Canniff -Papers G7 Grape Island

Dr. William Canniff Papers

Grape Island & biographical sketches

Folder G6 (7)

Home Page WorldConnect Family File Contact Me
William Canniff Papers - Main Page

Grape Island is small island just off Big Island and in the 1820's the Methodist Church settled a group of Mississauga natives there in a mission. Tobias Bleecker had a role in this and it is related on this web page of his son Rev George Blaker.

The biographical sketches appear to be notes taken from earlier interviews dating these items to after 1865.

This folder has over 15 pages in it and only these few pages have been transcribed. The other pages are not about Quinte information. The pages are transcribed as spelled and formatted roughly as in the original. Thanks are extended to Carm Foster and Doug Smith for their help in the transcription.

Source: Dr William Canniff Papers, F1390, MU492, G6 (7), Archives of Ontario,

Randy Saylor, Feb 2014


“ At Grape Island there are two hundred and twenty natives under the Christian instruction of one missionary 120 of whom are regular communicants and 5 ? children are taught in the schools. Very considerable improvement have been made here in also in the arts of civilized life and especially in meliorating the condition of the females. This Mission as well as some of the others has been greatly assisted by the praiseworthy exertions of two pious females, Miss Hubbard and Miss Barues, who have have volunteered their services for this” work of faith” and labor of love. Specimens of native improvement in sewing and knitting, as well as in reading and writing, highly satisfactory, have been exhibited.”

“In addition to the Mohawks on the Grand River, there is a party of this tribe on the Bay of Quinte consisting of fifty, 33 of whom are communicants in the Church and 17 of the children are taught in a school”

Extract from the Tenth Annual Report of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcapalian Church    Kingston Gazette

“Visiting Grape Island - viewing the natives and uniformity of the village - the conduct of the children even in the street - hearing the testimonies of the loving kindness of the Lord, by believers in this Meeting House - so feelingly and not a drunkard to be found in their Borders, Surely what a lesson for whites” etc.

Lorenzo Dow

July 29, 1829

Jonas Cannliff of Compton says that the Indians cut twelve in Tyendinaga, drove them down to? follows mill in the river. After they were sawed they drove the limber to Belleville and then made them into rafts to take to Grape Island for their houses.


George Sills related to S Ackerman in 1854 that 75 years before he, a boy of 15, was with a party of 3 - two men, who left Fredericksburgh in a birch canoe to explore the Bay etc (Sea Bay)

George Sills had seen some swans (yet that was in 1779). He was unlettered but his wife, a sister of Col Bell, taught him at night while she spun flax by the flickering light of the fire.

Mrs Peterson, daughter of John Flemhan? [Dunham] says that Capt Myers Dutch name was Hanner Gerry Waldon -

Rev Mr  Roblin of Belleville tells me that his father, who settled in 3rd Con of 4th town and died during 1813 on the last day of Feb, age 44, was a local preacher. Was elected to Parliament 3 times, 1st 1818 - 2nd 1811 and in 1812. When 1st elected sat in the House two years, when he was expelled because he was a local preacher, often Meth? [Methodist] His constituents sent him back and he was the 2nd time expelled, after a few days. Still he was elected again, but died before Parliament met.

Mr Roblin’s great uncle was wounded in Rev war near New York. A ball passed through the thigh.

(All his ancestors took part in the struggle, Staunch for the British and forsook all for it.

On Paul Huff’s farm on Hay Bay, in an orchard, the north farm, was buried his father, the husband of Eliz Roblin - afterward Canniff. But the ever working water has now washed away the land where the once precious body was interred.

The Rev Mr R[oblin] says he has seen 6 generations of his family. He is the son of John Roblin, who came into Canada by way of N. B. [New Brunswick?] in 1784. Spent the winter at Sorel. Among those who accompanied him was Orra Ferguson, John Baker, Stephen (his great uncle), Wm Moor, German, John of Christopher,

George Rutter, a regular Dutchman settled in 4th town. He was wont to speak of the Rebel “Puggers”, Buggers, whom his ship had chased for 12 days and when overtaken had no courage to fight but at once surrendered.

Mr. Maybee aged 84, in 1864, Born York State, Fishkill. Came to Canada when 14 in 1795. His father a Rev soldier. Settled above the Stone mill, 2 miles from Picton. Was a mason and would go up and down the Bay with his boss, one Travers? & do work

Says he “Knew all the people in Canada” travilled in bark canoe (He is seen planting and ??? to hoe potatoes ??? W. C.)  He sometimes went up the Lake batteaux ??? in the habit of going up to York once a week were taken across ??? Carrying Place on trucks drawn by oxen by Asa Weller who   ??? a ???.  Knew John Smith the first settler in Cobourg, the grandpa & ??? of the Hon Sidney Smith.  Old Dr Keeler was the first settler in Colburn.  He often stayed at Maybees?

Col Bell who settled in Fred [Fredericksburgh?] was a spie.  On one occasion was caught and put in Albany Jail.  There was also a Ryckly [Hyckly?] a spie who was arrested near Stillwater.  The Rebs knew that the Grandmother was in the habit of harbouring Britishers.  But she treated the guards well, and managed to retain them till toward night.  She then filled their canteens with whisky or Rum.  At night Ryckly complained of thirst and wanted to go to a spring he was accompanied by a soldier.  Ryckly watched his opportunity when the soldier stooped to drink and struck him with his two hands - hand cuffed which so stunned him that R [Ryckly] was enabled to flee.  He went to Mrs Bells who filed off the cuffs, whereupon R [Ryckly] fled to the woods.  By and by he guard returned and called again at Mrs B. [Bells] and to account for their quick return or to tantalize her they said they had despatchd Ryckly.  But she cooly replied by showing the hand cuffs she had filed.

Squire Bleeker , see 1st page Autobiography Mattauis the Traitor born in Sidney ---  Geo. Bleeker grand child of the Capt says that his proper name was Myer -  For account of Diamond Loyst.  Myer &C? see Autobiog pages 6 & 7

Major Crawford & Cal Spencer belonged to Major Bogart Reg. and settled in Fred. [Fredericksburgh] -

Major Spencer died at the breaking out war in 1812 (Had been promoted suppose) Mr A Diamond remembers him very well, was then 16.  Mr S. [Spencer] middle sized man.  He died at home on lot 9 Fred Add. [Fredericksburgh Additional] 1st Con.  He was well in years.  Mr D [Diamond] was at the funeral was buried with Military honours, on ??? on his [bottom of page torn] Ca; W [torn] succeeded him