Person:James Ormsby (4)

James Ormsby
Facts and Events
Name[1][2][3][4] James Ormsby
Gender Male
Birth[1][3][2][17] 1783 Sligo County, Ireland
Marriage 1820 Englandto Elizabeth Franklin
Death[2][1][17] 1 Aug 1873 Oro, Simcoe, Ontario, Canada
Burial[5] Leigh’s Corners, Ontario, Canada
  Genealogy well done. Exemplary WeRelate page with excellent use of original sources.


James Ormsby Sr. and his family were among the earliest settlers of Oro Township, Simcoe County, Ontario. James, a soldier in the British Army, commuted his army pension for land in the Canadian wilderness. The family arrived in Oro Township in July 1831, following a wave of settlement to this area.S12,S18,S10 Many of the settlers who arrived at this time in Oro had military backgrounds as British government feared this area was vunerable to American attack after the War of 1812.S18

Some details about the family's journey to Canada are known. The family arrived in York (Toronto, Ontario) on 28 June 1831 and stayed at the Emigrant Asylum there until 6 July 1831.S22 Many of the immigrants who stayed at the Asylum arrived on steamboats which traveled between Prescott, Ontario, York, Ontario, and destinations in the United States. Emigrants to Oro Township traveled north from York to Holland Landing, Ontario at the base of Lake Simcoe. From there, the settlers travelled across Lake Simcoe on boats to Hodges Landing, Ontario, now called Hawkestone. The land agent for Oro Township, Wellesley Richey, had his office at Hodges Landing, and the Hodge family, who had arrived in 1830, offered supplies and accommodations for the migrants.S10 The settlers used aboriginal paths to travel along the ridge of Lake Simcoe and created primitive roads to their pieces of land north of the lake.S18 According to James Ormsby's land petition, the family settled on the east half of Concession 12 Lot 14 on 10 July 1831.

The family fulfilled the conditions of their land grant (they settled the land and cleared it) and were granted the patent for the land in 1835.S15 The early years on the land were undoubtedly difficult as the area was sparsely populated and distant from large centres. (For a detailed description of pioneer life in Oro Township, see The Story of Oro). As evidence of these difficult circumstances, in August 1831, Elizabeth Ormsby, James' wife, was paid 10 shillings by the government for bringing sick migrants to York.S14 In addition, only two of the five children born to James and Elizabeth survived the journey to and settlement in Canada. Nevertheless, the Ormsbys survived the difficult conditions, and as of 1978, the farm remained in possession of one of their descendants.S10

In his later years, James offered his services as a cobbler in Oro. He died at the age of 90 after ailing for several years.S1


Year Date Event
1815 Private in the British Army and fought in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.S10 He was a soldier in the 52nd Regiment of Foot.S15
1820Marriage to Elizabeth Franklin in England.S10
1822Birth of son George in Ireland.
18308 Sep Pension awarded.S21 James was a Chelsea Pensioner who commuted his military pension for land in Canada. Thousands of these pensioners came to Canada with their families unprepared for the conditions that awaited them. S20
183128 JunArrived in York possibly on the Queenston Steamboat. Stayed at Emigrant Asylum. S22
18316 JulLeft Emigrant Asylum for Oro.S22
183110 JulLocated on Con 12 Lot 14 (E1/2) Oro Township S13
1831"The families of Robertson, Ormsby, Cameron, Donald McLeod, and Buchanan settled also in Oro early in 1831."S12
18318 AugElizabeth Ormsby paid 10 shillings for carriage of sick emigrants from Oro to York.S14
1834Kith n’ Kin suggests the Ormsbys came in 1834, but evidence above suggests that the Ormsbys arrived in 1831.S10
183530 MayToronto and Home District Directory. Listed at Con 12 Lot 14. Oro Township.S16
1837Served in Simcoe County Militia in 1837 Rebellion.S17
1851Canadian Census: Manuscripts for Oro Township no longer exist. (Libraries and Archives Canada)
1857According to the Story of Oro, James Ormsby was one of three cobblers working in Oro Township in 1857. He made boots in Robertson’s Corner.S18
1861Canadian Census: James Ormsby, born 1783, living in Oro Township. Page 19, line 24.
1871James Ormsby, born about 1784 in Ireland, resided in Oro Township, Simcoe North. He worked as a shoemaker. He was a member of the Church of England (Anglican).
n.d.“James Sr. divided the farm, giving 50 acres each to the two surviving sons.”S10
18731 AugIn his death certificate, he is listed as pensioner. He died of old age after ailing for years.S1
Image Gallery
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ontario, Canada Deaths, 1869-1932.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 One World Tree. (Name: The Generations Network, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA;).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ontario, Canada Census Index, 1871.
  4. Gale Research. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s.
  5. Joanna McEwan. Kith'n Kin: Reminiscenses, Biographies, Genealogies, Photographs. (Oro Township Historical Society).
  6.   Norman K. Crowder. British Army Pensioners Abroad, 1772-1899. (Genealogical Publishing Co. Ltd.;).
  7.   Hunter, Andrew F. (Andrew Frederick). A History of Simcoe County.
  8.   Upper Canada Land Book - James Ormsby Land Petition.
  9.   W.L. Mackenzie. Appendix to Journal of the House of Assembly of Upper Canada of the first session of the twelfth provincial Parliament ...
  10.   Upper Canada Land Book - James Ormsby Land Petition.
    James Ormsby. Land Petition. Page 1 James Ormsby. Land Petition. Page 2 James Ormsby. Land Petition. Page 3
  11.   Ontario GenWeb. Toronto and Home District Directory 1837.
  12.   Helen A Wanless. Simcoe County Militia: Rebellion of 1837 Muster Rolls and Pay Lists.
  13.   Oro (Ont. : Township). Historical Committee. The Story of Oro.
  14.   Mark Bourrie. War Veterans in the Wilderness. (Legion Magazine, November/December 2002).
  15.   Gordon King. List of Chelsea Pensioners in Penetanguishene. (In Families, vol. 26:2 (May 1988), p. 81).
  16.   Hoffman, F. & Taylor, R. Emigrants Admitted into Temporary House at York. (Across the Water: Ontario Immigrants’ Experiences 1820-1850.).

    p. 352

  17. 17.0 17.1 James Ormsby - death certificate