BROUSE, GEORGE, farmer, businessman, office holder, justice of the peace, politician, and militia officer; b. 1790 in Matilda Township (Ont.), son of Peter Brouse and Eliza ——; m. Catherine Carman, and they had two sons and five daughters; d. 12 Feb. 1860 in Iroquois, Upper Canada.
George Brouse’s father, a resident of Stone Arabia, N.Y., served during the American revolution as a private in the King’s Royal Regiment of New York [see Sir John Johnson*]. Discharged in 1783, he and other members of the regiment settled a year later in Township No.5 (Matilda) on the St Lawrence River. When he died in 1810, George, his elder son, inherited the west half of the “homestead” (lot 22, concession 1 of Matilda Township). Acquiring more land in the area over a period of years by grant, as the son of a loyalist, and by purchase, George eventually owned at least 900 acres. He farmed extensively, raising livestock and growing a variety of crops including apples and vegetables. During the War of 1812 he suffered losses of livestock, farm equipment, and personal effects on two occasions: in 1813 at the hands of the invading army of Major-General James Wilkinson, and in 1814 from a party of British seamen en route west.
Brouse’s property included part of an area on the shore of the St Lawrence known as Point Iroquois. A settlement, first called Matilda and later Iroquois, grew up there around a general store opened by Brouse evidently after 1814. In the 1820s he began building a steam-driven mill complex, which comprised a flour- and grist-mill, a sawmill and shingle factory, and a woollen-mill. His enterprises made him a prosperous and prominent figure in the area. He built one of the village’s largest houses, and reputedly employed a black servant and kept a racehorse.
In 1810 Peter Brouse had converted George and his brother Peter to Methodism but according to John Saltkill Carroll* “merchandize cooled George’s heart till the great revival in 1822, when he was restored, and became a life long steward of the Church.” Brouse also occupied a number of local offices. On 5 July 1828 he was appointed postmaster, a position he held for at least 20 years. He sat with Peter Shaver for one term (1828–30) as a member of the provincial assembly for Dundas but does not appear to have had a strong political orientation prior to the 1828 election. William Lyon Mackenzie* listed him under “political sentiments not known” in the Colonial Advocate of 26 June 1828, although in the house Brouse voted consistently with the reform majority. His local prominence was enhanced by his appointment as captain in the 2nd Regiment of Dundas militia on 30 Jan. 1839, and in 1847 he received his first commission as a justice of the peace.
The growth of both the village of Iroquois and Brouse’s business, which from 1847 included a telegraph office in his store, was stimulated by the completion of the Point Iroquois Canal (1847) and the Grand Trunk Railway (built between Montreal and Brockville in 1854–55). Brouse was influential in having Iroquois incorporated as a village in 1857 and served as its first reeve. His sons, George William and Guy Carleton, inherited and continued his farming and mercantile activities in Matilda Township. One daughter, Abigail Ann, married William Patrick*, a reform member of the Legislative Assembly.
AO, RG 22, ser.198, George Brouse. BLHU, R. G. Dun & Co. credit ledger, Canada, 14: 42. PAC, MG 25, 14; RG 1, E3, 8: 10; L3, 37: B10/52; RG 9, I, B5, 6; RG 19, 3746, claim 409. Can., Prov. of, Legislative Assembly, App. to the journals, 1846, app.F. “Land board minutes, etc.,” AO Report, 1905: cxxxv. “Settlements and surveys,” PAC Report, 1891, note A: 5, 13, 17. “Surveyors’ letters, notes, instructions, etc., from 1788 to 1791,” AO Report, 1905: 463. U.C., House of Assembly, Journal, 1829–30. Colonial Advocate, 26 June 1828. Ottawa Citizen, 17 Feb. 1860. Armstrong, Handbook of Upper Canadian chronology, 69, 80. Canada directory, 1857–58; 1864–65. “1828 Upper Canada election results table,” comp. R. S. Sorrell, OH, 63 (1971): 68. Illustrated historical atlas of the counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Ont., comp. H. Belden (Toronto, 1879; repr. Owen Sound, Ont., 1972). W. D. Reid, The loyalists in Ontario: the sons and daughters of the American loyalists of Upper Canada (Lambertville, N.J., 1973). A. L. Burt, The old province of Quebec (2v., Toronto, 1968), 2: 89–90. Carroll, Case and his cotemporaries, 1: 8, 207, 209. J. S. Carter, The story of Dundas . . . (Iroquois, Ont., 1905; repr. Belleville, Ont., 1973), 171, 347–48, 351, app.B. J. G. Harkness, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry: a history, 1784–1945 (Oshawa, Ont., 1946), 154.