Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

Black Sheep Canadian Ancestors – The Quaker Loyalist Turncoats

This is a story about two brothers, born into the Society of Friends at Sugar Loaf, Upper Canada, who turned their backs on their religion and country in McKenzie’s Rebellion 0f 1837. They had come full circle from the previous generations of Doanes , who were branded Tories in Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary war, and killed, exiled or hung for their actions.

Joshua Guillam and his brother, Joel P. were sons of Jonathon Doan, who had come to Sugar Loaf in the Niagara district from Bucks County, Pennsylvania in the early 19th century, probably to escape the prejudice of being a relative of the notorious Doan Gang of Plumstead, Bucks County. Most of the Doanes in the region left the state. Jonathon Doan removed to Yarmouth Township in 1813 and was a respectable farmer, miller and tanner and agent for the Baby lands in the township. He was a prominent member of the Society of Friends and had a meeting house on his property. Jonathon placed many Quaker families from Pennsylvania on Baby lands in the area.

Joseph went on to be a farmer, and in 1832 When Joel started his own tannery, Joseph joined him. They were well-known in their community for being reformists and when a meeting was held to muster up men to join in the rebellion in December of 1837, Joseph and Joel were very outspoken and Joseph was elected Lieutenant.

In the next days Joseph and Martin Switzer persuaded men in the area to gather arms and ammunition and distributed them to 50 men under the command of David Anderson and Joel supplied the provisional wagons. they headed to Scotland, near Brantford where they met up with loyalists under Allan Napier MacNab. the rebels fled and Joseph and Joel reached the United States, with a 100 pound bounty on their heads.

In the U.S., Joseph joined the rebels and reached Detroit, and was ready to cross to Windsor where he heard that 600 rebels were ready to join him, with settlers in London already revolting. The rebels raided Windsor on Dec. 4, led by Generals Bierce and Putnam and burned the steamer ‘Thames’ killing several people.

When the rebels were dispersed by Col. Prince, twenty-five had lost their lives and Joseph and Joel were court-martialed, along with 42 of their fellow rebels in London under Henry Sherwood. Joseph was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. He joined six other rebels whose sentences were not commuted and hung on Feb. 6, 1838. He was buried in the Quaker burial ground in Sparta, Ontario and Joel went on to marry his widow.

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Filed under: Canadian Genealogy Carnival, Carnivals, Doane/Doan, Family Files, Genealogy, Loyalists, , ,

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