The little Calhoun family gets bigger…

As you read yesterday, Robert and Eliza Calhoun seemed to be making a successful new life for themselves as they settled in to late 19th century Ontario (Canada West, at the time).  They now had 2 boys, Charley and Alexander William, and 2 girls, Grace and Bertha.  I just want to note that Robert had a brother named Alexander,  a sister named Bertha, and an uncle named William…just saying….

Robert had gone from being a “Bookkeeper” at the birth of Charley and Grace to a “Bookkeeper and Clerk” at the birth of Alexander William.  On 17 Nov 1879 another son, named ALEXANDER CALHOUN, was born.  This has been a tough puzzle to put together.  Did they lose Alexander William, then have a son named William?

In the 1881 census the family consisted of Robert C.  (Bookkeeper, age 33), Elizabeth A. (age 26), Charles (age 8), Grace (age 6), Bertha (age 4), William (age 2), and Alexander (age 1).  Shouldn’t Alexander William, born in 1877, have been age 3 or 4 in that census?

Alexander (who would become my husband’s grandfather) referred to an older brother named Willie.  But when Willie died, he was age 6, in 1883.  That means that Alexander William was Willie.  How odd that they named their next son Alexander!

I wrote about the next child, MYRA ISABELLA CALHOUN, in a post on 26 Jan 2016.  Myra was born 27 Feb 1882 and died of Consumption (Tuberculosis) at 8 months, 10 days old on 6 Nov 1882.  I believe Myra Isabella was named after Eliza’s two sisters, Maria and Isabella.

I don’t know if it was this last loss or if things were just not moving the way Robert wanted them to, but the Calhouns moved West to Gananoque, 165 miles away, early the next year.  Robert became a Wharfinger (the manager of a wharf, managing the ingoing and outgoing ships, etc.) there.  The lumber company that ran the wharf was the Rathbun Company.

Unfortunately, tragedy followed…in the drowning death of Willie.

newspaper drowning report
Gananoque Reporter, 1 Sep 1883 Drowning death of Willie Calhoun

Willie died on 28 Aug 1883.  He would have been 6 years old only 10 days later.  What a sad and tragic time for Eliza and Robert.  My heart breaks that they lost their daughter, Myra, the year before and now Willie.  And Eliza might even have known she was pregnant with their next child.  How sad and frightening.

On 9 Apr 1884, another daughter was born, MARION CALHOUN.  Marion was another form of Maria (her sister) and Myra (her last daughter).  On her birth record, it states that she was born in Gananoque.  Her father was a clerk in the lumber/coal business.  Robert was 37 and Eliza was just 30.  Was Robert a clerk or still a wharfinger?  Was a wharfinger a clerk?

On 20 Nov 1886, the family welcomed another daughter, KATHERINE CALHOUN.  Later in life, she was known as Kathleen.  She was probably named after Robert’s now long-dead mother, Catherine McCullough.  She was born in Gananoque.

In the next few years, the family moved East again, about 70 miles away to Belleville.  On 17 Jan 1890, DOUGLAS HANLEY CALHOUN was born.  Robert was listed as working as an Agent, Rathbun Co., here.

The family was now complete.  As the story goes on, you will see that there is still tragedy (and triumph) to come for them.

To be continued…

 

 

 

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Robert Calhoun & Eliza Parke Family Story

I have told bits and pieces of this family’s story in this (poorly updated) blog over the past couple of years.  When there are pieces of the family history that I have already talked about, I will reference the dates of those posts.

In my 4 Nov 2015 post, I wrote about the genesis of this couple.  Eliza was a student or student-teacher and Robert was teaching in the same 2-room Church of Ireland school in Ballinamore, County Leitrim, Ireland, when they met, had an affair, and Eliza found herself pregnant.  Robert was eventually tracked down and they married when Eliza was 8 months pregnant in Feb 1872.  Go to that post for the rest of that story.

Some basics:  ROBERT CHARLES COLHOUN (27 Jul 1847 – 22 May 1925) was born in Gortin, County Tyrone, Ireland (now Northern Ireland) to SAMUEL COLHOUN and CATHERINE MCCULLOUGH.  Samuel and Catherine had 4 girls and then 4 boys.  The eldest boy was Robert.  Robert’s father, Samuel, was a Blacksmith.  Robert must have gotten some training (maybe even went to college) to become a teacher.  This gave Robert the chance to move up in the world, socially.  It also gave him the opportunity to leave Gortin.  He may have been assigned other places before going to Ballinamore in County Leitrim, but I have no record of that.

ELIZABETH ANN PARKE (15 May 1854 – 15 May 1944) was the first child of WILLIAM PARKE and ELIZABETH TAYLOR.  Both mother and daughter were called Eliza.  She was 16 when she met her handsome, older teacher, Robert.  Her father was a well-off farmer with 2 other daughters.

After the disgrace of their shotgun wedding, Robert and Eliza set sail for Canada…at least that’s what I think.  Their son, eldest child CHARLES KINGSLEY CALHOUN, was said to have been born in Canada, though I have never found a birth record for him.  He may have been born aboard ship.  His birthdate was 23 Feb 1872.  The little family settled in the small town of Fenelon Falls, Ontario, Canada.  Charles was employed as a Bookkeeper for one of the lumber companies there.

Fenelon Falls was incorporated as a village in 1874, just 2 years after the Calhouns (who had changed the spelling of their name from Colhoun, the Irish form) arrived.  It was a prosperous port town.  Robert was a smart, educated guy…in fact, he had a reputation in his family of being somewhat smug about his intellect.  He seems to have prospered in this little village.

Robert was said to have never been in touch with his family again after his hasty marriage, so he probably didn’t know that his mother, Catherine McCullough Colhoun, died a year after he emigrated, on 19 Apr 1873.  How sad for both of them.  As a mother, I imagine Catherine in Ireland, wondering where her oldest son was and how her only grandchild might be faring.  Did she even know if it was a grandson or a granddaughter?

On 15 Apr 1874, two years after the birth of their first child, Robert and Eliza had a second.  Their daughter, GRACE CALHOUN, arrived.  Robert was still listed as a bookkeeper in her birth record.

Just a month after Grace’s birth, Robert’s brother, WILLIAM JAMES COLHOUN, married SARAH EMILY ALEXANDER on 12 May 1874.  William and Sarah were both teachers in Gortin, the Colhoun’s hometown. They had a daughter, whose name I have not been able to find, on 9 Feb 1875.

Not only that but in Ballinamore, Eliza’s mother and father had another daughter, FANNY PARKE, on 11 Sep 1874.  Eliza never met her sister, who was the same age as her own daughter.  How strange was that!

Eighteen months after Grace’s birth Eliza and Robert had a second daughter, BERTHA ELIZABETH CALHOUN, was born on 3 Dec 1875. And 18 months after that, on 4 Sep 1877, another son was born…ALEXANDER WILLIAM CALHOUN.   The fast-growing family was certainly keeping them busy.

Back in Gortin, Robert’s brother, William, died of consumption on 6 May 1877.  William’s wife, Sarah, was pregnant with their son, another WILLIAM JAMES COLHOUN, who was born a month later on 9 Jun 1877.

To be continued, tomorrow…