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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2014 Archive

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“Loyalist Trails” 2014-42: October 19, 2014


Anything But Jolly (Part 1 of 4), by Stephen Davidson

In retrospect, buying two chests of tea from British sympathizers in Boston, Massachusetts in 1772 was probably not the wisest thing to do. No doubt it seemed like a good idea at the time to Jolley Allen, a merchant who had sold British goods in Boston for the past fifteen years. The fact that local rebels threatened to tar and feather Allen for his purchase ought to have been a warning sign. "Days afterwards", he wrote, "no mortal can tell or describe the anxiety of mind I was in, and expected my house to be pulled down, and every thing destroyed."

After 1772, Allen's trade began to decline. To suspicious patriots, the fact that his customers were now mostly "friends of government and the army" made him an active threat to their ambitions. Allowing British officers to live in one's home wasn't one of Allen's best ideas either. Rebel leaders might have forgiven a loyalist who rented out horses and carriages to government officials, but by March of 1776 there was little mercy left in Massachussetts. It was time for all loyalists to flee the colony.

However, when the king's army and 1,500 loyal Americans evacuated Boston that March, Allen and his family were not on any of the vessels supplied by the British government. Instead, the merchant hired his own ship so that he could carry off the goods in his shop and two warehouses, his home's furniture, his wife and seven children and their personal effects.

On March 27th, Allen's sloop left Boston as part of a fleet of eighty vessels. But rather than escaping the growing conflict in Massachusetts, Allen and his family were soon to discover the consequences of falling into rebel hands. 1776 would be a year of death, imprisonment and torture. It was anything but jolly.

A minor collision with another ship slowed down the departure of the sloop, Sally. By the time Allen's vessel was able to sail, it had lost sight of the evacuation fleet. It was the beginning of the end.

Within a matter of hours, the sloop's mainsail gave way. All of the Sally's fresh water, stored in barrels on the deck, fell overboard. Having lost the "caboose", its 29 passengers had no place to prepare their meals. The sloop's water pumps failed. The waves breaking over the sloop froze to solid ice in the late March temperatures. One of the passengers had smallpox. At two o'clock in the morning, men rushed to Allen's cabin to tell him that "a plank in the side of the vessel had given way, and the sea was pouring in, and the vessel was sinking." Added to this, the "sails and rigging {were} torn in ten hundred thousand pieces".

After many frustrating conversations with the captain (who clearly did not know much about sailing), Allen ordered him to run the sloop aground on a nearby beach. Once grounded, however, the Sally had no boat with which to ferry its passengers ashore. Waving a white sheet attracted no attention from shore. There was no speaking trumpet (megaphone) on the sloop to call to anyone on shore. Finally, men in a canoe ventured out to the vessel and brought Allen's family to the beach that was three miles from the town of Cape Cod. But their situation did not improve.

The Allens, their seven children, and two servants were taken to Cape Cod in a dung cart drawn by oxen and put into a "small cottage not fit to put a hog in". Apparently, the townsfolk had planned to tear the cottage down the next day.

Allen later described their shelter: "We had a window to it, with four small panes of glass, and two of them broken. There was one door; but I believe we should have been warmer inside, had there been none. When the wind blew, I am of opinion we should have been more comfortable in the open field. There was a roof to this shocking place, but when it rained we had better have been in the open air; for, after a shower was over, we was obliged to go into the road until it had drained itself off." The cottage would be the Allens' home for the next twenty-two days.

Meanwhile, the locals, "incensed as they were against the government and their friends", boarded the Sally and made off with most of Allen's goods. Some token items were stored in town. The general court later had the audacity to charge the loyalist merchant £150 for unloading his sloop. Cape Cod showed no mercy to the other loyalist passengers either; all of them were stripped of everything they owned.

All these calamites took their toll. In less than a month of confinement in Cape Cod, Allen's wife, Eleanor, died "quite broken-hearted". The loyalist later wrote:

"My wife that was with me, that never before saw any difficulties in her life, and by which I had seventeen children, born and christened, and five miscarriages, and was married to her thirty-seven years, and as good a wife and as tender a mother to her children as ever man could wish for, this worthy woman, seeing all her effects taken from her, and we wanting the common necessities of life, fell a sacrifice to their barbarity, and expired . . . {in the} fifty-second year of her age of the said 19th day of April; she lying dead, her seven children round her breathless corpse, all in tears.

I submit to the humane reader to reflect what heart-breaking and agonizing pains I must feel, and not able to assist them with a morsel of bread at the time.

With an immense deal of trouble and great deal of difficulty I got her buried of Sunday the 22d of April, in the afternoon; and after her death I remained in the same disagreeable cot until the 27th, which was eight days longer, when myself and eldest son, then in the seventeenth year of his age, was taken by a guard, prisoner to Truro, eight miles distant, from my poor six motherless children, destitute of bread, and confined in the guard-house there eight days; after which time, having nothing to allege to my charge, sent me and my son back again to my poor motherless children, to Cape Cod, where I remained with my seven children, still wanting the common necessaries of life; and, after crying round me for bread to eat until the 24th of May following, I then obtained, with great difficulty, a pass to the General Court."

What happened to Jolley Allen and his children will be told in next week's Loyalist Trails.

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

2015 Conference Loyalists Come West: Church and State Winery

Read the details for Loyalists Come West - the 2015 UELAC Conference in Victoria BC May 28-30, 2015.

On Saturday, May 30, 2015, one of the tours offered will be to the Church and State Winery on Saanich Peninsula, north of Victoria for a wine tasting.

A growing wine industry on the peninsula has been achieving some noteworthy recognition. Church and State has produced some fine wines both red and white. In 2009, 2011, 2013 it produced the best red wine in Canada in competition with the many vineyards of the Okanagan in B.C., and those in Ontario and the Maritimes. It is also ranked as the third best winery in British Columbia.

Read about the tour and our Loyalist oenophile.

...David B. Clark, UE

The Long And Winding Road (Part 2) – Score: Jake Tapper 1, Ken Burns 0

Last week we considered the Ken Burns debacle on Finding Your Roots. You may recall that he considered having a Loyalist ancestor worse than having a slave-owning ancestor. Since then CNN broadcaster Jake Tapper has done a feature on his roots as part of The Lead. Both were very pro-American and pro-Rebel, but there were some differences which made the Jake Tapper feature a little easier to take.

Ken Burns was confronted with the news about a Loyalist ancestor without previous knowledge about it. Before Jake Tapper filmed his show, research had been done to show that he was descended from Solomon Huff who settled in Adolophustown in 1788. The show gave the impression that both Solomon and his brother Paul Huff UE were Loyalists- something that Jake Tapper who grew up in Philadephia near the Liberty Bell found hard to embrace. The problem is that no one has yet proven that Solomon Huff is a UE. He never claimed to be and he was removed from the Executive Council List because of that. Indeed I can find no Rev War service for him- either Loyalist or Rebel. Only tidbit is that he signed a Pledge of Association in Orange County NY in 1775. That makes him more of a candidate for the SAR than the UELAC. Nevertheless to smooth out the storyline, Solomon was a Loyalist more or less in the TV show. Jake also has Palmateer roots in the Quinte area, and quite likely a possible Rebel line through them. .

Jake Tapper and his associates did filming at Hay Bay and the Bay of Quinte UELAC Museum and Park on July 5th. I was invited because a) I had a Loyalist uniform and b) my ancestry includes Solomon Huff making Jake Tapper and me 6th cousins. There was a fair bit of filming done, but my segment ended up at about 30 seconds.

During the show Jake Tapper bemoaned having ties to the Loyalists, or "the wrong side" as he said several times, and found it, "a little embarrassing." His father was more open about his dislike of the Loyalists, but then again it wasn't the father's side who descended from the Huffs.

The bottom line is that Jake Tapper instead of hiding his possible Loyalist ancestry, took the time come to Canada and explore locations his Huff ancestors would have known well. Whether he went away with a more enlightened view of the Loyalists is questionable, but he deserves "1" point for visiting us. Ken Burns is still at "0".

...Peter W. Johnson, UE

2nd School of the Loyalist at Historic New Bridge Landing, Aug 29-30

It is official! I am very pleased to announce that the 4th Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers and the Bergen County Historical Society will be hosting the 2nd School of the Loyalist, to be held at Historic New Bridge Landing on the weekend of August 29-30, 2015. This event is meant particularly for members of the living history community portraying Loyalists and those who served in Loyalist units to further learn their craft, train together, and build esprit between the different units. In addition to field work, classes will be held with the goal of building better impressions through research. Historic New Bridge landing itself contains the property of two prominent New Jersey Loyalists, Captain John Zabriskie of the Guides & Pioneers and Lieutenant Colonel Abraham Van Buskirk of the New Jersey Volunteers. Official invitations will be sent out in a few months, but I would like to hear from people what their interests would be in such a program, so we can structure it to address those needs, as much as we can. A FB event page will likewise be set up for up to date information. Thanks, and please save the date!

...Todd Braisted, HVP UELAC

The Loyalist Gazette: Paper and Digital

The Loyalist Gazette, a printed periodical published semi-annually in Spring and Fall by The UELAC for more than fifty years, brings information about the Loyalists and the Association. It expands our Loyalist-era history with articles about Loyalists and reviews of books about the period and the people who lived it. Other pieces describe current activities which promote our history or the association, be they by individuals, branches or others.

All members as individuals or as families are entitled to a copy of each issue as part of their membership in a Branch of UELAC. Others may subscribe. Past issues can be purchased.

The 2013 issues are now publicly available, while the 2014 Spring edition is available to members and subscribers. The Fall issue will be available in November to members and subscribers to the Gazette. If you haven't previously requested the the Spring issue of the Loyalist gazette – just go to Request the Digital Version.

For more information, see Loyalist Publications.

Region and Branch Bits

From the UELAC Branches, News & Events of Interest to Others:

  • Fall Social - Sir Guy Carleton Branch UELAC - Saturday November 22, 2014 Macies Best Western Hotel, 1274 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario. The Speaker: Bonnie Schepper, President UELAC speaking on the Topic: "History, Heroes, and Hope." Bonnie will be taking us back to 1914 to ask the questions - How have we changed? How have we stayed the same? The topic speaks specifically to our 100 year anniversary and to the future of UELAC and why what we do matters. See Sir Guy Carleton Branch events
  • The War of 1812 bicentenary of actions in the Niagara area is coming to a close. The Battle of Cooks Mills is being remembered this weekend.

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.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

    Last Post

    Linda Diane Miller

    Linda died unexpectedly, but peacefully, at her Milton Lake home on Saturday, July 5, 2014 in her 63rd year. She was the beloved daughter of Lois Eileen (Noble) and the late Harold Sidney Wesley Miller. Linda was the loving sister of Douglas Miller (Pamela) of Oakville and Ainsley Jackson of Arnstein. She was the much loved aunt of Kim (Greg), Geoff (Missy), Carolyn (Matthew), Amanda (Derrick), Matthew, Jenna and great-nephews Fox, Rowan and Tiago. Linda will be forever remembered by her long-time companion Wilf Cosby of Loring. Linda was a well-known volunteer in the community as well as a Para-Medic and Coordinator of the Argyle Ambulance Service for over 20 years. The funeral service was held at St. Andrew's United Church in Port Loring on Thursday, July 10, 2014. For more information please visit or contact the Paul Funeral Home, Powassan (705) 724-2024.

    Linda was a loyal member of Colonel John Butler (Niagara) Branch. She was very proud of her Loyalist ancestors Charles and John Depue (Depew) and Michael Showers. Linda and Wilf often travelled to the Niagara area to attend the Col. John Butler UELAC luncheon meeting at Betty's Restaurant in Chippawa. We will miss her visits.

    ...Bev Craig, UE, Col. John Butler Branch

    Mabel Gwendolyn Elinor Vanderburg (nee Topp), UE

    July 30, 2014 at the West Haldimand Hospital, Gwendolyn Vanderburg passed away peacefully, in her 88th year. Beloved wife of the late Harris Vanderburg. Mother to Bryan (Lorraine), Gary (Nancy), Doug (Kathy), Diane Manto (Doug) and Pam Koopman (Chris). Grandmother and great-grandmother of many. Daughter of the late Evert and Mabel Topp. Sister of Doris Bancroft, who is in her 103rd year. Predeceased by her brothers, Ben, Ernest and Robert Topp and sisters, Beatrice McLister, Coral Reynolds and Marion Glenney.

    The funeral service was held in the Canfield United Church on Saturday, August 2, 2014 followed by interment in Balmoral United Church Cemetery. Donations to the Balmoral United Church or the West Haldimand Hospital would be appreciated.

    Gwen was a loyal member of Col John Butler (Niagara) Branch and often wore her Loyalist period clothing to meetings and events. She was very proud of her Loyalist ancestor Henry Windecker and was delighted when Dominion President Fred Hayward presented her Loyalist certificate in 2010. We will miss her and send heartfelt condolences to her family.

    ...Bev Craig, UE, Col. John Butler Branch

    Lois Mary Martin (née Purdy)

    Lois Mary Martin (née Purdy) Dec. 9, 1944 - August 31, 2014 MARTIN, Lois Mary (née Purdy) in Abbotsford, B.C. Beloved wife of Alan Martin, daughter of the late Herbert and Viola Purdy of Thurso, QC. Dear sister of Grace Purdy and of the late Gertrude Leduc (Ray).

    Memorial service will be held at Thurso United Church, 161 Fraser Street, Thurso, QC on Saturday October 18th 2014 at 11:00 a.m. Family will be at Church at 10:30 for condolences. Interment will be at the Gore United Church Cemetery. As per Lois's request donations to the Christine Morrison Hospice, Mission Healthcare Auxiliary, 7324 Hurd Street, Mission B.C. V2V 3H5 would be much appreciated.

    ...Marlene Dance, Chilliwack Branch

    Editor's Note

    I am away on vacation at the moment. Aside from some struggles adapting to the time changes (6 hours) they have been keeping us busy on our tour. Hence my time to assemble this issue has been constrained more than usual, as it will also be for the next two or three issues as well.


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