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The United Empire Loyalist Settlement at Long Point, Lake Erie
Chapter XXXIX. Bowlby (Boulsby)

During the war of the Revolution Thomas Bowlby became a volunteer in Captain Thomas’s Company of the New Jersey Volunteers. For some years after the war, however, he remained in New Jersey. During the summer of 1797 he, his wife and young son, with their goods in a waggon, made the long journey to Long Point and settled in Woodhouse, on a grant of four hundred acres of land.

Mr. Bowlby was a man of considerable influence in Norfolk county, and a prominent member of the Masonic order. In this connection the following story is told.

In November, 1814, General McArthur, during his famous raid, having burned the mills at Simcoe, Oakland and Waterford, was marching westward to Vittoria, where he intended to burn the Russell mill.

However, the news that General McArthur was a Mason rapidly spread over the country, and the people of Vittoria, to whom their mill was of more value than a gold mine, urged Thomas Bowlby, the head of the Masonic lodge of that place, to go to meet the General and beg him to spare the mill. This he did, and with a white ’kerchief on the end of a stick he met the American cavalry at the top of the hill which overlooks Vittoria, and urged McArthur to spare the mill, appealing to him as a member of the Masonic order. To this the General consented, and though his troops murmured mightily at the “tender-heartedness” of their General, he marched them straight through the town without allowing one to leave the ranks. Truly the power of Masonic duty was as strong in those early days as in these.

The writer is indebted to Mr. T. W. Dobbie, surveyor, of Tilsonburg, for this account of his maternal grandfather.

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