Cantley 1889 Articles

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The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 23 no 10, May 2012. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.

Newspaper report of 1940 profiles mother of 10, mistress of a thriving Cantley farm

A Cantley inspiration for Mother's Day

by Brigid Janssen

Under the headline, "Cantley Woman Kept Busy, Raises Ten Boys, Runs Farm" this article appeared in the Saturday, December 28, 1940 edition of the Ottawa Citizen's popular feature "What's happening in the Ottawa District - News and Views of People. Happy Mother's Day to all!

A "career-woman" in two fields is Mrs. Patrick Holmes of Cantley, Quebec. One field is in the real earthy agricultural sense of the word, for Mrs. Holmes has run a 100-acre mixed farm for the past six years. The other is the sphere of the home, because, besides her farm, this former school teacher has a brood of ten boys, the eldest of whom is 21 and the youngest five, all brim full of health.

Success has attended her efforts in both endeavours. Strong and kindly, with a keen perception of values, her courage has carried Mrs. Holmes through a life which might well have daunted a less hardy spirit.

Until six years ago, her husband Pat ran the farm while Mother ran the home, but then he decided to try for a job as shaft inspector in the mines at Levack, Ontario. He got it and as it's a full-time affair, it meant that he would have to live the year round in the Northland except for the two weeks holidays every summer.

It also meant that either the family would have to move north with Dad, or remain in Cantley and work the farm, which is just what they did.

Mother, Erin, Bernard and Ed took over the farm, the oldest boy being then only 15 years of age. Mother, alone, looked after the house.

The quartet has greatly improved the property "continued under new management" and in addition to looking after the mixed products of the soil, has cared for the stock. This year's stock, typical of that of past years, amounts to five horses, 12 milch cows, 17 pigs and six calves.

The board of directors, however, suffered inroads when town jobs with good prospects came to the notice of its members. Erin is now at the Crichton mines, Bernard is a policeman at High Falls, Ontario, and Ed came to Ottawa only a month ago to work with Ottawa Car and Aircraft.

Vacancies in the directorate were filled by promotion from the junior ranks and today Mother, as general manager, is assisted by Emmanuel, 16, and Lawrence, 14, with those old enough helping out after school.

Mrs. Holmes is a strong advocate of the possibilities of farming as a satisfying and financially encouraging career. "It is a great responsibility," she believes, "and I enjoy it. As long as I continue in good health I shall keep our place going for the boys."

Mrs. Holmes (Edna) was the youngest daughter of the late Edward McAndrew and Ellen Cox of Mayo, Quebec. She is a graduate of the Aylmer Convent, and prior to her marriage taught school at Vinton and Cantley. Mr. Holmes (Patrick) is a son of the late Daniel Holmes and Ann McAndrew of Cantley. They married in April 1918 in Holy Redeemer Parish in Hull, Quebec. Together they had ten sons: Erin, Bernard, Edward, Emmanuel, Lawrence, Arnold, Fred, Sylvanus, Dillon, and Ambrose.

Mary Holmes edited this article for length and provided the background genealogical information. She is on the Board of Cantley 1889, a volunteer organization to discover, catalogue, protect and promote the heritage of Cantley. For information or to become a member of Cantley 1889, please email or check


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