Most of the families who came to Canada from Scotland seem to have done so to escape the difficult conditions they faced in rural areas of Scotland, with little hope of owning property or their own land. Edward Douglas Martin and Martha McKay Martin were in somewhat different circumstances. They were living in the centre of Glasgow, which in the middle of the nineteenth century, was a crowded industrial city. He was a wallpaper designer by trade, and an artist and musician. One wonders why the young couple decided to brave the woodlands of Canada as a place for their future and their family. Perhaps they, too, were attracted by the prospect of owning property of their own.
Edward and Martha came on the barque “Irvine”, as did their near neighbours, the Elliotts, Allans, Adams and others. They were however unfortunate in being allocated lot #67. The Shiktehawk stream crossed the lot, with the land rising steeply on the east side. The best land was at the top of the ridge. They built their house in the valley near the stream, but the usable land and their barns were some distance away.
Their first son Douglas was born in 1868 and the second, William, three years later. Douglas remained in the area all his life, for a time farming Lot #59 (North), which was acquired by the family in 1868. This farm, on the east side of the road, later owned by Frank Quinn, was better than the first, but still very difficult to clear and cultivate, as so many of the farms in that immediate area were. Douglas returned in his later years to live on the original place by the stream, assisting Alex Mcintosh with the mill that he operated at the corner of the road to Bath.
William married Margaret Reilly, who came to the settlement as a teenager, also from Glasgow. In 1896, the family had acquired a much better piece of land, Lot #64 (South), from the Estate of James Gray, an original settler. Edward and Martha moved to the new farm then or soon after, and Edward became post-master of the Ruther Glen postal office, as this district was designated, named for a suburb of Glasgow. He held this position from 1882 until his death in 1907.
William Martin inherited the musical talent of his parents. There is always a demand for people with musical talent, to provide entertainment at social gatherings. Glassville was no exception. The local fraternal organizations sponsored gala dances in Miller’s Hall or the Caledonia Hall above the John Mcintosh Store. There would be spontaneous get-togethers in various homes throughout the community. The Brewer home, in West Glassville, was a frequent gathering place. William Martin was generally the musician who provided the music. The William Martin family moved to Bath in the early 1920’s, having spent more than sixty years in Glassville.
(c) Irvine Millie, 1988
Martin Family Tree AVAILABLE HERE