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2017 Comments


November 7, 2017   Ken Fischer qshtik7@yahoo.com , as a young boy, vacationed with his family at Spotswoods (now still operated by the Spotswood family as “Spotswoods Landing”), for three summers in the mid-1950s. Ken has generously submitted his memories of those summers on the Ottawa River to this page. Thank you very much Ken.

Ken Writes: “Anyone reading this portion of my memoir should be made aware that I am a US citizen who at the time of the described events lived in the town of Collingswood, NJ, not far from Camden, NJ and Philadelphia, PA. For context and to aid the reader, be aware that Armand is my brother (3 and a half years my senior), my mother’s name is Elsie, my father’s nick-name is Doc although he was not a doctor. Newton Creek has its source in Haddon Township, NJ and empties into the Delaware River near Camden.”

The Ottawa River

By the summer of 1954 fishing had become a major interest for Armand and me that could not be satisfied on the banks of Newton Creek. Mom and dad planned out a vacation where we drove to a tiny town in Canada named Westmeath and from there drove six miles through a forest on a one-car-wide dirt road until we emerged at the banks of the Ottawa River.

There, a family had a home, three log cabins, and a barge they operated as a ferry that could hold two cars. It was the only way to cross the river for many miles in either direction so they made a nice little business out of it. We rented one of the log cabins and other fishermen rented the other two. There was no running water, no electricity and no bathroom. Water came from a well, light from a Coleman lantern and we answered the call of nature in an outhouse. Mom fried eggs for breakfast on a wood stove. We ate dinner in the main house prepared by Mrs. Spotswood, the owner’s wife.

In our ignorance we pronounced Quebec ‘Kwee-beck’ while locals pronounced it ‘Ka-beck.’ For Armand and me this was a dream vacation and I think my parents loved it too. We went back the next year and again two years after that.

If I returned to the same spot today I doubt it would have the same feel of wilderness that it had then. But at thirteen years old it all seemed so remote and primeval. I think it actually was. I felt as if I had arrived in the new world with Columbus.

Somewhere way up-river was a logging operation. The logs were floated down the river to their ultimate destination…wherever that was. Depending on the winds we might wake in the morning to find a huge logjam trapping the ferry barge and other boats on our side of the river and awhile later the wind would shift and all the logs would be gone. Each winter ice was cut in blocks from the surface of the river and placed in a large pit of sawdust. I learned that sawdust has marvelous powers of insulation so the ice was available all through the summer to be put in the icebox in the cabin.

We had a 1949 Ford and jammed in its trunk with the luggage was a five horsepower outboard motor that we had borrowed from my uncle Sonny. Uncle Sonny was a fishing fanatic in his own right but it was all salt-water fishing. He had owned cabin cruisers over the years in the thirty to thirty-five foot range but he got around near shore in a dingy with this five horse outboard. On our first attempt to go out on the river the motor started smoking and seized up. Salt had solidified in the cooling lines. We headed back the six miles through the forest to Westmeath and found someone to rent us a motor. The make was a Scott Atwater. I did a search on the internet and learned that that Company had ceased to exist around 1956.

The Ottawa River separated the provinces of Quebec on the north and Ontario on the south. Our cabin was on the Ontario side. Each day we set out in an upstream direction. We never headed downstream any appreciable distance. I believe our logic was that if we had engine trouble or ran out of gas we could always float home (with the logs) from upstream but it would be impossible to row home from downstream. The river had waters feeding in from various sources and we explored as many as we could. The most spectacular was a “rapids” that we could barely negotiate upwards even with the engine wide open. I kneeled on the front seat leaning over the bow and looked down through the crystal clear water to warn of any rocks that we might hit with our prop. The boulders that lie at the bottom were enormous, some the size of a one-car garage. There were small islands in the midst of the rapids and we would pull up on the calm downstream side to disembark, eat the lunch we had packed, and explore. Everywhere we looked we found ancient fossils in the rock. We trolled “silver spoons” out the back of the boat as we fought our way up the rapids and lost more of these lures – snagged in the rocks – than we caught fish.

On another day and in another direction we found our way to a spot where waters converged from two directions and it seemed – like oil and water – they would not mix. There was an undulating line on the surface of the water and if you disturbed it by driving the boat through it the line would reform in short order. At this confluence the river was unusually deep and we had our best luck here pulling in walleyed pike. On one occasion we ventured much farther upstream from this confluence until the river became quite wide. In this section we kept our distance from a tug pulling an enormous teardrop-shaped boom behind it filled with logs.

We learned from fisherman in the other cabins that a lake existed within walking distance from the opposite shore directly across the river from our cabin. We could cross the Ottawa in our boat, pull it partially ashore, then walk with our equipment to the lake where a row boat was available. Mosquitoes were so thick on this trek that we had to wear gloves and wide-brimmed hats with netting. After we rowed through an expanse of surface foliage and emerged into open water we were relatively free of insects. From here we could cast our lures – a “jitterbug” was a favorite – back toward the edge of the water lilies where, we hoped, largemouth bass lurked.

Before we actually fished this lake we had to obtain licenses from a small hamlet on the Quebec side. To do this we drove our boat to a spot where a train bridge crossed a tributary of the Ottawa. We pulled up to shore and dad climbed up to the tracks and walked along them into the nearby town to buy the licenses. Armand and I stayed with the boat. At this spot there was a logjam along the bank under the bridge and while we waited for dad I scampered over the jutting logs. All of a sudden they broke loose and rolled into the moving river and I went into the drink with them. Arm had to come after me in the boat and pull me to safety. As explanation for my being soaking wet we hit on the idea of telling dad that I had hooked a huge fish and was pulled right out of the boat. We got our laughs from this ruse with dad and later used the same line on mom when we got back to the cabin.

When mom needed a break from wood stoves and outhouses we jumped into the Ford and drove twenty miles or so to Pembroke, Ontario where mom, dad and Armand bought postcards and gifts and where I visited a pool hall and played my first-ever game of snooker, a version of pool popular in Canada and England. (Note: It was around this time that I had become acquainted with the game of pool, which, in the manner of Ham radio for my father, became a life-long pass-time, but more on that subject later.)

The three fishing trips to Canada over four years all run together in memory so I am unsure which events occurred on which trip. Besides fishing, I saw the “Thousand Islands” near Watertown, NY, Niagara Falls, and the cities of Montreal and Quebec. In Montreal where they spoke French I ordered fried eggs for breakfast one morning and the order was somehow translated as corn flakes. On the third trip, when I was sixteen, dad let me drive the car on the open highway even though I was not yet a licensed driver. We saw bears in Algonquin State Park. I bought a French beret that I imagined made me more interesting to the girls I waived at from the car window.

October 13, 2017…..  My mothers name is Dorothy Ann Moore then there is Maria Moore, Kathy Moore, Tommy Moore, Keith Moore. My grandfathers name was Douglas Moore My grandmother is Elizabeth. My cousin and I have been searching for a long time about our family with no luck. Our family has bad history so they don’t speak to one another very often. If anyones got any info on Douglas Moore please contact me. Thank you, ….Jassica

October 11, 2017….  I just found your site, it is wonderful.  On the family registry page for ANDERSON, Peter Sr. and Elizabeth Duff Anderson there is a photo of my grandmother.  One which I have never seen before.  Is there a way I could get a better quality photo from you?  ….Alexandra

August 27, 2017…..Good morning! I’m in touch with my 1st cousin Frances Anne Blackwell-Ash and have been working on their family tree for some time now. I want to sent her my info on her part of the tree and have her proofread it before I send it off to you. Likewise I’m updating info on my files. I will then send you a PDF file of Wilson Blackwell and his family.  If that sounds like a good plan I will continue on, if not let me know….. Harold

September 11, 2017 ….. Dear Harold;  Yes of course I can change any errors – in fact I really appreciate when people tell me corrections. Please let me know what corrections you want. Thank you for writing and your interest in the site.  …..Gayle

August 7, 2017

I was born and raised in Cobden and it looks like a great project you have undertaken. I have talked with Joyce Laird many times and am familiar with her work. My concern is the spelling of my Blackwell family names and was hoping there was a way that they could be corrected.  Thank you!  …..Harold


September 09 2017….   Thanks.  Looks great.   Yes, until we verify the land ownership re Godin and HBC, no point raising it.  I will get working on it this Fall.

I noted a number of typo’s in my transcription of the Land Petition, and I also managed to identify the position of a few more of the names.  A corrected transcription is attached.  I may have made it a little cluttered with the additional information re the individuals involved so do whatever you think best, including leaving out the info.  I found it interesting, but it may be more than is needed.

Note, the person advancing the petition appears to be William McGilllivray, the principal director of the Northwest Company from 1804 onwards and the man who led the Northwest Company into a merger with the Hudson Bay Company in 1821.  Also, at one point, he was a member of the legislative assembly of Lower Canada, a justice of the peace in the Indian Territory and a Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Corps of Voyageurs.   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/mcgillivray_william_6E.html

A further tidbit from the Canadian Dictionary of Biography, Sir Peregrine Maitland, who as lieutenant governor approved Godin’s petition, had only arrived a year before in the summer of 1818.  He immediately noted that the Provincial Land Board was a shambles with a big backlog or petitions and set about clearing it up.  So his prompt handling of Godin’s petition, and his general efforts to address issues arising from absentee land-owners,  were among the more noted improvements in what was otherwise considered a so-so administration.  http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/maitland_peregrine_8E.html

Yet he was not always free to determine land policies, being subject to joint control with imperial authorities. Many of his efforts were hindered by the influence of land speculators and by an agrarian-oriented assembly, which resisted the taxation of wild land. Even his critic William Lyon Mackenzie* recognized the problem of dealing with such vested interests and later gave Maitland credit for the limited improvements he had been able to effect. One of Maitland’s first reforms was to bring some efficiency and energy to the work of the provincial land board, which had become a cause of constant complaint and which he accused in August 1818, the month of his arrival, of “sleeping over an office choked with applications.” Within a month he was able to report to the Colonial Office that the derelict board had “brought up a long arrear of business.  …..Gregory

September 12, 2017

Dear Greg;

I used your wonderful material in the website at http://hwtproject.ca/ottawa-river-shoreline/algonquins-champain-fort-coulonge-post.  I hope that you are OK with how I have included your info. 

If it is not handled the way you would like – please let me know and I will make whatever changes you want.  Don’t hesitate to tell me.

You will see that I drew no conclusions if this was the earliest ownership of the HBC Farm. Until some verification turns up, I won’t do that.  Thanks so much for all this…..Gayle

August 26, 2017 ….. We exchanged emails last May (chain below) prior to my making a trip through Quebec from Fort Coulonge to Trois Rivieres tracing various ancestors.

On the HWT website you have some useful information regarding the HBC farm in Westmeath.  After doing some follow-up research following my Quebec trip I found a few pieces of information that may be relevant to the HBC farm and suggest that the HBC farm may have originated with land cleared by Joseph Godin, the clerk in charge at Fort Coulonge.  The pieces aren’t quite conclusive, but they are suggestive.

I’m passing this on to you in case it is of interest, but don’t feel you have to do anything with it. I’m going to continue researching the issue.  If you have any suggestions though, feel free to pass them on.

My ancestor Joseph Godin was in charge of the post at Fort Coulonge from about 1796 until 1823.  He is mentioned in numerous documents over this period.  However one document I only came across recently is his petition in 1819 for 1200 acres of land in Westmeath based on his having cleared 50 or 60 acres in Westmeath across from the (then) NW Co post at Fort Coulonge.  He asks that the 1200 acres (20 x 60 acres) include the land he has cleared.  The petition is granted but I haven’t yet traced the land through the land registry system to see if it matches up with the HBC farm.

Anyway, I’m wondering if this is the origin of the HBC farm.  The only HBC land purchase document I’ve found so far is the one on your website.  The land bought by the HBC in 1834 is 670 acres (generally across from Fort Coulonge) and the sale itself is a little odd since the seller is a surveyor. Of course, a surveyor could own land in his own right, but it has me wondering if the HBC actually just wanted to legalize its ownership – perhaps having acquired it informally from Joseph Godin – and through the 1834 transaction clarify its title.  Or maybe Joseph sold to someone else who then sold to the surveyor.

On your website you mention that Alexander Sherriff had noted the existence of an HBC farm earlier, in 1829, on the Upper Canada side, of some 60 or 70 acres.   Sherriff wonders if the HBC were squatting since the HBC didn’t actually purchase any land until 1836.

In 1829, Alexander Sherriff  observed that the Fort Colounge HBC’s establishment consisted of  “a double row of neat white washed  buildings and across the river, on the Upper Canada side, a farm of 60  or 70 acres.”    The date of 1829 was well before the farm land on the Upper Canada side was actually purchased in 1836, so the HBC was “squatting” on this land or had some unknown arrangement with the Crown. The welfare of early inhabitants was always under threat.

However, the farm is also mentioned in an earlier 1821 reference (at which time Joseph Godin was still in charge at Fort Coulonge).

There reference is found at  page 100 of Vol 2 of Lord Dalhousie’s diary (edited by Whitelaw).   In 1821 Lord Dalhousie was Governor in Chief of Upper and Lower Canada and travelled around the province and made a trip down the Ottawa River past Fort Coulonge.  The general description of the farm in Lord Dalhousie’s diary is consistent with Godin’s petition and Sherriff’s later comments – a farm of 50 to 60 acres on the Ontario side across from Fort Coulonge.

Joseph Godin must be the “old clerk” mentioned –  (he was 61 in 1821) –  in the quote since he held the post of clerk in charge at Fort Coulonge until July 1823.  My ancestor Augustin Romain marries Joseph Godin’s grand-daughter Adelaide Brisebois in 1822 in Montreal, at which time both are described as being from Fort Coulonge.  Possibly they were living on the farm.

The link between Joseph Godin and the HBC farm isn’t quite perfect, but its certainly seems possible.  I’m continuing to look for evidence of a sale from Joseph Godin to the HBC, although that will likely require a review of the land registry records.

I have attached Joseph Godin’s petition, which is in English but a little hard to read, and my transcription of the petition.  ….. Gregory

May 29, 2017…..  Gayle: Thanks for your prompt reply. Yes, I did look at all of your maps.  Great job you did putting the information together.

I’ll look at little bit further into Fort Coulonge.  Wikipedia has a map showing three locations of the Fort over different time frames, but it’s a modern map and provides no supporting documentation.  See attached.

The Bytown or Bust site has a contributor who provides an old photo of the last building and what purports to be a relatively modern photograph of the site with a large cross on it.  http://www.bytown.net/fortcoulonge.htm

If I find anything further that is from an “official source” I’ll let you know.  Who the Fort was sold to about 1850 is known (Thomas Taylor), so that Fort at least should be locatable from the Quebec land records – if I get to it.

I have researched the family line for 30+ years and have copies of most official records (Church records back to 1800 with Joseph Godin “from Fort Coulonge” in Montreal Church records and census records from 1842 (Westmeath was done that year) but not all other areas.  They get picked up in the 1851 census.  The census records from 1851 forward are relatively complete – except 1851 is missing some districts like Allumette Island. .  ….. Gregory

May-29-17 ….. 

Dear Greg;  I assume that you have visited the http://hwtproject.ca/ottawa-river-shoreline/algonquins-champain-fort-coulonge-post/ section of my website, which includes material on Fort Coulonge from the HBC Archives in Winnipeg plus other materials I sourced from various places.

The only time (if memory serves) that I saw Fort Coulonge labelled on a map is this 1836 map:

http://hwtproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/UOV-Fort-Coulonge-HBC-1836.jpg. It shows Fort Coulonge (1680) across from the Ontario-side Trading Post labelled 1836.  The Fort was west of current Davidson, Que. and the current Fort Coulonge Village. As far as I know, there is no marking on that site.

Also on the website, I have the actual 1836 Blueprint of John McNaughton’s surveyed township which shows an overland trail labelled “Road opened by Hudson Bay Company” to further document the proper site of the Ontario-side Trading Post.  http://hwtproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/1836-Blueprint-B22-McNaughton-Westmeath-Map.pdf

Actually, I live on Coulonge Lake just upriver from there so  I know the area quite well, beyond my research for the website.

When you come in July you should visit the Pontiac Archives or perhaps get in touch with them prior. They could help you with tracing family names etc. Go to: http://www.pontiacarchives.org/ – an excellent resource for you.I wish you success in your search and thank you for visiting my website. ….. Gayle

May 28, 2017 …… A wonderful local history website full of useful information (especially, for me, the maps).
Obviously, some of those providing the content have tremendous local knowledge. I am making a trip to Allumette from Toronto in June to visit various sites my ancestors lived on from 1800 to 1915.
I am hoping someone with local knowledge might be able to provide some insight on the following:

I have seen several suggestions for the site of the trading post at Fort Coulonge – usually somewhere within a mile of Davidson.  Is it actually marked in any way, and if not, what is the best current information on the actual site of the post?  A couple of ancestors were connected to the post.
My ancestor Joseph Godin was the clerk in charge over most of the period 1800 to 1823 for the Northwest Co and then HBC. My ancestor Agustin Romain was at the Fort from 1822 (married to Joseph Godin’s granddaughter) and residing at LaPasse (Ontario side) in 1836 onwards.

2nd, a number of my ancestors appear on the 1863 Renfrew County map on Allumette Island.   A Mousseau on Lot 1 2nd Concession, and Genereux, Widow Gaudette, and Ralph Gaudette on lots 11, 12 and 13 of the 3rd Concession.  These lots and the general area appear to have reverted to bush, so I am assuming that there is likely nothing to be seen here of the 1860 settlements?

Various ancestors were at Riviere Noire in 1871 (into the 1900s).  The 1871  census refers to “Lower Rivire Noire” and they appear on the first few pages of the census. Is the census taker likely working from modern Waltham upriver?  There is a Chenette creek off of Riviere Noire and Joseph Chenette was an ancestor, but that appears fairly far up river – above the pond behind the dam.  Might that still be considered Lower Riviere Noire?
Thanks for any insight you can provide. ….. Greg


August 8, 2017…..   Thanks so much for uploading the POFF story onto the site…it is fabulous to see it there…sorry for my delay in replying…we were in Newfoundland when I got your email end of June, then we have had company coming and going all of July….but I was thrilled to read this.  Also, thanks for the additional documents and photos…I was especially excited to see the link to my great-grandparents’ (Samuel and Charlotte) record of marriage! Records like this are hard to find, and I certainly appreciate having that!  I have a photo of the 2 of them…would you like me to email it to you to add?

I am forwarding the link to the site to my cousin Donalda  in Arnprior…it was her mother, Shirley, who was a big inspiration to me in my genealogical work and who encouraged me to keep going….Donalda is the one who has the archival material such as the original will of John Poff dated 1849, signed with an X.  She has it all archived in a beautiful scrapbook…but I know you would be interested to know these things exist.  Thanks again,  ….. Charlotte

April 17, 2017   …… I am attaching a document tracing the history of the Poff family from Germany and then Ireland then to Westmeath/Stafford Townships. I hope this isn’t too long a piece, but thought it might find a home on the HWT website. Thanks!                     …….Charlotte


July 15, 2017                          ……My Aunt (Phylliss Stewart) has an old, elaborate piano that belonged to the Fraser family (the Fraser man who married his wife’s sister). It is in storage in Ottawa and I am wondering if there is a museum or family who might be interested in having it. I hope to hear from you. Thank you.               …..Val


July 12, 2017      …. Thank you for your interest in the history of Westmeath (one-word) and in particular a Canadian soldier Francis Exevier Harney.

I am sending this reply also to a friend Lorne Spotswood www.spotswoodslanding.com – who has done extensive research on the Harney family and his late wife was a Harney. I am sure that Lorne will be able to help you get more details.

Your project sounds very interesting and very worthwhile to honour the brave men who gave their life at ill-fated Dieppe. Hopefully Lorne will be able to find a photo of Francis for your project. Good luck with your research.    ….Gayle

 July 12, 2017     ….I came across your great website while I was doing some research for a project I’m involved in.  We are researching soldiers who were killed in action during the Dieppe Raid in August of 1942 with The Royal Regiment of Canada.  We are attempting to get a photo of all the 225 soldiers who were killed that day for the upcoming 75th Anniversary this August.  We are almost at our goal but still have about 25 photos left to find.

It came to my attention that one of these soldiers we are looking for information and photo is on the West Meath memorial.  His name was Francis Exevier Harney.

I was wondering if you may have access to any material that may help us in our search for a photo and information on Francis.  I don’t know if you may have a contact to a local military historian who may be able to help us out too.  Anything you could offer to help us would be greatly appreciated.

Please feel free to check out the website or Facebook page listed below.  I’ve attached a copy of the memorial showing his name as well as our project brochure.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.                   ….Mark


July 13, 2017   Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I realize I’m searching for things far enough back in time, in reasonably remote areas, that I may not have much luck. How lucky we are to have the journals of the Hudson’s Bay people! I live near Sudbury Ontario. We visited briefly around Westmeath and Chapeau many, many years ago, but would have spent much more time had we known then that my husband’s ancestors were from that area. Hopefully we’ll get down that way again.

I also hope that one day I’ll be able to piece together the story of Jean Baptiste Bernard and Catherine Mclaren with accurate historical documentation. But until that happens, the quest is a lot of fun!  …..Cathy

July 9, 2017                         …..Thank you for this.   I will include the HBC smallpox reference on the website. We knew that the disease was brought to the natives by the Europeans but I have never seen this reference.   Smallpox Vaccinations were introduced into Canada in 1798.

In 1887 there is a mention of vaccinations being offer with the new Board of Health for Westmeath Township, see 1887 newspaper clipping: http://hwtproject.ca/the-township/tax-rolls/1850-to-1854/.  All health care was up to the people to fend for themselves and so the township now taking on the role of “managing” health was quite a step forward.

And in 1898 smallpox vaccinations were still being provided at least on the Ontario side of the river in Westmeath Township – see 1898 entry:  http://hwtproject.ca/the-township/tax-rolls/1890-to-1929/.

Graves were often at the homestead or some such site and the early graves would not have had stone markers – only wooden which would rot over time.

The Catholics (the Bernards would have been Catholics I assume), were served at Ft. Coulonge and LaPasse (Gower Point) in the 1840s and then records kept by the church from 1851 – see http://hwtproject.ca/churches-burial-grounds/roman-catholic/

So if you are looking for church registered deaths or burials prior to 1851 you will be out of luck. Remember that literacy rates among the guides and workers in the camps could be low so written records in general are few. Often only the priests were literate.

I am not sure where you live but if you are ever in this area plan to visit the museum in Shawville, Quebec, which has a lot of early material that its Historical Society has assembled. Worth a visit. See http://www.pontiacarchives.org/.

Ancestry.ca is notorious for errors and the listing of children to mothers well past child-bearing age is common. People don’t do the math like you have.  I keep a calculator on my desk to use for that purpose. Members of each generation would have the same initials or names so for instance you will have a Thomas Sr. And a Thomas Jr. Etc. Very common.  There is no oversight of Ancestry website so accuracy is very spotty.  You may never have your answers because there may be no written record available for the early years you are dealing with.               ….Gayle

July 7, 2017            …..Hello again Gayle,   Since receiving the information you sent, I’ve read “Little Emperor” and another Simpson biography, explored your wonderful website, and followed various internet leads regarding Jean Baptiste Bernard. I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned about the fur trade era!

 Recently Lisa Friesen from the Hudson’s Bay Archives in Manitoba sent me several tidbits of information about Bernard the guide. One of these was an excerpt from a letter from John Siveright to James Keith, dated Fort Coulonge, January 2, 1843:

“……Numbers of Children & some adults (Bernard’s son one of the number) have dyed in this quarter of the Small Pox – fortunately the Indians have not come from inland yet & may escape if they will keep away….”.    ( HBC Arch. B.134/c/55, fo. 3 ) 

 Where would the deaths of the smallpox victims be recorded? I’m still searching for proof that Bernard the guide is ‘our’ Bernard. I believe our Bernard had a son Dominique that died in infancy in or after 1839, but I can’t find a burial record. If he was a victim of the smallpox outbreak of late 1842, I would consider it pretty convincing evidence of our guy and the guide being one and the same.

 I have another question for you that has me very confused. I found a quote from the Pembroke Observer and Upper Ottawa Advertiser from August 22, 1884, page 3, row 3:

“Mrs. Catherine McLEAN BERNARD died in Bryson on Monday last [ August 8, 1884 ] at the age of one hundred and fourteen years, she and her husband were the first settlers on Calumet Island”.

Does this refer to the wife of our Jean Baptiste Bernard? If so, she was 79 years old in 1849 when he died at the age of 65! Even stranger, our Bernard’s children were born from approximately 1827 to 1844, which means that she would have been bearing children from age 57 to age 74 approximately. Is that even possible? Many people on Ancestry say she is Jbte’s wife, mother of Louise, Angelique, Ursule, Adeline etc., but I really don’t see how. Hopefully you can shed some light on this for me.  Well, I think I have rambled on enough, but I find this all so fascinating! Much better than a jigsaw puzzle or sudoku! I look forward to hearing from you soon.   Thank you very much.    ……….Cathy

March 30, 2017              …Your email has been passed on to me.  You had read an excerpt from a much larger history website I have researched and written and I welcome you to it at www.HWTProject.ca. I have attached some scans that will be useful to you as you continue your research.

Because Mr Bernard was the most highly trusted guide to George Simpson, you should read James Raffan’s Emperor of the North. Barnard is only sparingly mentioned, ( the staff or servants of wealthy people are often not mentioned),  but since we know that he went with Simpson on many of his travels – (to and back from the Columbia River for example – crossing a continent!), you would at least gain some window into the sort of life your ancestor would have experienced in his guiding work.

Also, on my website, you should read through http://hwtproject.ca/ottawa-river-shoreline/algonquins-champain-fort-coulonge-post/  because it is known that Bernard was the “Goer and Comer” at the Fort Coulonge Lake Hudson Bay Company Post.  To  gain a better sense of the life of HBC workers, you can read the actual Hudson Bay Company archives for this Post.                 ….Gayle

March 30, 2017          …….In your History section you have Logan’s 1845 Journal, and show some excerpts from it. This one caught my eye.
Saturday August 23, 1845: “While at breakfast, Mr. Bernard paid us a visit. He is Sir George Simpson’s pilot, a half savage 60 year old……”
This is followed by some very interesting side notes about Mr. Bernard.
We have become very certain that this Jean Baptiste Bernard is my husband’s great-great-great grandfather, so you can imagine how exciting it was to find these tidbits of information!
I was wondering if you could tell me from where the added side notes originated? Do you know of any other sources of information about this man?
Any help you could give would be hugely appreciated. thank you.                   ….Cathy


June 5, 2017    …. Hi again, Gayle,  Just want to let you know that, in case you might still be interested, I’ll be speaking to the Norway Bay Historical Society about Capt. Dan & the Cowley Family next week – following the Society’s meeting (9-10:30) – Wed. Jul 12, 10:30am, Bristol Town Hall, 32 Chemin d’Aylmer (Old Aylmer Road). All are welcome. Christine Jackson

March 27, 2017     …..Dear Christine;  I do know that you have written “From Steamboats to the NHL” so I am more than pleased that you have used my site. You are right about keeping current with links being a pain in the patooty!  So any time you catch one, please alert me. I am never able to be on top of it all.

If you ever decide to do any e-publishing let me know – It would be very easy to upload any material – and of course, you would be fully credited. It would make perfect sense to have the rest of the story brought together. Jason Gould and Dan Cowley were real entrepreneurial pioneers and “opened up” the Upper Ottawa Valley.    I have in my daybook your talk on Wednesday night at Champlain Museum                         …..Gayle

Mar 26, 2017   …..Hi Gayle;  I have only just dipped into the site but am particularly interested in the steamboat/transportation/Jason Gould segments, as I am researching the Cowley family & Captain D.K. Cowley partnered with Gould on the Ottawa River-Cobden-Muskrat Lake-Pembroke route, etc.  Keeping links up to date must be one of the headaches when trying to maintain a website. Good luck to you!                      ….Christine

March 26, 2017         ….Thank you Christine for writing. And thanks for your kind words. I love old maps so it was pure pleasure to research this section.  You are absolutely right that the link doesn’t connect. I guess the Count of Renfrew has been revamping its site.  This a.m., I couldn’t get the mapping application to work – it would open, but then not load.  Obviously, work is still needed at their end.  I have set up the new link from the HWTProject Map page and I will monitor in coming days to see if it gets fixed.
FYI the link is: http://www. countyofrenfrew.on.ca/ departments/development-and- property/forestry-and-gis/gis/ .   Thanks again.              ….Gayle

Mar 25, 2017   Just found this great site!
Unfortunately the link at the end of the Maps page to “Renfrew County’s Geocortex software to make your own map” does not work (25 Mar 2017).


June 26, 2017-            …. I had a couple of questions…my grandfather is Alfred Laderoute, who is mentioned on the bottom of your page.  I have his parents being Charles and Rita Laderoute, but they aren’t listed on your tree like that.  Also, I was told that the reason the last name was “Boyer dit Laderoute” is because the original Boyer parents were killed in a horse and buggy accident, so some of the children were then put under the care of the Laderoute family.  I’m not sure if this is 100% true, but that’s what I was told.


May 29, 2017            ….  Hi,     I enjoy so much looking through all the information on your website.  You must be congratulated for organizing all the data you receive into a format that is very easy to access and to read.  It contains so much valuable information about the area families and I have found hundreds of ‘cousins’I didn’t know I had!    I am a descendant of the Hugh Fraser family. I have recently received certification as a United Empire Loyalist through the CURRY-FRASER line.

There is an error in the info for Hannah (CURRY) FRASER (1828-1890), found under CURRY, Ephraim and Elsea ‘Alice’ Boulton in your family submissions. Hannah is the 3rd child of George CURRY and Mary Esther Scott.  She did marry Robert Fraser in 1846.  He is not the son of Daniel Fraser as stated but rather is the 2nd born child and 1st son of Hugh Fraser and Elizabeth Selves. The Hugh Fraser family is also in your family submissions.  Robert was born in 1822 at sea when the Hugh Fraser family was immigrating to Canada.  Robert Fraser and Hannah (Curry) Fraser had 12 children and most of them lived their lives in Westmeath and Pembroke areas. They are my great, great grandparents!               …. Sandra


May 29, 2017          ……Dear Larry;   When I was researching and writing my efforts on Alex Fraser, I realized quite quickly that I was undertaking the first/only compilation of materials pulled together about the man and the sons.  As I said  earlier, he didn’t have as good a PR dept. as his fellow Timber Barons.
Sad that his two sons have not been given their due as “Lumber Kings” as they carried on the Fraser business. The family kept their summer house at the Westmeath Farm but travelled in an aristocratic circle during the winter for 3 generations with Alex’s grandson being Aide d’Camp to Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir during his tenure.
If you Google search “Alex Fraser lumbering” the first three entries that come up were written by me.  I hope that other future researchers on this topic of early lumbering come upon my website  and the Fraser family in their research.     …….Gayle

May 29, 2017      …..   I did not completely miss Alex Fraser in my Square Timber book …  a picture of his lumber depot on Allumette Island is in the book … not sure about anecdotal material.  I agree with you on the Booth mural.  Couldn’t find much on Fraser but several brief references indicate he was a major player!!    ……Larry Cotton

May 29, 2017   Subject: Turbulent Square Timber   …..Dear Larry;  I would like to buy your latest book on the Square Timber days in Renfrew County. I don’t see it listed on your website – am I missing something?
Good in-depth research on the Square Timber Barons is welcomed.  I found it hard slogging to dig up material on our local (Westmeath Township) Timber Baron Alex Fraser – who obviously never had the PR dept. of some of his contemporaries, so had a much lower profile.  http://hwtproject.ca/lumbering/the-frasers-arklan-farm-frasers-landing/

His lower public profile to current historians might be because other Barons sought and held political office – something Fraser did not.  He was born in Pembroke Township, but in Pembroke today the town has a large wall mural of Booth – who never lived anywhere near Pembroke – and not a peep about Fraser!  Go figure!

Not to say old Alex was a slacker – his holdings and his companies had high output and employed scores of men every year. One of my favourite things is a 1875 map of timber limits which shows the extent of lumbering underway and  show the extensive Fraser Limits at that time.    I do hope Alex hasn’t been left out of your book. He needs to be included in the ranks of the Barons and not forgotten.      ……Gayle


2016 Comments


July 7, 2016     …. It is wonderful to learn about your family’s knowledge of my mother! I am thrilled that you can help me with the SHEA family story.

I am new to genealogy, having only started this year.  I found some of my mother’s jottings of names and dates of Shea family members and having no idea who they were, signed up with Ancestry.ca. I cannot believe how much information I have found.  I have recently made the tree public   SHEATROTTIER. I am new to this and I am sure there are errors – but it is a start.

Yes you are correct in your conclusion that Patricia is from Mylie’s marriage to Dora Trottier. He and Dora had four children, Vernon and wife Marie – both now deceased, daughter Dianna and son Dennis (deceased), Murray deceased- wife Edith – son Kenneth both still living. Eileen Deceased age 2. Patricia 1932-1992 husband Lino – me and my brother John.  Norma deceased- 2008 ( husband Andrew Perrault daughters Andrea and Lesha) was my mother’s half sister.

And you are correct about Mylie and Elizabeth McManus.  You will see in the ancestry source info that Mary McManus died within a few days of Myles baptism.  I have made a connection through Ancestry with Sharon McKenzie – granddaughter of Albert Marcotte. I believe that I have a pictures of Albert Marcotte and Mylie at the lumber camps.  My Aunt Edith recalls stories of events in the camps told to her by Mylie.

And there is a further connection between Mylie Shea and Elizabeth McManus. When Dora Trottier Shea died in Michigan in 193,  Mylie bought my Mom back to Westmeath to live with Elizabeth until some time after Mylie remarried and Norma was born.  My Mom called her Grannie Shea curiously, Norma called her Granny “Sandenny” (LOL).               …..Colleen

July 15, 2016                   …..Dear Colleen;   I have taken some time today and started a wee bit of research. I am compiling a file on the Sheas. That is always my first step and when I get enough info in that folder then I write the Family Registry entry on the website. I would love it if you would share any family photos as far back as you are able to get them.

But first things first.
Your mother Patsy is well known to my older brothers and sister. My brother Murray McBride appears in the 1949 photo you sent.
How does Patsy connect with Norma? – I am confused because I thought Mylie only had one daughter Norma from his second marriage to May Spotswood.

I was further confused as to the connection between your mother Patsy and the St. Denis couple of the picture… but I later realized the connection was probably through Mylie’s mother’s McManus side – see attachment. Am I correct?    Do you know the year Mary McManus Shea died?

Do you know if other family members have ever done any genealogy work? That is always a bonus.  I am currently working on other things but I will keep you in mind when I turn my attention back to doing more on the Shea’s; and of course please submit anything you would like.    …..Gayle


May 3, 2016         …….It is the Findlay family that I am researching. I have seen many references to Walter Findlay, my Great-Great-Grand father and to his brother James (both were presidents of the agricultural society for a while and Walter was a steamer captain on the Ottawa as well as being a farmer and a lumber man (he had timber rights that were just north of Fraser’s on the Black River – but he lost them to JR Booth – my mother always said that they were stolen from him, but I have no evidence of that).  Walter was married to Mary McCaskill (McCaskell was the spelling once they got to Renfrew county, but the correct spelling is McCaskill according to records in Williamstown). She was said to be a first cousin to Angus McCaskill [the Cape Breton Island Giant] (but again, no evidence).  Her mother was Rosemary Higginson and a family photo says that she is the niece of General George Alexander Wentworth Higginson (God father to Queen Victoria and Captain of the tower of London).

I know a fair amount about Walter (his family and occupation, etc., I know he was on the voter roles for Westmeath in 1837, I know his sister and another brother ran a store and rest stop for the stage coach in Fort Coulonge and that he eventually moved to Fort Coulonge (although I see his name in the voters list for Westmeath as late as 1897). Anyway, I know that there are scads of Findlays around west Quebec and would like to know if any of them are related.

I also know that there are a lot of Gourlays in Renfrew County because I can see them in the voters lists too, but have no idea how or if they are related to my family that hails from BC.

I thought it might be better to just give you a chart of my Grandmother’s ancestry. I have a bunch more detail, but that will give you an idea of where some the people I mention fit together (The famous ones don’t show because I have no evidence of the relationship).  Cora Findley Hope Genealogy.

Thanks again for a really wonderful site. It is clear from your writing that you are very keen on the history of that area and it is very kind of you to share what you know.  Thanks again!!!         ….Kenneth.

May 2, 2016…..    What a wonderful resource! The depth of the material and the great way that it is laid out makes for a great read. There is very little on it about the family I am looking for who were in Westmeath between the 1830s and the 1870s (when they moved to Fort Coulonge), but I did find one or two mentions on your timber maps. Thanks for all the hard work!!!  …….Kenneth


April 18, 2016….    Not sure if this is the format to make a correction regarding the DRAPEAU, Pierre “Peter” Levi and Philomene Marion Drapeau story.  My father’s (Jude Roderique Drapeau) information is missing relative to the number of children Moise and Maria Drapeau had.  The following three documents outline Jude’s family and I have also enclosed two photos, one of their wedding in La Sarre, Quebec and a family portrait taken in 1965.  Please feel free to edit same as I have included the genealogy of all concerned. Should there be any additional questions do not hesitate in contacting me, Thank you, …..Christine


April 21, 2016……Thank you so much for this information.  I am curious, do you know if Esther French was aboriginal? Someone told me (can’t remember who now but it is in my emails) that she was registered in a census as living on the Crowe Reserve in Quebec…. Any idea? I am forwarding a pic of Esther in separate email. thanks…… Leslie.

P.S. IT IS ALWAYS SO TERRIFIC TO MEET FAMILY!! I love the mysteries of genealogy!

April 21, 2016 REPLY:  Thank you Leslie for submitting this information to me…..  The Desjardin Family  is a large extended Western Quebec family. You are descended from the oldest son Alexander (1869-  ). With Alexander having 10 siblings, you will have no lack of great-great-cousins-1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. I have added a bit more about this family at http://hwtproject.ca/directory/desjardins-martin-and-esther-french-desjardins.  There was a great deal of back-and-forth across the Ottawa River and it is not unusual for there to be extended family on both sides.
I will cc this to two local women who are Desjardins descendants so they can follow up with you if they choose. They are great-granddaughters of the youngest son  Douglas Desjardin (1888-1958), in the family of Martin Desjardin (born 1834) and Esther French (born 1848).  ….Gayle

April 18, 2016.… My grandmother was Esther Desjardins of Westmeath, Beachburg areas,
wife of Earl Walter Lang of Shawville/Ladysmith. Her parents were Margaret Cole and I think Alexander Desjardins. I know that we are fairly closely related. …..Leslie


March 3, 2016 …. I have reviewed the data and it looks good.  I recall how Dad had said that he had come from a small family, but, of course he didn’t know too much about his ancestors since they were far away in Canada.  He only knew that his own father was one of two children, and so was he.  Wish I could share all this with him.  If you have time, you could add Andrew Condie`s  death data as follows:  died in Horicon, Wisconsin on April 12, 1915.  I have tried many times to find his wife Hannah Beach Condie`s place and date of death, with no luck.  I have estimated that she died between 1887 and 1895, when Andrew was listed as a widower on the 1895 Wisconsin census.  The state of Wisconsin didn`t begin civil registration until 1907.  Andrew lived with his daughter, Alice and her family.  Alice married John  William Pluck, who was the first mayor of Horicon.  Thank you for putting this information on the site. …..Alice

February 22, 2016 …..    I am a descendant of James Condie/Isabella Drysdale and their son Andrew Condie and Hannah Beach who were married Dec 12 Dec 1856 (Christian Guardian of Toronto, page 3510).  Their children were as follows:
1.  Christopher Clarence born Jan. 21, 1858 in Westmeath (Beachburg)
2.  Caroline born 1860 Westmeath, died young
2.  Alice born May 24, 1862 Westmeath, died Apr. 4, 1930 in Wawatosa, Wisconsin
This family emigrated to Winneconne, Wisconsin, USA ca. 1868.
Christopher was my grandfather who married Flora Isabella Murchie 15 May 1890 in Rhinelander, Wis.  They had 2 sons:
1.  Maurice Maynard born July 17, 1891 in Rapid River, Delta Co., Michigan (my father).
2.  Elton Harold (Ted) born 8 June 1890 in Rapid River, MI.
Christopher and Isabella were divorced ca. 1900, he did not remarry.  Isabella remarried ca. 1907/8 Capt. Walter Stanley Evans.
NOTE:  James Condie, the original settler in Beachburg died 9 October 1878 in Beachburg,Ontario.(Archives of Ontario, Reg. No. 12568/78),        I spent quite a bit of time in Beachburg in the early days of my research.  It took a while to find Beachburg as my Dad had died when I was only 16 and not yet into genealogy, and I had no one to ask, but Mom gave me quite a few good leads and finally, I was successful in finding the family on the census……..Alice


February 8, 2016 ……. Good Morning, As per our conversation I have been trying to contact Gayle McBride Stewart regarding a photograph of an Algonquin family which appears on the HWT project website. We are currently finishing off an exhibit here at the museum ( as of this afternoon) and the image we did have has gone missing and we would like to use this image, if possible, in the exhibit- giving all due credit etc. to the HWT project and/or whoever else is required.

I appreciate you forwarding this email along. Please advise at your earliest convenience.  ….Janet Carlile MA, Arnprior and District Museum, 35 Madawaska Street, Arnprior ON   K7S 1R6


January 28, 2016…. Hello Gayle,  You are correct, Graham Menzies Lyttle was the son of Peter Menzies Lyttle. Peter was my great-uncle. My father Desmond and his cousin Graham Menzies Lyttle were very close.  I was born six months after Graham M. died in 1949. My parents named me in Graham M’s memory. I have reviewed the Lyttle additions to the web site. Thank you, everything looks great.

I am currently doing some work on the Labow-Lebeau side of the family. My great grandmother was Francis Lebeau married to Augustus Brown. I have made an initial contact with Marilyn Labow, Jim Labow’s wife and hope to send them a file soon.  I have a photo of Martin Labow and his wife Mary Smyth – Smith to share and get some feedback from Jim.  I hope to provide you with additional information concerning Martin Labow and family later on.

In addition, I am also working on the Francis “Frank” Brown family with Don Fynn. Clara May Lyttle married to John Wellington Brown were his grandparents. Thanks again,    ………Graham


January 26, 2016….(The November 12th entry seen below sets the stage).  Thank you so very much! We certainly enjoyed going through the documents and memorabilia in the first box you sent. BeBe remembered many of the locations and people in the more recent photos. Unfortunately she didn’t know a lot of the people in the older photos (such as that amazing photo album with the old photos). There were several photos of WHA Fraser, who my mum refers to as Uncle Willie! We loved seeing the photos of mum and her sister Joan, the Westmeath location, and, of course, all the stories that then come from seeing the old photos. The old plates were very interesting and I loved all the photos of my grandfather in his canoe! We were amazed at how well preserved the old letters were.  …..Liza


January 22, 2016…..I found your Lumbering in  Westmeath Township to be very interesting. It completes the story of logging in the Valley.  Congratulations.  I guess that the only big trees left in the area now are those big logs in the log barns of Westmeath Township. My grandfather John was a broadaxeman working under Augustus “Gus” Brown when the covered bridge was being built at Fort Coulonge in 1898. Best, DB


January 22, 2016…. What a great addition to the website. The Lumbering section was so interesting/factual both regional and locally. It made me especially nostalgia regarding lumber-mills (cheese factories second). My first summer job when I was 14 was at John Gervais’s sawmill. I also did stories for the Cobden Sun on Mr. Dunfield’s log house experience and John Bromley’s shingle maker. Good job. Keep on trucking.     …..Bob


January 8, 2016…. (After the LUMBERING section was online) Wow, I just looked thru it briefly.  You have done an amazing job.  John would be so proud that all of this is out there.  I look forward to spending an afternoon reading it.  Great job.                              ….. L


2015 Comments


December 23, 2015….I wanted to thank you for your efforts on my family’s behalf. I await with anticipation the historical materials you so kindly have preserved and forwarded to me.
A little about me. My middle name is Fraser. While I was raised in Windsor Ontario, I earned my college and law degrees in the US.  I am now retired and living in a 1929 Tudor on the banks of the Detroit River some 20 miles south of the City of Detroit.
As a teenager, my grandfather, Col JD Fraser    sponsored me for a summer working for the Ottawa River Forest Protection Association stationed north of Otter Lake, Quebec. I have many fond memories of the Pembroke region. I have quite a few photographs of the  Frasers including numerous 16mm films taken by my Grandfather in the 1920’s and 30’s including scenes from Westmeath.                  …..Ronald

 November 12, 2015.…I am not related to Frasers but I have some things you might be interested in. For free.  I’m in Ottawa. There are photograph albums and lots of photos and documents and other stuff that are Fraser related.  I think they belong with someone who cares about it rather than giving it to Archives Canada.

My mother passed away and for reasons unknown to me she had a collection of Fraser items. I know the Frasers were rich lumber barons from Westmeath and Renfrew areas.
I can send you pictures of what I have. It is 2 boxes the size that paper comes in. I think there is another box but I can’t find it. Thank you.                 …..Sandra

The Outcome:  The two boxes contained a treasure trove for me because there was correspondence and documents of all kinds and photos loose and more photos in albums. There were lovely leather portfolios with gold initials and boxes and receipts from stores and even Bibles. On and on it went…. some dating back to the 1890s and up to the 1940s. I found many things that I used on the website regarding the  timber and lumber business-side of things. I was able to bring to light the impact that Timber Baron Alex Fraser and his two sons JB Fraser and WHA Fraser had to this region.

I was able to find the last of this Fraser line – BeBe Fraser Deziel, aged 94 – living outside of Detroit, Michigan, and sent the family memorabilia to her and her family in Christmas Week 2015.  …Gayle


October 14, 2015….  You might want to add this link to a map from 1863:  http://maps.bpl.org/id/19254. I especially enjoyed that it showed Mrs. Lamarsh as a land owner (after her husband died) next to the Mallette hotel. I have continued searching to find out more about this map maker and I found a directory for 1862:  http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=aeu.ark:/13960/t0gt6r056;view=1up;seq=24. It has information about postmasters in the villages, for example.               ….Pauline

REPLY:  Dear Pauline;  I am loving this 1863 map – especially that landowner names are there. It is one of the only maps that clearly shows what I have named the “Lost Road” on the website; that ran along the shoreline of Coulonge Lake. I have had lots of ideas about how best to utilize the map; beside the obvious inclusion in the “Maps” section of the site. Maybe using some smaller sections showing specific things such as the number of Bromley’s then on what we now call Bromley Line. With Perth as the main town of Bathurst District, it is set out with prominence on this map as are little villages that are now just remnants at cross-roads all these years later. It is also one of the only maps showing Beachburg spelled with the ending “H” from that time, that I have seen. It is also interesting how 6th Line-Lookout Road is well populated while the other concession roads not so much.
How I wonder did this end up in the Boston Public Library??
Thank you again for sending this link. I am an old-map loving person anyway and you have sent in a real dilly! Made my day!             ….Gayle


October 8, 2015….    I am from Fredericton, NB.  Twelve years ago I started on an amazing journey to find my birth family…that journey led me to the Ottawa Valley where I found my roots in the incredible McBride family.  I have been privileged to meet my immediate family as well as extended family.  I am a great grandson of Thomas McBride.   Despite being adopted into a fine family there was always a longing to know “who am I really” ?   It has been a thrill to learn about the McBride Family history and to recognize some of the physical likenesses and traits in myself , my children and grandchildren.

Last winter while doing some internet research we stumbled on the HWT site and were amazed to see the extent of the McBride family and this was where we learned of your work in this project.           ….David

October 6, 2015…  Hi Gayle,  Congratulations and thanks for so meticulously building a fantastic, informative website. My dad’s mother (Ethel Hache, nee McMullen) and grandparents (Cora Poupore and James McMullen) were from Westmeath. I’ve been researching my family tree for my daughter for about a year and a half now, and your site has been one of my favourite resources on that side of the family. Kudos on a job well done, and I will look forward to further updates from you and your contributors as I continue to visit.

I would be happy to exchange info with any extended family who might see this post. If you’re related through the McMullens, Poupores, McQuittys, Humphries, Gilmores, or Shieldses, I’d love to hear from you. My E-mail address is g_man973@yahoo.ca (please include). Thanks and regards to all.     …..Grant


October 2, 2015….   First, thank you for your website.  It has been very helpful.  Many of my mother’s family ancestors come from Northern Ontario and particularly from the Westmeath Township.  I am trying to find anything related to the John Pretty/Maria Farrell family line.  I saw the work done by Miriam Mathieson Barry on your family registry site and would most like to contact her and to see if there is anyone with information about John and Maria’s birth places in Ireland.  I can imagine that you cannot give me her contact information but if you give mine to her with my permission I would be very grateful.  I am also a descendant of these two Irish pioneers.              ….Gillan, Utah, USA.


September 18, 2015…    Part of the Foltz family still resides in Spokane, Washington. Like myself 🙂 I’ve attached another of William Lebow but it was taken by my cousins cell phone and it does have a shadow. Great picture though. I am trying to get the pictures scanned from her. Will submit to you after I get them. I’ve created a Lebow Group page on facebook. Here is the link if you might include it on your website page for this family?  https://www.facebook.com/groups/LebowFamily/


May 20, 2015…  What an amazing site; so well put together and a mammoth amount of hard work. Many people will enjoy this source of endless information memories of family past. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My father, Merrill was from the Patrick O’Briens and his mom, Charlotte Bromley ascended from James Bromley so I feel like Westmeath is an important connecting point to me. So many ancestors lie beneath it’s soil.       ….Bob


May 10, 2015… Thank you for presenting this website. It is very useful to hobbyist genealogy researchers like myself. A real treasure trove.    ….Carl


April 13, 2015…   Hi Gayle: Nice to hear from you and thanks for your query. We noticed on your website that you have direct links to the Westmeath Cemeteries at The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery. http://hwtproject.ca/churches-burial-grounds/cemetaries/. You do not need permission to post these direct links.  A small mention of the Canadian Gravemarker Gallery would kind of you.

Regards…..Murray Pletsch  at Email: pletsch@cogeco.ca (or) cangmg@gmail.com. Cdn Gravemarker Gallery – http://rootsweb.com/~cangmg


April 9, 2015….Hi, I am planning a submission. I’m related to a current entry – William Shields and Agnes Jeffrey. How should I submit my research to you of MJ Shields details : – doc, rtf, html, pdf, narrative or descendant report or other. …..Brian.

REPLY: Send your material using whatever format you are most familiar with – I have become very used to receiving all manner of items. You can digitize or not as you wish. If you don’t have a scanner then use a digital camera to make an image. Send jpgs, adobe pdf or Word Doc. are always good. I also receive from time to time snail mail envelopes of photocopied material – but the quality is not as good on a photocopy I find.  Hope to hear from you soon, Gayle McBride Stewart.


March 11, 2015….  Thank you Gayle, what you did with my piece of work was just great, just beautiful. I have been busy putting together all the pieces of paper and scribble that I have in my binder. If you saw it you would probably laugh. I did do a manuscript a few years ago or I should say when my grandchildren were very young, that was their bed time stories. After they grew up they wanted more than Grannies stories. Years later I thought of burning it, the girls nearly had a fit and were so worried that I might, so here I am at this old age scribbling and trying my best to get my pieces of paper together again. Thank you so much again for the beautiful work you are involved in. I hope that I will meet you in the spring when we come to Pembroke. …..Mabel


January 20, 2015…. I found your webpage, with information on the Blackwell family of Westmeath. I am connected to Barbara Blackwell, daughter of William G. Wallace Blackwell an Rita Newman, as she was my stepmother.

I would be interested in connecting with any living relatives in an effort to pass along family history information.   Please forward my contact information to whomever might be interested. Thanks, …… Jason Wallace at email: michstory@yahoo,com.


January 12, 2015…. I have noticed when reading that Vincent Drapeau is left out. He was in school with me, and is living. Thanks – your work is so great to read.  ….Doreen.


January 11, 2015…. Good Sunday Morning, Gayle, Thank you for your message. I was thrilled to view your wonderful website; most impressive! I am more than happy for you to include any & all photos and postings that I put on Ancestry.com. To me, that’s what this great website is all about…sharing family photos and information for other researchers to enjoy.

I did not have the obit for Ida (Mrs. J. R. Wilson) and I hope that you will permit me to “save” your posting of the Obit to my computer to then upload/download to her profile page on Ancestry.com. I will, of course, credit you with providing it on your website…which I will also include so that other researchers can visit your website ….. Karen.


2014 Comments


December 5, 2014….  There are two lines of Dupuis, our line is Acadian, the other is French Canadian.  I have so much history on them as well as the Labines (Guedry . There is a small Acadian cemetery not far from my home, that was the starting point for Guedries. They lived in a Metis village in a place now called Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

My gggg… grand father Martin Dupuis landed in 1632 , and from there their journey started. He is buried in a national park, now called Annapolis Royal. His grandson named after him is buried in another national park , called Grand Pre.  Armand , the second Martin’s son, was locked in the church when they read the Acadian deportation order, his possessions along with his family was detailed by the British. I have a copy of it. I have tracked down in my area where their homes were, which no longer exists as their homes, barns and even churches were burned to the ground, while they watched.  Their oxen where left tethered to the carts that carries the small amount of items they could bring with them. The Oxen were left to starve in their yokes and could be heard for miles bellowing as they could not eat or drink. Almost half the Acadians died during the deportation, some ten thousand. It was very brutal, and strongly motived by money as all they possessed was stolen from them.   …..Barry.


December 1, 2014….I have really enjoyed viewing the HWT project and some of the photographs of my relatives including my grandmother Lillian Lumax.  I will try to locate more information and send it to you. Once again thank you for this great information and project.  ….Wendy.


November 30, 2014….  Very nice site. ……Aurele.


November 29, 2014…. The hwtproject website is great.  …..Miriam.


November 26, 2014….Thank you for recognizing my contribution to the web site but I guess I feel a little uncomfortable because I have a lot more to contribute, if you deem the content appropriate. All that to say that you don’t need to mention my name because many individuals have provided me with this information over the past 40 years.   ….Graham.


November 24, 2014…..  I can’t begin to tell you how much we are enjoying the work you have done, not only the Township in general but also SS # 9 and Greenwood.   I am attaching a message from one of the ladies I mentioned had worked on The Greenwood Scrap book.   I was not able to meet with them when they were in the area, we were busy getting ready to head south where we spend the winter. It is great with our state of the art communications that It does’t matter where we are we can keep it touch.

The station at Meath was a very busy place at one time. I remember when the stock yards were still there, also while I never load a box car with pulp I did help cut the pulp that was loaded there.   “THE LOCAL” that was a train that ran daily from Chalk River to Ottawa, down in the morning back at night. My aunt and many others from the area attended high school in Renfrew, it was easier to get there by train than into Pembroke. Dr. Reid”s father who operated a store in Westmeath used to come by horse and sleigh or car in summer and leave it at James Carnegie’s catching the Local at the five mile crossing go to Ottawa in the morning and back in the evening. To bad they have removed the rails!  …..Donald.


November 22, 2014…. You might find it interesting that I have been estranged from my cousins who are daughters of my uncle Graham for approximately 50 years.  Since your project began, we have been in touch several times, and I am invited to a dinner party in Mississauga at her daughter’s home in early December to catch up with all of the family history!  See what you’ve started!!!  I appreciate all of the effort that you have put into this most interesting project.  If everyone else gets as much enjoyment as our family has from it, you have indeed been very successful!!

It is just so much fun reading about the pioneers who settled in “the valley” all those years ago, and so interesting to see how far and wide the families have spread since then.  …. Liz.


November 22, 2014…..If I haven’t said it enough — keep up the great work. I print something from HWT every week or so and my family reads it and then my mother peddles it around to friends without computers. Lots of people are very interested in our history.  ….Patti.


September 23, 2014…..I am thrilled to find this website and finally discovered further information about my great grandfather, Lars Carlson and his wife Annie Lacey Carlson. Indeed a very tragic but informative story. My father was Edgar Everest Hennessy, son of Obediah Martin Hennessy and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Carlson. I have many stories to contribute about them, and also have a very old set of books entitled THE HISTORY OF THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO, which has been passed down through the family to me, and tells quite an interesting tale of the Hennessys from the Ottawa Valley, and how they later moved to Iroquois Falls to begin the Abitibi Power and Paper Co. You will be hearing from me soon with a great deal of information.    ….Liz


August 26, 2014…. Hi, I have just been introduced to the web site. I am truly impressed with the hard work that has gone into gathering and uploading the information. I have shared with my son and next will be my daughter and son in law. Descended from royalty! How nice to know. I have several family members who have researched our family history, but I think yours is as good as anything they have produced. Perhaps they shared their information with you. thank you so very much!

I have not found the Catholic school in LaPasse or Westmeath listed. Is there a reason for this?        ……Sue

REPLY: Thank you Sue for writing.  Schools: there are 4 or 5 old township schools, (that I know of), that I haven’t written up yet. I have to go back and do more research on them. The LaPasse Catholic School: this school is the older of the two, (opened in 1916) & I don’t have enough research collected yet to do that entry justice. It was the first separate school in the township. I will probably just upload what I  have at some point, even if on the skimpy side. Do you have any info that can be used? Pictures from that time?

The separate school in Westmeath is newer; it was  set up in the mid 20th Century. Children of all faiths went to the Westmeath SS #2 until its opening. I stop my timeline for material at around the end of the WWII. I want this website to be “historical” and not move into modern times. So I won’t be making an entry for it. I will probably give it a mention only. I tend to be pretty solid on my timeline – otherwise I will be going and going……

UPDATE: as of October 1, 2014:  All of the schools in Westmeath Township are now in the school section. Some entries are quite lengthy and some very short – that’s where you can help by sending in material if you have it. GMS.


August 21, 2014….  Hi Gayle – I’ve come across your amazing hwtproject.ca website.  In a word, “wow!”     I don’t have anything in the way of original material, nor stories, to contribute, but I wonder if you have more information about (one of) the Fraser family, specifically that of Nelson FRASER and Margaret KELLY?  I also understand there were other FRASERs who ended up in Aurora, Illinois.

I really do mean it about the website – it is incredible.      …..Richard


August 21, 2014……I greatly enjoy the historic Westmeath Township website.  I have found a lot of useful information on it.  I have been researching my part of the Lacroix family tree for a few years.  I noted some errors a few months ago and thought I would work on providing you some corrections.  When I looked again today, I saw that most of these have been corrected.  Nevertheless, I have attached an annotated Word file that has some suggested corrections or additions you may be interested in. Keep up the great work!       …Pauline.

REPLY:  Thank you for your submission. Some families have had a great deal of genealogy research prepared and some have had very little. If I know of current Westmeath descendants I ask them to review the family entry posting. In other cases, the family name has died out in the Westmeath-Beachburg areas and we can only hope that someone from farther afield gets in touch.  I am not a genealogist – just a plain story-teller; so it is much appreciated when material is submitted. We need to get more of our collective history digitized because the internet is the first and main source of information in this digital world. I will upload a Family Tree as a pdf, if you would like to  make it available.


August 18,2014……  I have been working on the family tree off and on for a while. I do have wedding photos of my great aunts Christina Valliant/Wright and Margaret Jane Valliant/Metcalfe, etc. And a photo of my Dad, Borden Valliant in his  Canadian Army uniform (WW 2) and other census material that is interesting.

Recently discovered that the first person buried in the Beachburg Cemetery was my Dad’s maternal great grandmother, Isabella Condie…..the land was donated by her husband, James Condie who immigrated from Scotland.

The origin of the name Valliant still defeats me.  French? Huguenot? English?  There is a Valliant Bank in Switzerland. Can’t trace Joseph Valliant further back.   Much easier to trace the Condie family back five generations.   Your summary certainly helps pull some of it together.      …..Diane.

REPLY:  I will look forward to those photos – it helps to personalize the family entry when we can see the faces. Thanks.


August 12, 2014…… No worries all good your site is great, thanks for adding my family.  Yes right & proper was pretty free back then when my granny was of young age as they came that spring on wooden sleigh pulled by a horse & a bull with 45 gallon barrel filled with supplies for the trip.  Adelard & Rose Amyotte followed beside  the rivers with open trails for their roads of today by Rutherglen, ON.  to a piece of land where they build a house & barn on the acrage that is still there today. That whole road was full of their relatives;  a few of them still there, as my wife and I were at the church sea pie supper to meet & see many of them. First Nation/ Metis lineage on both sides of our families of 12 generations.  ….. Michael


August 11, 2014…..  Hi Gayle, I think this is a marvellous site, thank you for documenting all of this history. Thanks for adding the Thrasher/Mangon/Switzer material. The HWT site is remarkable, and I’m truly honored to have some material published on it. I am the daughter of Doris Thrasher, and the granddaughter of Middleton John Thrasher.  Philemon Thrasher 3rd is  my great-grandfather, and Sarah Mangon Thrasher (his mother) would be my great-great-grandmother.  My mother Doris was 1st cousins with Reverend Brien Thrasher, who was the son of Edward Thrasher.

Brien Thrasher must have sent you his father’s material (“Pioneers along the road from Perreton to Greenwood”) as he spoke frequently of the material his father passed to him, and Brien himself has written much, but unfortunately passed away in 2012, so I’m not sure where all his family history material has ended up.

I am also related to the Poffs, as my mother’s mother was a Poff. There were Poff farms in Westmeath, so no doubt I can send you some things on them if you’d like.   Keep up the great work, and thanks for all the interesting info on the site…I now live in the Maritimes, but hope to make a trip to the Valley next year, so will definitely include a (more informed) tour of Westmeath!   …..Charlotte

REPLY: I found the Edward Thrasher material “Pioneers along the road…”, at the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogy Group library in Pembroke. As far as I know that was the only piece on the Thrashers there. The UOVGG members are unsung heroes for the wonderful work they do.

On your trip next year to old Westmeath Township, (now part of the Township of Whitewater Region,) be sure to stop and climb up to the pinnacle lookout gazebo at Lookout Park on Lookout Road, County Road #31, which runs between the villages of Beachburg and Westmeath. It is a spectacular panoramic view of the area and little changed from the sketch drawn in 1845 by William Logan. A MUST-DO for any visitor.


July 25, 2014…..I would first of all like to thank you for putting the McDonald Burying Ground on your site. I had spent many days and months working on that cemetery and I am so Beyond Words that you had done what you had done with the information. It is a tribute to McDonald brother heroes which really nobody hardly knew any thing about. I would like you to know as we speak there is a new tombstone erected for Walter McDonald. Thanks to Campbell Monuments and my Dad.  Thanks So Much….   Bernie.

REPLY: When an individual takes on the work that you have; it is to be celebrated and applauded. I considered it an  honour to add these War of 1812 Veterans into the Family Registry. Thank you Bernie for writing.

Members of colonial militia keep popping up in the research. Our Westmeath Township Frontier lies many miles through rough terrain from the St. Lawrence River Valley and Great Lakes and  the battles and skirmishes of the War of 1812, so why were there militiamen here in our area?  The answer rests in the actions of the colonial government of the day in issuing land grants to these soldiers. Back in that day, things were very unsecured with small settlements sprinkled through the wilderness.  Offering free land grants in recognition of his Service to the Crown to  an ex-colonial militiaman secured Upper Canada as an British Crown Colony. The Crown Land Patents give descriptions of militiamen and their documents  form  part of the Westmeath Papers, digitized for the first time on this website.  Some  veterans  took many years to receive the land and sometimes  the soldier was dead; leaving  his wife or son in protracted correspondence with the Crown Land Agent.


 June 7, 2014…..La seour a ma grand mere aussi marier a un Drapeau, Jeanne Foisy Amyot as 11 soeur et frere eleve a Bonfield avec beaucoup autre de Fort Coulonge. Premiere photo est Pierre Drapeau et Philomen a leur 50 iem anniversaire, je pense, 2 iem est Alfred Drapeau WWI vet et Philomene Drapeau et enfants. Pierre Drapeau et Philomene et Rose au jour du Canada avec un enfants?  Ces qui J’e ete eleve a Bonfield ON ma grand mere Jeanne Foisy allais a Fort Coulonge durand l’ete ou on traversais et aidait pour 5 sous a tirez le cheval de un bord a l’autre.

Pierre et Philomene avec leur enfant et ces enfant de son premier mariage sil vous plait de tou leur nom serais apprecier. La deuxieme photo est deux avec ma grand grand mere Rose/aly a droit. En haut debout est sa seour Philomene le jeunes est ta sa soeur je pense. Le plus jeune a peut pres 4 ans donc cette photo est pris Alfred Laderoute jr (1883-1956). Adelard Dollard Rose est marie at a La Passe en 1908 Juin 16 jais une photo de eux a leur 50 iem .

Their daughter Jeanne lived to be 94 as she passed away in 2006,  mother of 12 kids as well. I was at her 50th anniversary as well.    …….Michael.

REPLY:   It is always a treat when photographs arrive here, sent in because someone connects with the family story. My first language is not French but I muddle through – it is wonderful that people use whichever language is easiest.  The main hope  is  that the Drapeau,  Amyotte or  Foisy family members  are able to expand their story with further contributions; while benefitting from Michael’s  wonderful old submitted photos.  Family pictures make the story come alive.  Thank you so much Michael – your photos are all on the DRAPEAU entry. GMS.


 June 29, 2014…..I came across your website as to families of Westmeath Township. I find it very interesting as my grandparents are listed  James LaBine & Winifred Mary May Hurley. I am one of the family genealogist and published a book on my family. I have been able to trace the LaBine family back to the 1670’s. The original family name was Guédry is an Acadien family. If you are interested I can give you the family connect back the 1670’s. I do have many families of the what was called the Pontiac County. LaPasse, Ontario and have many of their family roots. If I can help in any way, please drop me a note…. Daryl Labine, labine@iname.com.


June 30, 2014…..I have a question I am descended from the Dixon (Dickson) and Davidson families. My questions is that you have two different dates for both Sarah J Davidson and also James Dickson Jr. (or John James Dickson)???? The two family pages which you can click on a link to go to the other families show different names and dates. Could you please clarify? I am also descended from the McCarthy family as well. Thank you….Courtney.

REPLY: Those corrections have been made to the Dixon and Davidson entries. Thank you Courtney for catching those errors.


June 20, 2014…. Perhaps I had too brutally pointed out the errors in your story, which I found – except for the errors – absolutely splendid. I am pleased that you incorporated so much biographical material, because a barebones genealogical list is no more interesting than the Biblical begats…..David

REPLY: I love David’s “Biblical begats” reference. Long lists of names can be very mind numbing at times and very hard to avoid when families numbered a dozen kids back-in-the-day. I’m glad you enjoy the other bits of research information I try to find.


June 27, 2014….I  just re-read the  McBride family tree.  You have put all this information together with great care and sensitivity.  I also re-read the Brown history and was equally impressed.  You have done such great work,  and the time you have spent doing this is unimaginable.  We are all so indebted to you.  Again,  many thanks….Donald.


May 16, 2014….I am writing from Ottawa, still a Valley Girl! I came across your site last night and find it very interesting and helpful.   It has many good references that I’m sure I will use, such as the Church Record Transcriptions.

I found the comments area after I sent the e-mail but rest assured I shall go back and make my comments on the overall site.  It is informative, comprehensive and interesting  with a touch of “real people” about it.   I noted several items and references to outside articles to flesh out what is on the site.   Undoubtedly a lot of work on your part. I am descended from William And Mary (Thompson) Anderson and found their section helpful. Thank you for such a wonderful place to come and visit….Linda.

REPLY: Thank you Linda for your note and the reference to the Church Records. Presbyterian, Methodist and Roman Catholic marriage records are found with that church’s  write-up, with one exception; Anglican Records were not made available. As far as I know these Westmeath church records have never before been available online. I love that you found a touch of “real people” as you say. That was my aim in making this township’s history accessible.


May 16, 2014…..It pleases me that you appreciated my message, but after sending it off I realized that I probably did not effectively communicate how splendid your site is.

I had no thought that you would be the one to write that posted material, supposing that it had been submitted by a descendant. It is a magnificent task that you have undertaken. When I first went up to Westmeath, it was to find the grave monument of the immigrant Noah Jackson and Alfreda Cobb. From the cemetery I crossed the road and knocked at random at a house, intending to ask who in the community might know more about the Jacksons. It proved to be the house of Jessie Hennessy! They drove me up to the old Jackson property, filled me with anecdotes (including the one of Noah going down the Ottawa to bring back a teacher) and launched me on further Jackson exploration….. David


April 27, 2014…..Your website is awesome and I can’t imagine the work you have put into this. Thank you for letting me review my submission…..Ruby.


April 27, 2014……   I, like GMS, am a great grandchild of John and Margaret Anderson. I am the grandson of Nellie Anderson and Gavin McAlister who were married on 18 February 1903. I recognized my great grandparents and grandma in your article on the Andersons, from pics held by my family.

She had 9 children, of which only one, Olive Fern (McAlister) Aldred survives in Abbotsford B.C. I am the son of Hazel Margaret (McAlister) Ablett and John Richard, both now passed. Gavin’s siblings out of Cobden were among the founders of the Pentecostal church in Canada and Nellie when she passed away was treated as if she was a first lady of the church. On the other hand, I am not certain that Gavin was ever other than a Presbyterian, as our family oral history indicates that he could recognize scoundrels, even in his own family, especially when they were sincere believers in a new (and profitable) sect. Both Nellie and Gavin are buried in the family plot at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Vancouver/Burnaby B.C. as are some other members of the family…….Richard.


April 26, 2014  …..  I would like permission to include some of the information I found on your website for my personal use, and include it in my program details. Synthia Gilmore-Poupore is a first cousin twice removed so the Poupores are in his line.  It was interesting to read about them on your site.  The photos were wonderful. I wish more people would do something like that.

REPLY: Yes – of course you may use site material as you wish, – for you own use – but not for profit. I want everything I’ve done to not require any fees to access. Thank you for taking the time to ask…. GMS.


April 26, 2014…..  Was just browsing thru the site and noted that the coverage of the Twp. Council Mminutes stops in 1950.  Was there a reason for the cut-off date?   Plans to extend? I have a photo copy of the minutes that established the Lookout if that is of any interest. I’m sure there were many other actions of interest over the years, (Dredging of Elm Creek, ReBuilding of Lookout Road , Purchase of first snow plow) to mention only a few…. John.

REPLY: Thanks for the note John – let me clarify why the site coverage ends at roughly the 1950s.  Since the focus of the site was to be “Historic” Westmeath Township, I needed to find an end-date and not keep going into “modern times” by coming into the second half of the twentieth century.

I have arbitrarily chosen 1950 for a couple of reasons: a) I wanted to include both World Wars and show the sacrifice made by our township families, and b) I wanted to not get too involved with persons who would still be alive. All rules are broken of course, and you will find descendants of the “Immigrant Ancestors” in the Family Registry, who are very much alive.

As to specifically the Westmeath Township Council Minute Books excerpts ending at 1950: Beachburg Village set up its own municipal governance in the 1950s and I didn’t want to get into that. I preferred being able to keep to a time when it was all under one umbrella. Mid-century seemed like a good end-date. I have no plans to extend. GMS.


April 8, 2014….  Reminds me of my roots and slower times fishing and canoeing down the river. Well done on the historical facts. You should include the unique geology of Westmeath Township.


March 22, 2014….  We greatly appreciate receiving the information that you forwarded to us. We have not been able to obtain a photocopy of the newspaper obituaries for either Kenny or John Ross, and therefore have no proof of where they were buried, etc.  Family lore suggests that Kenny and John (if he is the correct John), were buried at the Zion Line Cemetery but no records have been found to verify what may be only a theory. We are in the midst of contacting the person who has access to the burial records for Cobden Cemetery to ascertain if our theory that Kenny may be buried in the same plot with or one near his brother, Hugh, is correct. Do you have any other suggestions or direction?

REPLY: If you look at the webpage on Burial Sites: http://hwtproject.ca/churches-burial-grounds/cemetaries/ you will see the link for all the other cemeteries in Renfrew County; or further afield. This will allow you to search Cobden or Forster’s Falls etc. for ROSS Township ancestor graves. These gravemarker galleries of photos are invaluable and the result of hard work by Murray Pletsch and his dedicated volunteers. You will also see the link to The Cemetery Project which has been around since 2004 and has cemetery listings for all Canadian provinces and territories online. You can search there by name of person or name of cemetery. Good luck in your search. GMS.


2013 Comments


November 6, 2013….  I think that the HWT Project is a wonderful idea! You can include my e-mail address. <denzil@bell.net>


October 30, 2013…..  Love this site.  I am in BC and am researching my family — The Beaches.  David Beach is my 4th Great Grandfather.  I am hope that someday I can find someone who has pictures and stories of the family.  My GG Grandmother was Caroline Margery Beach, born in Beachburg in 1855. Keep up the good work.  I am going to send the link to your site to a woman in Australia who is also related to the Beaches through Benjamin Beach, brother of David Beach.  Please include my email in case there are any other Beach Family members here or reading. susan.rutledge@gmail.com.

REPLY:  The FAMILY REGISTRY  pages will be online in  November and the BEACH family will be included. Two sections will help you in your search for facts: (1) Demographics: Census listings, Voter Lists and Gazetters; and (2) Churches: Marriage and Baptism records and the links to pictured Cemetery Gravestones. Thanks for the note Susan.


October 14,2013….  Hopefully you will find my submission appropriately prepared for purposes of the Project. If there is anything wrong or unacceptable please let me know and if possible changes can be made.

About 20+ years ago I started working on the family history, starting with almost no information about my roots. My father and mother were divorced when I was young, my contacts with him were very infrequent and he died when I was 17 years old. I had few relatives and virtually no contact with them. I had never visited the Westmeath area and didn’t know where it was until I started my research. I obviously have learned a lot and have shared it with my family members. During the years I have made 2 or three trips to the Westmeath area and connected with several people including a few distant cousins.

One trip I visited the Westmeath government offices.  I was allowed to view the assessment and collector rolls records. This was an honor I appreciated, but I did have some concerns. These are very old records and some are frayed and torn. These are a jewel and I had a concern for heir preservation. The records have to be a very valuable tool for the HWT Project. I’m sure you are aware of these records.  Maybe some steps have been taken to preserve these gems, but if not, maybe your group could look into the matter. It would be nice if these records were put on microfilm or maybe today there are better systems on which to preserve records …….David

REPLY: I am so pleased that you have found this website and  have  submitted material about your father’s family.  I am aware of the condition of the assessment and collector rolls for Westmeath Township. They are very fragile documents and you are correct in pointing out their value. As we move forward, more and more material will become part of the HWT Project. Thank you for our thoughts and submission.


September 8, 2013….Re family registry submissions.  What are your thoughts on that? I was thinking that a short account of the dispersant of the members of the 4 families that my grandparents came from would be of interest to any of the descendents across North America.

REPLY:  I  always lean towards story-telling – that approach leads the reader into the what, where, when, how, why of a family emigration and settlement in Upper Canada, etc.  Within the story  additional material as a pdf or in your case as a web link can be included.  Pictures are also important because the “…a thousand words” rule still stands. Actually my best advice to you is to pretend that you are writing a newspaper account of your family ancestors.  What are the essential and interesting parts that you should include, to make people want to read about your clan.  It is a fine line between supplying all the facts and informing the reader; while engaging the reader.


September 8, 2013….Was just looking at the electrification section and thought I’d let you know that our house was also electrified in the 1935 extension of Hydro to Westmeath. There were only 2 or 3  customers on the line between Beachburg and Westmeath at that time. Extension to our barns didn’t come till after the war. The man who installed the system in the house came from Ottawa and boarded with us while doing the job. I remember  watching him standing on a step-ladder to install a ceiling light fixture. I would have been about 2 1/2 or 3 years old.


September 3, 2013… These are the articles I was hoping you could make more easily accessible to the reader.  Currently one has to drill down thru six levels in the Ross Museum website to find them. (seven if you are coming from the RCMN link). Perhaps they would give you permission to copy them to your site.  [Listing of 8 items from the Ross Museum website]….John. 

REPLY:  Thank you for your interest in gaining fuller access to township history.  The http://rossmuseum.ca/  website is one that we encourage everyone to visit and enjoy.  So many volunteer hours are devoted every year to the museum’s work in the Township of Whitewater Region.  The items you list are dealt with on both sites.  Comments on ease of accessibility to materials on its site should be addressed to the Ross Museum.


August 30, 2013…. Every time I open this website I am totally amazed at the amount of historical information that has been documented here.  Thank you so much Gayle for the many hours you have devoted to Historical Westmeath Township. Our roots are embedded deep within these communities and are proud to call this place home. Your dedication to this project is much appreciated….. Linda.


July 26, 2013….Editor’s Note:   The Township of Whitewater Region has acknowledged this website and issued this Congratulations Certificate  Whitewater Congratulations 29072013.    We very much appreciate this affirmation and recognition from the township. GMS.


June 30, 2013:…I only just spent time this afternoon going through the website and it is amazing!!  I can only imagine how much time it took to gather all the information you have on the site from all your sources and then to layout and create the website.  I think that anyone from the Westmeath/Beachburg area is going to find this website very interesting – even if you are not originally from the area I think the historical information you provide will give people interesting facts about the area as I see some people thought as I read the comments.

I also want to say that the postcard was an excellent touch! You truly have done the topic justice and I am sure as people visit the site and make submissions, the information will continue to grow.  If I come across anything more directly related to information I saw on the site I will contact you.


June 26,2013 ….. As an “immigrant from NB”, thanks for introducing me to this local resource.  It never ceases to amaze me  how similar we are, regardless of our roots in creation. As I read, there were many times,  I could hear my ancestors orally describing life and/or being the recipient of similar  historical family/community documents.
You and all who supported this idea, are to be congratulated.  Telling our human story, accepting both the similarities and differences, of each one, is true community.


June 26, 2013…..Well done – a beautiful research from the history. I am from Austria and since more than 10 years I have a cottage in Westmeath and it is very interesting for me to read about the History from my preferred area. Great Job.


June 25,2013…..Well done Gayle. You have done a huge amount of research! Though I am not from here, it is very interesting to read about the people and their history. It will be good to read people’s submissions.
A worthy project for the local Seniors to support.  Great job.”


June 25, 2013….I have not  studied the entire site, but at first glance one can see the monumental task that it has been. Kudos to you for  undertaking it and having the stamina to stick with it. What a wonderful correlation of  our history.  Congratulations and thank you from so many for a job extremely well done.


June 24, 2013…..Wow! Great read for some of us not from this area. I especially enjoyed reading the name of S.A. Huntington.  If I am not mistaken, Huntington University in Sudbury was named after him.


 

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