Community : Beeton
Description : David A. Jones Made "Beetown" Famous
David Allanson Jones is credited as the founder of Beeton. He was the first commercial bee man in North America and made the community famous for its honey.
Honey bees were not native to North America and were brought in by the first settlers. Jones capitalized on the delicacy and won prizes and awards for his honey in fairs all over the world.
In 1874, Clarkville was renamed Beetown in recognition of Mr. Jones' work. The name has since become Beeton but the signs at the entrances to the village still use the beehive symbol in memory of Jones, who died in 1910.
Simcoe Centre MPP D. Arthur Evans was born in Beeton.
Probably the most famous person to call Beeton her home was Canadian radio star, Kate Aitken, who passed away last year. Mrs. Aitken remembered her childhood so fondly she often commented about Beeton in her radio shows. The history of the community is set down in her book, "Never A Day Too Bright."
Mrs. Aitken organized the first Women's Institute in Beeton in 1920 and was its first president. Mrs. Gordon Drury, curator of the Institute's Tweedsmuir History Book, said the first meeting was held in a building on the northwest corner of Main and Centry Sts. Each of the ladies donated a cup and saucer and at the second meeting, each donated a chair. To keep the place warm and cozy through the winter months, another lady donated a cord of firewood.
The Institute celebrated its 50th anniversary in October, 1970. One hundred seventy-four ladies have belonged to the organization since it began.
Each of the three churches in town has its wealth of history in the forming of the community.
Trinity Anglican Church was built in 1878 with the cornerstone laid by John MacDonald, M.P. There was probably another church on Main St. before fire destroyed the west half of the main block of stores (Jones' block) on the north side.
Mrs. Jack Camplin recalls the church was always filled for two services each Sunday, and the holders of rented pews had to be in their seats ten minutes before the service otherwise others were allowed to use the seats.
Rev. J. Cross has been the pastor at the church for the past five years.
St. Paul's Anglican Church was built in 1879 for $4,500 on land donated by the Hammell family. The opening service was preached by Bishop Sweetman on Feb. 10, 1880 and consecrated on Dec. 14, 1906 after becoming debt-free. The church seats 200 people and has a congregation of 100 families.
Church records indicate a congregation existed as early as 1867. Rev. William Davis has been the minister for the past five years.
Rev. Basil Das of Tottenham is the minister of the Presbyterian Church which was completed in 1890 and debt-free at its opening. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1941.
The original church, Second United Presbyterian Congregation of Tecumseth was started in 1859 and located on the south side of Main St.
The Beeton Telephone Co. is now part of the history of the community. In 1958 the company was sold to Bell Telephone when the dial system became widely used. Dr. McKelvey, the last president, said the company was formed in 1906 and owned the territory surrounding Bradford, Cookstown, Alliston, Rosemont and Tottenham.
Beeton was the first community in Ontario to have a covered ice rink. The old town hall was condemned and subsequently sold in 1947 for $5,500 and the money used to build the rink.
Dr. McKelvey, who was reeve at the time, said the arena didn't cost the ratepayers a nickel. The entire cost was raised through donations and social events.