Descendants of Hay Bay Resident of Days Gone By

(From the Daily British Whig Mar 18 1914)


   Milo Parks, in his day the oldest resident of North Fredericksburgh was well known in this district, having many relatives in various parts of the county of Frontenac.

   Some three years before his death which occurred at the age of eighty-seven years, the following interesting family history was published, showing interesting facts in the life of a United Empire Loyalist:

   One of the oldest and most respected residents of the township of North Fredericksburgh is, says the Napanee Beaver, our venerable friend, Milo Parks, who has now for over eighty-four years, resided on the same farm on the pleasant shores of Hay Bay.

   Cyrenus Parks, his father, was one of the sturdy U.E. Loyalists who settled in Upper Canada, who resolved to hew out homes for themselves out of the unbroken wilderness, resolved to live and die under the British flag. He was born at Queensbury, Charlotte county, N.Y., on December 22nd, 1754. There he married and became a large and prosperous farmer, near the banks of the Hudson river. He had just married when the great American rebellion broke out in 1775. As the war advanced he felt it his duty to stand true to the British cause. He became a member of the kings’ Rangers, a regiment that had a memorable record during the war and later on became a captain in that regiment. His brother James also took up arms in the same cause and became a sergeant in the regiment. By the fortunes of war they were both captured along with the others of the rangers. They were released on giving their parole not to serve again against congress during the continuance of the war. The regiment was disbanded in 1784 and most of the men finally settled in Fredericksburgh, or at other points along the Bay of Quinte.

   In the crown lands department, at Toronto, is preserved an old U.E.L. list and on it are the names of Capt. Cyrenus Parks, Sergt. James Parks and Nathaniel Parks, drummer, all of the King’s Rangers. All were on the provision list, for the time the government very considerately granting necessary supplies of pork and flour until such times as the pioneers could clear and cultivate their own lands.

   Irvine Parks, our county treasurer has now in his possession the certificate of his grandfather, Nathaniel, signed at St. John, December 24th, 1783, certifying to his faithful service in the King’s Rangers provincial regiment and to his honourable discharge at the disbanding of the regiment.

   D. Nelson Parks, of the Beaver office, has in his possession the family bible of his grandfather, Cyrenus. It is now over 100 years old and according to the statement on the flysheet it was bought in Kingston, “January ye 10, a.d., 1793.” The book has been in family use ever since and is still in a good state of preservation. In it is the record of the births of the parents and their twenty children, written in a very plain, bold hand, no doubt of Cyrenus himself, the head of that numerous family.




From “Journal of Education for Ontario 1874”


The late much lamented Archdeacon Patton was born of English parentage about the year 1806, in the County of Donegal, Ireland, and the son of Major Patton of the British army.  He came with his parents at an early age to Canada, and the Patton family settled on the Bay of Quinte, in the Township of Adolphustown.  He, in his early years, was educated (in part at least) under the Rev. J. Braithvaite, M.A., Rector of Chambly, in the Province of Quebec, who was an eminent teacher in those early days of provincial educational matters.  In or about the  1829, he was ordained successively deacon and priest by the then Bishop of Quebec, (Canada’s only bishop at that period) the Hon. Right Reverend Charles James Stewart, D.D., and was appointed to the then mission of Kemptville, where he laboured many years very successfully as its first rector;  and no one can visit that interesting parish, but must not the enduring effects of the pastoral zeal and energetic efforts of that first able and judicious parochial administrator.  In 1846, he was appointed by the late Bishop in Toronto in succession to himself and such other zealous men as Salter J. Mountain, Archbold, and Lindsay, Rector of Cornwall.  Here, for a period of over twenty-five years he laboured and successfully too, following directly in the wake of such great missionary spirits, and contributed largely to make Cornwall the model parish of the Diocese of Ontario in order, liberality and zealous parochial efforts.  Whilst Cornwall and the whole of the Diocese of Ontario was a portion of that of Toronto, he was latterly Rural Dean of the Eastern District, which position he continued to hold until the new one of the former was created.  Here his zeal and ability were pre=-eminent, as in other matters.  About fourteen years ago the degree of Doctor of Civil Law, or D.C.L., was conferred upon him by the University of Trinity College, Toronto.  In 1871, he was unanimously elected Prolocutor of the Provincial synod assembling in Montreal, and in succession to the Rev. Dr. Beaven, of Toronto, who had previously held the office at each session since its constitution in 1861.  Again, in the special sessions held in 1872 and 1873, which resulted in the election of the Missionary Bishop of Algoma, he most ably filled the Prolocutor’s chair as at first.  On the death of the late Rector of Belleville, the Rev. John Grier, M.A., in October, 1871, Archdeacon Patton, was nominated to the Rectory, and he was inducted as such on the 30th of November of the same year.  During his brief tenure of office in Belleville, the beautiful Grier memorial window in St. Thomas’ Church, and the new and elegant ecclesiastical rectory are momentoes of his zeal and energy, and the noble Bishop Strachan Memorial Church, in its origination and construction, was one of the latest of his zealous efforts at Cornwall, previous to his leaving it.  The foundation stone of this structure was laid in 1869.  It is now one of the most stately and beautiful ecclesiastical churches in the Diocese.  - Intelligencer.



An Old-Time Reformer

Peter Perry Was Born in Ernesttown Township


T.W. Casey in Napanee Beaver,

   An old-time reformer was Peter Perry, M.P.P., born in Ernesttown during the last decade of the eighteenth century. He was one of the most noted of the native sons of Lennox and was next in prominence to Christopher Hagerman, who practised law in Kingston for years, afterwards being collector of customs at Kingston, and later on representing the limestone city in the legislature. This same Hagerman was a chief justice at the time of this death. Peter Perry was the son of Robert Perry, one of the oldest settlers in Ernesttown. His education was not much, but he was a man of great natural force and eloquence.

   It was at Robert Perry's first log house that the Methodist exhorters, McCarthy and Lyons, were arrested for holding a religious service and not being "in orders" in the Church of England. Robert Perry, in connection with Capt. Parrott, became bondsman for McCarthy and accompanied him to Kingston, where he was banished from the country by judge Cartwright. No wonder that a young man reared in such stirring times should become an earnest sympathizer of the then reform party - a party demanding and struggling for some of the much needed reforms and liberties that we now enjoy.

   In 1825, at the election then held, Peter Perry and Marshall Spring Bidwell were elected for Lennox. At that time and later, there was but one polling place for the whole county, there was open voting and the election generally lasted a week. The polling place for the elections of 1825 and 1828, were near John Fralick's tavern, at the corners on the Kingston road where the Morven brick church now stands. Perry and Bidwell were three times elected, holding their seats from 1825 to 1837, when through the active influence of the then governor, Sir Francis Bond Head, and the whole government party, these men and the leading reformers of the province were all defeated. No doubt that defeat and the means taken to accomplish it, brought about the Mackenzie Canadian rebellion, which occurred some months later. There is no reason to suppose that Perry, or Bidwell or Robert Baldwin were parties to that untimely and ill-conducted rebellion, which would have proved a very serious affair indeed had its management been in abler and more judicious hands.

   Before Peter Perry's defeat he had left his farm and moved to Whitby. The fact of his being an absentee had to do with his defeat. When a young man he married Miss Mary Ham, daughter of John Ham, near Ernesttown Station, and settled on a farm in South Fredericksburgh. His farm was lot twenty-five, second concession of Fredericksburgh, the farm now owned and occupied by Charles Hawley. He was faming there during the most of his parliamentary days. It has been told that his nephews and his neighbors used to plough with his oxen for him while he was away attending to his political duties.

   He became a successful merchant and speculator at Whitby, and accumulated considerable wealth. He was one of the pioneer business men in Ontario county. The thriving town of Port Perry, on Scugog lake, north of Whitby, was named in honor of him. When the "Clear Grit" party sprung up, in protest to the administration of the Baldwin-Lafontain government late in the forties, he joined its ranks, but did not again enter parliament. He died years ago and lies buried at Whitby.




He Died On Thursday Morning - Sketch of His Career

From the "Daily British Whig" Mar 10 1898


Napanee, March 10, -

M.W. Pruyn attacked by paralysis on Sunday died this morning.


   M.W. Pruyn was a native of South Fredericksburgh, Lennox county. He was born there on the 22nd of October, 1819. His father, William Pruyn, was among the early U.E.L. settlers on the shores of Bay of Quinte two or three miles west of the village of Bath. According to the records in the old Upper Canada crown lands department he does not appear to have come to this province until about 1808 or twenty-six years later than the U.E.L. settlers. He was a man of considerable means and much business energy and was among the first of the extensive lumbermen on the Bay of Quinte. He is said to have built the first saw mill on the Salmon river, near where the village of Shannonville now stands. That for years, became an active business locality both for saw and grist mills. The Pruyns were a well-to-do family residing at Kinderbrook, on the Hudson river, province of New York, years before the American revolution. Harmen, grandfather of the late M.W., appears to have been a wealthy resident in that locality as early as 1750. During the revolution he took sides with the British, and he was afterwards reported "banished" from his native land and considerable of his property was confiscated for that offence - as were a great many others in those days who remained loyal to the British flag. He also came to Upper Canada, where some of his relatives and friends had preceded him. He afterwards lived and died in this province.

   The Pruyns were among the families who brought slaves with them, which they retained for many years. The Pruyn family were connected by inter-marriage with a number of then well known pioneer families about the Bay of Quinte, including the Fairfields, Finkles, Churches, Dorlands and others.

   When the subject of this sketch was a young man he went west and entered the mercantile business, which he followed all his remaining days. He was first at Woodstock, then a small village, then he located at Brantford, then but a thriving town. There he remained for years and was at one time the mayor of Brantford and one of the leading business men. He there married Miss Mary M. Derby daughter of the late William Kerby, one of the founders of what is now the city of Brantford. She survives him, though now quite feeble, being seventy six years of age. Their two sons, John rose, of Chicago, and William Kerby, of Napanee, are also living.

   When Lennox and Addington was separated from Frontenac as a separate county, in 1834, the late Oliver Hatford Pruyn was appointed sheriff, and on his invitation his brother Matthew William, moved to Napanee and became deputy sheriff, a position which he held for seven or eight years. In the general dominion election of 1882, Sir John Macdonald left Kingston and became the Conservative candidate for Lennox, where he was declared elected by a small majority over David W. Allison, Adolphustown, the liberal nominee. The late Mr. Pruyn was an ardent supporter and personal friend of Sir John. The election was protested and Sir John was unseated, after he had represented after he had represented the county for one session. At the bye-election that ensued Mr. Pruyn was the nominee of the conservative party and was defeated by a narrow majority of eight by Mr. Allison, who represented the county at the next session. His election was in turn protested and voided, and at the ensuing election Mr. Pruyn was declared returned by a majority of eighty-five, and he represented the county during the next two sessions. Thus during our fifth dominion parliament Lennox had three elections, two protests and was represented by three men. During the same time there were two elections and two protests in connection with the provincial legislature. The county never before or since witnessed so much political excitement and commotion as between 1882 and 1886. At the next general election Uriah Wilson, the present M.P. for the county, received the conservative nomination over Mr. Pruyn, who then retired and he has never been a candidate for political honors since.

   Mr. Pruyn was a staunch member of the Church of England and a regular communicant for many years. He was an enterprising citizen, a kindly neighbor and a man of intelligence and good business habits.              


* see also: obituary for Matthew William Pruyn