Thanks to Jim Kammer of Belleville, who came upon my blog post wondering whether the Manse-area hamlet called Elzevir really exists, I now know a whole lot more about that place. Jim pointed me in the direction of a chapter of my treasured copy of the history book Times to Remember in Elzevir Township (the township where Queensborough is located) that is about the community of Johnson’s Corners, described in the book’s entry as being on the eastern side of the township (and just west of the village of Flinton in neighbouring Lennox and Addington County. I wrote about Flinton here). The entry has quite a bit of information about the community’s early settlement in the mid-19th century (when it may have been known as Breault’s Corners), about the stores and taverns that once existed there, about farms that were still prospering (and winning awards for cattle at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair) when Times to Remember was published in 1984, and about such things as long-ago community events and the cheese factories to which the Johnson’s Corners dairy farmers used to supply milk.
While I had seen that chapter in the book before, I had not put two and two together as far as realizing that it was the community that now shows up as “Elzevir” on maps. But Jim did, and for very good reason: his forebears were among the earliest settlers of that little community (his great-great grandmother, born in Australia, ran a general store there), and Jim has done a lot of research into family history. If you read his very helpful comments on my Elzevir post, you’ll see he explains that when his own father (who grew up on a farm there) referred to the place, he always called it Elzevir. And he was doubtless not the only native to do so. So you see? Everything’s falling into place, and I think The Great Elzevir Map Mystery is close to being solved. Now all that remains is for Raymond and me to visit next spring or summer and see what kind of community is still there. You can be sure I’ll take pictures!
But meantime, the whole exercise has got me thinking about ghost towns, particularly since my Queensborough friend Graham, in trying to get to the bottom of the Elzevir mystery, found and posted (in a comment here) some links to sites that are about Ontario ghost towns. He was rather horrified – as am I – that Queensborough was listed in them. Let me quote Graham: “HELLO! We’re still here! News of our demise has been greatly exaggerated.”
And that is, I suspect, what residents of some of the other Hastings County communities that tend to get named in “ghost town” lists would say. I’m thinking of Eldorado, and Corbyville, and Millbridge, and Marlbank – all of which are nice little places that I know and like, and where people still live.
Ghost town schmost town, I say. You calling us a ghost town? We’ll be the judge of that. Boo!