Place:Brockville, Leeds and Grenville, Ontario, Canada

Watchers
NameBrockville
Alt namesElizabethtown (1810-1812)source: Wikipedia
TypeCity
Coordinates44.583°N 75.733°W
Located inLeeds and Grenville, Ontario, Canada
Also located inLeeds, Ontario, Canada    
See alsoElizabethtown, Leeds and Grenville, Ontario, Canadaformer township surrounding city of Brockville
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Brockville, formerly Elizabethtown, is a city in Eastern Ontario, Canada in the Thousand Islands region. Although it is the seat of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, it is politically independent of the county. It is included with Leeds and Grenville for census purposes only.

Known as the "City of the 1000 Islands", Brockville is located on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River, about halfway between Kingston to the west and Cornwall to the east. It is south of the national capital Ottawa.

The city faces Morristown, New York, which is located on the other side of the river. It is one of Ontario's oldest communities first established by Euro-Canadians and is named after the British general Sir Isaac Brock.

The city notably features the Brockville Tunnel, Canada's first railway tunnel, finished in December 1860, and closed down in 1970. It was acquired by the City of Brockville in 1982, and the tunnel reopened in August 2017 as an LED illuminated pedestrian tunnel with music. Alongside the Fulford Place and the Aquatarium, it has since become one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city, and even all of Ontario.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Indigenous peoples lived along both sides of the Saint Lawrence River for thousands of years. The first people known to have encountered the Europeans in the area were the St. Lawrence Iroquoians, a group distinct from and preceding the Iroquois nations of the Haudenosaunee, based further to the south. While the explorer Cartier recorded about 200 words in their Laurentian language and the names of two villages, the people had disappeared from the area by the late 16th century. Anthropologists believe they may have been driven out or defeated by the powerful Mohawk people of the Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee), who by then reserved the Saint Lawrence Valley as a hunting ground.


This area of Ontario was first settled by English speakers in 1784, when thousands of American refugees arrived from the American colonies after the American Revolutionary War. They were later called United Empire Loyalists because of their continued allegiance to King George III. The struggle between Britain and the 13 American colonies occurred in the years 1776 to 1783, and seriously divided loyalties among people in some colonies such as New York and Vermont. In many areas traders and merchants, especially in the coastal cities or the northern border regions, had stronger business ties and allegiance to the Crown than did the frontiersmen of the interior. During the 6-year war, which ended with the capitulation of the British in 1782, many colonists who remained loyal to the crown were frequently subject to harsh reprisals and unfair dispossession of their property by their countrymen. Many Loyalists chose to flee north to the British colony of Quebec. Great Britain opened the western region of Canada (first known as Upper Canada and now Ontario), purchasing land from First Nations to allocate to the mostly English-speaking Loyalists in compensation for their losses, and helping them with some supplies as they founded new settlements. The first years were very harsh as they struggled on the frontier. Some exiles returned to the United States.

The Saint Lawrence River was named by French explorers in the 18th century to honour the martyred Roman Christian, Saint Laurentis. In 1785, the first U.E. Loyalist to take up land, where Brockville is now located, was William Buell Sr. (1751–1832), an ensign disbanded from the King's Rangers, from the state of New York. Residents commonly called the first settlement Buell's Bay. Around 1810, government officials of Upper Canada assigned the name Elizabethtown for the developing village. However, as this was the name of the surrounding township, the villagers were not satisfied.

During the Summer of 1812, the Hon. Charles Jones, and other leading residents of the village, then known by the misleading name, Elizabethtown, started to refer to the village as Brockville in their correspondence. The commanding British General in Upper Canada and temporary administrator of the province was Major-General Isaac Brock. He was celebrated as the "Hero and Saviour" of Upper Canada because of his recent success in securing the surrender by Americans of Fort Detroit during the first months of the War of 1812-14.

After the surrender of Fort Detroit, General Brock was next involved in other battles on the Niagara Peninsula. On October 13, 1812, he was fatally wounded while leading troops up the heights near the village of Queenston, then temporarily held by American militia.

A raid on Elizabethtown occurred on the early morning of February 7, 1813, when Benjamin Forsyth and 200 of his American forces crossed the frozen Saint Lawrence River occupied the settlement, seized military and public stores, freed American prisoners, and captured local militia soldiers and leading citizens.

General Brock had learned of the honour being offered by the residents of Elizabethtown, but had no chance to give it his official blessing before his death. It took quite a few years for Provincial officials to officially accept the new name, but it became the new name of the village, as far a residents were concerned.

By 1830, the population of Brockville had exceeded the 1000 mark. This entitled it to be represented by its own elected member in the House of Assembly. Henry Jones, the village postmaster, was elected in October 1830 to the 11th Parliament of the Province.

Brockville became Ontario's first incorporated self-governing town on January 28, 1832, two years before the town of Toronto. By means of the Brockville Police Act passed by the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada, Brockville was granted the right to govern its own affairs, pass laws, and raise taxes. The first elections for the new Board of Police were held on April 2, 1832, when four male citizens were elected to the Police Board. These four, in turn, chose a fifth member, Daniel Jones, who became the first Police Board President (or Mayor) of Brockville. In March 1836, he became the first native Upper Canadian to receive a knighthood for services to the Crown; from which point he was known as "Sir Daniel Jones".

By 1846, the population was 2,111, and there were many buildings made of stone and brick. There was a County Court House and Jail, six churches or chapels, and a steamboat pier for travel to and from Montreal and Kingston. Two newspapers were published, there were two bank agencies and the post office received mail daily. Several court and government departments had offices here. The first industries consisted of one grist mill, four tanneries, two asheries and four wagon makers, in addition to tradesmen of various types.

Later in the 19th century, the town developed as a local centre of industry, including shipbuilding, saddleries, tanneries, tinsmiths, a foundry, a brewery, and several hotels. By 1854, a patent medicine industry had sprung up in Brockville and in Morristown, New York, across the Saint Lawrence River, featuring such products as Dr Morse's Indian Root Pills, Dr. McKenzie's Worm Tablets, and later, Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People.


In 1855, Brockville was chosen as a divisional point of the new Grand Trunk Railway between Montreal and Toronto. This contributed to its growth, as it could offer jobs in railway maintenance and related fields. At the same time, the north–south line of the Brockville and Ottawa Railway was built to join the timber trade of the Ottawa Valley with the Saint Lawrence River ship route. A well-engineered tunnel for this railway was dug and blasted underneath the middle of Brockville. The Brockville Tunnel was the first railway tunnel built in Canada.

Brockville and many other towns in Canada West were targets of the threatened Fenian invasion after the American Civil War ended in 1865. In June 1866, the Irish-American Brotherhood of Fenians invaded Canada. They launched raids across the Niagara River into Canada West (Ontario) and from Vermont into Canada East (Quebec). Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald called upon the volunteer militia companies in every town to protect Canada. The Brockville Infantry Company and the Brockville Rifle Company (now The Brockville Rifles) were mobilized. The unsuccessful Fenian Raids were a catalyst that contributed to the creation of the new confederated Dominion of Canada in 1867.

By 1869, Brockville had a population of 5000 and a passenger station on the Grand Trunk Railway. It was the County Town of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville and a Port of Entry. Steamboats stopped in Brockville daily while plying among Montreal, Kingston, Toronto and Hamilton. The Brockville and Ottawa Railway connected Brockville with Smith's Falls, Perth, Almonte, Carleton Place and Sandy Point. During the summer, a steam ferry plied every half-hour between Brockville and Morristown, New York.

In 1962, Brockville was granted official status as a city. Its coat of arms featured a beehive surrounded by a golden chain and bears the motto Industria, Intelligentia, Prosperitas. This is an official heraldic design. Brockville is one of the few Canadian cities to have a recognized heraldic flag.


Research Tips

The primary source for basic documents (vital statistics, land records, wills) for people who lived in the Province of Ontario is the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2C5.

Early Records

Civil registration did not begin in the province until 1869. Before then there may be church records of baptisms and burials. For the most part these are still held by the denomination who recorded them. Copies of marriage records made pre-1869 had to be sent by individual clergymen to the registrar of the county in which the marriage took place. These marriage records are available through Ontario Archives, on micorfilm through LDS libraries, and on paid and unpaid websites, but because they were copied at the registrars' offices, they cannot be considered a primary source.

Vital Records after 1869

Birth, marriage and death registrations are not open to the public until a specific number of years after the event occurred. Births to 1915 are now available [October 2014]; dates for marriages and deaths are later. Birth and death registration was not universally carried out in the early years after its adoption. Deaths were more apt to be reported than births for several years. The more rural the area, the less likely it would be that these happenings were reported to the authorities.
Images and indexes of civil registrations for the "viewable" years can be found on paid websites, and indexes only on FamilySearch. The FamilySearch Wiki on Ontario Vital Records explains how these records are organized and their availability.
In September 2014 Ancestry.ca announced that its paid website has been subjected to a "houseclean" of its Ontario BMD database, adding data that had been omitted and making many corrections. Its provision now includes

  • Births, with 2,172,124 records covering 1869-1913.
  • Marriages, with 3,393,369 records for 1801-1928 including Ontario county, district and Roman Catholic origins as well as province-wide civil registration.
  • Deaths, with 2,190,030 records comprising Ontario civil registrations of deaths, 1869-1938 and registrations of Ontario overseas deaths for 1939-1947.

Land Records and Wills

Information on how to access land records and wills is best sought on the Archives of Ontario website. An ancestor's land holding might be found on Canadian County Atlas Digital Project if he was in occupancy circa 1878.

Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD). A list of Land Registry Offices for all Counties of Ontario.

Censuses

The original censuses are in the hands of Library and Archives Canada, known to Canadians as "LAC". Copies of original microfilms are online at the LAC website for all censuses up to 1921. Each census database is preceded with an explanation of the geographical area covered, the amount of material retained (some census division material has been lost), the questions on the census form, and whether there is a name index. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited.
Other websites, some paid and some free, also provide Canadian census originals and/or indexes online. One can also view censuses on microfilm at the LAC, at the Archives of Ontario (see address above), or at large libraries throughout Canada.

Hard-to-Find Places

E-books, Books and Newspapers

  • The Internet Archive, particularly texts from Canadian universities, can contain interesting material
  • Our Roots is a Canadian website similar to The Internet Archive
  • Global Genealogy is an online bookshop specializing in Ontario material who will ship anywhere in the world.
  • The Ancestor Hunt is a blog listing old Ontario newspapers that are available online, both free and pay websites. This is a very extensive list.

Some websites with more local information on Leeds and Grenville Counties

  • The Leeds and Grenville Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has a list of publications available.
  • A large number of historic Voters' Lists from Ontario communities for the latter part of the 19th century can be found on Internet Archive. Amongst these is what appears to be a complete set for Leeds and Grenville. Add "voters" and the township or town to the search box to find what is available.
  • The Internet Archive has a very large collection of Ontario references.
source: Family History Library Catalog
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Brockville, Ontario. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.