Thomas CASSIDY and Julia FITZSIMMONDS / FITZSIMMONS
County Westmeath, Ireland to Gloucester Township, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
ML# 146 on the McCabe List
October 5, 2002:
According to the 1829 McCabe List, Thomas Cassidy came from County Westmeath in
Ireland. His brother-in-law, Michael Fitzsimmons lived in Martin's Town in County
Thanks to Joy for sending the following information!
Thomas Cassidy and Julia Fitzsimmonds
1)- John Cassidy married Mari Bowes ( Martin Bowes and Elizabeth Swain)
2)- Mary Cassidy married Kiernan Carroll born 1848 ( Patrick Carroll
and Mary Dooley) (Children.....(i)- Mary born1851... (ii)- Joseph Patrick
born 1852... (iii)- Ellen born 1854... (iv)- Thomas born 1957 married
Sophia Gordioni born 1881... (v)- Catherine born 1959... (vi)- James
born 1862... (vi)- Michael born 1863.
3)- James Cassidy born 1850 married Elizabeth Carroll (William Carroll
and Dorothea Dearan) (Child... Julia married Patrick Sullivan
(John Sullivan and Catherine Daly ) (Child... James married Mary Carroll)...
James and Mary's daughter Charlotte married Joseph Daly) .
4)- Jane Cassidy married William Kelly..(Children ..(i)- Ann married
Patrick Carroll ( Daniel Carroll and Ellen Swain) ... (ii)- Ellen married
Joseph Carroll (Kiernan Carroll and Mary Cassidy) When Ellen died
Joseph Carroll married Ann Hayden ( Thomas Hayden and Catherine McCarthy).
Ellen and Joseph's son Patrick married Ariette Guifoyle
(Patrick Guifoyle and France McCrank) Joseph and Ann Hayden's son married
Madeline Dupuis (Michael Dupuis and Catherine Laporte).
Note: Elizabeth Swain Bowes and Ellen Swain Carroll are sisters.
Patrick Carroll and his son Kiernan and William Carroll are from another
Carroll Family in Farrellton and not related to Daniel Carroll .
January 27, 2005:
I've been corresponding with Michael about a possible connection
between Thomas Cassidy of Wakefield Township and his ancestor-brothers James,
Patrick and Thomas Cassidy who emigrated from Ireland to Ontario about 1830.
James and Patrick moved to the U.S. in the 1830s.
I provided Michael with a summary of my Thomas Cassidy. Some of your web
readers might be able to shed some light on a connection. My correspondence
from yesterday is attached below.
... Mark Cullen
Thanks for the reply Michael. I don't know if it's the same Thomas Cassidy.
I came across your correspondence along with the others on Genealogy.com
and the Thomas Cassidy / Julia Fitzsimmons connection, of course, caught
my immediate attention. And I am assuming that these people, at least ,
are my ggg grandparents.
Here is what I know about my Thomas Cassidy.
The 1842 Canadian census for Wakefield Township, Quebec shows Thomas
Cassidy and family farming on 100 rented acres with his wife and
6 children. At that time they had been in Canada for 16 years.
Four of the 10 were natives of Ireland (Thomas, Julia and the 2 eldest
children Jane and Mary). The other four children (Catherine, Ellen,
James and John) were born in Canada. Thomas must have lived there for
some time prior since he had already cleared 25 acres and the previous
year had produced wheat, oats and potatoes. He also was relatively
prosperous since he had 9 cattle, 8 hogs and 2 horses. The latter were
probably used in logging in the winter months, an activity that many
pioneers of the area undertook annually.
By the 1851 census, Thomas owns 170 acres on Range 11 Lot 4. This
is probably the same location as 9 years earlier. His land is on the northern
border of Wakefield Township abutting Denholm Township. The location of the
farm is near the east shore of the Gatineau River. The Town of Farrellton
is on the opposite side of the River about 1 mile south. This location is
about 25 miles north of present-day Hull, Quebec and Ottawa, Ontario.
St. Camillus RC Parish, their church of worship, is located in Farrellton.
By this time, daughters Jane and Mary had married and 2 more children,
Elizabeth and Margaret, had joined the family.
The 1826 date of immigration is significant. In that year, the British
government authorized the construction of the Rideau Canal extending from
the Ottawa River at Bytown (now Ottawa) to Kingston located about 100 miles
south on the St. Lawrence River. This was to allow the transport of goods
from Montreal to Toronto via the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal, thus
avoiding the St. Lawrence River and possible hostilities with America
(fallout from the War of 1812). The Canal construction was a monumental
task with many locks and channels built by hand. Many Scottish and Irish
immigrants were recruited for this task which took 5 years to complete.
Several of my Irish ancestors came to Canada at this time and worked on
the Canal construction.
There is very little information about the Canal workers because they
were recruited and employed by contractors retained by the government.
The only documentary evidence of some workers is known as the
"McCabe List", prepared in 1829, which provides the name, Irish county,
parish and townland of origin, number of males and females in the family
and names of relatives in Ireland, for 673 workers . No. 146 is Thos.
Cassidy (marked "X" indicating he could not write) from Westmeath,
'Tochmel' , MartinsTown and having 3 females in his family. A note
states "A brother-in-law in Ireland named Michael Fitzsimmons with a
family in MartinsTown Co. Westmeath". (With further research, I have
assumed that 'Tochmel' is Taghmon. Martinstown is now part of Mullingar.)
Despite this evidence being circumstantial, I am assuming that with
Thomas' arrival in 1826, the canal construction commencement and the
reference to Michael Fitzsimmons, this Thomas Cassidy is my ancestor.
During his time as a Canal worker, he would have been a resident of
Ontario (then know as Upper Canada). He probably obtained his land
in the early 1830s, about the time this area became populated. His
fourth child, James, was baptized in the Notre Dame Cathedral in
Bytown in 1835, but this is not necessarily an indication of residence
since this was the only RC church in the area at the time.
Is this Thomas your Thomas? I don't know. But my bet is that your James,
Patrick and Thomas came to Canada to work on the Canal. I have seen
a few references to James and Patrick Cassidy marriages in Bytown,
but they are not the same people. There may be one possible way to
find a connection. Thomas had several children born in the 1830s,
all likely baptized in the Cathedral in Bytown. There may be a
godparent linkage. The BMD microfilm for this parish is available at
LDS and the Canadian Archives. I will put it on my to do list.
If any of the above suggests a connection, let me know.
Again, thanks for the response. Let's stay in touch.
Do you mind if I add your e-mail to the Thomas Cassidy page?
There is also another Cassidy page for Peter Cassidy
These two families may be related. After the canal was built, many Irish
families settled on ordnance land at the lockstations, south of Dow's
Lake -- Hog's Back, Black Rapids and Long Island. They later moved to
farms on both sides of the Ottawa River. A Cassidy family was one of
these settlers. There are records of Thomas (yours) and also a Patrick,
Peter and James from the 1830's.
I'll look into this.
April 21, 2011:
The following is an extract from “The Cullens of Templeton, A Two Hundred Year Journey", by Mark L. Cullen, published in 2011.
Descendants of Thomas Cassidy and Julia Fitzsimmons
Thomas Cassidy immigrated to Bytown in 1826 with his wife Julia and two children Jane and Mary to work on the construction of
the Rideau Canal. James and Patrick Cassidy, who also lived in Bytown post-completion of the Rideau Canal, may have been his
No. 146 on the McCabe List is Thos. Cassidy (marked "X" indicating he could not write) from Westmeath, 'Tochmel', MartinsTown
and having 3 females in his family. A note states that Thomas had "a brother-in-law in Ireland named Michael Fitzsimmons with
a family in MartinsTown Co. Westmeath" (1). The transcription of the original document has many spelling errors, and
with further research, I have concluded that 'Tochmel' is Taghmon. Martinstown is now part of the city of Mullingar.
Several years ago, I contracted for private research in Westmeath to determine our Cassidy origins and to identify ancestors
in Ireland, but without success. Thomas may have been born in Westmeath, but the 150 year History of Saint Camillus Parish in
Farrellton states that he and Julia were born in County Roscommon (2). If so, Mullingar, 25 km from Roscommon, was
the nearest large commercial centre, and may have attracted Thomas and Julia for work.
Perhaps while working on the Rideau Canal construction, but certainly after its completion, Thomas and family squatted at Hog’s Back
which was the site of major dam and lock construction and many workers would have been employed there. As was the custom,
canal workers lived near their work site. We know our Cassidys lived there from the record of their daughter Anna’s baptism
in 1832. This is listed in the records of Bytown’s Notre Dame parish. They may have still been living there in 1834 as the
baptism of their son James is also included in the parish’s records for that year. (3)
Sometime in 1835-1837, Thomas and his family relocated to Wakefield Township, likely to Range 11 Lot 4. The Saint Camillus
history says the Cassidys were better off than their neighbours, having a horse and cart (4). The 1842 census shows Thomas,
as tenant, farming on 100 acres with his wife and eight children. At that time they had been in Canada for 16 years. Four
of the family were natives of Ireland (Thomas, Julia and the 2 eldest children Jane and Mary). Catherine, Ann, Julia and James w
ere born at Hog’s Back or near Bytown, and Ellen and John in Wakefield Township.
Jane Cassidy & William Kelly John Cassidy Unknown Cassidy
Thomas must have lived there for some time prior to 1842 since he had already cleared 25 acres and in 1841 had produced wheat,
oats and potatoes. He also was relatively prosperous since he had 9 cattle, 8 hogs and 2 horses. (5). The latter were probably
used in logging in the winter months, an activity that many pioneers of the area undertook each year.
By the 1852 census, Thomas was 54 and had prospered as a farmer. He owned 174 acres on Range 11 Lot 4. His land was on the
northern border of Wakefield Township abutting Denholm Township. The Gatineau River bisected this lot and his land was the
northern part of the lot on the east side of the river. The Town of Farrellton is on the opposite side of the River about one
mile south. By 1851, daughter Jane had married William Kelly and Mary had married Kieran Carroll (my line) and Julia was working
as a servant for neighbour Patrick Farrell. Two more children, Elizabeth and Margaret, had been born. But in that year the family
suffered the death of 13 year old Ellen from consumption.(6)
Thomas’ farming operation was one of the largest in the Township. He had 80 acres under cultivation, including 72 in crops and 8
in pasture. He had cultivated 10 acres wheat (100 bu), 1 acre peas (10 bu), 10 acres oats (200 bu), 1 acre Indian corn (12 bu),
2 acres potatoes (250 bu), 1 acre turnips (100 bu) and was producing 14 lbs hops, 25 tons hay, 30 lbs wool and 30 yds flannel.
His livestock included 2 bulls, 2 milk cows, 2 calves, 1 horse, 12 sheep, 6 pigs and he had produced 100 lbs butter, 500 bbls
beef and 2 bbls pork. (7)
By 1861, Thomas had added another 80 acres on lot 5 for a total of 250 acres. Sons James and John were labourers presumably
on his farm and daughters Catherine, Elizabeth and Margaret were working as servants. Daughter Julia had married Charles O’Neil
and moved to Minnesota, USA. Daughter Anna had married William Brennan and moved to Low Township on the west side of the Gatineau.8
Thomas had cultivated 100 acres with 50 in crops and 50 in pasture and he valued his farm at $1,200 plus another $36 in farm
implements. His crop production included 2 acres fall wheat (40 bu), 2 acres spring wheat (30 bu), 3 acres peas (30 bu),
13 acres oats (300 bu), 3 acres potatoes (300 bu) and 28 tons of hay. He also produced 50 lbs wool, 9 yds fulled cloth and
19 yds flannel. He had 7 steers, 4 milk cows, 3 horses, 1 colt, 22 sheep and 4 pigs, all valued at $332. He was producing
100 lbs butter, 2 bbls beef and 4 bbls pork.9
Thomas’ purchase of his original 174 acres was finalized with the issue of letters patent recorded June 3, 1865. His purchase
price was $139. He had probably already lived on his land for 30 years by that time.
Thomas died on January 3, 1870. In the 1871 census, Julia was living on the farm with daughters Catherine, Elizabeth and Margaret
and son John who was listed as the farmer. It is indicated that Julia could neither read nor write. (10) She died on
April 25, 1871. Thomas and Julia are buried in St. Camillus Cemetery in Farrellton.
James Cassidy was issued letters patent on 96 acres on the south part of Lot 5 on November 15, 1875. He again received letters
patent on December 6, 1887 for an additional 81 acres on Lot 55 range C in Denholm Township, this land abutting his land in
Wakefield Township. This parcel is now owned by Carrolls. (11)
By 1881, John was still operating the farm. He was a widower, his wife Catherine having died in childbirth in 1875. Elizabeth
married Thomas O’Brien in 1874 and Catherine and Margaret were still living on the farm. Margaret was a servant at the time.
Catherine died in 1882. By the time of the 1891 census, Margaret had married Edward Kelly and John was living with his second
wife Mary Jane Brazeau and their four children James, Adeline, Oliver and Catherine.
In 1891, Mary Jane died and the following year, John married for a third time to Maria Bowes (12). By 1901, He and Maria
and five children were running the farm, James, Adeline and Oliver from his second marriage and Elizabeth and
Margaret Jane with Maria. (13)
John died in 1904. In 1911, his widow was still living on the Cassidy farm with her two youngest daughters. (14)
Lake Cassidy, a small lake located on Lot 7 range 11, commemorates the Cassidy family.
1 The McCabe List – Early Irish in the Ottawa Valley, Bruce S. Elliott, Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto, 1991
2 St. Camillus Parish 150 Years, Vincent McSheffrey et al, privately published, 2000, Page 91
3 Ancestry.ca, Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967, Notre Dame Chapel, 1832
4 St. Camillus Parish, Page 91
5 1842 Census, Canada East, Wakefield Township, LAC Reel No. C-729 Page 1289, Line 7
6 1851 Census, Quebec, Ottawa County, Wakefield Township, District 1, Page 9, Line 21
7 1851 Agricultural Census, Ottawa County, Wakefield Township, page 25, Line 34
8 1861 Census, Quebec, Ottawa County, Wakefield Township, page 484, Line 7
9 1861 Agricultural Census, Ottawa County, Wakefield Township, Page 644, Line 44
10 1871 Census, Quebec, West Ottawa, Wakefield and Denholm Townships, Page 55 Line 7
11 St. Camillus Parish, Pages 119 and 125
12 Sainte Brigide Ottawa 1889-1982, Centre de Genealogie SC 1984
13 1901 Census, Quebec, Wright, Wakefield, District 2, Page 48, Line 23
14 1911 Census, Quebec, Wright, Wakefield, District 2, Page 12, Line 24
... Mark Cullen
E-mail Joy, Taylor, Mark and Al
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