John Heath - Pioneer of Norfolk Co., Ontario, Canada

Genealogy for the Heath family's of Saffordshire and surrounding areas.

John Heath - Pioneer of Norfolk Co., Ontario, Canada

Postby Donna Tunison » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:02 pm

Andrew I & Elizabeth Venables > Andrew Heath II & Mary > David Heath & Mary Worthington > John Heath

John Heath, one of twins, born 16 Mar 1763 born to David and Mary Heath was one of the pioneers of Townsend Township, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada, migrating from Morris County, New Jersey about 1796 with his wife, Anna and their eldest son Morris. John’s homestead was located west of Bloomsburg village, between the Concession 10 (Cherry Valley) Road and Concession 11 Road, east of present Highway 24. Anna’s parents moved to Norfolk County in 1800. According to Egbert Owens, John was six feet two in his bare feet, and in his youth was agile, muscular, could do handsprings over haycocks and was a champion back-hold wrestler in New Jersey (breaking the arm of a competitor). His profession was reed-maker and understood the weaver’s trade.

JohnHeath LongPoint.jpg
John Heath's Long Point Settlement Homestead
JohnHeath LongPoint.jpg (75.27 KiB) Viewed 4490 times

Approximate location of his homestead

John’s homestead from Google Map ... a=!3m1!1e3

Owen wrote amusing anecdotes about John’s early days at the Long Point Settlement:
There are very few homes in Norfolk today, the doors of which are not bolted and barred during the night; and should a belated traveller, weary, foot-sore and far from those who know him, call at one of these barricaded modern homes for shelter, a voice from within would inform him that at the village a few miles away he would find a public-house, where he could procure such accommodations as he needed. No money? Why, then he would be dubbed a common tramp, and treated with utter contempt. The true circumstances of the case would not be enquired into, and the unfortunate stranger would be unceremoniously ordered off the premises. Were it in the day-time, he might be offered a bite to eat, but during the “stilly watches of the night” the latch-string hangs on the inside. This was not the condition of things during the log-cabin period of our history. During those years there were plenty of bears, wolves, wild cats, porcupines and rattlesnakes; but the swamps and forests of Norfolk were not infested with beasts and reptiles in human form these are the outgrowth of our more advanced civilization. Much is said, nowadays, about the decline of good, old-fashioned hospitality and the soul-withering effects of an ever-increasing greed for “filthy lucre”; but we must remember that hospitality, as well as every other human attribute, is governed by the ever-changing social conditions of life. In these days, the steam-horse distributes among us unknown characters, who prowl about our streets, crack our office safes and burglarize our rural homes, and the prudent man is compelled by these changed conditions to bar his doors and windows and keep at arm’s length every unknown supplicant for favors that comes along. But these vicious parasites of civilization were not found in the woods of Norfolk, and when the latch-string dangled on the outside of the cabin door in the night time, it was a sign of welcome to the hospitality within.

One of the most hospitable cabins in pioneer times was that of John Heath. The Heath latch-string was never taken in at night. Whoever approached, at any time in the night, was at liberty to pull the string and enter. It was not necessary to knock or awaken any of the inmates simply enter and enjoy the needed shelter. In the winter time it was no uncommon thing for Mr. Heath to awaken in the morning and find one or more Indian or white guests stretched out comfortably on the hearth before the big fireplace.

Mr. Heath was a large, muscular man, being six feet and two inches in his bare feet. He was a reed-maker by trade, and understood also, the weaver’s trade. He was the champion back-hold wrestler in the New Jersey neighborhood in which he lived; and it is said he once broke the arm of a New Jersey contestant. He was very supple and, in his younger days, could turn a hand-spring over a haycock quite easily. Although a powerful man, he was as tender as a woman in his affections, and was exceedingly warm-hearted.

On one occasion he had a veal calf to kill, but lacked the courage to kill it. Finally, he hired an Indian to do the job. The Indian went out and murdered the calf and then came and demanded his pay.

“But,” said Mr. Heath, “you haven’t finished your job.”

“Oh, yes, me do,” grinned the Indian, “you hire me to kill calf, an’ me kill calf, so me not do one tarn more.”
Mr. Heath paid the noble red man, and finished the job himself.

During the War of 1812, John served as a private in the Norfolk Militia, Nisbett Collver's Co., 2nd Regiment, 01 Jul - 12 Sep 1812 and in Henry Medcalf's Co., 2nd Regiment, 25 Apr - 24 May 1814. John, a Freemason, was one of the prime movers in organization of the first lodge in Norfolk County, which ultimately saved him from serious loss during the war, when American Brigadier General McArthur*, targeted the Grand River settlements due to its importance in supplying flour to the British troops. The Battle of Malcolm on 06 November 1814 was extended into a raid around the head of Lake Ontario, where McArthur and his troop of 700 men, arrived in the area on the fourth raided Norfolk. After burning the mill at Waterford, the Americans went south, halting at the home of one of Mr. Heath’s neighbors, who begged them not to plunder his premises, as he was an American himself; the American officer replying, “We are living on our friends and fighting our enemies,” and proceeded to plunder the premises. When they reached John’s homestead, the old pioneer masonically appealed to the McArthur and the Americans left him in quiet possession of his property.

John and Anna Sovereign had eight children, Morris, Archaelaus, Frederick, Lavinia, Mary, Nancy, John, Esther. Three of the siblings married second cousins, children of Richard & Esther Osmun (< Mary Heath & Wheeler Kitchen < Andrew Heath II & Mary <Andrew Heath I & Elizabeth Venables). [Children listed by birth order.]

1.Morris married Sarah Kitchen, they had one son before her death in 1817. He remarried and had three more children.
4. Lavinia married William Kitchen, they had nine children
8. Esther married Philip Kitchen, they had fourteen children, including a set of twins.

Their other children were:
2. Archelaus
3. Frederick married Charity Culver
5. Mary married Thomas Lee
6. Nancy married Aaron Barber
7. John married Amoret Kern

John died, 27 November 1847 and Anna, 15 Sep 1853, both in Townsend Township, Norfolk Co., Ontario.

*Duncan McArthur, born in 1772 in New York State to Scottish immigrants, grew up in western Pennsylvania, later moved to Kentucky working as an Indian Ranger. He went to work for frontier surveyor General Nathaniel Massie, and in 1793 went with Massie on a survey expedition of the Northwest Territory. In 1804, McArthur was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives (Ross and Franklin Counties), and in 1805, representing Ross, Franklin and Highland Counties elected to the Ohio Senate. At the time of the War of 1812, McArthur was a member of the Ohio State Militia, and appointed Brigadier General in the U.S. Army and commanded a brigade under General William Henry Harrison at the Battle of the Thames. In 1817 he helped negotiate the Treaty of Fort Meigs (Ohio) ratifying peace and land cessions with Native American tribes. In 1830 McArthur was elected the 11th Governor of Ohio, serving from 18 Dec 1830 to 07 Dec 1832.
Donna Tunison
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