A Century Farm is so designated when it has remained in the same family for 100 years. In Laird Township, we have six farms that meet these qualifications.

The early census does not relate either where each family came from, nor the reasons for arriving in Laird.

However, Laird’s first family of white settlers actually arrived there as their second choice.

Lapish Family
By Sharon (Lapish) Armstrong

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. 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.

Thomas Lapish

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 meager income by delivering babies, caring for the sick and baking bread for the railway workers while the railway was being built.

Elizabeth (Court) Lapish

In 1888, Samuel Clark Lapish sold his property to his mother and moved to Sault Ste. Marie. He was followed in two years by his younger brother Fred Court Lapish. Later, Sam moved to Holland, Michigan and Fred owned a sand and gravel company in Soo, Michigan. In 1893, Joseph Henry and James Thomas purchased their own farm land adjacent to Elizabeth’s. “Harry” married Almeda Evoy and they raised four children before his untimely death in 1915. Jim sold his property and operated a drycleaning business in Soo, Canada. Daughters Hannah Maria and Mary Jane married John Baldwin and William Buchanan. The Baldwins moved to Huxley, Alberta; the Buchanans lived in Laird Township, later MacDonald Township.

George Herbert Lapish purchased the N.E. 1/4 of the original homestead from his mother for one dollar in 1904. His mother lived with him and his family until her death at the ripe old age of 94.

In 1974, two hundred Lapish descendants gathered at the Roy Lapish farm to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their arrival in Laird.

In 1991, five Lapish descendants still own original Lapish land; Tom and his sons Harry and Roy, Frank Lapish and Lulu Becking.

In actual fact, the Lapish property is well on its way through its second century.


Evoy Family

Because he could see a dim future for his family in Marlborough Township, Carleton County, John Evoy applied for and was granted land in Laird Township, namely 309 acres in Section 3. In the year 1876, William was sent as the advance party to look the land over, and his father arrived shortly after. Liking what they saw, and filled with the spirit of adventure, they set about “cutting hay in the meadow”, clearing trees and building a house.

Being both lay preachers and blacksmiths, they were involved in smithing at the old Methodist church on Pim Street, in Sault Ste. Marie, and John Evoy’s diary for the year 1876 records many trips back and forth to the Soo with supplies. Some of these were accomplished in the most severe conditions – indeed, under circumstances where we modern day pioneers wouldn’t venture out the door. They returned to Marlborough and brought the remainder of the family to Algoma in the spring of 1877. What fortitude was required for a man of some 58 years to have the heart to start over in a yet unsettled land! William was married by this time to Marjory Lothian, and one son, Ernest was born in 1875. Marjory was expecting Edith, and her mother made William promise that he wouldn’t make Marjory go down to that “rugged bush” until after the birth, which was July of 1877.

John and Maria Evoy

The rest of John’s family were John, born 1844, never married; Mary Anne, born 1847, never married; Elizabeth, born 1849, never married; Robert, born 1851, never married; Theresa, born 1853, married William Kingshott; Luther, born 1859, died in infancy; Reuben, born 1858, married first, to Sarah Johnson, then to Maggie Salisbury (sister to Mrs. Tomlinson); Sophia, born 1861 never married; and Silas, born 1862, married to Christena Johnston.

Eventually, the Evoy men acquired more land, Reuben living up on the hill on the farm that later became the Alex Stewart home. Both Silas and Reuben moved to the west in 1910. However, William remained with his family, which by this time numbered ten altogether, although two died as children. The 309 acres was later divided between the four sons of William: Ernest, Gordon, Percy and Ralph. The Evoys were devout Christians, living their faith daily in helping their neighbours whenever they were needed. They held church services in their homes, carried on the blacksmith trade, and served their community well. The Evoy family has held reunions in the township since 1959 and the number of descendants pay tribute to their pioneer ancestors yearly.

Two Evoy descendants remain on parts of the original Evoy property, Paul and Tony; and 115 years of Evoy history is connected with Laird Township.


Fremlin Family
Compiled by Girlie Collings

It was late in the fall of 1879 that the Fremlin family arrived at the wharf at Marksville on St. Joseph’s Island from Collingwood. William David Fremlin was born to “comfortable circumstances” in England, and was untrained in the necessary skills to carve a homestead out of rough Algoma bush. However, determination and the spirit of adventure brought him to the St. Joseph’s Island area. The story is told of several misfortunes befalling the family, firstly with their belongings all destroyed in a fire, and then through no fault of their own, their newly purchased provisions being ruined. Resilience prevailed and the family bounced back from all the disasters fate handed them. William moved to Bar River and purchased land in Section 5, as a gift for his wife, Mary, in whose name the farm remained until her death in 1909. A store was built on this property and operated by William’s daughter, Jessie and her husband Ed Hollingsworth. The early ledgers date from 1888.

William and Mary had six children; Jessie, (Mrs. Ed Hollingsworth), Henry Phillip, Margaret Mary, William Chappelle, Duncan Walter and Helen May (Mrs. Ed Lothian). William and Mary are buried in Hilton Beach.

Duncan came to Laird to manage the family farm. On March 26, 1902, he married Edna Louise Browne of Bar River; the first couple to be married in the newly built Presbyterian Church. The store was at this time converted to a house. Nine children were born to this union – Guy, William, Frank, Clark, Lloyd, Katherine, Nora, and twins Lulu and Mac. Unfortunately, shortly after the twins were born, Mrs. Fremlin passed away. Six years later, Duncan married Marion Desmont Swire of Laird. Six children were born to this marriage; Jack, Tom, Girlie, Roger, Beth and a still-born son.

Dunc Fremlin home

Duncan operated a mixed farm with cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys and geese. He also provided hay and grain for bush camps, delivery stable etc.

Living on the “flats” the family was plagued by floods, 1921 and 1923 being the worst in memory. Mrs. Fremlin remembered one occasion when her husband sent men to rescue a pig (not known for their swimming prowess) and came back with two. Another instance was when they awoke in the morning to find boots, wood and even the “settling bread” all floating on the crest of the flood waters.

Fremlin men. Back Row: Bill, Duncan, Guy; Middle Row: Clark, Al (baby), Frank; Front Row: Tom, Jack

Duncan was actively interested in the welfare of the community and held various public offices in the township. In his role as Captain of the Hunt Club, he was largely instrumental in obtaining the Walker hounds “Soo” and “Star” from Kentucky. He was a good neighbour and respected by all those who knew him.

He passed away suddenly on September 28, 1949 at the age of 75, and is buried in Laird Cemetery. His wife Marion continued to live on the family farm with her son Roger and family until her death on March 17, 1985. She was an active church member and made her home and family the focal point of her life.


Tomlinson Family
Compiled by Ken Tomlinson

Captain Nicholas Tomlinson came from England by boat with his brother who settled in Southern Ontario. Captain Nicholas settled in Laird, the deed stating the date 1883. Thomas Matthew, son to Nicholas and Martha, was born in 1852. He married Elizabeth Wright from a neighbouring farm to the south which was purchased by Carson and is now part of the Tomlinson farm. Thomas was one of the eight Laird representatives who witnessed “on hands and seals” the signing of the historical Trust Deed of Laird Cemetery. Thomas died in 1920 and Elizabeth in 1938. They are both buried in the old Laird Cemetery but there is no stone. Three children were born to Thomas and Elizabeth; William Carson, in 1885; John Henry, born in 1888; and Martha Gertrude, born 1889. Carson married Emma Salisbury from Hespeler in 1907 and they had only the one child, Harold. Carson attended the Bluff School and later served on the school board for 24 years. He did custom wood cutting with his buzz saw and along with Roy Murray did custom threshing for a number of years. He was interested in mixed farming having chickens, beef cattle and a few pigs. Eggs and butter were exchanged for other staples. Carson died on December 22, 1966.

Grandpa Nicholas Tomlinson


Mrs. Martha Tomlinson

William Harold was born in 1908. He married Lillian Peterman from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan in 1915 and the couple had three children: Roy, born in 1936; Helen, born in 1941; and Kenneth, born in 1944. He followed in his father’s footsteps, attending Bluff School and farming as well as the custom wood cutting. He also worked as repair man for Laird and MacDonald telephone system from 1950 until Bell Canada took over in 1967. Lillian became Township Clerk in 1954, a position she held until her retirement in 1977. Ken has remained on the farm with his Wife, Judy, and their three children. In 1971, a partnership was formed between Ken and father, Harold, and another 300 acres of land and buildings were purchased from Oscar Pylkanen. The dairy herd was moved to the new property and the land was farmed as one by both families. Harold maintained a keen interest and helped out as much as possible until his death in 1988. Lillian lives with her son Roy and his Wife in Sault Ste. Marie where he is employed by Bell Canada. Helen also lives in Sault Ste. Marie.


The Bagler Family
Compiled by Carol Bagler

The first Baglers to live in Algoma District came here from Lucknow, Ontario. It was felt that the cold northern air would not support the germs from a TB outbreak, thus their arrival here. Two brothers, William Thomas and Henry came to the area. However, Henry did not remain, selling his property to the McCluskie family prior to the first world war. William Thomas purchased the NE 1/4 of Section 0, from Charles Grainger in 1887. He married Elizabeth Bruce and the couple had eight children: Martha (Mrs. John Ambeault), Jim (seriously wounded at Vimy Ridge, died in 1921), Mary (Mrs. Arthur Hurley), Robert (a bachelor), William (married Hazel Shellhorn, lived in the MacLennan area, later moving to Pembroke, where he was killed in an auto accident), Samuel (a bachelor, remaining at home to help his brother John [Ned]), John Edward (Ned) (married Victoria Irwin), Marjorie (Mrs. James Junor).

A team of oxen were used by the first family to help clear the land to build their home. Timber from the farm was used to help build the barn and their home, some of those same timbers having to be dynamited to remove them after a disastrous fire destroyed the house in 1983. They acquired more land in Section O in the 1930’s. Mr. Bagler was a fiddler and the home became the focal point for many parties.

Ned and Vicki Bagler

John Edward and Victoria were married in 1928 and one child, Ross, was born of this union. Victoria was a teacher, having taught at Frater, MacLennan, Desbarats and Laird S.S.#3. In 1967, she was presented with a Centennial Medal by the Hon. Lester B. Pearson. She was respected far and wide and was known for continually striving to improve the educational system, not afraid to be innovative and, indeed, upgraded her training through courses even into the last years she taught. Both Ned and Vickie were very community minded citizens. Ned served on the school board at Tarbutt and Laird. During the early part of the century, taxes were paid by Statute Labour and Ned served as road boss. Gravel was hauled by team and sleighs during the winter and dumped on the side of the road where it was spread with a drag and horse drawn grader during the summer months. In 1942, the government controlled the distribution of tractors in the area due to the war effort. and Ned was able to purchase a Farmall H. The price of the tractor and plows was $1300.00, a fair price when taking into consideration the amount of cultivating and harvesting completed with the machine which was still functioning well when traded for a newer model some twenty years later. During the late war years, the farm was changed to a dairy farm. It was 1946 before indoor plumbing was installed in the house and barn. On a trip to the West, Ned suffered a massive heart attack from which he never recovered, and he died the following year. Their son Ross took over the dairy farm. He had married Carol MacIntyre, and they had three children; Vicki, David and Elizabeth. The couple farmed the homestead and added to their holdings when they purchased the NW 1/4 of Section P. They farmed until 1969, when Ross began work at Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, where he is a Millwright. Carol is Head Secretary at Central Algoma Secondary School.

Vickie married William Walker and they lived in a house at the corner of the farm. In 1983, the original farm home was destroyed by fire, and although a new home was built on the spot, many memories of the old house and old times remain. Vickie died in 1983 and is buried in Laird Cemetery.


The McKinnon Family
As related by Amelda MacAdam

The need for more land for his growing family was the reason for the Duncan McKinnons to move northwest from Bruce County. In 1888, the family, including six children, disembarked at Port Findlay, walking with their possessions to the Southwest Quarter of Section 29 in Laird Township. Mr. McKinnon had purchased this land from Duncan Anderson, who had previously bought it from the Indian Lands Act in 1883. It seems there was a great transferring of land in that year, because several of the deeds were for the same year. Duncan was of a family of nine, eight boys and one girl, a coincidence repeated in his son Charles’ family, a generation later. To the original six children; Kate, James, John, Charles, Molly and Margaret, a fourth son, Hugh and a fourth daughter, Christina were added. The McKinnons lived first in a log house and later in a brick house where Leo McKinnon lives today. As the McKinnon children grew and married, Duncan divided the farm and gave some of them property if they wished to stay in the area. Kate had married John Rydall and they lived on 80 acres of the original McKinnon property. James also received 80 acres, as did Charles. James married Anastasia Charette and remained in Laird for a time. Hugh married Sarah from Hilton Beach and they moved to Echo Bay where they ran a boarding house and a barber shop. They had four children, but, sadly, twin boys died young. Hugh and Sarah eventually moved to Michigan. Molly married Albert Butsch, a German officer, and they had four children. Margaret became Mrs. James Hasset and the mother of four as well. Christina married Dan McDonald. They remained in Laird, farming near part of the McKinnon land for awhile, later moving to Sault Ste. Marie, and still later to Detroit. They had four children also.

“Jane” – Mrs. Duncan McKinnon

Charles married Catherine Lalonde, who was from Calabogie, Ontario. She was the daughter of David and Matilda Lalonde, and had come to Algoma because she had relatives here, namely, an uncle Tuffield Larocque. She was a seamstress and opened a dress shop in MacLennan where she was a lady’s tailor. Charles and Catherine had eight sons and one daughter. James, Leonard, Amelda, Delbert, Gerald, Orval, Duncan, Alvin and Leo, all of them born while the family lived on the farm. James died at the age of three from Spinal Meningitis, and Alvin died in infancy.

The building of the Catholic Church by the McKinnon family is related in the Chapter on churches.

As did other farmers in the area, the McKinnon family had their own flour made. Each winter, they brought the harvest of fall wheat over to St. Joseph Island, where there was a grist mill. Transport was by sleigh across the ice. The wheat was ground to make both white and whole wheat flour, and enough would be made to keep the family fed all winter.

Charles was a member of the school board for over twenty years, as well as being a telephone commissioner, and won a prize for being the best waltzer in a dance competition at a ball in Sault, Michigan. All the children attended school at Tarbutt and Laird #2, and entered exhibits in the school fairs, growing vegetables and raising calves for these competitions. They provided their own entertainment with their own skating rink, and with music provided by Leo. Unfortunately, this tradition which took place in many families back then, seems to be dying out.

Charles died in 1950 and his wife, Catherine, in 1968. Both are buried in Laird Cemetery as are two of their sons, Orval and Duncan.

This next section dwells on families who are listed as living in Laird in 1891. Information has been taken down from the 1891 Census, and so isn’t complete. However, where I have had more information given to me, I have tried to include it in as many places as possible. These have been listed alphabetically, and not as they appeared in the Census.



David Andrews arrived in Laird with his father-in-law, Robert Wilson, in 1886. He purchased land on Section 8, now owned by Paul Starzinski. He and his wife, Elizabeth, had a family of seven children, although two of these died as infants. David served on council as well as school board and the church. In 1904, David sold the property to J. B. Miller and moved to Cloudslee, where he worked on the C.P.R for awhile and farmed. He was great-grandfather to this author and I can remember well how he would read ”The Song of the Lazy Farmer” aloud, whether anyone was listening or not.



The year 1882 saw the arrival of John Armstrong, along with his in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Nott. John returned to Huron County to bring his wife Eliza and infant twins, Martha and Will back to Algoma. They resided with the Notts at first, and it was here that Mabel was born in 1884. A move to the Bruce homestead took place then until land could be cleared for their own home. A fourth child, Sarah, was born here in 1887, but by 1890, when Annie Ethel was born, the family was settled into their own home on Section 33. Five more children were born to the couple including a second set of twins, the youngest, Edgar and Lillian.

The John Armstrong family, 1907. Front Row: Mable, Annie, Will, Martha, Johnny; Middle Row: John, Lillian, Sarah, Edgar, Eliza; Front Row: Mary, Jim.

Being a public spirited individual, John took an active roll in municipal politics. He was elected the first Reeve of the township, when it was incorporated in 1891, and served in this capacity until 1894, and another term in 1901. He also served as councillor, sat on the school board, was active in the Methodist Church.

One remarkable coincidence in the Armstrong family was their propensity for twins. Besides John being a twin, his wife Eliza was a twin of Mrs. Mary Irwin, and the two sets of twins born to them, there have been five other sets of twins, making nine sets in three generations.



The name Baldwin in Laird is referred to as early as 1876, when John Evoy writes in his diary of going to the Baldwin home for prayer meeting. John Baldwin married Hannah Lapish, and as has been stated the family had moved to Huxley, Alberta. However, in 1891, there are two families living in Laird; namely, Eliza, a widow of 58 years, with sons Robert, Hyram, Thomas and William; also, George, 23 years, his wife Elizabeth, daughter Ethel, two, and Frederic J. not a year. Only Ben Baldwin, of MacLennan remains in the area.



The Bradshaw family consisting of Joseph, wife Charlotte and 5 children; James, William, Thomas, Esther, and Peter lived on the South East corner of what is now Calabogie Road and Highway ’17, and was known for years as Bradshaw’s Corner. Their son William married Rae MacLeod and they operated the store at Laird hill for several years. Joseph was the first assessor at Laird, but died at the age of 46. William served part of a term as reeve, but several as councillor.



It was in 1879 that Grandma Bruce and her family made their way from Neebish landing along the road to their newly acquired farm, on Section 27. James and sons Thomas and William and brother James had arrived earlier and set to clearing land and erecting the necessary buildings. Included in the Bruce entourage, were twins Mary and Martha, Maggie, Lizzie and Robert. Archie and Samuel were two more of that family. Martha was a popular nurse and midwife and her white apron and lantern could often be seen as she walked along the roads and bush trails between farms in the community. Thomas served as councillor on that first council, but William and Bob in their turn served as well. Bob Bruce had married Katherine Proudfoot whose family had arrived in Laird around the same time as the Bruces. They had one son, Wally, who owned the farm until around 1950. He also served on the School Board for Laird & Tarbutt #2.

James Bruce Sr. died in 1889 and is buried in Laird Cemetery as is his wife.

Wallace married Flora MacLeod and the couple had seven children: Katherine, Eileen, Myra, Una, Bayne, Linda, and Beverly.



William Buchanan is listed as an Engineer on the 1891 Census. He married Mary Jane Lapish, and they had four children altogether, although only two were on the Census for that year. These are James Edward, 6, and Mary Elizabeth, who was 18 months, although I am told she died at the age of 11. The names of the other two were Henry and Agnes. The Ed Buchanans moved to Echo Bay. However, Mary Elizabeth and the senior Buchanans are buried in Laird.



Fred Corsality is listed as 26 years old, married, of Prussian descent in the 1891 Census. According to the original land grants list, he owned the South West 1/4 of Section 5, put him as where later was the home of Jessie Fraser. However, there is no other mention of him except in connection with the Bluff School.



Joseph Eaton arrived in Laird from the Ottawa Valley area. He had two brothers who lived in Sudbury. Joe married Ida Ambeault and had a fairly large family: Delia (Murray McKay), Albert, Marian (Charles MacDonald), Emily (died young), Blanche (Ernie Ballstadt), Lila (never married), Bill, James, Warden and Diamond (Frank Fyfe). I understand Delia and Marian had a double wedding. The family lived along the Pine Island Road.



Bill Edwards owned property in both Sections 10 and 11. Although residents cannot remember the name of the wife, there were at least three daughters; Ella, born 1867, Lydia, born 1871 and Annie (Mrs. Fred Newman) born 1876. Ella and Lydia were teachers and taught in Toronto, but are buried in Laird Cemetery.



David Forrest appears on the Census as a bachelor of 27 years. We know he later married Macy Wilson. sister to Jack and Robert but in 1891 he was living on Section 6 alone.



Henry Fremlin was living in Laird according to the 1891 Census. Although his location is not listed it does state that he was a lumberman and employed 20 people. He married Louise Ross with no issue.



Henry and Alfred Gibson were two of a family of 7 born to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Gibson, emigrees to Huron County from England. Alfred arrived in Laird and purchased 160 acres on Section I. Henry remained in Seaforth, married in 1877, and travelled to Algoma in that year. They planned to stay the winter, so roomed with Alfred and his wife until a little piece of land was cleared and a small log house erected. This extended to three years when they purchased land of their own in Section 16. By this time their oldest child, Olga, was about two years old. Six more children were born in that house and a portion of the property was purchased by the township for a cemetery. In 1908, when their son Berrie was married, Henry gave him the farm and started over again on Section 8. This lovely old home, which became known as Pearl Gibson’s house, was torn down to make room for the four-lane highway. Henry built the Bluff School and served on the school board.



The Colin Gordon family, in 1891, lived along the present highway and the corner of Reid’s Road. Their large family consisted of Colin, wife Agnes, Annie, Jane, William Alexander, Agnes, Isabella, Colin, Abigail, Peter, and Lillian. Nothing more is known of them, except that Colin died in 1915, Agnes in 1921, their son Colin in 1941, son Peter in 1920 and grandson Billy, son of Peter and Gertrude, in 1910 at the age of 14 days. These are all buried in Laird Cemetery.



The Charles Grainger, who lived in Laird in 1891, as far as we know, had no other relatives in the area. A daughter Margaret and son Edward lived with him at the time on Laird Hill at the corner of the present highway and Pumpkin Point Road. Charles served as the first tax collector, and son, Edward, as the first Auditor along with J.B. Ketchen.



The name is spelled differently in more recent references, as Hare. William and Mary Hair lived on Section 21, along the Government Road, and their two children, Robert who was 21 and Ida Maud, who was 11, lived with them. After the parents’ deaths, Robert lived on the home farm, but later purchased land across the road for his saw mill. Robert was a good storyteller and thrilled the neighbouring children with his tales. He also provided employment for the young men in the community, a good many of them getting their first work experience in that saw mill. He remained a bachelor and seems to have left the township sometime after his mill was destroyed by fire. Some seem to remember that Ida married late in life. In fact, later in the Land Grant record, there is a ‘Ida Maud Hemfull” who owned 80 acres of land in Section J, possibly the same person.



In the Census, a Thomas Havelock is listed as a Wheelright; the early land grants list a Henry Havelock on Section 19.



The Census lists William and Mary, sons George and William Jr. An older son Albert, and daughter Salome, were out of the family home before coming to Laird. A daughter Mary Jane, was Mrs. Murray, and another daughter, Amy, had married William Nott and was widowed that February with four children. As early as 1882, they lived on Section 32 across from the John Armstrong farm. However, we are told they arrived first in 1877. Later, William Jr. and his wife Catherine McArthur lived on that piece of property and raised their family there. Mrs. Headley was involved in the Institute. Of a family of nine, two of their children are still in the area: Ella, married to Elgin Johnston, and Ethel, who never married, is living in the Algoma Manor, Thessalon.



Amos Head is listed on the Census as Single, 28 years of age. Although it doesn’t list him as having property, he is listed in the early land grants as owning the W 1/2 of the NW 1/4 of Section 32, as early as 1890.



The Ed Hollingsworths in 1891, were actually living on the Fremlin property and operating the store. Mrs. Hollingsworth was Jessie Fremlin. They had lived in Montreal for a time and that is where their eldest son, Fremlin, was born. Being always involved in lumbering it is not surprising that this interest spread to the Sault, and the building of what is known as Soo Mill and Lumber, a firm which his descendants have continued. A second son, Aird, became an Insurance Salesman; Roy, owned a garage in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; and a daughter Mona, became a doctor. As a child, I remember Mrs. Hollingsworth when they lived on the hill across from my Grandmother Stewart. They kept bees and we often would go out to the road to exchange some fresh butter, which my grandmother made, for honey.

The William Hollingsworth Family lived on Section 5, and had a family of five: Eddie, who ran the store at Garden River; Ruby, Mrs. Fish, Minnie never married, Lance and Lloyd. The Presbyterian Church was built on part of the Hollingsworth property in 1892 and a small portion had a blacksmith shop on it as well farther south, close to the hill.



John Junor and his wife Margaret, and three little girls; Jane, 5, Annie, 3 and Margaret, 1, lived on Section 21 in 1891, having arrived in Laird about 1887 from Clinton, Ontario. Both John Jr. and George were born later in 1894 and 1896 respectively. John Sr. died in 1916 at the age of 59, his wife outliving him by 12 years. Jack served in the first World War and was awarded 2 medals for outstanding service. He was later Road Boss on the highways, when they used horses to a great extent. Jack served his township well, retiring in 1966 after 42 years as Secretary-Treasurer and Caretaker of Laird Cemetery. He married Gwendolyn Robinson and the couple was blessed with eight children; Albert, Lloyd, Elsie, Wally, Reg, Nyle, Shirley and Wayne. Gwen was killed in a tragic automobile accident in 1963, and Jack died in 1979. Both are buried in Laird Cemetery.



The spelling of this name is not clear, neither on the Census nor on the minutes of the Council meeting which by way of circumstance were written by the same person, namely W.H. Evoy. Mr. Ketchen, his wife Katherine and two children lived in the township for awhile, but it does not appear as if they owned property, so it is not recorded where they lived.



The Lidstone families were extensive and owned a considerable amount of property in 1891. The Census lists John and Emily as the head of the family with an unmarried son, Albert living with them. Not far away were Gilbert, 22, probably another son; then, Thomas, wife Amelia and two children James, and Harriet Susan; another John, age 27; James and wife Eliza Annie, and daughter Eva May.



Although there are no representatives of the George Lothian family around presently, they lived beside David Andrews on the Lake George Road. George was a brother to Mrs. William Evoy, born in Bristol, Quebec. His wife, Abigail, was a dressmaker, and I’m sure was an asset to the community. Three children were born to them: Margaret, Edward and Maud. Edward later married Nell Fremlin.



William and Sarah McBain lived at first on Section 5, where the present Trailer Park is now. They later moved to MacDonald Township. William was elected a councillor at the first council meeting. Their daughter, Mary, was one of the first two children baptized in the newly built Knox Presbyterian Church in 1892. Mr. and Mrs. McBain are buried in Maple Leaf Cemetery.



In 1882, a MacKenzie family is listed on the early land grants as owning the southern half of Section 28, but later a Roderick MacKenzie, his wife Henrietta and a family of six, including twin girls Jessie and Mary, age 12, lived on that property.



The James McHardy family lived along the present highway, the south east half of Section 6. The 1891 Census shows James as age 30, from Scotland, living alone at that time. I have no further information except that at least two children were born, Archie and Angus. They married sisters, Kate and Anna MacLean.



Malcolm MacNeill is recorded as living on Section 8, in 1891, and was the carpenter hired to build the Knox Presbyterian Church. Although the Census does not list any family members, we know of at least one daughter, Mary Jane, who became Mrs. Daniel Johnston, and later took over the farm. Mr. MacNeill, too, felt that Laird was beneficial to one’s health. In a letter to a daughter, he wrote, “the climate here is so healthy, you’d have to kill a man to start a graveyard“.



The James Montgomery family lived down near the water at the end of the Town Line (Bar River Road). Their family consisted of James, wife Margaret, and children Francis, Sarah Jane, William, Fanny, Abram, and Matilda.



By the 1891 Census, there were three families of Murrays living in Laird. The parents were William and Elizabeth, and living with them were Samuel and Agnes, ages 20 and 18. They arrived in 1882 and remained for 13 years, when they moved out west to Manitoba. Here they lived for another 6 years before returning once more to Algoma. William died in 1913, and I would suppose is buried at Laird, although there is no stone. Elizabeth moved to Seaforth area and lived with a daughter until her death. Robert was born in or about 1860, married Agnes Cumming in 1889 and had a family of eight; James, Adam, Ellen (Mrs. George MacKay), Christina (Mrs. Peter MacDonald). Gibson, Agnes, Fairy and Boyce. Robert had a sawmill moved from the MacLennan area to his farm in Section 17, parts of which were found in the field by Les Daniel years later. Robert served his township well with 14 different terms as Reeve and some as councillor.

Another son, Thomas married Mary Jane Headley, and remained in the lower portion of the township. They had six children; Carl, Bertha (Mrs. Berrie Gibson), Alice (Mrs. MacDonald), Albert, Thomas J., and Roy. Thomas J. was Reeve for ten terms, and many as councillor. He married Dyment MacDonald of MacLennan, and they had four children: Viola, Leona, Leslie and Eric.

Roy remained a bachelor and served his country in the First World War. He showed his ingenuity at the end of the conflict, when he and a partner constructed an airplane from spare parts they picked up from other planes that had no more use. The airplane was housed in the McKinnon barn for awhile and the field used as a runway. Roy moved to a little house on Laird Hill and lived there until just the past few years when he again moved, this time to the F. J. Davey Home in Sault Ste. Marie. Roy celebrated his 94th birthday on January 6, 1991, and died a month and a half later, on February 24.



The Nott brothers, Albert and Robert arrived in Algoma about 1881 as near as we can determine. Their land is listed in Sections O and P. Robert married Amy Headley in 1882 but died very young in February of 1891 leaving his wife with four small children. The Robert Notts lived along the Government Road, across from where Pete Uschenko and Winston Stewart live.

Albert married Fanny Stevens and they had one adopted daughter.

Robert and Amy, and daughter Della, are buried in Laird. Albert and Fanny lived on the property next to Robert and Amy going east. They had only one daughter, adopted, who later married Harold Alton Robinson. William Nott a son of Robert married Annie Fowler and lived in the house on the property west of the present highway. This is where Winston Stewart lives now although the present house replaces another that was burned.



William and Sarah Anne Punt lived along what used to be called Punt Road, now called Lakeview Road. They lived on the Southeast 1/ 4 of Section D and their family consisted of Sarah, Florence and Rosa Emily in 1891. Another girl, Lily, was added later. Rosa married Jack Reid and they had one son, Walter, who later married Ruby Khull. The Punts raised lovely potatoes I am told. I have no information on the other girls.



The family of Gideon Reed lived on the South side of Pumpkin Point Road in Section I, down near the lake shore. There seems to be some discrepancy with information we have about the name of his wife. We always understood that he was married to Eliza Bradshaw, however the Census lists the name Sarah. Whichever, the children were William, who later married Mabel Armstrong, Luther P., Amelia S., Eliza, Henry and Frederick. Gideon served one term as Reeve, but many as councillor.



George Riley was a widow by the time the 1891 Census was taken. His daughter Margaret lived with him. He was hired as the township’s first grave digger after the Laird Cemetery was established.

His son, William and family lived near him on Riley Road which runs easterly past the former Bluff School site. Neither father nor son was known for an even temperament and were made the brunt of many pranks. There were apple trees on both properties and apples were as much a temptation to kids then as now.



Modess and Rachel Rivers lived along the Bar River Road, west of the present highway. They had three children; Nain, Samuel and Elizabeth, by the Census. Nain was apparently a,very strong man and was known to be able to lift the front end of a car single-handed. He was also capable of lifting up a barrel of coal-oil and moving it. His father had a saw mill for awhile.



Marykirk, Scotland was the birthplace of another Laird pioneer. Alex Stewart arrived with his cousins the brothers Will, in April of 1888. They lived in a small shanty in 1891, then for a few years Alex worked at the Sault Locks as a crane operator. He eventually purchased property from Mrs. Lapish on the riverbank and in 1898 married Edith Evoy. Nine children were born to this couple; Elsie (Mrs. Shular), Marjorie, William and Charles (twins), Ernest, Arthur, Jessie (Mrs. Tuckett), Winston and Percy who died in his teens. Alex was superintendent of the Sunday School at Knox. Another of his loves was the Orange Lodge, which he served faithfully for 50 years. He also served on the School Board, was assessor, and was on the Agricultural Society. The family moved to the Reuben Evoy property on Government Road at Laird Hill. Alex and Edith joined the United Church, which they also served until their deaths. Alex was born 1867, died 1953. Edith was born in 1877, died 1974. Both are buried in Laird.



William and Margaret Taylor and their family of four; James, Laura, Mary and Maggie lived on Riley Road. Not much is known of this family although the cemetery records tell us a son James William died in 1897 at age 18.



Charles Venn was born in Germany, and lived in Laird on the hill at the S.E. corner of Pumpkin Point Road and the present Highway. He also owned property along the Soo­ MacLennan Road, or Government Road. He was 75 in 1891 and I suppose considered the elder “stateman” of the township. In a letter he wrote to the Globe and Mail around 1888, he expounds on the virtues of Algoma in General, and Laird Township in particular. He talks of the excellence of crops and the healthy climate saying, “there are no disastrous storms, no drought, no wet season, and the best of drinking water”. Those who have experienced the Bar River in flood would no doubt dispute those statements. Charles served both school board and council, and is buried in Laird. Out of a family of nine, none of the descendants live in Laird, al­ though we have found that some of them live in Sault Ste. Marie.



The Wilson family came from St. Helen’s Ontario in 1886. Mrs. Wilson’s health was poor and doctors felt a change of climate would be beneficial. They settled on Section 9. In 1896 Robert Jr. purchased land in Section 8 from the Indian Lands Act for $49.60. However, sawyers had been the family tradition and Robert wished to carry on in that tradition. His good friend Alex Stewart gave him a piece of land on the riverbank at the bridge, and there he carried on his trade for over 40 years. He married Annie Tuckett and raised a family of six, three girls; Rena (Mrs. Earl Switzer}, Thelma, Jean (Mrs. Ken Ward) and three boys; Norman, Fred and Francis. A disastrous fire in the early forties destroyed most of the mill and later in that decade the older couple and Thelma moved to Orillia where some of the rest of the family were living.

Jack Wilson lived up on the hill, where the original Bluff school was and remained a bachelor. All communities have their characters and I guess you could say Jack was one. He was very gruff, although not unkind, and had a funny way of saying things. Two that I remember were talking in wartime of the “atamatic bum”, and another a “whole cartoon of cigarettes”.



William Wright and his wife Elizabeth were 76 and 69 in the Census of 1891. They lived on Reid’s Road in Section 20 and had arrived at least by 1887. Their son John lived with them and a daughter Elizabeth had previously married Thomas Tomlinson. For some reason no one knows, the early council meetings were held in the Wright home. There is some speculation that it may have been that he was partly responsible for the decision to incorporate as a township, and that perhaps it wasn’t easy for him to get out.



This is a family no one seems to have heard of, although they definitely lived in Laird in 1891. The family consisted of Solomon Xavier, a widower at 37, his mother Elizabeth 62, and his two children David and Mary, who were 8 and 6. They were of Roman Catholic faith, and there is no indication where they lived.


Although it is impossible to relate here stories of all the residents who did their part to make the township of Laird what it is today, it was felt that some mention should be made no matter how brief of those families who have contributed in whatever way to its development. I have tried to list with information from others those families who have lived in the township for the first seventy-five years or so of the century. In places I have also listed the modem-day inhabitants, but only for identification purposes. if I have left anyone out, please accept my apologies. It was not done intentionally.

Starting at the extreme north-eastern corner of the township, we have the family of Vic Catling. Victor Catling was born in Norfolk. England and emigrated to Canada at the age of three months. They lived in Seaforth, Clinton, Duck Island and finally Cockburn Island in 1901. Victor married there and the couple’s first child, Ernest James was born there. In 1916 they arrived in Laird and purchased the NE 1/4 of Section 2. The family grew to six. Victor owned the hay press which was used by farmers all over the area. He also had a portable sawmill. Victor remained active until his death in 1984 over 90 years of age. Many descendants of the Catling family remain in the area.

Alex Brodie was born in Orillia and moved to Algoma in 1902, where he purchased property from the Evoy family in Section 3. He married Matilda Hurley and raised a family of eight. Since there were only 15 acres cleared on this land, the family had to clear the brush and discovered that the land was some of the best in Bar River. Alex erected a huge barn, which unfortunately caught fire from spontaneous combustion in 1927, and burned to the foundation, including Elvie’s first car, for which he had to continue payments. A new barn was erected on the old foundation, but again misfortune occurred when the barn collapsed. Undaunted, the family set to again and hauled gravel, hired Jim Keating as contractor and in three weeks had a new barn ready for hay. Alex died in 1943 and his wife in 1957. Both are buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Sault Ste. Marie. This farm was sold to Fred and Beulah Haldenby, who farmed it for many years and is still in the Haldenby name.

In the Isbester area we have several families listed. From the land grant record and the census, we are told that William Edwards was the biggest land owner in Isbester. He owned property on Sections 2 and 11. Later he sold some of his property as new settlers arrived. Some of these included:

Becking: The Daniel Becking family actually lived in Sylvan Valley from about 1875. The youngest son Arthur purchased his property from Archie Howard at Isbester in 1922, but it wasn’t until 1932 that the move was made to Bar River. A new house had to be built since Mr. Howard was still a bachelor and lived in a shack. Gravel for the basement was hauled right from McCarrel’s Lake and mortar was mixed by hand in a large mortar box. Arthur was married to Mildred Booth in 1919 and they had two sons; Stanley and Melvin. Stanley worked on the family farm and any other job he was offered. He married Lulu Lapish in 1942 and the couple lived with her father, Herbert Lapish. In 1946, Stanley bought his father’s farm and proceeded to move the Lapish house to that property; a job that turned out to be quite an ordeal, with many obstacles having to be overcome and meals served along the way. The Beckings were active in their community in many ways and remained faithful to their church and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1969. Arthur died in 1972 and the next year Mildred and Melvin moved to Sault Ste. Marie. The Becking farm was sold to the Ritokoski family who reside there and Mrs. Becking sold her house to Tony Evoy. Stan and Lu built a new home on property purchased from Stenson Archibald, with neighbours assisting in the pouring of the basement and Jim Haldenby helping Stan with the brickwork. Stan was hired by the township as grader operator in 1963 and held that position for the next 20 years. Mildred Becking passed away in 1981 and two years after this Melvin passed away. Stan and Lu had a stained-glass window installed in the United Church in memory of the Beckings.

Collings: James Collings purchased land in Section 2 from the Crown, probably just after the tum of the Century. He operated the store and Post Office in Bar River in 1904, later moving to Section 2, where he built a house. He was married to Mary Jane Livingstone and they had two sons, Will and Wilkie. Will married and moved to Sault, Michigan. However, Wilkie continued to farm until he Joined the Echo Bay Detachment A Co. 119th Battalion. His wife Beatrice remained on the farm and in 1927, the family moved to the Sault. There were eight children born to this couple: Jean, Ellice, Florence, Frances, Ellwood, Bill, Kathleen and Donald. Of these, Florence (Mrs. Frank Lobban), Kathleen (Mrs. Orville Willett) and Bill are still living.

Cook: Curtis Cook arrived in Laird from Stayner about 1918 or 19. The property he purchased in Section 10 had several previous owners going back to a William Taylor in 1893. Curtis married Irene Mitchell in 1923 and they had two sons: Bill who married Louise Cliffe and had four children: Rosalind, Sidney, Dianne and Stanley; and Keith, who married Lola Evoy and had three children Laureen, Alan and Lisa. Curtis and Irene were very much involved in the community and were respected for miles around. Their field of expertise was agriculture and they were interested in every aspect of this industry. Curtis was involved in the Plowmen’s Association and was a judge at the Matches. He loved horses and had inherited the Tuckett talent of being able to draw one with some degree of excellence. He was involved in the 4H groups and Crops and Fields. Irene was asked many times to judge at the local fairs around the district. They were both active in their church and very willing to assist in the community where needed. Curtis was born New Years Day 1899 and died just a few days after his 85th birthday in 1984. Son Bill had purchased the farm from Curtis and then later sold his place and the home farm to Ritokoskis and Krohns. Irene had moved to the Sault where she lived until her death in December of 1989.

A family of Wagners lived in here in the early years. Besides the parents, there were two sons who attended school in Bar River. Ivor started the Boy Scout movement in Bar River around 1908-10. The family moved to the Sault. Mrs. Wagner was a midwife, had a nursing home, and lived beside the west end firehall on Wallace Terrace where this author was born in 1933.

Going up the road, we have the Chappells, Stonewall and his brother, Duncan on Section 4. We don’t know where Duncan went, but Stonewall and his wife lived here with their family of four: Helen, (Mrs. William Fremlin) Isabel (Mrs. Jun Haldenby) Harry and Allen. This part of the Section was originally granted to John Wheatley in 1881, but has changed hands a couple of times since. Adam Krohn purchased it from the Chappell family and then his son John and wife Marion took over and it remains in their hands still. The Krohn family originally settled in Sylvan Valley upon their arrival in Algoma. John and Marion have added to their property over the years and recently built a new brick home. Jack is a very progressive farmer and Marion works just as hard as his helpmate, besides being involved in many of the organization around the community. Jack and Marion raised a family of seven children. The Senior Krohns moved to Pumpkin Point Road and built a house, later owned by the Proschuks and now by Mrs. Treberg.

Across from the Krohn family, the land originally belonged to John Forrest on the NE 1/4 of 9 and his brother Jim on the NW 1/4 of 10. These two, brothers of David, lived here for a number of years. John had been granted his land in 1892, brother Jim in 1904. Jim never married and many of the residents remember this gruff but kind man. Many of the farm wives sent “goodies” and he was very good to the neighbouring children, giving them apples and things which they weren’t used to. Jack was married and had at least four children before returning to Seaforth. Jim remained here and is buried in Laird Cemetery.

Walker: The Walker family bought the Jack Forrest farm. This family consisted of Robert and Catherine, Nellie, Margaret (Mrs. Charles Booth), Jean (Mrs. Jack Kingshott), Kate, Bob, Alex and William. The original Walker home was closer to the road, but burned. Another home was built when the farm was again sold to Frank Halcrow, later to Ken Headrick, and is now owned by Terry Headrick.

Halcrow: The Halcrow family arrived in Laird by way of MacLennan in 1943. They had come originally from the Manitoulin. Frank and Stella had a family of six; Myrna (Mrs. Reg Booth), Norma (Mrs. Conrad Humphries), Bill, Don; Leona (Mrs. Bernel Evoy) and Jerry. They lived on the Walker place and moved about 1960, when they built a new house along the Haldenby Road. This house was sold in 1983.
Bill lives in Laird, Leona in Macdonald Township, Norma in the Sault, Don in Thunder Bay, Myrna in Ophir and Jerry in Desbarats.

Guy and Elizabeth Fremlin lived up a little closer to the corner. They had two boys Al and Brian. Guy died in 1974. Elizabeth was a Boyer from Sylvan Valley.

Along the Government Road on the east side we have Gabriel Gregoire, where he successfully operates his farm and butcher shop. However. this farm is remembered by the older generations as the home of Clark and Marjorie Fremlin. The land had originally belonged to the aforementioned Wheatleys, then the Browns, then was purchased by Clark Fremlin in 1933. They lived here until 1966 when they purchased a home in Bar River. Their children were Gail (Mrs. Les Daniel) and Lloyd. The Woods family purchased the farm from Clark and had it for a couple of years, before the land was bought by Mr. Gregoire.

Across the road the Will Hollingsworth farm was later purchased by an Alderson family, and then by Hugh Henry. John and Martha Henry lived in Sylvan Valley, where Hugh was born in 1887. Hugh married Ella Becking and moved to Bar River in 1918, bringing his parents with him. His sister Gladys, married Gordon Evoy.

Hugh was a man respected all over the district for his farming ability and outstanding character. Ella was very active in the Women’s Institute and responsible for many of the good things accomplished by the Bar River branch. The couple farmed until 1955 when they moved to a small house in the village. The family consisted of Jack who became a doctor and lived on the Manitoulin; Margaret (Mrs. William Brownlee), Elinor (Mrs. Ward Smith of Powassan); Marie (who married Ernest Evoy) and lives in Neebish Subdivision, and Tom, who operated the farm for four years before moving to the Sault, where he was a teacher. Hugh Henry died in 1960, his wife in 1978.

The farm was sold to Henry and Irene Goertzen. The Goertzens had six children when they moved there, and two more were born while on this farm. “Chick” as he is called was a very successful farmer and with their acreage had lots of room for the children to indulge their love of horses. Both Irene and Chick are involved in the North Shore Agricultural Fair. They sold the farm in 1987 to Roger Fremlin and moved to the Laird Hill area along the Government Road. Chick has served 7 years as Councillor and 6 as Reeve, which office he holds presently.

Taylor: The Hamilton Taylor Family arrived some time after the turn of the century. Mr. Taylor had a small brickworks on his farm. The family members included Lottie (Mrs. Wortley), Lyla (Mrs. Mason), Edith (Mrs. Warden Headrick) Wes, Harry and Simpson. Although her husband died in 1938, Mrs. Taylor lived to the grand old age of 107 and died in 1965. Both are buried in Maple Leaf Cemetery. Simpson remained on the farm and had a family of five. He died in 1959, his wife, Dolena in 1984.

Harry’s wife Maud is 103 years of age this year.

The Headrick family came originally from Calabogie area near Renfrew, soon after the township was formed. The family consisted of David and his wife and their children Warden, John, Albert, Peter, David, Margaret, Grace and Ella. Warden married Edith Taylor and had two children; Ken and Lorraine (Mrs. Robert Taylor). John and David never married; Albert married Kate Johnston, daughter of Daniel Johnston and a family of five children; Peter moved to North Bay and eventually to Nova Scotia and married a girl from Manitoba. Albert worked for London Life Insurance Company and worked his way up to become manager of the Central Ontario division in Peterborough. In 1925 the couple returned to Laird and purchased the David Headrick farm. They also started the first tourist industry in Laird, building cabins at the mouth of the Bar River, which were later sold about 1962. The Headricks were famous for their love of music which they provided for dances all over the area.

Barkley: The William Barkley family actually lived in Macdonald Township. However, a son Philip did live in Laird in Section 6. Philip and Alice had two sons Keith and Warren (deceased). Keith farms the land in the NE 1/4 of 6 and served on Council for about 18 years, with 16 as Reeve.

Rouleau: The Rouleau family moved to Laird in 1929 and lived on land in the SW corner of Bar River Road and Lakeview Road. Privat bought a team of horses and took some of the belongings on a wagon, but the majority of furniture etc. were transported by train to Echo Bay. They were the only French speaking family in the area and had quickly to learn English. The farm produced all the vegetables and meat for the family’s needs, except for flour and sugar which they; purchased. Mr. Rouleau was a barber and on Sundays Laird residents would come to get their hair cut. The Rouleaus were famous for their strawberries and for their excellence in dancing, and they enjoyed the Milk Shippers Banquets. The family consisted of four children; Leo, Desire, Bella (Mrs. Cummings) and Flora (Mrs. Bradley).

Fraser: Thomas and Catherine Fraser purchased the farm on the corner of the present highway and Lake George Road from Fred Corsality. Their family consisted of Jessie, Margaret, Nellie and Duncan. Originally from Inverness, Scotland, the Thomas Frasers had lived in Perth before moving to Copper Cliff and thence to Laird. The property here had not been cleared so the family set to with a will and converted it from primeval forest to the lovely farm it is today. Thomas was a blacksmith by trade and performed many of these tasks for his neighbours. He died in 1932, his wife having predeceased him by many years. Jessie never married but was a most progressive individual, owning at least two cars, the second being a light brown Ford, probably 1934 vintage. I can remember her and sister Margaret driving up the road to visit and have a game of cards at Tuckett’s. Margaret married Albert Murray and had one son, Ronald. They lived along Lake George Road towards the water. Duncan married Nellie Keating, and moved to Echo Bay. They had no children.

The Nycholas Kohut family lived on part of the David Andrews farm. The gate at the west entrance to the fair grounds was known as “Kohut’s gate”, although there has been no sign of a house there for many years. John and Walter were the two boys, and the girls were Mary (Smereka), Annie (Prokop) and Martha (Trayanoff). Only Mary remains in 1991.

Starzynski: The farm that the Starzynski family purchased changed hands a couple of times before they purchased it about 1933. They rented the house out to others until the moved there from Sault Ste. Marie. The family consisted of four children; Mary (Mrs. King), Annie (Mrs. Semenetz), Fred and Paul. Paul remains on the farm and has just recently built a new house.

Tuckett: Alfred and Frank Tuckett arrived from Stayner in 1902 to make their fortunes in Algoma Steel. They were soon disenchanted there and purchased property from Rob Wilson in Section 8. Frank married Edith Johnston from the neighbouring farm and moved to the west. Alfred married Margaret Andrews in 1906. He would always tease me by saying his sister Annie had been sent from Stayner to care for her two brothers, and Margaret Andrews was sent up from Bruce Mines to care for her two bachelor uncles Rob and Jack Wilson – so they just traded housekeepers. I prefer to believe it was more romantic than that. Alf and Maggie, as they were known, had nine children; Lewis, William, Allen, Helen (who died in the flu epidemic of 1920), Walter, Douglas, Margaret, Eileen (Mrs. Brian Rix) and Reg. Alfred’s love of the game “500” was famous and he would travel miles with his nephew Curtis Cook to attend these card parties. He was Clerk of Laird township from 1917 until his retirement in 1952. The couple celebrated their 50th anniversary with a party at Laird Hall. Alfred died at 85 in 1965 and Margaret died at 90 in 1978.

Johnston: Daniel and Mary Jane (MacNeill) arrived from Sunnydale Township about 1898 with their family of seven: Newman, Edith, Emily, John, Tom, Mercy and Dan was added in 1900. The elder Johnstons lived on the MacNeill farm which was later taken over by son Jack and his wife Luella where he and his wife, Mary McLeod, raised four children: Elgin, Keith, Craig and Ian. Newman moved to the Calabogie Road and lived in Section 18, where they had 10 children; Ferris, Mac, Gladys (Mrs. Clayton Allard}, Nora (Mrs. Gordon Smyth), Lillian (Mrs. Gordon Hodgins), Reg and Mervyn, Kathleen (Mrs. Lorne Hanson), Edith (Mrs. John Moss), and Ronald. The house they lived in has been torn down and replaced by the Shaughnessy family. Emily and Mercy and Dan moved to the States: Edith married Frank Tuckett and moved out west, as did Tom.

At the Lake George Road, Soo-MacLennan road corner where Wendell Evoy lives now, lived Bob and Pansy Smith. She had been Pansy Brown. Someone has mentioned the remains of a house that were just below the hill, but no one seems to remember who lived there.

Moving up the hill on the Soo-MacLennan road we have the Gibb Family. They lived on property originally owned by Hollingsworths, coming here about 1919 from Scotland. I remember Granny Gibb when I was a child. She was a sweet old lady who had such a strong “burr” to her speech that I couldn’t understand her. Their family were Will, Charles, George and Sarah Morgan. Will’s wife died in childbirth, and the two children were raised by Will and Mary. Charles and his wife Elizabeth took over the farm and had two children; George and Robert.

A little further along up the hill the Charles Stewart family lived. They too had come from Scotland, Charles was married to Sarah Morgan Gibb, and they had four children; Elizabeth (Mrs. Ernest Stewart) Alex, Mary and Isla. The family lived on land purchased from Reuben Evoy about the year 1908. However, Charles longed for the “auld sod” and the family returned to Scotland in 1921 where Mary and Alex and Isla married and remained. Elizabeth returned to Canada for a “visit”, married her cousin Ernest Stewart, and has remained here ever since. They have one daughter Heather.

DeRosarios live in the Hollingsworth place and Varleys bought the Stewart farm. Past the Stewarts and Hollingsworth homes there were no families until Jack Wilson and the Robert Murrays along that road. However, over the past few years, homes have been built by the Howards, Jarretts and Dawsons. Along Riley Road we have several families: Hurd, MacDonald, Horner, Quenville, Talbot, Urajnik.

Continuing along the Soo-MacLennan Road past the cemetery, besides the ones already mentioned heading east were the John D. MacLeod and Sam MacLeod families. The members of the John D. MacLeod family were: Sam, Saul, Dave, John, Grace, Rachel, Margaret, Naomi, Marion, Annabelle and Anjou. The George McCoy family lived on the NE 1/4 of Section 28. George McCoy married Annie Armstrong and the family were Elmer, Lloyd. Lena (Mrs. McComb), Weston, Millie (Mrs. Kernaghan) and Velma (Mrs. Scanlon). A family by the name of Lougheed owned the property before McCoys.

From the Junor corner south, on both sides of the road, was the Davidson property. This was later owned by the Zelonko family. They purchased this in 1938, but moved there in 1946 moving the Albert Headrick house in which to live. They later built a new house in which their son Les lives. The first two of the family were Steven who lives out west and Janice (Ebert) who lives in Goulais River. The youngest is Christine (West) who lives across the road from the Zelonkos. Louis Zelonko, born August 22, 1899 and now 91, is the oldest living resident of Laird Township.

John R MacKay and his wife Martha Armstrong lived on the lower portion of Section 29, the N 1/2 of the SE 1/4. They had a family of 14 children, two dying as infants and one at three years. The others were Ronald, Ralph, Edna (Mrs. Fraser), Isobel (Mrs. Junor), William, Sadie (Mrs. Willis), Jim, Gladys (Mrs. Jack Gordon), Ethel (Mrs. Wm. Rathwell), Sylvia (Mrs. Vern Grexton) and Vera.

Across from the MacKays were the Moores. Carson Moore and his brother George were sons of Robert Moore and Nancy Reid. Robert Moore was a pioneer Medical Doctor whose internship was in Ireland. The two boys were born in the Stratford area but landed at the Port Findlay dock in 1894. The brothers purchased the SW 1/4 of Section 28 and divided it in half. George remained a bachelor and remained on the farm raising sheep, and died in 1951. Carson married Margaret Moore in 1896 and they only had the one son Peter Robert. They later moved to Portlock. Kahtavas own the property now.

On the Armstrong place through a few other families, we have Tom and Colleen Ableson who have farmed the land for over twenty years. They live across the road further south on property originally owned by Murdoch McLeod but more recently owned by Bert Jackson and Clarence Cliffe, now Roger Ablesons. The Clarence Cliffe family consisted of Murray, Marie (Gilchrist), Dorothy (Reid) and Cedric. Again, across the road on property we associate with Frank Rivers, lives the Dick Beitz family.

Back up the road towards Rydall Mill Road, the Headleys both George and Bill Headley lived. The Evans family lives presently on the George Headley farm but Bill Headley’s property has changed hands two or three times from Denault’s to Allens.

Along Rydall Mill Road we have John Rydall. He had married Katherine McKinnon and although they lived in Webbwood first, they moved to Laird where they had a sawmill down by the water. As stated earlier, this mill was moved up to the Rydall property which had been given them by Mrs. Rydall’s father Duncan McKinnon. This property changed hands again to a son Duncan Rydall. Duncan had married Gladys Majaury and first lived in Blind River, later moving back to Laird and building a sawmill. The number 8 was prominent in the Rydall and McKinnon families. Duncan McKinnon was of a family of 8 boys. He had a family of 8. His son Charles had 8 boys, and grandson Duncan and Gladys had a family of 8; Norma (Mrs. Keith Barkley), Bryan, Mona (Mrs. Ken Headrick), Barry, John, Carl, Gail (Mrs. Jim Ableson) and Darwin. Darwin lives on the home place presently.

Thomas Murray Sr. was across from McKinnons, and Tom Murray Jr. took over from his father. Here again the house has changed hands several times through Mitchells, Dischers, to the present owner.

Amos Head, on the Census and early land grant owned the farm where the Alex Gummerson family lived. The original house has a lot of stories to tell because of the fact that a succession of families lived here from Isaac Townsend, Murrays, Peter Moore (not Carson’s son, but Carson’s wife’s father). Peter and his wife Marion McNaughton and their seven children had moved up from Seaforth about 1894. The senior Moore’s did not live too many years after moving here and of the seven children only two remained in the area: John and Margaret. John was Joe Moore’s father. Mary, a sister married John Shewfelt and lived in Tarbutt.

Gummerson: This family also came from Calabogie. Alex and his sister Nellie arrived with their mother and lived on David Headrick’s place at the end of Calabogie Road. Nellie married William Majaury, (Gladys Rydall’s mother). Alex married Annie Junor and moved to Section 32. They had five children; Lyall, who lives on the home place, Roy, Eva, Nellie (Mrs. Peter Snell) and Diamond (Mrs. Ken Gee).

A large brick home on the McKinnon farm had two or three owners. Dari and Marcia MacDonald and then the Ohman family that we know of.

The Shewfelt family came originally from Kincardine about 1878. However, they settled in Tarbutt. Jacob and Mary were the original couple, and on the Census had a family of five boys; Norman Francis, William J, Alfred, John and Joseph. Norman Francis (Frank) eventually moved to Laird, the W 1/2 of SW 1/4 of Section 32, where a grandson Ronald still lives.

Across the highway was the store owned by Jack McCluskie. This farm had originally been owned by Thomas Murray, but who the interim owners were, we are not sure. The Pearsons live in a house just at the corner, where the store was located.

The farm was also owned by Alfred Shewfelt, who was married to Jean Khull, and his son Gary owns it now. On the west half of this property lived Jack McCluskie’s parents Etta and John McCluskie. Norman Lamming owns it presently.

Ambeault: David Ambeault and his wife came from LaChute Quebec, landing at St. Joseph’s Island first and then to the SW 1/4 of Section 31 along the Neebish Road, property owned originally by William Townsend. The Ambeault family consisted of three children; Bill, Mary (Mrs. Aitkens) and Ida (Mrs. Eaton). Bill’s family were; Helen, Lionel, Mildred, Loretta, Roy, Celene, Harold, Donna and Peter. The Reg Lammings have owned this property for some time.

Aitkens: Only one member of the Aitkens family still lives on Neebish Road, when there once was a large family. Amongst these were Ed, Charles, Albert, Bill, Irene, May, Emma : the other names we don’t have. People by the name of Nelson had this property before the Aitkens and somewhere down there the Proudfoots lived too, perhaps across the road, because it seems this farm was later purchased by the Baglers.

Back to the highway and travelling north we come to Jack Khull’s farm. Another contribution to Laird from the Calabogie area, at least from the Ottawa Valley, were the Khulls. They arrived about 1900 and the boys were Jack, Morris and Jim. Bill was their father, his wife was a Keating. Jack’s family consisted of Jack Jr., Gibson, Wilfred, Annie (Mrs. Littleton), Jean (formerly married to Alfred Shewfelt, now Mrs. Ewan), Dan. Of these, only Annie and Jean remain. Mrs. Jack Khull was Susannah Gibson.

The Morris Khull family lived next to them with a family of 12; Vera, Melvin, Russell, Alvin, Alice, Lester, Adeline (Mrs. Lyall Gummerson), Ruby (Mrs. Reid), Gordon, Ione, Clayton, Nile (who drowned as a boy in the creek by the farm). Mrs. Morris Khull was Jessie Irwin.

The Jim Khulls lived on Laird Hill. He and his wife Vina lived on the hill south of the Calabogie Road. He had the whole mile owned originally by the Baldwins and Lidstones. Their two children were Donelda (Mrs. Ralph MacDonald) and Ed. Jim later sold the farm property to George Willoughby and moved to the Laird Corner. He lived up over the Schoales garage for awhile before building a small house on the south corner of Pumpkin Point Road and Highway 17.

In here I must mention the Garretts. James Garrett and his wife came from the Gaspe and the older couple settled in Macdonald. Son Frank was first married to Pearl Mick. She died in 1923 and he married Emily (Rivers) Hudson. She had one son Orland from her previous marriage. The couple lived over the store at Laird and operated it for some time, taking over from Bill Fremlin. Emily died in 1976, and Frank in 1981.

The Cove family arrived from Enfield, England, settling in Tarbutt Township for about a year before moving to Laird in the late 1890’s. The father’s name was John, wife unknown. They had five children, Herbert, Arthur, Emily, Annie and Mary Elizabeth. Herbert’s wife was Celia Fountain. She died in England but was the mother of William. Arthur was married to a Davidson. Bill Cove married Annie Aitkens and had a family of six, Francis and Glen, Marjorie, Florence, Betty and Lynn. Harold, a half-brother of William worked on the A.C.R. and lived in Goulais. Francis has one girl and two boys and is the only one living in Laird at this time.

The Majaury family moved from Calabogie and lived on Section F. William Majaury married Nellie Gummerson and served on Council as Reeve for 4 terms and some as councillor. The couple had three children: Gladys (Mrs. Duncan Rydall), Edna (Mrs. Enos Berry), and Ernest who died at nine years.

Caldwell: Along that road we have the Caldwell family also from Calabogie. Mrs. Caldwell was a sister of Mr. Larocque. The children were Kate (Mrs. Kehoe), Sandy, and May who moved to California.

Larocque: The Larocques, too, came from the Lanark County, Calabogie area. The family consisted of Annie, Margaret (Mrs. Gibson), John who died in the flu epidemic of 1919, Jim, Tuffiel and Bill. Bill was 2 years of age when the family arrived here. He drove Model Dairy truck for awhile, worked for Ford Motor Company in Detroit and moved back to Laird in 1936. He married Pearl Bumstead in Detroit. He is the second most senior citizen of Laird township at the present time being 91 past. They had two children; Boyd lives in the Sault, and Shirley (Keating) lives in Laird. Jim Larocque married May McMullin and lived across from the Tuckett farm on the highway where Hoffmans live now. May was the last teacher at the Bluff School before it was closed. Their son Jim was adopted and married Margaret Evans. He died in 1969 and is buried with his parents in Laird, Jim Sr. having died in 1955 and May in 1978.

Another Jack Larocque, perhaps an uncle, lived across the lane from James and May. He was a bachelor.

Keating: George and Grace Keating came to the township some time after 1891. They farmed the E 1/2 of the SE 1/4 of Section E. and the W 1/2 of the SW 1/4 of Section 7 on Calabogie Road. They had six children; John moved to the west. He had been married to Eunice Hurley and they had four children; Earla (Mrs. Cecil Maahs), Leila, Melvin and Clair. Alfred married Mamie Alton and their children were Jerry, Lynn, and Alfreda (Mrs. Nott). James and Dora had Mina (Mrs. Reg. Tallack), Jack, Gordon, and Verna (Mrs. Reg. Hooper). Gordon and Verna are both deceased. Margaret married Jack McIntyre of MacLennan. Ross and Tom were their boys and the girls were Grace, Edna, Florence, Winnifred and Phyllis.

While on the hill we must not forget the Shellhorn family. They too came from Calabogie; Jack arriving first. and the other two brothers around 1923. Jack Shellhorn had the old Bradshaw place which was later bought by Bill Fremlin and still later by Lewis Tuckett. Allen Tuckett bought it and built a new house, later moving it around the corner. Brian and Eileen Rix built a house closer to the road. Both these houses had to be moved for the highway reconstruction. Jack and his wife had five children: Chester, Mary, Ruth, Albert and Oliver. Ted Shellhorn and his wife lived east of the highway on Pumpkin Point Road. Their family consisted of Marjorie, Leslie, Neil and Dora. Ted died and Dolly moved to the Sault and married Frank Smith. Otto the third brother married Annie Roggie and their family were Ken, Pearl, Hazel, Anna May, John, Francis and Ruby. He had bought the Albert Nott farm and had great potato crops.

Going west of the highway, the residents will remember the names of these families: Rena Porchuk and her son Bill; the Porchuks had previously lived in the Starzynski house, then to Macdonald Township and later to Porchuk Road to a farm previously owned by the Colin Gordon family; the Henricks; Donald Dominic who died in his 90’s; the Yandriks, Proschuks, Lokovitches, Wyslocki’s, the Jack Headrick farm where Terry Shewfelt lives now; and the Reids. This family came from Scotland and the brothers, Robert and William, chose their first homestead at the corner of Reid’s Road and the Porchuk Road. This property became the home of Ewan Irwin and later Henry Coyle, and presently the Eckfords. They had previously transferred this piece to their parents Allen and Sophia, about the early 1900’s. The original house was of log construction, with a tidy little garden in front. Robert then purchased 80 acres adjacent to this homestead, where he and his wife Viola raised their children: Donald, Norman, Isabel, Thomas, Robert, John, Charles and Andrew. Another brother, Allan came from Scotland too, and owned property which is currently owned by Perigords. It had changed hands in the Reid family before this time. There were more children in the original Reid family namely Henry who was father of George, Bill and Dorothy; Fred, who lived in Macdonald Township and later to the Sault; Isabel, married Tom Robinson and had no family. Charles and Jack who never married.

The Kehoe family lived on Reid’s Road too. Bob Kehoe was a blacksmith, his wife was Catherine Caldwell. She died in 1945. A large family consisting of Sandy, Dave, Bob, Jim, Martin, Boyd, Roy, Madeline, Alice, Rhoda and Margaret lived here at one time, none of which remain in Laird, although there are some by that name in Sault Ste. Marie.

The William Swire family first lived in Bar River, in the first Fremlin home, later moving to Laird Hill area, where a house was built across from Ken Tomlinsons. The Thachyk family lived in this house later. Phillip and James were two of the Swire boys. Phillip and wife Catherine had a family of nine; Albert, Wilfred, Louis, Bill, Alvin, Laura (Conway), Marion (Fremlin) Thelma Phillips and Anna Lesh. Phillip and James both built on Laird Hill in the same area, but later Phillip moved to the Reids Road area.

Travelling northward again to the Lake George Road lived the Bill Garretts, later Irwin Collins. The Garrett family consisted of William and Annie and their children; Edward, Elizabeth, Robert, and Nancy. The Collins family consisted of Irwin and wife Violet and their children; Pat (Kingshott), Dave, Harry, Nancy (MacLeod) and another daughter, Jeanette. Then we have the McWatters family who were Tom and his wife, Annie, and children: George who died at 2, Oliver, Bill, Dolena, (Taylor), Cline and another daughter. Later the Mount family lived in the McWatters home, but returned to the Sault. Warden Headrick lived along this road with his wife Edith. Then up toward the highway, the Cecil McWhinney family. Cecil and Dolly as she was known (actually she was Agnes Buchanan) were in a serious traffic accident in 1943, when Dolly was killed. Cecil died in 1953. Their son Jack lives out west. The Buller family lived in this house for a few years before it was sold to Ed Hunter, its present owner.

Somewhere down along that road also lived a man by the name of Elmer Winters. He lived along where the Airport is now. He was a teacher.

Also in Section D, lived Daniel and Jemima Alton. They had two children that died as infants; Ella died in 1887 and a son Eppa died in 1889. Dan was the president of the early Agricultural Society.


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Discover More About The Laird Township Pioneers:
Surname Directory – Family History & Photos
Photo Album – Laird Hall Gallery
Photo Album – Historical Album One
Photo Album – Estate Album One
Photo Album – Estate Album Two