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Our Family's Canadian Heritage

Family Vacation, 1999

As it turns out, the Fillman family story fits in nicely with American history, paricularly around the time of the Revolutionary War. In the late 1700s, it was sometimes the case that portions of a family were loyal to the King of England, while portions of the same family had more revolutionary tendancies. The Fillmans were no exception. Following the Revolutionary War, the British Crown offered loyalists land in Canada in return for renouncing all allegiance with the newly formed United States. Our family was, apparently, factionalized by the war. Brothers within one family were on opposite sides of the cause... thus, while Jacob Fillman fought for American independence, his brothers Conrod, John, Philip and Elizabeth remained loyal to the King.

Following the war, when the King made his offer to colonial loyalists, it appears that several Fillman family members accepted the King's generous offer. Before leaving the United States, the family executed a deed (LINK HERE) to turn over the family farm to their brother who wished to stay in the newly-formed country. (In the 1785 document which transfered ownership of the 150 acre family settlement to Jacob Fillman, our surname is spelled as both Fillman and Filman. It appears that with small exception of a portion of the family west of Montgomery County, PA, those family members moving North to establish their new homes in Canada chose to spell their name with one "L" while the majority of the family in the United States employs two Ls.

With these bits of research and observations in tow, in 1999 I (Eric Fillman, Harrisburg) planned a vacation to Toronto, Canada with planned stops along the way at Niagra Falls and Binghamton, Ontario. I gave the following report shortly thereafter.... -esf-

Many thanks are due to the Filman families of Ontario for sharing their heritage. During our recent family vacation to Toronto (July, 1999), we made a Stop along Filman Road!

Despite the revolutionary tendancies of the American ancestral Fillmans and the loyalist views of the Canadian ancestral Filmans, I am proud to report that political rifts exist no more!

This July (1999), the Fillmans of Harrisburg, PA vacationed in Canada, meeting many Canadian cousins. We toured Filmandale, rounded old Filman's curve, took a quick picture at Filman Road, and saw the newly posted sign for Filman Mountan Road.

Canadian counsins we met include Russell & Lois Filman, Ron & Kathy Filman, Tony & Eva (Filman) Bogoslowski, and their mother, Mrs. Breen who kindly hosted us at her house for the day, Bruce & Diane Filman, and Lorainne and Paul Filman.

(from left to right)
Ron & Kathy Filman, Lois & Russel Filman, Eva (Filman) Bogoslowski

One of the reasons Eva's husband, Tony, wasn't pictured above was
because he spent most of our hours together with Adam (not quite 4-years old)!
(God love ya, Tony!)

We had a lovely lunch at the home of Mrs. Breen (Eva's mother), and then toured two cemeteries, where generations of Filmans have been interred. My particular interest was to see the gravesite of Conrod Filman, the loyalist brother of my revolutionary ancestor, Jacob. We did, in fact, see his grave, and that of his wife, Catherine Horning.

Gravestones of East Plains United Church Cemetery
Burlington, Ontario

Gravestones of Old Barton Union Cemetery
(now St. Peter's Cemetery) Hamilton, Ontario

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