Sunday, February 23, 2014

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:

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