Recently, a trip to Ontario, Canada opened up another tidbit of information that, used with a tiny clue from an old letter, adding depth to the sad story first told here:
This past July, my sister and I took a weekend trip together meeting up in Ontario, Canada and staying at a friend's condo there. Ever the history buff, I checked around to see what museums, etc. I might find. There are two museums in the city of Burlington, but only one was open that weekend. I implored my sister to go, promising that we would go shopping at the local mall later.
The Ireland House museum introduces you to the life and times of three generations of the Ireland family in the family home built in 1837.
|Sketch of the Ireland Residence, Burlington, ONT, ca. 1877|
Our guide for the day was very knowledgeable and shared many stories of the home's occupants. In the dining room, she showed us a painting of Queen Elizabeth telling the story of how it was won as a premium by the owner of the Ireland house who entered a prize bushel of apples at the famous fair in Hamilton.
The place name of Hamilton rang a bell with me in relation to Eliud Smith and his family. I also recalled a reference to the fair. Sure enough, a letter written by Eliud's wife, Wilhelmina, in November of 1885 mentioned she was "up to Hamilton to see my husband at the time of the fair..."
That letter and others I transcribed in the first post describes a poignant time in history for the family as Eliud Smith was confined to the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital in 1879 for nearly thirty years, leaving his wife to raise their five young children on her own with the help of other family members. It was a distance of about fifty miles from Thorold where the family lived to the facility in Hamilton. It was not likely possible for frequent trips to see him. Traveling the route along Lake Ontario might have potentially prevented many journeys during winter weather. Train service was available between the destinations but I imagine money for fare would have been dear for a mother of five. I also imagine it would be heartbreaking when it came time to say goodbye after a visit.
Wikipedia notes that the city of Hamilton, Ontario was the home of the Crystal Palace which "opened up at Victoria Park 20 September 1860 by Edward, Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VII and was home to the area's "largest fall fair (agriculture exhibition) for many years."
A story about the structure in the Hamilton Spectator published September 17, 2010 stated the "...fragile structure, made of wood and glass and lasted a scant 30 years, it was modelled on London, England's 1851 building of the same name" and that it was "erected by Sir Allan MacNab and Sir Isaac Buchanan to attract the Provincial Agricultural Fair, which later became the Canadian National Exhibition."
|The Crystal Palace, Hamilton, ONT, Canada built 1860, demolished in 1891.|