Family History of Margaret (Paterson) Gillespie, Renfrew Co, Ontario

Excerpt from McNab, The Frontier by Peter Hessell, page 269

” A remarkable, determined woman was Margaret Gillespie, nee Paterson, , the widow of James Gillespie (successful lumber merchant in Quebec City). He had died 39 years before her.

Five years after his death, in 1842 , she moved to the White Lake area with six of her seven children. Lot 13, Con 4 and L  12 Con 3. A short time later she moved to Mansfield where she build Stadacona Cottage, a substantial building. Stadacona Aveue in Mansfield was later named after this house. Stadacona was the name of the Iroquois Village at the site of Quebec at the time of James Cartier.

Although her four sons (James, George, Thomas, and Alexander) had been brought up in a city environment and knew nothing about farming. she bought land for all of them and place them all on farms. Her son James, a graduate of Edinburgh University, and a one-time sailor in the merchant marine, built a house called The Hermitage” on Lot 19/20 Con 6. He became a teacher and taught at Goshen school for awhile. He died of pneumonia at the age of 39, leaving a wife and six young children.

Margaret died at Stadacona Cottate at the age of 85, a well respected member of the community  (Suggitt Papers).”


Additional note:  In 1841 only three women owned property in the Township and were therefore listed spearately in the 1841 census: Widow Hamilton; Margaret Gillespie on Lot 13 C 4 and several other properties, and Widow Brown.

During the 1851 census, enumerators who had grown up in Scotland often recorded wives under their maiden names. For that reason, Strays or those who surname differed from that of the family head, travellers, visitors or employees included many women. The North American custom of women calling themselves Mrs John Stewart instad of Margaret Robertson, John Stewart’s wife, was unknown to the first Scottish settlers.