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ONTARIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Papers and Records
Volume 2, Published in Toronto in 1900
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ONTARIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
PAPERS AND RECORDS
The United Empire Loyalist Settlement
at Long Point, Lake Erie.
L. H. TASKER, M. A.,
Collegiate Institute, Niagara Falls.
THE UNITED EMPIRE LOYALIST SETTLEMENT
AT LONG POINT, LAKE ERIE.
No more inspiring subject can engage the pen of any writer than
the theme of loyalty. Fidelity to the constitution, laws and
institutions of one's native land has been honored in every
country and in every age. From infancy we have been told of the
brave men of our race, and yet the tale, ever told, is ever new.
The hero stories that thrilled us in our childhood have still
the power to make the heart beat quickly and the current of
feeling sweep over us, rich and strong. Socialists and
revolutionists may affect to scorn it, but they cannot blot out
the inherent glory contained in the word "patriot."
"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."
To die for one's native land is assuredly sweet and seemly, and
yet there is a truer and a nobler loyalty than this. It is that
of preserving inviolate one's faith to the established
government, when all around is sedition, anarchy and
revolution. When to be loyal means to fight, not against the
stranger and the foreigner, but against those of the same
language, the same country, the same state, and, it may be, the
same family as one's self-when loyalty means fratricidal war,
the breaking up of home, the severing of the dearest heart
cords, the loss of everything except honor-
"Oh who shall say what heroes feel,
When all but life and honor's lost?"
Such was the loyalty of these who plunged unshaken, unterrified
and unseduced into a conflict unutterably bitter, which was destined
to last for seven long years, and finally to sever them from
their native land. During the war of the revolution, and in the
blind revenge exacted by the victorious side, their property was
confiscated, their families ostracised and exposed to insult,
outrage and spoliation, their lives were in danger, and often
ruthlessly declared forfeit, to satisfy malicious hatred and
suspicion. Their zeal for the unity of the empire gave them the
title of United Empire Loyalists, and these were the men who, at
the close of the war, sought a refuge and a home on British
soil, among the northern forests, and laid deep the foundations
of the institutions, the freedom, the loyalty, and the prosperity
of our land.
"Dear were the homes where they were born,
Where slept their honored dead;
And rich and wide, on every side
Their fruitful acres spread;
But dearer to their faithful hearts
Than home, and gold, and lands,
Were Britain's laws, and Britain's crown,
And Britain's flag of high renown,
And grip of British hands."
THE POLITICAL ASPECT 0F THE REVOLUTION.
THE Acts of the Imperial Parliament by which direct taxes were
imposed on the American colonies are to be regarded as the
culmination of the series of causes which brought on the revolution.
In this series of events the most important is, no doubt, the
renewal of the restrictions on colonial trade, enforced soon
after the third George began his reign. Under the old
"navigation laws" and "laws of trade" the colonial produce had
to be exported directly to Britain, and thence by British
vessels only, carried to its destination. Similarly, goods for
the colonies had to be brought to Britain and thence to the
colonies in British ships. The American colonies were not
allowed to trade even with other colonies directly. For nearly a
Century these odious Acts had been evaded by an organized and well
arranged system of smuggling. The revenue officers of the Crown
were lax in their enforcement of the letter of the law;
consequently the merchants of various states, and chiefly those of
Massachusetts, had grown rich by the illicit traffic, and were exasperated
beyond measure by the attempts of the revenue officers, under fresh
orders, to enforce the laws. Fourteen of the signers of the
Declaration of Independence were engaged in trade which was
affected grievously by these restrictions. [Hancock, Adams, Hewes,
Langdon, Whippler, Livingstone, Clymer, Lewes, Sherman, Morris,
Gwinnet, Taylor, Hopkins and Gerry] At the time of the
Declaration of Independence John Hancock was a respondent in suits
of the Crown to recover £1O0,O00, or over, for alleged infractions
of the trade laws. Thus the questions relative to trade and commerce
are to be regarded as a primary cause of the revolution.
Another primary use was the fact that colonial industry and
manufacture were restricted. The colonists were denied the use of
natural advantages, such as waterfalls; they were forbidden
the erection of sundry kinds of machinery, particularly spinning
and weaving machines; the king's arrow was placed on trees in the
forest, which were two feet or over in diameter, at a height of
twelve inches from the ground; the manufacture of sawn
lumber, except for home consumption, was interdicted;
the market for dried fish was cut off; the commerce in sugar
and molasses was rudely interrupted; the most important and
profitable avenues of trade were closed to them. Hence
one of the aims of the revolution was to take off the shackles which
bore heavily on the rising colonies.
The explanation, or excuse it may be called, for these impositions lies
of course in the opinion held by all Imperial governments at that time,
that colonies existed for the benefit of the Mother Country only. The
world has at last outgrown that doctrine, and we are to-day reaping
the benefit of the removal of restrictions which was accelerated by the
shock of the loss of half a continent. But all nations and governments
are to be judged according to the general standard of enlightenment at
the time of the events under consideration. It is easy to criticise a
public policy when the result of a chain of events has demonstrated it
to be wrong. Before the issue, its wisdom or foolishness is for the most
part a matter of opinion. Had we been a member of Lord North's
Government we would have, no doubt, thought the existing colonial
policy a natural and necessary one; had we made a fortune smuggling
tea, wine, or mollasses, we would have no doubt, thought that same
colonial policy vile and inhuman. Living as we do with a
century and a quarter of added experience, we neither commend its
wisdom nor criticise too harshly its application. Let us be
merciful. If we cannot be merciful let us be fair, and give the
devil, on both sides, his due.
We now come to that question which, as an apple of discord,
was rolled around the parliamentary table for ten long years,
and at last plunged the nation into warfare and led to the
dismemberment of the empire: "Has the British Parliament power
to tax the colonies without giving them representation in the
This question may be considered: Firstly, from a purely legal
aspect; secondly, from the standpoint of expediency; and
thirdly, from the moral and ethical side.
As a matter of abstract right, the Mother Country has never
parted with the claim to ultimate supreme authority of legislation
on any matter whatever. This has always been acknowledged by
constitutional lawyers. If the Imperial Parliament were to resign this
ultimate right, the tie that binds the empire would be dissolved, and
the colonies would forthwith become independent state. It is that right
which, along with the acknowledgment of a common head, makes us a
part of the British Empire of which we are so proud. The question
of the abstract right of taxation was never disputed; simply
that of taxation without representation. Yet we must remember
that the theory of "no taxation without representation," was
not settled at the time of the Revolutionary War. Many of the
important cities of the United Kingdom, and the large
manufacturing districts were not represented for fifty years
after this time; for example, Bristol, Leeds, Birmingham,
Manchester and Glasgow. Yet they did not resort to arms. Their
burdens were heavy, but with the patient loyalty of true Britons
they bore them until the good sense of the present century gave
them a share in the government. Not so the colonies. They
enforced their demands by an appeal to arms.
It would seem, moreover, as if the moving spirits of the
revolution had seized the enforcement of taxation as an excuse
for the unfilial demand of absolute separation from the Mother
Country. On what other supposition can their haste and violence
be accounted for? To what else can their action be attributed?
Secondly, let us discuss the action of Britain from the standpoint
of expediency. Viewed in the light of the actual result-the loss
of the southern half of this continent- it would seem as if the
Stamp Act and the tea duty were inexpedient. Yet it may be
questioned, if, as the writer is convinced, the question of
taxation was used as an excuse for the Declaration of Independence,
would not the leaders of the revolution have made some other act
of the Mother Country the basis of their agitation? The actions
of these men at the close of the war did not show that rigorous
adherence to right and justice which they had insisted on so
strenuously before the revolution. The following chapters
will prove this point.
But even allowing that the taxation was inexpedient in the light
of the result, was it a fair demand? For nearly two centuries
the colonies had been watched over by Britain. They had been
defended alike from the encroachments of home enemies and of
foreign foes. For years the French and the Indian had been
repulsed and kept in check. The constant fear of sudden attack
and merciless massacre had been removed. The New England
colonies were in a state of safety and prosperity they had never
known before. Under the superintendency of Sir William Johnson,
the Six Nation Indians and their affiliated tribes lived in a
marvellously friendly state with the white settlers.
They had nothing now to fear from their dusky allies. Their
enemies, the French and the tribes of Canadian Indians, were
at this time under the same British rule. The protecting arm
which Britain now extends around the world was furnishing to
the colonies that security in which they contentedly flourished.
Even John Otis, one of the most violent agitators of
independence, said in 1763, in the course of a public speech
at Boston, "The true interests of Great Britain and her colonies
are mutual, and what God in his providence hath joined together
let no man put asunder."
Now, on the other hand, the burden on the Home Country was enormous.
For nearly thirty years England had been fighting the combined
armies of France and Spain, and at times the allied forces of
Europe. The tale of British conquest in India and in America, is
also the tale of the wonderful endurance and courage of her people.
The national debt had been doubled. The people of the United Kingdom were
taxed to the utmost, and still there was deficit. In this strait she
turned to the colonies and levied a duty on imports, a tax on law
stamps, and a tax on tea-the latter being only one quarter of the rate of
revenue duty on tea at home. The colonists refused to import the taxed
articles; they burned the stamp office; and a mob of Bostonians forcibly
boarded the tea ship Dartmouth and emptied eight hundred and forty
boxes into the sea. Such was the response of the New England
colonies to the request for help of the hard-pressed Motherland.
Lastly, let us consider the moral aspect of the case. It was no doubt
an assertion, by force of arms, of the "Right of Rebellion."
It seems also to have been a triumphant assertion of the "Right
of Advantage" - the right to take the controlling power in a tight
predicament; the right to enforce consent to their demands at a time
when the Mother Country could not fairly defend itself.
The Americans were successful through a combination of circumstances
unfavorable to Britain, chief of which were: The terrible pressure of
the war in the East; the incompetent Ministry in power at the
time; ignorance as to the real state of affairs in the colonies and as to
the methods of colonial warfare; and, of course, the insufficient and
imperfectly equipped forces sent to America.
In some cases there may be a distinct "Right of Revolution," but
surely it is only, as in the case of the English revolution of 1688,
after years of patient waiting for some great fundamental right,
which has been long withheld, and whose accomplishment there seems no
outlook of peacefully gaining.
It seems as if the United States has been reaping the fruit of this
doctrine of the right to rebel against law and the settled constitution
of the land. The sins of the fathers were visited upon the children
in that terrible deluge of blood in the sixties, which swept
from South to North. In this case the Southern States who
wished to withdraw from the Confederacy were the rebels. In 1776
the secessionists had been the patriots. Assuredly nothing under the
sun is constant, not even the opinions of American politicians.
Within the last two decades there have been over 23,000 separate
struggles of labor against capital, in most cases accompanied by force
and violence, and the attempted subversion of lawful authority.
"And it doth not yet appear what there shall be." Truly, from
the seed of dragon's teeth sown in the war of rebellion there have
sprung up armed warriors in a great and limitless host, who continue
to advocate the same principles of mutiny and insurrection that fired
the hearts of the revolutionists of the last century with the lust of
MOTIVES 0F THE LOYALISTS.
The majority of American historians have been unfair to the Loyalists.
They have spoken of them with scorn and ridicule; they have
called them weak, because they submitted to "tyranny"; they have
called them cowards, because they refused to fight the British
they have called them unnatural, because they took up arms against
their countrymen; and they have called them the dregs of society,
because they had spirit enough to seek a new home under British rule.
American writers have further unfairiy questioned the motives of
the Loyalists. They have denied to their enemies that freedom of choice
which they reserved to themselves; they have charged the loyalists
with being "Tory office-holders"; they have declared that the possession
of offices of emolument from the Crown was the sole reason
which prevented these "office-holders" from taking up arms in company
with the "victims of Britain's injustice." On the other hand, according
to these writers no eulogy is too strong, no commemoration is too
extensive for the "Patriots" who, in the face of fearful odds, swept the
British army from the plains of Yorktown, and planted the standard of
liberty on the erstwhile down-trodden and benighted land.
A more impartial age has brushed away the deception of a century.
The honor of the Loyalists has been amply vindicated. It is seen that
those who were called weak, were strong enough to leave all they held
dear for the sake of principle; those who were called cowards, fought
to the bitter end of a losing struggle; those who were called unnatural,
were not as unnatural as the matricidal sons who took up arms against
the Motherland; and those who were called in malicious hatred the outcasts
of society, have since been acknowledged the brightest and best of
It is noticeable that the bulk of the Loyalists were men in no mean
positions in their native states; men who possessed a high moral ideal
and an elevated mind, men of education and of unsullied honor. Even
American historians are now coming to admit that they were of the noblest
descent and of the most upright character. Colonel Sabine says, in his
well known work, "It is evident that a considerable proportion of the
professional and editorial intelligence and talents of the thirteen
colonies was arrayed against the popular movement." (Vol. I, p. 50)
And we have others. Dr. Geo. E. Ellis, in the "Narrative and Critical
History of America," (page 186), says, "Among those most frank and
fearless in the avowal of loyalty, and who suffered the severest
penalties, - were men of the noblest character and highest position."
And Mr. M. C. Tyler, writing in the American Historical Review, so
lately as October, 1895, says, "To any one at all familiar with the
history of colonial New England, that list of men, denounced to
exile and loss of property on account of their opinions, will read like the
head roll of the oldest and noblest families concerned in the founding
and upholding of New England civilization; and of the whole body
of the Loyalists throughout the thirteen colonies, it must be said that
it contained more than a third of influential characters, that is, a very
considerable portion of the customary chiefs in each community."
Nearly all the clergy were Loyalists. "Fear God, Honor the King,"
was their unvarying doctrine. Lawyers, judges and physicians also, in
a great number, were ranged on the side of loyalty, men of education
and refinement and of deep religions conviction, the moral tone of
whose lives put to shame even that of the fifty-six signers of the
Declaration of Independence.
So much for the general character of the Loyalists. Let us consider
their motives. To charge them with being all office-holders under the
Crown is false on the face of it, because upwards of thirty-five thousand
came to Canada after the war, and it is absurd to suppose that
even one-tenth of that number remained faithful to the king from
mercenary motives. And if the Loyalists had been influenced by monetary
considerations they would probably have deserted the ship before the
final plunge, and made overtures of friendship and reconciliation to the
victorious party. Base and sordid men are not the kind who are
willing to leave rich and luxurious homes on the banks of the Hudson
and the Delaware, for a cabin in a northern wilderness, and scarcity
and hardship withal.
Those of the New Englanders who remained faithful to the old
flag possessed all the ardor of a lofty patriotisin. With an
unswerving trust in the fundamental justice of the British Government,
they believed that the misunderstandings were only temporary and
would be removed. They believed that most of the disaffected were
laboring under an erroneous idea of oppression and an egregious conceit
of their own importance and to the last they remained true to their
conviction that to take up arms against the Mother Country was high
treason, and morally as well as legally wrong.
TREATMENT OF THE LOYALISTS DURING THE WAR.
From the very beginning the Loyalists were looked upon with the
disfavor with which evildoers always regard those who do not approve
of their actions. They were the objects of suspicion. All their movements
were watched. They were even forbidden the ancient British right of
public meeting and the freedom of the press, and were liable to
arrest and imprisonment at any moment, without the right of habeas corpus.
The Declaration of Independence forced the choice of either one side
or the other. Previously both parties bad been, nominally at least, at
one in their allegiance to the British Crown; but now it was open war
and no neutrality. In many states Congress gave the legislative,
executive and judicial powers over to committees, who often improperly
used their authority under the specious veil of patriotism.
[Dr. Ramsey, "History of United States," Vol II, Chap. 26, p 467]
These dealt at pleasure with the rights and liberties, and even
lives, of the hated "Tories." To crush liberty of speech and opinion, to
reduce the Loyalists to the position of slaves or proscribed aliens,
under penalties of imprisoninent, banishment, and even death, was
a startling contradiction to their high-sounding declaration,
"All men are born free and equal." The Loyalists were exposed to all
sorts of indignities and to wanton insult, such as being tarred and
feathered, their cattle were sometimes horribly mutilated, their barns
burned, and neither life nor property was safe.
[Dr. Canniff, "Settlement of Upper Canada, p. 55.
Sabine, "American Loyalists" Vol. I, p. 75.]
The rule of the mob was dominant. A letter from John Adams, then at
Amsterdam, in 1780, to the Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts, says,
"I think their (the Loyalists') career might have been stopped if the
executive officers had not been so timid in a point which I strenuously
recommended from the first, namely, to fine, imprison and hang all
inimical to the cause, without favor or affection. I would have hanged
my own brother if he had taken part with the enemy in the contest."
[Dr. Ryerson, "Loyalists of America and their Times," Vol II, p. 127.]
This advice of Adams was followed by Lieutenant-Governor Cushing,
and many instances are on record of unjust and cruel persecution.
Bodies of vagabonds roamed about the state, destroying the property
of the Loyalists, imprisoning the suspected, and seizing the goods of
those unable to defend themselves. A nefarious band dubbed themselves
"Sons of Liberty," and carried bloodshed and rapine to peaceful
homes. Their victims were the women and children, the aged and
defenceless. Their favorite pastime was the burning of the homes of
the Loyalists. Often the houses were set on fire in the middle of
winter and the occupants forced to take shelter the woods,
every door being shut against them, some were frozen to death.
Frequently torture of various kinds was resorted to, in order
to make the victims tell where their money or valuables were concealed,
or their dear ones in hiding. The family of Maby, which came to Long
Point, suffered grievously, as will be told in a subsequent chapter.
There is nothing more pathetic than the story of this unceasing and
Nor were other states very far behind Massachusetts in point of
unpunished lawlessness. The blood of the murdered cried from the
ground unceasingly for vengeance. The governments of the different
states winked at, if they did not sanction, this terrible
ill-treatment of the Loyalists. All trod the blood-stained path
of cruelty, and the pen of anguish writes its history.
The Convention of the State of New York in 1776 enacted that any
being an adherent of the king of Great Britain, should be guilty
of treason and should suffer death.
[Dr. Ramsay, "History of United States", Vol II Chap II.]
But this enactment of the Legislature seems to have been too extreme,
and was not carried out in its entirety, the Loyalists for the most part
being given an opportunity to quit the country. However, in all the
states there was a vast amount of lawlessness by organized mobs,
who had at least the passive sanction of the executive councils.
The saying became common among these bands of "Loggers and Sawyers,"
that "The Lord commanded us to forgive our enemies, but said nothing
about forgiving our friends." This went on so far that the State of
North Carolina, in 1780, passed a law to put a stop to the robbery
of people under the pretence that they were Tories, "a practice
carried on even to the plundering of their clothes and household furniture."
[Hildreth, "History of United States", Vol III Chap 41.]
In New York State this rage for plundering grew so strong that it
demoralized the American army, and affected even the officers, who,
from first opposing it, came to take afterwards an active share
in despoiling Loyalist homes.
[Dr. Ramsay, "History of United States,", Vol. II, p. 159.]
"We hold," says the Declaration of Independence, these truths to
be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that
among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
And yet, in the same year in which that precious document was
promulgated, the State of New York passed an Act whereby severe
penalties were pronounced on all adherents of the king. This
then was the liberty they allowed their opponents. They had one
gospel for the Jews and another for the Gentiles. It matters so
much whose ox falls into the ditch.
LEGISLATIVE ENACTMENTS FOR THE PUNISHMENT
OF THE LOYALISTS.
BOTH during and after the war the legislatures of the different
states passed Acts for the punishment of the Loyalists and the
confiscation of their property. In spite of the recommendations of
Articles 4, 5 and 6 of the Treaty of Paris*, there was no mercy shown to
those who had joined the king's army or who sympathized with
the Royal cause.
*[The Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3rd, 1783, immediately
on the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles with Louis XVI of France.
The Articles of the treaty which relate to the Loyalists are these:
ARTICLE 4.-It is agreed that creditors on either side shall meet with
no lawful impediment to the recovery of the full value in sterling
money of all bonafide debts heretofore contracted.
ARTICLE 5.-It is agreed that Congress shall earnestly recommend to the
legislatures of the respective states to provide for the restitution of
all estates, rights and properties, which have been confiscated, belonging
to real British subjects, ... and that Congress shall also earnestly
recommend to the several states a reconsideration and revision of all
Acts or laws regarding the premises, so as to render the said Acts and laws
perfectly consistent, not only with justice and equity, but with that
spirit of conciliation which, on the return of the blessings of peace,
should universally prevail.
ARTICLE 6.-That there shall be no future confiscations made, nor any
prosecutions commenced, against any person or persons- for or by reason
of the part which he or they may have taken in the present war, and
that no person shall on that account suffer any future loss or damage,
either in his person, liberty or property, and that these who may be in
confinement on such charges at the time of the ratification of
the treaty in America, shall be immediately set at liberty, and
the prosecution so commenced be discontinued.]
NEW YORK, on the 12th of May, 1784, passed an Act for the speedy
sale of the confiscated and forfeited estates. The county committees
were authorized to apprehend and decide upon the guilt of such
inhabitants as had been in correspondence with the enemy, and
punish those whom they adjudged to be guilty with imprisonment or
DELAWARE enacted that the property, real and personal, of forty-six
persons should be forfeited to the state unless they gave themselves
up to trial for the crime of treason in adhering to the Royal cause.
RHODE ISLAND announced the penalties of death and confiscation
of property on any person who communicated with the Ministry or
their agents, or who afforded supplies to the forces or piloted the
armed ships of the king.
NEW HAMPSHIRE confiscated the estates of twenty-eight of her
former citizens and banished seventy-six.
In CONNECTICUT, to speak or write against the doings of Congress
or the State Legislature was punished by imprisonment and
disqualification for office. The property of those who sought Royal
protection was seized and confiscated. To give the king's army or vessels
any assistance, whether by information or provisions, was punished by
forfeiture of estate and imprisonment for three years.
VIRGINIA and PENNSYLVANIA proscribed certain persons, and enacted
that their property should be sold and the proceeds go into the
In NEW JERSEY traitors were punished by imprisoninent and confiscation
of property. If the prisoner were a "traitor" of repute, he might
be hanged for treason on the judgment of the Executive Council,
and the estates of all refugees were declared confiscate.
MARYLAND.-The estates and property of all persons who preserved
their allegiance to the British Crown were declared forfeit,
and commissioners appointed to carry out the terms of the statutes.
GEORGIA.-"Augusta, State of Georgia, 4th May, 1782. Be it enacted
by the representatives and freemen of the State of Georgia
in general assembly met, that all and each of the following two
hundred and eighty-six persons be, and are hereby declared to be,
banished from this state for ever, and if any of the aforsaid shall
remain in this state sixty days after the passing of this Act,
they are to be apprehended and committed to jail without bail
and main prize, until such time as a convenient opportunity shall
occur for their transportation beyond the seas; and if they
shall hereafter return they shall be adjudged and are hereby declared to
be guilty of felony, and shall on conviction of their having so
returned as aforesaid, suffer death without the benefit of clergy
and be it further enacted, that all their property, real and
personal, be confiscated to, and for the benefit of this state; and
whereas there are various persons subjects of the king of Great Britain,
possessed of or entitled to estates, which justice and sound policy require
should be applied to the benefit of this state, be it therefore
enacted that all and singular, their estates, real and personal,
of whatever kind or nature be confiscated, to and for the use and
benefit of this state, and the commissioners appointed are hereby
given full power and authority for the carrying into effect of these
In SOUTH CAROLINA forty-five persons who had offended the least
were simply amerced ten percent of the value of their estates,
sixty-three were banished and their property confiscated for
affixing their names to a petition to be armed on the Royal side,
eighty suffered the same penalty for holding civil or military
commissions under the Crown, and twelve others for the sole reason
that they were "obnoxious".
In NORTH CAROLINA the property of sixty-five individuals and
four mercantile firms was confiscated.
MASSACHUSETTS took the lead in severity. A person suspected of
enmity to the Whig cause could be arrested under a magistrate's
warrant and banished, unless he would take the new oath of allegiance.
In another Act three hundred and eighty of her people, who had fled
from their homes, were designated by name, and in the event
of return were threatened with apprehension, imprisonment and
transportation to a place possessed by the British, and for a second
voluntary return, death without the benefit of clergy.
In another Act the property of twenty-nine "notorious conspirators"
was declared confiscated, of whom there were two governors, one
lieutenant governor, one treasurer, one chief justice, one
attorney-general and four commissioners of Customs.
Congress itself, by several Acts, subjected to martial law and to
death all who should furnish provisions and certain other articles
to the king's troops in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, and
enacted that all Loyalists taken in arms be sent to the states to which
they belonged, there to be dealt with as traitors.
These Acts may well be compared to the scandalous confiscations of
Marius and Sulla in the later days of the Roman Republic. That the
refusal to take the oath of allegiance should be declared to be
treason, or neutrality a crime will always remain an everlasting
monument to the injustice and tyranny of the legislatures of the
various states of the union. No modern civilized nation, unless it
be Spain in the courts of the inquisition, or the French Republic
in its earliest days, has presented such a spectacle of
wholesale and undeserved confiscation of the property of those
who were guilty of no crime, except that of loyalty to their king.
THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT AND THE LOYALISTS.
THE fifth article of the agreement of the Peace Commissioners at
Paris provided that Congress should recommend the different state
legislatures to show leniency and a forgiving generosity to
the Loyalists and to take measures to reimburse them for their losses.
The gross abandonment of the faithful minority to the spasmodic and
uncertain justice, in fact we may say the certain injustice, of the
state governments, was severely assailed in both Houses of the British
Parliament. At the opening of Parliament the King, in his speech from
the Throne, alluded to the "American sufferers," and trusted that
Parliament would see fit to pass measures for their compensation forthwith.
Lord North said: "I cannot but feel for men thus sacrificed for
their bravery and principles-men who have sacrificed all the dearest
possessions of the human heart. They have exposed their lives, endured
an age of hardship, deserted their interests, forfeited their
possessions, lost their connections and ruined their families
in our cause."
Lord Mulgrave said that, in his opinion, "it would have been
better that it should have been stipulated in the treaty that
Great Britain spend £20,OOO,OOO in making good the losses of the
Loyalists, than that they should have been so shamefully deserted,
and the national honor so pointedly disgraced as it was by the
5th Article of the Treaty of Peace with the United States."
Mr Burke declared that "to such men the nation owed protection
and its honor was pledged for their security at all hazards."
Mr. Sheridan "execrated the treatment of these unfortunate men,
who, without the least notice taken of their civil or religious
rights, were handed over as subjects to a power that would not fail to
take vengeance on them for their zeal and attachment to the
religion and government of the Mother Country."
Mr. Townsend declared that "this country would feel itself
bound in honor to make them full compensation for their losses."
Sir Peter Burrell said that "the fate of the Loyalists claimed the
compassion of every human heart. These helpless forlorn men;
abandoned by the Ministers of a people on whose justice,
gratitude and humanity they had the best founded claims, were
left at the mercy of a Congress highly irritated against them."
In the House of Lords, Lord Walsingham said that "with patience
he could neither think nor speak of the dishonor of leaving these
deserving men to their fate."
Lord Stormont asserted that "Great Britain is bound in justice and
honor, gratitude and affection, and by every tie, to provide for and
Lord Loughborough declared that "neither in ancient nor in modern
history had there been so shameful a desertion of men who had sacrificed
all to their duty and to their reliance on British faith."
Lord Sackville argued that "peace on the sacrifice of these unhappy
subjects must be auswered in the sight of God and man."
Lord Shelburne, whose Ministry had concluded the treaty, could
only say, in reply, that he "had but the alternative to accept the terms
proposed or to continue the war, and a part must be wounded that the
whole empire might not perish." He also stated that he did not doubt
the honor of the American Congress, who would doubtless be just and
fair in their restitution of the lands of the Loyalists. As to how far
this was likely to be the case they might have concluded from the fact
that even before the peace was signed the State of Virginia
decreed "that all demands of the British courts for the
restoration of property confiscated by the state were wholly
impossible;" and the State of New York, "that the scales of
justice do not require, nor does the public tranquillity permit,
that such adherents who have been attainted should be restored
to the rights of citizens, and that there can be no reason for
restoring property which has been confiscated or forfeited."
Since even the mockery of justice was denied them, the Loyalists
organized an agency and appointed a committee of one delegate
from each of the thirteen states to prosecute their claims in England.
A Board of Commissioners was appointed to examine the claims preferred.
The claimants were divided into six classes:
1. Those who had rendered service to Great Britain.
2. Those who had borne arms for Great Britain.
3. Uniform Loyalists.
4. Loyal British subjects resident in Great Britain.
5. Loyalists who had taken oath to the American States but
afterward joined the British.
6. Loyalists who had borne arms for the American States and
afterwards joined the British army; or navy.
The rigid rules of examination caused much dissatisfaction and
gave the Board the title of the "Inquisition." The inquiry
lasted through seven successive years. Their methods may be
best stated in the words of their report: "Our mode of conducting the
inquiry has been that of requiring the very best evidence which the nature
and the circumstances of the case would admit. We have demanded the
personal appearance and examination of the claimant, conceiving
that the inquiry would be extremely imperfect and insecure against
fraud and misrepresentation if we had not the advantage of cross-examining
the party himself, as well as his witnesses, nor have we, for
the same reason, allowed much weight to any testimony which has not been
delivered on oath before ourselves. We have investigated with great
strictness the titles to real property, whenever the necessary documents
could be exhibited to us, and where they have not been produced we have
required satisfactory evidence of their loss or the inability of the
claimant to procure them."
The amount of claims preferred was £10,358,413 and the sum granted in
liquidation thereof £3,294,452 which was distributed among 4,148 persons.
In addition to this money satisfaction they were given land in the
"country of their exile," and supplies and provisions for a certain time,
as will be detailed in the following chapter.
WHAT BRITAIN DID FOR THE LOYALISTS.
THE money indemnification has been referred to in the preceeding
chapter. This sum of over $15,000,000 does not include the value
of land grants, implements and supplies of food.
Land was ordered to be surveyed for the Loyalists in New Brunswick,
and afterwards in Nova Scotia and in Upper Canada.
These grants were free of expense, and made on the following
scale: 5,000 acres to a field officer, 3,000 to a captain,
2,000 to a subaltern, and 200 to every private soldier, and 200 to
sons and daughters of Loyalists on coming of age.
In regard to Upper Canada, however, Lientenant-Governor Simcoe,
in 1792, reduced the grants of land to be given to future settlers,
still preserving the rights of those who had settled previously. By this
regulation no lot was to be granted of more than 200 acres, except in
such cases as the Governor should otherwise agree; but no one was to
receive a quantity of more than 1,000 acres.
[It seems that, in the few years following, many persons
obtained still larger grants of land, for in 1797 the Executive
Council investigated the matter, and on the basis of their
findings, made the following recommendations to the Legislature
under date of 28th August: "(1) That all appropriations for townships
or other tracts of land heretofore made in this province be immediately
rescinded, and the townships or other tracts thrown open to other
applicants. (2) That all persons who were really and bone fide
located in any township or tract, by the nominee, before the first
of June, 1797, and since, (if there he no appearance of fraud), be
confirmed in that location to the amount of two hundred acres, but
that no recommandation made by any nominee for a greater quantity
be attended to, not precluding, however, the settler himself from
exercising the right common to all His Majesty's subjects of making such
applications to the Executive Government for an addition as he shall
think proper. (3) That twelve hundred acres, including former grants
(except on military lands) be granted to each of the four principal
nominees, if case there should be four, whose names are subscribed
to the petition for an appropriation; those persons, however, who
happen to be nominees of more than one township, are not to receive this
donation more than once. (4) That the unsurveyed tract be surveyed
and the unlocated be located as soon as possible."
("Dominion Archives," State papers Upper Canada, Q. 285.)
Each settler had to make it appear that he or she was in a condition
to cultivate and improve the land. It is related of Colonel Talbot, in the
settlement of his own reservation, that he put the claimant through a
somewhat severe examination, and by this process of separation of the
sheep from the goats, obtained a very fine class of settlers for the
It was obligatory on the settler to clear five acres of
land, to build a house, and to open a road a quarter of a mile
long in front of his property.
The oath of allegiance had to be taken in tho following terms:
"I, A. B., do promise and declare that I will maintain and defend, to the
utmost of my power, the authority of the King and his Parliament, as
the supreme Legisiature of this province."
As to provisions. The Government had pledged itself to their support
for three years; but, despite its promise, the rations were given
out spasmodically and generally in insufficient quantities.
They consisted of flour, pork, beef, a very little butter, and
a little salt. In the distribution of these rations the commissariat
officer (to avoid the appearance of partiality), after duly weighing and
tying up the provisions in bundles, would go round with a hat, and each
of the claimants present would put into it something which
he would again recognize such as a knife, pencil, button, or a
marked chip. Then taking the articles out of the hat as they came
uppermost, he would place one on each of the piles in rotation, and the
settler would come and claim his property. To the early settlers
material for garments was given also- a coarse cloth for trousers,
Indian blankets -for coats, and also shoes; but the clothing was even
more uncertain than the food.
A certain quantity of spring wheat, peas, corn and potatoes was
given for seed, and certain agricultural implements, to wit: an axe,
a hoe, a sickle for reaping, and a spade. In regard to the
axes, a grievous mistake was made in sending out the short-handled ship
axes, which, in addition to the defect of inferior quality, strained
and weakened the backs of the colonists in the use thereof, for the short
handles unfitted them for felling trees. A letter of Lieutenant-Governor
Simcoe to the Home Government (September 23rd, 1793), complains
in strong terms of the axes sent out, saying: "they are of bad quality,
too short in the handle, and altogether too blunt. They should be
made like the model sent herewith. Those that have come are absolutely
useless." ("Dominion Archives," Q. 279, p. 325.)
In addition to the supplies given to every family, a plough and a cow were
allotted to every two families, a whip-saw and a cross-cut saw to every
four families, and a portable corn mill in every settlement or district.
A quantity of nails, a hammer, and a hand saw for building was
given to each family, and to every five families a set of tools,
which included a full set of augers and draw-knives, and also a
musket and forty-eight rounds of ammunition. Four small panes of glass,
7 x 9 inches, were allowed for each house, and a small quantity of putty.
Such were the supplies allowed by the British Government in the
early years of the Loyalist - settlement in Canada; but it must be
remembered that, although the Loyalists who came to New Brunswick
enjoyed this provision which had been made for them, yet when they
made their second migration into the wilderness of Long Point, they
were dependant on their own resources, and except the grant of land
and the glass and ironware for their houses, did not receive Government
aid. Hence we have the fearful struggle for subsistence in Norfolk County
in the latter years of the century, the cry of the children for bread
and the anxious waiting for the first harvest.
THE LOYALIST EMIGRATION.
ALTHOUGH the treaty of Peace recommended the Loyalists to the
mercy of the different states, the Americans, being secured in their
independence, used their victories to the blind and selfish punishment
of the "traitors" to their traitorous cause.
Consequently, instead of an entire cessation of hostility, as should
follow the conclusion of peace, the most bitter and rancorous mob law
under the sanction of the different legislatures, was employed against
the Loyalists. They were driven from the country by a process of
organized persecution. Thus the wretched and short-sighted policy of
the majority of the States depleted them of their very best blood.
Those who had been the doctors, lawyers, judges and often ministers of the
community, men of culture and refinement, men of worth and character
were driven into hopeless and interminable exile.
And indeed, the migration into Canada was considered by them as
exile though unfalteringly they chose its hardships. They believed
that they were coming to the region of everlasting snow and ice. They
understood that New Brunswick had at least seven months of winter in
the year, that but few acres of that inhospitable land were fit for
cultivation, and that the country was covered with a cold spongy moss
instead of grass, and devoid of any kind of fodder for cattle.
Lower Canada was known as a region of deep snow, a nine months
winter, a barren and inhospitable shore.
Upper Canada was not thought of in the early years of the migration,
except as the "great beyond," a tangled wilderness, the Indians'
hunting ground, covered with swamps and marshes and sandy hills, the
forests full of bears and wolves and venomous reptiles. The only
favorable report of Upper Canada that had reached them was of its
abundance of fish and game.
The British commander of New York, in his work of transportation,
when no more could be accommodated in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia,
sent for a Mr. Grass, who had been a prisoner at Fort Frontenac among
the French, and anxiously inquired if he thought "men could
live in Upper Canada," and on a favorable reply being given Mr. Grass
was sent as the founder of a colony to Cataraqui in 1784.
The mere fact that thirty-five thousand Loyalists left their
native land for a country which they regarded as a land of
exile, is the best proof of two things-first, that they were
barbarously treated by the victorious side; and second, that
they were not a mere set of office-holders influenced simply by
mercenary motives, as is charged against them, or that they came
to Canada for what Britain provided. To enter the unbroken forests,
chop, hew, "log" and "after many days" sow the seed among the blackened
stumps was a herculean task for any one, but was even more difficult
for these men-judges, lawyers, commissioners, and others-who were not
used to farm life, much less to the kind of toil required to change
the acres of forest land into fields of waving grain.
But their courage rose with their difficulties, and in spite of
their dangers there was much to encourage them. They were not,
it is true, entering on a land "flowing with milk and honey,"
but it abounded in fish and game; and, above all, it was a land
over which waved the banner under whose folds their sons and fathers
had fallen in disastrous war, and to which they clung with the love
that passeth not away, but endureth "through all the years."
ROUTES OF THE LOYALISTS, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE
TO LONG POINT.
IN addition to the promise of the British Government to indemnify
the loyalists for their losses; was the promise to send ships to carry
the loyalists them into Canada. Consequently in the spring of 1783
crowds of the hapless exiles awaited in the Atlantic seaports the
They came at last, and the first contingent of refugees arrived on
the 18th of May, 1783, off the mouth of the River St. John and by the
end of the year about 500 had been safely transported to the land, over
which waved the "meteor flag of England".
But for those living inland other means had to be provided, and they
were asked to rendezvous at different stations along the Canadian
frontier, for example, Oswego, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Isle aux Noix
on Lake Champlain. The distance travelled by most of the Loyalists
before reaching Lake Ontario was about 500 miles. From New York
to Albany, the Hudson is navigable about 175 miles. North of Albany,
the river forks into two branches, the western of which is the Mohawk.
About the ancient Fort Stainwix (now Rome) the Mohawk is joined by
Wood Creek. This was followed up for some miles, then a portage of
ten miles was necessary to Lake Oneida, from which Lake Ontario could
be reached by the Oswego river. This was by far the more generally
followed, hence in our classification of routes it is to be put first.
Second.-The eastern branch of the Hudson was sometimes followed,
the mountains crossed and Sackett's Harbor reached by the Black River,
which empties into the lake at that point. Occasionally the
Oswegotchie was reached from the Hudson, and followed to its mouth
at the present town of Ogdensburg, then called "La Presentation."
Third.-The old military road which ran along the west shore of
Lake Champlain, thence down the Richelieu River to the St. Lawrence,
or west to Cornwall.
Fourth.-Others again travelled more directiy westward from the
rendesvous on Lake Champlain, and striking Lake Ontario at its
eastern extremity proceeded westward along the southern shore
of the lake to the settlement on the River Niagara.
But it must be remembered that nearly all the Loyalists who
came to the Long Point country settled first in New Brunswick.
This province became rapidly overcrowded, and of necessity their
thoughts were turned westward, and most opportunely came the messages
from Governor Simcoe and President Peter Russell urging them to
settle in Western Canada, and promising liberal grants of land. Hence
it was, that in the last decade of the Century, many availed themselves
of their offers, and moved their families up the St. Lawrence, and lakes
Ontario and Erie, to the Long Point country. This was therefore the common
route of the Loyalists who settled in Norfolk.
Still there were some who came direct, via the Hudson and Black
rivers to Sackett's Harbor, and thence by boat to Long Point. Others
again came in a north-westerly direction overland through Penusylvania
and New York, and crossed Lake Erie in frail skiffs.
These were the routes of the Loyalists.
MODES OF TRAVELLING.
As to travelling expedita, from place to place, there were
just two means of transit for the early settler, namely, on foot or by
canoe. Of course the latter was used wherever there was water
communication. The canoe, weighing less, as a usual thing, than
fifty pounds, could, when necessary, be taken out of the water and carried
over the necessary portages. Besides, it was swift. A speed of ten miles
an hour could be reached by practised hands, and so it continued to be used
well into this century; for we are told that Sir Isaac Brock travelled
in a birch-bark canoe all the way from Lower Canada to York on the
outbreak of the War of 1812. But the purpose of this chapter is to
deal with the methods of conveyance used by the Loyalists and their families
for themselves and goods in the long migrations to Upper Canada.
First and chiefly- Batteaux. These were long birch canoes, each
capable of holding about eight persons and two tons of goods.
The standard size was thirty feet in length and six in width, diminishing
to a short point at either end, bow and stern being alike. The frame is
made by bending in hot water or steam long strips of elm. This, when
fitted together, is covered with birch bark not more than an eighth
of an inch in thickness. These strips of bark are sewn together by the
twisted fibres of the root of a particular tree, and the joints made
water-tight by the application of a gum obtained from the fir tree,
which becomes perfectly hard. These fibre ropes or cords also bind
the parts of the frame together, and the bark to the frame, for no iron
work of any description whatever is used. The result is a vessel of
wonderful lightness, resonance and strength, and capable of standing
the impetuous torrent of any rapid. Boats of this description are still
used by the Indians in taking tourists down the rapids at Sault Ste. Marie.
For convenience in transportation over the numerous portages,
the cargo was done up in portable packages of about a hundred weight each.
The settlers usually came in companies, the different batteaux forming
a kind of caravan. About a dozen boats would constitute a brigade,
and an experienced man was always appointed conductor, who gave
directions for the safe management of the boats. When they came to a
rapid the boats were doubly manned. A rope was attached to the bow,
and about three-quarters of the crew walked along the shore hauling
the boat, enough men being left in it to keep it off logs and rocks
by the use of pike poles. The men on shore had to walk along the
bank, or sometimes in the shallow water, occasionally stopping to open
a path for themselves through the underbrush by the use of the ever
necessary axe. When the top of the rapids was reached the boats
which had been brought up were left in charge of one man, while the
others returned to assist in the navigation of the remaining boats, or
to carry up the cargo. The progress was certainly slow. Sometimes
several days would be consumed in transporting the cargo past the
rapid, and the labor was hard and often dangerous. Day by day they
would make their few miles, and at night lie down to sleep under the
stars, and around the blazing camp-fire gain strength for the labor
of the morrow. By such trials was the bone and sinew and muscle of
our forefathers developed, in a way they little expected twenty-five
years before, when in their manor houses on the Hudson, they lived
in the enjoyment of the luxuries of civilized life.
Still another kind of water transportation was in curious flat
bottom boats, called "Schenectady". This was of wood not of birch bark,
and was rigged with a triangular sail. The difficulty with this was
that its weight made it almost impossible to be carried across the portages,
and though it would bear a tremendous load, it could only be used
along the lakes or where there was clear transit for many miles.
Another variety still less used was called the "Durham " boat. This
resembled the Schenectady to a large extent, but was not quite so flat
bottomed, and was propelled in shallow places by poles about ten feet
long, and by oars when the depth of the water necessitated it.
So much for summer travelling. But many families of refugees
came in the winter. These followed as nearly as possible some one of
the recognized routes. Several of the families would join to form a
train of sleighs, which were often nothing more than rude jumpers, the
runners being often not even shod with iron. On these rude sleds
would be placed their bedding, clothes, and what they deemed most
precions. The favorite route for these winter travellers was the old
milltary road along lakes George and Champlain, and then north to
the St. Lawrence. Provisions had to be taken with them sufficient for
the long journey, for none was to be had en route.
For winter travelling the "French train" was often used, which
simply consisted of a long narrow jumper, drawn by several horses in
tandem style. Arranged in this way the passage around the trees and
through the underbrush was more expeditiously made. Yet the number
of Loyalists who came in the winter was but few in comparison
with those who made their way west in the swift and silent batteaux.
EARLY ACCOUNTS 0F LONG POINT.
The earliest mention we have of the Lake Erie country is in the records
of Father Daillon, of whom there will be further mention made
in Chapter XIV. Father Daillon visited what is now South-western
Ontarli in 1626 and though it is somewhat uncertain what district he
is describing, it is probable he was near the Lake Erie shore, for he
speaks of the great number of wild fowl in the marshes and along the
streams. He also mentions the larger game for he says, "The deer,
with which this country abounds, are easily captured for they have but
little sense of fear and the Indians drive them into wedge-shaped
inclosures. The streams abound in fish and the marshes in wild ducks
Forty-four years later we have reliable mention of Long Point in
the journal of Galinée. For this information the writer is indebted
directly to Mr J.H.Coyne, M.A., of St Thomas, who is preparing for
the press the journal of Galinée. Father Galinée and Father Dollier de
Casson were two Sulpician priests who made a voyage of discovery
through lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron in the years 1669 and 1670,
returning to Montreal via the Sault, Lake Nipissing and
the Ottawa river.
Galinée's party, consisting of the other priest and seven Frenchmen
(nine in all), reached Black Creek, where it joins the River Lynn (near
the present site of Port Dover), in October, 1669. There they encamped
for the winter. On the 23rd of March following, they went down to
the lakeshore and planted a cross, with the Royal arms affixed, and a
written declaration that they had taken possession of it as unoccupied
territory in the name of King Louis XIV. On the 26th of March they
proceeded from the river mouth in three canoes. Off Turkey Point
they were stopped by a head wind and forced to land. One of their
canoes being insecurely beached was carried out into the bay and lost,
and the cargo of the lost canoe had to be divided between the other
two. Four men took charge of the canoes, and five, including the two
priests, had to proceed west to Kettle Creek by land. It seems that
they marched from the Point about two miles to the high bank, and
then followed substantially the present lake road through the
location of Port Rowan to Big Creek, about where is the present
Port Royal. This stream they followed up for some distance, but
being dismayed at the widening swamp, walked down the east bank
to the mouth of the creek. There they bnilt a raft and crossed
without accident. They went on to the portage, where their
companions joined them some days later. After celebrating
Easter together they again separated. On the shore near the
present site of Port Stanley they found the canoe Joliet had left
the previous September on his return from the exploration of
the Mississippi. From there to Point Pelée they travelled in
canoes. At the latter point a storm wrecked one of the canoes,
and its cargo was entirely lost, including the altar service,
which they had intended to leave in a mission among the
Potawatamies.* Thus they were obliged to give up the idea of the
mission altogether, and after making their way as far as Sault
Ste. Marie they travelled home by the ordinary route, namely, by
the French and Ottawa rivers.
*The Potawatamies (or Pouteouatamis) have a village near
Detroit of one hundred and eighty men. They bear for device the
golden Carp, the Frog, the Crab, and the Tortoise. They also
compose the Village of St. Joseph, south of Lake Michigan, to
the number of one hundred warriors. (Report of M. de Joncaire,
"Documentary History of New York," VoL I., p. 25.)
Galinée speaks of the Long Point country in glowing terms. He
mentions the immense herds of deer, which were to be seen
feeding together. He admired the great walnut trees, with their
savory fruit, also the chestnuts, hickory nuts, the wild grapes
and apples, and says that it is a perfect paradise and well
suited for settlement.
In the journal of Charlevoix, of the date June 1721, there is
mention of Long Point, a sandy ridge of land which had to be portaged.
Thus it will be seen that though the country had been explored
and commended by French discoverers, it was destined to remain
for more than a century without settlement, until a strong and
sturdy band of Loyalists should rear for themselves new homes
among the forests.
THE COUNTY 0F NORFOLK.
By the Act of the Imperial Parliament, 1791 (31 George III., Cap. 31),
the Governor was empowered to divide Upper Canada into as
many counties as he might think fit. Accordingly, in the
following year nineteen counties were surveyed, among them
Norfolk, which is the sixteenth on the list. The original
proclamation bounds it as follows:
"On the north and east by the County of Lincoln and the River
La Tranche (Thames); on the south by Lake Erie, until it meets
the Barbue; thence by a line north running until it intersects the
Tranche, and up the said river till it meets the north-west boundary of
the County of York." This included the townships of Burford,
Oxford-upon-the-Thames, Norwich, Dereham, Rainham and Walpole, now
in other counties.
At first it formed part of the Western district, an extremely
indefinite province. Previous to the Treaty of 1794, which came
into effect in 1796, the Ohio and Mississippi rivers formed the
boundary line of Canada. By that treaty the line of division was
drawn in the middle of the lakes.
The Surveyor-General described the Western district as follows in
1796 (the early part of the year): "On the south it is bounded
by Lake Erie; on the east by a meridian passing through the easterly
extremity of Long Point, and comprehends all the lands north-westerly of
these boundaries, not included within the bounds of the Hudson Bay
Company or the territory of the United States. The boundary which
divides it from Louisiana is not well known after it reaches
the sources of the Mississippi.
In 1798 the London district was created, and Norfolk incorporated
in it. "The counties of Norfolk, Oxford and Middlesex, with as
much of this province as lies westward of the Home district and
the district of Niagara to the southward of Lake Huron, and
between them and a line drawn due north, from where the
easternmost limit of Oxford intersects the River Thames till it
arrives at Lake Huron." (It will be noticed that what is now called
"Georgian Bay" was not distinguished from Lake Huron.)*
* The following extracts are taken from a series of remarks in
1798, by Chief Justice Elmsley, on the "Act for the better
division of the province," which had been passed in the
preceding session of the Legislature of Upper Canada ("Canadian
Archives," Series Q, 285, p.85):
The very rapid progress made in the townships on the River
Thames and in those which form what is commonly called the Long
Point settlement, together with the great distance of the latter
from the Town of Sandwich, which is at present the capital of
the Western district, called for the division of that district
into two, if not three, districts. The County of Norfolk will
probably in a few years require to be raised into a distinct
Bailiwick; its limits and those of the adjacent counties were
accordingly moulded with a view to that event.
"The head of the navigation of the River Thames, and the
confluence of its two principal branches, are two of those
points which I have already had the honor to observe naturally
present themselves as points of rendezvous and consequently as
places for the transaction of public business, both where
accordingly long ago selected by His Excelency the
Lientenant-Governor for the sites of towns, to that at the
former he gave the name of Oxford, to that at the latter the
name of London. In forming the present arrangement, therefore,
care was taken to distribute the townships which he near those
places in such a manner as it was conceived would best promote
His Excellency's intentions.
"The town which has been projected, and I believe actually laid
off at Charlotteville, will be a very convenient capital to the
Long Point settlement; and it is hoped that the towns of Chatham
and Sandwich wiil be equally so for the two counties which
will compose the Western district."
The general appearance of Norfolk county is rolling and pleasant.
A century ago the gentle undulations were covered with vast forests of
beech, white pine, walnut and oak, of which a good deal yet remains.
In certain townships (Houghton, Middleton, Charlotteville and
Walsingham) are extensive deposits of bog iron ore of the very finest
kind. In this connection may be mentioned the establishment of the
blast furnaces at Normandale as far back as 1818.
Nearly every kind of fruit found in the temperate zone flourishes
here- apple, peach, pear, plum, quince, cherry, grape, apricot and
berries of all kinds. The woods are well stocked with quail,
partridge, rabbits, hares and black squirrels, and the marshes abound in
waterfowl, especially at Turkey Point and at Long Point, which is now
a game preserve and owned by a private corporation. The creeks and
streams are well stocked with fish, speckled trout predominating.
Some parts of the county, for example, Houghten Centre, are simply
tracts of sand; but the general character of the soil is a clay loam,
suitable for a great variety of crops, easily worked, early and rich.
THE TOWNSHIPS 0F NORFOLK.
THIS township was named after the now extinct town, Charlotteville
or Turkey Point. It is probably the most historic of the seven
townships, chiefly on account of its containing Turkey Point, rich in
historical memories, of which a number will be mentioned in subsequent
The soil is a loam, with a tendency towards sandy loam in some
places, chiefly in the southern part. Yet the township contains
a great deal of rich farming land.
It is watered by a multitude of creeks, most of them short and
flowing directly into Long Point Bay. It was one of the very earliest
townships settled, chiefly because, as the Loyalists came generally in
batteaux, they would strike the lake shore first, and not go
further inland than necessary to obtain good land or favorable
Among the earliest Loyalist settlers were Frederick Maby (Mabee),
Lieut. Joseph Ryerson, Anderson, McCall, Munro, Secord, Johnson,
Spurgin, Finch, Montross, Freeman, Smith, Welch, Brown, Teeple and Tisdale.
The towns and villages are Simcoe, Vittoria, Normandale, Walsh,
Lyndock, Glenshee, Forestville and the much-to-be-regretted
Charlotteville or Turkey Point.
Is a comparatively regular township at the south-east corner of
the county. It has a large lake front and two harbors-Port Dover
and Port Ryerse. The latter harbor has been spoiled by the
drifting in of sand, but many years ago it was a regular
calling-place for the steamers which plied up and down the lake.
The township is well watered. Among the creeks is the Lynn, and
one district is called the Lynn Valley, where the Austins
settled. The soil is rich, very rich in places. This was the
attraction which drew so many Loyalists to the country in the
early days; as, for example, Capt. Samuel Ryerse, Wycoff, Davis,
Austin, Matthews, Williams, Berdan, Wilson, Price, Millard,
Gilbert and Bowlby.
The chief town is, of course, Port Dover, if we except Simcoe,
which takes a corner off four townships. Port Ryerse has lost
almost everything but its name.
This township would be regular, were it not for a "bias line"
which cuts off its north-easterly corner. It also is a rich
township and well watered, chiefly by small creeks,
which are tributary to those in other townships.
Many Loyalists settled here, notably Dougharty, Fairchild,
Green, Haviland, Shaw and the Culvers. The chief town is Waterford, and
the chief villages, Rockford, Boston and Villa Nova.
Is the only township perfectly rectangular and contains fourteen
concessions nine miles long and five-sixths of a mile wide,
laid out on the same plan of survey as Daniel Hazen followed in Walsingham.
The soil of Windham varies greatly, from almost pure sand to
the heaviest clay or muck, with all the intermediate grades.
The chief rivers are Big Creek and Paterson's Creek. In the
western part of the township is Hunger Lake, called so by a
party of Indians who camped a winter on its shores. It is of
great depth indeed, is said to be unfathomable; its waters are "crystal
clear," while the banks slope gently up from the shores and
are covered with the richest verdure among the pines.
It was one of the earliest of the townships settled, as will be
seen from mention of the following names: Beemer, Powell, George Brown,
Joseph and Philip Sovereen, Jesse Munro, Jacob Powell, Wood,
Martin, Glover, Peter and Henry Boughner, John Butler.
It heads the list in the number of villages: Kelvin, Wellington,
Powell's Plains, Colborne, Windham Centre, Teeterville, Nixon and Bookton.
This township was originally covered with great forests of pine,
and the axe of the woodman busily plied for a century has scarcely
removed much more than half of its timber. In the western part of
the township the land is a clay loam, in the eastern a sandy loam, and
admirably adapted for all kinds of crops. Bog iron ore is found
in great quantities.
The streams are the Little Otter in the western part and various
branches of Big Creek. Venison Creek takes its rise in the
south. It is therefore a well-watered township, and abounds in
It will be noticed in the map that the roads in this township
are peculiarly laid out, and this makes the shape of the farms
trapezoid, or diamond shaped. The reason for this is that the concessions
follow the direction of the celebrated Talbot Street, which was planned
in 1803 by Colonel Talbot, of Malahide, an aide-de-camp on the staff
of Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe. He was given a large grant of land, chiefly
in Elgin County, and settled at a place on Lake Erie called Port Talbot.*
* The following extracts are from the "Life of Col. Mahlon Burwell,"
by Archibald Blue, Esq., Director of Bureau of Mines, Toronto:
"In 1804 an expenditure of £250 was made under the direction of
Col. Talbot on building a road through his lands. In 1808, when
Sir Francis Gore became Governor, Col. Talbot petitioned him for
an extension of the road, saying that the money already
expended would he entirely lost if a through road were not
opened up. On his recommendation Col. Mahlon Burwell was commissioned
to survey the road, under date March 24th, 1809. The commission
to Col. Burwell from Acting Surveyors General Chewett
and Ridout begins as follows:
"In obedience to His Excellency, the Lieutenant-Governor's
commands to us, bearing date 17th February, 1809, to send a
surveyor and a sufficient party as soon as the season will
permit, to complete certain surveys in the London District,
recommended by the Executive Council and approved by His
Excellency the Lieutenant-Governer, upon a petition submitted to
the Board by Thomas Talbot, Esq., of Port Talbot, who has
recommended you to carry the said survey into execution.
"You are hereby required and directed without loss of time, as
soon as the season will permit, to survey and lay out a road, to
pass through the aforesaid townships on the principle of Yonge
Street, by making the said road in breadth one Gunther's chain,
and laying out lots thereon of twenty chains in breadth on each
side of the same, leaving a road on the side lines of each of
the said townships, and a road between every five lots in
each of the same of one Gunther's chain.
"For this survey your pay will be 7s 6d per day, with an
allowance in lieu of rations of 1s 3d Provincial curreney per day."
The principal villages are Fredericksburg (Delhi, and Middleton
Settlement-Middleton was not settled as early as Walsingham or
Charlotteville. About the year 1812 settlers moved into the township
chiefly from the adjoining townships. Frederick and Henry Sovereen
(Sovereign) and the four sons of Samuel Brown were among the
earliest settlers. Lot Tisdale removed to Middleton Centre in 1823.
Southwest of Delhi is a settlement of Protestant Germans from Würtemberg.
This consists of about eighty families, the great majority of whom came
in one body in 1847. The old settlers tell of the destruction in 1824
of an immense beaver dam near Guysboro', on Talbot Street.
"The sandy township." The soil in this township, the most westerly in
Norfolk County, is principally a sandy loam, with pure sand
predominating in many places.
The "Sand Hills" are famous. One is a thousand feet long, three
hundred wide, and two hundred high, of which the summit presents
the form of a circular plateau with a erater, both deep and wide,
a natural ampitheatre or coliseum. The sand is composed almost
entirely of grains of silica, with a small proportion of limestone,
feldspar and garnet, the particles very round. It is a great
absorbent of moisture, which it retains for a long time. This keeps the
hills in their original shape. There is an observatory of the United
States Lake Survey on the summit. Another of the peculiarities of
these sand hills is a curious appearance presented by the tops of great
pine trees, protruding from the sand which has engulfed them, resembling the
spars and masts of a fleet of wrecked ships. No description is
adequate, the sight is simply unique.
The chief streams are Clear and Hemlock creeks, flowing into the
lake, and some branches of the spider-like Otter.
Settlement-Hougton was first settled along the lake shore by the
Beckers, Burgars and Walkers. These were not Loyalists.
The two villages are Houghton Centre and Clear Creek.
THE soil of the southern part of Walsingham is a heavy clay loam.
Towards the centre it becomes sandy, but from this to the north
town line there is much excellent land. Altogether it is a very fine
The largest stream is Big Creek, which takes its rise in Windham
Township. After being joined by its most important tributary
Venison Creek, it becomes a large stream, and is in places very deep
where the current is held in by high banks. Occasionally it flows
through deep gulches and ravines. In Galinée's journal it is
mentioned that his party were delayed more than a day in
attempting to cross this stream. It was also at the mouth of this creek
that the McCall party landed in 1796. The township was surveyed by
Sergeant Daniel Hazen in 1797. The chief villages are Port Rowan,
St. Williams, Walsingham Centre, Port Royal and Langton.
Settlement-Walsingham was one of the earliest settled of the townships.
"Dr." Troyer and Lucas Dedrick (1793), Ed. McMichael (1794), one of
the Browns and Daniel Hazen (1797), Cope, Backhouse and
Wm. Hutchison (1798), Rohrer and Foster (1800), the Fecks in 1805, Ellis
and the Schumackers in 1807; also John McCall, Silas Secord,
James Munro, David Price and William Johnson. The reader will
recognize that many of the names are those of Loyalists.
For many years this district was popularly known as the Long Point
Settlement, hence a few lines of description of the peninsula will
be … propos.
Long Point is a tongue of land (the greater part being hard sand)
extending out into Lake Erie for about thirty miles, and for municipal
purposes attached to the Township of Walsingham. It is now an island,
a kind of shallow canal having been dredged between it and the main shore.
It abounds in waterfowl, wild duck, geese and turkeys, quail
and partridge. It is also the "anglers' paradise," rock bass,
salmon trout, carp, whitefish, pike, pickerel, and mackerel
being found in abundance.
It is now owned by a private corporation, who bought it from the
Government. They have also a preserve of deer on the island, the
number of which is increasing from year to year.
There is but one settlement on the island, called the "Cottages,"
to which a small boat runs a regular ferry service in the summer.
To the north, that is on the inner side, is a small triangular
isle, called Ryerson's Island. The reader is referred to the map
subjoined, for a clearer idea of this cunous formation and the bay
enclosed between it and the mainland.
THE INDIANS 0F THE LONG POINT DISTRICT.
THE tribe of Indians which inhabited the country between Lake
Erie and Lake Huron, in the 17th century, was called the "Neutrals,"
for they had preserved a strict neutrality in the savage wars of the
Hurons and the Iroquois. Champlain speaks of them in his account of
his trip west in 1616, saying that they had twenty-eight villages and
more than four thousand warriors. These Indians seem to have
been favorable to the French, for in 1626 when three Frenchmen
named Daillon, Lavellé and Grenolle visited their country, the
Indians hospitably entertained them, the chief, Souharrissen,
adopting them as members of his family. In fact, it was with
some difficulty that the tbree Frenchmen finally escaped from
the affectionate hospitality which was lavished on their devoted heads.
Unfortunately for the Neutrals they were ultimately drawn into the
fierce tribal wars, and in the conflict, about the middle of the century,
were dispersed, and absorbed into the neighboring Indian tribes.
Thereafter, the Indians who roamed round the western part of
Ontario were chiefly Iroquois. After the war Brant and his
Mohawks settled on the Grand River. Between the Thames and Lake
Erie, further west, dwelt the Delawares, and bodies of the
Chippawas, Hurons, Shawnees, Potawatamies, Ottawas, Fustans, and
the Six Nations (Mohawks, Senecas, Oneidas, Cayugas, Onondagas,
The attitude of these Indians to the Loyalist settlers seems to have
been one of unchangeable courtesy and kindness. Chief Joseph Brant
(Thayendanegea) was a personal friend of Governor Simcoe, and with
twelve Indians accompanied him in 1795 on his visit to Detroit on a
prospecting tour through western Canada.
In spite of the fact that England had neglected to provide for the
Indians in the Treaty of Paris, the loyalty of the Six Nations
never wavered. The allegiance of Brant to the British brought him
enmity of the American revolutionists, the consequence being that
the Mohawk valley was the most frequently of all districts invaded and
overrun, and that, too, by an enemy more barbarous than the Indians
themselves. Their towns and villages were ruthlessly burned, and the
whole district turned into a scene of widespread and sickening desolation.
Let not the Americans censure England for the use of Indian
tribes in the war and the atrocities alleged to have been committed by
them, until they have excused, to some extent at least, the terrible
depopulation of the Mohawk valley after the war, for they left there
only a third of the inhabitants, and of that third there were three
hundred widows and two thousand orphaned children.
There are many traditions of the kindness of the Indians to the
early settlers. More than once when a pioneer family was reduced to
the verge of starvation a kind-hearted Indian would come with a fish
or a deer or some wild fowl, although perchance he needed it himself
almost as badly.
The Indian was always welcomed at the settler's shanty. The door was
never shut against him, and they continued to live on terms of
peace and good fellowship. Such instances of treachery as will be
described in connection with the history of the Maby family are likely
untrue, and if they were true the singular exception only proves the rule.
THE MIGRATION TO LONG POINT.
FOR many years before a settlement was made at or near Long Point,
Major-General John Graves Simcoe, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper
Canada, proposed to found there a military establishment, to aid in the
defence of the new province. He had heard favorable reports of that
district long before he had the opportunity of personally examining it.
He constantly advises the Home Government of its importance, as for
example in the letter written on December 7th, 1791, shortly after his
appointment, he says: "Toronto, the best harbor on Lake Ontario, and
Long Point, the only good road-stead on Lake Erie, are admirably adapted
for settlements. These and the country between the Grand River and
the La Tranche (Thames) form a body of most excellent land, of
which no grants have yet been made. ("Dominion Archives," Q. 278.)
In another letter (August 20th, 1792), accompanying the proclamation
dividing Upper Canada into counties, etc., he announces his intention
to occupy in the following spring a post near Long Point, and another
at Toronto, and to settle himself on the river La Tranche. ("Dominion
Archives," 278, p. 197. "Simcoe to Dundas," No. 11.)
About a year afterwards, he again sends to the Home Goverment a
favorable notice of Long Point, saying, "The survey of the
communication between Lakes Ontano and Sinclair (St. Clair)
is completed. The surveyor has discovered an admirable
harbor on Lake Erie, near the very place he (Simcoe) wished it,
namely, Long Point, opposite Presqu' Isle. (August 23rd, 1793.).
On September 20th of the same year, Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe
submitted to the Home Goverument, an actual survey of the Thames
so far as it serves to communicate between lakes Ontario and St.
Clair, referring to the tract of land as "one of the finest in
America," and, accompanying it a survey of Long Point, on Lake Erie,
saying, "the situation of Long Point is eminently suitable for a fortified
post and naval arsenal for Lake Erie, and the establishment of one here
would counteract the one held by the United States at Presqu' Isle.
A harbor could be constructed on the island near it. It possesses every
facility necessary for an important centre of military operations!"
("Dominion Archives," Q. 279-82, p. 483). Towards the close of this
long epistle he again reverts to the settlement at Long Point as
affecting the movements of the Indians. "The settlers to be brought
in should be brave and determined Loyalists, such as those from
Pennsylvania and Maryland, who at the end of the war were
associated to support the cause of the King, and who had sent an
agent to ascertain what arrangements could be made for their removal
to the province. A strong settlement there would effectually
separate the Mohawks on the Grand River from the other Indians."
In a letter, about two years after (July 31st, 1795), to the Earl
of Portland, Simcoe emphasizes the importance of the occupation of
Long Point as a naval arsenal, saying, "I am thoroughly convinced
that it is absolutely necessary that military establishments should
precede settlements, and hence I have withheld all grants on the centre of
Lake Erie. There should be a military organization established there at
once, and around it a strong settlement could group itself. The half-pay
loyalist officers with their followers will form a proper basis for
the setttement at Long Point. I propose to put Major Shaw in command
of the troops and in general superintendence there."
In another letter, written at the same time, to Lord Dorchester, he
announces his intention to visit the intended settlement near
Long Point, and in view of the fact that three hundred troops
of Pennsylvania are at Presqu' Isle to construct a fort at the
entrance of the harbor, he asks leave to send a detachment
of the Queen's Rangers (one hundred rank and file) to Turkey
Point, which is considered to be the most eligible situation.
During the summer months of 1795, Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe
made his long deferred visit to Long Point and the Grand
River. In a letter written on his return to Lord Dorchester
from Navy Hall, he describes his route and the country through
which he passed. His favorable preconception of the district was not
disappointed, and he became more than ever anxious to found a
settlement there. The country is thickly timbered, the chief
trees being oak, beech, pine and walnut. Making our way through
the forest we reached the lake at a place which, from the abundance
of wild fowl, is named Turkey Point. A ridge or cliff of considerable
height skirts the shore for some distance. Between this and Lake Erie
is a wide and gently sloping beach. The long ridge of hard sand
(Long Point proper) encloses a safe and commodious harbor. The view
from the high bank is magnificent. Altogether the place presents a
combination of natural advantages and natural beauty but seldom
found. Here we have laid out a site of six hundred acres for a
town, with reservations for Government buildings, and called it
Charlotte Villa, in honor of Queen Charlotte." In this letter
was enclosed a sketch of Long Point and a plan of the proposed town.
In a despatch from the Earl of Portland to Governor Simcoe
(December 6th, 1795) the proposed settlement at Long Point was
formally approved, as was also the class of settlers proposed.
"The gentlemen mentioned in your letter of the 30th of July, as
desirous with their followers of settling there, cannot fail
to lay the best foundation of attachment to the Crown and
constitution," ("Dominion Archives," Q. 281, 2); and a month later,
in another despatch, "His Lordship urges that the occupation of
Long Point should take place with as little delay as possible
(January 6th, 1796).
The intention of Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe to found a military
settlement at Long Point was frustrated by Lord Dorchester. His
Lordship, in a despatch from Quebec (April 4th, 1796), declares that
the present posture of affairs would condemn growing expense or
leaving troops in Upper Canada to increase the growth and prosperity
of the colony. The policy of placing so many troops out of the
way, and the enormous abuses in the public expenditure for twenty years,
are not the only objection to this mode of encouraging settlements.
The principle itself is erroneous, as evidenced by the improvement in
provinces where neither extraordinary expenses were incurred nor
troops were employed for civil purposes. We have no intention
of authorizing public works of great expense, but reserves of
land should be made at every place likely to become of consequence,
where they may be required for public purposes."
In a despatch to the Earl of Portland (June 18th, 1796) Simcoe
states plainly that his plan as to Long Point had been frustrated by
the interference of Dorchester. "It is my public duty to observe, that
in the civil administration of this Government I have no confidence
whatsoever in any assistance from Lord Dorchester. His economical
ideas are contrary to the real principle of public saving."
It is unfortunate that this difference of opinion existed, for it
prevented the early establishment of strong military posts at such
places as Long Point, London and Chatham.
The settlement at Long Point was assuredly tedious in its beginning,
but it was not thereby doomed to be forgotten.
Lieutenant-Governor Simcce obtained leave of absence, owing to ill-health,
in the summer of 1796, and sailed for England. The Hon. Peter Russell,
President of the Executive Council, was appointed acting Governor.
The townships in various counties were surveyed into allotments,
and among them Walsingham, Windham, Townsend and Charlotteville.
Up to this time no grants of land had been formally assigned in
Norfolk County. There were a few squatters already there. "Dr." Troyer,
Frederick Mabee, Peter Secord, Lucas Dedrick, Edward McMichael,
Abraham Smith and Solomon Austin. These were confirmed in the
possession of the farms they had already chosen. Now proclamations
were issued inviting settlers to the New districts, and
appealing especially to the United Empire Loyalists.
The fees for land grants, a much discussed question, were settled by
an enactment of the Executive Council for Upper Canada, in 1798, as
follows: "COUNCIL OFFICE, 25th October, 1798.
"That grants to be issued in consequence of Orders of Council
subsequent to the 6th instant, to U. E. Loyalists and their children of
the first generation, to the extent of two hundred acres each,
are not to be charged to the expense of survey, but are to be
subject to a fee of threepence per acre, and that one-half of the
above fees are to be paid to the Receiver-General by all persons
on taking out their warrants of survey, and the other half to the
Secretary of the Province on receiving the patents for the land
"Approved and signed, "J. SMALL,
"PETER RUSSELL. "C. E. C."
The fame of the Long Point district had reached to Eastern
Canada, and when it was opened for settlement there was for a few
years a steady influx of settlers, chiefly Loyalists from the Lower
Province, for whom it was a second migration. The great majority had
lived already in New Brunswick for ten years or longer. That province was
overcrowded, and the allotments unsatisfactory; and so, being influenced
by the offers of land in Upper Canada, they came west, for the most part
in open boats, to make their homes in that district.
But this removal was a work of stupendous difficulty. The roads
were simply blazes through the forests. The heaving bosom of the
inland sea was the only highway, and they had to trust themselves
and their dear ones in frail batteaux to the deep waters. Only
one man came to Long Point in the later years of the century who
had ever been there before, that is, the old Scotch soldier,
Donald McCall, whose history is related in a subsequent chapter.
Consequently, their knowledge of the course was meagre and the danger great.
Those who came by land had to find their way over the devious
trail of the Indian. Their worldly possessions were tied up in
portable bundles, and carried often on their shoulders. The length of
their journey precluded their bringing much with them, and thus the
building of their new homes in the County of Norfolk was just as
tedious and just as severe as it had been years before in
their settlements on the St. John.
THE principal point of interest in Norfolk County is, or ought
to be, the location of the now extinct town of Charlotteville,
or Turkey Point. This was situated on the high bank overlooking
Turkey Point proper. This point projects into Lake Erie in a
south-westerly direction for a little more than five miles. It
is a low-lying peninsula of sandy loam, forming, as it were, a
backbone to the masses of marsh which surround it.
This marsh, of reeds, rushes and quill grass, fills up
almost entirely what was formerly a safe and commodious harbor
on the inner side of Turkey Point. Through the point flows a
narrow stream, not more than eight feet wide, called Indian Creek.
Although so narrow and so shallow that the bottom is
easily touched, there is suficient current to prevent its
freezing up in the winter, and it is the waterway of the
sportsmen, who thereby insert themselves into their favorite coverts.
The immense numbers of wild turkeys found there a century ago
gave the point its designation. The wild turkeys have, for the
most part, disappeared, but wild ducks of many varieties abound,
particularly mallards, black ducks, yellow legs, red heads,
butter balls, the mourning duck, pintails, and canvas-backs. The
point is owned by a private company who have erected a commodious
club-house thereon, with boat-houses and all conveniences for the sportsman.
When London district was separated from the Western district, as
has been mentioned in the chapter on the "County of Norfolk,"
and comprised the land that is now incorporated in the counties
of Bruce, Huron, Middlesex, Elgin, Norfolk and Oxford, the
courts of Quarter Sessions were first held in the house of
Lieutenant Munro, as will be detailed in the chapter on his
settlement; but not long afterwards a public-house was built in
CharlotteviUe by Job Loder, and the early courts were convened
there until a more suitable accommodation could be obtained.
In 1804 a building was erected to serve the purposes of a
courthouse and jail. This was of frame, two stories high, and
twenty-six feet in width by forty feet in length. The lower
story was occupied by the court when in session, with the
exception of a small portion at one end partitioned off for the
"district jail." The upper story was divided into two rooms
for the jurors, but it is said tbat in the hot days of summer they
preferred to conduct their deliberations under a spreading oak tree close by.
The jail was but seldom used, for crime was rare in that community
and the moral sentiment so high that locks and bolts were scarcely
thought of. There is, however, in connection with this jail and court
house an interesting tradition which shows that once at least, in Norfolk,
the sterner penalties of the law were dealt out. The writer does
not vouch for the correctness of the narrative. It is
said that while Sherrif Major Bostwick was in charge of the government
buildings there, a negro was in confinement awaiting execution
for theft, in those days a capital crime. The negro was sentenced
to be hanged on a certain Thursday, but the sherrif had friends
coming from York in the latter part of the week to visit him and enjoy the
shooting; so the sherrif, not wishing to be troubled with an
execution after his friends arrived, asked the "colored gentleman" if
he would have any objections to be hanged on the preceding
Tuesday, to which the negro replied, "No, no, massa, you've been
very good to me, and if you feed me well until Tuesday I'll be
hanged then to oblige you." So the necessary ceremonies took
place, per agreement, on the Tuesday, and the sherrif was at
liberty to entertain his friends.
In 1812 Fort Norfolk was built at Charlotteville, of which
nothing but the trenches remain. This was a stake fort, the
walls consisting of a double row of pointed stakes, the two rows
being several feet apart, and the space between filled in with
earth. At the close of the war the fort was abandoned, and
nothing more than the irregular trench marks its location.
Just on the outskirts of the town a rough frame building was
erected in 1813 for a hospital. This was put up during the
cholera epidemic of that year.
As to the other buildings, it is certain that a rival hotel to
Job Loder's was built on the shore by a man named Hatch, and
still another by Silas Montross. In the kitchen of Loder's
hotel was held the first meeting of Norfolk Masons. The branch
society was organized in that old tavern. In the same room was
held the first meeting of the adherents of the English Church
to see about securing a glebe reservation, so that their church
might be appropriately and sufficiently endowed. This was secured,
although the church was not built for many years afterwards, until
the Rev. Mr. Evans came to reside among them.
But the town did not prosper, the chief reason being that it was
apart from the main thoroughfare east and west. Twenty years after
its foundation it contained but one solitary house. Today it exists no
more. A barren stretch of sand is all that meets the eye. Yet the
antiquarian, or the curio-hunter, or the traveller with the historical
mania, can find many an interesting landmark that tells the story of long ago.
And how many interesting memories crowd upon one who is familiar
with its history! There is the hill on which was buried the first white
man who died in that district. A hollowed log was the coffin of
Frederick Maby, and in this simple tomb the members of his sorrowing
family laid him away. In the war of 1812 an anxious watch was kept for
American foes from the bastion of old Fort Norfolk. In the courthouse
for twelve years, at the courts of quarter sessions, those old
settlers, in Grand and Petit Jury assembled, tried offenders against
the peace of King George. In this little quadrangle were confined
those who from time to time thought themselves above the law of the
new land. Over to the west are the traces of the old hospital, where
works of mercy were no more omitted than were the requirements of
Interesting surely, though the blinding sand has blotted out man
and his works; yet the lives of those who raised these earliest marks
of law, religion and pity for suffering man, have not been without
effect. Far from it. They live in the best blood of Ontario, in our
people's reverence for law, in the stern unswerving loyalty to
the Crown, in the scorn of cant and empty show, the acts of mercy and
benevolence, love of God, faith with man, courage in war, kindness in peace,
purity and goodness and true religion undefiled.
CLEARING THE LAND.
IT is no small undertaking to enter the forest and attempt, even
under the most favorable circumstances, to turn the wilderness into
cultivated fields. Much more difficult was it for these Loyalists, many
of them unaccustomed to the use of the axe, to remove the giant trees
of the "forest primeval" from sufficient of their allotments to sow the
seed. It has been mentioned that the British Government made the
unfortunate mistake of sending out ship-axes for the colonists, and this
clumsy implement, too blunt, too heavy, and too short-handled, almost
doubled the labor of the already over-taxed settler. Many, indeed, who
had had no experience of "roughing it in the bush" found it almost
impossible to overcome the difficulties of pioneer life.
Moreover, a certain amount of land had to be cleared before any
grain could be sown. This was the prime necessity after the building
of the rude log-houses described, and the fact that often a wife and a
number of starving chudren were dependent on him, caused the early
colonist periods of almost superhuman exertion.
It is related of one early settler in the township of Stamford, named
Spohn, that he used to work from the earliest streaks of dawn till the
darkness prevented his further labor, and then walk three miles to the
river where fish were to be caught, collect light wood, and spend often
the greater part of the night in fishing by the aid of these "fire jacks."
The fishing tackle was very rude, the hooks being simply part of the
bone of the pike. On the fish which he managed to catch in this way, and
certain leaves and buds of trees, mixed with the milk of a cow, which
he had fortunately brought with him, the family managed to exist until
early August, when his little crop of spring wheat headed out sufficiently
to allow a change of diet. Not less severe was the struggle for
subsistence of the earliest Loyalist families who came to Long Point,
among whom may be specially mentioned the families of Maby, Secord and Teeple.
At that time the only thought was to get rid of the great forests of
beech, maple, white and yellow pine and walnut in the shortest and
easiest way. The great green trees, after being felled, had to lie until
they had dried sufficiently to be burned, or until they could be
cut into pieces and removed. Time was necessary for the first,
and for the second prolonged labor with the unwieldy axe. Moreover,
beasts of burden or draught animals were rare in this section, and
if the trees were to be removed while green they had to be cut into small
pieces to permit of carrying.
The common process of clearing the land, after the first little
plot had been planted, was to burn the trees. Often the trees were "girdled"
with an axe; that is, the bark was cut through all round the
tree, whereby it would die, and becoming gradually dry would burn the
When the trees were felled they were set on fire, and most of the
smaller branches would burn, leaving the great blackened trunks.
Then came the "logging" bees, when the settlers of the neighborhood
combined to draw these great logs into heaps, where they would be out of
the way, comparatively speaking, till they were dry enough to burn.
Thus it was that the forest melted away before the determined
attacks of the sturdy pioneers.
UNTIL the settler could erect his rude shanty, which usually
took about two weeks, the spreading forest trees formed the only
protection for his family from wind and weather. Coming, as they
generally did, in the early summer, this was not severely felt
unless a period of rain made their condition deplorable.
The settler's first task was, of course, the erection of a log
shanty, and all in the community turned out to help the newcomer
build his house. These gatherings for co-operative labor were
called "bees" in upper Canada. The same institution was known by
the name of "frolics" in New Brunswick.
A number of straight, round basswood trees were cut down and
logs cut off the required length, seldom more than fifteen or twenty
feet. These being roughly notched at the corners were piled one
on top of another until the required height of the walls was obtained.
The Government had provided saws, as has been mentioned, and
with these an opening was cut for a door and a window.
The wall on one side was generally built four or five feet higher
than on the other, and the roof put on in one continuous slant. Others
managed to make a kind of gable roof. Strips of bark (generally black
oak or swamp oak), overlapping one another, formed the sheeting of
the roof. As nails were an extreme scarcity, for they cost 18d. a
pound, and being made by hand, so few were in a pound that the price
was at least a shilling a dozen, this bark, which formed the roof,
was fastened to the rafters by green withes.
The interspaces of the logs which formed the walls were filled
up with small straight branches, chinked with clay, which soon hardened
so as to be air and water tight.
The fireplace was made of flat stones, laid one upon another with clay
for mortar, the roughness of the material necessitating its occupation
of an exceedingly disproportionate space in the one-roomed house.
The chimney was composed of strips of hard wood fitted together
and plastered with mud. These were not always safe, for Captain Ryerse's
house was burned to the ground in 1804, having caught fire from the chimney.
The floor of the cabin was made of split timber, rudely levelled
by the axe, or by an adze if there was one in the community.
As has been mentioned, the government allowed a whip saw to
every fourth family, and with this lumber for a door was sawn out
and a few boards wherewith to make a rough table and benches.
The bedstead was formed by inserting long straight poles into the
walls across the end of the house while the walls were in process of
construction. Between these poles the long strips of green bark would
be woven back and forward-a very comfortable "spring mattress."
The earlier settlers also followed the fashion of changing or trading
work or labor. One who possessed any skill as a carpenter was in
constant demand, and the others would do, in exchange for his services,
the rough work in clearing his land. The "village carpenter" would
make and fit in the little sash with its four panes of glass, in the
opening left for a window. He would, perhaps, also construct a rude
cabinet or cupboard for them, or a chest of drawers.
These articles with, it may be, some treasured heirloom brought
from their native home, such as a tall clock, or a carved chair with
curved feet, or an old mahogany escritoire, would constitute the
furniture of the early settler's home.
Yet they were happy, for they were on British soil, which to them
meant more than palatial homes and broad, cleared lands; more than
fine clothes and fine furniture; more than flocks of sheep and
herds of cattle; more than all the luxuries which the thought of
rebellion and the countenancing of it made as gall and wormwood to
their loyal hearts.
As has been mentioned in Chapter VII, to the Loyalists who first came
to Canada provisions for three years were given by the Government; but the
people of Long Point were thrown on their own resources, and the first
settlers experienced the most acute distress. Mention will be made
from time to time of particular instances of hardship, but in a general
way it may be here stated that the long journey from New Brunswick, and
the insufficient conveyance, forced the settlers to come without any
quantity of provisions in store for the few months before the grain
could be ripened.
Thus it was that there occurred many touching instances of hardship
and almost starvation. All kinds of edible herbs were eaten-
pig-weed, lamb's quarter, ground nut, and the plant called Indian
cabbage. The bark of certain trees was cut in pieces and boiled, as
were also the leaves and buds of the maple, beech and basswood.
Were it not for the game, which Providence occasionally threw in
their way, they certainly would have starved. Occasionally a deer
was shot and divided among the members of the rejoicing community.
Frequently, also, great flocks of wild turkeys were seen in the marshy
lands, and it did not require an expert shot to bring down
the unsuspecting birds. Fish were also easily caught; so that
as soon as the first year or two had passed, the settlers had
abundance for themselves, and for any strangers "within their gates."
Tea was an unthought-of luxury for many years, and various substitutes
were used; as, for example, the hemlock and sassafras.
Still a rude plenty existed. As to meat, the creeks and lake
supplied fish of several kinds-black and rock bass, perch, carp, mackerel,
pickerel, pike and white fish, and above all speckled trout; the
marshes-wild fowl, turkeys, ducks and geese; the woods-pigeons,
partridge, quail, squirrels, rabbits, hares and deer. As to
other animals in the woods, there were many (too many) wolves,
bears, lynx, wild cats, beavers, foxes, martins, minks and weasels.
Bustards and cranes also were found by the streams.
As to grain, they soon had an abundant supply of Indian corn,
wheat, peas, barley, oats, wild rice, and the commoner vegetables.
The thoughtful housewives of those times tried to make up for
the various articles of food which they could not procure by the
invention of new dishes, and to make the ordinary menu as
palatable as possible by some change or addition. One of the
most appreciated of the "delicacies" was the pumpkin loaf, which
consisted of corn meal and boiled pumpkin made into a cake and
eaten hot with butter. It was generally sweetened with maple sugar.
Another "Dutch dish" was "pot-pie," which consisted of game or
fowl cut up into small pieces and baked in a deep dish, with a heavy
crust over the meat. On such fare were developed the brawn and muscle
which in a few years changed the wilderness into a veritable Garden of Eden.
As has been mentioned in Chapter VII., some were fortunate
enough to be provided with portable mills for the grinding of
their corn, but the greater number in Upper Canada had no such
luxuries. For many years the nearest flouring mill to the Long
Point settlement was that at Niagara Falls, a distance of a hundred miles.
At first, then, when they were unable to make the long journey
to the mill, they used what was called the "hominy block" or
"plumping mill." This was simply a hardwood stump, with a
circular hollow in the top, partly burned into it, and partly
chopped out. If a cannon ball could be obtained, it was heated to
burn out this bole. In this hollow the grain was pounded with a
great wooden beetle, and sometimes a heavy round stone was attached
to a long pole or sweep, and by this mortar and pestle contrivance
the Indian corn and, wild rice were rudely crushed, and afterwards
baked into corn or "Johnny" cakes. But wheat could not be ground
by this process, and unless the family had a portable steel mill
they were compelled to do without wheaten bread. Some, however,
had these mills, and if they also possessed a horsehair sieve or
bolting cloth, the bran could be separated from the flour and
white bread manufactured.
It was always a condition of the grant of land on which there were
good water-power facilities, that a grist mill be erected within a certain
time, and thus in a few years all over the country sprang up
flouring mills. Captain Samuel Ryerse built the first mill in Long Point, and
ran it for several years, though at a financial loss, for the toll was
only one bushel in twelve, and the mill was idle all through the summer.
The machinery for these mills was hard to procure, and after
it was gotten, hard to keep in order. It could only be bought for cash,
and ready money was never a very plentiful article with the early
settlers. Captain Ryerse had to sell part of his grant of land at a
dollar an acre to obtain money to buy the machinery for his mill.
Moreover, there was no market for any surplus wheat that might be raised.
Until the war of 1812 wheat was never more than two shillings (sterling)
a bushel. Consequently after the first struggle for life there was
no particular inducement for the early settler to grow more wheat
than was necessary for his own consumption.
For many years the Ryerse mill was the only one within seventy miles.
About 1805, however, Titus Finch built one at Turkey Point. There
was also the Sovereign mill at Waterford, the Russell mill at
Vittoria, Malcolm's mills near the present site of Oakland, the Culver-
Woodruff mills on Paterson Creek, and the mills of Robert Nicol at Dover.
THE half-pay officers who settled in New Brunswick had frequently
their uniforms and accoutrements which they had worn in their native
States-tight knee-breeches of black or yellow or dark blue satin,
white silk or satin waistcoats, and the gorgeous colored frock coats,
often claret, royal purple, or pea, pearl or bottle green, with their wide
collars. The coats were lined with plush or velvet of a different shade.
Black silk stockings and morocco shoes, with immense silver buckles
covering the whole instep, completed their attire.
However, these were not garments suitable to making their way
through the tangled underbrush, fording creeks and marshes, and
stumping and logging in the bush. Even if it were used at all, in a
year or two this finery would disappear, and the colonists had to
resort to the produce of their fields or that which the new land provided.
It may be thought that the wool from the sheep would be the most
natural material to weave into coarse garments. This would have
been the case if the early settler could have depended on his sheep
from one day to another, but the fondness of Canadian wolves for
lamb and mutton seriously interfered with his calculations in this
regard, and supremely fortunate was he, if by any chance a sheep
could be preserved until its wool were of sufficient length to be clipped
and thereafter made into garments. Consequently they resorted to
the culture of flax. Every family had its little plot of ground sown
with flax-seed, and one of the standard accomplishments of the
brave women of those days was the knowledge of its culture. They had to
weed, pull and thresh out the seeds, and then spread it to rot. After
it was dressed they spun and wove it into coarse linen, which supplied
garments for both sexes. The spinning and weaving processes were
generally difficult on account of the rude home-made implements
which the early settlers had to use, for but rarely had any spinning
wheels or looms been brought over from the States. The "fulling" of
the cloth had to be accomplished by the proeess of "treading" the
fabric in large tubs. This coarse linen cloth, which was very often
mixed with what little wool could be obtained, made a material which
would last for years.
The next most important clothing material was deerskin, which was
used not only for shoes, but for garments also. The settlers got the
idea of using it from the Indians, who taught them how to prepare it,
so as to be pliable and comfortable. The tanning process consisted in
removing the hair, and working it by hand with the brains of some
animal until it became soft and white. This, of course, made the most
durable garments and was a favorite material for trousers. Petticoats
were alse made of it for the women.
The only objection to deerskin garments was that they soon get
lamentably greasy and dirty, and were hard to dean. In Dr. Ryerson's
history an interesting story is told of the domestic, Poll Spragge.
She had but one article of dress, a kind of sack made of buckskin,
with holes at the top for her arms, and this garment hung from her
shoulders, and was tied in at the waist by thongs of the same
material. She was left alone in the house one day with orders to
wash her single garment. In the absence of soap she bethought herself of
the strong lye, made from wood ashes, not knowing its effect on leather.
When she took it out of the pot where she had been boiling it,
it was nothing but a partly decomposed mass. The feelings of poor Poll may
be more easily imagined than described. As soon as she caught
sight of the returning family she hid herself in the potato cellar,
and refused to come out until some one's second best petticoat was procured
for her. Such was the scarcity of clothing ofany kind in these early years.
As for personal ornamentation or decoration the pack of the Yankee pedlar
supplied the wants of the families who were rich enough to buy such luxuries.
The coming of the pedlar and the opening of the pack was a long looked
for occurrence. The ordinary articles always carried by these itinerant
merchants were gaudy printed calicoes, a yard of which sold for the usual
price of an acre of ground ($1.00), coarse muslin at about fifteen shillings
a yard, and shawls and kerchiefs, of elaborate pattern, "fearfully and
wonderfully made," the gaudy colors greatly enhancing their value. Besides
these, he was accustomed to bring around the standard assortment of tape
and needles, horn combs, pencils, paper, hooks and eyes, and some yards of
narrow ribbon of divers colors for hair and neckwear on special occasions.
To get a long chintz or gingham dress to "go to meeting" in was
the height of many a fair maiden's ambition. The writer has been told of
an instance where two daughters of the same family were accounted the
most finely dressed "belles" of the settlement because they had each a long
veil of coarse muslin to wear to church, though, indeed, neither
of them had anything to wear in the line of footgear, and so went to
As to wedding garments, generally some faded silk dress of the
mother, which had been laid away for a quarter of a century or more,
with cinnamon bark or sprigs of cedar, was remodelled to fit the fair
damsel on this auspicious occasion. Some amusing stories are told
of smaller dresses being "let out," with the coarse linen of the household,
so as to fit the extensive figure of a maiden who was not so slender
as her mother had been. But "necessity constraineth us," and these
trifling inconsistencies, which would drive a modern fiancée to
distraction, did not alloy the happiness of the Loyalist maidens.
THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL IN LONG POINT.
Until the year 1800 there were very few churches in upper Canada;
and the people were dependent on one of their own number to conduct
service, in a settler's cabin or under the forest trees. A letter of
Hon. Peter Russell to the Anglican bishop of Quebec (22nd June, 1796),
gives a very accurate view of the state of religious organization in Upper
Canada at that time. "There are no churches west of Kingston,
a circumstance disgraceful to the inhabitants, and only to be apologized
for by their hard struggles and want of proper clergymen. Of the
£1,000 voted by Parliament, I suggest that £500 be used in building a
handsome church at York, and when the inhabitants of New Johnstown
(in Eastern District), Newark and Sandwich appear disposed to
raise subscriptions for their respective churches, let £100 be given to
Newark and £200 to each of the other two. I have appointed
Rev. Mr. Addison to Newark."
The Bishop of Quebec approved of the appointment of Addison, and
decided that he be one of four to receive a salary (£100). Rev. Mr. Addison
had, however, other sources of income, for a minute of the Council of Newark
(August 14th, 1797) reads: "Resolved that the salt springs at the
Fifteen-mile Creek be leased to the Rev. Mr. Addison at a rent of
5s currency, for such time as he shall continue to officiate as
a clergyman of the Church of England at Newark."
Rev. Mr. Addison was given grants of land in various places, among
them 400 acres (lots 1 and 10, third concession) in Walsingham.
For thirty years after the foundation of the settlement, until
the arrival of the Rev. Mr. Evans in 1824, the colonists who adhered to the
faith of the English Church had no regular minister. There was no
clergyman nearer than Niagara, a hundred miles distant, and a blaze
through the trees constituted the only road to that centre of advancement
Captain Samuel Ryerse was accustomed to read the church service every
Sunday to his household, and to any who might wish to listen with them.
Subsequently Mr. Bostwick, who was the son of a clergyman, used
to read the service and sometimes a sermon. But very few copies of
sermons were to be obtained, for, indeed, but few copies of any books
existed among the settlers, and after reading over several times the
"stock in hand" they naturally lost their interest.
The first visit of a bona fide minister of the Episcopal faith to
Norfolk County occurred in 1805, when the Rev. Mr. Addison, the
only clergyman in Western Ontario, came by request from Niagara to
baptize the children who had been born on the settlement, for so far
there had been no regularly authorized licentiate to perform that ceremony.
It was a long-to-be-remembered event, and many of the people broke out
into a passion of tears as they listened, in some cases, the first time
for eleven years, to the voice of a regularly ordained minister.
It was surely an affecting scene, and brings home to our minds one of
those trials which the Loyalists had to undergo, and which is but
seldom thought of namely, their enforced deprivation of religious instruction.
[These baptisms may be the first ones documented by Rev. Addison for Long Point
in 1807. See this page of baptisms. Bill]
In 1798 Elder Titus Finch came to Long Point and became the leader of
the Baptists of that district. For many years they had no church, and
so Elder Finch travelled around and held service on the Sabbath at
various points in the settlement. The houses of the settlers were not
often large enough to accommodate those who assembled, and frequently
on summer days the service was held in an open glade of the forest,
the murmur of the breeze forming a sweet accompaniment, which in its
calm and heavenly influence wafted their thoughts to the Creator of
the universe. In 1804 the community of Baptists was organized, and
about 1810 their church was erected, a commodious and substantial building.
The founder of the first Presbyterian church of Norfolk County
was the Rev. Jabez Culver. He was a regularly ordained minister in
New Jersey, and on coming to the Long Point settlement in 1794, held
service every Sabbath in his own house. In 1806 the Presbyterians
were organized into a church community, with the Rev. Jabez Culver
as their regularly appointed pastor. This was known as the old
"Windham Church," and continued until the death of Mr. Culver in 1819.
Then it was dissolved, but being reorganized later, became a
flourishing and important body.
This denomination was, as usual, one of the very first to establish
its organization in the new country. It is said that the Presbyterians
have the congregation first, and the church afterwards; but the Methodists
the church first and the congregation afterwards. The Methodist
body had two chapels in this county before the first Presbyterian
church was built.
The first recognized Methodist minister was the Rev. Daniel Freeman,
who, though not ordained by the Methodist Episcopal Church until he
had been some years in the Long Point district, nevertheless conducted
regular service, and most of the young people of the community joined
his church. This was called the "Woodhouse Methodist Church," on the
identical site of which the third Woodhouse Methodist Church now stands.
All honor to these early ministers of the dissenting bodies, for
though they were unlearned, and sometimes uncouth in speech, their
lives proved their sincerity. They bore cheerfully every privation,
and preached in every place where they could get a hearing. Nor can
anyone charge them with doing this, to be supported by the other
members of the community, for even "after many years" the regular
stipend for a married man was only $200, and half that sum for a
single man. Nor was this always paid in cash, but the greater part
of it made up in the produce of the land, or in the coarse
linen or woollen garments which were the product of the house looms.
There were no Roman Catholics in the neighborhood until after 1825.
Such was the state of religious instruction in the Long Point Settlement
in the early days.
THERE were but few clergymen in upper Canada in the early years
of the century. Mr. Addison, of Niagara, was the nearest minister to
Long Point. Consequently almost any person who held any public
position whatsoever was often called upon to perform the ceremony
as, for example, the captain of a regiment, a colonel, adjutant, magistrate,
In a letter of Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe to Dundas (November 6th, 1792),
he calls attention to the necessity for a bill to make valid
marriages contracted in upper Canada, and to provide for them in the
future, and he encloses a bill for the purpose framed by Chief Justice
Osgoode, and a report on the same subject submitted by Mr. Cartwright.
("Dominion Archives," Q. 279, p. 77).*
*THE MARRIAGE LAW IN UPPER CANADA.
REPORT BY RICHARD CARTWRIGHT, JUNIOR
("Canadian Archives," Series Q. 279-1, p. 174)
"Report on the subject of Marriages and the State of the Church of
England in the Province of upper Canada, humbly submitted to His Excellency
"The Country now Upper Canada was not settled or cultivated in any part
except the settlement of Detroit, till the year one thousand seven
hundred and eighty four, when the several Provincial Corps doing Duty
in the Province of Quebec were reduced, and, together with many Loyalists
from New York, established in different Parts of this Province, chiefly
along the River St. Lawrence and the Bay of Quenti. In the meanwhile
from the year 1777 many families of the Loyalists belonging to Butler's
Rangers, the Royal Yorkers, Indian Department and other Corps doing
Duty at the upper Posts, had from Time to Time come into the country,
and many young women of these families were contracted in Marriage which
could not be regularly solemnized, there being no Clergyman at the Posts,
nor in the whole country between them and Montreal. The practise in such
cases usually was to go before the Officer Commanding the Post who publickly
read to the parties the Matrimonial Service in the Book of Common Prayer,
using the Ring and observing the other forms there prescribed, or
if he declined it, as was sometimes the case, it was done by the Adjutants
of the Regiment. After the settlements were formed in 1784 the Justices
of the Peace used to perform the Marriage Ceremony till the establishment
of Clergymen in the Country when this practice adopted only from necessity
hath been discontinued in the Districts where Clergymen reside.
This is not yet the case with them all; for though the two lower
Districts have had each of them a Protestant Clergyman since the
year 1786; it is but a few months since this (Nassau or Home)
District hath been provided with one; and the Western District in which
the settlement of Detroit is included, is to this day destitute of
that useful and respectable Order of men; yet the Town of Detroit is and
has been since the Conquest of Canada inhabited for the most part by
Traders of the Protestant Religion who reside there with their
Families, and among whom many Intermarriages have taken place, which
formerly were solemnized by the Commanding Officer, or some other layman
occasionally appointed by the Inhabitants for reading prayers to them
on Sundays, but of late more commonly by the Magistrates since Magistrates
have been appointed for that District.
"From these circumstances it has happened that the Marriages of
the generality of the Inhabitants of Upper Canada are not valid
in Law, and that their children must stricto jure be considered as
illegitimate and consequently not intitled to inherit their property.
Indeed this would have been the case, in my opinion, had the Marriage
Ceremony been performed even by a regular Clergyman, and with due Observance
of all the Forms prescribed by the Laws of England. For the clause in the
Act of the 14th year of His Present Majesty for regulating the
Government of Quebec which declares "That in all cases of Controversy
relative to Property and Civil Rights, resort shall be had to the Laws of
Canada as the Rule for the Decision of the same, "appears to me to
invalidate all Marriages not solemnized according to the Rites of the
Church of Rome, so far as these Marriages are considered as giving any
Title to property.
"Such being the Case it is obvious that it requires the Interposition of
the Legislature as well to settle what is past, as to provide some
Regulations for the future, in framing of which it should be considered
that good policy requires that in a new Country at least, matrimonial
Connections should be made as easy as may be consistent with the Importance
of such Engagements; and having pledged myself to bring this Business
forward early in the next Session, I am led to hope that Your Excellency
will make such Representations to His Majesty's Ministers as will induce
them to consent to such arrangements respecting this Business as the
circumstances of the Country may render expedient, Measures for this
purpose having been postponed only because they might be thought to
interfere with their Views respecting the Clergy of the Establishment.
"Of this Church I am myself a member and am sorry to say that
the State of it in this Province is not very flattering. A very
small proportion of the Inhabitants of Upper Canada have been educated
in this Persuasion and the Emigrants to be expected from the United States
will for the most part be Sectaries or Dissenters; and nothing
prevents the Teachers of this class from being proportionally numerous,
but the inability of the People at present to provide for their support.
In the Eastern District, the most populous part of the Province there is
no Church Clergyman. They have a Presbyterian Minister, formerly Chaplain
to the 84th Regiment, who receives from Government fifty Pounds p. ann.
They have also a Lutheran Minister who is supported by his Congregation,
and the Roman Catholic Priest settled at St. Regis occasionally officiates
for the Scots Highlanders settled in the lower part of the District,
who are very numerous and all Catholics. There are also many Dutch Calvinists
in this part of the Province who have made several attempts to get a
Teacher of their own Sect, but hitherto without success.
"In the Midland District, where the members of the Church are more numerous
than in any other part of the Province, there are two Church Clergymen
who are allowed one hundred pounds stg. p. ann. each by Government, and
fifty pounds each by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.
There are here also some itinerant Methodist Preachers, the Followers
of whom are numercus. And many of the Inhabitants of the greatest property
are Dutch Calvinists, who have for some time past been using their
endeavours to get a Minister of their own Sect among them. In the
Home District there is one Clergyman who hath been settled here since
the month of July last. The Scots Presbyteriaus who are pretty numerous
here and to which Sect the most respectable part of the Inhabitants
belong, have built a Meeting House, raised a Subscription for a
Minister of their own who is shortly expected among them. There are here
also many Methodists and Dutch Calvinists.
In the Western District there are no other clergy than those of the Church of
Rome. The Protestant inhabitants here are principally Presbyterians.
From this statement Your Excellency will be able to draw the proper
Conclusions; and to judge how far the Establishing the Hierarchy of the
Church of England in this Province may be proper & expedient.
"I have the Honor to be, with the most profound respect,
"Your Excellency's most humble servant,
"RICHD. CARTWRIGHT, Junr.
"NEWARK, 12th October, 1792."
To avoid complications which might have resulted from illegal marriages,
the Parliament of Upper Canada, in 1793, passed "an Act to confirm and to
make valid certain marriages, heretofore contracted in the country now
comprised in the Province of Upper Canada, and to provide for the future
solemnization of marriage within the same ..... The marriage and marriages
of all persons not being under any canonical disqualification to contract
matrimony, that have been publicly contracted before any magistrate or
commanding officer of a post, or an adjutant, or surgeon of a regiment
acting as chaplain, or any other person in any public office or employment
before the passing of this Act, shall be confirmed and considered to all
intents and purposes as good and valid in law; and it is further enacted
that the contracting parties, which do not live within eighteen miles of
any minister of the Church of England, may apply to any neighboring justice
of the peace, who shall affix in some public place, a notice for which
he shall receive one shilling, and no more."
In 1798 another Act provided that ministers of the Church of Scotland,
or Lutherans, or Calvinists, could perform the ceremony if one of the
contracting parties had been a member of that Church for at least six months.
This clergyman had to prove his qualification before six magistrates at
Quarter Sessions, appearing with at least seven members of his congregation,
to bear witness to the correctness of his oath.
In 1818 a further Act made valid the marriages of those who had
in any way neglected to preserve the testimony of their marriage.
In 1831 another Act confirmed marriages contracted before any
justice of the peace, magistrate, commanding officer, minister or clergyman,
and at the same time it was provided that it should be lawful for
ministers of the Church of Scotland, Lutherans, Presbyterians,
Congregationalists, Baptists, Independents, Methodists, Mennonists, Turkers
[Tunkers ??] or Moravians, to solemnize matrimony.
This is very important, as it conveyed a long delayed right to
ministers of all the recognized dissenting bodies.
Until 1814 no licenses were used. In that year, on the 31st of May,
the Government appointed five persons as issuers of marriage licenses,
of whom the nearest to Long Point Settlement lived at Queenston.
The ordinary method was to publish the banns for three successive Sundays.
This notice was to be posted in some conspicuous place, generally on
the mill door, for there were not many churches at that time. The young
people, in their anxiety to avoid publicity, would sometimes put the
notice on the inside of the door, while another way was to take two
or three of their immediate friends, sworn to secrecy, and simply hold
it to the door for a few minutes each Sunday, three Sundays in succession.
The purport of the notice was as follows, the words being subscribed by
"Know all men by these presents, that 'A. B.' is desirous of taking to
wife 'C. D.' If any one knows any just cause why the ceremony should not
be duly performed let him give notice to Magistrate 'X. Z.' on or before __."
As to wedding garments. If the family had any fine clothes stowed away,
which had been brought from "Old Virginia," these were looked up, the
creases of a score of years smoothed out, and her mother's dress made over
to fit her youthful daughter. But, as a rule, in this settlement it was
the height of the prospective bride's ambition to get money enough to
buy from a pedlar a few yards of dimity or coloured calico, or calamok,
or a "linsey-woolsey" petticoat, or a woolen drugget. But many a blushing
bride had to be content with a garment of deerskin, and a squirrel-skin
bonnet, and still looked lovely in the eyes of her lover.
The déjeûner consisted usually of huge chicken or partridge
pies, wild fowl of all kinds, piles of "Johnny cake" and wheaten
bread and buns, cranberry and wild fruit pies and puddings, and various
other dishes which have been described in detail to the writer.
A wedding without a dance was an insipid affair, and often the
festivities were kept up for two or three nights in succession.
As to dowry, the bride was rich if her portion was a yoke of steers,
a cow, three or four sheep, and a few yards of homespun linen;
while, if the groom had a hundred acres of land, with a tenth
of it cleared, and a log-house already built, they were a
THE first white man who died in the Long Point Settlement was
the U. E. Loyalist, Frederick Maby. In 1794 he passed away,
after only one year spent in the endeavor to build up a home in
the wilderness. He was buried in a log coffin; that is, one
hewn out of a solid log, covered with a rough slab. The grave
was on the top of the hill which overlooks Turkey Point. There
was no funeral, for there was not a minister of any denomination
within a hundred miles. The weeping family simply knelt around
the open grave. Besides the widow and the children of the deceased,
there were three other men, still earlier settlers,- 'Billy Smith,'
who had lived a wild life for years among the Indians, Peter Secord,
and "Dr." Troyer.
The places of burial continued generally on the spot chosen by
the family of the first person who died in that locality. When
another of the settlers died, it was the natural thing to lay
him beside the one who had gone before, and thus the number of
those who were removed from their difficulties and hardships
would keep on increasing, and the cemetery would be filled.
But some preferred to bury their loved ones in a corner of their
farm, and many a little private burying ground may be seen
to-day- a corner of a field, where a few cypress or willow trees
have been left to murmur a requiem over the departed.
The mode of burial was simple and touching. Seldom in the early
days of the settlement was there any minister to conduct the
service. The elder sons of the mourning family would bear the
rude coffin, which had sometimes the simple tribute of a few
wild flowers placed thereon, to the open grave. When the body
was lowered the father, in broken voice, would read a prayer or
make a few remarks about the departed to the friends who were
standing around, with heads uncovered. "Dust to dust, ashes to ashes."
Sadly the sorrowing friends filled in the earth and turned away, striving
to drown their grief in labor. But the cypress trees softly
whispered in the breeze of summer or howled in the winter's
blast ever the resting-places of those whe had been loyal and
true and noble, who had done their duty for conscience' sake,
who had worked hard and long and faithfully to build a home on
British soil, and to whom had now come the everlasting rest after
labor. Oh, what memories, sacred and sad and sweet, cluster around
these old burying grounds! Men who rest without a marble monument,
yet who need none, for the fields, clad with the ripening grain,
the beautiful homes, the splendid roads, the churches, the schools,
the benevolent Institutions of every kind are their memorials,
for it was they who first entered the wilderness and laid the
foundation for that marvellous superstructure of civilization reared
by generations then unborn.
[At this point the book continues with the histories of the Loyalists
who settled at Long Point. It can be viewed at this page if you have
not already done so. Bill Martin.]
Bill Martin, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
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