Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Clement UE, 1st Regiment Lincoln Militia (1790-1867)
Joseph Clement was born in Niagara Township on the 24 Aug 1790. He was the son of United Empire Loyalists, James Clement and Catherine (neé) Crysler, daughter of Loyalist, Adam Chrysler. James appeared on the muster of the Lincoln militia as early as 1797 according to A Holden papers at the Mayholme Library. The History of that Branch of the Crysler Family who Settled in the Township of Niagara by John M Crysler indicates that James was a despatch carrier and held the rank of Lieutenant during the War of 1812.
Father James Clement had accumulated considerable lands in Niagara as a United Empire Loyalist. Additional lands may have been obtained through barter and purchase. Like other displaced Loyalist families he conducted subsistence farming and built a dwelling house and associated outbuildings on his plot. At the time of his death James owned 300 acres in Niagara Township consisting of Lots 64, 78, 79 and 50 acres of Lots 106 and 107. In his last Will & Testament he instructed that:
“his lands be: equally divided (between) sons
Joseph and John.
Joseph to have the south half.
my intention is that Joseph is to have the part with the buildings upon
and that wife Catherine is to remain in the dwelling house and that Joseph was not to dispose of this until after her death.”
(R.G.22-25 c1811 Will of James Clement 3rd of January, 1816 ). As the son of a Loyalist, Joseph was also entitled to apply for Loyalist Lands. His Order in Council was approved on the 25 Feb 1812 just before the outbreak of war according to Reid, Sons & Daughters of the United Empire Loyalists.
James’ and his wife’s, Catherine, untimely deaths dropped the responsibility of care for the family on Joseph’s shoulders. According to the Clement family history by Robert Belly in an unpublished manuscript at the Mayholme Library, Joseph married Sarah Petitt. This union produced four children:
- James Nelson
- Mary Anne
It is conceivable that Sarah died in child birth with the latter daughter considering her early departure. This left Joseph to care for his brothers alone again and his children until he married Ann (neé) Caughill (1800-1880) a few years later. This last marriage produced 10 more children, namely:
- Amanda Caroline
- Augusta Ball
- Rebecca Jessie
- Ursula Ann
Despite having such a large family to take care for, Joseph was a successful business man. He farmed on a large scale employing 24-30 workers for his 500 acres of farmland. He was also able to secure contracts for wood, hay, grain and other products to supply soldiers stationed at Niagara. He also invested his money and was able to accumulate an impressive estate. This allowed his numerous children to inherit considerable lands. At the time of Joseph’s death in 1867 his estate was estimated at approximately $150,000.
Joseph had a long and aspiring career as a citizen soldier in the 1st Regiment Lincoln Militia. At 22 years of age, on the 2 July 1812, he appeared on the rolls as a private in Captain James Crooks Flank Company according to A Holden papers in the Mayholme library. This was at the very onset of the war which was declared on the 18th day of June of that year.
Being a member of the flank company carried certain privileges and benefits. In 1809 General Brock in his administrative roll as President of Upper and Lower Canada realized the need to train the militia for pending conflicts. To accomplish this he re-structured parts of the “Militia Act” creating one flank company per regiment.
Brock planned that the flank companies would provide officers and NCO’s to command the militia ranks. Each militia Regiment consisted of about ten companies of 15 to 30 men. The nine battalion companies were moderately trained for warfare and only required to muster annually in June on the King’s birthday. They remained unnaccoutred having to provide their own clothing and arms. Conversely, an effort was made to provide uniforms and arms to the flank companies.
The flank companies were trained with British Regular forces for a month annually. In addition to drill, parade, and the manual of Arms exercises, they performed guard duty, sentry, dispatch, partook in militia-court or were posted as “duty officer” of the day. In Niagara their training took place at Fort George. Further to this at the conclusion of the war, flankers, as they were referred to were eligible to apply for a “Prince Regent” land grant for a minimum of 100 acres and more as provided for higher ranks of officers and non-commissioned officers. After the war Joseph applied and received his 100 acres in Zorro County in the London district (A Holden papers, Mayholme library).
Documents which have survived indicate that Joseph performed these duties as recorded in his report on the guard between Queenston and Corbin’s Inn. The reverse of the document includes his muster of the troops at this location. Furthermore this 1812 document indicates he had been promoted to the rank of Ensign by this time (1812 history digitization, Department of Canadian Heritage). Records further indicate he was present at the Battles of Fort George, Queenston Heights and Lundy’s Lane (A Holden papers, Mayholme library).
Joseph’s long career in the local militia culminated in him replacing Lt. Col. MacDougall, assuming his rank and taking command of the Regiment in 1855 (A Holden papers, Mayholme library)
Joseph passed away of natural causes on 7 Jan 1867 only months before the formation of the new Dominion of Canada with the coming of Confederation. Both Joseph and his wife Ann are interred side by side near the First Presbyterian church-yard on the north side of York Road on land that was once the Clement family farm.
Veteran SummaryJoseph Clement
Lieutenant Colonel, 1st Regiment Lincoln Militia
Place of Birth
Niagara Township, ON, Canada
Place of Death
Niagara Township, ON, CAN
Died on: 07 JAN 1867
Reason: Natural Causes
Location of Grave
East of the Manse of First Presbyterian Church, 1444 York Road
St. Davids, ON, CAN
Latitude: 43.15968N Longitude: -79.09991