Bicentennial Branch (Southwestern Ontario)
About the Bicentennial Branch
The Bicentennial Branch is the meeting place of the descendants of those families who relocated to Essex-Kent Counties of South Western Ontario or the adjacent United States as a result of their loyalty to the British Crown during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783).
About the Loyalists who settled here
Following the American Revolutionary War, Lieutenant Colonel William Caldwell obtained by treaty with the Indians 97 lots along the north shore of Lake Erie as settlement lots for Loyalists. The native deed for their properties was granted in 1784.
The individuals who eventually came to settle in Gosfield and Colchester were bound together by a number of significant forces. Some shared military ties, such as the soldiers who served under Captain Caldwell in Butler's Rangers. Others were Hessians, soldiers from the German state of Hesse, who had fought for the British in the Revolution. Another group represented the Pennsylvania Deutsch, many of whom were considered to be pro-British because they refused to bear arms. The Blacks who made their way to the area were bound by the common hardships and obstacles perpetrated upon them by the actions and prejudices of whites.
The commitment that the New Settlement pioneers made to their new homes was an absolute one - one that would become apparent not only in the land itself, but in the social and cultural evolution of the area.
Most of the members of the Bicentennial Branch are descendants of the numerous refugees who arrived in the Detroit to Amherstburg area from the states of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and New York between 1783 and 1790.