Lambton County Genealogy Society Report on Colonel Arthur Freear

Arthur William Freear had arrived in Warwick in the fall of 1832. A native of Ireland he received lot 5, concession 1, north of Egremont Road and the front part of lot 23, concession 7 in Plympton township as a military grant due him because of his rank of Lieutenant on the half pay of the 30th regiment of Foot with 23 years of service. He had planned to establish a house of entertainment but found on his arrival that William Burwell already had a tavern in the neighbourhood. By 1836 Freear had a house built and a large improvement made on lot 5.

In June 1833 Freear purchased lot 11, concession 1 north of Egremont Road which was sold "subject to the erection of a saw mill which is to be in operation by the first day of September next". Freear had his saw mill up by the deadline and shortly after he also erected a grist mill.

In 1838 Freear joined the Adelaide Militia, a special cavalry regiment which had members from Warwick, Plympton, Sarnia and Moore as well as Adelaide. Freear raised a group of volunteers along the Egremont Road. It says that Major Arthur Freear had been a former soldier under the Duke of Wellington. In 1836 Freear's name is included in a list of petitioners to the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada that a new district be constituted and the County Town established in Warwick. His name is also on the pay list of the Adelaide Regiment of Express Cavalry in 1838.

An A.W. Freear is on a list of Road Labourers in 1832.

Colonel Freear, the second settler in the village died in 1844 by a fall from his horse. He left an adult family by his first wife. His second wife Eliza (Ganford) Freear was left with three young children, William, George and Henry, the eldest only eight years old. The Colonel was described as a "man of kind and affable disposition, a thorough Irish gentleman." Because of his service as an officer in the British Army and his leadership during the 1837-1838 rebellion he was given a military funeral. Freear's pistol, sabre and medal from the Napoleonic war were discovered in the home of his close friend Squire Eccles and are now on display in the Strathroy Museum. At the time of Freear's death John George Clarke was assisting in the operation of the saw mill and grist mill. Clarke petitioned to have Freear's ownership cancelled and his patent was issued two days later in spite of the fact that Freear had fulfilled the condition of purchase to build the mills there. His widow moved away and married Barnabus Knight of Metcalfe Township. In 1866 the Freear children being of age had a lawyer try to reclaim for them the land at Warwick village but the attempt failed.

The above information was taken from the book The Egremont Road written by Eleanor Nielsen and published by the Lambton County Historical Society. The book sells for $18.00. I have not been able to establish the burial place of the Colonel or other members in any of the cemeteries in Warwick township or any nearby area so I am wondering if he was buried in Adelaide or Metcalfe Township which adjoins Warwick over the border in Middlesex County. I do not have a copy of the cemeteries in Middlesex among my research material here but would have to go to the County Library in Wyoming about 15 miles away. There is extensive genealogical material there and I am sure they would have copies of at least some of the Middlesex cemeteries. I do go out there fairly often and will try to check this out.

I could not find any of the Freears listed in any of the census records for Warwick but that is understandable as the earliest census was not taken until 1851 by which time the Colonel was dead and his widow and family moved away.

Mary Steward, Lambton County

Historical Society

Note: I wish to thank Mary Steward and the Lambton County Historical Society for this letter. It is said that the Colonel was from Ireland (see above) but he was also sent to Ireland by the British military. It was while in Ireland that he met his first wife Alicia Butler, daughter of the Earl of Ormond(e). This letter was written to Stan Freer upon a request for information. For more general information on Colonel Freear (Freer) see Reta (Cran) Freer page and Personal Character of Colonel Freear (Freer). It is said that the only daughter of the Colonel from his first wife married into the McCormick Family of Chicago associated with the tractor firm of the same name. One of the Colonel's grandsons- Albert, through Henry Freer, married Matilda Jemima Ewards whose family once had deeds on birch bark for a portion of what is now New York City. Rights to this land were lost in a court suit due the Statue of Limitations in the 1930's.


In Sept of 2006 I found out the following information on the Colonel from fiche WO25/758 in the national archives in KEW, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU England. (Their email is: He joined the army, without purchase, at age 18 on June 1809 and was appointed a Lieutenant on June 24th, 1811 in the 30th foot regiment. Due to rhuematism he retired from the army at half-pay in exchange for being relieved from duty to India. He fought in both the Continental and Peninsular War. He married his first wife, Alicia Butler, on August 24th of 1821 at St. James Church in Dublin and had the following 3 children with her. Arthur Freear born August 20th 1822, Anna Freear born 29th of October 1824 and John Freear born Jan 29th, 1827. He lived for the first 5 years after retiring at Edenvale, Enniscorthy, in Wexford County, Ireland. His Will suggests he died in Jan of 1844 from a fall from his horse which broke his neck. I have a list of the various wars he participated in overseas. He received the title of Colonel after his participation in Rebellion of 1838 in Upper Canada. See Rebellion of 1837-38. Those interested in more details can contact me at I would like to thank Steve Freer of California, originally from Ireland, for obtaining the information on the Colonel's marriage in Ireland. Apparently Steve grew up next to the Parish where the information was on file! I also would like to thank Dr. Stacey Burke, a colleague, for tracking down additional information for me while at KEW, while doing archival research there. She obtained an additional military record sheet I was lacking. My sincere thanks to both. Without their assistance I would not have this information. For information on the battles that the Colonel participated in at Waterloo go to link below. Thanks also to David Milner and Colonel E.J. Downham for their assistance in military records.

To Colonel Freer

To Reta Cran Freer Article on Colonel Freear (Freer)

To Military Records of Waterloo Battles in Europe Colonel particpated in