I’ve just had some interesting clues come to light about the Stratton family.
Going back to F.M. Emerson Holmes’ genealogy, he claimed that the Holmes family came to Canada with their second-oldest daughter, Margaret, and her husband, John Stratton. I’ve been pursuing some clues that suggest that the Holmeses might have lived in a small area of County Cavan called Corresmongon, near the village of Bawnboy. There are a number of reasons why this story is compelling, not least of which is that there are a family of Dowlers very nearby. The eldest Holmes daughter married a James Dowler in Ireland before following the rest of the family to Canada. To date, though, we haven’t found much about a Stratton family before arriving in Canada.
The 1851 Canadian census shows some of the Holmes family hanging out in Toronto Gore (a former Township in Peel County, that’s now split between Mississauga and Brampton). Thomas Holmes (who later becomes an Innkeeper in Mississauga), John Holmes (who later becomes a farmer in Lambton County), and their mother Susan/Susannah are listed on the same page. Also on that page are John Stretton [sic], Margaret Stretton and a number of other Strettons. The list looks like this:
Thomas Holmes — Labourer, Male, 26
John Stretton — Farmer, Male, 35
Margt Stretton, Female, 30
Mary Ann Stretton, Female, 55
Margt Stretton, Female, 3
Thomas Stretton — Farmer, Male, 60
Sarah Stretton, Female, 50
Thomas Stretton, Male, 16
The 1851 census doesn’t list relationships, but my guess is that that’s three families: Thomas Holmes is the head of a family that’s just him. John Stretton is the head of a family that includes his wife, daughter and (I’d speculate) widowed mother, Mary Ann, and Thomas Stretton is the head of a 3rd family, with wife Sarah and son Thomas.
I’ve gone spelunking into some other Ancestry trees looking for these Strettons: some other folks seem more interested in the Thomas Stretton family, rather than the John Stretton family, and those folks have tied Thomas Stretton to a line of Stretton in County Leitrim.
Here’s the cool part. I’ve checked various Irish records in the past for Stratton families, and come up empty. But it turns out a Thomas Stretton (with an ‘e’) is listed in the Tithe Applotment Book. Thomas, it seems, has a farm in Drumbibe Townland, County Leitrim in 1834. County Leitrim is adjacent to County Cavan, where the Holmeses originate. What’s more, Drumbibe is about 20km away from Bawnboy. So, y’know, this continues to reinforce the idea that the Holmeses originate near Bawnboy.
There are some inconsistencies: the 1851 census suggests that young Margaret Stretton was born in Ireland (like her family), but the family emigrated in 1845, so the three year old must have been born in Canada. Similarly, the census-taker records young Thomas Stretton as born in Canada, which would put his family’s journey to Canada in the late 1830s. That’s not impossible, but I suspect that it’s an error on the part of the census-taker. I think Margaret was born in Canada and Thomas was born in Ireland and the census-taker got them reversed.