Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My 64 ~ Researching My Fourth Great Grandparents : Hugh Cowperthwaite III and Mary "Polly" Newcomb

My fourth great grandfather, Hugh Cowperthwaite, was born in Pittsgrove, in Salem County, New Jersey, in 1776, the second son and the third of 10 children born to Loyalist Hugh Cowperthwaite and Sarah Mead. His parents left New Jersey in January of 1778, when the oath of allegiance was tendered to them. Refusing to sign the oath, they had fled to Philadelphia, and, following the evacuation of that city, ultimately settled in Sunbury County, New Brunswick, Canada.

My fourth great grandmother, Mary "Polly" Newcomb, was born around 1778 in Waterborough (which is present-day Canning), New Brunswick, Canada, the youngest daughter, and ninth of 10 children born to Benjamin Newcomb and Elizabeth Lewis. Benjamin had come with his parents to settle in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, from Connecticut, in 1760.

Hugh and Polly were married on October 17, 1799, in Waterborough, New Brunswick. They settled in Sheffield, in Sunbury County, New Brunswick, and raised a large family. Their children included 5 sons and 4 daughters, all presumably born in Sheffield:

Abraham, b. year unknown
David, b. 1798
Reuben, b. 1801
Rebecca, b. 1804
Henry Nelson, b. 1807
Jane, b. 1808
Margaret, b. 1812
Hugh, b. 1820
Eliza Ann, b. 1821

Sheffield United Church in Sheffield NB, built in 1775 and rebuilt in 1840

At some point in their lives, they relocated to Carleton County, New Brunswick, perhaps moving in with one of their children in their later years. It is generally believed to be true that Polly died there, although her death year, as well as her final resting place, are unknown.

There is a record of Hugh's death, however, as October 8, 1853. That record states that he is buried in Methodist Cemetery, in Woodstock, New Brunswick, although the stone may have been removed, toppled or eroded.

Methodist Cemetery, Woodstock, New Brunswick

My line of descent from Hugh and Polly is through their daughter Margaret, who married William Harnett. Their daughter Harriet married John McCain. Their daughter Bertha married my great grandfather, Rev.Wylie Herbert Smith. Their daughter Harriet was my maternal grandmother.

Because of Hugh's Loyalist roots, I am hoping to become a United Empire Loyalist.


Ancestry.com. 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

"Benjamin Newcomb," Miner, Mark E., Miner Descent, (https://minerdescent.com/2010/07/08/benjamin-newcomb/ : accessed 26 June 2017).

Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed  26 Jun 2017), memorial page for Hugh Cowperthwaite III (1776-1853), Find A Grave Memorial no. 117673561, citing Methodist Cemetery, Woodstock, Carleton County, New Brunswick, Canada.

New Brunswick Cemeteries (PANB).

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My 64 ~ Researching My Fourth Great Grandparents : Hans Hamilton and Jane Cottam

My fourth great grandfather, Hans (also spelled Hants) Hamilton, was born on January 1, 1780, in Truro, in Colchester County, Nova Scotia, the sixth son and youngest of nine children born to Robert Hamilton and Agnes "Nancy" Ferguson.

In the summer of 1771, his parents Robert and "Nancy" and his five oldest siblings, had immigrated from County Armagh, Northern Ireland, aboard the schooner "Hopewell" to Halifax, Nova Scotia. From there, they had moved to Truro.

Later, his father Robert was among a group of men who received a grant of land at "Wilmot River," which later became known as the Stewiacke River. He was settled there with his family by 1792.

On November 14, 1811, Hans married Jane Cottam, the daughter of James Cottam, Sr. and Mary Wilson. Hans was 31; Jane was 18.

My fourth great grandmother, Jane Cottam, was born on February 22, 1793, the oldest of seven children. Many of her family members, including my 5th great grandparents, are buried in the Cottam Settlement Cemetary, near Debert.

James Cottam and Mary Wilson
Cottam Settlement Cemetery
near Debert, Nova Scotia

Alan Ross made a short video of his visit there, about a year and a half ago:

Together, Hans and Jane had 13 children, from 1813 to 1840 (27 years):

Agnes, b. 1813
Mary, b. 1815
Robert, b. 1817
Agnes, b. 1818
James, b. 1921
Hants, b. 1823
John, b. 1825
Jane, b. 1927
Susan, b. 1830
Margaret, b. 1832
William Alexander, b. 1834
Rebecca, b. 1837
Robert Samuel, b. 1840

A farmer all his life, Hans passed away on February 4, 1858, at the age of 78.  Jane died a little over a year later, at age 66. Both died in Upper Stewiacke. Hans is buried in Riverside Cemetery, in Upper Stewiacke. Jane is probably buried there as well.

Hans Hamilton's Grave
Riverside Cemetery
Upper Stewiacke
Nova Scotia


1838 Census, Colchester Historeum (http://colchesterhistoreum.ca/search/)

"Cottam Settlement Cemetery" video recorded by Alan Ross, published Oct. 8, 2015. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAXrpN41iYs). Used with permission.

Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com  : accessed 23 Feb 2017), memorial page for Hans Hamilton (1780-1858), Find A Grave Memorial no. 153020671, citing Riverside Cemetery, Upper Stewiacke, Colchester County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Four Nova Scotia Families: Hennigar, Elliott, Harvey, Chipman [webpage](http://www.hhennigar.ca/index.php)

Miller, Thomas, Historical and genealogical record of the first settlers of Colchester County:  down to the present time compiled from the most authentic sources  (1873; facsimile edition, Belleville, Ontario:  Mika Studios, 1972).

Wile, Jane Currie, comp. Robert & Hants Hamilton: Two Brothers in Nova Scotia; eBook content from Jane Currie-Wile's Colchester County Families Database. February 2017. PDF download. (https://www.etsy.com/listing/513880171/robert-hants-hamiltio-two-brothers-in?ref=shop_home_active_1).

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My 64 ~ Researching My Fourth Great Grandparents : John McCain and Jane Allison

My fourth great grandfather, John McCain, was born in Drumboe, Stranorlar Parish, County Donegal, Ireland, in about 1760. He is known to have had three brothers and a sister, although hardly anything is known about his parents.

My fourth great grandmother, Jane Allison, was born in about 1775, also in County Donegal.

John and Jane married in about 1798, in County Donegal. Five known children were born to the couple:

John, b. abt. 1800
William, b. 1802
James, b. abt. 1806
Andrew, b. 1807*
Jane, b. 1816

*my 3rd great grandfather

According to Hutchison:

"John and his family were farmers at Meenhoney, a hilly, bog-filled region about one mile northwest of Castlefin, Co. Donegal, bordering on Northern Ireland. It was one of the few Protestant counties in Ireland and also one of the poorest, as was typical if the northwestern region of Ireland."

Meenahoney Townland, County Donegal, Ireland
Old Building at Meenhoney

It wasn't until sons William, James, and Andrew emigrated to New Brunswick, Canada, in the 1820s and 1830s, that the foundation of the McCain Family business enterprise was established. Brothers Andrew and James first arrived in Carleton County, New Brunswick, by the spring of 1823. All of the McCains obtained 100-acre land grants in the Florenceville area, where the "rolling hills, lush green valley, and meandering river" must have reminded them of their homeland in Meenahoney.

The industrious McCains began trading farm produce, and cultivated, in later generations, a huge Irish tradition ~ potato farming. The advent of large-scale potato farming, beginning in the 1920s, positioned the McCain families of Florenceville, New Brunswick, for the prosperous industry for which it is known to this day. 

Brothers Harrison, Wallace, Andrew, and Robert McCain, founders of McCain Foods Limited, are all second cousins, twice removed.

In the meantime, my fourth great grandparents, John and Jane McCain, both died around 1816 in County Donegal, Ireland, and their graves are unmarked and unknown.

Photo Credit:

Kenneth Allen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Kenneth Allen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Hutchison, Brian W. Descendants of John McCain from Stranorlar Parish, Co. Donegal, Ireland: Migrations to British North America and throughout Ireland, (c. 1760-2004). Nanaimo, BC: GEN-FIND Research Associates, 2005. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My 64 ~ Researching My Fourth Great Grandparents : Jacob Steeves and Eleanor Bleakney

My fourth great grandfather, Jacob Steeves, was born on May 3, 1788, most probably in Hillsborough, Albert County, New Brunswick, the first son of Matthias Steeves and Sophia Beck, and the second of thirteen children. He was the grandson of Heinrich Stief and Regina Stahlecker, who settled in Hillsborough 250 years ago.

My fourth great grandmother, Eleanor "Nellie" Bleakney, was born in the early 1800's, the daughter of William Bleakney and Barbara Jacques. She was the granddaughter of David Blakeney and his wife Elizabeth, who were part of a group of South Carolina Loyalists who had arrived in Canada in late 1782.  I wrote of her grandfather in 2015, in my blog series My Canadian Branches.

The couple were married in Westmorland County on November 12, 1818. They settled on the Pollett River, a tributary of the Petitcodiac, undoubtedly near where the Bleakney clan had settled. This map shows the area very well.


According to Esther Clark Wright, they had four children, two sons and two daughters. I have found William Bleakney and Jacob, Barbara and possibly Eliza:

Barbara, b. abt. 1821
William Bleakney, b. abt. 1823
Eliza, b. possibly 1827
Jacob, b. abt. 1828

The Steeves House Museum lists two additional children, a son George Bleakney Steeves, born abt. 1832, and a daughter Catherine Bleakney Steeves, b. abt. 1834, but further research is needed on these.

Daughter Barbara married Andrew Anderson, and is buried with him in Boundary Creek Cemetery in Moncton.  William Bleakney married a granddaughter of Henry, Christian's son, Charlotte Ann Steeves, and is buried with her in Hillside United Baptist Church Cemetery in Hillside.

The graves of Jacob and Eleanor are unknown.

Map Credit:

Roe Brothers, (A.D. & W.B. Roe), base maps are from British Admiralty charts and National Surveys [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


"Canada Census, 1851," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW5B-TDL : accessed 21 May 2015), Eleanor Steeves, Coverdale, Albert County, New Brunswick, Canada; citing p. 2, line 35; Library and Archives Canada film number C_994, Public Archives, Ontario..

Canada, Marriages, 1661-1949," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F2P9-PMD : accessed 30 December 2014), Jacob Steves and Eleanor Bleakney, 12 Nov 1818; citing Westmorland,New Brunswick, reference ; FHL microfilm 847,576.

Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed  16 Nov 2016), memorial page for Barbara Steeves Anderson (unknown-1874), Find A Grave Memorial no. 119762001, citing Boundary Creek Cemetery, Moncton, Westmorland County, New Brunswick, Canada.

Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed  16 Nov 2016), memorial page for William B Steeves (1823-1899), Find A Grave Memorial no. 158435290, citing Hillside United Baptist Church Cemetery, Hillside, Albert County, New Brunswick, Canada.

Wright, Esther Clark. Samphire Greens: The Story of the Steeves. 2nd ed. (Hillsborough, NB: The Steeves Family Inc., 2001), p. 63.