(photos and articles written and submitted by Cherylynn Ireland, 2020)
Isaac Ireland b.1776 d. circa 1833 and Susan Cornell b.1771 d.1826 came north to Kitley Township circa 1800 as part of a Cornell family group from near Schaghticoke, upper New York state, where their families had farms sharing a common boundary. Isaac and Susannah were married and had their first child, Elijah, before migrating to Kitley.
Isaac’s parents were Thomas Ireland b.1746 d.1811 and Sarah Seeley b. 1751 d. 1830. By the time Isaac came north, Thomas would have been approaching 60 years of age and had signed a petition 1775, to indicate his alliance with the Patriots/Rebels to avoid being “tarred & feathered” and having his farm confiscated.
Isaac is buried in the back portion of what is now Lehigh Cemetery beneath one of the large trees there. His headstone was a field stone, with the letters “IRE…” hand chiselled on one of the limestone field stones. There were three or four in a row, with inscriptions lost to the elements.
Darius West Ireland and his wife, Phoebe McManus are buried in Lehigh Cemetery. Darius is the grandson of Issac Ireland and Susan Cornell.
Darius’ parents were Lewis Denis Ireland b. 1800 d. 1884. married to Alice Johnson b. 1800 d. 1892
This is Darius West’s family line.
1)Gravestone of Susan (Cornell) Ireland b. 1771 near Schaghticoke, NY. married to Isaac Ireland. d. 1826. This is thought to be the oldest grave marker in Lehigh Cemetery.
2) Darius West Ireland. b.1836 d.1917 Darius was Susan’s grandchild. This hand drawn portrait is thought to have been commissioned to commemorate his marriage to Phoebe McManus, his second wife. (His first wife, Harriet Wood, died in childbirth.)
3) The tombstone of Darius West Ireland and his wife, Phoebe McManus. Lehigh Cemetery.
4) Phoebe McManus and Darius West Ireland, in their later years.
5) Darius West Ireland, homestead, which his son with Phoebe McManus, James Bruce Ireland, inherited. (North of Concession 9. West of Lehigh’s Corners. Intersection of Highway 29 with Kitley Concession 9.)
6) James Bruce Ireland b. 1892. d. 1937 with his wife, Bessie Peer. b. 1908 d.1964. In the photo, Bessie is holding her 1st female child, Phoebe. In front are their two sons, Cleon and Clifford.
7) The family farm James inherited from his father, Darius West Ireland. Approximately, 100 acres.
8) Bessie Peer as a young woman.
9) James Bruce died of a stroke in 1937, at the age of 55. Eventually, the Ireland Family faced foreclosure. This is the new farm Bessie was able to acquire, consisting of 50 acres. (Concession 9, half a mile East of Lehigh’s Corners, intersection of Concession 9 and Highway 29.)
10) Bessie’s farmhouse. 2017.
11) Tombstone of James Bruce Ireland, Bessie Peer, and their youngest daughter, Alice Ireland, who died of cancer, at the age of 46. Lehigh Cemetery.
12) A photo of Alice as a young woman. 1958.
13) Bessie’s obituary.
14) Clifford Ireland b. 1927. d. 1998. First born of the union between Bessie Peer and James Bruce Ireland.
15) Eunice Mary Reilly b.1932. d. 2016. Wife of Clifford
16) Eunice & Clifford’s marriage in Belleville. 1956.
17) Clifford and Eunice’s tombstone. Lehigh Cemetery.
18) Cherylynn, Linda, Cathy at the Old Family Farm. Offspring of Clifford & Eunice.
They have been called “Creepy” by some, and maybe they are, but to the little girls who owned these dolls they were beautiful and loved. Some dolls in our collection date back to the early 1900’s, and despite the ravages of time, still reflect the love that they once gave to their owners. We are fortunate to have as many as we do, and in such good condition despite their age.
The dolls are located on the second floor of the museum in the Mary Hudson Room. Please come by and take a look at them.
1– 17” Composition Doll, painted brown eyes, eyelashes, eyebrows and brown hair, open mouth with red lips showing two teeth. Flexible joints. Original clothing yellow bonnet, yellow and pink dress. mfg by Dee and Cee Company, Torontocirca1940 (The company name comes from the initials of the two founders. Max Diamond and Morris Cone. Dee and Cee manufactured dolls in Toronto, Ontario from 1938 – 1962. They were acquired by Mattel in 1962)
2– 14” Composition Doll, Movable Sleep Eyes, painted brown hair, with red lips and open mouth. Flexible joints. Original clothing a “Giraffe” Sleeper and white bonnet. Mfg by Reliable Toy Co. Ltd., Toronto circa 1930-40(The Reliable Toy Company Limited of Toronto, Canada was founded in 1920 by Solomon Frank Samuels, later joined by his brothers Alex Samuels and Ben Samuels. From 1922 until 1955 they began producing their own dolls, first made of composition, later of hard plastic and vinyl. Reliable is best known for their Canadian style Indians and Mounties dolls)
3– 18” Soft plastic head, hard plastic body, arms and legs. Movable blue “Sleep Eyes” painted red mouth and brown eyebrows. Synthetic short curly red hair. Flexible joints. Original clothing plaid dress and white flat shoes. Possibly a “Mary Jane” doll Mfg by Ideal Toy Company Ltd., Toronto circa 1950(Ideal Novelty and Toy Company began in 1906, by 1938 they changed the name to Ideal Toy Company. By the 1930s Ideal had created some of their best known dolls; Shirley Temple, Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin. Ideal dolls are made of wood, cloth, composition, hard plastic, vinyl and magic skin and are of very good quality. Ideal was first in their industry to make hard plastic dolls after World War II. Not long after World War II ended (1945) new development in plastic material was introduced by doll makers as a replacement to composition. Hard plastic material is durable, could be molded, washed etc. The Ideal company was one of the first companies to produce dolls made of plastic material beginning in 1946, soon followed by the rest of the industry)
4– 19” Vinyl head, hard vinyl body, arms and legs. Movable blue “Sleep Eyes” with real eyelashes, lightly painted moulded brown hair and single stroke brown eyebrows. Red lips with hole for bottle. Clothes are not original. This is a “Drink and Wet” doll parts made in Hong Kong and assembled and sold by the Ellance Doll Company Inc., Brooklyn, NY circa 1959-1964 (The Ellance Doll Company, Inc. was located in Brooklyn, New York 11211 from 1957 to 1991. They made Walking dolls, Drink N’ Wet Baby dolls, Musical dolls, New Born Baby Dolls, Cloth Rag Dolls and Novelty Dolls. Dolls were made of hard plastic or vinyl in Hong Kong or Taiwan and assembled and packaged in the U.S.A. doll marked 20F-5 or 20F-5 ELLANEE. (Our doll has 20F-5 marking)
5– 18” Composition Doll, jointed and movable head, neck, arms and legs. Movable blue “Sleep Eyes” with real eyelashes. Lightly painted moulded brown hair and red painted lips around an open mouth. Clothes appear to be original, but cannot confirm that they are. White dress with reddish patterned bonnet. Possibly a “Babykins Doll” mfg by the Reliable Toy Co., Toronto, ON circa 1941
6– 19” Bisque Doll, movable head, arms and legs made of Bisque material sewn onto a stuffed cloth body which extended to the arms and legs. The head appears to be larger than the body and the eyes are large and a noticeable feature. The hair is made of a blond synthetic material. The face is painted with brown eyes and brown wispy eyebrows. The shoes appear to be original to the doll with leather soles. The dress is starting to deteriorate in a normal aging process. Doll bodies were generally a composition, a mixture of sawdust and glue, or stuffed kid leather with bisque arms.
The manufacture is unknown as this type of doll was known as a “Benton Type Doll” which originated in Germany, they were also made in France. These doll started to be made in 1885 and continued in popularity until around 1935.
7-24” “Baby Darling Doll” Composition head with lightly molded painted blond hair, brown sleep eyes with painted upper and lower lashes, open red painted mouth with two upper and lower teeth, cloth body some may have a tummy Mama crier, composition arms with wide spread apart fingers on hands, composition legs to above the knee, doll is unmarked. Clothing on this doll appears to be the original clothing that came on the doll. This doll was popular between 1924-1930 and manufactured by the Horseman Toy and Doll Co, New York City. (The head mold was used by other doll manufacturers as well. In 1865, Edward Imeson Horsman started a toy and doll company in New York City and became a leader in the doll industry. In the beginning, they produced the trademarked name of ‘Babyland Rag Dolls’ an all cloth doll, a variety of Mama and Baby composition dolls wearing painted or molded hair, wigs, and sleepy (painted) eyes. From 1909 the toy firm used a new production process to make the ‘Can’t break Em’ dolls. In the 1930s Horsman bought the Louis Amberg & Son doll company which was their competitor at the time and continued to make some of their dolls, notably the Vanta Baby.In October 1933 Horsman was purchased and became a subsidiary of the Regal Doll Manufacturing Company. By the 1980’s the Horsman name was sold to an Asian company and produced dolls under the name ‘Horsman Ltd.’.)
8– 17” This doll has a soft rubber head with synthetic short blonde hair, sleep eyes with upper lashes, but no brows; open mouth and no teeth. Cloth body with cloth upper arms and upper legs. Lower arms and legs which are bent, are made of same soft rubber as head.Clothing on the doll appears to be original to the doll. Circa 1960-1970 and manufactured by The Star Doll Manufacturing Company of Toronto, ON ( the company was founded in Ontario in 1952. the company was taken over by The Good Time Toy Company in 1970. They used the Star doll molds so without packaging it would be hard to date dolls from this period. The company ceased to exist in 1977.)
9– 17” This doll is made of molded soft rubber, no movable joints; stitched short blonde synthetic hair; sleep eyes which look to the side, upper lashes and painted side lashes and brows; closed mouth with a smile. Cloth shoes with leather soles appear to be original, but the clothes are not. “Reliable” is engraved on upper back.(The Reliable Toy Company Limited of Toronto, Canada was founded in 1920 by Solomon Frank Samuels, later joined by his brothers Alex Samuels and Ben Samuels. From 1922 until 1955 they began producing their own dolls, first made of composition, later of hard plastic and vinyl. Reliable is best known for their Canadian style Indians and Mounties dolls)
10– 16 1/2” This doll has a soft vinyl/plastic head with stitched long black synthetic hair; painted blue eyes, upper lashes and brows. Body is hard plastic with jointed shoulders and hips. “Reliable Canada” is stamped on upper body back. circa 1950’s-60’s Made by the Reliable Toy Company Ltd., Toronto, ON
11 – 19” This doll is made entirely of soft resilient vinyl plastic, with flexible arms and legs but not jointed. Sleep eyes with painted brows; stitched long, curly blonde hair; detailed hands with dimples and molded finger joints; dimpled elbows and knees. Possibly a Reliable Sally Ann Doll circa 1950s. Note perfect detail in fingers, knuckles, dimples, etc., washable, practically unbreakable, won’t crack, peel or chip.” Her body will bend, but is not jointed, but her head can move from side to side. The clothes are original to the doll. Unable to determine who manufactured this doll.
12 –24” All Plastic/vinyl head and body. Sleep eyes and very thin, faded brows. Thick, molded, wavy, blonde hair, painted red lips and slightly opened mouth. Dis-proportionately large head turns from side to side; flexible arms and legs are not jointed. Clothes are not original to the doll. (Possibly: 1950’s “Ideal” type…..similar to the “1952 Ideal Hugee Girl doll”, manufactured by the Ideal Toy Company. (Ideal Toy Company originally produced teddy bears, they were first in their industry to make hard plastic dolls after World War II. Ideal’s dolls are made of wood, cloth, composition, rubber like magic skin, hard plastic and vinyl and are considered to be of very good quality. Ideal Toy Company was acquired by the CBS Toy Company in 1982, which later went out of business.)
13-– 23” Bisque or composition-type head, shoulders, lower arms and hands. The rest of the body including the legs and feet are cloth. Head has molded, painted hair, sleep eyes with upper lashes, painted brows and lashes, open mouth showing two upper teeth. The bodies were generally a composition, a mixture of sawdust and glue. Very likely a “Horsman-type Doll” circa early 1900’s. Clothes are not original. Manufactured by the Horseman Toy and Doll Co, New York City.(The head mold was used by other doll manufacturers as well. In 1865, Edward Imeson Horsman started a toy and doll company in New York City and became a leader in the doll industry. In the beginning, they produced the trademarked name of ‘Babyland Rag Dolls’ an all cloth doll, a variety of Mama and Baby composition dolls wearing painted or molded hair, wigs, and sleepy (painted) eyes. From 1909 the toy firm used a new production process to make the ‘Can’t break Em’ dolls. In the 1930s Horsman bought the Louis Amberg & Son doll company which was their competitor at the time and continued to make some of their dolls, notably the Vanta Baby.In October 1933 Horsman was purchased and became a subsidiary of the Regal Doll Manufacturing Company. By the 1980’s the Horsman name was sold to an Asian company and produced dolls under the name ‘Horsman Ltd.’.)
We are showing the following two pictures to give you an idea of the make up of this doll. Stuffed body and legs. Head and hands attached
14–16” Rubber/vinyl head and body with flexible arms and legs but not jointed. Head has sleep eyes with painted brows, sewn curly, short blonde hair, closed mouth. Dimpled toes and open fingers. Makes a squeak when the stomach is pushed. Clothes are original to the doll. This appears to be a “Generic Doll” massed produced as we are unable to determine any manufacturer.
15- 10”Composite doll, flexible arms and legs. Considered a baby doll because of its size and facial expression. Painted face and hair. Blue eyes and red lips. Made by Reliable Toy Co. Toronto, markings on the back of the neck. Doll circa 1940’s (The Reliable Toy Company Limited of Toronto, Canada was founded in 1920 by Solomon Frank Samuels, later joined by his brothers Alex Samuels and Ben Samuels. From 1922 until 1955 they began producing their own dolls, first made of composition, later of hard plastic and vinyl. Reliable is best known for their Canadian style Indians and Mounties dolls)
16- 10”Composite doll, flexible arms and legs. Considered a baby doll because of its size and facial expression. Painted face and hair. Blue eyes and red lips with an open mouth showing two teeth. Almost identical to the Reliable Doll #15 in our collection, although no manufacture is specified. Circa 1940’s
17– 19” Soft rubber face, hard plastic body. Doll has sleep eyes, long blond hair and clothing is original. Flexible arm and hip joints, but no knee joint, so doll is meant to stand. We thought that this would be an easy doll to identify, but it proved other wise. There are no manufacture’s markings on the body. Possibly the doll is circa 1970’s
18 – 21”Imitation” Nurser Doll, hard plastic body with rubber head. Sleep eyes with lashes, painted brow, molded brown hair. Open red lips with hole for a bottle. Movable leg and shoulder joints; head turns side to side. Open fingers with molded unpainted nails and joints; open toes with molded unpainted nails. Wearing a pink sleeper under a knitted pink and white sweater with matching bonnet and booties, clothes are not original to the doll. Similar to 1950’s era “Madame Alexander Kathy Baby Doll. The manufacturer is unknown
19- 18” Eaton’s Beauty Doll,Made by Armande Marseille of Germany, 390 A. 2 ½ M marked on back of bisque head. Honey blonde mohair wig, feathered brows, blue sleep eyes with real lashes, sleep eyes, open mouth with four upper teeth. Ball-jointed, composition body, with red “Eaton’s Beauty” label on the one-piece underwear beneath a cream coloured chiffon-like dress with pink silk vest. White socks and leather-like ankle boots. Clothes appear to be original to the doll. Circa early 1900’s; in original Eaton’s box.
20 – 22”Shirley Temple Doll. Made in Canada by Reliable Toy Co. Ltd., Toronto, Ontario. 1934 – 1936. All composition body, jointed hips, shoulders, and neck, composition head with dimples; sleep eyes, lashes, painted brows and lower lashes; blond mohair wig; open mouth showing teeth. Wearing a white dress with blue polka dots and blue ribbon belt; white socks and shoes. In original box. Clothes are original along with the “Shirley Temple” Button
21- 16”Souvenir type doll Hard plastic head with long, dark brown wig, glass brown eyes, lashes and brows, closed mouth. (One eye has actual lashes!) Cloth, stuffed body, arms and legs with hard plastic hands and feet. Cream coloured, long-sleeve dress with matching pantaloons, no socks or shoes. Clothes appear to be original to the doll. Manufacturer and estimated date unknown.
22 – 15”Souvenir type dollHard plastic head with long, blonde wig, painted blue eyes, lashes and brows, closed mouth. Cloth, stuffed body, arms and legs with hard plastic hands and feet. Flowered, long sleeve dress with white pantaloons, white socks and white leather-type ankle shoes. Clothes appear to be original to the doll.15 inches tall. Manufacturer and estimated date unknown.
23- 15”Souvenir type doll Hard plastic head with long, blonde wig, painted blue eyes, lashes and brows, closed mouth. Cloth, stuffed body, arms and legs with hard plastic hands and feet. Green, cotton velveteen, long sleeve dress with red tartan trim; white pantaloons, stockings and leather-type ankle boots. Clothes appear to be original to the doll. Manufacturer and estimated date unknown. Since Velcro was used on the dress est date of manufacture would be after 1955.
We hope you enjoyed looking over our doll collection, please visit us at the museum to see these dolls.
The Tire Shrinker – Also known as an upsetter, was used to resize and weld buggy tires. When the hub and or spokes dried out from age and dry weather the outer band of iron called the tire would become loose. The tire could be heated and placed in this machine and then upset or squeezed leaving a bulge which was hammered flat and trimmed at the edges. The created a tire that was of a smaller circumference.
Repairing both wagon & buggy wheels and the shrinking & refitting of the tires was a common occurrence. Through natural wear the fellows (wooden piece(s) directly under the tire) of the wheel would wear and the tire would loosen which relaxed the “dish” in the spokes. If not repaired the wheel would shell out the spokes when a turn was made too fast with it. The spoked wheel is only strong if there is a dish toward the outside. This way when side pressure is applied to it during a turn a tight tire will prevent the spokes from bending sideways. Once the dish is lost, there is nothing to prevent this. A temporary cure that was often used was to soak the wheel(s) to make the wooden spokes & fellows swell and thus tightening the tire. This would eventually add to the wear of the fellows and loosen the tire even more. You can see old wagon tires that have been shrunken as they will have thicker spots where this was done. On a small wheel the circumference should be approx. 1/2″ less in the tire than wheel. For a tall wagon wheel the difference would be more. (Sometimes you would have to use the tire shrinker more than once to get the circumference that you needed.)
The shrunken tire was refit while hot. Simply heat the tire in a normal wood fire until when tapped with a hammer there was no more ring to the iron. It was then as large as it will get. You don’t want to fit the tire any hotter than necessary as it will want to burn the fellows. As soon as possible after getting the tire in place you would want to pour water over it to prevent damages to the fellows. (You can see the dish appear in the wheel as the tire cools.)
You can view this artifact when you visit our museum in the Old Blacksmith’s Shop
What is bigger than a breadbox and weighs 14 pounds? If you guessed a Pneumatic Vacuum Sweeper you were correct. It measures 17” long x 13” wide and 8” high and is a beast to push across any carpet. Was it revolutionary? Perhaps but only for a short while until with the coming of electricity the electric vacuum cleaner was invented.
We searched to try and find some information on “Livingston” the manufacture of this unit but could find nothing. All we know is what is printed on the case of the unit:
Could it be that the outbreak of World War 1 put an abrupt stop to their manufacture, or was it just that they were big and didn’t do a much better job than a carpet sweeper.
We did come across two ads for other units, so there must have been some interest in this type of cleaner.
It is a combination carpet sweeper, with its’ own dirt catcher on the bottom, and a vacuum powered by 3 bellows that were chain driven by the back wheels as it was pushed. The vacuum part had a separate dirt catcher that was accessed by removing the front of the unit, and then tipping it up to shake out the dirt etc. Not a very convenient way of emptying it. We suspect that the carpet sweeper picked up as much as the “Vacuum Sweeper” part did.
If you are interested in this machine it can be seen on the second floor of our museum in the “Pioneer Room”
Albert was born in Toledo, Ontario on February 15th, 1885. His proud parents were Nelson Tallman (1852-1922) and Frances Ann nee Gorman (1854-1920). He was a member of a large family consisting of eight brothers and sisters.
There is little we know about his youth or the rest of his family, but somewhere between the time he was old enough to leave home and 1915 he moved to Winnipeg and was working as a Tinsmith.
Albert didn’t enlist when war broke out in 1914, but waited until November of the next year. Perhaps he thought that the war would be won quickly and he would not be required. However as 1914 rolled into 1915 Albert decided to enlist on November 16th, 1915. He was 30 years old, stool 5’6” with fair hair, grey eyes and a ruddy complexion.
He joined the 179th Battalion, Cameron Highlander, 16th Battalion Canadian Infantry in Winnipeg.
He spent almost all of his first year training in Canada before he set sail for England. His unit sailed from Halifax aboard the HMS Saxonia on October 4th, 1916.
After his arrival on October 13th, he and his unit went to East Sandling where they trained in the art of “Trench Warfare”.
After training in England he along with his unit were transferred to France where they joined the rest of the 16th Battalion. Little did he know what awaited him in the upcoming months, history would recall it as the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
On that first day of the attack, April 9th, 1917, Albert along with the rest of his unit went over the top of the trenches and into ‘no man’s land’. And that is the last we know of Albert as he was report “Missing in Action” on that first day of the battle. He was later declared to have been “Presumed to have died on or since April 9th, 1917”.
His story and life have been lost to history with the exception of his name that is carved into the “Vimy Memorial” in France, and also appears on the Cenotaph in Toledo.
For those who are interested we have reprinted part of the story of the Battle for Vimy Ridge below.
Vimy Ridge Memorial
Canada’s most impressive tribute overseas to those Canadians who fought and gave their lives in the First World War is the majestic and inspiring Vimy Memorial, which overlooks the Douai Plain from the highest point of Vimy Ridge, about eight kilometres northeast of Arras on the N17 towards Lens. The Memorial is signposted from this road to the left, just before you enter the village of Vimy from the south. The memorial itself is someway inside the memorial park, but again it is well signposted. At the base of the memorial, these words appear in French and in English:
TO THE VALOUR OF THEIR COUNTRYMEN IN THE GREAT WAR AND IN MEMORY OF THEIR SIXTY THOUSAND DEAD THIS MONUMENT IS RAISED BY THE PEOPLE OF CANADA
Inscribed on the ramparts of the Vimy Memorial are the names of over 11,000 Canadian soldiers who were posted as ‘missing, presumed dead’ in France. A plaque at the entrance to the memorial states that the land for the battlefield park, 91.18 hectares in extent, was ‘the free gift in perpetuity of the French nation to the people of Canada’. Construction of the massive work began in 1925, and 11 years later, on July 26, 1936, the monument was unveiled by King Edward VIII. The park surrounding the Vimy Memorial was created by horticultural experts. Canadian trees and shrubs were planted in great masses to resemble the woods and forests of Canada. Wooded parklands surround the grassy slopes of the approaches around the Vimy Memorial. Trenches and tunnels have been restored and preserved and the visitor can picture the magnitude of the task that faced the Canadian Corps on that distant dawn when history was made. On April 3, 2003, the Government of Canada designated April 9th of each year as a national day of remembrance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. (Veterans Affairs Canada)
The Battle of Arras (also known as the Second Battle of Arras) was a British offensive on the Western Front during World War I. From 9 April to 16 May 1917, British troops attacked German defences near the French city of Arras on the Western Front.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was part of the Battle of Arras. The main combatants were the four divisions of the Canadian Corps in the First Army, against three divisions of the German 6th Army. The battle took place from 9 to 12 April 1917 at the beginning of the Battle of Arras, the first attack of the Nivelle Offensive, which was intended to attract German reserves from the French, before their attempt at a decisive offensive on the Aisne and the Chemin des Chemin ridge further south.
9 April 1917
The attack was to begin at 5:30 am on Easter Monday, 9 April 1917. The attack was originally planned for the morning of 8 April (Easter Sunday) but it was postponed for 24 hours at the request of the French.During the late hours of 8 April and early morning of 9 April the men of the leading and supporting wave of the attack were moved into their forward assembly positions. The weather was cold and later changed to sleet and snow.Although physically discomforting for everyone, the northwesterly storm provided some advantage to the assaulting troops by blowing snow in the faces of the defending troops.Light Canadian and British artillery bombardments continued throughout the night but stopped in the few minutes before the attack, as the artillery recalibrated their guns in preparation for the synchronized barrage.At 5:30 am, every artillery piece at the disposal of the Canadian Corps began firing. Thirty seconds later, engineers detonated the mine charges laid under no man’s land and the German trench line, destroying a number of German strong points and creating secure communication trenches directly across no man’s land. Light field guns laid down a barrage that mostly advanced at a rate of 100 yards in three minutes while medium and heavy howitzers established a series of standing barrages further ahead against known defensive systems.During the early fighting, the German divisional artillery, despite many losses, were able to maintain their defensive firing.As the Canadian assault advanced, it overran many of the German guns because large numbers of their draught horses had been killed in the initial gas attack.
It was during the early morning hours of this first assault that Albert Ellery Tallman lost his life in the muddy ground of “no man’s land” in the far distant fields of France.
Some men are forgotten to history, just a footnote in time and in this case a casualty of the Great War. If it wasn’t for the fact that his name appears on the Toledo Cenotaph, his name would be lost forever. That name however will live on as long as that small memorial in Toledo remains.
Russell Rice was a casualty of World War I, just 26 years old and single when he was killed. His father had passed away some years before and his mother passed away in Brockville just one month prior to Russell being killed. It is quite possible he never heard the news of his mother’s passing.
Russell’s story is like so many others of his generation, and for us a difficult story to piece together, but we will try.
He was born Russell Ira Rice on May 1, 1892 in Jasper, Ontario, Kitley Township. His proud parents were George (1843-1909) and Alice nee Driver (1866- May 30, 1918). Russell was the oldest son, with an older sister Letha, younger sisters Grace and Saddie and younger brother, Roy. George, Alice and their family led a quiet, rural, farm life in Kitley Township.
At some point Russell left the farm, and the next record we found shows him working as a labourer in a foundry in Beckwith Township, Ontario. After his father died his mother and the rest of his family moved into Brockville and lived at 114 Water Street.
Three years after the outbreak of World War 1, Russell enlisted at Kingston on January 18th, 1917. He signed up with the 73rd Battery, 6th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery. He stood 5’5” tall, 155 pounds with blue eyes and light brown hair.
After a few months training in Canada he sailed from Halifax on April 17, 1917 on the SS Missanabie to Liverpool and then on to the massive military training base at Shorncliff, England.
On September 19th, 1917 Russell Rice was shipped off to be with his unit in France. His movements during his time in France are a mystery until he was ‘killed in action’ near the city of Calonne, west of Lens France on June 3rd, 1918. The location of his death puts him along the Western Front, during the push to take the city of Calonne which went from April to July of 1918.
He is buried in Fosse 10 Communal Cemetery Extension, located at Sains en-Gouele, plot III.c.13. Unfortunately there is no photo of his headstone.
In his Last Will and Testament, he left everything to his sister Grace who was the guardian of his youngest sister Saddie. Grace, along with her brothers had moved to Toronto. (39 Poucher St.)
And so ends the life and story of Gunner Russell Ira Rice, gone but not entirely forgotten as we have been able to rediscover his life here in these few lines.
A Simple Start: Spilled Sawdust…Anna and Melville’s Crockery Shop
Like a lot of well intentioned people who plan on having a relaxing Saturday, we didn’t really mean to start cleaning—it just happened. In 1876, Melville R. Bissell and his wife, Anna, were running a small crockery shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sick of constantly cleaning sawdust off the shop’s carpet, Melville invented and patented a one-of-a-kind sweeper. It didn’t take long for friends and customers at the shop to ask about buying the sweeper, and when they did, a new business was born
A Woman’s World: America’s First Female CEO
When Melville passed away in 1889, there was no question who would take the reigns at BISSELL®. Anna stepped in, making her the first female CEO in America. Anna aggressively defended the company’s patents while also marketing sweepers across North America and Europe. It didn’t take long for BISSELL® to get its first famous fan, Queen Victoria, who insisted her palace be “Bisselled” every week. We like to think the palace attendants were also fans, loving the free time they had thanks to how easy the BISSELL sweeper made cleaning up royal messes.(Wikipedia)
You can see these artifacts in the Pioneer Room on the second floor
Frederick William Gray was born in Lyn on September 6th 1895. He was the second child born to his parents John Henry and Smiena (known as Mimmie) her maiden name was Graham. His parents were farmers and after attending high school at Brockville Collegite Institute, Frederick followed in their footsteps and worked on the family farm.
He had a sister Hattie who was one year older than he was and a brother George eight years younger born in 1903.
The war broke out in 1914 and on July 14, 1915 at the age of 19 Frederick decided to enlist and fight for King and Country. At the time of his enlistment he stood 5’4” with blue eyes and light brown hair. He enlisted in Brockville in the 59th Battalion and was later transferred to the 20th Battalion.
After training in Canada the day finally arrived, April 5th, 1916 when he and the rest of his fellow soldiers sailed from Halifax to Liverpool, England. It was upon his arrival on April 11th, that he was transferred to the 20th Battalion.
On June 6th, 1916 he was sent to France to join the rest of the 2nd Canadian division. He would eventually move to the front lines and live in the labyrinths of trenches dug for his safety. He would live like this for the next year and a half, dodging bullets and just trying to stay alive.
In 1918 the war was drawing to a close and the Allies wanted to put on a last big offensive to try and break through the enemy lines and bring the war to a close. Plans were made for what would later be called the Battle of Amiens.
The Battle of Amiens-
“Canadian and Allied troops won a major victory against Germany at the Battle of Amiens between 8 and 11 August 1918. Amiens was the first in a string of offensive successes that led to the end of the of the First World War and culminated in the 11 November 1918 armistice.
The attacking force comprised the Canadian Corps, the British Fourth Army, the French First Army, the Australian Corps and others. In early August, the Allies tricked the Germans by appearing to weaken their front line so that German officers expected no assault. Troops moved to the front lines at night to fool the enemy. False moves were also made in daylight, amid much noise, dust and bogus radio communication.
Secrecy was so important that the soldiers saw the warning “KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT” added to their service and pay book.
The Allies sneaked into position with thousands of heavy and super-heavy field guns, howitzers, more than 600 tanks, and 2,000 aircraft. The Germans were greatly outnumbered and, in the words of German military chief Erich Ludendorff, “depressed down to Hell.” The Germans were protected by three lines of trenches, which were poorly wired for communications and without good dugout shelters.
The Canadian Corps was assigned to hit the German Fourth Army. The attack was scheduled for 8 August at 4:20 a.m. Unlike earlier attacks in the war, the Amiens assault would not be preceded by bombardment. This would keep the assault secret as long as possible.
A Royal Air Force squadron laid smoke screens over the battlefield to hide the attacking Canadians. A heavy mist also concealed no man’s land as the attack grew nearer on that moonless night. At exactly 4:20 a.m., 900 Allied guns opened fire and the infantry headed toward the German lines. Tanks roared across the battlefield and planes droned overhead.
The Germans were entirely unprepared for this scale of attack and many surrendered at the first chance. Allied soldiers fought through woods to clear German machine-gun positions and take prisoners. The tanks lagged behind, struggling across boggy terrain and in thick fog. Canadian forces captured several key targets and pressed forward amid waves of German prisoners being marched back behind Allied lines.”(The Canadian Encyclopedia)
Unfortunately Pte. Frederick Gray was wounded with a gunshot to the head during the first day of the attack on August 8th. He was removed to Base Hospital No. 6 in the nearby city of Rouen.
In the First World War the city was safely behind the lines and became a major logistics centre with numerous base hospitals. Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen. A base supply depot and the 3rd Echelon of General Headquarters were also established in the city.
Almost all of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for the duration of the war.
On the champ de courses on the outskirts of Rouen, the British established
Nos.5, 6, 9, 10, and 12 General Hospitals
Nos.1, 3, 8, 11, and 12 Stationary Hospitals
Whether Pte. Gray ever regained consciousnesses or not we will never know. What we do know is that he lay in a hospital bed at No 6 Base Hospital for 32 days until he died on September 9th. Just a few days after his 23rd birthday.
He was laid to rest in St. Sever Cemetery and Extension long with his fellow soldiers who died on that battlefield.
(We have no photo of his grave marker)
St. Server Cemetery
The St. Sever Cemetery and Extension (Rouen) is situated about 3 kilometres south of Rouen Cathedral and a short distance west of the road from Rouen to Elbeuf. If travelling from Elbeuf or Caen on the N.138, follow Avenue Des Canadiens right down to the roundabout. Then take the fourth exit into Rue Stanislas De Jardin, and the cemetery lies 150 metres on the left. The CWGC signpost is located at the entrance of the cemetery. The cemetery covers an area of 49,885 square metres. The War Stone is on the boundary of the original Cemetery and the Extension, facing the City of Rouen War Memorial. The Cross is raised on a terrace on the further side of the Extension. The Chapel, cruciform and surmounted by a dome, is in the middle of the Extension.
During the Second World War, Rouen was a hospital centre and the extension was used for the burial of Commonwealth servicemen, many of whom died as prisoners of war during the German occupation. There are 332 Canadians buried here from the First World War and 38 Canadians from the Second World War. The extension was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.
Stanley Clarence Darling was born on November 26th, 1894 in Lillies just north of the Village of Lyn. His mother was Fanny Darling and his father Wells. He was the oldest in a family of two boys and three girls. His brother Grant was born a year after him in 1895.
We know very little about his early childhood, except that growing up on a farm he would be expected to help out with the daily chores. Living in Lillies he would have attended the Lillies one room school house.
When war broke out in Europe in 1914, Stanley would have been 20 years old and would have read with keen interest the events of that far away war.
On January 6th, 1917 he took a big step and enlisted in the 253rd Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Forces. At the time of his enlistment he stood 5’7 tall, weighted 165 pounds with brown eyes and red hair.
On April 29, 1917 he sailed for England aboard the SS Olympic. He would remain in England for the better part of a year and finally his unite sailed for France and the front lines, arriving on March 8th 1918. When Pte. Darling arrived in France he was attached to the 102nd Battalion as an infantryman.
On September 3rd, 1918, six months after he arrived in France, Pte. Stanley Darling took part in the battle for the Canal du Nord.
The story of that battle is as follows:
On September 3, 1918, the day after the Canadian Corps breached the Drocourt-Quéant Line, a directive was issued for a general Allied offensive on the entire front from the Meuse to the English Channel, with four great hammer-strokes to be delivered at crucial points. The timetable for these blows called for striking the enemy on four successive days. The second of these assaults was to take place on September 27, and was a joint attack by the First and Third British Armies in the general direction of Cambrai to capture the northern part of the Hindenburg Line. Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig ordered the First Army to seize Bourlon Wood and cover the Third Army’s left flank as the latter advanced on Cambrai and subsequently on to Valenciennes. The capture of Bourlon Wood was assigned to the Canadian Corps, which would then push forward to establish a defensive flank northeast of Cambrai. Farther south the British Fourth Army, supported by the French First Army, would join the battle on September 29 in an assault on the main Hindenburg position.
The first obstacle General Sir Arthur Currie’s forces had to overcome was the Canal du Nord. Because the Canal du Nord was impassable on the northern part of his front, General Currie had his boundary with the Third Army shifted 2,377 metres to the south, and proceeded with preparations for the Canadian Corps to make its initial attack through a dry area between Sains-lez-Marquion and Moeuvres. It was an intricate operation introducing the difficult problem of moving the whole Corps through a narrow opening before fanning out with four divisions engaged on a battlefront that would rapidly expand to over 10,000 metres.
In the dusk of the evening of 26 September the Canadians moved forward. By midnight they were assembled opposite the dry section of the canal, huddled together for warmth, and for the most part in the open. The night wore on and there was no evidence of enemy counter-preparation. Suddenly, as dawn was breaking, the opening barrage flashed out, shocking the enemy into action. Before they could retaliate, the initial waves had crossed the canal and were fanning out from the bridgehead. Nevertheless, the follow-up troops suffered casualties as the enemy, alive to the danger, subjected the canal bed to a violent bombardment. The results justified Currie’s generalship. He acquired the canal at relatively light cost, but more than that, Bourlon Wood the essential objective, was also taken.
Unfortunately it was at this point during the start of the battle on September 27th that Pte. Stanley Clarence Darling was killed by enemy fire in his 24th year. He was killed in the vicinity of “Inchy-En-Artois”. Fate took its’ toll and less then two months after his death on November 11th 1918 at 11 o’clock armistice was signed and World War I ended.
Stanley is buried in the Bourlon Wood Cemetery in France.
Today, the Bourlon Wood Canadian Memorial commemorates the attack across the Canal Du Nord on ground donated by the Comte de Franqueville, then Mayor of Bourlon. The great stone block is at the top of a hill. It is approached by climbing steep, stone steps past terraces cut into the hillside, and bears the message:
“THE CANADIAN CORPS ON 27TH SEP. 1918 FORCED THE CANAL DU NORD AND CAPTURED THIS HILL. THEY TOOK CAMBRAI, DENAIN, VALENCIENNES & MONS; THEN MARCHED TO THE RHINE WITH THE VICTORIOUS ALLIES”
Ancient lime trees line both sides of the steps that lead to the Memorial. They are the original trees, and though shattered by shellfire in the battle, they were nursed back to health. The terraces are planted with a rich variety of coniferous shrubs and shade-loving plants. The Memorial is beyond the village of Bourlon, which is just south of the Arras-Cambrai road, three kilometres beyond Marquion.
(note information on the history of the battle and grave site was taken from the Canadian War Museum’s website)
Charles Edward Goad (March 15, 1848 – June 10, 1910 ) was a noted cartographer and civil engineer. Goad is most noted for his insurance surveys of cities in Canada, Great Britain, and elsewhere. Fire insurance companies needed to know in detail the nature and size of buildings, width of streets, construction, building materials and the proximity of fire services and water supplies in order to estimate appropriate premiums. Goad established a company (the Charles E. Goad Company) in 1875 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to produce maps to provide this information. These and like maps are now referred to as Goad Maps.(Wikepedia)
These maps are on line, but we have included them here on our website as they are an important part of our history.
The Mallorytown Telephone Company was just one of hundreds small companies that dotted the rural landscape to serve local needs. It served both the Mallorytown and Lyn, Ontario phone requirements. The service connected with Bell Telephone at Mallorytown. In Lyn their exchange was located in the bottom floor of the Pergau Building on Main Street. The upper floor of the building was open and a place where local dances and events were held.
We are fortunate to have in our collection one of their telephone directories from November 1943. We have scanned and posted all of the pages here for your information.
The following is a copy of the Mallorytown Telephone Directory from November 1913
“The town of Lynn, six miles from Brockville, in the year 1868 was quite a stirring town according to Mr. David Halliday, whose father John Halliday, operated a general store there in that year. In 1869 Lynn was a place of about 750 population. At that time the village had one of the largest tanneries in Ontario. Lynn had originally been known as Coleman’s Corners, and had revolved around the activities of the Coleman family. Even in 1868 to a large extent the Colemans dominated the place. James Coleman ran a four-story grist mill and flour mill. Walter Coleman conducted a large tree and fruit nursery, and a Dr. Wm. F. Coleman looked after all the illnesses of Lyn and surrounding country. John Coleman was a harness maker and Edward Coleman was a flour merchant. There were several other Colemans. A large woolen mill was run by Erastus Cook. There were several sole leather factories in the town. There had been a boot and shoe factory, but in 1868 on its last legs.
In 1872 the tannery received a bad setback. One night a fire broke out in piles of stored tan bark and over a thousand cords were burned. The country surrounding Lynn was strong in dairying and fruit and Lynn benefited therefrom. A good many people came and went, sufficient to support five good hotels. These were kept by John Gilleland, George Ross, Edward Harvey and William Curtis.”
A good and faithful servant retires to a well earned rest
Gertrude E. Wheeler (nee Forth)
On August 30th, last year, the old B&W Railway of Leeds County, Ontario became only a memory — a fragment of Leeds County history.
The engine whistled a mournful note of farewell as it passed our little station of Forthton on it final trip from Westport to Brockville.
For 64 years it had served the farmers of Leeds County faithfully and well. But latterly because of the increasing popularity of trucks and buses, it was playing a losing game. A continuing deficit in returns brought about its abandonment.
Half a century ago, before the motor age, and the building of good highways, the old Brockville & Westport meant a great deal to the rural community; it was their railroad—part and parcel of their daily lives. Not only did it offer a novel means of travelling from place to place, but as a shipping medium it was a decided advantage to all district farmers. Tons of fertilizer, feed and road materials were unloaded regularly at country stations to be conveyed later by team and wagon to the farm homesteads. Outgoing freight from various points along the line consisted chiefly of livestock, butter and cheese. Every Friday ten carloads of the last named commodity were billed for Brockville.
The old B&W was, perhaps, Ontario’s most romantic railroad. In those unhurried days it rambled leisurely through a picturesque countryside translating ordinary mileage into terms of scenic charm.
Leaving Brockville on its daily week-day trips its first stop was at Lyn, a Rip Van Winkle village as quaintly lovely as its name.
Then it meandered further on an apparently unchartered course across prosperous farmlands where mild-eyed cows stood knee deep in clover or dreamed beneath the maples’ lavish shade.
Six miles from Lyn was Forthton Station. It was named after my grandfather, John Forth, who gave the railroad the land at this point through which it passed with the understanding that a station would be built there. The promise was kept, but with the clapboards hanging loose, and windows broken, the station is a mere ghost of its former self. The plank platform, now dilapidated and deserted was once the scene of happy rural travelling. The annual Sunday School picnic at Beverly Lake was a long anticipated event. On a sunny July morning over a hundred children and parents would board the train at Forthton for a wonderful day in the open.
The next stop west was Athens (Formerly Farmersville) a village mainly composed of retired farmers.
From there the train ambled on to Lyndhurst, a settlement near where the Briar Hill Gang lived in the ‘90’s terrifying all whom they choose to molest with their daring pranks.
The next station was Delta with its beautiful Beverly Lake—a resort for picnic parties.
A few miles from here took you to Plum Hollow where the Witch of Plum Hollow studied the tea leaves, and foretold the future with such startling accuracy that their clientele extended into the border states.
Crosby and Newboro were the only other stops further west before the B & W’s final destination at Westport about 45 miles from its starting point, Brockville.
Crosby is a tiny station hidden away in the woods.
Newboro was noted in those days as the place from which great quantities of iron ore were shipped by water to Ohio.
The B&W’s last run was a colourful chapter in the railroad’s history. Several local residents and former employees were on board to pay their last respects to a railway that had been a faithful servant and a loyal friend tom the farmers of the district since the ‘80’s.
Jack Radford, owner of the CFJR radio station in Brockville was among the group. He had with him a tape recording instrument to record the eventful trip in detail. This was later broadcast over CFJR.
Austin Cross of the Ottawa Evening Citizen was also a passenger.
The party included too, George T. Fulford, MP for Leeds County. In speaking of the trip, he said: “This is a very sad occasion. I’ve travelled on 154 railroads, but these are the saddest and most poignant miles I’ve ever travelled.”
Mr. Fulford concluded his remarks by expressing the hope that the old abandoned road might be used someday as a motor highway. Here indeed, is the germ of an idea which might well take root in the soil of progress. Where would we find greater scenic beauty in our province? And where, with the foundation already laid would it be possible to construct a motor way at such a comparatively small cost?
Conductor Pete Moore who had served the railroad for 44 years made the final trip. He had started on the road when he was sixteen. In those early days he fired with cord wood.
When asked what he had to say of the folks along the line, he exclaimed with hearty sincerity: “The meals I’ve eat, and the times I’ve had would fill a book.”
The scream of the old engine as it puffed past the forlorn country stations was fraught with pathos for the farmers and housewives who appeared at different points for a last goody. Most of them were elderly people who felt they were bidding farewell to a friend of more than half a lifetime, and to a railroad that had played an important part in the development of Leeds County.
Some waved flags in tribute, while others took photographs of the old B&W that in its gala days had carried as many as 250 passengers on its daily trip from Brockville to Westport and return.
Superintendent Curle was always proud of the railroad for which he worked. If anyone made a disparaging remark about the B&W he would retaliate loyally by saying: “It may not be the longest line in the country, but it’s just as WIDE.”
(Taken from the book “Country Musings” by Gertrude E. Wheeler)
As I sat down to write about the history of roller skates, I thought it would be an easy task. Not so! For something as simple as a roller skate that I had so much fun on as a kid my internet search provided no results except the following very dry information from the New York Times:
“The first modern two-by-two roller skates were patented in 1863 by James L. Plimpton, a New York City furniture dealer. Instead of being attached directly to the sole of the skate, the wheel assembly was fastened to a pivot and had a rubber cushion, which allowed the skater to curve by shifting his weight. A modification in 1866 added leather straps and metal side braces. “At last a roller skater could move around the floor as if he were on ice,” Mr. Turner wrote.”
This description would not suffice as it failed to detail the happiness, pleasure and bruised knees that a pair of roller skates could bring.
I grew up in a city, with lots of sidewalks and streets on which to use my skates. I was perhaps around 8 or 9 when I, along with every other kid on my block received a pair of brand new roller skates from Santa.
Now the good thing about living in certain cities is the lack of snow in the winter, so I was able to attempt using my new skates without a long wait until spring. It looked so easy, but alas it was not. Time was required to strap and fit them onto your shoes. Sneakers, I found out, wouldn’t work as well as a pair of good old ‘Buster Brown’ hard sole leather shoes.
The skate key was without a doubt one of the most important parts of the roller skate, for without it, all you could do was to look down at a pair of very useless new shiny skates. The key helped to adjust the length of the skate to fit your shoe, and once on your feet would work well to adjust the front clamps to fit snugly around the toe of your shoes. The back leather straps were fairly easy to put on and tighten to the desired fit.
Once the desired fit was obtained then you were ready to take off and skate with your friends, well almost. Maybe not as easy as it looked.
It’s like your first time on ice skates. Your balance is off and your feet want to fly out from under you. You couldn’t ask for help, because what 9 year old boy needs help, or would ever admit to wanting help.
I finally managed to get the hang of skating and was fairly steady on my feet and able to manage to skate a fair distance, that is, until I met my demise…the sidewalk crack!
Those cracks between the large concrete sidewalk slabs were as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon. Yes there were many that were small, narrow and fairly visible, but then there were the big ones! And on my first attempt, down I went, hurting both my knees, out stretched hands, and mostly my pride. Others too, would fall as they attempted to make it across this divide, only to be looked at and laughed at by those who mastered the crossing.
I never really became a great roller skater as so many others did. In time many of us who were unable to master the art of roller skating decided to take our skates apart and make box scooters out of them. Now this was the best part of my roller skating days. All you needed was an old orange crate or another wooden box left out behind the local grocery store, a hammer, some nails and a few other additional pieces of wood. The skate key was used to take apart one skate. The front part of the skate was nailed to the front of your board, and the back part of the skate t the back of the board.
This was something that I could finally master along with the other kids who were not great roller skaters. As a group, we would cruise the sidewalks and streets on our homemade box scooters. A new form of freedom was found.
Years later I went to a roller rink which had form-fitting shoes with the rollers attached, but unfortunately my attempts at this were no better than my old fashion metal skates. The worst part of a Roller Rink, was that falling down was witnessed by all around you as you sat there embarrassed, trying to figure how to exit the rink gracefully.
And that’s my story of “Roller Skates”. If you have your own experiences, please share them with us. If you want to look at an old pair of Roller Skates and reminisce, visit us at the museum.
How many times have you driven along the Lyn Road, passed the large barns and the sign that reads “Avondale Farms”? Here is the story behind those barns and that sign.
An article printed in the (Brockville) “Recorder and Times” appeared on Friday, July 23, 1909…… “Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Hardy, were hosts of a delightful dance at “Avondale Farm” west of town last night, the affair taking place in a large, new modern barn on the Lyn Road recently completed. Although the weather was warm the barn afforded an ideal spot for just such a gathering and until two o’clock this morning the 250 guests tripped the light fantastic to excellent music furnished by Merry’s Orchestra of ten pieces from Ogdensburg. Three locomotive headlights and small coloured lanterns were used for lighting the building. At midnight dainty refreshments were served”.
As one reads this account 110 years later, imagination can almost visualize the dancing, the laughter and high spirits of that evening. Today, such a celebration for the completion of a barn would be unheard of. So who were Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Hardy?
Arthur Charles Winnett Hardy was born on Tuesday, December 3, 1872 at Brantford, Ontario. He was the son of a former Premier of Ontario, the Honorable Arthur Sturgis Hardy and Mary Morrison, the daughter of Hon. Joseph C. Morrsion, Solicitor General and Receiver General in two of Sir John A. Macdonald’s administrations from 1856 to 1860.
Educated at Brantford Collegiate Institute, Upper Canada College and Toronto University with a B.A. in 1895, Arthur Charles Hardy graduated from Osgoode Hall with a LL.B and was ‘Called to the Bar’ in 1896. In 1904 he married Dorothy Fulford (1881-1949), daughter of Senator George T. Fulford of Brockville. After their marriage the couple took up residence along the St. Lawrence River at the east end of Brockville at “Thornton Cliff”. This ‘mansion’ had been purchased by George T. Fulford for a reported $11,000 and given to his daughter and son-in-law as a wedding gift.
A barrister by training, Arthur C. Hardy practiced law for only a short time. He was summoned to the Canadian Senate on February 10, 1922, was speaker of the Senate for a short period in 1930 and was sworn into the Privy Council July 31, 1930. From this point on, Arthur C. Hardy became known as Senator A.C. Hardy.
With a deep interest in the community, Senator Hardy also held a more personal interest in agricultural matters. This perhaps started out as a hobby, but it later grew into something much more.
From ‘Hobby Farm’ to Business:
Sometime between 1905 and 1909, Arthur Charles Hardy turned his attention to establishing his own farm and began to buy up parcels of land along the Lyn Road, just west of Brockville. This first purchase of 100 acres allowed the Senator to pursue his long time interest in agriculture and own some cattle. This soon became a desire to breed purebred cattle and he would ultimately name his farm Avondale Farm. In the years following, the farm continued to grow in size to approximately 250 acres, with the purchase of other surrounding lands, including those belonging to the Bressee, Grant, Johnston and Paul families.
The existence of buildings on the original property is uncertain. The newly-built barn that we previously referenced may have been a replacement for an existing barn, or it could have been the first barn built on this property. The manager’s house, on the driveway leading into the farm was built shortly after Senator Hardy purchased the farm. The house located next to the manager’s house, was originally located on a side road at the back of the farm and was moved to its present location most likely prior to 1909. It was first used as a boarding house for farm employees and seasonal workers. Later it became the herdsman’s home.
Another structure that was built on the farm was a small, two story frame house away from the main buildings, down a short lane-way. Fully furnished and surrounded by trees on two of its sides and fields on the other two sides, this house was occasionally used by the Senator and his wife Dorothy. Avondale seemed to be a place of retreat for the couple and they would bring their servants with them to prepare and serve their meals. On at least one occasion Senator Hardy celebrated his birthday at this quiet scenic ‘hideaway’. In 1948, an additional two bedrooms were added on the back of the house in the event grandchildren would eventually visit.
From 1909 to the early 1920’s, Senator Hardy was establishing one of the finest purebred Holstein herds in Canada. It did not stop there. Continuing his quest for perfection in a cattle herd, in 1925 Senator Hardy imported a herd of purebred Jersey cattle from the Jersey Islands in the English Channel. For the next 13 years, Avondale Farm housed both purebred Holstein and Jersey cattle. In 1938, the Holstein herd was sold and the focus was placed on breeding and raising Jersey cattle.
Avondale was also equipped with a modern dairy, capable of pasteurizing and processing milk for home delivery. The Jersey milk was all produced by the farm herd of 65 – 75 cows, while the milk from Holsteins (after 1938) was purchased from area farmers. The ‘Dairy’ operation consisted of three men, one responsible for pasteurizing and bottling and two men for the delivery to households around Brockville. Approximately 1000 quarts of milk were sold each day by 1942! At that time the price for milk was 10¢ a quart (standard milk from Holsteins), and 12¢ for the richer Jersey milk.
The horse drawn ‘Avondale Farm Milk Wagon’ was a familiar sight on the streets of Brockville for many years in the early half of the 1900’s. One very memorable milkman was Harvey Pyke, who began delivering milk in 1932 at the age of 18. His faithful horse who pulled his wagon each day was named Polly, a Belgian mare. In good weather they used a wagon, and in bad winter weather, a sleigh. By the time the Avondale Dairy closed in the late 1940’s, a motorized truck had replaced Polly and her wagon and Harvey Pyke went to work for Smith’s Dairy in Brockville.
Although Senator Hardy never ‘lived’ on Avondale Farm, he visited whenever he could, depending on his schedule. “Sometimes he came every day, sometimes twice a week or he would simply call and ask if there were any new calves in the barn. He had a particular soft spot for the little calves.”(Lillian Baker)
To handle the daily chores, Avondale employed a staff of between ten to twelve farm workers, depending on the time of year. Obviously during the warmer months, more farm hands were necessary for crop planting and harvesting. Overseeing the employees was a Farm Manager. Prior to 1918, Mr. Betty, Mr. Manhard, Mr. Logan, Mr. Bissle and Mr. H. Lynn held this position. Mr. J.D. Seeks was the Manager from March 11, 1918 to November 28, 1918, followed by Mr. T. J. Davidson, who held the position from November 28, 1918 until his retirement on November 23, 1941. It should be noted that Mr. T.J. Davidson was a building contractor by profession and had constructed many of the buildings on the farm.
In the summer of 1938, a recent graduate of Kemptville Agricultural College, Mr. Arden Baker was hired as an Assistant Manager and starting on July 1, 1942, became the last Avondale Farm Manager.
Up until this time, “Most of the management efforts were placed on the cattle herds and very little on a cropping programme for the farm. As a result the crops were limited to hay and silage corn. Almost all of the grain ration was purchased. It was quite common to have a car load of beet pulp (by product of beet sugar) or various kinds of grain feed, placed on the Church Street rail siding and then transport the hundreds of bags of material to the farm with horses and wagons.”(Arden H. Baker)
Farm Manager Arden Baker was very interested in efforts to improve crop production. After the war years (1939-45) the Ontario Department of Agriculture instituted a programme for encouraging farms to develop new varieties of grasses, clovers and legumes. Test plots were set up for the Department of Agriculture and for the Kemptville Agricultural College.
“For several years we grew six to ten different varieties of oats, barley and corn on the farm as test plots for the Ontario Dept. Of Agriculture. These tests plots were to assist in picking the best varieties for yield, strength of straw, disease resistance, etc. At the same time County Crop Improvement Associations were formed and great interest was generated among farmers to improve their cropping practices. With the depression and war years over, there was a renewed vigour and interest throughout society in general to get on with improving the quality of life. Agricultural fairs resumed again after being completely closed down during the war years. Farm people began to exhibit their livestock and crop samples at the fairs and this in itself generated great interest and improved knowledge in agricultural production.” (Arden Baker)
In time the farm was able to reduce its dependence on outside producers and grow all the required feed themselves, for the cattle and other livestock.
With increasing notoriety from the celebrated purebred Jersey herd and the new crop improvement programme taking place at the farm, there was a growing interest in Avondale Farm, which resulted in many bus tours of farmers visiting from Ontario and New York State.
Various cattle at the farm continued to make history in the agricultural community. One such cow was “Beatrice Newington” and in her honour, a banquet was held at the Manitonna Hotel in Brockville, sponsored by the Eastern Ontario Jersey Breeders’ Association on May 14, 1931, where the honoured guest (Beatrice Newington), was actually presented to the invited guests after the dinner.
Barn Fire and the End of the Dairy:
On Sunday, July 11, 1948, a disastrous fire wiped out the main cattle barn and dairy. “Fortunately the fire happened in the summer and the milking herd was in the pasture at the time and all of the calves were saved from the adjoining calf barn except for two small calves that went unnoticed in the barn when the barn door closed prematurely as the workers were frantically removing them.” (Lillian Baker)
“The loss of the barn was estimated to be between $75,000 and $100,000. The fire was discovered shortly after 4 a.m. by Mrs. Peter Morrow, matron of the farm’s boarding house. The Brockville Fire Department received a call at 4:20 and went to render whatever assistance they could. Manager Arden Baker said that when he looked out the window the flames seemed to be shooting out of the roof in the centre of the barn. He could not give any logical reason for the out-break as there was no new hay in that part of the barn and there was no electric wiring in that section.
Only one cow was lost, a record test animal which was in the barn. All the other animals were in pasture but would have been in the barn for milking in about another hour.
Much valuable dairy equipment was lost in the fire. However other local dairies have promised assistance so that Avondale customers will receive their daily supplies of milk.
Efforts of the firemen and voluntary workers were concentrated on saving the other buildings nearby. Heat from the burning barn blistered the paint on the other buildings and one ignited three of four times but the firemen were able to put this secondary blaze out.
The barn collapsed about 5:30 a.m. and the fire continued to burn throughout the day still smouldering a bit at night but not enough to cause any trouble”. (Recorder and Times: Monday, July 12, 1948)
One theory behind the cause of the fire was that a tramp was spending the night in the hayloft, and accidentally caused the fire – but that was only a theory. Within forty-eight hours of the fire, plans were already being made by Senator Hardy to rebuild and in less than one week, a building contractor was on site to commence reconstruction. As for the cows, the milking took place in another barn on the east side of the Lyn Road, until the new barn was built.
On October 10, 1948, just three months later, the new barn was completed and ready for the milking herd. Senator Hardy gave much of the responsibility for the design and barn features to Arden Baker. But one decision was made by Senator Hardy. He chose not to re-build the Dairy. The Avondale Dairy business was then sold to Smith Dairy, operated by Glenson Smith (Smith Dairy was located at the foot of Water Street in Brockville.)
Construction of the new barn:
The “Modern Era” (1950’s and beyond):
By now, in addition to the three single family homes, the farm property on the west side of the Lyn Road consisted of a duplex house, the new main cow and calf barn, a combined horse and sheep barn, a bull barn, a machine shop, a farm equipment storage shed and an ice house. This ice house was still utilized during the 1950’s, when blocks of ice were cut from the St. Lawrence River, placed in the ice house and insulated in sawdust. The ice was used for the old fashioned ice boxes which were in the houses on the farm.
Located on the east side of the Lyn Road was another duplex house and a single family home, completing the accommodations which were made available for the farm employees. Also on the east side of the road was an older, ‘L-shaped’ barn, possibly built before 1905, which housed more cattle and pigs and was used for the milking during the main barn construction in 1948.
Like most farms at the time, Avondale was home to pigs, sheep and ‘work horses’, as well as the prized Jersey herd. While the pay for the farm labourers was not great, it did include housing, milk and cream for butter. The farm also grew potatoes that were shared by the various farm families. In the winter, work gangs were formed to cut down trees and split wood for heat and the cook stoves in the various homes on the farm.
“The post war years brought the re-opening of the county and district fairs. Avondale exhibited a representative sample of the Jersey herd (12 to 14 head) each year at the St. Lawrence Jersey Club Show and at the Ottawa Exhibition and the Ottawa Winter Fair. Avondale Jerseys won over 30 Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor Awards at the two Ottawa Fairs between 1950 and 1966. In 1952 Avondale won the Premier Breeder Award at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. The same year was the beginning of the annual Sale of Stars held in conjunction with the Royal. Avondale entered a three year old cow named Avondale Delphine. This cow sold for the highest price of the sale at $4,500 to Mrs. Virgin who had a Jersey herd at North Hatley, Quebec.
The same year, 1952, one of our cows, ‘Avondale Alga’, broke the Canadian record for butter fat. The previous record was just slightly over 1000 pounds. The Canadian Jersey Cattle Club held a banquet in honour of this cow in the Manitonna Hotel in Brockville.” (Arden Baker)
As the years progressed, Senator Hardy left more and more of the decision-making to Arden Baker, apparently realizing the passion which he himself had for farming, was equaled by that of his Farm Manager.
In the late 1950’s, Senator Hardy suggested a vision for the future of Avondale Farm. He thought the Jersey herd should be replaced by beef cattle, stating, “Arden get out of dairy cattle and into beef cattle. There’s more of a future there.”(Arden H. Baker) With that advice, the first purebred Hereford cattle began appearing on the farm in 1959.
On March 16, 1962, Senator Arthur Charles Hardy passed away, at the age of 90. As a final act of kindness and generosity, Senator Hardy willed his entire 250 acre farm to Arden Baker.
The farm continued to operate and flourish for many years, with a growing purebred Polled Hereford herd, which, like their Holstein and Jersey predecessors, took many honours and gained recognition throughout the beef producers’ community. In 1966 a visit to the farm was made by Sir Anthony Eden (Lord Avon) and his wife, of Great Britain. Also owning Hereford cattle, Lord Avon had heard stories of Avondale Farm and requested that a tour of the farm be placed on his itinerary during a visit to Canada.
Visit of Sir Anthony Eden to Avondale Farm
In September, 1968, a sale was held at the farm and the remaining prized Jersey herd was sold. The following year, in addition to the Purebred Hereford operation, a ‘Beef Cross-breeding Programme’ was initiated on the farm.
Also in 1969, the ice house was torn down, and the old machine shop and storage shed were replaced by newer ones. By 1975, the barn on the east side of the Lyn Road ceased to be used for cattle and became a hay storage area until it was torn down in 1996. Pigs and sheep no longer remained on the farm. The reliable ‘work horses’ had also been replaced by the more modern tractors.
On Saturday, June 10, 1978, Avondale Farm held its final sale…. “Polled Herefords Dispersal Sale”. The ‘Beef Cross-breeding Programme’ continued until 2001.
Avondale Farm remains in the Baker family and continues to be used for ‘cropping’.
Legacy of Senator A.C. Hardy and Dorothy (Fulford) Hardy:
We have just learned about Senator Hardy’s personal passion and dedication for the farming business. But his passion and dedication also reached into other areas of his life and that of his wife Dorothy (Fulford) Hardy. Their generosity can be found in and around Brockville.
Senator Hardy was one of those most instrumental in the erection of the New Theatre in Brockville, a gift to the municipality and completed in 1911. Until its demise in 1921, he was president of the Brockville Opera House Co., which operated the theatre.
In 1912, Mr. and Mrs. Hardy purchased a property on Pearl St. West and presented it to the Children’s Aid Society as a shelter.
In 1915, Mr. and Mrs Hardy offered the Dominion Government the sum of $100,000 with which to equip a battalion of infantry or other combatant unit for overseas service. The offer was not accepted. The sum of $40,000 was however, in the same year accepted by the University of Toronto as a share of the maintenance of the University Base Hospital Unit which proceeded overseas. A further sum of $60,000 was given by Mrs. G.T. Fulford and Mr. and Mrs. Hardy to the Duchess of Connaught’s Canadian Hospital at Clivedon, England.
In 1917, they finalized the completion of the Fulford Memorial Home for Aged Women, which was started by Dorothy’s father George T. Fulford. The home was reported to have cost in the neighbourhood of $400,000. (1920’s dollars).
When the 156th Leeds and Grenville Overseas battalion was authorized, Mr. and Mrs. Hardy at once took a keen interest in its welfare and presented the unit with the band instruments which were used during training in Canada and afterwards taken to England.
In 1921 they offered the Town of Brockville a pavilion at St. Lawrence Park for the protection of visitors. This pavilion is still standing today.
During the European War, Senator Hardy was president of the Patriotic Fund in Brockville which administered the funds provided for the care of soldier’s dependents.
In 1961, probably the most notable and lasting gift of Senator A.C. Hardy was the Water Street property of the former James Smart Mfg. Company which he purchased and donated to the city of Brockville. Mayor Langmuir stated at the time “It will be a pedestrian park, there will be plenty of trees planted and benches placed about it.” Asked about a bandstand the mayor said that was a possibility too. (Recorder and Times, June 27, 1961)
This same year, Senator A. C. Hardy was named Brockville’s Citizen of the Year.
Among his other lifetime accomplishments were: President of the Ontario Liberal Association from 1919 until 1932; Chairman of the Committee of Management of Fulford Home for Aged Women for many years; Trustee of the National Sanitarium Association; Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Governor-General’s Foot Guards; Trustee of Queen’s University, Kingston (Endowed a Chair in Political Science) and Director of Toronto General Trusts Corporation for over fifty years.
Arthur Hardy and his wife Dorothy had four children: Arthur Sturgis Hardy (1905-1969); Mary Fulford Hardy (1907-1930); Fulford Patrick Hardy (1911-1951) and Dorothy Patricia Hardy (1916-1974).
In 1949, Dorothy (Fulford) Hardy passed away at the age of 68. The couple had been married for forty-six years.
Senator A.C. Hardy died on March 13, 1962 at the age of 90.
Although not many people today know the name Senator Arthur Charles Hardy, his legacy, his philanthropy, his generosity and selflessness will live on for years to come.
The End of the Story:
So the next time you are out driving on the Lyn Road, and pass by the “Avondale” sign and look over at the cream coloured barns, you will know the amazing history behind those buildings.
1905 – 1909 – Senator A.C. Hardy began purchasing land from surrounding families with the intention of raising cattle and eventually concentrated on Purebred Holstein cattle
1909 – July – The Main Barn was completed and opened
1916 – November – The new dairy was tiled and Mr. Herman Fulford made the first butter on the farm – 17 pounds. For a time butter along with milk and cream was sold to customers.
1917 – “May Echo Sylvia” was such a great milk producer, that the Senator held a party in her honour at the Manitonna Hotel in Brockville. When all the guests were assembled at the tables ready for the banquet, the guest of Honour- “May Echo Sylvia” was lead into the room to join the guests.
1918 – April – Three cows were taken to the Brockville Armouries where a short course in judging was given to local area farmers
1918 – Sold a bull calf to Carnation Farms for a record $106,000. This was the highest price paid for an animal up to that time.
1925 – A herd of Jersey Cattle was imported from the Jersey Islands
1925 – 1938 – The farm had both purebred Holstein and Jersey Cattle
1931 – May 14th – In honour of a Jersey cow “Beatrice Newington”, a banquet was held at the Manitonna Hotel in Brockville, sponsored by the Eastern Ontario Jersey Breeders’ Association
1934 –1935 – There were only 10 cows in Canada having produced over 1000 pounds of butter fat, 3 of those 10 were from Avondale Farm
1938 – The remaining Holstein cattle were sold and focus was then directed on breeding and raising purebred Jersey cattle
1942 – July 1st – Arden Baker became manager of Avondale Farm
1948 – July – The main barn was destroyed in a fire
1948 – Avondale Dairy was closed and home delivery of milk and cream ends
1948 – October – The new main barn was completed
1949 – October – Mrs. Dorothy (Fulford) Hardy passed away
1951 – “Avondale Alga” made a Canadian Record for producing over 1122 pounds of butter fat and 16,767 pounds of milk. A banquet was given at the Manitonna Hotel in Brockville in this cow’s honour.
1952 – A three year old cow named “Avondale Delphine” sold for the highest price of the sale at $4,500.
1959 – The first purebred Hereford cattle appeared on the farm
1962 – Senator Arthur Charles Hardy passed away at the age of 90
1962 – Avondale Farm was ‘willed’ to Arden Baker
1968 – The remaining Jersey herd was sold and the farm business was turned to raising Polled Herefords
1969 – ‘Beef Cross-breeding Programme’ was initiated on the farm
1969 – New machine shop and equipment storage shed built
1978 – The purebred Polled Hereford herd was sold
2001 – ‘Beef Cross-breeding Programme’ comes to an end; ‘cropping’ continues
Photos of the Farm from the 1930’s
The Interior of the Original Barn
Photos of the Farm from the 1940’s (before the fire in 1949)
Bottled Milk and Cream Delivery
Photos of the Farm from the 1950’s
Photos of the sale of the Jersey Heard 1968
Miscellaneous News Articles
Avondale Farm Manager and Owner- Arden Baker 1915-1988
The Tanning Business at Coleman’s Corners – March 7, 1850-
As written in the Brockville Recorder of 1850
The editor had been out to Coleman’s Corners, now known as Lyn, and in the issue of this date gives his impressions of the place as follows:–
“This place, to appearance, has little to attract the attention of a stranger, unless it be a feeling that there is something picturesque in the scenery around it. But let him follow that small rippling stream scarce deep enough to carry on its bosom the little rustic knife made boat of a happy urchin, and the stranger will be led to a building low enough in the front, but pretty deep in the rear, which thanks to the Messrs. Coleman, is the most celebrated and extensive tanning establishment in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.
“The Messrs. Coleman commenced in 1938 with a small grist mill. In 1841 they built a sawmill, and soon after they began the business of tanning sole leather. In order to note the progress made in this department we may state that in 1844 they turned out 1,100 hides; in 1845 they turned out 1,200; in 1846, 2,000; in 1847, 2800; in 1848, 2,500; in 1849, 6,000; and for the present year they calculate manufacturing no less than 7,500, all of which is consumed within the province, the raw hides being what are termed Spanish, and imported from the United States, some of them weighing when manufactured and ready for market 45 lbs.
“To show the anxiety of the proprietors to improve this branch of their work, we man mention that for the purpose of heating the liquid they procured and fitted up three copper heaters at an expense of $300. each, in warming of which about 500 cords of wood are used in the course of the year. At present their stock of bark amounts to 3,500 cords, which they calculate will only serve for eighteen months.
“The establishment contains 80 vats and nearly one mile of pump log leading to and from the various places where it is required. There are two hide mills, and a bark grinding mill, capable of grinding from fifteen to twenty cords a day.
“There are employed by the Messrs. Coleman, one way and another, from thirty to forty men, whose wages amount in one year from £1,500. to £1,750.
“We have stated that the supply of water is small. It is led from an artificial pond, where, generally, the proprietors contrive to husband a three months supply, and was this supply to fail, the consequences would be disastrous to all interested. Great care is therefore required to ‘waste not’ in order that they may ‘want not’. For this purpose a small stream is made to work the rolling machine in the first instance; from there it is carried to the bark mill, which it drives, working two pumps at the same time when required. It is also used for cleaning out the leeches, which it does at less expense than by manual labor.
“Of the quality of the leather manufactured we need say nothing, the success attending their establishment being a sufficient evidence of its excellence, and we understand their sales last year amounted to £10,000.
“Were we to enter into an argument on the advantage of local manufacturing in the country, we would not ask a better starting point than Coleman’s Corners, and the following list of articles consumed by them in the course of the past year, the produce of the country, will show how much the farmer is interested in the establishment of manufactures throughout the province. Messrs. Coleman used during the last year:
2,500 cords bark at 12s6d – £1,562.10
500 cords wood at 5s – £125.00
500 barrels flour at 25s – £625.00
50 barrels pork at 50s £125.00
40 tons hay at 40s – £80.00
1,600 bushel oats at 1s,3d – £100.00
300 bushel corn at 2s,6d – £37.10
total – £2,655.00
This does not include the consumption of eggs, poultry, roots, vegetables, etc., which of themselves would amount to a considerable sum in the course of the year. People may tell of ‘ruin and decay’ and the progress of the United States, but we would advise all who doubt the fact of Canadian progress to ponder well what is contained in the notice, come and visit Messrs. Coleman’s establishment, and then ‘go and do likewise.”
Taken from the Recorder as published in the book “Landmarks of Leeds and Grenville”
Unfortunately no photos exists of this tanning operation at the old Lyn Mills
Toledo had three log schools in and around the immediate area. These schools were closed with the erection of a new stone school in the Village by the late 1840’s. This structure served the area until the 1870’s.
In 1876, Mr. Robert Parker built a two room brick schoolhouse on King Street. Teachers of the late 19th Century included R. Evans 1872-76; Hincks Eaton 1882; Miss Emma Smith 1887; Robert Fritty aand Robert Fields 1887, J. Rabb 1888-90; W.C. Dowsley and Anthony Rape and Miss Sexton. Teachers in the 20th Century included Miss A.Pelto, Mable Rouck, Tommy Cook, Iva Dunham, Miss Murphy, Miss Ida Connors, Miss Pettem, Doreen McDougal, Mrs. Greenhorn, Hattie Cannon and Pearl Morrison,
With the tragic death of Miss Cannon and Mrs. Morrison in a car accident near Newbliss in 1961, the old brick structure was closed and students from the Toledo are went to either the new Frankville Public School or the new St. Joseph’s Separate School in Toledo. (Kitley 1795-1975 by Dr. Glenn Lockwood)
From Edna’s Scrapbook:
Two sisters, Mrs. Albert W Morrison aged 64 years, and Miss Harriett Cannon aged 68 years died together when their car was struck by an oil truck driven by Garnet Sands of Frankville on May 4, 1961. They lived at Jasper and taught school to Toledo. They were on their way to school at 8:45am and drove from the Jasper Road onto Highway 29, directly in front of Sands who was travelling towards Smiths Falls and he was unable to avoid a collision. Both car and truck were demolished, the latter catching fire and burning to a shell. Sands was able to escape but received severe burns and shock. He had his 3 year old son Terry with him and he was able to save the boy but he was also burned. Mrs. Morrison was the former Edith Pearl Cannon and both sisters were born at Portland. They had been teachers for many years and were very well known and highly regarded.
A Granddaughter Remembers Her Grandfather – William Henry MacNish
by Margaret MacNish
“My grandfather William Henry MacNish, was over 6 feet tall and carried a full head of snow-white hair. Heavy shouldered, he walked with a slow and dignified shuffle about the farm and up the oval driveway to the stone house. In spring, summer and fall his main preoccupation was an extensive garden: vegetables set in long straight rows, strawberry beds, raspberries- all kinds of other foods.
He could be seen kneeling between the rows weeding, thinning, harvesting. We children were strictly forbidden to take a shortcut through this garden but often we were engaged in searches for tomato worms and potato bugs. Grandfather too was the only adult who took time to teach us to sow carrot seed, plant beans, corn and later thin and water the plants. ‘Water them to the roots’, he’d exclaim, as I held the watering can.
He also had time in winter to play endless games of domino’s, almost always ending with an ‘apple party’. ‘Let’s go to the cellar!’ he’d exclaim, and down we’d go tot he storage bin to choose an especially fine apple. Later upstairs, he’d use his pocket knife to carefully peel the apple and cut it into beautiful slices which were put on a plate and ceremoniously passed around.
Grandfather was a well known breeder of Ayrshire’s (brown and white dairy cattle). Our education was not complete until he took us one by one to the barn and taught us how to judge cattle.
That he was devoted to us was proven again and again, especially to me, for I was the recipient, on various Christmases, of a doll’s house, a large doll’s cradle and finally my own sled, ponderous and too heavy to lift. The family sneered at is efforts, but I knew and my thank you’s were heartfelt.
Grandfather was well known in the community; elected reeve of the township, and serving on various boards to take care of destitute families and the like. I recall as a child sitting in the balcony of the town theatre, looking down at the stage where Grandfather sat in the front row beside Canada’s Prime Minister Will Lyon McKenzie King.
Part of his political skill lay in his oratory. He read widely and knew how to hold an audience with wit and an extensive vocabulary. Obviously he had read all the classics housed in the glass front bookcase in the corner of the sitting room. And his favourite spot in the family kitches was in a chair near the south window under his Seth Thomas clock, where a large magazine rack held the Globe and Mail, and farm publications.”
Note: The spelling of MacNish was intentional and this is the way it was written, today’s common spelling is McNish.
William Henry McNish – August 31, 1858 to August 22, 1937
Christmas is a magical time, it was even more so when you attended a one room schoolhouse. It was a time before mass media and commercialism, a simpler time when our imaginations were the most important part of our growing up.
We are fortunate to be able to share a story of those days written by Diann Turner as it appeared in “Living Here Magazine.”
Dynamite for Santa in the One-Room School Christmas Concert
Permission given to post article courtesy of Living Here Magazine- Owned by Marshall Enterprises ( Brockville, Ontario)
My attempt to encapsulate things reminiscent about a one-room school education in our region was easily compensated with abundant stories from former students and teachers. Their memories of the schools’ Christmas concerts easily morphed into my conclusion that this had to be the most quintessential part of the one-room school experience. Coupled with my own memories from Glen Elbe School on Highway 42, east of Athens, Christmas concerts were undoubtedly the perfect evocation of a moment in time!
I’ll begin with an early December, 1961 day in the school yard of Addison Public school on the Addison-Greenbush Road. Smoke from the school’s wood box stove drifted across the landscape as large, weightless snowflakes tumbled to the ground and quickly dissolved. Excited, squealing children gathered eagerly to catch them before they landed. Teacher, Mrs. Ina Blanchard, was inside writing out Christmas songs on the blackboard and she knew her class was wild with anticipation; Christmas preparations had begun! A variety of plays, skits and songs would have to be copied into students’ scribblers from the teacher’s impeccable cursive writing on the blackboard. Lyrics would be memorized and repeated a hundred times with the weekly music teacher, Mr. Kayak. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “Up On The Housetop” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” were favorites, but Mrs. Blanchard insisted they always end with “Away In A Manger” or “Silent Night.” This insured the program reflected the Bethlehem account of Christmas. “The Night Before Christmas” would be recited by one particularly confident student. A scraggly Christmas tree (Pre-Charlie Brown Christmas-1965) would be dragged in and students would craft simple decorations from construction paper, popcorn, and perhaps, a few scrawny pine cones from a yard tree. There would be no dazzling lights.
The best year of all, reminisced one student, was the year she and two other eighth grade students were told to write a play. “We came up with the title ‘Dynamite for Santa,’ she told me. “We kept the whole thing a big secret and the younger students knew nothing about it.” (I have no idea how they pulled this off in a room that accommodated eight grades.) “A chimney was built, costumes were sewn, a couple of cement blocks and lumber brought in to construct the stage, and an old sheet was hastily strung for a curtain.” When the magical night came, the place was packed with students, parents and the community’s curious. The younger students flawlessly delivered songs and recitations, but the melodrama accelerated as the play began. The plot thickened as the drama proceeded and near the end, “there was a sudden ear-splitting bang and we blew Santa up!” said my story teller. “The chimney collapsed in a heap and roaring laughter and clapping filled the room.” This concert gained such notoriety the Addison United Church invited the school children to repeat it at their hall a few nights closer to Christmas. The old wood stove was stoked to its maximum and all ages would find themselves warming to it as the children filled their ears with the sounds of the season. They didn’t realize they were making history!
A few miles southeast, at Glen Elbe School, teacher Mary Topping had her students tapping their toes to similar music and when the music teacher, Mr. Addison, arrived things revved up another notch! I don’t recall that we performed in front of anyone other than fellow students. However, I do remember the excitement as our teacher pumped away at the organ and our voices flew to the ceiling, while chains of paper rings fell on our heads as the Elmer’s glue dried out in the heat. I can still see one smiling girl enthusiastically ringing sleigh bells as we belted out “Silver Bells.” Norma Flood and Bob Whaley all rode to Glen Elbe School in an old army truck that had removable wooden sides .Wilbert Whaley and Gerald Redford were the drivers. Come December, they had to have bundled up for the ride!
In Junetown Public School, nestled in the woods near the end of Junetown Road, students were equally counting down the days, heartily singing- “It’s Christmas, It’s Christmas, It’s finally Christmas, and soon it is going to be Christmas Day!” One gentleman recalls having Mrs. Jean Gainford-Burnham for a teacher in December of 1962. It just so happened her husband, Doug Gainford, was wing-man on the snow plough that cleared the road in front of the school. Mrs. Gainford hatched a brilliant scheme and talked her husband into stuffing himself into a Santa suit one morning before heading out for his work day on the plough. The operator agreed with the idea and readily stopped in front of the school. Mr. Gainford sauntered in, unannounced, and delighted the students with a hearty “Ho Ho Ho” as he tramped down the aisle and made everything merry and bright! Some said he even jumped from desk to desk! There wasn’t much of monetary value in his sack: a one cent paper bag with perhaps an orange and a few hard candies for each student.
Barb Nichols wrote a lovely memoir of her Christmas concerts at Plum Hollow Public School, north west of Athens. “Early in November, all of the English lessons were dedicated to practicing for our Christmas concert. This was an excellent exercise to insert drama, public speaking, music and pantomimes into the curriculum. Furthermore, it was the best way to conduct lessons when it was getting too dark in the classroom to see the board as well. School did not dismiss until four o’clock, EST. The parents, grandparents and the rest of the community largely attended school Christmas concerts. Television was not in wide use then, so everyone enjoyed seeing the children perform their plays, recitations and Christmas carols. We held the concert in the school, hanging curtains at the sides of the raised platform in front of the blackboard for change rooms and to store the props. Yes, it was crowded but they managed well! The school was full to the “rafters” and everyone had a good time. When the children acted out the “Old Ford Car” and the shadow play “Cat Pie” during one concert, the audience declared it was the best they had ever seen.” (Story courtesy of Athens & Area Heritage Society)
It didn’t take money, store bought items, over-extended credit, or the glitz and glamour of today’s Christmases. Technology and inflated expectation were absent.
Simpler, idyllic times left lasting memories and influence was handed down in those one-room school houses that could never be paralleled today. I personally experienced it, and my story tellers confirm it!
The year was 1887 when Andrew Salomnson was born (Andres Salomonsson) in Kall, Kall County, Sweden. If you were to look on a map you would find that Kall is located in the middle of Sweden, a pretty little village on the side of a lake. He was born on Tuesday, February 8, 1887 to his parents Keistokonson Salomonsson and Anne Hyttsten.
Little is know about his early life in Sweden, except that he did have brothers and sisters, so he was not alone in his youth. At the age of 19, in 1906, he left home to go to Newfoundland. There was a saw mill there owned by a Swedish man and he would bring over other Swedes to work in his mill and for logging in the dense forest of Newfoundland. After saying good-bye to his parents and family, he set off to Goteborg. It was there, that on April 27th he boarded a ship to Hull, England, where he then took another ship to St. John’s, Newfoundland, which at that time was not part of the Canada we know today.
On this trip, he was accompanied by a cousin on his mother’s side, Brita A. Jonsson who was four years his senior. We do not know what happened to his cousin Brita, but in 1907 Andrew left Newfoundland and went by ship and arrived at North Sidney, Nova Scotia on August 20th. He eventually found his way to Cochrane, Ontario.
He worked for a few years as a labourer and on his Military Enlistment record, his occupation is shown as a “Concrete Contractor”.
War broke out in 1914, but Andrew probably thought it would end soon and didn’t enlist immediately at the start of the war. Instead, he waited until 1916 when on April 13th, he signed his Attestation Papers.
Andrew enlisted in the 159th Battalion (1st Algonquin CEF), 97th Regiment, based in Haileybury, Ontario. He, along with his regiment, sailed to England in November 1916, where his battalion was absorbed into the 8th Reserve Battalion on January 20, 1917. In England he was stationed at the large training camp at Seaford. It was here that he, because of his background as a Concrete Contractor, was assigned to a labour group.
He went to France on February 10th, 1917 and on November 25th of the same year, he was promoted to the rank of Corporal and assigned to the 2nd Canadian Labour Battalion, in France.(For the record his service number was 648830)
After the Armistice was signed on November 11th 1918, be returned to England and eventually to Canada. He was discharged from the military on March 20, 1919.
Little is known of the next few years of his life; perhaps he went back to Cochrane, Ontario to resume his previous life as a cement contractor. The next time we see Andrew is when he is hospitalized at St. Mary’s Hospital in Montreal with tuberculosis in the mid 1920’s.
It was there while in hospital that he fell in love with his nurse, Gertrude May Johnston of Elizabethtown. The love was mutual and on June 21st 1927, they were married in Muskoka, Ontario. On the marriage certificate his occupation is listed as “Prospector”.
Gertrude was the second of four daughters of John and Lilly Belle Johnston being born in 1894 at the family home on the Lyn Road. She was seven years younger than Andrew.
Gertrude and Andrew purchased a small home in Gravenhurst and settled down to start their new life together. Unfortunately it wasn’t too long after their marriage that Andrew’s TB returned, and unfortunately after spending time nursing and working with TB patients, his wife Gertrude developed tuberculosis as well.
They lived close to the Muskoka Tuberculosis Sanatorium and it was there that they sought treatment. Unfortunately Andrew passed away on March 3rd, 1934, at he age of 47 after being married to Gertrude for only seven short years.
After Andrew’s death, Gertrude moved back to live with her parents. It was here, suffering from TB, that she would spend the remainder of her days. Four years after the death of her husband, Gertrude passed away on June 10th, 1938, at the age of 43.
Both Andrew and Gertrude are buried at the Oakland Cemetery just west of Brockville. They had no children.
History of Purvis Street School (S.S. #8 Front of Yonge)
While we acknowledge that this school was located in the Twp. of Front of Yonge, we have included it on our website because of its closeness to Lyn. The students and families that sent their children to this school would have considered Lyn as the nearest town where they would shop etc. Many of the names seen on these photos will be familiar to the residents of Elizabethtown-Kitley Township.
The brick school was closed in 1967. It had been built in 1890 to replace a stone building which had been erected in 1844.
On May 12th, 1890, the ratepayers held a meeting and voted 11 in favour and 9 against the building of this new school. The secretary was advised to advertise in a Brockville paper for tenders for construction.
On June 16, 1890, a trustee meeting was held at John Chick’s residence when the following resolution was passed: “The tender of George Aaron Purvis of Purvis Street to build a second school similar to one recently built near the Toll Gate on the Perth Road, at the rear of Brockville for the sum of $675.00 and use the old material from the other school was accepted. (the school referred to was the brick school on the Chemical Road in Elizabethtown).
A plate bearing the date of the old school was transferred to the new one.
The first teacher at the new school was Miss Laura Clow and later Mrs. McCracken who received a salary of $225. The Caretaker received $15.00 a year.
In 1891 William Young furnished the material and built a wood shed for $80.
(Recorder & Times )
Teachers at the school in no particular order were:
There was a time when this fine old Kitley Village was known simply as Bellamy Mills, due to its proximity to the mills operated by Chauncey Bellamy on Bellamy Lake west of the village.
The actual survey of Kitley was delayed for seven years until 1797. In the meantime, Kitley had its first settler, a pioneer farmer named James Finch. With his family James Finch settled on what was later to become Lot No. 29 in the 7th Concession. Finch mistakenly started a homestead on a clergy reserve Lot No. 22 on which he began to clear five acres of land. When he realized his mistake he moved and began to clear another 16 acres of land on adjoining lot no.23. He then petitioned the government for the grant of this land. He never received the grant and after rowing with the government of the day for a number of years finally left the area sometime before 1804.
The land James Finch cleared, on which his log cabin stood, lies along what is now Main Street.
Toldeo researchers found that James Finch had been granted 200 acres on Lot No. 22 on May 22, 1801, but Finch sold the property the next year to Hugh McIlmoyl. He sold to Eben Estes the same year. After several more transactions the lot came into possession of Wyatt Chamberlain, the founder of the village.
In 1806 Lot No. 23 was granted to Charles May who sold it in two sections a year later. Other lots which now form the site of Toledo changed hands many times during the early years.
Wyatt Chamberland was born in 1786 in New York State, son of a pioneer Methodist missionary and organizer. Although he didn’t have much schooling, Chamberland was self educated and ambitious. He put himself through Methodist school and qualified as a preacher.
At 28, he was operating a Methodist circuit in New York State and in 1820, came to Canada to become a minister in Prince Edward County around Picton. Later he moved to the Augusta circuit but was stricken with an illness in 1828 forcing him out of the ministry.
Chamberland came to Kitley in 1832 and began by buying up land in this area, then known as Kitley Corners. As be bought each lot, Chamberland broke it up into village lots and sold them, thus laying the groundwork for the future village of Toledo.
He called the settlement Camberlain’s Corners. He opened the first store in a log cabin.
Chamberland also built the first frame dwelling in the area. He was the first postmaster and became a justice of the peace. His first wife was Catherine Halleck, daughter of pioneer missionary Rev. William Halleck, for whom Halleck’s Road west of Brockville was named.
Chamberland’s Corners became officially Toledo in 1856. The village was named after Toledo in Spain, scene of a British victory over a French army in the Spanish Campaign of 1813.
Both lots lie along the road which became the main street of Toledo. Finch erected a log cabin and dug a well. He cleared 16 acres on lot no. 21, but his claim to the land was disputed by the government.
The Kitley census of 1800 lists Finch as a settler, but he is missing from the count in 1804. Historians believe that he got fed up with government delays in approving his claim and left the area in disgust.
Main Street in Toledo was then a continuation of the Old Perth Road, which cut through the village and headed north to Lombardy over Rideau Ferry and on into Perth.
Including the Livingstons, Finch and Chamberlain early settlers were Hugh McKnoyl, Ben Estse, Ephraim Koyl, David Allen, John Kincaid, Billy Brown, Charlie May, David Kilborn, The Tolman and Robinson families as well as the Cole, Coad and Code families.
From earliest times, religion has played a major role in the lives of Toledo folk. And the fine churches which call the faithful to worship every Sunday testify to the status of the church in the area’s history.
A fine example of early 20th century architecture is St. Philip Neri Church in the centre of the village. Named for an Italian priest St. Philip (Filippo) Neri who lived from 1515 to 1595, the parish was established in 1833.
In 1833 Bishop Alexander MacDonald (named Bishop of Upper Canada in 1820) appointed Father Campion of Prescott to administer the Parish of Kitley. Focal point for the parish, which then covered Kitley, Bastard, South Burgess and South Crosby townships was the east shore of Bellamy’s Lake just west of Toledo.
Today two old cemeteries bearing headstones with names such as Coughlin, Donovan, McDonald mark the site. Father Campion held mass four times a year in a farmhouse which stood near the modern Bellamy’s Lake Park. Records of St. Philip Neri indicate 25 to 30 persons attended the services.
In 1837 Father Clarke Prescott was assigned to Toledo and three years later supervised the building of a wooden church on the shore of Bellamy’s Lake. Father O’Reilly came from Brockville in 1840 to take charge. He settled in a farmhouse three miles south of the church. In 1860 Rev. Michael Lynch took up residence near the church in a house built for him. In the same year Father Lynch supervised the building of a stone church at Philipsville.
Father Lynch was succeeded by Rev. William McDonagh but left in 1861 and until 1873, neither Kitley nor Phillipsville had a resident pastor. The parish was administered from Smith’s Falls and Westport. In 1873 Rev. William Kielty became a pastor of Kitley and Phillipsville.
By 1885 the old church had reached such a state of disrepair that it was considered advisable to abandon it and put up a new chapel in Toledo. Property was bequeathed to the parish in 1887 from the estate of Martin Breen and by 1896 the present rectory was built as well as the stone chapel. In 1899 Phillipsville left the parish to join Elgin.
By 1905 the growing congregation required a new church which was completed in 1907. The chapel built in 1896 was added to the new church as a sacristy. The first mass was held at Christmas 1907, and the following year the church was dedicated to St. Philip Neri.
The Tinsmith of Toledo
On Toledo’s Main Street the access road leading south to hook up with Hwy 29, stands a weather beaten two story frame structure which for 60 years was the home of a prosperous but tiny smithy business.
This building was built in 1880 by a South Crosby tinsmith, Tom Singleton and became known as the Singleton smithy.
Tom Singleton came from South Crosby in 1880 and bought Lot No.32 on Main Street. Here he built his smithy and a residence for his family.
One usually associates tinsmiths with the work of turning out tin for roofing and manufacturing duct-work for furnaces, but Singleton went far beyond these items.
He made sap buckets for the maple syrup trade, tins for the syrup, kettles, teapots, wash tubs, milk cans, baking pans and kitchen utensils, weather vanes and storing tanks.
Singleton could also install heavier articles he made and he was an expert repairman. Many a farm wife brought him leaking pans, kettles or other damaged articles and he repaired them good as new.
Singleton laboured in his shop for 60 years, retiring in 1940.
From Thad. Leavitt’s book The History of Leeds and Grenville from 1749 to 1879, published in 1879
N.H.Beecher – Mr. Beecher was born in the state of New York in 1839. When seventeen years of age he came to Canada, entering the employment of Robert Fitzsimmons, Esq., with whom he acquired a through knowledge of the grocery business. In 1863, he opened a general store in Toledo, where he has since resided. Taking a deep interest in public affairs, Mr. Beecher entered the Municipal Council, serving seven years, five of which he has been chosen as Deputy Reeve. His course in the Counties’ Council has been unvarying in direction of economy and retrenchment, coupled with liberality in making grants for improvements absolutely required. At the last general election he was freely spoken of as the Liberal Candidate for the House of Commons, North Leeds. (History of Leeds and Grenville from 1749 to 1879 by Thad. W.H. Leavitt pub. 1879)
Samuel Edgar – The subject of this sketch was born in the year 1837, in the Township of Kitley. He is the youngest son of James Edgar, who was born in the year 1791, in the County of Down, Ireland, and emigrated to Canada in the year 1821, settling in the Township of Kitley in 1825, where he resided until his death on the 26th of January 1870. He was among the first settlers of the Township, and one of the oldest Justices of the Peace. He was a member of the municipal council. Mr. Edgar held the office of Lieutenant in the Militia util too old for service, and was also one of the oldest Freemasons in the Counties, having obtained fifteen degrees in the Order. He was the only son of James Edgar, who was born in Montgomery, England.
Struthers of Toledo
You don’t have to be all that old to remember “Struther’s of Toledo” perhaps you or your parents have one or two items in your home that were purchased there. Here is the story behind that store.
Around Toledo folks say that Garnet Struthers electrified the district, but Struthers prefers to think that eggs did the trick.
Ontario Hydro put in electrification in 1940-45, Garnet sold the electrical appliances to the farmers but the farmers built up the Struthers businesses by trading eggs for groceries..
“Every farmer for miles around paid his grocery bill in eggs” said Struthers, recalling the days when his business was confined to a general store on the main street of the village. “We had eggs by the dozen stored in the basement. We couldn’t sell ‘em, so we had to take them by the truckload to an egg grading station to get our money. The money we got from those eggs allowed us to expand. We bought electrical appliances and re-sold them. First it was washing machines. We put a washing machine in every farmhouse in the district. Then it was refrigerators. We put refrigerators in every farmhouse. Then came television sets and electrical milking machines. We put milking machines in every barn, and it all came from the eggs!”
In the late 1940’s, Garnet Struthers and his wife, Lila took over the general store formerly operated by Bert Woods at the crossroads in the centre of the village. Since the early 1900’s, Woods had been a grocer in a century old business on the site and on the death of his daughter, Vivian Hill, took over.
“It was a combination phone exchange, post office and grocery store when we took over” said Struthers. The Kitley Telephone Company exchange was in one corner of he store, and the post office was in the other.”
Mrs. Struthers’ father the late Ross Slater Kilborn, had operated the business after Mrs. Hill left. In 1942 a disastrous fire hit that street and the Bert Carley grocery store was burned out.
Carley rented the former Woods store from the Kilborns for a year and a half until his new grocery store was constructed. Then Garnet and Lila moved in.
“We had $1000. in stock and a $2,000. dollar mortgage” recalled Garnet. “But we had something of everything. We had groceries, hardware, feed, clothing, dry goods, you name it, we had it! Then we added appliances, machinery and roofing and building supplies. Hydro came along and we went into the appliance field. We added electric stoves, then got into the plumbing and electric trade, putting in wiring and selling supplies.”
In 1956, Struthers got an offer for the store he couldn’t refuse. It put him permanently out of the grocery business and led to the establishment of a furniture and appliance store.
“The Seaway was being built and some of the little villages east of here were being swallowed up. George Lapierre, from Mille Roche, near Cornwall, was one of the businessmen forced to move. I understand Lapierre and friends came up here looking for a place to locate. They spotted the old store and decided to take a look at it.
It was on a holiday and I was in Charleston taking in a regatta. They looked in the windows and apparently liked what they saw. At any rate they came down to Charleston Lake, met me at 4pm and made me an offer. I agreed to meet them at 7 pm at the store. We met and at 10pm we had a deal.”
Lapierre took over but soon after suffered a heart attack which curtailed his activities. He later died from a series of heart attacks, but the business carried on under the name of Barr’s General Store.
“We sold Lapierre the rights to the grocery business, clothing and other general items, but we retained the rights to electrical appliances, televisions, plumbing and electrical supplies.” Said Struthers. “That gave us the opportunity of opening up a new business.”
On the road leading south of Toledo stood the long abandoned Baptist Church, erected about 1840. Struthers bought the old church and renovated it to become a store, the first Struthers Furniture Store. The business flourished and in the succeeding years, Garnet and Lila built their new home south of the store.
Disaster struck on June 23, 1961. A freak and rare tornado ripped through Toledo, tearing the roof off the Struthers store and causing thousands of dollars in damage. Struthers vividly remembers the storm.
“It hit just about 4pm and cleaned the roof off the old church building. It blew the roof clear off the property and into Roy Gardiner’s farm field.” Said Struthers. “Harry Lewis, my bookkeeper, was working in the store. There was a huge oak tree in front of the store. The wind pulled it out of the ground, roots and all, and it looked like it was going to fall into what was left of the store, where Henry was, but instead it took a turn to the north and landed off the property.”
“When I went out after the storm, I found rafters from the store sticking in the ground of Gardiners’ field like giant spears buried by some ancient Roman.”
With his building ruined Struthers went to work and the modern Struthers Furniture and Appliance Ltd. Store, an 80 by 80 foot building known popularly as “Struthers of Toledo”. The shell of the old church building was lifted on to rollers and hauled back to the rear of the new store, where it was rebuilt as Garn’s Barn, and was used to sell used furniture.
is a paperback book written by Edna B. Chant and was published in 1998. Edna Chant was a reported with the “Athens Reporter” for 23 years and she is the author of four books.
Her book, which is made up of news clippings from various sources, from which we have taken excerpts, gives us a glimpse into life in our area for over a hundred year period ending with stories from 1975.
While her book covers many areas of Leeds and Grenville we have only focused on the area within Elizabethtown-Kitley Township.
A 12 year old youth John Dant was murdered near Toledo on Feb 23, 1867
On April 16, 1895, Miss. Stephenson, daughter of the Rector of the Anglican Church at Toledo, aged 18 years, met death in a sad way. She was very found of walking in the woods and about 3pm she went for a walk, but did not return for supper. When she wasn’t home by dark, several men carrying lanterns went to search for her. A heavy rain came up but they could find no trace of the girl. The next morning her body was found lying against a rail fence on the Parker Farm. She was wet and scratched by brambles. An inquest was held and it was ruled that death was caused by exposure, after being lost in the woods.
On April 21, 1895, the funeral of Mrs. George Coad was being held in the Toledo Methodist Church. It was a Sunday afternoon and a large congregation was present. Rev. G.H. Porter was preaching, when shouts and a great commotion could be heard outside. A few men got up and went out, and then the word “Fire” was heard. It was found that Mrs. J. Smith’s home was all on fire. Men, women and children were organized to form a bucket brigade while come carried out furniture. The church was empty, even the minister was at the fire. In spite of their efforts the house was burned. The people returned to the church, the preacher finished the sermon and the pallbearers carried the casket to the cemetery. The men and some of the ladies were soiled, rumpled and wet, but the minister remained dignified and calm throughout.
A subterranean explosion occurred on July 2 and 3rd 1898 at Kitley just off the Perth Road and it has everyone mystified. A reef of rock was blown up along with most of the roadbed. It began on Saturday with a hissing and rumbling noise and culminated on Sunday by an explosion that was heard for many miles. James Taylor lived nearest to the blast and his yard was covered by chunks of rock. Mrs. John Smith was driving up the road and the explosion threw fragments of rock into her buggy. Hundreds of persons have visited the scene including scientists from Ottawa, but no one an explain it.
Samuel Rabb was one of Leeds’ most outstanding citizens. He was born in Ireland, coming to Canada at the age of 20 years, settling at Toldeo. He was a highly regarded school teacher and taught school for 33 years, and then became an Inspector of Schools. He did private tutoring, and was a very fluent speaker. In 1840 he married a daughter of Colonel John Blakely, and they raised ten children, six boys and four girls. Two of his daughters Mary (Mrs. Albert Morris) and Charlotte (Mrs. George Gainford) lived in Athens. Mr. Rabb died at the home of his daughter Charlotte on April 9, 1900 aged 84 years.
While the authorities are trying to decide how to punish the Queen’s Medical Students who robbed a grave at Lansdowne on March 25, 1903, it might be well to consider how to guard the graves of loved ones. The fact that bodies are now bringing a good price on the market should be borne in mind. Students do not hire a livery rig and drive for miles to the cemetery for the fun of it. It is known in one case of their deed of labour extended as far away as Toledo. Many graves are robbed and their relatives never know it. A new grave should be watched every night for a month. After that time the body is not suitable.
Two Toledo sisters died within an hour of each other on January 4, 190. Mrs. William Leacock aged 98 and her sister Ms. Henry Seymour aged 80 were waked at Toledo Presbyterian Church where a double funeral was held.
The cornerstone was laid for St. Philip’s Neri Church at Toledo May 26, 1907
A serious fire occurred in Toledo on March 10, 1908 when the general store of A.N. Coad was destroyed with a large stock of merchandise and $65. in cash, owned by Oscar McDonald. Mr. McDonald went into the store in the morning and started the fires as usual, and then went to his breakfast, when he returned the interior was in flames.
On September 6, 1910, Arnold Boyd of Merrickville was killed while hunting ducks at Mud Lake near Toledo. He and his wife and younger brother set up a tent Friday night, and early Saturday morning he took his boat and gun and set off alone to hunt ducks. When he did not return by dark his wife walked to a farmhouse to see if a search could be made for him. Several men with lanterns went out but could not find him. Early Sunday they went out again and he was found laying half in his boat with part of his head blown off. It is thought he reached for his gun and pulled it toward him by the barrel, and it discharged.
August 6, 1911, Lester Palmer of Toledo was killed when his horse ran away.
On October 4, 1923 the Commercial Hotel at Toledo burned.
On December 17, 1929 fire broke out in the store of C.A.Woods in Toledo and completely destroyed the store as well as the telephone exchange cutting off Toledo, Frankville and Jasper. The operator Miss Grey had a narrow escape. The post office was also in the store. Messengers had to travel by car to Smiths Falls to get help. It was a very bad fire but no one was injured.
The old Commercial Hotel at Toledo was destroyed by fire on October 4, 1923. The fire broke out in the kitchen of the old hotel owned by John McEwen. This is the 4th bad fire in Toledo in less than a year. Firemen from Smiths Falls and Frankville were able to save nearby buildings.
February 2, 1946, George H. Code, 28, accidentally shot and killed at Toledo.
A well known Toledo man, Earl Stafford Drummond was drowned at Seeley’s Bay on October 7, 1951. He was 26.
Clement Coughlin aged 22 years of Toledo was killed in a traffic accident April 23, 1953.
A large barn on the farm of Leonard Laming was burned at Toledo on June 12, 1961. No animals were in the barn but it was full of hay, valued at $2,000. Twenty seven calves grazing near the barn were removed to safety. The fire is doubly tragic as the Laming home was burned on February 5, 1961 with all contents.
Thousands of dollars in damage was done in a matter of minutes when a tornado struck the Village of Toledo on June 23, 1961. About 7pm it started to thunder and rain. Then about 7:30 it became very dark, skies were black as ink and there was a momentary calm. Mothers gathered their children inside and hurried to close doors and windows and were joined by their men folk. There was a general feeling of doom in the air. Then it struck with a roar like and express train, so great as the noise it was impossible for families to converse as their voices could not be heard. When it was all over the following damage had been done: the roof was lifted off Struther’s Store and carried 100 yards away leaving thousands of dollars of appliances and furnishings exposed to the driving rain; a huge oak tree, six feet through at the base, in front of the store was broken off close to the ground and caused great damage to their warehouse; used appliances were blown over and tossed about, a large freezer carried 40 feet away; a truck owned by Garnet Struthers was flipped over on its side; the roof was blown off Ross Kilborn’s workshop; a large tree in the yard of Mildred McClup crashed into Eaton’s Service Station carrying hydro lines with it; three trees in front of the home of Roy Gardiner crashed into their house, ripping off cornice, eaves troughs and the TV aerial; the shop of Lloyd DeWolfe was wrecked as after the roof blew away a large tree fell into the building; Jack Baker’s barn was blown away, pieces being scattered for a mile away; TV aerials were twisted like pretzels; all streets were blocked by fallen trees, nearly every pane of glass in the village was shattered; shrubs, flower beds, gardens were destroyed; the home of Wendell Eaton was struck by lightning and chimneys were knocked off 24 homes. No one was killed or seriously injured. All the next day the scream of chain saws could be heard and Hydro and telephone crews worked for 48 hours. Reeve Charlie Sands was on the scene continuously, lending help and advice.
A large barn owned by Archie Donaldson at Toledo was burned on October 12, 1961. All the season’s crop was lost. Fortunately none of the cattle were near the barn. The cause of the fire is not known.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Jones and seven children was destroyed by fire at Toledo on October 1, 1962.
Three young men from Toledo area were killed May 26, 1968 in a one car accident, three miles from Toledo, when they crashed into a tree. Dead were the driver William James McCabe, 21 of Jasper, Ivan Botham 18, of Smiths Falls and William Nichols, 15, of Toledo.
On December 17, 1973 Mr. and Mrs. Roy Willows of Toledo were married 60 years. They were married in Elgin and moved to a farm at Toledo where they spent their entire married life. In 1945 their two sons Lloyd and Glen took over the active work on the farm. They had seven children, five daughters and two sons: Irene Bushfield, Mrs. Edna Jarvis, Mrs. Wilma Skakleton, Mrs. Eleanor Drummond and Mary (deceased), Lloyd and Glen. To mark the 60 years of happy married life, Mr. and Mrs. Willows were tendered a reception at St. Andrew’s United Church hall in Toledo.
The village dates back to 1802, when United Empire Loyalists settled on grants of land given them by the Crown.
Rachel and Isaiah Wiley were granted Lot 13 on the 4th Concession and opposite it Lot 13 on the 5th Concession was granted to Catherine Moore in 1805. Two dirt roads crossed at the borders of the two lots and a hamlet was born as more settlers moved in.
Newbliss didn’t start out with that name. Originally it was Dodd’s Corners named after a shoemaker who lived on the corner and his father George Dodd with a family of five lived on another. This was in 1802 and in 1820 it became Dack’s Corners from the family of William Dack. In 1855 the name was finally changed to Newbliss.
The name comes from the Town of Newbliss in Ireland, brought here by an Irish schoolmaster, John Mackay who came to teach in Newbliss in that year. He thought the collection of houses and business deserved a new name and he made the decision stick. Mackay taught in Newbliss for over 20 years before retiring.
Further to the south William Dack bought parts of lots 19 and 20 in the 4th Concession and other acquisitions and became the largest landowner in the area.
He was operating a tavern in the 1830’s but the site is unknown. It was probably located along the road from Brockville which became the Victoria Macadamized Road during the 1840’s and eventually became Hwy 29.
Dack’s Tavern also gave birth to the Orange Order in Kitley. Newbliss Lodge was formed in the tavern in 1835 and around 1850 the order built a hall in Newbliss, which burned in 1944. Newbliss LOL, No.87 observed its centenary in 1935 . The lodge moved its headquarters in 1949, taking over the former Coad’s school, a stone building erected in 1875, replacing the earlier log cabin school. The school had originally been named for the Dack Family, but adopted the name of Coad in the 1850’s.
Newbliss was once a thriving community of over 600 people, with inns, a cheese factory, several schools, a hotel, stage coach house and other business. There was also an active Orange Lodge and a Temperance Hall.
Lovell’s Gazette of 1873 ascribes 250 persons to the village population. There were two blacksmiths, a dressmaker, and engineer, harness maker, milliner, postmaster, two teachers, shoemaker, tailor, wagon maker, two weavers and 35-40 farmers.
The Gazette listed 600 in the village population, but seven years later another census cut the population to 300. In 1902 the population of the hamlet itself was only 25 persons. Earlier figures were believed to be based on post office addresses.
“The original Newbliss Cheese Factory consisted of three frame buildings, the main factory, a curing house and a boiler room. When the main factory was moved from the old Ross farm to the centre of Newbliss, a frame cheese house was constructed for the cheese maker. It still stands beside the general store.” (Kitley 1795-1975 by Glenn Lockwood)
John Edgar, father of James Edgar, was a staunch Presbyterian, but he ran the first hotel and bar room in Newbilss. In 1862, he gave up the hotel business, leasing the premises to George Stewart.
Edgar then formed a Sons of Temperance lodge and was for many years one of its most prominent leaders.
Newbliss cheese factory, later a general store, was one of the busiest in Leeds County in the middle and later part of the 19th Century. Farmers for miles around brought their milk here for processing. The factory produced cheeses weighting 90 to 100 pounds. Patrons used to haul the cheeses encased in round cheese boxes by wagon to the Jasper railway station, from where they were shipped to the cheese board offices in Brockville for grading and later sale. The factory operated until around 1944 when it was converted into a store.
In 1904 the cheese maker, Robert Beckett, was one of the most prominent men in the village and owner of the first car in Newbliss. For years it was known as “Mr.Beckett’s Buick”
The former Coad’s school, a stone building, was erected in 1875, replacing the earlier log cabin school. The school had originally been named for the Dack Family, but adopted the name of Coad in the 1850’s.
Dack’s school was built on Lot 17 of Concession four about 1830, a simple log structure with unpainted interior walls and austere benches and desks.
About the same time, Newbliss village had a log school which was replaced in 1874 by a stone structure. Newbliss School was phased out of existence in 1961 with the pupils being transferred to Jasper.
Newbliss had two schoolhouses to serve the community, each its own section. The first school was built around 1830 and was titled S.S. #5 Newbliss School. It is believed the first schoolhouse for S.S. #5 was made of log, however no records of the school exist. In 1858, the stone schoolhouse which replaced the log structure was erected. This schoolhouse is still standing, located at the intersection of Highway 29 and Line Road 4. The other school section in Newbliss was #6, with its school being called S.S. #6 Coad’s School. Originally, Coad’s School was known as Dack’s. This schoolhouse was also constructed of log before being replaced by a stone building in 1870. Upon its closure in the 1940s, Coad’s School was sold to the Orange Lodge. (Kitley 1795-1975 by Glenn Lockwood)
As in many areas of Leeds and Grenville, circuit riders first brought religion to Newbliss in the early days.
Ezra Healey, probably the most famous of the early circuit riders, included Newbliss in his itinerary in 1822. He was a Methodist assigned to the Rideau Circuit. In 1818 he had begun conducting services in Toledo in a log school house. Methodist history records the fact he ministered to only four families here, probably meeting at Dack’s log school house.
Methodists worshipped anywhere they could find shelter, a barn being used on more than one occasion but in 1834, the congregation built a log chapel on the eastern edge of Kitley Township in the community known as Crystal and the church subsequently bore the name “Providence Chapel”.
The church was used until church union in 1935 when it was sold to a local resident who in turn donated it in 1960 to Upper Canada Village.
Early Anglicans also held their services at Dack’s School with a minister coming from Smith’s Falls to preach. It was years before the first Anglican Church was built. St. Paul’s Church was erected here in1904.
The village was also the first centre for Presbyterians in Kitley Township. The home of James Edgar, a pioneer inn-keeper, was turned into a mission centre about 1835 and Kitley Presbyterians met there until 1847 when St. Andrew’s Church was constructed in Toledo.
Newbliss Church – photo taken November 2016 (photo #5)
is a paperback book written by Edna B. Chant and was published in 1998. Edna Chant was a reported with the “Athens Reporter” for 23 years and she is the author of four books.
Her book, which is made up of news clippings from various sources, from which we