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Elson Genealogy

E       Johann Henrick Ulson/Elson (c1763–1810)

Johann was one of the “Berczy Settlers” who endured many tribulations, including bitter winters without adequate food or shelter, to settle in Markham Township, just north of present-day Toronto, Ontario.

A British land syndicate led by William Pulteney, later the Marquis of Bath, had hired a German artist and visionary who had adopted the soubriquet “William Berczy” (1748–1813) to find skilled German settlers to populate their North American holdings. Berczy’s original name was Johann Albrecht Ulrich Moll. As a young man, he traveled widely in eastern Europe, and at one point he was held for ransom by a Hungarian outlaw. This brigand called him “Berczy”, a diminutive derived from Albrecht (analogous to referring to someone named Albert as “Bertie”). After his release, Moll began calling himself “William Berczy”.1 Berczy’s group of 220-odd men, women and children, recruited from various parts of Germany, arrived in the New World on two ships, one docking at Philadelphia, one at New York. Among the Philadelphia arrivals was “Johan Hendrik Olsen, 24 years”. That is how he appears in the passenger list of the ship Catharina, which arrived from Hamburg on 28 Jul 1792. This list is at the Pennsylvania Archives, Harrisburg, PA.2 The settlers left the ship in which they had been packed for 13 weeks on 3 Aug.3

Family tradition has it that Johann had come to America previously as a Hessian mercenary fighting for the Britsh in the American Revolution. According to Johann’s son, Joseph Elson—

“. . . my father John Elson as I have been informed was one of the Germen leageon that was hiered by the British government to come to America for to try and put down the rebellion then going on there this leagon ten thousand in number was raised in and near Hesson Casel in Germany and they were called Hessons and at the close of the war the greater part of them settled in Upper Canada around York and near Niagara falls up Chipawa creek they were among those who were call United Empire Loyalists . . .”4

If he were indeed 24 at his arrival in 1792, he would have been only 13 at the time of Cornwallis’s surrender at the end of the Revolution in 1781. A census by Berczy in 1804 has Ulson’s age as 405; if so, he would have been about 17 in 1781, which makes it barely possible that he could have fought in the Revolution. Joseph’s grandfather, John Steinhoff, not his father, went to Canada as a Loyalist in 1785 and settled on Chippawa Creek. Could the story of his “Hessian” service have been erroneously transferred from Joseph’s mother’s father to his own father?

I consulted with Bruce C Burgoyne, Dover, DE, an authority on German forces in the American Revolution.6 He could find no record of Johann Ulsen under that or any spelling we could think of. Still, the records are notoriously incomplete. It is possible that Johann played some role in the latter part of the war.

The Berczy group first attempted to settle on the British land syndicate’s Genesee Tract. This property comprised more than a million acres in upstate New York stretching across the state from present site of Rochester on Lake Ontario to the Pennsylvania border. Just getting there required the settlers to devote four months to improving the horse trail through the rugged country between present-day Williamsport, PA, and Painted Post, NY, a distance of about 75 miles, to make it passable by their wagons.7

The local representative of the overseas proprietors was Charles Williamson, a visionary of another sort than Berczy who considered Berczy to be an obstacle to his grandiose schemes. To attract “high-class” settlers he had built a theater and a racetrack. He had no use for German peasants. They had been promised farming implements and these had indeed been shipped to Williamson, who sold them before the Germans arrived. In 1801, long after the German settlers had departed, Williamson was fired by his employers, after he had spent a million dollars of their money (in those days!) and taken in just $146,000 from land sales.8

After two years of continuing disagreement between Berczy and Williamson, including Berczy’s being jailed9 and food riots among the Germans, most of the group abandoned the Genesee Tract and, accepting Lieutenant Governor Colonel Simcoe’s invitation to settle in his new province of Upper Canada, arrived late in 1794 at Markham Township, just then being surveyed. That wasn’t an easy trip, either. First, they had to sneak away from the Genesee Tract, a number of them overland to the Niagara River, others by boat along the shore of Lake Ontario.

“From the Niagara area, some by boat across Lake Ontario, some on foot around the head of the lake, they made their way to York [now Toronto].10
“John Henry Sommerfeldt and Christian Frederic Cornelius came from Niagara by land, bringing two sheep and two pigs with them. Sommerfeldt’s diary related:
“We slept at night in the woods. When we came to the Kredit [Credit River] there were Indians that took us over in canoe. Then we came to the Humber. I took one pig in small canoe and went back for the other. Then we got to York. I had fever every other day. . . . [M]y wife . . . carried one child on back and drove the pigs. After Christmas I came to my land. There I had to stay in tent till spring. In that time three of us brought logs together and built us houses. In spring I got two bushels of potatos, one quart of Indian corn and four quarts of peas, which I planted.”11
William Berczy

    Credit: Andre (1967), front of jacket

William Berczy (1748–1813), self portrait. He was an accomplished artist and architect as well as being proficient in several other skills.

There the Berczy pioneers, still about 190 strong, suffered harsh winter privation in the uncleared forest. To forestall starvation, about a third of the settlers were forced to move to the more-developed Niagara region and spend several years there. Johann Ulson was likely one of these, for he married teen-aged Elizabeth Steinhoff, one of the fourteen children of Johannes/John Steinhoff, who lived on Chippawa Creek, about five miles from Niagara Falls.

Johann eventually returned with his new wife to Markham Township, where he patented 200 acres (Lot 13 in Concession 3) in 1803. Elizabeth and her husband produced four or five sons and a daughter. Besides being a farmer, Johann made clothing. One source12 describes him as a “tailor” and his son Joseph’s autobiography says he was a “knitter”.

“. . . I have been told by some of my uncles on my mothers side that my father was a knitter to his trade, We would think in our days that would be small business for a man to follow for a living, but when we come to know that there was a great deel more of it done in them days when the men prity much all wore knitt caps and stockings that came above the knee in order to meet the legs of their short breeches, . . .”13

Johann’s wife Elizabeth died about 1809 and is buried in Buttonville Cemetery, Markham Twp. Johann quickly remarried an Elizabeth Turner, but then he passed away in January 1810. The widow also quickly remarried, on 23 Aug 1810, David Sales. The orphaned Elson children were distributed among Steinhoff uncles for rearing.

The John Steinhoff Mystery

The name Steinhoff means “stone gate” or “stone courtyard” or someone who came from a place called Steinhofen. It seems to be a not uncommon German name. There was a World War II Luftwaffe ace by the name of Johannes Steinhoff who is credited with downing 176 Allied (mostly Russian) planes. Later he was chairman of the NATO Military Committee.14

Was our ancestor with the same name really a German mercenary in the Revolutionary War? There seem to have been a Johan and a Johannes Steinhoff among the “Hessian” troops under the command of “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne, who attempted to sever the rebellious colonies in two by marching down from Canada and meeting up with forces from New York City. One Steinhoff is believed to have been in a Grenadier Battalion commanded by Lt Col Heinrich von Breymann15, part of a regiment of Brunswickers under the overall command of Maj Gen Friederich von Riedesel, though it is unclear whether Steinhoff was actually from Brunswick; the other was in a group from Hesse-Hanau, perhaps the Erbprinz Regiment under General von Gall16

Unfortunately for Burgoyne’s plans, cooperation from New York was not forthcoming and he was soundly defeated by the Americans at the Battle of Saratoga, NY, on 7 Oct 1777. The two Steinhoffs were presumably among the nearly 6000 soldiers surrendered by the British, more than 2400 of whom were German. Captured officers were quartered for the winter in homes in Boston; common soldiers spent the winter in barracks outside the city. The next year, the captives were marched to a camp near Charlottesville, VA. Many soldiers “melted away” during this trek. One of them is known to have been the Johannes Steinhoff in the Brunswick regiment, who disappeared at “Sharon” on 21 Nov 1878.17 There is a Sharon in both Connecticut and Massachusetts, but the one in Connecticut, a small town near the New York State border, seems more likely to have been on the line of march to Virginia. It is tempting to speculate that he may have made his way from there to Newton Twp, Sussex Co, NJ (a distance of perhaps 80 miles), where our ancestor named Johannes Steinhoff is thought to have lived before moving to Canada.

But I have no proof. What is known is that the John Steinhoff who is our ancestor brought his wife and 11 children born by that time to Upper Canada in 1785 and settled on Chippawa Creek (aka Welland River), near Niagara Falls. Three more children were born in Canada.18 In Jul 1796, John “Stinehuff” filed a land petition to the Executive Council of Upper Canada—

“. . . the petition of John Stinehuff Loyalist humbly sheweth that your petitioner has been in the province of Upper Canada going in [sic] ten years and have a large family of children, eight sons and six daughters, all living, and having but [a] single lot of which I find it too small a farm for such a large family as I have at present living with me . . . Your petitioner has not received a portion of land sufficiently for himself and his family [and] humbly prays your Excellency may please to grant him [etc] . . .”19

His petition was accepted and he was granted rights to 200 acres. Then he had to find available land. By Oct 1796 John Steinhoff was permitted to occupy land in the Long Point Settlement in Norfolk Co on the north shore of Lake Erie.20 In Apr 1797 Steinhoff registered a grant of 750 acres—his previous 200-acre grant plus 50 acres each for 11 of his children—in Charlotteville Twp, Norfolk Co.21 The next year he purchased 200 acres in Woodhouse Twp, Norfolk Co, near the present village of Lynn Valley in the Long Point Settlement. This is where he chose to make his home.22

Steinhoff was a juror in 1801 and served as Constable for Walpole, Woodhouse and Rainham in 1803 and 1804.23

Steinhoff’s will is dated at Woodhouse Twp on 13 Nov 1809. His widow renounced administration of the will on 16 Sep 1811 and his son Emanuel of Woodhouse Twp and an Abraham Beemer of Townsend Twp petitioned for the administration. The estate was valued at £102 10s plus crops worth £78.24

So, did John Steinhoff of Upper Canada come from New Jersey? Or did one of the mercenaries who fought for the British travel to Canada and take up farming? The problem with the same person being all three—the New Jersey resident, a mercenary, and a Canadian Loyalist—is that there is a 1774 New Jersey tax record that John “Stinehuff” had 10 acres and two “horses and/or cattle”.25 That would be two years before the Declaration of Independence and three before the Battle of Saratoga. The Germans that fought at Saratoga were transported from Europe to Quebec and marched down to Saratoga from there. If the New Jersey Steinhoff was involved in that campaign he would seemingly have had to return to Europe first.

Whether Steinhoff was a New Jersey settler or a mercenary, it is easy to suspect that he and his family were “Tories”, or persons who supported the British, rather than the American, side at the time of the American Revolution. Americans considered such people to be traitors, and when the Americans gained the upper hand many Tories had to flee for their lives. After the war, more fled for economic reasons, when their confiscated property was not restored by the new American government. The British called these refugees “United Empire Loyalists”, and offered them cheap or free land in places that remained British, such as Canada.

The fact that Steinhoff apparently had children born during the Revolutionary period does not rule out his having been a mercenary. There were women—wives, nurses, mistresses, etc—as well as children, accompanying both Brunswicker26 and Hesse-Hanau27 units during Burgoyne’s campaign, though the meager documentation that exists does not mention the name Steinhoff.

To further muddy the waters, in 1747 a Joannes Steinhof was baptized in Sankt Clemens Catholic Church in Telgte (near Münster), Westphalia, “Germany”28. He was the son of Joannes Bernd Steinhof and Anna Maria Becker.29 In 1770 a Joannes Steinhof married Anna Maria Hopart in the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church at Borgeln30 (near Soest, about 20 miles from Telgte), Westphalia. In 1771, their son Johan was baptized in the same church.31

There is usually a germ of truth in family traditions, such as Joseph Elson’s belief that his father had been a Hessian mercenary, but the story sometimes gets transferred from the ancestor really involved to someone else. The oral history in one family of Steinhoff descendants maintains that the Steinhoff ancestors were Mennonites or Amish.32 This seems unlikely since those sects practice “believer’s baptism”, or baptism delayed until a child is old enough to understand the faith they are joining, usually in their teen years or later. In contrast to this there is a record that at least two of John Steinhoff’s children, born after the family moved to Canada in 1785, were baptized by an Anglican Minister in 1794.33 Many Amish and Mennonites really were early settlers in what is now Ontario. Perhaps some of these were among the ancestors of the descendants in question and the tradition got reassigned to the Steinhoffs.

There is confusion about the name of Steinhoff’s wife. It was variously recorded as Anna or Hannah and it is Anne in his will. Then there is a baptismal record in Sussex Co, NJ for a Benjamin Steinhoff, son of John, but the child’s mother is given as Barbara.34 Many German women had double names such as Anna Barbara. Or did Barbara expire and John remarry?35

“My old grandmother Steinhoff some years after the death of my grandfather and after she was seventy years of age got married to Findly Malcolm of Oakvill or as it is now called Scotland in the township of Burford C[anada] W[est]. I recolect asking the old lady what could be the reason of her marrying and coming to live among the Scotch when they were so different from the Dutch36 whom she had lived amongst all her life. She told me that Mr. Steinhoff had made his will in that way that as long as she remained his widow the old homestead could not be disposed of and that she got married so that it could be sold and the money divided amongst her children.”37

Widower Finlay Malcolm had a woolen mill, grist mill, and a sawmill in Oakland Twp, Brant Co, ON. The present village of Scotland was formerly known as Malcolm’s Mills. Hannah/Anne died on 18 Aug 1829 and Malcolm died exactly a month later. They are both buried in Oakland Pioneer Cemetery.38

The fourteen Steinhoff children are thought to have been as follows39—Emmanuel (c1770–1833, m[1] ??????, m[2] Mary McMaster [26 Mar 1777–28 Dec 1838]), Andrew Herman (b 22 Sep 1773, m Jennet Malcolm), Hannah (c1774–after 1855, m William Dell/Dill [29 Jul 1766–12 Jun 1855]), Lao [sic, perhaps pronounced “Layo”] (c1775–9 Jan 1760, m Margaret Wier), John (b c1776, m Anna Beemer [b c1777]), Catherine (b c1777, m John Phillips [b c1785]), Frederick (b c1778, m Mary Barnhart), Benjamin (31 Jan 1781–8 Mar 1852, m Anna ?????? [5 Mar 1791–15 Oct 1846]), Elizabeth (1781–c1809, m Johann Hendrick Ulson/Elson [c1763–Jan 1810]), Joseph (c1782–20 Jan 1845, m Sighela or Cynthia Phillips [c1791–18 Sep 1843]), Mary (5 Jun 1785–4 Feb 1854, m John Silverthorn [9 Nov 1783–8 Jan 1851]), Jacob (bapt 10 Mar 1794, mar Sarah [“Sally”] Phillips [c1801–3 Apr 1883]), Anna (bapt 10 Mar 1794, d before 1838, m[1] Joseph Ramsden [d by 1821], m[2] William Monro), Rebecca (c1795–22 Jul 1825, m George Shafer/Shaver [c1786–1853]).

Ea                Henry Elson (1798–1886)

He was born 8 May 1798 in Markham Twp, York Co, Upper Canada. He is thought to have been the second white child born in Markham Twp. After he was orphaned at the age of 11, he was sent to live with his uncle Benjamin Steinoff; he also lived with his uncle Emanuel Steinhoff40. After he became old enough, he farmed the farm that had been his father’s in Markham. The fact that he got the farm and his brothers and sister got nothing caused much family bitterness.41 At some point Henry sold half his farm to his Uncle Benjamin. In 1822 he married Maria Helmke (22 May 1798–22 Jul 1860); she was the daughter of another Berczy settler. Children (all born in Markham Twp)—Wiliam Henry (b 1822, m Elizabeth ??????), Elizabeth (b 1826, m ?????? O’Neill), Joseph (b 1828, m Margaretta [“Maggie”] McLean), Margaret (b 7 Mar 1831, bapt 19 Oct 1860 in Markham Twp), Nancy (b 1834, m John Barber), Maria (24 Jul 1839–30 Aug 1918, bapt 19 Oct 1860 in Markham Twp, m 4 Apr 1877 James Camplin [b c1837 in England], moved from Markham Twp to Reach Twp, Ontario Co), Mary Ann (m 18 Sep 1845 William Barber). About 1881 Henry went to live with his daughter Maria in Reach Twp, Ontario Co. He died 13 May 1886 in Reach Twp, Ontario Co, ON.

Eb                Anna Elson (b 1799)

She married Thomas Derrickson (b c1784 in North Carolina).42

Ec                John Elson (1801–1849)

I have found little documentation of the life of John Elson, my great-great grandfather. He was born on 18 Jan 1801 in Markham Twp, Home District, Upper Canada.43 He was about eight when his father died and was sent to live with his uncle Emanuel, who was childless. His brother Joseph wrote—

“. . . When I left my Uncle Jos I went to my uncle Emannuel Steinhoffs near Simcoe[, Norfolk Co, Upper Canada], where my brother John lived who was two years older than me. And he and I used to do the plowin in the summer time with two yoke of oxen I well remember having to hunt after the oxen on what was called Culvers plains with my bare feet I have scars on my feet to this day made with running over the stubble of the burnt willows. But I did not know but it was all right as I saw other boys around the neighborhood were bare footed too, In the winter John and I had for to get up and chop the fire wood for the house and thrash the grain and feed the stock about the farm and go to school. our task was to thrash 24 sheeves every morning and the saim quantity at evening it had to be thrashed with the flail. . . .”44

On 14 Dec 1837 John married a Mary whose surname is in doubt.45 To me it looks like Biorto. One source gives her name as Mary (White) Biorte.46 I haven’t found documentation that proves her maiden name was White. Nor have I found any other persons with names similar to Biorto in 19th-century Canada.

Name in John Elson/Mary Biorto Marriage Record

On Mary’s gravestone it says she was 78 when she died in 1887; that would place her birth in about 1809. John and Mary were married by Abraham Sloot, Calvinist Baptist minister. It would seem that at the time of her marriage to John Elson, Mary already had a daughter Amelia Matilda, born about 1836. On Amelia’s 11 Jun 1928 death certificate her mother is given as Mary Elson and her father as F Housghton or Houaghton.47 (The form is typewritten, but the letters are smeary.) Could it be a mistyping of Houghton? I haven”t found any of these three names in association with Mary White/Biorto/Elson. John Elson died in Feb 1849.48 His burial place is apparently unknown.

According to the 1851 census Mary was born in England, widowed and living in a 1-story frame house in Westminster Twp, Middlesex Co, ON, with four daughters—Ann, Sarah, Eliza and Elizabeth. In 1861 Mary and daughters Eliza and Elizabeth were still in Westminster Twp, Mary’s daughter Sarah and her husband Henry Prince and their one-year-old child lived there as well. In 1871 Mary was with her daughter Ann, who was married to Pirney Flint. In 1881 Mary was with the Prince family, which lived in London Twp, Middlesex Co. Mary died on 10 Apr 1887 in Middlesex Co, ON;49 She is buried in St George’s Cemetery, Hyde Park, London Twp, Middlesex Co, ON.50

Eca                        Ann Elson (c1838–1874)

In the 1851 census of Westminster Twp, Middlesex Co, Canada West, Ann is in the household of her widowed mother. She is 13 years old. On 1 Jun 1859 she married Pirney Flint.51 In the 1861 and 1871 censuses she and her children are in the household of her husband. Ann died on 27 Jun 1874 at the age of 36, shortly after the birth of her eighth child, Edna Ann.52 She is buried in Brick Street Cemetery, London, ON, with her husband Pirney Flint and daughter Eliza (1866–1883).53

Ecb                        Sarah Jane Elson (1839–1881)

She was born 8 Apr 183954 in Westminster Twp, London District, Upper Canada. In the 1851 census she is 11 years old and in the household of her widowed mother. In the 1861 census she is in her mother’s household, newly married to Henry Prince (1838–1915; b Hampshire, England), who is also in the household. She has a newborn daughter, Mary, who is not in subsequent censuses. In the 1871 and 1881 censuses she and children are in her husband’s household. In 1881 her mother and Henry’s brother are also with them. Children55John Henry (b c1862), Jane (b c1863), Harriet (b c1865), Ida (b c1868), James Edward (b c1870), William (b c1872), Allice [sic] (b c1876), Isbella [sic] (b c1878). Sarah Prince, farmer’s wife, died on 5 Nov 1881 at the age of 42 in London Twp, Middlesex Co, ON, of heart disease lasting 10 days.56 She is buried in Oakland Cemetery, London, ON, with her husband Henry Prince.57

Ecc                        Eliza Elson (c1842–1877)

In the 1851 census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Eliza is 9 and in her widowed mother’s household. In the 1861 census she is 19 and still in her mother’s household. On 14 Jun 1869 she married Robert G Flint Jr at Byron, Middlesex Co, ON,58 and accompanied him to his ranch in California. In the 1870 US census for Hot Springs P O, Salinas Twp, San Luis Obispo Co, CA, “Elisa” Flint, 29 was in the household of her 53-year-old husband and had an 8-month-old daughter, Hannah M. She died in California in 1877 at the age of 36; her body was shipped “home” and she is buried in Brick Street Cemetery, London, ON.59

Ecd                        Elizabeth (“Lizzie”) Elson (1852–1934)

She was born 4 Apr 1852 In London Twp, Middlesex Co, Canada West (today's Ontario). When her sister Eliza married Robert Flint and he took her to his Rancho San Juan in California in 1869, Lizzie accompanied them. On 28 Nov 1878 Lizzie married Walter Lewis (1847–1926), an Englishman who had immigrated in 1870 and operated the neighboring El Camate ranch.60 They traveled to Canada and were married at the rectory of St Paul’s Anglican Church, London, ON. In the 1880 US census they are at San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Co, CA, and seemingly had no children. The 1900 census lists four daughters and 3 sons—Mary, 19; Elizabeth (“Bessie”), 17; Jane, 16; Walter Jr, 14; George, 12; Samuel, 10; and Amelia, 9. In 1910 and 1920 Walter Sr and Elizabeth are at Rancho San Juan, Pozo, San Luis Obispo Co (where Lizzie formerly lived when it was owned by her brother-in-law Robert G Flint Jr). In the 1930 census, Elizabeth Lewis, 77, widowed, is at Rancho Santa Margarita, San Luis Obispo Co, in the household of her son, Walter Lewis Jr. She died in 1934 and is buried in San Luis Cemetery, San Luis Obispo.61

Ed                Joseph Elson (1804–1877)

Born 6 Aug 1804 in Markham Twp, Home District, Upper Canada.62 When he was orphaned at the age of five he was sent to live with his Uncle Joseph Steinhoff, who soon moved to Woodhouse Twp on the north shore of Lake Erie.

“. . . I remember being with Capton Parks and uncle Jo in the war of 1812 at the mouth of Patersons creek to guard and alarm the militia if any Yankees made their apperence . . . They retired into camp close by to hold a Council of War with a jug of rum to briten their ideas and I had to stand sentry all night with the old flint lock musket . . . my orders was if I should see any light upon the lake, to fire off the gun and to awaken them immediately but no Yankees came that night. . . .”63

Joseph would have been eight to ten at the time (1812–1814). Later he lived with another uncle, Emanuel Steinhoff, as described under Joseph’s older brother John.

“JOSEPH ELSON . . . came to the London district in the early 1820’s. He was given a grant of 200 acres of land by Col. Talbot. After doing settlement duties he traded his farm to Peter McGregor for one acre of land situated near the south end of Hyde Park Sideroad, with what is reported to be the first frame house in London Township built upon it, also a small distillery. Having learnt the potter’s trade he built a small pottery as well.
“In 1834 he bought the 100-acre farm from the Canada Company, situated on the north-east corner of what is now called Oxford Street and Hyde Park Sideroad, or Lot 24, Con. 2, London Township. This farm was covered completely with forest and Joseph Elson chopped down and cleared 85 acres of this farm with his own axe, which brought forth a fruitful acreage. He also built a log house and large stone pottery.”64

He married 29 Mar 1831 in London Twp, Middlesex Co, Upper Canada, Samantha Hart (1811–1873; b Vermont). Children65 (all born in London Twp, Middlesex Co)—Hily (1832–1872, m Jonathan Wade), John Byron, Eliza Jane (1836–1923), Peter (1839–1913, elected to the Ontario Parliament 1904, 1908 and 1911), Samantha (1843–1919), Joseph Jr (1845–1846), Amanda Mariah, (1848–1876).

“. . . [Samantha’s] father was a music teacher living in the Gore of London Township, and when his daughter got married he gave her his piano. As there were no churches in the settlement, Mrs. Elson had the neighbors come to her log cabin each week and sing hymns while she played the piano. Their home was also a regular stopping-place for the saddlebag preacher when he came through that part of the country.
“Joseph Elson and his family lived in the log house until about 1855 when he built the brick house in which the fifth generation is still living. All the bricks in this house were made and burnt by him. He also made the lime by placing lime-stones on top of a huge pile of logs then setting fire to the logs.”66
“. . . I think that I have made earthen ware enough if it was set out single file to cover at least 100 acres and I have made more wiskey than fill them all; and good wiskey it was it was not such poisennos nasty stuff as there is nower days . . .”67

Above all, Joseph’s feisty autobiography tells of days and weeks spent chopping, chopping in the uncleared Canadian forest. He died 14 Dec 1877 in London Twp, Middlesex Co, ON. Joseph and Samantha are buried in Oakland Cemetery, London.68

Joseph Elson

    Credit: Lewis (1967), p 22.

Joseph Elson (1804–1877).

Ee                Andrew George Elson (1809–1874)

He was born in Markham Twp, Home Dist, Upper Canada on 28 Feb 1809 and baptized at St James Anglican Church, York (Toronto), on 1 Feb 1810.69 On 27 Nov 1832 He married Charlotte Dyer (b 2 May 1814). They were married by Abraham Sloot, the same minister who married Andrew’s brother John. Children70Martha Eliza (b c1833), Elizabeth (b c1835), Sydney (b 5 Sep 1838; never married; farmed in Westminster Twp, Middlesex Co; still living in 1901 census), William Henry (b c1842), Harriet M (b c1845), George Wallace (b c1847), Charles Wesley (b c1850), Warren, John (1855–1890). Andrew died in Delaware Twp, Middlesex Co, ON on 28 Nov 1874.71 He is buried in Kilworth Cemetery, Delaware Twp.72 Charlotte is buried in St Georges Cemetery, Hyde Park, London Twp.73


1 Andre (1967), p 46–49.

2 It was also published as List 370 in Strassburger and Hinke (1934), v 3, p 49–51.

3 Andre (1967), p 27.
4 Elson (1864), p 1.

5 Andre (1971), p 187.

6 Two telephone conversations 3 Jun 1993.

7 Shank (1992), p 3–4.

8 Billington (1974), p 247; Cowan (1941), chapters IX–XI.

9 Champion (1979), p 13.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid, p 15–16.

12 Andre (1971), p 38.

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13 Elson (1864), p 1.

14 Steinhoff (2004); "Johannes Steinhoff", a Wikipedia article.

15 Merz, John, 10 Jul 2000 posting at a RootsWeb page about United Empire Loyalists; Luzader (2008), p 364, 366.

16 Burgoyne (2003), p 272, 275, "Recruits for Units of Hesse-Kassel: Infantry Recruits Mustered at Nijmegan, 28 March 1777"; Luzader (2008), p 266. All German soldiers fighting for the British were routinely called "Hessians" by English speakers, but this Steinhoff may have been a bona fide Hessian.

17 Smith (1973), p 42; Merz, op cit.

18 Mutrie (2005), p 2.

19 Upper Canada Land Petition "S" Bundle 1, Doc No 143; Mutrie (1992), p 206.

20 Minutes of the Executive Council of Upper Canada, Land Book C; Mutrie (1992), p 206.

21 Abstracts of Deeds Register of Charlotteville Twp Vol A, 1800–1947, Ontario Archives GS 2554.

22 Mutrie (2005), p 4.

23 Mutrie (1992), p 206.

24 Mutrie (2005), p 3.

25 Stryker-Rodda (1965), p 137.

26 Burgoyne (1999), p 3, 4, 13, 15.

27 Ibid, p 3, 5, 5–6, 12–13.

28 In the 1700s what we now call "Germany" was a collection of several hundred independent polities, some of them quite tiny. There was no nation of Germany until Prussia cobbled together the "German Empire" in 1871, after the Franco-Prussian War.

29 IGI.

30 Ibid.

31 Ibid.

32 Mutrie (2005), p 2.

33 Baptismal register of Robert Addison, Minister of St Mark's Church, Newark, Upper Canada (now Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON), 10 Mar 1794.

34 Baptismal record, Stillwater Presbyterian Church, Stillwater, NJ, 5 Jan 1782.

35 Mutrie (2005), p 2.

36 Germans, or Deutsch, were frequently called "Dutch" even though they did not come from the Netherlands.

37 Elson (1864), p 2.

38 Mutrie (2005), p 3.

39 Ibid, p 4, 6, 12, 14, 19, 22, 25, 26, 29.

40 Ibid, p 19.

41 Elson (1864), p 6.

42 Ibid.

43 Mutrie (2005), p 19.

44 Elson (1864), p 2.

45 Ontario, Canada, District Marriage Registers, 1801–1858, MS 248, Reel 3. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

46 Mutrie (2005), p 19.

47 Registrations of Deaths, 1869–1938, MS 935, Reel 361. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

48 Mutrie (2005), p 19.

49 Registrations of Deaths, 1869–1938, MS 935, Reel 48. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

50 Canada Gen Web's Cemetery Project.

51 Ontario, Canada, District Marriage Registers, 1801–1858, MS 248, Reel 10. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

52 Registrations of Deaths, 1869–1938, MS 935, Reel 10. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

53 Find A Grave Memorial #95516760.

54 "Meilleur-Downie Family Tree" at Ancestry.com, owner: sanke1.

55 1881 census.

56 Registrations of Deaths, 1869–1938, MS 935, Reel 28. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

57 Gravestone in Oakland Cemetery, London, ON (Canada Gen Web's Cemetery Project).

58 Letter from Mary Rogers, London Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society, 27 May 1986.

59 Canada Gen Web's Cemetery Project.

60 Ontario, Canada, Registrations of Marriages, 1869–1928, MS 932, Reel 27. Archives of Ontario, Toronto; Ohles (1997), p 256–257.

61 Find A Grave Memorial #89185447.

62 Mutrie (2005), p 19.

63 Elson (1864), p 2; Joseph Steinhoff was one of 20 privates (including four "Stinhoff" brothers) and four officers in Capt William Park's Company of the 2nd Regt of Norfolk Militia [Mutrie (1992), p 256].

64 Lewis (1967), p 22; "Written for the London Free Press by Paul B Elson", a grandson.

65 Gravestones in Oakland Cemetery, London, ON (Canada Gen Web's Cemetery Project); Mutrie (2005), p 20.

66 Lewis (1967), loc cit.

67 Elson (1864), p 9.

68 Gravestone in Oakland Cemetery, London, ON (Canada Gen Web's Cemetery Project).

69 Register of St James Anglican Church, Toronto, ON.

70 Mutrie (2005), p 20.

71 Registrations of Deaths, 1869–1938, MS 935, Reel 10. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

72 Gravestone in Kilworth Cemetery, Middlesex Co, ON (Canada Gen Web's Cemetery Project).

73 Mutrie (2005), p 20.

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