Well, since my initial posting regarding Ensign Reuben Hankinson I’ve been successful in finding many documents relating to him. Here is a brief overview of what I found. If anyone has any further information they wish to share, or would like more information please reply to this message or my e-mail address. Most of the information I found is already well known but I’ll do my best to surprise you.
Reuben Hankinson was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey on February 28, 1758, youngest child to Robert and Sarah (Taylor) Hankinson. Sarah (Taylor) Hankinson was the third child to John and Sarah (Hartshorne) Taylor. I am not going to go in depth about the Taylor and Hartshorne families however were wealthy and engaged in political life in New Jersey.
Reuben joined the 1st Battalion of New Jersey Volunteers after the arrival of the British Fleet on Staten Island (an excellent source to read more about the regiment, go to http://www.royalprovincial.com)http://www.royalprovincial.com). One of his commanding officers was Captain John Taylor, a second cousin to Reuben. Before the close of the war, he would rise to the rank of Sergeant and Ensign. An interesting belief is that he is said to have been taken prisoner in August 1777 and sent to Trenton along with many others of his battalion (Sabine).
After the British defeat, Reuben relocated to Nova Scotia. The first evidence I have of him in Weymouth is a petition signed by the residences of Digby County at the end of September 1784. It is believed that he first went to the St. John River (New Brunswick) and spent the winter there, as did many loyalists.
Reuben remained loyal to the crown of England, so much so that he refused to accept land for his cause. He was "unwilling to become pensioners on their beloved Sovereign when able to subsist without Royal Bestowments". However, in 1801, the Hatfield Grant granted Reuben with a generous donation of land. From his arrival to his death, he was busy selling and buying land in Digby County. Even after his death, his wife Gertrude “Gitty” (LeRoy) Hankinson was busy selling the remainder of his lands.
In 1785, Reuben married Gitty. They had 14 children. Most of them would later move to Ontario. He was commissioned Justice of the Peace for Annapolis County, Tax Collector, commissioned the building of the first bridge over the Sissiboo River, was Captain in the Acadian Militia, Annapolis Regiment, donated time for the construction of the St. Peter’s Anglican Church (land was donated by James Moody), held church services in his house, and was secretary of the Masonic Lodge. (History of the County of Digby by Isaiah Wilson). Reuben died in June 1819 in Weymouth at the age of 61.
A mystery I have stumbled upon and can’t seem to solve is the location of Reuben’s final resting place. If anyone has any information regarding this mystery please let me know. I know that his son, Reuben Hankinson Jr., is buried at the Riverside Baptist Church Cemetery in Weymouth, but not him.
I have much more information to share, so keep watching this post periodically for updates.