On September 21st 2019, the CFHA held its Annual General Meeting at Toronto Friends House. Those who attended were delighted by the keynote research delivered by Randy Saylor, CFHA’s Transcriptions editor and former Webmaster. We share the text of his talk below (without references) as well as in this PDF (with references) for reading at your leisure. This research is also available in the “research papers” section of our Publications page. Enjoy!

Quakers who were U.E. Loyalists

Randy Saylor

To start, let’s clarify the question at hand. During the American Revolution most Quakers remained neutral. A few supported the Rebels or patriots, were disowned, and remained in the United States. Probably some of them made acknowledgment and returned to being a Quaker in a US meeting.

Samuel Moore’s grave marker in Norwich, via Wikipedia

A few supported the British, were disowned, and suffered at the hands of the patriots. They fled to Canada or elsewhere as Loyalists and never returned to being a Quaker.

Fewer still supported the British, were disowned and fled to Canada as Loyalists and continued as a Quaker. How is this possible given the adherence to the Peace Testimony? These are the individuals that are the focus of this story.

It has been well documented that during the American Revolution some Quakers supported the Rebels and some supported the British. These individuals were disowned for violating the Peace Testimony. They were also disowned to demonstrate the neutrality of the Quaker community and to maintain their right to not bear arms. The Quakers suffered a great deal of pressure during this time of war as many fellow settlers could not accept that the Quakers were not contributing to the Revolution.

In the New York Yearly Meeting, 109 friends were disciplined for involvement in the war: 63 for supporting the Rebels and 46 for supporting the British. Seventy one of the 109 were disowned, the rest acknowledging their regrets. 46 of the 71 were disowned for actual military service, 15 for assisting the war effort such as carting materials and a few for paying fines or taking the affirmation.

Many of the disowned Quakers who were Loyalists did not return to the Quaker community and came to Canada and began new lives as Loyalists. However, a few of these Loyalist Quakers came to Canada and continued as Quakers and are the focus of this investigation.

  1. How many Quaker members in Canada had a record of Loyalist activity?
  2. How were those Quakers with a Loyalist background accepted by the wider Quaker community in Canada? 
  3. What happened if they applied for grants of land as a Loyalist? 
  4. How did the Half Yearly Meeting in 1810 handle the question?

These are the questions we will examine today.

Let us start by seeing what Arthur Dorland wrote in his well-known A History of the Society of Friends in Canada in 1925. Dorland makes no single overarching comment about these questions. But he does write about a few specific Loyalist situations. Here are 3 of his key statements.

  1. He mentions the Beaver Harbor or Pennfield Quaker settlement in New Brunswick. This large Quaker community were considered Loyalists and granted land and support as Loyalists. One of the leaders of the settlement was Capt Gideon Vernon from Philadelphia and Dorland implies falsely that he had no connection to the Quaker community before the war. Dorland states that this Loyalist – Quaker community was not recognized by any Monthly or Yearly Meeting. 
  2. Arthur Dorland descended from John Dorland who was a brother of Philip Dorland and Thomas Dorland. John Dorland was a Quaker on whose farm the Adolphustown Meeting House was built. As you will see, both Philip and Thomas were Loyalists and Philip becomes the early leader of the Adolphustown Quakers. Arthur Dorland writes that “Philip Dorland though also a Loyalist, but in a narrower sense of the term – had not been a Royalist i.e. an active partisan but like his more aggressive brother, he had suffered abuse and confiscation of his property because he would not fight. Dorland downplays Philip’s loyalist behavior. We will see that Philip’s family suffered because he did join the British and became a Lieutenant.
  3. Jeremiah Moore of Pelham is also mentioned by Dorland as having accepted land as a Loyalist which the overseers “believe to be inconsistent with our profession.” Dorland adds that the Canada Half Yearly Meeting informed the subordinate meetings “that no members of our Religious Society can, consistent with our principles, receive or accept land such lands or other rewards from the Government as is given for actual service in war or for aiding or assisting therein.” Dorland fails to note that Jeremiah’s case was central to the Half Yearly Meeting dealing with this issue.

In conclusion, Dorland seems to gloss over the fact that some Quakers in Upper Canada had taken part in the revolution and accepted land as Loyalists. This is especially true with respect to Philip Dorland who was his great great uncle. Arthur Dorland’s father was a Quaker minister and he would have heard about the early years of the Adolphustown community and could not accept that its founder, Philip Dorland, was a true Loyalist.

One outcome of the recent transcriptions is that a few more Quakers with a Loyalist background have come to light. It will be seen that there was considerable tolerance for their transgressions of the Peace Testimony. Let us examine the known examples and see what insight we can gleam from their stories.

These are the Loyalists found so far.

  1. Beaver Harbour Quakers of New Brunswick
  2. Capt Gideon Vernon, Beaver Harbour to Yonge St
  3. Benjamin Bunnell 
  4. Samuel Moore UE of Nova Scotia then Norwich Meeting
  5. Philip Dorland UE of Adolphustown Meeting
  6. Jeremiah Moore UE of Pelham Meeting
  7. Benjamin Birdsall SUE of Pelham Meeting
  8. Jonathan Doan of Yarmouth Meeting; request for UE status denied

1. The Quakers of Pennfield at Beaver Harbor, New Brunswick

Beaver Harbor and Pennfield, a settlement just inland, are located on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy just east of Passamaquoddy Bay. 

Following the Revolutionary War, this group of Quakers left well-established farms in the United States on account of persecutions and confiscations of their properties, and sailed for Beaver Harbour at Pennfield on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy in NB. They all were in New York City and were considered Loyalists. It is not clear if they were all disowned by their meetings. In the history of the Society of Friends, the Pennfield settlement is unique both for its Loyalist identification and its anti-slavery stance. Although there were other Quaker ventures in the maritime provinces, the settlement at Pennfield is considered an anomaly because its designation as ‘Loyalist’ is a contradiction in Quaker terms.

In June 1793, there was a newspaper advertisement for those “belonging to the Society commonly called Quakers, and to those who have had a birthright among them, and now wish to promote that society, and have made a return of their names in order to be removed to the River St Johns”. The meeting was attended by 48 men and one widow. Joshua Knight became their leader. In August, 21 of the men and their families sailed to the Maritimes.

It is a complicated story. There was much hardship, the land they were granted was poor for agriculture. A June 1785 meeting of Suffering for Pennsylvania and New Jersey expressed concern for members “lately settled at Nova Scotia [New Brunswick was formed from Nova Scotia in 1784], there being among them women and children who are members of our Society and have been under the necessity of following their husbands and parents.” This implies the men may have been disowned. Joseph Moore, a Pennsylvania Quaker visited Beaver Harbor to assess their needs. He reported in March 1787 that there were upwards of 40 persons members of our religious Society. Supplies were sent later that year. Following that London also sent supplies. 

In 1790 a fire destroyed most of the settlement and the Quaker community declined at Pennfield. The settlement was visited by Joshua Evans and Timothy Rogers (1795) and Joseph Hoag in 1801. The settlement continued in a reduced state. No record has been found to indicate that Pennfield meeting was recognized as being under any Monthly Meeting. Regardless, Pennfield was the home to a significant number of Quakers and disowned Quakers who received land as Loyalists and sympathy and support for the Philadelphia meetings.

Some Pennfield Loyalist Quakers end up in Upper Canada.

This topic is fully covered in Loyalists to Canada – The 1783 Settlement of Quakers and others at Passamaquoddy, Theodore Holmes, Picton Press, 1992. See also The Loyalist Quaker Settlement, Pennfield, New Brunswick, 1783, Sandra McCann Fuller, CFHA Journal 74, 2009,

2. Capt Gideon Vernon UE (?-1836)

Capt Gideon Vernon was brought to my attention by descendants JoAnn Clark and Edwin Garrett after posting the first version of my paper on this topic. 

JoAnn writes that “Gideon Vernon, was born 1745 in Nether Providence, Chester, PA. He seems to have come from a long-established Quaker family and owned a farm, part of which he inherited and part he purchased. The family is described in The History of Chester County, available on ancestry. His marriage to Phoebe Farr in June of 1775 was recorded in the Chester Monthly Meeting. Their first child, Jane, born 1776, married Joshua Knight 2 Oct 1794, in Charlotte, New Brunswick. In 1781, he was commissioned as Captain in the Associated Loyalists, by Lt Gen Sir Henry Clinton. … He was disowned by the Chester Meeting May 5 1778 for ‘appearing in arms and assisting in taking several persons from their homes in a violent manner.’”

Gideon Vernon and his wife Phoebe are named on a Roll of Loyalists settled at Bellevue in Beaver Harbor dated 10 July 1784. There are 364 men, women and children named on this list – not all of them Quakers. Those that are Quakers are identified in part on the list of 49 Quakers who met in NYC. There were about 40 Quaker families among these Loyalists.

Gideon Vernon made his claim to the Loyalists Claim Commission valuing his losses at £1984. The claim is very detailed and records that Gideon joined the British Army in 1777 and was used mostly as a spy and to deliver dispatches and intercept the mail. He was commissioned as a Captain in 1781.

JoAnn stated that on 25th March 1799, Chester MM accepted an apology and reinstated him. 

At a Yonge Street monthly meeting 1809 we find “A Certificate from the Monthly meeting for the Southeren District of Philadelphia Dated the 29th. of the 3d mo: 1809. Recommending Gideon Vernon and Phebe his Wife With their three minor Children Namely, William, Joshua & Payton, as Members being produced at this meeting Was Read and accepted.”

Sons Nathaniel and Joshua were disowned for joining the militia in 1812.  Gideon continued to live there until his death on 02 Sept 1829 in Whitchurch twp.

To some extent Gideon is representative of the Beaver Harbor Quaker-Loyalists in that many moved elsewhere. Theodore Holmes’s book, mentioned earlier, gives short biography of a number of the Beaver Harbour Quakers who were all Loyalists.

3. Benjamin Bunnell UE

I also heard from Chief Paul Gwilawato Bunnell of Maine. He wished me to add his ancestor to this list and indeed Benjamin fits the story.

Benjamin, a Quaker, and his wife were members of Rahway, New Jersey meeting. Benjamin was disowned for his war like conduct during the war. 

The UEL Association of Canada lists him as a “proven” Loyalist but gives no further information. Benjamin is not found in the Loyalist Claims records. He was a grantee or resident at Long Reach, King’s County, NB.

Benjamin is named as a Quaker by Joseph Moore in his visit in 1787.

There is little to go on here in terms of details but Benjamin is likely not the only Quaker living outside Beaver Harbour that was disowned during the war.

In summary about the Beaver Harbour group of Quakers, it can be said that they were not ignored by their parent meetings. Visits by various Quakers and support from Philadelphia Meeting indicate that even if many had been disowned, they were accepted as Quakers in need of help. To date no Monthly Meeting or Yearly Meeting seems to have taken then officially under its care.

4. Samuel Moore UE (1742-1822)

Samuel Moore was born in 1742 in Rahway, New Jersey, and died in 1822 in Norwich, Upper Canada. He was accepted as a Quaker by request in 1774 in New Jersey. 

In January 1786, at Halifax, Samuel came before the Loyalist Claims Commission and his story was entered into the minutes. The Commission recorded “That he is a native of America, and at the Commencement of the Troubles was settled in Woodbridge [Middlesex Co., NJ]. He says he never took part with the British, and never signed any Association or took any part with the Rebels. He was imprisoned more than once for not taking part with them. In June 1777 he fled to the British at New York as he found he could not bear the Treatment he suffered from the Americans. His family was sent to him in Sept 1777 and he has lived under the protection of the British Government ever since. He quited the New York at the Evacuation and resides at Annapolis in this Province.” 

He claimed for the loss of his 78 acre farm that was “sold by the Commissioners under Confiscation.” His personal property was also sold by the Commission and valued at £246. Samuel produced a “Copy of an Inquisition found against him 13th October 1778 for joining the Army of the King of Great Britain.”

Whatever the true actions of Samuel were, they were judged by the Rebels as him having joined the British Army.

This is confirmed in a Loyalist Claims Commission document titled, “A list of the names of all those whose property was confiscated in the Several Counties of the State of New Jersey for joining the Army of the King of Great Britain etc, as returned to the Auditors Office previous to the first day of May 1787.” There are many names on this list with 45 from Middlesex; Samuel Moore is the third named.

In 1795, Timothy Rogers (who founded Yonge St and Pickering Meetings) made a religious visit to Canada from Vermont and he and his companions went “to Samuel Moore’s, a Friend that lived in Wilmot in the County of Annapolis, that received us very kindly … Samuel Moore’s wife and children was not members but very loving.” In 1792 Samuel Moore was one of nearly one hundred residents and ratepayers in Wilmot Township in 1792 and 1794.

Importantly in 1802 he received a certificate of Quaker membership from Rahway and Plainfield meeting directed to Nantucket Meeting, the few friends in Nova Scotia being under that meeting. This suggests that he was still in good standing with the New Jersey meeting and had never been disowned. Given that he received lands via the Claims Board he was recognized as a loyalist. Moore re-located with his own family to Upper Canada near the end of the War of 1812. Descendant Bob Moore writes in the CFHA Journal that, “His journey from Nova Scotia to Upper Canada took a detour to his old hometown in New Jersey. His wife, Rachel Stone died there, and one son, Lindley Murray, decided to stay in New Jersey. Samuel had sold almost 1500 acres in Nova Scotia, and was able to purchase about ten farms across southwestern Upper Canada from St. Thomas to Simcoe, Ontario. He passed these onto his sons.”

No petition has been found for Samuel and he is not on the UE List for Upper Canada as published in 1885. However, the United Empire Loyalist Association (UELAC) recognizes Samuel Moore as a “Proven” Loyalist. The proof accepted by the UELAC is the acceptance by the New Brunswick Loyalist Society that Samuel Moore was a New Brunswick Loyalist who settled in St Johns. 

The fact that Samuel successfully made a Loyalist Claim means he was accepted by the authorities as a Loyalist. Possibly Rebel New Jersey committee records would illuminate the accusations against Samuel. Samuel Moore is another example of a maritime Quaker who migrates to Upper Canada.

5. Philip Dorland UE (1755-1814)

Philip Dorland was a Quaker living in Dutchess County, NY and in 1779 he was disowned because “he carried [a] pistole to defend himself and also that he has absconded.” From his petitions we know that he was made a Lieutenant in Abraham Cuyler’s Corps in Long Island. In Dec 1780, Philip’s father, Samuel Dorland, paid a fine for having one son who had “gone to the enemy.” Here we see the impact on a family who had a loyalist son. Quakers were held to account for their actions and it is recorded that Philip was disowned in 1779 for taking up arms. Philip’s brother Thomas was also raised a Quaker but no disownment has been found for his being a sergeant in the British forces.

In the fall of 1783, Philip and his brother Thomas were in New York City waiting to be evacuated to Canada. Philip sailed with Major Peter Vanalstine on the ship Three Sisters & Grace to Sorel, Quebec, where they overwintered. Thomas may have come overland or on another ship as he was also in Sorel with his wife receiving their rations. In 1784 Philip and Thomas came with Peter VanAlstine to Adolphustown and were granted land. By 1791, after a series of land grants, Philip had been granted 2100 acres of land and Thomas received 1200 for their Loyalist activities. Their children received land as children of a Loyalist.

In August 1792, Philip was elected to the first session of the Legislative Assembly in Upper Canada as a representative for Prince Edward and Adolphustown. When the representatives first met on 17 Sep 1792, Philip Dorland refused to take the oath due to his Quaker principles and thus forfeited his seat. On 19 Sep 1792 the returning officer was instructed to elect another member and Peter Vanalstine was subsequently elected to replace Philip. 

Interestingly, Philip Dorland was not a Quaker in good standing at that time. He had been disowned in 1779 and never asked to have an acknowledgment accepted. So, on 12mo 1792, Philip requested Nine Partners to accept his acknowledgment; which they did.

Whereas I have had a birth right amongst you and by not giving heed to the Divine Monitor have widely deviated from the principles of Truth which led me into divers disorders such as departing from Plainess, keeping Company with one not of our Society & Commiting Fornication with her (that is now my wife) and also took up arms for my defense which misconduct brought a blemish on Truth which I am sorry for & do heartily Condemn & I do desire you to pass by the same & receive me under your Care.  12 12mo 1792 Philip Dorland

In conclusion, it is obvious that Philip was a man of character and ability and a leader by nature. Philip encouraged other settlers in Upper Canada to request membership in Nine Partners MM. The Nine Partner minutes start to show entries regarding members living in Upper Canada as early as 1793. Philip Dorland was the leader in establishing the Adolphustown Quaker meeting in 1798. He was also a full-blown Loyalist.

To read more about Philip Dorland see the online article in the CFHA Journal, New Light on Philip Dorland: Prodigal Son to Patriarch, and the web page titled Philip Dorland UE, 1755 – 1814, and his brothers Thomas and John Dorland of Adolphustown.

6. Jeremiah Moore UE (1745-1813)
The transcriptions have allowed us to better understand why this Quaker/Loyalist issue came before the very first meeting of Canada Half Yearly Meeting in 1810.

In 1803, Jeremiah Moore Junior of Pelham is 24 years of age, petitions successfully for a grant of 200 acres as a settler.  He states that he is the son of Jeremiah Moore Senr of Pelham who has been in Upper Canada for 14 years and has a wife and 10 children. There are two affidavits of support, one of them saying he came with his father about the year 1788. He receives a grant and he will pay the patent fees. This is a grant as a settler and not a Loyalist grant.

Jeremiah Moore Senior was a Quaker in good standing at Pelham Prep Meeting and in 8 month 1809 a complaint came forward about his having accepted a land grant as a Loyalist.

One of the overseers informed this meting that it appears that Jeramiah Moore has exceped a tract of land under the name of a UE  Which we beleive to be inconsistant whit our profession[.]  William Shotwell and Samuel Taylor are appointed to attend the monthly meting whith this report.

This follows a petition that Jeremiah Moore Senior made on 17 Nov 1808 asking the Lieutenant Governor to “Order his name to be inserted on the U.E. List, in order that his children may partake on His majesty’s most generous bounty, presumes that he is now considered as a UE Loyalist that Your excellency will take his services into consideration and grant him 200 acres … [signed] Jeremiah Moore Senr.”

There are a number of pages to the petition that give more detail. On 27 Oct 1808, Jeremiah Senior states that he lived in Pennsylvania during the American War “and had it often in his power to be useful to His Majestys faithful subjects in exile, to Prisoners, and to exprisoners and other parties passing secretly through the Country. Although from religious scruples he did not take up arms, he was always faithful to His King and more useful to his fellow subjects and sufferers than he could have been within the British Lines, till the year 1788 he did join the Kings Standard at Niagara with a wife and 5 sons and 3 daughters has since had 3 children born to him in this Province … Prays … to allow his name to be inserted on the U.E. List.” [43a]

On the same day Aaron Doan certified his loyalty but the affidavit is difficult to read. [43b] Also on the same day Thomas Doan certified that “I was exiled at that time & lived some time at his house in the hottest times of the war  … he was a man of middling fluent circumstance and a good stock all of which he lost by his Loyalty …” [43c] Again on the same date Isaac Swayze certified that he was in the secret service and he and others “were hospitably treated and secreted and he risqued life and estate for his King …” [43d]

Jeremiah was successful and his name was inserted on the UE List and he received a warrant for his grant of land.

Now that his father was recognized in late 1808 as a UE Loyalist, Jeremiah Jr petitioned successfully for 200 acres as the son of a Loyalist (SUE) on 18 Feb 1809. He honestly stated that he had received a grant of land for which he paid the fees. This second grant as a SUE would be free of fees.

On 11 Oct 1809 another son, James Moore of Pelham, petitioned successfully for a grant as a SUE. This was two months after the complaint had come forward in Pelham Preparative meeting and the Monthly Meeting had not had time to deal with the complaint.

The Monthly Meeting heard the complaint about Jeremiah Moore Sr, on 6 9mo 1809, one month after son James petitions. A committee was formed to meet with Jeremiah and by 1mo 1810 report that they were going to send the complaint to the Half Yearly Meeting.

The first Canada Half Yearly Meeting met in West Lake on 31 1mo 1810 and one of the items of business is this.

The monthly meeting of Pelham suggest to the consideration of this, The propriety of friends accepting lands from Government under and by virtue of the Proclaimation in such cases granted to U. E. Loyalists which with the proof it requires being considered a brake of our descipline – The subject clamed the deliberate attention of this meeting and as it was felt to be a matter that required careful and mature consideration it was thought most adviseable to seperate a committee to take the subject into due consideration and indeavour to inform themselves as far as they may be enabled, the true state of the case, and inform next meeting their sense thereon, To which service the following friends are seperated (to wit, Timothy Rogers, Amos Armitage, John Dorland, William White, Hugh McMullen, Samuel Taylor, Joel Haight, Isaac Philips, David Wilson, Edward Barker and William Shotwell.

The Pelham minutes are silent until exactly a year later, 1 mo 1811, when the meeting, “believe it Right to Continue him Under the Care of the same Committee, and the Representatives to Attend the half Years Meeting, are directed to inspect at the Government Office to ascertain particularly what proofs he made to obtain his U E Land.” The representatives do report that they attempted to inspect documents with no satisfaction and the committee recommended Jeremiah be disowned which was in 4mo 1811. 

On 7day 8mo 1811 Jeremiah stated he intended to appeal the decision. Two weeks later the Half Yearly Meeting met and reported: 

“The committees in the case of Jeremiah Moores Appeal braught in the following repo[r]t (That is) To the half years meeting now sitting – We the committee on the appeal of Jeremiah Moore, haveing given attention to the subject and after carefully examined into the proceedings of the monthly together with the committee in his case, and also he and the appelant on his own behalf, and upon diliberate consideration thereon, that the proofs allegd against Jeremiah [Moore] altho he may stand on the U. E. List are not suficient in our Judgement to confirm the judgement of the monthly meeting against him for receiveing of his lands for any service in war Either directly or in directly.”

Jeremiah Moore was therefore not disowned for his recognition by the Government that his actions during the war warranted him being inserted on the UE list and receiving a free grant of land.

There are other references to a Jeremiah Moore in the Pelham minutes. In one case it was probably Jeremiah Moore [Jr] who was disowned for marrying Sarah Pound, a non-Quaker, “by the assistance of a magistrate” in 2mo 1807. There was no mention of son James Moore in the minutes. It appears both sons of Jeremiah Moore Sr were not Quakers at the time of their petitioning for land as sons of a Loyalist.

Jeremiah Moore Sr died at Pelham, UE Loyalist and a Quaker in good standing, on 15 12mo 1813, age 68 years.

7. Benjamin Birdsall SUE

In 1807, Benjamin and his wife Sarah had married outside the Quaker Society.  This was reported and “The committee in Benjamin Birdsall & Sarah his wifes case, for their outgoing in marriage report they believe them to be sincere & this meeting unitedly believing Friends would be safe in receiving their acknowledgement which is accordingly accepted & they continued members.”  They were now both members of the Pelham Quaker meeting.

Children of Loyalists could also be recognized as sons or daughters of a Loyalist and receive a free land grant. In 1809, Benjamin Birdsall petitioned successfully for land as the Son of a Loyalist (SUE). “Benjamin Birdsall of the District of Niagara a son of a U.E. Loyalist … came into the Province with his parents at the age of six years and is now married and settled in the Township of Howland … having never received land from the Crown … prays … as is usually allowed to the sons of U.E. Loyalists …” The notes state that Benjamin is the son of Samuel Birdsall UE and is a “decent well behaved, sober and industrious man.” He was granted 200 acres.

In 1811 this complaint came forward.

This Meeting was Informd that Benjamin Birdsall is Living in the Neglect of Attending meetings  Appears out of plainness both in Dress and Address and making use of the Vain Compliments of the World & that he is Concernd in the Distillation of Grain also that he has Recievd a tract of Land of land from Government under the Appelation of UE.  His Case is ordered up to Monthly Meeting. 

Benjamin was disowned 7 months later. Notice that his receipt of a land grant as a Son of a Loyalist is mentioned in the original complaint but not in the testification against him. 

The friends appointed to hand Benjamin Birdsall a Copy of his testification reports the service is performd Whereas Benjn Birdsall having had a right of membership with us but for want of attending to the dictates of truth in his own breast he hath so far Deviated as to Live in the neglect of attending meetings appearing out of plainness both in dress & address, and making use of the vain compliments of the world & being concernd in the distilation of grain, we do therefore disown him until by his conduct he manifests a sincere repentance for the same, which that he may is our desire. ~ Signd in & by order of Pelham Monthly meeting held the 4th Day of the 12th mo. 1811. 

It is difficult to know what role his SUE status had in his disownment by the Pelham Monthly Meeting. The behaviors mentioned in the testification were disownable offences as described in the Quaker Discipline and because of those transgressions he was disowned. At the time, accepting a Loyalist grant was deemed inconsistent with Quaker principles according to the Canada Half Yearly Meeting. However, this may not have been recognized by the New York Yearly Meeting and this technicality may be why it is not mentioned in the testification.

Then in 8mo 1813, Benjamin Birdsall provided an acknowledgment and requested to become a member of the meeting again. A committee was formed and in 2mo 1814 his acknowledgment was accepted and he returned as a member. Surprisingly, in 7mo 1814, Benjamin was appointed with a few others to be a representative at the next Half Yearly Meeting. This implies that he was a trusted and respected member.

In conclusion, the fact that Benjamin accepted land as a son of a Loyalist did not ultimately hinder his being a member of the Pelham meeting. In 1816, Benjamin petitioned for a lease of land and his life continued as a Quaker. 

8. Jonathan Doan (1765-1847) – request for UE status denied

There is an excellent comprehensive biography titled Jonathan Doan, the Patriarch of Yarmouth by Donald Anger in the Canadian Quaker History Journal.

Jonathan Doan first appears in the Quaker minutes in 5mo 1806 when “Black Creek Reports Jonathan Doan, Requests to Come under the Care of friends.” A committee is formed and five months later in 10 month 1806, the committee reports, “One of The Committee in Jonathan Doans Case made Report they an opertunity with him and find no thing to Obstruct his Reception, This meeting Receives him into membership …” This means that he was new to being a Quaker. At the time he was living in Wainfleet Township.

Jonathan Doan stated in an 1813 land petition that he was born in New Jersey, was 48 years old (thus born about 1765) and arrived in Upper Canada as a settler in 1789 and was a Quaker. In 1813 he had 14 children. He stated that he, “has bargained with James Baby Esq for considerable tract of land lying in the Township of Yarmouth south of the lands appropriated  to accommodate the street commonly known as Talbot street and as he has bargained with his friends who can be well recommended now living in Pennsylvania and the state of New York who contemplated with their families and your petitioner with his to settle on said tract …”

In the same petition he requested a lease for more land and mention that Mahlon Burwell Esq, who was the elected Member of the Parliament of Upper Canada, had agreed to be his security. Two weeks later, in an attached affidavit, Burwell states that, “Since my return from York I have been informed by several respectable Farmers that Mr Doan not withstanding his being a Quaker has endeavoured to stir up the minds of the Militia by telling them that great efforts were made by the Government to have Martial Law put in force whilst the House was sitting, which is clearly[?] false. I would never intentionally make myself responsible for any person , to the attention of the Government, whose Loyalty towards it might be suspected – I therefore think it a duty incumbent on me to request that the Council will not attend to my recommendation which is affixed to his petition, nor to the Bond before alluded to, in which I made myself liable for payments of the rents.” Three years later the lease was granted so Doan and Burwell must have patched their differences.

In an 1816 petition he stated that he purchased 50 lots of land of 200 acres each from James Baby Esq and that he had built a saw mill and dam. Water overflows onto a clergy reserve and he wanted to prevent someone from leasing the land and forcing him to remove the dam. He was informed the lease had already been granted.

In 1819 a Jonathan Doan of Thorold who was likely a son of Jonathan Doan Senior stated in a petition that, “during the late war [war of 1812] with the U. States has been zealous in defence of his Majesty’s dominion in America.” The Quaker minutes are silent about this Jonathan Doan and probably he did not request to become a Quaker. A year later Jonathan Doan Sr petitions confirming that he does have a son named Jonathan.

Then In 1842, at the age of 77, Jonathan Doan makes a surprising petition asking to be placed on the UE Loyalist List. This is what he wrote.

29 Dec 1842, Kingston, Petition of Jonathan Doan formerly of Wainfleet now of Yarmouth , yeoman, … was settled at the outbreak of War in Bucks County in Pennsylvania, that during the said War your petitioner gave shelter and food to parties of royalist at many different times, also conveyed provisions to their British camp and rendered what assistance he was able to the Royal cause, for which the insurgent troops were quartered, upon them, who drove off their cattle and threshed off their grain and otherwise annoyed them in every possible way. That your petitioner emmigrated to the Province of Upper Canada in 1789 and settled in the Niagara District and is of the Society of Friends called Quakers.
That your petitioner imagined that his name had been placed on the list of the province at the same time with his first cousins Aaron and Joseph who came into the Province about the same period with your petitioner, but now finds that their names only have been inserted and his omitted. … prays that his name be placed upon the U.E. List of the Province that he may receive a grant of the lands to which he is entitled, as such, and also that his children, viz; Elijah, John, Benjamin, Israel, Joel, Jane and Lacy may each receive a grant of 200 acres …. as the sons and daughters of an UE Loyalist.

The Surveyor Generals Office stated, “The name of petitioner does not appear ever to have been inserted on the UE list. He did not bear arms being of the Society of Friends. The facts in the accompanying documents might have been considered had application been made at the proper period. He was granted 200 acres (21 tract, Willoughby) as a settler, Sept 1797.” [32c]

Jonathan’s first cousin, Joseph Doan wrote, “… And also that, by these means the said Jonathan Doan rendered himself obnoxious to the insurgents of that day, who spitefully and malignantly quartered their troops upon him – drove off his cattle – threshed his grain, without compensation committed him to jail, and otherwise ?? and destroyed his substance … emigrated to Upper Canada … 1789 in Company with me and my brother Aaron Doan where he suffered incredible hardships and where he has remained to this time a true loyal subject of the British Crown.” [32d]

There are a number of affidavits of support many from influential people – Benjamin Willson JP, Arney Wausu [?] JP, Mahlon Burwell JP, William Dickson JP and Samuel Street who was granted most of Willoughby Township. As an aside, Mahlon Burwell joined the Pelham Quaker meeting by request in 1800 and was disowned in 1805 as he, “Joined the Free Mason Society, Frequents their Lodge, and holds forth Strange Doctrines In Denying that Supernatural light that’s placed within us, To be no more than natural and makes use of the Compliments of The world, Teaches his scholars the Same.”

In the end Jonathan’s request to be added to the UE list was refused as his application was not made at “the proper period.” By 1800 the Government was getting strict about not adding people to the UE List. There are cases after this time, like Jeremiah Moore above, but they are rare.

Jonathan Doan is not on the UE list as published from old lists in 1885. The UEL Assoc of Canada has its own list and has been adding loyalists who the Assoc finds proof of support of the Royal cause but who are not on the 1885 list. Jonathan Doan is not on this list either. His cousins Joseph and Aaron Doan are on this list.

It can be said that Jonathan Doan, by his own admission, did support the Royal cause during the Revolutionary War and many years later desired to be put on the UE List for the benefit of his children. His request was refused as he waited long past the date that one could apply. No complaint was brought forward by his Quaker meeting for his petitioning for UE status.

In conclusion, it is hard to transport ourselves back into the post-Revolutionary War and think and feel like those who experienced the turmoil. The above examples suggest there was considerable willingness to tolerate the Loyalist behaviour of some Quakers living. Some disowned Quakers successfully made acknowledgments seeking reinstatement to the Quaker Meeting after they had accepted land as a Loyalist. The few that ran into trouble seem to be those that tried to get land after being accepted into the community. 

1 Comment

Evelyn Schmitz-Hertzberg · October 14, 2020 at 10:21 pm

“The establishment of Quaker settlements in Canada was by pioneering emigrants from America but not, as is often assumed, by loyalists in the sense of United Empire Loyalists. The latter were active in their support and allegiance to the King’s party while the former, as was indicated above, must necessarily have been neutral as they remained accredited members of their parent Meetings.” This is what is written in the Historical Outline in Canadian Yearly Meetings’s Organization and Procedure (quaker.ca). This is the generally accepted understanding of Quakers that migrated to Upper Canada after the American Revolutionary War.

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