Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The Carolines of Granby 1

I've mentioned my paternal great grandmother, Rose Caroline (1839-1915) a couple of times here. Now it's time to flesh out her family. Rose's father, Hugh Edward Caroline (abt 1798-1879), arrived in Quebec with his younger brother Michael -- Mick -- (abt 1810-1898) from County Longford before Jun 1834, when Hugh married my great great grandmother, Mary Donovan (1807-1892), of County Cavan, in Montreal.

Hugh and Mary were in Granby by the time their first child was born the following April. They went on to have nine living children:
  • Edward (1835-1867) never married, died in a Vermont railway construction accident with his cousin, Thomas
  • Jane (1836-1930)
  • Louisa (1838-1890) never married
  • Rose (my great grandmother)
  • Mary Ann (1841-1923) 
  • Hugh (1843-1913) never married
  • Eliza A. (1844-1905) 
  • Margaret Grace (1846-?) 
  • James (1850-1928) 
1871 census, Granby Twp, Shefford, Canada
I've made several new discoveries about these ancestors/distant cousins as recently as this spring.

Jane, Eliza and Louisa each lived in Massachusetts and Connecticut as adults. Many Eastern Townshippers left for points in the United States in the late 19th century.

Margaret Grace apparently didn't get along with her father, and the story goes that she walked away from the farm and down the road, never to be seen or heard from again by any of her family. This would have been before 1871. Margaret Grace appears on the 1861 census, but on no subsequent censuses. What happened to her? She reinvented herself, I suspect. Did she change her name? Where did she go?

Jane's (called Jennie) first husband disappeared from Granby in grief or worse, leaving Jennie, the story goes, after 1868 when the youngest of their three young children died aged 7. The two elder children had died at less than two years of age. News must have eventually reached Jane that her husband, Edward Bray, had died, because she did re-marry in Massachusetts in 1881, but that husband died in 1885. She and George Cook had no children. At some point, she returned to Quebec, and was living in Montreal when she died in 1930.

Louisa was a housekeeper for a priest in Waterbury, Connecticut for many years. She died there, but was buried in Granby. Where was she between Granby and Waterbury? I haven't picked up her trail so far.

Mary Ann married John Charles O'Brien (1833-1906) in 1861. They farmed in Farnham/Dunham in the Eastern Townships and had 12 children, several of whom followed their brother Erastus Oakley O'Brien (1869-1930) to the United States, settling in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York.

Erastus reinvented himself after he moved to Lowell MA, calling himself Oakley E. Brien. Why did he do this? Did he want to sound less Irish? More American? Here is his 1930 obituary:


At some point between 1871 and 1876, Eliza left Granby for Boston. In 1876, Eliza married George W. Moore, who had been born in New Brunswick, but lived and worked in Massachusetts. He may have been a journalist at one point. They had no children. Eliza died in Hudson, MA in 1905.

Several of Hugh's and Mick's children acted as sponsors at the baptisms of  their younger siblings or cousins, church records reveal.

Families, not just the Carolines, were very closely entwined in Granby. Here is a clip of the 1861 census, listing Hugh and his family, followed by Mick and his family:

1861 Census, Shefford, Canada East
With one exception, I had no information about my Caroline ancestors and cousins until within the last ten years. The names of some of these ancestors/distant cousins and some of their stories came from a second cousin once removed, who is a granddaughter of James Caroline. The exception were my father's cousins, Rose, Margaret and Elizabeth Caroline who lived in Montreal with whom my father stayed in touch. I found all of Mick's family, which I'll discuss in my next post, on my own.


James Caroline, Hugh and Mary's youngest, took over the Granby farm. His brother Hugh was unmarried, and lived with James and his wife, Margaret, whom he married in 1877. James and Margaret didn't have their first child until 1887, apparently because his mother was living with them too. (!) They had eight children between 1887 and 1899. I'll write about this family in a later post.

I haven't yet been able to trace Hugh's and Mary's parents -- my Irish ancestors in Cavan and Longford, but I'm confident that one day I'll start to crack the code on the Carolines, Donovans, Sheridans and Connors there

The never ending story continues....

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