The History of the Family of James and Margaret McEvoy of Bowesville
In Otawa's Notre Dame Cathedral(now Basilica) on May 17, 1848, James McEvoy married, Margaret McNamara. The McEvoy family from Ireland set foot in Canada as early as the 1830’s and were not famine emigrants. James came from Athy, County Kildare, Ireland. James and Margaret farmed near the tiny village of Bowesville, Ontario, in Gloucester Township, on Lot 12, Concession 3. The witnesses to this marriage were a couple named, Mary and David O’Meara. Mary (nee McEvoy) and David O’Meara (from Rathcormac, Ireland) were next door farming neighbours to the McEvoys in Bowesville. Therefore, Mary was most likely James McEvoy's sister, since there was a Mary born to the same parents as James in Athy. David and Mary McEvoy were also married in Notre Dame Cathedral on November 19, 1833, and the O’Meara’s oldest son, John was born in Canada in 1835 (census of 1851 and 1871), so the McEvoy family must have arrived in Canada before 1833. There has been no record found of James and Mary's father, Edward McEvoy in Canada. It is not known if he passed away earlier in Ireland, or if perhaps he did not survive the treacherous journey.
James McEvoy was born in Athy, Kildare, Ireland in 1818, and died in Gloucester, Ontario on November May 25, 1896, at age seventy-eight. Margaret MacNamara, born in Newport, Tipperary Ireland, July 10, 1820, died March 31, 1900 at age eighty. They are buried together in Our Lady of the Visitation Cemetery, South Gloucester(now part of the city of Ottawa), Ontario. Nine children were registered as born to them in Canada. Somewhere, in South Gloucester is buried their first son, John McEvoy, baptized at Notre Dame Cathedral August 1848, just three months prior to their wedding and who died in 1856 at the age of six. A daughter, Bridget, also previously unknown, was born to Margaret and James and baptized in OLVC in 1858. She made her Confirmation there also, but no more is known about Bridget.
The parish records of Our Lady of South Gloucester Roman Catholic Church report the burial of a Rose Ann (nee Burns) McEvoy, the widow of an Edward McEvoy in 1855. The fact that James' father is listed as Edward on his marriage record, and that a witness to the burial of Rose Ann was David O’Meara is further proof that Rose Ann Burns and Edward McEvoy were the parents of Mary and James McEvoy. It is now known from rootsireland that James McEvoy was born to Edward McEvoy and Rose Ann of Athy, Kildare Kildare and baptized at Mountmellick Parish of Co. Laois on July 1, 1818. Mountmellick Parish crossed the borders of Counties Kildare and Laois as was common with many parishes at that time in Ireland. According to rootsireland an Edward Mceboy was born to William and Bridget Mceboy of Brownstown, Athy, Kildare and baptized on May 9, 1776. Edward married Rose Ann Byrn(e) of Nicholastown, Athy in Laois in 1803. Rose Ann was the daughter of Thomas Byrn and Rose Wall. Thomas and Rose were married July 7, 1771 .
Margaret (McNamara) McEvoy was the daughter of Michael McNamara and Bridget McCormick, of Newport, Tipperary near the border of Clare which is a county riddled with McNamaras. Michael was the son of Thomas McNamara and Bridget Conne(o)rs a farmer in Newport, Co. Tipperary (rootsireland). Margaret had four sisters, Bridget(1814), Honor(1818), Mary(1821) and Catherine(1825) and one brother Michael(1823) --- all were baptized in Newport Parish, Tipperary. According to the Allison Records, Michael McNamara arrived in Montreal August 1844 with 4 adults and 2 children, who then took the steamer Montreal en route to Bytown. Bridget probably married Richard Hardgrove in Ireland. Honora/Hanna married Martin Moore in 1844 and later John Wall in 1857, Mary married Michael O’Brien, and Catherine married Thomas Cully July 24, 1855. The later three marriages took place at Notre Dame Basilica in Ottawa
The oldest surviving son of James and Margaret, Edward Sr., was born in 1852. He married Hannah (officially Hanorah) Nolan, April 13, 1895, at Our Lady of the Visitation Church in South Gloucester. Hannah Nolan(born November 1, 1865) was the daughter of their close neighbours Michael Nolan and Mary Daly of Johnson’s Corners. The couple had three children, Lenore, Monica, and Edward Jr. Sometime during the 1880’s, Edward Sr. and his brother Michael purchased land from James Bowes, where they built a house and adjoining store, which included a post office. For a short time, they owned all four corners of Bowesville. Edward is described by one who knew him, as a real gentleman, and a kind and generous man, who would have given away everything in the McEvoy’s store, if not for his brother Michael, the business head. Edward, therefore, stuck mainly to farming, while Michael and Hannah ran the store and post office. He was several years older than Hannnah, and he died Apr. 28, 1915, at age sixty-two, presumably from a mastoid infection.
Michael McEvoy, the second son, was born in 1854. He learnt the retail business from distant relatives, named Wall (see parents of Rosanna page 1), who had a store at the corner of Byward and Clarence St. in Ottawa which eventually became a Dominion Store. Later, Michael taught the business to Bridget Nolan, a sister of Hannah McEvoy, who then moved to Ottawa to open a store on Somerset St. East. It is said that Michael McEvoy (though there are some who believe this story refers to a different McEvoy brother) did, upon occasion, enjoy a trip over to Hull for a drink or two. Apparently, the horse knew its own way home from these jaunts--of course every family has a similar story. So, possibly, in spite of his business savvy, Michael was indeed, an Irishman. There is, also, talk of a love between Michael and one of Hannah Nolan’s sisters, who to his chagrin, married someone else and moved to Chicago where a year later she died. Michael remained a bachelor all his life, and on December 27, 1914 died at age sixty-two.
Rose Ann McEvoy, the eldest living child, was born in 1850. She spent most of her life on the farm caring for her aging parents. Upon their death, she and her adopted orphan daughter (probably a Child Migrant) from England, along with the orphan’s brother named Jones, moved in to Ottawa. In the ensuing years, she moved several times, but always within a few blocks either way of her younger brother, Patrick (born Feb. 1862), and her sister, Mary Winnifred (born 1859). According to the Ottawa City Directories: in 1915 Rose lived at 170 Florence Street; in 1918 at 454 McLeod Street; and in 1923 at 68 Florence Street. At that time, Patrick resided at 436 McLeod Street. However, soon after the death of her sister, Mary on June 14, 1923, at age 64, Rose moved in with Mary’s husband, Thomas Donoher, at 208 Main Street. She remained there until her own death on April 14, 1927, at age seventy-seven years. Thomas Donoher remarried and continued to live there.
The Donohers, Thomas and Mary (McEvoy), had previously lived at; 415 McLeod Street in 1895, 33 Florence Street in l909, and then 472 Gilmour, before going to Main Street, in Ottawa East. Thomas worked for the Ottawa Citizen. From time to time, Thomas’ brother Lawrence lived with them. Mary and Rose McEvoy, and Lawrence Donoher are buried together in the Donoher plot at South Gloucester. It appears that Thomas Donoher is buried elsewhere with his second wife. Thomas and Mary were childless.
Contrary to the recollections of his nephew, as stated in the book, Bowesville: A Place to Remember, Patrick McEvoy did not own a store in Ottawa, but rather was a sales agent who over the years represented a variety of manufacturers. In the Ottawa City Directory of 1895, he is listed as a Teas and Coffees Broker living at 15 Elgin Street. In 1923, having moved to 436 McLeod where he and his family remained for many years, he is described as an Agent for Bishopric Mg. Patrick married in the early 1900’s to Florence Sales, a woman almost twenty years his junior (he was only six years younger than his father-in-law). They had two sons: Alan James, the eldest (born 1905), who married Rhoda and had one daughter, Lois; and Arnold, who was born in 1907 and never married. Patrick’s wife was probably a non-Catholic, and Patrick must have left the Catholic church, since he is buried in his wife’s family plot at Beechwood, Ottawa’s oldest Protestant cemetery. Patrick died in 1934, at age seventy-five, but Florence lived until 1954.
Patrick McEvoy’s younger son, Arnold, served in WWII, and following the war worked in Ottawa as an employee of the federal government. Alan McEvoy, the eldest, worked as a proof-reader for the Ottawa Citizen, and lived in Britannia Heights. Arnold died in 1967, at sixty-two years, and is buried with his parents, while Alan, who died in 1959, is buried at Pinecrest Cemetery. Lois McEvoy, Alan’s daughter, worked for the Metropolitan Life Co. in Ottawa. In the 1940’s, Lois lived at 68 McLaren Street with someone named Ella McEvoy, who also worked for Metropolitan Life (coincidence, or could Ella be the adopted daughter of Rose McEvoy?). The 1945 Ottawa City Directory is the last that mentions Lois so her whereabouts after that date are unknown.
James Jr., the youngest McEvoy (born 1864), who studied mining engineering at McGill, and was the only child in the family to be so highly educated, is reported to have returned from university filled with atheistic notions, to which he attempted to convert his brothers and sisters. Edward Sr. was not seriously swayed, but some of the younger siblings may have been influenced. James married Florence Ray, the daughter of well-known Ottawa Coal merchant, C.C. Ray. After one year of teaching in the local school at Bowesville, and several years in Ottawa employed by the Department of Mines, James moved to British Columbia, where he played a part in the development of the interior of that province. It appears that they were childless. James was the first McEvoy geologist.
Except for Patrick and James Jr., all the other McEvoy children of that generation are to be found at Our Lady of the Visitation RC Cemetery in South Gloucester. Even Thomas McEvoy, who moved to the States early in his life, and was at the time of his death, living and working as a miner in Asotin, Washington State (Ottawa Citizen, Dec. 28, 1908), was returned to South Gloucester for burial. James, Jr. died on July 18, 1935 at age seventy-three. Although his death occurred in Corbin, British Columbia, his obituary states that he was James McEvoy of Toronto (Ottawa Citizen, July 22, 1935). He had a private funeral and was buried in Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa. His wife, Florence Ray (1876-1942), is buried there with him in her family plot.
The McEvoys seem to have been a close family. Those who moved to the city lived close to each other. There also seems to be a pattern, not only to marry late, but also to marry spouses with a great age difference. Not only Hannah and Patrick did the latter, but Hannah’s daughter, Monica, who married Alfred Kavanagh, twenty-three years her elder. Both were fairly common practices among the Irish at that time.
Circa 1919, after the deaths of her husband and Michael McEvoy, Hannah (Hanorah) McEvoy, sold the McEvoy land (part of it to her brother, John J. Nolan), and moved to Ottawa. She lived with her son, Edward, in the Sandy Hill area, and she is described as, still elegant and very sprightly even in her eighties. Edward Jr. studied botany at MacDonald College of McGill University, and on June 15, 1943, at St. Theresa’s Church in Ottawa, he married Jean Thomas from Formby, Lancashire England. Soon afterwards, Hannah took to her bed, and spent the rest of her days in Ottawa or Toronto, waited upon by one or the other of her daughters, except for the occasional sojourn to take the waters of the then-renowned Winchester Springs near Winchester, Ontario. After forty-eight years as a widow, she died January 15, 1962, in Toronto, at ninety-seven years of age, and was returned to South Gloucester to be buried with her husband.
Lenore McEvoy (Catherine Leonora), the eldest daughter of Hannah and Edward Sr., was born in Bowesville on January 28, 1897. Lenore is the name she used, but the parish records of Our Lady of the Visitation Church state that, Catherine Leonora, the child of Edward and Hannah McEvoy, was baptized on January 31, 1897. The sponsors were John Nolan and Ann McEvoy (presumably Rose Ann). While in her early twenties, Lenore moved to Ottawa and lived for awhile at 36 Florence Street. She worked for the Canadian Department of Mines, and on November 4, 1926 at St. Georges RC Church in Ottawa West (then called Nepean), she married a geologist, Dr. William Fleming James, from St. John, New Brunswick. They lived for a few years in northern Ontario before they moved to Toronto, where they lived until her death on April 23, 1977. Lenore is buried with her husband in Mount Hope Cemetery in Toronto.
Their younger daughter, Monica (Mona) Margaret McEvoy, born April 4, 1900, trained as a nurse at the Ottawa General Hospital. On May 2, 1926, also at St. Georges Church in Nepean, Mona married Alfred Byron Kavanagh, the owner of the renowned Kavanagh Bros. Grocery. It seems that both girls at the time of their marriages were living at the McEvoy Cottage in Britannia. Monica spent most of her adult life at 249 McLeod Street in Ottawa, where they raised their four children. She died April 28, 1979, and is buried in Notre Dame Cemetery in Ottawa with her husband Alfred. She had been a widow for twenty-seven years while nursing at the Perley Hospital in Ottawa until her retirement.
Edward Jr. (Ed) McEvoy, Edward Sr. and Hannah’s only son, and his wife, Jean, lived at 2682 Violet Street in Britannia, in what had been for some years previous, the McEvoy summer cottage(now demolished). In the early days at Britannia, Edward raised bees for a hobby. He worked for the Canadian Experimental Farm as a research botanist until he retired in 1967. Following his retirement, Ed and Jean wintered in Delray Beach, Florida for ten years. Edward died February 17, 1988, at age eighty-six, and is buried in the family plot at South Gloucester. His wife Jean, who died Oct. 15, 1989, is buried there with him.
The only descendants of this line of McEvoys still living in the Ottawa area are: Anne Eileen Kavanagh, Monica’s youngest daughter, with her husband Garry Guzzo, their two daughters Andrea and Natalie and four grandchildren; Patrick Lee Kavanagh, and Mary Beth Kavanagh, the two children of John Kavanagh, along with Mary Beth’s husband, Richard Souliere, and their two adopted daughters ; and Joan Frances McEvoy, the only child of Edward Jr., with her husband, Thomas Rooney, her three children, Siobhan Mairead, Eimhin Padraig, and Niall Eoin, their three spouses and her four grandsons.
Anne Eileen Kavanagh (born September 30, 1942) trained as a nurse at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and later studied at the University of Ottawa and worked as a public health nurse for several years. She married Garry Guzzo on May 17, 1969, at St. Theresa’s Church, Ottawa, and has since been a homemaker and help-mate to her husband, who has led a varied career as lawyer, judge and politician. Garry was for some years the Conservative member of the Provincial Legislature of Ontario for an Ottawa riding. Both their daughters are graduates of St. Francis Xavier University. Andrea, the eldest, born July 30, 1970, works in public relations and is self-employed. Natalie Guzzo born October 26, 1973, worked for two years in Australia for the Canadian Olympic Games Committee.
John Alfred Kavanagh (born September 23, 1933) was a masters graduate of Harvard University Law School, and subsequently, a professor of law at the University of Ottawa for over twenty years. He married Lorraine Valiquette of Ottawa on September 4, 1960, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Ottawa. They have two children, Patrick and Mary Beth who married Rick Souliere and adopted two children from China. On October 7, 1983, at age fifty, he died of lung cancer. He is buried at Notre Dame Cemetery in Ottawa.
The only child of Edward McEvoy Jr., Joan Frances McEvoy (born December 3, 1945), studied library science at the University of Toronto, but has worked at a variety of jobs, including homemaker, which has been her main occupation since her marriage to Thomas Rooney on June 4, 1977 at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Ottawa. They lived for twelve years in Nepean area of Ottawa and then in the Kanata area. Presently, they own a condo apartment in Centretown Ottawa. Their eldest child, Siobhan, (born March 13, 1980) studied at the University of Ottawa. Their son Eimhin (March 25, 1982) studied animation at Algonquin College, and Niall (September 24, 1996) received a B.A. from the University of Ottawa. All are married and Joan has four grandchildren.
Monica McEvoy’s eldest daughter is Sheila Theresa Kavanagh (born May 10, 1929), who married Redo (Buck) Serafini on May 22, 1953, at St. Theresa’s Church in Ottawa, and then moved to Alberta her primary home ever since. They lived for a short time in Red Deer before they moved to Calgary. Sheila and her husband have two daughters, Susan and Paula, and two sons, Andrew and Peter. All the children, except Susan, live in the Calgary area. Sheila and Redo retired to Victoria, B.C. until health issues forced them to return to Calgary to a seniors residence. Redo passed away February 15, 2015. Sheila has eleven grandchild and so far, four great grandchildren.
Paul Michael Kavanagh (born January 2, 1928), Monica’s eldest son, was a renowned geologist in Toronto. He was a doctoral graduate of Princeton University. On June 1, 1953, just a few days after his sister Sheila’s wedding, he married a Pennsylvania girl, Nancy Wullschleger (born June 7, 1930), also at St. Theresa’s Church. They had three children. Janet was born in Ottawa in 1955, after which they lived for awhile in Cyprus, where their second child, Paul Edward (Ted), was born in 1956, and later in the Yukon, where in 1959 a third child, Gerret William, was born. They finally settled at 463 Lytton Blvd. in North York, Toronto where they remained for many years before divorcing in the late 1960s. Paul married Marcia Sorber in Abington, Pennsylvania on March 11, 1973. He worked for several prominent firms in Toronto, including Kerr Addison Paul and Algoma. He served two years as President of the Geological Association of Canada for which he was awarded a gold medal. He and Marcia lived in Toronto for forty-six years until Paul's death in October 2019. Paul's first wife, Nancy, had passed away in Sudbury (where she lived as Mrs. Phil Thurston), just seven months earlier on March 19, 2019.
Lenore James (nee McEvoy) and her husband Bill had two sons, William Jr. and Paul McEvoy James. They resided for many years at 300 Vesta Drive in the Forest Hills area of Toronto (along with their beloved dog Smitty, best-remembered for his fondness for drinking from toilet bowls). At the same time, the Jameses owned Malden Farm near Georgetown, Ontario, where Bill raised prize-winning Aberdeen Angus cattle. Lenore died in Toronto in April 23, 1977 and is buried in Hope Cemetery. Paul James, Lenore’s younger son born March 1, 1930, joined the Basilian order of priests, and was ordained June 28, 1960. He taught for many years at Michael Power High School in the Toronto area. Father Paul died in Toronto in 1999 after a prolonged illness.
William Jr. (Bill), the eldest son of Lenore, born February 5, 1929 in Toronto was a geologist-mining executive. Bill received a doctorate from McGill in 1956, and married Joanna Watson of Toronto on September 18, l954, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Toronto. They had six children: four sons, Paul, Bill, George, and John, and two daughters, Anne and Mary Lenore. Their eldest child, Paul James, was born in Mexico City, their second, Bill, in Montreal and the third, Anne, in Elliot Lake, Ontario. The others were born in Toronto, where they lived for many years at 41 St. Leonards Avenue, Toronto. Bill and Joanna later separated. Bill passed away on September 4, 2018. His son, Paul Jr. lived at the Malden farm for awhile, but by now it may have been sold.
All of the McEvoy descendants, with the exception of Paula Serafini, have chosen the city life. However, several are, or have been involved in fields in some way related to the land. The family has produced six geologists, a son of Paul Kavanagh and a son of Bill James who are still active. The name James has carried down the family, but there is not a single known living descendant of James and Margaret McEvoy still bearing the surname McEvoy. However, the couple would, undoubtedly, be very pleased at the large number of their descendants spread throughout Canada, the United States and now Hong Kong, and amazed at the varied accomplishments of their offspring.
Compiled and written by Joan McEvoy Rooney, a granddaughter of Edward McEvoy Sr., and daughter of Edward Jr. July, 1998. Revised November 2001 and April 2020.
Thanks to Anne Guzzo, Paul and Marcia Kavanagh, Anne James Miller, Sheila, Andrew, Peter, and Paula Serafini.
Reminiscences thanks to Sister Helen Nolan, a niece of Hannah McEvoy.