Harris family members at Brandon Manor, Wesleyville, Ontario c1903
Photo by Francis Arthur Clarke. Picture from Glen Cotter. Thanks to Paul and Evelyn Bridges
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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 family members:
age 7 - father Stephen Carr died May 8, 1899
age 8 - grandmother Mary (Grandy) Carr died June 28, 1900
age 9 - grandmother 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 William 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 5,1870
Stillborn son of Stephen and Alice, April 6, 1887
Naomi Ruth, daughter of Stephen and Alice, lived only a few hours, July 10, 1888
Stillborn daughter of Stephen and Alice, April 6, 1890
Stephen Carr, father of Addie, died May 8, 1899
Mary Grandy, mother of Stephen, died June 28, 1900
Mary 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 79th year.

John and Addie (Carr) Pursley are buried in the Greenlawn Cemetery in Akron, Ohio.



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