Papers : 1775-1910.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .S2J6P3
Category: Family
Creator: Saunders, John, 1754-1834.
Description: 5 microfilm textual records () ; 35 mm
            The Saunders family was established in Virginia long before the outbreak of the American Revolution. John Saunders' father, Jonathan Saunders, owned an estate of 1200 acres when he and his wife died within a few years of each other. The management of the property, and the care of the younger children, fell to Jacob Ellegood and his wife Mary, John's older sister. In 1775 John Saunders assumed control of the estate, and as the Revolution progressed his situation became more difficult. Finally, because he refused to endorse the Continental Association of October 1774, he was denounced and ostracized. 

After he raised a company in Ellegood's, Queen's Loyal Virginia Regiment, and accompanied Governor Lord Dunmore to New York, his property was confiscated by the rebels. Later at the Battle of Brandywine, Pennsylvania, on 12 September 1777, he was wounded, and when he was able to rejoin his regiment it was commanded by Maj. John Graves Simcoe and called the Queen's Rangers.

In 1780 Capt. Saunders was sent to South Carolina where he took part in operations around Charleston, and was in command at Georgetown for a period of time before returning to New York in 1782. He sailed for England the same year, and in 1784 entered the Inns of Court to study at the Middle Temple. He was admitted to the bar in 1789. Appointment as a judge of the New Brunswick Supreme Court soon followed, as did his marriage in 1790 to Arianna Chalmers (1768-1845), the daughter of Lt. Col. James Chalmers (1727-1806), the wealthy and distinguished Loyalist who raised the Maryland Loyalists during the American Revolution, and to whom the pamphlet, Plain Truth, written in 1776, is attributed.

John Saunders built a house in Fredericton, but his ambition was to establish an estate, modeled on the one he had lost in Virginia, and to this end he built the Barony, 40 miles above Fredericton on the St. John River. In addition to his judgeship, he held many offices, including: member of the Legislative Assembly; a lieutenant-colonel in the militia; member of the Executive Council; and finally, Chief Justice of New Brunswick from 1822-1834.

John Saunders's only son, John Simcoe Saunders (1795-1878), was born in Fredericton and educated at Oxford. He was appointed to numerous offices in the New Brunswick government including: advocate general, surveyor general, provincial secretary, member of the Executive Council, and member and later president of the Legislative Council, which office he held until his death. John Saunders' daughters were Eliza Chalmers (1794-1821), who married R. Flood, and Arianna Margaretha Chalmers (1790-1868), who married Capt. George Shore (1787-1851) in 1815. He led one of the six companies of the 104th Regiment of Foot during its famous march overland from Fredericton to Upper Canada in the winter of 1813. Later he held several government offices, was a member of the Executive Council, and became adjutant general of the militia. Through his efforts, the New Brunswick militia system was greatly improved.

            The collection consists of correspondence and other papers of John Saunders and his son, John Simcoe Saunders. Much of the correspondence is between John Saunders and his father-in-law, James Chalmers of Chelsea, England. Other correspondents include: members of the Saunders family, Col. Nesbet Balfour, Francis Marion, Sir Howard Douglas, Thomas Carleton, Arthur H. Gordon, George Street, John Graves Simcoe, Lt. Col. James Chalmers, Col. Edmund Fanning, Lt. Robert Mackenzie, Maj. Gilfred Studholme, Lt. Col. John Watson, Jacob Ellegood, Jonathan Odell, George Randall, George Storie, Oliver Arnold, Thomas Baillie, and many others, 1780-1891. 

In addition, the collection includes: military papers, 1777-1875; accounts, 1792-1879; petitions and memorials, 1808-1840; deeds, 1790-1882; legal papers, 1788-1884; maps, 1803-1839; miscellaneous papers, 1821-1852; the diary of John Simcoe Saunders, 1860, 1870-1877; newspapers, 1829-1910; and three books containing summaries of legal cases. The military documents relate to Loyalist regiments, including the Maryland Loyalists and the Queen's Rangers. Other military records include the York County Militia, 1811-1812 (Return for 90 days forage, bat and baggage money required for officers of Embodied Volunteer Militia Rangers and names included, resignation of James Taylor as Captain, extract of President's circular letter dated 3 July 1812 sent from John Robinson to Saunders concerning assistance getting all craft off the St. John River), 2nd Queen's Royal Regiment of Foot, and the Mounted Rifle Volunteers. Included in the documents are appointments; memorials; accounts; correspondence; an account of American Loyalists receiving, and not receiving allowances; an account of I.E. Woolford's service in the military and government, 1797-1860; and an account of the experiences of Daniel Parent during the American Revolution.

A genealogical chart and other information is found at the beginning of the index reel, which is numbered as reel 6 on the microfilm, but catalogued as a separate reel in the Loyalist Collection Inventory.

Originals: The original records are held by the University of New Brunswick Archives.
Archival Ref. No.: UNB Archives MG H 11.
Finding Aids:
            A card index to the Saunders Papers has been microfilmed and is available on a separate reel.

A microfilm shelf list is available in print.

A chronological list of manuscripts in the Saunders Papers is available in print.

A separate chronological list of references to the John Simcoe Saunders Diary, 1860, 1870-1877, is also available in print.

Electronic Finding Aid Record: Saunders, John Shelf List.pdf
List of References to the John Simcoe Saunders Diary 1860, 1870-1877.pdf
Indexes to the Saunders Papers.pdf
Notes: There are two copies of the index reel.

Because the military records in the Saunders Papers are not concentrated in one section, copies of all military-related material were made from the microfilm by B.J. Grant and are available for consultation in the UNB Archives.

John Saunders' Account Book: 1789-1807, is available in the Loyalist Collection and is shelved at MIC-Loyalist FC LFR .S2J6A2.

Two collections of family papers which interconnect with the John Saunders Papers are: Parker Family Papers, 1760-1795. MIC-Loyalist FC LFR .P3F3P4 and Jacob Ellegood Papers, 1785-1918; predominant 1785-1829. MIC-Loyalist FC LFR .E4J3P3

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