PostHeaderIconThe Shavers of Ancaster and the War of 1812, Part 9

Submitted by admin on Thu, 2014-07-31 07:27 Militia Land Grants and Other Grants

In 1820, Militia Land Grants became available for a select group of Upper Canadian War of 1812 veterans. By their terms of enlistment, the men who had served in Flank Companies were entitled to a land grant the size of which was dependent on their rank in those companies. Privates were entitled to 100 acres. Members of the regular militia companies were not entitled to this land grant. Other regiments and corps were entitled to the same grants by the terms of their enlistment. Some men were still claiming grants in 1850 but by that time most were receiving money in lieu of land.

The Ontario Archives has a microfilmed register of these Militia Land Grants on Microfilm 693, Reel 140, Volume 132. I visited the archives last year, made a digital copy, and then compiled a name index to the register. I was looking for hundreds of grants so the effort was worthwhile.

John Shaver had volunteered to serve in Captain William Applegarth’s Flank Company and as a private was entitled to a grant of 100 acres. On May 27, 1820, John Shaver, a farmer of Beverly Township and a private in a flank company of the 2nd York, received 100 acres on the east half of Lot 18, Con. 14, Nissouri Township. There was a second transaction recorded in 1823, probably a sale. The register number was 594. Most men were well settled elsewhere, could do little with 100 acres that were too far away to work, and sold their rights to their land grant. The grant and 1823 transaction were probably recorded in the land books.

Wilfred R. Lauber compiled an index to the militia land claims and published it in An Index of the Land Claim Certificates of Upper Canada Militiamen who served in the War of 1812-1814, Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto, 1995. It was taken from RG9 IB4 at the LAC in Ottawa. The claim documents were never microfilmed and if you want to look at a claim you have to travel there and request that document or find some else to do it for you. For some reason the names in Lauber’s book and the Militia Land Grant Register at the Ontario Archives were not always the same.

Some of the militia men who were not entitled to a Militia Land Grant applied for a regular land grant after the war. To prove their good character and loyalty, a small number of these men described how they had served during the War of 1812. My ancestor wrote that he had served in the York Volunteers. It took my cousin about a day in Ottawa to discover that he had served in the 2nd York Militia and to find the payrolls with his name on them. These petitions are now on the LAC website at:

in Collection 21. There is also search engine for these documents at:

In 1875, surviving veterans of the war were entitled to a pension. Peter Bowman Kelly would have been entitled to this pension because he was still alive at the time. Unfortunately the Canadian Government underestimated the number of survivors and only the earliest applicants received this pension. It was a one-time payment. The Hamilton Spectator published an article on the pension and interviews with the recipients on October 4, 1875. I have not been able to find a good image of this article. Eric Jonasson wrote Canadian Veterans of the War of 1812, Wheatfield Press, Winnipeg, 1981. I have heard that it is based on the 1875 pensions but have not been able to get a copy through interlibrary loan as this book is usually filed in the reference section.

The next Blog will be on other resources that can be used to find militia veterans.

Fred Blair