Andrew Givens Sr. (1782-1857)

(possibly Aka Andrew W. Givens Jr)

Andrew Givens was a Presbyterian born in Ireland. His birth year of 1782 can be derived from his Rosetta Cemetary gravestone which reads “In memory of Andrew Givens who died Dec 12, 1857, in the 75th year of his age. ” 

Andrew and his wife Margaret had three sons and a daughter (or daughter-in-law): John, Andrew, William and Elizabeth. There is a strong possibility that Andrew also had a brother who was 9 years younger by the name of John. The possible evidence for this is the fact that a gravestone in the Rosetta Cemetery reads “In memory of John Givens died May, 1876 aged 85 years.” With a birth date of 1791, this is potentially Andrew’s brother.

Andrew must have emigrated in or prior to 1822 because he was found on “Colonel Marshall 1834 Report of Lots Settled in 1821-22.[1] On the Colonel Marshall report, Andrew is listed as being an 1822 emigrant.

Andrew settled the west half of Lot 16, Concession 11 Township of Lanark, with a Grant from the Crown, dated April, 1826, recorded May 26, 1826. Andrew located in the Tennant Settlement. The conditions of his 100-acre “land grant” gave him provisional title requiring him to “… within 3 years, erect and build … upon some portion of said parcel or tract of land, a good and sufficient dwelling house….”

Carol Bennett McCuaig[2] writes that “when people took up land in the early days they couldn’t receive a deed until they had performed settlement duties. This meant putting up a dwelling, clearing a particular acreage of trees, and clearing a roadway in front of the property. Men were also required to perform statute labor, i.e. spending a day or two each year working on the roads.”

Though Andrew began with 100 acres[3], by the time he settled his affairs he had acquired 600 acres.[4]

Andrew Givens and the settlers surrounding him were religious people. Note the following quote:

“Another church settlement was the Tenth Line Lanark Group. Mr. Andrew Given (who owned property on Lanark Concession XI – Lot 14) was an elder, and indutebally the people met frequently in his home. The group was certainly disbanded by 1847 at the latest.”[5]

The Congregational Church in Lanark Township originated in a withdrawal from the Presbyterian Church.  It was in the year 1848 or 1849 that about fifty people, most of whom being heads of families and residing near Middleville and Rosetta, left the Presbyterian Church in consequence of what they regarded as the arbitrary conduct of their minister. …[6]

During the winter of 1852, steps were taken to erect a new and commodious frame church building at Rosetta which was completed the next summer.  It was found that at the end of the first year of the church’s history that the membership had doubled to about 30. [7]

 The opening paragraphs of Andrew’s will which was composed in 1858 lends further support to Andrew’s being religious:

I, Andrew Givens … do make my last will and testament.

“Taking the admonition of the Prophet “Set thine house in order for thou shalt die, and not live” and being weak in body but not in mind. I thank Almighty God for all his mercies to me an unprofitable servant.

First, I bequeath my body to the earth from whence it was taken, and do commit my soul to God my Savior who died to redeem me in shure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection unto eternal life through Christ my Savior and do request my beloved wife and children to enter my mortal remains in a decent and respectable manner.”

Some interesting information pertaining to Andrew’s earliest years in Lanark County concerns his military service.

It appears that Andrew Givens collected a British military pension for having served in the “militia” and that his former residence was Perth. Across from Andrew’s name in a militery register are 3 entries in these respective columns: Rate – 6; Date of Admission – 19 June 1822; Residence – Perth (which is in Ontario, Canada).[8]

During Andrew’s day, the main system used to pension men in the British army was operated by the Royal Hospital Chelsea. All Army pensions were paid from the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Hence, all Army pensioners were known as Chelsea Pensioners.

The “militia” was a part-time voluntary force of civilians trained as soldiers. They were not part of the regular army. The militia was organized by county and existed mainly to help defend Britain and Ireland.

Perth had been settled in 1817 as a military settlement and became the capital of the district.

It was in large measure composed of discharged soldiers, placed under the control of the quarter-master-general’s department. On 24th December, 1822, the military superintendence was removed and Perth came to enjoy the civil privileges enjoyed by the rest of the province.

Perth had been formed soon after the termination of the war with the United States. The settlement experienced an influx of discharged soldiers at a time when a great reduction in the army was taking place. The discharged soldiers were induced to settle in Perth following the War of 1812 mainly as a response to the perceived threat of another American invasion. Two thirds of Perth’s original population was ex-military men.

A Rosetta Cemetery Gravestone provides a death date for Andrew Givens of Dec 12, 1857, in the 75th year of his age.

The Givens family owned 4 – 100 acre farms in a block. The intersection of Wolf Grove Road (County Road 16 running E-W) & the 12th line of Concession (running N-S) was formerly known as “Givens Corners.” The original Givens farm was in the NW quadrant.

Rosetta is currently within the Township of Lanark Highlands (NW Corner of today’s Lanark County) near Almonte. It was formed from the southern part of the old Bathurst District.

In viewing Andrew’s land today, a person finds a farm capable of producing: corn, maple (syrup) trees, apple trees, dense brush, hay, cattle (dairy or beef) and sheep. There is swamp and marsh nearby as well as Taylor Lake which contains pickerel, northern pike and smallmouth bass in it. In the fall season, the trees’ leaves change to vibrant colors. In Andrews day, clearing the land would have been a formidable task.   

[1] Col. Marshall’s 1834 Report of Lots Settled in 1820-1821.

[2] Author of book Valley Irish

[3] Col. Marshall’s 1834 Report of Lots Settled in 1820-1821.

[4] Rosetta Womens Institute, Tweedsmuir History.

[5] Almonte Gazette, 1966 article on the History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church (commonly called the

  Cameronians). Article is in Mrs. J. R. Reid’s scrapbook and referenced in Marilyn Snedden’s 11/2/95

  Letter to Liz Hunt.

[6] Rev. R.K. Black; History of Congregationalism; Lanark Village Gazette, December 29, 1889.

[7]Rev. R.K. Black; History of Congregationalism; Lanark Village Gazette, December 29, 1889.

[8] The military register “War Office 120: Royal Hospital Chelsea Regimental Register, Volume 70, page 388[8]”