The Buck family, United Empire Loyalists, came to Ontario in about 1776 (1), fleeing as refugees during the American Revolution –also known as the War of Independence. Supporters of the British monarchy were frequently imprisoned, and among those captured was Philip Buck I. His wife, Margaret Buck, ventured off with four other women, taking with them over 30 children, on horseback (2) though bush.
En route (3) Philip Buck II was born (4) and later, Margaret’s husband joined (5) the trek after escaping from prison. (Corrections below)
It is believed the four other women who traveled with Margaret were a Mrs. Nelles, after whose family Nelles’ Corners may have been named; Mrs. Smith 6, original ancestor of E. D. Smith of Grimsby; Mrs. Secord, mother-in-law of Laura Secord; and Mrs. Bowman, of whom nothing is known. In total, 30,000 to 75,000 Loyalists escaped into Canada, settling areas stretching from Ontario to Nova Scotia. (See page Trek of 5 Women & 31 Children)
“There are many legends, surrounding their arrival, and they suffered a lot of hardship and deprivation.” Said Mitchell, referring to historical notes written by a member of the Buck family. “Some of these Loyalists were well-to-do, but the majority were very poor. They built log cabins with dirt floors and a hole in the roof to let the smoke escape.”
FORT GEORGE TO PALERMO
Philip Buck 1 and Margaret originally settled near Fort George, building their log cabin on a 200-acre crown grant. They raised 12 children, each of whom as United Empire Loyalist descendants, were also granted 200 acres. At times, this property was of little value, and those displeased with their allocation used it for bartering, or simply sold or traded. Thus, according to the Wilmot Survey of 1806, Philip Buck II moved onto crown land in Oakville. In 1810 he married Julianna Boehm at Black Creek (now a Pioneer village museum), and later moved to Palermo – most likely in the early 1830s. (At approximately the same time following Horatio Nelson’s victories in the Battle of Trafalgar and French Revolution, whereupon he was subsequently knighted by the king of England and granted a duchy (large estate) by the king of Sicily – the United Empire Loyalists and British colonists renamed their settlements in keeping with Nelson’s honors. Thus, Palermo, after the capital of Sicily, was selected to replace its original name, Hager’s Town. The pioneer settlement was first named after David and Lawrence Hager, two brothers who are also credited with the founding of Hagersville.)
The couple had 11 children of whom the 10th, born in 1833, was Anson Buck, builder of ‘the house in Palermo.’ At the corner of Highways 5 and 25 which in recent years to the present has served as a restaurant, under different names. Anson studied in the United States and also earned a degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of London, Eng. He practiced as a country doctor for 54 years, and often traveled a full day on horseback through bush to make a $2 home visit. “He was known for his absolute dedication to his work,” said Mitchell. He married Keturah Adelaide Howell in late December 1854 and she is best remembered for the local history she wrote.
Anson sat on the former Trafalgar township council for 40 years, and missed only on meeting during his entire tenure because of a death in his family. In January 1908, his retirement as reeve was marked by the township presenting him with an 18-karat gold chiming pocket watch.
Also among his credentials is field hospital and surgical work in the federal army service corps in the United States, and it is believed he marched with the victorious army following the American Civil War, to Baltimore in 1865, and that he was reputedly in the audience when President Abraham Lincoln, Anson believed in freedom from slavery for the American Negro.
“I have never refused a call of suffering humanity or sued a man in court.” States Anson’s creed. I would rather live in the hearts of my people than die rich as a Croesus.” (king of Lydia from 560/561 BC) Dr. Anson Buck died 19 April 1919, and the family sold ‘the house in Palermo.’
MUSEUM ALEXANDER’S FARM
It appears only fitting that the Buck family collection was donated to the Halton Regional Museum, as it also has a family history of its own.
The museum is the original farm of Adam Alexander I who settled in the Milton area during the 1830s, hailing from the Kelso area of Scotland, according to curator Ernest Buchner. The property passed through four generations until Adam Alexander IV sold the 200-acare farm to the Halton Regional Conservation Authority in the late 1950s. The museum, which opened in 1964, occupies six acres of land in Kelso Park, which it has leased from the authority for 99 years. “We have 70 years left,” noted Buchner, curator since November 1982.
Of its six buildings, four are from the original Alexander farm – the stone house, blacksmith shop, barn, and Craft House, which was the piggery! A log cabin, circa 1830s, was moved to the site from Campbellville during the early 1970s, and opened as an early pioneer exhibit in 1975. The museum’s Carriage House is a Centennial project of 1967. The Halton Regional Museum and all of its exhibits are open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Halton’s Loyalist Heritage, the Buck collection, is on display in the Craft House.
This article is about the artifacts donated to the Halton Regional Muesum by the Dr. Anson Buck family, Grandson of Loyalist Philip Buck UE
Anson and Keturah had two daughters, the second of whom Minnie Julia Beatrice Buck in 1862, rose to great prominence following her marriage to Col Colin H. Campbell of Campbellville in 1884. Although the couple moved to Winnipeg immediately following their marriage, she was consistently referred to as Minnie Campbell of Palermo.
She is named among the founders of the Winnipeg IODE -- Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire, in 1908, Minnie campaigned to build the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the city’s first soldier’s infirmary, plus she was active in the YMCA, the war –aid effort of the St. John Ambulance, and establishing a home for women in need, among her numerous causes and social reforms.
Her husband, Colin, who had become a lawyer and a Queen’s Counsel, was appointed to the Manitoba Cabinet as Minister Without Portfolio, in Hugh John MacDonald’s provincial government, 1899 to 1900. He subsequently served under various premiers, as Attorney General, and for three years as a minister with the double portfolio of Education and Public Works. As Attorney General he drafted the Manitoba Children’s Act under which he established Canada’s first juvenile court in 1906. And Minnie was eventually persuaded by the province’s first superintendent of Neglected Children, to establish the Federal Child Welfare Bureau. With the publication and distributions of 16,000 pamphlets to this effect, at her own expense, the Department of Canadian Child Welfare was eventually established.
During World War 1, 1914 to 1918, she raised approximately a half million pounds to aid Polish refugees, as a member of the National Committee for Polish Relief. For this phenomenal effort, she was awarded Poland’s Order of Merit, in 1945. That same year, Minnie was also made an Officer in the Order of the British Empire by King George V., recognizing her half-century of service to Canadians, and was nominated for the Manitoba Senate. By this time she had become a renowned world traveller.
In honor of the Campbells’ outstanding contributions, they were present by Royal Command, at the coronation of Edward Vii in 1901; and again 10 years later at the coronation of George V.
Colin died in 1913 at the age of 54; and his widow, Minnie followed in 1954 in her 90th years. They had two children, Colin Howell and Elizabeth Gertrude Campbell.
1. Arrival in Upper Canada by the Buck family was on November 3rd in 1778 by Margaret Buck,
wife of Philip Buck UE while he was imprisoned in New York City, NY. He was released late 1778 and found his way to his family in Camp Sorel, Quebec.
2. The 5 women and 31 children started walking to Fort George for refuge in September of 1778, from Wilkes-Barre, PA. Some say they were more than halfway when the Commander at Fort George heard of their plight and sent his scouts and Indians to bring them in to Niagara. From there, by small boat, to Sorel, Quebec and housed them in barracks that were cold and damp, while waiting for his land to be surveyed.
3. Philip Buck UE was still imprisoned at this time and did not join his wife. Finding his home empty and ravished by the rebels & Indians, Philip headed to Fort George to find his family. Philip found his wife and children had arrived at Sorel, Quebec.
4. Philip Buck II was born in 1800; two years after his family were in Sorel, Quebec. His baptism shows this information.
5. Refer to #3 above.
*Be sure a check the Footnotes at bottom of page.
SEPTEMBER 14,1983 OAKVILLE BEAVER
HALTON'S LOYALIST HERITAGE
When two overloaded pickup trucks returned to the Halton Regional Museum in Milton from Thunder Bay one day two years ago, an entire collection of artifacts documenting a pioneer family's history from 1776 to 1930 was not expected.
The donation came from Dr. E. Wright, 84, who married a direct descendant of the prominent Buck family of Palermo, Elizabeth Gertrude Campbell. She died in 1978 at the age of 70, and Dr. Wright, who only retired from active practice last year, felt the well-kept collection ought to be placed with region's museum.
But the museum had to pick it up. Lamenting the gift would otherwise not be received, the late Eria Brittain, curator, made the arrangements, and then personally went up to Thunder Bay to make sure the offer was believable. Fortunately, nothing was lost or damaged en route, despite the overloading, from the 500 to 700 piece collection, which includes everything from ball gowns to a spinning wheel, saddle, early farming implements, photographs, historical notes, legal documents, jewelry and furniture.
Faced with researching and cataloguing this substantial collection, the museum hired a full-time historical researcher, display co-ordinator and public relations officer, Jonathon Mitchell. Through hired to delve into the history of the museum's entire 30,000 piece collection, Mitchell has so far only concentrated on the Buck family donation. He has recently assembled and arranged for display, a number of Buck artifacts for an exhibition titled Halton's Loyalist Heritage. It opens this Saturday, and is expected to remain in the museum's Craft House to the end of December ~ perhaps longer, depending on public interest.
When Mitchell had completed the display about a month ago, the donor, Dr. Wright and his family, visited the museum, and expressing obvious pleasure, he announced more artifacts will be forthcoming. But again, the museum will have to pick them up.
Above: The well worn side saddle used by Margaret Buck, wife of Philip Buck UE. The story of the 5 women and 31 children say they walked, about 1778, to Canada. They were escorted the latter part of the way by the soldiers sent from Fort George, Niagara, Ontario, to help them. The Trek of the 5 women were: Mrs. Buck, Mrs. Nelles, Mrs. Bowman, Mrs. Secord, and Mrs. Young.
Doctor Anson Buck home. This rambling two-story house on Bronte Road in Palermo traces its roots back to 1825, and for many years was owned by Dr. Anson BUCK, who having "a fine horse and rig" made house calls to his patients throughout the county. Photographed here in 1951, when still a private residence, the building has been a restaurant for many years, and while numerous exterior changes have been made, it still looks very much like it did back then.
Dress: Mrs. Keturah Adelaide Buck, wife of Dr. Anson Buck
Dresses and suit above are displayed in the Halton Co. Museum along with the other items shown here. Clothing display includes a suit worn by Colin H. Campbell
(Son-in-law to Dr. Anson Buck) and two gowns belonging to his wife Minnie Campbell, daughter of Anson Buck. The one with a diagonal design was worn at the 1911 coronation of George V and the lace gown at the 1901 coronation of Edward VII.
This 18-Karat gold chiming Pocket watch was presented to Dr. Anson Buck upon his retirement from Trafalgar township council in 1908 as reeve. He sat on council 40 years and missed only one meeting.