The Udall family history can be traced back to the middle of the 12th century. The earliest spellings of the name are Uuedale, Ovedale and Uvedale. There are 2 theories on the origin of the family. The first is that they are from Oudalle, Normandy in France which is located close to Honfleur and are Norman by ancestry. The second theory is that they originate from the Lake District in Northern England. From my research I tend to agree with the first theory. The family lived in Tacolneston in East Anglia, close to Norwich in the mid 12th century. Some of the family split off to Surrey in the late 13th century and from there to Hampshire in the 14th century, as well as later to Dorset and the other south west locations. One son William Uvedale moved to Staffordshire in the mid 16th century. Some of his descendant spelt their name Udall.
My ancestor Mathew Udall was born in Ellastone Staffordshire in 1743. His great-great-great-grandfather, John Udall, had married Elizabeth Bull in the Ellastone church in December of 1640. Mathew served with the 19th or Green Howard's’ for 14 years. He joined the 26th, or Cameronian Regiment, in early 1780 as they were passing through Staffordshire and subsequently came to Canada with the regiment in 1787. His wife, a daughter and his son John came with him to Canada. The spelling of the name changed to Udell in Canada.
Mathew and his son John served with the regiment in Lower and Upper Canada including in the Niagara peninsula and Fort Erie. The regiment returned to Quebec in 1792 and John stayed behind in the Niagara peninsula. The regiment left Quebec for Halifax and England in 1800. Rather than being returned to England Mathew was discharged in Halifax on the 12th of December 1800 because of his age and infirmity.
Mathew’s son John married Margaret Brown in Niagara on the Lake,Upper Canada. Margaret’s father James Brown had served during the Revolutionary War with the British Navy and was blacklisted in Pennsylvania. James wife was Mary Marr and they relocated to Upper Canada in the late 1700’s. John Udell and Margaret’s first two children, James and Catherine, were christened in St Mark’s church in Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1804.
John and Margaret relocated to the Pickering and Markham area around the time of the War of 1812. In a Bill of Sales for land they purchased John is listed as John Udell “the hunter”. John served on the Pickering council in 1818. There they had 9 or 10 children. My ancestor John was either the youngest, or second youngest child. The family farmed in the area until the Rebellion of 1837/38 disrupted the family life. The family took the side of William Lyon Mackenzie and suffered the consequences. One of John and Margaret’s sons, Joseph Udell, was thrown in jail after the “battle” at Montgomery's Tavern in 1838, and another Mathew Udell, reportedly a member of the Markham Gang, was tried and thrown in jail for 5 years in the infamous spring assizes of 1846. He died in the jail in Kingston. A lot of the family members migrated to Michigan and Wisconsin.
My branch of the family remained in Canada, moving from Markham to Orillia, Ontario. My great-grandfather John Eli Udell married Margaret Pearson (Degeer) on 5th November 1874 in Stouffville, York County Ontario before moving to Orillia. My grandfather George Wesley Udell migrated to western Canada and homesteaded in Alberta early in the 20th century and my father Gordon Wesley Udell moved to B.C. in the early 1950’s.
Rendered by Richard Hayton
Photo by: G.W.. Udell