I REMEMBER
THE POTRUFF FAMILY

potruff clan
Phylis,  Hazel, Lorne, Harold, Lilly, Myrta l
Archie (taken in living room of Butter's home)


This is the Potruff side of my family.  At the time of this photograph all of Archie's family save his wife  and a son, who died in an influenza epidemic, are in this picture.  The Potruff farmhouse is still on Fiddler's Green Road, just west of Ancaster.  The farmhouse, last owned by Harold Potruff is still in great shape, certainly better shape than when I first started visiting there as a very young child.


ancaster farm

My mother, Lorine, recalled visiting the farm herself as a young girl living in nearby Hamilton.  She would take the trolley car

potruffs

Lorne and Wilfred Potruff, Peter Bawtinheimer, Lorne Potruff, Phylis Potruff


( She called the "radial ") from Hamilton to Fiddler's Green Road in Ancaster ( and on to Brantford, I believe) where Grandpa Potruff would pick her up in his Model T Ford.

three potruffs
Can't be sure but I think this is Wilfred Potruff, his mother
(Grandma Potruff) and daugther, Myrtle.

Fiddler's Green was a gravel road in those days as it still was when Ralph and I went there in the late 30s and 40s. In those first years, water was drawn by a hand pump from a well (sealed up, it is still there in front of the house), the house was heated by a giant wood-burning stove in the kitchen, oil lamps were the only means of lighting, and there was a outhouse outback - in or near the orchard.

Uncle Harold was an enthusiastic hunter and his rifles always lay against a wall in the pantry.


harold
                          potruff
Me and uncle Harold.  The stove behind us
replaced a huge wood-burning stove which was the
 sole source of heating in the house.
.

There was a large battery-powered radio and the party-line telephone hung on the kitchen wall beneath the head of deer Harold had shot on one of his hunting trips.

grandma and grandpa potruff
Grandpa and Grandma Potruff in backyard of 20 Barclay Street, Hamilton.
  Their youngest daughter Phylis (nearly the same age as my mother) had just married (in the house ) Ted Clancy, a World War 1 fighter pilot.  Ralph and I were there, dressed all in white with short pants.

potruff house 56
Potruff farm in 1956.  Pete Bawtinheimer and
Helen Reynolds on porch.

There was a muddy stream in back of the  barn where we loved to play as kids.  Harold later damned it up to create a small lake stocked with trout.  He had a   boat for fishing.

myrtlegrandalillian
Grandma Potruff, as I remember her, with Myrtle ("Dan")
Bawtinheimer and an other daughter Lillian Whaley

jane edmunds


This is a portrait of my great-great grandmother Jane Edmunds.  It dominated the parlor of the Potruff home and always scared me as a young kid. Fortunately, in those days "parlors" were only used for special occasions such as birthdays and funerals so I wasn't in there that much. (In time it was transformed into a bedroom for Grandma Potruff to spend her final days.) Most time was spent in the huge kitchen with a round table in the middle.  That was the story-telling, gossiping and drinking center of the house.  Grandpa Potruff was always lying on a leather couch in the corner of the room, or fetching water from the pump outside.

This was the raucous, fun-loving side of the family and greatly disapproved of by my mother Lorine and especially her second husband, Art Bedwell.  After witnessing the Potruff clan in action, he told Lorine he would never go to "that house" again.  And they didn't. 

Lorine  preferred Aunt Lilly Waley's more sedate company.  Lilly was the most uptight and "respectable" of the five Potruff girls.  It should also be noted that Lorine thought Grandma Potruff was a lovely "lady" whohad married "beneath herself", the same judgement she passed on her Grandfather David Bawtinheimer.

Getting back to  Jane Edmunds; she  was born Jane Langford in 1839 Cwm Avon Wales and married Edmund Edmunds, of Shebbear,  Devon in 1861 at Saint Michaelstone Church in Dwnmavon, Port Talbot, Wales.

They had 12 children! Six were born in Wales, the rest, including my grandma Potruff, (Maggie Isabella) were born in Saltfleet, Ontario.

Edmund died in 1913,  Jane in 1904. They are buried together in Alfrida, Ontario near Ancaster. 

The cemetery is said to be haunted . Paranormal enthusiasts have what they says is picture of the graveyard's inhabitants floating around the church. 
 

Welsh church
Saint Michaelstone Church, south Wales

Liset and I visited the  church in 1970 while living in London and saw the registry in which their marriage is recorded.  Click here to listen to interview with the church pastor.

Edmund had put down his occupation as "engineer".  Both signed their names which suggests they were literate.

I have a detailed record of the Edmund family which begins with the birth of Edward Edmunds in 1717 in Black Torrington, Devon, England

janes gravestone
 
Christ Church Cemetery., Woodburn, Binbrook, Ontario
( See Hamilton Paranormal website)



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