Sunday, November 8, 2009

1812, Some men, Some Women and One Lemon

On Thursday I took a minute to reread the names of the captains whose names appeared at the top of the militia muster list for the 2nd Lincoln Regiment, 1812. Askins, Burch, Cooper, Hamilton, Macklem, Rowe, Tourney, to name a few. Most of these names can be found in the 2009 phone book. I like to think that some of the families are still in the area. Unfortunately, Tourney and one other captain, (I’ve forgotten which one now that I am home and the list is no longer in front of me), were killed at Chippewa. Chippewa was the scene of terrible carnage for this regiment.

When I first read that Laura Secord went to the Queenston Heights battlefield to find her husband after the fighting ended I was quite astounded at her courage. I’ve since learned that she was not the only woman who did that during the War of 1812. It stands to reason that if the women lived in the area, they would have gone to find their husbands and sons. I imagine that the battlefield at Chippewa was the site of a terrible grief. So many men were lost.

If we lived in a society that better funded the arts I would suggest a sculpture of a group of searching women be erected in one of the battlefields.

The idea of a militia intrigues me. I am not a historian and I know nothing about the military, but if it happened in Niagara I’m interested. I gather when war was declared all of the able bodied men in the area had to show up. I was surprised at the number of men in the 2nd Lincoln who were incarcerated by the British at Fort George because they refused to take the oath of allegiance.

So who were these men? It isn’t likely too many of them were refusing to fight on religious grounds as there were evidently provisions made for the Quakers and Mennonites.

I wonder how many of them were Americans who came here after the American War of Independence ended. The government of Upper Canada wanted more settlers and offered an excellent incentive, i.e., cheap land. I’m guessing a lot of Americans loaded up the old family covered wagon and made the long trek north never thinking that they would one day be expected to fight against their former neighbours.

Unfortunately the list doesn’t say what happened to these fellows.

I think I’ll end with a comment about names. The vast majority of the men had names that are still popular today: John, David, William, Samuel, Jacob, etc. However there were some more unusual names such as Ebenezer, Horatio, Chauncey, Obadiah and Phineas. There was one poor soul whose first name I can only hope was the result of a scribing error. His first name was Lemon.

This is the third of eight ‘7th Decade Girl’ blogs. For many people, the 7th decade of life seems to be a time of great business. It is often a time to give back to the community by doing volunteer work. But retirement doesn’t always start out that way. Leaving the teaching profession was a devastating experience for me. I went from being a ‘very important person’ in the lives of at least 30 people to someone even I didn’t recognize as having much to give anymore. I suppose this blog is as much about me finding my way again as it is about the amazing world I’ve discovered.
Till next time,
Francie
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