Crown Land Transfers

In 1791 when the Colony of Québec was devided into Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Québec), settlers signed petitions to request crown land. Loyalists were also entitled to land. When submitting a petition for land, the applicant was required to provide supporting documentation proving their age, character, and identity and these documents were often returned to the applicant once the application was processed. When applying for land, it was important to mention suffrage, loss and services during the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. These petitions were read in front of the Land Comittee of the Executive Council and the Coucillors made recommendations to the Lieutenant Govenor who made the final decision.

Upper Canada Land Transfer to John McKirgen

This document is a land transfer, granting land to John McKirgen, from the Province of Upper Canada. The document is dated in 1806, and is signed by Francis Gore, judge D'Arcy Boulton, as well as admisnistrator or government Peter Russell. The document grants 200 acres of land to McKirgen, in the town of Maidstone, within the County of Essex. This document relates to John Askin because his son, James Askin was responsible for handling land transfers in this area of Upper Canada at the time of the transfer. He was appointed this duty by Francis Gore, whos signature is on the document as witness.

There is a mystery with this document. This mystery surrounds one of the most important people in this document, the buyer John McKirgen. John McKirgen received this land which was right between the Puce River and the Detroit River. The size of the property was 200 acres, which indicates that McKirgen was most likely a British Loyalist because it was extremely rare for anyone else to recieve such large plots of land from the government of Upper Canada. The mystery of John McKirgen is that there is not a single birth or death record on either side of the border and there is no proof of this land transfer taking place on the Government of Canada land transfer database.

Francis Gore was the lieutenant governor in Upper Canada in 1806 and was the witness in the signing of the land grant to John McKirgen. He was also in close relations with John Askin jr., granting Askin responsibility of all land transfers in the area of what is known now as the Windsor-Detroit border.

D'Arcy Boulton was a judge in Upper Canada in 1806 at the time of the land grant to John McKirgen. He was the judge that signed the document.

Peter Russell was the government administrator at the time of the land transfer to John McKirgen. He signed the bottom of the document, finalizing the grant and authorizing the transfer by the Province of Upper Canada.


Gates, Lillian F. Land Policies of upper Canada. (Toronto): Univ. of Toronto Pr., 1968.

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