The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 22 no 8, March 2011. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.
Cantley 1889 is a new association of Cantley residents whose goal is to catalogue, promote and protect Cantley's heritage. Mrs. Margaret Phillips welcomed us and explained the goal of their organization. She is the daughter of the late Bob Phillips, a well-known local historian who erected the magnificent Grange de la Gatineau and collected a number of artifacts, photos and furniture. Margaret Phillips introduced Mr. Michael Rosen, a member of the association, who welcomed Mr. Bob McClelland, a Cantley native whose family emigrated from Ireland in 1840.
Long time Cantley residents, Mervyn and Cora Hogan, aged 90 and 91 respectively, provided Mr. McClelland with valuable information and a number of photos.
Here's a bit of history: Mr. Andrew Blackburn who came to Canada from Scotland, was the first pioneer to settle on the east side of the river in what was then the Township of Hull in 1829. The 1842 census indicates there were 244 persons living here. In 1857, Mr. William Hamilton, Cantley's first postmaster, chose the name Cantley in honour of Colonel Cantley. The first Alonzo Wright Bridge was built in 1860. The Municipality of Cantley was formed in 1989. From 1975 to 1989, we were part of Gatineau and many of us remember the high taxes for nonexistent services.
In 1858, Michael Shields donated land for Ste-Elizabeth Church and in 1868-69, John Milks built the church with the financial assistance of Messrs Alonzo Wright, E.B. Eddy and the parishioners. The first parish priest was Father Patrick McGooey. His house, now known as the Milks House on Highway 307, was built in 1869. It was purchased in 1886 by Anthony Milks who owned and operated a sawmill on the premises and built many of the houses and buildings in Cantley.
Further north on the highway is St. Andrews Church, built in 1877 on land donated by James McClelland. Beside the church is the Smith House - a log house under the brick exterior. Built about 1840, it also housed a small general store, in an addition on the north side of the house.
North on Highway 307 and on Storey Road is the William Storey house, a wood frame grouted house dating from 1885 and the Benjamin Storey house, built in 1913. Of particular interest is the tin ceiling featured throughout the ground floor.
South on Hwy 307, next to St. Andrews Church is the Samuel McClelland house built in 1915: at the time, it was the only house designed by an architect. He was the father of Orville, the general merchant, who owned and operated a general store in Cantley for many years and J.B. McClelland, the general merchant in Poltimore. The property was later purchased by Mr. Gerard Bourgeois and his wife Monique. Located on the south section of the farm near Claude Lauzon Road is an unmarked McClelland burial ground dating to the 1800s.
Across the road is the Sifton McClelland house. James McClelland emigrated from Ireland in 1840. His son Sifton built the house in 1895-96 and it is now home to the sixth generation: Bob McClelland, his wife Sue and their three children. A rose bush planted in the garden by the first generation is still growing strong.
The Hogan House can be seen on Homestead Lane. Anthony Barrett built the house sometime before 1860. In 1862, his daughter married James Hogan and in 1867, they bought the 300 acre farm for $300. One of their descendants, David Hogan married Mary Ann Carss and they purchased the farm from his father Phillip in 1981. David asked Mary Ann if she wanted to demolish and build a new house. An antique collector, she refused; she preferred restoring the house. The exterior hid a log house, but it was too small for the young family - a major expansion that would be as close as possible to the original structure was called for. Mission accomplished. A barn and other buildings are also part of the approximatey one hundred acre farm.
Wilson House was built in 1866: during the late 1800s and early 1900s it was home to James and Catherine Wilson and their fourteen children. In 1966, Arthur and Rowena Pomeroy purchased the farm and Mrs. Pomeroy still lives in her home - a lovely white clapboard house with red trim and adjacent farm structures on the south side of River Road.
Further along River Road is the Blackburn farm, a property on which can be found the thirty two graves of members of this first family of pioneers, many very young children - access to medical expertise far from what it is today.
The Lynott family came from Ireland in the 1840s and in 1913 hired Anthony Milks to build their farmhouse. The farm is presently owned by Gerald Lynott.
The Patrick Fleming house, built in 1885, was abandoned for several years and in the 1960s, was purchased by the McDonald family and restored by Mervyn Hogan. It sits on 50 acres of land.
The Dean house, built in 1903 for Edward Dean can be seen on Ste- Elizabeth Road. The red brick house with very nice white trim was built on farm land and is surrounded with farm buildings. Greg Dean and his sister Joyce still live there.
As Mr. McClelland so aptly put it 'The future grows from the roots of our past'. We have a rich past, it's up to us to discover and protect it for future generations.
Photos : Bob McClelland
Photos: Brigid Janssen