An American Family History

The Sherwood Family of Leeds County, Ontario


Brockville, Ontario was called Elizabethtown. The area was first settled by English speakers in 1785, when Americans who had remained loyal to the crown fled to Canada after the American Revolution.

  also spelled Shearwood  

1797 census of Elizabethtown

Thomas, Esqr, Anna Reuben, Adiel, James, Thomas, Jr. Seth, and Anne



Leeds County, Ontario, Canada was first surveyed in 1792 in preparation for the United Empire Loyalists settlers. In 1850, Leeds County merged with Grenville to create the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.

Thomas Sherwood was born in 1745 in Connecticut. He was the son of Seth Sherwood and Sarah Pitcher.

He married Anna Brownson.

Lois Sherwood (1773, married Bemslee Buell, son of Timothy Buell),
Reuben Sherwood (1775)
Adiel Sherwood (1779),
James Sherwood (1784, married Martha Tupper), 
Thomas Sherwood (1789),
Seth Sherwood, and
Anna Sherwood

During the Revolutionary War, he remained loyal to the British Crown.

In June, 1784, Thomas was the first settler in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, located on lot No. 1, in the first concession of Elizabethtown.

In 1784 Thomas appeared on the provisioning list for disbanded troops as a member of the Loyal Rangers. He was mustered in Elizabethtown (now Brockville), Leeds County, Ontario.

Adiel, James and Seth served in the 1st Leeds Militia during the War of 1812.

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

Reuben Sherwood was born in 1775. He was the son of Thomas Sherwood.

In 1784 Reuben appeared on the provisioning list for disbanded troops as a volunteer. He was mustered in Elizabethtown.


  In 1784 Captain John Sherwood appeared on the provisioning list for disbanded troops as a member of the Loyal Rangers. He was mustered in Augusta.  
A militia is a military unit composed of citizens who are called up in time of need.

Adiel Sherwood was born May 16,  1779 at Fort Edward, New York. He was the son of Thomas Sherwood and Anna Brownson.

Adiel parents moved to Quebec in 1779.

He had married Mary Baldwin (1782-1854) on October 11, 1801. She was the daughter of Stephen Baldwin.

Julia Sherwood (1802),
William Sherwood (1825),
Mary Sherwood,
Sophia Sherwood,
Maria Sherwood Hall (1806),
Caroline Sherwood,
Amelia Sherwood,
and Harriet Sherwood.

In 1812 Adiel signed a document promising to provide a stipend for William Smart to start the first Sabbath School in Canada.

Adiel joined the 1st Regiment, Leeds militia, as ensign at 17. He became colonel in 1830.

He died in Brockville on March 25, 1874.

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


The American Revolution was ended in 1783 when the Treaty of Paris was signed.

Justus Sherwood was born in 1747 in Newton, Fairfield County, Connecticut.

By 1772 Justus moved to Vermont and then settled on a New Hampshire land grant, in New Haven Township. He was a surveyor.

He married Sarah Bothum in 1774.

Diana Sherwood (married Samuel Smades),
Sarah Sherwood (married Andrew McCollum),
Samuel Sherwood,
Levius Sherwood (married Charlotte Jones),
Harriet Sherwood (Benjamin Trask), and
Sophia Sherwood (Jonathan Jones).

Justus was one of Ethan Allen's "Green Mountain Boys." He remained loyal to Britain and was imprisoned for about a month in the Simsbury Mines. He escaped before he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He left his family, making his way through approximately 200 miles of wilderness to join Carleton at Crown Point, October, 1776.

He received a land grant in Augusta Township of 3,000 acres.

Justus was a captain in the Queen's Loyal Rangers serving in the same unit as his cousin, Thomas Sherwood, his brother-in-law, Elijah Bothum.

With a re-organization of the Provincial Corps in 1781, Sherwood was under Jessup's command as a captain in the Jessup's Ranger's.

He later settled in Augusta Township (Maynard).

Justus died in 1798.

Fairfield County, Connecticut originally consisted of the towns of Rye, Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, Fairfield, and Stratford. Woodbury (1673) , Danbury (1687), Ridgefield (1709), Newtown (1711), and New Fairfield (1740) were added later. In 1751, part of Woodbury was included in Litchfield County.




from Ontario History

The Sherwoods.

Thomas Sherwood, father of the late Adiel Sherwood, who settled in Elizabethtown, below Brockville, in 1784, is said to have been the first settler in the United Counties. He had been a subaltern officer in Major Jessup's Corps, and located lot number One in the First Concession of Elizabethtown, about the first of June, 1784, and continued to live there until his death in 1826. His son Adiel Sherwood was Sheriff of the United Counties, within my memory, and died between twenty-five and thirty-five years ago full of years. In a written memoir furnished by him to Dr. Canniff, of Toronto, he said:

After the first year, we raised a supply of Indian corn, but had no mill to grind it, and were therefore compelled to pound it in a large mortar, manufacturing what we call "Samp," which was made into the Indian bread called by the Dutch "suppawn." The mortar was constructed in the following manner: We cut a log from a large tree, say two and one-half feet in diameter, and six feet in length, planted it firmly in the ground, so that about two feet projected above the surface; then carefully burned the centre of the top so as to form a considerable cavity, which was then scraped clean. We generally selected an ironwood tree about six inches in diameter from which to make the pestle. Many a time I have pounded with one until the sweat ran merrily down my back. Although this simple contrivance did well enough for corn, it did not answer for grinding wheat. The Government, seeing this difficulty, built a mill back of Kingston, where the inhabitants, for seven miles below Brockville, got their grinding done. In our neighborhood they got along well enough in summer, by lashing two wooden canoes together. Three persons would unite to manage the craft, each taking a grist. It generally took about a week to perform the journey. After horses were procured, kind Providence furnished a road on the ice until the road was passable by land. What is wonderful is that during the past fifty years it has not been practicable for horses and sleighs to traverse the ice from Brockville to Kingston, such a way having been provided, only when absolutely necessary, for the settlers.

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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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