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Historic County legends awakened at Rose House Museum

Pat Legere, Nancy Macdonald, Lori Robinson and Ruth Wilson

Ruth Wilson-Deegan

Story and photos by Amanda Jean Stanley
Despite dreary weather, the Rose House Museum was packed to the brim Friday with County history enthusiasts. Costumed friends of Rose House served dainty sandwiches and delectable sweets with tea as head curator Jennifer Lyons, visited each table to serve up a hearty plate of local lore.
The topic of discussion was the War of 1812 and its impact on Prince Edward County which lay directly on the route between Kingston and York (modern day Toronto).
One of the popular stories told at the curator’s talk was that of the namesake for Prinyer’s Cove. When 13 armed American soldiers landed a mere two miles from his eponymous cove, it was Captain John Prinyer who was tasked with their capture. Greatly outnumbered with only a few men and a steward, Prinyer came up with a plan to overcome the Americans using wit instead of might.

Lyons explained the area was still considered wild territory and its locals were hearty homesteaders capable of living off the wilderness. The Americans would have been accustomed to much more “civilized” lives and had less experience in rough country. Captain Prinyer used this to his advantage by posting his men scattered in the woods and instructed them to mimic a war cry of the First Nations.  Prinyer approached the American camp and convinced them he had come to save them from a brutal scalping. He suggested that the Americans put down their weapons and surrender amidst the shrieks of what sounded like an impressive force of men waiting to ambush them from the foliage. All thirteen men surrendered and were marched to Kingston as prisoners of war.

Another story of the impact of the war on Prince Edward County was the name of Rose House itself. Without the war, the museum would have adopted the less floral designation of “Gerolamy House”. Augustus Gerolamy and his wife Christine were the house’s first inhabitants. After Gerolamy’s death in the war, his widow remarried Peter Rose. Thus, the Rose house earned its more suitable moniker which is reflected in the beautiful flora surrounding the cottage. How the home got its name is just one example of the social impacts that rippled throughout Prince Edward County during the war. While no battles were fought here, many husbands and sons joined the militia to help repel American advancement into Canada.

The talk given by Lyons was well received by a full house of both newcomers to the County and locals, including some descendants of Peter Rose himself. After the lunch and talk, attendees explored the museum which houses many artifacts that piece together a picture of early life in Ontario. A large stone fireplace in the kitchen and antique farm implements depict a hard working family-centered lifestyle. The museum will be open until mid-September (Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am – 4:30 pm) and will be hosting many events throughout the summer.

Michelle Simmons, Phyllis Talor and Judy Burgess

The Rose House Museum

Filed Under: Arts & CultureLocal News

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