Another time, another minister’s family – but the same old Manse

The Rev. W.W. Patterson and family at the Manse, Queensborough

The Patterson family at what was then their Manse, c. 1943: The Rev. W.W. Patterson, his wife (whose name I do not have – does anyone know?), and their children, John and Barbara. A delightful glimpse back into the history of this house we now live in. And I love Mrs. Patterson’s boots! (Photo courtesy of Grant Ketcheson)

There are few things I like better these days than coming across old photos of my beloved Manse, whether taken indoors (those ones are scarce, let me tell you) or out. Every one of them tells me something about the history of this house, which was built in 1888 – about the changes that have happened to it over the years, and sometimes about the people who have lived here before us. A while back reader (and Queensborough native) Ruthanne shared one such photo, and it’s here; another time, reader Christina (also a Queensborough native) shared a photo of a memorable wedding at the Manse, and that photo (and what it told me about the piece of land it sits on) is here.

Today I was thrilled when another historic picture arrived in the email, courtesy of our friend Grant of the Hazzard’s Corners area. It’s the photo at the top of this post, and it shows The Rev. W.W. Patterson, his wife (whose name is not recorded anywhere that I can find it; can someone please help me out?), and their children, Barbara and John. According to the book Pilgrimage of Faith, the definitive history of the churches of Madoc Township and area (published during my childhood here at the Manse, and with an introduction by my father, The Rev. Wendell Sedgwick), The Rev. Patterson was the minister at St. Andrew’s United Church here in Queensborough from 1941 to 1945. (The war years: a challenging time to be a minister. There would have been some very hard funerals to conduct in those days.)

Raymond and the newly painted oil tank

This photo of Raymond proudly showing off the oil tank he’d just painted bright red also shows the section of the Manse’s exterior where the Pattersons posed for their family portrait back in 1943. The window behind him (the window of our pantry) is the same window that’s behind the Pattersons. But in their day – no oil tank.

There are two things that I think about as I study the photograph. The first: where exactly was it taken? I am almost certain that it is on the south side of the house (which is always nice and sunny on a fine day, so a natural place to pose for a family photo); and that the window you can see in the background is the window of our pantry. What makes this curious (to me, anyway), is that the scene is missing one key present-day element that in 2014 would be right behind the family: the oil tank. Which in turn tells me that in the days when The Rev. Patterson and his young family lived here, there was no oil-fired furnace heating the Manse. I suppose that the Findlay wood-burning stove that I remember so well from my childhood, together with the system of stovepipes that ran throughout the house, was the Pattersons’ sole way of heating the place. (And you know, given how toasty our Manse was when I lived here as a kid, when we too relied on the Findlay and the stovepipes most of the time, I suspect the Pattersons had fewer drafty moments than Raymond and I are experiencing this winter.)

the Sedgwick family at the Manse, c. 1968

The Sedgwicks at the Manse, in about 1968 and just around the corner of the house from where the Pattersons had stood for their portrait: Dad and Mum, then from left, me, Melanie, John and Ken.

The other thing I see when I look at that photo is something very simple and very familiar: a young and healthy and happy family. It reminds me of my own family when we were living in the very same house, a couple of decades later. The dad is a young(ish), serious, enthusiastic and hopeful United Church minister; the mum is his hard-working and ever-supportive wife; and then there are the two small children who were fortunate enough, as my three siblings and I were, to be growing up in a beautiful and friendly and interesting little place: Queensborough.

How I would love to hear some stories of the Pattersons’ life as they lived it in this same house where I’m writing right now. How I wish the Manse could somehow tell me its stories and its memories.

But in a way – thanks in large part to friends near and far who find interesting Manse-related things to share, like Grant with this photograph – it does.

16 thoughts on “Another time, another minister’s family – but the same old Manse

  1. What a lovely sweet family they look. Full of the joy you’d expect to see in people of faith. Mind you, the Reverend Wm. Parker looked a bit dour. Old photos are tickets to time travel, aren’t they? And we all know how many interesting folks one meets while travelling.

    • In early pictures, those having their photo taken seemed to take the whole thing entirely too seriously!! LOL!… as if facing a firing brigade not a camera!… No one seems to be smiling in that photo… Taken in the 1920’s, the Depression & life of a rural preacher might have had somewhat to do with it… I remember Granddad always standing so straight & tall, and while not looking cross, not smiling either…
      I can assure you that off camera, he was always loving, teasing & like the photos in his later years, smiling!….

      • That is so true, Ruthanne, and the farther back the photos go, the grimmer the subjects seem to look! I’ve seen some photos of my own ancestors where the people look positively terrifying because of their severe expressions. I think part of the reason for the lack of smiles was the slow exposure of old cameras – any movement could render the photo out of focus and quite possibly ruin it. And I suppose a dead-serious look is easier to hold for an extended time than a smile is.

  2. Yes I did know them and I had checked with Dorothy Starke last night to make sure I had given you the right name for Mrs. Patterson. Dorothy would have known them better than I did and if and when you come to Peterborough, if you let me know ahead of time I will give her a call and have her over as she would be able, I am sure to answer some of your questions.


    • That would be wonderful, Barb! I always think of Dorothy as “Aunt Dorothy,” because that’s what Janice Rollins Broadworth, our beloved babysitter in my Manse childhood, called her. My reliable sources tell me that Dorothy is a fantastic source of information about Queensborough history and people, so it would be great to be able to talk to her. Thank you!

  3. What a lovely photo Katherine!… I remember my Mom mentioning the Pattersons, but their tenure at The Manse would have ended a year or two before I was born… The stylish footwear Mrs Patterson was modelling were called galoshes in my day… As a wee toddler, I had a white pair with rabbit fur which I proudly wore, and was so sad to grow out of…
    With the stain magnet I was, Mom’s unending task was to keep them snowy white, just like my shoes of the day!

  4. Aha!… I have found a link to an article in pdf form [historical overview]regarding a church and charge where the Patterson family was called a decade or so after Queensborough… Very interesting reading, and confirming that ‘Cora’ indeed was Mrs. Patterson’s first name…
    I dare not include that link here for fear of tying up your blog, but if your interested, I can send it to you…. Cheers!

  5. During the Pattersons’ time in Queensborough, Mrs. Patterson’s sister was married at the Manse, and I was one of the teen aged girls of the Pastoral Charge asked to help serve the guests at the reception. I can’t remember any details of the day, but it was a thrill to be included.
    Weddings at home or at the minister’s home were much more common then than now. When we were married in Hazzard’s Church in 1950, ours was only the third wedding held in that church which was built in 1857.

    • The relative rarity of church weddings before the middle of the 20th century (at least in this part of the world, I guess) is absolutely fascinating, Doris, and I would never have known that had you not shared it. That’s incredible to me about your own wedding having been only the third at Hazzard’s since it was built. I never cease to be amazed and thrilled at what I learn from readers like you!

      And I just love to think that in the very room where I’m now typing this (the dining room), your teenage self once have served goodies and tea to the guests on the happy occasion of the wedding here at the Manse. I would give me eye teeth to be able see this room as you saw it on that day!

      Again, my thanks for sharing your wonderful memories!

  6. We read these stories with interest. We have an old letter from Franklin Laundry dated 1987, discussing both the Zion Methodist Church and the Actinolite church as the church home of the Laundry family when they were young. The Zion Methodist Church and cemetary were taken from a corner of the Laundry family farm. Henry Laundry and his wife are buried in the Actinolite cemetary. Ralph and Sheila Laundry

    • Hi Ralph and Sheila, and I’m so glad you found Meanwhile, at the Manse! Have you made contact with the Tweed and Area Heritage Centre, and more specifically with its curator, Evan Morton? Evan is the most knowledgeable person on earth (I’d wager) about the history of the Tweed area, and as it happens is putting together an exhibit at the centre at the moment about the local churches. I am sure he would be interested to hear from you about the Laundry farm and its connection to the Zion and Actinoliote churches, and I would not be at all surprised if he were able to furnish you with information as well. Please keep us Manse folks posted about what you find!

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