Welcome to the world of one-place studies! Twenty-six of our members are sharing something in their particular place for this year's A-Z Blogging Challenge. It's time to visit Gatineau in Canada with our host Brenda Turner.
K is for the Kellogg family, one of the early pioneer families who are buried in my special place, the West Templeton cemetery in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. It is a family I knew very little about until I was happily landed with the letter K.
The earliest Kellogg burial we know of was that of Hiram Johnson Kellogg, who was born in Vermont, USA, in about 1803. That Kellogg family links back to Connecticut and New Jersey well before the American Revolution of 1776. This was documented in a 1903 book on the history of the Kellogg family by Timothy Hopkins, a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and based on Kellogg family records and reports mostly compiled by the family itself. It shows the family originated in the UK in the Braintree in Essex area.
And why would that Kellogg American family had migrated into Canada? Well, they were part of a wave of about 30,000 American migrants who moved to Canada from the US between 1792 to 1812.
Following the loss of the United States after the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the British Government wished to avoid similar independence agitation in Canada, and the 1791 Canada Constitutional Act was passed to help accomplish that. That Act legally established the two provinces of Upper and Lower Canada (now Ontario and Quebec respectively), and created legislatures to levy taxes to support area courts and civil administrations, thereby lessening the Imperial financial burden of supporting the colonies. It also ensured the religious freedom of Quebec Catholics to practice their own religion, and legally adopted French heritage civil law, unlike the other provinces of Canada, which operate under common law traditions. It also limited the power of the provinces, though, and strengthened political dependency on Great Britain. In doing so it probably sowed the seeds for rebellion in the next 50 years, but that is another story.
Cheap land was being offered in these two new provinces, and those 30,000 American migrants moved north to claim it. Some of those migrants were considered “late Loyalists”, such as Quakers, who wanted religious freedom and freedom from serving in militias.
Another of those migrants was Philemon Wright, born in Woburn Massachusetts, who fought in the Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1777 under Captain John Woods in the Massachusetts Militia. Wright moved north between 1798 and 1800, bringing with him five migrant Woburn families. He had determined that the group's best opportunity presented itself on what is now the Ottawa River, where the Gatineau and Rideau Rivers join it, very close to where I have always lived. Falls on two of the rivers presented power sources for mills, and the third, the Gatineau River, flowing directly south, provided a direct route into many thousands of acres of wild and mature hardwood forests.
Wright gained many acres in land grants in Lower and Upper Canada by 1810, and many others were claimed by his wife and sons. The requirement to swear an oath of loyalty to the British King did not hinder Wright’s land petitions in Britain’s colonies of the Canadas. These grantees were more land-hungry than fervent Independence-seeking settlers, more fleeing the high American taxes which resulted after the War of Independence to pay off the revolution’s debts. And Wright was very lucky. By 1806 the Napoleonic Wars had resulted in the blockade of British ports by Italian, French, Spanish, and Danish governments, and most of the timber sources in Europe proved unavailable. Canada's vast forest resources became instantly lucrative. Without those forests how could the British have built its ships, won its wars, and expanded and managed its burgeoning Empire?
By 1803 Philomen Wright had founded what was then called Wrightsville, after himself, and is now the City of Gatineau, Quebec, with a current population of about 300,000. Long surrounded by farmers' fields and lonely by isolation, now the location of my West Templeton Cemetery is within the City’s borders and surrounded by suburban homes.
The West Templeton Cemetery's Kellogg family is representative of a major northwards migration after the American Revolution, of American families into the British colony of the Canadas, hoping for a better life.