Family Stories

James Manary and Isabella McLellan

ca 1793-1872; County Tyrone to Lanark County Ontario    

James Manary 1793 County Tyrone, Ireland-1872 Bristol, Pontiac Quebec

James Manary, who settled in the Ottawa Valley, was born in 1793 and came from County Tyrone, Ireland. James arrived in Canada about 1830 and settled on Lot 7, Concession 7, Lanark Township. The first one of his family group to emigrate, several of his relatives immigrated to Ontario in the following years: Robert Manary and his wife Maria McWilliams, who first came to Lanark, then went to Listowel, Perth County; Sarah Manary, who settled in Lanark and married Robert Penman; Joseph Minary who married Ellen Coleman, and Mary Manary who married Francis Allingham, both of whom settled in Mono, Dufferin County.

James’ age of 37 when he emigrated suggests he may have had a previous marriage in Ireland but if so, his wife must have died in Ireland. About a year after he arrived, the 38-year-old James married 17-year-old Isabella McLellan, a daughter of William McLellan, who also lived in Lanark Township. The age gap was as unusual then as it is today: James was over twice the age of his young bride. But it was a successful partnership. Over the years, James and Isabella had a large family of fourteen children: eight boys and six girls. They were a hearty, healthy bunch and each of the children lived to maturity, married, and had children. There’s no doubt each one of them contributed to the family’s fortunes, the boys working in the fields and tending livestock, the girls helping with younger siblings and housework.

The first census showing James and Isabella and their family was in 1842 and James stated at that time that he had been 12 years in Ontario. In the 1851 agricultural census, the family was living in a 1 ½ story log home and had 100 acres of land. 60 acres were under cultivation, 12 acres in crops (wheat, rye, potatoes and hay), 48 in pasture, and 40 were wildland. At the time of the census, they had 2 oxen, 3 cows, 5 calves, 12 sheep, and 6 pigs, as well as producing 35 pounds of wool, 200 pounds of butter and 3 barrels of pork. These figures compared favourably with their neighbours.

The three oldest brothers – David, William, and Joseph — married in their early 20s and by the time of the 1861 census had established farms of their own in Darling Township on neighbouring farms along Concession 8 (Lots 11, 12 and 13). The Hercules White and Elizabeth Nevil family lived in the same area and three of their children married Manarys.

But land in Darling and Lanark wasn’t easy to farm, so sometime in 1861, the entire family except for the oldest daughter, Jane, moved to Bristol, Pontiac County, Quebec. Farmland was more desirable there, although the second-youngest son, William, later opted to return to his farm in Darling, where he remained for the rest of his life. James and Isabella settled on the rear half of Lot 15, Range 5 in Bristol Township and the remainder of their sons and daughters settled on various properties and married into Bristol families such as the McLellans (who were relatives), the Reids, and the Vielows.

James died in 1 September 1872 at the age of 78 or 79, willing his farm and all his worldly goods to his wife Isabella. This was enlightened for the time, as most men willed their farms to a particular son, with the provision that the mother could live there until her death. James, however, stated that the farm and all the goods went to Isabella. James also stated in his will that if Alexander, the youngest son, helped his mother and treated her properly, the farm would revert to him upon Isabella’s death. But if Alex failed to do that, it was Isabella’s choice who would inherit the farm. Where James was buried is a mystery — perhaps he lies somewhere on the old family farm. He and Isabella had over a hundred grandchildren and now, their descendants number in the thousands, scattered from the homeland of the Ottawa Valley to all parts of Canada and the United States.

Isabella McLellan 1814 Scotland-1888 Canistota, South Dakota

James Manary’s wife, Isabella McLellan, led a remarkable life. Born 4 February 1814 in Scotland, likely in Renfrewshire where all the related McLellans came from, she came to Lanark County in 1821. Her father, William McLellan, crossed the ocean on The Earl of Buckingham, bringing his family with him as well as a retinue of other relatives. Isabella would have been seven years old.

Ten years later, she married James Manary, who was 21 years older than she was. He arrived the year before they married and probably had much work left to do on his house and farm. Undaunted by the age difference and the work challenge, Isabella took the plunge. Over the span of 25 years, Isabella bore 14 children. The first child was born in 1832, and the last in 1857 when Isabella was 43 and James was 64. Every one of their children survived into adulthood, married, and had their own families. Compared to the statistics in Ontario at that time, to have fourteen children and have every one survive to maturity was unusual. What does this say about her? The great killer of children in the past was infectious diseases. Lanark County was quite remote and isolated, but epidemics did happen. It’s likely that Isabella was a conscientious mother and had considerable healing skills and methods of keeping her family unusually healthy.

And how did her children feel about her? A clue is the fact that the name Isabella seemed to be held in high esteem: several of her granddaughters were named Isabella and the name survives in the family to this day (although the holders of the name might not be aware of where it originated). The family was close-knit and many of the children married brothers and sisters from neighbouring families. They also migrated together, almost half the family moving to South Dakota in the late 1870s and 1880s. At the time of James’ death in Quebec in 1872, Isabella was 58. James had willed their farm to her and she was surrounded by the rest of her family, so she had no worries.

But around 1881, when she was 67, she decided to sell the farm and move to South Dakota to join those of her children who had emigrated there. Part of her motivation may have been to use the proceeds of the sale to help some of her children purchase land in South Dakota. Even so, for a woman of 67 to sell her property, leave familiar surroundings, family, and friends, and make a difficult migration of approximately 1200 miles was an unusual undertaking. This would seem to establish beyond a doubt her adventurousness, her robust health, and her strong ties with her children.

Compared with her contemporaries, Isabella appears to have been an unusually strong and independent woman. Not afraid of a challenge, she emigrated from her native Scotland as a young girl, began her own family at the age of 17, moved from Ontario to Quebec, and finally, as a vigorous woman of 67, moved to untamed land in South Dakota. She died at the age of 74 on 12 November 1888 in Canistota, South Dakota. Her large tombstone in the Canistota Cemetery (shared with her youngest daughter, Elizabeth Manary Vellow) reads, with telling sentiment:

My mother!

We miss the sunshine of thy face

We miss thy kind and willing hand,

Thy fond and earnest care.

Our home is dark without thee

We miss thee everywhere.

Possibly Gr.Gr.Grandma Isabella Manary and one of her granddaughters

David Manary 1832 Lanark Ontario-1895 Silverton, Oregon

Born 10 February 1832 in Lanark. As the oldest child, David was a prime force, leading the way in decisions and migrations for the family. At the age of 22, he married Jane McLellan from Bristol. They had a family of nine children, two daughters and seven sons, although one daughter died young. By 1860, they had moved to Bristol, Pontiac County, Quebec, where David had acquired parcels of land, and farmed there for several years.  In 1878, he and his family immigrated to McCook County, South Dakota, where he became one of the first three Commissioners of the newly-formed McCook County.   He was instrumental in organizing the county and his son James became the first Sherriff. David was also the first postmaster and was instrumental in organizing the first school. His first wife, Jane, died in 1884; a few years later, he remarried to widow Minnie Meier. About 1890, he and several of his grown children moved to Silverton, Oregon, where he died at the age of 63 in 1895. David and Minnie are buried in the Silverton Cemetery in Oregon. The burial location for his first wife Jane McLellan has yet to be located.

#1. David Manary with his first wife Jane McLellan

#2. David Manary with his second wife Minnie Meier and her son William Meier

William Manary 1834 Lanark Ontario-1912 Lanark, Ontario

Born 25 August 1834 in Lanark, William married Margaret White of Darling Township. They moved to Bristol, Quebec in the early 1860s with the rest of the Manary family and owned a lot beside his parents on the 6th line. They stayed only a short time and returned to their farm in Darling. William and Margaret had nine children who married into many of the old Lanark families. William and Margaret’s family are known to have used the spelling Manarey for their surname. After farming all his life, William died at the age of 78 in 1912; his wife Margaret White died in 1929.William and Margaret are buried at the Clayton United Cemetery in Lanark County, Ontario.

William & Margaret Manary

Jane Manary 1836 Lanark Ontario-1921 Lanark Ontario

Born 28 June 1835 in Lanark, Jane married Robert White, brother of Margaret White. Jane and Robert were the only ones not to make the move to Bristol Quebec in the early 1860s, and instead remained in Lanark, Ontario. There were nine children in their family, several of whom married into many of the Lanark pioneer families. Jane, the longest-lived of all the siblings, died in 1921 at the age of 86 in Lanark. Robert died in 1911. From the records, Jane and Robert are buried in Clayton United Cemetery in Lanark County, Ontario.

Jane Manary White

Mary Manary 1837 Lanark Ontario-1916 Quyon, Pontiac Quebec

Born 1 December 1837 in Lanark, recent research has uncovered that Mary had a son named William Turriff when she was about 17. William named her as his mother in his baptismal certificate later in life. Since she was the only Mary Manary in Lanark at that time, and DNA from the Turriff family matches that of her other descendants, there is little doubt that this was the case. About 1855, she married William McLellan of Bristol and was probably the first of the family to move to Bristol. She and William had eleven children, several of whom later moved to Manitoba. William and Mary obtained the land of his parents, John McLellan and Martha Nielson, in Bristol, Pontiac, Quebec, which happened to be right across the road from the Manary farmlands. William’s parents had moved to Bristol on their arrival in the 1840s and homesteaded there until their death. Mary died in 1916 in Quyon, Pontiac, at the age of 79. William, who was 16 years older, died in 1900. William and Mary are buried at the Norway Bay Cemetery in Pontiac, Quebec.

Mary Manary & William McLellan

Joseph Manary 1838 Lanark Ontario-1918 Multnomah, Oregon

Born 14 July 1838 in Lanark. In 1858, Joseph married Caroline White, another sibling of the White family of Darling, and they had a family of thirteen children. They moved with the rest of the Manary family to Bristol, but at some time during the late 1860s, they left and moved to Ashburnham, Peterborough County, the only ones in the family to live in this area. In 1891, they left Canada and immigrated to Powell Valley, Oregon. One of their sons, James, established the Manary Logging Company, a large operation in Oregon in the 1920s and 1930s. A well-known company, it operated at least thirteen logging camps along the Pacific coast of Oregon, Washington, and California. Joseph died in 1918 at the age of 79 in Cottrell, Oregon; his wife Caroline White died in 1926. Joseph and Caroline are buried at Lincoln Memorial cemetery in Portland, Oregon.

#1. Joseph Manary

#2. Caroline White Manary

James Manary 1842 Lanark Ontario- 1903 Bristol, Pontiac Quebec

Born 17 March 1842 in Lanark. After the family’s move to Bristol, James married Mary Hannaberry, whose family was Roman Catholic and had been in Bristol since emigrating from Ireland. He and Mary had a family of eight children. Sadly, the oldest three died young, two of them from scarlet fever. Most of their children remained in Quebec and Ontario, with one of the daughters marrying and moving to New York. James farmed in Bristol until his death from blood poisoning at the age of 61 in 1903. His wife, Mary Hannaberry, died a year later in 1904. An exact burial location has yet to be found for James and Mary, although it is suspected that they are buried at the St. Edwards Catholic Cemetery in Pontiac, Quebec, along with the Hannaberry Family.

James Manary

Isabella Manary 1843 Lanark Ontario-1919, Bristol, Pontiac Quebec

Born 2 July 1843 in Lanark. Isabella married David Small of Bristol in 1863. David, who was born in Ireland, first worked as a “shantyman” (lumberman) in logging, then became a farmer. They raised a family of twelve children a few miles away from the rest of the Manary Family near Bristol Mines, Pontiac, Quebec. Most of their children remained in Quebec and Ontario, many moving across the Ottawa River and into northern Ontario. Isabella died at the age of 75 in 1919 in Bristol. Her husband, David Small, died in 1927 in Pembroke, Ontario. They are both buried at Norway Bay Cemetery, Bristol, Quebec.

#1. Isabella Manary and David Small

Sarah Manary 1844 Lanark Ontario-1928 Canistota, South Dakota

Born 30 April 1844 in Lanark, Sarah married Robert Reid in 1863. The couple had nine children (eight daughters and one son), all born in Pontiac County, Quebec. In the 1880s, Robert investigated land in Manitoba and may possibly have lived there for a time. Eventually, he decided to join the members of the Manary family who had immigrated to South Dakota and moved there with his family sometime in the 1880s. Robert farmed in the area and most of their children remained in South Dakota. In later years, Sarah lost her eyesight. She died in 1928 in Canistota, South Dakota at the age of 84; her husband Robert Reid had died previously in 1912. Robert and Sarah are buried alongside her mother Isabella, in the Canistota Cemetery, South Dakota

Sarah Manary

Isaac Manary1845 Lanark Ontario-1888 Canistota, South Dakota

Born 11 November 1845 in Lanark, Isaac was dogged by misfortune after he moved to South Dakota with his brother David in 1878. With his eldest brother David, he was one of the three original Commissioners of McCook County, South Dakota. At the age of 33, he married Mary Jane Finn and they had two children. Tragically, Mary Jane died in a prairie fire that came up suddenly while Isaac was away in town. Only 36 years old, she was pregnant with twins, who died with her. A year later, Isaac married again to Alice Reid, who had come down from Bristol, Quebec, and they had a daughter together in 1886. And then in 1888, tragedy struck again. Isaac was building a house and one wall collapsed, crushing him underneath. He died a day or two later at the age of 42. His family suffered as well: His older two children went to live with their in-laws and led an unhappy life; his second wife Alice and her daughter were left penniless. Alice eventually married their former farmhand, Adam Rauch, moved to Washington and had several children. Isaac is buried in the Canistota Cemetery in South Dakota.

Isaac Manary

John Manary 1849 Lanark Ontario-1930 Bristol, Pontiac Quebec

John was born 5 November 1849 in Lanark. He married Catherine Burns Reid, sister to Sarah’s husband, Robert Reid, in Bristol in 1874, and they had a family of eight children. Sometime between 1881 and 1884, the family moved to Canistota, South Dakota to join the members of the family who had moved there. It was likely just before the winter of 1880/1881, one of the worst winters in the history of South Dakota and one which was written about in Laura Ingles Wilder’s book The Long Winter. The story is told in the family that they almost froze and starved to death after they moved there, and after only that one winter, John and his family had had enough of South Dakota and returned to Quebec. John farmed in Bristol on the farm that had been operated by Catherine’s parents from the time they immigrated, diagonally across the 6th line from the Manary farm lands. Most of their children remained in Pontiac County, with two moving to the prairies. Catherine died in 1918 and John in 1930 at the age of 81. John and Catherine are buried in the Norway Bay Cemetery in Pontiac Quebec.

John Manary

Margaret Manary 1850 Lanark Ontario-1871 Pontiac, Quebec

Born in 1850 in Lanark, Margaret was the only sibling to die before the age of 20. She married James McJanet Dodd, a plasterer, in Bristol in 1868, and the next year, died in childbirth at the age of about 19. Their child, John Henry Dodd, survived and was raised by his Dodd grandparents in Arnprior, Ontario. No burial location has ever been found for Margaret.

Robert Manary 1852 Lanark Ontario-1923 Ottawa, Ontario

 Robert was born 29 February 1852 in Lanark and was 17 years old when he married Harriet Sheffield of Bristol in 1869. Robert and Harriet had a daughter and two sons, but, sadly, Harriet died with the birth of her third child. The children were taken on by three different families (including the Sheffields) and never lived with their father again. Three years later, Robert married again, to Emma Ford of Portage-du-Fort, and they had three children together. Robert was a logger and a teamster at various times in his life. He died at the age of 71 in 1923 in Ottawa. His children with Harriet Sheffield later moved to the prairies and British Columbia, while his children with Emma Ford remained in the Ottawa Valley area. Robert and Emma are buried at the Protestant Cemetery in Portage-du-Fort Pontiac Quebec. A location for Harriet’s burial site has yet to be found.

#1. Robert Manary

#2. Harriet Sheffield Manary

Robert Manary’s Descendants:

Interview with Sydney (Sid) James Manary at Summerland, BC, 22 February, 1976, conducted by his nephew Garth Manary, transcribed by Wayne Manary (notes from Wayne in brackets):

Sid, son of Robert and Harriet Manary’s son, James (Jim) and his wife Mary Ann (Annie) Staye, was born in Arnprior, Ontario, July 30, 1896. He has little recollection of his younger childhood years in Ontario, but his remember his last two years in Birtle, Manitoba. He cannot remember how of when they arrived in Birtle from Arnprior, but distinctly recalls that he left Birtle for Foam Lake, Saskatchewan when he was eight years old (the spring of 1904).

In Birtle, Sid recalls helping his father, Jim Manary, who besides working in the local sawmill during the days, had an evening job as town constable. Birtle in those days had a gas street lighting system. The gas was manufactured in a central gas plant where Jim had to shovel the chemical into a bin and arrange the water valves to drip onto the chemical, which in turn produced the gas. The gas was then pumped to the streetlamps, which were lit each night and turned off at approximately midnight. Sid also remember during spring breakup crossing the river from his home  on his way to the sawmill where his dad was working. The river was jammed with ice and logs and it was a dangerous trek for a six- or seven-year-old boy, to which his father agreed by a good old-fashioned spanking.

Jim left Birtle in the summer of 1903 with a herd of fourteen horses for Foam Lake, Saskatchewan to take up his homestead, in accompaniment with Billy Staye and Bob Potter, his brother-in-laws. They made hay from the natural prairie grass and started a house. Prior to the winter setting in, they returned to Birtle, except for Billy Staye, who remained to look after things. In the spring of 1904, Jim moved the family to Foam Lake to find that twelve of his horses had died because the natural prairie grass contained some element which adversely affected horses when they ate too much of it. It appears from this time until 1916, the family grew in size and worked hard to become successful farmers.

About 1916, Jim returned to Arnprior, Ontario for a visit with his father, Robert Manary, and in 1919, when Sid returned from overseas service in World War I, he visited his grandfather Robert in Arnprior, who at the time was working for the government on the locks of the Ottawa River. His grandfather died a few years later on 14 December 1923. However, the old Manary house in Arnprior was still in existence in the 1960s, occupied by Mr. Arthur Smith, the son of Norman Smith and Jenny Staye, Sid’s uncle and aunt.

I mentioned to Sid about his mother being baptized in the Baptist Church in 1899 in Birtle and he then recalled his father taking his pipe and his chewing tobacco one evening and burning them in the kitchen stove. Sid vaguely recalls his grandmother and recalls sitting on an old woman’s knee. She was smoking a pipe and the woman was very smelly. This strong smell is probably the reason he remembered the incident.

Bob Potter, Jim Manary, Joe Manary, and Billy Staye worked in Ontario for the McLaughlin Lumber Company, who owned three mills on the Ottawa River. Bob Potter was the foreman at one of these mills and Billy Staye was a steam engineer. The Manary brothers worked in the bush in the wintertime by hauling logs from the bush to the frozen Ottawa River with teams of horses. In the spring when the river broke free of ice, they floated the logs downriver to the mills. They usually rode on the logs (booms) and would free any logs that became jammed or piled up on rocks, sandbars, etc. Jim’s father, Robert, had both of his legs broken one time doing this job. The doctor did not mend the broken bones properly and he became two inches shorter.

The four men and their families left Arnprior, probably in the year of 1896, and headed west to Birtle, Manitoba. They took up the same line of work in Birtle at the new mill. The demand for lumber in the new West for the building of the railroad (probably the CNR) and for the homesteaders was great. Bob Potter was married to Jim and Joe’s sister Mary. Jim Manary was married to Mary Ann (Annie) Staye, sister of Billie Staye. Joe Manary was not married but subsequently married a local Birtle girl.

Jim Manary was born at Portage-du-Fort, Quebec on 23 June 1872, followed later (5 May 1874) by a younger brother Joseph. (His older sister Mary was born on 14 March 1870.) Their mother died giving birth to Joseph. The children were then placed out to the homes of relatives. Jim was placed in the home of an aunt (probably his mother’s sister), but due to difficulties in this home, was re-placed a few months later into the home of another family whose name was Davis. Years later, Jim made a point that this family treated him like their own and he could not give them enough credit or praise.

Jim (James) Manary was the first son of Bob (Robert) Manary and Harriet Sheffield who were married 3 August 1869 in Almonte, Lanark County, Ontario. After the death of Bob’s first wife, Bob then remarried to Emma Ford and had more children (John William, Teresa Lila, and Margaretta Isabella).

Submitted by Wayne Manary, 2023




Alexander Manary 1855 Lanark Ontario-1916 Lanark Ontario

Alexander Manary, born 10 January 1855 in Lanark Township, Lanark County, Ontario, was the youngest son and second-youngest child of James Manary and Isabella McLellan. In his early years, Alex moved with his parents and most of his siblings to Bristol, Pontiac County, Quebec, across the Ottawa River. When he was seventeen, he began working in the woods for the McKechnie family logging operation. Alex could read and write and varied the spelling of his last name between “Manary” and “Manarey” in different documents. In 1872, his father James died, and Alex remained on the farm with his mother Isabella. James’ will stated that the one-hundred acre farm was Isabella’s as long as she lived and if Alex looked after his mother and supported her, he would inherit it all. If not, he would forfeit it and his mother could dispose of the farm and implements as she wished.

In 1874, Alex married Agnes Vellow of Onslow, Pontiac, when they were both 19. Agnes’ father was Algonquin and French-Canadian and her mother was Irish. On the wedding record, Agnes stated that she was underage and needed her parent’s consent, while Alex stated he was of full age (21), although actually he was only 19. About a year earlier, his younger sister Elizabeth married Agnes’ brother, Joseph Vellow. Elizabeth was only 16 and Joseph was 19. As the two youngest of the fourteen Manary siblings, Alex and Elizabeth both married much earlier than their older siblings. It’s possible they might have been the pets of the family and enjoyed freedoms that their older brothers and sisters hadn’t had.

Alex and Agnes’ first child, Robert, was born in 1877 and two daughters, Helen (Nellie) and Sarah, were born in the next few years. About 1877, some of the Manary family immigrated to the Dakota Territory and took up land around Canistota in what later became South Dakota. Isabella, the matriarch of the family, decided she wanted to join them, so she and Alex, jointly with Agnes, sold the farm in 1881 to her son-in-law William McLellan (married to Mary Manary). It could be that Isabella also wanted to help her children in South Dakota with the proceeds of the sale of the farm.

There are few records of Alex and Agnes in South Dakota. The older children went to school in Cameron and Canistota and three more children were born: Albert (Bert), Laura, and Delbert (Dell). Alex does not appear on any land purchase records, so it’s possible he and his family were living on land owned by other members of the Manary family. It seemed Alex preferred to work as a logger or a teamster rather than farming, and by 1889 or perhaps earlier, the family was living in Souix Falls, where Alex worked as a teamster.

Son Bert stated that he started school in South Dakota, so the family would still have been there in 1900. Shortly after that, the family left South Dakota and returned to Pontiac, Quebec. They appeared on the 1901 census for Bristol. The trip may have been quite adventurous as Elzear Chevrier, Nellie’s son and Alex and Agnes’ grandson, remembers hearing the family story that his grandmother lost her false teeth through the ice on their return home, suggesting they left in the winter sometime. However, this story also appears in another branch of the family, so it’s isn’t certain who actually lost those teeth!

Alex returned to his favoured occupation of logger and sawmill worker and presumably was happy to be back with his clan in Quebec. In July of 1903, their daughter Nellie married Moses Chevrier, followed by Sarah marrying Fred Essex in 1904. In 1907, Laura married Auguste Meilleur, and at this time, her parents were stated as living in Des Joachims, Quebec. By 1908, however, they had moved to Onslow and were living there when their oldest son Robert married Mary Borland. These places are all in Pontiac County. Their youngest son Delbert (Dell) married Elizabeth Duhn in 1914 and Albert (Bert) married Theresa Raycroft in 1915, both of the events in Arnprior, Ontario.

By 1911, Alexander and Agnes had moved from Pontiac to Braeside, Ontario, on the other side of the Ottawa River. Alex worked for some time for Gillie’s Mill, which was a large logging and milling operation in Braeside. Their house is still standing in Braeside and in 1985, was owned by their son Bert’s widow, Theresa (Raycroft) Manary. Alex was apparently an Orangeman for most of his life.

According to Theresa, one spring Alex took a fancy that he was going back to live on the old farm in Darling Township at Lot 11, 8th Concession. At the time, they had boarders at the house in Braeside and Agnes wasn’t able to leave, but Alex was determined to go and moved up by himself. Later in the year, Agnes was able to get rid of the boarders and join him. The farm in Darling continued to be his favourite place, although they kept their house in Braeside.

Alex suffered from liver ailments as he grew older and his appetite suffered. Theresa told a story from the last year or two of his life. She was visiting her in-laws and Agnes went upstairs to have a nap. Alex quietly asked Theresa if she would make him a cranberry pie, one of his favourite dishes, but one which Agnes had forbidden him to eat. He pulled out all the stops and told Theresa that she made the best cranberry pie, better even than Agnes’, and if she hurried, she could get it baked before Agnes woke up. Theresa managed to get the pie made for him, but sadly, he was only able to eat a few bites.

Alex eventually died of liver cancer at the relatively early age of 61. In his will, he followed his father James’ example and favoured his wife rather than his children, leaving everything he had to Agnes: 100 acres and a house, two horses, one cow and a calf, fourteen sheep, a buggy, and farm vehicles and utensils. As for his children, he noted in his will, “I have done all I can for them”.  Evidence shows that he did just that.



Agnes Vellow was the daughter of William (Bill) Vielow and Agnes McNall. Agnes McNall came from Ireland and little is known about her family. She may have been an orphan brought over from Ireland with another family.

Bill Vielow was the son of Joseph-David Vignola (the family had francized their name while in the Onslow area and were known by many spelling variations of Veilow, Velean, Veleau and so on. The variation of “Vellow” was  only used by Agnes and her two brothers Joseph and Solomon.) Joseph Vignola’s grandfather, another Joseph Vignola, arrived in Quebec in the mid-1700s and was said to be from the Alsace-Lorraine region. He married into a French-Canadian family, as did his son, Joseph Vignola Jr., who married Marie-Madeleine Proux, whose family traced back to Louis Herbert, Helene Desportes, Abraham Martin, and most of the earliest families in New France.

Bill Veilow’s father, Joseph-David Vignola married Marie Ann Kichiabanokwe (meaning Big Algonquin Woman), a full-blood Algonquin from Oka, Quebec. Originally, Joseph and Marie Ann lived in Oka, but moved to the Onslow area and operated an early hotel and tavern.



ROBERT:  Born in 1877 in Onslow, Quebec , he was the only one of the children to “go West”. Most of his childhood was spent in South Dakota, but as a young man, he returned to Quebec before his parents did and worked as a logger on the Ottawa River. At the age of 31, he married Mary Borland, an orphan from Scotland who had been adopted by relatives Alexander and Isabella Reid. Shortly after, they moved to Braeside, Ontario, where he worked for Gillie’s mill. Among the pictures left by Robert and Mary was an enigmatic postcard showing Gillie’s Mill on the front, and on the back, Mary had written, “I would like to hit him in the specs with an egg and smash them.” No one will ever know what that conflict was! Three children were born there: Violet May, Janet, and their only son, Alexander. About 1916, they followed Mary’s adoptive parents, the Reids, to Foxwarren, Manitoba, where many of the related McLellans had also immigrated. Two more children were born there: Ilene and Agnes. Robert and Mary farmed there for many years, then moved to British Columbia, where they retired in the Vancouver area. Mary died in 1955 and Robert in 1959.

SARAH:  Born in 1880 in Bristol, Quebec, Sarah married Fred Essex, an interior decorator. They lived in Arnprior and had seven children: Agnes, Frank, Nellie, Sadie, Isobelle, Lionel, and Edith. The youngest, Edith (Thomas) gained fame as “The Singing Grandmother of the Ottawa Valley”. Sarah died in Arnprior in 1973 at the ripe old age of 92.

HELEN (NELLIE):  Nellie was born in 1882 in Quebec and married Moses Chevrier of Quyon. They only had one son, Elzear. Their farm in Quyon was the Chevrier family farm and according to Elzear, Nellie helped to purchase land to expand the farm and was an energetic worker. Nellie died in 1917 in Quyon, Quebec at the early age of 36, probably of cancer.

LAURA:  Born in 1885 in South Dakota, she married Auguste (Gus) Mellieur in 1907 after the family returned to Quebec. Gus was a well-known logger on the Ottawa River. In 1908, they had a child who died at birth and the next year, Laura gave birth again. She died a month later, aged 24, and the baby boy followed her two days later. Laura and her babies are buried in Point Alexander, Ontario.

ALBERT (BERT): Bert was born in 1894 in South Dakota and started school there. Shortly after, the family returned t Quebec. In 1915, he married Theresa Raycroft and they resided in Braeside, where Bert worked at Gillie’s Mill,  for the rest of their lives. The couple adopted Theresa’s ailing sister’s newborn son, Douglas, a few days before her death. Bert died in 1967 in Braeside, Quebec and Theresa in 1985.

DELBERT (DELL):  The youngest in the family, Dell was born in 1895 in South Dakota. He married Elizabeth Duhn in 1914 at Arnprior and they lived for a while in the Braeside area. According to Theresa Manary, the house Theresa lived in was originally built for Dell and Elizabeth by his parents. The family moved to North Bay, Ontario, where Dell worked for the lumber industry and spent the rest of their lives there. They had two children, Percy and Bernice. Dell died in North Bay in 1959, the same year as his oldest brother Robert.

Barbara MacPherson, 2023

Alexander Manary & Agnes Vellow, with sons Bert & Dell

Elizabeth Manary 1857 Lanark Ontario-1902 Canistota, South Dakota

Born 12 March 1857 in Lanark, Elizabeth was the youngest of the fourteen siblings. At the age of 16, she married Joseph Vielow (later spelled Vellow), brother to Agnes who married Alex Manary. They had three children in Bristol, then sometime between 1879 and 1881, Elizabeth and Joe joined the family in South Dakota, where their last child was born. Joe Vellow was an enterprising man and owned a livery stable and pool hall, as well as his farm, parcels of land, and houses he had renovated. Elizabeth died at 45 in 1902 in Canistota (cause unknown). Her mother Isabella lived with Elizabeth and family during her last years and they are buried together under an impressive monument in Canistota, South Dakota. Joe never remarried and eventually moved to North Dakota to be with one of his daughters, where he died in 1917. Elizabeth and Joe’s daughters remained in South Dakota and Minnesota, while their only son moved back to Canada, first moving to Alberta and then to British Columbia.

Elizabeth Manary, Joseph Velow & family

Timeline for Manarys and McLellans in Lanark County, Ontario; Pontiac County, Quebec; McCook County, South Dakota

Note: All dates are based on actual records such as censuses, land records, birth, death, and marriage records, ship’s passenger lists, obituaries. Records for the McLellans are in red. Historical background is in green.

Timeline for Manarys and McLellans

1815       The hand-weaving industry in Scotland has virtually collapsed, due to the invention of mechanized weaving equipment.

1821       The William McLellan family, a large group that must have included some nieces and nephews, arrived in Canada from Renfrewshire, Scotland in June on The Earl of Buckinghamshire. They move to Lanark County, where on July 31, William situates on Conc. 9, Lot 19, W ½. Also on the ship were relatives of William: James McLellan, who went to Dalhousie, and Thomas McLellan, who went to Ramsay.

1822       Jane McLellan, b. 1803, and possibly a sister of William, marries Andrew Angus, whose family lived in Lanark Township, in Perth. The year suggests she came with William and his family.

1826       Fever epidemic and collapse of the textile industry in Northern Ireland and other areas.

1829       Catholic emancipation and greater power for Catholics.

1830       James Manary (Church of Ireland), 37, arrives in Lanark County, Ontario from County Tyrone, Ireland, settles on Lot 7, Concession 7, Lanark Township, Lanark County.

1831       James Manary, 38, marries Isabella McLellan, 17.

Alexander McLellan, about 31, who may have been William’s brother, married Margaret Scobie, age 18, in Lanark County.

1832       James and Isabella’s first child, David Manary, born in February. 1834      Second child, William Manary, born

1835       First daughter, Jane Manary, born.

Margaret McLellan, William’s daughter, aged 24, married Alexander Scobie, also about 24. They settle on land next door to James and Isabella Manary.

1836       Margaret McLellan Scobie’s first child Jane born.

1837       Mary Manary born; Rebecca Scobie born.

1838       Joseph Manary born.

1839       Sarah Manary, said to be James’ sister from County Tyrone, immigrated to Lanark County. She likely was travelling with Robert Manary, said to be James’ brother, who arrived that year with his wife Maria McWilliams and son James Manary, 7 years old.

1840       Sarah Manary married Robert Penman 4 December.

1841       1841 census of Crossmyloof Village, Cathcart Parish, Renfrewshire:

                John McLellan and wife Martha Nelson listed with children:

                   William, 15; James, 10; Jean, 10; Elizabeth, 8; John, 2

John was a handloom weaver and Martha was a cotton winder. Children William and James were handloom weavers.

1842       James and Isabella Manary and their children listed on census in Lanark Township

James Manary, 6th child, born; James Scobie born

1842       John and Martha McLellan emigrated from Scotland to Bristol, Pontiac County, Quebec either this year or early 1843. They may have come to Lanark to join William McLellan and family, scout out the land possibilities, and then chose Pontiac County.

1843       Isabella Manary, 7th child, born; William Scobie born.

                Janet McLellan, daughter of John and Martha McLellan, marries David Anderson.  

1844       Sarah Manary, 8th child, born.

1845       Isaac Manary, 9th child, born; Margaret Scobie born.

1846       Elizabeth Scobie born.

1847       Andrew McLellan, son of William, married Isabella Smith; George Scobie born.

1849       John Manary, 10th child, born.

1850       Margaret Manary, 11th child, born. Margaret Scobie born.

1851       Andrew and Isabella (Smith) McLellan moved to Badger, Portage County, Wisconsin.

Elizabeth McLellan, William’s youngest daughter, and her husband Michael McKirdy, immigrated from Renfrewshire, Scotland, on the ship Robena with their four children and a relative, Jane McLellan (daughter of John McLellan and Margaret Neilson, who later married David Manary). They came first to Sullivan County, New York, then to Lanark County.

Jane McLellan Angus and her husband Andrew Angus and their family were also in Bristol by 1851.


1851       Lanark Township Census:

                James and Isabella Manary living in Lanark Township on Lot 7, Conc. 7 in a log house, owning 100 acres.

                Robert “Menarie” and family also living in Lanark in a “shanty”.

                Bristol, Pontiac County, Quebec census:

                John and Martha McLellan, along with children Elizabeth, 18 and John, 14, all born in Scotland

1852       Robert Manary, 12th child, born.

1854       David Manary, age 22, married Jane McLellan (a relative of his mother’s) 2 Jan in Bristol, Pontiac County, Quebec.

1854 or 1855      Mary Manary, age 18, second oldest daughter, married and/or had a child with William Turriff (b. 1831 – 1836) named William Turriff Jr. Sometime later that year, she married William McLellan of Bristol, Quebec in Bristol (William was also a relative of her mother’s).

                Alexander Manary, 13th child of James and Isabella, born.

1856       Robert Manary and Maria McWilliams and their family, now numbering 8, moved to Wallace Township, Perth County.

                Isabella, daughter of Mary Manary and William McLellan, born in April.

1857       Elizabeth Manary, 14th and last child, born. Samuel Scobie born.

Alexander McLellan and wife Margaret Scobie and their family moved somewhere around this time and were granted land in Stevens Point, Portage, Wisconsin, not far from Andrew McLellan and wife Isabella Smith.

Martha McLellan Warren, daughter of John and Martha McLellan, joins the family in Bristol, Quebec, with her husband John Warren and sons.

1858       William Manary, 24, second oldest son, married Margaret White (daughter of neighbours) in Lanark County.

                Mary Manary (now McLellan) baptized in Quyon Anglican Church, Pontiac County, Quebec. Her parents James and Isabella Manary were witnesses and were stated to be “of Lanark”.

                Jane Manary, 23, oldest daughter, has child Elizabeth Manary out of wedlock, father unknown. She may have moved in with brother William and his wife Margaret (they were married in March and she gave birth in December) – at any rate, she was living with them by 1861. Jane’s parents James and Isabella did not take on the child as their own (their own Elizabeth was over a year and a half old at the time). It’s doubtful Jane would have named her own daughter Elizabeth if she had expectation that her parents might raise the child.

1859       Joseph Manary, 21, 3rd oldest son, married Caroline White, Margaret White’s sister. Lived in Darling.

1860       David and Jane Manary’s fourth child, David, was born in Quyon; the previous child, John, was born in 1859 in Lanark County, so David must have moved to Pontiac County in 1859 or 1860 but the family had also kept their land in Darling, Lanark.

1861       Possibly the whole Manary family, except for Jane, moved from Lanark County to Bristol, Pontiac County, Quebec, between the time of the census in Lanark and the census in Pontiac. Possibly at this time, Jane moved in with Robert White, who was the father of the rest of her children and who later became her husband.

1861 census of Lanark township

                James and Isabella Manary and 8 of their children

                1861 census of Darling township

                David and Jane Manary and family

                Joseph and Caroline and family

                William and Margaret and family, along with Jane and her child


                1861 census of Bristol, Pontiac County, Quebec

                David and Jane Manary and family


                In June 1861, according to baptismal records in the Quyon Anglican Church, James and Isabella were stated to be living in Bristol, Quebec. In the next few years, these records showed William and Margaret, as well as Joseph and Caroline, living in Bristol, so they probably all moved together.

William McLellan of Lanark was now married to Martha McNabb, his first wife (perhaps named Jane) having died by that time.

1862       William and Margaret Manary stated to be “of Bristol” in daughter Isabella’s baptismal record.

1863       Sarah Manary (d/o James & Isabella), age 19, married Robert Reid 3 Feb in Claredon, Pontiac, Quebec.

                Isabella Manary (d/o James & Isabella), age 20, married David Small 2 Oct in Quyon, Pontiac.

                Joseph Manary baptized in Anglican Church, Quyon.

Bristol land records show David Manary and James Manary as owning land in the 5th range; William Manary was living on a piece that his father James owned.

1864       Jane Manary gives birth to Margaret Manary, whose father is undoubtedly Robert White. Jane and Robert have been living together possibly for a year or two, or possibly since the other Manarys left Lanark in 1861 and went to Bristol (some returning).

                Bristol land records: James, David, and William Manary owned adjoining lots on Range 5; son Joseph Manary is not shown in the land records. It has been said from family lore that one brother quarrelled with the others and moved away and this may have been Joseph. He moved far away to Ashburnham, Peterborough County, ON, sometime after 1864 and before 1870. He never lived close to any of his siblings again.

1866       James Manary (s/o of James & Isabella), age 24, married Mary Hannaberry 9 June in the Catholic Church, Quyon, Pontiac, Quebec.

1867       William and Margaret Manary’s daughter Caroline born in Lanark County, so they returned to Lanark between 1862 – 1867.

1868       Margaret Manary, age 18, married James Dodd 18 Aug in Bristol, Pontiac.

1869       Robert Manary (s/o James & Isabella), age 17, married Harriet Sheffield 3 Aug in Almonte, Lanark County.

1870       Joseph and Caroline Manary and family now living in Ashburnham, Peterborough County (moved sometime between 1864 and 1870, possibly after a dispute with the rest of the family in Bristol, Quebec).

1871       Margaret Manary Dodd, 21, died in childbirth with son Robert Henry Dodd, who was taken in by the Dodd family and raised by them.

                1871 census of Darling Township

                William and Margaret Manary and family

                Robert White and Jane Manary living common-law with 4 daughters with Manary surname.

                1871 census of Bristol, Pontiac County, Quebec

                James & Isabella Manary with five children

                Robert and Harriet Manary and one child

                David and Jane Manary and family

                James and Mary Manary and family

                Isabella and David Small and family

                Sarah and Robert Reid and family

                Mary and William McLellan and family


1872       James Manary Sr., 79, died 1 Sept in Bristol, Pontiac County.


1873       Elizabeth Manary, 16, married Joseph Vellow in Quyon, Pontiac.


1874       John Manary, 25, married Catherine Reid, Robert Reid’s sister, 7 April, Quyon, Pontiac.


                Alexander Manary, 19, married Agnes Vellow, Joseph’s sister in Onslow, Pontiac


1875       Robert White finally married Jane Manary, 40, in Middleville, Lanark.


                Harriet Sheffield, Robert Manary’s wife, died in childbirth at the age of 24.


                William McLellan of Lanark made out his will and granted 100 acres of land to his second wife Martha McLellan, for use during her lifetime.


1876       William McLellan of Lanark died 20 July, said to be aged 86.


John McLellan of Bristol died 23 September, age 77.


1877       McCook County area in the Dakotas becomes known for its soil fertility and homesteads became available.


1877       David and Jane Manary and family immigrate to McCook County, South Dakota, along with Isaac (Although Isaac stated in a census that he arrived in 1876, it was probably 1878). David and Isaac are appointed Commissioners of the new McCook County. It is possible they came the year before, but if so, they didn’t acquire land then.


                Isaac Manary, 33, married Mary Jane Finn in South Dakota.


1878       Isaac Manary and wife Mary Jane have daughter Margaret in March.      


Robert Manary married his second wife, Emma Ford, in Pembroke, Ontario.


1879       David Manary and his sons James and John acquire title to land parcels.


1880       Jane McLellan Angus, age 77, and her husband Andrew Angus died in Bristol, Pontiac.


                Isabella McLellan, daughter of William David McLellan and Mary Manary, married Alexander “Sandy” Reid about this time. They later took in and informally adopted Mary Borland (1889) who later married Robert Manary, son of Alexander and Agnes Manary.


1881       Widow Isabella Manary, 67, along with son and daughter-in-law Alexander and Agnes who were living with her, sold the Manary Bristol farm to son-in-law William McLellan.


                Isabella, Alex and Agnes Manary moved to South Dakota, along with Joseph and Elizabeth (Manary) Vellow and their family. They arrived sometime before July of 1881, when Elizabeth’s last daughter Jennie was born.


                William Manary and wife Margaret and family, along with Robert White and Jane and family were living in Darling Township, according to the 1881 census.


                James Manary Jr. and wife Mary and family were living in Bristol, Quebec, as well as John Manary and Catherine and family.


Robert Manary and second wife Emma Ford and family were living in Portage-du-Fort.


                Joseph and Caroline Manary and family were living in Galway, Peterborough.


1882/83 John and Catherine Manary and family briefly lived in South Dakota and may have come sometime after the 1881 census and went back home again in time for the birth of son James by 1884. Possibly they arrived in 1882, went through the winter of 1882/1883 and decided to go back to Quebec in the spring.


1884       Robert and Sarah (Manary) Reid and family moved to McCook County, South Dakota, although some information says 1883. (note: may have left earlier; last child born in 1880 in Eardley, Quebec)


                Mary Jane Finn, wife of Isaac, died in a prairie fire in February along with her unborn twins in South Dakota.


                Jane McLellan, David Manary’s wife, died 13 Sept in Montrose, McCook County, South Dakota.


1885       Isaac Manary married his second wife, Alice Reid, from Bristol, Quebec, in South Dakota.


                Alexander McLellan died in Badger, Portage County, Wisconsin at age 85.



1888       Isaac Manary died, age 43, on 17 April, in an accident involving the collapse of his house in South Dakota.


                Isabella McLellan Manary, aged 74, died 12 November. She had been probably living with her daughter Elizabeth Vellow in Canistota, South Dakota.


                Robert Manary, aged 82, brother of James, died 24 Feb in Proton, Grey County, Ontario.


                David Manary married his second wife, widow Minnie Kurth Meier, about this year (first child born 1889).


1890       David and Minnie Manary sold several parcels of land and may have moved to Silverton, Oregon this year or by the next year, along with several of his grown sons and daughter.


                Solomon Vellow, brother to Joseph and Agnes, purchased land from David and Minnie. He may have just moved down or have been there previously.


1891       Joseph and Caroline Manary and family moved from Peterborough area to Powell Valley, Multnomah, Oregon.


                John and Catherine Manary and family were back living in Bristol and probably had moved back sometime after 1882.


1895       David Manary, age 63, died in Silverton, Oregon.


                Sarah Manary Penman, age 86, sister of James, died in Lanark Township, Lanark County.


                William Manary, David’s son, and family living in Crystal City, Manitoba.


1897       Jane (McLellan?) Morris, an heir in William McLellan’s will, granted land to Michael McKirdy, presumably her brother-in-law, in a codicil to William’s will.


1896 – 1898        Solomon Vellow and his wife Edith Phipps returned to Aumond, Quebec sometime after the birth of their son George, who was born in South Dakota in 1896.


1901       Alexander and Agnes Manary and family were back living in Bristol, Quebec and moved back sometime between 1895 (when Delbert was born in Canistota) and 1901.


1902       Elizabeth Manary Vellow, aged 45, died in Canistota, South Dakota.


1903       James Manary Jr., aged 61, died in Bristol, Pontiac, Quebec.


1912       William Manary, aged 78, died in Darling, Lanark County.


1916       Mary Manary McLellan, aged 79, died in Quyon, Pontiac, Quebec.


                Alexander Manary, aged 61, died in Clayton, Lanark County.


1918       Joseph Manary, aged 79, died in Portland, Oregon.


1919       Isabella Manary Small, aged 76, died in Bristol, Pontiac, Quebec.


1921       Jane Manary White, aged 86, died in Lanark Township, Lanark County.


1923       Robert Manary, aged 71, died in Ottawa, Ontario.


1928       Sarah Manary Reid, aged 84, died in Canistota, South Dakota.


1930       John Manary, aged 81, died in Bristol, Pontiac, Quebec.


Compiled by Barbara MacPherson, 2020

Early Lanark Ontario Maps 1841-1862

Lanark Maps developed by the colaborated work of Kevin Roy and Jayne Munro-Ouimet of the movements of James and Isabella from his data collectd on each of the census from 1842-1861.Early Lanark Maps



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