John Stoneburgh 1st Regiment Prince Edward Militia

John Stoneburgh was born c1788 into a family with Loyalist roots in lower New York and Bergen County New Jersey. He was the eldest son of Loyalist Peter Stoneburgh Sr. and Hannah Nix.  John was  also the grandson of Loyalist Harmanus Nix Sr.  who died during the Revolutionary War while serving in the New Jersey Volunteers.

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Ira Bearss
3rd Regiment Lincoln Militia

A Quaker in the militia?  Pacificism is one of the basic tenets of the Quakers.  Moreover, during the War of 1812 Quakers, Mennonites and Tunkers could be exempt from the usually compulsory military duty thanks to Sir John Graves Simcoe and the Militia Act of 1808.  Yet Ira Bearss, 1789-1874, a Quaker, served with the 3rd Regiment Lincoln Militia during the War of 1812.   Ira’s brother Daniel Bearss, 1788-1850, served in the same regiment as did a third brother,  Josiah Bearss, 1791-1879.  Josiah’s grave in Zion Cemetery, Ridgeway, Ontario, has already been commemorated with a War of 1812 veterans marker.

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3rd Regiment Lincoln Militia

George Ward
1st Regiment Kent Militia

George Ward was born in Ireland in 1743 and as a young man he joined the British 58th Regiment of Foot, which was first formed in 1755 during the Seven Years war (1754-1763). He basically spent his entire adult life in service for the British. He served in many cities in Ireland, went to Quebec in 1776 and fought successfully at Three Rivers. Following that battle he became a sergeant over a company of the best marksmen from each of the 9th, 20th, 21st, 24th, 34th, 53rd and 62nd regiments. This company was ordered to Ticonderoga, where they beat the enemy at an outpost but were defeated later and taken as prisoners to Prospect Hill, near Boston. His great uncle was a Rebel general and as such offered George a position on his side but George declined and was later taken to Rutland where he along with 17 corporals and a drummer boy escaped. They headed for the British safe haven of New York.

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1st Regiment Kent Militia

William Ward
1st Regiment Kent Militia

William Ward, eldest son of career soldier, George Ward, grew up on the banks of the Thames River in an area called Paint Creek, Longwoods. Much later this area was named for his father and mother, George Ward and Margaret (Shaw) Ward.  Both parents were born in Ireland but arrived in this area of Upper Canada as a soldering family. At the request of Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe, George Ward was appointed to command a block house on the Thames River as well as four gun boats. George Ward was also to establish a public house (halfway tavern/inn) in the Paint Creek area.

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1st Regiment Kent Militia

Andrew Van Every
2nd Regiment York Militia

The Van Every’s were early pioneers in the Mohawk Valley of Upper New York.  During the American Revolution,  the Van Every’s remained true to the British Crown and fought alongside the British Army.  Suffering persecution from their neighbours following the end of the war, they sought land grants in Upper Canada and Andrew Van Every, who was the second eldest son of MacGregory Van Every, was granted 200 acres consisting of  Lots 12-13, Concession 1, West Flamboro.

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2nd Regiment York Militia

John Ward
Flank Company
1st Regiment Kent Militia

John  Ward was born in England in 1771 and joined the British Army. He is mentioned in John Gray’s novel, Soldiers of the King on page 156 as being a Private in the Flank Company 1st Regiment Kent Militia.  Ward returned to England after the War of 1812 having left his wife and small child there.  Ward applied for a land grant in Canada West and settled in the Burford area.  He outlived his wife and son and died at the age of 83 in 1855. He is buried in the Congregational Cemetery in Burford.

Video Review of the Project

Recently the Historical Military Establishment of Upper Canada, home of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment re-enactors, held it’s 25th Anniversary.

The Midland Mirror ran a short article on the gathering that can be read here.

Among the many presentations, Lyn Downer and Seaghan Hancocks prepared this video review of the success of the Graveside Project honouring the War of 1812 veterans.

The music heard throughout is an original composition by Richard Rodwell who has kindly contributed his time and skills in support of this project. It may be downloaded from his website at

We hope you enjoy it.

Sincerely, Graveside Project Team.