Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Greenlaw Cemetery, Caledon

Greenlaw Cemetery, Caledon, Peel, Ontario
Greenlaw Cemetery (sometimes referred to as Baker's Cemetery) is one of numerous small cemeteries in the historic township of Caledon northwest of Toronto. It is the only remnant of the hamlet of Greenlaw, better known as The Grange.

When Caledon was surveyed and opened for settlement shortly after the War of 1812, most of the early settlement was along the Credit River. At nearby Belfountain, settlement began 1825 when a sawmill was built. Greenlaw, located at the intersection of Mississauga Road and The Grange Sideroad, developed during the 1850s, but went into decline during the 1920s.

The cemetery marks the location of a Congregational Church (The Congregational Church merged with the Methodists and Presbyterians in 1925 to form the United Church of Canada). In 1852, Michael Baker deeded 3/8 of an acre for a church, cemetery and parsonage, but it is unclear what denomination initially used the church. In 1865 the church and cemetery were sold to the Congregationalists. The church closed around 1900, however, burials continued until 1941. In addition to the church, Greenlaw was also the location of a post office, blacksmith, and Temperance Hall.

Greenlaw Cemetery in 2011
When local historian William Perkins Bull visited the cemetery in the 1930s, he described it as being, "another neglected and overgrown cemetery with long grass, logs scattered here and there, and an abandoned church." He described the church as being "roughcast" and "built on a stone foundation." About 1940 the church was demolished and some years later the gravestones were gathered together into a cairn. The gravestones, unfortunately, were placed far too close together, making reading the inscriptions difficult. Transcriptions were prepared in 1974 and again in 1984. In 2014, the Town of Caledon rebuilt the cairn, making it much easier to read and photograph the gravestones.

Michael Baker 1795-1873
The earliest gravestone is that of Michael Baker who died in 1873. Michael was born in Williamsburgh Township, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, in 1795. His father, Conrad Baker was an United Empire Loyalist who had served in the King's Royal Regiment of New York during the American Revolution. During the War of 1812, Michael served in the 1st Regiment Dundas Militia. In 1818, the same year he married Caterina Frank, Michael petitioned the government of Upper Canada for land as the son of a United Empire Loyalist. He was granted 200 acres in Caledon and was one of the earliest settlers.

The most recent gravestone records the deaths of Sarah E. Tomlinson and her husband Henry Scott in 1939 and 1941 respectively.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Lymath Mysteries (Continued)

Lymath Gravestone at Deddington, Oxford
When I first started this blog, one of the earliest posts was titled "The Lymath Mysteries." The article touched on my frustration with trying to discover the origins of my great-great-grandfather George Lymath. Five years later I'm still frustrated.

George Lymath (1817-1864), was a coachman who died at the age of 47 at Westminister Hospital in London. Searches of the 1841, 1851 and 1861 Census have found no trace of George, however, the 1857 marriage certificate for George and Elizabeth Boorer records that George's father was a Thomas Lymath, Schoolmaster.

Lymath is a very unusual surname so it is almost certain that George is a descendant of Richard Lymath of Brailes in Warwickshire. Richard was buried at Brailes in 1796. Richard's oldest son, Thomas, was baptised at Brailes in 1750, and apprenticed as a blacksmith in Little Tew in the north of Oxfordshire where he married and raised a family.

Lymath Gravestone at
Little Tew, Oxford
Another son, Richard, also apprenticed as a blacksmith and moved to Chipping Warden in Northamptonshire, where he married Ann Willson. Two of his sons, however, returned to Oxfordshire and settled in Wardington. There is also circumstantial evidence that Richard and Ann had a third son named George who was buried in Wardington in 1824. George's son John emigrated to the United States in 1871 and settled in Nebraska.

Richard and Ann's daughter Hannah (1784- ?) had an illegitimate son when she was 18. William Harwood Lymath was baptised at Marston St Lawrence in Northamptonshire in 1803. In 1839 he married Mary Ann Geary of Crick, Northamptonshire. William and Mary Ann had four children born in Northamptonshire. About 1847 they moved to Birmingham. When William died in 1850, Mary Ann was pregnant with her sixth child, and applied for parish relief in Birmingham. Birmingham, however, obtained a removal order, and Mary Ann and her children were sent back to Marston St Lawrence. Marston St Lawrence unsuccessfully appealed the removal. The proceedings were reported in Aris's Birmingham Gazette on 12 Apr 1852:

Birmingham Borough Sessions
Birmingham respondents; Marston St. Lawrence, Northamptonshire, appellants.—This was an appeal as to the removal of Mary Lymath and six children.—Mr. Spooner, for Birmingham parish, stated that he should prove a birth settlement of the pauper's husband (who was illegitimate) in Marston. That parish, however, contended that the birth had taken place there fraudulently, that the mother of the pauper's husband being pregnant, was fraudulently removed by the officers of the parish there she was then residing, and taken to Marston to be delivered, and cast a burthen upon that parish. The appellants also set up an alleged settlement of the husband by hiring and service in the parish of Wiggington, in Oxfordshire. Mr. Spooner then proved the alleged birth, but upon enquiry into the case, the Recorded said he did not see any evidence whatever to support such suggestion.—Mr. Field, for Marston parish, then attempted to support the settlement in Wiggington, but it appearing that the husband always came home and brought his box and clothes with him during the last week of each year, the Recorded thought that there was no case of hiring for a year, and the order of removal from Birmingham must be confirmed.
And while this is all very interesting, it doesn't get me any further with discovering the origins of my great-great-grandfather.

Monday, June 1, 2015

James Day: The Shipwright of Paspebiac

Charles Robin & Co's Establishment, Paspebiac
from Canadian Scenery: District of Gaspe by Thomas Pye 1866

In June of 1767, 23-year-old Charles Robin of Jersey in the Channel Islands landed at Paspebiac on the Gaspe Peninsula to establish a inshore fishery on the Baie des Chaleurs. Several years earlier, the British had defeated the French during the Seven Years War, and Robin was taking advantage of the end of French control of a large area of Eastern Canada.

Charles Robin on Isle Madame by Lewis Parker
Operating a cod fishery on the Baie des Chaleur was a challenge during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. While Robin found a ready market for dried cod in Spain and Portugal, he had to contend with the disruption of  business first by the American Revolution, then the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, and finally the War of 1812. Robin estimated that he suffered £6000 in damages as a consequence of privateer raids during the American Revolution. During the French Revolutionary Wars, Robin lost a number of ships to the French, and because it was wartime, was unable to procure replacements. His answer was to build his own ships at Paspebiac, and in 1791 he hired my gggg-grandfather, James Day as his shipwright.

James Day, was baptised at Shorwell, on the Isle of Wight, on 28 Oct 1768. His parents, James Day and Ann Burt, were married the previous May. Sometime between the birth of his brother John in 1769 and William in 1772, the family moved to Newport. In 1783, James became an apprentice to master shipwright John Siers. Shortly after his apprenticeship ended, James was hired by Charles Robin.

Robin would have had to provide strong incentive for James Day to leave the comforts of England for the wilderness of the Gaspe. There was certainly no shortage of work for shipwrights in England. Records of the Charles Robin & Co. held at the Nova Scotia Archives show that Day was paid £50 per year, some of which was invested for him by Robin in British stocks.

It has been suggested that James left a wife and child behind in England, but I have found no evidence for this. Nor is there any evidence for James having every served in the Royal Navy. In his letters and journals Robin does refer to James's fondness for alcohol, but otherwise held him in high regard: "We'll never find another like him."

Upon arriving in Paspebiac, James Day laid out a shipyard and repaired the Charles Robin & Co. ship Hilton. He then began work on his first ship, the Fiott, which was launched in 1792, but unfortunately captured by the French in 1794. A second ship, the If,  followed two years later. In total, James Day built 16 ships for Charles Robin & Co., about one every two years, and numerous smaller boats.

The eighth ship constructed at Paspebiac was named after its builder. The Day, completed in 1806, was a square-rigged vessel of 185 tons with two decks and three masts, 84 feet long and 23 feet wide. Black birch was used for the hull while the masts and spars were of white pine. Like all of Robin's ships she bore no figurehead, however, during the War of 1812 she did mount two four-pounder guns. On her maiden voyage she carried 2250 quintals of dried cod to Malta (a quintal is equivalent to 112 pounds), and then proceeded to drydock in Liverpool where her bottom was coppered. For the next 27 years the Day sailed to Palermo, Naples, Lisbon and various ports in Spain. She lost a mast in 1810, suffered hull damage in both 1817 and 1818, and became stuck in ice for 15 days in the spring of 1822. In 1826 the Day began taking dried cod to Brazil. Although she was sold in 1833, the Day continue sailing until at least 1847.

Unlike most Robin employees, James Day was permitted to raise a family in Paspebiac. About 1803, he married Angelique Brasseur. Angelique was the daughter of Mathurin Brasseur and Catherine Therese Duguay. Mathurin was an Acadian refugee from Ile St Jean (Prince Edward Island) who had escaped to the Baie des Chaleurs in 1758 during the Expulsion of the Acadians. Before her marriage to James, Angelique had an illegitimate son named Jacques who was born in 1795 but died in 1801.

Day Mill, New Carlisle, Quebec
James Day died on 15 Mar 1833 at Paspebiac. By the time of his death he had acquired a considerable amount of property around Paspebiac including a mill. In his will he divided his property amongst his wife and five children. After her husband's death, Angelique left Paspebiac and joined her two daughters in St Helier, Jersey, where she died in 1849.

James and Angelique's daughter Angelique married Francis Luce, shipmaster in the employ of Charles Robin & Company. They left Paspebiac for Jersey about 1830. Her sister, Sophia, married Francis's brother, John Luce, and also left Paspebiac for Jersey. Their brother John married Jane Eleanor Munro of Bas-Caraquet in New Brunswick. Another son, William Day, married Jane's sister, Mary Charlotte Munro. William was found dead in his bed at the age of 33.

James Day (1843-1933) and
Angelique Veneta Day (1867-1948)
James and Angelique's oldest son, James, became a miller. In the 1861 census he is shown as having a grist mill and a lumber mill at New Carlisle to the west of Paspebiac. James married his cousin Maria Day (1811-1897), daughter of his uncle William Day (1772-1847) of Westbourne in West Sussex. James and Maria were married in Westbourne in 1827, and their son William James Day was born there during a visit in 1841.

James died in 1876 and was buried at St Peter's Anglican Cemetery in Paspebiac. His son James (1843-1933), my great-great-grandfather, became a merchant. James married Annie Harris Crawford who was born across the Baie de Chaleur in Pokeshaw, New Brunswick. Their daughter, Angelique Veneta Day (1867-1948) married Arthur Cooke of New Carlisle (1865-1936), my great-grandfather.


David Lee, “Robin, Charles ,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6, University of Toronto/Universit√© Laval, 2003, accessed June 1, 2015, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/robin_charles_6E.html.

David Lee, The Robins in Gaspe: 1766 to 1825, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1984