Family Reunions – Lanark County 1970s & 1980s

Lanark County Family Reunions

 

Someone once said,

“Families are like branches on a tree – we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.” 

Many families who settled in Lanark County came from Europe – mainly Ireland, Scotland, some from England, and from countless other locations around the world.   As sons and daughters grew up and left the family homesteads, they in turn spread out across the country and beyond.  Organizing a family reunion became a yearly ritual for some families, and many advertised their reunions in the local papers.

The following is a snapshot of some of the families who held reunions in the 1970s and 1980s in Lanark County.  Our story begins with some commentary from a popular local journalist, Bill Smiley, and his personal views on family reunions…..

Family Reunion column by Bill Smiley

(December 18, 1975. p.2 – an excerpt of Bill Smiley’s column)

 

Lanark County Family Reunions banner

 

Andison Family

(Aug. 6, 1970, p.12 – “The Perth Courier”)

Andison family

 

Crampton Family

(October 21, 1971, p.10)

Crampton family

 

Schonauer Family

(July 10, 1975. p. 12)

Schonauer family

 

Slack Family

(Aug. 28, 1975, p.10)

Slack family

 

McKay Family

McKay family

June 2, 1977, p.4

 

Barr Family

Barr family

Aug. 18, 1977 p.16

 

Patterson Family

Patterson family 1

Patterson family 2

July 19, 1978 p.19

 

Kirkham Family

Kirkham family

Aug. 30, 1978 p.6

 

 

Love Family

Love family

News from Flower Station, Aug. 22, 1979 p.7

 

 

Geddes Family

Geddes family

Snow Road News, Aug. 19, 1979, p.31

 

 

Kirkham, Dixon, McKenacher, Truelove, and Tysick families

Kirkham family 1

Kirkham family 2

September 26, 1979, p.26

 

Desjardine Family

Desjardine family

Flower Station news – March 5, 1980 p.11

 

Barrie Family

Barrie family

Snow Road news – July 9, 1980, p.8

 

 

Rintoul Family

Rintoul family

Aug. 15, 1981, p.5

 

Hermer Family

Hermer family

Oct. 7, 1981 p.15 – Ardoch news

 

Massey – Marshall Family

Massey family

Massey family 1

Massey family 2

Massey family 3

May 26, 1982 p. 19

 

 

Caswell Family

Caswell family

July 14, 1982, p.11

 

 

Miller Family

Miller family

July 21, 1982, p.14

 

 

Camelon Family

camelon reunion

July 21, 1982, p.14

 

 

VanAlstine Family

VanAlstine family

July 21, 1982, p.14

 

 

 

Closs Family

Closs family

July 28, 1982, p.7

 

 

Echlin Family

Echlin family

July 28, 1982 p.14

 

 

Arnott Family

Arnott family

Aug. 4, 1982, p.3

 

 

 

 

Larmon Family

Larmon family 2

Larmon family

Aug. 18, 1982 p.27

 

 

Adrain Family

Adrain family

Dec. 22, 1982, p.22

 

McDonnell Family

McDonnell family

July 20, 1983 p.10 – Donnelly’s Corners

 

Brady Family

Brady family

July 27, 1983, p.22

 

Crosbie and Gemmill Families

Crosbie and Gemmill family

July 27, 1983, p.22

 

 

Devlin Family

Devlin family

July 27, 1983, p.22

 

 

Killingbeck, Koffman, & Baxter Families

Killingbeck family

Sept. 7, 1983 p.6

 

 

Bowes and Mahon Families

Bowes and Mahon families

July 25, 1984 p.3

 

 

Umpherson Family

Umpherson family

Aug. 1, 1984, p.13

 

McKenzie – Peters, Thomas, Morrow, Kerr

McKenzie Peters families

Sept. 26, 1984 p.14

 

 

Hill – Millar Families

Hill Millar families

Oct. 3, 1984, p.10

 

Chabot Family

Chabot family

Oct. 17, 1984 p.12

 

 

memories quote

 

Stafford family reunion 2012 Oshawa

photo: Stafford family reunion – 2012, at the Marriott Hotel, Consumers Drive, Whitby,  Ontario
Back row, l to r:  Roger Stafford, Sam Wharton, Kevin Wilson, Tim Stafford, Jim Ryan
Front row, l to r: Ruth (Parks) Stafford, Jackie Stafford Wharton, Arlene Stafford-Wilson, Marian (Salemink) Stafford, and Judy Stafford Ryan

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News clippings of all Lanark County family reunions – from: “The Perth Courier”

http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding the Spirit of Christmas in Lanark County

girl-at-the-window

The glass felt cold as I pressed my face against the kitchen window, and watched the snowflakes falling softly on the spruce tree beside the old house. The Christmas lights were wrapped ‘round and ‘round the tree, and the soft colours shone on the snow-covered branches below.

spruce-tree

It was Christmas Eve, the most magical night of the year, and I was bursting with anticipation. Santa was coming tonight, and would surely be leaving some wonderful gifts under the tree in the living room. I had been very good all year, and had written a letter asking for a lovely new doll with long red hair and big blue eyes. I stared up at the night sky, white with snow and wondered where Santa was? Was he in Lanark County yet, or was he delivering his toys to children in other parts of the world, along his route? Hal Botham, on CJET radio, said that Santa’s sleigh was spotted up north, so I was sure that he must be on his way to the Third Line!

Santa flying  Hal Botham

Supper was finished, and Mother was tidying up the kitchen. Soon, we’d be heading over to Calvin Church for their candlelight service. Every year we were allowed to open one present after returning from church, and then we had to head straight to bed, and go right to sleep, so that Santa could deliver our gifts.

When Mother was finished sweeping the floor, we put on our coats and boots, and headed outside. The old car was chilly, and the heater was blowing cold air. I shivered as we headed down the lane, and up the Third Line, toward DeWitt’s Corners.

snowy road

Everyone’s Christmas lights glowed,on that night, so long ago. The pine tree in front of Chris and Leanore Perkins’ house was decked out in blue lights, and Korrys had red and green lights framing their front door. Mitchells, Conboys and Scotts all had lovely bright lights, and we passed by house after house, all aglow in their Christmas finest.  Then we slowed down, and turned up Cameron side road.

farmhouse-christmas-lights-1     farmhouse-christmas-lights-2

farmhouse-christmas-lights-3   farmhouse-lights-4

When we finally arrived at the church, there were only a few cars parked, and some people had already gone inside. The light coming from the little country church glowed softly against the cool white snow, and the delicate flakes continued to swirl around as we parked, and Mother shut off the engine. When I opened the car door the church yard was silent. The snow continued to drift down softly, and as I stood there I listened, but couldn’t hear a thing. We didn’t speak as we walked up to the church, and I’ll never forget how calm and peaceful it was that night as we walked up those well worn steps.

calvin-united-church-black-and-white

We sat in our usual pew, behind Munros, in front of Johnstons, and in the next little while familiar faces appeared again and again at the doorway of the church, filed in, and took their seats. Many stopped to chat on the way to their pews. They were our neighbours, our classmates from Glen Tay School, and our good friends. As I looked around at all of their faces I realized how special it was to be there that night, and to be a part of this close community.

advent-candles

When everyone was finally seated, and it seemed like the little church couldn’t hold even one more person, the sounds of the organ filled the air, and the old wooden pews creaked as everyone stood up at once. The song was a familiar one; we all knew the words, and our voices swelled in unison as we sang the ancient carol, “Si..lent night……., Ho..ly night………,  All is calm……., All is bright.”

christmas-candlelight-service

Old, familiar carols were sung, and the story of the first Christmas was told once again.

And so that was how Christmas unfolded out in the country. The days and months leading up to that moment were filled with anticipation. Trees were trimmed, and cards were mailed. Letters to Santa were written, and toys were circled in pen, in the Sears Christmas Wishbook. We rehearsed for Christmas concerts, and ran down the lane each day, bringing back handfuls of Christmas cards, adorned with stickers and seals. Cookies were baked, and invitations went out to family members and friends,to come and spend the day.

All of these things played their part leading up to the most special day of the year; but it was not until we sat in the pews of the small country church, and raised our voices, singing our favourite carols, that I knew for sure that the spirit of Christmas was among us.

shepherds

I knew from an early age that the spirit of Christmas didn’t live in the beautifully decorated store windows in Perth, or under the brightly lit tree in our living room. I’m not sure if the Christmas spirit travelled up the Third Line, and down the Cameron side road like us, or if it came up Highway 7, and crossed at Gamble’s side road. I still don’t know how the Christmas spirit found us, in the little church……….all the way out in the country.

mary-and-joseph

All I know is every year it appeared on Christmas Eve without fail. I could see it in the faces around me, I heard it as we sang the carols, and our voices rose high into the old wooden ceiling. It warmed our hearts, filled us with pure joy, and a profound sense of peace.

christmas-spirit

If you ever find yourself searching for the Christmas spirit, I’ll tell you where it is. Just drive out the Third Line on Christmas Eve, to the little country church on Cameron side road. It’s the small red brick church at the top of the hill. Go ahead inside, and then wait. You’ll feel it. It will be there. It’s always there; and even if you live far, far, away, you can take it home with you, keep it in your heart, and it will stay with you forever.

Merry Christmas!

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Christmas banner 2

 

Some of the faces I remember on Christmas Eve at Calvin Church:

 

Calvin 1

 

Calvin 2

Calvin 3

Calvin 4

Calvin 5

Calvin 6

Calvin 7

Some are gone, none are forgotten.

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mangerFor unto you

…………………………….

Calvin United Church was opened for worship in September of 1896, built on the property of Mr. John Cameron.  The first elected officers in the church were Andrew Gamble, William Scott, Andrew Palmer, George Miller, Andrew B. Miller, Andrew W. Miller, W.J. Palmer, John Jordan, Nichol Stewart, Alex Palmer and Sydney Miller. 

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To learn more of the history of Calvin United Church, Cameron Side road,DeWitt’s Corners, Tay Valley Township, Lanark County:

History of Calvin United Church

 

 

 

 

“Finding the Spirit of Christmas in Lanark County”,
An excerpt from “Lanark County Calendar:  Four Seasons on the Third Line”
ISBN:  978-0-9877026-30
Available at The Book Nook, Perth, The Bookworm, Perth, Mill Street Books, Almonte
and online: http://www.staffordwilson.com

L C Calendar book cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com