Connect with us online:

Make a donation and help preserve Loyalist history
Make a donation and help
preserve Loyalist history

Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2018 Archive

Previous Issue   |   Index   |   Next Issue

“Loyalist Trails” 2018-04: January 28, 2018

Articles

Tracking Down Names in a 1774 Loyalist Newspaper (2 of 2)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

The New York Gazetteer entertained and informed the loyalist refugees who found sanctuary in New York City during the American Revolution. Today, it gives historians and genealogists a glimpse into the lives of loyal colonists before they were scattered in the great diaspora at the end of the War of Independence.

In the April 14, 1774 edition of James Rivington's newspaper, there is a notice that a 23 year-old Irish weaving apprentice named William Rowan has run away from his employer, Simon Flaglor in New York's Dutchess County. While our sympathies might gravitate toward young Rowan, it is Flaglor who catches the eye of any reader with loyalist ancestors who settled in New Brunswick.

Simon Flaglor, his wife Elizabeth, and their six children would eventually become loyalist refugees, making their way to the mouth of the St. John River as passengers on board the Littledale. The latter was part of the June evacuation fleet. The family settled on the Long Reach of the St. John River where the former farmer operated an inn at Flaglor Point (now Oak Point). Simon appeared before the loyalist compensation board when it convened in Saint John in February of 1786, and thanks to his transcript, we know more of his wartime experiences.

Flaglor was able to remain in Dutchess County for five years after placing the notice of his runaway apprentice. His devotion to the crown compelled him to seek sanctuary in New York City in 1779. Although details are lacking, somehow Flaglor "lost one horse when endeavoring to make his escape". Although he persuaded 30 others to follow him to serve with a Captain Howard, Flaglor spent the rest of the revolution at one of the British garrisons on Long Island.

Another New York loyalist who sailed with Simon Flaglor also settled near him on the St. John River. In fact, the two loyalists lie buried in the same graveyard. Peter Berton, the loyalist ancestor of historian Pierre Berton, was that neighbour.

Simon Flaglor died in September of 1816 at 72 years of age. His will bequeathed property to his sons, Peter, Mordecai, William, Frederick, Simon Jr, Gilbert, and to his four daughters, Jane Dunham, Sarah Lyons, Elizabeth, and Hannah Dykeman. Among the items in the inventory of Flaglor's estate were two barrels of currant wine. Both his wife Elizabeth (age 88) and daughter Elizabeth (age 67) would be buried in the family plot in 1842.

In the November 10, 1774 edition of The New York Gazetteer, a name more familiar to loyalist descendants in Ontario and Quebec appeared in a short news item. Readers of the New York newspaper learned that "Sir John Johnson is appointed Major General of the militia in the Northern District of New York in place of his father, Sir William Johnson, deceased."

Sir John had already appeared in the Gazetteer back on July 1, 1773 when it was announced that he was "married Tuesday last in New York City to Miss Polly Watts, daughter of John Watts, Esq., of His Majesty's Council".

As there were no movie stars or other media personalities for "gossip columns", the activities of the nobility and the upper class were regular features in the colonial newspapers of the day. Sir John was mentioned in the September 23, 1773 edition, too. "The Honourable Chief Justice Hay of Quebec was thrown from his horse and injured in Albany on September 15 when he was on his way to visit Sir J. Johnson."

In the Gazetteer's July 21, 1774 edition, it reads, "the wife of Sir John Johnson was lately delivered of a daughter at Fort Johnson". After recording this brief bit of good news, The New York Gazetteer would fall silent regarding Johnson, but loyalist history would take up this story.

Within two years of his daughter's birth, Johnson formed the King's Royal Regiment of New York on June 19, 1776 after leading over 200 of his loyal Mohawk Valley tenants to Montreal. Over the next seven years, Johnson would have an impact on hundreds of loyalist families as he led their fathers, brothers and husbands back into the rebelling colonies to fight for the king. Among the KRRNY's memorable battles are the 1777 campaign against Fort Stanwix, the Battle of Oriskany and numerous raids in the Mohawk and Schoharie River valleys. While heroes in loyalist history, "Johnson's Greens" or the "Royal Yorkers" are described as "vengeful", being "much feared by, and inhumane towards, their former countrymen". The KRRNY's burning of huge supplies of grain and flour intended to feed the Continental Army is usually singled out.

A Second Battalion of the KRRNY was formed in 1780 under the command of Major John Ross. Both battalions were disbanded at the end of the revolution -- and were instrumental in providing the early settlers of Upper Canada. (Editor's note: see next month's Loyalist Trails for some stories of individual veterans of the KRRNY.)

Aside from his role as commander of the KRRNY, Johnson was also the Superintendent General and Inspector General of the Six Nations Indians and those in the Province of Quebec. As well as championing Indigenous People, Johnson was also highly regarded as a defender of the loyalist refugees. In 1784, he oversaw the settlement of wartime veterans and their families in the Bay of Quinte and along the upper St. Lawrence River.

It was Johnson who submitted a petition that would lead to the separation of Upper and Lower Canada in 1785, so he was regarded as the natural choice to be Upper Canada's first lieutenant governor. In the end, he was passed over in favour of John Graves Simcoe.

Johnson lived out the rest of his life in Lower Canada where he held a variety of government positions and worked to acquire land, hoping to once again own as much as he had lost in the Mohawk Valley.

Johnson died on January 4, 1830. Our look at this noteworthy loyalist began with a reference in The New York Gazetteer, an American newspaper. It is fitting, then, that it should end with a notice from the February 3, 1830 edition of The New Brunswick Royal Gazette: "d. St. Mary's, Lower Canada, 4th, age 88, Sir John Johnson, Knight & Baronet, served as Volunteer under command of his father, late Sir William Johnson, at the battle of Lake George 8th Sept. 1775. Buried family vault Mount Johnson."


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

Hugh Pudsey: Loyalist to Kings County, Nova Scotia

This past year a Nova Scotia Branch member who is a descendant of Hugh Pudsey introduced me to this interesting family. Mr. Pudsey is well documented as being born in England, marrying in Horton Township, and settling on a farm in Greenwich and later Wolfville in Kings County. He grew fruit he imported from England. Less is known about his service that "Intitled [him] to the favours intended in His Majesty's proclamation to men of their description".

One of the only two men of Captain Robert DOVE's company listed on his two Petitions for land in Nova Scotia is Hugh PUDSEY. (see previous story on the Loyalists of Kings County, NS). Marion Gilroy'swell-known book, 1937, Loyalists and Land Settlement in Nova Scotia does not capture him. In Arthur Wentworth Hamilton EATON's valuable book, The History of Kings County, 1910, Salem, MA Press, the author skips any mention of Pudsey being a Loyalist. In a sketch of families he simply quotes the book, North American Family Histories 1500-2000, page 249, 'descendants of Moses Cleveland' which states Roxalena CLEAVELAND married Hugh PUDSEY, an Englishman who settled in Horton, naming their five children. The Benjamin Cleaveland/Cleveland family were Planters to Horton from Windham, Connecticut in 1760. Roxalena was about 3 years old at that time.

More personal details are in this profile, too, describing Hugh as "intellectual and scientific, and had a choice library". He eventually owned a farm in Greenwich, Kings County and later, Wolfville, Kings County, NS where he was an orchardist and farmer. Of him, EATON adds on page 195 that he "imported from England grape vines and other fruit scions rare in the province." Neither publication mentions anything about him being a Loyalist. Hugh PUDSEY's Loyalist land grant of 500 acres at Apple River, Parrsboro Township remained in his family well after his death in 1825.

Roxalena/Rocelena's (various phonetic spellings) birth in 1757 is recorded in both Connecticut (Barbour Collection, pg. 88) and in the Horton Township book. Hugh PUDSEY and Roxalena CLEVELAND married in Horton Township in 1777. He was 25 years old by this time and Roxcelana 20 years. There is no surviving record. We will likely never know how and when they met, or exactly when Hugh came to Nova Scotia initially, but they had five children, all said to have been born in Horton beginning in 1779 -- Elizabeth, Hugh Jr, Henry, Olive, Eunice -- with descendants still residing there. Since he married and had children in Horton before 1783 he is assumed to have been living or visiting in Nova Scotia by 1777. His wife's family had already been living in NS for many years.

As a young man and with a British accent, Hugh would have been particularly vulnerable to easy recognition during the American Revolution with any excursions to the 'more Southern provinces' mentioned in their 1783 petition for a land grant at Parrsboro. What lies shrouded in mystery still today, is that the only known specific records for his service to the British are 1777 to 1783 where there are a few surviving paylists and a final discharge in the British navy "Careening Yard" in Halifax. The paylists and final discharge are all at Halifax, and each one states his occupation as Joiner.

He arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia in the late fall of 1783 by ship from New York, reportedly with Company 2, with Captain Robert Dove's Militia, other Loyalists, and at least one other petitioner -- Joseph ELDERKIN also a grantee. Previously discussed Captain Robert DOVE was a Loyalist attainted in Pennsylvania as early as 1775, a leather cutter who joined the British. He went to sea as Shipmaster of the ship Charming Jenny transporting cargo such as tobacco. Where he met Hugh PUDSEY and Joseph ELDERKIN has not been determined. Why the two left NS, if they were living there before that, or the service they gave other than the Halifax shipyard records has not been found. Neither name appears on the 1770 census of Horton and of the three, only Joseph Elderkin (Horton 1791) and Robert Dove (Halifax 1793) are in the 1791 and 1793 Nova Scotia census. From the records we conclude Hugh PUDSEY was not accessible to enumeration in Nova Scotia at census times. He was a grantee in Apple River, Parrsboro, Nova Scotia initially, and not in Horton until well after 1783, perhaps after 1791, since they tried to farm in Apple River "upwards of eight years" [c.1791].

There are a several records for Hugh PUDSEY where he was on the payroll of the British Navy as a carpenter prior to 1783. His consistent occupation on the pay lists and his discharge document in Halifax, Nova Scotia is "Joiner" or "H.Carpenter/Joiner". This is a far different occupation than the published books later described. Was he compelled to go on voyages because he was working at the shipyard and they needed his skills? On Ancestry, the final discharge record is under general heading 'Locations or Vessels Gibraltar, Halifax and Martinique with index (1775-1815)'. This extra information is not included on the Library and Archives Canada image. The term of service is "Oct 1782-Apr 1784".

Going from there into a remote wilderness homesteading with a wife and small children must have been an extremely difficult transition. Early settlers depended on having large families, especially sons, to help with the farm. Clearing this wilderness he received was difficult, and they could not make a living on their land as the children were too small to help. This was the reason he gives for going back to Halifax, probably to work in the shipyard where he was until 1784.

It is only 3.5 miles across the Minas Basin to Horton from Apple River, and the more fertile Annapolis Valley land there as well as family ties likely motivated his further orchard farming interest. By 1791 he had moved his family there as he was granted a cattle mark in Horton Township. This was a type of registered specific ear clipping for branding granted to each farmer to identify their cattle, as they sometimes grazed them in common pastures.

So in conclusion, although published books and genealogies ignore his Loyalist service during the American Revolution, the 1783 and 1796 petition of Captain Robert DOVE and these two men who had "abandoned their interest in the more southern provinces" states clearly they came on a vessel recommended by Sir Guy Carleton, and assessed themselves to be entitled to the Loyalist favours "intended in His Majesty's proclamation".

...Carol Harding UE, Nova Scotia Branch

Seeking More Loyalists of Kings County in Nova Scotia

Can you add another name to the list of all of the loyalist refugees who settled in what is now Nova Scotia's Kings County. The list will include:

1. those who settled in Kings County after arriving at Annapolis Royal,

2. those who initially settled in Kings County but moved elsewhere, and

3. those who moved to Kings County after initially settling elsewhere (Shelburne, Halifax, Port Mouton, etc.).

If you know the name of a loyalist and (if married) his/her immediate family members who fit these parameters, please forward the information on to Stephen Davidson and Carol Harding. This list, when completed, will be shared.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Being a Medical Student in the Eighteenth Century

By Cassandra Bullett 24 January 2018

Learning has never been easier in the twenty-first century; we have information at our fingertips with search engines such as "Google." Courses can be studied online and books, articles and media can be accessed from anywhere in the world within seconds. But what did students do before the popularity or invention of the internet? Further still what did they do before public libraries were common? The medical notes of William Paine, one of New Brunswick's first loyalist physicians, have survived and shed light on the process that a student of the eighteenth century would have had to go through to achieve their education.

"Of the Diseases of Women during Gestation" is one of the surviving entries that provides intriguing clues into the scope of Paine's education. Of particular note is the reference to the "...Ovumes being lodged in the wide part of the fundus uteri". The peculiarity of this reference is not the use of the anatomical terms but rather the microscopic implications of the term "Ovumes" (Ova). Since the female "egg" is argued to not have been discovered until 1827, his use of the term appears almost as an anachronism. European biologists Maupertuis (1728) and Linnaeus (1760) were the promoters of this "theory"; however, it did not become mainstream until later in the nineteenth century. Even so, these early scientists based their theory of human reproduction on the sexual reproduction of plant-life. How then did an American medical student, an ocean away, obtain this knowledge and understanding of conception? Paine's medical notes provide an exemplar of the dissemination of knowledge by an eighteenth-century British Atlantic World medical student.

Read more.

JAR: The Sad Account of Francis and Mary Archibald on the Maine Frontier

By Charles H. Lagerbom 24 January 2018

In the years prior to the American Revolution, plenty of opportunities awaited young Massachusetts men on the down east frontier, especially for those who needed to get out of Boston. This may have been the case for twenty-year-old Francis Archibald III. In 1770, he decided to leave Boston and take up service as a soldier at Fort Pownal, present-day Stockton Springs, at Cape Jellison on the Penobscot River in Maine. But not before he had participated that March in an altercation that widely became known as the Boston Massacre, a confrontation with British troops during which he had broken a soldier's wrist.

By the end of the year, Archibald may have felt the need to leave Boston. Col. Thomas Goldthwait had long been recruiting Boston locals to come serve as soldiers at Fort Pownal in down east Maine. Goldthwait had been provincial secretary of war for Massachusetts Gov. Francis Bernard. In 1763, he was appointed commander of Fort Pownal and arrived at the fort in early 1764 to find the garrison numbered only forty men. Even those numbers were soon reduced. By 1770, there were only twenty-six men stationed there. Goldthwait constantly recruited suitable young men for service and one of them was Francis Archibald. By December 1770, the young man was in Maine.

Read more.

The Junto: Review of Farrelly, Anti-Catholicism in America, 1620-1860

Anti-Catholicism in America, 1620-1860, by Maura Jane Farrelly (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018). Reviewed by Michael D. Hattem, January 23, 2018.

Whether John Higham was correct in describing anti-Catholicism as the "most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history" is a matter of debate. Not as disputed, though, is the reality that, until relatively recently, a great many Americans did view Catholicism as one of the principal threats to liberty and order in the United States. Maura Jane Farrelly's masterful new volume, Anti-Catholicism in America, 1620-1860, traces the development of anti-Catholicism in the United States (or what would eventually become that country) from the establishment of Plymouth Colony to the coming of the Civil War. Farrelly's work is at once a survey bringing together several decades of scholarly work on American religious, social, and political history, and an impressive example of primary-source research in its own right. For Farrelly, a professor of American studies at Brandeis University, the history of American anti-Catholicism extends beyond questions of religiosity, instead encompassing the meaning and composition of the nation. As she explains in the book's introduction, "Any understanding of anti-Catholicism...requires us to interrogate the meaning of American freedom and, by extension, the promise of American identity."

Read more.

Ben Franklin's World: Slavery in Early New England

Wendy Warren, an Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University and author of the Pulitzer Prize-finalist book New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America, joins us to explore why New Englanders practiced slavery and just how far back the region's slave past goes.

As we investigate New England's slave past, Wendy reveals the origins of the African slave trade and why American colonists preferred enslaved labor to free labor; When and how New England adopted the practice of slavery; And, details about how enslaved people lived and worked in early New England.

Listen to the podcast.

The Battle of Cowpens, South Carolina – January 17, 1781

From Wikipedia:

The Battle of Cowpens, fought on January 17, 1781, was an engagement between American Colonial forces under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan and British forces under Sir Banastre Tarleton, as part of the campaign in the Carolinas (North and South). Tarleton's force of 1,100 British in the King's Army were sent against 2000 men under Morgan. The Colonial forces conducted a double envelopment of Tarleton's force, and suffered casualties of only 12 killed and 61 wounded. Tarleton was one of around 160 British troops to escape.

A small force of the Continental Army under the command of Brigadier General Daniel Morgan had marched to the west of the Catawba River, in order to forage for supplies and raise the morale of local Colonial sympathizers. The British had received incorrect reports that Morgan's army was planning to attack the important strategic fort of Ninety Six, held by American Loyalists to the British Crown and located in the west of the Carolinas. The British considered Morgan's army a threat to their left flank. General Charles Cornwallis dispatched cavalry / dragoons commander Lieutenant Colonel Sir Banastre Tarleton to defeat Morgan's command. Upon learning Morgan's army was not at Ninety Six, Tarleton, bolstered by British reinforcements, set off in hot pursuit of the American detachment.

Morgan resolved to make a stand near the Broad River. He selected a position on two low hills in open woodland, with the expectation that the aggressive Tarleton would make a headlong assault without pausing to devise a more intricate plan. He deployed his army in three main lines. Tarleton's army, after exhaustive marching, reached the field malnourished and heavily fatigued. Tarleton attacked immediately; however, the American defence-in-depth absorbed the impact of the British attack. The British lines lost their cohesion as they hurried after the retreating Americans. When Morgan's army went on the offensive, it wholly overwhelmed Tarleton's force.

The battle was a turning point in the American reconquest of South Carolina from the British. Tarleton's brigade was wiped out as an effective fighting force, and, coupled with the British defeat at King's Mountain in the northwest corner of South Carolina, this action compelled Cornwallis to pursue the main southern American army into North Carolina. Cornwallis was eventually defeated at the Siege of Yorktown in Virginia in October 1781.

Read more.

Loose Ends: George Washington and "Philip Langfit"

By Jeffrey L. Zvengrowski, 26 January 2018

When undertaking research, editors of The Papers of George Washington have occasionally discovered intriguing historical connections that are not included in the annotation. In some cases, the information is omitted because connections cannot be definitively tied together and therefore lack sufficient certitude to warrant inclusion.

On Dec. 16, 1773, for instance, "Phill Langfitt" signed a contract that Washington penned. In the contract, "The said Philip Langfit doth agree to hire unto... George Washington for and during the term & time of three years to commence from the date hereof a certain Negro man Slave named Nase (a Cowper by Trade & now in the possession of the said George Washington) for the consideration hereafter to be named...".1 Washington's accounts indicate that on the same day, he paid "Philp Langfit" £50, which was the sum specified in the contract. The general orders for Aug. 29, 1780 also record that "Philip Lankfitt" and another member of the 4th Continental Dragoons were tried at a court martial in July "for 'Robbing Joseph Wessells of sundry Articles in presence of the said Wessell's Wife' found Guilty of the charge exhibited against them... and sentenced each of them to receive one hundred lashes.

Read more.

Where in the World?

Where is Nancy Conn of Gov. Simcoe Branch?

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 loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Gravestone of Loyalists in Trinity Anglican Church cemetery in Digby, NS for John Wright, wife Elizabeth & Dr. Azor Betts. Betts under order of Gen. George Washington was jailed for performing smallpox inoculations. He became a Loyalist. Brian McConnell UE
  • The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and the Royal Archives at Windsor invite scholars to conduct research as part of the Georgian Papers Programme(GPP) of the Royal Archives at Windsor, and in the George Washington Papers of the Library of Congress. On October 24, 2016, the Library of Congress, the Royal Collection Trust, and King's College London signed a memorandum of understanding, agreeing to share resources concerning the digitization of the papers of King George III (1738-1820), the English monarch in power when the American colonies declared independence.  Read more...
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 27 Jan 1781: Pompton Mutiny is put down by General Robert Howe, leaders executed by firing squad on the spot.
    • 26 Jan 1782: In Battle of Frigate Bay, Royal Navy repulses larger French force, cannot stop surrender of St. Kitt's.
    • 25 Jan 1787: -- Shays's Rebellion: The rebellion's largest confrontation, outside the Springfield Armory, results in the killing of four rebels and the wounding of twenty.
    • 25 Jan 1776: Congress orders creation of memorial to General Montgomery, killed in attempt to take Quebec City.
    • By January 24, 1776, after a 6 week long expedition from Ft. Ticonderoga, Henry Knox had returned to Cambridge with a noble train of artillery.
    • 24 Jan 1781: Lee & Marion's combined forces raid Georgetown, SC, capturing commander of British garrison there.
    • 23 Jan 1775: Merchants in London ask Parliament assist with financial losses from interruption of American trade.
    • 22 Jan 1782: French Navy recaptures Caribbean colonies of Demerara and Essequibo, taken from Dutch in 1781.
    • 21 Jan 1776: Washington directs regiments to purchase firearms, offers enlistees bonuses for bringing own weapons.
  • Townsends: A Savory Noodle and Turnip Wintertime Soup
  • Sack Back Gown. Purple silk, brocaded with vining florals; metallic silver threads. Silk from Lyon; Made in England, c. 1750-60. Detail of the silk. Longer description at V&A Museum.
  • An 18th Century sack back court dress, European, 1765
  • Detail of an 18th Century men's silk waistcoat and frockcoat, detail of suit, 1775-80, British
  • Rebecca Tailer [Byles] deep green silk damask wedding dress worn in Boston, 1747 (w/19thc alter). Spitalfields, likely design of Garth Waite. Her father's embellished waistcoat is adjacent. Her shoes.
  • 18th Century men's court coat, 1770-90, Italian
  • Check out this pair of leather and brass pistol holsters

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Overholt, Abraham Sr. - from Jo Ann Tuskin
  • Pudsey, Hugh - from Carol Harding

Last Post

Dale Harry Ellsworth, UE

Ninety-year-old Dale Harry Ellsworth passed peacefully from this life on December 26, 2017. Surrounded by family at the St. Mary's Hospital bedside his spirit was released, and his remains will provide a gift of teaching to medical students at the University of Buffalo. The eldest son of the late Dale William Ellsworth and Rozella (Myers) Ellsworth; he is survived by his wife of 70 years, Dorothy (Evans) Ellsworth, daughters Patricia E. Truesdale and Jamie Mahala Pacheco and son David L. Ellsworth. Dale's brother Donald Ellsworth, his daughter Kathleen Sullivan, and grand-daughter Jennifer (Wagoner) Magner all predeceased him. Five granddaughters, one grandson, nine great- grandchildren and two great- great grandchildren were a source of delight to him. A gifted musician and photographer, Dale's shared his passions with his family.

Dale was a master craftsman, millwright and welder at various companies in Niagara Falls and was retired from the Tulip Corporation. A resident of Youngstown, NY, he was known for his role at the Historical Society. He was Scout Master of Boy Scout Troop #29. Dale was a member of the Colonel John Butler Branch of the UELA of Canada. A member of the Free Accepted Masons Niagara River Lodge #785 and a past Worthy Chief (2003-2004) of the Universal Craftsmen Council of Engineers; Dale was an advocate for the scholarship programs of these organizations.

The Youngstown First Presbyterian Church was his faith czommunity for many years. A memorial celebration of his life, was held on January 13, 2017 at 11 am. The service was conducted by Rev. Dr. Rex Stewart at the Youngstown First Presbyterian Church at 100 Church St. Youngstown, NY 14174 followed by a Masonic service. In lieu of flowers, a gift to the First Presbyterian Church would be welcomed or please donate to a charity close to your heart, in honor of Dale.

– Submitted by his daughter, Jamie Ellsworth

Dale was a proud descendant of Francis Ellsworth UEL.

...Bev Craig UE, Col. John Butler Branch.

Vona Edna (DeWitt) Smith, UE

It is with profound sadness that we announce Vona Edna (DeWitt) Smith UE has passed away peacefully on January 22, 2018. She was born in Sandy Lake, Manitoba, Canada, February 12, 1923 to Ira DeWitt and Edna Belle Barker, the youngest of seven. She graduated with a scholarship from high school and enrolled in Brandon MB Normal School (Teachers College) and taught in rural schools in the Province.

In 1942 she married Gilbert Doran Smith who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and they moved to Vancouver, BC in 1948. They had 4 children -- Corinne, Gilbert (daughter Kasia), Aida, Julia (husband Howard Webb; children Brennan and Jenna).

Vona lectured in both Canada and the United States and has served as both a Loyalist Librarian and Genealogist for more than 15 years. She was a past President of the Vancouver Branch of the UEL Association of Canada with five UE certificates. Vona (DeWitt) Smith was a skilled lecturer, journalist, researcher and mentor and has been a major part in keeping the Geneology Association alive working with others to help establish two new Branches in BC. It was Vona's dedication to research that has enabled so many British Columbians to affix UE (Unity of the Empire) after their names; this is the only hereditary title given by the Crown outside of Britain.

Vona traveled extensively across Canada and the US in order to do major research on her family, as well as writing her own book on Tierck Clafsen Dewitt and Descendants of his son Luycas Dewitt.

She was also a master seamstress with many workshops, conventions, and luncheons that had been been graced by Vona's Loyalist costumes. The Vancouver Loyalist Branch was honored to nominate Vona E. Smith UE for the distinguished Phillip E. M. Leith Memorial Award in 2007 being the first year of its inauguration.

Vona was a kind, thoughtful, creative and witty person who loved her family and friends dearly. She was loved by many and will be greatly missed.

A special thank you to Belvedere Home Care and Dr. Yap for their kindness and care. A celebration of life will be held at the Poirier Sport & Leisure Complex in Rec room 2 at 636 Poirier St, Coquitlam, BC on February 10, 2018 from 1:30-4:30. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to your local charity in her name.

...Diane Faris, UE, Vancouver Branch

Queries

Back to Top   |   Loyalist Trails index   |   Subscribe Now