Hannah Ann

Anna Jane


Emma Jane

Robert Henry





Mary Ellen




Maria, daughter of Mariah Parr and Robert Tunks, was born 10 May 1867 at Mosa Township, Middlesex County, Ontario.

William Henry, son of George Johnston and Catherine Johnston, was born 13 March 1865 at Euphemia Township, Lambton County, Ontario. A childhood incident when Bill pulled a potato out of the coals, limited the movement of his left hand for the rest of his life. The back of his hand looked normal, he could bend it but he couldn't open the hand up as he had burned the cords that badly.

They married 16 October 1889 in Maria's parent's home at Mosa Township. Their first home was in Dawn Township, and they lived there for 9 years.

Though the early spellings of Mariah had an "h" on the end, though she never spelled her name with it.

They had 5 children; John Henry, Wilfred Lloyd, Rheta Mildred, Freeman Harold, and Olive Jean . Wilfred Lloyd lived only 1 year, 10 months and 6 days. He died 2 February 1901 and was buried in the West Bothwell Cemetery at Bothwell, Ontario.

Jean was 3 weeks old when they moved to a location east of Bothwell. They had bought 50 acres and they built a house and barn. During the barn raising, Bill fell off the barn and had a cracked rib. Emma (Tunks) McRoberts was there during the barn raising helping her aunt Mariah. They lived on this farm until son John was married, nine years later.

At one time, there were 3 William Johnston's living on the same street. One was Billy William, another Cement Billy, and this William Johnston became known as "Tunks Billy".

Bill was a farmer all his life, "a pretty good one" said daughter Jean. He traded horses, had cattle and pigs. Chickens were Maria's responsibility, which brought in egg money. Maria helped milk the cows and separate the cream for sale, sometimes keeping the cream for making butter. Of course, there was the garden.
Bill appreciated getting out now and then, and enjoyed a beer with the fellows in town. He was a life long member of the Anglican Church and was a Warden for several years. He served on the Zone Township council for several years and was reeve in 1915. He was a member of the Loyal Orange Lodge, the Canadian Order of Foresters, and the Masons, No.422 A.F.& A.M.

Maria suffered with a goiter on her neck. These days, an operation would have removed it. It started early in her life, and it grew to the size of a small fist by the time she died. Any picture of her you may find, she had a high neck blouse that covered the goitre.

Mariah heard about a certain quality with garter snakes. She asked a relative to bring her a live garter snake, as she was told that if you wrap it around your neck, the goitre would disappear. That remedy didn't work, nor many others she no doubt tried.

She attended the Anglican church regularly and frequently invited the minister home for dinner. That was when they lived on Peter Street at Bothwell.

She was a homebody. She became a member of the Anglican church, although she didn't join organizations like her husband. She helped out at church functions by bringing some food, and she learned to play the organ a bit.

Lloyd was just a baby when Bill bought an organ for Maria. When Maria practiced Lloyd would put his little fingers on the keys and play along with her. When Lloyd died at 22 months, Maria never played the organ again. Lloyd died 2 February 1901 of Bright's Disease, a kidney disorder. As much as Maria missed him, she wouldn't have wanted him back with that disease.

Maria, being mindful of her sister Emma dying of a broken heart because her parents stood in the way, allowed both daughters to be married before the (then) legal age of 21.

Maria died 14 July 1927 of arterial sclerosis, 6 weeks after her youngest daughter Jean was married. Maria was buried in the West Bothwell Cemetery.

About the time Rheta was born, Bill decided to buy a piano. Rheta didn't play it much, nor did Jean. It was an "extra good" upright piano that the kids prided themselves with, but none of them got to keep it; it was sold by their step-mother.

Bill remarried to Mariah Ellwood 22 June 1932 in St. Stephen's Rectory at Thamesville, Ontario by Rev. Diehl. Mariah, daughter of Asa Ellwood and __________________________ (mother), was born ______________ 1864 at ___________________. (city)

As with Maria(h) Tunks, Maria(h) Ellwood never spelled her name with an "h", though spellings found elsewhere had it.

Step Daughter Jean said that Maria (Ellwood) was very sensitive about her age. ("Oh my yes!") When the family bible is once again found, it will be interesting to note how accurate Maria's birth date will be.

Bill died  from _______________ (cause) on16 May 1948 and was buried with his first wife at Bothwell. The local Masonic Lodge shared in the graveside service. Maria (Ellwood) died   from _______________ (cause) on 11 July 1963 at 99 years of age and was buried in the West Bothwell Cemetery as well.

If you have information on Maria and Bill, or their descendants, I'd be thrilled to hear from you!  Please contact me at

I thank you for your interest in the family of Robert and Hannah Parr.

This web site is for your personal reading enjoyment only. No commercial intent or use is permitted.


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Copyright 2015 by Jack Parr
All rights reserved. Revised: 27 Nov 2016 16:24:15 -0500.