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UELAC Scholarship

UELAC Scholarship | Scholars | Scholarship History | Committee Chairs | Dissertation by Tim Compeau
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Scholarship Purpose

The UELAC mandate includes the understanding of the role and impact of the Loyalists on the development of Canada. Providing Loyalist education resource materials and encouraging research through scholarship support is integral to our mission to preserve, promote and celebrate the history and traditions of the United Empire Loyalists.

To promote and reward such scholarship, the UELAC Loyalist Scholarship is available to Masters and PhD students who are undertaking a program in relevant research. This topic should further Canada's understanding of the Loyalists and our appreciation of their, or their immediate descendants, influence on Canada.

Upon completion, a copy of the thesis must be presented to the Association.

UELAC Scholars

The UELAC Loyalist Scholarship recipients are listed below, with biographies posted where available.

History of the Scholarship

The establishment of a scholarship to be awarded to post-graduate students of Loyalist Studies at a Canadian university was voted on and approved by delegates at the 1998 annual meeting of the UELAC in Kingston, Ontario.

In February of 1999, a Scholarship fund was approved by Dominion Council in the form of a President's Grant to honour past presidents of the Association. This fund was established to accept donations to assist in the financing of the scholarship project. The original grant was made available to members of the Association with an undergraduate degree from a Canadian university and a commitment to pursue graduate studies in Canadian history, the Loyalist period 1783 – 1800. Inquiries were to be directed to Elizabeth Richardson, Dominion Historian/Archivist.

At the October 16, 1999 Dominion Council meeting, the scholarship fund was given a new name in recognition of Bernice Wood Flett, Dominion President (1996 – 1998) and Chair of the Education Committee. As a dedicated member of UELAC, Bernice worked tirelessly in support of Loyalist studies and Loyalist education. Through her leadership as Education Committee Chair, activities were created for UEL Day in Ontario and resources for the schools of Ontario and the Maritimes. She advised in the development of similar educational materials for regions across Canada.

From reports in the May 6, 2000 Council News, the scholarship fund was growing. Doris Lemon agreed to chair a search committee for individuals to work together to determine the terms of the newly created Bernice Wood Flett Loyalist Scholarship.

Dominion President C. William Terry (2000–2002) established an ad hoc Loyalist Scholarship committee under the chairmanship of Irene MacCrimmon, President of Grand River Branch UELAC (1989 – 1991). Committee members were Neil Sullivan, Joanne Sullivan, Jim Runions, Nadene Smith, the late Ronald Smith, George Anderson, and Beverly Craig, with advice from Rev. Fr. Marc Smith.

Based on recommendations presented by the BWFS ad hoc committee, Dominion Council supported the establishment of the Bernice Wood Flett Loyalist Scholarship Committee and the new standing committee was approved at the 2001 annual conference in Cornwall, Ontario. The former committee members continued under the chairmanship of Irene MacCrimmon. Members were urged to financially support the scholarship fund through donations to UELAC.

The following year, attention was given to ways and means of fundraising to expand the Bernice Wood Flett Loyalist Scholarship fund. In March of 2002, a generous donation in the amount of $1300.00 was received from the Millenium Committee's Mohawk Valley Tour. In 2003, scholarship funds were again boosted through a donation from the Forts and Battlefields Tour - Chambly, Quebec to Saratoga, New York.

Promotion of the Bernice Wood Flett Scholarship first appeared in the Loyalist Gazette in the spring of 2004. At the October 2004 Council meeting the President confirmed that the Bernice Wood Flett Scholarship application would appear in every issue of the Loyalist Gazette.

The original application limited study to 4 chosen universities – University of New Brunswick, Queens University, York University and the University of Toronto. To be eligible the student must have taken Canadian History courses in an undergraduate program.

Kathryn Hilder, retired librarian, Harriet Irving Library, University of New Brunswick reviewed the criteria for the scholarship and recommended that the Association broaden the scope and make the scholarship more open. In 2004, Irene MacCrimmon reported that changes to the application form would allow for post-graduate study at any accredited university, with two scholarships of $2500.00 available each year.

The Bernice Wood Flett Scholarship was first awarded in 2005 to Ms. Kelly Bennett, Queen's University. Under the supervision of Dr. Jane Errington, Kelly's research toward a Master of Arts degree focused on the experiences of Loyalist refugee women in Upper Canada. Kelly completed her MA in June 2006.

In 2007, at the request of Bernice Wood Flett, the scholarship became known as the UELAC Loyalist Scholarship.

Since its inception in 1998, the UELAC Loyalist Scholarship has been sponsored by the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada and supported through the generous donations of members and friends. Donations to UELAC marked Loyalist Scholarship Fund will receive a tax receipt.

Download ‘History of the Scholarship’ in PDF format.

Committee Chairs

The Chair is appointed by the President subject to the approval of Dominion Council for such term as Dominion Council shall determine.

  • 2001-08   Irene MacCrimmon, Grand River
  • 2008-12   Jim Taylor, Grand River
  • 2012-14   Arnold Weirmeir, Kawartha
  • 2014-15   Ray Cummins, Hamilton
  • 2015–      Bonnie Schepers, Bicentennial/Heritage

Dissertation by Tim Compeau

“Dishonoured Americans: Loyalist Manhood and Political Death”

An American historian once wrote that he could not understand “why any sensible, well-informed, right minded American with a modicum of imagination and common sense could possibly have opposed the Revolution.” As many readers of this will know, the loyalists are often left out of American histories, or at best are given a very short, (often unflattering), mention. The loyalists just don't fit, and historians in the past have attempted to explain them away as being somehow culturally different and not really American at all. In effect, just as the loyalists were driven from their homes into exile, they were also cut from American history. The dissertation which I have just completed at the University of Western Ontario, under the guidance of Nancy L. Rhoden, and with the financial assistance of the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada, applies ideas from cultural history, gender studies, and anthropology to determine how American revolutionaries used ideas of manhood and honour culture to remove the loyalists both from their homes and from American history. It also explores how loyalists used the same culture of honour to rationalize their experiences, justify their continued allegiance to the Crown, and transform injuries intended as marks of shame into badges of honour.

Entitled “Dishonoured Americans: Loyalist Manhood and Political Death in Revolutionary North America,” my dissertation explores the careers of loyalists who either considered themselves, or were considered by others, to be “gentlemen.” These men and their families left behind the most detailed records in Canada, Britain, and the United States, and continue to loom large in most of the loyalist histories. It was my intention to explore the elite culture that these loyalists live in or aspired to, and what that could tell us about why they chose to remain loyal, or how they made sense of what was happening to them. People in the eighteenth century did not think as we do today, so it is important to get a grasp of their own culture to really appreciate the significance of things like tarring and feathering, or other insults. In a world of patricians and plebeians, and slaves and masters, seemingly minor things to you or I could take on extraordinarily potent meanings.

The American Revolution was a deadly conflict for sure, but at a local level patriots often destroyed a loyalist's public existence and honour rather than kill him outright. I refer to the combination of legal punishments and social ostracism as “political death,” an original idea drawn from a phrase I occasionally saw in the original records, that describes the process and consequences of the loss of citizenship, the negation of patriarchal power and privileges, financial ruin, and the cultural dishonour of white loyalist gentlemen and their families. The dissertation explores ideas of honour and dishonour, the importance of the home and family, and how the patriots used that culture to “unman” loyalists by attacking “Tory” households. I then explore how these ideas of honour and dishonour influenced the nature of public and printed insults, loyalist captivity experiences, and what the loyalists thought about justice and taking revenge on their enemies. In the end the patriots formed a consistent propaganda image of the loyalist man as a cowardly, deceitful, cruel and dishonourable monster. This partly explains why the hundreds of thousands of loyalists who stayed in the United States after the war, let their role in the conflict fade away.

The final section of the dissertation explores the importance of honour in the loyalists' self-perception, their official claims on the British government for compensation, and their political rebirth in Canada as they attempted to restore their privileged status with Britain's help. Loyalist honour has been described by American historians as being submissive and deferential, but I argue that it was in fact as assertive and demanding as the patriot concepts of manhood formed in the American Revolution.

I want to thank the UELAC again for their very generous assistance which allowed me to travel to archives throughout Canada and the United States. Additionally I have been flattered with many kind invitations to speak to branches and share my work in progress, which was always fun and led to some very illuminating discussions. I hope the loyalists' descendents enjoy the work, warts and all.

The dissertation is available free to download at Western's Electronic Thesis Depository.

I can be reached at

Best regards,

...Tim Compeau