I spent the week-end in Harrow. Unlike last year, I decided to take pictures of the farm. (The architecture of these Upper Canada farm-houses is consistent all throughout Southern Ontario.) Rainer and Lynne bought the farm-house some 4 years ago and are slowly renovating it. When Rainer first took us to see it, I assumed it was a generic Canadian farm-house, but the back-story is more than generic.
Lynne told us that the house belonged to a Mr. and Mrs. Fox and that it was the farm-house that her grandparents and aunt worked at when they came from Portugal two generations ago. Lynne said that the farmer’s wife would not tolerate the three Portuguese workers in the house.
Fast forward 80 years and the grand-daughter of the Portuguese immigrants now owns the farm-house.
A term that the people in this part of Canada use readily is severed. They all talk about how the farm-house has been severed. This means that the house and some added land is separated from the larger acreage and sold. (The original Crown deeds, in this part of Upper Canada, were 150 acres.) Rainer and Lynne’s house was severed from the farm land that surrounds it. And to add one more twist, the house that Lynne’s dad and his wife lives in, is the same house that his wife was born in and grew up in. The house was severed and they bought the farm-house from her family – the Howies. The property includes the original barn with the R. Howie name on it.
It become clear that the community, in this farm region, has many families that have been in the area for generations. The families have intermarried and consolidated and re-divided the original Crown deeds to create a new patch-work of farms.
The inter-connectedness reminds me of the hill-towns in Calabria. Just as Lynne can point to all the families that are inter-connected in Harrow, I can point to all the families that are inter-connected in Aprigliano.