King Township Residents from A History of Toronto and County of York

Daniel O’Brien, lot 5, concession 6, is the son of William O’Brien, deceased, who came from Nova Scotia, and settled in York County, about 1828. Mr. O’Brien, sen’r, was a carpenter by trade, but devoted the greater portion of his life to farming. He bought and cleared a farm in Pickering Township, and was very prosperous, leaving at his death a nice estate to his widow and six children. He took an active part during the Mackenzie Rebellion, and being a sympathizer with the movement, his house on several occasions was searched, and he himself narrowly escaped being arrested, having to conceal himself for some time in the bush. By this exposure he contracted a disease from which he never afterwards recovered, and died in 1847, at the comparatively early age of forty years. Daniel, whose name appears at the head of this sketch, was born in Markham Township in 1832. He learned the trade of blacksmith in Pickering, which he has since followed. He established his present business in 1854, and by strict attention added to good workmanship, he has built up a large and increasing trade. He was married in 1857 to Miss Wood, daughter of Joseph Wood, of Clark Township, by whom he has nine children, viz.: Emma J., Joseph M., Ida A., Frederick W., Annetta L., Benjamin J., Louis J., Lina K., Eddie. (vol. II, p. 411)

Michael J. O’Neill, lot 15, concession 10 of the Township of King, was born on November 15, 1854. His father, Michael O’Neill, was born May 25, 1814, in the County of Limerick, Ireland, and emigrated to Canada in 1841. On his arrival in King he purchased the farm the location of which is described above, and which is now known as Holly Park Farm. It was at the time all bush, and has since been improved and put in a very high state of cultivation. He was married in Ireland to Margaret O’Halleran, a lineal descendant of Sir Henry O’Halleran who once took up arms against the tyrannical laws of his country, but who subsequently became one of Her Majesty’s most loyal subjects. Mrs. O’Neill died May 14, 1873, leaving a family of seven children, five of whom are still living, viz.: Mary Ann, Patrick J., Ellen, Michael Joseph (our subject), and Thomas. Michael J. was born on the old homestead, and helped to clear the farm where he now resides. He entered public life at an early age, and has filled various positions of trust. He was elected Deputy-Reeve of the Township Council in 1811, of which body he still continues an able and active member. He also holds the position of Postmaster of Holly Park. Mr. O’Neill is devoted to the Roman Catholic Faith, and in politics gives his support to the Reform Party. (vol. II, p. 412)

W. Pearson, lot 29, concession 2, is descended from a family who emigrated from Pennsylvania in 1808 and located near what is now the town of Newmarket, then a complete wilderness. His grandfather, Peter Pentz Pearson, settled there and followed the occupation of farming; he was concerned in the troubles of 1837 and was taken prisoner. The father of our subject, L.B. Pearson, was born on the family homestead near Newmarket in 1828. He bought the farm, lot 29, concession 2, King, which he improved and continues to cultivate. William Pearson was born in Whitchurch Township in 1863. He received his preliminary education at the Common School, and then went to the High School at Newmarket, where he took a second-class certificate, and has now been a Certified School Teacher for the past two years; and is at present attending the Normal School at Ottawa. (vol. II, p. 412)

The Perry Family. It will invariably be noticed that, in regard to modern settlements, some families will, as if by instrinct, at once take a prominent place among their neighbours and retain it through successive generations. This general rule might distinctively be applied to the early settlers of York County, and the family whose biographical record is herein traced affords a good illustration. Many of the old residents will remember the advent into King Township of the late Richard Perry, who, bringing with him his wife and three children, settled upon lot 24, concession 7. He was born in Ireland in the year 1797, and was thirty-four years of age when he came to Canada and located in this section in 1831. Young, vigorous and active, possessing moreover the peculiar energy of his race, he was in a word just the sort of pioneer required in a new and undeveloped country. The large and productive acreage now under cultivation by his sons testifies to his strong and determined purpose to rank not among the least of those who first laid open the forests of Ontario as a foundation for new industrial enterprises. During his lifetime he exerted himself in all matters that would prove of benefit to the community, and by that means succeeded in gaining the respect of all his neighbours. His strongly imbibed Conservativism, and his genuine attachment to old-fashioned political ideas may at times have caused him to ill-conceal his dislike to the Reform element which in his day broke forth in such a startling manner and culminated in the Rebellion of 1837-8. Mr. Perry, at the commencement of the affair, seeing the Rebels with their pikes painted red and uttering treasonable menaces, made, with the assistance of his son John, sixty-five rounds of ball cartridges, and was at Bond Head before daylight next morning offering his services to Colonel Dusen. The gallant Colonel complimented Mr. Perry upon his vigilance, and declared that he was the only one who up to that time was prepared to meet the insurgents. He lived to the good old age of eighty-two years, and his death, which took place in 1879, was felt as a personal loss throughout the section. (vol. II, p. 412)

Henry Perry, lot 34, concession 10, is the second son of the late Richard Perry, and was born in Ireland in 1824, and came with the remainder of the family in 1831. His education was only that obtained at the Common schools, and he began early to till the soil. He located on his present lot in 1864, which he has since continued to cultivate. He was married in 1854 to Elizabeth Gardiner, daughter of the late Lieutenant Gardiner of the British Army. The issue of the union is eight children, viz.: Harriet, born in 1855; Richard, born in 1856; Frederick, born in 1858; Susannah, born in 1861; Charlotte, born in 1863; Emma, born in 1865; Isabella, born in 1871, and Arthur, born in 1879. He also belongs to the Church of England, and is a Conservative in politics. (vol. II, p. 413)

John Perry, the eldest son of the late Richard Perry, was born in Ireland in 1822, and accompanied his parents to Canada. He was but nine years old when the emigration of the family took place, and the educational facilities of the township being limited, he was obliged to forego the benefits of much early scholastic training. He commenced to work with his father on the farm while still a boy, and acquired, it may be said almost from necessity, a practical knowledge of all that relates to agriculture. The wild state of the country at that time afforded excellent opportunities for youth to gain a good knowledge of hunting and shooting, and our subject soon became proficient in that respect, for many a fine buck, to say nothing of smaller game, fell before his unerring and trusty rifle. His hunting expeditions were not, however, without their dangers, and in many a tight fix did he find himself with his mortal enemy the bear, which, however, generally resulted in the discomfiture of bruin and the consequent loss of his hide. John left his father on the old homestead in 1852, and located on his present farm, and settling down to married life the year following gave up to a great extent his adventurous pursuits. He at various times in succeeding years enlarged his original farm until he now owns two hundred and seventy-five acres. The opening out to settlement of the North-West led him into larger enterprises, and he now owns three thousand acres of timber lands, besides nine hundred and sixty acres of fine farming land near to the City of Winnipeg, which will no doubt in the immediate future yield him a large and profitable return. In the township Mr. Perry is recognized as a leading and influential Conservative, and takes a remarkably lively interest in the fortunes of that political party. His marriage in 1853 was to Elizabeth Steward, daughter of George Steward; his wife died in 1880, leaving three children, Richard, Elizabeth and Susannah. He belongs to the Church of England. (vol. II, p. 413)

Richard Perry, lot 24, concession 7, is the youngest son of the late Richard Perry whose life is recorded elsewhere. He was born on the old homestead in 1837, where he has always remained, having assumed the control of the farm when his late father retired from active life. He was married in 1870 to Miss Sarah J. Hunter, daughter of Joseph Hunter, of this section, by whom he has seven children, as follow: Rebecca, born 1871; Albretta, born 1873; Violet, born 1875; Eva M., born 1876; Matthew, born 1878; Ida F., born 1880, and Isabella, born 1883. He is, like the other members of the family, a member of the Church of England and a Conservative in politics. Mr. Perry is also a member of the Volunteers. (vol. II, p. 414)

George Pringle, farmer, Nobbleton P.O., was born in Queen’s County, Ireland, April 10, 1812. His father, William Pringle, was born in the same place on the 24th of February, 1785, and was by trade a wool-comber, the wool in those days being combed by hand. Mr. Pringle, sen’r, came to Canada at an early day, being about the fifth settler in King Township. He died on April 5, 1873. Our subject’s mother was Jane Gribbens previous to her marriage; she was a native of King’s County, Ireland, and died in Prince Edward Island in 1818. George Pringle attended school for a short time in his native town, and after coming to Canada received further instru