MOREHOUSE, DANIEL, miller, soldier, militia officer, jp, and office holder; b. 26 Nov. 1758 in Weston, Fairfield County, Conn., son of Joseph Morehouse and Elizabeth Sullivan; m. 30 April 1783 Jane Gill in New York City, and they had one daughter and six sons; d. 20 Jan. 1835 in Queensbury Parish, N.B.
Fairfield County was an uneasy area in which to be living as the American revolution began to unfold. It had a larger number of tories than most other counties in Connecticut and was a centre of discontent for that state. The Morehouses, staunch Anglicans and loyalists, found themselves in difficult straits in the spring of 1775 after the General Assembly of Connecticut, which was dominated by whigs, passed harsh measures designed to suppress dissent. Daniel had been attending Yale College for a few months when the local committee of safety attempted to draft him into the patriot militia. His uncle paid a fine of £10 to prevent his arrest but after three months the rebels returned and confiscated a prized horse, a saddle, and a bridle. Enraged, Daniel left Connecticut and travelled to New York to join the British forces. He applied to Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simcoe* and served with the Queen’s Rangers from at least 1778, first as a volunteer, and then as a sergeant. He later assumed the duties of sergeant-major and eventually became quartermaster. At the end of the war he received a half-pay pension of £40 annually.
On 18 Oct. 1783 Morehouse and his wife arrived by ship in Parrtown (Saint John, N.B.). They settled at Grimross (Gagetown) for a year until they received land in the Queen’s Rangers’ block in what became Queensbury Parish, about 25 miles upriver from St Anne’s Point (Fredericton). Here Morehouse eventually acquired over 1,200 acres and built a grist-mill.
In 1791 Simcoe, as lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, was authorized to organize a new unit, also to be called the Queen’s Rangers, for service in that colony. Æneas Shaw*, a former captain in the old Queen’s Rangers and a neighbour of Morehouse, answered the call and persuaded Daniel to join him. Morehouse was recorded as a sergeant in 1792 but whether he went to Upper Canada is not clear. Certainly his service was brief. His military career was revived late in 1807, when tensions over fishing rights in New Brunswick waters led to sabre-rattlings south of the border. Under the threat of a Yankee invasion down the Saint John River, the commander of the forces in the Atlantic region, Martin Hunter*, requested Administrator Gabriel George Ludlow* to call out the militia. John Saunders, a former captain in the first Queen’s Rangers and a prominent member of the New Brunswick bar, commanded the Volunteer Militia Rangers. Morehouse was made captain of one of its companies and proceeded upriver to the Meductic region to await the first Yankee charge. After serving from 25 January to 24 April 1808, with no incident occurring, the militia was disbanded. As a reward for his unchallenged bravery, Morehouse was made a justice of the peace for York County. He was to serve in this capacity until his death in 1835. War clouds again furthered his career in 1810. As the possibility of hostilities between Britain and the United States loomed larger, the New Brunswick government invigorated the militia with several new companies. These included the 2nd Battalion of York County militia, of which Morehouse was made major commandant. He would hold this post until his retirement on 2 April 1818.
On 11 March 1816 Morehouse was again pressed into service for his province. He was appointed one of three supervisors of “the Public Road leading from Fredericton to the Canada Line.” Only he and Thomas Lee were active, it appears. They met in May and spent several weeks inspecting almost 60 miles of road, which they found to be in poor condition. They then supervised the building of eight bridges and the alteration of a considerable portion of the road. The total cost of construction was £3,055. This large undertaking created some resentment among local residents. Morehouse and Lee arbitrated minor disputes themselves but called juries for any important decisions, such as the amount of damages to be awarded for the rerouting of the road through the farm of the late chief justice, George Duncan Ludlow*.
With his resignation from the militia in 1818, Morehouse began to lead a more retiring way of life, though he retained his position as justice of the peace and occasionally served as a school trustee. His family was growing up and several of his sons left home to begin their own families. In 1829 his wife, Jane, died. Daniel outlived her by only six years. His final advice to his six surviving children was “that they sell and dispose of all the property I have left them as soon as they can dispose of it without making too great a sacrifice, and remove to another Country where their labour may yield them a better return.” The frustration he was expressing was typical of the experience of many loyalists. As a young man he had had a promising future but his college education was terminated by the war. Although compensation for his service with the Queen’s Rangers during the revolution included an annual pension and a large land grant in New Brunswick, a labour shortage made it difficult for him to clear his land. His prominence came, not from any stature as a large-scale farmer, but from the positions he was able to secure in the local administration and militia.
No pictorial record of Daniel Morehouse has yet been uncovered. The house that he built in 1812 has been restored at Kings Landing Historical Settlement in New Brunswick.
Lewis P. Fisher Public Library (Woodstock, N.B.), George Morehouse to John Morehouse, c. 1862–63 (typescript). N.B., Legislative Library (Fredericton), General account of the great road leading from Fredericton to the Canadas, February 1817. PAC, RG 8, I (C ser.), 1861: 43; 1862: 27; 1864: 10. PANB, RG 1, RS559, E9, 1808; RG 2, RS8, appointments and commissions, 13 May 1808; RG 4, RS24, S25-R6.9; RG 7, RS75, A, 1835, Daniel Morehouse. York Land Registry Office (Fredericton), Mortgage book 5, sect.D: 42–44; Record book A(1): 206, deed 151; 385, 391–92 (mfm. at PANB). Corr. of Lieut. Governor Simcoe (Cruikshank), 1: 111. Winslow papers (Raymond), 602–3. New-Brunswick Royal Gazette, 26 March 1810; 19 March, 14 May 1816. N.-B. almanack, 1829. C. J. Ingles, The Queen’s Rangers in the Revolutionary War, ed. H. M. Jackson (n.p., 1956).