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United Empire Loyalists

Do you have the new PRENTICE eBook?
United Empire Loyalists
Summer 2001 and Revised 18 Mar 2001

For those of you whose are having trouble tracing your Canadian Prentice kin's roots, we came across an interesting email by Murray A. Inch on Lanark-L@rootsweb.com which may provide an explanation. It reads, in part, as follows:

    In the American rebellion (against their "true" Sovereign, George III), people who held to their allegiance or were suspected of being sympathizers were frequently driven from their farms, plantations, and homes. Over 100,000 were resettled in the then colonies of Quebec and Nova Scotia which now covers primarily Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, PEI. and New Brunswick, as well as other colonies such as Bermuda or else returned to Europe. Some black Loyalists were sent to Africa...

    This displacement occurred largely because the individual state governments did not enforce the provisions of the articles of peace which provided for the honoring of debts and protection of property for all persons, including loyalists( and Tories). Perhaps Ms Rankin was a child of Loyalists.

    The Loyalists petitioned for compensation and those landed in Canada were granted rights to take up Crown lands, food rations, some implements and tools and seeds to plant crops and sometimes other compensation. I presume there are similar petitions to the Crown which are stored in Archives in London and perhaps Edinburgh and could be consulted by a researcher. Also these individuals were entitled to use the letters UE after their names and this provided real social cachet to the families in Canada. . ..That could be a conversation piece especially when meeting with (Daughters of the [American] Revolution) at California social events.

    UEL descendants in Canada are holding a major conference June 7-10, 2001 at Cornwall Ontario Canada, see www.recorder.ca/uelstlawrencebr/

    As for Shelburn(e), Shelburne N.S. was a major staging point following withdrawal of British Forces and Loyalists from New York. I can't advise on what records survived and where they are but this was in effect a refugee camp and must have been pretty confused as the British Military and Civil power struggled in a frontier situation to deal with a mass displacement similar to the Highland clearances.

    I have not checked the National or provincial archives to see what records remained in Canada but these are possible sources in addition to British sources.

    There are also towns with the same name in Virginia, Vermont and Mass., but NS is the likeliest place given the family stories. For sources see Morris's Encyclopedia of American History (1953) page 109, "Signing of the Preliminary Articles of Peace" (is this old & basic text available on the Web somewhere?) and the articles in the Canadian Encyclopedia on the Loyalists by Bruce G. Wilson. These articles also provide bibliographies of the main scholarly texts on the Loyalists (both Canadian and American historians). The encyclopedia (I have the 1998 edition) is available on CD from McClelland and Stewart, of Toronto. M&S have a web address.

If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please contact us at dewald@prenticenet.com and please include the title and date of this article.


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