Project Canterbury

The Church of England in Nova Scotia and the Tory Clergy of the Revolution

By Arthur Wentworth Eaton

New York: Thomas Whittaker, 1891.

Chapter X. Exiled Clergy of the Revolution

THE brief biographies in this chapter contain the leading facts in the lives of that interesting group of men, the Loyalist clergymen who went to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick between 1776 and 1786. Some of them, as will be seen, soon returned to the United States, or else took passage for England, but not a few remained for the rest of their lives in the old Acadian province by the sea. The names of these clergymen have never been gathered together before, and it is possible that after the evacuation of Boston, still others may have gone with the fleet to Halifax, whose names are not recorded here. The list as compiled is as follows:

Rev. John Agnew.
Rev. Samuel Andrews.
Rev. Oliver Arnold.
Rev. Moses Badger.
Rev. Jacob Bailey.
Rev. John Beardsley.
Rev. George Bissett.
Rev. Isaac Browne.
Rev. Mather Byles.
Rev. Henry Caner.
Rev. Richard Samuel Clarke.
Rev. William Clarke.
Rev. Samuel Cooke.
Rev. Nathaniel Fisher.
Rev. Bernard Michael Howseal.
Rev. Charles Inglis.
Rev. John Rutgers Marshall.
Rev. Jonathan Odell.
Rev. George Panton.
Rev. John Hamilton Rowland.
Rev. James Sayre.
Rev. John Sayre.
Rev. James Scovil.
Rev. Epenetus Townsend.
Rev. Roger Viets.
Rev. William Walter.
Rev. Joshua Wingate Weeks.
Rev. Isaac Wilkins.
Rev. John Wiswell.

The following clergymen, except Mr. Pidgeon, were born in the United States before the Revolution, and later took orders and labored in the diocese of Nova Scotia. Mr. Pidgeon, who married the younger daughter of Bishop Charles Inglis, was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. Entering the army he joined the Rifles as ensign, and with them went to America at the time of the war. After the Revolution he went to Nova Scotia and studied for the Church.

Rev. James Bissett.
Rev. Frederick Dibblee.
Rev. Benjamin Gerrish Gray.
Rev. Archibald Peane Inglis.
Rev. John Inglis.
Rev. John Millidge.
Rev. George Pidgeon.
Rev. Thomas Bolby Rowland.
Rev. Elias Scovil.
Rev. Charles Wingate Weeks.


Reverend John Agnew was rector of the parish of Suffolk, Virginia. On the 24th of March, 1775, the Whig Committee called him to account for his loyalty. He soon after left that part of the country and became chaplain of the Queen's Rangers. Later, he settled in New Brunswick and died near Fredericton, in 1812, aged eighty-five. He, Stair Agnew, who was probably his son, and others, during the Revolution were taken prisoners and carried to France, but were soon brought back to America.


Reverend Samuel Andrews came from Wallingford, Connecticut, in 1786. He was graduated at Yale College in 1759, and ordained by the Bishop of London in 1760. After a ministry of fifty-eight years, over thirty of which were spent at St. Andrews, New Brunswick, where he was the first minister, he died at St. Andrews, September 26, 1818, aged eighty-two. His wife, Hannah, died there January 1, 1816, aged seventy-five.


Reverend Oliver Arnold was also a Connecticut clergyman, born in that State, and graduated at Yale College in 1776. After the Revolution he was one of the grantees of St. John, and for some years was employed in general missionary work. In 1792, he was appointed to Sussex, New Brunswick, where he died in 1834, at the age of seventy-nine. He is said to have been a man of peculiarly sweet temper.


Reverend Moses Badger was a graduate of Harvard of 1761, and some years before the war was a missionary in New Hampshire. In 1776, he went to Halifax, but before long returned to New York, where he became chaplain to De Lancey's second battalion. After the Revolution he was rector of King's Chapel, Providence, dying in that city in 1792. His wife was a daughter of Judge Saltonstall of Massachusetts, and sister of the Loyalists, Colonel Richard, and Leverett Saltonstall.


Reverend Jacob Bailey, known as "the Frontier Missionary," was born in Rowley, Massachusetts, in 1731, entered Harvard College in 1751, and graduated in 1755, in the same class with President John Adams. For a time he taught school in Kingston, and Hampton, New Hampshire. Then he preached for some years as a Congregational minister, but at last, January 10, 1760, he went to England for Holy Orders. He was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Rochester, March 2d, and priest by the Bishop of Peterboro', March 16th of that year, and was at once appointed missionary to Pownalboro, Maine, where he began his work July 1st. He married, in August, 1761, Sally, daughter of Dr. John Weeks, of Hampton, New Hampshire, who had been his pupil, and was much younger than he. In 1779, he, his wife, and his three children, a young infant, and two girls of about eleven years, in a deplorable condition went to Halifax, where they were most hospitably received by the good Dr. Breynton, and Mr. Bailey was soon given an appointment to Cornwallis by the S. P. G. Later he became missionary at Annapolis, where he died in 1808. During the last twenty-six years of his life he was absent from his church but one Sunday. His wife died at Annapolis in 1818, aged seventy. His eldest son, Charles Percey, who was remarkable for personal beauty, was a captain in the British army, and was killed at the battle of Chippewa, in the war of 1812. His son, William Gilbert, was a lawyer of wide practice and died young, leaving a family. His son, Thomas Henry, was an officer in the militia and also died young, leaving a family. His daughters were Charlotte Maria, and Elizabeth Anna, who became the wife of a Mr. Whitman.


Reverend John Beardsley was born in Stratford, Connecticut, in 1732. He was a student at Yale College, but did not graduate. Kings (Columbia) College, however, conferred on him the degrees of B.A. and M.A. He went to England for ordination, returned early in 1762, and was settled in Poughkeepsie. He officiated also at Fishkill, and soon after the war broke out, having declared himself on the British side, Colonel Beverly Robinson, who had been one of the chief supporters of the church at Fishkill, appointed him chaplain of the Loyal American Regiment which he commanded. At the evacuation of New York, Mr. Beardsley accompanied the regiment to New Brunswick, and after "many deprivations and sufferings," was settled over the parish in Maugerville, on the St. John River, where he remained for more than seventeen years. He finally retired from the parish on account of infirmity, and went to Kingston, New Brunswick, on chaplain's half pay. There he died in 1810. He had four daughters and at least two sons. His eldest daughter was married to a German officer; his youngest son, Hon. Bartholemew Crannel Beardsley, who died in Upper Canada in 1855, was chief judge of the court of common pleas, and a member of the house of assembly of New Brunswick.


Reverend George Bissett came from England and was employed as assistant in Trinity Church, Newport, and school-master, in 1767. October 28, 1771, he succeeded Rev. Arthur Browne as Rector of Trinity Church, continuing in office until the evacuation of Newport by the British troops, October 25, 1779. He then went with the army to New York, leaving his wife and child, it is said, very destitute. His furniture was seized, but soon restored to Mrs. Bissett, who got leave from the General Assembly to join her husband. "Soon after his departure the church was entered and the altar-piece--ornamented with emblems of royalty--was torn down and spoiled." In 1786, he was in England. Thence he sailed for New Brunswick, and landed at St. John late in July. The Royal Gazette of August I, 1786, says: "Last Sunday morning the Rev. Geo. Bissett, lately arrived from England, preached in the Church in this City, and in the evening Messrs. Moore and Gibbons, of the people called Quakers, the former from New Jersey, the latter from Pennsylvania. The whole gave great satisfaction." The Rev. Dr. Samuel Peters said of Mr. Bissett: "He is a very sensible man, a good scholar and compiler of ser mons, although too bashful to appear in company, or in the pulpit." He died March 3, 1788, leaving a widow and one son. His wife was Penelope, daughter of Judge James Honyman of the Court of Vice-Admiralty, Rhode Island.


Reverend Isaac Browne was the third son of Daniel Browne of West Haven, Conn., and brother of Reverend Daniel Browne who graduated at Yale College in 1714. Isaac Browne was born March 20, 1708-9, and graduated at Yale College in 1729. After graduation he pursued his theological studies under the direction of his brother's classmate and friend, Reverend Samuel Johnson of Stratford, who mentioned him to the secretary of the S. P. G., in June, 1731, as a "virtuous and discreet young man and of good abilities." He began as school-master and reader in the village of Setauket, in Brooklyn, Long Island, to a small Episcopal congregation. In 1733, he went to England, and was ordained deacon and priest, returning again to his Brooklyn congregation. In 1744, he was transferred to Newark, N. J., where he continued till the Revolution. He also practised as a physician, and was elected to the New Jersey Medical Society, November, 1766. At the close of 1776, he took refuge within the British lines, and in 1783, went to Annapolis, Nova Scotia, having a tempestuous voyage and losing most of his goods. He was too old and feeble for work, and the S. P. G. allowed him a pension of £50 a year. He died in Nova Scotia in 1787. His wife had been made delirious by the voyage and she too soon died. One of their sons was a surgeon in the British army. One daughter married a son of David Ogden.


The Reverend Mr. Brudenell was a chaplain of the Artillery under General Burgoyne, and is described in Jones' "History of New York during the Revolution," as having, amidst great danger, performed the burial service over the body of General Frazer, who died October 9, 1777, as a result of the engagement of October 7th. In November, 1784, he was one of the four persons authorized by the governor to lay out and assign unlocated lands in Digby.


Mather Byles, Junior, D.D., was a son of the Reverend Mather Byles, D.D.,first pastor of the Hollis Street Church, Boston, on his mother's side descended from Richard Mather and John Cotton. Mather Byles, Junior, was born in Boston in 1734, and graduated at Harvard College in 1751. In 1757, he was ordained at New London to the ministry of the Congregational Church, his father preaching the sermon. "Eleven years after, his ministry came to an abrupt termination. Without previous intimation, he called a meeting of his church, and requested dismission, that he might accept an invitation to become rector of the North, or Christ Church, Salem Street, Boston. His congregation was much displeased and the record on the church books, April 12, 1768, is: "The Rev. Mr. Byles dismissed himself from the church and congregation." Before the close of 1768, he was inducted into the rectorship of Christ Church, of which he was the third rector. In 1776, with his family of four persons, he went to Halifax, and in 1778 was proscribed and banished. Soon after his arrival in Halifax, he was appointed garrison chaplain. He also assisted Dr. Breynton at St. Paul's, and after the latter went to England in 1785, he and Mr. Weeks divided the duty between them. In 1789, Dr. Byles went to St. John, New Brunswick, where he became rector of Trinity Church, and chaplain of the Province. See the report of the S. P. G. for 1791, in which year Trinity Church was opened. At a vestry meeting of Trinity Church, December 8, 1791, it was resolved, "that the old Church be sold, price £200. The bell, organ, and King's Coat of Arms be removed to Trinity Church." These royal arms were probably originally on the walls of the council chamber of the Town House in Boston, whence they were taken by some of the Loyalists, when they left that city for St. John. In the council chamber they probably hung between the portraits of King Charles II. and King James II., "in a splendid golden frame."

Dr. Byles was a learned and able, and high-spirited man. He died at St. John, March 12, 1814, in his eightieth year. His daughter Anna was married at St. John, August 22, 1799, to Thomas Desbrisay, Lieutenant-Colonel of Artillery. His daughter Rebecca, born in New London, in 1762, was married to Dr. William James Almon, of Halifax, surgeon to the Ordnance and Artillery, and died there in 1853. His daughter Elizabeth was married to William Scovil of St. John, and died in 1808, aged forty-one. His son Belcher died in England in 1815, aged thirty-five. His son Mather died at Grenada, in 1803, aged thirty.


Henry Caner, D.D., a son of Henry and Abigail Caner, was born probably in New Haven, Conn., in 1700, and graduated at Yale College in 1724. In 1727, he went to England for ordination, and was appointed by the S. P. G., missionary at Fairfield, Conn. He also preached at Norwalk. November 27, 1746, the Reverend Roger Price of King's Chapel, Boston, resigned the rectorship of that parish, and Mr. Caner was called in his place. He was a popular preacher and very highly esteemed in Boston. In March, 1776, he left with the British troops for Halifax where, for a time, he had to accept the hospitality of the Reverend Dr. Breynton. Soon after, he sailed for England, and again in 1776 or '77 returned to America as a missionary of the S. P. G. to Bristol, Rhode Island, where he labored until the close of the war. He spent his late years in England and died in Long Ashton, in 1792, aged ninety-two.


Reverend Richard Samuel Clarke was the fifth son of Samuel Clarke of West Haven, Conn., where he was born in 1737. He graduated at Yale College in 1762, and the same year received the degree of M.A. from Kings College. He was lay reader in Salem, New York, for some time until he went to England for orders in 1766. His license from the Bishop of London "to preach in the Plantations "is dated February 25, 1767. After ordination he was appointed missionary to New Milford, Connecticut, where he stayed until 1786, when he went to New Brunswick, and settled at Gagetown. After twenty-five years there, he removed to St. Stephen, of which he was the first minister and where he died, October 6, 1824. The tablet above his grave states that he was minister at New Milford, Conn., nineteen years, of Gagetown, New Brunswick, twenty-five years, and of St. Stephen, thirteen years. He was "the oldest missionary in the present British colonies." His wife, Rebecca, died at St. Stephen, May 7, 1816, aged sixty-nine. His only surviving daughter, Mary Anne, died unmarried in Gagetown, in February, 1844, aged seventy-three.


Reverend William Clarke was a son of the Reverend Peter Clarke of Danvers, Massachusetts, and was graduated at Harvard College in 1759. After ordination in England, he became rector of St. Paul's Church, Dedham. There he lived until 1777, when he was sentenced to be confined on board a ship because he refused to acknowledge the independency of America, which he says, "was contrary to the sentiments I had of my duty to my King, my country, and my God." After being released, he went first to Rhode Island, then to New York, then to Ireland, then to England; and in 1786, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, whence he soon removed to Digby. He finally returned to the United States and died in Quincy, Mass., in 1815. He married Mrs. Dunbar, a delicate young widow, who, Reverend Mr. Bailey wrote, was "as unable to rough it as himself."


Reverend Samuel Cooke was educated at Cambridge, England, and came to America as missionary of the S. P. G., probably as early as 1749. In 1765, he had charge of the churches in Shrewsbury, Freehold, and Middletown. The Revolution scattered his congregations and he became chaplain to the Guards, and in 1774 went to England, where in 1785 he received an appointment as one of the first missionaries to New Brunswick. August i8th, he landed at Halifax, where he received a hearty welcome from Governor Parr. September 2, 1785, he reached St. John, where he at once began his pastoral work, not limiting himself, however, to that settlement, but making missionary tours to other parts of the province. In 1785, he settled at Fredericton, where he was the first minister, and in 1790,was appointed commissary to the bishop of Nova Scotia. On the night of May 23, 1795, a dark and windy night, with his son he was crossing the St. John River, near Fredericton, in a birch canoe, when a sudden squall upset the canoe and both father and son were drowned. Mr. Cooke is justly styled the "father of the Church in New Brunswick." Bishop Inglis, writing of him to the S. P. G., said: "Never was a minister of the Gospel more beloved and esteemed, or more universally lamented in his death." Inscriptions to both father and son are to be seen on the walls of St. Ann's (Christ) Church, Fred-ericton. Dr. Cooke's wife was a Miss Kearney, of Amboy, New Jersey. He had at least five daughters, of whom one, Lydia, the fifth, died at Fredericton in 1846, aged seventy-six. His daughter Isabella, "the last survivor of his family," widow of Colonel Harris William Hales, died at Fredericton in 1848.


Reverend Nathaniel Fisher was born in Ded-ham, Mass., July 8, 1742. His father was a farmer of that place, and one of his sisters was the mother of Fisher Ames. Mr. Fisher was graduated at Harvard College in 1763. For some years he was in the service of the S. P. G., as schoolmaster at Granville. May 13, 1777. He was recommended to the Society "as a man of learning and good sense, of unexceptionable character, and worthy of being admitted to holy orders, as an assistant to the Rev. Mr. Wood of Annapolis." He crossed the Atlantic, was ordained by Bishop Lowth, and by him licensed as Mr. Wood's assistant. Early in 1778, the year of Mr. Wood's death, he arrived in Nova Scotia, and although the Rev. Joshua Wingate Weeks was appointed to the church at Annapolis and Granviile, he assumed the charge which he continued to hold till the close of 1781. He then returned to New England, and February 24, 1782, entered on his duties as rector of St. Peter's Church, Salem. There he remained until his death, on Sunday, December 20, 1812. He was buried in Salem. His wife was Silence Baker, of Dedham, by whom he had two sons and daughter. One of his sisters was the mother of Fisher Ames.


Reverend Bernard Michael Howseal was senior pastor of the Lutheran Church in New York City, and in 1776, was one of the addressers of Lord Howe. From Nova Scotia he went to England in 1786, and, receiving" Holy Orders, came back to Halifax as missionary to the Germans in that city. The report of the S. P. G. for 1786 calls him "a worthy man and a great sufferer by the late troubles." He died in Halifax, March 9, 1799.


Reverend John Rutgers Marshall, M.A., was a graduate of King's College, New York, of 1770. In the convention of clergymen and laymen that met in New York, October 6, and 7, 1784, he was a deputy from Connecticut. Bishop Perry, in his "History of the American Episcopal Church," Vol. II., p. 27, describing this convention says: "Of this gentleman we know but little. His name occurs nowhere else on our journals or published records." In the record of him found in Nova Scotia history, Mr. Marshall's first name is not given, but there can be little doubt that it is this clergyman who is meant.


Reverend Jonathan Odell was born at Newark, New Jersey, September 25, 1737, was an M.A. of Nassau Hall, was educated for the medical profession, and served as surgeon in the British army. He left the army while it was stationed in the West Indies, went to England and prepared for Holy Orders, and was ordained deacon in the Chapel Royal, St. James Palace, Westminster, by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Terrick, Bishop of London, December 21, 1766, and priest in January 1767. He was immediately appointed by the S. P. G. to succeed Rev. Colin Campbell as missionary at Burlington, N. J., at which place he arrived July 25, 1767. Next day he was inducted into the pastorate of St. Ann's (now St. Mary's) Church by His Excellency, William Franklin, Esq., governor of the Province of New Jersey. May 6, 1772, he married Anne de Cou, and before leaving New Jersey had at least two children born, Mary, born March 19, 1773, and William Franklin, born October 19, 1774. Dr. Odell was devoted to the interests of his mission, but found it difficult to live on his salary, and so for a time practised medicine. In 1775, he was charged with writing letters to England, and was examined by the Provincial Congress of New Jersey, and by the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania; and a year later was ordered to confine himself on parole, on the east side of the Delaware, within a circle of eight miles from the court house in Burlington. Later he was chaplain to a Loyalist corps. Arnold wrote a letter to Andre, August 30, 1780, "to be left at the Reverend Mr. Odell's, New York," a copy of which may be found in Sparks' "Washington." In the spring of 1782, standards were presented to the king's American Dragoons, with imposing ceremonies, when the Rev. Dr. Odell made an address in the presence of a large number of distinguished officers of the British army and navy, including Prince William Henry, afterwards King William IV., who was at that time in New York as a midshipman in the fleet of Admiral Digby. When Sir Guy Carleton left New York, November 5, 1783, Dr. Odell accompanied him to England. Later he came to Nova Scotia, and when the new province of New Brunswick was formed, was appointed provincial secretary, register, and clerk of the council. He died in 1818. His daughter Lucy Anne, wife of Lieutenant-Colonel Rudyerd, of the Royal Engineers, died at Halifax in 1829. His son William Franklin, who was his successor as secretary, holding the office for thirty-two years, died at Fredericton, in 1844, aged seventy. Mary, his eldest daughter, died at Maugerville, New Brunswick, in 1848. Mrs. Odell died at Fredericton in 1825, aged eighty-five. Dr. Odell and Mr. Stansbury are called by Sabine "the two most important loyal versifiers of their time." "As a political satirist," says Winthrop Sargent, in his collections of the "Loyalist Poetry of the Revolution," p. 202, "Dr. Odell is entitled to high rank. In fertility of conception, and vigor and ease of expression, many passages in his poems will compare favorably with those of Churchill and Canning."


Reverend George Panton was born in America, but educated at the University of Aberdeen, where he received the degrees of B.A. and M.A. In 1774, King's College, New York, also conferred on him the honorary degree of M.A. He was probably ordained in 1773. He was first, missionary at Trenton, N. J.; afterwards, at Philipsburg (Yonkers), New York, where he stayed until 1782. He then went to Nova Scotia, the Society continuing him a salary of £30 a year until he was again, in 1785, settled at Yarmouth and places adjacent. In 1786, he went to England, where he died.


Reverend John Hamilton Rowland was a Pennsylvania clergyman. Before 1786 he removed to Shelburne, Nova Scotia, and became rector of St. Patrick's Church. In 1791, the parish of St. Patrick's was united to St. George's and Mr. Rowland made sole rector. He died in 1795 in his forty-fourth year and was succeeded in the rectorship by his son, Reverend Thomas Bolby Rowland. He is described as a learned man and a good preacher.


Reverend James Sayre was educated to the law and admitted to practice in New York in 1771. In 1774, King's College gave him the degree of M.A., and shortly before the Revolution, he entered the ministry. During the war he became chaplain to one of De Lancey's battalions, but "impelled by distress, severity of treatment, and by duty," he resigned this post in 1777. From 1778 to 1783, he was rector of the Episcopal church in Brooklyn, New York. In the latter year, he became a grantee of St. John, New Brunswick, where he lived for a short time. He soon returned, however, to the United States and from 1786 to 1788 was rector at Newport, Rhode Island. He died at Fairfield, Connecticut, in 1798, aged fifty-three.


Reverend John Sayre was S. P. G. missionary at Fairfield, Conn., for several years before the Revolution. His well-known attachment to the crown compelled him, after Tryon burned the town, to fly from the colony. He went from Fairfield to Flushing, Long Island, but in 1781 was in New York. In 1783, he was one of the fifty-five petitioners for grants of land in Nova Scotia. In October of the same year he went to St. John, New Brunswick, became a grantee of that city, and was appointed by Lord Dorchester one of the agents of Government to locate the lands granted to the Loyalists in New Brunswick. In St. John he received what was known as lot 36, Dock Street. He soon moved to Mauger-ville on the river St. John, but died August 5, 1784, in his forty-eighth year. His daughter Esther was married to Christopher Robinson, who was appointed Deputy Surveyor of Crown Lands in Upper Canada. They were the parents of Sir Beverley Robinson, Chief Justice of Ontario, and grand-parents of Honorable John Beverley Robinson, at one time Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario. Reverend John Sayre was a brother of Reverend James Sayre.


Reverend James Scovil, son of Lieut. William Scovil, was born at Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1733, and graduated at Yale College in 1757. In 1759 he was S. P. G. missionary in his native town, soon afterward extending his labors to New Cambridge and Northbury. During the Revolution, though his sympathies were with the crown "he behaved with so much prudence and moderation, that he escaped everything like personal indignity." At the close of the war, the Venerable Society withdrawing its support from the clergymen who remained in the United States, but offering an increase of salary to those who would remove to the loyal provinces, Mr. Scovil reluctantly left his charge, and in May, 1786, went to New Brunswick, where he became missionary at Kingston. His son, Reverend Elias Scovil, succeeded him in the rectorship of the Kingston Church, and held this position for many years. Reverend James Scovil died at Kingston, December 19, 1808, and his widow in 1832, aged ninety years. Reverend Elias Scovil, one of the oldest missionaries of the S. P. G., died at Kingston in 1841, at the age of seventy.


Reverend Epenetus Townsend was graduated at King's College, New York, in 1759, and about 1767 went to England for Orders. He returned in 1768 and entered on his duties at North Salem, New York. In 1776 he was sent to the Whig Committee, but was dismissed. Three weeks after the Declaration of Independence, says Sabine, he abandoned his pulpit, and in October was a prisoner at Fishkill. In March, 1777, he was removed to Long Island, and shortly afterwards embarked with his family for Nova Scotia. The vessel unfortunately foundered and every one on board perished.


Reverend Roger Viets, son of John and Lois (Phelps) Viets was born in Simsbury, Conn., in 1737. He was uncle to the Right Reverend Bishop Griswold. He entered Yale College at the early age of thirteen and graduated in 1758. The parents of Mr. Viets were zealous Presbyterians, but his own studies led him to embrace the doctrines of the Episcopal church. Overcoming the opposition of his friends, he went to England, was ordained, and returned to become S. P. G. missionary in his native town. For the crime of giving food to some Loyalists, who came to his house at midnight, he was sentenced to pay a fine of £20 and to be imprisoned for one year in Hartford jail. In 1786 he became rector of the church in Digby, Nova Scotia. He died at Digby in 1811, after a ministry there of twenty-four years.


Reverend William Walter, D.D., born October 7, 1737, was the eldest son of the Rever end Nathaniel Walter, pastor of the Second Church in Roxbury, Mass., who died in 1776 He was graduated at Harvard College in 1756. One of his sisters was married to Sir Robert Hasilrigge, Bart., and another to the Reverend Mather Byles, D.D., Junior. In 1764, in company with Abraham Jarvis, afterward bishop of Connecticut, and others, he went to England for ordination, and on his return, July 22, 1764, was installed rector of Trinity Church, Boston. September 30, 1766, he married Lydia, daughter of the Honorable Benjamin Lynde, Junior, of Salem, who bore him seven children. His grandson Lynde Minshall Walter was the founder and first editor of the Boston Evening Transcript. In March, 1776, Dr. Walter resigned his rectorship and left with the British troops for Halifax. His youngest daughter, Harriet Tynge, was born in Shelburne, May 16, 1776. Although his family remained in Nova Scotia, he himself returned with General Howe and the fleet to New York, where he was on the 31st of October, 1776. Later, in August, 1783, he went back to Nova Scotia and was settled at Shelburne. He perhaps came to Shelburne with the New York people who settled there in 1783. In 1791, he returned to Boston, where he purchased a house in Charter Street, built by Sir William Phipps, and destroyed in 1837. May 28, 1792, he became rector of Christ Church, Boston, which office he held until December 5, 1800. He was "a remarkably handsome man, tall and well-proportioned. When in the street he always wore a long blue cloth cloak over his cassock and gown; a full-bottomed wig, dressed and powdered; a three-cornered hat; knee breeches of fine black cloth, with black silk hose; and square-quartered shoes, with silver buckles. His countenance was always serene; his temper always cheerful."


Reverend Joshua Wingate Weeks was the eldest child of Colonel John and Mrs. Martha Weeks. He was born at Hampton, New Hampshire (the date of his birth is not known), and graduated at Harvard College in 1758. He married Sarah Treadwell, of Ipswich, Mass., was ordained in England in 1761, and in 1762 became rector of St. Michael's Church, Marblehead, Massachusetts. In 1775, he was driven from that place by "the political commotions of the time," and took refuge with the Rev. Jacob Bailey, his brother-in-law, at Pownalboro, Me. He returned to Massachusetts, however, and in 1778 asked permission to leave the country. His petition was rejected, but he did leave, and for a time was in England, whence he came to Nova Scotia in 1779, three weeks after Mr. Bailey arrived. The Reverend Thomas Wood having died, December 14, 1778, Mr. Weeks was appointed missionary to Annapolis in his place, but instead of going there he remained in Halifax for a few months, and then sailed for New York, the Rev. Nathaniel Fisher, afterward of St. Peter's Church, Salem, doing duty at Annapolis instead. In November, 1779, Mrs. Weeks and her eight children came to Halifax, and there, in the spring of 1780, Mr. Weeks joined them. He seems to have preferred staying at Halifax to going to his mission, and for a time was a garrison chaplain, and assistant to Dr. Breynton, the rector of St. Paul's. Dr. Mather Byles was in Halifax at this time, and was likewise a garrison chaplain. Dr. George Hill, the historian of St. Paul's Church, thinks that Dr. Byles may have been senior, Mr. Weeks junior chaplain. For a time Mr. Weeks drew from the S. P. G. seventy pounds a year, which was half the salary apportioned for the Annapolis mission, but the Society, not pleased with his remaining away from his work, in 1780 appointed the Rev. Jacob Bailey to the mission. In 1785, the Rev. Dr. Breynton went to England, and until his successor, Mr. Stanser, was inducted into the rectorship in 1791, and indeed somewhat longer, Mr. Weeks had either sole or partial charge of St. Paul's parish. After that he officiated, it is said, at Preston and Guysborough, and "could have been settled at Digby." Like most of the other Loyalist clergy who came to Nova Scotia, he was poor, sometimes in actual distress; he died in Nova Scotia in 1804, and has still descendants in the province. One of his daughters was married, October 5, 1789, to the Rev. William Twining, missionary at Rawdon, and became the mother of the Rev. John Thomas Twining, so often affectionately alluded to in the life of Captain Hedley Vicars.


Reverend Isaac Wilkins, son of Martin Wilkins, a rich planter of Jamaica, West Indies, of a Welsh family, was born in Jamaica in 1741 and was sent to New York to be educated. In 1756, he entered King's College (Columbia), graduated in 1760, and in 1763, received the degree of M.A. He prepared for the ministry, but did not take orders. He married, November 7, 1762, Isabella, daughter of the Honorable Lewis Morris, and sister of Lewis and Gouverneur Morris' (born February 14, 1748), and settled at "Castle Hill," Westchester, from which county he was returned to the assembly, where he soon became a leader and acquired great personal influence. [The Morris family was singularly divided in the Revolution. Mrs. Wilkins' mother espoused the royal side, and remained within the British lines, her brother Lewis was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, her brother Gouverneur was a distinguished Whig, and her brother Staats was an officer in the royal service, and later became a member of parliament and a lieutenant-general. Three of the sons of Lewis served in the Whig army.] He was a man of profound convictions and early in the Revolution his zeal for the British cause made him peculiarly obnoxious to the Whigs. He wrote and spoke strongly, and to some of his political essays Hamilton, also born in the West Indies, replied. In 1775 he went to England, where he stayed a year, and there is not wanting evidence that he tried hard to bring about an amicable settlement of the American troubles. Leaving England, he returned to Long Island, and then came to Shelburne, Nova Scotia, where, and at Lunenburg, he lived until about 1798, when he went back to Westchester. In that year he was ordained deacon, and in 1799, priest, by Bishop Provoost, and became rector of St. Peter's, Westchester, giving also part of his time to St. Paul's, Eastchester. He retained the rectorship of St. Peter's until he died, February 5, 1830. He was made S.T.D. by Columbia College in 1811, and for many years was the oldest surviving alumnus. He had twelve children, one of whom, Lewis Morris, was a member of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, speaker of that body, and a judge of the supreme court. He died at Windsor, late in 1847, or early in 1848. His son Lewis Morris was also a judge of the supreme court. In Nova Scotia Mr. Wilkins was much in public life. Gouverneur Morris Wilkins writes: "He had a clear voice, but with that refined and pleasing tone which often sorts with generous blood." His epitaph in St. Peter's Church, written by himself, is as follows:

To the memory of
The Reverend ISAAC WILKINS, D.D.,
who, for thirty-one years, was the
diligent and faithful minister
of this parish, placed here, as he believed, by his Redeemer.
He remained satisfied with the
pittance allowed him and rejoicing that even in that
he was no burden to his
nor ever wished, nor ever went forth to seek a better living.


Reverend John Wiswell was the son of John Wiswell. He was born in Boston, April 3, 1731, and graduated at Harvard College in 1749. As early as 1753, he began a school at Falmouth, Maine, and in 1756 was ordained pastor of the Congregational church in New Casco. In 1764, he changed his religious views, and having accepted a call from an Episcopal church, then forming in Falmouth, went to England for ordination, returning in May, 1765. July, 1766, his flock consisted of seventy families, besides, as he wrote at the time, "a considerable number of strangers." The S. P. G. gave twenty pounds towards his salary, and his people made up the rest. In 1775, when Falmouth was burned by Mowatt, St. Paul's Church, in which he officiated, was burned, and he himself was seized, and carried before the Whig Committee a prisoner. He was soon released, however, and "yielding to circumstances," left the town. He went first to England, where, in 1781, he was a curate at Oxford. In 1782, he came to Nova Scotia, having been appointed missionary for Cornwallis, Horton, and Wilmot. He died at Wilmot, December 2, 1812, aged eighty-one. The inscription on his tombstone in Wilmot is as follows:

To the memory of
The Reverend JOHN WISWELL, A.M.,
who was born in Boston, U. S., 3rd
April, 1731, ordained by the
Bishop of London, 1764.
He left his native land in 1775, in consequence
of the Revolutionary struggle, and was
appointed rector of the parish
of Wilmot in 1789, where
he continued until his
death, 2nd Dec.,
He was the first clergyman of any
denomination who settled in
this place.

He has descendants still in Nova Scotia. One of his sons was the Hon. Peleg Wiswell, who was appointed an "Associate Circuit Judge," March 30, 1816, and died at Annapolis in 1836, aged seventy-four.

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