|Vittoria Baptist Cemetery, Charlotteville, Norfolk, Ontario|
|Site of Charlotteville at Longpoint,|
Watercolour by Elizabeth Simcoe,
Archives of Ontario
Settlement on the north shore of Lake Erie near Turkey Point and Long Point began in 1793, although a few pioneers may have arrived earlier. In 1795, the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe, visited the region and was favourably impressed:
The country is thickly timbered, the chief trees being oak, beach, 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 of cliffs 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 harbour sand [Long Point] encloses a safe and commodious harbour. The view from the high bank is magnificent. Altogether, the place presents a combination of natural beauty but seldom found.In 1792, Simcoe had issued a proclamation "to such as are desirous to settle on the lands of the crown in the Province of Upper Canada" offering grants of land to any who would cultivate the land and would swear an oath of loyalty to the King. Many such immigrants came to the Long Point Settlement.
|Vittoria Baptist Church|
Abigail Barber (1758-1804)
It is not clear why Abigail was buried at Vittoria Baptist. It is known that her daughter Jane (1784-1820) married William Smith (1777-1823), son of Abraham Smith of Charlotteville Township, about the time of Abigail's death, so it is quite possible that Abigail was living with her daughter when she died.
Solomon Austin (1744-1826)
Little of the above, however, has been verified by primary sources. The preponderance of evidence suggests that Austin was born in Baltimore Country, Maryland, and settled in Orange County in the early 1770's. At the start of the American Revolution he likely joined a local Loyalist militia unit. In his 1795 petition to receive land in Upper Canada, he states that he was taken prisoner at the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge on 27 Feb 1776. Most of these prisoners were paroled shortly afterwards.
The Battle of the Horseshoe was a minor engagement fought by the Queen's Rangers on 6 Jun 1781 in Colleton County, South Carolina. Austin, however, does not appear on the rosters of the Queen's Rangers during this period. It is possible that he served as a scout for Simcoe. Austin's 1795 petition is annotated with the words, "This man was in action with the Governor [Simcoe] and obtained his verbal permission to go to Patterson's Creek." But if Simcoe was familiar with Austin due to his heroic actions at the Battle of the Horseshoe, why is there no mention of the battle in Austin's petitions?
Austin married Joanna Thomas, daughter of Owen Thomas who died in 1769. Austin's land in Orange County was adjacent to Owen Thomas's.
After the war Austin's property and chattels were seized by North Carolina. Austin remained in North Carolina until 1794 when he brought his family to Newark (Niagara on the Lake) in Upper Canada. The following year he settled on Lynn Creek (formerly Patterson's Creek) in Norfolk County.
During the War of 1812, three of Austin's sons served with the 2nd Norfolk Militia. Elements of the 2nd Norfolk saw action at Lundy's Lane and Malcolm Mills.
Titus Finch (1756-1834)
|Titus Finch 1756-1834|
In Pioneer Sketches of Long Point Settlement, published in 1898, author E. A. Owen claims that Finch was a British soldier who came to North American with his regiment during the Revolution. He further claims that Finch's wife, Nancy, was the widow of a friend of Finch's who died on the voyage. Robert Mutrie, author of The Long Point Settlers, calls this "a fanciful story." Finch was most likely born in the American colonies since he joined a Loyalist Corps: the Prince of Wales American Regiment.
In 1806 he signed a petition of Loyalist officers and soldiers who came from New Brunswick to Upper Canada requesting a grant of lands and their names be added to the United Empire list.
According to his gravestone, Titus Finch died on 14 Sep 1824 at the age of 78. His wife Nancy died exactly one year later at the age of 68. Mutrie provides evidence, however, that Titus did not die in 1824, but nearly a decade later on 12 Apr 1834.
At the start of the War of 1812 Titus Finch's son George was a private in the 2nd Flank Company of the 1st Regiment of Norfolk Militia. When the Flank Companies were dissolved he continued as a private with the Regiment. Titus's son Thomas was a sergeant in 1814 in the 1st Regiment, while his sons Titus and William were privates.
Abraham Smith (1727-1809)
Abraham Smith's story is best told through his own words as were recorded in his 1797 Upper Canada Land Petition:
That Your Petitioner is a native of the Province of New York in North America and having always been most Strongly attached to the Crown & Government of Great Britain Suffered much and lost by an act of Confiscation on account of his Loyalty a valuable Landed property in the said Province of New York Containing Eleven hundred & thirteen acres with a Saw Mill and other valuable Improvements thereon.Abraham Smith was born about 1729. He married first, Hannah Finn, who died in 1767, and second, Rachel Decker (1750-1831). He settled in Minisink, Orange, New York in 1771. During the American Revolution, Abraham's property was confiscated and the family were forced to move to Sussex County, New Jersey. In his Land Petition, Abraham states that he arrived in Upper Canada in 1786. According to family tradition, he had to be smuggled out of New Jersey in a wooden box. Abraham initially settled in Bertie Township, Welland Country near Fort Erie. In 1794 he moved his family to the Long Point Settlement and settled on Young's Creek northwest of Vittoria.
That Your Petitioner in the time of the late American Rebellion was taken up and Confined in the American Provost Guard for three weeks thirteen days, of which time Your Petitioner was loaded with heavy Irons and at another time though before that last Mentioned, Your Petitioner was Imprisoned for the space of three Months part of which time your Petitioner was confined on board a Prison Ship in the North River.
That the Charge Exhibited against your Petitioner and for which he Suffered as aforesaid, was Concealing and assisting Loyalists to proceed to Niagara.
That Your Petitioner arrived in this Province in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty six, and brought with him a wife and Nine Children vizt Five Sons and four Daughters and since the arrival of your Petitioner in this Province, it has pleased Divine Providence to favour him with one Son and one Daughter more.
Three of Abraham's six sons served during the War of 1812 with the 1st Norfolk Militia. Of his eleven children, eight of them are buried at Vittoria Baptist.
Robert Shearer (1772-1832)
Robert Shearer was another late Loyalist. He was born in Sussex County, New Jersey in 1772, the son of John Shearer. John was a Loyalist who was jailed during the American Revolution and died in prison. Some details of this time were included in a certificate included in the Robert's 1797 Upper Canada Land Petition:
I Do hereby Certifie that in the late war between the Crown of Great Brittian and the States of America the beraer Robert Sherer was an Infant and that his father John Sheraer was a Loyalist and that on the acount of which he was prosecuted and Confined in prison and then he was Confined until his Death and his family So Distressed by that means that his widow was obliged to bind out her children of which the Bareier is one and the whole family ware all Ruined and Distressed among other people Certified by John Moore
Robert had a sister, Rachel Shearer (1775-1841), who remained in New Jersey, but after the death of her husband John Dolan (1783-1810) came to the Long Point Settlement with her son Michael (1803-1882) and her four daughters.
John Havens (1770-1806)
John's wife was Charity Smith (1772-1831). His will, dated 28 Apr 1806, named four children: William, Abraham, Robert, and Hannah. A second daughter, Lydia, was born on 7 Jun 1806, almost a month after the death of her father. Charity later married Levi Churchill.
Oliver Mabee (1773-1854)
|Oliver Mabee (1773-1854|
and Mary Smith (1775-1844)
Oliver's father remained loyal to the Crown during the American Revolution. In 1781, Frederick brought his family to British occupied New York City. In 1783 when the British evacuated New York City, Frederick and his family sailed as part of the "October Fleet" on the Sally to the Saint John River Valley in what is now New Brunswick.
Frederick settled first in the town of Carleton but later moved to Queensbury, York County on the Saint John River west of Fredericton. Not satisfied with the quality of the land, Frederick sold his property and moved his family to Upper Canada in 1792.
Frederick arrived at Long Point Bay in the spring of 1793, having overwintered at Quebec, and began to clear land on Turkey Point. Regrettably, he died the following year.
Oliver, who was nineteen when he arrived at the Long Point Settlement, married Mary Smith (1775-1844), another daughter of Abraham Smith. In Oliver's 1797 Upper Canada Land Petition he stated that he had received 200 acres of land, but was requesting an additional grant. The request was denied. During the War of 1812 he rose to the rank of Captain in the 1st Regiment, Norfolk Militia. After Mary’s death in 1844, Oliver married Rachel Shearer, the widow of Robert Shearer.
|Map of Norfolk County, Ontario|
Owen, E. A., Pioneer Sketches of Long Point Settlement, Toronto: William Briggs. 1898
Tasker, L. H., The United Empire Loyalist Settlement at Long Point, Lake Erie, Toronto: William Briggs, 1900
Mutrie, R. Robert, The Long Point Settlers, Ridgeway, Ontario: Log Cabin Publishing, 1992.
Mutrie, R. Robert, The Long Point Settlers
Harold Austin Steiner, The Solomon Austin Story: The Early Years Revisited, Austin Families Association of America, 1997
Mabee, Dr. Oliver R., “The Ancestry and Hardships of Frederick Mabee,” Ontario Historical Society, Papers and Records, 1927, Vol. 24, p.439-442,
Charlton, John, M. P., "Some of the Norfolk Pioneers, Jonathan Austin, Esq. and His Father and Grandfather," The Simcoe Reformer, Thursday, August 9, 1900.