The Witch of Plum Hollow
I was originally going to do a post about the history of witches in Canada, but due to the fact that witchcraft in Canada is basically nonexistent, I’ll just tell you all about the one witch I could find information on!
Elizabeth Jane Barnes(or “Mother Barnes”) was born in Cork, Ireland some time between 1744 and 1800, nobody is really positive on the exact year.
What makes Elizabeth Barnes so special? She was apparently clairvoyant. She was known to have used her gift to solve mysteries, including a murder. Who needs Nancy Drew or Scooby Doo when you have Elizabeth Barnes, right? She was also apparently able to locate hidden treasure.
Elizabeth also used her gift to tell fortunes in her one room log cabin(which is still standing today.) She was very well known for this. People would travel hundreds of miles for her services, some would offer her large sums of money. She would never accept anything more than her standard rate of twenty-five cents though. One of her most noteworthy clients is rumored to have been Sir John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada. Elizabeth Barnes believed she got her gift from being the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter.
She was married twice. First to Sergeant Robert Harrison. They met in Ireland then emigrated to Cobourg, Ontario, where they eloped and had one son, Robert Harrison Jr. Unfortunately Robert died shortly after his son was born. About four years after that Elizabeth married her second husband David Barnes and settled near Plum Hollow. Her and David had ten children together, however a few of them died, leaving them with about eight children in total. After a few years together, David left her to be a shoemaker in Smith Falls, taking one of their sons with him… what a dick! He’s lucky child support didn’t exist back then! However, his absence resulted in Elizabeth using her gift to tell fourtunes so she could provide for her children, so I guess it all worked out in the end.
Now, like her year of birth, nobody actually knows when Elizabeth died, but she reportedly died when she was in her early nineties. She rests in an unmarked grave in Sheldon’s Corners, Ontario.