UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea out-pensioners
(1859)

Nominal List of Pensioners in the Toronto C.W. District

This information, sent to us by Walt Sammis of Florida, contains names of former British army and navy members listed as “out-pensioners”, found in the Royal Hospital Chelsea/Greenwich files. The RHC was the administrative office for the British army and has been responsible for distributing pension payments since the late 1600s.

Walt writes

One document I researched at the National Archives in Kew is WO 22/204: Royal Hospital Chelsea: returns of payment of army and other pensions, paid out locally in Canada, 1852-1862. One section of this reference is a Nominal list of pensioners in the Toronto, Canada West, District, for the quarter ending 30th of June 1859, with their place of residence as far as can be ascertained at the Head Quarters, Toronto, 1st July 1859. Within this section is a page entitled Port Hope, and I have attached an image of the page and a transcription. Though surprisingly small, I thought it might help someone.
[This is Walt's third valuable contribution to our site. Previous were the Garden Hill Presbyterian baptisms and the amazing lead to the discovery of the missing 1928-1954 Port Hope newspapers!]

In 1830, Parliament passed a law (11 George IV and 1 William IV, c. 41) authorizing commutation of soldiers' pensions to encourage settlement in the colonies. If they took the offer, the soldiers would receive a cash payout equal to four years of pension payments plus transportation, together with their families, to the colony and one hundred acres of farmland. They would give up any right to further pension payments. As best as can be determined, over 4,000 soldiers took up this offer, and about 3,200 of those went to Canada. The peak years for emigration under this scheme were 1831 and 1832. The majority of pensioners who came to Canada were settled in the Home, London, and Newcastle Districts of Canada West.

Sadly, the plan was pretty much a failure. Many of the pensioners who took the offer were unprepared for the rigours of life in rural Canada, most being "too old, too weak, too lacking in stamina and perseverance to make settlers of any kind". Apparently alcoholism was also a big issue. Half the pensioners who came to Upper Canada were afflicted in some way, "some with one arm, some with one leg, bent with old age or rheumatism, lame, halt, and even, will it be believed, blind!" Estimates are that 75% of the pensioners perished within six years.


Chelsea [Army]
Corps Rate per diem Rank and name Place of residence Remarks
6th Dragoons Guards0/6Pte Robert VirtueDarlington
6th Dragoons Guards0/9Pte Luther BreenRice LakeDead
6th Foot1/0Pte Joseph WoodSouth Monaghan
55th Foot1/0Pte James JohnstonClarke
83rd Foot0/5Pte Peter HobbsClarke
60th Foot1/4Corpl John CooganNewcastle
62nd Foot1/0Pte Castllia WilliamsPort Hope
65th Foot0/6Pte George BurrowsNewcastle
68th Foot1/8Sgt John StevensNewcastle
74th Foot1/0Pte Robert BoydPerry Town
87th Foot0/9Pte Thomas IrwinSouth Monaghan
Royal Rifle Corps1/2Pte Richard ReadingPort Hope
Royal Rifle Corps1/3Pte Thomas SmithPort Hope
Royal Rifle Corps2/0Sgt Joseph RaymondPort Hope
7th Bn Royal Artillery1/0.5Pte James McMullenPort Hope
7th Bn Royal Artillery1/9.5Sgt Andrew BoylePerry Town
12th Bn Royal Artillery0/9Pte Joseph DaganPort Hope

Greenwich [Royal Navy]
Corps or number Rate per annum Rank and name Place of residence Remarks
#2897£7-8-0Marine Robert RawlingsPort Hope
#2850£9-4-0Marine William GrovesPort Hope
#1498£18-4-1Marine George KennisPort Hope

Commuted
Corps Rate per diem Name Place of residence Remarks
Royal Horse Guards0/4.5Mark ArmitagePort HopeDead
28th Foot0/4.5Robert McWha[?]Port Hope
Royal Artillery Drivers0/4.5James Bradshaw

Peter and Barbara Bolton - Port Hope, Ontario
www.alivingpast.ca