McDougall, William James

Birth Name McDougall, William James 1a 2a
Gender male
Age at Death less than 56 years, 9 months, 19 days


William James McDougald was the son of James McDougald and Sarah Dyment. His father died when he was about 12 years old, and his mother remarried, to John Colwill, soon after. Sarah Dyment Colwill died in January 1878, and her father died later that year. In Humphrey Dyment's will, William was to receive a farm on the Northam Road, next to his uncle Humphrey's.

From the description of the location of the farm, this would seem to be the farm shown under John Colwill's name on later maps, next to that of Humphrey Dyment on the Northam Road. This seems to be what happened to the land. There was a land conveyance from William James McDougall, a labourer, of 75 acres in Lot 13, dated 6 August 1878, a couple of days before Humphrey's death. The document gives the impression that the farm had been Sarah's "being land conveyed to Sarah Colwell by indenture executed by Humphrey Diamond." (couldn't find this in the PEI Land Conveyance records to 1872) The next day, John Colwill and his second wife transferred the land to George Colwill. A George Colwill was named on the earlier land conveyance as the person ensuring that both parties were satisfied with the exchange. If I understand the wording on the documents, this exchange was not registered until 1886.

The amount William James was paid for this land was not disclosed - only the nominal amount was given. At the time of the land transaction, William James was described as being a labourer from Bedeque.

However, according to a survey map dated 1875, John Colwill had purchased the farm next to Humphrey Dyment in 1866, which is more likely the date that his wife Sarah and James McDougall obtained the land. On the 1861 census entry for James McDougall, the full rent on the farm was due in 1865.

Miss Johanna Smith lived as a servant girl with Mr McDonald, Bedeque Point and was industrious and saving. A fine looking young fellow named William James McDougall was also hired and in course of time managed to gain Miss Smith's affections, and then deserted her and took up with another girl. Miss Smith applied to a lawyer for redress and McDougall was arrested under a bailable writ for damages and breach of promise and lodged in Summerside Jail and a stop for the time put to his courting. But although Miss Smith had her heartless lover caged, she did not feel happy and passed sleepless nights thinking about his hard fate, and to the jail she went to see him. He promises that if she sets him free he will marry her. Neither has the two dollars for the license but some generous friends go round with the hat and a JP consents to perform the ceremony free gratis. A large gatherine of the people of Summerside, with several of the leading barristers of the Province were now met in the Court Room. Examiner -- 18790801 -- Page 02

William married Johanna Smith in 1879. They were married by a justice of the peace in Summerside, possibly because Johanna was Roman Catholic and William was a Protestant. The list of witnesses was impressive: no family members, but a who's who of Summerside notables, like Edward Hodgson, Louis Davies, Richard Hunt, Robert J. Holman, and Thomas Kelly.

Their first child, Catherine Bertha, was born in 1880 in Summerside, and the next two boys were born in Nova Scotia. The absence of the family from the 1881 census might be explained by their move from PEI to Nova Scotia around 1881/1882.

William and his sons worked in the coal mines, in Springhill, Nova Scotia. In 1901, William McDougall, born March 14 1854, was living with his wife Joanna and children Catherine, James and John. William and his sons were Church of England, and the two women in the family were Roman Catholics. William could not read and write, and his wife could only read. All of their children were literate.

William does not appear in the 1911 census with his wife and youngest son. His older son had married and had moved to Glace Bay, and his daughter, who did not marry until 1914, also couldn't be found in the 1911 census. There was a death record for a William McDougall in 1911 in Cumberland County, born in 1856 in PEI. His status is given as "single?", perhaps an indication that he and his wife had separated sometime after the 1901 census, or that he had gone to Amherst alone to find work.

William had definitely died by 1921, when his wife was described as a widow in the census of that year. She was living alone in Pictou County, NS and she was supported by an income.

From marriage and other records, I am reasonably confident that these are William and Johanna's children - there were just not that many William or Johanna McDougalls from PEI living in Pictou Co., Nova Scotia at this time.

name: William Mcdougall
event: Death, event date: 13 April 1911
event place: , Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada
marital status: single?
age: 55, estimated birth year: 1856 PEI
registration year: 1911
volume: 5
page: 242
Heart failure, residence Amherst, occupation - labourer
Citing this Record "Nova Scotia, Vital Records, 1763-1957," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Jan 2013), William Mcdougall, 1911.

Sources: Williams's birth is in the PEI baptismal Index, and his marriage in PEI Marriages. He is in the 1891 and 1901 census records in Nova Scotia. He is named as a grandson in Humphrey Dyment's will.


Event Date Place Description Sources
Birth March 13, 1854 Lot 13, Prince County, Prince Edward Island, Canada PEI Baptismal Index 1b 2b
Death before 1911 Nova Scotia, Canada perhaps April 13 1911 in Amherst, at age 55  
Occupation 1891   coal miner in 1891 and 1901 census records  


Relation to main person Name Birth date Death date Relation within this family (if not by birth)
Father McDougall, JamesSeptember 10, 1830before 1868
Mother Dyment, SarahOctober 6, 1832January 31, 1878
         McDougall, William James March 13, 1854 before 1911
    Sister     McDougall, Mary Elizabeth February 1, 1864


Family of McDougall, William James and Smith, Johanna

Married Wife Smith, Johanna ( * July 12, 1848 + March 19, 1925 )
Event Date Place Description Sources
Marriage July 21, 1879 Summerside, Prince County, Prince Edward Island, Canada    
Name Birth Date Death Date
McDougall, Catherine BerthaJanuary 2, 1880January 13, 1942
McDougall, James SwabeJune 2, 1883July 1955
McDougall, John WilliamSeptember 18, 1887October 5, 1927

Source References

  1. 1901 Census of Canada
      • Source text:

        Birth date: 1854 Birth place: Pe Residence date: 1901 Residence place: Polling District No 26, Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada

      • Source text:

        Birth date: 1854 Birth place: Pe Residence date: 1901 Residence place: Polling District No 26, Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada

  2. 1881 Census of Canada
      • Source text:

        Birth date: abt 1855 Birth place: Prince Edward Island Residence date: 1891 Residence place: Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada

      • Source text:

        Birth date: abt 1855 Birth place: Prince Edward Island Residence date: 1891 Residence place: Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada