Limerick township in the country north of Belleville, recounts stories with less levity that its name implies. In fact Limerick County was one of the areas settled by Irish immigrants, driven by famine, hunger and despicable landlords, and the appeal of land of their own. Here's a comment I found by wealthy Irish landowner Francis Spaight to give a bit of perspective on the social engineering at play: "I found so great an advantage of getting rid of the pauper population on my own property that I made every exertion to remove them...I consider the failure of the potato crop to be the greatest possible in one respect in enabling us to carry out the emigration system." (Wikipedia)
Fortunately, these folk had grit and turned this dreadful period of history into a time of growth for our own county - and province. Peterborough is one such fortunate host of the refugees.
|Drinkwater-McGeachie cottage, Steenburg Lake|
Limerick Township and Area History Bits is one of the best sources of information about this fascinating township. Catharine Vallieres has assembled a wonderful collection of personal recollections and anecdotes of early life in this township. Settling. Logging. Farming. Mining. The families of Murphy's Corners, Steenburg, The Ridge, Canniff's Mill, Rathbun, Ham's Corners and Greenbush.
|photo courtesy D. Golem|
Could have used this wonderful book when I travelled the Old Hastings Road last fall, from Millbridge to Ormsby and Ormsby to Maynooth.
It was fun to revisit Steenburg Lake, and the McGeachie Conservation area. I first visited there a few years ago in the company of area booster Reeve Dave Golem, working on an article for Country Roads magazine. In company with this delightful book, I shall make plans to return.