The Marriage

Jim & Eliza Quirk's wedding photograph
Jim & Eliza Quirk’s wedding photograph

Eliza Jane Wilcox, born in Canada on May 25, 1886, lived with her mother Mary Jane nee Kerningham and her father Matthew on Carr Road, which is just North of Bancroft and approximately 100 kilometers Southeast of Eganville. She had five brothers; Archie (Ron’s father, Don Wilcox’s grandfather), Abe (who lived in Cobalt), Harry (who lived in Renfrew), George (Truman’s father), and Hugh.

On July 18, 1906, James, who would have been around 25 years old, married Eliza Wilcox, who would have been around 20 years old. At around this time, James also bought the land which would become the Quirk homestead from George Wilcox.

Official marriage record
Official marriage register

 

James moves to North Hastings

1901 Canadian Census
1901 Canadian Census

According to a Canadian census taken in 1901, James Quirk had moved from Eganville southwest approximately 100 kilometers to the North Hastings area to live with his brother-in-law George, his sister “Annie” Elizabeth Wilcox (nee Quirk), and a one-year-old Mary Jane Wilcox (daughter of George and Annie) at George’s and Elizabeth’s home. George was 31, Elizabeth was 21, and Mary Jane was their newborn baby at 1. James was 19, and is listed as a labourer.

It is presumed that James moved in to live with his sister and her husband, and this is around the time that James became good friends with Matthew Wilcox, his future father-in-law, and fell in love with Matthew’s daughter, Eliza Wilcox.

The beginning

1881 Isle of Man Census
1881 Isle of Man Census

James Edward Quirk was born on the Isle of Man (located in the Irish sea between Ireland and England) in Truggan Rushen, Registration district of Arbory, Port Erin on July 3, 1881. His father was Michael Quirk (Joiner) born in or around 1839, and his mother was Emily Quirk (nee Harrison), born in or around 1845. He had three older brothers; Michael T. (born in or around 1870), John R. (born in 1871) and Walter Robert (born in 1878). James also had four older sisters; Isabelle Margaret, the first born child who was born in 1864; Emily C., the second oldest child, born in or around 1867; Esther J., born in or around 1873; Elizabeth Ann, who went by Annie, born in or around 1880, making her the closest in age to James. James had not yet been born at the time the census was taken.

John Quirk immigrated to Kingston, Ontario, Canada on September 7, 1884 at the age of 13 with the Roman Catholic Children. A year later, Isabelle married John Quinne. A year after that, James became an orphan when his mother died at around age 41 in 1886 and his father, then around age 47, was determined to be intemperate. Even though there were sisters who were married, they could not take the little ones in, so they were sent to orphanages in September of 1888, making James a Barnardo orphan. James and Walter went to the Quarrier’s Orphan Homes of Scotland, while his sister Annie went to the Isle of Man Home for Orphan and Destitute Children.

S/S Carthaginian, the identical sister of the Siberian.
S/S Carthaginian, the identical sister of the Siberian.

On March 28, 1890,  At 9 years old, he and his brother Walter (then aged 12) came to Canada on the ship Siberian to Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada, and then sent to Brockville, Ontario, where, like other home children in Canada, he was put to work on a farm as a child labourer in the Ottawa valley area. His sister Annie was dismissed from her orphanage on April 30, 1890, and emigrated to Canada, sailing from Glasgow ‘Allan Line.’

"Fairknowe" receiving home, Brockville, Ontario, 1871-1938
“Fairknowe” receiving home, Brockville, Ontario, 1871-1938

When he became an adult, James left the farm and found work as a mailman and as a cook’s helper at a lumber camp in Eganville around 1898-1900.