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Daniel & Richard Prentice of NY and Canada

Daniel and Richard Prentice of NY and Canada
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Summer 1999 and Revised: 20 Jun 2004

Note of 14 Feb 2001: This article has now been superceded and replaced by the Spring 2001 article about Daniel Prentice .

CarolAnne Prentice Chepurny has provided us with the following information about Daniel Prentice of Tryon County, NY (originally formed from the western half of the original Albany County, and later further split and renamed) who later moved to Charlottenburgh, Ontario, Canada.

Daniel appears on the Canadian Loyalist List of Claims in 1788 with the following information:

    "Claimt. says. He was in Sir John Johnston's 2nd. Batal.

      Note: The "2nd Batal." would be the 2nd Batallion of the 1st Kings Royal Regiment of New York."

    Sent a Claim (form) by Capt. Leake in '83. Is a native of America. Lived on Sir John Johnston's land when Rebellion broke out. Came to Canada in 1780. Says he was imprisoned & could not come sooner. Joined Sir John's 2nd Batt. in '80. Served 3 years. Produces his Discharge.

    Had a farm of 130 acres hired of Sir John Johnston. Taken some years before ye Rebellion. Cleared 30 acres. Lost 5 Cows, utensils, furniture. Left on his Farm when he went away. Sir John Johnson certifies that Claimt. had a Lot of land from him, where he had made considerable improvement before the war & to his Loyalty."

Trying to interpret the foregoing information, and place it in an identifiable time frame, the following circumstances appear pertinent:
  • Daniel's land was "taken some years before ye Rebellion." That seems to indicate that Daniel obtained land from Sir. John perhaps 5-10 years before 1776. That suggests he obtained it about 1765-71.

  • He was likely an adult when he obtained the land. "Records of Immigrants to Canada, Part One, shows that Daniel immigrated to Canada in 1783 at the age of 29; that indicates a birth date of c. 1854.

Unfortunately, a check of our PRENTICE book does not show any unaccounted for Daniels in that general time frame, or even between 1725 and 1770. And, also unfortunately, American census records did not begin until 1790 so we cannot further pinpoint Daniel's location in Tryon County.

Daniel married Mary Hamilton. It is unclear when and where the marriage occurred, but based on the children listed below, it may have been about 1784-5 and perhaps in the general area of Charlottenburgh. Their children:

  • Isabella Prentice, bapt. 14 Feb 1786 at Williamstown, St. Andrew's Presbyterian, Glengarrey, Ontario, Canada (per IGI). She m. Ezra Adams of Charlottenburgh 1 Feb 1798. OC 10 Mar 1801.
  • Lewis Prentice of Charlottenburgh. He m. Catharine McDonell on 25 Jun 1805. OC 31 Oct 1809. He was a landowner in Charlottenburgh in 1809. The IGI shows at least 2 children:
    • Nancy Prentis, chr. 1 Aug 1830 Saint Raphael, St. Raphaels, Glengarry, Ontario.
    • Mary Prentice, chr. 30 Mar 1823 Saint Raphael, St. Raphaels, Glengarry, Ontario.
  • John Prentice of Charlottenburgh. OC 7 Aug 1811. He is likely the John Prentice who owned land in Charlottenburgh in 1811.
  • Ann Prentice. She m. Nicholas Barnhart of Town of Cornwall. OC 11 Jan 1834
Daniel Prentice had a brother Richard Prentice, who was also a Loyalist and settled further east in the Ottawa area of Nepean, Ontario, Canada. He is likely the Richard Prenties who owned land in Kingston in 1790 and 1800. We have had the same difficulties in identifying Richard's parents as we had with Daniel, described above. The name of Richard's wife is not presently known. Children of Richard Prentice:
  • Daniel Prentice of Nepean, OC 1850 or 1851.
  • Lydia Prentice. She m. George Routliffe of Hull. OC 1850 or 1851
  • Deborah Prentice. She m. David Moore of Hull. OC 1850 or 1851
The above is from "The Sons & Daughters of American Loyalists"

They may be related to Donald Prentiss of Charlottenburgh who is the subject of an article in our Fall 1999 issue.

A Brief History of the Regiment

(The following material comes from a website describing the origins and history of the 1st Kings Royal Regiment of New York. It is obviously partial to the English.)

It is unfortunate that the media has saturated Canadian history with the idea that people like George Washingtonand and Paul Revere should be our heroes. Canadians should instead recognize those folk who remained loyal tothe government and fought against the violations of freedom the Continental Congress advocated. These people are our cultural ancestors; they built the foundations and traditions of early Canada.

Canada was part of an area known as British North America. The history of the King’s Royal Yorkers starts well before the American Revolution and goes back to a time when New York was a province of British North America and Six Nations territory.

In the early eighteenth century, a lone Irish fur trader emigrated to an area known as the Mohawk Valley in New York Province. This region was considered at the time to be the frontier with a few white settlements of Palatine Germans and Dutch. These settlements bordered on the fearsome tribes of the Six Nations native peoples. The Irishman, named William Johnson, settled in the Mohawk Valley and became very good friends with the Mohawk Indians, the Elder Brothers of the Iroquois Confederacy. In fact, he was so close to the natives that the Government had little choice but to name him official Superintendent of Indian Affairs. The natives would only accept Johnson!

The founding fathers of the Regiment.

Although Sir John Johnson was the founder of the regiment, he was living in the shadow of his father, Sir William’s achievements. Sir William, a well known supporter of the crown, was a prodigy in leadership who built a thriving community in the wilds of the frontier. However, many were jealous of Sir William and feared him for his loyal friendship with the Six Nations. His son's regiment was largely drawn from the people Sir William had settled on his lands. The Officers, carefully selected by Sir John, were an effective mix of able frontier partisans and talented community leaders.

Many of the other settlers of the Mohawk valley were jealous of the lands the Mohawks were giving to William. The Dutch settlers had been there since the seventeenth century and did not have a good relationship with theMohawks with whom they had numerous land disputes. Sir William's position assisted the Indians with their land disputes. As a result he became widely accepted by many Native nations, but made a few white enemies.

William Johnson became wealthy and famous for his heroism in the Seven Years War or what Americanscall the French and Indian War . As a result of the War, Britain conquered all the North American holdings claimed by France. For his deeds, the King knighted William and made him the first Baronet of New York and granted him more lands.

Before and after the war, Sir William had been settling his lands with immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Scotland and other places.

    Note: That suggests the likelihood that the Prentices may have come from England, Ireland or Scotland.

The majority of these people adored Sir William for his generosity and sense of fun. The new settlers got along surprisingly well with Sir William’s native neighbors. However, because of both ethnicand religious divisions the old settlers did not like the newcomers to the area but, they did not make any moves against them for they feared Sir William and his Mohawks. As Sir William's importation of immigrants continued, by 1770 the Mohawk Valley was no longer a the frontier but a thriving agricultural community.

Hostilities Break Out

One year before the (1775)outbreak of the American Revolution, Sir William died. The enemies of Sir William did not fear the son as they had his father and, with the support of Congress, began making life difficult for Sir William’s people.

Over the winter of 1775-76, Governor Carleton led an admirable defense of Canada with few men and resources. Sir John Johnson, who had inherited his father's title had to go as far as fortifying his home and arming both white tenants and native allies as a body guard. Fearing for their lives, many loyal settlers were beginning to flee to Canada. The rebels were becoming bolder and began to commit offenses including arresting loyalists for simply supporting their true and lawful government. Many of the influential families close to the Johnsons had left.

At the same time, Congress had formed an army and invaded Canada. At Quebec city, the army was defeated in disgrace over the winter of 1765-76 by an enthusiastic mix of Loyalists, French Militia, Loyal English, some loyal Canada natives, British sailors and few companies of British soldiers.

The invasion of Canada caused tensions to rise in the Mohawk valley. As Congress's army struggled in the north, the rebels in the valley made their move against the Johnson house. First, the authorities disarmed Sir John's tenants. As a result of this measure, Sir John knew he could not mount a defence of his home or property. Soon after, he was warned that the rebels were going to arrest him and he had no choice but to flee. With only a few hours notice, he gathered up two hundred of his followers. Guided by Mohawks, they began the march to Canada. Johnson's starving, weakened band finally made it to Montreal.

Obviously thirsty for revenge, one of the first things Johnson did was seek out the Governor to approve his wish to raise a regiment. From this day forward, Johnson lived up to his family name and became one of the most active and able Tory leaders during the war.

Governor Carleton approved the beating order to raise Johnson's regiment and shortly afterwards at Chambly, Quebec, the King’s Royal Regiment of New York began ecruiting. Most of the soldiers came from Johnson’s followers but with the general mood of the Province others readily volunteered.

Correspondence:   If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please send your information to us at the Prentice Newsletter. Be sure to give the full title and date of this article in the Subject line of the email.

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