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William Green of Stoney Creek

Billy The Scout - 1794 to 1877

When Billy was a young lad of 19, he played a brave and crucial role in the Battle of Stoney Creek. Having learned the password of the American troops encamped in Stoney Creek, he rode through the woods to Burlington Heights and delivered this information to the British. He then led the British Army back to the Gage Homestead where they staged a surprise night attack and successfully stopped the American advance into Upper Canada.

William Green, traditionally known as "Billy Green the Scout", was born on February 4, 1794 in Saltfleet Township, Upper Canada. His father, Adam Green, a New Jersey Loyalist, fought in the American Revolution and after the war ended moved his family to Stoney Creek. He received a land grant of 300 acres near the top of the escarpment and in about 1792 established a flour mill. Billy was the eleventh and last child born to Adam and Martha Green. His mother died a year or so after his birth and Billy was raised by his oldest sister.

Traditionally he was known as the first white child born in the area. He grew up to be adventurous and a natural woodsman. During the War of 1812, Billy and his brother Levi scouted the movement of the American troops in the area. From his brother-in-law, Isaac Corman, who had been a temporary prisoner of the Americans, Billy learned the American password .... "Wil-Hen-Har".

Billy took this information to the British troops that were stationed at Burlington Heights. With this information and along with prior knowledge gleaned by their own scouts, the British decided on a night attack on the American encampment in Stoney Creek. Because of Billy's knowledge of the terrain, he led the British soldiers on their three-hour march to confront the American troops.

The short but fierce night battle that ensued on June 6, 1813, was the Battle of Stoney Creek. The result was a major British victory and the Americans retreated.

Despite the fact that Billy served with Captain Land's company in the Fifth Regiment of the Lincoln Militia, and joined Colonel Andrew Bradt's Battalion in October of 1812, his claim to fame is his role as "Billy Green the Scout".

In 1875, at the age of 81, Billy Green was awarded a pension for his war service. He died in 1877 and although the location of his grave is unknown, a memorial stone was erected in his memory.

Just inside the Stoney Creek Cemetery gates there stands a grey granite monument which was dedicated on September 25, 1938 in memory of Billy Green the Scout, Isaac Corman and Colonel Harvey.

On the easterly face of this monument, the following inscription appears:

In memory of General Harvey, British General who had command at the Battle of Stoney Creek, June 6, 1813.

On the northerly face:

In memory of Isaac Corman who gave the password to Billy Green the Scout who in turn gave it to General Harvey camped at Burlington Heights.

On the westerly face:

In memory of Billy Green the Scout who led the British troops in a surprise night attack winning the decisive Battle of Stoney Creek. Born Feb. 4, 1795, died March 15, 1877.

A Century Farm, Stoney Creek

Photos courtesy of the Green Family

For six generations this farm has been owned and operated by William Green (Billy the Scout) and his descendants. It consists of 95 acres where mixed farming has given over to fruit growing, It is located on the escarpment in Stoney Creek, Ontario.

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Virtual tour of the War of 1812

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