Fonds 2 - Winslow family

Title proper

Winslow family

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  • 1695-1815 (Creation)
    Winslow family (Descendants of Edward Winslow, Loyalist)

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(Branch begins in 1640)

Biographical history

Edward Winslow, son of Edward Winslow and Hannah Dyer, was born on 20 February 1746/47 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. A direct descendant of the Edward Winslow who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, he grew up in a mansion located near Plymouth Rock in which his family entertained the colonial élite. His father and other members of the Winslow family held administrative posts at the local, provincial, and imperial levels.

Graduating from Harvard College in 1765, Edward was appointed to several official posts including naval officer, registrar of wills, and clerk of the Court of General Sessions. An outspoken Tory who opposed the Sons of Liberty, by 1774 Winslow was so disliked by Plymouth locals that he was removed from public office. In 1775 he fought with the British regulars and was commended for valour. Later he served the army in a paramilitary capacity during the early years of the hostilities.

In 1776 Winslow left his family in New England and sailed for Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he was commissioned muster master general of the loyalist forces in North America. That year Edward Winslow's cousin Benjamin Marston (1730-1792), the eldest son of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Winslow) Marston, also fled New England for Halifax. In Nova Scotia Marston worked as a merchant and supercargo, primarily in the West Indian trade, and in 1783 he was appointed surveyor of the Loyalist settlement of Roseway (Shelburne).

In the summer of 1779, Edward Winslow accompanied Edmund Fanning on a series of successful coastal raids on Rhode Island, but for the remainder of the war he acted as the overseer of muster rolls. At war's end, Winslow was named as agent for the loyalist regiments in Nova Scotia, responsible for laying out lands for approximately 6,000 troops and their families. Prevented by Halifax officials from settling his regiments in a single land block, Winslow headed for the north side of the Bay of Fundy. In July 1783 he suggested that this area be partitioned from Nova Scotia and made a separate province.

In 1783 Winslow was appointed secretary to Brigadier-General Henry Edward Fox, the commander-in-chief of British forces at Halifax and brother to British politician Charles James Fox. Winslow managed to secure the Brigadier-General's support for his plan of partition. In addition, Winslow also worked to gather information about the economic and political condition of British North America to send to London in support of his scheme. It included a discussion of the timber, fishing, and agricultural potential of the area north of the Bay of Fundy. On 18 June 1784 the Privy Council approved the establishment of the province of New Brunswick.

In this newly-created Loyalist province, Winslow took a leading role. He held a number of prominent administrative and judicial posts including: deputy paymaster of contingent expenses for the army (1785), member of the Executive Council, judge of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas for York County, commissioner of the New England Company (1791), secretary to the international boundary commission (1796, 1798), deputy surveyor of the king's woods (1806), and judge of the New Brunswick Supreme Court (1807). A man of influence, in 1784, Winslow recommended his cousin, Marston to surveyor general of the king's woods in North America, John Wentworth, thereby securing Marston's appointment as his deputy in New Brunswick. Edward Winslow died in debt at Fredericton on 13 May 1815.

Mather Byles (ca. 1734-1814) was the son of Dr. Mather Byles of Boston. He graduated from Harvard in 1751 and became a Congregationalist minister. His conversion to the Church of England in 1768 caused scandal. In 1776 he fled to Halifax and in 1778 he was proscribed and banished. In 1789 he moved to Saint John, New Brunswick, where he became the first rector of Trinity Church. He married three times; in 1761, he married Rebecca Walter; in 1777, Sarah Lyde; and in 1788, Susanna Reid

Custodial history

Information about the custody of these records prior to acquisition is incomplete.

Scope and content

This fonds documents the personal, professional, and military activities of several generations of the Winslow family. It includes correspondence, accounts, diaries, claims, deeds, grants, commissions, court records, and memorials. It also includes a military campaign journal and a field book of the Chibnitook survey.

There are family correspondence and papers, 1695-1866, relating principally to Edward Winslow, Jr. and General Henry Fox's letterbook, August to September 1783, relating primarily to public business in Nova Scotia. Seven letterbooks of Edward Winslow's letters to his wife, Mary Symonds Winslow, 1784, are included as well as five letterbooks of Mather Byles, containing letters to Winslow, 1784-1786, and Stephen Miller's book.

The financial records include W. Winslow accounts, 1794-1800, and Edward Winslow accounts, 1770-1811. There are three diaries of Benjamin Marston's, 1778-1787, a campaign journal, 1779, and Edward Winslow's diary, 1779-1810. Also included are sketches, the field book of the Chibnitook survey (original), 1797-1799, land claims, land records, and other legal and court records. Among the court records are a record of 3 cases before the New Brunswick Court of Common Pleas, 1796-1808, 3 volumes on the Maine-New Brunswick Boundary Arbitration, 1796-1808, and memorials, commissions, claims, and remarks by Ward Chipman, British agent, and James Sullivan, ship's agent.

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These records have been bound in 32 volumes.

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  • English

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A partial index is available

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