44. William Wright, Uel
""The Wrights of Bedeque..A Loyalist Family" By Doris Haslam
William Wright, progenitor of the Wrights of Bedeque, was a Loyalist refugee who came from Westchester County, New York, to Prince Edward Island in July 1784 with his wife and children and settled in North Bedeque, where he died in February 1819. He is the ancestor of a multitude, as can been seen from the length of this history. Little is known, however, of his life. By piecing together the few references that are made to him in old records we can see its general outline, but the details, which would be fascinating could we only know them, are lost forever.
When the American Revolution began William and his family were living about twenty-five miles from New York City, near the border of Westchester County with Connecticut. We do not know the names of his wife or his father, but we do know that the wife was a Presbyterian and that the father, a Quaker like William, lived in the same general area. William had two sons, Nathaniel and Stephen, and four daughters: Hannah, Sara, Lydia and another who married Solomon Dibble and settled in Westchester County or in nearby Connecticut.
Though a Quaker and therefore a pacifist, William openly identified himself with the Loyalist cause and for this was imprisoned for twelve months. His elder son joined the Loyalist militia and took active part in the skirmishes between rebels and Loyalists in the area. William’s wife and younger children, left at home, were an easy prey to those on the rebel side who made their way to the farms or known Loyalists ("Tories" as they were called) to confiscate crops, livestock,. food, clothing, persona possession—all that could be seized and taken. Testifying before the Committee on Loyalists in 1833, William’s younger son stated under oath: "My father and family were deprived of all their property to a considerable amount by the Rebels, except one bed for the whole family, which included seven persons."
When the American Revolution ended the Wright family were at the nadir of their fortunes. Dispossessed of property and belongings, they were now under sentence of banishment, for the Americans, who had inaugurated their Declaration of Independence by declaring all adherents to the Crown were traitors whose property was liable to confiscation, followed the recognition of independence by Britain with decrees exiling such adherents from their territories. In addition, the entire family except William were sick with yellow fever, the elder son (Nathaniel) not expected to live. William cast his lot in the "Port Roseway Associates" , a group of Loyalists organized in New York who arranged for transportation to Port Roseway (soon afterwards named Shelburne) on the south coast of Nova Scotia. he and his family left New York for Nova Scotia in August 1783 and remained in Shelburne about ten months before moving on the Island of St. John, as Prince Edward Island was then named. The Wrights were one of a group of Loyalist families and individuals brought to the Island from Shelburne by William Schurman—another Westchester County Loyalist—to settle on lands reserved for them in the Bedeque area. The group arrived in Charlottetown on July 26th, 1784. Three days later lots were allocated to the Schurman group, generally 500 acres to a married man and 300 acres to a single man. William Wright drew his 500 acres in Log 19, 50 acres of it fronting on Wilmot Creek: his son Nathaniel drew 300 acres in Lot 26, on the south side of the Dunk River. These grants were registered in 17896. Previously William Wright and John Murray had each been granted 100 acres on Dunk or Bedeque River as shown on Map No. 1 marked "Refugee Share drawn for in council 27th of May 1784."
There is in existence an interesting report on the Schurman group of Loyalist refugees dated August 9th, 1784 and prepared by Charles Stewart, who had been appointed to muster the "Discharged and Disbanded Soldiers and Loyalists":
52 men women and children have arrived from Shelburne as settlers for the Island. They were issued by the Commissary one month’s provisions without which they could not possibly proceed to the Settlement allotted them by the Governor and Council
They were on the landing instantly mustered and certification signed by the commissary at Shelburne of the quantity of provision they had received there were produced before any were issued to them here. As it took sup some time to go through their certificate, and the winds was for some days unfavorable to their sailing to Bedeque Harbor (the place of their settlement), I consented to the commissary’s issuing a second month’s provisions to them. The distress in which they arrived here and their improbability of being able to procure any kind of vessel to convey them. Provisions as they may require will I hope be consideration sufficient to obtain the General’s approbation of what has been done in reference to them
William and his family settled in what is now North Bedeque, on the north side of the Dunk River, between lands acquired by Samuel Birch Rix and Jesse Strang, who were to become his sons-in-law. A third future son-in-law, William Murray, settled east of Jesse Strang. William built his first log house some distance from the shore, thatching it with seaweed and chining the spaces between the logs with moss and mud. The large chimney, with cooking fireplace, stood in the centre of the cabin. The light came in through a hole cut in the wall. When the wind howled and rain beat down, the hole was covered and candles lit, when there were candles. When none were available the necessary illumination came from the fireplace.
Before long, conditions began to improve for the William Wright family, as they did for the other pioneer in Bedeque. The account book for their neighbor William Schurman, first merchant in Bedeque, shows that on April 1st, 1786 our William bourght one cow at four pounds, a yard and a quarter of broadcloth at six shillings threepence, a "bibel" at one pound three shillings, and shipped wool to Mr. Woren at a cost of one shilling for "frate".
William Wright was the first shoemaker in the area but he may not have been unduly busy, because wooden clogs and sealskin moccasins were worn by many of the earliest settlers.
In 1787 Sarah moved to the next farm, the bride of Jesse Strang, the young Loyalist from Westchester County. Nathaniel was the next to leave the parental roof. He married Ann Lord and settled in Tryon next to her parents. Stephen married Nancy’s sister Frances Lord and moved in with his parents. The 1798 census for the Island shows William Wright head of a household of eight, who would have been William and his wife; his grandson William (aged 6); his son Stephen, wife Fanny and children Lydia (5) , John (3) and Elizabeth (1)
We find one instance of William being involved in a court case. As a Loyalist he had been given a 50 acre lot not far from his home, adjoining a lot granted to the Palmer family. Jonathan Palmer, however, settled on William’s rather then on his own, and by the time the Quaker took him to court over it young Palmer had built himself a house and barn on the property, planted an orchard, and "carried away a great quantity of valuable timber". The court awarded dames of L46-17-6 to William with the understanding he would give Palmer a deed to the property.
William Wright died in February 1819 and was probably buried in the newly opened Presbyterian cemetery, the land for which was given by his son-in-law Jesse Strang. A few months later William Schurman, who had broght the Wright family from Shelburne, was buried in the same cemetery. William Wright had lived on the Island over thirty-four years, long enough to see many changes and have over fifty descendants call him Grandfather.
48. John Trenholm
Notes e-mailed from Barbara Trenholm Jan /97
-"John Trenhlom b. 1738 in England, d. Oct. 24. 1817 at Pt De Bute, NB m in england to Isabella Coates, b 1738 at England, d Mar 10, 1817 at Pt De Bute NB. Both were buried in the Methodist cemetery in Pt. De Bute. Isabella was a daughter of Joahn Coates and Catherine Thornholl of Kirklevington, Eng. (so says Linda Holms of USA)
- John was a very large man (300) lbs. It took six able bodied men to carry the casket (so sayd Mildred Ebersole of Southern Pine, North Carolina, USA) John came to what is now Pt. De Bute (at that time Cumberland Co., NS) NB became a province in 1784) It is thought at first he was a tenant farmer of Sherriff Allen, but later got possession of Inverma Fram. This farm was probably confiscated by the crown after the Eddy Rebellion when Sherrif Allen left the coutnry. (Compiled by Ivan Trenholm)
Died 24 Oct 1817 in Pt De Bute, New Brunswick, Canada. Buried in Pt De Bute, New Brunswick, Canada. Religion Methodist. He married Isabella COATES, 21 Dec 1761. John and Isabella came to New Brunswick in 1772 on the ship "Duke of York".
Additional Notes From Barb Trenholm: July/99
Buried in Methodist Cemetery, Pt De Bute, New Brunswick, Canada. Religion: Methodist. Occupation: -; r. Hutton Rudby, N. Yorkshire (1767)
50. Stephen Seaman, UEL
Notes from B. Trenhlom..July/97
Occupation Harbour Pilot and entrepreneur (he was involved in many land deals and lumberyards); r. East Wallace, and River Philip, NS; Ft.Law.(1790). He married Hannah SMITH.
Notes from Barb Trenholm: July/99
Buried in Wallace Old Methodist Church; #38B., NS. Occupation: Pilot; r. Dutchess Co. NY; East Wallace, and River Philip, NS; Ft.Law.(1790). Religion: Methodist.
56. Benjamin Allen
Other sources say his deathdate was: 1754
Benjlamin's mother is either Mary Pratt or Mary Alden...daughter of Joseph Alden and Mary Simmons...There is a discrepancy in the historical notes of several sources...some say Mary Alden and others say Mary Pratt. Which is it? No one knows for sure.
For this reason I'm including both Mary Pratt and Mary Alden's family lines
58. Matthias Somers
Information from Message Boards on Internet under "Somers" Family
-Born Osnabruck (possibly a region) Germany, went to Pennsylvania on the ship "Sandrson" which sailed out of Rotterdam, Holland.
-Migrated to New Brunswick, Date unknown
Notes from Barb Trenholm via e-mail./97
Died Before 1783 in New Brunswick. r. Pennsylvania, and Moncton, New Brunswick (1766). The Somers family originally came from Germany and intermarried with the Loyalists in Pennsylvania.