Dear Descendants of Reverend Samuel and Margaret Armour ~
Are you a commanding communicator...a devoted doctor...a balanced banker...a prophetic preacher...a learned lawyer...an engaging educator...a passionate poet...an interesting insurer...a magnificent marketer...a fabulous fundraiser or, an outstanding orator? Fear not; it's genetic! Read on if you are unfamiliar with this family tale...hopefully by its end, you'll join us for a future gathering of the clan - more info to come!
We are all descendants of the Reverend Samuel Armour and his wife Margaret Douglas, both born in the 1780's and married in Scotland in 1813. In 1820, together with 4 children under 6 years old, leaving family behind in Ireland and Scotland, they made the arduous six week sailing voyage to Quebec City, and thence another two weeks by road and water to the town of York (now Toronto) in Upper Canada. Suddenly, "are we there yet?" takes on a whole new meaning.
During the next six years, and with the arrival of two more infants, Rev. Samuel worked as the Assistant to Bishop Strachan at St James Cathedral. In 1822, he was made headmaster of the Home District Grammar School (now Jarvis Collegiate). In 1826, Rev. Samuel and his growing family moved 100 miles east northeast to Peterborough, Ontario where he became the first headmaster of the local school. He was also ordained as a minister of the Anglican Church, having been a minister of the Church of Scotland since 1811.
To this day, Rev. Samuel's contribution to Peterborough for the next seven years is marked by Armour Road at the base of Armour Hill near the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world (built on Samuel’s farm land). The family then moved to nearby Ida where he became the pastor of St. John's and another Anglican church in Millbrook just south. He served his parishioners for twenty years until his death in 1853 and is buried in Ida.
While in Peterborough, Rev. Samuel and Margaret's seventh and youngest child, John Douglas was born. He was destined to become the best known of their family as a lawyer, judge, Chief Justice of Ontario, and a member of the Supreme Court of Canada. In 1902, in memory of his father and mother, he presented to the church in Ida, a stained glass window (shown here) depicting the Good Shepherd. It was recently restored in 2010 by the same 1902 company.
You are one of over 150 living descendants of Rev. Samuel and Margaret, representing generations five, six, seven and eight. We are scattered across Canada, the United States, Australia, Ireland (some still on the original family farm!), Dubai and the U.K. Our professions are interesting and varied including: doctors, lawyers, bankers, economists, actors, professors, management consultants, UN workers, insurance executives and possibly some closeted skeletons. To credit such successful offspring entirely to their Armour genes ignores the intuition that many of us possessed, i.e. a knack of selecting talented and charming spouses/partners!
Today, Rev. Samuel's tombstone is still standing on its original, 159 year old solid base. However, the lettering on the marble is becoming obscure. The advice of the Peterborough Monument Company is to replicate the wording (which we have been able to retrieve by historic rubbing and modern-day Google). We are installing a more durable granite marker which will sit in front of the existing stone. Please join us in supporting these restoration projects (stone and stained glass window). Your gift, in any amount, is welcomed and appreciated and can be made payable to "St John's Ida" (re: Samuel Armour). Canadian and US dollar cheque payments should be sent to:
St John’s Church Ida
Attention Nancy Hodgkinson.
P.O. Box 339, Millbrook, Ont.
Canada LOA 1GO
Considering this request is initiated by the Armour family Canada Revenue Agency interprets that as a "private benefit" and therefore St. John's cannot issue an "official charitable tax receipt". However, in appreciation of your gift, stay tuned for a celebratory notice to join us for a "cousins-by-the-dozens" to unveil this new stone and see the stained glass window gracing the altar of this quaint church in Ida.
Cynthia Armour Eric Armour Peter Armour
P.S. Please forward this email to any relative that we might have missed.