An American Family History

William LaRue


LaRue or Larew is also spelled as La Rue, Le Roux, Lerrew, Larrew, La Rew, Lerrue, Laroux, and La Roue.


The first European settlements in Ontario were after the American Revolution when 5,000 loyalists left the new United States.

William (Billa) LaRue was born on February 6, 1760 in Albany, New York. He was a United Empire Loyalist, timber merchant, and mill owner.

He and Abigail Hagerman married about 1795.

William and Abigail's children may have included:

Anne LaRue (1798-1815),
Joseph LaRue (1800-1804),
Abigail LaRue (1803-1889),
Margaret LaRue (d. 1805),
Phoebe Larue (1805, married Edward Cassidy),
Eleanor LaRue (1806)
Sarah LaRue (1810, married Lapointe) and
Catherine Anne LaRue (1811-1813)
Eleanor LaRue (1814, married George Kerr)

A patent was granted on May 17, 1802 by the crown to William LaRue, for the west half of lot 23 in the Broken Front Concession in the Township of Escott.

There was a deep ravine running down to the St. Lawrence river in which flowed a stream of water. LaRue conceived the idea of putting a dam across the ravine and planting a sawmill there.

William was assessed in Yonge Township in 1805.

Billa La Rue . . became rich after settling west of Mallorytown Landing, had a clothes closet for every bedroom in his house--and whoever in pioneer day heard of comfort like that? (from The Ottawa Journal, October 7, 1967)

During the War of 1812

Rifle Pits were also constructed on the Canadian shore near LaRue's Mills, and for some time a company was stationed at that place to guard the frontier. The officers at one time took possession of the mill, and compelled the owner to grind wheat exclusively for the army. To accommodate the settlers, LaRue ran the mill nights and Sundays to supply the wants of the general public. (from History of Leeds & Grenville)

William died on November 15, 1832. Abigail died on April 30, 1834. They were laid to rest at LaRue Mills Cemetery. His inscription reads:

William LaRue
who departed this life - Nov 15, 1832
aged 72 years 9 months 9 days
Erected by his affectionate daughter,
Sarah LaRue

Six of their children are buried with them.
Ann died March 13, 1815 age 17
Catharine died July 11, 1813 age 2
Joseph died Sept 14, 1804 age 4
Eleanor died July 7, 1806 age 7 months
Margaret died June 9, 1805
Mary died Oct 20, 1807 1 month and 20 day


Forty-three years since, the husband of Mrs. Fenton was in the employ of Sally Larue, Billa Larue having died previously. Mrs. Larue was an active and business-like woman, who carried on the mill, purchased saw-logs, measured them, and, in fact, performed all the duties devolving upon her.

Mrs. Fenton frequently heard the following related, while residing at Larue's:

At a very early date, the Indians formed a plot for the murder of Billa Larue and his family, for the purpose of securing plunder. The night was fixed upon for the perpetration of the deed, but a sxxxx [indigenous woman] who was friendly informed Larue of the scheme, and advised him to an excellent supper, and when the Indians came to invite them in to partake of it. This course was pursued the Indians arrived, partook of the feast, and departed without molesting any person.

Larue built locks at the mouth of the creek, so that saw-logs could be taken up stream, and also a fish-pond, the ruins of which arc still in existence. (from the History of Leeds Grenville)

United Empire Loyalists were Americans who remained loyal to King George III and the British Empire. They moved to Canada after the American Revolution.



In the War of 1812 (1812-1815) the United States declared war on England because of trade restrictions, impressment, and British support for Indian attacks. They signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814 after reaching a stalemate.

from "Father’s Search for LaRue Money Recalled by Haskin:
Dr. Byron Haskin, Theresa, Tells of Search With Divining Rod" by Ernest G. Cook

Now about this William LaRue, or ‘Billa,’ as he was mostly called. Some said he was of French descent, and maybe was, but the records show he came from the New England states at the time of the American Revolution and, being a United Empire loyalist, he went to Canada and was given a grant of land--the records show that---on the banks of the St. Lawrence at what became the town of Escott.

He was given nearly 1,000 acres on May 17, 1802. There was a deep ravine running down to the St. Lawrence river in which flowed a stream of water. LaRue conceived the idea of putting a dam across the ravine and planting a sawmill there. His plan worked. It is told that he selected the finest pine tree on the place and had it cut into choice planks and from these he made his coffin. He planted apple trees, chestnut and walnut trees and turned his mill over to the British at the time of the war of 1812 to get lumber for the forts. He planted riflepits on the place for defending that point. They tell that he walked barefoot to Cornwall to buy leather for boots, Cornwall being the nearest point to obtain leather. He became rich.

When he was on his death bed his room was where he could look from his window to a certain spot, where people thought his wealth was buried for it was known he had his money hidden. He died without telling a soul where his treasures were...

Anyway, they have never found the money that ‘Billa’ LaRue was supposed to have hidden about the place. A man by the name of Cherry Buell owns the place today and resides there. The tipping tombstone on the LaRue grave reads,

Sacred to the memory of William LaRue, who departed this life November 15, 1832, aged 72 years, 9 months, 9 day.

His wife, Abigal (sic), died April 30, 1834, but she was younger, being but 59 at the time of her death.

During the American Revolution a Tory or Loyalist was used in for those who remained loyal to the British Crown.


from the History of Leeds Grenville

Prominent among the early settlers was William Larue, better known as Billa Larue. This poineer located at the mouth of the creek falling into the St. Lawrence, about four miles west of Mallorytown Landing, where the original Mallorys first landed. At the point selected, Mr. Larue constructed a dam across the ravine, and furnished himself with an excellent water power. He next built a mill, which was utilized by the British soldiers during the War of 1812.


Lot 23 in the Broken Front Concession of the Township of Escott:

A patent was granted on 17 May 1802 by the crown to William LaRue, for the west w/1/2 of the lot
By the will of William LaRue on 31 May 1830, there was an action taken on the lot, but not details
A mortgage taken on 14 July 1834 by grantor Sarah LaRue to George Kerr, grantee
A grant on 24 October 1838 by Edward and Phebe Cassidy (his wife) to Sarah LaRue (spinster)
A grant on 6 Aug. 1839 by Sarah LaPoint, formerly LaRue and husband to George Longley
A Sheriff's Deed on 13 August 1839 by Adiel Sherwood, Sheriff, to George Longley
A grant on 13 August 1839 by George Kerr and Eleanor Kerr a daughter of late William LaRue to George Longley
Bought and sold on 10 Sept. 1854 from George C. Longley and Sarah M. Longley, Spinster, only surviving children of George and Ruth Longley to Ira Mallory
A mortgage on 10 Sept. 1854 from Ira Mallory and his wife to George C. Longley
A mortgage on 16 Jan. 1860 from George C. Longley to Justus S. Merwin or Merrian


from The Canadian Horticulturist, Volume 14

The Larue Apple, known also as the Red Pound and as the Baxter, is a magnificent, large, red apple, very showy and well adapted to be placed on the market as fancy stock. Did it possess the superior quality of the Spy or the King, no apple that we know of would compare with it for market purposes during the months of December and January. Samples of it have several times been sent in to us and all were remarkable for both size and beauty, quite excelling the most handsome specimens of the King that we have ever seen.

The Larue was first introduced to public notice by Mr. D. Nicol, of Cataraqui, Director of our Association for Division No. 3, and the history of it was given by him on page 156 of Vol. 12.

He says that at first he gave it the name of Baxter, after an old gentleman who was peddling these apples in Brockville in 1855 at 5 cents each, and who, in reply to his inquiries, told him that the tree from which they were picked was growing near Mr. LaRue's mills, about 13 miles west of Brockville. Mr. Nicol having a nursery near that town, secured some scions of it and propagated about fifty trees under the name Baxter, and these were first of the kind ever propagated in Canada.

On visiting Mr. Billa LaRue, in whose orchard these apples grew, he was informed by that gentleman that the tree sprang from the seed brought by him from France in the year 1813. Mr. LaRue, therefore, not Mr. Baxter, is properly entitled to give his name to the apple, and, in the opinion of Mr. Nicol, it should henceforth be so called.

Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
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German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2023
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