Road Trip Back in Time.
Claire Randall Fraser (Outlander) is transported from WWII time frame in England, to Scotland in 1743, where she marries Jamie Fraser, a handsome warrior with an impish grin.
Sadly, I did not meet Jamie Fraser on our recent second outing to St Raphael’s Ruins, in South Glengarry, about an hour away from home.
However, there were bagpipes and a wedding and lots to think about as we walked the grounds of the church.
Early days in Upper Canada (Ontario).
St. Raphael’s parish was started in 1786 with the intention of serving the Gaelic speaking Catholic Highlanders who had settled in the area known as Upper Canada.
For many years, the church was the largest parish of Roman Catholics in Upper Canada. The first schools of the province were also found adjoining the church. The actual stone cutting of the massive church began in 1816 under the supervision of Archibald Fraser who was the building contractor and master mason.
While a fire in 1970 destroyed the tower and the interior, the exterior stone walls were preserved and are a testament to Fraser’s skill as a master mason.
The massive stone structure set on a hill in the country side is a significant reminder of the early days of Upper Canada (now known as Ontario) before Confederation (1867).
The Scottish settlers are still with us.
A walk through the cemetery shows a sizable Scottish settlement with, yes, Frasers, Macdonells, McLellans (you get the idea), as well as many French-Canadian names. The cemetery is still used today.
Although it is a custom in some European countries to visit the ancestors’ graves, our cemeteries are mostly forgotten and people don’t often think of visiting gravesites. It was heartwarming to see children who, after the wedding ceremony, were playing and laughing, and running around the church. St. Raphael can be reserved for weddings and it is an impressive and evocative place to have such a ceremony. Life does go on!
In 1999, St. Raphael’s ruins was declared a National Historic Site. It is a testament to the people who were founding settlers in southeastern Ontario.
Other trips back in time.
My art allows me to imagine what life might have been like in a previous century. Below is Miss MacPherson, published in 2018. Read about her life in Miss MacPherson's Haberdashery and Apothecary.
"Lottie" below was inspired by a vintage postcard. Her story was first published in 2018. Vintage Postcard Reveals a Story.