Sunday, February 23, 2014

52 Ancestors #7: 1829 - The Day Of The Horse Boats

In 1900 Timothy Moynahan told his life story to the Detroit Free Press. The article is a gift loaded with genealogical information. I am dividing the newspaper article into several smaller pieces for #52Ancestors (in 52 weeks).

In #7 we revisit the article "When Windsor Was A Wilderness" wherein Timothy describes arriving in Windsor, Ontario: "1829 - The Day Of The Horse Boats"
"Well I landed in Windsor in 1829, when it was nothing but a big cornfield. I crossed the river in a horse ferry, which was the means of transportation between Detroit and Windsor in those days. The horses propelled the boat in treadmill fashion being enclosed at the sides. Bessie was the name of one of the horses, and I can remembers as if it was yesterday how promptly she would stop when the boy shouted "Whoa, Bessie!". For some time the company that operated the boats had a monopoly of the business and they had a high schedule of passenger and freight rates. During seven months of the year it cost twelve and a half cents each way. Col. Prince introduced a bill in parliament for the reduction of the rates but it was not until the people started a horse ferry of their own that the company was brought to terms and eventually driven out of business. The  horse boats, being unincumbered with machinery, were really graceful in build and they went at a fair rate of speed."
Book Cover view on the detroit River Sandwich, Ontario c. 1821
"Most of the boats on the river in those days were the old style sailing craft, and the few that used steam power would be great curiosities in those days of progress and invention. They were high pressure side wheelers, and you could hear their laborious breathing form Amherstburg"

View of Detroit from Windsor, Ontario around 1850
"As I said before, Windsor was nothing but a cornfield when I came over. The only buildings in existence were the Windsor Castle, the Dougall and one or two others that have long since fallen into ruin. 

I settled in Sandwich township, eleven miles from Windsor, engaging in the occupation of farmer. The hunting was fine, there being plenty of deer, bear, rabbits, squirrel and racoons. I counted twenty-nine black squirrels in a tree one day. There were fine shots in our neighbourhood, and the decapitation of a squirrel in the tallest tree was not reckoned an extraordinary feat of marksmanship. The Chippewa Indians roamed the country at the time, but they never gave us any trouble."

Next week: The "Shillelagh Guards" in action
·        #52Ancestors #5: Timothy Moynahan the Kerryman
·        #52Ancestors #6: From The Old Sod
·        #52Ancestors #7: 1829 - The Day Of The HorseBoats
·        #52Ancestors #8: The "Shillelagh Guards" in action
·        #52Ancestors #9: Timothy's kin?

52 Ancestors #6 : The Voyage "From The Old Sod"

November 1900 Timothy Moynahan told his life story to theDetroit Free Press. The article is a gift loaded with genealogical information. I am dividing the newspaper article into several smaller pieces for #52Ancestors. Here Timothy describes his passage from Kerry, Ireland to Windsor, Ontario.

"To begin at the beginning, I was born in Count Kerry eighty seven years ago"

The Detroit Free Press newspaper article was written in November 1900 and therefore this would mean that Timothy was born around 1813 in Ireland. There are several discrepancies with respect to Timothy's birthdate when compared to the census records
  • 1851 census: Timothy is recorded as 30 years at his next birthday and therefore born circa 1821
  • 1861 census: Timothy is recorded as 41 years at his next birthday and therefore born circa 1820
  • 1871 census: Timothy is recorded as 53 years old therefore born circa 1818
  • 1881 census: Timothy is recorded as 63 years old therefore born circa 1818
  • 1891 census: Timothy is recorded as 73 years old therefore born circa 1818
  • 1901 census: Timothy is recorded as 82 years, born 1819 and arrived/ immigrated to Canada 1828

"and came over when I was nine years of age, my folks settling in Pennsylvania where we lived three years before coming to Windsor."

Based on the 1901 census, if Timothy arrived in Canada 1828 then the family lived in Pennsylvania around 1825. If Timothy was 9 years of age then he was born circa 1816.

The following detailed information on the ship and the Captain were found in the Detroit Free Press article. 

To date, I have failed to locate the passenger lists.

"The Thomas of Cork, Captain Bamfield , master, was the ship upon which we sailed. She was an old war remnant, as slow as molasses in January and the trip occupied six weeks and three days."

The following excerpt provides details on who else was on board. If the ship's purpose was to deliver the wives to the soldiers in America then perhaps I should be looking in other places for the detailed passenger lists.

"A lonely voyage it would have been too if it had not been for the fact that there were sixty-two women, a flute player and a piper aboard. The women were wives of soldiers that were serving the crown in this country, and they were coming over to join their husbands."

Another entertaining detail about the "six week and three days" passage across the Atlantic:

"Between the women and the musicians, the time passed pleasantly. The piper was an untiring Highlander, and he succeeded in driving all the rats from the old schooner. The music of the Scotch bagpipes will do that same you know.”

Next week: 1829 - The Day Of The Horse Boat

·        #52Ancestors #5: Timothy Moynahan the Kerryman
·        #52Ancestors #6: From The Old Sod
·        #52Ancestors #7: 1829 - The Day Of The HorseBoats
·        #52Ancestors #8: The "Shillelagh Guards" in action
·        #52Ancestors #9: Timothy's kin?

The images above illustrate the ships that would carry Irish emigrants over two decades after Timothy set sail. 
I have included them for visual interest not historic accuaracy.
Illustrated London News, May 10, 1851
Harpers Weekly, June 26, 1851

52 Ancestors #5 - Timothy Moynahan

No Story Too Small has issued a New Year's Challenge: "Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

"When Windsor Was A Wilderness"

Timothy Moynahan (1813-1902)
Detroit Free Press November 25, 1900

I suspect that it is fairly rare that folks searching for their family history would ever have the good fortune of locating a newspaper article loaded with as much genealogical information and source material as I did when I acquired "When Windsor Was A Wilderness" about Timothy Moynahan.

This newspaper article appeared in the Detroit Free PressNovember 25, 1900. I originally learned of it when researching the PalmerScrapbooks (219) of the Burton Historical Collections found at the DetroitPublic Library in the 1980s (in the earliest days of my genealogical research). This was such a gift and decades later many of the details and clues contained within this article continue to inspire additional research to this day.

Timothy Moynahan the Kerryman


"Should you ask anyone in Windsor – that is any person that is at all acquainted with the town and its inhabitants, for the address of Hon. Timothy Moynahan, you will be directed to a modest little home out on a quiet by-street that has the environment and atmosphere suited to old age and reminiscence. There, seated on a glowing hearthstone, you will find a hale, cheerful old man, with a broad honest face and a wealth of snow-white hair. He has a bit of the brogue – just enough of the rippling dialect of the Kerryman to make the most commonplace expressions entertaining – and his memory is as fertile as the green fields of his native soil. Ripe in the remembrance of the early days in the borderland, intelligent and quaint in conversation, Mr. Moynahan is a most engaging character. He is one of those rare old fellows whose graphic style carries the listener easily back to the period of early disturbances in the dominion, when Windsor was a wilderness, the hunting ground of the red rover of the forest and the pioneer settler that blazed the way for civilization. Touch upon these points and Mr. Moynahan’s expressive face grows bright with enthusiasm. It is as one of the two survivors in his immediate vicinity of the Papineau and Mackenzie rebellion of 1837 that the old gentleman is especially interesting."
(Source: Detroit Free Press: Nov 25, 1900)

For the purpose of the #52Ancestors challenge, this newspaper article will be divided into five smaller segments:

·        #52Ancestors #5: Timothy Moynahan the Kerryman
·        #52Ancestors #6: From The Old Sod
·        #52Ancestors #7: 1829 - The Day Of The HorseBoats
·        #52Ancestors #8: The "Shillelagh Guards" in action
·        #52Ancestors #9: Timothy's kin?

52 Ancestors #4 Glassblowers in the 1800's

Our great grandfather William Henry Coughlin was a glassblower.

He was born in Poughkeepsie New York (August 1872) and emigrated to Wallaceburg, Ontario in 1899  at the age of 27. He would find employment at the Sydenham Glass Company (later to become Dominion Glass).

(Wallaceburg Chimney Shop c.1908)

"Glass In Canada" by Thomas B King (link below)

The story of the glassblower in the 1800s is a fascinating one!

These skilled men were in great demand."Glassblowers were artists who commanded salaries incredible to most manufacturing workers. They also tended to be highly mobile, and Wallaceburg had no trouble attracting qualified men"

The Corning Museum describes working in a glass factory in the 1800s: "Day after day, in the factories of the mid-1800s, teams of skilled men blew hot glass into molds tended by boys. The work was fast and furious. The factories were hellishly hot. And the demand for glass bottles never stopped." Poughkeepsie, New York 1872-1899

The Poughkeepsie Glassworks may have been the place where GG Coughlin would have received his glassblower training but we have no verified proof at present. In fact Poughkeepsie information on the Coughlin family has been quite difficult to locate and verify. We do know that William Henry was baptized at St. Peters Catholic church in Poughkeepsie and we know that he sold newspapers as a young boy in New York City. But much of the period betwen 1872 and 1899 is a mystery yet to be solved.

Glassworks in Wallaceburg, Ontario 1891 - 1913

  • In 1891 the first meeting was held concerning the possibility of creating a glass factory in Wallaceburg, Ontario.
  • In 1893 the Wallaceburg Glass Works Company Limited was incorporated.
  • In 1894 it became the Sydenham Glass Company.
  • Construction of the glassmaking factory began in 1894 and production began in 1895.
  • Actual glass production started September 20, 1895. Then came the rush of glassblowers from all parts of North America.
  • The company produced and shipped patent medicine bottles and fruit jars all over North America.
  • By 1899 they employed 400 workers. This was close to half of Wallaceburg's work force.
  • William Henry emigrated to Canada in 1899 (He was naturalized in 1915)
  • In 1913, the Sydenham Glass Company merged with the  Diamond Glass Company to form Dominion Glass.

Above: The earliest group photo of the Sydenham Glass Co. employees 1901
Pictured below is a summary document of the glassblowers earnings while in the employment of the Sydenham Glass Co. of Wallaceburg for the year 1910 to 1911.

The wages paid ranged from $1361.33 to $458.03. Great Grandfather Coughlin earned $1039.43 (Glassblowers did not work a full year due to the heat in summer.)

As the years passed, Dominion Glass began to move steadily away from glassblower-craftsmen. The Coughlin family eventually moved to Windsor (1918) because glass making had been automated. The need for skilled glassblowers was officially over.

Sadly, the romantic figure of the nomadic glassblower disappeared.

Great grandfather William Henry Coughlin found work at Fords. He would live in Windsor 34 years until his death in January 1952. (The Coughlin-Annal family is pictured below circa 1917 on the left and on the right at Lizzie and Williams 50th wedding anniversary in 1949)

More Coughlin-Annal information will be updated at this link
The Coughlin Family (circa 1917)

The Coughlin Family 1949

Our GG Coughlin appears on the selected list of glassblowers in "Glass In Canada" by Thomas B. King
Glass Links

"Knight's American mechanical dictionary" published 1882
Our Home Physician 1869
Guide to the art of preserving health
Practical Mechanics Journal
Glasgow 1849

52 Ancestors #3 John Moynahan

No Story Too Small has issued a New Year's Challenge: "Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

John Moynahan (1866-1933)

This blog post is dedicated to my great grandfather John Moynahan:  
first Clerk of the Township of Sandwich South (Ontario)

First Sandwich South Council 1893

The Township of Sandwich South

In 1861 the Township of Sandwich was divided into Sandwich East and Sandwich West. In 1893, Sandwich East was further subdivided and Sandwich South was created.

In 1893 Sandwich South was incorporated as a township and a first council was elected.

The first reeve of Sandwich South was Abraham Cole, born on April 11, 1845. He was the son of Abraham Cole Sr., an Irish immigrant who had arrived in Canada in 1820, and who had settled in the Sandwich South area in 1830.

The first Clerk was John Moynahan (my GG)
The first Treasurer James McAuliffe
The first councillors were:
·        Edward Mooney      
·        Charles McGuigan    
·        John Greaves            
·        Edward J. O'Neil

The first council meetings for the township of Sandwich South were held in, all of places, the bar of a hotel. 

The hotel was that owned and resided in by Mr. Michael McCarthy of Oldcastle, and was located directly across from the site of the old township hall on Talbot Road (Highway #3).

Meetings continued here for three years until a Mr. Hon Wrotley was awarded the contract to build a new township hall for $640.00 on land donated by Mr. And Mrs. Robert Sylvester.

The new red brick hall was replaced by yet another red brick structure built this time, by Morand and Russette for $3,038.28, in the spring of 1927. Thus the 'old' township hall, as we know it, was opened on August 5th, 1927.

My great grandfather John Moynahan served on the first Sandwich South Council in 1893.

First Sandwich South Council 1893

John Moynahan was born May 10 , 1866 in Maidstone Ontario the son of Jeremiah Moynahan (1837-1922) and Mary Brennan (1841-1926). John was their second child but their first born son. The family lived at 298 South Talbot Rd, Sandwich East township (Mary Brennan's father John was possibly living with them at the time)

Sandwich East was a solid farming community at the time. The soil was sandy loam drained by Turkey Creek on the west and on the north and east by Little River. The eastern portion was principally settled by the English, Irish and Scottish. In 1861 the population was 3,133.

Nearby Maidstone Crossing was a post village. There was a Roman Catholic church (built in 1836 as a log building and later replaced in 1850 with a substantial brick building seating 400 people). The village had two stores, three blacksmiths shops, two of the same manufacturing wagons, one butcher, two shoe shops and two hotels. (Source: 1866 Gazateer)

John taught school in Maidstone at 18 years of age from 1884 - 1896 when he was 30 years old. (John taught at Byrnedale, Rochester Tp., S.S. and at the White school at Paquette - for twelve years)  No. 6 on Talbot Rd.,  During that same period he was studying for his qualifying exam for the civil service which he succeeded in attaining - receiving his certificate with honours in 1889.

In 1893 he served as a clerk on the first Sandwich South Council.

On May 10, 1898 (aged 32 years) he married Mary Broderick (1869-1960; daughter of Martin Broderick and Mary Hussey). The picture below was taken on their wedding day.

John Moynahan and Mary Broderick on their wedding day May 10, 1898

John was associated for a number of years with the legal firm of Kenning and Cleary, serving them as an accountant and in general work.

The french settlement below Sandwich on the Detroit river was known as Petite Cote. In the early 1900's a post office was established there and given the name Ojibway. This community was a solid farming community known especially for it's radishes and the 300 French women who knitted mittens, gloves and socks that were sold across Canada under the direction of Leo Page.

An announcement was made on January 13 that Ojibway had been selected as the site of the United States Steel Corporation's Canadian plant. That same year Ojibway was incorporated as a town and John Moynahan commenced his twenty years service there as a municipal clerk and Justice of the Peace

After John's death in 1933, County Clerk Percy Coyle, a good friend of Johns for over 35 years said, "John was a stickler of the truth. He was strictly honest in his business dealings and I often thought, as I heard him debate, that it would be too bad if John caught anyone in a lie"

Another of John's fine characteristics Mr Coyle related was his stern application of live and let live. "He would never speak an unkind word about any person," Coyle said, "If he didn't fancy any particular person, you would never hear him say anything detrimental to that person. He was well liked by all his associates"

John died at his home at 251 Campbell after suffering two strokes in one week.

Further reading:

52 Ancestors #2 Family Photograph Mysteries

This photograph was in the possession of Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan and on the envelope was written "Great Grandmother".

On the back of the photo (barely legible) was written: " Mrs. W Delaney" (or could it be Mrs M Oleary?) "18-10 May $300 paid $100).

If this was Rhea or Ernie's great grandmother, well we can do the math: it would be one of eight potential women. Problem is, have not come across any Delaney's.

By posting the picture on and by connecting with others who are researching this branch of my family tree I received the following email: " This is the picture that I was told was Mary Hess’s mother, whose name is also Mary.  Last name , I was told is Jensen (not proven).... her marriage registration of a son “Gabriel” shows maiden name as Mary Ann Steinbrum.  Folk lore from..........aunts and uncles (now deceased) was that she was from Alsace Lorraine.  French and German both claimed Alsace, so searching has been a problem. The relatives also said they came to Canada from/thru Pennsylvania."

This is likely the oldest photo that I have? There is one other photo of a family on a front porch that may be older (a daguerreotype ? ) But I am unsure.

A good resource for dating photographs that I found is here but I still have a lot to learn about dating all my family photographs!

Nancy Price writes: "Figuring out certain aspects of your family tree can seem like a real puzzle, especially when any photographs you have aren't labeled and lack any obvious clues (like a calendar, a dated vehicle registration sticker or a street sign). But when you do manage to fit a few of the pieces together, just like a real puzzle, the whole picture becomes clearer. Here's a look at how one real-life photographic mystery was solved!"

More resources for dating photographs:

52 Ancestors #1 : Sarah "Daisy" Broderick

No Story Too Small has issued a New Year's Challenge: "Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

Birth: 12 Mar 1877 in Essex, Ontario, Canada
Death: 27 December 1945 in London, Ontario

I have not given up on Daisy yet. She has been intriguing me ever since I found this photo and various other cards and notes.

I found Daisy in the 18811891 and 1901 census living in Essex county with her parents.
1921 Census Mount Hope Poor House

In 1911 and 1921 she is found in the London Ontario census  as an "inmate" of the House of Providence (1911 census; later called the Mount Hope Poor House in the 1921 census at right). 
She lived there for 34 years as an "inmate".

My hopes for the rest of this story lay possibly within the archives of the Sisters of St Joseph in London. I am hoping to learn more there.

UPDATE#1: January 2014: I have completed the researcher request forms and have started the process with the Sisters of St Joseph Canada Main Archives and London site Archives. I am quite excited and optimistic about this leg of the research. This will take time and I may travel to London, Ontario this spring as a follow-up.

UPDATE #2: February 2014: I received a response from the Sisters of St. Joseph in the mail. " I regret, after a search of the limited records we hold on the House of Providence, we have been unable to locate any records on "Daisy" Sara Broderick. We have searched our Chronicles, a scrapbook and a record book." 

So sad. Sarah spent thirty-four years in London under the care of the Sisters of St. Joseph and I had hoped for some insight into why she was there, what she did every day and why her death certificate lists her cause of death as "shock"

Updated 2016-02-13
Source: Windsor Daily Star Dec 27, 1945

Next steps: 

I am determined to continue my search for information on Sarah Broderick. I will also continue to seek assistance from other researchers and other resources such as:

Moynahan - Broderick


 Mary Aileen (B: 1899-199X)

Married Edward Boyle

Joseph Ernest (B: 1900-1974) 

Married Rhea Coughlin

Mary Mabel (B: 1902-1945) 

Married Martin Morkin

Erland Raymond (B: 1905-1980) 

Became a priest and served in Goderich, Ontario

Gerald John (B: 1907-1961) 

Married Bernice Phillips. Gerald served in WW II

Thomas Bernard (B: 1909-1974)

Bernard was a bachelor.  Bernard served in WW II


Jeremiah, John, Nellie and Mary Moynahan
Jeremiah was born the year of the Rebellion of Upper Canada 1837 to Dennis Moynahan and Catherine Roach.

Jeremiah married Mary Brennan in 1863. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Maidstone (See below: source Essex Free Press: Nov 21, 1913) 

Mary Brennan (1841-1926)

Mary, the daughter of John Brennan and Catherine Bowler, was born in Ireland and came to Canada with both of her parents when she was twelve years old and they lived in Sandwich South. She worked on the family farm and was a midwife in Maidstone.

They stayed on the farm on Talbot St a mile west of the Cross until 1921 when both Jeremiah and Mary moved to Windsor with daughter Nellie.

They had nine children: two boys and seven girls.

Add caption


William Henry Coughlin was born in 1872 in Poughkeepsie, New York. He was a glassblower there and moved to Windsor to work at the Sydenham Glass Company in Wallaceburg, Ontario when it opened in 1894.

In 1899, William Henry Coughlin married Elizabeth “Lizzie” (Annal) Coughlin who was born in 1884 in Brockton, Ontario

Lizzie’s father James Annal was a sailor from the Orkney Islands of Scotland and Lizzie’s mother Mary (Hess) Coughlin was born in Aurora. The Annals lived in Wallaceburg and Windsor.

The Coughlin family eventually moved to Windsor (1918) because glass making had been automated. The need for skilled glassblowers was officially over. 


Martin Broderick (1839-1915) was a Fenian raid veteran and resident of Essex County for 72 years.

He was born in County Clare, Ireland and he crossed the Atlantic with his parents when he was twelve years old. The family originally settled in Sandwich West.

He sailed the lakes as a sailor before marrying Mary Hussey in 1865. They were married for fifty years. The story has it that she crossed the Atlantic leaving her home in Galway, Ireland to fulfill a vow made several years after young Broderick left the Emerald Isle.

Mary and Martin had nine children: four girls and five sons.

Most of what I have come to know about the Broderick family is in large part due to the generosity of Patrick Broderick's (1871-1943) son Francis "Bernard" Broderick (1916 – 1992). 

An oral history was recorded in Scarborough, Ontario and his photographs were passed on to me through Christian brothers at Lasalle manor: Brother Francis and Brother Walter Farrell, FSC Archivist.  


 James Henry Allan Annal 

James Henry Allen Annal
James Henry Allan Annal was born on the 28th of March 1849 in South Ronaldsay, Orkney Islands, Scotland.
Ship model built by James

He emigrated to Canada when he was nineteen years old (c. 1868). He lived in Bruce county and was a sailor on the great Lakes for many years.

"He had an interesting and varied sailing career, as a boy was on a whaling expedition for three years in the Arctic, and sailed every windjammer on the Great lakes a hardy and fearless sailor, and very expert in the construction of ship models."

James Annal married Mary Hess (1853-1927) of Elora (c 1870) and they had four boys and four girls.