James McGREGOR (from Scotland) and Ellen O'BRIEN (from Ireland)
to the Ottawa Valley, 1830's
August 14, 2005:
Hi there! I am researching the family history of my ggrandfather, Patrick McGregor,
born to James McGregor and Ellen O'Brien, baptized 25 April 1835, at Notre Dame Cathedral
in Ottawa. I do not have much information about this couple, I have just
begun my search on the McGregor - O'Brien connection. James and Ellen were married
5 March 1832, this record also found in the parish records of Notre Dame in Ottawa....
is there a connection to this family and your O'Briens...??? Any help is appreciated.
Good morning, Heather:
Thanks for your e-mail regarding James McGregor and Ellen O'Brien.
I noticed that there were a couple of other references to this couple in the
early records of Notre Dame (at least two more children were baptized there, I think).
Do you have this info also?
Do you know if James McGregor, or his parents, came from Scotland to Glengarry Township
(an early Scottish settlement just east of Ottawa), before coming to Ottawa?
Most of the early McGregors were Presbyterians but there are some early Catholic
McGregor connections to some folks who came from Glengarry to Ottawa in the 1830's.
Do you mind if I set up a new web page on our site for James and Ellen? We may hear
from others researching this family.
Please let me know.
... Al Lewis
Thank you for responding! here is the information I have, or should I say,
what little I have.
James McGregor and Ellen O'Brien were married 5 Mar 1832, apparently this is in
the records at Notre Dame cathedral in Ottawa. Witness were Mathew Corcoran and
Patrick O'Brien (Ellens brother) I understand there is a record of 3 children
baptized there....John, 18 Jan 1833, James, 17 May 1835, and Patrick, my g grandfather
25 April 1837.
Petawawa Township, Renfrew County, was first surveyed in 1847 by provincial land
surveyor M. A. R. Macdonell. Attached to his field notes dated 25 September 1847 he
included a "schedule of squatters on the banks of the Petawawa and parts of the
Ottawa River" listing nine households and some lumbermen in operation on some
tributaries of the Petawawa River. One of these squatters was James McGregor.
It lists him with a family numbering seven people that included 3 sons and 1 daughter.
It also records that he had one house and one barn.
In 1857 another provincial land surveyor, Robert Hamilton, "noted the following
settlers: James McGregor at McGregor's Bay about 5 miles upstream from the heart
of Pembroke..." A book about Renfrew County by author Clyde C. Kennedy
(The Upper Ottawa Valley) mentions "On the lines between Alice and Petawawa was the home of
James McGregor. These people were Highland Scots and their home was always open to the wayfarer".
It would seem that Ellen's brother Patrick O'Brien (born ca 1821, died 25 May 1868)
and his wife Elizabeth Sarsfield (born ca1829, died ?) may have followed the McGregors
to this area as they were not included on the 1847 list of squatters. I do not have
all the census records for the McGregors or O'Briens but you should find them recorded
in Petawawa Township from 1851. I do have some notes from the 1861 census that the
McGregors lived in a 1 and a half storey log house that had been built in 1849.
The O'Briens [Patrick was a farmer and tavern keeper] also lived in a 1 and a half
storey log house built in 1855.
Patrick O'Brien and Elizabeth Sarsfield had only two children to my knowledge:
 William O'Brien, born 28 August 1857, buried 27 August 1872, age 15.
 Mary Ann O'Brien, born 16 November 1860.
The birth and burial dates came from the parish registers of St. Columbkille's
Cathedral in Pembroke.
You already listed the five children of James McGregor (born ca1810 in Scotland,
died in September 1895) and Ellen O'Brien (born ca1811-3 in Ireland, died
between 1891 and 1901). I know only a little more of each:
 John McGregor, married 19 June 1865 in Pembroke to Mary Ann Higgins, born
ca 1841-6 in Carleton Place, daughter of Patrick Higgins & Mary Murphy, had
children: Mary (born 17 May 1866), Ellen (born 4 February 1868), James Patrick
(born 16 October 1869), Thomas (born 19 October 1871), John (born 24 September 1874),
Peter (born 22 April 1876), and William Peter (born 8 April 1878).
 James McGregor, died 25 April 1866, unmarried. In 1860 James McGregor was
treasurer of the municipality consisting of Alice, Petawawa, Rolph, Buchan and
 Patrick McGregor, died 1921, married 26 June 1883 in Pembroke to
Margaret McCool, born 1860, daughter of Francis McCool & Mary Stackpool, died 1929,
had children: Janet (born ca1884), James F. (born 1884, died 1916), Mary Ellen
(born ca1887), and Francis (born ca1889). You will obviously know more about this
particular branch of the family. You mentioned that you are descended from another
son Patrick so obviously I am missing some information here.
 Janet McGregor, born ca1839-40, died 11 September 1872, age 32, married
ca 1867 to William Foster, had children Martha Mynie (born 18 January 1868), and
James (born August 1870, died 1955, married Mary Leach).
and  Duncan McGregor, born ca 1842-3, died 1907, married 26 November 1873 in
Pembroke to Ann (called Nancy) McMullen, born ca 1846, died 12 June 1900, daughter
of Alexander McMullen & Ellen Bradley, had children: Janet (born ca1875), James
Alexander (born 18 November 1876), Patrick (born 1879, died 2 January 1908),
Duncan (born December 1880), Ellen A. (born 1883, died 1916), Almira (born ca 1885),
Annie (born ca1887), and Gertrude (born ca1890). Almira McGregor was one of two
spinster sisters still living on the homestead at McGregor's Bay . There is an
obituary for James McGregor from the Pembroke Observer dated 20 September 1895
(page 1) under the heading "Death's Doings" that I will transcribe for you...
"Mr. James McGregor, an old and respected resident of this section, died at the
residence of his son, Mr. Patrick McGregor, Reeve of Pettewawa [sic], at
McGregor's Bay, five miles from town, on Friday last. Mr. McGregor was eighty-six
years old, and the infirmities of age had weighed very heavily on him for some
years past. The funeral on Sunday afternoon to the Roman Catholic cathedral
and cemetery here was very largely attended."
Now, this is all information I have just recieved from a former resident of
All indications I have so far, is that our McGregors were catholic, all generations
following them have listed as catholic.
I would love you to set up a new web page, any help I may get is so much appreciated.
Searching family in ontario when you are in Alberta is not an easy task. Any records that
anyone can find for me would be great, or any links to websites that may help would
be fantastic....I am very new to this family searching, and there is so much to learn.
Thank you for everything!
May 18, 2006:
I have just come across your post on the Bytown or Bust site.
Margaret McCool was my great-aunt, her parents Francis McCool and Mary
Stackpool being my great-great grandparents. Sadly I do not know much about
the family, therefore I was very intrigued when I came across your post. I
do know that when Margaret married Patrick McGregor, there was quite an age
difference between the two. Margaret's younger brother Patrick was my
great-grandfather. I hope this info helps and of course I would more than
welcome any information, or dialogue, you wish to send my way.
I am just really beginning the research on the McCool side of my family and
wish you luck in your efforts.
August 1, 2006:
I was just looking at the "Bytown or Bust" web pages for the first time in a year. I have had a fantastic year of
finding more information thanks to the initial information I got from you George and Dorothy.
To refresh your minds I am the great grandaughter of Gerard McGregor and Ellen O'Brien listed on this page: http://www.bytown.net/obrientim.htm
I would love to have you update the listing for the children of Ellen and Gerard. I have concentrated on this
for most of the year.
Gerard Joseph McGregor, b. Oct. 8, 1845, Huntley Twp., Ontario Canada, d. Aug 22, 1908;
(Gerard is the son of Duncan McGregor and Mary Ann Nagle)
+ Ellen Jane O’Brien, b. May 2, 1854 in Arnprior, Ontario Canada; d. Jan 29, 1910
(Ellen is the daughter of Patrick O'Brien and Hanorah Devlin)
James Sarsfield McGregor, b. July 25, 1874, Ramsay Township, d. unknown
Catherine Hanora McGregor, b. Nov 18, 1875, Ramsay Twp; d. Aug 15,1880
Mary Geraldine McGregor, b. Jan 24, 1877, Ramsay Twp; d. Aug 25,1880
Patrick O’Brien McGregor, b. May 09, 1878, Ramsay Twp; d. Aug 19,1880
Robert McGregor, b. Mar 28, 1880, Fitzroy Township d. Mar 28,1880
Edmund Joseph McGregor, b. Aug 06, 1881, Fitzroy Fitzroy Twp; d. Sept 18 1904
John Robert McGregor (Jack), b. July 05, 1883, Fitzroy Twp; d. July 1,1965, Fort William, Ontario.
Louise Geraldine McGregor, b. Oct 23, 1885, Arnprior; d. July 03, 1967
+ Richard Payne
Parker Dominick McGregor b. July 20 1887, Arnprior, d. 1978, Ft. William
+ Florida Ouellette b.1896, d. 1955
(Parker changed name from Mc to Mac as an adult)
Mary Mildred McGregor, b. May 31 1889, Arnprior; d. Sept 06, 1982, Sunnyvale, California, USA.
+ Myron Craig Alsip b. 1891, d. 1945
Wilfred Leo McGregor, b. Feb 12 1891, Arnprior, d. Sept 30 1918, France, WWII
Clara Ellen McGregor, b. Aug 07, 1892, Arnprior, d. Jan 28, 1985, Thunder Bay (was called Fort William, previously)
+ Nicholas Carney b. d. 1965
Anne Josephine McGregor, b. April 04 1894, Arnprior, d. Nov 1981, Thunder Bay
+ Chester Alexander
April 30, 2010:
Sometime ago I read with interest about your James McGregor-O'Brien Connection. My name is Brian Sarsfield and I have been
researching the Sarsfield Family for nearly 30 years. I wish to thank you for the information that you have posted on the
www.bytown.net website. Perhaps I can share some missing links about Patrick O'Brien and Elizabeth Sarsfield's family.
William O'Brien was the first child and the first son of William O'Brian and Elizabeth Sarsfield born 28 Aug 1857. His
Godparents were Peter Hayes (brother in law to my gr grandfather) and Catherine Dowsley. On August 25, 1872, he drowned while
bathing in the Ottawa River and was buried in the Pioneers Cemetery for St. Columbskills Roman Catholic Church in the
presence of Peter Hayes and Patrick Egan.
Mary Anne O’Brien (16 Nov 1860 – 21 Aug 1911) was the second child and first daughter of Patrick O’Brien and Elizabeth Sarsfield.
One of her Godparents was Jeanette McGregor a daughter of James McGregor and Ellen O’Brien. This reinforces the McGregor – O’Brien
Patrick O’Brien died 25 May 1868. Patrick was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery of St Columbkille Roman Catholic Church in Pembroke
in the presence of James McGregor and Peter Hayes. This again reinforces the McGregor – O’Brien connection.
Elizabeth Sarsfield O’Brien died on Oct 29 1884. On January 23, 1873 she married Edwards Owens. Elizabeth and Edward did
not have any children.
Much of the above information was gleaned for pertinent records on Ancestry.ca
I would be most grateful if any of you could tell me when and where Patrick O’Brien married Elizabeth Sarsfield. I have not
found where they were married. I suspect that they were married in Pembroke as their first child was baptized at St Columbskills.
September 29, 2011:
The Town of Petawawa will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2015. We are working on the history of James MacGregor
who was the first reeve of Petawawa. I have attached the info that we have collected for our news article but what we need
is a photo of James. If you have one we would love a copy for our anniversary celebrations.
Look forward to hearing from someone in the family.
Petawawa heritage Society / Village
January 25, 2015:
I think I found the marriage record for which Brian was looking. Patrick O'Brien, son of William O'Brien & Mary Ryan,
married Bridget Sarchfield, daughter of Richard Sarchfield & Ellen Sarchfield, on 5 June 1853. Although the marriage
is recorded at St. Alphonsus parish in Chapeau, Quebec, the marriage record indicates that it was celebrated at
St. Columbkille's in Pembroke.
Robb. Gorr @ Petawawa, ON
E-mail Heather McGregor, Frances O'Regan, Donna, Brian Sarsfield, Ann McIntyre, Robb and Al Lewis
Back to Bytown or Bust - History and Genealogy in the Ottawa area: Timothy O'Brien, PR