Touring Glengarry: Martintown

June 28, 2012

I was becoming very fond of Hwy #18.  I had traveled through Martintown once so I knew I had best return and do a little more investigating.

Welcoming Sign

The road curves through Martintown and revealed first St. Williams Catholic Church.  I tried to locate the cemetery but I was not finding it.

St. Williams Catholic Church

On Kirk St. and River Road I did find St. Andrews United Church and Cemetery.  This is Presbyterian.  The church was so shrouded by trees that I could not get a full good front view.

St. Andrews Church, Martintown

The cemetery surrounded the church on all sides:

St. Andrews Church the side view


Touring Glengarry: St. Raphael’s

June 28, 2012

“Oh ye tak the high road, and I’ll tak the low road, and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye, for me and my true love will never meet again on the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.”  (Steven McDonald, CD “Sons of Somerled” and “Stone of Destiny”)  Mr. McDonald and are displaced Scots.

St. Raphael’s is surreal.  I walked the ruins and the cemetery and visited twice to make sure it will always be a part of my memory.   I approached the ruins from both directions.  My first visit was going west and all of a sudden you come out of the trees and there it is before you.  Following the road from the east you see what the photograph below shows you.

Facing east toward St. Raphael’s

The website for the ruins is filled with interesting information about the history of the site, photographs of the ruins being used for events, how to give or become a member, music and more.  Take a moment or two to study it before you look at my photographs. 

http://www.saintraphaelsruins.com/

My first visit I turned left off of Hwy #34 and headed west on Hwy #18.  The second visit was up Brookdale in Cornwall to Hwy #138 and turned right onto Hwy #18 at St. Andrews West.  Hwy #18 is very nice going east to west and you can go through St. Andrews West, drive through Martintown and come to St. Raphael’s and then to Hwy #34 which can take you north to south.  Along the way you can turn down Hwy #19 to Williamstown.  It is a beautiful drive to St. Raphael’s along Hwy #18.

When you first see St. Raphael’s, from the west, you are stunned by its stately manner. St. Raphael is on a ridge, at least that was my feeling.  There is a U-shaped driveway in front of the ruins so you can park easily. 

The front of St. Raphael’s rises so…

You cannot get it all in your photograph so you have to try various angles. 

From the eastern side – St. Raphael’s

I was so fortunate, both days I visited it was warm and sunny. 

From the side, it is so tall

This man in a truck parked and went into the interior of the ruins.  I waited till he had his turn before I entered.

Through one of the wrought iron gates.

Once he had finished his visit, I entered from the front.

Entering St. Raphael’s Ruins

I felt like I should whisper but instead I gently sang “Loch Lomond.” 

A very nice video of the song and lyrics is presented here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbb9aRSQpsY 

The other song was “Auld Lang Syne.”  Forgive me, but you must have some music when you visit.

Looking back to the front entrance, St. Raphael’s

To document my visit to St. Raphael’s I took a timed picture of me in the front of the church.

I really was there at St. Raphael’s

This is the functioning part of St. Raphael’s and the present part of the Parish of St. Raphael’s.

The church of today attached to the right side of the ruins as you face them

There are many plaques out in front one of which is commemorating the Glengarry Immigration:

The Glengarry Emigration of 1786

 A plaque in both English and French sharing information about Bishop Alexander Macdonell 1762-1840. It is on the brick pillar right in front of the church ruins.

About Bishop Macdonell 1762-1840

The plaque that features a brief history of the ruins.  There is a photograph of the church before the fire in the book:  Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry A History, by John G. Harkness on page 126 and a picture of the Bishop.

About the Ruins

This plaque is attached to the walls of the ruins and one is in French and the other in English: 

Attached to the wall of the ruins

The cemetery wraps around St. Raphael’s dominating the area behind the church. 

The cemetery behind the church ruins

The cemetery is also on the left side as you face the front of the church.  

Looking east toward the road and the cemetery

From the east looking west the cemetery spills down the hill much farther than I had expected or noticed on my first visit to the ruins. 

Looking west to the ruins and cemetery

 The welcoming sign of St. Raphael’s Parish and the cattle who were lowing as I visited.

The cattle were lowing during my visit

Remember to click on the photograph and it will open up in a bigger window.  Then click your back button to return to this blog.  I will upload more photos from my visit when I finish posting for this trip.

UPDATE 07/09/2012:  The link below includes additional photographs of the ruins and the area around it.  These are overview photographs.

 

St. Raphael’s Ruins & Cemetery

Touring Glengarry: Alexandria “The Centre of Glengarry”

June 27, 2012

Alexandria is spread over each of the four historical townships of Kenyon, Lochiel, Charlottenburgh and Lancaster.  It is now home to the North Glengarry Municipal Hall as of 1998.  You will not find any history at their website.  You will not find individual city identities.  There is other useful information however like a list of churches in the area.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Glengarry,_Ontario  Somehow I feel I have not really found the essence of Alexandria! 

Maybe some Christmas lights will help:  http://www.alexandriafestivaloflights.com/index.html

I left the Glengarry Pioneer Museum and headed east on Hwy #24 – Dunvegan Road.  The road was straight as an arrow meeting up with Hwy #34.  I turned south.  It was a good highway, my kind of highway.  The traffic was light and it gave me time to enjoy the scenery.  It is very beautiful, green and lovely.  I wanted to stop and take photographs but that might have been dangerous because of the trucks.  Trucks are good they mean commerce.  

Welcome to Alexandria

According to Yahoo Answers there are 40 cities in the world with the name Alexandria and others think that there were 70 at various times throughout history.  I usually think of the one in Eygpt.   Alexandria once named Priest Mills was given that title after the Right Reverend Alexander Macdonell according to John G. Harkness in “Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, A History, pg. 285.”

A proper water tower

I drove past the Sacre Coeur Catholic Church which is right on the main avenue through the town.  Someone was doing some maintenance on one of the bright red doors.   There is suppose to be a cemetery associated with this church but I did not search for it because of limited time concerns.  The church is lovely and amazing.  The spires in Ontario just make me pause with wonder. This is very nice: 

http://www.alexandria-cornwall.ca/diocese_sept_032.htm

Sacre Coeur Catholic Church

Across from it is the St. Finnan’s Catholic School but no sign of the church of the same name.  This confused me but then I did find the St. Finnan’s Catholic Church and cemetery at 70 St. Paul St.

St. Finnan’s Roman Catholic Church

This church is impressive. 

A side view of St. Finnan’s

A plaque of tribute to Harriet (Kennedy) MacMillan 1756-1839 in St. Finnan’s cemetery. (Click and it will open larger, then click your back button to return to this blog.)

In Memory of…

Broken stones by the side of the church, yet the grounds are so well kept.

Broken stones

The cemetery is very large so you need to have help in finding a tombstone like a transcription publication. 

The St. Finnan’s Cemetery

I will upload more photographs of this cemetery when I have completed my posts for this trip.  I will let you know when.  I was touched when I visited this cemetery. 

The cemetery at St. Finnan’s

UPDATE 7/9/2012:  The link below is to additional photographs for this cemetery.  Some are overview others are individual tombstones. 

 

St. Finnan’s RC Church & Cemetery

The entrance to the branch library that is in Alexandria.  It is part of the S.D.&G. County Libraries and is in the western part of the city over in an industrial complex. 

Alexandria Branch of the S.D.&G. Libraries

It is very nice inside.  The website for the S.D.&G. Libraries for the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry:  http://www.sdglibrary.ca/   When you use their online catalogue you cannot ask for a specific location when you search, so you have to click on the Availability button under the title.  Once you do it will open and tell you where that particular book is housed and in what branch of this library system.  Some genealogical books are circulating books other are not.  I would start at the Cornwall Public Library in Cornwall and try the Cornwall History Room first where some of these titles are consolidated.  Otherwise, plan a lovely drive in the country to the branch library of your choice.

Alexandria’s Branch of the S.D.&G. Libraries

These photos are just for fun.  We all need storage and of course I would be interested in anything with Glengarry in the title.

A little storage Glengarry Style

And security: 

A little security Glengarry style.


Touring Glengarry: Dunvegan & The Glengarry Pioneer Museum

June 27, 2012

Looking south in Dunvegan, Pioneer Village to the left

My visit to the Glengarry Pioneer Museum was on Tuesday morning June 5 at 10 am.  I emailed them to make an appointment.  They hours are limited so you do need to plan in advance.

Here is their website: http://www.glengarrypioneermuseum.ca/gpm/

I left my lodging in Cornwall and proceeded to take care of some errands and as usual it takes longer than you think.  I drove up Brookdale Avenue and continued north on Hwy #138.  At Cornwall Centre Road this highway jogs for a little bit and then turns north again on St. Andrews Road. 

My mind was blown when I came up to the top of this rise in the road and saw for the first time the church and cemetery of St. Andrews West.  The light and the setting was amazing.  It would have been too dangerous to stop and take a photograph because of all the trucks.  I would be back!  This is lovely:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/rdb466/4809053720/ 

Or take a look at this picture, not bad of St. Andrews Church and the intersection in St. Andrews West:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:St-Andrews-West_ON.JPG

I turned at Monkland onto Hwy #43 and stopped at an Esso gas station.  Just when you are in a hurry you are faced with a customer asking for phone cards.  I gassed up the car and the exchange was still going on when I returned.  It was a bit of time before I was able to pay for my purchase. 

I was late, it was already past 10 am.  I focused on the road and turned left at Greenfield Road Hwy #30.  There is supposed to be the St. Catherine of Seinna RC Cemetery in Greenfield but I do not remember seeing it as I zoomed by.  Greenfield was a surprise with more buildings than I expected. 

Panic began to settle in and I thought I had missed Dunvegan but alas I was silly.  I saw a bunch of trees in the distance and there it was the Glengarry Pioneer Museum began to materialize as I came closer.  I was ticking off the roads like Kenyon Concession 7, and Kenyon Concession 8.  Dunvegan is in what called Kenyon Township but is now North Glengarry.  It was situated north of Charlottenburgh Township which is now South Glengarry. 

One stop shopping!  I LOVE IT.  The Glengarry Pioneer Museum on the southeast corner of Hwy #30 and Hwy #24 and on the opposite corner the Kenton Presbyterian Church and cemetery. 

The Glengarry Pioneer Museum and Village is a wonderful treat.  There is a parking lot on the east side of the visitor building.

Glengarry Pioneer Village Visitor Centre

You enter through the door on the right and they have a lobby area filled with books, maps and artifacts.

The lobby of the visitor centre – Glengarry Pioneer Village

The offices are up the stairs and so is the research area.  I was greeted by an enthusiastic young man who took me to the second floor an introduced me to everyone.  They led me over to the table in the back and showed me where the books were located.  They had looked at their family histories but didn’t have any McDonells?  So I gave them one of my McDonald booklets for their collection. They were all friendly and helpful.  I happily set to work looking through their collection.  I asked questions and one of the assistants made me a map so I could find the Bethune Thompson Manor in Williamstown.  I am most appreciative of their kindness and time.  Thank you.

I was particularly interested in

  1. The Churches of North Glengarry, by the North Glengarry Heritage Group.
  2. Lochinvar to Skye 1794 to 1987, by Madeleine McCrimmon and Donaldson R. MacLeod.

They have a great many books on sale.

Their books for sale

If you look closely you can see there is a space in the center of the bookcase.  It was a copy, one of four left, of the Dictionary of Glengarry Biography, by Royce MacGillivray, published in 2010 by the Glengarry Historical Society: http://www.glengarryhistoricalsociety.com/GHS/Welcome.html

It is copy #214 and signed by the author who lives in England.  Well it isn’t there anymore for I paid for it and brought it home.  It is very heavy and caused me problems because of it’s weight. Go here to learn about this book:   http://www.glengarryhistoricalsociety.com/GHS/Publications.html  There is a subject index at this link, just scroll down.  Apparently they are starting a reserve list for the 2nd printing. 

After I finished up with their collection, I wandered the village, which in my opinion is very good.  I have been to many of these kinds of pioneer villages and this was very well done.  It is much older about 1830 as I was told.  They kept offering to really show me around but I had many places to go and many things to see. 

The front side of the visitor center

The village and the cemetery

On the opposite corner from the village was the Kenyon Presbyterian Church.

Kenyon Church

Next to the church was the graveyard.  I have more pictures of this cemetery which I will upload when I finish posting for this trip.

UPDATE 7/8/2012:  Below is a link to more photographs of this cemetery.  These are overview photographs only because of limited time.  It is to help you get an idea of what the area looks like and what the church and cemetery are like. 

Kenyon Presbyterian Church & Cemetery

I was learning that it was not that hard to get around in Glengarry.  The roads are mostly straight, smooth and paved.  It was a beautiful, warm and muggy day.  Now which way should I go?

Shall I go left or right?


Touring Glengarry: Williamstown

June 26, 2012

At various times during my tour, I explored Williamstown.  At the corner of Bridge St. and John St. in the heart of the town you can find your way easily.  Just read the sign post. 

Williamstown’s sign post

Hwy #17 and Hwy #19 cross in the center of the town.  Hwy #17 goes east to west, while Hwy #19 is north to south.

The Raisin River

The Raisin River meanders through the town and you cross over it at the McDonald Bridge.

McDonald Bridge

You can shop in the A. L. Macdonald Grocery.

Shopping anyone!

If you are hungry you can have good comfort food at the Ye Old Bridge Cafe and chat with the locals, which is on the left in the photograph above.

Are you hungry?

You can wander the streets and enjoy the houses.  

Love the color!

Yes, that is the surname McDonell on the sign.

Another lovely home

Visit St. Mary’s Church on Hwy #19 south of the bridge.

St. Mary’s Church, Williamstown

You can wander the cemetery next door to the church. 

Notice the celtic tombstone symbol

UPDATE 7/8/2012: Here is a link to more photographs of this cemetery. These are overview photographs to give an idea of what the location is like.

 

St. Mary’s RC Church & Cemetery

You can get a little nostalgic when you see the old municipal building for the Township of Charlottenburgh empty.

The empty township building

This is the historical marker that is located by the Nor’Westers & Loyalist Museum.  It tells of the history of the Township of Charlottenburgh.  (Click and it will enlarge, just hit your back button to return to this blog.)

Historical marker for the Township of Charlottenburgh

Or visit the Glengarry Celtic Music Hall of Fame  http://www.glengarrycelticmusic.com/index.php

Sign for the Glengarry Celtic Music…

Of course there is one more location you must visit and that is the Bethune-Thompson House.  I did not find it the first day I was there so when I returned the following day I was prepared.  I give thanks to a nice person at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum who drew me a map on college rule paper. This house is set back so it is not visible from the main road.  To get to the house you drive down this road that is much like a driveway.  I did this and came to one of the two historical markers and stopped.  I didn’t want to invade the privacy of the people who currently live there.  http://www.ontarioplaques.com/Plaques_STU/Plaque_Stormont35.html  Yup, I backed up till I could turn the car around. 

The Bethune Thompson House, privately owned

Before you leave Williamstown you should stop and look at the Raisin River one more time:

The Raisin River again


Touring Glengarry: The Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum

June 26, 2012

The Nor’Westers & Loyalist Museum

The Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum is in Williamstown.  I visited this museum on Tuesday June 5, 2012.  I had emailed them to make an appointment and they were gracious enough to give me an open time frame for that afternoon.  Please visit their website and enjoy the pictures.  You cannot take photos. 

Here is their website: http://www.norwestersandloyalistmuseum.ca/NWLM/Welcome.html

I knew where they were in Williamstown because I went looking for them after my visit to the Glengarry Archives.  They are located on Hwy #17 which crosses Hwy #19.  You go west along John St. almost to Bethune St. and they are on the corner of John and Bethune. 

A Plaque about the Northwest Company

I parked the car and was walking around to the front when I found two individuals, a woman and a man.  I introduced myself and the woman recognized me and told me that the young man would be leading my tour.  I gave her a printout of the descendancy of my family since I really don’t know if they were Loyalists. 

The young man started the tour with the Loyalist history of the area.  It is on the first floor.  He told me that Sir John Johnson landed in Cornwall near the Civic Center on Water’s Street.  So that is why I have been trying to find that plaque and I did.  See my post “An Overview: Dundas, Stormont and the city of Cornwall, Ontario.

They had the most amazing map showing the lots and names along the St. Lawrence.  I recorded the information on my cellphone’s voice recorder:  Map dated 1786 created by a Patrick McNiff

This website has a listing of the names on that map. http://my.tbaytel.net/bmartin/eastern.htm  Apparently this is a very popular map.  

The United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada:  http://www.uelac.org/

The docent lead me up the stairs to the 2nd floor were he began to talk about the Nor’Westers or the North West Company.  So far I have avoided digging into the fur trade but I just might have to.  So this was a good way to give me a shove.  Here are some links for more information:

http://www.canadahistory.com/sections/eras/britishamerica/northwest.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_West_Company

The fur trade is not new to me.  I live in Washington State and it was a big part of our history.  Fort Vancouver is a living history museum and it is really very well done.  It makes you open your mind to a different way of life.  At this museum the amount of fur pelts was not as much as was presented at Fort Vancouver.  http://www.nps.gov/fova/index.htm 

My tour was complete and I found a book in their gift shop for $20.00:  Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, A History 1784 to 1945,  by John G. Harkness, K.G.  Yup, it will weigh a ton to take home but I am pleased.

I enjoyed my special tour very much and the docent did a great job.  Go visit it is worth it.

A full front view of the Museum


Touring Glengarry: Glengarry Archives & the Sir John Johnson House

June 26, 2012

Ever since my Aunt Miriam wrote in her notes that Archibald McDonell, my great-grandfather, might have come from Glengarry, Ontario I have been fascinated.  So I have tried to learn as much as I can about the history and the area of Glengarry.   The information below implies that he grew up in Glengarry…hmmm?

Archibald & Glengarry, Ontario

I begin my tour with the Glengarry Archives which is housed in the Sir John Johnson House in Williamstown in what was Charlottenburgh Township and is now part of South Glengarry.  I had emailed and made an appointment at 10 am on Monday, June 4, 2012.  They are not open very many hours so it is wise to contact them before you go for a visit.   Here is their official website:  http://www.glengarryarchives.ca/

I began my tour from Brookdale Avenue in Cornwall.  There is a roundabout and then you have to watch closely or you might be on your way to New York and cross that big bridge.  I did good for my 1st time and made my way down 2nd Ave E. to Boundary Road (Hwy 44). Crossing Boundary Road, I was officially in Glengarry.  I turned right and came to Hwy 2 and drove along that amazing section of highway.

I think I fell in love with Hwy #2 in this area east of Cornwall. Do you think this is what caught the fancy of our ancestors?  This section of Hwy #2 is right along the St. Lawrence River?

The St. Lawrence and Hwy #2

I drove through Glen Walter and turned left at Summerstown heading north on Hwy #27.  The weather was a little stormy.  I turned onto Gore Road and immediately encountered a gravel road.  There were houses along this road.  There were fields stretching to my right and it was so green.  I could barely keep my eyes on the road because it was lovely.  The sky was dark and threatening and it was pouring rain.  I wanted to stop but I had an appointment to get too. I turned north on Kraft Road and it too was gravel.  It took me to Hwy #19.  I went to the right and came to Williamstown.

Williamstown welcomes you!

The book by Dorothy Drumbrille “Up and Down the Glens” truly came to mind.  I wish I had more time to absorb her stories and understand them. I obtained my copy at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  So far I have not found a copy online that you can read.  They are for sale at various online book websites.

Ms. Dumbrille wrote affectionately and romantically about Glengarry County in 1954.  Her book was charming and nostalgic.  As I drove through Williamstown I can understand now.  It is quiet, lazy, sweet and gentle. It is old and steeped in history.  I was charmed and delighted.

Looking southwest from the Sir John Johnson Manor

I made my way to the Glengarry Archives.  I followed the signs.  I turned onto Williams St. which lead me to the Sir John Johnston house. You enter from the rear of the house and drive around to a parking lot.  You could drive up to the front of house but something told me not too.

Sir John Johnson’s Home

It was about 10 minutes to 10 am so I just enjoyed the beautiful setting and read the presentation boards:

The plaque outside the Sir John Johnson House

Next to it was another presentation board with additional information:

A little more about Sir John Johnson

They also provided a map of the area explaining how it use to be (click the photo and it will enlarge, click your back button to return to this blog):

The area today!

At exactly 10 am a car drove up to the front of the house.  It was Penny.  She is the person who you email when you wish to contact the Glengarry Archives.

As usual when you first enter an archive it is a little disorienting.  I spent most of the time talking to Penny and explaining my family history.  I gave her a copy of my McDonald booklet.  At one point she consulted the Internet and found this blog.  I was touched.

For some reason when you tell a person that you are researching McDonell/MacDonald/Macdonnell etc. they laugh.  After awhile Penny started to shake her head at all the McDonell’s in my family line.  I was relieved that even she would find it all frustrating and confusing just like I did.  I usually get a knot in my stomach.  Well it was obvious that I had more work ahead of me to try to figure out about Archibald McDonell and his wife Mary McDonell (yes she was a McDonell too).  Mary’s parents Alexander John and Ellen (McPherson) McDonell.

I had left a seed and hopefully it will germinate and grown. I really didn’t expect them to give me a full family history.  It is not going to be easy to find that one piece of information that will connect my family.

Sometimes amazing things happen.  There was a map on the wall in their book area and I was coveting it.  Penny had found it at a real estate office and just pulled it off the wall and gave it too me.  WOW!  I love maps and this was wonderful because it would help me to tour Glengarry.  I have that map and will treasure it.  It reads:  Compliments of Royal LePage, M. Jean Cameron Real Estate Broker.  What a great idea, I never thought of a real estate office having maps.

I am grateful to Penny and Alicia for their interest and help and I thank them for their time.

I couldn’t believe that I had been there a full two hours but it was time to go.

What you see when you exit the Sir John Johnson Manor


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