1814 Lt. John Reid passing counterfeit money

Lieutenant John Reid

Suspended for knowingly passing counterfeit money

1814 & 1815

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In 1814 Lt. John Reid is arrested and released to continue his duties and then a year later is suspended "for knowingly passing counterfeit money" till the matter is resolved. Bob Campbell is a descendant of William Bell and Lt John Reid and he noticed in the index to the William Bell Papers reference to letters about the suspension of Lt John Reid. Curious, Bob and a group of researchers transcribed the letters and are happy to share this little story.

This page has grown a little bit beyond the counterfeiting story to include another record associated with John Reid. More are welcome.

Thanks to Bob Campbell, Joanne Close,
Wayne McCurdy, Beverly Pulver, Lorene and Ian Sinclair and Arnold Weirmeir.

Use these links to jump up and down this page.
  1. Background
  2. The Counterfeiting letters
  3. Other records associated with John Reid
  4. Possible roots of William Reed and Nancy Nesbitt
Copyright – Randy Saylor and Bob Campbell, April 2012

1. Background
John Reed was born about 1762 to William Reed (1740) and Nancy Agnes Nesbitt. There were 4 sons, John, William, Samuel, and Solomon and together they possessed 600 acres in a block. In a petition dated Sept 1797 in Thurlow John states that "your petitioner has been settled on land in this province since the year 1787 and brought with him a wife and two children." They may have married in Loyalist camp in Quebec or in Nova Scotia and settled in Thurlow near present day Foxboro. He died before 15 Nov 1853 when his will was proved. John left his farm to youngest son Gilbert; land to sons Nesbit and Samuel; money to John, Isaac, Amy, William, Abigail, Esther and the Bible to youngest daughter Christian. Thanks to Joanne Close for this information. John's brothers Samuel and Solomon married two daughters of Nicholas Lake.

According to a list of Officers John Reid was promoted to Ensign in 1807 and Lieutenant in July of 1812. He is named in a number of  returns from 1812 to 1814 for the First Regiment of the Hastings Militia. In Hastings County Militia by Don Kellaway he is listed as a Lieutenant on 4 Apr 1815, just two weeks before the second letter. He is not listed as an officer in this 1818 muster roll.  Records have not yet been found to indicate whether or not he was found guilty and stripped of his rank. Curiously there is a year between the letters suggesting the concern was not that urgent.

Upper Canada did not have its own currency in 1812 and in fact most commerce was done through the barter system and British and American currency was always in short supply.

The impossibility of using specie for military expenditures during the War of 1812 caused the army to develop a new domestic exchange system in the Canadas. Known as Army Bills, these notes were backed by the British Government. By 1814 the total authorized limit for these bills had risen to 1.5 million. At the end of 1817, when the system was terminated there were over 20 000 still unaccounted for. The army bill system worked well and notes circulated freely in Upper and Lower Canada. They brought a liquidity that had not existed before and merchants correspondence and account books show a shift to payment in cash rather than in kind. [Paraphrased from the excellent Planting the Province, the economic history of Upper Canada, Douglas McCalla, U of T Press, 1993, 32-33.]

Perhaps it was counterfeit army bills that John Reid "knowingly" passed. He was charged with passing counterfeit money, not creating it. In the book The War of 1812, in connection with the Army Bill Act,  James Stevenson, 1892, there is a short reference to counterfeit army bills on page 69. The 1812 History Project has posted this image of a $2 Army Bill.

There is an excellent account of William Reid UE including 5 generations of descendants in Family, Yours, Mine & Ours by John E. Holden, Utah, 1999. A copy is available at the Canadiana Room, North York Library, Toronto (929.2 Holden) and the Quinte Branch OGS in Trenton.

2. The Counterfeiting Letters
Letter 1

Kingston 16 April 1814
Sir: It is the pleasure of His Honor Lieutenant General Drummond, that Lieutenant John Reid do continue His duty, untill a suitable opportunity offers for His trial; you will therefore release him from his Arrest.
You are not to need any Relief for the Detachment of the Hastings Militia on duty here, untill Further Orders; the Men ordered for Captain Wilkins application will be in lieu thereof.
I am Sir?
Your odednt hble Servt
John Ferguson Coll
Commandg 1st Regt
Hastings Militia

Lieutenant Coll Wm Bell
Regt Hastings Militia

Letter 2
Kingston 18 April 1815
Upper Canada
Midland District
County of Hastings
Militia Orders
It having been reported to Me that Lieutenant John Reid has behaved unbecoming the Character? of An Officer and a Gentleman, in passing counterfeit money, knowing it to be so, He is Hereby Suspended from doing Duty As an Officer of Militia in the 1st Regiment of the County of Hastings, untill the Pleasure of His Honor the
President is known, on the Subject; And all other officers of the Same Battalion are desired to take notice of this Order, and to refrain from being in Company with the said Lieutenant Reid, As Any Officer of the said Battalion who May be known to keep company or correspondence with the said Lieutenant Reid, untill he has cleared up His Character, will be treated in Like Manner and prosecuted as the law directs.
John Ferguson Colonel
Commanding 1st Regemt
Hastings Militia

Source: These letters are held in the William Bell Fonds at the Lennox and Addington Museum and Archives and are usually found under Lennox and Addington Historical Society holdings. They were microfilmed in 1959 and copies are available at the Library and Archives of Canada, (RG9-D8-18, films M-210 and 211) and at the Archives of Ontario on films M-210 and 211. The Reid letters are in M-210.

3. Other records associated with John Reid
The documents below are about the sale of Lot 25, Concession 6, Thurlow to John Reid. In this case John Skinkle or Shinkle [spelled both ways] was granted the lot in 1789 and he sold it to John Reed in 1798. The sale was not registered so by 1810 John Reid had to make a "claim" to the Heir and Devisee Commission to prove his ownership and obtain a deed. However the principle witnesses Caleb Gilbert and Alexander Chisholm were deceased and the other, Lawrence Halsted, had left the Province. So two affadavits are included verifying the signatures of the two deceased witnesses, Caleb Gilbert and Alexander Chisholm and stating that Halsted had left. This is a good example of the process. Thanks to Lorene Sinclair for transcribing these records.

Single Lot
No 103

The bearer John Shinkle havin on the day of         preferred to this board a petition addressed To His Excellencey the Lieut Governor in Council for a grant of two  hundred Acres of land in the Township of Thurlow in the Midland  District. We have examined into his loyalty and character and find him duly qualified to receive a single lot of about two hundred........he  oath...ity and allegiance directed by law having this day been administered to him by the Board in conformity to the fourth article of the rules and regulations for the consideration of the land Office department dated Council Chamber Quebec 17 February 1789.
Given at the Land Board at Adolphustown this fifth day of March One Thousand seven hundred and ninety three.
To Mr. W.Alexander Aitken                                       [all signed] Alexr Fisher
Acting surveyor for the                                                                 A. Macdonell
Midland District                                                                            P.V. Alstine
                                                                                                    V. ??

16th Jany 1795 
Certificate of the Acting Surveyor
I assign to the bearer John Shinkle the lot No 25 Sixth Concession in the Township of Thurlow in the Midland District containing two hundred Acres being in front 19 chains by 105 more or less in depth Which lot he is hereby authorized to occupy and improve and having improved the same he shall receive a grant thereof to him and his heirs or devisees in due form on such terms and conditions as it shall please His Majesty to ordain. And all  persons are desired to take notice that this assignment and all others of a similar nature are not transferable by purchase, donation, or otherwise, on any pretense whatever, except by an act under the Signature of the Board for the District in which the lands are situated which is to be endorsed upon this certificate.
Given at Kingston this 16th day of January One Thousand Seven hundred & ninety five
Alexr Aitkin ?? for the Midland District

Thurlow 19th March 1798
Be it Remembered that I within named John Shinkle do this day make over unto John Read all my Right property interest and claim to the within certificat as witness, my hand the above written
Witness Present                                   [signed his mark] John Shinkle  
[signed] Alexr Chisholm

[signed] Lawrence Halsted

John Shinkle maketh oath & sayeth that he this Deponent did exchange the Lands described in the within certificate with the Above named John Reed for a Warrant of Council for two hundred acres of Land.

Sworn before me
Sydney Aug 31st 1799                      [signed his mark] John Skinkle
Caleb Gilbert C.P.

Kingston, 26 Dec 1809
To all whom it may concern, be it known that I John Read of the Township of Thurlow yeoman will at or after the Expiration of thirty days from the date hereof  lay my claim before the Commisioners appointed under and by virtue of an act of the Parliament of the Province of Upper Canada entitled “An act to  continue an Act passed in the forty fifth year of his Majestys reign entitled an act to afford relief to those persons who may be entitled to claim lands in this Province as heirs or devisees of the nominees of the Crown in cases where no patent hath issued for such lands and further to extend the benefits of the said act” for the purpose of establishing my title to Lot No twenty five in the sixth concession of the Township of Thurlow in the Midland District and Province aforesaid containing two hundred acres as assignee of the late John Skinkle of the Township of Thurlow deceased who was the original nominee of the said land
Dated at Kingston the twenty sixth day of December in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and nine
Kingston 1 Febry 1810
I do hereby Certify that the Within Claim hath been Exhibited in the Office of the Clerk of the Peace for the Midland District for more than thirty days.
[signed] Allen  MacLean Clk of the Peace M. District

Affidavit  S. B. Gilbert
Samuel Birdsey Gilbert of the Township of Sydney Yeoman maketh oath and saith that he is well acquainted with the Handwriting of his Brother Caleb Gilbert and that the name of Caleb Gilbert his late brother affixed to the Acknowlegement of John Skinkle dated the Thirty first day of August 1799 and indorsed on the Back of a Certificate for Lot No Twenty five in the Sixth Concession of the Township of Thurlow is the Handwriting of the said Caleb Gilbert deceased. That the said John Skinkle is dead and that Lawrence Halsted whose name is subscribed as a Witness to the writing on the said certificate has left the Province of Canada.
Sworn before me                                       [signed] Samuel B. Gilbert
the 21st day of May 1810
[signed] Allan MacLean

Affadavit William H. Walbridge
William H. Walbridge maketh oath and saith that he is well acquainted with the Hand writing of the late Alexander Chisholm from having seen him frequently write and believes that a Certain Writing purporting to be a Release from John Skinkle to John Reid of Lot Number Twenty five in the Sixth Concession of the Township of Thurlow is the handwriting of the said Alexander Chisholm and is written on the Back of the certificate for the said Lot and that the said Alexander Chisholm signed the Same as a Witness, his hand writing being set thereto and this deponent is satisfied and believes that the other subscribing witness to the said Writing has left the Province of Upper Canada being Lawrence Halsted
Sworn before me                                     [signed] William H. Walbridge
the 21st day of May 1810
[signed] Allan MacLean

York 9th June 1810
A Search in the Surveyr Generals Office
We hereby Certify that the Name of John Shinkle is entered on the Deputy Surveyor (W. Aitken’s) Place and Schedule of the Township of Thurlow for Lot No 25 in the 6th Concession, Containing 200 acres moreorless, under the Authority of a Magistrates recommendation Dated 11 January 1795 for which no Description hath issued
[signed] Chewett J Ridout
Acty Surveyr Genrl
To The Honorable
The Commissioner
on Claims to Lands
etc etc
(with the Notice)
No 14 Notice
Claim fee paid
John Reid
Received 9 June 1810 from Allen Mclean Esq
[signed] John Beikie
Clerk to the Com
Claim allowed
[signed] Thos Scott
Recd 9 June 1810
Claim No 23
See page 27
Thurlow 25C6
Source: Heir and Devisee Commission, RG 40-5, MS 657 reel 17, item 1, Transcription LR Sinclair, May 2012

Hiram, son of samuel P Cummins, farmer of Rawdon, bathchelor & Abigail daughter of John Reid, farmer of Turlow, spinster, were married by publication of banns on Thursday, the 26th of Dec 1822. Thos Campbell, ector.
Witnesses: H? Philips, Nicholas Reid, Nesbit Reid
Source: Parish Register, St Thomas Ch, Belleville, Marriages 1821-1827, 7-B-1, Anglican Archvies, Ontario Diocese, Kingston, personal files AA Belleville 5372-5609, 41

4. POSSIBLE ROOTS of William Reed and Nancy Nesbitt
I am now pretty convinced that William Reed and Nancy Nesbitt's daughter SUSAN (John Reed's sister) did not marry Samuel Hough/Huff but SHADRACK HUFF, brother of early settlers Paul, Solomon and Angel Hough/Huff. Susanna (Reed) and Shadrack Huff  had a son named Samuel, which I think is the root of the mistake made by early family tree compilers and perpetuated over the years. No family for Susan and "Samuel" were ever found by researchers and I think the reason was that they were looking for the wrong Huff and no Samuel was the right age!! When I looked into the Huff family instead, I found a Susannah Reed who married Shadrack Huff. Only one U.S. tree that I found had made the connection between"Susannah" and Susan, William and Nancy's daughter. Susan and Shadrack apparently died in NY but before they moved back there about 1810, Shadrack had a “Public House" probably in Napanee in late 1790s. The exciting thing here is that some Huff researchers have BIRTHDATE and PLACE data for Susan (source as yet unknown and am working on it) ... which gives us a place to look for the colonial American roots of William and Nancy Reed, the Holy Grail for local Reed researchers! ORANGE COUNTY NY, around Minisink, I think, banks of Delaware River.

If we could find a marriage record for Susanna Reed it would certainly cement the idea. I have perused all the registers I can find here and am now trying to find access to NY  records.  It's possible that Susanna, probably the eldest girl, did not immigrate with Wm and Nancy, so maybe she married in NY.
Source: email from Loene Sinclair, Feb 2015