The Allisons of Avish Hill & The Miramichi
Roger and Margaret Ruth, Rochester, New York

Since Thanksgiving was only a few days away, Mum and Aunt Sadie were deciding how to share the preparation for the dinner. I hoped Mum would offer to make the pumpkin pies as I liked her recipe that called for lots of molasses.

There was one thing that I knew for certain, the men would eat and then vanish to the yard to discuss with Gramp the changes that needed to be made in the farm before another spring rolled around.

Way over in Avish Hill, in County Londonderry, Ireland in the early 1820s, William Allison, who was in his 50's probably talked over with his family of four sons and two daughters the changes they needed to make. He possibly painted a picture of a country, where land could be received for the asking.

A new book entitled THE ALLISONS OF AVISH HILL & THE MIRAMICHI traces the descendants of William Allison, who brought six of his children to the Miramichi in 1824.  The book was compiled in the 1980s and early 90s by Margaret S. Ruth and her late husband, Roger A. Ruth, of Rochester, New York, but was not released until 2003 due to a lengthy illness suffered by Mr. Ruth, and his death in 2002.  Mr. Ruth was a great-great-great grandson of William Allison.

The Allison children and grandchildren married into a host of other families, and their descendants now number in the thousands.   A few of the surnames found among them are Ashton, Brown, Copp, Crammond, Dunnett, Hambrook, Harris, Hosford, Hubbard, Kingston, Matchett, Matthews, McCoombs, McKinley, McLean, Mullin, Norton, Parker, Payne, Peabody, Petrie, Sherrard, Stewart, Sturgeon, Sutherland, Touchie, Urquhart, Waye, and Whitney. While many of the descendants stayed in New Brunswick, others migrated to Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and elsewhere in the United States and are today spread across much of North America.

This book contains interesting biographical information which brings the lists of names and dates to life.  We learn that a son, William Allison (Jr.), who was born in Ireland in 1801, married Susanna Kingston, of the well-known North West Miramichi family by that name, and achieved success as a lumberman and farmer.  There is an interesting story told about his granddaughter Rose Urquhart, who went to New York City in 1910, armed with a diploma from the Saint John Business College, and became the executive secretary of a large import and export firm.  In 1920, when very few women were receiving such assignments, she was sent to Japan to organize a Tokyo office for her employers.

William, Jr.'s sister Lydia Allison married Edward Whitney, of Whitneyville, west of Newcastle.   Besides several children who settled in New Brunswick, their large family included five sons who joined in the westward migration.  Two of them founded “Whitney Brothers,” of Superior, Wisconsin, a huge construction and ship salvage business on the Great Lakes a hundred years ago.  Another created a pile-driving business in Sioux City, Iowa, which was called upon to do pile-driving jobs all around the US.

Besides being a genealogical work of family and community interest, this book is of sociological value as a case study of a pioneering New Brunswick family, typical of many 19th century families throughout the province.

THE ALLISONS OF AVISH HILL & THE MIRAMICHI has 165 pages, including a number of photo pages and a comprehensive index.

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