Papers : 1770-1862.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .S3J6P3
Category: Family
Creator: Savage, John, 1740-1826.
Description: 1 microfilm textual records () ; 35 mm
            John Savage was born in Ireland.   He emigrated to New York with his brothers, James and Edward, and they settled near Spencertown.  His wife was Ann Pratt (1741-1822), the daughter of Elisha Pratt, and their family included one son, Lt. John Savage Jr.(1780-1840), and five daughters.   Before the American Revolution, John Savage owned a large tract of land and a fine house.   Early in the war he was confined in the Albany jail when he refused to command a company of rebel soldiers on behalf of Congress.   He escaped, and made his way to New York where he was commissioned a lieutenant in the Loyal Rangers.   On several occasions, he was captured while carrying despatches for the British and confined in jails, usually in irons, in Kingston and Fishkill, New York, and in Hartford, Connecticut.   On one occasion he narrowly escaped hanging. At the end of the war all his property was confiscated by the rebels, and he was not allowed to reside in the district.   He was forced to flee with his family and his brother Edward from Spencertown to Quebec by way of Lake Champlain.   Both his family and his wife's family were sharply divided during the Revolution, with members of each family fighting on opposite sides of the conflict.   

In 1784, he settled at Caldwell Manor, near Quebec, and remained there until 1792 when that part of the Manor, on which his farm was located, was claimed by the Americans. He petitioned the Governor at Quebec to be granted the Township of Shefford and led a group of associates to settle the area, which comprised thirty-four thousand acres of land. In 1801, Letters Patent were granted for the Township, and he and thirty-eight others associated with him, including his son John Savage Jr. and three sons-in-law, received full legal titles to their lands. John Savage soon became a leading citizen in the Township and is frequently referred to in the Papers as, Leader.

He received commissions in the St. John's Militia in 1788 and in 1796, and became a captain in the 2nd Battalion of the [Eastern Township's] Militia in 1804. His son John Savage Jr. became a lieutenant in the same company in 1805. Even as late as 1813, during the War of 1812-1814, when he was seventy years of age, John Savage received a commission in Sir John Johnson's Frontier Light Infantry and served until the end of the War.

On 30 June 1812, he was appointed a commissioner to administer the oath of allegiance to all persons over the age of fourteen. Besides his military interests, John Savage was instrumental in establishing regular religious services in the district when he donated land for an Anglican church, and supervised its construction in 1820. He cleared paths, which were the only roads in the Township at that time, and supervised the construction of a road between Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Montreal. In 1807, he received a commission appointing him a justice of the peace for the District of Montreal, acting in the Townships of Potton, Bolton, Granby, Shefford and Stukely, which was renewed on two later occasions. On 27 September 1826, John Savage died in West Shefford (Bromont) Lower Canada, a Loyalist and revered citizen who persevered against great odds and remained true to his convictions.

            The microfilm reel of the John Savage Papers in the Loyalist Collection is divided into three distinct sections, with each section being separated from the next by a considerable length of blank film.   Each section contains a microfilm copy of records held in a different repository.   The order of the three collections is as follows:

Section 1, and the largest section at 800 pages, contains the John Savage Papers, 1770 - 1859, held in Special Collections, Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec.
The material is arranged in chronological order and includes: militia commissions; accounts and receipts; bonds; petitions; correspondence; a typescript copy of, A Journal of the Adventures of Mr. John Savage during the late Rebellion between Great Britain and America; and a Return of the Original Associates and Substitutes in Shefford Township. The Return includes the name of each property owner, the lot number's, the year the land was settled, the date when allegiance was sworn, and remarks, which can contain valuable pieces of information. Similar lists of settlers can be found in the same Section, and additional information is often included in these lists, eg. number of acres owned, number of acres cleared, and other details. A substantial number of undated records follow the dated portions on the microfilm, and here can be found the genealogical charts for the descendants of John Savage, Ann Pratt, wife of John Savage, and for Catherine Newton (Mrs. Thomas Craig). There are several lists of persons who have taken the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown, and it appears that a number of the lists are from the period of the War of 1812. The surnames that re-occur most frequently in this Section, are: Savage, Wood, Miller, and Welland.

Section 2, contains the John Savage Papers, 1776 - 1824, in the Brome County Historical Society, Knowlton, Quebec. This section is arranged by subject, and within each category the records have been placed in chronological order. The material is arranged as follows: undated documents; land records; accounts; and legal records, 1793 - 1830; correspondence, 1783 - 1825; accounts and business records, 1795 - 1822; legal papers, 1776 - 1832; militia records, 1810 - 1824; and account books, 1783 - 1820.

Section 3, consists of a microfilm copy of typescripts and photocopies of a few original records from the National Archives of Canada. The typescripts are excerpts from several National Archives of Canada Series: Haldimand Papers; New York Historical Society Collections, 1924; and Minutes of the Albany Committee of Correspondence, 1775 - 1778 (available in print also. HIL MCGDL E216 .A33 1923). The original material includes several commissions received by John Savage, the oath of allegiance signed by the first settlers of Shefford Township, and the will of John Savage. The inclusive dates of the records in this Section are, 1776 - 1862.

Originals: The records are held by three repositories: Bishop's University, Brome County Historical Society, and the National Archives of Canada.
Archival Ref. No.: NAC MG 23 G III 12. Microfilm Reel M-5904.
Finding Aids:
            A copy of the National Archives of Canada finding aid for this microfilm reel is available in print and as a PDF under the electronic finding aids section.
Electronic Finding Aid Record: Content_John-Savage_Papers.pdf
Notes: Researchers who wish to consult the John Savage Papers on Reel 4 of the Brome County Historical Society Collections may find that it contains some material which duplicates items on this reel, and other material which supplements the records that have been included in this microfilm reel.

The National Archives of Canada holds a microfilm copy of the Brome County Historical Society Collections. A copy of the Collections is also available in the Loyalist Collection and is shelved at the following location: MIC-Loyalist FC LSC .Q4B7C6.

The dates that are given at the beginning of each subject category on the microfilm reel of the John Savage Papers are not always accurate. Researchers should consult the dates that are given in the Contents section of this Inventory description.

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