William von Moll Berczy fonds with finding aid no. 718

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Document Record

Berczy, William, 1744-1813
William von Moll Berczy fonds with finding aid no. 718
MG 23 H I I 6
Document source
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
William von Moll Berczy (1744 - 1813) was a painter, architect, author, and colonizer. Berczy was originally named Johann Albrecht Ulrich Moll, but later changed his name. Perhaps his greatest claim to fame is that he helped John Graves Simcoe (1752 - 1806) establish a settlement north of Toronto, which became the town of Markham, Ontario. After studying to be a painter, he and his wife travelled to England in 1790 and shortly thereafter, he was contracted to obtain settlers for the Genesee Association, a group of British speculators who were trying to develop a large tract of land in western New York. In May 1792, Berczy and his family sailed for America and enlisted 200 German settlers to take part in the settlement. Following a dispute with the company in 1793, Berczy took the settlers to Markham Township in Upper Canada. Starvation resulted in one-third of the settlement moving to Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake) during the winter of 1795 and 1796. Berczy ended his association with the settlement in 1805 and spent his later life in Montreal, supporting himself as a painter.
These fonds consists of the papers of William Berczy, chiefly relating to the German Company and the Markham Settlement between 1792 and 1812, and some material concerned with education from 1828 to 1831. Included are draft narratives relating to the formation of the company in the Genesee District and to progress made toward settlement; lists of settlers, and contracts and agreements with settlers, 1799-1804. Of note is the "Calculation on the methods and costs of settling a tract of 10,000 acres".
The fonds offers limited information about his artistic career, but does include some commentary, marginal notes and sketches.