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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2020 Archive

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“Loyalist Trails” 2020-26: June 28, 2020


The View from Here: Jonathan Bayer, PhD Student, UWO

The UELAC Scholarship has been incredibly beneficial to my research so far. The scholarship has helped immensely with tuition and living expenses over the last two years and has allowed me to focus far more of my efforts on research than would have been possible without it. This funding has also allowed me to purchase the Wolfram Mathematica computer software which has been instrumental in the collection of my source material and will allow me to map the opinions contained in that source material with geographic information systems built into the program. This summer, the scholarship has also allowed me to dedicate my time exclusively to the completion of my dissertation.

I can't thank the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada enough for their incredible support and I look forward to sharing the research the association has generously helped to fund as soon as possible.

...Jonathan Bayer, 2019 Loyalist Scholarship recipient

2020 Scholarship Challenge Update: Week 5

“A goal without a timeline is just a dream.” – Robert Herjavec

The goal for this challenge is $8000 by July 1.

Four days left to the official end date of July 1, but boy do we have good news! This week we reached $5,835.00 and donations are still finding their way to us through Canada Post and CanadaHelps. This should put smiles on UE faces across the country. If you wish to give beyond the Canada Day deadline we are more than happy to include your donation in this year's challenge total.

See how to donate and follow our progress on the 2020 Scholarship Challenge page. If you choose to use Canada Helps, your donation will qualify for the Great Canadian Giving Challenge. Every $1 donated IN JUNE is an automatic entry for UELAC. Only donations made through Canada Helps will be entered for this prize draw. The grand prize draw is on Canada Day, July 1, 2020 - $20,000 will be donated to the winning charity. Imagine what UELAC scholarship could do with $20,000!

Everything's Coming Up Roses

This week we received a unique offer from Mary F. Williamson UE. It seems that this is an especially prolific year for her Lawrence Loyalist Rose. Mary tells us that the original rose bush was brought to Grimsby from Pennsylvania in the 1780s by William and Anna Lawrence, United Empire Loyalists.

She has offered to make cuttings of this beautiful deep pink rose and make them available for sale in support of UELAC scholarship. The buds come out into full bloom from around mid-June to July 6, depending on the year. Mary tells us that several cuttings have been taken from the rose, and one from 2008 is now in the Lieutenant-Governor's garden at Queen's Park.

Patricia Groom, UELAC Promotions is working with Mary on the details and in the coming weeks we will have information on how to purchase one of these historic roses. If you are interested in reserving a cutting please email Together we are looking ahead to a rosy future for Loyalist scholarship.

Thank you!

...Bonnie Schepers, UE, UELAC Scholarship Chair

Decoding the Book of Negroes (Part 3 of 4)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

As Black loyalists and enslaved Africans boarded evacuation vessels sailing out of New York City, each one was assigned a white Loyalist as an escort. This was the common practice throughout 1783. However, as early as April and as late as November, there were also Black Loyalists who travelled unescorted. Because these were exceptions to the usual arrangement, the circumstances around these independent travellers deserve a bit of "decoding".

The Mars was the seventh loyalist evacuation vessel to be examined by the inspectors who checked each departing ship to be sure that there were no American-owned slaves slipping out of the new republic. Of the nineteen Black passengers on board, there was one indentured servant and her two children who were escorted by her new employer. One enslaved African was accompanied by his master.

Among the remaining 15 Black Loyalists were five who had no escorts whatsoever. The youngest of these was described as a child; the oldest was 65. All five were born free; three hailed from different communities in Connecticut, and one was from South Carolina. The column in the Book of Negroes headed "Names of the Persons in whose Possession they now are" noted that each of these passengers travelled "on their own bottom". It was a phrase that would only appear 23 more times in the Book of Negroes.

One source has surmised that "on his own bottom" meant that the named person paid for his own travel expenses. However, no Loyalists – whether white or Black – paid for their passage from New York City. The evacuation ships were freely provided at the expense of the British government – whether the journey was to nearby Nova Scotia, more distant Quebec, the West Indies or Great Britain itself. This theory simply does not fit the facts of the Loyalist evacuations of 1783.

To 21st century ears, the expression of being on one's "own bottom" sounds odd. It is based on an old idiom that dates back to the 17th century. Initially a cask or wine barrel standing on its own base or bottom was a metaphor describing a fundamental belief on which one stood firm. Over the years, the notion of an individual's firmly held conviction changed into the notion of being independent of others. "On his own bottom" came to mean "each person for himself" or being "by one's self".

In the case of the records kept in the Book of Negroes, it meant that a particular Black Loyalist travelled on an evacuation ship on his/her own without being accompanied by a white Loyalist escort. Of course, this raises the question of why less than 2% of all Blacks registered in the ledger travelled this way when 98% were assigned an escort.

In the case of the five Black Loyalists sailing on the Mars, all of them were born free and all were biracial. (An "M" next to their physical descriptions indicated "mulatto" or "mixed race".) Perhaps their claims to be born free needed no further verification by either the British or the American inspectors and so they did not require an escort. And yet – others who made similar claims usually had escorts.

The next two "bottom" travellers were both once enslaved by Stephen Baldwin of New Jersey and had left him four and a half years earlier in response to the Philipsburg Proclamation of 1779. This British announcement promised freedom and protection to all slaves of Patriots who crossed over from rebel lines. Fifty-four other Black passengers on this ship had escorts. Many were born free or had responded to a British proclamation of freedom. Why, then were two men allowed to travel independently?

As passengers on two different ships, Barbara Ogden and Nancy Walker both travelled alone in April of 1783. The Providence had four Black Loyalists "on their own bottom". Three were born free in Rhode Island; one was an escaped slave who had a Birch certificate. No pattern for independent travellers seems evident.

In June, two ships bound for the St. John River carried a total of nine Black Loyalists travelling without escorts. In fact, all of the Amity's Production's Black passengers were on their own. While all five were born free, William Holchapan was also baptized in the Anglican Church – another way of verifying one's status as a free citizen of the British Empire. Hannah Harris sailed for Quebec City in September on her own. Henry Arrington, the lone Black Loyalist passenger on the Supply, was en route to Halifax in that same month.

The ledger entries for the Alexander, which was bound for Saint John in October, include just one "own bottom" traveller. Nevertheless, because Pompey Rumsey's name appears in other documents of the era, his independent travel has an explanation. Perhaps it offers clues as to why others did not require a white Loyalist escort.

A free born man, Rumsey had been an employee of Sir Guy Carleton, the commander in chief of the British forces in North America for the past year. While working for Carleton in New York, Rumsey met and married an enslaved woman named Cairo. Her master's family was going to leave New York and settle in what would become New Brunswick – and Rumsey did not want to be separated from his wife. Just two days before his ship left, the Black Loyalist was able to obtain a special passport from Carleton that verified he was a free man. The Black couple left New York together.

Instead of having his name appear next to his wife's, Rumsey was listed five names below Cairo in the Book of Negroes. Although the spacing of their entries remains a mystery, the explanation for Rumsey travelling on "his own bottom" is not. His "passport" from Sir Guy Carleton was sufficient documentation to prove that he was not the escaped slave of an American. He did not require an escort to see to it that he remained aboard his ship and arrived in Saint John.

After Pompey Rumsey, only two other Black Loyalists are listed in the Book of Negroes as being independent travellers. John Annis was certified to be free by Whitehead Hicks, the former mayor of New York City, a man who had died three years earlier. Dolly Wilkinson's entry notes that she escaped her enslaver in Virginia in 1779, that she had a Birch certificate, and that she was 62 years old when she boarded the Betsey for Nova Scotia's Port Mouton. Other single Black women with their GBCs had white escorts. What made Miss Wilkinson's situation unique enough that she travelled "on her own bottom"?

The other Black Loyalists who sailed with Wilkinson had neither an escort nor permission to travel independently. Their cases – and those of other November evacuees will conclude this series in next week's Loyalist Trails.

(Editor's note: see a transcription of the Book of Negroes.)

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

A Loyalist Petitions For Equal Treatment For Black Loyalists

Here is a transcript of a petition to Gov Haldimand from a Private William Parker, 1st battalion, King's Royal Regiment of New York. The original is found at Library & Archives Canada, Haldimand Papers, AddMss21874, p.241.

When Parker was employed on scouting missions, he was serving in the Light Infantry Company. Later in 1782, he transferred to the Colonel's Company, a standard line infantry formation. He had formerly lived at Philadelphia Bush in Tryon County in the Mohawk Valley. He was reported to be at L'Assumption in Quebec in 1784, but I was unable to find his final place of settlement.

This appeal is so evocative in this time of ours. One gets the feeling that the loyalists are so often looked upon as racist, here's one who is anything but.

...Gavin Watt

Canada and the American Revolution

By Dr. Holly A. Mayer

There were twenty British North American colonies or provinces in 1776, so why did only thirteen of those colonies declare independence that year or confirm it by war and treaty in 1783? The revolutionaries did try to entice and coerce other colonists to reject what they called tyranny, but they found that not all of their neighbors, much less all of the colonies of the British Empire in North America, interpreted ministry or parliamentary acts negatively or were prepared to sustain a rebellion. As a result, there was civil war between the colonies, as well as within them, as rebelling American Whigs, later named patriots, battled Loyalist neighbors whom they derided as Tories, the King's pawns. Between 1775 and 1783, Canada – its peoples, government, and armed forces – grappled with and rebuffed the political overtures of the Continental Congress and the military advances of the Continental Army as they endeavored to secure their northern border and persuade the Canadians to reject British administration and support annexation of Canada to the united colonies.

Defending their frontiers against the British and their Native American allies ultimately became the greater concern for the revolutionaries intent on securing independence, but in 1775 they launched an offensive (though limited) expansionist strategy.

Read more.

JAR: Reasons Against the Renewal of the Sugar Act (Part 3)

By Ken Shumate, 18 June 2020

Remonstrance Against the Renewal

Rhode Island merchants, prompted by the January letter from Boston merchants, requested that Governor Hopkins call a special meeting of the General Assembly. The merchants needed little prompting; they had already drafted preliminary essays explaining the economic problems caused by the Sugar Act. In fact, newspapers had for months been full of news and opinions about the enforcement of the laws of trade, and what action should be taken:"There can be no Doubt that upon a proper Representation to his Majesty and his Ministry, we shall have every just Cause of Complaint removed, and be allowed all the Advantages in Trade that we could reasonably ask."

Warrants for calling the General Assembly were issued by January 13, to meet on January 24. The purpose of the meeting was characterized as: "to give our Agent Instructions to Join with Those of the other Colonys to Lay a State of the Trade of These Northern Colonys before the Parliament, and to prevent if Possable the Continuance of the Sugar Act." Between the call for the meeting and its convening, a committee of merchants prepared a remonstrance against the renewal. It was presented on January 26 and, approved by the General Assembly, became the first American legislative protest against renewal of the Sugar Act of 1733. The remonstrance was directed to the Board of Trade: "To the Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations," from "the Governor and Company of the English colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."

Read more.

JAR: Tower of Victory

By Jeff Dacus, 24 June 2020

As far back as the eleventh century B.C. attackers confronted by fortified cities and towns, castles, and forts, used siege towers to elevate their own soldiers to heights equal to the defenders. The Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese all used such weapons to defeat enemies situated behind high walls. These machines of war provided the inspiration that produced a "towering success" in an American Revolutionary battle in 1781.

After the Pyrrhic victory at Guilford Court House, North Carolina, on March 15, 1781, Lord Cornwallis was forced to take his small army to Wilmington to rest and refit. This left the supply line between the bulk of the remaining British troops at Camden and Charleston, South Carolina, vulnerable to attack. Nathanael Greene, loser at Guilford Court House but still commanding a sizable force, sent Col. Henry Lee with about three hundred Continental troops of his own "legion" to attack the posts protecting the British line of communications. The string of outposts included Fort Granby, Orangeburg, Fort Motte, and Fort Watson.

On April 14, Lee joined forces with local militia leader Francis Marion, who commanded about eighty militiamen, and decided that their first target would be Fort Watson, a lonely outpost along the Santee River. Inside the fort were about 114 British regulars and Loyalist militia.

Read more.

National Trust for Canada: Celebrating the Vitality of the French Language in Canada

June 24 was Saint-Jean Baptiste Day – a national celebration for francophones and French speakers in Canada. Rediscover this story about how the French language continues to flourish today, not only in many French-speaking communities but also through cultural events, traditions, and historic sites.

Read more.

Eliza Hamilton as the Heroine in a Lesson on "Deceitful Appearances", 1855

By Susan Holloway Scott, 22 June 2020

Before the days of literary copyrights and wire services, the editors of American newspapers filled their pages with articles they freely adapted from other sources... "fillers": little homilies, jokes, and random historical facts, plus reports of unusual weather and two-headed cows.

And then there's this brief lesson about the perils of making snap judgements based on a person's appearance.

What makes this one stand out, of course, is that the main character is Eliza Schuyler Hamilton (1757-1854), widow of Gen. Alexander Hamilton. The story was making the rounds of small newspapers in the spring of 1855. Eliza had died the previous November, at the considerable age of 97, and her death was probably still fresh in people's minds.

This version, right, of the story (transcribed with its quirks of spelling and grammar) appeared in the Vermont Christian Messenger, Montpelier, Vermont, on May 16, 1855.

Read more.

House of Captain William Peirce on Jamestown Island in 1625

Learn how Jamestown Settlement historians and curators bring the story of 17th-century Virginia to life in gallery exhibits with painstaking research to create new depiction of William Peirce's "fairest house" in the colony in 1625.

Fresh exhibits at Jamestown Settlement feature several new colorful graphics drawn by modern artists to help bring the 17th century back to life for the visiting public. Production of these graphics involved much more than meets the eye. Museum curators had to work very closely with the illustrators to ensure that all the details were correct to the period. These included such things as the clothing and activities of any people depicted, the objects they were using, and the settings in which they were placed. Not all aspects of everyday life in the colony have been documented, so in many cases we made "educated guesses" based on research from a range of scholars including archaeologists, architectural historians, material culture specialists, folklorists, costume specialists and historians.

Read more.

Whist: Playing, and Cheating

A couple months back we shared a link on how to play whist, the popular 18th-century card game.

Try your hand at one of the most popular card games of the 1700s! Whist is a four-player card game that people played in taverns and around campfires during the Revolutionary War. Cards in the 1700s didn't have letters or numbers of them but otherwise had the same suits we used today.

Read more.

Now here's a link on how 18th-century people cheated at whist:

Whist was one of the most popular card games in Georgian England. It began its career as a plain game for common men. With the rise of the coffee houses in London, the gentry picked up the game. Reputedly it was Lord Folkestone who brought the game into fashion in high society around 1728, when he adopted it as a challenging strategic card game requiring good memory, sympathetic partnering and psychological acumen.

Read more.

Where in the World?

Where are Nova Scotia Branch members Carol Harding and Herb Anderson?

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

Region and Branch Bits

From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.

First Loyalist Day in Ontario in 1998: Video

As noted previously, Loyalist Day in Ontario was proclaimed in December of 1997. The first celebration would be June 19, 1998, but as that was a Friday and as many members of the Ontario Legislature were going to join in and perhaps it was not sitting on Friday, the celebration was held on Thursday June 18, 1998.

The event was recorded by Windswept Productions who have made it available on Vimeo. It is 46 minutes long; the first 25 minutes record the event, the remainder is about the bill. A mass photo is at about the 23 minute mark. People came from many parts of Ontario, and some further afield - Shirley Dargatz from Chilliwack Branch BC for one. Watch the video. Thanks to Fred Hayward for noting this.

Fort Plain Museum and Historical Park Book Store

Fort Plain recently opened their online bookstore. They have now announced the ability to preorder books which are soon to be released, and at a 20% discount.

NOTE: Brian Mack indicates that shipping to Canada is very expensive - more than $30 US for a 2-lb book whether through US Post or UPS.

That said, the bookstore has a growing lost of titles, so even just browsing the titles may be worth the time for those of us north of the border. Access the bookstore.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Jonathan Anderson - contributed by Cheryl Anderson
  • Adam Hutt Sr. - contributed by John Haynes
  • William Cornelison - contributed by Thomas Murray
  • William Secord - contributed from Branch records by Jo Ann Tuskin
  • Latham Stull - contributed by John Haynes

Please help us build the directory by contributing information. Contact for guidance.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • This portrait of King George III was painted between 1762 & 1784 and is our tallest at 8.5 feet, at the Museum of the American Revolution. Details about the portrait.
  • June 21st, being National Indigenous Day in Canada, I've raised the flag of the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations which I received from Kanowakeron Hill UE, descendant of Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant who fought on side of British with Loyalists in American Revolution. Brian McConnell UE
  • 21 Jun 2020 National Indigenous Peoples Day - Today we honour Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and their heritage and culture. The Crown in NS, as represented by LtGovNS, deeply values and respects the historic and important relationship with the Mi'kmaq. Brian McConnell UE
  • Interesting plan showing fortifications and naval yard of Halifax in 1784 (Source: Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, Vol. XIII, Halifax, NS, The McAlpine Publishing Company, Limited, 1908)
  • This Week in History
    • 21 June 1775, the British ministry responded to the outbreak of war in Massachusetts by deciding to recruit a regiment in Canada. Meanwhile, the Continental Congress was enlisting riflemen from Pennsylvania, Virginia & Maryland to go to Boston.
    • 21 June 1775 What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today? John Bernard was the eldest son of the departed governor, Sir Francis Bernard. He had tried to establish himself as a merchant in Boston. He also supported royal policies, so he broke the non-importation boycott. With this ad he announced he was giving up.
    • 22 Jun 1775 Congress issues first currency, unbacked fiat "Continentals," which suffer instant runaway inflation.
    • 23 June 1775 At age 21, Lord Rawdon commanded a British grenadier company in the Battle of Bunker Hill. A younger officer recalled, "he received a shot through a cat-skin cap that he wore that day, and desired me to observe how narrowly he had escaped being shot through the head."
    • 24 June 1775, Massachusetts soldiers at Crown Point mutinied, briefly taking their commanding officer hostage until they got word about the late pay. That officer whose midday dinner they so rudely interrupted was Col. Benedict Arnold.
    • 24 June 1775 Gen. George Washington arrives in New York City after leaving Philadelphia accompanied by Gen. Charles Lee, Gen. Philip Schuyler, military secretary Lt. Col. Joseph Reed, and Aide-de-Camp Thomas Mifflin towards Cambridge, MA.
    • 25 Jun 1775 Washington arrives in NYC, inspects Hamilton's forces as he passes through on his way to Boston.
    • 25 June 1775 Peter Brown wrote this letter to his "Dear and Honored Mother," which @MHS1791 calls the "fullest account" of the Battle of Bunker Hill written by a participant.
    • 26 June 1775 Rev250 quote of the day – "We hear a chief officer is appointed, Gen. Washington of Virginia, to supersede in the command of the troops here." – diary of Lt. Col. Experience Storrs of Connecticut
    • 26 Jun 1775 Washington states intention to return to private life following the "establishment of American liberty."
    • 23 Jun 1776 British position fleet to attack Charleston, repulsed by defenders within improvised palmetto-log fort.
    • 24 Jun 1776 Congress orders New-Jersey Royal Governor Franklin (son of Benjamin) sent under guard to Connecticut.
    • 20 Jun 1779 6,500 Americans attack just 1,200 British at Stono Ferry, SC, only speed retreat slightly, lose 146 men.
    • 21 Jun 1779 Spain enters the war, allied with France, leading to British loss of Mississippi River & Gulf of Mexico.
    • 23 June 1780, Continentals under Gen. Nathanael Greene stopped a British advance out of New York in the Battle of Springfield, New Jersey. It would turn out to be the last major northern engagement of the war. Read more...
  • Townsend's
    • now everyone can see these TINY 18th-century baby shoes!
    • 18th Century Stomacher, would have been worn across the chest and pinned to the overcoat of a dress to secure it into place. Embroidered with metallic threads, fruits and swirling rococo motifs, c.1750
    • 18th Century day dress, 1760-1780, dull purple silk with woven leaf-trellis pattern in white, cream & golden brown with large irregular diamond shapes & small irregular circles in white, these have brocaded floral sprays
    • Striking persimmon open robe w/compere front (a variation of a stomacher often w/ buttons like a waistcoat), double-flounced pagoda sleeve ruffles, pocket slits at each hip, c1760s
    • 18th Century men's matching three piece Court suit, c.1770
    • 18th Century men's Court suit, French c.1790, dark brown velvet tailcoat with magnificently embroidered and irridescent paste studded flowerheads and foliage
    • 18th Century men's matching coat & waistcoat, 1760-1780, pinkish mauve silk coat, waistcoat and breeches in alternating diagonal weave, Worn by Thomas Carill-Worsley, who lived at Platt Hall
    • 18th Century men's waistcoat, 1780's The influence of Neo-classical design is evident in the decoration. Medallions of twill silk minutely & skilfully painted in black with mythological classical figures have been applied to the front & collar


Land Claims by British and Hessian Soldiers

After the American Revolution, many Loyalists petitioned for and received Loyalist land grants. But they were not the only ones.

Disbanded British and Hessian soldiers also received land grants, not Loyalist ones, but Military ones.

I am curious about the size of such military grants. Were they usually of a certain amount of land? Did the grant vary by rank? Were there other factors as well?

Loyalist Patrick McIntee's son-in-law, Philp Gregory, who had been in the 7th Regiment of Foot of the Royal Fusiliers, received an astounding 800 acres. Somehow, he also had enough political influence that the Loyalist land grants of Patrick and his son Barnabas abutted Philp's properties.

I was raised in the 1793 Gregory farmhouse; I could exhaust myself riding my bicycle from one end of his grants to the other.

Any information would be appreciated.

...John Haynes