John LITLE and Frances (Fannie) CHILDS
John was from
County Down, Ireland and settled in the the Gatineau Valley, Quebec,
Frances (Fannie) came to the Gatineau Valley in 1834 from Shropshire,
with the William Farmer
July 2, 2010:
Some LITLE Family History
by David Smith
Thanks to Mr. David Smith who has contributed the following important and interesting material regarding
his ancestors, John Litle and Frances Childs, who were early settlers in the Gatineau Valley. There are more
old photos to come.
His background research includes material regarding the conditions of his Scots-Irish ancestors in
County Down and County Antrim at the time of their 1830's emigration to the Gatineau Valley.
Over to Mr. Smith ...
John Litle, the patriarch of the Litle Family of Aylwin Quebec, Canada immigrated to Canada in 1828
and settled in what was then known as Lower Canada (Quebec).
He was a farmer and merchant running the first store and post office in the village. The license to run
the post office was granted in 1854 continuously until his death in 1883 along with his farm of
one hundred and ninety acres. The area he settled in was Aylwin Township, which was mainly settled
by Irish Protestants. He donated land from his farm to the Church and to the Orange Order.
John Litle was born in the County Cavan, Ireland, in 1810 and that was an era of turmoil for the
Presbyterians as both the Catholic and Anglican populations were regarded as higher forms of beings.
Significant Irish History dates around the time of John Litle's birth.
Interestingly Charles Dickens was born a mere two years later and if one uses their imagination it
will bring to mind the time of his childhood when one looks at his novels especially "A Christmas Carol"
and "David Copperfield". Although Dickens was born in England and John Litle in Ireland there were
many similarities as both countries were in deep depression and paupers were the norm not the exception.
Another interesting similarity is that both John and Charles sired large families and each lost a
daughter in their first year. John married much later than Charles but so the children are of different
ages but Charles youngest children matched up in years with John's oldest siblings.
Charles Dickens visited Canada in 1842 a mere four years after the arrival of John and William Litle.
Charles Dickens writing his thoughts "The impression on my mind (about Canada) has been from the first,
nothing but beauty and peace"
While the 1798 rebellion was still raging the Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, decided that
the Irish Parliament should be closed down and that Ireland should be governed directly from Westminster.
Since legislative independence had been granted in 1782, it was necessary for the Irish Parliament to vote
itself out of existence. The government lost the first votes on the Union Bill early in 1799 and was
forced to spend the next year cajoling and bribing members of both houses to ensure success.
The viceroy, Lord Cornwallis, wrote: 'My occupation is now of the most unpleasant nature, negotiating
and jobbing with the most corru
ideas. They were disbanded in 1793, but managed to hide some of their arms.
The United Irishmen were first founded in Belfast by Presbyterians in 1791 - the Scots-Irish. A month later
another club was formed in Dublin, with Presbyterian, Catholic and Episcopalian members. The "Northern Star"
newspapom the west. Most people in Ireland were indifferent: Catholics,
promised full emancipation, generally were in favour and for that reason many Orange lodges petitioned
against it. The Irish parliament passed the Bill in 1800 and the Act came into force on 1st January 1801.
Catholic Emancipation 1801-1829
Pitt had failed to persuade the Protestant gentry to allow Catholic emancipation to be incorporated into
the Union Bill. Nearly all the Penal laws had been removed by 1793 when Catholics had been given the vote.
The only major remaining restriction was that Catholics could not be Members of Parliament.
Pitt promised to get emancipation through Westminster after the Union became law, but he encountered the
resistance of George III, who said that the proposal was 'the most Jacobinical thing I ever heard of'.
Pitt resigned office in consequence. The Whigs favoured emancipation but were almost always in opposition,
and bills failed to get through. A new mass movement was created by Daniel O'Connell, a Catholic lawyer who
created the Catholic Association in 1823, in which the ordinary people could become members by paying a
farthing a week. The government was alarmed by the Association's large open-air meetings addressed by
O'Connell, despite the fact that he was a committed pacifist who had said that 'Liberty is not worth the
shedding of a single drop of blood.'
Photo Source: The Great Hunger, Irleand 1845-1849, page 257
In the end it was the Irish-born victor of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington, who as Tory Prime Minister
decided to support emancipation; he had been persuaded to do so by Sir Robert Peel following the election
of O'Connell in a by-election in County Clare in 1828. The Emancipation Bill was passed in 1829, but
by that time the majority of Irish Catholics were opposed to the Union.
Volunteers Corps Up to 1783
Protestants all over Ireland were used to forming volunteer corps whenever danger seemed to threaten.
For example, in 1760 General Francois Thurot had captured Carrickfergus castle during the Seven Years War
and local volunteers played a key role in forcing him to withdraw. Then in April 1778 Paul Jones, the
American privateer, engaged a Royal Navy sloop in Belfast Lough and seized the vessel after an obstinate
fight. The citizens of Belfast applied to Dublin castle for help but virtually no troops were available.
The American War of Independence was two years old and reports of defeats kept coming in. The first corps
of Volunteers was formed in Belfast and the movement spread rapidly across Ireland: a French invasion
threatened and the government simply lacked the funds to activate the militia.
By 1782 there were 40,000 enlisted in the Volunteers, half of them in Ulster. Strongly influenced by
American ideas, though loyal to the Crown, the Volunteers demanded greater legislative freedom for the
Dublin Parliament. Ulster Volunteers, meeting at the Dungannon Convention in February 1782 presented
their demands. When Lord North's government fell shortly afterwards the incoming Rockingham
administration conceded nearly all that was asked
Most Irish Presbyterians had come originally to Ireland from Scotland to work the land for previous
military service. In 1530 the Little Clan (Litle) of Scotland were driven from their homeland near
the Scotland, England border by King James V because they refused to swear allegiance to the King
of Scotland. They settled in with their English cousins during the remainder of the sixteenth century. pt people under heaven; I despise and hate myself every hour for
engaging in such dirty work.' The parliament in Westminster had no difficulty in approving the Union;
members there shared Pitt's anxiety that only direct rule could stop the French using Ireland as a
base from which to attack England fr of the border and exile them to Ireland where
they would be less trouble to the Crown.
In 1690 many loyal Scots supported the Old Pretender, James II, a Catholic against King William III,
William of Orange 1659-1702, a Protestant which resulted in numerous emigrations to the American Colonies.
The Enlightenment had a strong influence on Ireland and there was a general increase in tolerance,
reflected in the repeal of most of the Penal Laws against Catholics in 1778, 1782 and 1792-93. The new
ideas had a particularly strong impact on the overwhelmingly Presbyterian populations of Counties of
Antrim and Down.
Further west, in mid-Ulster, the ancient rivalries remained very much alive. Here Catholics and Protestants
were roughly equal in number and the dense population of weavers competed with each other to rent scraps
of land close to the linen markets. From the early 1780s there were affrays in county Armagh between gangs,
which rapidly became sectarian. The Protestants called themselves the "Peep o' Day Boys" and the Catholics
formed themselves into the "Defenders".
At first the Protestants were the aggressors, smashing looms, burning homes and maiming their victims. In
south Armagh Catholics were the aggressors. This developed into a general sectarian warfare in the 1790s
and reached a climax when a party of Defenders raided north Armagh in search of Volunteer arms.
The origins of the 1798 rebellion in Ulster
Two of the main influences on the people who supported the 1798 rebellion in Ulster were the War of Independence
in America and the French revolution. For example, in Ballymoney, County Antrim:
The first efforts of the people in America in support of their rights were hailed with joy and gladness in Ireland.
In Coleraine in 1792, a sum of 600 pounds was subscribed for the French National Assembly. When traveling near
Coleraine in 1796 or 1797, a Frenchman called de Latocnaye talked to a young man who spoke to him about fraternity,
equality, taxation, toleration and reform of Parliament.
However, the origins of the discontent can be traced back to earlier years. On 23 December 1770, angry farmers met
at Templepatrick (Co. Antrim) Meeting House, and set out for Belfast to try to release a comrade, who was held
on the charge of "houghing" (deliberately laming) cattle belonging to Waddell Cunningham, a ship owner and speculator.
The problem was that poor tenants on the Upton estate in Templepatrick had not been able to bid high enough (against
speculators like Cunningham) to renew their leases and had been evicted. The farmers were armed with crowbars,
firelocks, pistols and pitchforks, and called themselves the Hearts of Steel. They burned Cunningham's house in
Belfast, they were fired on by the military (who killed 5 and wounded 9), but they did force the authorities to release
The Hearts of Steel (and the Hearts of Oak in Armagh) continued this type of agrarian disturbance in 1771 and
1772, mainly because of:
Heavy rents which are become so great a burden to us that we are not scarcely able to bear ... Betwixt landlord
and rectors, the very marrow is screwed out of our bones.
The crisis was certainly made worse by harvest failures (1770, 1771 and 1772), followed by a slump in the linen
trade in 1773. The Irish parliament rushed through:
An Act for the more effectual punishment of wicked and disorderly persons in Antrim, Down, Armagh, the city and
county of Londonderry and county Tyrone.
In about 1778, because many troops had been sent across to America, local people formed Volunteer companies to
protect the country against a possible French invasion. The Volunteers became a political force with radical
They survived by raiding both English and Scottish Villages and farms.
In 1603 James VI of Scotland inherited the Throne of England. It made no sense to have his English
subjects raiding his Scottish subjects and visa versa. King James ordered his armies to hunt down
the most troublesome of these revivers on both sideser in 1792 was also founded by Presbyterians (the editor was Samuel Neilson). Captain John Nevin of
Kilmoyle, Co. Antrim (member of the Secession church at Ballywatt) was one of the leaders of the local United
Irishmen. He was smuggled through Coleraine in a barrel and escaped to America. An inscription on a
commemorative jug reads:
"To the memory of John Nevin, of Kilmoyle, who was by the Foes of Reform banished from his native home in
June 1798. He lived in the State of Exile 7 years, 11 months, 8 days and departed this life in Knoxville
Tennessee, USA, 19th May 1806. Much lamented by all his friends, acquaintances and Friends to their country."
In Co. Armagh, there was considerable fluctuation in the linen trade, and this may have contributed to the
religious rivalry there. From about 1786, the Protestant Peep O' Day Boys and Catholic Defenders were
involved in violent attacks. The Defenders were well organized, and also had nationalist political objectives.
They became allied to the United Irishmen, although the objectives of the two did not entirely coincide.
The Orange Order was formed in 1795, after the Battle of the Diamond. The Defenders and the Orange Order
brought increased religious tension as they spread though other counties. Many Catholic weavers in County
Antrim were forced to leave their homes, being told to "betake themselves to hell or Connaught".
In April 1798, Camdem wrote that: The most alarming feature of the movement is the appearance of the present
contest becoming a religious one. In fact, the picture, which emerges, is a confusing one. There were several
groups involved in the rebellion, and several others opposing it. The objectives of the rebels ranged from
those who wanted a republic, those who wanted reform, and those who appear to have been most concerned
about economic grievances.
Origins of the Reformed Presbyterian Church
The origins of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Ireland are bound up with the coming of Scottish settlers
to Ulster in the early 17th century. Most were Presbyterians and they soon made a major impact on the religious
life of the province. They were naturally sympathetic towards their co-religionists in Scotland, who drew up
a National Covenant in 1638 in protest against the autocratic policies of Charles I who in 1643, entered
into the Solemn League and Covenant with the English Parliament. One aim of this covenant was `to work for
the reformation of religion in the three kingdoms' and it was warmly approved and signed by many of the Ulster Scots.
The Revolution Settlement of 1690 was welcomed by most Ulster Presbyterians as a vindication of their struggle
for religious freedom. A minority, however, objected to the disregarding of the Covenants and the absence of
any specific recognition of the kingship of Jesus Christ. These `Covenanters', ancestors of modern Reformed
Presbyterians, stood apart from the Presbyterian Church and began to hold separate meetings for fellowship.
They were dependent on visits from Scottish ministers from 1696 until 1757. In 1763 a `Reformed Presbytery' was
formed and rapid growth led to the formation of a Synod in 1811.
Adoption of Union Jack 1801
During the American fight for independence, the Irish had raised a force of United Volunteers, announcing their
loyalty to the Crown, and their influence was used to win an independent Irish Parliament. However, this caused
bloody clashes between Catholics and Protestants, and the Prime Minister of the time, William Pitt, concluded
that direct rule form London was the only solution.
After bribery of the Commons and gentry, Britain and Ireland were formally united, with seats for 100 Irish
members in the Commons and thirty-two peers in the Lords. The red saltire of St Patrick was incorporated in the
Union flag to give the present flag of the United Kingdom (only properly called the Union Jack when used aboard.
This was the Land to which John Litle was born and at eighteen years of age he emigrated from, with a brother
William. Very little is known about their background except for the fact that they were from the County Cavan
and were Presbyterian. There are three parishes in County Cavan which have Litle files, Castlerahan, Knockbride
and Drumgoon. It is assumed that they had been educated as John could read and possessed beautiful handwriting.
Family lore states the two brothers separated around the Ottawa area. John traveled up the Gatineau River and
William heading in another direction. The two brothers never met again to our knowledge. William may have settled
in Upper Canada perhaps Gloucester (Ontario) and another family story is that William may have returned to Ireland
and then came back to Canada at a later date.
They were around the Ottawa area when Lieutenant Colonel John By, who gave his name to Ottawa's earlier incarnation,
Bytown, and is often credited as Ottawa's founder although the settlement predates him. He was responsible for
the construction of the Rideau Canal, built between 1826 and 1832 to allow Canadian boats to travel between
Montreal and Kingston at a safe distance from the sometimes-hostile United States. Queen Victoria's decision in
1857 to make this former sleepy lumber town the permanent capital was largely based on this geography. It was
also a classic Canadian compromise between competing claims to the capital by larger cities. After Confederation
in 1867, Ottawa took on the role of federal capital.
Malaria during the early settlement days:
Among the many diseases that ravaged workers during the building of the Rideau Canal, three of the worst were
dysentery, small pox and malaria. Malaria, extremely rare today in North America, is a mystery disease to many.
It has been suggested by some that malaria was unique to the Rideau, perhaps brought by the soldiers working
on the Rideau who had previously been stationed in tropical climates where malaria was rampant. This isn't so;
a temperate form of malaria was here both before and after the building of the Rideau Canal.
Malaria has been known for centuries, it was first described by early Egyptians in the third millennium B.C.
Malaria is a parasite, plasmodium, of which four species are known. The disease is transmitted to humans by a
particular type of mosquito (varieties of the Anopheles mosquito that will bite more than once). It was
originally thought to be caused by bad air (hence "mal" - "aria" - literally "bad" - "air"), usually blamed
on bad smelling air, such as that coming off a swamp or marsh. During the time of construction of the Rideau
it was referred to a "Lake Fever" or "Swamp Fever".
The life cycle of the parasite begins as a sporozoite that is carried by an Anopheles mosquito and injected
into a human. The sporozoite heads into the liver and reproduces asexually. There are few symptoms at this
time. When sufficient new sporozoites have been produced, they return to the blood stream, penetrating red
blood cells. They reproduce asexually again, forming merozoites. Eventually these infected blood cells burst,
releasing the merozoites. As this stage continues, more and more blood cells are destroyed, and the classic
chills and fever symptoms start to appear in the victim. The cycle at which the chills and fever occurs,
usually 48 hours in temperate malaria and 72 hours in tropical malaria represents the cycle in which the
merozoites burst out of the red blood cells. It is at this stage that Anopheles mosquitoes can pick up the
parasite when taking blood from a host with the disease. Once back in the mosquito, the merozoites develop
into male and female gametocytes. These gametocytes fuse in the mosquitoes gut and produce sporozoites,
which head into the mosquito's salivary glands, ready to infect another host (human).
The type of mosquito in Eastern Canada and the U.S. that transmits malaria is the Anopheles quadrimaculatus.
In the spring it lays eggs singly onto the surface of standing water, usually small ponds and puddles.
When the larva hatch and form into mosquitoes they head out to find a suitable meal, preferring large mammals,
particularly humans. The mosquito usually searches out a suitable host to feed on in early evening,
heading indoors, reaching a peak of feeding activity in late evening and early morning. When feeding on
a human that has merozoites in its bloodstream, the cycle starts. Soon this mosquito has sporozoites in
its saliva, ready to infect the next human it dines on, and the cycle starts all over.
In a temperate area such as the Rideau, it was tertian malaria, Plasmodium Vivax, which was the main culprit.
It would spend 9 months or longer incubating in the liver, allowing it to survive the harsh winters by staying
inside a human until the mosquitoes were out and biting again.
Groupings of people, such as in the canal construction camps, certainly helped the spread of the disease,
allowing mosquitoes to easily transmit the disease from one worker to another. Also, construction areas
provided lots of clean water egg-laying areas (small puddles, etc.) for the mosquito. No one escaped from
malaria, everyone from the highest-ranking officer to the wives and children of immigrant labourers all
suffered from it. There are no definitive records regarding how many deaths due to malaria occurred during
the building of the Rideau Canal. One educated guess (Passfield) is that upwards of 500 men (excluding women
and children) died as a result of malaria contracted while working on the Rideau Canal.
In the 1820s and 1830s the only known cure, or at least a medicine that could mitigate some of the symptoms,
was Quinine. Quinine bark had been used since the late 1600s to treat malaria, but it was the isolation of
quinoline alkaloid in 1820, named Quinine, that provided a highly potent antimalarial drug. At the time of
the building of the Rideau Canal in 1827-32, it was still quite rare and very expensive; very few could
afford to use it.
Long after the building of the Rideau, it was recognized that mosquitoes, not bad air, were the real cause
of the spread of malaria. Efforts were made to avoid mosquito bites and large-scale mosquito eradication
programs were launched (such as oiling standing water to prevent the larva from hatching into adults).
Still, it wasn't until about 1900 that malaria was essentially eradicated from Ontario. It still exists
today in North America, although it is quite rare with only a few hundred cases being reported each year,
and none within living memory on the Rideau.
For a first hand account of what malaria on the Rideau was like, read the following excerpt from John MacTaggart's
book, Three Years In Canada:
Excerpt from "Three Years In Canada" by John MacTaggart, 1829. Volume II, pages 16 - 21
"Canada has a large, share of disease, like most other countries: it is not so very fine and healthy, as has
been reported. There are many hale old people in it, to be sure; but such persons are to be met with even
in Batavia, the most sickly town on the earth. If we had no occasion to expose ourselves to the weather,
it is probable that we should find ourselves enjoying better health than we commonly do; but who can keep
from exposing themselves? We must go forth on our business, whatever that may be. The majority of mankind
must struggle to live, in order to die. If we can afford to go out and come in when we please, I dare say
there is not any more to be said against sickness in this climate, than in England; but if we have to
wander in the wilderness, amongst swamps, as many have-to sleep amongst them, and be obliged to drink bad
water - the Dysentery, Fever and Ague, and all manner of bilious fevers, are sure to succeed one another.
The Fever and Ague of Canada are different, I am told, from those of other countries: they generally come
on with an attack of bilious fever, dreadful vomiting, pains in the back and loins, general debility, loss
of appetite, so that one cannot even take tea, a thing that can be endured by the stomach in England when
nothing else can be suffered. After being in this state for eight or ten days, the yellow jaundice is
likely to ensue, and then fits of trembling - these come on some time in the afternoon, mostly, with all.
For two or three hours before they arrive, we feel so cold that nothing will warm us; the greatest heat
that can be applied is perfectly unfelt; the skin gets dry, and then the shaking begins. Our very bones
ache, teeth chatter, and the ribs are sore, continuing thus in great agony for about an hour and a half;
we then commonly have a vomit, the trembling ends, and a profuse sweat ensues, which lasts for two hours
longer. This over, we find the malady has run one of its rounds, and start out of the bed in a feeble state,
sometimes unable to stand, and entirely dependent on our friends (if we have any) to lift us on to some seat
This is the most prevalent disorder: sometimes it proves fatal, but not generally so by any means. It leaves,
however, dregs of various kinds behind it, which often end in dropsies, consumptions, &c. Those who have
had it once will most likely have a touch of it every year. A moist, hot summer fosters it very much; and
when we fairly take it, we are rendered useless for any active business for many months. The sulphate of
Quinine, a preparation from bark, is what the doctors administer for the cure of this wearisome distemper:
it seems to be a very potent medicine, but being very dear, poor people are at a loss to procure it. The
Indians are never troubled with any thing of the sort. There is a kind of ague, too, the patient does not
shake with, termed the Dumb Ague: this is very difficult to cure, and mostly affects those advanced
in years. The Lake Fever prevails at Kingston, York, and other towns and villages on the borders of
the Great Lakes. It is often fatal, and the nature of it as yet seems not well understood by the faculty.
In the summer of 1828 the sickness in Upper Canada raged like a plague; all along the banks of the lakes,
nothing but languid fevers; and at the Rideau Canal few could work with fever and ague; at Jones Falls
and Kingston Mills, no one was able to carry a draught of water to a friend; doctors and all were laid
down together. And people take a long time to recover amid these hot swamps; it is not two or three weeks
ill, and then up and well again, but so many months. The Ottawa is conceived to be a very healthy river;
the people on its banks are seldom or never sick; and the Lower Province is much freer from distemper
than the Upper. Stumps in a certain state of decay are said to be dreadfully obnoxious to health."
Excerpt from Pioneer Notes;
It may not be improper here to notice the interesting river Gatineau, which flows from some lakes far in
the interior, traverses Hull, and falls into the Ottawa, in the western front of the township of Templeton.
This wide, and in the upper parts rapid river, is navigable for steamboats, nearly 5 miles from its
mouth, then becomes rapid for about 15 miles, turning several mills, and thence is navigable for canoes, &c.
it is said for 300 miles, passing through an interesting vale full of natural riches, and abounding in
views of the wildest and most romantic scenery, and it is probable that at no very distant day, the
district will be explored, and settlements established on the banks of this river beyond the rapids or
falls, some of which are stated to be 100 feet in height.
"John Litle travelled up this Gatineau River a distance of fifty miles to the area which became Aylwin Quebec
and started the process of land clearing for his farm"
John Litle married a Frances Fannie Childs in Canada in April 13,1848 and they had 12 children. Francis Fannie
Childs was born in Shropshire England an Anglican (Wesleyan Methodist) in 1826 married in1848. They
cleared the land and homesteaded in the Aylwin Township in the County of Ottawa in the Province of Canada
and were deeded the crown land property in1866 for one hundred and seventy eight acres for which he
paid one hundred and six dollars and eighty cents. The name on the deed was John Litle "Merchant".
Many farmers worked the land in this era without getting a deed until other people started to move
into the area and claimed the un-deeded land
Below is am excerpt from the publication "Up the Gatineau" which documents the arrival of the Childs family to this area.
"Up The Gatineau"
In the 1830's immigrants were catching wind of the opportunities for settlement in the Gatineau region;
families came in large groups for support. William Farmer headed one such group.
William Farmer came from Bridgenorth, Shropshire, in the year 1834. The entourage Farmer brought with him included
his family and a housekeeper, a lawyer, a tutor, a millwright, a waiter and his family of seven, a gardener and
seven family members, and a general purpose man with his nine relatives, in addition to the livestock and
financial resources to support the fifty-six immigrants, that was typical of a wealthy immigrant of that time.
Despite his retreat to Upper Canada in 1846, William Farmer's endeavour resulted in the naming of Farmer's
Rapids where his settlement landed on the Gatineau There appears to have been some obscurity about the
origin of the name Farmer's Rapids, those falls in the Gatineau River upon which the plant of the Gatineau
Power Company (now Hydro-Quebec) is located, about four miles from its confluence with the Ottawa. The main
facts in this short paper (see credit below) were assembled by one of the Farmer family in the previous
generation and presented to the Power Company at the time of its development of that part of the river
for its generation of hydroelectric power.
The man who gave his name to this historical site was William Farmer, the author's own great-grandfather,
who came from Bridgenorth, Shropshire, in the year 1834. The family is of considerable antiquity in that
part of England and there is in the family archives a record of a will dated 9th of September 1485 and
probated on the 8th of November following. The lineage of the family is clearly traced back to that time.
Many interesting details of the family history have been preserved, but the subject of the paper presented
here is William Farmer, the sixth generation of that name to occupy Brockton and New House. He was born on
February 4th, 1794, and was baptized at Sutton Maddock, England, the next day; he died at Brockton House,
Ancaster, Ontario, on March 7th, 1880, aged 86 years. He was the father of twelve children, seven sons
and five daughters, all of who lived to a good old age. The last to survive was the youngest daughter who
died in British Columbia in June 1934 at the age of 92. Seven of the children, five by his first wife and
two by his second were born in England. The last five of his children were born in Canada, at Farmer's Rapids
on the Gatineau River.
William Farmer possessed quite large estates in England, but in the month of March 1834 he sold the
greater part of his property and began actual preparations for leaving the home that the Farmer
family had been born in, and lived and died in, for over 250 years. When these preparations were
complete, William Farmer with his wife and seven children left Brockton Court, where his mother w
as still residing, on the 6th of June 1834. Four fine grey horses drew the large stagecoach,
which conveyed the family to Birkenhead, near Liverpool. It left for Birkenhead at nine o'clock
in the morning and arrived at sundown.
The vessel chartered exclusively by Mr. Farmer for his voyage out to Canada was the Kingston of
Liverpool under the command of a Captain Willis, a Yorkshire man. The ship drew about 430 tons,
had nine square sails, and was fitted out very comfortably. She had a cabin with berths, a sitting
room, and a dining room on the deck.
Mr. Farmer engaged and brought with him a colony of ten families, a total of forty-five souls, in
addition to himself and his own family with general house-servant, housemaid, and nurse. The heads
of these families included various journeymen and craftsmen as well as a lawyer and a tutor.
Mr. Farmer also brought some valuable livestock. For example, there was the famous dark grey
mottled Clydesdale stallion called 'Briton'-four years old-and Briton's mother,
a grey Clydesdale mare bought in Scotland. There were also an iron-grey mare, two Durham bulls, two
Hereford bulls, six cows (Durham, Hereford, and Highland Scottish), two Southdown rams, fourteen
Southdown ewes, one Leicester ram, thirteen Leicester ewes, one Berkshire boar, one Shropshire boar,
nine sows, ten dogs (pointers, bull terriers, and a fox terrier), besides a number of game cocks and
hens. Mr. Farmer provided adequate food and fresh water for all this stock. Moreover, on stormy days
the horses were all suspended in strong canvas slings with pulley blocks from the beams of the decks
above. Not a single animal was lost on the voyage.
They sailed from Liverpool early in the morning on Waterloo Day, the 18th of June 1834, and arrived
at Quebec at sundown on Friday, the 8th of August so that the voyage took fifty-one days. This whole
undertaking by one man must be unique in Canadian annals; it was recorded in the Québec newspaper
from which it was copied into the Montreal Gazette where it was published on the 26th of August 1834.
The packages which Mr. Farmer brought from Shropshire to Canada would take too much space to enumerate
and details of their contents would perhaps set antique collectors' eyes agog were they to be described.
But most of the articles are still in the family, as well as invoices for most of the items specially
purchased for furnishing the Canadian home. Besides forty-two cases of household effects only, all
labelled and numbered, there were coils of rope, tools and implements, barrels, bags of barley, peas
and wheat, several barrels of glass of all kinds for table use, and many other articles. Later
Mr. Farmer sent to Coalport in Shropshire for additional supplies. There were five or six dozens of
champagne glasses besides dozens of wine glasses of various styles and sizes, finger bowls and decanters.
Barrels of china contained no less than six Coalport dinner sets, two dozen meat dishes, vegetable
dishes, gravy boats, fruit and fancy dishes, sugar bowls, cream pitchers, cups and saucers, six
large beer pitchers, and so on.
As a sample of the contents of some of the forty-two cases: case No. 1 contained curtains, sideboard
and cellaret, two beds, bolsters, pillows, linen, a clock-case, blankets, waistcoats, clothes,
tags, and bed quilts. The clock-case was for an 8-day clock that had been in the family for
several generations and is in fact still in their possession. The sideboard and cellaret had been
made by the order of Lord Bradford and bought by William Farmer; these are among the items still
in the family.
Case No. 11 held bureau, looking glasses, old and new scraps, clothes, pictures, and clockworks.
The bureau belonged originally to the Yates family of Higford, the first Mrs. Farmer having been a
Yates. It came into the possession of the Farmer family in 1827 and is believed to be still there
somewhere. Case No. 12 was labelled "Mrs. Farmer's bureau, and clothing to be used by her on
first landing in Canada."
On August the 8th, as mentioned above, the "Kingston" made fast at Québec and on the following day
a complete transfer of passengers, livestock, and cargo was made to the steamer "Canada"-Captain Douglas
in command. William Farmer's diary states that she was the largest steamer on the main line running
at that time on the St. Lawrence between Montrêal and Québec. She left Québec late in the evening
of the 9th for Sorel and arrived there about noon on Sunday, the 10th of August. At Sorel, Mr. Farmer
rented a house on the Green for himself and family; the other families were boarded at various f
armhouses in the vicinity. William bore the expenses of every individual from the time of leaving
England until the year he left the Gatineau.
The livestock was sent to the farm of one Alfred Nelson at a place called Pottenduer, near Sorel.
This place does not appear on present-day maps of the area, but perhaps vestiges of it still remain.
Thus located, all remained until the 23rd of November; but during this period a fire destroyed a
great part of Sorel, including the house occupied by Mr. Farmer and his family.
The whole party left Sorel on November 23rd and on the night of the 26th they arrived at
"the falls on the Gatineau River in the Township of Hull, Lower Canada, about six miles from Bytown."
On that very night, both the Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers froze over and there was an abrupt end to
The property to be occupied contained about 2,400 acres of wood and clearing, with a house "of
extraordinary size, sufficiently large to hold all the people we brought out from England with us."
This house was located about 300 yards from and directly opposite, the first drop in the waterfalls.
While Mr. Farmer was at Sorel, Mr. Tiberius Wright, son of Philemon, sent his agent to call.
Philemon Wright had come from New England in 1800 and had settled on the north shore
of the Ottawa where he founded the town of Hull and began the exploitation of the timber wealth of
the district. A cousin of the author, who provided most of the details of this resume, was of the
opinion that it was the influence of Tiberius Wright which persuaded Mr. William Farmer to take
up the site on the Gatineau since known as Farmer's Rapids. The author now feels there is every
reason to believe, however, that the site had been selected before the party left England and
recommended by Mr. Henry Devey; he was a brother of the second Mrs. Farmer and a senior official
in the Colonial Office at the time. It hardly seems reasonable to suppose that anyone would make
such very elaborate preparations involving so many men, women, and children without any definite
idea of where he and they were going.
During 1835 Mr. Farmer erected a large sawmill, and during 1836 he built a flour and gristmill
nearby. At this time he had 100 employees, in addition to all those who had accompanied him from the
Old Country. In 1843, he built a dam and completed a new house, which he occupied on the 24th of
January 1844. Spring floods caused severe damage to the dams, but necessary repairs were finished in
time to start log cutting up the river during the winter of 1844. Deals were sold for 7 pounds 10 pence
($30 Halifax currency) per standard hundred in the year 1845.
Lucien Brault, the eminent historian, refers to a canal 3 miles long, built presumably to get the logs
round the rapids to the sawmill, but this mention occurs in his remarks on the Gilmour Company.
(See article by David Smith regarding curling in the Ottawa area and the influence of Alan Gilmour).
The author's relatives have stated that it was Mr. Farmer who built this canal-or that at any
rate he did build an extensive canal, and that, incidentally, he lost a good deal of money in
doing so. The author owns a fine pencil drawing of the Gilmour sawmill, made by William Farmer's
son of the same name.
In 1846, the whole property-mills, logs, dams, timber limits, and so on-was turned over to Alonzo Wright,
Philemon's grandson, who continued operations at the site for a year or two. In 1855 William Farmer
moved to Upper Canada and ultimately to the village of Ancaster, near Hamilton, Ontario, in Wentworth
County at the head of Lake Ontario.
Names of those who came to Canada with William Farmer in 1834
Jemima Rudkins-housekeeper and nurse
William Dukes-a lawyer
Arthur Vickers-tutor, a Cambridge student
Thomas Barnfield-a miller and wheelwright
Mr. Williams-groom and waiter; Mrs. Williams, his wife; George, Joseph and
James Williams, his sons, and three daughters
Amos Bonell - a millwright; Mrs. Bonell his wife; Catharine, George, William, Fanny and Thomas Bonell
William Furnival-blacksmith (Mrs. Bonell's brother)
Samuel Langford-gardener; Mrs. Langford, his wife; Mary, Samuel, William, Richard, Annie
and Bessie Langford
Thomas Childs-a general purpose man; Mrs. Childs, his wife Sarah Elizabeth; Bessie, Thomas,
Richard and James Parton were the natural children of Sarah Elizabeth from a previous marriage to
Richard Parton who were Mr. Childs' stepchildren.
Peter, Fanny, Mary and Annie Childs were his natural children.
This is the first record of Francis Fanny Childs who became the wife of John Litle, April 13, 1848.
James Green-a mason; Mrs. Green, his wife
Ellen Smith-a general house-servant (Green's sister-in-law)
William Adderley-a sawyer; Mrs. Adderley, his wife and three young children
I was re-reading an old book written by John Gourlay
Entitled "History of the Ottawa Valley". It is badly written; he jumps all over the
geographic area and dates very little.
I found a reference to the "Aylwin" Family apparently located at Hurdmans Bridge. It states
that one brother was a politician and a judge seen frequently in the Aylmer Court
before the appointment of McKord. Apparently there was a political power group influenced by the
Wrights (Tiberius, Ruggles, Alonzo & later Philemon) whose future was in the lumber
industry and they insured their future by replacing a lot of strategic people. Of course
Tiberius Wright was an M.P. for a long time too. !! (It was said Mr. Wright drew 63,000 acres in
all from the Government, they all had Big Houses. Nice work.)
Aylwin Presbyterian church was served by a student in the summer and in
winter by an itinerant on a monthly basis. John Gourlay & Rev Corbett made their first visit north of
Wakefield in 1856.
One passage: "The Little's beside the Aylwin church are very substantial farmers and generous, kind, obliging men.
One of their sisters, an industrious young woman, is married to Mr. Moody, a connection of the Moody's
in this city and Nepean. (Moodie Drive, ex Reeve of Nepean Township, Aubrey Moodie).
In our excursion nearly 40 years ago we started up in a bark canoe and landing on the point
at a bend or curve in the stream, we saw a whole leet of both bark and log canoes, after
the service in a little log church Mr. Thomas Mulligan (also from County Cavan, Ireland)
invited all present to dine with him ,"
(Not sure whether the log church is Aylwin or Picanock that's a flaw in his writing.)
Somewhere I have a photo copy of the pages covering Aylwin, Kazabazua and Danford & will snail mail
them to you.
A copy of the book might be in the Library or the National Archives; I know it is out of print. Several
pages in my book are missing so I have no print date. I think it was done as a report.
It is still worthwhile reading.
All John and Francis Fannie Litle's children were born in Aylwin Quebec.
Their first child was a daughter named Sarah Didamia Litle born January 31, 1849.
Sarah married a gentleman by the name of David West about 1867 and they had five children.
Sarah died about 1935.
2 Sarah Didamia Litle b. 31 Jan 1849 died ABT 1935 married ABT 1867 David West
Francis Fannie, Minnie Grant, Jennie, Edna Mae and John.
Francis Fannie West married. Fred Pearl and their three children are Clancy West, Courtland and Mary Jane.
Minnie Grant West was born January 31, 1878 and she married Phillip Sallee born February
12, 1873 they raised five children.
Dorothy Lucille Sallee married Howard Elwell and they had a daughter Susan Sallee Elwell
Edna Vivian Sallee married James March and they have two children Jean and Bob
Phyllis Evamay Sallee was born December, 21, 1909 and married John K. Law born December 25, 1899 and
died in March of 1953 They had two sons John Philip Law was born September 7, 1937, John was
raised in California, USA, by his mother and became an actor. He has acted in more than forty
films and is perhaps best remembered for his role a Sinbad. John has one daughter---------.
The second son Tom Law born May 23, 1940 married Lisa Bachelis.
Frank West Sallee married 1937 Betty Bennett and they raised two children.
Ralph Litle Sallee married 1945 Harriett Ragan.
Jennie West m. Lee Goode
Edna Mae West married John Groover and they produced two daughters.
John West, no information on John
... David Smith
(much more to come when I get a round tuit ... Al)
Smith, Alexa Pritchard, Ken Armstrong and Al Lewis
Back to Bytown or Bust - History and
Genealogy in the Ottawa, Canada, area