Richard Hatt II was a Businessman, judge, office holder, militia officer, postmaster and the recognized founder of Dundas.
Richard emigrated in March 1792 arriving in Canada that June. He moved to Upper Canada and by December 1794 was engaged in the Mercentile Business.
Richard Hatt’s father, Richard Hatt I, told his son that to be Industrious, obliging, and to act with strict fidelity, was the key to success in life. At the time of his father arriving in the spring of 1796, Richard was a partner of McKay & Co. Almost immediately, Richard decided to move out of Niagara-on-the-Lake, and as early as 1796, settled in Ancaster Township and opened a General Store. He seemed to be more interested in processing goods rather than just provisioning.
In Ancaster, Richard & Samuel built a mill just below the village — the Red Mill, just below the Village and near a hilly road called the Devil’s Elbow (six acres on Lot 47 Conc 1). It was completed in 1798. Its three run of stones turned out 20 bags of flower and 30 bags of pot barley per day. The water wheel generated 15 hp. He also built a distillery to use up the mildeweed or smutty grain.
The Hatt brothers (Richard & Samuel) cleared a road from Ancaster to what is now known as Dundas to gain more customers. This was only modestly successful.
Richard turned his attention to Spencer’s Creek, rich in milling sites and largely undeveloped. He and his brother Samuel purchased, from Edward Peer Dundas Mills including its dam and its 2400 foot long flume. South of his New Dundas Mills, Richard built a new and larger cooperage, and about 100 yards upstream he built a distillery where moldy and smutty grain, unfit for flower, could be fermented and distilled into whiskey. He also built hog fattening pens where the mash was used for feed.
In this decade, Richard was appointed Justice of the Peace, and he became a Major in the 5th Regiment Lincoln Militia in 1803 commanded by Colonel Hercules Scott.
In HH Robertson’s account of History of This Era (Wentworth Historical Society), he states that Richard Hatt was born in London, England in 1769 and settled in Ancaster in 1798. In 1799 he was married to Mary (Polly) Cooley, UEL (Toronto of Old, 335 ). Peter Desjardins, the proprietor of the canal which bears his name, was associated with Richard Hatt in Dundas, apparently as his bookkeeper. In the war, Major Hatt commanded the militia at Fort Erie on the 28th of Nov, 1812, under Col Bisshop, when the attack under General Symthe was repulsed, and when Colonel Johnson Butler and Captain John Lottridge were killed (cr. Doe. Hist. 253-56, 278, 326). At Lundy’s Lane, Major Hatt’s command formed part of Col Hercules Scott’s reinforcement, which, after much counter marching, arrived on the scene of the battle at 9:00 pm. He was severely wounded in the battle.
The History of Dundas-Part 1 to 3, published by the Dundas Historical Society and compiled by T Roy Woodhouse, 1965.
Dictionary of Hamilton Biography, Volume 1.
Wentworth Landmarks – published by the Spectator Printing Company Ltd., 1897, Chapter VI.
Ancaster’s Heritage, Volume 1&2, published by the Ancaster Historical Society, 1973.
St. Catharines Public Library – private special collections on the Hatt Family.
[Graveside Team ed — Cemetery GPS coordinates approximate as no definitive location given.]
Veteran SummaryRichard Hatt
Major, Indian Lands 5th Regiment Lincoln Militia
Place of Birth
London, , England
Place of Death
Ancaster, ON, CAN
Died on: 26 SEP 1819
Reason: Severely wounded in the Battle of Lundy's Lane
Location of Grave
Cooley Hatt Cemetery, Green Ravine Drive
Ancaster, ON, CAN
Latitude: 43.232541N Longitude: -79.960922