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Richard Springer

Richard Springer was a Private in Butler’s Rangers, and was my 5th Great Grandfather!

He was born in September 1757, in Albany, New York, to a Methodist minister. After his father David was shot by revolutionary troops at Poughkeepsie NY (on his way to join Loyalist forces), his mother walked with her younger children to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Eldest son Richard served with Butler’s Rangers and married Sarah Boyce on November 20, 1786, also the child of a Loyalist. Richard and Sarah had two sons and seven daughters.

Richard first settled in Niagara as a disbanded Ranger at Four Mile Creek on the Niagara River and moved to the Head of the Lake, now known as Hamilton, after hearing that superior land was available and built a log cabin at the corner of Hunter and Spring Streets. His farm consisted of 100 acres bordered by Wellington, Catharine and King Streets and the base of the mountain.

He was a very religious man who built an altar in his home. In 1798, he began inviting neighbours to weekly Methodist prayer meetings in his kitchen – his home thus becoming the first regular place of worship in Barton Township, and attracting other denominations as well.

As more people started to attend, the services moved to the barn. Sermons were preached by Richard himself or by visiting circuit ministers.

In 1810, the congregation moved to a schoolhouse on the site of First United Church. The official church building was completed in 1824, built at a cost of $1,700.00, plus 5 pounds for the purchase of the land from Robert Land.

When Richard died in 1829 he was buried in the churchyard adjoining his beloved church.

When this church was enlarged the tombstone was put in the church wall, where it stands today.

Submitted by Marilyn Hardsand UE