An obituary appeared in Canadian Champion (Milton, ON), 18 Mar 1869, p. 2, column 7 for Elizabeth McConnell. Could this be ours?
Isabella McConnell was born in Northern Ireland to James McConnell, and an unknown mother in 1827. She lived in the village of Ardstraw near Newtonstewart. Only a few documents exist to verify her connections, in particular a couple of census, death certificates from her children, and an Irish marriage registration.
Alexander Ashenhurst and Elizabeth Isabella McConnell were married April 9, 1846 in Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
The Ashenhurst couple must have migrated overseas to Canada sometime between their marriage and the birth of their first son born, according to his obituary, along Yonge Street, York Township, Ontario, in 1851. Dr. Alexander W. Ashenhurst, wrote that a Georgetown library historian told him that his great-grandfather Alexander Ashenhurst first moved to the Markham-Uxbridge area about 1848 before moving on to Halton County.
In fact, census data tells us the Ashenhurst's weren't settled in Esquesing, Halton County until the 1881 survey. The 1871 census and 1861 census finds them living in the township of Chinguacousy, Peel County. There is no record of their whereabouts at the time of the 1852 census. While each census finds each Ashenhurst getting younger as time passes, the obituaries, death registrations, and the tombstone makes some sense of their actual birthdates.
The obituaries left by each of Alexander and Isabella's children give the best accounts of the Ashenhurst's migration: James (1851-1917), Sarah Jane (1855-1939), William (1859-1933), and Alexander (1862-1932). Each spent their lives unmarried with the exception of Alexander. York Mills is indicated as the birthplaces for the first 3 children, so it may be assumed they resided in York county throughout the 1850's, Chinguacousy from 1860 to 1872-73, and finally Esquesing, from 1872ish to 1939, when the last one passed on. They lived in a two story brick house near Ashgrove surrounded by land which they farmed.
Isabella's precise death date is uncertain. She died relatively young at 44 compared to the number of life years her children spanned, and predeceased her husband Alexander by almost 40 years. While her death year is inscribed on the headstone as 1871, there is no official record of her death. It's quite possible the date is a guess since the year 1909, marked for patriarch Alexander, is a year off the actual one. The headstone, therefore, might not have been erected until some years after, perhaps to mark the death of one of the children.
The exact date of her death in 1871 is unknown although she was documented in the 1871 Census for Peel County, in the township of Chinguacousy, which began on April 2 of that year. A year or so later in 1872-73 the Ashenhurst's moved to Esquesing. Did Isabella also move to Esquesing? Was Isabella buried in Chinguacousy and memorialized on the family tombstone at Norval?
A death registration for Isabella has not been found. There is one burial listing for an Ashenhurst at Brampton Public Cemetery, Chinguacousy Township Lot 6 Block A&C Plan BR13 Concession 1E. Further investigation to find out the first name of this Ashenhurst has not been done. When and Where Isabelle died, and what brought on her death continues to be a puzzle. Summary by G. Patrick MacKay.
Birth of Isabella McConnell
Married in Ardstraw, Co. Tyrone, Ireland to Isabella McConnell on April 9, 1846. 
Update (Sept 2011) : information to further add to the above April 9, 1846 date is provided by rootsireland.ie which gives her name as ELIZABETH McConnell, daughter of James, and he is Alexander Ashenhurst, son of William. Her birth is spot on at 1827, while he is recorded as being 8 years younger than what's on his tombstone.
1861 Census -- Peel, Township of Chinguacousy, District #3, 1 & 1/2 story log house, Poll:C-1062, p.47
Alexander Ashenhurst -- 39 -- 1822, Ireland, Labourer, Church of England
Isabella Ashenhurst -- 28 -- 1833, Ireland
James Ashenhurst -- 11 -- 1850, Upper Canada, attending school
Sarah J Ashenhurst -- 4 -- 1857, Upper Canada
William Ashenhurst -- 2 -- 1859, Upper Canada
According to the obituaries of Alexander Ashenhurst's children the family arrived in Esquesing in 1870, coming from York Mills. For at least 10 years previous they were registered in Chinguacousy (close to the boundary with Esquesing.) No record has been found for York Mills.
A listing of burials at Hillcrest Cemetery indicate she was buried July 23, in the assumed year 1871.
There is one Isabella McConnell documented with the LDS database as having been Christened on February 11, 1827 in Londonderry, the daughter of William McConnell and Rebecca Watson. Is this our Isabella McConnell?
Graeme MacKay, firsthand knowledge. Click the Changes tab for the details of edits by Graeme and others.
↑ Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898." index, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org): accessed 13 February 2012, entry for Alexander Ashenhurst and Isabella McConnell, married 9 April 1846: citing Marriage Records. FHL microfilm 101,284; Index entries derived from digital copies of originals housed in various repositories throughout Ireland.
↑ Source: "Marriage records, 1845-1870, with indexes to marriages, 1845-1921, in the General Registry Office of Ireland"; Indexing Project (Batch) Number - M70174-1, System Origin - Ireland-ODM; Source Film Number - 101281
↑ "Canada Census, 1851," Database and images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org: accessed February 16, 2012), entry for Alexander Ashenhurst age ?; citing Census Records canada film number ?; Census, Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
↑ "Ontario Census, 1861." index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed February 16, 2012. Entry for Ashenhurst; Peel, Township of Chinguacousy, District #3. Microfilm C-1062; Canada Board of Registration and Statistics, Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.
↑ "Canada Census, 1871." Index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed February 16, 2012), entry for Ashenhurst; Peel, Township of Chinguacousy, District #39, Division 4, Sub District D, reference 181, page 51 Canadian film C_9958; National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
ALEX Jr. – “What about your grandmother, was she buried (in Norval Cemetery) too?”
ALEX Sr. – “I don’t know. I never saw her. But my grandfather was married twice. And the four children were from the first marriage, and the second marriage, I don’t know who she was, but she died with no children. But I never saw her.”
Source: Alexander E. Ashenhurst (1905-1987) in a conversation recorded in 1975 with his son Alec.
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