Immigrants Samuel Bagnall, Elizabeth Whitehouse, James Cantelo, Mary Salmon, Elizabeth Ann Dix Cantelo
Samuel Bagnall and Elizabeth Whitehouse (my five times great-grandparents) were born in Derbyshire, England. They sailed for Philadelphia in the mid-1700’s, residing there for a time before moving on to Tryon County, New York.
Samuel, a cabinet maker, prospered so well in the New World it was said he was able to provide his oldest daughter with a dowry equal to her weight in gold coins.
But then came the American Revolution.
According to Elizabeth’s testimony in 1837 (at the age of 84), Samuel was often solicited to join the “Colonials,” but always refused. He joined Butler’s Rangers, a Loyalist, British provincial military unit in 1778. He was taken prisoner and was incarcerated for 18 months in Albany, New York. The family’s property was confiscated.
While in prison, there was an Iroquois attack on the village where Elizabeth and their children had been relocated. Elizabeth saw some of her neighbors killed and scalped, and she was in imminent danger of the same fate herself.
Samuel was eventually released on bail for $2,000. The family lived for a time in Albany, and subsequently moved to New York City. Samuel remained under great pressure to become a United States Citizen, but he resolutely rejected the notion.
The family heard of Governor Patterson’s proclamation (Patterson was the first British colonial Governor of Prince Edward Island, Canada), offering land to any Loyalist willing to settle the territory, and in 1787, the Bagnall family boarded a ship headed to Shelbourne, Nova Scotia. On board, they faced yet another terrifying adventure.
Their ship was attacked and boarded by pirates (in reality, they may have been privateers with legal authorization from the newly formed government of the United States, sent to reclaim any valuables being taken out of the country).
Thinking quickly, Elizabeth hid the family’s silver beneath her voluminous petticoats and faked illness so she would not have to move from her spot.
Samuel proved a quick thinker as well. He noticed one of the pirates wore a Masonic ring similar to his own. Upon conformation both men belonged to the brotherhood of the Freemasons, orders were then given to protect the Bagnall family.
Upon safe arrival in Shelbourne, the Bagnalls moved on to settle permanently on Prince Edward Island. Samuel applied for a land grant various times over the next several years, but he never received the property he was promised. He went about setting up a hotel, in Charlottetown.
The family prospered in their new country. One of Samuel and Elizabeth’s eight children, John Richard (my four times great-grandfather), began the first stage coach service between Charlottetown and Princetown.
John Richard Bagnall married Elizabeth Ann Dix Cantelo in 1813, adding three more immigrants to my family tree. Elizabeth and her parents, James Cantelo and Mary Salmon, were all born on the Isle of Wight, in England. They immigrated in 1805. James was a gunsmith. They lived for a time in Charlottetown, on Prince Edward Island, moved to New York for ten years, then returned to Canada.
I find it understandable that Samuel Bagnall was such a staunch Loyalist to the Crown. Unlike most colonists, who had lived in the colonies for generations, Samuel was born in England, and fancied himself every bit an English gentleman.
Had the Revolution been unsuccessful, history would christen Samuel a hero rather than call him out as a villain. After all, the history books are written by the victors. Had the Red Coats prevailed in the Revolutionary War, the War would be known today as the Colonial War of Rebellion, and George Washington, rather than honored as the Father of our Country, would be branded a rebel and a traitor to the king.
History, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
My story would normally end here, but there is one more interesting piece of the picture I would like to share with you:
John Richard Bagnall and Elizabeth Ann Dix Cantelo went on to raise seven children on Prince Edward Island. Most of them remained in Canada, with one notable exception.
One of their sons, George Samuel Whitehouse Bagnell (my four times great-uncle), emigrated to New Zealand in 1863 on the Pakeha, with his wife and their eleven children.
George’s oldest son, Lemuel John Bagnell, grew up to be mayor of Auckland, New Zealand, serving in 1910-1911.
This is of personal interest in that my sister emigrated to New Zealand and lives but a four-hour drive north of the Bagnall homestead. Sometimes the world seems very small indeed.
Has your family benefited from immigration to America? Do you believe our diverse population makes us stronger? Do you want to be part of the solution?
In Climbing My Family Tree, Parts 8-18, I highlight eleven different charities that support immigrants and children. Every charity listed boasts the highest rating possible as designated by Charity Navigator. Please consider pledging your support to these important organizations who are working so hard to make a positive change in our world.
Please go out of your way to be kind to immigrants and refugees.
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Thanks for reading!
My Family Tree
- George Whitehouse & Elizabeth Gorden || John Cantelo and Elizabeth Tayler
- Samuel Bagnall & Elizabeth Whitehouse || James Cantelo & Mary Salmon
- John Richard Bagnall & Elizabeth Ann Dix Cantelo
- Mary Susannah Dix Bagnall
- Martha Clark (Also immigrated to the United States although her immediate descendants remained in Canada)
- Eunice Irene Burgess
- Hazel Adelia Weldon (See Part Three)
- Weldon Paul deMeurers
- Me (Alan deMeurers)
Running count of family immigrants = 59