Richard Brimsmead

We assume that Richard Brimsmead who settled in Medonte, Simcoe County, Ontario, was also related, despite the difference in spelling. He is listed in The Central Canadians as living in Medonte Township before 1837.

The index of records at Kew (PRO) lists RICHARD BRIMSMEAD Born BURRISOCKANE, Tipperary Served in 12th Dragoons (1804-1809); 7th Royal Veteran Battalion Discharged aged 45 after 5 years 2 months of service. Covering dates give year of enlistment to year of discharge. (WO 121/95/79).

We have found three reference to wills of Irish Brin(m)smeads. One lived in Dublin and worked as an Apothocary in the 1600s. The other two are probably related to the Richard who came to Canada. Mary Ann Brimsmead of Borrisokeane, co. Tipperary died with a will in 1791. Henry Brinsmead of Cappagh, co. Tipperary died leaving a will in 1716. We will be exploring these leads further to see if the Irish Brinsmeads can be linked into the Devon Brinsmeads and thus into our tree.

Richard Brimsmead received a land grant as a discharged soldier. The minutes of the meeting granting his request read:

Executive Council Chamber at York Friday 8th June 1832. The Council met and took up the following Petitions, Viz:

Richard Brimsmead - Praying for a Grant of 100 acres of Land as a Discharged Soldier from the 12th Regiment of Light Dragoons

The 12th Light Dragoons were an English Regiment that fought at Waterloo and elsewhere.

He received his conditional allocation of 100 acres in the Home District, Simcoe County, Medonte Township on June 28th, 1832. The condition was that he reside on the land for three years. On June 15th, 1836 he received a Patent for Concession 11, Lot 5 East 1/2,   presumably having fulfilled the conditions. 

From the dates it is possible that Richard Brimsmead was a Chelsea Pensioner. After the glow of victory faded following Waterloo, England found itself paying pensions to thousands of disabled soldiers. It came up with a scheme to encourage some of these veterans to emigrate. If they would agree to settle in the colonies, the Government would buy out their pensions for a commuted sum equal to four years payments. A contingent of settlers came to Quebec City about this time and were sent on to Upper Canada. A significant group of about 40 settlers went to Medonte at just this time. 

The voyage over was plagued with cholera, and many died during the trip. Those that survived were often old (mostly over 40), disabled and sick. They were ill equipped for life in the virgin uncleared forests and had no means of support. The Upper Canadian authorities tried for several years to get the English government to reverse its hard bargain with these people, but were only partially successful and then to late from many of the group. 

We have located the records for these settlers on the Canadian end and will add more to this story once those records have been reviewed. If Richard Brimsmead proves to have been a Chelsea Pensioner his story will involve a harsh but interesting experiment. 

The records for Simcoe County Settlers show the person who settled next door to Richard Brimsmead as Dugald (or Dougald) Livingstone, born 1806. He settled on Concession 11 Lot 6 West 1/2). Livingstone married a Hellen (or Ellen) Brimsmead. It may be that this was Richard's widow, or his daughter.

Any additional information on Richard Brimsmead and Hellen or Ellen Brimsmead would be very welcome. We have heard from at least one living relative.