Daniel and Catherine (Egan/Higgin, Churchill) Cottier of England and Ontario, Canada

Daniel and Catherine Cottier were my great-great-great-great-grandparents. Their daughter Catherine (Cottier) Bate was my great-great-great-grandmother. She lived out her later years in the Bath area of Ernestown Township, Addington County, Ontario.

There is a marriage record for "Catharine Cotter" and William Bate on the LDS site at http://www.familysearch.org. They were married on June 11, 1818 at St Peter's on Church Street in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. There is also a marriage intention record, which indicates that they were both single and she was 19 and he was 21. There were no parents listed for William, and for Catherine only her mother was named: "Catharine Cotter."

There are baptism records for a number of children for William and Catherine Bate, all born in the Liverpool area. Some are available on the LDS site and some at http://frontierinfo.com/LAN-OPC/Liverpool/ which lists Liverpool church records. My great-great-grandmother, Rebecca Bate, was one of them. Two others were Catherine Cottier Bate and Daniel Cottier Bate, who were named for their maternal grandparents. See William and Catherine (Cottier) Bate for more information.

A "Catharine Cotter" was baptized on December 10, 1798 in St. Nicholas Church in Liverpool, according to the LDS site. Her parents were Daniel "Cotter" and Catharine Churchill. There is a marriage record for Daniel and Catherine on the same site that indicates they were married on January 10, 1797 in Liverpool. There is also a marriage intention record, dated January 9, 1797, that provides more information. It lists his name as Daniel "Cotten" in error. Unfortunately it does not state any names of parents, but it says that they were both 21 and that he was single and she was a widow.

Sometime between April 10, 1805 (see below) and May 16, 1810, they moved to what is now Ontario. I have to thank my mother's cousin, John Buck, for much help with the Cottiers and Bates. He has done research of his own on them but also has some family recollections to supplement that. John has found that on May 16, 1810, William Cottier deeded the north half of lot 17 in the first concession of Ernestown to "Daniel Cottier and his wife Catherine Cottier to have and to hold during their lives and the life of the surviving of them and after their decease to their daughter Catherine Cottier Jr forever." The price was only five shillings, so clearly this was a family transaction though I don't know how William and Daniel were related. However, William did insert a clause stating that Daniel, Catherine, and the daughter Catherine could not sell the property during the natural lives of William and his wife Mary, without their approval.

According to John Buck's notes, there is a death record for Daniel Cottier in Ernestown on November 7, 1812. On April 13, 1814, Catherine Cottier, described as widow of the late Daniel, sold to Philip Daly for 12 pounds 10 shillings the north part of lot 17 on the first concession of Ernestown, consisting of 100 acres, for the life of Catherine Cottier. William and Mary Cottier must have agreed to this sale of land, and it's clear that it was meant that Philip Daly would hold it only as long as Catherine Cottier the elder was living. When she died, the land would go to Catherine Cottier the daughter.

Sometime between the date of this deed and the younger Catherine's marriage to William Bate in Liverpool in 1818, the elder Catherine took her daughter and went back to England. The only record after this time that I can find that may involve the elder Catherine is in the 1841 census. A Catherine Cotter was listed in the Liverpool Workhouse and Fever Hospital (page 14). The record says that she was 77 years old, and that she was not born in Lancashire but was born elsewhere in England. The header indicates that the list includes the "names of each person who abode therein on the night of Sunday, June 6th." On the first two pages of the record for this institution there are listed those who were present there on that night because of sickness only, presumably staying in the Fever Hospital part. Catherine was not listed among them. Some of the pages listing the inmates indicated that they were paupers but there was no pauper indication for Catherine. If she was indeed my Catherine, then I have to wonder why she was living in the workhouse when she had her daughter and family living in Liverpool. There is information on the workhouse at http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Liverpool/. I hope that there was some reason for William and Catherine Bate and family to be unable to care for her at home as the workhouse would surely have been a last resort.

William Cottier arrived in the Ernestown area in 1787, according to the Land Board's notes in response to his May 5, 1790 petition, below. On December 11, 1788 he married Mary Williams. William was one of the founding members of a Freemason's lodge in Ernestown and took an active role for many years. In the book "History of Freemasonry in Canada" by J. Ross Robertson (two volumes, published 1900), there is information on William's involvement. One quote is of particular interest:

Brother William Cottier was a wealthy farmer of English birth, who had brought with him ample means. He owned one of the best of the early dwellings in Ernestown. He was a short, stout man, active and of kindly disposition, a good Mason, and possessed the respect of all who knew him.

There are a number of land petitions involving William Cottier. The first is dated May 5, 1790 in Kingston. In this petition William states that he "Served in the Provincial Naval Service of Canada from the 15th March to the 25th Novr 1780 as a Second Mate under the Command of John Schank Senior Officer & Commissioner..." He stated that he had received only two hundred acres to this point, "& being informed, that persons of his description were put upon a footing with Lieutenants in the land Service Humbly prays for the same indulgence & begs that thirteen hundred acres of land together with his Lordship's Bounty of two hundred acres to which he presumes he is entitled by purchasing a hundred acres of land of John Scout of Ernest Town on which there was due improvement made, being in all fifteen hundred acres, which he prays may be assigned him in the 11th Township."

The hundred acres that William Cottier had bought from John Scout were part of lot 17 on the first concession of Ernestown. William was hoping that his naval service entitled him to 1,500 acres in total in grants, instead of the 200 acres he had received so far. He also felt that as he had bought 100 acres and improved them he should be entitled to additional acres in the same way that original Loyalist grantees of hundred-acre lots could ask for extra land once they had made improvements. The land board recommendation recorded on the reverse of the petition was "refused." The Land Board's first response to this petition was that he did not qualify for further land. However, a short time later they recommended that he be given an additional 500 acres.

There is information on John Schank at http://threedecks.org/index.php?display_type=show_crewman&id=1532. This makes it clear that he was captain of the ship Canceaux during the time that William Cottier was serving with him. The Canceaux was operating in the lakes of what is now Ontario in 1780.

William Cottier petitioned several other times, but there is no further information of genealogical interest in the petitions. The land petitions are all available online on the Library and Archives Canada site:

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-digitization/006003-110.02-e.php?&q2=29&interval=50&sk=0&&PHPSESSID=pnsucic8mmi5esjgls5sc2t3h3. The details on William's later land petitions are:

Upper Canada Land Petitions, RG 1, L 3, Vol. 145, "C" Leases 1798-1817, Petition 1, 1801, Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-1740, page 552

Upper Canada Land Petitions, RG 1, L 3, Vol. 147, Bundle "C" Misc 1798-1820, Petition 16, 1802, Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-1741, page 792

Upper Canada Land Petitions, RG 1, L 3, Vol. 184, Bundle "E" Ernestown Mills, Petition 4, 1804, Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-1893, page 405

William's wife, Mary, also petitioned for land on May 5, 1790. She petitioned as the daughter of a Loyalist [Upper Canada Land Petitions, RG 1, L 3, Vol. 127, "C" Bundle Misc. 1788-1794, Petition 276, Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-1732, page 388]. In this petition she stated that she was the daughter of the Loyalist David Williams, who had served as a sergeant in the Loyal Rangers. She asked for 200 acres in the 11th Township. The information on the back of the petition indicates that she was granted 200 acres.

According to "An Index to the Upper Canada Land Books," in 1790 William was granted lot 12 in the first concession of Camden Township, Addington County, consisting of 200 acres. This was likely the 200 acres of land that he had already received when he petitioned for land in 1790 as above. In 1801 William was granted lot 4 on the 9th concession and lot 4 in the tenth concession of Haldimand Township, Northumberland County. This was presumably some or all of the additional 500 acres that the land board was willing to grant him in response to his 1790 petition. In 1804 he was granted part of lot 18 on the first concession of Ernestown Township. This land adjoined the land he had bought from John Scout, which was part of lot 17 on the first concession. This grant would have been in response to one of his petitions listed above in which he stated that he and the former owner of his land, John Scout, had made their improvements for the most part on lot 18 in error, instead of on lot 17 which they actually owned.

There is nothing to suggest that William and Mary ever had any children, and if they did, they must not have survived for long. John Buck told me that William and Mary Cottier signed an agreement in 1838 with Abel Forward in which Abel would look after them until their deaths at which point he would own their land. Abel was one of William's fellow freemasons but was not related as far as we know. John also heard that William Cottier suffered from dementia in his later years.

John has found dates of death for both William and Mary Cottier in the diary of a local man, John Collins Clark. According to that, in an entry dated January 21, 1840, "Old Mr. William Cottier died age 98 years." In an August 18, 1849 entry, apparently Mary's death is noted, though it says "Mr." instead of "Mrs.": "Old Mr. Cottier died at night."

It looks to me as if it's possible that the ages given on the marriage intention records were not always accurate. I think the recorder of the information may have asked simply if the parties were over 21 and recorded that number regardless of the actual age unless someone was under 21, in which case the accurate age would be recorded. Daniel Cottier may well have been older than 21 when he married Catherine. There are several Daniel Cottiers who might fit who were born on the Isle of Man in the 1760s and 1770s, according to the LDS site. The nearest large city in England to the Isle of Man is Liverpool so it's quite possible that Daniel came to Liverpool from the Isle of Man for employment, perhaps.

Catherine Churchill's background is an interesting puzzle. She is listed with the surname Churchill on the marriage record to Daniel and on her daughter`s baptism record. The marriage intention record stated that she was a widow and age 21. I have looked for an earlier marriage record for her with Churchill as her maiden name, and also with Churchill as the name of the man she married. I found only one couple that fits. There is a marriage intention record and also a marriage record on the LDS site for Catherine or Katherine Egan and William Churchill. The marriage took place in St. Nicholas Church in Liverpool (the same church where the young Catherine Cottier would be baptized in 1798) on August 2, 1783. The marriage intention record was dated the day before, and stated that both parties were single and age 21. Unfortunately, names of parents were not stated. I can`t find any records for children born to William and Catherine Churchill.

The website http://frontierinfo.com/LAN-OPC/Liverpool/ has three baptism records for children of a Daniel and Catherine "Cotter" that I think belong to this couple:

Baptisms: 10 Dec 1798 St Nicholas, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Catharine Cotter - daur. of Daniel Cotter & Catharine (formerly Churchill), his wife
    Born: 31 Oct 1798
    Abode: Old Dockside
    Occupation: Mariner
    Register: Baptisms 1797 - 1798, Page 74, Entry 1158
    Source: LDS Film 93833

Baptisms: 3 Jan 1802 St Nicholas, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Daniel Cotter - son of Daniel Cotter & Catherine (formerly Higgin), His Wife
    Born: 3 Oct 1801
    Abode: Dry Dock Side
    Occupation: Mariner
    Register: Baptisms 1802 - 1803, Page 148, Entry 7
    Source: LDS Film 93833

Baptisms: 7 Oct 1804 St Nicholas, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
William Cotter - Son of Daniel Cotter & Catharine (formerly Churchill), His Wife
    Born: 25 Jul
    Abode: Shaws Alley
    Occupation: Mariner
    Register: Baptisms 1804, Page 229, Entry 1057
    Source: LFS Film 93833

The first record matches the one I found on the LDS site for Catherine, as above. It adds the additional information that Catherine was born on Oct. 31, 1798. The second record says that the mother, Catherine, was formerly Higgin. I imagine that in England that surname would have been pronounced more like Iggin, with the H dropped. It seems to me that Iggin and Egan sound much the same. My guess is that Catherine was born with the surname Egan or Higgin and married first William Churchill who must have died fairly young. Then she married Daniel Cottier. If she was indeed 21 in 1783 when she married William Churchill, then she would have been about 42 when she gave birth to William in 1804. That would explain why I haven`t found any other children born to this couple after William. The Catherine Cotter who was in the workhouse in 1841, as above, was listed as 77, which would suggest a year of birth of about 1764. That would have made her only about 19 when she married William Churchill, but this could still fit because if she was indeed from another county she may well have given her age as 21 to avoid the necessity of having her parents involved.

There is a burial record for a William Cottier on the same website:

Burial: 10 Apr 1805 St Peter, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
William Cotter - son of Daniel Cotter
    Died: 7 Apr 1805
    Age: 8 months
    Abode: Lower Sparling St
    Occupation: Mariner
    Source: LDS Film 1656377

I think this must be the same William. This record tells us that Daniel and Catherine were still in England as late as April 10, 1805. I don`t know what became of the son named Daniel who was born in 1801. I don't see a burial record for him on the same website. I assume that if he had lived he would have been included in the land record dated May 16, 1810, as above.

I think that Daniel and William Cottier were reasonably close relatives, and that Daniel went out to what is now Ontario to take the place of the heir that William apparently didn`t have. Sadly, Daniel`s untimely death changed everything, and his widow wanted to go back to England.

There were other Cottiers in the Ernestown area in the early years of the settlement: James Sr., James Jr., and Richard. It appears from various records that these men were all related to each other. There are some Loyalist documents that indicate that they came originally from Ireland and were in New York for some years before coming north as Loyalists. This makes it unlikely that they were closely related to William and Daniel.