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Medill - Madill History



Basically the Medills-Madills were farmers. Religion also played a key role in their lives.

Many participated in the formation of new buildings and assisted in the maintenance of the churches.


On October 18, 1685, Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes. This act was the culmination of years of intolerable persecutions practiced on the Protestants in France (Huguenots). Thousands of Huguenots fled to England, Germany, English Colonies, Switzerland, and North America. One of these people was Joseph Medill, a noted engineer. He was the first to demonstrate to the French the feasibilityof the Mont Cenis tunnel. The French Medille's (some say) went to England and became the Dills, then migrated northward and became the Scottish McDills. Here thay married to several University families, including Sir Walter Scott's. They moved on to Ireland and established the Irish clan which spelt its' name variously as Madill or Medill. The Irish Medills were shipbuilders in Belfast and very strict Prebyterians. Others believe they went straight to Ireland.


William Medill was a Professor of Theology in Belfast and Author of a book on the Apocalypse. He is believed to be the grandfather of the Medills who came America. His son, William, became a Presbyterian minister. One of Reverend Medill's sons, also William, fell in love with an Episcopalian girl named Margaret Corbett. In the insuing bitter quarrel with his father, William, his bride, and one of his brothers, Thomas, sailed for North America in 1819. They settled down for a while in New Brunswick on land then in dispute (later declared) Canadian). After several years of farmingthe land, Thomas moved on to Ontario and William went to Ohio.  Another brother, Joseph, went to Wheeling, West Virginia. He had been a soldier in the British Army.



JOSEPH MEDILL  ( Son of Reverend William Medill)

        Joseph did not come over to America with his brother. Rather, after leaving the British Army, he went to Wheeling West Virginia. Chester Madill  had been in correspondence with his great grandchildren. In Pierre Burton’s book “Klondike” he tells of  Robert B. Medill, a young and impoverished school teacher from La Salle, Illinois. He rushed north to Dawson City during the Klondike Gold Rush.  It took him 71 days to get there, an awful trip, and just a year later, still impoverished, returned to Illinois. Robert wrote a book describing his experiences in the Yukon. He described that a horse as king of the area. Pack animals were so scarce that even poor ones sold for six or seven hundred dollars. “ Every horse that lands at Dyra may be considered as dead,” Robert wrote home to friends in Illinois. If one man is fortunate enough to get all his packing done, another man takes the horse, and it rarely passes from his possession until death. They mostly die of starvation, as no one brings enough feed, not anticipating so much packing.


THOMAS MEDILL ( Son of Reverend William Medill)

        Thomas came to Canada with his brother William in  1819.  For a  time they farmed in an area of New Brunswick, then Thomas moved to settle in Ontario


Thomas Madill – His children:

                        John Madill *

                        Henry Madill

                        Tom Madill

                        Mike Madill

                        Benjamin Madill

                        Joe Madill

                        William Madill


*John Madill: Came from Ireland about 1837

        Born: August 1, 1812,  Antrim,  Ireland

        Deceased: Sept. 13, 1888

        Buried in Madill Church Cemetery, Huntsville, Ontario

Matilda Reynolds:

Born: 1809, Ireland,  place unknown

Deceased: Feb. 20, 1898

Buried in Madill Church Cemetery


John and Matilda met and were married in Hamilton, Ontario on October 31, 1840.

Later they moved to the country near Port Hope, Ontario. Finally they moved north to Huntsville where he homesteaded. Date unknown.


There children:

        Phoebe Madill (twin) 

Born: July 18, 1841

                Deceased: August 18, 1842

        Mary Madill (twin)

Born : July 18, 1841

                Deceased:  1925

                Buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, Tare, Ontario

        Eleanor Ellen Madill

Born: September 12, 1843

Deceased: May 26, 1873

Buried in Madill Church Cemetery

Married: William Underwood

                                Matilda Madill

                                        Born: May 22, 1845

                                        Deceased: August 26, 1934

                                        Buried in Madill Church Cemetery

                                        Married: Daniel Bray

                                William James Madill

                                        Born: November 18, 1847

                                        Deceased: Date unknown

                                        Buried in Dundas Cemetery, Teulon, Manitoba

                                        Married: Maria Alice Martin

                                John Henry Madill

                                        Born: August 1, 1849

                                        Deceased: January 14, 1900

                                        Buried in Madill Church Cemetery

                                        Married: Margaret Darling

                                Fanny Ann Madill

                                        Born: January 7, 1855

                                        Deceased: January 12, 1936

                                        Buried in Madill Church Cemetery

                                        Married: Edward Armstrong

                                Margaret Madill

                                        Born: October 14, 1850

                                        Deceased: July 14, 1851

                                        Buried in Madill Church Cemetery





William Medill (Son of Thomas Medill)

        After a quarrel with is father, William sailed with his bride in 1819 for America. They settled on a farm in New Brunswick. In 1832 they left Canada for Stark County, Ohio via the Erie Canal. He had four sons and two daughers.


Joseph Medill (Son of Thomas Medill)

        Born April 6, 1823 on his parents farm in New Brunswick. He attended Massillon Village Academy and graduated in 1843. Because of financial difficulties, his parents couldn’t afford to to send him to college. Joseph eked  an education by studying books he could borrow.  He read mainly history, biology and travel books. When he was 21, Joseph began to study law and was accepted to the BAR in November of 1846.  His interests turned from law to the newspaper business. He hng around newspaper offices learning to type set and operate a hand press, he even wrote an occasional editorial.

        He bought the Coshocton “WHIG” in northwestern Ohio and made himself editor with his three brothers as assistants. After two years at Coshocton, Joseph went to Cleveland and established the “Daily Forest City” which later became the

Cleveland “Leader”.  His newspaper carried considerable weight and he threw it behind the Whigs anti-slavery campaigns.  It is said, that at the meeting in Repon, Washington in 1854, he proposed the name “Republican” and the metting adopted it.

Joseph took time out from his political involvements to marry Katherine Patrick on September 2, 1852. Two of his three daughters married into families (McCormick and Patterson) which were also strong newspaper owners.

In 1855, Joseph  with an associate, Dr. Charles H. Ray, bought a rising Chicago paper, the “Tribune”.

In 1859, Joseph Medill, his “Tribune” partners, and the Republican politicians began a plan to nominate and elect Lincoln.  He was instrumental in Lincoln’s campaign.  This paper, and Joseph Medill came to national prominence. From 1861 to 1865, the “Tribune” preached for the union and emancipation with an increasing powerful voice.  Towards the end of the war, Medill’s loyalty to Lincoln came to be questioned.  He wrote several criticisms against Lincoln and some of his policies. In 1864, there was a strong anti Lincoln faction and Medill was one of the contributors.

        In 1872, Joseph took an easy victory to become mayor of Chicago, just one year after the great Chicago fire.  However, while he served as mayor, he stirred up a great resentment against himself,  especially among the foreign-born. So a few months after being elected, he resigned and took to Europe.

        Joseph Medill “had almost no immediate friends, and he was cordially hated by may people”. He rose to fame during the Civil war and slipped away during the Spanish-American war.  He died during a visit to his ranch in Texas on March 16, 1899.


Mike Medill ( Son of Thomas Medill)

        Due to quarrel over the marriage, their Uncle William to Margaret Corbett,  some of Thomas’ sons changed the spelling of their last name to “MADILL”. One of these was Mike Madill who became the proprietor of the Madill Hotel in Lucan, Ontario. In late 1864 and early 1865, he began buying meat for his place from James Donnelly Jr. (of the Black Donnelly’s).


                                There came the evening when young Donnelly entered the

                                      Hotel lobby and passed through it, on his way to the kitchen,

                                      a quarter of beef across one shoulder. A cattle drover, well known in

                                      the district and seated in the lobby watched him as he passed then turned to Madill.

                                      “ That’s  one of those Black Donnelly’s, isn’t it? Don’t tell me you buy

your meat from  him, one of a family unhung thieves and the son of a murderer.”

Madill shrugged, demanded to know what was wrong about that and pointed out, “Just

because the family has a bad name doesn’t mean the meat is bad. Young Donnelly came in

here a while back , offered to supply me with meat at lower prices than I was paying, so

I started buying from him.  So far we’ve got along alright and I have no complaints.” Then he

informed, “I understand he also supplies the hotel at Granton.”

“ He must have a good size herd?”

“ I don’t know about that. I’m satisfied and that’s all that concerns me.”

                                      The drover smoked on in silence, but he must have doing a lot of thinking. The following night,

                                      returning from a days visit to surrounding farms, he drew Madill to one side. “Mike, I took it on

                                      myself to do a little checking up today, while I was out inspecting herds,” he told the other. “ I talked

                                      to several farmers living near  the Donnelly place and got the same answer from all of them. James

                                      Donnelly Jr. has been supplying both your hotel and the Granton House with meat since early

fall, at least five months ago.”

          “What is it?”

          “ Just this. During the last five months not a Donnelly cow has calved. The herd is exactly

the same size it was in the fall, neither larger or smaller, by one head; yet young Donnelly has been

supplying  two hotels with meat for five months and he still has the same amount of cattle he had in the

fall. Something is wrong  there, don’t you think?”

          The other regarded him.”So?”

          “So add to that the fact that several farmers in this district have recently had a cow stolen

from them, and you can you see what I am driving at?”

Madill’s eyes widened as a thought struck him. “ You… you think that the meat he has been

selling me is ________.”

The drover nodded. “ That’s just what I do think.”

Madill was a fiery upholder of the law, with little patience for it transgressors. He went to  James Donnelly.

“ Get to hell out of here with your stolen meat, you black thief.” Donnelly denied the meat was stolen, he said it was from his own herd, but he couldn’t explain why the size of the same herd never decreased. Finally,

putting down the beef he carried, he told Madill he was going to wipe up the floor with him and send him to his

grave a cripple.

Four nights following this incident at 3:00 A..M. on February 7, the Madill hotel burnt to the ground. There

seems to be some despute as to possible cause – many attributing it to Jim Donnelly.



THOMAS (grandchild of Reverend Willam Medill)

        Tom Madill the likely son of Thomas married Mary Ann Devett in Bobcaygeon, Ontario in 1876. Soon after, they left for greener pastures – Manitoba. They were among the earliest pioneer families to settle in the district of Grassville (1877). They were entirely dependent on their farm produce, not only for their own family needs but also as products to be exchanged at the Winnipeg markets. Thus week after week, winter and summer, no matter what the condition of road or weather, the trip to Winnipeg was a regular feature of pioneer life. He donated some of the materials and assisted in the construction of the Presbyterian church in the Grassmere district in 1877. He also served on the first  Grosse Isle School board at the time of organization and construction.


JOHN (grandchild of Reverend Willam Medill)

        John Madill was born August 1, 1812 in northern Ireland (possibly Antum, Ireland).  On October 31, 1840, he married Matilda Reynolds who also had come from Ireland. They met and were married in Hamilton, Ontario. Later moved to the country, near Port Hope, it is thought he owned land there and also in Clark Township, Ontario, (name of town unknown). They claimed it was too muddy and wet there, so they moved to Allensville, about 5 miles from Huntsville, he homesteaded there and owned ½ section of land and he gave the land for the Madill church and cemetery.


JOHN HENRY (grandchild of Reverend Willam Medill)

        He remained on his father’s farm. John and his wife Margaret Darling raised seven children. He assisted in the building of the church.


ARCHIE (the child of the grandchildren of Reverend William Medill’s grandchildren)

        Archie Madill was born at Allensville, Ontario on March 19th, 1885. He spent his lifetime farming at the homestead. He was the last of the pioneer family of Madill’s.  He was active in all local community affairs and was an elder of the Madill Church. He has been in correspondence with Mae Flaherty and also my mother (Edith).  He was extremely interested in his family ancestry and spent time writing as much as he knew or could remember about his own line.  Archie said he could not recall his father mentioning any brothers so he was really pleased when my mother him about her grandfather William James Madill.  They exchanged pictures and Archie said that his friends commented on the resemblance of my grandfather and myself.  His greatest wish was to attend the dedication of the Madill Church, unfortunately he died only a few months before it occurred.

         Archie lived with John and Aggie (brother & sister) on the old Madill farm at Allensville. After their deaths, Archie lived by himself in the large house.  He was always anxious for visitors as he was all alone.  On March 6th , 1973,  he passed away.


William James (grandchild of Reverend William Medill’s grandchildren)

        William James was born November 18th, 1847 in Huntsville, Ontario.  As a soldier during the North west Rebellion (1869) he moved west and settled in Manitoba.  In 1877 on October 3rd, he married Maria Alice Martin.  They were among the pioneers in the Teulon District of Pleasant Home.  Maria Alice became the first postmistress of the area (1884),  the office being situated at her home.  When the railroad came to Teulon in 1898, the post office  there opened right after.  The mail from Balmoral to Greenwood, Foxton and Pleasant Home  kept going until 1902 when that service was also changed to Teulon and Pleasant Home office closed.  James and Maria had four children; Mabel,  Ada,  Arthur and Alice.  Ada died when she was 16 years of age.  The family was quite musical, singing in the United Church choir and playing at concerts and dances.


Arthur Ernest (child of the grandchildren of Reverend William Medill’s grandchildren)

        Arthur was born September 26th , 1882.  He carried on with farming as his father and grandfather had.  In 1916 he enlisted and fought with the Canadian forces in France with 107th battalion and 101st engineers.  He fought in the Canadian battles of Ypres, (1917), Paschendale &  Vimy Ridge.  He was discharged May 17, 1919.

On July 17, 1920, he married Nellie Gertrude Campbell.  He participated in many activities including  hunting and curling.  He died August 10, 1964.


Robert Arthur (grandchild of the grandchildren of Reverend William Medill’s grandchildren)

        Born November 20, 1922, and educated in Teulon.  In 1940, at the age of eighteen, he enlisted and served in England and France.  August 1943, an 88mm shell hit his gas tank of their scout car and the men were badly burnt.  Robert spent 1 and a half years undergoing hospital treatment for the burns he received.  He then enrolled in the 1st class at “Memorial Chiropractic College” and graduated in May of 1949.  At the present time he has a large practice in Prince George, British Columbia.


Ernest Edward (grandchild of the grandchildren of Reverend William Medill’s grandchildren)

        Born January 30, 1926 also raised and educated in Teulon.  He worked at various jobs in Manitoba and Saskatchewan until he settled into farming in the Teulon district.


Edith Gertrude (grandchild of the grandchildren of Reverend William Medill’s grandchildren)

        Born August 1, 1921 in Teulon.  After completing her grade 12 at Teulon, she remained at home for 2 years.  From her she went to Winnipeg to Normal School for her teachers certificate.  Her first teaching job was in the rural school of Stacpoole in 1942. The school formed when a group of farmers objected to the high school taxes demanded for education in Teulon, so they broke away and built their own school.  The classes were from kindergarten through grade eight with the occasional pupil taking a correspondence course for grade 9 and 10.  Enrollment was from twenty to thirty pupils.  For her first year teaching she made $750 per year and for her last year (1945) she made $1100 per year.  To supplement her income she was also the school janitor which paid $6.00 per month.  Janitor’s duties included lighting the furnace, throwing in the cord of wood, and sweeping and cleaning.  The children walked to and from school, some came 3 mile to attend.  In the warm months, those who could afford them, rode bikes.  For entertainment pupils played ball in the summer, built slides and a skating rink in the winter.  Each Christmas the pupils put on a concert.  The district turned out in full, many coming in sleighs and cutters.  The concert was always followed by a dance, music provided by local talent.

        Gimli air training base was only 25 miles away, so during school the children watched the antics of the pilots over the fields, flying between telephone lines and fences and right past the windows of the school.  The planes often escorted children buzzing them as they flew overhead, sometimes diving into the ditch at the roadside for fear of being hit by the propellers.

        After finishing at Stacpoole, she went on  for two years teaching in St. Vital, then for a year in Winnipeg.  In 1951 on July 7th, she married Murray C. Johnson.