Author Archives: Lucy H. Anglin

The Anglin Brothers

When Robert left Ireland for Canada in 1829, young William Anglin (my great-great-grandfather) missed his older brother terribly. For the next 14 years, he wrote letters frequently as the only way to keep him close to his heart. Upon hearing of the rebellions in 1838 in Upper Canada and near Kingston, Ontario, where Robert had settled with his family, William wrote a worried letter:

Another reason why I have not written is the very disturbed state of your country – you cannot think the feelings of my mind on account of you my dear brothers and family for fear you should suffer loss of property, or life. I pray that you may receive this and that it will find you all well. I was afraid that a letter may not pass from here to you, and was kept in awful suspense to know how it would terminate – and anxiously waiting for every account – and you cannot imagine what joy it gave me to hear that the Rebels are in a great measure defeated.      ..…     I was glad to know from the papers that they did not get up to Kingston, and I hope that you in that city do still enjoy peace. We were glad to hear the stand the Protestants have made with the Army against them. Things may be worse than we know with you but do hope our next account will bring us satisfactory news. A good deal of the Army sailed from England and Ireland for America and do hope they have safely arrived before this date. I forbear to say any more on this, to me, painful subject, and know that you are better acquainted with it than I can be. I only mention what I have said to let you know what I have heard about the agitated state of your country. Under such circumstances as these I hope you will write as soon as you receive this, for I long to hear from you or to see you. 

 – Excerpt from a letter from William to his brother Robert in Kingston – Feb 23, 1838                                         

In 1843, William at age 28, arrived in Kingston, Ontario, where he finally joined two of his older brothers, Robert and Samuel, in business.  William, the youngest of four brothers and one sister, was born in 1815 in Bandon, County Cork, Ireland. He hadn’t seen his brother Robert in 14 years.

Before long William branched out into business for himself, partnering with an iron-gray pony named ‘Fanny’.  He travelled along the Rideau Canal as far north as Big Rideau Lake, and also along Lake Ontario to Hay Bay near Adolphustown, purchasing cordwood as fuel for the mail boats operating between Toronto and Montreal – steamers named ‘Passport’, ‘Spartan’, ‘Corsican’, ‘Corinthian’, and ‘Algerian’[1].

Later he purchased his own powerful tug, named ‘Grenville’, as well as two barges and continued to manage the cordwood contract with his young son’s help.  The cordwood was then freighted up on scows and barges, and piled on the Long Wharf in Kingston, later known as Swift’s Wharf.[2]

In 1847, four years after his arrival in Kingston, William married Mary Gardiner who had been born in County Durham, England, in 1817, and had also immigrated to the Kingston area with her family.

William and his wife first had two daughters, Mary Frances, who died shortly after her birth in 1850, and Annabella ‘Annie’ Jane.

Annie was born in 1853. Sadly, on July 1, 1878, while watching a fireworks display in the Cricket Field from the roof of a neighbors’ house, she took ill and developed pulmonary tuberculosis.  She was only 26 years old when she died on April 18, 1879.[3]

Then came two sons, William Gardiner Anglin (my great-grandfather), in 1856, and James Vickers Anglin, in 1860. They grew up in the house at 56 Earl Street where they moved as young boys with their parents in 1865.

Both sons eventually studied medicine at Queen’s University and became well respected surgeons in Kingston. William, however, also built an extension on his father’s house at 56 Earl Street which served both as his own home and medical office.  To this day, the name “Dr. W.G. Anglin” is still etched on the window at 56 Earl Street.[4]

When William’s mother died in Ireland, in 1863, twenty years after William’s arrival in Kingston, his eldest brother, John, was finally able to move to Upper Canada to join the rest of the family.

The Anglin brothers were re-united once again.


[2] The Anglin Family Story – Part 2 –

[3] The Anglin Family Story – Part 2 –

[4] Helen Finlay, owner-operator of  52 Earl Street Cottages, Kingston, Ontario

Dusty Old Boxes

The latest de-cluttering guru tells us to keep only things that give you “joy”[1].  All other items should be thanked for their purpose or usefulness or memory and then given away.  At the end of this exercise all that should remain is an environment of pure joy!

We are told to start with clothes, then books, kitchen cupboards and desktops.  Then, after all that practise discerning the feeling of joy over an object, we should be ready to tackle photos and personal memorabilia.

On the top shelf of my largest storage cupboard are three dusty old boxes that have been there for years.  They were to be the last step of my de-cluttering exercise.

I slowly opened the lid of the first box and found masses of old photographs, mostly black and white, some labelled and others not.  The first handful of photos was of loving couples and families enjoying reunions at the dinner table.  Others showed groups of people standing proudly on the front step of a house. The next scoopful was of children at play sometimes happily holding pets in their arms or on their laps.  Another handful produced proud young adults in various uniforms – ready for war or to start a new career. The next bunch showed lazy days on sandy beaches, birthday parties and yearly Christmas gatherings.  Frozen moments in time captured forever, I quietly and gently put them back in their box.

The next box was filled to the brim with letters and cards. Some still neatly tucked into their envelopes, others held together with yellowing scotch tape and looking well fingered.  Most of them had handwritten messages in big loopy writing that was difficult to read.  The stamps alone told another story postmarked from places and dates from long ago.  Amongst the letters were children’s drawings, thank you notes, lists of party guests, menus and lots of much loved recipes.  But my very favourite find in this box was the love letters, written with such passion and folded lovingly into perfect little rectangles decorated with doodled hearts.

The last box contains loads of newspaper clippings mostly of all the family’s birth, death and wedding announcements from over the years.  Underneath all the newspaper, I found grandmother’s lace handkerchief and what looks like a tiny baby’s christening dress and a lock of hair.  I picked up a lone slim book and several dried flowers fall to the floor.  There are numerous small diaries, every page filled with the writing which continued up the sides of the page. Carefully folded in some tissue paper was an old dated sampler proudly stitched by a young girl two hundred years ago.  Treasure after treasure had been lovingly stored in this last box.

I quietly closed their lids and stacked the three boxes on top of each other.

Just then, it dawned on me that someone had already sorted the family memorabilia into those three separate boxes, leaving me to find three dusty old boxes of pure joy.

[1] Spark Joy by Marie Kondo


The Needlework Sampler – 1811 A.D.

I am so excited!  I am embroidering my very own sampler.  Creating the border around the outside edge has been excellent practice getting used to the needle and thread.

What a shame, though, that there are so many daily chores to be done before I am allowed to work on my sampler!  I wish my little brother would help out a bit more.  However, I must remember that Mother and Father work so very hard and we must do our part without complaint.

The border is almost finished.  I have mastered this simple first stitch.  I love the stiffness of the cotton fabric. The silk threads feel heavenly to touch but are annoying when they get tangled. Too bad the colours weren’t brighter. Mother says it’s more important to learn the stitches.  She’s going to teach me a lot of them – the cross-stitch, the slipstitch, the whip stitch, the satin stitch and even the French knot! I can’t wait!

Sometimes it’s difficult to pay attention during weekly classes at school.  The headmaster tells us that James Madison is our President and that we have 15 stars and 15 stripes on our flag which represent all our states.  The British are restricting our local trade and making our young American men join their Royal Navy. Imagine that!  And the Indians…is America ours or theirs?  It’s very hard to be a good pupil when I’d rather work on my sampler!

I’ve started on my alphabet letters now.  Capitals first and then the lower case ones.  They are quite tricky and take a lot of patience.  Oh, how I wish I had more patience!  But Mother says that I am doing very well and that some girls are two or three years older than I am before they start their samplers.

The other day, my brother put a huge beetle in my sewing basket!  Ewww! Why do boys have to be so silly? Maybe if he did more chores, he wouldn’t have time for pranks!

Numbers are wonderful. Stitching twelve numbers is much easier than all those alphabet letters – twice around!

It’s hard to believe the number of stitches that I’ve done already but there are many more to go.  Much patience is required.

…and less chores!  Just think how quickly I could finish my sampler if I didn’t have my daily chores!

Hurry! The daylight won’t last much longer and it’s getting difficult to see my stitching with the dim lamplight.

I am working on my name now.  I like my name.  Mary House.  It looks and sounds very neat and tidy – like a row of my very best stitching.

Beside my name, I am adding the date.  It takes a while to create a sampler so the only dates that are sewn are the year: “my eleventh year” and 1811 A.D.  “My eleventh year” sounds so much grander than “ten years old”.  I know A.D. stands for the number of years since the death of Jesus.  Ah! Maybe I should pray for more patience.

My stitches are improving and I haven’t had to undo as many lately.  Undoing stitches is almost worse than doing chores!

I’m working on the poem next.  It goes like this:

                          When I am dead and laid in grave

                          And all my bones are rotten

                          When this you see remember me

                          Lest I should be forgotten

I wonder who wrote this poem.  It makes me sad.  And can you imagine someone admiring my sampler after I die?

Finished at last!  Mother praised me saying that I did a very fine job indeed.  I am thrilled with it and will store it safely under my bed.


Mary was my 3x great grandmother. She died in 1830 at 29 years old.  Her sampler hangs proudly in our home.  She is not forgotten. 


Surgeon and Mentalist

Shortly before graduation from medical school at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario in 1883, William G. Anglin (my great grandfather) and a few fellow medical students attended the performance of a “thought-reader”, English mentalist Stuart Cumberland[1]. So impressed with what they had seen, they went back to their place and tried one of the simpler experiments.

 The operator was blindfolded, and the Medium, placing the back of the fingers of one hand on the operator’s forehead was to think intently as to what was required to be done. For instance – pick up an article from some position and place it in another position – the operator having previously gone out of the room while the experiment was being agreed upon. Everyone singly failed, and I was the last one to try. Immediately I went across the room and picked up a small object from the mantelpiece – crossed the room and placed it on the middle of a chair. Tore off the handkerchief from my eyes and said: “That’s what you wanted done”. “By George, you’re right, Anglin, we will try you again”, and I did correctly five or six other experiments – each a little more difficult than the last. Could not account for the success, but in every experiment I was conscious that I was doing the right thing. When my fingers touched the desired object, I closed on it with a feeling of certainty.[2]

The next week William left for Halifax to sail for Liverpool to continue his medical studies in England. He met a fellow doctor and, eventually the conversation turned to “thought-reading”.

It proved to be a very entertaining voyage for the passengers, as he successfully performed time and time again. A passenger would say – “Well, Doctor, I hid a pin somewhere on the ship – an hour ago” and blindfolded, William would take the passenger’s right hand and, holding the fingers to his forehead, he would say, “Think where it is”, and they would start upstairs and downstairs, and along corridors to the spot, and he would pick up the pin from a curtain or a chair wherever it had been placed.[3]

Later in life, his son Douglas, referring to his father’s diary, lamented “End of Diary – too bad – I wish we could have heard about my father’s time studying in London and Edinburgh, where he was entertained at many high society places on account of his thought-reading.”[4]

Following his medical degree from Queen’s in 1883, William spent eighteen months as the house surgeon at the Royal Infirmary, the Sick Children’s Hospital, and the Royal Maternity Hospital in England. Then he successfully completed the M.R.C.S. exam (Member of the Royal College of Surgeons) in England.

When he returned to Kingston, in the fall of 1885, he lectured for a session in surgery at the Women’s Medical College. A year later, he became Professor of Pathology and finally head of the department of Clinical Surgery.

Around that time, William built an addition to his parents’ home at 52 Earl Street in Kingston, which provided him with both office and home. 3

This is where he brought his childhood sweetheart and bride, Harriet (Hattie) Eva Gould, in 1886. The name ‘Dr. Anglin’ remains embossed in the upper portion of the glass of the front window to this day.[5]

He remained a member of the Medical Staff at Queen’s until May 1915 when he departed with the Queen’s Stationary Hospital for Cairo, at age 59. Cairo, Egypt - Dec 7, 1915 - Lt Col AnglinHe served as a civil-surgeon with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel until 1916 when he became ill with Malta fever and phlebitis. He was given a medical discharge and sent back home.

William’s attestation papers, dated May 1st 1915, declared that he was fit for duty but noted a missing middle finger on his right hand.  In 1904, it was reported that Dr. William G. Anglin was severely ill, and lost a finger due to this illness. There was much relief when it was announced that he would live.[6] Middle Finger The story told was that by using his “thought-reading” skills, he was able to physically draw down the infection in his right arm to his middle finger. The amputation of that one finger removed all traces of infection from his body probably saving his life… and enabling him to continue his work as a surgeon.[7]




[1] Wikipedia-Stuart Cumberland (1857–1922) English mentalist known for his demonstrations of “thought reading”.

[2] Personal recollections – W.G. Anglin, 52 Earl Street, Kindston, Ontario – November 14, 1927

[3] Personal recollections – W. G.Anglin, 52 Earl Street, Kingston, Ontario – November 14, 1927

[4] Written note from Douglas Anglin at the end of Personal recollections – W.G. Anglin, 52 Earl Street, Kingson, Ontario – November 14, 1927.

[5] Helen Finlay, owner-operator of  52 Earl Street Cottages, Kingston, Ontario

[6] The Kingston Whig, January 12, 1904,

Queen’s archives, Biographical History – Anglin, William Gardiner (1856-1934)

[7] As told to Lucy Anglin from Thomas Gill Anglin, grandson of W.G. Anglin, who read his grandfather’s diary


Like Father, Like Son

My husband was mesmerized by the photo of a young man hanging in a sling close to the giant propeller of the airplane he was repairing.  He had never seen it before.  It was a photo of his father, Allan, in his early twenties.  This photo, shown to us by the helpful volunteers at the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, was the highlight of this very special trip.Allan R Hunt005

My husband, Jim, had taken me “home” to Winnipeg to share a trip down memory lane for his 70th birthday.  A peaceful visit to two local cemeteries to find both sets of grandparents was followed by a tour of his childhood neighbourhoods in different parts of town. So many of the locations featured memories of his father that it almost felt as though there were three of us on this trip.

Along the way to find the three different houses where Jim grew up, I heard precious stories of friends and bicycles, playing in the lanes behind the houses, walking down the street to the corner soda fountain and waiting on the school wall for his older sister to finish her day. The last house he showed me was the one his father had built.

Amazingly we even managed to find the two summer lakefront cottages just an hour or so out of Winnipeg where Jim had spent his summers as a boy. It felt like Allan was guiding us from place to place.

My favourite story featured Jim and his friends crawling under the fence at the military airbase down the street from where his father worked to lie in the tall grass staring at the parked fighter jets.  They would be “shoo-ed” away gently and run home in fits of giggles. Allan’s aircraft maintenance career began at remote air bases in Ontario and Manitoba. He first worked on cargo float planes and then switched to commercial passenger planes when Trans Canada Airlines was formed in 1937. He was employee number 25 of the company which eventually became Air Canada. Later, it grew to 40,000 employees. The family moved to Montreal in 1958 to continue his career.

Jim followed his father’s footsteps into a 30-year career with Air Canada and enjoyed the thrill of travel as a privilege that comes with it.  They had travelled many times together as a family over the years and he continues to do so now with his own family. I learned a bit about how early Jim’s passion for the airline industry began, however, when  we visited Jim’s primary school in Winnipeg.  We walked into the principal’s office and spoke with the secretary.  I was so surprised to watch my six foot two husband shrink into a little boy as he shook the principal’s hand telling her he was from the class of ’52-’58.  She walked us to his old classroom where he remembered having to stand in the cloakroom as a punishment.  His crime? Making a paper airplane and flying it across the room!

By the end of our trip, I felt as if I got to know both Jim and Allan a little better.  Years ago when we married, I often lamented the fact that I never had the chance to meet Jim’s father.  When I said as much to his sister one day, she answered: “Well, you sort of have met him!”

I guess it’s true. Not only does Jim look very much like his father, especially as he grows older, but he tells me that he has many of the same mannerisms.  For example, chatting easily to strangers, quoting his father’s old sayings and efficiently scraping out the peanut butter jar!


The Priest

Sydenham Bagg Lindsay (1887-1975)

The recent McGill graduate and qualified Associate of the American Guild of Organists in New York City cautiously approached his father, in 1908, with his dream to enter the priesthood.  His father, a stockbroker, answered simply: “Not much money in it!”  But there was no doubt Sydenham Bagg Lindsay had a vocation.

He studied theology at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College and then at Lichfield Theological College in England.  In 1910, he was ordained Deacon in Montreal and then an Anglican Priest in 1911.

He served in various parishes in the Montreal area including St. John the Evangelist where he met his wife, Millicent Thorpe Hanington, daughter of Dr. James Peters Hanington.  They were married in 1918 at the height of the flu epidemic when only thirty guests were allowed in the church!

Soon after that, he became Assistant Priest at St. Matthews, Quebec City, then Trinity Church in Beauharnois.  Two years later he was given his first parish – St. Mark’s in Valleyfield.  He continued with his ministry all over the Diocese of Montreal and some of his parishes included St. Aidan’s in Ville Emard and St. Simon’s in St. Henri. Finally in 1940, he became the rector of the Church of the Advent on Wood Avenue, in Westmount.

During the depression, when he was at St. Simon’s in the slums of Montreal, not only did  it take real ingenuity to produce the Christmas pageant without any money but the confirmation veils were stolen just a few minutes before the Bishop arrived![1]

World War II brought an end to the depression, but also, alas, an end to the lives of some of his parishioners.  His daughter, Mary Kerr, recalled that “many a bereaved parent, spouse or friend told us what a help my father was in their time of sorrow.”[2]

As rector of the Church of the Advent, he built up the parish and the boys’ choir which became quite famous and drew a large congregation.  It was a great thrill for him.

In his “spare” time, Sydenham was a classics scholar and church historian and kept up a correspondence with people all around the world, including missionaries and the fellowship in Western Canada.  He also regularly contributed to the “Letters to the Editor” column in the newspaper writing “no more than three or four sentences but always to the point, saying all that need be said in a few words”[3].

He also wrote and published the following four books:  A Historical Sketch of St. Columba’s Parish, Montreal, The Church of England and the Reformation (A Lecture Delivered in the Diocesan College, Montreal, on the 10th March 1954), Bishops of the Lindsay Clan (1957) and The Three Hours’ Vigil (1965).

In 1950, he was made an honorary Canon of Christ Church Cathedral   His health began to fail in 1953 and he retired as Rector of the Church of the Advent.  He stayed on as assistant priest, happily and humbly helping his successor. There may not have been “much money” in his calling but his “golden” jubilee in the ministry was celebrated in style in 1960. I was only three years old at the time.

I, however, remember him fondly as my Grampa-Lin, quietly joining in the family get-togethers.  He loved his grandchildren and amused us in his special way.  When pouring out drinks at family dinners, he would ask us: “Would you like ginger ale or Adam’s ale?” – Adam’s ale being water, of course!

 Church of the Advent


[1] Personal recollection of his eldest daughter, Mary Thorpe Lindsay Kerr, 1993.

[2] Personal recollection of his eldest daughter, Mary Thorpe Lindsay Kerr, 1993.

[3] The Gazette article “Canon Lindsay’s 50 years of Service.” Oct 14, 1961

Great Granny Bagg

Mary Heloise Bagg Lindsay (1854-1938)

Mary Heloise’s church life was most probably her refuge from ongoing family sagas! It is my belief that as the educated daughter of a wealthy Montreal real estate tycoon, the wife of a successful Montreal stockbroker and the mother of six challenging children – she appreciated the solitude of her Sunday morning church service. Her obituary, in 1938, summarized Mary Heloise Bagg Lindsay’s life as having “been a member of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Church of England and having belonged to St. John’s Church”[1].

My great grandmother, Mary Heloise, was one of the four surviving daughters of Stanley Clark Bagg and Catherine Mitcheson.  Born in 1854 at the Fairmount Villa, in the Golden Square Mile of Montreal, she grew up to marry Robert Lindsay in 1881.  Her only brother, Robert Stanley Bagg, was heir to the family fortune, her two older sisters married men in the clergy and her younger sister married a scandalous real estate tycoon who mysteriously disappeared when his debts caught up with him.

Her first matrimonial home, in 1881, was located at 436 St-Urbain[2], which was a subdivision of a very large villa lot stretching down to Sherbrooke, where Fairmount Villa stood and where her mother still lived. By 1920, she and Robert had moved to 6 Prince of Wales Terrace and then later on they lived at 1009 Sherbrooke Street West, where she died at age 84.

Ada was her firstborn child. On her wedding day, it was discovered that the family cat had had her litter of kittens on the wedding dress that had been laid out on the bed![3]  Olgivy’s, the local department store, was persuaded to open on a Sunday so that they could quickly acquire another dress. Lionel, her eldest son, became a well-loved family doctor and raised a large family of his own. Her second son, Sydenham, (my grandfather) was called into the Anglican ministry, much to the dismay of his father who was quoted as saying:  “Not much money in it!”  He managed to raise four children, so it seems he did alright.

Her last three children did not marry.  Stanley followed in his father’s footsteps becoming another successful Montreal stockbroker, after serving as a captain in WWI. He doted on his nieces (especially my mother) and nephews.  Marjorie remained a spinster when permission to marry her one true love was denied[4].  And sadly, her youngest child, Marguerite, died tragically at age 26.

Marguerite was a volunteer teacher in Labrador’s mission schools. Presumed drowned in August 1922, they found her body in December of that same year, and discovered she had died from self-inflicted wounds.  It was rumoured that the cause was connected to a love affair.

Thankfully, the church was indeed a big part of Mary Heloise’s life.  Without it, she might not have been able to survive the trials and tribulations of motherhood.

[1] The Montreal Gazette, August 15, 1938.

[2] Lovell’s 1890 – 1906.

[3] As told to me by my aunt, Katharin Lindsay Welch, telephone conversation – June 2013

[4] As told to me by my aunt, Katharin Lindsay Welch, telephone conversation – June 2013


Millicent Thorpe Hanington (1895-1982)

Millicent’s one indulgence in later life was watching “Hockey Night in Canada” on television.  She was a committed fan and watched every game without fail.  One night during the game, Sydenham, her husband, felt light headed and fainted.  She gave him a slap to wake him up, got him to swallow a couple of aspirins and threatened him with:  “Don’t you dare die during my hockey game!”[1]

The birth of this sixth daughter, Millicent, in 1895, could have been in celebration of James Peters Hanington ’s graduation from McGill Medical School a year earlier, at the ripe old age of 49.  Millicent (my grandmother) was the baby of this family of girls, and eventually looked after all her sisters in their old age.

The Hanington family had strong roots in Shediac, New Brunswick, given that William Hanington (Millicent’s great grandfather) founded the town in 1784.  Millicent grew up spending the summers at her father’s cottage in Shediac Cape and soon after she married, she bought her own summer cottage there and named it “Iona Cottage”.  The family story told was that she was so thrilled, that the name was really code for “I own a cottage”!

Sydenham Bagg Lindsay, an Anglican priest in Montreal, actively pursued Millicent with marriage proposals until she finally accepted him ….on the condition that he look after all her sisters as well.[2]  Poor guy got six women for the price of one! Two of her sisters, however, were married and only three were spinsters.

Married in 1918, Millicent was a young bride of 23 years and Sydenham, a frail young man of 29.  She led a demanding life as a full time minister’s wife in addition to having four children of her own.  Their first child was born in 1920, a frail little girl called Mary Thorpe who strengthened as she grew and was talented in art and theatre.  In 1923, their son, Paul, was born, a jolly little fellow who was to be their life long tower of strength.  In 1926, their daughter Ann (my mother) appeared, a sweet tranquil baby, who was to become a marvellous mother.  Finally, in 1930, came Katharin, a whirlwind if there ever was one. [3]

Millicent’s lively spirit and sense of humour carried her through many a trial. As they moved from parish to parish, her fame preceded her.  Her superb cooking kept the whole family well and strong, including their parents and all her sisters!  There are photos galore of a dozen or so family members around her Sunday table. When Sunday lunch after church became too much for her to manage, the family began a new tradition of eating Sunday lunch regularly at Murray’s Restaurant, which she thought was the closest thing to her own cooking.Dodo, Mary, Bob, Mrs JP Hanington, Granny, Grampa, Kay, guest, Tom, Tootie, Ann, friend Bobby

She kept an eye on her mother and her sisters as they aged and needed attention.  In 1950, her mother died in her 99th year and Millicent missed her terribly the rest of her life.

With the strain of WWII, parish duties and his family, Sydenham’s health suffered.  As his strength waned so did that of his daughter, Ann, who had developed Hodgkin’s disease.  Both parents suffered through her illness and death and the problems that beset her grieving husband and their four children.

Seven years after Sydenham died in 1975, Millicent felt ill and didn’t know why.  She had leukemia.  Six weeks later she died, still the gallant lively Spirit she’d always been.

[1] Personal recollections in a telephone interview October 2013 – with Katharin Lindsay Welch. (her youngest daughter)

[2]Personal recollections in a telephone interview October 2013 – with Katharin Lindsay Welch. (her youngest daughter)

[3] Personal recollections by Mary Thorpe Kerr – Victoria, BC – 1993

Sister Pilgrimage

Early Sunday morning, dressed in our special t-shirts, we left in plenty of time for the morning church service at St Martin’s-in-the-Woods.  The greeter welcomed us warmly, and we asked if there might be any Haningtons at church that day.  She beckoned down the aisle to her husband who then introduced himself as Allen Hanington. 4-1StMartin-Haningtons (9) Overjoyed, we threw our arms around our surprised distant cousin and snapped a commemorative photo.  And so our journey began.

4-1StMartin-Haningtons (8)

My 3x great grandfather, William Hanington, was the first English settler in Shediac, New Brunswick, in 1785.  He was an amazing fellow who emigrated from England at the age of twenty-six, built a whole community, set up lumber exports, built ships, married a PEI girl and had a family of thirteen.   Later in life, in 1823, he donated a piece of land and built St Martin’s-in-the-Woods Anglican Church, where he was buried in 1838.St Martin's in the Woods

4Shediac (23)

Front: Sister Pilgrimage July 2015 Back: William Hanington – 3x Great Grandfather 1759-1838

This past July, my sister and I decided to go on a one week “sister pilgrimage” to explore our family history in Shediac from 230 years ago.  We ordered our specialized t-shirts and planned our family-and-friends-fun-filled trip to the Maritimes. A very special trip for us both.  We hadn’t travelled together before and my sister, recently widowed, was embracing a “carpe diem” attitude.

Peggy’s Cove was our first  tourist attraction and we enjoyed a stroll around the lighthouse and its spectacular rocks overlooking the ocean. The quaint little shops were charming and the local afternoon tea was delicious.

On our way to Shediac, NB, we visited my sister’s friend Helen who was new to the area and provided us with a hearty lunch.  We checked into our B&B in Shediac, and set off to explore the delightful little town.  On the waterfront, we climbed onto the famous giant lobster to pose for the ultimate tourist photo.  4Shediac (17)Afterwards, while strolling along the boardwalk, we came upon a historical monument dedicated to our 2x great grandfather Daniel Hanington, a famous politician in his time. What a terrific surprise!

6AppleBlossomCafe (4)

The Anglin Sisters meet the Wallace Sisters.

Hopewell Rocks was our second tourist attraction with its incredible change in tides.  That morning, we walked along the “beach”.  Then we lunched nearby at the Apple Blossom Café, run by three retired schoolteacher spinster sisters.  What a hoot they were!  After lunch, we returned to find high tide had completely transformed the whole bay.  Amazing!

The next morning, our GPS helped us find our way to tiny Clairville, NB, to visit my friends Carol and Bruce.  Their cozy place was beautifully perched up on a hill overlooking a vast field.  After a tour of their house and garden, we had a delicious lunch and then set out for Charlottetown, PEI.

While driving across the spectacular Confederation Bridge, it was difficult to imagine how William and his Indian guides paddled across the Northumberland Strait in 1792 to claim his bride in Summerside, PEI (then known as Ile-St.Jean).

We checked into our B&B in Charlottetown and headed off to meet Anne of Green Gables, our third tourist attraction.  Luckily for us, there weren’t many visitors that day and she was able to personally fill us in on all the latest town gossip.

On our last day, we visited our mother’s best childhood friend. who is living with her son and family just outside Charlottetown.  Our mother passed away when we were very young, and AuntJean“Auntie Jean” has been a precious source of their childhood tales. It was such a thrill to see her again.

Later on that Sunday after the morning service at St Martin’s-in-the-Woods, we visited with Allen’s charming sister Lillian, the family historian who knew our exact location in the Hanington family tree!

And just down the lane from the church, off  Hanington Street, was our grandmother’s summer cottage.  Our grandfather, Canon Lindsay, would fill in as their pastor from time to time over the summers and several people at church that morning remembered him fondly.

Finally, as we drove down the driveway to visit with Allen and his wife Willa, there they were sitting on the porch swing waiting to welcome us into their home. 4-1StMartin-Haningtons (18)The afternoon flew by with lemonade and homemade treats and eventually we bid farewell to our cousins with heartfelt promises to keep in touch.

PS  The August 2015 family newsletter, the Hanington Herald, just arrived by mail! Included in the comments from the President’s Desk (that would be our cousin Allen!), it says: “We just experienced a lovely visit from the Anglin sisters; Lucy (Montreal) and Margaret (Ottawa) who were visiting in the area and attended morning service at St Martin’s-in-the-Woods Anglican Church on Sunday, July 5th 2015.  We had a very nice visit on Sunday afternoon.  They are descendents of Daniel Hanington.”

The Matriarch

Gertrude Thorpe Davidson (Mrs. James P. Hanington) – 1852-1950

The local newspaper in Saint John, New Brunswick, hit the jackpot when they interviewed 96-year old Mrs. James Peter Hanington in July 1948.  “”I always said I would not be old till I was 90’ said the charming silver-haired lady, with the sparkling dark eyes who was recalling her girlhood days in Saint John”[1].  From a remarkable retentive memory, Mrs. Hanington described events of many decades ago as though they were only yesterday, but was fully aware of and concerned about today’s issues.

One of her fondest memories included waltzing on skates to a live band with a gong sounding every half hour signalling the skaters to reverse direction.  She also recalled attending not-so-very interesting lectures at the Mechanics’ Institute with her girlfriends enabling them to meet the boys at those gatherings.

Entertaining was done in the home and was a simple matter due to the availability of affordable domestic help.  A cook’s wages were only $6 a month! The great expanse of her memories included a small playmate telling her of Lincoln’s death, the street lamplighter with his ladder going from lamp to lamp and the thrill of her first ride on a passenger train from Moncton to Saint John.[2]

Gertrude Davidson (my great grandmother), born in Saint John, NB, in April 1852, was the daughter of William and Mary Ann (Thorpe) Davidson.  Her father was a prominent lumber merchant and the grandson of the first settler on the Miramichi, who came out from Scotland at the age of 20. Gertrude’s earliest memories of her native city of Saint John were centered about the Davidson home at 98 Germain Street, the fine brick building her father erected for his family and to which she moved at the age of five.

Her father had been confident when the Great Fire of 1877 was at its height that the slate roof and brick walls of his home would be ample protection. He was wrong.

When forced to leave, her father had locked the door to keep out the thieves.  But fire proved a more thorough villain and all treasures were lost.

Gertrude saw the spire of Trinity Church fall that terrible day and was very anxious about the safety of the people.  However, blessed with a wonderful sense of humour, Gertrude commented on the strange attire of the people who attended a church service in the Victoria rink after the fire.  They had obviously escaped without their Sunday best![3]

As much as she loved Saint John, she moved her family to Montreal in 1890, when her husband, a successful local pharmacist, decided to go to McGill University Medical School at the age of 44.  Her seventh daughter (my grandmother) was born in Montreal in 1895, when Gertrude was already 42 years old.  While in Montreal, she raised her family, supported her husband’s new medical career, entertained frequently in her home and was an active member of St. John the Evangelist Church. She was very well respected in the community and enjoyed a large circle of friends.

During her long life, Gertrude had had her full share of illnesses and ailments but her knitting needles were always busy…and without the need of eyeglasses!  Perhaps being married to a Pharmacist turned Doctor had its fringe benefits!

[1] The Evening Times-Globe, Saint John, New Brunswick – July 7, 1948.

[2] The Evening Times-Globe, Saint John, New Brunswick – July 7, 1948.

[3] The Evening Times-Globe, Saint John, New Brunswick – July 7, 1948

Gertrude Thorpe DavidsonMrs. J P Hanington (Gertrude Davidson)Mrs JP Hanington

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