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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2015 Archive

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“Loyalist Trails” 2015-12: March 29, 2015

Articles

The Piecing Together of John Ford's Life (Part Two), by Stephen Davidson

In 1784, the loyalist John Ford saved his home from a devastating fire. The fact that he did this by digging a trench around his house was noteworthy enough to be recalled in an 1861 newspaper article.

Discovering more about this resourceful man required an intensive rummaging through the data that was available online. Was there more to John Ford than his ability to thwart a fire with a trench? Here is what could be found online.

The early historical records have a bad habit of ignoring the wives and children of loyalists. All of the information that was unearthed for the first part of this article referred to John Ford as if he were a bachelor. However, in David Bell's Early Loyalist Saint John, Ford is listed as arriving at the mouth of the St. John River in the transport vessel Mary with his wife, seven children and a servant. That same evacuation ship carried John Ford's friend Stephen Kent, Kent's widowed mother Rachel and his two sisters, Zuriah and Molly Kent.

This makes the story of the house rescued from the Parrtown fire even more amazing. The 1861 account says that the "house, or shanty, was owned and occupied by Capt. John Ford and Stephen Kent". When you add up all of the family members (and servant) of these two loyalists, there were fourteen people who called the "shanty" their home. Rather close quarters!

(Aside: History books pay even less attention to loyalists' servants than they do to their wives and children. All that can be said with certainty about the Ford's servant was that she/he was not African. The Mary made five voyages transporting loyalists out of New York, but black passengers are only recorded for one of those evacuations. The Book of Negroes contains the name of every person of African descent who left New York with the loyalists, but none are found linked to John Ford. It seems safe to assume, then, that the family's servant was an indentured white man or woman and not a slave.)

All through the spring, summer and fall of 1783, loyalist refugees had poured into Parrtown at the mouth of the St. John River. The new settlers immediately set to work at building log cabins; those who were forced to spend their first winter in old army tents vowed to have better homes the following year.

Once the snow melted in the spring of 1784, the deforestation of the Parrtown peninsula began in earnest as loyalists turned ancient trees into log cabins. Some refugees were also preparing timber for the building of a church. Cut wood, unwanted trees, and brush were everywhere.

An hour after twelve on an October day, the wind snatched up sparks from a pile of burning branches. Flames began to spread into neighbouring lots in the upper part of the Parrtown peninsula.

Recognizing that catastrophe was at hand, desperate refugees spread the word. Men grabbed their picks, shovels, and axes to stop the spreading conflagration. If they did not conquer the flames, they would not only lose their homes, but every possession that they had brought with them from the Thirteen Colonies. However, "every vestige of inflammable material" was destroyed, including the timber prepared for the church. Discouraged and distraught, many loyalists left Parrtown to settle along the Kennebecasis and St. John Rivers. Among those refugees were John Ford and his family. Ford's friend Stephen Kent decided to remain in Parrtown where he eventually established a tavern.

It would take a search of old provincial newspapers and probate records to learn the names of John Ford's wife and children. The June 11, 1836 New Brunswick Courier noted the passing of "Alche Ford relict of late Capt. Ford ... age 91." By applying a little arithmetic to the data, we discover that John was 37 years old --and Alche was 38-- when the couple arrived in New Brunswick.

The provincial probate records reveal the names of the Fords' children. Although they came to New Brunswick with seven children, by John's death in 1823, eight heirs are listed in his will. John Pratt Ford was the couple's only son. His five married sisters were Rachel (George Price), Mary (William Munger), Issabel (William McCready) Catharine (Andrew Sherwood), and Allida (John Palmer). The Fords' two unmarried daughters were Phoebe and Sarah.

Obituaries provide further data about John and Alche Ford's children. Phoebe Ford was just seven years old when her family survived the Parrtown fire of 1784. Her older sisters, Rachel and Catherine, were fourteen and eleven, respectively, when their father dug his famous trench.

In addition to describing Rachel as a child loyalist, her 1856 obituary also contained some impressive genealogical data. "She left 251 descendants: 14 children, 137 grandchildren, {and} 130 great-grandchildren." Given their daughter's offspring alone, there can be no doubt as to whether John and Alche Ford left descendants.

John Pratt Ford, the loyalist's only son, operated a mill on the Richibucto River for forty years before retiring to his parents' farm. He died in 1845. His wife Phoebe breathed her last at 95 in 1887. Their only known son, John Ford III, lived in Coal Branch, Kent County, New Brunswick.

However, it was Issabel (Ford) McCready's son, Caleb, who received the most attention in the media of the day. He was the descendant who proudly showed his grandfather's pistol "among his other possessions" to a reporter with the Daily Sun in 1891.

* * * * *

And so, having maintained his resolve to leave no online stone unturned, the loyalist researcher completed his quest to learn more about the loyalist who dug a trench.

John Ford began his adult life as a tanner in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He married and had most of his children before the outbreak of the American Revolution. He became Captain Ford during his service to the crown, and later led a company of loyalist refugees that sailed on the Mary to the mouth of the St. John River. Had it not been for the Parrtown fire of 1784, Ford's family would probably not have moved to the Hampton area of King's County. When he died, he left farmland, livestock, and furniture --including a feather bed--to his children and wife. His generation remembered him as "one of the best farmers in that colony." Far more than a loyalist trench digger, John Ford was a man who weathered the storms of the American Revolution and fought catastrophic flames to become the ancestor of hundreds of descendants in New Brunswick.

* * * * *

Sources:

The following websites were used to answer the question of "Who was John Ford?":


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

Fear God, Honour The King: Bishop Charles Inglis, Loyalist (Part 3)

By Brian McConnell, UE

As a consequence of being a known loyalist, the house of Charles Inglis was plundered of everything and his land-holdings outside the city of New York, at Kingston, Charlotte, and Fredericksburg, were seized and sold by the rebels. Nonetheless, this did not deter him. He conducted a church service, while rebel leader George Washington was present, in which he prayed aloud for King George III.. He also preached a sermon entitled “The Duty of Honouring the King”(3). It begins:

I PETER, II. 17

Fear God, Honour the King

SUCH is the concise, nervous and commanding style in which the Apostle inforces those two Duties. He connects the respectful Honour and Obedience we owe to our Sovereign, with that filial, reverential Fear which is due to our Creator; not only because they are characteristic of a real Christian, and should be inseparable; but because our Welfare, Peace and Happiness, temporal and eternal, depend on the Discharge of them.

It is worthy of Observation, that these Duties are often joined together in other Passages of sacred Writ, in the Old as well as New Testament.

THUS Solomon exhorts, - - - My Son, fear thou the Lord and the King, and meddle not with them that are given to change. And he immediately subjoins a weighty Reason for the Exhortation. For, says he, their Calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the Ruin of them both.

Charles Inglis carried on doing his church work through the war years. In 1778 he also received an honourary degree from Oxford. From 1781-82 he was Chaplain to the 1st Battalion of the New Jersey Volunteers, a Loyalist corp in the British army. He received a salary of 100 pounds per annum as Chaplain which since the rebels had seized his property was his only income.

Notes:

(3) See: Charles Inglis, “The Duty of Honouring the King.”

...Brian McConnell, UE

Servos Family: Comment

In October of 2012 I went to Queenston Heights for the special events.While there I went in search of Servos family relics and found it thanks to the proprietor of Applewood Hollow Bed and Breakfast on Four Mile Creek Road. There is of course nothing left of the old house but Archives Ontario has a painting entitled Palatine Hill. The cemetery is a recognized Loyalist burying place but is a sad and lonely place given the background of the property and its family. Stones that were carefully lifted from the ground and put into a wall are now hidden by rapacious overgrowth.There is one pillar stone that stands in the middle of the enclosure as a kind of sentinel for the place.

Jane, the owner of Applewood Hollow, really cares about the old property now part of Palatine Hills Winery and has over the years found many old relics and taken some beautiful pictures.

She told me about a book that tells the story of this family and the property...Palatine Hill by Charlotte Fielden published 2004 by CFM Books.

I found the book to be a treasure – so much so that instead of reading quickly to devour the whole delicious thing I tried to drag it out so the pleasure would last. While this is a work of fiction it manages to tell the Servos family story and the story of Palatine Hill in a most artful manner. John Robert Columbo in his review says the author "obviously loves her subject and has done the historical figures proud". Indeed she has.

...Lynne Kerr, UE

Digital Gazette: Order Your Spring 2015 Issue Now

Each person who receives the digital version – and no paper copy – of the Spring Gazette receivesd the benefits of the electronic copy (full colour, less storage space etc.) and helps reduce expenses as well. BUT in order to reduce expenses, we need to know if you will accept ONLY the digital copy before April 12 when the printing order will be.

People who are paid-up members and Gazette subscribers can register for the digital copy of the Spring 2015 issue (and get access to the Fall 2014 issue in the same place). Each request is processed at Dominion Office (to check that the requirements are met) before the access details are returned (the office is open Tues, Wed, Thurs).

Those who received access last year will need to reapply, as the address and password are new.

Register today if you are into digital at all (you can still get the mailed copy)

We hope you will enjoy this year's issues of the Loyalist Gazette – in digital full colour.

...Publications Committee

Where in the World?

Where is Toronto Branch member Andrew Fleming? Bonus point: And who is he pictured with?

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

  • 25 Mar 1774 – This day in history. Parliament orders closure of port of Boston in retribution for the Boston Tea Party.
  • Making Cloth and Clothing on the Frontier. Some of the works below are specifically about home cloth-making or clothes production in the early 19th century in the region of the Great Lakes States. Other works contain more general information about processes and materials used for cloth production, some of which were in use in America at that time. Below the citations for books and articles there are links to YouTube videos and a website.
  • The Sugar House prison where Americans were held during the British occupation of Manhattan
  • Rural Life c. 1783 [she looks a little over-dressed for one feeding the chickens - or maybe she is just the daughter of a gentleman farmer]
  • 18thc word of the day: Firkin - a cask made to carry food equal to 1/4th of a barrel. Short article and video from Colonial Williamsburg.
  • The American Committee of Safety musket is more a general term of reference than a specific model. In colonial America local areas would make themselves responsible for the protection of the communities. To organize this protection, Committees of Safety would be organized and they in turn would organize local militia. To arm the men, local gunsmiths would produce guns in design generally based on the British Long Pattern musket. Description and photo.
  • Divided loyalties. The war divided families and communities in North America and Britain. The split between Benjamin Franklin and his Loyalist son William symbolized this division. At the start of the war loyalties were not always clear-cut. Many Loyalists, like the rebels, were critical of British actions such as the introduction of the Stamp Act, but wanted to pursue peaceful forms of protest. Read more.

Last Post: Marie Dorothy (Scott) Sims, UE

Last Post: SIMS UE, Marie Dorothy (Scott)

Long-time Bicentennial Branch member, Marie Dorothy (Scott) Sims, U.E., died on March 17, 2015. She was in her 95th year. Marie received her certificate for Loyalist Leonard Kratz in 1996. Marie was a life member of the Order of the Eastern Star; she attended Epworth United Church and volunteered with the Canadian Cancer Society. She was also a member of the Kingsville-Gosfield Heritage Society. Marie is survived by 2 sons, 2 daughters, 9 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

...Margie Luffman, UE, Bicentennial Branch

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