OK Where was the King's Head

scotto

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The king’s head inn

Hamilton Spectator, February 26, 1944.

An Account of Government House, Burlington Beach, 1794
 A Review By Charles R. McCullough

IT MAY be a source of surprise to some who read these columns from week to week to learn that once upon a time Burlington Beach had its “Government House"! Its official title however was the King's Head Inn, the former designation being a secondary name for the establishment. We have the same thing in reverse respecting the residence of His Majesty's representative in Ottawa. In my boyhood, the vice-regal mansion in the nation's capital was commonly called "Rideau Hall." Later on it became "Government House" on the tongues of the majority of Canadians. The same thing happened to "Spencerwood," the official home of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor of. Quebec. In a topographical description of Upper Canada issued by authority of Sir Francis Gore during his term of office as Lieutenant-Governor of the Province (1806-1817), we find this paragraph respecting the old building under review; "At the south end of the beach is the King's Head, a good inn erected for the accommodation of travelers by order of His Excellency Major-General Simcoe, the Lieutenant Governor. It is beautifully situated at a small portage leading from the head of a natural canal (Lottridge's inlet), and connecting Burlington bay with Lake Ontario. '
Burlington bay is perhaps as beautiful and romantic a situation as any in interior America, particularly if we include with it a marshy lake which falls into it, and a noble promontory (Burlington Heights), that divides them. This is called Coot's (Coote's), Paradise, and abounds with game.
JUST 50 years ago the Wentworth Historical Society recommended to the county council that a prize be offered to the author of the best history of Wentworth. The winner of the prize of fifty dollars was the late J. H. Smith, versatile public school inspector for the county. Mr. Smith's Historical Sketch of the County of Wentworth and the Head of the Lake was published 1897, the printing being done by then existent job office of the Spectator. It’s author tells us that; “The Kings Head Inn was more familiarly known as Government House, and was used as a distributing center for presents to the Indians; who received gifts annually as compensation for lands taken for settlement. Among those who had charge of this inn were Augustus Jones, William Bates and Robert Lottridge.
I may add that Augustus Jones was the pioneer surveyor of these parts. He was a brother of Mary Jones, widowed mother of James Gage, of what we now call Battlefield House, Stoney Creek. The romantic Augusta took as life partner the daughter of an Indian chieftain of the Head of the Lake district. Their son, The Rev. Peter, in his turn, took to wife an English lady of education and some wealth, who came to the wilds of Upper Canada to share in the labours of her missionary husband.

A SIDE from Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe and his charming lady, who were occasional visitors to the local Government House, no person ever set foot within the old inn who had back of him, a more adventurous career than Lieutenant-General Count Joseph de Puisaye, the French royalist émigré to Upper Canada, who with approximately 40 of his compatriots, arrived at Quebec in October, 1798, for the purpose of establishing themselves on lands within this province (Ontario). The ancient French noblesse was well represented in the party of newcomers. Among its members were Major-General the Count de Chalus, Colonel D'Allegro, Colonel the Marquis
de Beaupoil, Colonel the Viscount de Chalus, Colonel Coster de St. Victor, Lieutenant-Colonel De Marseuil, Captain Bouton, Captain De Farcy, Captain De Poret, Lieut. Guy de Beaupoil, Lieut. Lambert de la Richerie, Lieut. Hippolyte de Beaupoil and others of the French blood who had escaped the Reign of Terror. In the party, too was a young Englishman by the name of Smithers. This William Smithers later on adopted the surname of Kent, after his native county. It was his sister Susanne Smithers, who had become the wife the Count de Puisaye. This lady died, I believe, some time before the coming of the émigrés to Canada. Her mother however, sailed over with the De Puisaye group and assumed management of the count’s household. Other women of the party included the Marquise De Beaupoil and the Viscountess De Chalus. Disappointed with the prospects in a raw new land, some of the less adventurous returned over-seas. The continuation on Yonge Street, above Toronto, where the De Puisaye settlement was located, became known as Oak Ridges.
IN THE Canadian Archives may be found a record of a proposal made in 1799 by Joseph Brant (the Mohawk leader of the Six Nations) in behalf of the Mississauga Indians for the cession of five miles along Lake Ontario, consisting of 69,120 acres, on condition that it be granted to the Count De Puisaye at one shilling and three pence per acre, Halifax Currency. The deal was not viewed favourably by the Government. Another entry shows that in the minutes of the House of Assembly of the period it is set out that the count had requested that the authorities convey to him possession of the Government Tavern on the beach at the head of the lake.
However the King's Head Inn proprietorship had been pledged to William Bates until the following October. It was suggested, though, that the count was at liberty to deal privately in the matter with Bates, or if he willed “establish another tavern equally commodious.”
Later on, it appears that De Puisaye bought from the Government the land that on which the King's Head Inn stood and 300 acres of land thereabouts. On these lands were salt wells from which were realize handsome returns during the ensuing war (1812-14), when the commodity reached the extra ordinary price at $10 a barrel! The late Justus A. Griffin, of the Wentworth Historical Society, and son of George Douglas Griffin, well remembered the old de Puisaye farm at the Beach when it possessed a fine orchard of apple, peach, pear and plum trees bearing much delicious fruit. The count returned to England some time prior to 1803, intending to come back to Canada in about a year after the publication of his “Memoires." He never fulfilled his promise remaining on in England until his death at Blythe House near Hammersmith, in 1827, at the age of 72. That was the year in which William Kent, his brother-in-law and heir-at-law, last visited him. It was on this occasion that the Count gave the latter his heavily gold mounted Damascus sword, which had been presented to him by his friend William Pitt, the illustrious British statesman. It had been given to the General Count Joseph Puisaye in 1794. That year is memorable for another event- the establishing by the Government of Upper Canada of "The King's Head Inn.”;
The sword mentioned, was shown by the Rev. M. S. Griffin, D.D., at a Historical Loan Exhibition held in Toronto some 40 years ago.
It may be interesting; also, to record here that at the turn of the last century, Mrs. Horning, of Dundas (a great-granddaughter of William Smithers Kent) possessed a striking steel engraving of the Count de Puisaye and an oil painting of his Countess, Susanne. Mrs. Jarvis (wife of Mr. Secretary William Jarvis) bore testimony to the manly beauty of the Count. "I like him very much" she remarked. Back in January, 1799, "He is, I think, much like Governor Simcoe: in point of size and deportment, and is, without exception, the finest-looking man I ever saw!" From this we must assume that when the Count chose Susanne Smithers as his helpmeet he had an eye for her beauty as well as for her qualities of heart and mind.
Cont.
 

scotto

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#22
The great Edmund Burke in his "Reflections on the French Revolution," probably had in mind de Puisaye and his fellow emigres when he wrote: "I hear that there are considerable emigrations from France, and that many, quitting that voluptuous climate and that seductive Circean liberty, have taken refuge in the frozen regions of Canada." This and more the reviewer owes to the late Miss Janet Carnochan, of Old Niagara, who read a paper on the Count de Puisaye before the Ontario Historical Society in Toronto almost 43 years ago. Incidentally, de Puisaye, after spending a month at the Head of the Lake in 1799, bought the Sheehan residence on the Niagara River between Queenston and Fort George. Among the social and business friends of the Count was the Hon. Robert Hamilton of Queenston, father of Robert Hamilton, founder of the city that bears his name.
TURNING the pages of Smith's Historical Sketch of the County of Wentworth and the Head of the Lake, we find something concerning the fate the storied King's Head Inn. We are reminded of the descent made on unfortunate little York (Toronto) on April 27, 1813, by the Americans under General Henry Dearborn and Commodore Isaac Chauncey. After capturing the provincial capital nd destroying much property, the American forces sailed away on May 8 for points to the southwest intent on reducing Fort George at Niagara and as a lesser feat, Government House on Burlington Beach. Smith is lamentably brief in his account of the fate of the latter place. He simply says ''On the 11th of May, 1813 while the American fleet were on their way to Niagara, they destroyed Government House (King's Head Inn) on Burlington Beach”. The late H. H. Robertson, barrister (son of Judge Thomas Robertson) of Hamilton does better, although he sets the date as May 10th. On page 24, Journal and Transactions of the Wentworth Historical Society (1905) Mr. Robertson said “On the 10th of May, 1813… after York had been had been taken by the Americans, Chauncey detached two schooners front his fleet, cruising off Niagara, for the purpose of destroying the King's Head Inn, which they accordingly bombarded with hot shot. The post was garrisoned by 50 men of the Second York and Fifth Lincoin (militia regiments) under Major Samuel Hatt, without artillery. The garrison were forced to retire, and, reinforcements being brought from Burlington Heights, the enemy re-treated to their boats. The site of the King’s Head Inn was marked last year on the anniversary of the Battle of Lundy's Lane, by the Wentworth Historical Society.” Samuel Hatt was the brother of the well-known Richard Hatt, of Dundas (King's Landing) whose son, John Ogilvy Hatt married a sister of Sir Allan N. MacNab, of Dundurn. Major Hatt had commanded the detachment of 65 militiamen from this district that accompanied Major-General Brock to the taking of Detroit, Sunday, August l6, 1812. Hatt street, Dundas, commemorate the family name
REFERENCE to the Introductory Remarks of volume four of the Journal and Proceedings of the Wentworth Historical Society (for 1905) discloses that "Mr. H. H. Robertson, first vice-president, has collected data regarding the Government building which once stood at the southern end of Burlington Beach, commonly called the King's Head Inn, and which was burned by the United States forces in May, 1813. On July 23, 1903, the president (Charles Lemon, barrister), vice-president (H. H. Robertson) the Rev. Canon, G. A. Bull, and a number of other members of the society accompanied by the Mayor (W. J. Morden) and other members of the City Council (including Ald. John M. Eastwood, chairman of the Civic Bay Front Improvement Committee) paid a visit to the site of the King's Head Inn. With appropriate speeches a tablet was hung in the hotel (Fitch's), which now stands very near the place where stood the old Government building. Following is a copy of the tablet which was prepared by Mr. Robertson; “The King's Head Inn, 1794. Within a few paces of this spot the Government of Upper Canada erected in 1794 a building known as The King's Head Inn” Note: Your reviewer was present as member of the executive council of the society that day. Looking over the list of fellow members of the year named, I find that I am the sole survivor of the ‘old brigade' of which Mrs. Clementine Fessenden, founder of Empire Day, was the corresponding secretary; F. W. Fearman, honorary president; John H. Land (descendant of the pioneer, Robert Land), second vice-president, and that veteran of the first Riel Rebellion (1870); Justus A. Griffin secretary-treasurer. What became of that tablet I do not know. Is any one able to shed light on the missing relic?
We are told that the King's Head Inn was built in 1794 on the line of communication between York and the western district when war seemed inevitable between the United States and Britain. The general idea entertained was that it was provided mainly for the accommodation of travelers from York to Niagara. That, however was a secondary consideration-its prime purpose was to provide a depot for the King's stores and provisions, as well as a rendezvous for the militia and regular troops who might find it necessary to be stationed on the lines of communication- York, Niagara and Detroit. From report made to the Government (through. Peter Russell) in 1800, by John McGill commissioner of public stores, we find this, respecting the King's Head Inn; "Head of Lake Ontario. A large two-story house with two wings…This house, together with stores, provisions and such boats as might be found requisite for transport of troops, provisions and stores, was to have been placed under the particular charge of a select officer and party of troops. It is now occupied by Mr. Bates (William) at a rent of $1 per annum.
Bates had been a sergeant in the old Queen's old Rangers- Governor Simcoe's famous corps that fought so valiantly for King and Empire in the American Revolution. Back in l905 there was in possession of a kinsmen of the same name (William Bates, of East Flamboro) a Masonic jewel given to the original William Bates brother, Augustus Bates (some time of Thorpsfield N.Y. ) by the much-maligned Benedict Arnold because of the help given him in his escape “through the lines to the Vulture”
I’m told that a grey headstone at Stoney Creek marks the resting place of the senior William Bates ‘wife, Phoebe, who died on December 16, 1807at the age of 46.

Back in October of last year a group of us visited the site of the King’s Head Inn near the filtering basin at the southern end of the sandstrip. We were the guests of Principal William F. Johnson, of the Beach Bungalow School. Imagine our amazement and satisfaction in being shown in a good state of preservation the sign board that of yore swung before the hospitable door of the old tavern! It somehow had been kept, now stored in a barn, then in a cellar, through the years until the alert Beach historian tracked it down and placed it for safe keeping in his fine school. On one side is a well painted portrait of King George III- King of Great Britain- on the other, in old English text “The King’s Head Inn, 1794” What a find!
 

scotto

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#23
Sacked, Burned by Yank Invader.

Hamilton Spectator, September 4, 1946

AN American historian, writing in 1820, has recorded an event which concerns very intimately the history of the Beach. According to his version of the event, two American schooners were dispatched to the Head of the Lake in May of 1813 to destroy or capture the public stores stationed there. On the approach of schooners so the story goes, the British guard fled to the Heights. The Americans landed, carried away the stores and burned the buildings.

Major Hatt In Command
The British version of the same incident agrees generally with the foregoing but it includes more detail. From this account, we learn that the attack on British stores was made on May 10 or 11 of 1813, just after the: American burning of York. As Commander Chauncey was' proceeding to Niagara following his triumph, he sent two ships to attack Government House. The garrison of 50 militiamen under Major Hatt was obliged to retire until reinforcements from Burlington Heights enabled the little band to drive the enemy back to the ships. In the meantime however, the wooden structure had been burned and its provisions carried off.
The building referred to in these records was built in 1794 by order of Governor Simcoe, and was officially known as Government House. It served too as an inn, and as such was known as the King’s Head Inn. It afforded accommodation to people making the tedious journey between York and the Niagara frontier, and between Detroit and the western extremity of Lake Ontario. Among the guests to whom it opened its doors were Governor Simcoe and his talented wife. It was on one of their visits to the inn that Mrs. Simcoe made her sketches of the building and other interesting points on the Beach. In her diary, the inn is described as having had eight rooms and two wings behind it. Its front faced west, and over the door there was mounted a one sided sign which leaned outward at the top. It portrayed the royal head of George III and carried the date, 1794, and the inscription, King's Head Inn.

Distributing Point For Gifts to Indians
In addition to its use as an inn, Government House served as a military storehouse and as a distribution point for gifts to the Indians. It was because of its strategic value that the Americans destroyed it during the War of 1812.
Mrs. Simcoe's description of the Inn leads one to believe that it was located at the southern end of the beach near the present site of the Black Bridge. But passengers who travel across the sandstrip are within a stone’s throw of the site when they cross that bridge.
A report made by Peter Russell to the Government in 1800 shows that the inn was occupied by William Bates at a rental of £1 per annum. Others who occupied the original building and its successor were Augustus Jones and Robert Lottridge. It is not definitely known when the successor to the first inn was built, but, because of the urgent necessity of accommodation to travelers at this point, it can be safely assumed that the new one was soon constructed. The late George Fitch recalled the rough-cast inn which his father operated as Fitch Hotel on this site, but he did not know if it was the second or third building which had stood there. Mr. Fitch recalled also that this rough-cast house was replaced by a substantial brick structure and in it was hung on July 23,1903, by the Wentworth Historical Society, a tablet inscribed as follows, “Within a few paces of this spot, the Government of Upper Canada erected in 1794, a building known as the King’s Head Inn.” Lieut.-Col. Charles R, McCullough, of Hamilton, is the only surviving member of the group which saw the unveiling of the plaque.

School Possesses Old Tavern Sign
A sturdy sign which has every appearance of being 100 years old is now in the possession of the Beach Bungalow School. On one side, in gold lettering, are the words, King's Head Inn, on the other, is a striking likeness of George III done in excellent colours. Dr. C. W. Jeffery’s, noted Canadian historical artist, ventures the opinion that this sign, succeeded the one that hung over the door of the original inn.
Fitch's Hotel, the final successor to the historic inn, was dis¬mantled at the turn of the century. , Parts of it, including the wide staircase are used in con¬structing a house which is now occupied by Mr. Bell at Station 6, Hamilton Beach; The King's Head sign and this house are existing links with the past.
 

scotto

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#24
This was sent in by David and it is a report on digs that were done (paid for by the City) around the Redhill Valley on to the Beach.

The Grand Trunk Railway, on the other hand, was built between the late 1870s and 1890, and
crosses George Lottridge’s property near Van Wagner’s Beach Road, north of the present
QEW, and near the former location of Fitch’s Hotel. In 1890, George Lottridge deeded
approximately seven acres of his property to the Grand Trunk Railway to enable them to
complete a stretch of track across the Red Hill Creek connecting their main line at Stoney Creek
to a branch line at Burlington Beach (Kenyon 1988: Appendix B). Fitch’s Hotel was also the
site of the King’s Head Inn as is reviewed in the discussion of Survey Area 11.

Rest of the report;
http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/7D5F4043-FA43-4751-83EB-0ACAD99334B3/0/ASIExpressPart06.pdf
 

37brighton

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#25
The Head-of-the-Lake Historical Society published a 47 page paper titled "In Search of the King's Head Inn" by Terry Watson in November 2016.
Copies are available from the Society or The Hamilton Store, 165 James St. N., north of Cannon for $10.00
 

scotto

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#26
The Head-of-the-Lake Historical Society published a 47 page paper titled "In Search of the King's Head Inn" by Terry Watson in November 2016.
Copies are available from the Society or The Hamilton Store, 165 James St. N., north of Cannon for $10.00
Heading up to James St. tomorrow, will pick one up if there are any left.
Thanks for the info.
 

37brighton

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Mar 22, 2016
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#27
The plaque is located beside the Beach Trail just north of Hutch's, I have attached another map showing Beach Road and Black Bridge, I have inserted an arrow showing my guess of the King's Head Inn location by looking at your drawing and photo. I will see if I have those to add. as well.

The King's Head Inn was built at the intersection of the road to Hamilton (Beach Road), the road to Newark (Van Wagoner's Road) and the road to York (Beach Blvd). This is clearly shown on Mrs. Simcoe's sketches as per Post 14 to this thread. The intersection was east of the present day pumping station, built over Beach Road near Black Bridge, and roughly between the north and south filtering basins as shown on the map above. Beach Road and the Windermere Cut-Off are often confused when trying to locate the Inn. The Cut-Off is over one thousand feet north of Beach Road and would be well out into the Bay at that time. The historic plaque was placed for convenience only and has since been moved, for a parking lot, to the Beach Trail. The original location of the plaque was roughly fifty metres south of the Inn's location.
 

scotto

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#28
The King's Head Inn was built at the intersection of the road to Hamilton (Beach Road), the road to Newark (Van Wagoner's Road) and the road to York (Beach Blvd). This is clearly shown on Mrs. Simcoe's sketches as per Post 14 to this thread. The intersection was east of the present day pumping station, built over Beach Road near Black Bridge, and roughly between the north and south filtering basins as shown on the map above. Beach Road and the Windermere Cut-Off are often confused when trying to locate the Inn. The Cut-Off is over one thousand feet north of Beach Road and would be well out into the Bay at that time. The historic plaque was placed for convenience only and has since been moved, for a parking lot, to the Beach Trail. The original location of the plaque was roughly fifty metres south of the Inn's location.
Didn't get my copy of the today as other things came up, is this description from the book? Then my guess was little off as my arrow is located more to the south filtering basin. Land can move on a creek or river, but from Lady Simcoe's sketch, it looked to be on a creek bank that was just turning out to the west?
 

37brighton

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Mar 22, 2016
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#29
The book deals more with legal fabric, ie: township lot lines, than topographic features. Most plans, prepared by surveyor's, show the Inn to be on or very near the division line between township Lots 29 and 30, Broken Front Concession of Saltfleet. As you say, topographic features can change from day to day, either by nature or by man. The location of the Inn was pinned between three heavy construction sites. The original railway and it's later realignment and the filtering basins. Township lot lines, however, have not changed from the day they were first laid out by Augustus Jones and can be easily retraced today. While the municipal jurisdiction of Saltfleet has disappeared, the legal lot fabric of the Township of Saltfleet remains from its creation in 1788.
 
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