Saturday, November 22, 2014

Early Passenger Ship Travel Article

Did you ever wonder what life was like as your early relatives travelled to the new world? The link below may provide you with an excellent but brief look at their life onboard the passenger ship as they sailed to their new country.

Early Passenger Ship Travel

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Life of An Agricutural Labourer

Many of our early ancestors may have bee Agricultural Labourers. Below is a link to an online book describing their struggles.


Agricultural Labourer

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Othniel Phelps - Elgin's First Genealogist



A digital post on Elgin's first Genealogist, Othniel PHELPS can be found below. While at Aylmer in the 1850s he wrote a wonderful book on the PHELPS, published in 1862. Quite something.



Phelps Family History



Friday, November 14, 2014

McCallum MacCallum Family in Elgin



This may be of interest to the Elgin Genealogy Society:  The following newspaper article explains the McCallum family of Dunwich Twp., John Kenneth Galbraith is a descendant from the John McCallum (3) family.   

Sarah McCallum (7) married Donald Blue and moved to Whiteside, Illinois.  Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the US is a descendant from this couple.  Archibald McCallum was married to Sarah Campbell, who was the daughter of the 4th Duke of Argyle.

The Dutton Advance - 11 September 1919 - HAPPY CELEBRATION A FARM IN POSSESSION OF ONE FAMILY FOR 100 YEARS.
The Event Fittingly Observed by the McCallum Descendants in Dunwich.
In 1819 a sturdy band of three brothers left Scotland to seek their fortunes in Canada: one of these, John McCallum, settled in Dunwich in the dense wilderness, on what is now the well-known Back street, but at that time was merely a blazed trail. With indomitable perseverance and the courage characteristic of the race he hewed out for himself a crude home, and the farm, "Elgin Acres", has been since in the possession of his descendants, an event that possibly finds no parallel in the history of the township.

On Wednesday afternoon the important epoch was appropriately celebrated at the farm, when descendants of the McCallum family assembled on the very spot where a log house was erected 100 years ago. The call to the clan to participate in commemorating the completion of the century was issued by Malcolm and Arch. D.S. McCallum, grandsons of the original settler, and all with one accord entered into the spirit of the unique event with a vim that bespoke the pride felt at being descendants of the worthy pioneers. Members of the McCallum  family were present from Toronto, London, Glencoe, Aldborough, Dresden,  Michigan, Illinois and other points, along with intimate friends, to the number  of 150, and among whom were not a few although advanced in years are yet  youthful in spirit.

The lawn was decorated with flags, while a huge streamer on the house with the words "We Welcome You" proclaimed the hospitality that has always prevailed at "Elgin Acres".
Thomas Urquhart, (Mayor) of Toronto, a grandson of the pioneer, presided in his most happy manner. Prayer was offered by Elder Fenton, of Philadelphia, followed by the singing of a hymn, "O God of Bethel". 

Mr. Urquhart extended a hearty welcome to the gathering, and besides gave an interesting history of the Clan McCallum. Addresses were given by W.A. Galbraith, Donald Graham, ex-warden of Middlesex; J.C. Elliott, M.P.P., D.G. Gillies, Toronto; Arch. McCallum, Dutton; Hon. F.G. Macdiarmid, Minister of  Public Works, and Dr. McColl, Tilbury. The speakers recalled many incidents in connection with the early pioneers, their enduring qualities and their high ideals.
Selections on the pipes by Jas. Bruce, and Highland dancing by Jean McCallum interspersed the speeches.

A most beautiful dinner was provided by the family for the auspicious event, and again a very happy hour was spent, followed by a short  toast list, as follows: "The King", "Our Forefathers" (silently honored); "Our  Defenders", responsed to by S. McFarlane; "The Ladies", by Dr. T.M. Campbell, and "The Host and Hostess".

Elder Fenton voiced his pleasure at being present in an interesting address. It was decided to hold an annual picnic of the descendants and a committee was appointed to arrange for the same.

The farm, on which was held the unique demonstration, has been during these one hundred years and still is in possession of the family, the present owners and occupiers being Mr. Malcolm MacCallum and Mr. Arch. D.S.  MacCallum, grandsons of the original settler. A sketch of these years would really mean a history of this western part of Ontario.

John MacCallum was one of those sturdy Scotchmen, who, tiring of conditions in the land of their fathers, sought homes in the new land across the  seas for themselves and their families, and how much their industry,  righteousness and love of freedom have meant for this country, no one can today  properly estimate or even understand. The "Mac Callums" were a numerous clan in the west of Scotland, and particularly in Argyleshire. The clan motto, "In ardua petit", meaning "aims at lofty things", is interpretative of the spirits of the clan as well as the spirit which dominates Scotsmen the world over. The name "MacCallum", comes from "Calum", which comes from the name Columba, the great saint who in the 6th century evangelized the western part of Scotland. The name appears originally to have been Maol=Caluim (meaning devotee of Columba), from which came the name "MacCallum". The word is Gaelic and the English equivalent is "Malcolm", many of the clan adopted the English name, but the MacCallums still continue to be much more numerous than the Malcolms. In reference to this branch of the MacCallum family, the writer is able to go back with accuracy for five generations. In the early part of the 18th century Archibald MacCallum married Sarah Campbellton, by whom he had two sons, the eldest named Zachariah, who married Christy McBrayne, and they had a family of seven children who grew to manhood or womanhood, namely, (1) Archibald, (2) Daniel or Donald, (3) John,  the subject of the present sketch, (4) Duncan, (5) Malcolm, (6) Sarah (7)  another daughter who died unmarried in Scotland. Every one of these five sons came to Canada. Archibald, Daniel and Malcolm settled near the Ottawa River (St.  Andrew's East, Argenteuil County) in what is now Quebec, and Duncan and John  came to  the County of Elgin, Duncan settling at Brock's Creek, west of Eagle, in the Township of Aldborough, and John settling on the farm now known as "Elgin  Acres", in the Township of Dunwich. John married Margaret MacAlpine, and before they left Scotland had four children, who came with them, the eldest being  twelve years of age, or a little older, and the writer understands that one  child at least died before leaving Scotland, or while crossing the Atlantic.  Four children were born after coming to Canada. They were many weeks on shipboard, and conditions were not very comfortable on a crowded sailing vessel.

They were buoyed up with great hopes of the new land and they were soon at work hewing out for themselves houses in the then unbroken forest. The writer had the privilege of meeting a granddaughter of Duncan MacCallum, now 90 years of age, but still active and interested in all the happenings of today, but who remembers the past with great vividness, and who met and associated with many of the first generation of settlers. When asked the question, "What brought these Scotch settlers here?", she replied, "They were land hungry". What a depth of meaning in these words! They had tired of leaseholds often rented from overbearing and even tyrannical landlords and they longed for homes and lands they could call their own, and the then Canadian forest beckoned them and we may well say that their sturdy hands and intelligent enterprise made the "wilderness blossom like the roses". John MacCallum is now represented by 136 direct descendants, widely scattered at present, employed in almost every walk of life.  Some have become pioneers in opening our own great west - the spirit of the fathers still live in their children. These Scotch settlers who came in these early years, as may be said of most of Scotch forbears, were an intensely religious race, or rather they were godly men and women. They loved righteousness and hated iniquity.

John MacCallum died on December 31st 1851, aged 75 years, and his wife, Margaret MacAlpine, on the 15th of March, 1863, aged 77 years. Their bodies lie side by side in the old cemetery west of Wallacetown, awaiting that glorious resurrection, which was one of the foundation truths of their religious life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rembrance Day - 11 November 2014

Elgin Branch OGS extends their thanks to all those who have served their country defending our freedom.

If you have a friend or family member from Elgin County and would like to post their photograph, history or article to the Elgin County Blog send your information to elginbranchogs@gmail.com with your request.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

1887 Elgin County Courthouse proceedings

Digital online book link to 1887 Elgin County Courthouse proceedings.


Sessions in St Thomas Elgin County Courthouse