Joesph Dumaw
4th Montreal Battalion

Erected breastworks on Ash Island
Discharged December 1814
Applied for Pension1

About the time of the Reign of Terror in France, a Dumaw family, Christian names unknown, became Protestants or as they were then known Hugenots [Huguenot] and left their country emigrating to Canada.

Two of them became ministers of the Methodist Church a third brother became Keeper of a gate on the border between Canada and the United States.  It is generally supposed that the toll gate was on the road via Lacolle Quebec and Rouses Point New York.

He had a son Joseph Dumaw born 7 Sept 1795 in the toll gate on the Canadian side of the line.

This Joseph Dumaw a French Canadian although only a boy served in the War of 1812.  His duty was carrying water for the soldiers.  He received a pension of $20.00 a year the last five years of his life.  The pension was available several years before he knew anything about it.

During all those years he kept his discharge paper.  On one occasion his dog got hold of the paper and Mrs. Dumaw was fortunate in getting it away from him before it was destroyed.

The old Dumaw burying ground is located on the farm that belonged to Mr. Dumaw, at Odelltown Quebec and was visited by the writer 6 July 1930.

Early in the year 1834 Mr. Dumaw with his wife and family of seven children moved by sleigh from Odelltown, PQ to Westminster Township, ON and settled on Lot 4 Conc 5 about ten miles from where the City of London Ontario now stands.  Five weeks time was required to make the journey to the unbroken forest where the new home was established for the family.  Two children were later born in Westminster.

Mr. Dumaw was a faithful member of the Methodist  Church and took an active part in the leadership of church activities.  He commanded the respect of all who knew him.2

Owen Manning’s research highlights the problems with “oral or hearsay” research.  I am not sure about the dog story but the reference to being a water carrier seems to be some humour directed at Mr. Dumaw.  The building of breastworks on Ash  Island may have been a simple labour task for a young man of seventeen to nineteen.  It certainly lacked the glory and excitement of battle and long relocations associated with other militia units.  However, in early North America, Ash Island was a very strategic location on Lake Champlain — this was the traditional invasion route for since Indian times.  Erecting the breastwork was both defensive necessity and an enabler for offensive actions.  This may explain why Mr. Dumaw was not drafted into nearby skirmishes and battles at Lacolle (1812 & 1814), Odelltown (1813 & 1814), or even Chateauguay (1813).


1 London Free Press, October 13, 1975, Page 4, Column 4
Joseph Dumaw)

2 Handwritten genealogy and family history (c 1930) by Owen Campbell Manning, (1880-1962).

Commanding Officer: Captain Daniel McCallum

Veteran Summary

Joesph Dumaw
Private, 4th Montreal Battalion
Place of Birth
Odelltown, QC, CAN
Place of Death
Westminster Township, ON, CAN
Died on: 14 MAR 1880
Reason: Unknown
Location of Grave
Derwent Cemetery, 5th Conc
Middlesex County (near Belmont, ON), ON, CAN
Latitude: 42.910588N Longitude: -81.098135