The Old Soldier is Captured

soldiers being taken prisoner

Thomas’s unit was surrounded and cut off.

His commanding officer was shot and killed while waving his white waistcoat as a flag of truce.

Three others were wounded, and thirty-one–including Thomas–were captured and marched to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where they spent more than a year in a prison camp.

When the war ended. Thomas and the other prisoners were released and marched back to Canada.

Next: Birth of a Son


The Old Soldier Marries


August 1816

Six months after the baby was christened, in the same church and in the presence of the same chaplain, Thomas was married to “Mary Saunders, spinster.”

How had Mary gone from being a Mrs. to a Miss? It may mean that she and Thomas had first been married by a military custom called “Leaping the Sword.”

If no clergyman was nearby to perform a wedding, the company would assemble and a sword would be placed on the floor. The drum would beat, and an officer would give the order: “Leap, rogue, and jump, whore, and then you are married forevermore.” The couple would join hands and jump over the sword together. From then on, they were officially considered to be man-and-wife.

Next: Farming


The Old Soldier Becomes a Farmer


September 1816

After the war, in recognition of his military service, Thomas was granted a parcel of land in Drummond Township, Ontario. Almost overnight, he became a farmer and brickmaker. He and his wife raised eight children there.

*Thomas Knight and John Knight both served with the 76th Regiment of Foot. They appear to be related, but it’s not yet known how.

Next: In Renfrew



The Old Soldier in Renfrew


Around 1834

When their eldest son was about 18 years old, the whole family moved northeast to Renfrew. Two more children were born there, and Thomas bought one of the first horses in the area.

Thomas and his sons were involved with the church, the Order of Good Templars, and the mechanics institute, which promoted reading and learning. They served as councillors, inspectors and school trustees in the new community.

Next: A New Home