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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2015 Archive

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“Loyalist Trails” 2015-24: June 14, 2015


Five Loyalist Scots in Canada, by Stephen Davidson

In the years preceding the revolution, loyalists were members of many different organizations. They enjoyed fellowship with others in Christian denominations, Masonic lodges, and college alumni associations. Some New York loyalists were members of the St. Andrew's Society, a Scottish charitable organization patterned on similar societies in London and Boston.

Although the St. Andrew's Society held no meetings during the American Revolution, their membership records allow us to discover the names of many of their loyalist brethren. These are the stories of five who sought refuge in "Canada" – the future provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

Captain John Munro left Tullochue, Scotland in 1756 to settle in Albany, New York. Within four years' time, Munro was a merchant for "a miscellaneous line of goods". Following his first wife's death, John married Maria Brouwer of Schenectady in 1760. He later became a trustee and elder in the First Presbyterian Church, and by 1770, he was a justice of the peace. Life had been good for this Scotsman, but that was all about to change.

The settlers who were pouring into land claimed by both New York and New Hampshire did not appreciate Munro's position on where the New York boundary should be placed. The Green Mountain Boys, a militia that formed in this disputed territory, silenced Munro's opposition for several years.

In June of 1775, the British approached Munro, offering him a captain's rank if he could raise a company of one hundred men. Opposition to Munro grew stronger. Within a year's time, the Scotsman became a fugitive, disguising himself to escape to Canada. Sir Guy Carleton, then the governor of Quebec, appointed Munro to the King's Royal Regiment of New York – also known as the Royal Greens or King's Royal Yorkers.

During the eight years that he served with this regiment, Munro had his "considerable landed property" confiscated by the rebels. Munro's son, Hugh, served in the Royal Greens for six years.

Rebels captured Munro near Ticonderoga in 1777. The patriots deemed him a traitor and sentenced him to death. But rather than hanging him, his captors kept him behind bars for 18 months, hoping to trade him for a patriot officer in a prisoner exchange.

The historian Pearson records a raid that Munro led in October 1780. "A party of 400 Regulars and Indians from Canada, under Major Munro, a tory from Schenectady, made their appearance in the Ballston settlement. They designed to attack Schenectady, but returned without affecting their object. They pillaged several houses and took twenty-four prisoners."

Munro next appears in primary historical sources when he went before the loyalist compensation board in London in 1785. In his petition, the loyalist officer recounted how he had to mortgage four years of his half-pay to cover the cost of his passage to England, adding that he had left his wife and their eight children without support in Canada.

Although Munro estimated his losses at £17,000 (New York currency) the crown gave him only £40 to cover his expenses in coming to England and returning to Canada, "on the grounds that his half-pay must be regarded as sufficient acknowledgment of his services and losses".

Captain Richard Duncan was another Scot who was both a member of the Royal Greens and New York's St. Andrew's Society. A native of Berwick-on-Tweed, Duncan arrived in New York with his family in 1755. After serving in Ireland with the 55th Regiment, Duncan returned to Schenectady where he helped John Munro safely escape to Canada in 1776.

After joining the King's Regiment of New York, Duncan saw action in the Mohawk River Valley. He commanded his company "great gallantry and success in the retreat when attacked by Gen. Van Rensselaer". He served with the Royal Greens for eight years, including the battles at Saratoga and Ticonderoga.

After settling in Williamsburg, Duncan eventually served as a member for the executive council of Upper Canada. He married Margaret Radcliff of Albany, New York in 1807 and died twelve years later. He was remembered as being "an accomplished Christian gentlemen, of extremely urbane manners, and very much respected."

Colonel John (Jock) Campbell had already seen a great deal of action before the outbreak of the American Revolution. He began his military career in 1745 when, as a teenager, he joined the 42nd Royal Highlanders. Campbell fought in all of the regiments' New World campaigns.

At forty-six, he was a captain in the 27th regiment in General Burgoyne's ill-fated expedition of 1777. Campbell, at the head of a number of Indians, was "distinguished for his spirited conduct as an officer, adorned by that elegance and politeness which mark the accomplished gentleman, and his virtues in private life endeared him to his family and companions."

John Campbell died in Montreal at the age of 64 in 1795. His funeral was noted as being one "suitable to his rank, not only by the very numerous assembly of citizens of all ranks, but by a large body of Indian warriors, whose very decent behaviour evinced the sincerity with which they partook of the universal regret occasioned by the loss of so very respectable a member of society."

Another Scot who had been a member of the New York City St. Andrew's Society had settled in St. Sulpice, about forty miles below Montreal. A native of Dalpholly, Scotland, Lt. Ann (sic) Gordon had received a number of wounds while serving with the 46th Foot. Upon leaving the regiment, Gordon settled in Albany County, N.Y. where he built a grist and saw mill. By 1776, he and his wife and their five children were living on two farms in Quebec. They depended on revenue from their mills in New York, but lost it all when rebels confiscated their property.

Gordon's bad luck did not stop there. Wounded in the leg, hands, shoulder, and neck during his days as a soldier, the loyalist Scot battled with cancer of the face during the course of the revolution. Unable to help Gordon, his Quebec doctors advised that he sail to England for treatment. After mortgaging his farm to pay for the ocean voyage, he lost all of his money when his ship was wrecked in the St. Lawrence River.

Gordon struck out for England a year later, "leaving behind a destitute family". Four years of treatment in London did not change his situation; he eventually lost the use of his eyes. In 1786, Gordon petitioned the loyalist compensation board for help. Even the commissioners thought he was "a shocking spectacle". After being granted an annual pension, Gordon died within the year. The commissioners then provided a pension for his widow and children. One of Gordon's sons went to Scotland to live with his father's family. Another was brought up by a friendly neighbour in Quebec. Mrs Gordon received help in operating the St. Sulpice farm, but nothing more is known of the couples' three other children.

Major William Dunbar was another member of the St. Andrew's Society who eventually made his home in Montreal. He fought with the British forces during the Seven Years War, and after the peace in 1763, decided to settle in Canada. He married Josette Catherine D'Eschambault, and they had two daughters. One married Dr George Selby of Montreal; Jessie married Ralph Bruyeres of the Royal Engineers.

With the outbreak of war, Dunbar's life was no longer peaceful. As he headed downriver from Montreal to Quebec to ward off its rebel attackers, Americans captured the Scot and kept him as their prisoner. Later released, Dunbar became a major and started recruiting soldiers for the 84th Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment. He died in Montreal in 1788.

There are more stories about the men who were part of New York City's St. Andrew's Society. One was later buried in Westminster Abbey, another was part of the New York Tea Party, a third was the head of the British army's medical department in New York, and a fourth died in India. Their stories will be told in the next edition of Loyalist Trails.

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

Anthony and Andrew Westbrook (Part 3), by Doug Massey

© Doug Massey UE

It very well could have been personality or a need to get revenge that motivated Anthony Westbrook, but then he may very well have been a Loyalist out of conviction. There were scoundrels, people of principle and folks of all moral shades in-between who fought on both sides during the American Revolution. To this day there are those who think of "tories" in a pejorative way, and characterize them as having fought "on the wrong side". Patriots, they hold, were the "good guys" whose decision to fight was a moral one. This is quite unfair and not supported by the facts. In this first American Civil War there were two, legitimate sides, and people of conscience on both. Among those who fought out of principle in the Dutch Reformed Church were both Patriots who considered the revolution as God's providence, and Loyalist Dutch who took up arms because of a legitimate theological stance within orthodox Calvinism. To these Loyalists "the British government was not merely benevolent; it was the government God had established".[14] It therefore followed that although that government could err, it was not to be toppled.

It was not by chance that Anthony Westbrook fought alongside Joseph Brant throughout the war. Their Christian theology was similar in part. Brant was Anglican in his religion, but wholeheartedly agreed with Dutch Reformed Loyalists in his support for Britain on the basis of legitimacy and allegiance. When Brant's mentor, Eleazar Wheelock attempted to win him over to the Patriot side in the revolution, Brant reminded the good reverend that he, Wheelock, had once wished "that they might be able to live as good subjects (Brant's emphasis) -- to fear God, and Honor THE King". [15] So there is some merit in thinking that Anthony Westbrook, and Ludowick Sheily, a fellow Dutch Reformed "conferentie" from the Kingston Church, who also fought with Brant throughout the war, may have done so out of similar religious principle. [16] And as we will see Brant's Volunteers also included as many as nine other fellow congregants from the Mackhackemeck congregation.

Yet it would be a creep of political events that transformed Anthony Westbrook from a quiet, law-abiding farmer into a feared and hated "tory" and member of Joseph Brant's Volunteers. Until the incidents at Lexington and Concord, most Americans supported peaceful reform of their colonial governments through established channels, not independence. New York and New Jersey vacillated between opposition to the Intolerable acts and opposition to the extremists of the Liberty Party. And,

All Americans were loud in their attachment to King
George, Tories because of their attachment to royalty,
Whigs because they believed the King was at heart a
Whig, imposed upon by a Tory ministry. [17]

Mob violence was to be avoided. Indeed, for Anthony Westbrook, a man with a wife and family, and some standing within his community, violence of any kind had to be avoided. He was not alone.

Orange County was but one of seven rural New York counties that treated the First Continental Congress of 1774 with indifference: Only twenty of one thousand freeholders even bothered to vote to elect delegates. [18] Like other conservative farmers on the New York frontier, Anthony was happy and prosperous under British rule. He did not feel the burdens of imperial legislation as much as did Whigs in the towns and cities of the colonies. On April 29, 1775, the freeholders of New York City formulated a written "pledge" or test, and sent it out to all the counties to sign. The aim was to form a "general association"

For the purpose of preserving our Constitution and
opposing the execution of the several arbitrary acts
of the British Parliament, until a reconciliation between
Great Britain and America on constitutional principles
(which we most ardently desire) can be obtained. [19]

The clash at Lexington on April 19, 1774 had the immediate effect of uniting settlers of all the colonies: British soldiers had killed American farmers! In New York the shock of Lexington brought a unity that allowed for the pledge to go forward in the rural counties ten days later. The situation looked ominous. Even so most colonists still hoped for a peaceful solution. In Orange County, most men who had been divided earlier by religious, social or political differences came together as one to sign the pledge. On June 8, 1775, Anthony Westbrook, and his brother Samuel did so in the Precinct of Goshen, Blooming Grove District, [20] and his father Johannes and brothers, Johannes jr. and Joel, in the Precinct of Goshen, Minisink District. [21] But a significant number did not sign and were designated as "non associators". These extreme Loyalists did not support the Congress, and rejected its boycott of British goods. At first they were not coerced. But with time, they were more and more persecuted by the local committee of safety as regulations tightened up. In September of 1775, there was an attempt to disarm them, and in March of 1776, this was strengthened. When the "non-associators" resisted, or did not pay taxes, they were thrown into jail at Goshen or Kingston, New York. The jails were overflowing but still the disaffection increased. So weak were the local committees in Orange, Queens and Richmond Counties, and so strong were the "inimical" that the Provincial Congress had to take charge. Col. Ann Hawks Hay of the Orange Militia was authorized to arrest the worst "tories" and send them to prisons in New York City.


[14] Ibid., pg. 31

[15] Isabel T. Kelsay, Joseph Brant 1743-1807 Man of Two Worlds, Syracuse University Press, 1984, pg. 150.

[16] R. R. Hoes, Kingston New York Reformed Dutch Church Records, De Vinne Press, New York, 1891, pg. 372. Shiely's grandson is here baptized by Dominie John C. Fryenmoet. This is undeniable evidence of Shiely's strong conferentie leaning.

[17] Adrian Leiby, op cit., pg. 18-19.

[18] Alexander C. Flick, Loyalism in New York During the American Revolution, Columbia University Press, London, 1901, pg. 23.

[19] Russel Headley, ed., The History of Orange County, New York, Van Deusen and Elms, Middleton New York, 1908, pg. 66-67.

[20] Ibid., pg. 75.

[21] Ibid., pg. 72.

...Doug Massey

Major Christopher French, Prisoner of War, by Gary Shattuck

One of the prickly issues facing George Washington as his army waited outside Boston in the summer of 1775 concerned prisoners taken by both American and British forces. As the leader of a rebelling faction, this was entirely unfamiliar territory to him; the treatment of captured British soldiers presented a distinct conundrum. The era's rules of war most clearly applied to warring nations, whereas a civil war, as de Vattel's highly regarded treatise Law of Nations defined, seemed to require something different, apropos employing equitable attributes of "humanity, forbearance, truthfulness, and honor." Erring on the side of leniency and compassion was Washington's inclination, but when faced with the countering position of British General Thomas Gage, it was not so easy.

To the British commander there were no such delicate issues for this was an outright, unwarranted affront to established law, one that needed to be crushed before it spread. Coddling captured rebels hardly merited much concern; to Gage, the availability of the more draconian sanctions de Vattel described appeared most prominent in his mind. It was a position that became all too real as the war unfolded and some 8,500 American soldiers died while in custody, hidden away in whatever ramshackle facilities might be available, including "local jails, barracks, warehouses, churches, underground mines, ships."

Washington didn't know that just as he was threatening retaliation a situation dropped squarely into his lap testing his resolve. As he waited for Gage's reply to his first letter, the supply ship HMS Hope out of Cork, Ireland, was making its way up the Delaware River, ignorant that the colonies were in full rebellion. The Pennsylvania Committee of Safety ordered the vessel seized, discovering clothing for two regiments destined for Gage's army onboard accompanied by five British soldiers enroute to Boston: Irishman Major Christopher French, 22nd Regiment of Foot, Ensign John Rotton, 47th Regiment, volunteer Terrence McDermot, and two private soldiers acting as their servants. The committee ordered these men detained and brought before them on August 16.

Read the full article wherein the two sides dance around the politics of prisoners as published in the Journal of the American Revolution.

Friends of the Loyalist Collection at Brock University Digitizes Woodruff Collection

The generous donation of major grants from the UELAC, significant donations from the Sir Guy Carleton, Vancouver and Col. John Butler (Niagara) Branches plus many individual donations, the Friends of the Loyalist Collection at Brock University will fund the digitization of the Robert Deveaux Woodruff Band Collection to preserve and archive it on microfilm and make it digitally available to everyone on line. We received a message on Friday from MES Hybrid Document Systems to inform us that the team is presently working on delivering image samples for our review. They are striving to have the samples scanned, indexed and through quality control as soon as possible. Stay tuned for further updates!

Friends of the Loyalist Collection Directors: Bill Stevens and Rod & Bev Craig were delighted to attend the celebration at Brock University on May 26th in the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre Lobby honouring the Woodruff family for the wonderful gift of the Robert Deveaux Woodruff Band Collection to Brock University, unfortunately FOTLCABU founding member Bill Smy was unable to attend.

Col. John Butler (Niagara) Branch members and loyal supporters of the Loyalist Collection Ivy Stevens, Shirley Lockhart, and Fred & Margaret Hayward attended with branch Woodruff family members Gail Woodruff, Richard Woodruff and Richard Merritt.

Jack Lightstone, President of Brock University welcomed the guests and noted that the collection valued at $325,000.00 was donated to Brock because Niagara is the crucible of English settlement in what later became Upper Canada and is now present day Ontario. He thanked the Woodruff family and the estate trustees for entrusting their outstanding gift of history of the nation and region to Brock University where it will be preserved and made available to students for scholarly research.

David Sharron Head of Special Collections and University Archivist expressed thanks and appreciation to the Woodruff family on behalf of the Chief Librarian. He thanked Special Collections staff for helping to make the collection accessible.

Read more detailed information about the Woodruff Collection and see photos of some items.

Photo: Col. John Butler Branch members: Front: Shirley Lockhart, Ivy Stevens, Bev Craig, Gail Woodruff, Rod Craig, Margaret Hayward, Fred Hayward Back: Bill Stevens, Richard Merritt and Richard Woodruff

Where in the World?

Where are Sir Guy Carleton Branch members Maria and Sylvia Powers?

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.

  • Media Coverage of the Victoria UELAC Conference and AGM. The local newspaper, the Digby Courier, has included photo of newly elected President Barb Andrew in a recent article. from Brian McConnell
  • Ed Garrett has sent a CD-ROM with the photographs of the Log Book and Muster Book of HMAT Camel from late August to October 1783 to both the New Brunswick Museum and the Beaver Harbour Historical Society.
  • Paul Knowlton House is coming together and should open on August 15th - read the restoration activities from early June
  • Loyalist Day. Some provinces formally celebrate Loyalist Day this week, mostly Friday June 19, although other provinces have other dates. Is your province, formally or informally celebrating this week? Are you?

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Signed, sealed and delivered: Magna Carta arrives in Ottawa. The document carrying the seal of King Edward I in 1300 (reaffirming the original deal from 1215, when barons made King John an offer he couldn't refuse) is now at the Canadian Museum of History. So is the related Charter of the Forest, also from 1300. AND The Magna Carta is 'the foundation of liberty': Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of the Magna Carta 800th anniversary committee, explains the lasting relevance of the 'Great Charter' in the 21st century (2 min video)
  • Scenes from the grand opening of the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown NS on Sat June 6.
  • Check out McAlpin's Corps of American Volunteers on Facebook complete with some reenacting videos.
  • Library and Archives Canada now allows self-service photography of documents. It used to be that the only way of getting copies of archival documents was a bit of a tedious process. Read the rules.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Burwell, Adam - (volunteer Sandra McNamara)
  • Golding, John - from Fran Rose
  • Lippincott, Richard - (volunteer Sandra McNamara)
  • Merritt, Robert - from Fran Rose
  • Post, Frederick - (volunteer Sandra McNamara)

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


Response re Albert Berdan of Woodhouse Township

Your ancestor was indeed a Loyalist. The Berdan family was settled in Bergen County before the war, but they were primarily Rebels. I have the US pension applications of several of them. I have attached a transcript of an Upper Canada Land Petition for your Albert, but it leads me to a question: what was he doing in Vermont at the start of the war?

In any case, he made his way to New York and enlisted in Captain John Hatfield's Company of the 3rd Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Edward Vaughan Dongan. Here is a brief unit history, and a muster roll showing him serving with the battalion in 1781 in South Carolina:

My ancestor served in the same battalion. They probably knew each other!

The father mentioned in his account would have been Jonathan Berdan, who enlisted in the 1st Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers in January 1781.

If you would like to visit Bergen County for a Loyalist experience, I am actually putting together such a thing – School of Loyalist – for the end of August (I am a past-president of the Bergen County Historical Society.)

...Todd Braisted, HVP, UELAC

Responses re Loyalists and Battle of Waterloo

Lt. Alexander Shaw, UE

Lt. Alexander Shaw UE, 2nd son of Maj.General Aeneas Shaw UEL was an officer in the 35th Regiment of foot from 1799 to 1817. Capt Shaw (portrait) married Mary Ann Williams of London and returned to York. He died at York in 1834.

Regiment details on the day of the battle.

On the morning of the 18th, the extreme right of the sixth brigade and the 2nd battalion of the regiment of the Anglo-Belgian Army, turning rather backwards, extended as far as Merke-Baine,to protect the Nivilles Road, while an advanced corps occupied the village of Braine-Leud. This was partly composed of the sixth brigade, and the 2nd battalion of the regiment was stationed at a small village close by to watch the movements of the corps of French cavalry, which endeavoured to get towards Brussels by the Hal road. The strength of the battalion on the morning of the 18th of June totaled 653 officers and men.

Nearly all of the 4th division was stationed at Hal to protect Brussels, in case the enemy should succeed in turning the right flank of the army. Lord Hill commanded this portion of the corps in front of the village of Merke-Braine, with its right resting on Braine-Leud. It is said that the foresight of the Duke of Wellington in making this arrangement was amply justified.

(From the Historical Memoir of the 35th Royal Sussex Reg. of Foot.1873)

...Richard Shaw, UE

Capt. Alexander MacNab, UE

Alexander's father, Dr James Macnab served as assistant surgeon to Major McAlpin's Corps of Loyalists raised in the Colony of New York. His father fled to Quebec after the American Revolution with other Loyalists where he died and his son Alexander some years later moved to York (Toronto). After being clerk to the Exec.Council of Upper Canada, he commenced a military career and rose to become an officer with the 2nd battalion, 30th Regiment. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Waterloo and buried on the battlefield. An amazing story!

The nephew of Capt. MacNab applied for and received from the British War Office a Waterloo Medal for the service of his uncle.

...Brian McConnell, UE

Not Waterloo, but Peninsular War

With respect to loyalist descendants who fought at the Battle of Waterloo, one interesting tidbit of information is that John Graves Simcoe, the "founder" or "father" of Upper Canada, had a son by the name of Francis Gwillim Simcoe (after whom Castle Frank in Toronto is named). He was brought to Canada when only one year old in 1791 and left in 1796 at age six. He died at age twenty-one, April 6,1812, fighting during the Peninsular Wars or Napoleonic Wars which directly led to the Battle of Waterloo. Francis Gwillim Simcoe died, more particularly, at the Siege of Badajoz, Spain (The Peninsular War), under the command of the Duke of Wellington. Wellington's siege of Badajoz, Spain (Youtube video, 6:30).

There is a small hamlet outside of Shelburne, Ontario called Badjeros. Although I cannot prove this point, I think that this very tiny community is named after that very famous battle where an iconic name associated with the founding of Upper Canada lost his life. It's just that the village's name has been corrupted so much that today its real meaning is lost...

...Charlie Humber, UE

Source of a Segment of a Toronto Map

I continue my family research and while at the Dawes Rd Library in Toronto recently, came across something I have been try to pinpoint for several years.

My great-uncle Rudolph Pabst (1758-1830) sold his 200 acres in Osnabruck (eastern Ontario) in February 1814 and bought 200 acres in York in August 1814. He was definitely a resident of Etobicoke in 1814, and I feel (not yet proven) that he had been a resident from 1811 to 1814.

He purchased 200 acres in Con 2 Lot 2, and I had thought it was con. 2 FROM THE LAKE, even tho the reference said "east of Yonge St". It turns out that Con IIe and lot 2 are East of Yonge St and the small extract of a map clearly shows his 200 acres, East of Bayview and 2 lots north of Eglinton. The map segment (or possibly the area to te south of it) is named Don Mills.

If anyone can give me the source of this map extract, I would be very appreciative. I wonder also if a larger map might include Etobicoke as well, or does anyone know of an equivalent for there.

...Richard Poaps

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