Catholic Records, Home Children, Newspapers

Bridget McCann: Friend or Relation?

In records pertaining to my McGlade-Dunne ancestors, who emigrated from Co. Armagh, Ireland to Counties Leeds and Lanark, Ontario, the name McCann turns up at several key points. For example, two of the children of John McGlade and Bridget Dunne had a McCann godparent:

  • Michael James McGlade, born Perth, Ont. 28 Dec 1856, baptized 1 Jan 1857 (St. John the Baptist RC Church, Perth), godparents James Ryan and Bridget McCann
  • Ann McGlade, born Perth, Ont. 17 Oct 1863, baptized 7 Nov 1863 (St. John the Baptist RC Church, Perth), godparents Kenny Murphy and Frances Ann McCann

And at least two of the grandchildren of John McGlade and Bridget Dunne had a McCann godparent as well:

  • John Michael English, son of John English and Ann McGlade, born Perth, Ont. 23 Nov 1888, baptized 26 Nov 1888 (St. John the Baptist RC Church, Perth), godparents John McGlade (presumably his grandfather) and Mrs. Michael Hartney (i.e., Bridget McCann)
  • Arthur Joseph McGlade, son of Arthur Joseph McGlade and Catherine Honora McCarthy, born Perth, Ont. 5 July 1903, baptized 12 July 1903 (St. John the Baptist RC Church, Perth), godparents Lawrence Kilpatrick and Mrs. Lawrence Kirkpatrick (i.e., Mary Elizabeth Hartney, daughter of Michael Hartney and Bridget McCann)

I’m especially interested in Bridget McCann, about whom I know the following:

Who was bridget mccann?

Mrs. Hartney [was] an ardent Irishwoman, and blessed with a keen intellect.

Bridget McCann was born about 1832 in Co. Armagh, the daughter of Michael McCann and Elizabeth Murphy. She emigrated to Canada in the early to mid-1850s, where she settled at Perth (Lanark Co., Ontario). On 16 May 1859 (St. John the Baptist RC Church, Perth), she married Michael Hartney, born Ireland (county unknown) about 1830, son of Patrick Hartney and Margaret Lynch. Michael Hartney was a railroader with the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway). The couple had seven known children: Michael John; Stephen; Bridget; Bernard; Thomas Laurence; Mary Elizabeth; and Lillian Agnes.

In the 1861 census for Perth, Lanark, Canada West (Ontario), Michael Hartney is head of a household that includes his wife Bridget [McCann] Hartney, and their eldest child, Michael J. (Michael John), age 1, born Canada West (Ontario) in 1860; along with Frances Ann McCann, age 14, born Canada West. This 14-year old McCann girl — presumably the future godmother of Annie McGlade, as noted above — was very likely the Frances Ann McCann who was born at Cornwall (Stormont Co., Ontario) on 9 April 1846, the daughter of Laurence McCann and Ann O’Reilly.1 She was not a sister of Bridget [McCann] Hartney;  was she a niece? She married Richard Tovey on 7 February 1882 (St. John the Baptist RC Church, Perth; marriage witnesses John Tovey and Annie McGlade), and died just seventeen months later (3 July 1883), at the age of 37.

Michael Hartney died at Perth on 3 January 1890. Bridget McCann outlived her husband by 32 years, and died at Perth on 31 August 1922. An obituary in the Perth Courier (8 September 1922) described her as a “pioneer citizen” and an “ardent Irishwoman” with “a keen intellect”:

The death of Mrs. Michael Hartney, which occurred on Thursday, Aug. 31st, marked the passing of a pioneer citizen. The deceased lady, in religion a Roman Catholic, and whose maiden name was Bridget McCann, was born at Armagh Co. Ireland, in the year 1832. Eighteen years later, she came with relatives to Canada, locating at Perth, which town has since been her home. About four years after coming to Canada she was married to Michael Hartney, also of Perth, who predeceased her thirty-years ago. In the death of Mrs. Hartney, at the advanced age of ninety-one years, Perth loses an estimable resident, noted for a large hearted sympathy for those distressed and a neverfailing response to the calls of charity, an ardent Irishwoman, and blessed with a keen intellect. Mrs. Hartney kept in touch with the events in the old land through the daily press until a few months before her demise…

The Kirkpatrick brothers were members of the same party of Home Children that included Elizabeth Bowles…

As an interesting side note: Two of the daughters of Michael Hartney and Bridget McCann, Mary Elizabeth Hartney and Lillian Agnes Hartney, married two brothers, Lawrence and David Kirkpatrick, who were the sons of John Kirkpatrick and Catherine Trainor. These two brothers came to Canada as in 1889 as Home Children, travelling under the auspices of the Catholic Children Protective Society, and arriving at Quebec (from Liverpool) on 10 June 1889, with “Kingston via GTR [Grand Trunk Railway]” the final destination for a party of 62 children under the charge of Mrs. Lacy. The Kirkpatrick brothers were members of the same party of children that included Elizabeth Bowles (see Elizabeth Bowles: Home Child), the Home Child who is found (1891 and 1901 Canadian census returns) in the household of Richard Tovey, widower of the above-mentioned Frances Ann McCann. Both Kirkpatrick brothers worked for the railway.

The Widow Hartney Stands Surety

When my great-grandfather Arthur Joseph McGlade was in arrears to the tune of one thousand dollars (a huge amount of money back in the early 1890s!), Bridget McCann was one of two women, both widows, who stood surety for him, each for the amount of five hundred dollars: “I, the said Bridget Hartney, for myself make oath and say: That I am possessed of estate of the value of Five Hundred dollars…” 2 The other woman was Arthur Joseph McGlade’s stepmother Angélique Ménard, 3 who forgave her stepson’s debts in her will (see Last Will and Testament of Angelina McGlade [Angélique Ménard]), on condition that he pay her funeral expenses (and who left the bulk of her property to her adopted son Willie Lee Harrishaw [Henrichon], otherwise known as William Joseph Madden).

Five hundred dollars was no small sum of money in the early 1890s, especially for Irish emigrants who scarcely belonged to the propertied classes. So I can’t help but wonder: Was Bridget (McCann) Hartney a close family friend whose “large hearted sympathy for those distressed” (as per her obituary in the Perth Courier) extended to my great-grandfather? Or was she related to either the McGlade or the Dunne branches of the family, either by blood or by marriage?

  1. Laurence McCann and Ann O’Reilly were Irish emigrants who apparently settled first in the United States, where their eldest child Bernard McCann was born about 1838. By 1843, the couple were living at or near Cornwall (Stormont Co., Ontario), where another five children were born. By 1871, Laurence McCann and Ann O’Reilly had moved to Perth (Lanark Co., Ontario).
  2. From the estate file of John McGlade, Surrogate Court of the County of Lanark, details to follow.
  3. Widow of 1.) Felix Henrichon and 2.)  John McGlade.