The "Comrie" Stewarts in
Wellington County, Ontario, Canada
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Welcome to my page on one of the Stewart families of Puslinch. This page is part of my personal family history website and represents one of my own ancestral lines. It is also a cousin page to the Stewart Pioneers of Puslinch, a website for Puslinch researchers in cooperation with the Puslinch Historical Society and the Stewarts of Balquhidder Research Forum. If you are specifically looking for information on this Stewart family then this is where to start, otherwise you may wish to begin with one of the preceding links.
Please Note: This page is intended only as a narrative historical overview of this family. There is additional detailed information available for almost ever person presented on this page. To avoid the unnecessary work of double-entering some data, the additional information can be found in the accompanying GEDCOM database. Please make sure you click on the INDEX button at the bottom of the page so you don't miss out on potentially valuable additional information.
The research presented on this page is not mine alone. It contains information submitted by all the Fellow Researchers listed below. I am indebted to them for their generous contributions. This page is intended as a place for researchers to freely and cooperatively share our research with each other. It would be too cumbersome a task to reference each piece of data as to which researcher it has come from. The information shown on this page should be understood as a product of ALL of the Fellow Researchers. I am merely the editor and not the sole author. - Ryk
The first of the pioneer Stewart families of Puslinch that I will present is the Stewart family which I have chosen to call the "Comrie Stewarts". This is my own family. The Comrie Stewarts are so named because they emigrated from the parish of Comrie in Perthshire, Scotland. (Comrie is properly pronounced with a long 'o' sound, although many imported locals in Comrie today pronounce it with a short 'o'.) They came from near the village of St. Fillans in Comrie Parish, located on the east end of Loch Earn.
As this is my own family I have much more information available on this family than any of the other pioneer Stewart families of Puslinch.
Catharine Stewart (nee McNaughtan), widow of the late Robert Stewart, and her eleven children (some of whom were already married) left their farm, called Moral, near the village of St. Fillans on the eastern shore of Loch Earn, Perthshire, Scotland in 1834 and came to Canada where they settled in Puslinch Township, Wellington County, in what was then British North America.
Moral (now extinct and not marked) shown at the red circle; showing its proximity to St. Fillans, Dundurn and Comrie.
Moral shown next to Tynriach (Tigh an riabhach = "the brindled brown house") on this 18th century map.
Present-day Moral (or its approximate location)
Photo by Ryk Brown, © 2005
Our Stewart family came from a small farmstead, called Moral. Moral is located about 2 miles east of the village of St. Fillans in the area of present-day Dunira, half-way between St. Fillans and Comrie, and across the modern A85 highway from the hill of Dundurn. (See map above.) My best guess on a translation for Moral is Mor + ail = "big rock". As Moral was directly across from Dundurn, which is indeed a "big rock" such a name would make sense.
Where the road passes through the croft of Moral there is a commemorative stone marking the place where James Stewart, 2nd of Ardvorlich, murdered seven McGregors of Glencoe. James Stewart of Ardvorlich was the great-great-great grandfather of Robert Stewart, patriarch of this family.
About 1834 Duncan Comrie led a group of about 200 residents of Comrie parish to Canada to escape what he referred to as "poor economic conditions." They settled in Carlton Place, Ontario, near present-day Ottawa. Today the towns of Comrie and Carlton Place are twinned with each other. Our Stewarts are not listed among those who accompanied Duncan Comrie, but our family may have followed shortly afterwards.
The patriarch of this family, Robert Stewart, was born in Easter Glentarken on the north shore of Loch Earn, as the eldest of two sons of John Steuart and Margaret McLaran, and was baptized 8 MAY 1762, in Comrie parish, Perthshire, Scotland. His grandfather, also named Robert Stewart, was killed at the Battle of Culloden -- the final Jacobite battle where the cause of Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated. Robert was descended from the Stewarts of Dalveich and Ardveich of the clan Sliochd Iain Dubh Mhor ("children of Big Black John"), who were an illegitimate cadet branch of the notorious Stewarts of Ardvorlich.
On 4 DEC 1795 Robert Stewart married Catharine McNaughtan in Comrie. Catharine was born and raised in the croft of Moral in Comrie. Catherine was the same age as one of Robert's younger sisters, Mary. Mary Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan would have been classmates in the parish school at St. Fillans. The story of Catharine's birth family is told on the McNaughtan of Comrie Page. It is believed that Robert's sister, Margaret Stewart married Catharine's brother, Peter McNaughtan.
Robert Stewart died sometime between 1825-1830 (probably closer to 1830), before the family left Scotland. (Parish death records do not begin until 1831.) The cause of his death is unknown, but, as he was in his early 60s when his last child was born, natural causes is presumed. On his death, the farm passed to his elder sons. It appears that Duncan assumed primary responsibility for the farm as there is no mention of John (perhaps John had established his own household elsewhere.) Family tradition among Duncan's descendants recalls that after Robert's death, Duncan made substantial improvements to the farm causing an increase in taxes (or perhaps rent). It is recalled that after the second increase Duncan decided to move to Canada with his wife and newborn daughter. Apparently Duncan's widowed mother, Catharine McNaughtan, and the rest of Duncan's siblings also decided to move to Canada.
A typical journey from Scotland to Canada, in those days, often took more than three weeks, usually in the hold of a cargo ship crammed with people with no facilities and no supplies. Our Stewarts seem to have had such a journey, however Duncan's descendants recalled that the journey, in this case, lasted eight weeks. While on the journey from Scotland to Canada one of Catharine's sons-in-law contracted cholera and died in Montreal, Lower Canada (Québec) where they landed.
When the widow Catherine Stewart and her eleven children docked in Montreal in 1833, Canada was not yet a country. The Stewarts left Scotland to come to British North America, not Canada, and they landed in the province of Lower Canada. It would be another 30 years before Canada would become a country of its own and Upper Canada would become known as Ontario.
From Montreal the family travelled to "Muddy York", Upper Canada (Toronto, Ontario) by French Canadian oxen-pulled river boats. At one point their boat wrecked on a rock and the family had to cling to the rock all night until morning before being rescued. They stayed three weeks in Toronto (presumably seeking a settlement location), then on to Hamilton where they were quarantined "until the next fall" (presumably for several months) because of the one case of cholera back in Montreal. The city of Hamilton had just suffered a major cholera outbreak, specifically from peasant immigrant ships, and the city was in the midst of a cholera panic. Anyone who was even suspected of having been in contact with a cholera case was locked up and quarantined until it could be determined for certain that they were safe. Of course, they were locked up with known cholera cases and many who did NOT have cholera before they were quarantined contracted it because of the quarantine. It is believed that the Stewarts were released from quarantine in the fall of 1834.
Following release, Duncan (and possibly also John) remained in Hamilton while the rest of the family headed north towards Guelph. The road from Hamilton to Guelph did not exist at this point and they would have spent several days walking along a cart path through uncleared forest and seeking shelter where they could in order to get to their new home. They settled in the Puslinch area of Wellington County just west of present-day highway 6, north of the 401 and southwest of the city of Guelph.
At the time that they settled in Puslinch, their land was still uncleared rough forest -- they were true pioneer settlers, and they were the first Europeans to live on their land. Before they could farm their land or even build a house they first had to clear the land of trees. Their first winters were spent in little more than a shack with no door and nothing but a blanket to keep out the weather and the predators. Bears, wolves, and rattlesnakes were common hazards.
Their neighbours included many other Highland Scot families; in fact quite a few were from their home county of Perthshire. There were also a lot of German, some Dutch and English, and mixture of other settlers. Our Stewarts were staunch Presbyterians and they were among the founding members of Duff's Presbyterian Church in Morriston, which still exists today.
In the early 19th century, Upper Strathearn was predominantly a Gaelic speaking area, and our Stewarts would certainly have spoken Gaelic as their first language. They would have been schooled in English, so they were most likely fluently bilingual, but Gaelic would have been the language of the household. The Highlanders in Puslinch held fiercely to their homeland customs and language and Duff's Presbyterian Church, where they worshipped, originally held services only in Gaelic and actually continued worship in Gaelic right into the early 20th century.
Of the eleven children who immigrated with Catherine Stewart the whereabouts of only some are known for sure. The other children presumably moved on elsewhere. In the mid-1800s land was being grabbed up quickly. Many settlers stopped briefly in southwestern Ontario, but then continued on towards the Bruce Peninsula where new land was opening up, or to the Prairie Provinces where free land incentives were being offered, or to the lands opening up in the western United States. Our stray Stewarts could have ended up anywhere; we simply don't know. It's also possible that some of the first generation daughters may have married and remained in Puslinch or Hamilton but those marriages predate local church records so their married names are unknown.
Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan had eleven children, all but one of whom were born in Moral, near St. Fillans, Perthshire, Scotland and baptized in the local parish church in Comrie. What is rare for a family of this era is that it appears all eleven children survived to adulthood. They were:
The known descendants of each of these children are detailed below. To put the size of this family into perspective, we estimate that of the eleven children those who had children themselves probably now have more than 2000 descendants each. Thus Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan have potentially more than 12,000 descendants. Obviously we cannot track them all, but we are doing the best we can to track as many as possible.
Margaret STEWART was born in Moral near St. Fillans and baptized on 10 JUN 1798 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland as the eldest daughter of Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan (shown above). It is believed (though not confirmed) that she may have married firstly on 05 FEB 1819 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland to Duncan MCGREGOR. If the marriage is correct then the following children may belong to this couple:
Margaret STEWART is known to have married on 20 NOV 1826 in Gorbals, Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland to William MCCALLUM (believed to be a second marriage for William and probably a second marriage for Margaret). He was born in 1778 in Islay, Argyll, Scotland, although no record of his birth has been found. Margaret and William began their family in Scotland and then in 1834 they immigrated, along with the rest of Margaret's family, to Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario, Canada. They had the following confirmed children:
This family is found in the 1851 census residing in the city of Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario, Canada. Residing with them is 5 year old James Stewart, orphaned son of Margaret's brother, Robert Stewart (shown further below). Recorded as being absent from the household are two adult males. These are believed to be sons of William's from a previous marriage as he was quite old for this to be his first marriage. Their daughter Elizabeth's marriage, above, was witness by a David McCallum. David is presumed to be a son from William's first marriage. Further research is underway to confirm this theory. In 1901, Elizabeth's daughter, Minnie Catherine Stewart was living with a Joseph H. McCallum (presumably a maternal cousin), born 11 OCT 1852 in rural Ontario, a Presbyterian and a druggist. In 1881, Joseph H. McCollum, age 29, is found in Milton, Halton, Ontario living with his wife Elizabeth, age 28, and their four month old daughter Jessie W. His occupation is listed as "D...".
Margaret's brother Peter Stewart recorded in his journal that one of his sisters was married prior to emigrating and that her husband contracted cholera and died on the journey from Scotland and that the family had to be quarantined because of this. Peter does not record which sister this was, but family tradition among Duncan Stewart's descendants maintained that it was the oldest sister. However this has now been shown to be incorrect as Margaret Stewart was married to William McCallum in Glasgow, prior to emigrating, and they are both found alive in Hamilton in 1851. Thus it must have been one of the other sisters whose husband died.
Elisabeth STEWART was born in Moral near St. Fillans and baptized on 27 OCT 1799 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland as the second daughter of Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan (shown above). According the Llewella McIntyre's notes, Elisabeth married a MCNAUGHTON. His exact identity is not confirmed, and it is not known if she married in Scotland or Canada, but he could be John McNaughtan of Balquhidder. If so, then they were married in May 1834 just prior to the family leaving for Canada. Or she may have married after immigrating to one of the McNaughtons in Puslinch.
1840 census records in Puslinch indicate that three of the eldest daughters were resident in the Stewart household in Puslinch, but by 1842 these daughters had moved elsewhere. It is believed that Elisabeth was one of the three.
Elisabeth's brother Peter Stewart recorded in his journal that one of his sisters was married prior to emigrating and that her husband contracted cholera and died on the journey from Scotland and that the family had to be quarantined because of this. Peter does not record which sister this was, but family tradition among Duncan Stewart's descendants maintained that it was the oldest sister. However this has now been shown to be incorrect as Margaret Stewart was married to William McCallum in Glasgow, prior to emigrating, and they are both found alive in Hamilton in 1851. Thus it may have been Elisabeth whose husband died.
Mary STEWART was born in Moral near St. Fillans and baptized on 2 MAY 1802 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland as the third daughter of Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan (shown above). It is not known if she married. Her whereabouts after immigration is unknown. 1840 census records indicate that three of the eldest daughters were resident in the Stewart household in Puslinch, but by 1842 these daughters had moved elsewhere. It's not known for certain if Mary was one of the three.
Mary's brother Peter Stewart recorded in his journal that one of his sisters was married prior to emigrating and that her husband contracted cholera and died on the journey from Scotland and that the family had to be quarantined because of this. Peter does not record which sister this was, but family tradition among Duncan Stewart's descendants maintained that it was the oldest sister. However this has now been shown to be incorrect as Margaret Stewart was married to William McCallum in Glasgow, prior to emigrating, and they are both found alive in Hamilton in 1851. Thus it may have been Mary whose husband died.
Jean STEWART was born in Meovie near St. Fillans and baptized on 7 JUN 1804 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland as the fourth daughter of Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan (shown above). Jean, who went by "Jane", appears to be the only child of this family to be born in Meovie (Mewie) near St. Fillans. However it is possible that the poor handwriting in the OPR does not say Meovie and may actually say Moril -- at any rate, the two crofts were side-by-side so the distinction is inconsequential. Jane emigrated from Perthshire, Scotland with her mother and siblings. The complete story of their journey can be found in the notes of Jane's mother, Catherine. According to Llewella McIntyre's genealogy, Jane married a man whose surname was MCGOWAN. Based on her son's birth date it is presumed that she married after immigrating. 1840 census records indicate that three of the eldest daughters were resident in the Stewart household in Puslinch, but by 1842 these daughters had moved elsewhere. It is believed that Jane was one of the three.
Jane's brother Peter Stewart recorded in his journal that one of his sisters was married prior to emigrating and that her husband contracted cholera and died on the journey from Scotland. Peter does not record which sister this was. It's unlikely that it was Jean as it appears she married after immigrating.
Jane has not been found in 1851. In 1861 and 1871 Jane was residing in Puslinch, Wellington County, Ontario, Canada, at the home of her brother Peter. Jane was widowed and residing with her son.
Jane and her husband had the following known child:
Ann STEWART was born in Moral near St. Fillans and baptized on 1 JUN 1806 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland as the fifth daughter of Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan (shown above). It is not known if she married. Her whereabouts after immigration is unknown. 1840 census records indicate that three of the eldest daughters were resident in the Stewart household in Puslinch, but by 1842 these daughters had moved elsewhere. It's not known for certain if Ann was one of the three.
Ann's brother Peter Stewart recorded in his journal that one of his sisters was married prior to emigrating and that her husband contracted cholera and died on the journey from Scotland and that the family had to be quarantined because of this. Peter does not record which sister this was, but family tradition among Duncan Stewart's descendants maintained that it was the oldest sister. However this has now been shown to be incorrect as Margaret Stewart was married to William McCallum in Glasgow, prior to emigrating, and they are both found alive in Hamilton in 1851. Thus it may have been Ann whose husband died.
John STEWART was born in Moral near St. Fillans and baptized on 1 SEP 1808 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland as the eldest son of Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan. In keeping with Scottish tradition John was named after his paternal grandfather.
IGI records indicate that John may have married Janet MCGREGOR before emigrating, but this uncertain. Family tradition among Duncan's descendants recalls that John remained in Hamilton with Duncan and did not move to Puslinch with his younger siblings. Early census records for Wellington County confirm that John did not live with the rest of his family in Puslinch. He would have been 26 years old when he immigrated so he likely established his own household. Duncan's family seems to have had some connection with the Ancaster area just outside of Hamilton (though this could be through sister Jean Stewart) so it is speculated that John may have settled in Ancaster. However John has not been found in the 1851 census and no other documentary evidence has so far been found to identify John's whereabouts in Canada after immigration.
Peter Stewart records that he came to Canada with five brothers and five sisters, which would indicate that John must have come to Canada. However, family tradition among Duncan's branch seems to recall that Duncan behaved as the eldest son of the family farm in Scotland. Perhaps John had already established his own residence or was somehow incompetent to manage the family farm after his father's death.
The following narrative history is based on information researched by the late Nora Smith and Edie Morra (nee Stewart).
Duncan STEWART was born in 1811 on the family farm croft in Moral, Upper Strathearn, Perthshire, Scotland as the second son of Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan (shown above). In keeping with Scottish tradition, Duncan was named after his mother's father, Duncan McNaughtan.
Family tradition records that Duncan inherited the family croft in Scotland when his father died sometime around 1830. It is possible that he inherited it jointly with his older brother John, but anecdotal information on John is entirely non-existent. Family tradition records that Duncan made "considerable improvements" to the family farm which brought about increased taxes (however, I would suggest that it would be more likely increased rent from the Earl of Perth who was eager to empty his lands of tenants). When a second-such increase occurred it is said that Duncan reached the limits of his tolerance and made the decision to move his family to the New World. It seems that his entire birth family, including his widowed mother, and all of his siblings, some of whom were married, also decided to go with Duncan.
Duncan's wife, Margaret DRUMMOND, was born in Upper Strathearn in 1811. Her exact birth family and record has not yet been identified. Her marriage record shows her name as Mary Drummond. This may be a copying error for "Marg" or Mary was also a known Gaelic substitute name for Margaret.
Margaret's granddaughter recalled that Margaret was proud that she was actually a MacGregor whose Drummond surname was only an alias. During the lifetime of Margaret's husband's ancestor, Alexander Stewart, 1st Laird of Ardvorlich, Clan Gregor was outlawed and the MacGregor surname was banished in Scotland. MacGregors were forced to take on other surnames or face execution. Margaret's ancestors chose the alias of Drummond, but, like many other MacGregors, they held on to the memory that their real surname was MacGregor.
Margaret shared memories of her life growing up in Upper Strathearn with her grandchildren. She recalled growing up in the beautiful surroundings of Sir Walter Scott's book, "The Lady of the Lake", including Loch Earn, Loch Katrine and Ben Vorlich.
She recalled tragically that when she was a child playing on a hillside with her brother, James, a storm was coming. James took off his plaid, wrapped Margaret in it and sent her home. James took shelter under a tree which was struck by lightning, killing him.
She also recalled going to town to purchase her first set of china dishes and having to remove her shoes and stockings to ford a stream while carrying the dishes home in the folds of her dress.
Margaret married in 1832 to Duncan Stewart. They lived on Duncan's family farm in Moral in Upper Strathearn. Duncan and Margaret became increasingly disenchanted with the declining conditions of life in their home strath and increasingly enamoured with the promises of a better life in the New World. Shortly after the birth of their first daughter Catharine, as noted above, Duncan and Margaret made a decision to move to the New World.
One funny story -- Margaret recalled being quite good at baking apple pies. When she came to Canada she heard all about these excellent pumpkin pies. She tried to bake a pumpkin pie following her apple pie recipe, using chunks of raw pumpkin in the pie. The pie was apparently inedible.
The entire Stewart family left Scotland in 1833 or 1834. Family tradition records that they left when Duncan's daughter, Catharine, was only two months old, however accounts differ as to whether she was born in 1833 or 1834. Census records claim the family arrived in Canada in 1834. The reader should refer to the notes on Duncan's mother, Catharine McNaughtan, for the details of their journey.
By 1834 the family had arrived in Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario. Duncan Stewart, along with his wife and daughter remained in Hamilton, while his widowed mother and most of his siblings moved north to Puslinch Township in Wellington County and settled there on a farm.
The MacNab Connection
MacNab's Dundurn Castle in Hamilton is named after an old Pictish fort in Comrie parish in Upper Strathearn, Perthshire, Scotland where both MacNab's ancestors and our Stewart ancestors came from. Dundurn is Gaelic for "fort of a fist" as the old Pictish fort sat on a hill which is in the shape of a fist.
While living in Hamilton, Duncan Stewart appears to have come into the good graces of The Hon. Sir Allan Napier MACNAB , 1st Baronet of Dundurn Castle, Premier of the United Provinces of Canada. MacNab's ancestors came from Dundurn in Upper Strathearn, which is directly across the river from Moral, where Duncan Stewart was born. MacNab's great-grandfather was a commander in the Jacobite Army of 1745 in which Duncan Stewart's great-grandfather also served (and died). MacNab was also a distant cousin as his maternal great-grandfather was Robert Stewart, 7th of Ardvorlich. The fact that Duncan Stewart's grandmother was a MacNab who came from the very same parish as Sir Allan MacNab's grandfather suggests the strong possibility that Duncan Stewart and Sir Allan McNab could also have been cousins on Duncan mother's side.
Sir Allan MacNab was at the time, arguably the most politically powerful man in Hamilton, and one of the most politically powerful in Canada. MacNab served as Premier of the United Provinces of Canada from 1854-56, prior to Canada becoming an independent country.
Sir Allan MacNab secured a job for Duncan Stewart as a foreman road builder, supervising the building of the Dundas Road from Hamilton to London (at the time a stone road, which later became Highway 2). According to a descendant: "One morning, while building the road, Duncan came across his men gathered around a small black and white furry animal who sat unafraid watching them at the roadside. Duncan, having never seen such a creature before, poked the animal with a stick and then had to proceed immediately home to bury his clothes." Apparently they don't have skunks in Scotland.
Duncan Stewart purchased a lot on York Street, opposite Dundurn Castle, the residence of MacNab. On this property Duncan built a house which apparently remained standing until well into the 20th century when it was demolished for development of Dundurn Park.
Duncan served on the local militia in Hamilton during the time of the Rebellion.
Louise Hatch, a descendant of Duncan, records the following anecdote:
"In Hamilton, Duncan was a friend, and something of a favourite, with the pre-rebellion Governor, Sir Alan MacNab. The Stewart home was in fact just across the street from the MacNab Mansion. The land upon which it stood is now part of Dundurn Park. As a mark of friendly favour, in the disposal of the militia at the time of the rebellion, Duncan, whom Sir Alan MacNab knew to be hard of hearing, was placed out of range of probable combat in a safer position as a guard or watchman of a certain road. Sir Alan's kindness in this and other matters was rewarded with heartfelt loyalty. Always Tories of the deepest dye in Scotland, the Stewarts remained so in Canada until the young and smart Sir John A. MacDonald, by some ruse, as they considered it, undermined the power of his colleague Sir Alan MacNab. [After which] Duncan vowed that 'never again would he cast a vote for the interloper'. And no more he did."
About 1845 Duncan apparently moved his family to Ancaster and/or Puslinch, while retaining ownership of the York Street property. In 1847 he traded his home for a farm belonging to Mr. Dality in Maple Grove, Bayham Township, Elgin County East, Ontario. (Maple Grove Road is just south of Eden, near Tilsonburg.) However it appears that he did not occupy this farm until 1850. It is believed that the farm was still mostly uncleared wilderness at the time as Duncan's wife recalled marking the trees to be removed and his daughter recalled growing up extremely lonely and isolated.
Duncan Stewart remained on the Maple Grove Road farm for the remainder of his life and he is buried in Eden Cemetery.
Duncan Stewart was born in Moral near St. Fillans and baptized on 2 JAN 1811 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland. He married on 14 FEB 1832 (Valentine's Day!) in Scotland to Margaret MCGREGOR-alias-DRUMMOND, herself born in 1811. (However Margaret's name on the IGI marriage record is given as Mary Drummond. This is either a transcription error for "Marg" or Mary is also a known Gaelic substitute name for Margaret.) I am indebted to the late Nora Smith of the Elgin Genealogical Society and Edie Morra for their research on this family.
Duncan Stewart and Margaret Drummond had the following children:
DESCENDANT INFORMATION HAS UPDATES PENDING
"Mr. Moore taught at Smuck School at Maple Grove and at Corinth. He was 84 years old when in 1922 he very ably addressed the old teachers and pupils of Corinth School gathered to bid farewell to the old building with all its memories, and which was to be demolished to make room for the present modern building.
A few years after his marriage in 1861 to Miss Catherine Stewart, daughter of Duncan and Margaret Drummond Stewart of Maple Grove, Mr. Moore gave up teaching and farmed in Bayham. His first farm was the Todd farm. Later, he sold this and bought the Auston place, which he sold after some years to Ambrose Jackson in 1872. He then bought a farm at Frome.
In the early spring of that year he drove from his home near Straffordville to Frome to finish up negotiations over his new farm. On his way home he passed through St. Thomas, where a sale was being held. A farm in Bayham was being sold for taxes and just to help the sale he put in a bid and to his consternation a 200 acre farm was knocked down to him. He now had 400 acres of land on his hands, a lot of land in those days.
However, that same Spring, he sold 100 acres to Alex Grant Sr. Later, the other 100 of his acquisition to John Neville. Some time after this land passed into the hands of the Rollason brothers, who finished paying for it.
Whitson Edward was a prominent member of the then Methodist Church at Frome and superintendent of the Sunday School until his death in 1924. He was an early riser and when it became necessary for him to “slow up”, his family wanted him to rest longer in the morning. He said, “When I was a young man I resolved that the sun would never find me in bed and it hasn’t”. He was very fond of reading and if he saw any of the children idle he would say “Don’t be idle. If you have nothing to do, get a book”. There were seven children - Allen, Margaret, Mary, Leah, Edward, Lilly, Whitson. (sic)" (Talbot Times)
They had the following children:
William James Stewart married secondly AFT 1955 in Toronto, York, Ontario to Thelma Jean STANDEAVEN b: UNKNOWN in Toronto, York, Ontario.
Edwin married thirdly on 20 SEP 1922 in Toronto, York County, Ontario, Canada to Sadie KEENOR b: 1876 in Ontario, Canada, daughter of John Keenor and Eliza Sinclair. It is not known if they had any children.
|See STEWARTS of Hamilton Page for more information on this family|
Robert STEWART was born in Moral near St. Fillans and baptized on 13 JUN 1813 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland as the third son of Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan (shown above). In keeping with Scottish tradition, Robert was named after his father. Robert married on 22 JUL 1836 in Galt, Wellington County, Upper Canada Colony, British North America to Mary Gillespie. She was born 12 JUL 1811 in Deanston, Doune, Perthshire, Scotland. More information on Mary's family can be found on the Gillespie Family of Puslinch page. Robert and Mary were married only 16 months after the Stewarts and Gillespies arrived in Puslinch.
By March 1835 (at the latest) the family had arrived in Puslinch Township, Wellington County, Upper Canada (Ontario). They were among the earliest settlers in Puslinch. They occupied concession 3, lot 19-rear with the Gillespies occupying the front of the same lot.
Early census records indicate that Robert and Mary were Secessionist Presbyterians, not Church of Scotland. The Secession Presbyterian Church (United Synod) was organized in part by Mary's father, Hugh Gillespie, in 1837.
In fall of 1848 and winter of 1849 an outbreak of smallpox claimed the lives of Robert and Mary, along with Robert's mother Catharine, and Mary's sister and brother-in-law, Margaret Gillespie and Duncan Stewart (no known relation). Robert and Mary's four children became orphans. Robert's brother Peter and sister Catherine were in their 20s by this point (and residing on the same family farm) so they raised Robert and Mary's orphans. Duncan and Margaret's orphans were raised by the Gillespies.
Robert Stewart and Mary Gillespie had the following children who were all orphaned:
Minnie married secondly on 1 OCT 1924 in Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario, Canada to Beniah BAER b: 1877 in Canada. It is not known if they had any children, however given their ages at the time it is unlikely.
Allan McIntyre married secondly in 1907 to Ida Lourine FRANCISCO b: 1880 in Church Hill, Tennessee, USA. They had the following children:
Allan married thirdly in 1912 to Verna Emma FLETCHER b: 8 OCT 1880 in Illinois, USA. They had the following child:
In the 1861 census James can be found living with his Uncle Peter and Aunt Catherine Stewart and his brother and sister Hugh and Catherine, and then in 1866 as a witness to the wedding of his brother Robert at Central Presbyterian Church in Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario. After that his whereabouts is uncertain. An excellent match has been found for him living in Chicago, Illinois, USA in 1870 not far from his brother, however this is an unconfirmed reference. No match has been found for James in the 1880/81 census. It is possible that James may have died between 1870-1880/81.
Catharine STEWART was born in Moral near St. Fillans and baptized on 24 MAR 1816 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland as a daughter of Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan (shown above). Catharine Stewart must have been an amazing woman. After her brother Robert married and started his own family, Catharine would have helped her widowed mother continue to raise the youngest two boys, Peter and William to adulthood. Then when her mother, along with her brother Robert and his wife Mary all died, Catharine and her brother Peter became guardians to Robert's four orphaned children. After the orphans were old enough to live on their own, she continued to live with her brother Peter even after he married and had children. Catherine was in her 60s when her last nephew was born. Then Peter's wife Catharine (nee McLean) died prematurely, leaving Peter's children without a mother and Catharine became primarily responsible for these children's care also. Catharine Stewart never married, nor had any children of her own, but spent her entire life raising her younger brothers, and the thirteen children of her two brothers, Robert and Peter.
Peter STEWART was born in Moral near St. Fillans and baptized on 24 JUL 1820 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland as a son of Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan. He was probably named after his uncle, Peter McNaughtan. Peter is probably the most well-known member of this family in Puslinch.
It appears that Peter was a bit wild while growing up. His memoirs tell of a time while he was helping clear a neighbour's farm land. "There was a great work party with many neighbours and their oxen working to clear trees and stumps." Peter's team of oxen were going slower than everyone else's so he fed them each a bottle of whisky. Accordingly, they perked up! He also comments that, fortunately, they were not his own oxen!
Peter also used to haul whisky to Toronto for David Allen, a distiller from Guelph. Peter and his partner Robert Allen (David's brother) would sell the whisky for $0.20/gallon. Their trip from Guelph to Toronto and back would take four days.
After the premature deaths of Peter's mother Catherine, brother Robert, and sister-in-law Mary (see Robert Stewart & Mary Gillespie above) Peter inherited the family farm. He and his sister Catherine also found themselves caring for Robert and Mary's four orphaned children. Peter and Catherine raised their niece and nephews until they were old enough to live on their own. It was only after the orphans were grown and gone that Peter himself married Catherine McLean. Together they had nine children of their own. Tragically Peter's wife Catherine also died prematurely leaving Peter and his sister Catherine to raise these children.
Peter served as an elder at Duff's Presbyterian Church for 27 years. He also ran the local Sabbath School for many years. He was remembered as an esteemed and generous man.
Peter Stewart and his sister Catherine remained on the family farm until they died around the year 1900. The farm remained in the family for another generation in the hand's of Peter's son, Neil Stewart. Peter's farmhouse still stands today, and though it is no longer in the family, some of Peter's descendants still live in the area.
Peter Stewart married sometime between 1862 and 1866 in Puslinch Twp., Wellington Co., Ontario (although no record of this marriage has been found) to Catherine MCLEAN of Puslinch. She was born in 1844 in Inverness, Scotland as the daughter of Neil and Mary McLean. (It is not yet known if they were related to the Col. Maclean family of Puslinch who later founded one of Canada's largest media empires, the inventors of cable television, and owners of Maclean-Hunter Cable Television, and Maclean's Magazine.) Peter and Catharine had the following children:
In order to avoid confusion, it is worth clarifying that Peter's mother, wife, sister, daughter and more than one niece were all named Catharine Stewart. It must have been a very confusing family!
|See STEWARTS of Hamilton Page for more information on this family|
William STEWART was born in Moral near St. Fillans and baptized on 22 NOV 1824 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland as the youngest child of Robert Stewart and Catharine McNaughtan (shown above). He would have been only eight or nine years old when the family left Scotland. William married Agnes MCLEAN presumably in Puslinch circa 1850. No record has been found for the marriage. Agnes' birth family is unknown so it is not known if she was related to Catherine McLean, wife of Peter Stewart (above), nor is it known if she was related to the Macleans of Puslinch who were of Maclean-Hunter Cable Television and Macleans Magazine fame. Scots naming patterns would suggest that she was probably the daughter of a Norman & Agnes Mclean however such a family has not yet been identified.
About 1863 William and Agnes together with their family moved to Hamilton. They were received as members of Central Presbyterian Church in Hamilton on 7 JAN 1864. William seems to have worked as a general labourer. It is not known exactly where he worked, or at what job. William's son, Edward, is listed in the 1881 census in Hamilton as a grocer and he may have been working with his cousin, Hugh Stewart who owned a grocery store. William Stewart and Agnes McLean are buried in Hamilton Cemetery nearby to William's cousin Hugh Stewart (son of Robert Stewart and Mary Gillespie).
As this family lived most of their life in Hamilton, and as their descendants all came from Hamilton the later descendants of this family have now been moved to the STEWARTS of Hamilton Page. Here below is shown only the first generation, many of whom were born in Puslinch. The children of William Stewart and Agnes McLean are:
Please refer to the STEWARTS of Hamilton Page for more information on this family.
Our family's Stewart farm was held by Robert Stewart and his widowed mother Catharine McNaughtan. They were the original occupants of Concession 3, lot 19-rear, in Puslinch Township. Their in-laws, the Gillespies, occupied the front of the same lot. And Duncan Stewart and Margaret Gillespie initially lived next door. This Duncan Stewart was originally believed to be the brother of our family, but this has since been disproved.
Although "our" Stewart farm is no longer in the family, their original 1834 log cabin (now dilapidated and on an adjacent property) and the 1860 stone farmhouse still remain standing to this day just northwest of the present intersection of highways 401 & 6-North.
|The lot numbering system in Puslinch records properties as "front" or "rear" of a particular lot on a particular concession. This means that one property "fronted" onto the concession while the other property "backed" onto the concession. It does not mean that a particular 100 acre lot was actually divided into a front 50 acres and a rear 50 acres. Thus the Stewarts and Gillespies each occupied 100 acre lots that were essentially "across the street" from each other.|
When Robert Stewart and Mary Gillespie were married and began their family they appear to have built a second house on the same property with Robert and Mary and their children living in one house and the widow Catharine living in the other house with her youngest children, Peter, Catharine, and William.
When Robert and his wife and mother all died during the smallpox outbreak in 1848 this property passed to Robert's younger brother, Peter. Peter and his sister Catharine remained on the Puslinch farm for the rest of their lives. In the 1860s Peter built a new stone farm house to replace the earlier log cabin. Youngest son, William, remained on the property until 1870, when he moved his family to the nearby city of Hamilton. When Peter died in 1901 the farm passed to his son Neil who held the property into the 20th century.
According to Peter's memoirs, the family initially lived in a shanty "without any door but an old country blanket hung over". A later biography of Peter Stewart indicates that the land was originally owned by a Mr. Burnside, however later research indicates that it's more likely that Burnside was just the government clerk who registered their ownership of the land. The Stewarts appear to have been the original settlers of the property.
Most of the members of our Stewart family who died in Puslinch are buried in Crown Cemetery, Puslinch, just across the street from Duff's Presbyterian Church. The strong bonds with Puslinch lived on for many generations even after later descendants had moved away -- some of who had moved even thousands of miles away. Many of these later descendants actually had their remains flown back to Puslinch to be buried with their pioneer ancestors who had first settled the land.
Our Stewart family were among the founding families of what is now known as Duff's Presbyterian Church in Puslinch. In 1837 a congregation of the Secession Presbyterian Church was founded in Aberfoyle with Hugh Gillespie (Margaret and Mary's father) as one of the founding elders. Early census records indicated that Robert Stewart and Mary Gillespie were also founding members of this Secession congregation. This congregation was short-lived and eventually amalgamated with it's nearby neighbouring church from the Presbyterian Church of Scotland -- the present-day Duff's Presbyterian Church.
More information on Duff's Church can be found here. The congregational roll from 1844 survives and it records the following Stewarts, all of whom belong to our family:
|Catharine Stewart (this would be Robert and Peter's spinster sister Catharine of the first generation, b:1817)|
|Mr. & Mrs. Robert Stewart (Robert Stewart & Mary Gillespie)|
|Widow Stewart (Robert's mother, Catharine Stewart, nee McNaughtan)|
|Presumably Peter and William Stewart were too young to have been members in 1844|
|History of St. Fillans||http://www.scottish-towns.co.uk/perthshire/fillans/history.html|
|General information on St. Fillans||http://www.scottish-towns.co.uk/perthshire/fillans/index.html|
|More local information on St. Fillans||http://www.perthshire-scotland.co.uk/stfillans2.htm|
|Comrie Community Website||http://www.comrie.org.uk/index.html|
|Ancient Map of Strathearn||http://www.nls.uk/pont/specialist/pont21.html|
|Alice Fluegge's Stewart Website for descendants of Hugh Stewart (son of Duncan Stewart and Margaret Gillespie)||http://users.rcn.com/alindzy/tregayweb.html|
People researching this family include the following. If you wish your name added to the fellow researchers' list, please contact me.
|From||Belongs to branch:||Researching|
|Ryk Brown||Ontario, Canada||Robert Stewart and Mary Gillespie (son Hugh Stewart)||all branches|
|Sharon Foster||Illinois, USA||Robert Stewart and Mary Gillespie (dtr. Catharine Stewart)||all branches|
|Brian Stewart||Ontario, Canada||William Stewart and Agnes MacLean (son Archibald Stewart)||all branches|
|Edie Morra (nee Stewart)||Ontario, Canada||Duncan Stewart and Margaret Drummond (son Robert Stewart)||all branches|
|Ed Stewart||Ontario, Canada||Duncan Stewart and Margaret Drummond (son Robert Stewart)||all branches|
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This page was last updated on April 19, 2011
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