Wives of Loyalists

+4 votes
I have a quick and hopefully easy question.  If the husband is a Loyalist, would we also consider the wife and children Loyalists?, or are they just following the husband and father?
in The Tree House by Arthur Van Riper G2G6 Mach 1 (17.7k points)

One of my ancestors was put in prison for being part of the Doan gang. His wife is mentioned as being an accessory after the fact:

In 1788 Sarah Bulla wife of Thomas Bulla, a member of the infamous Doan gang, was convicted of being an accessory after the fact in the crimes of Aaron Doan.
  **Footnote reads: 84 Buller [or Bulla] Clemency Records, R6-27 roll 40.


Usually of course it's not that serious but I thought I would mention.

I don't know anything about the Canadian Loyalists. My group forfeited their farms in the end and fled to North Carolina.

I have one ancestor who's family got completely split up as he, his wife, his sons and youngest unmarried daughter all left for Nova Scotia, but his older married daughters stayed in MA with their husbands and kids. The letters sent 10-20 years later are truly heartbreaking as it's clear that they rarely if ever got to see each other again.

As the comments below indicate, only those who were accused and "convicted" as loyalists are officially listed as such, the rest of the family is just collateral damage to the decisions.

On another note, I have a Scottish ancestor who was captured and shipped off to the colonies during the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 and there's no further mention of the wife he left behind. His baby daughter grew up in Scotland and got married and had her own family, but he never returned and it's my firm belief that they never saw/heard from each other again. In fact, all we know is that he remarried in MD and had an entirely different family from which I descend.

Being on the losing side of a rebellion/war definitely has negative consequences for the non-combatants, too. It's not just the soldier who suffers.
There is a huge depository of Loyalist information at Adolphustown Ontario, there is a museum and archive, there was a huge landing of Loyalists there, and they kept all the records, to answer your question, I am descended from Loyalists, and considered a United Empire Loyalist.

google: UEL Heritage Centre and Park, Lennox and Addington

2 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
It all depends on your purpose. What I mean is that according to the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada rules, the wife and children would not be considered Loyalist unless they also specifically were found guilty of being Loyalist. Some people take a broader view.

Similar rules apply to Daughters of the American Revolution.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (477k points)
selected by Arthur Van Riper
+3 votes
I believe that would depend on whether the wife and her children followed her Loyalist husband to Canada. This had occurred in at least one of my client's lines. The Loyalist ended up married to another woman in Nova Scotia but I could never locate any evidence of the death of the first wife prior to the date of the marriage or a divorce from her.

I have been working as a professional genealogist for nearly 20 years and have built a large clientele. I have held a number of board positions president on various genealogical societies. I am currently the president of the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (NERGC) and I have been named the State Registrar/Genealogist for the Massachusetts Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.  

As a descendant of Howland, Fuller, Tilley and Brewster. My acceptance into the GSMD was based on my line to William Brewster.
by Dave Robison G2G1 (1.3k points)

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