McKAY Report No. 1
12 March 2008
Donald McKay was born in Sutherlandshire, Scotland, on 16th June,
1837, son of William McKay and Catharine Bethune. Donald married
Jessie Coborough, and the couple emigrated to Canada.
13th April, 1869, Donald and Jessie McKay (ages 30 and 26) boarded
the SS Ottawa in Glasgow, bound for Quebec. Donald listed his
occupation as “Coachman.” Next on the passenger list was Philip
McKay, (probably Donald’s brother) a 26 year old labourer. One
hundred and seventy-two passengers embarked in Glasgow, and more
were taken on in Liverpool, Kingstown and Moville (Ireland). The
weather must have been favourable as the SS Ottawa arrived in Quebec
on 30th April, 1869.
According to Donald’s obituary, the couple spent their first two
years in Toronto. The McKays lived on the east side of Beverley
Street (either number 113 , or 115 ), in a house rented from
William H. Boulton. (Boulton lived at The Grange, the elegant
Georgian mansion built by his father, D’Arcy Boulton, Jr. See
enclosed notes.) Donald and Jessie’s home was a one-storey frame
building. Dimensions of the house were omitted on the 1870 Tax
Roll, but the next year it was recorded as 30 x 16 feet. The 1870
street directory lists only one house (no. 115) on the east side of
Beverley Street between D’Arcy Street to the north and Charles
Street to the south. (Donald’s name appears only in the directory
and the tax roll for 1870.)
McKays shared the house with George Lunne, a gardener. An 1858 map
of the area shows just one house fronting Beverley Street on the
east side between D’Arcy and Charles, and behind it are Boulton’s
conservatory buildings. It is logical to assume that George Lunne
worked for William Boulton, and probably Donald did, too. Boulton’s
butler, William Chin, resided at the gatehouse, which fronted Grange
they were living on Beverley Street, Donald and Jessie’s son William
was born, on 18th March, 1870.
McKays were drawn to Halton County. According to Donald’s obituary,
they first lived at Silver Creek, and a few years later moved to Lot
28 Concession 9 Esquesing. In 1871, according to the census, they
were tenants on Lot 26 Con 7. No occupation was listed for Donald,
and no crop information was entered in the return. Donald, Jessie
and one year old William had Phillip McKay (age 27) and Andrew White
(a 23 year-old Scot) living with them.
5th February, 1877, Donald purchased 21¾ acres of Lot 28 Con 9 from
Samuel Irwin for $350. (Transaction registered 22 Mar 1877) The
same day, Samuel Irwin extended a mortgage ($206) to Donald McKay
for the same property. This transaction was registered before the
sale was (17 Mar 1877). Two months later, Irwin assigned the
mortgage to Thomas Carbery.
1881, the McKay family had grown considerably. The census shows
that William (now 11), had five brothers and sisters: Mary (9),
Catherine (7), James (5), Helen (3) and Donald (2 – born 10 Jan 1879
). William, Mary and Catherine went to school. David was born on
8th June, 1881, two months after the census was taken.
only Esquesing Tax Assessment at the Archives of Ontario records
Donald McKay as owning 20 acres of Lot 28 Con 9 in 1884. All 20
acres had been cleared. Donald was also listed as a tenant on a 50
acre property of Lot 27 or 29 (record is hard to read) of which 12
acres had been cleared. The McKays owned a dog.
Philip and Alexander were born on New Year’s Day, 1884. Three years
later, John arrived on 15th August, 1887.
21st October, 1895, Donald McKay paid off the mortgage on the 21¾
acres on Lot 28 Con 9, but acquired another mortgage on 26th
October, 1895, from Henry P. [?Lawson?]. On 5th November, 1895,
Donald purchased an additional 6 acres on Lot 28 Con 9 from John
McKechnie. According to his will, Donald also owned three parcels
of land in Lot 27 Con 9. Further information about property
transactions is at the Halton Land Registry Office in Georgetown.
Jessie McKay died on 10th September, 1904, at the age of 62.
Donald continued to live at the farm, and died there of a stroke,
on 13th October, 1931. He was 94 years old. He was buried from his
home on 16th October, and is interred in Providence Cemetery.
Pall-bearers were his six grandsons, Archie, Malcolm and Alex. McKay
and James, William and Oliver Kirkwood. Donald McKay was regarded
as “one of Esquesing’s most highly esteemed and respected
residents,” “an honorable gentleman, and a good neighbour and
friend.” He was a member of the United Church and, politically, a
Donald had written his will on 26th September, 1922. Executors were
his son Alexander, and his friend, retired farmer John McKechnie.
At Donald’s death, his estate was valued at $4419.57. He left
financial bequests to his offspring Mary, David, Ellen and
Catherine, and his grandchildren Robert Earl McKay, William
Archibald McKay and Jessie Maud McKay. His furniture was to be
divided between Ellen and Catherine, and they were each to have two
dairy cows. Catherine was granted 20 acres of the property on Lot
27 Concession 9, and Alexander was to receive the residue of the
Text written by Hilary Dawson -
Genaeologist, Historian and Actrice with information taken from her
own research as well as that of Joan Kadoke (resident historian -
Fallbrook) and family histories compiled by Alan and Jim Kirkwood,
great grandsons of Donald McKay.