Papers : 1786-1910.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .G4F3P3
Category: Family
Creator: Gilkison Family.
Description: 1 microfilm textual records () ; 35 mm
            William Gilkison (1777-1833) was born in Irvine, Scotland. He received a liberal education, and later served as a merchant sailor until captured and imprisoned by the French during the Napoleonic War. After his escape, he emigrated to America in 1796, and brought with him letters of reference to John Jacob Astor.  He gave him the command of his schooner, which was at that time in the service of the North West Company on Lake Erie.   He sailed the Lakes until 1803 when he married Isabella Grant (d.1826), the daughter of Alexander Grant, and became involved in assisting his father-in-law with his business affairs.

Alexander Grant (1734-1813) was from Scotland, and had served in the British Navy before joining the 77th Foot which came to Canada in 1757 during the Seven Years War. He served under General Amherst,who placed him in command of British ships on the Upper Lakes. Alexander Grant married Therese Barthe (1758-1810) of Grosse Pointe, near Detroit, in 1774. He served as a member of both the Legislative Council and the Executive Council of Upper Canada, and was for a short time, Administrator of Upper Canada, 1805-1806. Material relating to Alexander Grant is included in the Gilkison Papers.

William Gilkison and Isabella (Grant) Gilkison had eleven sons. The first six children were born in Upper Canada and the other five in Scotland. William Gilkison's business interests caused the family to move frequently, but they lived for a time in Brockville and also in Prescott, where he established a forwarding business. He served during the War of 1812 and was present at the Battle of Crysler's Farm, but after the war he returned to Scotland to oversee the education of his sons. Isabella Gilkison died in 1826, and he returned to Upper Canada in 1832 after several of his older sons had settled in the Brantford area. His cousin, John Galt (1779-1839), the Scottish writer, superintendent of the Canada Company, and founder of Guelph, Ontario, accompanied him on his journey. He settled on a farm near Brantford, but a few months later purchased a large tract of land in Nichol Township and laid out the town site of Elora. However, on 23 April 1833, he died suddently at the home of Reverend Abraham Nelles in Onondaga, and was buried at the Old Mohawk Church in Brantford.

David Gilkison (1803-1851), as the oldest son, succeeded his father in overseeing the progress of the new settlement, although William Gilkison had first intended that a younger son, Jasper Tough Gilkison (1814-1906), should be his successor.

Jasper Tough Gilkison became a successful businessman in Hamilton and superintendent of the Six Nations on the Grand River. He married Mary Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas and Augusta (Jarvis) McCormick. Augusta McCormick was the daughter of William Jarvis, a prominent Loyalist and first secretary of Upper Canada.

            The Gilkison Family Papers consist, primarily, of material relating to William Gilkison and to his son Jasper Tough Gilkison. The Papers are arranged in chronological order and contain the following material:  personal and business correspondence; memorials;  accounts; indentures of bargain and sale;  share certificates;  drafts of proposed agreements;  militia documents;  newspaper clippings;  drafts of letters;  and genealogical notes. 

Records of special interest include: the Great Western Railway Company;  Niagara Sleigh Club;  Niagara and Detroit Rivers Railroad;  Woodstock and Lake Erie Railroad;  Hamilton City bonds;  Brock Monument;  Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company; Port Dover Railway;  Indian Lands on the Grand River;  Alexander Grant material; draft sketches of vessels;  pictures of historical figures, eg. natives Tecumseth and Joseph Brant, monuments, events, and places;  a poem by Pauline Johnson;  several obituaries;  and a photograph with an obituary of Miss Augusta Gilkison, the daughter of Jasper Tough Gilkison, who was made an native princess at the time her father was superintendent of the Six Nations, Brantford, Ontario. 

Subject matters before 1850 include: family and social history; transportation and railroads; land and property; War of 1812; maritime history - Great Lakes, seamen; French and Indian War - Montgomery Highlanders; recreation; and the City of Hamilton finances. Towns in the province of Ontario include Elora, Nichol, and Brantford.            
Originals: The original records are held by the Archives of Ontario.
Archival Ref. No.: AO MS 497
Finding Aids:
            There is no complete finding aid to the Papers at the beginning of the reel. However, brief content descriptions, referring to individual items, can be found periodically throughout the reel. These scattered descriptions have been accumulated and augmented, and are available in print in The Loyalist Collection red binder, as well as in digital format; see Electronic Finding Aid section.            
Electronic Finding Aid Record: Document List.pdf
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