The Niagara Settlers


At the end of the American Revolution in 1783, the Niagara Frontier on the west shore of the Niagara River in present Ontario, Canada was an unbroken stretch of wilderness. It became the logical refuge for the displaced Loyalists forced by their refugee circumstances to find a new home. Many of the patriarchs were veteran soldiers who had served in Butlers Rangers, The New Jersey Volunteers and the Indian Department to name three. The families predominantly came from New York and Pennsylvania but many originated further afield in New England, New Jersey and Maryland.

The initial search for farmland, starting as early as 1781, ranged along the Niagara River in the eastern part of Niagara and Stamford Townships and then further south into Willoughby and Bertie Townships. Villages of merchants and tradesmen grew up around Fort George (Niagara-on-the-Lake) in the north, Fort Erie in the south and Queenston and Chippawa in between. The settlements were joined by the Portage Road winding along the cliffs overlooking the Niagara River gorge.

The grants of 200 acres or more to the new settlers soon depleted the available land in these townships. During the late 1780’s and early 1790’s their grown sons looked further west to the newly surveyed second tier of townships—Grantham, Thorold, Crowland and Humberstone.

This website is dedicated to those hardy settlers who carved their homes out of this wilderness of forests in a new untried country known as Upper Canada during these pioneer times.