Chapter 8,14

  John Henry Hedley (1838-1910)
  m1 Margaret Florence Johnston (1847-1887)
m2 Ann (Young) Alexander (1852-1932)

John Henry Hedley, the second of the fifteen children of Nicholas and Jane Hedley, was born Nov. 4, 1838 in a log cabin in Harwood Plains (Lot 18, Concession 4 of March Township, Carleton Co.).  John Henry’s father, Nicholas Hedley, was born in Northumberland, England in 1814. His mother, Jane McBride, was born in Ireland in 1819. They were married in Wesleyan Methodist Church, Bathurst Dist., Carleton Co. October 12, 1835. Nicholas was 21 and Jane 16.

In the years before the marriage of John Henry’s parents, the Hedley family had built at least two log homes on their property. Their original dwelling, beside Constance Creek, which ran through their property, was probably built about 1824. This original log house still exists today on the property. A second log house was built closer to River Road (later called Kerwin Road). It was probably to this newer log house that Nicholas brought his young bride and in which William, their first child, was born in 1837, followed a year later by John Henry.

 In 1838, the year of John Henry’s birth, the log house near the road was destroyed by fire.  Nicholas immediately set about building a fine stone house for his family further back on the property, one of the first stone houses in March Township. This sturdy stone house, with its broad stone fireplace, still serves as a family dwelling170 years after its construction  (See Chapter 2). The stone house was the residence of John Henry’s parents, Nicholas and Jane, and their growing family for the next 20 years.

The births of William and John Henry were followed by the arrival at the stone house of four brothers and six sisters: Thomas 1840, Nicholas 1843, Robert 1844, Anne 1846, Edward 1848, Mary Jane 1850, Maggie about 1853, Martha about 1854, Adeline about 1856 and Susan 1861. 

In 1842 Nicholas Hedley was listed in the Land Registry as the owner of the south ½ of Lot 18, although his parents John and Frances (grandparents of John Henry) continued to live there also, until about 1850.  The 1851 Ont. Census for March Twp., Carleton Co. lists John and Frances Hedley, ages 80 and 74 respectively, in the household of Nicholas’s younger brother William and his wife Bridget and their four little girls.

The family of Nicholas and Jane farmed and operated a grist mill powered by the waters of Constance Creek. The mill was one of only two in March Township (Pinhey’s and Hedley’s). Mills were in high demand in early Upper Canada, and Pinhey’s gristmill, located on the Pinhey property on the Ottawa River would have been inconvenient for farmers in the South March area since it would have required a trip across the swampland that separated the interior settlers from the riverside settlement. It was probably because of their role as millers that the Hedleys were able to advance from indentured servants to owners of one of the first stone houses in March Twp.

A measure of the comparative financial worth of individual residents was given in the 1848 March Twp. Collector’s Roll: Hamnett Pinhey was by far the wealthiest, with an assessment of 1011 pounds. Next were Mrs. Bridge, at 377 pounds and F. W. Richardson at 273 pounds, then Nicholas Hedley, assessed at 217 pounds. The family that started out in 1819 as indentured servants were, thirty years later, the fourth wealthiest in the township!

By 1846, the grist mill had been converted to a sawmill, producing 20,000 feet of sawn lumber according to the 1851 census; however, the use of steam to power gristmills and saws was increasing, and water power was becoming less essential. In addition, the flow of Constance Creek was becoming less dependable as a result of large-scale deforestation.
1851 Census for March Township, Carleton County, Ontario 
Headley Nicholas, 38, farmer, b. in Eng., Ch. of Eng., stone house
               Jane, 33, b. in Ireland, Ch. of Eng. 
               William, 14, labourer, b. in March, Ch. of Eng., attending school
               John, 13, labourer, b. in March, Ch. of Eng., attending school
               Thomas, 11, labourer, b. in March, Ch. of Eng., attending school
               Nicholas, 9, labourer, b. in March, Ch. of Eng., attending school
               Robert, 8, labourer, b. in March, Ch. of Eng., attending school
               Ann, 7, b. in March, Ch. of Eng., attending school
               Edward, 4, b. in March, Ch. of Eng.
               Mary J., 1, b. in March, Ch. of Eng.

John Henry’s grandfather, John Hedley, who had brought his family from Northumberland, England in 1819, died in 1855 at age 82.  He was buried in the churchyard of St. John’s Anglican Church in South March.  Not long afterwards, the Hedley stone house and property on River Road (Lot 18, Concession 4) was sold to Richard Mowbray for $2,000.  Nicholas, Jane and their family of twelve children, were looking westward, towards newly opened Wawanosh Township in Huron County. 
(Wawanosh was separated from Ashfield Township in 1852 .). John Henry would have been about 17 at the time.

The 1861 Ontario Census finds the Hedley family living in Logan Township, Perth County, Ont., and four more children had been added to the family, Margaret, 8; Martha, 6; Adelaide, 4; and Susan, 1.
1861 Ontario Census for Logan Township, Perth County
                                                                                      (section 5) Concession 7, Lot 30 (NE Corner)
Hedley  Nicholas, age 46, b. in Eng., Church of Eng., farmer
              Jane, age 41, born in Ireland, Church of England
              William, age 24, born in Ont., Church of Eng.
              John H., age 23, born in Ont., Church of Eng.
              Thomas, age 21, born in Ont., Church of Eng.
              Nicholas, age 19, born in Ont., Church of Eng.
              Robert, age 17, born in Ont., Church of Eng.
              Ann, age 15, born in Ont., Church of Eng.
              Edward, age 13, born in Ont., Church of Eng.
              Mary Ann, age 10, born in Ont., Church of Eng.
              Margaret, age 8, born in Ont., Church of Eng.
              Martha, age 6, born in Ont., Church of Eng.
              Adelaide, age 4, born in Ont., Church of Eng.
              Susan, age 1, born in Ont., Church of Eng.

Within two years of the 1861 Perth Co. Census, the family is recorded as millers employed at Treleaven's mill in Wawanosh Township, Huron County.

At the time of his family’s move to Huron County, John Henry would have been about 24 years old. The 1860 U.S. Census for Canton, St. Lawrence County, N.Y. State has the following entry in the household of Jos Lytle: Jno Hedley, age 23, born in Canada”.  If  John Henry was actually living in N.Y. State in 1860, it was probably for a relatively short time. In 1861 he was with his family in Perth County, and in 1863 John Henry and his sister Ann were witnesses at the marriage of their elder brother William to Sarah Phillips of neighbouring Ashfield Twp. At that time John Henry, his sister Ann and his brother Nicholas were all living in Ashfield Twp.

Three years later, in 1866, Ann married William Phillips, Sarah’s brother, and John Henry was a witness at this marriage also. Two more marriages occurred in 1866: Thomas, John Henry’s younger brother, age 26, married Mary Ann Armstrong in Carleton County on May 15 and later settled in Kincardine. On October 31 John Henry married Margaret Florence Johnston.

Margaret Florence Johnston was born in 1847 in Chinquacousy Township, York County, and moved with her parents
James Johnston and Martha McCoy to Ashfield Township during her childhood. The 1861 Ont. Census for Ashfield Township, Huron Co. shows James Johnston, age 62, and his wife Martha, 59, both born in Ireland, farmers, living in a log house with their three children, all born in Upper Canada: Samuel 15, Margaret 14 and Elizabeth 8.

The nine children of John and Martha (McCoy) Johnston were the following:

Robert Johnston, who married May McDonough
David Johnston, who married Margaret Hackett
Archibald Johnston, who married Hannah McKay
Sarah Jane Johnston, who married John S. Webster
Mary Johnston, who married Robert McDonough
James Johnston, who married Dorcus (Clair) Clause
Hannah Johnston, died young and is buried in Zion Cemetery with her parents
Samuel Johnston, born abt. 1846
Margaret Florence Johnston, born 1847, married John Henry Hedley 1866; died 1887
Elizabeth Johnston, born abt. 1853 (Information re Johnston family courtesy of Linda Miller)

GROOM: John Henry Hedley, 25
Residence: Ashfield, born in Ottawa
Parents: Nicholas and Jane
BRIDE: Margaret Johnston, 19
Residence: Ashfield, born in Clinquacousy
Parents: James and Martha
Witnesses: Hugh McCroaty, Ashfield and Anne E. Irwin, Ashfield
Clergyman: Wm. Daunt, Church of England , Diocese of Huron

John Henry and Margaret Hedley settled on Conc. 5, Lots 17-18 Kinloss Township.  Their first child, William Samuel, was born Feb. 16, 1868 at "Grey Ox."

Their second child, Emma, was born Nov. 4, 1870.
(Sept. 26, 1870 according to notes by her sister Alice.) (Kinloss Township Map)

Ontario 1871 Census for Bruce County, Kinloss Township

,   John,  age 33, b. in Ont., Church of Eng., English,  farmer
               Margret, age 22, b. in Ont., Church of Eng., Irish
               William, age 3
               Emmie, age 6/12 (Sept.)

The 1871 Ont. Agricultural Census
shows John Henry, owner of Lots 17-18 Conc. 5 with 100 acres total--10 acres improved, 5 pasture, 6 garden/orchard and 14 acres in wheat. Production for 1870 was 20 bushels wheat, 39 bu. barley, 120 bu. oats, 50 bu. peas, 20 bu. carrots, 100 bu. potatoes (3/4 acres), 400 bu. turnips and one acre in hay (1 ton).

John Henry and Margaret Hedley’s  third child, John Henry (Harry) Hedley, was born Sept. 26, 1873 in Kinloss Twp.
Martha Jane (Jen) was born Jan. 11, 1875 in Kinloss Twp.
Robert Wesley James (Wes) was born July 15, 1877 on Concession 6, Kinloss Township
Margaret Florence (Maggie) was born May 30, 1880. in Kinloss Twp.

On March 2, 1874, according to Land Registry Records, John H. Hedley bought Lot 8 on Concession 5 of Kinloss (Lucknow P.O.) This is also the address listed for John Headley in the 1880 Historical Atlas of Grey and Bruce Counties (H. Belden & Co.) It was near "Grey Ox" at the intersection of the “Lucknow Road” and the 3rd & 4th Concessions of Kinloss.

The Assessment Roles for Kinloss Twp. (1871-5) show John Hadly (Hedley) farming 100 acres on Lot 10, Concession 6, School Section # 6, with 40 acres cleared. The 1876 Directory for the County of Bruce also lists Jno Hedley at this location. Since the property is close to his Concession 5 property, John Henry may have been farming both properties.

The 1881 Ont. Census for Kinloss Township, Bruce Co. shows John, 41, and "Margret", 33, with six children: William, 13; Emmey, 10; John, 8; Martha, 6; Wesley, 3; and "Margret," 1. The three eldest children were attending school. It is puzzling that "Margret" appears on this census, for she was not born until 1883. Perhaps Lillian was originally named Margaret. It was Lillian who was born July 6, 1879, two years younger than Wesley.

Sometime after Albert's birth in October 1844, John Henry decided to move his family of eight children to Greenock Township, and in 1886 he bought Lot 32 Concession 6 of Greenock for $3,850. Two months later, on March 11, 1886, Alice, John Henry and Margaret's ninth child, was born.

Fourteen months after Alice's birth, Margaret Hedley, age 38, died of a heart attack on May 29, 1887. She was buried in South Kinloss Cemetery, Lucknow. John was left to care for nine children ranging in ages from one to nineteen years. 

Ann Alexander, a young widow living in Greenock Township, was the daughter of Irish parents, Simon and Sarah Young, who lived in Biddulph Twp., Middlesex Co. before moving to Lot 33, Concession 7 Kincardine Twp. Ann, born in 1852, had married Edward Alexander of Kincardine Twp. on March 30, 1875 at the Anglican Church of the Messiah, Kincardine and had a son Edwin ‘George’ Alexander, born in Nov. 1885.

The 1881 Ont. Census for Greenock Township, Bruce County lists Ann Alexander, 26,  widow, born in Scotland, of Irish origin. George is 5, born in Ontario, of Irish origin. Ann and George were residing with Henry and Sarah Alexander and their three children, Sarah Ann, 12; Roena (Rowene), 3; and Henetta (Henrietta), 2.

Ann Alexander and John Henry were married a year and a half after Margaret's death.

GROOM: John Henry Hedley, 48
Residence: Greenock Twp.
Birthplace: March Twp.
Yeoman, Widower
Parents: Nicholas and Jane
BRIDE: Ann Alexander, 35
Residence: Greenock Twp.
Birthplace: Biddulph Twp.
Parents: Simon and Sarah Young
Witnesses: Wm. and Harriet Young, Kincardine Twp.

The following year, 1889, John Henry mortgaged his farm, on Lot 32, Concession 6, Greenock Township, for $1400 at 6% interest to build a new house, which was completed in 1893 (from Greenock Township History 1856-1981) House, Lot 32, Conc. 6

1891 Ont. Census for Greenock Twp., Bruce County

Headley,   John, age 50, b. Ont., father b. Eng.; mother b. Ire.; farmer; Church of Eng.
                 Ann, age 35, b, in Ont.; father b. in Ire.; mother b. in Ire.; Church of Eng.
                 William, age 23, b. in Ont.; both parents b. in Ont.; Church of Eng
age 20, b. in Ont.; both parents b. in Ont.; Church of Eng.

age 17, b. in Ont.; both parents b. in Ont.; Church of Eng.
age 16, b. in Ont.; both parents b. in Ont.; Church of Eng.
                 Robert, age 13, b. in Ont.; both parents b. in Ont.; Church of Eng.

age 11, b. in Ont.; both parents b. in Ont.; Church of Eng. 
                 Florence, age 8, b. in Ont.; both parents b. in Ont.; Church of Eng.

age 7, b. in Ont.; both parents b. in Ont.; Church of Eng.
                 Allice, age 4, b. in Ont.; both parents b. in Ont.; Church of Eng.

Alice is also on the 1891 Ont. Census Ashfield Twp., Huron Co.:

Brown,       John, 44, b. in Ire., farmer, bp. of father Ire., bp. of mother Ont., Methodist
                   Elizabeth, 35, wife, bp. Ont., bp. of father Ire., bp. of mother Ont., Meth.
                   Alice, 5, daughter, bp. Ont., bp. of father Ire., bp. of mother Ont., Meth.
Johnston,   Martha, 81, widow, b. in Ire., bp. of father Ire., bp. of mother Ire.

Apparently John and Lizzie (Johnston) Brown (Margaret's sister) were providing a home for Martha, the mother of Lizzie and Margaret, as well as for their niece, five-year-old Alice, the youngest of Margaret and John Henry's children.

Confirmation records for St. Mathews Anglican Church, Kingarf show that Margaret Florence, 14; Wes, 19; William 29; and Catherine (his wife), 27, were confirmed in May 1897.

The 1901 Census for Greenock Township, Bruce Co.

Hedley,    John H., 60, b. Nov. 4, 1840
                 Ann, 46, b. Nov. 5, 1854
                 Martha J., 25, b. Jan. 11, 1875
                 Robert W., 23, b. July 15, 1877
                Lillie A., 21, b. July 6, 1879
                Albert E., 17, b. Oct. 15, 1887

Lillian is also listed on the 1901 Census for Kincardine Town, Bruce Co:

Lilly Hedley, age 21, b. July 16, 1872 in Ont., race Eng., nationality Can., Ch. of Eng.,
employment: girl servant at the Royal Hotel.

The three eldest children, William, Emma and Harry, were already married. Maggie (Margaret Florence) was probably working outside the family. She was married the following year (1902) to Jonathon Atkinson.  Alice, age 14, may have been living with her aunt, Lizzie Brown of Ashfield

John Henry and Ann retired to Kincardine in 1908, two years before John Henry died of enlargement of the prostate and nephritis (inflamation of the kidneys). His birthdate on the Ont. Reg. of Death was Oct. 14,1839. He was buried in South Kinloss Cemetery, Lucknow.


In the Town of Kincardine on Thursday,
June 30th, 1910


Aged 70 Years, 7 Months


will take place from his late residence, Queen St. North
Friday, July 1st, 1910
at 1.00 o'clock p.m.
Proceeding to G.T.R. Station, where remains will be
taken to Lucknow for interment.

Service at the house at 12.30 p.m.

Friends and acquaintances will please acceptthis intimation

Funeral under auspicesof Court Lakeview, No.53, Canadian
 Order of Foresters. The brethren will meet at 12.30 p.m. sharp,
at the Court Room, to attend the funeral of the late Bro.
J.H. Hedley. Lucknow brethren are invited to
meet the 2.00p.m. trainand take part in funeral

(Accompanying the above is a large maple leaf insignia bearing the initials C O F
above the head of a stag surmounted on a crown under which are the letters L.B.C.)

Ann Hedley died in 1932 at age 80 years. Her grave is in Kincardine Cemetery with her son Edwin G. Alexander, his wife Esther Florence and their two children, Nellie, age 1 and Greta, age 6.

The Nine Children of John Henry Hedley and Margaret Florence Johnston

William Samuel

b. Feb.16, 1868, Kinloss Twp.; m. Catherine McLean (1869-1949) Nov. 25, 1891, St. Matthews Anglican, Kingarf; farmed in Kincardine Twp. Con. 5; Five children (Fred, Lizzie, Minnie, Jack & Ed); d. Mar. 31, 1931, age 63; Kincardine Cemetery

Emma Hedley

b. Feb. 26, 1870, Kinloss Twp.; m. Thomas Splan (1869-1957) June 9 (or July 11) 1896, St. John's Ang. rectory, Bervie; farmed in Greenock, later moved to Manitoba; no children; moved to Vancouver, BC when Emma became ill;  d. Dec. 2, 1921, age 51 in BC; buried in Ocean View Burial Park, Vancouver. Thomas buried in Kincardine Cemetery.

John Henry
(Harry) Hedley

b. Sept. 26, 1873, (or Nov. 6, 1872 according to notes by his sister Alice) Kinloss Twp.; m. Catherine (Annie) Campbell (1873-1962) Feb. 26, 1896 in Chesley; tinsmith, Kincardine, farmer near Clarksburg, Grey Co., hardware store proprietor in Thornbury, factory worker in Oshawa; 12 children (Cyril or Carlyle, Trefina, Ethel, David, Edwin, Garfield, Orlando, Orville, Janet, Helen, Carman, Meldrum); d. March, 1923 (heart attack) age 50; St. Johns Cem. Norway, Toronto

Martha Jane
(Jen) Hedley

b. Jan. 11, 1875, Kinloss Twp.; m. William John McDonald (1868-1942) April 15, 1903, St. Matthews Anglican, Kingarf; farmed in Greenock Twp. retired to Kincardine; Four sons (Allister, Bill, Grant & Jack); d. 1953, age 78; burial Kincardine Cemetery.

Robert Wesley
James (Wes) Hedley

b. July 15, 1877, Kinloss Twp.Con. 6; m. Martha Gibson (1878-1955) Jan. 21, 1903 St. Matthews Anglican, Kingarf; farmer & drover in Greenock Con. 6, Lot 6, retired 1943 to Glammis, then home of daugter Marrietta after 1955. Four surviving children (Mervyn, Marrietta, Charles & Clarence); d. Jan. 23, 1977 at Brucelea Haven, Walkerton, age 99; South Kinloss Cem.

Lillian A.

b. July 6, 1879, Kinloss Twp.; m. John A. W. Gray (1880-1941) Oct. 7, 1903, St. Matthews Anglican, Kingarf; Kincardine Twp., Con. 7, (Bervie) (stone mason); Three surviving children (Mary, Melvin & James); d.1927, age 48; Kincardine Cem.

Margaret Florence
(Maggie) Hedley
b. May 23, 1883, Kinloss Twp, Con. 6; m. Jonathan Atkinson (1878-1931) March 5, 1902, St. John's Anglican rectory, Bervie, farmed in Kincardine Twp. (Millarton, Durham Rd.); One child (Olive); d. Jan. 2, 1923 (heart failure) age 39; Kincardine Cem.

Albert (Ab) Edwin Hedley

b. Oct. 7, 1884, Kinloss Twp. Con. 6; m. Harriet Chadbourn (1886-1972) May 30, 1906, St. Mathews Anglican, Kingarf; farmed in Greenock Twp. Con 7, Lot 32; Four children (Orville, Mabel, Jack & Bert); d. May 11, 1941 (probably heart failure) age 56; Kincardine Cem.

Alice Hedley

b. March 9, 1886, Kinloss Twp. Con. 6; m. William John McKenzie (1877-1943) Oct. 19, 1904, Lucknow Presbyterian; farmed Kinloss Twp. Con. 10, then moved to Kincardine (3 years) & Lucknow; No children; d. Aug. 19, 1976 at Brucelea Haven, Walkerton, age 90; Greenhills Cem., Lucknow

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this page was last updated on July 26, 2009