Page 8 Emigrants to Canada (2)

Margaret Douglas and John McRobbie’s Family:

Andrew McRobbie and Margaret Gray’s Family:

Reading the text boxes may add more names or dates to the charts above. Purple text was added in August 2016. This is to help me when I get the chance to edit to remove duplication.

James Douglas and Margaret Christon’s eldest daughter was Margaret Douglas. Margaret emigrated after her husband John McRobbie, who she had married in 1808, died. His death is not recorded on the OPR in Scotland. According to Nora McLean four sons travelled first via Quebec and their mother came later. The McRobbies and McLeans were at Puslinch Township,Wellington South, Ontario. The Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants lists Margaret Douglas and her children leaving Scotland in 1832, bound for Quebec. Brief biographical information is given for each. I am deeply indebted to the Puslinch Historical Society and to Norah for most of the information on the Canadian side of the family. The Blacks, McLeans, McRobbies and Camerons were certainly in Pulinch County, Ontario in 1840. There are partial lists of emigrants available on the internet and in books but these do not list any of our relatives.

There must have been a genetic disposition towards twins in the McRobbie family (or John’s maternal side) as there are no twins evident in other branches of the Douglas family but the McRobbie branch subsequently  produced several sets of twins. Margaret bore five sons to John and no daughters, apparently. The second son, James, appears to have died very young and the next son was given this name. Presumably James was named after his grandfather, James Douglas.

Clarksoftomfad website tells us that the vast majority of early settlers at Puslinch spoke Gaelic, this was in the 1840s and 1850s. Church services were in Gaelic, followed by a shorter one in English. There were 140 families, 70 of whom came from Argyllshire, the rest coming from Perthshire, Inverness and Ross. An observer reported that of 120 people in church only 20 did not speak Gaelic.

As time went on Gaelic use declined among the next generation and the service was primarily in English, though this caused controversy at the time. After 1890 only English was spoken except at two communions a year.

If you type in you will find a map showing approximate locations of the McRobbie branches. If you belong to one of them please feel free to amend it so the markers are on the right spot.

Margaret Douglas and John McRobbie’s Descendants

I got a lot of this information from the Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants. Andrew McRobbie worked on the Lachine canal before moving on to Ontario. There he was foreman on the Dundas to Galt Road and afterwards he farmed at Puslinch. Andrew was a Township Councillor from 1853-55 (Puslink Historical Society) and was the first man to ride a horse through the Aberfoyle swamp. Following this the council built a road  to Corwhin. Andrew held a Bible Study class in a house on Lot 21, Concession 10, Corwhin. It was attended by adults and children. This became the basis for a school in 1860 when Andrew persuaded a teacher to take charge of a class. As numbers grew the children were divided into classes, with Andrew taking one. Catherine McRobbie also took a class.

Image of the Lachine Canal from the later 19th century, I think. Andrew McRobbie was a foreman on this canal which cuts through Montreal. Image from 

An 1857 list of residents in the school area had 49 people, including Janet McRobbie and Jane McRobbie, formerly McPherson who was married to Ludovic McRobbie.

This most useful map of Puslinch (from Puslinch Historical Society) lets us see exactly where the various McRobbies farmed. Here they could own their own land and do with it as they pleased. In Scotland they had no hope of this, being tenants of a landlord.

James, John and Ludovic were farmers in Puslinch. They chose adjacent lots (22-23) at the front and rear of concession 10 in the Corwhin area of the township. I have no idea how large these plots were but I suppose they owned this land outright rather than relying on a lease and they had each other for help at harvest time.

My thanks to Jan Dawson for the following information: Concessions in this area of Ontario were 1’25 miles along each of its foursides.  The concession was then subdivided into lots, often 100 acres.  The four McRobbie brothers chose lots that touched one another and they built in the centre so that the houses were close to one another. Of course, that meant they were quite a ways back from the roads.  They were all in concession 10 and took up the front and rear of lots 22 and 23.

In 1844 a communicant roll was taken at Puslinch. The following people were included: John, Lewis, James Mr and Mrs Andrew McRobbie; Widow McRobbie; Grace Douglas; John, Alexander, Anne and Mrs Donald McLean.

I have read that John McRobbie bought a farm at Lot 25 at Gore of Puslinch, in 1874. This comes from the Pulinch Historical Society website.

Generation VI: Family of Margaret Douglas and John McRobbie

1. John McRobbie, 1807-1863

2. James McRobbie, born 1809

3. James McRobbie, 1812-1861

4. Andrew McRobbie, 1814-1885

5. Ludowick or Ludwig or Ludvig McRobbie, 1817-1852

Margaret Douglas’s family thrived in Wellington County in Ontario, Canada. Her son John had seven children, whilst Andrew had nine. Ludwig is an unusual name for a Scottish family, also written as Ludovic. He married  Janet McPherson in Ontario but died aged only 34 in 1852 (Puslinch Historical Society). They had one son, John Ludovic McRobbie.

Ludwig McRobbie‘s son John  L McRobbie died at the age of 27  of pulmonary consumption. The death certificate says little about him other than his age, being a farmer, Presbyterian and born in Canada. As his father was dead when he was very young John had been living with  Charles and Mrs McIntosh in Puslinch at the time of the 1861 census.  The relationships were not spelt out on this census, unfortunately. Charles was 28, Mrs McIntosh 31. He was a Scottish born labourer.  She was also born there. As there are two younger McIntosh children at the same address  it seems likely that John’s mother had remarried.

The 1871 census is interesting in that John appears to have taken the name MacKintosh as his surname after McRobbie. He was now 19. Charles was now a farmer, Jannet is named but her status not clarified. There were now 5 half-brothers and sisters.

The 1861 census of Canada for Puslinch Township includes farmer John McRobbie, aged 52, born in Scotland. He had 3 sons and 8 children in his family. The family lived in a log house. His wife was 42, also born in Scotland. Three of the children were from her first marriage- 17 year old Cathrin Cameron, 15 year old Isabella Cameron and 13 year old Colin Cameron. The children of John and Margaret are listed as Margath (sic) who was 11, Christ (8), 7 year old John, Ann and Janet were 5 and Grace who was three. Thus we see twins appearing.

The 1861 census included a lot of information about farms. Andrew, James and John McRobbie are listed as farmers and detail is given about their farms. The map of Puslinch below allows us to see exactly where they farmed.

John held Lot 22 of Concession 10. The total area was 100 acres; 32 were under crop in 1860 and 48 in pasture. One acre was garden or orchard, 22 wild or wood. The farm value was put at $5000, with machinery etc adding another $200. Produce was listed as fall (sic) wheat 13 acres (400 bushels), spring wheat 7 acres (200 bushels); 3 acres were given to barley (100 bushels), 6 to peas (180 bushels), 2 acres of potatoes gave 300 bushels and 1 of turnips gave 400 bushels. John died in 1863.

James also held 100 acres of Lot 22 of Concession 10. 37 acres were under crop in 1860,  42  were pasture and 1 was orchard or garden. The farm was valued at $500, with $200 for the machinery etc. James also died that  year but I have not found his death recorded. His widow Christina or Christiana died on February 14th 1905 at Lot 30, the rear of Concession 8. This had not been her husband’s land as he owned a share of concession 10. She was 88 and described as a housekeeper widow who had been born in Scotland. She died of gangrine but was suffering senile decay. This had lasted 12 months. Christina was Presbyterian. As far as I am aware this couple had no children. The 1871 census shows her living with another widow, Mary McIntyre, and the latter’s two teenaged daughters.  This arrangement continued on the 1881 census. In 1891 she was said to belong to the Free Church, lived alone and was 73. By 1901 she belonged to the Brethren and was a lodger of Christina Ellish.

As Andrew held 300 acres of land in Concession 9 and 10, lots 23 and 26 it might appear that he was the most prosperous of the McRobbie family. However his farm was valued at $6000, not vastly  more than his siblings and 195 acres were wild or wood. Presumably once he was able to tame this land he would show a greatly improved value. Having a large family would make this easier.  His machinery etc was only valued at $150. 105 acres were cultivated, 33 in crop the previous year, 70 pasture and 2 orchard or garden.  He was the only one of the brothers still alive by the end of 1863.

There is a John McRobbie on the Wellington County Militia draft on January 6th 1865. As the original John McRobbie was dead some time this must be Andrew’s son. There were 76 men in the draft for the 1st Battalion. This information comes from clarksoftomfad website, having been published in the Guelph Mercury at the time.

Ratepayers met in 1873-74 regarding building of a teacher’s residence included a move seconded by a Duncan McKeracher to select a site and by John McRobbie to raise taxes for the  school.

The 1881 census of Puslinch includes Margaret McRobbie, born Scotland, widowed, head of household, Presbyterian. With her were her children John aged 26, daughter Grace aged 21, born Ontario, Annie and Jemima. This is Margaret Morrison from Islay who married John McRobbie. Margaret Morrison had previously been married to Colin Cameron in 1845 and they had  three children of their own. Their daughter Catherine Cameron aged 37 was present on the census.

PHS relates a story about an orphaned 11 year old boy named William Stallibrass arriving at Puslinch railway station (Schaw) and being met by Catherine McRobbie and her brother James. They had been waiting for a hired hand to arrive. They took him into their home at Corwhin and after James died Stallibrass took over the farm.

Andrew McRobbie and family on the 1851 census:

Andrew McRobbie and family on the 1871 census:

Rev Gilbert McRobbie and family on the 1891 census (from Ancestry):

Descendants of John McRobbie

Generation VII: Family of John McRobbie and Margaret Morrison

1. Margaret McRobbie, 1850-1937

2. Christina McRobbie, 1853- 1891

3. John McRobbie, 1856-1927 [Jan Dawson tells me this should be birth 1854]

4Ann McRobbie, 1856-1950

5. Janet McRobbie, 1857-1916

6.  Grace McRobbie, 1859-1938

7. Jemima McRobbie, 1862-1923 [Jan Dawson tells me this should be 1861-1929]

Margaret McRobbie lived at Nassagaweya, Halton from 1879 until her death on 30th October 1937. She died of senility, arterio-sclerosis and myocardial degeneration. She was buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Milton. Her husband Peter Campbell was a farmer. They married on 30th April 1879 at Puslinch. The censuses from 1891 until 1911 show they had children Catherine Lumsden (Kate), John and Cameron. They were members of the Free Church. On the 1911 census there was a grand daughter named Annie who was aged one. Sons John (John Archibald, born 28th July 1885 at Halton) and Peter (known as Cameron) who was born on 14th July 1892 were farmers, presumably helping their father.

The 1921 census listed farmer John as head of the household, with brother Cameron listed as a farmer, widowed mother Margaret was 71, Kate helped her mother. Annie is listed as a niece to John. The address was Lot 5 Concession 7 Nassagaweya. John owned the 12 room house which I think was brick built. All were single. Annie, then was illegitimate. I have not been able to trace her birth or that of her mother. All I have found is that Annie was apparently born in August 1909 and that Kate died on 30th June 1953 in Hamilton, Ontario. She is also buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Milton.

Both sons died quite young. Cameron registered the death of his single brother. He had been injured in the chest and sustained a fracture to a femur, leading to pneumonia killing him after 10 days. This occurred on 5th September 1927. John was buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Milton. On 24th August 1930 Cameron himself died of arterio poliomyelitis.

These were John Archibald, born 28th July 1885 in Nassagaweya and who died there on 5th September 1927; Peter Cameron who was born on 14th July 1892 and died in Nassagaweya on 24th August 1930 and Kate who was born on 5th July 1883. Kate had a daughter named Annie in August 1909.

The 1901 shows the couple with children Kate L aged 8 and John A aged 5. It can be difficult to find on Ancestry with Peter transcribed as “Rita.”

When farmer John died at home following an accident, 10 days after sustaining a chest injury and fractured thigh leading to pneumonia, it was reported by brother Cameron. John had not married. Cameron’s address was given as RR No3, Milton.

The 1911 census includes Maggie and Peter with Kate L, John, Cameron and grand daughter Annie. They described themselves as ethnically Scotch and Presbyterian. Peter said they all could read and write. This information is also hard to find on Ancestry as the surname has been mangled into Caughell. In 1921 the remaining family were living at Lot 5 Concession 7 Nassagaweya. Margaret was still alive and son John was running the farm with Kate assisting her mother in the 12 room house. Cameron was also there farming. Annie lived there also.

Mother Maggie died on 30th October 1937 aged 87 and was buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Milton. Daughter Kate of Milton RR 3 registered her death. Peter Cameron Campbell had died in 1930 poliomyelitis and Maggie had reported the death herself.  He was buried at Milton on 26th August 1930.

Kate is buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Halton Regional Municipality.

Christina McRobbie married Samuel Scott in 1874.

Grace McRobbie was born on 21st May 1859, according to her death certificate. She married Frederick William Beeforth on 24th October 1888 in Nassegaweya. On 21st May 1891 (her birthday) she had a son called William, according to the 1901 census. The family were living at Wentworth South. Frederick was a farmer. Frederick and Grace were at Flamboro South, Wentworth, on the 1921 census.

                                         The Scotts

John McRobbie and Margaret Morrison’s daughter Christina married a farmer named Samuel Scott in Ontario in 1874. They lived at Nassagaweya, Halton County. Their son John married at Middlesex, Wellingon County, on 19th October 1901 to Annie Helene Bolls. John and Annie were living at Preston, Waterloo in 1911 with children Jean and Mildred. John was a public school teacher earning $1200 a year and paying $28 life insurance. By 1921 Jean was now called Christina and was working as a stenographer whilst John was unemployed. They were living at 152 Waterloo Street in a house with 6 rooms.

John died on 7th January 1951 according to someone’s family tree on Ancestry. I have not seen supporting evidence for this myself yet.

His brother Cameron Hill Scott was born on 13th December 1876. He married Rachael Richardson, a farmer’s daughter, on 9th April 1902 in Nassagaweya. The 1911 census shows Cameron had no life insurance. He was a farmer. They had children Merna (8) and Robert (6) at this time. At the time of the 1921 census Robert was a student living at home, aged 15, and there was a 1 year old daughter named Marguerite as well. Home was in the municipality of Campbellville. Cameron died on 23rd April 1954 and was buried at Eden Mills Cemetery, Wellington County.

Their son Robert Clarence Scott was born on 17th June 1905 and died at a young age at RR No 3, Campbellville, Lot 31, Concession 3, Nassagaweya, Halton. He died on 2nd April 1933 of septic endocarditis, which he had had for 2 months, complicated by influenza. Daughter Merna May (or Mary) was born on 13th February 1903 at Halton County. She was living at RR No 1 Campbellville and working as a stenographer when she married Harold Elsley, a merchant, in Guelph on 6th March 1925.

Robert James Scott was born to Samuel Scott and Christina McRobbie on 16th January 1878. He married a woman named Margaret Fox and moved to USA. Ancestry has a copy of his border crossing at Detroit, Michigan on June 8th 1936, having travelled alone from Toronto. He had $260 with him and described himself as a married fruit manufacturer. His last address was 1111 Jervis, Vancouver. Madge was still there, apparently. He had been in America before but only for short visits. Robert’s details were recorded: 5 ft 6 inches tall, blue eyed, of medium complexion and grey haired (he was now in his 50’s).

Robert completed a draft registration card on April 27th 1942. His place of employment was given as 2601 Cass Avenue, Detroit. He and Madge lived at 489 Ledyard, Detroit. His weight was 150 lbs.  His social security number was 373164707.

Mary Edna Scott was born on 22 November 1886 in Halton County, Ontario. I know she was unmarried and living with her parents at Rockwood, Eramosa, Wellington South in 1921. Also there was Christina’s sister Jemima.

Generation VIII: The family of Christina McRobbie and Samuel Scott

John Cameron or Morrison Scott, b 1 Aug 1875- possibly 7 Jan 1951

Cameron Hill Scott, b 13 Dec 1876

Robert James Scott, b 16 Jan 1878

Maggie Scott, b 21 Jan 1885

Mary E Scott, b 22 Nov 1886

Christina I Scott, b 6 Aug 1891

Son John Cameron Scott had been born on 1st August 1875 in Nassagaweya, Halton County. By the time John married Annie Helene Bolls on 19th October 1901 he was using the name Morrison as a middle name instead. Maybe this was to differentiate himself from  younger brother Cameron.

On the 1911 census this John  was at Sub District 24, Waterloo South with wife Annie and children Jean and Mildred. Jean was born in January 1902 and Mildred in August 1908. John was a public school teacher earning $1200 a year. He had life insurance, unlike his wife.

Ten years later they were living at 151 Waterloo Street, Sub District 39 Preston, also in Waterloo South. John was now unemployed at 45 years of age. With them were 19 year old stenographer Christina and 13 year old Mildred. Given the ages it is likely that Christina was formerly Jean. John owned the 6 room house. A tree on Ancestry says that John died on 7th January 1951.

His brother Cameron Hill had been born on 13th December 1876. He married a Rachel Richardson, farmer’s daughter, on 9th April 1902 in Nassagaweya. By the time of the 1911 census they were living in Halton, Nassagaweya. He was a farmer with no life insurance. He could not spell his wife’s name (“Ratchel”). With them were children Merna who was 8 and Robert who was 6.

In 1921 the couple were still in Nassagaweya. with 15 year old son Robert and 1 year old Marguerite. He owned the 6 room house. Cameron died on 23rd April 1954 and was buried in Eden Mills Cemetery, Wellington County.

Their son Robert Clarence was born 17th June 1905. He died of septic endocarditis (2 months) and flu (5 or 6 days) on 2nd April 1938. He was buried at Eden Mills. He died at RR No 1 Campbellville, Lot 31, Concession 3, Nassagaweya, Halton. Robert had lived there 9 years. I have had no success finding out anything about Marguerite, though her father spelling her name wrongly on the 1921 census does not help.

Merna May Scott had been born on 13th February 1903 at Halton. At 22 she was a stenographer and  married Harold Elsley, a merchant. Her address was RR No 1, Campbellville Ontario. In 1935 the couple lived at Campbellville, Nassagaweya, Halton. He was a storekeeper. Also there was a Miss Stella Elsley; Stella was still with them in 1940 but then disappears. I have not been able to trace her birth. She may be a daughter to the couple or a sister of Harold. From 1940 until 1953 Harold is listed as a merchant, then he becomes a labourer.

By 1957 they had moved to 24 Winston Crescent, Guelph and Harold was a salesman with Myrna an office worker. In 1963 she was still an office worker but Harold was now unemployed.. Two years later her mother Mrs Rachel Scott lived with the couple at 21 St Catharine’s Street, Guelph. Harold was working again as a sales clerk and Myrna was a book keeper. By 1972 Merna lived with a Mrs Mary Wilson.

Robert James Scott was born on 16th January 1878 to Samuel Scott and Christina McRobbie. On 8th June 1936 he travelled alone from Toronto to Detroit. Robert described himself as a fruit manufacturer of Irish descent. He said he was married to a woman named Madge. He had been to America before on visits only. He carried $260 and was intending to live permanently there now. He was 5 ft 6ins tall, of medium complexion with grey hair and blue eyes. Robert gave his place of birth as Guelph.

A US draft card for Robert James Scott of 489 Ledyard, Detroit, Wane, Michigan exists. The date of birth confirms that it is the same man. It was issued on 27th April 1942. As well as height of 5ft 6 ins we learn that he weighed 150 lbs. Interestingly, his hair is described as brown now. Robert’s place of work was 2601 Cass Avenue, Detroit. There is reference to Margaret Fox which could be his wife.

Robert’s social security number was SSN 373164707; although it gives place of birth as Fargo, N Dakota, the parents and date of birth show that this is “our” Robert.

His sister Mary was living with her parents at Rockwood, Eramosa at the time of the 1921 census. Father was retired by now. Sister in law Jemima McRobbie lived with them.

This is Andrew McRobbie’s wife, Margaret Gray. Thanks to John Henderson.

Margaret and Isabella McRobbie. Once again, from John Henderson.

Andrew McRobbie, 1848 – 1925, also from John Henderson:

Generation VIII: Family of Gilbert Douglas McRobbie and Catherine Thompson

1. Douglas Gray McRobbie, 1874 – 1917

2. Ethelwyn Margaret McRobbie, born 1876

3. Robert Casper McRobbie 1878

Generation VIII: Family of Andrew McRobbie and Martha Ann Mattice

1. Andrew McRobbie, born 1887

Generation VIII: Family of Elizabeth Agnes McRobbie and John Harbottle

1. John Thomas Harbottle, 1883- 1885

2. Thomas Norman Harbottle, 1885-1960

3. James Percival Harbottle, 1887-1983

4. Alexander Harbottle, 1889-1976

5. Margaret Catherine Harbottle, 1892-1935

6. Elizabeth Grace Harbottle, 1895- 1960

The photo above comes courtesy of Hannah Newson. It shows the Harbottle children with mother Elizabeth Agnes McRobbie. 

Below (from John Henderson on Ancestry) is Rev Gilbert McRobbie. There is a little uncertainty about his middle name (probably Gray rather than Douglas). I have found three children born to him and Catherine Thompson. Gilbert studied theology. Ancestry has his name and qualifications etc on the General Catalogue of Princeton Theological Seminary for 1881 and 1909. This is not to say that he studied at Princeton, however. I think he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in November 1874 and was minister at Mandammin from 1874 to 1877 then transferred to Lilsonburg for 4 years. For 10 years he was at Ridgetown before moving to Sherburne in 1891 for 8 years. From 1899 until 1906 he was at Kemble, then Nelson, Tansley from 1907 on. I have no information beyond 1909. The 1887 Ontario Business Directory and Gazetteer includes him at Ridgetown. It is available on Ancestry.

Gilbert had three children that I have found: Douglas Gray McRobbie in 1874, Ethelwyn Margaret (known as Maggie) in 1876 and Robert Casper in December 1878. Robert died aged two days old. I have found photos of Maggie on Ancestry.

Douglas studied medicine at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine and became an allopath (I understand that this means a practitioner of the art of treating someone with a bit of what ails them, like using nuts in small doses to help those with a nut allergy overcome them). I think he graduated in 1899. Douglas married Nellie Jane Hilsher from Buffalo NY in September 1905 at Simcoe. Their addresses were given as Victoria Harbor. The 1911 census found them at 209 York Street, Sub district 16, Ward 5, Hamilton West. With them was daughter Helen, born in 1908 at 451 King Street, Wentworth, Ontario. Douglas had $5000 life insurance. This was as well as he seems to have been murdered on 19th August 1917 at a house in Wentworth, Hamilton. Cause of death was fracture of the skull on the death certificate but Ancestry also has further information on physicians which refers to him being “killed, beaten.”

August 2020: newspaper reports on his death show that the death was not recorded as murder and resulted from a drunken fight. The other men involved were seemingly not charged as a result. Here is the story from one newspaper, courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive:

Unfortunately the newspaper article is too blurry to read.

Douglas was a voluntary member of the 36th Regiment at Peel in June 1897. He was a bandsman and received 6 cents a day for the 12 days of service. I am reasonably certain this is the same man as he is listed as Douglas McRobbie and then signed as DG McRobbie.

The 1921 census saw widow Jennie with children Helen and Jean at 56 Hess Street, Hamilton West (sub district 22, Ward 4). She had three lodgers with her. I believe Jean was born on 28th September 1915. Her name features on a passenger list from 1935 with her husband Allen. She describes herself as a frequent crosser of the US border. Jean died in 1980, I understand.

Robert McRobbie

In 1899 a Robert McRobbie was a tenor singer.

Before 1900 the annual congregation picnic at MacDonald was held in woods at Robert McRobbie’s land, on the west side of sideroad 25, north of the railway. There was a swing with 30 feet ropes, lemonade and ice cream. In June 1908 the congregation appointed Robert to organise a church social event.

Robert McRobbie was an elder of a church at Puslinch from 24th May 1918 (Clarksoftomfad source) until May 24th 1928. In 1923 he was appointed to act as leader of praise.  He was a pall bearer at the funeral of Rev Lawrence in March 1953. I presume this Robert is the son of John McRobbie and Jane Boyne.

The Woman’s Foreign Mission Society included two members of the wider Douglas family as vice presidents- Miss C McRobbie and Miss C McLean. This was around 1899 when the book was published.

Margaret Douglas McRobbie and her Family

Margaret Douglas’s family thrived in Wellington County in Ontario, Canada. Her son John had seven children, whilst Andrew had nine. Ludwig is an unusual name for a Scottish family, also written as Ludovic. He married twice, to Janet McPherson and later to someone called McIntosh. He had children with both wives yet died aged only 34 in 1852 (Puslinch Historical Society).

Ratepayers met in 1873-74 regarding building of a teacher’s residence included a move seconded by a Duncan McKeracher to select a site and by John McRobbie to raise taxes for the  school.

The 1881 census of Puslinch includes Margaret McRobbie, born Scotland, widowed, head of household, Presbyterian. With her were her children John aged 26, daughter Grace aged 21, born Ontario, Annie and Jemima. This is Margaret Morrison from Islay who married John McRobbie. Margaret Morrison had previously been married to Colin Cameron in 1845 and they had  three children of their own. Their daughter Catherine Cameron aged 37 was present on the census.

PHS relates a story about an orphaned 11 year old boy named William Stallibrass arriving at Puslinch railway station (Schaw) and being met by Catherine McRobbie and her brother James. They had been waiting for a hired hand to arrive. They took him into their home ant Corwhin and after James died Stallibrass took over the farm.

Generation VI: Family of Margaret Douglas and John McRobbie

1. John McRobbie, 1807-1863

2. James McRobbie, born 1809

3. James McRobbie, 1812-1861

4. Andrew McRobbie, 1814-1885

5. Ludowick or Ludwig or Ludvig McRobbie, 1817-1852

Generation VII: Family of Ludowick McRobbie and Janet McPherson

1. John Lodvik McRobbie, born 1850

Generation VIII: Grandchildren of John McRobbie and Margaret Morrison

Margaret McRobbie married Peter Campbell and had 4 children, John, Cameron, Kate and Anne.

Christina McRobbie married Samuel Scott and had 6 children, John Morrison Scott (1875), Cameron (1876), Robert James (1878), Maggie (1885), Mary (1886) and Christina (1891).

John McRobbie married Margaret McLean (daughter of John McLean) and they had children MaggieAllison (1889) and Ethel (1892).

Janet McRobbie married James Weir and they had 6 children. These were Isabella (1882), Margaret (1883), Cassie (1891), William (1896), Janet (1896) and John (1899).

Generation IX: Family of Alison May McRobbie and John Thomas Creighton

1. John Creighton

2. Dorothy Creighton

3. Margaret Creighton

4. Mary Creighton

Ludovick or Ludwig McRobbie (from John Henderson at Ancestry). John’s wife is descended from Ludwig’s father.

The picture below apparently shows the canal being cut around the time Andrew worked there. According to the website most of the workers were Irish.

Generation VII: Family of Andrew McRobbie and Margaret Gray

1. Margaret McRobbie, 1840

2. Margaret McRobbie, 1841-1909

3. Isabella McRobbie, 1843- 1928

4. Catherine McRobbie, 1846- 1911

5. Gilbert McRobbie, 1846- 1932

6. Andrew McRobbie, 1848- 1925

7. James McRobbie, 1850- 1926

8. Elizabeth Agnes McRobbie, 1852- 1931

More about Andrew McRobbie’s descendants:        

Andrew McRobbie and Margaret Gray (see photo)  had a large family, 9 children, and 34 grandchildren that I have found. We are in the very fortunate position to have pictures of many of these children. The children were:

Margaret, born 1840 and presumably died within her first year.

Margaret, born 1841, married William Kerr  in 1863 and had 7 children. She died in 1909.

Isabella (see photo) was born in 1843 and married James Stevenson in 1863. They had 11 children. She married James on 18th September 1863 at Halton, Puslinch. The 1881 census excerpt below shows their family living at Elderslie, Bruce North, Ontario. James was a farmer. As shown below they had children Catherine, Mary, Elisabeth, Isabella, Caroline, James, Andrew, Robert, John and Alison. There was also Jane.

Below is the census entry for James and Isabella in 1901. Now there were only three children living with them.. These were Andrew, John and Alison. I have not yet found the 1891 census entry to give further information.

Isabella, James and three of their children (Andrew, Robert and Alison) were living at Arran sub district, Bruce North in 1911.

Son Robert registered the death of mother Isabella at the age of 85 in 1928. She had died on July 18th. She died of apoplexy.

                                          The Stevensons

This section summarises what I have learned about the family of James Stevenson and Isabella McRobbie in more detail.

Catherine Stevenson married a Puslinch farmer named Charles Frederick Stallibrass in 1901 at Hillside Cottage Farm, Arran. They lived at Eramosa at the time of the 1901 census with four children:William, Marjorie, Kathaline (?) and Minnie. I was unable to include the census entry here. By 1921 the family lived at Whitchurch Township, York North, Ontario. Charles owned the 7 room house. Living with him were William, Marjorie, Minnie and a 13 year old girl apparently named Leone. Kathaline was born in August 1906, Kathleen Leone. Mother Catherine had died on 6th August 1919 of breast cancer,  which she had suffered for 2 years.

I have seen trees on Ancestry suggesting that William Frederick Stallibrass died in August 1989 but I have not seen this myself. It also suggests Minnie had married Elmer Eden Preston and died in November 2002.

I have certainly seen voter lists with William Stallibrass, farmer at Moffatt, Wellington from 1940 on, with his wife (helpfully named as Mrs William Stallibrass) and a Miss Jessie Stallibrass as housekeeper.

I know that Charles’s brother John served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in WW1; he gave Charles as his next of kin.

When Charles Stallibrass came to Canada  he brought  siblings with him. This makes it difficult to be sure of who from later voter registers is who. The voter list for York North in 1935 includes Charles Stallibrass farmer at RR3 Newmarket and Mrs Charles Stallibrass and then there is a William Stallibrass. I presume this is his son but it could be his brother. As Catherine was dead the woman cannot be her. Perhaps he remarried or it is not the same Charles?

Daughter Marjorie Stallinbrass married J Reginald Whiteley and died in 1989. She is buried with her husband at Lakeview Cemetery, Meaford.

Kathleen Leone Stallibrass was born on 5th August 1907 at Lot 32 Concession 1, Wellington County. She married Delmar Oliver Preston. Their names appear on voter registers from 1940 to 1974. He is described variously as a thresher or grader operator. They lived at Newmarket, RR3 , York North or York Simcoe. In 1974 we have an exact address for the couple in retirement at 125 Elliot Street, Peel-Dufferin-Simcoe. Her used name was Leone. In 1921 Delmar was living with his parents in  Whitchurch.

Isabella Stevenson was born in 1873 and married an English cheesemaker named Thomas Roberts on 22nd September 1896 at Amabel, Bruce County. He was 32 and living at Allenford at the time. Caroline Stevenson withessed the wedding. They must have travelled as I have found them on th 1916 census of Manitoba, living at House 12, Portage la Prairie. Township 12 Range 9W, North Norfolk.

The couple now had children Ethel May Roberts who was 19, George (Edwin) Roberts 17, Howard Earnest Roberts 15; Ella Irvine Roberts was 7 and Thomas James Roberts was 3. The 1911 census included a Vera Roberts, aged 3 months old.  Ethel was actually born as Elizabeth.

The 1921 census showed them living in a 6 room wooden house owned by Thomas Roberts. He was a farmer as was son Howard E Roberts. Also in the house were Isabella, George, Ella Irene and Thomas J. They were living  Township 12 R9, W1 in North Norfolk, Portage la Prairie. There was also a servant whose name is hard to read. It looks like Gosli A Thordason but as the person is said to be Irish it is unlikely to be the correct name.

Little Vera Emma had a short life. She died on 11th October 1913 at Plap, Manitoba. I have not succeeded in finding out more about this family.

Isabella and James Stevenson’s daughter Mary Stevenson was married to James B Robertson of Hamilton, a labourer who was born in Scotland. The wedding was in Wentworth on 11th March 1891. Sister Catherine was a witness. She also lived at Hamilton. At the time of the 1891 census she was still living with her parents. James did not live to see his children grow up, his youngest child being a baby still when he died in November 1896.

The 1901 census shows the widowed Mary as head of household House Number 63 at Keppel, Grey North. Mary was a dressmaker. All her children were under 11. The census gives dates of birth for the family. In 1911 they were living at  Port Elgin, Bruce North. This is very hard to read, eg her daughter has been guessed at by the transcriber as Acie. Blair worked 50 weeks in the year and was paid $575. He had $1000 life insurance and mother had $500. What their job title says is anyone’s guess.

On the 1921 census Mary was a widow aged 52 living at house 323, Port Elgin Village, Bruce County. With her were children Blair, 29, Isabella, 26 and Donald A, 24. Blair earned $1280 as a ship’s severn (?). Isabella was a milliner but no income is recorded and Donald was a labourer. He earned $950. Husband James had died of consumption which he had endured for 12 months.

Mary died young, on 6th October 1935 at Port Elgin, Bruce County. Her death was reported by her son Blair. She had lived at her house for 28 years, he reported. Cause of death was a cerebral haemorrhage. The doctor had been  attending her since June 1934.

Blair Robertson had been born in Wentworth County in March 1892 and he died in 1970. Sister Isabella (Isabella Agnes Alice Robertson) was born in October 1893 and died in 1952. Donald was born in November 1896 at Amabel and died in January 1958. William James was born in 1890 and died in 1958.

Ancestry has proven very useful in providing information on Donald Allan Robertson. There are very many documents about him, though a lot is repeated. From the record, below, it looks as if he was awarded the Military Medal on 12th November 1916, seemingly awarded by Congress. Where the date should be, is written “Honorary” and other squiggles. However, a few lines below comes reference to being awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. This was on 9th February 1917.

Donald joined the army on 19th October 1915 at the age of 19. He was 5 ft 6ins tall, had a 35 inch chest when expanded; he was of ruddy complexion, brown haired and brown eyed. Donald had a mole on his neck. His service number was 127357 and the document above shows that he was awarded the Military Medal in November 1916. It reads as if he played a key role in supporting a battalion. The previous record card indicated a gunshot wound to the back on 11th October 1916.

Below is a summary of his time in the army, including postings.

He received a gunshot wound to the right arm which effectively finished his time at the front, with shrapnel leading to a field hospital at Boulogne and then hospital in England. He was examined by a medical board and discharged. The document below, from Ancestry, is quite detailed regarding his injury.

After the war he returned to his job as whisk maker and was gainfully employed at that when he married Hazel Viola Vennard on 25th September 1925 at Saugeen Township. His wife was also from Port Elgin. Brother Blair witnessed the event.

Donald Robertson, Military Medal Winner (from Ancestry):

His big brother William had also joined up, on 6th March 1915, leaving his commercial traveller job to do so. William had served a year in the Perth Volunteers already so he must have been an asset to a quickly developing army. He joined the Depot Regt Canadian Mounted Rifles. Although 5 years older he was similar to his brother in appearance but 2 inches taller and slightly broader body. William had a collection of moles and scars, such as a mole between his eyes and a scar on his forehead with another scar on an arm. His service number was 227043.

He went on to marry farmer’s daughter Olive May Quigley on  3rd January 1921 in Port Elgin.  Brother Donald witnessed the wedding.

Caroline Douglas Stevenson was born to Isabella McRobbie and James Stevenson on 28th February 1875. She married Frank Quigley and died at Saugeen, Bruce County on 5th March 1936. She died of cancer of the uterus and the bladder. The death report suggests the address was Lot A, Concession A, RR2 Port Elgin. Perhaps it should be read as 4 or 11 but it looks like A.

Robert John Stevenson was born to Isabella McRobbie and James Stevenson on 8th October 1883 in Bruce County. He married in Paisley, Bruce County in 1915 to Annie Gunchioner, who was Catholic. He was living at Port Elgin at the time. John R Stevenson was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, London, Middlesex County in 1963.

The 1921 census for Arran, Bruce North includes two Stevenson family groups. That at Lot 5 Concession 13 comprised Andrew and Olive with their children George, Hazel and Ralph (see below). The next entry was Lot 5 Concession 12. Living there was the elderly Isabella, now 78, and John A Stevenson and wife Annie, along with their children Robert E and James B. They were 5 and 2 years of age.

The 1935 electoral register includes RJ Stevenson, farmer, at RR2 Allenford; also there is Mrs Annie Stevenson, married woman; Andrew Stevenson farmer; Mrs Olive Stevenson, married woman and then there is a George Stevenson, farmer as well.

In 1940 Arran, Bruce County includes Robert J Stevenson farmer at Allenford with Annie, James (farmer) and Jean Stevenson.

Margaret McRobbie Stevenson married Robert Irving.  They had 6 sons and a daughter. Ancestry records and some trees on Ancestry have provided some information on their family. Between 1901 and 1911 the family left Puslinch and settled in Alberta as the family are shown  living with their 7 children at Red Deer, Alberta. The 1916 census for Alberta shows the family living at Red Deer. Robert was a farmer and his four sons were working for him.

Margaret and Robert lived in Castor, Alberta and were buried there when they died at Castor Cemetery. Margaret died in April 1949.  I believe daughter Cassie never married and she was buried at the same cemetery.

Son Robert Hutcheon Irving was born at Campbellville, Ontario. He was a farmer. At the age of 20 in June 1912 he applied to buy or build a homestead at NE Section 22, Township 57, Range 12, Meridian 4. Doubtless someone out there will understand that and pinpoint it on a map. On 25th March 1916 he joined the Canadian Army, number 625273. His father was given as next of kin. He was described as being of fair complexion, brown eyed with dark brown hair. He was 5ft 8.5 inches tall. His chest was 37 inches fully expanded. He died on 9th April 1962 and was buried at Castor Cemetery.

Son David Clarence Irving was born at Guelph, Wellington on 27th January 1903. On August 25th 1926 he crossed from Canada into America, planning to live in Seattle, Oregon. He was a clerk. David was 5ft 11 ins tall, of medium complexion with brown hair and hazel eyes. His parents were living in Castor, Alberta.

Another record exists for 20th August 1940 to the same effect. David had evidently been living continuously in America since 1926 but paid a visit home and was now returning. His home was 8509 Prescott St, Portland, Oregon. He was now manager of a Safeway Store. His father was still in Castor and David had come by car.

US City Directories help us trace David and his wife, though I have not found their marriage. In 1930 they lived at 2217 Post Street, San Francisco, where David was a salesman. Next year they had moved; in 1932 they had moved again, to 1476 Valacia. In 1933 they were at 366 Paris Street.

The 1940 US census showed that David was living at the above address in Rosaria, County Multnomah with his Montanan wife Annette M Irving.  David had completed 4th year of high school but Annette had only completed 8th grade of elementary school. They had lived in San Francisco in 1935. He had been employed throughout the last year and worked 63 hrs the week prior to the census. He earned $1700.

David’s social security number was 540-05-5405. His last residence was 97211 Portland, Multnomah, Oregon.

Andrew Douglas Irving was born in 1893. He died on 18th October 1987 in Victoria, BC. James Stuart Irving was known as Stuart. He was buried at Castor.

William Arnold Irving was born at Valenz, Ontario. He was a clerk in peacetime but in November 1917 he was examined and found fit to join the army, graded A2. At the time he lived at Coronation, Alberta. He was 5ft 6 ins tall, had clear complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. He had a mole on his left shoulder.  Active service began on Jan 16th 1918.

An obituary provided by wilsonzde33 on Ancestry tells more about William and his family. For instance, it seems that he actually served in Europe as a signaller. It tells us what names his siblings used and about his son. His son William Hugh Irving died on 627h August 1936 at Victoria, BC but I have not found his birth. An online tree suggests 6th April 1929.

The obituary also tells us that William had visited America on Independence Day 1932,  crossing at Eastport, Idaho. Perhaps he was going to visit his brother.

William is buried at Drumheller Cemetery, Strathmore, Alberta. My wife and I visited this area around 2005 to view the hoodoos, little thinking there might be relatives in this area.

Andrew McRobbie Stevenson could not write, according to the 1921 census. This may explain him spelling his mother’s maiden name as McRoby on his wedding certificate. He married a woman born in Canada of German heritage named Olive Hazel Schwalin. The wedding was on 19th December 1911 in Arran Township, Bruce County. They had three children at least but I have only found the birth certificate (and nothing more) for one. Their children were George Andrew (born Amabel, Bruce County on 31 March 1913). His birth was attended by a Dr Scott. The house was at Chippawa Hill, Lot 48 HMS Amabel, whatever that means. His siblings were Hazel in 1915 and Ralph in 1918. The 1921 census showed them at House 10 Lot 5 Concession 13.

His brother James Williamson Stevenson was born in March 1877 in Arran, Bruce County. By the time of the 1911 census he was married to a woman of Scottish background called Annie. They lived at Aberdeen, Algoma West, Ontario with their 4 sons Robert aged 9, Charlie aged 5, John aged 2 and Jimmy who was one. All had been born in Ontario. Also present were three labourers employed by James on his grain mill.

In 1921 James and his family were in Kehoe, Aberdeen, McMahon, Algoma West. With him and Annie were Robert 19, Charles 17, John 12, James 10 and what looks like Winnie 6. James owned the 9 room house. He was farming at this time.

James died at only 52. He had been walking along the railway line near Bruce Mines when struck by a freight car on 28th March 1929. James died of a fractured skull : the phrase “brain destruction” gives a graphic picture. James was buried at Rocklake Cemetery. His occupation was given as blacksmith at this time.

James William Stevenson and Annie McDonald’s son Charles Andrew was born on 31st December 1905 in Algoma. As the home address was Poplar Dale this is probably where the baby was born. Father was working as a saw miller at the time. He died on 17th January 1979 and was buried at Magnolia Cemetery, Magnolia, Stark County, Ohio. He had married an American named Matilda Ruth Allen, though there is some question as to whether she was born in Ohio or West Virginia. His SS number was 283 03 4726. His residence was 44709 Canton, Stark, Ohio. An autopsy was carried out. His name features in the Ohio record of wills and probates, with probate granted to his widow.

The gravestone of the couple can be seen online but it bears the wrong year of birth for Charles. Ruth died in August 2000 in hospital.

As to James Stevenson and Isabella McRobbie’s daughter Jane, she was born on 12th July 1881 in Markdale, Bruce County. The birth certificate for her spells the surname with “ph”. She became Mary Jane but seems to have been known as Jane. She married an Irish Episcopalian farmer named Robert Quigley whose mother had emigrated in 1849 as the Potato Famine began to subside a little. The wedding was in May 1900. Robert was 12 years older than his wife. On the 1901 census they were living with his mother at Sullivan, Grey North.

In 1911 they were still in Grey North in Saugeen. The house was at Lot 9 Concession 12. They now had a family of two boys and two girls, split over two pages on the census:

In 1921 the family lived at Elderslie Township, Bruce S. Their home was of brick and son Allan was employed by his father, earning $300 a year. Sons Earl and Harold had been at school 9 months of the aceademic year.

Daughter Isabella Pearl went by the name Pearl. She had been born in 1903 in Grey and married a former soldier, Archie Garfield McGilvrey. Her brother Allan was a witness. His given name was Garfield and the couple may be traced through voter registers. He may have been a farmer when they married in December 1923 but he was described over the years as a labourer(1949, 1963), a sander (1965, 1967), a mechanic (1935, 1940) and a woodworker (1962). In all cases the address was given as Chesley, Grey, Bruce County. I have found no pictures of the couple unfortunately but there is a military description of Garfield. He was living with his parents in Dobbington at the time. Like his wife he was born in Elderslie. Garfield was 5ft 7ins tall, of ruddy complexion, had blue eyes and dark hair. He had a 34.5 inch chest and his eye sight and hearing were normal. The record was dated 27th May 1918, London Ontario. He had joined the 1st Depot Company of WOR. Whether he ever saw action I do not know. Basic training took some weeks as well as shipping to Europe and I believe further training would have followed  before soldiers went near the Front. It may be then that Garfield missed the final months of the war. The name McGilvrey is spelt in various ways in the documents I have seen online.

The 1962 register has Garfield, a woodworker, Mrs Gertrude and Miss Reta, spinster. Whether this is the same man, a son or an uncle I cannot tell. Also, the 1972 register has a Garfield McGilvray, printer, Mrs Emmaline, packer, and Douglas, assistant manager at 8 Guelph St, Halton, Ontario.

Allan was Joseph Allan; he married a girl who had emigrated from England (she had been born in Abingdon, Berkshire). Her name was Winnifred Elizabeth Woodhouse. They married on 7th May 1924 in Grey, Ontario. Winnifred had sailed to Canada on the SS Southwark in April 1910.

Olive May Quigley  was born in Sept 1901 in Grey County, Ontario. Her name looks like “Oliva” but elsewhere she is called Olive. She married a farmer named James William Robertson in Bruce County in January 1921. Both said they were Methodists. William had joined the colours, No 227043. He had been in the Perth Volunteers for a year, he said, and now joined the Depot Company of the Canadian Mounted Rifles. According to John Henderson on Ancestry William died in 1958.

Harold was James Harold Quigley. He was born on 3rd October 1911 at Lot 9 Concession 12, near Southampton, Sawgeen, Bruce County. He died at Markdale in November 1970.  I understand that he maried Blanche Mabel Kinney on 9th December 1942. Certainly she is buried under the name Quigley at Markdale Cemetery (1915-2002). Rolf Koksvik has shared a photo of their grave on Ancestry.

The voter registers show the couple over time. In 1935 Mrs Robert Quigley, married woman was living at RR4 Chatsworth, Grey North, Ontario. With her was Mr Harold Quigley, farmer. I presume this was Harold and his mother. In 1940 Robert Quigley, wife and Harold Quigley were at RR3, Markdale. Robert was a farmer. Harold is listed as FS, which might mean farm servant. From then on Harold and Blanche may be found at RR 4, Grey-Bruce up until 1965. There is a Blanche Quigley in the 1995 phone book at 41 Edith Street, Markdale. The number then was 519 986 2656.

Elmer had been born in April 1922, which would make him a lot younger than his siblings. Such things have been known though the possibility that he was actually Olive’s son and raised by his grandmother occurs to me. Jane was in her early 40s when he was born. He died at Markdale in 2003 and is buried in the cemetery there. Ancestry refers to an obituary on him which would be very helpful but I could not access it as of August 2016. A tree on Ancestry implies that he was married twice and had a child.

Earl was Robert Earl, born on 28th June 1910. He married Mary Ellen Harvie on 3rd April 1923 at Meaford, Ontario. Earl died on 17th March 1991. He is buried at Lakeview Cemetery. He was born at Lot 9 Concession 12, Port Elgin, Bruce County.

                                                             The Kerrs

Margaret McRobbie (1841-1909) married William Kerr (1827-1908). They had seven children. Daughter Mary married a Prebyterian minister named Robert Thomas Cockburn, who had been one of the famous teacher Peter McLaren’s pupils. She was a school teacher and died young of measles. Robert remarried. He and Mary had one child, a boy named Hugh Ernest Cockburn who was born on 13th March 1888. Hugh was raised by his Kerr grandparents. He was a farmer. He married Jessie Elliott Henderson on 22nd June 1921 at Rockton, Hamilton, Wentworth. This is shown on the 1891 census. At the time of the wedding Hugh lived at RR No 1, Puslinch and his father lived at 312 Catherine Street North, Hamilton. By this date Hugh was working as a conductor.

Prior to this Hugh had joined or been assessed for the Canadian Army. This had taken place on 3rd April 1916  at Guelph. Hugh was aged 28, stood 5ft 10 3/4 inches tall and had a fully expended chest of 36 inches. Hugh was of dark complexion, blue eyed and had dark brown hair. He had a vaccination mark on his left arm and a mole on the right of his abdomen. It refers to  a mole 3 inches below his right excellion. I don’t know if this is the same mole or another.

Hugh’s father, the Rev Robert Cockburn, must have endured a lingering death as he is recorded as having died of starvation due to a gastric ulcer followed by excision of the stomach. He succumbed on 25th April 1925 at 58 Hillcast Avenue.

Hugh wrote a letter describing a little of his childhood experiences which can be found at

He had a daughter named Mary Elsie Cockburn who was born in 1922.

Jan Dawson has added the following most interesting insight:

“He was raised by his grandparents so his uncles and aunts were more like older
siblings. He married Jessie Elliott Henderson 1891-1929) in Rockton in 1921.
She was a sister to Alison Irvine Henderson so although he was my mother’s
first cousin he became an uncle by marriage and was always Uncle Hugh.
Jessie died young and Hugh married again and this time to the remaining
sister Bessie Scott Henderson  They had no children.

Hugh and Jessie had Mary Elsie Cockburn 1922-2017 who married Gordon Howlett
Dean in 1949.  Howlett was a family name and he never was Howard.  He died
in 2008 and was always known as Gordon.   They had three daughters, all

Clarksoftomfad website includes useful snippets about other McRobbie descendants in the Puslinch area. For instance, in Autumn 1905 new elders were electted to Duff’s Church and these included Mr JW Kerr. He was ordained on January 21st 1906. In Spring 1919 the church wrestled with the question of what to do with the manse and 300 acres of land. It was agreed to auction the land and JW Kerr put in the highest bid, $3700.  In 1925 he was a delegate to the Presbyterian Congress to be held in Toronto. Hugh E Cockburn was also an elder from 1930 on. The website includes a photo of the Kirk Session, including HE Cockburn. JW Kerr was a Sunday School teacher at the 10th Concession and from 1901 until 1921 was superintendant of Badenock Sabbath School. John Kerr was also a pall bearer at the funeral of the minister of Duff’s Church in March 1953. Also in this role were Hugh Cockburn and John M Cockburn.

Phyllis (or Phylis) died of inflammation of the lungs.

Clarksoftomfad has many snippets linked to Hugh. Thus we learn that he was an elder of Duff’s Sunday School from  11th 1932 until he moved to Fruitland and resigned as elder around 1962. He received a letter of appreciation of his long and faithful service. His wife Jessie was president of Duff’s Auxiliary Women’s Missionary Society from 1948-52 and was made an honorary life member in 1964.

Mary Elsie Cockburn married Gordon Howlett Dean. They were both born in 1922 but Howard had come from England as a 1 year old. He became a fruit farmer in Wentworth County and Mary was a nurse. The couple are to be found on electoral registers at RR2 Fruitland, Wentworth from 1957 on.
By 1972 they were listed at 366 Glover Street, Hamilton, Wentworth. An online tree suggests they married on 6th August 1949 at Puslinch but I have not seen this myself. Howard died on 19th August 2004 and is buried at Fruitland Cemetery, Hamilton.

The voter registers show that they probably had children, one named  Patricia and another with first letter C.

Janet Kerr married William Cormack Simpson. They had five children, the eldest of whom was a daughter named Marjorie in 1908. Son William James Simpson (James) was born in 1911, then twins Margaret and John in 1917 and Mary in 1919. Here is the census entry for 1921 when they were living at 12 Robinson Avenue, Guelph. William was earning $1800 as a salesman. Marjorie Kerr Simpson married George Herbert Banks and he is buried with her at Lakeview Cemetery, Meaford, Grey County, Ontario.

Generation VIII: Family of Margaret McRobbie and William Kerr

1. Margaret Gray Kerr 1864

2. Margaret Kerr, 1866 – 1889

3. Phyllis Catherine Kerr, 1867 – 1985

4. John William Kerr, 1872 – 1960

5. Elizabeth Riddle Kerr, 1875 – 1963

6. Andrew Kerr, 1880 – 1965

7. Janet Kerr, 1884 – 1931

The 1921 census for Puslinch includes John Kerr, 48, with his wife Allison, 38. They lived in a stone house of 6 rooms which he owned. John was a farmer. Their children William aged 6, Ernest aged 3, Margaret 8 and John under 2 yrs old lived with them. This is John William Kerr 1872-1960. They also had an 18 year old maid named Grace Cherry. Grace was paid $360 a year by John whilst his unmarried brother Andrew earned $300 as a farmer.

Voter rolls are useful resources for extending our knowledge of 20th century relatives. Some of these are available on Ancestry. Thus we know that Guelph in 1940 included farmer John W Kerr at RR No 3. By 1957 he had retired and was described as a gentleman. His wife was there too. Daughter Miss Margaret Kerr moved from being a maid in 1940 to housekeeper by 1945.  William J Kerr developed from labourer in 1940 to farmer by 1945. He was married by 1949 as his wife was now included. Earnest (sic) Andrew Kerr was a student in 1940 then left the family home. John William’s brother Andrew stayed at the farm from 1940 through to 1958 by which time he, too, had retired.

From 1945 until 1958 J Irvine Kerr was present, though demoted from farmer in 1945 to labourer in 1949. Also added was Miss Elizabeth Kerr, a clerk, in 1945. She then left the farm.

Margaret was Margaret Gray Kerr who was born in 1912. She died in 2000 in Guelph, an obituary link on Ancestry is dated 20th January that year. I was unable to access it, unfortunately.

Ernest Andrew or Earnest Andrew Kerr was granted a non-working visa to cross from Guelph to Detroit, Michigan on June 28th 1941, his visa being valid until 13th May 1943, though he seems to have intended to study only until 10th July. This was to allow him to study at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. He paid his own passage.

There is a brief description of him: he was 5ft 9 inches tall, of dark complexion and had brown hair and eyes. There was a scar on or over his left eye. Earnest may have died at Simcoe County, Ontario on August 30th 2008.

John Irvine Kerr moved to Wales and was living at 27 Somerset Road, Barry, between 1968 and 1984 according to the phone directories. He died on 23rd Feb 2010 in Barry, Glamorgan. I understand that he moved from Canada between 1958 and 1960, when he was living in Hampshire. He married in Surrey in 1961, I am told.

Clarksoftomfad website includes the transcript of “Presbyterianism in Puslinch- Duff’s and Knox Churches 1839-1899” and from this I gather that Elizabeth Kerr was an organist as she played at a Service of Praise. It also tells us that Badenoch School staff included John W Kerr and Mrs John W Kerr as well as Miss Lizzie Kerr. I presume this was around the year 1899.

Jan Dawson has written to tell me that John William Kerr and Alison (not Allison) Irvine Henderson, his second cousin, had the following children:

Margaret Gray Kerr 1912- 2000. She died unmarried.

William James Kerr, 1914- 2000. He was known as Bill and married and had 5 children.

Ernest Andrew Kerr, 1917- 2008. Ernest married and had 3 children.

John Irvine Kerr, 1921- 2010. He was known as Irvine. He married and had 2 children.

Elizabeth Jean Kerr, 1923- 1995. She was known as Beth. She had 3 children.

My thanks to Jan for this and other information not put up as it pertains to living people.

Generation VII:   Family of John McRobbie and Jane Boyne

1. Caroline McRobbie, born 1869

2. Mary Jane McRobbie, 1870- 1949

3. Andrew McRobbie, 1874- 1933

4. Margaret McRobbie, 1876- 1948

5. John McRobbie, 1878- 1879

6. Caroline McRobbie, 1880- 1958

7. Robert Douglas McRobbie, 1883- 1961

8. Janet McRobbie, 1893- 1894

Elizabeth Agnes McRobbie, who married John Harbottle. Image from John Henderson on Ancestry.

Some Generation IX:

Alexander Harbottle, son of Elizabeth Agnes McRobbie had 5 children: John, Elvin, Jean, Lorraine and Lorna.

His brother James Harbottle had two children, Elizabeth Isobel and James Lyle Harbottle. She has descendants.

Their sister Elizabeth Harbottle married William Beeforth. They had 3 children, John, Harry and Elizabeth.

Elvin Alexander Harbottle was born in 1919 and died in 1992. He was married to Lolita Irene Kelley (1926-2013). He features on the Canada Voter List for 1949 when he was a student at 190 Dublin Street, Guelph, living with father Alexander N Harbottle and mother.

On 2nd September 1954 Elvin departed from Orly, Paris on a flight for Montreal. This was flight number Air France 063. With him was a Kathleen Harbottle.

James Robert Lyle Harbottle had a short life, born on 30th August 1927 and dying on 13th June 1928 at Concession 9,  Lot 24, Beverly, Wentworth, Ontario. His address was given as RR No 6, Galt. James was buried at Crown Cemetery, Morriston.

Family of Margaret McLean and John McRobbie- two branches reunite

The descendants of Grace Douglas and Margaret Douglas were united when Margaret McLean married John McRobbie. They had three children that I am aware of. I have located the family on the 1891 census and 1901 census. On both they lived at Portage la Prairie but 1891 is Marquette whilst 1901 is MacDonald district. I don’t know if this means a change of address or of boundaries.

On the 1891 census they were 36 year old Presbyterians, John was a farmer. Three year old daughter Maggie was with them. This was Margaret Morrison McRobbie. By 1901 for some reason Maggie was living with her grandfather John McLean. Her birthdate of 5th December 1888 was given. The 1901 census shows the couple’s second daughter, Alice M McRobbie. Elsewhere she is called Allison or Allison May McRobbie.

The 1906 census includes Margaret McRobbie, married, born Ontario, as Head of a household. With her are daughters Allison McRobbie, single, born Manitoba, aged 16 and Ethel McRobbie, single, born Manitoba, aged 13. Again, they were living at Portage la Prairie.

On the 1911 census Portage la Prairie has Margret McRobbie, a domestic servant (on a farm) for a man with a name written as Keneth McLouns. She was born in November 1844 in Ontario. With her was Ethel McRobbie, born November 1893 in Manitoba.

Ethel can be traced through other sources. She became a book-keeper and over time her name spelling was changed to McRobie. In 1921 she was living at 692 Furby St, Winnipeg. She earned $1200 as a book keeper. She applied and was granted permanent residence in USA on 22nd August 1929. At that time she was in Winnipeg.

On the 1940 US Federal census Ethel was living in an apartment block at 550 Pacific Avenue, Long Beach, Los Angeles. She had lived at this address since at least 1935. Ethel was a book keeper, working 40 hours per week and had worked for the whole of the previous year. Ethel was paid $1328 that year. She had completed 4th year at high school.

On 16th September 1955 the US District Court at LA heard petition 183942 and agreed to her becoming a US citizen. Her address was 32 Esparanza Street, Long Beach 13. On retirement Ethel’s Social Security number was 549101344. She died on 5th December 1961, I believe in Los Angeles, but was buried only two days later, apparently, back home in Portage la Prairie at Hillside Cemetery.

Andrew McRobbie married Ethel Maude Smith on 8th October 1909. At the time he was an agent. They were living at Wentworth, Hamilton. The 1911 census found them at 17 Extra Street, Guelph. Andrew was now a painter of houses and had been employed for 52 weeks consecutively. He worked 60 hours the previous week and earned $470.

Andrew McRobbie features on the 1921 census at Guelph. He was married to Ethel and was a painter. They lived at 33 Norwich Street, Guelph. Andrew’s income was $750. He rented his wooden home for $18 per month. It had 6 rooms. Andrew was a Methodist but his wife was a Congregationalist. Andrew had been unemployed for 10 months.

Generation IX: Family of John William Kerr and Allison Irvine Henderson:

1. Margaret Gray Kerr, 1912 – 2000

2. William James Kerr, 1914 – 2009

3. Ernest Andrew Kerr, 1917- 2008

4. John Irvine Kerr, 1920- 2010

5. Elizabeth Jean Kerr, 1923 – 1995

Margaret McRobbie and William Kerr’s daughter Janet Kerr married a man named William Cormack Simpson and they had two children that I know of, Marjorie (born in 1908) and William James (born in 1911).

Above: congregation and friends of Knox Presbyterian Church, Puslinch in 1934. Included are Percy Harbottle, Lottie, Lorne, Lorraine and Adelaide Harbottle. Also present is Winnie Tennant. Photo taken from

In January 1915 Margaret Kernahan had attempted to visit  USA through Vermont. Her next of kin was given as her father John McRobbie. However her application was unsuccessful. This may have been on account of her illness as I understand from Jenny Possum1776 on Ancestry that she died of TB. The address of one of them was given as 201 Arlington Street, Winnipeg. On the 1916 census Thomas was living at the same Arlington Street address with his daughter Mary and mother. He remarried to a woman named Mary Williamson in 1918.

Mary Allison Claire married John Douglas Stevens on 25th September 1937 in Winnipeg. She was known as Claire. When Tom remarried he acquired a step daughter, Edna Williamson. He and Mary later had a son named Tom together. The 1921 census shows the blended family living in Winnipeg South. In 1949 the couple lived at 274 Yale Avenue, Winnipeg South. Her husband was a grain broker. Claire was on the electoral register there in 1968 with her son, I presume. They lived at 1 Roslyn Road, apt 2A.

John McRobbie and Margaret McLean’s daughter Ethel had been born on 22nd November 1892. In 1921 Ethel was a single lodger at 692 Furby Street, Winnipeg Centre. She earned $1200 a year. She moved to America and was there in 1935 and for 1940 census. She was a single lodger at 550 Pacific Avenue, Long Beach. Ethel was a book keeper, working 40 hrs per week. She said she had attended high school to 4th year. She had been employed for the whole of the previous year, earning $1328. At the age of 62 she became a naturalised American in California. Interestingly, she now spelt McRobbie with one b. Her address was 32 Esperanza Street, Long Beach 13. Her petition number was 183942 and her social security number was 549101344. She died on 5th December 1961 in Los Angeles.

Ethel was probably in America from 1929 or 1930 as she was examined at Winnipeg on 22nd August and “found admissible for permanent residence” there (Ancestry, US Records of Aliens Pre Examined in Canada).

Ethel was buried at Hillside Cemetery, Portage la Prairie.

Janet McRobbie was born on 24th May 1857 and married James Weir on 16th February 1881. She died in Guelph on 17th August 1916 of cancer. They had 6 children that I have found, including twins.

In 1891 James and Janet lived with daughters Isabella aged 9 and Maggie aged 7, along with his 76 year old mother. Isabella was named after her. He was a farmer.

The 1901 census includes James’s mother Isabella Weir who was 86 and had been born in Scotland.. I have not located the family on the 1911 census.

The 1921 census has widower James with children James William, John McRobbie and Janet Christina living in Eramosa in a brick house of 10 rooms. James declared that his mother was born in Scotland and his father in Ireland and he identified the family as being ethnically Irish.

By 1911 Isabella had married and was living at Eramosa with her husband William Swanston. They had married on Christmas Day 1902 at Lot 17, Concession 1 Eramosa.

The census shows 37 year old William with 29 year old Isabella. The children were Milton, 7, Gordon F, 5, Leslie M, 4, Clifford A, 2, and Norman who had been born on 8th May 1911. There were two servants, Amanda Thorgood and  Thomas Baker. Both were from England. Presumably he worked on the farm as the boys of the house were too young and she must have been doing domestic work in the house.

In 1921 their home was a stone one of 7 rooms. William owned it. At that stage they had children Milton William (17, farmer’s son), Gordon F (15), Leslie M (13), Clifford F (12), Walter S (10), Jean (7), Beatrice R (5) and Margaret W who was three. All were Presbyterian. Milton was born on 17th November 1903 in Wellington County. He was alive in 1972 as far as I can see as hs name is an address book, living at 40 Sunnylea Crescent, along with his mother Mrs Isabella Swanston.  I found no record of a marriage for him.

Presumably Norman was now known as Walter. His birth was recorded as Walter Somerville Swanston, however. He had been born on 5th June 1911 at Lot 11 Concesion 2 Eramosa.

Gordon Fielding Swanston was born on 2nd July 1905 in Wellington County. Again, he appears to have still been alive until 1972. Leslie M is also known as Melvin Leslie. He was born on 26th May 1907 and seems to have died on 26th April 1972. Clifford Alexander was born on 2nd April 1909. Walter Somerville Swanston was born on 5th June 1911 and I understand from an Ancestry tree married Edythe Katherine Calvert on 7th October 1941. I have found no evidence for this myself. He is said to have died on 1st December 1974 in York, Ontario. Jean Isabelle Swanston was born on 4th July 1913 at Guelph. Beatrice married a Walter M Fisher and died at Eramosa in 1972. I was unable to locate her birth.

In 1935 the electoral register includes Mrs Wm Swanston widow,  farmer Gordon and Mrs Gordon, Milton and Clifford farmers and Miss Jean Swanston at RR No 3 Rockwood. At the same place but probably a different house were George Swanston senior, Mrs George and George junior.

The voter list for 1940 includes George Swanston senior, farmer, George Swanston junior, farmer and Mrs George Swanston at RR No3 Rockwood, Eramosa. Also at RR No3 are the following: Gordon Swanston (farmer) and his wife, widow Mrs William Swanston (ie Isabella), Milton and Leslie (both farmers) along with Miss Beatrice and Miss Margaret. Beatrice was a teacher, Margaret at home.

Isabelle was a civil servant at 95 Cartier Street, Ottawa in 1940.

The 1945 register has Mrs William Swanston, housekeeper. The family is as before but without Leslie, Beatrice and Margaret.

By 1957 only Mrs Isabella Swanston, Milton, Walter and Mrs Walter Swanston were at RR No3 Rockwood.

In 1963 Isabella is listed as living at 68 Bruce Lea, Walkerton, Grey-Bruce County. She  is listed as living at 40 Sunnylea Crescent, Wellington South, with son Milton from 1965-1968. Apparently she was also registered at Walkerton in 1949.

In 1967 Isabella, Milton, Walter (farmer) and Mrs Walter are listed at RR3 Rockwood.

Jean was Jean Isabell Swanston, born at the General Hospital in Guelph on 7th January 1902 to Isabella Weir and William Swanston. The family address was RR No 3, Rockwood, Ontario.

I know nothing of Janet McRobbie and James Weir’s daughter Margaret but do know that the couple had twins Janet Christina and James William.

James William on 24th April 1917  joined the Canadian army, or at least taken the first step towards it (Red no 335129). He said he was a farmer and was willing to be inocculated and to serve overseas. Father’s address was given as RR No 3 Rockwood. He was 5ft 11ins tall with a 36.5 inch chest when expanded. He had a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. His hearing was normal and both eyes had 20/20 vision. He had a birthmark on the back of his lower right thigh. Interestingly, he was missing the top joint of his right hand little finger. Whether this was a birth defect or through an accident we do not know. There is nothing to indicate whether he actually served in the army- certainly there are no medals or pension records. I believe these would have been kept in Canada and therefore more likely to survive than British records (the majority of which were destroyed by enemy air raids in WW2).

James William Weir married Susanna Whorwell McKinnon on 25th November 1922 in Oxford, Ontario. He was a farmer.

In 1921 the census recorded father James, sons James William and John McRobbie and daughter Janet Christina at home.

His twin Janet Christina died sadly on 5th March 1934.

Janet McRobbie and  James Weir had a daughter Cassie, born as Catherine Cameron Weir on 13th July 1891 in Eramosa. She married in Eramosa on 17th September 1913 to Matthew Edgar Kirby. I can find nothing on the couple beyond this so if anyone out there would care to add anything I’d be grateful.

My gratitude to Jan Dawson for providing the following. I note that the McRobbie gene for twins continues in this line:

James Weir (1856-1942) and Janet McRobbie (1857-1916) had six children:
Isabella Hutcheon Weir 1881-1980,

Margaret Morrison Weir 1883-1977,
Catherine Cameron Weir 1891-1971,

James William Weir 1896-1989,

Janet Christina Weir 1896-1934,

John McRobbie Weir 1899-1991.  

James and Janet are twins.

Below: Jean Elizabeth Kerr (Beth) and her husband George Pentelow at his garage.

John William and Allison’s only other daughter Elizabeth Jean was known as Beth. She married George Joseph Pentelow and they had children Frances and Lawrence. Lawrence became a mechanic working for his father at his garage. They lived in Guelph at 1475 Gordon Street, their names recorded on the electoral register between 1957 and 1974 there. David Clements has provided a photo of the couple at his garage.

John McRobbie and Jane Boyne’s daughter Mary Jane married a farmer named James Tennant. He was around 19 years older than her.  They had children Winnifred  (Winnie) in 1898 and Annie May (8th August 1900), both born in Wentworth, Ontario. There was a boy who died on the day of birth on 3rd September 1901 as well. Another son, John Stewart, was born in 1904 and died in 1973.  The 1911 census shows the family living at Lot 26 Concession 9, Wentworth and Brant, Beverly. According to clarksoftomfad the couple lived on Valens side road between Gore and 10th. James served on the Board of Management for the church in 1899. John and his wife Millie Moore moved to Lot 23 Tenth of Beverly (Gore Road).

Annie married Bernard Charles Mast on 5th September 1925. He was a section man, she a housekeeper. Annie died on 16th February 1983 in Guelph and was buried at Crown Cemetery, Morriston, Wellington County.

According to the Jackman tree on Ancestry they had children James Charles, John William, Douglas and Stanley. There are similar names on the electoral roll for Waterloo/Wellington from 1940 through to the 1970s. I have not added these names to the family tree yet as I have seen no evidence myself. If correct (and I’m reasonably sure it is, I just like to look at documents to myself) we would also have another link back to the McRobbies through a marriage but more of that in due course.

As to James Stevenson and Isabella McRobbie’s daughter Jane, she was born on 12th July 1881 in Markdale, Bruce County. The birth certificate for her spells the surname with “ph”. She became Mary Jane but seems to have been known as Jane. She married an Irish Episcopalian farmer named Robert Quigley whose mother had emigrated in 1849 as the Potato Famine began to subside a little. The wedding was in May 1900. Robert was 12 years older than his wife. On the 1901 census they were living with his mother at Sullivan, Grey North.

Margaret Phyllis Hanning married Orrin Wilbert Buttenham on 8th November 1922 in Wellington County, Ontario. She died in August 1988. When she married she was living at Puslinch. He was a baptist farmer from Flamboro East. Her twin Elizabeth Grace married Harry Finn on 15th April 1925 in Wellington County, according to an Ancestry tree. She died in January 1986. William James died in 1987. I understand that he had 3 children (butts_19951 on Ancestry). Robert Douglas Hanning died in 1955 and was buried with his parents at Crown Cemetery. He was known as Bob. An obituary for him is to be found on Ancestry, thanks to Kirsty M Haining. She in turn took it from a mammoth compilation of obituaries from Puslinch which amounts to 1400 pages in length. From it we learn that Bob was a softball player.

Donald Andrew Hanning is to be found in the electoral registers. In 1968 he was a bank manager living with his wife Norah at 1568 Asgard Drive, Mississauga. By 1974 they were at the same address but Donald was described as a salesman now and Norah was working as a stenographer. Their children Brenda and Rhona are also recorded.

Mary Edith Hanning apparently married Frank Ivan Elliott around 1942. She died in October 2011 at Milton, Halton.

The electoral register for Puslinch in 1940 includes Donald G Hanning, farmer, and his wife Mrs Donald Hanning. Also there are Robert Hanning, farmer, Miss Mary Hanning, housekeeper and Mr and Mrs William Hanning, farmer.

Mary married Robert Thomas Cockburn and they had one child before her young death, Hugh  Earnest or Ernest Cockburn  (born 13th March 1889). Robert was a Presbyterian clergyman and he remarried after her death and had other children with his second wife, Jean Donaldson. Robert was living at 312 Catherine Street North Hamilton when Hugh married on 22nd June 1921. His wife was Jessie Elliott Henderson. The wedding took place at Rockton, Wentworth, Ontario. Father Robert conducted the service. Robert must have suffered a lingering death. He had a gastric ulcer which was treated by excision of the stomach, apparently, and the cause of death is given as starvation. He died on April 28th 1925 at 58 Hillcrest Avenue. Robert was one of the large group of men taught by Peter McLaren at Puslinch who went on to become clergymen.

Photo below of RCAF flight crew includes Air Bombardier James Ross Robertson who was a member of the McRobbie family. He was the son of William James Robertson and his wife Olive May. He died along with his crew in 1944. His service number was J161315. They died in a Halifax on the night of June 24th 1944 in Northern Italy. This may have been in support of the operation by Allied ground troops in Northern Italy at this time, which saw another family member win a Military Medal. However, this squadron (No 148)  according to the squadron were involved in Special Operations Executive work.

My thanks to James S Quigley in Canada for this information.

What would these aircraft be doing in support of SOE? Dropping supplies of arms and ammunitions, dropping SOE officers by parachute and on the return journey, apparently, dropping propaganda leaflets.

Often missions were aborted due to bad weather. It was dangerous work as they had to fly lower than planes would on bombing missions and they were looking out for specific landing spots marked by flares lit by resistance members in a letter shape or an arranged pattern.

This plane apparently was brought down as a result of enemy gunfire and crashed between Santa Maria del Taro and Borgo val di Taro. There were 13 planes scheduled to take part in the mission but 3 did not due to technical problems. This was the only one of the ten not to return. The mission was called Operation Sound 1 and Robertson’s plane was JP237.

According to the above website nothing was heard of the plane after take off. An archaeological team excavated the crash site.

Photo below from the same source shows some artefacts recovered:

He was buried at Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa in Grave III C26. The image below from Wikipedia shows a Halifax II bomber from 148 squadron at Brindisi with supplies for the Yugoslav National Liberation Army.

Wikipedia does not record an Operation Sound I (or any other number) among operations in Yugoslavia. It does refer to increased bombing missions to support the Yugoslavs in June-July 1944, however, so perhaps they were involved in an ordinary bombing mission on this occasion.