Settlers to Prince Edward County

A historical examination of who they were and why they came [*]

Page 4 - Loyalist Transportation

loyalist travel routes

Figure 4 - Loyalist travel routes.

Though the American Revolution began in 1776, the first mass exodus of Loyalist settlers to arrive in Prince Edward County came in 1784. The 7-year time gap is accounted for by means of travel method. Most Loyalists took to sailing the "Hudson Route" out of New York by the Hudson River then into the St. Lawrence river. This route led most Loyalists to settle Quebec, or to keep sailing and then settle in the Maritimes. Quebec Governor Frederick Haldimand believed that "considering the great expense and difficulty attending the transport of Provision to the Upper posts", it would be a better idea to stay and cultivate the land in the general Quebec area of where the Loyalists landed.

In the winter of 1783-1784, many men were employed in Lachine, Quebec making bateau-style boats intended to transport Loyalists to plots of land up and down the St. Lawrence River. Bateaux are small wooden vessels that are sturdy, adaptable and almost impossible to capsize because of their wooden bottoms. Nearly any sea vessel that is smaller than a schooner or a barque but not a canoe can be classified as a bateau. Durham boats were less popular, but also used to transport Loyalists from one destination to another. Durham boats have a slip-keel, a rounded bow and a square stern and could carry ten times the cargo of a bateau.

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* [back] - This project was developed by Isabel Slone (one of the Society's 2007 "summer students") and was in part funded with a grant from Young Canada Works, in part with a grant from the Municipality of the County of Prince Edward, and in part with this Society's research funds.

durham boats

Figure 5 - Durham boats - commonly used for heavy transport.