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McKay Family of Lanark County

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Transcription of newspaper clipping, most likely from the Lanark Era or Perth Courier, about 1950; by Amy Gilpin Notes in italics to correct errors in relationships and spelling of place name in Scotland.

The McKay Family of Lanark County

On Thursday, August 25th, Mr. John McKay of Almonte and Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Vennerstrom of Cleveland, Ohio visited Middleville with Mr. and Mrs. Alex McKay. Mrs. Vennerstrom, whose maiden name was Muriel McKay, and who was the granddaughter of Hugh McKay and his wife Jane Dunlop, visited the McKay homestead, E1/2, Lot 21, concession 7 of Lanark Township, while in the community. This homestead has been in the McKay family for 118 years, with the sixth generation resident there.

An interesting history is that of the McKay generations. Alexander McKay and his wife Margaret, their three sons; Sandy and his young wife Esther McDonald, Tom and Hugh, and their two daughters, Marion and Janet, set out from Donough, Scotland (should be Dornoch) in 1832, to seek their fortune in this new land across the sea. After fourteen weeks crossing the ocean, their arrival at Brockville and the long weary trip to the Lanark settlement, camping out in the open for want of other shelter, at last they reached Lanark Township and the Herron family hospitality offered the shelter of their brush shack on the E1/2, Lot 10, concession 3, as they were yet seven miles distant from their chosen homesite, and it was here that night in this brush shack, that Mrs. Jock Herron delivered the first-born child of Sandy and Esther McKay. Local interest centres around this young couple as it is their descendants who are the McKays resident in our midst.

Sandy’s sister, Marion, became Mrs. John Munro, who lived in Darling Township; Janet married a Mr. Casein, and left this district. Tom moved to Buffalo. Hugh married Jane Dunlop and lived for several years on the homestead, but later moved to the States.

But Sandy and Esther remained here, as did three sons of their family of ten children, namely; Kitty, the aforementioned child became Mrs. Hugh Munro;

William married Anne Pretty, to whom were born twelve children, two of whom died in infancy. Those growing to manhood and womanhood were Alexander of Middleville, who on Nov 21st, next, will celebrate his 89th birthday. Maggie, Mrs. Scoular of Almonte, who passed away on Sept. 5th, 1942, Daniel and George of Arnprior. (A short time ago Mr. and Mrs. Daniel McKay celebrated their golden wedding anniversary), Lizzie, Mrs. John Robertson of Ottawa who died Sept. 16, 1934, William A of Bridgefort, Sask., who died July 11, 1938, Myra, Mrs. Duncan Hamilton of Carleton Place, Annie Alice, Mrs. William Dunlop of Union Hall, (Mr. and Mrs. Dunlop are at this time visiting their son in B. C.), Esther Sarah, Mrs. Peter McDougall of Ramsay Township, and Nelson of Almonte;

Mary who married Thomas Pretty;

Lexie (it is interesting to note that it was a tradition in his family to have an Alexander in their family, and this little baby girl was given the Gaelic name for Alexander ‘Lexie’, because their might be no other male child to bear the name), who became Mrs. Taylor, and resided in McNab Township, Renfrew County;

Esther, who married Robert Goodwin, and moved to western United States;

Thomas, who married Annie Rintoul, taking up residence on W1/2 Lot 24, concession 7, and it was here that nine of their ten children grew up, and they are: John of Almonte, Alexander of Sinclair, Man., Maggie, Mrs. John R. Reid, of Almonte, Esther McDonald (who resembles her grandmother for whom she was named), Mrs. William Mealy of Minto, Man., Thomas of Reston, Man., Mary Ann, Mrs. John Robertson of Ewart, Man., who died in June 1940, Charles and Welland of Ramsay Township and Hattie, Mrs. James M Rodger of Almonte;

James, who married Jessie McCormack, took up residence on Lot 25, concession 6, later moving to the McKay homestead, when his uncle Hugh left for the States. Their family of six sons and three daughters were: Alex J of Lanark Township, who died October 31, 1918, Annie, Mrs. Conway of Sault Ste Marie, also deceased, William of Havelock, deceased, James of Saskatoon, Thomas of Lanark Village, Robert H of Regina, deceased, Esther, Mrs. John Mitchell of Middleville, Jennie, Mrs. Robert Harper of Cardinal and Milton, who until recently resided on the homestead. Milton’s son Allan and his family are still living there making the sixth generation of McKays resident there.

The other three members of this family were: Robert, who married a Miss Price and moved to B. C.; Betsy, who married Peter Barr and took up residence in Peterborough County and Hugh, who married Rachel Rintoul, resided in Leeds County. An interesting feature about Sandy McKay, was his desire to have his family near to him and the provisions he made for his sons settling down in the community, when he acquired crown lands lots as follows: E1/2 Lot 26, Con 6 for William, W1/2 Lot 24, Con 7 for Thomas, Lot 5, Con 6 for James, W1/2 Lot 22, Con 6 for Robert, and the E1/2 Lot 24, Con 7 (text unclear), of which only E1/2 Lot 26, Con 6, remains in the McKay possession, namely Nelson McKay of Almonte. While six generations resided on the McKay homestead, one branch has extended to the seventh generation, Alex J (son of James), married Mary Rintoul and their eldest son James Rintoul married Margaret Burns, and their second son, Walter, married Evelyn Pretty, whose only child is Robert Alexander McKay, the seventh generation, whose present home is Lot 18, Con 4 of Lanark Township.

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My name is Elaine Glover and my great great Uncle was John Robert Tuggey from Portsmouth UK.

His family were of Naval background and he was one of 14 children to George and Mary Tuggey. They both died of TB and the five youngest were put in Navy and demand Orohanage Portsmouth including my great Grandmother Amelia Rose who lived with her husband John Taylor in Billesdon Leicestershire he was in the army in India.. John Robert Tuggey was the youngest and was sent to Canada in 1891 as one of the 100.000 British homechildren . He was sent to Middleville Lanark to stay with Alex and Betsy McKay to their farm house . I saw in his records that he worked in with the lumber and went to s hook although he was never paid by Alex McKay and as a young man moved to Robert Monroe in Halls mills but he didn't pay John either. They were difficult times for John sent to Canada aged eight years old. In 1898 John gave his heart to Jesus in the church which was great news as I'm a born again Christian

His own family thought John was a drunken bum but infact far from it he went to Frames in Ww1 and worked with the Government. He stayed friends with Alex McKay he was married and had two sons . John Robert Tuggey was apart of Alex McKays family and I went to visit the farm 1996 and 1998 in the ice storm ... So I thought I'd share this with you. I met Allie Mcay Charlie McKay the Monroe family and other McKay's who have since passed away but never forget John Tuggey God bless Elaine Who were the other homechildren sent to MiddlevilleJow did Alex squire John ?

posted by Elaine Glover
Thank you for sharing your connection, Elaine. I am vaguely familiar with this story, although I'm not sure who you mean by Betsy. I am not aware of any other Home Children sent to Middleville at the present time, although I'm sure there were others. I would have to say that your John was likely sent to the McKay family at a young age to work on the farm. This would not have been paid work, but an indentured service to pay for their upbringing.

I hope that helps somewhat. If there's anything else that I can assist with, I do have several records on British Home Children, as my own great grandmother was sent here from England as a young girl.

posted by Amy (Crawford) Gilpin