CCHA Report, 7(1939-40), 27-42)

Glengarry's Representatives in the
Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada

PART II- 1812-1841 (1)

W. L. SCOTT, K.C., LL.D.


    Alexander McMartin (1794.1853) represented the County of Glengarry in four Parliaments - the Sixth to the Eighth, both inclusive, and the Tenth - covering, with the exception of one Parliament, a period of thirty-two years, 1812 to 1834. The one term during which he did not sit was from 1824 to 1828. In the general election of 1824, he was defeated by Duncan Cameron. On McMartin's petition, Cameron was unseated, but at a by-election in 1825, McMartin was again defeated. He was, however, elected in 1828.

    McMartin came of good U. E. Loyalist stock. Among the numerous company who came over in the "Pearl," in 1773 and settled in the Mohawk Valley, under the aegis of Sir William Johnson, were two brothers, Malcolm and John McMartin. According to the evidence submitted at the enquiry into the losses of Loyalists, each of these men had nine acres cleared. Malsolm had six cows, a heifer, three calves, a yoke of oxen, four horses, fifteen sheep and six hogs, all of which, besides household furniture, farm utensils and grain, the Rebels appropriated. John's loss was equally great. Both men had large families and both eventually settled in the Township of Charlottenburg, at a place which is still known as Martintown. Those of the next generation proved equally prolific, so that by 1852, as indicated by the Census of that year, there were no less than seventy-two McMartins living, of whom sixty-three were in Charlottenburg.

    Malcolm McMartin had a son, also called Malcolm, who served throughout the war as a Lieutenant in the King's Royal Regiment of New York. He was born in Scotland and must have been a grown man when he came out, for he held in his own right 100 acres of land, under Sir William Johnson, at the usual rental of £ 6. per 100 acres. At the disbanding of the regiment in 1783, he was credited with eight years of service, and must therefore have enlisted when the corps was originally formed, in June, 1776.

    Alexander McMartin, the subject of the present sketch, was a son of the Lieutenant. This is shown conclusively by an order-in-council, dated Nov. 20th, 1809, granting to Alexander 200 acres of land "as a son of Malcolm McMartin, U. E., formerly a Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, Kings Royal Regiment of New York." In 1822, when the Glengarry Militia was organized, Alexander McMartin was given the command of the Third Battalion. In 1818, he was put on the Commission of the Peace for the Eastern District and it may be of interest to quote the recommendation for this appointment, preserved in the Dominion Archives:

"His Excellency Sir Peregrine Maitland K.C.B., Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Upper Canada, Major General Commanding His Majesty's Forces therein, &c. &c. &c,

May it Please your Excellency

We the under signers do beg leave to recommend Alexander McMartin M.P. for the County of Glengarry, to your Excellency as a fit and proper person to be put in the Commission of the Peace for the Eastern District, in addition to the Persons we have already recommended to your Excellency's pleasure.

                                                                                                                                                                                            John Cameron
                                                                                                                                                                                            John Chrysler

York Nov. 21st 1818."

    In 1828, Alexander McMartin, while still a member of the Legislature, was appointed Postmaster at Martintown. The "Independence of Parliament Act" was at that time still in the womb of the future. In 1838, he was appointed Sheriff of the Eastern District, a position that he held until his death. He died at Martintown, on July 15th 1853, in the sixty-second year of his age.

    McMartin was always a leading member of the Presbyterian Church and from a eulogistic obituary in The Presbyterian (Montreal) for September 1853, we learn that he was President of the Bible Society and one of the Commissioners of the Clergy Reserve Fund and that he had been for many years the representative in Synod, as Ruling Elder, of the Congregation of Martintown.


    Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonell (1784-1812) was a son of Alexander Macdonell of Greenfield (1750.1819) who came to Upper Canada, with his family and a number of clansmen, in 1792.

    Of Alexander Macdonell of Greenfield, Mrs. Grant of Laggan wrote as follows :

"A few lingering instances of the old superior Highland dress continued to be seen as late as the end of last (i.e. the eighteenth) century, one of its latest examples being afforded by Macdonell of Greenfield, 'Ceann Tighe' of a cadet house of the Glengarry family, who in the latter part of the last century was celebrated for his handsome person, his courtly address, his exploits as a deer-stalker, and general character as a model of the Highland gentleman living in his time. He is described by several of the old people, by whom he was remembered, as dressed invariably in the Highland garb - a short round 'cota goirid' a bonnet plumed with a tuft of ostrich feathers belted plaid worn over the trews. The house of Greenfield stood in a beautiful romantic situation, near the head of Loch Garry, on a green knoll. (2)

    Upon coming to Canada, Greenfield settled in the Township of Charlottenburg, calling his new home "Greenfield," after the home he had left. In the war of 1812, he commanded the 2nd Battalion Glengarry Militia. While still in Scotland, before the migration of 1773, he married Janet, elder of the two daughters of his namesake Alexander Macdonell of Aberchalder. Lt: Col. John Macdonell, the subject of this sketch, was, therefore, a nephew of his namesake and predecessor in the Legislature, Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonell (Aberchalder). Among the brothers of Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonell (Greenfield) were Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan Macdonell and Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Macdonell, the latter of whom also, as we shall see, represented Glengarry in the Legislature.

    A frequent visitor at the home of Alexander Macdonell of Greenfield was his wife's first cousin, Alexander Macdonell of Collachie, and, as a result, the latter became much impressed with what he conceived to be the exceptional talent and ability of Greenfield's son John. In consequence, he persuaded the young man to accompany him to York, where, on April 6th, 1803, he arranged for his protégé's admission as a student-at-law, his call to the Bar following in Easter term, 1808. John's career at the Bar, though short, was exceptionally brilliant. He rose rapidly in his profession and in 1811, when only twenty-seven, was appointed by Lieutenant-Governor Gore to be Acting Attorney-General of the Province. William Firth had been Attorney-General, but his accounts for unauthorized court attendances had been disallowed by the Board of Audit and his application for leave of absence to go to England, to appeal from this decision, had been refused. He went, nevertheless, and the Lieutenant-Governor suspended him, and informed Lord Liverpool, in a letter dated September 30th, 1811, that "too much care cannot be exercised in choosing a successor to Mr. Firth." On November 26th Gore appointed Macdonell to perform the duties until the pleasure of the Minister in England was known. He was not even, at that time, a member of the Legislature, but this was remedied at the General Election of June 30th, 1812, when he was returned as one of the members for the County of Glengarry, although he had for almost a decade been a resident of the Town of York. Light is thrown upon Macdonell's character by the following letter to the suspended Attorney-General, by Doctor William Warren Baldwin (1775-1844), no friend of Macdonell's, of whom he was plainly jealous:--

"York, 22nd April 1812.

My dear Firth :

    The justice of your observation is fully evidenced by experience that a change of Governor can effect but little change on the manner or deportment of the administration here. General Brock means not, I have no doubt, to follow the system (if system it may be called) of Mr. Gore, but he has still the same advisors, indeed he can have no other, and their influence is strengthened by your absence.

    Mr. Macdonell, the Attorney-General - not pro temper, sed in ample - according to his address to the court and his signature to all public instruments, is such a paragon of excellence that he leaves no virtue, no commendable qualification for others to found pretentions on. He is made Colonel of Militia and Provincial Aid-de-camp to General Brock - the field, the Cabinet, the Forum are all to be the scenes of his renown. His honours rain not upon him - they come in tempests.

    Lest you should charge me with envy, I do assure you I feel none towards him. I can with greatest indifference see him erect his crest and spread his spangled tail in the sunshine, and am only annoyed when I see him in his celestial adoration, forget those around him and set his foot upon them. Since you left here, I bore much of his insolence, however, at the last assizes he used expressions so wanton and ungentlemanly that I appealed to the Ch. J. who seemed to disapprove of his words. Mr. Macdonell repeated them twice afterwards in the course of his reply, without notice by the Ch. J. I could bear no more.

    Lieutenant Taylor of the 41st was fortunately in Court. He is of Lincoln Inn (one of the Inns of Court) and has a great desire to be admitted to the bar here. I communicated to Mr. Taylor my determination of calling on Mr. Macdonall for an explanation. Taylor would have dissuaded me, but perceiving me to be resolved, he confessed he thought me right.

    Accordingly, in the evening I wrote Mr. Macdonell a letter stating the offensive words, and requiring an explanation. He seemed astonished, told Mr. Taylor he did not think he said anything requiring an apology, and said he would get a friend to call upon Mr. Taylor with his answer. This friend was Mr. D. Cameron, who expressed himself much concerned that I should in the first instance have made so peremptory a demand of an explanation as he had no doubt that the misunderstanding might have been settled to our mutual satisfaction without going to this extremity, and that Mr. Macdonell could not now think of making an apology. Mr. Taylor saw that I could not pass it over, that my resolution was fixed, and that it only remained to fix the time and place, as Mr. Macdonell declined an explanation and proposed the following morning. Mr. Cameron assumed that Mr. Macdonell had public duties to perform which he could not omit and requested that it might be postponed until after the assizes.

    Things remained thus for two days. The assizes ended on Thursday and Mr. Cameron called my friend to say that Mr. M. would wait on the Island at six o'clock on the following morning.

    That evening I employed myself in writing to a few friends and to you amongst them and also my will. I went to bed earlier than usual that I might be early awake. I slept but little, as you may suppose; however I arose at break of day and Taylor was with me. I was fortunate to escape all observation of my own family.

    We passed Mr. Cameron's house before we set off. We walked; they passed us across the ice in a sleigh. I stopped at the block house to execute the will in presence of the necessary number of witnesses, and then proceeded to the Island.

    Mr. Cameron and Taylor made their arrangements and then we were placed back to back. I was desired upon the first word to face about; upon the second to fire.

    Upon the word I faced about. The word "fire" followed, but I observed Macdonell in his place with his arm down. I did not fire but held my hand pointed towards him, when Cameron called why I did not fire. Macdonell's pistol still down. Mr. Cameron repeated, "He wants you to fire." I then fired aside. Upon that Mr. Taylor and Mr. Cameron proposed shaking hands and Mr. Cameron came to me with much concern and feeling and said that he lamented that I had brought things to that extremity so suddenly that Mr. Macdonell came to the ground with the determination to receive my fire only. I took this as an acknowledgement of his error. We joined hands and thus the affair ended. He has been sufficiently decorous since then.

    I stayed at home the remainder of the day, but the following, induced by the reconciliation such as it was, I thought my duty to leave no seed of animosity behind and called at Mr. Cameron's for the purpose of seeing him, and that our intercourse on business might not be embarrassed by shyness that might follow a meeting of that nature. Neither have returned my visit which was certainly their duty, but I hope I have done mine an inward satisfaction to myself not to be disturbed by an omission of others. Mr. Taylor, my friend, a man of excellent character, understanding and manner, seems not dissatisfied with the cause he espoused.

    I am sorry to have to inform you that your contingent account is still unadjusted. That with the new audit of all the former suspensions and disallowances made on your account, have been before the board for several days...

    You have no idea of the difficulty of obtaining money here. Our unprincipled and infatuated neighbors seem determined on war. We are at present but ill provided for our defence but all anxiously looking out for the protection of our great and generous parent, whose high disregard of the brawling, Jacobinical and damnable disposition of the American Government ought, and I trust does, strengthen our attachment to her. And let the miseries of war be what they may to us, I do not hear one amongst us say that Great Britain should recind her orders. For my part I hope I shall not see that day. A more unprovoked, immoral, impious and drunken war was never engaged in than this that the Americans are threatening us with.

                                                                                                                                                                                    W. W. Baldwin (3)

    Dr. Baldwin was a highly educated man, who was for many years prominent in the affairs of the Province. He was a graduate in medicine of the University of Edinburgh and was also a member of the Bar of Upper Canada. There cannot, however, be two opinions as to who cut the better figure in the matter of the above duel. Macdonell, as a Catholic, was evidently determined that he would not be guilty of the shedding of blood in a private quarrel.

    He was soon, however, to rally to his Country's call and to shed his own blood in the defence of the Province. Early in August, 1812, upon the breaking out of hostilities, Macdonell joined General Brock and left for the front. The first achievement of the British and Canadian forces was the taking of Detroit, on August 15th, and on the following day General

    Brock issued the following order:

    The Major-General feels himself under much obligation and he requests Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell, Majors Glegg and Givens will be well assured that their zealous exertions have made too deep an impression on his mind ever to be forgotten. (4)

    On August 30th the General wrote the following letter to Lord Liverpool, the British Prime Minister:--

"York, Upper Canada,
30th August 1812.

My Lord

    The very important services which I have derived from John Macdonell, Esq., both in his civil and military capacity, since my assuming the administration of the Government of this Province, induces me earnestly to entreat your Lordship to move His Right Royal Highness, the Prince Regent, to be graciously pleased to confirm his appointment to the office of His Majesty's Attorney-General, in which Lieutenant Governor Gore, upon his departure, nominated him to act.

    Mr. Macdonell stands high in the opinion of those better able to judge of his professional abilities than I am; but his conduct since the commencement of the war, particularly at a time when the invasion of the Province by the enemy, seemed to have intimidated a large portion of the population, was beyond all praise.

    Mr. Macdonell accompanied me to Detroit as my Provincial Aid-de-Camp, in which situation he has afforded me the most important assistance. Indeed I feel so much obliged to him, and considering him in every way worthy of the protection of Your Lordship, that I shall be highly gratified in the success of the present application.

                                                                                                                                                        I have the honour to be

                                                                                                                                                                        My Lord (etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                Isaac Brock
                                                                                                                                                                                M.G. and Presid't" (5)

    But Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell did not live to see the recommendation carried out. On October 13th he fell, with his leader General Brock, charging up the hill at Queenston Heights, and the bodies of both repose in the same tomb.


    John Cameron of Fairfield (1778-1829), who represented the County in the Seventh Parliament, from 1816 to 1820, was of U. E. Loyalist stock.

    The U.E. Loyalist List includes no less than twenty-five Camerons, of whom eleven had served in the Royal Yorkers, two in the 85th, one in Jessup's Corps and one with General Burgoyne; and, of the remaining ten, five were sons of men who had served with the Royal Yorkers. The evidence in support of claims by Loyalist refugees for losses due to the Revolutionary War, affect nine claims by persons named Cameron and of these at least four had come over from Scotland with the party in the "Pearl." By 1852, as shown by the census of that year, there were in Glengarry 401 men of the name of Cameron, distributed as follows:-- Charlottenburg 95, Kenyon 228, Lochiel 43, and Lancaster 35.

    However, there is no doubt whatever that the man who represented the County from 1816 to 1820 was John Cameron of Fairfield, in the Township of Charlottenburg. Fairfield, his home, covered portions of Lots 14 and 15 in Concessions 1 and 2 in the Township of Charlottenburg and included 310 acres; but he disposed, by his will, of over 3.800 acres, some of it scattered all over the Province.

    John Cameron was the son of an older John Cameron (1730-1803). The older man is said to have been known as "the wise" and the younger, the member of the Legislature, as "the rich." John Cameron "the wise" was born at Rannoch, Perthshire, Scotland, and came with his family to the Colony of New York, in 1773, in the "Pearl," settling, as did most of the others of the party, as a tenant of Sir William Johnson. He was one of the party, led by Sir John Johnson, that left Johnstown hurriedly in June, 1776, to escape Colonel Dayton, arriving in Montreal, after nineteen days of inconceivable hardship, just after that city had been evacuated by the Americans. Cameron enlisted as a private in the King's Royal Regiment of New York and served for seven years in that capacity. When he drew his land and established a new home, he called it "Fairfield," said to have been the name of the place in Scotland from which he had come. He was twice married, first to Catharine Seaton, who died in Scotland, and secondly to Elizabeth Ferguson (1745-1827), who was the mother of (among other children) John Cameron "the rich," the subject of this sketch.

    John Cameron "the wise" was an innkeeper in Charlottenburg, at least from 1801 until his death, on September 10th, 1803, and after his death the business was carried on by his widow. The records for the issuing of tavern licenses begin only in 1801 and licenses were issued in his name, in 1801, 1802, 1803 and 1804 and in the name of his widow, Elizabeth Cameron, in 1805 and 1806. Subsequent records have not been searched. The land records show that he acquired, by purchase, a considerable amount of land originally granted to other parties. Some of this, including the site of "Fairfield," was devised by his will to his son John. There is a petition, dated January 24th, 1817, signed by John Cameron and Alexander Cameron, "heirs of the late Deceased John Cameron, Innkeeper, of the said township of Charlottenburg" asking for the cancellation of a patent of the west half of lot number 15 in the second concession of Charlottenburg, one of the lots devised by the will of the M.L.A. It appears that this lot was drawn by one John McIntyre and acquired from him by John Cameron, the innkeeper, but that a patent had, by inadvertence, issued to McIntyre, some years after the latter's death and was therefore a nullity and that, by a "land report," dated September 15th, 1806, the land had been "allowed to the heirs of the said John Cameron or agreeable to his will." Similarly, in a report of the Heir and Devisee Commission 3.17 July, 1820, John and Alexander were allowed the west half of lot fifteen in the 2nd concession of Charlottenburg (one of the properties included in Fairfield) "on terms of the will of their father, dated 24th February 1801."

    John Cameron, the future M.L.A., was born in the Mohawk Country, in 1778. The first mention that we have of him in Canadian records, is a petition, dated May 15th, 1801, asking for a grant of land, he being "the son of John Cameron of Lot Number 17 first Concession of Charlottenburg, a U. E. Loyalist." When the Regiment of Glengarry Militia was organized in 1803, with Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonell (Aberchalder) as Colonel and his brother Hugh, as Lieutenant Colonel, John Cameron (then twentyfive) and his brother-in-law, Jacob Summers, of about the same age, were commissioned as Ensigns. Cameron was, however, later, promoted to a lieutenancy, and served as a Lieutenant in the First Glengarry Flank Company, throughout the War of 1812-15. He married Elizabeth Summers (1775-1821) who predeceased him. She was a daughter of Jacob Summers and his wife, Elizabeth Von Mather. The Summers were German Loyalists, who settled in the Township of Charlottenburg, and gave their name to what is still known as Summerstown. A daughter of John Cameron, the M. L. A., and his wife, Elizabeth Summers, married a son of Alexander McMartin, who was for so long himself a member for Glengarry. Cameron's will is dated December 20th, 1826, and probate of it was granted to two of his sons, John and Andrew, and to his son-in-law, Malcolm McMartin. Cameron and his wife lie buried in Salem Cemetery, beautifully situated on the banks of the St. Lawrence, about nine miles east of Cornwall. The inscription on the tombstone reads as follows:

"Sacred to the Memory of John Cameron Esq. Of Fairfield, who died Aug. 7th 1829, aged 51 years. As the head of the family and elder of the Church of Scotland.

"Sacred to the Memory of Elisabeth Summers, wife of John Cameron Esq. Of Fairfield, who died June 12th 1821 aged 46 years. Much and sincerely lamented by her family and numerous friends.

"As a small token of filial affection this stone was erected by their sons, John Andrew and James. He was a Magistrate and a member of the Provincial Parliament. He was beloved and respected and had justly attained the name of an honest and upright man."

    It is said by his descendants that "Esq.," appearing on the tombstone, was no idle compliment, but that it was "given him by the throne." Assuming the tradition to be founded on fact, it may perhaps be explained upon the further assumption that, in some commission or other document addressed to him and signed by the King (or the Prince Regent) he was referred to as "John Cameron Esquire." Such documents were considered to be a Royal grant of the title Esquire, as well as of whatever the main purport of the document may have been. In a report of the Heir and Devisee Commission dated in 1810, he is designated "Yeoman" and in the report of the same body dated in 1820, already referred to, he is designated "Esquire." He had been elected a Member of the Legislature in 1816, and it was the regular usage to accord "Esquire" to all Members who had not any higher title, so this may be the true explanation of the title. Be this as it may, he was in later life, always known as "Squire Cameron," as was his eldest son after him.

    John A. Cameron, popularly known as "Cariboo Cameron," one of the earliest and most widely known miners of British Columbia, who in a year and a half (1862-1863) realized $150.000. and then withdrew from the Province to enjoy his fortune, was a great grandson of John Cameron "the wise" and consequently a grandnephew of John Cameron, the member, and, in 1863, he purchased Fairfield from its then owner and retired there. It was, however, a case of "easy come easy go" for, ten years later, he returned to British Columbia, his money all spent, and died there, in 1888, penniless. (6)


    Duncan Cameron (1764?-1848) who represented the County from 1824 to 1828, was the son of Alexander Cameron, one of the Camerons of Glen Nevis, and his wife Margaret Macdonell. Duncan was born at Glenmoriston, Invernesshire, Scotland, and came out to New York with his parents in 1773, with the party in the "Pearl." His father took up 100 acres of land under Sir William Johnson, of which twenty acres was cleared and upon which, at the outbreak of hostilities, he had built a house and barn. He had also acquired a horse, 11 hogs, 1 sheep, &c. All of this he abandoned, enlisting as a private in the Royal Yorkers and serving in that corps until the end of the war. (7)

    In 1784, at the age of twenty, Duncan entered the service of the North West Company and was for many years employed in the Nipigon Department. (8) About 1800 he was elected a partner of the Company and was, until 1807, Proprietor in Charge, at Nipigon. From 1807 to 1811 he was stationed at Lake Winnipeg; and from 1811 to 1814, at Rainy Lake. In the latter year, he was placed in charge of the Red River Department, and it consequently fell to his lot to deal with the situation created by the establishment of the Selkirk colony, in charge of Miles Macdonell (Scotus). In April, 1816, in the attack on Fort Gibraltar by the Hudson's Bay Company, he was taken prisoner and sent for trial to England, via Hudson Bay. Having been subsequently released, he recovered damages from the Hudson's Bay Company, for false imprisonment. He returned to Canada about 1820, settled down at Williamstown, and was elected as one of the members for Glengarry, in the General Elections of 1824. He was unseated, at the suit of Alexander McMartin, the defeated candidate, but at a by-election, in 1825, he was again elected, serving until the end of the Parliament, in 1828. Whether or not he stood for re-election does not appear, but if so, he was defeated by his former opponent, who, with Col. Alexander Fraser, represented the County in the Tenth and Eleventh Parliaments.

    In 1820, upon his return from England, he married Margaret, daughter of Captain McLeod of Hamer, and had by her several children. One of his sons, later, became Sir Roderick W. Cameron, who established a shipping line between New York and Australia. (9) Duncan Cameron died at Williamstown, on May 15th, 1848. His Nipigon Journal and Sketch of the customs of the natives of the Nipigon country have been printed in L. R. Masson, Les bourgeois de la Cie du Nord-Ouest (2nd Series, Quebec, 1890).


    Alexander Fraser (1786.1853), who represented Glengarry in the Tenth and Eleventh Parliaments, from 1828 to 1834, was born at Glendomore, near Fort Augustus, Scotland, on January 18th, 1786, his family being from Stratherrick. He came to Canada, with his parents and brothers and sisters, in the early years of the nineteenth century, the family settling in the Township of Charlottenburg.

    Alexander and his brother Paul fought as officers in the Canadian Fencible Regiment, in the war of 1812-1815, Alexander being quartermaster of the regiment; and he remained connected with that corps, until its disbanding in 1816. In 1822, he was placed in command of the 1st (Charlottenburg) Regiment, Glengarry Militia, retaining the command until his death, thirty years later. It is stated in a pamphlet entitled, Early history of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders, by Major General Sir A. C. Macdonell, printed at Kingston in 1922, that on January 15th, 1838, Sir John Colbourne wrote to Cols. D. G. Macdonell and A. Fraser, asking each to organize a battalion for five or eight months general service and that Col. Fraser's Battalion was stationed at St. Philippe, in the County of Laprairie. The pamphlet continues:

"At the inspection of the Charlottenburg Regiment by Sir John Colbourne and his staff, one of the men, Lewis Grant, who stood 6 feet 7 inches, carried a brass three pound field piece on his shoulder when this Regiment marched past"

and another account adds that Grant saluted with the piece, when passing the saluting point.

The following letters, relating to this period, may be of interest:--


                                                                                                                                                                                    Fraser Field

                                                                                                                                                                                    Glengarry, 7th July, 1838.


    I have to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 2nd inst., and in reply beg to state that the 1st Regt., Glengarry Militia can be depended upon and ready on the shortest notice to proceed to any part of the Province wherever their services may be deemed necessary by Her Majesty's Government; the return of the arms and accoutrements in the possession of the Battn shall be transmitted to you in a few days.

                                                                                                                            I have the honour to be &c.

                                                                                                                                        Alexander Fraser, Col.

                                                                                                                                        Comdg 1st Regt. G. M. (10)


Cornwall, 29th October, 1838.

My dear Colonel,

    You will immediately call out 600 men of your battalion detaching two companies of 100 each to Lancaster, two to Coteau au Lac, and two in reserve at Williamstown, you had better take your field Piece to Lancaster and in case of any alarm or landing you will fire three rounds as a signal for all to turn out. I have directed rations to be provided for you by tomorrow - serve out all the ammunition you have, and detain all suspicious persons who may land and let me see you as soon as possible.

                                                                                            Yours very truly

                                                                                                                                                    C. B. Turner

                                                                                                                                                    Col. Comdg E. D. (11)

19th Novr., 1838.

"His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor likewise has much pleasure in congratulating Colonel Carmichael, particular service, and the local and gallant Glengarry Militia regiments, under Colonels McDonell, Fraser, Chisholm, and McDonell, whose ready aid in moving into the Lower Province mainly contributed to the recapture of the Henry Brougham, and has earned for them the approbation of the Commander of the forces." (12)

CORNWALL, 20 minutes to 10 A.M.,

22nd November, 1838.

My dear Colonel,

    I wish to see you in here as soon as possible. I fancy some very important information has come to light regarding the American Government. Two regiments of Glengarrys are immediately to be stationed in this town. In haste

                                                                                                            Yours very faithfully,

                                                                                                                                            C. B. Turner

                                                                                                                                             Colonel Com'g.

To Colonel Fraser, 1st Glengarry Militia. (13)

    Colonel Carmichael, who had seen so much of the Charlottenburg Regiment during its several periods of service, was presented with an address by its officers on his removal to Prescott. His reply was as follows:

PRESCOTT, May 24, 1839.


    I beg you will accept my very best thanks for the address you were pleased to present to me at Lancaster on my way to this District.

    During the time I have been employed amongst you your zeal and good conduct could not have been surpassed, and there cannot be a stronger proof of your attention to your duty than my not having had a single complaint from any of the men who served in the Fifth Provisional Battalion last winter.

    That you may long enjoy the confidence and support of your loyal and brave countrymen to uphold the reputation of Glengarry is my sincere wish. Agus creidiruh gu brath, gu mi ur caraid dileas.

                                                                                                                                                        L. Carmichael, Col. P.S.

Col. the Hon'ble Alexander Fraser and officers of the 1st Regiment of Glengarry Militia. (14)

    On the return of Colonels Turner and Carmichael to England, they wrote to Colonel Fraser as follows:

CORNWALL, 12th April 1843

My Dear Colonel Fraser,

    I cannot quit the command of this loyal District, which I have had the honour to hold for upwards of five years, without expressing to you how much I have valued your useful services to your Queen and country and to myself for your advice and information in time of great excitement in the country, and when I was an entire stranger in the District, and which advice and information I always found correct and for the benefit of Her Majesty's service and the good of the District and of the brave militia which I had the good fortune to command during the disturbances in this country - and for which I now tender you my sincere thanks. And I beg in the name of Mrs. Turner and myself to acknowledge our obligations to you and Mrs. Fraser for the kindness and hospitality so often shown to us and our family, and sincerely do we hope that by the blessing of God yourself and family may continue to prosper and be happy to the end of your days, which we pray may be long and past in peace and tranquility. God bless you all, and believe me, my dear Colonel,

                                                                                                                Your very sincere friend,

                                                                                                                                            C. B. Turner,

                                                                                                                                            Colonel Particular Service. (15)

    Colonel Carmichael wrote as follows:

WILLIAMSTOWN, 21st May, 1843.

My dear Colonel Fraser,

    Previous to my departure from this country, I beg you to accept my warmest acknowledgements for the able assistance you have given me in the performance of my duty during the last five years, which from your well-earned influence among your countrymen, was on every occasion most valuable, and cannot in the future fail to be of the utmost service to Government.

    The soldier-like manner in which you have conducted the First Glengarry Regiment was most creditable, and no country can boast of a better corps, in appearance, good feeling and loyalty.

   That you may long retain your high position among such true men is my sincere wish. Always believe me, yours very sincerely,

                                                                                                                                            L. Carmichael, Lt: Col. P.S.

Colonel the Honourable Alexander Fraser, Glengarry. (16)

    In 1839 Colonel Fraser was called to the Legislative Council and remained a member of that body and of its successor, the Legislative Council of Canada, until his death. In 1842, he was elected the first Warden of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, a position that he continued to hold until 1850. In the previous decade be had been one of the Commissioners in the Township of Charlottenburg who conducted the Court of Requests, the local court which was the precursor of the division court. From 1841 until his death, in 1853, he was Registrar of Deeds of the County of Glengarry.

    Soon after the close of the war of 1812.15 Fraser settled on an estate of sixteen hundred acres, in the Township of Charlottenburg, calling the place "Fraserfield," and erecting a house, which was said to have been at the time, one of the most pretentious in Upper Canada. It was situated about three miles from Williamstown and an equal distance from St. Raphaels, where the family attended church. The house, a two and a half story building, 50',..., with wings at the sides, each 231 square, contained twenty-three rooms and a cupola capable of seating fifteen people. The house was situated a mile from the travelled road, the land sloping gently down to the Rivière aux Raisins, half a mile away. Avenues, lined with trees, led to the travelled road and to the River. The house still stands, as it did then, but by an inexplicable act of vandalism on the part of a subsequent owner, the trees on the avenues were long since cut down. The following sketch of a visit to Fraserfield, in 1838, is condensed from an account by a nephew of the Colonel's:

"We had often heard that Fraserfield was one of the finest country residences in Upper Canada, but, really, we had no idea that so grand a building was to be found in the wilds of Glengarry as the one before which we drew up. It was... on our arrival all ablaze, lighted up from 'top to bottom'; evidently a gay party was there assembled. We feared we might be looked upon as unwelcome guests, as we had not announced our intended visit. A large party had just seated themselves to dinner. We felt taken aback and wished our visit had been delayed a day later. A true Highland welcome greeted us, which soon made us feel at home. Let us try to picture and re-people that old dining hall at Fraserfield, as we entered and took our seats among and noted the distinguished assemblage. There was the old Colonel himself at the head of the table, doing the honours as he well knew how. He was known far and wide in Canada, from Sarnia to Gaspé... (17)

    In 1818 Fraser married Ann (1797.1861), fourth daughter of Archibald Macdonell (Leek), and had by her two sons and four daughters. The eldest son, Archibald, who inherited Fraserfield, married his second cousin, Mary Scott, and has numerous descendants. At his death, in 1874, the property was sold. Of the four daughters of Col. Fraser, Anne married Dr. Daniel Eugene McIntyre, Sheriff of the United Counties; Catherine married Hon. D. A. Macdonald, a member of the Mackenzie Cabinet and some time Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; Isabella married His Honour Judge Pringle; and Mary married James Dunbar Pringle. There are numerous descendants of these ladies.


    Donald Macdonell (1788-1861), who represented the County in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Parliaments, from 1834 to 1841, was the youngest son of Alexander Macdonell of Greenfield and of his wife, Janet Macdonell (Aberchalder). He was, therefore, a younger brother of Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonell, who was elected to represent the County in June, 1812, but was killed at Queenston Heights in the following October. Donald Macdonell was born at Greenfield, Scotland, on January 17th, 1788, and came to this country with his parents, in 1792. During the war of 1812-1815, he served as a Captain in the Second Regiment of Glengarry Militia and was present at the capture of Ogdensburgh, in February, 1813. He was, later, appointed Assistant Quartermaster General of Militia for the Midland District. In acknowledgement of his services in that capacity, he was, in April, 1814, appointed to the Command of his Regiment. During the Rebellion of 1837, Colonel Macdonell was on active service, and in 1846 he was appointed Assistant (later called Deputy) Adjutant General for Canada West. His application for the position was accompanied by a recommendation signed by fifty-seven members of the Legislative Assembly. The full number of members was 84, but there were at the time several vacancies. Both documents are preserved in the Dominion Archives. He continued to occupy this position until his death.

    Colonel Macdonell married Elizabeth, daughter of Ranald Macdonell (Leek) and his wife, Margery Robertson. Ranald was one of the younger sons of John Macdonell of Leek, the eldest of the three brothers who, in 1773, organized the party that came out from Scotland in the "Pearl." Prior to his appointment as Deputy Adjutant General, Colonel Macdonell resided with his family at Williamsburgh in the County of Dundas, but he was afterwards obliged to follow the peregrinations of the Canadian Capital.

    In 1853, Colonel Macdonell had the honour of being invited to lay the corner stone of the Brock Memorial, at Queenston Heights, erected over the remains of Sir Isaac Brock and of Lt. Col. John Macdonell, Lt. Col. Donald Macdonell's elder brother. The trowel, presented to him on that occasion, is in the possession of one of his numerous descendants. The inscription on it reads as follows :

Presented to
Lieut. Colonel Donald Macdonell
Deputy Adjutant General of Militia

for Canada West
By the Building Committee

on the Ceremony of
Laying the Foundation Stone

The Brock Monument
on Queenston Heights

Oct. 13, 1853.

    Lt. Col. Donald Macdonell died, at Quebec, on June 13th 1861, and was buried in the Catholic Cemetery at St. Raphaels, in the County of Glengarry, where so many of his forebears and collateral relations also lie buried.


    Alexander Chisholm (1803?-1854), who represented the County in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Parliaments (1834-1841) was born in Scotland. His father was Duncan Chisholm (Kerrow) and his mother Janet Chisholm, daughter of Theodore Chisholm (Comar). Alexander became a Captain in the Royal African Corps, but, in 1817, he resigned his commission, emigrated to Canada and settled in the County of Glengarry. In 1825 he was appointed Colonel commanding the Third Glengarry Militia, a position which he still held in 1838. In 1823 he married Janet Macdonell, daughter of Alexander, the youngest son of John Macdonell of Leek. He left a numerous family, among them Rev. James J. Chisholm, a Catholic priest, who took his doctorate in Rome and was for many years well known in Upper Canada. He died at Perth, in 1878. Col. Alexander Chisholm was a near relative of the Chieftain and was an important witness in establishing the right of James Sutherland Chisholm, of Montreal, to succeed to the title and estates. Col. Chisholm died at Alexandria on October 19th, 1854.

1. See [CCHA] Report 1938-1939, p. 19.

2. Quoted in Mackenzie's History of the Macdonalds and Lords of the Isles, p. 529.

3. Quoted in a manuscript life of Lt. Col. John Macdonell by the late A. McLean Macdonell, K. C.

4. Quoted Ibid.

5. Quoted Ibid.

6. H. S. HAWLEY British Columbia, the Making of a Province.

7. Evidence in U. E. Loyalist Losses (Ontario Archives Report 1904), p. 1093.

8. Documents Relating to the North-West Company (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1934) pp. 429-430, from which much of this account is taken.

9. See the biographical sketch of Sir Roderick William Cameron in Canadian Men and Women of the Time by H. J. Morgan (1898), pp. 144-145.

10. Public Archives of Canada, Militia Papers, U. C., Portfolio 55.

11. Militia Papers, U. C., Portfolio 60.

12. Text supplied by the late General Cruikshank.

13. J. A. MACDONELL, Sketches illustrating the Early Settlement and History of Glengarry in Canada (Montreal: 1893).

14. J. A. MACDONELL, op. cit. p. 314.

15. J. A. MACDONELL, op. cit. p. 316.

16. J. A. MACDONELL, op. cit. p. 316.

17. John FRASER, Canadian Pen and Ink Sketches, (Montreal: Gazette Printing Co., 1890), condensed.