Saturday, 6 July 2013
Samuel Green and the War of 1812
Two hundred years ago today on July 6, 1813, my great-great-great-grandfather Samuel Green died. He was a farmer and miller in West Flamborough, Upper Canada (today part of Hamilton, Ontario). Samuel belonged to a large United Empire Loyalist family which had fled to Upper Canada from New Jersey during the American Revolution. He was 43 when he died, leaving a wife and 11 children. Samuel died performing military service in the War of 1812 with his local militia unit, the 2nd York Regiment. His wife Margaret later received a war widows pension for his loss.
Most accounts say that Samuel Green was a casualty of the Battle of Stoney Creek which was fought during the night of June 5-6, 1813. Some accounts say he was killed in action but the later stated death date of July 6 would indicate that he must have instead died of wounds received in the battle. Or perhaps that death date on the pension application was simply a clerical error and "July" should have read "June."
Or did Samuel survive the Battle of Stoney Creek but die performing another kind of military service? An entry in the Militia Muster Roll and Pay List of the 2nd York Regiment says a Samuel Green was paid for "batteauxing to York" from June 25 to July 6, 1813. Batteauxing was how the British moved military goods, supplies and ammunition over water from one strategic point to another by the use of large flat-bottomed boats. Did Samuel in fact drown in Lake Ontario or die accidentally while loading or unloading military supplies? The pay record itself makes no mention of death while on duty. Could it perhaps have been a different Samuel Green doing that job? Records were often spotty or inaccurate in those days.
It's probably impossible to know now. I prefer to subscribe to our traditional family history that Samuel Green was a casualty of the Battle of Stoney Creek. It was on this basis that My Rare One and I went to Hamilton in June to attend the Bicentennial Re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek. More on that to come!
[First photo of a Hamilton statue honouring the United Empire Loyalists comes from the internet. Second photo of militia re-enactors of the Battle of Stoney Creek was taken by My Rare One.]