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FLINT Brothers

Emigration to North America

Six years after Robert Sr’s father wrote his will, the Flint family of six emigrated to the New World. It is not known what instigated their relocation, though they had just buried a 3-year-old daughter, Patience, on 14 Feb. On 8 Apr 1830 the fast packet Brighton, William Sebor, master, arrived in New York with the Flints aboard. In the passenger manifest, Robert’s occupation was given as “bricklayer”. The family’s destination was listed as “Upper Canada” (today’s Ontario).1

“. . . He left his family in [New York] while he went to Pottsville to earn some money, having been robbed before leaving England. Not returning as soon as expected, Mrs. Flint became anxious, made inquiries, and heard that he had died of cholera. She then returned to England. In the meantime, three days after Mrs. Flint had started back to England, Mr. Flint returned to New York and found his family gone. He then went to Canada, settled in Byron, and later sent to England for his family . . .”2

Actually, the older boys, Robert, 13, and George, 11, were with their father. Mary, 8, and Pirney, 5, returned to England with their mother. In Upper Canada Robert purchased 63 acres of land, Concession 1, Lot 42, in Westminster Twp, London District, just west of the town of London. (Westminster is now the Byron neighborhood in the city of London, Ontario.3) It is possible Robert had been in the area before, as a British soldier in the War of 1812. Robert and Hannah corresponded and she agreed to come again, arriving with Mary and Pirney in New York on 17 Apr 1833 aboard another fast packet, the Ontario, from London, again captained by William Sebor.4 Doubtless Robert made a point of being there for her arrival!

It can only be conjectured how they traveled from New York City to Upper Canada. The most likely route would seem to have been up the Hudson River to Albany, then via the Erie Canal (which had been open since 1825) to Buffalo on Lake Erie, then by means of a lake steamer to Port Stanley on the north shore of Lake Erie, and finally by stage or wagon the 20-odd miles inland to Westminster.

“. . . Grandmother got very homesick, so took a trip back to England; then after that she was contented. She had a little girl Patience die at sea. . . . She must have had her hands full coming over—all those youngsters to look after. Uncle Pirney was all over the boat—he was just small. Came near being washed over once—high Seas—wasn’t supposed to be out on deck. an iron rail caught him by the seat of his pants & some one made a grab at him.”5

Sure enough, there is a record that Hannah Flint arrived in New York from London for the third time, on 18 Aug 1837. This time the ship was the Gladiator, Captain Thomas Britton. Hannah was accompanied by Pirney, 12, and Mary, 14.6

Notes

1 Immigration (1830).

2 Middlesex History (1889), "Biography of Pirney Flint", p 816.

3 The area where the Flints settled was in "Upper Canada" until 1841, when the name was changed to "Canada West". After confederation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867, it became the southern part of the Province of Ontario. The village of "Westminster" became "Hall's Mills" in 1845, which in turn was changed to "Byron" in 1857. There continued to be a Westminster Township and Hannah continued to dateline her letters "Westminster". Although Middlesex County existed before 1849 the area was administered as part of the London District until that year.


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4 Immigration (1833).

5 Flint, L (1934).

6 Immigration (1837).

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