TO GOOD TO BE TRUE

The very early history of this family is one that must be told. Richard & Maria who married in Kilkenny, Ireland on April 20, 1815, sought fame and fortune in the New World. Richard was able to find a exceptionally cheap passage and jumped on the opportunity right away. Young (20 years old) and newly married, Richard left his 18 years old bride behind. The plan was that she would board a ship with friends a month later. This would allow Richard to get their new home ready for her arrival. Turns out, the ship Richard boarded was a British privateer and the cheap passage had been a new press-gang scheme. After sailing the South Atlantic for 6 weeks, Richard knew there was a Yankee ship many miles away. Under the cover of darkness, Richard climbed out of a porthole and lowered himself to the ice cold, shark filled waters with a rope. After swimming for hours towards the light of the ship and with barely enough strength or energy, he crawled into the chain works by means of a broken rigging cable. Once on board, he collapsed in utter exhaustion. When the privateer came the following day, seeking their wayward passenger, the captain of the Yankee ship, impressed by Richard’s courage and determination, stowed him away in a crate and convinced the privateer that there was no way anyone could have survived in those waters.

Upon Richard’s arrival in Montreal and in great despair about the well-being of his young wife. After confirming that she had been a passenger on a recently landed ship, he headed to the government office to make some inquiries about his trip west. Upon his departure he spotted Maria coming down the stairs. The couple later received land from Colonel Talbot and started farming. Richard and Maria started farming, raised 11 children on their land. Richard served as a magistrate for many years. He was also one of the early founders of the Methodist Church in his community.

Richard and Maria’s grandson, Charles built this house in 1911 with the help of a local contractor. The bricks for this home were made in the families own brickyard. In 1912 they built a barn, but that no longer stands.

Born in 1901, Richard’s great granddaughter would later move into the home with her husband who was a well known horseman. He worked as a driver and would drive doctors and salesmen all over the country. During the 1918 flu pandemic he and his brother would drive doctors to the home of people seeking medical attention.

They raised two boys in this home. The family raised Shorthorn cattle on the farm. Mr. died in 1964 but Mrs. remained on the farm until her ill-health forced her to move into care in 1981. The photo above, Mr. being in the cowboy hat with his wife on his right, shows the couple with his family.

This beautiful old home is visible from the highway. I didn’t even get out of the car to take this shot. Here’s what I didn’t do. I didn’t write down where I was when I took this photo so when it came time do the history of the house, I couldn’t remember where I had photographed it so that I could search the history. I had to reach out to a fellow hockey parent from the area in hope that he would be able to help me. Thank you friend.

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