that no human habitation existed nearer than the Mohawk settlement, and the Napanee River. Many trips with the batteau
were necessary to obtain a complete outfit for Indian trading, and ample provisions had to be laid up, with stores of rum.
These articles were procured at Kingston. Singleton had rented his farm in the second town; but reserved a room, where
he might stop on his way up and down. In September, 1789, Captain Singleton, his wife, child, some eight months old,
with Lieutenant Ferguson, his wife, and the servants, Johnson and wife, set out for Kingston and Ernesttown in a batteau.
The women were to visit in Ernesttown, while the men proceeded to Kingston to purchase flour and other articles. Not
long after starting, Singleton was taken ill. They stopped at Captain John's, at the Mohawk settlement, and Indian
medicines were given him; but he continued to grow worse, and when he reached his home, in Ernesttown, he was
dangerously ill. A doctor from Kingston was procured; but Captain Singleton died nine days after, from what seems to-
have been a malignant fever. His faithful servant, Johnson, contracted the disease and also died. Thus, Lieutenant
Ferguson was left with three women and a child, away from home, which could only be reached after much toil. Captain
Singleton was spoken of as a "pleasing gentleman, and beloved by all who knew him." His infant son grew to man's
estate, and became one of the first settlers of Brighton, where his widow, now far advanced in years, and descendants
History of the Settlement of Upper Canada, With Special Reference to the Bay of Quinte. THE NINTH
TOWN–THURLOW. page 490
Lieutenant Ferguson went to Kingston, exchanged his load of furs for a barrel of flour, then very dear, and other articles,
and returned with his charge to Thurlow. But Ferguson's days were also numbered; and, in three months' time, he died,
and there were left in the depth of winter, alone, upon the front of Thurlow, three widowed women, and an infant; with
but little to eat, beside the barrel of flour; which, before long, was to be the only article of food, and used by cup-fulls to
make spare cakes.
Lieutenant Ferguson, the associate of the first settler in the township, was at first a refugee from the Mohawk valley in
New York, and latterly served, probably in Johnson's regiment. He had lived a short time at Sorel before coming to
Thurlow. His body was buried upon a pleasant elevation, between their house and the plains to the east of the river. The
first one of the loyalists to die in Thurlow, his body was the first to be interred in the "Taylor burying ground." (no issue)
Letter from Israel Ferguson 1786 trying to collect back pay--
"Whereas the Act of Parliament direck that persons Giving in claims should signify their services as well as lofs of
property. I therefore beg leave to lay before the Honourable Commissioners as consider a detail as my ittieientsfun will
In the year 1777 I was taken prisoner on lake George in going from Fort George to Ticonderoga, by a party of
rebells belonging to Colonel Browns Army who came in the rear of General Burgoyne's Army, and took Ticonderoga
landing with several other places adjutient to it.
I was detained at that place one night and the next day I was caused to accompany the Fleet which was going with
an intent to take Dimond Island and Fort George.Accordingly, myself with several of the prisoners was put on board a
Batteaux and none but prisoners was put on board with us.
WE then was ordered in the Center of the Fleet, which consisted of one Small Sloop with three twelve pounders,
Three Gun Boats, Two Barges and Seventeen Batteaux, all well mand, and night comming on which proved very dark
and Stormy, put the Enemy in Such Confusion that with the afsistance of two other of my fellow prisoners soon gave us
an Opportunity to to make our Escape, with the Boat and the other prisoners that was on board.
We then proceeded to Dimond Island with an Expedition Immagin n and gave information to Captain Chevy who
Commanded the Island of the Enemy's Approach, which was entirely unexppected to them. He then sent me to Fort
George to inform Lieutenant Ewin who Commanded the Fort of the Same, who also had not the last Intimation of the
This at that time was looked upon as a grate Service to Government and a considerable award was to be given to me
and the other two men who afsisted in ma king our Escape but a Continual employment in Scoutin and other Actual
Services prevented my making a proper application or I make no doubt but we should received.
After General Burgoyne's defeat, I came to Canada, From lst May 1778 to 20 May 1779 1 was constantly employed
in going from Canada to the Colonies for Intelligence.
In 1779 I brought a letter to Sir John
Johnson in order to be sent to the Commander in Chief giving a fair and exact account of a Considerable large army army
that was then on their march in order to Invade the (...?...) Forts and if
Succefsfull then to proceed down the River St. Lawrence to Montreal.
The 20 May 1779, 1 obtained an appointment in the Kings Rangers Commanded by Major James Rogers when I
served Fifteen Months and five days without any pay from Government in the Course of which time I recruited and
brought into His Majestys Service upwards of thirty men at my own expense.
Then I received Ensigns pay for two Months before which time
I had recruited upwards of Forty men,
Then from 25th October 1780 1 received Lieutenant's pay from which I served to 25 December 1783. 1 acted as
Lieutenant Adjutant and Quartermaster to the Kings Rangers for which I never received any Compensation but
Lieutenants pay and for all my other services before mentioned never received but Thirty pounds Halifax Currency."
loyalist, militia officer and community leader. At the time of their wedding in Ogdensburg, N.Y., Ferguson was 61 years
old. When Ferguson died in 1842, a battle began over who was his lawful wife and thus entitled to widow pension
benefits offered by the British Government. Frederica gained the support of former officers of the Royal Canadian
Volunteers, while Clarissa convinced two Canadian Fencible officers residing in Elizabethtown to support her case.
While it is unclear who won the contest, when Frederica died in 1847, she was noted as Ferguson's widow."
1788 Listed in compensation claim as still living in Bay of Quinte area.
1801 Captain in Royal Canadian Volunteers at Niagara & living at Cavan.
1805 Temporary Captain of Canadian Fencibles at York.
Following is the text of a lecture given in the November, 2000 chat at The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist
Who was the typical Provincial soldier?
There are some nice detailed lists of the Northern Army for the end of the war that show some personal information. In
looking at information for about 1825 soldiers raised in upper New York and that part of New England, a full 1254 were
born in America.
The next largest group came from Scotland, followed by Ireland, then England. Germans were mixed in, as well as other
European countries, and even one from Hungary.
The Army in America probably had a similar ratio, with possibly an even greater number of native born Americans.
They were mostly young, but the ages ran the spectrum. Soldiers were mostly in their late teens or twenties when they
enlisted, although soldiers could be as young as 15. Drummers and fifers were as young as nine.
On the other end, in very small numbers, there were soldiers over 65. One soldier from the Nova Scotia Volunteers was
dismissed from that corps for being around 80!
Height is always an interesting topic of discussion with reenactors, but soldiers really were smaller back then. Size lists
are available for only a few corps, but the average size of most soldiers was between five feet four and five feet seven or
eight. It would be uncommon to see more than a half dozen men in a regiment of six hundred men that were six feet tall.
As a provincial soldier, one would get a bounty on enlisting. This bounty was paid by the government and increased as
the war went on. Initially it was 2 guineas (a guinea is one pound, one shilling), then 3 guineas, then 6 guineas for much
In addition, officers of regiments often pooled their money to give to new recruits as an additional bounty. This was done
to strengthen the regiment's numbers in order to secure their establishment at the end of the war (and the officer's own
permanent half pay pension).
A new recruit was immediately to be taken to a civilian magistrate to be "attested." That meant he had the oath of
allegiance tendered to him, followed by the articles of war concerning mutiny and desertion. This was also known as
A person joined a particular regiment, not just the army, and it was that regiment's job to teach him to be a soldier. It was
pure on the job training. Muster rolls show some men captured in battle within days of their joining the army.
First a soldier had to be outfitted with clothing. Clothing came from two sources - the inspector general (via shipments
sent from England) and locally from the captains of the regiments.
The King provided each soldier with a regimental coat, a waistcoat, breeches, stockings, shirts, shoes, a hat, neck stock,
and buckles. Soldiers required more clothing than this though, including trousers, additional shirts, shoes, stockings, caps,
etc. These things were provided by the soldier's company captain, and the soldier himself was charged for them. His
captain also provided him with things like tobacco and soap, plus items to clean his belts and accoutrements.
As a soldier, he was also to be fed by the King. But this too the soldier was expected to pay for out of his pay. Each day a
soldier was to receive one pound of salt beef or 12 ounces of salt pork, one pound of bread, peas, cheese, butter, oatmeal,
For this hearty meal, 2 and 1/2 pence were deducted daily from his pay. Additionally, a soldier received a daily allowance
of spruce beer, free, as a gift from the King.
The salary of a private was a whopping six pence a day. From that the soldier had deducted his provisions, his additional
clothing and supplies, an allowance to the surgeon and paymaster, and some unique charges. For example, if a soldier
was sentenced to corporal punishment, he was to pay a fee to the drummer who administered the lashes!
Soldiers were also liable to pay their hospital bills. Regiments who had sick in the General Hospital were charged for the
care the men received. A regiment could then charge back the man who had been sick.
Soldiers were subject to military discipline as soon as they were attested. This meant they could be tried by a court and
punished if found guilty. That was why they were read the articles of war.
The most common cause of discipline problems came from drinking. Boredom was a big part of being a soldier, and
drinking was an accepted vice. It was even encouraged.
Extra rum was allowed to soldiers on fatigue duty, on guard during inclement weather, and on holidays. Add to this the
ration of daily beer, plus the availability of more liquor at taverns, sutlers and ale houses, and it is amazing these people
were sober at all!
Instances of drunken brawls were not uncommon. The Rowland Lennox Court Martial gives a perfect example of what
happened one St. Patrick's Day in New York with the Queen's Rangers and DeLancey's Brigade.
While drunk, soldiers often wandered off or deserted. Sometimes when they sobered up they were too afraid to go back,
fearing punishment. Punishment was indeed something to be afraid of.
The most common sentence was to be whipped on the bare back with a cat of nine tails by the drummers of the regiment.
A cat is a leather whip with nine strands to it.
For minor offenses, such as being asleep on guard, or stealing a pair of shoes, punishment could be 100 or even 300
lashes. Stealing of a more serious nature, plundering, desertion and other serious crimes could bring sentences of 500,
1000 or even 1500 lashes. Some robberies, assault, desertion and mutiny could be a death sentence. It's not too hard to
see why some of these folks were afraid to go back!
A soldier was liable for service anywhere in America, although sometimes they disputed that. Soldiers from NJ, for
instance, ended up serving in East Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut.
Some of the regiments raised in the South, though, believed they were only liable for service there, which was pretty
Another interesting thing is that many of the soldiers served alongside many of their relatives. It was not uncommon for a
soldier to serve in the same company with his father, brothers and cousins. One can only imagine the difficulty of losing