The Legend Behind the Recipes

The bright-eyed twenty-something grabbed her hat, and headed straight for the recruiting station, after hearing that her only brother was rejected from the military because of his poor eyesight.  “Someone has to represent our family in the war efforts!” her voice fading as she ran down the sidewalk, vanishing out of sight.

rcaf_wd_recruiting

WWII Recruiting poster, 1942, RCAF, Womens’ Division

 

Jack Rutherford

Audry’s brother, Jack Rutherford, (photo above) – wanted very much to serve in WWII, but was not accepted as a recruit, due to his eyesight.

 

The No. 8 Bombing and Gunnery School in Lethbridge, Alberta, would become Audry’s new home, where she would meet the dashing young Lanark County farm boy Tib Stafford.

audry-in-uniform

Audry in uniform, on a visit with her parents in Edmonton, Alberta

 

mother-and-dad-dating-in-lethbridge

Audry Rutherford and Tib Stafford, on a date in the city of Lethbridge, Alberta in 1943

 

After a whirlwind of dating, he asked for her hand, and they married on July 12, 1943.

 

Mother and Dad's wedding announcement

Audry and Tib’s wedding announcement, Edmonton Journal, July 13, 1943, page 8

 

mother-and-dads-wedding

Audry (Rutherford) Stafford & Tobias ‘Tib’ Stafford – on their wedding day July 12, 1943

 

Audry took great pride in her military contributions, and was honoured to be in the very first graduating class of Physical Education Instructors, for the RCAF Womens’ Division.

airforce-women-1942-001

In the months that followed, she began to feel a bit queasy, and discovered that they were going to have a baby.  The rule in those days was to discharge female soldiers who were expecting, and sadly, she gave up her position as Corporal, and returned  home.

On a warm spring day, in May of 1944, she gave birth to a strapping baby boy, Timothy Stafford.

 

Tim and Judy 1946

Tim Stafford and Judy Stafford, 1947, Third Line of Bathurst Twp., Lanark County

 

When the war ended, they settled on a farm, on the Third Line of Bathurst Township, Lanark County, just west of Perth, Ontario, and the family continued to grow.  Now there was big brother Tim, and his two little sisters Judy, and Jackie.

Stafford-House-in-1947

Stafford House – 1947, 3rd line of Bathurst (Tay Valley) Township

 

Mother Tim Judy Jackie.jpg

l to rt.- Judy Stafford, Audry (Rutherford) Stafford, Tim Stafford (front – Jackie Stafford)

 

Judy Tim Jackie Roger at the fence

Judy Stafford , Tim Stafford, Jackie Stafford and Roger Stafford, 1958

 

Stafford Christmas long ago

l to rt – Roger Stafford, Arlene Stafford on Judy Stafford’s lap, Audry (Rutherford) Stafford, Tobias ‘Tib’ Stafford, Tim Stafford, Jackie Stafford, 1964.

 

Always busy in the kitchen, an excellent baker, Audry began to enter the home-craft competitions in Perth Fair.  Her baking was a big  hit, and she won blue ribbons, red ribbons, silver cups, silver trays, and filled her china cabinet with the spoils from her winnings.   She won so many prizes over the years that her reputation for award-winning baking was the talk of Lanark County, and the Agricultural Society asked her to be a Fair Judge.

Perth Fair results 1965

perth-fairfirst-place-ribbons

 

For decades, Audry was a Fair Judge, throughout the County of Lanark – at the Perth Fair, the Maberly Fair, the Lombardy Fair, even more distant fairs in Madoc and Tweed.  She became a well-known Fair Judge throughout Eastern Ontario.

 

audry-stafford-judging-a-quilt

Judge Audry Stafford, performing her duties, at the Lombardy Agricultural Fair

Audry lived a long life, and when she passed away, her children assembled all of her prize-winning recipes, and included stories of growing up on the little farm, on the Third Line of Bathurst.  The book was called “Recipes and Recollections: Treats and Tales from Our Mother’s Kitchen”  

(Audry’s first-born Tim, and second-born Judy are featured on the cover)

recipes-recollections-cover-1

 

This popular book has become the ‘go-to’ guide for anyone who loves the traditional, the classic, the old-time, farm-style recipes.  No less than 93 prize-winning recipes are featured in the book, and it has become a best-seller, ideal for anyone considering competing in the baking categories at the local fairs who’s looking for an ‘edge’.

 

apple sauce loaf

Audry’s Apple Sauce Bread – won first prize ribbons, year after year at local fairs

 

“Recipes and Recollections” will warm your heart, and fill your stomach, with homemade comfort foods guaranteed to please the crowd!

Available at The Book Nook, The Bookworm &  Mill St. Books  in Almonte, or online at http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

UFO Sightings Over Perth

Since the infamous sightings in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, people across North America have become more aware of strange lights, and unusual objects, in the night skies.

By the late 1960s in Perth Ontario, details of sightings were published in the local papers, and many credible witnesses reported their accounts of these strange events.

Flying Saucers With Red Lights

Over Port Elmsley

Confirmed by Perth OPP

UFO OPP sightings

Ivan Vandusen, R.R. 2 Smiths Falls,

– one of the first to report the UFOs

 

Ivan Van Dusen UFO reportIvan Van Dusen # 2

Flying in Formation, Ten Feet Apart…..

Moving toward Carleton Place

Everet Lavender

 

Mrs. Essex Clement in Port Elmsley:

“They just disappeared.”

 

Mrs. Essex Clement UFO

 

Two Perth OPPs see UFOs on HWY 43

Hovering Over the Army Tower

in Drummond Township

R.C.A.F. Asks for a Full Report

 

OPP Sighting UFO

UFOs Seen Over Mississippi Lake

 

UFOs over Mississippi Lake

 

It was called the

“Autumn of Aliens”

 

The night skies in Eastern Ontario became very active in the summer and fall of 1973, and some organizations reported that it was one of the largest number of U.F.O. sightings over North America, calling it the ‘Autumn of Aliens’.

Huge Chunks of Ice Fell from the Sky

In Lanark County, it all seemed to begin with a sudden hailstorm, on the Friday the 13th of July.  The hailstorm came out of nowhere, and huge chunks of ice fell, many almost three inches in diameter.  Hundreds of windows and car windshields were smashed by jagged pieces of ice.  A Smiths Falls resident was cut on the head by a chunk of falling ice, and required seven stitches. No one was seriously injured, although there were a few farmers that got caught outside, working in the fields, and had to seek shelter from the large chunks of ice falling from the sky.

lights in the sky

Barely 48 hours after the hailstorm, police departments in Perth and Smiths Falls received a number of calls from residents, claiming to have seen flying objects in the sky.

Flying Object Seen Near Balderson

A local man reported that he and five others were on the Eighth Line near Balderson at 9:30 p.m., when a flying object appeared to be travelling south to north, then returned to the south.   He observed that it was quite large, shaped like a tart.  Another report came in from a resident of Sherbrooke Street in Perth, who saw the same object overhead.  He said that his dog had howled constantly while the object appeared in the sky.

CJET Radio Holds Call-In Show

Due to large number of UFO Sightings!

So many people had observed the same object that CJET radio station in Smiths Falls held a call-in show the following Monday, so that people could phone the show, and share reports of what they had seen.

Sparkling Yellow-Orange Light

Over Perth

UFO 1

“The Perth Courier”, Thursday, April 19, 1973

 

Julian Kustra reports flying object

over Sherbrooke Street in Perth

UFO 2

“The Perth Courier” , Thursday, July 19, 1973, page 1.

flying saucer 3

UFO Reported in Beckwith Township

on Tennyson Road

The next UFO sighting to be reported in the fall of 1973 took place in Beckwith Township.  A young man was returning to Perth from Ottawa, driving along Highway 7 near Carleton Place, when his headlights suddenly went out.  Concerned that he might be pulled over by the police with his headlights out he decided to take the back way, and turned onto Tennyson Road.  The section of the road closest to Perth has swamp on both sides, and the lad noticed two large lights in the sky, hovering over the swamp.  The object was in the sky just above the tree line.  He pulled the car over to the side of the road, and as he stopped the car he noticed that the object stopped as well, and hovered over the swamp.  He remained parked for a few minutes, and then started to drive again.  When he began to move, so did the object, and it travelled parallel to him for a few more minutes, then disappeared.  Early the next morning, when he pulled out of his driveway in Perth, his headlights were working again.

flying saucer 4

Small Sphere Hovers in Sky

Over Smiths Falls

Another sighting in the late summer of 1973 was first reported by a young lad working at a gas station in Smiths Falls. He spotted a small sphere in the sky that appeared to be hovering in one fixed location.  He reported seeing silver flames coming from both the top and the bottom of the craft.  The lad was quick to call CJET radio station, and ask if anyone else had seen the odd sphere in the sky.  The radio station confirmed that yes, indeed; they could see it as well.  In the days that followed, at least 40 people in the Smiths Falls area came forward, stating that they had seen the object as well.

Cigar-Shaped Object in Sky

Over Horseshoe Bay, Rideau Lakes

In the summer of 1974 people were once again talking about another strange object in the sky.  It was a typical warm summer evening on the Rideau Lakes, and there were cottagers and residents alike, who saw more than they bargained for, on the night of August 12th.   At around 10 p.m., many were sitting outside, enjoying the call of the loons, and listening to the water lapping on the shore.  Suddenly, high in the night sky, a cigar-shaped object appeared.  Some described it as a long, flat shape, orange in colour. Many said that it was more red than orange, and was shaped like a sphere. Everyone that saw it agreed that it was silent, and it hovered over the Big Rideau Lake, on the south side of Horseshoe Bay, for several minutes, and then vanished.

flying saucer 5

It wasn’t just in the Perth area that strange objects and lights appeared in the sky.  Several residents of the town of Brockville, including some local police officers, confirmed the sightings of some odd lights moving in the night skies.

Brockville UFO

From “The Perth Courier”,  January 3, 1979,  front page, a sighting reported by George Shanks of Lanark, Ontario:

 

White Blinking Light in Sky

Over Ferguson Falls

flies from Almonte

to McDonald’s Corners

 

ufo-jan-1979

Cartoon printed in “The Perth Courier”, January 10, 1979, page 2

Flying objects in the sky became the talk of the town!

 

ufo-jan-10-1979

Strange sightings of unidentified flying objects were recorded in the Perth area as early as the late 1950s.  Fiery balls of light, objects moving up and down, back and forth, quickly, in ways that airplanes were not able to maneuver.

UFO Tracking Station

Established near Ottawa

UFO tracking stations were established just outside of Ottawa, and rumours of government radio towers and underground facilities were heard up and down the concessions in Lanark County.  Excavations were reported near Almonte, and government agents were testing the soil on several farms in Ramsay Township.

tracking station Shirley's Bay

saucer station 1953

Shirley's Bay project 1953

Shirley's Bay station report 1953

 

When reporters attempted to investigate further, the government representatives denied all, despite the fact that local men were working as labourers on many of the projects and could confirm what they had seen.

“On August 8, 1954, Smith, and his team at Shirley’s Bay recorded a disturbance, they believed was caused by a UFO. Among the observations that day were transmissions being received too rapid for a trained operator to decipher.”

December 26, 2018, ‘The Ottawa Citizen’ p. A6

Just days later, ‘Project Magnet’, as it was known, was disbanded, without explanation.

 

……………………..

 

For more information on strange sightings in the night skies over Lanark County, and some of the government’s classified projects in the 1960s and 1970s, read the full story ‘Perplexed in Perth’, from “Lanark County Classics: A Treasury of Tales from Another Time”, ISBN 978-0-9877026-54

Available at local bookstores, or online

 

Lanark County Classics Book Cover small for blog

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Meet Me in DeWitt’s Corners

‘The Corners’ was a phrase heard often in our small community.  The Corners referred to DeWitt’s Corners, a mile or so west of our farm, and was located at the crossroads of the Third Line, Munro’s Side road and Cameron’s Side road.

The early settlers in Bathurst Township were keen to have their own church instead of driving to St. John’s Church in Perth, or St. Bridget’s Church in Stanleyville.  Roads were treacherous at times in the winter, with deep snow, sometimes freezing rain, or both.  John DeWitt, son of a pioneer settler, and his wife Mary Neil knew there was a need for a Roman Catholic Church to serve the growing community. Hoping to improve the situation, they made a promise to donate the land to build a church.

St. Vincent de Paul Church

The construction progressed quickly, and the first mass was held on November 23, 1889.  The church was packed that day, and this stately building has served generations of families around DeWitt’s Corners and the area for over 125 years and counting.

A bike ride down the Third Line often meant that my friends and I would gather around the millstone at Cavanagh’s general store.  It was a central meeting place where we could sit and talk.  Between us, we could usually scrounge together enough pocket change to buy some penny-candy at the store.

Shep with the Millstone

DeWitt’s Corners was a busy place in the 1960s and 1970s, with cars stopping at Cavanagh’s store for gas and groceries, or zooming up the Third Line toward Christie Lake.  Christie Lake was a tourist destination with accommodations of all kinds for seasonal visitors.  Norvic Lodge, Arliedale Lodge, and Jordan’s Cottages, were some of the busiest places in the summer months.

Cavanagh's store black and white

 

Across the Third Line from Cavanagh’s store was the old Bathurst cheese factory.  The factory produced cheese until about 1954 and then ceased operations as other larger factories began to edge out the smaller producers.

DeWitt Cheese factory

Photo: old Bathurst cheese factory in the background with Helen and Jim Cavanagh and Shep.

Not far from the ‘Corners’, just up Cameron’s Side Road was the little white school house – S.S. # 4 Bathurst, where many of the members of our family attended school.  Mary Jordan taught all eight grades, keeping order in a compact classroom, heated with a wood stove, and bursting with energetic farm kids.

S S # 4 class in 1968

Front row – Brent Scott, Carl Gamble,John Conboy,John Cameron, Peter Kerr, Bev Miller
2nd row – Standing Kim Kyle,Betty Conboy, Judy Radford, Janice Jordan , Nancy Radford, Beverly White, sitting in front of Nancy Radford is Bobby-Jean Gamble and beside her is Mary White
Beside Kim Kyle is Brent Cameron, Bryan Tysick, Maxine Closs with her arms around Judy Radford, behind her is Kenny Perkins, Brad Kyle, Susan Turnbull, Darlene Charby,
Back row Randy Sargeant, Kent Shanks, Mrs Carrie Barr, Doug Jordan, Brian Miller and Mark Greenley

S S # 4 School for book

S S # 4 school from Janice # 2

Back row: Mrs Carrie Barr, Mary White(in front) Beverly White, Anne Marie Kyle, Nancy Radford, Bobby-Jean Gamble, Maxine Closs, Darlene Charby, Doug Jordan, Brent Scott, Carl Gamble, JoAnne Cavanagh, Bev Miller, Judy Radford, Betty Conboy, Kim Kyle, Janice Jordan, Susan Turnbull
Front row: Brent Cameron , Peter Kerr, Mark Greenley, Raymond Shanks, Randy Sargeant, Brad Kyle, Brian Miller, Ken Perkins, Kent Shanks, Brian Tysick, Dan Charby, John Conboy, John Camerom

 

When Mary Jordan wasn’t busy teaching eight different grades, she coached the DeWitt’s Corners softball team.  Both of my sisters Judy and, Jackie, played on the championship team in 1959. My brother Roger was on the team in 1964.

DeWitt's softball champs 1959

 

DeWitt's Softball Champs 1964

 

FRONT ROW David Scott and Bill Cavanagh
MIDDLE ROW Earl Conboy and Ronnie Brown
BACK ROW; Arthur Perkins, Roger Stafford Norman Kerr Arnold Perkins Connie Conboy and Mrs Mary Jordan

S S 4 School colour

Interior photo of S.S. # 4 Bathurst School

Front row Earl Conboy, David Scott, Arthur Perkins, Ron Brown, John Conboy, Bill Kyle

2nd row Arnold Perkins,Joe Mitchell, Roger Stafford, Norm Kerr, Bob Perkins,Paul Cavanagh

3 rd row Peter Kerr, Betty Conboy, Anne Kerr, Bill Cavanagh, Carl Gamble, Judy Radford, Janice Jordan, Doug Jordan Back row Mary Jordan, Kim Kyle, Connie Conboy, John Scott, Richard Cooke, Sharon Doyle

—–

There always seemed to be a sense of history in DeWitt’s Corners, and intriguing tales of the early settlers were told and re-told around that small hamlet. Most of us in the community were aware that Helen Cavanagh was a member of the DeWitt family, but many may not have realized how far back her roots stretched to the earliest settlers.

William DeWitt, and his wife Margaret Noonan DeWitt had a large family of eight daughters:  Helen Mae DeWitt who married Jim Cavanagh, Margaret Gertrude DeWitt, Vera DeWitt who married Ed Brady, Carmel DeWitt Matthews who settled in San Francisco, California, Jean DeWitt Garry, Mary DeWitt O’Hara, Josephine DeWitt who settled in Toronto, and Sophia DeWitt.

Cavanagh’s Store

The store opened on June 3, 1947 – carrying a full line of groceries, confectionaries, and tobacco products. Along with groceries and everyday sundries, Cavanagh’s store also sold gas supplied by Esso, a branch of Imperial Oil. Locals and cottagers, along with campers at nearby Christie Lake, were all pleased to hear that there would be a general store in the area, and they would no longer have to drive to Perth to pick up daily necessities.

Jim and Helen Cavanagh operated the popular neighbourhood store for nearly four decades until they retired in 1985.

Cavanaghs store for book

Many members of this proud community played a part, and their descendants carry with them the legacy of this historical settlement in Lanark County:

Adams, Allan, Blackburn, Blair, Brady, Cameron, Carberry, Cavanagh, Chaplin, Closs, Conboy, DeWitt, Dixon, Doyle, Fife, Foster, Gamble, Heney, Hogan, Johnston, Jordan, Keays, Kerr, Kirkham, Korry, Kyle, Leonard, Majaury, Menzies, Miller, Mitchell, Morrow, Munro, Murphy, Myers, Noonan, Palmer, Perkins, Popplewell, Radford, Ritchie, Somerville, Scott, Siebel, Stafford, Stiller, Truelove, Turnbull, and Tysick.


 

Thanks to JoAnne Cavanagh Butler for contributing the photos, and thanks to Janice Gordon, JoAnne Cavanagh Butler, Roger Stafford and Beverly Miller Ferlatte for all of their help identifying our neighbours and classmates in the photos!


 

For more information about the history of DeWitt’s Corners and the people who settled in the community, you can read the full version of the story in “Lanark County Classics: A Treasury of Tales from Another Time”

Available at The Book Nook, The Bookworm & Blackwood Originals in Perth,  Perfect Books & Books on Beechwood in Ottawa, Arlie’s Books in Smiths Falls, Mill St. Books and Divine Consign in Almonte, or on http://www.staffordwilson.com

Lanark County Classics Book Cover small for blog

http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

 

Irish Settlers & the Ghost of Burgess Township

banshee

 

Burgess Ghost

The story of the Burgess Ghost begins with the arrival of so many Irish to the areas around Westport, the Scotch Line, Black Lake, and Stanleyville, that it became known as the ‘Irish Invasion’.

This is the the home where the story took place, in the cold, bitter winter of 1935, at the home of Mr. John Quinn.  John lived in the house with his wife, and two sons Michael age 13, and Stanley, 11.

 

Quinn house Burgess

Quinn house, North Burgess Township, Lanark County

Burgess ghost 1

“The Windsor Star”, Jan. 14, 1935, p.7

“By evening, the ‘ghost of Burgess’, was the one topic of discussion in Perth”

Burgess ghost 2

Andrew Burke saw the windows break, and the dishes jump

Burgess ghost 3

William Cordick saw three flat irons come down the stairs

Burgess ghost 4

Hundreds of people drove through a snowstorm, to the Quinn home, to see the Ghost of Burgess

Burgess ghost 5

“The Windsor Star”, Jan. 14, 1935, p.7

Burgess ghost 6

“The Ottawa Citizen”, Jan. 16, 1935, p.1

Howard Traynor and Michael Norwood huddled in the house until daybreak

Burgess ghost 7

Predominantly Irish, simple, hard-working farm folk

Burgess ghost 8

“The Ottawa Citizen”, Jan. 16, 1935, p.1

“The Mounties are searching the place, determined to ‘get their ghost’.”

Burgess ghost 9

“Bradford Evening Star”, Bradford, Pennsylvania, Feb. 6, 1935, p.9

“…a teapot jumping into a woodbox.”

Burgess ghost 10

“Minneapolis Star”, Minnesota, Aug. 5, 1935. p.8

 

Don Rennie, reporter for “The Perth Courier”, wrote a story on the Burgess Ghost in 1967:

“Strange occurrences were happening in 1935 at a farm in North Burgess just off the Narrows Locks road. Mr. John Quinn, his wife and two children, Michael, and Stanley, ages 13 and 11, reported innumerable phenomena taking place in their home. Stove lids, according to the Quinns, “danced” in the air, the teapot “jumped” off the stove into the wood box, three flat irons “walked” down a staircase and dishes “pranced” on the dining-room table. Word of this mysterious goings on spread quickly throughout the district. Although, perhaps skeptical, hundreds of persons from miles around flocked to the Quinn home.

burgess ghost 12

On the Sunday after the reporting of the “ghosts” more than 100 cars arrived at the Quinn farm. Along with the cars a flotilla of cutters and sleighs dotted the white-capped farm. The snow fell incessantly and the thermometer dipped way below the zero mark.

Newsmen from across the country arrived, and the CBC news from Toronto, reported the strange events. Although the strange occurrences could not be readily explained, many held doubts in their minds as the credulity of the phenomena. Believing that there had to be a reasonable explanation behind the occurrences, the Perth detachment of the OPP decided to hold an investigation.

On a Saturday afternoon, members of the force motored to the Quinn home, and inspected the building. Nothing strange occurred while they were there. That same evening Inspector Storey returned to the house. He remained there until Sunday morning along with about a dozen district men, sat in the house, speaking in hushed tones, but again nothing happened.

Quinn family and police Burgess

photo: members of the Quinn family, and the local police force

Mr. Quinn was unable to explain the strange occurrences that had been going on for the past couple of weeks. Pieces of beef he had placed in a barrel had been found littered throughout the house, he said, and the Wednesday before a window pane crashed for no apparent reason. He had not thought that too odd until it happened the very next evening.

Andrea Burke, a neighbouring farmer, declared that a bone thrown out of the home time and time again had always returned to the house for no explicable reason. Another neighbour, William Cordick, swore that he had seen three flat irons descend the Quinn’s staircase one after another.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Irish Settlers to North Burgess Township, Lanark County

Most, but not all of the Irish in North Burgess Township, came from County Down and County Armagh, and many came in the 1840s, to escape a horrible famine, that swept through Ireland  like an unstoppable plague.   A disease called Potato Blight ravaged their crops for nearly a decade, and during that time over a million died of starvation, and an equal number fled Ireland on ships sailing to Canada and the United States.

irish potato blight

Most were tenant farmers, leasing their land; unable to pay their rent when their crops failed, and were evicted by ruthless landlords.  They bundled up what little they had, and boarded ships headed for the new world.

Irish immigrants

Seven weeks was the average length of time spent at sea, and the conditions endured by these Irish immigrants were so terrible that the ships were nick-named ‘coffin ships’.  The lice, ticks and fleas common in these over-crowded vessels were the ideal breeding grounds for the transmission of disease, and by 1847 an average of 50 passengers died each day of typhus on their voyage from Ireland.

coffin ship

 

typhus

 

The areas where this ‘wave’ of Irish settled in Lanark County:

nburgess

These new settlers brought their traditions, customs, and stories with them to the new country.  Stories and legends were passed down from father to son, and from mother to daughter.  Tales from the old country were told in the evenings by the fire, and the one story that seemed to run up and down the concessions in North Burgess was the legend of the Irish Banshee.

Irish legend

The Banshee, or ‘Bean Sidhe’ is an Irish spirit, and her high-pitched wail foretells of a death in the family.  It was said that each family had its own Banshee, and that they travelled with them from the old country.  Some said that the family’s Banshee would stay in Ireland at the family’s estate, and mourn the dead.  The settlers to the new land brought their vivid descriptions of the Banshees – some claiming that she was an old hag with red eyes, but others said she was a fair, pale Irish beauty with long red hair dressed in a flowing gown.

Banshee   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s been said that whoever hears her high and piercing shriek could be sure that there would be a death within 24 hours.  Irish lore tells that the Banshee always wailed when a family member dies, even if the person had died far away, and news of their death had not yet come. The wailing of the banshee was the first warning to the household of the death.

When several banshees appeared at once, it was said to foretell of the death of someone prominent, or of an accidental or unintended death – often of a murder victim, a suicide, or a mother who died in childbirth.

The early settlers in North Burgess passed down their stories of banshees, fairies, ghosts and the little people.  Although they were fiercely loyal to God and to the church, they never abandoned their beliefs in the spirits and creatures of their ancient folklore.

The Story of the Burgess Ghost became a local legend….

The story of the ghost in the Quinn house was passed down through the years, told and retold at family gatherings, around campfires, and particularly in the weeks each year leading up to Hallowe’en.

In a strange final twist to the mystery of the Burgess Ghost, the Quinn family home burned to the ground.  The cause of the fire was never determined, and remains a mystery to this day…..

In 1972, the Quinn home was burned to the ground.

haunted house headline

haunted house of Burgess

quinn house 1

quinn house 2

Mysterious Fire Destroys Burgess Ghost House

burgess ghost 12

“The Ottawa Journal”, Jan. 4, 1972, p.5

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Some of the families who were among the earliest settlers to North Burgess Township:

Adam

Bennett

Byrne

Byrnes

Byres

Callaghan

Chaffey

Darcy

Deacon

Donnelly

Dooker

Doran

Eagan

Farrell

Hanlon

Haughian

Jackman

Kearns

Kelly

Kerr

Lappan

Lennon

McCann

McCracken

McGlade

McIver

McLeod

McNamee

McParland

McVeigh

Mullin

Murphy

O’Connor

O’Hare

O’Neill

Parry

Powers

Quigley

Quinn

Ryan

Scanlon

Smith

Stanley

Stapleton

Thompson

Toole

Traynor

Troy

White

………

In 2002 the townships formerly known as North Burgess, South Sherbrooke and Bathurst were part of an amalgamation, and adopted the name of Tay Valley Township, as they are known today.

……..

For genealogical records of the founding families of North Burgess Township:

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onlanark/nburgess.htm

National Archives of Canada – Immigration Databases Online Searh –  Immigration to Canada

St. Bridget’s Cemetery Staneyville Ontario

Roman Catholic interments North Burgess Township

Scotch Line Cemetery – Burials from 1822-2000  North Burgess Township

Scotch Line Cemetery – North Burgess

Irish Immigration to Canada

Irish Immigration to Canada National Archives

Lanark County Genealogical Society

https://lanarkgenealogy.com/

Archives Lanark

http://archiveslanark.ca/index.php

Search the census records for North Burgess Township, Lanark County

Searchable online census records for Lanark County

Irish Genealogy Records online

Irish Records

……………

For more information on Irish Folklore in the early days of Lanark County:

Banshees of Burgess’, is part of a collection of short stories in ‘Lanark County Classics – A Treasury of Tales from Another Time’. The reader will discover more about the early families from Ireland who settled in Lanark County, and their customs and beliefs in the supernatural, brought from the old country.  The story explores some of the tales passed down by these Irish settlers, and documents their personal experiences with Banshees, ghosts, and fairies while living in Lanark County.

Available at The Book Nook, The Bookworm, Mill St. Books and online.
“Lanark County Classics” – ISBN 978-0-9877026-54

Lanark County Classics Book Cover small for blog

…..

(map of Northern Ireland – By Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) – map by NNW, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7918534)

Settlers’ Heritage Day & Lanark County Plowing Match!

Plowing match jpg for blog

They came from Scotland and Ireland, strangers in a new land.  Some came to escape persecution, and some came in search of a more prosperous life, far away from the harsh economic realities in the old country.  Some young men came alone, and they were the adventurers, and explorers, eager for fresh experiences, and new challenges.  Many brought their families, wives, and young children on the long ocean voyage, leaving behind parents, and grandparents that they would never see again.

Whatever their reasons for leaving their faraway homelands, they all brought their hopes and their dreams of a better life, and a brighter future for the generations that would follow.  One of the earliest settlements was Tay Valley Township in Lanark County.  It was an area rich with fast-flowing rivers, and picturesque lakes.  Early settlers cleared the forests, farmed the land, built mills on the banks of the rivers, and laid the foundations for future generations.

2016 marks the 200th anniversary of Tay Valley Township’s earliest settlement, and events and celebrations to mark this milestone will be held throughout the year.  One of the most exciting events will be the Settlers Heritage Day, combined with the 2016 Lanark County Plowing Match.

On Saturday, August 20th, beginning at 7:00 a.m,. through to 4:00 p.m., there will be activities for the whole family, including a maple-syrup pancake breakfast, fence building, sheep shearing, blacksmithing, genealogical research assistance, antique exhibits, and the popular plowing match. In addition, there will be presentations of Legacy Farm anniversary certificates, and lots of activities for the children, like wagon rides, a miniature animal farm, a puppet show, and story corner to name a few.

Don’t miss this special event celebrating 200 years of this historic township and the contributions made by the founding families!

Share in this historic celebration at 2677 Scotch Line, County Road 10 in Tay Valley Township.

For more information:  www.tayvalleytwp.ca   or call 613-264-0094 or 613-267-5353 ext. 133.

 

 

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An Afternoon to Remember – Tay Valley Township’s 200th Anniversary Launch

Book At Home in Tay Valley0001

Despite the overcast skies and threats of rain, nothing could dampen the spirits of the enthusiastic crowds that packed the Eco-Tay Centre on Saturday afternoon to mark the launch of Tay Valley’s 200th anniversary celebrations.

The well- organized event ran like clock-work, beginning with the volunteers warmly greeting visitors at the gate, accompanied by the well-designed, colourful signage proclaiming that this was ‘the place to be’ to celebrate the history of Tay Valley Township.

Tay Valley Township sign0001   Tay Valley Signs0001

Eco Tay Barns0001

The event was held in a huge, rustic, barn, one of the many lovely buildings on the property known as the Eco-Tay Education Centre. The Eco-Tay Centre, owned by Michael Glover and Annie Dalton is the site of the Ritchie family homestead, the original settlers in 1816.

Calendars 200th anniversary0001Button At Home in Tay Valley0001Button # 2 At Home in Tay Valley0001

The barn was a hive of activity, with something for current and former residents and history-lovers of all kinds.   Kay Rogers, Editor of ‘At Home in Tay Valley’ was busy at the book table, signing copies of the popular book, while visitors waited in line, eager to purchase the historical publication. Over 60 of the contributors – writers, artists, videographers and story-tellers were present at the event, and the room was abuzz with lively conversations and reminiscences of days gone by.

Kay Rogers signing books0001

A beautiful cake, artfully decorated with the Tay Valley 200th anniversary logo was the centrepiece for a table covered with delightful goodies to please the most discerning palate.

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Not far from the book table, positioned near a doorway, and back-lit by the sun, was perhaps one of the loveliest quilts imaginable, displayed with pride, created and stitched by the Lanark County Quilters Guild. This awe-inspiring quilt features 200 quilt squares, and an actual map of the original 1816 settlements. The 200-square quilt was fashioned specifically for the 200th anniversary celebrations, and certainly showcases the fine work done by the members of the Guild.

Quilt # 1 200th anniversary0001Quilt # 2 Detail 200th anniversary0001

Quilt # 4 Detail 200th anniversary0001_1Quilt # 5 Detail 200th anniversary0001

A special announcement was made around 2:00 pm that the guest of honour would be arriving shortly. Entering the building with a military escort, the Honorable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Canada, was welcomed by all present.

The opening ceremonies were led by Lanark County Warden, and Reeve for Tay Valley Township Keith Kerr, officially declaring the launch of the 200th anniversary celebrations. Her Honour, Elizabeth Dowdeswell graciously thanked Tay Valley Township for inviting her to participate, and she shared some inspirational thoughts on the importance of preserving local history for future generations. Kay Rogers shared her experiences of editing the 200th anniversary publication, comparing it to an old fashioned ‘bee’, where many hands make light work.

Opening Ceremonies 200th Book Launch0001Hon Elizabeth Dowdswell's address0001

distinguished guests0001crowds at Eco Tay0001

It was a pleasure to meet with the distinguished guests, as well as some familiar faces from the neighbourhood – Maxine and Keith Jordan, Verna Perkins, Dianne Tysick Pinder-Moss, Nancy (Miller) Chenier, and Beverly (Miller) Ferlatte. It was lovely to have the opportunity to meet Eco-Tay owner Michael Glover, and Lanark County Tourism Manager Marie White.

Arlene & Dianne Eco Tay0001_1Arlene & Bev at Eco Tay0001

Verna & Arlene0001

Arlene & Lt. Governor of Ontario0001

Arlene & Marie White0001

The Lieutenant Governor, along with County Warden Keith Kerr toured the grounds of the Eco Tay property, and exchanged thoughts on the 200th anniversary plans in place for 2016, and the highlights of events taking place in the months to come.

Walking the grounds of the beautifully maintained property, and the lush green landscape stretching in every direction, it was a time to remember and reflect on the original owners. The Ritchie family, who in 1816 cleared the land, built a home, and started their lives in the new world. It was a day to remember all of the original settlers to Tay Valley, and how they laid the foundations for our communities and our futures.

Grounds at Eco Tay0001It was an occasion to reflect on those that came before us, and a day to celebrate the achievements of the past 200 years. Many thanks, to the organizers and the volunteers who made the event such a success. Special thanks to Kay Rogers who gathered our stories, our photos, our artwork, and our history, and assembled it all in “At Home in Tay Valley”, so that future generations may remember who we were, and how we lived.

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July Thunders Through Our Yard

thunder storm

“Louder and louder the deep thunder rolled,
as through the myriad halls of some vast temple in the sky;
fiercer and brighter came the lightning;
more and more heavily the rain poured down.”

Charles Dickens

 

 

Thunderstorms in the country followed days of still air that was heavy, and thick with humidity. The leaves on the poplar trees outside my bedroom window fluttered, and eventually turned their backs toward us, as though they were bracing for what was to come. The birds scurried back to their nests to take shelter, and the squirrels and chipmunks sped quickly toward their homes without looking back.

The sky changed from a playful, summer blue as the heavy, dark, grey clouds rolled in over the old house. The largest, darkest clouds appeared menacing and powerful as they hung low over the yard, turning midday into night.

I could see the first streak of lightning as it lit up the sky around Mitchell’s barn. Seconds later, the thunder crash was so loud that I instinctively ran downstairs, hoping to find some comfort in the grownups who had gathered in the living room.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of.”, Mother would say, matter-of-factly, as Great Aunt Clara sprinkled holy water over the lamps and the around the doorways. “Let’s play a game and count the seconds after the lightning flashes to see how close the thunder follows.” Mother said. I wasn’t in much of a state to play a game and wondered if this was her way to take my mind off of the dangers of the storm.

The rain was coming down in sheets, and the wind was pounding it against the kitchen windows so hard that I thought that any minute the glass would break. Another bolt of lightning lit up the house, followed by an ominous crash, and I wondered if it had hit one of the big maple trees outside. Great Aunt Clara scurried into the living room without glancing my way, as though she knew that I’d see the sheer terror in her eyes.

This went on for several minutes, that seemed like hours, until the flashes became less frequent and the thunder moved off into the distance, and the whole house and all of its occupants seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

I went back upstairs and watched from the window until the dark clouds moved along in the sky, back toward the railroad tracks. It was as though someone had turned the lights back on and patches of blue dotted the sky again and the sun burst out from behind the big grey mass overhead.

There would be many storms in the heat of July, and they all began and ended the same. It would commence with menacing skies, deafening thunderclaps and a shared fear of the unknown. It would end with calm skies, nervous laughter and gratitude for the abundance of rain that had quenched the thirsty farmlands around us.

…………………….

 

 

 

Excerpt from “Lanark County Calendar: Four Seasons on the Third Line”

 

LC Calendar

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