52 Weeks: #4 Catherine Ann Hamilton

Next to last

It’s November now, the next to last month of the year. The autumn days are growing shorter as the fall colours begin to pack their bags, making room for the stark bareness of winter. The need to “coorie doon” growing.1

One can’t help but wonder what Harlow Hamilton’s wife thought as her heavy belly began to let her know it was time. Did she stoke the fires high before she retreated to her bed? Did she nestle all the wee ones off to their cosy corners? We’ll never know, but it’s nice to think that Catherine Ann was a welcome bit of sunshine on that first day of November 1836 when she entered the world at Collins Bay (now absorbed into the city of Kingston), Frontenac County, Ontario.

The name of Catherine’s mother has yet to be uncovered. It is thought she was the first of three wives for Harlow Hamilton, a carriage maker. It was recorded that she died of consumption during the evening 20 September 1840 in Collins Bay on cloudy, rainy day with a west wind blowing.2 Young Catherine would not even be four years old.


Catherine married John Bruin, a young Irish immigrant on 24th July 1856 in Greater Napanee, Lennox County.3 They raised a family of eight children in Lonsdale, Hastings County. Unlike her mother, Catherine would be blessed with a long life. She would live to not only see her children grow but many of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren too! She spent her final year living with her daughter in Bellvue, Hastings County, where she succumbed to old age on 29 February 1932.45

Bruin family portrait
Bruin Family of Lonsdale, Tyendinaga Township, circa late 1890s-early 1900s.
  1. Scottish Language Dictionaries. (2017) Concise Scots Dictionary. 2nd Edition. p. 128. Coorie doon: to snuggle down [in bed]. []
  2. Clark, John Collins. (1840) Diary of Wind and Weather. 20 September. Death of wife of Harlow Hamilton. p. ? []
  3. Wilson, Thomas B. (1997) Ontario Marriage Notices. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield. P. 333. Marriage of John Bruin to Catherine Hamilton, 24 July 1856 as appeared in the Christian Guardian, 13 August 1856. []
  4. Obituary. (1932) Belleville (Ontario) Intelligencer. 01 March. BRUEIN, Mrs John. p. 07. []
  5. Deaths (CR) Canada. Belleville, Township of Thurlow, Hastings County, Ontario. 29 February 1932. HAMILTON, Catherine Ann. Registration No.: 017364. []

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