John Daniels and Jane Wootton
For week number four I have chosen to invite my two times great-grandparents John Daniels and Jane Wootton to dinner. There are a few mysteries I would like answered about their lives, and it would be good to chat with them. Information on John and Jane was my first significant find in genealogy. I went to the local Family History Centre and with the help of a co-worker there began my search. The background information that I had was from a baptismal certificate of my great grandfather, which had his parent’s names listed: John Daniels and Jane Wootton. I started out by finding their marriage record.
John and Jane were married 9 November 1839 in Corsham Parish, Wiltshire, England his profession being a labourer. John’s father was Robert, a soldier who had possibly fought in the Napoleonic war. I heard a family story about a watch, which may have been worn by Robert in that war, which he passed down to John.
John and Jane’s first child, George Turner Daniels was born 30 May 1840 in Corsham. At least three more children were born to this union, Sarah Ann, Mary Jane, William, and Frederic. Frederic was born in France, and possibly Sarah, Mary and William, but I have no documentation at this time other than census info that changes every ten years. The family shows up in the 1840 England census where John is listed as Joseph. I am not sure if that was his middle name or just put down wrong. They live with Jane’s Father in his home at Thingley Bridge, a small settlement just outside of Corsham. The same person who was a witness at their wedding also is living there, William Webb.
I believe John took his family to France to help work on the railroad building as the French had hired a British company MacKenzie and Brassey. From France, John took his family and found his way to Canada. The remaining information is from family oral history.
John began working on building the railroad in Ontario and was driving an engine to haul rock to Copetown where it was used for the railbed. The problem at Copetown was they were building over quicksand, and it took a lot of rock to fill the hole. One day when John was driving up to the hole the engine overshot, jumping over the end of the track. Both the engine and John were lost in the quicksand. My aunt wrote that young Frederic would always run to meet his dad when John came home from work, but this day John did not come home. Within a few months, Jane died of a broken heart and the family was separated.
This was the spring of 1854, and I do not know what happened to George. Sarah went to live with her uncle George and aunt Rebecca. Mary went to live with aunt Rebecca’s brother, Richard Quance and his wife, Alice. William and Frederic were taken to the Hamilton Orphan’s Asylum.
It would be very interesting to have dinner with John and Jane, and hear all the stories of their lives. What it was like to travel back then when trips took weeks and not hours. When pulling up roots and moving far away to a distant land held the promise of a brighter future. How I was a result of their love so long ago.