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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2017 Archive

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“Loyalist Trails” 2017-01: January 1, 2017

Articles

Unshaken Loyalty: The Revolution along the St. John River: Part 2 of 2

© Stephen Davidson, UE

When the Vulture first attempted to send troops ashore on June 23rd, rebel fire forced them to return to their ship and wait for further backup. Two days later, Major Studholme and 120 soldiers disembarked from the Milford and Hope. Since Major Studholme had once been the commander of the recently destroyed Fort Frederick, his knowledge of the area was a key element to his men's success.

The British forces landed to the west of the reversing falls, out of sight of Portland Point. After a four-kilometer march through the woods, they encountered 40 rebel militiamen. A "sharp conflict" ensued, resulting in the deaths of 12 rebels and one loyalist soldier. It is said that one rebel climbed into a tree and might have escaped, except that the cracking of a branch betrayed his hiding place, whereupon a soldier "dropped him like a little carrier pigeon." The rebels beat a hasty retreat.

On July first, 150 Planters from across the Bay of Fundy joined Studholme's men. Overwhelmed, the rebels forces abandoned Portland Point and fled in different directions, some returning to the Maine coast and others retreating inland 120 miles up the St. John River. Had British forces liberated a loyalist trading post from rebels in Connecticut or Georgia, this 1777 victory might have received wider recognition, but it became lost in the larger story of the revolution.

With the eradication of the patriot threat, Studholme's men sailed away from Portland Point. In November, the resident loyalists warmly welcomed back Major Studholme and 50 soldiers who were about to affect a more permanent solution to rebel harassment along the St. John River.

The mission of the Royal Fencible American Regiment and the Royal Highland Emigrants was a welcomed one: to build a fort to defend the Planter settlements at the river's mouth and along its valley. The two loyalist (or "provincial") corps constructed their new garrison atop a hill on the harbour's east side. Named for Sir William Howe, the commander of British forces in North America, Fort Howe has been a part of Saint John's landscape ever since.

In June of 1778, loyalist settlers' fears focused on the 500 Native warriors who had participated in the unsuccessful attack on Fort Cumberland. It was said that these men intended to "ruin the interior settlements of the country".

By August, the issue of Native loyalty was finally resolved. Col. Michael Franklin, Nova Scotia's superintendent of Indian Affairs, had a grand pow-wow near the walls of Fort Howe. The Native leaders took an oath of allegiance to the crown and – in recognition of their new loyalty – gave Franklin a string of wampum as well as the gifts that the Massachusetts' rebel negotiators had used to woo their support. As a token of appreciation, the British government awarded presents to their new allies, making the two sides "all one brother".

Despite good relations with Natives and the protection of Fort Howe, Portland Point's 200 settlers once again fled into the woods in the fall of 1778 when a rebel sloop boldly sailed into the harbour and fired upon their homes. This attack had more to do with plunder than the principles of the American Revolution. The patriot privateers carried off 21 boatloads of goods from the White, Simonds and Hazen trading post.

Clearly, the soldiers in Fort Howe needed to do more than stay behind the walls of their garrison and simply fire upon privateers whenever they ventured into the harbour. In December, members of the Royal Highland Emigrants became more pro-active; they went out into the harbour and retrieved a privateer ship that had been abandoned on Partridge Island. They would later complain that Major Studholme was using them as "sailors and marines" to combat patriot ships.

The revolution had an unexpected consequence for the resident loyalists of Sunbury County. Before 1776, the British navy had depended upon the forests of New England to supply it with ships' masts. With the loss of its traditional supplier, the crown now turned to the forests of the St. John River. Suddenly, mast cutting became a new and vital trade in the valley's Yankee settlements. Loading timber onto ships at Portland Point was made easier by the fact that it could simply be floated down the river to ships waiting in the harbour. Col Franklin gave Natives a role in this industry, encouraging them to guard the mast cutters from rebel attacks.

In June of 1779, the soldiers at Fort Howe received some unexpected New Englanders at their gates. Settlers from Maine in a "wretched and starved condition" had sailed up the coast to appeal to Studholme for help. Although a number of these were rebels, they were willing to "return their allegiance" for food. Studholme's commanding officers instructed him that "no such people could be received".

In November of 1780, the first cargo of masts from the St. John River arrived in the Halifax shipyards. As promised, six Native leaders received goods in appreciation for their protection of the mast cutters.

The following year saw the construction of a second fort along the St. John River. Engineers built Fort Hughes at the point where the Oromocto River entered the St. John, thus protecting the important courier route between Halifax and Quebec. Louis Mitchel, Louis Mercure and Michel Mercure, three Acadian farmers, were the most famous of the couriers employed to carry messages between Fort Howe and Quebec. Their trips lasted four to five days and covered 430 miles. (Little wonder that the loyal Acadians charged Studholme $100 for each trip!)

In April of 1781, British navy transports took on 200 masts, yards and bowsprits at Fort Howe. Business was so good that a second masting company started up. Of greater note to historians of the era is the fact that Capt. Benjamin Marston of the Britannia made a sketch of Fort Howe, producing the only representation of the fort before the arrival of the loyalist refugees.

As news of Britain's defeat at the Battle of Yorktown made its way north, anxiety over rebel attacks on the St. John River began to decline. It was the beginning of the end of the revolution. In March of 1782, Captain Simon Baxter, a New Hampshire loyalist, arrived at Portland Point. By August 15th, he had received a grant of 5,000 acres on the Kennebecasis River, a tributary of the St. John River. The Planters who had to contend with the "sons of darkness" since 1775 had no way of knowing that Baxter would be just the first of over 14,000 refugees who would be granted land all around their settlements.

In fact, if the loyal Planters of Portland Point had not spoken up, they might have lost their homes to the flood of loyalists that began pouring into their portion of Nova Scotia. As James Simonds wrote, it was hardly fair for the Planters to be "stripped of our rights to make amends for the losses of the loyalists".

Major Studholme, a wartime witness to all that the loyal settlers of the St. John River had endured during the revolution, lent his support to their pleas. He affirmed that over the past ten years the men who had operated Portland Point's trading post had done their best to find settlers for the river valley, "but the continual robberies committed by the Rebel boats during the war, to which these settlements have been exposed, obliged a number of their tenants to remove."

Studholme also commissioned a quartet of Planters and loyalists to sail up the St. John River to determine exactly who was settled on the valley's shores and whether their titles were legitimate. They discovered that 41 heads of Planter households had taken the oath of allegiance to the crown during the revolution; 34 had been active rebels. As he supervised the refugee settlement of the river valley, Studholme now had the data he needed to mete out justice to those who had remained loyal to the crown – and to those who had sided with the rebels.

Of course, some loyal Planters regarded the granting of prime land to refugees as a bit unfair. Said James Simonds, "we have at least as weighty reasons as they possibly can offer to claim restitution from government for the value of all the property taken from us." Although they were never compensated for their wartime losses – despite having shared the same abuses as the loyalist refugees – the loyal Planters at least retained the land on which they had settled before the revolution.

Today Planter descendants can make the rare claim that they are living on land that has been in their families since the 1760s – a claim very few English Canadians can equal. It is the remaining legacy of ancestors who demonstrated "unshaken loyalty" during the American Revolution as it played out along the St. John River.


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

Planters of New Brunswick: Kendrick Family

Great to see the story on the Planters of New Brunswick during the American Revolution and what little recognition they received. My direct 6x Great Grandfather John Henry Kendrick and his family were part of these forgotten Planters. They fought in the war against the patriots on the River St. John but had to give up their land to the new loyalist, that came north from the colonies.

They moved to the town of York, now Toronto and struggle to make new lives. My direct 5x Great Grandfather John B Kendrick applied for Loyalist recognition, but was refused. His brothers and one sister did receive loyalist designation, but not John B Kendrick. In his plea for loyalist recognition he stated his loyalty to the Crown by working to help the British Navy as a river pilot on the River St John during the revolution. Also that his father John Henry Kendrick was a soldier of the 22nd Regiment of Foot. All this fell on deaf ears as the record of his application shows.

I did find much of this information from Terrilee Craig UE who is a descendant of John B Kendrick's sister Mary who did receive UE . Your record of UE does show a brother of my John B Kendrick. His name is Duke William Kendrick and was granted UE status by order in council after his death.

So all my direct ancestors are without the UE designation. Now I know this may be a really long shot but, do you think it is too late to apply again? How would this even be attempted? Something for serious thinking.

Thank you for your stories of the Planters.

...Gordon R. Brown

RevWarTalk: Battle of Trois-Rivieres in Quebec (Quebec Campaign), 8 June 1776

The crossing of the Saint Lawrence by the American troops was observed by Quebec militia, who alerted British troops at Trois-Rivières. A local farmer led the Americans into a swamp, enabling the British to land additional forces in the village, and to establish positions behind the American army. After a brief exchange between an established British line and American troops emerging from the swamp, the Americans broke into a somewhat disorganized retreat. As some avenues of retreat were cut off, the British took a sizable number of prisoners, including General Thompson and much of his staff.

Read more.

Paoli Battlefield Historical Park: British Post Troops on John's Island South Carolina

British troops commanded by Major James Henry Craig are posted at John's Island, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina, on this day 28 December in 1781. Craig had evacuated his troops from Wilmington, North Carolina, a little over a month earlier on November 14. The Patriots planned to remove Craig and his men from the island with troops led by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Light Horse Harry Lee and his famed cavalry from Fort Ninety-Six in the South Carolina backcountry. Lee aborted the attack when a column led by Major James Hamilton arrived too late and was unable to cross the Wapoo River, which was only fordable once or twice a month.

Read more.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Who is That?!: Help with Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Given Names

By Leah Grandy, a Microforms Assistant at the Harriet Irving Library.

Dorcas, Nehemiah, Mehetabel, Eliphalet . . . If you have done any research with early North American documents, you have probably noticed that some names were fairly common in the past that are certainly not common today. This change over time in naming traditions may leave the modern reader puzzled. There are, however, some background knowledge and tricks that will help in the interpretation of early Canadian and American given names.

The most common source of North American colonial names arrived via Christian traditions, particularly the Bible and saints. Interestingly, many Biblical names were not well known, and of no special importance. Some even had negative connotations such as Cain and Benoni. Strict American Protestants tended to prefer Old Testament names, while Catholics, especially French Catholics, held a tradition of choosing names from non-Biblical Saints. The appearance of some very obscure Biblical names such as Zalmon and Hilkiah may indicate that colonial parents may have been using the Bible in the same way as baby name books are used by modern parents.

Read more.

More on New Brunswick Odells

Thanks for publishing "A Visit from St. Nicholas: The New Brunswick Odells and the Authorship Controversy." The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Odell and my direct Loyalist ancestor, Daniel Odell (1733 - 1816) were cousins and correspondents. Daniel was farmer and a rent collector for the Livingston family. When the Livingstons sided with the rebels in the Revolution, Daniel was denounced as a Tory, had his Dutchess County farm seized, and escaped to British held New York City. Daniel, his wife, and a 14 year old slave named Joe (who is listed in The Book of Negroes) left New York when the British evacuated for Nova Scotia. Daniel's son Uriah (1755 - 1834), from whom I descend, fought for the winning side in the Revolution.

...Dan Odell

JAR: Abigail Hartman Rice, Revolutionary War Nurse

By Blake McGready

The lives of the Revolutionary era's extraordinary women have long been celebrated. At historic sites throughout our country, visitors can learn the stories of Margaret Corbin, Phyllis Wheatley, Abigail Adams, and others. But the experiences of women who did not fight in battle, write poetry, or dabble in politics are not as often interpreted. Nostalgia for battlefield heroics or political dramas has long brought men to center stage, as well as a handful female characters who performed those same gendered roles. All the while, the experiences of ordinary women are frequently left in the wings.

Abigail Hartman Rice was an ordinary woman of the Revolutionary Era. She lived with her family about thirty miles outside of Philadelphia in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She was an immigrant, who crossed the Atlantic a quarter century before the War for Independence began. She had personal encounters and connections with notable individuals: Anthony Wayne, Peter Muhlenberg, and according to family lore, George Washington. She was a Continental Army nurse, who served on the front lines fighting diseases for multiple years. And she delivered twenty-one children in her lifetime, seventeen of which lived to adulthood. And yet, despite all these experiences, there is no evidence to suggest that Abigail Hartman Rice was exceptional in her time. In fact, what makes her extraordinary to Americans today is her very ordinariness.

Read more.

Comment: The SAR Glances at Loyalists

In Peter Johnson's piece in the December 25 issue of Loyalist Trails, titled "The SAR Glances at Loyalists," he comments on a review of Maya Jasanoff's book, Liberty's Exiles: American Exiles In The Revolutionary World, in the Fall 2016 SAR (Sons of the American Revolution) Magazine. He notes, with some surprise, a lack of negative comment about the "Tories." My family includes members of the SAR and the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). These organizations were founded in the late 19th century with strong nativist, nationalist, and patriotic attitudes. Growing up in New York's Hudson Valley, my Loyalists ancestors were indeed dismissed within the family as "Tories."

Attitudes have changed. For my generation, more interested in history than in being a member of an exclusive club, our Loyalist roots were all the more interesting.

...Dan Odell

Book Review: Hostages to Fortune, by Peter C. Newman

The First Anglo-Canadians. Reviewed by Alastair Browne

The American Revolution produced not one, but two countries: the United States and Canada.

This book tells of the American Revolution, the settling of Canada, and the subsequent War of 1812 from the Loyalist point of view. The American Loyalists fled to Canada to build what became a new nation loyal to the British Crown. The author, Peter Newman, as he wrote this book, had a British Union Flag, pre-1801 (before the cross of St. Patrick was added) proudly hanging in his study. "Hostages to Fortune" mostly explains the history of Canada's beginnings from the American Revolution onward, but also briefly focuses on one family in different stages of the book; the Jarvises from Plainville, Connecticut, and in a few instances, General Simcoe of the Rangers, a Loyalist segment of the British Army, though he himself was British.

General Simcoe is worthy of mention here because, although the Revolutionary Wars was literally a bloodbath, Simcoe himself did not tolerate any disobedience or transgressions from his soldiers. Plundering and abusing any civilians, loyal to the Crown or not, was strictly forbidden, and he sentenced two of his own soldiers to death for raping an American woman.

Although the book tells the Loyalist point of view, the author, Peter Newman, does give justice to the American patriots in both wars (the revolution and the War of 1812).

Britain and the Colonies' victory over the French and Indian War in 1763 landed them all the lands in North America formerly belonging to the French. Because of this, Britain had an enormous war debt that had to be paid, and they expected the American colonists to pay their share, in the form of taxation. This included the Stamp Act, the Sugar Act, the Currency Act (restricting the printing of money), and many colonists were forced to quarter British soldiers against their will. The climax was the infamous Boston Tea Party.

Grievances were expressed, but the British government refused to hear them. Colonists wanted representatives in Parliament, but the British refused. There were British statesmen like William Pitt (not mentioned in this book) and others willing to redress the grievances of the colonists, but they were in the minority, and were pushed aside by King George III and Parliament. Had they been listened to, the colonists never would have rebelled. But they did rebel, in 1775, to preserve their rights as Englishmen. It was only a year later that they declared their independence.

This is where the war itself goes into great detail. It was fierce and bloody, with American turning on American, depending on what side they chose. If one just simply voiced their opinion for the Crown, they were considered traitors and were persecuted. They were lynched, their homes were burned, looted, and sometimes even the women were mutilated. There were no limits to what humans did to one another, and there were times when the Loyalist reacted in the same manner. This was literally America's first Civil War.

There is one fact the book omits. The author states that America was divided into two groups, but there were really three; one third were Patriots, one third were Loyalists, and one third didn't give a damn.

The Loyalists formed regiments trained by the British, and they fought just as fiercely as the Patriots. They also had help from the Indians, especially the Iroquois.

The Patriots fared badly at first, and it is mentioned here that General George Washington lost far more battles than he won.

The war could have been won for the British had it not been for the blunder of a few British generals. Also, France stepped in, increasing the Brits' disadvantage even more.

Fast forward to Yorktown, and the Patriots got their country, and the Loyalists were driven into Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Upper Canada, forming a settlement called York, now Toronto.

The next few chapters focus on the hardships of the Loyalists in Canada. They did not live in shame and retained their allegiance to the British Crown.

The settling of this new land was harsh. They built log cabins, but the winters were cold and bitter, there was a lack of food, and many did not survive. The ones who did grew stronger, and homesteaded their land, digging in their heels determined never again to be driven off of it. Their test would come in 1812.

Again, the author does justice for the Americans in the War of 1812.

There were three main reasons for the war, two of them were justifiable for the Americans. One, American ships at sea were being impressed by the British Navy, forcing American crewmen onto their ships to serve in the British forces. Two, there were British forts in the American Northwest Territories, supplying Indians with guns and denying American pioneers settlement in the frontier of their own country. Three, the American's wanted to annex Canada, not so justifiable for the Americans.

Focusing on Canada, in almost every attack on Canadian soil, the Americans were beaten off in defeat by the Loyalists. This is because the Loyalists, due to the climate and the Canadian frontier, were hard core, fierce, and determined never to lose their land to the Americans again. This is Canada's point of view, and from the way they see it, they won the war, with help from the British, by not being conquered or losing an inch of their territory.

From the American viewpoint, the U.S. eventually gained complete freedom of the seas and got the British off of U.S. soil, and this became the Second War for Independence. The U.S. succeeded in two out of their three endeavors.

Canada was granted independence in 1867 and they have maintained their pride in British-Canadian history.

What this book is pointing out is that there was no shame in being a Loyalist for the British in the American Revolution. They were not traitors, and when the U.S. broke away from Britain, they migrated north to form their own separate country.

Beginning in 1830, there was massive immigration to Canada from the British Isles and later Europe, eventually diluting the American Loyalist pedigree in Canada. Immigration continues to this day, but from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

The original British-Canadians were Americans. It can be said that had it not been for the American Revolution, Canada today would not have existed.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Black freemasonry dates from before the American war of independence, when a freed black abolitionist and leather worker by the name of Prince Hall (1735-1807) was refused admittance to the St John's masonic lodge in Boston, Massachusetts. Undaunted by the rebuff, Hall and 14 other free black men were initiated into freemasonry in 1775 by a British military lodge based in Boston. In 1784, after the British had left America, the grand lodge of England issued Hall with a charter to set up an African lodge in Boston. It proved so popular that Prince Hall was granted the status of provincial grand master, allowing him to set up two further African masonic lodges in Philadelphia and Rhode Island. Read more with some focus on musicians.
  • Her Majesty, The Queen of Canada wishes Canada well during its sesquicentenary. Hear her message; read it (all in English - at top of page switch to all French if you prefer).
  • Governor General of Canada's New Year's Message. Happy New Year, Canada, and happy sesquicentennial! What an occasion: the 150th anniversary of our Canadian family! This year we celebrate, and we stand at a threshold. We have a rare, once-in-a-generation opportunity to think about Canada, and to look to the future. And while not perfect, our Canadian experiment continues. This year, I believe our legacy will be to innovate, to improve upon our inheritance, to make this country even better. We're so fortunate to live in Canada, but there's so much more work to do. Read more...
  • The Honourable David Onley, C.M., O.Ont. was named a Member of the Order of Canada by the Governor General on December 30. His Honour, the former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, a proven loyalist descendant, was supportive of Ontario history and roots, including our Loyalist heritage.
  • Do Foods Go Extinct? - Q&A

Queries

Two Men Named William Burnett

Is there any connection between these two men?

1. William Burnett (or Burnet), b. c1737, Dutchess Co. NY, married Dorothy Kickler 4 Oct 1761. Presumably it was he who joined Queen's Rangers in 1778, lost his estate on the Hudson River in 1780 - "off fighting the rebels". Surrendered Yorktown VA Oct. 1781 as Sgt. Burnett. Paroled POW Flushing NY 1783. Went to what is now New Brunswick in 1783 from NYC in the Fall Fleet. Received land grant, Queenstown York Co. NB 1878. Sold land about 1797 - whereabouts thereafter unknown.

2. William Burnett, b. 14 Oct. 1766 in New York?. Left NYC in Refugees Oct 1782. Arrived Annapolis 19 Oct 1782, member Ward's Corps. Reputed to have come on the same ship as George and William Harding. William Burnett's 6th son was named George Harding Burnett. Bought land King's Co. NB c1793-95. M. Mary Catherine Rupert, Loyalist family from South Carolina (date of marriage and location unknown). William Burnett died 2 Mar. 1850, Norton, King's Co. NB. He had a brother named Thomas.

Other questions:

• What was Ward's Corps?

• Where are the muster rolls for Queen's Rangers and Wards Corps?

• Do any muster rolls give age, nativity, height and do forth?

• What was the minimum age to join Queen's Rangers or Wards Corps?

• What other information is available on the lives of these two men?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

...Robert P. Fuller

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