12 January 2013

Perth Historical Society January meeting

Forgotten Hero: The Story of 1812 War Hero Alexander Fraser
The Perth Historical Society January 16 meeting will welcome Drummond/North Elmsley residents, Ron Shaw and Irene Spence, co-authors of the recently published book ‘Forgotten Hero’, the story of Alexander Fraser. ‘Forgotten Hero’ documents the stirring story of the circumstances that the ordinary Scot, and his dependents, experienced in military life in the 19th century – and the attendant heroism. Alexander Fraser, his father, and brothers, Peter and James, came to British North America in 1807 with the 10th Royal Veteran Battalion. Alexander and Peter later served with Colonel Isaac Brock’s Regiment of Foot.
When war erupted in 1812, the Frasers, particularly Alexander and Peter, saw active service in several battles. Alexander Fraser distinguished himself at the battle of Stoney Creek, in 1813, helping to turn what was an impending British defeat into a resounding victory. As the book notes, the outcome of this battle was significant – it prevented further American advances at the time into Upper Canada, maintaining British control over the colony. Later battles were also important in turning back the American invasions, but the victory at Stoney Creek was crucial.
After Stoney Creek, Fraser received a field commission, a rarity for foot soldiers. At the war’s end, he was discharged and received a land grant with settlement tickets for the Perth Military Settlement. His allotted lot, located on Drummond Concession 1, was where he chose to make his home. The fine stone house he built, reflecting his status in the community, is preserved there today.
Ron Shaw, a native of Drummond Township, is descended from seven Perth area military settlers. Ron studied journalism at Algonquin College, has worked in that field and, with the Save the Children Federation, was posted abroad for 35 years. Ron is a prolific researcher and writer of local history, with interest also in the preservation of the area's archival documents. His new book due in April, ‘Tales of the Hare’, a biography of Francis Tito LeLievre, is a prequel and a sequel to the Last Fatal Duel.
Irene Spence has lived in the Alexander Fraser stone house in Drummond, formerly known as Annsfield, for over 60 years. Irene and her husband operated a dairy farm. Since retiring, she has followed her interest in genealogy, has been an active worker for Archives Lanark and Lanark County Genealogical Society, and an advocate for preserving Lanark County documents.
The meeting is at 7:30 pm at the Perth Museum, at 11 Gore Street E. in Perth. Information on other forthcoming presentations is at www.perthhs.org/events.html

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