by Thomas Aldcorn, letter written to his relatives
edited by Patricia Balkcom, July, 2014
Salem, Ontario, July 3, 1937
As it is impossible to give each of you a copy of our family tree as it is presented here, I have written a short history of the family and made sufficient copies, that everyone interested may have one if he or she so desires. I might also say that in the first part of this account I have been forced to use some supposition and some deduction; therefore, although any information I may give is not guaranteed, it was obtained from sources which is believed reliable. I cannot attempt to present a complete picture or history of the family but will give as near as possible the general idea of its descendancy and other interesting information which is at hand .
In the year 1781, that is, one hundred and fifty six years ago, William Brown was born in the Parish of Pennycuick, Scotland. Whether he had any brothers or not does not seem to be very clear but if he had they did not come to Canada and unfortunately our history can only go back to his coming to America. He came from a family of sheep ranchers, who apparently were quite well to do. As a young man he rode over the ranch on horseback, superintending the shepherds, who watched over great flocks of sheep. Apparently an industrious man, he knitted articles in wool shorn from his own sheep, washed, carded and spun by hand. Just how much of this is fact and how much is fancy is a matter of conjecture. However, it is fact that he spent the first forty-three years of his life, boy and man, as a sheep farmer.
As a young man of twenty-two years, he married Marion Graham, also from the town of Pennycuick, and they had eight children, four boys and four girls. After having these eight children Marion Brown died at the age of forty-one in 1824. Her resting place is not known. William then sold his farm and sheep raising business in Scotland and came to America with his eight children and presumably a considerable quantity of money. As near as we can figure he came to America in 1826 and bought a farm in Valcartier Township about eighteen miles from Quebec City. The deed of property given to him by a Monsieur Panet in 1833, shows receipt for money paid in June 1826 and 1827.
In and around Quebec, William Brown became a well known and respected citizen. In a Quebec paper of June 1st about 1835 a small news item credited him with bringing the first new potatoes into Quebec that summer. The Minister of Lands for lower Canada arranged for him to buy a second property close to his own, which he did and then owned two farms in Valcartier.
In Valcartier Township, in the nineteenth century, a number of families from the Lowlands of Scotland had settled as immigrants. One can recall hearing the names of Knox, Brown, Mclntosh, McMurdo, Clarke, McBain and Aldcorn. These were the names that made the greatest impact on the Brown history. The focal point of the settlement was the Village of Valcartier. Some of the settlers lived in the village, the others in the surrounding community. It was quite natural that these kindly folk with a common language and a mutual background should intermingle and intermarry. The following pages will reveal the extent of such integration.
William’s oldest son, John, did not like America and returned to Scotland where we have no further trace of him. Another son James went to live in Quebec city and earned his living as a wainwright. He married and had one son William, who died without leaving any descendants. Thus we have easily disposed of the history of these two.
After a time, the four girls being married, William Brown settled his two farms , one on each of his two remaining sons , William and Tom. He then returned to Scotland and while there married a second time, to Jane Kirkhope, with whom he returned to Canada and settled in Valcartier Village near his family. He and his second wife had one daughter, Elizabeth Ann.
After living a short but prosperous life the old gentleman died a tragic death. He was on his way to a party at the Honourable John Neilson’s home when his horse ran away, throwing him out of his rig and fatally injuring him. He was buried in Valcartier cemetery on January 9th, 1848. A tombstone marks his resting place and on it may be seen the date and place of his birth and date of his death. His wife survived him until March 21, 1865. She lived at the home of her only daughter, Elizabeth Ann. Just here we might say that Elizabeth Ann Brown married Thomas Jack. They had eight children, only one of whom married. His name is William Brown Jack and he lives at 15 De Salaberry Street, Quebec City.
Going back to the first family we have finished with John and James. William and Tom both married and lived some years on the old homesteads. William had five children. He sold his farm to his brother Tom, and moved to Upper Canada and settled in Howick Township. You know William’s family; Andrew had six girls; Stephen, five girls; William, two girls and six boys; Elizabeth Neilson, two girls and one boy and Aggie Aldcorn, three girls. From William Brown are descended to today 122 people.
Tom Brown had ten children, some of which you know. They were William, of London, Ontario, (1 girl and 3 boys); John (2 girls and 3 boys); James (1 girl and 2 boys); Benjamin; Tom (1 girl, Holley, of Portneuf, Quebec); Andrew, who kept the old homestead (6 boys, 1 girl, one boy, Colin, still lives on the homestead); Margaret Montgomery (3 girls, 2 boys); Agnes; Curtis (2 girls, 1 boy); Mary Jane Wright (9 girls, 2 boys). From Tom brown are descended to today 123 persons.
Of the four girls in the original family:
Margaret Brown married William Corrigan (5 girls and 6 boys). Ellen Brown married James McGill (4 girls and 8 boys). Jessie Brown married James McBain (2 girls and 8 boys). Marion Brown married a McMurdo (2 girls and 3 boys).
Now, some interesting facts about the family:
The descendants of Elizabeth Neilson are the only ones to have reached the seventh generation.
Curtis Brown’s daughter, Mary Ann Smith, has two grandsons, David and William, the only twins recorded.
The Reverend Matthew Corrigan, of Detroit is the only theologian in the family.
Three girls and three boys of the Corrigan family married brothers and sisters.
John Brown married a Knox and a generation later Gwendolyn Brown married a Knox. They were a niece and nephew of the first couple.
Mary Wright married William Brown Jack. His mother is a half sister of her grandfather.
The McBain family has intermarried with Tom Brown’s family in the fifth generation.
Nobody has been hanged, yet.
Thus ends the story, what little we know of the life of William Brown, our paternal ancestor. The information given here is not guaranteed but was assembled from known facts and from information believed reliable.
On the following two pages is a list of names of the children of William Brown and Marion Graham. The list also gives the names of their grandchildren. The names of their great grandchildren through the issue of their son, William, are included. From this point on this article will deal only with the family of William Brown, the number three son of our parental ancestors. This document covers a period of almost two centuries. If anyone cares to perpetuate it another two hundred years it might be a valuable piece of historical information.
Who knows ? We might have a Prime Minister , or a Banting, or a moderator of a great church in Canada. PASS IT ON!
If any fuller information is desired about any of the families mentioned above we will be pleased to supply it on request. In closing may we express our thanks and appreciation for the hearty cooperation of members who have made this history possible.
Thomas Aldcorn, 250 St. Gerrnain Ave., Toronto, Canada.
William Brown 1781-1848 and Marion Graham 1783-1824
- Margaret Loudon Stevenson
- Agnes Brown Butchart
- Christena Brown Aldcorn
- Elizabeth Brown Douglas
- Marion Brown Bell
- Jean Brown McNabb
- Elizabeth Brown Moffat
- Agnes Brown Welsh
- MaryJane Brown Brown
- Marion Brown Currie
- Elizabeth Brown Neilson
- William Neilson
- Ada Neilson Sewell
- Marguerite Neilson Barr
- Agnes Brown Jamieson
- Janet Brown Hainstock
- Agnes Brown Aldcorn
- Elizabeth Aldcorn McMillan
- Jean Aldcorn Kennedy
- Margaret Aldcorn Heard
- Margaret Brown Montgomery
- Mary Ann Brown Wright
- Margaret Brown Corrigan
- Thomas Corrigan
- Edward Corrigan
- John Corrigan
- William Corrigan
- James Corrigan
- Michael Corrigan
- Elizabeth Corrigan Mooney
- Margaret Corrigan O’Brien
- Jessie Corrigan Cassin
- Ellen Corrigan
- Mary Corrigan Martin
- Ellen Brown McGill
- James McGill
- John McGill
- William McGill
- Jean McGill
- Isabel McGill
- Willimena McGill Brown
- Marion McGill Hornby
- Marion Brown McMurdo
- Annie McMurdo
- William McMurdo
- Peter McMurdo
- John McMurdo
- Margaret McMurdo
- Janet Brown McBain
- David McBain
- Marion McBain
- William McBain
- James McBain
- Lewis McBain
- John McBain
- Ben McBain
- Hillary McBain
- Thomas McBain
- Elizabeth Ann Kirkhope Brown Jack
- William Jack
- Jane Jack
- Isabel Jack
- Elizabeth Ann Jack
- Ellen Jack
- James Jack
- Thomas Jack
- John Jack
William Brown (son of William Brown and Marion Graham)
William Brown was the third son of William and Marion. He was born near Glasgow, Scotland, on May 6th, 1813. His mother died when he was about eleven years old. He came to Canada with his father and his brothers and sisters in 1825 or 1826. The family settled in Valcartier.
The remainder of this family tree deals only with the descendants of this William Brown. This man is the paternal ancestor of the Brown Family as we know it. Some of the older, living members of the family can remember seeing the old gentleman at the turn of the century and during the first decade of the same. (1900)
Very little is known of the life of William Brown as he grew from boyhood to manhood in Quebec. It is known that he lived at home and eventually settled on one of his father’s farms. His brother, Tom, settled on the other farm. Another brother, John, had returned to Scotland and a third brother James, had married and gone to live in Quebec City. Over the years his four sisters married and lived in the area.
In 1836, William Brown was married to Agnes Elizabeth Clark. He was twenty-three years old and she was seventeen. The Clark family had also emigrated from Scotland to Canada. This union produced five children: Stephen (1837), Andrew (1840), Elizabeth (1847), William (1854) and Agnes (1860). The following pages show as complete a list of the descendants of these children as it is possible to ascertain.
About the middle of the nineteenth century many families were moving from Lower Canada to Upper Canada and points west. William Brown sold his farm to his brother, Tom, and moved to a new frontier. All of the children, except, Elizabeth who married and remained in Quebec, moved with the family.
In the land registry office of Huron County at Goderich, Ontario, documentation may be seen that William Brown received a grant of land from the Crown. This was for Lot 27 of Concession 8 of Howick Township. The grant was dated August 1, 1865. It is presumed that William Brown and Agnes Clark came from Lower Canada at that time. In 1872, ,the railway came to Howick. A right-of-way across the property of William Brown is also registered on the same document.
In 1892, William gave a life lease of the farm to his oldest son, William. The son had married Elizabeth Hunter and both families lived on the farm. The house was expanded to accommodate the two families. On the death of William Brown (the father) in 1908, the son was given clear title to the property by the other heirs. William Brown and Elizabeth Hunter had a son whom they also called William, and, at that time there were three persons named “William Brown” living on the same farm .
William’s wife, Agnes Elizabeth Clark Brown, died at the age of seventy-seven. She was buried in Redgrave Cemetery on the eighth concession of Howick. A monument marks her resting place on which the inscription gives the date of her death and her age. William survived his wife until April 11, 1908, when he died at the age of ninety-five years. Those who remember his death say he was buried beside his wife in Redgrave Cemetery but there is no inscription on the stone to mark that fact. At the time of his death, John Aldcorn, a son-in-law wrote of him, ‘he was kind in his manner, the soul of honour, a good Presbyterian, a strong liberal, and a genuinely manly man.
Thus we come to the end of the second generation in the history of the Brown Family. The pages following give the names and ages of the next six generations as they have evolved from 1837 to 1977, a time period of one hundred and forty years.
Special mention is made here of two members of the third generation of the Brown family – Stephen and Agnes.
Stephen Brown was the oldest of that generation. Born in Quebec in 1837, he married Barbara Clarkson in 1862. This couple was the writer’s grandparents. Barbara Clarkson was born in Scotland in 1838, and had emigrated to Canada along with a sister, Margaret, and a twin brother, Tom. The Clarkson family also had settled in Quebec. Stephen and Barbara Brown moved to Upper Canada in 1865 and received a grant of land from the Crown, as Lot 27, Concession 9 in Howick Township. They had a niece with them at the time and later had five girls of their own. Their own second girl was named Christena. Barbara Clarkson Brown died in 1886. Stephen Brown survived her until 1925. He died at the home of his daughter, Christena. Both are buried in Redgrave cemetery. A monument marks their grave and the inscription shows the year’ of their death and their ages.
Preceding the arrival of the Browns in Howick, a family of Aldcorns had come from Quebec to Proton Township, Grey County, Ontario. This family settled at Swinton Park. Included in the Aldcorn Family were two young boys, John and James. The two families had been friends in Quebec and they continued that friendship in Ontario. In 1890, Christena Brown married James Aldcorn. These were the writer’s parents. Christena Aldcorn died in 1929 and was buried in Shelburne Cemetery. Her husband survived her until 1946. A stone properly inscribed marks their grave.
Agnes Brown was the youngest of the third generation. Born in Quebec in 1860, she came as a youngster with her parents to Howick. About 1888 she married John Aldcorn. John and Agnes Aldcorn were the writer’s uncle and aunt on the Aldcorn side. We might call this the Aldcorn connection. Two brothers marrying into two generations of the Brown family. Agnes Brown was Christena Brown’s aunt. When they married they became sisters-in-law also. Agnes Brown Aldcorn and John Aldcorn are buried in Swinton Park cemetery close by where they had lived most of their lives. A stone marks their grave.
William Brown 1813-1908 and Agnes Clark 1819-1896
- Stephen (1837-1925) m. Barbara Clarkson (1838-1886)
- Margaret Loudon (1863-1942) m. Thomas A. Stevenson (1857-1906)
- Edna Stevenson (1885-1957) m. James Irving (1883-1941)
- Lawrence Irving (1909)
- Thomas Irving (1912-1973)
- Louise Irving (1915) m. Francis Marks
- Donna Marks (1948) m. Don E. Dean
- Donna Michelle Dean (1968)
- Shannon Nicolle Dean (1972)
- Jean Marks 1951 m. Barrie England
- Angela Jean England (1972)
- Darrin Scott England (1974)
- James Marks (1954) m. Mary Jane Summers
- Donna Marks (1948) m. Don E. Dean
- Claire Irving (1919) m. Blanche Nairn
- Gale Irving (1952) m. Walter Jenssens 1.Trina Lee Jenssens (1974)
- Janice Louise Irving (1953)
- Edna Dawn Irving (1956-1956)
- Danny Irving (1964)
- Edna Stevenson (1885-1957) m. James Irving (1883-1941)
- Margaret Loudon (1863-1942) m. Thomas A. Stevenson (1857-1906)
The information, names and dates included in this rundown of the BROWN FAMILY TREE have been gathered from many sources. Without mentioning names, the writer wishes to thank all those who in any way contributed to this final draft. Without the help of many members of the family this record would not have been possible. The writer’s family should be commended also, for the indulgence in time and interest shown in the compilation of these facts.
As much care as possible has been taken to assure the accuracy of all information written herein. However such accuracy is not guaranteed but has been gathered from sources deemed reliable. If any errors are detected please correct them on your copy.
In the interest of the clan, this work is donated to the family. The writer would state here that this is his last go on this family tree. All families have been brought up to date and it is the responsibility of each family to continue, or not to continue its own record. From this time forward the writer will be concerned only with his own family -that of Christena Brown and James Aldcorn.
This tree covers eight generations. The family of Elizabeth Neilson is believed to have reached the tenth generation.
There have been several cases of intermarriages in the family amongst those who remained in Quebec. Several sets of twins have been recorded.
The Browns and Montgomerys of Western Ontario are members of this family.
The oldest living member of the family in 1977 is James W. Brown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
To this day there are about five hundred descendants of William Brown and Agnes Elizabeth Clark.
May the clan long live! Yours, Tom Aldcorn