#52 Ancestors Week 49 - "Winter"

My maternal great grandfather, Archibald Ferguson Dempster, Jr. (pictured here) was born on Christmas Day, 1844 in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, USA. Mineral Point is "Where Wisconsin Began" according to the town's website.  
His parents, Archibald Dempster and Sarah McCuen emigrated from Scotland, marrying in Wisconsin on June 25, 1845. Archibald, Ferguson Dempster, Sr. was born in Fossoway and Tulliebole, Kinross-shire in 1815. His occupation was listed as a draper (cloth merchant) when he first came to America in 1839. Mineral Point has a rich history in mining. Although there is no documentation that suggests that is what compelled my 3rd great grandfather to move out west, there are clues that it may be.

 Archibald Dempster Sr. purchased 40 acres of land in Wisconsin. The documentation shows that the purchase was made on April 1st, 1848, yet they moved to California a year later. The town of Mineral Point's website says that "... in 1849 the California Gold Rush resulted in an exodus from the young city, and Mineral Point fell into a state of depression." This makes me wonder if my great grandparents were in search of gold in the California hills. Sarah McCuen Dempster died shortly after the move leaving three young children under the age of 5 without a mother. He is a photo of their land patent signed by the office of President James K. Polk:




Following the death of my 3rd great grandmother, it was difficult to track what happened to the three children. My great grandfather Archibald Ferguson Dempster, Jr. (1845-1927) was the oldest. He had two sisters, Sarah Jane Dempster (1847-1926) and Emmaline Dempster (1849-1924). I found some information from a Kent County Commemorative Biography of Sarah Jane's husband, Dr. David Green. He was a renown veterinary surgeon in Ontario. Here is an excerpt:

"In January 1867 Mr. Green married Miss Sarah J. Dempster, who was born in Wisconsin January 14, 1847, daughter of Archie S.[sic] Dempster and Sarah McCuen of Scotland. Her parents moved to California when Mrs. Green was a child, there the mother died leaving Mrs. Green who was reared by Daniel Whitesell of County Elgin and his wife. Archie Dempster lived a number of years in California after the death of his wife and then removed to New Zealand where he still lives." 

This was written in 1904, making may 3rd great grandfather Archie Sr. at least 89 years old at the time. Daniel Whitesell, who raised Sarah Jane Dempster, was the great uncle of her future husband, Dr. David Green, DVM (1847-1923). 


Catherine Campbell (1845-1922)
After his mother's death, my great grandfather Archie also shows up in Elgin County, Ontario; a 17 year old labourer on the farm of an Irish family named Haggar. This 1861 census is the first record I could find for him. He states in the census of 1921 that he arrived in Canada in 1852 at age 8. In 1871 he was living with his sister Emmaline and her husband James Gillett working as a "farm servant". The following year he married my great grandmother Catherine Campbell (1845-1922) on June 11. They had four children, their 3 sons reaching the age of maturity. My grandfather, William Lorne Dempster (1879-1966) was the youngest. 

I have very few memories of my maternal grandfather Lorne. I think he looked a lot like his dad, pictured here, from my memory. He was a farmer, like his father. He had modern farm equipment, but kept an old horse drawn sleigh. He used to take the grandchildren for authentic one horse open sleigh rides in the winter. 



I hope everyone has a lovely holiday season celebrating whatever it is you celebrate! May your days be merry and bright ☃❄🏂






No comments:

Post a Comment