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Monday 21 April 2014

Old Tom: Part 2

I've learned some things about Thomas since that time, though not from my grandfather.  My sources are the census and business information for his lifetime in the country of Newfoundland and the province of Nova Scotia.

Old Tom immigrated to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia in 1881 and married Mary Walsh Stewart sometime in the 1880s. They had their oldest child, Mary who they called Min in 1886. Within six months they had twin girls who must have been premature. I suspect they died soon after birth. They were named Anne Joseph Stewart and Sarah Margaret Stewart.

                          Mary (Min) Stewart

Three years later they had a boy, Alexander, who I suspect died early as well. Then there were two girls, Ida and Bella.

                         Ida Stewart
Through extensive searches I discovered that Tom was from Pictou, Nova Scotia. His father's name was Alexander and his mother, Helen or Ellen, depending on which census you examine. In one, after Alexander's death, her place of birth is listed as Prince Edward Island. It looks like Alexander was born in Scotland in 1799. 

                         Bella Stewart

Alexander Stewart is/was a common name in Nova Scotia so finding the correct one on ship's passenger lists has proved impossible. He was twenty plus years older than Helen, so had he been married earlier to someone else, or did he just marry late for that time? Did he travel to Nova Scotia with other family members and how old was he? Impossible to know! 

Thomas, born 1861, had two siblings, Elizabeth, the oldest and Robert, the middle child. They may have been educated at Pictou Academy. Elizabeth was a teacher, Robert, a dyer, and Thomas, an engineer. Both of Thomas's siblings appear to have stayed in Nova Scotia. 

Elizabeth, born 1851 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, married William MacKay in 1895. They didn't have any children.

Robert, born in 1856 in Pictou, Nova Scotia, married Rebecca Gray. They had four children, Alexander, Elizabeth, Thomas and Elkanry.

In the marriage records for Elizabeth and Robert, Alexander was listed as a dyer. In the early records the family's religion was stated as Church of Scotland. Among their beliefs Church members thought that the way to God was through education.

In Newfoundland, Thomas worked as an engineer at the Newfoundland Tannery. He lived with his family in the west end of St John's, on Job or Water Street across from the Newfoundland Railway Station, most of his married life.

We have relatives among the many Stewarts in Nova Scotia and Scotland obviously but we may never connect with them. It would be interesting to know from which of the ancestral Stewart lines in Scotland our relatives originated.

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