UR Life

War of 1812 Veterans in the Upper Ottawa Valley

Diane Burnett

By Diane Burnett

There were no battles or skirmishes in the upper Ottawa Valley 200 years ago during the War of 1812 but this area was touched by the war. Those brave soldiers from Upper & Lower Canada were offered land grants as a reward. Some of the earliest pioneers to this area were these veterans, traveling up the valley to settle on the land.
Walter, William and John McDonald, brothers and veterans were some of these pioneers. They settled and built their lives in Westmeath Township, now part of the Township of Whitewater Region. They were buried in the family plot now called the McDonald Burying Ground located on Sutherland Road about 1 kilometer south of Highway 17.
Others with family connections to the McDonalds were buried there to about 1924. Over the years since, many stones were broken and disappeared. The small cemetery became overgrown and neglected.
In 2011 Bernie Buechman a local historian and genealogy researcher decide to voluntarily clean up the cemetery. Curious about the early burials he began to do some research and discovered the McDonald brothers and their connections to the War of 1812. In 2012 when the government of Canada began to sponsor activities in recognition of this historic war, Mr. Buechman decided the McDonald brothers and their final resting place should be recognized. With the help of the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group of which Mr. Buechman is an active member, he applied for a grant from the 1812 Commemoration Fund, Department of Canadian Heritage. Happily a grant of $10,000.00 was received for a memorial stone and commemorative community event.
On Sunday September 15, 2013 this memorial stone will be unveiled at the McDonald Burying Ground. The ceremony will begin at 1:30 PM. The general public is invited to come and help honour these veterans and all those veterans of the War of 1812 who helped settle the area.

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