The Milne/Smeed Connection

Family Stories Past and Present

A Mystery

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Henfryn Brickworks Brick – Charles Alexander Milne

William Milne and his wife, Catherine Johnson Milne, moved from Wentworth County to W1/2, Lot 1, Concession 7, Elma Township, Perth County in the 1880s. They were accompanied by their sons, Robert James, Charles Alexander and William, Jr.

The closest village to their farm was Henfryn which was just across the boundary line in Grey Township, Huron County. As a child, I remember spending an afternoon with my parents and other relatives visiting an old friend of theirs who lived at what remained of an old tileworks. In earlier days it had produced the yellow brick which is quite prevalent in that part of Ontario.

We children amused ourselves playing around the old kilns while the adults reminisced. Today nothing is left of the old yard.

In July, Elizabeth and I visited our cousin, Kathy Milne Duncan and her husband, Barry. They showed us the brick pictured below which had been found by a friend of theirs who was working on a house addition which was making use of reclaimed brick to blend with an original structure.  The friend knew that Kathy would want to have this particular brick since it had been signed before being fired. The inscription reads:

June 23, 1902

Henfryn     Charles Milne

This was William and Catherine’s son, Charles Alexander, who at the time was about 27 years old. He would marry in 1905 and move back to the Wentworth area before moving to Texas where he spent the rest of his life.

What was special to him about that date that caused him to autograph that particular brick? What twist of fate caused it to be found over a hundred years later and returned to a family member?

Oenfryn Brick


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