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Douglas Family

Great-Grandmother: Sarah Jane Douglas

I can thank my great-grandmother, Sarah Jane Douglas, for one of my given names.

My great-grandmother, Sarah Jane Douglas

According to her marriage registration, Sarah Jane was born in Holland Landing, Ontario, Canada ca. 1863. Her age at the time of the wedding was 19, and the wedding between Sarah Jane and Samuel McArthur took place 29 Mar 1882 in Oro Township, Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada.

Douglas Great-Great Grandparents

Sarah Jane’s parents were Alexander and Harriet (Powell) Douglas. Harriet, whose June 3, 1920 death registration indicates she was born in Newmarket, Ontario, has been – until recently – the only great-great-grandparent whose photo I have. I’ve since been lucky enough to obtain a photo of the family that includes Sarah’s father, Alexander Douglas:

Following are thumbnail images of the Douglas family. Harriet, who lost a hand to cancer, is covering it in the photo on the left (which was most likely taken much later than the photo on the right):

Postmasters, Oro Station, Oro Township, Simcoe County, Ontario

It appears that a number of Sarah Jane’s brothers were postmasters for the village of Oro Station, Oro Township, Simcoe County, Ontario. The following information is from the Canadian Genealogy Centre:

Postmaster Appointed Vacancy Reason
Archibald Douglas 1884-01-01 1895-11-12 Death
Alex Douglas 1896-01-01 1896-03-17 Resignation
William J. Douglas 1896-05-01 1899-04-13 Resignation

1881 Census

This excerpt from the 1881 Canadian Census shows Sarah Jane, her parents and her siblings (I’ve removed ‘DOUGLAS’ from the name to reduce word-wrapping):

Name Mar. Sex Ethnic Age Birthplace Occupation Religion Estd DOB
Alexander M Male Scottish 51 Scotland Lab C. Presbyterian 1830
Harriet M Female Scottish 47 O <Ontario> C. Presbyterian 1834
Archd. Male Scottish 24 O <Ontario> Lab C. Presbyterian 1857
Barbara Female Scottish 20 O <Ontario> C. Presbyterian 1861
Sarah Jane Female Scottish 17 O <Ontario> C. Presbyterian 1864
Wm. John Male Scottish 15 O <Ontario> School C. Presbyterian 1866
Mary Female Scottish 13 O <Ontario> School C. Presbyterian 1868
Alexander Male Scottish 5 O <Ontario> C. Presbyterian 1876
Census Place Oro, Simcoe North, Ontario
Family History Library Film 1375887
NA Film Number C-13251
District 139
Sub-district M
Division 1
Page Number 11
Household Number 49

The McArthur Family

The McArthur family migrated to the village of Pasqua, just outside of Moose Jaw, in what is now the province of Saskatchewan (then the Northwest Territories) ca. 1899, then moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. Sarah Jane died in Vancouver 8 Dec 1933 and is interred at Mountain View Cemetery in that city.

Sarah Jane Douglas’s Siblings

Archibald Douglas

Archibald, who was born in Holland Landing, Ontario, died at the age of 39 years on 12 November 1895 of pleurisy. At that time, he was the postmaster of Oro Station. I have an image of his death registration, which I will place here. FIXME

William John Douglas

I believe I may have found William John Douglas on the 1901 and 1906 censuses in Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan (excerpt to follow), and there is some possibility, based on this city directory excerpt below, that he moved to the same area as his sister and brother-in-law:

Douglas, William J, CPR section foreman. Living in 1912 in Moose Jaw

The province of Saskatchewan recently made available an index of births (marriages and death indexes have not yet been put online). One of William John Douglas’ sons is listed there:

Registration Number: 651
Last Name: DOUGLAS
Sex: M
Birth Date (yyyy/mm/dd) 956
Place of Birth: YELLOW GRASS

What is remarkable is that William John probably would have crossed paths with my grandfather, Frederick Blake Porteous, who moved to Yellow Grass circa 1902. A family connection between the Porteous and Douglas families would not be established until some 45 years later when my parents met in Vancouver, British Columbia.

It is also possible that William and his family (wife Marion JOHNSTONE) later moved to British Columbia, echoing the migration path of his sister, McArthur brother-in-law and nieces and nephews.

He resigned as postmaster of Oro Station in the same year that I believe my McArthur great-grandparents moved to Pasqua (near Moose Jaw), Saskatchewan.

William John married his wife Marion at Central Presbyterian Church in Oro on 20 Nov 1889. Both the bride and groom were Presbyterian. The minister was Rev. Alexander F. MacKenzie and the witnesses were Jane Johnstone and Aggie Adam of Oro.

Alexander Douglas

Currently, I am looking for information about Alexander Douglas, one of Sarah’s siblings. My research thus far suggests the following:

Alexander married Lucinda Elizabeth Allison but the location is not known. (Note: It is almost certainly Saskatchewan, but that province’s archives have yet to put a marriage index online). The source indicates that Lucinda Elizabeth was born 7 APR 1879 in South Woodsley, Essex County, Ontario. A search of the 1901 census shows that Lucinda was living in Pasqua at the time of the census. This is the same village where Samuel McArthur and his wife Sarah Jane (a sister of Alexander’s) migrated after they left Oro Township, Simcoe County, Ontario.

Like his brother William John Douglas, recently uncovered census data supports the probability that Alexander also lived in the village of Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan, and an entry from an index of Saskatchewan births shows the following:

Registration Number: 928
Last Name: DOUGLAS
Sex: M
Birth Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 1724
Place of Birth: YELLOW GRASS

Alexander died 29 OCT 1975 in Vancouver BC; Lucinda died 24 May 1972 in Burnaby, BC. The death registration indicates she was 93 years of age.

Vital Event Death Registration

Name: Alexander Douglas
Event Date: 1957 11 27 (Yr/Mo/Day)
Age: 81
Gender: male
Event Place: Vancouver

Update: 16-Jun-2005

I ordered a copy of Alexander’s death certificate. Here are some of the details:

Place of Death Mt. St. Joseph’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC
Lived in both Vancouver and BC for forty years (from 1917)
Residence 4557 (?) Earles Road
Last Trade/Profession Warehouse foreman – Johnston National Storage
Last Worked in Occupation 1947
Total Years in Occupation 2x (hard to read)
Wife Lucinda Elisabeth ALLISON
Father Alexander DOUGLAS (born in Scotland)
Mother Harriett [2 t’s] POWELL
Informant Hard to read, Mrs. Grace Cave or Cane? (daughter)
Informant Address 362 River Road, Lulu Island, Vancouver, BC
Undertaker Marron Brothers
Burial 30-Nov-1957, Mt. View IOOF
Causes of Death cerebrovascular haemorrhage
Generalized arteriosclerosis
Congestive failure

Signature of Alexander Douglas’ daughter (can you decipher it?):

Barbara Douglas

Another of Sarah’s siblings, Barbara Douglas, married George O. Leigh. Barbara and her husband are buried at St. Mark’s Cemetery in Oro Township, Simcoe County, Ontario. Their tombstone gives a death date of 3-Aug-1947 for Barbara and 6 Sep 1956 for George. I have contacted the author of a Web site that documents Barbara and George’s children but have not yet heard from him.

Mary Douglas

(Is there a connection with Gordon Lightfoot?)

Mary Douglas married Charles Lightfoot, but I do not know the date and location. However, I have found a single Lightfoot (Alfred) in the 1871 census. The 1881 census shows the entire family.

Census Place Barrie, Simcoe North, Ontario
Family History Library Film 1375887
NA Film Number C-13251
District 139
Sub-district F
Division 1
Page Number 74
Household Number 362
Name Marital Status Gender Ethnic Origin Age Birthplace Occupation Religion
Alfred LIGHTFOOT M Male English 50 England Farmer P Methodist
Mary LIGHTFOOT M Female English 47 England P Methodist
Joseph LIGHTFOOT Male English 20 England Son P Methodist
William LIGHTFOOT Male English 18 England Farmer Son P Methodist
Hannah LIGHTFOOT Female English 17 England P Methodist
Charles LIGHTFOOT Male English 15 England Son P Methodist
Robert LIGHTFOOT Male English 13 England School P Methodist
Jane A.E. LIGHTFOOT Female English 10 Ontario School P Methodist
Alice E. LIGHTFOOT Female English 9 Ontario School P Methodist
Mary LIGHTFOOT Female English 7 Ontario P Methodist

And here is summary information from the 1901 census. By this time all of the older children have either passed away or set out on their own.

The following excerpt is from:

District: Simcoe North (#114)
Subdistrict: Barrie, a-1, Page 15
Name Sex Rel’nshp Mar. Date of Birth Age
Lightfoot Alfred M Head M 40096 1828 72
Lightfoot Mary F Wife M 39967 1834 66
Lightfoot Robert M Son S 40172 1867 33
Lightfoot Jane F Daughter S 40053 1870 30
Lightfoot Alice F Daughter S 39930 1872 28
Lightfoot Mary F Daughter S 39919 1874 26

By this time, Charles Lightfoot and Mary Douglas had married; based on their daughter’s date of birth, it is quite likely that they married in 1891. Here is the 1901 census entry for their family. Is it possible that they later had one or more sons who might have become Gordon Lightfoot’s father?

The following excerpt is from:

District: Simcoe East (#113)
Subdistrict: Oro, j-7, Page 9
Name Sex Rel’nshp Mar. Date of Birth Age
Lightfoot Charles M Head M 39887 1866 35
Lightfoot Mary F Wife M 39903 1868 33
Lightfoot Cora E. F Daughter S 39876 1892 9

Martha Douglas

Martha Douglas married Patrick O’Hearn, son of Daniel O’Hearn and Mary Power, in Barrie, Ontario on December 24, 1876. I have a marriage record for their daughter, Martha Powell O’Hearn, who married Patrick Henry Hodgson in 1906.

Written by Doug

January 24th, 2012 at 7:04 pm