Wallaces of the Pennines, Canadian Pioneers

The name Wallace was often spelled Wallasse, Wallas or Wallis, depending on who wrote it. They come from the Celtic Weallise, the word for 'foreigner' they applied to the tribe of Celts of the kingdom of Strathclyde, then the east half of the island from Cumbria north to Glasgow. (They also applied it to the old Britons, hence our name Wales for their refugium as opposed to their name Cymru.)

Many of my ancestral lines come from the Pennine hills of Cumbria, primarily the area between Alston and the Eden River. 'My' places from Newbiggin to Melmerby can be visited within a brisk day's walk. However, the route from Renwick to Alston involves a climb of 400 meters up and 300 down, and Alston to Tynehead is equally hilly. All are virtually the same population as they were two centuries ago. The name Wallace appears from the beginning of surviving parish records there, but very rarely until the 1760's. However, the form Wallis is fairly common, and a Richard Wallasse, fluent in Latin and Greek, was schoolmaster and parish clerk for the busy mining center of Alston from the earliest parish record until his death in 1729. Such a skill (especially Greek) was so unusual in that area at that time that a connection has to be suspected with my 2-greats grandfather Isaac Wallace, who also read both languages, owned a number of books in both, and wrote educated English in a fine Spencerian script.

Three other ancestral names, Gill, Salkeld and Watson, appear in profusion from the earliest surviving records of the area. In the Pennines, Gill is of Norse origin, a stream in a deep wooded ravine. Sal was the Anglo-Saxon term for willow tree, and keld for a smooth upwelling spring; there is still today a Great Salkeld and Little Salkeld in the area. Oxford considers that Wat, and hence Wat('s)son is probably a short form of Walter, then a nautical term for a ship that wallowed. (Not exactly a compliment!) In medieval times, surnames as we presently use them did not exist in Britain. People were known by a given name plus their father's name (Fitz-, O', Mc-, and -son all mean 'son of'), their trade (e.g. the baker), their place of residence (by the salt spring), their tribe or clan (the Wallace), or, occasionally, by some noticeable personal characteristic (the town drunk?). Few surnames there indicate common ancestry until recent times.

My Wallace family tree was begun by my aunt Maud, and continued by my mother. She passed on to me her mother's photo album of labelled family portraits, and corresponded with a number of other family members. She believed her earliest known ancestor to be a Thomas Wallace ("with an estate in Scotland"), then William ("a drover on the border with Scotland"), then another Thomas, my 3-greats-grandfather. This oral tradition was elaborated by Henry S. Rogers in his 58 page Descendants of Thomas Wallace. However, the primary evidence is clear that my 4-greats-grandfather is a John Wallace; however he had a brother William, and his father is probably a Thomas who had significant property. In any case, the second Thomas is buried in the graveyard of St.Paul's Abbotsford, as are his brother William and sons Isaac and Jacob, overlooked by the white wood-frame church erected in 1822. One document my mother obtained is a letter written by Ann (Wallace) Dearstyn to her grand-niece Julia (Wallace) Robinson about 1907:

I will tell you who my ancestors were, as near as I can. Grandfather's name was Thomas Wallace. Grandmother's name was Jane Heatherington. They had three children, triplets, born at Tynehead, Cumberland, England, February 19, 1794. Their names, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham died March 4,1794. Jacob died May 23, 1849. Isaac died May 8, 1882.

My father came to America in 1817. Their house was burned and all that was in it except wife and children. Grandfather thought they must be suffering, and in 1819 he and Uncle Jacob came to America, to find Father all right.

Before Grandfather came, he gave his old Bible to his nephew, Joe Millican. When Father went to England on a visit, Joe Millican gave the Bible to Father. That was in 1855. Father gave the Bible to me, his daughter, Ann Wallace Dearstyn, June 23, 1904.

My Father's marriage:- Isaac Wallace married to Mary Scholick, widow, Jan. 22, 1816. Their children -

   Elizabeth Scholick, born Feb. 21, 1813
   Mary Scholick            Dec. 25, 1814
   Thomas Wallace           Dec. 14, 1816
   Isaac                    Feb.  1, 1818
   Jane                     Dec.  4, 1820
   Ann                      July 12, 1822
   Jacob                    May  25, 1824
   William                  Aug.  1, 1826
   Jacob & Rachel           Oct. 21, 1827
   William Story            Jan. 26, 1829
   Nathaniel                July 28, 1832
   Isabella                 Aug. 19, 1833

They are all dead but Ann, that is myself, and I am nearly 85, will be on July 12....

According to my aunt Maud, a bureau brought from England also survived the fire, and was the one used by Isaac's son Thomas, then by his son George, and, after George's death, donated by Julia Robinson to the Brome County Historical Society. It is on public display in the bedroom exhibit at 130 Lakeside St., Knowlton. The museum label states that it dates from about 1850, but no authority for this attribution is on record there. There is another bureau in the family which is of comparable age, one in Empire style that was in use by my grandparents (in Thomas' homestead) as early as my aunt Margaret can remember. It was in poor condition when my grandparents took over the Milton home, so they had it repaired. The only identification mark on it is of a Granby firm, with no date. Probably it was bought there ca. 1850.

Isaac's cousin Mary (Wallace) McKerley was interviewed for the Granby Leader in 1898 by William Gill (possibly also a relative of mine), at the behest of her son Mark, a correspondent of the newspaper. Some extracts from that article (printed 17 March 1898):

Last New Year's Day 1898 we had the pleasure of an interview with Mrs. Mary McKerley of Abbotsford, widow of the late Mr. Wm. McKerley, who is now 83 years of age and has resided at Abbotsford since early childhood, and is a native of Alston Moor, County of Cumberland.... Her father's name was Mr. Wm. Wallace and when they came to this country they had quite a large family of which she was the youngest, and some of them went to Upper Canada.

Those best known in this vicinity were, Mr. Job Wallace, father-in-law of the late James Irwin of Granby, Mr. Joseph Wallace father of Mr. Wm. Wallace of Granby, who settled in Canaan and Mr. Thos. Wallace who recently died at Waterloo at an advanced age.

The family sailed from Liverpool in 1820 and at the same time came Messrs. Isaac and Jacob Wallace, these two were the survivors of triplets.... The late Thomas Gill of Abbotsford, also came from the same county in England 1832.

Mr. Wallace, Mrs. McKerley's father came on to Abbotsford, where his son Job who had preceded him two years before had settled.... The Wallace Family located at the east end of Yamaska Mountain, on a place where there was an old rude cabin; as they had masons in the family they built a stone house as soon as they could.... Her brothers went to Granby to mill, a distance of eight miles, with a bushel of corn on a hand sled, with blazed trees to guide them. At times they had to come back without their grist, the mill being so full. Mr. Wallace had to pay twenty-five cents a day for the use of a plough, and he had the first pair of cart wheels in the place that had iron tiers or bands around them.

When he commenced to farm in Canada he had only six shillings in his pocket and he owed his brother the amount of his passage money. He was a miner in England and consequently did not know much about farming. When he began land clearing he chopped all around the tree to his own great danger, and then sat down and shed tears at the hard prospect before him, but plucking up courage he tried again until success rewarded his efforts....

Mrs. McKerley had in the winter time to walk a distance of four miles to school, "across lots" through the deep snow. Her route lay across the high hill or spur of the mountain, then as now called the hog-back, and she had often to sit in wet clothes all day, her body chilled by the unnatural exposure....

She thinks her uncle, Mr. Thomas Watson also came out at the same time....

Regrettably, such articles were the exception for the Leader, and for the Mail, the other Granby newspaper of the time. Patent medicines, and items suitable for International Trivial Pursuit, were considered far more important!

The slight disagreement between these accounts, of the dates of arrival in Canada, is settled by the land petition of Isaac Wallace, preserved in the National Archives of Canada:

To His Excellency George Earl of Dalhousie and Governor in chief of Upper and Lower Canada &c &c &c &c

The memorial of Isaac Wallace Humbly sheweth that your Memorialist left his Native Country Cumberland in the summer of 1818 for Canada where your Memorialist has resided ever since at Ymaskaw Mountain, being the first English man that settled at this place: - your Memorialist immediately wrote to his Father that he liked this place very well, advising them to come out without delay, accordingly they arrived here in the summer of 1819, viz my Father, Brother and wife, and my Uncle and Family and a number of your Memorialist's Country people; and we now feel anxious for a real Settlement, and understanding that the Land of the Township of Granby has fallen into the hands of Government,

Therefore your Memorialist Humbly Hopes that your Lordship will be Graciously pleased to Grant him a portion of Land in the Township of Granby; that your Memorialist may be enabled to get a Farm Cleared of his own for the support of Himself, Wife Two Sons and Four Daughters, and your Memorialist as in Duty Bound will ever pray for your Lordship &c.

Ymaskaw Mountain 6th Day of October 1823

Isaac wrote his own letter, but Jacob had someone (not Isaac) write his for him. Jacob adds to the above information:

[I] came from England to Canada in the latter end of August 1819 with a Wife, and now that we have one Son, your Memorialist having a brother living at Ymaskaw Mountain to which your Memorialist came....

What memories must have been summed up in those few words, "came from England to Canada"! Ports on both sides of the Atlantic swarmed with con-men selling non-existent berths, accommodation and money exchange. Generally the worst vessels were used for the emigrant trade to Canada - the usual steerage hold was 1.7 m high; on either side of a 1.5 m aisle were bunks 3 m wide and 1.5 m long, each for 6 adults. Infants under a year were not counted, children 1-6 counted only as 1/3 a person, those aged 7-13 as 1/2 a person, for space, food and water. In fact slaves being deported from Africa to America usually had better quarters. Slaves were paid for on delivery; the healthier they were, the higher the shipmaster's profit. Emigrants had to pay in advance; dead or alive they had no redress on arrival.

The only ventilation was through the hatches, which were closed in bad weather, often for a week at a time. During a storm, those unused to the sea, sealed up in total darkness, were frightened out of their wits by what, to the uninitiated, sounded like their ship was breaking apart. They would be thrown from their berths and hurled headlong among their companions who lay on the opposite side, together with all their food and belongings. Water usually leaked through the deck in such quantities that beds were soaked and the floor could be ankle deep in water. The bread for steerage passengers on the Rothiemurchus in 1817 was over a year old and the beef much older, while the drinking water was "no clearer than that of a dirty kennel after a rain ... the stink it emitted was intolerable". The damp below decks rotted most fresh food within a week. The average Liverpool-Quebec City trip took six weeks, but adverse weather could double that time. Those who had the foresight, as our Pennine ancestors did, to fill their bunks with oatmeal - which keeps for months and has sufficient nutrients to be a healthy diet for weeks on end - had to listen and watch as those who packed only fresh produce sickened and died about them. Small wonder that the historian Guillet refers to it as "a time of horror which could never be effaced from memory". (I celebrated Y2K with oatmeal, in a bowl that belonged to my great grandparents, to honour their memory.)

Anyway, the Wallace letters were successful - the decisions of an Imperial board set up 29 April 1823 to distribute the "waste lands" of Lower Canada show that Isaac Wallace was granted "the North half of the Lot no3 in the 4th Range of the Township of Granby containing about one hundred Acres" (in magenta below), the amount due a head of a household, while Jacob got 100 acres on "lot no1 in the 5th Range" (in blue below), on 6 November 1823. The conditions of grant were "that the said ___ shall immediately settle thereon, and that he, or his family, do remain thereon for the term of three years from the date of this assignment, and that four acres ... be cleared and cultivated and ... a dwelling house be erected". The civil records of Lower Canada in Quebec City show that by 1835 Jacob had met these conditions, and in 1837 that Isaac had as well.

The Granby area, 1842

By great good fortune, a census of the seigniory of St.Hyacinthe in 1825 survives, and shows "Wallace père" (William), Isaac and Job Wallace each occupying a household "on Yamaska mountain", with 17 residents between them. (Prior to 1851, Canadian censi record only the name of the head of the household and age classes of residents, not relationships.) The next census of the area, in 1831, shows Isaac, Job, William and Jacob with 30 family members on what was now called the St.Charles concession of St.Pie. The census numbers give a clear result - although no Wallaces appear in the 1825 census of Granby Township, Jacob was there, together with his wife Rachel, 2-year-old son Thomas, and Isaac's sons Thomas (aged 8) and Isaac (6), meeting the terms of the land grants. The next census of Granby Township, in 1842, shows William Wallace with wife & 3 children (including Mary McKerley), and his son Joseph with wife & 2 children, but no other Wallaces. So, it seems that both Isaac and Jacob sold their lots as soon as they could. Perhaps they had expected to get land just across the border in Granby, and were not prepared to live so far from family. More probably, they may have been caught up in the land speculation fever of the time and saw the lots as a source of riches from the beginning.

One of the earliest records in the parish register of St.Paul d'Abbotsford is the following entry:

On this eleventh day of September one thousand eight hundred and thirty one Jacob son of Isaac Wallace of Abbotsford farmer and Mary Scholick his wife born on the twenty fourth day of October one thousand eight hundred and twenty seven & Rachel daughter of the above born on the twenty fourth day of October one thousand eight hundred and twenty seven & William Story son of the above born on the twenty sixth day of January one thousand eight hundred and twenty nine were Baptised (the sponsors are David Buzel Isaac Vipond Betsy Scholick Rachel Wallace & Anna Johnson) by me Thos Johnson

With all this information, it was easy to find, with the assistance of the Latter-day Saints (LDS), many parish records in Cumberland of my family.

The transcripts of the parish register of Renwick, given to the bishop at each annual visit, record that "Thomas Scholic of the Parish of Kirkoswald aged 22 years and Mary Salkeld of this Parish aged 21 years were married in this Church by Banns this 11th Day of April 1812". The same transcripts record the baptism on 21 October 1790, of "Mary illegitimate Daughter of Elizabeth Salkeld of Fellgate in the Parish of Kirkoswald." The transcripts of the parish of Kirkoswald record the baptism of John & William, illegitimate twins of Elizabeth Salkeld, on 31 January 1794, and her marriage to Isaac Nicholson a month later, on 3 March.

A year later, the parish of Renwick records the baptism 25 October 1795 of Ann to Isaac Nicholson of Haresceugh, parish of Kirkoswald, and Elizabeth Salkeld; on 3 November 1799 of Jane (Isaac now described as a collier of Vale moor, Kirkoswald); of Elizabeth 14 February 1803; and of Hannah 11 March 1804 (Isaac now described as a coal miner of Renwick). Next comes the burial of John the son of Isaac Nicholson of Renwick 4 June 1805. From this we can conclude that Isaac was the father of John & William, but probably not of Mary. We may also conclude that Elizabeth was an expert mother - to lose only one child out of eleven, and that at age 11, was unusual for that time.

The transcripts continue with the baptism of Thomas on 29 December 1805 and of Sarah 16 July 1809. And then comes the baptism of a second set of twins, Isaac and Isabella, on 11 April 1812, the same day that Elizabeth's Mary was married. Imagine the pride of all those smiling faces, decked out in the finest that two coal miners could provide, on that spring day!

It was not to last long for Mary. Her Thomas had been born 6 September 1789 in the parish of Croglin, the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Scholic of Nubigin. The Scholic name (there are as many spellings for it in the registers as for Wallace) had been vilified in the parish records there since 1679 when one Henry Schollick joined the Quakers. By the 1780's it was the turn of Elizabeth & Rachel: living "under a common fame" and guilty of "negligent romance" among other things! I have found no baptismal record for Thomas' and Mary's first child Elizabeth. But, then comes the record, in Croglin 2 November 1814, of the burial of Thomas Scholick of Lowhouse, parish of Weatheral, aged 25. One suspects that the Croglin minister was not of much comfort to Mary; it must have been a trial for her even to arrange for Thomas' burial on sacred ground there. In any case, she returned to the parish in which she had been married to give birth to her second daughter, Mary, baptised 15 January 1815.

How very different that church must have felt to her, dank and cold in the congealed fog of winter (as unheated stone buildings there were still in the 1960's when I studied in England) than it had less than three years before. How could she ever have imagined that she would soon be married again, and live a decade beyond the biblical three score years and ten in the prosperous and well-educated community of Abbotsford, far across the sea in Canada East? But, that was what did happen, following her marriage in Renwick, 22 January 1816, to my 2-greats-grandfather Isaac Wallace. Isaac's best man was his brother Jacob, who married Rachel Watson of Kirkoswald 12 May 1819, just prior to following his brother overseas to Abbotsford.

According to the LDS Index, only three Elizabeth Salkelds were born in Cumberland county during that time, all within walking distance of each other. One was born in Renwick 1779 (she would be only 11 in 1790, when Mary was born), and died in Renwick still named Salkeld in 1843, consistent with the record that an Elizabeth Salkeld of Renwick married shoemaker Joseph Salkeld in 1812. Another was born in Croglin 1775. I am indebted to Robert Salkeld of Salisbury, Wiltshire, for the information that this Elizabeth is mentioned in her father's will, proven 1803 at Carlisle, as being married to a Gibson, probably to Thomas Gibson at Cumrew 1793. The third Elizabeth was born to Thomas & Ann Salkeld of Unthank, parish of Addingham, 29 May 1771. The only possible marriage in the Index for Cumberland to match them is that in the parish of Melmerby, 1 September 1768, of Thomas Salkeld and Ann Storey. This then is the source of Isaac and Mary's son's name William Story.

At this point, I got in touch with the Family History Society of Cumbria, and promptly received a letter from another descendant of my Elizabeth, Geoff Nicholson, a professional genealogist and chair of the Northumberland & Durham FHS. He had located our Elizabeth in the 1851 census, living with her son Martin, his direct ancestor, in Foresthead, parish of Farlam, where she was buried 22 June 1854, and was able to add eighty new members to my family tree. But, it hadn't come easily - there is no baptismal record for Martin Nicholson, in Kirkoswald or in any of the surrounding parishes. He appears in 3 censi, two parish marriage records, and his burial record, so he certainly believed that he was born in Kirkoswald in 1798. His second marriage record, to Ann Raine, the Garrigill blacksmith's daughter, states that his father was Isaac, Elizabeth's burial record states that she was the widow of Isaac Nicholson, and there was only one Isaac Nicholson married to an Elizabeth from the Kirkoswald area at the time. So, there is no room for doubt about the family connection. But, was the minister so far into the sacramental wine the day Martin was baptised that he forgot to write it in the register? Or, did Isaac not pay him enough? (I have found several records of original register entries being furiously scratched out by a minister who noted that he had not been paid!)

The move from Renwick/Kirkoswald to Farlam took place because the Kirkoswald coal mines were worked out early in the 19th century. When the Farlam mines in turn were declining, about 1890, Elizabeth's grandson Isaac, Geoff's great-grandfather, moved from Cumberland to Durham to work in the coal fields there. Geoff believes that his grandfather was the first in the family to have sufficient education to read and write, and that his father was the first to not work in the mines.

Of Jane Heatherington, there are two certain records in England. One is the baptism of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to Thomas Wallace and Jane at the Redwing (Congregational) chapel of Alston, 19 February 1794. There is a record in the parish of Stanhope, co.Durham (the parish immediately to the east of Alston; Alston reported to the bishop in Durham, not to Carlisle) of the marriage of Thomas Wallace and Jane Heatherington on 18 May 1793. Then, there is a record of the burial of a Jane Wallace aged 55 of Scalehouses, parish of Renwick, 10 December 1814. This is the only occurrence of that name that I could find in that area at that time, and her death then is consistent with Isaac Wallace's father being a widower when he came to Canada in 1819. If her age in this record is correct, Jane was born 1 July 1759 to William Heatherington of Tynehead. Probably he, and the Heatheringtons in Stanhope, were lead miners. At some time between 1794 and 1814, my Wallaces must have moved from the Alston moor to Renwick.

This matches the history of lead mining in the area. Tynehead lead was first mined by the Romans, who built the still-spectacular earthworks of Epiacum two miles north of today's Alston town. A millenium later, it was quickly taken by William the Conqueror to control its mines. However, the wildness of the area led it to be split between Scottish and English control for 700 years, during which time the English tried to protect the miners and their produce, the Scots to control civil affairs. Definitely a state of affairs to select for street-smart and resilient people! But then came the food crises of the 1790's, lead prices began to slide downward, and employment slumped.

Parish records from anywhere in the Pennines have limited usefulness for one who would trace family relationships. A substantial portion of the population were 'nonconformist', that is, of a protestant religion other than the Church of England. Most of my ancestors there were Methodists, who generally considered themselves Anglicans, but the Church of England strongly disagreed. From the Act of Uniformity of 1559, aimed especially against dissenting Protestants, until 1753, nonconformist marriages in England were illegal, so few records of them have survived. And, nonconformist cemeteries were not legal until 1880! However, Church of England parishes were required to provide relief under the Poor Laws to those unable to support themselves if, but only if, they could prove residence in the parish. So, it seems that many nonconformist parents christened their children in the state church to assure them of a parish residence. No fewer than four times as many Salkeld birth records of the area are recorded prior to 1800 as of their subsequent marriages or deaths. It wasn't due to emigration - the population there increased steadily between 1800 and 1850.

Parish records were until a few years ago considered private property by many British clergy, and not made available for microfilming. So, most LDS microfilms are of bishops' transcripts. These have a further drawback - they were often hurriedly scribbled on any handy piece of paper just before the annual visit of the bishop. Details noted in the original parish records (required by law to be written on proper parchment), that enabled the minister to remember which family was which, are often omitted, and the handwriting has to be seen to be believed. And, no equivalent of the bishops' transcript system seems to have existed in Scotland prior to 1855. So, microfilms alone are rarely adequate to trace the ancestry of common names of the area, Hetherington, Gill, Salkeld and Watson in particular. (There is now a central repository of registries for the area in Carlisle, which will help future researchers a bit as long as it doesn't burn down as the matching one in Ireland did.)

the village of Garrigill a few years ago, with St.John's chapel still at its center Ann Dearstyn's letter provides the link to Elizabeth Wallace, who married Thomas Millican in 1793 at St. John's chapel, Garrigill, had 8 children besides Joe (who was born 4 December 1795), and is buried at Garrigill along with her husband and most of her children. Thomas was a Methodist preacher; a John Millican was one of the first Methodist preachers in the area, ca.1760-80. Joe died at Howgillside 9 February 1849, a surveyor. So, he could not have personally given the bible to Isaac Wallace in 1855. Probably, it was returned to Isaac as the son of the original donor. In any case, Julia Robinson's son Alan still has the bible, a large table-size volume with brittle but still perfectly clear pages.

The only possible parents for my Thomas, William and Elizabeth Wallace in the LDS records for the Pennines are a John & Elizabeth Wallis of Aimsaugh, Alston, with children Thomas baptised 3 Jan 1764, Elizabeth 8 Oct 1769 and William 7 Jan 1775. They were married in Garrigill 1759 as John Wallace and Elizabeth Johnston, and also had children Joseph, Ann, John, Job, and Benjamin. After they moved to Howburn Garrigill about 1772, they were again recorded there as Wallace except for William's birth. Elizabeth died in 1778 shortly after their last child died at birth, but I have not been able to identify a burial record for John. I am indebted to Don Salkeld of Abingdon Oxford for the information that a Jane Wallace of Ousbie, widow of a Thomas, left the then substantial amount of 25 pounds to her children in 1733, including 5 pounds to a son John. This matches the family tradition of an estate being divided about this time. Another Thomas Wallace, schoolmaster, is listed as one of 14 "Most Ancient" Wesleyan Methodists of Tynehead & Garrigill at about this time.

Returning to Canadian records, the 1851 census for the Granby area has not survived. The early censi of Canada had severe problems with households who refused to be enumerated. In the words of the introduction to the 1852 census

A very general feeling was found to prevail throughout the Colony, that the Census had some direct or indirect reference to taxation - and in this belief the Enumerators were frequently received most ungraciously, and the information sought was, not only partially, but, in some cases, altogether withheld.

The 1841 census was so badly marred by this and related problems that much of it was redone in 1842. Large portions of the 1852 census, in particular, the Granby area, were not even tabulated for the same reason. The time chosen for the censi until 1911, 1 April, was the worst of times then to travel rural roads, as neither sleigh runners nor wagon wheels are suitable for deep mud mixed with broken ice, the usual state of most roads there at that time of the year. The Granby Leader editorialised on "the impassable condition of the roads", and the resultant frequency of "language quite unsuitable for Lenten-tide" from enumerators, even in 1901.

However, the 1861 census lists Thomas Wallace, wife Anna Watson, children Isaac, William, Julia, George and Mary Elizabeth, and niece Elizabeth Watson, living in a one story wood house on 100 acres, lot 1 range 3 Milton Township (the red square in the map above), with 5 milk cows and 2 horses. Thomas' sister Jane (Wallace) Gillespie is also listed, with husband Charles and two children. In 1871, Thomas and family are shown as having 200 acres on lot 14 range 4, with 2 houses, 3 barns, 2 carriages, 3 ploughs, 25 milk cows, 3 horses, 5 pigs and 4 hives of bees. The produce of the farm in 1871 included 120 cords of heating wood; obviously land was being cleared. I assumed that they had moved, until I noticed that they still had the same neighbours!

Originally, land in Lower Canada was held in the French seigniorial manner, essentially a hierarchical tenancy. Since United Empire Loyalists (one imagines, those of Scottish extraction in particular) refused to be subject to such a system, new grants, from 1791, were decreed to be "in free and common soccage", 100 acres for a head of household, 50 acres for a single person. The Eastern Townships, Granby included, were laid out in nominally 200 acre lots for this purpose. But, as the 1838 report of Lord Durham put it,

On actual recent survey it has been found that no one lot agrees with the diagram on record. The lines dividing the lots, instead of running perpendicularly according to the diagram, actually run diagonally ... the lines dividing the ranges are so irregular as to give to some lots two and a half times the extent of others, though they are all laid down in diagram as of equal extent; there are lakes ... that are entirely omitted ... I have no reason for believing that the surveys of other townships are more accurate....

The Introduction to the "List of Lands Granted by the Crown in the Province of Quebec" (1891), written by the Deputy-Registrar of Quebec, adds

The Surveyor-General ... did not occupy himself nearly so much in controlling the surveys as in the selection of the best lands which he pointed out to the favourites of the administration ... Many professed surveys ... were made by persons who had never been on the ground ... the interior plan was filled up ... according to the fancy of the surveyor ... there [is still] considerable confusion and uncertainty as to the original title deeds ... conceded from 1796 to 1840.

There were about seventy such "favourites", who gained control of no less than 4600 square kilometres of the Eastern Townships by 1809 - one Thomas Ainslie obtained some 19 square kilometres of Granby Township. In 1823, the government finally acted to correct the abuses - among the forfeited land was most of the holdings of Ainslie. And so, as Isaac Wallace put it, "the Land of the Township of Granby [fell] into the hands of Government". The layout of Granby was accurately recorded only in 1842, in a map "drawn principally from actual survey" by A.Wells for the British American Land Company.

So, the 1861 census used in the area a land location system completely different from the provincially accepted one - for example, the total area of the farms sharing Range 3 Lot 1 in Census District 1 of the Township of Milton with Thomas Wallace is 3330 acres, about the area of an entire range. The French village of St.Cécile was well to the east of the English Milton East, but the federal and Quebec governments considered the whole south half of Milton township. to be St.Cécile de Milton. And, as if that isn't enough, a map of "Shefford, Iberville, Brome, Missisquoi and Rouville, Canada East" published by H.F.Walling in 1864, purporting to show all the family names of the area and their locations, doesn't show Thomas Wallace. (Possibly one had to pay to be listed.) It's taken a while to sort out!

By 1851, the farm of Isaac and Mary Wallace was part of Abbotsford village; in 1861 Mary was recorded with their daughter Isabella Watson in Milton. I have found no entry for Isaac Wallace in 1861, 1871 or 1881, however my aunt Maud was told that he was looked after by my great-grandfather Thomas - Thomas was the witness at Isaac's burial 10 May 1882. There is a family story that the elder Isaac became extremely anti-Papist in his later years, even going so far as to twice attempt to burn down a local Catholic church! Possibly the embarrassment over this, and that most enumerators were French and therefore "Papist", resulted in his name remaining unmentioned at census time.

Jacob Wallace is described as "of the township of Shefford, farmer" at his death in 1849; possibly he spent his last years with his cousin Thomas, for two of his children, Jane and Jacob, had established farms near Thomas' in Shefford township by 1861.

Contrary to what Mary McKerley thought, my 2-greats grandfather Thomas Watson and his family could not have arrived in Canada with the Wallaces - his son Joseph Mark was born in England in 1832 according to census records.

The Milton homestead, 1898 A Church of England mission at Milton Corners, as it then appears on maps, was established in 1843; it became a full church, Milton East, in 1851. My great-grandparents Thomas Wallace and Hannah Watson were described as residents of Milton at the time of their marriage at Abbotsford in 1842. The main part of the house in which my mother was born is still in use. It is on today's highway 137 a bit over a kilometre north of the east-west road that joins St.Pie, St.Cécile-de-Milton and Roxton Pond, in the notch of a Y intersection; the old road branches to the right, the new (137) to the left. (The veranda has been removed, the house stuccoed, and the wing containing the kitchen, pantry and hired man's room replaced by a shed about the same size.)

By 1881, only three children remained in Milton, William, Archie & Minnie; by 1891, the entry is for my grandfather A E Wallace, wife Stella and son Frederick. The Granby Mail for 10 September 1898 records that grandfather won 1st place at the Shefford County Fair for his orchards. Archie's brother George and his family had a farm just to the north in 1891, but moved to the south side of Denison Avenue in 1901. (A Wallace St. there was named after him.) Thomas was a "gentleman" in 1891, living in Granby with his wife Hannah and daughter Minnie.

There are four Irwin-Wallace marriages in my family. I am indebted to Margery Strom of Sherbrooke Quebec for showing that all the Irwins involved descended from James Irwin & Martha Ruddell, both of whom are buried at Abbotsford.

My mother's book, Memories of a Country Childhood, details the family story from there. The "Boyd place" (green in the map above), in which my mother grew up, is also still in use as my mother knew it, complete even to the lilac bush that appears on old family photos - its current address is 487 Dufferin Road.

In 1831 the household of Isaac Wallace included two women born between 1786 and 1817, and that of Jacob Wallace a boy between 1814 and 1817 and a woman between 1786 and 1817, who have not been identified; they may of course be servants, not Wallaces. The relationships of three Wallaces recorded in the Granby area prior to 1900 have not been established: Amarilla b.1854 the wife of M.T.Norris, William May1818-Sep1849 arrived Quebec 1819, and Robert b.1801 married Ann. All the rest are known to be descended from John & Elizabeth Wallace.
The National Archives of Canada hold microfilms of the surviving Canadian censi, maps and land grant records mentioned; the National Library of Canada the Canadian publications cited. The Family History Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Ottawa provided microfilms of the bishops' transcripts for the English parishes, and of the genealogical books. Dr.Richard Virr, Archivist of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal, permitted me access to the original registers of Abbotsford. "The Great Migration" (E.C.Guillet) describes the forces that drove families such as ours to emigrate, and the experiences of emigration. My mother and aunt Maud compiled about half of the Quebec Wallaces, Jack Jefferies of Cochrane Alberta compiled most of the rest. The descendants of Mary Wallace Beebe McKerley were compiled by her gggranddaughter Margery Strom. Henry S Rogers of Bellevue Washington compiled the Ontario descendants.

Sankey of Ottawa
Ancestral Names
other notes on family history