Sheffield Family of Collingwood, Ontario
Pictured here are Lorraine Hollinbeck (Sheffield),on the left, and Jane Bland/Montgomery (Thomas). Lorraine was married to my great grandfather, William Richard Sheffield Sr. and Jane was my great, great grandmother. She was my grandmother, Ildia Smith's, grandmother.
Jane's family came from Sierra Leone on a slave ship and her family changed their name from Bland to Montgomery to make it more difficult for slave catchers to find them when they fled from Virginia to Canada in the mid 1800's. Her brother went back to United States to fight in the Civil War and was never heard from again. Jane married a fellow named Charlie Thomas, my great, great grandfather, and they were the parents of my great grandmother, Annie Thomas (Smith).
The Sheffields in my direct lineage arrived in North America on the eastern coast of United States on a ship with the United Empire Loyalists. They made their way to Canada and settled near a town called Flesherton, Ontario but by the time Abrim was born they (Abraham) had relocated to Collingwood, Ontario where the next four generations in my direct line were born and raised. This was Abraham's second attempt at settling in Collingwood. The first time he walked the 25 miles from Flesherton to Collingwood, which was then a small village named "Hen and Chickens", Abraham found no use for the town so, after a short stay, he walked back to Flesherton. When Hen and Chickens changed its name to Collingwood and incorporated as a town, Abraham packed all his belongings, including his pot bellied stove, slung them on his back and walked back to Collingwood for the second time. This time he stayed.
Rumor has it that there were Sheffields who were relatives of mine who settled on the Bruce Peninsula near Wiarton, Ontario and some who settled in or near Sarnia, Ontario. If anyone can tell me anything about relatives I may have in either of these locations, or who stemmed from there, I'd be glad to know.
It's always very relaxing and rejuvenating to return "home" for a visit with friends and relatives and of course, enjoy a home cooked meal and share stories at the old homestead. Hopefully our offspring will feel the same fondness for Collingwood, Ontario for generations to come.
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