Mathew Udell, Veteran Soldier of the 18th Century

Monday, January 6, 2020 9:31 PM

Mathew Udell is my paternal gr-gr-gr-gr-grandfather. Mathew was born March of 1743 in Ellastone, Staffordshire, the son of Francis and Mary (Shemilt) Udall. He was Christened on 13th of March 1743 in St. Peter’s church in that village. On the 10th of  January 1802 he petitioned in Montreal, Quebec for land due to his military service described as 35 years; 14 thereof in the 19th Foot and 21 in the 26th or Cameronian Regiment. He was discharged in Halifax on the 12th of December 1800 as “being unfit for service from Age and infirmity. His petition was denied but this record is a valuable one to explore his life as follows.

The 19th Regiment of Foot, or the Green Howard’s, were stationed at Gibralter from 1763 to 1771. From 1771 to 1781 they were stationed at Richmond, Tynemouth, Berwick, Glasgow, Dumfries, Cork, Limerick, Kinsale and Clonmel. Backing off from Mathew’s service with the 26th Regiment (1780 to 1800) he would in all likelihood have served with the 19th Regiment from the early 1760s to the late 1770s. The most likely timing would look to be that Mathew joined the Green Howard’s in 1763 as they were heading to Gibralter, and stayed with them through 1776. So he likely married during this time and had a son and daughter. I do not know the daughters name, she may have settled in Quebec and married someone there? The son John would have been born In the early 1770s, since he served 5 years with the 26th Regiment of Foot before settling down and receiving land in the Niagara region in 1795.   

The 26th regiment arrived in Tamworth, Staffordshire in February of 1780, relocating to Shrewsbury in April of 1781 and from there to Tynemouth Barracks in January of 1782.  Therefore the record shows that Mathew was likely recruited at the approximate time that the regiment arrived in Staffordshire.

Mathew is included on a muster roll, dated the 22nd of February 1783 covering the period from the 25th of June to the 24th of December 1782, in Captain George Duke's company under the command of Major General Sir William Erskine Kt.  The Lieutenants were Joseph Moland and Duncan Campbell.

1783 Tynemouth Muster Roll

The regiment relocated to Musselburgh in March 1783 and subsequently embarked for Canada from Monkstown, Cork in May of 1787, some four years after the American Revolutionary War. The regiment arrived in Quebec in July and August of the same year and established themselves at Beauport, Charlesbourg and other villages on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. In August of the following year the Cameronian Regiment were relocated to frontier posts in Quebec. Headquarters were established at Fort St. Johns with four companies at Isle aux Noix and one at Chambley. In July of 1789 the regiment relocated to Montreal.

In August of 1790 the regiment moved into what was to become Upper Canada (Ontario). They were located in the Niagara frontier between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario with eight and a half companies at Fort Niagara, one company at Fort Erie and one at Fort Schlesser. There were approximately 5,000 Europeans in Canada west of Quebec at this time.

The British officer in command at Fort Niagara during Mathew and John’s stay in the area was Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Gordon of their own regiment.

Fort Erie

In June 1792 the regiment returned to Fort St. John and Isle aux Noix in the Montreal frontier district of Lower Canada. I speculate that John Udell the son, having served 5 years with the regiment, along with his father, decided to remain in the Niagara region rather than return to Lower Canada. Simcoe was no doubt seeking to encourage such people to settle in the area.

The Cameronian Regiment subsequently relocated to Montreal in August of 1794 and to Quebec City in July of 1795. Mathew is included in a muster roll, classified as a private for the full muster at Quebec on the 13th of August 1795 under the command of Major General Charles Stuart. James Green is included in this muster roll as one of the commissioned warrant officers and a military secretary with the regiment. This reinforces that this is the individual who provided a reference attached to Mathew’s petition for land in Quebec in 1802.

1796 Quebec City Muster Roll

The regiment was stationed at Chateau Richer, 15 miles down the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City. In October of 1797 three companies were located in Three Rivers. In May of 1799 the regiment returned to headquarters in Montreal with companies at Fort St. Johns and the remainder at Chambly and Montreal.

Finally in November of 1799 the regiment boarded the transport “Asia” to Quebec City, Charlesbourg and Beauport. On the 16th of May 1800 the Cameronians left Quebec City, again on board the “Asia” bound for Halifax. From there the regiment departed for the United Kingdom on the 26th of September 1800. As previously mentioned Mathew Udell was discharged from service in Halifax on the 12th of December 1800 as being “unfit for service due to age (57 years old) and infirmity.

The “Asia" in Halifax Harbour

The last known historical reference to Mathew Udell is a note to J.K. Welles at Fort William Henry. This fort is located at the mouth of the Richelieu River in Quebec. The note states:

                   “ I am directed to inform you that His Excellancy, the Commander

                        of the Forces, has pleased to direct you that the Bearer hereof

                       Mathew Uddle, formerly of the 26th REgmt. Be admitted on the

                       Invalid Establishment at Wm. Henry, and that oen Ration of

                      Provisions be issued him from the Date of his Arrival at Wm. Henry

                      and presenting this letter of which you will advise me.”

                                           Signed by: Noah Freer, dated 13th of February 1813.

The Invalid Establishment was a sort of retirement home for old soldiers. They did menial labour at the Fort in exchange for food and lodging. As far as I know there is no record of Mathew actually living in the Invalid Establishment at Fort Wm. Henry, he likely died sometime in 1813. It would be nice to be able to know the names of his wife and daughter, hopefully that is for another day!



             Corfe Castle