Mayor of Ottawa, MP
from Rouses Point, New York, USA to Bytown c. 1827
Painting by Ruth McMillan in 1976
Shows the Head of the Rideau Canal Locks in Ottawa, Canada in 1893
March 12, 2006:
Photo Source: Library and Archives Canada, Digital Library
Reference # C 33280
(Rochester Street, Rochesterville and Rochester Heights)
Thanks to Dave Lemkay for the following:
I am pleased to have come across this email trail. I am descendant of the Rochester
family and have a keen interest in anything Ottawa / Ottawa River / Valley and our
forest heritage. Rochesterville was indeed the area defined and after its amalgamation
to the city, was still referenced as Rochester Heights. That area could be described
as that height of land around Laurier and Bronson extending southward to Gladstone.
The John Rochester clan arrived in Bytown, from Rouses Point NY, USA around 1827 and
were engaged as provisioners to Colonel By. They established a brewery - Dominion
Pale Ale was one line that is named in various accounts, being popular to the troops.
As well, they developed a tannery and John Rochester had a sawmill at the Chaudiere.
All of this industry was destroyed in the fire of 1900.
... Dave Lemkay
(The Rochester family was also involved in the timber trade. See posting by Mr. Lemkay
on March 12, 2006 at www.bytown.net/lumbering.htm ).
More from Mr. Lemkay:
Yes... I would be pleased to have this included on your site. I happen to
have an extraordinary cache of early Bytown - Ottawa - Westboro information.
The Rochesters were connected through marriage(s) to the Cole family of
Highland Farm (Maplelawn) on Richmond Road, to the Bryson family of Fort Coulonge,
Peter Morris, Canada's first official auditor general, John Lorn McDougall
of Renfrew and more. My Rochester line - George Rochester was lured to
Burnstown in 1848 after the exile of the Laird of NcNab. He built a grist
mill on the Madawaska, married the school teacher, Marion Baillie and they
raised six sons, each who went on to significant careers in the mining,
timbering and clergy fields. John Rochester remained in Ottawa and was
prominent as Mayor and MP for Carleton County in the 1850s - 1870s.
There is a lot of information also on the Thomas Cole clan. There were
eleven offspring. I would be pleased to assemble some of that for the
E-mail Allan Lewis
July 6, 2006:
John Rochester Sr. was my 3rd great grandfather. I have done some family
tree research and have data on the Rochester family that was provided to me
some years ago by another descendant of his. If you feel that any of this
Family Tree information would be any value to you, let me know what type of
information you are looking for and I can make it available.
I am in the Mary Ann Rochester line (b.1824). Mary married George Honey
Preston whose daughter Mary married Edward Valentine Johnson from New Brunswick.
Their daughter Beatrice Amelia was my grandmother. She later moved to Bermuda and
then to Sydney Australia where she passed away.
Beatrice Amelia married Francis Arthur Lightfoot and they had three
children. I have been fortunate in getting in touch with a distant "cousin" who is a
member of the Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City and has done a lot of work in
documenting the Lightfoot family roots back to the 1500's in England.
I would like to get some additional information on the ancestors of John
Rochester of Rouses Point NY, USA. As you pointed out "google'ing" "Rochester Northumbria"
provides a lot of information. The difficulty I have is separating the
useful information from the simply interesting information from all the
search hits. I am still stuck at bridging the Rochester part of the family tree back to
Do you have any information regarding the names and dates of the Northumbria
Rochester ancestors that I could add to my records?
... Denis Lightfoot
(Note: Denis has a very complete family tree ... Al)
October 29, 2006:
I will enter into this site once again to outline briefly how the Rochester
clan from Bytown fits into the McNab story. When Duncan McNab was basically
exiled from the township, George Rochester was summoned to come up the Madawaska River
in Renfrew County from Bytown to help the settlers develop a much needed
sawmill and gristmill industry at Burnstown. Rochester was born in Rouses Point NY in 1820, moved
to Bytown with his family (John Rochester Sr.) in 1828 as provisioners to
Colonel By, mainly establishing a brewery of major proportion circa 1829.
The son George moved to Burnstown in 1848 and began the construction of a
stone grist mill by Johnson's Rock (present day Burnstown bridge). He went
on to build a sawmill and brewery there. He married the school teacher,
Marion Baillie who hailed from Motherwell Scotland. In following years,
two other Rochester brothers moved there, William Young Rochester, marrying
another Baillie sister - Helen, who had been widowed with the death of her
first husband Peter Morris. William and another brother James also established
commercial businesses. (In 1876, William built the brick structure that is now
the Blackbird Café, former Burnstown General Store, long owned by the Robertson
family. (It was also the home of General Store Publishing House Inc., now of
Renfrew) George and Marion Rochester had a family of six sons.
(George Hamilton Preston Rochester, the third son was my great-grandfather).
More on this family in future missives.
April 7, 2008:
James ROCHESTER and Anne FROST
I am trying to find some information about James Rochester who married Anne Frost
(daughter of John Frost – Bytown). I am actually interested in the Frost family.
Does anyone have any information about John Frost? He owned quite a bit of land
in Lower Town during the 1830s. Anne Frost and Harriett Frost are mentioned in
letters I am transcribing (from the 1840s). James Rochester is mentioned in one of
the letters. If anyone has a photograph of Anne Frost or John Frost I would
appreciate a copy. I have a photograph of Harriett Frost. She married Alexander
Graham (merchant – Bytown).
I have some basic information on James Rochester and Ann Frost. James was the second
child of John Rochester and Barbara Young.
James was born in Fenham Hill, near Berwick on Tweed Dec 15, 1814. He married
Ann Frost of Devonshire on July 7, 1842. She was born in 1813 and died in Ottawa
May 2, 1900. From this union, there were seven children, three of which died in
infancy. Living children were: Martha, Harriet Augusta, Margaret Ann and James Anderson.
There is a footnote on the parents of Ann Frost:
Elizabeth Frost, wife of John Frost, who was married in the church at Kentisbeare,
Devon England on April 7th 1806. From the Book of Marriages: "John Frost of this
parish and Elizabeth Chic of the same were married in this church by Banns this 7th
day of April in the year one thousand eight hundred and six by me, John Kingdon Cleeve,
Curate. Witnesses: Charles Francis Bampfylde, John Frost."
There is no other information that I can readily see that pertains to later life of
any of these people, other than the extension of the offspring, which is outlined in
Lloyd Rochester's "The Rochester Family Tree".
February 3, 2009:
Hi Dave,Denis,Mary and Al,
Tripped over www.bytown.net/rochesterjohn.htm
I am descendant of James Baillie former Mayor of Aylmer.....his sisters
Marion married George Rochester
Helen [Ellen] married 2nd time William Young Rochester
I have a copy of Lloyd Rochester's 1976 publication "The John Rochester Family in Canada"
Just thought I would connect!
May 8, 2009:
I write to forward an excerpt from the Rochester Family History compiled by Lloyd B. Rochester.
This article appears to have been written circa 1872, maybe as an obituary for John Rochester
Sr. who passed away that year. It nicely outlines denizens of Rochesterville at that time.
Rochesterville was annexed to the City of Ottawa in 1897.
... Dave Lemkay (descendant of the George Rochester line)
This important suburb lies to the west of the city, being mostly connected with it. The
"ville" is located entirely on lot 39, of the Township of Nepean and at present has a
population of some 1100 as near as can be estimated. The late John Rochester was the original
settler and when the "ville" sprang up, it was christened Rochesterville, and it will stand
in worthy commemoration of a worthy man, who did much by his industry and enterprise to make
Ottawa what it is today. He was one of the historic 27 who first laid the foundation of an
embryo city in the hamlet that was soon known as Bytown in 1827 or thereabouts. At that time
he was engaged in baking, butchering and brewing to supply the troops of Colonel By. Later he
moved to Bellis' Point, just where the slides at the Chaudière is now located, and subsequently
took up the section of land southwest, where the suburb named is now located. In those days
the Wright family flourished on the Hull side of the river, and George Patterson, Jacob
Dennison, Isaac Smith (one of whose sons now runs the river ferry), John Burrows, The Thompson
brothers, the Travellers, Peter Aylen, Charles Sparrow, Watson Lytle, Dr. Stewart and the old man
Birch, were among the leading residents, while the Shiners soon grew and flourished in
Bytown. These have about all passed away with the exception of Mr. Sparrow who resides in Lower Town.
The late Mr. Rochester raised four sons to perpetuate his name and these are pretty well known
to the people of the city and valley generally being much respected. They are as follows;
John Rochester Jr, lumberman, mill owner and member of parliament; James and William Rochester,
brewers; and George Rochester, mill owner on the Madawaska. The business of the village is
concentrated in its two breweries, the sash, door and blind factory of Mr. Woodland, and the
tannery of Messrs May and Foster, all of which drive a good trade. Stores are run by Joseph
Evans, J. Blais, S. Stitt and Mrs MacKechney / Mackechnie. The latter is also post-mistress.
Mr. G.L. Gibson is the resident butcher. At the French village, the southern section, E.
Dorion keeps a tavern and store. It is in this section that the people let houses burn down
if the owner is well insured. This place is the great home of the mechanic and labouring man,
many of the mill hands residing in this suburb. Few new buildings have gone up of late years.
Of the residents Messrs James Rochester, John Rochester, J.R. Booth, Wm Bunting, and Mrs William
Hinton (Hintonburg) have fine stone mansions, with beautiful surroundings. Among the other prominent
property owners and residents of the village are Messrs Pratt, D. Martin, George King,
Levi Crannel, J.A. Parr, Leander Booth, John Pennock, William McGillvary, Wm Rochester, Wm
McLaughlin, Levi Booth, Joseph Johnston, B. Fisher, J. Kennedy, J. Marks. The buildings are
mostly frame but the sprinkling of brick is fair. The Public School has been converted into
a Model School as well; Mr Duncan is the principal, miss Andrews, assistant teacher.
The Separate School is taught by the Nuns and public service is held on Sundays by the
Christian Brothers. The Presbyterian body have a neat frame church of which the Rev Mr White
is pastor. The Episcopal church is under the rectorship of Rev Mr Gemmel. Sabbath Schools
are conducted with each of the churches.
August 22, 2009:
New e-mail address for Mary Cox is firstname.lastname@example.org (incorporated in the list below).
March 1, 2010:
Image Source: Ottawa Citizen, May 25, 1917
Advertisement for Rochester Drug Store, Ottawa, Canada
August 26, 2010:
For many years I have been researching the Young family, of which I am a descendant, through Barbara
Rochester's (nee Young) brother, James Young, who was "sent out to help build the locks of the
Shubenacadie Canal System". I had the great pleasure of speaking with Gordon Rochester, who very
kindly passed on a copy of the Rochester Family Tree to me.
Recently, I met with Robin Smith, a descendant of both the Rochester and Young lines. He is still
actively pursuing research on the Rochester family, and also has a copy of the Rochester Family
tree. We were lamenting the loss of a diary which was referred to in Lloyd Rochester's Family tree
version, which detailed the trip of Thomas Rochester, to the George Young Family, of Sunderland,
England. As we know so much more about our families past, and with the tremendous benefit of the
internet at our disposal, we were wondering if by some slim chance anyone had any idea as to
what happened to such an important source document…
Looking forward to hearing from you!
William D. Nelson
I happen to now have the cache of Rochester files that originated from Lloyd and Gordon Rochester's early work.
I haven't had time as yet to go through all of the dozen or so banker boxes. Robin and I had emailed in recent
times with discussion of this diary. I will try to get into the boxes through this fall to see what I might find.
Interestingly, I have come across a booklet that was given to Edward Cole in 1832 by his community church group
or some such thing as a gift on his leaving Devon England for Canada.
As you will know, much of Lloyd's files have been accepted years ago by the National Archives. I can't recall
if that cache has been searched for the Thomas Rochester diary or not. Either way, I will be back to you as soon
as possible with any news.
Dave Lemkay (great nephew of Gordon R.)
New e-mail address for David Lemkay is email@example.com (incorporated in the list below)
June 26, 2011:
Rochester cousin Morgan Holmes has sent a wonderful image of his great-grandfather's drug store dispensing labels.
He has suggested that you might add this to the information and image already on the site referring to J.L Rochester's
Note the 4 digit telephone number. I don't remember this far back. In the 1950's, our phone number was five digits -- 32745.
Then as Ottawa expanded the city was divided into zones and our number became CE-233-2745. (The CE was for the Central Zone).
Then they dropped the "CE" and replaced it with strictly numbers - 233-2745 - seven digits. Today, this number would include the
area code and it would be 613-233-2745, a total of ten digits.
September 15, 2012:
Hello to you all,
I happened on these threads and this email address while checking for information on the "Frost's of Kentisbeare,
Devon, England" on the web. In the thread is mention of the mother of Ann Frost of Ottawa, one Elizabeth Chic.
It might interest you to know that her portrait is hanging on the wall of my apartment here in Toronto. My
grandfather was Harold Rochester Frost, born in Owen Sound in 1877. The Frost's had left Bytown for Sydenham
(as Owen Sound was then named) in 1842. I remember HRF talking of the Rochester connection to the Frost's
(my father's middle name was also Rochester), but the relationship has always been largely an unknown to me.
On the back of the painting, in addition to the note of the marriage of John Frost and Elizabeth Chic in 1806,
in the handwriting of my grandfather, is the following:
"This painting was in the home of her daughter Ann Rochester of Ottawa and went to her daughter Mrs Pennock
and then to her daughter Mabel Frost (wife of A.J. Frost of Owen Sound) and by her given to me H R Frost."
A further note in my grandfather's handwriting states: "The only person I ever talked to who knew her was
Mrs. Anderson a daughter of Mrs. Rochester who described her Grandmother as a very charming old lady much
beloved by all who knew her."
I hope you find this of some interest.
Thanks to Mr. Frost for this wonderful photo of a portrait of Elizabeth Chic.