The Draper Farm House 1870s
Story told by Judith Quintin, August 8, 2014
In 1971 we moved from Kingston to our farm in Glenburnie. At that time it was owned by Dr. and Mrs. A. Medley.
My husband and I are both from Quebec and in a small way, this property was a reminder of the farming communities in and around the Eastern Townships. Soon after settling into our new home, we met our nearest neighbour, Mrs. Wes Lockett of the Lockett shoe store in downtown Kingston. The following stories were told by her to me over the next few years.[i]
Colonel Fair, who was buying up property in this area, came to an abrupt halt when he came to our farm. It was owned by then by the Draper family since approximately 1875 and Dick Draper continued to farm until his death. He lived here with his two sisters and the farm was famous in the community for its abundance of raspberries. He eventually married and brought his wife to the farm to live. The sisters were not at all happy with this arrangement and so on her first morning here, poured a cup of boiling hot coffee down her back. She got the hint and left.[ii]
Eventually modern times introduced themselves to the area and all the residents got a telephone. This proved to be the main entertainment in the community as everyone was on a party-line which meant everyone else could listen-in and find out what was going on in the lives of all their neighbours.[iii]
Dick Draper had a nephew, Archie Medley, who would spend his summers here as a youngster. He raised rabbits and sold them to the medical school at Queen’s University. He later got his medical degree, married and wanted to move into the farm. By this time Dick Draper and one of his sisters had died, leaving one sister, Alice, to be the sole survivor who lived in this house alone. As the story goes, Archie Medley really wanted to have this farm, but she would have none of it. So, he arranged to have a man break into the house at night and steal her purse. He then went on to say that she was not responsible enough to live alone and had her moved to a nursing home for the rest of her days. And he got the house.[iv]
He put in new windows in throughout the house and beautiful hardwood floors. A two car garage and another room were added to the side of the house. From here he practiced his medicine and had, what is now our family room, as his office and the newly added room as the waiting room. He went on to live as the “country doctor”.
He was also interested in horse-racing and kept a stable of race horses here.
As well, part of the renovations included a stone fireplace. That was built by Joseph Fabro, a stone mason, who lived down the road.
After several years the Medleys found it was all too much work and put the farm up for sale. There were no children to inherit and we were fortunate enough to be able to buy it.
All communities have their characters. Ours was Mr. McClain who lived in a small house directly across the road on the west side of our house. He felt we were not friendly enough to him so complained to the Township Council, in a letter, that the Quintin caterpillars were crossing the road from the their fields and going onto his property.[v]
[i] The Lockett farm house was called Hillcroft and it was several fields over from the Quintin’s house, almost half a kilometer. The Lockett shoe store was one of the most and best established stores on Wellington Street in Kingston, later known as the Lockett and Walkwel shoe store. From an article in the Kingston Whig: “Today W.B. Hamilton Shoes (1860) Ltd. operates Walkwel Shoes at 179 Wellington St. in Kingston. Its president since 1966, Don Zacher, is married to Lyn Hamilton Zacher, great granddaughter of William B. and the company’s secretary-treasurer. The company opened Walkwel in Kingston in 1973, when it purchased the Lockett Shoe Store from Edgar Lockett and operated it as the Lockett-Walkwel store until 1982, when it became Walkwel Shoes.
[ii] Several persons familiar with this story of Dick Draper and his love did not know where the woman went, they guessed she moved into town and might have divorced, one would think, but then maybe not?
[iii] Mary Draper said that in 1900 a telephone system was installed. A rural road like the Aragon Road would have only a party line available in the earlier days of telephony. In Kingston, party lines were still offered by Bell in 1970, the subscription was the cheapest available. If one wished to phone and started dialling, it was more than likely somebody was already on the line. “Oops, I hear somebody listening in,” would be the invariable comment. Being polite, one would hang up and try later. Not being polite would make one part of the story.
[iv] The lineage of Dr. Archie Medley is as follows: Archibald (Archie) James Ramsay Medley, son of John and Agnes Medley was born in Barriefield in 1856. He died in Pittsburgh Township in 1914. He was twice married, to Amelia (Annie) Hamilton in 1887 and who died in 1907 with no children, then in 1910 he married Anna (Annie) Mabel Draper, born in 1881 and a daughter of Richard Draper of “Maple Lawn”. Archie Sr. and Annie (Draper) Medley had two children: Agnes Medley, born in 1911 and Archibald John Draper Medley, born in 1913 who died in Kingston in 1998. Dr. Archie Medley Jr. married Margaret Emily (Peggy) Doran who died in 2006 in Kingston, Ontario.
[v] He might have added that Quintin’s caterpillars were trespassing. Council dutifully informed the Quintins of the complaint and suggested they might have a somewhat strange neighbour across from them.