Fonds F2994 - William Melville Paterson fonds

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William Melville Paterson fonds

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  • Graphic material
  • Textual record

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CA ON00239 F2994

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  • 1897-1983 (Creation)
    Paterson, William Melville

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Physical description

ca. 1000 photographs and .35 m of textual records.

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Biographical history

William (Willie) Melville Paterson was born in England, August 1, 1891. He attended a number of public schools including Colet Court and St. Paul's. He worked for a stock brokerage in London for two years post graduation (Morton Bros.) and then decided he would prefer a country lifestyle and went to work on a number of farms is Essex and Berwickshire. Having learned a variety of farming methods he immigrated to Canada in 1913 coming directly to the village of Portsmouth (Kingston) where he had a distant cousin residing. He soon found work at Henry Wartman's farm on King Street. Despite going to Western Canada for a brief stint through the Harvester's Excursions program, Paterson soon returned to settle in Kingston.

By 1922 the remaining members of Paterson's family had joined him in Canada. His mother Edith Paterson, and two sisters Helen and Rowan. Helen and Rowan were not in Kingston long but pursued careers in New Brunswick and Toronto, respectively. Edith lived with Willie until she passed away in 1959. While working on Wartman's farm, Willie asked to rent a small piece of land right on the shore of Lake Ontario and there he built a cottage (out of a shipping container) and cultivated a garden and nursery which were to become his business: Sunny Acres Nursery. Paterson specialized in alpine plants and rock gardens. He grew to be recognized in the field receiving honours from both the Kingston and Ontario Horticultural Societies as well as being a member of the Royal Horticultural Society of Britain, the American Rock Garden Society and Scottish Rock Garden society and the Alpine Garden Society.

Paterson relocated to another house on Sunny Acres Road in the early 1960s when the Wartman farm was purchased by Dupont Industries. The purchase agreement allowed for the garden to remain in the original location until Paterson passed away, which occurred in 1983. Many of the plants were then relocated to the City of Kingston greenhouses and garden on Norman Rogers Drive.

Custodial history

This material was donated to the archives by John Nanton Clark, surviving spouse of Margaret Ann Wartman who had been executor of William Paterson's estate.

Scope and content

The fonds is predominantly comprised of photographs of Sunny Acres Nursery and members of the Paterson family. There is material and photographs from or about each immediate family member: James (father), Edith (mother), Helen (sister), Rowan (sister), and William. As the longest living member of the family William Paterson was the holder of the family archives.There is a small amount of material relating to horticulture and the business of the Nursery.

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