A New Life: The Settlement of the Eastern Townships

The Ten Eyck Red coat, c.1770s. 
Loyalists like Andres Ten Eyck passed through or settled at "Missiskoui Bay" beginning in the 1780s. The Ten Eyck Red coat was brought to the Townships when Andres Ten Eyck settled in Dunham in 1794. 

(Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Detail, Ten Eyck Red coat, c.1770s. 

Paragraph from Petition of Andreas Ten Eyck 1797:
Your Excellency's Petitioner has much impaired his constitution, and met with great losses during the War for which he has not received any compensation his sons likewise were in New York during the War and had been much harassed by the Rebels; Your Excellency's Petitioner therefore Humbly Pray's (sic) that Your Excellency will graciously please to Grant unto him and each of his sons Andrew and Henry twelve Hundre Knight Family Clock, c.1790. 
This 8-day, weight-driven clock hung in the parlour of the Knight homestead through five generations of the Knight family. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Christian Wehr's Muzzle-loading fowling musket, c.1805-1820. 
Manufactured by Goodwin & Co., London, England. 

Christian Wehr (1731- 1824) was an influential United Empire Loyalist who figured prominently in the opening and settlement of Missisquoi County. Loyal to the British Crown throughout the American Revolution, Wehr was a German Palatine descendant who petitioned Governor Haldimand for the legal right to own land east of Missisquoi Bay.

In a report to a British parliamentary commission investi Leather trunk with brass buttons c.1790. 
This chest came from the United States with the flood of British Loyalists and other groups such as the Pennsylvania Germans who settled in Missisquoi Bay (Philipsburg) after the American Revolution. It was the property of Jacob Burley (1761-1841) of St. Armand, Quebec. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Small, hand-painted wooden dome-topped trunk, c.1790. 
This trunk once belonged to Peleg Thomas (1778 -1852) of Frelighsburg, Quebec. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) The Loyalist Chair, c.1780. 
This small 18th century Chippendale style chair was owned by the Grange family who came to Upper Canada at the beginning of the American Revolution. The chair made its way to Lower Canada and Missisquoi Bay over the passage of time. The family willed the chair's ownership through generations of the family line with the stipulation that whoever owned the "Loyalist chair" would never return it across the border to the United States. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collection Quilt c.1761. 
Made by Mary Baker (1743-1816) before her marriage to Benjamin Reynolds in 1763. This quilt was part of a much larger quilt which may have been cut up and divided between family members. This style of quilting is known as "Linsey-woolsey." (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Handmade straw bonnet, also known as a "Leghorn hat," with pink satin ribbon, c.1790.
The fabric-like texture of the straw was made by splitting a piece of straw into eleven find strands. The strands were then braided together with a needle and thread. The technique was known as the "leghorn braid." Belonged to Ruth Briggs (1747-1820) wife of Jeremiah Spencer (1742-1820) of Coventry, Rhode Island, who served in Burgoyne's militia (Captain Pritchard's Rangers). The couple settled in Frelighsburg in 1790 Detail, Leghorn hat, c.1790. 
(Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Powder Flask. 
Belonged to John Hogel, c.1780. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Hand painted stoneware tea service, c.1780. 
Despite the often rigorous journey into Lower Canada and the frontier landscape that greeted the settlers, many articles of finery and gentle living were carefully transported into the Townships with the expectation that these items would make the settlers' new surroundings comfortable, elegant and familiar. Silks and embroidered linen, china, perfume and jewellery were packed amongst the practical tools and household items. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collec Rocking Chair, c.1790.
Owned by the Freligh family, Frelighsburg.
In 1793, Theodus Owens "squatted" on lot 30 in St. Armand East without title and initiated the clearing of what was to become the site of the first gristmill in Frelighsburg. Later that same year, a 21 year old Minard Harris Yeoumans legally purchased lot 29 east and 30 south from the St. Armand Seigneury landowner Thomas Dunn. Minard Yeoumans established a sawmill on the south side of the Pike River and a gristmill on the opposite bank Ear Trumpet (hearing aid device) c.1780. 
Owned by Joseph Burley of St. Armand West. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Hand-woven "overshot" coverlet of indigo blue woollen weft on linen warp, mid-18th century. 
(Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Hand-woven coverlet in which the weaver used "madder-red" and "walnut brown" dyed wool from the mid 18th century. 
(Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Small wooden Tea Box, lined in blue paper, c.1780.
Tea was considered a luxury and deemed precious enough to keep under lock and key; two compartments inside contained black and green tea. The caddy belonged to Ruth Briggs Spencer who settled in Frelighsburg at the end of the American Revolution. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Telescope c.1790. 
This small brass and leather telescope may have been used to search the shore line of Missisquoi Bay by early Loyalist settlers arriving in the region by boat from Lake Champlain. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Surveyor's Chains, 18th century.
The unsung heroes of settlement were surveyors who faced virgin forest, thick clouds of mosquitoes, and with their instruments and chains, ran survey lines over hills and through swamps and tangled undergrowth. It was only after their work was completed that the actual carving of a road could commence. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Iron potash kettle c. 1800. 
Burning felled trees and brush made crude potash also known as black salts which were used in the production of soaps and dyes and in the manufacture of glass. A more refined form of the ash, perlasse, was used to make salteratus, a leavening agent for baking. Missisquoi Bay entrepreneur Philip Luke owned and operated one of the earliest asheries in the county and sold his commodity in St. John's and Montreal. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Mirror with hand carved frame, c.1800-1810.
The frame of the mirror was carved with a pocket knife by a slightly disinterested teacher named "Mr. Mitchell" while he listened to the students of Philipsburg recite their lessons. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Broad Axe used to fell trees in the Missisquoi County wilderness, c. 1790. 
(Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) A rare "homespun" wool work shirt, 18th century. 
(Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Silhouette, c.1780. 
Prior to photography in the mid 19th century, people either sat for a portrait miniature or had a silhouette cut of their profile. Silhouettes were usually inexpensive, small in size and intended as keepsakes of family members or loved-ones. Silhouettes were often carried in a pocket similar to the way we keep photographs in a wallet.

This silhouette is unusual as most were cut from black paper and pasted onto a white or lighter background paper. This small treasure made its way to Patch box, c. 1780.
This little box contained beauty marks or "patches" used by women to adorn their faces. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections) Blue and white ware pitcher with American eagle transfer, c.1780.
Belonged to United Empire Loyalist Lovisa Gates Stanton (1769-1865) who came to Missisquoi County in 1807 as a part of the "late Loyalist" wave of immigration into the region. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections)

Late Loyalists came to Lower Canada after legislation made land available on advantageous terms. These settlers were attracted to inexpensive and accessible land and were required to take "oaths of allegiance." (Miss Blue and white ware sugar bowl, c. 1785.
Lovisa Gates Stanton received this sugar bowl when, at the age of 16, she married Captain William Stanton of Preston, Connecticut. Along with her family Lovisa came to Missisquoi County in 1807 and settled in Stanbridge East. She was 96 years old when she died and was survived by 10 children. (Missisquoi Historical Society Collections)

The conclusion of the American Revolution in 1783 brought forth profound changes to Quebec. The Treaty of Paris negotiated between the United States and Great Britain established the 45th parallel to the south and the span of land to the east, as the boundaries between this part of Quebec and the newly formed republic. In addition to these specific boundary agreements, close to 10,000 displaced persons, wishing to remain loyal to the British Crown chose to immigrate to Canada. Most people migrated into lands west of the seigneuries up river from Montreal, but a small minority of less than 1,000 occupied the Missisquoi Bay area despite government directives that this land was to remain an unsettled buffer zone between the farms of the seigneuries and the United States.

The "Loyalists" who moved into Quebec beginning in 1782 established themselves at the head of Lake Champlain in the vicinity of “Missiskoui Bay” (now Philipsburg). These first settlers were members of the "King’s Loyal Americans,” also known as Jessup’s Rangers or Sir John Johnson’s “King’s Royal Regiment of New York.” Familiar with the shores of the bay from their forays into the region during the American Revolutionary War, these men were resolved to stay in this region despite the fact that it was held as a buffer zone between the American colonies and the seigneuries.

As soon as the presence of these Loyalist refugees became known to the government, they were ordered to relocate. Upon their refusal, their names were removed from aid and provision lists. A steady protest from the Loyalists to the government in the form of petitions and letters flowed from Missisquoi Bay.

larger_UE.6.jpgThe British legislators hoped to avoid a clash of cultures and thus, introduced the Constitutional Act in 1791 which not only divided Quebec into two distinct provinces -- an upriver portion west of Montreal called Upper Canada and the downriver section in the east known as Lower Canada; it also provided the legal framework for two societies in a single state.

On February 7, 1792, the Lieutenant Governor of Lower Canada, Alured Clarke issued a royal proclamation which stated that the crown lands of the province were to be surveyed into townships and the land granted to settlers was to be held according to the British traditions of free-hold land tenure and a Protestant establishment.

Meetings to consider applications for Crown Land and for taking the Oaths of Allegiance were held at Missisquoi bay from 1792 until 1797. In each proposed township, the petitioners formed a Group of Associates under a leader. The first grant which gave each petitioner 200 acres was awarded in 1796 to Thomas Dunn for the Township of Dunham. It was that specific proclamation which initiated the division of the area that would later be known as the Eastern Townships.

The American Loyalists who came to Missisquoi County not only brought their traditions and customs, language, religious beliefs, skills and ambitions, they also brought with them many items deemed necessary for survival. Often limited to what they could pack into a wagon or carry on their backs, it is fascinating to discover what these early settlers regarded as essential for carving out a new existence and a new life.

Heather Darch