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Flanigan Dragoon Guards Coat

Curated Submission
1825 - 1840
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
46 x 37
Materials & techniques
Wool; Velvet
Niagara Historical Society and Museum 972.904.1
Following the War of 1812, Niagara remained a hotbed of military activity. There was concern that republican ideas were spreading into Canada. The Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837, led by William Lyon Mackenzie, prompted an increased military presence to combat these threats. The 1st King’s Dragoon Guards regiment was summoned from England to help put down the Mackenzie uprising, arriving in Niagara in 1838. A heavy cavalry regiment, the King’s Dragoon Guards was renowned for the riding skills of its men, and their attractive uniforms generated great interest among the citizens in the Niagara area. One recalled the regiment as “perhaps the finest military body that ever came to the district... officered by men of wealth and title. The men were all six feet in height with fine well-trained horses.”
This uniform belonged to one of these imposing men, Sergeant-Major Adam Flanigan. Born in 1810 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, Flanigan joined his regiment in Canada in 1840. One of the tasks given to the regiment was the renovation of Fort Mississauga, which probably meant updating its defensive capabilities. While stationed in Niagara, Flanigan met and married Agnes Richardson, and they settled down to raise a family on Johnson Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The Flanigans were well known in the local community. They had a son, William, who died in infancy, and two daughters, Mary and Isabella. At some point in the 1850s Adam broke his hip and was never able to walk again. The Reverend Thomas Creen, rector of St. Mark’s Church, frequently visited the disabled veteran. Adam died at 52 and was buried on September 16, 1862 in St. Mark’s Cemetery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. His uniform jacket and his helmet and other accoutrements were donated to the local museum and serve as striking reminders of the extensive military tradition in the Niagara region.
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