Acts of espionage and covert operations were widespread during the American Revolutionary War, being utilized by both the British and their North American foes. However, it is the latter group that greatly depended on such stealthy tactics as they were outnumbered in infantry, equipment, and funds. It was at this point in time that the adventures of Silas Deane began, a man who helped achieve victory for the struggling Patriots.
To further our blog post from last week on the “Lost Loyalists” of York County, New Brunswick, we wanted to walk you through the research process and variety of sources used for this biographical project. Most sources were accessible from within the Harriet Irving Library in either microfilm, print or electronic form.
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.”
During the War of 1812, an estimated 2,000 slaves escaped America and arrived at Nova Scotia.
With the scarcity of sources for people of African descent in North America during the eighteenth century, the Book of Negroes is an amazing resource—particularly for those individuals who immigrated to what was to become eastern Canada. The Book was produced at the end of the American Revolution in New York and it nominally recorded Black Loyalists during a time when people of African descent were all too often recorded as mere numbers.
The poem now commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas” was originally published anonymously in 1823 by the Troy Sentinel (New York). It has been integral in the formation of the modern North American vision of Christmas; in particular, the appearance and role of St. Nick or Santa Claus. A unique hand-written copy of this poem is included in the Odell Family Papers which are part of The Loyalist Collection.
Following from last week’s post, you will find in this entry a listing of practical “Tricks” to help in identifying surnames in primary documents, as well as a collection of resources which will aid in this undertaking.