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John Pallister [p.]

We are most grateful to Norm Willis of Burlington, Ontario, Canada without whom we would never have discovered John's life & descendants in Canada & USA - his dedicated research into this branch of the Pallister family has been invaluable.

John Pallister was the fourth child of Cuthbert Pallister & Alice Wardle (nee Sutheron) born December 3rd, 1832 at Heworth, Co Durham & christened December 5th, 1832 at All Saints, Silver Street Methodist, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  (John had a twin sister named Isabella who was christened at the same time, but it is not known what became of her.)

In 1841 John was at home with his family at Felling Shore, Heworth, where his father was an engineer.
John was still living at home in 1851 with his parents & 2 sisters, now at Whickham, Co Durham.  John was employed as an apprentice druggist.

We can find no record of John in any further English censuses & believe that he emigrated to Canada some time between 1851 & 1855.  Unfortunately no passenger lists were kept for this period.  In 1854 a concerted drive was made by the Canadian authorities to encourage immigrants from Britain.  A previous influx of immigrants from Ireland in the 1840s due to the Irish famine had taken place.  However due to an outbreak of cholera & a drain of immigrants to the USA a depletion of the Canadian population was becoming a cause for concern. 

There is a record for the marriage of John Augustus (Augustin) Pallister to Sarah Vachon on December 26th, 1855.  The marriage took place at Christ’s Church, New Liverpool, Quebec & they were married by special licence.  Both John & Sarah were of full age & of New Liverpool (a small village situated on the south shore of the St Lawrence River, Quebec City), & John was a schoolmaster.   Unfortunately no record of parentage was given on this record for John, however it seems likely from the findings below that this is ‘our’ John who had begun a new life in Canada & acquired another Christian name.  Sarah was the born November 29th, 1832 in Quebec, the daughter of Marie Judith Philbert & Jean Baptiste Vachon.

John & Sarah's marriage record

John & Sarah’ first child, John Augustus Cuthbert (Cuthbert was John’s father’s name) was born in 1856 in New Liverpool & his baptismal record showed that John was still a schoolmaster.

The 1861 census of Levis, Quebec shows John & Sarah (listed as Sarah Vachon) with 3 children – they now had 2 more sons, Thomas (3) & Henry (2).

The family left Canada in 1867 & went to live in Iowa, USA.  At the time of the 1870 census John was lodging with Nathanial Willey & family in Washington Township, Lucas County, Iowa.  John was described as a station agent for the railroad.  The whereabouts of Sarah & the children is not known.

By 1872 the family were living in Ottumwa, Iowa.

There is a record of John’s naturalization in Wapello County, Iowa on November 9th, 1878.

In 1880 son John Augustus, a keen cyclist,  acquired the agency for the Columbia bicycle in the territory.  John was for many years the best known cyclist in Iowa.

In the 1885 census of Iowa John (52) & Sarah (50) were living at West Maine St, Ottumwa, Wapello & John’s occupation was given as book keeper & it was recorded that he was born in England. (No second Christian name was given for John in the census.) Living with them were sons John A (28), Thomas A (26) & William H (24).  All 3 sons were described as ‘candy makers’ & are known to have set up a confectionery business in Ottumwa.  In the early 80s the Pallister Bros had the largest confectionery & ice cream business in Ottumwa.  Five daughters were also still at home – the oldest 3 (Alice, 21, Victoria, 18 & Mary, 16) had all been born in Canada like their older brothers.  The 2 youngest daughters, Matilda (13) & Anna (Joanna) (10) were born in Iowa.

John died on May 20th, 1886, at 617 West Main St, the cause of death being peritonitis, & was buried in Ottumwa Cemetery on May 21st. His headstone gives his name only as John Pallister (no Augustus) born 1832His death register shows he was a bookkeeper & his age at death was 53 years, 5 months & 17 days – this confirms that this is the John Pallister, son of Cuthbert, born December 3rd, 1832!

One significant event which again links the family back to Whickham, England was the following which was kindly communicated to us by a fellow researcher, Norm Willis of Canada.  He was made aware of a photograph of Victoria Ann Elizabeth Pallister & on the reverse was the detail of her marriage to Delbert E Johnson on December 9th, 1890 in Ottumwa.  The photograph was in an album presented to Thomas Willis (1838-1903) by fellow members of St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church Choir in 1890, when Thomas moved from Whickham to Gateshead, Co Durham, England. 

Daughter Victoria Ann Elizabeth


In 1895 widowed Sarah was living in Ottumwa & with her were all 3 sons, John, Thomas & William who were now all cigar manufacturers.  Their cigar factory became one of the largest in the state & was located on Market Street.  With the growth of their cigar business the brothers disposed of their confectionery store.   Daughters Alice, Mary, Matilda & Annie were all still at home & were confectioners.  Also living with them at the time of the census was daughter Victoria Johnson with her 3 year old daughter Susie.  A John Vachon (39) was also living with the family who was a clerk in a confectioners.  The religion of the occupants was also given on the census – Sarah was a catholic, the boys had no religious beliefs & the girls were Episcopal.

Daughter Matilda (known as Tillie) sadly died on July 20th, 1896 after an unspecified illness lasting a year.

The 1900 census of Ottumwa shows Sarah still living in the city with son William Henry who is a cigar manufacturer, daughter Sarah Alice, a hair dresser & daughter Joanna (Anna in 1885 census), a dancing teacher.  Also living with them was daughter Victoria A E Johnson, a clerk, who was now divorced, & her daughter Susan Victoria Johnson (8) who was born in Alabama. Daughter Mary married Delbert D Gephart on January 1st, 1900.

Sarah (Ann) died, aged 70, on May 15th, 1902 & was also buried in Ottumwa Cemetery.

The children of John (Augustus) Pallister & Sarah (Ann) Vachon were:

p.  John Augustus Cuthbert Pallister born November 3rd, 1856 in New Liverpool, Quebec, Canada; died June 16th 1927 in Ottumwa, Iowa
p.  Thomas Andrew Pallister born June 30th, 1858 in New Liverpool, Quebec, Canada; died February 7th, 1940 in San Diego, California
p.  William Henry Pallister born December 22nd, 1859, Quebec, Canada; died  May 25th, 1927 at 125 Vogel Avenue, Ottumwa, Iowa
p.  Sarah Alice Pallister born March 28th,1862 & christened June 29th, 1862 in Quebec, Canada; died March 27th, 1952 in Ottumwa, Iowa
p.  Victoria Ann Elizabeth Pallister born August 13th, 1866 in Quebec, Canada; died August 13th, 1948 at St Joseph’s Hospital, Ottumwa, Iowa
p.  Mary Jane Pallister born October 9th,1868 in Quebec, Canada; died May 19th, 1934 in Iowa Falls, Hardin County, Iowa
p.  Matilda A Pallister born November 21st, 1871 in Russell, Lucas County, Iowa; died July 20th, 1896 in Ottumwa, Iowa
p.  Joanna Pallister born February 21st, 1874 in Ottumwa, Iowa; died March 19th, 1953 in Ottumwa, Iowa



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