The O'Leary Collection—Medals of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Private John Franklin Maddever

7th Battalion Infantry

By: Capt (ret'd) Michael M. O'Leary, CD, The RCR

John F. Maddever, the son of a wheelwright (Charles), was born in London, Ont., in March 1849. One of six children and the only son in the family, he was 17 years old when he served in the Fenian raids in 1866.

The 7th Battalion Infantry, "Prince Arthur's Own" was authorized to be formed at London, Ont., on 27 Apr 1866, from six independent volunteer companies of artillery, rifles and infantry. The Militia General Order identified these companies as 'No. 1 Company' (Volunteer Militia Foot Artillery Company), 'No. 2 Company' (2nd Volunteer Militia Company of Infantry), 'No. 3 Company' (The Merchants Volunteer Rifle Company), 'No. 4 Company' (Volunteer Rifle Company), 'No. 5 Company' (The London Highland Volunteer Rifle Company), and 'No. 6 Company' (2d Volunteer Militia Rifle Company). The unit was renamed the "7th Battalion Infantry" on 1 May 1866.

Maddever first appears in surviving Militia pay lists for the year ending 30 Jun 1866. His name can be found in the pay list for No. 3 Infantry Company at London, Ont., commanded by Captain A. MacPherson. Having completed the requirements to attend Drill parades during the year, Maddever was paid $8.00. For attended eight Weekly Drill Field days in May, 1866, he received another $4.00.

The 7th Battalion Infantry was called out on active service on 1 June 1866. Militia General Order No. 1 for the Volunteer Militia of Upper and Lower Canada called out the troops with the following Order:

"The Governor General and Commander in Chief directs that the following named corps be called out for actual service, and that the said corps be immediately assembled and billetted at their respective head quarters, there to await such orders for their movement as may be directed by the Commander in Chief."

In the lengthy list of units called upon for active service was "7th Battalion, 6 Companies, London." The current official lineage document for The Royal Canadian Regiment, in summarizing the operational history of the 7th Battalion (later to be an amalgamated regiment in the lineage of The RCR), notes that "the battalion served on the St. Clair frontier and was removed from active service on 22 June 1866."

Maddever, as a soldier in the field force, was paid 25 cents per day. In addition, the General Order stipulated:

"And the non commissioned officers and privates shall receive either free lodgings, and rations; or an allowance thereof, as may in different cases be deemed most advisable; and in cases where an allowance is granted the rate for such allowance will be for Volunteers who have not been moved from their Company or Battalion Head Quarters forty cents per man per day, and fifty cents per man per day for all Volunteers who have been moved from their homes."

The London Free Press and Daily Western Advertiser edition of Saturday Morning, 2 Jun 1866, described the departure of the local volunteers:

"Departure of our Volunteers

"Shortly after 11 last night (Friday), six of our gallant volunteer companies left by train for Paris, en route for the scene of the Fenian camp. An immense concourse of people assembled to see them off, and many tears were shed by relatives and friends, and all present wished them Godspeed. We feel sure that our brave boys will give a good account of themselves should they be called into action to repel the Foe. They go forth at the call of their ancestry to fight in as holy a cause as ever inspired a patriotic citizen soldiery. God protect them and bring them safely back to their beloved friends and relatives. The following companies, almost 250 men in all, have left the city for the seat of war:&$8212;

"Capt. Elliot's Foot Artillery.
Capt. McMillan's No. 1 Infantry.
Capt. Code's No. 1 Tecumseh Rifles.
Capt. Lewis' No. 2 Rifles.
Capt. Goodhue's No. 3 Rifles.

"Capt. Griffith's No. 2 Infantry Company will parade at 3 o'clock this morning, and will likely leave to day, if necessary. No orders for Col. Shandy's Battery at present.

"We are sorry to state that the best accommodation the Great Western Railway could afford for the conveyance of the Volunteers was a train of freight cars with no sitting room. Officers and men, with their arms, and forty rounds of ammunition, were all piled in, and off they went without a murmur as gallant soldiers should do on such an emergency.

"The cheering and enthusiasm was immense, and cheers arose from the assembled multitude as the train went off, which was answered by the boys on the cars."

Maddever's name can be found on a surviving pay list for Capt Griffith's company. The document shows pay received for service from 1 Jun to 18 Jun 1866, for which Maddever received $4.50.

The battalion was removed from active service on 22 June 1866. The General Order of that date shared the Commander in Chief's message to the troops, which began:

"In releasing the the Volunteers for the present from active duty, the Commander in Chief desires to make known to the officers, non commissioned officers and men of the force, the pride and satisfaction with which, he has witnessed the patriotism and energy displayed by them in their instantaneous response to the call to arms."

While the unit may have been released from duty, it appears that some troops of the 7th Battalion remained as volunteers. The Programme of the 76th anniversary: Her Majesty's Birthday, May 24th, 1895: grand military review at London, Ont., summarized the service of locally raised companies as follows:

"…at the time of the Fenian raid of 1866, when one or two companies were stationed at Windsor for over three months, and the whole Battalion was placed under active service at Fort Erie, At the latter point, although not coming under fire, they were subjected to trying forced marches and had to endure much fatigue."

On 24 Aug 1866, The London Free Press and Daily Western Advertiser included the following item:

"Latest from the Camp

"From a gentleman who arrived from the Camp last night, we learn that an inspection took place yesterday by Colonel Wolseley, Commandant, preparatory to the Adjutant-General's inspection today. The remarks of the Colonel were highly complimentary to the 7th. Eulogising their drill and general conduct, he said they were the most efficient Volunteer corps he had yet seen, on account of which breech-loaders will be issued to them immediately, or as soon as it can be done.

"It was reported in camp that there was a probability of the 7th remaining there a week longer, in consequence of anticipated trouble between the Queen's Own and 13th, of Hamilton, arising out of the late encounter at Ridgeway, in which the 60th were concerned. We trust there will be no need of such a detention."

The medal for the Fenian Raids in 1866 and 1870 was not authorized until 1899. Similarly, the Fenian Raid Volunteer Bouty Act was a long overdue offering of compensation for the soldiers of the campaign. Maddever made his claim under the Bounty Act in 1912. On his declaration, he described his service as "enrolled in the 1st Administration Battalion, Major Hill, Commanding, and served at Windsor in the Province of Ontario from Nov. 1st, 1865 until April 1st, in the year 1866., and in June 1866 at London, Paris and Fort Erie." Marginal notes on the form identify both the 7th Battalion and Capt. Griffiths.

After 1866, Maddever worked as an organ builder in London. In 1871, he married Eliza Watson. The couple would have four children, one son and three daughters, between 1872 and 1882.

Surviving Militia pay lists also show that Maddever remained with the 7th Battalion for at least a few years after his Fenian Raid service. He can be found in Capt Griffith's company at the rank of Sergeant, in the lists for the years 1867-68 and 1868-69.

In 1882, Maddever moved his family to Niagara Falls, New York, where he was employed as a millwright. He was active in the community as Inspectors of Elections in 1892, and also a member of the fraternal organizations Independent Order of Foresters and The Woodmen of the World.

Maddever would not return to London until 1904 after a 22 year absence. The Advertiser, of London, Ont., published the following item in its edition of Monday, 23 May 1904:

"Mr. John F. Maddever, Niagara Falls, N.Y., an old London Boy, is visiting here in company with Mrs. Maddever. It is 22 years since Mr. Meddever was in London, and he sees many changes. He thinks the city has much improved."

John Maddever died in Niagara Falls, N.Y., on 24 Feb 1837.

Pro Patria


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