I wasn’t the only one who was concerned about the Americans who flooded into Upper Canada. Many Loyalists were prominent in their places of settlement, as they held important posts in the local districts. As settlers, however, they were outnumbered by the Americans, only some of whom had taken oaths of allegiance to Britain.
The make up of Upper Canada’s population was well known both north and south of the border. When relations between Britain and the US soured and then escalated into the War of 1812, American leaders thought that the Americans in Upper Canada would be only too happy to welcome their American liberators. That’s not how it turned out.
At the beginning of the hostilities there was more rhetoric than military might on the American side. They were not prepared for war. Neither were those on the other side of the border but there was time to prepare a defence. The war lasted for several years and ended with both sides declaring that they had won. That would be funny, except that people lost their lives and livelihoods.
Part of the problem facing the antagonists was trying to fight with militia raised from the ordinary farmer citizens. They were only part time soldiers with other things on their mind, like protecting their homes and families as well as being on hand to bring in the harvest. The regular troops on the Canadian side of the border gave them an advantage, one they needed given the sparsely populated western reaches of Upper Canada where some of the battles occurred. There was also activity close to Kingston at Gananoque, not far from Percy, where Charles Tripp and his family lived.
Marker in Old Fairfield, Ontario
Photo by Ernest Mettendorf*
How were the Tripps affected by the hostilities? I was unable to find any lists which named the men in the local militia during the time of the 1812 war. Charles would have been in his early 50s by that time, probably too old to serve but at least two of his sons, Solomon and Jonathan, may have been old enough to serve. But where did their loyalties lie?
Bumsted, J.M. The Peoples of Canada: A Pre-Confederation History. Oxford University Press, Toronto, 1992
Craig, Gerald M. Upper Canada: The Formative Years, 1784-1841. Oxford University Press, Don Mills, Ontario, 2013
Hall, Roger and Gordon Dodds, Ontario: 200 Years in Pictures: A Celebration of Ontario, 1791-1991. Dundurn Press Limited, Toronto, 1991