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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Charles Stewart


CHARLES STEWART, one of the self-made men and esteemed citizens of the County of Kent, now a retired farmer of the township of Harwich, residing on Concession 5, Lot 15, was born October 66th, 1830, in Appin, Argyllshire, Scotland.

William and Catherine (Hastie) Stewart, his parents, were both born in Argyllshire, and he is a descendant of the historic house of Appin and Ardsheil.  His father died in Jamaica, where he went to seek his fortune, in 1842.  The mother died in Scotland when their two sons, Charles and Duncan, were but lads.  Duncan still resides with his family in Scotland, and is a leading business man of his community.  In 1882 he visited his only brother in Canada, and the reunion was very pleasant.

Charles Stewart was eleven years of age when, in 1841, he started for the home of his uncle, Duncan Johnson, who lived in Canada.  The long journey was made on a sailing-vessel to New York, and thence he came to Buffalo by way of the Erie Canal, finally reaching the County of Kent by boat across Lake Erie.  He was employed by his uncle until he started in life for himself.  After earning the means he purchased 100 acres of wild land, erected a little log cabin in the woods, and in 1850 married Harriet Douglass, who died one year afterward, leaving one child, Harried, born in 1851.  She is now the widow of Samuel Rouse, of Chatham, and has two children, Gertrude A. and Victoria Alma, and one child, Grace, is deceased.  Mrs. Stewart was a daughter of Dr. Douglass, who lived and died in Scotland, she and two sisters coming to Canada when young. 

Soon after the death of his wife Mr. Stewart sold his first homestad, but continued to live in Harwich.  In 1875 he married Mary J. Sloan, who was born October 14th, 1843, in Tilbury, daughter of Samuel and Martha (Cowan) Sloan, old pioneer settlers of Tilbury, who were natives of Ireland.  They lived in Tilbury until 1854, when they purchased Mr. Stewart’s farm in Harwich, where Mr. Sloan died in 1888, his wife still survives.  Mrs. Stewart grew to womanhood in Harwich, where she was educated.  She is the eldest of a family of fourteen children, twelve of whom are still living.  In 1876 Mr. Stewart purchased his present home on Concession 5.  At that time the land was still wild, but he soon erected a comfortable frame house and commodious barns, and with vigor started in clearing up his second farm.  Fro the past twenty-seven years he has occupied this place, all the time improving it, and there are few 100-acre farms to be found in Canada which are more highly improved or more carefully cultivated than this beautiful one of Mr. Stewart’s.

Children as follows have come to Mr. and Mrs. Stewart:  William A., born Christmas Day, 1876,who has been thoroughly educated both at home and at Chatham, now owns and operates an adjoining farm, presented to him by his father, and is one of the most worthy young men of the township; Samuel J., born in February, 1879, assists in the management of the home farm; Martha C., born in October, 1881, and Kate E., born in August, 1883, are refined and intelligent young ladies, prominent in Harwich society; and Charles A., born in June, 1885, resides at home.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Stewart are members of the Presbyterian Church.  Mr. Stewart has been one of its strong supporters, and for many years was one of the officers of St Paul’s Presbyterian Church of Chatham, of which he was one of the founders, and is now an elder.

Like all intelligent men, Mr. Stewart has taken a deep interest in public matters.  He is identified with the Reform party and has filled a number of local offices.  For many years he encouraged educational work, was instrumental in the building of schools in the township, and has very capably filled the office of school trustee.  He is a man of more than ordinary ability, and possesses a mind well stored with useful knowledge.  His early years were filled with hard work, but he always found time not only to cultivate his mind, but also to cultivate a kindness of demeanor which has marked him through life.  Naturally Mr. Stewart has many friends.  His pleasant smile and hearty handshake make him a welcome guest in any circle.  His upright character and sterling honesty entitle him to be called a representative man, one to whom his fellow citizens point with pride.  He has always been a successful agriculturist, and his fine farm is an example not only of his industry, but also of the excellend methods which he has pursued.  The family is held in the highest esteem all through the County of Kent, and is noted for thrift, intelligence and integrity, as were the forefathers for their courage and loyalty.

p. 142, 143


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