The Haggerty family has lived in West Huntingdon for 140 years. Jim Haggerty and his wife Diane live in the stone house Jim grew up in which his ancestors built. The Haggertys used to be dairy farmers but now Jim and his son Scott make small bales of high-quality hay for horses from alfalfa and timothy. They ship a third of their hay to Florida. They switched from dairy farming four years ago as they decided there wasn’t much future in dairy farming for them.

The Haggerty family is a very musical. Jim and Diane are well known locally, and Scott a.k.a Freddy Vette is known across the province for his fifties style rock and roll band “Freddy Vette and the Flames”. Jim points out the importance of good music teachers in school. Well-known local music teacher Betty Watson taught Scott in the Stirling schools and he had good teachers at Centre Hastings Secondary School in Madoc. When asked when he got interested in music Jim said he and his wife Diane started playing and singing at community events after they were married. “We were all influenced of the Beatles,” said Jim. “Everyone wanted to play the guitar.”

The stone house they live in was built in 1867 by James Haggerty. Apparently, stonemasons would over from Scotland and Ireland every summer to build houses. West Huntingdon has several stone farm houses, a stone schoolhouse, and a small stone church. James Haggerty, born 1793, came to Ontario with his wife Anne Morley and seven children, from County Cork, Ireland in 1827. His elder brother William was one of the settlers Peter Robinson brought over to Peterborough a bit earlier. James and his brother John came in 1827 and settled in West Huntingdon on Concession 4, Lots 3, and 2. James got the deeds for the farm to Concession 4 Lot 3 in 1837. He had been a farmer, flax grower and weaver in the Parish of Kilmeen in Ireland. The Irish weaving industry declined in the early nineteenth century and he had to give up the tenancy to his farm. It is not know whether he tried to grow flax in West Huntingdon, although flax was certainly grown in Northumberland.

The Haggerty family has always been active in the community for example as town constable, councillor, reeve, and teacher. Jim has coordinated publicity for the Hastings Farm Show for many years. There is more information about the history of West Huntingdon in Ghost Towns of Ontario.


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