November 12, 2016

Meme: Immigrant Ancestor John Greenlees

Thomas Ridout survey of 1821
There is a lot of discussion about immigration in America right now. Tempers have flared, and different groups hold various strong opinions. There is also Brexit, where immigration was a large focus of the recent vote which resulted in the U.K. leaving the E.U.

I've been following this for several months and it occurs to me that those of us in Canada, America, and Australia have immigrant ancestors. Have you researched yours? Do you know who they were, why they came to your country and when? Do you know how they fared once settled in their new land? Were they welcomed? Were they shunned? Was their discrimination based on their religion or ethnic origin? These are all questions that are important, and interesting to discover. With that in mind, I'm the dedicating Saturdays (as many as needed) as the day to join me in discussing your immigrant ancestors.

You will be able to read any you are interested in by using the keyword Immigrant Ancestors. I'm going to share each week what I know of my immigrant ancestors to North America (whether that is USA or Canada)

John Greenlees, my great-great-great-grandfather, was born somewhere in Ireland circa 1791. In 1814 he married Elizabeth Johnston in Galloon Parish, Clogher Diocese, County Fermanagh. He was noted as living in the Parish of Aghalurcher at that time, so it is very possible that is where he was born. 

Sometime between 1819 and 1826 John, Elizabeth and their three eldest children left Ireland for the wilderness of Upper Canada (present day Ontario). We do not know what drove them to leave their home and no ship passenger list has been found to give a more precise year of arrival in their new land. But in November 1826 John put an ad in the local paper about a lost heifer he found on his property. He states that the heifer was seen in August "last" which may indicate 1825. 

In the 1842 census for Nelson, John and family are noted as having lived in "the Province" 21 years so I can narrow his arrival year to circa 1821. Halton County, where John and family settled, was not even opened for settlement until 1816. So we can imagine how wild and rough it would have been. Forests would have covered almost all the land. John would have had to quickly build a log home for his family and his young children ages 2 to 6. He would have needed to clear land to plant crops so the family could survive the winter. Winters can be rough in Canada! 

John and Elizabeth had 4 more children born to them in Upper Canada, and they lived long and fruitful lives. They are both buried in Lowville Cemetery and their tombstone reads:

In memory of John Greenleese who died Nov. 5, 1868 Aged 75 years also Elizabeth wife of above Died Apr. 6, 1872 Aged 84 years & 8 mo's both natives of Ireland.
A few short years of evil past
We reach the happy shore
Where death divided friends at last
Shall meet to part no more. 

 

 

1 comment:

Marian B. Wood said...

Lorine, I like your "meme" and was impressed by how much you were able to uncover about this family!