Tag Archives: stead

The Almonte Gazette in Manitoba


How the Almonte Gazette was for many years the only link between certain pioneer settlers of Manitoba and the outside- world, is told by Mr. James McKelvey, who with his wife has been visiting relatives in this district before leaving on a trip to the old land.

Mr. McKelvey tells how the Gazette was the only newspaper which came into their district in these early days. His father was a faithful subscriber and a warm friend of the late Hon. W William Templeman. When the McKelvey family had faithfully perused the contents of the Gazette’s weekly budget of news it was passed on to the nearest neighbor. 

A stream flowed between the two farms, and the neighbour was always on the alert for the first sign that the Gazette had fulfilled its mission on the McKelvey homestead. The creek could not always be forded and there was no boat so the McKelveys used to wrap the newspaper around a stone and fling it across the stream. Neighbor after neighbor read it for miles around and at the end it was so worn that the print was scarcely decipherable. 

‘The district correspondence which appealed to the McKelvey family most was the Middleville news written over half a century ago, as it is now, by Mr. Archie Rankin. It was a strong link which bound them to their old home. Mr. McKelvey  spoke affectionately of the message of cheer and friendship which the Gazette brought, to those people who in earlier days had gone forth to make a home for themselves in the wilderness. 

It is doing the same today, in far places and every little scrap of news about the old home and the old friends and the old associations is eagerly read. Mr. McKelvey is a cousin of Mr. Robert Stead, the novelist, and on his visit here he was accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Stead.

November 1930

Related reading

OFF TO MANITOBA 1879– Local Lads Names

When Crops Failed — Lanark County Went Manitoba Dreamin’

William Craig Stead (W.C. Stead) Quarry Owner and Family

William Craig Stead (W.C. Stead) Quarry Owner and Family

W. C. Stead’s house located on the 2nd line of Lanark County (Rootsweb)

Drivers who transported the limestone for the above church from the W. C. Stead quarry. read-Quotes on Andrew Dickson and Local Quarries

Photo- Rootsweb-ancestry.com
SS # 5, Herron Mills school, which was originally SS # 5, Gilles Mills when John Gilles sold his mills to John Herron, in 1871. Photo- Michael Umpherson
Among the teachers was Margaret Weir, the future Mrs. W. C. Stead for the year 1885-1986 — read-Ladies & Gentlemen- Your School Teachers of Lanark County 1898
William Craig Stead and Margaret Weir – and Family.

This is a photo of Aggie Stead, daughter of William Craig Stead and Maggie Weir.
Agnes Catherine was born June 30, 1892, and she married Tom McCurdy in June 1913.  
On the right is Eva Jean Stead, born February 10, 1896, and she married Edward Lawrence Desjardine (Jardine) in April of 1917.
William & Margaret Stead’s – Four Boys.
William Craig Stead; their daughter; Margaret Stead; his wife, Elizabeth Weir and Ida Stead (Mrs. Peter Dunlop); Eva Stead (Mrs. Edward Lawrence Desjardins (Jardine).
Maggie (Weir) and William Craig Stead about 1931.
Hugh Weir was born at Blantyre in May of 1837 (died 5 Dec. 1917)
Elizabeth Hodgson was born on January 6, 1832 (died 6 Nov. 1913)
They were married in Argyleshire on March 20, 1857.
They are buried in the Crawford Cemetery west of McDonald’s Corners, Ontario.
The Hugh Weir farmhouse near Elphin.
The above photo is of Margaret Weir, daughter of Hugh and Elizabeth (Hodgson) Weir, born 28 August, 1863.  She taught school at SS # 5, Heron Mills in 1885, where she met William Craig Stead, born 12 January, 1865.  They were married in Perth, Ontario in 1886 and had the following children; (Ida Mary is on the left and Margaret Weir is on Margaret’s lap)
William J., born Feb. 1887
Elizabeth “Bessie” born Feb. 1888
George., born Apr 1889
John William, born Jan 1891
Agnes Catherine, born June 1892
Allan Hugh, born March 1894
Eva Jean, born Feb 1896, Mrs. Edward Lawrence Desjardins (Jardine).
Ida Mary, born Aug 1898
Margaret Weir, born 1902. 
George Stead and Mary Jane Rodger  
John Stead and Margaret Lawson
George Stead and his wife, Mary Jane Rodger, who were married April 20, 1892.
There children: Jennie Stewart Stead, born September 1893; William Henry “Harry” Stead, born April 1896 and Addie Craig Stead, born March 1897.
Other children were: Frank George Stead, born September, 1900 and Mary Edith Stead, born May 1908.

The William Stead who emigrated to Lanark County in 1830.

 William b. May 24, 1802 in Farndale Parish, North Yorkshire

              d. October 18, 1844 , at Middleville, Lanark Twp.

              m.  Jan 19, 1828 at Lastingham Parish, N. Yorkshire

 Elizabeth Weldon

              b. April 17, 1796 – Lastingham parish, N. York.

              d. May 16, 1889  at Middleville, Lanark Twp.

Children :

              1. George Stead        May 25, 1828

              2. Ann Stead              March 24, 1830

              3. Jane Ellen Stead  March 18 , 1832

              4. Elizabeth Stead    January 20 , 1835

              5. Mary Ann Stead    1836

              6.                                 Feb. 20 , 1840

George, b. 1828, at the age of 21 went to New York city and took a ship to San Francisco. He spent five yrs in the gold fields. He returned to Lanark County about 1853 and established a mill (April 9 , 1855) on the Mississippi River (Ontario) at  the  mouth of Dalhousie Lake. He had both a saw mill and a grist  or flour mill.  He sold this property to the Geddes family in 1880. The mills burned in 1878. George went to the Dakota  territory and bought some land near Turtle Creek (Manvel). He returned to Dalhousie Lake and moved with his family to the Dakotas. (1882)

In 1854, George married, December 21, Elizabeth Henderson of Middleville, Ontario.

Their children were :

     1. Martha                          September  3 , 1856

     2. William Henderson      May 23 , 1858

     3. Helen Myra                   April 11 , 1860

     4. Anne Maria Henderson S.  July 26 , 1861

     5. George Henderson      December 29 , 1865

     6 Jane A  Stead                June 1868

     7. John Lawrence             June 22 , 1876

From letters written to the parents of Ronald Thompson in 1852 and 1853 George Stead relates his experiences. George Stead left New York for San Francisco on a sailing vessel April 1, 1852 to make the entire trip via Cape Horn. After a stormy  winter passage of the Horn and encountering ships in distress with whom they shared food they  arrived in San Francisco on September 1. After  four days in San Francisco they  boarded steamers for Marysville and Sacramento for the mining country. Mr. Stead spent  three years in the gold fields. He then returned east walking across the isthmus of Panama and carrying enough gold to purchase sawmills and flourmills on the Mississippi River (Dalhousie Lake). He operated these mills for twenty years, until suffering a heavy loss by fire. He sold the remainder of his property  and went to North Dakota in 1880.(The Geddes family purchased this site March 10, 1882 from The Canadian Mississippi River by Hilda Geddes) He bought a section of land 16 miles north of Grand Forks and made his home there until his death  twenty-one years later. The letters stating these adventures were  preserved by his parents and were received by his son, George Henderson  Stead, from a sister Mrs. W. A. Moore, of Hamilton, Ontario.

This is the text of George’s letter (I transcribed it as it appeared to be spelled in the letter without any corrections of spellings): letter from George Stead to his father, William Nov 28, 1853, from the gold mines of California. (The I is Bob Douglas husband of Susan) Letter is in the possession of Susan Middleton Douglas:

“To William Stead Lanark Co., Lanark Canada West”

“Long Bar November 28th 1853

Dear father I once more take the opertunity of writing you a few lines hoping that they may find you in good helth as they leave me at pressent when I wrote to you last I did not know where to tell you to direct my next letters to in my last letter I sent you a draft for six hundred dolars on the (crossed out word) people’s Bank in montreall which I hope you will have gott some 2 or three weeks before you git this letter  when I wrote last I was In sacrimento citty I took a tramp away into the southren mines and every place I came across looked to me to be a very dull show for making much money this winter so I came back to where I was last winter I can make 2 or 3 dolars a day here but I consider that very small waiges in this country  I had the offer of 50 dolars a month for the winter but would not take it I always like to be my own bos in this country and keep trying my luck althoug I should not make so much money as I perhaps might doo by hiring out I hired out 3 days last week to an acuaintance of mine and he gave me 5 dolars a day I intend going about 15 miles from where I am tomorrow for to take a weeks prospecting in some coarse gold digings for where I am there is no cahace for making very big waiges because the gold is very fine and thinly  sold and every yeaar the ground gits more and more worked over  my old friend Peter Lawson favoured me with a letter some time ago  I once wrote him a letter and I had it in that old pocket book which I got of you the night before I left home along with all the letters that I got from home and I lost the whole consern and I never have had an opertunity to write him another  some time last winter I wrote to you of having sunck prety dep and got a good prospect  he wished to know how I sucksedid in it I never went to the escpence of gitting a pump and working it but left here shortly after that for the mountains and through the sumer there was a man jopt (?) into my old hole and hired a lot of china men and made about (crossed out word) seven hundred dolars in about 2 months  that’s california all over I do not escpect to make much for a month or 2 because it rains mostly every day at this time of the year it is poring it down now if cousin John Affleck comes to this country next spring tell him to start about the 10th of march and then he would sail from new york on the 5th and be to sanfrancisco about the 15 of april I think he can come for about 100 dolars when he comes to sanfrancisco he will take the steam boats from there to sacrimento and then to marisville and there he must stop and hire out to the first offer he can git and write me a letter and slip it into the post office I can send for it from any part of the mines by escpres every week and when I git one from him I will come down to where he is and learn him a few of the ropes of california I wish him and you to write me an answer to this as soon as you git it for I am anxious to hear If you have got the money which I sent you I would go to austrilia if I thought I wold better myself I would start for home tomorrow If I thought I could do as well as I can do here so I beg of you Dear Father and mother not to think long of our seperation give my best love to grandfather to my Brother William and sisters so no more at preasent from your afectionate Son George Stead put the same direction on my letters that you have formerly”

George   from Rootsweb

Related readings

Clippings of the McEwens and the Beckwith Quarry

So What Happened to the Marble at the Tatlock Mine?

More Notations on Tatlock

Kings Warks and Cemeteries–Interesting Discoveries of Lanark County

The Mysterious Tatlock Mine

The Early Days of Working in the Ramsay Mine — Going Down Down Down

What Happened to the Gold on the Ramsay 7th line?

Gold in Dem Dar Hills of Lanark

Looking for the Artist of this Carleton Place Painting-The Lime Kiln

A Giant’s Kettle in the Middle of Lanark County

Where Were the Miracle Salt Springs in Pakenham? I Love a Challenge!

From the Buchanan scrapbook