A Question of Loyalties
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A Question of Loyalties
Brave New Worlds
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Introduction
The Loyalist communities built throughout Nova Scotia and New Brunswick began in the exodus of United Empire Loyalists from New York City in the summer of 1784.
Loyalists fled the Thirteen Colonies to Nova Scotia, Quebec, the Caribbean and Britain after the American victory. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Loyalists fled the Thirteen Colonies to Nova Scotia, Quebec, the Caribbean and Britain after the American victory. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
From the south, thousands had already fled to Jamaica, the Bahamas, and the West Indies. Some would return home to Britain, but the majority of Loyalists who passed through New York (about 35,000) chose to go to the rocky Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia.

Refugees flooded into the coast towns of Nova Scotia: Yarmouth, Annapolis Royal, Antigonish. Whole communities sprang up where nothing had existed before. The population nearly tripled overnight and surveyors frantically laid out townsites and land grants. But as fleet after fleet brought new arrivals Nova Scotia Governor John Parr worried about the relentless immigrants.

"A considerable number of refugee families, destitute of almost everything must be provided for," he said.
Communities sprang up almost overnight as the Loyalists flooded into Nova Scotia, prompting the creation of New Brunswick as a separate province. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Communities sprang up almost overnight as the Loyalists flooded into Nova Scotia, prompting the creation of New Brunswick as a separate province. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
"Chiefly women and children... I have not yet been able to find any sort of place for them, and the cold setting in is severe."

For most, their first home here would be an army tent or a shack and they would survive on rations doled out from street kitchens.

Hannah Ingraham, a young Loyalist who had been forced from her family farm in Albany County, NY, had been since reunited with her father and was among the last to leave New York. "Father said we were to go to Nova Scotia, that a ship was ready to take us there... This was September. The transport that was to bring us to St. John's was the last transport of the season and had on board all those who could not come sooner."

Hannah and her family arrived in 1783.
Like many other Loyalists, Hannah Ingraham's family was given 200 acres of land on arriving in Nova Scotia in 1783. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
Like many other Loyalists, Hannah Ingraham's family was given 200 acres of land on arriving in Nova Scotia in 1783. (As portrayed in Canada: A People's History)
"It was a sad, sick time after we landed in St. John's," she wrote "We had to live in tents... It was just as the first snow then and the melting snow and the rain would soak up into our beds as we lay."

Like many other Loyalist families they received 200 acres to homestead, fanning north from the mouth of the St. John River to form Queenston, Gagetown and St. Anne's (later Fredericton). During that first winter hundreds died of famine or exposure. Graves were dug in the frozen earth with an axe.

In the spring, the government distributed nails and tools and the Ingrahams built a house.

"There was no floor laid, no windows, no door," Hannah wrote, "but we had a roof at least.
New communities sprang up across Nova Scotia and along the Saint John River with the flood of Loyalists.
New communities sprang up across Nova Scotia and along the Saint John River with the flood of Loyalists.
A good fire was blazing and mother... boiled a kettle of water. We... all sat at our breakfast that morning and mother said: 'Thank God we are no longer in danger of having shots fired through our house. This is the sweetest meal I ever tasted..."

Hannah Ingraham never left Fredericton and lived to the age of 97.


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