Random Memories of Lyn

By Jessie Kilpatrick

My first drive in Eastern Ontario was on a June afternoon. My Mother, my two brothers, Herbert and Roy, and myself had arrived at Brockville only that morning and had been met by my father who had several months before accepted a position of district manager of the present Mutual Life Assurance Co. of Canada. We were the guests of his old time friend, John Elliott, on the staff of the Brockville Collegiate. It happened to be Circus day and so that morning I stood on Pearl St. and witnessed my first Circus parade, and shuddered with terror and delight as I saw the huge lumbering elephants and the cages with  ions and other wild animals.

In the Early afternoon we had our first drive out to our new home in Lyn. I can still remember the exclamations of my mother over the beauty of the winding creek near the Billings’ home which always attracts my attention today.

When we reached the stucco covered old stone house that father had rented from Mr. Nelson Shipman we found that it was still in the process of being painted by Mr. Shipman’s nephew, Horace Gardiner. And the cute little front porch was all wet paint. It was only a little while before my brother Herbert had gotten his nice new suit covered with wet paint, much to the annoyance of my mother.

It was not until the following fall that I started to school. My first teacher was Miss. Ena Williamson, who had charge of the junior room which then occupied all of the lower floor. She became the wife of Dr. George Judson at the end of the year and my next teacher was a Mrs. Knapp. When I was promoted to the Senior room, my teacher was Miss Christina Wilson for the four years I spent there. When the Entrance examinations were tried, out of a class of eight pupils only one failed. The required marks for passing were 422 and I had the honor of heading the class with a total of 581 marks. Later on when I became a student in the Brockville Collegiate, it was found that I had obtained the highest marks of any student in the newly formed first form.

The original BCI before the fire of 1929 destroyed the school

At that time the Lyn students travelled to Brockville on the Grand Trunk Railway. The station was about a mile distant from the village and the students usually walked to catch the 8 a.m. mixed train which was very irregular in its time, sometimes not reaching town until nine o’clock. However we were not late very often. We would proceed to the school via the William Street crossing and return the same way to board one of the passenger cars awaiting us. Our evening train left at 5 p.m., so by the time we had reached home it was usually six o’clock. As we had left home by 7:30 a.m. it made a long day. On the train we met other collegiate pupils from Mallorytown and Landsdowne. I remember the three Fairlie Boys fro Lansdowne They were the sons of the Presbyterian Minister there and have since become leading Canadian citizens.

Before the year was over the Grand Trunk ceased to operate that nice little train and it was necessary for the Lyn pupils to obtain other transportation, several ‘loads’ were organized. The driver of the largest load was Howard Everts who later became a Public School Inspector in Saskatchewan. The son of our Methodist Minister, Milton Perley, was the driver of another load which included his sister Aleda, Lucy Cumming and myself. I well remember on one occasion when we were returning home right near Nigger Hill [1], Milton stopped to get a few nice apples from a near bye orchard. But I would not partake of any of these apples as I said they were ‘stolen’. It is interesting to note that Milton became a Methodist Missionary to China in later years!

Concerts in these days were few and far between and sometimes were held in conjunction with a sugar social or a strawberry festival. At one of these held in Buell’s Hall I can recall Mr. James Cumming as chairman introducing a young lady ‘who had come all the way from Scotland to sing the song “Green Grow the Rashes O!”. She shortly after became Mrs. Gordon Cumming. On another occasion in the school hall (the former junior room downstairs) I remember the Billings boys, Horace and Tom, amusing us greatly by the song “Johnny was the One I Wanted”. Horace died at an early age, but Tom is now Dr.T.H.Billings, in charge of an important city church in the U.S. Another performer on that programme was Frank Fulford who captivated us with his violin solos. He later became a wealthy man and lived in a castle in England.

C.P.R. Wharf Brockville

One great event in our lives was the time our Sunday School ran an excursion. We were transported from the B&W station to the C.P.R. dock in Brockville on flat cars, furnished with crude board seats and decorated with evergreen trees which however did not afford protection from the flying cinders. Next we boarded the steamer “John Haggart” for a wonderful trip among the Thousand Islands and I expect had our picnic lunch baskets with us. My mother was busy chatting to Dr. Jusdon when she was interrupted by her small daughter dashing up and exclaiming “Herbie’s lost his cap. It fell into the ‘crik’! That remark nearly finished Dr. Judson, I thought he would never stop laughing at one for calling the might St. Lawrence – a ‘crik’!

During the general elections of 1896 the boys and girls of Lyn Public School became keenly interested in politics and wore red or blue bans of ribbon to indicate their arty as ‘Grits’ and ‘Tories’. I think Mr. James Cumming was the Liberal candidate on that occasion but did not succeed in winning. However when Wilfred Laurier became the new Prime Minister, the village had a big celebration and Sir Charles Tupper was burned in effigy.

[1] Located on the Lyn Road app. ½ km south-east of the intersection with the Howard Road. So called because a black family, Mr. and Mrs White lived there.



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