Lost Loyalists: Volume 1
There are many prominent loyalists who have been the subject of extensive research, such as Edward Winslow, John Saunders, and Johnathan Odell; however, there remains much to uncover about a myriad of loyalists that came to New Brunswick as refugees as a result of the American Revolution. We challenge you to engage in the recovery of these “Lost Loyalists.”
This blog post was inspired by a research project on York County loyalists that took place in the summer of 2016. Lilian Taylor and I were the primary researchers tasked to build biographies for as many of them as we could. Out of over a thousand loyalists, we have ten completed biographies. Our next post will examine the research process. For now, here are five loyalists that did not make the cut due to time constraints, but for whom we had compiled some interesting information.
In this volume, you will discover details about ships and steamboat businesses, stolen powder magazines, escaped death sentences, prisoners of war, Washington’s troops, harbouring of loyalists, and so much more!
1. William Young served in the British Army’s Hospital Unit during the war, and he was also a Lieutenant of the militia company of Loyalist Refugees. He came to New Brunswick in the summer of 1783 aboard the ship “The Three Sisters.” In 1785, he became a freeman of Saint John, and was admitted as a shipwright. He died in 1804 at the age of 49 in Carleton.
2. Francis Staples worked for Lord Jeffery Amherst, commanding general of British Forces in North America, until he was discharged in 1763 at the end of the Seven Years’ War. Staples then settled in Turtle Bay, Long Island. As the war broke out, he was responsible for the powder magazines, which the Patriots consequently stole from him. After this event, he fled to the British and served as a conductor of wagons until the end of the war. He arrived in New Brunswick in 1783, and settled in Burton, Sunbury County. He then lived in Keswick, York County, and died in Madamkeswick in 1814.
3. Peter and Elias Snider/Snyder were brothers from Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Elias was married and renting a farm before the war in Pennsylvania where his brother also worked. In 1777, both brothers left to join the British, but they were taken and sentenced to be hanged. In order to save their lives, they enlisted in the Continental Army and paid fines to get out of their death sentences. To pay these fines, their father had to sell his land. Peter served with the Patriots for 30 days before escaping and later joined the New Jersey Brigade. Elias, on the other hand, was ill and was permitted to return home, but also eventually joined the British Army on Staten Island. In total, three brothers from this family ultimately served in the New Jersey Brigade. In 1783, the two brothers, Elias and Peter, settled in Fredericton, and by 1787 they settled on the Kennebecasis River, Sussex Parish, Kings County. Peter and Elias Snider were both illiterate. In 1796, Peter became a vestryman of Trinity Church, Sussex Vale. The brothers also operated a freighting business between Sussex and Saint John, and Peter later became a shoemaker at Sussex Vale.
4. Mary Smith lived in New York City when the Revolution began where she had been living for twenty years. She is an interesting figure because, as a widow, she was using her home to shelter loyalists, and this really antagonized the Patriots. While sheltering the loyalists, Washington’s troops (the leader of the Patriots) were quartering on her property, which forced Mary to flee. She left the United States for England just before the evacuation of New York in 1783.
5. Isaac Clark was a blacksmith until 1820. He then moved to Waterloo Row and became a grocer and baker for a Mr. Clark, until eventually branching out himself and building his own business. Clark was also the leader of the Methodist Society in Fredericton. He joined the society in 1800 and remained the leader until his death in 1851 at the age of 80 or 89 (conflicting data). Prior to the war he lived in Maine. His obituary in the New Brunswick Reporter and Fredericton Advertiser states that “his house for many years was the hospitable home of every Methodist minister who resided in or visited Fredericton.”
Here is the information that we have found (so far) on these individuals. Can you uncover more?
Annabelle Babineau is a student assistant at the Harriet Irving Library. She is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in the English Honours Programme.
SUBJECTS: prisoner of wartransportation loyalists refugee New Brunswick erry