War of 1812 in Elgin County

War of 1812 in Elgin County

Few events had more influence over the early development of the Talbot settlements than the War of 1812. The events of 1813-1814 would haunt the settlers that endured them for the rest of their lives. To illustrate this impact the Society presents two books, written by Elgin based participants of the War.

Garrett Oakes arrived in Upper Canada with his uncle Charles in 1803. He would eventually settle near New Sarum. His early struggles to survive left little time for writing, but in the 1870's, he set down a series of articles on pioneer life for various local publications. Despite Mr. Oakes fearsome appearance, he is a thoughtful, intelligent, and sensitive writer. It is also claimed he was a talented ventriloquist. A full list of his talents would be too long for this introduction. Those writings were collected and edited by George Thorman and Frank Clarke. The Society is pleased to present them as part of our remembrance of the War of 1812.

Only one person, Col. Talbot, had more influence over the development of the Talbot settlements than Col. Mahlon Burwell. Active in the local Militia during the War, he was taken prisoner and held in Chillicothe, Ohio from August 1814 until the end of hostilities in January, 1815.

Burwell's journal is kept in the National Archives of Canada, but during a recent loan, we were able to transcribe it contents. In addition, recently discovered footnotes to the journal by late Society president, George Thorman, have been added to the Burwell journal.