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John Trewin Westaway
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William Westaway 1840 - 1908

William was born in 1840 in Bradworthy, Devon son of John Westaway & Ann Yeo. He was their eleventh child and after his birth John & Ann had another four children, although the last one was still born. When John's father died in 1837 he had made provision for the two eldest grandsons, by leaving them the fee simple and Inheritance of all his Freehold Estate called Honnacotts, with a lifetime interest for his son John, but all the many children and the decline in profitable farming in rural Devon left John & Ann living in poverty by 1851 and this may have prompted William to emigrate to Canada. In 1851 the family were split with William living with his parents. John was a servant, Ann the housekeeper and William a cattleboy. The other younger children were with John their eldest son. William's mother, Ann died just months after the 1851 census at the age of 49 years.

1851 Bradworthy - Middle Blatchborough

Arundall Calmady Hutchings
abt 1823
Plymouth, Devon,
Farmer of 400 acres
Thomas Oke
abt 1827
Bradworthy, Devon,
Overseer of the farm
Ann Westaway
abt 1802
Bradworthy, Devon,
John Westaway
abt 1801
Bradworthy, Devon,
Home Servant
Richard Hicks
abt 1829
Kilkhampton, Cornwall,
Home Servant
Mariah Jennings
abt 1831
Bradworthy, Devon,
William Westaway
abt 1840
Bradworthy, Devon,

1851 Berrydown Cottage, Bradworthy

John Westaway
abt 1827
Bradworthy, Devon,
Farm Labourer
Thomas Westaway
abt 1829
Bradworthy, Devon
Master Cordwainer
Ann Westaway
abt 1831
Bradworthy, Devon,
Late Servant
Georgena Westaway
abt 1832
Bradworthy, Devon,
Jane Westaway
abt 1838
Bradworthy, Devon,
Joseph Westaway
abt 1847
Bradworthy, Devon,
Richard Westaway
abt 1845
Bradworthy, Devon,
Samuel Westaway
abt 1843
Bradworthy, Devon,

He emigrated to Canada in 1856 at the age of 16 years from Bradworthy in Devon and sailed from Plymouth in a sailing ship with Captain John Monday landing in Montreal and made his way to his sister Mrs. John Ashton at Port Darlington were he found employment with a Mr. Smith at £25 pound a year and learnt all he can about farming in Canada and even attended night school to achieve this.
Apparently he stayed in southern Ontario until 1858 when he moved north to take up land north of Owen Sound in Keppel township - "Beautiful Stony Keppel".He landed in Montreal and made his way to his sister Mrs. John Ashton at Port Darlington were he found employment with a Mr. Smith at £25 pound a year and learnt all he can about farming in Canada and even attended night school to achieve this. He married Mary Gerolamy in 1863. Mary was a United Empire Loyalist Quaker of Pensylvannia Dutch ancestry and lived with her mother and family at Tara, a village close to Owen Sound. She became the first teacher at Kemble. William and Mary had six children, Ella Ann, Sarah Elizabeth, Frances, William, George and Mary Millicent. However, in 1877 she died from consumption, which she had fought for six months.

Lot 43 William Westaway In 1858, when he took up land north of Owen Sound on Concession 22 Lot 43 of Kemble township and his new friend Jim Smith helped him build a house. William and his brother Sam cleared enough land for the house and a garden and later purchased Lots 42 and 41. Lot 41 is on the edge of the limestone escarpment that rises rather abruptly just a couple miles north of the village of Kemble. The site is now known as the Kemble Rock Road. The house was built in 1888 and the present owners found that the walls had been filled with concrete, presumably as a form of insulation. This house is still occupied and is being retrofitted to improve its warmth. The present barn was built in 1901, just four years before the farm was sold to Danard. Mrs. Danard also records that after the death of Mary Gerolamy following the birth of her daughter Mary, William arranged for Mrs. Mary Croshill of Owen Sound to take over the housekeeping duties of his home. This took place in 1878, then in about 1886 William married Mary Croshill.

William wrote rhyming couplet poem letters that have provide significant leads into his family history. These included A LAD FROM DEVON GOES TO CANADA - 1856 written shortly after his arrival in Canada in 1856 when he was about sixteen years of age and his poem home to his father written in 1866, where he mentions his wife Mary Gerolamy who is age 25 therefore born about 1841 in Canada or in North America and that they hey were married (August 1865). They have a daughter three months old (Ella Ann) and that they had become established on a farm with significant buildings constructed and crop land available. Also in Canada with William were brothers Sam, John and Richard plus sisters Ann and Grace. Richard was severely ill and not expected to live very long. Subsequent research indicates he died in October of 1866. Richard was staying with sister Ann and Sam was working at copper mines on north shore of Lake Huron. Apparently brother John was closer to Darlington than either William or Sam. William appears to have had closer relationships with Sam than other members of family. Subsequent research has found William taking a team of horses to drive down to Exeter to visit Sam. He also is reported to have attended the funerals of one or both of his sisters over near Darlington. Darlington seems to be a significant location, probable to do with first arrival or earlier work or location of other family members. Certainly many of his Yeo cousins had settled in that area. Uncle John Yeo emigrated in 1826 and settled in the Hamilton area, and Uncle Thomas Yeo who married Grace Walter Yeo had emigrated in the 1840's from Bradworthy and settled in the Darlington area, but there were many family members who emigrated from Bradworthy at this time.

When I was in my native clime, out in the fields to work
Thoughts of distress came in my mind, my money being so short,
Though work was very plenty, but the pay was all so low
That I scarcely knew how to act or scarcely what to do.
For the last twelve months that 1 was there I was about all in
And all the pay that I could get was five pounds and ten,
So by the time I had a pair of pants, a coat and hat and vest,
Small amount of money there would be to for all the rest,
So then I heard of Canada, Great Britain's noted friend,
How there was cultivation there for all that would attend,
And aplenty work there to be got, no fear about the pay,
For the farmers produced good crops of wheat and noble fields of hay.
So then I thought that I the means for Canada would start
And went to work with willing hands and with a willing heart.
So then I searched about and actually got the means.
But yet I had no doubt it would be hard to part with friends,
So aboard the ship I did embark, 'twas a ship of noted fame,
We had a noble captain too, John Monday was his name,
And from Plymouth Sound we started out in the English Channel,
And there we took farewell of Britain's happy isle.
A northeast wind was blowing strong, which was greatly in our favour,
It kept us from the Souther shores and from the Cornish Harbour.
But our captain still remained on deck and boldly did command
The rigging all to be put up and haste away from land.
Oh, I remained on deck until it was almost the night,
My stomach feeling somewhat sick and head uncommon light.
So then I went to bed and quickly I went off to sleep
And soon forgot that I was on the briny ocean deep,
But in the morn when 1 awoke, unto my great surprise,
Some were engaged in groaning, others in hitter sighs,
But I engaged in laughter, some others did the same,
Perhaps not an hour after we were all as sick as them.
But it's true the seamen did some of us inform
That before three days were over we might expect a storm,
They said they'd tell us of it for they thought it was their place,
That it would be the fulness but this was merely a taste.
True as the seamen said, just as the time rolled round
The wind did rudely blow so that the rigging was took down,
So it was a storm indeed, a storm of fearful danger,
And true some did expect to be shut up in death's dark chamber.
But yet there is a Being whose goodness has no end,
He calmed again the ocean, tho' we had sinners been,
And caused again our ship to go in her right course,
For the wind did after fairly blow which drove her out with force,
So we had pleasure all the way of seeing fish and birds,
But of every day I can't keep count, for it takes too many words,
But I will try to tell you a little about our cooking,
Some did get on extremely well, with others it was shocking,
For I am almost ashamed to tell what I myself have done,
For the first of all my cooking was altogether wrong.
The first potato pie 1 made, it was not without fault,
For true, I did forget to put the pepper and the salt,
But sometimes we'd have potato roast, sometimes potato pie,
Sometimes we'd have a figgy duff, at other times we'd fry,
For ham we'd plenty and potatoes we had enough,
But bread was rather scarce, we could only bake a loaf.
The sea biscuits, it is true, were not as hard as Brazil,
We say them put on the deck and break them with their heel.
So now I think I'll put down this and take up something else,
For fear that I be tempted to put down something false.
So when we came in sight of land, it did our heart suffice
Amid the dangers we were in, amongst the bergs of ice,
So now we are getting up, nigh at our journey's end,
Hoping to join a better - but I cannot state the time.
It was not long. however, until we did arrive,
Three cheers we gave our Captain, and three the sailor boys,
So when we went ashore we somewhat did feel glad,
But again to think of home and friends, it did make us all feel sad.
But I must look the brighter side and comfort those that mourn,
May God protect our sweethearts until we do return.
So now we know not where to go nor what to carry on,
But yet we'd lotted out a port, it was Port Darlington.
So when we'd reached that Port, home sickness went away,
So a cloudy often brings a bright and sunshine day.
So in the country we went and there got employ
So he that sows in tears shall surely reap in joy.
And I hired for twelve months for five and twenty pounds,
To chop, to cradle, and to mow, to plough and plant the ground.
So now you'll see the difference, it really is so much.
There too is also good, I think it beats the Dutch.
And now I've nothing more to say, but I like the country well,
Though Canada's yet a woodland place, in it I mean to dwell,
So if you please remember me to my old companions dear,
I'd like to see them all again, the sight my heart would cheer.
But perhaps we never more may see each other in the tenement clay,
But Jesus Christ, He can prepare our souls, no matter where we stay.
And if on earth we do his will and all his laws obey,
We again shall meet to part no more in the last and judgment day.

William's Poem letter Home in 1866 Keppel, Canada West September 30th, 1866

Dear Father,
Months and years have gone
Since you heard from your fourth son*,
And doubtless you begin to think
That I have lost my pen and ink,
But no, they've always been together
Through heat and stormy weather;
But I'm to blame in this respect
For giving way to old neglect,
I'd ought to know a great deal better
Than trust to it to write a letter,
For sad neglect has ne'er been known
To do at once what should be done;
For even flow it would prevail
If I would listen to its tale;
But no I am resolved to write,
"Neglect" won't conquer me tonight:
Then first of all I'll give Him praise
Who kindly lengthens out our days
Who does provide our daily bread
Who counts the hairs upon our head
To him all glory, honour, power,
From now, henceforth, and evermore.
My health since last I wrote to yea
Has suffered some,. 'tis better now;
But I no more enjoy that ease
I had before my late disease:
Bronchitis and the pleurisy
Is what was wrong; the doctors say
It's cured but yet there still remains
Around my heart peculiar pains,
Though not severe enough to keep
Me from my work or from my sleep,
But though afflictions be severe,
They're doubtless good for us to bear
It teaches how to value health
It lets us see our real self,
It shows how transient is our stay,
And minds us of a Judgment Day,
But an account I now must give
With whom, and how, and where I live:
Behold! I'm living with my wife
A happy, peaceful, sober life;
Perhaps you'll think this story wild,
Not so, I have a wife and child,
A little girl just three months old
A smart one, too, we're often told:
We've just been married thirteen months,
These are the facts laid down at once:
Wife's name, as you may plainly see,
Is spelt like this G-e-r-o-l-a-m-y;
Her age is twenty-five, and she's
A native of this country:
Her people all are well to do
And very much respected too
But I will neither boast or swell
Suffice to say, I'm suited wall.
Of course I'm living on my farm,
My first crop now lies in the barn
A building thirty -one feet wide
By forty-eight feet long inside:
Its built of timber large and strong,
It answers well, and answers long,
The grain that's in it will, when sold
Be worth one hundred pounds in gold;
I have a yoke of oxen now,
Two heifers and a splendid cow,
I've debts to pay, and what's still worse,
A very large but empty purse,
But thanks, the wherewithal's at hand
To satisfy what debts demand,
The wheat will always bring the cash,
All I've to do is but to thrash,
Wheat buyers now are very willing
To pay from: six to seven shillings
For sixty pounds of good spring wheat
That's just our bushel, lawful weight;
My crops this year are very good,
For which I'm full of gratitude.
But I must turn to brother Sam,
He now is quite a bearded man.
He's working on the Northern Shore
Of Huron lake, ‘mong Copper Ore:
He's healthy stout, and doing well
He's free, yet economical;
He's further still from Darlington
Than either I or brother John;
He has been there six months or more
And calculates to stay six more;
He very often writes to me,
That has he wrote home o'er the sea?
But as for sisters Ann and Grace
I have not once beheld their face
For six years back, nor do I mind
Of seeing Richard in that time,
And as they never write to me,
It's very little I can say:
But oh, that little will contain
A statement which will give you pain
To hear how Richard in his prime
Is sinking fast into decline
Poor boy, how long he's been unwell
Is more than I'm prepared to tell;
I got the news the other day
From one who came from down that way
Oh, how I wish with all my heart
We did not live so far apart;
Or if they'd even write a letter,
With a full statement of the matter,
It would relieve my troubled brain:
But no, I wait and watch in vain,
I'm told he stops with sister Ann,
All shall be done for him that can;
I'll go and see him if I'm spared
As soon as I can get prepared,
And if he likes to come with me
He's welcome; but if rather stay,
I'll do what in my power lies
To comfort and get him supplies;
My daily prayers are to the Lord
That he again may be restored;
But if the Lord sees fit to call
Him hence from this terrestrial ball,
My prayer is that he may obtain
A Home beyond this world of pain:
That Home which opens to receive
All who in Jesus Christ believe;
I cannot doubt but mother's there,
And we her children should prepare
To meet her on that peaceful shore
There pain and parting are no more:
Thus may we meet the last Great Day
A whole unbroken family
No wanderer lost, none unforgiven,
But each a title clear for heaven,
But, Father, I will not detain
You longer with this rhyming strain,
By giving public news, which hires
Its passage home upon the wires,
Which have successfully been laid
Across the broad Atlantic bed,
A wonder useful in its place,
Almost like talking face to face.
But I must close, hoping that you
Will write, as soon as you get through
The reading of this lengthy scrawl,
If it indeed will read at all,
Our love united I must send
To all, from Joseph up to Ben,
To Uncles, Aunts, Nephews and Cousins,
And Nieces, perhaps a dozen dozens.
Much love to you. Good-bye
From your son, WILLIAM WESTAWAY.
When you write, please address:-
Sarawak P. 0., via Owen Sound, Canada West
PS- Dear Father, - Will you please to send your likeness when you
write again?

1880 Census
Census Place: Keppel, Grey North, Ontario, Canada

Source: FHL Film 1375898 NAC C-13262 Dist 156 SubDist F Div 3 Page 20 Family 95

William WESTAWAY M M 40 English England
Occ: Farmer Religion: Weslyan Methodist
Mary WESTAWAY F M 31 English England
Religion: Weslyan Methodist
Ella WESTAWAY F 14 English Ontario
Religion: Weslyan Methodist
Sarahom WESTAWAY F 13 English Ontario
Religion: Weslyan Methodist
Fannay WESTAWAY F 11 English Ontario
Religion: Weslyan Methodist
William WESTAWAY M 8 English Ontario
Religion: Weslyan Methodist
George WESTAWAY M 5 English Ontario
Religion: Weslyan Methodist
Mary WESTAWAY F 3 English Ontario
Religion: Weslyan Methodist

Parent's John & Ann MI in Bradworthy Church.

My thanks to Ed Somers for the information on William and the poems (The original source appears to have been from Mrs Margaret Strangways, a granddaughter of William's sister Grace Yeo Westaway and her husband John Spiring Ashton, sent to Reg Walters, many years ago (Ref. Westaway Jigsaw - issue 3)

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  © 2003-6 Sheila Yeo | For more information on the Westaway family and the research contained in this site email sheila@yeosociety.com or call me on +44 (0)1626 360978