Friday, January 3, 2014

Harrison Family History

Welcome to the Harrison Family History blog. 

Research done by previous researchers, including the huge contribution of Hearts of Oak by the late Leslie O'Connor, had pegged the William Harrison who married Mary Hutchinson in Egton in 1804 (my great great great grandparents) as the son of William Harrison and Elizabeth Alcon.   


However, in 2012 a transcript of the prayer book of Elizabeth Underwood (nee Harrison), daughter of William Harrison and Elizabeth Alcon came to light which listed her brother William Harrison as dying in England in 1848.  This provided convincing proof that my William Harrison was not the son of William Harrison and Elizabeth Alcon as my William Harrison had died in Toronto Gore Township, Peel County, Upper Canada in May 1836.  I thus began the search for my William Harrison in the extended family tree of Catholic Harrisons from the Egton area of North Yorkshire.  As it turned out the key was the connection between my William Harrison and the Readman family.  

It began with the fact that a Joseph Readman was the best man at William Harrison's wedding to Mary Hutchinson in Egton in 1804 instead of a brother.  It also seemed to me to be more than a coincidence that a Joseph Readman had settled on the lot just south of William Harrison in Toronto Gore Township, Peel County, Upper Canada.  Further work on the Readman family determined that this Joseph Readman (there were three around at the same time) was the son of John Readman and Sarah Dowson.  Additional digging discovered that William Harrison was the witness to the will of the same John Readman.  William Harrison and Joseph Readman obviously had a close relationship and were best friends.  Therefore there had to be a close familial link between the Readman and Harrison families.  

Reviewing the marriages in the Anglican Parish Records of the area indicated that there was really only one possible marriage - that of Joseph Harrison to Mary Readman in Egton in 1770.  Hearts of Oak provided the information on the family of Joseph Harrison and Mary Readman (in the chapter on the Ward Papers), including the fact that William Harrison had no brothers that lived past infancy and only two sisters that survived childhood.  This was further confirmed by the marriage of Hannah Harrison and Isaac Linton in Egton in 1829.  Both William Harrison and Joseph Readman were witnesses.   This was therefore William's sister Ann (Hannah) as outlined in Hearts of Oak. Therefore the circumstances of this family as outlined in Hearts of Oak are consistent with the known facts.

Mary Readman was, I believe, the daughter of John Readman and Betty (Elizabeth) Addamson.  Other Mary Readmans either died before 1770 (marriage date to Joseph Harrison) or were too young.  This is the only Mary Readman born at the right time to be the wife of Joseph Harrison.  Her father, John Readman, was the son of Thomas Readman (1680 - 1729) and Ann Hay (~1679 - 1738) (Thomas is a descendant of John Readman and Alice Walker married in Whitby in 1630 - an online tree focuses on the Egton branch of the family).  

John Readman and Betty (Elizabeth) Addamson were married at Egton on June 29, 1736.  John was a stone cutter and lived at Julian Park, Egton Township (either at Julian Park Farm or in the vicinity which was also known as Julian Park).  The entries in the Anglican Egton Parish Records record the following children:  William (b. 1737); Ann (b. 1740); Betty (b. 1743); Mary (b. 1746/7) and Thomas (b. 1750).  Elizabeth (Betty) and John died in 1752 and 1753, respectively, leaving behind a family of children aged between 3 and 15.   

The various children must have been placed with the Readman relatives in the area.  My guess is that Mary Readman, and perhaps other siblings, went to live with Thomas Readman, her uncle (also a stonecutter living at nearby Beckhole) and Mary White, and that accounts for the closeness between William Harrison and the family of Thomas' son John Readman (Mary Readman's first cousin) and his future wife Sarah Dowson.  Thomas died three years after his brother John in 1756,  and his wife Mary White died in 1760.  By then Mary would have been about 13 years of age.  My guess is that Mary lived with her cousin John Readman who was 18 years old then.  John married his wife Sarah Dowson in 1761 when he was 19 years old.  The family of John Readman and Sarah Dowson lived at Murkside.  This could either be Murkside House or Murkside Farm just north west of Beckhole. 

Thus, William Harrison was the son of Joseph Harrison and Mary Readman, the cousin of the John Readman who's will he witnessed; and the cousin of the Joseph Readman who was the best man at his wedding; the witness at the wedding of his sister Hannah; and, who immigrated to Canada and settled on the lot just south of him (several other members of the Readman family also immigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto Gore Township, Peel County).  

As such, Leslie O'Connor was pretty close in his analysis of the parentage of William Harrison in his work Hearts of Oak.  William was just the son of Joseph Harrison and not Joseph's brother William.  


This was an understandable mistake as with so few siblings, and an obviously close relationship with the family of William Harrison and Elizabeth Alcon, William's first cousins were often the sponsors at the baptisms of his children at St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church in Egton Bridge.  Leslie O'Connor naturally took the sponsors of William Harrison's children to be his brothers and sisters.  All in all, pretty good research, and an indication of how valuable this work remains today for those researching their Catholic roots in the Esk River valley communities.

The following is my family history down to my grandparents. 


1. Henry Harrison (1656-1727)

married Dorothy Rudd (1663-1753)
lived at Green Houses, Glaisdale Township, Danby Parish, North Yorkshire
Children include:
  • Mary (?-?)
  • Dorothy (1723-1790) married William Hodgson
  • Francis (?-1772) married Ann
  • Barbara (?-?) married Robert Atkinson
  • Joseph (?-1782) married Jane (or Mary)
  • William (?-1778) married Ann
  • John (?-1779) married Helen Lyth
  • Henry (?-1785) married Ann


2. William Harrison ( b ? d. April 15, 1778)
married 1.  Ann (? - April 9,1784) (no marriage found).  It has been suggested that William's wife Ann is Ann Elders but this does not seem to be the case as the signatures on the Egton Parish Register and that on William Harrison's will do not match.  As well, Elders does not appear to be a Catholic family as they do not appear on any of the early recusant lists.   In the comprehensive recusant list for Egton in 1735, generated by all parish ministers at the request of Archbishop Blackburn of York,  William and Ann Harrison are listed with no children.  Mysteriously they are not included on the recusant lists made for Egton in 1745 or 1746 but those lists are exceedingly short compared to the list of 1735.  It would seem that the creator of these lists were not as diligent as those that created the list of 1735.  Eighteen years later we have the recusant list of 1753.  This comprehensive list was generated in response to complaints made by Mr. Elwes, owner of the Egton Estate, who seemed to be appalled that a large number of his tenants were Catholic.  He informed the Archbishop of York who asked Minister Robinson of Egton for details on the families.  Minister Robinson responded with a comprehensive list.  William Harrison, wife and two children are listed.   William Harrison lived in Glaisdaleside, Egton Township, Lythe Parish, North Yorkshire.  The family farm, leased from the Egton Estate, was located on the Glaisdale side of Egton Township (hence Glaisdaleside).  The farmhouse was called Toad Hall.  It was later pulled down and replaced with a new house at which time the farm became known as the New House Farm, a name that has remained until the present day.  Another cottage was located on the property called Poplar Hall.
Children include:
  • William (1741/2-1825) married Elizabeth Alcon at Lythe on November 23, 1778.
  • Ann (c. 1745 - d. October 3, 1786) married Matthew Roe at Egton on June 5, 1763.  Matthew was a weaver and lived in Egton Township.
  •  Joseph (c. 1750-1806) married Mary Readman 

3.  Joseph Harrison (c. 1750 - 1806) 
married Mary Readman (1746/7 - March 24, 1825?)  at Egton on June 10, 1770 lived Glaisdaleside, Egton Township, North Yorkshire.  Joseph was a tailor.  In 1778 he was left £100 in his father's will and was to pay his mother 20 shillings a year for life. Joseph died and was buried at Egton on July 11, 1806.  No will has been found.  In the Egton Anglican Parish records he is recorded as living in Glaisdale.  His father's farm was in Glaisdaleside the portion of the  Glaisdale valley within Egton Township (the boundary follows the beck that flows down the valley to the Esk River).  Based on subsequent baptismal entries for his children in the St. Thomas Anglican Church records that they lived in Glaisdale, my guess is that he and his family lived in a cottage on the farm of his brother William called Poplar Hall.  This cottage later became the home of his nephew Robert who was also a tailor. I wonder if Robert might have been an apprentice of Joseph?  Robert Harrison moved into Poplar Hall after his marriage in 1822. It is understood that at the time some work was necessary as the house had been vacant for some time.  It was pulled down about 1900.  Since Joseph Harrison died in 1806 perhaps the house was empty from that date - or sometime after.  There is a burial for a Mary Harrison recorded in Egton on March 25, 1825.  Her abode is given as East End, a farm located east of Egton.   Her age is given as 75 years, which suggests a birth year of circa 1750 which fits well with the known birth year of Mary Readman. 
Children include:
  • Unknown child - the 1780 Glaisdale Recusant list indicates that Joseph and Mary Harrison had 3 children.  However only 2 are known - William and Mary.  This child is most likely a girl given that William is named after his grandfather as per the naming convention of the time of naming the first born male after the father's father. 
  • William baptized February 8, 1773 at Egton Anglican Church -  married Mary Hutchinson at Egton in 1804. Immigrated to Canada in 1831.
  • Dorothy born ? (named after Joseph Harrison's grandmother Dorothy Rudd) who died and was buried at Egton on October 18, 1778.
  • Joseph baptized May 8, 1778 at St. Thomas' Anglican Church, Chapelry of Glaisdale, Danby Parish - buried December 6, 1778 at Egton.
  • Mary b. 1779 baptized April 12 1780 at St. Thomas' Anglican Church, Chapelry of Glaisdale, Danby Parish. Married William Lyth of Westonby Farm, Egton Township at Egton on October 21, 1822. The witnesses were John Parkes, Richard Lyth and Ann Barker.  Mary Harrison was William Lyth’s second wife. She would have been about 43 years of age at the time of the marriage. His first marriage was to Elizabeth Mead on August 10, 1795 at Danby.  William Lyth and Mary Harrison only appear to have had one child:
    • William, baptized on August 21, 1823 at St Hedda’s Roman Catholic Church, Egton Bridge.  The sponsors were Richard Lyth and Helen Barker. William Lyth would go on to marry his cousin Elizabeth Harrison (b. April 23, 1826) daughter of John Harrison (son of William Harrison and Elizabeth Alcon) and Margaret Child at St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church in Egton Bridge on November 13, 1844.  They had at least two children:  George b. 1848 and Thomas b. 1851.  It looks like Elizabeth Lyth (nee Harrison) died on March 4, 1881 at Egton Bridge aged 66 years (though she was actually only 55 years of age).  I have not found a death entry for William Lyth.
  • Ann, baptized February 12, 1783 at St. Thomas' Anglican Church, Chapelry of Glaisdale, Danby Parish.  Ann (Hannah) married Isaac Linton at Egton on April 21, 1829.  Witnesses were William Harrison, Joseph Readman and Faith Linton (George Harrison’s future wife – they were married in December 1829 at Goathland).  Ann was 46 years old when she married so it is no surprise that there are no known children.  Hannah and Isaac lived in Scalby, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire.  Hannah died there on August 16, 1849.  She did not leave a will.

4. William Harrison (February 8, 1773 - May 2, 1836) m. Mary Hutchinson (c. 1782 - August 17, 1856) at Egton Anglican Church on January 24, 1804. The witnesses were Joseph Readman and William Hutchinson.  Under the Marriage Act of 1753 only marriages performed by the Church of England were considered legal. They were no doubt married the same day by the priest at St. Heddas Roman Catholic Church in Egton Bridge. Mary was the daughter of John and Margaret Hutchinson of Egton Township. John Hutchinson was a tailor just like William's father.  William Hutchinson who was a witness at the wedding was her brother.   Joseph Readman was William Harrison's cousin, son of John Readman and Sarah Dowson.

I am not sure where William Harrison lived after he married Mary Hutchinson in 1804.  There is a William Harrison listed on the Egton Enclosure list of 1811 living at Struntry Carr Farm.  This is a short distance east of Poplar Hall in Glaisdale where I suspect he was raised, but in the same valley that Mary Readman would have lived in as a child.  Could this be my William Harrison?

 In his book A History of the Ancient Parish of Lythe including Sandsend, East Row, Mulgrave Castle, Mulgrave Woods and grounds, The Hermitage, Foss Mill, published in 1888, John Crowther references the following entry in the Lythe parish registers and churchwarden's accounts: "1831 ...In this year many families from Lythe emigrated to America. Among them may be mentioned, Thomas Ward, W. Terry, John Ingledew, Thomas Coverdale, Wm. Harrison, John Bailey, Rt. English, Lennard Watson, John Readman  [given the Joseph Readman connection to William Harrison I wonder if this really should be "Joseph" instead of John] and Thos. Taylor."   Researchers have tried several times to find this entry in the parish records without success to verify the transcription.   He then states: "They sailed out of Whitby in the ship 'Majestic' which was thought to be a lucky ship for emigrants. The voyage lasted eight weeks." The family immigrated to Canada aboard the 380 ton King William (not the Majestic) which left Whitby on April 11, 1831 with about 300 passengers for Quebec. I have confirmed with the Whitby Philosophical and Literary Society that the Majestic is not correct as it was not built until 1835. This is also confirmed by my research in the 1831 editions of the Quebec Mercury newspaper which lists the King William leaving Whitby on April 11, 1831 and arriving in Quebec City with 271 settlers on May 22, 1831; and Richard Weatherill's The Ancient Port of Whitby and its Shipping, published in 1908 that confirms the information in the Quebec Mercury. Upon their arrival in Canada they would have taken another ship to Montreal and then from there to the Town of York (Toronto).  The King William was a new ship which was launched on March 7, 1831 at Whitby built for Mr N Campion and Mr R Campion of Whitby.   The journey to Quebec was its maiden voyage.


The family then settled in Toronto Gore Township, Peel County, Upper Canada. William purchased Lot 8, Concession 9, Toronto Gore Township, 100 acres, from John Beikie, first clerk of the Executive Council in York and the original Crown patent holder, on June 5, 1835 for £75. Though the purchase of the property was not made until 1835 the Harrison family had settled on this property in 1831. I believe that the location of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic church, established in 1830 a short distance to the north, was a critical factor in the selection of this lot by William Harrison. Interestingly William Porter in his mss History of Claireville, written in 1910, stated that "a half mile north" of John Dark's tavern in Claireville where "one Joseph Champlin kept his hostelry in good old Yorkshire Style" the settlement was named Egton. Egton would be located at the corner of present day Clarkway Drive and Highway 50 in the City of Brampton. This is the only reference that I have come across for the Egton name outside of North Yorkshire suggesting that a number of families from Egton settled in the area.Claireville was located at the intersection of Toronto Gore Township, Peel County and Etobicoke Township, York County. Remnants of the old hamlet of Claireville still exist close to present day Steeles Avenue West and Highway 50 centered on Codlin Crescent in the City of Toronto. 


Since they were married in 1804 you would expect there to be more children between then and when William was born circa 1812.  However, the existing baptismal records for St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church in Egton Bridge only start in 1813 and Catholic families were generally no longer baptizing or registering their children in the Anglican Church in Egton at that time.  A note in the Egton Anglican Church records states that the Catholics had not been baptizing their children there since 1781 (though a few families did register their children).

  
William Harrison and Mary Hutchinson had the following known children:    
  • William (1812-1849) married Mary O'CONNOR, April 19, 1838 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County. William Harrison died on March 11, 1849.  Mary O'CONNOR remarried Edward GALVIN at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield on January 27, 1864 though her four sons soon sent Edward on his way.   The extant baptismal records of St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church, Egton Bridge only begin in 1813.
  • Ann (1813-1855) was baptised at St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church, Egton Bridge on January 14, 1813.  The sponsors were James Harrison, William Harrison's first cousin and Dorothy Roe, James Harrison's future wife.  She married James C. SMYTH on July 20, 1841 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County.  She died and was buried at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic cemetery, Wildfield in 1855. The age on her tombstone however suggests she was born in circa 1828. 
  • Margaret (1814-1891) was baptised at St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church at Egton Bridge on August 19, 1814.  Sponsors were William Hutchinson, Mary Hutchinson's brother and Agnes Readman (nee White), the wife of William Harrison's cousin John Readman, son of John Readman and Sarah Dowson.  She married George JACKSON on June 23, 1836 at St. James Cathedral (Church of England) Toronto - and then at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, Toronto on January 10, 1837 no doubt at the insistence of her mother. George and Margaret left Canada and immigrated to the United States in 1871 settling in Troy, Missouri, north west of St. Louis. 
  • Mary (1818 - ?) was baptized at St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church at Egton Bridge on February 8, 1818.  The sponsor's were William Harrison, son of William Harrison and Elizabeth Alcon, William Harrison's first cousin and Ann Harrison most likely William Harrison's sister (Mary's aunt).  I do not have any additional information on Mary or know what happened to her.   Did she marry?  The marriage records for St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Wildfield are well documented from 1830 but there is no marriage for her.  There is however a Mary Harrison about the same age who married John Maw on October 7, 1846 in Etobicoke Township.  This marriage was by a Wesleyan Minister and her witness was a William Harrison. Is this her?  Or did she die?  It is possible as the burial records for St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Wildfield are very poor.
  • Jane (1820-1901) married James MIDDLETON on February 27, 1838 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County (though for some reason her name is recorded as Jean).  No baptism has been found in the St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church records.
  • Matthew (1821-1887) was baptised at St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church at Egton Bridge on March 10, 1821.  However no sponsors are listed.  He was married twice.  First to Ann HEWGILL and then after her death to Winnifred BULGER. 
William HARRISON died in 1836 and was buried at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church cemetery at Wildfield, Peel County, Ontario.  The age of 55 years on his tombstone suggested a birth year of 1781.  This led to years of confusion between him and his first cousin William who was born in that year.  Since William HARRISON was actually born in 1773 he was 63 years of age when he died in 1836.  Four years after his death his widow Mary HUTCHINSON married Thomas SMYTH on April 27, 1840 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County. 

5. Matthew HARRISON (1822 - January 6, 1887) m. 1. Ann HEWGILL (August 9, 1829 - July 17, 1869) (converted to Catholicism on June 17, 1869) on May 29, 1849 in St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County. They were married a second time by a Wesleyan Minister on July 1, 1849.  Ann HEWGILL died of consumption on July 17, 1869 and was buried on the Harrison farm on Lot 9, Concession 10, Toronto Gore Township along with a child. The cemetery was protected and preserved as part of the residential development of the property. It is a mystery why she was buried here but I speculate that there was a dispute between the Harrison and Hewgill families over her last resting place. Given that she only converted to Catholicsm one month before her death I am guessing that Matthew Harrison wanted her buried in St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Wildfield and her father William Hewgill wanted her buried at the Hilltop Gore Methodist Cemetery. Burial on the farm seems to have been a compromise for all concerned. The cemetery can be viewed here. Ann Hewgill's white marble tombstone lying flat on the ground can be easily seen under the tree in the centre - part of the original apple orchard. Recent work on the site however has resulted in the old apple tree being removed (contrary to what I was told by the City of Brampton). Matthew Harrison originally owned 100 acres on Lot 9, Concession 10, Toronto Gore Township where he built his house. Later he acquired another 100 acres of Part Lots 14 and 15, Concession 10, Toronto Gore Township. Part Lots 14 and 15, Concession 10 would be given to his son William Harrison (my great grandfather). Matthew Harrison and Ann Hewgill had the following children: 

  • Mary Elizabeth (1850-1904) m. Martin BRYNE at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County. They had 11 children. 
  • unnamed twins - lived 2 days. 
  • William (1854-1923) m. 1. Julia Ann O'BRIEN, m. 2 Mary Jane BRYNE. 
  • John Francis (1857-1858) 
  • Ann Jane (1860-1943) m. Thomas O'BRIEN on February 6, 1883 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County. They lived in Huron County near Clinton, Ontario and had 6 children. 
  • Unnamed child (1869-1869) buried on Lot 9, Concession 10, Toronto Gore Township with Ann HEWGILL 
Matthew HARRISON married his second wife, Winnifred BULGER on November 7, 1869 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County. Winnifred was the daughter of James BULGER and Ann CULLITON. They had the following children: 
  • Alice Josephine (1870-1937) m. John James KEHOE on February 23, 1892 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield. They had 7 children (including 2 priests and 1 nun). 
  • Theresa (1872-?) She could have been registered as "Eliza" when she was born on March 26, 1872. There is a birth registration of a daughter of Matthew Harrison and Winnifered Bulger for this date with this name. She married William DAVIS on January 31, 1894 in St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield. In the 1911 Census they had 6 children.
  • Agnes Loretto (1873-1963) - never married. 
  • John Francis (1875-1954) m. Mary ROBINSON on May 6, 1895 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County. They had 7 children. Upon his father's death John inherited the 100 acres of Lot 9, Concession 10. However, due to bad investments in the late 1920s he became indebted to his brother-in-law John James Kehoe. In the early 1930s John James Kehoe took over the property in payment of the debt. It would remain in the Kehoe family until the 1950s. 
  • Charles Augustus (1878-1898) - never married.  Charles died of appendicitis when he was 21 years of age.  
  • Emanuel (1879-?) m. Mary HORAN at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, Albion Township, Peel County on October 6, 1903 and them moved to Rochester, New York where he worked on the railway.  In the 1910 US census he is living at 56 Barnum Street in Rochester.  By the 1920 US census he is living not too far away at 1 Greenleaf Street in Rochester, New York.  They had the following children: Henry (b. 1906, California), Theodore (b. 1908, New York), Mary (b. 1911, New York), Helena (b. 1915, New York) and Alma (b. 1918, New York). He and his family were living at the same location in the 1930 and 1940 census. 
  • Mary Helena (1882-?) m. Bernard CAMPBELL on January 16, 1907 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield 
  • still born male child - twin of Mary Helena (1882-1882) 
Matthew Harrison died on January 6, 1887 and is buried in St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Wildfield. I have not been able to locate a death registration for him. According to her death registration, Winnifred Bulger died on February 19, 1921 of old age. She is buried in St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Wildfield. 

6. William HARRISON (February 28, 1852- June 22, 1923) m. 1. Julia Ann O'BRIEN (1855 - February 24, 1882) on March 12, 1881 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Dixie, Peel County. According to her death registration Julia died of septicemia 10 days after the birth of her daughter. When Julia died she was buried in the Fifth Line Cemetery (also known as Elmbank Cemetery). The cemetery later became landlocked within the ground of the Malton Airport (now Pearson International Airport). Though many opposed it (including me), The cemetery was "closed" in 2005 to allow for further expansion of the airport and the 634 remains were moved to Assumption Catholic Cemetery on Tomken Road just south of Derry Road East in Mississauga. The remains were placed in a dedicated section at the east end of the cemetery with a ceremonial plaque listing all the names of those buried there. From the excavations it was possible to identify a number of the remains but unfortunately Julia Ann O'Brien was not one of them. William had 100 acres of land on the west side of present day Clarkway Drive south of Mayfield Road. He sold this circa 1906 and moved to the north east corner of Dixie Road and Dundas Street in Toronto Township (present day City of Mississauga) where he operated a market garden. They had one child: 

  • Mary Clare (Febraury 14, 1882 - April 23, 1932) m. Thomas COLLINS on May 5, 1908 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church. They had no children.  
William Harrison married his second wife, Mary Jane BRYNE (1857 - August 31, 1932) at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, Arthur, Ontario on June 11, 1883. Mary Jane Bryne was the daughter of James and Ann Bryne. William Davis and Lizzie Bryne were the witnesses. The marriage registration writes "Bryne" as "Burns". They had the following children:
  • Matthew Joseph (August 2, 1884 - 1946) m. Anne Loretto KELLY on November 22, 1916 at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Port Credit, Peel County Annie was born in Streetsville and was the daughter of William KELLY and Anna MCKEOWN. Witnesses to the marriage were James Francis Harrison (my grandfather) of New Toronto and Nellie Madigan of 321 Brock Avenue. They had 5 children together. Matthew worked as a Stationary Engineer for Dominion Bridge Company making sure that the machinery in the facility was running properly. Matthew lived with his family first on Brad Street, then Dundas Street West, and later on Pacific Avenue across the street from St. Cecelia's Roman Catholic Church. Originally in the Town of West Toronto, it was a short streetcar ride down Dundas Street West to the Dominion Bridge Company located on Sorauren Avenue just south of Dundas Street West. 
  • Anne Easther (March 24, 1886 - April 7, 1905). According to her death registration Anne died of consumption after an illness of 2 years. She never married. 
  • James Francis (April 8, 1888 - 1948) m. Helen Teresa SANDFORD (1889-1975) 
  • William Joseph (October 3, 1890 - April 19, 1931) According to the 1911 census Bill was a linesman employed by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario. According to his death registration record, William was listed as a Market Gardener. He died in St. Michael's Hospital on April 19, 1931 of tuberculosis meningitis, an inflammation of the brain. His sister told me that this was a result of infection after he had a number of teeth extracted. He never married. He is buried in Mount Peace Cemetery in Mississauga. 
  • Bridget (1892-?) 
  • John (Jack) Joseph (September 6, 1893 - May 26, 1922) According to his death registration he was an auto mechanic and died of a stroke. He never married. 
  • Martin Ambrose (October 28, 1895 - 1980) m. Madeline BOYCE (1895-?) at St. Cecilia's Roman Catholic Church in December 1917. Their marriage registration however says January 1917 with a "1918" written on the page. They were both 22 years of age. Madeline was the daughter of Alex BOYCE and Mary FARLEY. Witnesses were William J. Harrison, Ambrose's brother and Evelyn Boyce. At the time Ambrose was living at 195 Perth Avenue and Madeline at 136 Edwin Avenue, Toronto. Madeline was born in New Westminster, British Columbia. They had 15 children. Ambrose worked for the Toronto Transit Commission as a streetcar driver. For a while Ambrose and his family were in the running for the big prize in the Great Stork Derby - an interesting tale of Charles Vance Miller who left the majority of this estate to the mother who had the most children within ten years of his death.  The contest ran from 1926 to 1936. The Harrison family did not win but were featured in an advertising campaign for Carnation milk products due to the publicity.
  • Mary Margaret Rita (September 10, 1901 - 1993) Rita entered St. Joseph's Convent, Toronto in 1921 and became Sister Mary Caroline. Sister Mary Caroline was educated at the Toronto Normal School and taught in Catholic schools in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Ontario. 
According to his death registration, William Harrison died on June 22, 1923 of cystitis. It indicates that he was buried in Port Credit. According to her death registration, Mary Jane Bryne died on August 31, 1932. 

7. James Francis (Frank) HARRISON (April 8, 1888 - January 31, 1948) m. Helen Teresa SANDFORD (November 14, 1889 - June 8, 1975) on June 15, 1926 at St. Theresa's Roman Catholic Church, New Toronto, York County. Frank was 36 year old and a railroad conductor. Helen was 35 years of age. Witnesses were William Harrison, Frank's brother and Madeline Sandford, Helen's sister. They had two children: 

  • Francis Edward (Ed) Harrison (July 27, 1927 - February 10, 2012) Ed attended St. Michael's College School in Toronto, playing both hockey and football before beginning his professional hockey career with the Boston Bruins in 1947. He later played for other teams both in the NHL and other leagues before retiring from professional hockey in 1962. He then moved to Brantford, Ontario to raise his family. 
  • living 
Frank went to work for the Grand Truck Railway (became the Canadian National Railway in 1923) where he eventually became a conductor. At the time his parents were living at the north east corner of Dixie Road and Dundas Street in Toronto Township (present day City of Mississauga) and he was working out of the Mimico Yards in the Town of New Toronto. This was too far to commute on a daily basis so he boarded at homes in New Toronto. In the 1911 census he is boarding at the home of James O'Neill on Sixth Street. In that year he listed his occupation as "trainman" with an annual salary of $720. He had $250 worth of life insurance for which his annual dues were $7.30.  By 1918 he was boarding at the home of Edward Sandford and Mary Coady on the north west corner of Seventh Street (present day Islington Avenue) and the Lake Shore Road (present day Lake Shore Blvd West). Today it is the TNT store. It was here that he met their daughter Helen and fell in love. They were married in 1926 and the new couple moved to a new home that they had built in the adjacent community of Mimico.

The Mystery of the Two Matthew Harrisons

As part of my family history research I have been dealing with the mystery of two Matthew Harrisons supposedly buried at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Wildfield for over 20 years.  

One is my great great grandfather Matthew Harrison born in 1821 in Egton Township, North Yorkshire and baptized at St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church in Egton Bridge.  He died on his farm at Castlemore, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County on January 6, 1887 and was buried in St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Wildfield.  Mysteriously there is no death registration for him even though his nephew Nicholas Harrison was the township clerk and the local registrar.  Nor has an obituary been found in any local Brampton papers.


Death entry for Matthew Harrison - Jan 6, 1887
Death Register St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, 

There is however another Matthew Harrison, a mysterious fellow who also appears in the spotty burial records for St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church listed as dying in September 1884 at the age of 89 years.  There is no other known record of him in Canada.  He does not appear in any census returns from 1852 to 1881; nor is there a death registration or other record for him.  No obituary has been found in any of the local papers either.  If he was indeed 89 years old when he died in 1884 he would be born circa 1795.  


Death entry for Matthew Harrison September 1884
St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church Parish Records

This Matthew Harrison does not appear to have been an uncle of the Matthew Harrison who died in 1887 as that Matthew Harrison's father, William Harrison (1773-1836),  had no other known brothers so the Matthew Harrison born in 1795 could not been from his immediate family either.  The existing Catholic Records from St. Hedda's in Egton Bridge only begin in 1813 so there is a remote possibility that this Matthew Harrison could be a brother of William Harrison.  However given that Mary Readman would have been about 47 years old in 1795 means that this possibility is unlikely.  Could he have been from one of the other related Harrison families from Egton Township, North Yorkshire and area?  A check of the local census returns for Egton and area does not find a Matthew Harrison born in the late 1700s in any of the census return from 1841-1881.

One of the obvious answers would be to check the tombstones in St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery for any other details. Unfortunately the cemetery was essentially cleared (vandalized in my opinion) in the late 1960s by the parish priest and while some of the early tombstones were placed in a cairn on the site (including many of my family), many of the later ones were simply moved to the bottom of the hill and covered in soil where they remain today.

Does the answer to this mystery lie buried beneath the ground on a tombstone?

Any help solving this mystery would be greatly appreciated.  You can contact me at kikoamoki at yahoo dot ca.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dr. Francis Harrison (1842-1925)

Dr. Francis Harrison (1842-December 28, 1925)
m. Mary A. Creed on January 1, 1875 (? -1935)

They had the following children:

• James (Frank) Francis (1877-1914) - Attended the New York College of Pharmacy beginning in 1897. He graduated in 1899 and began working at Hocker and Solomon in Evanston as a pharmacist. He later went to work with his father. In 1904 he went to St. Louis to attend the World's Fair with his sister Mary. Frank died in 1914 of cancer in Salt Lake City where he was being treated.  At the time he was living in the Covey Apartments.



• Mary (1880-?) She attended St. Mary's Academy in South Bend, Indiana. I have a great photo of her class in 1899. She then became a teacher in Evanston. For the 1903 school year beginning in September she was teaching Grade 6. In 1904 she went with her brother Frank to visit the World's Fair in St. Louis. She was living unmarried in Evanston in 1935.


• Helena (1884 - 1949) m. Charles Branham. She attended St. Mary's Academy in South Bend, Indiana from 1899 to ? ,and then the University of Utah in Salt Lake City for about a year from the spring of 1906 until sometime in the 1907 without receiving a degree. She played both the piano and violin, performing in many private and public functions in Evanston. Charles was born in Litchfield, Minnesota on December 26, 1884, and was the son of Hiram Branham and Jessie Greenleaf.  They were married in Odgen, Utah on June 11, 1911.  Charles was a manager in the Publix Theatre chain and moved to St. Petersburg Florida in 1930 to be the new district supervisor of the theatres on the west coast of Florida.  In the probate documents for her mother's will from early 1936 her address is given as 1401 Beacon Street, Brookline, Massachusetts.  By 1942 Charles was retired and they were living in South Laguna, California.  Helana died there in 1949 and was buried in Fairhaven Memorial Park Cemetery.  Charles died there on December 22, 1975 and was buried in Fairhaven Memorial Park Cemetery.   


• Frederick (Ted) William (1889-1962) m. Ana Toelle (1889-1974) in 1922. They had one daughter Hellen. 1903 was an eventful year for him as a child. On July 4th a firework went off in his face causing severe injury. There was concern that he would loose the use of his eyes at one point but it came back, though the Wyoming Press indicated that "he will carry ugly scars as a result of the unfortunate affair". A few weeks later he had to have his appendix out. Ted seems to have also attended "college" in Salt Lake City. There is an article in the January 6, 1906 edition of the Wyoming Press that mentions him returning to school. I am not sure if this was the University of Utah or some other school. Ted was involved in cattle ranching near Daniel, Wyoming. The 1920 census finds him living in Lincoln County, Wyoming working as a farmer. He was single then. His mother is also listed and must have been visiting him at the time. In 1935 he was living in Evanston according to the probate records for his mother's will. Later he worked for the Union Pacific Railway. In the 1940 census he is living in his father's house on 9th Street, with his wife Ana and his daughter Helena.   Sometime later they made their way to Seattle, Washington where Fred worked for Westinghouse. He retired about 1953 and moved to Suquamish, North Kitsap. He died there on October 15, 1962. His obituary from the Bremerton Sun says that he was survived by his wife, daughter Hellen Wright and two grandsons. His wife Ana T. Toelle, lived to be 84, and died at Suquamish in April 1974 in Poulsbo. Ana was born in Wismer, Nebraska on July 30, 1889. She was a former nurse. Her obituary in the April 8,1974 edition of the Bremerton Sun says that she was survived by her daughter Mrs. Hellen Wright of Suquamish, two grandsons, brother Joseph Toelle of San Antonio,Tex, and a sister Miss Hedwig Toelle of New Haven,Conn (a former professor of Public Health Nursing at Yale University from 1937 until 1960). Both Fred and Ana are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Kitsap. A search for their daughter Hellen came to the conclusion that she died on May 10, 2007 in Suquamish, Washington at the age of 88.


Dr. Francis Harrison's House in Evanston Wyoming on the corner of Centre and Ninth Street in 1990:
© Michael Harrison 2009



Here is an illustration of his drugstore in Evanston Wyoming in 1892





The son of William Harrison and Mary O'Connor, Dr. Harrison was the subject of a number of biographical entries during his lifetime.


The following entry was in the Progressive Men of the State of Wyoming, published in Chicago, Illinois by A.W. Bowen & Company in 1903:


The life of a country physician is full of toil and hardship, but it has compensation in the reflection that it is also full of benefaction to the community which he services and that no effort in behalf of suffering humanity is thrown away. Among the prominent and highly esteemed physicians of Evanston, Wyoming, Dr. Frank Harrison is in the front rank. He was born in 1842 in Toronto, Canada, the son of William and Mary (O’Connor) Harrison, the former a native of England and the latter of Ireland. Both were brought by parents to the New World in childhood, it being the desire to secure for them better opportunities than were afforded in their native land. The families settled at or near Toronto, where they prospered and reared their offspring. Doctor Harrison received his academic education at the public schools of his native country and began his medical training at the Toronto University. He continued it at St. Michael’s Medical College in Toronto, and fully completed it with another two-years’ course at Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City, and from which he was duly graduated on March 1, 1866. On March 1, 1865, he had been appointed a medical cadet in the service of the U.S. government, a class of officials which the government had created and to which undergraduates were admitted as assistant surgeons. His first assignment was on board the transport S. R. Spaulding, which conveyed sick and wounded soldiers to New Haven, Conn., where a military hospital was located. He remained at the hospital until November and the experience he had there has been an invaluable service to him in his subsequent practice. After his graduation from Bellevue College he came to Denver, Colorado, at that time a city of not far from 4,000 inhabitants. He passed his first summer in the West in traveling and then came to Cheyenne, following the railroad in his professional work as far as Wasatch. He next went to Sweetwater mines, there he passed two years in the practice of his profession and then removed to Evanston, where he has been in an active medical practice for more than thirty years. At the first election held after this arrival the total poll of voters, men and women, numbered only 300. In politics Doctor Harrison is a Democrat and has been active in the interest of the party. He has been honoured with several places of responsibility in public life, discharging the duties of all with fidelity, intelligence and zeal. In 1871 and 1872 he represented Sweetwater county in the Territorial Legislature, and from 1876 to 1880 was one of its county commissioners. In Unita county he was a probate judge for six years and county treasurer from 1884-1890, being also mayor of Evanston for three years. He is also a valued member of the Grand Army of the Republic, being very much esteemed as a leader in all of its meetings. On January 1, 1875, he was united in holy marriage with Miss Mary A. Creed, a daughter of James Creed, a native of Illinois, and whose father died in 1896 in Clinton, Iowa, and the mother, whose maiden name is Egan, is still living, her residence being Dixon, Ill. Doctor and Mrs. Harrison have four children, James F., Mary, Helen and Fred W. Doctor Harrison ranks high in his profession as a physician and surgeon, as a close student and as an intelligent practitioner.
The following entry is in the History of Wyoming, edited by I.S. Bartlett and published in 1918:


Dr. F. H. Harrison is today the oldest physician in Wyoming in years of continuous connection with the medical profession. He practices at Evanston, where he has remained since 1872. He has not only been identified with the science of medicine and surgery, however, for as a pioneer he has been active in many of these movements which have led to the upbuilding and development of the state. He is familiar with all phases of Indian warfare and with all phases of frontier life and the history of Wyoming is to him an open book, for he has been a most active participant in events which figure most prominently in its annals.

He was born in Toronto, Canada, April 2, 1842, and is a son of William and Mary (O'Connor) Harrison. The father was a native of England and in his boyhood days made the voyage across the briny deep to Canada, settling near Toronto, where he engaged in farming, there maintaining his residence until his death, which occurred in 1849, when his son. Dr. Harrison, was a little lad of but seven years. The mother was born in Wexford, Ireland, and in childhood became a resident of Canada, where she was married and continued to reside until called to the home beyond in 1904. She had at that time reached the eighty-fourth milestone on life's journey. In the family were five children, of whom one daughter died at the age of sixteen years. The others are: Willam, who is living in Brampton, Canada ; John, also located at Brampton ; and Nicholas, who still lives in Canada. The other member of the family is Dr. F. H. Harrison, of this review, who in his youthful days was a pupil in the public schools of Canada and afterward took up the study of medicine in New York city, matriculating in the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, from which he was graduated with the class of 1866. His collegiate training was comprehensive and thorough, and thus well equipped for professional duties, he made his way westward to Colorado, crossing the plains with team and wagon. He took up his abode at Gilpin, where he remained for a year and a half, and in November, 1867 he removed to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he practiced for a short time. He was afterward with the Union Pacific grading camps in his professional capacity and continued with the road until the line was extended to Evanston. He then went to the South Pass mines, where he followed mining for two and a half years, but in 1872 returned to Evanston, where he has since been in constant practice. Entering upon professional duties in this state in 1867, he is today the oldest physician in Wyoming. Through the intervening period of a half century he has kept in touch with the trend of modem professional thought and progress, acquainting himself with those discoveries which scientific investigation has brought to light. He is a well informed physician and one thoroughly skilled in all departments of medical and surgical practice. In the early days he went through all the experiences that come to the frontier physician. He fought in many of the Indian wars and was with the posse in the Wind River campaign, in which Black Bear the chief of the Arapahoes, was killed. The summer's sun and winter's cold could not deter him from the faithful performance of his duties and at times he would ride for miles and miles over wind swept districts, facing the storms of winter, yet he never hesitated when his professional service was needed. He belongs to the Wyoming State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. Aside from his active connection with the profession he has also extended his efforts into other fields and is now president of the Evanston National Bank, president of the Evanston Drug Company, a director of the Evanston Electric Light Company and president of the Harrison Stock Growing Company of Uinta County. In business affairs he has displayed sound judgment and unfaltering enterprise and his cooperation with any project has constituted an element in its growing success.

On the 1st of January. 1875, Dr. Harrison was married to Miss Mary Creed, of Evanston, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Creed, formerly of Dixon, Illinois. They have become the parents of three children who are still living and lost one son, James Francis, who died in 1914 at the age of thirty-seven years, while acting as manager of the Evanston Drug Company. Those who survive are: Mary, who was born in Evanston in 1880 and is a graduate of the high school and of the Notre Dame Academy at South Bend, Indiana ; Helena, who was born in Evanston in 1884 and is a graduate of the high school of that city; and Frederick William, who was born in 1889 and is also a graduate of the Evanston high school. He is now in business with his father.

Dr. Harrison is connected through fraternal relations with the Independent Order of Odd Fellow- and with the Masons. In the latter organization he has taken the degrees of lodge, chapter and commandery. His political endorsement is given to the democratic party and he has several times been called upon to serve in positions of honor and trust. For four years he filled the office of county commissioner and for six years was county treasurer of Uinta county. For one term he served in the second territorial legislature and at all times his aid and influence have been given on the side of right, progress, reform and improvement. He is today one of the most valued and prominent citizens of Wyoming, standing very high in professional circles, and no story could contain more exciting or interesting chapters than could be found in the life record of Dr. Harrison if space would permit this to be written in detail. His memory goes back to the time when this entire region was but sparsely settled, when the Indians were more numerous than the white men, when the land had not been reclaimed for the purposes of civilization but remained in the primitive condition in which it came from the hand of nature. His life activities constitute a connecting link between the primitive past and the progressive present and no history of Wyoming would be complete without his record.



Upon his death in December 1925 there were a number of obituaries in local papers. The following – perhaps the most complete – was in the Evanston Press:


Early Evanston Pioneer Expires – Dr. F.H. Harrison
Hail to the pioneer – another stalwart has been summoned from the ranks to the Great Beyond – may he rest in peace.

The bugle sounded and one of our best citizens answered the call – having the honor and distinction of being one of the two surviving members of Post No. 53, G.A.R.

Dr. Frank H. Harrison passed away Monday morning, Dec. 28, 1925, at this home on Ninth and Center Streets, having been ill but fourty eight hours – pneumonia being the cause of this death, which came as a shock to the community, and very unexpected, as he appeared hale and cheery and enjoyed Christmas.

Dr. Harrison was born at Toronto, Canada, April 20, 1842. He attended medical college at the University of Toronto, and later entered Bellview (sic) Medical school of New York; also attended Yale, graduating with honours from each institution. During the Civil War he enlisted in the Medical Corps and served until the end of the conflict.

Later he moved to St. Louis, thence to Denver, and finally to Laramie, Wyo., where he established the first doctor’s office in May 1868. He was appointed contract surgeon for the U.P. Ry. Co., and followed the building of the railroad as far west as Wasatch. He left there for the South Pass country during the mining excitement, and finally came to Evanston. In 1872 he opened the first drug store here, which was located on Front street, in the Palace building.

For years Dr. Harrison was the dependable and beloved physician of our county and town.

He was a public benefactor and ever interested in the moral uplift of the community. He became a financial success and applied his influence, capital and endeavors for the advancement and upbuilding of a good town – Evanston – which he always avowed would be his home while in life – and he remained true to that promise. No citizen has ever been more loyal to our city; more generous spirited and dependable; or was more highly respected or esteemed; nor has none passed who will be more missed and mourned than this venerable pioneer.

Some of this public callings were as a member of the first State Legislature and he was at one time Probate Judge, City Mayor, County Commissioner and President of the Evanston National Bank; was also Wyoming’s first physician. He was affiliated with the Masonic and Odd Fellow societies, but had not been an active member for several years.

Surviving are his widow, two daughters, Miss Mary Harrison, who is ill in a hospital in San Francisco; Mrs. Helen Branham; and one son, Fred Harrison of Daniel Wyo.

Funeral services were held today noon at the Catholic Church conducted by Father O’Connor and were well attended, the floral offerings being profuse and beautiful.

The American Legion members attended the body.

Honorary Pallbearers – All physicians of the city. Hon. Mayor Thomas Painter, John W.R. Rennie, Judge Sam’l Dickey, Charles Myers and Donald McAllister.

Interment was in the Catholic cemetery, he being laid to rest beside his son J. Frank Harrison, who passed away several years ago.

Beeman & Cashin, directors.

The family have the sympathy of this community in the loss of one of Evanston’s best men – loyal citizens – true friend, husband and father.

Ever live his name – long may we cherish his memory.

The world is surely better that he lived; and praise be that he was spared to an advanced age to scatter sunshine and good deeds – which influences will continue to abide in the hearts of all who knew Dr. Harrison.

Friday, March 6, 2009

North Yorkshire - Esk River Valley



The family of William Harrison and Mary Hutchinson came from the area around the hamlet of Glaisdale and Egton, in the Esk River Valley of North Yorkshire, England (just above the first "o" in "Moors" in the map above). I am fairly confident that William's father Joseph Harrison, lived in a Poplar Hall, a cottage on the farm leased by his brother William in Glaisdaleside, Egton Township.  William's first cousin Robert Harrison, son of William Harrison and Elizabeth Alcon moved into Poplar Hall after his marriage in 1822.  Where William Harrison and Mary Hutchinson were living is not clear but they were certainly close by.

Further back however, our Harrisons came from the small community of Green Houses to the north west of Glaisdale on the edge of the moors.

Some of the cottages located here are for rent for vacations. The buildings have been converted from "the traditional farm buildings at Greenhouses Farm" but it is not clear if these are the buildings that the Harrisons lived in or not.

The Esk River has its headwaters in the western edges of the North Yorkshire Moors and flows in an easterly direction, joining the North Sea at Whitby. Today this, and a vast area around it, are located within the popular, North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

John Dixon's Letter From America (Canada)

Mr. John Dixon, who travelled with William Hewgill (Hugill) - one of my great great great grandfathers - from Whitby, North Yorkshire to Quebec, and then from Quebec to the Town of York (Toronto) in 1832, goes off to visit William Harrison of the Gore of Toronto, my great great great grandfather. The following is excerpted from the letter

To Mr. George Dixon, Darlington

Whit Church, Sept. 30th, 1832.

....We arrived at York on June 7th. William Hugill, who went from Glazedale, and ourselves took a house to put our goods and to sleep in, until we could get situations; we paid five shillings a week, and a miserable hovel it was. York is about the size of Darlington, the houses are chiefly built of wood, but there are a few handsomely built of brick. A house, such as I last lived in when at Whitby, would be £60 a year here; and fire wood costs about 9s. per week in winter. I never saw so many shoe-makers' shops by one half in any town the size of York; the trade at present is dull, and the following are the prices ...... I soon found that York would not suit me. William Hugill has friends in the Gore of Toronto, about eighteen miles from York. One William Harrison, a distant relation of ours, lives in the same place. I went with William Hugill to see him; he was very kind to me, and wished me to settle there; he said they were in great want of a shoe-maker, and if I would take up my abode among them, he would build me a house on his own ground, and I might keep a cow, which could go in the woods so that I might be at no expense. It being a new settlement , and the road to it very bad I thought it better to look about me before I made any choice. William Hugill took up his abode there…..

John Dixon

source: Whitby Repository and Monthly Miscellany, Volume III, February 1833 (copy in the Whitby Museum, Whitby North Yorkshire)

Family of Ann Harrison (1813-1855) and James C. Smyth (1820-1901)

Ann HARRISON (1813-1855) daughter of William HARRISON and Mary HUTCHINSON was baptised at St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church, Egton Bridge, North Yorkshire on January 14, 1813.  The sponsors were James HARRISON, William Harrison's first cousin (son of William HARRISON and Elizabeth ALCON) and Dorothy ROE, James Harrison's future wife.  

Ann HARRISON married James C. SMYTH on July 20, 1841 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County.  They lived in the nearby community of Claireville, Etobicoke Township, York County.  In the 1852 Census they were living in Claireville with Thomas SMYTH, James’ father. Thomas’ second wife was Mary HUTCHINSON so Ann was living with her mother (who was also her mother-in-law). This is an interesting instance of a father and son marrying a mother and daughter.  Ann HARRISON died and was buried at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic cemetery, Wildfield in 1855. The age on her tombstone however suggests she was born in circa 1828.



Tombstone of Ann Harrison, wife of James Smyth
St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Wildfield
© Michael Harrison 2010

Upon Ann HARRISON's death on January 12, 1855 James C. SMYTH married his second wife Bridget DOHERTY at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church on June 5, 1856 and had more children.

In the 1861 Census James and his new wife Bridget are living in Etobicoke Township.

In the 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 census James and his family were living in the City of Toronto.  James is listed as a Grain Merchant. James died on April 4, 1901 at 313 King Street.  After his death his widow (Bridget) carried on the grain business and after she retired their daughter Annie carried on the business.

James Smyth and Ann Harrison had the following children:

• Mary Ann (1843-1925) married William EGAN.  They had the following children:

  • James A (1873-1978) m. Annie KAIN in 1904 – 8 children
  • Annie
  • Nicholas A. (1867-1879)
  • Ellen
  • Catherine
  • Agnes
  • William
  • John
• Margaret (b. 1845-?)  She is listed with the family in the 1861 census in Etobicoke but not with them in the 1871 census in Toronto.

• Thomas (Dec 1847-?)  He is listed with the family in the 1861 census in Etobicoke but not with them in the 1871 census in Toronto.  He is most likely the Thomas who died on March 27, 1861 aged 13 years and 3 months, buried at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Wildfield.

• William A. (1849-1888) married Sarah Helen JOHNSON on January 29, 1887 at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Toronto. 

According to the Commemorative Biographical Record of County of York by JH Beers and Co, Toronto, published in 1907:

William A. Smyth who passed away at this late residence in Toronto, No. 187 Crawford Street, Feb. 17, 1888 (he actually died on Feb 24, 1888 according to his death registration) was born in Ontario, son of James and Anna (Harrison) Smyth, the former a native of Ireland, and the latter of England.

James Smyth came to Canada when a young man, and soon thereafter settled in Toronto, where he became a commission merchant, continuing in this business until his death. He was twice married, his first wife being the mother of our subject.

William A. Smyth began business with his father, but later went to the office of the Massey Harris Company, as an accountant, where he continued until his death. He had a large acquaintance in business circles, and wherever known was highly esteemed.

Mr. Smyth married Miss Sarah Helen Johnson, born in Toronto, daughter of Samuel and Ann (Fair) Johnson, natives of County Mayo, Ireland. Mrs. Johnson came to Montreal in 1829, and to Toronto in 1833. She was the daughter of Robert and Margaret Fair, natives of County Mayo, Ireland where they died. They had children: John, William, Robert, James, Mary, Elizabeth and Ann, all of whom lived to be eighty-five years old or over. To Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Johnson the following children were born: Samuel, William and Margaret, deceased; Annie, of New York; John, deceased; Lizzie, of Albany, New York; James; and Sarah Helen, Mrs. Smyth. 

Mr. and Mrs. Smyth were the parent of children as follows: Leo S. B., born in Toronto, day accountant at the Massey-Harris works; and Basil W. H., also born in Toronto, and an accountant at the same works. Mr. Smyth was a Reformer. In religious faith he was a Roman Catholic.

Upon William's death in 1888 Sarah and his sons continued to live at 187 Crawford Street, backing onto present day Trinity Bellwoods Park - though at the time it was Trinity College.

Leo and Basil continued to live at 187 Crawford Street until their deaths in 1955 and 1957 respectively.  They never married and no relatives other than their parents and each other are mentioned in their obituaries.


Tombstone of Leo and Basil Smyth
Mount Hope Cemetery
© Michael Harrison 2010

• Eliza J (1850- ?) married Theophilus COSTELLO (1851-1921).   She is listed with the family in the 1861 census in Etobicoke and the 1871 census in Toronto.  She married Theophilus COSTELLO, a hotelkeeper, son of Michael and Mary COSTELLO in Toronto on April 24, 1876.  They had a number of children in Toronto and Hamilton before moving to Chicago in 1890.  The known children were:  Anna Bertha (b. 1877); Michael (b. 1878); Mary (Mae) (b. 1880) and Louis (b. 1883).   The family seems to have remained in Chicago.  I have found Louis Costello with his wife Catherine and children in the 1940 US census.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Family of Jane Harrison (1820-1901) and James Middleton (1811-1881)


James Middleton Farmhouse
Illustrated Atlas of Ontario County, 1877

Jane (1820-1901) married James MIDDLETON (1811-1881) on February 27, 1838 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County.  No baptism has been found for her in the St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church records.

They then moved to Lot 28, Concession 6, Pickering Township, Ontario County (present day 3815 Sideline 28, Pickering). James paid to have a drawing of his farm included in the Illustrated Atlas of Ontario County, published in 1877.



James Middleton Farmhouse, Whitevale, Ontario
© Michael Harrison 2010

They had the following children:

• Mary A.
• Rebecca (1842-1905)
• James (1845-1926)
• Elizabeth (1848-1927)
• Jane (1849-1920)
• Rachel (1851-1938)
• Alice (1851-1945)
• John (?-1925)
• William (1859-1897)
• George (1861-1930)
• Annie (1861-1878)

Both Rachel and Alice were interviewed for the July 6, 1935 edition of the Toronto Star. The article entitled Twin Sisters Active at 85 - Close Together All Lives, indicated that they believed they were the oldest Ontario born twin girls. The article contains an interesting story of how their parents met:

The sisters are the daughters of the late Mr. and Mrs. James Middleton, who were pioneers in the Pickering district. Their father and mother came from England with their families when the father was 19 and the mother 11. They came on the same sailing vessel and the passage took 6 weeks. Later they were married and moved into what was then the bush on the 7th concession in Pickering, where the twin girls were born.

This means that the Middleton family was on the King William with the Harrison family when it left Whitby, North Yorkshire for Quebec in April 1831.

Jane confirmed this date when she indicated on the 1901 census that she came to Canada in 1831.


Middleton Family Plot - Whitevale Cemetery, Ontario
James Middleton, Jane Harrison and Annie, William and Mary Clark are buried here
© Michael Harrison 2010

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Harrisons were Catholic Recusants in England



The Harrison family were Catholic Recusants which meant that they resisted conversion to the Church of England when it was created by Henry VIII in 1534. They recused themselves from participating in the new Church of England and so were called "recusants". The area of North Yorkshire where they lived was well known for Catholic recusancy and many families were persecuted for continuing to practice the Catholic faith. However it was not because of this that they left and emigrated to Canada. Catholics were able to worship openly from 1790, and the Catholic Relief Act of 1829 repealed the last restrictions. A Catholic Chapel was built in Egton Bridge in 1798. So it was not religious persecution that drove the Harrisons to Canada, they emigrated for economic reasons. Looking for a better life for their children in Canada.





 St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Chapel, Egton Bridge, North Yorkshire, built 1798. Now St. Hedda's Roman Catholic School
© Michael Harrison 2009

For further information on Catholic recusancy in this area of North Yorkshire and the many families that remained Catholic have a look at Leslie O'Connor's manuscript Hearts of Oak. Mr. O'Connor researched and wrote the manuscript in the 1950s and 1960s. It was an incredible amount of research that he undertook before the internet made this research much easier.  There is a chapter on the Harrison family entitled the Harrison Saga.

Family of Margaret Harrison (1814-1891) and George Jackson (1811-1874)

Margaret (1814-1891) was born on August 18, 1814 and baptised at St. Hedda's Roman Catholic Church at Egton Bridge on August 19, 1814.  Sponsors were William Hutchinson, Mary Hutchinson's brother and Agnes Readman (nee White), the wife of William Harrison's cousin John Readman, son of John Readman and Sarah Dowson.  

She married George JACKSON on June 28, 1836 at St. James Cathedral (Church of England) Toronto.  The timing of the marriage is interesting as it takes place shortly after the death of her father William Harrison on May 2, 1836.  More significant is that it was at the Anglican Church in Toronto and not in the Catholic Church.  Did they elope?  It is difficult to say but the circumstances certainly suggest that.   Even though they were married, there must have been pressure in the family for there to be a Catholic wedding. There must have been considerable discussion on this as they were not married in the Catholic Church until January 1837 suggesting that there was resistance on the part of George Jackson.  Once the decision was made they were not married in Margaret's home parish at St. Patrick's in Wildfield but in Toronto at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church which no doubt involved discussions between the family, the local parish priest at St. Patrick's and officials at Toronto's main Catholic Church.  The records for St. Paul's indicate that the marriage was "rehabilitated" there on January 10, 1837.  It does not appear as if any members of the Harrison or Jackson family went to witness the event as the witnesses were Michael Lavell (who must have worked at the church as he was a frequent witness) and Bridget Lunny.  However, it is noteworthy that the entire family - including George - remained Catholic.  

The family appear in the 1852 Canadian census in Toronto Gore Township living in a log house.  A Thomas Jackson, aged 88 (at next birthday) (b.c. 1764/1765) is living with them which suggests he is George's father though this is uncertain given his age.  All of the family is listed as Catholic with the exception of Thomas Jackson who is listed as a member of the Church of England.  

The family again appears in the 1861 Canadian census in Toronto Gore Township and all are listed as Catholic.  Thomas Jackson, however does not appear with them and so he must have died sometime after 1852 though I have not been able to find a record of his burial.


George Jackson had a large farm in Toronto Gore Township just off The Gore Road at Castlemore.  George had 150 acres on the south side of the Castlemore Sideroad on Lot 10, Concession 9 and a further 50 acres on the north side of the Castlemore Sideroad on Lot 11, Concession 9.  George Jackson was well known for the quality of his sheep wool and won a number of prizes at the agricultural fairs in Toronto.


George Jackson Farm
Tremaine's 1860 Map of Peel County

Perkins Bull suggests that George Jackson immigrated to the US in circa 1866.  However, the immigration of the family to the United States can be dated by a letter from William Hewgill.  Written to his son William, and dated January 5, 1871, William Hewgill wrote that "George Jackson got Daniel to sell him 2 farms each 100 Acres, when the day came very few came to the Sale and he never got One bid.  Jackson wants to sell out and go to the States."  This is a rather awkward sentence but it appears that there were no bids at the auction of the property so George Jackson sold the farms to Daniel Hewgill.  

George and Margaret then left Canada and immigrated to the United States settling on a farm near Troy, Missouri, north west of St. Louis.  

Mysteriously George and Margaret and most of their family do not appear in the 1871 Canadian census.  Perhaps they were in the process of moving, or searching for a new farm in the US, when the census taker arrived in April 1871?  The noted exception to this was his son Thomas Jackson who appears in the 1871 census in Toronto Gore Township, Peel County with his family.

Searching the 1870 US census in Missouri I did find a George and Mary Jackson in Knot Noster, Washington Township, Johnson County.  Both are listed at 53 years of age.  Both were born in England.  This is at the opposite (west) end of the state where we know they lived.  Could it be them?   I note that this location is not mentioned in Margaret Jackson's obituary (below).  

Most of George and Margaret's family would immigrate to Missouri within a year or two, including Thomas who indicated that he came in 1872 in a later US census.  However their daughter Anne, who was married to Philip Eagan in 1866, and her sister Margaret who married Thomas Eagan in 1868 stayed in Canada with their families.

George Jackson died on October 5, 1874 and is buried in the Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Cemetery, Troy, Missouri. 

In the 1880 US census George, Alice and John are living with their widowed mother in Clarke Township, Lincoln County, Missouri.  Thomas Jackson and his family are also listed in the 1880 US census but in the adjacent Bedford Township, Lincoln County, Missouri on his own farm.

Margaret Jackson (nee Harrison) died on November 9, 1891 and was buried next to her husband at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Troy, Missouri.  Margaret's obituary in the November 13, 1871 edition of The Troy Free Press reads as follows:

JACKSON - At the home of her son-in-law Joseph Schaefer, near Millwood, Nov. 9, 1891, after a long illness of heart disease, Mrs. Margaret Jackson, in the 78th year of her age.  Deceased was born in Yorkshire, England, in June 1814, and came to Canada with her father's family when about 14 years old, settling west of Toronto.  Here she was married when 18, to George Jackson, to whom she bore ten children, eight of whom are living, as follows:  Two daughters in Canada, one in a convent in New Mexico and one, Mrs. Schafer, in this county; four sons, Wm., T.J., Geo. J and John, all living a few miles south of Troy.  About 20 years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson came to Missouri from Canada, locating first on the Jones place, near Wright City; afterwards they rented the Sam Bird place and, while living there, the husband died.  In 1874, Mrs. Jackson bought the old Sydnor place, which was her home at the time of her death.  She was a member of the Catholic church for many years prior to her demise.  On Tuesday morning after services by Father Lemkes at the Catholic church in this city, her remains were laid to rest in the cemetery just south of town.  The family have our sympathy in their bereavement.

George Jackson and Margaret Harrison had the following children:
  • Anne (1837-?)  Interestingly Ann was baptized at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, Toronto on August 30, 1837 and not at St. Patrick's in Wildfield.  Anne obviously died later as they had another daughter Anne in 1843.  She is most likely buried at St. Patrick's Wildfield but the records for the cemetery are spotty at best.
  • William (1841-1901) – Was baptized at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield on February 24, 1841 aged 2 weeks.  William never married.  He died in Troy, Missouri, USA in 1901.
  • Anne (1843-1923) - Was baptized at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield on February 12, 1843, aged 2 weeks.  She married Philip EAGAN (1808-1878) in 1866. They had the following children:
    •  Mary Margaret Teresa (1867-1939) m. John MCDONAGH in 1885;
    • William Kearn (1868-1902) m. Heinna Jane MURPHY on June 19, 1894;
    • George Augustus (1871-1932) m. Hannah DOHERTY on June 22, 1904 – 3 children;
    • Francis J. (1873-1909) – never married. He died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA but was buried at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Toronto Gore Township, Peel County;
    • Thomas Philip (1875-1939) m. Madeleine NOONAN on January 27, 1915 at St. Vincent Roman Catholic Church, Bathurst Township – 7 children; and, 
    • Alice Amanda (1878-1951) - ?
  • Thomas (1845-1915) - Was baptized at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield on May 11, 1845, aged 6 weeks.  He married 1. Janet Mary MCVEAN on October 16, 1869 at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County.  He indicated in the 1900 US census that he immigrated to the US in 1873.  They had the following children:
    • Janet Mary (1870-1893) married Robert WILKINSON on December 23, 1890;
    • Margaret Ellen (1872-?) married Charles ANDERSON;
    • George Archibald (1873-1940) married Cora SLEET;
    • Alice Maude (1875-1948) married William Edward VAN SICKLE on July 31, 1894;
    • Mary Vida (1877-1907) married Fred MEYER;
    •  Thomas Harrison (1880-1956) married Anna MEYER on October 17, 1926 and married Mary Catherine COSGROVE;
    • John Gordon (1880-1892); and
    • Lulu M. (189?- 1938) married C.A. (Bud) SMITH.
  • Janet MCVEAN Thomas' first wife died on August 24, 1893.
  • Thomas married his second wife Sabie Jane REYNOLDS on September 14, 1894 in Moscow Mills, Missouri, USA.  They had the following children:
    • Joseph Matthew (1898-1975) married Genevieve BOWLES;
    • Mary Lu (1900-1944) married Joseph O'HANLON
    • Reubin Leo (1909-1948); and,
    • Paul Francis (1908-1908) - lived one day.
  • Margaret (1847-1912) - Was baptized on March 14, 1847 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, aged 6 weeks.  She married Thomas EAGAN on February 24, 1868 at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County – they lived in Tottenham, Simcoe County.  Children:
    • Margaret (1871-1945) m. John DEACON in 1893 – 9 children;
    • Nicholas (1873-1963) m. Catherine MCKENNA in 1883 – one adopted child;
    • Mary (1875-1954) – never married;
    • Anne (1877-1882) – died of diphtheria;
    • Catherine (1880-1956) m. James RONAN in Adjala Township, Simcoe County in 1909 – 5 children;
    • Elizabeth Vida (1882-1969) – entered convent in 1908 – Sister Mary Vida;
    • Thomas (1885-1976) m. Margaret Teresa WALSH at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Colgan? – 7 children;
    • James (1887-1973) m. Josephine O’CONNEL in 1924 – no children; and, 
    • Joseph (1889-1942) – never married
  • Mary Elizabeth (1849-1923) – Was baptized July 8, 1849 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, aged 3 weeks old.  Mary entered Loretto Convent Nerinx, Kentucky, USA on August 15, 1873
  • George (1852-1852) - Was baptized April 13, 1852 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, aged 3 months.  George died shortly thereafter and is buried St. Patrick's Cemetery, Wildfield, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County
  • George (1853-1930) - Was baptized June 26, 1853 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, aged 6 weeks.  George married Mary MURPHY (1857-1929).  George indicated in the 1900 US census that he immigrated to the US in 1874.  They had the following children:
    • Maria Anglea (1889-1959) married William Patrick MCHUGH on February 22, 1916; and,
    • Alphonsus Legori (1891-1974) married Leona RUFFCORN on June 16, 1915.
  • Alice (1855-1917) - Was baptized June 4, 1855 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, aged 1 month.  Alice married Joe SHAEFFER – 1 child
  • John Harrison (1859-1924) m. Ella Martha MURPHY (1867-1938) on November 23, 1887 in Troy, Missouri, USA.  John indicated in the 1900 US census the he immigrated to the US in 1871.  They had the following children:
    • Mary Elizabeth (1889-1949) married Michael Nicholas MCKINNEY;
    • Ida Cecelia (1891-1918) married Edward George RUPP;
    • Guy Victor (1893-1925) married Elsie Agnes Taylor (1899-1937);
    • John Bernard (1895-1958) - not married;
    • Charlie Claude (1897-1918) - killed in WWI in France; 
    • James Francis (1899-1964);
    • Ella Viola (1901-?); and,
    • Mildred Margaret (1907-?) married to Carl SCHALLER on November 23, 1935.