Keeping Kingston Memories
The arrival of the Loyalists on the Kingston Peninsula
is revealed in diaries and memoirs
Gram had given me a diary for Christmas and I prided myself on writing the day's happenings every night before I went to bed. I recorded the weather and who had dropped into visit and any other interesting events.
As I was sitting at the kitchen table with fountain pen in hand, Gramp dropped in to visit. He asked me if I were doing my lessons and I replied, "No, I am writing in my diary."
He winked at Dad and said, " She must be related to Sarah Frost?"
As usual, I had no idea what he was talking about but over the years, I have learned that Sarah Frost was the wife of a Loyalist. She wrote in her diary while on board the ship "Two Sisters". The vessel was under the command of Captain Brown and sailed from Lloyd's Neck in 1783 with two hundred and fifty Loyalist passengers headed for a new land that was then called Nova Scotia.
Her first entry was May 25, 1783 and the last one listed was Sunday, June 29, 1783. She penned such comments as: the captain drank tea with us . . . we anchored at the lower end of the City of New York and I went ashore in Captain Judson's whale boat and went to Mrs. MacKees, Mrs. Raymond's and to Mr. Partelow's where we dined and spent the afternoon. . .this afternoon my husband went on shore with my little son, nearly nine years old . . my father came on board the ship for breakfast.
By Wednesday of June 17, the thirteen ships, two brigs and one frigates were sixty miles from the Lighthouse at Sandy Hook and out of sight of land.
Saturday, June 28, the ship anchored off against Fort Howe in St. John's River and Sarah's comments were, "Our people went on shore and brought on board spruce and gooseberries, and grass and pea vines with the blossoms on them. Our land is five and twenty miles up the river."
In the final entry on Sunday, June 29, she expressed some thoughts of despair, "It is now afternoon and I have been ashore. It is I think, the roughest land I ever saw. We are all ordered to land to-morrow, and not a shelter to go under."
‘Kingston and the Loyalists of the Spring Fleet of 1783 with Reminiscences of Early Days in Connecticut: A Narrative by Walter Bates, Esq., Sometimes High Sheriff of the County of Kings, to which is appended a Diary written by Sarah Frost on her voyage to St. John, N. B. with the Loyalists of 1783.' was first published at Saint John in1889. Although only 32 pages in length, this informative pamphlet tells much about the Loyalist refugees in the wake of the Revolutionary War.
In the Introductory, W. O. Raymond states, "The publication of the following extremely interesting narrative of the late Walter Bates, Esq., of Kingston will be especially valuable if it should prove the means of arousing a spirit of inquiry and investigation amongst the possessors of old papers and documents." Mr. Raymond expresses concern that much material of real value to the future historian lies hidden from the light of day in many old dwellings in this province.
Walter Bates was the fourth son of John and Sarah (Bostwick) Bates, born on March 14, 1760 in the eastern part of the town of Connecticut, known as Darien. The story of his early manhood is given in a very entertaining form. After his arrival in Kingston, Kings County in 1783, he soon became quite a prominent personage in the land of his adoption. He became the Sheriff and was a man of strict integrity and good ability, he naturally took a leading position in civic affairs.
Walter Bates made his journey to the present day New Brunswick on the ship ‘Union' which had the honor of leading the whole fleet carrying the Loyalist settlers. After fourteen days at sea, they arrived at Partridge Island. David Pickett, Israel Hait, Silas Raymond and others proceeded up the river and chose a site on Bellisle Bay. The name given to the settlement was Kingston.
A list completed on April 16, 1783 of the Return of the families who embarked on the ‘Union' gives the names of the signers, their former place of abode, occupation and number of women, children and servants. Some of the signers being: Baker, Bardsley, Bates, Boon, Burdin, Burlock, Carle, Carrington, Caswell, Chick, Comely, Coree, Deforest, Dibblee, Dickermon, Ferris, Fountain, Fowler, Gordon, Hait, Hand, Happie, Hendrickson, Holcomb, Jostlin, Lane, Losee, Lumsden, Lyon, Marvin, Maybee, Nichols, Picket, Raymond, Rothburn, Scribner, Seaman, Seely, Shippy, Slokum, Smith, Squiers, Straight, Sweet, Trecarty, Tucker, Underwood and Wade. In all 65 signers, 35 women, 107 children and 2 servants made the journey on board the Union.
Chapter titles are: Early Days of the Revolution, with some accounts of the sufferings of the Loyalists; Personal adventures of the Narrator (Walter Bates) during the war; The Voyage of the First Fleet of 1783 and the settlement of Kingston by a band of Loyalists; Trinity Church - Its History and its Rectors. Part two deals with incidents of the early days in Connecticut.
The narrative of Walter Bates has supplied us with an accurate and reliable account of the departure from New York and subsequent arrival at Saint John of the first fleet of Loyalists in 1783 while the Diary of Sarah Frost will be found to throw additional light upon the nature of the voyage with all its accompanying discomforts. It will also enable the reader in some measure to realize the trials experienced by the Loyalists in parting with near relatives and life-long friends and give some idea of their first impressions on landing upon our rugged shores.
Sarah (Schofield) Frost and her husband were natives of Stamford, Connecticut, and relatives of Walter Bates. Sarah's parents supported the side of the Revolutionary party and hers was one of the many sad instances where families were divided by the event of the war. On July 30, one month after the arrival of the ‘Two Sisters', Sarah gave birth to a daughter Hannah, the second female Loyalist child to be born in Saint John.
After settling on the banks of the Kennebecasis River, Kings County at what is now Lower Norton, Sarah and William Frost manifested much interest in the welfare of the church at Kingston until the erection of a church more conveniently situated.
By the way, the booklet "Kingston and the Loyalists of the ‘Spring Fleet' of 1783" has been reprinted.
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Sinclair - Knight: I am trying locate any genealogy information on George Albert Sinclair born in 1884 and John Joseph Sinclair in1883 in Saint John, New Brunswick to John Sinclair and Georgianna Knight.
-Edward Eckert,1644 Brook Park Dr., Troy, Ohio, 45373, USA. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blizzard: I am searching for information about family of William Guy Blizzard who was born in 1848 in Saint John. It is believed the family settled in Saint John when his grandfather emigrated as a Loyalist. William worked as a fish packer in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Any information would be appreciated.
-Ed Fitzgerald. E-mail email@example.com.
Ruby is a genealogy buff. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.