Lambton at War

Brooke-Alvinston Township

Rebellion of 1837 - 39

Andrew Harrower


Andrew Harrower was born in Scotland.  He came to Canada with his family.  He eventually moved west and settled on a farm in Warwick Township.  He was married twice and had eleven children.  In politics he was a staunch Reformer and never missed recording his vote.

When the call to arms, with an order to “turn out”, went through the township of Warwick, Mr. Harrower, though a young man in the prime of life found himself bordering on a state of helplessness from a severe attack of rheumatism in one of his legs.  To attend the muster at Warwick Village, the place of rendezvous for the township, was impossible as he was unable to walk across the floor.   As the penalty for disobeying orders was the forfeiture of the owner’s land—which at first was held only by location ticket, and could be cancelled by the Government, he had no choice but to attempt to attend.

Harrower had no horse of his own at the time, but a neighbor kindly offered him the use of his, telling him if he could only put in an appearance and answer to the call, nothing further would be asked of him.  With great difficulty he climbed on the horse and rode it to the muster ground, and along the trail his bad leg was banged against a number of trees.

Arriving at the muster ground he answered the call and sat down on a log, while the others were being put through a rude sort of drill.

Col. Freer, the commanding officer, caught sight of Mr. Harrower, sitting apart.

Going up to him, he asked in a gruff voice why he was not “falling in” with the others.   Mr. Harrower pointed to his leg, which he was unable to bend and told the Col. that he was unable to walk from rheumatism.  Col. Freer told him to sit there till drill was over and he would give him a cure for the rheumatism.

After the military duties of the day were over, the Col. went into a shed of his own nearby where he hunted up a bottle and from a jar of turpentine poured about a pint into the bottle, putting in a piece of camphor about the size of a goose egg.  Giving the bottle to Mr. Harrower he told him to make his way home as quickly as possible, by which time the camphor would be thoroughly dissolved, then to give the whole leg a thorough rubbing with the contents of the bottle, two or three times, which Mr. Harrower did with the happy result of a complete cure being effective.


~ Story told by Ruby McPhedran, Sarnia, Andrew Harrower was her great, great grandfather.