An American Family History

Sophia Floritine (Davis) Dwinnell Byrne

In 1841 the Act of Union united Upper and Lower Canada (which became Canada West and East) into the Province of Canada, under one government, with Kingston as capital.

The first European settlements in Ontario were after the American Revolution when 5,000 loyalists left the new United States.

Sophia Floritine Dwinnell Byrne was born on September 17, 1846 in Yonge Mills, Leeds (now Leeds Grenville) County, Ontario, Canada. Her parents were Isaac Dwinnell and Rachel Lapoint. Sophia's records gave her father's name as Isaac Davis and she used the name Sophia Floritine Davis in her children's baptisimal records.

Sophia married William Byrne, a merchant, on April 27, 1863 at Notre-Dame in Montréal in a Roman Catholic ceremony. William Byrne was born on May 26, 1840 in Québec and was of Irish background. His parents were William Byrne and Sarah Long

Sophia's niece, Hester Johnson wrote "Mother [Victoria Dwinnell Miller] said Uncle Bill was the youngest child of 15 and every one died with T.B."

[click here for the original] The twenty seventh April one thousand eight hundred sixty three after the publication of three banns of marriage, without impediment or opposition, we the undersigned, priest duly authorized, having received the mutual consent of William Burns, laborer, domiciliated in this diocese son of William Burns, laborer, domiciliated in this parish and of deceased Sarah Long of this parish, of the one part and of Sophia Davis domiciliated in this parish, minor daughter of deceased Isaac Davis, tailor, and Rachel Lapointe of Kingston, Canada loest of the other part have married them according to the laws and rites of the Holy Catholic church in presence of Pierre Bilianger, of Owen Tansey, of Victoria Davis all undersigned with the bridegroom and bride. The aunt of the bride consented to the marriage.
William Burns
Sophia Davis
Owey Tansey
Victoria Davis
P. Belanger
Notre-Dame Basilique, Montréal
-Dame de Montréal

Their children were all born in Montréal. William James Byrne was born in 1864. Victoria Dwinnell and Owen Tansey were witnesses at his baptism at St. Patrick's.

John Byrne was born in 1867.

Charles Alfred Byrne was born on April 13, 1869. He was baptized at Basilique Notre-Dame in Montréal. His Godparents were Christopher Connolly and Maria Connolly.

At the time of the 1871 census, William and Sophia were living in the St. Anne Ward of Montreal. The household consisted of William, Sophia, William James, John, and Charles Alfred. The household also included Maria Connolly.

Sarah Olive Byrne Dwyer was born on May 4, 1871. 

Beatrice Rachel Byrne was born August 18, 1875. Her Godparents were Denis Tansey (son of Owen Tansey) and Katherine Muldoon. Her name at baptism was Rachel Beatrice Byrne.

Jessie Maude Mary Bryne was born on July 22, 1877 and died in January 1842. The witnesses to her baptism were Edward and Mary Wheeler.

Agnes Alberta Byrne was born on August 5, 1879 and she died as an infant on August 23, 1880. The sponsors at her baptism were Ronald and Johanna St. Mars.

Various spellings of Dwinnell
Doenell, Donell, Donnall, Donnell, Duenell, Dunnel, Dunnell, Dwaniel, Dwaniell, Dwainel, Dwennel, Dwinel, Dwinell, Dwinnel, Dwinnill, Dwonill, Dwynel

The united counties of Leeds and Grenville are in southern Ontario, Canada on the border with the United States.The county seat is Brockville.
1881 directory
1881 Québec City Directory Listing

The family appeared in the 1881 Canadian Census. They were living in the Saint Anne Ward of Montréal, Québec. The family consisted of William who was 40, Sophia who was 34, John who was 14, Charles who was 12, Oliva who was 10, Beatrice who was six, and Maude who was four. They also lived with Maria Connelly who was 30 and a "modiste."

Joseph Albert Byrne was born on January 13, 1883. The sponsors at his baptism were Michael McGunn and Sarah Olive Byrne.

Anna Sophia Byrne Squibb was born on September 16, 1884. The sponsors at her baptism were Patrick Hammill (policeman) and Anna.

Helen Zelena Byrne was born on November 25, 1886. Her name in the baptism record was Phonille C. Byrne. The sponsors were Michel Sinnett and Elizabeth Carmack.

Victor Guy Byrne was born January 9, 1890. The sponsors at his baptism were John Kane and Agnes Colfar.

In 1891, Sophia and William were enumerated in the St. Antoine Ward. The household consisted of William age 50, Sophia age 44, Charles age 22, Olive age 19, Beatrice age 15, Maud age 13, Joseph age 8, Anna age 6, Nellie age 4, and Victor who was 10 months. An Elizabeth Miles, age 65, from England was a lodger.

Charles Alfred married Margaret Price in 1898. Sarah Olive married Thomas Patrick Dwyer about 1901. Hester Johnson wrote that she had three children. 

. . . Olive Byrnes had three children twin girls first, "Kathleen and Thelmar" neither have maried (sic) and are about 45 years old as near as I can remember, both hold responsible Positions used to be to do with Parlemint (sic) Bldgs, but I don't know in what way. The third child was a boy Norman Dwyer . . .this cousin [Kathleen Dwyer] is a granddaughter of my Aunt Sophia, my mother's sister, . . .and [she] gave up her work and came and lived with "Aunt Beaty" til the end and she took over the writting (sic) from then on . . . 

William Byrne died on April 24, 1908. 

At the time of the 1911 census the family was living in the Maisonneuve District of Montréal on Park Avenue. The household consisted of Sophea born in 1846, JosA born in 1884, Rictor G. born in 1880, Beatrice born in 1877, Murd born in 1879, Anna born in 1885, and Nellie born in 1886.


Hester Johnson wrote

from all accounts the Byrnes (Pronounced 'Burns') family are quite well to do, but at that all of Aunt Sophias children all are well educated and all have held good positions, so at least we know we can be proud of our relations. . . now only three [of Sophia's children] are living, Olive, Joseph and Victor and the rest have passed on with T.B. but it was on their fathers side, Aunt Sophia lived to be nearly 80, but never had T.B. She cared for the older ones during their illness and her husband "Uncle Bill" too.

Charles died March 31, 1916.

Anna Sophia married Francis Henry Squibb on May 9, 1916. 

Joseph Albert married Edna Bertha Mooney on April 18, 1917. 

Helen Zelena died in September, 1926.

Victor married Mary Olive O'Keefe in 1928.

Anna Sophia died in August, 1932.

Sophia died on May 19, 1940 at almost 80 years old. Her death was recorded at Montréal Basilique Notre-Dame. She was buried with her husband in Cote des Neiges Cemetery in Montréal in Section B, concession 4418.

Jessie died in January, 1942. Beatrice died in January, 1946. A June 22, 1950 letter from Hester Johnson to Hester Miller said

you see years ago when my folks turned the family writting (sic) over to Edith and I, she wrote Dad's people and I mothers, so a cousin Beatrice Byrnes and I wrote to each other for many years. She was a few years older than I, she never married and she passed away about three years ago. 

Joseph Albert died on April 21, 1959 and is buried at Cote des Neiges Cemetery. Sarah Olive Dwyer died on April 18, 1962. Victor died in 1972.

Three daughters of William Towne and Joanna Blessing were wrongly accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem. Rebecca Towne Nurse, Mary Towne Estey, and Sarah Towne Bridges Cloyes were persecuted in 1692. The children of people in the line below are all descendants of Mary Estey.

William Towne,
Mary Towne Estey,
Isaac Estey,
Aaron Estey
Mary Estey Dwinnell
Israel Dwinnell,
Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Sr.,
Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Jr.
Victoria Zellena Dwinnell
Robert Wilson Miller, Sr
Robert Wilson Miller, Jr.

Children of Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Jr. and
Rachel Lapoint

  • Victoria Zellena Dwinnell Miller
  • Holland Orville Dwinnell
  • Charles N. Dwinnell
  • Sophia Floritine Dwinnell Byrne
  • Napoleon B. (Charles) Dwinnell
  • David Lancaster Dwinnell

    Children of Rachael Lapointe
    and David Lancaster Jones
  • Lewis Kossuh Jones
  • Ida Ann Jones
  • Genevieve E. Jones Marvin


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    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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