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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2013 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2013-29: July 21, 2013


The Brompton Row Tory Club, by Stephen Davidson

As the American Revolution was being waged on the battlegrounds of the rebelling thirteen colonies, its political refugees desperately sought sanctuary. The families of the farmers of the Mohawk Valley found shelter near Montreal; the middle class royalists of Massachusetts tried to make a living in the naval port of Halifax; the loyal colonists of New England found sanctuary in the refugee camps of Long Island. Rich loyalists, however, did not live in such desperation.

Loyal Americans from the colonial upper class escaped to England, far from the persecution and bloodshed of the revolution. Some of these loyalists met each week for dinner at the Brompton Row Tory Club. Here are their stories.

We only know the names of twelve of the 25 men who comprised the Brompton Row Tory Club. Usually known simply as the Loyalist Club -- and sometimes the New England Club -- this home away from home for Yankee loyalists formed early in 1776. The club met in a private home in the Brompton district of London, a part of the city where a number of displaced loyalists had found living quarters.

The members of this fraternity gathered for two reasons: conversation and dinner. They were far from their homes, separated from their families, and disconnected from the networks of influence and commerce they had once known. In addition to the gossip of the week and a discussion of the latest headlines, political questions were the focus of the Loyalist Club conversations. How would the revolution be resolved? What would life be like in its aftermath? And sometimes they just wanted the sympathetic ear of someone who shared their overwhelming homesickness.

The most likely gathering spot for the Loyalist Club was the home of Jonathan Sewall, the former attorney general of Massachusetts. In his younger days, Sewall had one been a close friend and roommate of John Adams who would become the second president of the United States. Sewall's successful defence of James, an enslaved African, has been cited as the beginning of the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts. Thanks to his arguments, James was emancipated in 1770.

Samuel Curwen, a successful businessman from Salem, Massachusetts may have attended the dinner that launched the Loyalist Club. On December 22nd, 1775, he and two other New Englanders dined with the Sewalls at Brompton Row, a dinner that was interrupted by a visit from Massachusetts' last loyalist governor, Thomas Hutchinson. New England loyalists certainly had a way of bumping into each other.

Within months, the news of the weekly dinner club spread throughout London's loyalist community. Men of stature started gathering to renew friendships and hear the news from home.

Richard Clarke, a Boston tea merchant and the father-in-law of the painter, John Singleton Copley, was an original member. After rioters damaged his home, Clarke and his family fled to England. Following the revolution, he remained in England, dying there in 1795. His son Jonathan, also a club member, eventually settled in Canada.

Thomas Flucker had served on the hated Mandamus Council that was appointed to govern Massachusetts. He had hopes of becoming the colony's lieutenant governor, but when he was found to be involved in British espionage, he fled to England. Flucker never returned to Massachusetts; he died in 1783. His son, a Harvard graduate, became a lieutenant in the 60th British regiment. His daughter remained in the United States where she was the wife of Major General Henry Knox of the Continental Army.

Another former member of the Mandamus Council was Joseph Green of Boston. Although a merchant, he was famous for his wit and poetry, so much so that he published a number of his humorous dramas. He died in England in 1780 at the age of 74. Samuel Porter of Salem and Samuel Sewall of Brookline also joined the Loyalist Club. Both lawyers were exiled because they put their names on an "address" warmly welcoming the last royal governor to Massachusetts.

Despite his wife's advice and the political leanings of his father and brother, Samuel Quincy sided with the loyalists of Massachusetts. By 1776, he was dining with other refugees on Brompton Row. In a 1777 letter to his wife in Massachusetts, he said, "The continuance of our unhappy situation has something in it so unexpected, so unprecedented, so complicated with evil and misfortune, it has become almost too burdensome for my spirits, nor have I words that can reach its description."

Quincy was never to see his wife again. She died in 1782. The loyalist married a woman in Antigua where he had been appointed comptroller of customs. Seven years later, Quincy died at sea on his way back to England. All three of his sons remained in the United States.

For a number of the Loyalist Club members, home was ultimately more important than their political convictions. Four of its members, all graduates of Harvard, returned to Massachusetts following the conclusion of the revolution.

Before the 1775, Benjamin Pickman had been a merchant, a member of the colonial assembly, and a colonel in his local militia. John Adams remembered him as "very sprightly, sensible and entertaining". Although Pickman's property had been seized in 1778, portions of it were returned to him when he went back to Massachusetts and had his citizenship restored. The old loyalist died at 79 in 1819.

Joseph Taylor, a Boston merchant, was also among the nearly 100 graduates of Harvard forced into exile for his loyalist principles. He died in Massachusetts in 1816 at the age of 71.

Samuel Curwen, whose diary provides us with accounts of the Brompton Row Tory Club, spent nine years in exile in England. His final meal with loyalist refugees was on June 22, 1784, almost a year after the signing of the peace treaty with the new United States of America. Four months later, Curwen sailed for Massachusetts. Anticipating a hostile reception, he wrote his wife to prepare for a "retreat" to Nova Scotia. However, old friends welcomed Curwen home, and he lived there for the rest of his life, dying at 87 in 1802.

The last surviving member of the Loyalist Club was Isaac Smith. He had been a tutor at Harvard until the events of 1775 prompted him to seek sanctuary with his brother in England. While in Sidmouth, Smith was ordained a minister. He strongly believed that every man had an absolute right to "unlimited toleration, be his principles what they may". Hoping to be tolerated in his home, he returned to Massachusetts and was given his citizenship in 1787. He became a librarian at Harvard and then a teacher at an academy in Essex County before his death in 1829.

Were they able to read his words, the members of the Loyalist Club might take encouragement from an Atlantic Monthly writer who looked back on the men who remained loyal to the crown. "We look in vain amongst the list of banished Loyalists for a Massachusetts name on which there rests any tradition of disgrace, while there were many who are known to have been among the best citizens of their respective communities."

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

Loyalist History Appreciated in Texas

History is fascinating, to many people, but especially to those who have the “bug.” When history is well presented, readers look for more and the word spreads. As a topic of interest, it knows no time or geographical bounds.

Loyalist Trails continues to reach more people – now more than 1,800 subscribers. The reason is obviously good content, and once again thanks to our many contributors. A special feeling of satisfaction comes from notes received, and for requests for reprinting permission. This note via Stephen Davidson is an example:

I recently signed on to get the Loyalist Trails newsletters and was glad to see so many interesting articles. Thanks for giving permission to use a second one in our most recent Genealogical Tips quarterly.

I hope you're having a good summer north of the border. It remains hot, hot, hot and dry, dry, dry down here. We need rain badly, but hope to avoid getting it in the form of hurricanes.

...Editor, Tip O'Texas Genealogical Society, Harlingen, Texas

Vancouver Branch: B.C. Heritage Fair Provincial Competition

The Vancouver Branch UELAC has been busy since end of April adjudicating for this year's B.C. Heritage Fairs in 12 school districts across the mainland and further afield within the province of British Columbia. This past July 04 -- 07, the winners of the local regional fairs met in Victoria, BC, to choose the Provincial Winners who will represent BC at the Nationals, usually held in Ottawa before summer's end.

With our Outreach & Education, the entries each year are becoming more numerous and definitely are in accord with the vision of the UELAC's mandate. This year alone, one District managed to receive six Vancouver Branch UELAC Awards. The adjudicators felt that the calibre and excellence of the student's projects deserved recognition. Students received certificates at their respective school's final Awards Day Assembly in June.

The following list of Vancouver District Winners will be presenting their projects to the Vancouver Branch members on 17 September at the fall regular meeting where each student will receive an additional prize: a Certificate of Excellence, a GR III Cypher pin and a book on Canada's History and Heritage.

The Vancouver Branch recognizes the UELAC Grants Committee for their continued Financial Support.

The following are the Vancouver District winners:

“The Game of War (1812)” – Aaron Pulgarin Guerrero (Gr. 6)
“The War of 1812 Naval Battles” – Angus Wong (Gr. 6)
“Laura Secord” – Emily Sorrenti (Gr. 5)
“War of 1812” – Bryan Shrum (Gr. 7)
“The War of 1812” – Avanish Sarvesh Prasad (Gr. 4)
“Search for the Northwest Passage” – Emily Mittertreiner (Gr. 7)

Winners from other Districts:

“How Did the Hudson Bay Company Shape Canada” – Jenna Ramji (Gr. 5), West Vancouver, BC
“John A. MacDonald” – Jaden Chang (Gr.9), New Westminster, BC
“The Shuswap People” – Hannah Latta (Gr. 4), Kamloops, BC
“Sir John Franklin” – Marcus Hando & Levi Wang (Gr. 4), Richmond, BC
“Iroquois Storytelling” – Brody Scott (Gr.4), Vernon, BC

...Carl Stymiest UE, Vancouver Branch

Where in the World?

Where is Bonnie Schepers?

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 Capt. Aeneas Shaw and sons John, Aeneas Jr and Richard, thanks to Richard Shaw, 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.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Niagara Falls was there long before the American Revolution. You have most likely never seen it this way before; watch this amazing video of Canada and NY's shared treasure.
  • Halifax songwriter Blain Henshaw to perform at gathering of Outhouses – that reads the descendants of Loyalists Robert and Sarah Outhouse
  • On July 14, 1775, Bruno Hecata claims Vancouver Island for Spain – at thee same time as things were heating up to start the American Revolution
  • Hotties of the American Revolution – written in a rather "thoroughly modern" manner, but some very interesting stories and interpretations
  • Strange twist in history and politics shows the Queen recognizing a Native Tribe in Virginia, but USA does not.
  • This past week, on July 16, 1783 British North American authorities announced land grants to the United Empire Loyalists in what is now Canada.
  • A brief description and a few photos from the reenactment of the 1813 battle at Crysler farm last weekend. And a video
  • So what do you think this is? Asked by the Fisheries Museum in Lunenburg NS. [Answer: It's called a Fish Jack and was used to remove heads from cod]
  • It has been said that the musket is a good handle for the bayonet. Read about the inaccuracy of muskets, and why.
  • July 16 was the day of the first Battle of Mackinac Island in 1812. There was another in 1814 – read about both in the Canadian Encyclopedia.
  • Camp Blount – Fayetteville Tennessee – 200th to be celebrated. Interesting history and set of notables.
  • The War of 1812 mural on the side of the Port Deposit, Maryland, Post Office will be dedicated Saturday.
  • The aged silver maple thought to have inspired "The Maple Leaf Forever" falls victim to Toronto's storm on July 19, 2013 and neighbours mark its passing.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
- Ball, Jacob – from Doug S. Richardson
- Green, Benjamin – from Steven Shinbin with certificate application

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

Last Post: Norman James Hawley, UE

(May 30, 1938 - July 12, 2013) Peacefully at the Northumberland Hills Hospital Cobourg, on Friday July 12th, 2013. Husband of Judy. Father of Karol (Dave), Michael (Allison) and Thomas (Samantha). Grandfather of Jacob, Elizabeth, Emma, Kristian and Aiden. Brother of Wanda Hill and Barbara Heppler. He will be sadly missed by his friends at the U.E.L. Visitation and Memorial Service at MacCoubrey Funeral Home, Colborne on Friday July 19th, 2013.

Last Post: Claire Markell

Peacefully at the Woodland Villa in Long Sault on Thursday July 11, 2013 age 70 years. Companion of Doug Atchison of Cornwall. Mother of Sheldon Markell (Charlene) of Ingleside, Scott Markell and Norman Markell both of Ottawa. Predeceased by one son Greg. Missed by several grandchildren. Predeceased by her parents Don and Norma (Swerdfeger) Shaver.

To honour Claire's wishes, cremation has taken place. A graveside service will be held at St. Lawrence Valley Cemetery on Monday July 22, 2013 at 10am. Memorial donations to the Alzheimer Society would be appreciated by the family. Online condolences may be made at – the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder.

Claire and her parents were all members of St. Lawrence Branch. Claire joined in 1986 and proved to her ancestor Philip Shaver. Before ill health forced her to quit, she was able to get 9 more certificates, to Loyalists William Empey, Sr., John William Empey, Henry M. Bush, Adam Pabst, John Boyce, Dr. James Stuart, Jacob Countryman; Jacob Eaman and Barnett Snell.

...Lynne Cook, UE, St. Lawrence Branch


Were there three Loyalists named Jacob Ball?

Thanks to Doug Richardson, as noted above in the Loyalist Directory, there is now a good description of Jacob Ball UE Loyalist who settled in Sutton in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

There are two other Jacob's listed in the Directory. One is noted as “Sr.” and one is not. Could people who are familiar with the Jacob Ball family of the Niagara (Home District) area provide some details which would show whether the two remaining Jacob's are in fact the same person, or different people. (Note that we are dependent upon the names from the Loyalist Certificate applications to populate the directory at this very high level. Jacob Sr. may well have a son Jacob, SUE rather than UE, who would be Jr.. Some applicants may have submitted the name without Sr, while others with Sr, hence leading to this confusion.) It would be great to have a detailed record for Jacob(s) like we have of the Jacob from Quebec.

...Doug Grant

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