Robert Colwell (1821-1883), Cumberland Bay, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada

Today’s family sketch and another that will post on 19 June 2023 are part of my family tree only as collateral lines. I am not related to any of these people, but there is a lot of incomplete or wrong information out there pertaining to Robert Colwell of Cumberland Bay, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada and his family.

I’d like to correct and expand on the details so others have a better road map to follow.

Robert Colwell was born c1821 in New Brunswick, Canada and probably in Queens County, where he spent his adult life.

Queens County has one critical loss that would provide some proof of family relationships – the 1851 census is missing for this county.

Therefore, a theory is proposed that Robert Colwell was the son of Robert Colwell (1790-1871) and Sarah (1789-1881+) of Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada.

Both Robert Sr. and Sarah were born and married in Ireland.  Robert Colwell Jr.’s daughter Melissa married Robert W. Colwell, the son of Joseph Colwell, born c1815 in Ireland.

Sarah Colwell, aged 90 years, lived just four doors away from Robert Jr. in 1881.

If Robert and Sarah are the parents of both Robert Jr. and Joseph, then they arrived in Canada between 1815 and 1821.

Robert Colwell (born 1821) married (1) _________ Milroy (per the death certificate of their daughter Hannah Edith Wilson) about 1852. Miss Milroy was born in Grand Lake, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada and may have been a daughter of William and Hannah Milroy who lived in Grand Lake.

They were the parents of three children:

1. Hannah Edith, born 11 September 1853, Cumberland Bay, Queens County; died 16 May 1933, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada; married John R. Wilson, c1877 as his second wife. Their first child, Isabelle May, was born 28 March 1878, per a late registration birth certificate.
2. William, born 1854; died after 1871, when he was at home with  his father, stepmother and siblings. No further record, but his father’s obituary in 1883 said he was survived by 12 children, so William was living somewhere.
3. Willard James, born 25 December 1855; died 31 August 1930, Cumberland Bay, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada; married (1) Joanna Chapman (2) Lucinda Reid. Son Arthur F. Colwell lived in Fargo, North Dakota in 1930.

Robert’s first wife died sometime between Christmas 1855 and the 1861 census when Robert was enumerated with wife Annie (Day), 19, along with Hannah, William and James Willard, his children.

Robert and Annie were likely newlyweds, given that she was just 19 years old in 1861.

Robert and Annie were the parents of nine more Colwell children:

1. John Duncan, born 4 December 1861; died 13 January 1927, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada; married Melinda McAllister.
2. Melissa, born 14 April 1862; died 29 June 1955, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada; married (1) Robert W. Colwell, son of Joseph and Maryann Colwell, c1881 (2) George Robert Baxter, 9 October 1912, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
3. Martha, born c1865; died after 1881 census, when she was living at home with her parents.
4. Mary Elizabeth, born 11 April 1867; died between 1901 census and August 1906; married George Zebulon McAllister, 9 February 1887, Chipman, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada. George married (2) Minnie Blanche Corey, 8 August 1906.
5. James Walter, born 19 April 1869; died 14 March 1951, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada; married Florence Amelia Brown, 27 November 1894, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada
6. Bertha M., born February 1871; died 4 April 1901, Orono, Penobscot, Maine of consumption; married James Alexander McKenzie, 2 October 1889, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada
7. Victoria Loretta, born 11 November 1873; died 4 May 1953, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada; married Adam Robert Phillips, 12 July 1888, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada
8. Robert Porter, born 12 October 1875; died 10 August 1965, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada; married Alberta E. Brown, 28 February 1895, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada
9. Delphine, born 1879; died before 27 April 1954, when husband Melvin died; married (1) Moses Reuben Brown, 27 November 1894 (2) Melvin Theodore O’Leary, 3 January 1922

Aside from losing the trail of William and Martha Colwell, the details for Robert Colwell’s children are quite complete. Most had children so there are quite a few descendants of Robert Colwell and both of his wives.


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