Sutherland Family History as compiled by Winning Pendergast, Dec 6, 1937

(Index and formating by webmaster)

1st Generation
2nd Generation
3rd Generation
4th Generation
The Sutherland Family
The Old Sutherland Church
Sutherland Family Data

1772 - - - - 1850


Until I was interested in my own family history, I had never thought of how rapidly the branches of a family grow away from each other, or of the number of people, who of the same blood and family traits, are strangers to each other.

Laura Nisbet’s daughter, Helen Mead, and Sutherland Johnston’s daughter, Dorothy Tireman, met here one day, but although they were acquainted and worked together in their church, they had no idea of any tie or kinship, and Lilas Secord named her small daughter Janet, quite unknowing that it was a “family name”. Of the family of eight children of my great-great grandfather’s, Thomas Sutherland, we know only of his son Thomas, who was my great grandfather and his family, and of Lodowick’s son, Joe, who came to America in the late fifties, and who had a large family, several of whom, Edward, Anne and Josie, were on the stage, but of the others, who stayed in Scotland and England, or of these charming stage folk, whom Eliza knew in Boston, we know nothing.

After the second, perhaps in special cases the third generation, one lumps them all together as “Scotch cousins”, which is ANY degree of connection or relationship, but what a host of them there must be. While I think I have listed great grandfather’s family and their families correctly, there is a younger generation or two, that I do not know. Some other hand than mine must carry the record further.

Winning Pendergast
1930 Atkinson Ave.
Detroit, Michigan

December 6, 1937


This tribe is descended from the remnants of the Celtic population who retired before the Scandinavian invaders; and Hugh, designed the son of Friskin, is said to have obtained a charger of the clan territory from William the Lion in 1197, and was the founder of the powerful line of Sutherland. To this Hugh, Douglas gives several predecessors, taken from Gordon’s “history of Sutherland” and other writers.

In 1259 Hugh, Thane of Sutherland, defeated the Danish invaders in a bloody conflict near Enbo, between the ferry of Unes and Dornoch, and slew their leader by a stroke with the leg bone of a horse. The ruins of a pillar still mark the battlefield.

William, second Earl of Sutherland in the reign of Alexander II, won another victory over the Danes and Norwegians, at a place called Ree-Cross, where the Danish Leader was buried. William, third Earl, fought at Bannockburn, and was one of the nobles who in 1320 signed the famous letter to the Pope, asserting the independence of the Crown. His son, Earl Kenneth, fell in defense of his country of Halidon Hill.

John, sixth Earl, fought at Otterburn; and Nicholas, the eighth Earl, had a long and rancorous feud with the MacKays, which he bequeathed to his son Robert.

John, fourteenth Earl of this long line of warriors, fought at the battle of Corrichie in 1562, and was banished in consequence of his attachment to Queen Mary. The seventeenth Earl was made Lord Privy Seal in 1649, and Colonel of a regiment of 1200 men, raised in the North to avenge the death of Charles I. His grandson John, nineteenth Earl, joined William of Orange, and led a regiment of foot.

William, twenty-first Earl, was a Captain in the 56th Regiment of the line in 1759, when an invasion from France was threatened. He proposed to the Ministry to raise a battalion among his own clan and followers, which was readily accepted. He completed the regiment in two months, and it remained in the service till the conclusion of peace. The fighting force of the clan was given at 2000 men in 1745.

Burke, who enumerates these Earls differently from Douglas, calls the last-named, “William, seventeenth Earl”. He left issue, an only daughter, Elizabeth, Countess in her own right, who married George Granville, Marquis of Stafford, and was ancestress of the Dukes of Sutherland. She held the Earldom for seventy-two years and seven months, dying in 1839.

“One thousand men of Sutherland have been embodied four or five years together, at different periods – from 1759 to 1763, from 1773 to 1779, and from 1793 to 1798 – without any instance of military punishment”.

The Lords Duffus, the first of whom was created in 1650, are a branch of the Sutherland family and latterly suffered much for their loyalty. Eric, Lord Duffus, who died 28th August 1768, was the son of Kenneth, Lord Duffus, who succeeded his father, the second Lord in 1715; and having been engaged in the insurrection of 1715, made his escape, and was provisionally attained by the Act I. George I, Session i.; after which he was taken at Hamburg, brought to London, and committed to the Tower in 1716; but being next year released by the Act of Grace, he served as a flag officer in the Muscovite fleet. He married Charlotte, daughter of Eric de Sioblade, Governor and Admiral of Nottenburg in Sweden, by whom he had Eric above mentioned, who married Miss Dunbar, daughter of Sir James Dunbar of Hempriggs, Bart, by whom he had two sons.

The honours of the family were restored by Act of Parliament on the 26th May 1825.

The burial place of the old Earle of Sutherland was at the Church of Golspie, in the wall of which is a plain stone bearing the following epitaph: -

“In hoe diruto casmeterio Sutherlandia plurimorus comitum cinerce conquiescunt”.

The church was transferred from Culmalie to Golspie in 1619.


1st Generation

John and Mary Willowy Sutherland married at Sunbury, England, Dec. 10, 1743.


John born Nov. 20, 1744 died May 28, 1767

Mary born July 27, 1746 died June 16, 1749

Thomas* born July 26, 1748 died Feb. 16, 1804

James born Dec. 26, 1750 no data

Lodowick born Oct. 1, 1753 died June 1, 1775

William born June 17, 1757 died Nov. 23, 1758

Elizabeth born March 9, 1759 no data

The Thomas marked * is the father of Thomas Sutherland of Moore River, St. Clair.

John Sutherland Sr. above, died on his way home from Black River, Jamaica, W. I. On Board the ship Williams, Captain Wheatley off the Island of Cuba, June 21, 1765 in the 59th year of his age which would place the year of his birth 1706.

Mary, his wife, died March 1792 in her 73rd year, which would place the year of her birth 1719.

All of these children were presumably born in England.

2nd Generation

Thomas and Ann Sutherland were married at Sunbury, May 20, 1769.


Mary born Mar 1, 1770 died Oct 1799

Thomas born January 6, 1771 died mar 28, 1771

Thomas* born May 23, 1772 died February 16, 1850

Lodowick born Nov. 21, 1773 no data

John born July 10, 1775 died October 23, 1775

Anne born Sept. 20, 1776 died October 19, 1778

Richard born Sept. 30, 1778 died October 5, 1789

Anne born July 16, 1780 no data

The above copied from a family Bible printed in 1793. Copied February 1891. The Thomas above born at Croyden England in 1772 came to Canada in 1833. They sailed from Leith, Scotland in the ship “European” commanded by Captain Andrew Scott of Leith, 25th of April 1833, arrived at Quebec, Canada 21st June 1833. He settled on the River St. Clair north of what is now the Village of Courtright and carried on the business of a general store. He died Feb. 16, 1850 and is buried in the Sutherland cemetery, the land for which he gave. It will be noted that he died on the same day as his father. His first wife was Elizabeth Beddoes married in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Thomas born March 25, 1797 died in Sarnia Jan. 5, 1880

Richard born Sept. 26, 1802 died in Edinburgh Mar. 27, 1822

Laura Alison born Sept. 12, 1805 died in Toronto May 25, 1894

Laura and Thomas both buried in the Sutherland cemetery.

3rd Generation

Thomas Sutherland (1772 – 1850) married secondly Grace Hogg in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Alexander no data of birth died in London

Thomas-Ann born 1812 died Sept. 4, 1902 in Muskegon Mich.

George born Jan. 3, 1803 died in London

Edward no data of birth died in London C. W.

Grace Born May 14, 1824 At 208 Cannongate, Edinburgh died Sept. 3, 1861 in Sarnia

Grace married Dr. G. W. Johnston and died in Sarnia. She had nine children, seven of whom survived.

Grace, Alexander, George and Thomas-Ann are all buried in Sutherland Cemetery. Thomas-Ann married Richard Abbott in St. Clair, Michigan Jan. 29, 1834 and had nine children.

George – see next page.

Alexander – married Sarah Hill, and had two children, a boy Thomas, and a girl Sarah Grace, who married the Rev. Alex. Williams about 1856.

4th Generation

George Sutherland married first Isabella Wilson


Thomas born January 26, 1836 at Cobourg

Janet born August 26, 1837 at Cobourg (who married Andrew Black)

George Sutherland’s second wife Janet Wilson, sister of first wife.


John Sutherland born July 29, 1840 at Niagara

Alexander born March 13, 1842

Edward born October 19, 1843 at Niagara

William born April 29, 1845 at Froomefield died July 4, 1924

George Sutherland’s third wife Mary McLean (widow of Rowland Cross with a son Rowland)


Euphemia born August 14, 1849

Grace Hogg born Nov. 14, 1850

Mary born March 14, 1852

George born Dec. 31, 1853 died Mar. 16, 1854

Twin daughters born Jan. 26, 1856 died Jan. 28, 1856

Thomas-Annie born July 30, 1858

Laura born June 1, 1863

George born April 6, 1863

George born April 6, 1868

George and Mary McLean, widow of Rowland Cross, were married at St. Mary’s Church Froomefield Co., Lambton, Canada West (now Province of Ontario) by the Rev. G.J.R. Salter, B. A. Nov. 3, 1848.


Great Grandfather Thomas Sutherland, for whom my father was named, was born in Croyden, England, May 23, 1772. His parents, Thomas and Ann Sutherland, were married at Sunbury England May 30, 1769, and Thomas was third of their eight children.

He served for a time on the King’s Ship Declitus, and upon leaving the navy engaged as a merchant tailor in Edinburgh, were he lived at 808 Cannongate. So that like the gentleman in the song, he and his family “went down the Cannongate”. His “draper’s shop” as Cousin Grace always called it, was patronized by Sir Walter Scott; and Cousin had a picture that was her mother’s, of Sir Walter, mounted on a piece of Scott tartan, that was a piece of a plaid made for him in Great Grandfather’s shop.

His first wife was Elizabeth Beddoes of Edinburgh, whose three children were Thomas, Richard, who died at twenty in London, and Laura Alison. His second wife was the Honorable Grace Hogg, daughter of an English Admiral, whose home was “Lasswade” near Edinburgh.

Grace had two brothers, Charles and Adam, afterward General Hogg of the Indian Army. He married Agnes Dinswiddie, a niece of Sir Robert Dinwiddie, one of the Royalist Governors of Virginia. Grace was a petted only daughter, and I have heard Father say that upon her marriage her Father would not allow anyone to use her room, but closed it, to keep it as she had left it. How many things my Father might have told me of family traditions if I had thought to ask while he was here to answer.

Grace had three sons, Alexander, George and Edward who died in London, and two daughters, Thomas-Ann and Grace, and when the family left Edinburgh to come to Canada the older son Thomas and daughter Laura came too. Great Grandfather was a man of education and refinement, with high religious principles and sense of justice.

As a merchant in Edinburgh he was chosen to mediate in a dispute between masters and journeymen, being instrumental in settling what would now be called a strike. For this service he was presented with a silver loving cup – now possessed by some of the Williams family in Toronto – and Cousin Minnie Williams has a tin case containing an invitation for him and his sons to a ceremonial dinner given by the merchants of Edinburgh marking their departure for Canada.

They sailed on the European, April 25, 1833 landing at Quebec on June 21st. From Quebec to Montreal they were towed up the river by oxen. When time came to feed the animals the passengers disembarked and cooked their meals, picnic fashion.

From Montreal to Kingston a crew of Frenchmen pulled the boat and at Kingston they took a sailing vessel for Cobourg. There George took employment with a merchant tailoring firm that made soldier’s uniforms and settled in Cobourg.

They had spent eight weeks on the Atlantic Ocean, and thirteen weeks between Edinburgh and Cobourg.

The rest of the family traveled on to Canada West, to the banks of the St. Clair River, where Great Grandfather bought a tract of land from a French settler. It was a densely wooded country, elm and oak, hickory, walnut and pine, with poor drainage, no roads and few settlers, but Great Grandfather set about building a town and a business as well as a home.

He had brought out a large stock of merchandise and built a store on the river-front above Courtright, on the site where the Jim Kettemaster house now stands. The dwelling house stood to the north of the store, and was of logs – long and low, and with dormer windows front and back, but one wonders what did Grace think as she unpacked her fine furniture, china and silver, books and paintings, so incongruous in the wilderness. Did her courage falter, I wonder? The lovely oil painting of her and her youngest child Grace, had been done in England in 1828 and was a treasured possession. Grace Minty Robinson has it now in Minneapolis.

Great Grandfather’s sons helped him on the farm and in the store. The land was cleared and the timber cut into cord wood, posts and fence rails or burned to make potash. A wharf was built out into deep water (some of the piles may still be seen) and trade established with the wood burning riverboats. A great proportion of the land along the St. Clair was given in Government grants to British soldiers of U.E. Loyalists. Many not wishing to settle there sold their land cheaply and as early as 1840 Great Grandfather was owner of 2,395 acres.

He was a great acquisition to a new and growing community, not only in a moral and social sense, but through his business interests, his influence was exerted for the betterment of the settler.

After the house and store was built and occupied other buildings were added. One of the first was a two story log building, the lower floor of which was used for a school, and the upper as a public meeting house and law court.

Great Grandfather had brought out books and sent home for more, which he loaned to his neighbors. He opened a Sunday School in his home for the children; he built a large warehouse to shelter crops of the settlers, indeed I have always been proud that it was outstandingly he, who brought to the river law, education and religion.

The little village was growing, the Canadian Gazeteer in 1846 describes the place – “Sutherlands, a village in the township of Moore on the river St. Clair, opposite the American town of St. Clair or Palmer.” Here is a wharf for supplying steamboats with wood, one tavern, one physician and surgeon, one store, two blacksmiths, one tailor, one shoemaker, one school, one church.

Troops in training at the time of the Papeneau Rebellion were stationed at Sutherlands.

A chronicle of the Johnston family, compiled from old letters, diaries and personal recollections by Kate Little was loaned to me by my cousin Geoffry Johnston and I copied such mention as it made of the Sutherland family.

Mr. Johnston, newly arrived in 1834 from London, Ontario, was buying a farm on the River St. Clair, and sought a notary to record the deed. He went to the store at Sutherland arriving just as the monthly mail was being distributed by Mr. Sutherland’s son. He asked for Mr. Sutherland and was told that he had taken two men and gone up on the hill to lay out a square acre, which was the usual form for a church yard burial ground. Upon his return he remarked upon it “a lovely spot, where our future church will be”.

Among the new settlers were several army and navy officers and their families, sharing educated folk, as must have gladdened Great Grandmother Grace’s heart. Cousin Bess said she always kept her dainty ways, that her log house was attractive and well furnished and there was a well kept lawn and flower garden. Down that river road as I used to drive in the springtime I saw clumps of daffodils and narcissus growing quite away from any house, and I always pretended to myself that they were a part of her garden. Maybe they were.

Captain Wright built on the river at Corunna double log house, commodious and comfortable with the picture hangings, silver, china and furniture of their English home. Upon Mrs. Wright’s death the captain’s half-sister Ann Goble kept his house and reared his children. Captain Wright brought out an English governess to educate his four daughters, and other young ladies of the neighborhood joined her classes. Great Grandfather’s daughters among them.

Captain Wright began and ended each day with family worship. On Sunday he always read the Church of England service for his household and all others who wished to come. One entry of his diary mentions that he “performed divine service, Mr. Biddle and two sons and two daughters of Mr. Sutherland present”, and “June 22, 1835 presided at a meeting for subscription and making arrangements for building a place of worship at Mr. Southland’s village, he giving the land for site and burial ground and two hundred dollars, myself one of the trustees”. Another day Captain Wright “attended court at Sutherland and took Catherine with me to visit Grace Sutherland”.

Kate Little’s history of this old Sutherland church tells its story in detail, mentioning the need of an Episcopal church in this section, “there being none nearer than Chatham and London”, and it is most interesting to me that at that date the only one in London was the one built by my Grandfather Parkinson, near what is now Hyde Park and called St. Johns. It was no easy task to get material or money and but for Great Grandfather’s zeal and generosity the church could not have been built.

Trees cut from his land were sawed by an upright method, planed and dressed by hand. Bricks were molded by hand on the ground where the church was built, but the unrest of the Papeneau Rebellion delayed the building, and it was not until July 21, 1841 that Great Grand-father laid the first bricks.

A strict Episcopalian himself the first Presbyterian service in Moors was held in his orchard with planks laid on blocks of wood for seats, so Rev. James Patterson told me. That was on a Sunday in 1834, and indeed the first plan for the church was to make it a Union one, though that was soon given up.

But Kate Little tells the story better than I can, for she knew and loved the building and people that I never saw.


Trinity Church, more commonly known by the name of the old Sutherland church was the first Episcopal church built in this part of the country, there being none nearer than Chatham and London; preparations were commenced for the building of the church in 1840, but the work was not completed until the summer of ’42.

The late Thomas Sutherland, Sr. gave the land required, it consisted of one acre in a square, carrying the old English idea of the one acre – God’s acre. It was surrounded by a grove of beech and maple; the church was built on the brow of the hill commanding a lovely view of the surrounding country. It was considered a great undertaking in those days, as the country at that time was nothing but wilderness. It was mainly owing to Mr. Sutherland’s noble generosity and untiring energy, the church was ever built; the country people around gave what help they could – some gave money, others gave labor, - Mr. Sutherland making up the deficiency to the amount of 600 pounds.

It was the intention at the time of building to have it non-sectarian, as sectarian differences were a thing unknown in those bygone days. The first resident clergyman was the Rev. Alexander Pyne, a missionary sent out from England.

The church was opened for service in June 1842, by Bishop Strachan, it being the Bishop’s first visit to this part of the country. There was a large class of candidates for conformation, numbering over 40 persons; this being the first time a service of this kind had been held in this part of the country, there was a great deal of curiosity to see what the service was like.

On the Sunday morning of the opening, the road to the church presented a scene of no ordinary interest; from an early hour people commenced to pour in till the entire roadway was choked up with carriages and conveyances of every description, from the two-seated democrat to the humble ox cart. At 11 o'clock the service commenced; as the proceedings went on there was scarcely a dry eye in the congregation; the dear old bishop delivered one of his most feeling and powerful addresses, his words going home to the hearts of all.

The first wardens were Mr. Geo. Bell and Mr. Jos. Biddle; the choir was under the management of Mr. Biddle, he being a thorough musician, the other members of the choir being Mrs. Biddle, Mrs. A. Sutherland, Miss K. Wright and Miss G. Sutherland; the gentlemen singers were Dr. T. W. Johnston, Mr. J. Hill and Mr. T. Sisher. I dare say that many will smile at the thought of a choir in those days, but the singing was good, better than in many of the fashionable churches of the present day. The first sexton was Mr. W. Impti.

Mr. Pyne organized a Sunday School which was a great success, the attendance being very large, all denominations – Catholic and Protestants alike – attending. Many of the children never got any more schooling than they got at this Sunday School, as day schools were few and far apart.

The church was not consecrated until the summer of 1846 and being then free from debt, the deed was delivered to Bishop Strachan by Mr. Sutherland and the wardens, Mr. G. B. Johnston, and Mr. R. Leslie. The church was then consecrated there being an especial service appointed for the ceremony, when there was also a confirmation service. This was the Bishop’s second visit to this part of the country, Strachan being at that time the only Episcopal bishop in Upper Canada.

As the time of Mr. Pyne’s mission was drawing to a close the church was for sometime without a clergyman. In the fall of 1847 the Rev. J. G. R. Salter was appointed incumbent of the parish which at that time was very large and scattered. It consisted of Moore, Sarnia and Plympton, - Mr. Salter holding service in Sutherland’s church in the morning and Froomefield in the afternoon, every alternate Sunday; the following Sunday he went to Sarnia and Plympton. With funerals and baptisms – the marriages were not so frequent, Mr. Salter had enough to do, traveling on horseback, because the roads were so bad that at times they were almost impassible.

Although the church had been having service held in it for some years, and funeral and baptism services had frequently taken place, a marriage never had. But the ice was to be broken at last, the first marriage that was solemnized in the church took place in the fall of 1847, the bride being Miss Grace Sutherland, the youngest daughter of Mr. Sutherland, the founder of the church, it seemed especially suitable that his daughter should be the first married in the church. The groom was Dr. T. W. Johnston. His funeral was the last one to take place before the church was pulled down in 1876. Nearly all will remember the kind and gentle old doctor; he and his loved wife now rest beside the ruins of the dear old church.

In the summer of ’48 Mr. Salter organized the first Sunday School picnic. It was the first that had ever been held in this part of the country, and it is needless to say that it was a success, for the custom has been kept up ever since in this, and other parishes, different denominations following our example. I think at this time the church was seeing her most prosperous days; there were some new places opened for service, and Mr. Salter, not being very strong, it was thought advisable to have an assistant. The Rev. A. Williams was appointed assistant to the parish of Moore. Mr. Salter remained in Moore for some little time longer, but as there had been a church built in Sarnia he remained there, and the two parishes separated, Mr. Williams taking the entire charge of Moore.

There was still a very friendly feeling kept up between the two parishes, Mr. Salter frequently occupying Mr. Williams pulpit. As there never had been any evening service, Mr. Williams thought it best to have service in Mooretown in the evening in the schoolhouse. The attendance was very large, Mr. Williams still holding services in the old church.

From the opening of the church up to the present time Mr. Biddle had always taken charge of the choir, making a present of a handsome seraphim to the church to help the singers. W hen Mr. Biddle’s health was failing he thought it better for Mr. Williams to make a change in the choir, and Mr. John Morrison kindly came to Mr. Williams’ assistance, relieving Mr. Biddle and taking the entire charge of the singing. He reorganized the choir, taking in some new singers, Mrs. Dale, Miss Curd and Mrs. Johnston, who with former singers made a good choir, Mr. Morrison taking great pains in teaching them to chant the different parts of the service.

Mr. Williams had a very large Sunday School, and also a Bible class. The parish was in good shape, Mr. Williams being a general favorite, but extremely delicate, and the work proved too much for him; his physician advised him to remove to a parish where the work would be easier.

After Mr. Williams left there was lay reading for sometime, Mr. Biddle, Mr. Cowan, Captain Wright, Admiral Vidal and Mr. Sutherland taking turns in reading the service for the day. The Rev. A. Jamieson, of Walpole Island, taking pity on the state of the parish, generally gave a sermon once a month.

In 1859, the Rev. N. Desberough was appointed to the parish, but he did not remain over six months, during that time he held service in the old church, discontinuing the evening service in Mooretown.

After he left there was lay reading in the church until 1860, when the Rev. D. Armstrong was appointed incumbent of the parish. He was the first clergyman from the Diocese of Huron who had charge of the parish. He had the church cleaned and refurbished, new carpet and new trimmings for reading desk, pulpit and gallery. The graveyard was put in proper condition and a new fence built around it, the money for these repairs being collected by the ladies of the congregation. The services were regular and the attendance good. The pulpit was often filled by clergymen from other places, more frequently by the American clergymen. The late Bishop Armitage, also Bishop Paddock were charmed with the old church. They thought it was such a quaint old building. The late Bishop Cronyn was a frequent visitor in this parish. He always called Moore his pet parish, but dark days were coming for the dear old church. Although the inside had undergone a thorough repairing, nothing had been done to the building itself. It was discovered that the foundation was giving way. The foundation not being of stone, as stone was so difficult to get, they used flattened oak logs sunk in the earth, the brick-wood commencing a few inches below the surface. As the logs decayed the building settled and gave signs of falling down. If there had been a new foundation of stone put under the church, it would have lasted for many years, but no steps were taken to repair the old church. The idea was to build a new one. Mooretown was thought to be more suitable for the new church, while the old church might remain for a cemetery chapel. A committee was formed and arrangements made for building a new church. Mooretown at that time being a thriving little village the prospects were that it might grow to be a town of more importance.

Had the old church members taken a decided stand against allowing the old church to go to ruin, and refused to help the building fund of the new one, it might have been saved. Some of the old members fought hard to have the old church repaired, but the newcomers outnumbered the old set two to one. They were strangers, and had no interest in it. It was not endeared to them by early recollections, it was not where their fathers and mothers worshipped and were carried to their last resting place.

The new church was built in Mooretown and opened for service in 1863. There was service held occasionally in Sutherland church in the afternoon for some little time after the opening of the new church, but after a time that was given up. By this time the church had been stripped of nearly everything that was moveable to help to furnish the church at Mooretown and the old sanctuary was only used for funerals. Mr. Armstrong generally giving an address in the form of a sermon.

I will just mention the names of some of the church wardens who were also closely identified with the church: Messrs. S. Johnston, W. Gurd, J. Payne, W. Abernathy, F. Creighton, B. Whitsett, J. Morrison. Some misunderstanding arising between the clergyman and some of his parishioners he removed to another parish. The Rev. J. Jones succeeded Mr. Armstrong. He did not remain long in the parish, and was not identified with the church unless by officiating at funerals. The next clergyman was Rev. J. Holmes. He officiated a few times at funerals in the church.

Time had dealt hardly with the old building, it was considered unsafe to enter; there was a ridiculous story circulated that the church was haunted. Haunted it certainly was by a lot of reckless girls and boys from St. Clair, who used to spend a part of their time in scribbling their names on the walls, and breaking the glass in the windows, their own evil spirits being the only ones that haunted the old church – not the quiet dead. Shortly after they decided the church was unsafe to enter Mr. Holmes removed to another parish and after his departure the congregation requested Mr. Armstrong to return to his old parish again. The church was by this time beyond repair; the windows were shattered, the roof was partly gone, and the interior was exposed to every storm. It was decided to sell the old building, and it was sold in 1881 to Mr. J. Dunlop for the sum of $102. the bell being reserved and taken to Mooretown for the chapel attached to the church. The old set are nearly all dead; scarcely a stone is left to tell where the Sutherland church stood, and all that is left are the lowly graves of our loved ones. May they rest in peace. -

Written by Kate Little, and published in the Sarnia “Observer” 1881.

When the little church was completely free of debt and consecrated it must have been the crown of Great Grandfather’s satisfaction in his village.

It was in such a lovely spot, set between the great pine trees on the little rise, overlooking the forest and the blue St. Clair, its bright steeple a guide for mariners, its church yard, timber and bricks his gift. He had brought back the bell and Bible and prayer books, when he returned from England, and the communion service that was a gift of his friend, John Ruskin, and Great Aunt Thomas-Ann to Aunt Margaret that he planted a double row of cherry trees in the lane leading up to it, with benches to rest upon. He must have loved it, and enjoyed it to the end of his days. He died Feb. 16, 1850 aged 78 years and Great Grandmother three years later. One flat white marble stone covers the two graves which were below the north windows of the little church.

It was such a large part of the life of the settlement, but it was hard to see it fall into ruin, but the foundation logs were rotting, extensive repairs were needed, population was moving toward Mooretown, it was natural that the newer settlers should want to build the new church there. Great Grandfather was gone, and perhaps the Mother church on the river had fulfilled its need – nevertheless all the large Sutherland and Johnston connection bitterly resented and still resent the change. It had known such worthy folk – Bishop Strachan, Canon Salter, Bishop Armtage, Bishop Cronyn, Bishop Paddock, Admiral Vidal, Captain Wright, Thomas Sutherland Esquire and so many others, British born settlers whose names are still to be found along the river in Courtright, Mooretown, Corunna and Froomefield. It was while the family was visiting in England in 1841 that his daughter Grace made the pencil drawing of the church, copies of which we all prize, perspective quite wrong, but none of us would have it changed.

Great Grandfather gave each of his children a fine farm and his son Thomas settled on his and lived out his remaining days there on the river, lot #32. He seems to have been known in the community for his eccentricities, and his inability to do the simplest manual task in the usual way. Everybody in the family and the neighborhood had a fantastic tale to tell about him, how he stood in a soap kettle when chopping wood to avoid cutting his feet, how he ripped up the corner of a carpet to rub his shoes with it – many others.

I recall his staying all night at my Grandfather Parkinson’s, and when I told Bess Abbott that I had seen Great uncle Thomas and she scoffed at the idea, and said challengingly, “All right then, what did he do?” When I told her that he put a basin of water on a chair in the kitchen and threw water over his head and over the kitchen walls, Bess gave way at once, “THAT would be your Great Uncle Thomas”, she conceded.

His farming was a scandal to a thrifty neighborhood and must have been a trial to his father but I have always been grateful to Cousin Sutherland Johnston for telling us that he was a highly educated gentleman, that he spoke seven languages and had been a professor of languages in Edinburgh University. His ability lay, not on a pioneer farm, but in languages, literature and poetry, - but why would he have left his scholastic environment to come to a new country?

When Win took her Masters degree in Ann Arbor, and all the professors marched in wearing the gowns of their colleges, the most lovely and gorgeous one of all, to me was Edinburgh University. That was a truer environment for him than the oft-related soap kettle.

Thomas married Anne Cleaver, and had three daughters, Anne, Elizabeth and Emily. He died on January 5, 1880.

Laura Alison married Joseph Biddle who was a retired army officer, living in Sutherland, where he had received a crown grant of land, which he afterward sold to the Bucke family.

The Biddles lived mostly in Toronto. They had no children, and after his death Great Aunt Laura lived with the Williams family. She died in 1895.

Alexander helped his father on the farm and in the store, he married Sarah Hill and they had two children, Thomas who died in infancy and Sarah Grace, who was a favorite cousin of my father’s as they grew up together. She married about 1856 the Rev. Alex Williams, a rector of Sutherland Church who later became Bishop of Toronto.

Years ago in Stillwater I met a Dr. Freleigh who hailed me as a sort of “cousin” on account of some intermarriage connection with the Williams family. “Sally” had several children but I have never known them. Alex, Great Grandfather’s good dependable right hand, did not live long, dying in 1840, aged 36 years. His death is recorded on the stone of Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather, and he is buried beside them.

Edward had died in London before the family ever came to Canada. Thomas-Ann (and one wonders who she was named for, with a Thomas already in the family) washed up the dishes one winter’s night, January 29, 1834, put her shawl about her and ran down to the rivers edge to meet her lover, Richard Abbott, and they rowed across to St. Clair and were married. As fathers were in those days, Great Grandfather was dominant in his family, and would seem to have forbidden the match – she had made her choice, despite her father, but he helped her through some hard days in after years. Aunt Margaret and Cousin Eliza said she was most interesting and delightful company and a general favorite.

She had nine children, two dying in infancy. I did not know Ned or Charley, but George came to Uncle Jack’s and Aunt Emily’s golden wedding and called on us the morning after, and although I saw him so briefly I felt as if I had always known him. He died not long after. Her daughters were Cousins Grace, Bess, Agnes and Laura. Grace had married Colonel R. H. G. Minty of the 10th Michigan Cavalry, a brilliant match. They were a handsome couple, well-to-do, socially prominent, traveled, proud, secure.

When I knew Cousin Grace in Minneapolis, in her older years, money and security and husband had gone, although her pride remained to the end. She had ten children, a fine interesting lot of young people, and I am sure there were many hardships to be borne in their young days, but no one heard her complain, nor could any offer sympathy – a gay social, reminiscent of travel, geography, anecdote, these were her very delightful subjects of conversation. She lived to be quite old and six of her children went before she did, and I am sure she was both brave and charming to the end.

The older ones of her children were grown and married when they moved to Minneapolis and were delighted to get in touch with father. They were very often with us in Stillwater.

Her sister Bess, who lived with them, spent much time with us. She was Mother’s favorite. Agnes we knew less, but she was charming, too. Bert and Lynn were my favorites of the young cousins, both dead now but they were an unusually interesting and delightful family.

Grace was the youngest and the last at home, of Great Grandfather’s family and I think she was her father’s petted daughter, as her Mother had been before her. Mary Johnston has a doll’s rose decked cup and saucer of fine china, that was her mother’s and lovely pictures of her as a girl.

Her father wanted to keep her near him, and according to Eliza the trip on which he took his family back to Croyden in 1841 was planned to break up an attachment between Grace and a young naval officer, Lieutenant Sinclair. Eliza said that years afterward Captain Sinclair returned to Toronto. Grace had married, borne her family and died at the birth of the youngest, but the Captain met her cousin Sally Williams and was greatly affected by her resemblance to his lost love. He called on her and talked with tears in his eyes of her lovely character.

Kate Little, in her chronicles of the Johnston family and her father-in-law in his letters speak in terms of highest praise of Grace Sutherland. It seemed appropriate that the first marriage in Sutherland church should have been that of Grace Sutherland to Dr. Thomas Johnston, Nov. 24, 1847. They settled in Sarnia, healthy, happy, prosperous, young folks. It was the day of large families and there were nine, two dying in infancy. Thomas, Sutherland, Edward, Mary, Eliza, Kitty and Alex, but lovely Grace died of fever when the last baby came. Kitty married Jack Munro of Port Arthur, I have visited her there between boats.

One son Keith was a prisoner in Germany in the World War. We used to send him boxes. There were several daughters and a son Donald much younger.

Sutherland married Margaret Foulds and their children were Dorothy who married Harry Tireman, Gilbert who married Lois Haynes; Lilias married Emerson Secore and Grace unmarried. Thomas married Frances Brown of Goderich and had five children – Frances who married Billy Ellsworth, Kenneth whose wife was Kate McVicor, and Geoffrey who married Gladys Sythe, a Westerner, Helen Louise called Dot – Harry Holland. May was injured when four and is never any older.

Mary, Eliza and Alex have never married. They are most interesting talkers and have many pleasing mementoes of older days.

The Trinity church was built in Moore, to the north of Sutherland, in 1862 and the Sutherland church used as a cemetery chapel, until it seemed unsafe and was taken down. The cemetery still in use, is the oldest in that area. Trinity church burned in 1918, and a smaller church still in use replaced it. In this church the young people’s society is still called the Sutherland Anglican Young People, named after Grandfather, although he has been dead more than 80 years and not one now living has ever seen him.

My grandfather, George Sutherland had settled in Cobourg upon his arrival in Adanda in 1833, but I had not, until recently, known anything about my grandmother, Isabel Wilson, or her folk, and am much indebted to my cousin George Black of Toronto for the information.

They, too were Scottish folk. Perhaps they knew the Sutherlands in Edinburgh, where they had a dairy business but anyway, they crossed Canada on the same boat, the European in 1833 from Leith and made the journey together as far as Cobourg. Probably Isabel was the reason George settled there.

The eldest daughter of John and Janet (Galbraith) Wilson was Margaret and two days after the ship sailed a young stow-away appeared, an apprentice steamfitter, Crawford Glen. Whether the romance began then, or before the sailing date, Great Grandfather Wilson paid his fare and Margaret later became Mrs. Glen.

Of their other children, I have no data, Isabel married Grandfather and died in childbirth leaving two babies. Janet also married Grandfather. She left four babies. Robert died in Scotland, John settled in Kansas and died there. William settled in Peterbor Co. and Mary, the youngest and the age of Isabel’s Janet, became Mrs. Alexander Baptist. Isabel is buried in Cobourg, but the church was burned and there is no record of her marriage or burial.

Grandfather George was the only one of Great Grandfather’s family who did not settle at once on the River St. Clair. He remained in Cobourg where he presently married Isabel, daughter of John and Janet Wilson, probably in 1835, for their oldest child named for his grandfather and great grandfather was my father, Thomas Sutherland, born Jan 26, 1836 and in August of the next year his sister Janet was born and Isabel died, poor little mother, married with such high hopes and died so soon. Great Grandmother Wilson’s family was nearly grown, several were married, and after isabel’s death, Great Grandmother took her two babies home and six weeks later, her own youngest child was born and called Mary. Janet never lived with her father, but always with the Wilson grandparents and the two small girls grew up together and people thought they were twins.

A year or two passed and George had married Isabel’s youngest sister Janet. At the time there was a law in England, making marriage between a widower and the deceased wife’s sister unlawful, and while it was not Canadian law, most Canadians accepted it as right and fitting so that there was opposition in both families to the marriage.

Perhaps this was why they removed at this time the Old Niagara, where were born –

John born July 29, 1840

Alexander born March 13, 1842

Edward born October 19, 1843

And meantime they had removed from Old Niagara to settle on the St. Clair at Froomefield, where on April 29, 1845 William was born and Janet died, as her sister had died, in childbirth. She is buried in the Sutherland cemetery, but Isabel lives in Cobourg.

Great Grandmother’s heart must have been sad and bitter, with the daughters gone in their youth and six motherless little folk left. She kept Janet and brought her up with her own Mary and at about that time Thomas was taken to live with his Grandfather Sutherland, and the delicate infant that was Willie was nursed to health and strength, by some friends in St. Clair. One wonders how Grandfather managed, with five small sons, but I think his cares set lightly upon him.

Froomefield, named for Froome and Field Telfourd, had been built on the St. Clair above Mooretown. There were stores, and a little church and Mr. Telfourd’s still on the little stream called Telfourd Creek. Grandfather did tailoring and lived in a little red brick house. We still call it, as we pass, “Grandfather’s house”, although it passed from his hands more than seventy years ago. I have wanted to buy it, since I first saw it, but it is owned and beautifully kept up by a very pleasant family named Worwick.

It was a wild and lawless household when Grandfather lived there. No lessons, or proper upbringing, and Grandfather drinking too much. Father as the eldest son, was kept busy with keeping the house and even busier, concealing is brothers’ misdeeds from their father’s knowledge as Grandfather did not spoil the child by sparing the rod. Bess Abbott recalls “dear patient Tom” sitting on a tub in the yard and sewing up a tear in her dress so she would escape a scolding. I think that Father’s only leisure hours were spent on Telfourd Creek with his brothers and cousins.

Grandfather had been given a good education and social advantages that he should in turn have given to his sons, but he was, I think a kind father as he understood it, was well liked in the community and certainly must have been a fascinating gentleman, for presently he married a demure young widow, Mrs. Rowland Cross, with one small son, Rowland.

They were married at Froomefield in the little St. Mary’s church on Nov. 3, 1848 by Canon Salter. She must have had unsurpassed courage to take on such a job, but the boys all liked her and called her “mother”. She mended their clothes and sent them to school for such brief time as remained before Grandfather put them to trades. Father was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker, Uncle Jack was a mill wright, Uncle Sandy in a store. Uncle Will ran away and went on a boat. Edward left home early and kept no communication with his family, Rowland in the jewelry trade, but Rowland was born and made for the church.

Although no real relation, he was a favorite uncle to the whole family. He became a Congregational minister, and he and Aunt Nettie, on a small salary raised seven children and sent them all through college and all four sons entered the ministry, a tribute to their home life. All of Grandfather’s sons are such fine men, and the education they should have had would have so advanced them.

Father’s ill health and removal to Minnesota had deprived us of the early companionship of the many cousins and I did not know them until I returned to Sarnia to live bringing my family. Then I enjoyed them, Uncle Jack had married Emily Courtney and a dear and lovely soul she was. Their children were Arthur, Richard and John, whom I knew but slightly, Grace, who never married and lived at home, and Mary Etta, who married Will Ferguson. They were an exceptionally happy and devoted couple until Will’s sudden death in 1934. They had two sons. Etta lived in Toronto. Uncle Ned was married but I do not know to whom. Uncle Sandy had a lovely wife, Margaret Macintosh, and four daughters. Margaret, who married and died with her first baby and Minnie, who married Shirley Williams, and has two children, Sutherland and Margaret. Laura married Joe Williams of Bay City and Toots married Douglas McCall of Toronto, and died a few years ago.

Uncle Will’s wife was Marian Lapham of Buffalo. His only son William was drowned at the age of 17, sailing in Saginaw Bay. His daughter Minnie married Newton North and lives in Lake Charles, La. No children. While we lived in Minnesota father got in touch with his step-mother and youngest half-brother George and his half-sisters Laura and Annie, and Uncle Rowland and they all visited us. It was so nice to have “own folks” coming to visit us.

Grandmother was a tiny little old lady with bright black eyes and a Scotch burr, whom my children, already equipped with two grandmothers, immediately called “Grandma-with-the-cap”. Life had not been easy for Mary McLean. Born in Glascow, February 28, 1824, she united with the Presbyterian Church at the age of fourteen and at fifteen years came to Canada living at Mooretown, Ontario. In 1842 she married a young minister, Rev. Rowland Cross, who died four months later. Her son was born seven months after his father’s death, and after five years of widowhood she married Grandfather. I do not know how long they lived in Froomefield, I should so have hated to leave that darling house on the beautiful St. Clair, but they removed to Oil Springs, and lived there for many years. I think her children were born there and Grandfather died there, though he is buried in Sutherland cemetery.

After his death she lived with her son George in Fairmont, Minnesota until her death November 23, 1902.

She and Grandfather had nine children.

Euphemia born August 14, 1849

Grace Hogg born November 14, 1850

Mary born March 14, 1852

George born Dec. 21, 1853 – died at 3 months

Twin daughters born Jan. 26, 1856 – died two days later

Thomas-Ann born July 20, 1858

Laura born June 1, 1863

George born April 6, 1868

Of all Grandfather’s large family of sons and daughters, only George is still living in 1937.

Euphemia married Ned Bassett. She had four daughters and one son, Arthur. Her daughter Minnie I knew and loved. She died some years ago. Nellie married Thomas Wood and lives in Rochester, Betha in Toledo, but I do not know her married name, and the youngest daughter Dora, lives in Sarnia and taught my children in school there, and now has my grandson in her school. It is interesting that she is living in the little house my father built for his own home there nearly seventy years ago.

Aunt Grace and Uncle Willie Black lived in Cobourg. They visited us in Sarnia. They had one daughter Minnie Mattson. I did not know Aunt Mary, who married I. Henry Gorman II, Paul Goode. Aunt Annie was a bright spirit, a gay charm of manner, a lovely singing voice and a favorite wherever she went. I loved her dearly, Aunt Annie who died in Florida at her summer home at Punta Gorda.

Her sons Rowland Roy lived in Detroit, Norman and Kenneth died while yet young men, a little daughter Georgia died of scarlet fever and her daughter Laura who came to visit us in Hutchinson lived with me for a year and married Maurice’s nephew, Perley Pendergast. They have seven living children. Laura like her mother is cordial and charming and has a lovely contralto voice.

Aunt Annie had married at 19, Peter Coventry Goldie a Presbyterian minister, much older than herself, and no two people could be more unlike. He was the foster son of a Scotch family named Goldie, settled in Canada, good people though of humble station, and he worked and took care of them faithfully till their death, and then educated himself for the ministry. A romantic tale unfolds here. A stern old Scottish laird named Peter McGill had a son who fell in love with his sister’s governess, Katherine Coventry and married her secretly. Katherine’s happiness was short lived, discovery of the marriage, the old Earl’s wrath (would he be an Earl, though? I do not think it, but it sounds well), the birth of her son and Katherine’s death followed soon. The marriage stands recorded in the village church register with no question of legitimacy. Nevertheless, the old laird sent his gardener’s family to Canada with the child to rear as their son. One wonders what was the rest of the story, what the young father was about, who received the rightful inheritance of young Peter Coventry McGill. So instead of his rightful rank and station and inheritance he was reared as the son of a poor farmer in a simple home.

Laura is very pleased that her eldest son named one of his boys Peter McGill, but I think more highly of the Goldie farm folks. Laura Sutherland married I Rev. Arthur Ogilvie, who died in 1891, as did her infant son, II, Warren Russel. Their three children are George, Elinor and Warren.

George Sutherland married Augusta Schnecloth and they had a fine large family. The oldest son is named for my father, and there was Mary McLean, and Helen, Ronald, Rowland, - I lost count there but Roy says there are several more.

While Uncle Sandy’s Minnie and Laura, Uncle Jack’s Etta and Aunt Annie’s Laura are all near and dear to me, my very OWN cousins are those of Aunt Janet’s family. Little Janet grew up in Cobourg at her Grandfather Wilson’s home on the hill next door to their neighbors John and Agnes Wilson Black and she married their son Andrew, June 24, 1858. They lived for years in Cobourg with a growing family around them, until they came to Michigan and settled near Uncle Sandy at Maple Ridge.

Family of Andrew Black (born April 12, 1831) and Janet Sutherland (born August 26, 1837 – married June 24, 1858.


Isabella born March 30, 1859 – died in infancy June 10, 1859

John Rowland born April 16, 1860 – died June 10, 1939

George Alexander born March 20, 1862 – died November 6, 1943

Agnes born August 2, 1864 – Died September 1, 1955

Laura Sutherland born December 13, 1866 – February 14, 1961

Margaret Jane born February 10, 1869 – died October 31, 1954

Mary Janet born March 31, 1871 – died February 11, 1930

Thomas Franklin born June 15, 1873 – March 2, 1963

Elizabeth Alice born July 10, 1875 – May 19, 1969

Frederick William born July 30, 1878 – August 22, 1961

Andrew Douglas Ross born November 21, 1880 – died December 26, 1933

Annie Goldie born October 29, 1886 – June 28, 1975

Andrew Black died Dec. 15, 1903 and Janet Sutherland Black died March 23, 1925.

With a family like this, I have cousins and second and third cousins all up and down Michigan, but the ones I really know are Laura Black Nisbet and her husband Jim and their daughter Helen Mead, George Black who writes me family data from Toronto and Fred Black’s daughter Janet who I met through Minnie Williams.

Minnie is a dear friend and near neighbor, and like myself a devoted grandmother.

Lastly it is of my father that I would speak and I have no words to describe his beautiful lovable character. He was so upright, so wise, so kindly, so tolerant, so generous, so true. He had all the simple homely virtues and I do not know of a fault. Uncle Sandy was most like him. I am sure Minnie and Laura say all these same things about their beloved father. There was always a train of children at his heels. One of Judy’s pleasant recollections of him is that whatever he was doing they liked to ask him “Can we help, Grandpa?” and his answer so sweetly given that they accepted it as a compliment to their assistance “Yes dears, you are VERY little help” and Win recalls the tiny licorice sandies administered as “smilers” when things went wrong.

Father had a beautiful voice, a high sweet tenor and he and mother sang together of a twilight evening, dozens of old ballads, Scotch, English and Irish.

Father married Mother Nov. 23, 1864 and lived for a year or more in Oil Springs where their first baby Elva Florence was born, and lived for less than a year. I was born in Sarnia June 29, 1867 and two years or so later my brother George James, named for his two grandfathers, was born. Dark days followed, for father’s health failed and he had to remove to a more bracing climate in Minnesota and little George sickened and died with father so far away.

Before mother and I went out to join him, our round of family visits included his father at Oil Springs, and I recall Grandfather sitting by a fireplace and playing tea party with me, a vague recollection, but I am glad to remember even slightly my two grandfathers. I never knew either grandmother.

A little American home for my conservative Canadian parents; a little daughter Melissa, whose brief life was but ten days, and when I was nine years old, a little daughter that was Mother’s greatest joy, Alma Lavina. Father and Mother were so kindly and hospitable and made so many friends, but I think that is true of all the Sutherland connection. They like people. They are cordial and generous and open hearted. My sister and I have the conventional upbringing of our day and class. We helped about the housework, learned to bake bread and cakes, prepare meals, can fruit and sew.

Alma had a beautiful contralto voice and was quick to learn anything that interested her. Our friends were always welcome at our home. Mother was a bit averse to our going out as much as we entertained. She was a great favorite with all our young friends.

From the time I was seven years old, my dearest most loved friend was Harriet Sawyer. We shared all our thoughts and ambitions and played house for long days down on the flat rocks above the quarry. I have never lost the sense of loss and sorrow after her sudden death, nearly thirty years ago, but I have grown closer in later years to her sister Helen Wilson, now my most beloved friend.

Five years of primary teaching and I married Maurice Pendergast and removed to his farm home in Hutchinson, June 29, 1893.

Crowded years and four healthy living babies –

Judith Mary born April 22, 1894

Thomas Sutherland born June 15, 1859

Maurice Harrison born March 7, 1897

Winning Susannah born May 10, 1901

Mother found it very had to let us marry and leave home, but was adoring and proud of all the babies and liked the sons-in-law. Alma married September 19, 1900 Arthur Colby and lived first in Hastings and then Minneapolis.

Their children were –

Helen Edith born July 13, 1901

Arthur Sutherland born 1904

Anna May

In 1905 the Colby family removed to the state of Washington, and shortly after, my own family settled in Canada in the town where I was born, where I found a congenial environment and many relations and family connections, and I think conservative Canada was a good place to bring up a family. I was contented there, but business reverses, hard times, property losses came - - -

We lived for five years in New England and then settled in Detroit where Tom and Win are located.

I think our children are happy and all live near us.

Harry has a lovely wife and two daughters, I see myself as a child in Constance, she is the one that should have borne my name, instead of Elizabeth Winning.

Tom’s appearance and build, his eyes and his walk are like my father’s and his son, another Thomas Sutherland, is clever with his hands like father. Tom and Edyth have, I think unusually congenial tastes, both being fond of horses and riding, canoeing motor trips, woodland trails and camping. We are very fond of these two daughters, and of Judy’s husband. I think they are all friends, as well as relations, and often come together here at holidays as they will do this Christmas.

Win took her B. A. in institutional management at Minnesota, and an M. A. in education at Ann arbor. She is recently appointed General Supervisor of the Board of Education lunchrooms of Detroit.

Judy and her husband after five years in Columbia and three in the Canadian West are back in Sarnia and building a house down on the St. Clair below Corunna. I wish it had been on land that her great great-grandfather had owned, but it was a King’s grant of about that same period. Her sons Floyd and Donald are the sixth generation of the family to live on the St. Clair.

Alma’s Helen was early widowed and Anne has one daughter Phyllis. Sutherland was abroad for years after the great war, but they are all at home now, drawn there by Alma’s serious illness, and held there, I am sure, by her satisfaction in their presence during her long slow convalescence. Alma says her son has a high sweet tenor voice like Father’s. I hope he knows some of the same old ballads Father sang.

One of the satisfactions of my life has been the many good friends I have made every where I have lived, and among the best and dearest are my mother-in-law Judith Pendergast and her daughter Lydia Todd. My good and understanding husband is very like them.

Time goes so quickly, we hear and read of our forebears and they are old and gone, and our own dear folk grow old and frail and go, and quite suddenly we ourselves are the older folk as young life goes on around us. There is time for memory instead of work and one of my happy recollections is of my father and mother sitting in the firelight of the Franklin stove and singing “Old Hundred”.

“Look where we may, the wide world o’er,
Those lighted faces smile no more,
We burn the pages that they read
Their written words we linger o’er.
But in the sun, they cast no shade,
No voice is heard, no sign is made,
No step is on the conscious floor,
Yet love with dream and faith will trust
Since He who knows our need is just,
That somewhere, somehow, meet we must.


Here are excerpts from a history of the Johnston family in Canada, complied by their cousin Kate Little, largely from a diary of William Johnston, and belonging to Geoffrey Johnston, who is my second cousin. I have copied such items as refer to the Sutherland family.


The first mention of the Sutherland name comes when the newly arrived Mr. Johnston came from London, Ontario, to buy a farm on the River St. Clair recorded in diary and letters.

“The owner of the farm” as he elates, “named his price which I thought fairly reasonable and he said “There is a notary up at Sutherland’s store. He assists at times in the store and post office when he has no business of his own. I will give you fifty to bind the bargain and Mr. Gurd and Mr. Mathews will sign the agreement as witnesses, and you and your wife may meet me at Sutherland’s.

“In the morning Mr. Gurd and I started for the Post Office and the deed was soon drawn, signed and sealed. Just then the monthly mail arrived and the notary went to assist young Sutherland in the distribution. I was anxious to see Mr. Sutherland and asked the young man where his father was. He said, ‘Father was at a funeral yesterday and was shocked to see that there was no burial place. They just laid the poor man in a pasture where cows and pigs were running at large, so this morning he went up on the hill to measure a piece of ground for a graveyard. He took two or three workmen with him and ought to be back soon’. Just then Mr. Sutherland and his men arrived. He was glad to see us and congratulated me on my judgement in purchasing the farm, remarking that it was men with large families that were wanted for settlers. It is lovely spot where our future church will be built”. We talked for sometime and he asked me to call and see his family, but as it was a busy time on the farm and I felt I had taken a lot of Mr. Gurd’s time I declined the invitation and said goodbye”.


“In the meantime my son Thomas (Geoffrey’s grandfather) had returned from New Orleans, and was assistant with Dr. Gudgeon with the military who were stationed at Sutherland. (Troops to put down the Papeneau Rebellion 1837 – 1838)”.


“Thomas, although the eldest of 18 children was still unmarried. He had gone to live with his brother George. He had a large practice, but the pay was small and in a great many cases there was no pay at all. He made it a practice never to sue for a debt. If a man would not pay honestly, he let the matter drop”.


“In September 1834 my brother-in-law Mr. Little died. He and Dr. Hyde (a son-in-law) were the first of our connections to be laid in Sutherland cemetery”.


“Sarnia had grown to be a good sized town but no doctor had been there to remain for any length of time, so Thomas decided to leave Moore and open an office in Sarnia. He was quite an acquisition to the place, as a beau for the young ladies. He could talk politics to their father’s and help the mothers by advising as to the welfare of the children. So Thomas became indispensable and his practice was large, but Thomas had no mate and when asked when he was going to be married he would laugh in his sleeve. He had done his share of flirting but he had been "serving seven years" to win the choice of his heart and when his engagement to Grace Sutherland was announced everyone was pleased. If he had served three times seven for such a wife, it could not have been too much. They were married Nov. 24, 1846 and the world went well with them”.


“Sickness and sorrow and death came among the Johnston family and left the poor wife and mother an invalid and then –

“For five yeas we had a rest from trouble and had got so we could talk about our dead and laugh over the fun we used to have. Then Thomas’ wife was expecting an addition to her family, a lovely boy arrived, and at first all appeared to be well, but fever set in and in a few short days the end had come. It was a dreadful blow. Left with eight small children I wonder how my son lived through it for he simply adored her. As a daughter, wife and mother she was beyond compare, and it was surprising that Thomas did not lose his mind. It hastened his mother’s death. She fretted so much about he poor little children left with no mother’s loving care. Old Rose lived with them and did her best, but Tom never got over his wife’s death. He continued his practice in Sarnia but his heart was not in it.”

In 1866 the office of Registrar for the County of Lambton became vacant and Dr. T. W. Johnston was appointed to the position.

More deaths chronicled to the Johnston family’s large connection. The wife, Mary Beel and the narrator Hugh Johnston passed on. The next change was the death of old Rose, who had come out from Ireland with the Johnstons and had gone from one family of them to another whenever sickness, or birth, or death called her. She died at the home of her son John Coulter in 1873. She was a Roman Catholic, but she did not want to buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery, but to lie near the Johnstons with whom she had spent her life, and the Episcopal clergy were to bury her, - all of her wishes were carried out.

Dr. Johnston and all his family came down from Sarnia to pay the last mark of respect to her memory. It might be said of her “well done, good and faithful servant”. Surely she will have her reward. The doctor was the next to go and died of apoplexy after two days illness. It was a shock to the town and country, for as a doctor and registrar as had been so long identified with them that his death was a public calamity.

His remains were brought to the Sutherland cemetery and interred beside his wife and sons.

(This had originally been prepared by Winning Pendergast and was completed on Dec. 6, 1937. Ellen Black Wild did an excellent job of re-typing it for Christmas gifts to her siblings on Dec. 25, 1939. I have attempted to copy it, proofing it as I went. But, I don't pretend to believe that there are no typos and errors. If you read this far, I will really appreciate it if you will let me know of any errors you may find. Many thanks. Margaret Jones, June, 2005).


Agnes Black Andrew Douglas Ross Black Annie Goldie Black
Elizabeth Alice Black Frederick William Black George Alexander Black
John Rowland Black Laura Sutherland Black Margaret Jane Black
Mary Janet Black Thomas Francis Black