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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2016 Archive

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“Loyalist Trails” 2016-08: February 21, 2016


Week Three Update: Loyalist Scholarship Fund Challenge 2016

Great news this week from UELAC Vancouver Branch who seized the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for the Scholarship Challenge. They asked the question, "How does coffee and a cookie become a student historian's scholarship?" and came up with a very satisfactory answer.

During a Saturday afternoon branch meeting, tent cards with a question and answer about the challenge were placed around the room. Branch secretary Christine Manzer tells us:

"When we reached the point on the agenda to talk about the Scholarship those in front of the tent cards were asked to read them out loud to the room. Our goal for the day was to have generous donations at our coffee break fill a bowl on the refreshment table. This happened so nicely that the Branch is able to send $325 to the challenge. This amount represents our previously banked coffee money and most of the amount already in the dish prior to the generous donations from 20 members on Saturday the 13th of February. It is our privilege to contribute toward the academic work of deserving graduate students."

The UELAC scholarship committee thanks Vancouver Branch for its creative approach in accepting the 2016 Scholarship Challenge. We look forward to similar reports from regions across the country in the coming weeks.

On the wave of enthusiasm generated in the Pacific Region, we invite you to meet Loyalist Scholarship recipient Kelly Bennett. The first UELAC Loyalist Scholarship was awarded in 2005 to Ms. Kelly Alexandra Bennett, a Master of Arts history student at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Raised in Toronto and Montreal, Kelly is an 8th generation Loyalist descendant of the McLeod family of Murray River, Prince Edward Island. Kelly's Loyalist lineage is traced through her paternal grandmother Grace MacPhee Bennett. Under the supervision of Dr. Jane Errington, Kelly's research explored the personal and political legacy of Loyalist refugee women. You can learn more about Kelly's research here.

Help us preserve, promote and celebrate the history and traditions of the United Empire Loyalists by supporting academic research. Give Now.

Students: The deadline for applications for the 2016 UELAC Loyalist Scholarship is February 28, 2016.

Are you on twitter? The project uses 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.

The Grant Family Saga: Part I

© Stephen Davidson, UE

For the January 13, 2008 edition of Loyalist Trails, I wrote a piece titled "Robert Grant, Loyalist Orphan." The article's last sentence read, "The final fate of Robert Grant and his three sisters is unknown." It took eight years, but now the mystery has been solved. Here is the story of the children of Alexander and Sarah Grant. They experienced the loss of a father, shipwreck, yellow fever, and death in far off lands. The saga of Robert, Elizabeth, Helen and Lucy is one of the more tragic in the annals of loyalist history.

Alexander Grant came to the New World with Col. Montgomery's Scottish Highlanders to fight in the Seven Years War. At its conclusion in 1763, he decided to stay in the thirteen colonies, making his new home in New York's Dutchess County. He married Sarah Kent, the daughter of the Rev. Elisha Kent and Abigail Moss. Sarah was just twenty when she gave birth to the couple's first child, Robert. Helen was born in the next year, followed by Elizabeth in 1771. Lucy, the last of the Grant children, was born in 1774 just before the "Troubles" began.

Being "firmly attached to Great Britain", Major Alexander Grant "never made any submission to the rebels". His loyalist stance would forever determine the direction of his four children's lives.

Among his adventures during the revolution, Grant barely escaped being imprisoned in the Simsbury copper mines, an infamous underground penitentiary for loyalists. He broke out of jail and found sanctuary on the Asia, the British man-of-war that guarded New York's harbour. Grant later commanded 100 loyalists whom he had recruited on Staten Island and became a major in the New York Volunteers. His service to the crown was such that in later years it was noted "the services of ... Major Grant are well known to all the army." Grant died on October 6, 1777 when his regiment attacked New York's Fort Montgomery.

The British authorities did their best to care for Sarah Grant and her four children. Sir Henry Clinton gave her a rebel family's farm on Long Island. There she met Joshua and Sarah Chandler, loyalist refugees from New Haven, Connecticut. The Chandlers had four sons and three daughters, a number of whom were close in age to the Grant children. The friendship that developed between the two families was to become so significant that the name Chandler would serve as a middle name for generations of Grant descendants.

With the defeat of the British at the end of the American Revolution, the Grants and Chandlers joined the loyalist evacuation to Nova Scotia. In October of 1783, Sarah Grant, her four children, two slaves and three free African servants – along with the Chandler family – boarded the sloop Skuldam that was bound for Annapolis Royal.

The two week voyage to Nova Scotia was not a good one; it was the eastern seaboard's hurricane season. High winds and waves washed all of the Chandlers' stock and possessions off the decks of their ship. Sarah Chandler was "overcome with the Passage. She languished, mourned and Died in about 3 weeks after Landing."

Life had its happy occasions as well as its tragic ones. At some point in the next few years, young Thomas B. Chandler married Elizabeth Grant. Their first son, Robert Grant Chandler, was born in 1786.

A year later the new Chandler baby's namesake boarded the schooner Patty along with his mother Sarah Grant. Among the other passengers were Joshua Chandler, his 29 year-old son William, and 27 year-old Elizabeth Chandler. Of this group, only Robert Grant would survive the voyage.

The Patty sailed across the Bay of Fundy on March 9 to take its loyalist passengers to Saint John. They planned to present documents to the loyalist compensation board in the hope of receiving financial reimbursement for all that they had lost during the revolution. Instead, a fierce snowstorm drove the Patty onto the infamous split rock of Musquash Cove, nine miles south west of Saint John, New Brunswick – not Grand Manan Island or Partridge Island as Grant family lore would later record. As reported in the Royal Gazette, "the violence of the storm {was} so great that she instantly shove to pieces."

William Chandler died trying to secure the ship to shore. Joshua Chandler fell to his death, and his daughter Elizabeth "perished in the woods" as the passengers desperately sought shelter along the coast. Robert Grant, just eighteen years old, carried his 38 year-old mother through the snow. When they finally reached a place of shelter, Robert found "that he was bearing a frozen corpse in his arms."

The seventeen survivors of the Patty finally made their way to Saint John. The newspaper said that many of them "were exceedingly injured by the frost, among the worst Mr {Robert} Grant".

Despite the tragedy, the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists convened on March 22, thirteen days after the shipwreck. Among those petitioning the commission was Robert Grant. Unfortunately, he did not have a shred of evidence to back his family's claims; all of their papers had been lost in the shipwreck.

Robert was by himself when he appeared before the board. His emotional state and the commissioners' responses go unrecorded, but it must have been overwhelming for the teenager to have to summarize the story of his family's losses during the revolution, given the fact that the death of his mother, the shipwreck, and the welfare of his three sisters were on his mind. Perhaps that is why he failed to mention that the only "property" his mother had salvaged from the revolution was 51 year-old Caesar and 14 year-old Bill, the family's enslaved Africans.

The following day, a witness stepped forward to vouch for all that Robert had testified. Col. Abijah Willard had been a friend of Major Alexander Grant. Willard was also able to supply details of Grant's war service that Robert did not know, being just a small boy at the time. Whether the RCLSAL ever offered aid to the four loyalist orphans is unknown, but its transcripts do reveal one ray of hope. Willard volunteered to be the guardian of Grant's four children.

However, when Robert returned to the family home in Clements, Nova Scotia, his siblings and the surviving members of the Chandler family had other plans.

The oldest Chandler daughter, Sarah, had married Amos Botsford in 1770. Nine years later, rebels confiscated Botsford's property and the couple fled to New York. Botsford joined a group of loyalists who scouted out potential refugee settlements in Nova Scotia in 1782. Within two years, Botsford and his wife had settled in Dorchester, New Brunswick. In 1785, the loyalist was elected as a representative for Westmoreland County and was made the speaker of the provincial assembly.

Having lost a father, brother and sister, the Chandler siblings were ready for a fresh start. Having such a respected and influential brother-in-law in nearby New Brunswick gave them that opportunity. Thomas Chandler and his wife Elizabeth headed for Westmoreland County – as did Elizabeth's siblings: Robert, Helen and Lucy Grant. The deep connection between the two families that was forged on Long Island a decade earlier continued in the new loyalist homeland.

How the four Grants fared in New Brunswick will be told in next week's Loyalist Trails.

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

Reference to Last Week's Valentine

I enjoyed the article on 18th century valentines – let's not forget John Simcoe's valentine to Sarah Townsend. Some claim it to be the first in North America. Best wishes.

...David Raymont

Ontario's Lost Black Loyalists, by Jay Young

Recently while reviewing my McNiff's Map 1786, listing of individuals granted land in Glengarry County 1786, I was surprised to find that several had the word Negro below their names. Seven such men received land in the 2nd Concession of Lancaster Township. They are as follows:

Lot 10       Cato Prime
14             James Fonda
16             Jack Powell
21             Joseph Goff
23             William Thomas
27             London Derry
30             Sambo

It seems that only London Derry made it onto the Old United Empire Loyalist List, though probably most [if not all] deserve that distinction. I truly wish that someone would take up their cause.

...Jay Young

Book Review: Peter Oliver: The Loyalist Perspective on the American Revolution

Peter Oliver: The Loyalist Perspective on the American Revolution, by Louis Garafalo. Review by Brian McConnell, UE.

This recent book by author Louis Garafolo describes the life and times of Loyalist Peter Oliver, a close associate of Governor Thomas Hutchinson, the last British appointed Governor of Massachusetts before the American Revolution. Peter Oliver was born into a successful merchant family in Boston. He attended Harvard where he delivered the valedictory address in 1730. Later he was appointed a Justice of the Peace and served as the last Chief Justice of the Massachusetts colonial court system. With the declining fortunes of the Loyalists during the American Revolution in Massachusetts he was evacuated with others from Boston to Halifax in 1776.

Borealia: Donald Creighton's Early Canada – and Ours

by Denis McKim

Donald Wright's Donald Creighton: A Life in History is a splendid biography of one of English-speaking Canada's greatest historians. The objective of this essay, which draws on Wright's book, is twofold. First, it seeks to illuminate major aspects of Creighton's writings on northern North America before the consolidation of Confederation, including the importance of the St. Lawrence River; the statesmanship of John A. Macdonald; and the creation of a strong central government. Second, the essay aims to assess both the differences and the similarities between Creighton's conception of early Canada and contemporary understandings of northern North America before the late nineteenth century. In short, it endeavours to shed light on Creighton's early Canada and ours.

You can read the rest of the essay here.

As always, you can follow Borealia on Twitter or like us at Facebook.

JAR: Virginia Looking Westward: Lord Dunmore's War through the Revolution

By Thomas Thorleifur Sobol, published on 17 February 2016.

Taxation without representation has been the traditionally accepted cause of the American Revolution. Such an understanding of the Revolution, while valid, does not give credit to its complexity. An often-neglected aspect of Virginia's American Revolution experience is the importance of the frontier. Soil exhaustion, a recurrent problem of Virginia's tobacco economy, turned planters into land hunters. Indian tribes such as the Shawnee, Mingo, Delaware, and Cherokee checked Virginian expansion into the Ohio country. Western expansion did not cause the Revolution, but from Lord Dunmore's War of 1774 to the conclusion of the American Revolution in the west with the campaigns of George Rogers Clark, western expansion figured significantly in Virginia's experience of the Revolution, resulting in increasingly militarized relations with their Indian neighbors.

Read the post – an interesting and complex set of forces and relationships.

Comment: The Welcome

Being born and raised in Cheboygan, I loved the article on the Welcome and the revolutionary era in the Straits of Mackinac. The history and origins of the people of the north has always amazed me and your article reminded me of how amazing. I find it unbelievable my ancestors include U.E.L. members (Martin Fralick); the Dugas and Melancon families who were among the first to settle Acadia; John McGulpin/McAlpine who came to Fort Michilimackinac as a British soldier, and retired there instead of accepting transfer to Massachusetts in the years leading up to the war; Rene Bourassa, the great French fur trader; and various native Americans. I think many residents of Upper Canada and the Great Lakes states have similar family stories. Regards,

...Gary Fralick

Where in the World?

Where is Branch member NAME?

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

  • The American Revolution and the Hope of Black People. The recent convergence of publicized anti-black police violence, the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the approaching Presidential election have revived conversation about the significance of hope within black political thought and activism. Thinking about black hope during the American Revolution raises important questions that reverberate with discussions today.
  • Toronto's black history unearthed in excavation of landmark church. The British Methodist Episcopal church on Chestnut St. was a focal point of Toronto's black community for more than a century, its congregants offering shelter to those fleeing slavery via the Underground Railroad. Then, decades ago, it was buried under a parking lot and largely forgotten – until now.
  • These puzzle jugs in the Victoria and Albert Museum were deliberately built to spill unless you can unlock the trick to pouring them.
  • Dawn over the St. Lawrence River at Wolfe Island (photo).

Note Re Genealogy of UEL Abraham Marston

Some clarification about last week's “A ‘Complete’ Genealogy of the United Empire Loyalist Abraham Marston.”

The URL for the tree on Ancestry is:

If searching by my name, my Ancestry name is Dr Stephen E Bolton.


Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Carpenter, Archelaus from - Dr. Stephen Bolton
  • Cosman (Cossman), James - from John Noble

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

Last Post: Mabel Elizabeth MacLean (nee Cameron), UE

At the Cornwall Community Hospital on Wednesday February 3, 2016, at the age of 91. Beloved wife of the late Walter MacLean Sr. Survived by sons Walter Jr., and Ian; daughters Doris MacLean and Annie Berthelot (Dave). Loving grandmother of Ross, Laurel and Sandy MacLean and Zane, Eve and Tessa Berthelot and by sister Lois Runge. Predeceased by her parents, Russell and Margaret (Leitch), son Cameron (Abbie), and brothers, Allan, Art and Douglas and sister, June Pecore.

Always active, Mabel's most recent volunteer work was at Glen-Stor-Dun-Lodge.

Her passion was genealogy and she was always happy to share her wealth of knowledge about MacLean, Cameron and other Loyalist families in South Glengarry.

Mabel was a proud mother, loyal friend, resourceful, independent and maker of the world's best brownies.

Respecting Mabel's wishes there will be no visitation. Cremation service entrusted to the M. John Sullivan Funeral Home, Cornwall, Ontario.

As expressions of sympathy, memorial donations to ALS Canada would be appreciated by the family.

...Michael Eamer

Mabel was a long-time member of St. Lawrence Branch where she served on the genealogy committee, among other roles. She received her Loyalist Certificate in 1982, as a descendant of John Cameron.

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