I’ve written about my Wilson family who settled on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada several times, the most recent being last year.
Robert Wilson and Mary Woodward, two of the first settlers on Campobello Island and holders of the earliest land deed on the island, are my earliest known Wilson ancestors.
My line continues through their son, Robert, who married Dolly Holmes in May 1790. This marriage record is found in the register of David Owen, the Campobello Island land baron of his day, and justice of the peace at the time.
Today, I’d like to follow the descendants of Robert Sr. through the six known children of Robert Jr. and Dolly (Holmes) Wilson.
Robert and Dolly were the parents of at least six children:
1. John Woodward Wilson, born c1792; died shortly before 11 November 1826.
2. Maria, born c1794; died before 25 October 1828;
3. Thankful, born c1797; died 24 March 1887, Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada
4. Daniel/David, born c1799; died about 14 November 1829; unmarried. There are no descendants in this line.
5. Silence Holmes, born c1801; died after the 1871 census of Campobello Island
6. Jeremiah, born c1803/06; died 7 February 1871. Jeremiah married Sarah Savage and had one daughter, Dolly. She married Howard Jackson, 11 April 1873, but died in March 1887, aged 43 years, 5 months, but left no children. There are no descendants in this line.
John Woodward Wilson, born c1792 is the eldest known child of Robert and Dolly Holmes. Little is known about him because he died by 11 November 1826 when the death of Captain John W. Wilson was printed in the Eastport Sentinel.
However, no cause of death was reported nor was there a mention of his survivors.
What is certain is that his middle name Woodward was to honor his grandmother’s family and his given name was the same as that of her father – John Woodward, who had died far away in Massachusetts in 1762.
John was a seafarer, like many other residents in the area, and had earned the rank of captain. Whether he worked on a fishing vessel, whaler or transported cargo by sea is unknown.
John married Rachel Parker on 3 September 1818 on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada.
Sadly, even less is known about Rachel Parker, believed to be the daughter of Jonathan Parker and his unknown wife. She was likely born in the late 1790s and no later than 1800. Her death date hasn’t been found, either. However, Rachel is not found in the 1851 census of New Brunswick and there is no likely Rachel living in Washington County, Maine in 1850. It is possible she died as early as 1823 in childbirth.
It is only because of an extremely diligent census taker, who remains unknown, who added information not required, that I was able to identify two children of John and Rachel.
Family #95 on Campobello Island in 1851 was that of Leonard and Maria Newman. Living with them is one John Wilson, age 28 years and under relationship the census taker wrote in “Son to Woodward Wilson.”
Notice that Leonard and Maria named their first child John W. and their third child is Jeremiah, another Wilson name.
Further digging uncovered the death certificate of Jeremiah Newman, who died 5 June 1914 in Easport, Washington, Maine. His parents were named as Leonard Newman and Maria Wilson.
Therefore, it is probably that John was living with his married sister’s family.
There are but three children so far identified for John Woodward and Rachel Wilson. It is likely all were born on Campobello Island:
- Maria, born c1819; died 24 March 1854, Wilson’s Beach, Campobello Island, aged 35 years; married Leonard Newman, c1838.
- Child, died by 5 October 1822, identified as child of John W. Wilson.
- John Woodward, born c1823; died 11 August 1854, Campobello Island; apparently unmarried.
No other children have been identified for this couple. As Maria is the only one of the three known to have married, her children are the only known descendants of John Woodward Wilson and wife Rachel Parker.
Maria was the mother of five sons – John W. (born 1839), Joseph (born 1841), Jeremiah (born 1845), Leonard (born 1847) and Nelson (1849-10 August 1866) and one daughter, Rachel (born 1852).
Part 2 of this series will look at Maria Wilson, born c1794.