THE LOYALISTS


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Picture Credit: The Brigade of the American Revolution (BAR)

"In American History, the Loyalists, or Tories, were the men and women who refused to renounce allegiance to the British Crown after July 1776; they demonstrated that the American Revolution was a civil war as well as a quest for independence. Approximately 500,000 persons, 20 percent of the white population, actively opposed independence; probably a like number were passive Loyalists. There were Loyalists in every colony, but they were most numerous in the Mid-Atlantic states and in the South."
"Although the incidence of loyalism was greatest among crown officials, Anglican clergy, social and economic elites, and cultural minorities, the King's friends came from all racial, religious, ethnic, economic, class, and occupational groups. Some were called Whig-Loyalists, who opposed British policies but also rejected secession. Sometimes families were divided: Benjamin Franklin's son William was a loyalist. Vested interest, temperament, or political philosophy could separate Patriot from Loyalist."
"As much as the Patriots did, the Loyalists put their lives, fortunes, and honor on the line during the Revolution. Besides those who served in the regular British Army, some 19,000 men fought in over 40 Loyalist units, the largest of which was Cortlandt Skinner's New Jersey Volunteers Refugees gathered in British-occupied New York City, where the Board of Associated Loyalists, headed by William Franklin, helped direct military activities. During the war, Crown supporters suffered physical abuse, ostracism, disenfranchisement, confiscation of property, imprisonment, banishment, even death. However, only 4,118 Loyalists requested compensation from Britain's Royal Claims Commission after the war, receiving a total of about 3,000,000 pounds."
"The Revolution forced approximately 100,000 persons, 2.4 percent of the population (compared with 0.5 percent in the French Revolution), into exile. Some refugees went to England, others to Florida or the Caribbean; at least half went to Canada, where the new colony of New Brunswick was created (1784) to meet their demands for lands and recognition. The United Empire Loyalists, a hereditary organization created by the Canadian government in 1789 to honor those who rallied to the crown before the peace of 1783, remains today the Loyalist counterpart to the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution."
(See Addresses at bottom of this page)

- Larry R. Gerlach (Bibliography: Allen, R., ed., The Loyal Americans (1983); Brown, W., The King's Friends (1965); Calhoon, R. C., The Loyalist Perception and Other Essays (1989); Colley, L., In Defense of Oligarchy (1982). Copyright (c) Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc

Much of the population of Digby County can be attributed, not only to Loyalist settlement, but many of those loyalists had been members of the New Jersey Volunteers. Click on an example of a Muster Roll of New Jersey Volunteers (NJV) in Capt Peter Rutan's Company of the 4th Battalion, NJV
You'll notice that quite a few are of Dutch or German descent. It was not uncommon for certain companies of loyalists to be of the same or similar nationalities. Many of these "foreign" names were Anglicized, both during, and after the war.

If you wish to look further into Loyalist genealogy, or know your true line and wish to become a member of the United Empire Loyalists, here are some helpful addresses you should note:
The address for Association Headquarters is:
The United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada,
50 Baldwin St.,
Toronto, Ontario. Canada
M5T 1L4

The address for the Halifax / Dartmouth Branch is:
Mr. Ernest Clarke, President
2850 Ralph Devlin Drive,
Halifax NS B3L 3T1

   

 

 

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1998, 1999 Elaine Deion; 2000 to present CathyLee Rudolph

 

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