William Hamilton Merritt was born in
in 1793. Merritt’s father fought for the Loyalists during the American Revolution. After the war, the Merritt family moved to Bedford, N.Y. New Brunswick and by 1795 the family moved to the . Merritt studied mathematics and surveying, and was involved in different businesses before the War of 1812. Niagara Peninsula
|William Hamilton Merritt|
Shortly before the outbreak of the War of 1812, Merritt was commissioned as a lieutenant in the
militia. Merritt served with the Niagara Light Dragoons and fought at the Battle of Queenston Heights in October 1812. By 1813, the 20-year-old Merritt was promoted to captain and continued to serve with the dragoons by patrolling the border and relaying messages along the Lincoln Niagara. By 1814, Merritt fought at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane where he was captured and remained a prisoner in until early 1815. On his return trip home to Niagara, Merritt stopped in Cheshire, Mass. where he married Catharine Prendergast. Mayville, N.Y.
After the war, Merritt ran different businesses in Niagara, but he is best known for his involvement in the building of the
. In 1818, Merritt, along with others, petitioned the Upper Canada Legislature to provide for the construction of the canal. In 1824 the legislature formed the Welland Canal Company and selected Merritt as its financial agent. Merritt traveled extensively through Welland Canal Canada, the U.S. and to help raise funds for the project. From 1832 to 1860 Merritt served in the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada and later the Legislative Assembly of the Great Britain . Province of Canada
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