Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Not The First

Apparently there are some today celebrating the 225th Anniversary of the "First landing of the United Empire Loyalists."
Like many in attendance at the Adolphustown event, Brock Dittrick can trace his family tree back to one of the first Loyalists to settle in Canada in 1784, Jacob Dittrick, who landed near St. Catharines.


More than 300 people took part in a re-enactment of the first landing of the Loyalists at Adolphustown following the American Revolution.
Both of these quotes may be accurate. He may have been the first to land at Adolphustown, and "one of the first" overall. However, throughout the rest of the article the modifier is dropped and it is implied he was the first Loyalist to settle in Canada.

Michael Showers was reported to have settled in Niagara on May 30, 1781. And "A survey of the Settlement at Niagara, 25th Aug. 1782" listed Michael Showers, McGregor Van Every, and both of their families (2 wives and 6 kids) for a total of 10 settlers.

I don't know if Michael Showers and McGregor Van Every were the first, but those dates predate 1784. I am descended from both of them through their children Sarah Showers and David Van Every - who were married in Niagara, Ontario in 1782. (I don't know if that was the first Loyalist marriage in Canada or not.) (see comments)


BDM said...

The record of a 1782 marriage in Niagara would be rare, and your source would be of great interest to those who have ancestors in that period. Maybe yours was performed by a military officer? Loyalists are known to have been on the British side of the Niagara River almost from the beginning of the Revolution.

John said...

The source given for the marriage is "Loyalist Lineages of Canada", Volume II, Part 2, page 1020.

John said...

Actually, reading the website more carefully, the interpretation given for the quote from that text isn't accurate.

The author of the site says they were married in 1782 in Niagara. However, the quote from Loyalist Lineages says that their first son, David, was born in 1782 enroute to Niagara, meaning they were likely married prior.

BDM said...

John, I have the book at hand. On page 1020 the submitter said re 1.1 Sarah Showers: "m 1780-1782 NY or PA, David Van Every ...". I agree the website owner mis-quoted this source, which in itself is inconclusive. And then follows the reference to David Van Every "b 1782 during mothers journey to Fort Niagara." Here I was hoping to find an exciting new source!

Brock Dittrick said...

What I had said to the reporter was " The one of the first settler in St.Catharines- after his service with the Butlers Rangers, near Niagara.

Jacob Dittrick had his land grants in Louth Twp, after service with the Butlers Rangers as a Sjt.

So, yes, the first....in St. Catharines!

John said...

It's not unusual that the reporter isn't clear, or gets confused themselves. From what I've read 1784 is the year where the largest influx of UELs entered Canada. There probably weren't many that got permission before then to settle land.