"Marchant" is French, English and/or Scottish in origin. It's an occupational name for a buyer and seller of goods, from the Old French, Middle English term march(e)ant, and the Late Latin term mercatans, from Latin mercari (‘to trade’), and from merx (‘commerce’, ‘merchandise’, ‘exchange’). In the Middle Ages the term was used mainly to denote a wholesale dealer.
   The Scottish branch of the family was first found in Buckinghamshire, where they were seated from early times and granted lands by King William for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. The family Coat of Arms: Black with a bend between two gold griffins. The Crest is a Moor Cock. A British line hails from the Island of Guernsey, Channel Islands, including Peter Le Marchant (d. 1335), the Lieutenant Governor and Bailiff of the island of Guernsey early in the fourteenth century. (A French line of Marchants can be traced to Dauphiné, where the family has been seated since ancient times, and the line includes David LeMarchand who was a famous sculptor of ivory.)

"All Saints Church, Maidstone," circa 1797. Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851); watercolour on paper: 332 x 464 mm, Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK). All Saints Church was the collegiate church of the College of All Saints, built in 1395 next to the Archbishop's Palace. In 1549, the college was dissolved and the church became the Parish Church of Maidstone. The first listing of the Marchant surname occurred with the marriage of Rebecca Marchant on 4 Dec 1598 (Canterbury Marriage Licences, First Series: 1568-1613 by Canterbury England Diocese; Edited by Joseph Meadows Cowper; Published by Cross & Jackman, Printers & Publishers, 6, High Street, Canterbury, 1892; p. 80). It is one of the largest and widest Parish Churches in England. The college, the church, the palace and the palace's tithe barn are all Grade I listed buildings, and it is still servicing the community today.

   Our particular family lineage can be traced back to an Englishman named JOHN MARCHANT, who was baptized to a THOMAS MARCHANT and mother MARY on 4 Nov 1770 at All Saints Parish in Maidstone, a town in the county of Kent, 32 miles south-east of London, England.
   Maidstone stands on the river Medway, at the influx of the Len, and it dates from very early times. It is said to have been the third largest city of the ancient Britons, and to have been called by them Medwag or Megwad, from the name of the river. It was known to the Romans as Ad Madam, also from the name of the river, which the Romans called Madus. Exports seemed to be mainly fatal diseases: Between 1384 and 1668 there were 24 outbreaks of plague listed in the town history, as well as six outbreaks of smallpox in the 18th Century.
   John worked as a "lath renderer," which is an occupation that no longer exists, thanks to safer building codes: In 19th Century England, the interior walls of houses were constructed with 2"x4" timber studs, and then covered with fir wood and a plaster concoction of lime and horse hair. The lath renderer applied the first coat of this plaster on walls & ceilings. In those times, this concotion would dry quickly and an expert was needed to create smooth, uniform walls without any cracks, but modern inventions like plasterboard have made the job much easier, and specialists are no longer needed—which would make for a lot of unemployed Marchants in the 19th Century.
   John married SARAH REYNOLDS on 31 May 1789, at All Saints Parish. They had at least 10 children, among them several sons who John taught the same trade. Their children were:


  • SARAH MARCHANT was born in 1791 in Maidstone, Kent, England. A Sarah Marchant was baptized on 27 Feb 1791 at All Saints, Maidstone, Kent (FHL Film Number: 1736877). No further information.
  • JOHN MARCHANT was born in Jun 1793 in Maidstone, Kent, England. He joined the army in 1812 and was in the 52nd Foot Soldiers, 2nd Battalion according to a muster roll on 5 May 1812, but he deserted in late 1813. Another muster has him in the military from 25 Mar 1815 to 24 Jun 1815 in the Maidstone Depot unit (Piece Number 12809).
  • THOMAS MARCHANT was born in 1795 in Maidstone, Kent, England. An infant named Thomas was baptized to John and Sarah Marchant on 16 Aug 1795 in Maidstone, Kent, England (FHL Film Number: 1736877). No further information.
  • GEORGE MARCHANT was born in Sep 1797 in Maidstone, Kent, England. He was baptized on 24 Sep 1797 in Maidstone, Kent, England (FHL Film Number: 1736877). George became a lath renderer but later a beerhouse/tavern keeper. He committed suicide by hanging himself in 1871.
  • CHARLOTTE MARCHANT was born in 1799 in Maidstone, Kent, England. She was baptized on 10 Nov 1799 at All Saints Parish (FHL Film Number: 1736877). She died in 1802 and was buried on 30 Nov 1802 in Maidstone (FHL Film Number: 1736877; Reference ID: BK1/DCB/BT1/152/961).
  • MARY MARCHANT was born in 1802 in Maidstone, Kent, England and was baptized on 4 Apr 1802 (FHL Film Number: 1736877). No further information.
  • ROBERT MARCHANT was born on 29 Dec 1803 in Maidstone, Kent, England and also became a lath renderer. He married SOPHIA JONES. Family listed below. After Sophia passed in the Maidstone workhouse in 1839, Robert would marry another three times in the 1840s-1860s. He died in the Lambeth workhouse in 1884.
  • CHARLOTTE MARCHANT (2) was born in 1806 in Maidstone, Kent, England, and was baptized on 3 Aug 1806 at All Saints Parish (FHL Film Number: 1736877). No further information.
  • WILLIAM MARCHANT was baptized on 21 Feb 1813 in Maidstone, Kent, England; Father: John Marchant; Mother: Sarah (SOURCE: England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013. FHL Film Number: 1835447; Reference ID: item 2 p8). William also became a lath renderer.
  • JANE MARCHANT was born in 1814 in Maidstone, Kent, England and baptized on 27 Dec 1814 in Maidstone (FHL Film Number: 1835447). No further information.
  • Jones
       Their son ROBERT was born on 29 Dec 1803, and married SOPHIA JONES on 27 Nov 1825 at All Saints in Maidstone.¹ We don't know Sophia's ancestors, but the "Jones" surname descends from two distinct strands—a Welsh lineage and an English lineage. It's a patronymic name from the Middle English personal name Jon(e). The surname is especially common in Wales and southern central England.
       The English strain was first found in Lincolnshire, borne by Alanus filius Jene in 1275. The family's Coat of Arms was a silver shield with through black cornish choughs. The Crest features two battle axes in saltire proper.
       Robert became a lath renderer like his father and his brothers, but as work became more scarce in the 19th Century, Robert and his family had to move around Kent while Robert searched for jobs, and sometimes new occupations. Consequently, Robert and Sophia had children born in the towns of Maidstone, Northiam, Rochester, and Hurstpierpoint. Their children were:


  • ROBERT MARCHANT was born on 10 Jan 1826 in Maidstone, Kent, England, and baptized at St Mary's, Rochester, on Feb 19th. On 14 Oct 1866 he married Elizabeth Lambert (1841-1891) in St Vincent de Paul, Lancashire (click on the church record, at right). They had the following children: Robert J (1867-1940), Mary (1869-1954), George (b. 1870), Henry Stephen (b. 1872), Thomas (b. 1876), Elizabeth Marchant (b. 1882). In the 1901 England census, he is a widower living with daughter Mary (1869-1954) and her husband, Michael Henry Sarsfield (1867-1938). Robert died in Apr 1909 in Liverpool, Lancashire, United Kingdom.
  • WILLIAM MARCHANT was born on 8 Jun 1828, and christened on 29 June 1828 at Northiam, Sussex. He joined the Royal Canadian Rifles and married MARTHA LOUISA READ (1832-1886). Family listed below. After the death of his wife, he returned to England. In the 1891 census of England, he is living with his brother Robert in Liverpool. He's a widower and his death certificate from 16 Dec 1896 (at right) quotes his occupation as an army pensioner. He is buried in the Church of England section of Anfield Cemetery in Liverpool (238 Priory Road, Anfield, Merseyside England, Postal Code: L4 2SL)."
  • HENRY MARCHANT (1) was baptized on 19 Feb 1830 at All Saints, Maidstone, Kent, England to Robert and Sophia Marchant. (England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013; FHL Film Number: 1835448; Reference ID: p 154, 1229.) He died as an infant. Burial Date: 12 Apr 1830 at All Saints, Maidstone, Kent, England (England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991. FHL Film Number 1835448, p 228, 1820.)
  • MARY ANN MARCHANT was baptized on 07 Aug 1831 in Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, England to Robert and Sophia Marchant. (England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013; FHL Film Number: 416747) She also traveled to Canada, like her brother William, and settled in St. Catharine's. She married GEORGE BARR (b. 1831) of Scotland Village on 10 Sep 1861 in Lincoln, Ontario. "Sept. 10: George Barr, Private in H. M. Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment, and Mary Anne Marchant, both of St. Catharines; witnesses: Mary Illsey, Charles Illsey, Corpl. R. C. R.; by Thomas T. Robarts." (SOURCE: St. George's Parish Church, St. Catharines, Jubilee celebration and historic and centenary review, by Robert Ker, St. Catharines, Ont.: Star Print. 1892. p. 133) She and George (Barr) came back to Scotland where he was born and he became a spirits merchant. They're on the 1871 and 1881 censuses. He died 1887. She died in 1895 from cirrhosis of the liver.
  • ELIZABETH MARCHANT was baptized on 12 May 1837 in Maidstone, Kent, England to Robert and Sophia Marchant. (England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013; FHL Film Number: 1835449) She died in 1841. ("England and Wales, Death Registration Index, 1837-1920", Volume 5, page 222, line 14. Elizabeth Marchant: Oct-Nov-Dec 1841; Maidstone, Kent, England.) Records for Maidstone Union (which cover the period 1835 to 1841) show Elizabeth Marchant born on 21 April 1837 to Sophia Marchant (Legitimate) and Baptised on 12 May 1837. The Burial Register shows Elizabeth Marchant buried on 22 November 1841, when four years old in Linton, a village and civil parish in the Maidstone District of Kent.
  • HENRY MARCHANT (2) was baptized on 12 May 1837 in Maidstone, Kent, England to Robert and Sophia Marchant. (England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013; FHL Film Number: 1835449; Reference ID: 1 64 506) He was baptised at same time as Elizabeth, but there's no evidence that they are twins. A Henry Marchant aged 7 is in the workhouse in 1841. Henry survived the workhouse and became a cordwainer/shoemaker. He married Mary Jane Brailsford Holness in 1857 and they had 4 children: Eliza, Mary Ann, Henry and Elizabeth. Henry, Jr., died as an infant in 1861 and Mary Jane (wife/mother) died soon after the birth of Elizabeth in 1862. They lived with Mary Jane's parents in Dover and Eliza and Mary are still there in 1871. Elizabeth was then with a great uncle and aunt nearby. Henry seems to have disappeared. When Eliza married in 1876 her marriage certificate says Henry is deceased.

  • "Northiam Church" by Arthur Hussey, from "Notes on the Churches in the Counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey," 1852.
       Robert and Sophia's second son, WILLIAM MARCHANT, was born on 8 Jun 1828 and christened on 29 June 1828 at Northiam, a civil parish within historic Sussex (now in the Rother District of the administrative county of East Sussex).² LDS records of Northiam parish at the National Archives reveal no actual record of the baptism, but there is a handwritten transcription showing the date and parents and, interestingly, Robert's trade as a "Pedlar" (peddler—a person who goes from place to place selling small goods). On daughter Mary Ann's baptismal record he's described as a "Hawker" (a traveling peddlar who aggressively calls out to buyers, also called a "crier"). Northiam was a known meeting place for Romanies/Gypsies, so it was a good area for Robert to sell. So while Robert referred to himself as a lath render throughout his life, like his father, it appears that he turned his hand to various trades as the family toured round the country.
       The village of Northiam is located thirteen miles north of Hastings in the valley of the River Rother, and 24 miles from Maidstone, Kent. William would always call Maidstone his "hometown" in later life, probably because it's where his parents were married, and it's where he spent most of his childhood.
       The marriage of Robert and Sophia Marchant appears to have been a rocky, difficult one. They were extremely poor, and by the early 1830s Robert had left Sophia and their three children (Henry, born in 1830, had died as an infant). Sophia and the remaining children were living on their own in Sussex, but on 10 Apr 1832 authorities in the parish of St. Michael in Lewes, Sussex, ordered that Sophia, "who hath ran away from and deserted" Robert, should be sent back to Maidstone. But in reality, Sophia hadn't deserted Robert. She was actually attempting to raise a family herself while Robert was in prison doing six months hard labor for stealing pork. He had been sent down at Lewes Assizes in March 1832 (Lewes was the county town of Sussex).
       Sophia left the area again, and on 16 Oct 1833, two Justices of the Peace of the parish of St. Clement of the town and port of Hastings also ordered her back to Maidstone, in order to avoid being a charge on their own parish. But Robert continued to run afoul of the law, as he and his brother William were fined in 1837 for a fight with the police and helping a villain to escape (William ended up in Maidstone jail in 1850, as well).
       Where Sophia and the children ended up during this time, is a very sad story.

    Personal Information
    Removal Order
    Name: Sophia
    Spouse: Robert
    Children: Robert (6) William (4), Mary (8 mos.)
    Date: 10 Apr 1832
    Parish: St Michael
    Town: Lewes
    County: Sussex
    ESRO: 414/32/2/89
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    Page 2
    Personal Information
    Removal Order
    Name: Sophia Marchant
    Spouse: Robert Marchant
    Children: Robert (7)
    William (5)
    Mary Ann (2)
    Date: 16 Oct 1833
    Parish: St. Clement
    Town: Hastings
    County: Sussex
    ESRO: 367/32/2/165
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    SOURCE: East Sussex Records Office/The Keep, Woollards Way, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 9BP; Phone: 01273 482349.

    "No wonder that the lower classes dread the very name of the Poor Law,—no wonder that they look upon the Union house as worse than a prison, and that in fact many rather than become the inmates of a workhouse, commit some petty felony that they may obtain, to them, a far lighter punishment—incarceration in a gaol (jail)!"
    —"Extracts from the Diary of a Workhouse Chaplain," by the Rev. D. L. Cousins, A.M. London: J. Hatchard and Son, 1847.

    "Coxheath Poor Law Union" Workhouse site (renamed Maidstone Union Workhouse in 1836), from the north-east, c.1905. © Peter Higginbotham.
       In 19th-Century England, parishes were legally responsible for looking after their own poor. This was funded by the collection of a poor-rate tax from local property owners. Workouses were then created to provide work for the unemployed able-bodied (with the threat of prison for those who refused). They also provided housing for orphans and the "impotent poor" (the elderly, chronic sick, etc.) The Marchant family would eventually qualify for all of those categories.
       Maidstone was the location of the "workhouse" where Sophia and the children were sent. The Maidstone Union Workhouse was built in 1836 at a site to the south of Heath Road in Coxheath "for 600 paupers." The design was of plain brick construction and comprised a large quadrangle enclosed by two-story buildings. A further building, thought to be the workhouse school, were erected nearby at the north side of Heath Road. The dormitory blocks, which were referred to as 'cottages' measured 15 feet by 10 feet, lit by a small window. There was a single ground-floor privy on each side of the courtyard.
       Workhouses looked like prisons from the outside, and life inside them was miserable—and intentionally so. The government, terrified of encouraging 'idlers' (lazy people), made sure that people feared the workhouse and would do anything to keep out of it—including stealing pork and risking imprisonment, like Robert.
       Here is what our ancestor William Marchant, a child under ten years of age, faced in the workhouse:


  • Upon entering the workhouse, the Marchant family would have been immediately separated, and Sophia would only have been allowed limited contact with her children—perhaps for an hour or so a week on Sunday afternoon. William and his siblings had to rely on each other to survive.
  • William's clothes were removed and stored. He was searched, washed, had his hair cropped and was and bathed (under supervision). Supervised baths were then given once per week.
  • He was made to wear a uniform, so that every inmate looked the same, and everyone outside knew he was poor and lived in the workhouse. William was given a striped shirt, ill-fitting trousers (the length being adjusted at the knee with a piece of string), thick vest, woollen drawers and socks, a neckerchief and (in winter) a coarse jacket. Sophia and the girls were given a shapeless, waistless dress which reached the ankles, made of striped (convict-style) fabric, a shapeless shift, long stockings and knee-length drawers, and a poke-bonnet. All the inmates were given hob-nailed boots.
  • He was split up from his parents: Women, children and men had different living and working areas in the workhouse. Married couples, even the elderly, were to be kept apart at all costs so that they could not 'breed'. They could be punished if they even tried to speak to one another.
  • Although the workhouse was required to provide free education for William and training for a job, the education he actually received would not have included the two most important skills of all, reading and writing, which were needed to get a good job.
  • The food in his meals was tasteless, and the same day after day. Commonly, the meal would have been gruel, which is a thin food made by boiling oatmeal or some other grain in water. Other base ingredients you can boil include breadcrumbs or ground crackers. Often the quantity, quality and lack of nutrition meant that workhouse inmates were on a slow starvation diet.
  • William's 'work' would have consisted of stone-breaking, bone-crushing, sack-making, driving the corn mill, or picking apart "oakum" (old ropes), sometimes tarred or knotted. These ropes had to be unpicked inch by inch and a day's work would be to unravel 3 lbs. of rope. The corn mill was driven by inmates walking round on a treadwheel. Women had to do domestic work: scrubbing floors that were already clear, polishing brasses, scrubbing table tops, black-leading kitchen ranges and so on. He could also find himself 'hired out' (sold) to work in factories or mines.
  • When William's mother became ill in 1839, she would have been housed separately in a sick-ward, with no visitors. The sick ward took in all cases, so at any one time there may have been patients suffering from any variety of complaints ranging from broken legs, measles, typhoid fever and smallpox to blindness, scarlet fever, diphtheria and dysentery. William probably never saw Sophia again, until after she was dead, if then. His sister Elizabeth died in the workhouse two years later, at the age of four (Strays from Maidstone, Kent).
  • Personal Information
    Death Record
    Name: Sophia Marchant
    Year: 1839
    District: Maidstone
    County: Kent
    Volume: 5
    Page: 213
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    SOURCE INFORMATION: General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office.
       Despite their rocky relationship, Robert and Sophia were out of Maidstone Union long enough to have two more children, Henry (b. 1834) and Elizabeth (1837-1841), but life was hard in or out of the workhouse. The average life span of residents in nearbye London at this time was 27 years. For members of the working class, that number dropped to 22. The Marchant family would not be spared from the rampant disease and death. Sophia Jones Marchant passed away in October of 1839 in the Maidstone workhouse, leaving five children between the ages of two and 12 to fend for themselves.³ Daughter Elizabeth died in 1841 in the Union Workhouse in Linton, at the age of four, and was buried there.
       Robert, Sr., would marry another three times in the 1840s-1860s. In the 1841 census he is living in Brixton, Surrey, with a woman named Ann Hadly (b. abt. 1806 in St Mary Warsh, Wiltshire, England). By 1851, she is Ann Marchant and they live in West Wickham, Kent (although in the census and voter lists for Surrey). Robert eventually ended up back in the workhouse, at Lambeth.

    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name: Robert
    Est. Birth Year: 1806
    Civil Parish: St Mary Newington
    Hundred: Brixton
    County/Island: Surrey
    Sub-Registration District: St Peters
    Borough: Lambeth
    View image
    View blank 1841 census form
    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name: Robert Marchant
    Est. Birth Year: 1803
    Where Born: Maidstone, Kent
    Civil Parish: Newington
    County/Island: Surrey
    Sub-Registration District: St Mary
    Borough: Lambeth
    View image
    View blank 1851 census form
    SOURCE INFORMATION: 1841 England Census. Class: HO107; Piece: 1064; Book: 3; Civil Parish: St Mary Newington; County: Surrey; Enumeration District: 5; Folio: 13; Page: 19; Line: 3; GSU roll: 474657; 1851 Census: Class: HO107; Piece: 1568; Folio: 391; Page: 19; GSU roll: 174802.

    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name: William Marchant
    Age: 12
    Where born: Kent, England
    Civil Parish: Linton
    Hundred: Maidstone
    County: Kent
    View image
    View blank UK census form
    SOURCE INFORMATION: 1841 England Census. Class: HO107; Piece: 459; Book: 23; Civil Parish: Linton; County: Kent; Enumeration District: Maidstone Union Workhouse; Folio: 25; Page: 2; Line: 1; GSU roll: 306853.
       With his father re-married and out of the area by 1841, and his mother deceased, William's prospects were obviously not bright in Maidstone. It was a brutal time to grow up in England, as poverty and disease were rampant. During the 1830s, nearly half of the funerals in London were held for children under the age of 10. Many died from contagious disease and malnutrition. If that wasn't enough, William was practically an orphan, stuck in a workhouse right out of Oliver Twist, with no prospects.
       William appears with siblings Robert, Mary, Henry and Elizabeth and aunt Roseanne Balcomb in Coxheath Workhouse in Linton, a village and civil parish in the Maidstone District, in the 1841 census, shown at left. It can be surmised that the Marchant children were in the care of their aunt Roseanne—Sophia's sister and a widow—but she would have been separated from the children, just like Sophia.
       William may have briefly worked for a shoemaker outside of the workhouse. (He cites it as his occupation on his army record, and it was not unusual for children of 6 or 7 to have full-time jobs.) His uncle was a shoemaker and his brother Henry became a cordwainer/shoemaker. On the staff list of the workhouse the shoemaker was a valued position, listed after the governor, the nurses and the teacher, and the trade was a trade taught in the workhouse.
       But William's life would completely change when, as a 14-year-old boy, he enlisted in the army in Rochester, possibly by arrangement through the parish of Maidstone. Something in his story must have touched his recruiters, because they offered him a position in a division that was reserved strictly for veterans, with the promise of land and a new start in a far-off country. William joined the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment as a bugler in Feb 1842, to start a new, stable, and (hopefully) happier life:

    The Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment

    Sgt. William Marchant. Black and white photo on a white card, which has a gold line edging (10cm by 6.1Cm). Written on the back in blue: "Marchant Bandmaster." Hand printed on the reverse in pencil: "c. 1870 Marchant ... Sgt. Marchant—was band sergeant of RCRR—then joined the Oxford Rifles." (Photo courtesy of Woodstock Museum National Historic Site.)
       The Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment (usually abbreviated as "RCRR") was a British Army regiment that was mostly made up of long-serving soldiers. British military pensioners with good records, and who had served a minimum of 15 years in a British regiment qualified for service in the Royal Canadian Rifles. A benefit of joining the regiment included preferential treatment in the distribution of land in Canada at the time of the soldier's final retirement. To add to the attractions of service in the RCRR, recruits were granted bounties, a higher rate of pay, and the opportunity for twice as many wives to live in garrison "on the establishment"—that is to say, entitled to live in barracks and receive regular rations.
       William Marchant, however, enlisted as a 14-year-old—he or the army fudged his age—to become a bugler. Marchant family genealogist Paul Harrington writes: "My first researches suggested that only veteran soldiers were recruited for the RCRR and that William may have joined them later when in the Canadian colonies. I've seen discharge papers showing soldiers joining the RCRR after leaving other regiments but it seems William was always in the RCRR. He'd have been recruited as a boy bugler (as a virtual orphan from the workhouse a life in Canada may have seemed exciting—assuming he had some choice in the matter) and I have found army records for the RCRR detailing the pay for boys recruited under the age of fifteen."⁴ He got to this new paradise just in time to hear of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition to the Canadian Arctic, which left England in 1845, in which the shipwrecked crew tried to travel across the frozen tundra on foot, ending in starvation, death and cannibalism.
       The RCRR's head quarters was established in Toronto in 1840, where they cleaned up the remnants of the "Upper Canada Rebellion" and oversaw the union of Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada. Regimental head quarters moved to Kingston in 1855. Individual companies of the Regiment were detached and deployed at various garrisons throughout Canada West (Ontario) and Canada East (Quebec). One company was stationed at Fort Wellington throughout the 1840s and 1850s. The RCRR was disbanded at Kingston on 30 September, 1870 as one of the final acts before the British Army withdrew from Canada after Confederation.
       William Marchant rose to Bugle Major and served more than 23 years in North America, then was discharged from the RCRR in May 1866 at Kingston, to settle in St. Catherine's. (The 1861 military census for Kingston has William Marchant listed as a soldier with the Royal Canadian Rifles.) He left the army on pension on July 3rd 1866. Below are military records for William Marchant in the Royal Canadian Rifles. (The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Registers & Service Records, 1760-1882; Class: WO 97; Piece: 1708. Crown Copyright images reproduced courtesy of The National Archives, London, England.)

       But Canada wasn't the most stable place to live. Even when the United States wasn't threatening to invade, the French were threatening to leave. It all started in the late 1700s, when the British army had seized the French colony of Quebec. In 1791 the Brits chopped Quebec in half, making one colony into two: Upper Canada for the English, and Lower Canada for the French. Then in 1841 London passed the Act of Union, and Upper Canada and Lower Canada were merged into one United Province of Canada, governed by a proper parliamentary system—with the system was rigged to ensure the more conservative English always held the majority of seats. The French were not happy about this, and rebellions popped up all over the country. The British military was brought in to keep the peace and eventually settle with their own families, further strengthening the British presence.
       William started as a private in the RCRR on 25 Feb 1842, and was made bugler on 1 Feb 1843. Living in a new country, on a new continent, with a small but reliable military salary—and a chance for advancement out of his humble beginnings—William began to build a stable life for himself.
       On 7 Aug 1847 in St Catharine's, 19-year-old William married 15-year-old MARTHA LOUISA READ (19 June 1832 - 7 Apr 1886), who had been born in Ontario.⁵ The surname of Read is English. It was first found in Northumberland, where they were seated from early times. Their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects. The Family Coat of Arms: Red with a gold cross between four gold wheatsheaves. The Family motto translated is "Peace, Plenty."
       Not much is known about Martha's early life, but she was probably the daughter of THOMAS READ (1786-1839), originally of Lincolnshire, England, and his wife MARTHA SIMPSON (b. 1799). Thomas was a servant to a captain in His Majesty's 76th Regiment of Foot, which had been deployed to Canada for the closing stages of the War of 1812 to assist the other troops along the unsettled line of frontier, then stayed on garrison duties for the next 12 years. Thomas was dead before William arrived in Canada, but in the 1871 census Thomas's son Samuel Read (1832-1896) and his family made a home for William and Martha's eldest son, William Jr., and his new bride in Niagara, Ontario.
       William and Martha raised a family in Ontario, offering them a stable, secure home that he had never experienced as a child. The children of William and Martha Marchant were:


  • ROSANNE LOUISA MARCHANT was born on 30 Sep 1848. She died on 2 Dec 1849, at age 1 year, 2 months, 2 days.
  • WILLIAM HENRY MARCHANT was born on 26 December 1850 in Ontario. He was a private in the 26th Regiment, Middlesex Light Infantry in 1880. (Source: Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Department of Militia and Defence, Accounts and Pay Branch, Nominal Rolls and Paylists for the Volunter Militia, 1855-1914; Record Group Number: R180-100-9-E; Volume Number: 77.) He married MARTHA HOLLAND (1852-1911) and they had three children: Fredie (1872-1873), Lillie (1878-1942) and Marjorie (1892-1939). They moved to Michigan in the United States, where William died on 9 March, 1896, age 45 years, 5 months, in Kalamazoo. Click on the photo, at right, to see Professor William Henry Marchant's funeral wreath in Ingersoll.
  • LOUISA JANE MARCHANT was born on 20 Mar 1853. She died on 30 Nov 1853, age 8 months, 10 days.
  • JULIA ANN MARCHANT was born on 26 Sep 1854. She died on 29 Oct 1855, at age 1 year, 1 month, 3 days.
  • ROBERT JAMES MARCHANT was born on 10 Sep 1856 in Toronto, Ontario. He worked as a printer and did some military duty, as the Nominal Rolls for the 22nd Battalion have a R Marchant for 1872. He died from acute hepatitis at the age of 29 years and ten months, in Ingersoll (click on death record at right). A notice dated 3 Aug 1886 stated that his funeral was held on August 5 at his father's residence on King Street East (see a display from the funeral by clicking on the image at right). Robert was buried at Ingersoll Rural Cemetery.⁶
  • MARTHA LOUISE MARCHANT was born on 13 Jan 1859 in Toronto, Ontario. She died on 7 Apr 1872, age 13 years, 2 months, 24 days. (Image at right: Archives of Ontario. Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938. MS 935, reels 1-615. Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Series: MS935; Reel: 4.)
  • SOPHIA ANN MARCHANT was born on 12 Oct 1862. She married JAMES BADDEN, the foreman painter at Noxon Brothers, on 22 Feb 1885 in Ingersoll, Oxford County, Ontario. They had a daughter, Lillian, on Sunday, June 14, 1885, and a son, Harold, on Tuesday, June 14, 1892. In the 1911 Census of Canada, they all still live together at 7 Clarence Sq., Ward 4 in Toronto South, District Number 127, Sub-District Ward four, Number 38. Sophia died of arterial sclerosis and kidney sclerosis on 7 Jan 1923 in York, Ontario, Canada. (Image at right: Archives of Ontario. Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938. MS 935, reels 1-615. Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Archives of Ontario; Series: MS935; Reel: 297.)
  • THOMAS CHARLES MARCHANT was born on 19 Apr 1864. He died on 2 Dec 1867, at age 3 years, 7 months, 13 days.
  • MARY MARIA MARCHANT was born on 19 Jan 1867. She married EDWARD BARKER MORREY, a collector for the Unuin Publishing Company, on July 09, 1884. “Edward Barker Morrey, 21, book keeper, Ingersoll, Ingersoll, son of James F. and Caroline, married Mary Maria Marchant, 17, Woodstock, Ingersoll, daughter of William W. and Martha L., witnessed by F.T. Morrey and Sarah A. Marchant, both of Ingersoll, 9 July, 1884 at Ingersoll.” (Marriage notice appeared in Sentinel Review, Woodstock, 18 Jul 1884, page 4, column 6.) She had a son, Edward Barker James Morrey (3 May 1887 - Mar 1919). Mary died on 10 May 1887, age 20 years.⁷ (10 May 1888 in Family Bible.)
  • HARRIET JANE MARCHANT was born on 18 May 1869. She married JAMES SHAW on 18 Oct 1888 in Oxford County. (Marriage notice appeared in Sentinel Review, Woodstock, 19 Oct 1888, page 1, column 5.) They had a daughter, Olive Louise Shaw, on 24 Apr 1892 in Wentworth, Ontario, Canada. (Image at right: Ontario, Canada. Registrations of Marriages, 1869-1928. MS932, Reels 1-833, 850-880. Archives of Ontario, Toronto. Archives of Ontario; Series: MS932_65; Reel: 65.)
  • Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name: Wm. Marchant
    Age: 33
    Home in 1861: Kingston, Frontenac, Canada West
    Religion: Church of England
    View image
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Census Returns For 1861; Roll: C-1022. Film Number: C-1022. Page Number: 221.
       As you can see, the death rate among the Marchant children was tragic. Though not confined to poverty in British workhouses, the Marchant children had to survive the brutal Canadian weather while living in a wilderness outpost. Three of the first four children barely lived a year.
       Meanwhile, William Sr. was promoted to Corporal on 1 Nov 1854, and Bugle Major on 4 Apr 1856. But living in below-zero temperatures in Canada, away from his family, with three children passing away between 1848 and 1854, must have taken its toll on William. He was listed in the Regimental Defaulter's Book seven times with the RCRR, and in the first week of Jul 1859, he was arrested and tried for absence and drunkenness. He was demoted to private bugler on 8 Jul 1859, but remained with the regiment.
       In the 1861 census, William is listed as a soldier and he lived with Martha in Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario. But soon after they moved about 400 miles to Oxford, Ontario. This area of Canada had been established by settlers in the 1790s from the wilderness. But when an influx of squatters from the ever-expanding United States began settling in the area, there were fears of U.S. "Manifest Destiny" and a repeat of the War of 1812. So British immigrants were then encouraged to settle in Oxford, to ensure the community's loyalty to the British crown. William ended up in an area that on January 1, 1851, became the town of Woodstock. The 1851 census records 2112 people living in 240 frame and 47 brick houses in the newly established town.

    LEFT-RIGHT: A township map of Oxford County in Ontario, in 1885, where William W. Marchant lived. Woodstock is in the center of the map; At right is a township map of Middlesex County in Ontario, in 1885, where William W.'s son, William H Marchant, lived. London Township is to the right. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

       William finally asked for a discharge on 31 May 1866, and left the RCRR on 3 Jul 1866. But he didn't leave the military altogether. After finishing with the RCRR, he joined the local militia in Oxford. Canadian militia records show William as a bandsman, sergeant and instructor with the 22nd Oxford Rifles. Here's a photo of the band, with William:

    The 22nd Battalion Oxford Rifles Band (volunteer militia), circa 1870. Left to Right, back row; W Murray, "Oklahoma Bill", Unknown, Homer Brown, Joseph Anderson, J Hay Brown, Bandmaster Merchant (SIC), J McDonald, W H Spinks, Capitan Wilson, Wm Scarff, D Clyde, W R Murray, W Toop, D Fisher, Robert Barr, Charles Wilson. (Photo courtesy of Woodstock Museum National Historic Site.)

    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name: William Marchant
    Age: 42
    Home in 1871: Woodstock, Oxford-North, Ontario
    Religion: Church of England
    View image
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Library and Archives Canada. Census of Canada, 1871. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, n.d. RG31-C-1. Year: 1871; Census Place: Woodstock, Oxford North, Ontario; Roll: C-9912; Page: 32; Family No: 126.
       The 22nd Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles Canada, as it was otherwise known, was formed and headquartered at Woodstock, Ontario, on 14 Aug 1863. In 1864, Major John B. Taylor was promoted to the command of the Battalion, and the regiment was active participating in the Fenian Raids in Quebec.
       Canada was going through changes as well: On July 1, 1867, a new, self-governing mega-colony known simply as the Dominion of Canada was formed. The old United Province of Canada was split into two pieces, Ontario for the English and Quebec for the French, which, along with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, became the confederation's first four provinces. There were still other conflicts for the military, however. In 1868, the militia was called out in the County of Oxford to aid with civil power in the event know as "The Whisky Riots," when the Mayor of Woodstock, William Grey, requested assistance in dispersing a crowd which had collected and threatened two "whiskey detectives."
       By the 1871 census, William's listed as a 42 year-old musician, in District 14, Sub District E, Division Page 1, Page 32, Woodstock Township, Oxford County, in southwestern Ontario. In Lovell's Canadian Dominion Directory for 1871, William is listed in Woodstock, under the mysterious heading of "groceries," but as a music master (professor of music) in the 1881 Census:

    Name Marital Status Gender Ethnic Origin Age Birthplace Occupation Religion
    WILLIAM MARCHANT M Male English 52 England Music Master Church of England
    MARTHA MARCHANT M Female English 48 Ontario -- Church of England
    ROBERT MARCHANT -- Male English 24 Ontario Printer Church of England
    SOPHIA MARCHANT -- Female English 19 Ontario Dress Maker Church of England
    MARY MARCHANT -- Female English 14 Ontario -- Church of England
    HARRIET MARCHANT -- Female English 11 Ontario -- Church of England
    1881 ONTARIO CENSUS: Woodstock, Oxford North, Ontario; Family History Library Film 1375903; NA Film Number C-13267; District 166; Sub-district E; Division 2; Page Number 48; Household Number 254

    Personal Information
    Name: William Marchant
    Locality: Ingersoll
    Province: Ontario
    Country: Canada
    Year: 1884
    View image
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Ontario, Canada Voter Lists, 1867-1900: Various Voter Registration Lists from Ontario, 1867-1900, collected by
       Eventually they moved to 4 S. Gravel Road in Ingersoll, the township next to Woodstock, in Oxford County in Southwestern Ontario, on the Thames River (it was originally called "Oxford-on-the-Thames" then established as a town in 1861). In 1866, a giant block of cheese weighing 7,300 pounds (3,311 kg) was produced at the James Harris Cheese Factory for promotion of the town's cheese industry. The "Big Cheese" was exhibited in England and in the United States at the New York State Fair in Saratoga. Aimee Semple McPherson, future American evangelist, was born there in 1890. William was still there in 1884, when he showed up on the voter registration list.
       But William and Martha's family began to disintigrate. Daughters Harriet and Jane Marchant married and moved away, and then William, Marchant, Jr., left Canada for the United States with his family in 1884. Martha died from consumption in 1886, and their son, Robert, passed away in August of that same year. Then daughter Mary died in 1887. Suddenly, William Marchant, Sr., was alone for the first time in his life, and struggled with acute bronchitis, which robbed him of his ability to play music. He was alone on the harsh Canandian frontier, in poor health and unable to work. Just about everything he loved was gone, or far away. So he made a decision to go home to the country of his birth.

    Personal Information
    Marriage Record
    Name: Robert
    Spouse: Margaret Carricque
    Marriage Date: 4 Nov 1861
    Parish: St Mary, Lambeth
    Residence: Westminster Rd.
    Father Name: John Marchant
    Occupation: Lath Renderer
    Condition: Widower
    View image
    Personal Information
    Marriage Record
    Name: Robert Marchant
    Spouse: Ann Robert(s)
    Marriage Date: 19 Feb 1868
    Parish: Holy Trinity, Lambeth
    Bourough: Lambeth
    Father Name: John Marchant
    Spouse Father: John Humphreys
    Occupation: Lath Renderer
    Condition: Widower
    View image
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Church of England Parish Registers, 1754-1921. London Metropolitan Archives, London. Left: London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Mary At Lambeth, Register of marriages, P85/MRY1, Item 433; Banns: London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Mary At Lambeth, Register of banns of marriage, P85/MRY1, Item 540. Right: London Metropolitan Archives, Holy Trinity, Lambeth, Register of marriages, P85/TRI1, Item 014.

       Back in England, things hadn't been going well for the previous generation of the family, either. On 6 Dec 1859, Ann Marchant died after 14 days of paralysis in the sub-district of Trinity-Newington (Newington, Surrey General Register Office, #4254920/1; William Seagrave, registrar), and Robert went on to marry the widow Margaret Hearn Carricque on 4 Nov 1861, and then Ann Humphries Roberts, another widow, on 19 Feb 1868 at Holy Trinity, Lambeth, England.
       Robert Sr.'s fourth wife died sometime before 1871, After that, he spent most of his final years in workhouses, in poor health himself. In 1871, "destitute widower" Robert spent two days in St George-the-Martyr Parish workhouse, in Southwark. That institution was the subject of one of a series of articles in the medical journal The Lancet in September of 1865, investigating conditions in London workhouses and their infirmaries. The report revealed a catalogue of appalling conditions in the building: "For the last three years and a half this house appears to have suffered from various epidemics, and especially from typhus. Many cases are admitted into the house from the neighbourhood; but many are developed in the house." Robert may have been a victim, himself, because two days after being admitted he was transferred to the Newington hospital in Surrey, London.

    The Lambeth Poor Law Parish, aka the Lambeth Princes Road Workhouse, circa 1850 (now on Black Prince Rd, Lambeth, London SE11 6HX, UK).

    "The most acute cases of sickness are lodged in two wards (one male and one female), which are called the 'sick wards,' and contain about seventy patients. These wards, though far too crowded, are most creditably managed; they are generally filled with cases so severe in character that they might well occupy the entire attention of one medical man... But the enormous number of cases requiring frequent medical attention in the house make it impossible that the surgeon should do full justice to his duties."
    —"The Lancet," report on the Lambeth workhouse, published on 4th November, 1865.

    Newspaper Information
    Newspaper Image
    Newspaper: The Poor Man's Guardian
    Subject: Lambeth Workhouse
    Date: 13 Nov 1847
    City: London
    Hundred: Maidstone
    County: Kent
    View image
    SOURCE INFORMATION: British Library Board; Shelfmark: P.P.1103.
       Lambeth Union Workhouse, where Robert would spend the bulk of his remaining years, was the center of an 1866 under-cover exposé of its casual ward by journalist James Greenwood in the "Pall Mall Gazette." Greenwood's report ('A Night in a Workhouse') contained graphic descriptions of the primitive accommodation: "No language with which I am acquainted is capable of conveying an adequate conception of the spectacle I then encountered. Imagine a space of about 30ft. by 30ft. enclosed on three sides by a dingy whitewashed wall, and roofed with naked tiles which were furred with the damp and filth that reeked within... At one glance my appalled vision took in 30 of them—thirty men and boys stretched upon shallow pallets with but only six inches of comfortable hay between them and the stony floor." It also described a "mutton broth bath" in which inmates were expected to bathe.
       That same year, Lambeth was also featured in The Lancet and the report noted that the almost five-sixths of the inmates required medical care. Around seventy inmates were in the workhouse insane wards. The only paid nursing staff were the the male superintendent of the infirmary (who also acted as dispenser), a female superintendent sick-nurse who also acted as midwife, and male and female superintendents of the lunatics. These were assisted by seventy-two pauper nurses who received additional food for their work. No paid staff were on duty at night-time.
       Documents at the London Metropolitan Archives show that Robert kept entering and leaving the workhouse on his "OR" ("own request"), so he may just have used the workhouse as a stopover between jobs. But as he grew older, the stays grew longer and more frequent:


    Date In Name Age Church Workhouse Occupation Date Out
    02 May 1871 Robert Marchant 70 CofE Southwark Lath Renderer 04 May 1871
    24 Sep 1872 Robert Marchant 70 CofE Lambeth N/A 04 Dec 1872
    07 Jan 1873 Robert Marchant 70 CofE Lambeth Lath Renderer 05 May 1873
    17 Nov 1873 Robert Marchant 61 CofE Lambeth Labourer 2 Apr 1874
    09 Jul 1875 Robert Marchant 72 CofE Southwark Lath Renderer 22 Nov 1875
    28 Feb 1876 Robert Marchant 60 CofE Lambeth Lath Renderer 13 Jun 1877
    N/A Robert Marchant 74 CofE Southwark Lath Renderer 26 Aug 1878
    SOURCE: London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records: Board of Guardians records held by the London Metropolitan Archives, London, England.

    Lambeth Renfrew Road Workhouse, circa 1873.
       In 1873, a new Lambeth Workhouse in Renfrew Road replaced the old workhouse in Prince's Street, and was designed for 820 inmates. A contemporary report in The Builder stated: "A system of rigid classification has been carried out....the several classes in each sex are for aged, able-bodied of good character, and two subdivisions of able-bodied of bad character." Robert needed to avoid the latter group, who were fed only weak broth and bread. He was probably in poor health, and age had caught up to him. At Lambeth, he was always signed in by the same person, "Ames," with whom he may have had an arrangement to knock some years off his registered age, in order to avoid being sent to the Infirmary with the people too old and/or feeble.
       Robert Sr.'s own brother may have joined him in the workhouse about this time. According to their descendants, they had been very close, and Robert had even lived near them in Deptford (SE London). A "William Marchant, CofE," whose age was given as 71, entered the workhouse on July 21st 1873, and was a lath renderer from 34 Irston Street. (His age was also inflated as he would actually have been about 60.) A Sarah Marchant (name of W's wife) died in Greenwich (included Deptford) in 1872 so William may have come to Lambeth to be near Robert, and then he left the workhouse on 4 Nov 1873. A William Marchant then died in Southwark in 1874.
       Robert was back in Southwark in August of 1878, and then he entered Lambeth sometime around 1880/81. The Lambeth workhouse records from that time are missing, so we don't know exactly when Robert re-entered the workhouse, but he was there for the 1881 census, in the dreaded Infirmary wing.

    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name: Robert
    Age: 77
    Est. Birth Year: 1805
    Relationship: Patient
    Born: Maidstone


    Civil Parish: Lambeth, London, England
    Address: Workhouse Infirmary
    Occupation: Leather Worker
    View image
    View blank 1881 census form
    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name: William
    Age: 62
    Est. Birth Year: 1829
    Relation: Brother
    Where Born: Maidstone, Kent, England
    Civil Parish: Liverpool
    Ecclesiastical Parish: St Matthias
    County: Lancashire, England
    Occupation: Port Watchman
    View image
    View blank 1891 census form
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Census Returns of England and Wales: 1881. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1881. Class: RG11; Piece: 599; Folio: 117; Page: 8; GSU roll: 1341137. 1891: Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1891. Class: RG12; Piece: 2904; Folio: 43; Page: 8; GSU Roll: 6098014

    Death Record
    Name: Robert Marchant
    Birth Year: @ 1805
    Registration Year: 1884
    Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar
    Age at Death: 73
    Registration District: Lambeth
    County: London
    Volume/Page: 1D, 283
    View Death Record
    SOURCE INFORMATION: General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office.
       Robert Marchant, Sr., died at the Lambeth workhouse in 1884. So he never witnessed his son William's return to England. But William wasn't in great health, himself. Bronchitis had robbed him of his ability to play his instrument, so he had to find a new occupation to compliment a small army pension.
       Although 50 years had passed since the children of Robert Marchant had escaped the workhouse, and despite living across the world from each other, their bond was still strong. William Marchant returned to the country of his birth, living out the last five years of his life in Liverpool with Robert, Jr. At first he lived in Robert, Jr.'s home, and the 1891 census of England (above), shows them residing together on Regent Street in Liverpool, where William worked for his brother as a port watchman. William must have delighted his nieces and nephews with his tales of military adventure on a far-off continent, and of North American cousins whom they had never met.⁴ But Robert Jr.'s wife Elizabeth Lambert-Marchant passed away, and at some point after that Robert and daughter Elizabeth (1882-1896) went to live with Robert's other daughter, Mary Marchant-Sarsfield (1869-1954), and her husband in Eldon Place, leaving William on his own.

    Death Certificate
    Name: William Marchant
    Place: County of Liverpool
    Date: 16 Dec 1896
    Profession: Army Pension
    View Death Certificate (.PDF)
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Collection of Paul Harrington.
       William Marchant, Sr., died on 16 Dec 1896 in Liverpool, from acute bronchitis. His death certificate (at right) lists him as a widower and an army pensioner, living on Carlton Street, just next to where he'd been living with Robert. It's the address listed on his death certificate, and it looks as if the landlady (who could only make her mark) was present at his death. William is buried in the Anfield Cemetery in the Metropolitan Borough of Liverpool, Merseyside, England.

    Anfield Cemetery, or the City of Liverpool Cemetery, located in Anfield, a district of Liverpool, Merseyside, England.

       The next ancestor in our line, WILLIAM HENRY MARCHANT (b. 26 Dec 1850), became a musician like his father, and probably a soldier as a a Private William Marchant was listed in the 26th Regiment, Middlesex Light Infantry in 1880. He married MARTHA HOLLAND (May 1852 - 1911), on October 26, 1870 in Bothwell, Ontario. They were also members of the Church of England, like William's parents. In the 1871 Ontario census, they are living in Niagara with William's uncle, Samuel Read and his family (Niagara, Niagara, Ontario; Roll: C-9921; Page: 9; Family No: 35). Interestingly, he may have been there for military duty, as Niagara-on-the-Lake was an area under siege when Irish Americans attacked Canada in protest over British rule of their motherland. Being Irish, Martha may have been a little torn. Her parents were CHARLES HOLLAND, according to Ingersoll directories of the time, and MARJERY (or MARJORY) BROWN. The legend in the Marchant Family Bible intones: "Marjorie Brown Holland, lived to age 94, had five children... Seven Brown sisters came from N. Ireland (County Caven)." So hopefully, with this long-lived Irish blood now pumping in the Marchant veins, the next generation would do better.

    Professor William Henry Marchant, holding bugle, with band. (Image from the Marchant family Bible, courtesy of Gloria Benson)

       Then they settled in the township of London, Middlesex to raise a family. Unfortunately, their first child, Fredie, lived less than a year. But their next child, a daughter named Lillie, was healthy and strong. This is how the family was listed in the 1881 Ontario census:

    Name Marital Status Gender Ethnic Origin Age Birthplace Occupation Religion
    WM. MARCHANT M Male English 30 Ontario Musician Church of England
    MARTHA MARCHANT M Female English 28 Ontario -- Church of England
    LILLIE MARCHANT -- Female English 3 Ontario -- Church of England
    1881 ONTARIO CENSUS: Ward 3, London, Middlesex, Ontario; Family History Library Film 1375906; NA Film Number C-13270; District 170; Sub-district C; Division 2; Page Number 1; Household #5

    Personal Information
    Name: William H. Marchant
    Locality: London West
    Province: Ontario
    Country: Canada
    Year: 1883
    View image
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Ontario, Canada Voter Lists, 1867-1900: Various Voter Registration Lists from Ontario, 1867-1900, collected by
       William appeared on the voters lists in 1877, 1878, 1880, 1881 and 1883 in Londown Township, but around 1884, the Marchant family crossed from Southern Ontario into Port Huron, Michigan, down to Kalamazoo, 290 miles away in the the southwest region of the state. Michigan was a favorite 19th-century destination of Canadians leaving Ontario (about one out of every four Michigan families finds a direct connection to Ontario). But why they ended up in Kalamazoo of all places is lost to time—although there were Marchants already living there. A man named John Marchant was an inventor and had secured several U. S. patents. One being for the "Trim-O-Saw"—a machine used in paper mills and printing offices. He was part owner of the American Tool & Die Co. at Kalamazoo, and married Frances Helen Wilson Marchant. They had the following children: Margaret Marchant (b. 29 Dec 1858) and Frances Helen. Were these Marchants related? Was John a sibling of William Sr.? Heck if I know.

    The border of Canada and Michigan in 1850, with St. Clair County, MI, at left (click to enlarge).

       Another clue to the move to Kalamazoo is in the possession of Lillie Marchant's daughter-in-law, Gloria Benson: a sampler, which Lillie said had been made by her "Aunt Mary." MARY ANN PARKER, born in 1809 in Cavendish, Vermont, made the sampler in 1822. We don't know if she was blood kin or married into the Marchant line, but with the timeline involved, she would probably be a great-aunt. Mary Ann Parker married Hosea B. Huston, and became pioneers in Kalamazoo County. Her older sister, Eliza, married Thaddeus Smith, and they settled in Kalamazoo County in 1830. Their brother, John Parker, also ended up there. So how are they related to us? Again, I have no idea.⁸
       Once they had settled in Kalamazoo, William and Martha had another daughter, MARJORIE EVELYN MARCHANT, born on 5 Apr 1892. She may have been a surprise, as she was 14 years younger than her sister Lillie, and her father William was 41 and Martha was 39. But it was undoubtedly a happy, if unexpected, occasion. The children of William and Martha were:


  • FREDIE THOMAS MARCHANT, b. 10 May 1872. Died 10 Feb 1873, age 10 months.
  • LILLIE MAUD MARCHANT was born on 11 Jan 1878 in Ontario, Canada. She became a music and art teacher in Minnesota and married HENRY NATHANIEL BENSON (1 Aug 1872 - 10 May 1960), who served as a state senator and Attorney General in Minnesota. They had three children: Alice Merle (1908-1986), Margaret Lucille (1909-1993), and Henry (1917-1993), and lived in St. Peter, Nicollet, Minnesota. Lillian died in 1942. Henry Benson, Jr., passed away at Green Lake on November 30, 1993, and his sister Margaret passed a week later in Thief River Falls. Lillian is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Saint Peter, Le Sueur County, Minnesota.
  • MARJORIE EVELYN MARCHANT was born on 5 Apr 1892 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She grew up in Macomb County, Michigan, near a boy named CARLISLE HAUSE. When her mother died, she moved to Minnesota with her sister. Carlisle then traveled to Minnesota, proposed, and brought her back to Michigan. Her death from breast cancer in 1939 was so unendurable for Carlisle that he set fire to all of his photographs of her, trying to burn her from his memory. The only images that we have of her today are from in-laws. Burial: Woodmere Cemetery, 9400 W Fort Street, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan; Telephone: (313) 841-0188
  • Newspaper Information
    Article Image
    Newspaper: Kalamazoo Daily Telegraph
    Obituary: William Henry Marchant
    Date: 9 Mar 1896
    Page: 2, par. 3
    Funeral notice: 11 Mar 1896
    Ingersoll Burial Notice: 14 Mar 1896
    View Obituary
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Thanks to Alexander P. Merrill, Library Assistant, Kalamazoo Public Library. Phone: 269-553-7873 (
       William flourished in Kalamazoo, giving music lessons for both voice and instrument, teaching the Comstock, the Richland and the Oshtemo bands. The Kalamazoo Daily Telegraph noted on 24 Jan 1888 that "his deep bass voice held the attention of all present." He led several bands in the city, and was the leader of the First M. E. Church choir.
       In January of 1896, William developed pneumonia, and he seemed to recover after about three weeks, but the Kalamazoo Daily Telegraph reported on Monday, 17 Feb 1896 that "W.H. Marchant was taken worse yesterday afternoon and it is thought that he can survive but a short time." The newspaper then announced there would be a "Marchant Benefit Concert" on Wednesday, 19 Feb 1896 at the First M.E. (Methodist) church with tickets costing twenty-five cents, calling the event "One of the finest programs ever rendered in Kalamazoo." The benefit featured the Philharmonic Orchestra, Ideal Mandolin Orchestra and Morse Glee Club. On 21 Feb, the Daily Telegraph announced the benefit had garnered $100, and that, "Friends will be pleased to learn that W.H. Marchant is gaining in strength." But the recovery, like William, was short-lived.
       After months of battling, William Henry Marchant passed away at 9:45 am on 9 Mar 1896, from "nervous prostration," or extreme mental and physical fatigue. A funeral was held at the First M. E. Church in Kalamazoo on the 11th, then William's remains were transported to Ingersoll, Ontario, on the 14th by Martha, accompanied by William's's sister, Sophia Badden, and an in-law of Martha's sister Rebecca named Burt Glover. Martha, suddenly alone, was left to care for the family herself, while Marjorie, almost four, had lost a father she would hardly know.

    Book Information
    Book Image
    Name: Marchant Family Bible
    Author: Martha Holland Marchant
    Year: 1880--
    Pages: 13
    View Bible (.PDF)
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Collection of Gloria Benson.
       Martha and her daughters moved to Richmond Township, in St. Clair County, Michigan, where Martha found work as a housekeeper. On 27 Sep 1904, Lillian married a lawyer from Minnesota named Henry Nathaniel Benson (b.1 Aug 1872), and they honeymooned in San Francisco two years before the famous earthquake, then moved to Minnesota. A Republican, Henry eventually was elected a member of Minnesota state senate, serving from 1910-23; he was then a probate judge in Minnesota, 1928; and after that was appointed the Minnesota state attorney general, from 1929-33.
       Meanwhile, Martha Holland-Marchant remained in Michigan with Marjorie, in the 1900 census of Richmond Township in Macomb County—listed as a widow and a servant of day laborer Manly C. Gilbert, a widower with daughter Mabel, 10, and son Russell, aged two. But in another twist, on 06 Nov 1902, Martha married Gilbert, in Memphis, (in the wedding document, named Charles S. Gilbert, born 1842 in Memphis, Macomb county, Michigan. Film number: 2342522; Digital GS number: 4032371; Image number: 387; Reference number: v 3 p 177 rn 3737). But curiously, Martha and Marjorie are living alone in the 1910 census:

    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name:Martha Marchant
    Home in 1900:Richmond, Macomb, Michigan
    Relationship to head-of-house:Servant
    Marital Status:Widow
    View image
    View blank 1900 census form
     (PDF 13K)
    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name: Martha Gilbert
    Home in 1910: Richmond, Macomb, Michigan
    Age: 58
    Birthplace: Canada
    Relationship to head-of-house: Head
    Marital Status: Wife
    View image
    View blank 1910 census form
     (PDF 13K)
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Data imaged from National Archives and Records Administration.

    Martha Holland Marchant posing with grandchildren Alice and Margaret Benson (photo courtesy of Gloria Benson).
       Lillie went into her father's business and taught music and art in Minnesota, at the St. Peter public school around the turn of the 20th century. According to daughter-in-law Gloria Benson, "Lillian" was very intelligent, an activist in women's clubs—literary and music—and national peace organizations, and her Irish wit and sense of humor are still talked about all these years later.
       It was about this time that Marjorie was in high school, and was being courted by CARLISLE HAUSE. She then moved with her mother to Detroit, but Martha Holland-Marchant passed away there on 16 Jan 1911. The Port Huron Times Herald newspaper, in its Memphis section on January 21, 1911, reported: "Word reached here Tuesday that Mrs. Chas. Gilbert who formerly resided here, but has made her home in Detroit since last summer was dead from an injury received in getting off from a street car." Interestingly, her death certificate lists her as a widow, even though Gilbert would live until 1917 (he's buried in the Memphis Cemetery, while Martha is interred at Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit).
       Marjorie was forced to move in with her sister in Minnesota. But Carlisle couldn't stand to live without her. He traveled to Minnesota and swept Marjorie off her feet. She returned with him to Michigan.

    Marjorie Marchant in the 1911 Memphis School Yearbook. (Thanks to Ruth Koppinger Suwalkowski of Memphis for the scan.)

    Newspaper Article
    File Image
    Title: Carlisle and Marjorie Marchant Hause
    Subject: Wedding
    Original Publication Date: 1911
    View File
       Marjorie married Carlisle on 16 Aug 1911 at the home of her sister and brother-in-law in Minnesota. At first they boarded in his parents' rooming house in Ypsilanti while he finished school (see them on page 539 of the Polk's 1914 County Directory).
       After Carlisle's graduation, they moved to Detroit, where he taught, while she graduated from the Michigan State Normal College. (It's now known as Michigan State University, it was then a school created to train high school graduates to be teachers. Its purpose was to establish teaching standards or norms, hence its name.)
       Marjorie and Carlisle would prosper, even through the Great Depression, when his tenured salary allowed them to buy a lakehouse upstate in Glennie, Michigan, on Vaughn Lake. They had two children:


  • GRETCHEN HAUSE (15 Aug 1912 - 16 Feb. 1985) married Alan Dane "John" Brundage (18 Aug 1912 - 22 May 2008 ) in Detroit in Aug 1939. They had three children: Susan (b. 1940) m. 1) Donald Clifton Emmerling (b. 1942) and 2) Clay Garland Holt (b. 1939); Nancy (b. 23 Sep 1941), m. Jack Karczewski; and James (25 May 1946 - 20 Apr 1999). The family purchased a cabin next to her father's on Vaughn Lake, and Gretchen and the children spent summers there while John worked. She and her family then moved out west, but spent every summer on the lake. She died on 16 Feb 1985 in San Marcos, San Diego Co., California, and her ashes were spread over the Pacific Ocean. Gretchen as a young girl, Posing with her father in 1928; Posing with her mother in 1928; Southeastern High School yearbook photo from 1929, 1932 Michigan State Normal College "Aurora" yearbook; The Brundages with sister-in-law Jeanne Brunner-Hause at Torrey Pines in the 1970s.
  • CARLETON MARCHANT HAUSE was born in 24 July 1917. He started out working in a Michigan factory for his father-in-law, but ended up teaching in Southern California with his wife, JEANNE BRUNNER. "Bud" loved the water, whether in his youth at the cabin on Vaughn Lake, or raising his kids, Carl Jr. and Marjorie, on the shores of Lake Erie in Gibraltar, MI, or at his retirement home on a tributary to the Colorado River at 85344 Parker, LA Paz, Arizona... or finally the Pacific Ocean, where his ashes were spread in 1983 by his loving wife and children.
  •    Marjorie was very active in the community, like her father. She sang in the church choir at the massive First Presbyterian Church on 2930 Woodward Avenue (many people seem to have commented on her lovely voice, no doubt inherited from her father). She was also a member of the Women's City Club, located at 2110 Park Avenue in Downtown Detroit. Middle-class wives like Marjorie who were college educated were discouraged or prohibited by but social norms of the time from working after they married and had children. But after Gretchen and Carleton grew older and started families of their own, Marjorie suddenly had time to devote to activities outside the home. The Women's City Club performed charitable activities, promoted the arts, and provided assistance to the poor and immigrants who came to Detroit. The first three floors of the massive building provided meeting spaces for both social events and for planning the activities of members, while the top three floors of the six floor building were residential, for single working women. After generations trapped in workouses on government assistance, the Marchants were a family giving back to their communities.
    Newspaper Article
    File Image
    Title: Mrs. Carlisle Hause Dies At Her Home In Detroit
    Subject: Obituary of Marjorie Marchant-Hause
    Original Publication: October, 1939
    View file
    SOURCE INFORMATION: Port Huron Times-Herald
       Then Marjorie battled a long illness, which was eventually diagnosed as breast cancer. Carlisle later told his grandson, Carleton Jr., that it all started at an accident by the well at the Vaughn Lake cabin, when the crank spun out of her grasp and struck her chest. Whatever caused her poor health, Marjorie finally passed away in October of 1939, just a few weeks before the birth of her first grandson. Marjorie is buried with her mother in Lot B 255 at the Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit.
       Carlisle was so crazed by her passing that he destroyed almost every photo he had of her. Fortunately, over time, photographs belonging to Carlisle's other family members have been handed down to us, so that we have a few images of her. But still, I never knew my great-grandmother, because she died a month before my father was even born. We heard stories about her from my grandfather, whose middle name was Marchant (as is my father's, and my aunt is named Marjorie). We knew nothing of her parents or siblings, or where they were from. So until recently, we always felt there was a crucial part of our family and our heritage that we knew next to nothing about, until...

    The Hause and Benson lines of the Marchant family meet up during the thirties. From left to right: Henry Benson, Jr., Unknown (probably a Marchant cousin from Canada, named Mary Cattermole), Gretchen Hause (in rear), Carlisle Hause, Margaret Benson Weigelt, Marilyl Weigelt, Carleton Hause (in rear), Alice Benson, and the Marchant sisters, Lillian Marchant Benson and Marjorie Marchant Hause.

    Lillian (left), Marjorie, and children Henry Benson, Jr., Carleton Hause, and Alice Benson.
       ...Our line was saved from obscurity by GLORIA MARTELL BENSON (31 Aug 1929 - 25 May 2016), whose late husband, Judge HENRY N. BENSON, JR. was the son of Lillian Marchant Benson, the sister of my great-grandmother. Gloria provided crucial information to explain how the families of the two sisters had lost touch through the generations: Lillian had died in St. Peter, Minnesota, just a few years after Marjorie Marchant Hause on 12 Aug 1942. She had suffered from diabetes and a heart condition. Her husband Henry Benson, Sr. became very ill upon Lillian's death, and her funeral was held in their home so that he could listen to the service from upstairs.
       On 25 Oct 1952, their 36-year-old son, Henry Benson, Jr., married 23-year-old Gloria Martell (her maiden name was created when her father, born in Minnesota to Swedish immigrants, changed his name from Pierson to Martell while he was in the seminary). They had four children: Julie Elizabeth, Melanie Marchant, Todd Henry Winfield, and Craig Peter—their family owns the Marchant Family Bible and photo albums that hold most of the information and images of the Marchant family in North America that appear on this page.
       While tracing their roots with genealogist Mark Folkestad, Gloria somewhat miraculously located an earlier, practically empty version of this web page online (just basically a name and a photo or two—all that had been handed down to us), and out of the kindness of her heart contacted our family. So now, the mysterious Marjorie Marchant has a past, and so does my family—and we owe it all to Gloria and our new (to us) cousins.

    L-R: Gloria Benson; Gloria Benson, Craig Benson, and Julie Italiano; Becca Benson, Todd Benson, Rush Benson, Melanie Benson, Brittany Benson, and Gloria Benson.

    The Benson clan at the funeral of the late, great Gloria Martell Benson in 2016. TOP ROW, L-R: Brittany Benson, Craig Benson, Julie Italiano, Todd Benson, Becca Benson, Peter Yager, Maria Benson; BOTTOM ROW, L-R: Mark Nelson, Melanie Marchant Benson, Rush Benson, Nikko Benson, Ian Cook, Anna Marie Italiano, Dominick Italiano. RIP, Gloria, and THANK YOU forever!

       Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, another long-lost cousin named PAUL HARRINGTON and his first-cousins Julie and Michael were researching their great-grandfather, named ROBERT MARCHANT, JR. In tracing his family, they followed a brother of Robert Jr. named William who joined the military and traveled to Canada. That brother came back to England and was probably the source of a trumpet that had been handed down in the family. That brother turned out to be my 3xGreat-Grandfather, WILLIAM MARCHANT, SR. Paul found my website and contacted me and was able to fill in the Dickensian history of the brothers and several generations of ancestors beyond them. Robert Jr. went to sea (boys from the workhouse often joined the army or the merchant navy). He ended up in Liverpool where he married a Sarah Greenwood in 1854. Their children died in infancy and Sarah died in 1866. Then Robert married ELISABETH LAMBERT. Robert's daughter, MARY MARCHANT (1st cousin to William Henry Marchant), married a MICHAEL SARSFIELD in 1891. Julie, Michael and Paul are children of three of their daughters: NORA (1913-2007), EILEEN (1905-1993) and WINIFRED SARSFIELD (1901-1994), who would be 2nd cousins to Lillie and Marjorie Marchant. Winifred married PHILIP HARRINGTON in 1930, and they had Margaret (1931-2000), Philip (b. 1938-) and Paul (b. 1943), who would be 3rd cousins to Gretchen and my grandfather Carleton Hause, Sr. (and my 3rd cousin 2x removed).
       What amazing times we live in, when the descendants of Marchant lines ripped apart by poverty and intolerance almost 200 years ago can reconnect from different parts of the world and reunite the family. Thank you Gloria, and thank you Paul!


    ¹—Marriage of Robert Marchant to Sophia Jones on 27 Nov 1825 at All Saints, Maidstone, Kent, England. LDS Indexing Project (Batch) Number: I00535-5 , System Origin: England-EASy , GS Film number: 1835448, Reference ID: p 159, 475. Citation: "England Marriages, 1538-1973," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 Jun 2014), Robert Marchant and Sophia Jones, 27 Nov 1825; citing All Saints, Maidstone, Kent, England, reference p 159, 475; FHL microfilm 1835448.

    ²—"England, Sussex, Parish Registers, 1538-1910," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 December 2014), William Marchant, Christening, Northiam, Northiam, Sussex, England, 29 Jun 1828; citing 00420, West Sussex County Record Office, Chichester; FHL microfilm 1,894,275. Father's Name: Robert Marchant. Mother's Name: Sophia Marchant. GS Film Number: 001894275 , Digital Folder Number: 004426949, Image Number: 00420.

    ³—Sophia Marchant Burial Date: 18 Dec 1839. Burial Place: Maidstone, Kent, England. Indexing Project (Batch) Number: I04484-0 , System Origin: England-EASy , GS Film number: 1835449 , Reference ID: 1 252 2013. Citation: "England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 Jun 2014), Sophia Marchant, 18 Dec 1839; citing, reference 1 252 2013; FHL microfilm 1835449.

    "Soldier of the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment, between 1857 and 1862. Reconstitution by Derek FitzJames," from Canadian Military Heritage, Vol. II (1755-1871), Chapter 6.
    ⁴—E-mail from Paul Harrington: "I'm looking for a William Marchant (b. 1828), a great great uncle missing from England from 1841 until the 1891 census when he is living with his brother. He's a widower and his death certificate (December 16 1896) quotes his occupation as an army pensioner. He is buried in the Church of England section of Anfield Cemetery in Liverpool (238 Priory Road, Anfield, Merseyside England, Postal Code: L4 2SL)." Earlier research on William: "Born 1828/1829 Maidstone (?) to Robert and Sophia (married 1825). With siblings Robert, Mary and maybe Henry and Elizabeth and aunt Rose Balcomb in Coxheath (Maidstone) Workhouse in 1841 census. Re-appears 1891 a widower living with brother Robert and family in Liverpool. Fifty missing years. Robert had been a mariner—did William also go to sea? Join army? prison? or remain a lath renderer as per family around Kent... I'd better explain our interest in William (the bugler/Music Master). We (three cousins in the UK) are grandchildren through the female lines of Michael Sarsfield and Mary Marchant who married in Liverpool in 1891. Her father was Robert Marchant and we've been able to trace the family back to the mid-18thC. The family is from the Maidstone area of Kent. June 1828 seems to be a good date for Wm's birthday but we have not found a record to substantiate. Another Wm was born in 1828 in Rothfield Sussex but he was born October 5th and baptised November 23rd so it can't be him. Maidstone William's parents were Robert M and Sophia Jones married in November 1825 in Maidstone [our line]. (The Marchants, like many families, keep repeating the same names across the generations so there are Roberts, Williams, Henrys, Marys and Sophias all over the place). I'm in touch with branches of the Ontario genealogical society to see if there's any trace of William after 1886/8. On Martha/Mary's death notice she's designated a married woman not a widow so Wm is still alive. Why no mention of him anywhere in Canada after that time? Robert Marchant (his brother and the eldest child of Rbt and Sophia) had been a sailor and we've traced some of his ships. He had contacts with Canada and somehow, a man called Miles Agar of Newfoundland was in Liverpool in time to be godfather to our grandmother Mary Marchant/Sarsfield. As children we loved to see and hold a silver bugle/cornet she had in a display cabinet but it disappeared after her death in 1959. A family story linked it to the Crimea but I'm very tempted by a bugler coming from Canada. Attached are army discharge records for Wm and the army birth records. Ignore the age and dating of Wm's signing on. It's clear the army fiddled these to show he was the legal age when he started to receive full pay. I have separate records showing he was 3y 3mnths under age when he signed on. I'm trying to chase army pension records to see how Wm was paid (if he did come back to the UK). At 8 pence a day, it wasn't a fortune. (I think that's about 5 cents US money today)." (Paul's e-mail.) Why would William have returned to England? "By 1888 son William H has gone away, Martha, son Robert and daughter Mary have died in quick succession and then Harriet has married so William senior may have felt a need to return to England... Just in case Wm is the man I'm seeking—I attach copy of his death cert. Age doesn't fit—but often that's the case. Without proper and official birth certificates ages were often an approximation."

    E-mail from Deborah Collins, of Kent Ancestry Research: "There are no other references to the Marchant family in any of the few surviving records for the Maidstone Union for this period (all of which I have transcribed) but this is not surprising as the Minute Book of the Board of Guardians for the early years of the Union mention very few individuals and mainly contain financial matters. When I visited the Maidstone Archives a few days ago I checked the Minute Book for the year 1842 to see if there was a mention of William being assisted to join the army by the Guardians but again found no reference. It may be that it was William's parish which arranged for his enlistment rather than the Union and in William's case this would the parish of Maidstone."

    ⁵—Ingersoll Chronicle & Canadian Dairyman. Thursday, December 23, 1886. Pg: , Col: 6. Date of Event: Friday, December 17, 1886. Text of Notice: "MARCHANT—In Ingersoll, on the 17th inst., Martha L., wife of William Marchant, aged 54 years." (Died on 7 Apr 1872). Death notice (Jan 1859-1872) appeared in Woodstock Sentinel, 12 Apr 1872, page 2, column 4"

    ⁶—Ingersoll Chronicle & Canadian Dairyman. Thursday, August 05, 1886. Pg: , Col: 8. Date of Event: Tuesday, August 03, 1886. Text of Notice: "MARCHANT—In Ingersoll, on the 3rd inst., Robert J. Marchant, aged 29 years and 10 months."

    ⁷—Ingersoll Chronicle & Canadian Dairyman. Thursday, July 10, 1884. Pg: 3, Col: 8. Date of Event: Wednesday, July 09, 1884. Morrey, E. B. weds Marchant, Mary. Ingersoll Chronicle & Canadian Dairyman. Thursday, May 12, 1887. Pg: , Col: 7. Date of Event: Tuesday, May 10, 1887. Text of Notice: "MORREY—In Ingersoll, on the 10th inst., May M. Marchant, wife of E. B. Morrey, and daughter of William Marchant, aged 20 years." According to a compilation of Ontario marriages: "Edward Barker Morrey, 21, book keeper, Ingersoll, Ingersoll, son of James F. and Caroline, married Mary Maria Marchant, 17, Woodstock, Ingersoll, daughter of William W. and Martha L., witnessed by F.T. Morrey and Sarah A. Marchant, both of Ingersoll, 9 July, 1884 at Ingersoll."

    ⁸—Email from Genealogist Mark Folkestad, dated 23 Apr 2008: "We've been making progress on tracking the family from her sampler, which Lillian said had been made by 'her Aunt Mary'. Mary Ann Parker, born in 1809 in Cavendish, Vermont, made the sampler in 1822. We don't know if she was blood kin or married into the Marchant line, and with the time involved, she was probably a great-aunt. Mary Ann Parker married Hosea B. Huston and became pioneers in Kalamazoo County. Her older sister Eliza married Thaddeus Smith, and they arrived very early in Kalamazoo County. Their brother John Parker also ended up there. Thaddeus and Eliza Smith had offspring with offspring, so some of that family may be in Michigan still. I haven't been able to track offspring of Hosea and Mary Huston yet. Do these names ring any bells with either of you? We noticed that a researcher who has been indexing Smith birth records in Kalamazoo County was Susan Stahl. Is that, by any chance, the daughter of Gretchen Hause Brundage? Gloria thought it likely. We also had a very helpful reply to our post on's bulletin board, offering to give us five generations prior to John and Nancy Parker, the parents of the creator of the sampler. I'm hoping that that lady has more recent generations of the family. Regards, Mark"

    TOP IMAGE: Maidstone Bridge, Kent, circa 1830. Art by William Westall. Maidstone's charter as a town was granted in 1549; although briefly revoked, a new charter in 1551 created the town as a borough. The charter was ratified in 1619 under James I, and the coat of arms was designed, bearing a golden lion and a representation of the river (in heraldic terms: "or, a fess wavy azure between three roundels gules, on a chief gules a leopard passant gardant or"). The River Medway runs through the centre of the town, linking it with Rochester and the Thames Estuary. Historically, the river was a source and route for much of the town's trade as the centre of the agricultural county of Kent, known as the Garden of England. There is evidence of a settlement in the area dating back to beyond the Stone Age. Saxon charters (c975) show the first recorded instances of the town's name, de maeides stana and maegdan stane, possibly meaning "stone of the maidens" or "stone of the people." The latter meaning may refer to the nearby megalith around which gatherings took place. The name evolved through medestan/meddestane in the Domesday Book with possible variation Mayndenstan, in 1396. The modern name appeared by 1610. It has been suggested that the name derives from stones set into the river to allow clothes to be rinsed in the cleaner water away from the banks. Coxheath, which William's workouse was originally named for, is a village and civil parish within the Borough of Maidstone. (The parish is approximately 2.5 miles south of Maidstone.) The enactment of the new Poor Law in 1834 led to the creation of the "Coxheath Poor Law Union" in 1835, more commonly known simply as the Coxheath Union. This union also involved many of the other local parishes. A reluctant Maidstone was finally coerced into joining in 1836, bringing the number of parishes involved to 15 and leading to the union's name being officially changed to the Maidstone Union (although contemporary references appear to show that the Coxheath Union name remained in general use). The workhouse building later formed Linton Hospital which subsequently closed and the buildings were demolished in the 1990's. The former workhouse chapel remains in use as a parish church for Coxheath. Before it gets too depressing, it should be noted that Coxheath has the distinction of being the original home of the World Custard Pie Throwing Championship, running since 24 June 1967.


  • GLORIA BENSON (31 Aug 1929 - 25 May 2016) was the daughter-in-law of Lillian Marchant Benson, and possesses the Marchant Family Bible from which I derived most of the information about the family of my my great-grandmother, MARJORIE MARCHANT. Gloria married Lillian's son, Judge Henry N. Benson Jr., in Minnesota on October 25, 1952. He was 36 years old and she was 23. Gloria has become sort of the matriarch of the Benson clan. Her children are Julie Elizabeth Benson Italiano (Dominick), Melanie Marchant Benson, Todd Henry Winfield Benson, and Craig Peter Benson.
  • PAUL HARRINGTON is the great-grandson of William Marchant's brother, Robert. "Robert went to sea (boys from the workhouse often joined the army or the merchant navy). He ended up in Liverpool where he married a Sarah Greenwood in 1854 about whom we know nothing as yet. Their children died in infancy and Sarah died in 1866. Then Robert married Elisabeth Lambert (our great grandmother)." Robert's daughter, Mary, married a Michael Sarsfield in 1891. "We family searchers—cousins Julie, Michael and myself—are children of three of their daughters: Nora (1913-2007), Eileen (1905-1993) and Winifred (1901-1994). Winifred married Philip Harrington in 1930, and they had Margaret (1931-2000), Philip (b. 1938-) and myself (b. 1943). By my reckoning that makes my grandmother Mary 1st cousin to William H Marchant; my mother Winifred 2nd cousin to Lillie and Marjorie; and I'm 3rd cousin to Gretchen and Carlton Sr." See Paul with wife Jean by clicking on the photo at right.

  • All Saints, the Parish Church of Maidstone, has stood commandingly on a cliff by the River Medway in what is now the middle of Maidstone, since about 650. The church was rebuilt in 1381-96 by Archbishop Courtenay in all later English-style architecture as a Kentish ragstone collegiate church attached to the foundation of the College of All Saints; measuring 227 by 91 feet. It comprises the nave, aisles, and chancel, with a chantry of 1366; had formerly another chantry of 1406; has a southwest tower, 78 feet high, formerly surmounted by a spire 80 feet high, which was destroyed by lightning in 1730; contains a richly painted chancel-screen, elaborately ornamented sedilia, the grave of Archbishop Courtenay, remains of an ancient fresco, several ancient monuments, and a Jacobean font; Between 1883 and 1907 All Saints was restored under the direction of the noted Victorian architect John Loughborough Pearson, and fitted with open seats; has a new north memorial window to C. Mercer, erected in 1864; and was collegiate from the 14th-century till the Reformation. Address: Mill Street, Maidstone ME15 6YE.
  • The Kent Ancestry Research website enables people to solve family history puzzles and to educate about the parish poorhouses and Union Workhouses of Kent.
  • The Kent Online Parish Clerks: Maidstone Parish website actually lacks a clerk but features area statistics and info, like this Domesday Reference: "Medestan or Meddestane arable, meadow, woodland, a church; five mills and two eel fisheries; 25 villagers, 21 smallholders and 10 serfs; three knights held more arable, meadow, woodland, a mill, two eel fisheries and two salterns [salt-houses], and 32 villagers, 10 smallholders and 10 serfs lived there; value was £35.10s. Principal landholder: Archbishop of Canterbury."
  • The History of Maidstone, by J. M. Russell. Printed and Published by W. S. Vivish, 28, King Street, 1881.
  • Crime and Poverty in 19th-Century England: The Economy of Makeshifts, by A.W. Ager. A&C Black, May 20, 2014. Google e-Book. 192 pages.
  • A Grim Almanac of the Workhouse, by Peter Higginbotham. The History Press (1 Feb 2013) 240 pages.
  • Extracts from the Diary of a Workhouse Chaplain, by the Rev. D. L. Cousins, A.M. London: J. Hatchard and Son, 187, Piccadilly. 1847.
  • The Builder, Vol. 32, p.71, 24th January 1874: "A system of rigid classification has been carried out....the several classes in each sex are for aged, able-bodied of good character, and two subdivisions of able-bodied of bad character, together with accommodation for a limited number of boys and girls." (The building later became Lambeth Infirmary/Hospital.)
  • The Woodstock Museum National Historic Site, which supplied the potrait of William Marchant, Sr., and the photo of the 22nd Battalion, strives to interpret the past, present and future through conservation, education and exhibition of local history inside the nationally designated Old Town Hall. Originally constructed in 1853 as the Town Hall and Market House, the building was completely restored in 1993-1995. Admission is Free! Woodstock Museum NHS, City of Woodstock: 466 Dundas Street, Woodstock, ON, N4S 1C4. Thanks to Collection/Exhibit Coordinator Adam Pollard and staff! Phone #519-537-8411 ex. 2902; Fax #519-537-7235
  • Canadian Campaigns 1860-70, by David Ross and Grant Tyler. Osprey Publishing, 1992. 47 pages.
  • County of Oxford Archives: The Oxford Rifles fonds. (Parallel title COA52) County of Oxford Archives Repository, ca. 1850 - 1989, nd. Created by the Oxford Rifles Militia.
  • Kalamazoo Public Library was organized in 1860 and opened to the general public in 1872. In 2002, it was awarded the prestigious National Library of the Year award by Library Journal. More recently, KPL received a 2011 State History Award for the Local History section of its website, and was honored in 2012 with a Michigan State Librarian's Citation of Excellence Award. It features an excellent research section and genealogy section. You can search the local papers going back over a century here. Phone: 269-553-7873 ( Ask for Alexander P. Merrill, Library Assistant, who uncovered all the W. H. Marchant info that the Hause and Benson families had spent decades and decades searching for... in about a minute and a half.


    JOHN MARCHANT begat...

    ROBERT M MARCHANT (1804 - 1884), who married SOPHIA JONES (d. 1839) and begat...

    WILLIAM MARCHANT (1828 - 1896), who married MARTHA LOUISA READ (1832 - 1886) and begat...

    WILLIAM HENRY MARCHANT (1850 - 1896), who married MARTHA HOLLAND (1852 - 1911) and begat...

    MARJORIE MARCHANT (1892 - 1939) who married CARLISLE HAUSE (1891 - 1972) and begat...

    CARLETON MARCHANT HAUSE, SR. (1917 - 1983) who married JEANNE BRUNNER (1918 - 2000) and begat...

    CARLETON MARCHANT HAUSE, JR. (b. 1939) who married MARTHA WENK (b. 1940) and begat...

    JEFF (who married LORI ANN DOTSON), KATHY (who married HAL LARSEN), ERIC (who married MARY MOONSAMMY), and MICHELE HAUSE (who married JOHN SCOTT HOUSTON).

    Carlisle Hause with Margaret Benson Weigelt and her daughter, Marilyl Weigelt.

    Marjorie Marchant's class song in the 1911 Memphis School Yearbook. (Thanks to Ruth Koppinger Suwalkowski of Memphis for the scan.)

    kent ancestry