Harris family members at Brandon Manor, Wesleyville, Ontario c1903
Photo by Francis Arthur Clarke. Picture from Glen Cotter. Thanks to Paul and Evelyn
Bridgescursor over a face see the entire image
What occasion brought a professional photographer from Port Hope to record this family, dressed-up and posing at the front of their house, with an attendant
standing by a man in a one-horse chaise? There's a story in this picture, but no one left to tell it.
William Hamilton Harris was a grandson of the
first Myndert Harris, one of the earliest settlers of Port Hope. Myndert was named for his maternal grandfather, Myndert Viele.
William Hamilton Harris was
a son of Myndert Harris II and Phoebe Hawkins. He was a farmer and a Justice of the Peace who lived in Wesleyville.
The identities of some of the people in
the photo are uncertain. Based on available evidence and apparent family resemblance, these seem the people most likely to have been in that place at that time.
The photographer, Francis Arthur Clarke, born Jan 24, 1877 in West Huntingdon, Rawdon Township, Hastings County, near Stirling, Ontario, died Nov 11,
1945 in Chicago, Illinois.
Glen Cotter gave me this picture in
the summer of 2014. He had found it in the attic of his parents' house at 19 Sullivan Street. He didn't know the identities of any of the people in it, but
assumed there was some connection to his family. The photo is pasted on a card inscribed with the name of the photographer and the house, Brandon Manor. Records
show that William Hamilton Harris was the occupant at the time the picture was taken.
It was the young girl here that I was most curious about, since she
may have lived into the 1980s and had children, so I set out to find her. My search for this girl from Wesleyville led me finally to Addie Pursley of Akron, Ohio.
I found that the only female member of the Harris family who would have been about the age of the girl in the picture was Catherine Agnes Alexandria
Carr, daughter of Stephen Carr and Alice Marcella Harris.
The time when she was from 7 to 16 years of age must have been clouded by the deaths of eight close
age 7 - father
Stephen Carr died May 8, 1899
age 8 - grandmother
Mary (Grandy) Carr died June 28, 1900
age 9 -
Elizabeth Ann 'Eliza' (Gifford) Harris died May 16, 1901
age 9 - greatuncle
William Samuel Gifford died March 30, 1901
age 11 - aunt
Mary Carr died Dec 12, 1903
age 13 - aunt
Agnes Mildred Harris died April 1, 1905
age 13 - grandfather
Hamilton Harris died July 12, 1905
age 16 - aunt
Catherine Carr died Dec 22, 1908
Agnes Carr at Wesleyville School 1904, John Vance Pursley, Addie holding Glen Cotter's sister Betty, and Addie at 19 Sullivan Street
Agnes' father, Stephen Carr was buried in St John's Cemetery (R-6 P-127) in a
plot that he owned.
The plot is large enough for 10 graves, and holds the remains, as far as is known, of 7 people:Thomas Carr
, father of
Stephen, died Dec 5,1870Stillborn son
of Stephen and Alice, April 6, 1887Naomi Ruth
, daughter of Stephen and Alice, lived only a
few hours, July 10, 1888Stillborn daughter
of Stephen and Alice, April 6, 1890Stephen Carr
, father of Addie, died May 8, 1899
, mother of Stephen, died June 28, 1900Mary Carr
, sister of Stephen, died Dec 12, 1903
Agnes' mother died June 22,
1916. The funeral moved from her Pine Street residence in Port Hope to Wesleyville.
On June 29, 1918, Alice was exhumed from Wesleyville Cemetery, presumably
the Harris section, and reburied in Union Cemetery in Port Hope (S-A R-8 P-56).
The plot where Alice is buried was bought by Agnes Carr, and is also large
enough for 10 graves. No one else is known to be buried there.
In front of Alice's large monument lies a small flat stone bearing the word 'MOTHER.'
Alice Carr was buried twice, neither time with her husband. Part of the story nobody's left to tell.
Agnes' Aunt Catherine Carr who died in Toronto Dec 22,
1908 was buried in the Charlesworth plot in St John's Cemetery (R-7 P-113).
I lost track of Agnes when she moved to the United States around 1920.
She didn't show up anywhere under her maiden name, and I didn't know whether or not she had married.
After much fruitless searching I happened to mention
to Glen that I thought the young girl in the picture was Agnes Carr. Then he realised that this was the Agnes who used to visit the Cotter family on Sullivan
Street years ago. She had married a man named John Pursley; Glen knew her as 'Addie Pursley.'
Glen's grandfather, Henry Bailey, had been sent to Port
Hope from Kent, Ohio to be Supervisor of the Nicholson File factory in 1901, the year that Nicholson took over the Globe File business from the Outrams. Henry's
daughter Pearl married Fred Cotter. Pearl's sister Florence Bailey (1895-1966) became good friends with Agnes, and they remained close until Florence's death.
That was the connection between Addie and the Cotter family
The Pursleys would pull a trailer along when they drove up to Canada, and park it at
Harwood, Ontario, or some such place on Rice Lake. Addie and John were planning to move to Canada and live in Wesleyville, but after John died suddenly in 1947
while working in Florida for the Goodyear blimp company, Addie remained near longtime friend Florence (Bailey) Buckingham in Akron, and there she died in her
John and Addie (Carr) Pursley are buried in the Greenlawn Cemetery in Akron, Ohio.