The Milne/Smeed Connection

Family Stories Past and Present


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Rebecca Cromer Johnson McArthur

52 Ancestors Week 3 – Longevity

 

Rebecca Cromer Johnson McArthur

Rebecca CROMER (?) was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland on 10 May 1807.

She lived a long life in three countries, married and was widowed twice and raised three daughters mainly on her own in what must have been difficult circumstances.

The (?) follows the name Cromer because although it appears as Rebecca’s maiden name on one of her daughter’s death certificates no record of the surname Cromer can be found in Ireland at the time in question. The name may have been mispronounced or misspelled on the document. This has led to difficulty in tracing Rebecca’s early life and her ancestors.

It is not yet known when Rebecca left Ireland, however, by 1845, Rebecca was married to William JOHNSON, a seaman, and living in New York City.  They attended First Mariners’ Church which was located on Roosevelt Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. William and Rebecca probably lived in this area whose proximity to the docks and the notorious Five Points district would make it a none too desirable location for raising a family.

Nevertheless, the baptismal register of the Reverend Henry Chase of First Mariners’ Church, New York shows that William and Rebecca’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was baptized on 6 May 1845 and daughter, Catherine, was baptized on 30 September 1847.

At some time before 1850, Rebecca became a widow for the first time. Rebecca and a new spouse, Daniel McARTHUR, also a seaman, were in Ontario in 1851 when their daughter, Agnes Rebecca, was born. The growing family has not been located in either the 1850 U.S. Census or the 1851 Census of Canada.

In the 1861 Census of Canada, Rebecca and her three daughters are living in Wentworth County. Daniel is not in residence at the time. He died on 15 May 1862 and Rebecca became a widow for the second time.

Daniel’s will in 1862 refers to Rebecca Johnston, not naming her as his wife. He leaves her $10, a dark grey cow and one half of his bedding. He also leaves Mary and Catherine Johnston $10 each. To his daughter, Agnes (no surname given), when she reaches the age of 20 he leaves his land, $100, and all other possessions.

The wording of the will and the bequests suggest that Rebecca and Daniel never actually married even though her tombstone refers to her as “widow of Daniel”. The fact that Daniel is recorded in the will as a seaman like Rebecca’s first husband, William Johnson, suggests that they may have met in New York City.

Daughter Agnes married Henry Quillman and the couple resided on the farm that had been left to Agnes. Daughter Mary Johnson married William Wallis and that couple moved to the Stoney Creek area. Daughter Catherine Johnson married William Milne. Catherine and Billy lived in Millgrove until about 1879 when they moved to Elma Township in Perth County.

According to census records from 1871 to 1901, Rebecca lived with Agnes and Henry until her death which occurred on 14 September 1902. The 1901 census provided Rebecca’s birth date of 10 May 1807 and the age of ninety-three. When she died the following year, her obituary in the Hamilton Spectator and the official death registration both state Rebecca’s age as ninety-seven. The Memorial Inscription says she was 98. Whichever of these ages is correct, the Spectator was right in naming Rebecca as one of the oldest members of her community.

        

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A Marriage at Black’s Tavern

William Milne and Catherine Johnson were married on October 3, 1871.

According to the marriage registration, Billy and Catherine were married at Black’s Tavern, Flamborough West Township, Wentworth County. The tavern was owned by Joseph Black, the father-in-law of Billy’s brother, Charles.

William was the son of Charles Milne and Elspet Ross. Catherine was the daughter of William Johnson and Rebecca Cromer.

More detail about the lives of Billy and Catherine can be found on the Milne page of this website.


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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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Agnes Rebecca McArthur Quillman

Agnes Rebecca McArthur was born on 4 June 1851 in Ontario. She was the daughter of Daniel McArthur and Rebecca Cromer Johnson. Agnes had two half-sisters, Mary Elizabeth Johnson Wallis and Catherine Johnson Milne.

Agnes married Henry Quillman ca 1871. The couple had four sons and one daughter. They resided for many years on their farm in Flamborough West, Wentworth County.

Henry died in 1914. Agnes died on 27 August 1933 in Flamborough West. They are buried at Crown Cemetery, Morriston, Wellington County which is a short distance from their farm.

Agnes Rebecca McArthur Quillman


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William Milne 1850 – 1932

William Milne, who died on this day in 1932, was the seventh child of Charles Milne and Elspet Ross. He was born at Dundas, Ontario on March 6, 1850. He was always called Billy by family and friends and was said to be extremely stubborn.

Billy married Catherine Johnson at Black’s Tavern, Flamborough West Township, Wentworth County on October 3, 1871.

In the late 1870’s, William and Catherine moved first to Grey Township, Huron County and then to Elma Township, Perth County where they purchased land at West 1/2 Lot 1, Concession 7.

Only two of Billy and Catherine’s four children lived to adulthood. Mary Rebecca and William Johnston (Willie) died in childhood.  Robert James, the eldest of Billy and Catherine’s children, lived most of his adult life in Grey Township, Huron County and at the family farm in Elma. In the early 1920’s, Charles Alexander moved his family to Texas.

Catherine died on October 31, 1911 after a series of strokes. Billy died on May 30, 1932. Both are buried with their son, Willie, in Elma Centre Cemetery a short distance from their farm.

William (Billy) Milne


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A Mystery

Henfryn Brickworks Brick – Charles Alexander Milne

William Milne and his wife, Catherine Johnson Milne, moved from Wentworth County to W1/2, Lot 1, Concession 7, Elma Township, Perth County in the 1880s. They were accompanied by their sons, Robert James, Charles Alexander and William, Jr.

The closest village to their farm was Henfryn which was just across the boundary line in Grey Township, Huron County. As a child, I remember spending an afternoon with my parents and other relatives visiting an old friend of theirs who lived at what remained of an old tileworks. In earlier days it had produced the yellow brick which is quite prevalent in that part of Ontario.

We children amused ourselves playing around the old kilns while the adults reminisced. Today nothing is left of the old yard.

In July, Elizabeth and I visited our cousin, Kathy Milne Duncan and her husband, Barry. They showed us the brick pictured below which had been found by a friend of theirs who was working on a house addition which was making use of reclaimed brick to blend with an original structure.  The friend knew that Kathy would want to have this particular brick since it had been signed before being fired. The inscription reads:

June 23, 1902

Henfryn     Charles Milne

This was William and Catherine’s son, Charles Alexander, who at the time was about 27 years old. He would marry in 1905 and move back to the Wentworth area before moving to Texas where he spent the rest of his life.

What was special to him about that date that caused him to autograph that particular brick? What twist of fate caused it to be found over a hundred years later and returned to a family member?

Oenfryn Brick


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Family Mementos

Green Glass Salt and Pepper Shakers – Catherine Johnson Milne

The salt and pepper shakers pictured here belonged to Catherine Johnson Milne (1846 – 1911). It is not known when or where Catherine obtained these items. It may have been when she and her husband William lived in West Flamborough, Wentworth County or after they moved to Elma Township, Perth County in the 1880s.

After Catherine’s death, the shakers remained in the family and were eventually passed to their current owner Katherine Milne Duncan who is a great granddaughter of Catherine.

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