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Relatively little is known about Alexander Campbell, the youngest of Ontario's founding brothers. The youthful assemblyman took the oath and was sworn in as the Assemblyman for Dundas County on September 17, 1792. Whatever their contributions were in the Legislative Assembly were relatively little about them is documented. Nevertheless, these first members were individuals of importance in their communities and they were kept well informed by government officials regarding petitions and requests for land coming from residents within their ridings. Their input and often approval were usually sought before decisions were made to accept or reject the petitioners' pleas.

Such was the case with a petition from a group of settlers in Dundas County, whose members wished to lease a spot "with the benefit of a stream and six acres of ground" near the rear of New Johnstown (Cornwall). The petitioners proposed damming up the stream so that a mill could be constructed. In return for this property they promised to take timber from any inhabitant to

In Their Own Words
"saw at ye halves and grind their grist at all times the water will admit."

Prior to deciding on their petition, the Executive Council instructed the clerk to send an extract of the minutes to Alexander Campbell for his comments. As a result of Campbell's "report being favourable" the lease was approved. This was a relatively rare occurrence for the government did not usually approve such requests because dams interfered with fishing which benefited the whole community.

Alexander Campbell was born in New York. Following the outbreak of the Revolution, a Loyalist corps called the King's Loyal Americans or Jessup's Rangers was formed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ebenezer Jessup, whose family motto was Excelsior: Fidelis ad Rex et Lex [Higher still: Faithful to King and Law].

Campbell, who was a farmer like most of Jessup's Rangers, was also Deputy Commissioner of Musters and in this capacity he mustered the provincial corps at Skenesborough on July 23rd, 1777. Campbell was commissioned a lieutenant on November 28th, 1781 and served in the corps for six and a half years. Plans had been made during the Revolutionary War for the settlement of Loyalist refugees in Canada. When Jessup's corps was disbanded on December 24, 1783, Campbell retired on half-pay and settled with a number of other disbanded troops in Township No. 7 (Augusta), one of several townships on the upper stretches of the St.Lawrence River "where the land is fertile and the climate better than at Montreal."

Governor Haldimand received instructions from Lord North in London to ensure the "contiguous settlement of Officers and Privates of the various disbanded Corps," so as to ensure the strength and security to the settlements. Officers like Campbell were expected to provide leadership and take a leading part in communities "composed of men who were accustomed to their leadership." Settlements of former soldiers were advantageous agriculturally because of their industry and important militarily as a barrier against possible attacks from the rebel colonies.

In company with other Loyalist Rangers, Campbell set off for the new settlements in May of 1784, arriving at Augusta in June. They were to all intents and purposes the first pioneers in the region. Under Lord Haldimand's plan for the allotment of land, Campbell as a subaltern or junior officer received 500 acres. As soon as the settlers arrived at their townships the work of allotting land began. Some officers thought their rank should entitle them to the choicest locations, but Haldimand would not hear of it. Despite their objections Haldimand ordered that officers would have to select their properties by lot as did all soldiers. It was, he said, the only fair way. Instructions were read, oaths were administered and applicants signed their names in a book. After lots had been drawn, they received their location certificates or tickets specifying the numbers of their lots. If the land was settled after twelve months, a regular grant was to be given.

During the summer plots of land were cleared and rough log dwellings erected by the settlers working cooperatively. The dwellings were small, the largest not more than 15 by 20 feet, built of round logs notched at the corners and laid one upon the other to a height of seven or eight feet. The spaces between the logs were chinked with small pieces of wood, then daubed with clay. An opening was cut for one door and a window. The roof was made of elm bark and the floor of split logs. The hearth was made of flat stones. The chimney was constructed of field stones and clay as high as the walls. The top of the chimney was made of small round sticks plastered with clay.

As a loyal half-pay Ranger, Campbell received 4 shillings 8 pence per day. The troops and other Loyalists who settled in Township No. 7 (Augusta), were mustered on 12th October, 1784, at which time they totalled 124 adults: 82 men, 42 women, and 90 children. As of that date, the settlers had cleared 124 acres of land. By 1788 a school house had been constructed which was officially recognized in 1790.

Like most members of the Assembly, Campbell held a variety of offices including that of justice of the peace, the earliest such appointment being made in August of 1784 "to avoid confusion and disorder." In addition in 1795 Campbell received a commission as registrar for the Eastern District. He was responsible for ensuring that all deeds and other encumbrances affecting property within the province were registered.

Lieutenant Alexander Campbell and others petitioned for a specific piece of land on July 8, 1796. Their request was referred to the surveyor general "to be carried into execution if consistent with the general regulation." Whether it was or not was not indicated. Campbell died in 1834.


Lieutenant Jeremiah French was born at Stratford, Connecticut July 8, 1743 and died at Maple Grove, Ontario December 5, 1820. In 1762 he married Elizabeth Wheeler and settled at Manchester, Vermont, then known as the New Hampshire Grants, in 1764. Here he was a town clerk, a select man and a constable for the Town of Manchester. Jeremiah French, a United Empire Loyalist from Vermont. At the beginning of the American Revolution he remained loyal to the Crown and enlisted in the Queen’s Loyal Rangers, July 5, 1777. His lands in Manchester, Vermont were confiscated and he was put on a list of proscribed people.

French served during the Revolutionary War under General John Burgoyne as a lieutenant in the King's Royal Regiment at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. Jeremiah French fought at the Battle of Bennington and was taken prisoner August 16, 1777. Captain Justus Sherwood arranged a prisoner exchange in 1779. He resigned his commission in the Queen’s Loyal Rangers after facing charges of corruption of which he was cleared. He joined the Second Battalion of the King’s Royal Regiment of New York as a Lieutenant, November 18, 1781. After the conflict was over, he received a 2400 acre Loyalist grant at Maple Grove near Cornwall, Ontario. Later he served as half-pay captain in French Peter's Corps of Rangers.

French was one of the commissioners appointed by an act of the Imperial Parliament to inquire into the losses of American Loyalists. He along with two other commissioners approved a grant of land of 3800 acres for Major Jessup in 1790. French himself owned some 3800 acres in the district of Luneburg (Lunenburgh).

Jeremiah French was the first Member of the First Ontario Legislature for Stormont and one of the founders of Trinity Anglican Church. He was appointed a magistrate for the Eastern District in Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1792. He built a house on his grant at Maple Grove and his son-in-law George Robertson later added to it. His house was moved to Upper Canada Village during the construction of the Seaway. Today it is known as the Robertson House since the management of the Village has de-emphasized the Village’s Loyalist heritage. Today two of his original pre-revolutionary houses still stand in Manchester. His red Yorker Loyalist uniform is part of a Loyalist display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. He died in 1805 at the age of 62.

Loyalist Day was celebrated in a big way in Cornwall, Ontario. The Recreated King’s Royal Regiment of New York, Trinity (Bishop Strachan Memorial) Anglican Church and Sir Guy Carleton and St. Lawrence Branches joined together in a church service and in a ceremony to dedicate a new tombstone to honour the memory of Loyalist Jeremiah French. In 2004, Shaun Wallace searched Maple Grove Cemetery and found the original marker for Jeremiah French lying in pieces half buried in the ground. Previously Merle and Diana French had uncovered it. Shaun approached Gavin Watt, Commander of the KRRNY and Carol Goddard, President of St. Lawrence Branch and asked for their support for this project. He then asked George Anderson if he would back the restoration and bring in Sir Guy Carleton Branch.


Peter Van Alstine was elected at a bye-election for the riding of Prince Edward and Adolphustown to replace Philip Dorland, a Quaker, who had refused to take the oath and therefore was declared ineligible to take his seat in the Assembly. Van Alstine organized the immigration of Quakers into the Bay of Quinte district. He served as a major in a Loyalist regiment and was among the last of those who left New York when the city was evacuated by Sir Guy Carleton in November, 1783. Van Alstine wintered at Sorel, the concentration point for Loyalists, from where in 1784 he led a disbanded army unit to Adolphustown along the Bay of Quinte.

In 1793 Van Alstine petitioned for and received a grant of four hundred acres at Marysburg near where he erected a mill. In recognition of his military and local leadership, Van Alstine was granted the ultimate honour by Simcoe when he was appointed Lieutenant of Prince Edward County. He received the Governor's approbation for the quality of the men he selected as officers and for his various military activities, including forming a militia force of light infantry. Van Alstine died in 1828.

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