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Maria Woods
Born 1791
Winwick, Warrington, Lancashire, UK
Died 11 Sept 1881 Age 90
Richmond, Ontario, Canada (Ottawa)
Nationality  Canada
Other names Maria Hill, Maria Taylor, Maria Glennon, Maria Glennon-Anderson
Occupation Surgeons' Assistant, Tavern Owner
Known for Anglo-American War of 1812,
Battle of Lundy's Lane,
Battle of Chippawa,
Early Settler Richmond

Maria Hill, a contemporary of Laura Secord, was a heroine of two battles in the Anglo-American War of 1812; the Battle of Lundy's Lane & the Battle of Chippawa.

Contents

Early years

Born Maria Woods in Winwick, Warrington, Lancashire, UK to Dr. & Mrs Woods [1] in 1791, Maria's father died between 1791 and 1799. Her mother remarried to Mr. Greenhall, a recruiter for the British Army. In 1799, her mother then died in Tuam, Ireland. Mr. Greenhall brought Maria to Canada in 1803. She was referred to as a "Daughter of the Regiment" because of her stepfathers' service to the British Army.

Arrival in Canada and the War of 1812

After arriving in Canada, Maria was married to Sergeant Major Andrew Hill of the 100th Regiment of Foot. Some say that Maria disguised herself as a man and followed her husband into battle, with her identity as a women only being discovered after she was run over by an ammunitions cart. It is now known, however, that there were some women (mostly wives and children) who were allowed to travel with the Regiment so she likely served under her own identity. Maria served the 100th Regiment in the Battles of Lundy's Lane & and Chippawa as a surgeon's assistant [2].

Grave Marker of Maria Taylor

Post war years

After the war, in 1818, Maria and her husband, Andrew Hill, were reportedly boarding a ship to return to England when they were offered land and a years' provisions to create a settlement for veterns of the 100th Regiment of Foot. Sgt. Andrew Hill supervised the cutting of a road (later named Richmond Road (Ontario) one of the oldest roads in Ottawa) from Richmond Landing to settle Richmond, Ontario[3]. They later opened a tavern & smoke house for the 100 Regiment in Richmond, Ontario at 3607 McBean St[4] where it still stands. It was there that Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond and Governor General of Canada, spent his last night before dying of rabies from a fox bite two months previously. After passing away at the house of Dr. Collis, a former surgeon to the regiment, the Duke's body was brought back to the tavern where Maria prepared the Duke for his final trip to Quebec City for burial using the Duke's own quilted bed covering as a shroud[5]. After the visit, the Hill's tavern name was changed from the 'Masonic Arms' to the 'Duke of Richmond Arms' in honour of the visit.

Andrew Hill & Maria had two children, Jessie & Margaret Lindsey Hill. Andrew Hill died in 1881. Maria remarried Andrew Taylor, a Sergeant from the 100th Foot. They lived the remainder of their lives in Richmond, Ontario. Andrew Taylor died 29 March 1879, aged 79 years and Maria died 11 September 1881, aged 90 years. She left her estate to the St. John's Anglican Church in Richmond for a new church spire[6]. Maria and both husbands were eventually inturned at the National Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa in the family plot of Edward Malloch II her son-in-law.

Uncertainties

Although most of Maria's life in Canada is well documented, how she ended up in Canada is largely unknown. It's thought that she was born in Winwick, Warrington, Lancashire to John Woods, a surgeon in the British Navy. But his given name and profession cannot be proven. Her mothers' given name is also unknown but thought to be Mary. Finally the spelling of the surname of the soldier who brought her to Canada is thought to be Greenhall or Greenhaugh, likely from the Colour Guard but this still needs to be confirmed in Regimental Records with Archives Canada.

References

  1. ^ Rootsweb, Donna Dinberg
  2. ^ Goulbourn Museum
  3. ^ Faith of our Fathers, 1956, p. 44
  4. ^ Richmond Village
  5. ^ Ottawa by Jeff Keshen
  6. ^ St. John's Anglican Church
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