Anna Frances Boulton and John Livingstone Willis.           Read the book here.
cursor over or tap a face

from Chapter 1
I was born in what was then called Upper Canada, now Ontario, in the year 1859, on the 19th day of January. My father William Somerville Boulton was a civil engineer, which profession in those days was united with surveying and railway engineering, and so it came to pass that at the time of my birth he was engaged in building a portion of the Grand Trunk Railway and for this cause had left his comfortable home in Toronto, and with my mother and an older sister and brother, was living in a house built in the woods of Ontario. I have been told that the trees were cut down to make the boards of which that house was built. The town of Ailsa Craig now stands where at that time all was wilderness. I have heard my mother say that it was a beautiful spot, sloping down to a river, and she spent a happy year there, but as we left it when I was only a few months old I cannot speak of it from personal experience.

My father left Canada for England shortly after, and my mother spent a few weeks on a farm, but it was not a suitable place for her to remain and early in the year 1860 she went to Port Hope, a small town on Lake Ontario, where she had a married sister. While staying with this
sisterJane Graham
1835 Charlton, Kent, England
Dec 17, 1868 Port Hope
father James John Graham
mother Anna Maria Mason

married May 25, 1858 Toronto, Ont
James Foster Boulton
Sept 21, 1832 Perth, Ontario
June 4, 1870 Ottawa, Ontario
father James Boulton
mother Harriet Eliza Thom

Buried with her daughter Eva in
St Mark's Cemetery in Port Hope.
the terrible news came to her that the "Hungarian", the vessel on which my father was returning to Canada, had gone down off Cape Sable, with every living soul. Five hundred people were lost that stormy night, not one escaping to tell the awful tale. Some years later the lighthouse keeper confessed on his deathbed that he had neglected to light the
light"The author, being only a year old at the time her
father perished in the wreck of the "Hungarian",
probably writes from what she was told. Historical
records indicate that 205 souls perished in that
wreck and that there was no lighthouse on Cape
Sable at the time. In fact, it was because of the
wreck of the "Hungarian" that a lighthouse was
subsequently built."
. My father was only twenty-nine and I have been told he was doing well in his profession. If he had lived our lives would no doubt have been very different, but of that we can only say, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

It was a hard task my mother had to face, a widow at twenty-seven with three young children and very small means. But she was not one who ever gave way or was baffled by any difficulty. After spending a year in the little town of Exeter, with my father's mother, until her affairs could be arranged, she moved to Port Hope and settled down in a little five roomed cottage.

All my earliest memories are bound up with Port Hope and even now I can recall the appearance of the cottage and the lovely pine woods where we three children spent so many happy hours. Opposite to the cottage were the large grounds belonging to Mrs. Williams' house, a name well known in Port Hope, her son being the Colonel Williams who in 1885 distinguished himself during the Riel Rebellion. We often played in this park and gathered baskets of apples from under the trees. The winter too brought its pleasures. Warmly wrapped up in coats and fur caps, we delighted in the snow, which it seems to me was more abundant in those days.

On a stormy Saturday morning my mother would set off to market, old woollen socks drawn over her boots, her skirts well pinned up and a hood on her head. Food was cheap in those days. Many a pair of chickens she purchased for 25¢ cents, butter was a "york shilling" a pound, the york shilling being 12½ cents of our present money. Our great joy in her absence was to dress up our pillows in our own clothes and play "house" under the table. My sister Dora always figured as "Lady Somerville" in those games and I bore the less pretentious name of "Mrs. Morton".

Our education was not neglected and for about two years our teacher was one whose name has come before the attention of the public in late years,
Joseph ScrivenJoseph Medlicott Scriven
Sept 10, 1819 Banbridge, Ireland
Aug 10, 1886 Bewdley, Ontario
father John Scriven
mother Jane Medlicott

A Plymouth Brethren adherent.
, author of the well known hymn "What a Friend we have in Jesus". He taught us in our own home, two or three other children coming in to share his instruction. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, he was nevertheless a humble Christian man, his one desire to spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and few then living in Port Hope and its vicinity did not have the question of their soul's salvation put to them by him. His home while he was teaching us was with an old woman, Mrs. Gibson by name, who lived nearby and eked out her scanty living by keeping cows. He often delivered the milk for her when she was crippled with rheumatism. One of my earliest memories is trotting over to her cottage with a big broom to sweep up her kitchen because she was not able to do it.

Mrs Gibson standing outside the front door of her home.      A later photograph of the same house.
cursor over or tap Mrs Gibson and the house in the image to the right

My aunt, who was also a Mrs. Boulton, having married a cousin of my father, was a great comfort to my mother. They always spent an evening together every week, and being the two eldest of a large family and always companions, had naturally a great deal in common, especially as they were the only ones in Canada. But sad to say, about two years after we moved to Port Hope, my aunt took typhoid fever and died after a short illness, her little girl of three years passing away the next day. My mother brought the baby boy home to her house and cared for him for many months, until his father placed him with his own sisters.

from Chapter 36
Before beginning this chapter I think I must give some short description of my Jack, to me if not to others the best and cleverest man in the world. He was fairly tall, 5' 11" I believe, but slight, his hair was very black and thick and his eyes were a soft brown, but his skin was exceedingly fair and he had a delicate look which, with his high forehead, made him look more of a scholar than a banker. But a banker he was and I fancy well thought of. His present position was shorthand writer to Mr. Henry Strathy in the Federal Bank. However, the Federal Bank about this time had ceased to be and Jack's business was to help wind up its affairs.

from Chapter 41
The Federal Bank had now come to an end and Jack's work was also ended.

from Chapter 42
He had got a position in a bank in New Brunswick, the Merchants' Bank of Halifax, now the "Royal Bank." We were to move on immediately to the new home—Sackville.

from Chapter 43
About the beginning of September we began to wonder what to do for the winter. This was on Sunday. On Tuesday Jack got a telegram from Mr. Strathy asking if he could take the position of manager of the Trader's Bank at Port Hope and if he could come a once.

We left Sackville on September 18th. Mother and I had a busy week, packing up everything, but it was done successfully, and after arranging for our furniture to come down by freight, mother and I and the two children took the train for Port Hope. It was October 1st, 1890.

from Chapter 44
The name Port Hope brings back to me thoughts of little homes, each in its pretty garden, perhaps a small lawn in front, with old fashioned flowers—dahlias, hollyhocks, tall white lillies and scarlet geraniums—in borders round it. In the back garden you would find vegetables of all kinds and raspberries for sure. The town is built on two hills, known as Protestant Hill and English Town. A long street winds down the hill from English Town and at the bottom of the hill you find the shops, not a great many or very pretentious, but like the houses they are homey and the clerks welcome you as a friend and know just what you want. After passing through the town you reach the pretty little Ganaraska River, which runs into the lake at no great distance, and then the road takes a turn and wanders up a very steep hill and you are at "Protestant Hill". You can avoid the hill by climbing a very long flight, or indeed several flights, of stairs called "Jacob's Ladder", and come out at a little old fashioned English church, St. Mark's.

It was to this quiet, sleepy little town that we came, with my mother and the two children, early in October, 1890, and here it was my lot to live through cheerful sunshine and dark shadows for sixteen years. Jack had been already a week in Port Hope, staying at the Queen's Hotel, and he was very glad to receive us and had much to tell us of the Trader's Bank and the town generally. We arrived on a Monday night and the next morning an old gentleman, Mr. Adams, brought his little pony carriage and took us to visit one of the many little homes, with a view to our renting it. It was a small red brick cottage, but it had four rooms upstairs and a basement kitchen and dining room. At the back was a verandah with a lovely view of hills and woods, and the blue lake in the distance. We were not hard to please and we agreed to take the house at the large rent of $10 a month. After that we just had to wait for our furniture to arrive, but we were not bored. We had various visitors, people who remembered my mother as a young widow thirty years before and who were delighted once more to renew her acquaintance.

Trader's Bank, corner of Walton and John Streets.

Several girls came to apply for a "place" and we arranged for two.
Mary BrockenshireMary E Brockenshire
born c1873 Port Hope
father George W Brockenshire
mother Jane Eliza Corbett
, a girl of seventeen who was to act as general servant and do the washing and ironing, was much elated, as we offered her $6 a month and she had previously worked for $4. The other girl was to act as nursemaid. Her mother apologized for asking $3.50 a month for her services but said as she was nearly sixteen she thought she might do upstairs work as well as care for the children. Her name was Jinny Wright but Dorothy and Christopher always called her Jin Peter.

Our furniture soon arrived and willing hands made light work of the settling. We gave my mother the room on one side of the hall and she was very comfortable there and had a quiet, peaceful winter, I do not know when she had had so much leisure. She amused herself making a large picture book for the children, and she always had toffee of her own making for their benefit.

As for me, I felt my circumstances were as nearly perfect as they could be down here. I enjoyed having a home once more after our wanderings. I enjoyed my house-keeping, which included doing most of the cooking. I enjoyed the daily shopping at the quiet little shops around us. A dollar seemed to go so far in those days, when eggs were 10¢ a dozen, butter 13 or 14¢ a lb, bacon or sausages 10¢ a lb, good beef 5¢ a lb for a roast, and lamb could be had by the quarter for 3 or 4¢ a lb. Then the pleasure of getting a chicken large enough for our family for 25¢, and so nicely plucked and ready for the oven. A goose could be had for 60¢ and a turkey for 90¢ or $1.00. The farmers were certainly not making much at that time, for grain and vegetables were equally cheap; a 2 lb loaf was 5¢ and potatoes were 25¢ a bag. Our milk we got from an old man who had been coachman to Mrs. Williams and remembered mother well. It cost me $1.00 a week for three quarts a day—and such milk! It was well that a dollar did go a long way or else with all my economy I could never have fed my large family and paid the servants' wages on $40 a month. Clothing came out of that too but we did not buy much that winter.

When my shopping and housekeeping was done I used to take the children out, and revelled in the country lanes, the snug cottages and their pretty gardens. After dinner I always read to Dorothy and taught her verses and hymns, and then mother and I went out or we had visitors. But the evening, when the little ones were safely tucked up in bed, was my greatest pleasure. As yet there was no [Brethren] meeting in Port Hope and I had my husband to myself all that winter. He got books from the library and as mother and I sat and sewed he read aloud to us.

I have always looked back upon that winter as one of the happiest ones of my life.

In Port Hope there was one old lady who had broken bread with mother and Mr. and Mrs. Locke twenty-five years before. She had waited all these years and now was very glad to meet with Brethren again.
Mrs. Ely WardJane Sarah Bailey
1814 Quebec
Oct 26, 1899 Port Hope
father M Bailey
mother ?

married Jan 1, 1847 Port Hope
Ely Watson Ward
1815 Hope Township
June 9, 1893 Port Hope
father Thomas Ward
mother Mary Playter
was her name and she lived in a funny little wooden cottage near St. Mark's Church with her old husband and only child, a most devoted daughter named
WinnieMary Constance 'Winnie' Ward
Oct 23, 1847 Port Hope
May 1, 1937 Port Hope
father Ely Watson Ward
mother Jane Sarah Bailey
. It was in a little Fire Hall near her house that we first broke bread in Port Hope. Jack was not the only brother. A very dear man, Mr. McMahon, had come to our house one Sunday to visit. He had been a Roman Catholic, but was converted through Mr. Scriven. He was an earnest, devoted man and a great help to us for many years. But I am going on too fast with my story, for we did not break bread at all that winter, though we made Mr. McMahon's acquaintance somewhere about Christmas time.

We had not been settled long before my grandmother came to visit us. She was much pleased with our new home and surroundings and especially delighted with the Devonshire cream, a luxury peculiar to Port Hope. Many of the inhabitants are from Devonshire and my grandmother felt quite at home amongst them. One evening Mr. Willie Crombie, a well known evangelist at that time and a particular friend of my grandmother, preached in the English church half way down the hill.

So with work and play, a few kind friends and a good many new acquaintances, that first winter passed happily away and at last the snow disappeared and the spring began to appear, but with the bright April days came an event which is worthy of a fresh chapter.

from Chapter 45
I have not spoken much of the children, but they were very much in evidence in the house. Dorothy was a demure little maiden, always ready with an answer, but much quieter than her little brother, who was always gay and smiling, albeit he was still very delicate and the black rings round his eyes often went to my heart.

They each had a little basket and used to carry little dainties to an old woman called
Mrs. HaskillElecta Newcombe Johnson
Jan 1, 1792 Dorset, Vermont
Sept 24, 1898 Port Hope
father Timothy E Johnson
mother Chloe Bennett

married 1815
Timothy Henry Curtis Haskill
July 13, 1788 Lancaster, Mass
Nov 23, 1868 Port Hope
father Nathaniel Haskill
mother Abigail Sawyer

Died at the age of 107.
See more info of interest HERE.
who was blind and very old, ninety-nine I think, but she knitted Jack a pair of socks. She would feel a visitor's hands and face and said that was instead of seeing them. She could repeat hymn after hymn and told us interesting tales of when Port Hope was only a few houses and the Ganaraska River, then quite wide, had no bridge. Food was very scarce and she well remembered her father carrying a bag of bran all the way from Kingston to make bread.

Our next neighbour was a dear, motherly old lady, Mrs. Robertson. She had two pleasant daughters Jenny and Emma, who made a good deal of the children.

Both my promising maids had been obliged to leave, and as mother was now going into a house of her own, I managed to get on with only one young girl, Annie Woods, who was a great comfort and help to me.

My sister had left my aunt in Germany and after spending a month in Paris and paying some more visits in England was coming home in July, so mother took a small house at a short distance from us and we all had some busy weeks helping her to settle.

Nothing of any particular consequence happened that summer. We went for various picnics to the grounds of the unoccupied houses of Mrs. Seymour and Mrs. Williams and once or twice we were asked to tea at Mrs. Frazer's house. Mrs. Frazer was Mrs. Williams' eldest daughter and she and her husband and her daughter Lily lived very quietly in a large house a little way out in the country.

We had another visit from my grandmother towards Christmas and great talks she and Dora had over the old Tiverton days and the various places Dora had visited. She was much pleased with our baby, especially as he was called after my father. I remember one night he was restless and kept us from sleeping after we went to bed. She came in and carried him off and amused him for a couple of hours, and brought him back ready to fall asleep.

from Chapter 46
Soon after her arrival, my sister began a Sunday school, to which Dorothy and two of Mr. McMahon's children went. One day he remarked to me that his children, having no teaching at home, forgot what they learned from one Sunday to another. He said he worked such long hours that they were often asleep before he came home, and his wife was still unconverted. I told him that I read to Dorothy every day after dinner and that if he liked I would postpone the reading on Wednesday afternoons until four o'clock and his children could then come over from the school they attended and share the teaching I gave Dorothy. This pleased him well and soon became an established rule.

The maid I had, Annie Woods, asked me if her little brother might come too. Of course I was glad to have him and so began those classes which I kept up so many years. I also began a sewing meeting and soon gathered about twenty children. Mrs. Wickett at the grocery store was glad for her little girls to come, and the three Gliddons from the store at the corner, and little
Elsie StottMary Elsie Stott
Dec 15, 1880 Port Hope
Oct 20, 1895 Port Hope
father Robert Bonar Stott
mother Margaret Fair

Died of Typhoid Fever.
and many others whose names I have forgotten. They came for two hours on Saturday afternoons, and we began by dressing two dolls for some charitable purpose, but I learned by experience that this was not a very good plan. At Christmas time we had a tea for the children and our numbers for the sewing began to increase.

Our little Christopher, now three years old, had another attack of fever after Christmas, and we began to think something must be wrong with the house and that it was unhealthy. In this we were certainly right, for after leaving it the next tenants lost a child with diphtheria and on having the drain examined found it was running into the well. We felt that the good hand of our God was again preserving us.

We found a nice house, still on the main street. It was the middle one of three, each standing in its own garden, though we lost our pleasant back verandah with its wonderful view, we gained in many other respects, as this house had a nice "upstairs kitchen" and a good sized garden at the back, where the children played. As the summer came on we had a little chicken house built and kept a few hens. Our livestock at this time consisted only of a rather ordinary cat, which Dorothy had named "Alice Henry". There was a large apple tree at the back on which grew some of the most delicious apples I have ever eaten.

It did not seem a large house to us, but revisiting it this summer I was surprised to see how large the rooms were. Over the kitchen was a nice warm nursery.

What happy, peaceful days those were. In the morning I washed and dressed my baby, teaching Dorothy to read at the same time. Then came the morning walk and shopping, and after dinner that pleasant hour for reading which Christopher could now share in. On Sunday we walked up to Mrs. Ely Ward's to the meeting, and Christopher used to take his weekly sleep, which we said kept him good for another seven days.

My grandmother died after a short illness. She was eighty-six and active to the last. She dined out as usual at her friend Mrs. Baldwin's on Sunday, but passed away during the week. My sister went up and helped to arrange her things. She left everything in her room to Dora and me and later on we had a sad pleasure in dividing them. I especially remember having the feather bed, which mother helped me to make into pillows, and a small chest of drawers, which I gave to Christopher. Dorothy was left her great-grandmother's work box.

Four-generation family group and Hope and Helen
cursor over or tap a face

from Chapter 51
The three months that we spent so happily at Mrs. Meadows' farm were spent by my mother in the Northwest with my brother Graham, and she came home full of tales of his farm, his cheese making and his three little children, Carew, Carrie and Henry. Then she settled down for the winter in her little house on Bramley Street.

Those years in Port Hope were, I think, very happy ones for my dear mother, and I always feel thankful that she had such a peaceful eventide after her busy and often much tried life. My sister was everything that a good and affectionate daughter could be, and I believe she had real joy out of the grandchildren. What her influence meant to them, especially the older ones, I can never express. She constantly had them with her, not all together, but one at a time. She was so thoroughly good and honourable and honest that simply to be with her was an education in itself. Her presence near by meant so much to me too. She was always ready to help with a sick baby or to amuse a fractious one, if I had to go out. She helped dress dolls for them at Christmas, made original valentines for February 14th and always had some plan for a birthday or a picnic. And the stockings; who can say what a help it was to have the big bag of stockings carried off and brought back neatly mended. We had one source of contention, I remember. As Somerville grew up to be a sturdy boy he had a wonderful faculty for wearing out his knee. Stockings were few and could not be easily replaced, and mother began to put obvious patches on the knees. How mortified I was. She finally compromised by making him cloth knee caps.

The spring after she went to Manitoba mother moved into a larger and much more comfortable house at the corner of Augusta and Bramley Streets. How many times last summer I gazed at that house and garden and fancied I could see her comfortable figure bending over some favourite flower. For my mother's recreation was always a garden. From the days long before, when first a widow in Port Hope, she would get up at five o'clock in the morning to dig and weed. Such beautiful begonias mother had in that Augusta Street house, and geraniums and flowers of all sorts. She had a great deal of trouble too, for the earth was full of broken brick and it took much time and patience to pick it out.

But she did not spend much time on her own entertainment. She visited the poor and needy all around and was often sent for if the neighbours were in any trouble. Her two special "clients", if I may call them so, were
Mrs. WalkerMary Adams
June 5, 1830 Scotland
Jan 22, 1911 Port Hope
father James Adams
mother Catherine Hay

David Walker
Aug 31, 1826 Scotland
Sept 27, 1903 Port Hope
Mrs TrenbethElizabeth 'Eliza' Beatty
May 3, 1825 Northern Ireland
Jan 9, 1921 St Catharines, Ont
father John Beatty
mother Mary Anne Bleakley

William Trenbeth
Jan 4, 1823 Cornwall, England
Aug 6, 1906 Port Hope
father William Trenbeth
mother Mary Ann Brenton
. The former was an eminently respectable widow, living with a
daughterElizabeth Walker
1868 Port Hope
April 8, 1940 Port Hope
father David Walker
mother Mary Adams

married July 6, 1914 Port Hope
Walter James Curtis
Sept 27, 1866 Hope Township
May 10, 1938 Port Hope
father John Curtis
mother Sarah Ann Runnals
who was a school teacher. They were great friends, and I think the meeting for old ladies, which mother carried on for years, was begun in Mrs Walker's house. The other old lady was a very different character. She lived with an old husband in a rather picturesque cottage. But alas, they were given to many fallings out. As she expressed it: "His tiresome rages brought on worritsome glooms", and she would be sad and depressed for days togather. I feel sure that there was much blessing to these old people and many more, from my mother's ministrations. All these aged folk have gone to their rest now, but who will say that by and by they will be "a crown of rejoicing" to my dear mother. I will end this little sketch with a quotation from Dorothy's "Remembrances".

"Granny and Aunt Dora were now living in the Augusta Street house, a large, comfortable, red brick house. Granny made the drawing room very pretty. There was a new carpet of pale fawn. The piano stood at the back. Aunt Dora's pretty secretary stood at one side. There were numerous little tables with ornaments and coral, and a number of good pictures. Granny liked to tell us about our grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather, and tell us about the pretty ladies in the miniatures. The ornaments too all had a history, especially a brass ornamented box, which was said to have come from Stirling Castle, and a very funny old China man who had followed the family in all its wanderings. Granny's drawing room was a link with the old world of gentility to which she belonged. Sometimes she would bring down an old album of songs from the attic and sing us sweet old songs.

"Aunt Dora loved knowledge and books and thoughts. Granny loved beauty, whether in flowers, birds, pictures or music. She put feeling first and reason second. She had an extraordinary charm of manner. Her exquisite breeding was her own, but besides that she was full of verve and grace and enthusiasm. She had a most fascinating smile. No one who lived with her could ever be dull. Even we children realized that this grown up person had more than the Olympian majesty of others. At times she would take us into her confidence, making us feel that there was scarcely a difference of years between us. At others she would scold us and make us very angry. She was always full of enthusiasm about anything she did. I remember how she worked at her garden. The bed around the house was full of bricks and stones. On her daily visits to us she would tell us how many baskets of stones she had picked out. At last it was all cleared and planted round. She had a begonia and a calla lily side by side, and the cats round about used to come night after night and fight just over these two plants. Granny's indignation knew no bounds. Her begonias were her pride and she made a collection of them.

"I think she thoroughly enjoyed the doing of things. I remember the zest with which she would make beef tea or damson jam, and allow you to taste it, and expatiate on how strong and stiff it was. She at one time took a fancy to putting milk in beef tea, and almost came to blows with the nurse I had at the time because she took my part and insisted that her patient should not be forced to eat what she disliked. Grandmother could not believe anyone could dislike what she thought so nice. I know exactly how she felt, and also about her furious indignation at injustice and wrong.

"She had a Bible reading for the old women round. I remember one day I was present—not as part of the congregation. I was sitting exactly behind Granny, drawing pictures of the old women and their various queer headgear. Old Mrs. Trenbeth always wore a little black knitted or crochetted cap. Granny was discoursing on prophecy. The old ladies listened and groaned—at least Mrs. Trenbeth did. After the meeting Granny discovered my pictures, but to my surprise, instead of scolding me, complimented me on the likeness.

"The old ladies all had gardens, and Mrs. Walker had a night blooming flower which is supposed to bloom once in a hundred years. It had three blooms. Mrs. Walker invited all the neighbours to come and watch the flower open. As a very great treat Granny took me. We went over about ten o'clock and already there was quite a crowd of people in the house. A strange, exquisite fragrance already pervaded the house and the people came in quietly and reverently, as to a meeting. It was as if all were awed at some gracious and majestic presence. We tiptoed up to the piano where the plant was, like a silvery white lily unfolding its leaves and rearing itself up straight on its stem. The dead flower of the night before was there, and the bud which would open on the succeeding night. Mrs. Walker explained that at midnight the flower was perfect; by morning it had faded. We stayed and watched with those reverent people, and came away feeling as if we had been at a meeting."

from Chapter 53
. . . . But the month soon went and we started for home at as early an hour as we had arrived four weeks before. It was a long day from 3 a.m. till 7 p.m. when we reached Winnipeg. Our kind friend Mrs. Daupe met us and we had a meal in the station and then continued our journey. We did not have a "compartment" going back and it was a long, hot journey.

I waited a few days in Toronto with our friends the Sydneys and then we once more turned our faces towards Port Hope. After a few days at home we went out once more to Mrs. Meadow's farm for a peaceful six weeks. What a rest to mind and body those summers at Mrs. Meadows' farm were. I look back on them with pleasure and regret. Mrs. Meadows has gone to her rest now. She lived to an old age and when I last saw her could not remember me, but she was a good woman and a faithful friend and I look back at the peaceful weeks we spent at her house with the greatest pleasure.

from chapter 55
Shortly after this another young man came to make his home with us, the son of Mr. Pennington of Halifax, whom we had visited when in that part of the country. He was also named Will, but he was not at all like our nephew. He was tall and good looking, but delicate, and never seemed to have strength or energy. He came out of a house full of little children and made a good big brother to our little flock. He was also very fond of animals and took a real pleasure in our menagerie. But his coming and the prospect of an addition to our own family before very long made us feel the necessity of a larger house. We looked here and there and saw over various houses, but none seemed to be suitable. I was too poorly to take much interest in it and felt a move was almost beyond me. At last a startling proposition was made to us. There was a large, handsome house on the base line. It stood in its own grounds and looked over the lake.

The view was wonderful. Four acres of garden surrounded it. It stood on the top of the hill and 10 acres of pasture land covered with trees were put at our disposal. The house contained a large dining room 30 by 18 feet, a drawing room in proportion, a library and an immense kitchen, pantry, butter pantry, laundry, etc. Upstairs were four very large bedrooms, and in the back hall a bath room and two more bedrooms. There were also two dressing rooms. The owner had been forced to sell it and the purchaser could not rent it. Would we take it [Hillcrest] at $20 a month? It was a tempting offer. Not that we desired such a large house, but the ground and pasture land would make such a wonderful playground for the children. My husband at once announced his intention of keeping a horse and I begged for a cow, which Will Pennington undertook to milk and care for.

I cannot say I was keen upon moving. I saw what a care the garden would be and felt so unwell that to face a move seemed beyond me. However, all the family urged it upon me and declared that the moving should be done without my having anything to do with it. Of course I knew that was impossible, but I appreciated the help offered and also thought that the large drawing room, which we did not intend to furnish, would make an admirable room for the children's meetings. Alas, this never came to pass, for when we began very few children came, and shortly after events which I will shortly relate quite put an end to them. But I should like to remark here that my experience has been almost always that work for the Lord done in a humble manner and often at cost to oneself is more effectual than that which is prepared for on a large and more comfortable scale.

It was suggested that we should spend June at Mrs. Meadows' and after the "rest" there I might feel better. Perhaps some people would have hardly called it a rest, with the entire charge of four small children, but I always enjoyed being there and was only too pleased to be released from cooking and house-keeping. At the end of the month we returned. Jack had bought his horse, a beautiful but very spirited creature, and we soon procured a cow. We did not indulge in much new furniture but spent a little of my grandmother's legacy on carpets.

My mother had rented her house to our dear old friend
Lady RobinsonElizabeth Anne Arnold
1823 London, England
March 7, 1896 Toronto, Ontario
father John Charles Arnold
mother Elizabeth Scott

married May 15, 1845 Woodstock, Ont
Sir James Lukin Robinson
May 27, 1818 Toronto, Ontario
Aug 21, 1894 Toronto, Ontario
father John Beverley Robinson
mother Emma Walker
for the summer and she came over to spend the time with us. She occupied what Mr. Irwin used to call the "ten acre lot", a very big room at one side of the upper hall. Dorothy and Sommie had a room back of hers. We had a beautiful room, far ahead of anything I have enjoyed before or since. It had a large bow window looking over a wonderful expanse of woodland and lake. One never wearied of looking at it. A small dressing room connected this room with the nursery, which had the same lovely view. Christopher slept in a very narrow little bed in this dressing room. Afterwards he made himself a bed, much to his pride and mine. It was a little ricketty and painted yellow, but what could you expect from seven years of age!

It certainly was an ideal house for children, if not for their mother. How they loved that pasture and what happy hours they spent there with Edie. It was "interesting" they felt; trees, grass, hills and wild flowers, and only occupied by the one cow. The horse was a great interest to my husband, but I must confess a source of nervous terror to me; he had a fashion of bolting past anything that frightened him, which was not reassuring to anybody in poor health.

I remember so well, driving in from Mrs. Meadows', when we returned from the farm. We were passing the cemetery and Jack said: "Thank God we have no loved one there". "Oh, don't say that," I said. I do not know why it grated on me. Now that four of our best beloved lie there I often think of that peaceful spot and wonder if I too shall share their rest, or will it be in a foreign land, or better, far better, will the Lord come and take us altogether?
(She lies in "a foreign land", her bones scattered by the Communists. G. Christopher Willis.)

In front of our new house was a large, beautiful verandah, and there I spent most of my time during July. There I used to read, or try to read to the children every day after dinner. I say try, for Helen made it almost impossible; not that she was naughty but so keen to join in everything that was done. She was only two years old, and her attempts at saying hymns and verses so irresistably funny that the older ones did nothing but go into fits of laughter. "When little Amel Oke, and heard his Maker's voice," was one favourite of hers. Dear little Helen, how sweet she was. She had a dark blue frock and white pinafore, and with her dark curly head and rosy cheeks was fascinating.

I shall never forget the moonlight from that verandah, shining over the broad expanse of the lake. I hated it; it seemed so cold and unfeeling, and I was so needing sympathy and love. I do not know how I got through those weary days and sleepless nights, but the end came at last. On a Sunday morning early our little
ElizabethElizabeth Willis
Aug 18, 1895 Port Hope
Aug 19, 1895 Port Hope
father John Livingstone Willis
mother Anna Frances Boulton

Buried in Union Cemetery Port Hope.
came, but just to pay us a little visit. On Monday at noon the Good Shepherd took her home to a better land. I was terribly ill, but my life was spared to my husband and little ones. I remember my dear Dorothy throwing herself into my arms sobbing and saying: "It was such a beautiful secret and now it has come to nothing," but I will let her speak for herself.

"It was August, and a tiny new baby came to our house, but there was not the joy that we generally had over a new baby, for Mother told me through her tears that the doctor said that the little one could not live. How grieved and disappointed I felt, for Mother had told me beforehand that it was coming and had let me see her make the dear little frocks and nightgowns for it. And I felt so sorry for my mother. It seemed so terrible that this dear little tiny thing must die. And so the next day she went back to God. She was laid in a tiny coffin and Granny and Daddy and Christie and I went with the coffin in a cab to the cemetery."

That little funeral service was held in my room. Dear Mr. McMahon came and he gave out that hymn, "Blest Father Infinite in Grace". I could not bear to look at or sing that hymn for years. I wanted comfort and saw none in it; it seemed so cold to me. In the middle of the service kind Dr. Clemesha came in and leant over me as I lay there crying quietly. "You must not fret," he said, "for the sake of your other children. I know what you are feeling, and the loss is one you can never get over, but you must be brave." I cannot tell you what good those kind words did me. If only people would leave off explaining to you why it is unnecessary to fret, and give a little sympathy instead, how much more good they would do.

That was a very sad time to me. People would say: "You must remember the four dear little children you have," and "you did not have her long enough to learn to love her". A mother does not learn to love nor, I think, a father either. However, I well remember how the comfort came at last. It was a verse in Jeremiah, I think: "Can a mother forget her sucking child". That was what the Lord thought about it. He did not expect her to forget for a moment. His was true sympathy; there was One Who knew and cared. How it soothed and healed my wounded, troubled spirit. I felt very much for little Helen, who when she heard she had a little sister, was overjoyed and got a lapful of toys and said: "Now get down on the floor and play with me". Alas, she never had that little companion, who would have meant so much to her.

I was a long time getting better. Kind Lady Robinson used to come and sit with me often, and before she went home she said: "Now as soon as you are able for the journey, you must come and pay me a visit and bring Dorothy with you, to play with Gwen and Julia". This was a great cheer to me.

from Chapter 61
I suppose it was partly on account of losing our sweet little Elizabeth that all the family were so delighted with our new baby. She was a plump little seven pound baby, with a lot of fair hair with quite a curl in it even at first and big blue eyes, and the tiniest and sweetest little hands I ever saw. As for Edie, words could not describe the enjoyment she had in the little creature, though she never supplanted Helen in Edie's love. Dorothy in her quiet way made much of her, and Christopher loved her with a strong and tender love from the first. Even when she was a few days old, he would do anything for Miss Gausby if she would lay the baby beside him in his little bed. As she grew older, he constituted himself her special champion and protector, and though still often "Mr. Benoyer" to Helen and Somerville, I never remember his teasing her. She was very like him, only so tiny and gentle, and she repaid his love with all the warmth of her little heart. But I amlooking ahead.

That summer was a quiet, uneventful one. I was a long time gaining any strength, but at the end of August we all went to Gore's Landing on the Rice Lake, and spent a fortnight at the hotel there. We much enjoyed meeting General and Mrs. Hamilton there. We used to get a boat and row to the islands, and as we had Edie with us, we could safely leave the baby for an hour or two. One picnic we had to an island and made a big bonfire. Dorothy had got her boots wet, and while we ate our tea, she put them by the fire to dry, but alas, when she went to get them they were all dried up and spoiled with the heat and would not go on her feet.

When we returned home, Dora began her school. Dorothy and Christopher, Katie Baines, Rita Henderson and Philip Passy were, I think, her first pupils, though I fancy Lewis Clark also joined them very soon. They were all nice children and I think Dora enjoyed teaching them. She certainly made a great success of it. She was a born teacher and so intellectual and widely read that on any subject she had interesting information to impart. Katie soon became in inseparable companion of our children, and from that time on we always included her in any little plan or expedition.

As the winter went on, Edie got a bad felon on her finger and was a number of weeks at home. I was very weary with the care of that big house and all my little children. Perhaps that was what made me suggest to Jack that we should go and board for three months and then go for three months to Muskoka. We could give the house up when we liked, as the owner Mr. Gould was intending to come and live in it himself. Jack was in favour of the plan at once, and that very evening we went over to see the
Miss MonsellsMary Hawkes Monsell
Dec 6, 1818 Ireland
April 21, 1902 Port Hope
Jane Monsell
1837 Ireland
March 20, 1909 Port Hope
Peter Monsell
Maria Hawkes

Lived on Sullivan Street.
. They were in the habit of taking summer boarders, but the rooms were usually empty in the winter. They were much pleased at the prospect of having us and said they would give us three bedrooms and a sitting room, with board, for a very low figure—I forget exactly what. They were also willing to have Edie, who could sleep at home and come to us every day after dinner. Furthermore, our furniture could be stored in their barn. All seemed most propitious and we soon came to terms.

Though Hillcrest was a large house, we were not overburdened with belongings and had not then the seventy cases of books with which we moved from Toronto in 1918. So our moving was not so formidable as it might have been. Indeed, I used to say in those days I preferred moving to house cleaning. One thing, however, happened. Our faithful Ada was taken sick with bronchial asthma just at the critical moment, and either wouldn't or couldn't move out of bed. She also refused to take any food unless I fed her. The day we moved we had to leave her in the house, Edie and Jack also remaining there. I was naturally very tired, but I got up early and came over to see how the girl was. I had just brought up something for her to eat when I went off in a faint. My invalid was startled into jumping up to see after me. However, she really was very sick and we were much puzzled to know what to do with her; there was no hospital in Port Hope and her home was eighty miles away. But dear Mother came to the rescue as usual. She had a girl named Annie, of Salvation Army persuasion. She also came from the same place as Ada, Fenelon Falls, so she undertook to nurse her, if Mother would have her there. She was carried downstairs in a chair and conveyed over to Augusta Street, where she speedily got well enough to go home, with many promises to come back to me when we took up house again. When that time arrived and I called upon her I found her very happily married.

We were very comfortable at Miss Monsells' and I had the real rest I needed. Dorothy and Christopher went to school and I devoted my attention to teaching Somerville to read. He had learned absolutely nothing from Miss Hicks, though he could repeat his little primer from cover to cover, but he was easily taught and I had not much to do. We went to our new abode on March 15, 1898, and our stay was so quiet and so comfortable and delightfully uneventful that I really think there is nothing to record regarding it except gratitude to our kind hostesses, and a feeling of regret at leaving them.

During our stay we invested in a bicycle for Jack. They were beginning to be much used at that time. He found it a great help in his trips to the country, and on one occasion he went as far as Toronto, spending the night in Bowmanville.

from Chapter 64
"You are rather stout, you know, my dear, for a young girl," said my old friend Mrs. Job, when paying me one of her annual visits. "But," I replied, "I am not a young girl but a woman of forty and the mother of five children." And such I essentially felt my position in the year 1898, when on returning from Fairy Lake we once more took up house. But I did not feel old. Oh no, far from it. I once more felt well and strong and able for the battle of life in the heat of the day. After my long time of weakness and weariness it was indeed good to be once more able to pick up the threads of my daily life; to care, as far as in me lay, for my husband, my children and my house.

Jack was very glad to get me back, though he had been very comfortable at Mother's all the summer, and Edie was rejoiced to once more hold her dear babies in her arms. We were not long in finding a house and it was, I think, the most comfortable one we lived in while in Port Hope. It was close to my mother's and had a nice bit of ground, with apple trees and a few raspberries and a good sized stable, in which we kept only rabbits and guinea pigs. The house itself boasted of five bedrooms, two sitting rooms and a little sunny sewing room, besides of course kitchen, back kitchen and pantry. It was on Bramley Street.

We soon got our furniture in and had time to paint and polish it up while still staying with my mother. About the middle of September Dora and the older children returned and we finally moved in. School began at once and Somerville was now included in the pupils. They were such a nice group: Katie Baines, Rita Henderson, a new little girl, Winifred King, then Philip Passy and Lewis Clark, besides our three. It certainly was a wonderful privilege for these children to have such a teacher as my sister. The effects of her influence must have always remained with them—I am sure it did with ours. She interested them in so many things, from ancient history to modern missions, and they were all so happy together and on the whole well behaved. Lessons only lasted for the morning, so that after dinner I still had the opportunity to read to them, and we always had a happy hour together.

My life was a very busy one as our children grew older and required more to be expended on them. We felt we could only afford one servant, so Edie became our one factotum, with Mrs. Taylor, now growing to be an old woman, to wash and iron. With a family of eight and a baby to be cared for, there was naturally a good deal to do and I helped in many ways. One thing I always did was to wash the breakfast dishes, as I could teach Helen at the same time, while Edie made the beds and cared for little Hope. Helen was a charming pupil and the drudgery of dish washing was quite forgotten in my interest in her rapid progress. She never needed to read a lesson a second time, and in three months had the multiplication table at her finger tips.

It required great economy to make two ends meet at this time. We had certainly more than the $1,000 we had begun with—I think perhaps $1,500. When Helen was still in long clothes we had a photo taken of the four and Jack sent a copy to Mr. Strathy, saying it was "four good reasons for an increase". Mr Strathy generously replied by a larger increase than was usual. I kept rigid accounts, putting down every penny I spent and counting up every month what I had spent on food, clothes, wages, gift a/c, etc. I remember that for the three years we lived in "Chestnut Cottage" the amount spent on clothes for myself and the five children was $165 each year. Boots and stockings and the boys' suits were perhaps the most expensive items. Jack once invested in new underwear and I cut all the nice pearl buttons off and put them on Helen's pinafores, as I felt china ones would do for underclothes. The apples were always a great help. We had a good many in the garden and they could be bought for 10 cents a peck. Thyra Chowne was now living at Mother's and going to the high school, and she always dined with us.

I dreaded February in those days and this year was no exception. Helen took a severe cold and from bronchitis it ran into bronchial pneumonia and we had an anxious three weeks. Kind Dr. Reid came over several times and it was a glad day when he pronounced her out of danger.

Dear little Hope had had quite a bad chill in the spring, which ended in convulsions, and I decided to get a second girl for the summer, so that she might spend most of her time out in the air.

It was the middle of August, I think, when on a general holiday we decided to go to Mrs. Holdaway's farm for a long all day picnic. I forget how we went, but I know that picnic was an immense success. We had the three Rubidges staying with us, Etta, Fred and Reg, and with our own five and Mrs. Holdaway's children it was a lively party. On our return Jack and I discussed it. "How delightful it would be to live out of doors altogether," he said, and I heartily echoed the desire. "But why should we not," I remarked, "if we only had some tents." "I think that we could hire tents," said Jack, "I will enquire tomorrow." And so he did and the result was that in four days we were all camped out at the back of the farm.

We had two tents. In one Jack and the boys slept, with Reggie Rubidge, who came with us. In the other I and my three little girls and Edie. We were there a wonderful fortnight, never to be forgotten. The children revelled in the free life, the tents, the campfire on which we did our cooking, the rides on Mr. Holdaway's old white horse and our tea parties in her large homey kitchen. Then almost at our feet was the beautiful lake, with bathing each day, and behind the tents a shady wood in which they could play. The children returned home fat and rosy and with their minds quite made up that camping was the most delightful thing in life. It was only the other day that I heard Helen remarking that she believed those summers in camp were her best preparation for missionary life. And so our lives are overruled and "By paths they have not known, He leads His own".

Before closing this chapter I must mention my dear friend Emilie Mitchell whom I met that summer for the first time. Her husband having met with an accident and thereby lost his arm, had gone to the Klondyke, and she with four children and small means had retired to Port Hope, hoping that my sister would educate the two older children, Dorothy and Hugh. She lived near us and we soon became great friends. I think this friendship meant a great deal to us both, for I had no personal friends in Port Hope, and of course she was quite a stranger. The two little children, Jack and Barbara, and our little Hope, became fast friends. The children were constantly at our house and no picnic or tea party was complete without them.

Willis family group photo
cursor over or tap a face

Here my grandmother's account ends. In the spring of 1929 she had been recalling the happy summers at "Willow Camp" and was preparing to write about them. But her pilgrim days were over and on July 1st. she entered into Life. This part of her story has been reconstructed from the memories of her children, Dorothy Collier, Christopher, Somerville, Helen and David, from old letters she and my grandfather wrote from China, and from various other letters and diaries.
John Somerville Willis 1967

from Chapter 65
Chestnut Cottage
(Somerville) While my mother, grandmother and elder sister Dorothy were away in Bermuda in 1896, it was felt necessary to find someone to look after the remaining children and keep an eye on the housekeeping. The choice fell upon an Irish lady, Miss Hicks, who had served in a similar capacity with our Toronto friends, the Irwins. She was petite, kind, alert and possessed a repertoire of Irish ghost stories.

Miss Hicks remained with us for a year or more, but Mother found Hillcrest a white elephant. It was too big and awkwardly laid out. We left it early in 1898 and boarded with the Misses Monsell till in July we went for a month to Huntsville, Ontario, where Mother's cousin George Wilgress was practising law. We shared a large stone farm house with the owner, a Mr. Ware, a veteran of the Crimean War.

On our return from Huntsville, we moved into a house on Bramley Street, a block north of our grandmother's. Mother called it Chestnut Cottage, as it faced three magnificent horse chestnut trees. The three years we spent there were the happiest of our childhood and despite the anxieties inseparable from raising a family, probably the happiest in Mother's life. Dad had established himself as a successful bank manager and his salary had increased. For those days, in a town like Port Hope, he was considered affluent, and there were no pressing financial problems.

The house, of solid brick construction and two storeys, stood on a large "L"-shaped lot with a large barn in one corner, where in summer we kept a host of rabbits and guinea pigs, which were transferred to a large earth-floored room in the cellar in winter. We had canaries, chipmonks, squirrels. Dad put up a very high swing suspended from a big maple in the garden. There were a number of apple trees and a raspberry patch, sufficient to keep us supplied during the season. However, to the children one of the chief attractions was that during winter and spring every thaw flooded the north side of the property, creating a natural rink used by all the children of the neighbourhood.

Dad rose at 6:00 a.m. and spent till about 7:30 reading in the parlour, first in the Bible, then half an hour of Greek and finally whatever he happened to be studying at the time, for he was a student by nature and his tastes were catholic and broad. Somerville usually spent the time with him and recalls reading through Proverbs, which he found of great interest, and learning the Greek alphabet and other things. Breakfast was prepared by one of the two servants and Mother and Father had a quiet time before it for reading and prayer. It was at a quarter to eight and we children were supposed to be on time. It consisted of porridge, eggs, bread and marmalade, with milk for the children, tea for Mother and postum for Father.

During the meal each child was supposed to repeat a verse from Proverbs, but so often fell back upon "Is Saul also among the prophets?" (I Samuel 10:12) that the practice was discontinued. While sitting around the table we read, verse and verse about, a chapter from the Old Testament, after which Father prayed.

(Helen) I can still remember the impression the books of the Old Testament made on me (I was six and just able to read). The early historical books I enjoyed, the Psalms seemed terribly sad, full of groaning and lamenting, Isaiah terribly dull, Jeremiah more interesting.

(Somerville) After breakfast Helen and I cleared the breakfast table. We used to quarrel as to who should carry out the teapot, probably because whoever did so could take a drink from the spout. Then there were the guinea pigs to feed, shoes to shine and other duties preparatory to setting off for school, which began at 9:00 a.m. at our Aunt Dora's, a short block away. Dad walked to the Bank, about a mile, leaving about 8:30.

(Helen) Mother attended to her house. About ten she bathed the baby, little Hope, giving me a reading lesson at the same time. There followed arithmetic and a chapter from "Little Arthur's England". But when I was seven I too went to Aunt Dora's school and was the youngest there, at first spending much of the time listening to the lessons of the older ones and picking up a good deal of information. School began with a Bible lesson and all repeated verses. Then came the three R's, history, geography and French.

(Somerville) Aunt Dora was a remarkable woman. Her memory was amazing. She had travelled abroad and spoke French and German fluently. She was also an excellent teacher. The academic records established later by her pupils were in large measure due to the initial grounding she instilled. Her pupils in those early days included Katherine Baines, Rita Henderson, Lewis Clark, Dorothy and Hugh Mitchell, besides the four Willis children. At half past twelve we came home to dinner, school finished for the day. Dad also came home. After dinner Mother read to us, first from the Bible, then from "Line Upon Line". We learned a hymn. Then followed a chapter or more from some history or biography, such as Motley's "Rise of the Dutch Republic" or D'Aubigny's "Life of Martin Luther". When Mother grew weary of reading Dorothy "spelled her off". During the reading, all of us had to do something—painting, drawing or a puzzle— since "Satan finds some mischief for idle hands . . . . "

After the reading Mother had a much needed rest and about 3:00 or 3:30 we were free to amuse ourselves as we liked. In winter this generally meant sleigh-riding. In spring and fall we went for walks or played in our own large orchard. Katie Baines often joined us.

(Helen) About 5:30 we were called in to do the small amount of home lessons required of us. Supper was about six—bread and jam—and Daddy read a chapter from the New Testament. Afterwards Mother read to us, usually a story book, or else we played games such as Jenkins Up, Authors, or some such game. Bedtime was at 8:00 p.m. Port Hope was largely made up of Cornish and Devonshire people. In the market you could buy real Devonshire cream—said to be the only place in Canada at the time where it was available.

One night Mother had a remarkable dream. A few days after Miss Monsell (the elder) died she dreamt that the maid came upstairs and said to her: "Miss Monsell is in the drawing room". Mother said: "She can't be; she's dead; I was at her funeral; it must be Miss Jane". "No," said the maid, "it's Miss Monsell, certainly." So Mother went downstairs and there she was in her old beaded cloak and little black bonnet. Mother said: "Well, Miss Monsell, are you happy in Heaven?" "Oh," said Miss Monsell, "there isn't any Heaven." "What," exclaimed Mother, "no Heaven. I've always believed there was a Heaven." "Well," said Miss Monsell, "I've been there and there isn't any." "What," said Mother, "and is there no Lord Jesus?" "There's nothing else," said Miss Monsell, "it's all the Lord Jesus." So Mother said: "Well, that's all I want; I don't mind if there's no Heaven".

It was in this house that I had erysipelas and bronchopneumonia, for which I had to have hot poultices on my chest. I was promised a doll's tea set, exhibited in Mr. Troop's—the grocer—window in Englishtown, if I bore them bravely. I won this prize, a complete dinner set in miniature. It is still at Gordon Bay in the "coffin" (storage box).

The family loved to spend the summers out of doors—the more out of doors the better, preferably in tents. There were two happy weeks at Mr. Holdaway's farm, in September, 1899, camping in two tents and cooking over an open fire.

Then during the summers of 1900 and 1901 there were three tents on the lakeshore at Mr. Bassett's. The cooking was done in a shelter and the second summer Bertha Sydney was there to help.

The first separation in the family came in the autumn of 1900 when Dorothy left for Miss Harmon's boarding school in Ottawa. There she formed a with the McKinnons, particularly Emma (afterwards Mrs. Gee).

Christopher first went to Trinity College School in Port Hope after Easter in 1901. It was about a two mile walk from the Bramley Street house; a long, long hill going down and then across the valley and up the other side.

(Christopher) I used to love it because I could go down the hill on my bicycle without holding on to the handlebars. One day I was going down the hill with Somerville sitting on the handlebars and with a cricket bat in one hand and the bicycle handle in the other. Dr. Clemesha, who always looked after us, was driving up the hill, as I passed him I made a great show of taking off my cap and he nearly had a fit. He turned his horse right around and went down to the bank and told my father, and I was told never to do it again.

(Helen) Everybody in the family except Dorothy had bicycles. There was a railway that ran across the bottom of the hill. Once I nearly ran into the train as I was coasting down.

The youngest in the family—Irwin Davidson Willis—was born at Chestnut Cottage on 17, September 1901.

(Helen) Aunt Dora moved her school into rooms next to the meeting room the day David was born. I went downtown with her to help her start it and when I got home in the afternoon I found a baby brother.

Aunt Dora's school increased considerably. Kathleen and Jamie Eaton attended, also the children of Dr. Symonds, the headmaster of Trinity College School, and others.

The flooding at Chestnut Cottage became such a problem and it was so far from Trinity College School, that the family moved to a house on Ward Street early in 1902. This house was at the foot of the hill near the town park and the school, just east of Hope Street.

from Chapter 66
The Ward Street House
The house on Ward Street was much smaller than Hillcrest but slightly larger than Chestnut Cottage. It had been a school and there were two large rooms, one on either side of the front door, with a narrow little room behind that had been used as a cloakroom. There were four or five bedrooms. It had been built by a maiden lady who had stood and watched the carpenters as they worked, making them pull out and reinsert every crooked nail; it was extremely well built. The family moved there in February or March, 1902.

(Christopher) I was thirteen when we went into this house. While there we had an Irish terrier named Terrence Mulvaney Wilgress Willis, and then a white Yorkshire terrier, York.

(Somerville) In the spring of 1902 Daddy decided to go to the Old Country to see whether he could make contact with any of his relatives in the South of Ireland. As I was the eldest child still able to travel at half fare, he took me with him. We were away almost three months, sailing on the S.S. Rhineland from Philadelphia, after spending a day in New York. We landed at Queenston, the port of Cork. On the evening of the day we landed Dad attempted to preach on the street in Queenston, with the result there was a riot and he had to be taken to the police station for protection!

When Somerville returned with his father from England, they found the family spending the summer (of 1902) at Fair's farm, about five miles from Port Hope at Canton, Ontario. There was a cow, which Somerville milked—his first experience of farm work. His father went in and out to the Bank every day by pony trap. While the family was at this farm, Mr. Rule stayed in the Ward Street house. In the autumn of 1902 Somerville won a scholarship sufficient to pay the fees for five years at Trinity College School.

There was a terrible epidemic of scarlet fever in Port Hope in early 1903. Little Hope contracted it but there was no rash; she died in three days on 27 March. A week later, on 3 April, old Mrs. Boulton, who had been such a loving grandmother to the family died of a heart attack. Helen contracted scarlet fever about the same time and was very ill for weeks and expected to die. The three boys stayed with Aunt Dora.

(Helen) Little Hope's death had a tremendous influence on us all; turned our interests from earth to Heaven. If it had not been for that, we might never have been in China. Mother was never the same again; it was a very sorrowful household for many months. Mother told me that she used to have high ambitions for her boys; when she saw how brilliantly they did at school she dreamed of wordly successes for them. But after Hope's death she desired only spiritual riches for them. Christopher was wrapped up in his little sister, and I shall never forget his despairing grief at her loss. I was only just ten at the time, but I never really felt a child again. Life had become dark and death was a horror to me. I was not well for some years after. I had scarlet fever and the doctor feared T.B.

I had very irregular schooling and almost no companions outside the family, and I retired into a world of story books. But when recovering from scarlet fever I had received the assurance of my salvation from that wonderful verse, the third of the first of Hebrews: "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, . . . by Himself purged our sins". So I knew the sins were gone. And though a very lukewarm Christian, I had a longing for my Saviour and for His Word. I remember beginning to write a commentary on John's Gospel.

David was still in dresses (as little boys were in those days) in the Ward Street house. One day, when he was about two and a half, Aunt Dora was taking care of him. He lay on the floor under the table and kicked his legs up in the air. Looking at her very solemnly, he said: "Aunt Dora, you wouldn't dare to do this". In the winter of that year he developed a rash but the doctor could not give it a name, so it was labelled "the Ward Street rash". The headmaster at Trinity College School thought it might be infectious, so Christopher and Somerville were not allowed back at the school till it was over. 1903 was also the year in which the two boys had the mumps.

(Christopher) My Father was becoming more and more convinced that he should spend his time in evangelism. While at the Bank he sometimes stood on the steps and preached the Gospel. The Bank officials protested and wrote to him to stop, so he sent in his resignation. They would not accept it, so he went on preaching. There was a wealthy man in town who erected a large monument on his lot in the cemetery, before he died, bearing the words "I neither fear nor hope". Father wrote a letter to the newspaper criticizing this and the man was so angry that he withdrew his account from the Bank. The manager of the Bank in Toronto wrote asking Father to let tombstones alone. I think it was then he resigned again. But it was really Hope's death which finally prompted him to devote all his time to preaching the Gospel."

(Somerville) I have a vivid recollection of spending a delightful week with them in the cottage they had rented for the summer in Port Hope, on the north side of Ridout Street slightly west of Bramley Street. Aunt Dora had passed away the previous summer. Mary and I had been married for two years and Michael had come to us in June, 1924. He was a small infant when we went to Port Hope.

We went by train, as at that time there was only a gravel road between Toronto and Port Hope. Indeed one of the highlights of our visit was a trip Dad took us on by motor as far as Oshawa, which left an indelible impression of miles of road under construction and billows of dust. The cottage was quaintly old-fashioned, without cellar or refrigerator. We took Michael's bottles to the butcher store at the corner to have them kept cool. The week was delightful, one of those oases in life's journey. Mother had always treated Mary as a daughter and rejoiced that she and I had come together.

They left in the late autumn for China and I shall never forget our parting on the train. As Mother said goodbye she said she expected this would be the last time we would see each other. When I replied that there was no reason to think so she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said she knew it to be so. She always had an uncanny ability to foresee the future—a kind of second sight—arising, I suppose, from her extraordinary understanding of people and of life.

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