1820 Petition regarding land grants in Dundee

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Last edit: 2018-05-21

The following transcription is kindly provided by Start McRae. His ancestor was Murdoch McRae, an early Dundee settler who first resided on St. Regis Indian Lands  and  removed to Stormount County, Ontario in the early 1840's.  The 1820 petition by the settlers of Huntingdon is to The Earl of Dalhousie and  forms part of the records of Lower Canada prior to the Act of Union in 1841.


July 1820
Walter Buchanan and others,
For Grants of land on the Lake of St. Francis (Dundee)

To His Excellency The Earl of Dalhousie, Governor General in British North America, and its dependencies, and Captain General Commanding His Majesty's Forces therein.

The Memorial of the undersigned British Subjects settled on a certain Government extract of lands on the south side of the Lake of St. Francis, in the Province of Lower Canada.

Humbly Showeth;
That Your Excellency's Memorialists beg leave to give a statement of the situation of the said extract of land which is bounded on the East by the Township of Godmanchester on the south by the Boundary Line between the United States of America and the Province of Lower Canada, on the West by the Salmon River (Bounding the Indian Reservation) and on the North by the Lake of St. Francis aforesaid, that a number of your Memorialists were settled on a part of the said extract of lands in the years 1809, 10, 11, and 12 and also since the conclusion of the late. war with the United States of -America, and under different conveyances of individuals, under circumstances that left them no doubt of the strength and validity of their respective titles.

That in the years 1815 and 16 the Indians of St. Regis interposed a claim against them for the rent 'of the same, that your Memorialists: for the promotion of peace, and not then being in a situation to ascertain the validity of their claim complied with their requisition, by paying Ten Dollars Annual Rent for each hundred acres of land, and that the said Indians immediately thereafter on the Settlers complying with the above proposition demanded all back rent at this rate from the first of their respective settlement, which created serious embarrassment among them being Compelled to meet so unreasonable and so unexpected a demand.
And that in consequence of the late war the said tribe of Indians became- divided and each Party particularly hostile to the other; whereupon the American Party of the said tribe on finding the demands of the British Indians complied with interposed similar demands and threatening heavy penalties in case of refusal, that many of Your Memorialists far in the woods where no protection could readily be had against them were compelled to submit and comply with their demands; which has not only taken all their production at the time from off their farms but greatly impoverished them.

That their continued and repeated hardships did induce your Memorialists to investigate the subject in order to ascertain to whom the said lands belonged and to apply to the Government for relief.

That in the course of their investigation Your Memorialists found that the title under which they first entered into possession totally defective to which the Indian title appears to be similar that Your Memorialists are informed through the medium of the Honourable Sir John Johnson, Knight and Baronet of the city of Montreal that the aforesaid extract of lands was waste lands of the Crown, having been returned on the original survey thereof, as having a marshy front, swampy and unfit to form a settlement, that therefore the Indians obtained a verbal lease or permission (only) to occupy the said extract of land as a hunting ground during Government pleasure.
Your Memorialists further represent that a considerable proportion of the said lands is upland and the lowland, they found from experience is, (mostly) susceptible to draining and fit for cultivation Your Memorialists further beg leave to state to Your Excellency that upwards of two thirds (50 odd families) lately arrived from North Britain settled thereon in the years 1819 and 20 and were put in possession of their land on paying the sum of Twenty Three Dollars for their leases and an annual rent of Five Dollars. These settlers will make together with the founders a respectable and formidable settlement on the lines, as their loyalty can be depended upon especially if such were encouraged it might be a means of eradicating from it such vagrants as have hitherto had resort thereto from the United States and the Canadas without any authority whatsoever and who heretofore exercised an unlimited and uncontrolled course of conduct to the great disturbance and danger to peaceable and unoffending inhabitants there being no legal authority adjacent to the Settlement in the lower Province in less than forty miles distance, to impose any restraint.

Your Memorialists therefore humbly submit to the consideration of Your Excellency their unfortunate situation and beg leave to submit to Your Excellency the settling of the said lands by good and wholesome British Subjects, whereby any interlopers may be kept out and some legal authority organized at said place for the restraint and punishment of crimes.

That the lands adjoining upon the South side of the said extract of lands in the state of New York is rapidly settling and is greatly encouraged by the American Government withal this place is apparently trusted to the protection and security of vagrants who were settled thereon previous to the late war with the United States of America and very shortly after the declaration thereof, immediately retired to the United States of America where they remained during the said war, and afterwards have the presumption to return to this place and under the protection of the disaffected Indians to displace some of the Settlers who had retained their loyalty, of part of their land to the great annoyance of this class of His Majesty's Subjects.

Therefore to conclude, Your Memorialists most humbly pray that your Excellency may be pleased to grant them the portions of lands they have already settled upon if they are considered as waste lands of the Crown, and if so considered, by paying the fee under the present existing regulations and if not so considered, that your Excellency would be pleased, should it be their lot to remain tenants under the Indians, to countenance and put them under such legal protection of the laws or this country as may to Your Excellency's wisdom appear most proper.

And your Memorialists as in Duty Bound will ever Pray.

Walter Buchanan
Orlund Brumont
Duncan Mc Farland
Duncan Mc Rae
Joseph Spencer
Duncan Stewart
Alexander Stewart
John Gibson
Benjamin Smith
James Peck
Duncan Buchanan
Charles G. White
Francis Scriver.
Alfred Woodward
Alexander Mc Krea
Christopher Mc Krea
John Seaton
Farquhar McLennan
Farquhar Mc Krea
Alexander Mc Rae
Finlay Mc Rae
Farquhar Mc Rae
Murdoch Mc Rae
Duncan Mc Rae
Duncan Mc Rae
Donald Mc Rae
Archibald Mc Rae
Alexander Grant
Allan Mc Millan
Murdoch MC Alla
Nollare Defee
Benjimen Philip
John Timott
William Campbell
Angus Gillies
John Tolmie
Ranald MacDonald
Angus Mc Donald
Norman Mc Donald
William Mc Aphee
John Anderson
Angus Campbell
John Mc Intyre
Rufus Campbell
John Mc Master
Donald Mc Master
Ewen MacMaster
Archy MacMaster
Alexander MacMaster
John Master
Angus MacMaster
Wm.. Attley
Duncan Johnston
Donald Johnston
Donald Mc Callum
Malcolm Mc Callum
Alex Campbell
William Watson
Alex Ogilvie
Alex Buchanan
Hector Buchanan
Joseph Defee
 

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