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Fallbrook Farm Heritage Site
Update 3

McKAY Report No. 1

DATE:                           12 March 2008

CLIENT:                        Sandy-James McKay


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.

On 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.)

The 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 Road.  

While they were living on Beverley Street, Donald and Jessie’s son William was born, on 18th March, 1870.

The 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.

On 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. 

By 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.

The 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.

Twins Philip and Alexander were born on New Year’s Day, 1884.  Three years later, John arrived on 15th August, 1887.

On 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 Reformer.

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 estate. 

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.

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