John Macmillan
(1839-Between )


Family Links

Catherine Bell

John Macmillan 1

  • Born: 1839, Scotland
  • Marriage: Catherine Bell
  • Died: Between 4 and 5 Aug 1869 about age 30

bullet  General Notes:

1. Family tradition says that John and Catherine (Bell) MacMillan lived in Proton Township, Grey County, all of their married lives, and that Catherine continued living there with her son Hugh until her death. This is verified to some extent by their son Hugh's obituary, which states that he was born, raised, and died on Lot 4, Concession 14, Proton Township. Land Records for that Lot show that son Hugh received the original Crown Land Grant for the West Half of that Lot in 1880 (date uncertain), about eleven years after his father's death.

2. D. Arsenault checked the original 1861 Census' for Proton Township but John and Catherine (Bell) MacMillan are not listed.

3. There is a John McMiller (note the spelling, likely an error during transcribing) listed in the 1865-66 Directory for the County of Grey, living on the West Half of Lot 4, Concession 14, Proton Township. We know that this is John MacMillan, as son Hugh was born on that Lot on November 26, 1864, the year before the Directory was printed.

4. Interestingly, the East Half of the same Lot is occupied by a Neil McMiller (note the same spelling).

5. The above facts indicate that they were either married AFTER 1861, or they were living elsewhere.

6. Just to make things difficult, Catherine is found in the 1871 Census living in Osprey Township, widowed with their four children. This indicates that she left the farm in Proton Township for a time after John's death, and later returned to it. There is an Alexander MacMillan living two doors down from her in that Census, another possible relative of John.

7. There are some indicators that Catherine's family MAY have lived in Osprey Township as well.

8. Diane Arsenault hasn't checked the 1881 Census', but knows that Catherine and son Hugh are back on Lot 4, Concession 14, based on the Land Records. And they are still there in the 1901 Census.

So, this leaves several questions to be answered:

When and where exactly were John MacMillan and Catherine Bell married? When did they arrive at Lot 4, Concession 14, Proton Township?
Why did Catherine leave the family farm and move to Osprey Township after John's death?
Who are Catherine's and John's parents?

According to the 1901 Census, Catherine stated that she arrived in Canada from Scotland in 1849. If she was born in 1836 (per her tombstone) she would not likely have been married prior to coming to Canada. Diane Arsenault has the marriage registers for Grey County for the years 1858 - 1869, and John and Catherine are not listed. A volunteer checked the Wellington District marriage registers (portions of Grey County once belonged to Wellington District - Osprey Township among them), and there is a suspicious listing - Catherine BELL, daughter of Hugh (Ewen) BELL and Catherine McFAYDEN, married in 1862 to John BELL. Now, the surnames of BELL and McMILLAN, in Scotland, are interchangeable, BELL being a sept of the clan McMillan. OR, it could be as simple as an error made when transcribing the original parish marriage registers. It's interesting though that there are several Bells and McFayden's listed in the 1861 Census for Osprey Township.

Now, to get back to Neil MacMillan (see above). His will (from the Land Records) shows that he had a daughter Sarah who married Donald BELL. There is a child Donald Bell listed in the 1861 Osprey Census. Immediately next door to this Bell family is a McFayden family. While this is far from conclusive evidence of a connection between the McMillan's of Proton Township and the Bell's of Osprey Township, it certainly requires further research.

One more interesting fact about Neil MacMillan - he was a tailor by trade. John Christopher McMillan trained as a young man (due to his disability) to be a tailor. Co-incidence?


John married Catherine Bell. (Catherine Bell was born in 1836 in Scotland, died on 14 Jan 1929 2 and was buried on 16 Jan 1929 in Swinton Park, Ontario.)



1 Cemetery headstone, From Catherine Bell's monument at Swinton Park, Ontario.

2 Death Certificate.

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