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Tryon, Anne: A Bachelor Gentleman Whom We Called Uncle Harry

A Bachelor Gentleman Whom We Called Uncle Harry

by Anne Tryon

Back in 1950 a bachelor gentleman adopted our family. Harry McGuire Jr. (1899-1976) took us Harry McGuire SrHarry McGuire Srfishing at Rice Lake. “Uncle Harry” had a habit of driving on the wrong side of the road as he drove up Pine Hill headed to Gore’s Landing. We were safe as the old 1928 Buick McLaughlin was like an armored tank. I was fascinated by the glass flower vases on the walls of the back seating area as well as the curtains. I can picture Uncle Harry’s mother, Elizabeth Fice McGuire (1870-1951) sitting in the back seat and enjoying the view inside and out. In the 1960’s we shared a cottage.

Who was this gentleman and from where did he come?

Harry McGuire JrHarry McGuire JrHis father, Henry (Harry) McGuire (1866-1965) had been the mayor of Cobourg and had held a seat as a councillor for many years prior and afterwards.

Harry Sr.’s generation of Ontario men were blacksmiths, wagon and carriage makers, moulders, painters, printers, publishers (Saturday Morning Post), shop owners, and even a baseball umpire. Some of the Cobourg families of McGuire lived on Bagot, Albert and King Streets. It is possible that the 4th generation families came from Fermanagh County, Ireland.

Harry’s maternal grandfather, John Fice, (1835-1925) was the gardener for the Oliver’s estate north of Cobourg which burnt to the ground in the 1946.

Having a letter of recommendation from Wm F. Kerr, Crown Attorney Harry Jr. was accepted into the Royal Air Force Reserve for 178 days in 1918.

Harry enjoyed his nephew’s young family who lived above them for a while on King St from about 1954.

The family plot in St. Michael’s Cemetery appears to be the largest one with possibly 24 burials. Unfortunately many inscriptions have been lost.

I was given a job by Harry Jr. with approval from his father. They were the owners of the print shop with a store at the front. The shop was where the Cobourg health Shoppe is today. I was the printer’s helper, shop worker and advertiser for deaths and sports games. In those days I was allowed to nail up the death announcement cards and posters on posts through out downtown Cobourg. And some store owners would allow the sports poster to be displayed in the front window.

Although I was at school in Toronto during 1959 I would go to Kresge’s on the corner of Yonge and College to buy many knick knacks that would be sold in their store at 76 King St. Cobourg.