Charles Strange Perley
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- Charles Strange Perley was born on 11 April, 1796 at Maugerville, New Brunswick. With his mother and uncle Joseph Tisdale, he moved to Vittoria in Norfolk County in 1801. At the age of sixteen, he participated in the War of 1812 through the Norfolk Battalion, and his loyalty was rewarded later in life when he received a government pension of $20 per month. Perley married Elsie McCaul, the daughter of Colonel Daniel McCall of Norfolk, and they lived in Ancaster for seven years. He was granted Crown land at Bishopgate near Burford and settled there in 1834.
During the 1837 Rebellion, he provided intelligence on the Patriots to Sir Allan McNab. His home was used to entertain McNab and several Loyalists were billeted there. As the first Burford resident to hear of Mackenzie’s defeat, Perley personally raised and led a Loyalist militia company, escorting McNab to Scotland to oppose Duncombe’s rebels.
These actions led to his first commission as Captain on 23 April 1838 in the local 4th Battalion Oxford militia. After the long process of establishing the County of Brant and six separate sedentary Battalions in 1856, Charles Perley was commissioned as Lieutenant Colonel of the 5th Brant Battalion, the highest regimental staff officer rank. He was highly active in this position, using his influence to gain local and government support to organize a volunteer infantry company in Burford. Perley retained this command until the age of 73, when he was appointed Commanding Officer of the Brant South Riding Reserve Militia.
In 1840 he was appointed Magistrate for the Brock District, and as a Justice of the Peace, he recorded depositions (including Duncombe’s) from witnesses and people in Burford who were arrested during the 1837 Rebellion. Ten years later he was one of the first elected Burford Township Councilors. With the creation of County of Brant in 1853, Perley was elected the first Reeve of Burford Township until 1855 and Deputy Reeve in 1856, and from 1867 to 1871.
With his first wife, he had five sons and five daughters. Perley later remarried the daughter of Sheriff Rapelgie of Norfolk County. He died on 19 January, 1879, and was buried at the Trinity Church Cemetery in Burford.
- 1. Major R. Cuthbertson Muir, The Early Political and Military History of Burford (Quebec: La Cie d'imprimerie commerciale, 1913), 92.
2. F. Douglas Reville, The History of the County of Brant, Volume I (Brantford: The Hurley Printing Company, 1920), 302; Roger Sharpe, The Martial Spirit: A History of the Sedentary Militia and the Six Nations Warriors of the Former Brant County Area 1784-1884 (Paris: self published, 2003), 168.
3. Page & Smith, pub, Brant County Illustrated (Toronto: 1875), x.
4. Sharpe, The Martial Spirit, 71-2.
5. Muir, The Early Political and Military History of Burford, 93.
6. Muir, The Early Political and Military History of Burford, 282-3
7. Muir, The Early Political and Military History of Burford, 296.
8. Reville, The History of the County of Brant, Volume I, 280.
9. Muir, The Early Political and Military History of Burford, 93.
10. Page & Smith, pub, Brant County Illustrated (Toronto: 1875), x.
11. Muir, The Early Political and Military History of Burford, 94.
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- Image: Muir, Major R. Cuthbertson. The Early Political and Military History of Burford. Quebec: La Cie d'imprimerie commerciale, 1913.
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