#52 Ancestors Week 28 - "Travel"

I chose my 4th great grand parents William Marr, Jr. and Phoebe Earll Marr this week's "travel" prompt . They emigrated from Pennsylvania to Canada in 1799/1800.  I remembered that there was good information on how they got there, and what their lives were like as settlers. A lot of facts came from Harriet Marr Wheeler. She wrote a book called "William Marr of Northampton County Pennsylvania, and His Six Children" in 1983. She compiled a lot of official documents (land petitions and conveyances) and several first hand accounts, beginning with William Marr, Sr. 

The record I found shows that William & Phoebe Marr entered Canada in 1800 with their eldest daughter, Annie. In his land petition of November 9, 1801, William states that he came to the Province of Ontario (Stamford Township) about 1799 with their three oldest children, and had a yoke of oxen, one horse, two cows, several hogs and other property. I haven't seen an account of their mode of transportation between Pennsylvania and Canada. That's quite a distance with 3 children, livestock, etc.  On November 10, 1801 he was recommended for 200 acres, Lot 14, Concession 9 in Markham, Ontario. John McKerlie of Stamford certified that William Marr came into the province and had behaved as an honest and industrious man.

 According to several accounts William, his brother Joseph and other settlers sailed across Lake Ontario in a small schooner and landed on the beach called Little York [now Toronto] on April 30th, 1802. They travelled for two days through virgin forests before reaching their destination, having journeyed 14 days in total. They immediately began building cabins and clearing the land  in order to complete settlement duties. This was a  precondition when William Marr was awarded the land. The requirements were a cabin, five acres of cleared land, and a road fronting their property. Every time they needed supplies they had to walk 30 miles through the wilderness to Little York and back with their provisions. By the time that he had settled in Markham, he was a confirmed supporter of the British government, but not a bonafide United Empire Loyalist. William was deeded his land on February 6,1809.

William and Phoebe Marr would have 6 more children in Markham, Ontario, including my 3rd great grandfather Jacob Marr. The photo to the right is a handwritten record of all the family's names and birthdates. I believe the original is at the Archives of Ontario. 4th great grandfather William Marr served throughout the War of 1812 under the command of my other 4th great grandfather Major John Button. Jacob  Marr married Major John's daughter Anna Button. Just a few weeks ago, I found a photo of  their son Francis Button Marr and his wife Mary Ann Smith Marr, my 2nd great grandparents. The baby in the photo is my great grandfather Delaski Marr. I wrote about Francis & Mary Ann in a previous blog post here for Week 9's prompt "When There's a Will" . Posting his will helped me to connect with Mary Ann Smith's ancestors.

I always think of colonial era settlers traveling in Conestoga Wagons like the old movies. The reality is most of them walked! I'm happy to revisit the copious notes I have on the Marr family and Harriet Marr Wheeler's well researched account of my ancestors' voyage to their new homeland. 
Frances Button Marr & Mary Ann Smith Marr 
w/ baby Delaski Marr circa 1871


  1. Thanks Tim! Love digging through all of the old documents and pix. 🤓

    1. Earl of Mar is from Scotland.

      Kingdom of mar was a pictish country.

      Marewile year 827 is a Village in thurgovia Switzerland.

  2. Hi Libby.
    Thanks for sharing - you are inspirational. So glad we found each other and that we are cousins. Keep up the great work. Enjoy the hiatus. Keep in touch via email. I will let you know if I find discoveries on the Park angle etc.
    All the best always.
    Craig J

    1. Hi Craig! Happy New Year!! Love that we are in touch, too. My aunt and her son did the DNA test and I noticed you are matched. No surprise there. Talk to you soon :)