John McGillivray

John McGillivray was born March 15, 1841 in Lachute, Quebec, Canada (probably on his grandfather Loggie’s farm). He died February 13, 1893 in Staples, Todd, Minnesota. He was married on December 5, 1864 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to Mary Jane Hudson. John was killed while driving his team across the Northern Pacific railroad track on the Sixth street crossing and was struck by a flat car which was being switched.

Mary Jane (sometimes called “Jane”) was the daughter of Henry Smith Hudson and Ellen Fairbairn. Mary was born December 16, 1842 in Bristol, Quebec, Canada and died August 23, 1933 in Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington. According to Roy McGilvray of Ontario, Canada, Mary Jane Hudson’s father was a dairy farmer. More on the Hudson family>>>

The following is taken from the Staples newspaper on the ancestry of the town of Staples…

Staples township was pretty much a wilderness when John McGillivray chose it for a home, and his name is associated with the earliest days of that region. The name of McGillivray is not unknown in American history. One of that name was an Indian trader in the southern colonies before the Revolution and sided with the British during that war. In 1792 he visited New York to confer with President Washington and was appointed by the president to act as United States agent with several Indian tribes in the southern states. In the early years of the last century, one William McGillivray was an influential member of the Northwest company, an Indian trading organization which competed with the Hudson’s Bay company for the fur trade in what became the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Dakotas.

This Northwest company was an organization of men at Montreal interested in Indian trade and its agents monopolized that trade on Lake Superior and tributary territory, expelling all private enterprise along that line. The Hudson’s Bay company’s posts were pushing down into Minnesota from the north and the rival interests came to open war in the forests and plains of Minnesota. The Northwest company built a post at Grand Portage, Minnesota, where the entire trade in this region was managed and where the partners forming the company held annual meetings to look after their interests. When it was understood that this site was within the boundaries of the United States, the western headquarters were changed to Fort William a little farther up the northeast shore of Lake Superior. The fort was given the name in recognition of the influence and authority of William McGillivray of that company. Fort William is today an important trade center for Canada in the Lake Superior region. It will be seen from this that the name of one of Staples’ pioneers is closely associated with the history of Minnesota and the entire northwest.

John McGillivray, who came to Todd county in 1879, was born in the Province of Quebec on March 5, 1841. His parents died when he was a small child and he was thrown upon the world to make his own way. In 1878 he came to Duluth for a short time and then moved to Motley, which was at that time a thriving frontier settlement. On the first of April, 1879 he arrived in Staples township and he chose a homestead a little southwest of the present city and established himself and family there. However, he soon saw another piece of land in Section 22 of the same town and as a result, relinquished the first choice to the government and made a homestead filing on the land in Section 22, where he and his family resided for many years. Our inspection of the early records and reports from Staples township show that he took part in the public affairs of the town and served on the board of supervisors and that in those early days he received his mail at the Dower Lake post office, instead of the office at Staples Mills, while the former office was maintained. With the rapid growth of Staples, he transferred his trading to that point.

On the fifteenth day of December, 1864, he married Miss Mary Jane Hudson, in the Province of Quebec, and Canada continued to be their home until they moved to Duluth in 1868. To Mr. and Mrs. McGillivray were born the following named children: Robert John who married Emma Borchert, and lives at Alder, Washington; Edward James who married Alice Mooney, and lives at Zion City, Illinois; Fred who married Minnie Zachow, and we believe lives at Zion City, also; Ellen who married Willard Owen [Olin], and is now dead; Alexander, who married Miss Maud Goodrich and lives in Staples; Benjamin who married Ethel Dobson and lives in Duluth; George who is the twin of Benjamin is single and lives at Tacoma, Washington; Minnie is single, and resides at Tacoma, and William Henry, who married Minnie Frary, now resides at Birchdale, in Koochiching county, Minnesota.

John McGillivray was killed in a railroad crossing accident in the city of Staples on February 13, 1893 and of his children, only Alex still resides in Todd county.

Alexander McGillivray, son of John and Mary, was born at Port Arthur, Canada, on January 28, 1874, and was a little boy of five years at the time the family settled on the homestead in Staples township. In the town he grew to manhood working on the farm and attending the local school. When the Spanish-American war came on he enlisted in Company K, 14th Minnesota Infantry and was honorably discharged at the end of the war.

On March 24, 1903, he married Miss Maud Goodrich and to them have been born 12 children named as follows: Ruth, who married Arthur Knosalla; Archie, who married Viola Baxter; Clifford, who is single; Frank, who married Olga Peterson, Benjamin, who is single; John, who married Irene Olmschenk; Glenda, who married Albert Bittner; Rita, Willard [named for Willard Olin], Gertrude, Maxine and Paul, who are single. All the children reside in Staples.”

John McGillivray was a Presbyterian. After their marriage they migrated first to Kaministrikuuia, Algoma in 1871, where John was engaged in the lumber industry.

Descendants of John McGillivray and Mary Jane Hudson:

William Henry McGillivray

They had two daughters:

William was born November 4, 1865 Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, died April 7, 1951 in International Falls, Koochiching County, Minnesota. He married May 1, 1889 in Buffalo, Mondova, Wisconsin to Minnie Maude Frary born January 15, 1868 in Dane County, Wisconsin to George Frary and Sarah Prentis. She died July 3, 1954 in Koochiching County. Both are buried at Birchdale Cemetery in Koochiching County.

Robert John McGillivray

Robert was born November 19, 1867 in Thornbury, Ontario, Canada, died March 13, 1954 in Alder, Pierce County, Washington and is buried at Alder.

Robert married Emma Christine Boettcher on June 24, 1914 in Alder, Washington. Emma was born May 17, 1881 in Wandsbek, Hamburg, Deutschland, and died December 16, 1941 in Tacoma, Pierce, Washington.

Edward James McGillivray

Edward was born January 22, 1870 in Thornbury, Grey, Ontario, Canada and died December 20, 1946 in Zion, Lake, Illinois. He married March 4, 1896 in Staples to Alice Pearl Mooney (1878-1975).

Alexander McGillivray

Alexander was born January 28, 1874 in Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada and died July 21, 1957 in Todd County, Minnesota. He married March 24, 1903 Grand Rapids, Itasca County, Minnesota to Maude Alvina Goodrich born November 30, 1887 Verndale, Todd County, Minnesota and died May 28, 1971 Staples. Alexander was a veteran of the Spanish American War.

This was labeled “McGillivray siblings at Alex’s funeral.” Since Alex died in 1957 and six of the siblings had already passed by then, I believe that this is more likely to be Alex’s children.

Frederick James McGillivray

Frederick was born December 16, 1871 in Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada and died June 9, 1943 at Staples, Todd, Minnesota.

Ellen Jane McGillivray

Ellen Jane (Ella) born August 10, 1876 in Port Arthur, Canada and died September 18, 1923 Duluth, St. Louis County, Minnesota. She married October 22, 1893 in Brainerd, Crow Wing, Minnesota to Willard E. Olin. More on Ella’s family>>>

Benjamin McGillivray

Benjamin was born August 26, 1879 Staples and died August 4, 1942 Duluth, Saint Louis, Minnesota. He married December 16, 1902 to Mary Ethel Dobson born January 30, 1886 Wrightstown, Ottertail County, Minnesota and died October 13, 1976.

George Edward McGillivray

George was born August 26, 1879 in Staples and died August 1963 in in Lakewood, Pierce County, Washington.

Mary Jane McGillivray “Minnie”

Minnie was born December 15, 1881 and Staples, died March 10, 1960 in Lakewood, Pierce County, Washington. Minnie is on the right side in the car.

Mary Jane McGillivray

John Robert McGillivray’s wedding to Emma Christine Boettcher. Mary Jane (Hudson) McGillivray is in the center a little to the left. Hopefully, someone can shed some light on who else is in this picture. Please email me if you can identify anyone. Thanks!

Last Updated on October 15, 2021 by rootie

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