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Person Sheet of Database Two
of the Pitfield Family Genealogical Website

The Pitfield family in Canada and USA

Name George PITFIELD
Birth abt 1749
Death 1827
Burial 1827, Sussex Vale, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada
Spouses:
1 Eliza KENNY
Birth 1768, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, America
Death 1827
Burial 1827, Sussex Vale, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada
Children: George (1794-1880)
Samuel Kenny (1797-1861)
Mary Ann (1798-1887)
Eliza Armath (1800-1851)
Isabella (1802-1844)
Susanna (1804-)
William Henry (1806-1872)
Oliver A. (1809-1880)
Edward Peter (1811-1839)
Amelia Coreline (1813-1826)
Georgina Charlotte (1818-1827)
George Pitfield (1749-1827) and the Loyalists of New Brunswick

During and at the end of the American War of Independence, 1776-1783, some 40,000 Loyalists moved north into Canada. Of these, 32,000 went to Nova Scotia, most of them in the fleets of ships organized at New York by General Sir Guy Carleton, commander-in-chief of the British forces.

New York was the last stronghold of the Loyalists and was evacuated by the British in November 1783 two months after independence had been granted to the thirteen American colonies.

George Pitfield arrived at Saint John, Nova Scotia in May 1783, aboard one of the ships that made up "The Spring Fleet" from New York

The bulk of the Loyalists went to the St. John River valley and the shores of the Bay of Fundy. Aided by government rations, tools and land grants, they carved homes out of the forests and began the long, tough job of pioneer settlement.

This Loyalist influx trebled the existing population of Nova Scotia and thus they heavily outnumbered the ‘Neutral Yankees’ who had moved north prior to the Revolution. In the Fundy-St. John region the Loyalists at once demanded their own government, complete with elective assembly. The British government fell in quickly with the request and broke up the old province of Nova Scotia in 1784, creating a new Province of New Brunswick which incorporated most of the mainland of the old Nova Scotia and with an elective assembly. Thus New Brunswick became the Loyalist province par excellence.

Amongst those Loyalists petitioning for land was one George Pitfield who, in 1786, stated that he had come with the first fleet from New York and had settled on a lot of land belonging to Colonel Spry. This lot was on the Saint John River, below Jemseg Creek, Queens County. In the Petition George asked that he be permitted to hold this lot of land as he had seven or eight acres under improvement.

This petition is the earliest reference that I have to George Pitfield. It has been impossible, as yet, to ascertain where in America he originated from. I have not been able to trace a single reference to him in America. Circumstantial evidence seems to imply that he was not part of any Loyalist fighting force. One account of him states that he was involved in ship building in America, although I have not found any evidence for this. Benjamin Pitfield ( -1793), a contemporary of George and, according to present day family tradition, his brother, had been living in New Jersey from at least 1760 - staying put during and after the American Revolution.

It would appear that George did not keep up his original lot of land in Queens County and in 1794 he was living at Sussex Vale, Kings County where he made a petition for 200 acres of land. This petition was made in conjunction with nine others - several of these were members of the New Jersey Volunteer Regiment, giving further circumstantial evidence that George could have come from New Jersey.

Around this time George married Eliza Kenny (1768-1827). Eliza was born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the daughter of Samuel Kenny, a loyalist who fought with the British troops. Samuel Kenny died soon after arriving in Canada. George and Eliza had eleven children and the family prospered in Sussex Parish. In 1796 George was a Warden of Trinity Church, Sussex Vale and later became a Justice of the Peace. In 1809 he stood in the General Election for the House of Assembly, for one of the two seats in Kings County. He was declared elected but the return was declared void and a new election held in 1810, where George was defeated. He stood again in 1819 but was once again defeated.

Eliza Pitfield died in April 1827 aged 59 and George died in June of the same year aged 78 - both were buried at Sussex Vale.

 

Last Modified 1 Jan 1997 Created 6 Jan 2009