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John Straw Gilby

John Straw Gilby was born April 1, 1850, in St. John Parish, City of York, Micklegate, County Yorkshire, England and died November 4, 1942, in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada, at age 92. He is the son of John Gilby of Kirton, County Lincolnshire, England, and Alisemon Elizabeth Straw of the City of Lincoln, County Lincolnshire, England.

Elsie Reid Young was born March 13, 1852, in Berlin, Canada West, and died in 1929 in Alberta, Canada, at about age 77. She is the daughter of William Young (1827-1869, a Grocer) and Margaret McIntosh (1825-1897) of Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario, Canada.

John Straw Gilby and Elsie Reid Young were married April 27, 1875, in Berlin, Ontario, Canada.

John Straw Gilby and Elsie Reid (Young) Gilby had five children:

  1. John Reid Gilby: Born January 24, 1876, in Ontario, Canada; Died 1938 near St. Helens, Columbia Co., OR (about age 62). Married October 13, 1899, in Toronto, York Co., Ontario, Canada, to Isabella Thompson: Born about 1876 in Scotland; Died Unknown.
  2. Margaret Gilby: Born March 20, 1878, in Ontario, Canada; Died 1932 in Alberta, Canada (about age 54).
  3. Alisemon Agnes Gilby: Born May 7, 1880, in Ontario, Canada; Died 1955 in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta Canada (about age 75). Married after 1911 in Unknown to Matthew Bradshaw: Born October 1888 in Staining, County Lancashire, England; Died 1956 in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta Canada (about age 78).
  4. Elsie Isabel Gilby: Born September 8, 1886, in Ontario, Canada; Died 1977 in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada (about age 91). Married to Edward Day: Born 1885 in Nova Scotia, Canada; Died 1965 in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada (about age 80).
  5. William James Gilby: Born September 2, 1888, in Darlington, Durham Co., Ontario, Canada; Died July 28, 1972, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (age 83). Married December 30, 1935, in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, to Mabelle Elizabeth Loughlin: Born December 20, 1905, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Died January 6, 1992, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (age 86).


The Elisamon Saga, provided by Andy Straw, as a PDF file.

Dear Leigh:

I recently found your website while looking for information about an ancestor of mine, Alisemon Gibly (nee Straw).

My relationship to Alisemon is that she was a first cousin of Thomas Straw (born 1828 in Lincoln, England) who was my Great Grandfather and emigrated to Australia in 1853, the same year as the Giblys emigrated to Canada.

Although I had previously found that Alisemon Straw married John Gibly in York, I had very little information as to what became of them after they arrived. I found your website very interesting and have used the information about Alisemon in developing my records of the Straw family.

My particular interest in Alisemon is because of her uncommon name which with different spellings has been used in many generations and the original Elisamon was a "fairy godmother" to my Great Grandfather. This is explained in a story I have written in the attached document (The Elisamon Saga). I have attached two different formats of the same story

My reason for writing to you is to let you know that I have a great deal of information about Alisemon's ancestors in England which I could send to you if you are interested. Also I would be very interested to know if in your family research you have come across any information which may help in me finding more about why the name Elisamon or Alsemon has been so popular in our history.


Andy Straw

Sydney Australia

The Straws of Lincolnshire, provided by Andy Straw, as a PDF file.

The Descendants of George Straw, provided by Andy Straw, as a PDF file.

The Descendants of Walter Straw, provided by Andy Straw, as a PDF file.

Dear Leigh:

Thank you for your very prompt reply to my my previous email.

Yes, you can include whatever parts of my story you wish on your web site.

For your information I have attached some more information providing more details of Alisemon's English ancestors.

As all the names become confusing, in the attached story I have included the date of birth in brackets after the name to help in identifying who I am talking about.  I have also attached two descendant charts to help in keeping track of all the ancestors.

To help in understanding where Alisemon Gilby fits into the story the line of descendants from the first Straw is as follows

Walter Straw (c1650) - Jane

Walter Straw (1679) - Mary

Walter Straw (1712) - Elizabeth

George Straw (1754) - Mary Walker

John Straw (1792) - Hannah Martin

Alisemon Straw (1816) - John Gilby      (Emigrated to Canada 1853)


My line of ancestors is the same as far as George Straw (1754) then

Robert Straw (1786) - Sarah Martin  (Sarah and Hannah Martin were sisters marrying brothers Robert and John)

Thomas Straw (1828) - Emily Osborn     (Emigrated to Australia 1853)

Frederick Martin Straw (1858) - Harriet Stroud

Keith Blundell Straw (1894) - Constance Barbour

Andrew James Straw (1933) - June Hill


As well as my particular interest in Alisemon I am also interested in the Emily Straw who emigrated to Canada with the Gilbys.

You will note that in Chapter 3 of my story I record that an Emily Straw, then aged 14, was residing with Robert Straw (1786) at the time of the 1841 Census. I think she was the same Emily that emigrated with the Gilbys, but I can't work out which family she came from.

Do you have any further information about this Emily Straw.  Did she eventually marry?


Andy Straw

Sydney Australia

Ontario was known as: Upper Canada from June 10, 1791, to February 10, 1841; Canada West from February 10, 1841, to July 1, 1867; and Ontario after July 1, 1867.

John Straw Gilby was born April 1, 1850, in St. John Parish, City of York, Micklegate, County Yorkshire, England.

The 1851 UK Census as of March 30, 1851, shows John Gilby (age 36) born in Kirton, County Lincolnshire, England is a Grocer Master employing one man and living at 6 New Bridge Street, St. John Parish, City of York, Micklegate, County Yorkshire, England. Living with him is his wife Elizaman Gilby (age 34) born in the City of Lincoln. Also living there are their children, all born in York: Emily Gilby (age 6); James Gilby (age 5); Emma Gilby (age 3); and John Straw Gilby (age 1). John's widowed father also lives there: Jas. Gilby, Sen., (age 70) a Retired Farmer born in Willsby, County Lincolnshire, England. The assistant grocer and two house servants also live there.

Elsie Reid Young was born March 13, 1852, in Berlin, Canada West.

In 1855 John Gilby was still listed as a Grocer at 6 New Bridge Street.

John Straw Gilby and Elsie Reid Young were married April 27, 1875, in Berlin, Ontario, Canada.

The 1891 Canadian Census taken on May 11, 1891, shows John Gilby (age 41) born in England to English-born parents is a Rail Way Station Agent living in Tilbury West, Essex North, Ontario, Canada. Living with him is his wife, Elsie Reid Gilby (age 39) born Ontario, Canada, to Scottish-born parents. Also living there are his five children, all born in Ontario, Canada, to English and Ontario, Canadian-born parents: John Reid Gilby (age 15); Marguerite Gilby (age 13); Agnes Gilby (age 11); Isabella. Gilby (age 4); and William Gilby (age 2).

The 1901 Canadian Census taken on June 20, 1901, shows John S. Gilby (age 51) born April 1, 1850 in England and emigrating in 1853 is a Station Agent living in Ekfrid Twp., Middlesex Co., Ontario, Canada. Living with him is his wife, Elsie R. Gilby (age 49) born March 13, 1852 in Ontario, Canada. Also living there are his four unmarried children, all born in Ontario, Canada: Margret Gilby (age 23) born March 20, 1878; Alisemon A. Gilby (age 20) born May 7, 1880; Elsie I. Gilby (age 14) born September 8, 1886; and Wm. J. Gilby (age 12) born September 2, 1888.

The 1911 Canadian Census taken on June 1, 1911, shows John S. Gilby (age 61) born April 1850 in England and emigrating in 1853 is Operator of the C. P. R. Station and living in Yarmouth, Elgin East Dist., Ontario, Canada. Living with him is his wife, Elsie Gilby (age 59) born March 1852 in Ontario, Canada. Also living there is his unmarried daughter: Elsie Gilby (age 24) born September 1886 in Ontario, Canada.

Elsie Reid (Young) Gilby died in 1929 in Alberta, Canada at about age 77.

John Straw Gilby died November 4, 1942, in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada, at age 92.

The Drumheller Mail, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, Thursday, November 12, 1942

Father of W. J. Gilby Dies At Rocky Mountain House

Well known in the Drumheller district, John Straw Gilby died Wednesday, November 4, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. M. Bradshaw, Rocky Mountain House, at the age of 92 years and seven months. He was born in Yorkshire, England, coming to Oakville, Ont., with his parents in 1853. At the age of 19 he joined the Grand Trunk Railway as an operator and left the railway in 1875 to spend five years in North Dakota. Returning to Canada, he joined the C. P. R. and was station agent for them at various Ontario points. In 1910 he came west, and was agent at Kananaskis for some time before retiring to Drumheller, where he lived until moviing to Rocky Mountain House eight years ago to live with his daughter. Three children survive - Mrs. Bradshaw and Mrs. E. I. Day, Rocky Mountain House, and W. J. Gilby, Drumheller; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. The funeral was held in Calgary, Friday.

John Straw Gilby

Elsie Reid (Young) Gilby

Elsie Reid (Young) Gilby with children Isabel and William, about 1895.

William Young (1827-1869)

Margaret McIntosh (1825-1897)

George Gilby: Born 1854 in St. John Parish, City of York, Micklegate, County Yorkshire, England; Died Unknown. Married January 1, 1884 in Glen Williams, Halton Co., Ontario, Canada to Maria Jane Forster: Born in Toronto, Canada; Died Unknown.

From Rita Meistrell - copy of an e-mail sent to the UOVGEN List on August 6, 2000
Did some of your relatives disappear into western US or Canada?  If not, skip this e-mail. 
Recently, I had the opportunity to do some research in the ND/MN area to which my Canadian ancestors moved.  I got some hints as to why so many of them moved west. Many of the Irish-Canadians who settled in Canada were disappointed with their land in Ontario.  The availability of land in western Canada and the conflicts with their Scot neighbors acted as the impetus for them to move.  Most originally hoped of find more fertile land in western Canada.  At that time it was easier for west bound travelers in Canada going from Ontario to Manitoba to take a train to St. Paul and then to proceed on toward either Fargo, ND or Fishers Landing, MN.  From there they went northward by boat.   On the way up the Red River to Manitoba in 1874, one of the first emigrants , James E. Sullivan, stopped in Nashville, which would later become East Grand Forks, Minnesota.  While there, Jim decided to take a short trip up the Red Lake River.  Near the original East Grand Forks city limits, he was captivated by a parcel of land overlooking the river in Huntsville Township.  However, Jim continued on with his journey to Manitoba.  Once there, he was unable to find any land that was more suitable to the family's needs than the parcel near Nashville.  So on his return trip to Fargo, Jim again stopped in Nashville and made a verbal agreement with the owner for the purchase of land in Section One of Rhinehart Township, Polk County, Minnesota.  Jim returned to Renfrew County and expounded upon the many assets of the area.  He and his family, along with many others started making their move.  Many families move to the Grand Forks area in 1878 and 1879.  In addition, James J. Hill,
builder of the Great Northern Railroad, recruited farmers to emigrate from Ontario and settle the Red River Valley.  Most of the Irish-Canadian settlers gathered near their neighbors in Manvel, ND and Grand Forks, ND/ East Grand Forks, MN.  Most people at the time said they were going to Grand Forks, ND.  It was the largest town in the area.  However, most of the Irish Canadians moved across the river to East Grand Forks (EGF), MN, a very small town.  Apparently, when ND became a state in 1889, it was a "dry" state--prohibited alcohol.  Although most of the Irish-Canadians had already started their farms on the MN side, the prohibition created booming business on the EGF side.  According to one article in April of 1891, there were applications for 4 more saloons ( 27 to date in a short few blocks) with more to be heard from.  In addition, the local papers were trying to keep their residents from going up to Manitoba.  Below is from an article in the Grand Forks Herald 5/21/1891 (remember these are their words, not mine):"It was a sorry lot of human beings that arrived here yesterday from Winnipeg.  They constitute the advance guard of the main body of deluded Dakotans who went to Manitoba in search of land flowing with milk and honey.  They find instead, a barren waste of desert sand, either destitute of all vegetation or grown up with sage brush, and an inhospitable climate where vegetable growth is impossible.  These misguided unfortunates were warmly welcomed here and provided with necessary relief for their wants and will be given employment.  They tell sad tales of destitution and suffering."

Below are some familiar names that I came across while doing my research.

Families from Canada that I saw in the following cemeteries:
Calvary Cemetery in Grand Forks, ND-

St. Timothy Cemetery, Ferry Twp, Grand Forks Co.-

Nisbet Cemetery, Huntsville, MN -

I found bio's on the following names that said they were from Ontario in "The
Meeting of the Reds, East Grand Forks, MN 1887-1987  Centennial Book", 1989:
Christopher COULTER
James CUMMING , Carleton Co.
Michael and Bridget GORMAN, Smith Falls, Ont
James LEE
John LOVE's wife Ann Marie ARMSTRONG
James McDONALD, Frontenac Co.
NAGLE, O'NEIL - Almonte, Ontario (mentions DOYLE family went to Livermore
Iowa before moving to  Manvel, ND)
James NISBIT, No. Sherbrook, s/o Wm and Christena
John O'NEIL & Mary O'DRISCOLL,  Ramsay Twp, d/o Denis & Johanna (White), Co.
John O'LEARY,  Almonte, Ontario (includes MURPHY from Packenham)

From "Half century of Recollections", a series of 111 articles originally
published in the Grand Forks Herald 1935-1936 and found at the Univ. of ND,
the following names were from Canada:
Archie O'CONNOR - b. Renfrew 4/8/1875
WV O'CONNOR - b. Lanark, Ont.
John N. BATHGATE -  b. Guelph,Ontario 12/26/1876
James A DINNIE - Hoosie, Ontario 2/7/1863
Frank GILBY - Oakville, Ont. 3/10/1858
Tom C. GRIFFITH - Welland, Ont 4/3/1870
Wallace A HUFF, Belleville, Ont. 11/6/1853
George HYSLOP, Ont. 12/13/1849
JW LOWE, Ontario 9/8/1857
JH McNICOL, s/o Duncan - Renfrew, Ont. 1877
O"KEEFE - Linsay, Ont
Joseph R POUPORE - Pontiac Co., Que 2/8/1860
JJ QUIGLEY - s/o Hugh, Perth, Ont 2/21/1876
George STEAD - Lanark Co.
CC Stewart, s/o George - 2/2/1870 Easton, Ont
Alec THOMSON - Ontario

From the North Dakota 1930 WPA Pioneer Biographies Project:
Descendants of Dennis Sullivan
1   Dennis Sullivan b: in County Cork, Ireland                  d: 1916 in
Grand Forks, ND
.       +Bridget ?  b: in Belenack, Ireland                 d: 1915 in Grand
Forks, ND
..  2   Patrick Sullivan    b: 1855                
..  2   Jerry Sullivan  b: October 08, 1867 in Huntley Twp, Carleton Co.,
......      +Florence Hubert                       
..  2   John Sullivan                      
..  2   Martin Sullivan                    
..  2   Dan Sullivan                       
..  2   George Sullivan                    
..  2   William Sullivan                       
..  2   Katherine Sullivan                     
......      +? Ryan                    
..  2   Elizabeth Sullivan                     
......      +? Chaplin                     
..  2   Ann Sullivan                       
......      +? Murphy                      
..  2   Jessie Sullivan b: 1885    

I have much more on some of these families- Enrights, Sullivans, Driscolls,
McGuires, etc.

I hope this helps some researchers in Ontario find where some of their
families disappeared to.
Rita Meistrell