June 16th a Great Day For the Descendents of the U.E. Loyalists -
A Toronto Deputation was in Attendance -
Facts and Incidents Relating to other Days -
"Honor the Old U.E.'s."
Adolphustown, June 18 - Perhaps in no other township in this province is the united empire loyalist sentiment so strongly maintained, especially by the older population, than in little Adolphustown. It was at first entirely settled by the U.E.L. refugees, who landed on these shores on the 16th of June, 1784, and many of the descendants of those grand old pioneers are still living on the homesteads first cleared away by their ancestors. A few weeks ago word came that it was the intention of the newly organized U.E.L. association in Toronto to be represented by a deputation at the time of the anniversary landing this year, and arrangements were made to give them a fitting and a cordial welcome. Unfortunately the time fixed for that visit was twice changed and in consequence of that fact and of the uncertainty of the hour of the visit, the attendance was not so large as it would otherwise have been.
As it was the Toronto delegates and their friends, about twenty in number, reached here about ten o'clock in the forenoon. They left Toronto on Friday, reaching Deseronto in the evening, where they were received and most hospitably entertained by Mr. and Mrs. E.W. Rathbun. That evening they visited the Mohawk Indian church, a couple of miles west of the town, where by the way, the second Anglican church in Upper Canada was erected for the use of the Indians, in about 1785, and where a church has always since existed. These Mohawk Indians were not aborigines of Canada, but came to this country as U.E. Loyalists about the same time as the pale-face brother loyalists, and the township of Menderega* was allotted to them, a part of which their descendants have occupied ever since. They have now reached a stage of civilization, intelligence and prosperity probably in advance of any other Indian tribe in Canada.
Landing at Adolphustown the company was pleased to find themselves met and welcomed by a number of the representative people of the historic old township, the descendants of the first pioneers. They were first escorted to the historic "old U.E.L. burying ground," which lies on the lot adjoining the landing place, and near the very fine residence of David W. Allison, ex-M.P. At that point the first pioneer company landed in 1784 after their long and tedious voyage from New York via the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, and up the St. Lawrence, being compelled to spend the long and severe winter of 1783-4 in their small canvas tents at Sorel, below Montreal. Not a tree had been cut in the township at the time of their landing, and not one white man had ever even erected a log hut. They were compelled to remain some weeks in their canvas tents until the surveyors had measured off and defined the lots assigned to each of them by lot. While thus remaining, a child of one of the company sickened and died and was buried on a knoll near by. This was the starting of the burying place of a large number of these pioneers. A few weeks later while some of the first lots were being cleared, Jacob Hoover was so badly injured by a falling limb that he soon died, and he was the first adult buried in that memorable God's acre. For years it has been disused and in consequence much neglected. The early headstones, if stones were then placed at all, have become obliterated and now it is not possible to accurately locate the graves of some of those who, in their day were among the leading spirits of the founders of their country. Among these are Major Vanalstine, the captain of the "Fourth Town" company, and a member of the first Upper Canada parliament; Nicholas Hagerman, the first regularly authorized practicing lawyer in Upper Canada, the father of Christopher Hagerman, afterwards solicitor general and then chief justice, and two other sons, who were both lawyers. It was on his lot and near his farmhouse that the burial ground was located. He was grandfather of the late Mrs. J. Beverly Robinson, whose husband was a well-known and popular lieutenant-governor of Ontario, not many years ago. Thomas Dorland, also a member of one of the early parliaments, also lies in an unmarked grave there and so do scores of others whose names were once well known.
In 1884, at the time of the centennial celebration, steps were taken for the erection of a fine granite monument which now well marks the place. It contains the following inscription;
In Memory of the U.E. Loyalists
Who through loyalty to British institutions
left the United States and
landed on these shores on the
16th of June, 1784.
The oldest stone now left is a grey limestone marking the resting place of Hannah VanDusen, wife of Conrad VanDusen, who died March 8th, 1791, aged eighty-seven years, ten months and eight days.
Leaving that place the company next visited the U.E.L. memorial church (Anglican), of which the Rev. R.S. Forneri is rector. He is well known throughout these counties and has taken great interest in helping perpetuate the memories of the early settlers. It is because of his exertions that a large number of very neat panel tiles have been placed all around the church giving the names and other information in brief of many of these loyalists whose names should always be perpetuated. These were subjects of much interest to many present who saw there the names of their ancestors thus indelibly inscribed.
A PUBLIC MEETING
Returning from the church the party were escorted to the old church, which for more than half a century was the place for worship for the generation now past, and is now used as a church hall for general purposes. In the north-east corner of that is still pointed out where stood the pew of the Macdonald family - the father and mother of the late Sir John, who, with their son and daughters, now all lie buried in Cataraqui cemetery. They were Presbyterians, but as there was no church of the denomination in the township, the family worshipped there and at the old Methodist church on Hay Bay, near their early Adolphustown home.
The ladies very thoughtfully provided a lunch of light refreshments after which a public meeting was regularly organized. Redford Dorland, township clerk, presided. He is a great-grandson of Thomas Dorland, one of the first arrivals and a grandson of Col. Samuel Dorland, who is said to have been the first white child born in the township, and once a well-known man throughout the county. Parker Allen, Esq., now the oldest male U.E.L. in the township was called upon to read the address of welcome, which was a very appropriate one indeed. Mr. Allen, it may be heresaid, was born in 1811 and has lived all his days in this immediate vicinity. His eighty-seven years of active life on a farm are weighing heavily on him but his mind is still clear and his memory is excellent. He is a fine type of the fine old yeomanry of this township. He was a school mate and playfellow with Sir John Macdonald in their early boy days, when they attended at the old log school-house near by. Mrs. Garner, a still older resident, and also a school mate of young Jack and his sisters, is also living and was present at the meeting. She is quite feeble but also retains a good remembrance of those early days. These are all that is now left of the Adolphustown school mates. They say the Macdonald children and others had then to walk nearly four miles, and mostly through the woods to reach that little school-house - the first they ever attended.
The address was very appropriately replied to by Rev. C.E. Thompson, of Carlton, near Toronto. He is a grandson of Capt. Peter Ruttan, one of the pioneers. His father was a well-known editor and publisher in Kingston sixty years or more ago. David W. Allison, ex-M.P., made an eloquent speech. He is a grandson of the first of the Allison and Horner families and is so brim-full of the early U.E. spirit, that he always grows interesting and eloquent on that theme. Unfortunately his time was necessarily limited, but the facts he gave were to the point regarding the unswerving loyalty of the loyalists in the days of the revolution, of their sons here in the days of the American invasion in 1821* and the next years, and of these and their sons in the days of the Canadian rebellion in 1837. We regret there is not space left for a fuller recital of these facts. An excellent choir sang a patriotic song composed for the occasion by the Rev. R. S. Forneri entitled "Honor to the Old U.E.'s!"
Minstrel, awaken the harp from its slumbers,
Gratefully strike for the noble U.E.'s
High and heroic, in soul stirring numbers,
Strike the full chords for the brave refugees.
Old recollections wake our affections,
Each time we speak of the days that are past,
Hearts beating loudly, and cheeks glowing proudly -
Honor our forefathers, ay, to the last.
Wide now are scattered their sons and their daughters;
Oft, when begin the long shadows to fall,
On us in floods, like the swift rushing waters,
Grow recollections of days past recall;
Days when the storm of war burst on New England's shore;
Days when our sires drew their swords for the king;
When, their all losing, Canadian wilds choosing;
Where "Rule Britannia" still they might sing.
Minstrel, awaken the harp from its slumbers,
Gratefully strike for the brave old U.E.'s.
High and heroic, in soul stirring numbers,
Their praise and glory we give to the breeze;
Heedless of others, countrymen, brothers,
Copy their virtues, be brave, loyal, free;
May our land never from England sever,
But be her brightest gem over the sea.
The whole audience joined heartily in singing "The Maple Leaf Forever," and "God Save the Queen." The audience then dispersed much pleased with the day's gathering.
SOME OLD RELICS
Rev. Mr. Forneri and some others had very considerately gathered up some very interesting relics of pioneer days, which added to the interest of the occasion. There was the old family bible and a chair of the Allen family which had seen service in at least four generations. An old flint lock musket, the property of the Hough family in Fredericksburgh, was on inspection. No doubt it helped largely to contribute its share to the food and luxuries of the olden time, when game was plentiful and other things scarce. There was, too, an old ledger or two of Benjamin Seymour, the father of the late Hon. Senator Seymour. He had probably the first store anywhere about the bay country west of Kingston and was established in the nineties in the last century. It was located where the Neilsons now do business at Conway, some miles east of Adolphustown, on the bay shore. Perhaps, though, the objects of the greatest interest were two large and heavy pewter platters, both of which have a history far beyond the recollection of any of the remaining generation.
One of these belongs to Mrs. Jane Allison Mallory, now a grandmother, but it was owned by her great grandmother, her grandmother and her mother. It was an heirloom to the Hoover family, of which Mrs. Mallory's mother was a member. Dr. Canniff, in his history says of it, "Casper Hoover had for his wife Barbara Monk, a relative of Barbara Heck, so well-known in connection with early Methodism in the new world. There remains now in the possession of Mrs. Joseph Allison, of Adolphustown, whose wife was a Hoover, a pewter platter which belonged to Barbara Monk. She was a descendant of the palatines, and this platter was carried by her ancestors when they were forced to leave the Palatinates. They took it with them to Ireland, thence to New York and finally it was brought by Barbara to Adolphustown with Vanalstine's company. It is a round dish, of solid metal, sixteen inches broad, and weighing over five pounds. It bears no signs of wearing out. This article of household usefulness, is, or was in the past, regarded as a township one, and was famous for its associations with innumerable potpies. For many a year when there was a bee, or a raising, or a wedding, the pewter platter was engaged to do service."
That was written thirty years ago. The same old family relic is yet on its errands of usefulness, and still is doing service in Adolphustown on important occasions. It is said that in its day it has been used by nearly every family for miles along the bay shore.
The other is a similar one, now the property of Mrs. Catharine Bogart Bygott, and has been in the Bogart or Lazier family for probably 200 years. No doubt it has also done service at many an important occasion north of Hay Bay. In the good old days a hundred years ago the people were all very neighborly and accommodating. Borrowing and lending were very general.