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The United Empire Loyalist Settlement at Long Point, Lake Erie
Chapter XXXIII. Welch

The Welch family is one of the most distinguished who settled in Norfolk County. The original home of the family was in Wales, from which country one branch moved in early times to Ireland, and subsequently (1740) one member of the family (Francis) left Tyrone County and emigrated to America. Francis Welch settled first in Philadelphia, but soon gave up his quiet life in the city for a roving one on the sea, and during the Seven Years’ War placed his vessel at the service of Britain.

His eldest son was the Thomas Welch who settled in Long Point. This Thomas Welch had settled in Maryland, where he followed the profession of surveying. On the outbreak of the war of the B,evolution he joined the King’s troops, and was appointed quartermaster in one of the contingents of the Maryland Loyalists. At the close of the war he was appointed to survey lands for the Loyalists in New Brunswick. There he remained till 1794, when he removed to the Long-Point settlement. In 1796 he succeeded Mr. Hamlin, and finished the survey of Charlotteville.

The family name is properly spelled Welch, but towards the close of the century it began to be written Walsh, and has continued so to the present. The name is perpetuated in “ Walsh,” a small village of Charlotteville.

Thomas Walsh (as we shall now spell the name) was appointed, in 1796, Registrar for Norfolk County. On the organization of London District in 1798 he was further appointed Registrar of the Surrogate Court, and Deputy Secretary for the issue of land patents for the district. Twelve years after he became Judge of the District and Surrogate courts, and in this same year his son, Francis L. Walsh, was given the Registry office.

In the journals of the old court, now in the Registry office at Simcoe, there is the following curious item: “Francis L. Walsh, small gent., fined two shillings for swearing volubly at Henry Slaght’s two sons.”

This Francis Walsh had assisted his father in the Registry office, from the year 1808. He has the record for the longest term of government service in Canada, and, in the belief of the writer, the longest in the British Dominions, for he held the position till his death in 18S4.

The family have had considerable parliamentary honors. For two terms (1821-1828, and in 1835-1836) Mr. Francis Walsh occupied a seat in the Provincial Parliament. His son, Aquilla, represented the North Riding of Norfolk in the Dominion House, 1861-1872.

There is no man more highly spoken of than the old Registrar. He had always a kind smile and an encouraging word for everybody. In the early days of the settlement he used to advise the strangers who came to settle as to what he considered the best lands yet untaken, and often protected the unwary from the wiles of the “land shark.” He remained till his death a faithful government official, devoted to the duties of his office, and to works of kindness and charity among the people he had seen grow up before his eyes. At one time he was presented with an oil portrait of himself and a costty silver set, as a token of esteem and good-will, from the inhabitants of Norfolk County, many of whom had been the recipients of his kindness. Long was his life on the earth and great was the good he did therein. Truly, according to the dictum of Solon, he might call his life happy, for he had “reached the end of days ripe in years and wisdom, and the gods had given him favor in the eyes of his fellows."

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