(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.”
We are redirecting you to the website of the Museum of Healthcare in Kingston,Ontario, for an interesting story about a local farmer named Ernest Hanna. He overcame adversity and went on to live a full life in Lyn.
This story was written by Shaelyn Ryan and helps us to remember some of the people that made up part of the history of our community.
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
Anybody shopping for Russel’s Ian Cunningham this Christmas has their work cut out topping what he gifted himself this year.
Ian bought himself a church, not a table top porcelain church to place in a Christmas village. No Ian bought a full size stand alone church out in the country near North Augusta, for anybody not sure where that is, it’s northeast of Brockville.
More specifically, the two tone brick building which opened on New Year’s Day, 1865, sits along deliciously named Jellyby Road close to what was once a stop on the Ottawa-Brockville Railway line.
According to an account in The Canadian Churchman, it was a rousing opening with 300 worshipers showing up to a service that could comfortably accommodate 200. To make sure the music rose to the occasion, a harmonium was delivered by horse and sleigh from 18 miles away.
“Let us hope”, The Churchman opined “that this church nay be the means of propagating and keeping the truth of God’s Pure Word in this place to the latest generation.” It was a much and then some for close to a century and a half…and then Ian got hold of it.
Why? That is the question. Ian himself has trouble explaining what motivated him to buy a church.
He’s not particularly religious, Ian explains during an “evening of song and celebration of the season” held at the former St. James of Jerusalem Anglican Church last Friday.
There’s no electricity so lighting came from oil lamps and battery powered candles. Heating is provided by a wood stove acquired with the purchase. Ian has no plans to hook into the provincial grid, preferring to maintain the atmosphere of the 1860’s.
Neither is he planning to transform the church into a house or business. Other than some flooring here and some paint there, and perhaps the addition of a pressed tin ceiling, he intends to leave it exactly as is, complete with original oak pews.
The altar and two deacons’ benches were removes before he took possession. However, an eye- catching stained glass window showing Christ on the cross still adorns the rear wall of the church.
The window was a gift from friends in England to Rev. John Stannage who was in charge of the North Augusta mission back when the church was constructed on a site donated by John Jelly.
As of yet, Ian hasn’t climbed up into the spire and isn’t sure if there’s a bell up there. He has ascertained, however, that there are bats in the belfry.
About a dozen Friday evening guests were handed the words to several Christmas carols and accompanied by two guitars and a flute, joined in the celebration. Non-alcoholic beverages and biscuits were available to fuel the singers; no bats made an appearance.
Adding to the atmosphere, the area experienced the first snow squall of the season. The weather outside wasn’t exactly frightful; still, inside the fire was so delightful and the lights were turned down low. We may have even sung something like that!
So why, Ian, why? He has no plans to start his own denomination like fellow Russeller Vinta Baker and preach every Sunday to an appreciative congregation. His wife Sue is thinking, however of becoming an “officiate” permitting her to conduct weddings in the picture perfect church.
“I’ve always wanted to have a church” Ian offers with a shrug, “It’s more of an architectural and historic thing.”
He allows to getting a kick out of telling people he has to go to his church and, “when they ask what brand he belongs to, he answers” “I mean my church…my own church.”
He didn’t buy it on a whim. He negotiated for months until the price finally got to were he wanted it…$50,000. Considering the limited use he planned to put it to, the building wasn’t worth any more to him.
The former St. James of Jerusalem is among scores of rural churches – and some city ones too – that have been let go by dwindling congregations who can no longer afford the upkeep. Many have been transformed into unusual residences.
Ian’s church will be used for gatherings and possibly musical performances. Jellyby neighbours have shown a curiosity about his plans and are probably relieved “I didn’t fill the yard with old cars.”
Hopefully, it’ll fill annually with newer cars delivering guests to the Cunningham’s evening of Christmas song and celebration by candle and wood fire, keeping up a centuries old rural tradition and a fine method of non denominational worship.
(this article written by Tom Van Dusen appeared in the December 23rd, 2015 edition of “The Chesterville Record”.)
Working on the exterior
Installing the new tin ceiling
Carolling at the Kirk (Dec 20, 2017)
by Tom Van Dusen
The big box wood stove was doing what it could to throw enough heat but you could still feel the chill permeating the old country edifice last Sunday afternoon. Heat rises and it had quite a way to go.
Set along Jellyby Road in Augusta Township (it is actually in Elizabethtown-Kitley Township), it may look like a church but it was decommissioned several years ago, making it just another multi-purpose building, but with the distinction of possessing a steeple.
And of not being an abandoned derelict, something seen as a welcome contribution by the neighbours who while they’re not exactly why the Cunningham of Russell acquired the building, are pleased they did so.
The rare sight – especially during the winter – of several cars parked out front made it clear Sunday there was a purpose that day for the former St. James of Jerusalem Church. Inside, much of the pew space was occupied by friends of Ian and Sue Cunningham, proud owners of the two toned brick building for the past three years.
It may have been chilly away from the stove but led by three musicians including Ian occupying the former alter, guests were warming things up with renditions of favourite Christmas carols. It was the Cunningham’s third annual “Carolling at the Kirk of St. James seasonal gathering.
“I need to do some mortaring up on the steeple.” Ian said as he ran through a short list of improvements still to be made to his labour of love. I wondered aloud how he was going to get the job done without breaking his neck.
“You can rent a cherry picker and that’s how I plan to get at it.” he replied, revealing something I didn’t know. In my mind. I ran through jobs I could get done over a few days with the help of a cherry picker.
Since the last time I was in the former church which opened with great fanfare on New Year’s Day, 1865, Ian has added a sturdy loft from which he can look down from high upon his congregation…I mean his friends. He’s also refitted the ceiling with glorious, old style silver pressed tin which joins with stained glass windows to give a jaunty look to what is traditionally a more severe look. Hanging from the ceiling is a distinctly un-churchy collection of mismatched chandeliers acquired on Kijiji.
It always surprises me what an almost physical glow carols can create, warmth which starts deep inside and radiates outwards. Yes, a shot or two of brandy can have the same effect but the Cunningham’s gathering is deliberately non-alcoholic.
That’s in part because they don’t want visitors negotiating snowy rural roads with a snoot-full…as they used to say back in the 1860’s when St. James opened close to a former stop on the long defunct Ottawa Brockville rail line.
I forgot the non-alcoholic part and brought a bottle of wine which I quickly turned into a hostess gift. The carolling libation of choice was hot cider or hot chocolate, handy in washing down a spread of Christmas cookies which carollers snacked on between sets.
Not all guests came from afar. The Oosterhofs, Henry, brother Alex and wives Evelina and Julie, who operate a dairy farm along Jellyby nearby, were on hand, happy to be invited with nothing but positive comments about re-purposing the local landmark.
Henry recalled the many years the building sat empty before it was put up for sale. He really likes what Ian and Sue have done with the place and hopes to someday acquire a surplus oak pew for his porch. Evelina loves the reproduction pressed tin and is thinking of adding some to the Oosterhof kitchen.
Henry sees as a blessing the fact newcomers arrived on the road to save the old church and turn it into something useful. Ian has made it clear the building is available for community functions and other public gatherings.
So why did this retiring and retired public servant feel the need to acquire his very own church? He isn’t religious in an institutional way, he wasn’t looking for a man cave and the building is too elegant for that use anyway. He has no plans to live in it, to open a shop or to host any more than an occasional musical gathering i the space.
He just wanted to own a church, more of an architectural and historic whim than a God fearing one. Still, come Christmastime, you get a feeling that God is smiling down on what has transpired at His house on Jellyby Road.
(this article written by Tom Van Dusen appeared in the December 20th, 2017 edition of “The Chesterville Record”.)
The refinished interior
Christmas Carolling at the Church
The Clock on the church steeple has been painted onto the church with the hands fixed. Here are Ian’s thought on what the hands represent:
“My own interpretation is that it is a biblical verse. I have been “face-to-face with the clock, and can tell you that it reads 10:28, and not 10:29 like others have written in the past. John (James) 10:28 “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”.
Time of service would not be 10:28 … that makes no sense at all.
Another option could be that they just pulled a time “out of a hat” – maybe it was the time when someone decided the church was “finished” … I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure, and being a “mystery” only adds to the story don’t you think?”
Our thanks to Ian Cunningham for supplying the photos and information that goes along with this post.
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.
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!
Our little school (Yonge Mills) had a few memories besides education that stands out in my mind.
At Christmas time before school closed our teacher and pupils held a Christmas Concert. For weeks we practised our part then one school afternoon we held the concert. A couple of the older boys would go and get a Christmas tree, cut it and bring it back for us to decorate. We all brought home made decorations for the tree. Most of our parents and neighbours attended the event and Santa Claus came at the closing to give out the gifts and greet us all.
Arbour Day, May 1st, or near that day, we had a clean up time of the school yard. We raked then burned the leaves and tidy up then by noon we went to the brook nearby for a picnic.
We also had Valentine parties and exchanged Valentines. At Easter our teacher gave us all an Easter egg treat before we left for the holidays usually in March or April.
Back in the early 1930’s the schools, and all the different school sections, attended a school fair which was held at Mallorytown continuation school. We had banners with our school section number and paraded around the ground then lined up for inspection. I was probably 8 years old then, There was a tent with vegetables, flowers and school writing and art that we judged. It was a great day which was eventually discontinued. It was the only one I remember going to that one year.
School pranks were locking the girls in the toilets for awhile then letting them out. This usually happened at noon hour. We used to play baseball and the toilets were in a line of three so we played “Auntie Eye” in teams with a ball throwing it over (the toilets) and whoever caught a ball would chase around and touch someone then they had to go to their side of the team and toilets.
These are a few items that I remember from those days at the one room schoolhouse.
I was fortunate in being one of those pupils who attended Yonge Mills School from Grade 1 to Grade 8, with the same teacher through all the years. I think this helped provide a feeling of permanence and order that together with a solid sense of family and place, helped make for a secure childhood.
I attended the school from September 1953 until June 1960. I know this is 7 years, not8 – I skipped grade 3, because I was the only pupil in the class, and my teacher felt that I could do the grade 4 work. (I proved her right and everyone was happy) The whole time that I was at Yonge Mills School, my teacher was Mrs. Helen Steacy, one of the best teachers ever, I’m sure. I don’t know how she did it – teaching 8 grades in one room for the first few years, as well as being a wife and mother (her 2 sons were around my age). After the school was divided into two rooms, she taught grades 5 through 8, still a complex and demanding job.
I remember the day that I first started in grade 1. I wore a blue cotton dress, the front of which had been hand smocked by my grandmother. My hair was braided into 2 neat pigtails, also by my grandmother. When I came into the classroom and sat down, I was almost too terrified to move. I wondered how the teacher knew my name. There were, I think, 2 or 3 other children in the grade 1 class with me. Our reading books were the Dick and Jane primers, books which my brother had brought home the year before and which I had already read and memorized. This was a blessing and a curse because, after I had read aloud, I had to stand in agonized boredom (we all stood in a row for reading) while some the other children struggled through the words.
I soon learned the format of a typical day. The teacher rang a hand bell at 9am. We all came in, shedding boots and coats if it was winter. Morning exercises consisted of a scripture reading (students took turns reading a verse or two from the Bible), the Lord’s Prayer, and the singing of “God Save the Queen”. Our first subject was arithmetic (we didn’t call it math then). Then there was spelling, for all grades except grade 1. When I was in that first year, I remember looking forward so much to being in grade 2, because then I could do spelling.
Mid-morning recess lasted 10-20 minutes before the bell called us back in. We played the usual games, depending on the season- tag, ball tag, hide-and-seak, Red Rover, baseball. In winter there were snowballs and snow forts and all the younger children had to keep on the lookout for the older ones who wanted to “wash their faces”, i.e. rub snow roughly into the face.
I’m not sure which subjects came after recess – there was reading, social studies and science. We usually had writing or printing right after lunch.
Lunch hour was from 12 until 1. Everyone brought a lunch and washed it down with water. For the first 2 or 3 years I didn’t mind sandwiches, but after that I grew sick of them. I remember days when I just couldn’t face them at noon and so I waited until I was ravenous at 4:00 and then ate them on the way home.
I remember a day too, when I forgot my lunch and Mrs. Steacy gave me hers. These were delicious cheese sandwiches, freshly made, and I ate every crumb. I’ll never forget how good that lunch tasted.
When we finished eating, we played outside in the schoolyard, and it seemed that there was always lots of time. I’ve mentioned some of our games; we also had a lot of fun in autumn, playing in the abundant fallen leaves- jumping in them, playing ghost in the well, making leaf forts.
When the bell rang at 1pm, we were almost always tired sweaty and ready to sit quietly. This was story time. Mrs. Steacy would read for 10 or 15 minutes from a book that hopefully would appeal to all ages, no easy feat. There would be Burgess books about the animals of the Green Forest, or the Hardy Boys, or perhaps Nancy Drew. There was a blissful feeling of relaxation and calm as we listened quietly. Disturbances at this time were rare.
Afternoons seemed relaxed as we worked on science, grammar or Social Studies. When we finished our work, we were allowed to read. This was a wonderful thing, and I would go to the book cupboard (which we called the ‘library’) to see what I could find. There was always something interesting: Classic fairy tales, mysteries and an old encyclopedia.
Sometimes two children would go and get water. We brought our drinking water in a pail from a well at the neighbouring house up the hill. After two of us had carried the water back to the school, we filled a small water tank that stood at the back of the room. Each student had his own plastic cup which he placed under the spigot to fill. We enjoyed going to get water on a fine spring or summer day, but we were allowed to do this only if we had finished our work.
Our bathroom was an outhouse at the back of the school. It was partitioned into three sections, one side was for the boys, the other for the girls and the middle was for the teacher. It never occurred to us that having to use an outhouse was a hardship or a problem. In fact when I first started school, most of the rural families had no indoor facilities in their homes.
For dismissal at 4pm we had to be ready, work finished, books put away, and we had to be sitting up straight with our hands behind our backs (this was the signal that we were ready). Mrs. Steacy would have us stand all together. We were not to turn and walk out until she said “turn”, and then “forward”. We had to be orderly and not make a mad rush for hats and coats.
At 4pm a caretaker was usually there to sweep the floor. About once a week, a pine smelling power was sprinkled on this wood floor to absorb the dust. The caretaker then swept up this granular material along with the dust and dirt.
In the first few years that I attended, the school was heated by a wood stove which stood in the centre of the room. I am not sure who supplied the wood, or how it got there, but we were always warm in the winter. On a cozy winter afternoon, the only sounds in the classroom would be the quiet singing of the wood fire and the slow steaming of wet woollen mittens on the stove.
Most of the wood supply was kept in the lean-to woodshed behind the school. We were not allowed in here, although some daring children would duck inside the door during a game of hide and seek. Later when an oil furnace was installed, its place was in the woodshed and the door was usually locked.
I think there was one event which speeded up the acquisition of an oil furnace. One sleepy afternoon, when all was quiet, there was a sudden crash- the stove had fallen over on the wood floor. I remember everyone’s consternation and fear. No fire ensued, but we all went home early.
Home for me was “the stone house”, “a mile and a half”, said my father, from the school. I think the distance is more like two miles; in any case we walked it every day except for days of rain or extreme cold, when my father drove us. We rode our bicycles in spring and fall. The road was gravel then, and much narrower than it is now,. There were many more trees along it, and dust covered the grass and weeds in the ditches. In winter, the snowplow threw up huge snowbanks, so that, when I was a child walking along a narrow white road, sometimes all I could see were snowbanks and bright blue sky.
In those days, girls were not allowed to wear pants, only dresses and skirts. In winter during my first couple of years at school, girls had to stuff dresses or skirts into ski pants. That was not comfortable, and I remembering complaining. Finally we were allowed to wear jeans or pants during the winter. Black slacks were fashionable; so were corduroy “slim jims” and khakis. These kept us reasonably warm on the walks to and from school. The walk was sometimes a cold one and I arrived home more than once with frostbitten hands.
One winter there was a snowfall so huge that cars couldn’t use the road. That day, my father hitched our team of horses to the big farm sled and drove us to school, picking up other pupils, and the teacher, along the way. There was an undeniable air of festivity during that ride.
High spirits usually didn’t get the better of us in class and most students were well behaved. If someone acted up, the usual punishment was to stand, for a few minutes, either beside one’s seat or at the front of the room. For really serious problems, there was the strap. I saw it used a few times- 2 or 3 blows to the offending student’s palm. At this time, there was an almost palpable sense of awe and dread that came over the classroom.
When summer came, especially during the month of June, there was much happy anticipation as we waited for the last day of school. There would be fields and woods to roam, there would be warm weather, and there would be freedom.
I have a picture in my mind of me, in grade 8, in my seat at the far right of the school, contentedly gazing out of one of the tall, wide windows on a drowsy summer day. The school door is open, letting in the sounds and smells of summer. It is actually very quiet, with just the neighbouring farmer mowing hay in the distance. The sun is on the leaves of the large poplar tree outside, and I can smell the tree’s resin. It is almost time for 4pm dismissal. We stand, Mrs. Steacy recites a short prayer and we’re off.
I have another mind’s-eye picture of myself in grade 8, on the last day of school. I am walking along the dusty road and stop to look at some wild roses growing in the ditch. As I look up and out to the sunny fields and then to the woods beyond, I am trying as hard as I can to see my own future. I think I can see a hazy path that stretches a long way, and I know that it will not be an easy one. I give up trying to see the future, but as I continue walking, I have an acute sense of being at the beginning of an awesome and challenging journey, and I knew that I already missed what had been a nurturing and enriching existence at my little one room schoolhouse.
Over the years that the Yonge Mills School was in existence there were many little stories of various pranks that the kids did.
There was one time when students locked a number of cows in the school house over the weekend. You can only imagine the condition of the schoolhouse when the teacher opened the door on Monday morning.
The odd time some of the boys would take a chicken or two from a local farm and bar-b-qued them in the school yard.
One lad, named George, would wait until lunch time, when the teacher was out of the classroom, and with some effort stack boxes one upon another until he could get into the attic, and then remain very quiet until the class returned. His conspirator friends would remove the boxes. The concerned teacher would expend class time searching until rustling would emanate from above revealing his presence. Eventually the boxes would be re-stacked to get him down but much time would be wasted doing so.
An ex student had related that one of her two brothers stole a cigarette from their father. One lad smoked half while hiding in the school outhouse. He decided to share the experience with his brother and placed the smoldering cigarette on the toilet seat while he went to fetch him. Well it must have taken awhile for in the meantime the toilet seat caught fire and it had to be replaced
The location known as Seeley’s is part of Lot 32 in the Fourth Concession of Elizabethtown. From time to time this lot has been subdivided, there being several small parcels of land around the corner known as Seeley’s Corner. The total number of conveyances at the Registry Office of this one lot is the unusually large number of 170.
A patent from the Crown was granted for the East half of the lot, 100 acres, on May 21, 1803 to Samuel Booth and for the west half, 100 acres, on the 24th of May 1803 to John McVey. On December 8th, 1819, Peet Seelee [sic] became owner of part of this lot for a consideration of 104£, 12s, 6p. The lot became further subdivided by the will of Trueman Seelee, Henry Mott subsequently became the owner of part and also John Coleman. In 1842 Henry Booth and John Booth each became owner off part. These farms are today (1945) owned by Frank Cornell, Robert Mustard and Alvin Gardiner.
In a conveyance dated 1841 a sale was made of part to Nathan Kerr, described as seventeen acres, more or less, north of Sawmill Road. This is the road that runs directly in front of Seeley’s School. In 1852 Henry Booth sold part of the south half, known as Seelee Mill Pond, 51 rods long and the water privilege and right of way to one Richard Coleman Jr.
Other small parcels were sold to different parties and became the site of houses and other buildings close to the Mill Pond. John Booth became owner of part in 1858 and Thomas Booth became owner of another part in 1860. In 1864, Alexander Stewart purchased from Thomas Booth 86 acres, 80 aces being south of the road and 6 acres north of the road. The title of this part has since remained in the Stewart family. The conveyance to Richard Coleman Jr. Was followed by others including the land in Lot 33 known as Lees Pond and water rights and privileges, all of which were related to the establishment and development of the mill, which afterwards became the property of James Cummings.
In the early days use was made of all the streams and small waterways for the operation of the mill and this in time lead to the establishment of a number of small buildings in the vicinity. The outlines of an old dam may be seen leading from Seeley’s Corners to the bridge crossing the creek and at this point there was a water flume which conducted the water to the factory or mill on the south side of the bridge. This factory was from time operated for different purposes. One mill made hubs and spokes for wheels. The operation of these small mills became unprofitable yet they served the pioneers well. A butter and cheese factory stood near the bridge. The products of these factories were shipped via Seeley’s Station (since removed). It was from this cheese factory that North Star Farm derived the name.
In 1848 the first school at Seeley’s was built. It was located where an apple tree now stands on the east corner. It is reported that a resident of Seeley’s quarrelled with the trustee’s of the old school over the hiring of a teacher. He then hired a teacher himself and sent his children to attend classes in an upper room of a tavern. The foundation of this tavern can be seen directly across the road from Stewart’s house.
It is reported that Mr. J.W. Stewart paid the School Section $50. and drew the brick himself to have the new school on the present site rather than the old one.
Frozen Charlotteis a name used to describe a specific form of China Doll made from c. 1850 to c. 1920. The dolls had substantial popularity during the Victorian Era. The name of the doll originates from the American Folk Ballad, Fair Charlotte, based on the poem “A Corpse Going to a Ball” by Seba Smith, which tells of a young girl called Charlotte who refused to wrap up warmly to go on a sleigh ride because she did not want to cover up her pretty dress; she froze to death during the journey.
The Frozen Charlotte doll is made in the form of a standing, naked figure moulded as a solid piece. The dolls are also sometimes described as pillar dolls, solid chinas or bathing babies. The dolls ranged in size from under an inch to 18 inches plus. The smallest dolls were sometimes used as charms in Christmas Puddings. Smaller sizes were very popular for putting in Doll Houses.
Frozen Charlotte dolls were popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States. Smaller versions of the dolls were also known as penny dolls, because they were often sold for a cent. Most were made in Germany. (Wikepedia)
Do the 1920’s sound too remote for reminiscences called forth by B.C.I.’s 50th Celebrations We hope not, for many boys and girls who attended the old school, burned down in 1929, are now the white haired men and women who share the pleasures of the 1980 Reunion.
From Lyn and the neighbouring country-side the daily journey to school was first made by horses, generations of horses, we suppose. Horses who grew so wise about the gateways to stop at, that, if the teenager holding the reins was absent minded, they continued to halt there long after the passenger had graduated. The early morning drive through the woods on the Lyn Road, or, for a change the Howard Road, and the more relaxed return trip between four o’clock and six must have trained eyes and hearts to an appreciation of the seasons as they turned. We noted trillium’s in the spring, the best orchard, for a few stolen apples, beechnuts in season, the purple asters and red leaves of autumn, and the beauty and brilliance of frosty February mornings.
Of course, there was a lot of fun and some practical jokes to entertain us on our daily drives home. A favourite punishment was to push someone off the sleigh to walk a mile or two. Sometimes passengers craftily exchanged seats so that young sweethearts could ride together. Certain drivers pitted their horses against other horses in a brief race, although no horse on his school route was ever intended to be run! Even the deep pitch holes dug out in the snow and ice early in the winter, no paved roads then, provided us with laughs! One load of boys and girls became a secret society called “The Naughty Nine”, had a club pin, and enjoyed occasional Friday evening parties at members’ houses.
The school year demanded stamina, patience, and faithfulness to the task of getting an education; it also demonstrated the importance country parents placed on education for their children. Fathers who supervised the daily departure at 7:30 in the morning, mothers who placed a hearty lunch in our hands…….Years later, we thank them again for their encouragement.
The Principal we remember with great respect and affection from those early years is the late A.J. Husband, a firm, kindly, and cultured gentleman whose invariable morning greeting to us from the country, on very cold days, was, “Make sure you are good and warm before you go into your class.” He was an excellent teacher of English, French, German and Ancient History. Other names come to mind – Miss Giles, Miss McCormack, Mr. Somerville, Mr. Butcher (beloved by his Latin students), Mr. Thompson, Mr. L.S. Beattie, Miss Marjorie Lewis and Miss Mabel Roberts. Each old girl and boy will add to that list The school curriculum was perhaps too rigidly academic, discouraging indeed to those who found Latin a chore and needed a practical course of study. The hour’s drive home prevented any participation in sports and games. After eating a cold, if not frozen lunch in a classroom left open for us, we had little recreation except two noon hours a week in the gymnasium for the girls, (the boys had three), and a stolen few minutes of dancing, if the door was left unlocked. But in that generation we did not know we had rights to be pressed for; we knew only that we had duties and responsibilities. What a meek lot we must have been! Probably our worst misdemeanour was to leave school at noon one day in early September to attend the Rural School Fair at Tincap!
Those who remember going to B.C.I. in the 1920’s will have their own stories to tell. Good times with good friends, we like to recall them.
(this story was written for the 50th B.C.I. Celebration in 1980. It was published in the “Reunion Edition” of the B.C.I. 1980 Yearbook “The Boomerang”)
In 1900, George Eastman took mass-market photography one step further with the introduction of the Kodak Brownie, a simple and very inexpensive box camera that introduced the concept of the snapshot. The Brownie was extremely popular and various models remained on sale until the 1960s.
Thanks to Kodak, photography became available to everyone, and people were able to capture their “precious memories” forever.
The Latimer Family were no exception with their Kodak. They were now able expand their “photograph albums” from the staged “studio family portraits” to their every day life.