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June 27, 2011

The Massey Home History 1860-present

Massey House 1908
William Massey, my husband's 3rd great grandfather, left Quebec and settled in St. Mary's Ontario in 1859.  In October 1860 William began buying land in the small community. His wife and six children needed a home, and William built a frame house on one of the lots.

Massey House ca 1920s Notice the cow!
William eventually sold all but the lot where the Massey house stood. Some of the lots went to family members and to individuals who were related by marriage.

Before William left Ontario to fight in the American Civil War in 1864, [UPDATE: William did NOT fight in the Civil War! I have found records that he was actually in jail during this time] he transferred ownership of the lot and the house to his wife Ellen (for $1.00).

He died in November 1865 shortly after returning home to St. Mary's, and his widow remained in the house.

Eventually the land and house was transferred to their son Thomas Massey, my husband's 2nd great-grandfather. 

Thomas and his family lived in the home until Thomas' death in 1912.

Massey House 1942

 His widow Harriet continued to live in the house until her death in 1945.

The next family member to own the house was their son John Massey, my husband's great-grandfather. John's brothers lived in the house with him at various times. When John died in 1976 the home finally left Massey ownership. So this home had a 126 year history of Massey individuals living in it.

Recently my husband visited relatives in St. Mary's and while there, made a side trip to the Massey house. He wanted to take more photos to go with the photos you see here.  At my suggestion he took copies of his early photos of the house in hopes of  interesting the new owners with the house history. When he explained who he was and his reason for being there, the current owner of the house was fascinated and took him inside for a tour! She showed him around both inside and out and together they hunted for original foundations and parts of out buildings.

Hubs many years ago cleaning William's Grave
To my husband's delight they found the original outhouse which is now a garden shed, and some foundations which would have been an outdoor shed (now a toolshed). Hubs also noted interior parts of the original house and was there for over an hour. Of course he left copies of the house photos he brought with him and promised to send the owner copies of the Abstract Indexes to Deeds and ownership papers that pertain to the property and the house.  She was so interested that she phoned her place of work and told them she'd be late returning from her lunch break!

Hubs was so excited about being allowed inside that he forgot to ask permission to take a photo of the exterior of the house as it stands today. Hmm... or was it deliberate so he could visit again soon?

Whatever the cause, hubs had a huge serendipity moment and was able to go back to his 91 year old grandmother's home to share the story with her. She was in the Massey house as a young bride, sitting in the kitchen talking to her husband's grandmother Harriet, the widow of Thomas Massey.

It was wonderful for hubs to share details of the house as it stands today. When he mentioned certain details it triggered memories for her which she then shared with him. All in all a wonderful genealogical day.


The Grandmother Here said...

How wonderful to have this series of pictures of the house!

Becky Jamison said...

What a wonderful story, Lorine!