Finding Grace Moors

Dad described the Bernardo’s file on Grace and Alice, sparse, and it is.  Their brother, John, had traveled with the Annie Macpherson organization when he was only 13.  While not at the beginning of the sad movement of children for indentured service to Canada, Australia and other countries, it was early, in 1889.

Grampa always spoke of his Dad and Grand Dad helping orphaned children and it does appear that John, after two placements and a number of years, accompanied two other groups of children with the organization, one time traveling with a friend (21), Arthur Wheeler.  Arthur separated from John and traveled, instead, to Toronto and my research has turned up nothing but dead ends where he is concerned.

S.S. Parisian John Moors and Arthur WheelerHmmm….this story is not about John, but about Grace.  Alice is still a bit of a mystery.  On John’s papers I learned of two placements for a Miss Moore, 39 Duke Street, Hamilton and 61 Robinson Street.

P1150648On the recent acquisition of information, dated July 24, 1892, I learn that Grace is a domestic at Dundurn Castle…

Dundurn Castle, Hamilton, 1910

and then, later, a servant with Mrs. Counsell of 11 Herkimer Street in Hamilton, Ontario.

DSC_1778Regarding all of these placements, I feel tremendous gratitude.  In our study of the British Home Children, our group refers to domestics and servants in these positions as the ‘lucky ones’.  First of all, Grace was twenty years old.  If you look at the list of immigrants above, some of these children were as young as four and six.  Some were emigrated without their parent’s knowledge.  As my research and understanding opens up, I realize that I need to be grateful, however repulsed by the stories of so many others.  I’ve just finished a book, a gift from my father, Laying the Children’s Ghosts to Rest: Canada’s Home Children in the West by Sean Arthur Joyce.  These and other books, as well as the dedicated work of such individuals as Lori Oschefski, Sandra Joyce and Karen Mahoney with the  British Home Children Advocacy &  Research Association have brought to light, bit by bit, a part of Canadian history that needs to be acknowledged and taught in schools.

??????????Grace is found in Dundurn Castle in Hamilton.  By 1892, the residents were no longer the famous Sir Allan MacNab,  his second wife, Mary and their children.  I am trying to locate names of the families (likely relatives) who continued to live in this famous tourist location.

What’s interesting about such placements of domestics is that very little is written about their responsibilities or circumstances in the history books.  These were the people who toiled for the comforts of the fortunate and yet it is difficult, in the rural placements especially, to ever find them on the census records.  Few narratives endure.  My father teases me and says that I can invent their stories, but you see, I will never write anything unless it is based on fact.

Last night, I found a post written by Nancy, a freelance journalist and biographer on a quest to visit and write about all 266 National Historic sites in Ontario.  Her blog, Silcox, provides for some insight into Grace’s story, in a post titled Upstairs/Downstairs: What the Butler saw at Dundurn Castle.  An awesome post.  See also, the Toronto Sun’s article…Ontario’s Downtown Abbey: Visiting Hamilton’s Dundurn Castle.

Nancy writes about her tour, led by Bridget…

“The Servants’ Quarters
Ironically, the low, odoriferous and dark basement where the MacNab’s complement of servants worked was surely cozier than the cavernous rooms above. It was no doubt tempting for the MacNab children to go below. “But they were forbidden to enter the servants’ quarters” Bridget says.

In an effort to keep staff “hanky-panky” at bay, females slept in the servants’ quarters; males bunked down in one of the outbuildings. Woolen sox were advised between November and April!

At least 10 staff kept Dundurn humming: the omnipotent butler, a cook and her kitchen staff, footmen, maids, carriage drivers, and grounds-keeping staff. “They worked 7 days a week, sometimes 18 hours a day with little pay,” says Bridget. Most were Irish immigrants, fleeing famine and starvation in “the Old Country.”

Treating the Servants “Too Well”
“But in most cases Dundurn’s servants were better off, working in much better living conditions than most of the working class in other domestic positions,” our excellent tour guide offers. “People criticized Alan MacNab for treating his servants too well.” She points out the painted wooden floors, windows and wallpaper throughout the servants’ quarters as testament to his enlightenment.

In addition to 3 meals a day, and a roof over their heads, each of Dundurn’s servants got 3 glasses of ale daily. “But the cook, especially if she was valued, had unlimited ale. They wanted to keep her happy!” suggests Bridget.

The large kitchen is the centre of Dundurn’s servant’s quarters. A massive wood-burning stove, with various doors and cubbies covers most of the kitchen wall. “The word ‘range’ comes from the notion that a whole range of foods, cooked at different temperatures, and for different lengths of time could be handled by these cook stoves,” says Bridget.

She now points to a row of bells on the wall of the kitchen. “Each of them rings in a different tone. One tone was for the cook; another for the butler; another for the footmen. Staff soon learned what ring was for them.” A series of smaller rooms give clues to the never-ending chores of a 19th century servant. Bridget’s tour takes us past the candle-making room, the laundry, the brewery, the wine cellar, the root cellar, the food storage room and one devoted solely to luggage.

“After all, when the MacNabs went to visit, it was by carriage and took a long time. So they needed to pack many clothes for at least a week or more.” Ladies’ maids handled all clothes preparation and packing.

The dish-washing room was the domain of the scullery maid. She rested at the lowest rung of the servant pecking order. “The word ‘scullery’ refers to sculling, the movement of water,” informs Bridget. “Scullery maids washed, dried and put away dishes 12 hours a day. And if a late formal diner was held, she didn’t go to bed until the last dish was done.”

Of these circumstances, Bernardo’s records support both the location and the reality for Grace.

DSC_1779My quest for information will continue, but I wanted to touch, just briefly, on Mrs. Counsell of 11 Herkimer Street.  I find 18 year old E.M. Counsell, clerk for the Merchant’s Bank, living at 11 Herkimer Street and so, as the 1891 Hamilton census would suggest, Edward was living with his parents, Charles M. Counsell and Charlotte E. Counsell at the time, listed as a 17 year old.

Hamilton Directory 1892-1893 E. M. CounsellAt the bottom of their records, it is evident that Charles and Charlotte have, in 1891, three domestics, John and Maggie Thompson and Tillie Hammond.  Grace would have followed behind them, although she does not appear on the 1901 census because she was living at home with her father, John Moors and family, immigrated 1898, many years after his own son, John.

1891 Census HamiltonI find Charlotte widowed on the 1901 census (Charles death certificate reading 1900) and she lives in Hamilton for the remainder of her life until May 9, 1923.  So, this is the Mrs. Counsell who had as her domestic, Grace Moors.

Charlotte Elrington Leith Counsell

Charlotte Elrington Leith Counsell

And this is her home at 11 Herkimer, as it appears today.

11 Herkimer Street where Grace worked for Mrs. CounsellAmazing what worlds are opened up with a few pieces of information.  As I watch The Midwives of Netflix or read my current list of books, I can not help but appreciate more and more the resilience of my ancestors for their struggles and their determination.  I am proud to be a descendent, on my mother’s side, of the Acadians and on my father’s side, of the east side Londoners.  I anticipate learning more as I continue my research.

The second address, 61 Robinson Street, will be described in a new post.

Grace Moors 61 Robinson Street, Hamilton, Domestic

Red Geraniums

I told people that I had never read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  It was a strange confession, given that I was an English language arts teacher for thirty years and avid reader.  I felt embarrassed because this novel is typically on a high school reading list.  Given that I went to high school in Montana, I assumed I had missed it because I was studying All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren.  As a response to this seeming omission to my reading, I added To Kill a Mockingbird to my list of must-reads.

I wasn’t eleven pages in when I realized that I had met these characters before.  Scout and Jem and Atticus…I had read the book!  I decided to carry on, as I’m sure my readers will attest, it is a classic in the truest sense and an excellent ‘read’.  It is simply a joy to reread out favourites along the way.

I had been thinking about red geraniums recently and they DO appear in this novel. “The Ewell family house is falling down around their ears, and yet Mayella cultivates these beautiful, brilliant bright red geraniums in old, chipped slop crocks.” There, amid the brokenness, red geraniums grow.  It is always a wonder when beauty/goodness exists in the rugged, broken and dark aspects of humanity.

A character sketch delves into possible symbolism…red geraniums.  Click on the link for source.

Mayella Ewell

Among the trash and cast-offs in the Ewell yard, there’s one spot of beauty.

“Against the fence, in a line, were six chipped-enamel slop jars holding brilliant red geraniums, cared for as tenderly as if they belonged to Miss Maudie Atkinson, had Miss Maudie deigned to permit a geranium on her premises. People said they were Mayella Ewell’s.” (17.64)

The geraniums suggest that Mayella desires to be better than her surroundings, to make something bright in her dull world, to aspire to higher things. But whatever Mayella’s hopes and dreams are, she doesn’t get a chance to express them to the reader; she appears only at Tom’s trial. And there, she has to perform a role: the poor innocent white woman attacked by the evil black man, who must be protected by chivalrous white men.

Each year, in early May, my Auntie Eleanor gets her cuttings growing…red and white geraniums, to be blooming just in time for the July first family reunion.  They grow out in her porch where the sunshine pours over them, long rows of green leaved wonders.  When you enter the porch from outside,  the moist green smell of geraniums hits you very suddenly and smacks of feelings of family, home and memory.

Summer brings the edging of the camp kitchen where we congregate, share conversation, laugh, hug and share talents.  Red geraniums…love.

Interesting, that as I visited the resting places of my ancestors last summer…Lindsay, Ontario…Hamilton, Ontario…our family’s plots were marked, where tended, by bouquets of red geraniums.

Canada Day Geraniums IMG_8895

Canada Day in Raymond, Alberta

Canada Day in Raymond, Alberta

Charles E. Burrows and Clara

Charles E. Burrows and Clara, Lindsay, Ontario

Charles E and Clara


Hamilton, John S. Elliott, brother to Florence Elliott and wife.


A Gift From Kansas

When I returned home after time spent with my father, this past summer, I was determined to interview my paternal aunties about my family.  I had never felt such an urgency to record their stories as I did after losing my Mom, her laughter and her memories.  The thing is…once a person collects the archives, the narratives, the recordings and the photographs, it’s important to sort them into some concrete ‘container’.  They need to take a shape.

This morning, my camera battery is plugged into the wall recharging.  My tape recorder is set to pause at minute 22 of an interview with my Auntie Ruth Rollingson…my ancestral record from Dick Chandler (sent to me by my cousin, Anne) is open to L400 William Thomas Haddow and I am so excited and blessed, I am bursting at the seams!  Auntie Ruth speaks about her memories of my Great Grandmother, Mary Eleanor Haddow’s crocheting and her obsession with good manners and courteous behaviour.  Later, I will publish this recording here, as a part of the provenance of today’s MAGIC!  But for now…I have to write about yesterday’s delivery.

Mary Eleanor Haddow, with her family.  She is center back.

The Haddow Family

The Haddow Family

My grand Uncle, William Thomas Haddow (usually called Tom), married Emma Stafford.  (much more to be said about Emma…as well as her brother Charles, who apparently ended up a well known photographer in Calgary and archived by the Glenbow Museum…but that will have to wait).  Tom and Emma had two little girls; Agnes Mary (Mae) and Edith Emily.  When Edith married Robert McKeown, she received as a gift, a crocheted table cloth from my Great Grandmother Mary Eleanor.

Mary Eleanor Haddow on her wedding day to John Moors

Mary Eleanor Haddow on her wedding day to John Moors

Yesterday, I received a box delivered to my door, from my beautiful cousin Anne who lives in Kansas…you guessed it! Wrapped in tissue, lovingly, and with photographs that provide treasured provenance, the table cloth.  I broke out into tears AND hoots of every sort.  My cousin, Margy, joined me at the feast table as I retold the story for her.  I am so blessed beyond belief.  I ran my fingers over the delicate crochet, knowing that this was made lovingly by a woman I treasure simply through the few stories that remain of her.  I am grateful to you, dear Anne.

This photograph shows the table cloth in use sometime in the 1940s and includes young Anne, with her mother, Edith.

Photograph provided by my cousin, Anne.

Photograph provided by my cousin, Anne.

This next photograph shows Edith’s son, Gerry, enjoying a Christmas feast some time in the mid 1950s. An exceptional photograph…with a very special table cloth.

Photograph provided by my dear cousin, Anne.

Photograph provided by my dear cousin, Anne.

And this morning…warmed by Christmas light, the beautiful gift of a table cloth, to be treasured forever as a special remembrance and reminder of the power of family and of Christmas love.  Your generosity amazes me…I cry as I type these words.

P1140479Now, this treasure has been tucked away, to be kept safe for future generations.


Where are you, Ruth Rollingson?

My Auntie Ruth is a force not to be reckoned with!  She is a very strong woman who has a sharp memory and a very particular type of wit.  Ruth holds strong opinions about most things (it runs in the family) and articulates them with emotion and power.  A woman who puts family first, she loved spending extended periods of time in both Peace River and New Zealand.  With fondness, she talks about branches of her/our family who are separated by a huge physical distance as though they could not possibly be held any closer in her heart.

This week she shared some of her narratives and I treasured every moment of the time we spent together.  As I delved deeper into the paternal side of my family history, I wanted to hear, first hand, the recollections of two of the matriarchs of the family, my Auntie Ruth and Auntie Eleanor.  It is with great fondness that I recall visits out west while my own military-family seemed to be, every couple of years, on an east-west migration.  Auntie Ruth and her family were a big part of what it meant to be ‘a Moors’.

Many hours were spent in friendship and family…teasing one another…complaining…and typically, exploding into laughter.  I am so happy for the previous interviews that my second cousin, Danielle, has worked on and the beautiful family album that contributed so much to our chats early in the week.  Several of these photographs are borrowed from this treasured resource.

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St. Mary's

St. Mary’s Dam…Ruth swimming with friends…

Family Reunion St. Mary's Dam...cousin, Linda in foreground...Gramma Florence Elliott Moors with her back to us.

Family Reunion St. Mary’s Dam…cousin, Linda in foreground…Gramma Florence Elliott Moors with her back to us, likely late 1960s.  My own mother’s face, just slightly above Linda’s arm…

I am so grateful for our conversations, dear Ruth…and look forward to connecting some of these narratives with the research I have already documented.  I love you.

A portrait that I painted for Auntie on her 90th birthday appears at the bottom of this post.

Return to Hamilton: Paying Respects to my Elliott/Burrows Family

Besides exploring the beautiful architecture and getting a sense for ‘place’ while in Hamilton, I also said my prayers over many of my paternal ancestors.  My Grandmother Florence Elliott’s parents (my great grandparents) have their resting place in the Woodland Cemetery in Hamilton, along with their son John Staunton Elliott and wife.  Caroline May Elliott has her resting place in Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery.  Thanks to my wonderful second cousin, Mike, I was able to share this experience with family.  Related also, but living in St. Catherines, is my second cousin, Barry.

Through the connection with Mike, I have been able to see that we have a shared interest in birding and photography and family history.  Roots are wonderful things!

On the schematic below, my paternal grandmother is marked with the little house symbol.  My great grandparents were Mabel Burrows and George Elliott.  If you see yourself or your relations somewhere on this tree, please be in touch.

Mabel Burrows

My paternal great grandparents: Mabel Burrows and George Elliott

My paternal great grandparents: Mabel Burrows and George Elliott

May our relations rest in peace.

May our relations rest in peace.

John Stanton Elliott resting alongside Francis Edith Ward

John Stanton Elliott resting alongside Francis Edith Ward

John Stanton Elliott and Francis Edith Ward

Great Uncle John Stanton Elliott and second wife, Francis Edith Ward

Great Auntie Caroline May Elliott resting along side her husband, Stanley Gamelin

Great Auntie Caroline May Elliott resting along side her husband, Stanley Gamelin

Caroline May Elliott

Caroline May Elliott

47715-26 Stanley James GAMELIN, 22, truck driver, Canada, Hamilton, s/o James GAMELIN, b. Hamilton & Emma BARRETT, married Caroline May ELLIOTT, 23, machine operator, Canada, Hamilton, d/o George ELLIOTT, b. Hamilton & Mabel BURRIS (should be Burrows), witn: Edward GAMELIN of 120 Kensington Ave & Emily MOREAU of 15 Keith St., 27 July 1926 at Hamilton

Mabel Elliott OntarioCanadaMarriages1801-1928ForStanleyJamesGamelin

Return to Hamilton: St. Paul’s Church

I came upon St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church as I did one of my walks about town.  I spent some time enjoying this remarkable structure located on James Street.  There is some wonderful background on the church in the Raise the Hammer article titled First-Rate Gothic: A Look at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Hamilton written by Malcolm Thurlby.  I am begging that if you have any interest at all in the details of Gothic Architecture as it was explored in southern Ontario in the day, that my readers refer to this article.  Excellent!

Hamilton St. Paul's Presbyterian Church EarlyP1110466 P1110467 P1110468 P1110469

Hamilton St. Paul's Presbyterian Church Portal


I spent some time admiring the beauty of several buildings in Hamilton.  Snapshots of an earlier day, tell the story of a determined people in a hard working town.  My great grandparents regularly attended church and I think that this was a foundation for the strength that I so admire in my family.  In my brief stay in Hamilton, I was able to take a good look at some of the buildings that remain.  A few older photographs were found in an archive titled “Concerning the Saint Paul’s Presbyterian Church and Congregation in Hamilton, Ontario 1854 – 1904”.







P1110471 P1110472“At the south-east corner of the church there is a large Celtic Cross – The Cross of Sacrifice. It was carved in Scotland and placed here in 1921 to commemorate those of the congregation who had fallen in battle (St. Paul’s, Undated). Near Remembrance Day you will find wreaths and poppies at the base of the cross and the church holds a Service of Remembrance on the Sunday closest to November 11th each year.”

Text found here.  Another WordPress blog titled HenleysHamilton1 can be enjoyed here.

The most detailed examination of the architecture of this particular building comes from a 1993 publication called The Bulletin: Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada, an article written by Alan Seymour and Walter Peace.

St. Pauls Page one half

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Brick Walls and Studebakers

There is so much to explore no matter where a person travels.  Some one was writing about their summer destination being ‘paradise’ recently.  I’ve decided that with a certain spirit, paradise is where you are.  God goes with you…and the world is a beautiful place.

My wanderings in Hamilton, with Max at my side, were wonderful, right down to the rich warm brick that was everywhere.


Gnar Was Here ©Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

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The Armoury ©Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

The Armoury ©Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

P1110450P1110487Demolition is controlled now, after years of historical buildings being torn down and replaced with the new.  The Studebaker Factory fell victim to such change and what some folk would call industrial progress, consumerism and competition.

The Little Watchmaker’s Shop on John Street

©Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

©Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

The following article appeared in the Hamilton Spec in October of 2007 and was written by P. Wilson.  This is one of the locations along John Street that really spoke to me about the passage of time.

Watchmaker’s shop defies time.

For the first time in 120 years, no one named Edwin Pass will be fixing clocks and watches on John Street South.

“I’m tired,” says Edwin J. Pass, 77, who has worked at the shop on John near Jackson since the summer of 1946.

His grandfather, Edwin K. Pass, was first. He arrived from Coventry, England, at 21, having just finished a seven-year watchmaker’s apprenticeship. In 1887, he set up his shop, right where it is today.

There were no cars then. No electricity. Even the wristwatch was not yet born.

The first Pass begat a second, Edwin S. The two worked side by side at a desk of solid cherry by the front window. Two apprentices toiled at the back.

At the end of the Second World War, young Edwin J. Pass joined his father and grandfather in the shop. All wore shirts, ties and vests, no matter how hot the day.

Grandfather died in 1955, and father 20 years later. Edwin J. has been on his own these past several decades.

The mechanical way of watches, with mosquito-sized axles and tiny balance wheels, changed when the Swiss introduced quartz precision. Now you can buy a $20 electronic watch — with no moving parts.

But Edwin J. became the man to whom Hamilton turned to fix the old mechanical marvels.

On this morning, Joe Mancinelli’s pieces are going home. The well-known union leader has a serious clock addiction. He has old clocks in the hall, in the kitchen, in the bathroom. He’s just had two 1830s English grandfather clocks overhauled at the Pass shop and will now have to find another master craftsman.

“I might have been able to coax out another few years,” Edwin says, “but I would start to shake. The quality would be gone.

“This is physically demanding work. You need a grip of steel. You need wonderful eyesight. You need very good hearing to listen to how the clock’s behaving. You need a keen sense of smell to know what kind of chemical somebody used to gum up the works. You need all your faculties.”

Edwin and wife Barbara have a daughter. She is not Edwina, but Anne, and has a good career in construction management.

So Edwin J. would be the last. He decided it should happen this year.

Back in the 1970s, urban renewal ruled. In the core, they were knocking down old theatres and stores and putting in Jackson Square.

Someone in the city hall ranks paid Edwin a visit back then and said, “You know, it’s old stores like yours that are holding this city back.”

But Edwin would not rip out the past. Not the pressed-copper ceiling. Not the front display window, with showcase mirror on lead-weighted pulleys. Not the big wood-and-glass doors. Not the fancy tiled floor.

And he left that one-ton, bank-quality, century-old Taylor safe right by the front door. It was customized at the factory by in-house artists who painted on special-request landscapes and the Pass name.

So prospective purchasers saw all this when agents brought them through. “A lot of the people were just investors,” Edwin says. “The history didn’t matter.”

Then along came Robin McKee. He is 55, has been an audio man with CHCH for some 30 years and operates a company called Historical Perceptions, which does cemetery tours, research, writing, photography.

He is not a rich man, but decided that he must make this time capsule his. He remortgaged his house near Gage Park and has bought the Pass premises for $145,000.

He plans to change nothing. He’ll sell Hamilton history exotica and, beside the old safe, he’s creating a little Pass shrine. He’s applying right away to designate the building, which makes it harder for anyone to ever tear it down.

“This is not a noble thing,” McKee says. “I’m just putting my money where my mouth is and riding the wave of downtown rejuvenation.”

The deal closes Wednesday morning. The clockmaker will head for home at noon, a quiet end to the Edwin era.

StreetBeat appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 905-526-3391


©Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors


© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors


© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors


© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Exploring John Street

Mrs. Mary Eleanor Moors nee Haddow, my great grandmother, passed away at her home on 139 1/2 John Street South in February, 1944.  She had lived in Hamilton for most of her life, living first at 42 Jones Street where my grandfather, John Moors, was born and she was known for her kind and generous nature.  This kind heart won her a wide circle of friends.  She attended Centenary United Church and from the time that her husband, John, died in Etaples, France in service of our country, she lived with her sister Margaret.  I felt strongly about visiting her apartment in the city and the church that she attended.

P1110475 P1110476 P1110478 P1110480 P1110482The history of Centenary United Church may be read here.  The history of the Organs of Centenary may be read here.

Centenary Church Rev. Sparling Hamilton Public Library and Centenary Centenary Church Jubilee 1868 to 1918 Centenery United Hamilton Mary Eleanor Moors attendedThe previous photographs were ‘in the day’.  Here are images of present-day Centenary.


© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors


© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors


© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors


Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors ©


© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors


© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors


© Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Exploring Murray Street

I’ve been doing research around 227 Murray Street East, in Hamilton, for quite some time now.  My great grandfather, John Haddow, lived in this eight room dwelling for most of his 43 years in Hamilton.  For over 30 years, John was a valued employee of the Steel Company of Canada and was a member of the Unity Lodge, S.O.E. For any of my readers interested in reading about the establishment of this industry, see Working In Steel: The Early Years in Canada 1883-1935 by Craig Heron.  The content of this writing supports the narratives I have come across regarding my Haddow family, in regards to the influx of Italian immigrants to the area and their ‘english’ bosses.  It also confirms the actualization of ‘union’ life and the reasons for it.  Murray Street was an easy walking distance from both the tracks and industry.  This past summer, I was able to walk the paths my relations may have walked.

Steel Company of CanadaBorn in Daltongate, Ulverston on the 25th of March, 1853, John was the son of William Haddow and Agnes Poole. He married Mary High in 1875. In 1874, John joined the Royal Navy and served for just a few short months.  He had a good farm on the outskirts of Hamilton, Ontario at Ryckman’s Corners, but sadly all was lost in a fire.  This is when John, the father of my great grandmother, Mary Eleanor Haddow, started to work for the Steel Company.  He was in charge of all immigrants who worked there, a crew of about 60 men.  John, an engineer, became superintendent of the steel company on Wellington Street and it is said that on the day of his funeral, the shop was shut down in order to honour his life..  John paid $15.00 a month to live on Murray Street.  His beloved Mary died in February of 1919, but John and some of his children continued to live at the residence until his passing.

John Ames of the City of Hamilton, Growth Planning department was initially very helpful with my research.  I realized early on that there would be no residence left where 227 Murray Street once existed.  So, John and others provided me with some important links to the history of the location.

Kathleen Moors


This section of Murray Street disappeared during the First World War and the 1920’s as a number of industries occupied this area.  According to Registered Plan 287 (July 1879) Murray Street extended from the existing street (at Mary St.) all the way to Wellington Street.  The existing Murray Street house at Mary Street is #115, so your great-grandfather’s house at #227 was on the eastern edge of a complex which included the City Jail, two railway lines, and growing industries which were displacing the original homes.  #227 Murray St was Lot 132, RP 287, right beside the railway line.


In 1929 there was a remnant residential area on the north side of Murray Street east of Ferguson which included #227 (223, 225, 227).  The resident was Edwin J. Walker.  By 1930 all the houses were gone.  If you can, see to see what that part of Hamilton looked like in 1934.  Use a ruler to visually extend Murray Street four blocks to Wellington Street; this is the part of Murray Street east of Mary which has disappeared.  The Food Basics store was built in 1980 on the foundations of the Dominion Cotton Mills circa 1903, which is the large T-shaped building along the east side of Mary Street.  With the old Barton Street Jail, a large city asphalt plant behind the house, and other heavy industry all around, this was not a very liveable area.


and further to this communication…




As a correction to my last e-mail, the cotton mill on the east side of Mary Street at Murray Street was not Dominion Cotton Mils but was in fact the Hamilton Cotton Company.  There were at least seven cotton mills located in Hamilton, hiring as many people as the steel plants in the early part of the 20th century.


I have included a typical “birds eye view” of Hamilton in 1893, looking south.  Hamilton Cotton Co. is marked as No. 5.  Most of the alignment of Murray St. further east is not laid out, but there is a small group of houses to the east (left) which does mark the intersection of Murray St. and Wellington St., and I am positive that one of them is 227 Murray St.  My earlier estimate of the location of 227 Murray St. in a little bit off:  it should be closer to Wellington St. 


As you can see from Google, most of the site has now been cleared and serves as parking lots for the Hamilton General Hospital and associated clinics.


I did a bit of cropping in order to create a snippet of a map dating back to 1934…pin pointed the area where the Murray Street house would have stood.  I am very grateful to the Hamilton Public Library and for John Ames of the City of Hamilton for their awesome help in my research.

227 Murray Street 6While in Hamilton, I walked the neighbourhoods, visiting with individuals along my walk, particularly a little Italian family, as I admired their rose bushes, adjacent to the block where my great grandparents would have lived.
Similar period, style and location on Murray Street East.

Similar period, style and location on Murray Street East.

Grocery store and parking on block where John Haddow and his neighbours once lived.

Grocery store and parking on block where John Haddow and his neighbours once lived.

P1110413 P1110412P1110415A year before John passes, I find his name in a phone directory, living at 227 Murray Street East.

Hamilton 1922 Phone Book John Haddow Phone Book

It has been a blessing to explore the places where my ancestors settled, worked hard, and enjoyed the joys of family.