According to Municipal records, the odonym of « Chemin des Loyalistes was given to honour the Knowlton family of Loyalists who immigrated to Canada following the Declaration of Independence by the United States in 1776 ».
By general definition “loyalists” are considered those who remained loyal to the King and Britain during the time of the American Revolution of 1775-1783. Much is written of the United Empire Loyalists. The definition of those who may claim the distinction was clearly established by Order in Council of the then British government on November 9th, 1789. “It is not a courtesy title, nor gained by common repute.” These families are defined by the military service of some one of their direct ancestors. They are a separate group from the refugee Loyalists, so well described by John P Noyes, born in Potton, who was once joint prothonotary of the District of Bedford. Entitled The Canadian Loyalists and Early Settlers in the District of Bedford, the descriptions and commentary speak volumes, and was considered a controversial article at the time.
“The Colonists enrolled as soldiers on the side of the Crown exceeded 25,000 and, during the war, their homes were destroyed, their property confiscated and their families bitterly persecuted. Despite the provisions of the treaty of peace, (…), this persecution drove the loyal Colonists into exile.” Reference to this document is made in Taylor’s History of Brome County and it was quite remarkable to find a full copy available on the Internet.
Insofar as the Chemin des Loyalistes is concerned, the reference is self-evident: American colonists who supported the British during the American Revolution, and who fled to Canada. Thousands of English, who lived in the Thirteen American Colonies, fled to Quebec and to Nova Scotia, where their numbers were so large that the authorities decided to create New Brunswick. In Quebec, these Loyalists established themselves primarily in what came to be known as the Eastern Townships, or Estrie region, also in the Gaspé around Baie des Chaleurs, and in the seigneury of Sorel at the mouth of the Richelieu River. Larger numbers of Loyalists settled in Ontario, which was known as Upper Canada.