Lin Light passed along a family rumor that our ancestor Henry Light deserted from the British Army before taking up residence in New York. Henry first appears in New York in the 1830 Federal Census. Henry subsequently moved his family to Steuben Co., Indiana (sometime between 1844 and 1850) where he died in 1865. In 2010, I contracted with a London based researcher to explore this family rumor. Below is the researcher's report and it appears the family rumor is true.
Henry Light is indicated in the Casualty Return (Casualty ReturnWO 25/2012 for December 1815)and having deserted on 17 December 1815 at Isle de Noix, Canada (List of Deserters WO 25/2908 1815-1819). He was one of 2-3 other men who disappeared at the same time from the ranks of the 76th Foot. The deserter entry does not indicate when he originally enlisted but it indicated his age in late 1815 as 24 suggesting that he was born around 1791/2. The casualty entry does not show his original date of enlistment either but the estimate is around 1810/12 when he would have been aged about 20. He was born in the parish of Downton, Nr Salisbury, Wiltshire: Effectively the West Country.
It was noticed that a James Light was also serving in the 76th Foot between December 1810 and and May 1828 after which he was discharged to a Chelsea pension. This man was also born in Downton, Wiltshire. This ***may*** be a brother of Henry. The 1841 and 1851 Censuses for England show James Light and his family born and residing at Downton. The mother, a widow, is aged 83.