Monday, December 15, 2014

Elgin County Virtual Tour Link - Thomas Talbot

The link below leads to a virtual site about the History of Thomas Talbot. Anyone researching their early Elgin County roots may find this a helpful site.

Elgin County Thomas Talbot Virtual Tour link 

West Elgin County Historical Society

Anyone researching their roots in West Elgin (Aldborough Township) may find this historical society a beneficial resource to help with their search.

West Elgin County Historical Society 

Below is a link to the West Elgin Traveling Exhibit

West Elgin Traveling Exhibit

Thursday, December 11, 2014

New Family History Resource - Elgin County Backus Page House Museum Family History Club

In January Elgin County will have another resource for searching your roots. A monthly Family History Club will begin at the Backus-Page House Museum.  

Resources will include open forums, access to the resource library and discussions about everyone's current research and to act as a support for each other.  We will also book workshops or field trips based on the interests of those who attend.

Attendance is free with a Tyrconnell Heritage Society membership.

If you have ideas for topics or would like to be a speaker (15 minutes - 1 hour) or run a workshop (half day to full day) please don't hesitate to contact me Angela Bobier.

The museum has a Website and Blog with contact details

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ford Family in Aldborough Twp., Elgin Cty., Ontario Canada

St. Thomas Times Journal
31 July 1926
Page 5
Article -   Ford Family Anniversary 108th year in Elgin

Chairman was Norman W. Ford of Toronto, the eldest living grandson of Thomas Ford and his wife Altha who settle on lot B., South of Talbot Rd in Aldborough; Thomas Ford was bn near Edinburgh, Scotland in 1774, married a Scottish girl when he was 26 years old and had 2 sons with her then she died.  He married again 2 years later and one year after that sailed across the Atlantic and settled in Vermont in 1808; he gained the acquaintance of Gregor McGregor with whom he maintained a lifelong friendship; in Vermont his second wife died leaving him with 3 sons; 2 years later he married Altha Sheppard who was born in Vermont in 1792 and they moved to New York. He fought at the battle of Lundy's Lane and soon after left for Canada and located at York (now Toronto) and in 1816 returned to New York State for his family.  In 1818 he received word from his friend McGregor in Aldborough township and decided to locate there in Colonel Thomas Talbot settlement; in all he had 8 sons and 1 daughter, the latter died when quit young in 1823 and was the first buried in the cemetery on his farm which bears his name on Talbot St.  The 3 eldest sons were bn in Scotland, the next 2 in New York State and the 3 youngest in Aldborough; Thomas Ford died July 30 1844 aged 70 years and Altha Ford, his wife died Dec 9 1869 at the age of 78 years.
John the eldest son lived at home until he was 21 and then took the west half of the homestead and in 1826 he married Miss Margaret Gillies; they had 2 sons and 8 daughters.  Four of the daughters died quite young and his eldest son, Thomas died in 1852.  Mary Ann was married in 1861 to Joseph McCollum. Altha married Thomas Peets in 1856 and lived in Duart with her family for many years.  Sarah married George Thompson who with her sister Bell still survive.  John married Sarah Robinson in 1868 and lived on the old homestead a number of years, moving to Rodney where he died in 1925 leaving one daughter Mrs John Milton of Rodney.

Thomas, the second son owned and lived on lot 2 S. M. R. Orford and married Christena Campbell in 1832.  they had 3 sons and 2 daughters, their eldest son Thomas lived in Blenheim for many years and his second son, Archibald died in 1873,  and Daniel lived in Michigan until 1872 when he came to live with his son at Blenheim where he died in 1876 age 72 years.
James, the third son was a bachelor.  He moved to Minnesota in 1856 where he died.

William, the fourth son was born in York State in 1812 and he settled on lot 3 N. M. R. Orford.  He married in 1834 to Jane Carswell and in 1847 he built the house now owned by Mr Thompson; he died in 1859 at the age of 47 years and his wife died in 1875 age 65 years.  They had 4 sons and 4 daughters - Altha the eldest married John McIntyre who died and she married Neil Walker; Christina married C. Bobier of Oakeville, Jennie married George Dickson of St Thomas; Maggie died some years ago; Thomas married Ellen McIntosh; Neil married Mary McLarty and they had 4 sons and 4 daughters; William married in Missouri and his wife died leaving him one little daughter; Norman married Miss Hattie Dyke of Ingersoll and they have 2 daughters; Marjory and Dr Norman Ford a lecturer at Toronto University.

Robert, the 5th son was born in York State in 1816.  He purchased  lot 6, N. M. R. in 1838 and in 1844 he married Nancy Leitch and by this union raised a large family; Robert Ford died in Duart May 4 1874 age 58 years.

David, the 6th son was the first one of the name born in Aldborough on May 8 1820.  In 1842 he married Nancy McIntosh and moved to Missouri and then Michigan.  He died at Cass City in 1893 at age 73 years. By the first marriage there was 7 daughters and 1 son - Isabella married David Miller of Illinois and had 4 sons; Altha married H. D. Cunningham of Duart on Feb 5 1863 and had 5 sons and 3 daughters; J. D. was in a wholesale at Kansas City, Mo; J. W. in Winnipeg in the grain business; A. R. was an operator and died in Omaha, Nebraska Nov 8 1892 and was brought home and buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Ridgetown; James was killed in the Watson Mill disaster at Ridgetown; Mary Ann married Peter Sweitzer of Hamilton Missouri, the President of the National Bank; Maggie married John Sigman; Hannah married Robert Sweitzer; Jennie married John Cox; Ellen married John Hogsit all of Hamilton, Missouri.

Henry Ford was the 7th son and was born in 1822; when he was 15 years old the rebellion broke out and he was drafted and sent as a guard to Colonel Talbot's division; In 1841 he married Miss Mary McPhail, he was 21 years old and she 16 years old. 

Norman, the 8th son was born in 1827 and always lived on the homestead; when he was 19 he married and had 2 sons and 2 daughters - his oldest son, Thomas married Miss Laura Buchan in 1876 and they had one son Norman Ford who married Miss Cynthia Lee and they lived in the old homestead and have one son - Norman at home; James married Mary Jane McGugan and died in 1885; Mary Ann married John Buchan and still lives on the Talbot St Farm where they have 2 sons and 1 daughter - John Blake, Norman and Agnes Bell; Mr Buchan died a few years ago, John Blake lives on the homestead with his mother, Norman married Miss Gladys Kelly and has a little son and daughter, Agnes Bell is married to Edwin McMillan and lives at Kintyre with her family of 3 children.

Altha married Thomas Havens of Port Glasgow who still survives her.  They had 3 daughters - Agnes married Alfred Green and lives at Rodney with their 2 children Alice and George; Janett is married to Mr Campbell at West Lorne and they have 1 son and twin daughters.
Mary is married to Joseph Gray and lives on Con 14 Aldborough, and they have 4 sons and 1 daughter - Bruce, Donald, Kenneth, Catharine and Thomas.

Agnes died in 1877 and Mr Ford died in 1882.

Village Life in Early England

The link below is to an excellent digital book online which describes what village life was like for any early Elgin relative who left England for Elgin County.

Village Life in Early England

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 been 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 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.