Peter McLaren, the first child of John McLaren and Marion McIlquham, was born in 1839 on the farm settled by the original Peter. In 1861, age 22, he is the oldest of nine children helping his parents farm two hundred acres. He married in 1863 and by 1868 had three children of his own. The 1871 Census shows him farming in Lanark Township, but not on his father's farm and not on a farm he owns.
In 1871 Peter's father is widowed and farming with his sons James (28 years old and single), John (21), David (16), Walter (14) and daughters Margaret (23) and Marion (18); the two oldest daughters have married and gone. The father died in 1872 and second son James inherited the family farm.
By 1881 Peter has become a laborer and is living with his wife and children in Mill Point, Ontario (now Deseronto, on the N.E. shore of Lake Ontario, about 70 miles SSW of Lanark).
This period corresponds to what the folks in Lanark call "The Manitoba Migration." The population in Ontario was growing, much of the arable land had been claimed, and young people looking for opportunities were departing to Manitoba and the Dakota Territories in search of free land. This apparently included Peter. His brother James remained on the family farm, but John moved west and eventually became the police chief in Vancouver; David and Walter both went to Manitoba.
In March of 1884 Peter emigrated from Canada and headed for the Dakota Territories.
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Updated July 1, 2011
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