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American Pioneers: The Loyalists (1783-1800s)

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medium_loyalists.1.jpgUNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS:
By the British government's own definition, United Empire Loyalists were people who were living in the American colonies at the time of the American Revolution, who had voluntarily supported the British Crown (in many cases with resulting persecution and loss of property), and who had emigrated to Canada in 1783 or shortly after.

It is often said that the first settlers in the Eastern Townships were Loyalists. Some Loyalist families did settle in the western part of the Eastern Townships in the 1780s, in particular around Missisquoi Bay, but they were relatively few in number. Later when the sector began to develop economically, some Loyalists moved into the townships further east.

A number of Loyalists petitioners received grants of land (though not all of them settled on these lands). Among others, these men included: Thomas Dunn (Dunham, 1796); Nicholas Austin (Bolton, 1797); Asa Porter (Brome, 1797); Samuel Gale (Farnham, 1798); Josiah Sawyer (Eaton, 1800); David Steward (Clifton, 1800); Hugh Finlay (Stanbridge, 1800); Samuel Willard (Stukely, 1800); Isaac Ogden (Stanstead, 1800); John Savage (Shefford, 1801); Edmund Heard (Newport, 1801); Luke Knowlton (Orford, 1801); Gilbert Hyatt (Ascot, 1803); and Henry Ruiter (Potton, 1803).

Loyalists who received grants were expected to bring with them a certain number of associates to help settle the land. Actual settlement, however, was very slow.