Decorated hero, Titus Geer Simons

Titus Geer Simons was born January 20,1765 in Enfield, Connecticut, one of 10 children of Titus Simons (1743-1824), an established military man, and Jerusha Kingsley. On the eve of the American Revolution, his father enlisted and the family was forced to move to Canada by 1781.

Here Titus established himself as one of the most prominent members of West Flamborough being a “loyal Haltonian” until his death in 1829. He became editor and publisher of Upper Canada’s first newspaper, The Upper Canada Gazette, in 1797. By 1825, he had also built an industrial empire on the 3rd Lot of the 2nd Concession that consisted of a gristmill, sawmill, distillery, ashery, cooperage, stables, hog pens and 13 dwellings for his employees. In addition, Titus helped found the Burlington Board of Agriculture in 1806 on which he sat for a number of years. He is also noted as a member of Union Lodge No. 24 of the Ancaster Freemasons.

Titus married Elizabeth Green (1769-1805) in 1798 and with her had three children: Amelia, Charlotte and Eliza. Upon the death of his first wife in 1805, he remarried.

He and his second wife, Hannah Coon VanEvery, had three children: Mathilda, Hannah and Arabella Gore. Titus was well-educated, and spent some time at school in Montreal before his career as an editor.

His military career was launched in 1804, when he was commissioned adjutant in the 1st Regiment of Lincoln Militia before he held the rank of Lieutenant in the 2nd Regiment.

On the eve of the War of 1812, Titus joined the Incorporated Militia serving until Sir Isaac Brock commissioned him in the 2nd Regiment of York Militia. During the War of 1812, he marched to Niagara with 60 men from the future Gore District and later recruited men for the Incorporated Militia. Later, as Major, he led the 2nd Regiment of York Militia to the capture of Fort Niagara and at Lundy’s Lane, where he was severely wounded. He recovered at his West Flamborough cottage, but lost most of the use of his right arm.

For this he received compensation of £200 per annum as well as the Prince Regent’s Land Grant, owning 670 acres throughout West Flamborough Township by 1819.

In 1816, Hamilton and its vicinity was called the Gore District where Titus was appointed as its first sheriff and Hamilton was chosen as the county seat. Titus was connected throughout his life to prominent Conservatives of the area and, by 1824, he was Colonel of the 2nd Gore Militia.

Titus Geer Simons very much represented the self-made pioneer and entrepreneur of Upper Canada in accomplishments as well as colorful personality. He entered Canada virtually as a refugee and departed his life with a small empire.

Adam Elsebroek, Flamborough Archives Intern

This article was originally published in the Flamborough Review, 29 November 2012.


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