Robert SAUNDERS emigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1823. It is believed he came with his parents and sisters. He was the only son in the family and had several sisters who went to London, Ont., area at later dates and were married in the London area.
Bessie LAIDLAW-BUTCHART has the following to say regarding Robert SAUNDERS, sisters and parents: "They had come from Antrim, North Ireland, and we have learned from Ada HUTCHESON (now deceased), of Oshawa, that she was told by her mother that the SAUNDERS were driven off their land during one of the uprisings, made their hurried way to the seaport, losing packages of silver and other household effects on the way when fording some river, emigrated to Canada, settled, first near Perth, Ont." In 1842, Robert, Jane and their family were living on Lot 21, Con. 3E, Beckwith Twp., Lanark Co. They had 200 acres of land and this is not far from Perth, Ont.
In 1842, Robert's mother was living with them as she also was in 1851 and she was 75 years of age in 1851. We do not have a record of when she passed away. They lived in a 1 1/2 story log house. They raised the usual crops of oats, barley, wheat and peas on their farm.
In 1854, there was a big land sale of Crown lands in Bruce Co. Sept. 27th and thereafter for several days. The surveying of Greenock Twp. had been completed in 1852 and much property in this township was to be sold at ten shillings per acre with nine years to pay. Robert SAUNDERS, his son-in-law, John KEYES
and his next-door neighbour from Beckwith Twp., James KEYES
, all purchased property in Greenock Twp. and moved there from Beckwith in 1855. We do not know their reason for leaving Beckwith Twp., but Greenock Twp. was thought to be good land. Robert SAUNDERS was 52 years of age and James KEYES was 68 years of age when they purchased this land.
Robert SAUNDERS had purchased Lot 6, Con. 16, Greenock Twp., while John KEYES purchased Lot 8, Con. 16 and James KEYES purchased Lot 5, Con. 17. There were very few roads in Bruce County in 1855 and the roads they did have would be little better than trails through the bush. The same conditions probably were true the greater part of the way from Bruce to Lanark County. It is difficult to imagine how these pioneers were going to move their families, household goods, farm implements, cattle, hogs. etc., over this 550 mile route from Beckwith Twp. to Greenock Twp. and then build a house and barn and start clearing the land at their new home. But they did it. Robert and Jane sold their farm to their son, Samuel, and his wife, Elizabeth, in 1869.