My Family in Douro, Peterborough, Ontario


In 1822, the northern part of County Cork, where our Tobin family was from, was on the verge of revolt. The secret Whiteboy society began to terrorize landowners. This outbreak of violence had several causes but the main reason was the several years of a poor potato crops that had failed had resulted in poverty and evictions of tenant farmers. Then the "last straw" was the introduction of the Composition Act, 1823 which required the payment of tithes in cash rather than in barter. The tithes were a form of tax which supported the Church of Ireland and were collected from everyone including poor, mostly Catholic, tenant farmers.

The local officials reacted to the situation in a hard way and many young men were arrested and transported to Australia, in some cases, for the simple crime of being out at night after the curfew. The British government thought that sending surplus evicted farmers and other people in poor circumstances to the various colonies might ease the situation and prevent an all-out rebellion, similar to the rebellions that had happens just a couple decades earlier in the County Wicklow/Wexford area.

Emigration to Upper Canada

The government decided to give poor people from north Cork free land grants in Upper Canada (now Ontario) to encourage them to leave Ireland and settle in the Canadian backwoods. This emigration scheme had the added benefit of filling up the "empty" land in the colony of Upper Canada. Settlers from Britain (including Ireland) were especially welcomed to boost the population and form the backbone of a loyal militia which could defend the land against the Americans in case they should invade Canada again.

The British government asked officials in Upper Canada to send someone to Ireland to conduct an experiment in moving poor people to Upper Canada. The person sent out was named Peter Robinson, an ex-soldier from the War of 1812, an M.P. and brother of the Attorney General of Upper Canada. He was directed to superintend an experimental emigration of two shiploads of poor farmers from north Cork to be settled in the Bathurst District of Upper Canada (around present day Almonte) Peter Robinson's report includes how the settlers were selected, their voyage and building of new homes. The ships lists of the "Stakesby" and "Hebe" name all the emigrants and their former residence in Ireland.

After the successful 1823 experiment, Robinson was sent back to Cork in 1825 to bring back a much larger group to the Newcastle district (around present day Peterborough) These two groups of emigrants from the north Cork area are now referred to as the Peter Robinson settlers. The city of Peterborough was named after Peter Robinson and the 1825 settlers.  \ Most of the history information above was taken from records of Roberta M. O'Brien

The Tobins came over on the ship Fortitude in 1825

Peterborough County is made up of the following townships: Galway, Cavendish, Anstruther, Chandos, Harvey, Burleigh, Methuen, Ennismore, Smith, Douro, Dummer, Belmont, North Monaghan, Otonabee, and Asphodel.  Douro, opened settlement in 1821.

My cousin, Jim Tobin wrote:
" My Thomas Tobin married Jane Clifford on 16 August 1823 in the Mitchelstown, Cork Co., Ireland Church. Thomas emigrated to Douro, Peterborough Co., Ontario, Canada as part of the Peter Robinson Emigration of 1825. Thomas and Jane's first child, Ellen, was born in Mitchelstown on 28 February 1825,
shortly before her father left for Canada. Jane was not with Thomas on the Fortitude and Thomas traveled with his parents, John and Ellen Tobin
along with his sisters Mary b. abt 1797, Ellen b. abt 1799 and Johanna b. abt 1801. There also was a 1 year old Ellen who is a puzzle. It is
unlikely that Ellen was the child born to Thomas and Jane as that child would have stayed with the mother in Ireland. Jane did come to Douro and
Thomas and Jane had other children in Douro.
There is much confusion in the Tobin family from 1825 to 1850 in Douro. In particular, Frankie Wyatt Miller has listed a very confusing family
tree on the Mormon data site. This includes an Ellen Tobin, supposedly born to Thomas and Jane in 1805. Some children are listed as belonging
to both Thomas and his brother John. My GGGrandfather, Edward (Edmund) Tobin b 9 August 1841 (1843 by death certificate) is one of the
dual parent entries although Thomas's brother John died in 1830."
Jim Tobin

John Tobin and his family settled in Douro Township on E Lot 10, concession 3. His family consisted as follows:  Tobin, John, 52,   Ellen, 50, Thomas, 30,  Mary, 28,  Ellen, 26, Johanna, 24,  Ellen, 1. 

 Johns son, Thomas (1795-1843) died while cutting trees. Another man was also cutting trees when the other man's tree fell on Thomas Tobin.  Thomas was married to Jane Clifford (1797-18820), was also from the same area in County Cork. They had the following children: 

 Margaret TOBIN 1816 -
............ +John Crowley
 Ellen TOBIN 1825 - 1880
...... +Michael Daniel MURPHY, Jr. 1824 - 1885

 William TOBIN 1826 -
............ +Ann
 John TOBIN 1827 -
............ +Catherine Maloney
 Michael TOBIN 1832 - 1917
............ +Ellen Curren
........ *2nd Wife of Michael TOBIN:
............ +Bridget May 1838 - 1916
 Mary TOBIN 1841 - 1917
............ +Timothy MAY 1833 - 1881
 Edmond (Ned) TOBIN 1843 - 1901
............ +Bridget Quirk 1843 - 1924
 Thomas TOBIN Unknown -
 Hannah TOBIN Unknown - Unknown

Jane Clifford remarried a man name Dawson, and after he died, she lived with daughter Ellen Murphy for a while then in her latter years, moved in with son, Ned, who lived in New York at the time, where she passed away.

Mary Tobin married Timothy May in Jan, 1856, in Peterborough. By 1860, the Mays moved to Clinton, Iowa where they lived until at least the mid 1800's.

Their children pretty much all scattered after marriage to where the work was, some to Omaha, Kimball  SD, Pasadena CA, and several to Salt Lake City,  (the ones to convert to the LDS Church)

Timothy May and Mary Tobin are my 2nd great grandparents.

Here is exactly how I am related.