My great-aunt Grace, the wife of my grandpa’s brother Hugh, was always described as a nice woman. I didn’t know her well; I only remember meeting her once or twice.
Grace Wood was born August 19, 1901 in Frontenac County, Ontario to William Edlow Wood and Mary Ellen ‘Nellie’ Barr. In 1911, the family, with the addition of a son William Earl, was living in Kingston, Ontario. William was a contractor and the family’s religion was the Holiness Movement.
In 1921, Grace was a boarder with the Robert Ranous family in Pittsburgh Township, Ontario (the same township Hugh was from and where his family was living in 1921). She was a schoolteacher and a 7th Day Adventist. I don’t know anything about how Grace and Hugh met, but they were married in Ottawa on March 26, 1940 when both Grace and Hugh were 38 years old.
Hugh was elected reeve of Pittsburgh Township for 1967-1968. According to Wikipedia, “in some small townships in Ontario, the title reeve was historically used instead of mayor.”
In 1976, Aunt Grace got to meet her pen pal of 62 years Muriel Stafford from Sydney Australia. They began writing in about 1914 when Grace was 13 and Muriel was 11. According to the article, “The Victoria League in Australia and the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire in Kingston sent names of potential pen pals into schools.” Grace said she chose Australia because she “was more interested in Australia than any other part of the British Empire.”
This sweet lady died in 1995. Hugh had died February 2, 1979. They are buried in Glenwood Cemetery on Amherst Island, Ontario next to Hugh’s grandparents.
Week 51 (December 17-23): Nice [still trying to finish up 2018!]
Marjorie Agnes Wilson was my grandfather’s sister. She was born March 24, 1906 in Pittsburgh Township, Ontario. She married a widower, William Weir, on October 14, 1935 in Kingston, Ontario. My grandmother Helen Oakes Wilson was a witness. Margey died March 21, 1944 at Kingston General Hospital of “acute exfoliative dermatitis following arsenical therapy for Vincent’s angina.” According to the Merck Manual, Vincent’s Angina is also known as acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis or trench mouth. Apparently arsenic was used as a treatment, either topically or intravenously. Margey also had a terminal illness listed on her death certificate that I can’t quite make out. Sadly, it sounds like her treatment ended up killing her.
A special place to my family has always been my Great-Grandfather’s farm in Pittsburgh Township, Ontario. I just found out from Wikipedia that Pittsburgh is a former township and became part of Kingston in 1998. The farm was located on R.R. 2 near the Howe Island Ferry Road/Joyceville Road. In the last few years, I’ve learned through Google Maps that the farmhouse, barn and outbuildings were torn down.
I did a post in 2008 about an architectural survey done about the farmhouse, formerly the Robert Way house. Find that post here.
The Wilson family owned the farm since 1903. The first two children, Annie Maude and Hugh, were born on Howe Island. But the rest of the children were born on the farm, including my grandfather Charles in 1907.
After it ceased being a working farm in the 1960s, it was a place for family reunions, family vacations and a place to get away from it all. It was located right on the St. Lawrence River. The photo above is from the 1950s, I believe.
Mary Agnes Thompson was born in March 10, 1872 on Amherst Island, Ontario. She was the daughter of Archibald Thompson and Eliza Dunning, both from Ireland. Records show she had one sister and nine brothers. Mary married John Wilson in Deseronto, Ontario on November 1, 1898. The witnesses to the wedding were her brother Cecil and her sister Agnes. The Thompson family seems to have moved to Deseronto sometime between 1891 and 1898 since they were still living on the island in the 1891 census. John and Mary lived on Howe Island, Ontario for the first 5 or so years of their marriage.
The small tablecloth pictured above was made by Mary Thompson in 1892 when she was around 20 years of age. Click on the image to see it a little bigger.
Today happens to be Mary’s (it’s hard to call someone who died 39 years before you were born “Great-Grandma”) 139th birthday. She died on April 29, 1940.
Robert Way House Location: Lot 19, Concession 2 Original owner: Robert Way Date of construction: 1848-1858ca Present owners: Mr. & Mrs. J.A. Wilson, R.R. 2, Kingston
Architectural Description: The Way House is a frame farmhouse that is now covered over with aluminum siding. The 1 1/2 storey centre gabled kitchen tail was probably the original house. Under the siding it is constructed of logs. It is attached to the south end of the main block. The main block is also 1 1/2 storeys. The roof of the main block is end gabled and of medium pitch. There is a single new brick chimney at the west gable end. All the windows in the main block are new. In the main (north) facade there is a 1 light per sash window on either side of the plain trim door. The awning over the door and the shutters are new. On the east side of the main block there is a large picture window in the lower storey and two 1 light per sash windows in the upper storey. There is a small recent porch addition on the lower storey. There is one window on the south side of the main block and on the west side there are two upper and two lower storey windows. The east facade of the kitchen tail has been largely obscured by a closed in porch. There is a medium pitched centre gable with a window in it. On the south side there is one window above the garage. The west facade of the kitchen tail also has a medium pitched centre gable with a window in it. There is a lower storey window and a porch addition. It is quite difficult to tell what the original house looked like since it its covered with siding and so many changes and additions have been made. The interior walls of the kitchen tail are very deep which leads one to believe that it is probably constructed of logs.
History: The property on which this house was built was orginally owned by Donald MacDonell. Robert Way, the original owner of the house, bought the property in 1848. The 1860 Wallings Map shows a house on this lot owned by Robert Way. In 1868 Robert Way sold the property. Until 1902 when the Wilson family bought the property it was owned by John McRorey. The Wilson family has owned the house since 1902.
-Previous information from a survey done sometime before 1987
John Andrew Wilson, the son of John Wilson and Mary Ann Gibson, married Mary Thompson on November 1, 1898. They lived on Howe Island where their first two children, Annie Maud and Hugh, were born. They then moved to the mainland – to Pittsburg Township, Ontario – in 1903. Annie Maud died in July 1904. John and Mary had eight more children. John died in 1930 and Mary died in 1940. Their son John (Jack) ran the farm after 1940.
More about the Wilson homestead at Pittsburg in the next post.