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As we piece the puzzle together, we believe the following is ‘fairly’ accurate. As the story is told:

“Francis McDonald, b. 1814, was the third son of the Laird of Inverness, which means he was the son of a land owner. At the age of 14 he, a younger brother, name unknown, and an uncle, also name unknown, came to Canada.”

We think his parents were John & Mary McDonald and we think John was from Scotland who met Mary in Armaugh, Ireland, and were married there, and all the children were born there, even though they lived in Inverness. We believe Mary died following the birth of their last child and John died a few years later. This left all their children under the age of majority and therefore unable to legally own property, which would then pass to one of John’s siblings. Francis and his siblings were then sent to Armaugh, Ireland and raised by their maternal grandparents, or maternal aunt and uncle. At this time we guesstimate Francis would be about 10 years of age, c1824.

In 1828, Francis, now 14, came to Canada with an Uncle and a younger brother. This is the last record we have of the latter two. From which port they left, or arrived, is unknown, nor is the name of the ship on which they travelled.

The next record we have is in 1836 when Francis, at the age of about 21, became a pioneer of Peel County when he moved to Bolton, Ont. (Country of Albion, District of Cardwell) after working in Toronto for eight years.

On January 18th, 1841, 27 year old Francis married 19 year old Miss Ann Long who was born in Ireland, the daughter of John and Maria Long, now a residence of the Bolton area. The 1851 and 1861 census indicates Ann was born in December, 1822.

The marriage is recorded as a Roman Catholic ceremony, however, there is reason to believe various religious denominations had "roving" parsons/priests who performed marriages and baptisms during their travels. Early census indicates Francis and the family were Roman Catholic but later census indicates the family changed to various Protestant denominations.

There are no pictures of Ann and little is known about her.

In 1860 Francis built a home on the corner of Chappel and Mill, behind the Guardhouse Store (the Bolton Police Office is now located on that property.) In 1861 Francis built his permanent home and a large Cooperage on the 100 block Queen Street. He and his family lived in this house until his death in 1892.

In 1863, after 22 years of marriage, Ann, at the age of 41, died leaving eight children, Alexander, Maria, Catherine, John (called Jack), Francis W., Thomas, Ann, Jane and Lewis. There was a ninth child, a twin to John named Eleanor, who died at two weeks of age.

We do not know where Ann is buried.

Two years later, on February 28, 1865, Francis married Sabina Rawe, a widow with two children, William George age 9, and Fred age 4. James Edgar of the Primitive Methodist Church married them in Peel County, Ont. and witnesses were William Lillie and Ann Lillie of Brampton.

Following their marriage, and we do not know why, Sabina's children did not come to live with them. It is presumed they went to live with their grandparents.

There appears to have been little interaction between the children of the first and second marriages. It is interesting to note that in 1865, when 50 year old Francis married 29 year old Sabina, Francis had eight children living at home between the ages if 4 and 21. A year after their marriage Sabina bore Francis the first of his next six children within the next twelve years: Edward, Annie, James, John, Alfred, and Rose. Sabina was 42 when her last child, Rose was born, Francis was 63. Francis ended up fathering 15 children.

There is more, with pictures and descendants

In 1828, did Francis McDonald come from Ireland or Scotland?
Updated July 28, 2006

Bruce McDonald
10911 OK Center Rd West
Lake Country, BC V4V 2J5

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