Charles Dewitt (1795-1868) was born in Windham Connecticut to Henry DeWitt (1750-1828) and Hannah Dean (1754-1820). He came to Montreal in about the year 1812. His father and older brothers were already in Canada, and the DeWitt men appeared to move freely between business interests in Montreal and Connecticut. Upon his arrival in Canada, Charles was first employed as a shoemaker, but he was soon working as a steamboat captain on the Chateauguay River, piloting the steamship "Fashion" which his brother Jacob owned. Charles was also the local bailiff and, later, a justice of the peace. In November 1838 he was arrested and charged with High Treason during the Lower Canada Rebellion. Charles was held in prison for four months before being released; he asserted that he was just going to see someone about a debt that he was owed, and was at the wrong place at the time. Whether it is true or not - I don't know. By all accounts, he led an upstanding and unremarkable life for his remaining 30 years. Charles DeWitt is buried at St. Paul's Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Ormstown, Quebec.
elizabeth (Ferguson) dewitt
Charles was married to Elizabeth Ferguson (1799-1871), daughter of Adam Ferguson, a Quebec City tailor, and his wife Janepher Stephens. Adam Ferguson died in about 1801, and Elizabeth's mother Janepher remarried to a George Burrell, in 1803. Although it is not clear how Charles and Elizabeth met, they were married in Quebec City on March 25, 1817 and later resided in Huntingdon County, Lower Canada. Her mother and stepfather followed them to the Chateauguay area. Elizabeth had 11 children (at least, 11 survived to adulthood, and I can't find any records of children dying in infancy.) She was, by all accounts, a hard-working, God-fearing, and very loving wife and mother. Elizabeth (Ferguson) DeWitt is buried at St. Paul's Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Ormstown, Quebec.
Mary Jane (dewitt) Manuel
Mary Jane DeWitt (b. abt. 1821; d. bef 1881) is the eldest child of Charles and Elizabeth (Ferguson) DeWitt. On January 11, 1839 she married William Manuel (1821-1868). Mary Jane and William had three children: William Jabez "Willie" Manuel (1841-1913); Charles DeWitt "Charlie" Manuel (1843-1923); and Sarah Manuel (b. abt. 1851.) In the mid-1850s, the family relocated to Elizabethtown (now Brockville), Leeds Township, Ontario where William farmed a small acreage. After William's death in 1868, Mary Jane married John Shepherd (b. abt. 1802) on August 8, 1871. John Shepherd soon deserted Mary Jane, and she died sometime after 1875 but before 1881. Mary Jane (DeWitt) Manuel is buried in Brockville Old Protestant Cemetery near Brockville, Ontario.
Jacob Henry DeWitt
Jacob Henry DeWitt (b. abt. 1823; d. 1875) is the second child of Charles and Elizabeth (Ferguson) DeWitt. He lived in Chateauguay and navigated a steamship on the Chateauguay River, like his father had done before him. Jacob married Adele (or Adelaide) Dalton (1828-1904) and the couple had ten children: William Henry DeWitt (b. abt. 1848; d. 1904); Caroline Adele DeWitt (b. abt. 1849; d. 1924); Adele DeWitt (b. abt. 1853; d. 1912); Jacob Joseph DeWitt (b. abt. 1856; d. 1883); Matilda DeWitt (1858-1873); Celina Clotilda DeWitt (1859-1887); Charles Francois DeWitt (1862-1897); William Alfred DeWitt (1864-1906); Wilfred DeWitt (b. 1866); and Helene "Lillie" DeWitt (1870-1944). Jacob Henry DeWitt died on March 30, 1875; he is buried in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery in Montreal, Quebec (plot J2 00074).
charles Benjamin dewitt
Charles Benjamin DeWitt (1826-1913) was the third child of Charles and Elizabeth (Ferguson) DeWitt. He piloted a steamboat on the Chateauguay river while living near Chateauguay, but later found himself a gardener, a farmer, and a mill worker. He was married to Elizabeth Jack (1828-1882), the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Lang) Jack of Chateauguay, on December 22, 1847. Charles and Elizabeth had six children: Elizabeth DeWitt (1848-1941); John DeWitt (b. abt. 1850); Mary Jane DeWitt (b. abt. 1852; d. 1869); Emily "Emma" DeWitt (b. 1855); Ida DeWitt (1860-1931); and Edith DeWitt (1862-1949.)
By 1875, Charles had deserted Elizabeth and was in a relationship with Olive Sambeau dit Deschambeault (1848-1926), the daughter of Antoine Sambeau dit Deschambeault and Marie Laramee. Elizabeth (Jack) Dewitt's will, dated August 30 1882, says she is separated from Charles Benjamin Dewitt (and she died shortly after, so Charles was then free to marry Olive, which he did on March 27, 1883.) In 1875, Charles and Olive had their first child together in Chateauguay, and in that place (and later, in Ste-Helene-de-Bagot, Quebec) there are baptismal records for several illegitimate children born with the right names at the right times, and with family members and friends as sponsors, that closely match those known to have been born to Charles and Olive. They had at least twelve children together: Charles Benjamin DeWitt Jr. (1875-1957); Henry DeWitt (1877-1957); Olive DeWitt (b. 1879); Napoleon DeWitt (1880-1903); Victoria DeWitt (1882-1972); Caroline DeWitt (b. 1884); Louise DeWitt (1885-1893); Jacob DeWitt (b. 1887); Mary J DeWitt (1890-1974); William DeWitt (1891-1892); Marie Louise DeWitt (1893-1978); and Amanda DeWitt (b. 1897). The family had moved to Ste-Helene-de-Bagot in about 1876, and in about 1886 they moved to South Dakota for a few years. By 1891 the family had returned to Ste-Helene-de-Bagot, and they relocated to Biddeford, Maine the following year. Charles Benjamin DeWitt died on September 15, 1913 and is buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Biddeford, Maine.
Henry DeWitt was born about 1828, the fourth child of Charles and Elizabeth (Ferguson) DeWitt. Census records list him as a clerk, and later a steamboat captain. Henry married Mary Cameron (b. abt. 1831, d.1904) in about 1852, and they had four children together: Jacob Henry DeWitt (1853-1920); Charles Benjamin DeWitt (1854-1927); Sophie Caroline Dewitt (1856-1929); and Joseph William Jabez DeWitt (b. 1859). In about 1870, Henry left his family in Montreal and moved to Deer Lodge, Montana. He worked as a building contractor and as a horse breeder of some renown. It is not known why he went there by himself, but there is a record of two of his children visiting him there in 1878. Henry disappears from the historical record in 1893; he does not appear to have returned to Montreal. Henry DeWitt's final resting place is not known.
Caroline (DeWitt) Graham
Caroline DeWitt (b. abt. 1830; d. 1914) was the fifth child of Charles and Elizabeth (Ferguson) DeWitt. On September 25, 1848 she married John Graham, a recent immigrant from Scotland and the son of William and Anna (Fulton) Graham. In 1855, Caroline and John moved their family to Iowa; over the next fifty years, they lived in counties and towns all over the state, namely: St. Charles, Riverton, Pleasant Valley, Fremont, Mount Vernon, Bradford, West Point, and Butler. Caroline and John had at least ten children: William Graham (1849-1896); Charles DeWitt Graham (b. abt. 1850 - he was originally intended to live with his grandparents in Quebec, but by 1860 he had joined his parents in Iowa); Elizabeth Ferguson Graham (b. abt. 1853); Anna Fulton Graham (b. abt. 1856; d. 1943); Caroline Graham (b. abt. 1857); Jacob DeWitt Graham (1859-1935); Rebecca Graham (b. abt. 1862; d. 1930); Mary Caroline "Carrie" Graham (b. abt. 1864; d. 1949); Harriet Graham (b. abt. 1867); and John Graham (1869-1950). Caroline outlived her husband by nine years, and died on April 23, 1914 near Greene, Iowa. She is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Allison, Butler County, Iowa.
Jabez Dean Dewitt
Jabez Dean DeWitt (b. abt. 1831, d. 1920) was the sixth child of Charles and Elizabeth (Ferguson) DeWitt. In his early years, he went into business with his younger brother John, although I am not sure what the business involved. The two brothers had an acrimonious falling-out, and in 1871 Jabez moved to Virginia City, Nevada - site of the Comstock Lode, America's first large silver deposit. Jabez worked as a carpenter and general labourer, and after leaving Nevada in about 1876, he worked his way up the west coast, eventually settling in British Columbia. He is not believed to have ever married or had children. Jabez Dean Dewitt died on March 14, 1920 and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, British Columbia (Plot 1919*-B-019-0012).
William DeWitt (1834-1873) was the seventh child of Charles and Elizabeth (Ferguson) DeWitt. William made is way to Saint Louis, Missouri by 1856, first learning about business at a lumber yard. The following year, he had a position on a steamboat (no surprise, given his father's and brothers' expertise in this field), and through 1867 there was a William DeWitt listed in Saint Louis city directories as a steamboat pilot (n.b. - there were two other William DeWitts in Saint Louis at about this same time, so I am not completely certain this was OUR William DeWitt. He also appears in the 1861 and 1871 Canadian Censuses with his family in Quebec, but we know from later correspondence that he travelled fairly frequently.) By the summer of 1871 he had established a store in Dahlonega, Georgia; according to William's account, his store was burned by the Ku Klux Klan because he was trading with African-Americans. He then moved to the city of Plaquemine in Iberville Parish, Louisiana, where he was incapacitated by "swamp fever." After William appealed to his family for funds to bring him back to Canada, a rescue operation was mounted (led by Willie Manuel, William DeWitt's nephew.) Unfortunately, William died in early 1873 (likely during the first few weeks of February, and probably without ever having reached Canada.) William DeWitt is not believed to have married or had children, and his final resting place is not known.
Rebecca (DeWitt) Jack
Rebecca Ann DeWitt (1835-1906) was the eighth child of Charles and Elizabeth (Ferguson) DeWitt. Rebecca qualified as a teacher in 1858, and later married Andrew Jack (brother of Elizabeth Jack, Rebecca's brother Charles Benjamin DeWitt's wife) in 1863. Andrew Jack was a travelling salesman for Ames Holden and Company Fine Shoes, eventually becoming part owner of the company; the family moved between Montreal and Southwestern Ontario, which was his sales territory. They were recorded as having lived variously in Brantford, St. Thomas, and London, Ontario (the latter for a fairly lengthy period in the 1880s and 1890s). Rebecca and Andrew Jack had three children: Bertha Elizabeth Jack (1864-1944); Frederick Burnett Jack (1866-1939); and Andrew Clifford Jack (1875-1958). Rebecca (DeWitt) Jack died on August 9, 1906 in Montreal, and is buried in Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal, Quebec.
Rebecca Ann DeWitt and Andrew Jack are my 2G-Grandparents, and are the people who started passing these letters and documents down through the family. I hope they know how grateful I am!
John DeWitt (b. abt. 1837; d. 1913) was the ninth child of Charles and Elizabeth (Ferguson) DeWitt. Once in business with his brother Jabez, John was listed as a merchant farmer in later records. John married Susan Shields (1838-1921), originally from Lanarkshire Scotland, and they had nine children: Catherine DeWitt (1859-1860); Charles DeWitt (b. 1861); Robert Cross DeWitt (1863-1900); James Shields DeWitt (1864-1955); Frederick DeWitt (1867-1873); Alexander DeWitt (1871-1952); John DeWitt (b. abt. 1874); Eva DeWitt (1876-1953); and Clinton DeWitt (1880-1883). John and Susan moved to Shediac, New Brunswick sometime after 1901 to be near their son James, and John DeWitt died there on July 24, 1913. He is likely buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Shediac New Brunswick.
HarrietT Amelia "Hattie" DeWitt
Harriett Amelia "Hattie" DeWitt (1839-1893) was the tenth child of Charles and Elizabeth (Ferguson) DeWitt. Not very much is known about her life. She was a teacher, and I know from some letters that she was teaching in Southwestern Ontario around 1872-1873 (Mooretown (Sarnia) Ontario area.) By 1893 she was living alone (and presumably teaching) in Victoria, British Columbia. Harriet DeWitt died in Victoria on January 16, 1893. Harriett is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria British Columbia; she is not believed to have ever married or had children.
Charlotte Elizabeth "Chattie" DeWitt
Charlotte Elizabeth "Chattie" DeWitt (1841-1875) was the eleventh and youngest child of Charles and Elizabeth (Ferguson) DeWitt. Not much is known about her life. She is believed to have lived her whole life at DeWittville, until the sale of the family property when she went to live with her sister Rebecca in Montreal. Chattie might have been a teacher as well (there is an 1873 letter mentioning her having left a position due to ill health.) Charlotte DeWitt died on November 19, 1875. She is buried in Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal Quebec. She is not believed to ever have married or had children.
** Photograph likely to be the person to whom it is attributed, based on location, date, approximate age, and lack of other people of the same name and age living in the same place at that time.