Thomas Welbank, Ontario pioneer

Male Abt 1747 - 1811  (~ 64 years)

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  • Name Thomas Welbank 
    Suffix Ontario pioneer 
    Birth Abt 1747  Yorkshire Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • In his petition for land, he says he has lived 18yrs in America, and apparently left around 1783 to go to Englamd. If he was 18 when he first went from Yorkshire to America, he would be born in 1847. It would mean he died at 64. The description of him as an "old man" suggests he may have been born earlier than this.
    Gender Male 
    Note Russ Waller (Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Loyalist Families, 1999) says that Thomas' father was George, and gives three sources.
    Reid S & D The Loyalists in Ontario - I have looked at this and it says nothing about Thomas' parentage.
    Loyalist Lineages - there is no result from searching the Google document for "Welbank"
    H.C. Burleigh papers - these have notes about George Welbank's imprisonment in Albany in 1776. But there is no evidence that George Welbank was Thomas Welbank's father. George Welbank was apprenticed to Jospeph Rivington while Thomas was a horse dealer in Philadelphia, so if anything Thomas seems likely to be older than George.
    Note Pioneer Life on The Bay of Quinte (1904) Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Thomas Welbanks was an English soldier from Yorkshire who
    had fought in the Peninsular War. He followed the drum through
    many a hard-fought fight during the War of Independence, and
    when at last peace was proclaimed, doffed the scarlet of the soldier
    for the more sombre hues of the pioneer. When first he came into
    Canada he settled for a while at Kingston; but he soon removed
    to South Marysburg and settled near the old Black River Bridge.
    The land that he drew from the Government he bequeathed to his
    son George, who in turn passed it on to his son George A. Welbanks. It was then traded with Palen Clark, whose descendants are now settled there.

    The old pioneer prospered and became a man of means; at
    one time he owned a tract of six or eight hundred acres of land
    in Hungerford, of which however his descendants inherited only
    four hundred. When in the States he married a Frenchwoman
    whose name was LaRue. Their son Thomas paid a visit in 1837 to
    her people in Gennesee County, New York, and his American
    uncles and aunts were delighted to meet their Canadian nephew.
    Occupation 1775  Horse Dealer, Philadelphia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    receipt from Thomas Welbank for cash for a horse is in George Washington's papers. 
    Note 1777 
    A return of soldiers from the city of Philadelphia says Thomas Wellbank of the 4th Battalion has "gone with the enemy".

    A General Return of the Fourth Batallion when Called into Actuale Service July 1777
    Pennsylvania Archives, 6th series Vol 1 p295, Harrisburg Publishing Co 1906 
    Note 7 Nov 1777  Philadelphia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Thomas Welbank was a quartermaster in the Philadelphia Lt Dragoons, 7 Nov 1777
    1775 - 1783 Roll of Officers of the British American or Loyalist Corps
    Compiled from the original Muster Rolls and arranged alphabetically
    By W. O. Raymond, LL. D. (Published in Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society Vol. 2, 1899)
    Note 27 Oct 1778  New York Find all individuals with events at this location 
    James Dick to Comissary Beatty, demanding the release of Welbank, a prisoner in Philadelphia.Welbank was the pilot on a British ship flying a flag of truce trying to deliver a proposal to the revolutionaries, that foundered and the Americans caught and imprisoned all who survived and were going to execute Welbank as a deserter.
    Henry Laurens, President of Congress, replied on 28 Nov 1778, saying that the Hotham sloop had been trying to deliver seditious papers and therefore the flag of truce was no defence.

    [This man doesn't seem to be Thomas Welbank in fact. Thomas seems to have been in jail in 1777 before joining the British troops later that year, and was not a pilot. The imprisoned pilot seems to be Abraham Whiltbank or Willbank, of Lewes in Sussex County, Delaware. A land transaction in 1771 notes that Abraham Willbank is a pilot. Abraham Willbank later successfully applied for land in Nova Scotia based in his Loyalist service as a pilot. He comes from a family mostly called Wiltbank in Sussex County who are recorded there from 1651, when Hermanus Frederick Wiltbank came from the Netherlands]. 
    Note 30 Aug 1779 
    Letter from Marriot Arbuthnot complains that a Lt Welbank is being held in close confinement in Philaldelphia.  
    Note 20 Sep 1779 
    The Marine Committee investigated, and reported to Congress on 20 Sept that Wellbank, a pilot of the vessel Hotham, was in jail in Philadelphia but being held in comfortable quarters. 
    Note 2 Jul 1783  25 Charles St Hatton Garden Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Petition from Thomas Welbank to the Lords Commissioners of HM Treasury, with endorsement from Joseph Galloway.
    Note 1784  London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    "American Migrations 1765-1799":

    Arpin, Joel of Philadelphia, hatter. Memorial Southwark 1784. He had a successful business in Philadelphia before the war. He assisted Lieut. William Chew of NJ to escape and in 1776 was arrested on the suspicion that he was in communication with Lieut. Molesworth who was executed for procuring pilots for the British Navy. The claimant was imprisoned and made to sleep on the bare floor during a severe winter but later released on the petition of Mr. Israel Pemberton: his property was plundered and his wife and children ejected. When the Army evacuated Philadelphia, he came to England but has been unable to earn a living because of poor health. Claim for hatmaking equipment. Supporting affidavits sworn London 1784 by Thomas Badge, Hugh Stewart and Thomas Welbank who have known the claimant for many years. 
    Note 12 Mar 1784  Loyalist Petititions Find all individuals with events at this location 
    To the commissioners appointed by act of parliament for enquiring into the losses and services of the American loyalists

    The memorial of Thos Welbank late of Philadelphia Stable Keeper & Horse Dealer &c


    That your memorialist lived 18 years in America the last 6 years in the City of Philadelphia his principles being ever attached to the British Government - he took every opportunity of disappointing the Americans in their design particularly by persuading his Friends not to join with them, in a little time a suspicion of his principles arising he was soon marked out as an enemy to the American Cause and threatened with destruction to himself and property -this suspicion increasing in the Americans of his loyalty and attachment to the King and the British Government - soon brought his ruin - he being previously drafted by the Americans to serve in .... he refused either to go himself or to find a Substitute - there came an order from the Lieutenant of the City to Seize his person - on this he was obliged to seek a place of safety in so doing he was apprehended and brought to the American Camp, from whence he made his Escape into Philadelphia with the loss of his Horse, and there remained in private for some time, but being still among the Americans and in great danger of his Life, at last he got an opportunity to cross the River Delaware into the Jerseys, intending to get into the British Lines, which were then at Brunswick, but being known by a Rebel Justice (Sparkes) was taken prisoner and ordered to be carried to Gloucester Gaol but made his escape back into Philadelphia where he remained in quiet for some time being obliged to pay at different times for two Substitutes to serve in their Militia to the amount of near £70, but your Memorialists loyalty being still suspected, he was apprehended again and put into Philadelphia Gaol for being concerned with James Molesworth (who was executed for hiring Pilots for Lord Howes Fleet to come up the River Delaware), being Try'd by Gen Gates and two other Gen Officers - they not being able to prove anything against him he got his Liberty therefore from various troubles coming on daily after tha above Tryal, he was obliged to get into the British Lines with leaving his property behind - That your Memorialist came into Philadelphia on the arrival of the British Troops - assisted in raising the first Troop of Horse of which he was Quarter Master and remained so till the evacuating of Philadelphia to New York - the Troops being drafted into the British Legion, he left that Service and went on Board the Ship Alfred as a Lieutenant of Marines in which he came to England in July 1783 he petitioned the Lords of his Majestys Treasury for Assistance to go to Nova Scotia not being able to get a living in England. That your Memorialist being Examined by one of the Commissioners he informed him that if they would make him some compensation for his losses in America, which was nearly to the amount of £600 sterling to enable him to pay the debts he had contracted here, having been in England upwards of 2 years, and to pay his Passage for self and Family to Nova Scotia after waiting till November following he got an order to receive £35 which was not sufficient to pay his passage, living in debt and having a Wife ready to lay in, and in want of every necessary of life - besides the season of the year being so far advanced that no Ships could sail till late Spring - in consequence of the above was obliged to make use of the Money for the support of self and Family.
    That your Memorialist being upwards of five years out of Business which on average could not be less than £50 sterling pr Annum.
    Therefore your Memorialist with submissions to the Honble Commissioners makes bold to annex a schedule of his losses to his Memorial.
    Your Memorialist therefore prays that his case may be taken into your Consideration in order that your Memorialist may be enabled under your Report to receive such Aid or Relief as his Losses and Services may be found to deserve
    Thomas Welbank
    No 6 Queens Court Gt Queen Street Lincoln's Inn Fields.

    [A list of witnesses who can vouch for him, all from Phildelphia and now living in England, including Joseph Galloway whose troop of horse he was quartermaster for]

    A Schedule of the property lost by your memorialist
    To a Bay Stallion got by old Barton Mem' was offered 250..Sterling abt £130.
    To a Chestnut Mare got by Juniper with foal by the above Horse valuet abt 80£colonial Sterling abt £45
    To a Surrey? & Harness....25 £Colonial Sterling abt £15
    To cash paid for a Subt in the Arm Militia ..... £21 5/3
    To cash paid for 2nd Aug 20 1777........17 15/6
    To expen in April to raise a Troop of Horse ..... 51
    To losses sustained by being deprived of his Business by your Memorialist for upwards of 5 years ........256
    £553 3/9

    January 28th 1785
    Evidence on the foregoing Memorial of Thos Welbank
    Thomas Welbank the Claimant sworn

    The Memorial is read but the Claimant admitting that he received £35 from the Lords of the Treasury, which was recommended by the Commissioners at Whitehall to be paid in full of all Demands upon Government for his Losses, they consider his Case to be already determined and therefore think it improper to be examined.
    Note 7 Mar 1797  Loyalist petitions, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Thomas Welbank says he served as Quartermaster for the first troop of horse raised by Joseph Galloway in Philadelphia, and is granted 600 acres. 
    Death 1811  Prince Edward Sound, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Note 2022 
    I have added a skeleton tree of Thomas' descendants to explore the history of the Welbanks name in North America. It follows descendants who have the Welbanks surname. Thomas himself had a very large family and the next two generations also did, so by the third generation there were over 120 Welbanks, but after that the numbers reduced rapidly with many men who married and were childless or had small familes. It's possible to trace some branches to living descendants using publically available sources, some still in Prince Edward County and some others from Mexico.  
    Person ID I1080  Welbank1
    Last Modified 16 Aug 2022 

    Father George? A? Welbank,   b. c. 1720 
    Family ID F541  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Margaret LaRue 
    Marriage Abt 1783  Philadelphia? Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Possible that Thomas married Margaret before he came to England around 1783, and she is the wife he talks about in his 1785 petition.

      Jean Welbanks Gemmell Minhinick was born in 1903 and brought up by her maternal grandparents (Hiram Welbanks and Esther) who had been born before 1850. She wrote ("At Home in Upper Canada") that they told her that their grandparents had left Poughkeepsie and the city of Philadelphia around 1783 and gone to Prince Edward County.

    +1. Robert Welbank,   b. c.1794   d. 1830 (Age ~ 36 years)
    +2. William Welbank,   b. c. 1796
    +3. Thomas Welbanks,   b. c. 1798
     4. Margaret Welbank,   b. c. 1800
    +5. David Welbank,   b. c.1804
    +6. John Welbank,   b. 1806   d. 26 Sep 1893 (Age 87 years)
    +7. Hiram Welbanks,   b. c.1812
    +8. George Welbanks   d. 1834
    Family ID F284  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 2 Aug 2022