BRESNAHAN Pioneer Family
Lot 20, Concession 10, Huntley Township, Ontario, Canada
Peter Robinson Settlers in 1823 from County Cork, Ireland
also in the Madawaska Valley and the Kilaloe area and in Osgoode Township
Painting by Ruth McMillan in 1976
Shows the Head of the Rideau Canal Locks in Ottawa, Canada in 1893
August 26, 2002:
I am trying to untangle a mess of Bresnahans in the area. Do you have access to
birth records for the entries.
daughter of Bresnahan, Thomas and Camley, Ann (McCambley?)
Godparents: Flynn, William & Flynn, Ellen
son of Bresnahan, James and Malone, Jane
Godparents: Bresnahan, John & Malone, Catherine
son of Bresnahan,John and Malone, Anne
Godparents: Leahy, David & Kiley, Anna (this could be Cayley (Kealey))
son of Bresnahan, James and Malone, Jane
Godparents: Hart, Thomas & Malone, Anne
son of Bresnahan, John and Malone, Anne
Godparents: Malone, Philip & Malone, Anne
son of Bresnahan, John * and Keefe, Mary
aged 6 w baptised on 5/17/1849
Godparents: Delaney, David & Laune ?, Johanna * of Ramsay Township
son of Bresnahan, John and Malone, Anne
Godparents: Lynch, Patrick & Hogan, Bridget
son of Bresnahan, James and Malone, Jane
Godparents: Walsh, William & Malone, Lisabeth
son of Bresnahan, Joseph and Shaw (Shea?), Frances
Godparents: Casey, Patrick & Donohoe, Mary A
... Barrie Bresnahan
Note: Page 38 of Carol Bennett's, The Peter Robinson Settlers, book has information
regarding the Bresnahan family.
E-mail Allan Lewis
August 28, 2002:
Hi Al - thanks for your reply about births etc. The mess I am trying to
untangle comes from the following notes left by my dad (deceased) from his
mother (even more deceased.) At the time of arrival of the John Bresnahan
referred to in the doc below, it would appear that there were several John
Bresnahan's in the Ottawa valley some of whom are descended from Peter
Robinson settlers and some who are not. Also, depending on who you read
about for Peter Robinson settlers, Dan Bresnahan came that way or Maurice
Bresnahan. A separate Bresnahan (Cornelius) seems to predate arrival of
either. I can find no records of arrival in New York for John in 1853 nor
burial in Corkery Ontario. I also cannot find any records for Leahy in
Goveneur New York, nor a marriage in either Goveneur New York nor Corkery.
It is not helped by the fact that Bresnahan's and Leahy's are all over the
same general area Anyway here is the note I have (maybe you know of some
thread I could follow. :
JOHN BRESNAHAN m CATHERINE LEAHY
+---------------------------------- ... ?
THOMAS m MARY MATILDA MICK
| | | | | |
JOHN | MALCOLM BEATRICE HAROLD DAVID(died in infancy)
JAMES m FLORENCE BARRIE
FLORENCE IVON THOMAS JAMES m MARY LILLIAN BOLGER
The exact origins of our family is uncertain but the
popular belief is they originated in the county Kerry. Around 1853 three
brothers left Ireland via Liverpool and came to America. Two remained in
the U.S.A. and John married Catherine Leahy of Goveneur New York settling
in and around Corkery, Ontario. To my knowledge they had one son Thomas
but as the parish priest destroyed the headstones and a fire demolished
the records I was unable to confirm the above. John died at Corkery so
Catherine took her son Thomas to live with her brother David Leahy at
Sheenboro where he was the school teacher. There she met Thomas Cahill
and married him in 1862.( St.Alphonse,Allumette Island May 8,1862--Thomas
Cahill and Catherine Leahy widow of John Bresnehan witnessed by David
Leahy and Ellen O'Keefe). David Leahy was the father of Kate MacDonald
who,lived in the apartment at 103 Mary St. PEMBROKE. Catherine Bresenhan
Cahill went to live on a farm at Osceola Ontario and had more children so
we are related to the Cahills and by marriage to the O'kane family.
May 8, 2003:
Noticed your query on Al Lewis' Bytown pages. Don't know if this Thomas fits in
with your bunch, but... a very nice lady in Florida did a lookup for me and
sent the following info:
Thomas Bresnahan, son of Thomas Bresnahan and Honora Heffornan / Heffernan of Lisconel, (Liscarrol?)
County Cork, Ireland married Ann Camley, daughter of Owen Camley and Mary Fitzpatrick
of Ramsay on 24 Jan 1847 at St. Michael RC Church, Corkery (now West Huntley),
Carleton County, Ontario. Witnesses to the marriage were Patrick Manyan / (Manion) and Ann Fault of Ramsay.
> Bresnaghan, Mary 11/25/1847
Mary Bresnahan, born 25 Nov 1847, daughter of Thomas Bresnahan and Ann Camley
was baptized 29 Jan 1848 at St. Michael RC Church, Corkery, Carleton County, Ontario.
Her godparents were William Flinn (Flynn, PR) and Ellen Flinn.
The 1861 census for Bromley Twp. lists:
Terence CAMBLEY, Farmer, b: Ireland, (31) (may be McCambley)
Mary CAMBLEY (nee Quigley), b: Ireland, (22)
Terence CAMBLY, b: U. Canada, (2 or 4?)
Ellen WHALEN, b: Ireland, (15) Whelan
Johanna BRESNAHAN, b: U. Canada, (8)
Thomas BRESNAHAN, b: U. Canada, (2)
Religion for all is R. Catholic and the age, in brackets, refers to "Age next Birthday."
The 1871 census also has Thomas BRESINGHAM, [age 12, R. Catholic, Irish origin]
still living with Terence and Mary CAMELEY. (The other variation of this name is Camilly.)
Carol Bennett McCuaig speculates that Johanna & Thomas "...were children of
Joseph Bresnahan and Frances Shaw," (Founding Families of Bromley Township, p. 44).
Given the Bresnahan/Camley marriage, and that there were Bresnahan children living with
the Camley family on two consecutive censuses, it appears possible that they could
have been Thomas & Ann's children. I would like to discover if Thomas & Ann were
the parents of Johanna (c1853) and Thomas (c1859); and if so - what happened to them?
June 7, 2003:
See also a John Bresnahan who owned property in Osgoode Township, near a Cahill family, in 1863.
July 19, 2004:
I am descended from Joseph Bresnahan. His son, John, was my great grandfather
who farmed/homesteaded in Hybla north of Bancroft. His first wife's maiden name
was Sutherland. His son, James, eventually settled and farmed in Madawaska,
Ontario (Upper Ottawa Valley. His wife's maiden name was Golden.
My mother, was James' daughter.
I also have in my possession a rough outline made by one of the children
of Joseph Bresnahan's son. (I must get back into this material.) If you are
at all interested, you may email me and I'll try to pass on the information
that I have in my possession. If we live fairly close to each other,
and it's your wish, we could meet and you could go through what material
I have in my possession.
May 17, 2005:
Ive been trying for a few years to help my grandfather to find his ancestors
without a lot of luck. My grandfather passed away last year so I've been trying to
do it on my own without any luck. But I'm trying!!! The only information that I've
got is that we came over from Ireland in 1846. That my great great grandfather's
name was Henry Thomas Bresnahan and he married his wife Priscilla Johnstone on
May 13, 1880. We know that his dad's name was John and He was one of many brothers
that came over together. They arrived in Ontario but then moved around Canada after
that. Henry and Priscilla had moved to Killaloe, Renfrew County, Ontario. Anyway we
were told that John had fourteen children and that he brought all or most of them
to Canada with him. It is believed that Henry was named after an uncle but we don't
know this for sure. Henry's childrens names are Robert, John, Eliza, Francis ,Joseph,
Margaret, Hugh, May, and Mary. We don't know if any of them were named after anyone
but it is a possiblity since two of them has a middle name after their parents.
I do have some pictures of Henry and Priscilla.
Was your Francis Bresnahan a male or female?
Here is a 1900 record from St. Mary's Church in Brudenell.
June 14th 1900
We the undersigned Priest, by virtue of faculties given us by Rt. Rev. Narciss Zepherine
Lorrain, Bishop of Pembroke, have in the Church of St. Mary's Brudenell received
the profession of faith of Ann Wade, aged eighteen years, daughter of Samuel Wade
and Francis Bresnahan.
Francis L. French, Priest.
Brudenell is also in Renfrew County, not far from the Madawaska area and also not far
from Killaloe. There were two other Bresnahans mentioned in these records: Catherine
and Margaret but they don't match up with your names.
... Al Lewis
I have no problem with you adding my name or email address to your web site.
I talked to my mother and she said that she remembers her grandfather talking
about a Kate.
September 29, 2005:
I read Gloria Montgomery's note about Joseph and John Bresnahan on the
Bytown or Bust site.
I am trying to find out about my great-grandmother's family - Johanna
(also known as Hanna / Hannah) Bresnahan, born Dec. 16, 1847 in Ireland
(no County, Town or Parish listed). In 1872, she married John Hatton in Owen
Sound, ON. She died Sept. 3, 1906 and is buried at the Hatton Family
Cemetery in Sydenham Township, Grey County, ON.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Cheers - Bruce Hurley
Thanks to Barrie Bresnahan for the following reply:
A firm maybe here. Of three lines of Bresnahan I know who were in the
Ottawa area around that time there is only one reference I can find to a
Johanna, and that is the census of 1861 census for Bromley Twp. which lists
children Thomas and Johanna, with Johanna born in 1853 and Thomas born in
1859. There is much speculation about who these two are, most guessing that
they are children of (Joseph Bresnahan x Frances Shaw). Diana is trying to
figure out if they are of (Thomas Bresnahan x Ann Cambley), and I am trying
to figure out if they are of (John Bresnahan x Catherine Leahy). It is
possible/probable that these three Bresnahan men were brothers and so the
gordian knot of names and inter-relationships is pretty daunting.
The claim that they are children of (Bresnahan x Shaw) is unlikely, given
that these two managed to haul all the rest of their chldren with them up
the Ottawa Valley to Madawaska. Its possible that they are related to
(Bresnahan x Cambley) as census has the children staying with Cambleys.
Johanna disappears by the next census (she would have been 18 or so in 1871)
and so its quite possible that this is your great-grandmother.
It is also possible that children were the offspring of (Bresnahan x Leahy).
Because John died at Corkery right around the 1861 census, it explains why
two Bresnahan children were living with Cambley's in Corkery Ontario, while
widow Leahy was trying to pull her life together. There is no explaination
I have found for why (Bresnahan x Cambley) children were staying without
parents and the story of the children fits so well to the death of John and
the (Bresnahan x Leahy) verbal history. The short answer is that I just
plain don't know. Is it your Johanna .. possibly but it doesn't quite fit
(its off by 4 years.)
If you find other stuff please keep me in the loop.
August 26, 2009:
Thanks to Diana Cockwill for the following pieces to the Bresnahan puzzle:
Chapeau (St-Alphonse), Quebec
“Jany 17, 1853 … baptized Johanna Bresneham born August 29th 1852"
parents: Thos Bresneham and Ann Camley
sponsors: Johns Fitzpatrick & Ann Fitzpatrick
“January 19, 1860 … baptized Thomas born December 16th 1859"
parents: Thos Bresneham and Anne Cameley;
sponsors: Thomas ? & Maria Cleary
The 1861 Census for Wylie, Renfrew, Ontario (p. 2) lists Thomas BRASENHAM with children.
Thos Brasenham, Farmer, born Ireland, age 42
Daniel Brasenham, son, born United States, USA, age 10 (Bromley is crossed out)
Johanna Brasenham, daughter, born U Canada, age 8, residence Bromley
Ann Brasenham, daughter, born U Canada, age 7, residence Almonte
Thos Brasenham, son, born U Canada, age 2, residence Bromley
Religion for all is Roman Catholic.
In the column “Residence if out of limits” was the location of the children.
Ann Brosanham (age 6) is with Owen & Mary CHAMBLY (Ramsay, Lanark); Johanna and Thomas are
with Terence and Mary CAMBLEY (Bromley, Renfrew).
There is a mark in the column “Died in 1860” – female, Age & cause of death is “34 Cold caught
The death of their mother, Ann Camley Bresnahan in 1860, would explain why the younger children
were sent to live with relatives.
Thomas BRESNAHAN m Honora HEFFORNAN / Heffernan
+--- ... ?
THOMAS m Ann CAMLEY
| | | | |
Mary Daniel Johanna Ann Thomas
Other records that I’ve come across for Thomas Bresnahan
11 Mar 1895
b. Huntley, ON
Mary Mathilda MICK
7 Nov 1885
b. 1856, Ramsay Township
son of John B… & Catharine Leahy
Beatrice K BRESNAHAN
Patrick J O’BRIEN
6 Nov 1913
b. 1891, Pembroke
3 Mar 1909
father born Ireland
mother born Ontario
According to Roberta O'Brien's Family Page...
"List of emigrant settlers from the South of Ireland
embarked on board of the Hebe transport for passage to Quebec
Cove of Cork July 8th 18" included
Daniel Brestnahan Liscarrol, Cork
John Brestnahan (under 14)
Catharine Brestnahan (under 14)
This list is posted at http://webhome.idirect.com/~obrienr/hebe.html
... Diana Cockwell
And from Barrie:
Hi Diana - thanks for info. As noted there are several Thomas' of interest here .. one set
of which starts with Thomas + Honora, a second which starts with John + Catherine Leahy. The
first three lines of your table pertains to John + Catherine -> Thomas + Matilda Mick, the last
line pertains to line of Thomas + Honora -> Thomas + Ann Cambley. Family historic stuff
confirms death of Thomas (who owned hotel in Pembroke) in 1895 in after being run over by a
horse carriage on the main street.
Your stuff on Johanna and death of Ann Camley in 1860 likely closes outstanding question on
Johanna / Thomas in 1861 census possibly farmed out to friends following death of John -