The Wedding Fee That Got Away

Cantley 1889 Articles

<em>Echo</em> Cantley <em>Echo</em>

The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 32 no 10, May 2020. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.


Cantley more than a century ago...

The Wedding Fee That Got Away!

As published November 12, 1926 in “The Saturday Evening Citizen” – “Old Time Stuff” feature.

Researched by Mary Holmes

The late Father Patrick McGoey, who was parish priest at Cantley, Poltimore and St. Pierre de Wakefield, some 50 years ago (1868-1877) was a priest of the type of Rev. Aeneas Dawson1, who was beloved by both Roman Catholics and Protestants from the 1850s to the 1880s in both Ottawa and Carleton.

McGoey/Milks House (694 Montée de la Source) was built as a rectory in 1870 for St. Elizabeth Church. Its outbuildings were constructed from the timbers of the original 1858 chapel.

Father McGoey is described by Mr. Robert Davis2 as having been a stout man of jovial disposition and of true Celtic generosity.

When he was on his pastoral visits in the sparsely settled parts of the district, he called on Protestants as well as Catholics. His home was virtually an open house3. On stormy nights, or when travelling was bad, he invited travelers to stay overnight and always refused to take a cent from them.

He had an orchard and a garden and kept pigs.

Talking about the pigs reminded Mr. Davis of a humorous story in which Father McGoey and a peddler figured. This peddler was a Hull man who drove a covered wagon and made his living buying from and selling to the farmers.

As Wedding Fee

This chap one day went to Father McGoey with a Cantley girl to whom he wished to be married. The bans were published in due form for three successive Sundays.

On the Monday following the third Sunday the peddler came to Father McGoey for the marriage ceremony. In his wagon he had a young pig which he offered to Father McGoey in lieu of a cash fee. The priest accepted the offer and told the chap to turn the pig over to his hired man, which he did.

Pig Vanished

After the ceremony the peddler went to the yard to get his horse, and while there he quietly caught the pig and put it back in his wagon.

A piece down the road the pig got out of the cart. Half the village turned out to help catch the pig. Father McGoey and his man heard the noise of the chase and went down the road to see the fun. An hour later, after pig and man were gone, he discovered that the marriage fee pig was gone. He took the matter as a great joke and told it often at his own expense.

Father McGoey, priest of St. Elizabeth parish (1868 to 1877), was first to live in the McGoey/Milks House. He held Mass in the house until St. Elizabeth’s Church was built.
Front verandah of the McGoey/Milks House was added by Anthony Milks in 1910. The verandah was destroyed in 2013 by the weight of March ice. Photo courtesy of Reta Milks.


  1. Fr. Aeneas McDonell Dawson, Scottish-Canadian Roman Catholic priest, was a highly regarded writer and lecturer, and was instrumental in the founding of St Patrick’s Basilica in Ottawa.
  2. Robert Davis, long time Cantley resident, retired to Ottawa. He was interviewed extensively for the “Old Time Stuff” feature in the “Ottawa Citizen”.
  3. McGoey/Milks House, 694 Montée de la Source, Cantley.