Adiel Sherwood, who was born near Montreal, May 16, 1779, and died in Brockville, March 25, 1874, was for many years a leading man in the County of Leeds, having been Sheriff of Leeds and Grenville from June 30, 1829, till his resignation of the office in 1864, and held the responsible office of Treasurer of the Counties from 1814 till 1842. His father, Thomas Sherwood, was a subaltern officer in one of the Provincial Corps in Lower Canada, under Sir John Johnson, and was stationed at St. John’s, twenty-five miles from Montreal, where he and his family resided until the spring of 1784 the year after the American Revolution closed, when he was discharged and placed on half pay. He removed to Upper Canada, then a “waste howling wilderness,” and settled in Elizabethtown, County of Leeds, three miles from Brockville, there dying in December, 1826, in his eighty-first year.
Adiel grew up in the woods, aiding to clear land and till the soil, thus developing his physical system, hardening his constitution, and preparing for a long and useful life. When in his seventeenth year he received a commission as Ensign, and eventually rose through every grade, step by step, to Colonel, receiving the latter commission in 1830, and resigning in 1847, having served fifty years. He was gazetted as retiring with the full rank of Colonel.
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Mr. Sherwood was Treasurer of the District of Johnstown from 1814 to 1842; was appointed Paymaster of the Eastern and Johnstown Districts in June, 1812, and served during the war with the United States.
In August, 1815, he was appointed Clerk of the Crown for the Johnstown District, now the united Counties of Leeds and Grenville, and in the following year a Justice of the Peace the duties of which office he discharged until his appointment as Sheriff in 1829. He resigned the latter office in 1864, in the eighty-fifth year of his age.
Mr. Sherwood was made a Free Mason soon after arriving at age, and rose till he took the degree of Mark Master Mason; was at one time High Priest of a Royal Arch Chapter at Brockville; in 1837 was appointed senior warden of the Grand Lodge of Canada, and at his death was probably the oldest Mason in Canada.
About the year 1829 Mr. Sherwood joined a Temperance Society, and a few years later, when a Total Abstinence Society was formed in Brockville, he joined that, keeping his pledge to the end of his days, and working zealously for the cause.
Mr. Sherwood was President of the first Bible Society established in Upper Canada; that Society being formed at Brockville; was a member of the first Religious Tract Society of this Province, also formed at Brockville; was a teacher in the first Sunday School formed in this part of Canada (1811), and was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church during the last thirty or forty years of his eminently useful life.
In a little sketch of his own life, written by Mr. Sherwood in 1868 in his ninetieth year he states that in 1837-38, during what was then known as “The Patriot War,” he was employed by the Government, and on one occasion saved Brockville from being pillaged by brigands from the United States.
He lived to see this part of Canada become a thrifty agricultural district, the log huts displaced by elegant frame and brick houses, and Brockville, without a name in 1784, grow into a beautiful town of seven thousand inhabitants, who almost as a body wept when the patriarch of the place, Adiel Sherwood, went to his rest.
Mr. Sherwood was married in 1801, to Mary, second daughter of Stephen Baldwin, of Litchfield, Connecticut. They had one son and seven daughters. Mrs. Sherwood died in May, 1854. All the children are living but two daughters. William Sherwood the son, lives in the
house, in which his father died. He was called to the Bar, in 1854, and is a barrister of highly creditable character and standing. Before Mr. Sherwood died his eldest granddaughter brought her grandson to visit him, representing the fifth generation of his descendants. Twenty years ago he had descendants in Hudson’s Bay Territory, Australia, British Columbia, Halifax, Bombay (India), London (England), and Cape Town (Africa).