Peter McCallum 1812 - 1899

Name: Peter McCallum

Father: Duncan McCallum

Mother: Janet McCallum

Born: December 5,1812 Cuilnaha, Glen Shira, Argyllshire
Baptism: December 7, 1812, Inveraray


  • Margaret McCallum
  • James McCallum
  • John McCallum
  • Mary McCallum
  • Donald McCallum
  • Duncan McCallum
  • Christian McCallum

Married: Catherine McArthur on July 31, 1843 in the parish of Killean and Kilchenzie
Married: Nancy McArthur in 1881 in Bosanquet Township, Lambton County, Ontario, Canada

Children: No natural children, an adopted daughter Margaret (McArthur) McCallum

Death: Feb 25, 1899 Bosanquet, Ontario, Canada

  • Cause of Death: Bronchitis
  • Burial: Pioneer Cemetery, Ridge Road, Thedford, Ontario, Canada
  • Headstone

Occupation: Shepherd and Farmer


  • Cuilnaha, Glen Shira 1812
  • St John 1813 - 1830
  • Various Places in Argyllshire 1830 - 1850
  • Bosanquet Township, Lambton County, Ontario, Canada 1850 - 1899


  • 1841
  • 1851
  • 1861
  • 1871
  • 1881
  • 1891

Stories: (from the research of John McCallum)
Peter McCallum was born December 5th, 1812 in Glen Shira, Argyllshire, Scotland and was christened on December 7 in Inveraray. He was the youngest son of Duncan and Janet McCallum. He lived at St John until he was 17 and spent his early adult life in various places in Argyllshire and Perthshire as shepherd and herds man for several different “masters”. He married Catherine McArthur on July 31, 1843. They emigrated to Canada in 1850 when his wife’s relative’s who were coming to America persuaded him to come with them becoming the earliest of my McCallum ancestors to settle here. Catherine McArthur died in 1868 after a long illness. She is buried in the pioneer cemetery on the Ridge Road, outside of Thedford, Ontario.

In Canada Peter was able to own his own farm. In 1871 this consisted of 150 acres on lot 10 of the 6th concession, 94 acres of which were “improved”. These consisted of 15 acres of pasture, 17 acres of wheat, 14 acres of potatoes, 38 acres of hay and 2 acres of garden / orchard. He also raised sheep, cattle, and swine. The farm produced cheese, butter, wool, maple syrup, honey and 43 yards of home made cloth. He and his wife had no children but they frequently took in McArthur relations to raise. The 1871 census indicates that three of them were living on the farm; Janet 19 years of age and her sister Isabella (Bella) aged 9 as well as a nephew Peter McArthur who was 10 and who were all born in Scotland. Janet and Peter were still with him on the farm per the census of 1881.

Peter was a strict Presbyterian and very active in the church. He was on the committee that first wrote to get a permanent minister for their area and was a Session Member from 1866. From old church records, we know how strict the church could be. In his history of the Knox Presbyterian Church at Thedford, local historian Fred Walden writes that “The minister and his elders thought that they had to be the law in regard to church members and they did their utmost to do so.” At one meeting of Session in 1888 the minutes record that “It was moved by Mr. McCallum, seconded by Mr. Park that Mr. X be suspended from the church membership until in the opinion of the Session he has given true indication of reformation, and that Messrs. Park and Rae be appointed to communicate to Mr. X the action of the Session”.

In 1877 Peter was on the building committee for the church that still stands in Thedford. He remarried in 1881 to Nancy McArthur who was born June 6, 1850. They took yet another McArthur relation in the name of Maggie. There was a Maggie McCallum who was in the choir at Thedford church (1893) and I wonder if this is the same girl that Peter had adopted. This is not certain as there was another Peter McCallum living in Bosanquet at this time (P.D. McCallum) who was not a relation. Peter kept in touch with his McCallum relations in Scotland which can be seen in a letter that he wrote to his niece Mrs. Archibald McCallum in 1896 (Catherine Dewar, daughter of Peter’s sister Mary who married Archibald, son of Peter’s sister Christina and Iver McCallum), the original copy of which has been lost.

Peter died on February 25, 1899 of bronchitis after a short illness (12 days). The minutes of session for June 24, 1899 record “ It was moved by Mr. Sutherland, seconded by Mr. Brebner and resolved that the members of Session take this, the first opportunity of expressing their sorrow at the death of Mr. Peter McCallum, the oldest member of the Session. They hereby sincerely testify their appreciation of his personal worth, his deep but unassuming piety and the great influence for good which he exercised for so long a time in the congregation and the community generally. They most earnestly pray that the presence of God of all comfort may abound in the home made desolate by his death and that the peace which passes understanding may fill the heart of his bereaved wife and adopted daughter. A copy of this resolution is to be sent to Mrs. McCallum.
Carried unanimously
Robert Rae, Clerk”

Some time after 1895, Peter wrote an account of his pioneer’s life which was printed at his death in the Forest Free Press and can be found today in the Commemorative Biographical Record for Lambton County running to 6 pages. Unfortunately for the family historian, Peter has written mostly about his pioneer experiences and has said very little about his immediate family and in fact does not provide a single name of his parents or siblings


Files / certificates held and by whom.


Other records

  • Duke of Argylls census
  • Fencible Men
  • Valuation Rolls