William Monaghan and Phoebe Mills of Hope Township (1831-1889)



William Monaghan (born 08 June 1804) married Phoebe Mills (born 1803) in July 1829 in Drumragh Parish, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. They emigrated to Canada West 14 May 1831, settling in Canton, Hope Township. The following description of the trip appeared in Phoebe's obituary in the 04 October 1889 "Port Hope Weekly Guide":

DIED. MONAGHAN. - At Port Hope, on Wednesday, 2nd October, Phoebe Mills, relict of the late William Monaghan, aged 86 years. Funeral on Friday at 4 p.m. The subject of this brief notice was one of the oldest residents in this part of Ontario, having lived for a period of nearly sixty years in the township of Hope and town of Port Hope. The deceased was a native of Ireland, and in the year 1831, in company with her husband, the late Wm. Monaghan, emigrated from the county Tyrone, and after a stormy voyage lasting several weeks, they landed in Quebec. Another slow and tedious trip was then began towards the west, the Frenchman's "batteau" being about the only means of transportation in those times. Mr. and Mrs. Monaghan at last reached this port, where they disembarked and drove to Canton, or "Powers' Corners" as it was called. Here they settled down for a time, deceased's husband carrying on a small boot and shoe trade. Yielding to the opportunities of friends in the States, the emigrants sold out and went to Philadelphia, then to Utica and later to Watertown, in Jefferson County, N.Y., where they lived for some years, afterwards coming back to Canada. Subsequently they removed to the "Guideboard," now Welcome, where they lived for a good number of years before coming to Port Hope. Deceased's husband died in 1874.

According to the 1880 "Dodd's Directory", William opened a boot and shoe shop in Canton village, formerly Hope Church, centrally located in Hope Township on Lots 12 and 13 in the 4th Concession. Shortly after that, the family moved to the United States, where, in his prayer book brought with him from Ireland, he states, "...he came to Waterton May the 5th 1832 Jefferson County State of New York America." John and Rachel were born in Watertown on 04 September 1832 and 04 September 1835. They were back in Canton, Hope Township, by the birth of their third child, Charles, on 09 August 1838, where they were settled on Lot 12 in Concession 4. Margaret Jane was born on 27 June 1840, William James on 22 December 1842 and Phoebe Ann on 08 October 1844. On 10 May 1845, both Charles and William James died from causes currently unknown. The last child, Thomas Orr, was born on 28 November 1846.

"Dodd's Directory" has William opening a boot and shoe shop in 1847 at Welcome village, better known as the Guide Board, situated upon Lots 12 and 13 in the 2nd and 3rd Concessions of Hope, two and a half miles from Port Hope on the Toronto Gravel Road.

"The Guide" for 31 March 1855 had the following advertisement:

TO-LET, that Tavern located at the Guide Board, and known as the "Three-Mile House." For particulars apply to the proprietor on the premises.

Hope, Mar. 7, 1855 WM. MONAHAN

On 10 March 1856, "The Guide" reported the following event under the heading, "Police Court":

(Monday, Feb. 25, 1856) - Wm. Monaghan was charged by Robert Irvine, keeper of the check gate on the Guide Board road, with passing his gate without paying toll. The prosecutor being sworn testified that both the defendant and his man passed through the gate twice, without paying the toll, or producing a ticket to show that he had done so at the Guide Board gate. Defendant admitted this statement to be correct. He did not pay his toll at the Check gate for the simple reason that he had paid it to the keeper of the gate at the Guide Board, and he did not produce that ticket because he had none to produce, and by an arrangement which, in common, with many persons, in the neighbourhood, he had made with Irvine previous to these occasions, none was required of him. Moore Fanning, the keeper of the toll-gate, at the Guide Board, having been examined, he substantiated the statement of defendant, and the case was accordingly dismissed, prosecutor paying the costs.

William moved to Port Hope shortly after that, as in the 1861 Port Hope census he is listed as a bailiff (56) with his wife, Phoebe (54) and children Margaret J. (21), Phoebe A. (17) and Thomas (14). In the 1871 census, he is listed as a shoemaker.

William passed away from apoplexy on 20 April 1874 and is buried in St John's Anglican cemetery in Port Hope, Ontario. His wife, Phoebe, died of old age on 02 October 1889 and is buried beside him.

William seems to have had at least two siblings who came to Canada: Margaret (born Co. Tyrone, Ireland: June 1814-05 Aug 1894), wife of Thomas Smith (born Co. Wexford, Ireland: 1810- 07 Oct 1854) who settled in Port Hope; and Charles (born around 1813) who settled in Esquesing Township in Halton County. I would be most grateful to anyone who might be able to add further information about these two.

Contributed by Peter Bolton:


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