Well, we always knew that the Crow/Crowe family settled in Peterborough, Ontario, when they emigrated from County Monaghan, Ireland, and then, a generation later hired a train along with the McCracken family and migrated to St. Paul, Nebraska, near Grand Island.
And Stan had long said that when he had a chance he wanted to get to Peterborough to see what he could find about his ancestors. That chance finally came and today we learned fascinating information about the Crow(e) family history.
Our first stop was the Peterborough Museum and Archives where an archivist gave us the background narrative of the early settlement of the area and pointed out other places to visit. Key to the story is Peter Robinson, a Yorkshire man whose family first emigrated to Virginia in the 1600's. Being Loyal to the Crown they moved to Peterborough in 1776.
Robinson saw the need for more settlers in his new home and, being an excellent communicator, convinced Parliament back in Westminster to support his plan to bring 2000 settlers over under his brother's care. The plan proved almost too successful. Robinson recorded that "To choose 2000 individuals out of 50,000 who were anxious to emigrate was a very difficult task."
In 1825 handbills detailing the terms of the English government's offer were posted throughout southern Ireland promising the settlers would be conveyed at public charge with provision furnished during the voyage and for one year after location upon their respective lots. Farming utensils would also be furnished "as absolutely necessary". Those selected were to be male, above 18 years of age, not exceeding 45 years old. They would receive lands in Upper Canada of 70 acres, to which they could add 30 acres later.
Christopher Crowe, who came to Canada about 1831, under similar terms just made the cut as he was in his early 40's. He settled in County Dummer northeast of Peterborough near Stoney Lake.
Indeed, there is a Crowe's landing on Stoney Lake and McCarcken's Landing nearby. Little wonder that Christopher's grandson Christopher Wellington married Susanna McCracken, as their lands were close to each other. We also spotted a Crow River and Crowe Valley, but haven't verified their connection to the family.
The next goal was to locate grave sites. The archivist explained that bodies had been moved from the old Confederation Cemetery to make room for the building of the Armory and War Memorial. (At least, they were suppose to have been moved.) So she recommended we inquire at the Lakeside Cemetery.
We were exceedingly fortunate that that cemetery maintains an office with all their files on a computer. In a matter of minutes we had a map marking the location of what is apparently a memorial, not an actual tombstone, for several generations of Crowes.
Stan found his great, great grandfather on the front side of the memorial:
In memory of Charles Crowe
Born at Scotts House, Co. Monaghan, Ireland
Dec. 18th 1832 Died Sept 2nd 1888
Margaret Jane Hall, his wife,
Born at Latta-opple, Co. Cavan Ireland
In the year 1838, died Dec. 1st 1890.
Blessed are the dead who died in the Lord.
Then one last stop at the Hutchinson House Historical Society to buy books of the county history. It turned out that Erin, our most helpful hostess, had Crowes in her family tree— a somewhat cousin still living in Peterborough.
Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.