The Family in Canada
John and Agnes Darroch were seven weeks and three
days on a sailing vessel crossing the Atlantic to Montreal. Here
they borrowed enough money from a Captain Milloy, a cousin of
John's mother, to continue on their way. They went by boat to
Oakville, and , as there were no railways in that part of Ontario
then, they took a stage to Stewarttown and walked the remaining
fifteen miles to Erin. They chose Erin as their destination because
John had a number of his mother's brothers and sisters in the
neighbourhood. He worked as a blacksmith for John Walker for two
years and then bought him out. He ran the business for eleven
more years until the shop burned down. The house he lived in is
still standing across a small stream some distance behind the
first store on the west side of the main street of Erin. The first
six of their children were born there. In fact, Agnes Darroch had
a child , including a pair of twins, born in each even year from
1850 to 1876, making fifteen in all. The first William, born in
1860, lived for a year, and there was a James born sometime in
1872, but his birth was not recorded.
John Darroch's business in Erin consisted not only
of general blacksmithing, but he also made wagons. While there
he was a school trustee and became a member of the church of the
Disciples of Christ. At that time in Erin there was about a dozen
taverns and he did not want his children to be influenced by them.
He had already bought 200 acres of land ( two farms ) at Cotswald,
five miles from Harriston on what is now Highway
#9, in Minto Township, and after the fire he moved there. Possibly
his brothers and sisters were already there. In any case three
brothers, John, James and Hugh and two sisters, Margaret and Janet,
with their wives and husbands, were on adjoining farms on opposite
sides of the Highway. Mary, who was married to George Walker,
remained in Erin and died about 1865. She is buried in the old
cemetery a mile north of Erin. Catherine also stayed in Erin.
Archibald Darroch and his wife, Mary Milloy, came
to Cotswold with their children. He did not live long in Canada.
He was 74 in 1862 and he died at ' over 70 years of age '. But
he did preside as precentor at church meetings in his new country.
Mary, ' Granny Darroch '. lived to be 94 years old. Born in 1797,
she died February 26, 1891. For some time she lived in the original
log cabin on the farm of her daughter, Margaret Reed, with her
unmarried, youngest son, Archibald. He died at an early age, under
40, from tuberculosis. Margaret Reed's son, Robert played in the
cabin with his grandmother and caught the disease also. He grew
up with a deformed spine. That may also have been the source of
the infection of Catherine Darroch Ross who died of tuberculosis
of the bone in 1894, leaving a son, three years old and twins
a year old. The oldest boy, Stanley, stayed with his father but
the twins, John and William, were separated. Each went to his
namesake grandfather, John Darroch and William Ross. Little William
died soon after from dysentry contracted from eating apples contaminated
by pigs on the farm. John Ross grew up to be a doctor.
Archibald and Mary Darroch with their son Archibald,
William Greenlees, father of Agnes Darroch, some of the Reeds
and probably an infant son of John Darroch are all buried about
100 yards from the road in an unmarked graveyard on the line fence
between the second and third farms east of the Cotswold church
corner. The third farmhouse is on the left side, going west, near
the bend in the highway. Tradition says that there are about a
dozen burials there. At one time there were markers on the graves,
but as they weathered and toppled over, the farmer propped them
up against the fence and eventually they were taken away. The
only indication of the graves, lately, has been a few burnt stumps
of trees and a growth of orange lilies that are commonly found
After john Darroch moved to Cotswold he built a
blacksmith shop on the corner of his farm and carried on his trade
as well as working his land. The early houses were log cabins
but eventually more substantial houses were built. John Darroch
built his large, white brick house about 1880. On the corner,
diagonally across to the smithy was the first school. Here on
Sundays, he ministered without pay to a large congregation, composed,
probably, of the numerous members of the Darroch families, along
with a few neighbours. He was also a member of the County Council
for many years, being deputy reeve for two years and reeve for
eight years. In 1892 he retired to Harriston and the farm was
taken over by his second son, Archibald. In 1972 the farm was
sold by Archibald's grandson, Archie Calder, after being in the
family for 110 years. John Darroch died in Harriston April 6,
1910. Agnes Darroch died May 4th, 1928, aged 98 years and 7 months.
They were both buried in Harriston Cemetery.
Katherine Darroch ( she spelled it with a ' C '
but they called her ' Kate '. ) was the oldest child of Archibald
Darroch. She married Edward Stephens March 17th, 1857, when she
was 36 years old. He may have been married before. He was born
in Dublin of Roman Catholic parents who wanted him to become a
priest but he joined the British Army and spent some time with
his regiment in Gibraltar. Katherine and Edward may have lived
in Erin village because a son John D. Stephens wrote that he spent
the first twenty-five years of his life in the West Corner of
Erin. John became a Disciple of Christ minister and wrote many
articles of pioneer life, some in poetry, for the Erin Advocate.
He was related to a large proportion of the farming community
through the Milloys who were some of the first settlers and had
large families. In 1910 Katherine was living in the village of
Orton. She died November 20th, 1912.
Hugh Darroch married Margaret Bolton. It was on
his farm that the old graveyard was established. The land in general
on the farms is flat and may be wet at times. At this spot there
is a small knoll that is better drained. He and his family of
five sons and two daughters went west. He died in Douglas, Manitoba
James Darroch came to Canada in 1854. His wife,
whom he married here, was Isabelle Campbell MacMillan, who was
born Isabelle Campbell in Paisley, Scotland. She came to Canada
as a small girl and her father died on the way over. She was adopted
by her uncle, Hugh MacMillan. All of their children were born
in Minto Township. In 1882 they moved to Elmore, Saskatchewan,
and settled on a homestead, living at first in a sod house. James
died January 19th, 1915, and Isabelle died October 21st, 1920.
Janet Darroch married Robert Brown. They left Cotswold
and went to Port Sydney, in the district of Muskoka. To-day that
is ' holiday country ' with a few pockets of fertile soil among
the granite ridges and lakes of the Laurentian Shield. In those
days it was an important lumbering area. They had a large family
and many of them still live in the area around Huntsville.
Margaret Darroch married Robert Reed. Quite a number
of the family spell the name ' Reid '. In 1886 the Reeds moved
to farms eastward in the Arthur and Everton area. For seven years
other families were on the farm at Cotswold and in 1893 it was
bought by the father of Abe McComb, then four years old. Abe McComb
later married Jennie Reed and Reeds were once more in possession.
Abe McComb finally gave up the farm in 1967.
This ends the saga of these descendants of Mulmorich
Darroch as far as it can be learned to-day. Possibly more facts
will turn up at some time to fill in the gaps.
Most genealogies in North America begin with the
first ancestor to migrate to this continent. Except for listing
the generations as far as possible, this one will have to end
with the brief biographies of those who were born in Scotland
and came to this country. Any further biographies will have to
be the work of some members of the different branches of the family
tree. The first families born in Canada had as many as fifteen
children. Now families are small. Times have changed. In pioneer
times a large family was a great help in clearing the land and
working it. For the children schooling was sparse and sporadic.
Most of them lived on farms in Ontario and the west. Now the latest
generations have a wide variety of vocations that require much
more formal education and many work in the cities.
This family history may help the grandchildren's
grandchildren to understand the cultures that their forebears
left in the old land and came to in the new country. It will help
them to learn that they are the descendants of the Picts and Scots
whom the Romans with all their legions could not conquer. The
have a heritage to be proud of.
The following article, published by the Toronto
Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, was the result of
a discussion with other members about the scarcity of Darroch
names in Scotland and Canada, in spite of large families. Of about
1155 names listed of Archibald Darroch's descendants, only 144,
or one-eighth, are males who carried the Darroch name. According
to the article, in five generations five out of 62, or about one-twelfth,
should carry the name. The Darrochs in Canada were about 50% over
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