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His Majesty's Royal West India Rangers

Sixty-Two New Brunswick Soldier-settlers and their families

The Rangers' Story retold 50 to 75 years later...

This is an intriguing but somewhat garbled retelling of the history of the Rangers. The Anglican Reverand Leo A. Hoyt [served 1870 to 1893] introduced some of the Rangers' descendants to a Bishop Kingdon [a bishop from 1881 to 1907] while giving him a tour of the Andover Mission:

"After lunch we drove six miles to Undine on the river bank. This is a place with a history. About the time when the Battle of Waterloo when soldiers were being ordered to the front from England, some were convicted of shirking and other minor offences, and were transported to the West Indies, and were ordered never to return to England. This was known as ranging and the regiment was called the West Indies Rangers.

"... they were brought up in flat boats ..."

"When their term expired, they were brought in New Brunswick and given a hundred acres each, between the mouth of the Aroostook and Grand Falls. They were brought up in flat boats, each man was put on the front of his lot with his location ticket, and his canteen. There is a tradition among their descendants that when they were disbanded Sir Leopold [T?]rench told them that they were 'Bad everything but bad soldiers' and they have the reputation of following the traditions of their fathers.

"...Bad everything but bad soldiers..."

"Those who landed on the eastern side of the river established a Post Office which they called Undine. To this section we went to hold a service. They are divided about equally between Roman Catholics and Churchmen. But this distinction is one which existed in the army, each one being affiliated to the body to which his military ancestor was [?marched?] in the regiment. They live on the most amicable terms and one would just as lief ask his neighbor to change his religion as he would suggest they swap grandfathers...."

The St. Albans Anglican Church building was built after this trip, so named by Bishop Kingdon because St. Alban was apparently a soldier. (Reminiscences 'Autobiographical recollections of a lifetime's ministry' by Rev. Leo A. Hoyt (undated[1915?]), Provincial Archives of New Brunswick microfilm F-1097, pp. 9-10, included with Andover New Brunswick church records.)

"banished" and other descriptors

"Banished": Those Rangers who were "sent out under sentence of Courts Martial for General Service" were not "allowed the option of returning to England or going to America". (Kim MacDonald and Michael Barton, "Royal West India Regiment of Rangers 1806 to 1819 (disbanded), Generations, The Journal of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society, Spring 2005, p.3, note 3, which cites PRO CO318/54, p. 93, letter Horseguards 30 Nov 1818.) They may have also felt "banished" when they were in the West Indies, separated, as Buckley states, from all that was familiar at home in Europe.

"Ranging": Rangers were skirmishers who ranged ahead of the main body of the army and shot at the enemy from behind rocks, trees, etc and were trained to respond to bugle calls, rather than marching forward in a "thin red line" like most British regiments of the day.

"Term expired": most Rangers had signed up for life.

Undine as the place where the Rangers settled: "Ranger Settlement" is generally accepted to have been at what was later named Medford.

Home Updated 15 January 2006