The house was two-and-a-half storeys tall, made of brick with wood floors, big closets, a dining room with a built-in china cabinet, and a fireplace. It was from this house that Phyllis’s siblings started their marriages and careers, and moved away. This was also the house where her niece (Muriel’s daughter) came in 1903 as a toddler, grew up and married, and emigrated to England. And it was in this house that both of Phyllis’s parents had grown old and died in 1935 and 1936.
Phyllis continued to live in the house for many years afterward, making her living as a music teacher, giving lessons and even holding recitals in the living room. To boost her income, she converted the second floor into apartments, and rented one of these to the famous university registrar, Jean Isobel Royce. The two women became fast friends.
A controversy erupted at Queen’s University in 1961, twenty-six years after the death of Archibald Patterson Knight.
As a scientist, Professor Emeritus, and former member of the university’s Board of Trustees, AP might have been in favour of the plan for a new physics building on the Queen’s University campus. But the Board had chosen a site that would destroy the last large green space on campus. Students and faculty protested, demonstrations were held, and the Board was forced to change its decision.
An alternative site was chosen on Queen’s Crescent, where most of the property owners had agreed to sell. Just one person held out. It was Archie and Cordelia’s daughter, Phyllis Knight, who had lived at 52 Queen’s Crescent for nearly 70 years.
Corrie and Archie’s son Freddie was about 5 years old when his grandmother dropped in to a Kingston department store and wrote this postcard to his mother. She was babysitting the children while Corrie and Archie were away.
“Dear Corrie — the children are quite well and happy. Freddie and I have just finished our marketing and are now on our way home. I am writing this at Stacy’s. I hope you will enjoy your trip…”
When their eldest son was about 18 years old, the whole family moved northeast to Renfrew. Two more children were born there, and Thomas bought one of the first horses in the area.
Thomas and his sons were involved with the church, the Order of Good Templars, and the mechanics institute, which promoted reading and learning. They served as councillors, inspectors and school trustees in the new community.
Next: A New Home
In his 90th year, Thomas Knight died and was buried in the Douglas Cemetery near Renfrew. His wife Mary went to live with one of her daughters until her own death four years later.
Thomas and Mary Knight were survived by more than 90 grandchildren. One of them was my great-grandfather “Curly Bill” Roberts.
You can read about Curly Bill in the next story: The Old Peterson Road.
Start Over: The Old Soldier