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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2016 Archive

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“Loyalist Trails” 2016-06: February 7, 2016


We're On Our Way! Week One: UELAC Scholarship Fund Challenge

The scholarship fundraising campaign is well on its way! Thanks to donations received during week one we have raised $1,130.00 of our $5000.00 goal.

One of our donors, Dr. Taylor Stoermer of the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, History Department writes, "I'm donating all proceeds from Loyalist speaking engagements to UELAC scholarships. Next up: Feb. 18 at the Golden Ball Tavern Museum, Weston, MA." Thank you Dr. Stoermer!

Curious about how your donation is used? This week we invite you to meet our 2007 scholarship recipient, Dr. Timothy J. Compeau.

In 2007, Tim was accepted into the PhD program of the University of Western Ontario. As a three year UELAC Loyalist Scholarship recipient, Tim has shared his knowledge at many Ontario UELAC branch meetings and was the keynote speaker at the 2008 UELAC Central West Regional meeting in London, Ontario. In 2015, Tim received his PhD, History for his dissertation -- "Dishonoured Americans: Loyalist Manhood and Political Death in Revolutionary America".

Today, Dr. Timothy J. Compeau is recognized as a historian of colonial North America and the Atlantic World with a particular focus on the cultural history of the Revolutionary period. He presently works as a postdoctoral researcher at Brock University exploring the use of augmented reality (AR) applications for public history. You can learn more about Tim here (PDF).

Tim says, "I want to thank the UELAC again for their very generous assistance which allowed me to travel to archives throughout Canada and the United States. Additionally, I have been flattered with many kind invitations to speak to branches and share my work in progress, which was always fun and led to some very illuminating discussions."

Please join UELAC members and friends across the country who have already given their support to scholars like Tim. 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

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.

A Terrorist (Loyalist) Refugee

© Stephen Davidson, UE

In 1783 Nova Scotia braced itself for a flood of refugees. What had begun as a trickle during the civil war known as the American Revolution turned into an ever-increasing tide. At first there were estimates that the newcomers might number as many as a few thousand. Then the numbers swelled to the tens of thousands.

By the end of that year, Nova Scotia received four times its population in refugees. Winter came early that year. How would the government find shelter, food, and fuel for so many uninvited guests? The refugees came from thirteen very different colonies; they were of different denominations -- a tenth of them were of a different race. And no one in government had even considered doing a security check on the kind of people that were flooding into Nova Scotia. Little wonder then, that a terrorist like John Smith Hatfield would be among the loyalist settlers.

John Smith Hatfield was a loyalist guerilla fighter from New Jersey. He was a member of a gang that terrorized patriot towns. But more than that, he was a vigilante who took the law into his own hands. He disobeyed a direct order from the British authorities and lynched a patriot in cold blood. His actions were condemned by both sides in the revolution.

Would you want this man as your neighbour? Nevertheless, for 16 years this terrorist called Saint John, New Brunswick his home and lived among fellow loyalists as a farmer. Here is the story of a man who not only fought against rebels in New Jersey, but murdered them as well.

There are very few details on the early life of John Smith Hatfield. He was born on October 24, 1749 in Elizabethtown in New Jersey's Essex County. Hatfield married Jane Miller, and by the time he was twenty-nine, he had declared himself a loyalist. At least three of his brothers -- Job, James and Abel-- also remained loyal to the crown. A relative named Cornelius Hatfield had been a captain in the New Jersey Volunteers up until 1778. Sometime after that date, Cornelius became the leader of a roving loyalist gang that regularly preyed upon the patriots of Elizabethtown. John Smith Hatfield was one of his henchmen.

John had good reason to seek revenge on the rebels of Elizabethtown. In 1779, the patriot courts seized his house and lands and put then up for public auction. No doubt the ship he used to transport goods between Elizabethtown and New York was also confiscated. Why? Because Hatfield and other members of the "Tory Gang" had joined "the army of the king of Great Britain" and committed "other treasonable practices."

In 1780, the arrest of a loyalist spy changed John Smith Hatfield from a guerilla soldier into a murderous vigilante. General Washington had hired a New Jersey schoolmaster named Thomas Long to spy on the British in Philadelphia. When the patriots discovered that Long was, in fact, a loyalist and a double agent, they hanged him on a persimmon tree at Constable's Hook. One of the rebels accused of aiding in Long's execution was Stephen Ball, a merchant in British goods. Both Long and Ball lived in Rahway, New Jersey.

Two years after Thomas Long's execution, Stephen Ball journeyed to Staten Island to sell provisions to the British troops. Ball hadn't changed sides in the revolution; he was simply using wartime shortages to make larger profits for himself. Whether his customers were British or patriots did not seem to be a concern. As Ball was bringing four quarters of beef to the enemy troops on Staten Island in January of 1781, Hatfield and his men seized him. After robbing him of his goods, the loyalists took the merchant to General Patterson and then to Brigadier-General Skinner, seeking to have him executed for his part in the hanging of Thomas Long.

Skinner forbid the Hatfields to take any action against Ball, but he was helpless to stop them from crossing over the lines into patriot-held Bergen County -- which is exactly what the loyalist gang did. They tied up Ball and put him in a boat that they took to Constable Hook, the very spot where Long had been hanged two years earlier.

The loyalists made Ball stand on a table under a tree while John Smith Hatfield tied a rope around his neck and attached it to a branch. Hatfield, who later boasted that he had hanged Ball with his own hands, then kicked the table out from under the rebel and left him hanging. Later, while having a drink at a local tavern, Hatfield proudly declared that he had hanged Ball and "wished he had many more rebels -- he would repeat it with pleasure." Hatfield was so comfortable with his lynching that he later pointed out the tree used in the hanging and the spot where Ball had been buried.

Brigadier-General Skinner did all that he could to distance himself from the loyalist murderers, writing to the patriot leaders to say that "those alone who had perpetrated the act ought to suffer for it."

John Smith Hatfield's whereabouts for the next two years are shrouded in secrecy. By the fall of 1783, one thing is certain. Along with his wife and their four children --Matthias, John, Cornelius, and Mary-- Hatfield had joined the loyalist exodus to Nova Scotia. The 34 year-old settled at the mouth of the St. John River in a community that --within two years-- became Saint John, New Brunswick. Four years later, Hatfield testified at the loyalist compensation board hearings, speaking on behalf of William Dumayne and Thomas Gummersall. However, he did not seek compensation for himself.

John Smith Hatfield's name only appeared once in New Brunswick newspapers during his lifetime. In March of 1789, it was noted that he was a prisoner in New Jersey. Apparently, Hatfield had returned to Elizabethtown in the hope of receiving an inheritance. His former neighbours had not forgotten his role in the murder of Stephen Ball, and they had Hatfield arrested. Legal wrangling saved the loyalist terrorist from his own hanging. According to Article Six of the Treaty of Paris, there could be no further prosecutions for wartime actions. Had Ball's hanging been a premeditated murder or an act of war? While a New Jersey judge deliberated on this question, Hatfield fled town and returned to New Brunswick.

Ten years later, John Smith Hatfield died on his farm in Saint John. His will reads like most of those of the loyalists of that era, granting land and money to his children. Whether his neighbours ever knew that this refugee from the American Revolution was a cold-blooded killer who relished the idea of hanging rebels is something we will never know.

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

Captain John Dhu McDonell VI Ardnabie, by Jay Young

Captain John Dhu McDonell VI Ardnabie, was one of the senior McDonell men who led a large grouping of McDonell who sailed from Fort William on west coast Scotland in September 1773 arriving October 18 1773 NY harbour.

This Captain John Dhu McDonell served at Culloden with his brother Lieutenant Ranald McDonell [who was a brother-in-law to John Leek McDonell, Allen Collachie McDonell, and Alexander Aberchalder McDonell, the three brothers who are generally assigned credit for organising the Pearl 1773 expedition].

Captain John Dhu McDonell aka John Dhu McDonell VI Ardnabie 1702 -- 1785 [these dates are courtesy of my cousin Francis Ross McDonald who authored the book Legacy of Tradition; Ross and another cousin author Duncan Darby MacDonald had a penchant for adding an "a" to all deceased relatives making them into Mac, regardless that I have yet to see any original documents concerning these Ardnabie McDonell using spelling other then Mc]. John Dhu McDonell VI Ardnabie and his brother Ranald Ardnabie McDonell would have been in their seventies during the Rev War and probably did not serve, though they were well represented by John's five sons and some grandsons.

Also their nephew Simon Fraser Sr. [son of their sister Margaret Ardnabie McDonell and William Fraser III Culbokie] died while a prisoner of the Americans at Albany NY [this Simon Fraser Sr. and wife Isabella / Isobel Duldreggan Grant, are parents of the famed Canadian Explorer Simon Fraser Jr. after whom the Fraser River BC is named].

This Isabella / Isobel Duldreggan Grant Fraser is a sister of another of my ancestors named John Duldreggan Grant who has been acknowledged by UELAC as a Proven UE even though he sat out the Rev War and emigrated from Scotland in 1785 arriving in Glengarry Spring of 1786 where he acquired 400 acres in a single plot; he is found on McNiff's Map 1786 as Mr John Grant holding Lots 25 & 26 SSSBRR Street Road ----  but that is a story for another day.

The 5 sons of John Dhu McDonell VI Ardnabie who served in the KRRNY are as follows:

  • Allen Bhuide McDonell KRRNY b. 1730 d. 1807, was held prisoner by Americans at Philadelphia for several months, was probably a Widower at end of Rev War and settled with his only son Alexander Ben Beg McDonell KRRNY on Lot 23 Con 9 Charlottenburg. Allen's daughter Flora McDonell [my line] married my Robert Young Queen's Ranger Rev War, in 1782 on Long Island NY  and they eventually settled as tenants of the St Regis Indians on Lot 2 Con 5 Indian Lands Glengarry ---- this also is a story for another day. I may have located another of Allen's daughters in Ann / Nancy McDonell who may have married another Alexander McDonell Corporal in Queen's Rangers Rev War [probably similar circumstance as Robert Young] though these two probably settled near St Andrews West in Stormont County .
  • Roderick Rory McDonell KRRNY 1732 -- 1816, had settled beside his cousin Spanish John McDonell on Charlotte River NY. He was married to Isabel Rothiemurchase Grant, who died with two of their children while held Prisoner by the Americans at Albany NY 1779; they had been taken prisoner while Roderick Rory McDonell and his brother Allen Bhuide McDonell [along with 25 others] were being held as Prisoners at Philadelphia.  After the Rev War ended Roderick Rory took up west half Lot 19 South Branch Road [SBR] with his son John Roy McDonell KRRNY. It took John Roy McDonell nearly 50 years of Petitioning the Crown but circa 1833 he succeeded in having acknowledgement that he had attached himself to the KRRNY in 1780 at age 9 [his mother and two siblings were dead, and his father a Prisoner, where was the boy to go?]; he is found on the Old UE List as John (Roy) McDonell.
  • Donald Bhoir McDonell KRRNY 1736 -- 1821 married Mary Kennedy [with issue, as this is Duncan Darby MacDonald's line]. He held the east half Lot 19 South Branch Road, with his older brother Roderick Rory McDonell on west half Lot 19 SBR.
  • Alexander Bane McDonell Sr. KRRNY b. 1738 d. ???? apparently settled with his son Alexander Bane McDonell Jr. on Lot 12 Front Charlottenburg Glengarry .
  • Ian Ruardhe McDonell KRRNY b. 1740 d. ????, little more known of him except may have settled in Lancaster Twp. Glengarry./li>

I have a few other ancestors connected to this ship Pearl 1773, but once again this must wait for another day.

...Jay Young

More Loyalist Monuments Added to UELAC Resource

Ten years ago the Loyalist Monuments, Memorials and Commemoratives folder was created for the dominion website to document memorials to the United Empire Loyalists across Canada. Many members were aware of monuments such as the ones in Adolphustown, Belleville, Hamilton and Saint John at that time but information on the whereabouts of others was not easily accessible. Since then this resource has continued to grow thanks to the recommendations and submissions from individuals.

Last fall while visiting Niagara Falls, Dorothy and Tom Meyerhof of the Sir Guy Carleton Branch UELAC discovered two monuments that were not included in the UELAC resource. Their pictures and details of a small monument dedicated to Charles Green located on the north-east corner of Lundy's Lane and Montrose Road and of a plaque dedicated to the William Lundy homestead located on the south side of Lundy's Lane have now been added.

Usually it is easy to submit a photograph for posting but it is much harder to discover the history of the memorial. This week a photograph of a 1929 cairn in Deseronto was discovered on eBay. The challenge is now to locate and discover the details about those involved in the dedication before the posting can be added to our resources.


Borealia: After 1755: Archives and Acadian

by Elizabeth Mancke and Scott See

In the months since the 19 October election, Canadians -- from Justin Trudeau to church groups preparing for Syrian refugees -- are reasserting one of the most recognizable tropes about Canada, that the country is an international leader in humanitarian aid and an advocate for multilateral and conciliatory approaches to international challenges ... Canadians and Americans have substantively different understandings about how to respond to violence both internationally and domestically, about when it is appropriate for a state to use violence, and what the boundaries to that violence should be...

As historians of pre-Confederation Canada and the United States, we have committed a great deal of our intellectual energies, individually and collaboratively, to understanding why the two countries have such profoundly different understandings about the role of violence in defining the character of social order, from localities to the international community...

Perhaps the most substantive issue is how British North Americans/Canadians mediated, restrained, or deployed violence. We maintain that the tolerance for violence in British North America was lower than other locations in the Atlantic world in late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially in the United States. If the trope of violence in the history of the United States can be cast in a positive light, it is typically couched in the transformative and exceptional encounters of the Revolutionary War and Civil War. Conversely, we maintain that since the Seven Years' War and Conquest of Quebec, the British North American colonies viewed public and organized violence, but not all state violence, as corrosive and counterproductive to the evolution of social and political order.

To read more, click here.

JAR: The Stockbridge-Mohican Community, 1775-1783

By Bryan Rindfleisch February 3, 2016

On July 4, 1776, the authors of American independence declared to the world "that all men are created equal, [and] that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." However, one of the Declaration's grievances against the English Crown was that it employed "the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions." The message therein was quite clear: Native Americans were the decided enemies of independence. Such sentiments not only resonated with the revolutionary leadership, but also the general population that by and large embraced an "anti-Indian sublime," a rabidly hostile attitude toward Native peoples and communities during and particularly after the war. Along with the obvious ramifications of such a statement, the founders sought to delineate the boundaries of citizenship and inclusion in the new nation, one that ultimately did not include Native Americans. As part of this, though, the revolutionaries also engaged in memory politics; meaning, they tried to whitewash, or sanitize, the narrative of rebellion by removing the agency and support of indigenous peoples who fought alongside the Americans. Instead, Native allies were lumped together with those indigenous nations that supported the British, thereby casting all Native peoples in the role of adversary. In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, the United States, possessed of an insatiable hunger for indigenous lands, turned this fabricated truth into gospel truth.

Read the article (the comments following are worth a read as well).

The Junto: The Political Impact of Newspaper Mastheads, by Christopher Minty

By Christopher F. Minty, published on 21 January 2016

"UNITE OR DIE": John Holt's New-York Journal; or, the General Advertiser and the Imagery of Allegiance.

In today's post, I'd like to call for an increased focus on newspaper mastheads. An increased exploration on what they meant, and how they were used for political mobilization.

In the eighteenth century, newspapers became increasingly popular. Historians have covered this in great detail, and many continue to emphasize the importance of print culture. But little emphasis is placed on specific printers and their editorial flare.

Read the blog post.

Where in the World?

Where is 2012 UELAC Loyalist Scholarship recipient Christopher Minty?

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

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • From the Nova Scotia Archives, a photo of part of the 1782 Roll of Capt. Hunts Company of Loyalists who arrived at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.
  • Whose heritage is it? Colonel Henry Young's home on East Lake Road was the first United Empire Loyalist residence built in Prince Edward County. But how can it be developed, but be preserved? Council doesn't do vague. In fact, if you want to develop the oldest United Empire Loyalist (UEL) home in the region, you had better have a clear vision and specific plans--before you come to council. Otherwise, you are likely to be tossed out on your ear in front of Shire Hall.  Read the short article.
  • We all have experience with later society's (more so today?) encroachment on or destruction of historical sites, cemeteries etc. A current struggle over a Revolutionary War Battlefield in Princeton has moved to Times Square in New York City.
  • My (Jennifer Weeks) ancestor Daniel Weekes born 1735 from Huntington, NY.  A loyalist, he was given a grant of land in Ship Harbour, just east of Halifax, NS. and lived to be reportedly 117. See also Three Maritimer Centenarians by Stephen Davidson.
  • Musings from the Millinery: Revealing the Truth About 18th-century Women's Necklines (from Making History Blog, Jan 29, 2016).  It was around this time last week that an image in one of our blogs sparked a debate over the representation of a woman's body. As an apprentice Milliner & Mantua-maker, the Making History team immediately reached out to me for historical perspective. I hope this explanation helps clarify why the image was indeed period correct in its representation. I'd also like to use this opportunity to initiate a discussion of the female body and how it was viewed in the 18th century versus today.  Read the blog post.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Wintermute, Georg Phillip - from Dave Clark

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


Nationality or Origin by Nation of UE Loyalists

By definition UE Loyalists had to be settled in the thirteen colonies by September of 1775. Those who were not of the First Nations Loyalists segment had roots in other countries - England, France, Germany, Scotland, Ireland etc.

Can anyone provide or point me at a demographic (percentage) breakdown of the UE Loyalists by original nationality, even if it is a guestimate. I am doing a presentation at the beginning of April to a Scottish group and was asked that question.

...Jo Ann Munro Tuskin, UE

Traver Van Vliet

I am looking for more information about Traver Van Vliet.

Traver was the brother of my 4th great grandmother. The Van Vliets were one of the families that came from Dutchess county, NY and settled in Odelltown, Quebec. The Odell's, Mannings, Wiltsies, Van Vliets and others were all neighbors and relatives in Dutchess county.

Traver's parents were John Van Vliet and Eleanor Traver. All were Loyalists. Traver Van Vliet had some diaries that told of the trek to Canada and life in Odelltown etc. Rev. E. Dawson transcribed the diaries and there is a copy in Library and Archives Canada; but it is 287 pages and I can't get an answer on what the pages cover.

I am looking for a copy of the diary and any other information abut the family. Would enjoy corresponding with any other descendants, or people interested in the family.

...Gail Lane

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