The story of the origins in Canada of the John Henry Hedley branch of the Hedley family is interwoven with the early history of March Township, Carleton County. The Hedley family was typical of the many pioneers who sought to make a new home for their families in this untamed land (Canada).
John Hedley I, grandfather of John Henry Hedley, was born November 28, 1773 in Northumberland, England, the eldest child of Thomas Hedley and Martha Weatherley. John's grandparents on his mother's side were William Weatherley and Frances Atkinson, both of Northumberland , married Dec.13, 1744. (See Prelude -- Northumberland Roots)
On June 19, 1798 John Hedley I married Frances Lawes in the Church of England in Ovingham, Northumberland. John was 24 and Frances 20. Witnesses at their marriage were Elizabeth Weatherley and Thomas Humble. During the next seventeen years John and Frances Hedley had seven children, all of whom were baptized in Ovingham Parish:
In 1819, John and Frances with their six surviving children ranging in ages from 4 to 21 made the decision to create a new home for themselves in Canada. They came to the banks of the Ottawa River as indentured servants on a five-year contract with Captain James Dent Weatherley, a 42 year-old officer recently retired from the British Army. The connection of the Hedleys to Captain Weatherley is not presently known, but John Hedley's mother was "Martha Weatherley." Captain Weatherley, on retiring from the British army at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, had received a Crown Grant of land along the scenic, though as yet undeveloped, banks of the Ottawa River. Several officers, including Captain Weatherley, probably accompanied by the Hedleys, arrived on the Ottawa River in 1819. Other young officers arrived the following year and soon an elite community grew up on the Ottawa River.
One of the principal founders and developers of this community was Mr. Hamnett Pinhey, who had been granted 1000 acres for his services as "king's messenger" in the wars between Britain and France. He brought his wife and four children, 25 labourers, a butler, two maids and his clerk. The members of the colony attempted to set up a lifestyle similar to that which they had enjoyed in their homeland. The estate, at Pinhey's Point, was named Horaceville after the Pinheys' eldest son, Horace. It has been designated a provincial heritage site and opened to the public. It was formerly owned and operated by the city of Kanata (now Ottawa).
Captain James Dent Weatherley, a neighbour of the Pinheys, cleared and farmed his property until 1830, presumably in the beginning at least, with the aid of the Hedleys. The first building used as a church in the County of Carleton was a little log house built by Captain Weatherley of the Navy [sic], on lot 19, river front of the Township of March, in 1819. Historical Sketch of the County of Carleton by C.J. Bond, pub. 1879, H. Belden & Co. Toronto. The former property of James Weatherley, on Berry Side Road, and its beautiful old stone house, "Marchmount," built by the Berrys in 1872 was, until the 1990's, the home of Justice Brian Dickson (now deceased), former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. "Marchmont" is presently a private residence.
Marchmont was built with stone brought across the Ottawa River from Guyon by Godfrey Berry, a brewer who bought the property in 1844 and established a brewery It is situated on the original estate of Capt. James Weatherley.
LOCATION OF THE ORIGINAL WHARF AT BERRY'S BREWERY
"THE WHARF AT BERRY'S
BREWERY WAS A STOPPING POINT
FOR ALL RIVER TRAFFIC UP AND DOWN THE OTTAWA.
WILLIAM BERRY SHIPPED HIS PRODUCT IN LARGE BARRELS
BY SCOW TO AYLMER AND THENCE BY WAGON TO BYTOWN"
(Guide to a Heritage Tour of March)
The early settlers of March Township, mainly adherents of the Church of England, agreed on the need for a place of worship, but there was much controversy over where it should be built. Mr. Hamnet Pinhey finally settled the matter by giving a piece of his land and providing most of the financing for the construction of a stone church
St. Mary’s was built between 1826 and 1829, the first church in March Township, and the oldest church still standing in the Ottawa area. Within ten years of its construction, a crack developed in its foundation and it was considered unsuitable by the Reverend Amos Aynsley, the missionary who had been sent to serve the March area. (St. John’s Anglican Church, 150 Years of Worship). Attempts were made to dismantle it, including a charge of dynamite; however, its sturdy stone construction survived, and today its roofless, ivy-covered walls and historical burial ground overlooking the Ottawa River provide one of the most scenic views in the Ottawa Valley.
This page was last updated July 22, 2006
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