I was alerted to the existence of Richard Sargeson, a resident in Ontario, Canada in the nineteenth century some while ago. I developed a tree for those of his descendants I could find using existing online resources and then set aside the issue of where he had come from in England. His burial record in the MacMillan pioneer cemetery in the Lancaster township in the historic county of Glengarry in Ontario Canada provides the following intriguing information about him:
“Richard Sargeson born May the 24, 1789 departed his life April the 16 1890 aged 101 years 11 months & 8 days native of Cumberland England” (The source for this information is the Lonely Stones website mentioned in the bibliography.)
Some members of Richard’s family are buried in the cemetery, including his son Isaac (1840-1903) and both of Isaac’s wives: Catherine Ann McMillan (1841-1879) and Virginia Sayeau/Seguin (1854-1943). The cemetery itself is situated on Concession 7, lot 24 on the north side of Lancaster township. It seems to have been built on land originally settled by the McMillan family and contains burials for mainly members of the McMillan and McKay families. Concession 7 lot 24 was originally settled by Donald McMillan. Members of the McMillan clan were some of the original Scottish settlers in the county of Glengarry. A plan of the Lancaster township from 1862 show that Concession 7 lot 24 was at that time held by William McMillan (1799-1871).
There are two specific issues which I have been trying to resolve with regards to Richard and his descendants: where in Cumberland did Richard come from and was his son Isaac’s first wife, Catherine Ann McMillan, related to the other members of the McMillan family buried in the cemetery?
Richard and his Cumberland origins
In order to search for Richard in the Cumberland baptism records I needed some idea of his date of birth. According to the burial record found in the MacMillan pioneer cemetery he died on 16 April 1890 aged 101 years, 11 months and 8 days old. The record of his death in the Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas (1869-1948) collection on Ancestry also gives his date of death as 16 April 1890 and his age as 101 years and 11 months. It records that he was born in Cumberland, England, his occupation as a blacksmith and that he died of old age. The informant was probably his son Richard Surgeson (1855-1915). Based on these two records his suggested birth date is 1788/89. However, his age in earlier records do vary somewhat as follows:
1851 Census Lancaster, Glengarry County – Richard gave his age as 58 implying his birth was about 1793. He was a blacksmith and occupying Concession 6 lot 24 with his wife Fanny (Roman Catholic) and six children who, together with Richard, were all described as Church of England.
1861 Census Lochiel, Glengarry County – Richard gave his age at next birthday as 71 implying a birth date of around 1790. The family were living in a two-storey log house built in 1820. Richard was described as a blacksmith and farmer and two of his son’s occupations were also recorded: George was a blacksmith and Isaac a labourer. Richard and Fanny had eight children in their household and their daughter Elizabeth’s name was now recorded as Escet. The family all gave their religion as Church of England, except their mother Fanny, who was Roman Catholic. Neither Richard nor Fanny could read or write.
1871 Census Lochiel (Division No. 2), Glengarry County – in this record Richard age was 77, implying he was born about 1794. His wife Frances, daughter Jane and son Richard were living with him as well as his son Isaac, Isaac’s wife Catherine and their three children. Richard and his children’s religion were given as Church of England, Frances as Catholic and Isaac’s wife Catherine’s as Church of Scotland. Richard was a farmer and neither he nor his wife Frances were able to read or write.
1881 Census Lancaster (Division No. 2), Glengarry County – in this census Richard gave his age as 85, implying he was born about 1796. He was a farmer living with his wife Frances with his religion as Church of England and hers as Catholic. They also had two children living with them: Fanny Porter aged 10 and Richard Porter aged 8, both of whom had been born in the USA. Perhaps they were their grandchildren?
Just nine years after this census was taken Richard’s age at death in 1890 was recorded as 101 years 11 months implying his birth about 1788/9. However, as can be seen from the varied ages given in his census records, he did not age from census to census in 10-year increments. Based on his age in 1881, when he died in 1890, he could have been 94 years old suggesting a birth age of 1796. The censuses of 1871 and 1881 also recorded that he couldn’t read or write.
A search for a possible baptism in the online baptism records for Cumberland based on a possible birth date of 1796 did not initially find a possible baptism for him. Widening the search to look for records of baptisms for 1796 plus or minus 10 years identified a possible baptism: Richard Sargison baptised on 30 November 1806 to parents George Sargison (1776-1862), a blacksmith, and Ezat/Ezed Wright (1771-1843,) in Cumwhitton, Cumberland, England. Whilst at first glance this looks too late a date to be a record for Richard, there are a couple of things which make it worth considering. First of all, the family of George and Ezat in Cumberland had a son called Isaac (181-1893) who went onto become a blacksmith.
Secondly his potential mother’s first name is unusual: Ezat/Ezed. It does look like Richard and Fanny named one of their children after her: Escet/Elizabeth born about 1842 and then two of their children named a daughter in a similar fashion. Their son Isaac and his first wife Catherine named one of their daughters Essette (Elizabeth) Sargeson who was baptised a Catholic on 14 August 1870 in Lochiel, Glengarry County. Her birth date was recorded as 17 June 1869 and her parents were Isaac Sargeson and Catherine Ann McMillan. Her sister Margaret was baptised on the same day and her birth date given as 14 May 1867. In addition, Richard and Fanny’s daughter Jane named her first child Essette Annie Hope (1874-1956).
It does seem possible therefore that Richard’s origin could have been Cumwhitton in Cumberland, however more information about his origins would be helpful. The following chart outlines what I’ve been able to find out so far for him and his immediate descendants.
Catherine Ann McMillan (1841-1879)
Catherine was Isaac Sargeson’s first wife; she was buried in the MacMilllan pioneer cemetery where her age was given as 35 years old, implying a birth around 1844. In the 1871 census her religion is recorded as Church of Scotland, however at least two of her children were baptised as Catholic’s. Unfortunately, a record for Isaac and Catherine’s marriage has not yet been found. In addition, the FamilySearch tree suggests her birth date was 1841 and that her parents were Allan McMillan (1807-1844) and Mary Campbell (b 1812). So far, I’ve not been able to clarify Catherine’s link to the McMillan family buried in the cemetery.
While I have found some evidence, which suggests that Richard Sargeson can be linked into George and Ezat’s family in Cumwhitton, Cumberland, I would like to see what other information can be found. So far, I have been unable to find a copy of the Glengarry News for 1890 online to see if there was an obituary for Richard in it. Nor have I found any marriage records for him or his son Isaac. I would like to find out more about the family. If you have information that you would be willing to share with me do please contact me.
Glengarry County Archives. https://www.glengarrycountyarchives.ca/ : accessed November 2020. (Includes copies of Glengarry News and the Glengarrian.
Glengarry County. http://www.glengarrycounty.com/ : accessed November 2020.
Glengarry County, Ontario Genealogy. http://www.glengarrycounty.com/LS/lonelyst.html : accessed November 2020.
Glengarry History Society. https://glengarryhistory.ca/new/: accessed November 2020.
Lancaster Township. http://ontario.heritagepin.com/lancaster-township-in-glengarry/ : accessed November 2020.
Lonely Stones. http://www.glengarrycounty.com/LS/lonelyst.html : accessed November 2020.
Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas (1869-1948) and census records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed November 2020.