My Name is Leila (Howley) Pettigrew. I was born in 1932 and grew up on Mines Road about a mile and a half from Unity Church. Unity was a big part of my youth attending every Sunday for service and Sunday School. We were always present for teas and other church gatherings until its eventual closure. My father, Ross Howley, served as the Church treasurer for many years as did my mother, Ora Howley, who was also active in the W.M.S at Unity.
My great grandfather, Thadeous Howley, was born in 1830 in Ireland and sailed to Canada when he was 5 years old. Both of his parents died during the crossing. He married Charity Shaw and they took up homestead on Hwy. #6 beside the old Welcome School. Charity was born in 1840. Thadeous died in 1900 and Charity in 1925. Both are buried at Unity. Thadeous and Charity had 4 sons, Gilbert, 1866 to 1957, Edward 1871 to 1873, William 1876 to 1957 and David 1866 to 1946. David was my grandfather and he married Elisa Jane Thompson 1870 to 1943. All are buried at Unity.
David and Elisa had 3 children Harvey 1896 to 1966 married Nellie Hopkins 1911 to 1993, Vera who married Keith Weylie, and Stanley Ross 1900 to 1964 who married Ora Leeming 1904 to 1984. With the exception of Vera and Keith all are buried at Unity. Vera and Keith had three children: Norma Weylie (James Mosgrove), Edna Mae Weylie Shea, and Everett (Grace) Weylie.
Ross Howley was a hard working happy go lucky man who raised horses and cattle shipping milk to Silverwoods Dairy in Hamilton. He was proud of his animals and his farm. He loved the fall fair but was always home for milking time.
My parents had two children, myself and my brother, Glen. Glen 1929 to 1989 married Patricia Glenny 1933 to 2003. They had six children, Grant, Maxine, Lyle, Edward, Glenna and Neil. Maxine passed shortly after birth and the remaining five children were raised on the family farm on Mines Road. Glen carried on the family farm. He loved to attend auction sales and often ended up hauling cattle for other farmers in the area. Pat was a well known school teacher in the community. All of their children have a close connection to the area and to Unity. Grant still participates in services and the United Church in Caledonia and Ed is on the Board of Directors for Unity. Glen, Pat, and Maxine are all buried at Unity. Grant with the assistance of his siblings still maintains the family farm.
I married Donald Pettigrew and had 6 children, Ross, Gwen, Dawn, Ray, Faith, and Carl. My family moved away from the area but as a young family we would often visit the Howley farm. These visits often meant a trip to Unity. With five generations of Howleys buried at Unity there is a definite connection that is felt by all of the current generation.