Amy Johnson Crow, on her blog No Story Too Small, has challenged her fellow bloggers to post 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. This is week six.
My great-great grandfather, James St. John, was born on August 22, 1839. He was the fourth of 12 children born to James St. John Sr and Jane Lloyd. The family lived in Brock Township, Ontario. James Sr. and Jane had been born in Ireland but, if you go back far enough, were actually Palatine German.
James shows up on the 1851 census as a 13 year old. His father, James Sr., was a farmer and the family appears to have been quite prosperous, living at that time in a 1 1/2 story stone house. Also at home in 1851 were brothers Philip (18), John (17), and William (1). Sisters Margaret Ann (15), Mariah (11), Eliza (9), Rebecca (7), Mary (5), and Catherine (3) were also present. Joseph Wesley was born in 1854 and another Rebecca was born in 1857, the year after the Rebecca on the census passed away. It is evident from the census that many other family members lived nearby. Jane’s brother, Glover Lloyd and his family were virtually next door. And there were many other St. Johns in the area.
The 1861 census shows James (listed as 21) still at home with his parents. Older brother John (26) is also at home, along with Mariah (19), Eliza (17), Mary (13), Catherine (11), William (9), Wesley (6) and Rebecca (4). The family continues to prosper and their stone house is now listed as 2 stories.
On April 11, 1866, the 26-year-old James married 18-year-old Mary Elizabeth Barker in Brock Township.
The 1871 census shows James (31) and Mary (23) living in Brock with their children, Alfred Wesley Jasper (4), Emma Henrietta Jane (2), and my great-grandfather Arthur Newton (7 months). Also living with the family is Amos St. Johnn (23), labourer (and likely a relation) and Mary Ann Cosgrove (21), servant.
By the 1881 census, the family has grown. In addition to Alfred (16), Emma (12), and Arthur (9), there are also Norman Franklin (6), Hannah Rachel Bertha (4), James Morley Clawson (1).
The rather difficult to read 1891 census, suggests James (51) and Mary (43) are home with A. Newton (20), Norman (17), Hannah (14), James Morley (11), and John Elston Roy (7).
The 1901 census shows 61-year-old James with 45-year-old Mary and their children, Norman (27), Morley (21) and John (17). Also living with the family is 18-year-old domestic Laura Barber. When I first found this census record, I couldn’t figure out how Mary could have aged only two years between censuses.
Some additional research led me to discover that Mary Elizabeth Barker St. John had died of consumption on January 26, 1892. On May 15, 1895, in Vallentyne, Ontario, James married Mary McCullough (born in January 1856). It is this Mary that is on the 1901 census. When Mary McCullough passed away on July 11, 1904, James married yet another Mary.
In this case it was Mary Doble Shier (born January 16, 1842). Mary was James’ cousin (her mother Mary Ann and James’ father James were siblings) and Mary had six children of her own from her first marriage to Julius Shier.
James would not have an opportunity to marry a fourth Mary, however, as he passed away on July 25, 1910 due to an ‘abscess of the shoulder’ . Mary Doble St. John outlived him by 16 years, passing away on September 12, 1926.
According to the caption with the photo, this is James St. John Jr. (right) and his brothers Glover and Ontario MPP Wesley.