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MCCLELLAND, Robert & Eliza McLean McClelland

The following is a brief history of the McClelland family of Beachburg, Ontario; all descendants of Robert McClelland and Eliza McLean of Ireland.”

So begins a family history prepared by Maureen Carey Pegg and submitted by Edgar White.

Robert McClelland was born in the County Armaugh, Ireland, in 1819 or 1820.  He married Eliza McLean of County Monaghan.

In 1850 this young couple and their two children Margaret and Hiram set out for Canada. After eleven weeks at sea they “lived in Ottawa for a short time before moving to the Sixth Line, Westmeath Township”. Later they purchased 300 acres of land two miles west of Beachburg. They were among the first settlers in the area and Mrs. McClelland was the first white woman in the vicinity.

The land which they bought had been owned by a man named Adams. Mr. Adams claimed that the former owner had traded this block of land, all forest at the time, for a bottle of liquor. This land, once traded for a bottle of liquor has since been divided, but the “original acres of the farm are numbered Lot 13, Concession 2 E.M.L. Westmeath Township, registered Robert McLennan”.

According to the census of 1851 Robert McClellan is listed as being a carpenter but by the census of 1861, it was obvious that the farm was doing well as he listed himself as a farmer.

Robert and Eliza had four children: Margaret, Hiram, Samuel and Caroline. Little is known of the girls except that Margaret married a man named Porteous and Caroline married Augustus Brown, also known as Yankee Brown.

Robert McClelland (1819- 1891) and  Eliza McLean (1817-1891) were married around 1840 in County Armaugh, Ireland. They  joined the great diaspora of Irish emigration that reached its peak in the late 1840s; resulting from the Irish Potato Famine and the harsh political decisions made at that time. The McClelland Family immigrated to Canada in 1850.

The two Irish home counties of this “immigrant ancestor” couple were adjacent and people readily traveled back and forth in the 1840’s.  In today’s Ireland, unfortunately, County Armagh is in Ulster, Northern Ireland  and  County Monaghan  is in the border regions of the Republic of Ireland.

This McClelland tombstone, picture below and found in the Beachburg Cemetery,  is the second stone ordered  by Robert McClelland to commemorate his County Monaghan-born wife, Eliza McLean. He ordered her stone to be cut and shipped out from Ireland; however that first stone was lost going down  with the sailing ship during the sea voyage. A second tombstone was then ordered by Robert and that stone made safe-passage from the old homeland to the new frontier of the Upper Canada wilderness.McClelland McLean Stone

Additional material  prepared by Guy McClelland, Sudbury; a son of Stephen and Sadie McClelland, was submitted to this entry by Maureen McClelland Matthews, daughter of Lowell McClelland and Dot Burgess McClelland.

 Coming into Westmeath Township, the couple bought land from a Mr. Adams; no doubt Samuel Adams, who had come some years earlier and was a landowner of  means in Westmeath; often selling land parcels to incoming settlers. See ADAMS entry.

1861 Census Westmeath Township

























The 1861 Census lists this Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) family. The children of Robert McClelland and Eliza McLean are:

1. Hiram McClelland (1842-1914), came to the New World in 1850 as a lad of 7 yrs. old. Hiram m. Anne Jane Labeau (1850-1937) on November 8, 1882. See LEBEAU entry. Hiram remained on the homestead all his life. Hiram and Anne Jane Labeau had 4 children:

Samuel J. McClelland

Samuel James McClelland & his son Ronald McClelland.

i.  Stephen McClelland (1883-1956), – this branch is outlined in more detail in this entry.

ii. Samuel James McClelland, (1885-1935) was a soldier in the Great War WWI and later a game warden. He married Lottie___, a British “war bride” in 1917? and they had two children: Lois McClelland (1918- ), born in England, and Ronald McClelland (1922-1944) born in Pembroke, ON.  Ronald became a RCAF serviceman and served in WWII.

 iii. Elizabeth  McClelland (1890-1891),  died in infancy (18 months) after an accidental fall.

iv.  Nettie McClelland (1891-1975) – adopted and raised by the family. Nettie m. Donald Davidson around 1911. They raised nine children and lived in Beachburg Village. This family gave exceptional service to our  nation with four sons joining the Canadian Expeditionary Forces  during WWII. All four survived the war and returned safely home. The children of Nettie  and Donald Davidson are:

1.  Hiram Davidson (1912-1934); bush worker, Died in 1934 when a tree accidentally fell on him.

2. Donald Davidson (1915-1990) served in the army and married (1) Catherine Hunt in England in 1942, and then worked as a miner. They had one daughter Jane Davison and divorced and 1956. Donald married (2) Margaret Robertson.


Four Brothers: Donald Davidson, Douglas Davidson, Wallace Davidson, & Roy Davidson.

3. Ruth Davidson (1917-1998) m. Johnny Black in 1934 and they had 3 children: Donna Black; James Black; Kevin Black.

4. Hazel Davidson  (1920-1999) a hairdresser m. Gus Morris around 1940 and their children are: Richard Morris; Danny Morris; Nancy Morris.

5. Douglas Davidson (1921-1948) served  in the army and was a farmer. He was married around 1945 to ___ and was struck by lightning and died around 1949. His children are: Patricia Davidson and twins sons.

6. Wallace Davidson (1922-1980) served in the army and was a labourer. He was married twice and had no children.

7. Lois Davidson (1924-  ) m. Charles Piche’ and they had 3 children: Jackie Piche’; Susan Piche’; Charles Piche’.

8. Roy Davidson (1926-  ) served in the army and then a labourer. He married around 1955 to ___ and they had 3 children.

9. Cecil Davidson (1932-  ) was an electrician and m. June Holmes around 1957 and they had 4 children.

2.  Margaret McClelland, born in Ireland

3. Caroline E. McClelland ( 1850-1873) m. Augustus “Yankee” Brown and would live in Beachburg, ON. See BROWN family

4.   Samuel McClelland (1851-1910) was born two years after his immigrant parents had arrived. He had married Sarah Cordellia “Delia” White (1866-1944). 1886 Samuel & Delia Marriage   See WHITE entry.   He died on October 25, of 1910 of typhoid fever at 58 years of age. 1910 Samuel’s Typhoid Fever Death.

McClelland - White stone, Beachburg Cemetery.

McClelland – White stone, Beachburg Cemetery.

Their  3 sons are:

i.  Samuel McClelland (1889- 1918) “Little Sammy” died in the Spanish Flu epidemic at age 29 years.

ii.  Hiram “Gordon” McClelland (1890-1953) – this branch is outlined in more detail below.

iii.   John “Jack” McClelland (1895-1960), became a baker and lived in Ottawa. He m. (1)  Catherine Marion (Mernie) Davidson around 1913, daughter of James Davidson and Eleanor Emily Hill. See DAVIDSON entry.  They had 2 children :

1. Eleanor McClelland (1914 ?- );

2. Marion McClelland (1916?- ).

When his first wife died, Jack, a machinist,  married again to (2) Emma Jane Fourner (1894-  ), 1918 John & Emma Jane marriage and their children are:

3. Jean McClelland (1920?-

4. Vivian McClelland (1922?-

5. Dolly McClelland (1924-

Stephen McClelland & Sarah “Sadie” McGonegal Family

Stephen McClelland (1883-1956),  -Hiram and Ann Jane’s eldest son, – married Sarah McGonegal (  -1968), known as Sadie, on April 7, 1909 at the Methodist Parsonage in Westmeath with Rev. C.D. Baldwin officiating. They had attended S.S. No. 12 Crozier School and they are both pictured as youngsters in a school photograph from 1893.

“Stephen remained on the homestead all his life until he retired to Beachburg Village a few years before his death in 1956. He served on the School Board of S.S.#12 Westmeath. He was also president of the North Renfrew Agricultural Society. Stephen was a progressive man. He was one of the first in the area to have a telephone installed in his home. When the first power line was extended from Beachburg, he engaged A. Miller of Forester’s Falls to wire his home for electricity, this making the McClelland homestead one of first in the area to be filled with the glow of electric lights”      – from notes by Maureen Carey Pegg.

“You always got something to eat at Aunt Sadie’s, even if she only had bread and butter. In later years she developed arthritis and would walk on the built up path to the barn to milk the cows. Sometimes she would fall off the path and would crawl to the fence to pull herself up. She was a strong woman.”       -from notes by Pansy Robertson, submitted by Ruby Robertson Bennett.

In the 1921 Census, Stephen’s mother Jane Lebeau McClelland lives with her son. Although the census-taker uses the spelling “McLelland”; the family uses the M-double-C of McClelland. McLelland 1921 Census

Sadie McGonegal & Steve McClelland

Sadie McGonegal & Steve McClelland

The children of Stephen McClelland and Sarah McGonegal are:

    1. William Stephen “Veldon” McClelland (1909-1934) became an electrician and m. Leta Johnson in 1931. Their children are: Dale McClelland (1932-; Gary McClelland (1935-

      William McClelland

      Daryl McClelland

      Daryl McClelland

    2. Gloria McClelland (1921-  ) m. Edwin Coons in 1941. She worked at Sears and was a housewife. Their children are: Curtis Coons (1948-; Marsha Coons (1956- .
    3. Daryl McClelland (1923-1974) m. Iona O’Brien in 1946. He was in the RCAF in WWII and was an electrician , Sudbury, ON.  Their children are: Linda McClelland (1947-;  Brian McClelland (1955- ) adopted.
    4. Guy McClelland (1924-  ) m. Alice Johnston and lived in Sudbury, ON.
      Guy McClelland

      Guy McClelland

      He was in the RCAF and worked for Falconbridge Nickel, Sudbury, ON.  Their children are: Karen McClelland (1947- ; Katherine McClelland (1952-

    5. Lowell G. “Pete” McClelland (1926-  ) m. Doris Margaret “Dot” Burgess (1928-2004). Lowell worked as a farmer and trucker and stayed in Westmeath Township. Their children are: Larry McClelland (1947-1999); Maureen McClelland (1953-  ) m. Donny Matthews and raised their children in Westmeath Township. Lowell and Dot McClelland were living in Beachburg Village in April 1948 when a devastating fire took hold:

      “The blaze originated just after three o’clock in the small frame home of Lowell McClelland at the west end of the town. His wife had started a fire in the kitchen stove and noticed the blazer when she was standing outside the front door. Mrs. McClelland ran to the general store nearby, operated by James Bennie and notified several men talking inside the brick building. By the time the men reached the house it was ablaze and flames, fanned by the strong west wind had spread to a home owned by Osborne Johnston, on the main street.”        -from The Ottawa Journal, April 1948.  1948_Beachburg_Fire

      Dot McClelland faced harsh discrimination from her  neighbours after the fire and  she  felt strongly that there was another possible cause for that devastating event,  – that of boys igniting the blaze by playing with matches in a shed behind the property.  She and Lowell left the village and moved back to the McClelland property on the Beachburg Road.

    6. Zeta McClelland (1927-2001) m. Reginald G. Fischer (1919-1987) in 1947 and was a housewife; one daughter Vicki Fisher (1948-   ).

 H. Gordon McClelland & Elizabeth McGonegal Family

Samuel McClelland and Delia White’s eldest son Hiram Gordon McClelland (1890-1955) m. (1) Isabel Cassidy who died 8 months after they wed from the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918; he then married (2) Elizabeth McGonegal (1897-1968), of Perretton. He died at age 65 of stomach cancer.

The children of Gordon McClelland and Elizabeth McGonegal  were:

  1. Marvel Cordellia McClelland (1921-1972)  m. Ross Clarence Dougherty (1918-  ) around 1943. Marvel developed Multiple Sclerosis and she was placed in a home in Ottawa. Her mother Elizabeth, an older widow, moved to Ottawa and cleaned hotel rooms in order to be close to her daughter.  She was a mild woman; however it must have taken great strength to do this, as she was far away from family and friends. They had 3 children:  David Dougherty (1944-  ); Colleen Doughty (1946-  ); Mervyn Dougherty (1947-  ).
  2. Fern Elizabeth McClelland (1919-  ) Cotnam, Elizabeth McClelland   m. Robert Graham Cotnam (1912-  ) around 1939.   Their children are: Murray Cotnam (1940-  ) m. Margaret Hudgin (1939-  ) and Brian Cotnam.