Podcast War of 1812 Part Two

Today our focus will be the key players in the War of 1812 from the Talbot Settlement. 

Thomas Talbot 

August 16 –On this date, American militia and some of their native allies arrive at Port Talbot with the intent of taking Colonel Talbot to Detroit and extorting a high ransom for his release. They also plan to ravage the settlement. This time Talbot is in residence and narrowly escapes. Talbot notices a large group of natives approaching and assumes that they are British supporters. Fortunately, he sees that they are accompanied by Americans. Captain Leslie Patterson is with Talbot at his home and encourages him to escape out the back door. Talbot has a reputation for dressing like his settlers. Attired in his farm clothes, he puts on an old hat, takes a staff, and walks slowly towards the ravine at the side of his house, descending the hill and crossing the creek. One of the Indians sees him and takes aim. Patterson seizes the rifle barrel and ingeniously tells him that his target is the Colonel’s old shepherd and that calling him is futile as he is deaf. The Indian believes him, and Talbot remains a free man. Talbot’s livestock is slaughtered, and other valuable property is carried off. The wily Talbot had hidden two-quart pots of gold plate under the front of his house which remain undiscovered. 

  • Some of the American marauders were settlers who lived in the Talbot settlement before war broke out. These men had personal grievances against Talbot. 

Mahlon Burwell 

In August of 1814, Burwell is forced away from his family who are now homeless. Along with other prisoners he is marched to Chillicothe, Ohio. He remains here until he is paroled on December 21st, 1814. He unites with his family who are living in Fort Erie with relatives and returns with them to his land near Port Talbot. 

  • carried off by marauders as a prisoner to the United States 
  • His maps and instruments for surveying were destroyed during his capture 
  • Couldn’t continue work immediately after the war due to the missing/destroyed equipment to do so 
  • Was able to resume in summer 1816 
  • Work continued until the end of 1824 
  • was targeted because of position in Talbot’s employment 
  • he was the second in command almost 
  • Was present in Niagara Falls when battle was happening there between 1812 & 1813 

Helped organize the defense of the London district in December of 1812 

  • also served at Otter (Big Otter) Creek – North of Lake Erie – in 1814 

Leslie Patterson 

On May 20 Port Talbot was attacked by thirty riflemen under the command of Andrew Westbrook. The settlement got a half hour warning and the settlers fled for a neighbouring township. Two groups of militia were called out but before they could be coordinated the enemy had entered the settlement and taken prisoner those who were left on guard. Patterson was captured at the blacksmith shop. He was paroled. The use of parole was common, particularly for militiamen who were captured whereby they would sign a document which pledged they would not take further part in the war. 

  • Leslie Patterson was commissioned one of the five captains for the militia 
  • Happened around the same time as Col. Talbot becoming Col. 

Gillman Wilson 

  • Gilman was commissioned captain in the 1st Regiment Middlesex Militia, a commission he held into the 1830s 
  • Captain Gilman Willson’s unit was present at the taking of Fort Detroit 
  • Was also present at the battle of Lundy’s Lane 

George Crane 

  • George volunteered in 1812. He had experience with the British Army and became part of the Flank Company 1st Regiment Middlesex Militia 
  • He is representative of the men who needed to fight to preserve their farms, families and community 

Stephen Backus 

  • saw action as a member of the militia when it was called out to repel a raid on the 20th of May, 1814 
  • Because the Talbot Settlement was raided six times between November 1813 and November 1814, he was probably called out often 
  • he served under Captain Leslie Patterson, his uncle, in 1812-1814 

General Info: 

  • Some of the marauders were defects from the Talbot Settlement 
  • Just didn’t like Talbot himself 
  • Listed for committing high treason in Upper Canada or absconded from the province during the late War of 1812 with America 
  • Most of the action took place in 1814 
  • As the summer progressed, the attacks on this area got worse 
  • 1st Middlesex Militia comprised most of the important figures during the war in current-day Elgin County 
  • Talbot and Burwell have the most documentation for their service at the time, with Patterson being the next 
  • Thank you for listening to this week’s episode on the key people from this area in the War of 1812. 


Tune in next week to learn about mills and their importance to the area

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