I saw the spiders marching through the air.
Swimming from tree to tree that mildewed day
in latter August when the hay
Came creaking to the barn.
Robert Traill Spence Lowell, 1917-1977
What do we have here? One more 6,000 lb. rock, with a plaque, sitting near a barn in the middle of nowhere. Well, hold on now. This barn is one of the historical connections between my four grandchildren and their great-great-great-grandfather, William Cairns. Aha! Suddenly this item takes on some real importance. The plaque on the rock does not mention the Cairns name - a grievous oversight. I can however fill in some details and I promise to keep it short, more or less. My wife's great-grandfather, William Cairns was 13 years old when he emigrated to Canada in 1831, in the care of his 29-year-old brother, Adam Cairns. William worked on the farm, for his brother, for several years before setting off on his own elsewhere in King Township. Young William would grow to know the farm only too well as it was hacked and sawed from the virgin forest. He would no doubt have helped to build the first barn. A later barn, the one commemorated recently and pictured above, he would have known later, as a visitor. The significance of the barn, according to the plaque, is in its style and construction: a combination of English Wheat Barn design incorporating an American Swing Beam. Other related Cairns families were also King Township settlers and there are those who still live in King Township 180 years later. The last of Adam Cairns' direct descendents to live on the farm, that would eventually become part of Cold Creek Conservation Area on the 11th Concession of King Township, were three siblings: two bachelor brothers and a spinster sister. There names were Mac, Jack and Annie. Mac (Malcolm) and Jack (John) died in the early 1930s and Annie in 1959. All three were buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bolton, bringing an end to almost 130 years of Cairns family members at Cold Creek.
Please comment if you wish.
BtheB Photos by BarrytheBirder