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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2006 Archive

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"Loyalist Trails" 2006-38 September 24, 2006


My Calamitous Situation: The Life of Polly Jarvis Dibblee, by Stephen Davidson

Polly Jarvis Dibblee was a United Empire Loyalist who experienced first hand the persecutions, hopes, and disappointments of New Brunswick’s original refugee settlers. What makes her story unique is that even at a distance of two centuries we can still hear her voice.

Just four years after her arrival in the new colony, Polly penned a letter filled with frustration and despair to her brother William Jarvis in England.

Kingston, New Brunswick

November 17, 1787

Dear Billy....

O gracious God, that I should live to see such times under the protection of a British Government for whose sake we have done and suffered everything but that of dying --- May you never experience such heart piercing troubles as I have and still labor under -- you may depend on it that the sufferings of the poor Loyalists are beyond all possible description....

... I dare not let my friends at Stamford know of my calamitous situation lest it should bring down the grey hairs of my mother to the grave; and besides they could not relieve me without distressing themselves should I apply - - as they have been ruined by the rebels during the war -- therefore I have no other ground to hope, but, on your goodness and bounty --

your affectionate sister,

Polly Dibblee

This is the story of Polly Jarvis Dibblee; a "calamitous situation" that many women of her generation shared. Few, however, have had their stories brought to the light of day in such rich detail.

This item was published on Sept 9 in The NB Reader of Sept 9 (insert to Saint John Telegraph Journal) and was noted by Audrey Fox. Audrey contacted the author, Stephen Davidson, who then arranged for permission for us to post this biography of Polly Jarvis, wife of Fyler Dibblee. It is a seven page document, stored as a pdf. Polly Jarvis Dibblee biography.

International Plowing Match

Ontario's "International Plowing Match" was held near Peterborough this week, and what better place to set up a UELAC booth with a new display! Kawartha Branch did just that, and they had a steady stream of visitors throughout the several days of the event. I had the pleasure of attending on the Thursday, and it was nice to chat with visitors who had questions about possible Loyalist ancestry. Congratulations to Kawartha Branch for taking on this challenge and pulling it off!

...Peter W. Johnson UE, President, UELAC

Veterans' Memorial in Ontario

The previous Provincial Government in Ontario initiated a plan to develop a Veterans' Memorial in front of the Legislative Building at Queen's Park in Toronto. The current Government finished the task, and the unveiling took place on Sunday, Sep. 17th. I was honoured to receive and invitation, and equally honoured to represent the UELAC. The Memorial consists of a 30-etre long granite wall etched with images from Canada's Military History since Confederation, so obviously well after the Loyalists' time period. There is, however, a plaque in front of the wall and it does contain a reference to the continuing support of the Loyalists and Native Allies during the War of 1812. One of the highlights of the event was a fly past by a Lancaster - one of only two in flying condition.

...Peter W. Johnson UE, President, UELAC

DVD: Discovering Emma (Hay Bay)

"Still recovering from the recent death of her father, Samantha Casey is not looking forward to spending the summer with her great-Aunt Belle in the middle of "nowheres-ville". Adolphustown may be home to the historic Old Hay Bay church,but Samantha has little interest in history until she meets the mysterious Emma Higgins and is drawn into an unexpected adventure. Along the way, a past tragedy is awakened, and Samantha enlists the help of a mischievous neighbour Thomas Foley, in her efforts to free a lonely ghost.

Inspired by the tragic drowning that occurred near Old Hay Bay Church in 1819,Discovering Emma blends historical re-enactments with present-day drama to take you on a magical journey that brings the most unlikely of friends together."

120 minutes by Van Asperen Productions of Guelph,ON.

To order, Send orders to Kathy Staples, 304 Staples Lane, Napanee, K7R 3K7

The cost is $20.00 for DVD and $5.00 mailing.

It would make a good Christmas gift for children or grandchildren. Ages 8 or 9 to 13, maybe 14. Our 14 yr. old was interested as he had spent time there at Hay Bay Church.

[submitted by Barb Johnson, who with husband Murray has spent a week each of the last few summers minding Hay Bay Church, showing guests through, answering questions etc.]

Bicentennial Branch Activities included in new School Text

Kimberly Hurst UE of Bicentennial Branch proudly writes that she has received a copy of the August 2006 Duval Press publication called Their Stories, Our History: Canada’s Early Years. The format, similar to the 2003 book, Early Settlers by Bruce and Kim Henbest, combines illustrations and photography with the text. In chapter five of this grade seven history book, on pages 132 and 133, are three photographs taken at a Bicentennial’s Loyalist presentation at the Gen. Isaac Brock Public School earlier this year: Sarah Hurst UE demonstrates to other students just how clothing was washed by the Loyalist pioneers; Bill McAgy UE and wife, Tilly, give students a taste of just how difficult it was to saw through logs with the two man saw; Linda Lynch of Kingsville Historical Park teaches students how to grind corn in order to make bread. In addition, on page 128 is a photograph of the United Empire Loyalist monument in Hamilton. Kim reports that “it is a fantastic book”. Congratulations to Kim and Bicentennial Branch for visually demonstrating to the rest of the country that Loyalist education can be fun, and interesting to our youth. Imagine what they will do for the 2007 conference in Windsor.

...Fred Hayward UE

Little Forks, Hyatt School House

We attended Townshippers Day, which was held in Richmond last Saturday, where we had a table. I have never seen so much activity and interest. We were kept extremely busy and may well have four new members. We shall have to wait and see! We had two different books for sale and were completely sold out before noon. Dr. Robert Paulette's book covers beautiful pictures of the Eastern Townships which he has photographed himself, sells at $25.00 from which he donates $5.00 to our school. We have sold four cases to date (40 per case) and so it has been a great fund-raiser!

The other book is titled,"Municipality of Ireland,1802-2002" and covers the Bennett Settlement, Cranberry, Maple Grove, New Ireland and Salaberry of Megantic County. It is a bilingual book and sells for $25.00.

...Bev Loomis UE, President Little Forks Branch

Major Henry Sheridan of the New York Volunteers

A colleague and I are working on a book about the Battle of Eutaw Springs, South Carolina (8 Sept. 1781) and are hoping to uncover more material on the loyalist participants. We're especially interested in biographical information on Major Henry Sheridan of the New York Volunteers. I've checked the links on your website but didn't come up with anything, nor have I found much in my extensive notes from research I did in Canada and the United States. If you are aware of any relevant material that could help us, or anyone who might know where it can be found, I would appreciate it if you could let me know.

...Jim Piecuch, History Dept., Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA {jpiecuch AT kennesaw DOT edu} how do I email him?

[Please respond directly to Jim if you have some information about Sheridan, or some sources which may help. As usual, please copy me as we would like to publish helpful details, as others too may find the details or sources of interest and value -- editor]

Response re Period Clergyman's Clothing

Perhaps you should correspond with Rev. Neil Thomsen, the regimental chaplain of the King's Royal Yorkers. Neil has a proper suit of clergyman's black linen clothing which he wears when he is conducting religious services for, and seeing to the affairs of, our reenactment regiment. [I understand Eugene Oatley UE and Rev. Thomsen have been exchanging information, and, if appropriate, we hope they will contribute some further information to Loyalist Trails -- editor]

...Gavin Watt, H/VP UELAC, LCol Commanding, 1st battalion, KRR NY

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