The 66th Regiment of Foot
Settlement in Ontario and Quebec, Canada, c. 1827
also the SWAN family
April 28, 2005:
You'll noticed I have copied my fellow researcher on the Copeland side. The reason I am sending this information, hopefully to be posted,
is that the 66th had spent quite a few years in Quebec, with many being discharged and moving throughout Ontario. As for the Swan boys,
they both married in Quebec. There may be some folks who have relations to the 66th Regiment, 2nd Battalion who arrived in Quebec in 1827.
Most receiving Free Land Grants. I thought the story was good for fellow researchers, but two of the daughters, married and one ended up
in Smith Falls, while the other resided in Carleton Place, so it somewhat fits with the Ottawa Valley history.
... Taylor Kennedy
(the following replaces the earlier write-up which Taylor had sent to us).
The SWAN Story
The Irish SWAN Chronicle
My tale begins with the four sons born to Oswald Swan and Amelia Brock, who were born in Cavan County, Ireland. Thomas was born approximately
1802, James approximately 1806, William, approximately 1808 and the baby, John Alexander Swan was born around 1839. My records dictate,
Thomas and James were veterans of the 66th Regiment, 2nd Battalion of Berkshire, stationed in Quebec. It is from here, I wish to take you
back into the past.
The 66th Regiment, 2nd Battalion of Berkshire was created on May 25th, 1756 to enhance the British Army’s strength during the outbreak of
the Seven Year War, and in spite of this, the 66th, 2nd Battalion of Berkshire never participated. We’ll advance from this date to the year
1823. At this time; the 66th was in Spain and Portugal and were ordered to return to England in March of that year. Then they were ordered
to Ireland, but waited in Liverpool for 2 days, due to stormy seas. They finally landed in Dublin, Ireland, where they marched on to Cavan
Co., where one wing of the Regiment was deployed while the other wing went to Enniskillen. It was during this operation in Cavan Co., in
1823, the Swan boys were recruited or enlisted. The 66th 2nd Battalion of Berkshire arrived in Quebec in August of 1827, and circled Ontario,
with deployments to Montreal, Kingston, Fort George in Niagara, Fort York in Toronto, finally returning to Quebec before embarking on their
journey to Ireland. Thomas and James were discharged while in York County and it is here where they applied for the Land grants promised by the
Military for their services. The timeline shows that the boys would have been 19 and 21 years of age at the time of enlistment. James served
8 years and 8 months with the regiment while Thomas served 6 years and 224 days. Thomas was discharged in 1830. Thomas’ first son was born
then and it may have been the determining factor for him to retire from the Forces and take up farming. James was discharged in 1833, settling
on his land almost instantly. It took six years before Thomas’ land approval came through, receiving it in 1836.
James and Thomas received land grants of 100 acres each to settle around the Town of Penetanguishene. James received his and settled there
on the Old Military Road to Penetanguishene. In 1836, James and his neighbors requested that the Government survey for a new road, as it
was laborious and very costly to maintain the existing road that had existed for the last three years. The portion of road maintained by
James and his neighbors was a three mile stretch.
Thomas requested and received, Lot 51 on the first line and his brother James received, Lot 47 on the West side of the Penetanguishene
Military Road. Both of them had married while in Quebec. James had no children. Thomas married Elizabeth Hopley about 1829 and had their
first son, John Oswald Swan in 1830. The second son, Thomas James Jr. was born in 1835, also in Lower Canada. The money they saved
because of the free land grants made it possible for James, Thomas and Elizabeth to send money back to Ireland for the rest of the family
to sail to Canada. John Alexander Swan was just an infant and Oswald came by himself, suggesting the birth was too hard on Amelia Brock,
the mother, possibly resulting in her death. Perhaps the child was ill, or too small to travel such a distance, however, he was left
behind in Ireland with relatives, while Oswald, who was Thomas’s father and William, his brother, Williams’ wife Mary Anne Hamilton
and three daughters Elizabeth Jane, Mary Anne and Rebecca headed for Canada, to Flos Township arriving in 1840. Thomas’s brother James,
died suddenly, in the same year, leaving a wife, but no children. Oswald took over Lot 52 on the second line in Flos Township upon his
arrival in Canada. It was shortly after that, in 1842 Oswald passed away, leaving his estate to his son William.
In 1841, a fourth son, Joseph Henry Swan, was born to Thomas and Elizabeth. Joseph married Mary Anne Hart, having three boys and two girls.
The only one surviving to adulthood was Joshua Swan who married Margaret Charlotte Copeland and in 1842, Elizabeth, was the first daughter
born, who went on to marry William Henry Brock, having four girls and four boys.
In the year of 1844, a second daughter, Margaret Swan, was born to Thomas and Elizabeth. She went on to marry William Cassidy, having two
boys and five girls.
Finally in 1847, the last child, a fifth son by the name of William Joshua Swan was born. He married Mary Ann Clute, who had three sons,
and six daughters.
Thomas’s brother, William was married to Mary Ann Hamilton and they had seven children, one son, William Herbert Swan, born about 1851
in Ontario and six girls. Elizabeth-Jane born about 1835 , Mary Anne born about 1837, Rebecca born about 1839, all in Ireland. Harriet
born about 1842, Caroline born about 1844, and Amelia born about 1850, all in Ontario. Shortly after the birth of William Herbert
Swan, William was in Barrie on business and died suddenly on July 6th, 1855, dying intestate.
Because all the children were under the age of 21, Mary Anne Hamilton applied for Letters of Administration of his personal and real
property. At this time, Mary Anne was 38 years old and needed someone to assist in the support of her and her children, so she married
The four eldest daughters, Jane, Mary Ann, Harriet and Rebecca were all married by the time the 1861 census rolled around. Jane married
Henry Brittain in 1856, a farmer in Tay Township and had 7 children, five sons and two daughters. One son was named Hamilton Brittain,
paying respect to her mother Mary Anne Hamilton. Rebecca married James O’Brien and Mary Anne married John O. Swan, son of Thomas Swan
and Elizabeth Hopley. John and Mary Anne went on to have 4 sons, Thomas, William Henry, John Jr., James Herbert and they also adopted
Robert, son of Johns’ brother Thomas and Mary Anne O’Neil. John and Mary Annes’ daughters were Elizabeth Caroline who married Edmund
Goldring, Rebecca who married Wm. Simpson, Harriet who married Richard Goldring, Margaret F. who married Henry Wetherage, Mary, Melissa
who married her cousin Samuel Thomas Brock, Josephine Louisa who married George Alfred Copeland, and Victoria Adelaide married Robert
The following comes from the diaries of Oswald Henry Swan, son of John Alexander Swan, who was born in Ireland in 1839 and traveled to
Canada, arriving in 1864. Oswald Henry claimed that his father, John Alexander Swan, was one of a family of four brothers and two sisters
living in the area of Flos Township. In fact he also stated that when John Alexander arrived in 1864, he stayed on Lot 52 in Flos before
removing to Tay Township, in Vasey, to settle down for good. John Alexander married Elizabeth Rankin, a Scottish woman, and had two boys
and two girls. The connection to his brothers and sisters in Flos has been verified with the death registration of John Alexander Swan Sr.,
who passed away on January 19, 1920 from heart failure at the age of 80 years and 10 days, where his parents are listed as Oswald Swan and
Amelia Brock, the same parents of Thomas, William and James.
Sadly, there have been several early deaths within the Irish Swan descendents of Flos Township, in both the women and the men. By 1891,
the children of Thomas Swan and Mary Anne O’Neil soon filtered throughout Ontario, as other descendents of the brothers and sisters,
who are now being tracked down, one at a time, to validate their existence, their ancestry, their descendency and families that are
searching for their roots as am I.
... Taylor Kennedy – April 26th, 2005
E-mail Taylor Kennedy, Paul and Al Lewis
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