Col. Butler Branch: Parkway Project
Crown Grants of Loyalists and the Early Settlers along the Niagara River Parkway
This project is to gather information about the people who received the grants along the Niagara River, and to add family information about them especially if they were Loyalist.
The project involves searching Land Registry Offices for names of original land grantees of lots along the Niagara River Parkway, from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake. To date all lots have been researched at the Land Registry office for the original grantee. Earlier maps have also been searched for first settlers on the lot. Many lots have been followed through with succeeding owners. Family history for each settler, particularly information on Loyalist backgrounds & activities, is being researched.
Where it can be found, the details and Loyalist history of each settler/Loyalist will include genealogy, photos of family members, photos of original homes, photos and maps of the property today. As well homes and buildings belonging to original settlers as they moved will be added, along with the mapping of names and regiments of Loyalists.
Project End Results
The project plan calls for the Branch to:
- Publish the material in book form
- Produce a map for driving tour
- Approach the Niagara Parks Commission to erect suitable signs along the Parkway
The Branch is well into this project and is receiving enthusiasm from the members and from the public as evidenced by the interest shown at our display at the Niagara Falls Heritage Day. The display generated queries which were answered by our members. The project has generated interest both within and outside the Branch. Many individual members have undertaken to research individual properties, or even whole villages into which the original land grant was divided in very early times, or many properties in the four townships. Researchers and volunteers from the general public interested in gaining skills have heard of our project and have volunteered to undertake a section. All of the researchers are senior citizens and for some, this has become a new learning experience and has fulfilled a need in their life. Members of the Branch have encouraged this and have assisted them in learning how to research and collate data. Some of our members have become versed in researching at the Ontario Archives in Toronto, the Canadian Archives in Ottawa, the local Genealogical Libraries, the Land Registry Offices, mapping sources, as well as all local museums and libraries.
Some financial assistance has been received from the Branch Projects Committee of the UELAC.
[submitted by Noreen Stapley, May 2005]
There are four Townships which fall along the Niagara River Parkway. We have researched all of the original land grants at the Land Registry Offices and have compiled a map outlining this information, as well as any military information that we could discover. We use this map at our displays.
We have researched all of the Lots in Willoughby Township, original settlers, Loyalists, petitions, family members, photographs, etc., but some are still incomplete (the Land Registry Offices have put all of their information on microfilm at St. Catharines after closing the Welland Office) as far as some research and footnoting. Here are two of the Lots which have been pretty much completed.
- Lot 7, Concession 1, Willoughby Township, Jonas Carol (Carl) U.E.
- Lot 14, Concession 1, Willoughby Township William Burn(s)
Information is accumulating in binders for the other Townships and some have been researched. There has certainly been a lot of progress thus far but we need additional information on many families, and certainly welcome contact with descendants who have more.
[submitted by Gail Woodruff U.E. Col. John Butler Branch]
Gail Woodruff's long-anticipated work of research on this book was finally published in mid-June 2011. Col. John Butler (Niagara) branch certainly appreciated the five grants provided by UELAC. Those monies combined, with donations from some of our members and our Branch funds provided research funds and the necessary costs of publication. We decided to do an initial print run of 200 copies.
Ann Huffman, our Secretary, designed the cover and formatted the entire manuscript. The book retails for $50; the launch at Inniskillin Wines in Niagara-on-the-Lake in mid-July was a roaring success.
We have decided that this publication will be sold by the Branch until the first 200 copies are sold out. At that time, we will investigate the possibility of a second printing and the prospect of selling to third parties, e.g., museum gift shops.
Shirley Lockhart, UE
President, Col. John Butler (Niagara) Branch, UELAC