Alexander Girvin McGrattan and his wife, Mary Wilson, immigrated from Ardkeen, County Down, Ireland to Amherst Island in 1841 and stayed for 30 years.
We do not know the name of Alex's father, nor of Mary's, but his Mother was Eliza Jane (Girvin) McGrattan who is buried in the Pentland Cemetary on Amherst Island. Mary's mother was a widow - Margaret (maiden name unknown) Wilson who married a shoemaker by the name of Hugh McAtee when Mary was small. Alex and Mary are said to have used money given to them by Mary's stepfather as a wedding gift to pay for their passage to Canada the year they were married (1841). They brought Alex's Mother, Eliza Jane Girvin McGrattan, with them, and Hugh and Margaret McAtee followed within a few years. They settled on a farm on Amherst Island, among other immigrant families from the Ards Penninsula.
In addition to farming, Alexander plied his trade as a shoemaker and served as the first teacher of the first school on Amherst Island. Alexander was also the librarian for the British Government. Alexander and Mary raised a large family on Amherst consisting of 4 sons and 5 daughters. Alexander was a writer and a poet, writing touching collaborations for his family. His poems have been published in Catherine Wilsonís book "A New Lease on Life".
In the early 1870s, Alexander traveled to Kansas, where he staked a homestead claim in Marion County between Goessel and Canton townships. The following year, he sent for Mary and the unmarried children. Three of the daughters were married and had established homes in Canada, though two of them later did move to Kansas.
Alexander and Mary Grattan both died in Kansas in the early 1900ís. Most of their children married into other island families.
Margaret married James McCabe.
Mary married Caleb Tugwell.
Minerva married Samuel McGinn.
Eliza married Thomas Elberson.
Rachel married Thomas Fife.
Peter married Mary Fleming.
Patrick married Maria Hennessy.
John married Mary Norman.
William married Emma Rambo.
Please go to the Written Word Section to see poetry by Alexander!!
Also be sure to see the Amherst Island photos pages for photos of the family.
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