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Loyalists, Associated Departments of the Army and Navy

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: [unknown]
Surnames/tags: Nova Scotia Loyalists
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Loyalist settlers who came to Guysborough, Nova Scotia in June 1784 who were collectively referred to as "The Associated Departments of the Army and Navy". This diverse group included Commissary Department staff who were evacuated from New York, a group of former soldiers of the British Legion and other Loyalists who had arrived in Nova Scotia the previous year only to be left homeless after a disastrous fire at Port Mouton, Nova Scotia, in the spring of 1784, some members of the 71st Regiment, naval personnel, etc. The most senior officer appears to have been Col. Robert Molleson, formerly Wagon Master General at New York. The group included Hugh Hugh, William Campbell (later Sir William Campbell, Chief Justice of Upper Canada), and Thomas "King" Cutler.

The "Muster Roll of the settlers of the Associated Departments of the Army and Navy set down at Chedabucto 21st June 1784" can be viewed at the National Archives of Canada website:

Page 1: https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c9818/159?r=0&s=2

Page 2-3: https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c9818/160?r=0&s=2

Page 4-5: https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c9818/161?r=0&s=2

Page 6-7: https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c9818/162?r=0&s=2

Page 8-9: https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c9818/163?r=0&s=2

Page 10-11: https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c9818/164?r=0&s=2

Page 11: https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c9818/165?r=0&s=2

This Roll appends a list of a large contingent of "Black Loyalists" - i.e., free persons of colour who came as part of this group to settle at Chedabucto (now Guysborough), consisting of 107 men, 69 women, 11 children over 10 and 39 children under 10.

Page 12: https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c9818/165?r=0&s=2

Page 13-14: https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c9818/166?r=0&s=2

Page 15-16: https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c9818/167?r=0&s=2

The Nova Scotia Archives website includes the "warrant to survey", giving the names of most of these men and their individual acreage granted: "Nathan Hubbell & two hundred and seventy eight others agreeable to the lists annexed: 53,850 acres at Chedabucto." The list combines the Associated Departments of the Army and Navy with the men of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment into a single grant document: https://archives.novascotia.ca/land-papers/archives/?ID=594&Doc=warrant

This information may also be viewed in the Manchester-Guysborough Township Book: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-996W-JH37?i=55&cat=165595

There can be no question that the Black Loyalists were not given the same consideration as their white counterparts. The Public Archives of Nova Scotia includes a "Memorial Petition of the Free Negroes now living at Manchester and County of Sydney" in which the petitioners, Thomas Richardson, Peter French, and William Goding, note that "Petitioners have resided here for two years, have received no lands, and are ordered off the commons belonging to the town before next October. Request grants of land, utensils for husbandry, clothes, ammunition and boards, as they have received none of these things.":https://archives.novascotia.ca/land-papers/archives/?ID=839&Doc=memorial&Page=201107008

In 1787, a 3000 acre grant of land at Upper Tracadie was made to a group of these "Black Loyalists" comprising 71 men, 50 women, and 51 children. Many of their descendants still live in Guysborough and Antigonish counties. The grant with the names of the grantees can be found at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia: https://archives.novascotia.ca/land-papers/archives/?ID=978&Doc=warrant

Additional information on this group of Loyalists may be found in A.C. Jost, "Guysborough Sketches and Essays", in a chapter titled "The Associated Departments of the Army and Navy" and includes selected genealogical notes on these families.

Extensive recent research published by Ed Brumley on the 71st Regiment enables us to identify with reasonable certainty about 43 of these Guysborough settlers as disbanded soldiers and officers of the regiment, and enables descendants to learn more about their recruitment and military service during the Revolutionary War.


  • A.C. Jost, Guysborough Sketches and Essays, revised edition, ISBN: 978-1-4269-1336-5
  • Ed Brumby, 71st Fraser Highland Regiment in The American War of Independence, ISBN-13 : 978-1907540592, ASIN : B08XNRWH6B (available from Amazon UK or Kindle)

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