Ira Bearss 3rd Regiment Lincoln Militia

A Quaker in the militia?  Pacificism is one of the basic tenets of the Quakers.  Moreover, during the War of 1812 Quakers, Mennonites and Tunkers could be exempt from the usually compulsory military duty thanks to Sir John Graves Simcoe and the Militia Act of 1808.  Yet Ira Bearss, 1789-1874, a Quaker, served with the 3rd Regiment Lincoln Militia during the War of 1812.   Ira’s brother Daniel Bearss, 1788-1850, served in the same regiment as did a third brother,  Josiah Bearss, 1791-1879.  Josiah’s grave in Zion Cemetery, Ridgeway, Ontario, has already been commemorated with a War of 1812 veterans marker.

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George Ward
1st Regiment Kent Militia

George Ward was born in Ireland in 1743 and as a young man he joined the British 58th Regiment of Foot, which was first formed in 1755 during the Seven Years war (1754-1763). He basically spent his entire adult life in service for the British. He served in many cities in Ireland, went to Quebec in 1776 and fought successfully at Three Rivers. Following that battle he became a sergeant over a company of the best marksmen from each of the 9th, 20th, 21st, 24th, 34th, 53rd and 62nd regiments. This company was ordered to Ticonderoga, where they beat the enemy at an outpost but were defeated later and taken as prisoners to Prospect Hill, near Boston. His great uncle was a Rebel general and as such offered George a position on his side but George declined and was later taken to Rutland where he along with 17 corporals and a drummer boy escaped. They headed for the British safe haven of New York.

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1st Regiment Kent Militia

William Ward
1st Regiment Kent Militia

William Ward, eldest son of career soldier, George Ward, grew up on the banks of the Thames River in an area called Paint Creek, Longwoods. Much later this area was named for his father and mother, George Ward and Margaret (Shaw) Ward.  Both parents were born in Ireland but arrived in this area of Upper Canada as a soldering family. At the request of Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe, George Ward was appointed to command a block house on the Thames River as well as four gun boats. George Ward was also to establish a public house (halfway tavern/inn) in the Paint Creek area.

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1st Regiment Kent Militia

Andrew Van Every
2nd Regiment York Militia

The Van Every’s were early pioneers in the Mohawk Valley of Upper New York.  During the American Revolution,  the Van Every’s remained true to the British Crown and fought alongside the British Army.  Suffering persecution from their neighbours following the end of the war, they sought land grants in Upper Canada and Andrew Van Every, who was the second eldest son of MacGregory Van Every, was granted 200 acres consisting of  Lots 12-13, Concession 1, West Flamboro.

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2nd Regiment York Militia

John Ward
Flank Company
1st Regiment Kent Militia

John  Ward was born in England in 1771 and joined the British Army. He is mentioned in John Gray’s novel, Soldiers of the King on page 156 as being a Private in the Flank Company 1st Regiment Kent Militia.  Ward returned to England after the War of 1812 having left his wife and small child there.  Ward applied for a land grant in Canada West and settled in the Burford area.  He outlived his wife and son and died at the age of 83 in 1855. He is buried in the Congregational Cemetery in Burford.

Video Review of the Project

Recently the Historical Military Establishment of Upper Canada, home of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment re-enactors, held it’s 25th Anniversary.

The Midland Mirror ran a short article on the gathering that can be read here.

Among the many presentations, Lyn Downer and Seaghan Hancocks prepared this video review of the success of the Graveside Project honouring the War of 1812 veterans.

The music heard throughout is an original composition by Richard Rodwell who has kindly contributed his time and skills in support of this project. It may be downloaded from his website at

We hope you enjoy it.

Sincerely, Graveside Project Team.

Zachariah Hainer UE
1st Regiment Lincoln Militia

In 1812 Zachariah Hainer joined the 1st Regiment Lincoln Militia.  At age fifty-one, he was a seasoned soldier, a veteran of the American Revolution, one of Butler’s Rangers.  His second military experience, in the War of 1812, was much shorter than his first fight.  On 24 Oct 1812, Zachariah Hainer was “declared unfit for service” and entered on the Pension  List.  By December he was very ill.  On 2 Feb 1813,  Zachariah Hainer died of disease.

Zachariah Hainer was born on 22 Jul 1761 in Rhinebeck, New York at Livingstone Manor.  The Hainer (or Haner or Heiner or Hoener) family had been living here ever since they left the Palatine area of Germany in 1710.  Zachariah was a third generation North  American.  When some of the American colonists rebelled against Britain, he remained loyal.  At age nineteen, he was one of Butler’s Rangers, serving in Captain O’Hare’s Company as a sergeant.

When the Revolution ended, Zachariah emigrated to the Niagara Peninsula, as did so many of Butler’s Rangers.  As a reward for his loyal service, he was granted , in 1796, three hundred acres of land in Wainfleet Township, parts of Lot 6 & 7 Conc 6 & 7 (UCLP H1/18).  He did not settle on his Wainfleet property.  He chose instead to live in Grantham,  now part of St. Catharines.

On 19 Mar 1796 or 1797 (accounts vary) Zachariah married Sophia, neé Brown or Braun, widow of Jacob Lutz.  She had a daughter, Magdalena, from her first marriage.  It may have been a second marriage for Zachariah as well.  Together Zachariah and Sophia had these children:

  • Eve Hainer, 1797-
  • Catherine Hainer, 1799-
  • John Brown Hainer, 1802-1884
  • James Hainer, 1806-1870
  • Mary Ann  Hainer, 1810-1877

When war was declared in June of 1812, Zachariah’s youngest child was not yet two years old.  After his death, Zachariah’s widow Sophia made a claim for losses suffered during the War “taken month December 1813 during War — oats, hay, blankets and nails.” (NAC MfmT1128)

The burial place of Zachariah Hainer is unknown.  He probably lies somewhere in Grantham Township where he lived.  Years later his widow moved to Esquesing Township where she died in 1845 and is buried in Limehouse Cemetery.  Although it is very unlikely that he is buried with her,  her headstone remembers him in the wording,

“Sophia Hainer  wife of Zachariah Hainer”



Jarvis Thayer
Flank Company
1st Regiment Middlesex Militia

Jarvis Thayer, son of Silas Thayer and Perley Pond, was born 24 Nov  1770 in Mendon, Worchester, Massachusetts. In the 1790s he came to Canada, settling in Gainsborough Twp., Lincoln County. In 1796 or 1797 he married Susannah Parker, daughter of UE Loyalist John Parker, Sr. and his wife Nancy Watson. Susannah was born in Pennsylvania c1779.

Jarvis and Susannah had moved to Elgin County c1812. Jarvis served as a Private in Captain Leslie Patterson’s Company and Captain Daniel Rapelje’s Company in the 1st Regiment Middlesex Militia. His service is well documented in the War of 1812 Upper Canada Returns, Nominal Rolls and Paylists, RG 9 1B7. As well, he received a Certificate of Service which allowed him to receive 100 acres of land for his service.

On 27 Jan 1816 Susannah received her Order-in-Council which allowed her to acquire Lot 4 Conc 3, Yarmouth Twp. Jarvis purchased Lots 16 Conc 4 and Lots 14 Conc 2.

They had nine children:

  • John Thayer b 1798 in Niagara (m Deborah Johnson)
  • Nahum Pond Thayer b 1802 in Niagara (m Lovina Swick)
  • Jarvis Thayer II b 1802 in Niagara (m Nancy Ann Parker)
  • Simeon Thayer b 1804 in Niagara; died before 1832
  • Cyrus D. Thayer b 1808 in Niagara (m Esther McClellan)
  • Almira Thayer b 1811 in Niagara (m Edmund Smith)
  • Nancy Anne Thayer b 1813 Middlesex County (m Henry Mandeville)
  • Perley Thayer b 1815/16 Yarmouth Twp. (m1 George Croft, m2 John Church, m3 John C. Willis)
  • Elizabeth Thayer b 1818 in Yarmouth Twp. (m George Croft)

Neither Jarvis nor Susannah has an identified resting place. Susannah signed her will 10 Aug 1826 and it was registered on her property 22 Feb 1833. She left each of her surviving sons five shillings and divided Lot 4 Conc 3 into four 50 acre parcels for her four daughters, Almira, Nancy, Perley and Elizabeth.

Jarvis signed his will on 17 Nov 1832. Susannah was not mentioned, so possibly she had passed away at that point. Family historians for the Thayer family believe he died before March 1833. Judging by the location of their properties, it could make sense they were buried in Seminary, Plains Baptist or Union Cemeteries.

Richard Lanning
1st Flank Company
1st Regiment Norfolk Militia

The Lanning name has morphed many times over the years, with spelling varying from Lanon to Lanion-Lanyon-Laneine back to the 12th Century spelling of DeLinyeine.  Genealogists have identified the family as originating in Madron, Cornwall, England, dating back to the 12th Century.

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1st Flank Company
1st Regiment Norfolk Militia