The Milne/Smeed Connection

Family Stories Past and Present


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George Hewitt (1805 – 1893)

#52ancestors Week 9 – Where There’s a Will – George Hewitt (1805 – 1893)

George Hewitt was born in Edgefield, Norfolk, England on 27 September 1805. He was the son of James Hewitt and Mary Hagon. On 6 June 1826, George married Mary Clements in Edgefield.

By 1836, George and Mary had five children: Elizabeth, Mary, Rebecca, John and James. Several years of poor weather and the resulting crop failures had made life difficult for the family. They, along with other family members, took advantage of an assisted emigration scheme to journey to what was then Upper Canada (Ontario).

After one year on a piece of land that was very unsuitable for farming they moved to their land in Blenheim Township, Oxford County. The farm they carved out of the wilderness remained in the family until the early 1990s.

Five more children were added to the family: William, Henry, George, Richard and Thomas. James, George and Thomas all died at a young age. In spite of early hardships and tragedies along the way, George and Mary lived long and prosperous lives together.

George drew up his final will and testament on 10 January 1887. He died on 27 November 1893 and his will was probated 1 December 1893. Sons William and Richard had been appointed as executors. All of George’s personal effects and monetary estate were bequeathed to his wife, Mary. According to the provisions of the will, the “farm and homestead” was also to pass to Mary, to have and use during her natural life “only so as not to interfere with or encumber the freehold title”. Upon Mary’s death (which occurred in 1896) the farm was to pass to youngest son, Richard. All personal effects and estate were then to be sold or divided equally among George’s children except son, John.

According to the 1881 and 1891 Census of Canada, Richard and his family were living on the farm with George and Mary. Given the advanced age of his parents, Richard had probably already been running the farm for some time. George’s son, Henry, had land nearby and son, William, had a farm in Elma Township, Perth County. The sons each received an extra two hundred dollars. The three daughters were all married and they each received one hundred dollars..

So what of my great grandfather, the oldest son, John? George made special mention of him in the will. He stated “my son John who has become unsteady and wasteful in his habits” was to receive ten dollars having earlier been given one hundred dollars (presumably as an advance because of ongoing financial difficulties).

Richard was instructed to pay all costs and expenses for a “decent Christian burial” for George and Mary as well as any other debts so that none of the other heirs would be charged with such payment. Richard carried out these wishes. George and Mary were buried in Plattsville Cemetery, Oxford County and commemorated with a large memorial stone.

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Happy Canada Day!

On the eve of the 150th anniversary of Confederation I have given some thought to my direct ancestors and their families who were present in Canada on 1 July 1867. They lived on farms or in small communities and I don’t know how or if they marked that historic day.

Those early settlers were:

William Collins (1799 – 1881) and Jean Anderson Collins (1798 – 1850) emigrated from Renfrewshire, Scotland ca 1826 and settled in Oxford County and then Waterloo County.

George Hewitt (1805 – 1893) and Mary Clements Hewitt (1807 – 1896) left Norfolk County, England in 1836 and settled in Oxford County the year before the Rebellions of 1837.

John Hewitt (1833 – 1911) left Norfolk with his parents in 1836 and married Elizabeth Collins (1835 – 1881) who was born in Waterloo County.

Charles Milne (1807 – 1856) and Elspet Ross Milne (1808 – 1897) arrived in Wentworth County from Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1846.

Rebecca Cromer Johnson McArthur (1807 – 1902) was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, emigrated to New York City and came to Wentworth County as a widow ca 1850 with two young daughters.

William Milne (1850 – 1932) was born in Dundas, Ontario and married Catherine Johnson (1846 – 1911) who was born in New York City, NY and arrived in 1850 with her mother and sister.

 


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Frances Milne Petterson

Frances Elizabeth Milne was born on 27 May 1908 in Tenby Bay, St. Joseph’s Island, Ontario. She was the daughter of Robert Milne and Ida Hewitt Milne.

Frances married Gustaf Josef (Joe) Petterson on 5 July 1928 in Fort William, Ontario. Frances and Joe had three sons and three daughters. After living in northern Ontario for some years, the family moved to Oakville, Ontario.

Joe died in 1974 and some years later, Frances married Earl Atkinson who also predeceased her.

Frances died on 17 June 2003 at the age of ninety-five.


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Barbara Collins (1836 – 1921)

Barbara Collins was born on 15 February 1836 in Waterloo County, Ontario. She was the daughter of William Collins and Jean Anderson who had immigrated from Scotland some years before.

Barbara married James Riesberry in 1853 and the couple had four children. They moved from Ontario to Iowa but after James died in1898, Barbara moved to Manitoba to be near family.

Barbara died on 20 April 1921 in West St. Paul, Manitoba.

 


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Father and Son Birthdays

Robert James Milne was born on 8 December 1872 at Harper’s Corners, Flamborough Township, Wentworth County. On his twenty-seventh birthday, 8 December 1899, his first child, William John Milne, was born in Wallace Township, Perth County to Rob and his wife, Ida Hewitt Milne.

Robert James Milne

Robert James Milne

William John Milne

William John Milne


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Back to Western Ontario

Western Ontario 2016

This past week Elizabeth and I headed back to Western Ontario for some family visiting. Our journey started with a slower route to Stratford that took us through the tiny village of Washington where our great great-grandmother, Jean Anderson Collins, is buried and then through the village of Plattsville where our great great-grandparents, George Hewitt and Mary Clements Hewitt, are buried.

In Stratford we had a delightful time reminiscing with cousins Joan, Barb and our hosts Marg and Earl. As well, we had some time for some research at the Perth County Archives.  The following morning we met Joan again for some touring around Stratford which included dropping in to see Joan’s son, Jeff and his wife, Donna before we left town.

On to Atwood to visit cousin Kathy and her husband, Barry. Over coffee and homemade muffins Kathy showed us some interesting family memorabilia (stories and photos to follow in later posts). We also met their lovely grandchildren.

Next stop was Elma Centre Cemetery where a number of our Milne, Hewitt and Johnson ancestors are buried.

We spent Tuesday night in Listowel at the Hardwood Haven B&B, a lovely home we had always admired. Our driving and walking tours of Listowel took us to all corners of our childhood hometown. Most important was Fairview Cemetery to visit Mum and Dad.

Before leaving for home on Wednesday morning we met cousins Velma and Frances for coffee and more catching up and reminiscing.

On our drive back to Belleville  we stopped at Crown Cemetery in Puslinch where another great great-grandmother is buried. Last stop, Millgrove where more of our Milnes are buried, followed by a driveby of the location of the land owned by our great great-grandparents, Charles Milne and Elspet Ross.


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A Double Wedding

A double wedding took place on 5 July 1928 in Fort William, Ontario. Frances Elizabeth Milne, daughter of Robert James Milne and Ida Hewitt Milne married Gustav Josef Petterson, the son of Karl Frederick Petterson and Anna Charlotte Gustafson Petterson.

At the same ceremony, Joe’s brother, Thurston Petterson married Irene Collander. The witnesses were Jack Milne and Tauno Collander, the brothers of the brides.

A newspaper account at the time described a quiet but pretty wedding. The brides wore white satin with hose and shoes to match. They carried bouquets of sweetheart roses and lily of the valley. A wedding dinner was held at the Avenue Hotel in Fort William followed by dancing at the Palais.

Frances and Joe