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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2020 Archive

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“Loyalist Trails” 2020-16: April 19, 2020

Articles

Loyalist Gazette: Status

The objective is to have the Spring Loyalist Gazette ready to go into the post about May 1.

The coronavirus has caused some unexpected workload among members of the team, so the Spring Loyalist Gazette is running a couple of weeks behind schedule. At the moment, we expect it to be ready to be mailed right around mid-May. That said, not much is normal these days, so there could be another "bug in the ointment", so to speak.

‘Loyalist’ Project Teams up to Map History

Travel back in time and across an ocean with the Loyalist Migrations mapping project, a joint research venture showcasing the power of geographic information systems (GIS) to communicate humanity's "vastly complex history."

The story begins in 1783, when the American Revolution shattered British control over the Thirteen Colonies and sparked a migration of approximately 60,000 Loyalists -- colonists who remained loyal to the British Crown.

Defeated and exiled, the Loyalists fled to other parts of the British Empire. Thousands of Loyalists travelled north and settled in British North America, present-day Canada. Approximately 1-in-10 Canadians can claim Loyalist heritage, and this migration shaped a significant part of Canada's early identity.

The Loyalist Migrations project plots the journeys of thousands of these Loyalist families. It's a collaborative venture between Huron University College History professor Timothy J. Compeau, Western Libraries GIS Specialist Liz Sutherland, Huron Centre for Community History students, and the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada (UELAC).

Read more.

Prisoner of War, Refugee, and Returnee: The Story of Major John Kissam (Part 3), by Stephen Davidson

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Having suffered imprisoment and the seizure of their family estate, the Kissams of Hampstead, New York were among the Loyalists who settled in refugee communities around Nova Scotia's Annapolis Basin. However, the first years were discouraging and many Loyalists left their new homes.

A letter written in the fall of 1785 indicates that the extended family of John Kissam was among those who returned to their former homes. John Kissam received news from a friend in Granville stating "there are several Loyalists gone back to the States and some glad to get back again."

If the Kissams were still in Nova Scotia, this would not be news to them. A letter that John received in February of 1786 confirms that the family had pulled up stakes. Richard Townsend, who had signed the 1776 Declaration of Loyalty with John, wrote from Shelburne, Nova Scotia to say that he "was sorry that you left our country so soon". Townsend went on to say that the commissioners for the Loyalist compensation board had arrived in Halifax. He advised Kissam to get certificates for all of his losses and damages and come to Shelburne in the spring.

Twelve days later, Edward Thorne, a former member of John's Loyalist militia and a fellow settler in Granville, addressed a letter to John in Cow's Neck, Long Island. He let Kissam know that the compensation board would be convening in Saint John (just across the Bay of Fundy) in May. Thorne also advised John to bring a certificate of the confiscation of his father's estate, believing that "you may get some of your losses again".

Benjamin, John's brother, also left Nova Scotia and returned to New York sometime in 1784 or 1785. Family records show that he married Mary Platt of Huntington, Long Island on April 3, 1793. (Like the Kissams, the Platts were Loyalists and had signed the 1776 Declaration of Loyalty to the crown.) On his wedding day, Benjamin was 29; his bride was 22. The couple would have just one child. Despite his wartime service as a Loyalist, Benjamin became a prominent lawyer, and later served as a member of the New York Assembly in 1821 and 1823. He died six days before his 83rd birthday in 1847.

Sparse resources make it difficult to piece together the rest of John Kissam's story. Family history notes that his widowed mother, Peggy Kissam, was able to buy back the family's 330-acre farm from its Patriot owner for £2,000 on August 5th 1784. Given the large price tag, Daniel Kissam's widow must have left Long Island with a sizeable amount of money (or had it all squirreled away in a bank that did not confiscate Loyalist savings).

With their return to Hempstead, the extended Kissam family had no need to attend a Loyalist compensation hearing in Shelburne, Halifax or Saint John. The refugee family was one that was able to return to its roots, reconciled to the new government. Despite his wartime service, his status as a former prisoner of war, and his brief time in Nova Scotia, John Kissam became a clerk of the Queen's County board of supervisors in 1797, holding that post until 1820. He served as a vestryman in St. George's Episcopal parish from 1814 to 1819 and as a warden in Christ's Church in nearby Manhasset. He and his wife Phebe had one child, Elizabeth (birthdate unknown) and remained on Long Island for the rest of their days.

John's mother, Peggy Kissam, died at 85 on October 7, 1813 and was laid to rest next to her Loyalist husband in her family's plot at Great Neck, Long Island. She had had an unexpectedly turbulent life -- enduring a revolution, suffering through the imprisonment of her husband and two sons, becoming a widow in the midst of a war, losing her husband's estate, leaving New York for Nova Scotia, and then reintegrating into a society that considered her family traitors to its nation.

The Kissams' trials as Loyalists also had implications for the enslaved Africans that worked on their estate. In an interesting footnote to the saga of this family, the records for the state note that New York was made responsible to see to the welfare of any slaves who had been seized along with the estates of local Loyalists. The town of North Hempstead became responsible for caring for Tone, one of the slaves of John Kissam's father. Between November 24, 1794 and December 22, 1795, the town spent over £18 on Tone during his last days. It paid for "attendance during illness", a blanket, a pair of socks and shoes, a coffin and his burial expenses.

The story of Tone raises a number of questions. Why didn't John Kissam take the family's slaves to Nova Scotia as so many Loyalists did? Why didn't the Kissam family reclaim Tone when they re-acquired their estate in 1784? Why did North Hempstead not relieve itself of a financial burden and insist that the Kissams take Tone back upon their return? Had the town used his slave labour between the departure of the Kissams in 1783 and Tone's death in 1795?

All that we do know of the final chapters in the Loyalist experience of the Kissam family has to do with the last days of Major John Kissam. A committed Loyalist during the American Revolution, John died in his 80th year on June 10, 1828. He and his wife Phebe were buried side by side in the Christ's Church graveyard in Manhasset, Long Island.

No doubt John and Phebe would be surprised and pleased were they able to see a current map of Long Island that showed the area around their final resting place. It contains a neighbourhood known as Flower Hill -- the name of the estate that was once the home of two generations of New York Loyalists.


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

An Outbreak Of Violence

In the article Prisoner of War, Refugee, and Returnee: The Story of Major John Kissam - Part Two of Three by Stephen Davidson, UE

There was an "outbreak" of violence "among the less intelligent and dutiful citizens", but cooler heads (and the timely arrival of the supply ship) saw that "comparative quiet was restored".

I wonder if that is the same thing I read about when too many soldiers or Negros or both were looking for work and unemployment was high and men were not able to earn enough money. I don't know where/how I read that; no doubt it's buried in my research papers.

Then I accidentally ran across this:

In This Unfriendly Soil by Neil MacKinnon says:

1784 July 26 at Shelburne The disbanded soldiers have risen against the Free Negroes to drive them out of Town, because they labour cheaper than the soldiers. Rioting continued into April of 1785. Political favors, lack of food, shelter and religion also played a part.

Funny how that happens so often when I have something on my mind.

...Toni in Iowa, USA

Bishop Charles Inglis, Clermont and a Nova Scotia Heritage Apple

By Brian McConnell, UE

At Kingston, Nova Scotia is a plaque attached to an old well showing the location of Clermont. It was the summer home of Bishop Charles Inglis, known for producing a Nova Scotia heritage apple - the Bishop's Pippin. Nearby are Clairmont Road and Clairmont Provincial Park, spelled differently but rooted in the name Inglis chose for his home.

He left England on August 26,1787 to sail to Nova Scotia upon being appointed that year the first Anglican Bishop of the Province with jurisdiction initially also over Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Bermuda, and Newfoundland.

Read more.

The Answer is Out There: Scholarship Update

A Question, An Answer, A Thank you

Loyalist Trails often posts reader questions looking for information related to family history, personal research or maybe just curiosity. This was the case last week when Mary Williamson asked for help in locating a 1983 Loyalist Gazette article referenced in Dorothy Duncan's book Canadians at Table. I responded to Mary and was able to send her a scanned copy of the article from my personal collection of Loyalist Gazettes.

Mary is currently writing the introduction to the third edition of Mrs. Dalgairns' book, The Practice of Cookery (1830), a collection of over 1400 recipes, to be published by McGill-Queen's University Press. During email conversations with Mary, I learned that Mrs. Dalgairns, prior to marrying Peter Dalgairns, was known as Catherine Emily Callbeck. Her parents were Phillips Callbeck and Anne Coffin. Anne was born into a prominent Massachusetts family with ties to the Loyalist cause.

In 2007, Mary F. Williamson wrote a detailed work on the life of Catherine Callbeck Dalgairns titled -- The Publication of 'Mrs. Dalgairns' Cookery': A Fortuitous Nineteenth-Century Success Story which you can access and download at the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada, here. I highly recommend it.

The name Callbeck stands out for me as it was my privilege in 2014 to attend the opening of the Loyalist exhibit hosted by Abegweit Branch at the Bedeque Area Historical Museum PEI located in the old Callbeck's store. It was also my good fortune that my seat mate on the flight to PEI was Senator Catherine Callbeck (former premier of PEI), born in Central Bedeque and the woman whose family ran the historic Callbeck store, now the museum. That Atlantic Region tour remains a highlight of my term as UELAC president.

What a happy coincidence that Mary and I have connected. And the happy ending for UELAC Scholarship is that Mary expressed her thanks through a donation to the Loyalist Scholarship Fund. Thank you, Mary!

...Bonnie Schepers, UE Scholarship Chair

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Revolutionary Palaeography

By Leah Grandy 15 April 2020

We have rounded up the palaeography resources created at UNB Libraries so that it might be of use to those new to transcription of eighteenth and nineteenth century Atlantic World documents.

Some of the following comes from our previous blog posts; check them out for the basics of palaeography.

Read more.

Borealia: Great Lives, the perfect pandemic podcast

By Donald Wright

When we received instructions to distance and isolate, I called my 92-year old mother who lives alone in another province. She seemed to be taking the pandemic in stride. "I survived the Depression, the war, and the energy crisis," she said. "I'll survive this." To ease her loneliness and to find re-assurance, she told me that she had decided to re-read the Book of Job, the story of God's savage test of one man's faith. Why Job? I asked incredulously. Because God never leaves Job.

To find comfort and inspiration, I searched on "biography" and "history" and was led to Great Lives. Hosted by BBC Radio 4's Matthew Parris, a skilled broadcaster, the format is as simple as it is brilliant: a guest, always a compelling figure in their own right, nominates someone whose life has inspired them; then an expert, usually a scholar and often the subject's biographer, joins the discussion on people as different as Vera Brittain and Miles Davis.

For the next half hour, a wonderful three-way conversation unfolds. With insight and honest excitement, each episode confirms that history isn't made by impersonal forces and bloodless categories, but by real people, driven by compulsion, fueled by genius, and, in some instances, haunted by demons, addictions, and awful childhoods.

Read more.

JAR: The Fighting Parson's Farewell Sermon

by Michael Cecere 15 April 2020

The history of the American Revolution is rife with heroic tales and amazing myths of patriotic American heroes that offer inspiring and entertaining stories. Sadly however, many of these stories have little basis in fact or documentation to support their occurrence. Some are completely fabricated while others are the result of misreported or misunderstood accounts. Thankfully, there are also plenty of inspiring accounts and stories that, although perhaps exaggerated or embellished over generations, have a significant degree of historical truth to them. One such account is that of the Farewell Sermon of the Fighting Parson of Shenandoah Valley, Peter Muhlenberg.

The traditional version of Peter Muhlenberg's farewell sermon, first shared by Muhlenberg's great nephew, Henry A. Muhlenberg in his 1849 biography of the general, goes as follows. In mid-January 1776, Muhlenberg, who was a delegate in the Fourth Virginia Convention in Williamsburg, was appointed by the Convention to command the 8th Virginia Regiment. Muhlenberg rushed home to Dunmore County in northwest Virginia to tend to his affairs and begin to raise his regiment, and upon his return word spread quickly among his parish that he was to give a farewell sermon on the next Sabbath. Muhlenberg's parishioners packed the church in Woodstock on the appointed day, January 21, with many standing outside in the cold to hear their beloved minister. When Muhlenberg arrived and ascended the pulpit, he wore his black minister's robe. He began his sermon by recounting the many wrongs inflicted upon the colonists by Great Britain and reminded his parishioners of the worthiness of the cause for which they all struggled in 1776 and for which he was about to surrender his alter. He then declared, "that, in the language of holy writ, there was a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times had passed away . . . that there was a time to fight, and that time had now come!"

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JAR: Attack up the Connecticut River: The First British Raid on Essex

by Matthew Reardon 14 April 2020

By April 1782, the war in America was supposed to be over. It had been nearly six months since Lord Cornwallis surrendered his army to Generals Washington and Rochambeau at Yorktown. The previous February, the British Parliament had voted to stop funding the war. Peace negotiations between British and American representatives had begun in Paris. But almost 4,000 miles away, along the Connecticut coastline, the war continued unabated.

For the previous six years, the Connecticut militia had been engaged constantly with the Associated Loyalists and their counterparts, the Loyal Refugees, based on British-occupied Long Island. These loyalists were irregular forces which operated independently of the regular British army in New York City. Their ranks were made up of displaced New England loyalists, many of whom were from Connecticut. They armed and equipped themselves and even had their own small naval vessels. Starting in 1776, the two sides routinely launched raids against each other's coastal towns in fighting which came to be known as the "Whaleboat Wars."

Read more.

1832 Cholera Chronicle (Part 1), by Chris Raible

By Chris Raible

"Heavy thunder and rain with much Lightening," James Lesslie noted in his diary on Saturday, June 16, 1832. The weather in York (Toronto) had suddenly changed.

Nine days earlier, Thursday, June 7th, his diary made its first reference to the dreaded disease cholera.. Lesslie had just learned it was "raging to a fearfull [sic] extent in Paris (France) -- Deaths from 600 to 1000 daily!" In an attempt to reassure himself perhaps, Lesslie added, "it has been but little felt in Britain compared with other countries." His guarded optimism was also reflected in his entry for the following day: "The 'Great Britain' arrives with 600 passengers. . . mostly English & Scotch Emigrants of a better Class than arrived last year."

In the course of the next week of fine weather, business continued more or less normally at the Lesslie & Sons stationery and apothecary shop on King Street. The proprietor purchased a "quantity of the finest Honey I ever saw in the country," taught Sunday School, and followed press reports on the fate of the Reform Bill in the British House of Lords. On Wednesday, brother John, manager of the family's store in Dundas, arrived in York, en route to Montreal to purchase new stocks.

On Friday, however, Lesslie noted: "Rumour says that the Cholera is in Quebec & that there had been 15 cases & 7 deaths -- It is indeed a fearfull visitation of heaven upon mankind & is calculated to rouse them from their apathy to the solemnities of futurity."

Asiatic cholera was getting closer. The epidemic had started in India in the 1780s and had spread throughout the near and far east by the early 1820s. By 1830 it had reached Russia and from there it swept across Europe. It was first identified in London two years later. In the spring of 1832, emigrants carried it across the Atlantic to North America, where it would spread almost unheeded before subsiding in September. That summer, government records reveal, some 5,820 persons died of cholera in Lower Canada, with at least a thousand more in Upper Canada.

When the plague finally passed, worst hit in Upper Canada was the town of York. Its population of just over five thousand had known half the province's cholera deaths. An estimated one person in ten died. (A comparable disaster today would be some two hundred thousand Toronto deaths!)

As he daily recorded the dreadful occurrences around him, James Lesslie had no way of knowing what was causing the disease, how it was spread, or where it would strike next. He could not know when or even whether it would abate. All he knew was that something horrible was happening -- and he knew why: "Terrible O Lord are thy judgements." His Scottish religious heritage interpreted everything as providential. Any disaster was divine retribution, the punishment for sin. Before God, a mortal soul was always in danger.

Lesslie was not alone in his fears. A month earlier, Archdeacon John Strachan, the spiritual (and often political) leader of York's ruling "Family Compact," had proclaimed a day "for a General Fast and Humiliation before Almighty God, to be observed in the most Devout and Solemn Manner, by sending up our Prayers and Supplications to the Divine Majesty: For obtaining pardon of our Sins, and for averting those heavy Judgements which our manifold Provocations have most justly deserved." Prayers and supplications notwithstanding, cholera kept coming.

As a practising Christian, Lesslie was apprehensive about the future, about life after death. As a practical businessman and conscientious citizen, he was also concerned with his immediate community, with enriching life and preventing death. In the years following his settling in York in 1826, his name was regularly to be found on the lists of patrons of the town's educational and charitable institutions. His diary for that awful summer of 1832 daily often testifies to his compassionate nature.

By mid-June, Lesslie could see the shadow of death approaching, even though he tried to deny it. Rumours that cholera was in Montreal, in Cornwall, in Kingston, he discounted as "very probably Without foundation no authentic accounts being given from the Board of Health." Nevertheless, brother John decided to defer his trip to Montreal.

On Monday, June 18, Lesslie's mind was still partly focussed on British politics. In his diary he expressed his dismay at the news "that the Reform Bill is Thrown Out! Earl Grey's administration broken up & Wellington again in power!!!! The stamina of British Freemen will now be tested."

The stamina of persons much nearer than England, however, was to be tested that summer. The next day, Tuesday, June 19, Lesslie was forced to set aside all thoughts of politics for many months. It was "a beautiful day," but the "pleasant breeze from the NW" carried dreadful news: "Three Cases of Cholera announced by the Physicians to be in the Hospital in Town!"

Those first York cholera victims were "Emigrants by the late Steamers." The town mobilized to defend itself, Lesslie noted: "A Public Meeting called to take such measures. . .as may tend to mitigate its destructive power & Committees appointed to the various wards in Town to see that the greatest Cleanliness is observed."

(Continued next week)

What We Can Learn From 1918 Influenza Diaries

SmithsonianMag.com 13 April 2020

When Dorman B.E. Kent, a historian and businessman from Montpelier, Vermont, contracted influenza in fall 1918, he chronicled his symptoms in vivid detail. Writing in his journal, the 42-year-old described waking up with a "high fever," "an awful headache" and a stomach bug.

"Tried to get Dr. Watson in the morning but he couldn't come," Kent added. Instead, the physician advised his patient to place greased cloths and a hot water bottle around his throat and chest.

The Vermont historian's account, housed at the state's historical society, is one of countless diaries and letters penned during the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed an estimated 50 to 100 million people in just 15 months.

Read more.

In the war on COVID-19, Canadians are deferential, Americans defiant – Who's right?

By Lawrence Martin, Globe & Mail, 17 April 2020

"We will not comply," protesters shouted at Michigan's Democratic Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, on Wednesday. It was in response to her stay-at-home order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. "Lock her up," they hollered.

Spurred on by right-wing media, demonstrations took place. President Donald Trump issued a three-phase reopening plan to be run by state governments.

No such foment has been evident in Canada, where, given that the virus has had a less lethal impact, pressure for an early reopening might have been more likely.

But Canadians have been more submissive, willing to heed the federal government's desire to extend the lockdown with hardly a word of dissent.

Canadians are siding with health officials over those who argue that the shutdown cure for the virus -- which will probably lead to a long-running recession or depression -- could bring on more suffering than the disease itself.

Old habits die hard. The late Lipset contended that Canadians' deferential tendencies have been around since the counterrevolutionary United Empire Loyalists fled north, leaving the American revolutionaries behind.

It's at times like this that the country finds out how beneficial its enduring character trait is.

Read more.

Where in the World?

Where is Fran Rose of Victoria 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

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Hoeg, Nathan - contributed by Carolyn Brown
  • Harris Sr., Myndert - contributed by Jo Ann Tuskin from branch records
  • Dickinson, Tertullus - contributed by Martin Conroy

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

Last Post

Reginald Victor Eamer, UE

We are saddened to announce the peaceful passing of our father, Reginald Victor Eamer on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Dad was born in Brandon, Manitoba on August 8th, 1930, to Alfred and Matilda Eamer. He received his formal education in Brandon schools and colleges taking courses in business administration and business law.

Dad lived in Brandon all his life except the period of 1948 to 1958 when he was employed as a representative of Drewery-Carling Brewery in Winnipeg. In 1959 Dad moved back to Brandon to take over the western Manitoba region for Carlings. In 1967 he purchased the Wheat City Hotel from his father who had owned it since 1938. He demolished the old hotel and rebuilt it as the City Centre Hotel. After selling the hotel in 1974 Dad took the position of Administrative Officer at the Agricultural Extension Centre for the Manitoba Department of Agriculture where he remained until he retired in 1993.

In 1951 Dad married our Mom, Helen Marie Saunders who predeceased him. In 1982 Dad married Edna Anne Christine Selbie. Dad and Edna were fortunate to walk life's journey together as best friends, side by side, for 31 years until Enda's passing.

Community service was a part of Dad's life. He served in many capacities with numerous organizations.

Dad also developed an interest in discovering his heritage. With Edna's help, they researched the family tree back to 1727 in Baden, Germany and in 2012 he received his UE designation having proven his Loyalist lineage to Michael Gallinger Sr. UEL. Reg was a founding member of the Assiniboine Branch, UELAC.

Dad is lovingly remembered and missed by his 5 children: Deborah Berkan, Alf Eamer (Jan), Linda Davies (Ken), Brenda Eamer-Ash-Kevill (David), Darrel Eamer (Dori); and many grandchildren. A family gathering will take place at a later date. More information and messages of condolence at www.brockiedonovan.com.

...Liz Adair, Assiniboine Branch

Roy Allan David Jaynes, UE

Roy passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Coldwater, ON on Monday, 13 April 2020, at the age of 82. Beloved husband of the late Margaret (October 2016). Predeceased by his parents James and Edna Jaynes. Dear stepfather of Charles Rowbotham (Mary), Gary Rowbotham (Jeanette), and Ruth Plane (Ralph). Loved step-grandfather of many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. Survived by his sister Doris Lowry (late Fred). Predeceased by brother Clarence Jaynes (late Dorothy) and by his sister Alice McGill (late Max). Will also be missed by his nieces, nephews and cousins.

Roy and Margaret opened their home in Belleville to Karen Borden, UE, Maralynn Wilkinson, UE, and me after the UE Conference in Adophustown and Napanee in June 2009. My paternal grandmother was a Jaynes and Roy and I were distant cousins. While we were staying with Roy and Margaret we found Maralynn was also a distant cousin of Roy's, sharing the Bradshaw line. Maralynn was instrumental in helping Roy prove his UE lineage.

Roy's UE certificate for ancestor James Bradshaw was approved 8 January 2010. Roy was thrilled and proud to use the initials UE after his name. He became a Victoria Branch member in 2009 and was still a member when he died. He also carved the most beautiful totem poles after his retirement.

...Catherine Fryer, UE, Victoria Branch

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