Mount View Cemetery Cambridge, Ontario    



Research Background

Much of the family history of the Herriot's comes from research conducted in 1983 by Bob Brydges, who was the son of Austin and Marie Brydges. Marie or Mary was a sister of Maude Herriot, the Authors maternal grandmother and mother of Mary Deverell, my mother. Bob was therefore a great grandson of James and Jannet Herriot the first ancestor to come to Canada. Copies of the material was provided by Bob to all living Herriot descendants at that time, including his cousin Mary Deverell and came into the Authors possession upon after his mother Mary's death in 1992.

It is known that the Herriot's came from Scotland, from around Edinburgh. It is thought that one of the ancestors was a George Herriot, known as JINGLING GEORDIE who was goldsmith to the king of England at the time, and is well known for his philanthropy, building schools and hospitals in Edinburgh which bear his name.


James and Jannet Herriot

James and Jannet are thought to have come to the Galt Ontario area from Scotland about 1852, just prior to the birth of their fifth child and fourth son James, the Authors great grandfather in 1853. Three other sons  and a daughter  accompanied the couple to Canada. They were in order of birth Isabella, William,  Samuel, and Robert all of whom were born in Scotland.

James and Jannet do not appear in the 1852 census, however we do find George Herriot with his wife and young family in the 1851 census for Galt. George is thought to be James brother who had arrived a few years earlier  in 1848 or 49. Interestingly in the 1851 census George's religion is listed as Presbyterian. In the 1861 census James is Episcopalian and in 1871 is listed as Church of Scotland. So apparently at this time the Herriots were not Catholic.

In the 1861 and 1881 censuses James is shown living in Galt and is listed as a Labourer, whereas in the 1871 census he is listed as a Boilermaker. The 1871 census also does not show Jannet his wife and it is assumed that she died between 1861 and 1871 the two census years. No record of her death or burial has been found at this writing, including a search of O.C.F.A  The 1871 census shows three more children, David, George and John the youngest at 11 years old. This appears to be the extent of their family, eight overall, seven boys and one girl.

The 1881 census shows a 47 year old women Lucy in the household who is listed as being English and Baptist, so it would appear that James has perhaps remarried at this point. There is also an 11 year old girl Minnie who is thought to be a daughter that Lucy brought to the marriage. Her last name is listed as Herriot as is Lucy's however this may be more in keeping with household convention as opposed to parentage. Much more research would be required to ascertain what the reality of this situation actually was.

James Herriot died in 1890 and is buried in Mount View cemetery in Cambridge Ontario, which city the old town of Galt was amalgamated into around 1970..

Grave of James Herriot Mount View Cemetery Cambridge    May, 2000


James and Mary Herriot (Mihm)

James Herriot grew up in the Town of Galt, County of Waterloo. The old Town of Galt, now part of Cambridge was located about 20 kilometers south and east of Berlin, today's Kitchener. Mary Mihm grew up in Centreville, Township of Waterloo, County of Waterloo. Centreville, now a suburb of Kitchener was located 6 kilometers southeast of Berlin.

Nothing more is known about these two until their marriage in Berlin on Sept 22, 1874. James was born Jan 7, 1853 and Mary on Jan 5, 1851 so James was 21 and Mary 23 at the time of their marriage. It seems certain that they were married in St. Mary's Roman Catholic church in Berlin, however an attempt  by the Author to obtain their marriage record from that source resulted in receipt of advice from the church that they had no marriage records prior to 1875, these being kept by the priests at St. Agatha. This community was located about 12 kilometers west of Berlin, the parish being St. Clemons. This Parish was contacted but we were advised that they had no record of this  marriage. Given the evolving and constantly changing church administrative operations of the time with parishes, missions and traveling priests this result is probably not surprising.

It is interesting to read the 1881 census where James and Mary are still living in Ontario just a few months before their journey to Manitoba. They are living in the Township of Waterloo, probably near Centreville where he is a Blacksmith. Their are now four children, Willie age 5, Maud age 4, James age 2 and Gertrude age11 months. All members of the family are listed  as Catholic which indicates the point at which the Mihm's Catholicism came to dominate and that it was a Catholic marriage in St. Mary's. It is interesting to note the Origin column on the 1881 census form where James is listed  as Scotch, Mary as German and the children all  as Scotch following their father. Clearly this was the custom of the time. This is also the first record appearance of the Authors grandmother Maud Herriot.

In the summer of 1881 James Herriot and his young family along with tat of Jacob Yantz  undertook a long and arduous journey to Manitoba to start a new life in the West. Jacob Yantz was the son of the elder Jacob who is thought to be a cousin of Adam and Mary Mihm and appear to be a part of a group of German Catholics that came to Waterloo Township via Buffalo about 1851 including Adam's brother George.

The younger Jacob Yantz had married Christina Mihm, the younger sister of James wife Mary and like James and Mary had several young children who accompanied them on the trip. It is not known whether James older brother William or the youngest Mihm sister Dora were a part of the migrating group. What is known is that William married Dora in a Catholic ceremony in Brandon, Manitoba in 1884 and that all three families settled in Souris.

The Author is currently researching details of the trip west to determine how it was made in terms of transportation, the route taken, time involved etc. It is understood that the railway reached the site of present day Winnipeg in October of 1877 so it is likely that they were able to take the train to that point, after which it probably was by ox cart.

The 1891 Manitoba census finds the family of James and Mary Herriot settled in the District of Glenwood which is the municipality in which the Town of Souris is located today. James established a blacksmith shop in town and homesteaded a quarter section northeast of town. Later he bought more land.The family has grown to nine with the addition of Archibald, George, Robert. Mary and Charles. A tenth child John was born in Sept 1891 to complete the family.

James Herriot in the nineteen twenties


" The Oldtimer Talks"

The above was the title of an article by Col. G.C.Porter published in the Winnipeg Tribune of Feb. 24, 1940 chronicling the life and times of James Herriot, Souris resident and pioneer on the occasion of his 87th birthday. By all accounts he had led a full life starting out in Galt Ontario, apprenticing as a blacksmith before moving with his wife Mary and young family to Plum Creek later changed to Souris.

The article describes his relationship with the local Plains Indians, his farming and industrial activities, his family, his participation in civic and community affairs, his love of horses and racing and his involvment in the Western Canadian championship lacrosse team from Plum Creek of 1888 and much more.

The article appears below in two parts due to technology limitations. Readers should read each vertical column from part one through to the bottom of part two before going to the top of the next column.




Unfortunately there is no further information that the Author could find on Mary. She died on Sept 11, 1912 and is buried alongside her husband James in Souris-Glenwood cemetery. According to Bob Herriot's research their oldest son William was a cripple and never married, dying at the age of 57. The youngest son John drowned in a creek behind their house at age two.  James died on October 5, 1942 at age 89.

Mary Herriot (Mihm) grave Souris-Glenwood cemetery   May 2000

James Herriot's grave in Souris-Glenwood cemetery       May 2000


William Herriot

William Herriot was the older brother to James and the family's first son born in 1847 in Haddington, Scotland near Edinburgh, coming to Canada in 1852 with his parents. He was trained as a millwright, working for Goldie and McCulloch  in Galt and through this firm became involved with a number of Manitoba  enterprises including ones at Souris in the late 1870's and beyond. He eventually settled there marrying Mary Mihms youngest sister Dora in Brandon in 1884.

He was a Souris pioneer like his brother James. His life is chronicled in an article in the Souris Plaindealer under the title Souris Personalities of April 25th 1956 authored by his nephew Bob Herriot, one of James sons. Bob was an uncle to the Authors mother, marrying May Bulyea. They were known to us as Uncle Bob and Aunt Mae. The article is reproduced below. William Herriot died in1927 and Dora in 1943. They are buried in Souris-Glenwood cemetery.


Recollections of Uncles and Aunts

For the Author and his siblings we really had no uncles or aunts, mothers only sister dying at just a few months old and dad and his sister in Toronto not in contact in our lifetime. It is therefore understandable what with mother having nine Herriot uncles and aunts around Souris, Winnipeg and Manitoba that these would become the logical replacements as great uncles and aunts to us.

Our great grandparents James and Mary Herriot had ten children, the second oldest being Maud our grandmother. William the first born was a cripple who never married dying at age 57.  That leaves seven the youngest John dying at age two, all of whom married  had children and prospered. Of these, three stand out as the ones that our mother was closes to and who played a part in our lives and will be referred to as just uncle and aunt.

The first of these is Uncle George and Aunt Marion Herriot who lived in Winnipeg. George Herriot was a civil engineer and professor at the University of Manitoba as well as a Dominion Land Surveyor (DLS) My memories are twofold. First in 1950 or 51 he received a Commission from the federal government to re-resurvey the Waywayseecappo Indian Reserve in western Manitoba, immediately adjacent to the town of Rossburn where dad was the school principal at the time. Great uncle George hired dad to work as an assistant and chainman/rodman all that summer including I believe use of the family car. I can remember dad returning tanned and tired at the end of many hot days that summer. George I think stayed at the Rossburn Hotel and they would take their lunch with them as they left each morning with their instruments in the family car.

The other recollection is in the summer between grade eleven and twelve great Uncle George helped my father get  me a job in Winnipeg for the summer as a rodman/chainman for a Surveyor named McPhillips. He had an office in a house on Kennedy Street downtown, and each day I would ride the bus to work with my lunch pail. I stayed at  Uncle and Aunt Mae's house on Lenore street in Wolsley (more on them later). This was the time that I first started thinking about going into Engineering hence the desire for some work related experience and what with Uncle George in the field and a professor in the Faculty, it was a perfect opportunity.

The second recollection is of Uncle Bob Herriot and Aunt Mae who lived on Lenore Street in the Wolsley neighbourhood of Winnipeg. Bob was a train dispatcher with the CPR and they seemed to have a close relationship with mother. Dad and mother were married at their home on Lenore on December 28th 1938 by Rev. McIntyre of St. Mary's parish. Several decades later as mentioned above the writer stayed at their home for four or five weeks during the summer of 1957 while working in Winnipeg.

The third recollection in of Uncle Austin Brydges and Aunt Marie who lived first in Souris, then in Winnipeg and eventually in Montreal all in relation with his job as a conductor on the CPR. As with Aunt Mae mother seemed to be close to Aunt Marie.

They had a son Bob that worked with Bell Canada in Montreal and he in turn had a son Jim and a daughter Susan. In Sept of 1967 the Author visited Montreal for several days to attend Expo 67 and was able to stay at Jim's place with the help of arrangements made by mother with her first cousin Bob Brydges. It was Bob who did the genealogy work on the Herriot and Mihm families which is presented in this history and was dated 1983.

Bob and his wife Betty wintered each year in Tampa-St Petersburg in Florida after his retirement, and in Feb 1988 the Author and his family visited them at their Trailor Park community while taking a family vacation at nearby Treasure Island, Disney World and Miami Beach. Their granddaughter Susan lived in Sherwood Park just outside Edmonton and in 1995 or 6, Bob, Betty and Susan visited the Author and his wife Jackie at their home in St. Albert.