King’s Men is the story of the Loyalist regiments who became the soldier founders of the Province of Ontario, the Loyal Colonials who joined the Provincial Corps of the British Army, Canadian Command, during the American revolution.
Mythology on the United Empire Loyalists who founded two Canadian provinces is ingrained. We often envisage loyal families marching out of the victorious United States at the close of the American Revolution. But these myths lead us to overlook a fascinating period in the lives of one group of Loyalists – the soldiers who became Ontario’s founders.
By the time the Treaty of Separation was signed in 1783, four full strength corps were serving in Canada. These were the Royal Highland Emigrants (placed on the regular establishment in 1778, as the 84th Foot), the King’s Royal Regiment of New York, Butler’s Rangers, and the Loyal Rangers. A fifth corps, the King’s rangers amounted to three full companies.
A detailed study on what these Provincials achieved is long overdue. King’s Men fills a gap in tracing the lives of these United Empire Loyalists who first fought under British command, and spent a difficult period as displaced persons in Canada (people whose only desire was to return to their homes in Britain’s older colonies) till the time when they accepted Canada as a new homeland.
Mary Beacock Fryer, a descendant of loyalist families herself, was born in the loyalist city of Brockville, Ontario. Educated there and at the University of Toronto, she holds an M.A. in historical geography from Edinburgh University.
Her other publications include Caleb Seaman, a Loyalist(1971), Loyalist Spy(1976), A Pictorial of the Thousand Islands(1977), with A.G. Ten Cate, and A Pictorial History of the Rideau Waterway (forthcoming, 1981), again with A. G. Ten Cate.
She is a member of the Writer's Union of Canada and of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada. Married with three children, she lives in Toronto, and spends each summer in the Thousand Islands.