1878 Family History



Richard Murchison:  Concession I SFL Lot 4


I found a biography of a John Murchison that indicates at his death in 1870, one of his surviving sons was Richard Duncan Murchison, aged 62 at the time.  John Murchison served in the war of 1812 with the York Volunteers, so it seems plausible that he may have been given a grant of land as a discharged soldier. I don't know yet if these two are the same man, or if R. Murchison ever established a residence on this lot.  In addition, a story in the Advertiser in May 1925, refers to the Murchison property, which subsequently became part of the Campbell farm.  See the story on our page dedicated to the Ridley Funeral Home. 


            Marriages from St. James Church, Toronto, 1800 – 1821

Monday, 30 May, 1808, License, John MURCHISON and Frances HUNT, both of the Town of York.  Witnesses: George DUGGAN and Jane BROOKE.  Mr. Murchison, who died in 1870, a resident of Bathurst Street, lived first on the north-west corner of George and King Streets.



Charles Northcote:  Concession 1 SFL Lot 2


Lydia Harrison married Charles NORTHCOTE, who farmed near Mimico, and raised a large family of ten.  Lydia was the daughter of Hannah Gates and John Harrison, whose story is recounted below.  For a more detailed genealogy, please click on the link for Mabel Alice Northcote on our Genealogy page.  Mabel was one of Charles and Lydia’s daughers.  She married George E. Janes, one of New Toronto’s reeves. 


Harrison Estate:  Concession II Lot 6  (from: http://www.rootsweb.com/~abgpags/hs0302.html)


Hannah GATES was about 16 years old when she married John HARRISON around 1846. John had a 111-acre farm near Mimico on Lot 6 Concession 2 in Etobicoke Township, York, Ontario. Here they raised their ten children - 5 boys and 5 girls: Lydia, Robert, Huldah, John, Mary Hannah, Sophia Jane, Nelson, George, Jonathan R. and Martha. Very little is known about John HARRISON. He was born in Ireland about 1819. It is believed he came from County Tyrone. We know a little more about Hannah's beginnings.

Hannah's father was Jonathan GATES. Jonathan GATES had come to Scarborough about 1815 to settle on Lot 19 and 20, Concession C. He eventually built an Inn known as Scarboro Inn or Gates Tavern. He married Hannah CORNELL before 1818. Hannah gave Jonathan six children: Nelson, Charles, John, Rossel, Jonathan and Annie. Hannah died 1 June, 1827 aged 30 years. On 24 August, 1829 he married Lydia STEPHENS. Lydia was just 18 years when taking his six children under her wing she became mother to the large brood. It was not long before Lydia was to become a mother in her own right. Hannah GATES was born about 1830. Lydia died in 1834 and Jonathan once again found himself looking for a mother for his growing family. Hulda SILVER became Mrs. Gates #3.

Jonathan was very prosperous. In 1849 William Brown, an Englishmen, described Jonathan's farm in his book, "Four Years in the United States and Canada".

Mary Hannah Harrison

& husband John Henry Harvey

"One of the best farms to be seen in his neighbourhood is in the township of Scarborough, belonging to Mr. Gates. He keeps a splendid tavern just ten miles from the City Hall, upon the plank road in Kingston Street, and his house is surrounded on both sides of the street with his farm, which contains about three hundred acres, some of which extends to the borders of the lake.

He takes care that every portion of it is well manured, having a large supply made in his stables, and he grows everything upon his own farm that is consumed in his house except groceries. He catches as much fish as serves his table all the year round, and makes as much sugar from his own maple grove as he wants, and kills his own mutton, beef and pork."

By the time of Jonathan's death in January 1853, he owned ample property to leave his five sons Nelson, Charles, John, Roswell (Rossell), Jonathan and daughter Annie property. In addition to his home farm was property elsewhere in Scarborough Township, Whitby Township, Pickering Township, Vaughn Township, Toronto and Town of Bronte in Haldimand. Curiously, Hannah was crossed off the will. Was it because she had received her share earlier? Perhaps the land farmed by her husband in Etobicoke had been such a gift.

In 1993, the steeply sloping ravine that cuts through the Scarborough Bluffs on its way to Lake Ontario became formally named Gates Gulley. A full 140 years after Jonathan's death.

The family of Hannah GATES and John HARRISON grew up and one by one they took on lives of their own. Robert married Louise McCARTY and their daughter was born in Napenee, Ontario in 1881. Lydia married Charles NORTHCOTE, who farmed near Mimico, and raised a large family of ten. Sophia Jane married Charles Edward GILES, a mariner from nearby Port Credit. Three of their sons emigrated to the United States - Chicago to be exact. John Jr. in 1882, Jonathan R. in 1885, and Nelson in 1886. John Jr. had married Bridget Anna O'LEARY at Toronto in 1875. Mary Hannah married John Henry HARVEY in 1881 at Emsdale, Muskoka Territory. It is known that the HARVEYs traveled to Chicago at least twice as their daughters were born there. Were Mary Hannah's parents in Chicago? Had they moved to the Muskoka region? All of the HARVEY boys were born in the Muskokas. (Nelson {who died in childhood}, Edith Agnes 1886, Mary Delia Eva 1888, John George 1891, Alexander Russell 1893, and Johnathan Henry 1895) We are told John Henry HARVEY died shortly after his son Johnathan Henry's birth leaving Mary Hannah a widow with five young children. She kept her two youngest children with her while the older three were sent to live with their paternal grandparents at Kerney, Muskoka. Mary Hannah was able to support herself as a housekeeper in the Turner home. In April of 1901 Mary Hannah wed Henry TURNER who was a widower. He farmed in McMurrich Township, Muskoka. On January 16 1902 Mary Hannah HARRISON died.

The search for Hannah GATES and John HARRISON continues. Where did they go? What became of them? Perhaps in tracing the lives of their children, be it near Mimico, in Muskoka, or in Chicago, I will discover something about them. I will probably meet a cousin or two. I hope so.  (Story by Judith Bradley, credit: Heritage Seekers)