoreline. A year after evacuating from New York, the loyalists stood in the ashes of their settlement with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

With no means to call for help, death by exposure and starvation seemed inevitable. Miraculously for Elizabeth and her neighbours, a ship from Halifax happened to sail into Guysborough's harbour within days of the disaster. What could have been one of the greatest tragedies of loyalist settlement had narrowly been averted.

Under the leadership of Captain Nehemiah Marks, the Dodds and 280 other loyalists boarded a naval transport and left the blackened ruins of Guysborough. These "Port Matoon Associates' settled in the newly created colony of New Brunswick in the town of St. Stephen.

The Dodds and their neighbours learned that they would each receive 100 acres of land as well as a three-year allowance of rations, building materials and agricultural tools. Now at 46, could Elizabeth look forward to the relatively peaceful life of a pioneer?

In a word: no.

The town had no horses or domestic animals of any kind. It would be four years before St. Stephen had its first cow. Before 1786, there was no teacher, doctor or minister in the community. Smallpox killed many of Elizabeth's neighbours during the spring of 1785. When the three years of food rations ran out in 1787, the settlers were reduced to starvation. To survive that winter, some settlers were compelled to dig up the potatoes that they had planted for the following spring. With no salt for preservation, fish had to be eaten as soon as they were caught. Settlers used up precious ammunition to hunt in the forests. Discouraged, some loyalists sold their land grants and moved away. The situation improved somewhat when --in 1797-- St. Stephen's settlers built a sailing ship for the first time, beginning of a small trade for the impoverished loyalists.

In 1812, war once again broke out between American and British forces. St. Stephen was separated from United States territory by the narrow St. Croix River. Given her past, the situation must have been alarming to Elizabeth Dodd. But the grudges of an earlier era had been forgiven. When the British government gave St. Stephen gunpowder for defense, the loyalists and their adult children passed it on to their American neighbours to celebrate the Fourth of July. Unfortunately, there is no record of how the original loyalist settlers such as Mrs. Dodd viewed this generosity with gunpowder.

Despite amiable relations with its neighbours, St. Stephen's townsfolk had definitely endured what the Chinese would describe as "interesting times". And yet Thomas and Elizabeth Dodd did not leave. Records of the day reveal that they resolved to stay in the loyalist settlement. While Thomas' name last appears in a neighbour's 1817 probate record, his own death goes unrecorded. Elizabeth, on the other hand, had an uncommonly lengthy obituary in the July 28th 1839 edition of the New Brunswick Courier. But then, she had lived an uncommonly long life of 111 years. Elizabeth, whose life had taken her beyond the coast of France to Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mexico, Cuba, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Nova Scotia, died in New Brunswick, her home for 65 years.

Elizabeth Dodd was a unique woman, not just for a life that spanned eleven decades, but for all that she had suffered as a British citizen during "interesting times".


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

William Odber Raymond (1853-1923) © George McNeillie

During the thirty-two years of my incumbency at St. Mary's the number of baptisms was about 1,650, of burials (including those at the Municipal Home) about 1,500, of marriages 537+. The number of communicants during the same period increased from 130 to 300.

My predecessor, Archdeacon Newnham, during his two years at St. Mary's, received only the sum of $200 per annum from the congregation towards his stipend: the balance included $600 from the "Colonial and Continental Church Society", $200 from Rev. Mr. Armstrong, and $200 from the Stone Church Vestry making a total of $1,200.00.

At the outset, in 1884, the St. Mary's people gave me $400 per annum and the Colonial and Continental Church Society added $600, making a stipend of $1,000 and this was the official stipend for the next 28 years and there was no rectory. As time went on the grant from the Missionary Society was gradually reduced and that from the people gradually increased until in 1907 the Church voluntarily relinquished the small sum of the Society's grant then remaining and became self-supporting, but there was no rectory till Mr. McKim's time. During the last four years of my incumbency the stipend was raised to $1,200, and since then to $1,500 for my successor.

The Sunday School at St. Mary's was always a bright feature in the parish. During the first twenty years of my incumbency there was a double occasion with different officers, and mostly with different teachers; a good many scholars -- (but by no means all) -- attended both morning and afternoon schools. The sessions were at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The morning school was dependent when I came in 1884 almost entirely for its teachers on the Stone Church congregation.

In the course of time the afternoon Sunday School outstripped the morning school -- which was the older, having been established by Mr. Armstrong in the old Orange Hall on Brussels Street in 1853, or thereabouts. Owing to the difficulty of keeping up a double staff of teachers and for other reasons, which need not be stated here, the morning School was discontinued soon after the Small-Pox Epidemic, about 1902, after a useful and honourable existence of nearly 50 years. At the present time the attendance at the Sunday School is flourishing, thanks in large measure to the zeal and energy of Rev. R. Taylor McKim -- first as Curate, and later as Rector. The total enrolment is now (1920) about 450 scholars and in addition there are about 80 scholars at Glen Falls. The contributions had shown a marked increase in the last few years of my rectorate and this has been continued in the first years of Mr. McKim's. The sum raised for all Church purposes for the year, ending with Easter 1919, being about $4,800.00, of which about $1,000 was raised by the Sunday School -- the largest annual Sunday School offering in the Diocese. [For the year ending Easter 1921, the Church receipts were $9,000 exclusive of S.S., W.A., etc.]

In the recent Anglican Forward Movement, St. Mary's parish raised about $2,800 and stood 11th in order of parishes in the diocese. It has also in the last five years exceeded its missionary apportionment. Since the recent "every member canvas", the number of envelope contributions (through the duplex envelope) in St. Mary's Church I am informed is about four hundred. For all this God's Holy Name be blessed and praised.

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” - First Nations Theme for The Welcome

The theme for Thursday May 30th is "Honouring our First Nations Native Allies". We stood side by side in the American Revolutionary War and The War of 1812. Join us and be part of this special evening.

April 30: Earlybird and Rooms

Only two more days remain to take advantage of the earlybird discounted registration pricing which is available only until April 30th. Need a place to stay? Note that the block of rooms at the Holiday Inn Burlington - the conference hotel - are set aside for us only until April 30th.

Act now, don't miss this once in a life time opportunity. Be a part of it!

The conference is hosted by the Hamilton Branch and will take place in Burlington.

For conference information and registration, visit Meet us at the Head of Lake Ontario.

Presidential Peregrinations: Toronto Branch

Philip Richards, the Canadian portrait artist chosen by her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, to take on the mammoth task of painting the eleven-foot high portrait, now gracing the ball room at Rideau Hall, was the guest speaker at Toronto Branch on April 17. It was a pleasure to heart about that project and to be a part of the branch meeting, where I was privileged to help present a Loyalist certificate to Edwin Verle Greenfield UE in honour of his Loyalist ancestor, Geronimous Crysler, UE. Read more details, with photos (PDF).

...Bob McBride

This Stamp Deserves A Cancellation Mark!

Apparently Canada Post is issuing a commemorative stamp to pay homage to the history of the postal service, presumably in this country. The face on this stamp is none other than the Rebel Benjamin Franklin! I'm not pulling your leg. I know he was involved in the early days of postal service, but let's remember he was a notorious Rebel who hated your ancestors, was not above involvement in underhanded propaganda, and disliked his own son because of that son's Loyalty. Hardly seems like the kind of fellow we should be honouring in Canada! Who'll be next? Revere? Washington?

...Peter W. Johnson, UE, Past President, UELAC

George and Maria Smith – Late Loyalists

Not all Loyalist came to Upper Canada in the late 1700s. Some came later. Such was the case with George Smith and Maria Van Alstyne. George P. was born about 1762. He is believed to be of Palatine German ancestry. Maria was Dutch and she was born in 1763. The Smiths lived in the area just east of the present day city of Troy, just upstream from Albany, the state capital of New York. They lived in the Town (township) of Brunswick, now in the county of Rensselaer, and only a few miles from the Hoosick Valley and the site of the battle of Bennington in 1777.

George and Maria were married about 1783. They were members of the Gilead Lutheran Church in the village of Center Brunswick. Three of their children were baptised there.

The Smiths lived on a farm leased by Peter Smith, father of George. The Patroon, Stephen Van Rensselaer III, owned all the land in this area and it was known as the Manor of Rensselaerwyck. He leased it out upon annual payment of wheat, grain, etc. and a day's labour. The patroonship was essentially a feudal system.

The American Revolutionary War lasted from 1775 to 1783. At the beginning George was only about 13 years of age and too young to serve. However by the end of the war he would have been about 21 years. Was he involved in active military service? It is unknown for sure but it seems unlikely. Any of those who served on the British side were quickly and ruthlessly discriminated against in many ways and were eventually forced to leave the country. George and his family remained in New York State for about another 33 years after the war ended thus indicating some tolerance on the part of their Patriot neighbours.

The following information from the book Loyalism in the Hoosick Valley by Bernard C. Young gives some historical background. The Gilead Lutheran Church played no small part in fostering Loyalist sentiment in the East Manor of Rensselaerwyck. The pastor at Gilead, Rev. Schwerdtfeger was a staunch Loyalist and made sure his parishioners knew their duty. Over 30 percent of the men who volunteered on the British side in the Battle of Bennington in August 1777 belonged to the Gilead Lutheran Church of Brunswick. Many never returned to their homes again. They were second (and third) generation Palatine Germans whose fathers had worked in the tar camps of Livingston Manor.

In 1816 George P. would have been about 54 years old and Maria about 53. This was not really a young age to pick up and move everything and everybody to another country! Of course there were no trains at this time and the construction of the Erie Canal had not even been started. It was about 363 miles from Albany to Buffalo. Even at 10 miles a day it would take 6 weeks to make the trip. Did they come with a wagon and a few tools such as an axe and a shovel? Son Peter would have surely brought his carpenter tools. Travel would not have been easy! So why did they move? We may never completely know. Was it for employment or might there be other stronger reasons?

The following words describe the social conditions of the time. "The spiritual center for German families was Gilead Lutheran Church in Brunswick. Many Germans were persecuted for their neutrality during the American Revolution and after the war many, including Gilead's Rev. Nicholaus Schwerdtfeger, emigrated to Canada. The influx of settlers from New England after the revolution changed the German villages. At Gilead Lutheran Church Rev. Anton Braun introduced English services and German was abandoned after 1812. This marked the assimilation of the German population."

George's father had passed away in July 1815 and his mother sometime between 1800 and 1803, so this did not hold them back. One thing seems certain; there was a strong loyalist influence in the Gilead Lutheran Church of Centre Brunswick. Could this have been instrumental in their decision to move, especially after the Americans had attacked a British province only about four years earlier? One might guess which side the Smiths secretly chose to support during the Revolutionary War.

About 1816 the Smiths moved to Willoughby Township, Upper Canada. Here they lived for another 20 to 30 years before eventually moving to North Dorchester Township in Middlesex County. They were listed in the 1851 census and presumably passed away shortly thereafter.

Read a more detailed story of their lives and those of their children (PDF, 11 pages plus end-notes).

...Ross K Johnson

Where in the World?

Where is past UELAC president Doug Grant?

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 Peter Dulyea (Delyea) – Sr. and Jr. – thanks to Richard Clark.

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.

Loyalist Quarterly by Paul Bunnell: Spring 2013 issue now available

The latest issue of the only U.S. journal devoted to Loyalist studies contains, among others, these topics:

- New Hampshire Confiscation Act 1777

- The "Cause of Liberty" and the Imprisonment of Loyalists

- UELA Branch Information

- Book Reviews

- 2013 UELAC Annual Conference

- History Corrected – One Third Rule Out

- Query

- Loyalist Research Sites in New Brunswick

- Some Loyalist Families at Keswick New Brunswick Cemetery

More information including subscription details at Paul J. Bunnell's website.

...Paul J. Bunnell UE, Editor/Author

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • "TAX ME TO THE TEETH" - not a rallying cry for the American Revolution, but from a British politician, "and I will cheerfully stint myself to contribute to the Loyalists' relief." on realizing the plight of the Loyalists. Read this article on the UpperCanadaHistory site about the Loyalists and Canada - it concludes with reference to UELAC and Loyalists, and our armorial bearings.
  • 200 Years ago the Americans captured Fort York - Check out Canada History's new video about it with historian Tim Compeau
  • Toronto artist Charles Pachter donates 11 paintings for Fort York visitor centre
  • Medal issued to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of York (Toronto) #warof1812 APRIL 27, 1813 http://www.ontarioroots.com/images/misc/Toronto_BattleOfYork_Medal_Large.gif
  • As Andrew Jackson's (Old Hickory) Tennessee Militia did some 200 years ago, a collection of determined volunteers are making their way northward along the length of the Natchez Trace.
  • Baltimore Commemorates A Trifecta Of Historic Events: War of1812, The Underground RailRoad, The US Civil War.
  • Getting the younger generation interested in Revolutionary War history - one American's approach: The Dreamer
  • Great War Centenary Association: Lecture Series 2013 begins May 1 "Communities and Conflict: The City of Brantford and Six Nations During the First World War" by Evan Habkirk. Details.
  • Governor General Presents Canadian Honours to His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh

Last Post: Pauline Fay Keehn

Pauline (Oct. 22, 1924 - Apr. 18, 2013) passed away peacefully in Pollock Pines, California. She is survived by her sister, Betty Lou and Bob Potts of Glenbrook, Nevada as well as her four children, 11 Grandchildren, 33 Great-Grandchildren and 3 Great-Great-Grandchildren. She is predeceased by Bill Keehn, her beloved husband of 65 years and by her father Arthur and Margaret West, and her brothers Gene and Gordon West.

After marriage and the birth of some children, they moved to Tahoe City, where Pauline soldiered through a long summer in campgrounds with some of her children in diapers while they built their home from a log cabin kit in 1956. The family spent countless hours and days hiking, backpacking and camping not only in the Tahoe Region but also in many National Parks in the West. Pauline's children are grateful for how the Lake Tahoe experiences shaped the individuals they have become, especially for their love of the outdoors that is still a part of their lives.

On retirement, Pauline and Bill moved to the community of Sierra Springs and, years later, into Pollock Pines. Her greatest joy in retirement was her involvement in the El Dorado County Master Food Preservers. She was enjoying the beauty of her Pollock Pines home with its many Dogwood trees until the time of her passing. A celebration of life is planned for Saturday, May 11, 2013 in Placerville.

Pauline was a member of New Brunswick Branch.

...Dave Laskey

Queries

Where did Nathaniel Burwell go after the War (Canada, UK, or elsewhere)?

I am doing some research on a Robert Burwell, a prominent landowner from Warrasqueak Bay in South East Virginia. Robert's ancestor was an Edward Burwell who was the original land grantee in 1607 and it seems that Edward's son, Major Lewis Burwell was the first to settle this land. Lewis had a son Nathaniel (1st) who married Elizabeth Carter the Daughter of a Robert "King" Carter, the wealthiest land owner in Virginia at the time.

Nathaniel and Elizabeth had four children. The youngest was Robert Burwell (2nd) who eventually became the land owner of the plantation. Robert in turn had a son Nathaniel (2nd).

Prior to the Revolutionary War, Robert Burwell put his house up for sale; it was listed in the Virginia Gazette of Williamsburg, May 16 1771. However the house did not sell. Robert willed it to his son Nathaniel in 1777, November 10, and it was Nathaniel who left the USA after the war.

I am doing this research with a friend who has discovered the ruins of this house on the old plantation. With the owner's permission he has recovered some artefacts from the site, including a glass seal from an 18th century wine bottle with the name Robert Carter, Father-in-law of Nathaniel (1st) on it. The date on the wine seal is 1713.

Further research on the family has come to a dead end following the War of Independence. Where did Nathaniel go - Canada, UK or elsewhere? If Nathaniel moved to Canada, where in Canada, and maybe we can then trace the family to its current location.

Any help your readers can give me would be greatly appreciated.

...David Murphy

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