Migration from Canada to Wisconsin, USA in the 1800's
July 24, 2015:
Source of text below: Genealogy, History and Irish Immigration, by Joseph A. King.
The complete article can be read or downloaded from http://www.jstor.org
July 16, 2004:
In the 1870's and 1880's, hundreds of families from the Ottawa, Canada area
pulled up stakes and moved to the American frontier. Furniture, livestock and
family members travelled by train and wagon to northern Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota
and North Dakota. The good farm land of the Ottawa Valley was already
settled and new generations who wished to farm or work in the lumber
camps headed to the area south of Lake Superior.
Prior to the Irish famine years, 1846-1854, most of the Irish emigrants who came to Canada
(British North America), were persons with some capital who were able to purchase
new farmland in the wilderness and most of them stayed in Canada. The second generation
of these families, however, facing land shortages here, often moved to the United States.
During and after the famine years, immigration to Canada, relative to the United States,
decreased as can be seen in the following graph.
As part of a series of field trips related to "Bytown or Bust", I'll be in
Duluth Minnesota and Eau Clair, Wisconsin, both popular destinations for nineteenth
century pioneers from the Ottawa area. Eau Clair has a campus of the University
of Wisconsin which has been a center of frontier history since 1893 when
Frederick Jackson Turner wrote The Significance of the Frontier in American History. (see bibliography)
The search engine near the top of our main Bytown or Bust web page at
www.bytown.net/index.htm (or click here),
will locate nineteenth century migrants to the American frontier.
Enter the word "Wisconsin" (no quotes) in the search engine.
Note: There's a good map of Wisconsin at
Here's an example of one family who moved to Wisconsin. As usual, the
family had internal connections within the Ottawa Valley -- in this case
between Osgoode Township and the Gatineau Valley.
Henry O'BRIEN and Margaret CRUIKSHANK
E-Mail from Marcia O'Brien, posted to Gatineau County Genweb:
I am looking for any information on Henry O'Brien born in
l849 in Venosta, Quebec. We have a notation of a possible
brother and sister, Michael and Julia and possible parents
may or may not have been Hugh O'BRIEN and Catherine DUGGAN.
Henry married Margaret CRUIKSHANK in l884 in Farrellton,
Quebec and then moved to Wisconsin. Does this sound
familar to anyone? Please e-mail me direct. Marcia O'Brien
Note: This family was related to the O'Brien's in Osgoode Township.
David CRUIKSHANK (born c. 1852) and Bridget MALEY (born c. 1841), both
non-family members, were living in Osgoode in 1861 with the family of
Patrick O'Brien (b. 1834) and Mary Unknown (b. 1836).Patrick and Mary
had a daughter, Ann, born in 1852. Log house built in 1838 in Concession 2, Osgoode.
... Al Lewis
Dear Mr. Lewis. Thank you for posting that message for me. We have finally
been able to obtain a copy of Henry's death certificate and it turns out his parents
names were Michael O'Brien and Mary (last name unknown) both of whom were
born in Ireland.
Henry's wife Margaret was the daughter of Alexander CRUIKSHANK and Catherine
O'Brien. Henry's siblings were Michael and Delia according to his death
There were several O'Brien families in Osgoode from the 1840's, some of whom
may have gone to the Maniwaki, Quebec area with Father Deleage. (There is a
village called Deleage, just east of Maniwaki).
See also John O'Brien and Annie Hogan
February 11, 2008:
The Wisconsin Historical Society
Send E-mail to Al Lewis
Back to Bytown or Bust - History and Genealogy in the Ottawa, Canada area