from Dumfriesshire, Scotland to Nepean Township in 1818
also John Steel (1785-1830)
October 27, 2003:
Hello Mr. Lewis,
I just thought I'd drop you a note after perusing your interesting material on the "Bytown or Bust" page.
My name is John Steele, and I am descended from one of the few non-military
members of the Richmond Military Settlement, John Steel.
The Steel family were settled in Nepean Twp., near the present-day site of
Fallowfield Village on a Crown reserve, and they ran a tavern there from the
end of 1818 until approximately 1824. This was the half-way point for people
travelling from the landing to Richmond Village.
Sadly, Steel's Tavern has fallen through the cracks of the history books.
Perhaps because of it's early vintage, or perhaps due to the untimely death
of Mr. Steel by drowning circa 1824. Nonetheless, it was an important part
of the settlement at the time.
In his book "Carleton Saga", Harry J. Walker refers to the tavern, and states
that it appears on an "Ordinance Dept. map of Nepean circa 1821" Unfortunately,
the book carries no references to the source of the map. I have been searching
for it for years with no luck.
I have however looked up the "Tavern Keeper's Recognizance" (licence) for Steel's
Tavern for the years 1818-1824. (Ontario Archives) Interestingly, one of the
persons who vouched for Mr. Steel in 1819 was Andrew Barrie (sic), Isaac Firth's
partner. Why is it more often referred to as "Firth's Tavern" rather than
"Firth & Berry's Tavern" ?
How did non-military persons become part of the military settlement ? It's
been suggested to me that only people with some influence and connections in
government were granted tavern keepers' licences. Aside from their origins in
Dumfriesshire, Scotland, I have no further info on the Steel roots in Scotland.
If there is anyone else whose interest is the early Richmond Military Settlement,
I would be glad to hear from them.
Thank you for reading,
All the best,
John Steele (the "e" was added generations later)
Thanks for your interesting e-mail regarding John Steel.
I have heard of Steel's Tavern. I'll have a look and see if I
can find anything. John Steel is listed in the 1822 Nepean census,
as is Andrew Berry and John is also on the 1822 Nepean Assessment list
as having 200 acres and four oxen (among other things).
There was also another John Steel family who came to the Almonte area from
Scotland. This second family arrived here in 1821. The patriarch is buried
in the Auld Kirk Cemetery at Almonte.
... Al Lewis
November 11, 2004:
I found your email on the Bytown or bust page .
I have been working on my wife's family genealogy for the past few months.
Her GGGGGrandfather is John Steel (1785-1830)
His Daughter Jane Married Daniel McLeod
Their Daughter Anne or Jane? McLeod married James Phillips
Their Daughter Jane Phillips Married James C Johnston
later generations include the surnames CLARKE, BENNETT and CURZON
If you have any additional information I would appreciate receiving it.
E-mail John Steel, Bob Curzon and Al Lewis
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