In Search of Ann Jane Parr

I’m sitting here wondering where Ann Jane Parr went. She was a daughter of Joseph Parr and Jane Kennedy. At this point in time, she is assumed to be their first born child. I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let me start at the beginning of my story.

On 27 September 1832, Joseph Parr and Jane Kennedy were married by the minister of St. Peter’s church in Cobourg, Ontario … Witnessed by Thomas Montgomery and Eliza Robe.

[top of the page for this entry is stated: “Marriages for 1832”]

Joseph Parr and Jane Kennedy's marriage registration from church records

Their marriage bond, having been registered on the 26th of September, was witnessed by “Thomas Montgomery of Haldimand and Ephrium Doolittle of same.” “Joseph Parr of the Township of Cavan Yeoman and Jane Kennedy of the Township of Haldimand aforesaid spinster” is what is written on this document.

Joseph’s location in Cavan map of Cavan Township, OntarioTownship was discovered to be on Lot 6 Concession 10 as shown on the township map, on the left. His 100 acres being located immediately below the X shown to indicate Concession 10 … accessed by the road indicated by a line (running left to right) below that again.

The task was to discover where both Joseph Parr and Jane Kennedy were living before they married. Jane’s residence has been assumed to be that of a housekeeper for Ephrium Doolittle who, it is said, was a man of great wealth living in Cobourg at that time.

Makes sense to me, else why would he have witnessed their marriage bond? Both Joseph and Jane came from middle-class Irish farming families.

The purchase of Joseph’s land took place in 1831. A copy of the deed is shown below:
Joseph Parr's deed to land in Cavan Township in 1831

… and the sale in 1833, as indicated below:

Joseph Parr's sale of same land in 1833

A search of the Cavan Township Tax Assessment Records proved the acreage of his purchase to have been 100 acres. The records also indicated that Joseph and Jane (with family) did not move off this land until 1834.

After this move, they simply have disappeared back into old records, temporarily lost in time until another researcher (Bill Ferguson) discovered baptismal records for two of their children in Bomanville’s St. John’s Anglican Church records. The first being my great grandfather Joseph Parr (who later married Margaret Ann Bell), and then his brother John (latter married Mary Jane Crawford).

[top of the page 1841 is clearly written]

Joseph Parr's birth registration from church records

[midway down the page 1845 is clearly written]

John Parr's birth registration from church records

Bowmanville is located in Darlington Township, so, now I was off in search of the Darlington’s Tax Assessment Records … if they even existed anymore.

A few years later, I discovered that the Cobourg Library (in Cobourg) had microfilms of some of Darlington’s old Tax Assessment Records.

My not being free to visit the library myself, I hired a researcher instructing her to locate any and ALL of the Parrs found in the Darlington Tax Assessment Records.

Not so much as a trace of my 2xs great grandparents were discovered prior to 1844 and they disappeared from these records after 1845 (film RG 21 – reel #4 of the Municipal Records Sect. A Newcastle District, C and A 1803-1850 Darlington Township assessment), though the researcher did report that the script was badly faded in some areas and that she hoped she hadn’t missed anything in those areas. My 2xs great grandfather Joseph Parr was the only one actually named in the records and was shown to be residing on Lot 33 Concession 8.

The next record Joseph and Jane (Kennedy) Parr were discovered in was the 1851 census of Biddulph Township.

[darkened square just above XIV is where their Biddulph Twp. 100 acre farm was located]

map of the Township of Biddulph, Ontario

Below is a section of the census page Joseph and Jane (Kennedy) Parr’s family were listed on. Note that Ann Jane was indicated as being “Ann Jean” and too, her mother Jane was also incorrectly entered as “Jean.” My assumption for this error is that their “thick” Irish accent was heard by an English census taker as “Jean” instead of “Jane.”
snippet of an Ontario, Canada census from showing Ann Jean instead of Ann Jane

Ann Jane is shown though written in as an afterthought. Even her age appears first pencilled in as 11 and the second 1 written over with a 5. It is my “gut feeling” that the 15 was supposed to be years of age, not months and that Ann Jane was probably promised to marry at that time. Her parents probably didn’t think to mention her until after all other family members were catalogued and the census taker questioned them about other family members. At least that’s my thoughts on this matter, due to stories passed down in our family, the fact that Ann Jane was NOT dead at this point in time, AND she ceased to be listed on further census with her parents.

In doing much research (not all shown here, by any means) through many records, we’ve been able to ascertain the following children as belonging to Joseph and Jane (Kennedy) Parr. They are listed in chronological order as:
Ann Jane Parr, birth date remains unknown
Thomas Parr, born 16 May 1837
Margaret Parr, born 2 March 1839
Elizabeth Parr, born February 1842
Joseph Parr, born 2 March 1843, Darlington Township, ON
John Parr, born 30 November 1844, Darlington Township, ON
Sarah Parr, born July 1848
Mary Ellen Parr, born 22 November 1849
James Parr, born 27 March 1854, Biddulph Township, ON

Two articles were published in the London Daily Advertiser newspaper, describing an incident that caused the death of Joseph (Jane Kennedy’s husband) Parr. They were as follows:

Tuesday, May 27, 1873:

BIDDULPH.—This township has just lost one of its oldest and most respected residents by an accident. Mr. Joseph Parr was assisting a neighbor [sic] to raise a barn by means of a screw jack last week, when part of the machinery gave way and the barn came down, crushing Mr. Parr, who happened to beneath it. He was killed instantly.

Wednesday June 4, 1873:

FATAL ACCIDENT NEAR GRANTON.—On Monday 12th May, Mr. Perry, who lives a few miles east of Granton, had a number of his neighbors [sic] assisting him in raising an old barn a few feet from the ground by means of levers. After getting it up a short distance several men went under to adjust some blocks used in the operation, when one of the levers gave way and the barn fell down to its former position, crushing to death and [sic] aged man named Mr. Parr who happened to be standing under one of the sills at the time.

Joseph Parr left a Last Will in Testament (dated August 13, 1869), which was filed after his death. The will was registered as #2467, with the General Registry of Biddulph Township, Ontario.

In my mind, a “key” statement was made in Joseph Parr’s will that acts as further proof that Ann Jane was still alive in 1873, which was his reference: “… my five daughters …”

I feel certain that someone somewhere is trying like crazy to discover their ancestor’s maiden name. I’ve even gone so far as to track down several Ann Jane’s I discovered in old Biddulph Township records in hopes she would be my 2xs great aunt. One in particular, proved to be Ann Jane Grant.

It is my fondest desire to find Ann Jane and all those born to her … so, wherever you might be Ann Jane … know this, you are not forgotten and I will NOT give up trying to discover who you married, where you lived and where you now rest. Not even if I were to publish all of my “other Parr discoveries” before locating your whereabouts, will I give up the search.

Before leaving you with this story … another statement made in Joseph’s will that remains to be looked into further was: “I also wish that James Dickson and his wife shall remain on the spot they now live so long as they either shall live.”

… who was James Dickson and his wife to Joseph that he would do such a favour as to provide them with land “so long as they either shall live” ..?

Should you know (or even think you may know) who married my 2x great aunt Ann Jane Parr, please, feel free to contact me by post:

c/o Parr’s Publishing
525 Ritson Rd. N.,
Oshawa, ON L1G 5R4

… or by email:

Thank you in advance.

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