Descendants of James & Jane PINKERTON

First Generation  Next

1. David PINKERTON, son of James PINKERTON and Jane DRUMMOND, was born on May 5, 1798 in Seconn, Ballymoney, Antrim, Ireland,1 died on March 2, 1874 in Pinkerton, Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada1 aged 75, and was buried in Pinkerton Greenwood Cemetery, Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada.

David Pinkerton followed his brother Henry to Greenock Twp. in 1854, no doubt influenced by reports which would have filtered back to Lloydtown from Greenock. At this time David and his wife Mary Ann would have been about 56 years old. Their family consisted of 6 boys and 2 girls. The oldest son, John, did not accompany the others to Bruce in 1854. John was already married with young children, and the records show that he farmed near Aurora until the early 1870's. In later years he spent some time in Pinkerton and also resided in the Clifford area. He was buried at Pinkerton in the old Greenwood Cemetery. The older daughter, Mary, born 1831 at Lloydtown, appears to have died very young, and the name was used again with the second girl, Mary Jane. The other sons - James, Matthew, Henry, Joseph and Thomas, as well as Mary Jane all settled in Greenock Twp. as pioneers.

One of the first settlers in Greenock was one John Shennan, who discovered a promising power site on a local river. This river, known as the Yokassippi, later the Mud and finally the Teeswater, runs through the length of Greenock Twp. Shennan began to develop the site in 1853 beginning a dam and sawmill. David Pinkerton purchased the site the following year and completed the construction with the help of his sons. David's pattern of settlement was similar to his brother-in-law Joseph Walker's. He and his family developed industries, a town plan and a substantial holding in surrounding farm land. In addition to the dam and sawmill, they built a grist mill, a carding mill, a hotel and several houses. At the same time, they took title to about 1200 acres of the surrounding land. The emerging village was first called Davidsville after the founder. However, in 1860 a Post Office was established and given the name of Pinkerton which became the village's permanent name. David's son Matthew was the first postmaster.

The first log cabin of 1854 was used by the family until other homes were built. This measured 16 x 24 feet and was located in what is now the centre of the village. It still survives although it is now partly enclosed by later additions. A second cabin was built by David's son Henry on Lot 1, Con. 12, overlooking the dam. This cabin was later demolished when Henry built a newer house farther west on the farm. That house in turn was replaced early in the 20th century by Henry's son David, and remains in the family to this day. James Pinkerton built a small timber frame house on the hilltop overlooking the flour mill. This house burned about 20 years ago. David built a house across the road, on the site of the present Birrell home, but it burned in 1867.

Matthew Pinkerton operated the first hotel, which was built on river lowland just west of the sawmill. He hired a young woman, Mary Bell, as barmaid, and she later became his wife. In 1862 Matthew moved out of the hotel and built a house of local limestone, in the centre of the village near the original cabin. This house has remained in the Pinkerton family until the present time. Matthew's brother Thomas then moved into the hotel building and converted it to his private home. This building survived until 1993, when it was seriously damaged by fire and subsequently demolished.

The sawmill operated for many years. It was sold in 1897 by Thomas Pinkerton to Stewart Brothers. It continued to operate with some additions and modernization until it was destroyed by fire in 1912, At that time it was owned by J.B. Campbell and Albert Pinkerton, David's grandson.

The flour mill operated with stone mill wheels and an overshot water wheel. David Pinkerton brought in George Elphick, an experienced miller from York County, to operate the mill. The mill was sold to George Elphick in the 1870s by then owner Joseph Pinkerton, David's son. In 1896 the original mill caught fire and burned. A second more modern mill was begun by George Elphick, equipped with roller mills. Elphick died before it was finished, and the mill was sold to Thomas Edgar and later to M.L. Ziegler. In 1903 the mill was bought by Thomas Birrell. Three generations of Birrells, Thomas, Wesley, and Harold ran the mill for nearly 80 years. The second mill lasted until 1928 when fire again struck as a result of lightning. The third mill, built by Wes Birrell, is still operating as a feed mill, and is now part of the New-Life Mills organization.

The carding mill was probably built a few years after first settlement, when sheep raising had become more common. Thomas Pinkerton operated the mill until the early years of the 20th century. By then, the rise of modern textile factories made this pioneer mill uneconomic.

David Pinkerton lived the balance of his life in this village which bears his name. He died in 1874 at the age of 75. He was buried on land overlooking the village, part of Lot 1, Con. 13, then owned by Thomas Pinkerton. The village at that time had no cemetery, and after David's death, the 1 1/5 acre plot surrounding his grave was purchased and established as Greenwood Cemetery. The stones of David and his son John can still be seen at the site. David's widow Mary Ann lived until 1887. Her burial place is not marked, but, in all likelihood, she too was buried in Greenwood.

by James E. CONNELL, First published in the 1998 Yearbook of the Bruce County Historical Society.

David married Mary Ann PARKHILL about 1820. Mary was born in May 1798 in Seconn, Ballymoney, Antrim, Ireland2 and died on February 27, 1887 in Pinkerton, Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada1 aged 88.

Children from this marriage were:

+ 2 M    i. John PINKERTON was born in 1823 in Baldrisham, Atrim Co, Ulster, Ireland,2 died on March 21, 1879 in Clifford, Huron Co, Ontario, Canada2 aged 56, and was buried in Pinkerton Greenwood Cemetery, Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada.

+ 3 M    ii. James PINKERTON was born on August 2, 1825 in , , Armagh, Northern Ireland,2,3,4 died on December 2, 1915 in Greenock Twp, Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada4,5 aged 90, and was buried in Purdy's Cemetery Greenock Twp. Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada.

+ 4 M    iii. Mathew PINKERTON was born on January 22, 1827 in , , Armagh, Northern Ireland.2,6

+ 5 M    iv. Henry PINKERTON was born on January 27, 1829 in , , Armagh, Northern Ireland,2,7 died in 1864 in Greenock Twp, Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada7 aged 35, and was buried in Douglas Hill Cemetery Eden Grove, Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada.

+ 6 M    v. Joseph PINKERTON was born on January 31, 1835 in , York County, Ontario, Canada2 and died on March 23, 1910 in Killarney, Souris, Manitoba, Canada2 aged 75.

+ 7 M    vi. Thomas PINKERTON was born on March 4, 1838 in Lloydtown King Twp, York Co, Ontario, Canada,1,8 died on September 3, 1908 in Pinkerton, Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada5,7 aged 70, and was buried in Douglas Hill Cemetery Eden Grove, Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada.

+ 8 F    vii. Mary Jane PINKERTON was born on June 22, 1838 in Lloydtown King Twp, York Co, Ontario, Canada,9 died on May 11, 1909 aged 70, and was buried in Douglas Hill Cemetery Eden Grove, Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada.

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