John and Agnes Brackenridge of Asphodel Township

John Brackenridge was born 1829 in Mauchline, Scotland. His place of birth, Mauchline, is an old town in Ayrshire, Scotland. It is located on a height of land that slopes gently down to the River Ayr.

In ancient times, the Cistercian monks of Melrose were granted land here and built an abbey. The ruins remain standing to the present time. These ruins are known as Hunters Tower or in more recent times, as Mauchline Castle.

Mauchline Castle, Scotland, 1790      
Source: Public Domain

Departure from Scotland

John was the eldest of nine children born to John Brackenridge Sr., and Margaret Todd. In the course of time, John, his brothers Matthew and William and sister, Agnes, all emigrated from Scotland.  John came to Canada West in 1846, Agnes came in 1850, Matthew came in 1855 and William in 1867.

John C. Brackenridge who arrived in 1846, spent his first year or so in the town of Trenton. During that time he worked as a clerk for a lumbering company. Through his employment, John had an opportunity to accompany rafts of logs being transported down the St. Lawrence River to Quebec, in Lower Canada.

By February 1852, he resided in the village of Keene in Otonabee Township, Peterborough County, Canada West. There he lived with the family of R. C. Humphries, a grocer. 

Love Blossoms

The family of John and Marion (Weir) Stevenson arrived to Keene from Scotland in the year 1853. John and Marion moved on from the little village, to settle on the east half of Lot 13 in Concession 2 of Asphodel Township.

However, Agnes Stevenson, then a young woman in her early twenties, remained in the village working as a seamstress. Within a year, she had wed John C. Brackenridge.

John bought Lot 12 Concession 3 of Asphodel township and here they settled down to beginning raising a family. In all they were to have fifteen offspring.

The family of John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge
Also sitting with the family is Mrs. Marion Stevenson, Agnes’ mother

Source: Asphodel – A Tale of A Township

Family Life in Asphodel Township

Their children were: John, born 1855; Matthew, born 1857; Marion, born 1858; Margaret, born 1859; Thomas, born 1860; David, born 1861; William, born 1863; Agnes, born 1864; Mary, born 1866; Janet, born 1867; Jane, born 1868; James, born 1870; Norman, born 1872; Annie, born 1874 and Hugh born 1876.

In 1857, John, who was now known as Squire John Brackenridge, was appointed a Justice of the Peace. In 1864, he purchased a home in the community of Welbeck. It was a small neighbourhood a little east of the hamlet of Westwood. In this house, located on the south side of Ouse River, Agnes, Mary and Janet were born. In a terrible fire, their home burned down in 1867. The family moved to another nearby home on the other side of the river. In this house were born: Jane, James, Norman, Annie and Hugh.

During the years that the family lived at Welbeck, John was involved in farming and lumbering. He also operated both saw and shingle mills.

As a well organized family, the children were all assigned chores to help get the daily work done. The family had a small cheese factory in which they processed milk produced by the thirty cows kept on the farm. There were also horses to be looked after. These animals were used in the farming and lumbering work carried on by the family.

Squire John Brackenridge died in 1917 at his home in Asphodel Township. His wife, Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, died at the family home on 15 December 1911. They rest in the Westwood Cemetery in Asphodel Township.

Young New Families

In 1879, John Brackenridge Jr., went with his Grandmother Marion Stevenson to Iowa in the United States. She had family who had settled there. John Jr., was destined to remain in Iowa where he married, worked and prospered.

The Westwood Mill 2004
© S. Best

In 1885, Squire John purchased the original Fowlds Mills in Westwood, from George Read. John’s son, Matthew, who had been serving out west in the military engagement of the Northwest Rebellion, returned home to take charge of the newly acquired property at Westwood. Matthew built a house on the property and soon married Harriet Emmerson of Otonabee.

Marion Todd, daughter of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, did not marry. She was born in 1858 in the township and died at Westwood on 22 January 1939.

Margaret Grace, daughter of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, married William J. E. Gillott. He was a cabinet maker, born in Millbrook, Cavan Township, Canada West, in 1864. They were wed at Westwood on 7 March 1893.

Thomas Short, son of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, married Margaret Jane Kindred in Otonabee Township on 15 December 1897. Margaret was born in Otonabee on 3 July 1864, a daughter of Charles and Lydia (Buttery) Kindred. Squire John gave his son Thomas the north half of the property at Welbeck where they farmed and raised two daughters.

David, son of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, married Jane Leaitch, daughter of Charles and Mary (Wood) Leaitch of Asphodel Township. David and Jane were married on 5 February 1905 in the township.

William Christie, son of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, did not marry. Born 6 January 1863 in Asphodel Township, William was a very good horseman and was in charge of the horses at Welbeck. He died at Nicholls Hospital in Peterborough, on 3 February 1945. William’s remains were interred in the Westwood Cemetery.

Agnes Marr, daughter of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, was born 12 July 1864 in Asphodel Township and died there on 23 October 1940. She rests in the Westwood Cemetery. Agnes did not marry.

Mary, daughter of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, married John G. Robb on 26 May 1887 at Westwood. They had a family of two sons and three daughters. Mary died on 29 October 1918 in Asphodel Township.

Janet, daughter of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, was born 12 October 1867. She lived at home until her death at the age of 23 years on 18 September 1890. She rests in the family plot at Westwood Cemetery.

Jane Ewing, daughter of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, was born in Asphodel Township in 1868. On 11 December 1889, she married James Thompson. James was also born in the township, in 1860, a son of William and Elizabeth (Mann) Thompson.

James, son of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, was born in Asphodel Township in October 1870. As a young man he went out west to live. James died in 1950 and is buried in the family plot at Westwood Cemetery, Asphodel Township, Ontario.

Brackenridge Family Headstone
Westwood Cemetery
Source: Online Public Member Trees

Norman McLeod, son of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, was born 6 January 1872 in the township. On 28 December 1897, he married Euphemia Leaitch, daughter of Charles and Mary (Wood) Leaitch. Norman died in Cavan Township, Durham County, Ontario on  7 March 1949 and is buried in the Westwood Cemetery.

Annie Walker, daughter of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, was born in 1874 in Asphodel Township. On Christmas Day, December 1895, she married John William Kindred. John was born in January 1866 in Otonabee Township, a son of Charles and Lydia (Buttery) Kindred. Annie died 22 June 1909 and was interred in Little Lake Cemetery, Peterborough. John Kindred died on 20 March 1940 and is also buried at Little Lake Cemetery.

Hugh Ford, son of Squire John and Agnes (Stevenson) Brackenridge, was born 28 August 1876 at Westwood, Ontario. He became a school teacher. On 30 August 1904, at Penetanguishene, Simcoe County, Ontario, Hugh married Charlotte Elizabeth, daughter of Frank and Rebecca (Baldwin) Champion. Hugh died 25 April 1961 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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