Chapter 14: William McCutcheon (1777-1832):

William McCUTCHEON (2) was born on the 5th January 1777 in County Down, Province of Ulster, Northern Ireland and he died on the 13th April 1832 in Ontario.  He married Agnes ANDERSON circa 1802 in County Down.  She was born on the 1st August 1780 in Down and she died on the 5th March 1861 in Vaughan Township, York County, ON.

Although William McCutcheon is probably directly related to John McCutcheon (1770-1827) in Chapter 8, here is a more indirect link:  William McCutcheon (1777 – 1832)>>> Ann McCutcheon (1822 – 1880) Daughter of William>>>Charles Caldwell Junior (1867 – 1941) Son of Ann>>>Luella May Vanatter (1875 – 1926) Wife of Charles>>>Amanda Osborn (1851 – 1913) Mother of Luella May>>>Abraham Osborn (1817 – 1888) Father of Amanda>>>John Osborn (1848 – 1923) Son of Abraham>>>Ruth Edna Osborn (1881 – 1960) Daughter of John>>>William John McCutcheon (1872 – 1946) Husband of Ruth Edna>>>Stewart McCutcheon (1834 – 1921) Father of William John>>>Hugh  McCutcheon (1795 – 1860) Father of Stewart>>>John  McCutcheon (1770-1827) Father of Hugh.

William and Agnes, along with 9 children between the ages of 12 and 3, immigrated to Canada after 1825 and before 1832.

In 1792 Governor Simcoe divided Upper Canada into 19 counties, with York becoming number 14. In 1793 an accurate survey was done of Toronto Harbour and white settlers started trickling in.

The establishment of the city of Toronto as the capital of the province was basic to the development of York County and Vaughan Township.  After the land had been mapped the “Toronto passage” was confirmed to give lake access to Lake Huron.  When the first settlers started travelling up what was to become Yonge Street, Vaughan Township was a primeval forest.  In the early days Yonge Street north of Toronto was a tangled trail going in all directions to avoid the hills.

Vaughan Township is in the County of York, on the west side.  Bordering Vaughan on the north is King Township; on the south is York Township.  In the mid 1600’s, this area was home to about 2000 Huron People.  After the Huron, came the Seneca peoples; then the Mississauga peoples moved in for a while.  However, the first peoples didn’t permanently settle the watershed, as the area was prone to raiding by the Iroquois.  Between 1759 and 1793, there was not very much sign of habitation.  However, after 1793, white settlers began to trickle into the area.

The history of Vaughan Township was moulded by the events that transpired within its borders.  During the early 1800’s, Vaughan was part of the “Home District”.  Vaughan consisted of an area of 105 square miles.  Because of its limestone based soil conditions and a consistent average yearly rainfall, Vaughan was an outstanding farming area.  The black walnut tree grows very well in this area.  Crops were so good in this area, that sometimes a man could own his own land within a good year.  By 1842, farmers were producing wheat, rye, oats, peas, potatoes and Indian corn.   The settlement was completed about 35 years after the arrival of the pioneers.

In the early 1800’s, like all of the other townships in Ontario, Vaughan was wilderness.  The settlers came with Conestoga wagons drawn either with oxen or horse.  The earliest immigrants all came from the United States:  Pennsylvania Germans (colloquially called Pennsylvania Dutch); French Huguenots; Quakers.  All of the members of these three distinct ethnic groups had one thing in common:  they left their original homeland because of religious and political percussion and they had a common religious ancestry.  Moderate Protestantism.

It was into this mix that William, Agnes and their children arrived.  Between 1815 and 1825, most of the free land grants were occupied.  On a list of original patentees, neither William nor his son’s names have been found.  By the time that they arrived, the free land was already granted.  Their kin, brothers John and Samuel McCutcheon, along with their sons, were fortunate enough to receive their grants in 1824.  Crown lands and religious reserves were the tracts of land left.  After 1823, they could be purchased.

Also available for purchase were the land grants of settlers who didn’t fulfill their portion of the required regulations in order to receive title to their land, that being the clearing of a certain amount of land of trees, erecting a log cabin to a certain size and the improvement of the road in front of the property.  The settlers who came with some money could pay the patent fee on these properties.  Settlers could also rent Clergy or Crown reserve land for a period of 21 years.

In 1825 an irregular covered-wagon stage coach route from York to Georgina Township was started by Louis Bapp and Thornhill became a stopping place.  Thornhill was the oldest hamlet which had a saw mill by 1801 and a grist mill by 1815.  Settlement had been firmly established.

The original Patentee for Lot 32 in Concession 6 was Joseph Williams (1807); the original Patentee for Lot 35, Concession 9 was Rachael Dafoe (1801); the original Patentee for Lot 35, Concession 8 was Sarah Ellen Everett et al (1835).

The aforementioned Lots were eventually in the ownership of the three McCutcheon Brothers, David, Patrick and William so it is probable that these lots were purchased from the original owners.  All three brothers were registered voters in 1850.

In order to accomplish the purchases, this family must have arrived with money. They were not like the poorest of the impoverished, destitute Irish immigrants that were to arrive 15 years later from Ireland.

An example of an old log house in the area from the author’s collection.


  • Mary McCUTCHEON (3).                                                        “A”.
  • David McCUTCHEON (3).                                                      “B”.
  • Patrick McCUTCHEON (3).                                                    “C”.
  • Hugh McCUTCHEON (3).                                                       “D”.
  • William McCUTCHEON (3).                                                   “E”.
  • Samuel McCUTCHEON (3).                                                   “F”.
  • John McCUTCHEON (3) (William McCutcheon-2; McCutcheon-1) was born in 1816 County Down, Northern Ireland and he died in 1838 in Ontario.
  • Nancy McCUTCHEON (3) (William McCutcheon-2; McCutcheon-1) was born in 1819 in County Down and she died in 1843 in Ontario.
  • Ann McCUTCHEON (3).                                                         “G”.
  • Sarah Jean McCUTCHEON (3) (William McCutcheon-2; McCutcheon-1) was born and died in 1825 in County Down, Northern Ireland.

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