John MacGregor

John McGregor was born on the south half of lot eight concession nine in the township of Beckwith, county of Lanark (near Carleton Place) Ontario, Canada. His date of birth was February 7, 1822 and he was baptized February 24, 1822 by the Presbyterian clergyman, the Reverend William Bell, of Perth Ontario.

no images were found

On July 15th 1853 at his father’s home in Beckwith he married Ruth Priscilla (Traveller) McLaren, the daughter of Rueben Traveller of Bytown and the younger sister of Fortune (Traveller) McGregor. Ruth had been previously married to John McLaren of Three Rivers, who was drowned before her first son John Rueben McLaren was born in 1837.

We do not know a great deal about the Beckwith township days of John McGregor. The Squire Peter his father carved a farm out of the woods along the Mississippi Lake and no doubt young John being the oldest son contributed his time and energy to the expanding farm. He probably went to the lumber camps in the winter, which was the custom in those days. In 1848 John’s mother died and his father remarried about two years later. It would be safe to assume that Peter’s marriage to Fortune Traveller led to John’s meeting Ruth Traveller.

The 1861 census shows very crowded households at lot eight, concession nine Beckwith Township. In addition to John and Ruth and their four children, Archibald and his wife Margery and their two children were occupying the house with Squire Peter, Fortune and Janet. Sometime prior to 1861 John’s sister Christiana married William Groves and was operating a hotel at Douglas in Renfrew County (previously known as the Third Chute). In the fall of 1860 John traveled to Douglas and made a deal on a farm on the edge of the village. Late in the summer of 1861 the family moved to the south half of lot six, concession eight of Bromley Township in Renfrew County. A Judge Malloch of Perth, who was a county court judge and land speculator, had deeded the farm from the crown. He was a frequent visitor to Douglas and great plans for the village. Some ten years previously he sold the farm to a John Ellis who had constructed a shanty in one of the lower fields and had started construction on a barn near the site of the present buildings. Also during the 1850’s ten acres of land were sold to the Dioceses of Bytown for what is today St. Michael’s Church and cemetery

According to the stories passed down in the family, life in the shanty was not too luxurious from 1861 to 1875 when the present home was built. A part of each winter was spent with the Groves family in the village at the hotel and someone had to walk up to the farm to feed the livestock. John McGregor probably went to the lumber camps to derive some extra income during the winter.

John McGregor lived the rest of his life on the ninety-acre farm at Douglas. He was a well-respected member of the community, being active in community activities, including the school board.

He had the ability to set broken bones and provided a service to his family and neighbours, including Raymond Rice who told me about being brought to John as a small boy, when he fell and broke his arm. John and Ruth had strong religious convictions and as well as being supporters of the local Zion Presbyterian (United) Church they seemed to be searching for additional religious stimulation as shown in the attached census summary. After their son Peter was married and their family was arriving, the house was divided, the west side being occupied by John and Ruth.

John died at the age of eighty-one years in March of 1903 and is buried in the family plot in the Public (Protestant) Cemetery.