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MARY ANN MASSEY (1859-1921)

(Last Updated: August 11, 2013)


Augustus John PEERS was born May 31, 1848, at the Peel River Post (Fort McPherson) on the Mackenzie River in Northwest Territories, son of Christina BELL and Augustus Richard PEERS (1821-1853).


John’s father (Augustus Richard PEERS SR.) was born in England. In 1842 he arrived at York Factory in 1842 as an apprentice clerk for the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). In 1843 he was sent the Mackenzie River District where he married Augustus’ mother, Christina BELL, eldest daughter of Ann DEASE and John BELL (1796-1868), the famous Arctic explorer. ** MORE ABOUT JOHN BELL IN DCBO


John was only five years old in 1853 when his father (A Richard PEERS) died. His mother (Christina) re-married to Alexander Black McKENZIE (1825-1873) at Fort Liard in the NWT. ** MORE ABOUT ALEXANDER BLACK McKENZIE


Canadian Confederation
A Red River Metis Rebellion
Manitoba becomes a Province


On July 1, 1867 the British colonies in North America were united under the British North American Act to become the Dominion of Canada. Sir John A MACDONALD (1815-1891) was appointed as Canada’s first Prime Minister. William McDOUGALL (1822-1905) became the Minister of Public Works, and he began negotiations to acquire Rupert’s Land from the HBC, sending out surveyors to prepare the way for an expected influx of settlers.


The Family Settles in Mapleton (Old England)


In 1868 (when John was 20 years old), his step-father (Alex Black McKENZIE) retired from the HBC at Green Lake (SK) and the family settled in Mapleton (Old England), (just south of Selkirk, Manitoba).


Mapleton, Manitoba

Alexander Black McKenzie settled on Lot 16 (just south of the Calder Road as shown on this map)


The Red River Rebellion began in 1869 and ended in 1870 when Manitoba became a Province.


On Aug 1, 1873, John’s mother & step-father (Alex McKENZIE) took over the postal duties at the Mapleton Post Office. Alex McKENZIE died in December that year, and John was his successor as Postmaster until it was closed on Jan 31, 1876.


In 1875 John (a Merchant of St Clements Parish) claimed his Half-breed Scrip.


Western Land Grants: Dated Aug 21, 1877: E ½ of 6-12-5-E1 and NW 5-12-5-E1: Augustus John PEERS. Remarks: (St Paul) – 240 acres – HBG (Half-Breed Grant). These locations are a few miles east the St Paul’s Parish river lots, about midway between Birds Hill and Cooks Creek.


Augustus John Peers

Augustus John Peers
(From Olmstead Family Tree)


Marriage to Mary Ann MASSEY


Around 1878 John married Mary Ann MASSEY, daughter of Sarah Hanna SMITH and Robert MASSEY (1823-1897), a retired HBC employee from the Shetland Islands of Scotland. ** MORE ABOUT ROBERT MASSEY


The newlyweds stayed with Mary’s parents (the MASSEY family) for the first few years of their marriage and on Sep 28, 1879 their first child, Louisa Mary was born, then son John in 1880.


On June 15, 1882 the Town of Selkirk was incorporated. The first Mayor was James COCLEUGH (1841-1918).

By the end of the year 1883 the railway branch running on the west side of the river from Winnipeg to the Town of Selkirk was constructed by the CPR was opened for service.


In the late summer of 1884 work was started on the Provincial Asylum for the Insane (in Selkirk), really needed in the Province. Up to this time the people were either sent out of Province or to jail! It was completed in1886 but, by the late 1800's serious concerns were expressed about the crowded conditions and a small extension added in 1901.


The Town of Selkirk becomes home for the PEERS Family


By 1890 John and his family had moved to the Town of Selkirk where they made their home at 474 Clandeboye Avenue. John began to work at the Selkirk Asylum as an Attendant.


In 1899 eldest daughter Louisa married Alfred COMBER in Selkirk, son of Rebecca Jane SELLICK and Edwin COMBER (1847-1925) both from England (Edwin was a Miller).


In the 1901 Census in the Town of Selkirk: Augustus J PEERS (age 52); wife Mary Ann (age 39). Children at home: Augustus J (age 19).  Mina E (17), Mary E (15), Richard L H (12), Thomas S (10), Benjamin (8), Alexander R (7), Christina B (6), Linda (4) and Peter W (age 1).  With them is mother-in-law, Widow Sarah MASSEY, age 74.


On Oct 31, 1901 Augustus John PEERS died in Selkirk.

In 1908 daughter Mina married in Selkirk to George Henry PERRY from Ontario, son of Jemima Emma CONKLIN and William PERRY (b-1855).

In 1910 eldest son Augustus John Jr. marred Caroline Isabel FLETT in Selkirk, daughter of Christine “Christie” ANDERSON & John Alfred FLETT (1859-1916). ** MORE ABOUT JOHN ALFRED FLETT


World War I


On Aug 4, 1914 Great Britain (Canada on Aug 5) declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary to uphold treaties with France and Belgium which were under German attack. This marked the beginning of World War I.


In 1915 sons Thomas Stanley and Benjamin enlisted for military service.


In 1916 son Richard married Ethel May LENTON in Selkirk, daughter of Marion Eliza SMITH and Frederick Henry LENTON (both born in England).


In 1917 daughter Christina married Charles Lee GIBSON of uncertain origins.


In 1918 son Alexander Rupert enlisted for military service.


In 1918 son Benjamin married in Selkirk to Evelyn SQUIRRELL who was born in Ipswich, England.


November 11,1919, Armistice Day (Remembrance Day) marked the end of the First World War.


On Sep 22, 1921 Widow Mary Ann PEERS died in Selkirk at the age of 60.


Please post comments and queries at this link: FORUM DISCUSSING the AUGUSTUS JOHN PEERS FAMILY


========================== Family Details ==========================


1. Sep 28, 1879 LOUISA MARY PEERS (m. Alfred David COMBER)
2. Dec 18, 1880 AUGUSTUS JOHN PEERS JR (m. Caroline Isabel Rebecca "Carrie" FLETT)
3. May 15, 1883 MINA FLORENCE ANN "MINA" PEERS (m. George Henry PERRY)
4. May 14, 1886 MARY ELLEN "MAE" PEERS
7. May 5, 1891 BENJAMIN PEERS (m. Evelyn "Eva" SQUIRRELL)
9. Mar 21, 1894 CHRISTINA BELL PEERS (m. Charles Lee GIBSON)
10. Jan 20, 1897 LINDA B PEERS
11. May 13, 1899 PETER WARREN PEERS