Soldier Tom Kirkham


This web page was originally created for the members of the Kirkham family descended from Tom (Soldier Tom) Kirkham. Every attempt was made by the authors to ensure that the information is correct and accurate. Census records, birth, marriage and death records, newspaper articles, land registry claims, family bibles, land grant documents have all been used to trace family history. Some of the information collected is presented here.

A considerable amount of the information consists of lists of maps, names, places and dates. From a collection of raw data it is very difficult to capture the spirit and character of our ancestors. Not much was written about these early Kirkhams; there are few pictures; very few newspaper articles. It's fortunate we have any records at all.

Our family got it's start in Canada in the township of Bathurst, Ontario just west of Perth. So let's take a brief look at the history of the area.

History of the Area

There were several waves of immigration to this part of Canada between the years 1814 and 1823. English, Scottish, and Irish made up most of the immigrants but there were also French Canadians, Germans, Poles, Belgians, and Italians

At the end of the war between Canada and the United States (1812-14), many of the soldiers engaged in the conflict, wanting to remain in Canada, were discharged and settled by the government in an area known at time as the Perth Military Settlement. Most of this was accomplished by 1816. Also about this time, England had already begun the disbandment of many of the regiments that had been continuously on foreign service for the previous twenty years. In hopes of settling this part of the world, great Britain gave grants of land to these soldiers. These settlers were referred to as "military settlers".

The territory into which these military settlers were placed was known as the District of Bathurst created in 1822. Bathurst District was named after Lord (or Earl) Bathurst. The definition "District of Bathurst" was by Act of Parliament abandoned in 1849, though the township name was retained. The actual territory included in this settlement was crossed by the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, with a station named Bathurst (near Weymess, Ontario) to serve the rural neighbourhood adjoining. The township Bathurst was bounded on the north-east by the township of Drummond, on the north-west by Dalhousie, on the south-west by Sherbrooke and on the south-east by Burgess.

Perth was built as a military settlement. On March 26, 1816 a road was completed to the spot where the government storehouse would be located. Perth was the main town during the time the area was settled and was the county seat.

1815 - The first of the Scottish settlers arrive in Brockville bound for Lanark County
1815-1816 - Surveyed Bathurst, Drummond & Beckwith Twps March 26, 1816
April 1816 - The first of the Scottish settlers arrive in Lanark County from Brockville
June 1816 - The arrival of military settlers in Lanark County
1820-1821 - The arrival of Scottish Emigration Societies in Lanark County 1820-1822

Kirkham History

As mentioned above in the introduction, our family got it's start in the township of Bathurst. Here's how it all happened.

Soldier Tom, according to numerous records, served in the 68th Regiment which is the 68th [Durham] Regiment of Foot [Light Infantry]. The regiment was disbanded, Tom's years of service were 7 years, 9 months. For his military service, he received N. E. ½ lot 15 in 2nd concession, Bathurst Township, July 1819. A record from the 1842 census shows Tom with a different grant of land, lot 8, concession 4, Bathurst township. Below is the reference from an online site, taken from Microfilm.

883. Thomas Kirkham, private, 68th Reg., 1 adult male and 1 adult female, years of service 7-9 country England, located July 10, 1819 Bathurst, C2 NE15. SDP. Formerly located to ***** Ketch?, 104th Reg.
The reason for the Grant is "conversion of the forces". SDP is the abbreviation for Settling Duties Performed. Ketch was the previous owner of the grant but for whatever reason gave up his grant.

Also from another source - 68th. Regiment. (Durham) Kirkham, Thomas, Private, married, England, served 7 yrs. 3 days, got N. E. ½ 15 in 2nd. Bathurst, July 1819.

This may be our Soldier Tom.

Soldier Tom's War History

Thomas and 68th Foot Timeline

(researched by Dale Kirkham)

1808 The Peninsular War Begins (1808-14)
1809 Walcheren Expedition
1811 To Spain, joining the newly formed 7th Division (The Mongrels)
22 July, 1812 Salamanca, Under Wellington's Command
21 June, 1813 Vittoria
July to August, 1813 Pyrenees
10 November, 1813 Nivelle
27 February, 1814 Orthez

For his service, Thomas received the Military General Service Medal

A Thomas Kirkham shows up in lists for the Military General Service Medal.

Clasps are bars that are added to the medal and are on the ribbon. The record shows Number of Claps as 5 and the Particulars of Clasps as "V P S N O", which could probably stand for "Vittoria", "Pyrenees", "Salamanca", "Nivelle" and "Orthez", which are the major battles in The Peninsular War [see section 68th (Durham) Regiment of the Foot (Light Infantry, The Peninsular War (1808-1814)] and are the battle honours of that campaign.

Military General Service Medal 1793-1814 Campaign: French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 1793-1814
Description: (obverse) Wyon profile of Queen Victoria; (reverse) a standing figure of the Queen bestowing victor's laurels on a kneeling Duke of Wellington. The simple inscription 'TO THE BRITISH ARMY' appears round the circumference, while the dates 1793-1814 are placed in the exergue.


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