Alexander Mercherson was a native of the parish of Kilmere on the Isle of Skye. He was born about 1766. When the New Brunswick Regiment of Fencible Infantry (later the 104th (New Brunswick) Regiment of Foot) was raised in 1803, one of the recruiting parties was sent to the Highlands of Scotland. Mercherson (also spelled Murcherson and Murchison) was one of those recruited there. He joined the regiment in October 1804, probably at Inverness, at the age of 38. He may have been married at the time. His wife was Barbara Macketche, a native of Inverness. The Scottish recruits arrived in Fredericton on 20 September 1805 accompanied by seventeen women and forty-eight children. Mercherson served as a private soldier for all of his career.
In February 1813, the 104th received orders to march to Upper Canada (Kingston, Ontario). Of the eight companies in New Brunswick, only six would make the epic winter march while the other two companies would proceed to the Canadas (Ontario and Quebec) by ship in the spring. The Boys, older soldiers and those physically unable to withstand the rigours of the march remained behind. Mercherson, who was 47 at the time, was one of those who stayed in New Brunswick. These two companies, along with the wives and children, sailed from Saint John in early May and landed at Quebec City. While the soldiers went forward to Upper Canada, the women and children remained in Lower Canada for the duration of the war.
Alexander Mercherson most likely participated in the campaign along the Niagara Frontier in the summer of 1813 and then was part of the garrison defending the vital St. Lawrence River transportation route in 1814. Following the end of the War of 1812 in early 1815, the 104th (New Brunswick) Regiment of Foot formed part of the garrison in Lower Canada. When the regiment was disbanded in May 1817, Mercherson was one of the hundred soldiers who accepted an offer of a land grant in New Brunswick. He was allocated lot #65 in the Military Settlement that was formed along the St. John River between Florenceville-Bristol and Grand Falls. He moved there, along with his wife and five children, the same year. This land was formally granted to him on 3 January 1826.
Alexander Murchison, as his name was now spelled, appears to have spent the rest of his life as a farmer. In the 1851 census, he was listed as a “pentioner” and both he and his wife were infirm. Alexander died at the age of 98 on 23 July 1859 as the result of injuries received from being thrown from a run-away wagon. His wife, Barbara, died a little over two years later on 18 July 1861. Alexander and Barbara Murchison are excellent examples of the hardy pioneers that formed the foundation of New Brunswick.
W. Austin Squires. The 104th Regiment of Foot (The New Brunswick Regiment) 1803-1817. Fredericton: Brunswick Press, 1962.
Provincial Archives of New Brunswick: Daniel F. Johnson newspaper records.
New Brunswick Museum: Copy of March List based on the 104th Paylist for the period 25 December 1812 to 24 March 1813. (Alexander Murcheson. Left in NB, Paid until 24 Feb 1813. Born Inverness, Scotland)
Veteran SummaryAlexander Murchison
Private, 104th (New Brunswick) REgiment of Foot
Place of Birth
Kilmere, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Place of Death
Perth-Andover, NB, CAN
Died on: 29 JUL 1859
Reason: Accident - thrown from a runaway wagon
Location of Grave
The Old Methodist Cemetery, 1291 West Riverside Drive
Perth-Andover, NB, CAN
Latitude: 46.751755N Longitude: -67.696798