Legacy of Brock’s death

The death of General Sir Isaac Brock at the Battle of Queenston Heights on October 13, 1812 was among the reasons that the northern parts of East and West Flamborough Townships were so late to see the arrival of permanent settlers.

To provide compensation to the Brock family for his death, the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada, on October 6, 1817, assigned vast tracts of land in the two townships – a total of 5,000 acres in Concessions 11 to 13 in East Flamborough and 1,563 in Concessions 9 to 11 in West Flamborough. Entered in the Abstract Index Land Registry books for the two townships, the Crown Grants were to greatly hinder settlement until the 1860s.

As the lower concessions began to see steady settlement following the end of the war, the northern area of the townships was to remain sparsely populated due to the Brock family’s absent ownership. In September 1833, the Brock heirs transferred title to some of their lots to William Henry Draper of York (Toronto) in order to arrange the sale to interested settlers and settle the estates of some family members.

To complicate settlement in the northern area, by the mid-1830s, a re-surveying of lots in East Flamborough became necessary, beginning at the 11th Concession, due to early surveying errors which had resulted in a shortage of acreage in a number of lots. To correct the mistake, the number of lots in each concession from the 11th Concession northwards was reduced from 13 to 12. This helps to explain why Centre Road turns to the west at this intersection.

As there were no registered settlers on the 11th Concession, lots were reduced in size from 200 acres to 150 acres. The overall change of the lots being re-surveyed resulted in a surplus amount of land at the north-west end of the township and saw the creation of the narrowly shaped Concession 14. To compensate the Brock family for their loss of the former lots 13 in the 11th and 13th Concessions, the family received lots 1, 3, 4 and 6 – 10 in the new concession.

By the 1840s there were still problems with incoming settlers squatting on the Brock lots. On January 19, 1849, all the Brock heirs and heiresses put the remaining unsold lots in trust to a Canadian relative, George Brock of Niagara, and a year later, the properties Draper had not sold, were also transferred to George Brock. During the next three years, he arranged the sale of several lots and issued the deeds.

In January 1853, roughly 1,800 acres were acquired by John Hillyard Cameron, a Toronto lawyer. The transaction solved the complicated history of ownership of the northern lots, as deeds were quickly issued to settlers who had been waiting for as long as 20 years for title to their property.

Sylvia Wray is the former archivist with the Flamborough Archives. She can be reached through the Archives at archives@flamboroughhistory.com.

This article was originally published in the Flamborough Review, 16 May 2013.


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