D is for Daniel, that could be my son but actually it is for my gr gr grandfather that he is named after. Although in pictures of him as an elderly fellow he looks not so pretty he was an awesome person and someone that I have a great deal of admiration for.
Daniel O’Connor was born in Togher, near Dunmanway in Cork Ireland in 1796. He was the son of Michael O’Connor and Joanna Ronan. And the brother to Charles, Owen, Timothy, John, Patrick, Norah, Margaret and Michael. In his early years it appears that he went to England to work in a factory in Sheffield that made silverware and he ended up bringing some to Ireland with him and then on to Canada. He was literate and it is said that he studied medicine under a physician in Cork City. But he also knew something of the law which he used once in Canada as well.
In 1923 he traveled from Cork to Montreal and down to Leeds and Grenville Counties in Ontario. It was wild country at that time. We really do not know what work he initially did but he traveled down to what is now called Delta where he had a cousin John living and might have stayed with him. He applied for and was given 150 acres of land at what is called Long Point by the Crown. He also long the way had met the Trainors from Meath in Ireland who also arrived around the same time as he did. He ended up marrying Bridget Trainor who was about 12 or 13 years younger than his 30 years.
They built a frame house at Long Point where they raised their 11 children. Two daughters MaryAnn and Catherine died when they were 9 and 15. I have searched for records to find out from what they passed but have not found any. All other 9 children lived to be adults and at least 6 or 7 of them lived to be quite old – in their late 80’s or 90’s.
Daniel deeded a few acres to the township to build a school house in 1852. Up until then all the children had been attending school in a log cabin about a mile away. Finally in 1862 a stone school house was built on that land and it was open until 1960. Daniels signature is on the school board records from the early years of the school. He wanted his children to have an education. In those days getting through 8th grade gave them a good enough education to find employment. None of his children were able to go to high school or beyond.
Daniel lived to be 91 years old, dying in 1887. My grandfather remembered his grandfather which was very special for him being one of the only cousins who lived right near the grandparents. His obituary is very long and says a great deal about the kind of person he was. They were one of the few Catholic families in the area and the local ministers would come to visit them and sit at their kitchen table and discuss religion. He was open to listening to them and they to him. He also would receive books and newspapers and the neighbors would come and he would read to them. He served as a magistrate in Leeds County Court. He served in the militia under Captain Robinson and later under Captain Kendrick. Also among the visitors to his home is said to have been Wilfred Laurier and Darcy McGee. How much of this is fact is unknown but from all the various tales it would appear that he was highly respected and successful.
So when we were expecting our last child we agreed we would name him Daniel if he were a boy. I could not think of a better person to name him after.