The McElroy Family of Richmond, Ontario, Canada

Discharge of Henry McElroy of the 37th Regiment of Foot

This is a transcription of the discharge certificate of Henry McElroy of the 37th Regiment of Foot. May 18, 1819

His Majesty's

Thirty Seventh Regt. of Foot

Whereof Lieut General Sir Charles Green is Colonel

These are to certify

1st. Certificate of Ages and Enlistment.
That Colr Serjt Henry McElroy born in the parish of Drumgoolin in or near the town of Castlewellan in the County of Down was enlisted for the aforesaid Regiment, at Dublin in the County of Dublin on the 5th Day of November 1812 at the age of thirty for unlimited service.

2d. Certificate of Service
That he hath served in the Army for the space of 14 years and 107 Days, after the Age of Eighteen, according to the subjoined.

[The subjoined table indicates that Henry served in the Royal Artillery for 7 years and 277 days as a private from 13 Aug 1794 to 17 May 1802 and he served in the 37th Regiment of Foot for 8 days as a private and 5 years and 359 days as a Serjeant from November 5 1812 to 18 May 1819.]

3rd. Certificate of the cause of Discharge.
That in consequence of a reduction to the peace establishment and being supernumery

4th. Certificate of not being disqualified for Pension.
That he is not to my knowledge, incapacitated by the Sentence of a General Court Martial, from receiving Pension.

5th. Certificate of character &c. &c. &c.
That his General Conduct as a Soldier has been Good

6th. Certificate of the settlement of all Demands.
That he has received all just Demands of Pay, Clothing, &c. from his Entry into the Service, to the date of this discharge, as appears by his Receipt underneath.

7th. Acknowledgement of the Receipt of all Demands
I Henry McElroy do hereby acknowledge that I have received all my clothing, Pay, Arrears of Pay, and all just Demands whatsoever, from the time of my Entry into the Service to the date of this Discharge.

Witnessed by I Lang Lt & Adj. 37 Reg

Signature of the Soldier Henry McElroy

8th. Certificate of Description.
To prevent any improper use being made of this discharge, by its falling into other Hands, the following is a Description of the said Henry McElroy. He is about thirty sevenYears of Age, is 5 Feet 6 inches in height, Brown hair, Grey Eyes, Fresh Complexion; and by trade or Occupation a Mason.

Given under my Hand, and the seal of the Regiment, at Montreal this 18th Day of May 1819

Signature of the Commanding Officer G. Burer Lt Col 37 Reg

Head Quarters, Quebec, 20 May 1819, confirmed by Command of his Grace, The Commander of the Forces.
I. Harvey

And on the back of the discharge:

N.B. The Agent, Paymaster, or other Officer, by whom the Issue of Marching Money is made (under the Regulation of the 25th of July, 1816) to the soldier discharged, is to insert below the Amount of the Sum issued to the Soldier to enable him to return to the Place of his Enlistment or Enrolment, specifying the Place to which he is to proceed; and to state whether he has, or has not, been provided with a Passage by Sea at the Public expense.

Sir Charles Green
Henry McElroy       Colr Serjeant

Aged 39
Served 14 3/12
Mayo Militia & Yeomanry 10 years
5/6 brown grey fresh
HSW letter 27 April 1821
?119666       52L.OL.

Underlined material indicates where data has been filled into the form.
? indicates an indecipherable character or characters.
"HSW letter" could perhaps be "HM letter.


On the face of it, this document would indicate that Henry was 37 years old in 1819. This would indicate that he was born in 1782. However, this is unlikely because:

The discharge records the number of years of service after the age of 18. If Henry were 37 in 1819, he would have been 18 in 1800. Consequently, service prior to 1800 would not contribute to his pensionable service. But it does. We must conclude that this document is self contradictory about Henry's age. If Henry were at least 18 at first enlistment in 1894, he would have been born before 1876. If he were born in 1874, as his tombstone indicates, he would have been 45 at discharge.

That there was a 10 year break in Henry's service, and that he served 10 years in the Mayo Militia & Yeomanry suggests that he quit the service when he married Johanna Chambers and that they lived in Mayo, probably in Castlebar, and that Henry probably made his living as a mason. He re-enlisted (or was pressed) to serve in the Peninsula War when the second battalion of the 37th Foot was formed. (This information was unknown to my father.)

The material on the back of the discharge is harder to interpret. It indicates that he was eligible for passage back to Ireland and thus presumably eligible for a land grant in lieu of such passage.

The date of Henry's discharge is not inconsistent with his being in Richmond at the time of the Duke of Richmond's visit in the summer of 1819. However, it also seems that at least some of the material on the back of Henry's discharge was filled in in 1821. The reason for the 2 year delay is not evident.