Walter Dittrick was born on the 31 May 1793 on the family farmstead, 12 Mile Creek St. Catharines, Upper Canada as recorded in the family bible (St. Catharines Public Library, Special Collections). He was the fourth son of Sergeant Jacob Dittrick, former Butler’s Ranger, and Margaret Pickard. She was the daughter of William Pickard who along with two of his sons were also members of Captain Bernard Frey’s Company of Butler’s Rangers.
Captain James Dittrick, commanded the Flank Company in Colonel Robert Nellis’s 4th Regiment Lincoln Militia. Of all five brothers who served in the flank companies of the Lincoln Militia during the War, James’s career is the most thoroughly documented. His “Reminisces of the early years of settlement in Niagara and St. Catharines” was published in the “Loyalist Narratives” compiled by British author George Coventry in 1860 and reprinted many times since; most recently by the Champlain Society. He was also interviewed by Benson Lossing who reported this meeting in the Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812 published in 1869. Being a contemporary, and neighbour of William Hamilton Merritt, he is mentioned several times (often competitively) in the Biography of the Honouable William Hamilton Merritt, authored by Merritt’s younger son. James is also recorded in the ”Merritt Papers” preserved by the Archives of Ontario.