The Story of Robert Land (under development)
 

 

The enquirer into the beginnings of settlement at the Head of Lake Ontario

quickly finds that the first four Britishers to settle on the south shore

of the Bay, now Hamilton Harbour, on land now part of the City of Hamilton,

were: Richard Beasley, Robert Land, Charles Depew and George Stuart. That

was within a few years, more or less, of 1782.  In point of interest the

romantic story of Robert Land and his family is outstanding, and the purpose

of this review is to relate briefly some of the main traditions and

associations that concern them.

 

Robert Land, the progenitor of the family, was born in 1739 at Tiverton,

Devonshire, England. He appears to have come to America in his youth, possibly

with a twin brother John, and settled near Calkins Creek at what is now

Milansville, in the Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania.  There he built a log cabin.

He was short, stout and fair, and was naturally attracted to a girl who was

tall and dark, in the person of Phoebe Scott, three years older than himself,

whom he married about 1757.

 

As a settler and farmer he succeeded, and by 1776, when the American Revolution

broke out, he was well established, at the age of forty, as a Justice of the

Peace, with a house and family of seven girls and boys, ranging from a baby of

a few months to John, aged 19. About this time, his loyalty caused him to take

service with the British Forces.  Because of his knowledge of the country he

was selected to carry dispatches.  Meanwhile his family and others like them

suffered abuse for their fidelity, and when the father was away a raid on his

household was made by hostile neighbours and Indians. One of the sons, Abel,

was taken away by the latter. His brother John found where the Indians had

gone and persuaded them to release Abel, but not until the captive had been

made to run the gauntlet of their blows, an ordeal that was lessened by his

fleetness.  Persecution continued, and soon after this John himself was put

in prison by the rebel authorities, and the mother and the rest were left to

carry on the work of the farm short-handed.

 

One night in the autumn of 1778, when the family had retired, a daughter

Rebecca, or perhaps Kate, was roused from her sleep by the hand and voice of

a friendly Indian, who urged her to go at once to the Kanes, their Loyalist

neighbour across the river. Without disturbing the others she dressed, crossed

the water alone in a canoe, and entered their darkened house. Here she stumbled

over the bodies of the Kanes, who had all been foully murdered.  As the

courageous girl returned home, the same Indian's voice warned her that her

house would soon be burned and that the others should be got out at once.

 

Hastily but quietly the girl awakened her mother and the rest.  They all

escaped to the fields, and just in time, for presently on looking back they

beheld their house and barn in flames.  For some days the family hid in the

woods, then under much physical hardship they made their way to New York and

came under the protection of the British authorities. They stayed there until

the army evacuated the city, and with many other Loyalists in similar plight

they were taken to what is now New Brunswick, where they remained for seven

years.

 

Meanwhile, Robert Land had been performing the dangerous duties of a dispatch

bearer under the British General, Sir Henry Clinton. On one occasion, he

records, he suffered confinement and condemnation, from which he made his

escape. Some time after the departure of his family from their farm house he

chanced to be in the vicinity and unobtrusively paid it a visit - to find,

alas, only the ashes of his home and no trace of his dear ones.  The few

Loyalist neighbours to whom he dared reveal himself told of the murder of the

Kane family, and quite believed that Mrs. Land and the children had also

perished. The despairing man then decided to leave the country where he had

lost so much and endured such injustice. The war was nearly over. He would go

to the newer British territory to the north - Canada.

 

A Quaker friend named Ralph Morden undertook to guide him to the Niagara border,

but word of Land's presence had spread around and they were pursued by a group

of watchfil rebels.  Land started off and urged his companion to hasten, but

Morden, who in accordance with the peaceful ways of his sect had never taken

up arms nor done any ill, was confident that he could convince their pursuers

of his innocence.  Such an argument, however, counted for nothing with the

inflamed mob.  Morden was seized, and was subsequently condemned, and hanged.

As Land outdistanced those who followed him, they fired after him and had

the satisfaction of seeing him fall among the underbrush.

 

The heavy musket ball struck Robert's knapsack with force enough to knock him

down. As he fell his hand was gashed on a sharp stone, and bled profusely.

This marked a trail which his enemies followed and at last gave up, for

darkness was falling.  They concluded that he was as good as dead. Travelling

chiefly by night, Land reached Fort Niagara and found safety with the British

there.  This was in 1779, at the age of 43, and after some two years on his

dangerous work.

 

When the war ended, Land received a Loyalist grant of 200 acres, now covered

by the town of Niagara Falls, Ontario. There he lived alone for three years,

morose and brooding over his unkindly fate, within earshot of the Falls, whose

noise disturbed the peace of mind that he sought. When he could bear it no

longer, something prompted him to move fifty miles away to the neighbourhood

of what we now call Burlington Bay.  From the escarpment he followed a deer

trail leading down to the water. Well back from the marshy and indented

shoreline, on a slight rise of ground, now the south side of Barton Street,

between Leeming Street and Smith Avenue, he made himself a dugout, according

to family story, in which he lived until he had built a shanty or log cabin.

He set about clearing some land, and supported himself after the manner of

woodsmen by hunting, fishing and trapping; still in solitude, for white

neighbours were far and few, he sought forgetfulness and peace in unremitting

toil amid primitive surroundings.

 

When the War of Independence was over, the eldest son, John Land, was released

from confinement. As he had not taken up arms he was allowed to own and occupy

family property in the Delaware Valley. Later he built the Red House, which

still stands there.  He married Lillian Skinner and was the father of 11

children and progenitor of the American branch of the family. Though some of

his descendants live on the farm and in its vicinity, the family name of Land

has died out.

 

Robert, the youngest son, whom we shall now have to designate as Robert II,

appears to have grown dissatisfied with the conditions in New Brunswick, where

ill-fortune continued to dog the family. While he was but 17, he urged and

finally persuaded his mother to migrate with some if not all of them to Upper

Canada, now known as Ontario, where settlers of the right class, and

particularly Loyalists, were being encouraged. So they took ship to New York

on the first part of the long journey to Niagara and visited John at his

farm-stead on the way. From him they heard the tale of Morden's untimely end,

and popular report sustained the reputed death of their father.  John was quite

satisfied with his own prospects and was not disposed to leave his setting;

so with affection and regret the family separated and the emigrants slowly made

their way to Niagara, where the boys supported the group by hunting and

trapping and occasionally working for neighbouring settlers.

 

After they had been there a year or so they chanced to hear through an itinerant

trader that a settler named Land was living alone at the Head-of-the-Lake, as

the western end of Lake Ontario was then called. Despite the unlikelihood that

this could ever be a kinsman of theirs, unless he came from the Old Country,

Robert II decided to go and find out, for Mrs. Land was not thoroughly

convinced that her husband had been killed.  She became hopefully anxious about

the matter, and it was agreed that some of them should make the fifty mile

journey. Eventually, she and two sons, Robert and Ephraim, came to the trail

that led to journey's end, a clearing with a solitary cabin, outside of which

the long-lost father was sitting smoking. The joyful family reunion after

eleven years of separation was as a dream come true.  Later they were joined

by two other sons and three daughters.

 

With thankful hearts the united family set to work once more as diligent

farmers, and in a few years were all beyond the reach of want.  Other settlers

began to come in, but many were deterred by the name the place had for its

marshiness, for wolves and rattlesnakes, and the Indian grass that was so

difficult to eradicate. It is recorded that when neighbours were more numerous,

Robert supported himself in part by making and selling spinning jennies.

 

Robert Land, the father, commemorated his years of sorrow and happy outcome by

planting a weeping willow near the cabin. In time the humble dwelling was

replaced by a substantial house.  In 1794 he applied for a grant of land and

by a deed dated 1802 was allowed 312 acres, stretching from the Mountain to

the Bay and from Emerald to Wentworth Street.  Each of his sons, Abel, William,

Ephraim and Robert, acquired 200 acres on adjoining lots. On this area of over

a square mile of virgin prairie-like land, intersected by long marshy inlets

from the Bay, now stands the central part of the city of Hamilton. Abel,

Ephraim and Robert stayed in this locality, hut William, the other son, moved

west to Oxford County.

 

Robert the elder lived to see the beginnings of Hamilton as a village, and died

in 1818, aged 82.  Phoebe his wife died in 1826, aged 93.  In his will, dated

Oct. 27, 1805, Robert "did give and bequeath" to each of his sons John and Abel

the sum of twenty shillings; to his daughters, Rebecca, wife of Nathanial

Hughson, and Phoebe, wife of Clement Lucas, twenty shillings each; and to

another daughter, Abigail, wife of Oziah McCarty, twenty shillings also; which

several legacies were to be paid by his executors within one year of his

decease.  To his son Ephraim he bequeathed on hundred and fifty acres of the

farm, and to Robert one hundred and sixty-two acres.

 

"Hard" money was evidently scarce in those days. Like that of the Biblical

patriarchs whose wealth consisted of herds of cattle, the substance of the

pioneer lay in real estate - solid property rather than coin of the realm;

and that agricultural wealth could only be increased by hard manual labour

under living conditions comprising an assortment of physical discomforts that

would appal us to-day.

 

United Empire Loyalists like Robert Land and his family have played a noble

part in our Canadian history. By their sacrifices and sufferings for their

principles they founded two of our Provinces and leavened with their strength

the three already colonized. In such pioneer stock Ontario has indeed a noble

parentage, which we may well cherish with affection and pride.

 

 

Sons of Robert Land I

 

Abel Land, eldest of the sons who came to Canada, married Lois Cooley in 1811

and was the father of five children. He built a wharf at the Bay front on his

lot east of Wellington Street.  It was approached by a road called Land's Lane,

which skirted the east side of a long inlet. Besides farming he carried on a

shipping business, using heavy pioneer boats called batteaux which passed

through the Bay's natural outlet to Lake Ontario, for the canal was not built

until 1832. Until the Bay front was filled in north of Burlington Street in

1930, remnant piles could be seen running far out into the water.

 

His son, Abel II, had the north part of the lot, east of Wentworth Street, and

his homestead stood where the International Harvester Twine Mill now is.

Land Street, between Wentworth and Hillyard Streets; reminds one of the first

owners.

 

Abel, Ephraim and Robert II, were all Freemasons and members of the first

Masonic Lodge at the Head-of-the-Lake, Lodge No. 10, founded in 1795, and

familiarly named "The Barton", after the town-ship, which was then in the

County of Lincoln.

 

The Lodge meetings were first held at Smith's tavern, a log building at the

northwest corner of King and Wellington Streets, back from the site of the

present branch of the Canadian Bank of Commerce. The signatures of Abel,

Ephraim and Robert appear on the attendance rolls of the meeting held there

on January 31, 1796, along with 54 others.

 

Ephraim married Mary Chisholm, who is buried in the Chisholm plot at Oakville

Cemetery, and died March 7, 1865 in the 87th year of life. He had the lot west

of Wentworth Street and south of Main. He became custodian of the Lodge jewels.

When Hamilton was threatened by the American Army in the War of 1812, the

jewels were temporarily buried in the garden of his property, along with some

household treasures, just before the battle of Stoney Creek, June 6, 1813.

The particular spot was about 60 feet south of Main Street and 40 feet east of

Erie Avenue, now the location of an apartment house.  For many years a

defensive breastwork of earth remained, about four feet high and shaped like

a chevron, each arm being about 30 feet long.

 

 

Robert Land II, 1772 - 1867

 

When his father died in 1818 there was not much of Hamilton in existence,

though the tract bounded by the Mountain and King Street, James and Wellington

Streets, purchased by George Hamilton, had been laid out as a townsite in 1813

and given his name.  The neighbours of the Lands were the Beasleys, Fergusons,

Springers and the Aikmans.

 

Such were the meagre facilities of the period that when a pound of tea or a

yard of calico was required the pioneer had to go to the larger settlements of

Dundas, Ancaster or Stoney Creek. Other privations required strenuous effort.

In the first year of his farming, Robert II cultivated an acre with a hoe and

sowed it with wheat, after which he never again lacked food. There was a time

when he had to carry a bushel of grain on his back all the way to a mill at

Shipman's Corners on Twelve Mile Creek, near St. Catharines, have it ground,

and then walk back with the flour; an oft-recorded pioneer experience.

 

Robert II married Hannah Horning, daughter of a German family that had come

from Maryland and settled in Barton Township. They had three sons and five

daughters.

 

In the War of 1812, Robert joined the Flank Company of the 5th Lincoln Militia

as a lieutenant, and served under Captain Samuel Hatt. He was present at the

occupation of Detroit, August 16, 1812, and took part in the battle of Lundy's

Lane, July 25, 1814. (See Note I of Addenda.)

 

On the day before the battle of Stoney Creek, Col. Harvey of the 49th British

Regiment, who was stationed on Burlington Heights, learned that a number of

American troops had landed at the south end of Burlington Beach to reinforce

those who were advancing on Stoney Creek. It is recorded that he sent for

Lieut Land, who knew the area well, and asked him to take a party and so

dispose his men as to hinder the enemy's movement. Robert performed that duty,

and by this action prevented the junction of the landing force with those of

the main column and so enabled Col. Harvey to repel the entire American force

at the village.  For his services in this war he received the Prince Regent's

land grant. The assessment roll of 1822 shows that his original Loyalist grant

had become augmented to 280 acres; that he possessed 13 cattle, and that his

property was assessed at $290.  As an officer of the Gore District Militia he

attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1830, and is sometimes called

Col. Robert to distinguish him from Robert his father.

 

Up to 1823 the growing body of local Methodists had been worshipping in log

schoolhouses and other hired buildings, and keenly felt the need of

meeting-houses of their own.  In that year the Government showed more tolerance

to non-Anglican bodies by allowing them to own church property. A Hamilton

group of Methodists centering around Richard Springer then purchased from

Robert Land II for five pounds a site near the northeast corner of King and

Wellington Streets.  He had bought this cheaply from a man who in turn had

acquired it from an earlier owner for a yoke of oxen and a barrel of pork!

 

On it was built the first church edifice in Hamilton, the fore-runner of our

First United Church. The ground was deeded "To the Trustees of the Methodist

Eiscopal Church, June 11, 1823 containing by estimation one acre and three

perches." The building was erected in 1824 and around it the pioneers were

buried.  The only headstone left is that of Richard Springer, 1758-1829, which

may be seen against the wall south of the Wellington Street entrance.

 

Marcus Smith's 1850 map of Hamilton designates the building as the "British

Wesleyan Church", for the local body had cast off its American affiliation

by that time.

 

The Land family belonged to the Church of England.  As the first building of

that denomination in the township was on the Mohawk Road up on the Mountain,

later known as St. Peter's, Barton, and was not opened until 1819, they were

much associated with the Methodists for worship.

 

The building which was the precursor of St. Thomas' Anglican Church was opened

in 1857 on the northwest corner of Wilson and Emerald Streets, then far out in

the fields. It had been Land property, and a Robert Land helped to finance

this wood and stucco building, situated where now stands Emerald Street United

Church.  Its first incumbent was the Rev. Thomas Blackman, curate at Christ's

Church; and its first rector's warden was a Robert Land, possibly a nephew of

Robert II who was then 85.  It served until the present stone Church of St.

Thomas was opened on Main Street in 1870.

 

During the Rebellion of 1837, Col. Land, at the age of 65, was placed in

command at Hamilton, where he discharged his onerous duties satisfactorily

but at the expense of his health, which caused him to retire soon after from

active life.  He died in 1867 at the great age of 95, and was buried in the

family vault bearing his name in Hamilton Cemetery.

 

 

John Land, 1806 - 1892

 

Grandson of Robert Land I and eldest son of Col. Robert, in his early years he

attended such schools as were to be found in the primitive settlement and thus

acquired a fair English education.  When he was a boy of seven he witnessed the

commotion caused by the approach of the Americans to Stoney Creek; for the

women and children of the settlement gathered in his father's house to await

the result of that engagement. He used to relate that he remembered this

exciting incident well because June 4th was the King's Birthday.  As soldiers

were short of powder the usual loyal salute was omitted that day and the

ammunition was saved for more effective use.

 

At the age of 18 he enrolled in the Sedentary Militia, as the volunteer soldiers

were then called. He always appeared on the annual "training day" on the

birthday of George III, later changed to that of Victoria, May 24. This

military parade grew out of the establishment of the Upper Canada Militia, for

it was obviously necessary that some pretepre at defensive training should be

made. All men from 16 to 60 were enrolled, and each was required to provide

himself with "a sufficient musket, fusil, rifle or gun, and at least six rounds

of powder and ball." On such festive occasions, many of them took part in the

military proceedings, which consisted of a little clumsy drill by men in

partial uniform with a motley array of ancient weapons; followed by a good

deal of horse-racing and whisky-drinking.

 

After receiving a commission as ensign in the infantry, John rose to the rank

of lieutenant, and during the Rebellion of 1887 served in Hamilton as a captain.

But garrison duty did not suit him when fighting was likely to be done, so he

joined the cavalry under Col. Servos.  He remained in the Militia after the

Rebellion and became a lieutenant-colonel.  An old red mess tunic of his, now

in the possession of his descendants, is ornamented with the large epaulettes

of the period and brass buttons bearing the word "Commissariat", the equivalent

of our Army Service branch.

 

In 1841, John Land married Esther Morris, daughter of John Morris, an Englishman

who came to Canada from London about 1824.  They had eight children.  Like his

father, John was connected with St. Thomas' Church, where a wall tablet by the

members of the family is inscribed:

 

"In loving memory of John Land, Colonel in H.M. Canadian Militia, and a

founder and most generous member of the Parish and Church of St. Thomas.

He was remarkable for his sagacity, rare kindness and pure unselfishness.

 

                                Born 11th Nov. 1806     Died 21st Dec. 1892

 

Kindness is wisdom.  There is none in life but need it and may learn."

 

 

It is surmounted by a medallion showing a griffin rampant the upper portion of

an eagle on the lower portion of a lion; probably to indicate the American and

English origins of the family.

 

 

Allan Land, 1844 - 1940

 

A familiar figure to many of us was the late Allan Land, a great-grandson of

Abel, son of Robert I, who died in 1940 at the advanced age of 96.  For many

years he lived in a cottage at 170 Aberdeen Avenue, later occupied by his

youngest sister, Miss Daisy Land.  (See Note II of Addenda.)

 

As a boy, Allan and his two brothers were tutored by Herr von Heise, a German

Episcopal clergyman who met his death at the age of 43 in the Desjardins Canal

disaster on March 12, 1857.  He was buried at the expense of Allan's father,

and lies with many other victims in an unmarked collective grave in Hamilton

Cemetery.

 

On the outbreak of war in 1939, Allan, then 95, read Mein Kampf, the work

embodying Hitler's outrageous philosophy.  Himself a veteran of the Fenian

Raid of 1866, he recalled the time when, as a young private in the Royal

Hamilton Light Infantry, the bullets whizzed past him at the Battle of

Ridgeway.  For years he was the oldest member of the Barton Masonic Lodge.              I

 

He had a long association with Christ's Church Cathedral, and in 1923 presented

a bronze tablet, to be seen in the nave. It is dedicated "Ad majorem dei

gloriam" (To the greater glory of God) and the memory of his grandparents,

Lt.-Col. Abel and Lois Land, and his parents, Robert A. Land and Adeline Case

Land, all four of whom were present on Oct. 13, 1835, at the laying of the

cornerstone of Christ's Church. After some wandering, this old stone is now

set in the exterior wall of the chancel, at the southeast corner.

 

 

General Winfield Scott, 1776 - 1866

 

He was the nephew of Phebe Scott, wife of Robert Land I. Born in Virginia, and

trained as a lawyer, he fought as a colonel at the battle of Queenston Heights,

Oct. 13, 1812, but was captured.  General Brock and his aide, Lt. Col.

John McDonell, were killed at that battle and were buried together in the

ramparts of Fort George. Col. Scott, while prisoner, sent his compliments to

the Commander of the Americans at Fort Niagara, just across the river, and

requested that minute guns be fired during the funeral ceremonies. This was

done, a fitting tribute by the enemy to the noble qualities of the British

general; a type of courtesy which the more dangerous tempo of modern war too

seldom allows.

 

After the fall of York in April, 1813, Col. Scott was exchanged with other

prisoners and rejoined his countrymen as Chief of Staff at the American Fort

Niagara.  On May 27, 1813, he led the attack on the British Fort George, and

although wounded he entered the fort and hauled down the Union Jack.  At Lundy's

Lane he was again wounded.  Later he became Major-General and was twice an

unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. presidency; took a leading part in

operations against the Indians, and in 1847 led the U.S. Army in its victorious

war in Mexico.

 

A distinguished living kinsman of General Winfield Scott is Vice-Admiral

Emory Scott Land, of Washington, great-grandson of our Ephraim Land, who during

the Hitler War was Chairman of the United States Marine Commission, War Shipping

Administration.

 

 

Charles Lindbergh

 

The descendants of the Hamilton branch of the Land family scattered to other

parts of Canada, and some returned to the States. One of these was Charles H.

Land, a grandson of Ephraim, the son of Robert I, who moved to Detroit, the

place his grand-uncle, Robert II, had helped to capture from the Americans

in 1812. There he made his home and practised as a dentist.

 

His daughter, Evangeline, married a man named Lindbergh. Their son, Charles

Augustus Lindbergh, was the aviator who on May 21, 1927, at the age of 25,

made the famous non-stop solo flight in the "Spirit of St. Louis", from

New York to Paris.  Matching his courage and resourcefulness against the

chancy forces of Nature, the young aviator flew through fog, sleet and fair

weather, serenely unaware of the interest he was arousing. He actually

carried letters of introduction, lest the people at his destination might not

believe who he was!  For this daring exploit, which outclassed the pioneer

Atlantic crossing of the Britishers, Alcock and Brown, from Newfoundland to

Ireland in 1919, he received the Orteig award of $25,000, the admiration of

the world, the overwhelming adulation of the United States, and was given the

rank of colonel.

 

Colonel Lindbergh is thus a direct descendant six times removed of our

Robert Land I, who had to flee for his life from the States during the

Revolution.

 

In 1932 his name was associated with a domestic tragedy that stirred the whole

continent.  His infant son was kidnapped, and although ransom was paid to the

abductor by the frenzied parents the child was deliberately murdered.  In

consequence, Bruno Richard Hauptman was arrested, and after a trial lasting

six weeks at the assizes of Flemington, N.J., he was convicted by a jury on

which four women served, and suffered the penalty of death.

 

 

Land Dwellings

 

The homestead which succeeded the original log cabin of Robert I stood on a

slight eminence on the south side of Barton Street between what are now Leeming

Street and Smith Avenue, almost opposite St. Matthew's avenue. An old

photograph of horse-car days shows it as a frame cottage, with a central

windowed gable, approached by steps and a boardwalk. It lay at a slight angle

to the street, but actually nearer to the east and west than Barton Street,

as though haphazardly sited, with Robert's willow tree near the southwest

corner.

 

Later it was numbered 408 Barton Street East, rebuilt as a brick house of two

storeys and enhanced by a good square tower at the east end, and known as

Landholme. Two single-piece pointed square stone pillars, each bearing the

name in raised letters, graced the main approach. It passed from Land

ownership and was for a while a boarding house. Then, about 1914, it was

bought by the late Stanley Mills. During the Kaiser's War it became the

Victoria Convalescent Home, and in 1915 it was transferred to the Military

Hospital Commission. Later it served as a Children's Home, but finally

succumbed to the economic pressure that a growing and encircling industrial

city exerts on old buildings left in spacious grounds.  About 1928 it was

taken down. No trace of it or the willow tree remains, for dwelling houses

and a modern gasoline station now cover the spot.

 

The monolith pillars were removed in 1912 and now border the driveway to a

mansion, Number 341, at the extreme end of James Street South, where the road

turns east.  They stand facing inwards, but shorn of their grand old Saxon

name, though the faint outline of the sheared lettering can still be traced.

 

At the eastern end of the Landholme lot that is now the corner of Leeming and

Barton Streets, the W. A. Freeman Company, about 1904, erected an office

building.  On April 13, 1915, the Wentworth Historical Society marked the spot

by a cut stone memorial tablet*** inserted in the wall. Later this could be

seen in the northwest corner of a gasoline station that superseded the office.

About 1938, when this building gave place to the present Anglo-American station,

the tablet disappeared.  After a period of oblivion it has found its way to

the entrance hall of the Robert Land School.

 

The inscription asserts, rather too positively perhaps for our present-day

acceptance in the light of later research, that "Here Robert Land the first

settler built his cabin, A.D. 1779."  (See Note III of Addenda.)

 

The Robert Land School on the east side of Wentworth Street and north of

Barton, was built in 1914 on ground originally owned by the Lands, and is

fittingly named.

 

Landsdowne Park was a tree-clad area with many white poplars, north of

Burlington Street and bordering the Bay just west of Wentworth Street on

former Land property. Before the waterfront became industrialized it was a

popular place for picnics, boating and bathing. Only a few forlorn trees remain

to-day.

 

Woodland was the residence of Robert Land II and his son John, and later the

property of the Burkholder branch of the family.  As a frame house of two

storeys it stood east of Wentworth Street and north of Barton Street, on what

is now the southwest section of the Canadian Westinghouse Company's property.

Pleasantly situated and appropriately named, it was approached by a looped

driveway from Wentworth Street.

 

From a pond southwest of the house, a stream, in which the occupants once used

to catch fish, meandered towards Sherman inlet. The ravine was crossed by a

footbridge in natural park-like surroundings. North and east was a dense wood

called Land's Bush.

 

In 1895 the City of Hamilton bought the area, now known as Woodland Park, for

a sum exceeding $8,300.00.  A married daughter of Colonel John Land, named

Mrs. Maria Reid, spent the last years of her life as an invalid in her father's

house.  Her room looked south over the park where she used to watch children

at play. When she died in 1897 at the age of 40, the terms of her will made

provision for the erection of a drinking fountain for their convenience.

Dismantled during the 1947 rearrangement of the park, it bore the inscription:

 

Donated to the Corporation of the City of Hamilton by Mrs. Maria E. Reid,

in memory of her father, Colonel John Land.  Designed and executed by the

St. Lawrence Foundry Co., Toronto, 1898.

 

An oil painting done on a large fungus by Mrs. Reid shows the familiar

representation of the old log cabin of Robert I, as conceived by J. R. Seavey,

the Hamilton artist.

 

 

Robert Land's Grant

 

This is a parchment document to which is attached the Great Seal of the

Province of Upper Canada, about five inches in diameter and half an inch wide.

In printed legal form, with handwritten insertions, this document is dated

1802, in the Township of Barton in the County of Lincoln, in the District of

Niagara in the said Province.  By it, Robert Land, yeoman, is granted 312

acres with allowances for roads, measuring from a certain mark by the Bay Shore.

 

Note the old English term "yeoman", - one of the commonalty the most

respectable class; a man freeborn.

 

Residence is insisted on, for within three years he is to build a good and

sufficient dwelling house - some person to reside therein for a year

thereafter." There is also the proviso of the Clergy Reserve for an area

equal to one seventh of the 312 acres: "The grant to contain a specification

of lands to be allotted and appropriated to the maintenance of a Protestant

clergy - 44 acres and 4/7 in a cerain reserved block in the rear of the

Townships of Flamborough and Beverly."

 

It is signed: Peter Hunter, Lt. Gov., May 17, 1802.

 

 

INTERMENTS AT "COL. LAND'S FAMILY VAULT"

 

Col. Robert Land, 1772 - 1867

 

 

HAMILTON CEMETERY

 

                                                Died                                    Born (Est.)

 

Robert Land           July, 1818, Aged 82 yrs.                  1736

First white settler in Hamilton

 

Phebe                 Sept., 1826  93 yrs.                      1733

Wife of Robert Land

 

Col. Robert Land      Nov. 21, 1867 95 yrs. 7 mo. 11 days       1772

 

Hannah Horning        June 9, 1870  93 yrs. 1 mo. 16 days       1777

Wife of Col. Robt. Land

 

Peter Horning Land    Nov.17, 1847  23 yrs.                     1824

 

Hannah Smith          Sept.17, 1879 67 yrs.                     Dec.21. 1812

Relict of the late Thomas H. Smith

 

Col. John Land        Dec.21, 1892  86 yrs.                     Nov.11, 1806

 

Esther Morris         June 14, 1875 53 yrs. 5  mo. 4 days       1822

Wife of Col. John Land

 

Robert Land           Nov. 2, 1859  43 yrs.                     1816

 

Anna D. Land          Jan.21, 1856  28 yrs. 5 mo. 21 days       1828

 

Maria E. Reid         Jan.13, 1897  40 yrs.                     Mar. 2, 1857

Youngest daughter, Col. John Land

 

Robert Land           Mar.26, 1872  18 yrs. 7 mo. 22 days       1853

Son of John and Esther

 

Emily Land            Mar. 15, 1862 17 yrs. 18 mos.             1844

Daughter of John and Esther

 

John Sidney Herbert   Oct. 1, 1873   4 mo.                      1873

Son of John G. Y. and I. Burkholder

 

Mary Crisp            Oct.19, 1876   27 yrs. 2 mos. 7 days      1849

Wife of John H. Land

 

Priscilla H. M. Filman

                                      June 21, 1920  65 yrs.                    July 31, 1855

Wife of John H. Land

 

John H. Land          Jan. 2, 1929   83 yrs.                    Sept.19, 1846

 

Infant daughter of John H. and Priscilla Land, Born Jan. 6, died Jan. 7, 1894

 

 

In memoriam tablet to the

 

Children of Col. John Land who are buried elsewhere.

 

                Catharine Lucas                 Appleby

                Annie Esther Webster            Hamilton

                Hanna Isabelle Burkholder       Lillooet, B.C.

                Capt. Peter M. Land             At Sea, Fiji

 

       Compiled from inscriptions in the vault, June 5, 1945.

 

 

Note 1. No portrait exists of Robert Land I.

                In Dundurn Museum there are portraits ia oil of Robert Land II

                and Hannah Horning, his wife; also of John Land and Esther

                Morris, his wife.

 

Note 2. Miss Daisy Land died at London, Ontario, on Sept. 6, 1950, aged 93.

 

Note 3. The stone tablet is now suitably mounted in the entrance hall of

                the Robert Land School, and on a brass plate below is inscribed:

 

                This historic record, originally placed at Barton and

                Leeming Streets, has been erected here by the Robert Land

                Home and School Association, November, 1953.

 

 

 

ROBERT LAND'S ARRIVAL AT THE HEAD OF THE LAKE

 

 

Summary of deposition by Col. John Land, 1806-1892,

                grandson of Robert Land, 1736-1818,

                made to John Glasgow, Feb. 1, 1892.

 

 

Statement:  Robert Land the first, a United Empire Loyalist from Delaware

Valley, settled at the Bay, on the east side of Wellington Street North,

in 1782.

 

Estimate No.1: Mrs. Land left New York          1782

                                 do.   was in New Brunswick     7       years

                                 do.   was at Niagara           1       year

                                 do.   reached the Bay          1790

 

                Robert Land and wife were apart         11      years

                    do.     left Delaware               1779

                    do.     was at Niagara Falls, Ont.  3       years

                    do.     settled at the Bay          1782

 

 

Estimate No.2: Robert Land the second was born  1772

                                   do.     left N.Y., 1782, age 10 yrs.

                                   do.     was in New Brunswick 7 yrs.

                                   do.     was at Niagara       1 yr.

                                   do.     reached the Bay age  18

                                                                                     in 1790

 

Robert Land the first was at the Bay before his wife   8 years

                                    do.     settled at the Bay      1782

 

Deduced:  Robert Land's age when he reached the Bay was 1782 minus 1736

or 46 years Phoebe Land, wife, was then 1782 minus 1733 or 49 years

 

       From data provided by Isabel M. Land, great-great-granddaughter of

       Robert Land I, June, 1946.

 

Note 4. As to the year of the arrival of Robert Land I at the Head of

                the Lake: Col. John Land's deposition places this as 1872, but

                leaves it without official documentary confirmation.

                On p.42, Vol.39, of the Niagara Historical Society, is a copy of

                a report by Col. De Peyster to General Haldimand, dated from

                Fort Niagara, July 21, 1784. It gives a list of persons who have

                asked permission to cross the Niagara River into Canada, also

                another list of those who have asked to be supplied with rations

                from the Fort until Dec.24, 1784. Among the Loyalists listed for

                rations is the name Robert Land.

                On p. 192, Vol. 21, of the Ontario Historical Society, in an

                article on Gilbert Tice, U.E., Ernest Green states that Tice

                drew rations from the King's stores at Fort Niagara in 1786; and

                adds "but assistance was granted to struggling settlers as well

                as to persons sheltered in the fort and its dependencies."

                Could Robert Land have been one of those "struggling settlers"

                away from the Fort in 1784 who occasionally visited it for

                essential rations?