To the reader... This is an unpublished manuscript which I have decided to place online. It is copyrighted and All rights are reserved. Additional photographs will be added as time permits.  Bryan Gidley

And They Settled In Penetanguishene
The Gidley Brothers
The Gidley Brothers

COPYRIGHT © 2007 Bryan Gidley, Oyster Pond, Nova Scotia, Canada
All rights reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopiable, recordable or otherwise (with the exception of brief passages for purposes of review) without the written permission of Bryan Gidley.

ISBN 0-9693025-1-8 (tentative)

Cover Photo: The Gidley Brothers Left to Right back row James Warren, William C., John G. Left to Right front row Henry Edward, Alfred Howard, Earnest Gilmour Printed in Canada by Bryan Gidley Oyster Pond, Nova Scotia, Canada

ii Dedication
iii Preface
iv Foreward

Chapter 1 The Gidleys
1 Penetanguishene-A Historical Sketch
7 The Gidley's
9 John and Mary Ann Gidley
19 Henry and Wilhemina Gidley
20 The Companies of Henry Gidley
34 John Douglas and Edith Emily Gidley
36 William and Margaret Craigmille
42 William and Helen Crawford
48 Thomas and Jane Johnstone
56 The Masonic Arms
60 James and Mary Amelia Warren
67 William and Catherine Feltham

Chapter 2 The Vaillancourts
1 Robert and Marie Vaillancourt
2 Andrew and Irene Vaillancourt
3 Abraham and Marguerite Martin
4 Lacroixs
5 Jean and Jeanne Lalonde

Chapter 3 Other Families

Appendix A Gidley Pedigree
Appendix B Gidley Family Tree
Appendix C Craigmille Family Tree
Appendix D Lacroix Family Tree
Note: for family details go to here

This book is dedicated to Great Aunt Mary Thomas nee Gidley, for it was she that kept many of the articles and pictures reproduced here and to my Aunt Margaret Redvers nee Gidley, who gave them to me and to my immediate family who gave of their time to allow me to compile the information.
Mary (Gidley) Thomas
Mary (Gidley) Thomas

I began writing this genealogical record after two years of research with my daughter Cathy. It was a family affair, where we both traveled to aunts, grandmothers, great-great cousins and other interested family. The Archives were visited on many occasions as well as historic sites and graveyards. Each trip created its own pieces to the puzzle. Letters were written and parts of stories and tales assembled. For the most part, the photographic reproductions were a gift to me from my Aunt Margaret (Gidley) Redvers. Her thoughtfulness is most graciously appreciated and they are now in possession of the Simcoe County Archives for all of you and others to enjoy. Aunt June (Gidley) Fallis allowed her private collection to be reproduced and Great- great Aunt Violet (Gidley)Jeffreys also contributed family photographs and death notices. Many people deserve my thanks for assisting in the research. Mrs. Doris McDiaramid and Mrs. Lena Gilchrist, and Rev. Pierce all distant cousins; Mrs. Gwen Patterson, and Mr. Peter Moran of Simcoe County Archives. My sincerest apologies to those whose names I've forgotten. There is one however that cannot be missed. My wife Charlotte (Jennex) has followed me through holidays of gravestone reading, visits to historical sites, Archives and museums and many stories I'd forgotten I had already told her. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and wherever possible more than one source was elicited to obtain facts. As with any historical accounting, there inevitably exists errors, yet it is my hope that within these pages they are few. Should the reader discover any, I would be pleased to be made aware of them. The search for ones tree is a never ending piece of detection. Careful you don't get the genealogical bug. B.D.A.G

PENETANGUISHENE--A HISTORICAL SKETCH It would be a great deal of work to write a description of this magnificent area of our country, especially when someone has already done credit to the task. With this in mind there follows the HISTORIC SKETCH written by A.C. Osborne at the turn of the century;


THE HISTORIC TOWN OF PENETANGUISHENE, noted as the former site of a British Naval and Military Station in the early days of Canada, is charmingly situated on the eastern shore of a picturesque bay of the same name, a southern extent ion of Georgian Bay. Penetanguishene signifies "The Place of the White Rolling Sands," so named from an extensive bank of sand on Pinery Point to the right on entering the harbour, which glistens like gold in the summer's sun and which, like the Sand Dunes of Ontario, are ever shifting, changing, rolling to the water's beneath. . .
Main Street Penetanguishene
Main Street Penetanguishene
This poetic designation, which is of A-ben-a-ki origin slightly modified by the exigencies of changing dialects, already swayed its magic scepter over these waters, when the Huron savage first appeared on the scene, and is one of the few names--melancholy relics, sparsely scattered here and there north of the St. Lawrence and the great lakes--which remain, to tell of the Abenaki occupation.

Penetanguishene Bay, in the "Land of the Huron’s", first became known to the white men as early as 1615 by Champlain's voyages, and subsequently by the Jesuit and Recollect Fathers. That intrepid explorer, as a pioneer of this region visited, among many others, the Indian town of To-a-guan-chain, near the head of the bay, Penetanguishene's Huron prototype, during his famous progress through the country in September of that year. This remarkable nFame and location-- a sort of "land of enchantment" -- is at once the centre of a vast region replete with historic memories interwoven with romantic legend, venerable traditions, story and tragedy. Near Colbourne Basin is the former site of Ihonatiria where the devoted Brebeuf started the first Jesuit mission among the Hurons in 1632-- the opening scenes in one long, thrilling drama of seventeen years, concluding with the tragedy of St. Ignace, in which Brebeuf and his companions perished, and the mission became extinguished. Dominating the town and the magnificent scenery of the bay, stands the Memorial Church, an imposing edifice destined to be one of the grandest ecclesiastical structures in Canada, erected to perpetuate the story of these early French missions, and a grateful tribute to the sufferings and death of these heroic men. The savage conflict between the Hurons and the Iroquois having culminated in the bloody battle of St. Louis and the dispersion of the former nation in 1649, the remnant of Hurons and French retired to Christian Island and finally to Quebec.

An interregnum of one hundred and ten years followed, in which the "land of the Huron" was devoid of history and almost without tradition, except that of the savage conqueror in turn gave way and was gradually replaced by the Ojibway of the north, who ruled lords of his domain till the conquest, and the advent of the English, which
View From Yancannuck Clubhouse
View From Yancannuck Clubhouse
changed the course of savage empire. During the autumn of 1793, Governor (corrected) Simcoe visited the Bay with a view to establish a Military Naval station a base of supplies and for defence, a complete survey of the Harbour being made by his deputy Aitken before the close of the year. In 1798 the Bay and Islands were purchased from the Chippewas under Treaty No. 5 for 101 pounds sterling worth of goods. The old Military road, a noted institution of Penetanguishene's pioneer days, having for its northern terminus the present site of the Ontario Reformatory grounds (now the Ontario Hospital), was opened from Kempenfeldt Bay by the famous Surgeon Dunlop, known as "Tiger Dunlop" in November of 1814. Its history is linked with the little Military Cemetery on the hill-side and with the story of the ill-fated Duke of Richmond as well as many others. The first domicile was erected were Mr. Bank's residence now stands, 40 feet long, 8 feet wide, 6 feet high in front and four feet high in the rear, of poles covered with Cedar boughs, open in front, rather unpretentious (corrected) it is true, but above which floated the Red Flag of Commodore Collier of the Royal Navy, the "Meteor Flag of England" to guard these inland seas. It was built by Capt. Payne of the Royal Engineers, following quickly on the heels of Dunlop, accompanied with Sappers and Miners and a detachment of Canadian Fencibles, axe men and English ship- wrights.

The first Block-house twenty-one feet by eighteen feet was erected by Sir Geo. Head, the first week in March, 1815, on the site now occupied by the Superintendent’s handsome private residence and commodious grounds. The sharp contrast carries us back to Britain's pioneer Military operations in Canada and the strenuous war-times of Wellington and Waterloo. The remains of extensive docks, long since swept away, may still be seen beneath the water, connecting Magazine Island with the mainland. At the head of these docks stood the "Depot of Naval supplies" known (corrected) as the "Old Red Store", once a noted landmark in the military demesne, half way up the bank, stood the Guard House with the sentry box on the terrace above, while on the pinnacle of (the) hill, perched for many years a noted Caravansary, the "Masonic Arms" where some distinguished travelers were entertained at various times among them the Duke of Northumberland and Richmond, Lord Syndenham, Sir John Ross of the Royal Navy, and Sir John Franklin the ill-fated explorer on his way to the Arctic regions. Near the dock in front of Mr. Band7s residence [originally the officers' quarters] is
Freddy Channel Georgian Bay
Freddy Channel Georgian Bay
the former site of the old Block-house Fort and Soldiers Barracks, which was later superseded by stone and ultimately dismantled the material being transferred to the Reformatory building. The Officers' Quarters have been converted into a private residence for the Bursar. Of peculiar interest is "Gordon's Post" on the point a short distance east, where Sir Geo. Head procured cedar for shingles for his block-house. The "Post" was established ten years later, and was first known as "The Place Pen-e-tang-gou-shene." Traces of the foundation and outlines of graves may still be seen.

Among the many points of interest to tourists and visitors, now exceeds that of "Magazine Island" originally Beaver Island, "A gem in a setting of Emerald green and Cerulean blue, she sits "Queen of the Bay" and the pride of Penetanguishene. Upon it stands the remains of the Old Powder Magazine, from which the island receives its name, a genuine Block-house laid in mortar built by James Warren in 1817 for storing powder for Military and Naval purposes. On its walls, some heroes of the Revolution and the American war, among many others have carved their names. Beside it are three graves, among them that of the first Surgeon of the Regiment (also Thomas Johnstone and James Riddell). In 1822-6 Admiral Bayfield of the British Navy, from this station, compiled "Bayfield's Chart of the North Shore, laying down 30,000 islands. Commander Bolton, recently completed a marine survey in which 34,560 islands exclusive of rocks without verdure are enumerated, forming a gigantic network of labyrinthine channels of still waters and freshening breezes,
Canada House Penetanguishene
Canada House Main Street Penetanguishene
stretching the entire length of the North shore, were the tiniest craft may float in safety, protected from boisterous winds and turbulent waves, by the eternal barrier of granite islands. In 1828 the British Military Post of Drummond Island was transferred to Penetanguishene, followed by the French Voyageurs, fur traders and retired officers, among the latter being Surgeon Mitchell, who built the first store near McGibbon's mill, and Capt. Jas. M. Hamilton of the 5th regiment of Foot Guards, who became first postmaster in January, 1830. In the old mill in Copeland's valley, and picturesque Highland Point, once Lavallee's and Trudeaux, and others, we have notable relics of French voyageur days.

St. Anne's Church, the modest predecessor of the Memorial church, was begun in 1832, and commemorates the visit of Bishop MacDonnell, the first R.C. Bishop of Ontario to Penetanguishene. Old St, James church, built for the military in 1837, is one of the town's most important landmarks. It was built principally through the exertions of Capt. Moberly, a naval officer stationed here, and consecrated by Bishop Strachan in 1840. Rev. George Hallen, Chaplain to the Military, was the first Rector and whose remains, with those of Capt. Moberly, lie deposited in the church yard. Beyond the precincts of the Garrison on a brow of St. Andrews Lake, is the former site of the old Military Cricket Grounds, now obliterated, opened under the direction of Col. Osbourne West, a patron of sport once stationed here? The merest taste of English art "strong in exile" transplanted to a Huron wilderness, Penetanguishene, boasted for many years the rare spectacle of a "Cricket Lawn in a Canadian Forest." Near the entrance to the harbour, occupying a salubrious and commanding elevation on the old military grounds stands a handsome group of buildings, The Ontario Reformatory for Boys, not the least interesting of Penetanguishene's many attractions. The buildings of stone, partly from the old barracks, were erected in 1858, since enlarged and improved. The late Wm. Moore Kelly was installed as first Warden. The officers and attendants are efficient and obliging, and the institute is among the finest of which Ontario can boast.

Penetanguishene Bay 1826
Looking West on Penetanguishene Bay 1826
Penetanguishene Bay, from the military standpoint, is seven miles long and from two to three wide, containing nearly seventeen square miles of surface and constitutes, in the opinion of competent naval authorities, one of the finest harbours for defence, shelter and protection, in Canadian waters. Encircled on all sides by terraced hills, gently sloping banks, it affords perfect safety for boating, bathing and fishing, while rivaling the famous Loch Katrine of Scotland, or the classic scenes of the German Rhine in picturesque beauty and grandeur. Penetanguishene is the natural entreport and its fine harbour the gateway to the 30,000 islands of Muskoka and the North Shore, the mystic realm of the far-famed "Inside Channel," where the bark of the voyageur floats in calm security, undisturbed by storms, born on the bosom of the blue waters peacefully reposing in the everlasting embraces of primeval rocks, gliding gently onward over illimitable stretches of miniature seas, gulfs and bays, past countless islands, rocky headlands and fantastic boulders, and on through wonderful regions of land and wave touched by the "Master Hand" of the universe. Here the paradise of the sportsman, tourist and camper, where the maskinonge, trout and black bass, the deer and wild fowl revel in all their pride, and where the many intricate passages, sylvan nooks, opening vistas and dwindling shores, present an ever shifting and varying panorama of the finest scenery on the continent. Among the many beauty spots and points of interest, may be mentioned, Beausoleil Island and the Chimneys, where the Hurons for refuge after the bloody conflict of St. Louis, Minniekaiganashene, Go Home River, San Soucie, Waubtassie, Ahoendoe where the Jesuits found refuge after three days on a raft, at Honey Harbour, etc. In Colbourne Basin, opposite "The Penetanguishene," the memory of one of Canada's most honoured Governors, that of Sir John Colbourne, is perpetuated. Among the interesting wrecks sunken in the harbour is the Tecumseh lying near the Island, the Tigress and Scorpion near the Basin; the latter having played an important part in the battle of Lake Erie, 1813. Penetanguishene, 102 miles north of Toronto by rail, was incorporated as a town in 1881, with a population of 2000, the late Alfred Thompson being elected first Mayor.

The Gidleys

The English Gidley name originates in Devonshire England from a place known as Gydda's Grove which translated into Gidleigh. The hamlet still exists today and is known simple as Gidleigh. Variations of the spelling include Gidley, Giddly, Gidly, Giddle, Gidlye, Giddley, Gydley and Gidleigh.
Gidleigh Church
The Gidleigh Church, Devon, England


Two days following Christmas of (1829), John Gundery Gidley was born in Camborne Cornwall England. His parents are presently unknown, but John seems to have arrived in Canada alone and before 1854. No records have yet been found that tell us of his arrival time or his whereabouts before his marriage to Mary Ann Warren in Ontonagon County Town of Presense in the State of Michigan, U.S.A. Mary Ann Warren was the daughter of James Warren and Mary Amelia (Amy) Johnstone, born in Barrie 17th February, 1835 and believed to be the first white child born there. Nothing is known of why Mary was in Michigan or how they met.

The marriage certificate is hereby transcribed.

 State of Michigan U.S.A. County of Presense Town of Ontongon

I hereby certify that on the fifteenth day of September A.D. one thousand and eight hundred and fifty-four, I joined together in the ban of Matrimony, John Gidley and Mary Warren at the house of Thomas Moran in the village of Otonagon in said County of Presense of the subscribing witnesses.

Given under my hand at Otonagon this fifteenth day of September A.D. 1854.

(Signed) John + Mary (Warren) Gidley
(Signed) subscribing witness Charles Parker, Thomas Moran
(Signed) D. Pittman Justice of the Peace Registered in the County of Ontonagon, Michigan U.S.A

Ontonagon is the westernmost county of Michigan. Had they eloped? Would this be the reason that neither witness was a direct relation? We may never know. They were not long staying in Michigan returning to Canada for the
Mary Ann Gidley
Mary Ann Gidley Intimation
John G. Gidley
Captain John G. Gidley Intimation
birth of their first son, John G. born: 31 October, 1855 in Penetanguishene Ontario the first of 10 children, 6 boys and 4 girls. John and Mary were back in the U.S.A in Copper Harbour, Michigan in September of 1857 for the birth of James Warren Gidley on the 4th. Copper Harbour is located on the northern tip of Michigan and except for Isle Royale, almost the northernmost point and immediately adjacent to Lake Superior. This is congruent to the suspected profession of John, that of fisherman. They remained there until near 1864 and celebrated the birth of two more children, William C. born 14th of September 1859 and their first girl, Christina Agatha (Agnes in Census records) born 27 August 1861. They returned back in Penetanguishene, on the 3rd of April 1864 for the entrance of Henri(y) Edward Gidley. They remained in Penetanguishene and Midland up to the death of Mary Ann in 1887. Born there were; Edith Jane, 4 October 1866; Clara, 2nd of February 1869; Mary Elizabeth born 2nd December 1870; Alfred Howard 15th of March 1873 and the youngest, Earnest Gilmour, 5 May 1874.

In 1882 we notice that both John and his son William are owners of Pk Lots 6 and 35 RR #2 respectively. By 1885 Lot 35 had been sold and Lots 1 and 2 were William's and Lots 6,18,19,26 and 88 belonged to John. In 1891, John co- owned with his sons James, Henry and William, lots 16, 18, 26 and 33, now RR #11.

John and Mary Tombstoneidley
John G. and Mary Ann Gidley Tombstone
Mary Ann (Warren) Gidley died on the 7th. of August, 1887.
Her obituary follows:
Mary Gidley, wife of Capt. Gidley, suffering for some months from an attack of erysipelas succumbed to the fatal disease on Sunday morning last at 10 o'clock. Mrs. Gidley, although scarcely past middle age being but 52 was one of the pioneers connected with the early settlement of Tiny, and was known and loved by a wide circle of friends as was attested by a large number who came from far and near to pay the last sad respects to her memory. She was a faithful companion and a kind mother leaving a large family by whom she was beloved, six of her sons surrounding the grave at the closing scenes. Her remains were deposited in the Methodist cemetery, Monday afternoon at half past three and attended by a large retinue of friends and neighbors, the companions of her youth.

Her last will and testament is held in the Surrogate Court House of the County of Simcoe and the probated will is transcribed below;

2558 In Her Majesty's Surrogate Court of the County of Simcoe Be it known that on the sixteenth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety, Letters of Administration of all and singular the personal estate and effects, rights and credits of Mary Ann Gidley late of the Township of Tiny in the County of Simcoe married widower, who died on or about the seventh day of August in the of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty-five and who at the time of her death had a fixed place of abode at the said township of Tiny in the said County of Simcoe were granted by Her Majesty's Surrogate Court of the said County of Simcoe to John Gidley, the elder of the Township of Tiny in the County of Simcoe aforesaid; Widower the administrator of the said interstate he having been first sworn faithfully to administer the same by paying her just debts and distributing the residue (if any) of her personal estate and effects according to law, and to exhibit a true and perfect inventory of all and singular the said personal estate and effects rights and credits and to render a just and true account thereof wherever required by law.

LS sd JNO Stevenson Registrar Surrogate Court, County of Simcoe

John's will was probated on the 25th of February, 1895 as follows;

3331 Canada Province of Ontario John Gidley In Her Majesty's Surrogate Court of the County of Simcoe Be it known that on the 25th day of February in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-five, Letters of Administration of all and singular the property of John Gidley late of the Township of Tiny in the County of Simcoe, mariner deceased who died on or about the first day of May in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-three at the Township of Tiny interstate and had at the time of his death a fixed place of abode at the said Township of Tiny in the said County of Simcoe, were granted by Her Majesty's Surrogate Court of the County of Simcoe to James Warren Gidley of the Township of Tiny in the County of Simcoe, mariner the son of the said Interstate he having been first sworn faithfully to administer the same by paying his just debts and distributing the residue (if any) of his property according to law and to exhibit under oath a true and perfect inventory of all and singular the said property and to render a just and true account of his administration within eighteen months or sooner if thereunto required.

Mary Ann and John are buried together in the Methodist Cemetery now called the Copeland's Hill Cemetery, located in the west end of Penetanguishene. In early 1984, Violet Jeffreys nee Gidley, their grand-daughter, purchased a new tombstone of red granite to mark the gravesite and replace the aging and deteriorating markers. The original consisted of three square stones of decreasing sizes placed one on the other and an obelisk approximately 5 feet high and placed nearby the ascending squares. The largest stone bore the Family name, deep cut into the surface.

The original tombstone (the upper, smaller stone), was inscribed as follows;

WARREN, Mary A., wife of GIDLEY, Capt. John
b. at Barrie 16 Feb., 1835,
d. at Penetang 7 Aug., 1887

GIDLEY, Capt. John,
b. at Camborne Cornwall Eng.27 Dec., 1829
d. at Hamilton Ont., 2 May, 1892.

** **Note: should be 1893 B.D.A.G.

A poem adorned the obelisk, but the weather has erased it.

John G. and Ida Gidley
John G Ida Ralph Gidley
John G.Ida and Ralph Gidley

John and Mary Ann's firstborn is listed in the 1881 Census records as a carpenter. Born on the 31st of October, 1855 in Penetanguishene, John G. married Ida Bulmer the date being unknown. Ida was born circa 1855. John died on the 7th of June, 1918. They lived on Mary Street at the time when John owned the Midland Boat Works. It was then called W.H. Hacker and Sons and he purchased it from Ganton Dobson. Ganton repurchased the company after John's death, from Mrs. Gidley and sold it to N.K. Wagg in 1924. John and Ida had at least two sons, Warren and Ralph both born after 1881 (not listed on the Census records of 1881).

Ida E. Gidley died on the eleventh of July, 1934 in Toronto Ontario. Her last will and testament are transcribed below:

THIS IS THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT of me, Ida E. Gidley of the town of Midland in the County of Simcoe, Widow, made and published this 17th day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and eighteen.
I REVOKE all former Wills or other Testamentary Dispositions by me at any time heretofore made, and declare this only to be and contain my last Will and Testament.
I GIVE, DEVISE AND BEQUETH all my property, Real and Personal, of whatsoever kind and wheresoever situate to my son, Warren Gidley, of the Town of Midland in the County of Simcoe, Boat-builder, for his sole use and benefit. AND I nominate and appoint my son, Warren Gidley, to be the sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament.

IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my hand the day and year first above written. SIGNED, published and declared) sd. by the said Ida E. Gidley, the) Ida E. Gidley Testator as and for her last) Will and Testament in the) presence of us who both present) sd. together at the same time in) G.S. Dudley her presence at her request and ) in the presence of each other ) have hereunto subscribed our )
sd. names as witnesses. ) C.F. Turner

The Will was probated on the twentieth of July, 1934, witnessed by Judge Dudley Holmes in Barrie, Ontario.


James Warren Gidley, the second of John's sons, was born in Copper Harbour Michigan on the 4th of September, 1857. His wife, Alice married him in British Columbia, as far as we can tell, and they had no children. James was a river boat Captain in the Victoria B.C. area. Alice and James lived long lives, James dying at the age of 90 on the 1st of February, 1947. Alice died before him the 14th of January, 1943. She is buried in the Ross Bay Cemetery (Leigh plot) and James lies rested in the Royal Oak Cemetery, Victoria B.C. Violet Jeffreys visited her aunt and uncle in British Columbia. James said of their proposed meeting at a predetermined public place, "I'll hold up my hand and you will be able to tell it's me, as I have one finger missing." Violet indicated that James was most pleased at her having traveled to see him all the way from Ontario.


William was born, third son of the Gidley's, in 1859, on the 14th day of September in Michigan and being baptized on the 10th of June, 1888, very likely in the same town of Copper Harbour, although it has not been confirmed. He married Mary McGeagh, born 1860, on the 16th of January, 1887 and their first born arrived 17 February and was given the name Cornelius Hamilton. He was nicknamed 'Ham' and married Emma Elizabeth Ryder, the daughter of George and Margaret Codden, in Penetanguishene on the 16th of August, 1919. Ham and Emma had no children of their own, adopting one son, Robert Edsel, the nephew of Emma. Hamilton built boats for his brother John and later for Ganton Dobson. "At this time, Mr. Dobson had in his employ such well- known craftsmen as Len and Frank Cowdry, Fred Hacker and Ham Gidley (corrected)". His occupation in 1881 however, was farmer. Robert married Audrey Maria Sheen on the 29 January, 1949 in Penetanguishene. William and Mary had one daughter, Lulu Edna, born in April of 1895. Lulu married a prominent lawyer in Midland Ontario namely, George Dudley Q.C. on October the 19th, 1921. William C. died in July of 1941 and Mary in 1927. Both are buried in Midland's Lakeview Cemetery. Lulu Edna died in Meaford Ontario on the 30th of October, 1967 and the funeral was in Midland the 2nd of November. Cornelius died in Meaford in February, 1961 and was returned to Midland's Lakeview Cemetery for his burial.

Hold Funeral Capt. W. Gidley Pioneer's Son Died July 24th, 1941 Born Aboard Steamer, Later Sailed Many Craft in Georgian Bay - Was Aged 81 Midland, July 26 (Special)- Captain William C. Gidley, a lifelong resident of Midland-Penetang district was buried in Lakeview cemetery this afternoon following a funeral service held at the home of his daughter Mrs. George Dudley, 209 Russell Street, conducted by Rev. A.C. Stewart of Knox Presbyterian Church and assisted by Rev. W.R. Auld, St. Paul’s United Church. Pallbearers were Captain Anson *****, Harry Bowman, Fred Campbell, Charles Flowers and James ***** all of Midland and Warren ***** (Gidley?) of Toronto.

Captain Gidley's families were residents of this district. During the War of 1812, his grandfather was in charge of the Blockhouse at the Military Barracks at Penetang. His father operated a steamer service from Waubaushene then the end of the railway line to Penetang and Midland. Captain Gidley was born on his father's passenger vessel, 81 years ago at Keweenaw Point, in Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior. As a boy he went to sail and at an early age became a Master Mariner. He was master of numerous vessels, including private yachts and his own craft for a half century. For 14 years he operated the W.E. Preston Co. supply boat from Midland and in this way became acquainted with hundreds of summer residents among the 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay. He resided in Midland since 1910. He had been in ill health for about 8 years. Capt. Gidley was an Oddfellow and an ardent Conservative. For 20 years he was secretary- treasurer of Tiny Township School Section, and was on Midland Board of Education for several terms. His wife the former Mary McGeagh of Belle Ewart predeceased him 14 years ago. Surviving are one daughter, Mrs. G.S. Dudley, one son Hamilton Gidley both of Midland, also two brothers, James Gidley 83 of Victoria B.C. and Alfred H. of Honey Harbour.


Agatha was born the 27th of August, 1861 in Michigan, likely Copper Harbour and died the 16th of October, 1949 in Chelsea Michigan. She married a Mr. Vollet and she was buried October the 18th, 1940 in Port Huron. Edith Jane born October 4th 1866 in Penetanguishene and died a spinster 7 July, 1927 and was buried in the same site as her sister Agatha. Clara was not a very pretty girl and it went along with her disposition. She too was buried with her sisters having perished the 5th June, 1869. She was born in Penetanguishene and never married. Mary Elizabeth came into the world in December of 1870 on the 2nd, in Penetanguishene.


John and Mary announced the birth of their 5th son on the 15th of March, 1873, Alfred Howard, born in Penetanguishene. Alfred was a good looking fellow and he married Edith Anne Lyons, daughter of Samuel (born 1845 in Scotland) and Sarah Fiddiha (born Manchester England). Alfred and Edith lived at 146 6th Street in Midland in the 1930's and earlier on Chatham Street in Penetanguishene. Ina Ethel was born to them on the 26th of May, 1896. Ina died at the young age of 7 years and 6 months, 25th November, 1903. She was buried with her grandparents in the Copeland Hill Cemetery on November the 26th. On 27th of August, 1899, Mabel Una was born, the second daughter of Alfred and Edith in Penetanguishene. Mabel married Dennis John Clarey, born 16 May, 1889 and died of a heart attack 22 April, 1967. Dennis was buried in the St. Thomas Anglican Church cemetery, Bracebridge Ontario. Mabel died in the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital on the 18th of August, 1971 and was buried 20 August with her spouse. Violet Stella May was born the 8th of November, 1905 in Penetanguishene. Violet married twice, first to Cecil Meredith Shaw in May of 1946. Cecil was born 22 August, 1899 and he died 16 Feb, 1953 being laid to rest at the Westminster Cemetery, Toronto on the 19th. He was the son of William C. and Martha Ann Dunburg. Martha died the 16th of May, 1947 and is buried in Hagersville at 2 P.M. the 19th, aged 87 years. This was his first marriage, James, Grace (born 22 February, 1922) and Dorathia (born 15 February, 1924). Cecil was an electrician by trade and was active in the union, becoming secretary in the local. Some time after Margaret Ellen, Violets cousin, died, AG Jeffreys proposed to Violet. They were married shortly thereafter. They lived at 10 University Avenue West Guelph, Ontario in a smartly styled small house, until Uncle Jeff died the 1st of June, 1977. He was buried with his former wife, Margaret Ellen, Lot 17 Block 2 Woodlawn Cemetery in Guelph on the 3rd of June. Violet worked in her early years as a secretary and Uncle Jeff was an insurance agent. Violet still spends her summers at the family cottage in Honey Harbour each year and is often visited by her cousin Mary Dunn (nee Gidley) at her cottage. Her cousin Mary Thomas (nee Gidley) would often exchange visits as well. Some of the pictures in this genealogical work were the courtesy of Violet Jeffreys.


Born in 1874 on the 8th of May in Penetanguishene Ontario, Earnest was laid to rest after his death on the 10th of December, 1953. He was married to Charlotte Miller and they had three children, Wilfred, born 1909, and died 16th December, 1982, Margaret and Mary. Mary married Mr. Dunn and lives in Meaford Ontario at 116 Lombard Street.


 March 26, 1914 Vol 32 #33 P5

-J.G. Gidley and Son have added very materially to their stock of row boats by the construction of a large number of new ones during the winter. At present a staff is busy engaged in varnishing the boats ready for the season’s trade. Apart from the business in boat building the repairing line has been quiet. Very few orders have come in for launches which would indicate that the craze for launches was waning or else people who have the money and can afford a launch are pretty well supplied.

 April 29, 1915 Vol 15 #42 P5

- The Steamer Glenmavis is coming into the dock on Wednesday afternoon crashed into the front of Gidley's boat house causing considerable damage to the building.

 June 8, 1915 Vol 15 #52 P4

-District News -Warren Gidley met with an accident on Sunday last at the dock in front of the Royal at Honey Harbour. He had taken a party up the lakes in his launch and was landing when the bow of the boat slipped under the dock and in order to prevent the upper part of his boat being damaged he jumped forward and tried to stop the vessel by placing his hands upon the dock and using his body as a stay. The boat was going too fast and he was jammed between the cabin and the dock with the result that he had three ribs fractured and was otherwise badly bruised.

April 26,1917 P5

- The Gidley Boat Factory here is crowed with orders this spring and great difficulty is experienced in procuring competent help.

June 17, 1917 Vol 35 #44 P5

-Mrs. Warren Gidley has been visited by her sister Miss Nellie Garry of Hamilton. P5- Capt. Gidley made his first trip of the season June 2 in his steamer San Souci.


Henry and Wilhelmina Gidley
Henry and Wilhelmina Gidley
Henry Edward Gidley, the fifth child of John and Mary, was born 1864 on the 3rd of April in the village of Penetanguishene. His bride married him sometime before their first-born, Margaret Elizabeth on the 29th of July, 1894. Miss Wilhelmina (Winnie) Crawford, daughter of William and Margaret Crawford, are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter to Henry Edward Gidley, son of John and Mary. Winnie was born, probably in Ingersoll Ontario, circa 1863 (see William and Margaret Crawford). Winnie had many relatives and friends and was the driving force behind the writing of this book. She was an avid photograph collector, having cast many family and friends in silver. Her album is now available for public viewing at the Simcoe County Archives in Midhurst Ontario Many of the pictures in this book are from that collection.

Wilhelmina Gidley
Wilhelmina Gidley
Henry Gidley
Henry Gidley
Henry Gidley began the H.E. Gidley & Company around sometime before 1895 and was later loctaed in a building on Nelson Street in Penetanguishene. Due to the amount of data on Henry, we will devote a separate chapter to his endeavor (see The Companies of Henry Gidley). Henry and the family moved to Detroit sometime before the stock market crash and began a career in building and real estate. The family residence was on Fullerton Avenue in Detroit. He contracted cancer of the eye and was operated on. Henry died, of cancer, a poor man in Detroit Michigan, on the 4th of February, 1933. Wilhelmina died circa 1938 of cancer and both Henry and Winnie are buried in White Chapel Memorial Cemetery, Detroit Michigan, plot # 8870 Block F. Four children were born to Winnie and Henry.

Margaret Ellen, the oldest, was born the 29th July, 1894 in Penetanguishene, was baptized January the 10th, 1896 and was the first wife of Andrew George Jeffreys. Margaret Ellen died the 26th of January, 1961 and 'Uncle Jeff' as he was known died after his second marriage to Violet Gidley, on the 1st of June, 1977. Both Margaret and Uncle Jeff are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery after their deaths in Guelph Ontario. Uncle Jeff was buried on the 3rd of June. Margaret and AG had a son, James F. who has married and has two children, Sandra Lynn and David Andrew.

Mary Wilhelmina Gidley was born 16th December, 1896 and died January 31st, 1975. Mary married John Charles Thomas and lived in Detroit Michigan, we all new him as Jack. Mary was a kindly old lady, as I remember she gave me a juice harp of a sort (a novelty item at the time) and she delighted in the inharmonious noise that emanated from it. Mary kept the album that Winnie Crawford started and also acquired other genealogical information used in this book. Her preservation of this material inspired the author to search for more.

Henry Edward II, first son of Henry and Wilhelmina died an infant.

John Douglas Gidley, was born 9 April, 1898, in Penetanguishene Ontario. Edith was born at Herne Bay England, the daughter of William Henry and Margaret Ann Bond on the 29th of August, 1897/8.



Gidley  Catalogue #3 Cover
1903 Gidley Catalogue Cover

Henry started his Boat Company in a small building on Nelson street in Penetanguishene some time before 1895 when town records show him as an occupant. In an article in Volume X page 12 of the January- February, 1922 Mer Douce the Gidley operation is expounded;

The Gidley Boat Company An industry that does credit to the town, and serves a very useful purpose in the supply of all kinds of pleasure craft for the Georgian Bay and other H.E.Gidley holiday resorts.

THE GIDLEY BOAT COMPANY is of particular interest.

Gidley Catalogue Cover
1903 Gidley Catalogue
Speaking of motor-trucks reminds one that the ubiquitous FORD has appeared in Penetanguishene in a new and distinctive fashion. The GIDLEYFORD is a new name. If the Peace Ship of so great fame has long since come to anchor in the misty harbour of idealism, it to be remembered that the GIDLEYFORD motor boat has just cast off for the open sea of ideality. With Gidley at the prow and Ford at the helm, this wonderful new power boat has swept into view, a sure winner in the race for popularity. The name "Gidley" on any craft has been like the word "Sterling" on silver, but with this high- class hull propelled by the notable Ford motor, a new sense of completeness overtakes one when riding over the blue in this master-product of the Gidley Boat Co. The more one knows about boats, the more subtle is the appeal of the Gidleyford. The amateur is attracted by its beautiful lines, fine finish and inviting coziness; the expert yields to its unique design- a clever combination of the round and V-bottom types- its evident speed coupled with economy in fuel, its convincing seaworthy qualities, and then, standing back, pronounces it as handsome a craft as floats. We predict a great future for the GIDLEYFORD.

Strides in other directions are marking the ambition of the company under the live management of Mr. Hugh M. Warnock. Having bought out the Walter Dean Canoe and Boat Co., which has been in business in
50 Foot Gidley
50 Foot Gidley Cabin Cruiser
Toronto for thirty-five years, they have added equipment to their Penetang plant to produce these well-known metallic-joint craft, popular on the Humber and elsewhere. But not in pleasure craft alone have they excelled. As far back as twenty years ago, when the Government wanted a special boat for survey work on the St. Lawrence River, the design of the Gidley Boat Co. best measured up to the peculiar needs. So well did the boat serve Mr. Cowie, Government Engineer, on the difficult and treacherous rapids, that when another and more difficult enterprise had to be under-taken by water, the same firm was appealed to and with like result. This was the running down by the Mounted Police of the Eskimo who murdered the missionaries in the Hirschel Inlet district on the edge of the Arctic circle and Hudson's Bay. The "Lady Borden" never faultered, and when her grim task was finished she was sent forth on similar work on the Mackenzie River.
1903 Runabout
A runabout from 1903 Gidley Catalogue

The eyes of the Hudson's Bay Co. were thus directed to the Penetang builders. In 1915 they secured a very sturdy cabin cruiser for exploration work on the Ungava coast and a few months later ordered a staunch harbor tug for the transferring of supplies from then ocean-going vessels to the landing at Fort Churchill. At the present time this greatest company of the North are having constructed a special tunnel- stern boat for use on some of the more shallow rivers of their remote trading ground. Just prior to the war the Gidley Boat Co. supplied to the Russian Government with a fleet of five special boats for work in connection with ice breaking on the White Sea, and during the great conflict a capacity output of lifeboats marked their contribution to the cause of the Allies. That they are still reaching out in new lines indicated by the imposing fire-tug which, at present they are building for the Toronto Fire Department, the first of its kind.

Note: There is no proof of the purchase of The Walter Dean Boat and Canoe Company and that company continued operations after 1895. Maybe, there was a product line that was purchased and moved to Penetanguishene. BDAG


Gidley Cabin Launch
42 and 50 Foot Gidley Cabin Launch
As with any business, quality is prescribed to be what the marketplace requires and the standard of the product that the company chooses to market. Henry strived fo a high quality product and successfully sold it to the entrepreneurs and business people of his day. Wilbur Wright of the Wright brothers owned a Gidley Boat which he called the Kittyhawk. Henry Ford also purchased a Gidley Boat. It was delivered to one of his managment people and the story is given in these pages.

The following testimonials give us an appreciation of the quality to which Henry adhered;
East Georgian Bay Historical Journal 1982 Volume II Pointe Au Baril

Page #232
"Tom Smith lived at the Pointe in summer and had a house in the Station Valley in winter. He was originally from Meaford where he drove the stage to Owen Sound. He owned one of the first motorboats at the Pointe - Gidley-built, twenty-one feet -which he ran as a water taxi. This service was of particular value to the cottagers at Nares and Bayfield Inlets as he was the only one interested in making the often hazardous trip. He was overly fond of firewater," and there are many hilarious tales of these journeys, but he had "a healthy respect for the vagaries of the open Georgian Bay, that prompted the remark of one lady member of our community to the effect that she would rather make the trip from the Pointe with Tom Smith drunk than anyone else sober."

The Gidley Sales Catalogue of 1903
Page #19 No. 9 Upper Addington Gardens, Kensington London.
MESSRS. H.E. Gidley & CO., Penetanguishene, Ont.

Dear Sirs: I duly received your 18 ft. motor boat, and had the pleasure of testing its capabilities and usefulness on the River Thames very frequently during the past season. I have great pleasure in affirming that the boat gave entire satisfaction, and was greatly admired. The engine worked smoothly, easily and without any hitch. It may interest you to know that representatives of the British Admiralty have inspected the boat, and expressed their satisfaction.
Yours truly, Frederick Richardson.

1918 Gidley Boat
1918 Gidley Boat

It might also be noted as on page #3 of the catalogue that the "Made in Canada" label has been with us for quite some time. In a later catalogue circa 1909;

Page #40 LETTER REGARDING MATERIAL Messrs. H.E. Gidley & Co.

GUELPH, CANADA, March 5, 1907

Penetang, Ontario

Dear Sirs,-- Your letter received with order for best White Oak and Cyprus, and in reply would say that we have the required lengths and widths in stock, but the way your order reads we cannot ship you the regular firsts and seconds, as you require strictly clear stock; consequently we have to sort same and charge you $10.00 extra per thousand as before. Our stock is piled No. 1 and 2 National Hardwood inspection, and we will ship you only No. 1 selected. We hope this will be satisfactory, and we will try to satisfy you as in former shipments. Thanking you for the order, we remain Yours Truly,

Robert Stewart Limited, per E.S. Singer, Sec.

And from the same, the Gidley Boat Company's own reason for their quality;

Page #11
WHY WE EXCEL THE REASON our work is as near perfect as possible is because we have a perfect system. The main floor of our factory is our machine department, where all the machine work is done. The different parts are taken out from templates. In this way we keep everything very accurate and uniform. The material is then elevated to

Paint and Varnish Room
Paint and Varnish Room
the second floor, where it is put together under the inspection of our master mechanic, thus reducing the cost and enabling us to sell cheap. Our paint and finishing rooms are in a separate building, thus avoiding all possible dirt and dust, and allowing our painting and varnishing to be done artistically. We may say something for the benefit of those who do not know the vast difference that different systems of heating make in this class of work, particularly in the varnishing department. In order to get the best results from paint and varnishes, the heat must be evenly distributed, and the work not allowed to get cold or freeze through the night. Our large varnishing and painting room is always clean, while the temperature is always maintained at the right point night and day by a thorough system of steam- heating, which is used throughout the entire plant. We thus get the very best results from each coat of paint and varnish applied.


From the 1903 catalogue;

Page #12

Prices and Dimensions of Standard Open Launches
Length Beam Cockpit People Speed H.P. Cyl Price
18' 4'9" 12'6" X 4'3" 6-10 6m 1-1/2 1 $260
18'6" 4'9" 12'6" X 4'3" 6-10 7m 3 1  325
21'5" 4' 14' X 4'9" 12-14 7m 3 1  385
25'6"   17' X 5'7" 22-25m 8 5 1  555
25'6"   17' X 5'7" 22-25 8m-1/2m 6 2  650

Gidley Catalogue Fittings
Gildey Catalogue Fittings


These launches are shipped ready for running. Fitted with steering wheel, mooring cleats, fender cleats, chocks, flagpole sockets, and two flagpoles. An assortment of optional and standard hardware (taken from the original 1903 catalogue). Tops for these including curtains ran between $60.00 and $145.00. Canoes of excellant quality went for $27.00 to $37.00 with $3.00 extra for mahogany trim and sharp stern row boats for between $39.50 and $52.50, square sterns $8.00 extra.


The following article first appeared in the September 1983 issue of Boating Business and is reproduced here with their kind permission;


1883-1983 GREW MARKS 100 YEARS OF BOAT BUILDING IN CANADA Like many vintage companies, Grew Boats began life under another name; in this case, the event took place 100 years ago in the modest site of the Walter Dean Boat and Canoe Company, on Nelson Street in Penetanguishene, Ontario. The progenator of the firm that was to become a major force in Canadian boating was Henry Gidley. He christened the fledgling company The Gidley Boatworks and began building pleasure craft powered with one-cylinder engines built by his next door neighbor, The Adams Launch and Engines Manufacturing Company. (Adams was sold to J.T. Payette in 1914.)

Adams Launch and Engine Mfg Company
Adams Launch and Engine Mfg Company
In 1910, Gidley switched to Ford engines and dubbed the line, the "Gidleyford". While Gidley was getting his venture underway, Art Grew was learning the boatbuilding business from the Ackroyd brothers in Toronto, who enjoyed a reputation as builders of the 14-foot, catrigged dinghies so popular around the country. In 1907, however Art developed respiratory problems that prompted a move north. He settled in Jackson's Point where, with his father's help, he set up a business in a two-storey boathouse. In addition to renting boats and canoes, he built at least one boat in his first year there. It was a 20-foot, gaff-rigged hull which he sold to David Gibson of the Robert Simpson Company. Gibson's purchase may qualify him as the first owner of a Grew boat. In 1932, Clarence Kemp, then the owner of Grew Boats, partnered with Eric Osborne to purchase the Gidley Boatworks. Not long after, the two firms were consolidated in Penetanguishene under the name Grew Boats.

Longtime observers of the boating business will remember the events that followed. During WW II, Grew suspended production of pleasure boats, reduced staff and concentrated on the war effort. They built 110-foot, high-speed submarine chasers, "Fairmiles", and 130-foot minesweepers. After the war, Grew returned to the pleasure boat building and, in 1960, was purchased by Canadian industrialist, Colonel W.E. Phillips. The following year, Grew linked an agreement with W.
Gidley Boats Buliding
Gidley Boats Building
Pady's Algonquin Marine Ltd. which took over the marketing chores for Grew and began the establishment of their national dealer organization. That same year, Grew entered into a five year contract with Cruisers Inc. of Oconto, Wisconsin, to build that company's wood lapstrake models in Canada. When the Cruisers Inc. contract expired, Grew, now nationally prominent, opted to ally with Leon Slickers of Slickcraft Boats. This was a significant event in the history of Grew since it marked their transition from wood construction to fibreglass.

Manufactured under the Grew name, the line of deep-V runabouts evinced the now-expected Grew quality and sold well during the first seasons. In the last two decades, milestones have come frequently to Grew, each contributing in its own way to the growth history of the huge firm. In 1972, the company expanded its facility with the completion of a 55,000 square foot brick building. They now encompass 100,000 square feet and employ an average 80 to 90 people. In 1974, following the death of Colonel Phillips, Grew was sold to Algonquin Marine, which to become Grew Corporation. The Slickcraft agreement was terminated in 1975 and in 1977 Peter Francis, formerly president of Trojan Boats in Canada, became the general manager of Grew Boats.

In 1978, Grew negotiated an arrangement with the Federal government which permits them to import into Canada cruisers of 25 feet and over (subject to the amount of Canadian content in cruiser built by Grew).

A tour through the facility at Penetanguishene is a
1914 Gidley Plant Workers
1914 Gidley Plant Workers
fascinating experience for anyone with any interest at all in boating, and especially so for those directly involved in the business. Meticulous engineering, professional plant-planning and the application of the most modern of mass production techniques come together at the end of the line in boats that appear to be hand- built on an individual basis. Just as interesting, perhaps, would be the opportunity to tour the old Gidley Boatworks at its inception, or soon after. That can be accomplished vicariously with a few minutes of looking at one of the earliest pieces of literature we have available from the old firm, its 1906 catalogue.

The old brochure of the H.E. Gidley & Co. offered "Gasoline Launches, Skiffs, Canoes, etc." with "Gasoline Engines, and Engine Fittings, Launch and Boat Fittings" included. Readers were advised on an early page that agreements were contingent on "strikes, accidents, delays of carriage" and other delays beyond the firms control. Gidley took care in the catalogue to explain "Why Our Work is Perfect" which was, as they pointed out, "because we have a perfect system." For example, all "painting and varnishing" was accomplished in "a separate room" to avoid any dust or dirt and allowing work to be done "artistically." The carefully applied finishes were not allowed to "freeze" overnight in a room improperly heated with "an old-fashioned wood stove," but were kept at an even temperature with a "thorough system of steam heating."

In 1906, Gidley's "Standard Stock Launches" were offered with or without engine and fittings. Keel stem,deadwoods,ribsor frames, floor frames, engine shed, shearstreak, whalestreak, clamp-streak, covering-board, deck beams and breast- hook were all of white oak; terms which might mean little to today's professional fibreglass laminator but were day-to-day terminology for the early builder. Even at that early date, Canadian builders apparently experienced some of the problems and/or benefits of dealing with imported products. Gidley said that "with the advent of the gasoline engine," they recognized its "great possibilities," and resolved to identify themselves with the manufacture of "small, high-grade power pleasure craft." At the time, they were willing to install virtually any make of engine wanted by their customers, whether Canadian or otherwise. This caused them and their customers "a lot of trouble" and also "increased final cost" of a launch, so they finally resolved it by making their own engines.

Gidley Boats Buliding
Gidley Boats Building

At the time of the catalogue, they were making about two hundred engines a year. Although the illustrations in the old brochure bear only faint resemblance to the sleek, high performance boats of today, it is difficult not to appreciate the craftsmanship and planning that produced the handsome old boats. Long and narrow, graceful double-enders with or without canopies, the launches, yachts and hotel boats that came out of Penetanguishene at the turn of the century were the forerunners in quality of those produced today. In that gentler age, when the economy permitted boats that were truly "hand built" and buyers could pay the price, the "bottom line" seemed more than reasonable, even for then. In Gidley's "Standard Open Launch" line, an 18-footer could be had with a 1.5 hp engine for $240. The 25-footer (6-foot beam, 17-foot cockpit, capacity of 23-25 people) went for $565. It sported a 6 hp engine that could turn out a respectable 6 mph. It took an entire page to list and define the fittings that were included in the price of the standard launches. Some of them were the wrought-iron stemband, shoe and rudder blade. The rudder stock was fitted with an iron collar to prevent it from "unshipping". A new tiller had been added, as well as two polished brass flagpole sockets. The long, sleek double-enders bore a strong family resemblance to the canoes that began it all.

Perhaps the most recognizable of the early Gidley models was the full canopied "Hotel Boat". Available in 30-35-foot lengths, they can today be seen in many Yacht Club lounges
Gidley Boats Workshop
Gidley Boats Workshop
as background observers in paintings and photographs of early offshore yacht races. Mounted with a 10 hp engine, they were touted as useful for "hotel boats and fishing clubs". They were also "just the thing" for houseboat parties, making the "services of tug" unnecessary. The 10 hp engine, incidentally, was the top of the Gidley line. It weighed 350 pounds, was a two-cycle type with a reversing wheel, spring-starting, and at a price tag of $475. (Tanks were $7.50 extra.) "Reversing is accomplished by moving (the) lever to the right of the engine." Lest the reader forget where it all began, the line of the canoes was included. Six models were listed, from a 15-footer in painted basswood (25.50) to a 16- footer version in cedar ($50). One hundred years after the opening of Gidley Boat Works, its line-descendant, ACF Grew Inc. is no less innovative nor less demanding of product quality. Their 1983 catalogue, replete with full-color photographs of the latest in state-of-the-art boats is in stark contrast to the early day offerings of Henry Gidley. This year Grew celebrates its centennial with an offering of some twenty sport boats and cruisers. Truly a full line. it begins with the 14'3" 150 outboard and culminates at the top-of-the- line, 33-foot ChrisCraft cum Grew 332, a sporty cabin cruiser. There is little doubt that Gidley would be hard put to relate the Grew Boat operation of today with his efforts in 1883. It is just as likely that the old perfectionist would have to approve of the techniques, practices and results he would find in Penetanguishene. The company has earned the respect of the industry and consumers alike and is well deserved of hearty congratulations on this latest milestone, its one hundredth anniversary.

Newspaper clippings about the Gidley Boat Company

Midland Argus Sept 2, 1915 Vol 16 #8 P 1

- The Gidley Boat Co., Penetang, have turned out no less than 300 power boats this season. From the Midland Free Press

June 15, 1922

New Style of Boat The Gidley Boat Company have completed the first of their Ford
Orville Wright's Kittyhawk
Orville Wright's "Kittyhawk"
Motor Boats. The local Co. are the originators and only manufacturers of this type of boat which is a combination of the round and V bottom embodying all the good qualities of both types in one. It is so designed as to allow the engine to be put in the boat on a level with the water. These launches are all to be equipped with Ford motors, starting and lighting equipment, steering gear, top and windshield. The craft is 24 ft. long with a 5 ft. 5 in. beam and built of mahogany. The first boat in charge of Capt. Brock left here for Detroit, Wednesday at midnight, three hours after launching and reached Tobermory 11 p.m. Thursday. Their next stop was at Kincardine where they arrived at 10:30 Friday morning. From there they left for Sarnia arriving at 10:30 Friday night. They arrived safely at Detroit Saturday noon where the boat was handed over to Mr. Liebold, secretary of the Ford Motor Co. by whom the boat was purchased for Mr. Ford.

From the East Georgian Bay Historical Journal 1982 Volume II Pointe Au Baril Page #232

-Tom Smith lived at the Pointe in summer and had a house in the Station Valley in winter. He was originally from Meaford where he drove the stage to Owen Sound. He owned one of the first motorboats at the Pointe - Gidley-built, twenty-one feet -which he ran as a water taxi. This service was of particular value to the cottagers at Nares and Bayfield Inlets as he was the only one interested in making the often hazardous trip. He was overly fond of firewater," and there are many hilarious tales of these journeys, but he had "a healthy respect for the vagaries of the open Georgian Bay, that prompted the remark of one lady member of our community to the effect that she would rather make the trip from the Pointe with Tom Smith drunk than anyone else sober."

Shanahan Carriage Company
Shanahan Carriage Company

Michael Mundy, grandson of Asher Mundy, bought a carriage company from its founder Mr. Delorme. D.J. Shanahan purchased the company and changed the name to The Shanahan Carriage Works. In 1911, Henry purchased the Shanahan Carriage Works, then located on Main Street in a building pr occupied for many years since, by the Brule Hotel. At the time that the automobile began its popularity, the company began to manufacture truck bodies, expanding with a facility in Toronto. They were willing to meet individual needs for fitted bodies of any style or size for all Ford dealers in the Toronto area. When Henry purchased the company, he renamed it the Gidley Carriage Company. He continued to offer high quality products as was the practise with his patrons of the Gidley Boat Company. Shanahan Ford in Newmarket Ontario retains the original family line of the Shanahan's. The Company was eventually sold a little before or after Henry's departure to Detroit Michigan and changed its name once more this time becoming the Penetanguishene Carriage Company.



John Douglas Gidley was born 9 April, 1898, in Penetanguishene Ontario. He was baptized on the 11th July, 1899 at the 1st Presbyterian Church, Penetanguishene. During Easter of 1919 at St. Albans Church, Teddington England he married his sweetheart, Miss Edith Emily Feltham. Their marriage certificate reads as follows:
John and Edith Gidley and Family
John and Edith Gidley and Family

Marriage solemnized at Teddington Parish of Teddington in the County of Middlesex No. 393
May 17th, 1919
John Douglas Gidley, 27, Bachelor, Soldier and Edith Emily Feltham, 29, Spinster, both residing at 70 Munster Road, Teddington.
John's father –Henry Edward Gidley, Contractor and Edith's father William Feltham, Joiner. Married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the English Church after banns by Hubert Williams CTF, in the presence of William Feltham and Kate Feltham.

He was still working in the Army at the time as a lorry driver. Edith was born at Herne Bay England, the daughter of William Henry and Margaret Ann Bond on the 29th of August, 1897/8. I remember when Grandfather John came to Elliot Lake Ontario, to spend some time with his only son and his family. I hardly knew him and I pleaded with both parents to be able to accompany both men on a moose and deer hunt. After a fruitless morning in the
Edith Feltham France 1918
Edith Feltham France 1918
woods, my father pointed to a shape high above us on a power line cut. I was asked to freeze and grandfather to remain while my father skirted the open area to the hilly position. The shape suggested a well pointed set of antlers, but turned out to be a leafless bush. This was as close as we came to any game that day. John and Edith separated in the spring of 1941, John was a restless and wandering individual with an eye for other ladies. Be that as it may, they were much in love with each other, even to the time of their deaths. Edith ran a small hotel in Jackson's point for many years and before retiring, was the proprietor of a small variety and gift shop. They tried to live with each other again in the early sixties, but this failed. Edith was a large woman, jovial, kind, familial and with a great sense of humor. She wouldn't need an excuse to have a party, just the thought of one being good enough. Edith lived in Jacksons Point in her own home for many years. Her family used to visit regularly and helped her to add an addition to the home. Not wishing to be alone, and realizing additional income, she always kept a boarder.

Anytime her grandchildren came, she would ask them which toy in her store they wanted. She would often bus herself to Toronto, even though her health was in jeopardy, to see her children and grandchildren. John lived in Windsor for many years until his death. He drove a taxi cab and also was a carpenter having laid many hardwood floors. He would visit his children when he could, but we never knew him that well. He died of cancer in a veteran’s hospital, Huron Lodge and is buried in Windsor. Edith rests in a cemetery on Yonge Street in North York. For John and Edith's family see John Douglas and Edith Emily Gidley. Edith's epitaph read as follows;

GIDLEY, Edith E. - At the Brandon General Hospital, Willowdale on Sunday Sept. 11, 1966. Edith E. Gidley, late of Jackson's Point, dear mother of Mrs. F. Redvers (Margaret), Mrs. L. Fallis (June), Mrs. J. Cummings (Dorothy) and the late Douglas, survived by 18 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Friends may call at the R.S. Kane Funeral Home (Yonge St. at Shepard Ave.) Time of service later.


This genealogical record was found among the possessions of Mary Thomas nee Gidley at the time of her death in her home in Detroit. It is dated 1951, the author being unknown. It was given to Bryan Gidley by his aunt Mrs. Margaret Redvers nee Gidley. 111 pictures accompanied this record of which many are shown within this book. The majority of these photographs belonged to Wilhelmina Gidley nee Crawford. The record is hereby reproduced in its entirety.


The first Craigmille of which we have any record was 'William' who married one Margaret Reid and lived in Smiddy Hill, Graigen High Parish of Kincardine O'Neil, Scotland. They had several children, Alexander, William, John, Agnes, Eliza, Barbara and Margaret. Alexander the oldest son had four children, William, Elizabeth, George and Helen. This 'William' was the father of our branch of the family. He married Margaret Harregary and twelve children were born to them, Elizabeth, George, Helen, Alexander, James, John, Christina, Francis, Mary, Peter, Charles and David. They lived at Boglock, Lumpanon near Aberdeen, Scotland. The mother died when David was a baby. After a while William married again and the family all loved the new mother. Elizabeth, the oldest daughter was born July 5, 1808. She married a Mr. Davie but we have no further record of them. George, the oldest son was born October 13, 1809-1896. He married Helen Adams. They had ten children, Mary, Elizabeth, Alexander, George, John, Helen, Margaret, Christina, Isabel and James. We have no record of the oldest children. George married Margaret Snowie, daughter of a fine family in Tillyburlock, Midmar. He was in lumber business and very successful. There were seven children in their family, Alexander, Mary Ann, George, Chrissie, Charles, Louise and Alfred. John never married; he was in business with George. Helen, born February 23, 1846 married James Walker in Scotland; four children born were Mary Jane, James, George and Christina. They came to the United States in 1872 and settled in Chicago where James worked in the Stock Yards for many years. Helen, the youngest child was born in Chicago. Helen Walker died in 1934, James in 1915. Christina, born October 29, 1850 came to the United States with Isobel in 1869, married William Walker brother of James. He also worked at the Stock Yards in Chicago. There were five children in the family, James, William, Margaret, Charles and Christina. Isobel married Fred Frocknow and lived in Chicago. They had no children. James, the youngest son of George came to the United States with his father in 1872. He married Ella Oldfield, daughter of a pioneer family of Du Page County. They had twelve children, Frank, Mary, George, Florence, Ivy, Cora, Jessie, James, (Helen and Raymond) twins, William and Roy. James passed away in 1927, his wife in 1940.Helen was born in 1811, the second daughter of William III, she married William Crawford whose son William Crawford came to Canada about 1865 with wife and three children and four were born in Canada, Margaret, Wilhelmina, Alexander, Barbara, Charles and Mary Jane.


Helen, the second daughter of William III married James William Crawford in
Helen Craigmille
Helen Craigmille
Aberdeen Scotland. Their son came to Canada and settled in Ingersoll Ontario. They had three sons and four daughters, James, Margaret, Wilhelmina, Alexander, Barbara, Mary Ann and Charles.

James died in infancy.

Margaret married George Strathern, Midland, Ontario and they had six children, Wilhelmina, Robert, Crawford, Stuart, Walter and Margaret. (Walter was killed in WW1.)

Wilhelmina married Henri E. Gidley, Penetanguishene Ontario; they had four children,

Henri E., who died in infancy, Margaret, Mary and Douglas.

Alexander married Martha Hayword; they had five children, David, Marion, Beatrice, Florence and Margaret. (David was killed in WWI.) Barbara married William Howard, Toronto Ontario; they had three children, Clifford, Ethel and Earnest.

Charles lived in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario where he married and raised a family of five children.

Mary Ann died in infancy.


Alexander, the second son of William III, was born January 9, 1813. He married Jean Mitchell who was probably the daughter of William the first. Three children were born in Scotland, Alexander, James and William. The family sailed from Aberdeen in August, 1845 and arrived in Canada in October. They had a very rough passage in a sailing vessel and Jean was ill most of the way, so, Alexander had to care for the family and to cook and wash as there were few conveniences in those days on sailing vessels. They were shipwrecked in the St. Lawrence river and thought their time had come. They stayed in Canada until 1853 when they came to Illinois where they bought a farm in Cass near Lamont. Three sons were born in Canada, Peter, John and George and Charles and Jean were born in Illinois. Jean passed away in 1877 and the daughter Jean kept house for the family for many years. My mother once said to Jean 'I think uncle Sandy is such a fine man' and she replied 'Just pull a hair cot o' him'.

William born 1841- died 1882.

Alexander, the second son of Alexander, married Agnes Calder of Rantoul Ill. He farmed for many years and lived in Rantoul. They had six children, Homer, Erva, Archibald, Eunice (Jessie) and Charles. He was born in 1843 and died 1925.

James, the third son married Sarah Oldfield, the daughter of a pioneer family of Du Page County. They had no family but adopted Sarah's sister's son Raymond. James was in partnership with John Whitson in a store in La Grange for many years. He was also interested in church work and left to the La Grange Congregational Church $5,000.00 for Sunday school work. He was born in 1846 and died in 1899. Peter married Daisy Naylor in Chicago. They had five children, Alexander, Janette, Winifred, Belle and Peter. Alexander died when a young man. Peter was the only one who married. Peter was born in 1849 and died 1929.

George died of typhoid fever.

John married Samantha Turner of Rantoul Ill. They had four children, Ivy, Charles, Pearl and Beatrice. John farmed many years in Rantoul, and then moved to Farnumville, Iowa, where he bought a farm and lived many years. Charles married Mary Jane Walker and they had one daughter, Janie Irene. They lived in Chicago until his death in 1889. He was born in 1857.Mary Jane was born in 1864 and died in 1948.

Jean, the only daughter of Alexander kept house for her father for many years. After his death she married Harvey Turner from Rantoul Ill. They had four children, Bessie J., Alexander, James and Jean. They lived in Rantoul and Gifford for many years then moved to Iowa and then to Ft. Collins, Colo. where Jean died in 1938.


James, the third son of William III, was born December 5, 1814. He was the first to turn his face to the new land of the free. He sailed from Aberdeen in 1830. For sixteen weeks he was tossed about and finally landed in Canada where he stayed until 1833. Then he came to Chicago, a mere village. He found employment with John Yarwood on the Illinois and Michigan Canal which was then being built. In 1843 he married Mary Yarwood daughter of a pioneer family. He bought land on County Line Road from the Government for $1.25 per acre and here the family was born, William, John, Sarah, Ann, Elizabeth, James, Samuel and Henry.

William married Louisa Evans, daughter of a pioneer family of Joliet Road. He bought a farm in Iowa where he lived the rest of his life. They had no family. He was a great joker. One day at the church when one of the young men went to help a woman out of a wagon whose younger sister was with her, he said, 'If you want to catch the calf, give the old cow a nubbin'. John married Nancy Barber in Iowa or Missouri and settled in Tarkio. Sarah, the oldest daughter kept house for the family after the mother's death. She married John Leonard and they made their home in Iowa. They had no family and she died in 1890.

Elizabeth married John Whitson. They lived in La Grange for many years where John had a general store. Then they went to California and bought a fruit ranch. They had four children, Henry, Samuel, Mary and James. The boys made their home in California and Mary lived in La Grange until 1944 when she moved to Muskegon Heights, Michigan. John died in 1930 and Elizabeth in 1939.

James married Myra Abott in Council Bluffs, where he worked for many years for the U.P.R.R. They had two sons, James and Charles. James passed away in 1931.

Henry lived in the old farm in Du Page County, married Mary Jane Walker Craigmille, widow of Charles Craigmille, son of Alexander. They moved to a farm in Iowa near Farnumville where there were several Craigmille cousins. They had three children, Elizabeth, William and Edwin. Henry passed away in 1917, Jane in 1945.

Samuel married Mary Vial, daughter of Robert Vial, who came to Illinois in 1833. Samuel was in business for several years with John Whitson and then moved to Knox Indiana where he had a large farm. They had two children, Robert and Mary. Samuel passed away in 1936 and his wife and daughter Mary lived together in Indiana in this year 1951.


Christina, the third daughter of Alexander III was born December 5, 1818. She married Robert Asam of Aberdeen, Scotland and they lived at a place called the 'Bush'. They had three sons, Robert, a lawyer, William and James, farmer. Robert lived in Aberdeen. He had several sons. William lived in an old homestead and had two sons and a daughter and James went to South Africa and settled there. Robert's wife was living when we visited in Aberdeen in 1923. William was also living and Annie Craigmille, daughter of Francis, was keeping house for him. He looked very much like Uncle David. The three sons have passed away.


John, the seventh child of William III died when 18 years of age.

FRANCIS Francis was born April 18, 1820. He lived in Banbury (Chory). He married and three children were born to them, William, Isabelle and Annie. The first two sons were married and Annie kept house for William Adam. They were very Scotch and cooked over open hearth and served 'tea' and 'wheat cakes'. He had a shed full of peat for fuel. We visited Isabel and she called her son to come in, 'John come awa to the hoose a mennit'.


Mary was born June 22, 1822. She married George Wilson, her cousin. He was, I think, the son of Elizabeth, sister of William III. They came to the United States in 1854 with four children, Alexander, Elizabeth, Christina and George. They chose a farm south of La Grange because of the fine spring water. Neighbours came from miles around to get water. They lived here the rest of their lives. Two sons were born here, William and James.

Alexander, the oldest son, married Mary Carrington, daughter of one of the pioneers of Cook County. They lived near Rantoul for several years and then moved to Farnumville, Iowa. They had six children, Laura, John, Mary, Mabel, Star and Minnie.

Elizabeth married Charles Dodge, a schoolteacher. She had taught many years also. Their home was in Windsor Wisconsin. Five children were born to them, Florence, Charles, Mary, Anna and Chester. All of these were teachers but Anna.

Christina married Isaac Bielby of Lyonsville; they lived on Joliet Road on a farm. There were five children in their family, George, Bert, Irving, Edith and Henry. George never married. He died in 1877. William married Agnes Harrison, daughter of a pioneer family of Cook County. They also lived in Iowa on a farm. They had five children, Herbert, Mildred, Gertrude, John and George.

James married Lucy Marshal and lived on the old homestead. He died of typhoid fever in 1896. They had one daughter, May.


Peter was born on August 11, 1824. He came to the United States in August 1845 with Alexander and family. He came right on to Illinois and lived with James for a time. Then married Elizabeth Yarwood, sister of James' wife and bought a farm from the Government for $1.25 per acre on Plainfield Road and the County Line Road. Peter wore a tall hat when he came and was laughed at a good deal but his wife set a hen in it so it came to a rather ignominious end. There were eight children in their family, Carswella, Elizabeth, Mary, Delia, Martha, John and Mark.

Carswella, or Carrie as she was called, married Joseph C. Vial, son of Samuel Vial who came to Illinois from New York in 1832 and settled on Plainfield Road. They lived in La Grange were Joseph was in the lumber business and he also was Township School Treasurer for many years. There were eight children in their family, Jean, Margaret, Martha, Sarah, Samuel, Joseph, Nathaniel and Helen. They celebrated their golden wedding in 1931. Carrie passed away in 1931 and Joseph in 1941.

Elizabeth married Henry Payne, a teacher and then florist for many years in Hinsdale. Six children were born into their family, Delia, Mary, William, Francis, Olive, Paul and Elizabeth.

Mary married Frank Withey. They lived in La Grange. Mary and Frank had two children, Frank and Elizabeth. John Y. married Lottie Parrot. They lived in Lyonsville and then moved to a farm near Gowrie, Iowa. They had five children, Delia, Helen, Mark, Samuel and Margaret Ann.

Mark Gerry married Nellie Perrot. They had one son, Mark, who lived in Northern Minnesota. Mark died when a young man and Nellie married Fred Craigmille, son of William.


Charles married Mary Milne in Tillyburlock, Midmar, Scotland where two children were born. In 1853, they decided to follow the other Craigmilles and came to the United States. They walked the eighteen miles to Aberdeen where they embarked on a sailing vessel and for ten long weeks they were tossed about. They were shipwrecked near Newfoundland and had to be taken to an island to await another ship. The men had to pump for hours to keep the ship afloat. They finally arrived and lived with James for a time and then found an old house on the Carrington place where they spent a very cold winter. They finally bought a farm on Joliet Road, south of La Grange in 1866 where Charles lived the rest of his life. He was born in 1826 and died in 1892. The two children born in Scotland were William and Annie and six children, John, Charles, Mary, David, Fannie and Harvey were born in the United States. Mary lived with daughter Fannie in La Grange after Charles death. Mary passed away in 1906.

William, born in 1848, married Mary Shanley in Chicago, where he worked for many years. He moved to La Grange and finally moved to a farm in Iowa. They had nine children, John, Fred, Agnes, Ida, Anna, William Juliet, Laura and Julia. William passed away in 1938 and his wife in 1941.

Annie, born in 18540, married N.M. Kimball son of a pioneer of Chicago. Their family consisted of four sons and one daughter, Martin, Charles, Raymond, Mabel and Arthur.

John H., born 1854, married Clara Polk, daughter of an early settler of Lyons Township. They lived in Lyonsville for many years and then moved to California where their family still resides. They had seven children, Walter, Edwin, Ivy, Harry, Frank, John and Roy. John passed away in 1913, Clara in 1917.

Charles M. born 1856, married Jane Harrison daughter of an early settler in Lyons Township. They lived on a farm south of La Grange for many years. Jane passed away in 1893. Two years later, he married Blanche Durland and six children were born to them, Elinor, Florence, Evelyn, Gertrude, Charles and Margaret. He finally sold out and moved to Genesee, Wisconsin, where he bought a farm. He passed away in 1931. Mary died at the age of 5 years.

David Francis, born in 1863, married Mary L. Holt from Bunker Hill Pa. who taught home school. They lived in Lyonsville. They had two sons, Herbert and Charles. David passed away in 1893 and Mary in 1931. Fannie Ellen, born 1866, married Frederick K, Vial in 1892. They made their home in La Grange. Frederick worked in Chicago as a civil engineer. Three children were born to them, Harold, Charles and Mary H. Fredrick died in 1949.

Harvey M., born in 1872, married Mary Oakley. He was a railroad engineer on the St. Paul RR. They had no family and lived in Bensonville for many years and then moved to Harvard Illinois and then to St. Petersburg, Florida.

David David, the youngest son of William III, was born in 1828. He came to the United States in 1853 with Charles and family and lived with them for some time. He married Nancy Harrison in 1864. He bought a farm on Plainsfield Road near the home of Peter and James. They had several children, Sarah, Francis, Esther, David, Nancy, Ira and Ruth.

Sarah married Val Snyder and moved to Oregon where her two sons were born, Earl and Charles. Her husband passed away in 1934. Francis married Sarah Adeline Gerringer. They lived in Lyonsville where their family was born. Sarah and Val had five daughters and one son, Esther, Edna, Florence, Winifred, Catherine and David. They made their home on Wolf Road. They later moved to Muncie Indiana. Nancy married Eugene Vial. They had two daughters and one son, Ruth, Paul and Laura. Eugene passed away in 1922 and Nellie December 7, 1947.

Esther became a teacher of nature work in public schools. She never married.

David married Emma Hoyt. They bought a farm in Indiana and lived there many years. They had one son and two daughters, Howard, Sarah and Marion. Emma passed away in August 1932 and David in November 1932.

Ruth married Howard Hoyt. Their home was is in Lyons Township. Four sons and two daughters were born, Walter, Raymond, Harriet, Margaret, Preston and Wilson.

Ira, the youngest son, lived in Lyonsville and was unmarried. He met with a fatal accident in 1937.

Excerpts from Pioneer Papers by A.C. Osborne 1912
OLD PENETANGUISHENE Sketches of its Pioneer, Naval and Military Days
By A.C. Osborne

David J. of La Grange, Illinois, visited the scenes of his boyhood days here in 1910 after an absence of forty years. Needless to say, remarkable changes from the olden days greeted him. From that obscure corner on Water and Queen Streets where the Post Office for the town was established, Andrew Mitchell Sr. did a large mercantile and general business as well as a fur trade till his death in 1838.

James William Crawford
James William Crawford

Helen, the second daughter of William II Craigmille married William Crawford in Aberdeen Scotland circa 1845. Their son William came to Canada to Ingersoll, Ontario in 1865 with his wife Margaret and his sister Margaret and three children.

William and Margaret Crawford Family
William and Margaret Crawford

William and Margaret lived in Ingersoll until sometime after 1871 when they moved to Penetanguishene. Here they had three more children. A sister of either William or Margaret lived with them, Elizabeth. William was a market gardener and he often rowed his boat across the bay to town in order to sell his vegetables and flowers. They moved to the "Centre of town" in 1893 and it is here that the photographs of the family are taken. William seems to have been an educated man for his time as he could both read and write and he appeared at the April 21, 1882 Congregational Meeting and was elected to the board of directors of the Presbyterian Church. He was by August 16, 1882 the Chairman of the building committee and saw the completion of the new Church. Their son Alexander sang in the church choir. The following letter was found among the possessions of Mrs. Mary Thomas nee Gidley at the time of her death by Margaret Redvers nee Gidley. It was transcribed in April, 1981 by Bryan Gidley and Margaret Jennex.

Penetanguishene Sept 10, 1893

Mrs. Fannie & Vial Dear Cousin,

Yours of August 30 to hand, a few days ago and we are so delighted to hear from you once more and fully expected you had forgot us altogether
Crawford Family
Crawford Family
but absence makes the Heart grow fonder. I really think the sight of The World's Fair would be nothing compared with one day in your mothers (Mary Milne) company but you must not think that I am not anxious to see and spend at least a week with you all no doubt I could spend a long time in the Botanical department of the fair in company of such noted Exhibits as Henderson of New York, in (???) Sons of Rochester or (Varegum) of Chicago but I would be more delighted and entertained by sitting down at your Mothers Tea Table and meet you all there but there is an Empty chair there that in my Estimation cannot be filled (Charles Craigmille). Now dear Cousin I am afraid that I cannot see you this year yet as I have been rather unfortunate in my financial affairs I had a contract with the Proprietor of a Large Summer Hotel here for doing up his grounds and supplying his Tables and Windows and the grounds with flowers and filling his Ice House and he has failed and paid no one & I have lost nearly $300.00 by him. I had the supplying the House with Vegetables but they were paid for & I have bought a lot of 3/4 acres of land with house & other buildings about the centre of Town and I have to move next month but my Green & Hot houses have to be all moved and my firs going in there by 20 or 25 of this month, & the land to be in proper shape for Vegetables for next Spring so you Know and I will have no time for writing and my girls are all married and my Boys both of them are on Lake Superior Michigan, the youngest one Charles James not sure but he will be in White City by this time (???) rather both of them are Engineers but Chas. has an offer to go to Chicago when he last wrote me but he was not sure the oldest one is not on a Boat this summer he has been with the same Co. for 6 yrs in the Sault Ste. Marie and this summer they're to sent him to a station 200 miles up the Lake and he is Trading for them with Indians he has $50 a month room & board. If Chas. has gone on I will send him proper address so he can go to the La Grange and you will say when you see him he is a fine Stout good looking fellow very much like what your father was 35 yrs ago the
Crawford Children and Friends
Crawford Children and Friends
oldest is a small one like me so are all the girls so much for the family my old woman is getting very bent she fell on the Ice 2 yrs ago and hurt her spine and she has never got over it, but she works like a man yet she is a great help to me in the Greenhouse as we have taken this up from leading and (???). The house we are living in now is 70 yrs of Cedar logs and is not a flower garden in this town in front of the best Brick House equal to ours and she has done it on all on Sunday from noon till about 6 P.M. we are thronged with people from the Town we are about 3 miles out wind the Bay, but we cross in a boat in 6 or 7 min. I go to town Wednesday to Saturday with my team with Vegetables all summer. Now next Summer I do expect you and your Husband and Mother will come and see us and Uncle James and David and all of you and spend your Holidays with us. I am sorry about your Mother getting hurt but I do hope she is getting over it all right again. Then you send your B(???) instead of Summer flowering, we weren't here although a very Healthy Place this last 2 yrs back a hard time with Typhoid Fever there are six cases around here just now. It has been here for 2 yrs quite a few deaths. There have been little or very few cases in Town, the water is blamed here for it but there is a quantity of Sawdust from the Saw mills and I think the de-aging matter is the trouble. Now this is about the value of this sheet of paper. Last Thursday I was with the Steam Thrashing Machine my peas and oats are a poor crop. My wheat is good my garden crop is the best we ever had. My corn is a splendid crop; roots of all kinds are good. Have a very good crop in Apples and the little Pug dog had 4 puppies they are all sold at $5.00 each we are selling our young (???) of wheat Stubble we will pick them and get 9c a lb. Kind love to Mother and all the rest and not forgetting you and your Husband do not be so long in writing.

Remain Yours Respectfully (Signed) William Crawford Penetanguishene P.O. Ont.

Note: () supplied by author

Wilhelmina Gidley 74 yrs
Wilhelmina Gidley 74yrs

James died an infant, probably in Ingersoll or while crossing the Atlantic.


Margaret Crawford was born circa 1861 in Scotland. She married George Strathern from Midland Ontario and they had six children; Wilhelmina, Robert, Crawford, Stuart, Walter and Margaret. Walter was killed in WWI.


Wilhelmina was born in 1863 in Scotland. She married Henri Edward Gidley and they had four Children, Margaret Ellen, Mary Wilhelmina, Henry Edward (died an infant) and the youngest, John Douglas. See Henri Edward and Wilhelmina Gidley.


Alexander was born in 1866 in Ingersoll, Ontario. Alexander became a tailor and had a store on Water Street just across from the Northern Hotel on Main Street in Penetanguishene. Taken from the Penetanguishene Herald 1898 is the following amusing story; One day last week a stranger called at Mr. A Crawford's tailor shop and wanted to purchase a pair of pants. After looking over several pair he decided on one of them and wanted Crawford to give them to him on credit. This Crawford refused to do. He then said he had been working for Chas. Martin up at Moon River, and would give him (Crawford) an order on Martin. Mr. Crawford did not know whether this fellow had been working for Martin or not, but thought he would run over to the Canada House and see if they knew this stranger. He was gone about two minutes but when he returned the man and the pants were gone and up to (the) time of writing the gent has not been located. Alexander married Martha Haywood and they bore five children, David, Marion, Beatrice, Florence and Margaret. David died in WWI.

Barbara and William Howard
Barbara and William Howard
Barbara was born in 1867, the year our country became a nation. She married William Howard from Toronto and they were blessed with three children, Clifford, Ethel and Ernest.


Charles was born in June and being the baby of the family seams to have been kidded about it. He married and raised a family in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario of five children.


Mary Ann died an infant.

Excerpts from Pioneer Papers
by A.C. Osborne 1912

OLD PENETANGUISHENE Sketches of its Pioneer, Naval and Military Days
Page #62

-“During 1829-30 a trail was opened (a primitive one at that) from the brow of the hill at the garrison towards the prospective town, following the Military road to Wilberforce St. back of North ward school-house, where it turned to the right crossing lots back of where St. James church now stands, thence following Church Street on the level as near as may be till reaching Teuton's corner and Yeo Street where it dips down into the cedars behind Beck residence and across the Crawford gardens keeping close to the bank nearly to the present residence of Edmond Gendron, where stood formerly Donovan's tavern.

-" TINY SETTLERS BEFORE 1837 ....; Mrs. Crawford, Con. 1. Lot 100;.......


It was about 1812 at Westminster Abbey in London England, that Thomas Johnson, a silk merchant and formerly with the British Army, took the hand of his bride, Jane, a descendant of the Earls of Darnly and socialite in the charmed circles of Belgravia. Oral family history suggests that she was the lady-in-waiting to Queen Caroline and that the Queen presented them with a silver tea- service as their wedding gift. They also received sterling silver, adorned with the Masonic Order crest and much fine china. There was no hesitation in their departure to Canada as we find them at Ft. Gwillam (Holland Landing) in 1813. Thomas was among the first to visit Penetanguishene Bay with the Military Pioneers. Remember, there was a war being fought with the United States. The trip from Toronto to Penetanguishene, about 102 miles, would take the customary two days along Yonge Street across Lake Simcoe to Kempenfeldt Bay and Barrie and then to Penetanguishene via a road that was little more than a trail. The 1812 War had been well under way, the Penetanguishene Bay natural harbour would be needed to secure the Upper Lakes and with its forests of oak, maple and pine it was suitably supplied for shipbuilding. The harbour was the perfect site for a naval establishment and military garrison. Thomas was shrewd enough to realize the potential for military commerce and began plans to capitalize on his observations. Thomas' stay at Penetanguishene was short lived, for he returned to Ft. Gwillam and acquired land, Lot 111E on Yonge Street. Influential as he must have been, Thomas obtained a concession to operate a 'caravansary' at the newly established military post in Penetanguishene. With Jane, he returned to Penetanguishene and began construction of a double log building, the 'Masonic Arms'. Thomas was a free mason and as we shall see, practiced his beliefs up to and including his death. Free Masons hold the principles of brotherhood and believe in a Supreme Being and immortality of the soul. Many of the Masonic Arms lodge members were among the earliest settlers and pioneers of the area, settling much of the land about the Penetanguishene Road. Meetings of the Order were held regularly and many officers of the Establishment were members. The Masonic Arms were located in a most beautiful setting, on the crest of a hill, overlooking Magazine Island and the Naval Establishment. The building measured some 60 feet by 20 feet (20 metres by 7 metres) with bed logs 16 inches wide (1/2 metre) and had a central partition. When the site was excavated by Dr. Wilfrid Jury of the University of Western Ontario, many relics and artifacts were found. Included among them were two unbroken rum bottles (empty) which appeared to have been resting sideways on shelves in the cellar which measured 7 feet by 14 feet (2 metres by 5 metres). The cellar walls were built of huge boulders embedded in clay and finished with spectacular stonework. White clay pipe bowls of various designs were found, among them a pipe bearing the emblem of the Masonic Order. Twenty-three American, British and Canadian coins were located and they probably found their place after falling through the floorboards. Military buttons, pottery pieces and over 1100 fragments of glass were found. Did they practice the ritual of throwing wine glasses into the fireplace? The variety of miscellaneous finds included slate- pencils, beads, shot, gun flints and three silver thimbles. It is interesting to note that the Johnsons were not the first to inhabit this site. Nearly 500 pieces of Indian pottery were found just below the level of the floor line. Huron Indians must have enjoyed this picturesque site well before the pioneer settlers. The present location of these artifacts is unknown. Many notable people were to visit the 'Masonic Arms' as it was the only tavern and hostelry in the area for some time. Mrs. Johnson entertained many noted travelers including titled personages such as: The Duke of Richmond (just before his accidental death) during a visit to the military establishment; Sir John Franklin, the ill- fated Arctic explorer; Sir John Ross of the Royal Navy; Lord Stanley, father of the Governor General (1890) and known for the Stanley Cup; John Galt, head of the Canada Company; Sir John Colbourne, Governor and Commander of the British forces; Lady Anna Brownell Jameson and other noted scholars. Sir John Franklin and his party of 33 including 22 VOYAGEURS arrived in Penetanguishene on 18th of April, 1825. While they were hospitably entertained as the guests of Captain Douglas, the Commander of the post at the time, Sir John was billeted at the Masonic Arms and the VOYAGEURS tented on the sward near the shore between the Officer’s quarters and Adjutant Keating’s residence. Lady Jameson writes of her stay after a canoe trip from Sault Ste. Marie to Penetanguishene. Of the 'Masonic Arms' she writes: "There was an inn here, not the worst of Canadian inns; and the wee closet called a bed-room, and the little bed with its white cotton curtains, appeared to me the ne plus ultra of luxury. I recollect walking in and out of the room ten times a day for the mere pleasure of contemplating it, and anticipated with impatience the moment when I should throw myself down into it, and sleep once more on a Christian bed. But nine nights passed in the open air, or on the rocks, and on boards, had spoiled me for the comforts of civilization, and to sleep on a bed was impossible; I was smothered, I was suffocated, and altogether wretched and fevered;- I sighed for my rock on Lake Huron." The Duke of Manchester, Lord William Morpeth, whose wife was a sister to Lady Richmond and later the Duke of Northumberland who remarked complimentary on Lady Johnson's 'good cooking' and desired to know where she obtained the recipe for her 'fine curries' were also her guests. John Galt's diary states of his visit in 1827 "In the village of Penetanguishene there is no tavern- we were obliged therefore to billet ourselves on the officer stationed there". It is known that Mrs. Johnson was there for over ten years and customary for military guests of the garrison Commander, to be 'billeted' at the 'Masonic Arms'. Also, that same year, Captain Basil Hall, eminent traveler and writer visited the Bay during the annual distribution of presents to the Indians. Sir John Ross was here in 1848 in command of one of the searches for Sir John Franklin and his expedition. In 1831 at the Masonic Arms, the presence of the Scotch "Cameron Highlanders provoked a St. Andrews anniversary bash. The event was made historic through a composition by Captain Hogg, which is to be sung to the tune of 'Auld Lang Syne'. These lads forgot their woes and homesickness as they reveled in the customary song and merriment. Handed down, within the region, for many years, the accuracy of this verbal rendition is in doubt, however, it is worthy of printing;

1 Ye Scotsmen a', baith far an' near,
From Gaspe to Sandwich green,
Come join wi' me and sing a song,
At Penetanguishene. What though removed frae balls and routs,
And city's cheerin' gleam,
We've got oour ain guid salmon trout,
At Penetanguishene.

Oh! Penetanguishene my boys,
Oh! Penetanguishene,
The de'il may care we're happy here,
At Penetanguishene.

2 An' whitefish too, baith fat an' faire,
Might star' a civic's e'en,
Or gees the gab o'Lon'on's Mayor,
At Penetanguishene.
Gin cares or sorrows should perplex,
Or e'en the monster green,
Cantie Jamie can cure it a',
At Penetanguishene.


3 He got a wee bit cosy kigg,
He says it's for a frien',
To taste an' try your welcome a'ye,
At Penetanguishene.
Come join your hands my cronies a',
Awa' wi' strife an' spleen,
We'll tak' a reel some ither night,
At Penetanguishene.


Jane was the first white woman to come to the garrison. She was a clever horsewoman and often rode to Toronto and back, alone, along the Penetanguishene Road. On one occasion, her son-in-law Mr. James Warren,
Blockhouse Magazine Island
Blockhouse Magazine Island
near mistook her for a deserter. It seems that James and a squad of soldiers nearly shot her but recognizing his voice she saved herself in time. The silver tea service of Westminster fame, hosted the visit of Sir John Franklin. Sir John was very generous and left behind many favours among them a leather-covered trunk of old English make, filled with a Britannia metal tea service that he left with Jane. It remained within her family for some time (Gidley). Upon her death, two items brought higher prices due to the Sir John connection, a lounge divan and small writing table, having both been used by him. Lord Morpeth, Lord Arthur Lennox, Earl of Carlisle and Sir Henry Harte all visited the 'Masonic Arms' during the 1840's and 50's. The tea service at this writing is still cherished by a descendant and reputed to be in Montreal. Thomas Johnson died in 1830 and was buried on Magazine Island in an unmarked grave (there being no permanent grave site yet). Two others are known to be buried there, Surgeon Todd, the first military surgeon to the establishment and a soldier by the name of James Riddell, who fell from a scow-load of hay and drowned. There is some evidence of a fourth grave, that of an Indian squaw. Apparently, a band of Indians, after carousing all night long, happened to accidentally kill her, and her remains ere buried during the night, the band disappearing by the morning light. Jane Johnson remarried Robert Wallace the mason who helped build the barracks at Penetanguishene and she continued the operation of the caravansary for many years. Jane died in 1869 and is buried near the portals of St. James Cemetery. Four children were born to Thomas and Jane, all at the Masonic Arms. Mary A(melia) was born c.1821 (although I expect sooner) and married James Warren (see James and Mary A(melia) Warren). Her brother Frank, born 1823, lived in Penetanguishene until his death in 1907. He married Ellen Keller (Kellener) born 1830. Jane married James Maloney and was born c.1824 and died 1854-57. Susanna born 1826, married John Bradley and she died in 1895.Both John and James were born in Dublin Ireland.

Public Archives of Canada (ADM42-2188)

These are to certify the Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy that the Person signing herself as Mary Johnson on these Pay Lists is the widow of Thomas Johnson who departed this life on the 14th of March, 1827 at Penetanguishene. Mary Johnson is entitled to his Pay and Enrollments up to that period as per his rating on the Ship's Books of this Establishment, she having made oath before me to the correctness of her Marriage Certificate. Given under my hand at Penetanguishene Lake Huron this 30th day of April, 1827 H.D.C. Douglas Lt Superintending Home District U.C.

From the Public Archives of Canada (R.G. 5, A1, Vol. 99)

Letter from Peter Robinson to Z. Mudge (Secretary to the Governor of Upper Canada), 16 April, 1830

-“The bearer, Mrs. Johnson tells me that she has made an application for a building lot within the reservation at Penetanguishene, with a view of keeping a respectable boarding house, and that she has the means of building it. She is a very respectable woman and lived formerly at Penetanguishene but the death of her husband and other causes obliged her to leave it."

Letter from Captain T.G. Anderson to his daughter, Betsy Anderson, 20 April, 1838

-“I did in fact to get rooms at Wallace's but it appears that their tenure depends on their accommodating as many of the officers of Government as may be required and they have room for and as a whole regiment or great part of one is expected soon."

Writings of R.H. Bonnycastle, The Canada In 1841, Volume II, London 1841, Page 27.

- "Jeffrey's Tavern at Penetanguishene village, two and a half miles from the Garrison, is a large building, but there is more comfort for the military traveler at Wallace's, which is on the Military Reserve, near the Barracks."

 Excerpts from Pioneer Papers
by A.C. Osborne 1912
Sketches of its Pioneer, Naval and Military Days

-“This year also marks the advent of the first "canteen" or caravansary, which ultimately developed into the "Masonic Arms," a double log structure situated on the pinnacle of the hill facing Magazine Island. It was erected by Thos. Johnson, a silk mercer of London, whose present wife claimed descent from the Earls of Darnly and who moved in the charmed circles of Belgravia. They enjoyed the distinction of being married in Westminster Abbey and having a quaint silver tea pot presented to them at the same time by a friend, forthwith leaving for Canada, arriving at Ft. Gwillam (Holland Landing) in 1813. Mr. Johnson was among the first to reach Penetanguishene Bay with the Military pioneers, returning in a short time to Holland Landing and Vespra where they took up land. Obtaining a "concession" at the new garrison from the authorities, for canteen purposes, they returned to the establishment, once again, to conduct the new enterprise. The "Masonic Arms." became a noted caravansary in its day, entertaining many noted travelers and titled personages as guests, among them being the Duke of Richmond, Governor-General of Canada, one of the first, just before his death, on a visit of military inspection ; Sir John Franklin, the arctic explorer; Sir John Ross, R.N.; the Duke of Northumberland; Lord Stanley, father of Canada's recent Governor-General (1890); John Galt, head of the Canada Company"; Lady Jamieson, the traveler and authoress; Sir John Colborne, Governor


In 1964 Dr. Wilfrid Jury, an eminent archaeologist, dug up many sites in the area around the Establishments including the site of the Masonic Arms of Thomas and Jane Johnson. A report to him (less all the maps and other references) from W.G. Ramey is transcribed below.

MASONIC ARMS 1964 To W. JURY Feb 2, 1965 W.G. Ramey

This is the preliminary report concerning the archaeological survey 1964 of the Masonic Arms site in Penetanguishene Ontario. Note: Block 50 would mean the block bounded by stakes 49, 50, 51, 48.

The site itself is on an old raised beach - probably caused by lowering of water levels in a post galactic period. This accounts for the beach sand, which is found directly below the distributed soil, and for the terraces up the slope. The site of today is on the grounds of the Ontario Hospital, on the west side of the main road about 150 yards, south, from the entrance to the Superintendent's (Dr. Boyd’s) Residence. [Through the kind permission of Dr. Boyd and the Dept. of Health, we were allowed to dig on the grounds, use Dr. Boyd's garage for a storage hut for tools, and allowed to have tourists visit the site. Thanks is also due to Dr. Boyd for letting us leave the site uncovered for the duration of the summer and for having some of his workmen aid in leveling out the back dirt.] The old maps of the area, especially a sketch done by some officer situated out in Penetang Bay looking East show that the well treed hill of today was at the time of the former establishment fairly well cleared. An excellent view, looking over Penetang Bay would therefore have revealed itself to the patrons of the inn.

The backbone of the crew working on the site consisted of teenagers. The four of us, having at least two years experience under Dr. Jury on various Indian and Military sites in the Penetang area, saw this site as a chance to test our gained knowledge and to prove what could be accomplished. So under the watchful check of Dr. Jury the digging was undertaken.

The site had been partly gutted in the ten foot block system. At the first of the summer an afternoon was spent checking the grid system (to see if any stake had been removed) and to put in new stakes to the East of the cellar - the direction that seemed most likely to produce the heart of the site. Using this ten foot grid system, an area about 30 feet N-S and 18 inches E-W was systematically troweled and shovel-shined down. This system proved quite satisfactory for the excavation of the cellar and the area below the floor boards (10 inches from surface), and especially for the Indian pits found shattered below the bed logs. But in the case of tracing certain stone formations, often a whole 10 foot block would be taken down to the depth of a few inches below the sod (about 8 "). This system left a fairly good surface view of the rock formations and in one case led to the uncovering of a bed log, mortar still intact, which ran a distance of some 10 feet in block 60; (refer rock pattern Part A). The combination of the two systems led to not only an insight for tourists but also a clearer picture for the workers. To excavate the cellar a rough scaffolding was made in order that the workers could comfortably and safely work in the rather deep (6'10") which had scattered in it loose stones.

Insetted are various maps. It will probably aid the reader if he follows the map with the commentary, but never really forgetting the picture as a whole.

THE CELLAR - Block pattern Part B

The cellar surely was a wonderful discovery and reaped the majority of our outstanding artifacts. It was here that most of the coins were found: and it was here that two unbroken rum bottles were found sitting in what may have been their decayed and broken shelves at the edge of the cellar.

Work had begun on the cellar the year before, but only one edge had been unearthed (the area west of stake line 42-51). The cellar proved to be 14' E-W and 7' N-S. The N and S edges were fairly straight while the E-W ends seemed to round off. The wall of the cellar consisted of fairly large boulders which were embedded in a sort of clay mortar (not the mortar like that found between the logs however). Surrounding this stonework, on the outside, was a line of black soil which gradually tapered toward the bottom- this resembled fill around the stonework.

On the inside of the cellar were scattered loose boulders, haphazard planks, much charcoal, hardened loam (with evidence of burning) and, of course, many artifacts.

The evidence seemed to point out that at some time the building had burned down, part of it falling into the cellar. At a later date the surface debris was scattered for the sake of leveling and the cellar was filled with more debris. Then for many years the topsoil guarded it hidden secret.

One problem about the cellar that had been troubling was why the stone work was found at a depth of over two feet from the surface of the floor planks 10"). But by simple mathematics it is shown that the cellar probably came to the floor. When the building burned, debris fell and so did some of the upper rocks in the side which as a result left a mass of stones in the center of the cellar.

{The mathematics mentioned put the volume of the outside wall of the cellar as approx. 380 cu. ft., while the volume of the inside was 107 cu. ft. The cellar being 6'10" deep it is seen that the volume of the loose rock in the center could easily account for about two feet on the edges which would make the cellar reach the floorboards}.

Wells of the area have to be much deeper than 6-7 feet. Situated on this high area a well of this size and depth would be impractical. I hope this clears up some earlier theories on this stonework.

In the cellar in block 50, from 50 4'10"x4'3"N and at a depth of 2'7", and 3'1" two complete rum bottles were found (refer to map). Situated near these bottles were thin boards in a fairly regular pattern. This may have been the actual remains of a rock to hold the bottles or simply a trick of nature - for everything in the cellar takes on a haphazard arrangement.

Here in the cellar were located many coins varying in denomination and size - for a closer look at the type of coins and buttons found refer to the inserted page labeled "Artifacts". For the interested reader there seems to be no definite pattern to the position of the coins or buttons except that those found outside the cellar seem to be just below the floorboards.

Stonework Block 56 (See Block 56)

The general stonework in this area made a pattern relatively square (7'x7'). This stonework went to a depth of 3 feet. The stones were logged in mortar, the tops being covered in black topsoil. Many of the rocks were squared. From stake 56, 0'10"W. x 6'2"N. an area of planking fragments 3'1" x 1'6" at a depth of 2'0" was found.

In this general area a pail, a lock, several coins, and some military buttons were the noteworthy artifacts.

Since many of the stones inside showed evidence of burning and due to the various scattering of the rocks in accompanying blocks, I believe this structure to be the base of a fire place. However the presence of the lock etc. may rule in the possibility of a door base.

Stonework Block 55 - (See Block 55)

This stonework is a continuation from block 54. In block 54 large logs about a foot wide were found resting on the top and running parallel to the stonework. The stonework continued up into block 55 but in block 55 widen out into a mass of mortar and boulder. Some of these boulders were over 3 feet in diameter. The majority of the boulders were placed neatly and sealed in their places by the mortar. These stones were not burned which point to the feasibility of this stonework being a foundation for part of the building.

Although a log building, it is quite feasible that it had a fairly good foundation since it was a hotel. The total depth of the stonework would be approx. 4 feet.

At the south edge of the stonework, a large key and shot glass was found. The key didn't match the lock mentioned previously although rust may have played its part.

Block 55A - (See Block 55A)

In this block was located a structure that resembled an ash dump. Haphazard layers of ash, in no definite pattern, continued from just below the topsoil to the depth of about 2 feet. In this area broken pipe stems and bowls (one with the Masonic emblem), pieces of earthenware, and glass (window and bottle) was found by the basketful.

The yellow sand was reached, however, but it was soon noticed that an ash line was present at a depth of approx. 2'4". This ash line widened out to about 5 feet E-W and went for a length about 10 feet N-S. However at the south and it turned abruptly west.

At a point about 1'7"W x 3'5"S from 55 the residence of a log mostly burned, was found. This measured about four feet in length and 6-8 inches in width, - refer to diagram.

The whole ash area at this depth was filled, like the upper levels, with many artifacts - glass, pipe stems, earthenware, which would hint at the possibility of a refuge ditch. The bank at this point went steeply down and further evidence had been destroyed by the agents of erosion and leaching.

Floor Planking & Bed Logs - (See Map on Bed Logs and Planking)

Basically, throughout the site, at a depth of 10 inches evidence of burned boards about 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick, were found. Beneath this, at a depth of about one foot, evidence of bed logs often appeared. These logs invariably ran N-S, while the planks were predominantly E-W. The bed logs were approx. 1'5" wide and 6" thick. Block 44 (see diagram of) shows this interrelation best.

Indian Site - (See Posts & Pits Diagram)

Once beneath the level of the bed logs (1'7") it was perturbing to notice the evidence of Indian pottery. There seemed to be no definite pattern or logical reasoning for this. Various ideas were suggested as a solution (including one that said a former collection in the hotel had been scattered when the building collapsed) but somehow such ideas didn't seem likely due to the many plain pieces that were found.

But the solution seemed clearer when a series of post moulds were located beneath the bed logs. These post moulds didn't seem to fit into the general house pattern. Soon the problem revealed itself more clearly. In block 68, three pits all resembling Indian refuge pits were found at a depth of about 1'7" which would just put the pits the overlying floorboards. In these pits some very large and highly decorated rim shards were found along with an arrowhead - see Diagram.

The scattering of various ash pits and refuge pits at a depth of 1'7", the scattered post moulds, and the profuse scattering of Indian relics leads me to believe that there had been an Indian Site located on this Site long before the Masonic Arms was built. The location is ideal - steep banks on one side, water close at hand, elevated yet protected ground, and a flat surface area.

Stonework - (Rock Patterns Part A)

On this map a line of stones N-S is evident. These stones ran into a line of mortar which later abruptly curved west. In this line of mortar it is interesting to notice that a log still intact was found below the mortar. The log and mortar still in place one could easily see how the mortar had filled up the crack between the logs.


After looking over the sheet labeled "Masonic Arms 1964 Artifacts" one can easily see that this site was a treasure chest of artifacts. A total of 1536 nails and spikes were found - indicating definitely a building. Animal bones numbered 1334, earthenware and crockery 1993 and glass 1177. It is interesting to note that 35 straight pins and 3 silver thimbles (not on this list) were found.

This list was printed, so, on careful examination on e can see the likelihood of this being a place of commerce or an Inn. Coins numbered 23, buttons 50, pieces of metal 321, and flint some 53.

This list of course, is incomplete; only the rather numerous finds have been mentioned. Such articles as two complete Masonic Pipe bowls, pocket knives, eating utensils, ink wells, rum bottles etc. have been catalogued separately. I therefore have inserted a copy of the catalogue for a detailed study, in the future. General Comments This site is not completed. It is hoped that further excavation may reveal a few more clues. However the site is almost finished and a general summary follows.

We definitely have here a House site- a well built house at that. In this house was a cellar of dimensions that could be useful as a small storage area (for wine). In the house area were found various coins which hints at an exchange of money. Rum bottles, broken pipe stems, rather fancy earthenware, and various feminine articles (beads etc.) indicate some leisure. The lock and key, the door step (with the masons mark still visible), the various pocket knives, eating utensils, and a variety of military buttons all seem to point to activity like that of an Inn.

The building itself seems to be approx. 60' x 20' with a central partition running E-W. In the 1820's an officer sketched this house in a broad picture of the whole area and this sketch in part, backs up this idea. With two doors on one side (East) and a door and a large window on the other side (for seeing the bay) no log would need to be over 20 feet in length, which is quite reasonable considering the virgin timber that would have been available. The partition may have been a former wall and at a later date the building was enlarged.

There was one main Inn in the area of Penetanguishene, the Inn which people such as Sir John Franklin came to in the 1820's - the Inn in which a Mr. and Mrs. Johnston were the owners (this couple was married in Westminster Abbey), the Inn that became known as the "Masonic Arms" Hotel and Tavern. Now only the surrounding trees are left to whisper all the little histories that we as a team tried to unlock about this tavern.

Whatever the true answer, the facts lie as they have been recorded and the records have been written from fact.

James Warren
James Warren

It was in Chambly Quebec in 1807 that Ann (Rawson) Warren had a son she called James. His father died when he was a mere 6 months old and Ann remarried to Sergeant Santlaw Rawson. Santlaw was a member of the British forces and we find him at St. Joseph's Island during the War of 1812. Santlaw Gustavus Rawson, once the barrack Master and Pay Sergeant at Drummond Island, was born in Nottinghamshire, England in July of 1749 and moved to Penetanguishene in 1828. He lived to the age of 96 and died in Orillia in Oct. 1845. James had three stepbrothers, Thomas, William (the eldest) and George, and three step-sisters, Mrs. Nason, Mrs. Long and Mrs. Soper. James came west with his step- father while a young boy, but was returned to Chambly for his education. Having completed his education, James decided to learn a trade. He was a bright young man, he learned several crafts and decided to pursue carpentry.

The Naval and Military Establishment at Penetanguishene employed James and he also worked for the Indian Department at Manitoulin Island. The blockhouse built on Magazine Island was constructed under James' watchful eye. He was titled in one publication as 'Artificer to the Navy'. James had a civic sense of duty. He was present at the first Town meeting of Tiny and Tay at Asher Mundy's farm on 2nd of January, 1832. Also present were Samuel Fraser (who became Reeve of Tay and Midland) and James Gill (who built the barracks at Penetanguishene). James also built the grist mill for Mr. Copeland in 1855. James purchased a lot of land, namely Lot 13 Concession 13 in Tay Township also another lot in Tiny on the West side of the Penetanguishene Harbour, the second lot was in the possession of Captain William Gidley
Sentlow and Ann Rawson
Sentlow and Ann Rawson
(his grandson) in 1912. He was also a grantee of 15NS on Robert Street in Penetanguishene. In 1817 William Wilson became the first shipwright of the garrison and the building of the powder magazine on the island was begun under the direction of James Warren.
As an officer in the military, James was entrusted with the care of the blockhouse on Magazine Island and had it guarded day and night. The war caused this to be a most important task. Sentinels were posted on the island and relieved regularly. Among his inventory of boats was the infamous iron canoe (made of Russian sheet metal) which served to transport munitions supplies from the island to the establishment and to ships of the Royal Navy as the need required. Militarily, no one was allowed access to the island unless previously cleared to do so. In July of 1840, the storekeeper ordered several thousand bricks from Robert Hark. Hark hired a bateau that had not seen recent use. He instructed his helper to row the brick-laden boat to the 'Old Red Store'. The upper seams of the boat had not encountered water for some time and began leaking. As sinking became inevitable, the helper made for the south shore of Magazine Island determined to beach it there. The sentry, however, was alert as orders was orders. An unauthorized landing was imminent but no intruders were allowed and he presented arms and threatened to fire. Divesting himself of boots and hosiery, the boatman leaped into the bay an swam to the mainland the cargo sank to the bottom. Ann Armour, James' mother, may have been the daughter of James Armour, an early settler and canteen operator for the canteen built by Stephen Jeffrey. It was located on lots 112 and 113 on the Military Road in Tay, probably from 1829 until 1833 when the building was superseded by Stephen's Globe Tavern located about the center of the town. James married Mary A(melia) Johnson, daughter of Thomas and Jane Johnson (see Thomas and Jane Johnson) sometime in the late 1820's or early 1830's. Their daughter, Mary Ann, was born in Barrie on the 16th of February, 1835 and is rumored to be the first white child born in Barrie (oral family history). She married Captain John Gidley (see John and Mary Ann Gidley).When Mary A(melia) died in 1844/5, James remarried Isabella her maiden name presently unknown, who was born in Scotland. We are unaware of the death date of James. Ann Armour/Rawson died the 9th of October, 1843.

Excerpts from Pioneer Papers
by A.C. Osborne 1912
Sketches of its Pioneer, Naval and Military Days

Page #22

-“By the autumn of 1817 William Wilson was permanently installed as the first shipwright of the garrison and the building of the powder magazine on the island begun under direction of James Warren, grandfather of the Gidley family, artificer to the Navy.”

Page #23

-“The first town meeting of Tiny and Tay was held at Asher Mundy's canteen in 1832, Jan. 2nd; Samuel Fraser, who became Reeve of Tay and Midland; James Warren, who built the Magazine; and Jacob Gill, who built the Barracks, were present at that meeting.”

Page #36

-“Mrs. Johnson of the "Masonic Arms" was the first white woman who came to the garrison and only connected with the Military in furnishing canteen supplies. She married again and became Mrs. Wallace and continued the place of entertainment for many years, being remembered by many of the older residents. Mrs. Wm. Hornsby, a respected resident of the town, is her granddaughter, from whom and from her son, the late Francis Johnson; most of the facts concerning her are gleaned. Mrs. Johnson was a clever horsewoman, and after the road was opened through Innisfil to Holland Landing often saddled her horse and rode all the way to Toronto and back alone on horseback along the Military road. On one occasion she came near being shot for a deserter and only escaped by the timely recognition of the voice of her brother-in-law, Mr. James Warren; who was out with a squad of soldiers in search of the fugitive. She died in 1869, aged 85 years, and lies in old St. James' Church-yard near the portals. The parish registers states her age at 65, but her grand-daughter, Mrs. Hornsby above mentioned, maintains she was 85. It seems somewhat curious to read in John Galt's diary of his visit in 1827 where he says, "In the village of Penetanguishene there is no tavern- we were obliged, therefore, to billet ourselves on the officer stationed there," etc., as it is known that Mrs. Johnson had already been there over ten years entertaining travelers and visitors. The explanation probably is that Mr. Galt was virtually the guest of Commander Douglas, but was entertained at Mrs. Johnson's just as the Dukes of Richmond, Manchester, Northumberland, etc, were the guests previously of Commandant Roberts, but were entertained at the "Masonic Arms."

Page #78

-"Mr. James Warren, builder of the old Magazine Blockhouse on the island, was born at Chambly, Quebec, in 1807. His father died when he was only 6 months old, and his mother, formerly Miss Armour, re-married while he was very young, to Sergeant Santlaw Rawson, who later joined the British forces at St. Joseph's Island. James Warren came west with his step-father while a mere boy, but was sent back to Quebec for his education, and having completed it he decided on learning a trade; and becoming expert at several he finally adopted that of carpentering and was employed on military works here, also at Manitoulin Island for the Indian Department. He married the eldest daughter of Mrs. Johnston of the "Masonic Arms." Mrs. Gidley, the wife of the late Capt. Gidley, was a daughter, and H.E. Gidley of the Gidley Boat Co., and Capt. Wm. Gidley of Midland, are grandsons. Mr. Warren was a trustworthy public servant in municipal affairs and one of the earliest elected Councilors for the formerly united townships of Tiny and Tay. He owned a farm, Lot 13 Con. 13 in Tay, also one in Tiny on the west side of the harbor, now in the possession of his grandson, Capt. Wm. Gidley. He was also an officer in the militia, and it is related that while hunting for a deserter down the Military road he was on the verge of firing at and killing his mother-in- law, Mrs. Johnston, whom he mistook for the fugitive in the dark, and saved herself by a timely signal. Mrs. Johnston was on horseback returning from a trip from Toronto. The old block- house attests Mr. Warren's fine workmanship and mechanical ability. Every beam is laid in cement and the corners dovetailed and neatly fitted, and although nearly a hundred years old it is a rare sample of the old-time blockhouse. Mr. Warren also built the second grist mill for Mr. Copeland in 1855 near the site of the first one........His wife Ann Rawson, mother of James Warren, predeceased him on Oct. 9th, 1843, and aged 56 years and 6 months. "

Page #81

-“Mr. Warren, as an officer in the military, was entrusted with the care of the Magazine and its contents, his duty being to guard it night and day. Sentinels were placed on the island and regularly relieved at stated periods; He was furnished with wooden boots and an iron canoe (Russian sheet iron) with which to convey ammunition to and fro between the island, the fort and the gun-boats, as occasion required. Strictest orders were maintained forbidding any unauthorized person from approaching the island or the Magazine.""

The Contract for the Wood Finishing Work for the Officers' Quarters
Officer's Quarters
Officer's Quarters Penetanguishene
Penetanguishene 30th Augt 1836
 James Warren and Charles Fraser, Carpenters

Contract with Dpty Asst. Com Genl Feilde for Engineer Service

It is hereby contracted, stipulated, and agreed upon, this thirtieth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty Six between James Warren and Charles Frazer both of Penetanguishene in the Home District and Province of Upper Canada, Carpenters, as Principals and Robert Wallace, Mason and William Simpson, Merchant, of aforesaid place, and Province of Upper Canada as Sureties --------- on the one part and Fulford B.Fielde, Deputy Assistant Commissary General to His Majesty's Forces, acting for the effects of these presents in that capacity on the behalf of His Majesty, His Heirs and Successors, on the other part, in the manner and form following, to wit:-

For and in consideration of the covenants, conditions and agreements hereinafter mentioned the said James Warren and Charles Frazer-----Doth hereby bind and oblige themselves to execute and perform the whole of the Carpenters Work of the unfinished state of the Men’s Barracks at Penetanguishene that is to say

To Doors Frames Settings included
To Oak Flooring
To Pine Flooring
To Stud Partitions
To Door Making and Hanging
To Setting of Frames with Sills
To Making and Hanging Canadian Sashes of Twenty-four lights
To Putting up Stairs Complete
To Skirting
To Fitting up Canteen with exceptions of Shelves
To Shelving
To Framing and finishing of Privy the same as Officers Barracks with screen around same.

And the whole of the Work shall be executed as herein before specified in a sufficient proper and workmanship manner which shall be subject both during the progress and upon the completion to the inspection and approval of the Royal Engineer Department to whom it is to be delivered over in a finished state within Four weeks after Notice is given in writing or otherwise to proceed with the work-------

And for the one fulfillment of all and every conditions, obligations, undertakings, and clauses herein before expressed, and every part thereof, the aforesaid James Warren and Charles Frazer-------doth bind themselves-----for the due execution of these presents together with their Sureties Robert Wallace and William Simpson who after reading and taking communication of the foregoing Agreement, all and each of them did, and by these presents do bind themselves one for all, for the faithful performance of all and every the covenants, conditions, and obligations of the said James Warren and Charles Frazer------ herein specified in the same manner and form as if they, the said Robert Wallace and William Simpson--------- were the Contracting party,

And in Security thereof the said Robert Wallace and William Simpson do hereby mortgage and encumber, severally and individually, all their property and estates, present and to come. In testimony whereof the aforesaid parties have here unto set their hands and seals in triplicate, in the City of at Penetanguishene the day and year before written.

The words "in the City of" marked out before signature

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered | in the presence of |
 E. Barnes
James J. Warren
J. Charles Fraser
Robt Wallace
W. Simpson
Fulford B. Fielde Dacg

And in Consideration thereof the said Fulford B. Fielde, Deputy Assistant Commissary General, acting in the capacity aforesaid, doth hereby covenant, promise, and agree to pay to the aforesaid James Warren and Charles Frazer, or caused to be paid to the aforesaid James Warren and Charles Frazer the amount as follows:-

For Door Frames,-Setting included, Six pence Halifax Currency per foot-----
For Oak Flooring,-One pound two shillings Halifax Currency per square-----
For Pine Flooring,-Fifteen shillings Halifax Currency per square-----
For Stud Partitions,-Ten shillings and Sixpence Halifax Currency for One-hundred feet-----
For Door Making and Hanging,-One pound Seven Shillings and Sixpence Halifax Currency each-----
For Setting up Frames with Sills,-Ten Shillings Halifax Currency Each-----
For Making and Hanging Canadian Sashes,-of Twenty-four lights One pound two shilling and Sixpence Halifax Currency -----
Putting up Stairs Complete,-Twelve Pounds Halifax -----
Skirting, -----
Three pence Halifax Currency per foot Fitting up Canteen, - with the exceptions of shelves Complete Six Pounds Halifax Currency-----
Six pence Halifax Currency per foot
For Framing and finishing of Privy,-the same as the Officers Barracks with Screen around the same complete, Ten Pounds Seven Shillings and Six pence Halifax Currency -----

When the whole of the Work shall have been completely and satisfactorily finished as herein before specified.


There is so little that we know of the ancestors of Edith Emily Feltham, her parents William and Catherine had five children. William Henry II, born according to a certified copy of his entry of birth as follows:

Registration District St. Pancross Birth in Sub-district of Kentish Town in the County of Middlesex No. 383 Twenty-fifth September, 1862, 12 Circus Road, William Henry, Boy, father William Feltham, Plasterer Journeyman, and registered by his mother Catherine Sarah Feltham formerly Bath of 12 Circus Road Kentish Town.

William married Ann Bond born the same day as William and dying the 20th of January 1934, William died the 3rd of March, 1948. William and Ann bore 2 children, Ellen Margaret, born 29 October, 1886, died 19 November, 1966 a spinster and Kate born 29 November, 1889, died 11 October, 1967 and married to Leslie Sydney Thomas Pearce. Les and Kate's only son, Ronald Thomas Pearce born 23 September, 1926, married Mary Ridgeway born 18 January, 1929. Mary and Ronald had 2 children, Margaret Naomi born 7 April, 1963 and Helen Jane born 20 April, 1965. William Hennessey Feltham, second son of William Henry I was born 11 February, 1892 and died 23 October, 1918. The third son, Albert Edward was born 1 June, 1894 and married Sarah McGregor Campbell McLean. The first girl was Dora Jessie born February 1898 and dying the 3rd of October, 1944. Her marriage was to Darcy Charles Andrews. Edith Emily Feltham was born on the 29th of August circa 1897/8 and died in October 1966. Her marriage to John Douglas Gidley proved to be a long and arduous romance. Although separated for many years, there was no doubt of the love that each had for the other (see John Douglas and Edith Emily Gidley).

The Vaillancourt Family


Napoleon Paul Lacroix was born in 1878, his parents William and Clemence Lormand were living in Lafontaine at the time. He was one of 9 children, 6 brothers and two sisters. His education was minimal, about grade 3, for later in life he self-taught himself to read. On the 3rd of August, 1903 he married Rose De Lima Lalonde at the Ste. Ann's church in Penetanguishene. On their honeymoon they traveled by buggy to Victoria Harbour and dined at the Hotel for supper. Paul was a compassionate man as he once told a policeman, who at the time was dragging a drunkard behind his buggy, to be more forgiving and allow the man to ride. He even lifted him on board. He was a labourer most if not all his  life until he retired. He often spent long periods of time in the logging camps. In his later years he spent most of his time in his vegetable garden and would occasionally pull a prank or two regarding his green thumb. Once he used a store bought cucumber to indicate how quickly his garden grew. Oh, but his cherry tree gave bushels of cherries each and every year. He was physically a strong man as a result of his work. He would pull his own teeth and use turpentine to cleanse his wounds. Rose was a charming woman, hard working, and familial. She would sing French lullabies to her children before they retired as they huddled about the old wood stove with the youngest on her knee. She had a good voice. Her cooking skills were tested every year during the Christmas\New Years holidays. Her pies, cookies, cakes and sweetbreads were excellent. Paul and Rose had nine children;

Ella Mae born, 30th September, 1904,

Harry born July the first, 1906

Irene Mabel was born on March 21st, 1908

Howard Arthur an infant who died aged three months.  

Leo Archibald who died in France on "D" day. 

Verina was born in November, 1916 and drowned on August 14th, 1928

Basil Valmore was born about 1922

Leonard John was born in 1926. 

Ella Mae married Jack Gowett and they lived in Midland Ontario. She met Jack when she and two girlfriends were given a car ride by two boys, neither of whom Ella Mae knew. Ella Mae was only recently recuperating from a fall which she acquired on the balcony of her home. They were left at the Midland docks and Jack later returned to give them a ride home. Ella Mae spends her time in her own home in Midland. She had a black-mixed dog called Rex when she was a girl for whom she would fry an egg, even though she was not supposed to do so. Eggs were an expensive item. The dog understood French with little comprehension for English. It would circle Napoleon's chair until he would leave. Then, the dog would claim the chair for himself. Ella Mae recalls a 6 cent movie and a 1 cent price on candy when she was about 7 or 8 years old. A rumour was going about regarding Ella Mae's Indian background. Napoleon had been told of the rumour and it is unfounded "Torobred Indian". 

Harry was a merchant seaman and traveled around the world. He was imprisoned by the Germans during WWII in Africa. He had a gift for story telling. He survived a torpedo strike to his ship in the Mediterranean Sea. His tales of hijinks in India and the narrow escapes back to his ship are classics. He married twice first to Helen and then to Olive. Harry died in December of 1989. Irene lived in Penetanguishene all of her life and most recently with her son Russell (Bid) and family. She married Arthur Andrew Vaillancourt in Toronto. See Andrew and Irene Vaillancourt. Howard Arthur married Georgette Bergeron. He was a sickly child and Irene missed a year of school for a sickness he had, probably cholera. Rose could not handle the extra burden above her regular duties. 

Basil and his wife Yvonne Desroches were married on the 16th of September, 1947 and lived in Toronto until Yvonne required nursing care. Basil and Leonard were typical brothers, often scrapping with one and other.

Leonard and Rita Ladouceur on August 4th, 1947 and retired in Penetanguishene.

Napoleon Paul died on 24th November, 1966 and is buried with his wife Rose (she was called Delima) who died 4th of April, 1965, in Ste. Anne's Cemetery, Penetanguishene. The Lacroix's lived a simple, rewarding lifestyle. Their routines were uncomplicated and directed to importance of life and family. Napoleon would purchase a sack of peas and one of flour every fall. He would cut all the wood required to heat their home. He had an occasion to be milking the family cow. The animal persisted in swishing his tail upon Nap's person. After dishing out some abuse to the animal and seeing that it was to no avail, he felt enough was enough. He lambasted it square between the eyes. The cow's legs turned to rubber and it fell like a sack of potatoes. There was always a crock of home brew remedy and cure all simmering on the back of the kitchen stove. Molasses, black pepper and essence of peppermint were the prime ingredients. Napoleon would avail himself of a spoonful each day. Although Delima had little or no formal education, she had no trouble in making root beer, black currant and raspberry drinks.

The family menu consisted of a staple of peas, pea soup, chicken, eggs, liver, beef, pork, garden vegetables, puddings, cookies and pies. They enjoyed nine day pickles, mustard pickles and pepper haste. Preserves done in the fall needed 200 jars to hold them for the winter. She spent most of her day cooking, sewing, cleaning, washing, gardening and preserving. On summer days, there would be a picnic with her best friend Claroie and the children; a chance to have salmon sandwiches, lemonade and freshly picked cucumbers. Baths were taken once a week, and as each child bathed, their underwear was washed (they each had one pair). Their home was simple, a wood stove for cooking and heating, curtains for doors, and a bedroom for Napoleon and Delima, one for the boys and a third for the girls. Groceries were bought when needed through the week and paid for on payday (credit was given even in those days). School was not mandatory, but, was available from 9- 12 and 1:30 to 4. Lunch was at home and the children needed an hour and a half. Entertainment was homemade, a banjo and/or a violin provided the music. Everyone would bring food and the men would bring liquor and/or beer. They'd dance from dawn to dusk, only leaving in time to change for work.

A good game of Rummy was a favorite of the adults of this time. When the cinema opened, Delima would enjoy the company of her friend Claroie Beauchamp. Claroie was a neighbor who relished ice cream so much; she occasionally ate a brick on her own. There never was an argument between Delima and Claroie.


Phillipe and Jeanne lived in France in 1640 where their son Jean was born. Jean Lalonde-Lesperence was married in Adhemar on the 14th of November, 1669 to Marie Babbin. He was a soldier of the Carignan-Salieres and was stationed in Lachine Quebec to assist in the defense against the Iroquois. The Iroquois, threatened by the presence of the French, had been killing and harassing them since their arrival into New France. In the 1650's, the Iroquois had attacked and pillaged the settlements in the St. Lawrence River area. Jean likely arrived in 1665 with the main body of some 10,000+ soldiers. Marie, born in 1639, was the daughter of Alexandre and Marie LeNoble could easily have been one of the several hundred young women, brought to the colony with the purpose of satisfying the soldier’s desires for wives ('Fille du Roi' - daughters of the King). The Lalondes lived in Lachine Quebec, now a suburb of Montreal. Jean was killed at Bellevue in 1687 by the Iroquois, only two years before the massacre at Lachine. Phillipe and Jeanne had four children, Jean, born 6th of May, 1671 at St. Pierre, Marie Madeleine born 1672, married 1686 to Guillaume Daoust, Jean Baptiste born 10 October, 1675, died 4 February, 1750 and married to Marguerite Masta on February 3, 1698, and Guillaume, born 21 August, 16984 at Lachine and married 27th April, 1710 at Ste. Anne’s to Madeleine Helene.


Le Havre was not always an important seaport in France. It's history is relatively recent: within the last half century. The city of the same name was called Ville Francoise de Grace established near the mouth of the right bank of the river Seine, in recognition of Francois the First in 1517. During the time of Jean Lalonde, the people named it Havre de Grace. Even one of the seven principle churches was dedicated to Notre Dame de Grace. It was in this parish that Jean Lalonde went to church and was baptized about 1640. We are, however, unable to say that it was this great seaport that Jean Lalonde embarked from to cross the adjacent Atlantic to reach the New World, leaving the marvelous people of Normandy.

On the 14th November, 1669, Antoine Adhemar was led to the house of Gabriel Gibaud of Sorel to initial a contract of marriage, the draft of which read;

...Jean de Lalonde the son of the fiery Phillipe and Jeanne Duval....native of Le Havre....archdiocese of Rouen and Marie Barban (Baban), daughter of Alexandre and Marie Le Noble, native of Dieppe, parish of St. Remy.....

The content relates to ordinary agreements made when on similar occasions a clause deviated from that normally found in the customs of Paris. The precise details were never committed to paper but indicated that the future husband lived, at that time, in the area of Sorel. After the Census of 1681, Marie Jean's future wife, was  31 years old. It may be that Marie was either a servant or friend of Madame Gibaud. Suzzanne Durand was the only woman to be mentioned in the contract as a witness. In any case, Marie Barban placed her mark with the feather of a goose beside that of her future husband Jean. Adhemar, the young notarian lived in Montreal and it was his fourth signed contract. He made a mistake by not reporting Jean's residence or profession. Nevertheless, he had a complete understanding of the men of the old military ways. Sorel, a warm young colony near the mouth of the Richelieu, was near the highway used by the Iroquois and became strategically important for the movement of the Carignan Soldiers. On the 25th of August, 1665, Mr. de Tracy walked to Mr. de Sorel because he was going to establish a fort at the mouth of the Richelieu (The Royal Registry). Among the witnesses of the marriage, were Gabriel Gibaud/Poitevin, Adrien Betourne/Laviolette, Mathieu Batanchot/Lalande and the surgeon P. Amans all part of the famous Regiment of Carignan. Other evidence is qualified by the Cie de Mr. de St-Ours. Are we then able to conclude that Jean Lalonde/Lesperance came to Canada as a member of the Carignan Soldiers; probably? Marie Baban was a 'Daughter of the King'. She contributed charitably to the community with goods estimated at 200 pounds. No one is certain where the Babin-Lalonde marriage took place but likely at Sorel or Boucherville, the location is missing from the register.

The first years for the Lalondes left little trace. In 1672 a daughter, Marie- Madeleine, was born. Then, in 1674, Jean was working for Louis Home, a farmer on the Montreal Island, if our interpretation of the Bisset contract is correct. On the 13th of July, Jean and his friend Robert Henry, of unknown fame, obtained a lease with Madeleine La Guide, wife of the Governor of Montreal and Francois-Marie Perrot, at the intersection of the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence. The company had 4 oxen, 3 cows a bull and some grains and particularly a grain storage shed. As compensation, he donated 4 bushels of wheat per acre of land that he worked, ploughed etc. The graining was put off until repairs were made to his friend Rene Cullerier's house. The 10th of October, the baptism of J. Baptiste Lalonde is written in the register of Notre-Dame de Montreal. On the 28th September, 1677, Jean Lalonde lived at Ville-Marie at the home of Jean Gervaise who led Lalonde to his residence (Basset). By that time, our ancestors had sold some  80 acres of land in area to Barthelemy LeMaistre for clearing the debt he contracted for the purchase amount of 240 pounds including 20 bushels of grain that he paid for in the autumn. LeMaistre promised to pay an additional annual rent of 17 pounds. This farm had been here conceded verbally to Lalonde after about a year since that day in March that Pierre Remy, Secretary of the Sulspicien Nobility, signed a certain certificate of propriety. The land in question was situated on the border of Lake St Louis where it enters that point of the rapids called the muskrat. The census of 1681 confirms that the Lalondes resided at the edge of Verdun. Three children were counted: Madeleine, Jean-Baptiste and his son Jean, aged 3 years. The head of the family possessed 1 rifle, 4 oxen and 12 acres of cultivated land. George, a young man of 16, worked as a domestic and Antoine of Lafresnay and Jean Pare were immediate neighbors. On the 26th October, 1682, a second grant of one section of 120 acres on the bank of Lake St Louis by the gentlemen of the seminary of Jean Lalonde. The contract seems to have some disparity at the office of the clerk of the court.

In 1687, Lalonde and his family lived on the 'upper part of the island'. On the 21st of March, he sold 120 acres in area of property to J.B. Celoran, Mr. Blainville, lieutenant of a company of a detachment of the Navy. Blainville exchanged a meadow with Lalonde for more than 1500 pounds. The family Lalonde then had a good appreciation of the great profit of their labour. They all moved to the end of Montreal Island, the most vulnerable point of the colony. Someone once recalled that at the same time, Denonville was tricked and the strength for pacifying the Amerindians, in particular those of the State of New York: a fleeting victory. At the end of September, 1687, at Ste-Anne-du- Bout-de- l'Isle, not far from the church of St Anne erected in 1683, 10 residents were occupied by their work, maybe the gathering of grains, maybe the catching of fish. Were they in a group or dispersed? How many Iroquois attacked them? Mystery profound history! Here were 10 settlers, passionately slain by the invisible enemy. This created shear panic among the survivors of the small population. Inhumanity was swift in the Bay of Urfe near Lake St Louis. The names of the victims escaped detection in the records of Lachine. Jean Lalonde was a little more than 47 years old. The youngest bore the names of Jean B. LaSeur and Pierre Camus 21 years old. This slaughter foreshadowed the dismal massacre of Lachine, which followed 2 years later. The ancestor Lalonde had given his life to the future of his country. His descendants will guard his name forever.

After 3 centuries, when reading between the lines and so on, the events provoke once again great emotion. The passion, the pitfalls, the grieving: so much suffering, so much pain! Marie Baban had 2 orphans to support: Jean-Baptiste 12 years old; Guillaume aged 3. Her daughter Marie Madeleine, 15, wife of Guillaume D'Aoust was living near Lachine. On the 29th of November of that same year the Fathers of Sulspiciens hurried to give 5 acres of land to the widow Lalonde. On the 23rd of April, 1689, the religious sisters of the Hospital Hotel of God of Ville Marie charged rent of 266 pounds for the minor children of the deceased Jean Lalonde. On the 19th of January, 1688, J.B. Poittier, notary, met at the house of Rene Cuillerier where the wealth of Jean Lalonde was accumulated for the processing of the estate. Jean Fournier from Lachine also assisted as a witness. Calculation of the property indicated the following, old clothes, china, cloth material, 4 bars of soap, 8 axes, 2 picks and 10 scythes, 3 pounds of coffee and 12 pounds of glume, evidently 3 bushels of beans, 76 bushels of wheat, 1 'barrel of lard', 1 cow and 2 grumbling pigs. No mention of a rifle..... was it taken by the Iroquois? Then all the minor debts were calculated for reimbursement and all of them taken care of including the most important to 'gentleman Laprise': 15 pounds, 6 sols. The best was left behind at the end of the island point St Louis, in particular, an unsociable cow on 12 acres of land, with the residents, and valued at 160 pounds or 100 days of work. Marie Babin was to find a friend, the young widow that she was, a father of 4 children, Pierre Tabault/LePetit/LeVeille. On the 26th of January, 1688, Pierre and Marie remarried in their second marriage, at Lachine. The young Lalondes grew up in their new home and were married: Jean-Baptiste to Marguerite Masta then to Jeanne Gervais: Guillaume to Madeleine Edeline the 27th April, 1710 at Ste-Anne-de-Bout-de-l'Isle. These two families produced 22 children to further the good name of Lalonde in New France. Lalonde made reference to a community of the Department of the Lower Seine located between Rouen and Chartre in Normandie, the moor.

History forgets the misery of the people of Ste-Anne-de-Bout-de- l'Isle, and to remember the massacre of Lachine, but in 1866, in Bay d'Urfe near Lake St Louis, human remains were uncovered. The parish priest, Father George Chevrefils found the victims names in the register of Lachine after 179 years at the recommendation of the priest and the parishioners. They exhumed the remains and buried them in a new crypt in the church where they lie today. The church of St. Anne should remain historical for all the descendants of the Lalondes in North America.


The pilgrim Vaillancourt had he returned to his ancestral village, would have gone back to the outskirts of Dieppe, principal town of the three in the district of Normandy about 20 Kilometers near the border of the land of Caux, near the forest of Arques and the Eulne River in the district settlers called Ste. Nicolas of Aliermont. In his time this place consisted of a lonely street some 16 kilometers in length. Our traveler would be very proud to find that since 1945 a street had carried his name and commemorates those whose humility and daring contributed their part in New France. Robert was baptized in the church of Saint Nicolas the 3rd of October, 1644, it was 340 years ago. He had the family name Villencour.  Vaillancourt means 'Runner Valiant'. Robert Vaillancourt was like a Godfather to his baptized Louis Vaillancourt and like a Godmother to Marie Thereude. The difficult reading of the document was made by the Mayor of Saint Nicolas, Mr. Paul Caron.

In what year did Robert Vaillancourt first sail the Saint Lawrence River? He was near Beaupre for the census of 1666 and apparently preceded the Canadian notaries at the end of the summer of 1668. We think it quite possible that Robert finished his 36 month engagement in 1668 and that he had arrived in Canada in 1665. We saw the list of ships which arrived that year, about 8 of them, to carry the Carignan Regiment. There was a need to supply the ancestor a vessel with a Norman Port of Registry. The Jesuit Diary, 2 October, 1665, reported that the ship from Normandy arrived in Quebec with 82 children and wives and 130 workmen all in good health. The voyage seemed pleasant. The Normandy weighed anchor to return to France on the 4th of November, the last ship of the season. Unfortunately, we do not have the passenger list. Meanwhile, content with the light of the noonday sun, we must make do with what we have.

We discovered Robert Vaillancourt living at Guillaume Thibault's home in the winter of 1666. His teacher, originally from Rouen and Normandy, was the husband of M-Madeleine Le Francois, in January of 1655. Guillaume, butcher and tailor was a pioneer of Cote de Beaupre, then obtaining a concession at the river Sault a la Puce on the 9th of December, 1650. In 1667, he declared in the census that he was in possession of 15 acres of land in cultivation and five head of cattle. The oldest of the boys wasn't yet 8 years of age when Robert Vaillancourt lent a helping hand for three years to this farmer of Chateau Richer, a peaceful environment, where the cousins Cloutier, Gagnon and Lebel did not ask that they live as brothers. A few farms from the Thibault's lived the family of Jean Gobeil, consisting of five children, Marie was the eldest. Jeann Gobeil, husband of Jeanne Guiet, owned 12 head of cattle and 16 acres of cleared land. It was a sure thing that Robert visited this family and probably helped on occasions. The smallest Gobeil, a beautiful young woman, his heart fell for her before long..... After the first Canadian census in 1666, Robert stated his occupation: leather worker, who made and sold kitchen utensils. He also worked with cast iron metals. Son of a gun! Where did Robert learn this trade and practice this rare occupation? The ancestor never pronounced this word again. We were to eventually learn something new on this subject, after his estate was probated.

The work he did for the Thibault family was coming to an end. The immigrant earned his citizenship completely. At this time he could afford to be married, the wedding contract equaled the wedding itself. On September the 30th, 1668, the friends of the Vaillancourt's and Claude Auber, notary, arrived at Jean Gobeil's and Jeanne Guiet's home where the future bride Marie, dressed in her best refinery. On the Vaillancourt side, attending were Guillaume Thibault and Pierre of Saint Pierre, native of the Rouen region. Jean Cloutier and David Letourneau completed the guest list. Bartolemy from Burgundy and Pierre Roberge/La Pierre signed as witnesses. The future husband and wife could not write: not unusual in a regular contract: a promise of marriage in a good French community. The son of the deceased Robert Vaillancourt and Jacqueline Pappin looked younger than his 25 years. As for Marie Gobeil, her parents were married in Niort of Poitou around 1652. Born in France, the future bride might have been 13 or 14 years of age in 1665, she arrived in Canada with her parents, who rented a farm for 5 years from Toussaint Toupan. According to custom, the religious ceremony was performed the following fall at Chateau Richer by father Francois Fillon. The act was recorded on paper and lost. This was a wedding of simplicity for the Gobeil-Vaillancourt's at the Chateau Richer in the autumn of 1668.

Robert wanted to own an organized farm like his father-in-law's. He searched until he found one in the area around Quebec between the hills of Saint Genevieve and the St. Charles River, at a place called Saint Francois, today known as Saint-Sauveur, a suitable farm to rent. This land at Saint Francois had good potential, becoming on the 25th of April, 1655 a seignureil, was acquired in 1668 from Jean Bourdon. Gervais Buisson, husband of Marie Boutet, offered Vaillancourt on the 3rd of August 1668 to replace him on the lease signed the previous 4th of February. Robert jumped at the chance without thinking a great deal about the consequences. He retained possession of the land, cattle, farm implements, and a home for the mere sum of 15 bushels of wheat and 2 of peas to be delivered to Buisson before Christmas. Had he forgotten the conditions of the lease to replace this portion of land? Vaillancourt quickly realized that he had just become indebted. Seven months later, about the 15th of March 1669, in front of Bequet the notary, he let his property go as soon as possible to Jean Francois Bourdon. His debt to Buisson rose to 300 pounds, spent before St. Jean Baptiste Day, without even counting the other 58 pounds he owed. Robert promised to leave at Easter, the 2 beef cattle, a cow, a heifer, 23 bushels of cereal, 50 bales of hay, a plow with harness and all on the 30 June, 1669. Robert paid. He was nervously obliged to sign his name at the bottom of the document, a hornet’s nest! On August the third, 1671, Robert while living on L'Ile D'Orleans, promised again to pay of his creditor, the widow of Jean Bourdon, the sum of 98 pounds that she had lent him to get married. Robert Vaillancourt had tasted a bitter pill as again he had to work for someone else, a tough situation !

After this exercise in futility in the outskirts of Quebec, where would the Vaillancourts find a nest ? In the spring of 1669, they returned to the Gobeils at the Cote de Beaupre where Robert and his father-in-law made future plans. These they put off until the fall. On the 28th of October 1669, Noel La Rose sold a part of his farm to Robert and the following 7th of November, Gobeil purchased the other part from Rose/La Rose on the I'le d'Orleans, that portion with the buildings. All kinds of stock: wheat, wood, and beaver all totaling some 300 pounds, Gobeil now owned the front three acres of land, situated between his own and his son-in-law's and that of Nicolas Petenotre at Saint Famille on the I'le d'Orleans. The Gobeil- Vaillancourt clan moved there but not until the spring of 1670. The Vaillancourts stayed on the island part that the Amerindians called Minigo or in Algonquin.. Ouindago, 'The Bewitched Island'. Champlain wrote of this island in 1608: << This place is the beginning of the beautiful and good country of the Great River >>. In 1673, the 6th of February, Monseignor de Laval, blessed the Vaillancourt property: 3 acres and 3 of frontage on the Great River, next to the lands of Jean Gobeil and Claude Bouchard/Dorval. The Vaillancourt family was there to stay. It was here that they would flourish. It was here that they would emigrate from to set their roots in Canada and the United States. In 1681, Robert had only 2 beef cattle in his stable and seven acres of cultivated land. The 1st of April 1686, Denis Roberge of Quebec, rented to him a plot of 3 acres near to his own land. Roberge advanced him 12 bushels of grain seed, 2 milking cows, a good plow etc. for which Robert paid in kind 50 bushels of wheat annually. Robert also thought to double his fortune in favor of his children's future, on the 16th of October 1691, he purchased from Claude Panneton for the sum of 30 pounds: the neighboring farm. There was an access road which was shared in common to the Gobeils. Thus resumed the uncomplicated life of the active Robert Vaillancourt and his wife.

The Vaillancourt couple was to bear life 14 times in the space of 25 years. Seven daughters: Marie-Anne, Marie, Louise, Marie- Charlotte, Jeanne, Angelique and Catherine and seven sons: Jean, Jean, Robert, Paul, Joseph, Francois and Bernard; here a brave balance. Each child was baptized in their time at Saint Famille with the exception of Francois, baptized at Saint Pierre. Jean, the eldest, set off into the world on April 16, 1671 and left no trace. Such was not the situation with Jeanne, born the 23 June, 1671. 12 children were born in her marriage. The six sons produced 49 offspring by the time that the daughters were not quite 13. Marie-Anne, wife of Louis-Rene Bechard; Marie, Jean-Baptiste Michaud; Jean, Marie Huot of Quebec. Robert, the Godson of Robert Gagnon, was married three times and claimed the respectability of a father of 16 children all anonymous. The son of Louise, wife of Antoine- Pierre Dumas, died at the age of 5 years. Paul, the husband of Marguerite Guillot, was the very good father of 10 children in Saint Famille, where he died in 1750. As for Joseph, he directed in the Montreal area with his wife Marie Muloin. He was from a good family. Francois took after his brother Joseph. He married at Rivieres des Prairies to Marie- Josephte Lorrain and M-Josephte Corbeil that produced only three children. Joseph Plante captured the heart of Marie- Charlotte Vaillancourt. This couple had no children. Ignace Belanger and Angelique took their vows on June 15th, 1711. Angelique died in July of 1717, after a short marriage. She left 3 orphans. Bernard, the youngest son, joined in matrimony to Genevieve Bergeron of Saint Nicolas the 27th of April, 1714, adding 6 people to the third generation of Vaillancourts. The youngest daughter of the family, Catherine, experienced the wrath of her father. Very young, she married Jacques Delugre, widow of Catherine Gendreau, father of 3 surviving children. She did not get along well with her only daughter, Louise Catherine. Here tells the first page of a book that relives the lives of the Vaillancourt family in New France.

Robert Vaillancourt began to lose strength that gave way in May of 1695. That year he spent a time of 9 days in the Hospital Hotel Dieu of Quebec. He spent the night of his admission, awake, on the 2nd of May, 36 patients were present at the charitable institution. There was a very severe epidemic of influenza. In October, 1698, the ancestor was again to spend time there, in a space of 9 months. Robert died on June 8th, 1699 and was interred the next day at Saint Famille in the presence of Jacques Bilodeau, Gregoire Deblois and Pierre Fougere. The priest Father Lamy presided over the funeral. He wrote in the register that Vaillancourt was 59 years of age instead of 55. During the official act of that time, older people were reminded of the deceased and the rejuvenation of the living. Robert gave access to this island that is the gateway to this great, heavenly and beautiful country. Marie Gobeil put his affairs in order at this time. The son-in-law, Rene Bechard and Jean-Baptiste Michaud on the 10th of January, 1700, renounced their part of the estate in favor of old Jean. On the second of April, they proceeded to elect a committee and on the 12th of April, the notary Etienne Jacob raised a list of the deceased's estate. By no means was there a great value. An unfinished house regarded by most standards. The stable revealed the presence of 2 beef cattle, 2 milking cows, 2 bulls, 3 small pigs accompanying 7 laying hens and a rooster. Augustin Rover, county bailiff, indicated to the notary that there was in the old silo, 43 bushels of cereal, 2 of peas and 6 of flour. The Vaillancourts were able to survive the summer easily, in spite of the creditors owed 20 months and reclaiming most of the harvest. What was the tooling inventory: saws, scies, hoes, mallets, wedges, hammers, anvils, shovels, hatchets, siccles, rakes, billhoos, augers, brace and bits, plows, chains, moulds for cutlery and finally a great amount of leather goods. This was all intended to cultivate the land that Robert exercised his craft as a leatherworker. Why do you think he had come from France? Just then in 1694, the birth place of Robert Vaillancourt, at Saint Nicolas and he was living with the professionals in the trade of leatherworker. Robert moved then to America, to experience that of the brave, the descendants that loved, and to be aware of the destiny of the grandmother Marie Gobeil. No one has been able to find in the registers neither the date nor the year of her death. In telling the story of the life of our ancestors, we have related also, that of having recognizing our spirit: the marvels of the life, of the spirit and of the heart.


Abraham Martin was born in France in 1589 where he married his wife Marguerite Langlois. Abraham arrived in New France probably in 1614 with his wife, her brother-in-law Pierre Desportes and Sister Francoise. Pierre and Francois' first child, Helene, and Abraham's son Eustache are considered the first white children born in New France circa 1620/1. Eustache was baptized, 24 October, 1621. Martin may have been of Scottish descent or might have used the sobriquet if he had been enrolled in military service or a member of an illegal organization. Such occurrences were commonly used to avoid officials looking for deserters and/or records from illegal operations where names could be traced. Abraham's occupation is listed as a pilot, "King's pilot" no less. Some question as to the accuracy of this remains. He was, however, a noted fisherman and fished well down into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Abraham and his family lived in Quebec City and he traversed a path now called "Cote d'Abraham" on his way to the St. Charles River to water his animals. His trip to the fishing ship carried him across a flat meadow now carrying his name, "The Plains of Abraham". It was here, a century later, that Montcalm and Wolfe decided the future of New France. How often had Abraham sat to rest on the site of a future great battle? Was the path he had traveled for many years the same Wolf himself used to gain the heights? The nobility was kind to Martin. He had acquired 32 acres of land, some 12 having been given him by Compangnie de la Nouvelle France and 20, a gift of Sieur Adrien Du Chesne (ship's surgeon to Pierre Legarduer de Repentigny) in 1645. These 20 acres were a part of the Plains of Abraham and was land that Du Chesne had been granted by the Compagnie des Cent Associes. The land was sold by the Martin family after Abraham's death 8 September, 1664, in 1667 to the Ursulines. Abraham lost considerable favour among his neighbors when he was imprisoned in February, 1649, having been accused of improper conduct with regard to a young girl in Quebec. The Martins had 10 children, Anne, born in France and married to 1st Jean Cote and 2nd Jacques Ratte(Anne may not have been Abraham's daughter), Eustache, god-son of Eustache Boulle, Marguerite married to Etienne Racine, Helene, god-daughter of Samuel de Champlain married first Claude Etienne and 2nd to Medard Chouart des Grosselier of Raddisson-Grosselier fame, Charles Amidor, the second Canadian born ordained priest and possibly, Brother Dominique Scot, spoken of in the Jesuit Relations as having gone to Huron Country as a young man. What it must have been like to have been invited for a family dinner. Imagine the tales of the fur trade, Indians and explorations that such an ensemble could relay.


The surname Creste, in France, alludes to the crest of a rooster, symbol of personal pride for all concerned. The 8th of February, 1610, Pierre Gagnon, father of three brothers Gagnon, came to Canada, sold two woodlots of land for 83 pounds to Jehan Creste, wagonmaker, resident of Boullays, parish of Tourouvre. This Jehan Creste, husband of Marguerite Chaudon, was the father of Antoine, born 22 November, 1592, former husband of Jeanne Legrand the 29th of October, 1619, and the grand-father of the Canadian ancestor Jean Crete.

The Canadian ancestors of the Crestes were as renowned as the Bouchards, the Fortins and the Gigueres. He was sent that day, in Tourouvre, in November of 1626. Two sisters: Marguerite and Francoise having preceded him from home. : Marie the youngest, born 28 April, 1632, wife of Jean Bigot in 1648.

In the early morning of 18 March 1649, the servants of the Boullays came to pass Jean Crete, age 22, in the company of his aging father. They sent him to the village of Saint Aubin of Tourouvre, at the house of the barrister Francois Chastel. On the spot, Jean was engaged by a contract << to the Master Herisson who resided in New France located in Trois Rivieres..... for a period of three years.....>> The trip to go and return was prepaid: 80 pounds per year, salary: the hidden confidence: the added expectations.

The 23 of August, 1649, the Jesuit Journal reported the arrival to Quebec of 3 ships, one of which likely carried Jean Crete. At the end of the same summer, Jean submitted to the service of his teacher, Michel Le Neuf employee of Herisson, at Trois Rivieres. During those three years, the ancestor Crete took the occasion to exercise his craft of wagonmaker, to do guard duty against the invisible and ever present Iroquois, above all, to work the land of the tri-river system. There he became acquainted with men of valour such as Pierre Boucher, Antoine Desrosiers and Elie Grimard. Jean, did he write back to the Boulays to announce his return? Had he given food for thought to his economic condition? Antoine, after the manner of a father to his Prodigal Son, examined the horizon daily to see if his son had not returned, in the summer of 1653. For sure by a notarized act in Tourouvre, dated 31 March, 1653, Jean Crete, absent, purchased by his sister Marguerite, wife of Michel Docquaigne, << one third part of a house and one parcel of land, of three woodlots..... the best part of a barn..... a piece of land and near once thriving and now deceased, Jeanne Legrand.....the sale was for the sum of 140 pounds..... cash. Antoine responded to his lonely son. Jean never returned to his native home! The father never again saw his son. We were once told that in 1685 the oldest son of the ancestor Crete, Louis, made the trip << from the old country. The same day of his return to France he drowned himself in the boat of Mr. Niel>>.

On August 11, 1654, Jean Crete officially entered into the history of Beauport, in purchasing from Maurice Arrive a small property, a building of an acre in frontage by ten in depth. The notary, Paul Vachon and Toussant Giroux grew to be his closest neighbours. For this field he paid 200 pounds. Crete gave back 42 **perche carres** to Giroux, the 14th of October, 1658, so that he was allowed to build on this part of land << deserted >>. Between neighbours, we share! Then in 1662, June 10th, Jean availed himself of a plot of 3 acres of frontage, 63 in area, at L'Isle D'Orleans, by Charles de Lauzon-Charnu. The 22 October, 1671, Pierre died , Jean acquired for himself this land for the amount of 180 pounds. We did not have to say that Jean worked a great deal through these nine years on this farm in the land of Saint Pierre, L'Isle D'Orleans. In 1666, the census shows: Jean Crete, wagonmaker and farmer, had a field hand engaged: Pierre Chapelier, 24 years of age. The following year he stated precisely: 6 cattle and 15 acres in cultivation. Jean lived between Zacharie Maheu and Pierre Lefebvre, in Beauport. In 1670, Jean Breton was a servant to wagonmaker Crete for 2 years, for a salary of 60 pounds per year. The ancestor knew he would make a good apprentice.