John Garrow Jr. and Bridget Dillon

When John Garrow Jr. was born in 1838 in Ontario, Canada, his father, John Garrow Sr. (1818-?), was 20 and his mother, Harriett (née Wilkie) (1820-?), was 18. He had at least one brother.

When Bridget Dillon was born on February 2, 1847, in Ireland, her father, Martin Dillon (1809-1881), was 38, and her mother, Mary (née Casey) (1820-1901), was 27. She had five sisters and four brothers.

I have been unsuccessful in locating a marriage record for John and Bridget, but believe they would have married in Wellington County, Ontario sometime before the birth of their first child in 1868.

They had seven (known) children in 14 years.

  • Harriet Garrow (1868-1929) married Frederick Russell Burrows (1862-1935)
  • Mary Garrow (1871-1923) married Philip Augustus Monaghan (1867-1938)
  • John Garrow III (1873-1941)
  • Margaret Dillon Garrow (1875-1954) married Peter Ramsay Reid (1870-1945)
  • Cecelia Garrow (1876-1941)
  • Martin Francis Garrow (1878-1935) married Lilian Alma Robertson (1895-1971) (they divorced in 1928)
  • Charles Garrow (1882-1964)

I have not located birth registrations for the first two children, both daughters, Harriet (named for her paternal grandmother), born November 9, 1868, and Mary (named for her maternal grandmother), born March 17, 1871.

The family is on the 1871 Canadian Census, living in Arthur, Ontario. The last name on the census appears to be “Garre.” We understand from this record that John is French Catholic, born in Ontario, and Bridget was born in Ireland. John is a farmer. Mary is just one month old.

1871 Canadian Census (image via

John Garrow (the third) is the first child that appears to have a registered Ontario birth record. The family’s residence is noted as Lot 17, 2nd Concession, Arthur Township.

Ontario, Canada Births (image via

A county map dated 1861 found in a University of Toronto database appears to have the name recorded as Jno Garrah (on the right of the image, second column around the middle).

Map from University of Toronto Map and Data Library (reference e010771275_a1.jp2)

On modern-day GoogleMaps, we discover that the area is still mostly farmland, divided much the way it was almost 160 years ago.

Image via GoogleMaps

No birth record has been located for the next born child, Margaret Dillon Garrow, born April 18, 1875, in Arthur.

The next child born is Cecelia Garrow, on November 24, 1876. No birth or baptismal record has been located for Cecelia either, but later records suggest the family was in Sault Ste. Marie at the time of her birth.

A late birth registration is found for the next child, Martin Francis Garrow, born on October 6, 1878 in Arthur, Ontario. The document is registered in Windsor in 1927, and suggests that both of Martin’s parents are deceased at that time.

The image of the 1881 census is very faint, but we find the family still on the farm in Arthur, Ontario. John is now age 44, Bridget 36. Harriet (11), Mary (10), John (8) and Margaret (6) are at school. Cecelia (4) and Martin (3) are at home.

John died before Bridget, but I haven’t found a death certificate or obituary to confirm when and where he died, but I believe he may have died between 1881 when he is last found on the census and 1891. By this time, Harriet has married and is living with her husband in Grey, Ontario. None of the other children have married, but I have not located any of the family on the 1891 census.

On the 1901 Census, Bridget (now Gareau) has relocated to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (which is where daughter Cecelia married in 1893 and son Martin Francis marries in 1913). Her occupation is difficult to read on the image, but it’s suggested that she’s a “BH Keeper” in the transcription (possibly a boarding house—as there are a number of boarders in the home as well).

Quizzically, Bridget is noted as married on the census—but John is nowhere to be found. In the home is Martin Francis (22), a labourer and Bridget’s mother Mary Dillon (85). An Alma Gareau is noted as Bridget’s sister. I have not been able to trace her—none of Bridget’s sisters were named Alma, and John’s only brother married a woman named Elizabeth. However, the rest of the information matches what we know of the family and I am confident this is the correct record.

1901 Canadian Census (image via

On the 1911 census, Bridget and Martin Francis (here Gerow) are living together at 46 King Street in Sault. Ste. Marie. The area is now a large parking lot. Martin’s occupation is something “Keep.” Bridget is not working and is noted as widowed on this record.

1911 Canadian Census (image via

In 1921, Bridget (here Garre) is in the home of her daughter Mary and her husband, Augustus Monaghan at 122 Gore Street in Sault Ste. Marie.

1921 Canadian Census (image via

Bridget (Garrow on the certificate) died on December 15, 1925, at the home of her daughter Cecelia at 133 London Avenue in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, at the age of 78. The cause of death is “general debility.” The certificate suggests she is buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, but a specific gravestone has not been located.

Main image: Founding of Arthur Ontario Plaque (image via Wikimedia)


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AG Knapper

I’ve been researching my tree for over twenty years…and I’ve found some easy branches, and some gnarly ones…

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