Sunday, December 31, 2017

Gilbert PURDY 1721-1777 - our United Empire Loyalist connection

United Empire Loyalists, aka UE or UEL, were those who not only supported the British against the rebellious 'Americans' in the Revolutionary War [1775 to 1783], but also moved to Canada. Many had all their land and goods confiscated by the Revolutionaries, and were hounded out of their homes and out of the country. In British-governed Canada, they were rewarded by the British government with land grants. Click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph for more details.

After starting my genealogy research about 12 years ago, I heard from a cousin that my ex-husband's Lewis family had UEL ancestors, but no one knew his name. Hmmm. How to prove UE links was a bit of a problem, as early Ontario - where the Lewis family had lived during that time period of the late 1700s - had scattered records. I assumed I would find a Lewis UE ancestor eventually, but we all know about the errors of assumptions!  

I had a breakthrough when looking through some Lewis family trees and found several referring to early AIKIN and PURDY families as "UE families". Exciting clues! My friendly helper at our BC Genealogical Society  Library, Marvellous Marvin, in 15 minutes had a pile of applicable UEL books, and two websites for me to do searching! Wow! The link was through the mother of Isaac LEWIS, [my children's great-grandfather], born in Ontario: Alma Jane AIKEN. 

I have only bits and pieces of reserch as yet, and need to do much more digging, but this is what I have to date:

Gilbert PURDY [sr.], b. about 1721 in Newburgh, Ulster, New York, married Mary DORLAND about 1755 and had at least 9 children that we know of.  He was a shipwright, and before he joined the British Army in 1777, he had a 40 Ton sloop just built, up in stocks at his property. 

In 1777, Gilbert died at Chesapeake with General Howe's Army, en route to Philadelphia. This army under Gen. Howe was overwhelmed by the Revolutionary soldiers under Gen. Washington. 

Gilbert and Mary had the following children, born in the Newburgh region of NY:
   1.  David, b. 20 Oct 1756, m. Abigail Ostrum [dau of a UEL soldier], settled in Ernestown, ON
   2.  Mercy, abt 1758, m. about 1785 to Major John Everett [UEL soldier], settled in Kingston ON
   3.  Mary, b. about 1761 [no information]
   4.  Gilbert [jr.] ancestor, b. 9 Jan 1763, d. 5 Jan 1851 Kingston ON; m. Ann E. JENNINGS [1771-1844]; settled in Kingston region ON [Cataraqui]; 8 children, eldest daughter Martha is ancestor
   5.  Micajah, b. 10 May 1766, d. 1844; Kingston ON
   6.  Rhoda, b. 15 May 1768, d. in NY state, USA
   7.  Catherine, b. 24 Aug 1770 [no information]
   8.  Charlotte, b. 25 Aug 1773, d. Kingston ON; m. abt 1795 to Nicholas Herchmer
   9.  Samuel, b. 25 Mar 1775, d. Kingston ON
As is obvious, I need to do research for more information on each child, spouse.

Gilbert joined General Howe's "Pioneers & Settlers" Army, sometimes called "Regiment Guides and Pioneers", and died in 1777. His widow and their children were hounded in New York by those hostile to the British rule, and wanting an independent country.  Goods, animals, and property were confiscated from her over a period of time. 

As the British government began to provide land grants to the loyal soldiers and their families, Mary took her children up to the Kingston region, and petitioned for land. At first her petition was rejected, but eventually, I could find Orders in Council [OC] accepting the petition for various members in the family starting in about 1800, one at a time, over about 10 years. One daughter, Rhoda, returned to New York state, likely to marry, and she did not receive any land.  Mary had petitioned for 200 acres for herself and 350 acres for her 7 children who qualified.

Mary DORLAND Purdy fought vigorously for her children, and the final OC grants were provided in 1810.  She died January 16, 1813 in Kingston Ontario, aged 79 years.  

Our line goes from Gilbert and Mary as follows:
     Gilbert PURDY & Mary DORLAND -> 
     son, Gilbert PURDY [jr.] & Ann Elizabeth JENNINGS ->
     dau, Martha PURDY & Robert AIKIN [AIKINS] ->
     son, John Lewis AIKEN & Eliza Jane BAKER ->
     dau, Alma Jane AIKEN & Isaac Charles LEWIS ->
     son, Charles Wm LEWIS & (1) Ada RICE -> 
            son, Charles LEWIS
                                                & (2) Reba K. RICE -> 
            sons Bill LEWIS & Jack LEWIS  

More information will be coming later in the new year, as I continue to dig further to be certain of each link. I have a list of items to search, such as land grant details, petition details, maps, vital statistics, more information on the spouses, to be certain I have the correct connections. Our PURDY connection is based on information given from a specific person's claims to the UEL Association of Canada, sources as shown on the UELAC website:
   1) BMD - Original Certs
   3) THE OLD UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS by Milton Rubincam, 1976
   4) THE LOYALISTS IN ONTARIO, by William D. Reid
   5) Genealogical Records (Family Tree) by Ron Makin (
   6) VOYAGE OF A DIFFERENT KIND, by Larry Turner, 1984
   7) LOYALIST LINEAGES OF CANADA, by Toronto Branch, UELAC, 1991, Vol 2, pps. 896-897

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I am certain there may be errors of one sort and another as this is my first dive into UEL records, so do feel free to correct my information and/or provide me with information on how I might find more accurate details. I will be in touch with the UEL Association of Canada of course, as well as digging for more Ontario resources.  You can contact me through the address at the bottom of the blogs.

Google Blogger is still not allowing me to directly answer any comments, but do know that I appreciate that this information may be useful to others. And if you do comment, please know that you will make my day!  Cheers.

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Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis