John and Margaret (Brown) Udell - Their Ancestry and Birthplace

Friday, February 15, 2019 3:45 PM

I would like to offer my opinion with respect to the ancestry and birthplace of John Udell and his wife Margaret Brown, given the diversity of data concerning those matters.

The 26th regiment of foot came to Canada in 1787, just at the end of the American Revolutionary War. They stayed in Quebec until 1790 when they came to the Niagara region in present day Ontario, and then returned to Quebec in 1792, some 5 years after they arrived. John’s father, Mathew Udell, is recorded on a muster roll at Quebec City, dated 5 June 1796.

On the 14th of August 1795 John Udell petitioned for land to John Graves Simcoe, the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, on the basis of serving for 5 years with the 26th regiment of foot or “Cameronians”. On the same day a warrant was issued granting him 200 acres of land. This was fulfilled when he received 300 acres of land, including an allowance for roads, comprising the north half of lot 33 in the 2nd concession and lot 33 in the 3rd concession in Beverley township.

So I have assumed from the forgoing that John, son of Mathew Udall (Udell) had come to Canada with his parents in 1787 and had served alongside his father for 5 years until 1792. At that time the regiment went back to Quebec and John decided to stay in Upper Canada. He then successfully petitioned for land 3 years later.

So, John Udell would have been born in England, or wherever his father was serving with the army at the time.

Mathew Udell was discharged from the regiment in Halifax on the 12th of December 1800 due to “age and infirmity”. The regiment were at that time on their way back to England and discharged Mathew in Halifax. He subsequently made his way back to Montreal. Because, on the 10 of January 1802, dated at Montreal, Mathew petitioned for land due to 35 years of military service. In that petition he stated that he served 14 years with the 19th foot (Green Howards) and 21 years with the 26th or “Cameronian” regiment of foot. So he signed on with the 26th regiment of foot in 1779. In other words John would have been born when his father was serving with the 19th regiment of foot. Mathew, his father, was born on 13 March 1743 in Ellastone, Staffordshire.

This petition raises another interesting question. It states that he had a wife, son and a daughter. Was he referring to his son John, who was living in Upper Canada, or did he have another son who was with him, his wife and daughter in Lower Canada? I cannot be definitive about that matter, the name of his wife and daughter are, also of my current understanding not available.

Now, as far as Margaret Brown is concerned the published book[i] on the Browns says that Margaret Brown was born in Upper Mount Bethel Township, Northampton County Pennsylvania on 24 November 1781. Her father, James Brown, had served in the British Navy during the Revolutionary War and with the British Army. James was Blacklisted[ii] in Pennsylvania and moved to the Niagara region in Lower Canada in 1799. It was there that Margaret met John Udell. Their first two children, James and Catherine Udell, were baptized on the 21 May 1804 at Saint Mark’s Anglican Church in Niagara–on-the-Lake, Upper Canada.

That is the history as I understand it. So both John and Margaret Brown were English by ancestry, him born where the 19th regiment of foot were stationed, likely England, and Margaret in Upper Mount Bethel Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.

On the death records[iii] of their daughters, Jane and Hannah, their birthplaces are correct being England and Pennsylvania. Their son John’s death record (my great-great-grandfather) got his father John Udell’s birthplace correct (England), but their mothers wrong, he said Canada. For that matter the 1900 census for Maple Valley, Sanilac, Michigan, which would have been completed by John himself, or his wife, shows that his father was born in England and his mother in Pennsylvania.

In subsequent records of their children the records start to diverge all over the place with a certain theme a that the family was Irish, or French.

So, in conclusion we can be relatively certain that John Udell was born in England, and his wife Margaret Brown was born in Pennsylvania of English ancestry.

[i] The English Browns of Markham and Uxbridge Townships; Rev. Victor Gordon Brown and Lettitia Mae Brown, 1990.

[ii] Black List: A list of those Tories who took part with Great Britain In the Revolutionary War and were attainted of High Treason; opinions of Attorneys-General McKean and Dallas etc.; Philadelphia, Printed for the Proprietor, 1802.

[iii] Michigan, U.S.A. Death Records.


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