Lieutenant Teeple's Mistake

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     The article below has been taken from Pioneer Sketches of Long Point Settlement by E. A. Owen, pages 131-133. It was originally published in 1898 by William Briggs of Toronto, and later republished 1972 in facsimile by Mika Silk Screening Limited.

     This article demonstrates that there are always pitfalls when secondary material is used. Do examine the footnotes which note errors or explanations.

     Of course, hindsight is wonderful! It's really only after many years of slogging through all kinds of documentary evidence that a person can see the weaknesses of author Owen's work. It is just one more reason why I cannot stress enough the importance of good proofs.

Lieutenant Teeple's Mistake

      Peter Teeple and John Stone were the two first young married men that settled in Charlotteville. They were the sons-in-law of the original Frederick Mabee, and came with that old pioneer and his family to Turkey Point in 1793. After the township was surveyed Peter Teeple settled near Forestville, on Lot 8 [1]in the broken front [2]. He was a U. E. Loyalist, having served as lieutenant [3] of a cavalry company [4] in the British army during the war of the Revolution. It is said that he took part in several notable engagements [5], and that while scouting in Virginia a bullet from the rifle of an American sharpshooter killed the horse upon which he was mounted. At the close of the war his company was disbanded at Halifax [6]; and, owing to his fine physique, being six feet two inches in height [7], he was offered great inducements to return with the troops and join His Majesty's Life Guards. He declined the offer, and ever after considered the act as the great mistake of his life.

     Peter Teeple was one of Norfolk's first Justices of the Peace, having that honor conferred upon him by virtue of the first General Commission of the Peace for the District of London, dated at York, January 1st, 1800. Mr. Teeple was also one of three appointed at the same time to act as Commissioners for administering oaths prescribed by law to the officers of the Government. On the second day of April following he was sworn into office at the house of Lieut. James Monroe. On April 8th, the first session of the first court held on Norfolk soil, was held at Fort Monroe, and Squire [8] Teeple was one of the sitting justices. [9]

     Squire Teeple and his wife were two of the constituent members of the old pioneer Baptist church [10], organized by Elder Finch in 1804; and when the acre of land was purchased from Oliver Mabee, in 1807, upon which to erect a meeting-house, Mr. Teeple became one of the first trustees.

     After the war of 1812 Mr. Teeple moved into Oxford county and settled on land granted by the Government [11]. At that time land in the vicinity of Woodstock sold at from $1 to $2 per acre. This was only about eighty years ago, and to-day Oxford is known as the garden of Canada. Surely, the fathers of that time had opportunities for securing homes for their sons which the fathers of our day do not have. True, the forest was dense and heavy, and the soil dark, damp and sticky; but these were advantages in disguise, as the hard timber lands were more easily cleared than the pine lands, while the soil, which was considered too wet and not sufficiently friable for cultivation, proved to be easily tillable and exceedingly fertile.

     Peter Teeple had three sons, William, Luke and Pellum, and one daughter, Susan. [12] William, the eldest son, settled near Aylmer, in the township of Malahide. Pellum settled on the homestead in Oxford. Susan married Archibald Burch and settled near Woodstock. The Baptist Institute stands on the land formerly owned by him. Mr. Burch had a son, William, who married a daughter of John Hatch, Esq., and settled at Woodstock [13].

     Luke Teeple, second son of Peter, was a tailor, shoemaker and tanner. The first two trades he learned in Oxford. Just before the war of 1812 he went to New Jersey on a visit, and while at his uncle's home the war broke out, and he was ordered to leave the country or take the oath of allegiance. His uncle had a mail route from New York to some point in New Jersey, and he put young Luke on this route, thinking that while thus employed he would not be molested. He was arrested, however, in the following February, and cast into prison with about a hundred other British sympathizers. According to his version of the affair, these Loyalist prisoners were sorely tempted to desert their first love and join the American army. One by one they weakened, until fifteen only remained, Luke being one of them. At the close of the war they were liberated, and the uncle, although an American, gave Luke a present in token of his British pluck. When he returned to Canada he settled in Vittoria, purchasing the two-story frame house built by Caleb Wood [14], and which still stands on the hill-side in front of the Baptist burying ground, dark, windowless and vacant, fit companion to the weather-beaten, mossy old grave-stones which mark the background [15]. On the flat opposite this house, Mr. Teeple built a tannery, which was operated by his son Alexander after his death.

     Luke Teeple had seven sons Alexander, Jerome, Lisander, Thurmes, Glatten, Ridley and Latimer: and four daughters Mabro, Mobra, Clementine and Almira [16]. Alexander was accidentally killed while engaged in excavating a large stone on his farm. Excepting Charles Teeple, of Woodhouse, son of Alexander, and one or two others, the name has become extinct in Norfolk.


1.  Actually, Peter Teeple acquired Lot 9, not Lot 8.

2.  The term broken front refers to property which abuts water or some other irregular boundary.

3.  Peter Teeple rose to the level of sergeant during the revolutionary war. Later, in Upper Canada, he served as a lieutenant for the Norfolk County Militia.

4.  Peter Teeple joined the King's American Dragoons.

5.  W. J. Sparrow wrote Knight of the White Eagle, about Sir Benjamin Thompson, commander of the King's American Dragoons. His opinion is that the dragoons saw no serious action.

6.  The King's American Dragoons landed in Saint John, New Brunswick. Some confusion may arise because New Brunswick didn&#39t officially split off as a separate province from Nova Scotia until after the Loyalists were settled into their new lives and beginning to participate in local politics. Therefore, some texts may indicate that Loyalists retreating from NYC landed in Nova Scotia, sometimes at Halifax and sometimes at Saint John.

7.  Peter's height was attested to by Thomas Talbot, Upper Canada land owner, who disliked the Teeples. In a book The Talbot Regime, author Charles O. Ermatinger reported that during one speech, Talbot referred to a 'long sprout from a UE', p. 167, a supposed reference to one of the numerous descendents of that staunch UEL, a native of New Jersey, Peter Teeple, who was 6 ft 4 inches in height.

8.  Joseph Pickering, on his 1824 Inquiries of an Immigrant, described his travels through Upper Canada and wrote that '. . . Justices of the Peace, or squires as they are here called, are made in every township if they are eligible persons. In the new settlement they are mostly farmers, with some store-keepers. One duty of a squire is, to marry, if no clergyman of the church of England is settled within eighteen miles, I believe. I stopped at a tavern for the night in the township of Westminster; same day a number of people called in, having just arrived from the quarter sessions for the county of Middlesex, held in London, situated on the opposite side of the river Thames. Petty sessions are held at private houses or taverns in almost every township, once or twice a month, where the squires attend to settle trifling appeals to the law, and grant summonses to creditors for the appearance of debtors owing small sums, or giving notes of hand , at their next sitting to either pay them or show cause why they neglect, when in the latter case the magistrates decide, and . . .'

9.  Bryce Jacques, genealogical reseacher for the National Archives of Canada wrote me that a search of the general index to the Registrar General (RG 68) indicates that Peter Teeple received a General Commission of the Peace eight times, the first on 1 January 1800 and the last on 20 March 1837.

10.  Lydia Teeple was a practising Methodist. The Canada Christian Advocate, a Methodist newspaper, ran her obituary on 20 Mar 1845, and her grandson, Luke Teeple, once wrote that 'grandmother went to the Methodist church, east and south of their house, about one mile'.

11.  The 1824 census for Oxford County lists Peter Teeple Esq., BF (broken front) lot 15, 138 acres uncultivated, 50 cultivated. Grandson Luke Teeple wrote that Peter moved down the road to a new house and that his son Frederick then occupied the old house. The new property is recorded on 13 July 1835, as 90 acres in lot 16, broken front, West Oxford Twp, as a crown land patent, or, as Owens phrased it, as a government grant.

12.  Peter had 9 sons and 4 daughters. In order of birth, they were: Louvinia, William Bullard, Susannah, Luke, Frederick, Mary, Edward Manning, Stephen Henry, Phoebe, Oliver Mabee, Lemuel Covel, Simon Peter, Pellum/Pelham Cartwright.

13.  Susannah Teeple and Archibald Burtch had six children. In order of birth, they were: Belinda, Henrietta, William T, Reuben Hamilton, Henry Teeple, and Laura.

14.  The War of 1812 ended about 1815. Luke married Nancy Finch on 16 Dec 1816. So, his purchase of the house must have occurred about then.

15.  Please look at the photograph of Luke Teeple's house.

16. This list is correct.