Category Archives: Loyalists

Loyalist Ancestors? Trio of Books for Your Reference Library

Imagine it is the fall of 1783. You have made the terribly difficult decision to move. Your family is being uprooted and most of your possessions left behind, if they haven’t already been confiscated, because you chose to support the King during the American Revolution.

Family members and friends with similar beliefs may be making the move with you, but even if you are alone, you are no  longer welcome in your own neighborhood or any other town in the newly independent United States of America.

The voyage to Nova Scotia wasn’t easy. The land is mostly wilderness with very few inhabitants, aside from the Native Americans. Winter is coming and your first thought is to build your family a home. . . . .

Years pass by, then decades and even centuries. Your descendants, working on their family history, have discovered Loyalists in their family tree.

If you are Canadian, and particularly from New Brunswick or Ontario, you likely studied the early history of the province. However, if you are American, like me, your knowledge is scant:

  1. Tories supported the King during the American Revolution. They weren’t popular with the patriots and sometimes got tarred and feathered as punishment.
  2. When the war ended, if a Tory chose not to go to Canada or the Caribbean, they were sometimes given a choice – like my husband’s Hamby ancestors in the Carolinas – of heading west immediately to Kentucky, Tennessee elsewhere OR be hung for treason. They all skedaddled quickly.
  3. Those called Loyalists boarded the ships, headed to Canada and made a new life for themselves.
  4. The end.

Now, return to my opening paragraph. You and thousands of other Loyalists have been transported from New York to Parrtown (today St. John) and it is time to get down to the business of creating that new life.

What happened next?

How did the newly formed province of New Brunswick get up and running?

Most importantly, what part did your Loyalist ancestor/s play in the creation of New Brunswick?

If you have known Loyalist ancestry (I have both pre-Loyalists and Loyalists living in Canada by 1783) and want to know much more about New Brunswick history, I can recommend three books to add to your reference library and they all happen to be authored by one person – David Bell, who was, as of 2015,  a legal historian at the University of New Brunswick (and may now be retired.)

First on the list is American Loyalists to New Brunswick: The Ship Passenger Lists, Formac Publishing Company, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 2015. (ISBN: 978-1-4595-0399-1). Available online for under $30.

This 300+ page book is filled with lists of names of Loyalists found on the surviving ship passenger lists. That’s a lot of people!

Ship passenger lists can tell us much about our family and the voyage they made. At the very least, the name of the family head is given. Some lists then report numbers of males, females, servants and children over and under the age of ten. Some lists name every single passenger!

I bought this book because I need to learn more about my Loyalists’ FAN clubs. For example, I know Jonathan Parker came from New Jersey, but haven’t been able to determine exactly where he made his home before the war. Robert Carlisle married Catherine (MNU) and I am desperately looking for any clue that might point me to her FAN club and possible maiden name.

It is also possible that a number of passengers on one ship may have removed from the same town or go on to settle in the same new town, giving two new locations to research for clues.

Finding them on passenger lists means I have an immediate FAN (Friends, Associates, Neighbors) club to research! Therefore, this book is in indispensable addition to my Loyalist brick wall busting strategies.


Chapter 1: Shipping the Loyalists from New York City to Saint John, 1783 (These lists include number of men, women, children over and under ten, servants, free Blacks, Quakers and Anabaptists and Late Loyalists.) This chapter covers 189 pages.
Chapter 2: Victualing Civilian Loyalists at St. John, 1783-1784
Chapter 3: Grantees of St. John (Parr-town and Carleton), 1784
Chapter 4: Loyalist Political Petitions at New York City and Saint John, 1783-1786

The second book is Loyalist Rebellion in New Brunswick: A Defining Conflict for Canada’s Political Culture, 2013. (ISBN: 978-1-4595-0277-9) Available online for under $25.

Returning to my 4-item list above regarding what American students generally learn about Loyalists, they will quickly learn New Brunswick settlement did not always go smoothly.

Bell’s second book picks up the story exactly where American history textbooks end.

The first three chapters of this book are an excellent introduction to the difficulties that Loyalist families faced trying to build their new lives in Canada. These “Loyalist sufferers” are described as “angry, dispirited and vulnerable” upon arrival. That is the total opposite of what I had always thought – although they might have been sad at leaving behind friends, family and possessions, I would have thought they would have been pleased to be among others of the same belief and excited about a new start.

The table of contents is an excellent summary of the content of this book. You’ll learn about those who came and stayed, those who left (many more left than I ever imagined) and the growing pains that New Brunswick underwent to lay the foundation for the province that it is today. I would highly recommend this book as a great learning tool for Loyalist descendants or those interested in what happened to the “other side” after the close of the American Revolution.


Note on Terminology
1. Our Fate Seems Now Decreed
2. The Roughest Land I Ever Saw
3. Murmuring and Discontent
4. Representatives of the People in Opposition to the People
5. Perfect Tranquility
Notes (18 pages of footnotes, which are essentially further resources to check out)
Further Reading (Two pages of text with still more resources)

The third book is the most difficult to find: Early Loyalist St. John: Origin of New Brunswick Politics, 1783-1786, 1983. Available online for about $35.



One/The Lost War
Three/Early Loyalist Saint John

Four/The Origin of Discord
Five/Spem Reduxit
Six/The Triumph and Suppression of Political Dissent
Seven/Loyalist Against Loyalist

I. The Soldier’s Seditious Libel: 4 March 1784
II. The Huggeford Petition of Grievance: 24 December 1784
III. William Cobbett and the 1785 Election
IV. Petition of Dissident Electors: c.10 January 1786
V. The Americanus Seditious Libel: 22 February 1786
VI. The Seditious Election Petition: 3 March 1786
VII. Alphabetized List of Grantees of Parr and Carleton: 1783-4
VIII. Alphabetized List of Refugee Loyalist Households: 1783-84

After reading these three books, you will have a much clearer, more detailed picture of the struggle that our ancestors faced during the founding of New Brunswick, Canada.



Loyalist Peter Stover of New Brunswick & Ontario, Canada

UPDATE: This saved in a weird way, so I’ve fixed it up.

Loyalist Peter Stover is not one of my direct line ancestors, but I do have two collateral lines connecting us through my Carlisle and Stewart families, both of whom were also Loyalists.

There is information available online about Peter Stover and his family and, while some of it matches documents that I’ve come across, other pieces – including children – either don’t have any basis in fact or are repetitions of the same child with slightly different birth and death years.

Because of those discrepancies, I’ve put together a short family sketch about Peter Stover, his wives Mathilda and Cynthia, and children that were born to each.

Peter Stover was born c1758. Although his Revolutionary War service was in New Jersey, I haven’t seen positive proof as to whether he was born in the colonies or in Europe, although he was of German ancestry.

Peter served with the 5th Battalion of  New Jersey  Volunteers and, at the close of the war in September 1783,  sailed on the Duke of Richmond from New York to Canada. He petitioned for land in York County, New Brunswick, Canada in 1785, Kings County in 1786 (when he was granted 200 acres), Kings County again in 1812 and 1815, when he received an additional 290 acres, and Queens County in 1814.

The age of 25 years was typical for colonial men to consider marriage and it so happens that Peter was just about 25 years old in 1783. I haven’t seen evidence that Peter was married during the time of the American Revolution and it is thought he likely married soon after arrival in Parrtown, Nova Scotia, which soon became St. John, New Brunswick, Canada.  The few written records created in Peter’s life time – land deeds – are all from the 1790s and spell the name of Peter’s wife as Mathilla and Mathilda.

Mathilda’s birth year is a complete guess, but she was likely younger than Peter by at least a few years, given that she was having children into the very early 1800s. Therefore, I’d estimate her birth year as between 1760 and perhaps as late as 1770 if she married around the age of 18.

Let’s estimate that Peter and Matilda married c1788, almost certainly in New Brunswick, Canada.

Mathilda makes her last appearance in Canadian records on 16 October 1795, when she released dower rights in a land sale with Peter in Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada. However, as gaps in the births of Peter’s children don’t appear until after 1804, it is likely that she lived a number of years past 1795.

However, Peter’s second wife, Cynthia (MNU), doesn’t appear in records until 6 May 1814, in another land sale in Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada.

All of the Stovers found in early New Brunswick are descended from Peter, as he was the only man with that surname living there.

NOTE: The birth order of Peter’s first set of children is uncertain because no birth or baptismal records have been located.

Children: (Mother is likely Mathilda):

  1. Elsie/Elcey/Alison, born c1789, New Brunswick, Canada; died after 1840, possibly in La Porte County, Indiana if she is the female aged 50-59 in the home; married Daniel Carlisle, probably c1809 and definitely before 1816, when she released dower rights in a land sale. He was born c1788; died after 1840, possibly La Porte County, Indiana, where he is last found living.
  2. Elizabeth, born c1791, New Brunswick, Canada; died after 4 February 1819; married Joseph Hall, c1807, probably Kings County, Canada. Online (undocumented) information says Joseph Hall was from Nova Scotia and born c1772, but that seems a bit early unless Elizabeth was a second wife; died after 4 February 1819. Neither Joseph nor Elizabeth has been found in the 1851 census. William Hall, living in Howard, Kent, Ontario, Canada was born c1808, New Brunswick, and is attributed as their child. Because of the time period, records are difficult to find for this couple. On 4 February 1819, Joseph and Elizabeth Hall sold land in Sussex, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada to William Graves Jr., who also lived in Sussex. Joseph doesn’t buy any new property after that time. Perhaps they also made the trek to Ontario, like the Carlisles.
  3. Elisha, born c1792, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada; died 26 July 1857, Harwich, Kent, Ontario, Canada; married Mary Stewart, 16 August 1814, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada. She was born c1792, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada; died ?
  4. Susannah, born c1793, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada; died between 1851-8161, probably Elgin, Albert, New Brunswick, Canada; married William Graves, 14 June 1824, New Brunswick, Canada. He was born c1785; died after 1871, probably Elgin, Albert, New Brunswick, Canada. Susannah was reportedly William’s second wife, but I haven’t verified that.
  5. Peter, born c1795, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada; died 1846, Kent Ontario, Canada; married Martha Bury, c1818. She was born c1799; died c1871, Kent, Ontario, Canada. The Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario by J.H. Beers & Co included a biographical sketch of the family.
  6. ?Reuben, born c1804, New Brunswick, Canada; died 1873, Kent, Ontario, Canada; married Sarah Delaney, 1 August or 5 September 1830, reportedly Shediac, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada. She was born c1805, Nova Scotia, Canada (per 1851 census). NOTE: For now, he is listed as a child of Mathilda. There is no death certificate. Although he had four daughters, none is named Matilda or Cynthia, so the name of his mother is a mystery for now.
    Children: (Mother is likely Cynthia):

    1. Matilda, born c1809, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada; died 1881, probably Shediac, Westmorland, Canada; married Abraham Taylor, 21 June 1827, Dorchester, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada. He was born c1805; died before the 1851 census.
    2. Eliza Ann, born c1811, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada; reportedly died 22 June 1885, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada, but I find no documentation; married James Gray, 29 July 1832, Shediac, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada. He was reportedly born 8 October 1808, Sussex, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada; died 17 February 1865, no place given and no documentation found. They lived in Upham, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada in 1861. James is not found there in 1871.
    3. William C., born c1813, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada; died 17 February 1898, Kent, Ontario, Canada; married (1) Rebecca Collins, 7 October 1883, Shediac, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada. She was born c1812, New Brunswick, Canada; died between 1861-1871, Kent, Ontario, Canada. (2) Ellen (MNU). She was born c1823, Ontario, Canada; died after 1871.

If you can any details about the lives of Loyalist Peter Stover, either of his wives or his children (sources cited, please), I would love to have them.

Although he is not my direct ancestor, he is part of my collateral family through the Carlisle and Stewart families.


1786 Land Deed Jedediah Fairweather to Benedict Arnold

While browsing page by page through New Brunswick, Canada land deeds looking for clues about my Carlisle family, I came across a land deed that involved an infamous person in U.S. history –  Benedict Arnold. Somewhere in my brain, I thought he had removed to England after the Revolutionary War ended. He did, but first, like other Loyalists, he settled in New Brunswick and lived there until 1791. Arnold spent the last ten years of his life living in London, where he died on 14 June 1801, aged 60. He was buried at St. Mary’s Church, Battersea.

Jedediah Fairweather to Benedict Arnold

This Indenture made the Seventeenth day
of March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred
and Eighty Six between Jedediah Fairweather of the Province of
New Brunswick Farmer of the one part and Benedict Arnold
Esquire of the City of Saint John in the Province aforesaid of the
other part. Witnesseth that the said Jedediah Fairweather for
and in consideration of the Sum of Fifty pounds of Current money
of the Province of New Brunswick to him in hand paid by
the said Benedict Arnold, the receipt whereof the said Jedediah
Fairweather doth hereby acknowledge. He the said Jedediah
Fairweather hath granted bargained and one and by these presents
doth grant bargain and sell alien and confirm unto the said
Benedict Arnold his Heirs and Assigns forever, a certain
Messuage or tenement and lot of Land, being number one thousand
three hundred and Twenty nine bounded on the East by Lot No.
1328, granted to Daniel Brown and on the north by lot 1241
granted to James Oliver, situate lying and being in the lower
Cove of the City of Saint John containing forty feet in front
and in depth one hundred feet, more or less, together with
all profits, Commodities, advantages, hereditaments, ways
waters and appurtenances whatsoever to the said messuage
or tenement and lot of Land and premises above mentioned
belonging or any wise appertaining, and also the Reversion
and reversions, remainder and remainders, Rents and
Services of the said premises and of every part thereof—
To have and to hold the said messuage ore tenement
and all the Estate Right Title Interest claim and demand whatsoever
of him the said Jedediah Fairweather of in and to the said
messuage, tenement and premises and every part thereof. To have
and to hold the said Messuage or Tenement and Lot of Land and
all and singular the said premises above mentioned and every part

Jedediah Fairweather to Benedict Arnold, Page 2

part and parcel thereof with the appurtenances unto the said
Benedict Arnold, his Heirs and Assigns, to the only proper use of the said
Benedict Arnold his Heirs and Assigns for ever. And the said Jedediah
Fairweather for him and his Heirs the said Messuage or Tenement and Lot of Land and premises and every part thereof against him and
his Heirs and against all and every other person and persons whatsoever to the said Benedict Arnold his Heirs and Assigns shall and
will warrant and forever defend by these presents. In witness whereof
the parties to these presents have interchangeably set their hands
and Seals the day and year first above written, and in the twenty
Sixth year of his Majesty’s Reign.

Jedediah Fairweather, SEAL
Signed Sealed and delivered in presence of
The words – to him in hand paid by the said Benedict Arnold, being
being first interlined between the fourth and fifth line- And the words (by Lot)
being also first interlined between the ninth and tenth lines.

Ross Curry – Chrisr Hatch

Province of New Brunswick – I hereby acknowledge to have received of Benedict Arnold Esquire the sum of fifty pounds New Brunswick Currency in full for the consideration money mentioned in the written Deed – witness my hand the day and year within mentioned.

Jedediah Fairweather

Ross Currie – Chrisr Hatch
St. John New Brunswick – Registerd on the Oath of Ross Currie
Esquire, one of the Witnesses – the 25th of April 1786