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People and organizations
Lambton, County of Politicians

Vidal Family

  • Family
  • 1789-1948

The Vidal family descends from Spanish and French origins. The family settled in London England in 1685. Emeric Vidal, a British Royal Navy Captain, lived from 1751-1811 and resided in Bracknell, Berkshire England for the entirety of his life. He married in 1783 to Jane Essex and they had 4 children together named Emma Vidal (1783-1844), Captain Richard Emeric Vidal (1789-1854), Emeric Essex Vidal (1791-1861) and Vice-Admiral Alexander Thomas Emeric Vidal (1792-1863). Like their father, all three brothers entered the Royal Navy and became officers in active service. Captain Richard Emeric Vidal was a Naval Officer who voyaged around the world and kept detailed and thorough diaries throughout his years at sea. After retiring from the navy in the 1830’s, he emigrated from Bracknell, England to Sarnia, Ontario (then called ‘Les Chutes’ or ‘The Rapids’) in 1834. With him he brought his wife, Charlotte Penrose Mitton (1789-1873) and four children, including son Alexander Vidal (1819-1906). However, there was a fifth child who died before the family immigrated. They had one more child after moving to Canada. Captain Richard Emeric Vidal was among the first pioneers of Sarnia and was active in changing the name of the town from The Rapids to Port Sarnia. Alexander Vidal was 15 when he moved to Sarnia with his father Richard Emeric Vidal and family. He went on to be an important figurehead in the Sarnia community, having experience being a surveyor, a banker, and a politician. Alexander Vidal eventually became a conservative member of the Senate of Canada for the Sarnia division from 1873-1906. He married Catherine Wright (daughter of Captain William Wright) and they had seven children together. One of those was Charlotte Vidal Nisbet (1855-1948), or ‘Chattie’ as her friends and relatives often called her, who would become a local Sarnia historian and author. Her husband, Thomas Nisbet was the originator of the Boy’s Brigade in Sarnia. Charlotte Nisbet provided weekly contributions to "The Sarnia Canadian Observer" starting in 1935. Her columns were based on daily happenings for the corresponding days one hundred years before which she extracted from her grandfather’s and other family member’s diaries and letters.