Are they goldmines for genealogists, or just repetitive old rumours, and juicy, embellished gossip, handed down from generation to generation?
It was the early 1800s, in Upper Canada and the stories going around were that they were related to each other!
But were they?
N.B. This assignment was attempted in 2021 and had to be postponed.
ARGUMENT | BRUNSKILL | COLD CASE
DEAD | ENDOGAMY | FORGOTTEN | GRAPHIX
HIDDEN | IRISH COUSIN | JUST KIDDING
KELLAM | LINFOOT | MARY MARY | NATURALIZATION
OVERVIEW | PATRIOTS | QUEEN VICTORIA’S JUBILEE
RABBITS! | SIBLINGS | TABLE, (YEAR) | UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS
VOYAGE | WHEELWRIGHT | X-PUNGED | Y-KNOT | Z-END
AFTER Z: Reflections in MAY
The oral stories shared here are from the time-frames of 1819 to 1867, before Ontario, Canada was named as it is now.
1791-1840 was Upper Canada, and 1841-1867 was Canada West.
In the collected transcriptions (betw.1927-1966), I have deduced previous researchers blended notes and failed to recall which John ATKINSON was who; but I will let you come to your own conclusions.
Time — it can be limited, framed or wasted. It can be of a precious, or valuable, quality. It can heal, stand still or run out on you. It can slip away like sand in an hourglass or it can last an eternity; and yet by day’s end, there never seems to be enough of it.
When Allan SMITH [05-0024] was appointed Genealogist at the first ATKINSON Reunion at Dundurn (Castle) Park in Hamilton, Ontario, he had his work cut out for him.
It was 1927: the Genealogical Proof Standard did not exist then; nor were there very many people citing their sources — other than listing the interview conversations with their eldest living relations.
Many were visiting cemeteries to transcribe gravestones. Some were cleaning those same stones with shaving cream and other abrasive chemicals, to improve easier reading. No one thought to take photographs of the cemeteries or the old family homesteads.
If they only knew then what we know now.
The following information was collected in cemeteries, libraries and by talking to descendants. It included writing numerous letters and reading many old books on the County of York. compiled and researched by (the late) Risdon & Mildred (REID) ATKINSON, Schomberg, Ontario, 21MAY1966. Warning it is a little difficult to follow, but I believe I have figured out this John ATKINSON line.
APPARENTLY, JOHN ATKINSON SENIOR [A3-0000] AND his children, Thomas [A3-0004] and George [A3-0006], Margery [A3-0005] and Jane [A3-0007], settled in Markham Township at the start on Lot27, Concession 2, in York County in 1819.
John Senior and his son George are buried on this farm. John at the age of 71 years in 1835 and George at the age of 30 years in 1832 on May 15th. They are buried on the height of land near the North side of the farm about one hundred yards West of Concession 3. This plot has an iron railing around it.
This farm was owned by Mr. Alexander W. CRUICKSHANK [A2-0267], who married a Stouffville ATKINSON named Ethel [A2-0262], and sold the farm to the present (1966) owner, Graeme F. BALES.
George ATKINSON [A3-0006] married Margaret BAKER [A3-0109] and their descendants are: his son Jacob ATKINSON [A3-0112], who died 12 February 1901 aged 71 years; his wife Elizabeth DOAN [A3-0117] (who died 15 April 1875 aged 39 years 10 months). There is also a Jeremiah ATKINSON [A3-0113].
The monument of George and his father, John Senior, was brought to the COBER CEMETERY by their descendant, Fred ATKINSON [A3-0165] and placed in this cemetery in 1965. The Cober Cemetery is located on Dufferin Street, a couple miles south of the Maple and Richmond Hill side roads, just West of Richmond Hill, Ontario.
Fred is from Orangeville, Ontario. Some of George and Margaret’s descendants, or relatives, are Amos and Isaac BAKER.
Jacob [A3-0016] and David [A3-0013] bought the Old Mill from the Bank of Upper Canada in 1859 and had it for 11 years, which consisted of 54 acres of land. This mill included a foundry, which made ploughshares and cutting boxes that were widely used in the district and assembled in the lower part of the Old Mill. The other part of the mill was used for grinding grain. The upper story was used for stocking apples grown in the nearby orchards. They sold it to a Joseph KURTZ – a cousin related through Elizabeth (KURTZ) ATKINSON [A3-0009].
They built other buildings, such as brick factories in Mimico and the western area.
Jacob and his wife lived at Lambton Mills, Ontario. Jacob K. ATKINSON died February 6, 1917, aged 85 years; his wife, Julia Ann KAISER [A3-0090] died August 19, 1886, aged 45 years. Their son, Jacob B. ATKINSON [A3-0094] (17 February 1875-31 January 1893), also an infant, Arthur JULAND [A3-0105] and their daughter, Henrietta Julia (ATKINSON) GARBUTT [A3-0092] (29 May 1870-12 February 1954). David ATKINSON died 4 April 1876 aged 51 years.
Joshua ATKINSON died 19 April 1884, aged 61 years, and interred in MOUNT PLEASANT MAUSOLEUM, Toronto. His daughter, Ida Mary died 10 April 1875, aged 4 years 3 months, and (another daughter) Louisa died 7 October 1879, aged 3 days – the children of Joshua and Mary ATKINSON. Margery ATKINSON [A3-0091], Jacob’s daughter (3 December 1862-20 January 1890) married a JOSEPH CREECH [A3-0095] and had a daughter, Laura [A3-0121] who lives on the Dundas. Laura CREECH 24AUG1888-11MAY1975
George, son of John ATKINSON III, who married Clara had a son George who died 4 September 1907, aged 28 years. Also Alma Alice died 13 August 1889, aged 2 months, Cyrille J. died 2 November 1892, aged 5 years. They lived at Lambton Mills. They are buried at St. GEORGE’S ANGLICAN CENETERY on Dundas Highway near the Old Mill. All the dead mentioned in the above paragraphs are also buried there.
JOHN JUNIOR [A3-0002], THE FATHER of Jacob and David ATKINSON, apparently settled in Vaughan Township on Lot41, Concession 1 (West Half), with the rest of his brothers and sisters, namely, David and William, Thomas, Margery and Jane. They ran a farm and operated a grist mill on the Old Mill Road, now (1966) called Weldrich Road, that runs Yonge Street to Bathurst Street, one mile south of Richmond Hill, Ontario. He built the mill for one thousand Pounds. ($1640.90 CAD or $1310.33 USD; as of 4/2022)
John Junior had eight children, all but two (David and Frances [A3-0017]), married and had children. David, with his brother Jacob, for many years operated the old Mill on the Humber (River), the walls of which still remain (as of 1966).
The following paragraphs will contain a brief account of the families of the other six children of John ATKINSON Junior.
(1) JOHN KURTZ ATKINSON [A3-0012] (1825-1854) married 1848 to Sarah Ann SHRIGLEY [A3-0058] (d.1860); they had two children:
- George Wellington ATKINSON [A3-0059] (1849-1907), who settled in Lambton Mills; married 1875 to Clara Ann CADIEUX [A3-0061] (1848-1929), daughter of Joseph CADIEUX (1819-1903) & Catherine McClusky (unkn); and,
- Sarah Alma ATKINSON [A3-0060] (1854-1931), married 1876 to William Henry PUGSLEY [A3-0067] (1851-1933), who for many years was Reeve (1885-1896 and 1907-1918) of Richmond Mill and Warden of the County of York; was the son of John PUGSLEY (1817-1884) & Mary Ann LOCK (1819-1890)
(2) JOSHUA ATKINSON [A3-011] (1823-1884) married Ann “June” REID [A3-0036] (1827-1870), daughter of Dr. Asa REID, MD (1772-1859), one of the earliest medical practitioners in the County of York, and Margaret WILSON (1793-1874). Their children were:
- Margaret Elizabeth ATKINSON (1852-1945) married bef.1872 to Sperry Wilmot “Milton” CARD (1848-1908), son of Tharity Ann CARD of Port Huron, Michigan;
- Asa Reid ATKINSON [A3-0037] (1848-1913) of Peoria, Illinois; married 1874 to Anne ACHESON [A3-0203] (1851-bef.1910), daughter of George & Amanda ACHESON
- David George ATKINSON (1854-1927), who did not marry;
- Walter John ATKINSON [A3-0038] (1849-unkn) of Smith Falls; married Charlotte KAISER [A3-0043]; and,
- Frederick William ATKINSON [A3-0041] (1861-1930), town clerk of Strathroy for many years; married 1889 to Nancy McGAGAN [A3-0527] (1853-1919), daughter of Archibald & Margaret McGAGAN; then married 1921 to Velma CARROLL-LAMBERT [A3-0204](1861-1929), daughter of George CARROLL & Elizabeth DELL
After 1844 but before 1870, Joshua married his second wife, Mary BOND-SMITH [A3-044] (1837-1923), daughter of Richard BOND (d.1893) & Ann CHARNLEY (d.1877) and their family – all of whom remained in Toronto – comprised of:
- Joshua James Bond ATKINSON [A3-0048] (1869-1937); married 1923 to Giles Tinto CATHCART [A3-0210] (1882-unkn), daughter of James CATHCART & Giles TINTO;
- Mary Ida ATKINSON [A3-0045] (1871-1875);
- Daniel Henry Elen ATKINSON [A3-0049] (no further information known);
- Ellen “Eleanor“ Julia Ann ATKINSON [A3-0050] (1875-1939); married 1905 to Milton Wood LACKIE [A3-0057] (1874-1940), son of John Davis LACKIE (1837-1882) & Priscilla CARLYLE (1839-1894);
- Edmund “Percy” Percival ATKINSON [A3-0046] (1876-unkn); married Edith Sophia “Chase” HARWOOD [A3-0051] (1875-unkn), daughter of Dr. William Charles HARWOOD (1844-1908) & Sarah Elizabeth ARNOLD* (d.1934); and,
- Louisa ATKINSON [A3-0047](1879-1879)
(3) MARGERY ATKINSON [A3-0014] (1828-1879) married James KELLAR [A3-0068] (1826-1872), son of Charles KELLAR & Rebecca TOMLINSON of Unionville. Their children were:
- Elizabeth KELLAR [A3-0219] (b.1853)
- Frank KELLAR [A3-0220] (b.1855)
- Cornelius KELLAR [A3-0069] who died young; born between 1856-1859
- Thomas W. KELLAR [A3-0229] born between 1857-1862; married 1885 to Maggie HARDY [A3-0221] (b.1861), daughter of Richard & Elizabeth HARDIE
- James Henry KELLAR [A3-0070] (1861-1915), for some years, the Principal of the high school at for some years, the Principal of the high school at Sherbrooke, Quebec; later in the insurance business in China; and later still, in New Westminster, British Columbia; and wife, Charlotte Louisa COLE [A3-0528](1860-1918), daughter of John W. COLE & Charlotte
- Margery E. (Mrs. Charles Joseph KELLAR) of Stratford, Ontario, Margery [A3-0071](1866-1938) and Charles [A3-0462](1859-1934), son of Joseph KELLAR & Catherine BEASLEY; and,
- Annie of Sherbrooke, Quebec – Anne M. KELLAR [A3-0072](b.1870)
(4) JACOB KURTZ ATKINSON (1832-1917) married 1862 to Julia Ann KAISER (1841-1886), daughter of Peter Erlin KAISER II & Phoebe BENNETT; and grand-daughter of Peter Erlin KAISER, who settled in York Township in 1801. Their children were:
- Margery (Mrs. Joseph KREECH) of Lambton Mills; Margery 1862-1890 and Joseph 1856-1959
- Albert of Jeanette’s Creek;
- “Etta” Henrietta Julia (Mrs. Juland GARBUTT) of Jeanette’s Creek; Etta 1870-1954 and Juland 1867-1933 and,
- Jacob, who died in his teens – Jacob B. ATKINSON 1875-1893
But, one child is not mentioned: Albert George ATKINSON (b.1874) of Lambton Mills, who in 1913 married Victoria Edith BRADLEY, daughter of John BRADLEY and Victoria Elizabeth KURTZ.
(5) ELIZABETH ATKINSON married Dr. Henry SANDERSON, MVD (1816-1893), son of John SANDERSON (1778-1854) & Ann BINNINGTON (1777-1831), druggist and veterinarian of Richmond Hill, who built the house and store at the corner of Yonge Street and Centre Street East in the village. Their children were:
- Elizabeth Ann (1844-1847);
- Dr. John Henry SANDERSON, MVD (1846-1930), who lived his life in Richmond Hill; married 1875 to Elizabeth H. LINFOOT (1847-1904), daughter of John LINFOOT (1813-1866) & Harriet Anne HOOPER (1813-1852);
- William Atkinson SANDERSON (1849-1915), a pharmacist, who lived his life in Richmond Hill; married 1874 to Henrietta PROCTOR (1849-1927), daughter of Isaac PROCTOR (d.1897) & Mary BOADVILLE (1820-1900);
- Mary Jane “Minnie” SANDERSON (1858-1949), married 1876 to John DUNCAN (1841-1931), now (1947) Mrs. Frank SHAY of Oshawa;
- Marjorie Palmer SANDERSON (1859-1939) of Toronto, married 1886 to Alexander George Frederick LAWRENCE (1859-1945), son of James M. LAWRENCE (1827-1899) & Sophronia AIKSEY (1937-1920);
- Frances Maria SANDERSON (1862-1863) and,
- James M. “Jay” SANDERSON (1866-unkn) of Miami, Florida, married before 1920 to Ella C. (C1873-1953)
(6) WILLIAM ATKINSON, THE ONLY one of the sons of John ATKINSON Junior to remain in Richmond Hill all his life, was born 20 May 1830. In 1853, he married Mary GRAHAM (1828-1895) of Georgetown. The GRAHAMs, who lived originally in Tyrone, Ireland, and later in Scotland, had come to Canada six years earlier (1847).
In 1864, William opened a general store in Richmond Hill in a building on the site of the City’s Service Garage, but in 1872 he moved to what is now (1966) 53 Yonge Street. In 1874, he built the house and store number 54 and 56 Yonge Street (1966), and known for many years as “The Concrete.” His business prospered from the first and continued to do so when his son-in-law Joseph A.E. SWITZER, became his partner under the name ATKINSON & SWITZER.
William was active in civic enterprises in many capabilities, both before and after the village of Richmond Hill was incorporated in 1872. In politics, he was a Liberal and in religion, a Methodist. He gave much material aid when the present Methodist (United) Church building was erected in 1880. One of his contributions was indeed unique, for it was he who, in those days before steeplejacks were easily obtainable, climbed the 160-foot tower to place the ornamental tip on the spire.
He was one of the original cottagers at the Grimsby Park Methodist Camp Ground, or as it was later known, Grimsby Beach, and along with his wife, Mary, spent each summer there.
In 1887, they journeyed to England for the Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee Celebration in London.
William died 17 January 1896, while Mary predeceased him 30 April 1895.
There were three children of their marriage:
- Robert John (1854), who died in 1871 at the age of seventeen;
- William David, born 1 March 1864; and,
- Elizabeth Ann, born 14 February 1856
Elizabeth Ann (1856-1928) married Joseph A.E. SWITZER (1839-1909), son of John & Jane SWITZER of Streetsville on 18 January 1876 and there were four children:
- Mary Edith SWITZER (1877-1906) 1901 married to Frederick James JOHNSTON (1869-unkn), son of James JOHNSTON & Mary DAVIDSON;
- Ethel Alma SWITZER (1884-unkn) married after 1911 Census to R. Walker HALL, son of Joseph HALL & Elizabeth WALKER
- Bertha Olive SWITZER (1866-1972) never married; and
- Marjorie Hazel SWITZER (1887-1976) never married
JOSEPH A.E. SWITZER WAS his father-in-law’s partner in the firm of ATKINSON & SWITZER until Mr. ATKINSON retired from business in 1892. Joseph was then associated with his brother-in-law, William David ATKINSON, until SWITZER died 18 May 1909.
Following this, Elizabeth (ATKINSON) SWITZER, with the aid of her daughter, Ethel (SWITZER) HALL, continued to operate the business under the old name until it was sold in 1920, after 56 consecutive years of active operation. Ethel was still living as of 25 May 1966.
IN 1888, WILLIAN DAVID ATKINSON purchased the general store of Isaac CROSBY, at “The Fireproof,” now (1966) occupied by D. HILL and Company. He carried on with the general store until 1892, when he took his father’s place in the firm of ATKINSON & SWITZER.
IN 1899, William married Frances TRENCH, daughter of William TRENCH, carriage manufacturer and for many years Reeve of Richmond Hill. William was prominent in lacrosse, then in its heyday, and curling. Music was his hobby; he possessed an excellent tenor voice and was a member of the (church?) choir, as well as a versatile performer in the village band. He died 31 December 1895, leaving one child, William Donald Trench ATKINSON, born 3 September 1891.
WILLIAM D.T. ATKINSON, AFTER graduating from the Richmond Hill schools and the University of Toronto, served overseas for four years in World War I. He had taught Latin from 1921-1929 at Lisgar Collegiate Institute (high school) before his tenure (1930s) as principal at Glebe Collegiate in Ottawa, Ontario.
In 1921, almost one hundred years to the day his great-grandfather John ATKINSON Junior married Elizabeth KURTZ, William married Marguerite FLEMING, and had three children, who constitute the sixth generation of this branch of the ATKINSON Family in Canada:
- Doris Margaret;
- Mary Frances; and,
- William David
Anyone who scans the early history of the County of York will be struck by the interlinking by marriage of the older families – an inevitable result of the sparseness of the population in those days.
Often indeed, the same families are related by the marriages of several of their members. The foregoing account, which deals almost exclusively with the descendants of John ATKINSON Junior contains the names of many of the early families of the county; and on their mother’s side, Elizabeth (KURTZ) are equally and widely connected: SNIDER, BENNETT, VANDERBURGH, GRAY, MITCHELL, LEVER and COBER appear among their near relatives.
After the passage of a century of time, many of these relationships are forgotten and lost, but at all events, the record shows that The ATKINSON Family had many blood ties and undoubtedly many more of friendship, among the pioneer families of the district.
As was stated at the outset. John ATKINSON Senior arrived in the vicinity of Richmond Hill in 1819 – that same summer saw the arrival of a much more distinguished Englishman, in the person of Charles LENNOX, Fourth Duke of Richmond and Governor-General of British North America, whose wife had given the famous ball on the eve of Waterloo four years earlier.
To commemorate the Duke’s visit, the village name was changed rom Miles’ Hill (after Abner MILES, one of the earliest innkeepers of the district) to its present name Richmond Hill.
The noble Duke departed after a stay of a few hours at most, but John ATKINSON and his descendants remained; and for a full century (until 1919) five generations of ATKINSONs in an uninterrupted line: John Senior, John Junior, William, William David and William Donald called Richmond Hill their home for a substantial portion of their lives, while a member of the sixth generation, Doris Margaret ATKINSON, lived for two years (1945-47) in the home of her grandmother, Mrs. Frances (TRENCH) ATKINSON, herself a life-long resident of the village.
However, even the brief and incomplete record in the preceding paragraphs shows that the descendants of John ATKINSON Senior are widely scatter over Canada, and the United States and at the time of this writing, 1947, only one direct descendant, Mrs. R. Walker HALL, is a permanent resident of the community.
NOTA BENA: Typos, sentence structure and other grammatical errors are left untouched in this reference copy/ transcription. Corrections will have references & citations added in blue.
**MORE TO FOLLOW
It was 1833. Elizabeth (HODGSON) ATKINSON was 56years-old when she and her husband of 33years, John ATKINSON, journeyed to York, Upper Canada (what present day calls Toronto, Ontario) via New York City.
Joining them on their family outing were two bachelor sons, Thomas (25years-old) and Robert (22years-old), their pregnant daughter, Mary (31years-old) her husband Thomas BRUNSKILL (32years-old) and their six children.
The voyage across the Atlantic Ocean would be heartbreaking; food was running out. But this emotional story has been told too often before.
Today’s argument that I want to focus on is possible connections by the marriages involving Elizabeth’s mother, Ann (ROBINSON) HODGSON – before 1783, and her pregnant daughter, Mary – approximately in 1826.
Both women married a BRUNSKILL. Coincidence? Maybe.
Elizabeth’s father, Robert HODGSON died in 1777, the same year Elizabeth was born. Elizabeth was baptized in November of 1777, but had her father already passed away?
Robert’s widow, Ann remarried (approximately 1780-82) and began a family with her new husband, Wharton BRUNSKILL. Their first son was named Robert (b.1783); was it possible the child was named after Ann’s first husband?
Mary (ATKINSON) BRUNSKILL was 24years-old when she married C1826 to Thomas BRUNSKILL (25years-old). Their marriage is estimated based on the births of six known children prior to their trans-Atlantic journey.
When they joined Mary’s parents to travel to New York City in 1833, they were expecting their seventh(?) child!
Again, birth and baptismal records have been difficult to find, but only for the eldest three children only. The only records found to date (3 April 2022) on the father, Thomas, were his death records. Thomas’ gravestone was discovered in St. Philip’s Anglican Cemetery in a neighbouring plot beside the ATKINSON gravestone for John & Elizabeth, and their sons, Robert and Thomas and his wife, Bethia (KIDD).
I have wondered for many years, if the two BRUNSKILL men were already related.
It wasn’t the first time they got away with murder!
It happened again, 125 years ago (1897) in the village of Penn Yan, Yates County, New York: a bloodied body was found along the beach of Keuka Lake!
Rival newspapers relayed grisly gossip and details as the police investigation began.
As a visiting police inspector, from out of state, can you figure out who did it before the rhyme ends? Murder and Mayhem
An Additional Honour: The Yates County History Center (formerly the Genealogical & Historical Society)
located in Penn Yan, New York, picked up my poetic presentation of the cold case for print in their newsletter YATES PAST (March 2012), pp.8-10
He died 23 December 1970.
I had a transcript of his obituary – I found the newspaper it was originally published in.
With obit in hand, I had the name of the cemetery (or so I thought.).
I contacted the City Clerk, a very nice lady, who looked for the town record of his burial … there wasn’t one!
So, where is he? Dead and buried, some where.
I GIVE UP. I knew of one case, where 3 ATKINSONs married back into the BRUNSKILL family (April 2nd, “B” submission), but after further scrutiny, it is more like four.
Two cases of an ATKINSON marrying another ATKINSON cousin.
And don’t get me started with the SNELL siblings and cousins that are scattered throughout as well!
I need coffee … as soon as I find my Baileys (Irish Cream).
TWO HUNDRED AND TEN years ago, American colonists were fighting the British forces upon the waves of the Great Lakes and along the sandy shores of Upper Canada (Ontario), Lower Canada (Quebec), and the Eastern seaboard of the 13 Colonies, among other places.
We know so very little about the War of 1812. Our history books embellish the glory of the battles, praise the ingenuity (or critique the stupidity) of a few key players, but regardless which country the printing houses are located in, the books all agree on one point: the other side lost!
But, that is only half true because everyone lost – fathers, brothers, husbands, sons and lovers from Death, injury, amputation and infection. And then there were other enemies to fight off that you couldn’t see: Sleep deprivation. Fear. Fatigue. Hypothermia, Starvation. Desertion. Delirium and Guilt.
Do we really know nothing about this bickering battle? Is it really “The Forgotten War?”
A Little History
It started June 12th, 1812: It was a Friday, when U.S. President James MADISON declared war against England, Upper Canada and Lower Canada.
But why is it referred to as forgotten? Is it because it did not last very long? It was finished on Christmas Eve in 1814 with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, just eighteen months after it started.
Maybe it is because many of the lives that were lost are unknown; and/or buried in mass graves without markers.
Or was it because there was not a declared winner? The Treaty of Ghent was very clear: all captured lands wee to be returned to the original party of ownership prior to the commencement of the war.
Unlike the American Revolution, some thirty-six years earlier, it had a notable outcome: the Colonies won their independence from the Reign of King George III of England!
To this day, some American genealogists spend years heavily documenting their lineage, to prove that they are directly descended from a Patriot (or a number of Patriots) from that war alone!
The rewards, as I understand it, are two-fold: a post nominal designation of DAR for the ladies, and SAR for male descendants; and “PATRIOT” for each ancestor’s proven contribution to the cause — be it military or civilian service.
From A Different Perspective
In Canada, The War of 1812 is the genealogical equivalent of The American Revolution. Genealogists spend years tracing their lines to earn the designation of UE (United Empire) for themselves, and UEL (United Empire Loyalist) for each of their proven ancestors.
For the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812, the Royal Canadian Mint issued one (1) two-dollar coin and four quarters. These five (5) coins celebrated the efforts of four (4) persons and one epic battle that swung the balance of the war towards the British forces.
No, Canada didn’t win the war, but we did win the battles that these coins commemorate!
Major-General Sir Isaac Brock: is the most prominent figure in the War of 1812. Almost every Canadian knows of him. He died 13 October 1812 from injuries at the Battle of Queenston Heights, Ontario; and although he lost his life, the American forces were still defeated! There are grade schools and post secondary institutions, government buildings, public parks and roadways named after him throughout Ontario. His likeness also adorns postage stamps and numerous war memorials.
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles-Michel de Salaberry: is best known for repelling U.S. General Hampton’s advance at Chateauguay (Montreal) in October 1813. De Salaberry was so confident of a win; he did not report the Americans’ attack to his superiors! He was a native son to Lower Canada and his statue with sword in hand, alerts a call to arms over the entrance to the Quebec Legislature. His likeness and form can also be found on Canadian postage stamps, and many war memorials.
Tecumseh, which means “Shooting Star“ was born in Ohio to Shawnee parents and was a proven warrior at 14years-old. Later, when he was Chief, he went to visit Upper Canada. While he was away, the Indiana Territory confiscated his tribe’s lands, which sent a furious Tecumseh back to the British North wanting vengeance. In August 1812. the Chief met MGen Sir Isaac Brock. They respected each other and fought bravely together. Tecumseh died 5 October 1813, but his assailant was never confirmed. Many persons claimed to have taken the brave warrior’s life. To date, Tecumseh has been the only leader to unite all 32 North American tribes in excess of 10,000 warriors and rally with the British forces in the War of 1812 up until his death. Like Brock, Tecumseh’s name and likeness can be found on schools, government buildings, military bases, statues and postage stamps. Tecumseh is the only 1812 figure to be upon two monetary coins: the Canadian quarter (2013) and a silver dollar (2002) circulating in the United States.
H.M.S.* Shannon His Majesty’s Ship Shannon was a 38-gun frigate. She first saw action during the Napoleonic Wars, but it was the War of 1812 when her fame skyrocketed. It happened in Boston Harbour, Massachusetts, when Shannon entered a bloody battle with another 38-gun frigate: the USS Chesapeake.
The fighting was brief — it lasted less than fifteen minutes. When the smoke cleared, the USS Chesapeake was escorted to Halifax, Nova Scotia, as a spoil of war. After she was repaired, the American frigate was returned to service as the HMS Chesapeake.
Laura (nee INGERSOLL) SECORD: Her bravery is the most inspiring, and misreported (there was NO cow), event in the history of the War of 1812! She jeopardized her own safety, as well as his injured husband and young family, to alert the British forces; and yet, her heroism would not e publicly acknowledged for another 47 years!
Further details of her story in itself are sweet enough to be told on its own.
I do not have any oral stories for “G,” so I am going to share some colourful charts listing census records through the lifetimes of prominent families.
THOMAS (Junior) ATKINSON (BLOCK 5) & SARAH ANN CAWARD are my 2x great grandparents
Since 1928, the bevelled glass frame had held a sepia tone* photograph of my paternal grandfather, nicknamed “Papa John.” The picture was a wedding present to his soon-to-be-wife, Emily (MOREAU) … AKA the woman who introduced me to cemetery transcription, cemetery photography, heraldry and genealogy: “Gramma Rabbit!”
When I first saw his photograph (1980-1990), it was in my father’s possession. The photograph had been subjected to abuse: poor storage, ventilation and care. Its backing paper was browned with age, peeling and chipping away. The three thin wires, that it hung by on the wall, was rusted and brittle. The photo itself had been exposed to some moisture and was affixed to the bevelled glass. It was in need of professional repair.
Fast Forward to July 2003: MiLady Rabbit and I were getting married. I told my younger brother of our grandfather’s photograph … he had never seen it!
Long story short, I left it with him.
Three months later, my father had died, my brother had our grandfather’s picture professionally repaired, and there was a hidden hand-painted photograph under Grandad’s picture!
He was probably an officer, but it is not clear as to the shape of the two clusters on his epaulets — diamonds, maybe? If, indeed two diamonds, he would have been a Lieutenant.
The collar badge at his neck remains a mystery to me; I cannot identify it, but with the wide double-holed bandolier with the pouches in conjunctions, I would guess he might have been Artillery?
Comparing features from various photographs, this young man is related to the MOREAU side of the family tree, but WHO was he?
*the original (1928) photo of grandad was sepia tone, but when restored (2003), copies were made in B&W electronically and shared by my brother with our younger sister and myself.
In the last week, I received contact from two RootsTech/ FamilySearch matches. One was surprising as she was a match to WILSON-CLARKE connections.
It was fun to share our many times great-grandparents’ marriage certificate from 1867 with her!
Long before I received word from my IRISH COUSIN (above), I got an email from a distant KIDD relative in late March.
To find our common ancestral relative, we had to go one generation further than my research was documented! We are Sixth Cousins Once Removed (6C1R)
It wasn’t too difficult, except for the repetitive names in every generation: William, Ann, Elizabeth, John, Jane, James, Thomas, Mary and Sarah – amidst others!
N.B: My 4th great-grandfather was Richard KIDD; he had married the former Jane (SOLTON). Their daughter, Bethia married Thomas ATKINSON Snr and had fourteen children – their descendants are the alpha-numeric book collection pictured further above – and often on social media.
The Coloured Census Charts in section “G,” are Bethia and Thomas’ children and spouses captured in time every decade from 1851 to 1921* currently; some are also listed in the United States Census records.
*The 1931 Canadian Census is NOT available until April 2023. Dang it.
In the original compilation of The Atkinson Genealogy (1927), John ATKINSON, son of Thomas Junior and Bethia (KIDD) ATKINSON, was married to Mary Jane KELLAM.
They were married 14 March 1872 in Etobicoke, Vaughan Township, York County, Ontario, and by 13 May 1873, they had a child, but five days later (18 May), Mary died from complications.
For the longest time, the death date of the child was also unknown; with parents named John and Mary ATKINSON, it was very difficult to confirm in 1927. By 1966, it was not that much easier.
It was not until 2015, after assistance from cousins, looking through Vital Statistics Indices, and others photographing old cemeteries, John’s first wife and child were finally found and properly identified.
In Memory of
Beloved Wife of
and Daughter of
JOHN & /////////////
///// stone broken ///////
JOHN & MARY ATKINSON
Died Aug. 20, 1873
Aged 3Mo’s & 7D’ys
The broken stone had been transcribed by the Ontario Genealogical Society in 1988. It was recorded as seen at the Hilltop Gore Cemetery. (Cemetery #6 as designated by the Halton-Peel Branch.). A hardcopy of the transcription was later obtained from Linda Miller during a business visit to Calgary, Alberta in 2015.
The information from the missing segment was later pieced together with further investigation, after locating a photograph:
and Daughter of
JOHN & RACHEL* KELLAM
Died date, 1873
Aged 30 Yr’s & 8Mo’s
JOHN & MARY ATKINSON
The photograph was located on FIND-A-GRAVE (2021) of the Sharon United Church Cemetery, Etobicoke, Toronto Municipality, Ontario.
- Memorial#65262570 for Mary Jane (KELLAM) ATKINSON, 1842-1873; and son,
- Memorial#202742323 for William John ATKINSON, 1873-1873
But, John did not grieve long over the losses of his wife and son, as he married again in 1874 and started a new family by February 1875.
*Rachel’s maiden name was SLEIGHTHOLM
John LINFOOT (1813-1866) was a tavern keeper in York County, during a period of civil unrest in Upper Canada. His daughter, Elizabeth, who married Doctor John Henry SANDERSON, MVD (a veterinarian) – were listed above (April 1st) in ARGUMENT.
LINFOOT had acquired a Yonge Street tavern located near Eglinton. It was sometimes called The Sickle & The Sheath, but more commonly known as Montgomery’s Tavern.
The previous owner was John MONTGOMERY, who sympathized with the Rebellion but not the war, had sold the tavern to John LINFOOT, a Tory and sympathetic to the government.
Due to the confusion of tavern ownership, the (MACKENZIE-KING) rebels did not receive the support they were promised. This, of course, caused some exchanges between MONTGOMERY and LINFOOT, as the sale had not been finalized yet.
For those not familiar with Upper Canadian history. There was a rebellion in 1837* when the fledgling country was still experiencing some intense growing pains.
*The Ontario Genealogical Society offers a lineage certificate to the 1837 Rebellion Society for any person that can prove they are descended from a participant of the event, or its aftermath.
MONTGOMERY’S TAVERN, Jeff Scott. (2017)
THE STORY OF THE UPPER CANADIAN REBELLION, John Charles Dent, (1885)
Time is an unworthy friend. It playfully tatters the much-needed memories of your oldest relative with absent-minded splotches of uncertainty and senility, as easily as it tastefully ferments grapes into fine wines and slowly embroiders Histories and Legends into Myth.
Over Time, participants in major events pass on, as do witnesses to these life events. When all are gone, their memories, if recorded, become history; but if close friends and progeny were fortunate enough to hear the stories of their life experiences, they would still live on, in some-what embellished retellings.
Oral histories have grown like this over many years, and in some cases, many generations. Some old soldiers’ war stories and fishermen’s tales for example, have grown into legendary and mythical proportions with every re-telling. It is in these situations, where family historians and genealogists have a very difficult time: finding the proof regarding the truth of the event, and yet still retain the wide-eyed child-like enjoyment of the colourful commentary in the remainder.
Sometimes, the facts are all present in the re-telling, they merely become twisted and meshed together.
It is important to remember four things when it comes to story-telling:
-  It is normally a much older generation telling stories to a far younger audience.
-  The older the story, the more difficult it may be for the subject to recall it clearly.
-  The younger the audience, the shorter their attention span and usually their interest.
-  The changes in word definitions over the years. As an example, the words “cool,” “heavy,” “gay” and “sick” regularly referred to mild temperatures, excessive weight burdens, a cheerfully pleasant individual and illness; but since the 1950s new meanings developed, creating entirely different connotations:
“Cool” is used in a complimentary remark;
“Heavy” is an atypical response to a more serious situation;
“Gay” is a condescending insult to one’s personality.
But the term “gay” in most recent slang (2009) has also taken on the meaning of complete disgust or disapproval; while the use of “sick” is interchangeable with “cool” as a complimentary remark.
Situations such as these needs to be kept in mind when referring to documentation from another time period, as an overlooked answer may very well be hidden in the context the terms were used rather than how those words are now perceived.
Allow me to start with what we know:
 Mary (nee ATKINSON)[1m.BRUNSKILL][2m.SHAW] died 28AUG1877*1*
Her death register is listed as SHAW rather than SOLTON; so her last marriage was to Lancelot SHAW.
Now, this does not disprove that she was married three times’ it only clarifies that the mysterious Mr. SOLTON was not her third husband. Thomas BRUNSKILL died 27APR1846 in Weston, Ontario; and within 16 months, Mary wed Lancelot SHAW on 14AUG1847 in Toronto*2*
With this bit of information, and the fact that Mary was listed as SHAW at her death, there are two possibilities:
Either,  Mary wed the mysterious Mr. SOLTON before she married Lancelot SHAW; or
 she married Mr. SOLTON before she married Thomas BRUNSKILL
So, it is possible that Mr. SOLTON is either her first or second husband, but let us consider this:
It is important to remember the 1966 original book*3* never did identify the names of Mary’s six children that were born in England, prior to the journey to Canada; as well, three of these unknown little darlings died enroute.
What if it had been presumed that all the children were BRUNSKILLs, because our researchers had not located any documentation whatsoever to provide a clearer picture?
The assumption could easily carry on over generations, re-written and re-written again, without question, to present day and accepted as fact — but, what if Mary’s six little ones were born as SOLTONs rather than BRUNSKILLs?
This could possibly make the child that Mary was carrying in 1833, the first-born child to her and Thomas BRUNSKILL rather than their seventh child.
Assumptions were made by the enumerator (census-taker) during the 1851 Census, which will be discussed later in detail.
Now, as you ponder that, let’s start with our first hypothesis: Mary wed SOLTON before SHAW
If she married SOLTON, he would have had to have died soon after, in order for her to marry SHAW by the 14AUG1847.Furthermore, the marriage register would have been listed between Mary SOLTON & Lancelot SHAW, rather than Mary BRUNSKILL * Lancelot SHAW.
What we found was the latter:
Reverend H.J. GRASETT performed a marriage on August 14th, 1847 between widower, Lancelot SHAW of Chinguacousy Township and widow, Mary BRUNSKILL of Etobicoke Township.
Five years later, the 1851 Canadian Census lists Lancelot and Mary with three children, aged 14, 12, and nine years of age*4* but after further research, these three children were actually BRUNSKILLs and well-documented from Mary’s earlier marriage to the late Thomas BRUNSKILL.
Therefore, Mary’s husband Lancelot SHAW was her last marriage, and Thomas BRUNSKILL was her husband in the marriage immediately previous to SHAW. This leaves us with one probability: that Mary possibly wed Mr. SOLTON before both BRUNSKILL & SHAW.
Now, as simple as this may sound, there is a complicated issue involving Mary’s maternal grandmother. Yes, the mother of Elizabeth (nee HODGSON) ATKINSON, namely Ann (nee ROBINSON)[1m.HODGSON] 2m.BRUNSKILL. Following the death of Elizabeth’s father, Robert HODGSON (C1781), Ann re-married, to Wharton BRUNSKILL. Coincidence?
But to obtain the oddest piece to this incomplete genealogical puzzle, you must look into Mary’s paternal grandmother, Bethia KIDD, wife of Thomas ATKINSON, as well. Bethia came to Upper Canada a few years before the ATKINSONs, travelling in the company of her siblings and parents, Richard KIDD and Jane (nee SOLTON) KIDD.
Consider this gamut of surnames carefully, as you put yourself into Mary’s situation:
It is 1851. You live on a small acreage in a one-story log cabin in Canada West (Ontario). You are a mother of eleven children, six surviving of which three are married and off with families of their own. Your husband, Thomas dies, you mourn and re-marry, all before your youngest child turns five-years-old. Your youngest three children live with you and your n(second) husband, then you re-live the anguish again — you outlive your second husband and must bury him also. You have spent the majority of your years as a single parent and a pioneer farmer; and in order to provide for your family from your land, you need help.
Your children that are still at home are too young and need constant supervision — so who do you turn to? Family — your older children and their spouses, your parents, your grandparents, your siblings, their older children, and your in-laws, among other relatives.
*1* Transcript of death register for Mary (nee ATKINSON)[BRUNSKILL] SHAW d.28AUG1877Informant: William John BRUNSKILL, son
*2* Marriage Registers of St. James Anglican Church/Cathedral, York (Toronto), 1860-1896,as recorded in “Landmarks of Toronto,” V3, pp395 ff., by John Ross Robertson (including biographical notations on some individuals and families by JRR.).Marriages Performed by Rev. H.J. GRASETT, Rector of St. James, 14 August 1847, by licence, Lancelot SHAW, of the township of Chinguacousy, widower, and Mary BRUNSKILL, of the township of Etobicoke.
*3* Allan Smith (compiler) & Mildred Reid-Atkinson, “The Atkinson Genealogy,” (TAG – privately published, Schomberg, ON, 1966, sources not cited within publication.
*4* [Transcript] 1851 Census of Canada West (Ontario), York County 2, Etobicoke Twp 407, Schedule A, page 131, line 27, roll NAC#11761
Our earliest known ATKINSONs [Book A1] sailed from England four years before an eighteen-year-old Victoria was crowned Queen of England.
British parliament had passed “The Factory Act” to regulate the labour of children, as young as nine years of age, in mills and factories.
The United States was being run by her seventh president, a veteran of the Revolution — a general named Andrew “Stonewall” Jackson!
There was no Canada, as we currently know it. No prime minister or recognizable for of government, and no GST.
Ontario and Quebec were known as Upper and Lower Canada, respectively.
Toronto was called York, but more commonly called “Muddy York,” and the first prime minister did not take office until 1867, when a Scottish barrister named John Alexander Macdonald from a fledgling Ontario Street practice in Kingston, reluctantly accepted the position.
When our ancestors got off the boat in New York City, that welcoming maternal figure for so many immigrants, Lady Liberty, was not there with her torch aloft! She had not taken up residence on Bedloe’s Island to greet immigrants to the United States until 1886, when President Grover Cleveland accepted her from the French.
And Ellis Island was just that, and island; no more than an empty piece of real estate! It had not been designated as a federal immigration station until 1890, and it was another two years before the bustling trickle of 22 million immigrants were directed through it!
Prior to Ellis Island, newcomers went through Castle Garden, a pioneering collaboration of New York State and New York City. Ten million arrivals came through this first official immigration center from 1855 to 1890. Both of these locations are now museums with respective websites. Before Castle Garden, colonizers were channeled through Battery Park, because prior to 1855 there was not an official immigration-processing center. Shipping companies presented passenger lists to the Collector of Customs, and travellers made whatever declarations were necessary before going on their merry way — but our family members were not processed here either, because British Consul, James Buchanan, had written a letter excusing them, their luggage and personal effects.
Mr. Buchanan was British Counsel in New York City from 1816 to 1843.A microfilmed copy of the Buchanan letter is in a special collection of the “Upper Canada Sundries A-5.”It is stored at the Kathleen Mills Library of Queens University in Kinston, Ontario, but I was unable to arrange a suitable timeframe to view it.
The term “Patriot” in this presentation refers to those who served in the American Revolution in the military or in a public service capacity.
In researching my eldest son’s grandmother, I found not one but six Patriots! (Two sets were fathers and sons.).
I will not bore you with research citations of census, land and military records, obituaries or birth, marriage and death certificates, but I will list the lineages and produce an overview (which is very impressive)!
PATRIOT A104795 is Private Daniel SKINNER.
His military service began in New Jersey then transferred and mustered out in New York. During his time in the Army, he served with General George WASHINGTON!
PATRIOT A056757 is Corporal Benajah HOMCOMBE III
PATRIOT A056835 is Judah HOLCOMB, Senior
PATRIOT A056795 is Hezekiah HOLCOMBE II
PATRIOT A056790 is Captain Hezekiah HOLCOMB, Senior
PATRIOT A089194 is Captain Abraham PINNEY, Senior
PATRIOT A115753 is Lieutenant Henry ZIMMERMAN, (TIMMERMAN)
In 1874, he built the house and store number 54 and 56 Yonge Street (1966), and known for many years as “The Concrete.” His business prospered from the first and continued to do so when his son-in-law Joseph A.E. SWITZER, became his partner under the name ATKINSON & SWITZER.
He was one of the original cottagers at the Grimsby Park Methodist Camp Ground, or as it was later known, Grimsby Beach, and along with his wife, Mary, spent each summer there.
In 1887, they journeyed to England for the Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee Celebration in London.
William was the son of John ATKINSON Junior and grandson of John ATKINSON and Margery CUSSONS – from the “A” Challenge on April 1st.
Namely “Grave Yard Rabbits:” like the one described in the lovely Frank Stanton verse. And almost every cemetery should have at least a warrenful! (And, if you haven’t found any in your cemetery, you are looking too hard, too late (probably) in the day. They are early risers — at least, my relatives are!
This post will be a living one, as it will showcase the many graveyard rabbits (GYRs) that are custodians to cemeteries around the World, that have been spotted by #genchat, #AncestryHour and other genealogy participants.
Back on April 1st, the ATKINSON families got a little muddled, so it is time for some chart explanations:
The first chart [07MAR2021] lists the (known) children of John ATKINSON and the former Margery CUSSONS, who were the subjects of the majority of oral stories in the “A” April 1st blog post and subsequent ones that follow.
The next chart [07MAR2021] lists the (known) children of John ATKINSON and the former Jane WATSON.
(3) 30MAR2021, I received a comparison chart from a potential 5C1R – 5th Cousin 1 Removed! She listed a daughter named Margaret (1792-1880) to John and Elizabeth! Margaret married a WILSON and had a daughter named Margaret (1830-1909). I am still researching this possible line. If it works out, I will need to re-label the BRUNSKILL binder as B2, and create a B1 WILSON binder.
Wish me luck!
The only downfall with the original table was it was limited between 1800 to 2000 years. So, out of boredom, I calculated 2000 to 2100, added it to the table, then confirmed random dates and referenced old calendars (from the last 8 years.).
There is also an earlier table, 1601-1800, if anyone is interested.
If you find an error, let me know and I will post the correction.
There is at least one Loyalist hiding in The Family Tree. He married and homesteaded in Pelham Township from the Niagara County area of Upper Canada.
He was Henry THOMAS, married to the former Lucy SCOFIELD, and had a daughter named Abigail.
My only problem: proving Zephaniah HORTON married that Abigail THOMAS and not a different one.
The search continues …
John ATKINSON, widower of the late Margery CUSSONS, .
The Trench Carriage Works opened its doors in 1864. It was located at the corner of Lorne Avenue and Yonge Street.
It did not take long for the business to supply employment for most Richmond Hill residents; at a time when it supplied all the stagecoaches along Yonge Street!
William Trench III was the founder and involved in many facets of municipal government.
In 1896, Thomas Henry TRENCH, took over the family business when his father passed away.
Four years after he died, William’s daughter, Frances, married William David ATKINSON, the second son of William ATKINSON II and the former Mary GRAHAM of Tyrone, Northern Ireland – from April 1st “A”
In 2017, the Council of The Corporation of the Town of Richmond Hill designated the Trench Carriage Works properties and buildings “as cultural heritage value or interest.”
In American history, he was a turncoat. He leaked troop movements to the British forces of General Charles Cornwallis, and got caught.
In Canadian history, he did not amount to very much either; he was not a Loyalist. He was “EXPUNGED” from The List.
But, the main point I consider is: Was ARNOLD really unworthy to be accepted as a United Empire Loyalist?
He had been a Patriot, but left to defend the Crown of King George III. He gave testimony to Council on behalf of fifteen applicants, who were later awarded compensation. He admitted to damages that he, and troops under his command, inflicted during his American commission. He righted past wrongs, and yet it was not enough to be accepted as a Loyalist himself?
So, was it the situations at hand that others judged him to be lacking? Was there someone else close to him pulling his strings? Or questioning and shaming his courage – like that nagging little souvenir from the Battle of Saratoga? (His leg not his wife.).
I still hold tight to the belief that the former Peggy SCHIPPEN/ SHIPPEN, was a conniving sort: a little gold digger. She expected a lavish lifestyle and was hell-bent to get it!
She tempted ARNOLD, and Major John ANDRE before him, then she whined to her father (playing the victim) to get him to add his influence to her cause.
Her vision of a military officer’s wife was one of luxurious estates hosting by-invitation-only parties for the social elite, but the reality of it was far from what she envisioned; so, once she was married, the fault was no longer hers, but that of her unknowing husband: ARNOLD.
“When it came to meeting Benedict Arnold, the transcripts of the RCLSAL’s hearings prove the old adage: timing is everything. A loyalist’s encounter with Arnold could range from being threatened with execution to imprisonment or from the burning of one’s home to invaluable testimony before the compensation board. It all depended upon when one met the general.” — Stephen Davidson, “Fifteen Loyalists and Benedict Arnold,” (2012).
“FIFTEEN LOYALISTS & BENEDICT ARNOLD,” Stephen Davidson. LOYALIST TRAILS, United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada, (Toronto, Ontario; 2012).
UEL Loyalist Profiles (Benedict Arnold* from SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE) at UELBridgeAnnex
I am disappointed that my involvement in this year’s Challenge was so sporadic. Twelve hour workdays took its toll very quickly.
Yes, it is three days late.
The disappointment, not finishing by April’s end, is obvious.