John & Ruth MacGregor Family

This generation of McGregor’s lived most of their life in the Douglas area. The move from Beckwith was a major change in their lives. Moving themselves with four small children and all their worldly belongings, likely by horses and wagon, a distance of some eighty miles was no small feat.

Although the farm in Douglas had been previously settled and some crude buildings erected, very little land was cleared. The first year’s crop was a patch of potatoes planted near the eighth line on some land cleared by mistake by the Morrows next door. The Groves family most likely provided support and possibly accommodations for the family, especially in the winter when John was away in the lumber camp.

John McGregor with the help of his family worked hard and eventually prospered. The 1871 agricultural census indicated that John had –

  • 3 horses – 300 pounds of butter
  • 1 colt – 60 pounds of wool
  • 10 cows – 20 cords of firewood
  • 1 other cattle(bull)
  • 22 sheep
  • 1 pig

Church records and school records indicate that John was involved in community activities.

In 1869, the winter of the deep snow, Sarah Priscilla their youngest child age nine years died. She was the first burial in the family plot in the Douglas Public Cemetery. By 1875 they were able to construct the main part of the present house. It was a well built frame structure, with four bedrooms upstairs and two large rooms downstairs, plus a half cellar. This would have been quite a change from the shanty.

In 1877 their oldest daughter Kate gave birth to a son Allan Weston McGregor who stayed at the farm and was brought up mainly by his grandfather John & grandmother Ruth. Charles Traveller McGregor settled on one of the neighboring farms. This was a fairly brief farming career because he left to spend about twenty years in California due to an accused indiscretion with a neighbor’s daughter.

Our grandfather Peter stayed on the home farm and married Eliza Jane Bowland from Eganville in 1885. The home was divided, John and Ruth lived in the west side of the building, Peter and Eliza Jane lived in the east. Allan McGregor remained with his grand parents on the farm during his early years. His mother Kate married John Kerr and lived in the village. Allan told a story of one of his youthful activities, he borrowed his grandmother’s small ironing board and slid down the front stairs in the old farmhouse. He bumped his head when he came to a stop at the bottom, but this was a minor discomfort compared to the spanking he received from his grandmother on his other extremity.

John lived eighty-one years and died in 1903. Ruth lived one year longer and died in 1904 at the age eighty-eight years. They are buried in the family plot in the Douglas Cemetery.

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NOTE: About the turn of the century, the spelling of “MCGREGOR” changed to “MacGregor”. It appears the Beckwith McGregors stayed with “Mc” but the Douglas McGregor’s used “Mac”. In Scottish genealogy there are many different spellings of MacGregor.