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

James Gairns[1]

Male 1811 - 1872  (61 years)


Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name James Gairns 
    Born 1811  , Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Gender Male 
    Occupation 1852  Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    weaver 
    Occupation 1872  Pilkington Twp., Wellington Co., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    weaver 
    Eby ID Number Waterloo-91454 
    Died 18 Nov 1872  Pilkington Twp., Wellington Co., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Cause: killed by railway locomotive 
    Person ID I91454  Generations
    Last Modified 16 Mar 2020 

    Family Bridget Maloney,   b. 1827, , Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Children 
     1. John Gairns,   b. 1849, Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     2. Patrick Henry "Henry" Gairns,   b. 8 Sep 1849, Elora, Wellington Co., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Jan 1929, Evart, Osceola, Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years)
    Last Modified 16 Mar 2020 
    Family ID F23800  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • It was in the fall of 1847 that David Foote and John Cattanach took the contract of building the first Irvine bridge at Elora. One, and perhaps the best mechanic in the settlement, wrote out an estimate, intending to tender for the job of building the bridge, but took a little time to think it over before committing himself. During the night he could not sleep for thinking of it. He had carefully figured on the work of preparing the material for the bridge, but how would he put it to its place after the material was all ready? In the morning he burned his estimate, and because he had a large family of young children and could not afford to run such risks of losing, decided to have nothing to do with it. But that was not the way with the contractors.

      During the winter of 1847-8 they commenced operations by searching for a number of tall rock elm trees. These were felled, hewn square and drawn to the bank of the river ready to be put in place. Then they had to face the problem which had been foreseen by the other, and older mechanic. How could the first heavy timbers be put across the ravine which is here about 105 feet in width, or 120 feet between supports of bridge, and 70 feet in depth? For a time the contractors were at a loss to know how they should proceed, but a sailor helped them out of their difficulty.

      Jamie Gairns
      was at that time working as a baker in the village. He had been a sailor, and at his suggestion the contractors found several others who had some experience as sailors who could assist him. Jamie Gairns was let over the steep bank with a rope and in the face of the rock he cut notches. Into these the ends of long timbers were placed which were to form braces for the support of the main timbers, the outer ends being temporarily held in position by guy ropes. Pulleys, with ropes, were attached to the tops of high trees growing close to the ravine, one of the long timbers was moved forward endwise over the chasm as far as possible without overbalancing, and the back end was weighted down to keep it from upsetting. These operations were repeated at each of the four corners of the bridge, there then being the ends of four long timbers projecting over the river, but not meeting in the centre. Having succeeded so far, another heavy timber was slid lengthways along the top of those already in place on either side of the bridge, in this way bridging over the space between the projecting ends. When these were bolted to their places the main portion of the first cantilever bridge in America was completed; and a good bridge it was, for it lasted fifteen years without any expense for repairs and was only replaced when the timbers were considered unsafe.

      When they had paid those who worked for them and had settled their board bill at William Smith's tavern, which before him had been kept by George Gray and Martin Martin, the two partners found that out of their four hundred dollars they only had twenty dollars between them in return for all their difficult and dangerous work. In those days an event of such public importance as the opening of Irvine bridge could not be allowed to pass without some fitting celebration to commemorate it, so they negotiated with their landlord, Mr. Smith, who for and in consideration of the twenty dollars by him received did that night provide for all their friends a ball and dinner that was long remembered in Elora.

      The Early History of Elora, Ontario, and Vicinity by John R. Connon

  • Sources 
    1. [S55] Vit - ON, Wellington - Wellington County Marriage Register 1858-1869.
      Henry Gairus
      Event TypeMarriage
      Event Date25 Feb 1867
      Event PlaceWellington, Hillier, Prince Edward, Ontario, Canada
      GenderMale
      Age18
      Birth Year (Estimated)1849
      BirthplaceElora
      Father's NameJames Gairus
      Mother's NameBridget Malone
      Spouse's NameMarion Templeton
      Spouse's GenderFemale
      Spouse's Age18
      Spouse's Birth Year (Estimated)1849
      Spouse's BirthplaceScotland
      Spouse's Father's NameWilliam Templeton
      Spouse's Mother's NameJanet McGuffie

    2. [S131] Census - ON, Waterloo, Waterloo Twp. - 1851, Div 5 Pg 2.
      James GAIRNS weaver Birthplace: Scotland Age 40 United Secession
      Bridget GAIRNS Birthplace: Ireland Age 24 Roman Catholic
      Henry GAIRNS Birthplace: Canada Age 4
      John ? GAIRNS Birthplace: Canada Age 2

    3. [S116] Vit - ON - Death Registration.
      James Gairns d. 18 Nov 1872 Pilkington, aged 60 b. Scotland, occupation weaver, cause: killed by railway locomotive

    4. [S131] Census - ON, Waterloo, Waterloo Twp. - 1851, Div 5 Pg 2.

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1811 - , Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - weaver - 1852 - Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - weaver - 1872 - Pilkington Twp., Wellington Co., Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Cause: killed by railway locomotive - 18 Nov 1872 - Pilkington Twp., Wellington Co., Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth