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Loyalist Chair Finds New Home North of the Border

During or after the American Revolution, a family of United Empire Loyalists by the name of Grange made its way north to British territory, together with many other Loyalist refugees, entering Canada near present-day Napanee, Ontario. Among the family's possessions was a wooden chair, which was later handed down from generation to generation, coupled with the injunction that it should never return to the United States. The years and decades passed. Most recently, the chair belonged to Mrs. Ann Harris, a Montreal lady, whose grandfather was Mr. Justice William Langley Bond of the Quebec Court of Appeal. Her great-grandfather was Col. Frank Bond of the Prince of Wales Rifles, who won a medal during the Fenian Raids and was allegedly the first white man to shoot the Lachine Rapids in the 1870's. Her great-great grandfather was Archbishop William Bennett Bond, who became second Primate of the Anglican Church in Canada in 1904.

Mrs. Harris moved to Paris this past spring. Unable to take all her belongings with her, before leaving Canada, she retained the services of Nerelle Cooper, a Westmount lady experienced in organizing estate and moving sales and evaluating family heirlooms. Mrs. Harris explained to Nerelle that the famous chair had a Loyalist connection and was never to return to the U.S.A. Nerelle contacted the undersigned, knowing I was President of Heritage Branch (the Montreal chapter) of The United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada. I photographed the chair and consulted with Okill Stuart, my predecessor as Heritage Branch president, who is also a former Dominion President of the U.E.L. Association. We both thought that the ideal home for the chair would be the Missisquoi Museum in Stanbridge East, Quebec, sometimes called the "Loyalist Museum". Mr. Stuart kindly kept the chair in his home in Saint-Lambert pending an appropriate opportunity to present it to the Museum, which expressed interest in acquiring it.

Such an opportunity arose on November 2, when the Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch of the U.E.L. Association (to which both Mr. Stuart and I also belong) held its annual fall dinner and meeting at the Granby United Church. The guest speaker was none other than the Curator of the Missisquoi Museum, Heather Darch. After her talk, the Branch President of Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch, Roderick Riordon, kindly permitted Okill Stuart and me, on behalf of Heritage Branch, to present the "Loyalist chair" to Heather Darch, together with a written summary of its provenance and a valuation for income tax purposes, prepared by Nerelle Cooper. Heather was delighted with the gift and promised to add it, without delay, to the Loyalist collection of the Missisquoi Museum.

Thus another material link with our Loyalist ancestors of long ago has been preserved for the general public to admire. Even more to the point, the spirits of the chair's original owners in the next world, as well as Ann Harris in Paris, can now rest secure in the knowledge that their precious heirloom will remain in a land where King George III's successor still reigns, as Queen of Canada.

Robert C. Wilkins, U.E., President, Heritage Branch, U.E.L.A.C., November 6, 2008

Submitted by Adelaide Lanktree UE, Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch.

Presentation of the loyalist Chair
Okill Stuart, Heather Darch, Robert Wilkins and Roderick Riordon and the Loyalist Chair in the background