Connect with us online:

Ontario Loyalist Licence Plates
Make a donation and help preserve Loyalist history
Make a donation and help
preserve Loyalist history

Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2015 Archive

Previous Issue   |   Index   |   Next Issue

“Loyalist Trails” 2015-21: May 24, 2015


2015 Conference Loyalists Come West: Moving Ever Westwards

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

The 2014 UELAC Vancouver Branch Project to celebrate the UELAC centenary (1914-2014) aimed to produce a 100-150 page book, discussing the role which descendants of Loyalists played in the growth and development of British Columbia from the time of its early explorers and into the Twentieth century. Pages 1-11 contain the scholarly Introduction by Dr. Peter Moogk UE titled, Loyalist Descendants in British Columbia History. The first printing of the book sold out in the Fall of 2014; the second printing will be available at the Conference. Read more about this book, Moving Ever Westward: Loyalist Descendants Come to British Columbia, and buy a copy when you are at the conference.

...2015 Conference Planning Committee Victoria BC

Conference Transportation From Airport to Hotel

For those of you arriving by plane to the Victoria airport, we have been able to arrange special discounts with the shuttle service that provides transportation from the airport to the hotel, and back.

You need to prebook the shuttle service. The shuttle service runs until late in the night. Not all times are noted on the online schedule. Your booking will be for any day, any time.

You will find the information here. Email with any questions.

...Frans and Betty Compeer, UE

The Esther's Evacuees, Part Two: Almost Three Hundred Saved, by Stephen Davidson

Counting men, women, children and slaves, 3,826 people were evacuated from United States by the fleet of ships that left New York City in September 1783. Lt. Col. Richard Hewlett, a married man with ten children of his own, was charged with seeing that the loyalists arrived safely at the mouth of the St. John River and that they were settled in their new communities before the snow fell.

Things did not get off to a very good start for Hewlett. When the fleet arrived in the port that would become Saint John, New Brunswick, two of his ships were missing. What had become of the Martha and the Esther? Both ships were carrying close to two hundred loyalists; both ships had to navigate through treacherous waters.

Two days after the majority of the loyalist refugees had disembarked from their evacuation ships, Hewlett received good news and bad news. In a letter to his commander in chief, Sir Guy Carleton, Hewlett wrote, "I have the honour to inform your Excellency of the arrival of the ship Esther".

However, the news about the Martha was not so encouraging. Somehow word had reached Hewlett that the evacuation ship had "been wrecked on a ledge of rocks off the Seal Islands between Cape Sable and the Bay of Fundy". It would be almost two weeks before Hewlett would know how many – if any – of the passengers had survived the shipwreck. Of one thing he was certain, Hewlett and his wife would never see all of the household items and personal belongings that they had stowed away in the hold of the Martha. Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet's passengers waited in their tents above the St. John River's reversing falls. They would only proceed to their new settlements once the Martha's survivors joined them.

During those days of waiting, the passengers of the Esther disembarked, no doubt thankful that they had escaped the forces of nature that had destroyed the Martha. Mary Barbara Fisher, an Esther evacuee, later recounted her first impressions: "When we got to Saint John, we found the place all in confusion; some were living in log houses, some building huts, and many of the soldiers living in their tents."

Hannah Ingraham, reflecting upon a voyage that had almost been her last, said "There were no deaths on board, but several babies were born. It was a sad, sick time after we landed; in St. John we had to live in tents; the government gave them to us and rations, too. It was just the first snow then, and the melting snow and rain would soak up into our beds as we lay. Mother got so chilled with rheumatism that she was never very well afterwards."

The only manifest for the Esther that has survived says nothing of 33 year-old Mary, 11 year-old Hannah or the babies that were born during the Esther's northward voyage. It only records the names of 127 members of the 3rd Battalion of the New Jersey Volunteers. If one only had this document, it would be easy to assume that the Esther only carried male passengers.

However, other sources from this era reveal that Mary and her husband, Lewis Fisher, travelled with four children. William Price and his wife Sally sailed with their children James, John, Edward and Margaret. Sir Guy Carleton's ledger, the Book of Negroes, reveals that three enslaved Africans accompanied the loyalist passengers. 21 year-old Maria had been purchased by Captain Donald Campbell of the New Jersey Volunteers – as had her three year-old son, Mingo. Abraham, a 21 year-old man, was described as “the captain's property” – that man being a Captain McLeod. So how many people, then, were actually aboard the Esther?

In her research for The Loyalists of New Brunswick, the historian Esther Clark Wright determined that the totals for various loyalist populations were generally three times that given for the number of men or heads of families. Wright came up with a formula for estimating the average number of dependents likely to be attached to each male loyalist. She multiplied the number of men by 2.25. Using this system of reckoning, the 127 soldiers whose names appear on the Esther's manifest were probably part of a group of passengers that numbered at least 286 people.

The manifest of the Esther may fail to provide many important details, but it does reveal that most of its passengers were natives of New Jersey. The next largest group hailed from New York, a group that was further delineated by those who came from Staten Island or Albany County. Only one or two were born in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ireland, Scotland, England and Germany. When an occupation was noted (and it usually wasn't), most of the soldiers had been farmers before the war. A cart man, merchant, tavern keeper, shoemaker, clothier, and carpenter were the only other trades, and they each only appear once.

The number of passengers on the Esther diminished within five days of their ship's arrival. Captain Waldron Blaau (sometimes spelled Blaan) died just five days after arriving at the mouth of the St. John River. A veteran who had served during the entire war, he left behind his wife Eleanor and a daughter. These two returned to New York City where Patriots restored their house and lands that had been confiscated during the revolution. John and Vincent Swim, David and Frederick Burkstaff, and Moses McComesky are all New Jersey Volunteers who are noted as having been in Blaau's Company.

Finally, on Friday, October 10, those on lookout duty at Fort Howe spied a number of small craft entering the harbour. When sixty-eight people came ashore, they were found to be the only survivors of the Martha's 181 passengers. There, but for the grace of God, could also have been those who had sailed on the Esther.

On Monday, October 13, the various troops who had sailed with their families in the September fleet (including the New Jersey Volunteers on the Esther) were officially disbanded. Now they could begin to make their way up the St. John River to their promised land grants. All they needed to do was hire enough small craft to transport 2,000 of them on a nine-day journey to Ste. Anne's Point. Added to this problem was the matter of how they were to build their homes in the bush. The British government had supplied these loyalists with small hatchets instead of axes!

Next week in Loyalist Trails: The Esther evacuees' first winter and their known stories.

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

An American's Experience in the British Army, by Col. Stephen Jarvis

Manuscript of Colonel Stephen Jarvis – Born in 1756. Relating the remarkable experiences as a recruit in the lines of the British army – Accurate transcript from the original manuscript which was lost for many years but then recovered. This ancient manuscript, almost illegible, is written by one of them. It uncovers many secrets. It reveals the contentions, despairs and almost insufferable hardships of the defenders of the crown. It passes the scouting line, penetrates the ranks of the redcoats and takes one into the heart of the British Army. It is a revelation of the life of the men who fought and died for the King in trying to save the Western Continent to the British Empire. The writer of this remarkable manuscript is one Stephen Jarvis. He was born November 6, 1756, in Danbury, Connecticut, and died in Toronto, Canada, in 1840, at the age of eighty four years.

Read the manuscript – about 40 small pages, with footnotes.

Published in the Journal of American History, Vol.1, No.3, 1907.

...Robert Jarvis, UE

Doan Family – 1812 Commemoration

Congratulations to Rick Doan UE who proved that his ancestors Aaron Doan, United Empire Loyalist and his son Levi both fought in the War of 1812. Rick was awarded two Veteran of the War of 1812 plaques to be placed at their cemetery stones in Doan Cemetery, Port Colborne (not to be confused with Doans Ridge Cemetery). Rick organized a significant memorial ceremony, held on Saturday, May 23rd at 10 a.m. at the Doan Cemetery.

Bag Piper Peter C. Cotton of the Fort Erie Legion came out and piped a tribute to Aaron and Levi for free as it was a veterans event! Port Colborne Mayor John Maloney and Fred Betton from the Fort Erie Legion joined many members of the Doan Family and Colonel John Butler (Niagara) Branch (see photo) at the meaningful ceremony. Rick thanked adopted Doan, Pat Bowman and the Vanderlanns for the use of the reception center behind the cemetery where "Empire" cookies and Janet Hodgkins UE's delicious "1812" cake were served.

This headstone picture shows the initial results of the work that Rick and his team did to rejuvenate Levi's headstone with a special cleaner called D2, the only approved cleaner for cleaning headstones. They use it on the American White House and other famous marble buildings! The final results can be seen in the centre of the group picture.

...Rod and Bev Craig, Col. John Butler Branch

Spring Brings Colour; Colour Adds Sparkle to the Gazette

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many more is a colour picture worth?

If you haven't already, request the digital version of the Loyalist Gazette and compare the black and white printed version you received as a member with the full colour digital version? (for UELAC members and Loyalist Gazette Subscribers only).

Register today if you would like to try it. Your eligibility will be checked and details emailed to you during office hours, Tuesday to Thursdays.

...The Publications Committee

Where in the World?

Where is Kingston Branch member Nancy Cutway?

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.

Region and Branch Bits

From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.

  • Lundy's Lane United Church will be closing with the last service on May 31. Established in 1794, one would suspect there were a number of Loyalists in the original or early congregations. Some history. (Donna Magee)
  • St. Alban The Martyr Anglican Church Adolphustown Evensong - the United Empire Loyalist Commemorative Service will be held at 2 pm, June 14th, 2015 to celebrate the 231st anniversary of the landing of the Loyalists at Adolphustown in June 1784. Officiant: Reverend Dr. John Walmsley and Guest Speaker: Peter C. Newman CC, CD, Author. Tea will be served on the rectory lawn following the service. Inquiries: 613 373-8865. See announcement and more information about St. Alban The Martyr Church, the Loyalist Memorial Tiles and more here.
  • Old Hay Bay Church -- 1792, A National Historic Site of Canada. Canada's oldest surviving Methodist Church was erected in 1792 in the Township of Adolphustown, west of Kingston, Ontario. Over the years this cherished place has been restored and renewed, to bring inspiration for new generations. The Annual Pilgrimage Service is held on the fourth Sunday of August at 3 p.m. he Board of Directors is planning a reunion for the descendants of the subscribers of this historic church. If you are, or think you may be, a descendent of one, or more of the Founders, please provide Kathy Staples contact information at: Find more information at our website and on our Facebook page (Lois O'Hara).
    • Subscription List: Allison -- Bininger -- Casey -- Clapp -- Dafoe -- Davis -- Embury -- Ferguson -- Hover/Hoover - Frederick -- German -- Green -- Huff -- Ketcheson -- Roblin -- Ruttan -- VanDusen
    • Also -- the 1819 Drowning List: Bogart -- Cole -- Clark -- Detlor -- German -- Madden -- McKay -- Roblin

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Visitors and residents of Tiverton on Long Island NS, may have noticed the Loyalist flag flying in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery. The Society of the Descendants of Robert and Sarah Outhouse received permission last fall from the Tiverton village commissioners to fly a Loyalist flag beneath the Canadian flag in the cemetery. Tiverton was founded by Loyalists Robert Outhouse and John McKay.
  • 2015 marks the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act and its passage. In recognition of the important role the act played in the American Revolution, the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library created a traveling exhibition: We Are One: Mapping America's Road from Revolution to Independence. The exhibit features pieces from the library's collections as well as items loaned from other institutions, including Colonial Williamsburg, the Library of Congress, the British Library, and other organizations. We Are One opened at the in the McKim Gallery at the Boston Public Library on May 2, 2015. We Are One seeks to explore the "tumultuous events that led thirteen colonies to forge a new nation" and to "change the way people look at the Revolutionary War" by exhibiting maps and artifacts from about 1750 to 1800. The exhibition presents different views of the British Empire and a cartographic timeline of the American Revolution. It begins with images of Boston in the 1760s and 1770s. The maps, political cartoons, and sketches within this section of the exhibit depict how Bostonians saw their place within the British Empire. A sketch of the scene of the Boston Massacre, likely done by Paul Revere, reveals not only the massacre, but the placement of imperial buildings in Boston. Visiting the area this year - check it out. If not, read the article by Elizabeth M. Covart published by The Journal of the American Revolution
  • Last week it was noted that the Fraunces Tavern Museum announced the exhibition opening of Lafayette on May 22, 2015. Ed Garrett sends the port of call schedule of l'Hermione. He noted that after Castine, Maine she will make a stop in either Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, or in Halifax before heading back across the Atlantic to Brest and then to her homeport of Rochefort. By the way Loyalist hearts may be made glad because her rebuilding was made possible by British record keeping. l'Hermione's sister ship Concorde was captured in 1783 by H.M.S. Magnificent and her lines were taken off by the Royal Navy (e.g. reverse engineering). Recently, when the folks in Rochefort, France decided to build a full size exact replica, they had to purchase the plans from the British National Archives in Kew.
  • An update on The Ship Camel: A Third Voyage, by Ed Garrett The researcher has sent photographs of the Muster Book and Log Book of H.M.A.T. Camel. Interesting; I'll send comments when I've truly digested the information.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:

  • Adams, Gideon - (volunteer Sandra McNamara)
  • Embury, David Sr. - (volunteer Sandra McNamara)
  • McCall, Donald - (volunteer Sandra McNamara)
  • Westbrook, Anthony - from Rev. Charlotte Moore with certificate applications

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

Last Post

Dr. Owen Slingerland, UE

Died on Thursday, May 14, 2015 in his 93rd year. Dearest husband and anam cara to Mary. He will be missed greatly by members of his family. Friends may call at Queensville United Church, 20453 Leslie St., for a memorial visitation on Sunday, May 24, 2015 from 2-5 p.m. Memorial service will be held at the Church on Monday, May 25, 2015 at 11 a.m. Donations may be made to Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Arrangements entrusted to SKWARCHUK FUNERAL HOME, Mt. Albert.

A long-time member of the Gov. Simcoe Branch, Owen proved to Richard Slingerland in 1981.

Herbert H. Todgham, UE

Herbert passed away in Chatham, on Monday, May 18, 2015 at the age of 91. Born in Walkerville, Ontario, Herb was the son of the late Ida (Richards) and Herbert Todgham and the beloved husband for 63 years of Irene Todgham (Martin) (2011). He was predeceased by his son, Jim (1998), brother, Ronald (1975) and sister, Mary Gilbert (2013). He will be greatly missed by his children Jill Holmes (Dan Smith), Judy (Frank Gerber) and John (Yvonne), his daughter-in-law Cleone Todgham, as well as his grandchildren.

Herb grew up in Walkerville, Ontario. He graduated with a B.A.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of Toronto in 1945. From work in Toronto until 1948, he relocated to Chatham where he joined in forming the firm of McCubbin, Brisco and Todgham Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors; then later with Bill Case to form the Consulting Engineering firm of Todgham and Case Ltd.

Upon his retirement in 1992, Herb was appointed to the Ontario Drainage Tribunal. Herb was a very active volunteer in the Chatham community. He became a Rotarian in 1949, was a long-time member and Chair of the Board of the Public General Hospital, later became the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. He was a member and Chair of the District Health Council, member and Chair of St. John's Ambulance, and longtime member and Chair of the Board of Trustees of Park Street United Church. Herb was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Chatham Minor Hockey Association and of the Board of Directors of the Maple City Golf and Country Club. He was also Commodore of the Rondeau Yacht Club. Family will receive friends at the McKinlay Funeral Home, Chatham on Sunday from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held at the McKinlay Funeral Home at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 25, 2015 with Rev. Mark Perry and Gabriella Cutler officiating. In lieu of flowers, if desired, donations may be made in Herb's memory to the Rotary Club of Chatham Service Club Fund, Rotary International or the Chatham-Kent Hospice. Cremation to follow with an interment to be held at Maple Leaf Cemetery at a later date. Online condolences may be left at

Herb's Loyalist Certificate was issued on 4 December 2010 to ancestor Henry Buchner who settled in the Home District, 1797, Lot 1, Concession 4, Lyons Creek, Crowland Township, Lincoln County, Niagara District, Upper Canada.

...Dan Griffin/Stephen Botsford, Bicentennial Branch


Connecting Obadiah Griffin Sr. and Jr.

I have been collecting information about my ancestor, Obadiah Griffin (b. 9 Mar 1743, Nine Partners, Dutchess Co., N.Y.) , whom I found on the Muster Roll of Capt. John Howard's Company of New York Volunteers commanded by Lieut. Col. George Turnbull Esq., Commandant of Paulus Hook, February 1778

I also found him with his family on John Smith's Company of Loyal Refugees on board the transport for St. John River in the Bay of Fundy. The name of the ship is not recorded. Ref:MC2 PANB

Obadiah Griffin was a farmer from Dutchess Co., N.Y and he came with his wife and 4 children -1 child over 10 years and other 3 under 10 years.

I know he and his wife were Quakers, I found their intention to marry - 30 Aug 1764, Obediah Griffin of Charlotte Pre and Mary Moore of Beekman and they were married 30 of Aug, 1764 at Oswego.

Obadiah Sr. is listed on a Muster Roll of Disbanded Officers Discharged and Disbanded Soldiers and Loyalists Mustered at Digby the 29th May 1784, Reel 6-9818 MG23 D1, Series 1, Item #298

On a list titled Loyalists and Land Settlement in Nova Scotia,1801, both Obadiah Griffin and Obadiah Griffin Jr. are listed in Digby Township and each received 100 acres.

I can find very little information about his children, but one son, Obadiah Griffin Jr.,(b. 1777, Dutchess Co., N.Y., d. 1 Dec 1870, Dunwich Twp., Elgin Co. Ont) is my ancestor.

They both received land in the town of Digby. Obadiah Griffin (Sr) was granted 200 acres in a large land grant (75 allotments of land on the southeaster side of the Grand Lake, being a branch of the River St. John)

Obadiah Griffin Jr. of Marshalltown married Hannah McIntyre b. 23 Dec 1779, Nova Scotia, d. 2 Jun 1871, Dunwich Twp., Elgin Co., Ontario), daughter of Samuel (McIntyre) on 4 May 1797 in the County of Digby.

Obadiah Griffin Sr & wife, Mary ; Obadiah Griffin Jr. & wife Hannah and 8 children; and possibly other sons of Obadiah Sr. left Nova Scotia c 1814 and travelled to Upper Canada, visiting at Smithville where Richard Griffin, a brother, lived.

Some family history states that Obadiah Jr. stayed there approx. one year; a son, Jacob Griffin, was born on 5 Nov 1815 in Smithville, Ont. Obadiah Jr. and his family 9 children then moved on to Southwold, Elgin Co. where he obtained a farm.

Obadiah Sr. did not continue with him and it is thought he might have returned to New York State.

Obadiah Griffin Jr. had a daughter Christianna Griffin, b. c1807, Nova Scotia who married Rufus Lumley born 1804 in Cumberland Co., N.S. His family came from Yorkshire in 1774 (Thomas Lumley and Ruth Geldart, grandparents)

The Griffins and the Lumleys both came to Elgin Co., the Griffins c 1816 and the Lumleys c1819 --the families might have known each other.

Is there enough information here to connect both Obadiahs? The Nova Scotia Land Grants are difficult to find. Where would I have to look to find deeds and sales of land? I hope to apply for a Loyalist certificate.

Thank you for your help.

...Ruth M. Smith, Vineland Station, Ontario

Response re Adopted Children

I believe the rules for land grants included step-children and adopted children of Loyalists as well as blood children. I will have to review my notes, but I am pretty sure I encountered this question at some point either in the Haldimand Papers or the Upper Canada Land petitions.

One example is Elizabeth McLaney Dennis' petition.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Dr. Andrew McLaney who served as a surgeon on a ship that was lost. His widow Martha Brown was left with two very young children John and Elizabeth McLaney and she married John Dennis, a Loyalist.

In 1797, Martha Dennis wrote a petition asking for land for her and her daughter Elizabeth as a daughter of Dr. McLaney, but since he had died circa 1779 and had never come to Upper Canada, Elizabeth was not eligible as a Loyalist as a daughter of Dr. McLaney, but she was eligible to a land grant as a step-daughter of John Dennis, and the land patent was issued to her in the name of Elizabeth Dennis. She received a nice lot on Yonge Street, in Markham township.

For more information you can read my article about Elizabeth Sanders published in Ontario History in Spring 2013.

I am sure I have seen more examples of step-children and adopted children receiving grants as SUE or DUE, but right now, this is the only one that comes to mind.

Below is an excerpt from the Upper Canada State Book C pp 285-286 (see image in PDF). 13th Jun 1803 Online MIKAN no. 3829967 (6 items) on Library and Archives Website for State Books, Library and Archives Canada

"... As to the Order in Council of the 4th May 1802 that places step-Children on the same footing with those of the Children of U.E. Loyalists, the only thing that I can find to countenance such a measure in the smallest degree is confined to a sentence in a Circular Letter from Mr Secretary Stotz of the 19th Jan 1790 "or any of their Children and their descendants by either sex". allowing this to be the case, where the father had joined the Royal Standard and afterwards was either killed or had died -- the Mother becoming the head of the family, it appears reasonable under such circumstances that her Children previous to a second Marriage should be entitled to the same priviledge as if their Father had been living, on the other hand, where a Man who from services was entitled to priviledge, married a Woman with Children, whose former Husband had not joined the Royal Standard -- those Children by not inheriting their Step Father's blood can derive no priviledge by his having married their Mother -- I submit it therefore as my opinion, that Step Children of the first description are entitled to priviledge; and that those of the second description become subject in all cases to the payment of full Fees for whatever Lands may be granted to them. ....

(Signed) John McGill Inspector General P. P. Accounts

(Signed) James Green Secretary

His Excellency, Lieut. General Hunter"

So obviously, this was a practice that was disputed, and it looks like some clarification was asked. There is possibly more information in the Land Books as well as Orders in Council.

I would also recommend reading United Empire Loyalists: A Guide to Tracing Loyalist Ancestors in Upper Canada, by Brenda Dougall Merriman, since I think she discussed the reason why some step-children got land grants and some did not. Timing probably played a part, and possibly how well respected the step-father was.

...Guylaine Petrin

Back to Top   |   Loyalist Trails index   |   Subscribe Now