Joseph Hill lawrence

Judah Monis Lawrence 1764 – 1854 of Spencertown NY. Toronto (York) & Bolton, Ontario. Elected Town Clerk of York, 1819. Elected Assessor for Town in 1823Additional information regarding the family of Joseph Lawrence has come from several main sources. The genealogical website, was a very informative resource. Mrs. Beth Cope of Huntsville, Ontario, prepared an exhaustive genealogy of George Henry Lawrence, a cousin of Joseph Lawrence, who also lived in Collingwood.  A copy is held in the Collingwood Library. Law Professor, John Davis of Osgood Hall, York University, married to a descendant of one of Joseph and Sarah’s daughters, shared his ongoing research regarding their children and descendants.

From these resources, we know that the family of Joseph Lawrence has been traced to one John Lawrence, born in Wisset, Suffolk, England in 1609. Descendants subsequently lived in Watertown, Massachusetts, just outside Boston. Later generations, including Joseph’s father, grandfather, and great grandfather continued to live in the area west of Boston until the family moved to Spencertown, Columbia County, New York. Years after the American Revolution, members of family emigrated to Lloydtown, Ontario, near Newmarket where Joseph was born in 1808. Joseph’s father, Judah Monis Lawrence had three marriages, producing a total of 15 children. Joseph was the third oldest child of ten from the third marriage. Subsequently Joseph’s parents and paternal grandparents relocated to York. Extended family members of this entrepreneurial family remained in the area around Lloydtown. Joseph and Sarah Lawrence had eight children, seven daughters and one son, William, who drowned as an adult on Georgian Bay.

Ira Lawrence (1794 – 1897) on her 100th Birthday in 1894. With daughter Laura Ann Lawrence Hackstaff Note again that Joseph was referred to as a “reformer” (Lane-Moore) and that his family had lived in Lloydtown, Ontario before Joseph settled in Collingwood in 1853. During the rebellions of Upper Canada in 1837, Lloydtown was known as a ‘rebel town’ politically split between loyalists who supported the Family Compact, a government appointed by the Crown, and reformers who advocated for an elected representative government. Lloydtown was also split between Anglicans with Loyalist sympathies, and Wesleyan Methodists, and Quakers who were Reformers in their sympathies. The Lawrence Family was Wesleyan Methodist. The loyalists of Upper Canada distrusted all immigrants, even United Empire Loyalists from the United States, fearing that they would bring republican  or anti-establishment political leanings unfriendly to the Crown and the current form of appointed government in Upper Canada. Joseph was definitely liberal and a reformer in his political sympathies.

We have been able to obtain photographs of Joseph’s father, sister, and several other comtemporary members of the Lawrence family. In spite of our best efforts thus far, however, we have been unable to find a photograph of Joseph Lawrence himself. Beth Cope has indicated that family history has revealed Joseph to have been quite a rebel during the period of the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837. A possible speculative explanation for the absence of a photograph is that Joseph did not want his photograph to be taken. Given his reputation as a rebel and a liberal reformer, it is possible that his early political activities had put him at odds with the established political authorities before the time of elected representative government in Upper Canada. We continue, however, to search for a photograph of Joseph Hill Lawrence. Finding one will put this speculation to rest.