Wednesday, July 2, 2014

HAPPY CANADA DAY! REFLECTING ON MY FAMILY'S LOYALIST CANADIAN ROOTS

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends! And in honor of this special day, I am re-posting the first chapter of "My Grandma's Story" which tells about her train trip to visit her father's family in Osnabruck Center (now Stormont) and the surrounding area, including Cornwall, in Ontario, Canada in 1899 when she was 7 years old. This is my closest Canadian connection.

We drove through this area on a trip not so long ago and I tried to envision it as my grandma saw it when she was a little girl. (For many reasons, it would take an extraordinary imagination indeed to try to see it as she did then!)  It meant so much to me to be in that area that she had visited and written about in her book and where my great grandfather was born and raised. As the story was told to me when I was a young girl, it had really left a big impression on me and stuck in my imagination, so it was all the more fascinating to visit it in real life! During this trip I learned a fascinating aspect of my family history. Osnabruck Centre, and other small towns my grandma mentions in her story where various family members lived, were a Loyalist stronghold. During the time of and preceding my great grandfather's birth there, the residents would have been made up almost exclusively of Loyalists. The land, of course, had been given them in recognition of their service to the Crown. The different villages were each comprised of various different units and brigades of the King's troops. The information seems to hold true, for instance my grandma states her grandma's sisters Eliza and Tina Sanderson, lived nearby on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Cornwall. There were four Sanderson sisters, including my 2nd great grandmother. Their father was John Sanderson, born in Scotland.  Neither the Sanderson sisters' home or the home of my 2nd great grand uncle, Will Browne, (another stop on my grandmother's childhood trip) also on the banks of the St. Lawrence in Dickinson's Landing exists any longer as that area was destroyed when they widened the river for commercial purposes in the early 1900's.  The family had lived in New York before settling in Ontario. This information coincides with the historical documentation, which says that the Cornwall area on the St. Lawrence River was settled by certain Scottish regiments of the Loyalists. So it would seem that this branch of my family (my great grandfather's family), was almost certainly Loyalists, who fled to Canada from New York State!  Here is a link to a fascinating sketch of the very beginnings of Cornwall (then Johnstown); as an encampment of Loyalists on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, my own ancestors very likely among them:  http://www.bytown.net/cornwall.htm    Other villages in the surrounding area were comprised of different nationalities from different Loyalist regiments.  The town of Osnabruck Centre where my great grandfather was born and raised was of mostly German and Holland Dutch origin.  My great grandfather was a Browne and they were of Holland Dutch ancestry.


As I was posting this, I re-read the comments from friends from the original posting and they are very touching and heartfelt. That means the world to me, as it means I was able to pass on the story of my grandma and her family and in so doing, bring them to life once again for people all around the world. The rest of "My Grandma's Story" appears as a series of Notes in my Note section.








No comments:

Post a Comment