Darrell Morrisey, a forgotten Beaver Hall artist

Darrell Morrisey,

A forgotten Beaver Hall artist

Dedicated to the memory of Darrell Morrisey

on the occasion of the 115th anniversary of her birth

Introduction

I have a personal reason for my interest in Montreal artist Darrell Morrisey. Back in the early 1940s Darrell’s brother, Thomas Sydney Morrisey, telephoned my parents’ home on Avonmore Avenue asking if we were related or knew anything about Morrissey family history. Years later my mother told me of this phone call, she remembered that a Colonel Morrisey—Thomas Sydney Morrisey—had phoned, they had a long conversation and she was impressed with him.

It wasn’t until 1998 that I began to seriously research my family’s history. My great great great grandparents and members of their family arrived in Newcastle, New Brunswick, in 1837 from Tipperary, Ireland; a few years later, around 1843, my great great grandparents, Lawrence Morrissey and Johannah Meany, moved to Montreal. Today, my grandson, Edmund Morrissey, born in February 2012, is the seventh generation of our family to live here. Remembering the phone call my mother received so many ago, I included on my family history website (www.morrisseyfamilyhistory.com) some information on Colonel Thomas Sydney Morrisey.

Around 2005, I received an E-mail from Cynthia Coristine regarding her relative, Thomas Sydney Morrisey. Thomas Sidney Morrisey married Cynthia’s great aunt, Beatrice Coristine, in 1916. Then, in May 2010, I received an E-mail from Evelyn Walters, the author of The Women of Beaver Hall, Canadian Modernist Painters (Toronto, Dundurn Press, 2005) asking if I knew anything of Darrell Morrisey, a mostly forgotten member of the Beaver Hall group of artists. Was I related to Darrell since we shared the same last name, and did I know anything of Darrell’s family history? At that point I had never heard of Darrell Morrisey and I replied that it was unlikely that Darrell was a member of our branch of the Morrissey family. My second response, just a few minutes later, was that Darrell might have been related to Thomas Sydney Morrisey. As well, I remembered the correspondence with Cynthia Coristine but, unfortunately, I had lost Cynthia’s E-mail address; contacting Cynthia would have saved a lot of time and work in documenting Darrell’s life.

There is something about Darrell Morrisey that takes hold of one’s imagination; there is a charisma about Darrell. Perhaps it’s her given name; in my experience, this spelling of “Darrell” is not commonly thought of as a woman’s name, so right away you have to pause and pay some attention to her. Indeed, until recently, Darrell Morrisey’s life was something of a mystery; we knew almost nothing about her life. As well, the fact that we cannot find any of paintings, despite the many exhibitions in which she participated, draws some attention to her; how could she have been so thoroughly forgotten?

With this short biography Darrell’s life is a mystery that is half solved; now we know something about who she was, what she did, and where she came from. The second half of the mystery still remains and that is where we can find some of her paintings.

In writing this essay, I have combined my own research with that of Evelyn Walters and Cynthia Coristine.

The Beaver Hall Artists

Born in Montreal in 1897, Darrell Morrisey was a member of Montreal’s prestigious Beaver Hall group of artists. Among others, the group included Anne Savage, Prudence Heward, Kathleen Morris, Lilias Torrance Newton, Emily Coonan, Nora Collyer, and Henrietta Mabel May. The group originally had eleven men and eight women members, but we mostly associate the group with its women members. The Beaver Hall artists shared studio space at 305 Beaver Hall Hill, just below former Dorchester Boulevard (now Boulevard Réne Lévesque) in downtown Montreal; they rented a three-storey house that could be used upstairs as studio space while exhibition space was located on the main floor, and this is where they exhibited their work beginning in January 1921, and again in 1922.

In some ways, the Beaver Hall artists are Montreal’s counterpart of the Group of Seven; indeed, A.Y. Jackson, a member of the Group of Seven, was also associated with the Beaver Hall artists when he lived in Montreal. In general, the Beaver Hall artists are not as well known as the Group of Seven and they are still relatively unknown to the general public.

There are four Beaver Hall artists that are Darrell’s closest contemporaries. These women are Lilias Torrance Newton (1896-1980), Anne Savage (1896-1971), Prudence Heward (1896-1947), and Nora Collyer (1898-1979). Several of these artists are among the most prominent members of the group; however, the one who interests us is Lilias Torrance Newton.

A year older than Darrell, Lilias Torrance Newton’s life intersects Darrell’s at several points. Both women came from wealthy English-speaking families in Montreal. Both studied at the private Miss Edgar’s and Miss Cramp’s school; Torrance Newton left the school in 1912. Miss Edgar’s is not far from Darrell’s home at that time, on Church Hill Avenue in Westmount. Torrance Newton entered the school of the Art Association of Montreal (AAM) when she was 16 years old, and studied with William Brymner. Darrell studied at the Art Association of Montreal at around the same time as Torrance Newton and probably also studied with William Brymner. Both women began exhibiting their work at the AAM spring exhibition of 1916. Later, both women were members of the Beaver Hall group and exhibited with the group.

Another important member of the Beaver Hall group, twenty years Darrell’s senior, is Henrietta Mabel May; May, with Torrance Newton, was one of the group’s founding members. May knew Darrell and painted a portrait of Darrell that was exhibited at the AAM’s 1918 spring exhibition.  A year later, in 1919, Torrance Newton, shared studio space with May. Darrell’s life, her friends, and her ambition to be an artist coincided with that of the other Beaver Hall artists. It seems clear that Darrell was an active member of the Beaver Hall group at least for its first year of existence, was known and liked by other prominent members, and was probably respected for her art.

Darrell’s Family History

Darrell’s paternal grandparents are Patrick J. Morrisey who was born in Waterford, Ireland, in 1820 and Catherine O’Mahoney who was born in 1826. Darrell’s maternal grandparents are Sydney Paterson, who was born in 1835, and Augusta Marianna Beck, born in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and who had a Swedish background.

Darrell’s father, Thomas Louis Morrisey, was born in 1860 in New Brunswick. Thomas L. Morrisey came from a middle, or lower middle class, Roman Catholic family in Saint John, New Brunswick; he married Clara Mae Paterson, from a middle class Protestant family, and made his fortune in the insurance business after the family moved to Montreal.

Darrell’s brother, Thomas Sydney Morrisey, was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, on 30 August 1890; Thomas Sydney studied engineering at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. Darrell Clare Morrisey was born on 12 May 1897 in Montreal, Quebec.

The Morrisey family moved to “Hazelbrae”, the name given to the impressive family home located at 85 Church Hill Avenue in Westmount, Quebec, around 1911. In the 23 May 1913 edition of the Westmount News, there is a brief note stating that Mrs. T.L. Morrisey held an auction bridge at her home in aid of the Children’s Memorial Hospital, given by the Lady Scott Chapter of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire. Miss Darrell Morrisey, age 16, helped serve tea to the guests; however, also interesting in this article is that another young woman who helped serve tea was Miss Beatrice Coristine. Bea Coristine is the daughter of James Coristine, a wealthy and prominent Montreal businessman who died in 1907. Bea married Darrell’s brother, Thomas Sydney, in 1916.

A Chronology of Darrell Morrisey’s Life

1893: Thomas Louis Morrisey, his wife and son, move to Montreal; their residence is at 55 Park Avenue.

1897: Birth of Darrell Clare Morrisey on 12 May 1897 in Montreal, Canada.

1898: Thomas Louis Morrisey visits Ireland with the aim of finding members of his family and exploring his family history.

1897- 1906: The family live at 1207 Dorchester Boulevard.

1901: On Darrell’s record of baptism, from St. James the Apostle Anglican church in Montreal, an “E.H. Darrell”, as yet unidentified, is a witness.

1909: Darrell traveled with her mother, Clara Mae Paterson Morrisey, on the Dominion, leaving  from Montreal on 1 June 1909, arriving at the port of Liverpool, England.

1910: The family home is No. 12, Linton Apartments, Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal.

1911: The family moved to “Hazelbrae”, 85 Church Hill Avenue, Westmount, Quebec.

1916: AAM (the Art Association of Montreal) where Darrell was a student; she exhibited her work that year: “Portrait”.

1917: AAM: sketch, pastel, $10.00; “Edith”, pastel, $5.00.

1918: AAM: “The Return”, $10.00; “Children with Fruit”, sketch, $15.00; “On the Swing”, $10.00; sketch $10.00.

1919: AAM:  “Jean Elizabeth”; “Illustration from The Arabian Nights”, $15.00; “In the Garden”, $15.00; “A Gentleman”, sketch, $15.00; “On the Hill”, $25.00.

Vacation in Quebec: “Farm at Calumet”, 1919 (located near Hawksbury, just across the Quebec border in Ontario, Pointe Calumet was a popular vacation spot for Montrealers).

1920: AAM: “The Sawdust Pile”, $20.00; “The Red Tam”.

Vacation in Quebec: “Metis Beach”, 1920 (this is on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, in Matane County, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River); “The Creek, Sweetsburg”.

1921: In January, Darrell participated in the first Beaver Hall exhibition.

AAM exhibition:  “The Girl in the Middy”; “The Red House”.

1921-1922: Darrell and her mother left Montreal on 24 August 1921 aboard the Victorian; they arrived in Liverpool and continued to their destination at Gordon Avenue, Stanmore. It seems likely that Darrell stayed in England from August 1921 to July 1922.

Several of the paintings Darrell worked on during this trip to the UK, and trips to Europe, were exhibited at the AAM’s annual shows. These paintings include, “A Canal in Venice”, also shown in the 1922 RCA exhibition. During this trip she may also have painted “Fishing Boats at St. Ives”, later shown in the 1925 RCA exhibition.

1922: In the “Social and Personal” column of the Montreal Gazette, 23 June 1922, it is noted that “Miss Darrell Morrisey, who has been spending some time in France and Italy, is at present in Dorking, Surrey, England.”

A month later Darrell returned to Montreal, on 2 July 1922, on the Empress of India. Darrell traveled alone returning to Montreal. We know that Clara had already returned home from the UK because in the same “Social and Personal” column as above, we read that Darrell’s mother is entertaining her own mother at Hazelbrae:  “Mrs. Sydney B. Paterson, of St. John, N.B., is the guest of her daughter, Mrs. T.L. Morrisey, Church Hill, Westmount.”

Darrell participated in the 1922 AAM and RCA exhibitions.

1922 – 1926: For this period of time Darrell lived in Montreal.

1923: AAM: “At St. Ives”; “In Venice”.

1924: AAM: “Canal in Venice”; “Monastery at Fielsole”; “Eglise St Julien la Pauvre, Paris”.

1926: Darrell, with her mother and father, traveled to London, UK, on the Doric; shortly after their arrival, on 25 October 1926, Thomas Louis Morrisey died in London; his death is registered in London as having taken place between October and December 1926. Darrell and her mother returned to Montreal on the Regina, arriving on 21 November 1926. Hazelbrae was sold and the new address for both women is 581 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal.

1927: RCA members exhibition:  “Children by the River”, “Street in Paris”, “Gondola Stand, Venice” (a drawing), “Regie Poste, Venice” (also a drawing).

1928: AAM: “Saint Ives”, $50.00; “Canal Bank Temp”, $10.00; “At the Back of St Patrick’s Church”, red chalk, $5.00; and a sketch in pencil, $5.00. Since St. Patrick’s Church is east, or at the rear of the Beaver Hall group’s studio space on Beaver Hall Hill, I suspect that Darrell’s “At the Back of St Patrick’s Church” may have been painted while she was still a member of the group.

On 18 August 1928 Darrell and her mother traveled to England on the Duchess of Bedford. Their mailing address is London SW 1, 9 Waterloo Place, c/o Bank of Montreal. Darrell lists her occupation as “artist.”

1928 – 1930: Darrell lived in England from 18 August 1928 to 6 July 1930 when she returned to Montreal. In 1928, Darrell’s mother was living at 872 Sherbrooke Street West; this was also Darrell’s Montreal address. This part of Sherbrooke Street West—the area of McGill University’s Roddick Gates and the Ritz Carleton Hotel—was the location of homes for many wealthy people in Montreal.

1929: Darrell’s brother’s residence is 4195 Avenue Road (former name), adjacent to Murray Hill Park, Westmount, only a few blocks from Hazelbrae.

1930:   July 1930 – September 1930: After returning to Montreal on 6 July 1930, Darrell left for the UK two months later, on 14 September 1930, on the Ausonia. Darrell traveled alone and, curiously, she listed her profession as “none”.

September 1930 – October 1930: Darrell lived in London after she returned from Montreal.

Death of Darrell Morrisey on 22 October 1930 at 18 Weech Road in Hampstead, London, England.

1945: Death of Darrell’s mother, Clara Mae Paterson Morrisey, on 10 January 1945.

1969: Death of Darrell’s sister-in-law, Beatrice Coristine Morrisey, on 22 March 1969.

1975: Death of Darrell’s brother, Thomas Sydney Morrisey, on 26 April 1975.

Death of Darrell Morrisey

Until now there was some confusion surrounding the details of Darrell’s death in London, UK, when she was only 33 years old. There may have been some sort of crisis preceding her death. She had lived in London for two years when she traveled to Montreal in July 1930, but after only two months she returned to London. This seems a short visit home for such a long journey by ship. Could something have happened that precipitated her return to London? She also seems to have experienced a crisis of belief in herself: she was confident in 1928 and stated that she was an “artist”; however, just weeks before her death she listed her profession as “none”. Is this an expression of how she perceived herself? As well, was she returning to London for a purpose, possibly to marry someone? After only five and a half weeks in London, Darrell died suddenly on Wednesday, 22 October 1930.

The family lore surrounding Darrell’s death is rather romantic and tragic; one story is  that Darrell “and a beau tobogganed into a tree in Switzerland” and she died. Another story is that she fell while figure skating with her partner and died of a blood clot in her brain several days later. In both stories there is mention of a beau or a partner; perhaps Darrell had a fiancé waiting for her in London. It is also interesting, or curious, that on Darrell’s death certificate her occupation is listed as “skating instructress” (not “artist”). Her death is included in the British Death Index where she is listed as having died in Hampstead, London.

Only a day after her death, the Montreal Gazette, on 23 October 1930, carried news of Darrell’s death; the headline reads: “Miss D.C. Morrisey Dies in England” and then we read the following:

Montrealer was on holiday visiting friends, when heart attack develops… News of the sudden death in London, England, yesterday morning … has been received here. Miss Morrisey, who was well known in this city, especially in aesthetic and art circles, had left Montreal in September to visit friends in England. Early yesterday morning she was stricken with heart failure at the home of friends in London, and died. She was in her thirty-third year… Miss Morrisey was educated at Miss Edgar’s School here. Later, she became attracted to art and devoted much of her time to it as a hobby… (abridged)

I suspect that Darrell’s brother, Thomas Sydney Morrisey, supplied the information in the newspaper report of her death; he was the leading male figure in the family since his father died in 1926. The article also gives us some idea of how Darrell was perceived by the family. She was well known among other artists in Montreal, and while art was her “hobby”, she “devoted much of her time to it”. Darrell’s definition of herself is that she was an artist and she was becoming better known for this; but her confidence seems to have been shaken just before she died. There is no mention in the obituary of her being a “skating instructress”. Note, as well, that the Gazette article was published a day before the release of the coroner’s report on 24 October 1930.

Cynthia Coristine obtained an abridged version of the coroner’s report, it states that Darrell was “found dead” on 22 October 1930 while residing at 18 Weech Road in Hampstead, London. The cause of death was a “cyst in 3rd ventricle of brain producing internal hydrocephalus.”

If we piece together bits of information about what happened to Darrell, her final twenty-four hours may be as follows: Darrell fell while ice skating with someone, her “partner”, on the afternoon of 21 October 1930, she was then unwell, perhaps disoriented and semi-conscious. The fall may have been precipitated by her pre-existing medical condition, or the fall exasperated a pre-existing condition. Darrell returned, or was helped to return by someone else, to where she was staying on Weech Road, where she was found deceased early the following morning of

22 October 1930. For some reason, the people she was staying with thought that her death was caused by heart failure; as she was a young woman their speculation suggests that Darrell may have had frail health; indeed, she does not appear particularly robust in one of the only photographs that we have of her (see cover page), in which she appears of slight build, wearing eye glasses, and off in her own thoughts. Not until two days after her death would the coroner’s report reveal the serious underlying medical condition that caused her death.

Evelyn Walters informs me that the artist Mary Lydia (M.L.) Brooks, who exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, and her family, lived at 18 Weech Road, as listed in both the 1901 and 1911 British census reports. It is unknown if M.L. Brooks still resided at this address at the time of Darrell’s death; Brooks would have been 72 in 1930. But, one wonders, if she had been staying with the Brooks family, the family of an artist, wouldn’t they have told the police that Darrell was an artist and not a skating instructress? Or had she given up on art by this time?

Finding Darrell’s Paintings

Several members of Darrell’s family still remember a few of her paintings. For instance, one family member remembers a “small painting of a hansom-cab on a wet Paris (?) boulevard…”, but the location of this painting is unknown. Another relative remembers two of Darrell’s paintings, “In Venice” and “Canal in Venice”, but the family didn’t like them and they were discarded. Hugh Morrisey, a nephew of Darrell’s, had at least one of Darrell’s paintings at his home in Knowlton, Quebec, this painting was “Farm House NS” (Nova Scotia); after Hugh’s death in 1998, when his home was sold, the painting was left behind for the new owners!

The main complaint by those who remember Darrell’s paintings is that they are very dark. I spoke, by chance, with Barbara Whitely at a reception at St. James the Apostle Church in Montreal, the church attended by the Morrisey family. Miss Whitely is a close friend of the family from the early 1940s. She suggested to me that someone return to Knowlton, where her friend Hugh Morrisey (Darrell’s nephew) used to live, and to look there for Darrell’s paintings.  Miss Whitely said that another family member, who may also have lived in Knowlton, had several paintings, which Miss Whitely described as “dull little paintings of a snow scene.” Miss Whitely also mentioned that Ethel Seath, one of the Beaver Hall artists, had been her art teacher at The Study, a private girls’ school located on The Boulevard in upper Westmount.

This is all damning, not by faint praise but by outright scorn for Darrell’s work. It seems that the family had paintings that weren’t Darrell’s best work. Perhaps there is also some embarrassment that the paintings were discarded, especially now that it has been discovered that Darrell was a “somebody”, a Beaver Hall artist; however, in defense of the family, Darrell participated in only one of the Beaver Hall exhibitions, in 1921, and the Beaver Hall artists were not commonly known or celebrated until many years after Darrell`s death. There is also the fact that few people save old letters, old documents, or even old artwork; just about every antique store in Montreal has a few dark old paintings by artists no one has heard of.

What the Critics Said

 We have several critical comments on Darrell’s work from exhibitions in which she participated. As we will see below, all of her paintings couldn’t have been as dark as the paintings remembered by her family.

We know that Darrell’s work was juried by established artists or critics; they saw something in her art that lead to its inclusion in both the Beaver Hall exhibition of 1921 and many AAM exhibitions.  A.Y. Jackson stated that the work shown at the Beaver Hall exhibitions was all juried and carefully selected.  La Presse, of 20 January 1921, mentions Darrell Morrisey in a list of artists included in the first Beaver Hall group exhibition. A reporter writing in the Montreal Gazette of 18 January 1921, refers to several artists, including Darrell, as exhibiting “sincere and individual work.”

One critic, of the 1921 AAM spring exhibition, writing in the Montreal Gazette, states that “Miss Darrell Morrisey inclines to painting houses; in ‘The Red House’ the dwelling stands out with individuality among its surroundings. ‘The Girl in the Middy’ is evidence of some versatility on the part of the student.” Stanley Morgan-Powell, in a review of the AAM’s 1924 exhibition, writes that “Darrell Morrisey shows ability to handle sunlight in ‘Monastery at Fielsole, Italy.’”

Conclusion

What conclusions can we make about Darrell Morrisey? Right now, she is merely a footnote to the Beaver Hall group of artists; how could it be otherwise when none of her work has survived to the present? There are the names of many artists, all of whom are now forgotten, in reviews of exhibitions in which she participated. However, Darrell is unusual and interesting in several significant ways: for instance, she had a career as an artist, which was daring enough, but it was also at a time when marriage was expected of all young women, and Darrell never married. Darrell traveled overseas alone when it would have been expected that a young woman should travel with a chaperone. Darrell lived long periods of time in the United Kingdom and Europe and we still don’t know the details of those years; what did she do other than paint? There is also some psychological content to Darrell’s story that makes her interesting. As well, Darrell’s life would have been very different had she been a man; as a woman she would have been confronted by the “old boy’s club” attitude that limited what talented women could accomplish. Would Darrell have been as thoroughly forgotten had she been a man? Prejudice can be subtle and unspoken in ways that are not immediately evident. For instance, would her life work as an artist have been described as a “hobby” had she been a man?  Would her paintings have been discarded? We need to factor all of this in when discussing Darrell Morrisey’s life.

The tragedy of Darrell’s life is that she died young, when she was only 33 years old; she didn’t live long enough, either to develop as an artist, to be “discovered”, or to promote herself as an artist. After her death her body of work was eventually discarded or given away. We can speculate that had she lived longer perhaps she would have been more successful as an artist and her work would have been exhibited, collected, and still available for us today. But the question of how good Darrell was as an artist can’t really be answered. Compared to other long-lived Beaver Hall artists who were Darrell’s contemporaries, her early death cost her forty or fifty years, time in which she could have accomplished a lot more than was possible in the fifteen years that her career lasted. This is her tragedy. This is part of the mythology of Darrell’s life.

I suspect that Darrell’s mother gave away or otherwise disposed of most of Darrell’s paintings after her death. She was a rather impetuous woman, given to strong feelings that she made known to everyone; for instance, she strongly disliked Thomas Sydney’s wife Bea Coristine. Family relationships are sometimes difficult and it’s impossible to make definitive statements on people’s behaviour long after they have passed away. Nevertheless, it seems fair to say that while Clara was dedicated to her family she could also be difficult for the family.

I wonder if Darrell’s frequent travels to the UK, and living there for extended periods of time, may have been an opportunity to paint but also a way to escape the mother.

It is Darrell’s charisma that keeps me searching for her lost paintings; I think I’ll find one of Darrell’s paintings when I come across early 20th century paintings in Montreal. Whether at the Cedar Avenue entrance hallway of the Montreal General Hospital, where old paintings are on exhibit; at Victoria Hall, where a plaque at the Sherbrooke Street entrance honours Westmount citizens, including several of Thomas Sydney’s children; or in some nondescript antique store, I find myself looking for a painting, any painting, by Darrell Morrisey. This requires a contrarian mentality, someone who thinks that the discovery of Darrell’s paintings will establish her at least as someone with promise as an artist, not someone deserving of being totally forgotten; the more common sense approach is that the work had little artistic merit and disappeared because of this.

I wrote to Evelyn Walters, back in May 2010, that I love a mystery. It was Evelyn Walters who initiated my interest in the mystery of Darrell’s life and her paintings. Cynthia Coristine, who shares our enthusiasm for researching and documenting Darrell’s career as an artist, joined us in solving this mystery. I am happy to have contributed this essay on Darrell Morrisey.

Stephen Morrissey

Montreal, May 2012

Notes:

 1. My preliminary work on Thomas Sydney Morrisey, from 2005, can be found at www.morrisseyfamilyhistory.com. Many old photographs of the Morrisey-Coristine families, and others, can be viewed at Cynthia Coristine’s excellent family history website at http://www.tribalpages.com/tribe/browse?userid=cync&view=63&pid=1569&photoindex=0

2. The publication of Evelyn Walters’ impressive book, The Women of Beaver Hall, Canadian Modernist Painters, made many people aware of the importance of the Beaver Hall artists in Canadian art history. My wife and I liked the book so much that we gave copies as Christmas presents in 2005.

3. My father, Edgar R. Morrissey, died in November 1956; my mother, Hilda Parker, who spoke with Thomas Sydney Morrisey, turned 96 in March 2012. Thomas Sydney Morrisey completed his family history—with a beautiful hand drawn family tree—in 1961.

4. The titles of Darrell’s paintings are from a list, sent to me by Evelyn Walters, from Evelyn de R. McMann’s Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880-1970.

5. People discard art that may have some value. For instance, this past summer I found (in downtown Montreal) a pile of discarded art on the sidewalk, including a framed pencil drawing of Carré Jacques Cartier and Montreal City Hall, seen from rue Notre Dame, by William Sopp (?), framed in 1926; there was also a small print, framed in 1925, by the artist E. Mary Shelley.

6. I photographed the exterior of the Morrisey family home, Hazelbrae, at 85 Church Hill Avenue in Westmount, and Thomas Sydney Morrisey’s home on Cedar Avenue. Some of these photographs can be seen on Cynthia Coristine’s family history website mentioned above. Percy Walters, after whom the Percy Walters Park on Docteur Penfield Avenue is named, was one of the Morrisey’s neighbours.

7. Recently, someone in Toronto phoned me asking if I knew “the Morrissey who wrote a book on curling”; he was referring to Thomas Sydney Morrisey who wrote and published a history of the Royal Montreal Curling Club in the late 1950s. Thomas Sydney Morrisey’s life is fascinating. In 1916, during World War One, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order; later he served in Siberia. He was also awarded the Japanese Order of the Setting Sun and the Czechoslovak War Cross. His name appears on a plaque at St. James the Apostle Church honouring members of the congregation who served in World War One.  On 4 December 1934 Thomas Sydney Morrisey patented a “coin control mechanism” at the United States Patent Office.

8. Thomas Sydney Morrisey and his wife Beatrice Coristine are buried at Mount Royal Cemetery; Clara Paterson Morrisey is buried near them. The location of graves for Darrell Morrisey and her father, Thomas L. Morrisey, is unknown to me; however, the Gazette obituary for Darrell states that “Cremation will take place in London and the ashes will be brought back to Montreal.”

9. I recently met someone who knew Hugh Morrisey when Hugh lived in Knowlton.

 

Stephen Morrissey is a Montreal poet. Visit www.stephenmorrissey.ca

Contact: S dot E dot Morrissey at Gmail dot com

Stephen Morrissey © Montreal, 2012