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Article Published March 23, 2004

By: Paul Milner, Park Ridge, Illinois

BOOK: To Their Heirs Forever: United Empire Loyalist Camden Valley, New York to Upper Canada.
    By Eula C. Lapp

    Second printing by Global Heritage Press Inc., Milton, Ontario, Canada 2000. (first printing by Mika Publishing, Belleville, Ontario in 1977)

    390 pp., Illustrations, Index, Hardcover.
This is a fascinating tale that weaves together the stories of fourteen families identified in the Camden Valley, New York area, who became United Empire Loyalists. All but one of the families were Palatine immigrants from Ireland.

The book itself is divided into six sections. The first describes the migration from Palatine in April 1709 to England then to the estates of Sir Thomas Southwell in Co. Limerick, Ireland. The second section talks about the development and prosperity of the colony in Co. Limerick and most significantly, its exposure to the preaching of Rev. John Wesley. Philip Embury and Barbara Heck, founders of American Methodism, were both born in Ballingrane, Co. Limerick and were among those converted by Wesley.

Members of the colony migrated to North America in 1756 and by 1760 were in New York. Section three deals with the time in the city of New York and the building of the first Methodist Church. The process of petitioning for land and the subsequent grant in the Camden Valley are described.

Sections four and five look at the migration and settlement in the Camden Valley and how impending war affected their actions. The settlers were caught in the Revolutionary War, fighting as Loyalist as part of Burgoyne’s campaign and in subsequent activities. The last section deals with the Loyalist settlements in Montreal, Mississiquoi Bay and the Bay of Quinte and tells how the settlers came to own their own land. The spread of Methodism by these families into Canada is interwoven into the life stories described here.

Throughout the book, the details of the individual families come together into historical context: a war in Europe, A migration to England, Ireland, American and finally Canada. The story includes conversions to Methodism and the subsequent construction of the first Methodist Church in North America. The individual details are not all footnoted, but there are plenty of original and secondary sources to further explore family connections. This is a fine example, worthy of emulation, of integrating family history into the larger historical context

Paul Milner,
Park Ridge, Illinois.

Read more about this book >>

Reprinted with permission: originally published in The Federation of Genealogical Societies' FORUM Magazine, vol 13, number 2

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