Grand River Branch

United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada





Selected Reprints from the

Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches


"Compensating For the Shortage of Legal Personnel In Early Ontario"

Angela E.M. Files, November 2000, Vol.12 No.2, Page 3




  In the 1780s and on, with the arrival of Loyalists in Ontario, there was a scarcity of legal professionals in the newly-created settlements.  It was essential to keep law and order in the various communities.  In order to compensate for the lack of legal personnel, the provincial government of the day selected Justices of the Peace or Magistrates in the different areas.

  Justices of the Peace or Magistrates were appointed in numbers, never in isolation, to specific areas.  Essentially they were private, non-legal citizens in good standing in their community, selected to hear information and complaints of crime and to initiate appropriate legal process.  In early days the Justices of the Peace provided workable and reasonably effective local government to compensate for the shortage of legal professionals.

 Today the role of Justices of the Peace is presiding in non-criminal cases such as: bail hearing, highway and traffic offences, health and safety and Provincial Acts.  Criminal offences, murders, thefts, break and entries are presented in criminal courts.

  The following list of magistrates or Justices of the Peace (J.P.) appointed along the middle Grand River area show that many of the appointees were from families of Loyalist descent, British and American immigrants.  Perhaps one of your Loyalist ancestors is located on this list.


List of Magistrates or Justices of the Peace who Have

Qualified in the County of Brant

William N. Algier Daniel Anderson
Thomas Armour George Ballachy
Benjamin Bell James Bellhouse
Alonzo Benedict Herbert Biggar
Thomas Botham Robert R. Brown
Thomas Broughton David Brown
George Bryce Robert Burt
David Burtch Richard Catton
Charles Chapin Lyman Chapin
Solomon Chatterson George Chittenden
John Comerford Thomas Conboy
Allen H. Cook Daniel Cope
Lancelot Davidson Humphrey Davis
John W. Downs Robert Eadie
Constant Eddy John Eddy
John Elliott John Randal Ellis
Hugh Finlayson Gavid Fleming
Cornelius H. Forman Alonzo Foster
Francis Foster Caleb S. Fowler
Thomas Glason James Graham
Cyrus R. Griffin Charles Gurney
Abraham Hawley Charles Hedgers or Hedges
Richard Herdsman Benjamin O. Howell
Thomas James S.J.C.C.J. Jones
John Johnson Wellesley Johnston
James Kent Edward Kitchen
Andrew Kyle John Lampkin
James Laughrey Henry C. Latthan
Joseph Lawrason John Lawrence
Henry B. Leeming Henry Lemmon
William Likins Elias Long
John McDiarmid Thomas McKenzie
Daniel McNaughton Aaron McWilliams
Thomas Maginn Eliakim Malcolm
S.D. Muir Robert Muir
William Mullen William G. Nellis
Samuel Nevin James Nimmo
William Oliver Daniel O'Neil
William Patton Charles S. Perley
Andrew Perrin Hiram Phelps
William G. Powell Matthew W. Pruyn
Joseph Quinlan Ephraim Randall
Walter Renwick William Richmond
Ebenezer Roy William Roy
Walter Sage David Secord
James C. Secord James Sharpe
Thomas S. Shenston George Smith
Russell Smith Robert Sproule
Georeg Stanton George Stephenson
Samuel Tapley Henry Taylor
John Tennant Joseph Thomas
John Thompson Daniel Totten
Henry G. Townsend John Toyne
James Trimble John Tufford
William Turnbull John Turner
Edward Vanderlip Edward W. Vanderlip
James Wallace William Watt
Andrew Westbrook Peter Westbrook
James Weyms John Whiting
Charles Whitlaw James Wilkes
John Wye Henry Yates
Edmund Yeigh