Friday, March 27, 2009

Dr. Francis Harrison (1842-1925)

Dr. Francis Harrison (April 5, 1842 - December 28, 1925) married Mary A. Creed (October 17, 1853 -1935), daughter of James and Mary Creed of Dixon, Illinois, on January 1, 1875, at Evanston, Wyoming.

They had the following children:

• James (Frank) Francis (May 26, 1877 - December 20, 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. He was married to Emily Cabel in Salt Lake City on July 27, 1911 in the Methodist Church.  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.  They did not have any children.  The difference in religion seems to have been a sticking point for his family as his best man was not his brother, nor is his family mentioned in the article when they returned to Evanton after the wedding, or is his wife mentioned by name in his obituary in the Evanston papers in 1914.  Emily Cabel remarried Edward Philip Hoehner, civil engineer with the Union Pacific Railway at Odgen, Utah on June 9, 1917.  He would be shot in October 1918 during an altercation between two security guards at the Aspen Tunnel works which he was managing, and would die in hospital in Salt Lake City on October 13, 1918.  He was buried in the Evanston City Cemetery.  The April 1, 1920 US census finds Emily Cabel living in Evanston alone with a servant.  A few months later Emily Cabel married her third husband Jesse Fearn on June 9, 1920 in Farmington, Utah.  They had one son Cabell born in Evanston, Wyoming on February 1, 1921.  I cannot find them in the 1930 US census.  Jesse Fearn died in 1938 and is buried at the Evanston City Cemetery.   However, it appears that Emily Cabel divorced Jesse Fearn sometime before 1936 as I found a reference in the 
September 8, 1936 edition of the Ogden Standard-Examiner which states:  VISIT FROM IDAHO Mrs. R. E. Schmidt and son.  Cabel Fearn of Gooding, Idaho, spent Monday with Mr. and Mrs. Roger Lachappelle and family.  Therefore she married her fourth husband Rolland Schmidt, civil railroad engineer, sometime before this reference in September 8, 1936.  They appear together in the 1940 US census with son Cabel in Pocatello, Idaho.  On the census both indicated that they lived in Ketchum, Blaine, Idaho in 1935.   Emily Schmidt died in Pacatello, Idaho on April 18, 1967.  Rolland Schmidt died in Pocatello, Idaho on February 19, 1978.  Both are buried in Mountainview Cemetery, Pocatello, Idaho.  Emily's son after a stint in the US Army during WWII married late in life at the age of 62 years to Barbara Rhoades on April 23, 1983.  She died on July 15, 1999.  He died in Boulder Colorado on December 19, 2001. 


• Mary (1880-April 21, 1927) 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.  It is mentioned in her father's obituary in December 1925 that she was ill in hospital in San Francisco.  She seems to have suffered from a long illness though I do not know what it was.  She died at the home of her uncle (Mary Creed's brother - most likely James Warren Creed) in San Francisco, California on April 21, 1927 and is buried in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery ,Colma, San Mateo County, California just south of San Francisco.


• 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.  He is living in Salt Lake City as indicated by the 1910 US Census.  He must have met Helena there.  They were married in Odgen, Utah on June 11, 1911.  Given that they were not married in Evanston, Wyoming makes me wonder if they eloped?  They lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the 1910s where Charles was the manager of the Strand Theatre.  By 1920 they were living in Detroit where Charles was the manager of the Majestic Theatre.  (I can't find them in the 1920 US census)  Later they were living in Atlanta, Georgia where Charles managed the Howard Theatre.  In 1926 he moved to Sarasota, Florida to manage the 1500 seat Edwards Theatre.  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 1936 they were living at 1401 Beacon Street, Brookline, Massachusetts, as indicated by the documentation in Helena's mothers probate file.  By 1942 Charles was retired and they were living in South Laguna, California.  Helena 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.   They do not appear to have had any children.  


• 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 though he recovered.  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 Egton, in the Esk River Valley of North Yorkshire, England (just above the first "o" in "Moors" in the map above).

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 (1827-1855) and James C. Smyth (1820-1901)

Ann HARRISON (1827-1855) was the daughter of William HARRISON and Mary HUTCHINSON.  

Ann HARRISON married James C. SMYTH on July 20, 1841 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County.  (James C. SMYTH was born in Powerstone Parish in County Tipperary and baptized at the Roman Catholic Church there on April 4, 1819)  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 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.  Interestingly Basil lived in Paris in the early 1930s.  Was he there as representing the Massey Harris Company in France?  The brothers 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 records of the Roman Catholic Chapel at Egton Bridge.

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.





 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 the Roman Catholic Chapel 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.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Family of William Harrison (1812-1849) and Mary O'Connor (1820-1904)

William HARRISON (1812-1849)
m. Mary O’CONNOR (1820-1904) – on April 19, 1837 at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County
Upon his death on March 11 1849, William's estate was valued at £1005, 10s with total debts of £181 . The majority of this was in land. The 100 acres on Lot 8, Concession 9, Toronto Gore Township where the Harrisons first settled in 1831 was valued at £600. Mary O'CONNOR, William HARRISON's widow married Edward GALVIN at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County, Canada on January 27, 1864. On February 1, 1864 Edward and his wife Mary signed an indenture where she releases her 1/3 dower interest in all property to her son William for $1. Edward seems to have disappeared sometime later.


William and Mary had the following children:

• William (1838-1920) m. Minnie DEADY at St. Mary’s Church, Simcoe County on November 28, 1888 – they had one child, a daughter named Frankie in 1890. She married James DERRICK. William attended St. Michael's College, affiliated with the University of Toronto, in the early 1860s.  According to his obituary, published in the Brampton Conservator on May 27, 1920, William passed away suddenly on May 19th of heart disease. He was engaged in farming at Derry West for a number of years and then operated the Arlington Hotel in Brampton from about 1895. The hotel was located on the corner of Railroad and Elizabeth Streets directly across from the Grand Truck Railway station. He was buried in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery in Brampton.

• Bridget (1840-1856), buried St. Patrick’s Cemetery – never married. Her obituary in the Toronto Mirror says that she died "after a lingering illness". "Miss Harrison was a native of the Gore of Toronto, and from her sweet charitable, and pious disposition, will be long and deeply mourned by her friends and acquaintances".



• Francis H. (1842-1925) m. Mary Ada CREED, April 1, 1876, Evanston, Wyoming USA. Francis attended St. Michael's College in the 1860s and would become a medical doctor, after furthering his education at Bellevue Medical College in New York City, and then at Yale University - including a stint in the US Army as a Medical Cadet during the Civil War (see separate entry).


John (1845-1927) farmed on Lot 8, Concession 10, Toronto Gore Township until 1887 when he sold it to George Robinson and retired to live in a large farmhouse in Vaughan Township, York County just north of Claireville. The house still exists and is located on the east side of Highway 50 just north of Highway 407.  It was then, late in life, that he married Margaret LENNON on January 9, 1901 at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County.  John and Margaret had apparently already had one child, a daughter named Gertrude, mysteriously born on March 19, 1894, according to census information.  There does not appear to be a birth registration nor a baptismal entry in St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Wildfield?   Gertrude would later marry John DEANE on August 23, 1922.  John DEANE was a recent emigrant to Canada only arriving in Quebec in November 1920.  They had four known children – John, James, William and Helen.    Originally the Deane family lived in Woodbridge but later they moved to the City of Toronto.  John died on May 15, 1936 and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Toronto.


Tombstone of John Harrison and Margaret Lennon
St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Wildfield
© Michael Harrison 2010


• Nicholas (1847-1933) m. Mary WILEY on January 24, 1882 at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County.

Nicholas Harrison Farm - Lot 8, Concession 10, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County 
© Michael Harrison 2009

Nicholas farmed on Lot 8, Concession 10, Toronto Gore Township for a number of years. Upon his retirement he moved to a small cottage on the west side of The Gore Road just south of Mayfield Road opposite St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. According to his obituary in the March 31, 1933 edition of the Bolton Enterprise, Nicholas passed away at his home on March 27th. He was described as “one who had been prominent in the public life of the county for well over half a century”. He had served as the clerk of the Township of Toronto Gore for 50 years, as well as representing the township on the Board of Directors of the Peel Farmers Insurance Company, of which he was president from 1910-1912. He was also a school trustee for several years.
Nicholas and Mary had the following children:

  • Mary Maria (1882-1962) m. Charles O’HARA on April 26, 1904 at. St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church – had 4 children
  • Anne Elizabeth (1884-1964).  I think I found her boarding at the McRae home in Winnipeg in the 1911 census.  She  married George WIGGINS in Kenora, Ontario on October 12, 1911.   According to George's obituary, he moved from Toronto to Winnipeg in 1909 to open the Success Business College.   Since they both lived in Winnipeg I wonder if they eloped?  Why leave Manitoba and get married in remote Kenora, Ontario? George listed his occupation as professor in college.  Anne listed herself as a teacher.  In 1914 George joined the G. R. Bradley and Co.  They are in Winnipeg in the 1921 Canadian census.  Anne's sister Mary (Minnie) is living with them as a teacher along with her nephew Vernon Tice.   George retired from business In 1942.  He died on May 4, 1947.   Annie continued to live in Winnipeg until her death on September 12, 1964.  They are both buried in Brookside Cemetery.  They had no children.
  • William John (1885-1965)  William lived on the family farm until about 1903 when he went out west and ended up in the US travelling around to various parts of it including Los Angeles.  He came back to Canada, settling in Saskatchewan about 1914.  His draft papers from March 1918 have him as single and living in Amulet, Saskatchewan.  In 1919 he was in Colville, Washington and came down with influenza.  He was nursed back to health in hospital by Della Bernice Hammond.  Della was the daughter of Ben Hammond of North Dakota.  They had two children William Maurice Harrison in 1921 and Rosalie Edith Harrison in 1924.  They moved to the US in November 1924 to settle in Yuma County, Arizona where Della's father had moved.  They remained there and can be found in the 1930 and 1940 US Census.  Descendants continue to live in Yuma today.
  • Francis Ewart (1887- September 1961) – Francis remained on the family farm and never married.
  • Clara Isabel (1889-1924) married Charles TICE in Toronto in 1906.  They moved to the United States and were living in Hamilton, Indiana in the 1910 US Census.  In 1914 they immigrated to Saskatchewan where Charles took advantage of the land available as a Homesteader.  By this time they had three children - all boys:  Clifford (b. 1909), Claude (b. 1911) and Vernon (b. 1915).  Charles enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1915 and served overseas in the First Pioneer Battalion, Canadian Engineers.  The family was listed in the 1916 Saskatchewan census - Charles was noted to be overseas.    Charles married for a second time in England to Rose Whittaker in Ecclesall Bierlow, Yorkshire West Riding, England on May 6, 1917.  They had one daughter Rose in England in 1918.  In 1921 two of the sons (Clifford and Claude) were living with their grandparents Nicholas and Mary Harrison in Toronto Gore Township, Ontario and the other son (Vernon) was living with his aunt Anne Wiggins (nee Harrison) in Winnipeg.   What then happened to Clara Harrison is unclear, she was still alive though I cannot find her in the 1920 US Census or 1921 Canadian Census.  What is known is that she died in Toronto on December 15, 1924 and is buried at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Wildfield, Peel County.  Charles Tice and Rose did come to US in about 1921 but lived first in Pennsylvania then in Ohio, then in the city of Madison, Indiana before finally settling in Pendleton Indiana (Madison County).   That is where they appear in the 1940 US census.  He died there in 1945.  Rose died in Indianapolis (Marion County) in 1978.   It does not appear that the children from his marriage to Clara Isabel Harrison ever lived with him again.  Vernon Tice continued to live with his aunt and uncle in Winnipeg.  He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Artillery in 1940 and took part in D Day operations in France on June 6, 1944.  Captain Vernon Tice was killed on June 9, 1944 and is buried in the Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Calvados, France.  His obituary mentions that he was married and his wife's name was Eileen Emily (maiden name unknown) who was living at 179 Renfrew Street in Winnipeg.  His uncle George Wiggins is also mentioned in the obituary.  Clifford and Claude appear to have remained in Ontario.  However Clifford later immigrated to the United States.  He died in Orange County, California on October 9, 1990.  I have not been able to determine what became of Claude Tice. 
  • Hilda Maria (1891-1980) m. Dr. TIGHE on April 7, 1913.  They had 4 known children.  Yvonne b. 1915, Frank 1918-1918, Frank b. 1919 and John 1924-1925.  They originally lived in Bolton, Ontario but had moved to Bomanville, Ontario by 1921.  Frank Harrison Tighe born in 1918 eventually immigrated to the United States were he married Ann Stevens-Butz in San Bernandino, California on March 24, 1961.  Frank died in San Bernandino, California on May 15, 1995.
  • Alice Louise (1893-1986) m. Martin BYRNE on September 23, 1914.  Alice died in 1986.
  • Edith Alexandra (1897-1917).  She was a teacher but died unmarried in 1917.
  • Mary (Minnie) Margaret (1898-1983) Mary was a teacher teaching at schools near Brampton.  In the 1916 census she is living with her sister Anne Elizabeth Wiggins (nee Harrison) in Winnipeg and is listed as "Mary" where she continued to work as a school teacher.  She is also listed as living in Winnipeg in both her mother's obituary from 1928 and her father's obituary in 1933.  Mary lived in Winnipeg until at least 1935.  While on a long bus trip to visit her brother in Yuma Arizona she met US Marine James R. Rutledge.  It appears to have been love at first sight as she later married James R. Rutledge of the United States Marine Corps who was born in Arkansas in 1904.  As a Marine he had many exotic postings.  He was stationed in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii in 1930 and at the US Legation in  Peking in 1935. In the 1940 US census they were living on a US Marine Corps base in Virginia.  I also believe that he fought in WWII but have no details on his involvement in the war.  After the war they appear to have settled in San Diego, California.  James died in San Diego on December 26, 1968.  Later in life Mary moved to Yuma, Arizona, no doubt to be closer to her brother's family and died there in April 1983.

Mary O'Connor (1820-1904), wife of William Harrison


© Michael Harrison 2009

This is a photo of Mary O'CONNOR, daughter of Nicholas O'CONNOR and Mary POWER who married William HARRISON, son of William HARRISON and Mary HUTCHINSON on April 19, 1837 at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Toronto Gore Township, Peel County. According to her response in the 1901 Census she emigrated to Canada in 1828.

The Four Sons of William Harrison and Mary O'Connor




© Michael Harrison 2009

The four sons of William HARRISON and Mary O'CONNOR in Brampton at the same time. In the back row is Nicholas (left) and Dr. Francis (right). In the front row is John (left) and William (right). I am not sure when this was taken but probably around 1900.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Journey of the "King William" to Canada in 1831

The following letter was written by Hannah Young to Mr. Robert Hodghson (though it is addressed to Ann), Ellerby nigh Whitby, Yorkshire England from Toronto Township, (present day City of Mississauga west of Toronto) in January 1832 describing their voyage on board the King William from Whitby to Quebec in April 1831. The letter contains much more information but I have edited it down to the travel details. This is the ship that the Harrison family travelled to Quebec on.

Dear Ann

I take this opportunity of writing these few lines to you and i hope they will find you all in good health as it leaves us all at present thank God for it dear friend it is now above 8 months since we parted very possible never to meet again in this world you will remember when i left you in Stradfords gallery i went on in haste to let my Aunt know that you and your Cousin James and Aunt Ann was there and i knew that neither my Uncle nor William was on board i thought she might come on shore and see you all for the last time but when i found her she had just parted with your Aunt Sarah and her heart was full of trouble seeing them left her expecting to find you again and to bid you a final farewell but when i went to the door it was locked and you were all gone but there being a road through the celler i got to the street but were you was gone i never could learn i went into every room but could not find neither friend nor relation nor any that i knew this being done i made when i got below the plank was drawn the ship was moved all was ordered below my Uncle come on board at the bridge as soon as the sailors would allow us we came upon deck and took the last survey i was not more than an hour before i was very sick my Aunt was not sick untill the next morning she was the better saillor but for the first three weeks we were both very sick and i had a violent cough i thought i should have died my Uncle and William was never sick untill the 14 and 15 when the wind blue from the North a perfect gale but after that they had good health all the way over every Sunday we had a prayer meeting on deck morning and afternoon and every evening on the week day below for there was many like myself that was not able to go on deck to the prayer meeting on the 20 it was a fine day we entered the firth and we had scotland on the left hand and the Orkney island on the right at scotland we could clearly discern the buildings the men ploughing the cattle grazing in large herds by the sea side my Aunt was upon deck most part of the day at night we left the North sea and entered the Western Ocean and bade adieu to the british island 21 of may this morning the wind was contrary which was a great disappointment as we intended to see quebeck in the course of the day at 2 oclock P M the ship came to anchor opposite the goose island a narrow piece of land laying the middle of the river a boat was lowered down Mr. Carr Mr. Wilson my Uncle and two or three more rowed of to it the canadiens were busy sowing their wheat in the evening they returned they brought with them a quantity of milk some neat straw hats and a goose William killed it and it was roasted on sunday the 23  
[actually May 22nd] we reached quebeck on the 24 [the King William actually arrived on May 22nd according to the Quebec Mercury] we left king William and went on board of a steam packet and reached Montreal on the 27 [this date - and others in the letter- are suspect given the other known incorrect dates in the letter.  These mostly likely resulted from the fact that Hannah did not write her letter until January 1832 - almost a full year after the journey].......your affectionate friend Hannah Young....


The Young Family's return address on the envelope is: William Young, Inn Keeper in the Township of Toronto, Near the River Credit Dundas Street, York, Upper Canada, North America.

Amazingly, this letter has survived on both sides of the Atlantic !!

The original copy sent to England is now in the London School of Economics, British Library of Political and Economic Science, Letters of Emigrants to America, M627.

The other copy is in the Region of Peel Archives (Toronto Township was in the former Peel County). It is listed as Young Family Letter, dated January 8, 1832, Accession # 1984.058.

Tombstone of William Harrison - died 1836


© Michael Harrison 2009



This is the tombstone of William Harrison my great great great grandfather. He is buried in the cemetery at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church at present day The Gore Road and Mayfield Road in the City of Brampton.  The age of 55 years on his tombstone suggests a birth year of 1780/1.  

Tombstone of Mary Hutchinson 1783-1856


© Michael Harrison 2009


This the tombstone of Mary Hutchinson, my great great great grandmother and wife of William Harrison (1773-1836). Four years after the death of her first husband she married Thomas Smyth on April 27, 1840. She is buried in the cemetery at St. Patrick's Church, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County (present day The Gore Road and Mayfield Road in the City of Brampton). This is one of the oldest Catholic cemeteries in the Toronto Region.

Mary's obituary appears in the August 22, 1856 edition of the Toronto Mirror and reads:  Died - On Sunday the 17th inst., after a lingering illness, which she bore patiently and resignedly, Mrs. Smyth, wife of Mr. Thomas Smyth, Etobicoke, at the good old age of seventy-two years.  Mrs. Smyth was one of our early pioneers in the duties of a Christian Mother, and having lived to see her children's children grow up around her, has now departed to the heavenly home of her ancestors in the Faith.  May she rest in peace:  may her soul find rest.

Thomas Smyth lived near Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland.   his marriage to his first wife Mary Lubey, and the baptisms of their children took place at the Roman Catholic Church in Powerstown.  Originally he was a farmer but later operated the Claireville Hotel in Claireville. Thomas donated land for the first Catholic School in Etobicoke Township, York County. It was located in Highfield and built in 1840. His son James C. Smyth married Mary Hutchinson's daughter Ann Harrison in St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Wildfield on July 20, 1841.


According to William Perkins Bull's From Macdonell to McGuigan: the History of the Growth of the Roman Catholic Church in Upper Canada, Thomas Smyth and Mary Hutchinson were the only neighbours to come to the assistance of Colonel Baldwin and his wife at Clogeneagh Lodge in 1847 when typhus broke out at the makeshift hospital the Baldwins had created in their home to administer to the many sick immigrants fleeing the famine in Ireland. Both helped care for the sick and while Thomas helped Colonel Baldwin build the coffins for the many who died, Mary helped Mrs. Baldwin prepare the bodies for burial in the makeshift cemetery that remains undiscovered.

It sounds like Thomas Smyth was a very spiritual man for part of his obituary in The Canadian Freeman of June 16, 1870, reads:
In his death the helpless lost a friend, the orphan a father, and the dying, one of the truest benefactors; in fact as the priest who preaches the funeral oration said 'the old parish priest is now no more'; and many, we are sure, have since said the same in their hearts....The large attendance, at his funeral, of his neighbours, both Protestant and Catholic bears ample testimony on his sterling qualities as a neighbor (sic), a friend, and a Christian.

Family of George Harrison 1809-1855 and Mary (Faith) Linton

Tombstone of George Harrison
St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Wildfield 
© Michael Harrison 2009

For many years there was no evidence of the exact relationship between George Harrison and William Harrison Sr. other than a mention in the Harrison family file in the Perkins Bull Collection that he was the brother of William Harrison Jr, son of William Harrison and Mary Hutchison.  The information in the Perkins Bull Collection was obtained through research and interviews in the 1930s.  However, recently (2017) I have discovered the Easter Communion Lists for the Roman Catholic Chapel in Egton Bridge, North Yorkshire and in the list for 1826 a son George is clearly listed in the household of William Harrison and Mary Hutchinson in Murkside, Egton township, North Yorkshire.  Therefore despite the fact George is not mentioned in William Harrison's will of 1836 I believe that he is his son.    

George HARRISON (1809-1855) married Faith –later Mary- LINTON (bap June 17, 1804, Goathland, North Yorkshire, England - January 1884) on December 15, 1829, in Goathland (Parish of Pickering) (Church of England), North Yorkshire, England.  Esther Linton, Faith's sister was the witnesses.  Faith changed her name to Mary when she made her "profession of faith" and converted to Catholicism on June 17, 1837. Faith was the daugher of Thomas LINTON and Mary LOWNSBROUGH.  Her brothers Brian and Moses also immigrated to Canada.  Faith's brother Isaac married William Harrison's sister Hannah (Ann) at Egton in April 1829. 

George appears to have set up his own farm and household in 1835 when he began renting 50 acres (NW ¼) of Lot No 12 in the 10th Concession of the Township of Toronto Gore, Peel County from Patrick Bulger. He purchased these lands by private sale on October 29, 1839 as recorded in the Upper Canada Land Book 1839-1841. On September 5, 1844 he sold the property to John Murphy for £150.

In the 1852 Census we find George and his family living on 79 acres of land on Lots 18 and 19, Concession 12, in the Township of King, York County. Living with him were his wife Mary and children Margaret, age 18. William age 16, Alice, age 14, John, age 12, Esther, age 10, George, age 8 and Ann Jane, age 6.  The agricultural portion of the census indicates that of the 79 acres, 25 acres were under cultivation (15 with crops and 10 under pasture); with 54 acres still under forest cover. Of the 15 acres under crops 5 acres were planted with wheat, producing 100 bushels; 5 planted with peas producing 75 bushels; and 5 planted with oats producing 100 bushels. For livestock they had 2 milch cows, one calf, 5 sheep and 2 pigs. For produce they had 50 pounds of butter and 3 barrels of pork. George was renting this land as he is not listed as the owner in the land abstract books for this property.

Thomas, George’s eldest son is living with the family of Mary Harrison (nee O’Connor) and her sons on Lot 8, Concession 9, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County.

After George’s death in 1855 his eldest son Thomas became the head of the family.

The 1861 Census finds them on Lot 32, 11th Concession in King Township, York County. Again they were renting as they do not appear on the land abstract for this property. Along with Thomas, age 31 was his mother Mary and his brothers and sisters Margaret age 25, William age 23, George, age 15, Esther, age 19 and Ann Jane, age 14.  They are living in a log cabin.  In addition there is Mark Linton visiting from Pickering. This would be Mark Linton (1833-1882) son of Moses Linton and Jane Robinson. Moses was the son of John Linton of Goathland. Most likely a brother of Thomas Linton, Faith's (Mary) father. As such Mark Linton would have been Mary's (Faith) first cousin.

In 1871 we find the family living in Etobicoke Township, York County.  Mary, age 68 years, is living with her sons Thomas and William.  Wilson Linton, possibly her brother and his family live nearby.  Her daughter Ann Jane, married to Charles Wiesmore, is living next door.

In 1881 we find the family living in Etobicoke Township, York County. Mary, age 81 years, is living with her sons Thomas, George and William. All three sons list their occupation as labourer.

There is a death registration for a Mary Harrison of Etobicoke Township, York County, registered in January 1884 which is most likely the mother of Thomas, George and William.  The registration contains little identifying information and was submitted by her physician as opposed to one of the children.

In 1891 Thomas is living with the family of George Robinson in Toronto Gore Township, Peel County where he is listed as a farm labourer. Not sure what happened to his brother William.  His brother George married Elizabeth Middleton in 1884.


In 1901 we find Thomas living with the Wiley Family on Lot 2, Concession 8, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County. Unfortunately he did not respond to the question of when he emigrated to Canada (or it was not recorded) in the census. The census indicates that he was employed for 10 months as a domestic at an annual salary of $129.

George Harrison and Faith (Mary) Linton had the following children:

• Thomas (1830 – May 9, 1907) b in North Yorkshire, England.  A baptism of Thomas has not been found in either the Anglican or Roman Catholic records in England.  According to his death registration, Thomas died on May 9, 1907, aged 77 years, of “old age”. At the time he was living on Humber Lot 15, Concession 9, Etobicoke Township, York County. The St. Patrick’s Death Register records him as living in Claireville and “very poor”. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County in Wildfield on May 10, 1907.

• Mary (1832-?) married James ? – Mary was the subject of the first family entry in Father Gordon's register from St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Wildfield, Peel County, when she was baptized on March 17, 1833 at the age of 5 months.  The sponsors were Matthew Hutchinson and Mary Harrison.  Faith Linton did not convert to Catholicism and change her name to Mary until 1837 so the Mary Harrison listed as the sponsor is most likely Mary Hutchinson, wife of William Harrison.  I lose track of Mary early and can only find one later entry for her in the St. Patrick's baptismal register when her son George b. 1849 was baptized in January 1850.  Unfortunately the name of the father is written into the present binding of the book and not possible to read.  Sponsors were George Harrison and Mary Harrison.  This seems likely to be her parents.   

• Margaret (1835-?) She last appears in the 1861 census living with her mother and brothers.  Is she the "Mary" Harrison, daughter of George and Mary Harrison who married Frederick Trane, son of John and Maria, b. New Orleans, USA (circa 1839) on July 19, 1861 in King Township as recorded in the County Marriage Register?  They appear to have lived in King Township for some time after but "Mary" is referred to as Margaret on the census records.  Perhaps this is correct and her name in the Marriage Register is wrong? 

• William (1836-?)  He last appears in the 1881 census living with his mother and brothers Thomas and George.

• Alice (1838 - 1912)  In 1857 she married Patrick Burns and had the following children:  James (b. 1859), Nicolas (b. 1861), Mary (b. 1863), George (b. 1866), Patrick (b. 1869), John (b. 1870), Ellen (b. 1875), Martha (b. 1876), Thomas (b. 1879) and William (b. 1882).  She died of senility in the Insane Asylum in Toronto in 1912.

• John (1840-1856) – never married – buried St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Wildfield, Toronto Gore Township, Peel County.

• Esther (1842-1914) married James STUBBS (1840-1931), son of James and Ann Stubbs on March 5, 1863 according to the County Marriage Register
They had the following children:
o Albert m. Ida BOOTH – 7 children – Albert, Mabel, Frank, Ida, Sarah, William and Ethel
o John W. (May 23, 1874 - July 20, 1931) m. Elizabeth GRAHAM
o Joseph W. m. Alice BIRCH – 8 children – Fred, Mamie, Lily, Gilbert, Donald, John, Grant
o Edward – went to Orillia
o Sam m. Maud HEELS – 2 children – Margaret and Lloyd
o James T. m. Annie Adeline NORRIS (1869-1931) – no children
o William (1868- Dec 20, 1917) m. Alvia TAYLOR (d. 1927) – 1 daughter in Alberta
o Sarah (Dec 5, 1865 - Oct 9, 1928) m. Albert J. FULLER
o Minnie m. Thomas PHILLIPS
o Annie m. Alfred EWART
o Fred m. Lorne GROZELLE – 1 son - Howard

• George (1845-1897) married Ann Elizabeth MIDDLETON, daughter of John MIDDLETON of Pickering. The marriage took place September 18, 1884 at Bolton, Ontario and is recorded in the Palgrave Pastoral Charge (Methodist) marriage register. The groom was living in Claireville. The witnesses were Henry PHILLIPS of Columbia and Harriet WIESMORE of Woodbridge (this would be George's niece most likely) . The register indicates that George's father was John but all other indicators show that he was in fact the son of George.  George and Elizabeth immigrated to Bay City, Michigan, USA in 1885.  George died there on December 30, 1897.  Elizabeth Middleton remarried Frank Westbrook on November 24, 1904 in Traverse City, Leelanau, Michigan.  Frank Westbrook was the son of N. Westbrook and Lucy Freeman.    They lived in Bay City, Michigan with her children. 
They had the following children:
  • John born in 1885.
  • Marie (b. 1893) was first married to John MARRY on July 8, 1907.  He died and she remarried Peter DUGAY on September 25, 1919 in Bay City, Michigan and died in Bay City, Michigan, USA. In the 1920 US census they are living in Bay City, Michigan.  His brother-in-law John Middleton, Frank Westbrook step-father-in-law and Elizabeth Westbook (Middleton) mother-in-law are all living with them.  Elizabeth Middleton indicated that she emigrated to the US in 1885.
  • Ethel married Delbert LEWIS in Essexville, Michigan on March 17, 1909.
  • Myrtle born in Bay City Michigan in circa 1893.  She was married to Norman STANLEY on November 19, 1911 in Bay City, Michigan.
  • George born in 1901. 

• Ann Jane (1847-?) married Charles WIESMORE (1844 - September 24, 1844  - Oct 21, 1899) on August 23, 1869. Charles was born in 1844 in New York.  Charles enlisted as a Private on 6 August 1862 at the age of 18 in Company E, 122nd Infantry Regiment New York on August 6, 1862.  He deserted on July 26, 1864 while in Washington DC.  He moved to Canada and settled in Clairville, Etobicoke Township, York County.  On August 23, 1869 he married Ann Jane Harrison.  In the 1871 census they are living in Clairville next door to Ann Jane's mother and brothers.  Charles' occupation is listed as Painter. In 1881 they are living in Vaughan Township, York County with 4 children (Harriett Ann, James Henry, Carrie May and Thomas Ambrose).  Interestingly the 1881 census indicates that Charles was born "at sea".  In 1888 they moved to the United States and lived in Buffalo.  They had the following children:  Harriet Ann (1870-?), James Henry (1873-1950), Carrie Mae (1876-1900), Thomas Ambrose (1880-1938), Charles H (1883-1900) and Nicholas Wilfred (1885-1948).  Charles died on October 21, 1899 in Buffalo.  Ann Jane remained in Buffalo and died sometime after 1920.