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THE STORY OF THE LAND FAMILY
(Derived from the family records, with addenda)
The enquirer into the beginnings of settlement at the Head of Lake Ontario quickly finds that the first four Britishers to settle on the south shore of the Bay, now Hamilton Harbour, on land now part of the City of Hamilton, were: Richard Beasley, Robert Land, Charles Depew and George Stuart. That was within a few years, more or less, of 1782. In point of interest the romantic story of Robert Land and his family is outstanding, and the purpose of this review is to relate briefly some of the main traditions and associations that concern them.
Robert Land, the progenitor of the family, was born in 1739 at Tiverton, Devonshire, England. He appears to have come to America in his youth, possibly with a twin brother John, and settled near Calkins Creek at what is now Milansville, in the Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania. There he built a log cabin. He was short, stout and fair, and was naturally attracted to a girl who was tall and dark, in the person of Phoebe Scott, three years older than himself, whom he married about 1757.
As a settler and farmer he succeeded, and by 1776, when the American Revolution broke out, he was well established, at the age of forty, as a Justice of the Peace, with a house and family of seven girls and boys, ranging from a baby of a few months to John, aged 19. About this time, his loyalty caused him to take service with the British Forces. Because of his knowledge of the country he was selected to carry dispatches. Meanwhile his family and others like them suffered abuse for their fidelity, and when the father was away a raid on his household was made by hostile neighbours and Indians. One of the sons, Abel, was taken away by the latter. His brother John found where the Indians had gone and persuaded them to release Abel, but not until the captive had been made to run the gauntlet of their blows, an ordeal that was lessened by his fleetness. Persecution continued, and soon after this John himself was put in prison by the rebel authorities, and the mother and the rest were left to carry on the work of the farm short-handed.
One night in the autumn of 1778, when the family had retired, a daughter Rebecca, or perhaps Kate, was roused from her sleep by the hand and voice of a friendly Indian, who urged her to go at once to the Kanes, their Loyalist neighbour across the river. Without disturbing the others she dressed, crossed the water alone in a canoe, and entered their darkened house. Here she stumbled over the bodies of the Kanes, who had all been foully murdered. As the courageous girl returned home, the same Indian's voice warned her that her house would soon be burned and that the others should be got out at once.
Hastily but quietly the girl awakened her mother and the rest. They all escaped to the fields, and just in time, for presently on looking back they beheld their house and barn in flames. For some days the family hid in the woods, then under much physical hardship they made their way to New York and came under the protection of the British authorities. They stayed there until the army evacuated the city, and with many other Loyalists in similar plight they were taken to what is now New Brunswick, where they remained for seven years.
Meanwhile, Robert Land had been performing the dangerous duties of a dispatch bearer under the British General, Sir Henry Clinton. On one occasion, he records, he suffered confinement and condemnation, from which he made his escape. Some time after the departure of his family from their farm house he chanced to be in the vicinity and unobtrusively paid it a visit - to find, alas, only the ashes of his home and no trace of his dear ones. The few Loyalist neighbours to whom he dared reveal himself told of the murder of the Kane family, and quite believed that Mrs. Land and the children had also perished. The despairing man then decided to leave the country where he had lost so much and endured such injustice. The war was nearly over. He would go to the newer British territory to the north - Canada.
A Quaker friend named Ralph Morden undertook to guide him to the Niagara border, but word of Land's presence had spread around and they were pursued by a group of watchfil rebels. Land started off and urged his companion to hasten, but Morden, who in accordance with the peaceful ways of his sect had never taken up arms nor done any ill, was confident that he could convince their pursuers of his innocence. Such an argument, however, counted for nothing with the inflamed mob. Morden was seized, and was subsequently condemned, and hanged. As Land outdistanced those who followed him, they fired after him and had the satisfaction of seeing him fall among the underbrush.
The heavy musket ball struck Robert's knapsack with force enough to knock him down. As he fell his hand was gashed on a sharp stone, and bled profusely. This marked a trail which his enemies followed and at last gave up, for darkness was falling. They concluded that he was as good as dead. Travelling chiefly by night, Land reached Fort Niagara and found safety with the British there. This was in 1779, at the age of 43, and after some two years on his dangerous work.
When the war ended, Land received a Loyalist grant of 200 acres, now covered by the town of Niagara Falls, Ontario. There he lived alone for three years, morose and brooding over his unkindly fate, within earshot of the Falls, whose noise disturbed the peace of mind that he sought. When he could bear it no longer, something prompted him to move fifty miles away to the neighbourhood of what we now call Burlington Bay. From the escarpment he followed a deer trail leading down to the water. Well back from the marshy and indented shoreline, on a slight rise of ground, now the south side of Barton Street, between Leeming Street and Smith Avenue, he made himself a dugout, according to family story, in which he lived until he had built a shanty or log cabin. He set about clearing some land, and supported himself after the manner of woodsmen by hunting, fishing and trapping; still in solitude, for white neighbours were far and few, he sought forgetfulness and peace in unremitting toil amid primitive surroundings.
When the War of Independence was over, the eldest son, John Land, was released from confinement. As he had not taken up arms he was allowed to own and occupy family property in the Delaware Valley. Later he built the Red House, which still stands there. He married Lillian Skinner and was the father of 11 children and progenitor of the American branch of the family. Though some of his descendants live on the farm and in its vicinity, the family name of Land has died out.
Robert, the youngest son, whom we shall now have to designate as Robert II, appears to have grown dissatisfied with the conditions in New Brunswick, where ill-fortune continued to dog the family. While he was but 17, he urged and finally persuaded his mother to migrate with some if not all of them to Upper Canada, now known as Ontario, where settlers of the right class, and particularly Loyalists, were being encouraged. So they took ship to New York on the first part of the long journey to Niagara and visited John at his farm-stead on the way. From him they heard the tale of Morden's untimely end, and popular report sustained the reputed death of their father. John was quite satisfied with his own prospects and was not disposed to leave his setting; so with affection and regret the family separated and the emigrants slowly made their way to Niagara, where the boys supported the group by hunting and trapping and occasionally working for neighbouring settlers.
After they had been there a year or so they chanced to hear through an itinerant trader that a settler named Land was living alone at the Head-of-the-Lake, as the western end of Lake Ontario was then called. Despite the unlikelihood that this could ever be a kinsman of theirs, unless he came from the Old Country, Robert II decided to go and find out, for Mrs. Land was not thoroughly convinced that her husband had been killed. She became hopefully anxious about the matter, and it was agreed that some of them should make the fifty mile journey. Eventually, she and two sons, Robert and Ephraim, came to the trail that led to journey's end, a clearing with a solitary cabin, outside of which the long-lost father was sitting smoking. The joyful family reunion after eleven years of separation was as a dream come true. Later they were joined by two other sons and three daughters.
With thankful hearts the united family set to work once more as diligent farmers, and in a few years were all beyond the reach of want. Other settlers began to come in, but many were deterred by the name the place had for its marshiness, for wolves and rattlesnakes, and the Indian grass that was so difficult to eradicate. It is recorded that when neighbours were more numerous, Robert supported himself in part by making and selling spinning jennies.
Robert Land, the father, commemorated his years of sorrow and happy outcome by planting a weeping willow near the cabin. In time the humble dwelling was replaced by a substantial house. In 1794 he applied for a grant of land and by a deed dated 1802 was allowed 312 acres, stretching from the Mountain to the Bay and from Emerald to Wentworth Street. Each of his sons, Abel, William, Ephraim and Robert, acquired 200 acres on adjoining lots. On this area of over a square mile of virgin prairie-like land, intersected by long marshy inlets from the Bay, now stands the central part of the city of Hamilton. Abel, Ephraim and Robert stayed in this locality, hut William, the other son, moved west to Oxford County.
Robert the elder lived to see the beginnings of Hamilton as a village, and died in 1818, aged 82. Phoebe his wife died in 1826, aged 93. In his will, dated Oct. 27, 1805, Robert "did give and bequeath" to each of his sons John and Abel the sum of twenty shillings; to his daughters, Rebecca, wife of Nathanial Hughson, and Phoebe, wife of Clement Lucas, twenty shillings each; and to another daughter, Abigail, wife of Oziah McCarty, twenty shillings also; which several legacies were to be paid by his executors within one year of his decease. To his son Ephraim he bequeathed on hundred and fifty acres of the farm, and to Robert one hundred and sixty-two acres.
"Hard" money was evidently scarce in those days. Like that of the Biblical patriarchs whose wealth consisted of herds of cattle, the substance of the pioneer lay in real estate - solid property rather than coin of the realm; and that agricultural wealth could only be increased by hard manual labour under living conditions comprising an assortment of physical discomforts that would appal us to-day.
United Empire Loyalists like Robert Land and his family have played a noble part in our Canadian history. By their sacrifices and sufferings for their principles they founded two of our Provinces and leavened with their strength the three already colonized. In such pioneer stock Ontario has indeed a noble parentage, which we may well cherish with affection and pride.
Sons of Robert Land I
Abel Land, eldest of the sons who came to Canada, married Lois Cooley in 1811 and was the father of five children. He built a wharf at the Bay front on his lot east of Wellington Street. It was approached by a road called Land's Lane, which skirted the east side of a long inlet. Besides farming he carried on a shipping business, using heavy pioneer boats called batteaux which passed through the Bay's natural outlet to Lake Ontario, for the canal was not built until 1832. Until the Bay front was filled in north of Burlington Street in 1930, remnant piles could be seen running far out into the water.
His son, Abel II, had the north part of the lot, east of Wentworth Street, and his homestead stood where the International Harvester Twine Mill now is. Land Street, between Wentworth and Hillyard Streets; reminds one of the first owners.
Abel, Ephraim and Robert II, were all Freemasons and members of the first Masonic Lodge at the Head-of-the-Lake, Lodge No. 10, founded in 1795, and familiarly named "The Barton", after the town-ship, which was then in the County of Lincoln.
The Lodge meetings were first held at Smith's tavern, a log building at the northwest corner of King and Wellington Streets, back from the site of the present branch of the Canadian Bank of Commerce. The signatures of Abel, Ephraim and Robert appear on the attendance rolls of the meeting held there on January 31, 1796, along with 54 others.
Ephraim married Mary Chisholm, who is buried in the Chisholm plot at Oakville Cemetery, and died March 7, 1865 in the 87th year of life. He had the lot west of Wentworth Street and south of Main. He became custodian of the Lodge jewels. When Hamilton was threatened by the American Army in the War of 1812, the jewels were temporarily buried in the garden of his property, along with some household treasures, just before the battle of Stoney Creek, June 6, 1813. The particular spot was about 60 feet south of Main Street and 40 feet east of Erie Avenue, now the location of an apartment house. For many years a defensive breastwork of earth remained, about four feet high and shaped like a chevron, each arm being about 30 feet long.
Robert Land II, 1772 - 1867
When his father died in 1818 there was not much of Hamilton in existence, though the tract bounded by the Mountain and King Street, James and Wellington Streets, purchased by George Hamilton, had been laid out as a townsite in 1813 and given his name. The neighbours of the Lands were the Beasleys, Fergusons, Springers and the Aikmans.
Such were the meagre facilities of the period that when a pound of tea or a yard of calico was required the pioneer had to go to the larger settlements of Dundas, Ancaster or Stoney Creek. Other privations required strenuous effort. In the first year of his farming, Robert II cultivated an acre with a hoe and sowed it with wheat, after which he never again lacked food. There was a time when he had to carry a bushel of grain on his back all the way to a mill at Shipman's Corners on Twelve Mile Creek, near St. Catharines, have it ground, and then walk back with the flour; an oft-recorded pioneer experience.
Robert II married Hannah Horning, daughter of a German family that had come from Maryland and settled in Barton Township. They had three sons and five daughters.
In the War of 1812, Robert joined the Flank Company of the 5th Lincoln Militia as a lieutenant, and served under Captain Samuel Hatt. He was present at the occupation of Detroit, August 16, 1812, and took part in the battle of Lundy's Lane, July 25, 1814. (See Note I of Addenda.)
On the day before the battle of Stoney Creek, Col. Harvey of the 49th British Regiment, who was stationed on Burlington Heights, learned that a number of American troops had landed at the south end of Burlington Beach to reinforce those who were advancing on Stoney Creek. It is recorded that he sent for Lieut Land, who knew the area well, and asked him to take a party and so dispose his men as to hinder the enemy's movement. Robert performed that duty, and by this action prevented the junction of the landing force with those of the main column and so enabled Col. Harvey to repel the entire American force at the village. For his services in this war he received the Prince Regent's land grant. The assessment roll of 1822 shows that his original Loyalist grant had become augmented to 280 acres; that he possessed 13 cattle, and that his property was assessed at $290. As an officer of the Gore District Militia he attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1830, and is sometimes called Col. Robert to distinguish him from Robert his father.
Up to 1823 the growing body of local Methodists had been worshipping in log schoolhouses and other hired buildings, and keenly felt the need of meeting-houses of their own. In that year the Government showed more tolerance to non-Anglican bodies by allowing them to own church property. A Hamilton group of Methodists centering around Richard Springer then purchased from Robert Land II for five pounds a site near the northeast corner of King and Wellington Streets. He had bought this cheaply from a man who in turn had acquired it from an earlier owner for a yoke of oxen and a barrel of pork!
On it was built the first church edifice in Hamilton, the fore-runner of our First United Church. The ground was deeded "To the Trustees of the Methodist Eiscopal Church, June 11, 1823 containing by estimation one acre and three perches." The building was erected in 1824 and around it the pioneers were buried. The only headstone left is that of Richard Springer, 1758-1829, which may be seen against the wall south of the Wellington Street entrance. Marcus Smith's 1850 map of Hamilton designates the building as the "British Wesleyan Church", for the local body had cast off its American affiliation by that time.
The Land family belonged to the Church of England. As the first building of that denomination in the township was on the Mohawk Road up on the Mountain, later known as St. Peter's, Barton, and was not opened until 1819, they were much associated with the Methodists for worship.
The building which was the precursor of St. Thomas' Anglican Church was opened in 1857 on the northwest corner of Wilson and Emerald Streets, then far out in the fields. It had been Land property, and a Robert Land helped to finance this wood and stucco building, situated where now stands Emerald Street United Church. Its first incumbent was the Rev. Thomas Blackman, curate at Christ's Church; and its first rector's warden was a Robert Land, possibly a nephew of Robert II who was then 85. It served until the present stone Church of St. Thomas was opened on Main Street in 1870.
During the Rebellion of 1837, Col. Land, at the age of 65, was placed in command at Hamilton, where he discharged his onerous duties satisfactorily but at the expense of his health, which caused him to retire soon after from active life. He died in 1867 at the great age of 95, and was buried in the family vault bearing his name in Hamilton Cemetery.
John Land, 1806 - 1892Grandson of Robert Land I and eldest son of Col. Robert, in his early years he attended such schools as were to be found in the primitive settlement and thus acquired a fair English education. When he was a boy of seven he witnessed the commotion caused by the approach of the Americans to Stoney Creek; for the women and children of the settlement gathered in his father's house to await the result of that engagement. He used to relate that he remembered this exciting incident well because June 4th was the King's Birthday. As soldiers were short of powder the usual loyal salute was omitted that day and the ammunition was saved for more effective use.
At the age of 18 he enrolled in the Sedentary Militia, as the volunteer soldiers were then called. He always appeared on the annual "training day" on the birthday of George III, later changed to that of Victoria, May 24. This military parade grew out of the establishment of the Upper Canada Militia, for it was obviously necessary that some pretepre at defensive training should be made. All men from 16 to 60 were enrolled, and each was required to provide himself with "a sufficient musket, fusil, rifle or gun, and at least six rounds of powder and ball." On such festive occasions, many of them took part in the military proceedings, which consisted of a little clumsy drill by men in partial uniform with a motley array of ancient weapons; followed by a good deal of horse-racing and whisky-drinking.
After receiving a commission as ensign in the infantry, John rose to the rank of lieutenant, and during the Rebellion of 1887 served in Hamilton as a captain. But garrison duty did not suit him when fighting was likely to be done, so he joined the cavalry under Col. Servos. He remained in the Militia after the Rebellion and became a lieutenant-colonel. An old red mess tunic of his, now in the possession of his descendants, is ornamented with the large epaulettes of the period and brass buttons bearing the word "Commissariat", the equivalent of our Army Service branch.
In 1841, John Land married Esther Morris, daughter of John Morris, an Englishman who came to Canada from London about 1824. They had eight children. Like his father, John was connected with St. Thomas' Church, where a wall tablet by the members of the family is inscribed:
"In loving memory of John Land, Colonel in H.M. Canadian Militia, and a founder and most generous member of the Parish and Church of St. Thomas. He was remarkable for his sagacity, rare kindness and pure unselfishness.
Born 11th Nov. 1806 Died 21st Dec. 1892
Kindness is wisdom. There is none in life but need it and may learn."
It is surmounted by a medallion showing a griffin rampant the upper portion of an eagle on the lower portion of a lion; probably to indicate the American and English origins of the family.
Allan Land, 1844 - 1940
A familiar figure to many of us was the late Allan Land, a great-grandson of Abel, son of Robert I, who died in 1940 at the advanced age of 96. For many years he lived in a cottage at 170 Aberdeen Avenue, later occupied by his youngest sister, Miss Daisy Land. (See Note II of Addenda.)
As a boy, Allan and his two brothers were tutored by Herr von Heise, a German Episcopal clergyman who met his death at the age of 43 in the Desjardins Canal disaster on March 12, 1857. He was buried at the expense of Allan's father, and lies with many other vietims in an unmarked collective grave in Hamilton Cemetery.
On the outbreak of war in 1939, Allan, then 95, read Mein Kampf, the work embodying Hitler's outrageous philosophy. Himself a veteran of the Fenian Raid of 1866, he recalled the time when, as a young private in the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, the bullets whizzed past him at the Battle of Ridgeway. For years he was the oldest member of the Barton Masonic Lodge. I
He had a long association with Christ's Church Cathedral, and in 1923 presented a bronze tablet, to be seen in the nave. It is dedicated "Ad majorem dei gloriam" (To the greater glory of God) and the memory of his grandparents, Lt.-Col. Abel and Lois Land, and his parents, Robert A. Land and Adeline Case Land, all four of whom were present on Oct. 13, 1835, at the laying of the cornerstone of Christ's Church. After some wandering, this old stone is now set in the exterior wall of the chancel, at the southeast corner.
General Winfield Scott, 1776 - 1866
He was the nephew of Phebe Scott, wife of Robert Land I. Born in Virginia, and trained as a lawyer, he fought as a colonel at the battle of Queenston Heights, Oct. 13, 1812, but was captured. General Brock and his aide, Lt. Col. John McDonell, were killed at that battle and were buried together in the ramparts of Fort George. Col. Scott, while prisoner, sent his compliments to the Commander of the Americans at Fort Niagara, just across the river, and requested that minute guns be fired during the funeral ceremonies. This was done, a fitting tribute by the enemy to the noble qualities of the British general; a type of courtesy which the more dangerous tempo of modern war too seldom allows.
After the fall of York in April, 1813, Col. Scott was exchanged with other prisoners and rejoined his countrymen as Chief of Staff at the American Fort Niagara. On May 27, 1813, he led the attack on the British Fort George, and although wounded he entered the fort and hauled down the Union Jack. At Lundy's Lane he was again wounded. Later he became Major-General and was twice an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. presidency; took a leading part in operations against the Indians, and in 1847 led the U.S. Army in its victorious war in Mexico.
A distinguished living kinsman of General Winfield Scott is Vice-Admiral Emory Scott Land, of Washington, great-grandson of our Ephraim Land, who during the Hitler War was Chairman of the United States Marine Commission, War Shipping Administration.
The descendants of the Hamilton branch of the Land family scattered to other parts of Canada, and some returned to the States. One of these was Charles H. Land, a grandson of Ephraim, the son of Robert I, who moved to Detroit, the place his grand-uncle, Robert II, had helped to capture from the Americans in 1812. There he made his home and practised as a dentist.
His daughter, Evangeline, married a man named Lindbergh. Their son, Charles Augustus Lindbergh, was the aviator who on May 21, 1927, at the age of 25, made the famous non-stop solo flight in the "Spirit of St. Louis", from New York to Paris. Matching his courage and resourcefulness against the chancy forces of Nature, the young aviator flew through fog, sleet and fair weather, serenely unaware of the interest he was arousing. He actually carried letters of introduction, lest the people at his destination might not believe who he was! For this daring exploit, which outclassed the pioneer Atlantic crossing of the Britishers, Alcock and Brown, from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1919, he received the Orteig award of $25,000, the admiration of the world, the overwhelming adulation of the United States, and was given the rank of colonel.
Colonel Lindbergh is thus a direct descendant six times removed of our Robert Land I, who had to flee for his life from the States during the Revolution.
In 1932 his name was associated with a domestic tragedy that stirred the whole continent. His infant son was kidnapped, and although ransom was paid to the abductor by the frenzied parents the child was deliberately murdered. In consequence, Bruno Richard Hauptman was arrested, and after a trial lasting six weeks at the assizes of Flemington, N.J., he was convicted by a jury on which four women served, and suffered the penalty of death.
The homestead which succeeded the original log cabin of Robert I stood on a slight eminence on the south side of Barton Street between what are now Leeming Street and Smith Avenue, almost opposite St. Matthew's avenue. An old photograph of horse-car days shows it as a frame cottage, with a central windowed gable, approached by steps and a boardwalk. It lay at a slight angle to the street, but actually nearer to the east and west than Barton Street, as though haphazardly sited, with Robert's willow tree near the southwest corner.
Later it was numbered 408 Barton Street East, rebuilt as a brick house of two storeys and enhanced by a good square tower at the east end, and known as Landholme. Two single-piece pointed square stone pillars, each bearing the name in raised letters, graced the main approach. It passed from Land ownership and was for a while a boarding house. Then, about 1914, it was bought by the late Stanley Mills. During the Kaiser's War it became the Victoria Convalescent Home, and in 1915 it was transferred to the Military Hospital Commission. Later it served as a Children's Home, but finally succumbed to the economic pressure that a growing and encircling industrial city exerts on old buildings left in spacious grounds. About 1928 it was taken down. No trace of it or the willow tree remains, for dwelling houses and a modern gasoline station now cover the spot.
The monolith pillars were removed in 1912 and now border the driveway to a mansion, Number 341, at the extreme end of James Street South, where the road turns east. They stand facing inwards, but shorn of their grand old Saxon name, though the faint outline of the sheared lettering can still be traced.
At the eastern end of the Landholme lot that is now the corner of Leeming and Barton Streets, the W. A. Freeman Company, about 1904, erected an office building. On April 13, 1915, the Wentworth Historical Society marked the spot by a cut stone memorial tablet*** inserted in the wall. Later this could be seen in the northwest corner of a gasoline station that superseded the office. About 1938, when this building gave place to the present Anglo-American station, the tablet disappeared. After a period of oblivion it has found its way to the entrance hall of the Robert Land School.
The inscription asserts, rather too positively perhaps for our present-day acceptance in the light of later research, that "Here Robert Land the first settler built his cabin, A.D. 1779." (See Note III of Addenda.)
The Robert Land School on the east side of Wentworth Street and north of Barton, was built in 1914 on ground originally owned by the Lands, and is fittingly named.
Landsdowne Park was a tree-clad area with many white poplars, north of Burlington Street and bordering the Bay just west of Wentworth Street on former Land property. Before the waterfront became industrialized it was a popular place for picnics, boating and bathing. Only a few forlorn trees remain to-day.
Woodland was the residence of Robert Land II and his son John, and later the property of the Burkholder branch of the family. As a frame house of two storeys it stood east of Wentworth Street and north of Barton Street, on what is now the southwest section of the Canadian Westinghouse Company's property. Pleasantly situated and appropriately named, it was approached by a looped driveway from Wentworth Street.
From a pond southwest of the house, a stream, in which the occupants once used to catch fish, meandered towards Sherman inlet. The ravine was crossed by a footbridge in natural park-like surroundings. North and east was a dense wood called Land's Bush.
In 1895 the City of Hamilton bought the area, now known as Woodland Park, for a sum exceeding $8,300.00. A married daughter of Colonel John Land, named Mrs. Maria Reid, spent the last years of her life as an invalid in her father's house. Her room looked south over the park where she used to watch children at play. When she died in 1897 at the age of 40, the terms of her will made provision for the erection of a drinking fountain for their convenience. Dismantled during the 1947 rearrangement of the park, it bore the inscription:
Donated to the Corporation of the City of Hamilton by Mrs. Maria E. Reid, in memory of her father, Colonel John Land. Designed and executed by the St. Lawrence Foundry Co., Toronto, 1898.
An oil painting done on a large fungus by Mrs. Reid shows the familiar representation of the old log cabin of Robert I, as conceived by J. R. Seavey, the Hamilton artist.
Robert Land's Grant
This is a parchment document to which is attached the Great Seal of the Province of Upper Canada, about five inches in diameter and half an inch wide. In printed legal form, with handwritten insertions, this document is dated 1802, in the Township of Barton in the County of Lincoln, in the District of Niagara in the said Province. By it, Robert Land, yeoman, is granted 312 acres with allowances for roads, measuring from a certain mark by the Bay Shore.
Note the old English term "yeoman", - one of the commonalty the most respectable class; a man freeborn.
Residence is insisted on, for within three years he is to build a good and sufficient dwelling house - some person to reside therein for a year thereafter." There is also the proviso of the Clergy Reserve for an area equal to one seventh of the 312 acres: "The grant to contain a specification of lands to be allotted and appropriated to the maintenance of a Protestant clergy - 44 acres and 4/7 in a cerain reserved block in the rear of the Townships of Flamborough and Beverly."
It is signed: Peter Hunter, Lt. Gov., May 17, 1802.
INTERMENTS AT "COL. LAND'S FAMILY VAULT"
Col. Robert Land, 1772 - 1867
Compiled from inscriptions in the vault, June 5, 1945.
Note 1. No portrait exists of Robert Land I. In Dundurn Museum there are portraits ia oil of Robert Land II and Hannah Horning, his wife; also of John Land and Esther Morris, his wife.
Note 2. Miss Daisy Land died at London, Ontario, on Sept. 6, 1950, aged 93.
Note 3. The stone tablet is now suitably mounted in the entrance hall of the Robert Land School, and on a brass plate below is inscribed: This historic record, originally placed at Barton and Leeming Streets, has been erected here by the Robert Land Home and School Association, November, 1953.
ROBERT LAND'S ARRIVAL AT THE HEAD OF THE LAKE
Summary of deposition by Col. John Land, 1806-1892, grandson of Robert Land, 1736-1818, made to John Glasgow, Feb. 1, 1892.
Statement: Robert Land the first, a United Empire Loyalist from Delaware Valley, settled at the Bay, on the east side of Wellington Street North, in 1782.
Estimate No.1: Mrs. Land left New York 1782
Robert Land and wife were apart 11 years
Estimate No.2: Robert Land the second was born 1772
Robert Land the first was at the Bay before his wife 8 years
Deduced: Robert Land's age when he reached the Bay was 1782 minus 1736 or 46 years Phoebe Land, wife, was then 1782 minus 1733 or 49 years
From data provided by Isabel M. Land, great-great-granddaughter of Robert Land I, June, 1946.
Note 4. As to the year of the arrival of Robert Land I at the Head of the Lake: Col. John Land's deposition places this as 1872, but leaves it without official documentary confirmation. On p.42, Vol.39, of the Niagara Historical Society, is a copy of a report by Col. De Peyster to General Haldimand, dated from Fort Niagara, July 21, 1784. It gives a list of persons who have asked permission to cross the Niagara River into Canada, also another list of those who have asked to be supplied with rations from the Fort until Dec.24, 1784. Among the Loyalists listed for rations is the name Robert Land.
On p. 192, Vol. 21, of the Ontario Historical Society, in an article on Gilbert Tice, U.E., Ernest Green states that Tice drew rations from the King's stores at Fort Niagara in 1786; and adds "but assistance was granted to struggling settlers as well as to persons sheltered in the fort and its dependencies." Could Robert Land have been one of those "struggling settlers" away from the Fort in 1784 who occasionally visited it for essential rations?
Reprinted with permission from Bill Martin, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.