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Welcome to my Stewart family page. This page is part of my family history website. This page covers the birth family and cousins of my great-grandmother Jean Stewart who lived in Hamilton, Wentworth County, Ontario, Canada. If you are just arriving here for the first time then you may wish to start here.
Please Note: This page is intended only as a narrative historical overview of this family. There is additional detailed information available for almost ever person presented on this page. To avoid the unnecessary work of double-entering some data, the additional information can be found in the accompanying GEDCOM database. Please make sure you click on the INDEX button at the bottom of the page so you don't miss out on potentially valuable additional information.
The research presented on this page is not mine alone. It contains information submitted by all the Fellow Researchers listed below. I am indebted to them for their generous contributions. This page is intended as a place for researchers to freely and cooperatively share our research with each other. It would be too cumbersome a task to reference each piece of data as to which researcher it has come from. The information shown on this page should be understood as a product of ALL of the Fellow Researchers. I am merely the editor and not the sole author. - Ryk
This page continues the story of my ancestral Stewart family. This family originally came from Upper Strathearn in the Highlands of Perthshire, Scotland. They immigrated to Canada in the early 1830s and settled in Puslinch Township, Wellington County, Ontario and in 1871 the following branches moved to the city of Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario. The story of their life in Puslinch can be found on the Stewart of Puslinch Page. Their earlier Scottish ancestry can be found on the Stewart of Dalveich and Stewart of Ardvorlich Page.
The three branches of this family who moved from Puslinch to Hamilton, who are presented below are:
The family of Hugh Stewart and Mary Tait
The family of Robert Stewart and Elizabeth McCallum
The family of William Stewart and Agnes McLean
These three branches are all descended from the Comrie Stewarts of Puslinch. Hugh Stewart is my own direct ancestor. Robert Stewart was his older brother. And William Stewart was their youngest uncle. By 1871 all three branches were living in Hamilton.
The name Stewart is an occupational surname. It comes from the occupational title of "steward". A steward is a person who is responsible for looking after someone else's property. In the case of a large estate, the steward would essentially be the household manager -- responsible for overseeing all the daily functions of the house & property and supervising all the staff.
In the early 12th century, King David I of Scotland rewarded one of his loyal knights, Walter Fitz Alan, by granting him the office of High Steward of Scotland, making Walter the most powerful man in Scotland next to the king himself. The office of High Steward became hereditary being passed on for six generations through the line of eldest sons. By the 13th century, with the 4th generation of High Stewards, the title had evolved into a family surname. In Gaelic, the hard "d" sound was pronounced more like our English "t" and thus the name became "Stiubhairt" in Gaelic or "Stewart" in English.
In the late 13th century, Walter Stewart, the 6th High Steward of Scotland, who fought alongside William Wallace and Robert the Bruce in the Scottish Wars of Independence, was rewarded for his loyalty to King Robert the Bruce by a marriage with Princess Marjorie Bruce, the king's daughter. Their son Robert became King Robert II of Scotland, who was the founder of the Royal House of Stewart, which ruled Scotland for over three hundred years and in 1603 under King James VI became the ruling dynasty of the combined thrones of the United Kingdom. King James VI of Scotland became known as King James I of the United Kingdom and was the patron of the King James Bible.
The name "Stuart", by which the later Kings of Great Britain became known, is a corrupted English spelling of the Scottish "Stewart". The ruling class of King James' England was Norman. The Normans were French speaking and the ancient French alphabet did not include the letter "w", so they spelled the new king's name "Stuart"; however in Scotland, the name remained "Stewart". Another common corruption was "Steuart", however this form is extremely rare today and has probably morphed into "Stuart", or returned to "Stewart".
If you follow through the accompanying pages you will find that our Stewart family in Hamilton can be traced back to King Robert Stewart above.
For more information on the ancient Stewarts, click here.
Click here to learn more about surnames.
Hugh Stewart was born about 1840 on the family farm in Puslinch Township, Wellington County, just southwest of present-day Guelph. Hugh's birth family can be found on the Stewarts of Puslinch Web, specifically the Comrie Stewarts of Puslinch Page. His family were still living in a log cabin at the time that Hugh was born. Hugh was one of four children born to Robert Stewart and Mary Gillespie. Hugh's siblings were: Robert Stewart, Catharine Stewart, and James Stewart. Following Scots custom, Hugh was named after his paternal grandfather, Hugh Gillespie.
When Hugh Stewart was only nine years old his parents and his grandmother (who lived with the family) all died within 11 months of each other. Their deaths left Hugh and his sister and brothers all orphaned under the age of 11. Hugh and his siblings were raised by their uncle Peter Stewart and his sister, their aunt, Catherine Stewart. In the early 1860s the family moved from their log cabin into the stone farm house that still stands today.
In 1871 Hugh moved to Hamilton with his wife, Mary Tait, and their first son, Robert Albert Stewart. This was the same year that Mary's father, Leonard Tait, died, followed only a few months later by his wife, Jane Ord. Leonard and Jane were already living in Hamilton, having moved there some years earlier from Puslinch. Ten years later, the 1881 census shows the younger children of Leonard and Jane Tait living with Hugh and Mary Stewart. It seems possible that Hugh and Mary moved to Hamilton in order to raise Mary's siblings. Having been orphaned himself, I suspect Hugh would have felt compelled to look after his wife's younger siblings.
In Hamilton, Hugh worked initially as a machinist and general labourer, but in 1877 he opened a grocery store at Hunter and Walnut streets with his brother-in-law, Robert Tait. The family store was known as "Tait & Stewart Grocers". Robert Tait eventually moved to London after which Hugh and Mary moved the grocery store to the corner of Ferguson & King William streets.
It's curious to note that nearby was another corner grocer named Hugh Gillespie. Could this be Hugh Stewart's grandfather or an uncle? Did Hugh Stewart decide to become a grocer because of his grandfather or uncle? The answer to these questions will have to be left to future research.
Hugh Stewart died suddenly in 1885 at the young age of 44. The cause of his death is unknown (although heart and stroke issues seem to run in the family). After Hugh's death Mary ran the grocery store herself with the help of their son, Leonard, who eventually took over the family store. Mary Tait faced grief three more times before she died in 1927. Four of her children died young: Robert, James, Maggie, and David. All of the above, except James, are buried in an unmarked grave in Hamilton Cemetery.
Hugh STEWART, b: ABT 1840 in Puslinch Township, Wellington County, Upper Canada Colony, British North America. Hugh married on 17 SEP 1868 in Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario to Mary TAIT (according to the civil marriage registration; the church marriage has not been located). She was born 5 JAN 1844 in Beauharnois Canal, Châteauguay Valley, Huntingdon County, Quebec, Canada just shortly after her parents immigrated. Her birth family can be found on the Tait Family Page. Hugh and Mary had the following children only two of whom survived to adulthood and only one of whom lived long enough to watch her children grow up and only one who had descendants beyond the next generation.
For fellow researchers of this family: It is significant to note that Hugh Stewart and Mary Tait followed Scots naming patterns for the first names of their children. They also used various maternal surnames as middle names for their children: Tait is Mary's maiden name; Ord is the surname of Mary Tait's mother; Gillespie is Hugh's mother's maiden name. However no corresponding person has been found with a surname of Albert. It is speculated therefore that Leonard Tait's mother's maiden name was probably Albert.
Harriet Brown (wife of John Stewart Brown) recalled that Hugh and Mary had an additional child named Agnes, but no record of any such Agnes has been found. It is possible that she may have been thinking of "Maggie", but Maggie died before Harriet was born, so Harriet would not likely have remembered her. It may also be that Harriet was confused, thinking about Agnes Stewart, daughter of Leonard Tait Stewart, who would have been Harriet's husband's cousin.
Robert STEWART b: Jun 20, 1837 in Puslinch Township, Wellington County, Upper Canada Colony, British North America, son of Robert Stewart and Mary Gillespie. Robert's birth family can be found on the Stewarts of Puslinch Web, specifically the Comrie Stewarts of Puslinch Page. Robert was the older brother of Hugh Stewart above, and like Hugh, Robert was orphaned as a child. Robert was only 11 years old when his parents died (likely from smallpox). He was raised by his uncle and aunt, Peter and Catharine Stewart in Puslinch, Wellington County, Ontario. Sometime before 1861 Robert followed the railroad boom to Illinois where he lived in Chicago for a few years. By 1866 he returned to Ontario and settled in the booming industrial city of Hamilton where Robert is believed to have become a grocer, like his brother Hugh. In 1901 he was working as a beer agent in Hamilton. Robert married on 15 JUN 1866 in Central Presbyterian Church, Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario to his first cousin Elizabeth (a.k.a. Edith) MCCALLUM. She was born 4 APR 1832 in Gorbals, Lanark, Scotland as the daughter of William McCallum and Margaret Stewart (Robert's father's sister). They had the following children:
Minnie married secondly on 1 OCT 1924 in Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario, Canada to Beniah BAER b: 1877 in Canada. It is not known if they had any children, however given their ages at the time it is unlikely.
William STEWART was born in Moral, near St. Fillans, and baptized on 22 NOV 1824 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland. He was the youngest uncle of Hugh and Robert Stewart, above. Like Hugh and Robert, he came from the same Stewart family farm in Puslinch Township, Wellington County and moved down to the city of Hamilton. William's birth family can be found on the Stewarts of Puslinch Web, specifically the Comrie Stewarts of Puslinch Page.
As the youngest of his birth family, William would have been only eight or nine years old when his family left Scotland and came to Canada. William married Agnes MCLEAN presumably in Puslinch circa 1850. No record has been found for the marriage. Scots naming patterns would suggest that she was probably the daughter of a Norman & Agnes Mclean however such a family has not yet been identified.
Sometime in late 1871 or early 1872 (after the census and before Archibald was born), William and Agnes together with their family moved to Hamilton where William seems to have worked as a general labourer. It is not known exactly where he worked, or at what job. William's son, Edward, is listed in the 1881 census in Hamilton as a grocer and he may have been working with his cousin, Hugh Stewart who owned a grocery store. William Stewart and Agnes McLean are buried in Hamilton Cemetery nearby to William's nephew Hugh Stewart (above).
Norman Murray STEWART b: MAR 1890 in Hamilton, Wentworth County, Ontario. He married a woman named Anita. Norman is listed as living in Hamilton at the time of his mother's death in 1944. His niece, Margaret Stewart Ritter, says that Murray "married the daughter of a wealthy editor in Detroit, and went there to live and worked for his father in law. Rumor had it that his life was difficult, with a nagging wife, bossy father in law, and no children, although he became wealthy."
Alexander McLean STEWART b: JUL 1870 in Puslinch, Wellington, Ontario, Canada. Alexander worked as a CPR expressman in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He retired to Grimsby, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada where he later died. Alexander married firstly in 1902 to Edith Ann LYON b: JUN 1876 in Richmond, Ontario, Canada. They had the following children:
Obit: Pilot Officer Maxwell MacLean
January 12, 1942, Loss of S.S. Yngaren, Royal Canadian Air Force, Service Number C/8536
Ottawa Memorial, Ottawa, Ontario. Age 35, Son of Mr. A.M. Stewart, Grimsby, Ontario
Max Stewart was one of the most popular teachers at Chilliwack Junior Senior High School. Stewart was held in high regard at the University of British Columbia, where he starred in rugby and track and was the president of the men's athletic association in his senior year. While at the University of British Columbia, Max Stewart joined the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He came to Chilliwack as a teacher in 1934 and enlisted in the R.C.A.F. with two other teachers, Neil MacGregor and Allan Kirkby. At the time of his departure, Max received tremendous applause from several hundred pupils and friends. Max lost his life, January 12, 1942 when crossing the Atlantic, aboard S.S. Yngaren, in transit from Halifax, Nova Scotia to the United Kingdom. The Yngaren was part of a convoy HX. 168 that left Halifax, Nova Scotia, January 2, 1942 and fell victim to the German U-43 commanded by Wolfgang Lüth. Identified as a straggler, the Swedish steamship Yngaren weighed 5,246 tons and was sunk by torpedo 600 miles west of Ireland. Six passengers were killed. Wolfgang Lüth sunk 46 merchant vessels, 1 warship and damaged two others during the war and was decorated with the Knights Cross with oakleaves. He was accidentally shot and killed by a sentry May 13, 1945. Max Stewart is commemorated on the Ottawa Memorial, Ontario. He was the son of Mr. A.M. Stewart of Grimsby, Ontario.
Alexander McLean Stewart married secondly or thirdly to a woman named Alice whose surname is unknown. She was from the Grimsby area in Lincoln County, Ontario, Canada.
There was a James Stewart who immigrated from Scotland to Hamilton very early. He became a prosperous local manufacturer. It's not known if he was related or not to our Stewarts. I'm compiling here any information I find on him as I stumble across it.
James STEWART, b ca. 1811 in Scotland, d 24 DEC 1890 in Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario, Canada, age 79, Presbyterian, manufacturer.
People researching this family include the following. If you wish your name added to the fellow researchers' list, please contact me.
|Hamilton, Ontario||all branches of this family|
|Brian Stewart||Hamilton, Ontario||all branches of this family|
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This page was last updated on June 10, 2009