February 25, 2009

Who is #21 on the ahnentafel... better late than never, Matilda Smith

I just stumbled onto this exercise by Randy Seaver at Gena-Musings, and thought I would give it a try even though it will be nearly a week late by the time I post. Wouldn’t you know it, its great greatgrandma Matilda Smith.

Matilda Smith was born August 29, 1825 in Lennox and Addington County Ontario. Her parents are Nicholas Smith and Margaret Johnson. I do not yet know much on her parents but believe her father may have been a UEL. Matilda married James McLean Wheeler son of Calvin Wheeler on March 16, 1840 in Camden East, Lennox and Addington County.

Matilda and husband James raised 10 children in Tamworth, Sheffield Township in L & A Co. James was a merchant & millwright in the lumber business with his father. Their family was well established in Tamworth.

Matilda’s children: Elizabeth, Richard, Clarissa, Margaret, John [died], James my great grandfather, Alonzo, Charles, Calvin, Archibald and Ross.

I have certainly learned a lot about this family, much of the family folklore was wayyyyy off course. As history has it you don’t always get to learn much on the women in the family. I do not know much on Matilda’s life. By the 1880's she and her husband, and sons ventured into the upper peninsula of Michigan where lumbering was booming. Where exactly she and her husband ended up is unclear. I have searched high and low for the two of them in the U.P. I know her sons were in the Seney area, but she doesn’t show up. Another descendant thought they were in the Minnesota area with another son....not found there either. Right now the only clues I have are a naturalization into the U.S. of James M Wheeler in 1886, in Marquette. A photograph of their grandchildren taken in Marquette. I believe this documentation is ‘my James’ the signature is very similiar to that signed on his fathers will. The folklore has been quite interesting, stating that the Wheelers were all born in New York, and even England...well it was Canada, daddy was a British Supporter and left the U.S. by the war of 1812 when he became an adult.

I would love to know more about Matilda, put a picture with her name, and find out where she is laid to rest. Folklore has her death date as December 13, 1893... is it so and where is she?

How does Matilda tie into the Raeburns? Matilda's granddaugher Ethel Wheeler married my grandfather Ernest Raeburn.


  1. Hi Holly,

    I have added your post to my list on my blog, www.geneamusings.com.

    I've been posting Saturday Night Fun for several months now - always on MY Saturday Night (PST). Either drop by on Sunday morning to see if you want to play, or subscribe via email so you don't miss out on any of my exciting (?) blog posts.

  2. Well, at least you know who your Matilda Smith's parents were. My Lizzie Smith is my big brick wall. The joys of researching Smiths....

  3. lol...I am guessing Lizzie isn't from the Lennox and Addington area? Where is she from and when?

  4. Matilda sounds like a very interesting mystery to have :) I hope you figure out her story!


  5. This Wheeler/Smith family has been fun uncovering the history that has been literally hidden. Family folklore said they came from New York, then I find its Canada and 'dad'Calvin practically built the town, why was that lost I wonder? Son Alonzo's [descendants] who went to Minnesota thought 'dads' name was William from England not Calvin because oral history told them so. So much interesting history. And to think history bored me in high school.