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Descendants of Joseph O'Hara

Joseph O’Hara Jr., 2nd son of Joseph O'Hara (c1793-1879) and Margaret Kellett (c1793-1888), was born 23 May 1845 1, in Dumfomina, Killinkere, Co. Cavan. Ireland and baptised June 1845. He died 12 March 1911 2 aged 66 years in Massie Hamlet, Holland township, Grey County, Ontario, Canada. He married on 20 July 1877 3 at Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada, Mary Rebecca Burchill, born 11 July 1852 4 Ontario, Canada; died 16 Oct 1922 15 aged 70 in Aurora, Kane Co., Illinois, USA, buried 18 Oct 1922, a daughter of Bandon, County Cork, Ireland born John Hornibrook Burchill (1821-1903) and Ireland born Anne Rebecca Howey (1824-1891) - both buried McLean's Cemetery, Sydenham, Ontario.
        Joseph's entry in the 1901 census of Canada gave 1867 as the year he arrived in Canada. The passenger list for the steamer St Andrew that left Glascow on 19 June 1867 and arrived with 338 passengers on 5 July 1867 at Quebec, listed him as a labourer aged 22 who with 76 others embarked at the port of Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) located 12 klms south of the city centre of Dublin and about 100 kilometres from his birth place in County Cavan 16.
        Contradictory to 1867 as his arrival year is advice received in 2012 from a family member he was aged 19 years when he emigrated to Canada (i.e. circa 1864) and before leaving Ireland had completed a shoemaker apprenticeship 5. However the below quoted paragraph from a village history compilation by the Massie Women's Institute, written in 1974 by a local historian and Massie Insitute member, strongly suggests when Joseph arrived in Canada that as per the 1867 St Andrew ship's passenger list he was in fact a labourer and was subsequently trained in Massie in Holland township, Grey County, Ontario in the shoe and boot making trade by a shoemaker named Robert Miller viz: - 18
Joseph O'Hara, who had been so badly crippled in a fall from a roof, that he had to walk with two canes for the rest of his life learned the shoemaking trade from Robert Miller who had a shop between Fred Marshall's house and the house where Mrs Angus McLeod now resides. He began his own business of mending shoes and from that built up a good trade in boots and shoes. He built his shop on Lot 4, Concession 6 across the driveway from the present house.
        Joseph has not been found in the census of Canada before 1881. In both the 1881 and 1891 census his occupation was listed as shoemaker. He settled most likely shortly after the 1871 census was taken in Holland township that had a large Irish born population with at the 1861 census over a quarter of the 2317 population listed as Irish born. Holland township where he settled and remained for the rest of his life was located about 160 klms North West of Toronto at an altitude of 367 metres. In 2001 it and Sullivan township and the Village of Chatsworth were amalgamated to form Chatsworth township covering an area of 260 square miles with a population of aproximately 8000. In the 1901 census Joseph's occupation was given as farmer indicating he changed to that occupation in the 1890s - perhaps taking over the farm of his father-in-law John Burchill whose wife died in 1891 and at the 1901 census was aged 79 and resided with Joseph.
         Joseph is mentioned in a 1983 published history of the township titled: The Paths that Led to Holland : a history of Holland Township. In respect of the year 1877 when he married the book states a three acre portion of land in Holland, designated "E-1/2 Lot 4 Concession 6", was the site of a blacksmith's shop built in the early 1860s and operated by successive blacksmith's until the lot was purchased in 1877 by Joseph O'Hara who built a small frame house where he worked at mending shoes. In a paragraph headed "Temperance in Massie" it was stated about 1875, at a cost of about thirty dollars a Temperance Hall where temperance meetings and other entertainments were held and in which in a corner was partitioned off where the Orangemen were allowed to keep their goat, was built on Lot 4 of Concession 7 and two of the men instrumental in having it built were James Howey (William's son) and David Taylor and "these men, along with some others met at Joseph O'Hara's home and formed plans that resulted in its erection 6.

   St. Marks Anglican Church, Holland Centre 7
        St Mark's Anglican Church in Holland pictured above was first opened on 12 Nov 1865 and moved to its present site in Holland Centre in 1948. The Holland township history book states - "The notable achievement in 1956 was the completion of the east windows" and "the centre window was installed by the congregation in memory of Mr. and Mrs O'Hara and family". It was also stated "Mr. O'Hara, a dedicated church warden, passed away in 1905 and within a few years Mrs. O'Hara and five of her six children succumbed to the dread disease of tuberculosis" 7.
          In respect of the year of Joseph's death the Holland township history book was astray as he died in 1911 and wife Mary Rebecca eleven years later in 1922 and in all eight children have been identified from census and birth records of whom all except one died between 1902 and 1909. At the 1901 census the eight children were listed in the household in Holland township that included Mary's father John Burchill who was listed as a boarder 12. That census gave the address of the household in Holland township as Massie Village and occupations of Joseph and John Burchill as farmers. At the 1911 census, enumerated on 1 June 1911 less than three months after Joseph's death in Holland township, Mary and her by then only surving child James Henry were listed as residing in Calgery in Alberta Province with the only other person in her household a 22 year old lodger named Alice Howlitt.
          A transcription of the headstone on the family grave in St. Mark's Anglican Cemetery in Holland Centre has Joseph and three daughters, Kate A, Margaret J, and Mary Anne buried there with a memorial on the grave for Joseph's wife Mary Rebecca 13. The other four children, Joseph, Martha, Lily (or Lilly) and John died between 1906 and 1909 and are buried in St. Andrew's Cemetery in Cochrane in Alberta Province located at an altitude of 1,186 metres 18 klms west of the present day city limits of Calgary 14. At the 1906 census of Alberta Mary's household was enumerated on 5 July 1906. She and four of the five children were listed as residing in the Calgary district. The only then still living child missing from the household was Martha who died three years later at age 25 in 1909. The household's only livestock were four horses. Listed in the same township #26 immediately following the O'Hara household was the Big Spring Horse Ranch whose livestock comprised 1380 horses and 121 cattle.
          Thus it is indicated in order to increase the children's chance of survival from TB at a much higher altitude than Holland township, Mary and her surviving five children between 1904 and 1906 relocated over 3000 kilometres west to Calgary in Alberta, whilst seemingly Joseph remained in Holland and continued his occupation as a farmer there until his death in 1911. At the 1920 census Mary and her by then only surviving child James, and her spinster sister Catherine Burchill aged 65 years, were listed as residing in Urbana Township 3, Champaign Co., Illinois in a residence owned by Mary. Their citizenship status was listed as naturalized and year of emigration to the US as unknown. The 1930 US census entry for son James Henry had 1913 as the year of his emigration to the USA. Mary died in 1922 in Aurora, Kane County, Illinois and subsequently her sister Catherine must have returned Canada and Grey county in Ontario as she died in Owen Sound in 1933.

Children of Joseph O'Hara Jr. and Mary Rebecca Burchill were:
     1.    Joseph William O'Hara
     2.    Mary Ann O'Hara
     3.    Margaret Jane O'Hara
     4.    Martha Elisabeth O'Hara
     5.    John S O'Hara
     6.    Catherine Alice O'Hara
     7.    Lily Rebecca O'Hara
 +  8.    James Henry O'Hara


1. Joseph William O'Hara, b. 29 Aug 1878 8 Holland Township, Grey Co., Ontario, Canada; d. 1909 Cochrane, Alberta, buried St Andrews Cemetery, Cochrane.

2. Mary Ann O'Hara, b. 4 Dec 1879 8 Holland Township, Grey Co., Ontario, Canada; d. 30 Nov 1902 11, age 22, Holland, Grey Co., Ontario, Canada, buried St. Mark's Cemetery, Holland Centre.

3. Margaret Jane O'Hara, b. 27 Oct 1881 8 Holland Township, Grey Co., Ontario, Canada; d. 17 Aug 1903 11, aged 21 years, Holland, Grey Co, Ontario, Canada, buried St. Mark's Cemetery, Holland Centre.

4. Martha Elisabeth O'Hara, b. 23 Feb 1884 8 Holland Township, Grey Co., Ontario, Canada; d. 1909 14 Cochrane, Alberta, buried St Andrews Cemetery, Cochrane .

5. John S O'Hara, b. 22 Sep 1886 12, 9 Holland Township, Grey Co., Ontario, Canada; d. 1908 14 Cochrane, Alberta, buried St Andrews Cemetery, Cochrane.

6. Catherine Alice O'Hara "Kate", b. 3 Jun 1890 8 Holland Township, Grey Co., Ontario, Canada;  d. 2 Mar 1903 11, age 12, Holland Township, Grey Co., Ontario, Canada, buried St. Mark's Cemetery, Holland Centre.

7. Lily Rebecca O'Hara, b. 8 Mar 1893 8 Holland Township, Grey Co., Ontario, Canada; d. 1908 14 Cochrane, Alberta, buried St Andrews Cemetery, Cochrane.

8. James Henry O'Hara, b. 26 Jul 1897 8, 10, Holland, Grey Co., Ontario, Canada; died 27 Jan 1989, buried 7 Feb 1989 Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Barnstable County, Massachusetts.
      He married and had issue. At the 1930 United States census James was listed as "Jas. H" residing in the city of Chicago in Cook Co., Illinois with his occupation given as manager of an apartment building. According to his entry in the 1940 census he was still a resident of Chicago in 1935 and in 1940 resided in Washington D.C. with the occupation of draftsman in the building and construction industry. At the 1930 and 1940 US census his citizenship status was given as naturalized and he was listed as unmarried.
     In World War I he served from 26 Apr 1918 as a private first class in the US Army. When he died in 1989 he was aged 91 years and as a war veteran was buried in the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Barnstable County, Massachusetts (section 5, site #1392) 17.
1   Birth date as given in the 1901 census of Canada (Province = Ontario, District = Grey North #65, Sub-District = Holland B2, Schedule = 1, page = 16). Baptism month as in O'Hara family Billis Church of Ireland baptisms extracted from the original book by Herbert Stewart, Termon, Virginia, Co. Cavan and advised to compiler by letter dated 19 Nov 1999.
2   LDS Church - "Ontario Deaths,1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947"
3   Extractions of 1877 Grey County marriages for 1977 (Part  1). Online in 2012 at URL: - Joseph O’Hara, 30, shoe maker, Ireland, Holland, s/o Joseph O’Hara & Margaret Kellett, married Mary Rebecca Burchill, 25, Canada, Holland, d/o John Burchill & Ann Howey, wit: James Howey & Bessie Howie (sic), both of Holland, 20 July 1877 at Owen Sound (registration #2972-77).
4   Mary Rebecca's birth date of 11 July 1852 is as given in the 1901 census of Canada and her parent names are as per an online genealogy compilation by Peter Hasselbacher titled: Descendants of Peter Hasselbacher/ Hazelbaker in America for which the URL in 2012 was:
    In that genealogy compilation the parentage of Mary Rebecca's father John Hornibrook Burchill is given as - father Jason Gideon Burchill, b. 1798, Bandon, County Cork, Ireland, d. 8 Jun 1882, Grey County, Ontario, and mother as - Mary Ann Moxley, b. 1799, Ireland , d. 1835, Kingston, Frontenac County, Ontario. The parentage of John Hornibrook Burchill's wife Annie Rebecca Howey is given as father - James Howey, b. 1791, Tipperary, Ireland, d. 30 Mar 1876, Walter's Falls, Ontario and her mother's as - Rebecca Anne Holmes, b. Mar 1805, Kilkenny, Ireland , d. 7 Jan 1889, Walter's Falls, Ontario, and the marriage place as Ireland. (at the 1881 census Rebecca Howey nee Holmes aged 76 was residing with Joseph O'Hara and her grand daughter Mary Rebecca).
    NOTE: When Joseph's wife Mary Rebecca O'Hara died in Illinois in 1922 her mother's surname was given by the informant as HARVEY (said quickly Howey must have sounded like Harvey or was an error). There can be no doubt it was HOWEY as after Mary's death her only sister Catherine, who resided with her at the 1920 census, must have returned to Ontario province as she died at Owen Sound on 15 Jan 1933 aged 75 years with her parent's names given as John Burchill and Ann Howey. Also the 1848 first born of Mary & Catherine's five brothers, 1848 born James Thomas Burchill, died aged 78 on 16 Dec 1926 at Euphrasia, Grey Co., Ontario and in the record his parent's names were given as John Burchill and Annie Howey.
5    As per a query message, archived in 2005 as message #231 at web site ( from Joseph O'Hara great grandson Shannon O'Hara of Houston, Texas, USA, stated Joseph emigrated to Canada at the age of 19 after completing a shoemaking appenticeship in Ireland. Seven years later the same was advised by the same descendant to the compiler in an email dated 16 July 2012 without a source given for the claim he was aged 19 when he emigrated to Canada or a reference to establish before emigrating he completed a shoemaker apprenticeship in Ireland. A subsequent request by the compiler for a source for the seemingly incorrect claims, as for example a newspaper obituary, was not responded to.
     The compiler considers it most unlikely Joseph undertook and completed an apprenticeship in Ireland as in the 1800s such usually commenced at age 14 and were of 7 years duration. Also why would Joseph state to the shipping company at embarkation he was a labourer if he was a tradesman? When Joseph died in Holland township on 12 March 1911 three semi-weekly newspapers were being published in the nearby main town of Owen Sound viz: - the Owen Sound Advertiser, Owen Sound Sun & the Owen Sound Times. A check by the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library of the microfilms of the three for the period from 12 Mar 1911 to 30 March 1911 failed to find a mention or an obituary.
6  Mildred Young Hubbert, The Paths that Led to Holland : a history of Holland Township, Historical Society of Holland Township (1983) p. 180, 182. James Howey (William's son) was the eldest son of William Howey (1826-1929). James was a first cousin of Joseph O'Hara's wife Mary Rebecca Howey. The URL of the Holland history book in 2012 was:
7    Ibid - p. 62-63
  LDS Church - "Ontario Births, 1869-1912" Index
9    1891 & 1901 Canada Census - in the 1891 John S. listed as aged 5 years so born 1886 - the actual date is as given in the 1901 census.
10  LDS Church - "Canada, Births and Baptisms, 1661-1958" Index & "Ontario Births, 1869-1912" Index.
11  LDS Church - "Ontario Deaths,1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947" Index.
12  1901 Census of Canada enumerated 31 Mar 1902 - District Grey North #65, Holland B2 page 16, at #155: Joseph b. 23 May 1845 age last birthday 55, Mary R. b. 11 Jul 1852 age 48, Joseph W. b. 30 Aug 1878 age 22, Mary A. b. 4 Dec 1879 age 21, Margaret J. b. 27 Sep 1888 age 20, Martha E. b. 22 Feb 1884 age 17, John S. b. 22 Sep 1886 age 14, Kate A. b. 3 Jun 1890 age 10, Lilly R. b. 8 Mar 1893 age 8, James H. b. 27 Jul 1897 age 3, John Burchill b. 6 Dec 1821 age 79 boarder. apart from two one day variations the only significant birth variation in the census from the LDS Church indexes is that for Margaret Jane who is listed in the LDS indexes as born on 27 Oct 1881 thus at the census aged 19, and being the date adopted for her birth in this compilation as likely accurate.
13  Grave reference BG-G-093 - as given at the Ontario Cemetery Finder Aid (OCFS) web site for which the URL in 2012 was:
14  Alberta Family History Society - Cemetery Transcriptions Index Database (data such as the full death date on the headstone is available from -
The Society's web site URL in 2012 was:
15  LDS Church - "Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947" Index - died 16 Oct 1922 aged 70, Aurora, Kane Co., Illinois, USA, buried 18 Oct 1922 & born 11 July 1852 Ontario, Canada - parent names were given as John Burchill and Anne HARVEY (sic) and her father's birthplace as Bandon, Ireland.
16  Source - Library and Archives Canada web site - Passenger list for the Montreal Ocean Steam-Ship Company's 970 ton SS "St Andrew", Edward Scott - Master, departed Glascow 19 June 1867 and arrived at Quebec (Montreal) on 5 July 1867. NOTE: the erroneous "spinster" occupation entry for Jos. O'Hara is crossed out and "Lab" for labourer written in.
17  In 2012 his burial details were at given at the US Department of Veteran Affairs web site : (O'Hara search) and service details were at (source given there as imported from US Veteran's Affairs #2876201).
18  Volume 1 of a Tweedsmuir community and village history compiled by the Massie Women's Institute and held by the Grey Roots Museum and Archives at Owen Sound - quoted from a section on page 10 headed "Hamlet of Massie compiled by Mrs. Clarence McPherson in 1974". In 2012 the URL for page 10 formated as a pdf file was:


Researched and compiled by John Raymond, Brisbane, Australia

1941 -

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