Out of Our Past

A Sanderson Family in Smith Township

Born in Northumberland, England, young Michael was a son of Michael senior and Mary Stoddart. He came to Upper Canada as a young boy of 10 years when his parents departed England in the year 1828. With a family of seven young children, they sailed forward into a new life on a 200 acre plot of land in Smith Township, in the Newcastle District.

Michael Sr., was born on Murton Farm in Cheviot Hills, Berwick-on-Tweed, Northumberland, England. He would die on his homestead farm in Smith Township, Upper Canada on 28 June 1849. Mary Stoddart, wife of Michael Sr., was born in 1785 and died on the family farm in Smith Township on 21 June 1867. They rest in Little Lake Cemetery, Peterborough, Ontario. Alongside them lies their little grandson, John Alexander Hope, who died in 1851, at the age of 1 year, 6 months and three days.

Sanderson Homestead built about 1851

Old Sanderson Homestead
Source: Google Maps 2018

The Sanderson homestead was at Lot 7 on the east side of Chemong Road. On this land the family built the original homestead, an old farmhouse in which the children finished their growing up years. About 1851, the present stone house was built on the family farm by William Telford, a stone mason who lived in the area. The stone was gathered on the farm, then cut and shaped by Telford for building walls that are twenty-four inches thick. The widows and doors frames were made of pine. The new house became the home of Mary’s fourth son, John Sanderson and his wife Martha Finlay.

In the 1850s, Mary (Stoddart) Sanderson lived with her son, Michael and his wife, Margaret Harvey. In the 1860s, Mary resided in Douro Township, in the household of her daughter Mary who was the wife of James Hope. Mary (Stoddart) Sanderson died on 21 July 1867. Her remains were laid to rest beside her husband, Michael, in Little Lake Cemetery, Peterborough.

Michael Sanderson the younger, finished his growing up years in the township through the 1830s and 1840s. He was the third son of Michael and Mary (Stoddart) Sanderson. With his two older brothers, young Michael assisted his father in clearing the family land. He worked to clear away the trees, plough the now open fields and plant crops to sustain the family. They worked together to expand the homestead into a growing and productive farm.

In 1850, when Michael was a man of thirty-five years, he wed Margaret Harvey. Margaret was born 5 August 1824, a daughter of John and Mary (Morrison) Harvey. The following year, Michael had a new home built for his wife new family.

Michael Sanderson Homestead built c 1851

Michael Sanderson Homestead
Source: Google Maps 2018

It was built by the same man, William Telford, who had constructed Michael’s parent’s house a couple of years earlier. Michael and Margaret resided here throughout their married lifetime. They had three children: Mary Isabella, born in 1851; Alexander born in 1860 and Elizabeth born in 1865.

The family photograph shown here must have been taken when Mary was a young adult. The photo likely dates to the mid to late 1870s, as that is when Alexander would have been approaching adulthood and Elizabeth the youngest, still wearing braids in the picture, would be about ten to twelve years old.

Michael and Margaret Sanderson farmed their homestead throughout their lifetime. He took an active part in municipal affairs, becoming a Justice of the Peace for twenty-seven years, participating on the Township Council and holding the position of Reeve for the township.

Margaret (Harvey) Sanderson died on 11 October 1891. Michael Sanderson died 18 September 1896. They rest in Little Lake Cemetery, Peterborough.

Family of Michael and Margaret Sanderson
Circa mid 1870s
Back: Alexander, Mary
Front: Michael, Elizabeth & Margaret

Lifetimes of the Children

In February 1878, Mary Isabella married William Sackville. He was born in 1844 in Canada West but resided in the State of Texas, USA at the time of his marriage to Mary. William worked as a stock raiser. Mary and William made their home in Texas.

Alexander, born in October 1860, in Smith Township, grew up to marry Elizabeth Glasgow Tindle. Elizabeth was born
13 January 1863 in Smith Township, a daughter of James Tindle and Mary McDougall. Alexander and Elizabeth married on 6 March 1889 in Smith Township. They had a family of five daughters and two sons. The daughters were: Mary Florence Ruby born in 1890; Mabel Isabel Jane born in 1893; Violet May, born in 1896; Sara born in 1897 and Leila born in 1901. The two boys were Clayton Alexander born in 1894 and Fred Harvey born in 1899.

Alexander Sanderson died 30 April 1927. Elizabeth Glasgow (Tindle) Sanderson died on 29 August 1933. They rest in Little Lake Cemetery in Peterborough, Ontario.

Elizabeth, youngest of the three children of Michael and Margaret Sanderson, was born 16 August 1864. She did not marry. Elizabeth died 17 March 1946 in Smith Township. She was buried two days later in the family plot at Little Lake Cemetery, Peterborough.

Out of Our Past