The McGregor Ross Vault at the Old Union Cemetery in Waterdown, Ontario
NOTE:All photos in these sections may be enlarged by clicking on them.
1. Peter McGregor (February 25, 1835 - December 1, 1920)
Peter's father was John Charles James McGregor (born at Fort George, New Brunswick, July 24, 1810, and died at his mansion Limestone Hall on Walker's Line just below the 10th Side Road in Nelson Township, Halton County, Ontario). His ancestry has been traced back to the MacGregor House of Glengyle and, ultimately, to Alpin, King of Scots (787 AD). His mother was Phoebe Zimmerman (December 16, 1811 - August 30, 1890) of Pennsylvania Dutch stock from the Village of Zimmerman near Limestone Hall. Their union produced twelve children of whom Peter was the first.
Peter was born at Waterdown, Ontario, and spent his late teens at Limestone Hall. He owned a farm on Lot 6 of Concession 6 in Nelson Township until at least 1871, operated a General Store in Cedarville, and established a sawmill in Dundalk, where he became the local magistrate and was also noted as the best tooth-puller in the district.
[John McGregor commissioned master builder Robert Stewart of Guelph to build Limestone Hall in 1853. The house, situated on a slight knoll, overlooked Limestone Creek a short distance away, and got its name from the material used in its construction. Stone masons took two years to cut the stone which was quarried locally and used to build its 22-inch thick walls.]
2. Mary Ann Wilson (1835 - December 25, 1905)
Peter McGregor married his first wife, Mary Ann Wilson, on May 3, 1855. She was the sixth of eight children of William Wilson and Janet Carr who were of United Empire Loyalist stock (born in Lanarkshire, Scotland). Peter and Mary Ann had five children, four of whom were born on the farm in Nelson Township before they moved to a farm in Dundalk where Mary Ann died on Christmas Day of 1905. CLICK HERE for a photograph of Peter and Mary Ann.
3. Isabela Wilson (1839 - 1914)
Later, following the death of Mary Ann, Peter retired and moved to Waterdown where his younger brother, Doctor John McGregor lived. Peter married Mary Ann's sister Isabela Wilson. In subsequent years, Mary Ann's body, which had been buried in Dundalk was moved to the family vault at Waterdown, where the three of them rest side by side.
4. Reverend John A. Ross (February 24, 1854 - July 26, 1942)>
John, the eighth of thirteen children of Alexander Ross and Janet "Jessie" Fraser, was born in a log cabin on the East half of Lot 13 of the Sixth Concession of Scott Township, Ontario County. In 1842, his parents had emigrated from the Shore of Drynie (above the village of Kilmuir),Knockbain Parish, Black Isle, to Upper Canada. Alexander's ancestry has been traced via a silver quaich to its owner in Ross-shire circa 1680. Another ancestor, named John, was among the rebels at the Battle of Culloden in opposition to a German King of England ruling Scotland, for which descendants may have the privilege of wearing a white cockade.
John and his younger brother Hugh were afforded an extended academic education, and both became Presbyterian ministers. John held teaching positions and spent two years as a student missionary with the Indians on St. Joseph's Island near Madoc before graduating in Theology from Knox College at the UofT in 1885. The "A" in John's name was simply added to distinguish him from others named John in the other family branches.
It was generally conceded that the Reverend John A. Ross could not cut a straight line with a saw (probably due to the fact that he broke his right thumb before his final exams for the B.A. and, since it never set and healed properly, he wrote with his left hand thereafter. But in his mid-sixties he entered a ploughing match near Paisley, Ontario, and secured second prize. With his interest in promoting community spirit within rural congregations, he organized the North Derby Ploughing Association in Grey County and he attended the annual meetings of the ploughing association in Toronto for many years (even after his retirement).
5. Phoebe Louise McGregor (March 4, 1868 - March 19, 1948)
Reverend John A. Ross met Phoebe at his first pastoral charge in Dundalk, Ontario, and they were married on April 20, 1887. Phoebe was the third of five children in the family of Peter McGregor and Mary Ann Wilson.
The first two children of John and Phoebe were born after they moved to Meaford, Ontario. Their remaining three children were born at the manse in Churchill, Ontario. The Reverend accepted further charges at Essex, clerk for the Presbytery of Sarnia, Wyoming, Waldemar, Kilsyth and Angus. In his final years, the Reverend and his congregation were part of the inauguration of the United Church of Canada (1925), and he retired to Toronto in 1929.
A favourite saying of Reverend John A. Ross was, "After a good meal, a good rest; after a poor meal, no work the rest of the day." If there was any question about one's place at the table, his wife could quote an ancient family saying (undoubtedly passed on by her father Peter McGregor), "Wherever a McGregor sits, is the head of the table."
CLICK HERE for pictures of Reverend John and Phoebe.
CLICK HERE for obituaries of Reverend John & Phoebe.
CLICK HERE for funeral home records of same.
CLICK HERE for a notarized affidavit re the McGregor Ross mausoleum.
CLICK HERE for The McGregor Story by Henry Ward and J. Douglas Ross.
6. Phoebe Jean McGregor Ross (August 21, 1898 - June 24, 1973)
Phoebe J. M. Ross was the third of five children in the family of Reverend John A. Ross and Phoebe Louise McGregor. Born at the manse in Churchill, she eventually obtained a Commercial and Secretarial education in Orangeville, and obtained a job at Continental Life Insurance Company in Toronto as her father's term of ministry began in Kilsyth. In 1920, she joined the Toronto Hydro-Electric System and served with them for a total of fourty-three years before she retired from her position as head secretary in the Personnel Department.
Perhaps Phoebe will be best remembered as one of the organizers (together with her cousin Jim Ross) of the first Annual Ross Family Reunion in 1929, on the occasion of her father's retirement. The year 2005 marks the 75th anniversary of the reunion, which may make it the oldest Ross get-together in Canada.
A private entombment of her cremated remains was held on Saturday, June 30, 1973, at the family vault in Waterdown, Ontario, by her nephew J. Douglas Ross of Toronto. Phoebe's ashes in a wee casket were placed on a headboard at the South end of the cement encasement.
The cemetery custodian had replaced the lock and stored the key in his office for safe keeping. It was noted at the time that the brass plaque, inscribed "McGregor Ross", was missing from its place above the vault door. CLICK HERE for a photo of Phoebe Ross.
Sources for the above information are The McGregor Story by Henry Ward of Edmonton, Alberta, January, 1971, and Our Ross Family Story by J. Douglas Ross of Toronto, Ontario, August, 1978.
J. Douglas Ross, B.A. M.Ed.