Settlers from County Wicklow, Ireland, near Poonamalie Lock
Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada
February 24, 2009:
Watercolour painting by John Burrows, c. 1845, Archives of Ontario
as re-printed in Building the Rideau Canal: A Pictorial History
by Robert Passfield, page 103.
The above watercolour painting was created in 1845, about the time that many of the families
were assisted to emigrate from the Fitzwilliam Estate in County Wicklow, Ireland, to Canada.
Robert Passfield's book contains drawings, sketches, or paintings of all of the lockstations
along the Rideau Canal. A nice book to have.
The construction of the Poonamalie Lock was completed by 1832. It was a difficult engineering
task. By 1845, all but two of the houses used by canal workers were gone. The armed
blockhouse is also shown in the painting.
Settlers from County Wicklow, Ireland in Kitley, South Elmsley, and Montague Townships, Ontario, Canada
I was doing a sort of rough count of the County Wicklow, Ireland, families in this small
area, close to the Poonamalie lock. I found 30 families easily, and I haven't yet looked
very deeply at the Wicklow Protestants who settled there. For instance, there were Code / Coad / Codd
families in Kitley in the early days, and Dagg families, and I'm sure there were many others.
Twelve of the families I noted were Balfes - some from the Carnew area, and some from
Boley (about 3 mi. away). (see for example Thomas Balfe and Sarah Kenny)
I thought you would be interested in these comments below regarding one of the families.
They were sent to my cousin Elizabeth Stuart (a Hunt / Balfe descendant). They came from
another cousin of hers who has since died, and were part of some notes collected by a
local historian related to this woman by marriage.
"Andrew Hunt (1804-1873) and Mary Bolphe (1814-1871)
Andrew and his wife were buried in the old Toledo cemetery ... Stanley [Leeder] thought
that Andrew and Mary Bolphe were married in Canada as old grandfather Leeder – Robert –
and old man Bolphe worked on the Rideau Canal.
"Old man Bolphe" refers to John Balfe (m. Mary Byrne), the father of Mary Balfe Hunt and
Anne Balfe (m. Patrick Donavan). These Balfes lived in Gurteen, a townland in Carnew parish
on the Fitzwilliam estate.
Andrew and Mary were indeed married in Canada. Here's the marriage record, from St. Francis
Xavier Church in Brockville:
Jan 14, 1844 –
Andrew Hunt and Mary Balphe
Witnesses: Michael Shanks and Patrick Donovan
... Anne Burgess
August 2, 2010:
Photo Source: Al Lewis, www.bytown.net, August 1, 2010
Map Source: Rideau Waterway Small-Craft Chart
Environment Canada, 1974
Uploaded August 17, 2010
E-mail Anne Burgess and Al Lewis
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