The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 30 no 11, June 2019. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.
Theresa’s Cantley roots began in 1830 when the first Lynott settled here. Descendant, John “Jack” Lynott, married Theresa’s mother, Mary Ellen “Mamie” Holmes, in 1915. In 1929, Theresa was born, the youngest of 4 children. She attended St. Elizabeth’s, a one-room schoolhouse (today 12 ch. SteÉlisabeth). In grade 8, she left school to help on the farm.
The Lynott farmhouse was built by Anthony Milks circa 1914 on Pine Ridge Road, off ch. du Mont-des-Cascades. The family raised chickens, pigs, cows, horses and grew hay, oats, vegetables as well as the original rhubarb, raspberry and strawberry vines started by Theresa’s grandmother. Potatoes, cabbage, turnips, carrots and parsnips were stored in two cement root cellars under the house and stable. Hay was cut, stacked by hand, and turned over to dry before being stored in the barn. Oats were separated from the chaff by a hand-turned fanning mill every autumn.
Theresa’s mother milked the cows morning and evening then carried the heavy milk pails to the end of the barn to the separator (to separate cream from the milk). She did all the housework, laundry, sewing and kitchen work – such as preserving, baking bread and making meals.
Every two weeks at dawn, Theresa’s father delivered butter and cream door-to-door in Pointe-Gatineau, picking up the empty crocks from the previous delivery before going to the market in Ottawa to sell produce. On the way home, he stopped at Harry Scott’s grocery store (Hull’s Montcalm Street) to buy sausages, sugar and flour.
Travel wasn’t easy. In winter, the Lynott drove their horse-pulled sleigh on the “rolled road” through the fi eld to the neighbouring Chénier farm, then on to the Holmes’ farm to get to the main road, keeping warm with heated bricks and buffalo skins. In summer, they travelled by horse and buggy. Travel changed when Frank Tempeny started a taxi service from Wilson’s Corners. This was discontinued when Régis Lachaine from St. Pierre de Wakefi eld started a bus service (two buses) circa 1946.
St. Elizabeth’s Church was important to Lynott family life. Theresa was especially fond of Christmas, the beautiful decorations and music. She sang in the choir and was church organist for many years.
Socially, Theresa enjoyed Cantley’s Orange Hall, its Saturday night dances, evenings of card-playing, bingo and the famous Thanksgiving dinners. She reminisced about neighbourhood house parties, especially the Chénier’s “Little Christmas” and the Gauthier’s New Year’s parties.
The highlight of the social year was in early July - “The Cantley Picnic”! Theresa gave us information for the 2017 musical play “A Summer...A Fair”. Games, music, dancing and the famous home-made supper were all organized by volunteers. Hundreds attended including those from Ottawa via the “Ottawa Electric Bus Service”. *
When Theresa was 19-years-old, she worked as a sales clerk for Murphy Gamble’s, a prominent department store on Ottawa’s Sparks Street, for $18/week. In 1950, she married her Cantley sweetheart, Howard Holmes. They lived in Wrightville and Ottawa before returning to Cantley in the late 1950s where they built their home and raised their children, Nancy and Peter. Theresa has since moved back to Ottawa.
* for more info about the “Cantley Picnic” see Cantley 1889 Echoes: August 2011; July 2016; July 2017 (“A Summer ...A Fair”)
If you have memories of Cantley’s early years, please contact: info. email@example.com.