Loyalist arrival at Fort Cumberland
In the fall of 1782 a preliminary agreement to end the hostilities of the American Revolution was signed between Great Britain, France and the new independent American colonies.
The agreement, referred to as the Treaty of Paris was officially signed in September, 1783, and it laid out the principles for peace.
Although American negotiator Benjamin Franklin demanded the cessation of Canada to an independent America, he knew that the British Government of Prime Minister Lord Shelburne was opposed to the American independence, would be unprepared to accept that offer. The months of hard bargaining resulted in a preliminary agreement with ten articles of peace.
These articles, on which the British Government accepted American independence, was a bitter pill to swallow for King George III, these articles did however resolve boundaries issues of fishing rights on the Newfoundland banks and prewar debts owed British creditors. The agreement promised restitution of property lost during the war by Americans loyal to the British cause, and provided for the evacuation of British forces from the thirteen states.
Basically the British negotiators agreed to the evacuation of New York City, the main British stronghold in the American Colonies.
The preliminary articles of agreement were signed on November 30, 1782. This preliminary agreement made the British patriots urgently aware of their situation and their potential treatment in the future.
These British supporters, who for many years were the heart of Colonial America, thought they were now being forced to leave for their own safety.
Some other reasons for leaving ranged from loyalty to Britain and a rejection of the republican ideals of the American Revolution and simply the offer of free land in British North America.
Many were prominent Americans whose ancestors had originally settled there in the early 17th century. Many had already lost their property, confiscated by the revolutionaries.
The decision to move was made for safety. They felt forced to move north into present day Canada and to other areas of British North America and British Colonies in the Caribbean for the safety of living under British Rule.
The name, United Empire Loyalist, is an honorary title given to those people who were refugees of the American Revolution. Almost immediately following the word about a preliminary agreement, British supporters held meetings and signed petitions for land grants.
Many stories are recorded about these Loyalist people and their circumstances.
The "Westchester Loyalists" were refugees of the Revolution living just north of the city in the county of Westchester. Some of the Westchester Loyalists we granted properties in Remsheg, on a 20,000 acre property along the Northumberland shore, about 50 miles from Fort Cumberland.
Between 80,000 and 100,000 loyalists migrated from the American Colonies. Approximately 35,000 came to the Maritimes. Of these 35,000 settlers, 239 grants of land were given to families coming to Remsheg.
Two ships carrying over 450 refugees left New York City during the first week of June 1783. They travelled up the Bay of Fundy, with one stop in the Annapolis Valley; they landed on July 15,1783 at Fort Cumberland, near present day Amherst.