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Local History
A Few Notes About The Forming Of A Military Settlement
at Perth And Surrounding Country

by M. G. Armour

Note: this article appears courtesy The Lanark County Genealogical Society

This undated typescript was probably written for the Perth Historical and Antiquarian Society, about 1900. It was obviously used as the major source for the article Back From The Wars -- What The Soldiers Got, published in the Perth Courier, December 28, 1916,

Examples of land acreage notations used in this article are:

  • W. ½ 18 in 9th. Burgess North = West ½ Lot 18, 9th Concession of Burgess North Township.
  • 12 in 11th. Drummond = Lot 12 in 11th Concession of Drummond Township.

Please see Notes at the bottom for corrections of some data submitted by Rita Meistrell:

Perth Settlement being formed soon after the termination of the war with the United States and at a time when a great reduction in the army took place, a great many discharged soldiers were induced to settle here. Two thirds of the original population were military men. The privates settled upon their land but most of the officers built houses in the village, and tended not a little by the politeness of their manners to render a residence here desirable.

Canada at this tine was entirely under Military Rule. The office similar to that held by our Governor General, was held by the General who was Commander in Chief of all His Majesty's forces in the Province of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and in the Islands of Cape Breton, Newfoundland and the Bermudas. All the officials were officers or commanders of military posts.

Perth Settlement was under a military Superintendent until 1822; after that date it had Municipal Government. The last Superintendent, D. Davirne, was universally hated, and he was obliged to leave the country on account of his dishonesty.

The day that the rations were served to the soldiers who had taken up land, was a day of high feasting and fighting. The Island used to be called "Little Dublin" in that day, The officers' mess was held in Mr, Adamson's hotel, "The Red House" in the upper story which was in one room. Dinner parties among the officers were numerous and the wine flowed freely. The best remembered was the one given by Colonel Powell for the Duke of Richmond, in an old frame house opposite Mr. McMaster's; this house was torn down about fifteen years ago. The Duke was a heavy drinker and the day after the dinner party died on his way to Bytown, the cause of his death being attributed to hydrophobia from the bite of a tame fox, but people who know said it was from too much wine.

These officers were a pretty peppery lot and several duels were fought, one between a Doctor and a well known Captain. The Captain was invited to some entertainment at the Doctor's but his wife was ignored. On the Captain's mentioning this to the Doctor some hot words ensued, a challenge given and accepted, and the Doctor was shot in the arm. may mention here that the Captain gave the Minister who married him a silk hat as a wedding fee. The minister objected to taking money for performing the ceremony for any one, saying that it was selling the privileges of the gospel, but he could accept presents. At a very early date most of the marriages were performed by Magistrates.

The officers' wives dressed beautifully, and even if they did not go to the numerous dinners, had quite a gay time socially, and adapted themselves to their surroundings as only soldiers' wives can. The ladies would bring their babies, leaving them in one of the dressing-rooms, when they were down stairs dancing.

Perth and the surrounding settlement is commonly supposed to have been settled first by Scotchmen, who were followed afterwards by a liberal sprinkling of English and Irish. Now as a matter of fact, with the exception of the Scotch Line settlers, who were not discharged soldiers, about one-half as far as I can judge, of the original settlers were foreigners.

There were more members of the De Watteville and De Mourons regiments disbanded here, than of all the others. Of course a great many of them only stayed a short tine, perhaps a year or two. They were dissatisfied with farming life and did not like D. Davirne.

These regiments were composed of Swiss, Poles, Belgians, Italians, etc. They had been taken prisoners by the British in the Napoleon wars, and enlisted to fight with the British in the war with the United States. They must also have been promised farms at the close of the war, as the consideration mentioned in the land grant was "Terms of enlistment." The Colonel of the De Wattevilles was Lord De Watteville.

I cannot find that any of the officers settled hereabouts, if they did, they did not stay more than a year. The farms along the Christie Lake road were taken up mostly by De Watteville men, and a number settled in Burgess and Montague. They brought their own chaplain. Rev. Able La Mottie, or LaMott, a Frenchman, who got 800 acres of land. He settled in Burgess in 1817, and a clump of old plum trees near Adam's Lake in 7 in 7th. mark the site where his house stood. He died in Perth in a log house where Mrs. Canton's grocery now is.

A few names of those who remained on their land, and whose descendants live there yet, are:

    • Adam (now Adams) Peter, Private, German, served 2 yrs. 100 days, drew his farm 31st August 1816, S.W. ½ 7 in 8th. Burgess North.
    • Kupper Henry (sometimes Cooper) Private, German, served 3 yrs. 4 days, got E. ½ 16 in 8th. Burgess North., June 22, 1816.
    • Muklor (Mackler) John, Private, a Swiss, served 5 yrs. 28 days, got W. ½ 18 in 9th. Burgess North.
    • Hoffsmith (Smith) George, Private, unmarried, Swiss, served 6 yrs. 47 days, got E. ½ 5 in 3rd. Bathurst in 1816.
    • Stellar, Andreas, Private, Swiss, drew W. ½ 6 in 3rd. Bathurst.
    • Hollinger Jacob, Sergeant, unmarried, served 7 yrs. 21 days, German, got W. ½ l in 6th. Drummond.
    • Penet, Louis, Private, unmarried, served 7 yrs. 21 days, German, got E. ½ 22 in 6th. Bathurst.
    • Publow John, Private, unmarried, served 7 yrs. 21 days, native of Flanders, W. ½ 26 in 7th. Bathurst.
    • Dick, Jacob, Private, Swiss, W. ½ 26 in 7th. Bathurst.
    • Sioisley, (Ciceley) Jacob, Private, Holland, N.E. ½ 18 in 7th. Bathurst.
    • Klein, Pierre, Sergeant, married, served 6 yrs. 278 days, Flanders, got 25 in 6th. Bathurst.

Some of these foreigners married Highland women whom they met when they were at Fort Henry. One of the D'Wattevilles, a Frenchman, married a woman who could not speak anything but Gaelic; they must have made a dialect for themselves. When he was quite an old man he came into a law office in Perth to sign some papers, he could not tell his wife's name; all the name he knew was "wife."

    • Dr. Alexander Thom, a Scotchman, was granted 800 acres in Bathurst, Sherbrooke, Elmsley and the farm N.E. ½ 1 in 1st. Drummond. (Grantville). He had quite a high position, being along with Wm. Stewart and Hervey Grassitt, Surgeon to the Forces. He had quite a large pension and was probably about the richest of any of the officers settled in Perth.
  • Of the Royal Artillery there were four companies of the Fourth Battalion, and one of the Seventh, serving in Canada, Major General Glasgow commanding.
    • Moon, James, Gunner, married, served 1 yr. 8 days, Ireland, drew E. ½ 16 in 1st. Drummond, in 1817.
    • Cullen, Richard, married served 16 yrs. 298 days, Ireland, drew E. ½ 16 in 1st. Drummond in 1817.
    • Hogg, David, married, Scotch, 22 in 2nd. Drummond in 1816.
    • Kumear [sic -- should be Kinnear], David, Lieutenant, married, Irish, got 18 in 11th. Drummond in 1820. Lived in a small stone house between Greenly's corners and the toll gate. Left about 1828 after a hurricane had taken off the roof of his house, and otherwise destroyed it. This house was for years afterwards known as the "haunted house."
  • 104th. Regiment. Colonel Martin Hunter.
    • Playfair, Andrew W., Lieutenant, married, 2 sons under 12 and 1 daughter under 12, England, drew 22 in 12th. Bathurst, 36 in 10th. Drummond and 21 in 7th. Lansdowne, on June 30, 1817.
    • Avery, Joseph, Corporal, Married, Ireland, got E. ½ 14 in 6th. Bathurst, January 30th 1818, authorised to receive land by Commission of Forces.
  • 76th. Regiment. Charles Chowne, Colonel.
    • Balderson, John, Sergeant, married, 1 daughter under 12, served 7 yrs. 73 days, England, drew S.W. ½ in 8th. Drummond.
    • Sache, Charles H. 1 son under 12, England, drew 1 in 9th. and 1 in 10th. Drummond, in 1819.
  • 7th. Fulilliers. (Royal)
    • Prook[sic], William, Staff Sergeant, married, 1 son under 12, England, got 11 in 9th. Burgess North, formerly held by a D'Watteville man for 1 year.
  • 41st. Regiment.
    • Noonan, Dennis, married, 5 children, Ireland, served 10 years, 182 days, got ½ 18 in 3rd. Bathurst.
    • DeWitt, Zephaiz, native of Pennsylvania, Private, served 16 yrs. drew 23 in 4th. Bastard.
  • 49th. Regiment. Hertfordshire.
    • Fraser, Alexander, Captain, married, 29th. Oct. 1816, N. E. ½ 16 in 2nd. Drummond, served 4 yrs.
  • Royal Navy.
    • In 1813 there were two headquarters for Royal Navy, one on Lake Ontario, Commodore, Sir James Lucas, and apparently the one on Lake Champlain was smaller, as it had only a Captain, Daniel Pring, in charge.
    • Consitt, Thomas, Lieutenant, married 7 children, England, drew N.E. ½ 21 in 1st. Bathurst, in 1817. Drew other lots going to Lansdowne, but exchanged them for lots in Burgess. He fought on Nelson's ship at the Battle of the Nile.
    • Bell, Christopher James, Lieutenant, Block 4 in Lot 27 in 2nd. Drummond, in 1822. Lost one of his legs in battle of Plattsburg.
  • 89th. Regiment. (2nd. Battalion.) In 1813 the Earl of Lindsay was Colonel.
    • Budd, Moses, Private, England, drew N.E. ½ 1 in 5th. Drummond, in 1816, on his second return to settlement when he performed his settlement duties.
    • Swan, Samuel, Private, England, unmarried, April 1816, got 19 in 2nd. Bathurst.
  • 103rd. Regiment. Colonel Hon. Sir G.L. Cole, in 1813.
    • Graham, Henry, Lieutenant, married, Ireland, drew 600 acres. Was afterwards taken into the Senate.
    • Powell, James H., Major, married, 3 children, Ireland, drew 1000 acres around Perth in 1818. Father of Sheriff Powell.
    • Young, James, Sergeant, married, 3 children, Scotland, N. E. ½ 24 in 8th. Bathurst.
  • 57th. Regiment.
    • Herbert, Samuel, England, served 5 yrs. 183 days, got 11 in 2nd. Drummond.
  • Naval Artillery.
    • Tysick, Joseph, married, England, 2 children, served 4 yrs. Got N.E. ½ 8 in 5th. Bathurst, in 1817, which had been formerly granted to one of Glengarry Fencibles.
  • 3rd. Royal Guards.
    • Wrathall, Lupton, Private, married, 3 children, served 18 yrs. 92 days, England, N.E. ½ 13 in 5th. Drummond, in 1817.
  • 90th. Regiment. (Perthshire)
    • Maitland, James, Sergeant, Scotland, married, drew land in Montague in 1815 and 1817.
  • 6th. Regiment.
    • Leaver, Peter, Private, served 7 yrs. 107 days, England, unmarried, got 25 in 4th. Bathurst, in 1816.
  • 9th. Regiment.
  • Fidler, Samuel, Private, England, served 7 yrs. 4 days, got 24 in 4th. Bathurst, in 1816.
  • 81st. Regiment.
    • Griffith, Evan, Private, unmarried, served 12 years. Wales, S. W. ½ 12 in 2nd Drummond, in 1816.
  • 68th. Regiment. (Durham)
    • Kirkham, Thomas, Private, married, England, served 7 yrs. 3 days, got N. E. ½ 15 in 2nd. Bathurst, July 1819.
  • 11th. Regiment. (Devon)
    • Mason, John Monk, Ensign, married, Ireland, drew 200 acres in 1819 in Bathurst and Burgess.
  • York Chasseurs.
    • Leonard, Thomas, Sergeant, married, 3 children, Spain, 12 in 10th. Bathurst.
  • 17th. Regiment.
    • Echlin, Thomas, Private, Ireland, located in Bathurst.
  • 19th. Light Dragoons.
    • Truelove, John, Private, served 10 yrs. England, Bathurst.
  • Field Train.
    • Naughte, William, Conductor of Stores, England, established first bake-shop in Town, where Ferrier's shop now stands.
  • Royal New Foundland Fencibles.
      Lelievre, Tito, Captain, 7 children got 800 acres.
  • 4th. Royal Veteran Battalion.
    • Gould, Matthew, Ensign, 6 children, England, 7th. in 8th. Drummond in 1816, among other land.

The Glengarry Fencibles, the Glengarry Regiment, Canadian Fencibles and New Brunswick Fencibles were Regiments raised in Canada. The chief officers were sent from the Old Country, but other officers were residents of Canada. The Canadian Fencibles were almost entirely made up of French Canadians.

  • Glengarry Fencibles.
    • McNiece, James, Sergeant, unmarried, served 9 yrs. 185 days Ireland, W, ½ 10 in 9th. Drummond in 1816.
    • Morris, Thomas, Corporal, served 7 yrs. 28 days, England, N.E. ½ 11 in 4th. Bathurst.
    • McDonnell, Angus, Private, married, Upper Canada, got 12 in 11th. Drummond, in 1817.
  • Canadian Fencibles, Infantry.
    • De Lisle, Benjamin T, Lieutenant, Lower Canadian. 12 in 16 Beckwith, 2 in 4th. Drummond, S. W. ½ 4 in 5th. Leeds, 1817.
    • Freer, Noah, Lieutenant, afterwards became President of the Bank of British North America, 20 in 11th. Drummond 1816, N.E. ½ 20 in 4th. Sherbrooke 1820, 28 & 29 in 5th. Elmsley, 1817.
    • Legary Joseph, Private, served 7 yrs 153 days, Lower Canadian, draw 27 in 10th. Bathurst, 1816.
    • Taylor, Josias, Captain, married, 2 sons under 12, England, 4 lots in Drummond.
    • Grenier, Louis, Private, Lower Canadian, served 7 yrs. 175 days. In 1816 got N. E. ½ 18 in 10th. Elmsley North.
    • Marshall, William, Captain, unmarried, Scotland. Drew in 1816, 670 acres, drew the lot now occupied by J. A. McLaren, Esq., owned by Captain Leslie. Afterwards took charge of land office in Lanark, and located Dalhousie settlers.
    • Matheson, William, (Bill of all trades) Sergeant, unmarried, served 9 yrs. 229 days. Born in United States. S. W. ½ 19 in 1st. Drummond, 1816.
  • New Brunswick Fencibles.
    • Fraser, Alexander, Lieutenant, married, 1 daughter under 12, Scotland, in 1816 got 7 in 10th. and 1818, W. ½ 6 in 1st. Drummond.
  • Glengarry Light Infantry, Fencible Regiment.
    • McMillan, Alexander, Captain, unmarried Scotland, got 1025 acres.
    • Adamson, John, Sergeant, married, Scotland, in 1817 got 25 acres in Town.
    • Blair, William, Lieutenant, married, Scotland, got 23 in 3rd. Bathurst.
    • Leslie, Anthony, Lieutenant.
    • Horrax (Horricks) William, served 9 yrs. 62 days, England, got E. ½ 12 in 9th. Drummond, in 1816.
    • McNamee, Patrick, married, one child, served 9 yrs. 106 days, Ireland, got land in Burgess.
    • Matheson, Roderick, Lieutenant, was also Paymaster, got 825 acres.
    • Paymaster - Anthony Leslie.
    • Ensign - William Blair.
    • Quarter Master - John Watson.
    • Quigley, James, Sergeant, married, Ireland, served 3 yrs. 8 days, in 1816 got S.W. ½ 24 in 2nd. Burgess.

Numbers of these officers served in the Militia the time of the Rebellion of 1837, and they were well fitted to train the troops, and they got their ranks as officers raised.


76th. Regiment.

This Regiment returned from Nova Scotia October 20th. 1842. It served in Ireland during the Rebellion in 1798, including the battle of Ballynamuck on September 8th against the French. Was present at the capture of the Cape of Good Hope in 1806. Proceeded from thence to South America, and was present at the battle previous to the surrender of Buenos Ayres, and at two engagements before its re-capture by the Spaniards. Was present at the Peninsular War from 1808 to 1814, and during that time served in the following engagements: Badajoz, Toulouse, Corunna, Passage of the Douro and many of minor importance.

41st. Regiment.

In 1793 the slaves of the Island of Granada, assisted by the French from Guadeloupe, having revolted and murdered the Governor and upwards of 40 of the principal inhabitants, this Regiment was employed in quelling the Insurrection. In January 1797, it was sent to the expedition against Trinidad, and was present at the destruction of the Spanish ships of war, and at the surrender of the Island. In 1799 it proceeded with the expedition against the Dutch Settlement of Surinam, and was present at the surrender of the Colony. It was also present in 1801, at the conquest of the Danish and Swedish Islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. Martins and St. Bartholomew.

49th. Regiment.

This Company served in Holland in 1794 and 95 and afterwards went with an expedition to Egypt. In 1801 it was present at the surrender of Cairo and Alexandria.

89th. Regiment.

Served in Lord Howe's action in 1794, at the blockage of Malta and surrender of Valletta. In 1800 proceeded with Sir Ralph Abercromby's expedition to Egypt, and was present with the army in Spain and Portugal in 1810 and 1811.

89th. Regiment.

Served throughout the whole of the Peninsular War. Was present in battles of Corunna, Passage of the Douro, Torres Wedras and many others. Also served in engagement of 1815.

7th. Royal Fusiliers.

Accompanied the expedition to the West Indies, and was present at capture of Demarara, Berbice and the Essequibo in 1796. In 1799 proceeded to Holland and was present in several engagements. From thence went to the Baltic, and in 1807 was present at the capture of the Danish Fleet and the surrender of Copenhagen, and in 1809 was present in several engagements. Joined the forces against New Orleans and was present at the assault of the lines before that peace. Went with army to Belgium in 1815 and was present at the capture of Paris.

3rd. Royal Guards.

Served in Ireland during the Rebellion of 1798, and up to the year 1816 was present in several minor engagements.

6th. Regiment.

This Regiment served in the first American war from 1777 until its termination in 1783. Was present also at the capture of Forts Montgomery and Clinton. Returned to Europe in 1793 and saw much active service during those stirring times.

81st. Regiment.

Served at the siege of Copenhagen in 1807, and in the expedition to Sweden in 1808. Subsequently went to Portugal, Spain, and was present at the battle of Corunna. Joined expedition to Walchesren and siege of Flushing, in 1809, and was present in the Peninsular War.

NB: Statement #1- re: DeWatteville and DeMeuron Regiments - "These regiments were composed of Swiss, Poles, Belgians, Italians, etc. They had been taken prisoners by the British in the Napoleon wars, and enlisted to fight with the British in the war with the United States. "
Correction #1 - The DeMeuron Regiment was originally formed in 1781 in service of the Dutch East India Company. The DeWatteville Regiment was formed in 1801 by the British and was composed of Swiss mercenary soldiers to fight against Napolean in the Mediterranean. Prisoners captured in 1806, 1809, and 1810 were given the choice to volunteer in the regiment to fight Napolean rather than remain prisoners.
From DeWatteville Regimental history:
"In the course of the Months August & September, 318 Swiss Germans & Poles from the Deserters & Prisoners made at Maida, volunteered into the Regiment de Wattville and were regularly enisted by special Authority."

1809 "On the 19th August, 92 Germans from the Prisoners of War made at Ishia and Procila, volunteered in the Regiment and were regularly enlisted by Special Orders from Lt General Sir John Stuart."

The regiment set sail from Spain for Canada in April 1813. They then were deployed to fight the United States. In 1816 both regiments were disbanded. Soldiers were given the choice of land or passage back to Europe.

Sources for Correction #1:
quotes from the regimental history, I extracted from Microfilm reel MG13-WO25 B-5513 (Library and Archives of Canada).
Also from that history:
"On April 5, 1813 the whole regiment embarked at Cadiz and sailed for America on the 6th. The convoy arrived and anchored in Halifax harbour on the 18th May, sailed from Halifax on the 22nd and arrived at Quebec on the 6th June. The Regiment were on the same day removed from the transports on board small vessels and sailed for Montreal where they arrived on the 15th they landed and were quartered in the town. On the 16th the Regiment received the order to proceed to Kingston, by divisions, each of two companies. The first division marched on the 17th. In the first days of July, 10 companies of the regiment were quartered at Kingston and two companies under command of Colonel May at Prescot."

DeMeuron regiment info:
War of 1812 - Red River Redcoats/Lord Selkirk

Statement#2 -
Hollinger Jacob, Sergeant, unmarried, served 7 yrs. 21 days, German, got W. ½ l in 6th. Drummond.
Correction #2- Jacob Hollinger was married and had one son when he arrived with the regiment. He later had 8 more children in Canada. He was Swiss. He served in the DeWatteville Regiment from May 1, 1801 to June 2, 1816 - a period of 15 years and 32 days. As a sergeant he received 200 acres of land : 100 acres - Lot 1, Conc 6 in Drummond and 100 acres - Lot 28 Conc 5 in Oxford Twp (Grenville Co)

Sources for Correction#2:
Transactions of land grants (taken from Lanark Co rootsweb site)
Ref: National Archives of Canada
MG9 D8-27 Vol Reel C-4651
263.Jacob Hollinger, Srg, de Watteville, 1 adult male and 1 adult female, 1 male under 12 and 1 female under 12, years of service 15-32 country Switzerland, located June 29, 1816, Drummond, C6 W1 and July 31, 1817, Oxford 5, R28, SDP. NOTE: On page 37, written sideways on the page is the following NOTE: Rachel, daughter of Jacob Hollinger, de Watteville Reg., born Jan? 27, 1818.

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Perth, the Capital of the District of Dalhousie; from the N-East bank of the River Tay - painting by Thomas Burrowes, 1828, Archives of Ontario, I0002141

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