Fonds F 662

William Hamilton Merritt family fonds

About these records

William Hamilton Merritt family fonds
Dates of Creation
Physical Description

2.1 metres of textual records

2 maps

2 plans

2 drawings

Scope and Content

Fonds consists of the records of William H. Merritt, in his roles as a politician, an M.L.A., and a businessman. Also included are some records of the Merritt family, including Jedediah Prendergast Merritt and William Hamilton Merritt Jr. Records are arranged roughly into subject categories, including the War of 1812, various engineering projects, and areas Merritt was involved in as an M.L.A.

Records regarding the War of 1812 include correspondence, copies of proclamations, addresses, a chronological listing of events of the war, lists of troop expenses, and a return of prisoners.

Fonds also includes records regarding the Ministry of Indian Affairs, such as correspondence, a certificate of payment of an interpreter, a return of stores proposed as presents to the Michillimackinac nation, statements, reports, and other records.

Also included are records arising from the construction of the Brock monument, such as: correspondence, a draft of articles of agreement, a draft of the inscriptions for the tablet on the coffins of Brock and McDonell, minutes of meetings of the monument committee, and other records. Fonds also contains records of the 1860 visit of the Prince of Wales, including correspondence and drafts of addresses.

Fonds also contains records from the Rebellion of 1837, including correspondence, a militia general order, depositions, and newspaper clippings.

Fonds also includes records of various canal, engineering, and navigation projects, such as the Welland Canal, the Niagara Suspension Bridge and the Grand River Navigation Company. These records include correspondence, statements, receipts, tenders, lists of shareholders, accounts, annual reports, and other records.

Fonds also contains records regarding the railway, trade, and financial industries, including correspondence, reports, petitions, resolutions, statements, and other records.

Also included are Acts of Incorporation for: Clinton, Fort Erie, Newmarket, Waterloo, Bowmanville, Lindsay, Milton, Oakville, and Sandwich.

Fonds also includes records arising from elections, including election ballads, a poll book, correspondence, addresses, notices, bills, and other records.

Also included are records regarding court procedures, including a petition, a return of and receipts for prisoners, correspondence, a copy of a summons, and orders of sessions.

Fonds also includes records regarding the education system, such as correspondence, clippings, reports, and a Bill to provide for more resources for teachers.

Also included are records regarding the fisheries, lands, roads, and mining interests in Canada. These records include correspondence, regulations, Orders in Council, accounts, bonds, deeds, statements, reports, maps, and a draft of a Bill.

Fonds also contains records regarding the banking and insurance industries, including correspondence, annual reports, rates of exchange, stock lists, legislation, and other records.

Fonds also includes records arising from Merritt's activities in milling, and in wheat and flour trade, including correspondence, accounts, statements, records regarding Robert Gourlay, and estate records of Alexander Yates McDonell and J.B. Yates.

Also included are some family records, including correspondence, portrait drawings of family members, a family genealogy, miscellaneous personal records, and records of George Coventry and Jedediah Merritt's activities in establishing an historical society.

Administrative History or Biographical Sketch

William Hamilton Merritt (1793-1862) was a politician and promoter of the Welland Canal and other engineering projects.

He was born in New York State and moved with his parents to Canada in 1796. He was educated at local schools at Burlington and Niagara, then enlisted in the Lincoln Militia during the War of 1812. In the last year of the war, Merritt was captured by the Americans and remained in prison for the duration of the war.

After the war he purchased a mill site and began operating a saw and grist mill. In 1824, he helped found the Welland Canal Company, and by 1829, the canal was open to shipping. Merritt was also involved in the development of other canal systems, railways, suspension bridges, and building projects.

From 1832 to 1841, Merritt represented Haldimand in the Legislative Assembly, and from 1841 to 1860 he represented Lincoln. In 1848, he became President of the of the Committee of the Executive Council. In 1850, he became Commissioner of Public Works, but retired from cabinet in 1851. In 1860, he was elected to the Legislative Council.

Jedediah Prendergast Merritt (1820-1901) was an author and the second son of William H. Merritt.

William Hamilton Merritt (1822-1860) was a lawyer and the third son of William H. Merritt.

George Coventry (1793-1870) was the son of an English merchant, and moved to Upper Canada sometime before 1836. Coventry and Jedediah Merritt worked together in collecting transcriptions of historical documents and in setting up an historical society for Upper Canada.

Restrictions on Access
No restrictions on access.
Terms For Use and Reproduction
Copyright held by creator. These materials cannot be published without permission from the copyright holder.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Materials in this fonds were donated to the Archives of Ontario in 1906 by Dr. William Hamilton Merritt. Additional materials were donated to the Archives in 1983 by Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Crews of Brantford, Ontario.
Related Material

The Archives of Ontario possesses a microfilm copy of the Merritt records which are held by the National Archives of Canada.

Availability of Other Formats

Most records are available on microfilm.

Title based on content of fonds.

Former Codes

Accession 501, 15892.

Finding Aid
An inventory is available for this fonds.

How to order these records

From our Reading Rooms

To view material, order boxes MU 5849 - MU 5860; MU 4374 - MU 4378.

Material is also found on self-serve microfilm MS 74.

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By Microfilm Interloan
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