The air had a sharp autumn twang as the last days of summer came to a close.
It was the first day in September, the year 1800.
Young William, at the tender age of 6, played outside with his brothers as his Father Robert Macaulay was pronounced dead by the district coroner.
It was an eventful day in history. Unbeknownst to young William, his subsequent inheritance of 500 acres in the Hallowell district on the shores of the Bay of Quinte, would have a great influence on a country which would come to be known as 'Canada'.
Robert Macaulay had been born in Ornagh, Ireland in 1744 and had emigrated to the USA as a young man of 20.
By the mid 1770s he had attained a sizable estate on Lake Champlain.
A man of courage and great conviction, he had been twice detained for aiding the British during the American Revolution.
Fearing for his life and property, he escaped to Canada in 1778. He settled on Carleton Island ( near Kingston) and became a prominent businessman. As captain of the ‘Associated Loyalists’, he had acquired a great deal of land in the area , including as far over as what is now known as the Municipality of Prince Edward (the ‘County’).
In 1791 he moved back to New York where he met and married Ann Kirby, a woman who had been born in Britain.
They settled in Kingston , Ontario to raise their three sons. Robert did not live long after the birth of his sons and it was upon his death that young William’s fate became written in stone.
William was sent overseas for an education at Oxford and upon his return , after a brief stay in Hamilton Township, he settled on his land in Hallowell as a missionary. He set about making sure a portion of his land was used to build a school.
In 1823 he donated the land for the construction of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, now the Prince Edward County Museum. And paid for much of it’s construction out of his own pocket.
In 1827 he was made Rector at Hallowell (now Picton, Ontario) and in 1831 donated the land for the new courthouse on Union Street where a young Sir John A MacDonald, future prime minister of Canada, practiced law.
William married twice. His first wife, Anne Catherine Geddes, kept extensive diaries of her life during this time period and it is via her meticulous records that much of the grounds and gardens were restored to the 1830s, the time period during which she and William lived in their newly built Neo-classic brick beauty. Anne Catherine died childless in 1849 .
The restoration and décor of the interior of the house is in keeping with the 1850’s, the time period that William and his second wife, Charlotte Levesconte, were first married and had begun a family.
Heritage Garden and Kitchen Wing
Macaulay House circa 1830
Children's Room~ Macaulay House
The historic Macaulay House, Gardens, Carriage House, St. Mary Magdalene Church and Cemetary are now owned by the Corporation of the County of Prince Edward and are open to the public from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving each year. It is known as Macaulay Heritage Park and stands in the centre of what was once known as ‘Macaulay’s Picton’.
Bathing Room ~ In order to take a bath, family members would stand in the blue 'bathtub' and servants would pour water over them.
Note the built-in wardrobe ~ highly unusual during this time period.
No visit to the the Quinte area is complete without a visit to this beautiful historic site.
Kitchen hearth .
If you are thinking of moving to the Quinte/Prince Edward/ Belleville region, and will be considering the purchase of property, I would be pleased to provide you with an information package, including maps, free of charge and without obligation.
Interested in historical sites, heritage properties and antiques? Read more at the Active Rain 'Heritage Properties, Historic Sites and Antiques.' Group