The Rosseau Historical Society Digital Collection
History of Rosseau Stonemasonry and Related Trades
Stonemasonry, some Fraser family history
Back to earlier times of family history: My great grandparents, Alexander (1841-1906) and Christena Fraser, arrived in Rosseau, as newlyweds, from London, Ontario area in 1875. They apparently spent their honeymoon camping in a tent near the village and then moved into a log cabin in Hekla. After the birth of their first child, they moved to a log cabin in Rosseau. Around 1886, Alexander built a home, later known as the “Grenkie House”, which is still standing. Alexander was a carpenter and ran a mill on the property. they raised 10 children, most of whom moved to other areas. Their eldest son, my grandfather, (John Alexander) Lorne (1879-1953) was the exception and he remained in the Rosseau area , except for a 3 year period spent logging in B.C.. he lived on a farm for a number of years on Tally Ho Road, near Whitefish lake. He became well known as a stonemason, apparently learning the trade from Jack Tunney, (who may have worked on the Rosseau Community Hall). Lorne moved his three children, following the loss of his 1st wife, to Rosseau into a permanent home in 1927. The house was quite cold in winter as it sat on posts. After the first year Lorne built a stone foundation. This house and foundation are still standing today next to the post office at 3 Cardwell Road. Many of the fireplaces and jobs my grandfather completed were a short distance from the village and most of his travels to sites were by row boat across Lake Rosseau. Lorne was an avid hunter and angler and on pretty much every trip he would troll for lake trout with an old wood fishing rod and reel loaded with steel line. Many old timers would say they could never understand how Lorne could find time to complete his jobs as he spent more hours fishing and hunting than working. Lorne’s son Allan Fraser ( 1920-1994), my father, began working with his father in stonemasonry around the age of 14. He later joined the army and served overseas during WW11. On his return, he continued to work, taking over from my grandfather who retired. Allan once estimated he built approximately 300 fireplaces on and around Muskoka and parry Sound District Lakes. “NOTE” I believe my count is closer to 400. I have two brothers who both worked in the trade with dad and myself. Tim lives in Rosseau and has worked on many of his own stone projects. Michael has had his own stonemasonry business in the Dwight/Huntsville area for the past 28 years. My sons, Lorne and Matthew worked in the trade with me as teens and Lorne has carried on the family tradition, currently operating, Fireside Stoneworks, becoming the fourth generation stonemason in Rosseau.
Stonemasonry - #2 Victoria Street West - Rosseau Memorial Community Hall - RI0103
Stonemasonry - #2 Victoria Street West - Rosseau Memorial Community Hall - RI0103 Details
RI0167 - #17 Cardwell Road - Kupp home - formerly Grenkie / Fraser
RI0167 - #17 Cardwell Road - Kupp home - formerly Grenkie / Fraser Details
Rosseau Community Hall - RM0008
Rosseau Community Hall - RM0008 Details
Rosseau Community Hall - 1924 - RM0003
Rosseau Community Hall - 1924 - RM0003 Details
RI0165 - #3 Cardwell Road - Swaine's home
RI0165 - #3 Cardwell Road - Swaine's home Details
RI0184 - lt to rt - Allan & Lorne Fraser with Tommy & Gord Cummings watching - 1946-47 - get location
RI0184 - lt to rt - Allan & Lorne Fraser with Tommy & Gord Cummings watching - 1946-47 - get location Details
RI0185 - lt to rt - Lorne & Allan Fraser building stone foundation - Oak Street 1946-47 - list other people in picture
RI0185 - lt to rt - Lorne & Allan Fraser building stone foundation - Oak Street 1946-47 - list other people in picture Details
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