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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2013 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2013-44: November 3, 2013


Three Imprisoned Lawyers: The Loyalists of Deerfield, by Stephen Davidson

The American Revolution was a civil war that pitted the patriot against loyalist brother. Nowhere was this more evident than in the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts. It was a town almost evenly divided between "Whigs" and "Tories."

Local rebels chaffed at the fact that Rev. Ashley, the town's minister, was an outspoken loyalist; they did all that they could to make his life miserable and even tried to have him removed from his pulpit. This embarassment to Deerfield's rebels died in 1780. But Ashley's death had not ended loyalist influence in the town. The fact that in 1781 three of Deerfield's top legal professionals were still steadfast in their allegiance to the crown was beginning to attract the notice of the patriot government in Boston. This is the story of those three loyalists in the last years of the American Revolution.

The loyalists of Deerfield were proud of the fact that in March of 1781, they occupied every one of the town's principal offices. In any other Massachusetts community, Jonathan Ashley would have been threatened with tar and feathers or run out of town, but he had avoided such persecution despite being a known loyalist for seven years.

A graduate of Yale, the young attorney often used his legal skills to debate the folly of colonial independence at Deerfield's tavern. Things came to a head when he tried to attend the colony's lower judicial court in August of 1774. The Court of Common Pleas was convening in Springfield, and Jonathan had ridden there with a "bag of writs" despite the concerns of his younger brother.

When he returned home, he told Elihu Ashley of how 1,500 angry rebels with white staves had surrounded the courthouse. They "rounded up any stray Tories" and made them "acknowledge the error of their ways" and "sign an agreement not to act under any authority derived from the King". Elihu wrote in his diary that the complete collapse of the local legal system shook Jonathan to the core as he realized that the colony was "entirely without law; every man {was} left to the mercy of his fellow."

Seth Catlin had also gone to Springfield. The 40 year-old justice of the peace was "much abused" and humilated by the rebels who had surrounded the courthouse. Little did they know that a month earlier, Catlin had been a member of the trio that had cut down Deerfield's liberty pole. It was not the last of his defiantly loyal acts.

In January of 1775, Catlin came to the aid of John Williams, a loyalist storekeeper. As a mob tried to break down the front door, Catlin stood in a window with his rifle in hand. He threatened to shoot if they did not leave Williams alone. His reputation as a soldier in the Seven Years War convinced the rebels to abandon their plans.

Before he took over the family store in Deerfield, John Williams had graduated from Harvard's law program. Later historians described him as an aggressive loyalist; he even dared to speak against the rebellion long after it had become a war for independence.

In January of 1781, along with Seth Catlin and Jonathan Ashley, Williams helped to force a resolution through Deerfield's town meeting. It instructed the town's representative at the legislature in Boston "that some Immediate advances be made to the Court of Great order to Effect an accommodation Settlement & Peace between Great Britain & the United States of America without the further effusion of Blood." The Massachusetts legislature rejected the Deerfield proposal, but now the town's loyalists were clearly on the legislature's "radar".

On March 5th, the annual town meeting elected loyalists for all of Deerfield's principal offices. This was too much for John Hancock, the rebel governor of Massachusetts. He swiftly issued an order to have Ashley, Williams and Catlin arrested and put in the Suffolk County jail in Boston.

After almost two weeks in prison, the three loyal lawyers petitioned the government for mercy. Of Seth Catlin it was said that he had "a wife and six daughters, and one son of 8 years, who almost Daily depend on his Daily Earnings for their Support who have no Rescoures to Obtain the Shortest Relief but by his Immediate presence."

Ashley's appeal was made on the basis of having "a wife and four daughters... Besides he has been for years, Subject to Disorders... being frequently and generally attacked with ye Cholic."

John Williams "hath left a wife and Small children without supplies of some necessary articles even to this time, without means to procure these supplies & without a male person in the family more than 8 years old."

Although the March letter was ignored, the three Deerfield loyalists penned another petition in April. They feared that their "unoffending wives and children" would suffer if they were not freed to plant their spring crops. The government released the loyalists on bail (2000 each) on the condition that they would "not do or say anything" against the independence of the United States. They were also to appear in court in September. Due to a filing error, this never happened.

Even if things had proceeded as usual, Jonathan Ashley would not have appeared. Within four months of being set free, he died. He never recovered from the sickness that was exacerbated by his time in jail.

Following the end of the Revolution, life in Deerfield began to return to normal; the townspeople seemed willing to let bygones be bygones. Their representative to the state legislature in 1783 was none other than John Williams.

The legislature was not so forgiving and refused to give the loyalist his seat. But Deerfield continued to re-elect Williams; and he eventually represented the town for three terms. The loyalist later became a register of deeds and a justice of the peace. However, because of his 1781 incarceration for loyalty, Williams suffered from chronic ill health until his death at 65 in 1816.

Four years after the Revolution's conclusion, Seth Catlin, the last of the three imprisoned loyalists, took an oath of allegiance to Massachusetts, promising to renounce all obedience to the king of Great Britain. He became a justice of the peace, a selectman, and Deerfield's representative to the state legislature. Catlin died in 1798 at 63 years of age after being crushed in a barn stall by one of his prized horses.

Compared to other towns in Massachusetts during the Revolution, Deerfield was fairly divided between patriots and loyalists. There were no hangings, tar and feathering, or seizures of property to compel its loyalists to become refugees. When the war was over, its citizens carried on their lives as best they could in the new republic.

Nathaniel Dickinson was one notable exception to the quiet process of normalization that Deerfield's loyalists experienced. His story will be told in next week's Loyalist Trails.

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

Jacob Huffman, UE: The Trek West, by Descendants

This history has been pieced together from traditions handed down through the family, information from Eula C. Lapp's book "To their Heirs Forever", the Argyle History Book called "Come into our Heritage", the Archerwill history book called "The Past To The Present", "U.E. Loyalist Links: Volume II, Lennox & Addington County", and actual documentation of our ancestors and their journey to the west. The relatives in the East lost track of the ones who moved West, but hopefully this will help to reconnect them.

Jacob Huffman was born in Ireland in 1756 (parents Elias and Elizabeth). He married Margaret Embury (parents David Embury & Margaret Sleet). According to Eula Lapp's book their ancestors had escaped from Germany in 1709 when Louis IV had invaded, fleeing down the Rhine in flat bottomed boats to Rotterdam in the Netherlands where Queen Ann made arrangements to have them transported to England. Our connections were sent on to Ireland to the Southwell Estate where they farmed. Around 1760 Elias and his wife Elizabeth along with their children, including Jacob, moved to New York along with some of their friends and relatives. In 1770 the group moved to Camden Valley onto land that was disputed between New Hampshire and New York, where they farmed for a while. The Revolutionary War broke out in 1775 . They did not feel they could fight against the Crown which had saved their Forefathers, so became United Empire Loyalists and escaped to Canada. There they were allotted land near the Bay of Quinte, by the Crown, and once again broke land to try and settle in peace.

[1] Jacob (b1756 - Mar 22, 1837) and Margaret Embury (b1768) had 10 children - Elias (bp 1787); Sarah (b1788-m Isaac Post b1786); Mary (b1792 m Thomas Wagner Jr. b1791); Lucy (bp 1796); JAMES (bp 1801 m Flora Bell b Dec.27 1807); Rebecca (b 1797 m Peter Windover b 1797); John (bp 1803 m Mary Parks b1805); Margaret (b1807); Margaret Anne (bp1810); Elizabeth.

[2] James (bp June 09, 1801 - Aug.11, 1854) and Flora Bell (b Dec 27, 1807 - aft 1871) were married in 03 Mar.1826 and had 9 children - William McQorquodale Sheffield Bell (b1826 m Jane McGill b1835 in 1860 and had 7 children); Janet (b1828 m Robert Aitken); Margaret Ann (1830-1909 m John Stinson 1821-1871); JACOB ABRAHAM (b May 04, 1832 - d Mar.30, 1916 m 1Eleanor Coomb - no issue, 2 Elizabeth Meacham); Mary (b 1835 m James McGill in 1863 and had 9 children); Matilda (b1839 m George McGill b 1835 in 1863 and had 6 children); John Edward (b1842 m Lucinda Armstrong b1851 and had 5 children); Daniel Andrew (b1843 m Agnes Jones); Hannah (b1845 m George McGill, no issue); Philip (b1848 m Elizabeth Campbell and they had 4 children)

[3] Jacob Abraham (May 04, 1832 - Mar. 30, 1916) and Sophia Elizabeth Meacham (May 01, 1837 - Feb. 02, 1909) were married in 1861 in Rednersville, Prince Edward Co., Ontario. Jacob earned his living as a carpenter. They had seven children.

1. Eleanor Meacham (1864 – 1948) or "Nell" as she was called, m Volney Waldo (1864 - 1932). They operated general store in Rosemont S.Dakota before taking up homesteading in Saskatchewan. They farmed at Carlea near Nipawin. They are both buried in the Carlea Cemetery. They adopted Forest and Ilsa.

2. Flora Matilda (Flo) (1866-1933) married Philip Sherlock and lived in Killarney, Manitoba. They had seven children, Ellen, Mabel, Cora, Clarence, Gerald, Harry, and Donald.

3. Harry Havelock (1867-1943) never married and lived on the family farm with his parents and youngest sister. He was a faithful member of the United (Methodist) Church and Sunday School and was interested in all community affairs.

4. Simon Alexander (Alex) (1870-1964) married Blanche Embury in 1893. They farmed in the area and had two sons, Roy and Angus.

5. MARTHA (Oct 5,1872-Oct. 28, 1956) ("Mattie") married Herb Pierce.

6. Annie (July 17, 1876-1905) married Andrew Embury (1870-1966).

7. Jessie (1883-1968) m Sam Christie (1870-1943) and they went into partnership with Harry on the home farm.

In early 1882 Jacob and Elizabeth packed up their family of six with another on the way and traveled to the Canadian west by oxen to make a claim for land offered by the government. They made it as far as West Lynne, a small village across the river from Emerson, Manitoba and stayed there until spring until the baby was born. This gave Jacob time to travel to file a claim on a suitable quarter section-26-4-14, in the R.M. Of Argyle. In the spring of 1883 the whole family travelled by oxen to their new home three miles south of Baldur, Manitoba. The Embury's that married into the family had also moved out around the same time from Tamworth, Ont. and were UEL.

The first home was close to the road and became a "half-way house" in the early days of travel, by horse and wagon, between the widely separated settlements. At first grain was hauled to Manitou. While one of the boys was delivering grain, Jacob would walk to Marringhurst district, where his sister Margaret lived, to cut a load of wood. This would be picked up by the team of oxen on the return trip from Manitou. The younger children attended Rosehill School in the summer months, walking three or four miles across country.

Harry and Alex did most of the clearing and breaking, while Jacob divided his time between the farm and carpentry, whenever the opportunity arose. In 1897 Jacob tendered to build the first Huff School. His tender was, "to supply material and erect a school building in a workmanlike manner" for the sum of $467.40.

The Huffman homestead remained in the family until 1943 when it was purchased by Jack Dearsley of Baldur.

Mattie & Herb Pierce

[4] Martha, or "Mattie" as she was called, was born in Thurlow, near Belleville, Ontario on Oct 5,1872. She received her education in Ontario, Emerson, and Baldur at the Rose Hill School. In 1890 she married Herbert Chandler Pierce(Oct 6,1869-May 7,1940) and they had six children.

1. Olive Uretta (Aug 6,1891-July 15, 1966) m Rev. Albert Carmen Burley (Nov 11,1882) in 1912 and adopted Douglas and Evelyn.

2. Herbert Huffman (Dec 12,1893-Feb 6, 1991) remained a single farmer.

3. Myrtle Elizabeth (Aug 12, 1897-Dec 7, 1988) was a secretary, teacher and then nurse and remained single. She worked in Public Health, Midwifery and in 1956 became Nursing Supervisor for Northern Saskatchewan.

4. Ivan Elliot (Dec 29,1900-April 26, 1990) m Mary Butchard in 1945. He had been a beekeeper, millwright, teacher and tool maker. They had no children.

5. Melvin Glen (May 17,1903-Nov. 1926) was a teacher and farmer. He was accidentally shot by one of his companions on a moose hunting trip.

6. Annie Fernival (Aug 14,1908-March 19,1966) or "Fern" as she was called was a teacher and married Hugo J Johnsen (Oct 6,1903 - Aug.30 1979) in 1937. They farmed in the Everton District near Archerwill, Sk.

Mattie and Herb Pierce lived in Manitou, Hartney, and Baldur, Manitoba, having a child at each place. In 1892 Herb lost both legs below the knee in a hunting accident. Herb worked with his father, William Smith Pierce, in the implement business and in 1893 established a Pump Factory in Hartney, Manitoba building wooden pumps. Herb sold artificial limbs for the Erickson Artificial Limb Co., exhibiting at the World's Fair in Atlanta, Georgia in 1895, St. Louis in 1896, Chicago in 1897 and at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo in 1900-01. In the early 1900's Americans were looking for cheap and plentiful agricultural land so Herb went into partnership to locate and arrange for sales of farm land in Saskatchewan.

After his accident Mattie helped nurse him. She and the family of three lived at the Omaha exhibition in 1898 and '99. They then settled in Hutchinson, Minn. USA. There she nursed and cared for her mother-in-law, Uretta Pierce. Uretta was an invalid after unsuccessful surgery for breast cancer, and died in 1902. Mattie's father-in-law, William Smith Pierce and his son Will, then twelve, continued to live with them.

In 1905 prospects looked so good they all moved to Saskatchewan and settled on a farm three and one half miles south of Wadena, called Ridgeway farm. In 1911, Will married Lucy Foght and they, with Herb and Will's father, settled on a homestead in a home of their own in Dahlton.

In 1913 Mattie, Herb and family moved to Dahlton and settled on a farm, N 17-40-14 W2.

[5] Annie Fernival and Hugo J. Johnsen farmed on NW 20-40-14-W2 on the North side of Echo Lake from where her parents lived. They raised five girls, Ethel, Judy, Petra, Sylvia and Susan.

(Legend: m = married; b = birth date; bp = baptism)

[1] through to [5] designates the generations starting with Elias's son Jacob, who was the first UEL of our Huffman line.]

If you are or know someone who is connected to this family, please do get in touch with us so we can discuss and share. In addition to connections, we are also most interested in any family details, stories about members of the family, etc.

...The Hugo J. Johnsen Girls, including Judy Saunders

What is the Union Flag Doing on a Field of Red and White Stripes?

There are times a tourist cannot find the answer in a guide book and has to wait for the results of further research back at home. Such was the case for Diane Faris, Pacific Regional Vice-President. When she was touring Cambridge Mass., she spotted a unique flag with the Union Flag in the upper left corner of a field of red and white stripes hanging from a heritage house at 94 Brattle Street. A plaque on the side of the house read: "Home of Tory Henry Vassall Continental Army Medical Headquarters, The traitor Dr. Benjamin Church was held prisoner here in 1775 17th C. 1746" She found lots of information online about the history of Henry Vassall House and more on that part of Brattle Street referred to as Tory Row. The identity of the flag remained an unsolved challenge until she shared pictures at the recent meeting of the Dominion Council in Toronto. The mystery flag is called the Grand Union Flag among other names. As the Continental Colors , it was used " by the American Continental forces as both naval ensign and garrison flag through 1776 and early 1777." (Wikipedia – Grand Union Flag) The Flag Act of 1777 authorized the use of a circle of thirteen white stars on a field of blue in place of the British Union flag in the canton. For Diane, that one problem has been solved. And to think it started on Brattle Street.


Col. Edward Jessup Branch Launches Still They Stand

Some Branch projects take considerable time between the planting of the seed and the final harvest. In the 1977 Spring LG issue, the Col. Edward Jessup Branch UELAC reported that the speaker for the March 26 meeting was Edgar Clow with the topic "This Old House". The article indicated that "At least two of the original Loyalist families lived in the Clow home, and Mr. Clow maintains that Loyalist homes in the area should be sought out and identified as a project leading up to the Bicentennial of the loyalist settlement in 1984."

In the 2006 Spring LG issue, the Branch reported "Another 2014 Branch project has been initiated. 100 Years – 100 Houses has two components. Firstly, homeowners whose houses were built prior to 1845 have the opportunity to purchase line drawings of their homes professionally drawn and framed. In the second phase of the project the pictures will be included in a book along with carefully research information about each of the houses."

Seven years later, all the planning and research have resulted in a 175 page resource that will be of interest to members of the St. Lawrence River community and United Empire Loyalists descendants alike. Beginning with a brief history that describes the Loyalists and how they got there, readers will discover not only how the different houses were built but also the unique crafts that were mastered long before home construction began with a trip to Home Depot or Lowes. The later section on the houses details who first owned the property, who built the house and provides some rather interesting trivia on the different people who have lived there. The back cover clearly promotes the work of the Branch as well.

On November 9, the Col. Edward Jessup Branch UELAC will launch Still They Stand, Loyalist Period Homes at their Charter Meeting at Grenville Snowmobile Association, 4901 Charleville Rd, Charleville, Ontario. If you cannot attend, you can place an order with Barbara Law, 1336 Lily Bay Dr., Elizabethtown ON, K6V 7C5 or One book will cost $20. plus $4 postage and handling to Canada or $20. plus $8 p&h to the USA.

The Late Edgar Clow would be pleased with the results of his idea.


Loyalist Quarterly by Paul Bunnell: Fall 2013 issue now available

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

  • The Black Loyalist Heritage Society Sponsors Lecture
  • 2014: "UELAC: A Centennial Celebration 1914 - 2014
  • Support Loyalist Trails
  • Passing of a UELA Member & Relation
  • Our Bonnell Family Ship Owners & Mariners & Share Owners
  • Good Book on Nova Scotia Black Loyalists
  • Black Loyalist Heritage Society New Mailing Address
  • Georgia Loyalists – A dissertation by Robert Gary Mitchell
  • Benedict Arnold Attempts to Pension His American Legion Loyalist
  • 'Rebel' Prisoners Detained in North America
  • or the North Carolina History Project David Fanning
  • Garret Dykeman: The Loyalist Who Never Came Back

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

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

The Rock Hall Manor in Lawrence, N.Y. Represents a Trend

There was an interesting article in Sunday's New York Times on Rock Hall house (1767) in Hempstead, Nassau County, NY, which had belonged to Loyalist Josiah Martin - see At Historic Homes, Unearthing a Deeper View of Slavery. He had 17 slaves. His son Samuel was also a loyalist. Nothing in the long article about where Martin went -- he had come from Antigua where he also owned slaves and left because of a slave uprising -- but the house is used to illustrate the new focus on "below stairs" in historic house museums. I wonder whether they came to Canada. Anyway, I am particularly interested in all of this because of my connection with The Grange (although I retired as chair of Grange Council in June) where I co-authored a booklet about the house which emphasizes domestic life.

Mary F. Williamson UE, Toronto Branch

Where in the World?

Where is Barb Andrew?

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 Daniel Scott and son Lemuel thanks to Margaret Carter.

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.

Distant War of 1812 Helped Create B.C.

On Saturday, Oct. 26th, 2012 in the Vancouver Sun an article written by Stephen Hume was published in the Weekend Extra section under "Bicentenary, The War of 1812".

The title of the article is "Distant war helped create B.C." This lengthy article is quite informative and interesting. I for one had no understanding of the influence of the War of 1812 on this coast. It begins:

"This month marks the 200th anniversary of a remarkable series of seldom-remembered events in the War of 1812 that changed the course of history on the West Coast of North America.

"Indeed, they created the British Columbia we inhabit today. The curious story of the war's role in shaping Canada west of the Great Lakes has largely been overlooked in the mainstream. Attention has focused on generals and their dramatic battles in Ontario and Quebec.

"Yet had those events not occurred, the shape of Western Canada might have been entirely different. Oregon, Washington and Idaho might have been part of what's now British Columbia. Or they might have become a separate Canadian province in their own right. Or most of B.C. might have become American states. So, let's revisit those historic days, observing them through the eyes of people who were present.

Read the full article.

...Marlene Dance

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • 245 years ago on October 30, 1768, Philip Embury dedicated Wesley Chapel on John Street as a preaching house in New York City.
  • "White, Flax, Linen & Honey" a collection of photos on Pinterest of ladies' fine clothing from 18 and 19 centuries, mostly museum pieces (Metyropolitan, Boston, London, Hamburg and others)
  • The Father of British Canada: a Chronicle of Carleton by William Wood (video/audio - 16 min).
  • Veterans, Family members and Government Officials gathered recently to honour George and Jacob Huffman. The ceremony took place at the Fort Erie Coloured Cemetery.
  • Boo! Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Halloween. Great to see that our Lieutenant Governor in Ontario has a good sense of humour. See their pumpkin face - how do they do that anyway?
  • 15 abandoned places in Canada that are equally creepy and beautiful - photos with captions
  • Prince Charles makes the cover of Time Magazine. The three-paragraph teaser that you get for free is interesting.
  • The Fall colours are still brilliant in parts of southern Ontario - this photo in Aldershot.
  • John Adams drank a tankard of cider every morning. How to make it and 28 other historic apple recipes: New England Historical Society (note that a free membership registration is required)

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
- Berdan, Albert – from Pat Adam - Leach, James – from Bob Phillips

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

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