A wedding at the Manse

Allan and Isabella Sager in the yard at the Manse, just after their wedding ceremony.

Tomorrow Raymond and I will be taking part in a happy occasion, a wedding of some friends at the Montreal church that we attend. Thinking about it tonight, I remembered a very special photo that Queensborough native Christina Sager sent me a while back. It is the first picture taken of her grandparents, Allan and Isabella Sager, on their wedding day, Oct. 18, 1939. They were married at the Manse, and the photo is taken on the lawn.

I love this photo. I remember Allan and Isabella so well, but I knew them 25 years and more after the picture was taken. It is just so delightful to see them as newlyweds.

Allan Sager was the superintendent of the Sunday School at St. Andrew’s United Church in Queensborough for many years. (He was succeeded in the post by his younger sister, Roberta – Bobbie, as everyone called her. Bobbie and her husband were also married at the Manse, by my father, and that is a great story that I have promised I will tell here some day.) I can still picture Allan at the front of the sanctuary, calling out the number of the next hymn. He always seemed to have a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, and he was a kind and generous person. You can see that personality in the photo, though there’s also a touch of the shy and perhaps slightly nervous bridegroom, I think.

Isabella was the daughter of Will and Isabella Holmes, our neighbours across the street in Queensborough. (It was Will who memorably called out to warn us that we couldn’t drink the water from our well the instant we arrived in Queensborough in July 1964. I wrote about that here.) When I think of her, the picture that comes into my mind is of 4-H Club meetings. Isabella led 4-H homemaking clubs for many years, and I attended three or four of them. As I’ve told Christina, I was absolutely nul (as they say in French) at crafts, which was one of the courses, and sewing, which was another, but Isabella was very kind and patient.

(I think I must do a post on 4-H Clubs one of these times. They are a great part of rural life, kind of old-fashioned perhaps, but still carrying on, which is cool.)

Allan and Isabella were both pillars of St. Andrew’s and of Queensborough, and I remember them so fondly. Christina told me that Allan, her Poppie, died 18 years ago, and Isabella, her Grannie, died only in February of this year, at the impressive age of 92.

This is the same shed that you can see in the background of the wedding photo. It is thought to be one of the oldest buildings in Queensborough, according to the history Times to Remember in Elzevir Township, by Jean Holmes. That book says that it was once a blacksmith’s shop.

I am also tickled that Christina sent me that great photo, and gave me permission to post it here, because of what it tells one about the landscape of that section of Queensborough at that time. The person taking the photo is facing north, I can tell that much. The two houses in the background have been replaced by newer ones, but I remember at least one of them; it was the home of the Feeney family, and the Feeneys’ daughters babysat us sometimes when we were little. But the shed just to the right of Isabella’s bouquet of flowers is still there. The barn to the right of it I have no recollection of; I think it must have been gone by the 1960s.

This is not a great photo of the two very tall evergreen trees that adorn the north side of the Manse’s front lawn, but you can at least get the idea that they have come a long way from the seedlings they may have been when newlyweds Allan and Isabella Sager posed in that place for their wedding photo in 1939.

For the longest time I thought the photo must have been taken in the back yard of the Manse, but I found it very puzzling that one couldn’t see in it the old frame house that, in our time, was owned by Wallace Kincaid, and that is just to the north of the Manse property. By rights that house should show up at the left side of the frame, if the photo was taken in the back yard. Tonight, though, when I pulled up the photo, I realized with a start that it must in fact have been taken in the front yard; from that perspective, everything lines up perfectly. But the reason I didn’t see that initially is this: on the northern edge of the Manse property, right behind where the newlyweds are standing, there are now (and were even when I was a child at the Manse) two tall evergreen trees. They were large when I was growing up there, and they are quite huge now. But in the photo, they haven’t even been planted yet! Or, if they have, they are tiny.

Time passing. Time passing.

4 thoughts on “A wedding at the Manse

  1. What a wonderful story, and fond memories. Maybe there will, one day, be another wedding at the manse!

  2. Lovely photo! I knew them both, and yes, Isabella was my 4H Girls Club Leader too!… [sigh!… and THAT wasn’t yesterday!!]
    I have lucked upon your site in the past month or so, while working on my Family Trees – -‘[Madly off in all directions, doing a little for as many branches as I can!]
    I was raised on the family farm about a mile west of Queensborough, and my mother too was a PK, and…. with her parents, at least 1 or 2 of her sibling sisters, and Paternal Grandparents, lived in the very Manse you previously, and now ‘deja vu’ call home!!
    I in turn, although baptised and attending service with my parents at an early age in the little St Peter’s Anglican Church… Soon after it’s closure, we joined the congregation at St, Andrews, where II attended Sunday School and Church, and later sang in the Junior Choir!
    I remeber in particular, your Dad and others taking the Junior Choir Members around the countryside, carolling prior to one Christmas….. I had never gone carolling before or since, and that one time brings fond memories of lots of laughter, cold cheeks and toes, clear night air, and hot chocolate and homemade treats at the home of one generous grandmotherly patron whom we sereneded!!
    I am going to send you a photo I have of my GrandDad, Rev Wm. Parker, on the verandah steps of the manse, with his youngest daughter, my Aunt Eileen, and his elderly parents Martha & Simon Parker, I am sure you will appreciate how much improved your home now looks!!!
    Sorry for the verbosity!!!…. In future, I will try to be much more succinct!… LOVE your site!!… If you come across anything relating to my GrandDad or Mother, Gladys, or her family, please contact me!! …. …. Hugs & God Bless!….

    • Ruthanne, I can’t tell you how delighted I was to get your post! What a thrill to meet someone who also has such strong connections to Queensborough and the Manse and St. Andrew’s United Church. I do hope you’ll send that photo of your grandfather and his family at the Manse; it will be very interesting indeed to study the differences between the house then and now.

      I love your description of carolling with the junior choir. Those were wonderful days, were they not? Good memories that last a lifetime.

      I’m also tickled to find out that the Anglican Church in Queensborough was called St. Peter’s. (Although that is doubtless reported in Jean Holmes’s history of Elzevir Township; but my copy of the book is at the Manse so I can’t just look things up whenever I need to.) I have no memory of that church ever being open, and I’m not sure I knew anyone who attended it – although maybe Mr. Kingsford, an older British gentleman (and historian, I think) who lived just before (east of) the big curve at the Sager Brothers farm on the road to Madoc. Would you have known him, by any chance?

      Our paths (yours and mine) must have crossed way back then. When did you move away from Queensborough?

      And I’m so pleased that those paths have crossed again now!

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