32109 Fingal Line, Wallacetown, ON
“THE TALBOT SETTLEMENT”
The settlement, begun in May 1803, by Thomas Talbot was, despite the controversial practices of its founder, one of the most successful in Upper Canada. Major roads were constructed throughout the settlement and by a system of close and personal control Talbot managed effectively to keep out land speculators and secure hardworking settlers. His extensive powers eventually brought him into conflict with the Executive Council which in 1837, transferred control of settlement in the vast territory between Norfolk County and Amherstburg to the Crown Lands Commissioner.”
Talbot’s controversial practices were his control over the settlers and distribution of lands which led not only to conflict with the Executive Council of Upper Canada but also created distrust among the settlers. This was the location of the home built by Col. Talbot who became the chief settlement officer for a large part of southwestern Ontario running as far west as Windsor and east to Woodstock.
On August 11th, 1812, due to inclement weather, General Brock and his men could only travel seven miles and were forced to pull their boats on shore and spend the night on the beach at Port Talbot.
Col. Talbot was the officer commanding the London District militia which included Oxford, Middlesex and Norfolk (Elgin wasn’t established until 1852). He was away at Turkey Point much of the time and so evaded several attempts to capture him. Col. Mahlon Burwell who also lived nearby was captured in August of 1814 and spent six months in captivity in Chillicothe Ohio.
Petition of Colonel Talbot to the Loyal and Patriotic Society
Thomas Talbot, 2 September, 1814
“On the 16thof last month (August, 1814) the enemy, amounting to upwards of 100 men, composed of Indians and Americans painted and disguised as the former, surprised the settlement of Port Talbot, where they committed the most wanton and atrocious acts of violence by robbing the under mentioned fifty heads of families of all their horses and every particle of wearing apparel and household furniture leaving the sufferers naked and in the most wretched state.”
Thomas Talbot, Letter to Chief Justice Scott, 24 October, 1814
“The vagabond enemy, not being satisfied with the plunder they carried off from Port Talbot on the 16th August, returned in greater force about the middle of September, when they burnt my mills and other buildings, destroyed all my flour and killed my sheep. Poor Burwell’s house and barn were likewise sacrificed; thence the enemy extended their violence down my road fifteen miles. . . . My mills having been burnt the farmers will be obliged to take their grain at least 120 miles to have it ground, the expenses attending the transport in these hard times will be heavy indeed.
Port Talbot RaidsOn September 9th, 1814, Andrew Westbrook and a band of men, including some First Nation Warriors, re-visited Port Talbot to complete the work of destruction. They burned down the grist and saw mills and several houses and barns, including those of Col. Burwell. They destroyed all of Colonel Talbot’s flour and killed several of his cattle. They then proceeded eastward along the Talbot Road, plundering and paroling the inhabitants as they went. They destroyed all the weapons they could get a hold of and could not conveniently carry.
Andrew Westbrook was a resident of Delaware who joined the Americans and led several raids in the area.
From C. O. Ermatinger, The Talbot Regime, 1904
Posted from Fingal, Ontario, Canada.