Oral History

When did my maternal grandparents meet?

My maternal grandparents John (“Jack”) Eugene McGlade1 and Delia Lucie Derouin were married on 10 February 1931, at St. John Chyrostom RC Church in Arnprior (Renfrew Co., Ontario). My grandfather lived in his birthplace of Perth (Lanark Co., Ontario) at the time, but was married at his bride’s parish, as per custom and tradition.

Until recently, I hadn’t given too much thought as to when my maternal grandparents might have met, though I had certainly wondered about where (he being from Perth, she being from Otter Lake…).

  1.  My grandfather was probably named after both his paternal and his maternal grandfathers: John after John McGlade, and Eugene after Eugene McCarthy.

The Glenayr Kitten Mill (A Reminiscence)

(The year before I was married, which was thirteen years ago, I lived in Scotland.)

One day, about fourteen years ago now, while perusing the wares at a knitwear outlet in Edinburgh, I felt a curious and unexpected wave of nostalgia. This place in Edinburgh, Scotland was so strikingly similar to a place my mother used to take us to in Ontario, Canada (now, what was the name of that place that Mum used to take us to? … it was in Lanark, and there was something Scottish about it … and something to do with a kitten … ), so uncannily reminiscent of the Glenayr Kitten Mill of my childhood. The piles of jumpers (but we called them ‘sweaters,’ of course) all laid out on wooden tables; the firm but friendly salesladies; the general air of solid but unpretentious quality … all of a sudden, I was back in Lanark (Lanark Co., Ontario, Canada, that is).

I have to admit, I bought a cardigan that day, just on the strength of that memory.

The Glenayr Kitten Mill outlet in Lanark (Lanark Co., Ontario, that is) was the kind of place that we (my sisters and I, that is, though certainly not our mother) loved to hate. So fusty and old-fashioned, and please, mum, don’t make us wear those sweaters! that’s not what the popular girls are wearing, and the mothers of the popular girls only shop at the Bay. But our pleas fell on deaf ears: our mother has always known a bargain when and where she finds it, and bargains are what she found at the Glenayr Kitten Mill.

As I now recall it, the Kitten Mill had an impressively no-nonsense integrity: no frills; no fuss; just good, sturdy value at a fair price. But it wasn’t until years later, while looking at jumpers at a knitwear outlet in Edinburgh, that I began to appreciate the Kitten Mill for what it had been: a little piece of the Scotland-to-Canada knitwear tradition that had already, alas, all but died out when our mother took us to the Glenayr for new sweaters.

(And it wasn’t until I lived in Scotland for a year that I began to truly appreciate the fundamentally Scottish character of so much of “English” Canada, or of “English” Ontario, at any rate. I recall going to the Waterstone’s on Princes St. in Edinburgh to look for an Alice Munro book [which I found, btw] because there was this story that I just had to reread: I had heard something earlier that day that had so uncannily reminded me of this Munro story, and something had finally just clicked about Scotland and Canada…).

A couple of photos of the Glenayr Kitten Mill, now sadly abandoned, at John’s Ghost Town.

The Queen vs. Kelly: Part V

Continued from The Queen vs Kelly: Part IV (see also Part III, Part II, and Part I).

What Happened to John Kelly and Mary Hourigan?

When I wrote Part I of “The Queen vs. Kelly,” I had no idea what had happened to John Kelly after his release from the Dominion Penitentiary in May 1842. Nor did I have any expectation of finding him, once I had determined that he did not return to March township.

According to family lore, he had “gone to the States,” which certainly didn’t sound too promising. The States covers a vast territory, of course, and with a common surname like Kelly, and the even commoner forenames of John, Mary (his wife) and Ann (his daughter), searching for this family seemed like looking for a needle in a haystack. I did do a search of the 19th-century US federal census returns, but (not surprisingly, as it turns out) came up with nothing.1

It was while searching for another record (unrelated to the Kellys and the Hourigans, as a matter of fact) in the parish register for the Mission at Mattawa that I happened upon the burial record for Mary Hourigan, who was buried as  “Mary Horrigan, Dame John Kelly:”

Burial record for Mary Hourigan, widow of John Kelly.

  1. If the Kellys had gone to the United States, by the way, their daughter Ann’s Canadian birthplace would have been the best bet for identifying them in the US federal census. Since both John Kelly and his wife Mary Hourigan were born in Ireland, they would have been listed in the US census as John and Mary Kelly, born in Ireland and now living in America, but with no indication of a decade or two spent in Canada. Their daughter Ann’s birthplace, on the other hand, if accurately listed (and there are many such ifs when it comes to census data) would have been recorded as Canada. I have found other Ireland-to-Canada-to-America families in the US census by searching for children born in Canada.

Wilfrid Dontigny (Death Info Update)

Ancestry.ca recently extended their coverage of Ontario civil death registrations by a couple of years (from “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1936″ to “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938″).

In a previous entry, I suggested that Wilfrid Dontigny had presumably died of tuberculosis. This presumption based on oral tradition, and on a photograph of Wilfrid Dontigny (with his wife Anna Matilda Derouin and his in-laws [and my grandparents] Delia Lucie Derouin and John Eugene McGlade), taken “at the sanatorium.”

His Ontario civil death registration confirms that Wilfrid Dontigny did indeed die of pulmonary tuberculosis, from which once dread disease he had apparently suffered for 5-8 years. He died (4 September 1938) at the Brant Sanatorium in Brantford, Ontario, where he had been resident for four months (but his death record lists his usual place of residence as Arnprior [Renfrew Co., Ontario]). The death informant was his mother Agnes (Simpson) Dontigny. He was 27 years old.

[Death Info] Update to the [Death Info] Update: Wilfrid Dontigny’s father Joseph Phillip Dontigny had also died of pulmonary tuberculosis (on 18 May 1935, in Arnprior; death informant Mrs. Agnes [Simpson] Dontigny: that poor woman!).

Cause of Death: Conflicting Accounts

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James Moran (1858-1899)

James Moran was born about 1858 in Huntley township, Carleton Co., Ontario, the third of twelve children born to Alexander (“Sandy”) Michael Moran and Mary Ann Leavy.

On 27 November 1883 (St. Patrick’s, Fallowfield) James Moran married Sarah Jane Dooley, daughter of Thomas Dooley and his second wife Mary Coughlan. The couple had nine (known) children, with six of the nine surviving to adulthood.

Their eldest son Alexander (1884-1887) died at age two years and five months (cause of death listed as croup); and on the 28 September 1900 (a year and a half after the death of their father), their two youngest children Julia Gertrude (almost four years old) and James Joseph (2 years old) died in a ghastly accident: “by fire,” notes Father J.A. Sloan in the children’s burial records (St. Patrick’s, Fallowfield), with the cause of death listed as “accidental burning” in the Ontario civil registration of the deaths. Another daughter, Sarah Jane Moran, known as “Jennie,” died in early adulthood: she was a nurse who died in Ste. Agathe, Québec (presumably at the tuberculosis hospital).

James Moran and Sarah Jane Dooley farmed at Lot 15, Concession 6 in Nepean township, on land that had presumably been given or sold to the couple by Sarah Jane’s father Thomas Dooley (1810-1891).

In the 1891 census (Ontario, Carleton, Nepean, family no. 23), James Moran (here spelled Morin) is head of a household that includes his wife [Sarah] Jane; their children Mary, Thomas, and Matilda; Sarah Jane Dooley’s still unmarried sisters Mary and Matilda Dooley; along with a Home Child named Daniel Driscoll, and another domestic servant (probably not a Home Child) named Lizzie Casey. By this time, the 82-year old Thomas Dooley had apparently retired from farming and moved to Ottawa, where he lived with his son-in-law Michael Harrington and his daughter Maria (one of the daughters from his first marriage to Catherine Quinn, and a therefore a half-sister to Sarah Jane Dooley) (see 1891 census: Ontario, Ottawa City, St George’s Ward, family no. 179).

Wilfrid Dontigny and Anna Matilda Derouin

A couple of months ago, I published an entry on tuberculosis in Ontario, along with a photo that was taken “at the sanatorium.” The photo shows a patient, whose name was unknown to me at the time, along with his wife, my great-aunt Anna Matilda Derouin, and my grandparents Delia Lucie Derouin and John (“Jack”) Eugene McGlade. Click thumbnail preview to see larger image:

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Left to right: Delia Lucie Derouin; John (“Jack”) Eugene McGlade; Wilfrid Thomas Charles Dontigny; and Anna Matilda Derouin.
I now know the name of the patient in the above photograph: Wilfrid Thomas Charles Dontigny. He was born at Arnprior on 4 June 1911, the son of Joseph Philip Dontigny and Agnes Simpson; and he died (presumably of tuberculosis) on 4 September 1938, at the age of 27, and was buried at Arnprior on 7 September 1938.
On 20 November 1930, Wilfrid Dontigny married Anna Matilda Derouin at Notre Dame Basilica, Ottawa. He married as a fils mineur (minor son: so, not yet 21 [not yet 18 for a fille mineure, or minor daughter, btw]); and both bride and groom were identified in the register as members of the parish of St. John Chrysostom in Arnprior. The witnesses were Earl Steen and my grandmother Delia Derouin (who was not yet married to Jack McGlade).