The Lapish Family
“Drop The Anchor, Boys!” Mrs. Elizabeth Lapish Ordered,
And Hence Became The First Settlers Of Laird Township
Thomas Lapish had come to Sault Ste. Marie as early as 1865. His aunt, Maria Lapish Hetherington, was housekeeper to Colonel John Prince, and as a landowner in that locality, she promised Thomas property in the vicinity of Bellevue Park if he would return to England and bring out his family, which he did in1870.

Elizabeth (Court) Lapish

However, upon his arrival, the promise was not fulfilled, and the Lapish family had to look elsewhere. Thomas was a stonemason and worked on the Shingwauk Home, the Old Stone House, St. Luke’s Church, and looked at property in the townships around Sault Ste. Marie. By October of 1874, the family realized that they needed someplace to settle. Upon hearing of the offer of free land grants in the Bar River area, they set sail down St. Mary’s River on a scouting mission. Reaching the sand bar at the mouth of the Bar River in Lake George, they decided to sail up river. When Elizabeth, with an eye for a choice location, saw the land at the curve of the river, she ordered the anchor to be dropped.

The first Lapish house was a “shack of brush”, but soon a two-story log home was built on the south bank of the river. By 1876 when the Evoys arrived, the Lapishes could offer their new neighbours shelter in their barn loft.

Many stories are told by the Lapishes and Evoys and others of waking in the morning to find some Ojibwa Indians sleeping on the floor in their homes. From them they learned to harvest the wild hay. Over the next few years, Thomas and his oldest son, Sam, found masonry work in the Soo, leaving Elizabeth and the younger ones to clear land. Elizabeth herself, on occasion would often sail to the Soo for supplies. In 1881, Thomas died suddenly of pneumonia and was buried across the river from the Lapish home. Elizabeth supplemented her meagre income by delivering babies, caring for the sick and baking bread for the railway workers while the railway was being built.


Curious to know more?  Delve Further Into The Lapish Family History:
Laird Chronicles Chapter 10 – The Pioneers
Family History/Photos – The Lapish Family