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Loyalist Refugees of the American Revolution

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  • Capt. Johan Jost Herkimer, Jr., Rev. War UEL (1732 - 1795)
    Capt. Johan Jost Herchmer Herkimer BIRTH 1732 New York, USA DEATH 16 Aug 1795 (aged 62–63) Kingston, Frontenac County, Ontario, Canada BURIAL Burial Details Unknown MEMORIAL ID 248152049 Photos...
  • Col. Robert Nelles, UEL (1761 - 1842)
    NELLES (Nellis), ROBERT, businessman, office holder, jp, politician, and militia officer; b. 6 Oct. 1761 in Tryon County, N.Y., eldest son of Hendrick William Nelles (Nellis); m. first 1788 Elizabeth...
  • Samuel "the Tory" Sharp (1741 - 1786)
    Per the UELAC : "... Samuel was born 1741 in Woodbridge N.J He was a recruiting sergeant for the Loyal American Regiment at Staten Island New York. He arrived at St John N. B. with the July Fleet o...
  • Mary Elizabeth Bowes (1739 - 1789)
    returned to America after the death of her husband
  • Reverend John Sayre (1738 - 1784)
    Reference: MyHeritage Family Trees - SmartCopy : Nov 15 2021, 18:42:23 UTC rector at Fairfield CT

A few Loyalists left the British colonies during the American Revolution then tens of thousands were deported after peace was concluded after the American Revolution (1783)

Most did not remain in the locales to which they were sent. Histories are available detailing the numbers moved and how they swelled the temporary boom towns such as Shelburne, Nova Scotia. Populations of such regions plunged years after the influx of the refugees. Many went back to the regions from whence they came. Others spread far and wide.

Scope: Limited to Actual Refugees

Please do not add DESCENDANTS of Loyalist Refugees to this project. Tip: If the individual was born (say) after c. 1800, they cannot be a refugee as the migration had begun c. 1783. However, if you wish to add a Loyalist Descendant to a project, there is a broad-scope project for that purpose: Do so HERE
Prior to the arrival of Loyalist refugees, roughly 2,000 families of so-called "Planters aka 'Blue Noses' arrived to farm in the regions of the Canadian Maritimes (Nova Scotia and modern New Brunswick). A separate project for such families may be found HERE.

Those to Include

Adult men and women and their children.
~•I suggest we include those under the age of majority ~• The UEL project is specific to those who served the Crown in an official wartime capacity. ~• Please do not include those who were born after their parents immigration to their adopted countries. It will make this project too large to be useful.


~• a partial list... Please add more places •~

  1. New Brunswick (which, historically, was created by the large influx of Loyalist Refugees)
  2. Nova Scotia
  3. Ontario
  4. England
  5. Carribean / West Indies
  6. Sierra Leone
  7. Florida

Classes of Emigrants

  1. Soldiers
  2. Sympathizers
  3. Freed Slaves
  4. Slaves
  5. Working People

~• and families of the above

Claimant Process in England

~• prolonged process

  • c. 1788 (as chronicled by Lorenzo Sabine: " appeared that the number of claimants in England, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada was five thousand and seventy-two, of whom nine hundred and fifty-four withdrew, or failed to prosecute their claims ~• see p. 111 of The American Loyalists, Or, Biographical Sketches of Adherents to the British Crown


  1. Voluntary Immigrants for whom the American Revolution was not a motivation to emigrate from the Colonies

Initial Discussion

So many of these refugees returned to the young United States of America. The British Crown settled Loyalist claims for reparation of property lost in 1790. To this day {2016} areas such as the Province of Nova Scotia do not support populations near those that were there in the 1780s.

Roughly 4% of the Loyalist Refugees were Black. "(T)he Black Loyalists were consistently denied land grants and exploited as a source of free labour by the provincial government. Disillusioned with their experience in Nova Scotia, over one third of the Black Loyalists opted to resettle in Sierra Leone in 1792. Included in this number were the majority of the black teachers, preachers, and leaders, leading to the disruption of Black Loyalist communities and institutions." ~•from the work: Black refugees in Nova Scotia

It is noteworthy to observe what the places of death were for these Loyalists and their offspring, many of whom were 'held in tow' so to speak by their elders' stances in the conflict.

Many family trees of modern Americans tend to exclude more than passing reference to their Loyalist branch(es). The originator of this project was astonished to notice how many Loyalist Refugees returned to the USA .... Which leads one to wonder: How many descendants do not know much about this aspect of their heritage? Many genealogies of Americans have little or no record of Loyalist ancestors.


  1. Ship passenger lists
  2. Muster rolls
  3. Histories of municipalities in which these people settled
  4. Church histories
  5. Birchtown, near Shelburne NS, was established for freed Blacks. There is a fine memorial on the site... and similar pages

Treatment of slaves

  1. Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, Volumes 7-10
  2. Annapolis County slave owners’ petition in 1808

Anticipated total number of potential profiles

Circa 30,000 ~• Not that they will all ever be identified and tagged

This project may well be able to eventually serve as a useful cross-referencing guide that will place people in often ignored places and countries during their lifetimes.

  1. United Empire Loyalists" (equivalent to the DAR & SAR in America)
  2. Alpha list for the UEL
  3. Black refugees in Nova Scotia from the Canada Museum of Immigration
  4. Pennsylvania Loyalists
  5. Pennfield New Brunswick 1783
  6. Confiscation of Property in Pennsylvania

Research tools

  1. Root Web Cemetery listings for Annapolis County < substitute letter at end of URL for each surname
  2. All Annapolis County cemeteries
  3. The Black Loyalist Directory, edited by Graham Russell Hodges, 318 pp. (Garland Publishing Inc., New York and London, 1996)
  4. Searchable Black Loyalist database