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History of the UELAC

History of the UELAC: Table of Contents

A history of UELAC in five chapters, and an introduction.

The Branches of the UELAC

Since its formation, the Association has been an organization, very much dependent on its members and their desire to perpetuate the history of their forefathers. Many branches have been created in that time period. Some have withered; others have prospered. See our Branches page for links to current branch web sites and email addresses.

Some branches have images of the branch charter at right. Click the thumbnail to view a high-resolution picture.

Abegweit Branch
Assiniboine Branch
Bicentennial Branch
Bay of Quinte Branch
Brantford Branch
British Columbia Branch
Calgary Branch
Chilliwack Branch
Col. Edward Jessup Branch
Col. John Butler (Niagara) Branch
Cornelius Thompson Branch
Costume Branch
Edmonton Branch
Fredericton Branch
Governor Simcoe Branch
Governor Thomas Carleton Branch
Grand River Branch
Halifax-Dartmouth Branch
Hamilton Branch
Heritage Branch
Kawartha Branch
Kingston & District Branch
Little Forks Branch
London and Western Ontario Branch
Major Samuel Holland Branch
Manitoba Branch
New Brunswick Branch
Newington Branch
Nova Scotia Branch
Regina Branch
Saskatchewan Branch
Shelburne Branch
Sir Guy Carleton Branch
Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch
St. Catharines Branch
St. Lawrence Branch
Thompson-Okanagan Branch
Toronto Branch
Upper Canada Branch
Vancouver Branch
Victoria Branch

Toronto Branch

The Branch was founded in 1896, later becoming a keystone of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Ontario, which came into being in 1897. From there, the Branch was instrumental in uniting the various provincial societies by 1913. This led to the application for and granting of the Federal Charter in 1914.

Toronto Branch was chartered as a branch of the Association on April 9th, 1931 with Major Vaughan MacLean Howard as President. Concurrently, Maj. Howard was Dominion President. The executive consisted of a Gentlemen's Committee and a Ladies Committee chaired by a chairlady who was also 1st Vice President of the Association.

For further information on early branch development, click here (PDF).

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Hamilton Branch

Hamilton Branch charter

The Branch has also played a key role through the years in the preservation of the Loyalist history and culture. The Branch had its beginnings in the formation of a Loyalist Association in 1880 and as Head of the Lake Branch. It did not survive, becoming inactive. In 1896 members of the defunct branch joined with other Loyalists throughout the Province, to form the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Ontario, representing the Home District of earlier Upper Canada.

Hamilton Branch received its Charter as a branch of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada, on November 1st, 1931, with Mr. Stanley Mills, President, and Mrs. E.J. Sifton, Chair of the Ladies Committee and 1st Vice President of the Branch. It had 131 members in 1931.

For further information on early branch development, click here.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


British Columbia - later Victoria - Branch

Victoria Branch charter

The United Empire Loyalists' Association of British Columbia was formed on October 31st, 1931, but did not receive a charter from the Association until the 1940s, backdated to 1936. The founding president was Mr. Beaumont-Boggs, and the Charter presenter. Association Pres. Dr. Wallace.

Following the Second World War, British Columbia Branch became inactive, re-activating as Victoria Branch in 1967, the centenary of Canadian Confederation.

For further information on early branch development, click here.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Saskatchewan - later Regina - later Saskatchewan (2010) - Branch

Saskatchewan Branch charter Regina Branch charter

Initial planning began early in 1930. The Saskatchewan Branch was organized on 28 June 1932 with 16 memberships transferred from the Toronto Branch on 27 June 1932. An additional 8 new members were elected 1 May 1932 and there were 15 additional members by November of that year. The executive consisted of President G. Hamilton Harmon, Secretary A.T. Spohn, Treasurer Stephen B. Nelles, and Genealogist G. Gordon Whyte. Through the 1940-50s interest dwindled and the branch became inactive.

Interest in forming a branch began again in the 1980's. The charter was approved at the Association's annual meeting on 2 June 1984. The Charter president was Margaret Dodson and the Branch had 15 members initally.

For further information on early Branch development, click here.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Vancouver Branch

Vancouver Branch charter

The Branch received its Charter on October 6th, 1932. The elected executive were Prof. Walter Noble Sage, as President, and Miss Bessie Choate, chair of the Ladies' Committee, as 1st Vice President. It became inactive on the outbreak of war, 1939; re-activating in 1967, centennial of Canadian Confederation.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Kingston and District U.E.L. Branch

Kingston Branch charter

Branch received its Charter on October 13th, 1932. Major Archibald Cameron, President Kingston Branch accepted the United Empire Loyalist Association Charter. Low membership (20) and the Depression of the thirties caused it to become inactive in 1937.

It was re-activated in 1975, receiving a new Charter on November 4th, 1978, to be known as "The Kingston and District U.E.L. Branch".

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Manitoba - and Winnipeg - Branch

Manitoba Branch charter Winnipeg Branch charter

The Branch received its original Charter on November 2nd, 1932, with Col. Irwin Robinson Snider, V.D., O.B.E., as president.

In 1937, the Branch members petitioned for a name change to Winnipeg Branch, which was granted on May 18th, 1937.

Members of the Branch requested again in 1997 to revert to the former name, Manitoba Branch: the petition was approved.

(Both charters have been posted at right.)

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Governor Simcoe Branch

Governor Simcoe Branch charter

On December 13, 1933, a group of younger members of the two Toronto branches of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada met at the home of Major Vaughan Maclean Howard to discuss their proposed participation in the approaching Toronto Centennial of 1934. Through Lt. Col. H.R. Alley, the city's Centennial committee Director, the loyalists of these two branches had been requested to take part in an historical pageant at the Canadian National Exhibition commemorating the arrival of the Loyalists, John Graves Simcoe, and the founding of York-Toronto. The idea received generally enthusiastic support, with over sixty people participating, all in period costume. Many of the younger, more active members from Toronto Branch and Governor Thomas Carleton Branch (the latter composed principally of maritime expatriates) may have felt that the "Old Guard' within their respective branches should not monopolize on Loyalist affairs and that Loyalist descendants should take a more prominent role in the forthcoming sesqui-centennial observances of their ancestors' arrival in Upper Canada-Ontario. This group was to form the nucleus of the Governor Simcoe Branch which commenced its regular monthly meetings early in 1934 and, after considerable effort and not without some regrettable dissension, received its Branch Charter on May 18, 1937.

Major Vaughan MacLean Howard was the first president, serving with Mrs. L.N. McLean, President of the Ladies' Committee, serving as 1st Vice President. The second President, following Major MacLean Howard, was the aforementioned Lt. Col. H.R. Alley

For a brief history of the Gov. Simcoe Branch, written for its 50th anniversary in 1983 by Murray Barkley, and for a list of Presidents until today, go here.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


The Bay of Quinte Branch

Bay of Quinte Branch charter - first page Bay of Quinte Branch charter - second page

The history for the U.E.L. Branches in the Bay of Quinte region begins with a Branch being organized on March 2, 1934 known as the Belleville Branch. President Lieut. Col. Green had difficulty keeping the Branch active due to low membership. A second Branch attempted to organize in the same year with the Prince Edward County Historical Society and the Picton U.E.L. Association. Little information is recorded regarding the history of this Branch.

The Bay of Quinte Branch was reactivated by President E. Claude Young at Adolphustown on June 2, 1956.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


St. Catharines Branch (Col. John Butler (Niagara) Branch)

Col. J. Butler Branch charter

Over the years, there had been several attempts to organize a Loyalist society in the Niagara area of original settlement by Loyalists. In 1897, Captain John D. Servos tried to organize a Loyalist society, at Virgil, and failed. A second reorganization was attempted in 1905 in St. Catharines by Miss Catherine Nina Merritt, which succeeded with the Branch joining the Ontario Association, then becoming inactive when the Great War broke out.

The Branch was officially re-activated in 1935, but chartering was delayed until March 7, 1940. In 1992, the Branch petitioned for a change of name, from St. Catharines Branch to Col. John Butler (Niagara) Branch.

For further information on early Branch development, click here.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.

For the annual reports of the activities of the St. Catharines and District Branch, U.E.L. from 1947 to 1966, click here.


Grand River - Brantford - Branch

Grand River Branch charter

The Branch was originally formed in the early 1930s as Brantford Branch, with the Rev. J.A. Bloodsworth as President at the time of chartering, and a membership of twenty. It became inactive on the outbreak of war, in 1939. The Branch was re-activated on February 24th, 1973 as Grand River Branch, Dr. Vera Vanderlip receiving the Charter from Mr. John A. Aikman, then Second Vice President of UELAC. Also present were representatives of the Provincial and Federal governments, at the Brant County Museum.

For further information on early Branch development, click here.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Calgary Branch

Organized originally in 1928, with Mr. Clifford Jones, K.C., as its first president, it is believed to have operated separately from the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada. Branch membership has swung widely during the years of its existence.

For further information on early Branch development, click here (PDF).

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Sir Guy Carleton Branch

Sir Guy Carleton Branch charter

The Sir Guy Carleton Branch was organized by Loyalist descendants of the National Capital region and Ottawa Valley, and received its Charter on June 20th, 1962, with Mr. E. John Chard as its first President.

Being in the National Capital, the Branch is frequently called upon to provide a United Empire Loyalist presence at many of the ceremonies held there.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


New Brunswick Branch

New Brunswick Branch charter

There was an earlier Loyalist organization in New Brunswick, affiliated with the Association, but it broke from the Association in the 1930s, as already mentioned. Following a visit by Mr. Vernon C. Jones, Dominion President of the U.E.L. Association, Mrs. John F. H. Teed, on 18 May 1966 called a group of seven loyalist descendants to a meeting at the Loyalist House to form the New Brunswick Branch of the United Empire Loyalists' Association. On 18 May 1967, their charter was presented by Dr. J.G. Dillane, First Vice President of the Dominion Council to Branch President Mrs. Muriel Teed UE.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Col. Edward Jessup Branch

Col. Edward Jessup Branch charter

The Colonel Edward Jessup Branch represents the Loyalists of the Upper St. Lawrence River valley. Colonel S.L. Spicer, E.D., was the organizing president, receiving the Branch Charter of February 20th, 1968.

Read the story of the Col. Edward Jessup Branch and the report of the first meeting here and more about Colonel S.L. Spicer, E.D. here.

For further information on early branch development, click here.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch

Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch charter

The Dominion Council, small in those days, was called for December 16, 1967 at which Reginald Hawke and Eldon Spencer, originally from the area presented the qualifications with a motion for a branch charter – The Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch. Dominion Council officers granted approval.

On behalf of the newly formed Branch, Mr. Murray C. Mason received the Charter on June 8th, 1968 from Mr. E. John Chard, representing the Association President, at a ceremony at Cowansville Cultural Centre.

For further information on early branch development, click here.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


The Cornelius Thompson Branch

The Cornelius Thompson Branch was formed June 13, 1969. The official founding ceremony took place at Sandy Bay, Penetanguishene, August 2nd. In addition to the formal ceremonies there were several activities for all members of the families who are or will be joining the organization. The festivities included a luncheon party, a banquet, fishing competition and a cruise through part of the Thirty Thousand Islands. It is hoped to repeat the founding activities every third year in the future.

The President of the Cornelius Thompson Branch at its foundation was Donald G.E. Thompson of London and Penetanguishene, and the new President appointed August 2nd was Dr. James D. Spohn of Kitchener and Penetanguishene. The members are looking forward to a fruitful association in the new Branch and association with the other branches. (LG Vol. VII, No.2 . Autumn 1969.)

Autumn 1970:
- President: Mrs. Christine Hebscher
- VP: Dr. Allen Thompson
- Sec.: Miss Tory Thompson

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


London and Western Ontario Branch

London Branch charter

Branch Members held an exploratory meeting at the Eaman Home on October 26th, 1972, deciding to proceed with an Organization Meeting on January 30th, 1973. It was then decided to petition for a Charter, which was received by Pres. John A. Eaman from the Association President, Mr. Howard D. Warner, U.E., on May 27th, 1973. Beginning with the ten petitioning members, the membership grew to thirty by the end of the Branch's first year of operation.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Abegweit Branch

The name "Abegweit" is Micmac for "cradled in the waves". The Branch was chartered on May 30, 1973, with Dr. Helen McDonald, U.E., as the first president.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Heritage Branch

Heritage Branch charter

The decision to establish a Montreal Branch of the United Empire Loyalist Association was established on 2 May 1973 at the home of Mrs. Gwendolyn Fuller with the election of officers: George Van Koughnett president; Mrs. Fuller, Secretary; and Frank J. Smith, Treasurer. Heritage Branch received the Charter from Howard Warner, President of UELAC at the Helene de Champlain Restaurant on St. Helen's Island on 30 January 1974. The Branch revived a tradition of Loyalist societies in Montreal, beginning in the 1890s.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


St. Lawrence - Newington - Branch

St. Lawrence Branch charter

An original branch, known as Newington Branch, was formed under the leadership of Mr. Jardine, U.E., and chartered on October 12, 1934. The branch was also known as the Lunenburg Branch from 1924-1940.

At its formative meeting on 10 November 1934, Captain J. Stewart Carstairs, Vice-President of the UEL Association of Canada was guest Speaker.

At an annual meeting on October 13, 1935, the guest speaker was Brigadier General E.A. Cruikshanks, Chairman of the Dominion Historic Sites Committee. He noted that members of Parliament for the United Counties were all descendants of Loyalists – Frank Shaver, Stormont; A. Claire Casselman, Dundas-Grenville, and Angus McGillis, Glengarry.

The Branch became inactive in the late 1930s, due to the difficult economic times and outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. It was reactivated under the leadership of President Melvin R. Scott, on May 14th, 1977. The branch was granted its charter for "The Three United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry."

For further information on early Branch development, click here.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Kawartha Branch

Kawartha Branch charter

The Kawartha Branch received its Charter at a ceremony held on the 23rd of June, 1979 at the Peterborough Golf Club. President Guy Thompson accepted the Charter from E. John Chard representative for the U.E.L. Association.

For further information on early branch development, click here.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Halifax-Dartmouth – later Nova Scotia Branch (2013)

Nova Scotia charter

The original Nova Scotia United Empire Loyalists' Society came into disagreement with national U.E.L. policy in 1934, and withdrew its affiliation with the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada.

On April 20th, 1982 the Halifax-Dartmouth Branch received a new Charter from Association President, John A. Eaman at a ceremony held in St. George's Anglican Church which in 1995 was destroyed by fire. Mr. Edward Morrissey, President, accepted this Charter.

In 2013, the Branch was renamed to the Nova Scotia Branch.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Bicentennial Branch

Bicentennial Branch charter

After several years of preparatory work, a Branch on the Detroit-Windsor border came into being on March 24th, 1984, when it received its Charter from Mr. E. John Chard, U.E. The first Branch president was Ms. Sharon Kominar.

As reported in "The Loyalist Gazette", the organization of the Branch, itself, was a major undertaking for the preservation of Loyalist history.

For further information on early branch development, click here. See also History of Bicentennial Branch 1984-1993, by M. Lewis.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Edmonton Branch

Edmonton Branch withdrew its affiliation with the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada in 1934 because of the disagreement over the way the Association was administered, and in the following years, members joined Calgary Branch.

The Branch was re-activated when a new Charter was received by Branch President, Dr. Paul Robinson, from Dr. Vera Vanderlip, Association President, on May 2nd, 1987.

For further information on early branch development, click here (PDF) - updated January 2013.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Little Forks Branch

Little Forks Branch charter

The co-hosting of the Association's annual general meeting and convention at Bishop's University, with Heritage and Sir John Johnson Branches uncovered a substantial number of Loyalist descendants, who decided to organize a third Quebec-based Branch. The Branch was chartered on July 18th, 1990 by UELAC Past-President, Lieut. Col. A. Frank Cooper. Mr. Charles Shepard received the Charter on the Branch's behalf.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Chilliwack Branch

Members of Vancouver Branch, residing in the Chilliwack area, grew tired travelling to and from Vancouver for meetings, and organized to petition for a Charter as the third B.C.-based Branch. On October 19th, at a special ceremony in the former Chilliwack City Hall (now a museum), Miss Lois Dickinson, received the Branch Charter from Association President, Mr. Arnold Nethercott.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Thompson-Okanagan Branch

One of the places stopped at by the Calgary-Vancouver bus tour, was Kamloops, B.C., where local Loyalist descendants joined tour people for dinner at the Frontier Hotel. With a little help from their friends in Chilliwack, the Loyalist descendants petitioned for a charter, which was presented by Western Vice-President, Mr. John Orr, to Mr. Dennis Webb, on April 23rd, 1995.

For further information on early Branch development, click here.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Costume Branch – Inactive

The Branch grew from an Association committee on Loyalist dress, 1789-1820. President Miss June Pierson, received the Branch Charter from Association President, Dr. Vera Vanderlip. Although small, the Branch provided considerable research and advice for the making of Loyalist costumes, since its beginnings. The Branch dissolved in 2005.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Fredericton Branch – Inactive

Fredericton Branch charter

Due to disagreement over the way the United Empire Loyalist Association was being administered in 1934 the New Brunswick Loyalist Branch broke affiliation with the Association. On October 8th, 1975 President Miss Louise Hill on behalf of the newly formed Fredericton Branch accepted their Charter.

In 2006, the Fredericton Branch decided to dissolve its organization.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Governor Thomas Carleton Branch – Inactive

This Branch was formed in Toronto on March 1st, 1932, by descendants of Loyalists of New Brunswick then living in the City. Records noting executive officers and Branch activities seem not to have survived.


Shelburne Branch – Inactive

Shelburne Branch charter

The United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada, chartered on August 20th, 1975, ceased to be active at the end of 1991.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Upper Canada Branch – Inactive

The United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada, chartered February 2nd, 1985, became inactive at the end of 1994.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


Major Samuel Holland Branch – Inactive

With a motion by Mr. E. J. Chard and Mrs. E. Blair on 29 September 1973, Dominion Council authorized the formation of the Major Samuel Holland Branch in Saint John, New Brunswick. Applications were to be sent to Mrs. B. Wood Holt. Effective 1975 September 20, the charter was rescinded.


Assiniboine Branch

Assiniboine Branch charter

The Assiniboine Branch was formed in the south western area of Manitoba to include descendants of the pioneers who originally settled in the part of Western Canada drained by the Assiniboine River system. On October 24, 2015 the Dominion Council of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada granted the charter.

For Branching Out reports from past issues of the Loyalist Gazette, click here.


On The Future

Now is the time to think new dreams
But always keep the old –
Now is the time to buy new thoughts
Without an old one sold.
Now is the time when old dreams
Should walk beside the new
Today is the time to grasp fresh dreams
And under the old come true.

by Mildred Pearl Van Horn

Adapted from the Historical Outline co-ordinated by Miss Elizabeth Richardson UE, Historian-Archivist, The United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada in 1997.

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