Thursday, 26 April 2012

James Beaman and the 100th Regiment of Foot

The War of 1812 and the Settling of Carleton County

In May of 1804, the Member of Parliament for Dublin County, Frederick John Falkiner, was authorized to raise a corps of up to 1000 persons in Ireland. By the spring of 1805 the group had grown to 700 and was granted the title 100th (County of Dublin) Regiment of Foot in the British Army.  Nearly all the men were Protestants and most from the north of Ireland (over half from Ulster), though many came from other counties.  Among the few dozen from County Cork was a young James Beaman, born about 1789.

In August 1805, the regiment joined a convoy collecting in the English Port of Falmouth.  The large collection of ships was bound for Nova Scotia and Quebec carrying the 100th, which was to supplement the garrison in Quebec, as well as several government officials, private passengers, replacements for regiments already in Canada, and families of the soldiers.

Disaster at Sea

The convoy did not have an easy Atlantic passage.  They encountered several severe storms, which delayed their arrival, exhausted many of the ships’ food and fresh water supplies and caused a surge in the spread of disease.  On October 22 in dense fog the Two Friends, carrying 40 soldiers, 30 crew and 80 passengers, was driven ashore on the south coast of Cape Breton Island by high winds. Luckily, the wreck was spotted by locals who managed in small boats to rescue all but three aboard. But the ship slipped off the reef later that day and sank with all the regiment’s heavy equipment.

The next day, those aboard the heavy troop transport Aeneas were not so lucky. Aeneas had become separated from the main convoy days earlier in bad weather. In the early morning darkness of October 23 amid a windy storm, the ship hit a reef near Cape Ray, Newfoundland.  Aboard were 347 people, mostly soldiers from the 100th and women and children from their families. Huge waves swept the panicking passengers into the sea as they poured on deck.  Within four hours the ship had broken up and the survivors, numbering only 35, were washed up on a tiny islet about a kilometer away.  This group made for the main coast in a makeshift raft. Those still alive when they made landfall then walked south.  Some died of exposure, some of disease, and some got separated from the group and lost. A handful encountered passing hunters who helped them survive the winter, then took them to Fortune Bay in the spring of 1806.  By the time this band reunited with the remains of the regiment that had assembled in Quebec the survivors numbered seven.

The War of 1812

After briefly serving as garrison in Quebec City, the 100th rotated through a number of postings, serving in Montreal (1807), Fort George (1807), Trois-Rivieres (1811) and finally back to Quebec in 1812 where it took on the new title 100th H.R.H. the Prince Regent’s County of Dublin Regiment of Foot.

Once war broke out, the regiment moved about even more, seeing action in many significant battles on the frontier.  Their first engagement came in May 1813 with the Battle of Sacket’s Harbour, where they were transported across Lake Ontario from Kingston along with troops from a number of other regiments to attack the American naval squadron stationed there.  A month earlier the bulk of the American force had attacked, looted and briefly occupied Fort York at the other end of the lake. From there the Americans withdrew to Fort Niagara at the mouth of the Niagara River, from which they launched a successful attack on Fort George in late May.  With the Americans occupied on the Niagara Peninsula the British thought they could gain supremacy of the Lake with the attack on Sacket’s Harbour.  Unfortunately they were repulsed, although British casualties were far lighter than those of the American forces (30 killed/200 wounded vs. 153 killed/154 wounded).

The 100th Regiment’s next major battle went somewhat more favourably.  By December the Americans had abandoned Fort George, evacuating to Fort Niagara where they remained vulnerable to British attack as most of their regulars had moved to upstate New York to prepare for an attack on Montreal. A surprise night attack on December 19, 1813 by the 100th Regiment of Foot, supported by a handful of detachments from other units, took the Americans by surprise with only 6 killed and 5 wounded among the British forces. From Fort Niagara the Regiment took part in a number of smaller raids including Buffalo and Black Rock.

Next came the Battle of Chippawa in July of 1814, a major victory for the American forces.  The Americans set out on a major campaign in the Niagara peninsula hoping to gain an advantage before the British could be reinforced with troops being redeployed as they were no longer needed in Europe.  The 100th Regiment held the centre with the 1st (Royal Scots) Regiment and together suffered very heavy casualties.  Although once thought to be much higher, modern historians put the British losses at 108 dead and 319 wounded.

In the following months, what remained of the 100th took part in the Siege of Fort Erie, one of the last significant engagements of the war and one that involved over 5000 combatants.  After the Battle of Chippawa, the American forces had continued north until forced to turn back after the bloody Battle of Lundy’s Lane.  Retreating to Fort Erie the Americans successfully defended the position for close to two months against the reinforced British troops, until a shortage of supplies forced them to abandon it.  For their services in defense of Canada, the men of the 100th were awarded the battle honour Niagara.

After hostilities ended the 100th, now less than half their original strength, returned to their command post in Quebec City and in 1816 were renumbered the 99th as the army establishment was reduced and regiments withdrawn.


Back in Lower Canada Private James Beaman, now in his mid-20s, married Elizabeth Godmair (Goodacre?).  Their first son, John, was born July 1816 and is believed to have died young.  Their next, Joseph, was born July 25, 1818 and baptized four days later in the Anglican chapel in the Quebec City garrison.

With the end of the war, Britain was faced with large numbers of soldiers who would cause incredible unemployment problems if they all returned to England and Ireland.  Additionally, there was a desire to continue to colonize Upper Canada with “loyal” settlers to add protection against another American invasion. The United Empire Loyalists were being regarded by some with suspicion due to rumours that the former American population had aided in some of the American raids in the Johnstown district during the war. The solution was to offer the demobilized soldiers land grants on military settlements.  Each private who agreed to accept the grant rather than passage home would receive 100 acres, tools, 12 months rations and their army pension.  Higher ranks were offered larger grants (up to 1000 acres for a colonel). To protect key points between Kingston and the Ottawa River three settlements were to be established near the route of the planned Rideau Canal.  These military settlements were Lanark (1816), Perth (1816) and Richmond (1818).  Additionally, officials in Ireland encouraged further emigration of civilians to counter unemployment and overpopulation there.

In July 1818 the 100th Regiment was disbanded and the men offered land in the newly-surveyed township of Goulbourn.  About 200 of the 400 or so remaining men accepted the deal and made preparations to provision the settlement. An advance party of about 30 including a surveyor was dispatched up the Ottawa River, carving a road from Richmond Landing (now Lebreton Flats) just below the Chaudière Falls to a site on the Jock River about 20 miles inland.  Here the village of Richmond was laid out and Major Burke of the 100th (now 99th) Regiment began supervising the placement of his soldiers.  By the end of 1818 about 400 families were on site, those of the 200 soldiers as well as a large number of civilian Irish settlers who joined them.  James and Elizabeth may have been in this group, but may not have travelled to Richmond until as late as 1820, possibly due to the presence of infant Joseph. Major Burke placed most of his soldiers in Goulbourn, while Irish and Scottish civilians were settled in adjoining townships. In 1821 James was awarded his land grant, 100 acres in Goulbourn Township, the east half of Lot 12, Concession 2.  Here he and Elizabeth had seven more children, first three girls, then four more boys.

The Beaman children and grandchildren mostly stayed in the area, many in Goulbourn Township, some in neighboring Marlborough and Beckwith Townships, and a few in the villages of North Gower and Kemptville.  James and Elizabeth’s eldest son Joseph married Anne Susan Pettapiece (b. 1826), daughter of Irish immigrants who arrived in the area shortly after the establishment of the settlement.  They bought Lot 3, Concession 4 in Marlborough, a property that continued to be farmed by Beamans for more than the next hundred years, passing it first to their son George Andrew (b. 1865) and from him to his son John Mackey Beaman (b. 1896).

Over 26,000 Irish settlers arrived in Upper Canada between 1815 and 1820 to provide the buffer against the Americans. About another 100,000 came in the decade that followed, many to provide the labour to build the canal and staying to settle the land along its corridor once the construction was complete. This number more than doubled again in the decade after that. Early census data indicates close to 60% of the population of this corridor was Irish.  In four townships, Goulbourn, Marlborough, March and Huntley, 80% were Irish. Richmond, as the centre for administration of land in the area was the first major settlement in what is now Carleton County.  The town was intended to be a major urban centre, but with the founding of Bytown (now Ottawa) in 1826 and its rise once the Rideau Canal was complete, Richmond’s growth stalled.  Today it is mainly a bedroom community for the nearby City of Ottawa.

Steve Rogers is Grandson of John Mackey Beaman, and Third Great Grandson of Priv. James Beaman, 100th H.R.H. Prince Regent’s County of Dublin Regiment of Foot. Born in Ottawa, Steve moved with his family to Goulbourn Township when he was 4.


Births, Deaths and Marriages

Public Member Trees,

Canadian Censuses of 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, Library and Archives Canada
(Indexed on-line at and

100th Regiment

The Prince Regent’s County of Dublin Regiment, Prince of Wales’ Leinster Regiment Association,

The Regiments of the Richmond Military Settlement, Ron Dale and Wes Cross, April 2003,

The 100th Regiment, Goulbourn Historical Society and Museum,

Wikipidia Articles:
- 100th Regiment of Foot
- Aeneas (troopship)
- Battle of Chippawa
- Capture of Fort Niagara
- Second Battle of Sacket’s Harbour
- Seige of Fort Erie
- Two Friends (ship)

Settlement of Richmond and Goulbourn

Goulbourn: How it all Began, Goulbourn Historical Society and Museum,

From Ireland They Came, Neil Patterson

Wikipidia Article:
- Richmond, Ontario



Regiment Recruitment Area Map
For King and Canada, A. Barry Roberts, p 11

Regiment Uniform
Frederick M. Milner (1889-1939), Library and Archives Canada, #1937-441, Wikipedia Commons

Regiment in Action
The Regiments of the Richmond Military Settlement, Ron Dale and Wes Cross, April 2003,

Military Settlements of Upper Canada
Perth: Tradition and Style in Eastern Ontario, by A. Larry Turner, p.12, Original is in National Map Collection, Library and Archives Canada, #15,712

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