Burwell UEL Marker, Fingal
Fingal Cemetery, Fingal, Elgin County ON Google Maps

Burwell UEL Marker, Fingal

In my clippings file is this St. Thomas Times-Journal article from 2007. It is about a marker in the Fingal Cemetery honouring the Burwell UEL family of Elgin County.

UEL marker at Fingal

By Times-Journal Staff

FINGAL – A 1985 family reunion in Tillsonburg, Ont., is believed to be responsible for planting the seed that eventually led to the placing of a bronze plaque in the Final Cemetery honouring two United Empire Loyalists, James and Hannah Burwell.

James and Hannah are ancestors of Mary Jo Verran of Attic, Mich., and Carol Chitaroni of Cobalt, Ont.

They met at the family reunion in 1985 with Lloyd Burwell of Oakville, Ont., and Bruce Burwell of Springfield, who were both historians and helped the family trace the Burwell family roots in Elgin county.

Verran and Chitaroni, third cousins, met with Pat and Fred Temple in 2004 which led them to the Fingal Cemetery board. It was at this point that Verran and Chitaroni focused their attention on the poor condition of the tombstone of Lewis Burwell and his wife, Levonia, at the Final Cemetery.

While the stone was repaired and replaced on a new base in 2004, the continued research in 2005 by Verran and Chitaroni showed there was no evidence of the Burwell private [burial] ground.

Helping with the research was Wayne Phillips of St. Thomas, a direct descendant of James and Hannah Burwell who was also researching the Timothy Burwell line.

Also helping was Donald Carroll of Iona Station who met with Verran and Chitaroni in 2005 and helped them plan the memorial plaque for great-great-great-grandparents, James and Hannah Burwell.

James Burwell was the eldest son of Samuel Burwell who remained loyal to Britain during the American Revolution.

After the war, Burwell moved to Nova Scotia where he was granted 200 acres of land. He later returned to New Jersey where he married Hannah. They moved to Niagara District in Upper Canada where Burwell petitioned for United Empire Loyalist status and a land grant.

In 1810, he was granted land in Southwold township, southwest of Fingal. He built his pioneer home there.

Hannah Burwell died in 1838, and James Burwell in 1853. At that time, the Burwell private burial ground was located on his farm.

James Burwell was a cousin to Adam Burwell, father of Col. Mahlon Burwell who was one of the surveyors for the Talbot Settlement.

St. Thomas Times-Journal 8 Aug. 2007

James Burwell and Hannah Frazee

Carol Chitaroni (great-great-granddaughter of Lewis Burwell) gives a bit more history of James Burwell in the December 2006 Talbot Times, the newsletter of the Elgin County OGS.

The story of Cpl. James Burwell and his wife dates back to the mid 1700’s. James Burwell was the eldest son of Samuel Burwell and grandson of John Burwell of New Jersey. He grew up in New Jersey and when the American Revolution broke out in his native state, he chose to remain loyal to the British cause. At age 22, James and his father enlisted in the 2nd New Jersey Volunteers – a loyalist brigade. His father did not survive the war but James served out the war within the British lines. James was present at the Battle of York Town, Virginia when Lord Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington and was there slightly wounded. At the end of the war, James was evacuated along with his company from New York to Nova Scotia (later part of New Brunswick) where he received 200 acres of land for his services.

Part of the terms of the surrender of the British forces included amnesty for the loyalist. However, James, like many other native New Jerseyites, returned to New Jersey after a couple of years to reunite with family members that remained in that state only to find that they were not welcome. While back in New Jersey, James married and began a family of his own. He and his wife, Hannah, and one or two children and his brother, Samuel, left New Jersey and migrated to Pennsylvania locating at Redstone in Fayette County. A few years later, James and his family moved on to Bertie Township, Niagara District, Upper Canada, arriving in 1798. Here he and his family first stayed with his cousin, Adam Burwell who was the father of the well known Col. Mahlon Burwell, the surveyor and politician. Some of James’ children were born in Bertie Township. James petitioned for his United Empire Loyalist status and also for a land grant for himself and his children. About 1810 (at age of 56 years) he was granted land in, what is now, Southworld Township, Elgin County, Upper Canada. His land was located in the Talbot Settlement, Lot 13, North Talbot Road, south-west of the village of Fingal. Here he and his family established their pioneer homes.

The plaque for James and Hannah is on the tombstone of their youngest son Lewis Mahlon Burwell and his wife Levonia Williams. They too received land in the Fingal area. Below is Lewis’ application for a land grant.

To His Excellency…

To His Excellency Sir John Colborne KCB Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Upper Canada

The Petition of Lewis Burwell of the Township of Southwold in the District of London – yeoman.

Humbly Sheweth,

That your Petitioner is the son of James Burwell of the Township of Southwold in the London District Yeoman, an Enrolled U E Loyalist, is of the full age of Twenty one years and upwards, has taken the Oath of Allegiance, and has never received any land or Order for Lands from the Crown.

Therefore your Petitioner humbly pray your Excellency may be pleased to grant him Two Hundred Acres of the waste Lands of the Crown.

And your Petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray

[signed] Lewis Burwell

London 11th Jul 1834

Library and Archives Canada
Fingal Cemetery, Fingal, Elgin County ON Google Maps

See my James Burwell UEL for more. Also, happy 50th anniversary to the UELAC Grand River Branch today, and thank you for helping all of us who are interested in the Loyalist history in Canada.

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