Mary Blackadder Piersol, in her genealogy, The Records of the Van Every Family: United Empire Loyalists, 1947, writes concerning my fifth great grandfather, McGregory Van Every:
The name of McGregory also appears in Col. Butler’s list of “disbanded Rangers” 1784, and in that year a map was published showing his farm to be in Township 1 Lot 10 on the River, where he had cleared eight acres and harvested corn with the help of his slave or Negro servant, Jurden.One of the strengths of Piersol's genealogy is that she often (unfortunately, not always) cites the sources for her information. In this case, she cites: Niagara Historical Society #27, and Ottawa Archives State Papers, No. 25.
I found that the Niagara Historical Society uploaded their first 44 publications. (However, they are transcriptions, not scans, so errors may have been introduced. And, of course, the original publications weren't the primary sources, either. Still, I am very pleased with this discovery.)
I was unable to locate an online copy of the Ottawa Archives State Papers, so until I tracked it down the old fashioned way, I decided to see what I could find in the NHS archives and elsewhere.
Notes on Niagara – No. 32 – 1759-1860, Niagara Historical Society, 1919.
1782: From the Archives obtained by Capt. Cruikshank:
"24th August, 1782: Col. Butler took the first census of the Settlement of Niagara. There were sixteen families, eighty-four persons, forty-nine horses, sixty cattle, one hundred and three hogs, thirty sheep and two hundred and thirty seven acres cleared. The statement also gives the number of bushels raised that year of wheat, oats, potatoes and Indian corn.
The names of the settlers given are: Isaac Dolson, Peter Secord, John Secord, Jas.***
Secord, Geo. Stuart, Geo. Fields, Jno.Depue, Dan. Rowe, Elijah Phelps, Phil Bender, S.
Lutz, Michael Showers, H. House, T. McMicken, A. Young, McG. VanEvery. One male slave is included in the list. In 1783, among the new names are: Barnard Frey, A. Bradt, B. Pawling, Jacob Ball, Peter Ball, Brant Johnson, J. Chisholm, Jas. Forsythe; and the number of acres cleared was 373.
Only one male slave was listed in the 1782 census. Who did the slave belong to?
Not only is my 5th Great Grandfather, McGregory Van Every in the list, so is another 5th Great Grandfather, Michael Showers. I'm also slightly curious about George Stuart. I have a 3rd Great Grandfather named Elihu Stuart. I don't know his parents, however, the marriage of the Stuart and Van Every families occurred not far away in Brant County.
I found a transcription of the census in NHS #27, which is likely one of the documents Piersol was citing.
Names Only But Much More, Janet Carnochan, No. 27 – Niagara Historical Society.
Might Piersol have looked at this list and made a possibly inaccurate assumption?
A search through Google Books turned up this item:
The Journal of Negro History, Volume 4, Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, 1919, p. 379.
In the report by Col. John Butler of the Survey of the Settlement at Niagara, August 25, 1782 (Can. Arch., Series B, 169, p. 1), McGregor Van Every is named as the head of a family. He was married, without children, hired men or slaves, had 3 horses, no cows, sheep, or hogs, 8 acres of “clear land” and raised 4 bushels of Indian corn and 40 of potatoes but no wheat or oats. His neighbor, Thomas McMicken, was married, had two young sons, one hired man and one male slave. He had two horses, 1 cow and 20 hogs, and raised ten bushels of Indian corn, 10 of oats and 10 of potatoes (no wheat) on his 8 acres of “clear land.”
The Journal of Negro History and NHS #32 both clearly reference the exact same report of Col. Butler the Census above was drawn from. Without seeing the original document it's not possible to be certain if the JNH was correct in assigning the slave to Thomas McMicken.
Having looked through NHS #27, I have to assume that Piersol either retrieved the name of the slave from the Ottawa Archives State Papers, or a source she didn't cite. I found that this source was actually referenced once in NHS #27.
Farms in Township No. 1 on Niagara River and West, copied from Map in Archives, Ottawa, No. 25, State Papers, Sheubel Welton papers, about 1784 or earlier
Township 1 Lot 10 is listed as belonging to Geo. Van Every/A. Vrooman. McGregory had no apparent sons named George, so Piersol was likely correct in identifying this lot as McGregory's.
The list of Disbanded Rangers, likely matching the list in the Ottawa State Papers, appears in NHS #39, where there is also a list of “Young Settlers, Loyalists and Brant's Volunteers Who Receive Rations” – including someone named Jordan Every.
That could certainly be a coincidence, but so far, it is the only reference to a name similar to ‘Jurden” that I have found outside of Piersol's genealogy, or anyone quoting her.
I really needed to find the Ottawa Archives, State Papers #25 to see what else Piersol may have seen as well. To find what the JNR was citing, I conducted a search on: "Canadian Archives" "Series B" 169 and found: Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada, Volume 25, Issue 9, 1892. (Published, of course, in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.)
Canadian Archives...Ottawa Archives...Sessional Papers....State Papers. Tomato/Tomahto? Volume 25. Of course, this appears to be only Issue 9 out of an unknown number of issues...but it was a start.
Within Issue 9 I found the survey, and it clearly assigns the slave to Thomas McMicken. (click to enlarge)
I still need to do more research and try to uncover where Piersol came up with the name Jurden. It's possible that even if McGregory didn't have a servant or slave in 1782, he later had one. However, for the moment, it appears possible that contrary to reports, McGregory Van Every didn't own a slave. [This doesn't clear my Vanevery line. McGregory's great-grandfather, Myndert, definitely had a slave named Hercules.]
According to WorldCat - the closest library for me with a collection of the Sessional Papers is about 100 miles away, in Columbia, Missouri. A lot closer than I expected, but far enough away that I'm not likely going to be browsing through them any time soon.