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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2020 Archive

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“Loyalist Trails” 2020-34: August 23, 2020

Articles

Well-to-Do Loyalist Widows in London (Part 1 of 4)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Twenty-five Loyalist widows sought compensation in the capital of the British Empire. One had her home destroyed by the British army. Another was the widow of two different Loyalists. One woman had once owned seven African slaves; another fled the destruction of her plantation with only her family's clothes. One lost all her possessions when a British officer had her family's schooner burned, while another survived a shipwreck. Among these widows' husbands were a naval surgeon, the speaker of the Georgia house of assembly, a colonial commodore, a member of Massachusetts' Mandamus Council, an Anglican rector, and a distiller of vinegar.

The stories of 25 upper class widows are hidden away in the transcripts of the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL) that were recorded when the commissioners convened in London between October 21, 1783 and June 25, 1785.

Although the vast majority of Loyalist widows were from the working and middle classes, nevertheless, the stories of these elite widows give us insights into the experiences of a particular segment of the Loyalist refugee population.

Married to men of influence, able to afford an Atlantic crossing, and having connections to influential character witnesses, these Loyalist widows nevertheless suffered the loss of loved ones and property, giving them a bond of shared experiences with their more ordinary sisters.

The first chapter in this series about the widows who travelled to London will examine the stories of three women who were recognized as "active and zealous Loyalists" in their own right. This designation is significant. Women were not expected to have any political opinions other than those of their husbands. Compensation for Loyalist losses during the American Revolution was based on the merits of the husband's wartime service and on the value of the assets that he had lost in the course of the Revolution.

This gender bias makes it very difficult to tell Loyalist history from a woman's perspective. When a widow appeared before the RCLSAL, her best hope for receiving financial compensation from the British government was to tell as much of her husband's story as she could. Her own experiences in the war were not seen as being important, despite the fact that a Loyalist's wife often suffered from severe deprivation and violent rebel persecution during years of conflict.

After her appearance before the RCLSAL on December 15, 1783, Jane Gibbs became the first Loyalist widow to have the three commissioners recognize "the claimant and all of her husbands {as} loyal". The board had only started to hear Loyalist claims on June 25th of that year, and Jane was just the fourth widow to seek compensation. Nevertheless, her story impressed the commissioners.

Jane's first husband was William Lindsay. The couple had left England for Georgetown, South Carolina in 1763. They established a farm and worked on it for nine years. Following Lindsey's death in 1772, Jane was left to raise their two daughters and son on her own. Although details of Lindsey's life are absent from the transcript, he obviously behaved in a manner that convinced the RCLSAL commissioners that he had been a loyal colonist.

Within a year, Jane married an Irish widower named William Downes who kept a blacksmith and turner's shop. A neighbor described Jane's husband as a "very grand Loyalist" who "kept a wagon and rode very good horses".

In addition to her own 3 children, Jane now became the stepmother to Downes' two daughters. In 1775, just two years after William and Jane were married, local rebels offered Downes a commission in their army. He declined. He also refused to pay for a substitute to serve in his place (a common practice during the revolution). Angered by someone they perceived as a traitor in their midst, local rebels seized the Downes' effects, including an enslaved African.

On April 15, 1781, a Patriot officer and 163 men came to the door of the Loyalist's home, demanding that Jane's husband surrender himself. Downes and his overseer fired 24 rounds at the rebels – a precise detail recalled because it was none other than Jane and the children who loaded the firearms. In the end, however, both men were killed.

A witness who appeared at the RCLSAL hearings on Jane's behalf had attended William's funeral and remarked that Downes was "greatly esteemed and regretted by the British army". Her late husband's association with the army must have been the means by which Jane met Col. Zacharias Gibbs. Like Downes, he was a widower and had served the crown in the Seven Years War.

Within two years of her second husband's death, Jane had married Gibbs and began seeking compensation for the losses of her late husband William Downes. The commissioners awarded her £955 (she had hoped for £2,143) and an annual pension of £40.

By 1784, Zacharias Gibbs had settled on 1,000 acres of land in Rawdon, Nova Scotia with 55 other Loyalist refugees. Jane and their blended family of seven children remained in Ireland until at least 1789. One historian suggests that Zacharias died in a shipwreck as he was travelling back to Ireland to bring his family to Nova Scotia. If true, Jane would have remained in Ireland, the widow of three husbands.

On March 20, 1784, Penelope d' Ende was the second widow to be recognized as a Loyalist by the compensation board. A Virginian colonist, Penelope married a Scottish shoemaker named William Forsyth after he immigrated to Norfolk in 1775. Described as someone who "lived like a gentleman", Penelope's husband was prosperous enough to own two horses, a 70-ton schooner, two slaves, a riding chair, and harness.

At the outbreak of the revolution, Forsyth refused to join with the local Patriots and sided with Virginia's royal governor, Lord Dunmore, instead. One witness recounted how Penelope's husband developed "a bad state of health" from the hardships he endured by "constantly mounting guard" against rebels in Norfolk. After spending "some days in an open vessel" en route to the West Indies, Forsyth died.

Before his death, Penelope's husband had loaded his schooner with most of their worldly possessions. It was docked at Groins Island, which was about 50 miles from the Forsyths' home in Norfolk. Penelope testified that their schooner was put to the torch by British sailors.

Sir Andrew Hamond, the commander of the North American naval station, ordered that the vessel be destroyed for fear that "the Americans should get her". Penelope lost her husband due to his loyal service and then lost all of her possessions due to military necessity. The RCLSAL board determined that Mrs. Forsyth was a Loyalist and granted her compensation.

The second widow from Virginia to be recognized as a Loyalist in her own right was Isabella (Campbell) Logan. Her husband George had emigrated from Scotland to the New World as a merchant's apprentice and bookkeeper. Sadly, Isabella did not provide any details of her own life. However, marriage records for Norfolk County indicate that the couple was married on May 17, 1761.

The RCLSAL learned more about the Logans when Virginia's last royal governor, Lord Dunmore spoke on Isabella's behalf. Of George Logan he said, "No man could be more loyal". However, due to his age, he could not bear arms against the rebels. Instead, he used his merchant ship to carry goods for the crown. In addition to being a merchant, George served Norfolk as both a sheriff and a magistrate before the revolution. He and Isabella had a beautiful house that was "exceedingly well furnished".

Lord Dunmore knew this due to the fact that after his soldiers had won the Battle of Kempesville in November 1775, he had established his headquarters at Isabella's home. The governor raised the royal standard and proceeded to take oaths of allegiance from the locals. When Virginia came under rebel control, George Logan left for Scotland. Isabella remained behind to maintain ownership of her husband's property.

By 1779, Logan's dry goods store was being used as a holding court, while his wet goods storehouse was serving as the town jail. Isabella's home had become the courthouse, the very place that Virginian's Patriots found George guilty of treason "in having departed the State and joined his Britannic Majesty's subjects."

Five years later, the Loyalist compensation board made a similar ruling with regard to Isabella Logan, saying that it was "satisfied of the loyalty of the claimant and her husband".

See next week's Loyalist Trails for more stories of well-to-do widows in London.


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

A Special Scholarship Invitation: Dissertation Defense by Stephanie Seal Walters

UELAC members and friends are invited to attend the live online dissertation defense of Stephanie Seal Walters, PhD Candidate and 2016 Loyalist Scholarship recipient.

Stephanie writes, "Since we live in a very odd COVID time, my defense will be online. You and the UELAC have been such a phenomenal support system for me during this journey and the opportunity to watch a live dissertation defense is pretty rare. You are by no means obligated to watch a two-hour defense, but I wanted to extend the offer to you or anyone in the organization you know who might be interested in watching. If you are interested, you are more than welcome to just sit in for the first 10 minutes (which will be my presentation) or the whole thing. And as just a reminder – the defense is a rite of passage! While it will be smooth there is always a chance it could get tense."

PhD Dissertation Defense

Stephanie Seal Walters

History

Major Professor: Dr. Cynthia A. Kierner

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, George Mason University

As I Glory in the Name of Tory: Loyalism, Community, and Memory in Revolutionary Virginia

Monday, August 31, 2020, 10am - 12pm

Online via Blackboard Collaborate.

This dissertation traces the extent, nature, and significance of that subset of Virginia's population that remained loyal to the king and to the British Empire during and after the American Revolution. It argues that Virginia's loyalist populations were much larger and politically active than historians of Virginia, loyalism, or the American Revolution have previously acknowledged.

Both black and white loyalists, throughout the war, were organized and connected to each other through like-minded networks and communities, which not only ensured their survival during the war, but also made them dangerous adversaries of the state's patriot majority. Understanding the extent of loyalist populations and their actions not only adds to the state's Revolutionary narrative, but proves that Virginia's reputation as a patriotic powerhouse is more of a myth promoted and perpetuated by Virginia Whigs than a historical reality.

...Bonnie Schepers, UE, Scholarship Chair

Aaron Burr, a Bust of Napoleon, and Dreams of Conquest

by SusanHolloway Scott 16 August 2020

It's a common tradition for guests to bring small gifts to their hosts and hostesses when visiting. Today in America it's often a bottle of wine, a dessert, flowers – small gestures of appreciation for the hospitality.

When Aaron Burr visited his son-in-law's family in Charleston, SC, he brought a small bust of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Read more.

Illustrated Diary of 18th-Century Sailor

This provides fascinating insight into life below decks in Nelson's navy. A unique record of the British navy between 1790 and 1833 that was compiled by a sailor has emerged in the US.

The diary of George Hodge shows the "below decks" view of life at sea during a crucial time for Britain's senior service.

The self-educated seaman begins the journal with the words: "George Hodge, his Book Consisting of Difrint ports & ships that I have sailed in since the year 1790. Aged 13 years." ...

At Cadiz in 1812 news of the war with America reached his ship and she sailed to Bermuda. The Lancaster then served in the blockade of the Chesapeake and raided several towns.

Hodge was then sent to serve on the lakes in north America and was assigned to a gunboat.

In 1814 he took part in raids on Oswego, New York and blockaded the US Naval base at Sackets Harbour. ...

There are wonderful water colour paintings of ships and flags, and various other subjects are depicted

It runs to about 500 pages and covers his career from 1790 to 1833. But there is some information added afterwards and shows he had a family.

Read more.

JAR: Countervailing Colonial Perspectives on Quartering the British Army

by Gene Procknow 20 August 2020

In the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, as the British Army repositioned its forces from western frontier posts into American cities, many Americans seethed against quartering troops in urban centers. Animosity with the military occupation was rampant but was not the universal reaction in every location. In two cities, colonial anger ranged from vituperative verbal abuse to outbreaks of destructive violence. On January 19, 1770, New York residents briefly held captive several British soldiers who posted broadsides obnoxious to the radical Sons of Liberty. When additional soldiers arrived, a melee ensued with several injuries on both sides. The ruckus became known as the Battle of Golden Hill. Just a few weeks later, a more serious incident occurred in Boston. On March 5, 1770, soldiers from the British garrison in Boston opened fire on a taunting group of agitators, killing three and wounding eight others (two of whom eventually died). Protesting propagandists cleverly coined the incident as the "Boston Massacre." Generally, historians depict these two violent events as representative of all colonial reactions to the quartering of British troops in American cities. Just a few weeks later, however, this was not the case in a New Jersey town located only thirty-five miles from New York City.

British military commanders posted a portion of the 26th Regiment of Foot in the commercially important trading town of Brunswick (present-day New Brunswick), New Jersey.

Read more.

JAR: Did John Adams Respond to Abigail's "Remember the Ladies"?

by Jane Hampton Cook 18 August 2020

Women in all states won the universal right to vote one hundred years ago through the ratification of the United States Constitution's 19th Amendment in 1920. Though women in Seneca Falls, New York, launched the women's rights movement in 1848 when they claimed that the Declaration of Independence applied to women in the Declaration of Sentiments, the first mention of women's rights took place during the American Revolution.

Abigail Adams's call to "remember the ladies" is well known. Less familiar is how her husband, John Adams, responded. The debate he held on voting rights reveals a desire for independence to mean unbiased, and the role that class played in society during the nation's founding. Adams's remedy also expressed a form of self-sufficiency still embraced today.

Often taking initiative, Abigail wrote to a London bookseller at her husband's request to build support in England for America's cause. "I need not tell you, Sir, that the distressed state of this province calls for every excursion of every member of society," Abigail had written to Edward Dilly shortly after the battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775. Her choice of words showed her egalitarianism. "The spirit that prevails among men of all degrees, all ages and sexes is the spirit of liberty. For this they are determined to risk all their property and their lives nor shrink unnerved before a tyrant's face."

Read more.

Map of Massachusetts Proper, 1802

Compiled from Actual Surveys made by Order of the General Court and under the inspection of Agents of their appointment. This map, published in 1802, is the second edition of the first official map of Massachusetts entitied, Map of Massachusetts Proper, originally published in 1801. The idea for a state map began to take shape in 1791 when Osgood Carleton, one of the first professional mapmakers in America, suggested a regional map of Southern New England based on town surveys. The Massachusetts Historical Society supported the idea.

See description and map; click on the map several times for finer detail.

Book: World of Trouble: A Philadelphia Quaker Family's Journey through the American Revolution

World of Trouble: A Philadelphia Quaker Family's Journey through the American Revolution, by Richard Godbeer

Like the title says, Richard Godbeer's World of Trouble explores the problems faced by Quakers living in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War. He focuses on one specific family to illustrate the problems faced by many. During the Revolutionary War, many Quakers refused to take sides, not only due to their non-violent religious beliefs, but because Quakers formed a merchant class which did not welcome the disruption to trade or the drastic changes in class structure the Revolutionary War brought.

Before the War, Henry Drinker was a successful merchant engaged in international trade. He and his wife Elizabeth enjoyed a pleasant, prosperous life, one that becomes more difficult after Henry decides to sell British tea during the tea boycott. In September 1777 Henry Drinker and 20 other Quakers were arrested on suspicion of supporting the British enemy and sent to a prison in Virginia. During this time, Elizabeth has to contend with both Americans and British trying to seize her property and commandeer her home as the city changes hands from one side to another.

We know so much about this time in the Drinker's lives thanks in large part to the diary Elizabeth kept throughout her life. She recorded many details about day to day matters, like her family's health issues and the struggles of dealing with domestic servants. It's a wonderful source to learn more not only about the Drinkers, but also about the paternalistic way Quakers treated their servants and their attitudes towards illegitimate children and interracial relationships.

World of Trouble is not a flat chronological read. The author takes key moments in the lives of the Drinkers, like Henry and Elizabeth's engagement, and shapes a narrative that includes information about general customs while telling a story specific to Elizabeth and Henry. The couple are interesting enough to keep the story going and the historical facts flow easily around them. The footnotes are exceptional and will help anyone with a research interest in Philadelphia Quakers or the city of Philadelphia during the Revolution.

I am sending this book review of World of Trouble, a (relatively) recent book about Philadelphia Quakers during the Revolution. It may be of interest to other readers of Loyalist Trails, especially those whose ancestors were members of the Quaker settlement at Pennfield.

...Eva Holmes, Bridge Annex

Book: Defiance of the Patriots, The Boston Tea Party, and the Making of America

Defiance of the Patriots, The Boston Tea Party, and the Making of Americaby Benjamin L. Carp

Review from goodreads.com:

On the evening of December 16, 1773, a group of disguised Bostonians boarded three merchant ships and dumped more than forty-six tons of tea into Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party, as it later came to be known, was an audacious and revolutionary act. It set the stage for war and cemented certain values in the American psyche that many still cherish today. But why did the Tea Party happen? Whom did it involve? What did it mean? The answers to these questions are far from straightforward.

In this thrilling book, Benjamin L. Carp tells the full story of the Tea Party – exploding myths, exploring the unique city life of Boston, and setting this extraordinary event in a global context for the first time. Bringing vividly to life the diverse array of people and places that the Tea Party brought together – from Chinese tea-pickers to English businessmen, Native American tribes, sugar plantation slaves, and Boston's ladies of leisure – Carp illuminates how a determined group shook the foundations of a mighty empire, and what this has meant for Americans since. As he reveals many little-known historical facts and considers the Tea Party's uncertain legacy, he presents a compelling and expansive history of an iconic event in America's tempestuous past.

In reading two of the articles in the Aug 16 issue of Loyalist Trails, I thought possibly others would be interested in a recently-read book about The Boston Tea Party which referenced the individuals Copley, Hutchinson and Revere and others.

During a visit to Fort Ticonderoga Education weekend several years ago I purchased from the author an autographed copy of Defiance of the Patriots, The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America by Benjamin L. Carp. Covid-19 has finally given me a chance to read this book. The Boston Tea Party was a lot more than throwing tea into the harbour. Enjoy events leading up to the event, why "tea" was so important, the bad feelings toward the East India Company all explained in the book. There was a very good point for believing "taxation and without representation" was not in the best interests........ and then what about business economics?

...Pat Blackburn, UE, Hamilton Branch

A Late-Summer Nova Scotia Jaunt Reveals an Undertow of Fear

I had the pleasure of taking a couple of staycations around our beautiful province this summer.

I made first-time visits to Liverpool, Shelburne and Barrington Passage. There were also drop-ins on the Pubnicos (Lower East, Upper West, Middle East, Upper West and Centre East Pubnico), Yarmouth, the French Shore and the Annapolis Valley.

Did you know that Shelburne was once the fourth biggest city in North America?

A few years ago, I had a conversation with a scholar from Oxford University who was visiting Nova Scotia while doing research on Shelburne for her PhD thesis. I asked if this was really true about Shelburne.

No, she said, it was not. Shelburne, according to her research, was the third biggest city after New York and Philadelphia.

Read more.

National Trust: 5 of our Favourite #VisitLists for Historic Places Day

This year, we've created a way for individual Canadians and historic places to keep the fun of visiting and exploring alive, and win great prizes in the process! A #VisitList will feature Canada's most interesting buildings, sites and landscapes as chosen by you. With limited travel options, Canadians can explore historic places online, as well as discover hidden treasures far off the beaten path.

Every day new VisitLists are being added to the website, sharing journeys based on themes, regions, and personal experiences. Here are 5 VisitLists that share different perspectives on historic places, and hopefully inspire you to create your own list of sites that are not to be missed.

Explore the VisitLists.

Where in the World?

Where is Toni Freel Cummings of Colonel John Butler 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.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

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

  • Daniel Belding - contributed by Pam Wood Waugh
  • John Burley (Burleigh) - contributed from Branch records by Jo Ann Tuskin
  • Alexander Clark (Clarke) - contributed from Branch records by Jo Ann Tuskin

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

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Jamestown - Yorktown: 286 years after Betsey Tucker was repeatedly submerged in a ducking chair for disorderly speech, women were finally granted the right to vote and make their voices heard. See chair & read more...
  • This Week in History
  • Townsend's
  • Clothing and Related:
  • Miscellaneous
    • Historical wallpaper: We've been talking about Arthur & Robert, who were the lesser-known of the Royal Manufacturers (the other being Réveillon). They attained this status in 1788, shortly before you-know-what. Here's an overdoor measuring 26" high x 42" wide. Who has doors 42" wide? Well, quite a few nice homes – on the continent. In the US and UK the overdoor was not such a thing, so we see a lot of these being used as fireboards, such as below.
    • "Miss Barwick" the #gloriousGeorgians doll is stylish in silk, with linen petticoats and a boned bodice. Made in 1760, she even comes with very own sedan chair complete with cushions and curtains. All she needs now are some strapping chaps to carry it! Via Ilkley Toy Museum.

Last Post: Colin Myers Brown, UE

28 July 1924 - 15 August 2020

It is with great sadness that we share Colin's peaceful passing on August 15, at the age of 96. Predeceased by his beloved wife of 61 years, Shirley (nee Bray), and brother Murray, he will be greatly missed by his children Charles (Filomena), Susan (Geoff), Becky (Ernie) and 6 adoring grandchildren Taylor (Ben), Mathew, Jason, Braden, Samantha and Natalie.

Born in Ancaster, Colin joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada in 1943 and served overseas as a Canadian Officer on Loan (Can Loan) with the British Argylls, 15th Scottish Division. He went on to a career in the military and Environment Canada, and was honoured to receive numerous recognitions for his distinguished wartime service, including the Legion of Honour of France.

After retirement, he and his wife Shirley returned to their hometown of Ancaster where Colin enjoyed working part-time at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club. A true gentleman and raconteur, he spent many years involved in his community. He was a life long supporter and Life Governor of the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association, and a proud United Empire Loyalist descendant. He will be sorely missed by his many friends and family in Canada and Europe. Due to COVID-19 attendance restrictions, the family will be having a private service by invitation. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Reference

...Arbor Memorial obituary


Hamilton Branch UELAC:

The Hamilton Branch has lost its oldest member, Major (ret'd) Colin Brown CD, LoHC, UE. Colin passed away peacefully on Saturday with Charles and Becky at his side. Colin was 96, active and healthy and until Saturday was living in his own home in Ancaster.

Colin was born in Ancaster, served with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (CANLOAN) 1940-1974 and received many acknowledgements for his Service in World War II. More recently, 2015, he was awarded the rank of Chevalier (Knight) of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour. The distinction is the highest national order of France and illustrates the government's gratitude for Brown's involvement in the liberation of their country.

Colin was very proud to be UE. He received his certificate of loyalist lineage in 1998 as a descendant of Samuel Aikens. Colin rarely missed the Loyalist Day ceremony held by our Hamilton Branch on June 19. We were able to honour Colin at the June 19, 2018 Loyalist Day with a Quilt of Valour which he proudly had on view in his living room. Read the Presentation Document prepared by Hamilton Branch for that occasion.

Colin and his late wife, Shirley, raised three children: Charles, Susan and Becky.

I am sorry to see him leave as he was an inspiration to all for continuing on and be active within your community.

...Pat Blackburn, President, Hamilton Branch, UELAC

Queries

Records of the Soldiers for the European Principalities

I am searching for a friend who is a descendant of Johann Meyers. Paylists for this group of soldiers and how they became part of the British forces during the revolutionary war would help add information to this person's family tree.

Can you point me to the records of the Soldiers from the European Principalities for their service to the British Crown 1775 to 1783?

Specifically, my interest is in finding more information about:

Johann "John" Meyers 1752-1815, BIRTH ABT 1752

Hochheim am Main, Main-Taunus-Kreis [now Germany],

DEATH 3 MAR 1815 at Brantford, Brant, Ontario, Canada.

He was a Sargent who was captured at the Battle of Bennington,

Later married Mary Fairchild, daughter of Benjamin Fairchild Sr. UE Loyalist.

He ran the 'King's Mill for Joseph Brant and received a 999 year lease for 200 acres for "Public Service".

...Bill Young, UE, Col. John Butler Branch

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