MAGEE and McGEE Surnames in the Ottawa area

May 26, 2003: 

The following interesting e-mail sent by Brian Bailey, including some
information from Brian P. O'Donnell, provides some history and settlement
facts concerning some early arrivals on the scene in the Ottawa area.

These folks arrived after Philomen Wright (PW) came to the Hull area in 1800 but
before the Irish settlers of Peter Robinson (1823) and the Rideau Canal workers
of c. 1827. The Richmond settlement was established in 1818, and the Perth
settlement was begun two years earlier. The Scottish Emigrant Societies settled
in the Lanark area in 1820.

The correspondence below illustrates many of the problems (and interesting
features!) of doing genealogy and history in the Ottawa area. The names of 
most pioneer families have different spellings (McGee and Magee here), they 
were all Christian, but included the three main Protestant denominations and
the Roman Catholics, and the families became dispersed geographically within the
region and family ties were numerous.

If you are trying to sort out the McGees and Magees on this web site, you are on 
a good page to start with. After reading this page, go to the main search engine
near the top of Bytown or Bust and do seperate searches
for McGee and Magee.

Thanks to Brian and Brian for the following!
... Al
Expanded with some corrections...

Begin forwarded message:

From: Brian Bailey
Date: Wed May 21, 2003 10:43:48 AM US/Pacific
To:,,,,, Brian O'Donnell 
Subject: A little more Magee-McGee history

The Magee-McGee connection among Scottish and Irish Settlers of Lanark and Ramsay Townships, Lanark County and the Thomas D'arcy McGee Connection
Highway 7 between Carleton Place and Perth is the site of a settlement, referred to informally as Boyd's Settlement, after Samuel Boyd (seemingly from Ireland), who was granted Lanark Twp. XII-2E in 1820. This property is now the site of Boyd's Methodist Cemetery. Next to it, along the Highway is a smaller piece of Lanark XII-1 which was granted to John Willows in 1820, an on which St. John's Anglican Church was later built, and exists to this day. Just across Highway 7 is the site of the original cheese factory. Kitty-corner to the cheese factory was the land granted to Scottish settlers James and William McGee. Some time in 1823, it would seem just before the arrival of the Peter Robinson Settlers from Ireland, a group of Irish settlers were granted lots along what is now the Highway proceeding east into the first five or so concessions of Ramsay. These were the McCrearys, the Kinchs, the Dowdalls, the Warrens and the Shepperds. Accompanying the McCrearys was Elizabeth Magee, mother of Elizabeth Magee McCreery, and grandmother of Thomas D'arcy Magee. At least to some extent (and who knows to what extent) the Irish McGees seemed to have spelled their name Magee when they were Protestants (or specifically Wesleyan Methodists.)The Scottish McGees, who were Presbyterians, are a different kettle of fish, and I know nothing of whether they changed spelling, except that they did not do so at the outset of their immigration. I am the descendant of Elizabeth Magee (1756- July 6,1843) who is buried at Boyd's Methodist Cemetery in Lanark Twp., Lanark County. Elizabeth was in 99% likelihood, the grandmother of Thomas D'arcy McGee as you will see below. Elizabeth emigrated with her son-in-law, James McCreery (McCreary, McCrary) (1788-1852)and daughter, Elizabeth Magee McCreery, (1783-1871) settling at Ramsay Line 3 Concession III. T3 when the Irish Settlers arrived, but was he "really" the Scottish William McGee who settled nearby at Lanark XI-1W? That William McGee would have had to be 18 in 1820 to be granted land, so he was at least 42 in 1834. Could William Magee have been his son? The Magees (see below) were Weslyan Methodists - and Irish, to boot. Elizabeth Magee was 67 when she arrived with the McCreerys in 1823. Her daughter was 40 in 1823 and continued to have children until she was 45 (Alice McCreery (1828-1905.) But there is no record of a male Magee in their entourage (unless, of course he was related to Henry F. Magee and Robert Magee of nearby Huntley Twp.). The Wesleyan Methodist records record that a John Magee and his wife Alice, gave birth to a William Magee in 1858 and Elizabeth Magee in 1863 in Ramsay, and that a William Magee and an Elizabeth Magee gave birth to Mary Magee in 1844, Elizabeth Magee in 1846 and Sarah Magee in 1849, again in Ramsay. It seems certain that these were the same William Magee and Elizabeth Dezell who were married in the Presbyterian church in 1834. But there were Wellyan Methodist McGees, too. John McGee married Alice in May 1868, and James McGee married Mary, giving birth to William McGee in 1845. Someone other than me needs to figure out where they all entered the picture. Thus with recurring names and more than one family, the water remains somewhat muddy..... Again from the Wesleyan Methodist Register, in 1869, John and Isabella Magee baptised Annie Magee in Peel township, Wellington County and in 1874 James and Isabella Magee baptised Charles Franklin Magee at nearby (40 miles) North Gower. From the records of Ontario, there was John Magee born at Adophustown in 1860, and another John Magee born at Kemptville the same year. In the 1881 Census that John Magee (b. 1860) was with his bother Joseph McGee (b. 1862), living with his widowed mother Eliza Magee in Kemptville. There was also a John Magee who was married in Ontario to Mary Scott in 1835. John and Elizabeth Magee in Ireland Just to make it interesting there are a few John and Elizabeth Magee marriages in Ireland which would qualify for this line it seems. John Magee married Elizabeth who was born around 1760. John Magee married Suzanna Cook in County Cavan in Ireland, and they had one son, John Magee. Adam Magee (b. 1779) was the father of John Magee who married Elizabeth McClure. Rev. John Magee married Elizabeth Wilmot Peters who was born in 1822 in Canada. and there were others - less likely. ___________________________________________________ From Brian O'Donnell, I have another interesting story (into which I have inserted some dates). John McGee... was born in Ballynahinch, County Down, which happens to be right across the inlet from Carlingford, County Louth where Thomas D'Arcy was born 11 years later. His mother was Prudence McMullen and his father is as yet unknown. ... John first married in 1842 in Ireland to Elizabeth (called Eliza) Barr. They had 4 children, the first one born in Ireland and the rest in Canada. When the family emigrated to Canada, they settled in Lyn, just outside Brockville. Eliza died about 1861 (or quite possibly earlier, even as early as 1852), and in 1862, John re-married, this time to Winnifred Muldoon, 25 years his junior. John and Winnifred went on to have 7 more children, including Bridget (or Annie) in 1865. John was well known and very well respected in the Brockville area where he (among other things, I presume) engraved headstones for the Brockville cemeteries. He died May 24 1900 at the (then ancient) age of 86. Another of John's daughters , Bridget Anne (called Annie) married a Protestant (everyone else so-far mentioned has been Catholic) named John Wellington Magee who was born around 1863, and who considered himself to be a descendant of Thomas D'arcy McGee. Apparently, John converted to Catholicism and upon his baptism changed the spelling of his name to McGee. Theihe McCreary family owned that property until some time in the 1980's. I could supply you with an almost complete set of descendants, but I will confine myself here to the Magee-McGee connection. ______________________________________________________________________ The Scottish McGees Just to make the search interesting, these Irish Protestant Magees should not be confused with the Scottish Presbyterian McGees who also settled closely nearby in Lanark Twp. William McGee was granted Lanark XI- 1E, and James McGee was granted Lanark Lanark XI-1W in 1820, a John McGee who was granted Lanark XI-7W in 1821, and another John McGee was granted Lanark VIII-25W in 1821 and William Gee, who arrived on The Earl of Buckinghamshire from Scotland, at age 40 with a wife, a son and 4 daughters, was granted Lanark VII-25E. There is a McGee Cemetery at Darling Township VIII-3, where are buried Henry McGee, John McGee (1770-1841) and William McGee (1800-1860) who appears not to have been the same William McGee who arrived on The Earl of Buckinghamshire. Bernard McGee arrived on the ship Royal Edward in 1825 and was granted Beckwith Township. VII-8NE. Completely separate but around the same era, James McGee was granted land in Cornwall in 1823, Archibald McGee in Goulborn in1828 and Patrick McGee in Marysburgh in 1829. Were any of these McGees related to the ancestors of Thomas D'arcy McGee? It seems unlikely, unless by (later) marriage. __________________________________________________________________________ The Irish Protestant Magees While the "original" Irish settlers (McCreary, Kinch, Dowdall, Warren and Sheppard families) arrived in 1823, they were neither the first to settle here, nor were they, it seemed, part of the Peter Robinson Settlers who arrived on the Stakesby and the Hebe. Unlike the Scots who had arrived earlier or the Peter Robinson Settlers who seemingly arrived later in the same year, all of these families were settled uncharacteristically in one small area, which was named Boyd's Settlement, after Samuel Boyd who had, in 1820, been granted Lanark Twp. XII-2E (where St, John's Anglican Church is today) along the First Line of Ramsay. Sheppard (Benjamin and Annie) at I-1W, Sturgeon at I-1-E, McCreery at III-3 and Kinch, Dowdall and Warren (by repute of the local amateur historians,) somewhere along the same road between Concessions I and V. Elizabeth Magee was granted an unamed plot in 1823, (as were Henry F. Magee and Robert Magee in nearby Huntley Twp.) Again, if these Magee families were related to each other, the connection is not yet obvious, even though they arrived the same year. It would be interesting to know! Thomas D'arcy McGee travelled often to Ramsay to visit his aunt Elizabeth Magee McCreery (his grandmother having already died) between 1857 when he moved to Canada and his death in 1868. A tombstone with his name on it was found in the basement of the McCreary family homestead at Ramsay III-3. But that's neither here nor there. It is interesting that D'arcy's daughter Mary Euphrasia McGee married a Quinn, as there were several Quinns from Ireland nearby in Ramsay. Coincidence? ___________________________________________________________________________________________ The Magee Plot Thickens What is interesting is that in an article in the Carleton Place newspaper in 1944 (attached), Florence McCreary and Iva Dezell, descendants of the original 1823 Ramsay settlers write of a John Magee who also lived somewhere between Concession I and V (Lots 1,2,3 or 4) whose house by 1944 had fallen into ruin. The question is, "Who was this John Magee?" What do we know? A William Magee married Elizabeth Dezell in the Presbyterian Church in Perth in 1834. Since the Dezells lived at Ramsay II-4E and later along the same road (now Highway 7) it seems likely that William Magee was related to the "mysterious" John Magee. It seems inevitable that this Magee or McGee was alive in 182r first-born was then baptised using this new spelling, but, on the occasion of his death, the church refused to allow that spelling in his record and so his headstone reads "Harold J (Darcy) Magee". Now, in addition to the spelling there is the nickname Darcy; Did he get that from his mother's or his father's side? It seems evident that it would be from his father's side, and that he is from the lineage traceable to the marriage of grandparents, probably in Ramsay in the 1830's, and perhaps traceable to the widow Elizabeth Magee who lived in Kemptville who is recoded in the census of 1881. Perhaps Brian will be able to add some dates and locations. Certainly, by the 1881 Census, there were no Magees living in Lanark. It is no wonder. The land was inhospitable and many of the original Scots and Irish settlers moved on once they could attain more farmable land elsewhere. Only a few stayed. The older MCCreary boys, John McCreary (1810-1888) and his brother William McCreary (1812-1892) and their sister Mary (who married a Cotnam) had moved on to settle in Montague Township, Lanark (some 15 miles away) near Kilmarnock Locks, and are buried in Vandusen Cemetery between Smiths Falls and Merrickville. I believe there was a Magee buried here too, but maybe I'm making that up. This was a move of some 15 miles or so. Let's estimate that they moved between 1830- and 1840. They remained Weslyan Methodists. Just a little further (5-15 miles) away there began to crop up a number of Magees, also of the Wesleyan Methodist persuasion. According to the 1880 map of Wolford Twp. nearby Grenville County: William Magee lived in Kemptville T. Magee lived at II-10 Grenville south of Merrickville John Magee was a tailor in Kemptville Robert Magee was Postmaster and General Merchant at South Gower S. Magee lived in Oxford Twp. Grenville, sharing a lot with R. Jackson ( a Thos. Jackson had owned XII-2 Lanark Twp. which he shared with Samuel Boyd, the founder of Boyd's Settlement) A. Magee lived at Oxford Mills, near Kemptville D. Magee lived in Wolford, south of Merrickville J. Magee lived at Grenville IX-30, south of Kemptville and J. McGee lived at South Gower II-2 I would be fascinated if some of you out there were able to fill in some missing details. Here is a copy of the article from the Carleton Place paper in 1944 from which some of the information has been culled, and a picture of my great great grandfather, Joseph Campbell McCreery (or McCreary) (1818-1903) which is a charcoal sketch done on 1888 when Joseph was 71. I also have actual photographs of him, his wife and family.There are those who claim he had the same homely Irish face as his first cousin, D'arcy McGee, and that indeed my mother Irene Ross McCreary Bailey had that same facial structure. And maybe I have too! One sad footnote to the story to complete what I know of it. If Ramsay was an inhospitable place, it was no more inhospitable in the mid 1880's when consumption (tuberculosis) broke out, taking the elder Willows family who lived near St. John's Church. My great grandfather John McCreary and his wife Margaret Code (who lived at Lanark XII-4W and whose simple white house is still occupied and was painted by me as a youth) took in the Willows children. Those children apparently died as well, and the McCreary family lost one or perhaps two children to T.B. as a result. But what was there to do but look after each other? Of their daughters, Laura, who was the historian, married Charles Ferrill who practiced eye, ear nose and throat medicine throughout the Ottawa Valley and later in Carleton Place and my grandmother married Elmour Ross, whose family were also immigrants to Lanark County, Elmer's father had died of appendicitis when he was nine, with his 13 year old brother taking over the farm. His brother, in turn, was killed at 15 when a team of horses he was driving spooked on a hill at Pakenham. Elmour's first wife died during childbirth, leaving him with a son, my mother's half brother Herbert. Elmour and Mary married at her father John's farm in 1905. Elmour, my grandfather, was one of the gentlest, calmest men you could imagine... My mother, Irene taught school for a while in Almonte in the 1930's and became the first woman leader of a Cub Scout pack there. She always remembered wistfully the summers she spent at the old homestead in Ramsay. Brian C. Bailey M.D. ( Cantley Quebec (son of Irene Ross McCreary Bailey,(1908-1999) grandson on Mary Zeena McCreary Ross (1882-1965) great grandson of John McCreary and Margaret Coad (Code, Cod, Codde)(b. 1851) great great grandson of Joseph Campbell McCreary (1819-1903) great great great grandson of James McCreery (1788-1852) and Elizabeth Magee (1783-1871) great great great great grandson of Elizabeth Magee (1756-1843)
September 30, 2003: Hello I note in your article at Bytown or Bust, a reference to one Prudence McMullen. In your notes you state that John McGee ...was born in Ballynahinch, County Down. You then refer to Thomas D'arcy who was born 11 years later in County Louth. You then state . " His mother was Prudence McMullen " Was Prudence the mother of John McGee or Thomas D'arcy ? What year would be the date of D'Arcy's birth ? My great great grandmother was Sarah McMullen, b. 1816 in Ireland. She was the daughter of James McMullen and Bridget Talbot. Would you have any further info on your Prudence McMullen and her family ? Mary
December 31, 2003: I just posted a website article on my family's early 1800's roots in Ramsay Township, Lanark County, Ontario (Canada) which may be of interest to you as a genealogy researcher. It may be reached by going to or click here. It makes reference to the SURNAMES: BAILEY BLACKBURN BRADEN BOYD CHAMNEY COAD CODD CODE DEZELL DOWDALL ELLIOT FERRILL FLYNN GILLTRAP (GILTRAP) HALPENNY HOPKINS JACKSON JAMES KINCH LEWIS MAGEE MCGEE MCGHEE MCCREERY MCCREARY MCKAY MOFFATT MORRIS PAUL PRICE SHEPPARD SNEDDEN TWAMLEY WARREN WATCHORN WILLOWS While I have tried to be as accurate as possible, I welcome both CORRECTIONS and, especially ADDITIONS which will flesh out the story and answer some of the remaining questions. I welcome your input and hope you enjoy mine. Feel free to link this website to your own if it seems to contribute to your own search. I can be reached at Brian C. Bailey M.D.
June 6, 2005:
Dear Brian, I found some wonderful information on your website about the Dowdall family. Thank you very much. I am interested in information on Edward Dowdall who was born about 1823 in Ontario. He appears on the 1881 census of Almonte, Lanark North, page 31, household no. 142. I found a marriage record for an Edward Dowdall and Mary Ann O’Conner who were married in 1826. I thought I had a good marriage record but Edward would have been only age 3 at his marriage. I am wondering if this could be an uncle or relative of the Edward I am researching. Do you have these people in your database? Edward b. 1823 and Mary Ann Dowdall’s son, Richard J. Dowdall immigrated to the United States. Richard married Mary Agnes Bolster about 1887 who was from Ontario. They had a son, James Reginald Dowdall. I believe that they were born in Lanark. Any information about these people would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Daniela Moneta __________________________ June 7, 2005: Thanks to Sue Barr for the following reply to Daniela and all: 1901 Almonte town, Ontario census Edward Dowdall, born Ontario Sep 24, 1820, retired, Roman Catholic Mary A, wife, born Feb 15, 1832, Ontario, teacher Teressa, born Ontario, May 22, 1873 ______________________________ 1900 Austin twp, Mower county, Minnesota, USA census Richard J. Dowdall, born May 1858 in Canada, married 13 years and has had 6 children of whom 5 survive. Mary A., born Oct, 1865 in Canada of an English-born father and and Irish-born mother Reginald J(ames), born Nov. 7, 1887 in Almonte, Ont Florence, born Dec 1890 in Canada Maud, born Dec 1892 in Canada Marguerite, born Sep 1894 in canada Beatrice, born April 1897 in Minnesota _______________________ 1920 Los Angeles census Florence, Marguerite and Beatrice are all living together, and all are single. ... and more from Sue: A newspaper clipping from the March 3, 1887 Smiths Falls newspaper "The Record" says that "Mr. Dennis O'Connor died (in February of 1887) at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Edward Dowdall of Almonte." The article says further that he was a long-time resident of the township of Drummond and was aged 79 at his death" There is no other Dowdall in either the 1881 or 1901 Almonte census who would fit having been married since 1823 in 1887 (married 64 years). I think your 1823 marriage certificate is either transcribed wrong or read wrong and I would be willing to bet that it should be 1853. It seems that Mary Ann's father was a Dennis O'Connor who was born about 1808. Also in the February 10, 1887 "The Record" of Smiths Falls is a marriage announcement of R.J. Dowdall, barrister of Almonte, and Minne Bolster who were married in February of 1887 at the Church of St. John the Evangelist. The newspaper quoted as its source "the Toronto Globe" newspaper, so perhaps they were married in Toronto. (they went to New York on their honeymoon). Hope this helps ... Sue
New June 27, 2005: I came across your web page today and read it with great interest. I am a descendent of a William Magee and Elizabeth Read. They were married in Perth, Lanark County, Ontario in 1822 Elizabeth was the daughter of Major William Read of Kitley and Major Read's Family tree is well documented However I know little of my great. great, grandfather-William Magee of Perth except that he was born abt 1797 in Ireland He was Irish protestant . Wiiliam and Elizabeth Magee (who is granted land as a d/o loyalist, UEL) have 13 children. Most of their baptisms are recorded in St James Presbyterian Church, Perth ON. The youngest 3 are not... About 1847/8 they migrate to the Huron Tract (Usborne Twp in Huron County) along with a goodly portion of other Leeds folk. I think it is quite likely they are connected to the Magees/McGees described in your web page William Magee (b Abt 1797 IRE) d abt 1853) m Elizabeth Read (b 1801 ON) d Jan 26th 1885-Usborne) in Perth ON June 1822 Migrated to the Huron Tract abt 1847 from Kitley Twp in Leeds & Grenville Settled on Lot 4 Concession 3 Usborne Twp Issue Euretta b 01 17 1823 m John Kirk Marinda b 08 20 1824 m Joseph Kirk Henry b 1826 Levi b 1829 William *James b 1833 Elizabeth b 1835 Nelson b 1836 Sarah b 1838 John b 1840 Richard 1841 Nancy 1843 Russell 1846 My great, grandfather, James Magee m June 25 1859 Sophia Jamieson d/o Patrick Jamieson & Jane Whiteford . They had the following issue: Jane b 1861 William, b May 23 1862 , Mary b 1864, James-b 1866, Jessica Irene, b 1868, Hannah b 1871, Nelson b March 11 1872, Elizabeth, b Hazel b Jan 17th 1874, *Charles b Jan 1877 d April 16 1954, Henrietta Sophia b March 3rd 1879 Fred b Oct 7th 1881. *Paternal grandfather Contact: Donna Magee

E-mail Brian Bailey, Brian P. O'Donnell, Mary, Bonnie Paul, Daniela Moneta, Sue Barr, Donna Magee and Al Lewis

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