Please remember that the genealogy
displayed on this and other pages in this section are copyright material.
The following is a copy of an unpublished manuscript I
originally wrote in the 1970s and was held by the NB Historical Society,
now in the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. If you use any of this information in your own records, please cite this
web page correctly. Also, remember that this material represents a
secondary, not a primary, record source.
The Canadian Fritch line traces its lineage from one family -- John and Catherine Fritch, and their six children.
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, John and Catherine Fritch were residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Yet, according to Carleton's Loyalist Index, in November 1779 the family arrived in New York City as refugees from Philadelphia.
The family's departure from Philadelphia, the headquarters city of the colonial (or revolutionary) government may have been as simply as the family's reluctance to renounce their alliance to England. In the early 1700s, new immigrants from Europe to the colonies were required to take an oath of alliance to the British Commonwealth. At the time of the American revolution, the revolutionary governments required a revocation of that oath, with a new oath to the revolutionary government and active support of the revolution. Any colonists who did not agree, or perhaps were slow to agree, were heavily taxed, had their property confiscated, and were many times imprisoned.
During the Revolutionary War, John served in a Loyalist military unit in New York City. Dr. Esther Clark Wright, in her book The Loyalists of New Brunswick, gives John's unit abbreviation as QMR. Correspondence with Dr. Wright identifies the abbreviation (QMR) as Quartermaster's Department. The appendix of her book (List of New Brunswick Loyalists) includes both John and his oldest son, George. That appendix includes only heads of families or single men 18-years-old and older.
In her letter, Dr. Wright referred to the Carleton Papers, stating that I. Mervin Nooth asked General Carleton for provisions for John Fritch and his family. Nooth says that John Fritch, his wife, and their six children came from Philadelphia. Nooth also says that John worked as a carter for the Quartermaster Department. A carter was a wagon driver.
The Public Archives of New Brunswick lists two Fritch Loyalist land records - John Fritch and George Fritch, John's oldest son. These records are dated late June and early July of 1784. The records show that John and George arrived with the Spring, or First, Fleet. The Spring Fleet left New York City for Canada with British troops and Loyalists at the end of the Revolutionary War. Later land petitions list John Fritch and George Fritch as father and son.
John Fritch received land in the Township of Kingston, County of Sunbury in the Province of Nova Scotia. This area of Nova Scotia a very few years later become Kings Country, in the new Province of New Brunswick. The Loyalists land grant lists the location as along the Kennebecasis River, a tributary of the St. John River. The actual grant was 180 acres, located on the East bank of the Kennebecasis River near Hampton Station.
The second Loyalist land grant includes the name of George Fritch. This record shows George received land (Lot 20) on the northern side of Grand Lake. Grand Lake is a branch of the St. John River, located in the Township of Gage, County of Sunbury. This area later become Queen's County, New Brunswick. The land granted to George bordered Grand Lake on three sides in an area known as Flowers Cove. Records show George Fritch never occupied the land.
Two year after that Loyalist land grant, George Fritch submitted a petition to Sir Guy Carleton. Sir Guy Carleton was the commander of British forces in New York during the Revolutionary War. At the time of the later land petition, Carleton was governor of New Brunswick. George sought possession of Lot 15 along the Kennebecasis River. The 188 acre lot was next to the lot occupied by John Fritch.
Several conclusions may be drawn, from the list in The Loyalists of New Brunswick, the two Loyalist land grants, and three later land petitions.
The first conclusion concerns the probable age of George Fritch. Dr. Wright's list of Loyalists includes only males 18-years-old and older. We must then assume that George was less than 18-years-old at the time he received land as a Loyalist on 3 June 1786. This would mean that George was born about 1768. Since none of John's other children received Loyalist land grants, we must assume that George was the oldest. This would mean that John, George's father, was born about 1748 or earlier.
A petition "To his Excelency Governor Carlton Commander in Chief of His Majisty's Province of New Brunswick," filed by George on 17 March 1787 in Kingston, Kings County, New Brunswick, provides additional information. George States:
This statement confirms that George didn't take possession of the farm lot he drew as a Loyalist in the Township of Gage less than three years earlier. Continuing, George writes,
George was describing New York City, not Long Island where many Loyalists resided before evacuation at the end of the Revolutionary War. Further, George shows us that as a young man (teenager maybe) he worked within the command headquarters of the British forces.
The second petition, submitted by George Fritch on 30 March 1792, states that he,
It appears that due to " . . . Many dificulties . . . " George relinquished the Grand Lake land grant and had been residing with his father who, in this petition, George identifies as John Fritch. Also within this petition, he states " . . . that your Petitioner has a wife . . . " George was granted the " . . . unappropriated half of the lot" (No. 15) on 6 July 1792.
The third petition, dated 22 October 1797, shows possible trouble in a conflicting grant. The following response is found on the petition:
With this ruling, there is an excellent chance that court records exist with possible information submitted by John and George concerning their grants. The petition lists both father and son - John signed above George - as living "on the South Side of the River" (Kennebecasis).
Later land petitions show that members of the Fritch family still resided in New Brunswick as late as 1842. The first of the two land petitions, dated 27 November 1819, is from John (a son of George, not George's father) and Daniel Fritch. They state they
John is listed as 21 and Daniel is 17-years-old. They are seeking 200 acres each along the south side of the Hammand River. Both state they are single.
The last petition, filed on 1 October 1842, states the petitioners reside in St. John and were born in Ireland (sic). Daniel Fritch, Daniel Fritch Jr., and 35 others signed the petition.
John Fritch died January 20, 1812. He wrote his will August 12, 1811. The will was probated August 12, 1812. While I have not found a headstone for John, I did locate a grave site for John's wife, Catherine. The headstone and Rectory records show Catherine Fritch was the widow of John Fritch of Norton. She was buried July 29, 1823 at the age of 84.
George Fritch, the eldest child of John and Catherine Fritch, and some of his children moved from New Brunswick to Ontario during the first half of the 19th Century. He purchased an entire lot, 200 acres, in Oxford County, Ontario from the Canada company on 31 December 1832. Other members of the family remained in New Brunswick. One son, Daniel, married Elizabeth Swim and remained in New Brunswick. One of Daniel and Elizabeth's sons, George Swim Fritch, sailed his ship around Cape Horn at the tip of the South American continent, then on to San Francisco about 1850 where he beached his ship and became a dealer in coal. George married and stayed. George Swim Fritch is named among the pioneers of California, with his descendents remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area even today.
George Fritch died in 1842. His son, James Fritch, filed Administration with the Will annexed on July 30, 1842. The will, made September 1841 was probated June 1842. The will lists John's wife, Mary; his sons, Robert, Charles, John, Daniel, James, and William; and, his daughters, Sary, Mary, Margaret, and Catherine.
Later listings in the index abstract to deeds show that upon George's death in 1842, the northwest quarter went to Charles (Wesley) Fritch and the " . . . home and land . . . " to Mary (George's wife), then to William upon her death. Charles bought out the interests of his brothers and sisters in the estate, according to the Ontario Archivist. On 25 April 1873, Albert (son of Charles) received the north half from his father. Albert died shortly after that. Then James Alfred Fritch received the northwest quarter from his father (Charles Fritch) on 28 February 1878. On October 1879, James Alfred Fritch and his wife sold part of the northwest quarter out of the family. Charles Fritch sold the northeast quarter on 4 November 1880. All the above listed land records were obtained from the Public Archives of Ontario as extracted data.
No later land records are observed for the Fritch family in records on file at the Public Archives of Ontario. A 1881 Directory of Oxford County, Ontario lists Charles Fritch as residing on Lot. 11, Con. 5. A 1890-91 Directory shows J. W. (John Wesley) Fritch on Lot. 14, Con. 7 and W. A. (William Allen) Fritch on Lot. 10, Con. 6. This information was obtained as extracted data from the Public Archives of Ontario.
The descendants of George Fritch reside in both Canada and the United States of America. Two sons, John and Daniel, apparently remained in New Brunswick. Land records show that Daniel remained in New Brunswick until at least 1842. Another son, Robert, remained in Ontario, allegedly living on an Indian reservation. Another son, George, died simultaneously or before and is not mentioned in the will. James died in 1873 at Blenheim Township, Oxford County, Ontario.
A daughter, Catherine, can be followed until the 1871 Canadian Census, but is then lost. Little is known about William, Sary (Sarah), Mary, or Margaret.
Today, George's descendants reside in at least four Canadian provinces (Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia) and at least eight states within the United States of America (Michigan, North Dakota, Colorado, California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida, and Pennsylvania). Some of George's descendents migrated into Michigan as early as the 1870s. My great grandfather, William Allen Fritch, moved his family from Ontario to Ventura County, California in 1872, lived there a few years, then moved his family back to Ontario where my grandfather, Orizabor Burnett Fritch, was born in 1875.
Currently, my records of the descendents of John and Catherine Fritch number nearly 1,500 individuals. There are a loose network of five researchers now exchanging information about this early Canadian Loyalist family.
Revised: 10 Feb 2008 20:47:20 -0800.