Henry Calcutt Brewer
Henry Covert Calcutt was born in Canada West in the year 1837. The fifth son of James Calcutt’s eleven children, Henry grew up in Cobourg learning the trade of his father.
James Calcutt born 23 March 1792 at Mountmelick, Queen’s County, Ireland, began learning the trade of ale brewing at the age of 14 years. It is told that James prospered during his years in Ireland and accumulated a sizable wealth. However, the family safety was threatened by an agrarian secret society known as the Whiteboys. The society took action against those protestant landholders who rented to tenant farmers at unreasonably high prices and who fenced off for their own use, those lands known as Commons. The Commons was simply a section of land that was available for all the local tenant farmers to share for the grazing of sheep and cattle.
While the Whiteboys were active during the 1700s, chiefly in the counties of Limerick, Tipperary, Cork and Waterford, the activities of this secret society expanded throughout southern Ireland and became the model for other similar groups.
Government Enacts A Law
In 1831, the Irish government passed the Tumultuous Risings Act. The ruling parliament intended the Act as a means by which to put an end to the escalating violence perpetrated by groups like the Whiteboys. The law was severe in its application. Those who acted in a manner of wilful or malicious aggression, those who engaged in shooting at, attempting to maim or disfigure any person, or who sent or gave voice to threats if monies were not paid to them, or who demanded fire-arms, ammunition or other things, were by the new law, labelled as committing a felony punishable by death.
Notwithstanding the government’s efforts to put an end to the violent behaviour of such groups throughout the countryside, James Calcutt found his business threatened by these very types of local activists. In the town of Mountmelick, the Whiteboys were lead by one James Demsey, alias Phil Cassidy. Before long, James Calcutt found himself on the wrong side of this local group and in 1832 he was forced to flee from his native land.