What's New - September 13, 2022
The Carrying Place and The Murray Canal
Over the last several months I have done major research regarding the history of The Carrying Place and The Murray Canal. I was contacted by Sean Scally, the fellow who has done wonderful work with documentary videos in the Trenton and Hastings County area, and he wanted to do a project on the Murray Canal. I felt the two subjects, The Carrying Place and the Murray Canal, are so closely linked, that we have to include both. I sat for Sean a few months ago and he is working on a video. In the meantime, I am developing the story in different ways. I will be doing the first presentation on this topic on October 18,2022, at the Brighton Public Library and it will be called "I Pick Up My Canoe": Part 1 The Carrying Place." Another presentation in February will be "Part 2 The Murray Canal". This story is strongly related to local genealogy and, in the process, I have added a lot more information for the families in the area - Asa Weller, Robert Young, Robert Wilkins and others. Plenty more to come on this ..... "
New Info re Burning of George Gibson's Ship in 1813
This is more history than genealogy, but it does touch on the family histories of the Young and Gibson families. The story we always heard about George Gibson's ship being burned during the War of 1812 is well known and has been repeated in many historical publications, including from this historian. However, documents passed to me recently reveal a different version of the story. During my research work on The Carrying Place, I received documents from David Harris, a researcher in Hastings County. Most of the items were War Claims by the main folks at The Carrying Place, Asa Weller, James Young, Robert Wilkins, asking for compensation for damaged or lost facilities or goods during the time in 1813 when soldiers occupied the area. However, one document at the bottom caught my eye. It was an affidavit by James Young regarding an experience he had in July 1813. He describes how he was confronted by a group of men at the shore of Wellers Bay one evening and how they kidnapped him. They went to Goat Island and, later sent a squad into Presqu'ile Bay to destroy George Gibson's boat. Young was returned to the shore of Wellers Bay after the episode was complete. The men were clearly US military personnel, although disguised in civilian clothes. They had intelligence of a ship being built on Presqu'ile Bay and had clear orders from US military authorities to destroy it before it was finished. They also burned a shed containing stores near the ship. So, it was a straight-forward but clandestine military operation, without involvement of Bill Johnson, the notorious pirate. The ship was being prepared for use by the British Navy and therefore was a legitimate target of war. Certainly, this changes the narrative.
Fogorig - Seymour Twp.
My good friend, Florence Chatten, has motivated me to look in detail at the families that settled in the eastern part of Seymour Township, around the villages of Burnbrae, Menie and Hoards Station. Florence is part of the Rannie family who came to Canada along with many other Scots in the year 1842. In particular, I did a lot of work on Thomas Allan, who obtained Crown Patents for lots 21 and 22 of conc 2 and 3. He built a large grist mill on lot 22, conc 3, and this place was named Fogorig, after his family estate in Berwickshire, Scotland. He is said to have brought a steam engine from Scotland to power the mill because it was not near any water power. The mill still stands and new owners are planning to make it into a destination of some sort. After seeing all the documentation that is available, the narrative re Thomas Allan has changed a bit. He certainly owned the land here, and financed a major development with the mill and farm. However, there is no evidence that he ever lived in Seymour Twp., other than for short periods on his occasional visits from Scotland. He was the eldest son in his family, so became manager of the estate in Berwickshire after the death of his father. He had funds to develop a place in the colonies and probably had aspirations of creating a town around his mill. It is likely that David Allan, his younger step-brother, acted as his on-the-ground manager at Fogorig and had his hand on the actual developments. In the 1850s and 1860s, David Allan would move north to develop mills at Rylstone, on the river. Thomas Allan died in 1865 and the land in Seymour would pass to his son, William, who sold parts of it over time to local farmers. Alexander Rannie was one who obtained land in lot 22, conc 3. All of this can be seen on www.treesbydan.com.
Northrup of Belleville
The large collection of documents from Memory Junction Museum contain many unique and fascinating items, but recent work on a certain part of the collection supports family connections and the lives of the upper class in the late 1800s and early 1900s. A young lawyer named William Barton Northrup married Minnie Proctor, a daughter of John Edward Proctor of Brighton. The career of this young lawyer is impressive as online sources make clear. He headed the law firm in Belleville and would be elected a member of the house of commons several times. He was the Clerk of the House of Commons from 1918 to 1924. However, the collection of documents is almost entirely envelops that were collected to support stamp collection by his son. Ralph Bangay was closely connected to the Proctors and obtained this box of documents, as he obtained many others over the years. It's not earth-shaking history but real additions to the mosaic of our past. Thank you Ralph!
Widow Harris - Rice Lake Trading Post
One day at the Wellington Farmers' Market I made contact with a member of the Harris family of Port Hope. That motivated a review of my data to find that I had some of Myndert Harris and his clan, but only a start. This family tree has been filled out considerably now and many connections with area families documented in my data. In particular, I was fascinated to see that the lady often referred to as "Widow Harris", was the widow of Joseph Harris, son of Myndert Harris. Widow Harris was referred to as the proprietor of a trading post on Rice Lake in the early 1800s. This lady's maiden name was Rachel Sherwood, a daughter of the well-known trader and merchant of Sandhurst, on Adolphus Reach from very early settler days. Wonderful stuff!