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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2016 Archive

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“Loyalist Trails” 2016-05: January 31, 2016


Off and Running: The UELAC Scholarship Fund Challenge begins today!

Please join us as we launch the 2016 UELAC Scholarship Fund Challenge. The UELAC Loyalist Scholarship provides support to young people who are currently enrolled in a program of graduate study and have a passion for history.

Providing Loyalist education/resource materials and encouraging research through scholarship funding is integral to our mission to preserve, promote and celebrate the history and traditions of the United Empire Loyalists

From January 31 - April 1, 2016, we will be highlighting the accomplishments of graduate students who have benefited from the support of the UELAC Scholarship Fund. It is an impressive list!

Increasing the scholarship fund will have a direct impact on education and research in the field of Loyalist studies. Join UELAC branches and members across the country who have already given their support. If you care about education and the preservation of Loyalist history, Give Now.

Are you on twitter? The project will use the hashtag #UEscholars.

...Bonnie Schepers, UE, Scholarship Committee

Conference 2016: Cavendish Beach Music Festival

The 2016 UELAC Conference in Summerside PEI will be hosted by the Branches of the Atlantic Region: Abegweit, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on July 7-10. Information about the conference is now available – read here.

A "welcome" stands by the gate to the Loyalist Country Inn.

Ye Olde Loyalist Lore From PEI: The Cavendish Beach Musical Festival

While our Loyalist Conference is on going at the Loyalist Country Inn in Summerside, a major open-air country and western music festival is happening about 25 km to the east of Summerside at Cavendish Beach. In the past, large crowds from all over the Atlantic region have attended these annual concerts which have featured artists like Taylor Swift and Shania Twain.This year's line-up includes The Band Perry on Friday 8 July, Blake Shelton on Saturday, the 9th of July and on Sunday Kenny Chesney and the band Old Dominion will be featured.

A Music Festival may be an activity that the younger members accompanying our crowd could be interested in. Something for you think about – visit for details.

...Peter Van Iderstine, Abegweit Branch

1780, The Loyalist Leap Year (Part Six): A Perspective from England

© Stephen Davidson, UE

As the bells of London tolled in the new year on January 1, 1780, a Massachusetts loyalist named Samuel Curwen was enjoying tea in an English home discussing history, fulfilment of prophecy, and the latest fad in women's footwear. By this date, Curwen had been a refugee in Great Britain for five years, and would be one for four more.

Terribly homesick for America, the loyalist depended upon newspapers and personal correspondence to keep track of events back in the thirteen colonies. Curwen's diary of his time abroad provides historians with a unique perspective on 1780 -- a year in the American Revolution as seen by a loyalist in England.

As in any war, letter writers had to be careful. Curwen cautioned a patriot friend in Salem, Massachusetts that in times of tumult, the British government took the liberty to "dispense with the settled regulations" and might "open letters from foreign parts". He found this to be a "restraint" on the "agreeable intercourse" distant friends might otherwise have enjoyed. In other words, not all the news or opinions that rebel and loyalist friends might want to share would be wise to include in a letter.

In early February, Curwen wrote to a friend in Wales about a man who "tried to be a loyalist" with hopes of receiving compensation from the British in 1778. Failing to get any money, he returned to Massachusetts two years later as a confirmed rebel. Curwen sadly reflected that the "meaner people" in the colonies had become "the men of power, riches and influence."

On February 29, 1780 Curwen spent two hours in the streets of London "among the crowd ... entertained by musketry discharged from the abbey leads and ringing of bells, to celebrate Admiral Rodney's victory over the Spanish navy at Gibraltar. This effort to safeguard the entrance to the Mediterranean was one of many distractions that hindered Britain's war efforts in North America. Rodney's naval victory provided a joyful break from news of a distant revolution that refused to be quashed.

In April, Curwen listed over 40 loyalist refugees who lived in and around Bristol. Having others to share in his homesickness did not lift Curwen's spirits. News from the colonies added to his misery. He empathized with the "sufferings, ravages, carnage, and devastation of {the} sister southern colonies."

Facing the fact that he might not be able to return to Massachusetts, Curwen vowed that "Halifax would not be the spot" where he would resettle as nothing but the "prospect of great gains ... would make that place in any degree tolerable."

As he noted the fifth anniversary of abandoning his property and friends back in 1775, Curwen prayed " May it please God to inspire with wisdom and true policy the principal conductors in this truly lamentable war on both sides of the Atlantic, and give peace in our time." That same month brought news that General Clinton had arrived in Georgia and was advancing on Charleston, South Carolina.

By May, "public expectations are at the highest pitch respecting the success of General Clinton." Curwen hoped that if victorious, the British general would produce "a reconciliation on generous and safe terms."

Newspaper accounts from the colonies spoke of "the distresses of our country, discontent of people at the continuance of the troubles, and intimating wishes to return to former connections with this country." Curwen shared these wishes: "Would that that happy event might soon take place, with honor and safety to all parties."

It took several weeks for the news to arrive, but finally on June 19th, Curwen and his loyalist friends were "engaged in loyally celebrating General Clinton's success at Charleston {on May 12th}, by discharging a two-pounder half loaded several times in a private garden."

News from the colonies was all but forgotten in June of 1780 when London was rocked by days of rioting. "For some days it was feared the city of London would be laid in ashes." Sure that it was an "infernal plot", Curwen worried about men who were all too ready to "join in plunder, rapine, murder and burning."

Curwen's loyalist friends in the colonies faced much the same terror. One correspondent wrote about how he "could not freely nor safely walk the streets by reason of party rage and malevolence, and the uncontrolled rancor of some men."

In August, Curwen was told of a day of darkness that occurred in New England back in May. He thought his correspondents were speaking in allegory. "No man there dares write upon political subjects in plain English; if he writes at all, it must be in dark enigmas, and in this scriptural style." Curwen assumed the day of darkness referred to Clinton's capture of Charleston, a victory that brought a gloom of despair on rebel leaders in New England. Only later did he discover that a massive forest fire had produced so much smoke that it blotted out the sun in the north-eastern colonies.

Boston newspapers reported the arrival of seven French naval vessels at Rhode Island. Rumours that the Continental army (in conjunction with the French) would soon attack New York City were swirling.

In late October, Curwen attended a British debating club at which was argued the question, "Would it be proper at this crisis, considering our successes in South Carolina, to offer the Americans independence?" By the thirty-first, Curwen began to dare hope that Britain's successes would bring the revolution to its end.

"We have beaten the rebel army, and expelled that army out of Carolina with half their numbers; have rivetted the inhabitants to our interests; they are become loyalists and have sworn allegiance." However, Curwen wondered if "while under British power they are loyal, that power removed, they as naturally return to their former condition as any elastic body returns to its natural form when the force is removed."

While enjoying tea with friends in mid-November, Curwen learned of "the first account of Arnold's intentional withdrawing himself and four or five thousand troops under his command from congressional service to the royal standard at New York; the failure of this scheme of treachery, and his lucky escape from his enemies hands."

Two weeks later, Curwen read the Morning Post to learn more about Arnold's defection and Andre's hanging. "The latter, though pitied here, perhaps justly, is doubtless to be ranked in the class of spies, and his punishment ... was in my mind not undeservedly inflicted, and to be justified by the universal practice of all nations, civilized and uncivilized, on persons of that character."

The revolution had an impact on the British arts. On December 19, Curwen received an invitation to the picture room of the loyalist painter, John Singleton Copley. Displayed were paintings that had connections to loyalists' concerns. One showed Brooke Watson, a loyal New Englander, being attacked by a shark. The other portrayed Lord Chatham collapsing in the House of Lords in the midst of a speech urging parliament not to grant independence to the rebelling colonies.

Samuel Curwen celebrated his 64th birthday on December 28, 1780. He had weathered another year of political and personal upheaval. While facing powerful European enemies, the British had enjoyed important victories over American rebels, welcomed Benedict Arnold into its army, and provided sanctuary to more of the revolution's refugees. Curwen hoped for "brighter lines" in the year ahead. He bid farewell to 1780 by attending a worship service at Essex Street Chapel on December 31st.

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

The Interesting Family of Loyalist Daniel Prentice and Mary Hamilton

I first located Daniel Prentice, or Danl Prentis as he is called on Sir John Johnson's Kingsborough Patent NY Rent Roll with notation that he farms opposite Fort Johnson. He is not in any specific Rent Due Grouping as most of my other Kingsborough Patent ancestors are, and therefore no clues to when, or from whence he came to settle on Sir John's land.

In his book KRRNY, Gavin Watt has Daniel Prentice born in America 1754, in 2nd Battalion as a Private enlisting 25 Aug 1780. He settled in RT #2 which is Charlottenburg with wife Mary and 1 son and 3 daughters to be victualled 1784. Also noted is that he is a NY farmer from Tryon Cty. NY.

Daniel Prentice is found as Donl. Prentiss sharing Lot 22 on the 2nd Concession South of the River Aux Raisin [on what is today South Branch Road aka SBR], with Donl. McLean. Daniel Prentice seems to have retained Donl. Prentiss designation for official purposes for some time, but name gradually morphs into Daniel Prentice.

The River Aux Raisin name was Anglicised from the French word for grape, as when my ancestors arrived here this river system was strewn with trees toppled over by huge wild grape vines that climbed into the trees crowns, shading them out, and weighing them down until they toppled. The main branch of the Raisin River eventually funnels down to a confluence with it's South Branch Raisin River, when they join at Williamstown. This funneling effect meant that those settlers given land in 2nd Concession South of the River Aux Raisin, actually built their homes on the southern end of their holding, which was on the north side of the South Branch Raisin River, hence the road which follows a ridge along this north shore is called South Branch Road or SBR for short.

Daniel Prentice and wife Mary Hamilton had several children, and I will briefly give what little I know of each.

Daughter Elizabeth Prentice married John Kane / Cain KRRNY UE settled Lot 13 Glen Road which is on the south bank of the South Branch Raisin River, which is about 2 miles from her parent's home Lot 22 SBR. Present day descendants spell it Cain.

Daughter Mary Prentice married John Clark [son of Sergeant James Clark KRRNY UE & Margaret McDonell, who settled Lot 20 Front Charlottenburg], and this Mary and John later held land on the Indian Lands, Charlottenburg.

This Elizabeth Prentice and Mary Prentice are both in my tree , as later cousins married.

Katherine Prentice married John Cross KRRNY UE [they settled unknown but probably Stormont Cty. , as I think they later married into Alguire family].

Ann / Nancy Prentice married Nicholas Barnhart KRRNY UE [son of Sergeant George Barnhart KRRNY UE] shared Lot 9 SSRR Charlottenburg with John Barnhart.

Isabella Prentice eloped aged 14 with Ezra Adams a divorced man 3 times her age and she was disowned by her family .

William and James Prentice served Glengarry Fencibles and both were killed in War of 1812 [perhaps scholars of that War 1812 might give us more info on these young soldiers].

John Prentice married Catherine McMillan circa 1810 and he was also in Glengarry Fencibles, discharged 1815, lived in Lancaster Twp.

Lewis Prentice married Catherine McDonell. I think they lived near Ottawa and he was the only child to give up his Protestant Religion, and turned Catholic.

There is an excellent web site devoted to all things Prentice, which may be found at, where I and many others have fleshed out these people, and have expanded genealogies.

...Jay Young

Recognition from the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly

The Member of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly for Clare - Digby, Gordon Wilson, made a wonderful speech in the House of Assembly on December 1, 2015 in which he recognized the 'enormous contribution' of the United Empire Loyalists to the heritage of Nova Scotia. I was very pleased for us to receive this recognition and thought I would share it below and encourage you to as well so that this important part of Canada's heritage can be better appreciated:

Mr. Speaker, congratulations to Brian McConnell for his recent election to the presidency of the Nova Scotia Branch of the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada last April. The association focuses on the history of people who remained loyal to the British Monarchy, moving north during or following the American Revolution. Many Nova Scotians can trace their roots to these migrants who could not stay in the former 13 colonies that had seceded from the British monarchy.

Since their arrival the Loyalists have made an enormous contribution to their province. Over time their descendants wanted to ensure that their history would not be forgotten and formed the first Loyalist Association in Nova Scotia in 1898. Coincidentally, its first president, Alfred Gilpin, was also from the area; his ancestors having moved from Massachusetts to the Weymouth area.

Since then the association has continued to preserve the history and traditions of the Loyalists. Over the years they have been a great resource for people wanting to learn about the history of their ancestors. During his term Mr. McConnell will continue to research and celebrate the history of the Loyalists in Nova Scotia. Thank you.

See the copy of Hansard - this item.

...Brian McConnell, UE, President, Nova Scotia Branch

Book: Hector Maclean: The Writings of a Loyalist-Era Military Settler in Nova Scotia

Editors: Jo Currie, Keith Mercer, John G. Reid; Gaspereau Press, 2015; $34.95; 9781554471522; Trade paper; 272 pp.

Hector Maclean (1751-1812) was a Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the 84th Regiment during the War of the American Revolution. After the war, Maclean settled in the newly-created county of Hants, Nova Scotia, near present-day Kennetcook. This volume presents the annotated texts of two major historical sources: the letters Maclean wrote between 1779 and 1787, primarily to Murdoch Maclaine, and the diary he kept between April 1786 and April 1787 using the empty pages of his orderly book from the South Carolina campaign of 1781. Read the catalogue description.

Brian McConnell says: "New book on Hector MacLean of 84th Regiment; great resource on Loyalist experience."

Borealia: After 1755 – Archives and Acadian Identity

by Stephanie Pettigrew, as posted at Borealia on 25 January.

As we watch the seemingly growing interest in the USA in the Loyalists, this article provides an interesting look at how we in Canada have treated the history of the Acadians and their expulsion. It concludes with "borders don't make identities. History does."

JAR: Major James Dunlap: Was He Murdered Twice?

By Wayne Lynch, published in Journal of The American Revolution on January 14, 2016

In January of 1781, Loyalist Maj. James Dunlap raided the Long Cane settlement in South Carolina that included the homes of notorious rebel leaders James McCall and Andrew Pickens. Among the most respected of all the Whig military men, Pickens had only renounced his parole the month before. Lord Cornwallis's response was to send Dunlap (often spelled Dunlop) who he described as "an active, gallant officer."

In truth, Major Dunlap was far more than just an active and gallant officer. From the rebel point of view, he was a vicious and brutal man with a reputation for indiscriminate slaughter. Dunlap made his reputation in 1778 during a raid on Hancock's House near Salem, New Jersey. In that action, he led his company around the rear of the house while the regimental commander, Maj. John Graves Simcoe, led the front assault.

Read the story of Major Dunlap and his eventual demise in the Southern Campaign.

Where in the World?

Where is Gov. Simcoe Branch member Doug Grant?

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 your submission to the editor at

Region and Branch Bits

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

  • Does your branch socialize on twitter? On the Branches page, we have listed the Twitter and FaceBook links for those branches who have told us that they have one or the other, or both, of those. If your branch is active, let us know and we will add you to the page. [–Editor]

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Historical treasure unearthed in Middletown New Jersey. - On Sundays, they worshipped together at church. On weekdays, they burned each others' barns and stole each others' livestock. There was looting, shooting and, occasionally, death. This was the scene at Old First Church in May of 1777, as Revolutionary War fervor rose toward a fever pitch. The oldest Baptist church in New Jersey, a congregation founded shortly after Middletown was settled in 1664, was splintering apart. So its elders took extraordinary measures: declaring allegiance with the patriots, censuring Tory sympathizers and excommunicating others, including some prominent local citizens. Read the article here. (Submitted by Ed Garrett.)
  • Thomas Jefferson has been described as an "American Sphinx." As the drafter of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States, he is one of the most famous Americans. Nevertheless, he is an enigmatic figure: an intensely private man who spent more than thirty years in public service; the spokesman for popular democracy who, at the same time, held hundreds of men, women and children as his personal property. An exhibit at the Massachusetts Historical Society until 20 May.
  • A look back to the bicentenary of the War of 1812 - Here is a great photo of the Redan Battery at Queenston Heights, Niagara, covered in snow! I suspect there was more snow when the Americans burned Newark, 13 Dec. 1813.
  • The most recent issue (January/February 2016) of American Spirit, the magazine of the National Society of the Daughter of the American Revolution has a three page article on the Loyalists, by Deborah Cummings. I found the article quite balanced. The UELAC is mentioned and Peter Johnson (Bay of Quinte Branch) is quoted. (from Dorothy Meyerhof, Sir Guy Carleton Branch)

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Schram, John - from John Schram
  • Scram, John [yes, a different person] - from John Schram

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

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