Matthew Wilcox dies

Matthew Wilcox, with his wife Mary Jane, outside the Quirk cabin, around 1918
Matthew Wilcox, with his wife Mary Jane, outside the Quirk cabin, around 1918

Matthew Wilcox, Jame’s father-in-law and good friend, died on April 11, 1919. He was born in Ballinamore, Northern Ireland in 1830. At the age of 18, he enlisted at Enniskillen¬†on December 21, 1848, in the 57th Regiment of foot, and took active service for 5 years in the British army. In March of 1853, he served through the Crimea War and carried his medals of service at Inkerman Balacklava and Sebastapoel, after serving at Malta East India and Bombay India. In 1860, after 7 years he was promoted to Corporal and Sergeant.

Matthew served in the Manchester Police Force in England for 4 years, and then immigrated to Canada in 1868 to settle in Monteagle Township, Hastings County, where he bought 200 acres of timberland and built a log house. He married Mary Jane Kirnahan, had a family of ten children, and lived there until his death at the age of 89 years old. It is believed that his medals and uniforms went to several museums here in Ontario.

Death record of Matthew Wilcox
Death record of Matthew Wilcox

The Orange Lodge

Orange Lodge, Musclow-greenview and McCormack Road, North Hastings, Ontario
Orange Lodge, Musclow-Greenview and McCormack Road, Monteagle Township, Ontario

James Quirk, standing to the right of the drummer (the drummer’s left side), was a member of the Orange Lodge along with his father-in-law, Matthew Wilcox, seen standing second from the right (the gentleman with the white beard).

Sometime around 1918, they planned a parade through Maynooth, which was a predominately Catholic town in the Hastings Highlands. According to the story, the people of Maynooth threatened to shoot King Billy if the Orangemen went ahead with the parade, so Matthew Wilcox said he would ride the white horse at the head of the parade, and the Orange Order in the parade threatened to burn Maynooth to the ground if King Billy was shot.

The Orange Lodge had their parade through Maynooth with Matthew Wilcox as King Billy on the white horse, with James Quirk and his son Harry Quirk (who would have been around 9 years old) taking part in the parade; Matthew Wilcox did not get shot, and Maynooth was not burned to the ground.

The first family

Jim & Eliza Quirk with their children Harry, Gordon, and Violet
Jim & Eliza Quirk with their children Harry, Gordon, and Violet

Two years after getting married, James and Eliza Quirk started a family. The first Quirk of this line to be born in Canada was Gordon Quirk, on March 1, 1908. A year later, my grandfather Harry was born on September 15, 1909, followed by Violet who was born on June 18, 1911. This family photograph was taken in the year 1912.