Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.

James Smith

Male Abt 1763 - 1844  (~ 81 years)


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  • Name James Smith 
    Born Abt 1763  Aberdeen, , Aberdeen, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Rsrch. Note
    • ID: I2
      Name: James Smith
      Surname: Smith
      Given Name: James
      Sex: M
      Birth: ABT 1775 in Edinburgh, Scotland
      Death: 12 Jun 1844 in Brantford, Ontario
      Burial: Brantford, Ontario
      _UID: 428CF5CFF279D51181030000F6B84859B6B9
      Census: 1837 Woolwich Township, Ontario, Canada
      Will: 13 May 1844 Brantford, Ontario, Canada
      Probate: 4 Dec 1844 Brantford, Ontario, Canada
      Occupation:
      Note:

      From Warner and Beers History of Brant County 1883 (p.599):
      "GEORGE SMITH, farmer, Brantford P.O., is a son of James Smith, who was one of three brothers, born near Edinburgh, Scotland. James was born about 1763, and was the only one to come to Canada. He was married to Patience Austin, of English birth, who died in Canada. James, while in his native country, was engaged in the nursery business, but in 1836 he, with wife and five children, settled in Brantford Township, where two years later death released him from his worldly cares, but she survived until 1854. Up to his death he had only started the nursery business, when his sons George and William took charge of it and conducted the business. They had been schooled to the business from early life. From the nursery of Smith's many of the old orchards now in the county were started."

      His gravestone has the inscription:
      In Memory, James Smith, Late of the city of Aberdeen Scotland, who died June 12 - 1844 at the Brantford NURSERY, Aged 69 years

      James Smith?s death was reported in the Aberdeen Journal:
      Aberdeen Journal, 17 Jul 1844
      Died.-At Newington, Near Brantford, Canada West, on the 12th June, Mr James Smith, late Seedsman in Aberdeen, in the sixty-ninth year of his age.

      From the above, James Smith would have been born c.1775, so it is clear that both his birth (1763) and death (1838) years, as remembered by his son George in 1883, are incorrect.

      The farm where James Smith died in 1844 was called Newington Farm, and Newington is a district of Edinburgh, which fits well with James' biography. On the assumption that James was born in the district of Newington (which appears to be in the parish of St. Cuthberts), and that James' father was named William (based on the fact that his first son was named William), I had a look in the IGI for James Smith, son of William, baptized at St. Cuthberts, born between 1760 and 1777 (batches C119869 and C119871). There were only two records found:

      James Smith, bapt. 16 Nov 1775, son of William Smith and Maragret Reid (William Smith was however a baker, not a gardener)
      James Smith, bapt. 2 Mar 1776, son of William Smith and Margaret Laing (born 24 Feb 1776)

      O.P.R. Marriages Edinburgh
      Sab: 30 Dec. 1770
      William Smith Gardiner and Margaret Leing Daugh of the Deceasd. John Laing farmer in the parish of Ellon now both in Lady Yesters Kirk parish.

      Register of Baptisms in 1776 (at St. Cuthbert's)
      March 2nd
      Smith
      William Gardener at Causeway Side and Margaret Laing his spouse had a Son Born Saturday the 24th Ult. name James
      Witt John Smith Wright at Canon Mills and Robert Cleghorn Inn Keeper Bristo Street

      James married Patience Austin at the church of Marylebone in London in 1808. What James (or for that matter Patience) was doing in London at the time we can only guess, but one possibility that James had accompanied his employer (P Milne Esq.) to London and met Patience there (was she a servant)?

      Life at Aberdeen 1809-1835
      After they were married, James and Patience lived at Aberdeen until their departure for Canada at the end of March 1835. Six children were baptised there. On the baptism records of his first five children, i.e. between the years 1809 and 1818, James Smith is said to be ?Gardener to P. Milne Esq, Union Street, [Aberdeen]?. Who exactly P. Milne was, is not at this point known, but a good candidate is Patrick Milne Esq. of Crimonmogate, a wealthy businessman and politician, who died on 16 May 1820, i.e. about the time that James Smith started his own business. The book ?A General View of the Agriculture of Aberdeenshire,? by George Skene Keith, D.D, Aberdeen 1811, mentions on page 366 that ?Patrick Milne, Esq. Of Crimonmogate, one of the partners of two of the principal trading companies in Aberdeen, has a very excellent hot house within a hundred yards of Union Street.?

      Patrick Milne was MP of Elgin Burghs (made up of the Burghs of Elgin (in Elginshire), Banff and Cullen (in Banffshire), and Inverurie, Kintore and Peterhead (in Aberdeenshire)) from 1812 to 1818.

      We know that James Smith and family were living in the Aberdeen district of Gilcomston in 1815 when their third child James died (he died in May 1815 at age 2 years and six months), and as all of their children were baptised at the Gilcomston Parish Church (at that time part of the church parish of Old Machar), it seems likely that they lived in this district for several years. The Rev. Professor James Kidd (Professor of Oriental Languages in Marischal College) was minister of Golcomston Parish Church from 1801 until his death on 24 Dec 1834.

      The baptism record of James? sixth child, James, in 1821, however describes his father James as ?Nurseryman, Frog Hall, Aberdeen,? i.e. it appears that sometime around 1819/20 James Smith started his own nursery business (Frog Hall was at that time on the outskirts of Aberdeen, somewhat to the north of the city centre). A postal directory from 1824/25 describes James as a nursery and seedsman at 2 St. Nicholas Street (located in the centre of Aberdeen, just to the north of Union Street) with his house at Froghall. James Smith and family lived at Froghall until their departure for Canada in March 1835.

      Aberdeen Journal, 17 Mar 1824
      THE ABERDEENSHRE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY
      AT a Meeting of a number of Practical Gardeners in and about Aberdeen, held on the 6th curt. For the purpose of forming themselves intro a Society, to be denominated the ABERDEENSHIRE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY,
      Mr ALEX MATHESON, Nurseryman, being called to the CHAIR,
      Produced a letter from the EARL of ABERDEEN, dated Argyle House, London, the 23rd of February last, wherein his Lordship has generously condescended to become Patron of the Society, and to give a liberal donation annually.
      The Meeting impressed with a due sense of his Lordship?s generosity, proceeded to nominate interim Managers, when, after the Right Hon. the EARL of ABERDEEN, as Patron, the said Alexander Matheson was named President ; James Smith, Seedsman, George Stevenson, Gardener to Charles Bannerman, Esq. Of Crimonmogate, Vice Presidents ; James Walker, John Sangster, Seedsmen, Secretaries ; Thomas Milne. Nurseryman, Treasurer ; Alex. Diack, Nurseryman, Clerk ; Robert Fraser, Adam Rennie, Alex. Littlejohn, Wm. Chalmers, James Ferrier, Alex. Stewart, Counsellors ; Robert Smith, William Anderson, Stewards ; and Geo. Bothwell, Tyler.
      The Meeting then adjourned to Saturday the 3rd of April, ands resolved that these proceedings be published in the Aberdeen Journal, intimating to such Noblemen and Gentlemen as intend to become members, that lists are left at the Journal Office, and with James Smith, Seedsman, St. Nicholas Street, Vice President ; James Walker, Seedsman, Broad Street ; and John Sangster, Seedsman, Skene Square, the Secretaries, where copies of the Regulations are also left.
      It is intended that this Society be conducted on the same principles as the Caledonian Horticultural Society, Edinburgh.
      ALEX MATHESON, P.
      Aberdeen, March 8, 1824
      The Committee have to acknowledge receipt of General Gordon?s Letter of the 11th. They are happy in his becoming a Member, and desire to thank the General for his munificent intentions towards the Society.

      Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 2 March 1825
      WANTED, AN APPRENTICE to a GARDENER, where he will have an opportunity of seeing the management of Hot-houses, with all the recent improvements in Gardening. For Sale, A few Bolls of GEORGIA SEED OATS ; Price 35s. per Boll. With some EARLY ANGUS ; Price 27s. per Boll.-POTATOES delivered in Aberdeen at 14s. per Boll. Apply to Mr. J. Smith, Seedsman, St. Nicholas Street.

      The reference to experience with management of Hot-houses matches well with the comment above that James Smith?s possible employer, Patrick Milne, ?had an excellent hot house? on the grounds of his Union Street residence.

      Aberdeen Journal, 2 May 1827
      The First or Spring Competition of the Aberdeenshire Horticultural Society was held here yesterday, when the Society?s medals were awarded to---
      ?
      Mr James Smith, Nurseryman, for twelve Mushrooms, raised in the open ground.
      ?
      The collection of Auriculas and Polyanthus was much greater than could have been expected, after so backward a season ; and the tables were decorated with a variety of beautiful flowers not offered for competition.
      The whole were viewed with much satisfaction, by a numerous assemblage of ladies and gentlemen. Mrs CROMBIE of Phesdo honoured the meeting, by delivering the Medals to the successful candidates ; and, we are happy to add, that on this occasion several new members were enrolled.

      Aberdeen Journal, 11 Nov 1829
      WANTS A SITUATION, AS GARDENER
      A YOUNG MAN, without encumbrance, who has a perfect knowledge of his business in all its various branches, from many years experience in some of the first-rate Gardens, both in England and Scotland.
      The most satisfactory references will be given by the family he is leaving, with whom he has lived several years.
      Apply to James Smith, Nursery and Seedsman, No. 2, St. Nicholas Street, Aberdeen.

      On their arrival at New York in 1835, James was listed as a seedsman and his sons William 24, George 22 and James 14, were listed as gardeners, i.e. it is quite likely that they worked for their father (as indicated in James? biography).

      In a book called "The Village of Aberdeen, The Spital Lands" by Diane Morgan
      "On 6 June 1812 the Aberdeen Journal was advertising 'to let lands of Froghall, Causewayend and a small enclosure at Sunnyside'. ... Wood's Plan of 1821 .. shows 'Nursery, Mr Smith' between the Froghall buildings and the Canal ...Then on 16 July 1834 there was advertised. "the farm of Froghall occupied by James Smith, seedsman to let from next Martinmas for twenty years. Nine acres of ground, two houses, barn, stable and byre. Seen by applying to Mr Smith at his shop at 74 Union Street."

      In assessment rolls for Aberdeen for 1833/34, James Smith is listed as a tenant of a Union Street building owned by the 'Misses Ogilvie'. He is described as a seedsman and paid £20 per annum for the premises. He does not appear in the following year's list (1835/36).

      In postal directories held at Central Library, Aberdeen the directory for 1824/25 lists a James Smith, nursery and seedsman at 2 St. Nicholas Street with his house at Froghall. In 1829/30 the information was largely the same except his house is listed as Froghall Cottage. In 1834/35 Smith is described as a seedsman and florist at 74 Union Street with a house and nursery at Froghall, Causewayend. Again he drops out of the directory in 1835/36.

      Aberdeen Journal, 7 May 1834
      JAMES SMITH, NURSERY & SEEDSMAN,
      BEGS leave to intimate, that he has REMOVED from St. Nicholas Street to the shop, No 74, UNION STREET, first door west from St. Nicholas street, where he intends carrying on the SEED, NURSERY, and FLORIST Business, in all its departments.
      J. S. takes this opportunity of returning his sincere thanks to his customers and friends, for the liberal support he has received from them, and begs to assure them that nothing shall be wanting on his part to merit their continued support.
      J. S. would call the attention of his customers and friends to his present stock of TURNIP SEEDS, which he can with confidence recommend, he having selected them from the best growers in England and Scotland. A large assortment of Green-House Plants, including all the newest and finest varieties of Pelargonium, Fuchsia, Erica, Calceolaria, &c.
      N. B.--Plants of his fine collection of Dahlia now ready for delivery.
      74, Union Street, 6th May, 1834.

      Aberdeen Journal - 16 July 1834 (repeated on 23 July 1834 and 3 Sep 1834)
      SMALL FARM AND GARDEN GROUND,
      NEAR ABERDEEN,
      To be let, for Ten Years, from Martinmas next, THE FARM of FROGHALL, occupied by Mr Smith, Seedsman, lying close to the Gallowgatehead, by the Causewayend Road, consisting of about Nine Acres, partly laid out for Garden produce, and the whole in good heart, and in the best state of cultivation. There are two Dwelling Houses, besides Stables, Barn, and Byre attached, all nearly new and in good repair.
      Apply to James Smith, the present Tenant in the Premises ; or at his shop, No 74, Union Street; or at Messrs. H. & C. Lumsden?s Office, Aberdeen
      Aberdeen, July 15, 1834
      Note Martinmas is 11 November.

      One interpretation of the above two notices is that while in May 1834 James Smith appeared optimistic that a move of his shop to a new location (from 2 St. Nicholas street to 74 Union Street) would be beneficial for his business, it appears that by the middle of July he had decided to emigrate to Canada and had given notice he would be leaving the premises he leased for his nursery. Another possibility is that his lease may have been due for renewal in any case and that he decided at that time to move to Canada.
      The building, 74 Union Street, where James Smith had his shop from May 1834 until March 1835, was torn down about 1928 at the time a new bank was built, which now stands a bit back from the north-west corner of Union Street and St. Nicolas Street.

      Aberdeen Journal, 3 Sep 1834
      ABERDEENSHIRE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY
      The Fifth Competition of this Society was held in the Hall of the Royal Hotel, on Wednesday, when the following Prizes were awarded:--
      ?
      For the Third Best 12 Georginas [Dahlias], to Wm. Smith, nurseryman, Froghall.
      ?
      After the exhibition, the Members of the Society dined together in the Hall of the Royal Hotel. Mr Forbes of Springhill in the chair ; and Mr Chalmers and Mr Chivas, croupiers. The party consisted of 60 to 70, including several strangers. The dinner was in Machray?s usual good style ; and the desert comprised a profusion of the choicest fruits-grapes, peaches, nectarines, apricots, apples and pears, plums of all sorts, melons, and every variety of gooseberry. The evening passed in great good humour ; and the party did not break up till an early hour on Thursday morning.

      Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 28 January 1835
      FOR NEW YORK,
      WITH GOODS AND PASSENGERS,
      THE ARKWRIGHT, JAMES BIRNIE, Commander, a regular trader, well known for quick passages, 7 feet high between decks, and with excellent accommodation for Cabin and Steerage Passengers.
      This vessel is expected to arrive soon at Aberdeen, and will be dispatched for New York, about the 20th March.
      THOs. BANNERMAN & CO.
      Bannermill, Aberdeen, Jan. 20, 1835

      SALE OF SEEDSMAN?S STOCK, &c.
      On Tuesday the 3rd of February, there will be sold, by public roup, in that Shop, No. 74, Union Street, presently occupied by James Smith, Nursery and Seedsman,
      THE STOCK belonging to him ; ?consisting of Turnip, Onion, Leek, Carrot, and a general Assortment of Garden Seeds ; Canary, Rape and Hemp Seed, and about 50 bushels of Pacey?s Perennial Rye Grass Seed, of very best quality. Spades, Shovels, Hoes, Rakes, Garden Shears, Trowels, Scythes, Scythe Stones and Strickles , Hyacinth Glasses, and a quantity of empty Sacks and Bags. Also, the SHOP FURNITURE, consisting of an excellent Counter, with Drawers, and Wainscot Top, ; a Writing Desk ; Shelving, with Presses below, fitted up in the best style for a Silk Mercer or Haberdasher ; four Nests of Drawers ; a standard Beam and Scales ; with other Shop Utensils. And the shop to be Let till Whitsunday. The Sale to commence at 11 o?clock forenoon.
      JOHN SMITH, YOST.
      JAMES SMITH being about to give up business, most respectfully offers his thanks to the Public and his Friends who have hitherto patronized him ; and requests that those who are Indebted to him will favour him with a settlement of their Accounts, as speedily as possible. He begs, at sametime, to intimate, that the Shop Articles are in the meantime selling off, by private bargain, until the day of roup, at very low prices ; and that the Nursery Stock at Froghall ? consisting of Forest Trees, Fruit Trees, Shrubs, &c. ? are also selling off, by private bargain, at reduced prices, until the second week of February, when what then remains will be exposed for sale, by public roup.
      N.B. ? The SHOP to be let till Whitsunday.
      (One concern.)

      Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 4 February 1835
      SALE OF NURSERY PLANTS, &c.
      On Tuesday the 10th and Wednesday the 11th of February current, there will be Sold, by Public Roup, at Froghall,
      THE whole NUSERY STOCK there, belonging to JAMES SMITH,?consisting of TRANSPLANTED and SEEDLING FOREST TREES viz. : Larch, Scotch Fir, Spruce, Oak, Beech, Ash, Elm, Maple, Chesnut, and other Hardwood?FRUIT TREES, viz. Apples, Pears, Plums, Cherries, Nectarines, and Peaches?a great variety of fine AMERICAN PLANTS and SHRUBS, viz. : Rhododendrons, Portugal and Common Laurel, with a fine collection of Greenhouse Plants. Also the GARDEN IMPLEMENTS, consisting of Barrows, Spades, Rakes, and Hoes ; a Cart and Harness ; a Fanners and sundry other Tools ; a Two-Light Frame, and Hand-Glasses, with a quantity of Wooden Paling, Boxes, Casks, &c.
      The Plants are all healthy and in the best condition for planting out.
      The Sale to commence at 10 o?clock forenoon.
      JOHN SMITH, Yost.
      N.B. ? The above Stock is selling off by Private Bargain till the day of Roup, at very reduced prices.

      Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 11 February 1835
      SALE OF NURSERY STOCK.
      The Sale of Mr JAMES SMITH?S NURSERY STOCK, at Froghall, having been necessarily postponed on account of the snow, will now take place on Tuesday the 17th, and Wednesday the 18th current, provided the snow be off the ground at that time ; and the whole must be sold off without reserve.
      JOHN SMITH, Yost.
      N.B.?The Stock will be selling by private bargain at very reduced prices till the days of roup.

      Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 25 February 1835
      NURSERY PLANTS FOR SALE.
      The remainder of the STOCK of PLANTS, belonging to JAMES SMITH, Nurseryman, Froghall, is selling off, at very greatly reduced prices?consisting of Seedling Scotch Fir ; fine transplanted Ash ; Planes ; Oaks ; Spruce ; Thorns ; Maple ; Poplars ; Horse and Sweet Chesnut ; Turkey and Scarlet Oaks ; Apple and Pear Stocks ; and a great variety of Evergreen and American Shrubs ; Apple and Pear Trees ; very fine trained Peach, Nectarine, Plum, and Cherry Trees ; Gooseberry and Currant Bushes ; a great variety of Herbaceous Plants, Bulbous Roots, and a large collection of Green-House Plants, many of them new and rare ; Box Edgings ; early Seed Potatoes ; Cabbage Plants ; a quantity of Flower Pots, Garden Implements, &c. And as the whole must be sold off by the second week in March, those who intend planting this spring will find it their interest to apply early.
      Orders addressed to the Shop, 74, Union Street, or the Nursery, Froghall.
      19th February, 1835.

      Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 11 March 1835
      JAMES SMITH
      Offers for Sale the remainder of his stock of NURSERY PLANTS, consisting of Ash, Oak, Beech, Plane, Maple, Horse and Sweet Chestnut, Hazel, Spruce &c and Seedling Scotch Fir @ 25s per 100,000 ; also Green-house Plants and Bulbous Roots, in great varieties ; Apple and Pear Trees ; Gooseberry and Currant Bushes ; Box Edging ; Cauliflower and Cabbage Plants ; and as the whole must be taken off the ground by the 20th March, they will be sold at very low prices.
      James Smith at the same time requests that those indebted to him, will please settle their accounts on or before the 20th current ; and those to whom he is Indebted, are requested to give in their accounts without delay, in order that they may be settled, as it is absolutely necessary for him to have all his affairs wound up by the end of the month.

      Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 18 March 1835
      To-morrow
      SALE OF
      HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE &C
      On Thursday the 19th March current, there will be Sold, by Public Roup (Auction), in that House, Froghall Nursery, formerly occupied by JAMES SMITH Nursery and Seedsman,
      THE HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE belonging to him, --consisting of a Set of Dining Tables ; Breakfast and Tea Tables ; a Sofa, in Haircloth ; 2 Chests of Drawers ; 2 Sets of Mahogany Chairs ; a Bedstead and Mattresses ; Grates, Fenders and Fireirons ; Carpets and Rugs ; China, Glass and Stoneware ; Kitchen Grate and Oven ; and a general assortment of Kitchen Furniture.
      Also sundry Garden Tools ; an excellent Barn Fanners ; and a variety of valuable Green-house Plants, in Pots &c.
      The sale to commence at 11 o?clock forenoon.
      JOHN SMITH, Yost.
      N. B.--The furniture at the Shop, No. 74, Union Street --consisting of Counters, Shelving, and Presses ; 4 Nests of Drawers ; a Desk ; and sundry other articles, to be Sold, by Private Bargain, on very moderate terms.
      (One Concern)

      Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 25 March 1835
      NOTICE TO SHIPPERS AND PASSENGERS,
      Per ARKWRIGHT,
      F O R N E W Y O R K A N D S A V A N N A H.
      THE ARKWRIGHT will be clear for Sea on FRIDAY the 27th, and will sail positively that day or the day after.
      Apply to Captain BIRNIE ; or,
      THOs. BANNERMAN & CO.
      Aberdeen, March 20, 1835.

      Aunt Irma gave me a small book of Psalms which has on the first page the dedication: "To James Smith from George Emslie, Aberdeen 27th March 1835" This must have been given to James Smith shortly before his departure to Canada.

      Tony Johnston has a receipt for steerage passage issued to William Smith on 27 Mar 1835
      "Aberdeen 27th March 1835. Received from Mr William Smith the sum of Four Pounds Ten Shillings Sterling for a Steerage Passage in the Arkwright to New York
      £4s10 For Thos Bannerman & Co
      Geo Irvine"

      Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 1 April 1835
      The Arkwright sailed on Monday afternoon for New York with 82 passengers. The day was particularly fine, and a great number of people had collected on the quay.

      James and his family left the port of Aberdeen for Canada on the afternoon of Monday 30 March 1835 on the Arkwright, captain James Birnie. There were 82 passengers on board. The ship was built in 1830 and displaced 414 tons; overall dimensions were 7 3/12 x 29 x 113ft. After a voyage of one month and four days, they arrived at New York on 4 May 1835 where was recorded the arrival of the "British Ship Arkwright" displacement 411 tons, captain James Birnie. There were 82 passengers. Here is an extract from the passenger list:

      Name Age Sex Occupation
      James Smith 57 Male Seedsman
      Mrs Smith 50 Female Spinster
      Martha Smith 20 (actually 25) Female Spinster
      Sarah Smith 16 Female Spinster
      George Smith (*) 24 Male Gardener
      Wm Smith (*) 22 Female (typo) Gardener
      Jas Smith 14 Male Gardener

      (*) William, age 24, should appear before George, age 22.

      James Smith and family would most likely then have travelled from New York to Albany by steamboat on the Hudson River (154 miles - 1 day), and from there either by canal boat or stage coach passing through Utica and Syracuse to Oswego on Lake Ontario (211 miles), a total journey of about a week. There were regular lake steamers from Oswego calling at Kingston, Cobourg, Toronto (140 miles) and Niagara. As James Smith purchased land in Woolwich township from the Honourable William Allen of Toronto, and as settlers were strongly advised not to buy land sight unseen, he may have left his family at Toronto and gone first to inspect the land he eventually bought from Allen on 17 July. The trip from Toronto to Woolwich township may have been by lake steamer from Toronto to Hamilton (60 miles) and then stage coach from Hamilton via Galt or Preston to Winterbourne (where conditions were often terrible due to the primitive nature of the roads).


      In the book "An Early History of Elora and Vicinity", by John Connon, he mentions a ship , the "Brilliant", which sailed from Aberdeen on 3 Apr 1835, with 108 passengers, and arrived at New York on 30 May 1835 (they left Aberdeen shortly after the Arkwright, but their trip lasted more than three weeks longer). On page 89 he continues "Landing at New York they came by the Hudson River and Eire Canal to Oswego, crossed the lake to Toronto and then to Hamilton. From this they came to Preston, then to Winterbourne, where they left some of their fellow travellers, among them being George Loggie and his wife, and Adam L. Argo who joined his brother James, who had proceeded him.
      It was the 10th. of June ...",

      In this case, by not stopping off at Toronto, the journey from New York to Winterbourne was made in about 10 days.

      Also in Connon's book, he quotes at length from a narrative written by one of the founders of the Bon Accord settlement, George Elmslie (who may be related to the George Emslie who gave the book of Psalms to James Smith) it is mentioned on page 80 that "In the middle of July we heard of the arrival of Mr. Smith (seedsman) and family, and their settlement at Cox's Creek. Being known to several of our settlers, some of us determined to go and see them as well as other settlers in that neighbourhood. Being in want of some necessaries from Shoemaker's mill we drove down in our ox wagon there and visited our friends on our return, getting a good deal of interesting news of our friends in Aberdeenshire. Mr. Smith brought me the happy intelligence that my elder sister, Mrs. John Gibbon with her family, accompanied by my younger, would be with us sometime in September. We had no letter from them lately and letters at that time were from two to three months in reaching us. One I had took five months, having by some mistake gone round by Nova Scotia. That day was the 31st of July bright and warm, but the evening was unusually chilly. Next morning, the 1st of August, was a severe frost-the fields white with hoar frost all over - the ice nearly a quarter of an inch thick on the water-trough - potatoes, melons. tomatoes, everything was cut down ; and of course the late sown wheat, as ours was, shared the same fate. Mr. Smith was appalled : like ourselves not anticipating this he had sown some rare vegetables, and all were destroyed by this untimely frost. When we returned home I found that my worst fears regarding the frost were realized. The crops which but a few days before we left looking so rich and luxuriant were stricken down--the potatoes blackened, the wheat a sickly pale yellow, in a word our first crop was destroyed. I had often heard it objected to Nichol and the adjoining townships that they were so liable to frosts that there was no certainty of any crop coming to maturity ; and this mischance seemed to confirm the statement. I therefore took pains to ascertain whether the ravages of this frost were confined to the northern part of the Gore district. I found that its ravages were universal, extending over Lower as well as Upper Canada, respecting Niagara and Sandwich as little as Nichol and Woolwich ; destroying whatever was destructible in the New England States, and felt even to the Northern line of Virginia."

      James Smith bought 106 acres of land (Broken Front Concession, lot 4) in Woolwich township (near the centre of the town of Winterbourne) on 17 July 1835 for 120 Pounds. He is described in the deed as "James Smith, late of the City of Aberdeen, now of the Township of Woolwich in the County of Halton ... Gardiner, Seedsman and Horticulturist" (note his daughter Martha's first husband Thomas Knight "an Emmigrant lately arrived from Scotland" bought 126 acres in Woolwich township on 30 June 1835 (located on the other side of the Elora road from James' property - did Thomas Knight arrive with them from Scotland?). Note: A Wm Knight, age 35, Farmer was on the same ship as James Smith and family - was he a brother of Thomas?

      https://www.region.waterloo.on.ca (living here -> history)
      Before the influx of European settlement, Woolwich Township was an area of Grand River land included within Block Three (86,078 acres) of the Six Nations grant. This grant had been donated by the British to the Six Nations in the late eighteenth century for their loyalty to the Crown in the American Revolutionary wars. On behalf of the Six Nations, Joseph Brant sold Block Three to William Wallace, a carpenter from Niagara, in 1798. Wallace subsequently sold portions of Block Three to a number of people including Robert Pilkington, who purchased 15,000 acres of the Block?s eastern front sometime before 1803.[7] This area became Pilkington Township of Wellington County. The remaining area of Block Three would become Woolwich Township. Although Wallace forfeited Block Three lands in 1806 for failing to honour his contract, Brant allowed him to retain 7,000 acres in the south-eastern corner of the Township. However, after siding with the Americans in the War of 1812, Wallace forfeited this portion of land as well. Subsequently, Wallace?s land had to be resold.

      On 6 Nov 1821 the Commissioner of Forfeited Estates sold 7000 acres in Woolwich township which had belonged to William Wallace to William Crooks
      On 7 Nov 1821 William Crooks sold 7048 acres to the Honourable William Allen

      William Allen was born at Huntly, Aberdeenshire c.1770, and was a businessman who rose to prominence during the war of 1812 as a major in the York militia. In 1818 he was part of the group which formed the Bank of Upper Canada and was its first president from 1822 to 1835. He also served as a director of the Canada Company, which was formed to develop and sell property within the province.

      https://www.biographi.ca/EN/ShowBio.asp?BioId=37865
      Allan?s own land speculations occupied a good deal of his time. The amount of land that he held at different times is impossible to estimate, but for some 60 years he was continuously involved in the land market, dealing in both wild land and areas which he hoped to develop. By 1829 he had held land in townships in almost every district of the province. An idea of the size of his holdings may be judged from the request he made to John George Howard* in 1841, noted in Howard?s diary, ?to get the List of 20 thousand acres of Land to sell for him.?

      Memorial No. 511
      A memorial to be Registered pursuant to the Statute of an Indenture of Bargain & Sale dated the Seventeenth day of July in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty five made between The Honorable William Allan of the City of Toronto in the Province of Upper Canada a member of the Legislative Council of said Province of the one part and James Smith late of the City of Aberdeen, Scotland now of the Township of Woolwich in the County of Halton in the District of Gore and Province aforesaid Gardener, Seedsman and Horticulturist of the other part, whereby the said William Allan for the sum of one hundred and twenty pounds lawful money did Grant bargain sell alien transfer Convey & Confirm unto the said James Smith his heirs and assigns all that certain parcel or tract of land and premises situate in the Township of Woolwich aforesaid containing by admeasurement One hundred and Six acres be the same more or less being the Broken Lot number Four on the East side of the Grand River or Ouse which is butted and bounded or may be otherwise known as follows. That is to say Commencing at a stone boundary placed at the north east angle of Lands agreed to be sold to Luman Woodward thence North nine degrees forty five minutes East along the main road leading to Elora thirty chains and fifty links to the allowance for a road between Lots number four and three thence North eighty degrees fifteen minutes west thirty chains nineteen links more or less to said Grand River or Ouse with the Stream to the South West angle of the said Broken Lot, thence South Eighty degrees fifteen minutes East forty chains Sixty seven links more or less to the place of beginning. Together with all and singular the tenements hereditaments and appurtenances thereto belonging To Hold the same free from encumbrances unto and to the use of the said James Smith his heirs & assigns forever. Which indenture is witnessed by James Crooks of West Flamboro in the District of Gore Esquire and by Thomas Galt of the City of Toronto Gentleman and is hereby required to be Registered by the said William Allan the Grantor. Witness my hand and Seal the Seventeenth day of July in the year of our Lord 1835.
      Signed & Sealed in presence of /signed/ Jas. Crooks & Thomas Galt
      /Signed/ W. Allan

      James Smith of Woolwich Township purchased 100 acres of Crown Land (Concession II, lot 28, Brantford Township) and was awarded a patent for the property from the Lieutenant Governor dated 31st Oct 1836.

      The 1837 census of Woolwich township (MS 700, Reel 5) lists a James Smith living in the 1st Concession together with a female over 16 and a male under 16. He has no land but he is shown as owning three horses and three cows - i.e. he must have been living in temporary accommodation with another family or at a hotel (or was carrying on a business?). The other children of James Smith and Patience most likely had gone ahead to Brantford to claim the land and to begin clearing it and building a house. The person on the list before James Smith is William Ruxton of Aberdeenshire, brother of Margaret Ruxton whose daughter Agnes Findlay married James? son George Smith in 1851. The name after that of James Smith is Thomas Knight, who married James?s daughter Martha about 1838.

      As the 1838 census for Woolwich township no longer shows the name James Smith, he must have left Woolwich some time during 1837. As his property was not sold until 1847, someone was farming it during the years 1837-47. From the census and assessment lists for 1839-40 this clearly appears to be Thomas Knight, who married James' daughter Martha about 1838. It is even possible that the assessment list for 1837 might be in error and that Thomas Knight was farming the land belonging to James Smith as early as 1837, i.e. that his second property that year should be Lot No 4 on the Broken Front Concession and not Lot No 3, as the amount of land he was farming during the years 1837-38 is exactly the total of land owned by Thomas Knight and James Smith. The price William and Patience received in 1847 for James Smith's 106 acres was £625.

      Why James Smith decided to leave Winterbourne and move further south to Brantford can only be guessed at. The north part of Brantford township, which was just then being opened up for settlement, offered good agricultural land at a good price (he paid £1 per acre for the two farms he bought). The town of Brantford itself, where settlement had begun earlier than in Woolwich township, offered a better market for the products of a nursery and had much better transportation links to other parts of the province (e.g. close to the Dundas highway). Some of the Woolwich township settlers, especially those who had recently arrived from Scotland and England, many of whom would have been new to the hardships of clearing virgin land and living in a wilderness area, i.e. who were often struggling for their existence, and were concerned with trying to pay off farm land bought on credit, would presumably been less interested in buying fruit trees or flowering shrubs than the more-established settlers in the Brantford area. In any case he clearly made a good decision, as Winterbourne has remained a backwater to this day, while the Brantford area quickly grew in size and importance.

      Sales of indian land (from: https://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/3808/)
      The Six Nations Reserve was granted to the survivors under Brant in 1784. The Haldimand Grant extended six miles either side of the Grand River from its source to its mouth at Lake Erie. In 1793 British Governor John Simcoe forced the surrender of some of the source lands. Between 1798 and 1834 Brant, as leader, sold more than 140,000 hectares of the grant to raise money for the welfare of the people. These lands include present day Brantford. Later, between 1834 and 1844, some monies from these sales were invested in the Grand River Navigation Company to open the river to a link with the Welland Canal, and later to the founding funds for McGill, the University of Toronto, and other capital investments.(Note: this was done without the approval of the Nations) The Six Nations Reserve took its present form of 20,000 hectares in 1847.

      The Smith family establish the Brantford Nursery at their farm (Newington Farm) located at Concession II, lot 28. At some time during this period Martha married Thomas Knight of Woolwich township who died in 1840. In August 1840 James (and his son William) co-signed a bond (as part of the administration of Martha Knight's husband's estate) which stated that he "is worth five hundred pounds over and above what will pay all his debts."

      In March 1841 James Smith purchased from Hugh Mulholland of Brantford township the right to buy a further 100 acres of Crown Land (Concession II, lot 23, Brantford Township) and was awarded a patent for this property from the Lieutenant Governor dated 30th July 1841. At some point William Smith moved to this property to claim the land and to begin clearing it and building a house.

      James the youngest son of James and Parience died on 20 Apr 1841 and was buried at Grace Anglican church, Brantford.

      James Smith appears in the 1842 census for Brant County as a land owner. The census only gives his name and the counts of others living with him by age group. These counts match with what we know of his family with the exception that neither Martha nor William are present and living with them is a young boy of age up to 16. All five persons in the household are shown as being born in Scotland and have been in Canada for 7 years.

      In 1844 James Smith is in poor health. He makes his will on the 13th of May and died at the Brantford Nursery on the 12th of June 1844, aged 69 years.

      Estate file of James Smith (Brantford Township was a part of Wentworth County in 1844):
      From https://www.archives.gov.on.ca/english/interloan/c-rg22hn.htm:
      NAME SMITH, James / COUNTY Wentworth / NO. 534 / YEAR 1844
      Estate Files 507-545 / Year 1843-1844 / Microfilm Reference MS 638, Reel 8

      James Smith made two purchases of Crown Land in Brant County:
      1. On 31 Oct 1836, while still a resident of Woolwich Township, he was granted a Patent for land he had purchased, for £100, in Brantford Township: the north half (100 acres) of lot 28 on Concession II and where he established the Brantford Nursery. This farm was bequeathed in 1844 to his son George, who lived there until approximately 1885, when he retired and moved to Brantford. When George died in 1895, he bequeathed the farm to his wife Agnes. It was sold in 1916 and is now a part of the Northridge golf course.

      2. On 30 Jul 1841, by then a resident of Brantford Township, James was granted a Patent for the north half (100 acres) of lot 23 on Concession II. This farm was taken over by his son William, who lived there until his death in 1881, when ownership of this farm (now 150 acres ) passed to his nephew James A. Smith, who sold the north 50 acres (above the Brantford Paris road) in 1917. After the deaths of James A. Smith and his wife Gertrude, the remaining roughly 100 acres were sold by her executors (Harold G. Smith and William Robbins) in 1932. The gravestone of James A. Smith, possibly moved here from lot 28, still stands on this property.

      According to an inflation calculator, what James Smith paid for his two farms in Brantford township (each cost £100) would have been equal to 485 USD, and that, adjusted for inflation, is just under $8,000 today.

      The 1861 census for the Brantford township farm of James Smith?s elder son William shows:
      William A. Smith, Farmer, born Scotland, C. of S., 48, male, single
      Petience Smith, born Scotland, C. of S., 76, female, widow
      Sarah Smith, born Scotland, C. of S., 42, female, single

      Who was P.Milne, Esq. Union Street, James Smith's employer from 1809 to c.1819?

      One good candidate is Patrick Milne Esq. of Crimonmogate, a wealthy businessman and politician, who died on 16 May 1820, i.e. about the time that James Smith started his own business. The book ?A General View of the Agriculture of Aberdeenshire,? by George Skene Keith, D.D, Aberdeen 1811, mentions on page 366 that ?Patrick Milne, Esq. Of Crimonmogate, one of the partners of two of the principal trading companies in Aberdeen, has a very excellent hot house within a hundred yards of Union Street.?

      https://www.cmg-events.co.uk/history.htm mentions that:
      " Patrick Milne commissioned Archibald Simpson, the noted neo-Classical architect of Aberdeen, to design the House shortly before his death at the age of 65 in 1820, having prospered in numerous overseas enterprises in India, China and the West Indies. The House was completed five years later, in 1825, and a splendidly-proportioned Obelisk designed by Archibald Simpson was erected to the east of the House in memory of Patrick Milne."

      The Gentleman's Magazine (1852) [Google Books] mentions in an obituary for John Smith Esq. Architect:
      Aug. In his 72nd year, John Smith esq. architect, of Aberdeen.
      Mr. Smith was born in that city in 1781. About the year 1805 he commenced business, when he gave proof of his skill by planning and executing the town residence of the late Peter Milne, of Crimonmogate, now the property of Sir Alexander Bannerman, Bart.

      Finally an extract from the 1841 census for Aberdeen (not far from Golden Square):
      Piece: SCT1841/168 Place: Old Machar -Aberdeenshire Enumeration District: 20
      Civil Parish: Gilcomston Ecclesiastical Parish, Village or Island: -
      Folio: 8 Page: 2
      Address: Union Street
      Surname First name(s) Sex Age Occupation Where Born Remarks
      BANNERMAN Charles M 58 Independent Aberdeenshire
      BANNERMAN Georgina F 40 Aberdeenshire
      BANNERMAN Ann F 9 Aberdeenshire
      HENTON (-) F 26 Governess England Forename not Enumerated.
      SCOTT Jessie F 40 Female Servant Aberdeenshire
      MCGREGOR Ann F 25 Female Servant Outside Census County (1841)
      MOIR Jean F 24 Female Servant Aberdeenshire
      CURTANCE William M 30 Male Servant England
      MILNE Jonathan M 25 Male Servant Aberdeenshire
      MURRAY Peter M 15 Male Servant Outside Census County (1841)

      Another possibility:
      From Scottish Wills web site:
      Milne Peter 20/5/1819 shipmaster of the 'Charles Forbes' of Aberdeen Edinburgh Commissary Court
      Milne Peter 10/5/1819 Shipmaster in Aberdeen, died at sea on voyage from Tobago to London Edinburgh Sheriff Court Inventories

      From an e-mail from Jack Cook (2000-10-23):
      By sheer chance, I was looking through the MIs.for St.Clements Kirkyard just off the east side of King Street, Aberdeen & came across the following.

      ' The stone was erected by Peter Milne, shipmaster, Aberdeen ( Then names of children / family, who died young.) spouse Christina Ross, d.22 Aug.1842 aged 69, then Peter Milne d. 12 Nov.1849 aged 78. Then later relatives '. Peter must have been born around 1770 / 1.
      St CLEMENTS ABD (catalogue no: AA183)
      Stone No: 201

      MILNE, Margaret Ann 3 Jun 1807
      MILNE, Robert Peter 26 Apr 1813
      MILNE, James 22 Aug 1827
      ROSS, Christian 22 Aug 1842
      MILNE, John Skinner 5 Mar 1844
      MILNE, Peter 12 Nov 1849
      MILNE, Rebecca Elizabeth 28 Jun 1860
      BURGESS, Charles M 15 Jan 1866
      MILNE, Helen 1 Dec 1884

      Next adjoining stone. ' The burial place of Alexander Hall, shipbuilder d. 2 Mar.1849 aged 89. His wife Elizabeth Cochar d.1860 aged 84 '. Alexander Hall's were & still are shipbuilders in Aberdeen, having in the old days built many of the famous clippers that went to India & the Far East.

      The above two tombstones, are amonst the largest in the churchyard, which usually denotes important & rich people. As a shipowner, Peter Milne would have had an office in central Aberdeen, possibly Union Street. May be no connection with your Peter.

      Change Date: 29 Mar 2010 at 16:57:52





      Marriage 1 Patience Austin b: ABT 1785 in England

      Married: 20 Nov 1808 in St. Marylebone, London, England
      Note: Banns for their marriage were read on the 9th, 16th and 23rd Oct 1808.

      Children

      Has No Children Martha Smith b: 24 Aug 1809 in Aberdeen, Scotland c: 13 Sep 1809 in Old Machar, Aberdeen, Scotland
      Has No Children William Austin Smith b: 28 Feb 1811 in Aberdeen, Scotland c: 26 Mar 1811 in Old Machar, Aberdeen, Scotland
      Has No Children James Smith b: 5 Oct 1812 in Aberdeen, Scotland c: 7 Oct 1812 in Old Machar, Aberdeen, Scotland
      Has Children George Smith b: 28 Dec 1814 in Aberdeen c: 1 Jan 1815 in Old Machar, Aberdeen
      Has No Children Sarah Smith c: 19 Jun 1818 in Old Machar, Aberdeen, Scotland
      Has No Children James Smith c: 16 Nov 1821 in Old Machar, Aberdeen, Scotland
    Residence 1837  Woolwich Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Eby ID Number Waterloo-75817 
    Died 12 Jun 1844  , Brant Co., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I75817  Generations
    Last Modified 3 Sep 2019 

    Family Patience Austin,   b. Abt 1763, , England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Martha Smith,   b. 24 Aug 1809, , Aberdeen, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Dec 1884, Brantford Twp., Brant Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years)
    Last Modified 13 Sep 2019 
    Family ID F29115  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - Abt 1763 - Aberdeen, , Aberdeen, Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1837 - Woolwich Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 12 Jun 1844 - , Brant Co., Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • "GEORGE SMITH, farmer, Brantford P.O., is a son of James Smith, who was one of three brothers, born near Edinburgh, Scotland. James was born about 1763, and was the only one to come to Canada. He was married to Patience Austin, of English birth, who died in Canada. James, while in his native country, was engaged in the nursery business, but in 1836 he, with wife and five children, settled in Brantford Township, where two years later death released him from his worldly cares, but she survived until 1854. Up to his death he had only started the nursery business, when his sons George and William took charge of it and conducted the business. They had been schooled to the business from early life. From the nursery of Smith's many of the old orchards now in the county were started."


      History of Brant County, Warner and Beers, pg 599

      ___________________

      In Memory, James Smith, Late of the city of Aberdeen Scotland, who died June 12 - 1844 at the Brantford NURSERY, Aged 69 years


      Tombstone

      _____________________

      Memorial No. 511

      A memorial to be Registered pursuant to the Statute of an Indenture of Bargain & Sale dated the Seventeenth day of July in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty five made between The Honorable William Allan of the City of Toronto in the Province of Upper Canada a member of the Legislative Council of said Province of the one part and James Smith late of the City of Aberdeen, Scotland now of the Township of Woolwich in the County of Halton in the District of Gore and Province aforesaid Gardener, Seedsman and Horticulturist of the other part, whereby the said William Allan for the sum of one hundred and twenty pounds lawful money did Grant bargain sell alien transfer Convey & Confirm unto the said James Smith his heirs and assigns all that certain parcel or tract of land and premises situate in the Township of Woolwich aforesaid containing by admeasurement One hundred and Six acres be the same more or less being the Broken Lot number Four on the East side of the Grand River or Ouse which is butted and bounded or may be otherwise known as follows. That is to say Commencing at a stone boundary placed at the north east angle of Lands agreed to be sold to Luman Woodward thence North nine degrees forty five minutes East along the main road leading to Elora thirty chains and fifty links to the allowance for a road between Lots number four and three thence North eighty degrees fifteen minutes west thirty chains nineteen links more or less to said Grand River or Ouse with the Stream to the South West angle of the said Broken Lot, thence South Eighty degrees fifteen minutes East forty chains Sixty seven links more or less to the place of beginning. Together with all and singular the tenements hereditaments and appurtenances thereto belonging To Hold the same free from encumbrances unto and to the use of the said James Smith his heirs & assigns forever. Which indenture is witnessed by James Crooks of West Flamboro in the District of Gore Esquire and by Thomas Galt of the City of Toronto Gentleman and is hereby required to be Registered by the said William Allan the Grantor. Witness my hand and Seal the Seventeenth day of July in the year of our Lord 1835.

      Signed & Sealed in presence of /signed/ Jas. Crooks & Thomas Galt
      /Signed/ W. Allan3a

      3aLand Record (transcribed by Peter Smith ancestry.com 2012)

  • Sources 
    1. [S1751] Census - ON, Waterloo, Woolwich - 1835.
      one female over 16 and one male under 16. 3 horses and cows.