The United Empire Loyalist Settlement at Long Point, Lake Erie
Chapter XXVII. Maby (Mabee)


Frederick Maby was a native of Massachusetts. He appears to have not taken a very active part throughout the whole of the Revolutionary War, yet there is undeniable evidence that he had joined the Royal standard previous to 1783, for it is so mentioned in the official list of United Empire Loyalists preserved in the Crown Landsí department of the Ontario Government.

Massachusetts surpassed all other states in the stringency of the laws against the Loyalists {Vide supra Chap. V.) Immediately after the Treaty of Paris, the power of the triumphant insurgents being secured, the hatred of the new government for those that remained loyal showed itself unmistakably. Sure of immunity the Americans treated the families of the Loyalists with the utmost severity. Frederick Maby owned a large farm in Massachusetts and was accounted a wealthy man for those times, for he was rich in flocks and herds. But night after night the grossest outrages were inflicted on the unoffending animals of this Loyalist owner. One night sixteen of his cows had their tails cut off. During another the sinews and tendons of the hind legs of his horses were cut and the poor animals had to be shot. Ears were slit, nostrils split open, and other most dastardly outrages inflicted without the condemnation of the Legislature. Nothing remained but voluntary exile to Canada.

Accordingly, in 1785, the Maby family fled to New Brunswick, settling at St. John along with a cousin, named Peter Secord. At their home in that province they were occasionally visited by an English trapper, Ramsay by name, and, as it was in the tale of one of his adventures the Mabys first heard of the Long Point district, it may be worth while to relate it.

This trapper was accustomed to make yearly visits up the lakes for the purpose of trading with the Indians. On one of these trips he. took his little nephew with him, a boy at that time about 10 years of age. During his voyage along the northern shore of Lake Erie with his canoe richly laden with gaudy prints, and the trinkets so dear to the hearts of the dusky natives, and also with a considerable quantity of liquor, he came to Long Point and landed for the night. There they fell in with nine Indians, whose eagle eyes took an inventory of the contents of the canoe, and in one of those treacherous outbursts of overwhelming covetousness, seized his boat and merchandise. It was not long before they got drunk on his fire-water and resolved to burn him at the stake and hold a war dance round the flaming body of the unfortunate white man. However, the potent liquor proved rather too much for the Indians, and when they found themselves able to stand on their feet only with difficulty, they resolved to leave the prisoner alive till morning. So they bound the Englishman, his back to a tree and his hands tied around it by thongs of buckskin, and in the most blissful unconsciousness of what was in store for them, eight lay down to sleep, leaving one of their number as guard. This one relieved his loneliness by copious draughts from the bountiful supply of good liquor so fortunately provided.

Unfortunately for them, they had neglected to tie the boy, who was hiding timidly among the trees on the outskirts of the camp. Ramsay watched his chance, and calling the boy, asked him to steal a knife and cut the thongs which bound his hands. The boy did so, and forthwith Ramsay seized the knife, and making a dash at the already tottering guard, struck him to the heart. Then seizing a musket he proceeded to brain the whole party, an easy task, for the Indians had long since passed the stage of consciousness. The tables being thus successfully turned the Englishman and his nephew reloaded their canoe and proceeded on their journey.

This tragic tale, whether it is to be credited or not, is at least believed by the descendants of the Maby family now living, who say that it has been handed down from generation to generation in their family as a true adventure of their friend, in the locality where their family afterwards settled.

Let us come back, however, to something which may well be regarded as more authentic by the sceptical minds of this sceptical age.

On one of his subsequent trips up the great lakes, Ramsay was accompanied by Peter Secord. Together they visited Turkey Point and explored the country inland for some distance. Secord was very much delighted with the land, and on returning to New Brunswick persuaded his cousins to move west. The long journey was accomplished in 1793, and they settled in the township of Charlotteville, on the high land overlooking Turkey Point.

Mr. Maby, however, died within a year of his coming to his new home, and was buried on the top of the high ridge which skirts the lake. In 1795, when Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe visited the Long Point district he was shown this grave, the grave of the first white man who had died in the district, and tfre Governor knelt with reverence by the rudely-shaped mound.

The wife of Frederick Maby was named Lavinia. In 1796 she applied for a further grant of land in her own name. On the 20th of June of the year mentioned, a list of applicants for lands in the townships of Walsingham, Charlotteville, Woodhouse, and Long Point settlement generally, was filed in the office of acting Surveyor-General Smith. The names of some of the applicants are well known, Ryerse, Maby, Backhouse, Secord and others. In the case of Mrs. Maby, a widow, about whose patent there was some delay in the department, Governor Simcoe was very peremptory in his order that she, being the widow of a Loyalist, must have her application promptly attended to.

The family of Maby are connected with the Teeple, Stone, Secord, Smith, Layman and Montross families. Their descendants live at present in Charlotteville and Walsingham.


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