Land of the Spirits
Virtual Museum of Canada
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Photograph of Egan farm and artifacts.

A Hard Life

John Egan's depot farm lies in a mature forest south of the Little Bonnechere, on a north-facing hill. While not shown on McNaughton's 1847 survey map of the river, the 1861 Canada Census reveals that Egan had 150 acres cleared and planted with potatoes, oats and hay. His timber limits lay south of the river. Fieldwork has revealed six foundations, a fireplace for making maple sugar, a possible well and stone piles, scattered throughout the former fields. Tree-ring data suggest the farm was abandoned as early as 1868. A broken scythe indicates an active farm, circa 1870. Only one owner operated it, for twenty years.

How The Lost Was Found

In 1910, when but a lad of 16, John Joe Turner was sent up an old road to hunt partridge for a logging crew. He saw an overgrown farm field, which he described to an amateur historian in 1976. It took some doing, but the historian found the stone piles that marked the field, and a building foundation as well. From 2001 to 2005 historian-turned-archaeologist Rory MacKay spent a week in the bush each summer and found evidence of other structures and over 300 artifacts, ranging from tiny nails and ceramic fragments to a broad-axe and stove parts.

View Artifacts in the Egan Farm Collection (104 Kb)