Connect with us online:

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

Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2015 Archive

Previous Issue   |   Index   |   Next Issue

“Loyalist Trails” 2015-30: July 26, 2015

Articles

The Loyalist Refugees from East Florida (Part 2), by Stephen Davidson

Uprooting one's family and leaving the rebelling thirteen colonies was extremely hard on the loyalists of the American Revolution. Imagine, then, the stress and trauma endured by loyalists who found sanctuary in a British-held colony, only to be told that they would have to leave it for yet another part of the British Empire. Of the 16,000 colonists forced to leave East Florida, just under 5,000 went north to Nova Scotia. Here are the stories of eight of those loyalists who were compelled to become refugees not once, but twice, during the American Revolution.

Thomas Pearson was described as being "very young" when rebels imprisoned him in South Carolina in 1775. After the British took Charlestown, he joined a loyalist militia, advancing to the rank of colonel. By the fall of 1783, Pearson had begun to establish himself in East Florida. He had a land grant that was 150 miles inland from St. Augustine. However, the climate did not agree with Pearson and he came down with a fever that stayed with him for five months. "He thought himself dying" and "totally incapable to do business".

In 1784, Pearson said goodbye to his first refugee home in East Florida and sailed for Nova Scotia where he settled among other South Carolina refugees in the community of Rawdon. He would later become a county treasurer and a justice of the peace.

Thomas Young was another South Carolina loyalist who had to flee to East Florida. Until he was compelled to move to Nova Scotia, Young lived just 70 miles outside of St. Augustine. It was a far safer place than Steven's Creek where South Carolinia's patriots had tried him for treason and imprisoned him for seven weeks. Young finally joined the British at Charlestown, remaining there until its evacuation. He had every reason to believe that he would spend the rest of his life in East Florida, but by 1786 was living in Preston, just outside of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Born in Virgina and a settler in South Carolina, George Dawkins became one of 500 loyalists to "assemble and fly for protection to St. Augustine" in East Florida. Having been imprisoned for three weeks on merely the suspicion of being friendly to Great Britain, Dawkins later showed his true colours by raising a hundred men for the South Carolina Regiment. He served in that regiment from 1778 to the end of the revolution. A year after arriving in Nova Scotia, Dawkins was proclaimed a "meritorious loyalist and bore arms" and was consequently compensated £964 for the loss of his 400-acre farm, his stock and slaves, and his furniture.

William Read's life was one of constant change. He emigrated from Ireland, settled in Georgia, joined the Florida Rangers and then settled in St. Augustine, East Florida. But the loyalist's travels were far from over. The imminent Spanish takeover of his new home forced him to migrate to Nova Scotia. He settled in the Gut of Canso, not far from Cape Breton Island.

Robert Sloane left Scotland to settle in South Carolina in 1767. The revolution forced him to abandon his house, barn, orchards, hogs, cattle and 35 horses. After serving the crown in a loyalist militia, he settled near St. Augustine, East Florida. When forced to leave his new home in a cargo packet, Sloane did not settle in the Nova Scotian communities that had been founded by southern loyalists, but established a home in Shubenacadie.

Henry Strum Jr was the youngest of the loyalists who had been forced to leave East Florida for Nova Scotia. Only five years old when the revolution broke out, Henry was considered eligible for compensation because of his father's wartime service. Henry Strum Senior was a Palatine German who had made the unfortunate choice of settling in South Carolina's 96 district. After his wife was murdered by rebels, he fled to East Florida "as a soldier" and served "all the war".

After bringing his two children to Halifax in 1783, the southern loyalist died in a winter storm. His daughter Eve was found in Strum's coat and wrapped in his arms. Covered in snow, the pair had frozen to death while ice fishing. It was hardly the fate that one would ever have imagined for someone who lived in East Florida.

Three men saw to it that Strum's son would have the means to live in his second colony of refuge. Daniel Micheler/Mickler, his uncle, and two of his father's friends, Conrad Marks and Adam Bower/Baur appeared before the compensation board with the 16 year-old. The margin notes on young Henry's transcript indicate that all went well for the loyalist orphan. The commissioner was impressed by the witnesses, saying "They seem all very fine people." In later years, Henry married and returned to South Carolina. For a time he lived on his parents' old farm, but he eventually settled in Georgia.

Nicholas Crane was a Palatine German immigrant who arrived in America in 1765. Twelve years later, he had to flee South Carolina and find sanctuary in East Florida. He was one of 500 loyalists who joined the British at that time. For the rest of the war, Crane served in the South Carolina regiment. After the evacuation of Charlestown, he sailed for Nova Scotia and settled in Ship Harbour to the east of Halifax.

Like Crane, Christian Song/Zong was also a German loyalist who had a brief stay in East Florida and then settled in Ship Harbour. After coming to America in 1764, the German had raised his family on a 150-acre farm in South Carolina's 96 District. Although he was described as being "an old man", Song helped to drive the rebels from his community. The enemy captured him and carried him off to Charlestown, later releasing him because of his age. In 1778, Song joined the British forces. His service took him to East Florida, to Georgia and then to South Carolina.

When he left Charleston with other loyalist refugees in 1782, Song was leaving more than a prosperous farm. His son Peter had been taken and hanged by rebels. Two other sons died at the siege of Savannah and another son was shot while on a scouting party. Four years after relocating to Nova Scotia, Song tried to make it to the winter compensation hearings in Halifax, but was frustrated by the fact that the waters of Ship Harbour had frozen so that "no ship could get out after that till the spring". He was finally able to make his claim in July of 1786.

Of Ship Harbour's loyalist settlers, a government commissioner said "The loyalists there are an industrious and labourious set of people whose manly and steady attachment to the cause of Britain have subjected them to all that adverse fortune could inflict."

East Florida's loss was clearly Nova Scotia's gain.

~*~

For further reading on the southern loyalists, see Ray Howard Blakeney's remarkably detailed My Help Comes from Above.


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

Reader Comment

I have just finished Part One of Stephen's article in the Loyalist Trails July 19 issue.

Last year I spent a week in St. Augustine and visited the Gonzalez-Alvarez House (Oldest House). In the bookstore I purchased Maria, a novel, by Eugenia Price. This novel touches on this subject and what was happening in East Florida. It is very good reading and others may be interested.

I found that following the streets and finding the old houses or where they stood at one time as mentioned in Maria very interesting and I went back in time.

...Pat Blackburn, Hamilton Branch

Anthony and Andrew Westbrook (Part 9), by Doug Massey

© Doug Massey, UE

Two Revolutions

The charged atmosphere of the 1790's and the early 1800's was Andrew Westbrook's schoolroom. Significant others were his mentors. An analysis of Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe's plans to turn Upper Canada into a land of prosperous farmers is key to a better understanding of Westbrook. So too is an investigation of his ally Ebenezer Allen, and bitter enemies such as Daniel Springer and Thomas Talbot.

The spectre of republicanism haunted the British elite throughout the empire in the 1790's. Two revolutions had happened in quick succession, first in America and then in France. To the British establishment, both were catastrophes that must be avoided at all costs. With the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800, no great lover of the British, there was fear of an American invasion of Upper Canada. As well, since Britain was fighting Napoleon Bonaparte, there were fears of a French/ Spanish invasion. Upper Canada had to be defended, and that would mean settlers who would defend. But Governor John Graves Simcoe and his executive counsel responded with hysteria. Anyone praising republicanism was prosecuted for sedition. Moreover, the folly that had brought on the American Revolution in the first place was revisited when Simcoe initiated a poorly structured and executed policy to populate Upper Canada. In 1792-4, Simcoe granted entire townships, "proprietor townships", of unsettled land to an array of speculators, most of whom came from New York State. An attempt was made to ensure that these were capable men. And these proprietor townships were always paired up with "Loyalist townships" populated by royalist families who, it was believed, would guard against sedition. Initially, Simcoe saw his "nominees", or "proprietors", as selfless "spokesmen for egalitarian groups of farmers [Quakers] who wished to settle together to sustain a common church". [57] With equal naivety, Simcoe thought there were large, closeted groups of Loyalists still in the U.S. who would flock to Upper Canada if promised cheap land, and if helped to settle by these "nominees". In reality, many of Simoce's shepherd proprietors, but not all, were more like wolves. By 1795 Simcoe came to believe that all the proprietors were enterprising, sharp, and greedy, "land jobbers" who knew how to navigate the dangers of frontier land dealing, and who could circumvent the rules with ease in order to improve their profit. And when it came to Ebenezer Allen, Simcoe may have been correct.

Ebenezer Allen was among this number chosen to seed Upper Canada with settlers meant to forestall republicanism. He had fought alongside Joseph Brant and Anthony Westbrook, and then with Butler's Rangers as a sergeant and lieutenant in the American Revolution. This won for him a 2 200 acre grant along the Dingman Creek where it empties into the Thames River in Delaware Township. But his service for the king had been both bloody and unclear. An American, and a product of the frontier, he was self reliant, capable and hardworking, but also short-tempered, vindictive and cruel. Self-interest motivated Allen, certainly not deference to the British elite. And he certainly did not share a British sense of morality. Apparently Ebenezer leaned more to the Hebrew Scriptures where multiple wives were good for important men like himself. He would end up with four, concurrent wives - two white and two indigenous. The establishment was shocked by his polygamy. Nor were they much taken with Ebenezer's attempts to get more land by procuring suspect first nations claims and settler rights. In February of 1799, he was accused of the attempted bribery of a surveyor, arrested and tried, only to have his case dropped for lack of evidence in 1801. Embittered by this process, Allen started to co-operate with other conspirators to overthrow the British colonial government and replace it with an American styled republic.

Between 1795 and 1797, Simcoe came to be disillusioned by the behaviour of his "nominees", and unilaterally revoked many of the land grants. What he didn't realize was that his government had failed to work out the technicalities of his land settlement system, and this had made proprietors hesitant to proceed with settlers. In 1797 Peter Russell, no fan of Simcoe's township-proprietor system, swept away all the grants. Had he checked on settlement progress he would have discovered that Thomas Ingersoll, the proprietor in Oxford-on-the Thames, had honestly tried, and largely succeeded in fulfilling his part of the bargain by bringing in 40 settlers. [58] Bad enough as this was, the executive council then re-granted much of the revoked land to themselves, friends or relatives. Now it was the "nominees" turn to be royally unimpressed. Men such as Asa Danforth, Gideon and Silvester Tiffany, and Ebenezer Allen decided to act. A meeting of the conspirators was called for Albany New York in February 1802. Danforth urged Allen to bring Joseph Brant with him to the meeting, as the Six Nations would have to be on side or at least neutral if the rebellion had any chance to succeed. Joseph Brant? Would he seek to overthrow his old allies? In a word, yes! Brant was listening to the conspirators and plotting because he had come to see Britain as "an ungrateful nation" that "had constantly deceived the Indians" [59] by its attempts to thwart his real estate deals, and keep the Six Nations dependent. However, the rebellion fizzled out by the end of 1802. Parallel to this attempted coup was an attempt by American born masons to create a schismatic lodge at Niagara with ties to freemasonry in the United States. Involved in both the civil and lodge plots were Brothers Ebenezer Allen, Joseph Brant, Silvester Tiffany, and Gideon Tiffany. Some of the conspirators fled to the U.S., but Joseph Brant, Gideon and Silvester Tiffany and Ebenezer Allen remained in Upper Canada.

NOTES:

[57] Alan Taylor, "A Northern Revolution in 1800? Upper Canada and Thomas Jefferson"; in The Revolution of 1800: Democracy, Race and the New Republic, by Edward James Horn et. al. (Charlotteville: Virginia University Press, 2002), p.385.

[58] Brian Dawe, Old Oxford is Wide Awake (John Deyell Co., 1980), p.9. See also p.7: Ingersoll's connections with New York had brought him into contact with the Allen brothers who were promoting the settlement of Delaware Township.

[59] Alan Taylor, op cit., p.394.

...Doug Massey

A Spy Wins a Purple Heart, by Todd W. Braisted

On June 8th, 1783, Gen. George Washington issued the following orders to the Continental army from his headquarters in Newburgh, New York:

“Serjeant Bissel of the 2d Connecticut regt. having per­formed some important services, within the immediate knowledge of the Commander in chief, in which the fidelity, perseverence, and good sense of the said serjeant Bissel were conspicuously manifested; it is therefore ordered that he be honored with the badge of merit; he will call at Head Quarters on tuesday next for the insignia and certificate to which he is hereby entitled.”

The badge of merit had been recently instituted; although the design inspired the Purple Heart medal, at this time it was awarded for distinguished service. "Serjeant Bissel" was the third and final recipient of this prestigious mark of recognition. Who was he and what were the "important services?"

Read the full article as published in the Journal of the American Revolution, 2 June 2015.

Peter Maybee: War of 1812 Marker at Stockdale, ON

[Read with photos here.]

As some of you may already know from having checked Facebook, the War of 1812 Veteran Marker Ceremony for Peter Maybee was held last Sunday at Stockdale Cemetery about 15 minutes north of Trenton, ON. The cemetery likely dates back to the 1820s, and the earliest surviving marker is dated 1834. Reportedly a Maybee transported the person, (a child) who was the first burial there. As noted in an earlier article, Peter Maybee was the son of Loyalist Capt. Abraham Maybee UE.

When we held the Ceremony for John Johnson at the same cemetery last November, it was very cold. Of course our Maybee Ceremony went for the opposite extreme- perhaps the hottest day of the Summer! Nevertheless we had a good number out and a Colour Guard from the Royal Canadian Legion in Frankford braved the heat. Local politicians this time included The Hon. Rick Norlock MP and his Worship Jim Harrison, Mayor of Quinte West.

The photos show a panoramic view of the Ceremony by descendant Don Galna UE and a photo of the descendants by Georgette Green.

It is important to remember our War of 1812 Veterans and I encourage you to get involved with the Marker project. The 'War of 1812 Veteran Marker' website has details.

...Peter W. Johnson UE, Bay of Quinte Branch

Peter Young: War of 1812 Plaque

[Read with photos here]

On July 11, 2015 I attended the War of 1812 commemoration plaque unveiling for my 3X great grandfather Peter Young UE son of Loyalist Daniel Young UE and grandson of Adam Young UE. There were over 100 in attendance including honourary guests from the Oxford and Kent Scottish Regiment, Hamilton Light Infantry, MPP Toby Barrett, and MP MP Diane Finley, along with many descendants of Peter Young and Hannah Riselay.

Bill Young UE, also 3X great grandson worked very hard to get the designation for Peter Young.

My Mom, Lola Timson UE (recently deceased) and I worked many hours over the years to get the Wesleyan Methodist cemetery in Caledonia cleaned up, the headstones restored and recognition for the contribution of the Young family. There is now a cemetery committee and the cemetery is in much better shape. Standing on my soap box and waving the UE flag finally paid off.

...Pat Kelderman, UE, Thompson-Okanagan Branch

Birchtown and St. Paul's Church, by Brian McConnell, UE

Birchtown, Nova Scotia and the Black Loyalist Centre are of tremendous historic value and members of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada (UELAC) may also be interested to view the windows in St. Paul's Church there that were financially supported by them.

Settled in 1784 by Black Loyalists after the American Revolution, Birchtown became the largest settlement of free blacks outside of Africa.

Read the short article with photos.

...Brian McConnell, UE

Where in the World?

Where are Peter Milliken, Kingston Branch; Nancy Conn, Gov. Simcoe Branch; and Jim McKenzie, New Brunswick 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 to Jennifer Childs.

Region and Branch Bits

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

  • Visiting the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre at Birchtown, NS. and viewing the UELAC window in St. Paul's Church. also at Birchtown
  • Today, Sunday July 26th. Hamilton Branch Annual potluck picnic takes place at Crawford Lake Conservation Area beginning with a tour of the longhouses at 3:00 p.m. Price to get into the Area is around $6.00 and the Branch has the Interpretive Centre rented from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. The supper will be placed out in the Centre approximately 4:45 p.m. This leaves time to explore the boardwalk around the lake. Crawford Lake is north from the QEW on Guelph Line in Burlington approximately 18 kms. Bring one dish for the supper, your cutlery, plate and a cold drink.
  • Monday, August 3rd. Joseph Brant Day celebration all day at LaSalle Park, Burlington ON. Exhibits, entertainment and native dancing.
  • Monday, August 3rd. George Hamilton Day, 11:00 to 1:00 p.m., Canadian Football Hall of Fame, 58 Jackson Street West, Hamilton, honouring Rapid Ray Lewis. Canon David Ricketts from the Hamilton Branch and descendant of George Hamilton will be giving the honouring remarks for George Hamilton.
  • New Facebook and Twitter Sites: The U.E.L. Heritage Centre in Adolphustown is pleased to announce that it now has both a Facebook page and Twitter account to keep you updated on everything exciting that they have in store for the summer as well as for upcoming events for the Bay of Quinte Branch UEL. Either follow us on twitter or like us on Facebook and we will keep you up to date on museum happenings and fun things that we have in store. Doing this will also treat you to exclusive features to our social networks such as, "What is it Wednesdays" where we will showcase some of our lesser known artifacts. Visit us at twitter site and at facebook We are excited and look forward to seeing you online!

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • James Kirby Martin, history professor at the University of Houston, tells how injuries to Benedict Arnold's leg and pride at the Battle of Saratoga led him to treason. (video (5 min excerpt) - note the link at the top if you wish to hear the whole episode)
  • Everything you've been "dyeing" to know about 18th-century weaving! Enter the Weaver's Shop in Colonial Williamsburg, and you'll be surprised at all the noise! Weaving on a loom is a remarkably loud business as the boards slam into each other in a rhythmic commotion. But the #18th century weaver was really 3 trades in 1 - weaver, spinner and dyer!
  • Summer interpreters and reenactors bring history alive. At Fort George in the Niagara Peninsula it's Weapon Wednesday! Pvt. Challen bears the deadly Pattern 1804 Royal Navy Cutlass (photo)
  • On this date in 1812, swimming in Lake Ontario is banned between sunrise and sunset to maintain respectability in York. Two photos of drawings from 1812. That photo explained and another at King & Yonge in 1812 (click on the photo))
  • In July 1840: British Parliament passed the Act of Union of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. The British North America Act, 1840 commonly known as the Act of Union 1840, was enacted in July 1840 and proclaimed February 10, 1841. It abolished the legislatures of Lower Canada and Upper Canada and established a new political entity, the Province of Canada to replace them. An interesting and not-long read.
  • l'Hermione sails on. When she was in Castine, Maine, a photo was taken from the rooftop deck of one of the Pierside buildings of the Maine Maritime Academy. Although the modern French ensign makes her look like an 'out take' from one of the Patrick O'Brian novels the jack she is flying is Azure semy fleurs-de-lis or. On her only stop in Canada, L'Hermione was led into Lunenberg NS harbour by Bluenose II. CBC report (be sure to click through the seven photos at the top)

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Coffin, Nathaniel Jr.
  • Coffin, Sir Thomas A.
  • Coffin, William Jr.
  • Coffin, William III
  • Coffin, William (not Sr. but another line)

Please help us build the directory by contributing more information for it. Contact loyalist.trails@uelac.org for instructions and guidance.

Queries

Response re Ryckman Ancestor

The original query sought information about the ancestry of Ann Eliza Ryckman recorded as being born in Canada about 1820. We know that the records for grandchildren of Loyalists are difficult to find.

Maggie Parnall provided information to Christine. Four Ryckman familes are recorded in Loyalists in Ontario, Sons & Daughters of American Loyalists. by Wm. Reid.

  • RYCKMAN, Edward of Sophiasburgh & Flamborough West.
  • RYCKMAN, John of Barton, Lieut. Indian Dept. Md. Elizabeth O.c. 12 Jan. 1798
  • RYCKMAN, John of Adolphustown & Sophiasburgh md. Susannah Brown (Bruyn) 12 June, 1780, of Hackensack, New Jersey. See O.c.30 Aug. 1787. Children:
    • Tobias of Sophiasburgh, U.E.
    • Mary died young.
    • Edward of Sophiasburgh, U.E.
    • John of sophiasburgh
    • Catherine, died young.
    • Abraham of Loughborough O.C. 18 April, 1811
    • Susannah md. John Lowe of Sophiasburgh.
  • RYCKMAN, Tobias of Sophiasburgh.

With the notation in John of Adolphustown that both Tobias and Edward were UE in their own right, the three of those entries are of one family.

Maggie also contributed from The Second Report of the Bureau of Archives 1904 by Alexander Fraser, Claim No. 1105 Dated Feb. 19, 1788 at Montreal.

Claim of Widow of John Ryckman. late of Tryon County.

Tobias Ryckman, eldest son of John Ryckman, deceased, says his father was a Sorell in the Fall of 1783.

His father was a Native of America, lived at Tarpan, Orange Cty, when the Rebellion broke out. He joined the British at New York in 1777. Served as a Guide to the Army during the War. He came to Canada in 1780-81. He died in 1784, leaving Susannah, his widow, Claimant Tobias Ryckman and 6 other children. Witness served some time as a Guide. The Whole Family came to Canada with their Father. Now live near Cataraqui (Kingston).

His father had a house and some land at Tappan, he was a Tanner and Shoemaker. He bought this place many years ago. His first purchase was of 4 acres, he bought some more later. Witness cannot say how much. There was a Stone House and a Barn and a small framed house.

Produces an Affidavit. Sworn at Cataraqui to having had the landed Estate at Tappan. And ye stock as stated in the Schedule. Witness says they had Deeds of the Land, but they have been destroyed by fire since they came to this Country. Values it as above 200 Pounds York.

It has been sold by the Comrs. at a Vendue, one Herring bought it. His father had 9 Wagon loads of Leather just brought from Philadelphia. His Father had been imprisoned at Fisk (Fish Kill) Gaol. The Rebels took the Leather at that time.

Produces an Affidavit that John Ryckman had been imprisoned for his Loyalty and speaks of having offered a reward of 100 Dollars for People to fetch his Leather. He had a No. of Doz. of Hides & SKins. The Dry Hides cost 100 Pounds York. He had 3 Horses, the Rebels took them. He had a House at New York which he built after he got there.

He had two Witnesses who knew his father's property, they could not come but were sworn by. Peter VanAlastine near Cataraqui and he produced their affidavits as before stated. Says the family agree that he should receive the whole.

Note: Tobias Ryckman was a Witness to the Claim of Gilbert Bogard, late of Orange County.

The search continues to link Ann Eliza Ryckman to her proper parents. There seems to be a stronger possibility of a family connection to John, Tobias, Edward family.

...Christine Izzo (with help from Maggie Parnall)

Back to Top   |   Loyalist Trails index   |   Subscribe Now