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Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario History - Early Settlement to War of 1812



Kitchener's Concordia Club preserves German traditions After the American Revolutionary War, many United Empire Loyalists settled in the fertile region along Lake Ontario's and Lake Erie's shores. The farmer-settlers of Pennsylvania German Mennonite origin feared for their religious freedoms and that they may lose their exemption from military service (granted under British rule) would be lost following the American Revolutionary War. Initially, members of the Betzner and Sherk families and began relocating by the end of 1800 to be the first permanent non-native settlement. Soon afterward, a group of Mennonites pooled resources to purchase Beasley's remaining unsold land as the "German Company Tract" which was divided into 128 larger farms and 32 farms smaller tracts. At that time, the land was mostly dense bush, swamps and sand hills. The area's streams would power the saw and grist mills for area farms.

Monument at the Battle of Stoney Creek The area's Mohawk Indians, of the Six Nations, under Captain (and Chief) Joseph Thayendanegea Brant, re-settled in the area around Brantford in 1784 on land reserved for them by the Crown. Captain Brant, for whom the town is named, is buried in Her Majesty's Royal Chapel in Brantford. This is the first Protestant church built in Ontario and one of only two Royal Chapels outside the United Kingdom.

After simmering treaty and border disputes finally erupted into the War of 1812, the Upper Canada area was very strategic. While there were many skirmishes on both sides of the Niagara River, the Americans repeatedly attacked British Upper Canada, including one time landing at and burning Fort York. In 1813, the British regulars and Canadian militia defeated the Americans at Detroit, causing a retaliatory raid up the Thames River, costing both sides many lives after which the Americans retreated.

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