Grand River Branch

United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada





Selected Reprints from the

Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches

"Sorting Our Northern Department Regiments and Hidden Loyalists"

Peter and Angela Johnson, August 1996, Vol.8 No.2, Page 3



     Peter and Angela Johnson, our Dominion UELA Genealogists spoke at our meeting on April 21, 1996.  The meeting was held at historic Livingston Presbyterian Church in Baden.  thanks to a number of active members, including Doris Lemon and Fred Blayney, we had excellent attendance by local members and many interested visitors.  Peter gave his address in period military costume and emphasized the necessity for everyone to vigorously correct misinformation and disinformation about our Loyalist ancestors and to counter overt forms of media derision of our heritage.

 Grenadier Ist Battalion King's Royal Yorkers (1776) by Peter Johnson

  The main subject of the Johnson's address was "Sorting Out Northern Department Regiments & Hidden Loyalists".  Peter is particularly interested in Loyalist military history and in promoting a better understanding of Loyal regiments during the American Revolution.  Peter prepared and distributed an excellent booklet on the hidden Loyalists with details on locating these hard-to-find ancestors.  Many small, independent military companies (e.g. Adam's Company of Rangers, the American Volunteers, the Queen's Loyal Rangers under Col. John Peters) were either disbanded before the conclusion of the war or more likely incorporated into larger units.  There were other important units which are sometimes ignored in ancestral research.  The six Nations under Captain Joseph Brant, the Indian Department Rangers (Brant's Volunteers, Loyal Foresters, Claus's Rangers), the Detroit Volunteers, the Batteau Service, the Provincial Marine and the Secret Service are all possible sources for further research.  There were other regiments not in the Northern Department and some of the men eventually settled in the remaining British North American colonies.

  Our use of the English language has been influenced by colonial expressions related to the use of the musket in military settings.  Such expressions as "keep your powder dry", "lock, stock and barrel", "flash in the pan", and "going off half-cocked", to name a few, are inheritances of our distant Loyalist and pioneer ancestors.

  Peter is the editor of Fidelity, the Toronto Branch newsletter and he is a superb illustrator (the late 20th century's C.W. Jeffreys?).  We include one of his recent drawings depicting a Grenadier in the 1st Battalion of the King's Royal Yorkers.  The tallest men usually joined the Grenadier Company.  The illustration shows the uniform in the early period.  The coast were green and faced with blue.