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Fort Havoc (Wallace Hale)

Info The language of the text is the original used by Wallace Hale. Records acquired by the Provincial Archives are not translated from the language in which they originate.

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THE LOYALIST REFUGEES

of NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

By

WILBUR H. SIEBERT, A. M,

Professor of European History

 

Published by

The Ohio State University

Columbus

1916

 

Contents

 

Number of Loyalists in New Hampshire
Early flights from the Colony
New Hampshire Refugees with Burgoyne and with the British at New York
Portsmouth as a Tory Center
Liberty granted Tories to depart
Suspicion of the Quakers and proscription of the Tories
Confiscation of Tory property
Wentworth's Volunteers and the Associated Refugees
The King's American Dragoons
Migration of some of the New Hampshire Loyalists to Annapolis
The King's American Dragoons on the St. John River
Ex-Governor John Wentworth in Nova Scotia
Amos Botsford and Associates at Digby
Return of Refugees forbidden in New Hampshire
Claremont Loyalists seek admission to Lower Canada, 1784

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The Loyalist Refugees of New Hampshire

The best index of the relative number of LoyaHsts in New Hampshire in the early months of the Revolution appears in the figures obtained through the submission of the "association test" during the summer 1776, in response to the resolution of the Continental Congress of March 14 of the year named, recommending the disarming by the local authonties of the several Colonies of all persons notoriously disaffected to the American cause, or who refused to associate for the defense of the country "against the hostile attempts of the British fleets and armies." Eighty-one hundred and ninety-nine men signed the test, and seven hundred and seventy-three declined, or neglected, to affix their signatures. That is to say, over one-eleventh of those to whom the test was submitted failed to sign it. This fraction included about 200 Quakers of Brentwood, Gilmantown, Kensington, Richmond, Rochester, and other towns, who withheld their names chiefly on account of their scruples. Some of these non-jurors were certainly not Tories, if we may accept the explanations offered by them to the selectmen of their respective towns. Thus, the Quakers, of Gilmantown found no difficulty in accepting the Declaration of Independence or paying their proportion in support of the United Colonies, but based their failure to sign the test solely on the ground of their religious principles. James Caruth, a Scotch inhabitant of Kingstown, declined to take up arms against either his native or his adopted country, but announced his readiness to pay his taxes; while others of his fellow-townsmen professed the fear of infringing their liberties by signing, although asserting friendliness to the American cause, and in a few instances demonstrating it by serving in the Continental army.1

Even allowing for these friendly non-jurors, however, we must not overlook the fact that some Tories had already fled from New Hampshire, or were soon to do so. In June, 1775, bodies of armed men at Portsmouth pursued John Fenton, an expelled member of the House of Assembly, to the residence of Governor John Wentworth, and compelled him to surrender. He was then given a hearing by the Provincial Congress and incarcerated in the jail at Exeter, but was later allowed to escape and go to England. Woodbury Langdon, a merchant of Portsmouth who also served in the Provincial Congress, sailed for the mother country in October, 1775. In a memorial to Lord North, dated February 7, 1777, he explains that he had left America after "using his influence for peace and good order," to the end of preserving his family, his life, and his property, and that he might "avoid all temptation to take sides with his disaffected countrymen." Meantime, Governor Wentworth and his family had retired to Fort William and Henry in Portsmouth Harbor for safety, whence they embarked on the King's ship Canso, August 24, 1775, being accompanied by Captain John Cochran, the commander of the now dismantled fort, and doubtless by other adherents of the royal cause. After landing at Boston the Wentworths remained with the British army, going to Halifax in March, 1776, and at length to Philadelphia on their way to London. They arrived in the British metropolis, March 13, 1778. Other refugees from New Hampshire also sought protection within the lines at Boston, including Elijah Williams who with several others fled from Keene soon after the battle of Lexington, John Morrison who became attached to the commissary department of the King's forces after the battle of Bunker Hill, Colonel Edward Goldstone Lutwyche a member of the Provincial Congress until 1775, William Stark who received a colonel's commission in the royal army after being refused one in the New Hampshire contingent, George Meserve the collector of customs at Portsmouth, Samuel Hale, Jr., Gillan Butler, Joseph Stacy Hastings, and probably John Fisher the naval officer at Portsmouth and supposed to be identical with the person of the same name who was a brother-in-law of Governor Wentworth and was later to become, like Benjamin Thompson of Concord, a secretary in the Colonial Secretary's office in London. After making himself obnoxious by entertaining two British officers, Benjamin Thompson withdrew from Woburn, but on discovering that his presence there was not desired, hastened to Rhode Island and sailed for Boston in October, 1775. In the following January he sailed for England.2

However, not all the refugees from New Hampshire went to England, or even to Boston. At least a few joined Burgoyne during the fall of 1777, including Levi Warner of Claremont, who testifies that he served with the British during the entire war and was at St. Johns at the head of Lake Champlain in 1783, and Captain Simon Baxter who was condemned to death by the Whigs, but on the day set for his execution escaped "with the rope around his neck and succeeded in reaching Burgoyne's army." At the peace he went to New Brunswick and was living at Norton, King's County, when death finally overtook him in 1804. Joseph Stacey Hastings, a Harvard graduate of the class of 1762, sought safety at Halifax, although he ultimately returned to Boston where he kept a grocery store. No doubt. New York City and the neighboring islands became sooner or later during the Revolution the favorite asylums of the exiles from New Hampshire, as they were for most of those from the other Northern States. Indeed, some of them accompanied Howe's army from the Nova Scotian capital to Staten Island in the fall of 1776. Among these was Governor Wentworth himself, who spent more or less of his time at Flatbush on Long Island, only a few miles from New York, until his departure for Philadelphia and London. In a letter to his sister written from this point, in January, 1777, the deposed Governor, referring to a group of his fellow refugees from Portsmouth who had returned with him to American soil, reports the good health of Messrs. Meserve, Hale, and Lutwyche, as also of Captain Cochran, Mr. Macdonough, and Mr. Wentworth, the three last being with him, as he specifically states. As we have already met most of these gentlemen it will suffice here to say that Thomas Macdonough had been Governor Wentworth's secretary and that Benning Wentworth was to return to Nova Scotia after the peace and to be honored with several high offices there (a membership in the Council, and the secretaryship and treasurship of the Province) during the years 1795 to 1797. The Governor refers in the same letter to Messrs. Boyd and Traill who were evidently also in exile the former being undoubtedly George Boyd who had been a member of the Council of New Hampshire, while the latter was with equal certainty Robert Traill, until recently comptroller of the customs at Portsmouth. Where these persons were at the time is left in doubt.3

The early flights from New Hampshire and particularly from Portsmouth, which was the seat of the provincial government, must have been increased by the termination of royal authority there and also by the action of the Continental Congress, October 6, 1775, in recommending to the various provincial assemblies and committees of safety the arrest of such persons as were regarded to be dangerous to the liberties of America. Gen. John Sullivan violently denounced "that infernal crew of Tories" at Portsmouth in a letter of October 29th to Washington, who replied November 12th, with an order that all officers of the royal government who had manifested an unfriendly disposition be seized and dealt with according to the wishes of the Provincial Congress or Committee of Safety. The other Tory inhabitants of the town were specifically omitted from this order, although Washington declared that they would "meet with this or a worse fate" in the near future, if they failed to reform their conduct. When, in the middle of November, the New Hampshire Congress took action in accordance with Washington's recommendation, it contented itself with designating six persons only for removal to moderate distances from Portsmouth, or for confinement in specified towns. The fact that the penalties imposed were not of a severer nature, or the number of those condemned larger may be fairly taken as another indication that the more objectionable officials had already fled. However, the six victims were let off easily, for they were kept under restraint less than six weeks.4

As yet New Hampshire had not adopted the policy of expelling its dangerous inhabitants. On the contrary, it was to become in the late autumn the custodian of considerable numbers of such persons from New York, sent over by the Committee of Conspiracies of that State. One group of these prisoners, which was forwarded to Exeter in the latter part of October, or later, numbered 117 persons; but in March, 1777, the New Hampshire Committee of Safety was notified by a new board of Commissioners, recently appointed by the New York Convention, that all of the latter's prisoners were to be recalled and given the choice between taking the oath of allegiance, or seeking the protection of the enemy.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire sought to encourage the departure of her own Tories, for on January 16th her House of Representatives adopted a resolution granting full liberty to such of the inhabitants as were disaffected and desirous of leaving the State with their families and effects to do so within the next three months and, in the language of the resolution itself, "go to any other parts of the Globe they may choose," provided that they would notify the selectmen of their respective towns 30 days in advance of their departure.5 Again, we are confronted by the lack of evidence that would enable us to determine how many took advantage of the terms of this resolution. Doubtless, that evidence lies buried in numerous town records of the period, insofar as these have survived to the present day. On June 13, 1777, the House of Representatives itself readily granted permission to John Pierce, of Portsmouth, who was then in prison, "to repair to the West Indies or to Great Britain, and not to return to this State nor to any part of this Continent, without leave had and obtained of the General Assembly or of the Continental Congress."6 With equal readiness the New Hampshire Committee of Safety gave its consent on October 8 to a schooner that had recently arrived at Portsmouth under a flag of truce to transport the families of Benjamin Hart and other designated inhabitants to Rhode Island, an exception being made in the case of one person only, who was held as a prisoner of war.7

A month later the House of Representatives showed conclusively that it entertained suspicions toward the non-juring Quakers of the State by appointing a committee from several counties to examine the records and papers of the Friends' societies in Dover, Hampton Falls, Seabrook, and other towns with a view to transmitting to the House for further inspection any writings of a political nature that might be disclosed.8 But, after all, it was not the Quakers against whom the General Assembly directed its most determined action. This action was embodied in the measure adopted in November, 1778, to prevent the return of 76 persons named therein and of others who had left, or might leave, the State and had joined, or might join, the enemy. These persons were roundly denounced for deserting the cause of liberty and abetting that of tyranny by depriving the United States of their personal services at a time when their utmost assistance was needed; and since their return might be productive of new dangers the measure forbade their voluntary reappearance without leave, obtained in advance, by special act of the Assembly. It also made it the duty of the inhabitants of any district, as well as of the local officers, to apprehend and carry before a justice of the peace for commission to the common jail any absentee who might presume to return. The person thus committed was to be kept in custody until he should be sent out of the State. A master of a vessel who knowingly brought into the State any of the persons above described, or a person who willingly harbored a return refugee, was to pay a fine of £500 on conviction, one-half to go to the State and the other to him who should sue for it. Fugitives who should return a second time were to suffer death. Of those named in the act 32 had been residents of Portsmouth, 6 of Londonderry, 5 of Keene, 4 of Dunbarton, 3 of Hollis, and a like number of Alstead, while a dozen or more other towns had contributed the remainder in smaller numbers.9

Before the end of November, 1778, the Assembly proceeded to confiscate the real and personal property of 23 of the proscribed, together with those of two other Loyalists whose names had not appeared in the act of proscription. These two persons seem to have been non-residents of the State.10 In each county trustees, or agents, were appointed to take possession of the sequestered estates and sell the personal property immediately at public auction, except such articles as they might deem necessary for the support of the families of the proscribed. In the case of the furniture and family pictures of Governor Wentworth, however, it was not the trustee but the Assembly itself that decided (April 27, 1780) that these personal effects should be delivered up to the father of the absent official, namely, Mark Hunting Wentworth. The need of clothing for the Continental army led the Assembly at the close of March, 1781, to direct the trustees of the confiscated estates to pay into the State Treasury at once the money accruing from sales thus far made. At the same time, the Treasurer was directed to appropriate this money to the payment of orders for military clothing which had been, or was yet to be issued by the Board of War. A few days later (that is, on April 4) a committee of the Lower House, to which had been referred the question what should be done with such estates of absentees and subjects of Great Britain as had not been confiscated hitherto, reported in favor of the immediate sequestration and sale of these properties, and this was probably done.11

The history of a considerable number of the New Hampshire Loyalists after their flight from the State may best be traced by examining the record of the corps of Volunteers associated by Governor Wentworth probably after his arrival on Long Island in the fall of 1776. The Governor himself testified in 1784 that his men were very respectable persons from their several Provinces who "supported themselves at their own expense." So far as known the first muster roll of this company was taken at Flushing, Long Island, October 16, 1777, when the officers were Captain Daniel Murray of Rutland, Massachusetts, First Lieutenant Benjamin Whiting of Hollis, New Hampshire, and Second Lieutenant Elijah Williams of Keene, New Hampshire, and the number of men was scarcely more than 20. Six months later the company was mustered at Hampstead, Long Island, and numbered but 26. In the following month (June, 1778,) 21 of its members, including the officers named above, petitioned General Sir Henry Clinton from Bedford, Long Island, for such support as their service might require, because they had been deprived of their property and in a few cases of considerable fortunes. Eleven of these petitioners were from New Hampshire, 6 from Massachusetts, 3 from Connecticut, and 1 from Rhode Island. Of 8 others who belonged to the company at this time, or later, at least 5 were from New Hampshire. By the close of June, 1778, Wentworth's Volunteers had more than doubled in numbers, but during the next two months they shrunk to 26. We next hear of the company at Newport, Rhode Island, at the end of March, 1779, whence they operated with Captain Abraham DePeyster's Grenadier Company of the King's American Regiment, a detachment of Colonel George Wightman's Loyal New Englanders, and Captain Martin's corps, under the name of the Associated Refugees, in an unsuccessful expedition against New Bedford, Massachusetts, and immediately afterward in a bombardment of Falmouth, Maine. They were back at Newport by April 6th. From this time on until Rhode Island was evacuated by the British in the fall the Associated Refugees were active in operations in Buzzards Bay, at Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, and along the Connecticut coast, as related at some length in the chapter on "The Refugee Loyalists of Connecticut." Having retrned to Long Island, Wentworth's Volunteers were mustered at Jerusalem near the end of May, 1780. and found to number 41 men. Seven months later they were at Lloyd's Neck with an equal strength, although it is said that they reached their maximum enrollment of 83 men at this time (December, 1780.) The last muster was held in March, 1781.12

Whatever the size of the company at the moment, Colonel Edward Winslow, who had been in command of the Associated Refugees during a part of their service in Rhode Island, together with Captain Murray and Major Joshua Upham, was now seeking to form a Loyalist brigade and trying to obtain Governor Wentworth's consent to command it. As a part of this plan Murray had proposed to General Clinton the raising of a troop of Dragoons, but was meeting with various difficulties, one of which was due to his failure to obtain a pass from headquarters to bring off certain recruits with the result, according to Winslow's account, that "18 men who would have been doing duty as dragoons in the service" were captured and sent to the Simsbury mines in Connecticut, Winslow added that he was quite willing to wait until Murray's corps was completed and Upham's respectable in numbers, and that he had no reason to suppose that he would fail in securing an appointment as lieutenant colonel, although admitting himself unsuccessful in every attempt to secure recognition since Clinton's accession to the chief command in America. His failure thus far Colonel Winslow attributed to the "unpardonable inattention" with which General Timothy Ruggles, his first patron, had been treated by General Clinton and the disgust which Ruggles had therefore contracted for "present men and measures," in consequence of which "he could neither negotiate with confidence or serve with alacrity." However, a more cogent reason for Winslow's failure to achieve the military rank he coveted appears in the competing ambition of Benjamin Thompson who, through the favor of Lord George Germain, had secured in England an appointment as lieutenant colonel and was having a refugee corps known as the King's American Dragoons recruited for him at this very time. It was in this corps that Captain Murray, Lieutenant Williams and most of their men — many with commissions — were enrolled, together with Colonel Wightman's Loyal New Englanders, now numbering scarcely more than 50 men, and Major Joshua Upham's Volunteers of New England, who had attained a maximum strength of only 32 men. Altogether these three companies furnished no more than 125 recruits for the new regiment. The opportune arrival at New York of the Bonetta from Yorktown, Virginia, after the surrender of Cornwallis, brought in a remnant of the Queen's Rangers and Tarleton's British Legion, which is said to have been added to Colonel Thompson's corps. Be this as it may, the muster rolls show that the corps consisted of 228 men at the close of December, 1781, when it was stationed at New Utrecht, Long Island.

Meanwhile, in the previous autumn. Colonel Thompson had arrived at Charleston, South Carolina, and after a brief participation in the British operations in that vicinity, sailed for New York in the following April to take command of his regiment. In the latter part of June he was getting ready "to recruit in good earnest," as he wrote a friend at the time, although he fails to mention in his letter the recent addition of 16 volunteers. About a month later (July 24, 1782) Rivington's Royal Gazette contained an advertisement offering 10 guineas to volunteers for the King's American Dragoons, or 5 guineas to any one who would bring in a recruit and 5 guineas to the recruit himself. It was announced also that an officer would remain on duty at Lloyd's Neck for the convenience of those who might cross from the mainland at that point. By the middle of September the corps was at Ireland Heights, three miles east of Flushing, and numbered 312 rank and file, but was marched to Huntington on October 1st, where it built a fort for the purpose of protecting the trade across the Sound in that region, according to an item in the Gazette, but which was probably intended chiefly as a winter shelter for the troops themselves. By December 1st the corps was reported as consisting of 550 effectives, and 18 days later this figure was increased to 580 in Rivington's columns. That these statements were exaggerations is conclusively shown by the muster rolls, according to which the highest number ever in the corps was 332 on April 12, 1783, when the King's American Dragoons were at Springfield, Long Island.13 Although most of the New Hampshire men who entered the King's service belonged to this regiment, a few are known to have joined other Loyalist corps. Thus, John Stinson of Hillsboro served for a period in the Royal American Reformers; Stephen Holland, probably from Londonderry, was a member of the Prince of Wales American Volunteers; Robert Robinson became an ensign in the Loyal American Regiment, and John Stark attained a lieutenancy in the Royal Guides and Pioneers.14

At the termination of the war the refugees from New Hampshire were among the first of the American Loyalists to leave Long Island and New York for their new homes in Nova Scotia. In March, 1782, Captain Simon Baxter, whose escape to Burgoyne's army referred to earlier in this paper, arrived at Fort Howe at the mouth of the St. John River with his family was befriended by several persons of local importance, and recommended by them to the authorities in Halifax. Soon afterwards he received a grant of 5,000 acres in what is now the Parish of Norton, Kings County, New Brunswick. In the same year in which Mr. Baxter landed at Fort Howe a paper was circulated among the refugees at Lloyd's Neck and in Queen's County, Long Island, (probably at Springfield) to be signed by those approving the terms contained in the "articles of settlement" by which this paper was accompanied. The terms suggested were that vessels should be provided by the British authorities at New York to convey the emigrants, together with their horses and cattle, to their destination; that clothing, farming implements, arms and ammunition, mill stones, medicines, and one year's supply of provisions should be furnished them, and that lands should be granted to them in the country to which they were going, including a sufficient acreage for the support of a church and a school. The authors of these articles of settlement were Lieutenant Colonel Thompson, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Winslow, Major Joshua Upham, who was now commandant of Fort Franklin at Lloyd's Neck, and several others, including Samuel Cummings, Esq., of Hollis, New Hampshire. The articles received the general approval of General Sir Guy Carleton, who in a letter of September 22d solicited the assistance of the Governor of Nova Scotia for these refugees. Those who signified their intention of going numbered 177 men, 99 women, and 316 children. Nine transports were required for their conveyance, and the Amphitrite and another of the king's frigates acted as convoys. On October 19th this fleet entered the Annapolis Basin but did not discharge its passengers until the following day, when Robert Briggs, the commander of the Amphitrite, who had treated the exiles under his care with generous consideration, even spending £200 of his own money to make them comfortable during the voyage was presented with an address of appreciation and thanks signed by Amos Botsford, Samuel Cummings, Elijah Williams, and others.15

When this band of expatriated Americans arrived at their destination, Annapolis Royal was a mere hamlet of 120 inhabitants, but already its two best educated, if not most serviceable, citizens were refugees from the States. One of these was Benjamin Snow, a graduate of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, who had opened a grammar school in the village the preceding year, and the other was the Reverend Jacob Bailey, a graduate of Harvard College, who had but recently become the rector of St. Luke's Parish. In October, 1777, Mr. Bailey had managed to escape from Pownalsborough, Maine, to Boston, and later with his family to Halifax. Thence, in October, 1779, he removed to Cornwallis where he remained as pastor of the Church of England until 1782, when he came to Annapolis. An eye-witness of the landing of this first concourse of his fellow-exiles, though the number of them was much less than of those moving at different times during the following months, Mr. Bailey has depicted in various letters, written at the time, the severe experiences of Annapolis and its numerous guests. The more than 500 newcomers proved to be "a prodigious addition" to the population of the place, crowding the houses and barracks beyond their utmost capacity, so that many were unable to procure lodgings. Both the inhabitants and the soldiers were "lost among the strangers," who were "a mixture from every Province on the Continent except Georgia," not a few of them being "peeple of fashion." Mr. Bailey received into his own house the family of Mr. Cummings, and was told by this gentleman that another considerable fleet might be expected in three weeks and 2,000 more families in the spring. He learned further that the Loyalists had come well supplied "with clothing and provisions for a twelve month, besides all instruments for husbandry," and that those who had belonged to what he called "the Gentlemen Volunteers" were receiving five shillings per day. The Whigs up the Annapolis River were so highly displeased with the arrival of the immigrants that they threatened to petition the government for their removal and one impecunious inhabitant proclaimed himself ready to pay £50 towards their deportation.16

Before the withdrawal of these Loyalists from Long Island, Sir Guy Carleton had advised them to send agents to examine vacant lands for settlement. These agents, who were Amos Botsford, Samuel Cummings, and Frederick Hauser, hastened to Halifax with a letter from the Commander in Chief to Governor Parr, recommending them to the latter's consideration as persons entitled on on every account to the grants of land they were seeking and such other advantages as had been promised by proclamation, or otherwise, to intending settlers. After a satisfactory interview with the Governor and the Surveyor General, Charles Morris, the agents returned and explored the country from Annapolis to St. Mary's Bay and then crossed the Bay of Fundy to the River St. John near the end of November, 1782. Finding the river impassable for boats at this season of the year, they travelled on foot about 70 miles up-stream to the Oromocto and also went up the Kennecbeccasis. Returning to Annapolis, the agents wrote to friends in New York, January 14, 1783, an account of their journey, in which they expressed a favorable opinion of the lands they had just viewed on the St. John, because these could be secured sooner than those near Annapolis, were sufficiently close to the cod fishery in the Bay of Fundy, and were secure against both the Americans and the Indians. They added that some of their associates were in favor of settling on the St. John, while others preferred Conway (now Digby), but that for the winter all were settled, a part in the town of Annapolis, a part in the barracks, and a part up the Annapolis River for a distance of 20 miles under terms made with the inhabitants, and that while some were already doing well, the others had nothing to live on but their provisions.17

How many of the associated Loyalists at Annapolis settled on the St. John River is not known, but certainly some of the refugees from New Hampshire located in the region north of the Bay of Fundy. One of these was John Stinson of Hillsboro, who went to St. John in May, 1783, and became a grantee of the town, although he spent a year at Maugerville and lived later in Lincoln, Sunbury County. Captain John Cochran and John Holland also settled in St. John, the former being able to maintain the style of a gentleman, while the latter was elected sheriff of the county. Lieutenant John Davidson, who served as deputy surveyor in the province for some years, settled in Dumfries, York County, and became a member of the House of Assembly in 1802. Hugh Ruinton(sic) [Hugh Quinton] of Londonderry took up his abode in the Province in 1783, and Solomon Stephens was a resident of Musquash at the time of his death in 1819.18

Although some of the King's American Dragoons accompanied the large party sailing for Annapolis about October 1, 1782, the greater part of the regiment did not leave New York for Nova Scotia until the following spring. Sir Guy Carleton mentions them in a letter of April 26 to Major General Paterson, in which he enclosed embarkation returns of the troops and refugees going to different parts of that province. In this letter he states that he had consented to the request of the Dragoons to be sent to St. John River, and that they were to proceed directly to that place. The corps did not arrive at its destination until the end of June, when it encamped on Lancaster Height just back of Carleton, and was employed in cutting and clearing the streets of the town that was rapidly forming. Colonel Edward Winslow, who saw them engaged in this work, was impressed by their general cheerfulness and good humor, and noted that they were enjoying a great variety of what New Yorkers would call luxuries, such as partridges, wild pigeons, salmon, bass, and trout. However, these pleasures of the regiment were soon to be interrupted, for it was found that the men could not provide themselves with winter quarters where they were without serious inconvenience to the many Loyalists settling at the mouth of the river. They were therefore ordered on August 8 to proceed about 100 miles up the St. John to the land allotted them in the district assigned to the provincial regiments. The Dragoons were the first to settle here, their grant extending from Long's Creek, twenty miles above Frederiction, to the "Barony" at the mouth of the Pokiok, and being christened by them the township of Prince William, in honor of their royal patron, afterwards King William IV. It was not long before several officers of the corps became prominent in the affairs of New Brunswick. Thus, Major Joshua Upham attained a seat on the supreme bench, as did also Ward Chipman, the paymaster of the corps; Major Daniel Murray served some years as a member of the House of Assembly for York County and as a leading magistrate; Lieutenant John Davidson, a prominent land surveyor, also represented York County in the provincial legislature; Captain Jonathan Odell became the first provincial secretary and held the office for 28 years, and after him his son, William F. Odell, held the same post for 32 years; Surgeon Adino Paddock achieved an enviable reputation as a physician; Quartermaster Edward Sands became a leading merchant of the City of St. John, and Cornet Arthur Nicholson commanded the garrison at Presquisle.19

Ex-Governor Wentworth returned from England to Halifax, September 20, 1783, to take up the duties of surveyor general of the King's woods in Nova Scotia at a salary of £800 a year and an allowance of a guinea a day while in actual service. It was reported at the time that his family would follow him in the spring. For the next nine years Mr. Wentworth was chiefly occupied in travelling about the Province and preventing the cutting of timber on the royal preserves, as also the unlicensed felling of pine trees which where suitable for masts, whether on granted or ungranted lands, since these were destined for the use of the British navy. Toward the close of 1784 he appointed Benjamin Marston to be his deputy in New Brunswick. In March, 1792, the ex-Governor was again in London. During this visit he was knighted and also appointed to succeed Mr. Parr as lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia. On his return to Halifax, May 12, he was welcomed by the civil and military authorities of the Province and was sworn into office two days later. He continued to administer the government of Nova Scotia for 16 years, being retired in April, 1808, on the arrival of Sir George Prevost. In the following month the Assembly voted him £500 sterling per annum as a pension for life, in compliance with the wishes of the King, who announced his intention of making additional provision for the declining days of his faithful servant. Sir John and Lady Wentworth now took up their residence at the Prince's Lodge near Halifax, and continued to live there, except while absent in England in 1810 and 1811, until Sir John's death, April 8, 1820, in his 84th year.20

In view of the fact that Amos Botsford accepted a commission from Governor Parr as soliciting agent for Conway, and together with 300 others received a patent for a township comprising 100,000 acres at the southern end of the Annapolis Basin, it is probable that a number of Botsford's associates participated in settling this locality. Many of the patentees, however, had entered the Province since the arrival of the first association (or in June, 1783), and as the vessels that brought them to Conway — seven in number — had been supplied by Rear Admiral Robert Digby, the newcomers interceded with the government to change the name of the township to Digby, and the patent contained a clause carrying their desire into effect. Among the names appearing in this document, which was dated February 20, 1784, are those of several men already familiar to us as refugees from New Hampshire, namely, Thomas Cummings, Josiah Jones, Enos and Phineas Stevens, and Elijah Williams. In keeping with the resolution of the patentees to erect a town. Deputy Surveyor Thomas Milledge laid out a plot containing about 70 acres, and lots were drawn by the settlers under the supervision of Surveyors Milledge and John Harris of Annapolis and Amos Botsford in his capacity as agent for the colonists. Meantime, the Reverend Edward W. Brudenell, Richard Hill, and John Stump had been appointed to act with Mr. Botsford as a land board, and this board located the other settlers regardless of necessary formalities, except in assigning the numbers of their respective lots. The colonists labored throughout the summer in clearing away the forest and erecting log houses, or in some instances houses built with oak frames that had been brought from the States. A few of the log structures were afterwards enlarged, covered with boards and shingles, and survived for more than a century.21

But although Digby sprang into existence during the year 1783, many of the Loyalists in the neighborhood were reported, September 16, 1784, as being still unsettled "on account of the negligent and dilatory conduct of those appointed to lay out lands for them." Fully one-third of the persons named in the Botsford grant failed to occupy their lots. Others who were not included in the patent were nevertheless assigned lands, or went upon them without authority, even including the common and the glebe. When complaints were made against this illegal procedure, the squatters promptly made demands for allotments. While this contention was in progress a British man-of-war, which had been despatched with provisions and implements for the colony, was detained by adverse winds, and the settlers were brought to the verge of starvation on account of the smallness of the season's crops. During the disturbances that followed a discharged officer, who had done much in promoting the settlement and was both a deputy land surveyor and a justice of the peace, was charged with disloyal acts by the puisne judges before the Governor and the Council, and suffered the loss of his justiceship, June 16, 1785. An extensive outbreak was avoided only by the wise management of certain officials and the timely arrival of the delayed supplies. But sufficient harm had already been done to cause many of the best residents to remove from Digby. Some of these returned to the States, while others removed to Granville farther up the Annapolis Basin, or crossed the Bay of Fundy to St. John. A few went to Weymouth, which lies on the east side of St. Mary's Bay about seventeen miles south of Digby, among these being Enos and Phineas Stevens and Josiah Jones who, as we have seen, had come originally from New Hampshire.22

The departure of these dissatisfied ones only complicated, instead of relieving, the situation, for they neglected to dispose of their shares in the township, and left their unimproved lots to be occupied and cultivated by others having no legal title to them. The increasing difficulties of the problem were brought to the attention of the provincial House of Assembly, April 2, 1795, by several grantees of the township, who urged that commissioners be appointed to look into the question, on account of the injury that the settlement was suffering through continued expense and litigation. Two days later a bill was introduced to quiet the possession of lands within the township. For some reason, which is not stated in the official records, action was deferred until the next session, when a new bill was presented, but with no better success. In June, 1798, the inhabitants of Digby petitioned the Council, and a commission of inquiry was appointed. However, this body so far failed in its duty that a new appeal was presented in October, and a second board of commissioners was named, and was given power to employ a clerk and one or more deputy surveyors "at the expense of those immediately interested." This board took ample time to accomplish its task with thoroughness, and at length submitted a report recommending that the landholders, whether claiming by grant or occupancy, be considered actual owners, and that a new patent, or "grant of confirmation," be immediately issued assigning to the 276 real estate proprietors, then residents of Digby Township, the tracts held by them respectively. This report became the text of the proposed grant, and on January 31, 1801, was signed by Sir John Wentworth as lieutenant governor and countersigned by Benning Wentworth as secretary of the Province of Nova Scotia. Thus, after 17 years, during which Digby had remained at a standstill in population, the inhabitants of the town were freed from their burden of suspense, and given the legal assurance that the lands which they had cleared and tilled were their own. It is, of course, obvious that the grievances of people of Digby did not receive just treatment until they came before the Council of the Province, and it is worthy of note that the "grant of confirmation" bears the official signatures of two distinguished Loyalists from New Hampshire, who were fully able to appreciate the sad plight in which their fellow refugees at Digby had long been placed by force of circumstances,23

Not a few of the founders of Digby were educated men, while others possessed no more than an ordinary education, or only the rudiments of knowledge. Among their number was William Barbancks, who is said to have been "a worthy and competent tutor," and soon began to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic to the children of the scattered settlement, although he was under the necessity of going from one homestead to another for the purpose. As Mr. Barbancks was induced to remove to Gulliver's Cove before long, the colonists engaged the services of Lieutenant James Foreman, a graduate of a high school in England, who opened a "superior school" early in November, 1784, in his own dwelling, with an enrollment of 75 pupils. During the summers of 1785 and 1786, Mr. Foreman also conducted a class in the Anglican catechism and selections from the Scriptures. The need for more commodious quarters led to the erection of a schoolhouse in 1789, by voluntary subscriptions. This building, which was fitted with long desks for both elementary and senior pupils and a brick furnace, remained the center of education for the residents of the county until the establishment of an academy at Digby.24

The first religious service held in the new settlement was in 1783, when the Reverend Edward W. Brudenell delivered a sermon. About two years later the Reverend Jacob Bailey came over from Annapolis and conducted worship in the house of one ot the residents. As the Loyalists of Digby and its vicinity were Episcopalians, and had now made considerable progress with their settlement, they held their first vestry meeting, September 29, 1785, elected officers, and instructed their church wardens to petition the Governor to establish the limits of a parish to be called Trinity Parish. The name which they suggested is reminiscent of the fact that many of the pioneers had been members of Trinity Church in New York City, under the ministrations of the Reverend Charles Inglis, D.D. Governor Parr fixed the boundaries of the parish, March 3, 1786, and before many months had passed a church was built by local subscriptions, aided by an appropriation from the provincial fund for building and repairing established churches, and a generous contribution from Admiral Digby, who also presented a bell. This structure and the adjoining burial ground were consecrated by Dr. Inglis, who was now bishop of Nova Scotia, July 31, 1788.25

It will have been noted that New Hampshire's treatment of the Tory element in her population was relatively moderate. She permitted Loyalists to leave the State, and indeed by the resolution of January 16, 1777, she encouraged them to go, but she did not expel them, and many of them remained. Those who did go, however, were forbidden to return by the act of November, 1778. The ultimate success of the Revolutionists does not seem to have changed their opinion of their absentee brethren. In the spring of 1783, the town of Hollis voted to instruct its representatives against permitting the return of the refugees or the restoration of "their forfeited estates." About a year later Elijah Williams put in his appearance at Keene, and was promptly bound over to the court of sessions at Charlestown, which ordered him to leave the State as soon as he had transacted his business. After settling his affairs Williams departed for Nova Scotia, but he was not long in finding his way back to Deerfield in consequence of ill health, and there he died.26

Some of the non-jurors who had remained within the borders of the State during the war were as unforgiving as the Revolutionists, and showed no inclination to become reconciled to the outcome of the war. A notable instance of this sort is disclosed by the petition of Ebenezer Rice and Lieutenant Benjamin Tyler, March 4, 1784, to Governor General Haldimand at Quebec, requesting permission for their own and 46 other families of Claremont to settle on Lake Memphremagog, or on the west bank of the Connecticut River. They explained that they had always been loyal subjects of King George III, were members of the Church of England, but were "overburdened with Usurpation, Tyrene, and opression from the Hands of Violent Men," who had used every art to include them among the proscribed in the late Revolution, and that they were therefore impatient to find an asylum in their "Royal Master's Dominion." They hoped that after those who had been meritorious in service should be provided for, their own petition might receive favorable consideration. Not content to depend solely on a written plea, the petitioners sent Captain Benjamin Summer to Quebec with a letter for Surveyor General Samuel Holland from the clerk wardens and vestrymen of their church begging his assistance in favor of their request. It is interesting to note that the list of 48 names submitted with the petition contains a number that also appear among those of the non-jurors of Claremont, May 30, 1776.27

The lapse of more time was needed to remove the antipathies of the past, and in the case of James Sheafe of Portsmouth, who had suffered imprisonment for his Toryism, a complete restoration to popular favor occurred, for in 1802 Mr. Sheafe was elected a United States senator from New Hampshire, and fourteen years later he came within 2,000 votes of being chosen governor of the State.28

 

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  1. N. H. State Papers, Documents, and Records from 1776 to 1783, VIII 204-296; Brewster, Rambles about Portsmouth, N. H., 212-215.

  2. 'Brewster, Rambles about Portsmouth, 2d Series, 252, 253; Sabine, Am. Loyalists, (1847) 680, 215; Sec. Rep., Bur. of Archives, Ont. Pt. I (1904) 831; Hutchinson's Diary and Letters, II, 192; Colls. Hist., and Miscel. and Monthly Lit. Jour., Ill, 44, 220; Colls. Top., Hist., and Biog., l, 55; Colls. N. H. Hist. Soc, II, 112; Raymond, Winslow Papers, 429; Sabine, Am. Loyalists, 476, 464, 433, 630, 341, 286; Lyford, Hist, of Concord, N. H., I, 252-254.

  3. Sec. Rep., Bur. of Archives, Ont.; (1904) Pt. II, 1020; Sabine, Am. Loyalists, 148, 149, 350; N. H. Prov. Papers, Documents, and Records, 1674-1776, VII, 394; Sabine, Am. Loyalists, 453, 680, 171, 651.

  4. N. H. Provincial Papers, Documents, and Records, (1764-1776), VII, 623, 662, 695.

  5. Brewster, Rambles about Portsmouth, N. H., 204-296.

  6. N. H. State Papers, Documents, and Records from 1776 to 1783, VIII. 379-383, 393, 394, 508, 468, 584.

  7. Ibid., 702

  8. N. H. State Papers, Documents, and Records, (1776-1 783) VIII, 713.

  9. By towns those proscribed were as follows: from Portsmouth, John Wentworth, Esq., Peter Livius, Esq., John Fisher, Esq., Geo. Meserve, Esq., Robt. Traill, Esq., Geo. Boyd, Esq., John Fenton, Esq., (Capt.) John Cochran, Esq., Samuel Hale, Esq., Edward Parry, Esq., Thos. McDonough, Esq., Maj. Robt. Rogers, Andrew Pepperell Sparhawk, Esq., Patrick Burn, mariner, John Smith, mariner, Wm. Johnson Rysam, mariner, Stephen Little, physician, Thos. and Archibald Achincloss, Robt. Robinson, merchant, Hugh Henderson, merchant, Gillam Butler, merchant, Jas. and John McMasters, merchants, Jas. Bixby, yeoman, Wm. Pevey, mariner, Benj. Hart, rope-maker, Bartholomew Stavers, post-rider, Philip Bayley, trader, Samuel Holland, Esq., Benning Wentworth, gentleman, Jude Kermison, mariner; from Pembroke, Jonathan Dix, trader; from Exeter, Robt. Luist Fowler, printer; from Concord, Benj. Thompson, Esq.; from Londonderry, Stephen Holland, Esq., Richard Holland, yeoman, John Davidson, yeoman, Jas. Fulton, yeoman, Thos. Smith, yeoman. Dennis O'Hala, yeoman; from New Market, Geo. Bell, trader, Jacob Brown, trader; from Merrimack, Edward Goldstone Lutwyche, Esq.; from Hollis, Samuel Cummings, Esq., Benj. Whiting, Esq., Thos. Cummings, yeoman; from Dunbarton. Wm. Stark, Esq., John Stark, yeoman, John Stinson, Jr., Samuel Stinson, Jeremiah Bowen, yeoman; from Amherst, Zaccheus Cutler, trader, John Holland, gentleman; from New Ipswich, Daniel Farnsworth, yeoman; from Francestown, John Quigley, Esq.; from Peterborough, John Morrison, clerk; from Keene, Josiah Pompoy, physician, Elijah Williams, Esq., Thos. Cutler, gentleman, Eleazer Sawyer, yeoman, Robt. Gillmore, yeoman; from Packersfield, Breed Batchelder, gentleman; from Alstead, Simon and Wm. Baxter, yeomen; from Winchester, Solomon Willard, gentleman; from Rindge, Jesse Rice, physician; from Charlestown, Enos Stevens, gentleman, Phineas Stevens, physician, Solomon Stevens, yeoman, Levi Willard, gentleman; from Claremont, John Brooks, yeoman; and from Hinsdale. Josiah and Simon Jones, gentlemen. (N. H. State Papers, Documents, and Records, 1776-1783, VIII, 810-812; Belnap, Hist, of N. H., I, 380, 381.)

10. The names appearing in the act of confiscation (Nov. 28, 1778) are as follows: John Wentworth, Esq., Samuel Holland, Esq., Geo. Meserve, Esq., (Capt.) John Cochran, Esq., Thomas McDonough, Esq., Wm. Johnson Rysam, Jas. McMasters, John McMasters, Benning Wentworth, gentleman, Robt. Luist Fowle, Stephen Holland, gentleman, Edward Goldstone Lutwyche, Esq., John Stinson, Zaccheus Cutler, John Quigley, Esq., Daniel Farnsworth, Josiah Pomroy, Elijah Williams, Esq., Breed Batchelder, Enos Stevens, Simon Baxter, John Brooks, Crean Brush (of Cumberland County, N. Y.), Samuel Tarbell, and Jas. Rogers.

11. N.H. State Papers, Documents, and Records, (1776-1783) VIII, 813, 814, 857, 893, 896.

12. Second Rep., Bur. of Archives, Ont., Pt. I, (1904), 567; Muster Rolls of the Loyalist Battalions (at St. John, N. B.); Raymond, Winslow Papers, 20.

13. Raymond, Winslow Papers, 51, 57, 69, 70; Winslow's Muster Rolls (in the possession of the N. B. Hist. Soc, St. John, N. B. ); Ellis, Life of Rumford, 124, 125, 129, 131, 136, 139-141, 143.

14. Sabine, Am. Loyalists, (1847) 570. 363, 6,30; Sec. Rep., Bur. of Archives, Ont., Pt. 272.

15. Raymond, The River St. John, 506; N. B. Courier, Mar. 28, 1835; Rep. on the Am. Mss. in the Roy. Inst, of G. Brit., Ill, 144, 159, 207; Savary, Hist, of the Co. of Annapolis Supplement, 36.

16. Sabine, Am. Loyalists (1864) I, 201; Bartlet, Frontier Missionary, 191-193; Calnek and Savary, Co. of Annapolis, 604, 66-68; Polit. Magazine (London, Eng.), 1783; Campbell, Hist, of Nova Scotia, 170, 171; Rev. W. O. Raymond's Notebook (unpublished). Rev. J. Bailey to Thos. Robie, Oct. 19 1782, Rev. Bailey to Capt. Farrel, Oct. 21, 1782.

17. Raymond, The River St. John, 510, 511; Murdoch. Hist, of Nova Scotia, III, 13-15; Wilson, Hist, of the Co. of Digby, N. S., 46.

18. Second Rep., Bur. of Archives, Ont., Pt. I, 101, 272; Sabine, Am. Loyalists, 635, 216, 363; Raymond, Winslow Papers, 95, n.; Sabine, Am. Loyalists, 551,

19. Report on Am. Mss. in the Roy. Inst, of G. Brit., IV, 55; Raymond.Winslow Papers. 102, 123, 183; Raymond, The Dispatch of Woodstock, N. B., Nov. 28. 1906.

20. Raymond, Winslow Papers, 133, 134, 258, n., 388, 389, 391, 394, 615, n., 632, 646, 656, 663; Murdoch, Hist, of Nova Scotia, III, 277, 281-283.

21. Wilson Hist, of the Co. of Digby, N. S., 52, 48. 49, 50, 64, 65.

22. Raymond, Winslow Papers, 189; Wilson, Hist, of the Co. of Digby, N. S.. 76, 77, 75.

23. Wilson, Hist, of the Co. of Digby, N. S., 77-81, 111.

24. Ibid., 92, 93.

25. Wilson, Hist, of the Co. of Digby, N. S., 88, 87, 89, 90.

26. Worcester, The Town of Hollis, N. H., in the War of the Rev. (a reprint from the N. E. Hist, and Gen. Reg., July, 1876); Colls. N. H. Hist. Soc. II, 134, 135.

27. Haldimand Papers, B. 175. pp. 251, 253-255; N. H. State Papers, Docs., and Records from 1776 to 1783, VIII, 218-220.

28 McClinntock, Hist, of N. H., 510, 511.


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