Jim & Patti Keller's Homepage
Beware, There Be Traps in Genealogy!
The following pages on family trees has been constructed as accurately as possible. Please keep in mind quite often only census records were available to use which often do not indicate cousins and grand-children visiting the family and this can cause errors and bad family connections. The death rate was high and informal adoptions were common. People also changed their name or were transcribed wrong. I truly believe some enumerators were either deaf or just could not spell or both. Others liked to throw their own nationality on the names like the one who insisted every "James" should be written as "Jamus". The position of enumerator was almost always a political appointment so writing and spelling skills were not a factor in the hiring process.
The age given to the census taker was very flexible. The census taker was usually a neighbour as well. Most women liked to shave a few years off their age when they were in their 30's and add a few years on when they were young. Old men like to shave off a few years if they remarried to a younger wife and add a few years when they were old, (to out live the neighbour?). Gravestone inscriptions were done by the surviving family which in some cases guessed at the age or in the case of my grandmother, the maiden name is wrong on the gravestone. Keep in mind that gravestones were often bought years after the actual death when the family had put aside some money.
In the New York records before 1800, the ministers were really quite nice (for genealogists) and most often listed the mother's maiden name at baptisms but on the down side usually never gave the parent's names with the marriage lists which makes matching children and parents an interesting task. Some of these matches are done by comparing witnesses and sponsors so please keep that in mind. The spelling of names before 1800 is rather quite wild so I have tried to keep to one spelling even though the record has another. Ministers spelled phonetically and there are cases of the son and father's last name spelled differently within the same record. Some ministers also liked to translate so "Keller" became "Kelder" in Dutch and "Cellar" in English or "Calder" as a weird mix inbetween, and "Backus" became "Outhouse" in English.
I have tried my best, and keep in mind, it is a best effort. I am still tracking down leads and searching. If you see an obvious error or omission, please let me know along with any reference that you have. I have noted possible errors which I am presently tracking down. Also keep in mind, Jim is not an historian, he is an Engineer by trade. Let me know if I have my facts wrong, especially with the historical aspect.
Palatine Refugee & United Empire Loyalist Descendants
This Keller Family Tree which is shown in the next few pages include known descendants of Christian and Ann Margaretha Keller who arrived on the shores of the Hudson River, New York sometime before July 1, 1710. His name first appears on Governor Hunter's Ration List on this date. By 1711, his name has been replaced on the ration list by his widow indicating America was not kind to him at all.
The family was part of a large wave of refugees from the Princedom of Palatinate, (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany), which had been the scene of the most horrible fighting during many years of religious wars. The area was part of the collection of German Duchies and is located in the prime lands of the Rhine Valley in the long disputed areas of the German/French border. The area known as Palatinate had its capital as Heidelberg for many years. The 100 Years War saw this area almost wiped out in population. During the mid 17th century it was largely repopulated by Swiss Mennonites who were being ejected from Switzerland for their religious beliefs.
The Palatinate allied itself with Britain, Sweden, Austria, Spain, & Holy Roman Empire in a war against France in the late 17th century, (War of the League of Augsburg). Following that war, many Mennonites & Lutherans became refugees and were subject to religious persecution and starvation due to the war and an unusually cold summer causing crop failure. The Palatine refugees fled down the Rhine and thousands ended up in England, although some fled into Switzerland and other areas. There are quite a few good sites on the internet which explain The Great Palatine Migration which was the first mass migration of Germans to North America. Some of these sites include The Palatinate (Early Coonrod Migration) and The Poor Palatines by Gene Garman. Actually, the "Great Palatine Migration" is a bit misleading because statistics show many of the refugees (some estimates at 40%) came from outside the Palatine area.
The British really did not want this massive flood of refugees in England so they moved most of them either to New York State or to Ireland to boost the Protestant population there, (that is why some Keller's think they are Irish). Still others remained in England or were sent to the British Caribbean.
The eldest son of Christian Keller, Conrad Keller, was a volunteer in the Nicholson Expedition into Canada from Hunterstown in 1711. The Nicholson Expedition of 1711 was a failed British land expedition against Quebec during Queen Anne's War. The plan was a two action attack on Quebec, an over land attack led by Francis Nicholson comprising of several hundred settlers and several hundred Iroquois warriors and a naval attack led by Admiral Sir Hovenden Walker using several ships heading up the St Lawrence River to Quebec from Boston. Seven of Walker's ships floundered in the fog on the North Shore near Īle-aux-Oeufs, drowning 750 troops. Walker abruptly abandoned the attack on Quebec. The Nicholson Expedition had reached Lake George when news came of the failed Walker Expedition and the land attack was also cancelled.
Hollywood films such as "Drums Along the Mohawk", "Northwest Passage", and "Last of the Mohicans" portray this time in American history, (although somewhat colorful and they show the musket far more accurate than ever was the case at that time).
From the camp on the shores of the Hudson River, the family moved up the Mohawk Valley and by the third generation some had migrated to the Hoosick Falls area in New York State which is across the border from Bennington, Vermont. Church records show them baptizing children at the Germantown Reformed Church, Linlithgo Dutch Reformed Church, Rhinebeck Reform Church, Albany Dutch Reform Church and St Paul's Lutheran Church at Schoharie. While I do like to complain that they seemed to change churches about the same rate as my kid does socks, reading a few of the old books on the French-Indian Wars made me realize they often had to flee from the approaching enemy raiding parties and take refuge in town until things cooled down. They also lived far from any formal churches and relied on Circuit Riders for baptisms. This partially explains why their children were registered at so many various places.
The Hoosek area in Rensselaer Co was a natural route for invasions from the French and Indian forces to the north and the valley suffered badly during the French-Indian Wars of the late 1750's. The only saving grace for many settlers was a "live" person was worth about 10 times the bounty as "just the scalp" so many who were captured were forced marched to Montreal or Fort Frontenac (Kingston) where they were sold to the French. Others became slaves of the Indian tribe who captured them. The weak or sick, who were unable to travel, were tortured and killed. Such was life on the frontier. There were "bounties" on both sides of the conflict and it was encouraged by both Government and Church. The poor settlers were caught in the middle of these politics. Many of the captured either remained as slaves in Montreal, managed to buy their way back home or remained as slaves to, or adopted by, the Indians. Many Indian names bear the names of the New Englanders captured, (Gill, Williams, Rice, Tarbell, Hill, Stacey, Jacobs, McGregor, etc.) Gerald A Rogers has written an article on this subject.
Bernard C Young has written a book* on the early Hoosick Valley Settlers which chronicles the 19 families who first settled in the area. The book is titled "Loyalism in the Hoosick Valley" and is a well researched account of the early families in this area before the Revolutionary War.
*Note: Bernard's original book is now out-of-print. He has given us permission to reprint his book in Canada for those that missed out on the original printing. Please follow the link to order this book in Canada: Loyalism in the Hoosick Valley
A map, taken from page 4 of the book, show the area that the Keller family settled. While not named on the original map, the Christian Keller family almost was certainly House #124. Relatives of the family are living close by. Peter and Hans Bachus are brothers to Christian Keller's wife, Elizabeth. Bastian Diel's mother was Anna Margretha Keller, aunt of Christian Keller. Three of his sisters married into the Devoe family. The Hans Landman (Lampman) family were Loyalists and quite well known for their bravery in the War of 1812 on the Niagara frontier. The Lampman family are also mildly related through marriage to Canadian heroine, Laura Secord.
The map shown is the northwest section of the original John R Bleecker's Map of of the Manor Renselaerwick 1767 which lists the names and locations of the 276 tenants living there at the time.
French and Indian War
On Sunday, August 25th, 1754, the small settlement was attacked, burnt, and destroyed by French and Indian Raiders at the beginning of the French and Indian War. When word reached Albany of the unfolding disaster, Reverend John Ogilvie wrote, "This day we received an Account that a Party of Indians was gone out against our Settlement at Hosuck, & such was the Stupidity of the Inhabitants or at least those in Authority, that they did not send out a Party of Men to their Relief."
Catherine Young, wife of Johannes Hendrick Young, later gave a deposition on September 6th, 1754 to a Mayor's Court at Albany:
"Appeared Before us, Catherina Young the wife of Hendrick Young of full age and Duly Sworn on the Holy Evengelist of the Almighty God Deposeth and on her oath Doth say that she was at Hoosick when part of that place was Burnt and Destroyed by fire and that she went on a hill and saw from there Two Parties of People which she took to be Indians as it was about one Mile Distance from where she was, so that she could not well Desern wiether it were french or indians, and heard the fireing of Nine Guns there at that time and further Deponant Saith not."
Johannes Hendrick Young would later join the Loyalist side of the Revolutionary War and would be forced to flee the Hoosick area and move to Fredericksburgh along with the Keller Family and several other families from the Hoosick Valley. Catherine was the daughter of Johannes Peter Lampman and Johanna Elizabeth Planck.
An earlier Indian raid on June 15th, 1754, left one of Johann Jurg Primmer's sons killed and scalped and two others taken prisoner as they worked in their fields.
At this point, almost certainly the settlers retreated to the relative safety of Albany until the war was over, returning about 1760.
Many of the Hoosick settlers joined the Colony RensselaerWyck's Local Militia whereof Abraham Van Aernam is was the Company Captain. A muster list for Captain Abraham Van Aernam's Company List dated May 1767, (men in the unit date back to the French and Indian War).
Most did return after the war to try to rebuild the Hoosick Valley only to become embroiled in a land dispute in which New York and New Hampshire were both claiming jurisdiction over their land. Unfortunately, the Governor of New Hampshire, Benning Wentworth, had felt obliged to give out land grants to his deserving friends, including grants in the area where the settlers lived. New York sent out the Sheriff to protect the rights of Peter Vosburgh and Bastian Deal who were being evicted by elements of the New Hampshire faction. The land dispute continued for years. Only the onset of the Revolutionary War managed to interrupt it.
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, many of the Keller men along with most of the settlers in the Hoosick Valley, joined the Tory or British Loyalist side of the war and after a very cruel and bitter fight up and down the Mohawk Valley in Upper State New York, they ended up as refugees along with their families in Fredericksburgh Township, Ontario.
The Battle of Bennington was a major defeat for the Loyalists. Many from the Hoosick Valley had joined Colonel Francis Pfister's Corps of Loyal Volunteers. Colonel Pfister was killed at the Battle of Bennington which actually occurred in the Hoosick Valley on the New York side of the border. Samuel McKay took over from Pfister and produced a muster list of those who had survived the battle, those had been taken prisoner, and those who had been killed.
An online history book written from eye witness accounts of events of that time taken from retired Revolutionary Veterans illustrates just how bitter memories were and for those of us who took the British version of history, just how different historical accounts can be! This online book and another can be found at History of Schoharie County by William E. Roscoe.
Christian Keller, along with sons Frederick and William, joined Robert Roger's King's Rangers.
Christian Keller, the son of Conrad Keller who was married to Elizabeth Backus, along with his sons, Frederick and John and at least two daughters, Jannetje (Vankoughnet) & Magdalena (Thompson), and their families settled in Fredericksburgh Township about 1784. At least one sister of Christian Keller, Mary (Dafoe), also settled in Fredericksburgh with her husband (Johannes Ernst Dafoe) and family. Christian died a few years later in 1790 and Elizabeth remarried to Everheart Wager but both passed away in 1796. John who was married to Lydia Larraway, daughter of Isaac, had 14 children and Frederick who is reported to have had 4 wives over the years, died at 92 with about 22 children, (both he and the records seems to have lost count somewhere along the line). Jane Keller, one of his daughters, has her Loyalist Land Claim which contains an avadavat listing the children born to each of the four wives, The wives' names are as follows:
Guise, Hannah, Elizabeth Peters, and Hannah Sixbury
Assessment records for Fredericksburgh Township in 1808 were found with some papers owned by the Dafoe family and have been placed in the archives and also published by The Ontario Register Volume III. A copy which has been put into a table and listed alphabetically can be found within this document. It lists 235 early settlers of Fredericksburgh including Frederick and William Keller.
Following Keller generations moved further north from Lake Ontario but for the most part were simple farmers and woodsmen, at least until the beginning of this century.
Keller or Kellar or Kellor?
The spelling of Keller/Kellar/Kellor has given me no end of headaches. For my family tree simplicity and database organization, I have spelled the name with "er" and I apologize to the majority of family who prefer the "ar" or "or" ending. Even my own grandfather seemed to alternate the spelling depending on his mood of the day, so it became a nightmare to keep track of the preferred spelling and the clerk-of-the-day's spelling. The original Keller's could neither read nor write and the spelling of the name was left up to the individual minister or clerk who often phonetically spelled by their pronunciation. Thus, the name has been seen as Keller, Kellar, Kellor, Cellar, Kelder, Calder, and a few other more rare variations. They usually are the same family if from the Kingston to Belleville and north area.
Other Keller Families in the Area
There was a second wave of immigration to Canada about 1790-1800 from New York. In this second wave came both the Henry Wood family and the family of John Zachariah Keller who, for the most part, were better educated and do not seem to have connections to the Loyalist Wood or Keller families. This Keller family ran a tannery at Morven, Ontario. Zachariah is found on the in Captain Abraham Van Aernam's Company list in 1767 under the name "Veller". The name becomes Keller when they moved to Morven about 1791. (The "Veller" may simply be a transcription error.)
Another Keller family who originated from a German mercenary soldier during the Revolutionary War, Philip Keller, raised a family in the Prince Edward County area with much of the descendents moving further west toward Toronto, with one moving to Mountain Grove just to throw me a curve!
There is also a Keller family in the Denbigh, Ontario area which came in with a wave of German immigration toward the end of the last century. I have some information on these families as well, mostly collecting them to help sort them out from my own bunch. If you belong to one of these other clans, I still would like to hear from you.
Keller - What does the Name Mean?
"Keller" in German means cellar/basement. I would like to think this means they were connoisseurs of fine wine which were stored in the basement and hence the name, but somehow I think it came from something else.
"Kelder" is basement in Dutch. Translations explain the Kelder and Cellar spelling of the name. Some ministers liked to take the name for what it means or what they think it means. "Fuchs" became "Fox" for obvious reasons. I am a little puzzled by the name "Backus" which became "Outhouse" when a minister translated it and why he felt the need to do that, (the proper translation is "Baker").
Samuel Keller, who was baptized on January 01, 1790 in Fredericksburgh, was a son of Frederick Keller UE and his 2nd wife, Hannah. He married Rosanna Warner, daughter of Levi and Rosanna Warner, on March 03, 1807 in Fredericksburgh. He joined the Lennox Militia in the defense of Canada in the War of 1812. During this time he contracted TB (tuberculosis) or better known as "consumption" at the time. The Lennox Militia served in the local area and would have been stationed at Fort Henry and possibly helping man several batteries set up on the surrounding islands of Wolfe and Amherst as well as Long Point, protecting the Bay of Quinte and approaches to Kingston and Fort Henry. While he did survive the war, he succumbed from the consumption a few years later in 1819.
It is thought about one half of the casualties in the War of 1812 occurred from malnutrition, disease, and frostbite. The Americans suffered the worst as they were often from the warmer southern States and were not prepared or clothed for the Canadian winters.
Samuel's wife, Rosanna, remarried to John Falloon and lived for a time in northern Richmond Township before moving to western Ontario. Samuel's eldest son, Peter Samuel Keller, inherited Samuel's War of 1812 Land Claim for his service in the War of 1812. Samuel Keller had also applied for on April 24th, 1811 for land as the Son of a Loyalist Land Claim, (son of Frederick Keller U.E).
The Land Claim for the son of a Revolutionary War Veteran proves that Samuel Keller is indeed the son of Frederick Keller U.E.
The Land Claim for the War of 1812 proves that Peter Samuel Keller is indeed the eldest son of Samuel Keller.
The latter Land Claim was assigned in the Croydon area which is about 20 miles northeast of Fredericksburgh Township. Family lore says they traveled through Newburgh in 1830's, (known as "The Hollow" and sarcastically as "Rogues Hollow" at the time), fording the river below the island on the rock flats, as there was no bridge built at this time, and made their way north past what is now known as the Yeoman's Cemetery.
If you are completely lost and you really would like to know where Croydon is, I have a map of the area which is a bird's eye view looking from high above Lake Ontario north over Prince Edward County up to # 7 Highway. The major villages and some not so major are shown.
Much of the above family is buried either in the Centreville United Church Cemetery or Camden V Cemetery.
Peter Samuel Keller was born April 21, 1809 in Fredericksburgh Township, Lennox & Addington County, Ontario, and died May 26, 1896 in Croydon, Camden Township, Lennox & Addington County, (L&A Co), Ontario. He married Clarinda Schryver on February 02, 1831 at the Ebenezer Lutheran Church, Fredericksburgh Township. Clarinda Schryver was the daughter of George Schryver and Maria Vankoughnett. Paul C Lozo keeps a WEB page on the Schryver Family.
The Keller/Rombough Family Bible contain records of the Peter Samuel Keller and Clarinda Schryver's family, as well as that of Jacob Smith Rombough and Mary Alice Keller's family. For those of you who would like to see scans of the original Bible, I have scanned the three pages of the Keller/Rombough Bible. The last known owner of the Keller Bible was the late Ada Doupe. I no longer know where its location is; (but I sure would be interested in a better scan or purchase it).
Below is a list of the 15 children who were listed in the Family Bible. Family lore quotes Peter Samuel Keller as saying that 24 children were actually born, 14 boys and 10 girls but only 15 lived long enough to be named. L&A Co is short for Lennox & Addington County.
Keller and Clarinda Schryver are:
The following are short notes on each of the children. If you have info which can be added to this family, please send me a note.
George S Keller
George Keller farmed in the Croydon area. His son, George Hadly Keller farmed in the Enterprise area. Other sons worked as carpenters in Newburgh and the Centreville area. One son, James Albert Keller, first moved to Saskatchewan and then on to Vancouver, British Columbia.
William S Keller
William S Keller married Alice in 1857 and worked in the logging industry. He had two girls before being killed by a falling tree at Denbigh on December 28, 1861.
James Hannah Keller
James Hannah Keller married Eliza Stephens on June 18, 1862 at Denbigh, Ontario. From this point he disappears.
Mary Alice Keller
Mary Alice Keller married Jacob Smith Rombough and lived in the Centerville area. One of her sons, Peter Keller Rombough dug wells for a living in southern Manitoba for many years before returning home to the farm. He has been noted as saying that the wells there are so deep that one can see the stars from the bottom of the well in broad daylight. Another son, Seymour Benjamin Rombough, inherited the family bible which was passed on down to his daughter, Ada Margaret Rombough. Mary Alice is buried at the Milligan Pioneer Cemetery in Centreville.
John Ferguson Keller farmed in the Croydon area and is buried at the Centreville United Cemetery. He married Eliza Maria Bush and had several children before she passed away in 1890. He later married Margaret Ann McCartney on December 06, 1893. His eldest son, Henry Bush Keller, farmed in the Croydon and Forest Mills area for a while. His sons can be seen in the 1898 Croydon school picture. His son, Robert, contracted TB and because of that, the family moved to the Camrose, Alberta area in 1910 in hopes the dry air would help him. He passed away from TB in 1917.
Nancy M Keller
Nancy Keller married James Davy on March 15, 1855 and lived in Newburgh, Ontario until her death in 1900. James Davy fell from a barn rafter as a child and had badly damaged his foot making him somewhat crippled. He worked as a shoemaker for many years in Newburgh. His son, Joe Davy, worked as a carpenter in the village. All are buried in Newburgh.
Charles Fox Keller farmed in the Centreville area for several years. He is listed as "Fox Miller" in the "Heads and Strays 1871 Census Index". In 1881 he moved his family to the Deloraine area of southern Manitoba. He actually shows up on both the 1881 Manitoba and Camden Township census. His brother, George is listed as the head of Fox Keller's family in the Camden census. Fox Keller married Hester Ann Rogers in 1861. Charles Fox Keller, like many other local families, took full advantage of the government's land deals in Manitoba after the Louis Riel Rebellion. The Canadian government wanted to boost loyalist families in the area to prevent further trouble and the railway which had just pushed westward was now making the journey a relatively comfortable one. The Fox Keller family along with Rombough's and many other local families moved to the Deloraine area of southwest Manitoba. Enclosed is a list of Keller's who took advantage of the Dominion Land Grants. Fox and Hester are buried on the farm in Deloraine.
Reuben R Keller
Reuben Keller was born on January 01, 1841 and died at an early age on March 25, 1861 near Croydon.
Robert McD Keller
Robert died tragically, in a freak accident in the swamp south of Croydon. To pay taxes, farmers had to provide labour for things like road construction. The family story goes that Robert was helping build corduroy road through a swamp when he was accidentally run over by an ox cart. He was taken home where he laid under an apple tree in the front yard. His father accused him of being a lazy boy and he was scolded strongly for not hooking up the horses so Peter S could visit the farmer next door. (There was no external sign of injury to the boy.) When his father, Peter S Keller, returned later that day, the boy had died from internal bleeding, still lying under the apple tree. Robert was born on August 14, 1843 and died on his 14th birthday on August 14, 1857.
Benjamin Seymour Keller was born on January 24, 1844 and married Caroline Lockridge on December 30, 1875. Seymour Keller farmed south of Croydon for many years and later moved to Ernestown. He had at least one child which died as an infant. No children lived long enough to make a census record. Seymour Keller died in Ernestown on March 29, 1913 and Caroline on October 22, 1918. Both are buried at Camden V Cemetery.
Thomas Briden Keller b. July 16, 1879, James Leslie Keller b. August 5, 1883, and John Herbert Keller b. September 13, 1885. Thomas Briden Keller died March 19, 1884 and his mother passed away September 1, 1889. Leslie and John (often called Jack) Keller grew up near the village of Croydon and attended the Croydon Public School which was a typical one room rural school. A picture of the pupils in 1898 clearly show everybody wore their best on picture day and it was a happy environment. ( The teacher had 48 students in 8 grades! ) The long sour look by Robert Keller is reported by the family because he had moved when the first picture was taken, ruining the picture, and was severely scolded by the teacher for doing that. Obviously, shoes were optional at school.
Both Leslie and John Keller attended school with their future wives which are also in the above school picture. Leslie Keller married Anna May McGregor and John Keller married Iva Pearl Bawn. John and Pearl were married on June 9, 1909 and Leslie and Anna were married on April 3, 1912. John and Pearl Keller were married 73 years before Pearl passed away September 6, 1982. John Keller passed away at the age of 100 on April 6, 1986. Both are buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Napanee.
Rosanna Jane Keller married William Coburn and farmed south of Croydon, Ontario. Both are buried at Camden V Cemetery.
Elizabeth Ann Keller taught school in 1873 at the Newburgh Public School. Her family has inherited many great genealogy "finds", one being the Newburgh School Attendance Records for 1873 which lists student names along with their age and attendance. Elizabeth Ann Keller married Jonathan Ferris Quigley, son of Ogden Quigley and Elizabeth Ferris on November 12, 1877 in Newburgh. Jonathan and Elizabeth moved to Euphemia Township, Lambton County, Ontario where they farmed. Elizabeth's sister, Hester Isabella Keller, also moved to the same area with her husband, William A Hinch.
Elizabeth had two girls, Ila and Waitie Quigley. When Thomas Durlin's wife, Annie Fleming, passed away in 1889, arrangements were made that his two boys be adopted by the Quigley family and sent up to western Ontario. At the last moment Thomas decided to keep the boys with him.
Hester Isabella Keller was born May 14, 1852 in Croydon and married William A. Hinch. Hester and William were married May 25, 1872 in Camden Township. They moved first to Euphemia Township and farmed near Hester's sister, Elizabeth for a while. They later moved to the Deloraine region of Manitoba very near to Hester's brother, Charles Fox Keller. Here is a picture of "Thrashing on the Hinch Farm" taken in 1905 near Deloraine. Their farm was known as the "Quinte Farm". William died and Hester remarried, in later life, to Dan Hagin on September 18, 1918.
Peter Jay Keller
Peter died very young, born March 05, 1855, died August 28, 1857.
I am a descendent of John Herbert Keller and Pearl Iva Bawn. John and Pearl lived for a few years near Croydon but in 1921 they bought a farm near Wilton, Ontario and moved there. My father remembers the "moving bee" in which all of the local farmers hitched up wagons and moved the family in a long convoy of horses and wagons from Croydon to Wilton. Some wagons had furniture, some hay for the horses and even others food for the people. It was a three day affair. The couple both passed away on that same farm, Pearl some 72 years after her marriage and John at the age of 100 years. This is a listing of their family:
John Herbert Keller was born September 13, 1885 in Croydon, Camden Twp, Lennox & Addington Co, Ontario, and died April 06, 1986 in Wilton, Ernestown Twp, Lennox & Addington Co, Ontario. He married Iva Pearl Bawn June 09, 1909 in Toronto, York Co, Ontario, daughter of Robert Bawn and Mary Young.
Iva Myrle Keitha May Elizabeth Pearl Robert Durlin James Herbert Orval Clayton Aleita Florence Edith Leila
Annie Lauretta Iva Pearl Bawn John Herbert Keller Ila Lucille
The Keller Family 1946
If you are a descendent of Peter Samuel Keller, please contact me, we would be most interested in the whereabouts of the rest of the clan and if you would like me to add a bit more on your particular descendant, please drop me a line!
One of the farm hands who worked for James Leslie Keller just before WW1 was James Stoddart. James was born July 19th, 1898, orphaned at an early age, and became one of the many Quarrier's Boys sent over as an orphan from Glasgow, Scotland. He lived on the Samual Doupe's farm near Croydon and later worked on the James Leslie Keller farm and was a good friend of my grandfather. He died in the battle for Vimy Ridge in WW1. I have postcards and pictures that I have inherited which Jimmie Stoddart had sent or had left at my great uncle's farm in Canada. Jimmie was known to have three sisters: Alice, Nessie & Ella. His parents died in the early 1900's and he came over to Canada in 1908. His sisters stayed in Glasgow as domestics but wrote their brother often. One of his sisters was sent his war medals.
Joseph Fleming was a Scottish Home Child who was born on May 16, 1872 in Glasgow Scotland. At the age of 11, he was shipped over to Canada and arrived in Halifax on 30 Apr 1883 on the ship SS Prussian and listed as being in Miss Bilborough's Party. Little is known of Joseph in his early years in Canada but about 1892 he joined the Royal Canadian Regiment. On December 09, 1896 he married my grand-aunt, Susan Elizabeth Bawn, daughter of Robert John Bawn and Mary Elizabeth Young. Mary Elizabeth Young's great grandmother was Catherine Lampman who testified in Albany on the destruction of the Hoosick Valley during the French and Indian War.
Less than two years later the Klondike Gold Rush occurred. The Canadian Government was animate that the lawlessness of the California Gold Rush of 1849 was not going to take place in Canada. The government was also very concerned that American expansionism would try to take over control of the Yukon Territory. To combat these real threats, the Government of Canada ordered the Royal Canadian Regiment to form a Yukon Field Force which would travel immediately into the Yukon Gold Fields and assist the North West Mounted Police. 200 men were chosen for this unit and they immediately left from Ottawa to Vancouver and on to Northern British Columbia to Wrangell, Alaska. Wrangell was a notorious rough town located near the southern base of the Alaskan Panhandle. It would be the jumping off point for the force to enter into the wilderness of Canada and head for the gold fields.
The Canadian Government did not want to cause American tensions by sending the Canadian Army through American territory at Skagway and over the Chilkoot Pass to Bennett Lake. This was the preferred route of the gold seekers. Instead the government wanted the Canadian Army to find an "all Canadian Route" up the Stikine River, from the boat terminal at Glenora, British Columbia. By the Treaty of Washington, in 1871, Canada had gained the right of free navigation on the Yukon, Porcupine and Stikine Rivers in exchange for American privileges on the St Lawrence River.
The ship, "Islander" left Vancouver with the Yukon Field Force on May 14th, 1898. The ship arrived at Wrangel on May 17th. From there they took small river boats up the Stikine River to the camp at Glenora. The Yukon Field Force were sent off quite ill equipped. Joseph Fleming described to his family how the unit had to construct their own boats from local trees using whip saws to cut the lumber. They had few nails and resorted to wood pins to assemble the boats. They pulled their boats up the strong river current by ropes, clambering over rocks and cliffs. On May 19th, 1898, one poor fellow fell 150 feet to his death while doing this work. At Glenora, the Yukon Field Force found 2500 gold seekers that were stranded; out of money, and hoping they were going to take this route over the mountains to the head of the Teslin River and down that river to the Yukon River and on to Dawson City. Guards had to be placed on the Yukon Field Force's supplies. The Canadian Government had originally announced plans for a railway up Stikine River but abandoned that plan when the cost was realized.
It took four months for the Yukon Force to get to the Klondike. It was an incredibly difficult journey. One entry into a diary described the Yukon Force making only one and one half miles through knee deep mud in one day.
An extremely excellent book, describing this adventure, contains the actual diary of one of the Yukon Field Force's member, Edward Lester. The book is "Guarding the Goldfields, The Story of the Yukon Field Force" edited Brereton Greenhous. This book is Publication #24 of the Canadian War Museum Historical Publications.
On Tuesday, August 16th, 1898, Edward Lester describes seeing the following verse carved into a tree along the trail:
Damn the journey, Damn the track,
Damn the distance there & back,
Damn the sunshine, Damn the weather,
Damn the Goldfields altogether.
That pretty much describes the feelings of the 9 out of 10 gold seekers who never found any gold and probably also the 9 out of 10 who actually found gold but lost or squandered their money later.
The diary entry for Tuesday, October 4th, 1898 mentions Private Fleming as going up to the Five Fingers (Rapids) to assist the N.W.M.P. in building operations.
Life in the Yukon Field Force was very difficult. Scurvy was a real problem and frost-bite was common. Isolation was also a problem and "cabin fever" was not unheard of. The diary entry for Monday, March 27th 1899, mentions that a corporal with the N.W.M.P. had attempted suicide by cutting his own throat. It was later determined that scurvy had been a big factor and no charges were laid, (he survived and was brought to Fort Selkirk to the hospital there). The man later died of heart disease at the age of 40, still working as a North West Mounted Policeman.
Five Finger Rapids, Yukon River
The Yukon Field Force built emergency shelters along the trail, N.W.M.P. Posts, and guarded gold shipments. Both the Field Force and the North West Mounted Police were very well respected by the miners. They were known to be fair but strict. Crime was incredibly low in the Klondike, especially considering 100 thousand miners were there stuck mostly in tents and very difficult conditions. The biggest problem encountered by the police was known as "drunk and disorderly" or "obstructing the sidewalk", (passed out).
Typical N.W.M.P. Emergency Post
On the 25th of June, 1900, after the Canadian Government decided there was no longer a need for the Yukon Field Force, the unit left from Whitehorse, marched over the Chilkoot Pass to Skagway and sailed on the S. S. Columbian reaching Vancouver on July 5th, 1900.
Joseph Fleming finally got to see saw his son, Herbert Stanley Fleming, who had been born 2½ years earlier. The visit was short though as he almost immediately joined the Canadian Forces headed to South Africa. On his World War One Attestation Papers, Joseph lists that he spent one year and 165 days in the South African Constabulary and had fought in the Boer War.
When he returned, he played on the Royal Canadian Regiment Cricket Team and his son, Stanley, was the bat boy. A picture of the Cricket Team shown about 1905 shows both Joseph and Stanley Fleming (pictures are marked with an "X").
When World War One broke out both Joseph and his son Stanley joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force and left for the Battlefields of France. Both father and son returned from World War I.
After the war, Joseph and his son were near Haileybury, Ontario, in a small village known as Heaslip, when they were caught by the Great Haileybury Fire on October 04, 1922. Both died in the fire. Joseph Fleming was listed as Capt Henry Fleming in the newspaper list of deaths just above his son, listed as Stanley Fleming.
First Settlers into Portland / Loughborough Area
Henry and Elizabeth Wood immigrated from Dutchess County, New York early in the 19th century along with an already growing family. A Census of Loughborough and Portland Townships in 1819 show approximately 143 men along with their families who were located in the area. The census shows Henry Wood along with his sons William and Daniel who were over 16 and David, Henry, Abraham, and James who were under 16 at the time. Henry Wood served in the local militia during the War of 1812 in the defense of Canada and like my great-great-great grandfather, Samuel Keller, Henry Wood also contracted tuberculosis during the war. In 1819, he wrote a letter to the local authorities pleading for a bit more time to pay his rent and mentions that he has suffered from "valitudinarian for the past 7 years", (the definition, at that time, for valetudinarian: suffering from a long-term or chronic illness). He also notes that he has been on the land for 9 years.
One of the more prominent sons of Henry and Elizabeth Wood was Daniel Wood. He converted to Mormon and in 1833 Brigham Young preached throughout the Kingston area from Daniel's farm which was set up as the local church headquarters. Daniel Wood along with others from the area promptly left with Brigham Young on the eventful trek that finally ended in Salt Lake City, Utah. Daniel and a few other followers first settled in the valley just 8 miles north of Salt Lake City. By 1855 he was one of the wealthiest men in the State of Utah. In 1869 he gave the lower portion of his farm away for a railroad depot and crossing which was called Woods Crossing and later shortened to Woods Cross. He is noted to have had 11 wives.
For those of you who think that an ancestor may have converted and moved out to Utah in the 1840's, Bert Nelson has a WEB page containing a partial Mormon Wagon Train listing and is available on the net at Tracing Mormon Pioneers and, of course, any LDS Centre near you.
Henry Wood and Elizabeth De Melt had 14 children. Elizabeth died in 1844 and Henry died in 1850 and are buried at the Sydenham Cemetery in Sydenham Ontario. A few of the children, like in most cases back then, married into the families on farms close by. A son, Henry, married Rachael Spike, daughter of Bryan Spike. Other sons married Elizabeth and Permilia Spike. I am sure there is a joke in there about the Spike's and the Wood's but I shall avoid that! Harrowsmith, Ontario was originally called Spike's Corners as that is where the Spike family first settled. The Wood family settled near where Sydenham, Ontario is now located.
Thanks to Pat Greenwell for providing information on the David Wood branch of the family and other dates and to Deanne Driscoll for sending a lot of information to me over the years.
Elizabeth De Melt's gravestone, located at the Sydenham Cemetery, was destroyed by a vandal in the summer of 2007. While the vandal's mother did turn the youth into authorities, that did not bring the five pieces of the gravestone back into one. The stone was probably one of the oldest in the cemetery and carved from local limestone. Senseless!
Francis Powley was listed in the 1786 Provisioning List as the first settler called Loyalist to settle in the Kingston, Ontario area. At present, there is only one known son, Jacob Powley who was also on the Provisioning List. Family lore says he was already familiar with the Kingston area before the Revolutionary War from being there during and shortly after the French/Indian War. The book, "Hans Waltimeyer" by Jane Bennett Goddard, UE states; During the Seven Years' War between New France and the American Colonies, as waged by their parent countries in America, British prisoners had been isolated in imprisonment at the then old and decaying Fort Frontenac. One such British soldier who had been held here has been Michael Grass." I suspect Francis Powley may have been another.
Johanne Jacob Powley married Annetje Jellise Van Vorst about 1774 in
Schenectady, New York. There were 9 children from that marriage:
JOHANN JACOB POWLEY was born October 14, 1744 in America/Holland?, and died June 21, 1814 in Cataraqui, Kingston Twp Frontenac Co Ontario. He married ANNETJE JELLISE VAN VORST Abt. 1774 in Schenectady, Schenectady Co New York, daughter of JELLIS VAN VORST and ANNATJE BERRIT.
Children of JOHANN POWLEY and ANNETJE VAN VORST are:
i. ELIZABETH2 POWLEY, b. April 25, 1775, Schenectady, Schenectady Co New York; d. December 14, 1848; m. (1) WILLIAM ALBERTSON, Abt. 1794, Kingston, Ontario1; m. (2) UNKNOWN GATES, Abt. 1803; m. (3) HUMPHREY SMITH, June 16, 1813, Frontenac Co Ontario.
ii. FRANCIS T. POWLEY, b. October 30, 1777, Schenectady, Schenectady Co New York; d. October 22, 1861, Frontenac Co Ontario; m. ELIZABETH WAGAR.
iii. WILLIAM BERRIT POWLEY, b. November 20, 1778, Schenectady, Schenectady Co New York; d. December 17, 1857, C.W.; m. ELIZABETH HOFFMAN, Abt. 1802, Cataraqui, Kingston Twp Frontenac Co Ontario.
iv. JACOB POWLEY, b. September 12, 1780, Schenectady, Schenectady Co New York; d. April 25, 1871, Kingston Twp Frontenac Co Ontario; m. MARY DAVID, May 15, 1810, Kingston Frontenac Co Ontario.
v. JAMES P POWLEY, b. June 07, 1785, Oswego Co New York; d. February 25, 1838, Midland District, U.C.; m. RACHEL J BABCOCK, February 17, 1812, Kingston, Frontenac Co Ontario2.
vi. HANNAH POWLEY, b. Abt. 1787, Kingston Twp Frontenac Co Ontario; d. Frontenac Co Ontario; m. JOHN DINGMAN.
vii. CHARLES POWLEY, b. Abt. 1789, Kingston Twp Frontenac Co Ontario; d. Bef. 1797.
viii. MARY POWLEY, b. Abt. 1793, U.S.A.; d. 1864; m. IRA WILLIAM DARLING, June 26, 1811, Kingston City Frontenac Co Ontario.
ix. REBECCA POWLEY, b. December 20, 1795, Cataraqui, Kingston Twp Frontenac Co Ontario; d. April 20, 1882, Kingston Twp Frontenac Co Ontario; m. ZACHARIAH DAVID, May 03, 1814, Kingston, Ontario3.
I am a descendant of James P Powley and Rachel J Babcock. A copy of their family Bible is linked below:
One of their children was Charles D Powley who married Nancy Ann Walker. Their son, James Byward Powley, married Catherine McCaul.
I am a descendent of Margaret Jane Powley who was the eldest daughter of James Byard Powley and Catherine McCaul. If ever there was an award for the most difficult ancestor to track, Margaret would win hands down. If you can trace your ancestry back to Margaret Jane Powley (with last names of Powley, Carr/Coe, Green, or Beck) please send me a line and we can compare confusing notes. Margaret Jane Powley is buried at the Riverview Cemetery in Napanee along with her last husband, Henry Beck. Henry Beck is one of the Newburgh Public School students taught by Lizzie Keller in 1873.
Margaret Jane Powley's eldest son, (born out of wedlock), was Overton Edgar Powley born in 1882. He was informally adopted and raised by Calvin C. and Annie Montgomery from Odessa. His real father was Charles Clifton Mabee (1866-1910) from Ernestown Twp. Charles was the son of Benjamin Maybee and Sarah Jane David. Sarah's mother was Rebecca Powley, daughter of Johann Jacob Powley and Annetje Jellise Van Vorst. Her father was Zachariah David.
Overton Edgar Powley married Orpha Elzina
Wood in 1903, the daughter of Barnabas Wood
and Jane Wolsey from Portland Township. They had six boys and two
girls. Overton was given the Montgomery farm on their death and he
ran a small dairy business in Odessa for several years.
(Powley Family under construction and to be continued some day)