» Show All     1 2 3 4 5 ... Next»     » Slide Show

Alfred Andrews (1840-1927)

by Sister Lucille Goodman

Life History by Sister Lucille Goodman - 1976


Data concerning Grandfather Andrews as given to me by my Mother.

Alfred Andrews was born in Yorkshire, England, the youngest child of a well to do high class family that had joined the Catholic Church as a group, just prior to his birth. Hence he was the first member of the family to be born a Catholic. [1] At a very early age, as was customary in those days, he began his education under the tutelage of the Parish priest with whom he lived as a border. [2]

When he was old enough he was sent to Ampleforth Abbey conducted by the Benedictines where he received a very good education and became a chemist. [3]

He lived in a very fine home called Farlington Lodge which had been purchased by the family from an Earl. The grounds were very extensive and beautiful. When he was of marriageable age, a young lady of high standing was selected for him by his parents but it so happened that this young lady, young beautiful and wealthy though she was, did not appeal to young Alfred. Being of a religious turn of mind, however and not wishing to make his mind known to his parents on the matter, he decided to make a Novena to ask God to intervene in his behalf and to arrange things that he would not be forced to enter into this marriage. The last day of the Novena coincided with a tragedy; her home went up in flames and she was burnt to death. As his parents did not know his real feelings in regard to this tragedy, they felt deeply for him in his loss and decided to send him on a trip round the world to make him forget his sorrow. In those far off days, a trip of this kind took at least a year. [4]

After visiting a great many places of interest, Grandfather finally found himself in Canada and I think it was in Montreal where he met Mary Ann MacDonald, a member of the clan Ranald and a native of Glengary, Ontario. Her mother was a Randall (Harriet?) who had married Roderick MacDonald, a Catholic, against her parent’s wishes. Now Mr & Mrs Randall were Scotch (sic) Presbyterians having no use whatever for Catholics, so they would not hear of their daughter, our great grandmother, embracing the Catholic faith, although her one great desire on earth was to do just that. She and Roderick eloped and by doing so, she was disowned and disinherited by her parents. She became an excellent Catholic and brought up her children in her footsteps. The only three of her children that I have ever heard of, were; Grandmother (Mary Ann), Great Uncle Dougald and Great Uncle Fletcher. Although she had been brought up in wealth, after her marriage she had to work hard to make ends meet. She spent the last few years of her life at the home of her son Dougald, his wife Isabella and her Grand daughter (my mother). For several years before her death, she was completely blind but she used to often feel my mothers face and say, "I think you look like your mother". (Grandma Andrews). My mother was nine years old when her grandmother died. [5]

When Alfred met Mary Ann, he wrote home to his mother in England and told her that he had found his beloved and asked her consent to his marriage with Mary Ann. The consent was readily given. The marriage took place in Montreal.

After their wedding they returned to England where they intended to make their home, as Grandfather's future was there. The first child, Newark, was born there but Grandmother became so lonesome for Canada, that they came back and settled in Montreal. They had two more children in Montreal, Tommie, who died of Diptheria at the age of three or four and Charlotte, who died accidentally from drinking poison. While they were living in Montreal they ran a boarding house and Grandmother played the organ at St. Patrick's church. As far as I know, grandfather had no business. 'He was a Gentleman'. He received annuities from England? [6]

From Montreal they moved to Fournier, Ontario, a small farming village. They bought a farm and hired men to run it. Three more children were born here; Harriet, Mary Ann and Alfred jnr. Grandfather was a born naturalist and loved to go hunting. Grandmother was an extremely charitable person and could never do enough to help her neighbours in every possible way. She was deeply religious and engaged a young French girl, Josette, to do the housework and help her in looking after the needs of the children. She gave this young girl a very good grounding in her faith because her parents were unable to do so.

Although everything possible was done, to try to save her life, Grandmother died in childbirth at the age of thirty five. On her deathbed her last words to her husband were; 'Be good to Josette'. She knew there was no need of her saying; 'Be good to the children'. Grandfather was heartbroken when he looked at his beautiful young wife lying in her coffin with her infant beside her. He had a hard decision to make. His four motherless children needed someone to look after them. Josette required a Catholic atmosphere - if she returned to her family she would probably lose the faith, besides, his dying wife had made him promise to be good to her. His only solution was for him to marry her. As an Englishman with strong feelings of class distinction, this was not an easy choice to make. [7]

Thirteen children were born of the second marriage.

Of the first marriage, Newark was killed accidentally on a hunting trip in his late teens. Mary Ann, (my mother) who was four at the time of her mother's death was brought up by her uncle Dougald in Montreal and given every possible educational and social advantage, which the other members of her family, did not have the advantage of obtaining. During her growing years, she saw her father rarely. Once at the age of twelve, then again at the age of twenty one.


Summary of the above

 Randall                                   MacDonald

(Presbyterian)                        (Catholic)


 ? Randall         =          Roderick MacDonald

(They eloped and she was disowned by her family, she became Catholic)

 Children of the marriage          -           Dougald who married Isabella 

                                                  -           Fletcher

          -           Mary Ann who married Alfred Andrews

                                                              Children of Mary Ann and Alfred      -        Newark Joseph b. 1871

                                                                                -        Mary Charlotte b. 1872

                                                                                -        Thomas Dunning b.1874

                                                                                                                        -        Harriet Isabella b. 1876

                                                                                -        Mary Ann b. 1879

                                                                                -        Alfred Joseph b. 1881

Mary Ann was the only child of Alfred Andrews’ who was NOT mentioned in his newspaper obituary, in 1927. Perhaps because she hardly knew him as her father, having only seen him on two occasions after her mother died, she never attended the funeral.

Written by Sister [Marion] Lucille Goodman C.N.D

16 May 1967


[1] Alfred's father Thomas, converted to the Roman Catholic faith on Ascension Day 1834, as evidenced by the entry in his prayer book, however it was oviously sometime later that the rest of the family converted. Thomas was baptised in 1834, into the Anglican church in Gateshead and Charlotte was also baptised in 1836 and subsequently buried, in the same church, after she died in 1837, aged just 16 months. When Alfred was born in 1840, the family were renting a house in the village of Sowerby, near Thirsk, Yorkshire and he was baptised at All Saints Catholic Church, Thirsk.

[2] Alfred (and his brother Thomas) boarded and was tutored by the Revd. Dowding, who was the parish priest at St. John's Catholic Church, Easingwold. The Revd. Dowding must have remained a strong influence on Alfred, as there is a photograph of him in the wedding album, from when he married Mary Ann McDonald in 1868.

[3] Alfred and his brothers, Newark and Thomas, were all educated at Ampleforth College. Alfred did train as a Chemist, although this was after he left Ampleforth. He was apprenticed to a Richard Holden, who was a chemist in York and lived with his family whilst he was apprenticed. There is a photograph of Richard Holden in the wedding album of 1868, referred to above and like the Revd. Dowding, Richard Holden must have had a big influence on young Alfred.

[4] Farlington Lodge is a grand Georgian house which stands to this day. [Photograph] In Alfred's time it was a farm of 80 acres. It was purchased in 1847 from the estate of John Hall (dec'd) who would have been classed as a Gentleman but he was certainly NOT an Earl! Some background history on the Hall family can be found [ Here ] The rest of this paragraph may be true, or it may be embellishment. No newspaper reports of such a fire have been discovered to date.

[5] Alfred did go on a world tour, perhaps he tired of being a chemist, and in 1868, he married Mary Ann in Montreal. I have not investigated Mary Anne's lineage, so cannot comment further on what is written, other than, when her mother died, Mary Ann the daughter, was raised by her uncle Dougald. There is also a photograph of her uncle Fletcher in the wedding album referred to above.

[6] Alfred & Mary Ann did return to England after their marriage and their son, Newark Joseph was born on 5 April 1871. He missed the 1871 Census by 3 days. (It was on the 2nd of April). They then moved to Gt. Yarmouth, where Mary Charlotte was born on 24 September 1872. So in fact, the first two children were born in England. They probably returned to Canada during 1873, as Mary Charlotte died on 30 July 1874, in Montreal, from drinking chemicals, which Alfred had left accessible. A terrible accident and perhaps this led to Alfred giving up his chemist activities and to him becoming a farmer. Thomas Dunning was then born in Montreal, in September 1874, then Harriett Isabella in October 1876, in Quebec and finally, Mary Anne in  January 1879 and Alfred Joseph in 1881, both in Fournier. So, the move to Fourier, in all likelihood, took place during 1877 or 1878. 

Annuities - Part of Alfred's income would have been payments from England as, after his father's death in 1870, he was a part owner of the farm at Farlington, jointly with his two brothers.

[7] Whilst this element of the story may appear somewhat embellished, I am certain the important elements are very true for the time. Alfred had been raised within the 19th century class society of England, where he would have been very aware of his position in that society as a member of the moneyed middle class. The term 'Gentleman' at that time, was a meaningful description of ones standing. He was well educated and was in a respected profession (chemist). By all accounts he was deeply religious and had attended one of the top Catholic schools in England. He was aged 43 at the time of his wife's death and was living in what was then, a remote part of Canada, with several young children to look after. He couldn't possibly continue to live as a single man, under the same roof as Josette, a young woman of child bearing age, albeit only 17. The only pragmatic solution was to ignore English social etiquette and marry her; and I guess, in a remote part of Canada in 1884, who would really care about the social etiquette side of it?

Owner of originalRobert Newark Andrews
PlaceFarlington Lodge, Farlington, Yorkshire, England
Linked toAmpleforth, York, Yorkshire, England; Fournier, Ontaro, Canada; Alfred Andrews, (Chemist then Farmer)

» Show All     1 2 3 4 5 ... Next»     » Slide Show