Margaret Jones was born in Ontario, Canada on 25 August, 1854. There is no confirmed record of her birth although she is listed in her obituary as having been born in New London, Ontario.
There never was a town in Ontario called New London but the confusion on the part of her decendents may have arisen from the fact that there was at the time of her birth a district named London adjacent to the place where Margaret was raised, Warwick Township, Lambton County, Ontario.
Presumably Margaret's mother died very early in her life as by 1861 Margaret, age seven, is listed as living with the family of James and Ann Edwards in Warwick, Ontario. She is noted as being born in Upper Canada, of the Church of England religion and attending school. Margaret is still living with James and Ann Edwards in 187l and her origin is listed as Welsh. It is clear from the record that she is not related to the Edwards as they are all listed as of Irish origin and on the census records over the decades she lists her mother's origin as Welsh. Her father, John Jones, lived close by during her childhood, probably in the Sarnia area, and lived with Margaret from the time of her marriage in 1876 until his death sometime before 1900.
Maargaret's photographs reveal her to be of slight build and with a long, narrow face. Harold O'Neill remembers his grandmother as small but very energetic, always busy.
"My grandmother made homebrew (beer) and would sell it to neighbors. Of course this wasn’t legal, but no one seemed to mind. Lots of people did it. She would sell it for $1.00 a case (24 bottles) but they had to bring the bottles back. She had a big barred rock rooster that was four or five years old. He was in the barnyard and crowed every morning. He was a mean sort and would fly at you or peck at you. One morning he had disappeared. Down on the corner was a small house where a bachelor lived. He was an alcoholic who would have parties with his buddies and drink grandma’s beer. When she missed the rooster she went over to his house to see if he had seen it. She found the feathers by his door. She banged on the door and woke him up and accused him of killing her pet rooster. He apologized and agreed to pay her for the rooster. Probably more than the rooster was worth. The payment satisfied her a little but she was still mad. I’m sure that was the toughest chicken they had ever eaten. My grandmother was a tiny woman but she never backed down when she was mad. She was afraid of nobody"
(Harold O'Neill, from 'Harold & Betty, Their Stories...')
Margaret came with the Edwards family to Sherman Township in 1871 when she was seventeen years old. James and Ann Edwards, with Margaret and their orphaned grandson David Campbell, settled on Mumford Raod, between Klug and Shock Roads. It is not known how she met Thomas O'Neil but he was living not far away in Sanilac County and the O'Neils, the Harts and the Edwards had all originally settled in the 1820's in Lanark County, Ontario.
The Edwards family played a very important part in the O'Neil family story. They were Margaret's foster-family and remained close neighbors and friends for generations. When Harold and Betty O'Neil were living in Chelsea, Michigan in the 1960's they met a woman there whose mother had been an Edwards and had been close to Harold's aunts and uncles, regarding them as 'cousins'.