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ArchiviaNet: On-line Research Tool

Ward Chipman, Muster Master's Office (1777-1785)
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Ward Chipman, a prominent lawyer, judge and Loyalist, was born on July 30, 1754, in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and died on February 9, 1824, in Fredericton, New Brunswick. He was the sixth child of distinguished Massachusetts lawyer John Chipman and Elizabeth Brown. On October 24, 1786, he married Elizabeth Hazen, daughter of pre-Loyalist William Hazen.

After graduating from Harvard University, Chipman taught school in Boston in 1770 and in Roxbury in 1771. He studied law under the tutelage of Jonathan Sewell, later Judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and in 1775 began to practise in the Vice-Admiralty Court. The American Revolution dealt a crushing blow to his expectations. Whereas many of his contemporaries at the Colonial bar supported the patriot cause, or at least equivocated, Chipman's loyalties were never seriously in question. When Boston was evacuated in March 1776, Chipman travelled with the British army to Halifax and then to London, where Sewell's home had become the central gathering place for a growing number of New England refugees.

In the summer of 1777, Chipman accepted a minor post in the city of New York as deputy to Muster-Master General, Edward Winslow. He was responsible for preparing the muster rolls for the Loyalist regiments stationed in and around the city. Sir Guy Carleton appointed him as one of the commissioners in charge of registering claims for supplies furnished to the British army. Many Loyalists whose names appear on the lists compiled by Chipman had been members of regiments that were disbanded; they eventually settled in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

In July 1783, Chipman settled in Nova Scotia. With the creation of New Brunswick in 1784, he was appointed Solicitor General of the province. He held the post until 1808. He also served as Recorder of Saint John, was a member of the House of Assembly, and was a legal counsel to the International Boundary Commissions of 1796-1798 and 1816, representing the Crown in border disbutes with the United States and Nova Scotia. In 1806, he was appointed to the Legislative Council and in 1809 to the bench of the New Brunswick Supreme Court. He resigned from the latter position to become Administrator of the province in April 1823.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds the Ward Chipman fonds (MG 23 D1). Covering the years 1751-1844, the 7.3 m of textual records and 3 microfilm reels contain business records and papers relating to the Loyalists and to the Boundary Commissions.

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This research tool provides access to over 19,000 references to the Muster Master's office sub-series (1777-1785), contained in volumes 24 to 27 of the Ward Chipman fonds held at LAC. These records refer mostly to Loyalists who eventually settled in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island. They include references to wives and children of Loyalists, some soldiers of British regiments and Black members (slaves or free individuals) of Loyalist regiments.

The records include the following types of documents:

Casualty Return
Land grant
Muster roll
Provision list
Return of prisoners
Return of settlers

Staff members had originally created a nominal card index to the volumes. Information from the cards was input into this database. The volumes were consulted to verify the original indexing.

The content of the database entries reflects the original language used in the documents. This information was not translated.

Important note: Given that some of the original documents are very difficult to read, some information in the database may be incorrect and/or incomplete.

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Search Screen

The search screen allows you to search by surname and/or given name, by place (e.g., Passamaquoddy) and/or by regiment or group (e.g., "New Jersey Volunteers," "Women," "Child").

Note that some entries include only an initial for the given names. Try searching by surname only.

Black people can be identified by entering the words "Black Pioneers," "Black servant" or "Negro" in the group box. Try searching only by given name. Note than an individual may be identified only by given name in some documents and then by given name and surname in another document (e.g., "Fortune" and "Fortune Sterling").

When you have entered your search terms, click on "Submit". The number of hits found will be shown at the top of the results screen.

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How to Interpret the Results

Results List

Your search results will be posted as a summary list from which you will be able to obtain more detailed descriptions.

The results list contains the following fields:

Name (surname and given name)
Regiment or Group

You can export the results to a diskette or to your own computer.

Click on name of the person of interest to you.

Detailed Description

The detailed description contains the following fields:

Name (surname and given name)
Regiment or Group
Record Title

You can view the corresponding page by clicking on "View image."

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How to Obtain Copies

You can print the images or save the images on your own computer. Use the following link for other options such as borrowing microfilm.

How to Access Library and Archives Canada Records

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Other Resources

Other archival Loyalist records exist. Consult Loyalists for more information about these records.