An American Family History

Front of Yonge Township


Brockville, Ontario was called Elizabethtown. The area was first settled by English speakers in 1785, when Americans who had remained loyal to the crown fled to Canada after the American Revolution.

United Empire Loyalists were Americans who remained loyal to King George III and the British Empire. They moved to Canada after the American Revolution.

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 colonies which became the newly formed United States.

The first European settlements in Ontario were after the American Revolution when 5,000 loyalists left the new United States.

Connecticut's first European settlers were Dutch.

The Front of Yonge Township is in eastern Ontario, Canada along the St. Lawrence River between Kingston and Brockville. It was incorporated in 1905 and is in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. The township is made up of the communities of Ballycanoe, Caintown, Mallorytown, Mallorytown Landing, McIntosh Mills, Trevelyan and Yonge Mills.

During the American Revolution, thousands of Americans who remained loyal to the British, fled to Canada. They were the United Empire Loyalists. The British government helped them to settle as many had nothing when they arrived. The British provided rewards that included land grants, food, tools and other provisions for three years. Land grants ranged from 50 to 1,000 acres, depending on the individual's military rank and whether they had served in combat.

Lebbeus Wickwire (Wickware) moved to Ontario Canada from Connecticut at the time of the Revolution. He was a United Empire Loyalist. He received a land grant in Ontario (at the head of the Mazina and northward to MacAvoy Lake) and settled there in 1785.

Henry Miller was a Hessian Soldier in the American Revolution. After the war, he settled in Elizabethtown (now Brockville), where he married Sally Robbins.

A John LaPointe appeared as a private on the 1812-1815 paylist for Dundas County.

Levi Comstock (1766-1804) came to Ontario in 1784 and received his land patent in 1790. He was entitled to 200 acres because his stepfather, Ephraim Eyres was a Loyalist.

Nathaniel Mallory (1752 - 1808) was a loyalist from Vermont. He landed at Mallorytown Landing in 1784 with his wife Abiah Beardsley and their 13 children. In 1790 they moved inland to find better farmland and started Mallorytown.

James Wiltse received a grant of 100 acres in Yonge on May 17, 1802.

William (Billa) Larue located at the mouth of the creek falling into the St. Lawrence, about four miles west of Mallorytown Landing. He married Abigail Hagerman.

 A saw- and flour-milling complex, Yonge Mills was built by Charles Jones before 1806. The mill produced about 12,000 barrels of flour annually for the export trade.

Asahel Hays and Anna Clossen came from Connecticut to Leeds (now Leeds Grenville) County, Ontario about 1807.

Daniel Alguire was the son of a United Empire Loyalist, who resided near Albany, New York. He served in the War of 1812. In 1815 he settled in Yonge.

Reverend William Smart (1788) moved to Elizabethtown in October, 1811. He married Phylina Foote in 1816 and Sarah Mallory in 1862. He died 1876 at Gananoque, Ontario. The First Presbyterian Church in Brockville was built in 1817.

William Smart
William Smart
Minister of the Presbyterian Church

In 1832 there was a cholera epidemic in the area.

In 1833 the roads were improved including:

The front road from Jones' Mills, in Yonge, to Frederick Brandy's in Elizabethtown (now Brockville)-John Weatherhead, Esquire, and Isaac Cole, Commissioners

The road leading northerly, from Hogaboom's in Yonge, to Wiltse's Mills- Benjamin R. Munsell, Esquire, Joseph Wiltse, Esquire, and Cornell Hunt Commissioners

Thomas Scott built the Yonge Mills Stone Church in 1837 on land donated by Captain Peter Purvis. It was a Presbyterian Church. It was made from area stone with white pine pews and pulpit.

Two armed uprisings that took place in Lower and Upper Canada in 1837 and 1838. 

In November, 1838 British troops and local militia defeated an invasion force of 300 American "Hunters" and Canadian rebels at the Battle of the Windmill. The rebels invaded near Prescott. The Hunters’ Lodge was a secret organization formed in the United States to free Canada from British domination.

Charles Jones, in 1836, noted the customary practise of giving a farmer 1 bushel of flour for every 5 bushels of wheat. He’s referencing bolted fine flour. From 5 bushels (300 lbs) the miller would get about 189 lbs of fine flour (63%) and give 60 lbs of that to the farmer in payment, keeping 129 lbs for himself to sell. Jones noted that as an operator of a large mill (Yonge’s Mills) he didn't benefit from this as much as a local gristmill, where the “offal” (middling & bran) could be sold to local farmers for animal feed. Jones didn't have a large enough local farming population to sell his offal to...(from Tour Guild Manual and History of the Old Stone Mill by Ken W. Watson)

Click here for a list of residents of Yonge Township in the 1840s A to M and here for N to Z.

Yonge Mills, Ontario was in Front of Yonge Township near Brockville. It is north east of Kingston and north of Watertown, New York. It is now a ghost town. In the mid 19th century, Yonge Mills, was a busy and prosperous village with a population of about 175. It had a sawmill and a fulling mill. There were hotels with taverns and a general store. The village also included two blacksmiths and a church.

Historically an esquire (Esq. or Esqr.) was the title of a man who ranked below a knight in the English gentry. Later it designated a commoner with the status of gentleman and was used by attorneys.

A land patent is an exclusive land grant made by the government. The certificate that grants the land rights is also called first-title deed and final certificate. In the United States, all land can be traced back to the original land patent.

In the War of 1812 (1812-1815) the United States declared war on England because of trade restrictions, impressment, and British support for Indian attacks. They signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814 after reaching a stalemate.

The united counties of Leeds and Grenville are in southern Ontario, Canada on the border with the United States.The county seat is Brockville.

During the American Revolution a Tory or Loyalist was used in for those who remained loyal to the British Crown.



from Recorder & Times, "The Cholera Epidemic of 1832" by H. Richards Morgan in Doug Grant's Blog Handbook of Brockville History

. . .Early in the year 1832, the Canadian newspapers began to publish alarming reports concerning the prevalence of Asiatic cholera on the Continent of Europe and in the British Isles. With the opening of the season of navigation, these reports were followed by information concerning serious outbreaks on the lower St. Lawrence. Gradually the dread disease made its ascent of that stream until by the month of June, its presence was felt in Prescott, Brockville and Kingston.

The authorities of these and other centres took prompt steps to meet the menace which rapidly took the form of an epidemic. So great was the fear of the disease, that on June 19, when there were only a few cases at Prescott, it was stated that business in that community was at a standstill, and the "inhabitants of the village wear the sombre appearance of the Judgment Day." Families began to move from Prescott to the country, crews of vessels deserted their boats, and the magistrates ordered the erection of cholera-sheds on Drummond Island, where cases might be treated.

At about the same time the newly-formed Board of Police of Brockville held a meeting, and passed a number of ordinances relating to the outbreak. One of these provided that every boat arrived from Lower Canada, and having on board either immigrants or the baggage belonging to immigrants, should be instantly removed to “the island in the East Ward of the town, or to some other place out of the limits of the town.”  

On June 19 it was reported that there were three cases of cholera in the town, one of whom had died.

The outbreak continuing, a Board of Health was formed in the community and cholera-sheds were opened on (“Blockhouse”) island. Here they were tended by some of the physicians of the community, among them a young Scot, Dr. Robert Gilmour, who had been appointed secretary of the Board. Dr. Gilmour contracted the disease and, in spite of the best efforts of his associates, became one of its victims. . .

The epidemic also began to affect the established population. On June 28, it was reported that the wife of "Smith, the bell-man," had died after an illness of only seven hours. Another woman was removed to the hospital on the island and died within 24 hours.

Various cures for the disease began to make their appearance. One of these, submitted by Hiram Norton...

two tablespoonfuls of charcoal (maple is best);
two ditto of hog’s lard;
mix together and give two tablespoonfuls when the patient is attacked.
Repeat every 15 minutes.
Should the patient not be able to retain it on the stomach, melt a teacup full of hog’s lard and pour it down him.
When the limbs are cramped, bathe them with warm lye.
When the stomach is cramped, foment it with hot brandy.
When the patient is recovering, give him soup and chocolate.
This has cured every one that has taken it.

More conventional and less drastic treatment was, however, prescribed by the Board of Health, which recommended the use of the following medicines: laudanum, oil of peppermint, sulphuric ether and spirits of lavender.

By the close of the month of June, Prescott had had 69 cases and 27 deaths; Kingston 147 cases and 47 deaths; St. Regis, 34 cases and 15 deaths; while Brockville had escaped with only eight cases, of which three had proved fatal. 

By the middle of July, a marked decrease in the number of cases was reported, although patients continued to be taken to the hospital on the island, where some of them passed away.

Four new cases occurred during the week ended on August 9, with three deaths. At that time there had been 21 cases in Brockville, with eleven deaths. Gibson Gilmour, ancestor of a well-known Brockville family, died after only a few hours’ illness. Cases were also reported in Elizabethtown and at Delta. Other deaths were reported. Gradually, however, the outbreak subsided, calm was restored and Brockville and other St. Lawrence Valley communities went about their business in a normal way. . .


from The Ottawa Journal, October 7, 1967

. . .The first settlers in the counties included many remarkable people, among them Stephen Burritt on the Rideau, Enoch Mallory in Escott, Justus Seeley in the Rear of Leeds and Benoni Wiltse in the Rear of Yonge. Among the Loyalists who settled in Augusta township in 1785 were Paul and Barbara Heck. She is remembered as the "Mother of Methodism" in North America. . .

Roger Stevens, the first settler on the Rideau in 1790, had been arrested when he refused to join the American rebels, made his excape and fought in Burgoyne's army, was captured again and escaped. He became a Loyalist agent behind the enemy lines and when the war was done decied to follow his commanding officer, Capt. Justus Sherwood to Canada. He was drowned while hunting three years after his arrival in this country.

Stephen Burritt arrived soon after Stevens and founded the settlement of Burritt's Rapids. The first white child born on the Rideau was Edmund Burritt, on Dec. 8, 1793.

The settlers suffered from a form of malarial fever which caused great misery. Stephen Burritt and his wife, both very ill were cared for by passing Indians and afterwards the Burritt house was always open to wandering natives. William Merrick who built his home in 1794 had a bunkhouse on his land were Indians were always welcome to stay. . .




Another "Sea Sarpint." The Brockville (Canada) Monitor of Saturday last thus alludes to the serpent in the St. Lawrence: Some time since we published a letter from a correspondent in Mallorytown, relative to an enormous water serpent seen at different time in that locality. A similar, or probably the same serpent has been seen within the past few days about three miles above Brockville, by Mr. L. Parker, of Three Mile Bay and D. Ladd.

The serpent raised its body some six feet out of water, and pursued their boat till it got within a few rods, compelling them lto make for and as rapidly as possible. They describe the serpent as being over 30 feet long, and of a lightis color. It was also seen at a distance by the crew of the Protection. (The Advocate, June 4, 1857)

Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2023
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