Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

Changes to Upper Canada Village

I remember going to Upper Canada Village when I was 13, just one of several historically significant stops that my dad took us to on our vacation that year. We spent most of the day there, exploring and learning how the Loyalists went through their daily lives.
Now, with the state of the economy, Upper Canada Village is feeling the effects of reduced visitors and revenue.

from “Loyalist Trails” UELAC Newsletter, June 28, 2009:

Help Preserve Upper Canada Village

At the cessation of hostilities in 1783, United Empire Loyalists made their way from the United States of America to their new homes in many parts of Canada, including the shores of the St. Lawrence River in what is now Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. 60 years ago, with the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway many of those first settlements, and an important part of our heritage, were flooded. Forever lost to the river were the towns of Milles Roches, Aultsville, Wales, Maple Grove and other settlements along the Front, where our loyalist ancestors carved homes out of a wilderness. While many homes and possessions of historical value were lost, the Government of Ontario made a promise to the people of this area, many of whom were of loyalist descent, and to population of Ontario that their history would be “recreated” in Upper Canada Village. Care was to be taken to ensure that the story of these first settlements would be preserved, protected and provided to the visitors to this village in a respectful manner
Growing up in a family where history was discussed on a daily basis, I had many opportunities to visit Upper Canada Village near Morrisburg. To me it was a magical place where history seemed to come alive. It was a place where the village blacksmith or grocer could be a neighbour from down the street, a place where you could smell fresh bread baking, taste horehound, that old time confectionary, see a stagecoach in operation, hear the brrrrr of the saw as it cut lumber in the sawmill and maybe experience a bit of what life was like in 19th century Ontario. Just as I have changed over the years, it would seem time has changed our beloved Upper Canada Village. Originally it was to provide the visitor with demonstrations of the settlement of this area from the coming of the United Empire Loyalists to the end of the 19th Century. We have seen how the contribution of the Loyalists has been downplayed in the village, with more emphasis being put on life in the 1860’s. One of the most visible examples of this change was the renaming of the French-Robertson House to the Robertson House. Later changes included a reduction in the number of first person interpreters and the introduction of special events such as fall fairs, quilt shows, historical wedding ceremonies and historical funerals. To be fair, it would appear that some of these changes have been beneficial to the visitor experience at Upper Canada Village.
A few years ago, news of plans to build a historical “theme park” at Upper Canada Village circulated, complete with roller coasters, water slides and other activities being located near not only Upper Canada Village but in close proximity to the Crysler Farm Battlefield. While these plans were abandoned, a few years later similar ones surfaced, disappeared and once again, earlier this year, news began to filter out about more changes to Upper Canada Village. This time, many of the changes were in the process of being instituted before the general public got wind of them. Stories circulated of penny farthing bicycles being purchased for customer rental, of renovations associated with turning the historic Cook’s Tavern into a licensed tavern and of an abandoned building being turned into a concession stand where cold drinks and various sundries would be sold. There were also rumours of wide-screen television screens being put into buildings and hidden amplifiers in trees for the “Traveling Tilton’s”.
At two meetings held in the local area, people have been told that many of the changes which are being implemented are to ensure the viability of this local heritage site and to ensure compliance with government legislation. Other reasons for the changes include a steady decline in visitor numbers and a corresponding drop in revenue. Something had to be done to ensure the survival of Upper Canada Village.
Since late May 2009, local historical societies as well as members of the general public have begun to speak up about many of the changes that are occurring at the Village. There is widespread concern about the historical integrity of buildings undergoing renovations, about changes to village building schedules as well as communition problems which seem to exist between the St. Lawrence Parks Commission and the general public. There has been press coverage of the protests, which have included demonstrations, letter and email writing campaigns, meetings and attempts to contact Commission members.
As descendants of United Empire Loyalists,we have a duty to ensure that our heritage is preserved, protected and promoted in a respectful and meaningful manner. If you are concerned about what may be happening at Upper Canada Village, I urge you to research the issues surrounding the changes and make an informed decision as to your next course of action. Please feel free to contact me at carol.goddard@sympatico.ca for more information if you wish. Other email contact information is listed below if you wish to make your views known.

Pat MacDonald – St. Lawrence Parks Commission – pat.macdonald@parks.on.ca
Hon. Monique Smith (Tourism) – monique.smith@ontario.ca
Jim Brownell MPP (Liberal) – jbrownell.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
Hon. Aileen Carroll (Culture) – acarroll.mpp@liberal.ola.org
Premier Dalton McGuinty – dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
Bob Runciman – interim opposition leader – robert.runcimanco@pc.ola.org
Tourism Critic – Ted Arnott – ted.arnott@pc.ola.org
Culture Critic – Julia Munro – julia.munroco@pc.ola.org

Carolyn Goddard, UE, St. Lawrence Branch

Filed under: Genealogy, Loyalists,

COG # 75 – Justice and Independence – The Loyalists Viewpoint

I have been reading a lot of information about the Loyalist era in history and I decided to write about the injustice that led to their eventual independence. While the newly formed United States of America was celebrating their independence from the British throne, a vast number of citizens who disagreed with the new government were not free to voice their opinions and were forced to give up their homes, never to return under full penalty of law.

The conclusion of the definitive Treaty of Peace put an end to any lingering hopes
the Loyalists may have still entertained of returning to their former homes to live,
although it contained a provision specially framed for their benefit.

General Maclean wrote on May 3rd, 1783, that Colonel Butler says that none of
his people will ever think of going to attend courts of law in the Colonies, where they
could not expect the shadow of justice, and that to repurchase their estates is what they
are not able to do; that for a much smaller sum, the Mississaugas will part with 12 Miles
more along the Lake, and that they would rather go to Japan than go among the
Americans, where they could never live in Peace.”

An Albany Newspaper of May 26th, received at Niagara early in June, showed
clearly that this surmise as to the intentions of their late opponents was fully justified. It
contained the following report of the proceedings of a Public Meeting called to consider
the terms of peace:

“At a Meeting of the Inhabitants of the district of Saratoga, the 6th of May, 1783,
the following resolutions were unanimously passed and ordered to be published in the
New York Gazette:

Resolved: that if any person who has voluntarily joined the late enemy of the
United States and who shall hereafter return to this District, such persons will be treated
with the severity due to his crimes and infamous defection.

Resolved, that if any such person has already returned since the first day of
January last and shall not remove before the tenth day of June next, he shall be treated in
like manner as those who shall presume to return hereafter.

Resolved, that it be and is hereby recommended that the Militia Officers of this
District in their several beats make diligent inquiry after such persons as are above
described, and if any are found to give notice to the inhabitants of this district that
effectual measures shall be taken for their expulsion.

Resolved, that we will hold in contempt every inhabitant of this district who shall
countenance, comfort or aid in any way, any person who has voluntarily joined the
enemy or attempted to do so.
SAM. BACON, CLERK.”

source:
TEN YEARS OF THE COLONY OF NIAGARA
1780 T0 1790
By Lieut.-Colonel E. Cruikshank, 1908

A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE BY THE LOYALISTS

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for men, in order to preserve their lives, liberties and properties, and to secure to themselves, and to their posterity, that peace, liberty and safety, to which by the laws of nature and of nature’s God they are entitled, to throw off and renounce all allegiance to a government, which under the insidious pretences of securing those inestimable blessings to them, has wholly deprived them of any security of either life, liberty, property, peace, or safety; a decent respect to the opinions of mankind, requires that they should declare, the injuries and oppressions, the arbitrary and dangerous proceedings, which impel them to transfer their allegiance from such their oppressors, to those who have offered to become their protectors.

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain rights, that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;

that to secure those rights, governments are instituted; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to those ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, or to renounce all allegiance to it, and to put themselves under such other government, as to them shall appear best calculated and most likely to effect their safety and happiness;

it is not indeed prudent to change for light and transient causes, and experience hath ever shewn, that men are disposed to suffer much before they can bring themselves to make a change of government; but when a long train of the most licentious and despotic abuses, pursuing invariably the same objects, evinces a design to reduce them under anarchy, and the distractions of democracy, and finally to force them to submit to absolute despotism, it is their right, it becomes their duty, to disclaim and renounce all allegiance to such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Such have been our patient sufferings, and such is now the necessity which constrains us to renounce all allegiance to Congress, or to the governments lately established by their direction.

The history of Congress, is a history of continued weakness, inconsistency, violation of the most sacred obligations of all public faith and honour, and of usurpations, all having in direct object the producing of anarchy, civil feuds, and violent injustice, which have rendered us miserable, and must soon establish tyranny over us, and our country.

To prove this let facts be submitted to the candid world.

They have recommended and caused laws to be passed, the most destructive of the public good, and ruinous to individuals.

Availing themselves of our zeal and unanimity to oppose the claims of the British Parliament, and of our unsuspecting confidence in their solemn professions and declarations, they have forbidden us to listen to, or to accept any terms of peace, until their assent should be obtained.

They have refused to accept of, or even to receive proposals and terms of accommodation and peace, though they know the terms offered exceeded what the Colonies in America had unanimously declared would be satisfactory, unless the Crown would relinquish a right inestimable to it and to the whole empire, and formidable to Congress only.

They have excited and directed the people to alter or annull their ancient constitutions, under which, they and their ancestors, had been happy for many ages, for the sole purpose of promoting their measures.

They have by mobs and riots awed Representative Houses, repeatedly into a compliance with their resolutions, though destructive of the peace, liberty, and safety of the people.

They have by their misconduct, reduced us to all the dangers and distress of actual invasion from without, and to all the horrors of a cruel war within.

They have not only prevented the increase of the population of these states, but by fines, imprisoning, and banishments, with the losses by war, they have caused a rapid depopulation.

They have corrupted all the sources of justice and equity by their Tender Law, by which they destroyed the legal force of all civil contracts, wronged the honest creditor, and deserving salary man of his just dues, stripped the helpless orphan of his patrimony, and the disconsolate widow of her dower.

They have erected a multitude of new offices, and have filled them with men from their own body, or with their creatures and dependants, to eat out the substance of the people; they have made their officers dependant on their will for the tenure of their offices, and the payment of their salaries.

They have raised a standing army and sent it into the field, without any act of the legislature, and have actually rendered it independent of the civil power, by making it solely dependant on them.

They have combined with France, the natural and hereditary enemy of our civil constitution, and religious faith, to render us dependant on and subservient to the views, of that foreign, ambitious, and despotic monarchy.

They have suffered their troops to live repeatedly on free quarters on the inhabitants, and to strip them by force of the necessaries of life, and have protected them from either trial or punishment under the plea of necessity, which necessity if real, was caused by their treacherous views, or unpardonable negligence.

They have ruined our trade, and destroyed our credit with all parts of the world.

They have forced us to receive their paper, for goods, merchandise, and for money due to us, equal to silver and gold, and then by a breach of public faith in not redeeming the same, and by the most infamous bankruptcy, have left it on our hands, to the total ruin of multitudes, and to the injury of all.

They have driven many of our people beyond the sea, into exile, and have confiscated their estates, and the estates of others who were beyond sea before the war, or the existence of Congress, on pretence of offences, and under the sanction of a mock trial, to which the person condemned was neither cited or present.

They have abolished the true system of the English constitution and laws, in thirteen of the American Provinces, and established theirin a weak and factious democracy, and have attempted to use them as introducing the same misrule and disorder into all the Colonies on the continent.

They have recommended the annihilating of our charters, abolishing many of our most valuable laws, and the altering fundamentally the form of our government.

They have destroyed all good order and government, by plunging us into the factions of democracy, and the ravages of civil war.

They have left our seas unprotected, suffered our coasts to be ravaged, our towns to be burnt, some of them by their own troops, and the lives of our people to be destroyed.

They have without the consent or knowledge of the legislatures, invited over an army of foreign mercenaries to support them and their faction, and to prevent the dreadful scenes of death and desolation from being closed by an honorable peace and accommodation with our ancient friend and parent.

They have fined, imprisoned, banished, and put to death some of our fellow citizens, for no other cause but their attachment to the English laws and constitution.

They have countenanced domestic tumults and disorders in our capital cities, and have suffered the murder of a number of our fellow citizens perpetrated under their eyes in Philadelphia, to pass unnoticed.

They first attempted to gain the savage and merciless Indians to their side, but failing in making them the presents promised and expected, have occasioned an undistinguished destruction to ages, sexes, and conditions on our frontiers.

They have involved us in an immense debt, foreign as well as internal, and did put the best port and island on our continent, into the hands of foreigners, who are their creditors.

They have wantonly violated our public faith and honor, and destroyed all grounds for private confidence, or the security of private property, have not blushed to act in direct contradiction to their most solemn declaration, and to render the people under their government, a reproach and a bye word among the nations.

In every stage of these proceedings, they have not been wanting to throw out before us, specious excuses for their conduct, as being the result of necessity and tending to the public good. –

In every stage since their public conduct, began to contradict their public declarations, our minds have been overwhelmed with apprehensions; and as our sufferings have increased, our tears have flowed in secret. It has been dangerous and even criminal to lament our situation in public.

The unsuspecting confidence which we with out fellow citizens reposed in the Congress of 1774, the unanimous applause, with which their patriotism and firmness were crowned, for having stood forth, as the champions of our rights, founded on the English constitution; at the same time that it gave to Congress the unanimous support of the whole continent, inspired their successors with very different ideas, and emboldened them by degrees to pursue measures, directly the reverse of those before adopted, and were recommended, as the only just, constitutional and safe. –

Congress in 1774 reprobated every idea of a separation from Great-Britain, and declared that they looked on such an event as the greatest of evils. –

They declared that a repeal of certain acts, complained of, would restore our ancient peace, and harmony. –

That they asked but for peace, liberty, and safety. – That they wished not for a diminution of the royal prerogative, not did they solicit the grant of any new right.

And they pledged themselves in the presence of Almighty God, that they will ever carefully and zealously endeavour to support and maintain the royal authority of Great-Britain over us, and our connection with Great-Britain – and our councils had been influenced only by the dread of impending destruction.

The acts complained of have been repealed, yet how have Congress given the lie, to these their most solemn professions!

In 1774, they declared themselves concerned for the honour of Almighty God, whose pure and holy religion, our enemies were undermining –

They pointed out those enemies, and the danger in which our holy religion was by their complaints of the establishment of the Roman Catholic religion in Canada; they say, “It is a religion which has deluged the Island of Great Britain with blood, and dispersed impiety, persecution, murder, and rebellion through every part of the world.”

We find the present Congress not only claiming a new right, and hazarding every thing valuable in life, to the present and future generations in support of it, but we also find them, leagued with the eldest son of this bloody, impious, bigoted, and persecuting church, to ruin the nation from whose loins we sprung, and which has ever been the principal bulwark in Europe, against the encroachments and tyranny of that church, and of the kingdoms devoted to her;

we think it not too severe to say, that we find them as intoxicated with ambition of Independent sovereignty, as that execrable Roman Daughter, who drove the wheels of her chariot over the mangled body of her murdered father, in her way to the capitol.

We find that all their fears and apprehensions from the Roman Catholic religion in Canada, have vanished, or sunk to nothing, when put in competition with their political views, and that they have attempted to seduce the Canadian to their side, by promises of still greater religious establishments; and to shew that they were in earnest, have countenanced this impious religion by attending its ceremonies and worship in a body. –

We find them at one time boasting of their patriotic and religious ancestors, who braved every danger of unknown seas, and coasts, to preserve civil and religious freedom, and who chose rather to become exiles, and suffer every misery that must await them, on a savage and unexplored coast, than submit to civil, but above all religious innovations – at another time we find them destroying the British Constitution, the pride of their ancestors, and encouraging a religion which they held in abhorrence, as idolatrous and tyrannical. –

We find them contending for liberty of speech, and at the same time controlling the press, by means of a mob, and persecuting every one who ventures to hint his disapprobation of their proceedings.

We find them declaring in September 1779, that to pay off their paper money, at less than its nominal value, would be an unpardonable sin, an execrable deed. “That a faithless bankrupt Republic would be a novelty in the political world, and appear like a common prostitute among chaste and reputable matrons,” would be “a reproach and a bye-word among the nations, &c.”

We find the same Congress in March following, liquidating their paper debt at 21/2 per cent. or 6d. in the pound.

We should fill volumes, were we to recite at large their inconsistency, usurpations, weaknesses and violations of the most sacred obligations – We content ourselves with the above brief recital of facts know to the world and attested by their own records.

We have sufficiently shewn that a government thus marked and distinguished from every other, either despotic or democratic, by the enormity of its excesses, injustice and infamy, is unfit to rule a free people.

We therefore, Natives and Citizens of America, appealing to the impartial world to judge of the justice of our cause, but above all to the supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions, do renounce and disclaim all allegiance, duty, or submission to the Congress, or to any government under them, and declare that the United Colonies or States, so called, neither are, nor of right ought to be independent of the crown of Great-Britain, or unconnected with that empire;

but that we do fimly believe and maintain “That the Royal Authority of the Crown of Great-Britain over us, and our connection with that kingdom ought to be preserved and maintained, and that we will zealously endeavour to support and maintain the same;” and in the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, and to the crown and empire of Great-Britain, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

The Royal Gazette, (New York), November 17, 1781

Filed under: Carnival of Genealogy, Carnivals, Genealogy, Loyalists,

Genea-blogging – My 100th Post

When I started my genealogy blog just a few months ago, I didn’t think I would have much to blog about, after all, I’m just an ordinary middle-aged stay-at-home grandmother of five, living in an ordinary small town. I don’t have much writing experience, but I have a love of family and history and I have learned that I have some interesting ancestors. Since they are no longer around, I feel that I am delegated to speaking for them and telling their stories.

Most of my family just smile and say “That’s nice” when I tell them of my family research, but the genea-blogging community shares in my interest and enthusiasm for family history.
I have “met” several great genea-bloggers since I started, too many to list, and I have even “met” a few distant cousins.

Since I started blogging in February, the genea-blogging community has grown tremendously. I don’t know whether it is the result of the economy and more people having more free time to blog or that more people are getting interested in genealogy, but I would like to think it is the latter.

I never thought I would ever get to 100 blog posts when I started, I didn’t think there were enough topics for me to write about, but I’m rarely at a loss for words. When I find myself at a loss for a topic to blog about, I enjoy participating in the memes, carnivals and prompts.

I look forward to reading the genea-blogs every day, there are a lot of great tips and tricks, new genealogy sites, and family stories. The authors of the blogs come from all over the world, with varying genealogy experience from the novice to the expert, to share their knowledge, experience and stories. I have learned that you don’t have to be a great writer to publish a genealogy blog, you just have to have ancestors to write about, and we all do.

Filed under: Blogging,

Happy Father’s Day

free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com

I would like to wish all of the fathers in the genealogy community a Happy Father’s Day!

Filed under: Genealogy, Special Events,

Happy Loyalist Day! My Loyalist Ancestors

family website glitter text at FamilyLobby.com

My Loyalist ancestors came from Tryon County, New York, Bucks County, Pennsylvania and western New Jersey.
The Haines family came from Germany and were living in Johnstown, in the Mohawk Valley when they had to make a choice, follow the crowd or do what’s right. They chose the latter and endured the wrath of the rebels. The able-bodied men were mustered into John Butler’s Corp of Rangers which later became known as Butler’s Rangers. Mrs. Joseph Haines, Sr. (her name is not known) stayed home with the four younger children until 1781 when the family went to Lachine, Quebec with the Rangers. They stayed there for about four years until they were granted land in the Home District. They were granted land in Grantham Twp., and purchased a mill on the Humber River in 1801 which stayed in the family for decades.
The Doan family, descending from early arrivals to Plymouth Colony, came from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and western New Jersey to the Niagara area after the war, some branded traitors and escaping rebel justice, others, being Quakers, called Loyalists for refusing to take up arms or pay taxes for religious reasons. Titus Doan, Sr. and Deborah Willson Doan were members of the Black Creek meeting after arrival in Upper Canada. They came with other members of the Willson family from western New Jersey and settled in the Humberstone Twp. and Crowland Twp. area and some are still living there to this day.
My great-grandfather, John Haines, aka John Hines, grandson of Nathaniel Haines, U.E., and son of Benjamin Haines, S.U.E., was born in Niagara Twp. in 1844. He married in 1872, Harriet F. Doan, great-great-granddaughter of Titus Doan, Sr. and Deborah Willson Doan, born in Dec. 1854 in Ohio, immigrated in Jan. 1855, daughter of Linus and Hannah Doan, living in Crowland Twp., in Welland and lived there for a few years before relocating to Elgin Cty., and then to Essex Cty. about 1895.


John Hines & Harriet Doan Hines grave, Woodslee, Ontario.

My husband’s Loyalist ancestors came from the Mohawk Valley and Albany, New York. His 4th great-grandfather, Myndert (Minor) Bradt, U.E., was a private in the Butler’s Rangers, and several of his relatives served in the Rangers as well.

Minor Bradt and Eliza Bradt grave, Dunnville, Ontario

Filed under: Family Files, Genealogy, Loyalists, Special Events, , , , ,

“Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is”

I have been studying my Loyalist ancestors for a couple of years, and, I’m finally “putting my money where my mouth is” (do they use that cliche anymore??) and joining the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada-UELAC. I decided to join the Bicentennial Branch as this branch is the closest to my location. I would like to join the Col. John Butler Branch as well, because that is the location of my Loyalist ancestors, but first things first.

To become a member of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada you do not have to be a descendant of a Loyalist, or even live in Canada. There are members worldwide who have an interest in history of the Revolutionary War, Canada and the Loyalist period in history.

I received the membership application form from the Bicentennial Branch last summer, but have been unable to make a commitment to the association for several reasons, but now I will be able to.

I have had the application form filled out for a while, listing my direct line of descent from Joseph Haines, Sr. through to my father, Earl Hines. Joseph Haines, Sr. has been “proven” as a Loyalist in the directory on the UELAC website. Nathaniel Haines hasn’t been “proven” yet, so I will be the first descendant of Nathaniel Haines to pursue my certification. When a Loyalist ancestor is “proven”, you just have to show descent from that person. If the person is in the directory, and is not “proven”, then you must show documentation that the person was a United Empire Loyalist as well.

To apply for certification, first you must have documentary proof of the person having been recognized as a United Empire Loyalist by the Government of the day, through Loyalist land claims, patents, claims for losses, Orders in Coucil, military duties, etc.

Second, a member has to show proof of descent from the Loyalist ancestor, through birth, marriage, death and census records, family Bibles, wills, etc.

The membership application asks for the names of descendants of the applicant as well. If they wish to be certified, the descendants will be able to use the applicant’s certification and just pay a nominal fee for their certification.

The only officially recognized hereditary title in Canada is “U.E.” or “Unity of the Empire”, which can only be used after a person’s name if the person is a certified descendant of a United Empire Loyalist. My reason for wanting to be certified is to honour my Loyalist ancestors and show my recognition and appreciation of the great sacrifices they made for the future generations (me).

Filed under: Genealogy, Loyalists, ,

Wordless Wednesday – Elizabeth Simcoe

Elizabeth Simcoe was the wife of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada.

Elizabeth was an accomplished artist and, between 1791 and 1796, as she travelled throughout Upper and Lower Canada, produced a large number of sketches and watercolours depicting Canadian scenes. She was also an avid diarist and wrote about many of her experiences.

These diaries and paintings combine to create a vivid portrait of both the raw beauty of the untamed landscape and the day-to-day life of a gentlewoman in pioneer times.




Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Wordless Wednesday, , ,

The United Empire Loyalist Statue

On May 24th, 1929 , a great ceremony was attended by numerous citizens of Hamilton . The unveiling of the United Empire Loyalists statue, which was a generous gift to the city by Mr. Stanley Mills, brought great cheers from the crowd gathered outside the Wentworth County Court House.

United Empire Loyalist Statue

The statue itself is rather large, weighing three-and-a-half tons. The height of the original stone pedestal was seven-and-a-half feet, with the Loyalist himself being an additional eight feet tall. Stone for the base of the pedestal was obtained from quarries situated on the battlefields at Queenston Heights, where many United Empire Loyalists fought against invading American forces in the War of 1812. The monument was described by the Spectator as being “a wonderful work of sculptural art, symbolic of hope, faith and determination…a perpetual reminder of devotion to principle, valour and the quality of overcoming the most difficult circumstances.” Two bronze panels attached to the sides of the pedestal tell the story of the Loyalists. The inscription reads:

This monument is dedicated to the lasting memory of the United Empire Loyalists who, after the declaration of independence, came into British North America from the seceded American colonies and who, with faith and fortitude, and under great pioneering difficulties, largely laid the foundations of this Canadian nation as an integral part of the British Empire.

Neither confiscation of their property, the pitiless persecution of their kinsmen in revolt, nor the galling chains of imprisonment could break their spirits or divorce them from a loyalty almost without parallel.

“No country ever had such founders —
No country in the world —
No, not since the days of Abraham”
— Lady Tennyson

The United Empire Loyalists were distinguished for their devotion to principle, for their valour in battle during the American revolution and for their loyalty and bravery in the War of 1812 – 1814 in defense of Canadian homes and hearths.

They set the stamp of their character in the institutions of this country and handed them on to succeeding generations glorified by their sacrifices, enriched by their labours and made sure by their indomitable spirit.

Dedicated to the Glory of God
Erected by Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Mills of Hamilton
In Grateful Memory of Their
United Empire Loyalists Forebears and Connections
The Davis, Gage, Hesse, Howell, Mills and Willson Families
Unveiled Empire Day
May Twenty-Third
Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-Nine
For The Unity of Empire

The United Empire Loyalists, believing that a monarchy was better than a republic, and shrinking with abhorrence from a dismemberment of the Empire, were willing, rather than lose the one and endure the other, to bear with temporary injustice. Taking up arms for the King, they passed through all the horrors of civil war and bore what was worse than death, the hatred of their fellow-countrymen, and, when the battle went against them, sought no compromise, but, forsaking every possession excepting their honour, set their faces toward the wilderness of British North America to begin, amid untold hardships, life anew under the flag they revered.

“They drew lots for their lands and with their axes cleared the forest and with their hoes planted the seed of Canada‘s future greatness.” — Elizabeth Bowman Spohn

The bronze statue depicts a family of Loyalists at the moment they have drawn their lot number from the government surveyor. They are looking forward with satisfaction and keenness and a little curiosity, to the location of their new home in Canada, after the turmoil of many years of warfare and after having lost all of their worldly possessions. This image eventually attained national fame when a drawing of the monument was featured on a Canadian postage stamp.

The story of the United Empire Loyalists is an interesting one. During the American Revolution, American troops attempted to capture Canada, though they were not successful, they were able to break their ties to Britain. Despite this, about a third of the American colonists were still loyal to the British crown and were forced to take up arms for their cause. When the war was over, the Loyalists found that their property had been either confiscated or destroyed by the triumphant revolutionists and that many of them were banished under penalty of death. A great number of Loyalists were also tortured and publicly humiliated. All was not lost though, because when terms of peace were finally drawn up between the two opposing sides, the British government stepped in and demanded that the Loyalists have their property restored. This was deemed to be impossible, so the British government saw fit to provide the Loyalists with new homes, the majority of these being located in the eastern half of the Dominion of Canada.

About 35,000 Loyalists came to the maritime provinces by government transport. 10,000 more went to Quebec. They had to endure great hardship, starting life from scratch. Some of them had no possessions other than what they carried with them, yet already had families to provide for. It was up to them to work the land, build their homes and find a way to survive.

Considering what the Loyalists went through, and how they were able to succeed in starting their whole lives over, which was miles away from their birthplaces, it is no wonder that Stanley Mills wanted to have a monument dedicated to their history.

A cornerstone box was prepared for the statue, containing a number of books which gave the history of the Loyalists. One of these was a rare volume containing a list of the names of all the Loyalists, prepared by the United Loyalist Centennial Committee in 1885, which had since gone out of print. Egerton Ryerson’s two-volume work on the “Loyalists and Their Times” was also placed in the copper box, along with copies of both local papers giving an account of the unveiling ceremony.

At the unveiling of the United Empire Loyalist statue in front of the Courthouse on Main Street East

The ceremony itself was provided with music by the band of the Ninety-First Highlanders Regiment (under the direction of Capt. H. A. Stares), as well as singing by several hundred school children. The statue was covered by a large Union Jack at the beginning of the ceremony and surrounded by girl guides, boy scouts and a detail of cadets. Following salutes by these groups, a series of wreaths were placed at the foot of the statue by the Canadian club, represented by F. I. Ker and John A. Webber, president and immediate past-president of the organization, the Women’s Wentworth Historical Society, and the Central collegiate cadets.

Mayor William Burton, the chairman of the unveiling ceremony, gave a speech. He noted his “great pride, pleasure and appreciation,” of Mr. and Mrs. Mills, the donors of the monument. He also predicted that the statue “would stand for all time as a perpetual memorial to those hardy people of Canada‘s earliest days.” Stanley Mills, donor of the monument, spoke briefly, expressing his gratitude in the successful fruition of months of preparation work, and of his appreciation of the co-operation he had with city and county officials.

A dedicatory prayer was then given by the Rev. Dr. J. E. Hughson, which was followed by the keynote address, given by Col. C. R. McCullough. He noted of the statue that “the courage of the father and the faith of the mother, irradiating their distinguished faces, will not fail to inspire this and future generations in every circumstance of private or public misfortune and lead the young folk of this community to venerate the virtues by which true character is built.”

Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Mills at the unveiling of the statue

Following McCullough’s speech, Mrs. Mills unveiled the great monument, much to the joy of the assembled crowd. A beautiful bouquet of roses, a gift of Mrs. J. A. C. Cameron, was then given to Mrs. Mills.

Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Mills unveiling the statue

In 1956, the Wentworth County Court House, which the United Empire Loyalist monument sits in front of, was demolished to clear the site so that a new Court House could be built. The Hamilton branch of the United Empire Loyalist Association protested the destruction of the statue’s base. The statue itself had been moved, to avoid damage, but the base had not. The Association had assumed that the base would be moved too, until it was destroyed. Aside from the fact that the base had been made from a very valuable type of limestone, there was also the matter of the missing cornerstone box. The United Empire Loyalist Association feared that the box had been destroyed along with the pedestal, and demanded an explanation for this action. Alvin Prack, an architect working on the project, claimed that there had been no sign of the box or any crevice in which it could have been placed when the monument was removed. He also commented on the fact that he had not been informed of the box, or of the value of the old limestone, until the day the pedestal was removed. A search began for the missing cornerstone box, and eventually it was found, still intact.

A second base was designed for the monument, although somewhat lower than the original (due to the fact that the building behind it was now a lower building). The new pedestal was made of the exact same stone as the original, taken from the same place, the battlefields at Queenston Heights. A rededication ceremony was planned for June 25th, 1958.

United Empire Loyalist statue

The rededication ceremony was attended by Governor General, the Rt. Hon. Vincent Massey. In his speech, he pointed out that “None has had a nobler motive than the movement of the Loyalists to Canada.” Edwin Mills, nephew to the original donor, Stanley Mills, was also present at the ceremony to place a new cornerstone box containing historic items into the pedestal of the statue. When the new Court House was officially opened, the statue was back in its place, in front of the main entrance.

References:
Clipping File.
Hamilton – Memorials – United Empire Loyalists Statue. Special Collections, HPL.
Our Heritage Scrapbook v. 5. Local History & Archives, HPL.
Our Heritage Scrapbook v. 6. Local History & Archives, HPL.
The United Empire Loyalists, 1929.

Hamilton Public Library
Hamilton Ontario Canada

Filed under: Genealogy, Loyalists, Photos,

What is Loyalist Day?


This week in recognition of the 225th anniversary of the province of Ontario and Loyalist Day, June 19th, I will be publishing posts related to topic of the Loyalists in Upper Canada, for where would I be without them?

“The Constitutional Act of June 19th, 1791 created the province of Upper Canada, or Ontario as we know it today, and this law came into being as a direct result of Loyalist influence. The Loyalists were instrumental in developing a distinctive national identity that was, and is, uniquely Canadian. They established their own Loyalist tradition that has always been proudly handed down to their Loyalist descendants. Such descendants are privileged to place the letters, “U.E.” (meaning, “Unity of the Empire”), indicating their Loyalist lineage, after their surnames. The Loyalists are so closely connected with Ontario’s founding and development that it would be no exaggeration in the least to say that Ontario, as we known it today, would simply not exist were it not for the Loyalists. This is why Mr. Harry Danford, Member of Provincial Parliament for Hastings-Peterborough, himself of Loyalist ancestry, in cooperation with the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada, developed a Private Member’s Bill to declare June 19th , the anniversary of the Constitutional Act, “United Empire Loyalist Day” in the province of Ontario.”
-from UELAC

Each year the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada – UELAC – celebrates Loyalist Day in Ontario on June 19th by dressing in Loyalist garb and educating the public about the Loyalists and their significance in the making of Canada.
The different branches of the UELAC will have many activities going on all over the province with the red, white & blue streamers and balloons representing the colours of the Loyalist flag. This year is the 225th anniversary of the province of Ontario. The Bay of Quinte branch hosted a four-day convention to commemorate the occasion this past Thursday-Sunday.
The Bicentennial Branch of the UELAC is celebrating 25 years with the dedication of a UEL Historical Plaque on June 20th.

Filed under: Genealogy, Loyalists, , ,

Genealogy and Medical History

Researching your family’s medical history is a very important focus when doing genealogy research. It will inform you of what diseases and medical conditions that you may have a predisposition for, so that you can change your lifestyle to avoid the condition or at least lessen the severity of it. It also makes you aware of certain symptoms to watch for that you otherwise wouldn’t pay attention to.
There is a tool just for this purpose, called the Family Health History Tool at It Runs In My Family. With this tool you can create your family health history and keep it online and print off and take with you when you see your doctor.
Even if you aren’t researching your genealogy, everybody should take the time to create a medical history report, it will make it easier for medical practitioners to know what runs in your family and may even save your life!

Filed under: Genealogy,

June 2009
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