Robert Bennett, of Massachusetts, was the first white man in Vermont, at the junction of the White and Connecticut Rivers. In 1770, three brothers, Farewell, emigrants from London, settled in the Connecticut Valley, and John married Mr. Bennett’s daughter, Sarah. The subject of our narrative was the fifth and youngest child (four boys and one girl,) of this marriage, and was born at the said river junction, on the first day of January, 1782. The three Farewell brothers took an active part in the war of American Independence, and late in the fall of 1781, John and Newcomb were killed fighting for the patriot cause. In 1791, King George III. appointed John Graves Simcoe the first Governor of Upper Canada, and among the first acts of that far seeing statesman was the issuing of a proclamation offering free grants of land to settlers. Among those who came to the country under that proclamation was widow Farewell, with her family and one girl. They crossed Vermont, ascended the Mohawk River, passed down Seneca Lake, descended the Oswego River, then in an open boat came to Niagara, about two weeks after the arrival there of Governor Simcoe with his 500 Kings Rangers. The Government called the first Canadian Parliament at Niagara, in 1792, where it met for business for several years, but in the summer of 1793, he located at York, (now Toronto,) as the future capital of the Province. Mrs. Farewell, with her family, and other settlers, crossed to York with the Government. Only a few shanties had been erected, but soon clearings were made, roads were constructed, and the place soon became celebrated for mosquitoes and mud. Messrs. Berry and St. John were Indian traders at the Humber, but moved their business to York the following spring, and built the first respectable house in the place. It was made of hewn logs. Upon the Governor’s first call for the Indians to receive the presents from the King, about 10,000 assembled. In 1794, Mrs. Farewell became Mrs. Crawford. He (a sergeant in the army) purchased his discharge, and 300 acres of land were located in Etobicoke, for the family. The elder boys were to commence farming, but A. M. was to learn a trade. Mr. Bond, a newly arrived immigrant, a hatter by trade, engaged to instruct young Farewell in the art of making hats, and being an economist, and a genius, he conceived the brilliant idea of producing his own materials by raising muskrats and beaver. He obtaineded land north of York, and commenced operations at Bond’s Lake, but the following spring, Bond and young Farewell returned to York, and the muskrat and beaver dispersed, but Bond’s name still adheres to the Lake. The hatting business was abandoned by both master and apprenticethe latter joining the family upon the farm. Improvements were commenced in good earnest, but the step-father became fond of strong drink; debts were contracted, the farm was sold, the money disappeared, and the family scattered ; A. M. going to Malden, where he took up a free lot in that newly laid out village.
The “North West Fur Company” built their first trading vessel at Malden, and Capt. Mills, her commander, induced Mr. Farewell to sell his house and lot, and try a season’s sailing with him on the “New Nancy.” At the close of the season, A. M. and his brother William made arrangements for establishing a trading house at Lake Scugog, for the purchase of furs, etc., of the muskrat branch of the Chippewa tribe of Indians, who were numerous about the back lakes in connection with Scugog. Two seasons were passed in this business. About the close of the second spring’s trading, the two brothers left their trading house on Ball Point, now township of Mariposa, for the purpose of gathering in some furs, and closing up business preparatory to leaving for York to market their furs, placing the house and goods in charge of their hired manJohn Sharp. A. M. returned to the house before Wm., and found the place deserted, and the liquors and goods missing. Not an Indian could be seen or heard. Near the spring, six rods from the house, lay the dead body of John Sharp, a knife stab in his left side, and his head crushed with a club. . The recognized signal among the Indians and traders for calling for assistance, was the firing of three guns in quick succession. This was done, and a canoe with a solitary Indian came from the opposite shore of the lake, and in a short time the Chief of the tribe”Wabbekisheco”approached the brothers, (William having arrived in the mean time.) The Chief was very sorry for what had taken place, but unhesitatingly stated who had killed Sharp, and how it was done. He stat ed that a large number of Indians had brought furs, which Sharp purchased, and in a short time, the Indians became tipsy, wanted more liquor, which Sharp refused to give them. They induced him to go to the spring for water, when Ogetonicut followed and killed him. This Indian was a brother to Whistling Duck, who had been killed by a white man the winter previous, at Mr. Cozens, in what is now the township of Clarke. Whistling Duck had tried to thrust a muskrat spear through an American, but missed his aim, and had his skull cracked. The Governor promised there should be blood for blood, and this is why Sharp was killed.
The Indians all left the lake came out to Annis’ Creek, (now Port Oshawa,) and went in their canoes to York. Mr. Farewell followed, and upon complaint being made, a guard of soldiers crossed over to the point to arrest the murderer. The Chief took the culprit by the shoulder, led him forward, and gave him up. He was imprisoned in York, but a survey being made during the summer, it was found the murder had been committed in the Newcastle District, and the trial was fixed at Weller’s, at the “Carrying place” for the ensuing fall. His Majesty’s gun boat Catherine, or Maria was fitted out to take the court from York. On board were Judge Cochrane, lawyers McDonald and Gray, Sheriff Fish, interpreters Cowan and Ruggles, merchant Herkermer, the prisoner, witnesses and seamen, in all 39 souls on board. Business prevented Mr. Farewell from going to York to take the vessel, and he and George Lockwood were to proceed to Willer’s from Annis’ Creek in a canoe.
The vessel sailed from York in the morning, Sept., 1803. At sunset, Farewell and Lockwood encamped at Dean’s Creek, a few miles below Cobourg, the vessel being abreast of them several miles in the lake. During the night, a fearful storm arose, and not one of the 39 on the vessel was left to tell the particulars of the burial in an Ontario grave. After waiting two or three days at Weller’s, Farewell and Lockwood returned to Annis’ Creek. On the 4th of April, 1804, Mr. Farewell was married to Elizabeth Annis, whose family emigrated from Pennsylvania a year or two before and settled at the above named creek.
Mr. Annis and his wife were residents of the beautiful village of Wyoming, on the Susquehanna River, when the terrible massacre took place there on the 3rd and 4th of July, 1777, and were among the fortunate few who escaped the tomahawk and scalping knife of the Indian savage, and more exquisite cruelties of that band of white demons known as Butler’s Rangers. In June, 1804, Mr. Farewell purchased Lot 4 in the first concession of Whitby, for $200, upon the north half of which he settled. The Main Road, called the Danford Road, from York to Port Hope, had been cut out, and a few settlements made along the line. Going eastward from York, they were as followsScadding, John and Jonathan Ashbridge, Jones, Knowles, Post, Woodruffs, at Puffin’s Creek, Jabez Lynde, A. M. Farewell, Fletcher, Hartwell, Flanigan, Smith, at Port Hope. On the lake shore, the settlers were going east from York : Peak, at the mouth of Duflin’s Creek, Lloyd, Rumerfelt, three families of Smith, at the Big Bay, now Port Whitby, Stephens, Annis, at Port Oshawa, Wilson, Conant, Burke, Barber, at the creek of that name in Clarke, Lovekins, Baldwin, Bates, Soper, Marsh, Smith, at the creek, now Port Hope.
For many years, Mr. Farewell and his neighbors went to Smith’s Creek to mill, Mr. Smith having erected the first grist mill between York and the Bay of Quinte. Generally, two or three would go in a boat, taking their neighbors’ grists with them.
York was the village where the settlers purchased their goods, except beds, bedding, wearing apparel, etc., which was usually manufactured at home. In 1812, Mr. Farewell opened a public house, and continued to keep tavern until the Temperance agitation in 1836 and 1837-8, induced him to look at the traffic from a new stand point, when he closed the bar forever. During the war of 1812-15, he carried despatches between Lynde’s, seven miles west, and Hartwell’s, twelve miles east, and made money from his farm and tavern.When the Americans made their attack upon York, early on the morning of the 27th of April, 1813, the firing was distinctly heard at Mr. Farewell’s, and he and several others at once volunteered to go up. The fighting was over before the party reached York, but they were in time to be taken prisoners of war. However, they were parolled with all the militia who were captured on that occasion. The British Government had sent to York large quantities of supplies for the new settlers, merchants’ tools, farming implements, etc., which were to be distributed, but had not been. The American vessels were deeply laden with goods from the public stores, and the remainder were by them given to the militia, including tools and implements, which should have been given out years before. After the departure of the visitors, the authorities at York issued a proclamation requiring the return of all the goods received from the Americans. The two countries being at war, the settlers thought the Americans had the right to take the public stores if they were able. Also the right to keep or give them away, and the parties who received, had the right to retain them. This view of the case generally prevailing, the proclamation availed but little. At the close of the war, Mr. Farewell, finding his means considerable, erected a saw mill and grist mill on his lot, and engaged in the purchase of lands, holding at a later period 500 acres in the township of Brock, some lands in the township of Reach, and several lots in the township of Whitby, some of which were sold, and some distributed among his family of eight sons and one daughter; six of the sons growing up to manhood and getting married, were assisted to make a start for themselves, and the daughter was not uncared for.
In 1816 or 1817, the Methodists commenced to evangelize this part of the country, established a class at Mr. Farewell’s, of which he became a member. Elder Ryan was the first preacher, who was soon succeeded by Elder Jackson, who continued to preach here for several years. In 1825 or ’26, Elder T. Bailey and Mr. Blackmore, of the Christian Connection, came from the States, soon followed by Elder McIntyre, and began to preach. A reformation was the result of their labors, and churches were founded in Whitby and Darlington. Mr. Farewell united, and remained with that body of Christians until the close of life. The good old practice of reading a chapter, singing a hymn, and engaging in prayer in the evening. surrounded by the family, was commenced by Mr. Farewell, during his connection with the Methodists, and ended with the week of his death.
What a precious keep-sake is that of the “Old Family Bible,” now going into the hands of the daughter, around which, for days, and weeks, and months, and years, the family were called, and in the presence of each other, commended to God and to the word of His Grace.
Politically, Mr. Farewell was a Reformer, and as such, was active, energetic, and consistent from the drawing of party lines in Upper Canada, in 1824, until he cast his last vote for the Hon. George Brown in 1867. William Lyon McKenzie’s first paper, the Colonial Advocate, was commenced in May, 1824, and in the same year, Mr. Farewell became a subscriber, and stuck with unwavering fidelity to McKenzie, his paper, and political movements, until it became apparent he meant rebellion, when both he and his paper were abandoned. The destruction of the press and office of the Advocate by a mob in June, 1826, the subsequent persecution of the Editor and proprietor, by men of place and power, in what was called Little York, and the insults offered the people of the Province, by the thrice expulsion of McKenzie from the House of Assembly, elicited the strongest sympathy of many of the Reformers for “Little Mack,” who had promptly dropped his paper and himself, when they saw the danger into which he was leading them. On the 4th of May, 1857, Mr. Farewell’s consort, aged 70 years, was taken from him. Subsequently, he married Sarah, the widow of the late David Coryell. In latter years, his time had been spent in the cultivation of a small piece of land, (his farm being rented,) being part of the farm purchased and settled upon, over 65 years ago. He kept his own accounts, and attended to his own business until the week before his death, which tock place without any painful sickness, at four o’clock on Friday morning, the 27th of November, 1869, in presence of many mourning friends, and a weeping wife. Stronger faith and higher hopes of immortality and a glorious future, no one could possibly have, and about which he was anxious to, and did freely, converse until within a few seconds of the last breath.