Robert Grant - emigrated to Canada from Ireland with Talbot 1818

I gleaned most of my information about Robert Grant from correspondence with Ron Cox in Canada, and from his book "The families of William and Ellen Cox". Robert Grant was a native of Limerick Town in 1793 (according to his headstone) , the son of Elizabeth Powell and Robert Grant. Whether Robert was really born in Limerick is unclear. He is a bit of an enigma, with no kin. The Talbot group that emigrated to Canada in 1818 was a group that was pretty local in its origins to Talbot's home in Cloughjordan. It is possible that Robert Grant heard about the emigration group through his wife's brother Francis Powell, a linen weaver of Newport (web information gives him as a linen weaver in Limerick County before moving to Newport, Tipp), who also migrated with the group. Alternatively he may have been related to the Grant families already living in the area round Shinrone. Elliott suggests that the Powells had relatives in Roscrea, but does not expand on that statement. I have striven to find a relationship with these Grant families in vain - Robert was not a name used by the Tipperary Grants at this time, and there are two Robert's, father and son. I am forced to conclude that the most probable explanation is that he did come from the Grants around Limerick, and heard of Talbot's group through Francis Powell. That leaves the problem as to where the Limerick Grants came from.

Robert senior died when Robert was a child. In some family accounts Robert senior was shot by rebels. He must have died soon after the birth of Robert in 1793, as Robert was the only child of this marriage, and it was a time when large families were the norm in Ireland. I would therefore put his death at about 1795, though it is possible that it was during the 1798 rebellion.

Elizabeth Powell, Robert's mother, remarried to a James Morris around 1800. Elizabeth Powell died in 1858 and was buried in Hazeldean, Canada, having been brought to Hazeldean from Ottawa (where she had been ill) in 1852 by Robert . She died in Hazeldean, aged 85.

In any case Robert junior was raised by his uncle John. Apparently "Uncle John" was well to do. There is a family story of masked men waking John and his wife one night and making them kneel preparatory to killing them. When John was asked if he had anything to say he replied "All I have to say is that I have never knowingly wronged any man and have always been a loyal subject of the king". They were then left alone. This would indicate that he was suspected of being anti-English.

Uncle John did not want Robert to emigrate, and by doing so he lost his inheritance from John. But his godmother gave him financial assistance to leave. There was some correspondence with John and more with his godmother once Robert got to Canada. But the correspondence did not last for any considerable period. He seems to have cut all links with Ireland, and had no Grant relatives staying with him in Canada. In his son's (Robert H Grant) memoirs, the reason for Robert's emigration is given as that he " valued the liberty and safety that this new country promised above any possible inheritance that I could expect to receive under conditions then existing in Ireland"

John had no family, and his other uncle James is believed, in family mythology, to have fled to France after a duel in which he killed Lydia Powell's husband (Lydia Powell was the sister of Elizabeth Powell, wife of his brother Robert). However I have noted that in a list prisoners in Limerick Jail following the 1798 rebellion - "discharged on bail, James Grant". It could be that a jailed revolutionary would flee the country, rather than the more romantic notion of a duel There are not thought to have been any females of this generation of Grants.

In his recollections, R H. Grant (b1860) gives Robert's grandfather as somewhat improbably being over 7 feet tall, the tallest man in Ireland, and that Robert senior was the eldest of three sons, Robert, James and John

Robert Grant junior, (b 1793 - d 17 Aug. 1870), married Elizabeth Powell (b 1795/96 - d 12 Feb. 1859) in 1818, they had NO Children. The story is a little complicated as both father and son, both named Robert Grant, both married an Elizabeth Powell. This marriage of Robert junior was to his cousin Elizabeth Powell. She was the daughter of Joseph Powell & Frances Robert's (Joseph Powell being the brother of Robert's mother Elizabeth Powell

When Elizabeth (b @ 1795) died in Hazeldean on 2nd February 1859, Robert junior re-married to Eliza Hardy (b1826 - d1910). She was the daughter of a family who emigrated from Templemore,  Co. Tipperary in 1832. They were married in 1859, when Robert was 66 years old and she was 31. There were 6 sons and 2 daughters by this second marriage. She died in 1910

Robert & Eliza Powell are recorded among the Talbot group which left Ireland in 1818. The Colonial office offered groups assisted passages for a brief period between 1815 and 1819. . The essence was for the leader to get together a group, pay 10 deposit per head (to ensure the settler had some assets, and to discourage a subsequent move to the USA). The 10 would be repaid when the settler took up his land grant in Canada. In return the Colonial Office provided free transport to Canada, and a land grant of 100 acres for each male over 17 years old. Richard Talbot, the leader was a gentleman of declining fortunes, living in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary. Talbot's parents lived at Garrane, Kings county, and his family were the branch of a family of minor gentry from that area. After much administrative haggling Talbot submitted on 28th March 1818 a final list of 44 families for emigration in his group, this included Robert Grant, listed as a farmer. Robert's wife's brother, Francis Powell , is also on the list of Talbot settlers - he was living in Newport, Tipperary when he migrated. Another list was later made of those who landed and where they settled, and this gives Robert as a clothier. The Talbot party set out from Tipperary to Cork on 4th May 1818, but their ship , the SS Brunswick did not arrive until 11th June. She was a 541 ton ship, triple decked and copper sheathed. She carried 150 tons of ballast, and 150 tons of ordinance stores, plus about three month of food for the passengers if their own food ran out. Steerage on the Brunswick consisted of 40 berths capable of hold 6 people in each berth.

The Brunswick left Cork on 13th June 1818 and after 31 days at sea sighted Newfoundland, eventually berthing in Quebec City on July 27th, a good voyage by standards of the time, although 12 of the children aboard died at sea..

Now, what do we know about Robert junior prior to his arrival in Canada. There is a Killaloe Marriage Licence Bond for a marriage between a Robert Powell and an Eliza Powell in 1818. So it would appear that they married in Ireland prior to departing with the Talbot party in 1818. Apart from that, only that he was either a farmer or clothier from Limerick when he migrated.

Francis Powell (1780-1852) and Jane Smith ( -1823) emigrated to Goulbourn Township (Carleton), Canada, also on the SS Brunswick in 1815. Francis was a linen weaver in Limerick County and later a farmer near Newport (Tipperary), Ireland. The five children born in Ireland were baptized at St. John's Church Newport (Tipperary), Ireland (808-1814). Jane Smith died in childbirth with her second child born in Canada. Francis married Ann Cuthbert (1801-1888) and had six additional children. Jane Smith's children settled in Lambton and Bruce Counties Ontario and Ann's in Russell Township (Russell), Ontario.

The Talbot settlers, on arrival in Canada, then had to negotiate their land grants and get to them. The group left Quebec, unimpressed by the inferiority of the soil for farming, and having language and culture concerns. They had further difficult journeys before finally reaching Goulbourn on 11th November 1818, and most of them settled near what eventually became the hamlet of Hazeldean.

A Robert Grant . age 37 of Goulbourn is noted on the 1828 Militia Roll. And this appears to be the source of the "cloak and sword" of Robert's that was handed down in the family. Robert's sword was given to R H Grant by his uncle, and his military cloak was used to wrap Jim (presumably James Grant, b1869) on the night of the 1870 fire in which Robert lost his life

In his early years in Canada, Robert worked with the Wrights in Hull during the summer, clearing the farm in winter. Wright was an American who settled in a small colony in Hull in 1800, and had several different enterprises

Robert's first home was "... a leant built against the root of an oak tree, made with poles against the root, and covered with clay, and then with sod. His stove was a large stone, heated by fire, what we would call a bonfire....There was a hole in the roof to let the smoke out. This lean-to was in the middle of the front field of the farm."

His eventual Georgian style centre hall plan house was rebuilt after his death, and had a stone showing the date 1832 and the initials RG. The house was eventually razed to the ground in 1992.

Robert was successful in his various ventures, and became a wealthy man. But he had problems along the way. In one year he lost all of his 15 to 20 head of cattle to hydrophobia, and was once robbed in his sleep. He made his money in business, lumber - taking square timber to Quebec, running the General Store in Hazeldean from 1838 to 1847, buying potash, running a sawmill on Poole Creek.

He invested in property in both Carlton County and Quebec Province, increasing his land holding from 200 acres in 1837 to 1000 in 1848, and to 2000 acres by 1857. He still owned 1500 acres on his death.

The 1851 Canada Census gives him living in a stone dwelling in Goulbourn, and his occupation as "farmer".

He was a member of the Dalhousie District Council in 1842, and warden of the Hazeldean Anglican Church in 1870.

He had problems with fires throughout his life, losing buildings to fire on four different occasions prior to 17 August 1870, when a major fire swept the area. There is some doubt as to why he was in the building when it burned down, the Ottawa Times in an 22 August 1870 obituary speculates as to the reason, did he return to the building to rescue money from the fire, or did he get trapped while trying to get out. Whatever happened he was 77 years old when he perished in the fire, and would have had difficulty in escaping the blaze.

His headstone, in Union Cemetery, Hazeldean, states "Sacred in the memory of ROBERT GRANT a native of the City of Limerick, Ireland died Aug. 17 1870, aged 77 years "

The farm in Hazeldean was eventually split between the two elder sons, John W Grant and Robert H Grant in 1894. This Robert H Grant subsequently became the Minister of Education in the United Farmers of Ontario government, and left information in his notes about his father Robert. He describes Robert as being 5 foot 8 inches tall, broad shouldered, with snowy, curly white hair (it turned white with worry in the summer of 1832). He had whiskers, blue eyes and the ruddy complexion of country folk, and was both quick tempered and kind.

The family tree is as follows:-

There seem to have only been very few recorded Grants in Co Limerick. Apart from 3 marriages in the 1700's - James in 1717, George in 1773 and James in 1770, the only other records point to Scotish soldiers garrisoning Limerick. In addition James Grant was "town major" of Limerick in 1769.

Putting together the information that exists gives

St Johns Limerick

St Marys,Limerick

Number of Grant entries in country wide documents for Co. Limerick

Other references

1822 Tithe App. Mungret Parish

1856 Griffith

1798 In a list of prisoners in Limerick jail following the 1798 rebellion

 

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