William Powell

William Powell3rd Regiment Lincoln Militia

Research compiled by the Heritage Arts Legacy of Fort Erie

William Powell, born 1785 in Upper Canada, was the son of United Empire Loyalist John Powell and his wife Jane Moore.  Jane had been a prisoner taken at Cherry Valley by the Indians in November of 1778. Jane was ransomed by order of Colonel Butler.

William PowellJohn Powell had been a farmer and blacksmith in the Mohawk Valley when the revolutionary war agitation began. In 1775, he was a volunteer in the Indian Department under Col. Guy Johnson and by 1784 had been promoted to the rank of Captain.  He retired on half pay and became entitled to a grant of 3,000 acres.

John Powell’s residence was along the Niagara River near the mouth of Frenchman’s Creek where the family resided for many years.   Three children were born to John and Jane Powell. The two eldest, Mary Powell and William Powell, were both born before 1789 in Upper Canada and therefore were entitled to land as well.

On November 23, 1816, William Powell married Rebecca Riselay daughter of  Christian Riselay and Catharine Sypes. The property of William and Rebecca Powell was just south of Frenchman’s Creek. William and Rebecca had no children of their own, however they did have an adopted daughter.

William PowellThe register of St. Paul’s Anglican Church has record of the baptism of Emma Rebecca Powell. It reads:

Powell, Feb. 26, 1837,  Emma Rebecca Powell, adopted daughter of William Powell esquire of the township of Bertie, born April 13, 1830, baptised by John Anderson Rector.

During the war of 1812-1814 William Powell was Captain of the 3rd Regiment Lincoln Militia. His military service is documented within the National Archives digitized War of 1812 Upper Canada Returns, Nominal Rolls and Paylists  RG 91B7 Mikan 183676. Scans of pages from the Collections Canada website to prove his service are attached to this application.

The land claims petition of William Powell submitted in 1818 states his war service and that he is the son of U.E. Captain John Powell. Captain William Powell’s application for serving six months or more during the war is in file #70 pages on 305-317 in An Index of Land Claims Certificates of Upper Canada Militiamen who served in the War of 1812-1814 by Wilfred R. Lauber. This proof of his service is attached to this application.

During the war of 1812 many citizens suffered damages to their property at the hands of the enemy.  After the war, citizens submitted their claims to the government. William Powell was one of the claimants.  A notation in the margin states that he had “lost largely.” He claimed £55 lost to the British and over £100 lost to the enemy.

William Powell was Justice of the Peace and Town Warden in 1817 and 1822 and then District Councillor in 1842.  He was also Lieutenant Colonel in the militia.

William Powell was so well liked and well respected that children of the area were named in his honour. Two examples of this are William Powell House and William Powell Willson.

In 1828 William Powell was listed as an Assessor in Bertie.  (Source:  Many Voices ll, A Collective History of Greater Fort Erie, Fort Erie Historical Museum, 2004).

William Powell’s name appears on a list of names of citizens in 1828 who contributed two shillings each toward a fund for relief for the poor.   (Source:  E.A. Cruikshank, A Century of Municipal History, part 1, 1792-1841).

In letter from James Kerby, Fort Erie Mills, to the military secretary Lt. Col. William Rowan dated Aug. 16th 1834, William Powell was recommended for appointment to the newly formed Board of Health.   (Source: E. A. Cruikshank, A Memoir of Colonel The Honourable James Kerby, Welland, Welland County Historical Society, 1931, Page 105).

In the 1851 Bertie Census, we find that William Powell had owned much of the property in Stevensville at Lot 11 Conc 11 and Lot 12 Conc 12 and also the west half of Lot 8 Conc 12.

The following quote is from Reid’s Loyalists In Ontario. The Ontario Register. William and Rebecca Powell are buried at St. John’s Anglican Church at Bertie. His gravestone does not give his first name, and the wording of the inscription suggests that some sadness attended to his last days.

Alas Poor Powell who departed this life 26 January 1851 in the 66th year of his age.

Buried nearby is

Rebecca, wife of William Powell who died April 4, 1856 in the 63rd year of her life.

William Powell’s will was dated 16 Oct 1850 and was probated on the 22nd day of February, 1851. In his will he gave all of his estate to his wife for life or during widowhood and then “to my adopted daughter Emma Rebecca Powell Grigg.”  He names his executors his wife and “friends” Jacob Miller and John Riselay. The will was registered (not proved) on 11 February 1851, Bertie Memorial #2687 Welland Registry Office.

Veteran Summary

William Powell
Captain, 3rd Regiment Lincoln Militia
Place of Birth
Bertie Twp., Lincoln County, Upper Canada, ON, CAN
Place of Death
Bertie Twp., Lincoln County, Upper Canada, ON, CAN
Died on: 25 JAN 1851
Reason: Unknown
Location of Grave
St. John's Cemetery, Ridgemount Road
Fort Erie, ON, CAN
Latitude: 42.935592N Longitude: -79.004706