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A raid on Elizabethtown occurred on February 7, 1813, when Benjamin Forsyth and 200 of his American forces crossed the frozen St.Lawrence River to occupy the settlement and seize military and public stores, free American prisoners, and capture British military prisoners.The first years were very harsh as they struggled on the frontier. Residents commonly called the first settlement "Buell's Bay." Around 1810 government officials of Upper Canada designated the village as Elizabethtown.About 1812 leading residents of the village suggested that the village be renamed to differentiate it from the township of Elizabethtown.

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Although it is the seat of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, it is politically independent of the county.In many areas traders and merchants, especially in the coastal cities or the northern border regions, had stronger business ties and allegiance to the Crown than did the frontiersmen of the interior.During the 6-year war, which ended with the capitulation of the British in 1782, many colonists who remained loyal to the crown were frequently subject to harsh reprisals and unfair dispossession of their property by their countrymen.There was little industry yet, but one grist mill, four tanneries, two asheries and four wagon makers were operating, in addition to tradesmen of various types.

Later in the 19th century the town developed as a local centre of industry, including shipbuilding, saddleries, tanneries, tinsmiths, a foundry, a brewery, and several hotels.These four in turn chose a fifth member, Daniel Jones, who became the first Police Board president or Mayor of Brockville.