Major Edward Jessup's Loyal Rangers

A Service History and Master Roll of Major Edward Jessup's Loyal Rangers
by Gavin K. Watt.

  • Global Heritage Press, 2017
  • Coil Bound.
  • 255 pages


Peter W. Johnson UE

Gavin Watt's latest and second book of 2017 made its first public appearance at the Canada 150 Banquet sponsored by Bay of Quinte Branch on June 30th. Even better, Gavin was one of the two scheduled speakers so the assembled were presented to an animated presentation about the Loyal Rangers.

One new book per year from Gavin is a treat. Two is amazing, and they represent the two different approaches Gavin takes. His Fire & Desolation followed the events of the 1778 Campaign whereas this new work is a regimental history with that all important Master Roll of those who served in (Jessup's) Loyal Rangers. The Loyal Rangers settled in various locations but especially in the Prescott area of Upper Canada and Ernestown Township. There must be a lot of descendants who would find this book enlightening.

The odd thing about the Loyal Rangers is that it was a late-War assemblage which saw no action. Gavin, however, tried to stress that a considerable number of the men had seen some very hard service earlier in the War, and especially in the Burgoyne Campaign. Gavin's 2013 book, The British Campaign of 1777, Vol. Two, The Burgoyne Expedition, Burgoyne's Native and Loyalist Auxiliaries is in a sense the companion book to this new one.

The Service History in the Loyal Rangers goes into considerable detail about the many small units several of which were amalgamated in 1781 to form the Loyal Rangers. It's crucial for understanding how the Loyal Rangers came into being. If you are not familiar with Peter's Queen's Loyal Rangers, Jessup's King Loyal Americans, MacKay's "Loyal Volunteers" to name just three, this book will set you straight, but be warned, it's a complicated story. If you are a descendant submitting a UE application, it would be nice to include all of your Loyal Ranger ancestor's War service and not just the post-1781 situation.

The other treat with this book is the Master Roll of all individuals known to have been in the Loyal Rangers. Gavin has already provided such Rolls for the King's Royal Yorkers and (Roger's) King's Rangers so one for the Loyal Rangers was the next logical step. It will be delight for descendants, and sources are included. Naturally the amount of information on each individual varies according to what was available. If you find an ancestor in the Loyal Rangers' Master Roll, don't assume other family members always served in the same regiment. For example you will see Eberhardt Wager UE in this list, but his son Thomas served in the 2nd Battn. King's Royal Yorkers. Another valued addition to your Loyalist book collection? I think so!

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Gavin K. Watt - Historian & Writer