Monday, July 26, 2010

July meeting - Introducing Margaret Matthews

Aly Boltman introduced us to our second Margaret of the July meeting - Margaret Matthews.
Margaret Matthews

When Aly Boltman heard that Branningham Grove, once a stately home, was slated for demolition by developers, she began her campaign to save the building and to learn all she could about Margaret Matthews, who once owned the building.

For most residents of Owen Sound and surrounding communities, this building is well known. Many had dined there when it was Louis' Steakhouse or one of the subsequent restaurants. Prior to being a restaurant, it had been a family home.

Word was that many years ago in the early 1900's it had been a brothel. Was this true? Who was Margaret Matthews? What Matthews family did she belong to? Did she have a connection to the Matthews of the Irish block? These were some of the questions that Aly had as she began her search for Mag.

Through her presentation, Aly shared some of what she learned during her extensive research about Mag and her family. From Holland Township to Northern Ontario and parts of the United States, the Matthews family extended their reach.

Margaret Matthews was an entrepreneur. She also became a well-known personality in what is now Thunder Bay. It is there were she died. Yes, Branningham Grove was once a brothel.It was a summer place for "her girls".

To read more about Aly's research, you can read her article that appeared in the March 2010, Grey County Historian.  Aly enthusiastically shared the story of one amazing woman. Thank you for digging deep into her story.

After the presentation, some of the documentation was available to be viewed.

Photo of Margaret Matthews courtesy of Thunder Bay Museum Historical Society.

Aly Boltman (speaker)

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