Category Archives: Rawdon

Hastings County: Rawdon Twp. & Stirling

The southern end of Hastings County, Ontario’s includes the Bay of Quinte which is part of Lake Ontario. Prince Edward County is an island county that buffers Hastings County so Hastings is not really on Lake Ontario. 

The website listed below is wonderful and filled with maps showing Hastings County and how it fits into the Lake Ontario area and its relationship to Kingston and Toronto.  If you click on General County Maps, click the second one after the tab opens and you get a really nice view of where the county is located.  The first tab of the General County Maps shows surrounding counties and townships and helps to further orient you.  This website has other maps and lot maps as well.

Hwy 7 was the road I took to Marmora and that is situated below the middle part of the county of Hastings.  I wanted to see what the township of Rawdon was like.  Stirling the town is situated between Rawdon and Sidney Twps and at the south end of Rawdon.  It is called Stirling-Rawdon Twp. at this time.

Once I reached Marmora, I turned south on Hwy 14 (Stirling-Marmora Rd).  As far as I can determine from the maps that show the lots at the website listed above, Callaghan Rapids Road is the boundary line between Marmora & Lake (Marmora Twp.) and Stirling-Rawdon Twp. The next road is Morrison and that is in Stirling-Rawdon Twp. 

Stirling-Rawdon Twp, north of Bonarlaw

Please realize that my knowledge of Ontario’s geography was not good when I started preparing for this trip. I am still learning.  I also ran out of time in preparing for the trip, so, if I make a mistake please leave a comment and I will make a correction.  I was not the one who did the majority of research on the Brown family.  Therefore, I am still trying to catch up. You can find other websites at or the Canadian version. 

One of my challenges was trying to figure out where the lots and land of the Brown family were located.  I am not yet satisfied so I will do more study and write a post about that later after I finish this trip.  As far as I can tell from the Atlas they had land in the northern part of Rawdon and over on the eastern side across from Spring Brook.  This means they were not that close to Stirling.  In trying to pin down the Atlas of Hastings and Prince Edward Island and modern maps has been a little challenging.  

The drive from Marmora to Stirling was about 20 minutes.  Of course I dallied and you see from the photographs a little bit of what that area of Rawdon looks like north of Stirling.

Coming into Stirling I was awed by the beauty and the large farms scattered about the landscape.  It was very pretty.

Looking north of Stirling

Entering Stirling

As I entered Stirling I came up quickly to the church St. John Evangelist (Anglican) Church: Philip Brown, a son of William Brown, passed away on 7 April 1895.  His obituary stated that the service was being held in St. John’s Church, Stirling.  All churches go through changes so I do not know if this is the church building that was there in 1895 or a newer version.  I would have to dig further.  I did email this church and they directed me to the Anglican Diocese of Kingston for the older records.  I will post on my visit to that archive very soon.

St. John’s Evangelist Church, Stirling, Ontario

Stirling has a very interesting main intersection by a large building that can cause some confusion.  After going through it several times from almost all the directions I am now okay with it.  This intersection is where Hwy 14 turns to the east and heads south to Belleville, while Hwy 8/33 heads west.  Hwy 33 then heads south to Frankford and then to Trenton.  It is still four corners but they are all off centre fortunately the light helps to monitor the traffic otherwise you might not see everyone waiting because the buildings block the view.

Stirling, Ontario

Much to my consternation my maps of Stirling were not in my papers.  I stopped at a gas station/grocery store at the northeastern corner of the  intersection of W. Front St. and Green St. and this very nice lady who was tending the station helped me figure out where I was and gave me a tourist map with towns and their streets described and more.  I will be keeping that map for future reference.  It is titled:  Destination Comfort Country 2011 Complimentary Maps.  This great tourist website is here:  You probably can get a newer updated copy. 

Now that I was oriented to Stirling I went in search of the Stirling Rawdon Public Library.  It was located on Hwy 8/33 just passed Emma Street.  It was tucked into the block on the south side of the main street, so I didn’t see it when I first drove by for I was sightseeing and looking at the old victorian houses along the street.  I found a parking spot on Emma and made my way to the library entrance.

Stirling-Rawdon Public library, Stirling, Ontario

Much to my surprise and delight I found on the side of the library building a sign: 

“Stirling Historical & Genealogical Centre – Use Front Door.” 

The sign for the Genealogy Centre, Stirling, Ontario

A sign for the Stirling Rawdon Genealogical Society

The Stirling Rawdon Public library as several floors.  The genealogy centre was on the first floor through the children’s section of the library in the back.  The librarian was very helpful and opened up the centre for me to browse and find the publication that described the Stirling Cemetery burials. 

One of the bookcases in the Stirling Historical & Genealogical Centre

For some reason this society does not have a web presence so I cannot lead you to them.  I suggest that you contact the Stirling Rawdon Library at the link I have provided above to learn more about them.

I handed the librarian a copy of my Boardman’s and Brown booklet.  It is a condensed version of this blog with extra charts  and a manuscript by my cousin and focuses on the time the Browns spent in Hastings and then a little about were they migrated to.  She wrote a note and placed it in the room for the genealogy centre members to review and add to their collection. 

The Stirling Historical & Genealogical Centre is small room but they had a nice collection of Hastings County materials.  As you know I love the stacks!


Exploring Ontario: Lanark County to Hastings County

I arrived in Ontario on Sunday May 20, 2012.  The plane set down at the Ottawa airport.  I  have been touring around Renfrew County, Ontario and Pontiac County, Quebec. Once I completed that part of the trip I headed back to Ottawa to take advantage of the archives and repositories in that city.  I visited the Libraries and Archives of Canada one of the days, and the Ottawa Public Library.  You can read about that part of the tour at the blog: The Man Who Lived Airplanes:  I was exploring my father’s McDonald roots, something I had wanted to do for a very long time.

Another one of my goals was to get to Kingston for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference.  So from Ottawa I decided to go west to Lanark County and take a look at the Scottish people who settled there.  I stopped in Smith Falls and visited the Lanark County Genealogical Society which is housed in the basement of the Historical Museum.  I share about that visit in The Man Who Lived Airplanes blog (See the link above or to the right in the side bar).

Smith Falls is right on the Rideau Canal and I booked into the Comfort Inn.  My view from my lanai was wonderful.  The Rideau was right out my door.  They did have a bit of a downpour and thunderstorm when I was there but it cleared up enough for me to enjoy the canal.

The Rideau Canal, Smith Falls

Much to my surprise I had a lovely dinner overlooking the Rideau Canal in the restaurant right next door to the Comfort Inn called Chuckles Jack.  The name is a bit silly but the view and the food was great and was actually the best meal I had in all of Ontario during my whole trip.

The next morning I was on my way early.  Perth was not to far away and right close to Hwy 7.  I had been concerned about this highway but found it to be smooth, little traffic except for trucks, and odd drivers who did not get out-of-the-way, great scenery and gentle curves.  The highway is two lanes.  I did have the feeling I was climbing.  In some places the hills were evident.  I would say it reminded me of Minnesota and more like the foothills back home.

As I left Perth I switched over to the Brown family research.  As you may know, if you have read this blog, the Brown family is the family of my grandmother Ethel Adella Brown my mother’s mother.  I have shared photos and information about her life on this blog in the past and her marriage to Robert Boardman my grandfather.

Ethel’s great-grandfather William Brown came from Ireland.  As far as we know he and Elsie had 11 children.  Currently my cousin has found 4 sons and maybe a daughter living in Ontario and settling in Hastings County sometime in the 1830’s.  Some of the sons stayed in Hastings and are buried there while others moved on to Lambton County, Ontario, then Lapeer County, Michigan and others headed for Manitoba, like my great-grandfather Richard Brown.  I wanted to see if I couldn’t find out more about their time in Hastings County.  I also wanted to find out more about my 3rd great-grandfather William Brown.

The sun was shining so I had good weather for traveling.  Perth to Marmora would be about 2.5 hours depending on traffic and other factors.  My black Caliber was a trooper.

There are these low rock formations along the road that reminded me of mini versions of Utah’s monument valley, an occasional housing community but mostly trees and signs for various parks and resorts.

The Digital Atlas website has a great map of 1880 showing the counties in Ontario:  Frontenac is #31, Hastings in #28 and #30 is Lennox and Addington.  You can click on the map of that county and do more exploring.  This is useful for studying all areas of Ontario.

I entered the county of Frontenac, the Central Frontenac area, and drove through the middle of that county.  To the south was Kingston which is on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario where the St. Lawrence River begins.  I would be there in a few days for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference.  These counties along this area are long counties reaching north into the middle of the southern portion of Ontario.  Here is a great map with the townships named that helps to get oriented regarding Frontenac County.  Find Sharbot Lake and that is the road I was on Hwy 7:

I passed by Sharbot Lake  Here is another article:  I could have turned south and headed for Kingston but I was determined to visit Hastings County first.

There were signs for Land O’Lakes with a very interesting travel booklet you can pull the corners and it opens like a booklet:  There are maps that cover the area I was traveling on Hwy 7.  Oh, no it is not the butter that company is out of St. Paul, Minnesota.  HA!

As I drove along I saw two baby bears and some blackness behind them and I assume it was their mother.  They were awful close to the highway.  This website has a map about the density of bears in Ontario and about living with bears:

A vulture swooped down and landed on some green grass near the road near some carrion on the road.  I am not sure if it was a Turkey or Black, the head was not that red more white in color.  I was rather surprised to see it for I thought it was an eagle till it landed.

I saw a turtle in the middle of the road and I think it was dead. I did see turtle crossing signs and moose signs.

I arrived in Kaladar on Hwy 7 and it was not long after that I came to the sign for Hastings County.

Hastings County, Ontario

I was very excited.  There is always that disconnection when you study an area from afar and then when you are actually there it can be very different from what you expected.

There was a lake area to my left and right with cat tails and the remains of dead trees trucks.  It was swampy like and I actually saw a beaver lodge to my right.  This was something I have not seen since my childhood.

The sign to Tweed came up and I was to learn that there is a Heritage Center there that was recommended to me to visit:  That will be a stop on my next trip and yes, I will be returning soon.

Madoc came and the sign indicated that I would have to turn south into this town to see it.  I had to push on to Marmora and the road curved around through a little more through a foothills area.  I stopped in Marmora to take a break and get some food:,_Ontario  It is a lot bigger than I expected.

There was a little restaurant off the road just as I came into Marmora called the Odd Cup Cafe (now called Theresa’s).  It was great.  The nice lady was very kind and pleasant and took my order. It was simple comfort food.  The prices were reasonable.  I loved it.   This man kept coming in and going out to sit in the sun under the umbrella’s and talk to this lady.  I think it means that the coffee was good.  If I had more time this is a place where you dally and get to know the residents and ask them about the families that lived there, you would be surprised what you might learn.

Odd Cup Cafe, Marmora – A Great Find

From Marmora I headed south on Hwy 14 to Stirling.  I was in Marmora township and had a little more to go before I would actually be in Rawdon Township.

Here is a wonderful tourism website that combines Mamora, Tweed and Madoc in a group with the title “Comfort Country.” I am in heaven:  photographs, road trip guides.  I am planning to return, hopefully in September and this is exactly what I need to plan that visit.

Richard Brown Dies July 1922!

My great-grandfather Richard Brown died on the 12th of July 1922 in Winnipeg.  He was 76 years old.  He had survived his wife Emma by 17 years.  As far as I can tell he did not remarry.

He and Emma raised three children: Charles, Ethel and Arthur and lost one son Alvin. Emma died in 1905 as I have already written about in a past post “Emma Ward Brown – Passes!” dated June 10, 2011.

I did not know that much about my mother’s side of the family.  I knew about the Brown’s up to Richard and Emma thanks to my Aunt Aileen, my mother’s older sister.  It was sheer dumb luck that I broke through with the 1871 Canadian census and found Emma and Richard living near each other in Petrolia in Lambton County, Ontario.  Once I made that connection and discovered George’s marriage a brother of Richard, I knew I had something! I then went to the web and found the website at Ancestry done by Peter Cunningham titled the “Cunninghams of Sudbury,” I knew I was on the right track.  I was then introduced to Robert Hayes a Brown descendant.

The Manitoba Vital Statistics:  Official Notice of Death for Richard Brown July 12, 1922, Winnipeg Vital Statistics Agency, Province of Manitoba, Canada

Death Record for Richard Brown died July 12, 1922, Residence: 106 Niagra St., Sex male, Irish origin, widower, born at Rowdon, Ontario on 10 March 1846. He was 76 yrs 4 mos and 2 days old at death. He had lived in the area 41 years (1881). Retired carpenter. Arthur Brown, son, signed the death record and he did not know the name of Richard’s father or mother but he did indicate that Richard’s father was born in Ireland. Arthur was living at 106 Niagra St. Cause of Death: Angina Pectoris, secondary myocarditis. Burial in St. John’s Cemetery on July 15, 1922.

Please note regarding the birth location for Richard.  There is no “Rowdon” instead it is called “Rawdon” and it is in Hastings Co., Ontario.  It is a historic township per Wikipedia.  It is now known as a municipality called Stirling-Rawdon, Ontario. 

The following obituary was provided by my cousin Bob Hayes.  It comes from the Manitoba Free Press dated July 14, 1922:

Obituary of Richard Brown

Another of Winnipeg’s old-time citizens in the person of Richard Brown died suddenly yesterday at the residence of his son, Arthur, 106 Niagara Street. Mr. Brown was a member of Court Rupert Canadian Order of Foresters, having been a member for thirty-two years. He was born in the township of Rawdon, Hastings County, Ontario in 1846 and at the age of four moved with his parents to Wyoming, Ont. in 1881 he came to Winnipeg where he has since resided. For over thirty years he was employed in the Canadian Pacific Railway shops here and about five years ago retired. He leaves one sister, Mrs. Isabel MacIntosh, Grand Rapids, Michigan; two sons, Charles W. Brown of the Brown-Clark Agency this city and Arthur W. Brown of Clark Bros & Co. Ltd. and one daughter, Mrs. Robert Boardman, Seattle, Washington. The funeral will be held from his late resident 106 Niagara Street, at 2 p.m. tomorrow.

The photograph in the newspaper of my great-grandfather is very special.  There is another which I have featured on this blog in a past post:  “A Possible Picture: Richard Brown?” dated August 13, 2010.  I will repost it here so that you can compare the two. 

I believe it is him?  I know the lady he has his arm around, she is my grandmother Ethel Adella Brown Boardman.  The way he holds her makes me feel that it is her father, just remove the beard and age him a little?  The other part of this photograph is my grandmother is smiling in a very happy way.  She was not that open of a person but here she is just beaming.  I place this photograph around about 1915 because of the clothes that grandmother is wearing and other photographs that give that time period in the same type of outfit.

Ethel with her father?