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Dictionary of Family Biography – Frances Guise Baron Wright

Biography – Frances Guise Baron Wright

Frances Guise (24 Mar 1772 – Nov 1802) was the youngest daughter of Richard Guise and Elizabeth Windham (aka Morgan).  She was born in New Windsor, and baptised at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, where her father was a lay vicar.

Little is known about her early life.  She was likely literate, as she signed both her marriage entries.  Her family seems to have moved to London in the mid 1770s, likely full time by 1779 when her father was named a Gentleman of St James Chapel.

Frances married Jean Victor Baron on the 6 July 1789 at St Margaret’s Westminster.  He was also resident in this parish.  Together they had one son, Richard John Baron, born 22 Nov 1792 in Westminster. At some point the family moved to Annonay, France.  The reasons behind this move remain unclear, particularly because of the ill-will/war with England during part of this period.  It is however possible that Baron was French by birth.

At some point before 1801 Frances returned to London, a widow, with her son.  She married again 18 November 1801 to John Wright of the parish of Westminster. Together they had a son, John William Wright.  She died the 17 November 1802, and was buried in the North Cloister at Westminster Abbey.  Her father joined her there in rest in 1806.  At the time of her death he was choirmaster at the Abbey.


Baptismal records, St George’s chapel, Windsor

Marriage, baptismal and burial registers of the Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster, John Lemuel Chester, Harleian Society, 1876.

Marriage registers, St Margaret’s Church, Westminster.


HRH the Prince of Wales Charmed with Edison Phonograph, 1919

Montreal Daily Star, 3 November 1919, page 13

HRH The Prince of Wales Charmed with Edison Phonograph


The Edison Diamond Disc Phonograph, English 18th Century Period design, installed in the Prince’s Drawing Room.

In conversation with one of the members of our firm His Royal Highness declared that the Edison phonograph is wonderful. The Prince has derived the greatest possible pleasure from this beautiful instrument during his stay at the Ritz Carlton. Intending purchasers of phonographs should not fail to visit our warerooms and hear this wonderful instrument. Prices of New Edison phonographs from $182.00 to $8,300.00.

Layton Bros

Montreal’s leading piano and phonograph house

550-552 St Catherine Street West, Corner Stanley

Mason & Risch and Layton Bros Pianos and players.

Dictionary of Family Biography – Angus Donald Cashion

Biography – Angus Donald Cashion

Angus Donald Cashion (22 October 1866 – 24 December 1925) was son of Daniel Cashion and Jane Burton of Cashion’s Glen, Ontario. He was one of nine children. Daniel Cashion was a farmer, and a descendant of one of the original white settlers to the area.

Not much is know about Angus’ early life. It is believed that he was educated at the Williamstown school. He appears to have emigrated to the United States in 1888. He first lived in Santa Barbara, California, and then moved to Phoenix, Arizona before 1920. His brother James Arthur also lived in California and Phoenix, so it is likely that at some point in their business lives that they may have worked together.

Angus married Hattie (or Harriet) Clark before 1916, probably in California. Their first child Angus (born 11 July 1916) was born in Los Angeles. Their daughter Betty was born in Phoenix (20 April 1921).

In the census for 1920, Angus is listed as a rancher, and several sources stated that he lived in Maricopa County, Arizona, was named Cashion in his honour. However, other sources state that Cashion was named after his brother James. Court records for his estate point to his large landholdings in the area, and partnerships with others in the ranching business.

Angus died in an automobile accident on the 24th of December 1925, and is buried at Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery in Phoenix.


US Federal Census, 1900-1920

Baptismal records, St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Williamstown

Birth records, California Birth Index

US Social Security applications and claims index



Montreal Standard, 8 March 1919, page 12



Without a dissenting voice, the City Council adopted a motion that beer should not be included in the proposed prohibition.

The motion, proposed by Alderman Lamarre, states “As wine and beer are recognized as being non-injurious, and in certain cases useful and salutary, and as the suppression of the manufacture of wine and beer would deprive many of work, and as the public in general seems to be of the opinion that beer and wine should not be included in the proposed prohibition resolved:

That the Provincial Authorities be requested that whatever law they may adopt, regarding the manufacture and the commerce of alcohol, to make an exception in favour of the two products mentioned above (beer and light wines).

In other words, the people of Montreal and the whole Province of Quebec want beer. They are opposed to the law which is supposed to come into effect on May 1st, forbidding the sale of Beer – and they do not want the Federal Government to force this law upon them.

If you reside outside of Montreal and are in favour of Beer, urge your City Council to petition the Government to permit the brewing and sale of Beer after May 2st.

Quebec Brewers Association

55 St Francois Xavier St, Montreal.

Dictionary of Family Biography – David Bryden

Biography – David Bryden

David Bryden (19 Feb 1792 – after 1858) was the son of David Bryden and Janet Halliday. He was born in Dumfries, Scotland. Details of his early life are unclear. Family Histories state that he was from Dumfries, and that he had two brothers, Christopher and James, who immigrated to Boston. His parents are buried in St Michael’s at Dumfries.

David Bryden came to Canada sometime in the early to mid 1820s. Family histories state that he was in Upper Canada to visit two friends from Dumfries, John and Robert Newall, who worked the family farm in Cornwall County. He married their sister Agnes in January 1827, and they welcomed their first daughter, Nicholas (1827-1903) in June of that year. Their daughter Agnes (1830-1915) was born a few years later. They settled in Williamstown, Glengarry, Ontario.

In his marriage entry David is listed as a saddler, an occupation that he continued to practice during his lifetime. He also owned a general store. During the late 1820s and early 1830s David was involved as a defendant in a couple of lawsuits over business. His wife was also listed as a primary witness, and his brother in law John was a co-defendant in one. Despite this, he seems to have enjoyed a comfortable life, with a sturdy house in the town.

David died after about 1859 but before 1864. He was buried in St Andrew’s Church cemetery at Williamstown. His tombstone was severely damaged in the 1980s, and portions were lost (including his death date). It was replaced in 1995 by Elizabeth Leitch, with partial information.

David Bryden
David Bryden


Tressa Leitch – The Leitches and Brydens, 1940

Census of Canada – 1851

Upper Canada Marriages

Cemetery of St Andrew’s Williamstown

Map of Glengarry (as seen at the Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum, Williamstown)

Transcriptions of gravestones, St Michael’s Churchyard, Dumfries

Ontario Archives, Court Records, Stormont division

Dictionary of Family Biography – Richard John Baron

Richard John Baron (22 November 1792 – 18 April 1871). He was the only son from the marriage of Jean Victor Baron and Frances Guise. He was born in St Margaret’s Westminster Parish in London. The Baron family might be of Hugenot extraction.

There is very little information regarding his early life, although it is believed that he lived with his parents for a time in Annonay, France. They had returned to London by 1800, and in 1801, his mother, now a widow, remarried (John Wright). By 1802, she had died, likely in childbirth (John William Wright).

Richard was the recipient of several substantial bequests from his maternal grandparents. On the death of his grandfather Richard Guise, he received a freehold estate in East Smithfield in Middlesex, in 1806. From his grandmother Elizabeth Windham Guise he received £2500 at 3% in 1810.

In his grandmother’s will he was described as a cadet at the College at Woolwich. No doubt because of his financial windfalls, he was able to purchase his commission. He entered the Royal Engineers as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1810. He was 17 years old.

Britain was at war with France (Napoleonic Wars) and according to his service record, he served in the Peninsula from 1813-1814. Following this service he was promptly moved to the Canadas where he stayed from 1814-1817. He would have been a part of the last gasp of the War of 1812, and the ensuing peace. It is not clear where in Canada he served – Upper or Lower Canada.

In 1818 1st Lieutenant Baron married Charlotte Wilhelmina Marguerite Bourtt in Geneva, Switzerland. This date came from his military record, however there is another marriage record which dates from 1824 Paris, France for the same couple. Perhaps they were making sure that their marriage was legal.

From 1824to 1833, the now 2nd Lieutenant was stationed in Bermuda. Major Baron then served in Canada again, from 1838 to 1841, during the period of the Rebellions. Again it is unclear where he served, but it was likely Lower Canada. This would be the last of his foreign service. He was retired in his return at full pay, he continued to be associated with the Royal Engineers. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1854.

He was a widower when he married his second wife, Mary Hughes, in Brompton Middlesex in 1845. He had no children from either marriage.   He died in Kensington, London in 1871.


TNA, RG33/63, Marriages Overseas, Paris France.

TNA, WO/25/3913, Royal Engineers Service Records. – Death Register.

“The Marriage, Baptismal and Burial Records of the Collegiate Church of Abbey of St Peter, Westminster” by John Lemuel Chester, Harleian Society, 1876.

Edinburgh Gazette, 1825.

TNA. PROB 11/1508.

TNA, PROB 11/1440.

Dictionary of Family Biography – a new project

It came to me, after reading a family tree which was mine, by someone else, that gave my great-grandmother an extra child that she would have given birth to in Ireland, when she was in fact in Montreal.  I was frustrated by the assumption because of a common name, not thinking that in that part of Ireland the last name was more common, and the first names of Mary and Patrick far too common to many families.  I wanted to scream.  I tried emailing the author, but he only took part of what I said to correct another part of the history.  And this led me to some introspection.

What of the individual stories of my ancestors, who would tell them, and would they come from careful research, and presented in a way so as to illustrate their life, and also give the reader a place to check the facts?  Who would do this?  Well, really, since I trust my research skills, and my historical writing skills (after all I do this for a living) it would have to be me.  But what kind of format?  Then I thought to use the Dictionary of Canadian Biography as a sort of a template.

So I have now been carefully writing small biographies of individuals I feel I have enough information about, and who are now deceased.  I started with my parents, as a way to ease out the kinks, figure out how to say it. I won’t be publishing them here.

There have been problems writing these small biographies though, and that is that the information I am finding for the women in my family is far more sparse than that of the men.  The tendency of records – specifically genealogical ones – is that the men are more important.  They are the heads of households, they are the ones who most likely held the only paid employment, and of course, they are often the only parent listed on baptismal records.  I try and balance this as much as possible, but there is a limit to my skills, and the records.  Sometimes I have chosen to highlight the man, but the biography is really the family unit.  And so there it is.

First one – Richard Baron


McKenna’s Flowers – Montreal, 1919

Montreal Standard, 12 April 1919, page 14


“Send Flowers at Easter

Our Stock is as large and as varied as ever – and we deliver anywhere.

McKenna Limited

Corner St Catherine and Guy Streets

Quebec Branch…. 9 St John Street”

Why McKenna Flowers, you ask?  Growing up we were always led to believe that McKenna’s were related to us.  Mom even bought her wedding bouquet there because Dad had said that they were somehow connected.  He couldn’t say precisely how, just that we were.

So I put on my historian cap and tried to figure out the connection.  So here it is:  The McKennas are connected to the Cuddy family through my Great-Great Uncle Sarsfield Cuddy, who married a McKenna.  Her brothers and father ran the flower business.   Now some would say this was a bit tenuous, and really they are not related by blood, but as I have learned from visiting “connections” in Ireland, it is important.  And so the family, several generations on continued to shop there.  My last visit, before they closed, was to buy flowers for Mom’s burial from them.

Fussy Fiances, Montreal, 1919

Montreal Standard, 1 March 1919, page 17

Fussy Fiancés


They are a trial, for their idea of being good lovers is to be perpetually hovering round their beloved with endless attentions and suggestions.

To the girl of yesterday, this may have been less trying than to her energetic and independent sister of to-day. It wearies the latter to be ‘fussed,’ as she ungratefully calls it. She hates being made to look ridiculous, and so every lover ought to take care not to fall into this snare of ‘fussiness.’

Love is not a hothouse plant; it thrives best in the open air and sunshine. Fun and comradeship are good for its growth; they make for a true understanding and appreciation that help to keep it sound and sweet forever.

Let a man who is in love, therefore, see to it that he treats his sweetheart wisely as well as lovingly’ that he respects her wishes, and does not try to rule her life for her as if she were a helpless child. She is not, and she will resent his doing so. He must drive her with a loose rein, and allow her liberty without a too jealous supervision. Then he will be rewarded by a love romance that will not fade with the waning of the honeymoon, as, alas do many romances that promised well.

Montreal Caledonian Games, 1880

Montreal Daily Star, 23 September 1880, page 2

The Caledonians

Conclusion of the Games

Towards the conclusion of the games yesterday a very great number of spectators had gathered, and the events excited considerable enthusiasm. The dancing was capital. To complete the success of the day the Committee of Arrangements managed affairs so well that every event was reached in good time, and the whole was over before six o’clock. The following were the results of the later games (the bowling match eventually came off):–

Running hop, step and jump- Thomas Aitken, New York, 1st 44ft; M Macdonald, 2nd 43ft 2 1/2in; Alex Miller, Montreal 3rd 42ft 10 ½ in.

Running high leap- EW Johnson 1st, 5ft 4 in; Wm Robertson, 2nd 5ft 3 in; AC Reid 3rd 5 ft 2 in.

Running long jump – Thos Aitken 1st, 21 ft 1 ½ in; AC Reid 2nd, 19 ft 0 in; EW Johnson 3rd 18ft 6 in.

Standing Long Jump- EW Johnson 1st 10ft 9 ½ in; M Macdonald, 2nd 10 ft; J Newton 3rd 9ft 9 in.

Standing High Leap- EW Johnson 1st 4 ft 8 in; M Macdonald 2nd 4ft 7 in; DC Ross, 4 ft 6 in.

Vaulting with pole- Thomas Aitkin, 1st 9 ft 4 in; Wm Robertson 2nd 8 ft 10 in; Alex Miller and John Anderson, equal, 8 ft 4 in, divided 3rd prize.

Pony race – Thomas Irving’s “Rosebud”; 2nd J Irving’s “Minnie;” 3rd, Douglas Lorne McGibbon’s “Princess Louise.”

One mile race- (amateur) CJ Patton, 1st; Geo Maclains, 2nd.

Half mile race- (Members only) J Newton 1st; M Jeffrey 2nd.

Two mile race – Three starters, Irvine, Platt and Raine. The two first gave up at the end of the first lap, and Raine was left alone to trot around the track nine laps, for which he received $20.

Best dressed gentleman in Highland costume- (at his own expense) John Duncan, 1st; hon mention, Alex McGibbon, Esq and Peter McNeil, Pipe Major 5th Royal Fusil.

Best Piper (in Highland costume) reels, strathreys and marches- M Munro, 1st; John Duncan, 2nd.

Highland Fling- JL Henderson, Toronto 1st; George Mathieson, Hamilton 2nd; AR Macdonald, Ottawa, 3rd.

Ghillie Callum- Alex Niven 1st; George Mathieson 2nd; RP Niven 3rd.

One hundred and fifty yeards (members only) – J Newton 1st, M Jeffrey 2nd, A Miller 3rd.

Quarter mile hurdle race- Thos Aitkin 1st, Geo Irvine 2nd, AC Reid 3rd.

One mile (open) – J Raine 1st, Geo Irvine 2nd, E Corcoran 3rd.

Hurdle sack race – Thomas Aitken 1st, W Dewitt 2nd, N Dewitt 3rd.

Dumbrod Match – 1st Alex Brodie, 2nd Thos Finn

Bowling Green Match – 1st J Chartorie, 2nd Peter Fulton. Prizes for this match were presented by the President.

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