John Annable – United Empire Loyalist

By Eilene Lyon

My 5th great-grandfather, John Annable, was born in Derbyshire, England and baptized in the village of Kirk Ireton on 28 July 1751.1 His parents were John Lewis Annable and Catherine Clark. In 1774 John sailed to America at age 23.2

A few years prior to John’s arrival in the colonial Province of New York in 1774, a group of men had petitioned the provincial government to create a new county to be named after Gov. William Tryon. Many of these men of Tryon County were Loyalists during the Revolutionary War.3 John Annable and a partner, James Massie, leased a farm near the Mohawk River in Tryon County from John Turnecliffe and built a house. The following year, for a sum of £50, they purchased two hundred acres of woodlands on the Antigo River from a Mr. Wells. To this land they added 19 head of cattle and 7 horses.4


Governor Tryon reported that the population of Tryon County in 1775 was comprised of ten thousand white inhabitants and two thousand Indian warriors. New York had long been the home of the Mohawks and related tribes that had aligned themselves with the British during the years of European occupancy.5 The Johnson family was particularly dominant in the concerns of the county. Sir William Johnson was His Brittanic Majesty’s Superintendent General of Indian affairs in North America, Colonel of the Six Nations, a Major General in the British service, and was married to a Mohawk princess, Molly Brandt.6

Molly’s father, known as Joseph Brandt, was a chief of the Mohawks and aide to Sir William. Sir William died in 1774, and his son, Sir John Johnson, became heir to his estate. This Johnson led the Loyalists of Tryon County to Canada, and to wage battle against their former home and neighbors. Details of these bloody episodes can be found in the book Annals of Tryon County; or The Border Warfare of New-York, During the Revolution by William W. Campbell, published in 1831.

John Johnson


Sir John Johnson

In 1775, a county Committee endeavored to have all the citizens sign an association with the revolutionary colonials.7 It’s doubtful that John Annable would have complied with the request. Probably as a consequence, he and Massie were arrested in May 1776, the same month that Sir John Johnson broke his parole and fled to Canada. Annable and Massie were transported to Albany and confined for three weeks.8

Somehow they managed to escaped and joined Johnson’s forces in the Niagara region of Canada. For the remainder of the war, Annable served in Captain Anderson’s first battalion of Sir John’s regiment, part of the group known as Butler’s Rangers.9 10

As for Tryon County, according to a 1932 history: “Of the ten thousand white inhabitants, one-third had espoused the royal cause and fled to Canada, one-third had been driven from their homes or slain in battle, and of the remaining third, three hundred were widows and two thousand were orphan children.”11 After the war, the county name was changed to Montgomery.

Though Loyalists were permitted to return to the (now) United States without fear of prosecution, John Annable decided to remain in Canada. He was probably aware that hostilities between the two nations would continue for years. As a “United Empire Loyalist,” he received an allotment of 200 acres in the vicinity of Cornwall, Ontario, near the town of Moulinette (it was still part of Quebec at the time).12

Annable house

The Annable House 

In 1783 or 1784, John married Ann Pescod, the daughter of John and Mary Pescod. They had four sons and four daughters together. Ann died in 1799 at the age of 32. John remarried the next year, to a woman named Mary Sheets, and had three more children. The family was part of the Methodist Church in Moulinette. John and Ann’s daughter, Mary Annable Rowley is my link to this British Army Sergeant and his descendants in Canada.


  1. England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. 
  2. U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc, 2010. Original data: Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI, USA: Gale Research, 2012. 
  3. McGinnis Schulze, Lorine. The Olive Tree Genealogy. 2014. Loyalist Petition in Tryon County, New York 1771. Accessed online at: on August 31, 2014. 
  4. Canada, Loyalist Claims, 1776-1835 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: American Loyalist Claims, 1776–1835. AO 12–13. The National Archives of the United Kingdom, Kew, Surrey, England. 
  5. Landon, Harry F. 1932. The North Country: A History Embracing Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Oswego, Lewis and Franklin Counties, New York. Historical Publishing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. Accessed online at: on August 31, 2014. 
  6. Campbell, William W. 1831. Annals of Tryon County; or the Border Warfare of New-York, During the Revolution. J & J Harper, New York. Accessed online at: on August 24, 2014. 
  7. Landon 
  8. Campbell 
  9. Canada, Loyalist Claims, 1776-1835 
  10. Bower, Wayne. 2014. Bower-McBurney Genealogy: Sgt. John Annable. Accessed online at: on August 31, 2014. 
  11. Canada, Loyalist Claims, 1776-1835 
  12. Landon 

12 thoughts on “John Annable – United Empire Loyalist

Add yours

  1. Great story. It was particularly interesting to me because I was born and grew up in New York, though not that part. Still, I enjoy reading about its history. I confess only in recent years have I realized how many NY colonists at the time were Loyalists or how many fled to Canada. Great story, thanks so much for sharing.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I too am a decendant of Sgt John Annable so interesting to read !my g grandmother was Mary Annable married to John Arthur only had one son my grandfather Harold Jon Arthur !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is actually my Fourth great grandfather (5x grandfather). Thank you for sharing this amazing story. My connection is through a line of sons. Alva Annable, then Nelson Annable, then Edward Annable and finally his son Edward Annable.

    Liked by 1 person

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