Land Owners of the Mecklenburg (Ontario) District, 1790
This listing was copied from individual township listings as filmed by Public Archives Canada as "Land Certificates of Mecklenburg 1790 Record Group 1 L4 Volume 12".
In 1789, the Governor of British North America ordered a listing of the land owners in the District of Mecklenburg in Eastern Ontario. This District (by the Baldwin Act) was divided in 1849 into the the counties of Prince Edward, Hastings, Lennox, Addington and Frontenac.
Nominal lot sizes were 200 acres. Waterfront and island lots etc. were usually an odd acreage. Although most townships, concessions and lots are the same as present day townships, concessions and lots, some townships and concessions in Prince Edward County do not correspond with the townships and concessions system used after 1849 (several of the original Townships in Prince Edward county were split and given new names.)
Officers and non-commissioned Officers of Loyalist regiments drew more land than the standard 100 acres allocated to privates. Usually the officers sold the excess land that they could not develop over a period of time. Some lots were reserved for Schoolmasters, Indian burial grounds and glebe (common pasture) etc.
There was a tendency for the settlers to try to acquire land near family and friends as the original allocations were for the most part allocated on a random basis though most members of a Regiment were settled together. Thus the owners listed were NOT ALL members of a Loyalist regiment during the Revolution. This listing, completed in 1790, was in effect a census of Landowners of the Mecklenburg District. If a lot was occupied by a tenant it appears that usually their names were not recorded.
A large number of land owner changes had occurred since the lands were granted to the officers and men who had served in Loyalist regiments during the American Revolution. Although many of the lands were still owned by the original Loyalist grantees or their heirs, some Loyalists had sold their original lands or purchased other lands and thus were not on the original lot(s) that they had been granted. Settlers from Great Britain, Eastern Canada and the United States had also purchased land from the original settler or the Crown. Occasionally a lot reverted to the Crown when it was abandoned by the owner or if the owner died without apparent heirs etc.
Great care must be used when checking surnames as the spelling of the name that was used in 1790 may be quite different than today's spelling. Some land owners were illiterate and some transcribers were nearly illiterate. Many non British names were given an "Anglicized" phonetic spelling. German names often had "F" and "V" and "S" and "Z" transposed.
Township Maps from the 1870's Historical Atlases of the counties are available on the internet at the McGill University (Montreal) site. imago.library.mcgill.ca/ Click on Special Collections then digital and insert word "Atlas" in the search section. Another link worth looking at is the Bay of Quinte Loyalist site http://genweb.net/~boquel
There are a number of Loyalist sites on the internet with Loyalist Regiment Muster Rolls that drew their members from the Mohawk Valley. The searcher's attention is also drawn to the Herkimer/Montgomery County NYGenWeb's Tryon County Rosters as there was an "erosion" of Americans to Ontario for a number of years after the Revolution.
These listings will be of interest not only to those whose ancestors were Loyalists but will help some of our researchers whose only knowledge of their ancestor's siblings was "Gone to Canada". For many of the "Loyalists", Ontario was just a step back to the US.
A good site to check for further information about the South Fredericksburgh area is http://www.sfredheritage.on.ca/
Robert G. Moore
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Copyright © 2000 Robert G. Moore
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