Watchorn Family Arrives in Ontario

Our great-great-grandfather Charles Watchorn was born March 8, 1822 in Kilkenny County, Ireland and came to Canada in 1831 with his parents. He was nine years old when they arrived in Toronto and they settled in Montague Township, Lanark County, ON. There he must have met and married Annie Stone, born 1826.
Their children:

Mary………. born 1844……………. married James Wilson……………..died 1932
William…………….1845…………….. m. Annie Holler in 1867……………died Nov, 17, 1925
Anne…………Ap 25,1848………….. m. Francis Waugh in 1872……..….died Aug 13, 1925
Henrietta………….1852……………………..spinster………………………….died July 25, 1907
John Henry……….1853…………………….bachelor………………………….died 1935
Alice…………………1855…………….. m. William Turner…………………..died ?
Thomas L………….1860……………. m. Margaret Hepburn………….….died 1917 Emily………………..1862……………. m. William Henry Rothwell……..died 1945 (no children)

The first five children were born in Montague Township, Lanark Co., ON; the family moved to Wellington Co. by 1855 and the last three children were born there. Annie died there in 1862. (Complications of childbirth?)

In 1870 Charles, with his children, his brothers and sisters and widowed mother moved to Bruce county and founded the settlement at Purple Valley, naming it for the purple morning haze in that area. According to our family history there were twenty in the family when they came to Bruce Co.

I recently found the marriage registration where the youngest daughter, Emily, married William H Rothwell, age 42, son of Edward Rothwell and Mary White. It lists the brides parents as Charles Watchorn and Ann Tyndall, so evidently Charles married a second time. The witnesses were Webster & Emma Watchorn. (the bride’s cousins?)

We’ve driven through that region, including the few houses that make up Purple Valley. Right there you see some farming land and crops, but most of the area is very stony with rock outcroppings, fit only for pasture. No doubt our clan had hard slogging to make a go of it. The story we got is that the King gave our ancestor a tract of land in Canada in return for services performed. If that it, I’m sure they said, “Thanks heaps!”

The Watchorns were Conservatives and staunch Orangemen. Alice married William Turner — from another staunch Orange clan — and became our grandmother Emily’s mother.

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About Christine Goodnough

I'm a wife, mom & grandma, a writer, homemaker and nature lover at home on the Canadian prairies. I post short stories and poems about life and personal experiences, writing from a Christian perspective and adding a dash of humor where I can.
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