A Brief Excerpt of John Gamsby’s Family History- Dorothea Gamsby’s Brother

The following is a letter I found in a file of papers entitled “family history.” I have the pleasure of knowing descendants of the Gamsby’s I’ve mentioned on this blog visit this site.  I thought you especially would be interested in this.

Copy of part of a letter dated April 10, 1935 written by Mrs. Minnie Locke of Capleton, P.Q. to Ida D Gamsby, Orono.

The original Gamsby’s came from Newcastle on Tyne, in the North of England.  My grandfather settled on the Conn. River in New Hampshire, building  mills which were swept away by floods.  He rebuilt and again suffered the same loss, losing most of his fortune, later he died, leaving a wife and four sons, my father  was the eldest.  The U.S.A. Government passed a law that all citizens should come under the American laws or leave the country.  Consequently all the English who were loyal to G.B. had to leave the country and come to Canada. They were U.E.L’s

My father John Gamsby came to Canada East (as it was called at the time.) accompanied by his mother, three younger children, one sister, and a baby in arms.  They travelled on a blazed trail through the woods, the mother with her baby on a big strong horse, father with his brothers walking.  They came through Eaton, taking up a homestead about a mile from where the town of Cookshire now stands.  At that place there was a church and a shop. Father and his brothers attended a school taught by an Episcopal Minister as a night school.  The minister’s name was Priest Taylor.  Father has often told me of doing his arithmetic on a shingle with a bit of charcoal for a pencil by the light of a fireplace.   Father and his mother must have remained in the Eaton homestead until the family were grown up. He married a Miss Eunice Moulton of North Stratford, the first child, a daughter, Eleanor, was born on the Eaton homestead.  Then he came to Ascot.  It was all forest there with now and then a log house erected by some settler.  He took up a large tract of land and started to make a home.  He built a frame house and barns, cleared the land, burning the huge logs, making what was called potash, which they drew to Montreal, by team, (no railroads) taking nine days for the trip.  They exchanged the potash for groceries.  Their clothing was all home manufactured, spun and woven on a hand loom.  There were seven children by this marriage, two died in their teens, George and Caroline.  The mother died when Guy, the youngest, was a boy of four, leaving Eleanor, a girl of about 14 in charge of the family.  With the help of a hired woman she bravely took up the task of keeping the home for father and brothers who were educated at different Universities. Charles, a civil engineer, training at Bishop’s College, Lennoxville , John, as a merchant, Ralph going to Minn. Taking up a homestead, afterwards was County clerk at Ashland Minn.  Guy studied with a doctor at Compton, also at College at Hyacinthe, taking his degree in pharmacy.  In 1852 or thereabouts father married Miss Nellie Moulton of North Stratford (sister of the first wife) by that marriage two children were born, myself in 1856, and another baby in 1857.  My mother developed consumption, dieing  in 1858. Elenor at that time was in Upper Canada.  She returned and again took up the task of caring for the little ones. My brother  died soon after my mother.

In the Rebellion of 1837-8 father was appointed Capt. Of the Militia.  It was the first Battn. Of the Richmond mIlitia, then the County of Richmond, (now Sherbrooke) father remained at home farm until his death which occurred March 28th 1876, at the age of 83 years.  {there is a note here from my gran?:77 years to fit in with book “History of North Startford.” She has either his birth date of date of his death wrong.}

(Note) This would place father’s birth in 1793.  Owing to the fact that the main exodus of U.E.L’s took place in 1784 it may easily be she is mistaken in her father’s age,, the two younger brothers Guy and Jones were born in 1803 and 1805 and they were old enough to walk at the time of the migration, so it looks as if it must have been at least 1815 when they came to Canada.  My impression was that the two younger brothers at least were born in Canada.


My note:  Oh the joy of a shared family name! John Gamsby was the father of Dorothea.  He also had a son he called John, who married Lucinia Smith- they were married in Stratford NH in 1798, and had another son named (surprise )John Gamsby.

I believe this to be the son who leaves the United States with his mother and family for Eaton and Ascot in Quebec.   This man (the nephew of Dorothea)  -Captain Gamsby-then marries Eunice Moulton and her sister after her death.

I found one document that said that Eunice Moulton had no children, but John was married a first time to a Miss Boynton- this is where the six children come from Minnie (the author of this letter)  mentions.   He has no children with Eunice, and has two- as mentioned in the letter- by Nellie Moulton.

The surviving daughter of John and Nellie was Mary Theresa (known as Minnie) who is the woman who wrote this letter. Minnie married John Locke, and had six children.

My great grandfather- Guy Gamsby was a child of the first marriage- born in 1843.  He trained as a pharmacist.

I would be curious if anyone else can place any family within the names given here- such as the author of this note etc. Where is Capleton?  I tried to Google it, but all I get is a Reggae artist!

Rev Jonathan Taylor  came to Eaton about 1814.  He married Miss. Wood, and died in 1852, aged about 69 years. He was hired to both teach and preach at a salary of $200.00

Poor Eleanore  who helped to bring up her father’s many children never married.

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1 Response to A Brief Excerpt of John Gamsby’s Family History- Dorothea Gamsby’s Brother

  1. Becky says:

    Hi, July, 2012 I find that John Gamsby born 1741, who brought his family over from England was absolutely a Revolutionary War Patriot. He did fight on America’s side in the Revolutionary War. It appears his quite young daughter, Dorothea who lived with her uncle, George Nutting, by marriage, was influenced by her uncle who was a Loyalist/Tory. It was written by Dorothea that her uncle George Nutting went back to England after his wife died, She was Maria Henderson who was a sister to John’s wife Margaret Henderson. I still have not found any information about a Sir George Nutting and I haven’t found any information about Dorothea’s husband either via the Internet. Warm Regards, Becky – A descendant of John Gamsby through son Peter Gamsby and Peter’s wife Thankful Smith.

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