Grand River Branch

United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada

 

 

 

 


Selected Reprints from the

Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches



 

"Not All Loyalists Fled After The Revolution"

Angela E.M. Files, November 1997, Vol.9 No.2, Page 8

 


 

   During American Revolutionary times, not all Loyalists fled to the British places of refuge, the British Isles, Canada and the West Indies.  For many reasons, both Native and non-Native families remained in the newly-formed American republican nation.

  In those days, if a Loyalist chose to leave or stay, he or she experienced the repressive acts, bills and laws created by the various branches of the continental government.

  Included were Bills of Attainers, forcing Loyalists to lose their civil rights and capacities.  Confiscation Acts filled the debt-ridden continental treasury by the sale of Loyalist property and goods.  Committees of Correspondence detected and controlled Tories.  Committees for Detecting Conspiracies controlled plots against the rebels while Committees of Public Safety safeguarded the general public through the reporting of the activities of Loyalists.  Test Laws were to stop and prevent loyalty to the British Crown..  Is it any wonder that many Loyalists did not escape these abusive measures?

  Harassed by these oppressive laws and by neighbours, Jacob File and his family left their homeland, the picturesque Hudson Valley in New York, 32 years after the close of the revolution.  Purchasing farm land in the valley of the Grand River from Jacob Brant, Jacob File and his sons settled in this British place of refuge in Upper Canada.  The File/Files cemetery off the Ferguson Sideroad on Highway 2 in Ancaster Township is a testimony of the later flight of this branch of our family.

  Some of the loyal members of the Six Nations also decided not to trek to the Grand River Valley, Upper Canada, with Chief Joseph Brant and his aboriginal Loyalists.

  Cornplanter (c. 1740 - 1836) Chief of the Senecas, aided the British by leading raids against the American forces.  After the Revolution he became a loyal friend of the new American nation.   In the year 1784, the year Brant settled his people on the Grand River, Cornplanter signed the treaty of Fort Stanwix by which the Iroquois Confederacy ceded to the United States all the land west of the Niagara.  He was given a land grant on the Allegheny River.

  Red Jacket (c. 1756 - 1830) Chief of the Senecas, ally of the English in the Revolution, wore a British red coat and, along with his Native name "Sagoyewatha", was dubbed "Red Jacket".  On January 20, 1830, Red Jacket died at Seneca Village, New York.  Both Cornplanter and Red Jacket acted as interventionists between Native and non-Native groups.

  American and Canadian historians are uncertain of the exact number of Loyalists who stayed in the new nation because many concealed their adherence to george III, the British monarch, in order to survive life among the rebel victors.  today some of their descendants are members of both the United Empire Loyalists' Association and The Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution!