News from Mapleton area from 1907 and 1926

The following is a re-print of a past column by former Advertiser columnist Stephen Thorning, who passed away on Feb. 23, 2015.

Some text has been updated to reflect changes since the original publication and any images used may not be the same as those that accompanied the original publication.

June 1907

117 years ago

May 1907 ended with rain, followed by a warm dry spell in the first days of June. 

Farmers welcomed the rain that came with a series of thunderstorms between June 17 and 23, even though the moisture invariably came in the early evening, causing difficulties for outdoor social events.

The county constable poked around Peel Township early in June, trying to identify the individual who peppered seven lambs belonging to William Fairweather of the Alma area. Two of the lambs died of their wounds.

Area cheese factories got back into production in early June. The Goldstone Cheese and Butter Company resumed production on June 4, after a remodelling that included some new equipment.

Bethesda Ladies Aid opened the garden party season with a meal and a program featuring addresses from five ministers. Admission was 25 cents.

June 3 saw the induction ceremony for Rev. John G. Reed at Alma Presbyterian Church. Four ministers took part in the service, which was followed by a social hour and an ample lunch.

Frank Mayne purchased the last of the cluster of section men’s houses at Goldstone station, for use as an extension to his own house on Concession 12 of Peel. The small structures, about 30 years old, had been the homes of transient track workers, but the Grand Trunk sold them off after restructuring its track maintenance procedures.

There was much activity during June 1907 in Moorefield’s business sector. The Wellington Milling Company leased Rogers’s Mill, and brought in new equipment for chopping feed. The company had plans to build its own mill at some point in the future. The verandah in front of Stinson’s Store came down, and some other alterations gave the premises a more modern appearance.

The Moorefield Temperance Company proceeded with alterations and improvements to their hotel building. On June 1 there was a big auction of some of the old equipment and furnishings, lasting from 2 to 7pm.

Innes & Son of Moorefield advertised for wool, offering 23 cents per pound, or 25 cents if the value was taken in goods for the store. Stinson’s matched those prices for 10 days, and advised that they also handled woolen goods produced by the mills in Listowel and Chesley. Blankets were priced at 60 cents per pound, and yarns from 49 to 55 cents.

A freak accident on the farm of Jim Douglas on Concession 8 of Maryborough resulted in the death of hired man Bill Hewitt. While erecting a new fence a wire was pulled too taught. It snapped, and an end struck Hewitt in the head.

Colquhoun & Richardson, the Drayton livestock buyers, enjoyed a very active season. During May they paid out $14,300 to area farmers. The men usually shipped cattle on Mondays and hogs on Thursdays. That schedule permitted them to accompany the two or three carloads of cattle each Monday to the stockyards.

Peel council began its meeting of June 3 with a short session as a Court of Revision. Council lowered the taxes for most of the applicants. Among the bills paid during the regular council session were: one for $20 from Tom Jordan, covering his duties as a special constable supervising a quarantine to contain an outbreak of scarlet fever; $625 for gravelling the centre sideroad; $37.50 to Ralph Close for a half-year’s salary as treasurer; and $128 for six months’ salary for the clerk. Councillors authorized the borrowing of up to $2,000 to cover expenses until tax payments arrived in December. 

Organizers of the Weather Mutual Insurance Company held their third meeting in Drayton, advising those who attended that more than $200,000 had been subscribed province-wide, and that incorporation would follow quickly. The company planned to offer insurance against storm damage, tornadoes and high winds, which were normally not insurable risks with other firms.

Dick Lynch of Peel discovered that ignoring liquor laws could be expensive. Though he was listed under the provincial Inebriate Act, he managed to get some liquor and cause a disturbance. He then moved around the area to evade arrest. The county constable caught up with him at Arthur. His escapade cost him a $10 fine and $8.20 in costs, levied by Magistrate Workman at Drayton.

Many Drayton-area farmers took a break from farm chores on June 20 for a day-long excursion to the Ontario Agricultural College for demonstrations of new farming techniques.

For those who liked meetings, late June was an ideal time. The organizers of the Maryborough, Peel and Drayton Sunday School Association advanced their convention at Rothsay to June 27 to avoid a conflict with a big temperance convention at Palmerston the next day. On June 29 the West Wellington Women’s Institute branches held a convention at Drayton’s Town Hall.

Most of Drayton’s merchants advertised seasonal clearance sales in late June. Shoes were marked down at least 10%. John Lunz had a sale on fabrics by the yard.

June 1926

98 Years Ago

The cold and wet spring of 1926 continued to have repercussions in June, with crops lagging and weeds, to the dismay of farmers and gardeners, doing well.

Based on a 6% decrease in the cost of power from Ontario Hydro and increasing consumption by its customers, the Drayton Public Utilities Commission announced a 10% cut in its rates for 1926.

The Wellington County roads department budgeted for the paving of the main streets in Drayton and Moorefield in 1926.

On June 5, Drayton council agreed to cooperate with the work, letting a contract for the fill needed for widening the road to the railway station to Besse, Bowman and Betterson for 40 cents per cubic yard. Council also authorized 22-foot wide pavement and curbs. The county picked up the tab only for the middle 20 feet of the roadway. 

With increasing numbers of farmers purchasing motor cars, June garden parties enjoyed the peak of their popularity in the late 1920s. During the last two weeks of June there was one virtually every night of the week somewhere in Peel and Maryborough townships. Most of them were staged by organizations associated with the United Church of Canada, which had formed only a year earlier through the amalgamation of the Canadian Methodist, the Congregational, and about half the Canadian Presbyterians.

Rothsay United Church led off the 1926 season on June 15 with a garden party on Bob Matchert’s lawn, fronting the Elora Road. The evening began with a baseball game between the women’s teams of Drayton and Rothsay (won by Drayton) and a football game. Later, during the meal, there were performances by the Kincardine Concert Co. The event netted the church $260.

Two nights later, Zion United Church offered the Arthur Brass Band and The Monarch Orchestra of Drayton as the attractions. Cotswold United followed on the 18th.

The Moorefield United Church garden party took place on June 22, with entertainment by the Charles Tuck Concert Company of Oakville. An alternative that evening was the Union United Church party, with entertainment by the Arthur Brass Band and the Brunswick Trio of London. 

It was the turn of Lebanon the next night. This party was the bargain of the season, with supper for 35 cents, compared to the 50 cent charge in place at the others. Stirton followed on the 24th with a party on the lawn of Stan Ellis, music by Drayton’s Monarch Orchestra, and “Lots of berries,” according to the posters. The Hollen garden party on the 29th featured local talent: songs by Grace Bonnick and Bob Wilson, and violin selections by Maud Buschlen. Last of the parties was that in Drayton on July 8.

Automobile accidents occurred with increasing frequency in 1926. A serious smash up resulted when Justin Forman drove his Model T Ford into the side of the Elmira Dairy cream truck at the comer of Concession 4 and the 1st Sideroad in Maryborough. Both vehicles were wrecked, but neither driver suffered serious injury. They blamed each other for the crash. The intersection was not marked by any warning signs.

Baseball games attracted large crowds through the month of June 1926. In the Central Baseball League, Harriston held down first place, followed by Palmerston, Fordwich, Drew Station, Clifford and Gorrie.

Women’s games regularly outdrew the men’s matches in attendance, with intense rivalry among teams from Drayton, Goldstone and Alma.

Delighted with the public reception and financial results from its self-propelled motor car on several runs out of Palmerston, Canadian National added a second car for local service.

Beginning June 20, 1926, it ran a round trip from Palmerston to Kincardine and another from Palmerston to Durham, replacing steam-powered trains that had lost much of their business.

It was a quiet month for the township councils – they spent most of the June 1926 meetings approving routine expenditures. One exception was a $7,000 debenture issue by Peel council, which met on June 15 at Kaiser’s Hall in Goldstone. The money was for a new two-room school house for S.S. No. 1. Maryborough council met on June 21, and approved a concrete sidewalk to Moorefield Park and an engineering study for a municipal drain requested by L.J. Scott and five of his neighbours.

There was plenty of activity around St. Andrews Church in Moorefield, with the congregation making plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary later in the year, and the Young People’s group organizing a Bible contest, run on the same principles as a spelling bee.

There was also much bustle around the church at Stirton, with painters and carpenters doing renovations to the building.

The Women’s Institutes were a vital force in the community in 1926. The West Wellington district held its annual meeting at Rothsay’s Orange Hall, with 90 women present from the Institutes in Rothsay, Moorefield, Drayton and Palmerston.

*This column was originally published in the Drayton Community News on June 15, 2001 and June 15, 2007.

Thorning Revisited