Monday, 25 July 2016

John Barwick and the Brereton connection

By Rosemary Jewers

When I researched the Norfolk Canadian branches of the Brereton and Copland families, one surname I came across seemed familiar. It originally appeared in letters that were sent from Canada to friends back in England. Later, the original letters were edited and published as a book. This one name led me to find more Norfolk Brereton and Canadian connections and even more discoveries.

I've often wondered why it's so easy to be diverted by a surname, and on this occasion, that name would send me hunting in a different direction altogether. And yes, yet again, I have to thank William Copland of Canada for this latest discovery.

William Copland's book "The Narrative of the Early Events of the Rebellion in Upper Canada", was an intriguing insight into life in Canada in 1837. The exploits of William's sons and the mention of his brother-in-law, Cloudesly Brereton, made it a fascinating read. But, there was another name which William Copland mentioned, which made me think that perhaps there was more to this story. And, as I continued to read, I wondered why mention this person to his friends back in England. Conclusion, he must have been known to Copland's friends and family back home, and perhaps he was also a Norfolk man.

Copland had written about one incident in the early part of the 1837 Rebellion that, "...Mr John Barwick, who was coming thither, was shot in passing them..." "...He died the next day." I knew the name Barwick, because John Brereton and Anna Margaretta Lloyd had a son, Randle Brereton, and he, Randle had married a Sarah Barwick. I also knew that Sarah was born in Russia. It was always a bit of a mystery as to why she was born in Russia, and why were her parents there. At some point Sarah Barwick was to meet and marry Randle Brereton, of Brinton in Norfolk. I decided that perhaps I should search a little more to find out as much as I could about the Barwicks.

I found that Sarah's father, was a William Barwick, 1762 - 1835. He had been born in Leeds, Yorkshire, on the 28th August 1762. On 18th Nov. 1792 he married Elizabeth Statter, (sometimes written as Scatter) in BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA. William Barwick Sen. died on 2nd Mar 1835 an Holt Lodge, Holt, Norfolk, England.

Elizabeth Statter his wife had been born in Russia in 1772. She died on 9th June 1841 in Blakeney, Norfolk, England.

It seemed quite extraordinary that all these people were living and working in Russia in the late 18th and early 19th Century. Elizabeth Barwick nee Statter's father was William Statter, his death took place on 4 Jan 1808, Baturin, Chernihiv, Ukraine

I discovered that Elizabeth's father, and her husband, William Barwick were merchants. e.g. William Barwick was mentioned as being a merchant in St. Petersburg in 1797. His total value of imports for that year was 157,890 RUB. and export value was 219011 RUB. In 1804 Wm Barwick imported goods to the value of 761093 RUB and exported goods worth 571429 RUB.

William and Elizabeth Barwick's daughter, also Elizabeth, was born on 8th Dec 1793 recorded by BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA.

On 28th Apr 1795 another daughter Sarah was born and recorded at the BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA. Sarah married Randle Brereton 28th April 1818. Newspaper archives reported the marriage as, "Mr. Randall Brereton, of Brinton, to Miss Sarah Barwick, second daughter of Wm Barwick Esq. of Holt."

On 14th Jan 1797 a son William was born, recorded BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA.

1st Oct 1798 the birth of daughter Mary recorded BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA.

20th July 1800 birth of daughter Ann recorded BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA.

28th Apr 1803 birth of Frances recorded BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA.

28th Feb 1806 birth of son John recorded BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA. I found that this was the John Barwick who was in Canada at the time of the 1837 Rebellion. William Copland who had married Ann Brereton of Brinton would have known that Ann's cousin Randle, had married Sarah Barwick and that her brother John, was living nearby to them in Ontario.

The strange thing is, William Copland had written that John Barwick had been shot and died the next day. Having searched for another John Barwick who could have died in 1837 or 1838, I was unable to find a death of a person with that name. All I can think is, that with all the confusion at the time of the uprising, Copland believed this to be fact when he wrote his letters. Possibly when his brother edited the letters for the book, this was overlooked.

I gleaned certain facts about John Barwick and his life in Canada. On the 3 January 1833 John Barwick married Mary Ready Lee at Trinity Church, Thornhill, Upper Canada. He had numerous children. John died 23 April 1881 East Gwillimbury, Ontario, Canada. He is buried at Christ Church Anglican Heritage Cemetery, Holland Landing, York Regional Municipality, Ontario, Canada

Additional Notes

John Barwick's daughter, Elizabeth married Robert Simpson. Having stumbled across some genealogy, I'm of the opinion that Elizabeth and Robert were related, and that their grandmothers were sisters.

Robert Simpson's birth was registered at St. Petersburg, Russia. His father was Joseph Simpson and his mother was Mary Carr. Mary Carr's parents were George Carr and Mary Statter. Mary was born in Russia in 1773, which was a year after her sister Elizabeth, mother of John Barwick.

Source: Benjamin Thorne 

In 1820 Benjamin Thorne established a business in East Gwillimbury. The business was to export iron and grain. By 1843 he either bought or leased the Red Mill at Holland landing this was run by his partner John Barwick. In 1847 the company of Thorne and Barwick was dissolved.

Source: 'A History of Simcoe County'
According to 'A History of Simcoe County'. Prior to moving to Holland Landing, Colonel John Barwick, was living at Thornhill. While at Thornhill and during the Rebellion, he equipped a regiment of cavalry, which he paid for himself. Apparently the Horse Guards which Barwick established did see some service at the time of the Rebellion. Later Barwick moved to Toronto and was one of the ‘moving spirits’ of the Agriculture and Arts Association becoming President in 1861. He was to move back to Holland Landing where he resided until the time of his death.


This article appeared in Eastern Daily Press, it shows a photo of the arch, which was once part of a driveway which led to Holt Lodge home of William and Elizabeth Barwick.

Read more about Abel Brereton and the Copland family

Thanks to Faye Brereton Goodwin for background information relating to Barwick, Thorne, their contemporaries and neighbouring places that John Barwich was associated with.