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Reminiscences of Poole Family


(As copied from the original text presented to Ethel Poole from Donald Poole March 3rd, 1998)

Mr. Thomas Poole was the first of the Poole family to come to the country from Malinburg, Gloucestershire, England He started out a single young man brave and venturesome to carve a name for himself in this new country. Sailing from Liverpool in April, after a long rough voyage in the sailing boat (for steam was unknown as a power then) they came within sight of land, when there came a west wind taking them back a weeks journey. Also during the journey the boat sprang a leak and the pumps quit working, he wanted them to put oil in. After much persuasion they poured in oil and the pumps started working. He arrived in New York about the middle of June just after the city had been destroyed by fire. He did not meet with much success there, for upon seeking work at his own trade he was strongly advised to return home by next boat. However his ambition and pluck asserted itself again and he tried a new place, this time coming to Canada to Little York or what is known as Toronto. On arriving here he found a good job at his own work. He was master mason and we all understand what that means for in England what they do, they do thoroughly and to have a "trade"means and apprenticeship for years. Well when the foreman of the work saw the morter, he was transferred to head mason of the bridge gang. From that on the superiority of his work was readily acknowledged.

Having decided now to remain in Canada banked his money only to lose it during the rebellion of 1837, when the bank was robbed. He continued at his work around Toronto, building a good many stone houses and quite a number of brick houses some of which are standing today.

In 1837 he built the stone house on this Copeland homestead at Burnhamthorpe for Robert Copeland on his 400 acres that the government had given him for guarding the lines in the war of 1812. Here is where he meant Mary Copeland, Robert's daughter and was married in 1838. After living at Goleases's Corners near Burnhamthorpe, Mr and Mrs Poole were persuaded to come further west by Charles Gray (a cousin of Mrs Poole) who owned the farm now owned by Mr Wm McConachie. So they bought the 200 acres on the west side at Merrills mill on west side Branch Creek. This at that time was an unbroken forest with only paths leading through the woods. He came there first with a dog and axe and a gun. He cut pine boughs and made a place for sleeping until he could get a place cleared and built a log shack. Then his wife came up. A fire was kept burning in front of the door to keep the wolves away for there were many wolves in those days. After more land was cleared a log house and barn was built and one of the first homes in these parts was started. He cleared the land in winter and worked at his trade in summer. Today the standing memorials of his work are the Brady House Norwich where the telephone office now stands, the foundation of the Gore Church, the brick house he built for Joe Hoggard father of James Hoggard two miles north of Little Lake Store where John Frew lives. Afterwards he built the brick house by the same pattern on his own farm east of the Gore which was destroyed by fire on January 1st 1937. The lime stone for this house was taken from the front field west of the lane and was burned in a kiln east of where the house stood and the bricks were burned at the old brick yard on the Carroll place owned by Jim Irwin one mile east of Norwich. The apple trees on this farm were got at Mt. Pleasant nursery. Mr. Poole also built the house east of Norwich on east side of railway track on north side of road, the house two miles west of Norwich turning south, on west side of road for Hulets, and Kingsford house at Hatchley.

During Mr and Mrs Poole's life on the farm they had many hardships. In early life they had a yoke of oxen named Rebel and Tory. Later the had a yoke of white oxen they called Lion and Lamb. Lion was a big boned shaggy fellow while Lamb was smaller and smooth. They often took long drives with ox team to Paris, Brantford, and Delhi and would be gone a day and a night Before the road east of Norwich was built they had to go south to Ranelagh road and then come back on the Norwich road a mile east of the village with oxen as horses were not used much in those days. This made a long trip to town. Mr. Poole sometimes walked to town as there was a foot path leading through the wooeds and the trees were blazed with an axe to keep from losing the way. Once in taking this journey for flour he was late, a thunderstorm came up and he could not see only when the lightning flashed when he would go a short distance and would have to wait until it flashed again. Mrs Poole also took a long trip to Toronto with her brother Robert, who came up from Toronto on horse back, but in taking the baby it would not ride on the horse so they took turns in riding while the one that walked carried the baby. Then she returned alone. Robert bringing her a few miles on the way and she got a ride ten miles walking the rest of the distance.

Mrs Poole cooked over a fireplace and baked with a brick oven outside by which method taking four hours to bake bread. If the fire went out she had to go to the neighbours to get fire sometimes before breakfast. They as many pioneer homes used maple sugar for domestic cooking and their clothing was spun and woven by the work of their own hands.

Mr and Mrs Poole raised a family of nine children. Five sons and four daughters. The oldest son, John volunteered to serve in the Fenian Raid. At London the train kept steam up all night ready to go but they did not get the call to go. So on their return home they were brought to Woodstock by train and from there to Norwich in open wagons and it rained all the way.

Mr Poole had no brothers, left two sisters in England.

Mrs Poole was Mary Copeland. Her brothers and sisters were

Thomas Copeland

Johnathan Copeland



Jane-----------John Hoggard





Thomas Poole; April 29, 1806

Mary Copeland; April 1. 1824

Susan November 11, 1839

Johnie October 13, 1841

Elizabeth ;April 23, 1844

Ann Rode ;August 1, 1846

Samuel July 1, 1848

Hannah January 4, 1850

Jane August 16, 1852

Thomas October 20, 1857

George August 12, 1860

Baby ;July 18, 1862

Henry Edward Aug 12, 1864


Thomas Poole November 29, 1882 ;76 years 7 months

Mary Copeland Poole December 6, 1886 62 years 8 months 6 days

Susan 1861

Johnie August 2, 1909

Elizabeth(Betsy) October 1, 1898

Ann Rode August 1, 1847

Samuel May 18, 1918

Hannah ;November 1, 1889

Jane 1933 or 34

Thomas November 20, 1935

George September 26, 1941

Baby July 18, 1862

Henry ;August 14, 1945

Aaron August 14, 1995 (Road accident)

Samuel June 14, 1999


 As Provided by William James.....

All descendants of Mary Copeland and Thomas Poole can register as United Empire Loyalist Descendants.

 Mary Copeland's mother, Elizabeth Gray, was the daughter of Thomas Gray and Mary Everson. Mary Everson was the daughter of Lieutenant John Everson, KRRNY, proven UEL.

Also Charles Gray referred to as "cousin" to Mary Copeland in "Poole Family Reminisces" was actually the brother of Elizabeth so therefore Mary's "uncle" instead of cousin.

 Charles Gray left the following family record:

"Alexander GRAY was my grandfather who was born in Scotland, Barickon Tweed and came to Canada with General Wolfe. Alexander's wife was Louisa JOHNSTON, sister to Sir William and John JOHNSTON, the founder of Johnstown in the State of New York, where my father was born, whose name was Thomas GRAY and removed to Canada where I was born,..."

I believe the facts are correct although Charles has confused the generations in his account which had been passed down to him. Alexander would have been the son of Major James Gray, KRRNY and it was he who was born near Berwick-upon-Tweed and who fought alongside Wolfe as a Lieutenant in the Black Watch. Louisa would have been Mary Louisa Johnson (also known as "Little Polly") daughter of Sir Guy Johnson and Mary Johnson , the daughter of Sir William Johnson and sister to Sir John Johnson. I am currently putting together the documentation to prove Charles' statement.

My grandmother was Mary Jane Mitchell born 1876 in Norwich, Brant Co. to Charles Edward Mitchell and Hannah Poole (daughter of Mary Copeland).

William James





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