Friday, 8 April 2022

Flashback Friday (sort of)

 I couldn't find a Friday funny cartoon that tickled my fancy so thought I'd change it up a bit today and share some family history.

As I've shared before my cousin K was the spark that got me interested in Ancestry and finding more about my mother and father's families.  This week I received a package of information from K including copies of land registration information, mortgages, and the obituary of our great-great grandfather Hugh Stewart. It is the latter I'll share with you today.

From The Brussels Post dated May 10, 1893:

"Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock the spirit of Hugh Stewart, an old and highly respected resident of the 15th con(cession), took its flight. The deceased was born in the Parish of Carleton, Ayrshire, Scotland, on May 6th, 1816, and had attained the royal age of 77 years and 6 days at the time of his death. He came to Canada in 1851, living at Ancaster for a time where he followed his trade as millwrighter. Mr. Stewart was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Milligan, his now bereft partner, whose home was in Chingnacousy township, in 1855.

They moved to Guelph where they lived until the Spring of 1856 when they located on lot 6, con. 15, Grey. Five children were born, three of whom survive, one died in infancy and the eldest, John, paid Nature's debt 13 years ago. 

The subject of this notice was a stout, able-bodied man who weighed 230 pounds in his prime and measured 6 feet 3 inches in height.  He took ill on the Tuesday previous to his death while assisting in some chores at the barn and although he rallied soon after and was able to get to the house he lapsed into unconsciousness and passed away as stated above.

The only relative Mr. Stewart had in this country is a niece, Mrs. John McCartney, 3rd con. Grey. Mr. Stewart's funeral took place on Sunday afternoon and was largely attended. The deceased was very highly respected by all who knew him. He was a member of the Presbyterian church."

The genealogist who is working with K on locating the records in Ontario suggested that the reference to his niece related to extended family members as his wife and three children survived him. Land title information indicates that the land was transferred to the surviving adult children (and one daughter's husband) on June 1, 1893. The property remained in the family until about the mid-1930's when the youngest daughter sold the land. Her siblings names were no longer on title but she appears to have taken mortgages out on the property - I assume to have paid out her siblings for their share. Jane passed away in 1936 a few years after the sale.

I have informed my daughter that, if she dares to report my height and weight in my obituary, I will return to haunt her for the rest of her life.  I do admit, I now have a picture in my mind of what GG2 Hugh might have looked like. 

He still remains an enigma as we cannot locate a baptismal certificate for him in Scotland. We believe he have changed his first name and possibly even his birthdate when he immigrated to Canada. However the mortgage documents provide a hint to someone who may be his brother, and included in the newspaper was a note about this person travelling to Dakota. I assume that references what is now South and North Dakota. If I can trace Alex, perhaps I can find the Scottish connections for Hugh.  In the meantime it's a interesting and often challenging hobby.


  1. What a wonderful obituary. So much information and a great way to see the person and honor him. Wonderful!

  2. I love the terms for death in those days, spirit took flight or they paid nature's debt. Did find the height and weight unusual but like you said it does draw a picture of the deceased. Fascinating.

  3. I have Scottish Stewart’s in my father’s family line too. I have no idea where they are from however. How fortunate you are to have this information.

  4. I also have Stewarts in my family from Scotland.

    Isn't genealogy fun and maddening at the same time? Funny about telling your daughter you'll haunt her if she lists your height and weight on your obituary.

  5. My Great Grandfather came here from Scotland as well. We have also been trying to trace the family there as well and not having much luck. Perhaps some day we will get that straightened out. Stuarts/Stewarts supposedly in my family somehow as well.

    God bless,

  6. What a great obituary. Like everyone else I find myself picturing him mentally!

  7. I am a genealogy fan too. I have done pretty good but now have encountered a number of brick walls. Most of them are because names in my family are as common as Smith and Jones in some European countries.


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