The Islands: Biographies: Amherst Island Bio 5

Amherst Island Biographies 5


Courtesy of Ruth Haddow

I have a little more to add to your story of Samuel Pentland, on whose land the Pentland cemetery was created.

Samuel Pentland, b. 10 October 1789 near Kircubbin, Ballyohigan, County Down, N. Ireland, came to Amherst Island with his wife, Mary Jane (Finnigan) Pentland, in 1823. Samuel was the son of Samuel and Mary nee Linton. He died Dec 1853 and is buried in Dungannon Cemetery, Huron County. He married Mary Jane Finnigan 19 April 1821 in Ireland. She was born 21 May 1798 and died 3 Nov 1878 and is also buried in Dungannon.

Their first child, a son John, was born on 7 March 1822 in Ireland. They had 7 more children, all born on Amherst Island - Alexander b. 10 August 1824. Eliza Jean b. 17 September 1826, Mary b. 19 August 1828, Samuel Evans Pentland b. 17 October 1830 - d. 24 July 1831, Thomas b. 9 June 1832, Samuel Gladwin b. 25 December 1834, and Robert b. 1840.

They came with several other families from Ireland, hoping to better themselves and own their own land. The landlord would not sell the farmland they were renting, so when Crown Land became available in Huron County, Ontario in 1842-43, Alexander Pentland and Tom Anderson were sent to Huron County to 'spy out the land'. They liked what they saw and took back good reports.

Each one bought 100 acres of bush just north of Dungannon, Ontario. Several families left Amherst Island for Huron County at the same time - Pentland, Finnigan, Anderson, Glenn, Girvin, McMath & McQuoid.

Samuel Evans Pentland was buried in a front corner of the farm and his grave was the beginning of the Pentland cemetery on Amherst Island. The family built a dry stone wall around the cemetery exactly like many in Ireland.

Note on Alex: Alex's 3rd wife was the Widow Jane (Berry) Bickle. His first wife, Anne Elizabeth Crawford died at age 25 - no children. His 2nd wife was Mary Hunter. They had 4 daughters in 12 years of marriage, & poor Mary died. Alex married Jane the year after Mary died & they had 3 children - 2 daughters & a son, Alexander Berry Gladwin Pentland who was my father-in-law Benson Pentland's father.

This information was taken from a book about the Pentlands written by Margaret Pentland Pritchard. She was the sister of my father-in-law.

The family Bible is in the Pioneer Museum in Goderich. Many of the dates of birth, marriage etc., including events back home in the Ards Peninsula, County Down, N. Ireland, are recorded.

A first cousin of Alex & John emigrated to the USA.

Ruth also notes:
You can read about James Pentland at this website...
Pentland Family History and Genealogy

There are a few errors (the webmaster says that Nile is on Amherst Island, when in fact it is in Huron County). James Pentland's 3rd wife was Jenny Polley from Dungannon - that is the clue that led me to locate the connection between the USA and Dungannon Pentland's. Her father, Hugh Polley, is buried in the Pentland Cemetery on Amherst Island. After he died, her mother (another Finnigan) took the children to Dungannon to be with the rest of her family & friends who had come from Ards to Amherst.


The family homestead is still owned by descendants of Alex. It is called "SylvalawnFarm". (Was also known as Woodlawn).

Click on photo for larger version.
Homestead circa 1870

The following is a quote from Aunt Margaret's book "Then & Now". She used the pen name "The Country Mouse".
"This is the house in which we were all born and in which we grew up. The part on the right is the brick part, built of bricks from a local brickyard. It was probably one of the first brick houses in West Wawanosh. There was a rather ornate portico over the front door when I was a small child (Ruth's note: Margaret was born in 1902) but it decayed and had to be taken down. Notice the small panes in the windows. The frame part was built later as I tell in one story. There were lilacs all around the house and what perfume when they were in bloom. There was a beautiful double, dark red rose in front of the lilac bush in the centre of the picture.
The present driveway (the book was written in 1950) is where the frame part was built in the very late 1800's. The first was in the late 1920's when we build the house basically as it is now, using the old brick from the upper storey for the lower storey of the new south part, and what a summer that was! There were insul-brick shingles on the upper storey. As the years passed, the old bricks weathered very badly and something had to be done. So Wiff (Wilfred Pentland - Ben & Margaret's youngest brother - he was the owner in those days) had it covered with aluminum siding which gave it a very clean, tidy appearance. Hydro, running water and the furnace were installed at the time of the major change.
In the beginning there was no running water, hence no indoor bathrooms as we have them now. Bathing was done in the large washtub beside the kitchen stove. For other sanitary facilities, there was a small building. Some were 3-holers and were quite spacious. Ours was under a spy apple tree, and was used in summer. For winter, we had one just off the woodshed, a smaller 2-holer. The catalogues and newspapers were very useful as well as entertaining. That may be one reason many of us keep a book or magazine in our comfortable bathrooms even to this day."

Click on photos for larger versions.
This is Sylvalawn Farm as of last summer (2003). The original name was Woodlawn Farm, but it was changed when Alex's grandson Wilfred Pentland (then the owner) wanted to register his purebred cattle. Apparently there was already a Woodlawn registered, so they renamed it Sylvalawn (Sylvan is from Latin and refers to woodlands.)

The Islands: Biographies: Amherst Island Bio 5
Return to The Islands Main Page
Copyright () 1999-2004 Jennifer Hoeltzel. All rights reserved.
Send comments or suggestions regarding this site to the webmaster:

Jen Wylie nee Hoeltzel