St. John River: Starting Over
Loyalists seek refuge from revolution
Inhabitants of the former Thirteen Colonies on the eastern seaboard of United
States, who left their homes to come to Canada at the end of the American
Revolution, were known as United Empire Loyalists.
Loyalists came to Canada from every class, race, occupation, religion, and geographical
area. They supported British colonial rule for reasons ranging from loyalty to the monarchy
to fear of what life in post-revolutionary society would be like in the United States.
During the Revolution, the so-called "Tories" (British sympathizers) suffered at the hands
of the revolutionaries. Many had their property confiscated. Some were coated with hot tar
and feathers. Others were banished, imprisoned, or murdered.
At the end of the Revolution, many of the surviving Loyalists did not want to remain in
the newly-created United States. They became political refugees, looking for new homes. The
majority sought new settlement in the other British colonies throughout North America.
About 50,000 Loyalists emigrated to British North America. Halifax, Saint John and the Saint
John River valley were the favoured locations. New Brunswick was established in 1784 as a
separate British colony.
The preparations of supplies for the Loyalists' arrival were very poor, and most Loyalists
suffered a great deal in the early years of rebuilding their lives
Kings Landing was established in the early 1960s to illustrate the Loyalist experience in
their new homes. About 40 kilometres from Fredericton, it includes more than 70 restored
buildings, including homes, carpenters' shops, a store, a school, a blacksmith's forge, and
the largest water-wheel driven sawmill in Canada.
Kings Landing is a living portrait of daily life on the Saint John River from the Loyalist
era to late Victorian times. Costumed students assuming the roles of the Loyalist settlers
show that there were no idle hands in an early rural settlement. Cooking over an open hearth,
spinning flax, and churning butter were essential daily chores to maintain life in those
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