Fortune Telling Expedition, Dec. 1860

In flipping through random files through the Archives, it is entirely possible to stumble across even just one letter that fascinates and astonishes. This week, that latter was found in the John McDonald (of Gananoque) fonds. The account, written by John’s son, Herbert Stone McDonald of Brockville, tells of his journey with ten friends by three sleighs to Farmersville, Ontario (now Athens) to visit a fortune teller on 6 December 1860 (Thanksgiving).

After a dinner at Cole’s Hotel, three of them, Miss Tillie Jones, Mrs. Smith and the author, took their sleigh some three miles outside town to meet with the fortune teller. Each met with the lady in turn, and Miss Jones provided the details of her fortune to Mr. McDonald for his account.

After Miss Jones’ fortune had been told she came to the head of the stairs and called to me to come up and she remained present while my fortune was being told. I poured out the tea just as she had done so and before the fortune teller took the cup from me I told her that my birthday was upon the twenty third day of February. I also made my wish as follows “I wish that I may marry the dear girl now beside me in this room – Miss Tillie Jones.” The fortune teller having examined the cup told me in substance as follows

You will have your wish. Every fourth year you will not be so fortunate as on other years but you will always be fortunate. You will marry the woman whom you now love. Your wife will die when you are forty one years of age. I don’t think you will marry a second time. If you do you will separate from your second wife. You’ll hold a high government appointment and office to obtain which you will be elected by the votes of the people. You will never be imprisoned. You will never die a violent death. You will be as honest as any man can be and you will never run away to avoid debt.

There is, of course, far more to the fortune, which we invite you to see for yourself in the pages above (and should anyone care to try their hand at transcribing the contents, feel free to place them in the comments section!).

Upon conducting some of our own research, we were able to track the story of Mr. McDonald. At the end of this week, we will post what we’ve found, and whether his life story matched his fortune. Stay tuned!


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