The Islands: Wolfe Island Biographies 1

Wolfe Island Biographies 1

Biographies of persons residing on Wolfe Island

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Martin Staley
Thanks to Scott Manning for photo & Biography

Martin Staley 6 Sept 1801 – 10 August 1879

Martin Staley was born in the United States (likely Mohawk River valley) to Jacob Staley and Maria; he was the grandson of Marten Stahle, a United Empire Loyalist.

In the 1820’s, Martin Staley resides on “Long Island” (former name of Wolfe Island) as recorded in the marriage register of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian church in Kingston. It was at St. Andrew’s where Martin married Catherine Johanna Lambert (also a resident of Long Island) on 12 December 1825. Catherine Lambert, the daughter of John Lambert (Lembrecht) and Ursula Zacharias, was born circa 1807 in Sicily.

By the 1830’s Martin had moved to Kingston and began his own business – “The Chequered House” - as a tavern/ innkeeper. By 1840 Martin had his own inn built on a Brock Street property he had purchased the year before. Also in 1840, Martin purchased 114 acres on Wolfe Island (Lot 23, Old Survey) from Baron C. W. Grant at 25 shillings per acre. Then sometime before 1845 Martin moved his young family to Wolfe Island to launch his new farming enterprise.

Having farmed successfully for over 25 years, Martin decided to hand over the farm to his son Archibald in 1872 and return to Kingston. At the age of 71 though, Martin was not interested in slowing down. His plan was to arrange mortgages against his Kingston property and use the money to renovate the thirty-year-old inn. Martin remained an innkeeper for the remaining six years or so of his life. To this day, Martin’s inn remains a part of Kingston’s architectural heritage, and continues to serve Kingston residents and travellers alike as “The Queen’s Inn” at 125 Brock St.

“PASSED TO HIS REWARD - An old resident, whose life was a connecting link, as it were, between the past and present, has passed away to his eternal reward. We refer to the late Mr. Martin Staley Sr. who has been a resident of this vicinity for many years and who died on Sunday at the ripe old age of 78. His funeral took place yesterday, his remains being taken to Wolfe Island for interment. The remains of his wife, dead for 28 years were removed and buried side by side with those of her husband. A requiem mass was sung in the Island church. Deceased has possessed of considerable wealth.“ [The British Whig, Wed. 13 Aug 1879, pg. 3]

For additional details contact: Scott Manning

Photo- taken in 1887
L to R are: Sarah A. (McManus) Staley, Austin A. Staley, ???-Don't know who the tall young woman is-possibly a younger sister of Sarah???, Leonard M. Staley, Agnes Staley, Archibald Staley, Evelyn Staley.

CLICK HERE for larger photo

Thanks to Scott Manning for photo & Biography

Archibald Staley 26 Feb 1845 – 27 May 1928

Archibald was the second youngest son of Martin Staley and Catherine Lambert; he was born 26 February 1845 in his parent’s home on Wolfe Island. Archie, as he was known to his friends, grew up on his father’s farm and attended school on Wolfe Island.

In 1872, Archie’s father moved to Kingston and Archie assumed ownership of the farm (Lot 23, Old Survey). Archie was 27 and he later wrote that he “... had a liability of $3,300 at six percent interest and my means was to start the plough.”

Almost five years later (8 February 1877) Archie married Sarah Ann McManus. Sarah, the daughter of Patrick Teevan McManus and Julia Ann Koen, was born 15 December 1856 at Bath, Ontario. Archie and Sarah had four children all of whom were born on Wolfe Island:

Austin Archibald (1877 - 1963)
Leonard Martin Patrick (1879 - 1943)
Agnes Emily (1880 - 1968)
Evelyn Mary Sarah (1882 - 1938)

Shortly after the family photo was taken, Sarah suddenly took ill and died from cholera on 20 August 1887; she was only thirty. Archie remarried 7 January 1889 to Ellen McCarthy (“Nellie”), the daughter of John McCarthy and Bridget Lyons. Archie and Nellie had their own children:

Gertrude Catherine (1890 - 1914)
Eileen Agatha (1892 - 1920)
Edwin John (1895 - 1971)
Wilfred Thomas Gauthier (1899 - 1964)
Mildred Bernadette (1903 - 1987)

For most of his life Archie had what today would be called a mixed farming operation, raising livestock and harvesting crops. Yet farming in the latter decades of the 19th century was far from an idyllic existence for constant hard work was the norm. Imagine having to cut blocks of ice from the river each winter and storing the ice for later use. Archie even had a forge and bellows in one corner of his shed so he could do his own blacksmith work.

Later in life, Archie pursued other business opportunities to supplement his farm income. At various times Archie tried his hand at selling insurance, pianos and separators, which were a device for separating cream from milk. And at least during the summer of 1904 Archie opened his home as a guest house for summer vacationers.

Archie lived to the ripe old age of 83; his obituary appeared in Kingston’s Whig Standard:


Wolfe Island Farmer Lived in Same House For 83 Years

The death occurred on Sunday (May 27) at the Hotel Dieu Hospital of a well known and very respected resident of Wolfe Island in the person of Archibald Staley, farmer. Deceased was in his 83rd year and had resided on the island all his life being born and living in the same house until the time of his recent illness which necessitated his removal to the Hotel Dieu Hospital.
It will be remembered that Mr. Staley was operated upon for appendicitis a few days ago and created a sensation by partaking of toast and tea five minutes after being removed from the operating room. This was a very remarkable case and caused widespread interest and comment.
Mr. Staley carried on farming in a most successful manner owning a large farm near the head of the island. He was a staunch Catholic in religion and a devout member of his church. He is survived by his wife and the following children: Dr. Austin Staley, Toronto; Leonard Staley, Los Angeles, Ca; Mrs. W. B. Nichols, Philadelphia; Mrs. E. A. Deming, Hartford, Conn; Edwin Staley, Detroit, Mich; Wilfred Staley, Cleveland, Ohio; Miss Mildred Staley, Kingston. Two daughters, Rev. Sister Francis de Sales and Miss Eileen, school teacher, predeceased their father, Rev. Sister de Sales dying in Toronto in 1916 and Miss Eileen dying in 1920.
One brother, Daniel of Toronto also survives as well as two sisters, Mrs. Harriet Spoor, Toronto and Mrs. Lawrence Bernard of Barker, NY. The funeral will be held on Wednesday morning from his residence, Wolfe Island to the Sacred Heart church where requiem mass will be sung at ten o’clock. [The Whig Standard ~ Tues. 29 May 1928 ~ Pg. 3]

For additional details contact: Scott Manning

The Islands: Island Photos: Wolfe Island Biographies 1

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