Corrie and Archie lived in the house on Queen’s Crescent for the rest of their lives, and died there within a year of each other: Archie in 1935 and Corrie in 1936. They are buried together in Cataraqui Cemetery.
For more than 40 years in the beautiful brick house, story after story unfolded. Corrie experienced everything from incredible joy to heart-wrenching tragedy as she watched her children grow up. You can read about their adventures in future episodes of Storydello. Please stay tuned!
Corrie’s eldest son, Freddie, had some sort of intellectual or developmental disability. We don’t know the specifics, since the records aren’t yet open to the public, but when he was about 23 years old, his parents admitted him to the Orillia Asylum, and he spent the rest of his life there. Upcoming Storydello entries will tell more of Freddie’s story.
Meanwhile, Corrie’s other children were growing up and making their way in the world. Then, suddenly–in 1902, when the nest was almost empty–Corrie found herself with a new toddler to raise.
Phyllis Spencer was Corrie and Archie’s first grandchild. While the baby’s flamboyant mother was travelling the world and marrying one rich husband after another, little Phyllis grew up quietly in the house on Queen’s Crescent, much-loved by her grandparents and unmarried aunt.
With its back to Lake Ontario, which was just a block or two away, the new house faced the lush green trees and lawns of the university campus. The medical buildings and laboratory where Archie worked and taught were just a short walk away.
He travelled often, t00, studying or doing research overseas, in the Maritimes and in the United States. Meanwhile, Corrie had her hands full at home with five sons and daughters: Freddie (15), Muriel (14), Cyril (12), Mona (8) and Phyllis (2).
Even with help from a couple of domestic servants and her mother, who had come to live with the family, Corrie must have felt overwhelmed at times. And things were about to get very rough indeed.
No sooner had Archie and Corrie settled down and set up their house together in Hawkesbury than a new offer came along. Archie was hired as the headmaster of a school in Kingston. Off he went to find a house there, and to oversee repairs to the school after a recent fire. Corrie stayed with her sister near Hawkesbury, and gave birth to her first child–a boy named Freddie.
When she and the baby were well enough to travel, they joined Archie in their new home in Kingston. The limestone house at 203 William Street belonged to Queen’s University and was home to Archie and Corrie for about fifteen years.
Four more children were born there, as Archie continued to rise from headmaster to university lecturer, medical student, doctor, and rector of the Women’s Medical College. His promotion to a professorship at Queen’s in 1891 came none too soon. With five growing children, two servants, and a soon-to-be live-in mother-in-law, the little house must have been bursting at the seams. It was time to move.