James Cummings
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James Cummings (1789 - 1875)

James Cummings
Born in Chippawa, Upper Canadamap
Husband of — married 21 Jan 1818 in Ancaster, Upper Canadamap
Husband of — married 4 Feb 1828 in Chippawa, Welland, Upper Canadamap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 85 in Welland, Ontario, Canadamap
Profile last modified | Created 8 Oct 2013
This page has been accessed 1,953 times.


James Cummings served in the 2nd Regiment of Lincoln Militia, Canada in the War of 1812
Service started:
Service ended:
James Cummings is/was a significant Ontarian .

James was born 12 April 1789 in Chippawa, Welland, Upper Canada. [1] On 21 January 1818, James married Priscilla Nelles in St. John's Anglican Church, Ancaster, Upper Canada. [2] Priscilla died in 1824. On 02 February 1828 James obtained a Marriage License in Queenston, Upper Canada to marry Sophia Macklem. Then on 4 February 1828 they were married in Trinity church in Chippawa. [3] He built a new house for Sophia. [4]

James managed his father's business as a general merchant from 1807 to 1811 when he went into business for himself.[5] He was elected town clerk for the township of Willoughby and remained in that office until 1823. [6] James, like all able men then, served in the militia. When the United States declared war on Britain in the person of its' North American colonies, he was prepared to be called upon. He was appointed to act in the Commissariat Department at Fort George, Upper Canada, but was soon was appointed Deputy Quarter Master General of Militia with the rank of Captain. He saw lots of action as well. At Beaver Dams,[7] Col. Chapin gave James his sword. He was in the battles of Frenchman's Creek, Chippawa, Lundy's Lane, Fort Schlosser and Black Rock.[8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

After the war, in spite of the loss of all his built property, James started over. He rebuilt and gained property, by 1838: a 200 acre grant due a son of a Loyalist and 800 acres for services during the war of 1812. In 1846 after lengthy correspondence with Prime Minister John A. MacDonald, he was licensed to occupy Navy Island; and in 1851 he obtained the North parts of lots no. 7, 8 and 9 in 8th and lot 8 in 9th Concession of Cartwright, Upper Canada, eventually almost all under water. [13]

In 1842, the census shows his family occupied 706 acres, 256 of which were "improved." The lands produced (estimated in Winchester Bushels) 500 wheat, 200 barley and 300 potatoes. Livestock was 30 neat cattle, 6 horses, 60 sheep and 10 hogs. He produced 120 lb. of wool and had 2 thrashing mills. The average price of wheat there was 5/ and the cost of labour was 3/9. By 1851, James was enumerated as a miller. [14] He owned a grist mill that was built of wood and had three run of stones. Propelled by steam, it could produce thirty horse power and make 100 barrels of flour per day.

James was a Justice of the Peace between 1811 and 1861. [15] He served Willoughby township as Town Clerk between 1812 and 1823. He was elected member of the Legislative Assembly of Canada West for the South Riding of Lincoln in October 1844 and remained there until 1848.[16] His involvement with the building of the Niagara Suspension Bridge may be as an MLA. Chippawa was incorporated as a village in 1850, and James served as Reeve until 1861.

James died 27 February 1875 in Welland, Ontario. [17] He was buried in Holy Trinity Church Cemetery section K in Chippawa about 02 March 1875. The gravestone reads: In memory of James Cummings born 12 April 1789. Died 27th February 1875 and of his wife Sophia Cummings born 25th November 1800. Died 1st August 1878 and her sister Anna Macklem born 25th November 1800 died 1st August 1886. [18]


  1. Rev. P.N. O'Flynn letter to Mrs. W. Chidlow, 5 Nov 1968 citing a memorial plaque in Holy Trinity Church, Chippawa and its records.
  2. Dan Walker & Fawne Stratford-Devai, Vital Records of Upper Canada/Canada West (Global Heritage Press), Vol. 1, part 1, Niagara District 1795-1856, p. 145, record of marriage of James Cummings and Pricilla Willis (Miller?) [Nelles] citing St. John's Anglican Church, Ancaster Register of Marriages: January 1818 - February 1828.
  3. Ontario Historical Society Papers and Records "Early churches in the Niagara Peninsula, Stamford and Chippawa, with marriage records of Thomas Cummings, and extracts from the Cummings papers" / Janet Carnochan, Vol. 8 (1907), pp. 149-225.
  4. "Digital Collections" database, Toronto Public Library (https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/ accessed 13 March 2012), entry for The Residence of James Cummings, Chippawa.
  5. Siebel, George A, Our Early Settlers, p. 211
  6. Ontario Historical Society Papers and Records "Early churches in the Niagara Peninsula, Stamford and Chippawa, with marriage records of Thomas Cummings, and extracts from the Cummings papers" / Janet Carnochan, Vol. 8 (1907), pp. 149-225.
  7. [1]
  8. Ray Corry Bond Peninsula village : the story of Chippawa (Lindsay Press) p. 59
  9. William Gray, Soldiers of the King : the Upper Canadian Militia 1812 - 1815 (Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ont: 1995 pp. 79, 87
  10. George Alfred Siebel, Niagara Portage Road (City of Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, Ont.: 1990) p. 245.
  11. Ontario Historical Society Papers and Records vol. 25, pp. 178-180, "Memoirs of Colonel John Clark," quoting James Cummings' letter 11th May 1860.
  12. British Military and Naval Records, Library and Archives Canada RG 8, C series digital images of microfilms C-3502, Vol. 1169, p. 40; C-3840, Vol. 1717, p. 19; C-11805 citing C-116, p. 326 and M.661, p. 19.
  13. Upper Canada "Upper Canada Land Petitions", Library and Archives Canada [[2]], digital images from microfilms C-1651, Vol 98, bundle 10, 1811-1816, no. 136; C-1730, Vol 121, bundle C 21, 1811-1816, no. 72; C-1731, Vol 125, bundle C 22 no. 176; C-1735, Vol 134, bundle C 3, part IV, 1845-1846, no. 153; C-1737, Vol 139, bundle 6 part II, petition no. 55.
  14. 1851 Census of Canada West, Welland Co., Chippawa, James Cummings Esq. household, schedule A personal, district 40, subdistrict 388, p. 27, lines 19-27; National Archives of Canada RG31, microfilm C-985
  15. James G. Chewett, The Upper Canada Almanac (Stanton, York, Upper Canada: 1831) microfilm, Canadian Institute of Historical Microreproductions. Listing of Commissioners of the Peace, Niagara District, p. 44
  16. The Canadian Mercantile Almanack for 1847(Copp Clark, Toronto: 1996), p. 82 (Originally published: Niagara, Canada West, J. Simpson: 1847)
  17. Ontario. Death Register. James Cummings, registration no. 098660 (1875); digital image, Ancestry.ca (http//www.ancestry.ca : accessed 14 March 2008) citing Archives of Ontario microfilm MS935, reel 11.
  18. Transcribed by Judith Chidlow, 1994 Holy Trinity Church Cemetery, Chippawa.

See also:

  • 1842 Census of Canada West, Niagara, Willoughby.
  • Nellis–Nelles, Immigrants From the Palatinate, 1710, Vol. 1, published in 1997 by The Nellis and Nelles Family Associations and the Herkimer County Historical Society #411, p. 103

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Source: Ancestry.com. Marriage Notices of Ontario 1813-1854 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

Original data:Reid, William D. Marriage Notices of Ontario [1813-1854]. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000. Upper Canada Gazette & U.E. Loyalist, York (Toronto) 1826-1828

Gives marriage date as the 3rd. to Miss Macklem