A wee little girl was born the 20th day of September of the year 1820 in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, Scotland. The youngest of seven children, she spent the years of her childhood and maidenhood in her native city, marrying there at the age of 19 to John Beaton a widower tailor from the Burgh of Abbey Paisley in Renfrewshire County. In the space of two years she had two children, George in 1840 and John in 1841 and also a stepson William Pollock Beaton from her husband’s first marriage. Later that year with her husband and three children she boarded the sailing vessel “The Renfrew” and sailed for the wilds of Canada. The voyage was rough and stormy taking seven weeks and three days to make the landing at Quebec City.
Off the coast of Newfoundland the sea was so rough the Captain ordered the hatches to be closed down and for three days and three nights the five hundred and forty two passengers were imprisoned below deck. To make the voyage even more challenging measles broke out and at least fifteen children succumbed from the disease and were buried at sea. Janet’s infant son John also sickened and died but Janet shrank from consigning her baby to the chilly waters of the sea and nursed him in her arms for several days until their sailing vessel reached the land and the little baby was given a proper burial.
Image - Janet Paton taken 1845
At Quebec from the "Renfrew" they were transferred to a steamer which brought them to Montreal, from there by barges towed by oxen they reached Smith's Falls. This point was the limit of navigation and trains had not yet found the way into the Canadian wilds. However, the urge for a home location did not end here. Teams employed in the hauling of supplies to the frontier villages of Smith’s Falls were hired to take the newcomers to the then small village of Almonte west of Ottawa. Nearly all the country in the area was virgin forest. Janet’s husband John Beaton was a Tailor by trade, and the tradesmen of Almonte offered to build a shop for him on their main street and set him up in business, but he preferred to push further into the undeveloped country side and after living for a little time in an area of Ramsey Township the village of Clayton came to be.
Here a cabin was built and a home was established, for sixteen years the family grew, Janet gave birth to eight more children, difficulties of frontier life with a narrow income and broadening household were bravely endured. A school was presented to the Township of Darling, a master was needed, and Mr. Beaton was particularly well fitted to the position of Master. The family moved in the year 1858 nearer to the school. Mr. Beaton continuing his school works for nineteen years while Janet bore the brunt of farm life and farm labour on the place where they settled.
Image - Beaton homestead Lanark County Ontario
Janet bore eleven children in all, three dying in infanthood. Another son living to adulthood and marriage died with his infant son of lung fever. Janet and John overcome with so much grief and hardships then decided to adopt a young child a boy left an orphan in Glasgow and brought to Canada as a home child. This addition was enjoyed by the whole family, Henry, at the age of three years became the youngest of the Beaton Clan and the apple of Janet’s eye.
Janet loved all her children, was a wonderful mother, becoming a widow in 1892 after the death of her husband John she lived in the old homestead with her unmarried daughter Ellen and her adopted son Henry. Her married children all lived nearby she enjoyed her growing family till the time of her death on the 22 day of September 1903.
Image - Janet Paton taken 1875
Janet was laid to rest in the little family burial plot by the side of her husband and the children with whom she had been called to part. Her whole life was characterized by faithfulness in her home and family.
Janet Paton Beaton so much loved that the tale of how Janet carried her baby in her arms so that he could be buried on land was passed on to her grandchildren, to her great grandchildren, and on down to the present day to her great-great-great-great grandchildren. A woman born in the year 1820, who is still remembered close to 200 years later, because of her steadfast courage and love of family.