Alexander WILSON and Mary THOMPSON
Ireland to Pontiac County, Quebec
December 30, 2010:
Hello all. I'm looking for information on my great, great, great grandmother, Mary Thompson.
I do not know her birth year or where she was born but she died July 12, 1912 in Shawville, Quebec. Her husband
was Alexander Wilson, b. 1807 Ireland, died 1883 Clarendon, Quebec. Alexander's first wife was named
Ellenor Thompson (1826 - 1857). I assume that Ellenor and Mary were sisters and that Alexander married the
younger sister, Mary, after his first wife, Ellenor (the older sister?) died, but I don't know that for sure.
I don't have any information on Mary or Ellenor's parents. I got excited when I read several of the postings on
this website that present so much information on Thompsons, but my Thompsons were not Catholic, as are the ones
you post about. If anyone has information about a Protestant (Methodist, I think) Thompson family living in
the Shawville or Clarendon area I would appreciate any leads you could give me.
If you set up a new web page for this family, I might be able to contribute some more details that might be
helpful in connecting up with others from this family. In doing my research I have learned that retired British
Army Officer, Ensign James Prendergast was commissioned to survey and settle the town of Clarendon and that
the first settlers were largely retired soldiers of the British Army. This has made me wonder if my g-g-g-grandfather,
Alexander Wilson was one of these soldiers, or perhaps the son of one of these soldiers whose name I don't know.
The earliest census records that I have been able to find on Alexander Wilson are from the 1861 census but I
don't know how much earlier than that Alexander Wilson was living in Clarendon. He is buried next to his first wife,
Ellenor Thompson, in the historic Old Clarendon cemetery on Front Road. I do not know if his second wife, my
g-g-g-grandmother Mary Thompson is buried there too but I have not found a picture of her headstone on line as I have
that of Alex and Ellenor.
I don't know if the Alexander Wilson in the tree you sent me is related to my Alexander Wilson. Two things in your tree
do catch my eye though.
1. Jerusha Anna Corbett is the daughter of Nathaniel Corbett and Orinda Waller. I am descended on another line from
Truman Waller, who had a daughter named Esther, who married a James Draper. I would have to check my Waller notebook
to be sure but Orinda may be related to my Truman and Esther which might at least put them all in the same universe.
2. Mary Jane Wilson is a name that occurs repeatedly in my Wilsons. I realize this doesn't mean much since everyone
seems to have used the same handful of names back then, but it did catch my eye.
In the 1861 census for Clarendon Alexander Wilson, a Wesleyan Methodist, age 50, is listed with his wife, Mary, age 30,
and their children George, age 8, Christopher, age 6, and Robert, age 2. In the 1871 census of Clarendon Alexander is
listed as being 63 (so he's added 13 years in the 10 years since the previous census), his wife Mary is listed as being
45 (yikes -- she's gained 15 years in the decade since the last census!) and their children are now listed as George, 18,
Robert, 11, John, 9, Mary Ann, 8, Sarah Jane, 6, Christopher, 5 and William, 2.
By the way, Alexander's headstone shows the year of his birth as being 1807, and his year of death 1883. However, as you
can see in the conflicting ages from the two census's, that birth year should not be seen as absolute. My Wilsons were
clearly not sticklers when it came to keeping track of their ages.
I do not have any information on the names of Alexander's parents, or the names of his siblings but I have found another
record for Alexander that may help in connecting him. The Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967,
includes the marriage document for Alexander and his first wife, Ellenor Thompson. Actually, I found this record on the
Ancestry.com web site and they have Ellenor's name improperly transcribed as Eleonore Themboro, but when you look at the
record itself, on-line with magnification, I think it is quite clear that the correct name is Ellenor Thompson. This
document is from the Methodist Church at St. Jean-sur-Richelieu in 1851. The date of 1851 agrees with the date I have
from family records for the marriage of Alexander Wilson and Ellenor Thompson. I also know from family records that Ellenor
died in July 1857 after having 3 children with Alexander -- Sarah Jane (1852-1853), George Alexander (1854- ) and
Christopher (1855-1862). Alexander then married his second wife, Mary Thompson, my g-g-g-grandmother. As I told you previously,
I have always assumed that Mary Thompson was the younger sister of Ellenor Thompson who he married after Ellenor died,
but I don't know if that's true or not. Alexander and Mary had the following children: my g-g-grandfather, Robert (1860-1932),
John (1861- ), Mary Ann (1862- ) Sarah Jane (1864- ) Christopher (1865- ) William (1871- ).
They also adopted Jeannie Rutledge (1878-1968).
Returning to the marriage document from the Drouin collection that I noted above my transcription of it is this:
Marriage Alexander Wilson, bachelor Hastings (?), Canada West, & Ellenor Thompson, spinster, Canada East, was by
virtue of License wedded (?) together in Holy matrimony on the fifteenth of July, one thousand, Eight hundred & Fifty One
in the presence of ___________(?), Wil_______(?), ____________, _________,
J (?) P(?) Davis (?)
Wm. Driscoll (?)
William Peeves (? or Peebles)
So this document places Alexander in Hastings (?) (perhaps Huntley ?) prior to him moving to Clarendon, and connects him to
the Methodist church at St. Jean-sur-Richlieu.
Additionally, the 1851 census of Clarendon lists a large family of Peeves, including a William, weavers by trade, and I wonder
if this is the same William Peeves who was a witness at the marriage of Alexander and Ellenor in 1851. On the same page of the
census there is a Samuel Wilson, 36, and a John Wilson, 42, both Protestant farmers from Ireland and I have also wondered
if they might be related to my Alexander Wilson, perhaps his younger brothers? Also, I think it likely that the Richard Wilson
who was a witness at his marriage was related to him in some way, possibly another brother?
I guess the only thing else I might say at this point is that I look for Wilsons and Thompsons that might connect with
MacDonalds / McDonalds, Lesters, and Thomas's, as these are other names in my family tree from that general time and place.
It would all be so much easier to be researching Zamboni's and Hornbuckles, rather than Wilsons and Thompsons, Macdonalds
and Thomas's, but then I would be researching someone else's family, not my own. :-)
Al, this may be much more information than you were interested in reading on my Wilsons and Thompsons, but perhaps someone else
could use this information?
Anyway, thank you for your interest, and your time.
January 2, 2011:
I guess our correspondence spurred me to put in some extra time looking through on-line records today and I was rewarded with
finding a new historical document on Mary Thompson Wilson that I had not seen before. It is the 1901 Census of Quebec - Pontiac - Clarendon,
and on page I2 I found Mary listed as Mrs. Alexander Wilson. She is shown as a widow (Alex died in 1883) who is living with her
grandson, Robert, and her adopted daughter Jeannie (Rutledge), and also with two female boarders. What excites me about this
record is that it shows her immigration year as 1858, which I had not known before. That means she immigrated the year after
Alexander Wilson's first wife, Ellenor Thompson, died, leaving him with two young children. (He had already lost a son and would
lose a second child in 1862 but at the time of Mary Thompson's immigration he had two living children.) This leads me to again
speculate that Mary Thompson was a younger sister of Ellenor Thompson's, or perhaps a cousin, and that when Ellenor died she was
brought from Ireland to help Alexander with his children. Alexander and Mary were married in 1859 the year after she immigrated.
There is still much that I would like to learn about the Thompsons, and the Wilsons, but I thought I would share this small
piece of information.
E-mail Bonnie Hannifin and Al Lewis
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