Abel Stevens is my gggg grandfather. I do not know the names of the families who came with him into Canada.
I do have this information:
From an e-mail from Jill Holmes:
Incidentally, Roger Stevens, III, Abel's brother,was indeed a Tory.His properties were confiscated by the State of Vermont because of his treasonous activities.He joined up with the Loyalists, and received grants of land as a Loyalist in Ontario.Brother Abel, who served in the Revolution as a Patriot for a short time, is also carried on the Loyalist Lists in Ontario and received grants as such.It has been surmised that Abel facilitated his brother's activities by meeting him serepticiously along the shores of Lake Champlain to pass info on troop strength and locations of Patriot units during the Rev War.So if you choose to join the S.A.R., you may also join the U.E.L. Assn., both on Abel Stevens, Sr.
From an e-mail from Jill Holmes:
Roger, III, and Abel Stevens were both United Empire Loyalists in Canada and received grants of land for same.Abel did participate in the Revolutionary War in Ebenezer Allen's Detachment of VT Militia, perhaps as a cover for his surrepticious activities with his brother, Roger, passing troop info to his brother Roger along the shores of Lake Champlain. I have Abel's Rev. War record.He went over into Canada in the late 1780's and took 36 VT families with him.
From 'Our Stevens Story' written by Elizabeth Stevens Stuart: (This may not appear as it does in my documentation or in my family file. If you wish, I could e-mail you a word document in the correct formatting.)
Abel STEVENS is said to have been born Quaker Hill N.Y. a short distance east of Poughkeepsie and moved with his parents to Pittsford VT 1770 where he became a noted trapper. He married Eunice BUCK b Nov 11, 1758 the oldest child of Isaac BUCK & Elizabeth WATERS. Isaac BUCK was the 5th settler in Pittsford, coming there in 1770. If Abel & Eunice were married in 1779, as the Buck History states, then Abel's oldest son may not be the son of Eunice. According to his father, Uriah was age 21 in Feb 1798. The Buck Family is traced back to Enoch who came out from near London England in 1735. Isaac and brother Jonathon died at Quebec and were buried there Jan 1776. Eunice was related to many who came to Bastard. DOOLITTLEs, BARNES, etc. Eunice (Unec) was granted 200 acres 22 June 1793. Abel received 600 acres in concession 10, lots 10, 11, & 12, and 600 acres in concession 9. The comment made 14th Feb 1798 regarding the latter Lots reads "Improving the Lots and has built Mills on them."
Abel would have been a remarkable man in any period. Early in 1793 he followed his older brother Roger into Augusta Tp in the wilderness of Upper Canada (later Ontario) and by 1803, - within a period of 10 years - he had brought in over 100 families to settle in two townships, in an area unknown to any white person in 1793, and still not surveyed. In a Petition 12 Ju1y 1796 he stated that half the townships of Bastard & Kitley had been granted to him and he prayed for the remaining ha1f (not granted). He had built a mill on his property on Upper Beverley Lake to serve the interests of the pioneering families. He had mapped out and supervised the building of a 31-mile road from the settlement to Kingston over a very difficult terrain. But he could not plan and build this very important road and run the Mill at the same time.
Abel, as well as brother Roger, was knowledgable about Mills. From the same HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF BRANDON as quoted above:
James Sutherland of Sutherland Falls, then part of Rutland, purchased of Abel Stevens in 1779, for 80 bushels of corn, 110 acres, being the first division on the right of Tilly Wilder, embracing the falls and mill privileges of the village.
Abel was very much occupied with his young settlement and chose someone else to run the Mill at the valuable sight he had chosen on his property. Land records at the Brockville Registry Office for lot 23/9 indicate that he received the Patent June 2, 1801, but well before this date, in May 17,1799 he had given to his son, Abel Jr for £100 pt 22&23/9 commencing at the north corner of the bridge near Abel Stevens' & Nicholas Matice's Mill in Bastard:
Abel STEVENS Sr. to Abel STEVENS Jr. "East of a smal1 Creek running southerly into Mattis Mill Creek and North of Upper Beverley Lake and said Mattis Mill Creek, made 1799." Registered March 19, 1812.
The early transfer of 80 acres to Nicholas MATTICE from this same property for £250 had been registered June 2, 1808 - South part - 80 acres - being all land south of Mill Creek and land sold to William Jones. (The irregular parcel sold to William Jones for £375 was also registered the same day.) Wm Jones's Stone Mill is mentioned in a Quit Claim of a Town Lot by Mattice to Ira Schofield Esq, 21 Aug 1817. Nicholas MATTICE is the 3-grgrandfather of the writer. The strategic position of this 80-acre parcel near this valuable Mill Site meant that there was a great deal of money to be made by the Mattice family and others through the selling of lots for what was to become Beverley and later Delta. Besides Ira SCHOFIELD, who bought more than one lot, there was Billa FLINT, Joshua ADAMS, John BRASS, Wm Paddock BATES, John WEATHERHEAD & Joseph K. HARTWELL doing business in the village. There was the transfer 27 July1825 of 1 acre for £ 100 to Rev Charles James STUART, Lord Bishop of Quebec & his successors on condition that a rectory be built within 10 years (K195 & K196) - later, 8 June 1842, widow Jane MATTICE sold half an acre to Rev James BELL. And on 20th July, 1848, son Caspar MATTICE sold part of lot 23/9 to Walter H. DENAULT of BEVERLEY for £500. This transfer describes the property as beginning at the southerly bank of Lake ABEL commencing at the border of lot 22 & 23, to the Episcopal Church yard ... the SW angle of the property of Wm Paddock BATES ... to Lake ABEL (#46)
Abel had discovered an iron ore mining area near by - the only one in the province - and laid out a blueprint for its operation under qualified & experienced men - all this in less than 7 years - and by 1803 there was a non-conformist church established, the doctrine "The Bible itself was sufficient for Faith & Practice. Church & State would be separate." And no one knew this rugged land better than Abel Stevens for he was completely at home in the wilderness as he walked, walked, walked, - alone - except for his gun - from one end of the province to the other, and back and forth to Vermont, spying out the rivers, lakes, and hills. And he was not discouraged by the mysterious death in 1793 of his older brother Roger, with whom he had closely collaborated throughout the Revolution, or with the loss to the family of his brother Roger, two years later, in 1795, of their valuable 400 acres north of the Rideau.
Abel is said, from another source, to have been born in Lichfield Conn. According to the 1803 census was age 48 (b 1855); in 1805 he was age 50. According to every census he was born c1755. Abel spent 14 years in Pittsford. He was one of the six charter members of the Baptist Church organized Dec 2, 1784 that met at Richard Day's, and he was one of the first 3 deacons there in 1786. It was his vision to plant the Baptist Churches in the Leeds area. See:
Baptists in Ontario Before 1815 by Iveson and Rosser.
In the first Census for America 1790, we see in Pittsford VT:
STEPHENS Abel 1 male head, 4 male children, 4 women, no black servants
He made a list of his children Feb 8,1798 at York:
Uriah STEVENS 21 yrs, Abel 18, Betty 16, Mariam 14, Unec 12, Isaac 10, David 8, Sarah 6, A1fred 4, Elihu 1 1/2.
I do certify on Oath that the above list are my children. Signed Abel STEVENS
There were 11 members in the family in 1800, with Uriah & Abel Jr listed separately. Altogether, 12 children are known. Abel had been granted 200 acres for himself and 200 for each of his children, having eight, at York June 22, 1793. It is because of this grant that writers state that there were eight children. He was offered land in Scarborough, but requested that he might explore the unsurveyed land north of Eliz'thtown. He would be curious about the Rideau system having seen the 25-foot drop of the river where Roger had built his mill. Abel became, no doubt, the first white man ever to gaze upon the beauty of the Rideau Lake System.
From York (Toronto), in June, 1793, Abel walked down to Eliz'thtown and then north to explore the wilderness. Consider the black flies and the mosquitoes that he would encounter during that journey, and the mud and the snow that would hinder his tramp around that wilderness. How often did he cross rivers and lakes? But he was impressed with what he saw, and from Augusta Tp near the end of the year, 17th Dec 1793, he sent a Petition to the Land Board:
The Location & Petition of Abel Stevens most Humbly Sheweth - That your Petitioner having obtained an order from his Excellency the Governor and Council for eighteen Hundred acres of land to be laid on any vacant Land in this Province when your Petitioner should choose to take it- He has explored and located sixteen hundred acres on the lowermost River or Creek that falls in 10 the west side of the River Rideau Lake etc. (How do you describe an unsurveyed area that no one has ever seen before?) Your Petitioner therefore prays he may be confirmed in the above location and that a surveyor may be directed to survey it ... so that your petitioner may begin to improve early next Spring -as he wishes to erect a Dwelling House and Sawmill and make considerable improvements there next season.
The Petitioner further begs to represent that there is an Indian living in the Westside of the Lake who claims all the land on both sides, and some distance down the River Rideau. Near the Stevens Sawmill. Ihis Indian told our Petitioner that he was King of that Country and owned all the land with some other Indians that lived there - And that if any man made a home on it before the land was paid for he would burn it. Your Petitioner therefore conceived it his duty to lay this matter before you and hopes some speedy measures will be taken to prevent any difficulty or Disputes with the Indians and to secure the Settlers in the peaceable possession of their Lands and Labours. (It is evident that Abel had had extensive experience with Indian life and language and culture.)
Augusta in the Province of Upper Canada 17th Dec 1793.
It was during these last few months of the year that Roger, Abel's brother, had lost his life, his widow's home had burned, and a grandchild was born. Yet Abel was pressing ahead alone now. On the back of this Petition - Ontario Archives RG 1A-1-7 #7is
Names of Settlers now in Bastard and Kitley in the Eastern District
There are 57 names, 9 of them Stevens - Moses, William, Elihu, Penuel, Henry, Daniel, Roger, Samuel, Abel - & Richard Adams had a Stevens wife. Two years later, 1 Oct 1795, another list of settlers was sent, 26 for each of Kitley and Bastard indicating the lot and concession granted each. As well there was a letter to David William Smith Esq Surveyor Gen'1 at Newark and a sketch of the Gannonaqua river system indicating the names of the settlers on the lots in the 9th concession.
You mention that Mr Sherwood and myself were to be accommodated with each a separate Falls for the accommodation of Mills etc,. There are two different Falls.,. The lower most are to be preferred. I think for the following reasons I may hope to have my cboice "first the priority of discovery as Mr Sherwood was entirely beholden to me for the first information he ever had of them: and secondly I and my associates are settled where we are in the want of the timber near those Falls for our own property which is not the case with Mr Sherwood. As to settling the land which the Government has committed to my care. I am under Great disadvantage by reason of its not being suryeved...In the present situation I can serve neither the Government nor the settlers when called upon to show the land on which to settle by reason of the danger of mistakes, but I purpose to be at Headquarters except prevented by sickness. Your Humble servant Abel Stevens.
The small village of Pittsford VT in Pittsford Town(ship) is situated on a hill somewhat resembling the landscape of Plumhollow in Bastard Tp. Abel STEVENS brought in the families from that area, most of them from Vermont. Abel was no novice as a pioneer when he came in to Upper Canada. He had come with his father Roger to Pittsford 23 years earlier and he was more experienced about life in a wilderness than those with whom he had to deal.
Excerpts from some of the important documents bearing his name indicate the contribution he made in establishing this Rideau Lakes settlement:
To His Excellency John Graves Simcoe Esquire ...
The Petition of Abel Stevens of Pitsford, County of Rutland & State of Vermont in behalf of himself, Thomas Harrison, Benjamin Coley, John Barnes, Caleb Coley & Roger Stevens all of the aforementioned Town. & their Numerous Associates
That your Petitioners having a wish to form a Settlement in the Province of Upper Canada, and being encouraged thereunto by your Excellency's Proclamation of the 7th Feby 1792 most humbly pray your Excellency to be graciously pleased to grant to them a Township of land -
June 21,1793 Abel Stevens
To His Excellency &c, &c .. Abel Stevens in behalf of himself and Associates
That your petitioner in behalf of Associates 22'd June 1793 obtained a Decree ...a Certain Allotment of Land for Himself and Children, and a verbal Grant for such heads of Families as chose to embark with him to this Province, Your petitioner has been indefatigable in promoting the Settlement, and in February last went into the Wilderness with our Cattle and Effects, built and improved on the River Gannonaqua, County of Leeds in Rear of the 9th Township, has made considerable improvements and the present season expect a number of families to partake of the Blessing of this Province - Good land & a British Government.
Your Petitioner has brought Mill Irons &c to accommodate the Settlementand Mechanics to erect the necessary Buildings to make us comfortable. ...
Newark 2'd Sept 1794 Abel Stevens
To His Excellency John Graves Simcoe Esquire Lieutenant. Governor &c,&c
The Petition of Abel Stevens --
That your Petitioner came from Vermont and settled on Lands on the Gananoqua River, County of Leeds, has made considerable progress in cultivating: Prays a Grant for the Rapids between the 2'd and 3'd Lake and likewise for the Falls between the 3'd and 4th Lakes in Said River, to Erect Mills upon, to Accommodate the new Settlement with a Proportionable Tract of land at the Two Sites.
Your Petitioner ... has done every thing in his power to promote the Settlement where he lives, and a number of families are now coming forward from Vermont into the said Settlement to partake of the Blessing of the British Government...
The first Petition had been on April 10, 1792, Rutland:- Abel., Uriah, Abel Jr, Isaac, David STEVENS petitioned for land. (Lower Can Land Pet p 78473.)
January 15, 1796 Abel STEVENS reported
On the situation of the little settlement your Excellency has been pleased to grant him ... the necessity for an establishment to him of the Great Falls on the Gananocque before applied for .. for the promotion of the settlement ... to grant him the above sited Falls with a sufficient quantity of land thereby to furnish a Mill with timber, as there is no other Falls having a sufficient quantity of Pine lumber that w'ill furnish said Settlement with Boards and Planks for building, and that your memorialist has the mill-irons on hand and a Mill-right ready to setup a Mill as soon as your memorialist is Established in the Falls above cited.
He was interested in these Falls, lot 2 con 10 in Lansdowne and made extensive plans for Iron Works at Furnace Falls - Lyndhurst - if granted the rights. (CI05 7 Nov 1797) but another person got them.
There are many pages of correspondence concerning the Road he built from Plumhollow to Kingston. (C2808 S Bundle Rgl L3 Vol 453)
The writer remembers her first car drive in 1927 from Lyndhurst to Kingston over this picturesque road over hills and around curves, and was amazed to find, many years later, that at a very early date in the history of the settlement one person should have had the foresight and courage to tackle an undertaking so dangerous and so difficult. But there were willing workers ready to cooperate in such an amazing feat. When the 16 workers finally reached Kingston in Dec 30, 1798, they petitioned to have lands along the roads set aside for them in Leeds Township. First the road had to be inspected.
The list of Persons employed under Mr. Abel Stevens in Opening a road from the Township of Bastard to the Kingston Mills, viz (list as of 25 Oct 1800)
Wm CASWELL UE. wife & 2 children Eliphalet TUTTLE
Dennis BURGESS UE. wife & 9 children Enoch HUNTLEY
WhitfieldPATTERSON John CONNOLLY awife
John MATTICE UE Joseph CHURCH a wife
Samuel CRIPPEN UE Moses RANDALL a wife & child
Washington LEE Uriah STEVENS
Abel STEVENS Jun a wife John SHELDON
Abraham STEVENS wife & 3 children Benj HUNTLEY wife & 2 children
Abel STEVENS & his men were frustrated over and over again because of the turn of events following this hazardous work and sickness resulting from terrain that was either marshy or rocky. A Petition to the Lieut Governor, Peter Russell Esquire. Dec 30 1800, from the 16 men named above tells part of the story:
Your Petitioners, from the many accidents which happened to Travellers in going on the front of the Townships of Leeds, Lansdown & Pittsburg, particularly towards the end of winter were induced to explore the country and to open a more convenient and safe communication to Kingston by a road crossing nearly thro' the center of the before-mentioned townships which have been affected by much labour and expense for the distance of 31 miles having opened it about 30 feet wide and built 18 bridges; so that it is now generally used & in Winter oltogether by travellers.
also on the 15th Jan'y 1799 (the Council) were pleased to order a grant of 400 acres each to your petitioners, including former grants provided they applied for their warrants before the first of June next ensuing.
When the above-mentioned order was communicated to them, they were employed in the completion of the road. They employed their agent Mr.Abel STEVENS to applyon their behalf, who upon his return informed them that the road had to be inspected. ... The inspection has not yet taken place and many lots on the road have been located by persons who had no... claim to location. Be pleased to extend the order to this period.
The men who built the road received no money but were given land along it on condition they clear half the road in front of each location within 6 months from the time of location they always maintain their part in repair, clear & fence 5 acres within 18 months, erect a house within 24 months 20 by 16 feet, have some person live in it, and pay for the Patent which amounted to £10 for each location of 400 acres as well as the fee for surveying of 50 shillings. Mr Aitkin, with whom they had first dealt had died. While they were waiting to earn money for the Patent, others moved in on these now valuable lands. The government received much more for the Patents than the cost of the road.
What was the expense of this undertaking nearly 200 years ago?
To cutting & clearing a road ten feet in width thirty-one miles and making thirteen
bridges at £ 17.10 per mile £ 225. 0..0
Contributions made by several inhabitants 12 10
Canada Land Petitions p 78473
Abel's property in Pittsford was sold to Ichabod CROSS March 4, 1793.
As said above, Abel was consistent in giving his age. He must have been born in late 1754 or in 1755, not 1850. In 1813 he is still in the 50-60 year age bracket, along with one woman and a boy under 16 - Horace.
Abel STEVENS died at Stevens Hill and was buried in Denault Cemetery but the stone has not yet been unearthed. Eunice d 1828. Many publications wrongfully put his death in 1816. There are many proofs that the death date was 10 years later, early in 1826. Eunice STEVENS signed the Probate in Feb 1826.
Historian A.E.Cruikshanks has written of him in the Ontario Historical Papers Records XXXI p 56 "Activities of Abel Stevens as a Pioneer"
He was known for his great skill as a hunter, his physical courage, and his religious zeal.
He was instrumental in establishing the Baptist Church in Bastard, organized 1803.
Many documents bear the distinctive signature of Abel Stevens. Note the one 1825.
I Certify that in consideration of certain arrangements entered into between My son Abel Stevens Jun 'r and Myself, I relinquish My Claim on lot No twenty in the fifth Concession of Bastard and am wi11ing the Deed should issue in the name of Samuel Fish the original or in the Name of Abel Stevens Jun 'r for said Lot
Brockville the 18th January 1825 Abel Stevens
I believe that Abel STEVENS Sr. died in January or early in February, 1826. He wrote his Will 13 Sept 1825. The portion of the Will at the Registry office Brockville does not name his children but it gives the number of the Will, entered in Liber K, number 124. Any transactions of land holdings under Will K124 represent property given by Abel Sr, to his heirs. The Will of the writer's great grandfather, William STEVENS, who died Dec 13,1825, was number K53, earlier. Abel's Will follows:
A Testament to be registered pursuant to the Statute in such case, made and provided- - -
A Will dated the thirteenth day of September in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty five, made by Abel Stevens of the Township of Bastard in the County of Leeds, District of Johnstown and Province of Upper Canada of and concerning all the lands tenements and heredicaments, which the said Abel Stevens died possessed of in the County of Leeds which said Will is witnessed by Levi Soper of the Township of Lansdown in the county of Leeds in the District aforesaid etc etc. Gentleman, Elijah Judson of the Township of Bastard in the etc etc. Yeoman and Archibald Wait of the Township of Augusta in the County of Grenville in the District aforesaid etc Yeoman, this Memorial is therefore desired to be registered pursuant to the abovesaid act by me Eunice Stevens one of the devisees.
As Witness my Hand and Seal this Twenty second day of February 1826.
Registered and Sealed in the presence of Eunis Stevens
Certified by Philo Hawley, Deputy Register
Eunice STEVENS' Will was signed 14 Feb, 1828, about 2 years later than her husband's and her son Alfred STEVENS, the devisee in the Will asked to have it registered on Nov 14,1829. It was registered later on March 5, 1830.