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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2015 Archive

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“Loyalist Trails” 2015-28: July 12, 2015

Articles

The Would-be Loyalist Dictator of Florida, by Stephen Davidson

As early as 1775, the peninsula that we know as the American state of Florida became a refuge for the loyalists fleeing the rebellious southern colonies. When the British troops and loyalists in Savannah and Charleston evacuated in 1781, over six thousand refugees went south –rather than north- to find sanctuary in the colony of Eastern Florida.

As in Upper Canada and Nova Scotia, these loyalists were provided with tools, food supplies, and land. The flood of displaced people did not stop until 1783 when, as part of the peace settlement, Britain made ready to transfer the colony to Spain. The 12,000 loyalists of East Florida (and its 4,000 pre-revolutionary settlers) were horrified to learn that their new homes were being quite literally pulled out from under them. The crown for which they had sacrificed so much was once again forcing them to become refugees.

Their options were very limited. Like the habitants of New France, they could remain in their homes under the rule of a foreign power that did not speak their language or observe their religion. They could return to their homes in the southern states to face the possibility of patriot persecution or they could like the loyalists who found sanctuary in New York City board evacuation ships for other parts of the British Empire.

One North Carolina loyalist named John Cruden proposed a fourth option. He and other refugees were so angered by Britain's betrayal that they proposed the creation an independent loyalist state that would neither be part of the British Empire nor the new United States of America. Their plan involved nothing less than an armed insurrection to thwart the Spanish from reclaiming East Florida.

After the refugees met to discuss their future, the Assembly of United Loyalists signed a declaration "that in the present State of the Loyalists Mr. Cruden should be Vested with Dictatorial powers, and until such time as another Mutiny could be held with propriety, that the Loyalists should consider Every act of His as their President binding upon them."

According to historian Catherine Troxler, some of the conspirators wanted to join forces with local robber gangs to take over the government of East Florida before the Spanish arrived. The conspirators planned to capture the ships and fort at St. Augustine and then imprison the colony's officials. After meeting in a general assembly, they would then call upon the refugee settlers to prevent "the servants of His Catholic Majesty from taking possession".

If possible, the frustrated loyalists of East Florida hoped to avoid an armed conflict. Cruden appealed to King Carlos III of Spain to permit the colony to become an autonomous loyalist province in which the English-speaking settlers would "pay a reasonable tribute to Your Majesty and Acknowledge You as Lord of the Soil." Cruden argued the military advantages of a new colony that would be a bastion of royalism to crush American republicanism.

Employing language that was later used in the loyalist petitions for British compensation, Cruden made an emotional appeal to the Spanish monarch.

"Abandoned by that Sovereign for whose cause we have sacrificed Every thing that is dear in life and deserted by that Country for which We fought and many of us freely bled... We... are Reduced to the dreadful alternative of returning to our Homes, to receive insult worse than Death to the Men of Spirit, or to run the hazard of being Murdered in Cold blood, to Go to the inhospitable Regions of Nova Scotia or take refuge on the Barren Rocks of the Bahamas where poverty and wretchedness stares us in the face or do what our spirit can not brook: ... renounce our Country", {abandon the} the Religion of our Fathers, and become your subjects."

What had radicalized Cruden to such an extent? Nothing in his past seemed to predispose him to become the dictator of a loyalist state. According to the historian E. Alfred Jones, John Cruden was the son of a Presbyterian minister and a member of a prominent Aberdeen family. After joining his uncle's merchant firm, he left Scotland for Wilmington, North Carolina.

Only 20 years old at the outbreak of the revolution, Cruden was an active loyalist, receiving a commission as a lieutenant colonel in a volunteer regiment. He had been paymaster to the North Carolina Provincials, having refused the patriots' offers to join them.

Lord Cornwallis, who would later surrender at the Siege of Yorktown, made Cruden a commissioner of sequestered estates. This position required him to distribute the land and slaves that were taken from rebels in the Carolinas. Cruden angered fellow refugees by keeping track of patriots' slaves that the loyalists confiscated, but he hoped that by returning the slaves to their owners, the southern states would rescind the banishment of loyalists and return their confiscated properties. However, Patrick Tonyn, the British governor of East Florida, insisted that the rebel states had to change their punitive laws before their slaves were returned.

Perhaps it was because Cruden was often thwarted by those in power and crushed by his unfulfilled dreams that he was driven to consider declaring Florida an independent state. Catherine Troxler believes that "he had lost his sense of reality." She also noted that Governor Tonyn "considered Cruden a harmless eccentric. He told the Spaniard that Cruden's continuing hopes of East Florida's remaining British were 'merely chimerical, and such as deserves no kind of serious consideration.'"

Mad though he may have been, Cruden was certainly articulate. He wrote a pamphlet titled "An Address to the Loyal Part of the British Empire, and friends of Monarchy throughout the Globe" that was published in Britain as early as 1782. Two years later, he wrote Lord Dartmouth, outlining his plans to restore the rebellious colonies to the Empire. "America shall yet be ours, but the House of Brunswick do not deserve the sovereignty of it."

In the end, the conspiracy to stage a coup d'état came to nothing. Robber gangs who were prepared to support Cruden attacked the British detachments stationed at St. Augustine's garrison. After dispersing one detachment, they then captured the sixteen soldiers who manned a post on the St. Johns River. Cruden was shocked at these attacks on British troops, and he volunteered to help Tonyn quash the rebel gangs.

In the end, the loyalists who had made East Florida their refuge during the American Revolution, left the colony by November of 1785, a full two years after the last refugees left New York City. According to Trevor Parsons, 31% left for Nova Scotia, 10% went to Britain, 26% left for the Bahamas, and the remainder settled in other Caribbean locations. Some chose to move westward to the Mississippi River.

John Cruden left East Florida and settled on the Island of New Providence. Two years later, he made a journey to Nova Scotia, the land that he had once called an "inhospitable region", to make a claim for compensation. On September 18, 1787 John Cruden died at the age of 33. The man who was prepared to found an independent colony of loyalists was laid to rest in the soil of Nassau far from his Scottish home.


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

Anthony and Andrew Westbrook (Part 7), by Doug Massey

© Doug Massey, UE

Nothing more is known of Anthony and his family until July 21 1784, when Anthony appears on a sub list of "Young Settlers, Loyalists and Brant's Volunteers" who were receiving rations at Niagara. [46] They are part of an influx of Loyalists wanting to settle there. Two years later the Westbrooks are "Victualing at the Grand River Landing and Head of Chipaway Creek", still waiting for land, and still on rations. [47] In 1788 the harvests failed, and the winter of 1788-9 was especially severe. Loyalists were forced to survive by eating roots, leaves and bark. 1789 was "The Hungry Year". Rations supplied by the British now came to an end. To relieve the suffering, refugees in the camps were encouraged to leave and travel inland to squat on land purchased for them but not yet surveyed. The Westbrooks, as part of the group called "James Wilson and Associates", trekked to Ancaster Township, or to what eventually came to be known as such after the completion of the survey in 1793.

As savvy American frontiersmen, Anthony and his family knew the land. They could tell the richness of the soil by the types of trees growing on it. And they would look for a good water source. So when they did stop and set up camp it would be at a location which best met these criteria. However, when the survey was completed in 1793, it was found that the farms of Anthony and his eldest son, John, were on land reserved for the Crown or the clergy. So on July 12, 1793, Anthony and John joined other members of the Wilson group, petitioning the Land Board to let them remain on their improved farms even though they were reserved lots. Anthony was granted Lot 44 and John, lot 43, concession 2. So the ailing Anthony was still alive in the summer of 1793. But he would not live much longer.

On June 28, 1794, Alexander and his mother Sarah petitioned for four hundred acres of land, "as the Son and Widow of a Loyalist", and were successful. They were granted lots in the third and fourth concessions. [48] Elizabeth Westbrook, now married to Benjamin Becraft, had settled on lot 11, concession two. In addition, Anthony, John and Alexander would all receive large properties along Fairchild Creek from their good friend Joseph Brant, who was in the habit of selling land to his white friends on very good terms. Haggai eventually ended up in Oakland Township. In spite of the privations brought on by the American Revolution, Andrew's siblings remained loyal to Britain. And they remained close to Joseph Brant and Brant Town, present day Brantford. Andrew, perhaps because of personality, saw things differently, and drifted away. In this he was so much like his father – the lone wolf, the family contrarian. How ironic: Andrew was the only Westbrook to fight for the Americans in the War of 1812. And he would do so with great gusto, like his father had done against the Americans decades before!

It is often said that Andrew Westbrook inherited his father's land in Delaware Township on the River Thames. There seems to be evidence, however, that this property was secured with... some "creativity". 1796 was a year filled with petitions to the land board for the Westbrooks. On May 31, Andrew petitioned for 400 acres as the son of Anthony Westbrook and was successful in getting three hundred acres "on producing a certificate for service". [49] On June 3, 1796 "Anthony Westbrook", "being in a condition to cultivate and improve..." any land granted him, petitioned for nine hundred acres "at the River Thames" and was granted two hundred acres. [50] This was rather miraculous since Anthony had almost assuredly passed away before June of 1784, and was hence incapable of penmanship, cultivation or the improvement of anything. Needless to say, the document was not signed. Yet exactly one month later, on July 3, 1796, Anthony rose from the grave yet again, and managed to sign this petition asking for three hundred acres! This time the petition was "ordered recommended for three hundred acres and his family lands if entitled to them"! [51]

Were the petitions of June and July 1796 Andrew's doing alone, or were there other family members involved? Who are the suspects? Surely someone who could write would be on this list. Most likely Sarah could do so, having had some schooling back in Minisink; and perhaps Alexander, Elizabeth and John could write as well. But Andrew and Haggai, as child refugees, had never benefited from the inside of any school. It is possible that Andrew was able to forge his father's name on the July 3, 1796 petition, although on his May 31 petition he didn't even attempt to sign his own name, and could later manage only "Wesbrook". Still, someone else would have had to write the comments noted above on the June and July documents. [52] There may then have been a family conspiracy. But the creativity of the thing, the audacity of asking for nine hundred acres on the Thames River, and most importantly later events all point to Andrew Westbrook's involvement.

NOTES:

[46] Lt.-Col. A.S. DePeyster to General Haldimand, July 21, 1784 in E.A. Cruikshank, ed., "Records of Niagara 1784-87", in Niagara Historical Society, No. 39, pg. 30.

[47] Norman K. Crowder, "Families", Ontario Genealogical Society, Vol. 24, Number 4, Nov. 1985, pg. 219.

[48] Upper Canada Land Petitions, Alexander and Sarah Westbrook, June 28, 1794, National Archives of Canada, "W" Bundle, Petition #6

[49] Upper Canada Land Petitions, Andrew Westbrook, May 31, 1796, "W" Bundle 2, Petition #4

[50] Upper Canada Land Petitions, Anthony Westbrook, June 3, 1796, "W" Bundle 2, Petition #16

[51] Upper Canada Land Petitions, Anthony Westbrook, July 3, 1796, " Bundle 2, Petition #1

[52] There was also Joel Westbrook, Anthony's youngest brother, who had gone to school back in Minisink, who fought in Butler's Rangers, and who, on June 15, 1796 petitioned for three hundred acres in "the Township above the Delaware" and was granted such "upon proof of discharge". Proof of discharge was obtained but Joel never settled in Delaware. He farmed and died in Stamford Township, Niagara. What ever happened to Joel's land in Delaware?

...Doug Massey

Wood Family Reunion Sunday afternoon 5 July 2015

What a beautiful day – really good breeze, we sat in the shade, food was delicious, company was fun to be around and enjoyed the exchange of family information about all of our loved ones at the spacious and scenic homestead (lovely home, huge barns, big tractors, beautiful lawn) of Dale and Chris Wood, Wood Valley Farms, Clear Lake, Wisconsin.

Not as many relatives were in attendance as we had hoped and unfortunately, I just thought – not one picture was taken today. Lyle Vernon Wood was the oldest family member present at 89 years young and a little lady, cute as a bug, called Evelyn was the youngest at 11 months – grandchild of Dale and Chris. (Evelyn and I learned how to do "patty-cake/patty cake" together today. Probably was more fun for me than for her!

Great-grandpa Enos and great-grandma Margaret Eamer Wood from Mulrush and Cornwall, Ontario, Canada were parents to twelve children. The oldest child they called Samuel Reginald (always known as S.R. – only child born (1855) to this couple while they still lived in Canada). S.R. and his wife Alice Hale had eleven children. Of the eleven children of SR and Alice, 39 of their descendents were in attendance today representing five of the eleven families. This family has gathered together each summer to ask the Lord's Blessing since 1925. The first Hale/Wood Family History Book written is titled:

We Gather Together
Hale Family History 1630-1937
Wood Family History 1850-1986

In the early years of the twentieth century, the families gathered every summer as most of the families had little more than 20 miles to travel in order to join in, however, since families have grown and scattered, since Sunday is not always a day of rest, since technology has given us so many advantages, it has also taken away the need to "see" each other in order to share, be involved and contribute to each other and our collective families – facebook/cell phone pictures etc.

Program was short and sweet – thanks to Dale/Chris' daughter Amy: read the greetings from Jennifer DeBruin and explained how she and the Wood family members are related (thru great-great-grandma Eamer-Wood); told just a bit concerning the United Empire Loyalists; thanked the host/hostess – Dale and Chris and their entire family – children/grandchildren; showed the Wood Homestead photo from Cornwall and told just a bit about the house; read the names of the 11 family members who have passed over since the last reunion in 2010 and set a date for the next gathering over the 4th July 2020 once again at Wood Valley Farms! Mark your calendars.

All in all – a great time was had by all!

...Helen Stoltz-Wood

Peter Maybe SUE to be Honoured as a War of 1812 Veteran

Peter Maybee is another War of 1812 Veteran who is about to be recognized with a Veteran's marker, and the second at Stockdale Cemetery.

Peter Maybee was born in 1775 in Bergen County, New Jersey and the son of Capt. Abraham Maybee UE and Gerritje Hogenkamp. His early years were spent during the turbulent period of the American Revolution, and as a teenager he was residing in Adolphustown, Upper Canada. In the late 1790s he married Catherine Huff daughter of Solomon Huff of the Hay Bay area. About 1807, Peter and Catherine settled in Murray Township, Northumberland County where he passed away about 1830. He was the Town Clerk for Murray Township in 1823.

During the War of 1812 Peter and his eldest son Abram P. both served in the Northumberland County Militia. There's nothing spectacular about their service, but when called upon to defend their Country from the Americans, they did their duty.

Stockdale Cemetery is about fifteen minutes north of Trenton, ON. Last Fall it was the site for a similar ceremony for John Johnson of the Prince Edward County Militia. The Peter Maybee Ceremony is set for 2:00, Sunday July 19th. Everyone is welcome!

...Peter W. Johnson, UE

A Re-enactor Descendant of Jacob Fischer & Christopher Dale

Stephen Bourne submitted this photo of Kathy Dale. Kathy is holding the "King's Colours" of the recreated 60th Regiment of Foot, The Royal Americans, at Old Fort Niagara, July 4th weekend., 2015. The occasion was the re-enactment event of the 1759 attack and capture of the fort from the French. Kathy then contributed this about her family.

Jacob Fischer was my 4x-great grandfather. He was a corporal with the 60th of Foot, under Colonel Bouquet. He enlisted in 1753 at the age of 16 and was discharged in 1763 due to wounds he'd incurred in the French & Indian war. He purchased about 300 acres of land southwest of Berlin, PA (Mason Dixon Hwy and Owl Hollow Road). He was also involved in some capacity in the Whiskey Rebellion and the Revolutionary War.

He and 24 of his family, including his wife Ana Maria and grown married children and grandchildren walked to York in the winter of 1796/97 arriving in the Vaughan/Steeles Ave area and they were granted free land for his military support of the Crown.

One of Jacob and Anna's sons John Fischer and wife Catherine Hommen were in the party. A few years later one of John and Catherine's daughters, Elizabeth Fischer (b. October 30, 1797), inherited land that her brother Jacob (named after his grandfather) had been given, as he died in the War of 1812. Elizabeth then married Daniel Stong (Black Creek Pioneer Village) and their graves are in the small cemetery beside the Fisherville Church at the Village.

The father Jacob and mother Ana Maria Shedecker had 10 children. The youngest was Michael my 3x great grandfather who married Suzannah Holly, and they had 10 children. One of whom was JJ Fisher my 2x great grandfather who married Nancy Pannebecker ( I have a great photo of her!) and they had 10 children and the youngest was my great grandmother Lucy Fisher who married Thomas McMichael.

Michael Fischer travelled to Goderich in 1830 with his brother Valentine and brother in law Jacob Cummer. Michael bought 5500 acres near Benmiller and built a large stone house that still stands and is a residence. We toured that home a few years ago on a Christmas House Tour - fabulous!

I portray Ana Maria for F&I Wars, and Suzannah for War of 1812. My fiancé adopts the persona of Jacob Fischer for F&I and Michael Fischer for War of 1812. Michael was at the battle of Ogsdenburg in March of 1814, at the end if the war. His brother Jacob unfortunately died in that war leaving his property to his sister Elizabeth.

I also have a paternal link to the Napoleonic War as my 3x great grandfather was Cpl Joseph Richards, he died in 1815 of wounds received in that war. His wife died of heartbreak with in months of his death, leaving their only child, Harriett (b. 1812) my 2x great grandmother, an orphan. Raised by her mothers sister, Harriett married Christopher Dale and they emigrated to Canada in 1850 with 5 children, then had 6 more.

...Kathy Dale

Where in the World?

Where is Vancouver Branch member Donna Little?

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.

  • Loyalist Quilt on display at Guysborough Court House Museum
  • July 18th "War Comes to Tryon County" Join us at the Tavern of Goshen Van Alstyne for a reenactment of the Tryon County Committee of Safety Meeting originally held August 25-27, 1775. Period reenactors recreate political debate as guests enjoy our recreated 18th century tavern. Kids can participate in the debate and drill with the new Tryon Militia. The historic Van Alstyne House is in Canajoharie, NY. July 25th. "Marriage of Gil & Lana". Join reenactors at the historic 1770 Palatine Church as they recreate the marriage of Gil Martin and Lana Borst at the Palatine Church as described in Walter Edmonds "Drums Along the Mohawk". Actors from the Drums Along the Mohawk Outdoor Drama will recreate the opening scenes of Edmonds, book. The 3pm "wedding" will be followed by a 4pm reception at the historic Nellis Tavern just down the road. Near Nelliston, NY. See flyer for details and more.
  • To Settle Together in Nova Scotia: The Quaker Loyalists and their Stand Against Slavery. In conjunction with the Beaver Harbour Archives and Museum, the New Brunswick Branch invites you to a celebration in remembrance of the Loyalist Quakers who settled in Beaver Harbour in 1783, and the heroic and historic stand they took against slavery. Our guest speaker will be Deborah Coleman, President of our branch. A memorial stone and marker will be dedicated followed by a time of refreshments and fellowship. Join us at the Quaker Archives and Museum, 18 Quaker Lane in Beaver Harbour, on September 19th, from 1-3 pm. Seating is limited; please RSVP by September 5th by calling 506-634-7783. See announcement.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Bronze button stating "No Stamp Act - 1766 - Pitt" - made in America. This slogan-bearing example, produced for one to display his or her disdain for the Stamp Act of 1765, may be the first American political button of any sort. More details
  • Upper Canada Lands Records help trace a Butler's Ranger from the American Revolutionary War Thomas Mathews U.E. settled his small family in Upper Canada ca. 1787. Allowed privileges for his adherence to the unity of the Empire during the American Revolution, it is through the land records that glimpses of his life are revealed. Part 1. Part 2.
  • Graeme Somerville, a Saint John NB genealogist and author believes he has found evidence of a long-forgotten Loyalist cemetery on the city's waterfront. The long-time city resident said his research shows the likelihood of a cemetery, predating the Loyalist Burial Ground, which may have been used for several decades. (Stephen Davidson)
  • All those stone monuments that we find as memorials and grave markers were carved by someone. Good to see that the craft continues - this weekend's stone carvers festival at the Canadian Museum of History.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Best, John - from Albert Smith

Please help us build the directory by contributing more information for it. Contact loyalist.trails@uelac.org for instructions and guidance.

Queries

Michael Swim

I am trying to trace an ancestor who may have been a passenger on the Loyalist Ship Martha which left NYC for St. John NB in the fall of 1783. This ship wrecked off of Cape Sable Island and some but not all of its passengers were lost. The account on your web page lists the names of a few survivors but only a few. Can you tell me if a complete passenger list with names exists?

The ancestor I am looking for is Michael Swim. Supposedly as the story goes he left NYC with other Loyalists on the ship Martha bound for New Brunswick, however after the ship wrecked off of Cape Sable Island he decided to stay there. He supposedly had two brothers, also Loyalists, who also sailed from NYC but on a different ship. They safely made it to St John, NB. Their names were John & Vincent Swim. Supposedly John & Vincent were part of a New Jersey Loyalist regiment called Skinner's Greens.

Any help you can provide will be appreciated.

[A family note. Wilfred Smith was Dominion Archivist in Ottawa from 1970 until his retirement in 1984 – his biography at that time. Michael would have been Wilfred's 4th great-grandfather (as he is mine).]

...Brian Smith

Help With a Ryckman Ancestor

While researching my family, I discovered my great grandmother, Ann Eliza Ryckman, was probably the great granddaughter of a Loyalist. She married my great grandfather, Zephaniah Smith, in New York City on 21 June 1841. She died in New York on 30 April 1895. Her death certificate says she was born in Canada and her parents were both born in New York.

She was 74 years 11 months and 14 days old at the time of her death and lived in the US 72 years. That would mean her birth date was 16 April 1820 and she came to the US at age two or three or about 1822-23. I would imagine Ann Eliza was the great granddaughter of one of the Ryckman Loyalists. I would be very interested in learning about her family. There are so many Ryckmans and unfortunately the death certificate only has her birthplace as Canada. I would appreciate any information any of you may have about her, or any advice where I can search.

...Christine Izzo

ID the Ladies in This Photo

At the UELAC Conference in Victoria at the end of May this year, the concluding event was a church service and tea & coffee at the James Bay United Church. Following the gathering, photos were taken of the men who attended this event in period clothing, and then a photo of the women who did likewise.

Newly appointed UELAC Archivist Carl Stymiest of Vancouver Branch has the names of many of the women but is missing a few. Can you help identify the unnamed ladies, for the Archives?

View the photo here. The names and missing names are:

Left back row:

Janet White(pink), Ruth Nicholson, ___________?, Karen Borden, Beverley Craig, ____________(White Hat red dress)? Donna Little, __________?(Red Mottled shawl and white hat), Christine Manzer, Pat Adair, Diane Faris, Jo Ann Tuskin, Aurelie Stirling, Nancy Conn, Grietje McBride.

Front Row:

____________?, Gloria Howard, __________? Mavis Pickett, Susan Minovitch, Betty Compeer, (behind Judy Sanders blue hat) Ethel Sabbagh, Sylvia Pugh (white flowers), Linda Smith (black and white),and Shirley Dargatz.

So as not to to be judged guilty of unequal treatment, here is a photo of the men.

Many thanks for your help.

...Carl Stymiest UE, UELAC Dominion Archivist archivist@uelac.org

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