By the 1830’s there was a need for the militia in Upper Canada. People were discontent with the way things were. They felt there was a need for reform. In fact, there was a reform party which ran in the 1836 election but power stayed at the top, as it usually did. This didn’t help the farmers who were plagued by low prices and the difficulty of finding markets for their goods. There was a commercial boom happening but the farmers were unable to cash in.
Was it economic necessity as a result of these forces that inspired Charles Tripp to apply for a US government pension for the time he fought in the War of Independence? It could have been age that caused the necessity. By 1834, when he made his application, he would have been 73, a hard age to continue wresting a living from the land. Not that applying for the pension was an easy task. He journeyed back to Onondaga County, New York to appear in person before the court to tender his application.
Funny vintage postcard showing the physical work of farming*
It was good timing on Charles’ part, by the end of 1836 business expansion in the Americas and Britain came to an abrupt end. What markets there were would have been badly affected and money dried up. It was a good time to have access to a steady income.
The farming community was not as insular as it had been. Newspapers became common reading for the masses, passed from hand to hand. News about their world was available as were ideas promulgated by the editors of uncensored newspapers. They would have been exposed to the rhetoric that started the rebellion in Upper Canada 1837. Not that many of them joined but the militia was needed then more than ever. Not only was there a rebellion to put down but the US, seeing signs of discontent across the border, was more than happy to seize the opportunity to liberate their neighbours to the north, even if they didn’t want it.
Craig, Gerald M. Upper Canada: The Formative Years, 1784-1841. Oxford University Press, Don Mills, Ontario, 2013
Hall, Roger and Gordon Dodds, Ontario: 200 Years in Pictures: A Celebration of Ontario, 1791-1991. Dundurn Press Limited, Toronto, 1991