Donald MacInnes, United Empire Loyalist
The term "Loyalists" refers to American colonists who remained loyal to the British Crown. Many of them served under the British during the American Revolution (1775-1783). Loyalists settled in what are now the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario.
-Library and Archives Canada
Historical records in Nova Scotia's provincial archives tell us that Donald MacInnes of Anson County, North Carolina served as a captain in the Loyalist Militia during the American Revolution. They also tell us, that by remaining loyal to the British Crown he lost everything he owned and at the end of the conflict he was forced to emigrate to Nova Scotia as an evacuee from the newly formed United States of America.
An extract from the Memorial of Donald MacInnes, United Empire Loyalist, attesting to his service to the Crown and the losses he suffered because of it during the American Revolution. A 'memorial' is a statement of facts as part of a petition. In modern terms it's roughly equivalent to a compensation claim. Loyalist Claims AO Vol 101 p.181, McInnes, Donald, Nova Scotia Archives
At this time, we are not exactly sure of where in the former Thirteen Colonies MacInnes was evacuated from but we pick up his trail again in 1783 among the discharged British regiments at Port Roseway (now Shelburne), Nova Scotia.
In 1784, we find a Donald McGinnas purchasing a town lot in Shelburne. Also in 1784 we see a Donagh McEnnis as part of the Chester Grant. In 1785 a Donald McInnis is granted 200 acres of land in the Port Hebert Grant. At this point in our investigations we feel that we are dealing with the same man whose name was spelled differently, as was common at the time. Regardless of some ambiguity caused by spelling and some dodgy record-keeping, which can be reasonably expected during an exodus, we are led to conclude that Donald MacInnes entered Nova Scotia through Port Roseway in 1783. We are continuing to research and investigate to clear things up the best we can.
Nonetheless, we do know for certain that on , March 3rd 1788, Donald MacInnes purchased Lot No. 27 on Oak Island from James Sharpe for £7 5s. On the 4th of May 1790 he paid £7 for Lot No. 23 from Hector McLean, an uncle of John Smith. The next May in 1791 he bought Lot No. 27 from Alexander Pattillo, for £6 .
In the 1791 Poll Tax he is listed as a farmer on Oak Island. Three years later, in September of 1794 he bought Lot No.1 from Alexander Pattillo, for £6. The same year he is once again listed on Poll Tax records as living on Oak Island as a farmer.
In tracing the steps of Donald MacInnes from his boyhood on the Isle of Skye, his coming of age during the turbulent times of the American Revolution, and his arrival here in Nova Scotia as a Loyalist refugee, we now find him living on Oak Island in 1794- the year before the "Discovery of the Money Pit". And that's where we'll stop for today. In the next installment we'll look at the 1795 discovery and Donald's life after the event that would make him a figure in legend and fable for over 200 years.
I hope you enjoyed reading about Donald MacInnes and seeing for yourself primary source documents that are normally locked away in dusty archives.
Be sure to come visit us again.
Until then, good day from the Blockhouse!
From The Blockhouse
is published by Blockhouse Investigations and oakislandcompendium.ca
in Nova Scotia, Canada
Editors and Chief Correspondents
Kelly W. Hancock, CD
John Wonnacott, P. Eng.
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