Our NIXON family immigrated to America from Manorhamilton Town in County Leitrim, NW Ireland about the year 1748. Allan Nixon’s own deposition states that in the first half of 1777 in New Jersey he joined the Royal Standard under Colonel Joseph Barton, who’s commission was to form the 1st Battalion of the New Jersey Volunteers. At the close of the War, Allan married Mary Moore on 19 Oct 1783. Mary was the oldest child of John Moore and Dinah Pettit. John had, at one point, served as a Loyalist captain.
First in April 1786 and afterwards with the famous 46 families in the summer of 1787 Allan and Mary came to reside at the Settlement at the Forty in Grimsby Township. This troupe included families that were related by NJ marriages or directly by blood, families that were headed by no less than FIVE Loyalists: John Moore, Andrew Pettit, Squire John Pettit, Jacob Glover and Allan Nixon Jr.
By 1796 the Land Board had awarded Allan Nixon 1200 acres. This land parcel stretched from the Lake (a little east of Grimsby Beach) up over the escarpment and all the way back to Mud Street (almost 4 miles). In the early years in this country Allan chose the Lake lot for his first home, upon which he built a log cabin. Allan was one of the first members of the Grimsby Township Council, being elected as Assessor in 1793 and as Overseer of Roads in 1799. Allan’s signature appears on a 1798 membership list for Barton Lodge in Stoney Creek, Ontario. A year later he was installed as Junior Warden when their own Masonic Lodge was chartered in Grimsby.
By 1803 a low frame building one and one half stories high stood on the north side of the “Grimsby and Queenston Stone Road” in the shadow of the escarpment. This was the relatively spacious farmhouse that Allan built for his family on Lot 13, C2 Grimsby in quieter, more prosperous years. It was Grimsby’s original Nixon Hall, so named from an earlier time and place with the same name, built by an ancestral uncle in County Fermanagh, Ireland. While it has a different appearance now, Nixon Hall stands today where it did then, Main West near the NE corner of Linden Lane.
Across the road, on the south side and a few yards to the west, about 1799, Allan put his skills to work as a stonemason in the construction of a blacksmith shop that has outlasted all but two buildings from the early settlement period. To Allan Nixon belongs the distinction of having fashioned the first tools and implements (“Jewels”) for the newly formed Lodge. Thirteen years later at the start of the War of 1812 he was also the one to make them safe in a secret cave near his original property at the 30 Mountain Road.
On May 1st, 1812 Allan Nixon very wisely wrote his will. Along with four of his adult family members and relatives (including his wife, Mary, and the wife of Col. Robert Nelles who was Mary’s sister), Lieutenant Allan Nixon died of typhus fever, a wasting disease, in the spring of 1813 while the War raged on. With the approach of summer over 2000 Americans would violate the village at the Forty, ransack Allan’s home, and take temporary possession of his blacksmith shop. Residents of Grimsby must have been elated to hear of the British capture, occupation, and razing of the United States capital just a year later.
Submitted by Paul Bingle UE