For disenchanted Americans, I have an escape plan that keeps with historical tradition – New Brunswick. In case of a Trump win in the US presidential race, Cape Breton has announced its willingness to provide refuge for fleeing Americans. But New Brunswick is closer, and Americans who come here might even reunite with part of their family.
In the American Revolution, many residents of the 13 Colonies thought things were going too far when violent secession from Britain became the objective. Yes, better representation and fairer taxation, greater local decision-making and less exploitation by the homeland. But severing all ties because of the erratic rule of King George III? Replacing a stable system of governance with a new one made up of businessmen and self-promoters? The possibility of “mob rule”?
Time to head out, many – white, black and First Nations – decided. Better to await the next king and stay affiliated with a nation where rights and obligations are known and had been worked out over centuries between parliament and monarch. So that would be north, to Canada.
United Empire Loyalist Province
New Brunswick’s border abuts Maine. The refugees followed the Saint John River. Its great valley running the length of New Brunswick provided new homes for many of them. About 33,000 Loyalists fled to Canada. The majority of those came to what is now called New Brunswick, but at that time was part of Nova Scotia.
In 1784 New Brunswick was established as a separate colony, with 14,000 new Loyalist residents, due to problems encountered elsewhere in Nova Scotia. Many Loyalists settled at the mouth of the river in Saint John. In 1783 it was a village of 145. In 1785 it had grown so much it became Canada’s first incorporated city.
Britain gave the United Empire Loyalists grants of land and start-up resources, money and farming equipment and livestock. The British took that land, however, from the Acadian, Mi’kmaq and Maliseet people resident there. They were pushed to less arable lands to the north and east.
In Saint John, the Loyalist Burial Grounds provides a roll call of UEL names. In it and other old churchyards, I’ve found distant relatives. My Burwell, Lymburner and Mabee ancestors came as Loyalists to New Brunswick and moved on to southwestern Ontario.
Civil and Vietnam Wars
Eighty years later, US Civil War draft dodgers settled “Skedaddle Ridge” in Carleton County on the Maine border. A century after that, New Brunswick received its share of Vietnam War resisters and disaffected Americans. So, welcome, those seeking refuge from what is likely to be a very changed America, whomever the next president. Your history, neighbours and family are already here.
Confused by many men centuries ago named Samuel, Adam, John and James Burwell in my database, I gave up trying to sort them out. I then picked up my mother’s family history binder. It pays to do that occasionally.
So here is a letter from the late Lloyd Burwell to my mother about their mutual great-great-grandfather James Burwell UEL. Also included is information on James’ brothers and father and possible connection to the Virginia Burwells. I removed only small parts not relevant to family history in my transcription. (See my Burwell Family Tree.)
31 July 1983, Dear Ruby…
I am sending you a copy of the obituary of James Burwell as you requested. I am also sending you copies of several other items…
Upper Canada Land Petitions
The list I made of the Upper Canada Land Petitions from PAC in Ottawa includes our ancestor James Burwell (No. 1 and 12) and our ancestor Lewis Burwell (No. 8). The others are the other sons and daughters of James (brothers and sisters of Lewis). The list of Upper Canada Land Grants on the same page includes James (No. 1) and Lewis (No. 10). I have copies of all the petitions and grants in these lists.
I have included copies of the Land Grants for Lewis (Warrant 3855) and James (Fiat 2347) together with the Certificate signed by Col. Talbot certifying that James Burwell had completed his settlement duties 2nd July 1819. I have also included a copy of the survey for Lot 13 North, Talbot Road East Branch. By the assignment recorded on Warrant 3855 it is evident that Lewis did not take up his Crown Grant. Instead he sold his right to a land agent by the name of James Anderson.
I had first seen the Biographical Sketch of James Burwell by Lorenzo Sabine (p 277) back in 1974 and wondered where he got his information. Two years ago I found out when Wm. Yeoger, curator of the Eva Brook Donly Museum in Simcoe, published the results of his searching old newspaper records at the Ontario Archives (OA) including the obituary of James Burwell reported in the Church of England paper “The Church”.
When vacationing in New Brunswick
When vacationing in New Brunswick in 1976 we visited Esther Clarke Wright in her home. She listed James Burwell in her book The Loyalists of New Brunswick among some 6000 Loyalists she had researched. She is a PhD; a retired professor of history from Acadia University in Wolfville NS. I did not get any new information from her.
I also went to the Dept. of Lands & Mines in Fredericton NB to look at the original Crown land grand maps. I did not find a reference to a specific lot but did get a copy of the land grant to the Regiment of 38,450 acres and reference to James Burwell being entitled to 250 acres. I believe he sold his right to his officer, Captain John Borberie.
At the PAC in Ottawa
At the Public Archives of Canada (PAC) in Ottawa I researched through microfilms of the British Military Records and ordered copies of all the Muster Rolls that listed James Burwell. I made a list (copy enclosed) of the ones I found. James Burwell had a brother Samuel and his father’s name was also Samuel. Since there is a Samuel Burwell listed on some of the Muster Rolls, we can speculate that it may be James’ brother or father.
William D. Reid (now dead) was an archivist at O.A. On p. 43 of his book “The Loyalists in Ontario” he lists James Burwell and his 10 sons and daughters who received Crown Grants of land. Actually there was an eleventh child, Timothy, but there is no evidence that he applied for or received a Crown Grant.
I am enclosing a photocopy of the monument in Fingal cemetery near the east gate having inscriptions on three faces for 1, Lewis Burwell, 2, his wife Levonia Williams and 3, Laura A. Kennedy. I transcribed Laura’s year of death as 1881 but have since found her mother Amy [d/o Lewis and Levonia] age 25 in the 1881 census so Laura, being age 15 at death, must have died in 1891.
I am enclosing a photocopy of a 1908 newspaper clipping I found in a scrap book at the O.A. about Levonia Burwell, wife of Lewis. Lewis died at age 42. Did you ever hear what the cause of death was?
Mahlon and James Burwell 1st cousins 1 remove
I am enclosing copies of p. 327 and 328 from Vol II July 1920 of Tyler’s Quarterly Historical & Genealogical Magazine. The chart supplied by Mr. Raymond W. Smith of Orange NJ shows our ancestor James as being a first cousin of Col. Mahlon Burwell. Maria Burwell who married Howard Johnson spoke of Mahlon Burwell being a cousin of her father Lewis [s/o James and Hannah]. According to this chart they would be 1st cousins once removed.
I am also enclosing a photocopy of a 1935 newspaper account of the celebration of Maria Burwell’s 100th birthday. I believe I copied it from a clipping owned by Gertrude Bowes of New Liskeard, Ont.
I am enclosing photocopies of the last two pages of a 16 page article by Archibald Blue in 1899 about Col. Mahlon Burwell. He quotes Lorenzo Sabine in the Biographical Note with reference to James Burwell, then states that his relationship to Adam Burwell, the father of Mahlon, is uncertain. I have a copy of Adam Burwell’s petition for land which Archibald Blue states “appears to be lost”. The record is with the Upper Canada Land Petitions at PAC in Ottawa.
USA to Bertie Township
In James Burwell’s 1811 petition for land (Vol 37 B10/24) he states that he sent his brother (not named) with his cattle and goods from Presque Isle on the south side of Lake Erie to Upper Canada on or about the 1st day of July 1798 and that he arrived with his family in the Township of Bertie on or before the twelfth of July 1798. It would appear that the date 1796 stated in James Burwell’s obituary and all subsequent quotes by others is in error. Adam Burwell also affirms (he was a Quaker at the time) that James Burwell’s cattle and goods were brought to his farm in Bertie about the 19th of July 1798.
No mention is made of the relationship of James to Adam. Adam Burwell came to Upper Canada 12 years earlier than James, i.e. in 1786. He had been a spy for the British during the Revolution.
I am enclosing photocopies of the 10 pages of genealogy of the Burwell family of Virginia as recorded in Colonial Families of the Southern United States of America. It is Edward Burwell identified as 2-6 at the bottom of the 1st page (p. 94) that is referred to following the chart in Tyler’s Quarterly on p. 328.
Lewis Burwell family Bible
Mr. McDermott who lives in Fort Erie, Ont. is the present owner of the family bible of Lewis Burwell of Brantford, the surveyor and younger brother of Col. Mahlon Burwell. I have photocopies of all the family information recorded in this bible.
Lewis, writing in the bible in 1837, states that about the year 1607 or 1610 his great-grandfather Edward Burwell was named in a Royal Charter to a Plantation Company, who came from the city of London to the Province of Virginia. He states that his great-grandfather’s son John who married Agnes Lee removed from Virginia to the Province of New Jersey. He states that his grandfather John had several sons and the youngest son was his father Adam who married Sarah Vail, daughter of Nathaniel Vail of New Jersey. Also in this bible Lewis records the death of James Burwell, a cousin who died at Port Talbot on 25th June 1853 aged 99 years and 5 months.
Our ancestor John Burwell
I find it hard to believe that our ancestor John Burwell who is said to have left Jamestown, Virginia in 1721 would be the son of Edward Burwell who was in Virginia in 1648. John Burwell is believed to have been born in 1705 and Edward in 1625. This would make Edward 80 years old when John was born. It seems to me there should be another generation in between.
Well I think this is enough genealogy for one letter. I trust it will all be of interest to you…
There is a Burwell family in southwestern Ontario and one in Virginia. No one is sure if they’re related. I wonder if the link might be through Burwells in Connecticut.
The Ontario Burwells are United Empire Loyalists. Fighting for the losing side in the American Revolution, they fled New Jersey north to still-British Canada. The Virginia Burwells fought on the American side. In the War of 1812, the two again fought on opposite sides. In the American Civil War, the Virginia Burwells, plantation owners, fought on the Confederate side.
An obituary of James Burwell of Fingal says he was grandson to John Burwell “who removed from James Town, Virginia, in the year 1721, a relative of the extensive family of Burwells in that county.” A relative. Speculation has been that this John Burwell (1695-1763) was the son of Lewis Burwell Jr. and Martha Lear.
Burwell Family Chart, Canada and USA
I suggest instead that John and Lewis Jr. were 3rd cousins twice removed, related through two cousins in England. One cousin, John’s great-great-grandfather, came to Connecticut. The other died in England but his widow and son Lewis (Sr.) moved to Virginia. Molly’s Burwell Family webpage has Samuel Burwell of Connecticut as John’s father. From this, I found what seems like a feasible line back to England and thus to the Virginia line.
The story of the Virginia Burwells is like Gone with the Wind with spin-offs. There are two Burwells I will write more about. They are on the bottom right side of my chart.
Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell Puller is a descendant of Lewis Burwell V. Nicknamed Chesty, he was the most-decorated Marine in US history.
Wikipedia says he is a distant cousin of Gen. George S. Patton. I haven’t looked into that, but it sounds like they were spiritual kin if not actual. A quote attributed to Lt. Gen. Chesty is: “We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies the problem”. The Marine Corps Bulldog mascot is named after him.
George “William” Kirkland is a descendant of Armistead Burwell, Lewis’ brother. First known as “Garland’s George,” he enlisted as “William Kirkland” in the Union Army during the Civil War. He died in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek in Missouri.
Pvt. Kirkland was born into slavery, son of Elizabeth Keckley. Armistead Burwell fathered – and owned – Elizabeth. He later gave her to his legitimate daughter Anne, who married Hugh Garland of North Carolina. Andrew Kirkland, friend of the Garlands, fathered Elizabeth’s son George.
In colonial times Georg Frederick Anger, a native of Germany, lived on the Susquehannah River in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. During the American Revolution he joined Butler’s Rangers at Fort Niagara. Following the war, Frederick Anger settled in Bertie Township, Welland County. The following is his Claim for Revolutionary War Losses heard by the Commissioners of Claims at Niagara on 23 Aug 1787. (AO 12 Vol. 40 P. 335-338)*
To the Commissioners appointed by Act of Parliament for enquiring into the Losses and Services of the American Loyalists:
The Memorial of Frederick Anger late of Susquehannah River in the County of Northumberland and Province of Pennsylvania but now of Niagara in the Province of Quebec.
* That your Memorialist, at the beginning of the late unhappy Disturbances in America, was settled on the North Branch of the Susquehannah River in Northumberland County Province of Pennsylvania where he was in possession of a good Farm with Buildings thereon erected, live Stock, Farming utensils, Household Furniture etc., the whole valued at £372.18, New York Currency;
* That understanding Parliament had taken into Consideration the distressed State of the Loyal American Subjects and purpose granting them such relief as may appear Just and Reasonable in proportion to their Losses;
Your Memorialist in behalf of himself and Family humbly prays that you will be pleased to grant him such Relief as may appear Reasonable and your Memorialist shall ever pray.
State of the Effects lost by Frederick Anger late of Northumberland County in the Province of Pennsa. at the time he made his Escape to the British Army in the year 1778, from which period till the Close of the War he served the King in Colonel Butler’s Rangers – 300 Acres of Land, Cattle, Grain, Hogs,Household Furniture, Farming utensils etc.,£372.18 New York Currency.
August 27th 1787
Evidence on the Claim of Frederick Anger late of Pennsylvania
Says he is a native of Germany, went to America 30 years ago. Lived on the Susquhannah when the Rebellion broke out, joined Colonel Butler, served Seven years with him as a Private. He had two Sons in the same Regiment.
He had half a Proprietor’s Right on the disputed Lands on the Susquhannah, gave 72 Dollars for it, his half Right was 2000 acres. Says he went to Susquhannah in 1772. Cleared 20 Acres. Built a good House and Stable.
Lost 4 Cows, 3 Horses, 3 three year old Heifers, 2 two year old, 3 Calves, 7 Sheep, 14 Hogs large one, Furniture, utensils, 60 Bushels Grain, 80 Bushels various kinds of Corn – all lost by the Indians and Rangers.
Michael Showers Sworn,
Knew Claimant, he served in Butlers Rangers from the time that the Susquhannah was cut off by Colonel Butler. He [Anger] had Lands on the Susquehannah. He had half a Proprietors Right, it was then disputed Land. He had a clever House and Barn, about 20 Acres clear, he settled there about 1772. He had a pretty large Stock, taken by the Indians and Rangers.
Decision of the Commissioners
(AO 12 Vol. 66 P. 56)
Frederick Anger late of Susquehanah
Amount of Property £723.7.6
Determination 7th December 1787
Loyalty. Bore Arms – The Claimant is a Loyalist & Bore Arms in Support of the British Government
Real Estate: Improvements on a Farm on the Susquehanah – £35
Personal Estate: Various Articles of Personal Property 42 – £77
Resides at Niagara
Summary of Claim for Losses and Disbursement
(AO 12 Vol. 109 P. 74 Certificate No. 915)
Name of claimant: Anger, Frederick; Province Penns; Claim for Loss of Property £723.7; Sum Originally Allowed £77; Total Sum payable under Act of Parliament £77; Balance After Such Receipt £77; Final Balance £77
The Second Report of The Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario, 1904 transcribed from Library of Congress MSS 18,662 Vol. XX MSS. 41 in Second Report P. 973 Proceedings of Loyalist Commissioners, Montreal 1787.
Before Commissioner Pemberton P. 973 MSS. 41. New Claim Aug. 23. Claim of Frederick Anger, late of Pensylva. Repeats the evidences in AO 12.
* I thank Phillip Schettler for this (Apr. 24/14 comment, Anger family tree). For more information on UEL claims and compensations, see Alexander Fraser‘s United Empire Loyalists, 2nd Report of the Bureau of Archives of the Province of Ontario 1904.
The map of Bertie Township shows names of land owners in 1784. I have marked those lots belonging to Angers in yellow, Nears (early in-laws) in orange. The lots of my other family lines, the Mabees are marked in green and Adam Burwell’s in blue.
Years ago, I was in a public library in Los Angeles and found reference books on family histories. I looked up my family name, Anger. It said the name came from France, from the region of Anjou, with its main city being Angers. I was thrilled with the idea of being French.
When I came home, I told my father. He said “French! No! We’re German.” He had always said when asked that he didn’t know the family origins – “a little bit of everything” was his answer. So I remained convinced that we were French.
Much later, when I started delving into family history and found other family members doing the same, I discovered that Dad and I were both right.
A French and German family name
The family was Huguenot or French Protestant. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Protestants in France had to convert to Catholicism or be killed or expelled. Or they fled the country. They went to Protestant countries, among them the territories that became Germany. And that is where the known history of our family starts.
Georg Frederick Anger migrated to Pennsylvania in 1754. When the American colonies went to war with Britain, Georg Frederick chose the British side and he and his sons fought as Loyalists to the crown. After the war, they moved across the new border and settled in Bertie Township, near Fort Erie. They joined Butler’s Rangers, a British regiment made up of Loyalists.
The Anger men weren’t done with war. In the War of 1812, they again found their new homeland in the midst of American and British conflict. Then, forty years later, the Angers of Bertie literally found themselves in the midst of battle.
In the 1866 Battle of Ridgeway, part of the Fenian Raids in Upper Canada, the Anger homestead was smack in the midst of the battlelines. Bullet holes are still visible in the bricks. The house was turned into a field hospital, being handy to the wounded. (Also see my Battle of Ridgeway.)
Several years ago, my husband and I made a trip to Ridgeway to find the family. First stop was the Ridgeway archives and library.
The librarian told us that my great-great-great-great-grandparents were buried in the “Coloured Cemetery,” north of Ridgeway near the Anger house. Close to the American border, the area had become home to escaped and freed slaves.
But just when I was thinking with delight about what the Anger place of burial meant for my personal ancestry, the archivist told me it had been the cemetery for everybody in the early days of the settlement. White people, generally, had gravestones. Black people had wooden crosses. The Angers have gravestones.
All the cemeteries near Ridgeway have Angers buried in them. But several of the children of Georg Frederick’s son John Charles moved west. One of them, also named John Charles, had a son Peter who moved to Hazen Settlement in South Walsingham Township, Norfolk County. It is from him that all of us here in Elgin County claim descent. (See my Anger family tree.)
This is for my father, George, who died nine years ago today. He had seen his family history in computer printouts first by my cousin Chris Anger and then by me. Dad and I also came to agree that the family was German and French. The title for this is from his saying about our family name – “Anger by name, Anger by nature.”
A couple weeks ago, I posted the family tree of the Mabees, my paternal grandmother’s people. It’s the family I knew least about, other than there are a lot of them in the Tillsonburg-Courtland area. And I claim as kin the fabulous figure skater Christopher Mabee, from Tillsonburg. Don’t know how he’s related* but I believe he must be, so I call him “Cousin Chris”.
Anyway, the internet allowed me to connect my limited knowledge of the Mabees with sources of a lot of information about them. The thing that I was delighted to discover is that the Mabees came to Canada from the US as United Empire Loyalists. That makes my entire lineage, both sides of both parents’ families, UEL.
So talking with my husband, who was born and raised in the US, about the Loyalists. His children are Canadian because of the Vietnam War. I am Canadian because of the Revolutionary War. Telling him about a Mabee ancestor whom the British hanged as a “spy” for the rebels. The rest of the family came north to Canada. The American rebels, later known as the government and citizenry of the USA, seized their lands.
So what was that like? Families divided by political opinion and geography. For those who left, returning to the US was not an option unless they were willing to risk arrest. Sounds like the American Civil War, doesn’t it? Only it was a national border between them in the latter 1700s.
Black, white and First Nations – all belonged to the group that the new United States saw as traitors and that Canada called United Empire Loyalists. All contributed to military efforts against the American “rebels” and all made new communities in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.
Voluntarily or not, the loyalists had already left their homelands at least once. Europeans like my ancestors had sought freedom from religious, economic or political oppression in a new land.
One tyrant or a thousand tyrants
Presumably, my kin in the Mabee, Burwell, Anger and Lymburner families had found that in the beginning. But when total independence was being discussed and fought for, they preferred political ties with Britain to living in the proposed republic. “Better to live under one tyrant a thousand miles away, than a thousand tyrants one mile away” was how UEL Daniel Bliss put it. And, to the north, there was a country/colony that agreed with that philosophy. So they picked up stakes again and moved to British North America.
Double rebels, and divided families. Family members maybe never saw each other again. Those who left had to abandon the land and homes they’d built up. They had to homestead all over again in new country. New generations became American or Canadian, maybe not really thinking much about their connections to the other country and their family there.
From New Jersey to New Brunswick and New York to Niagara, those United Empire Loyalists, rebels against the United States of America, are my people.
*I have found out! We are related through Simon Mabee (1700-1783), making us half 6th cousins, 3x removed.
Newfoundland Mi'kmaq, family history, Coronation Street, etc.