Robert Stoddard   

Hello! My name is Robert Stoddard. I live in Idyllwild, California in the San Jacinto Mountains above Palm Springs and Palm Desert and about 50 miles northeast of Temecula, California. My Scottish ancestor clan names were Fraser, MacKenzie, MacRae and MacDonald. Alexander McRae arrived from Dingwall, Ross Shire (Highlands), Scotland prior to 1818. He married Isabella Fraser, daughter of John Fraser (from Inverness, Scotland) and Margaret Fraser. The Alexander McRae family initially settled along the West River at Watervale but removed to Toney River circa 1855. James Fraser, who arrived from Scotland in year unknown, married Nancy Ann McRae there circa 1848. The MacDonald and the MacKenzie families arrived aboard the ship "Sarah" in 1801. They settled at MacLellan's Mountain. Donald MacKenzie married Christena MacDonald there in November 1948. They removed to the Toney River circa 1850. Ultimately, three families, Alexander and Isabella McRae, James and Nancy (McRae) Fraser, and Donald and Christena (MacDonald) MacKenzie settled at the Toney River area between 1850 and 1855. Alexander McRae started a gristmill and sawmill that came to be known as "Toney Mills" and gave the area its name today. His sons John McRae and Roderick McRae ran the mills until their departure between 1881 and 1885. The James Fraser farm, located just downstream from the two mills, was deeded to his two sons, Alexander and Simon Fraser, just weeks before their father’s death on November 3, 1880. That farm was later largely sold to Alexander and Duncan Henderson in October 1885. The Frasers continued to live at their dwelling house on 25 acres at Toney River until the death of Nancy (McRae) Fraser in February 1894. The nearby Donald and Christena MacKenzie farm is still owned and occupied today by relative descendant Robert and Elizabeth MacKenzie. My maternal great-grandparents are the son of James and Nancy Fraser, Simon Roderick Fraser, and the daughter of Donald and Christena MacKenzie, Jessie Ann MacKenzie, who were both born and later married at Toney River. In addition, I have Irish ancestry through John and Eleanor Mockler. Information on the Mockler family has been uploaded to this website. John Mockler started building sailing ships at River John circa 1836, the last being the barque “Banshee” launched in 1854. He then left River John in 1855 and built ships at Pugwash and Brule. He built a total of 22 ships in all - making him one of the largest ship builders in Nova Scotia in his time. All five of his sons were ship captains and master mariners. His son, Patrick Mockler, a beautiful photograph of whom is uploaded to this website, also built ships at Port Phillip and Brule. He retired from sailing in the mid-1890s and built a spectacular house at Brule Corner circa 1900. It was restored by John and Connie McNutt and is currently owned and occupied by their son, John Daniel McNutt and his wife Terri Lynn McNutt and family. John and Eleanor Mockler's daughter, Margaret Jane Mockler, the younger sister of the aforesaid Patrick Mockler, married an Irishman from Memramcook, N.B. by the name of Patrick H. McGowan. Patrick and Margaret McGowan are my paternal great-grandparents. Patrick was a successful merchant and later built ships on the Memramcook River, one ship, the “Eleanor,” named after his mother-in-law, being built for his father-in-law John Mockler. Patrick ran into financial problems completing the “Eleanor.” He then took a job at the Dorchester Penitentiary the year it opened (1880). The family removed to Manitoba in 1886 where Patrick worked at Stony Mountain Penitentiary. Patrick died in a tragic carriage accident in downtown Winnipeg in 1894 while on prison business. Margaret (Mockler) McGowan died at New Westminster, B.C. in 1936. Margaret’s parents, John and Eleanor Mockler, removed to San Francisco cica 1870 and lived there for over 25 years. The both died at San Francisco on the same day, just hours apart, on May 11, 1897. Margaret’s brother, Capt. Patrick Mockler, died at his home in Brule on February 18, 1930. Besides donating a considerable sum of money to build a dormitory at the Catholic St. Francis Xavier College in 1903, Patrick Mockler was extremely generous to his surviving siblings and nephews and nieces in his Will at the time of his death. The executor of his Will was his childhood friend and traveling companion, Daniel Sutherland, a former mayor of Pictou.