George Chisholm

Burlington Gazette – History by Helen Langford

George Chisholm
Tues., January 17, 1978

Charles King, of last week’s article, did not settle alone. He bought his land in conjunction with George Chisholm.

The story of George and his brother John is exciting enough to form a great movie! Their travels from Scotland to Delaware River Valley; their short settlement in New York State; their hardships during the War of Independence; their involvement is loyalist causes and their ultimate journey into Upper Canada is one of the best historical stories of any time! (See Mark of Honour, Hazel Mathews). 

After several frustrating years of unproductive labor on a land grant in Nova Scotia, George followed his brother John to the Niagara area. While working for wages at Fort Erie, George met Charles King, a native of New Jersey. 

Together these two men purchased 600 acres from Dr. Robert Kerr, the deed dated July 12, 1793. George Chisholm took the easterly portion and Charles King the westerly. The description of the land on a deed read: 

‘It contains 600 acres – ascends gradually from the Bay with a South front – and from the distance the trees stand from each other and the great Verdure under them (the tract) has more the appearance of an English Gentleman’s Park than wild land in America… and you may be conveyed in your Barge from your own Door to Niagara… or… any part of the settlements on Lake Ontario…’

Behind this park were many cedar swamps and numerous rattlesnakes. According to Augustus Jones, the land surveyor, 70 were killed near the Bay in the summer of 1795.

George Chisholm, his wife, eldest child, Mary Christina, 11 years, and sons, John, William and George (aged 9, 6 and 1) and little Barbara, three years, settled to clear and farm the land. A log home was built near Charles King where twin girls born in 1795 completed the family of George and Barbara Chisholm. 

In the spring of 1796, George was a pointed a Magistrate by Governor Simcoe following his visit to the area with Lady Simcoe, as recorded in her diary – a superb description of the Bay. George was acquainted with Simcoe through his military association during the War of Independence.

More of the Chisholms next week.

Source: Langford, Helen. Burlington Gazette [Ontario], 17 Jan 1978. Microfilm. Burlington Public Library – Central Branch. Reel 50.

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