John Delaney was a 17 year old resident in the Belfast Poor House when he was offered the opportunity of travelling to Canada with Thomas Alexander Stewart as an apprentice to learn how to farm.
T.A. Stewart was the son of Belfast Charitable Society founder, William Stewart, and lived with his family at Wilmont, Drumbeg. T.A. Stewart went bankrupt and decided to seek a new life in Canada, and offered the opportunity for an apprentice to go with him. John Delaney accepted this offer and sailed with Stewart to a new life in Upper Canada.
The Stewart family, along with John Delaney and their servants, became pioneers in Canada. They lived in difficult conditions through weather extremes. A number of T.A. Stewart’s servants left their positions with the family due to this.
However, it appears that John Delaney, his apprentice from the Poor House, stayed with him through these difficult times. T.A Stewart carved out a successful career in Canada, as did John Delaney.
The 1861 census shows John Delaney who remained in the area he originally settled with the Stewarts in 1822. He had married a Canadian born woman called Margaret and had his own family. John had become a successful farmer and the family lived in a two-storey log cabin. Perhaps he was rewarded for his loyalty to the Stewart family? It is something we may never know for sure.