War of 1812-14

The stories, the lore, the legends….

The war of 1812-14 played a significant role in the shaping of Canada, the United States of America,  Six Nations and their peoples.  The end of the war marked the beginning of 200 years of peace between our nations. Although Burlington and the surrounding area were not sites of battles, the geography and the people were significant.  The Burlington area (although not named this at the time) was known as a safe place, a place of trade, a cross roads, a landmark, and a resting point.  It was a destination for food, shelter, and shared resources.  Learn from the stories of our past from 1812-14.

 Street Name Connections

  • Ontario Street – “one of the oldest streets in Burlington, dating back to when the community was known as Wellington Square” (Memories of Burlington, Evans, Gary, pg. 20)
  • Brant Street, John Street – Named after The War of 1812 for John Brant (and his father Joseph Brant)
  • James, Martha, Maria Streets – Possibly named after members of the Gage family who bought land at Rambo Creek and Brant Street in “Brant’s Block”  This block became the first settlement in Wellington Square in the early 1800s (From Pathway to Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 298)
  • Ghent Street – Located near the original Ghent homestead (Maple Avenue & Ontario Street) – Thomas Ghent was a United Empire Loyalist who emigrated to Burlington in 1805 and started one of the first apple orchards in this area (From Pathway to Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 298-299)

Notable Streets/Areas

  • Dundas Street (Highway #5), “Governor’s Road” during War – “the only land route for soldiers and their heavy cannon and artillery between Fort Tecumseh in Windsor and all points east (From Pathway to Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 86)
  • 2168 Guelph Line (Ireland House/Oakridge Farm) – Settled in 1820s by Joseph Ireland (War of 1812 veteran), now a museum and designated by the Ontario Heritage Act
  • 2290 Queensway Drive – This lot of land was originally granted to Mary Brant, daughter of Joseph Brant in 1810.  It was sold to Jonathan Davis in 1812, to James Gage in 1819 and then to Asahel Gage in 1824. Asahel Gage built the original brick house in 1844. The house that is there now is Heritage directory and is known as “The Gage-Baxter-Fothergill-Pettit House” and “Balsam Lodge”
  • 1134 Plains Road East – The Davis Homestead – Built in the 1880s by Charles Davis, grandson of Asahel Davis, an original immigrant to the area in the early 1800s.

Notable Burlington Residents

  • War_of_1812_John_BrantJohn Brant – Joseph Brant’s son, returned to live in Burlington in 1819 – led the Six Nations warriors in battle in Queenston, Beaver Dams, Chippewa, Lundy’s Lane, and Fort Erie (From Pathway to Skyway revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 30-31)
  • William Johnson Kerr – Husband of Brant’s daughter, Elizabeth, commander at Queenston and Beaver Dams – buried at St. Luke’s Anglican Church (From Pathway to Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 31-32)
  • Richard Beasley, Jean Baptiste Rousseau, Cpt. George Chisholm, Richard Cockerell, William Bates –Men from Burlington area who fought with General Brock (From Pathway to Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 87)
  • Captain John Ireland – Came to Canada with the British army. Quartermaster in charge of the supply line across Dundas Street, the 1st Halton Rifles drilled in a field owned by the Irelands, was later given land in Burlington after the war (From Pathway to Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 90), older brother of Joseph Ireland who bought and developed the land now known as Ireland House, beginning in 1819 (From Pathway to Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 120)
  • Captain Joseph Birney – Settled in Burlington as a result of being given land for his efforts in the war from Pathway to Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 90)
  • The Chisholm Family
    • John Chisholm – Enlisted in 1811, selected as captain in 1812 and commanded the flank company ordered to Queenston – fought in Battle of Queenston Heights on Oct. 13th, 1812 with brothers George and William (see below) (from Ancestry.com)
    • Colonel William Chisholm – Settled on a Nelson Township/Village (Guelph Line & Dundas Street) in 1816, became first postmaster of Nelson in 1835 (From Pathway to Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 120)
  • Miss Stringer, Isaac Van Norman – arrived in “Appleby” (hamlet at Appleby Line & QEW) in 1809 and 1810 (From Pathway to Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 129)
  • Van Norman Family – Isaac’s daughter, Jane, married Aaron D. Emory lived in Aldershot and helped to found the East Plains United Church & Cemetery – Emory descendants still reside in Burlington. Isaac built a small church opposite the Mount Vernon Cemetery (From Pathway to the Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 131).

1st person Story from “Barbara Chisholm” by Pauline Grondin

Anticipating the end of the War declared on Upper Canada on June 18, 1812, Barbara Chisholm reminds the people of her community of the events and the people the war has affected.  Barbara Chisholm’s is a story written and told in first person by Pauline Grondin on May 24, 2012 for the Annual General Meeting of the Board of Directors and their invited guests for Tourism Burlington.


  • Apples – The Ghent and Davis families brought young apple trees with them from North Carolina when they settled in 1805, O.T. Springer owned orchards where Brant Plaza is now  (From Pathway to Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 170)
  • Vegetables – Maple Avenue land became useful for growing a variety of different vegetables in the mid-late 1800s (From Pathway to Skyway Revisited, Machan, Claire Emery, pg. 171)

 History, Stories, Myths and Legends

  • Burlington Connections to the War of 1812 – Research Paper by Daphne Smith of Museums of Burlington.
  • Burlington Races – Lake Legend in Doubt, James Elliott, The Hamilton Spectator 1999   – Plaque to Celebrate 200th Anniversary of Historic War of 1812 Naval Battle The City of Burlington unveiled an historical plaque honouring a War of 1812 naval battle, officially known as the Battle of Lake Ontario and nicknamed The Burlington Races.   The Sept. 28, 1813 encounter, which saw a six-ship British flotilla out-manoeuvre a fleet of 10 American warships and take anchor in a highly defensible position off the shore of modern-day Burlington, was described by eye witnesses as a sort of military yacht race where the British and Americans jockeyed for superior position – hence The Burlington Races.  The battle was also a turning point in the War of 1812 as the British asserted naval dominance over the Great Lakes.  For more information on the plaque visit the website.
  • Historic Marker “Burlington Races“, De-Bunking the Burlington Bay Sandbar LegendU.S. Commodore Chauncey at Burlington Bay
  • Historic Marker “Burlington Heights
  • Historic Marker Brant House “Joseph Brant“.