All posts by Lucy H. Anglin


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 gentle slap to wake him up, got him to swallow a couple of aspirins and warned 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 (A Remarkable Memory)

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

Pharmacist then Doctor

Dr. James P. Hanington (1846-1927)

James Peters Hanington (my great-grandfather), and his older brother, Thomas, could make emulsions, ointments, pills or potions for just about anything that ailed you.  They were partners in “Hanington Bros., Chemists” in Saint John, New Brunswick.  Today, they would be better known as pharmacists. According to several testimonials in the 1884 Almanac and Receipt (recipes) Book[1], they were extremely helpful in alleviating all kinds of their customers’ health problems.  Here’s an example:

Dear Sirs,                                                   Gondola Point, Clifton, Kings Co. 1878

Having been troubled for years with pains in my side and severe cough, I was tempted to try a bottle of your “JPH Cough Mixture”, and also a bottle of your “Penetrating Liniment”.  I found immediate relief.  I have used two more bottles since, and am now perfectly well.  Returning you my sincere thanks for your cheap and valuable medicine. 

Yours truly, 

Florence D. McCarthy

In 1890, the partnership was dissolved. Thomas became the local Postmaster and James moved his pregnant wife and four daughters[2] to Montreal, Quebec, where he was enrolled in Medical School at McGill University.  He was one of few of his eleven siblings to leave the province, where his grandfather was known as the first English speaking settler and founder of Shediac, New Brunswick.

The first family home in Montreal, Quebec, was at 278 St. Urbain Street[3].  The family grew to include two more daughters, one born in 1891, shortly after their arrival in Montreal and another born four years later in 1895.  Six girls!  The last one born, when her mother was 43 years old, was my grandmother, Millicent.  Could she have been the result of a special celebration once James had finally completed medical school at the ripe old age of 49?

James graduated from McGill Medical School in 1894, having completed his four year degree, which included First Class Honours in Medical Jurisprudence in his third year[4].

A few years later, he moved his family to 699 Sherbrooke Street, corner of Park Avenue[5], which was a larger home to accommodate his growing family as well as his Physician and Surgeon’s[6] office.  His office hours “8 to 10 a.m., 3 to 4 p.m., 7 to 8 p.m.” were even listed in the directory!  He was a prominent doctor in Montreal for several years.

Although he settled in Montreal, he did, however, keep a lovely old home in Shediac, New Brunswick, called “Burn Thorpe”  where his family would gather in the summers and meet up with their cousins.

JohnYoung Wawa Millicent Mrs JP Hanington DodoTootie Jenjen Dr JamesPHaningtonBurn Thorpe -2

[1] Hanington Bros’. ALMANAC and RECEIPT BOOK, 1884, Published by Hanington Bros., Chemists, Saint John, NB

[2] 1891 Canadian Census

[3] 1891 Lovell’s Street Guide

[4] McGill Medicine 1893–p.81

[5]1897-1898 Lovell’s Street Guide [6]1897-1898 Lovell’s Street Guide  Hanington Bros Almanac 1884James P HaningtonDr James P Hanington

“Roaring Dan”

Roaring Dan

aka Daniel Hanington (1804-1889)

by Lucy Hanington Anglin

“Just open the window, Dan, and they’ll hear you clear to Fredericton!”[1]  Daniel Hanington was nicknamed “Roaring Dan” by his fellow politicians in Moncton, because he had such a deep, booming voice. Although he thought of himself as a farmer, Daniel’s greatest interest was really politics.

Daniel was elected to the Legislative Assembly as Member for Westmoreland County (south eastern part of New Brunswick) in 1834. He served in either the Lower or Upper House until he died 55 years later, spanning the terms of 12 Lieutenant Governors. [2] According to the Saint John DAILY SUN, he “was a courteous, genial gentleman of the old school, respected by all who knew him… His election to the presidency of the Legislative Council in February, 1883, was a fitting crown to a long and successful political career, and he brought to the performance of the duties of this office an amount of political experience and a familiarity with public affairs in which he was absolutely without a rival among provincial public men.” [3]

Daniel was born to William Hanington and Mary Darby (the first English settlers in Shediac, New Brunswick) in 1804, and was educated at the Sackville Grammar School.  He actually was a farmer as well as comptroller of customs at the port of Shediac, New Brunswick, for more than forty years.  He retired from that post in 1880, at the age of 76.

His wife, Margaret Ann Peters (1811-1887), was the daughter of William Peters and Charlotte Haines, both having arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick, as youngsters with their families along with several other Empire Loyalists in 1783.  Charlotte came with an aunt and uncle and never saw her parents again.  She lost her little handmade slipper in the mud when she disembarked and the remaining slipper is in the Museum in Saint John.

When their children were growing up, Daniel refused two departmental offers, because the duties of the office would compel him to be away from home much of the time.  He preferred the country life, and to oversee the education and training of his children. Indeed, they raised a truly remarkable family.  All nine sons were first-class businessmen, including another successful politician like himself,  a lumber merchant, a broker, a rector, a barrister, a chemist and druggist (my great great grandfather – James Peters Hanington), a civil engineer, a chief surgeon and a comptroller of customs.   It was also noted that the three daughters had also “done well”, which I am guessing in those days meant they married men with family money and lucrative careers!

In 1881, Daniel and Margaret Ann celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary, with nine of their twelve children (one son died as an infant).  At that time, the grand total of their children and their immediate families came to 73 people and over half of them were at the party!

Daniel Hanington and Margaret Ann PetersDaniel Hanington and his wife, Margaret Ann Peters

[1] as told by Mary Thorpe Lindsay Kerr (his great grand-daughter).

[2] The Canadian Biographical Dictionary 1881. Lieut-Col. Hon. Daniel Hanington, M.L.C., Shediac, NB

[3] DAILY SUN, Saint John, New Brunswick – newspaper

Shediac’s First English Woman Settler

Shediac’s First English Woman Settler

By Lucy Hanington Anglin

Mary Darby was feeding the chickens in her father’s yard, when along came an oxcart carrying a handsome gentleman.  To her amazement, he stopped the cart, dismounted, raised his hat in greeting and approached her for a chat.  The story told is that young William Hanington (age 33 years) proposed to her on the spot and she (age 18 years) accepted just as quickly.  After their marriage, she was taken across the Northumberland Strait from her father’s home in St. Eleanor’s, Isle St. Jean (now Summerside, PEI), in a canoe paddled by a couple of Indians, to her new home in Shediac, New Brunswick, where her English husband had settled seven years earlier in 1785.

Mary Darby was the daughter of Benjamin Darby, a Loyalist of Newbury,  New York.  Born in England in 1744, he emigrated to America in and settled in Newburg, 50 miles from New York City.  He was imprisoned at one time for his Loyalist sympathies and suffered great hardships at the hands of the rebels.  In 1783, hearing that Washington’s troups were marching on the town, he snatched his ailing wife from her sickbed and fled to New York with their five children.  They embarked for Isle St. Jean at Long Island.  Poor Mrs. Darby died on the voyage and was buried at sea. Mary Darby was only nine years old.  Her father re-married and had another family.

Mary’s first home was the log house her husband William had built in 1787, just two years after his arrival from England.   Although her first child died at birth, the next five of her twelve children were born in that log house.  In 1804, he built a three-storey frame house for his wife and family.  The house was all hand-wrought, the boards and beams were hewn by hand, the shingles were hand split, the trimming hand carved, split boards served as laths and the nails were all hand- made.  Water was obtained from a deep well by means of a bucket attached to a long well-sweep or pole.  Their son Daniel (my great great grandfather), born in 1804, was the first of the next seven children born in that frame house.

It’s hard to imagine but Mary was without female companionship for the first three years of her life in Shediac.  It must have been such a relief when her sister Elizabeth and husband, John Welling, also came over from PEI in 1795 to settle in Shediac.  John bought 200 acres of land from William for 20 pounds sterling (about $20 then). Once settled, Elizabeth and John also raised a large family of 12 children.

William died at the age of 79, in 1838, and Mary lived another 13 years without him.  Her life must have been one of hardship and suffering and yet she lived to the age of 77 years.  Amazing!

William Hanington comes to Canada

William Hanington comes to Canada

By Lucy Hanington Anglin

The property was described as “a commodious estate upon the outskirts of the thriving town of Halifax, in the Colony of Nova Scotia”.  Imagine William’s surprise to arrive in Halifax to discover that “outskirts” meant a 200-mile hike through thick forest and deep snow!

My great-great-great grandfather, William Hanington, was born in London, England, in 1759.  He was the son of a fish dealer, trained as an apprentice to the Fishmonger’s Company and became a freeman in 1782.  In 1784, this adventurous young man purchased land in Nova Scotia from an army officer, Joseph Williams, who had been given a 5,000 acre grant as a reward for services.

After the initial shock upon arrival, he and his friend, Mr. Roberts, found an Indian guide, loaded all their worldly belongings onto a hand sled, trudged through the snow, slept in the open and finally arrived in bitterly cold Shediac in March 1785.  Mr. Roberts was so discouraged that he immediately returned to Halifax and sailed back to England on the first available ship!

William, however, was made of sturdier stuff and was delighted with it all.  There was a good size stream flowing into the bay and he had never seen such giant trees!  He was astute enough to see the lucrative possibilities for trade in lumber, fish, and furs.

Seven years after his arrival, at the age of 33, he hired a couple of Indian guides to paddle a canoe over to Ile St. Jean (now known as Prince Edward Island) where he heard there were other English settlers.  While riding along in an oxcart through St. Eleanor’s (now known as Summerside), he spotted a young lady (age 18) named Mary Darby, feeding chickens in her father’s yard.  It was love at first sight, he proposed to her on the spot and she accepted.  They married and paddled back to Shediac where they raised a large family of 13 children.  Three years later, missing the companionship of another woman, she persuaded her sister Elizabeth and husband John Welling to come over from Ile St. Jean and settle on their land – becoming the second English family in Shediac.

Within the next five years, William had eight families on his property of about one hundred acres of cleared land.  He opened a general store and dealt in fish, fur and lumber.  The furs and timber he shipped to England and the fish to Halifax and the West Indies.  He imported English goods from Halifax and West Indies products, mainly sugar, molasses and rum from St. Pierre. He also bartered with the friendly Indians for furs and helped them clear land.  Before long, a considerable village clustered about the Hanington Store – including a post office and a tavern.  William remained the leading light of the community and acted as the Collector of Customs of the port, supervisor of roads and as Justice of the Quorum (magistrate) in which capacity he married many couples.  To top it all off, in 1800, just fifteen years after his arrival from England, this remarkable young man opened a shipyard at Cocagne and built several vessels there.

Until 1823, there was no church, and William being a religious man, conducted service in his home every Sunday.  So William donated land and lumber, and oversaw the completion of St Martin-in-the-Wood, the first Protestant church.  In 1838, age 79, it only seemed fitting that William was buried in the cemetery there in the shadow of the church he founded.  A huge memorial of native freestone, complete with a secret compartment, still stands.