William James McCutcheon and Margaret Hayes Update:

Finally, a somewhat semi-accurate story of William James McCutcheon and his wife, Margaret Hayes. Over a 30 year period, from Ireland and Scotland, to Ontario, Canada and then to Kansas, USA, this couple traipsed  over 1/2 a globe, dragging most of their children with them. Finding records for them is very difficult because they were forging ahead BEFORE there was any sort of accurate record keeping. Throw in a civil war to hide their trail and some untimely deaths – makes for the reading of their story light fictional reading. I have had to use words like “circa”, “maybe”, “possibly” etc. and ask the question “why” to make some sense out of how they ended up in inhospitable Indian territory.


William James McCutcheon was born in County Down, Northern Ireland in 1823, the first child and son of Hugh McCutcheon and Mary Stewart. When a small boy 2 or 3 years of age, he made the arduous journey across the Atlantic Ocean with his parents and younger sibling to a new life in Erin Ontario, Canada.  On the journey across the ocean, his younger sibling died of fever and was buried at sea.  After arriving at the Port of Quebec, circa 1826, the family made it as far as Montreal, where his mother Mary, gave birth to their third child, Ann, in January of 1827.

His parents didn’t take a direct route to Erin Ontario where his grandparents where already living. Rather their next stop was Cobourg, Ontario where two more of his younger siblings were born.  The family of five finally arrived in Erin Ontario by 1831 and, by 1832, purchased the farm on Lot 9, Concession 4, which was to be his mother’s home for the next 62 years.  The farm was untouched wilderness, consisting of 100 acres – uncultivated.

Being the eldest child and a son, for the next 12 years or so, young William would have helped his parents manually log, clear, till and plant the land; build their first log house and barns; harvest their first crops in their new homeland.  He was not a stranger to pioneering and the hard work that came with it. This would have inspired him to follow his dreams of some day acquiring his own homestead – eventually leading him to the wild frontier of Kansas possibly as early as 1855………………………

The rest of the story can be found in Chapter 6. Hugh McCutcheon 1791-1861.


One thought on “William James McCutcheon and Margaret Hayes Update:

  1. Susan Martin says:

    Thank you for this most interesting account. It truly gives the flavour of the difficulties faced by our ancestors.

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