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A Glimpse of History

  • CA BWGPL PH25604

Municipality :
Community : Bradford West Gwillimbury
Lot :
Concession :
Description : A Glimpse of History

When Lucy Shepherd (nee Fairbank) lived in the old Steel House at Steel's Corners (Highway 11 and Concession 14), she and her siblings discovered a dusty, calfbound volume in the attic of the home.

They played with the book, wrote in a few I.O.U.s and admired the elegant handwriting. It wasn't until years later, long after the Steel House had been torn down for the widening of Highway 11, that Shepherd realized she had something out of the ordinary.

The book turned out to be the Day book of blacksmith John Steel. Dating from 18855 to 1869, it itemizes the daily and monthly accounts of residents like Robert Kneeshaw, Joseph Fennel, James and Robert Bell.

Prices ranged from 10 cents to mend a pitchfork and 25 cents to replace a horseshoe, to $1.75 for repairs to a "thrashing mashen" (threshing machine). The accounts also contain a price list for construction materials for a new home in the late 1860's - including $123.41 for lumber, $19.50 for hardware, and $11.51 for the glass and "putey".

The prices seem unimaginably low by today's standards, and it is a surprise to note that over the 14 years spanned by the accounts, the blacksmith's prices did not go up.

A Heritage Moment... The Illustrated Witness, a memento from 1906, now available

  • CA BWGPL PH26639

Municipality :
Community : Bradford
Lot :
Concession :
Description : A copy of the May 31, 1906 Bradford Witness owned by Rose Magloughlen, who inherited from her aunt, Florence Batchelor. Rose loaned the copy to the Historical Association, which had it copied and compiled in book format. The edition was written 102 years ago, when Bradford was almost 50 years old - but still had a population of only around 1,000. There were 4 churches, a public school and a high school, one policeman, and a whole variety of shopkeepers and service providers. Travel was by real horse power, and about this time, the wooden sidewalks in town were replaced with smooth cement - but you still had to dodge the puddles and muddy spots when crossing dirt streets on a rainy day. This "illustrated edition" of The Witness was special and expensive to print, because it not only told of the many business and professional offices and manufacturing works within the Town, it contained many pictures that had to be engraved prior to being printed. The editor, Mr. Edmund Garrett, wrote in his preamble, "It is hoped, however, that this number will possess vastly more interest than that of any publication ever gotten up in the village - interesting alike to present dwellers in our midst and to the thousands who have gone from us to dwell in other places." Even today, folks returning to Bradford to search for their roots are surprised to find a story and a picture of an earlier generation of their family in this publication - including information about Bradford's very first land developer, Letitia Magee. The book was out of print, but the Bradford West Gwillimbury Local History Association decided to reprint it as another reminder of the past, on the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Bradford. Copies are only $10 each.

A Heritage Moment... The Stoddart-Reynolds house reflects legacy of a pioneering family

  • CA BWGPL PH26640

Municipality :
Community : Bradford West Gwillimbury
Lot :
Concession :
Description : In 1818, John Stoddars travelled from County Cavan in Ireland to the Township of West Gwillimbury, and liked what he saw. He returned to Ireland, then came back to Simcoe County with his three sons, William, James and Hugh, and stepson John Faris, to settle on Lot 10, Con. 7 - on the northwest corner of Hwy. 88 and 10 Sideroad, by today's map. In due course, each son would have his own 100 acre farm nearby. The eldest son, William inherited the home farm in 1836 and built the brick house known as "The Oaks" that still stands and is ocupied today. James farmed next door on Lot 9, was a member of West Gwillimbury's first Council in 1850, and donated land for the Anglican Church on his lot. Other family members served on Council in following years. his son Burt built the red brick house across Barrie St. that is still standing today. Another of William's sons, William Davis, built what was later known as the Stoddart-Ritchie house on the south side of 88 - now demolished. Whether the family name was spelled Stoddars,Stodders or Stoddart, members of this family were all significant contributors to the early settlement and governance of Bradford and West Gwillimbury. Most recently a representative of this family has been Canada's Privacy Commissioner. A symbol of the pioneering years is the stately home, built circa 1860, formerly known as The Oaks and now called the Stoddart-Reynolds house. A solid brick, full 2-storey, 3-over-3 bay front, typical of other homes of the period, it was built in the Georgian Vernacular style, with a Regency door case, and bow-roofed verandah. Two end fireplaces still exist on the main floor - the eastern fireplace with the original mantelpiece in place. Some interior design still survives, and the home has been well-cared for over the years. In fact, the pre-confederation house, associated with a prominent pioneer family, displays notable architectural significance - truly a home worth preserving, as part of West Gwillimbury and Bradford's Heritage.

A home grown plumbing is expanding

  • CA BWGPL PH26498

Municipality :
Community : Schomberg
Lot :
Concession :
Description : Glen Hulse was originally a diary farmer but he now has a successful plumbing and heating company.

A Look at Bradford Over 100 Years Ago

  • CA BWGPL PH25686

Municipality :
Community : Bradford West Gwillimbury
Lot :
Concession :
Description : A Look At Bradford Over 100 Years Ago

Dear Sir:
This is a copy of a letter written during the 1860's by my grandfather, Philip Crowder, at Manchester, England to the Herald. I received a copy from an uncle, Albert Crowder, now at Bangor, Maine.

I thought it might be of interest to you.
Sincerely yours,

Philip. A. Crowder
Star Route
Deerwood, Minnesota

A Look Into History

Mr. Editor
Dear sir:

Wishing to try my hand at writing a small article for the Working People's Supplement to the Herald I thought I would write from memory, some account of the first village I settled in and of the life in the Inhabitants lead.

I emigrated to Canada nine years ago with my wife and two little ones, the oldest child not quite two years old, and arrived in the City of Churches, as it is by some called, but better know as Toronto; where I found to my surpirse, tram cars running on several of the main streets. I soon got work at my trade but it being slack time of the year for it and I being unaccustomed to their way of working, I earned but little money and so left the shop to work on a sewer which was being made in Yonge Street, where I worked 'til it was finished. I applied for work at their mill at Bradford, only forty miles "up the Northern Track", so I went home and got my dinner and a change of clothes and started at quarter to three from the "Northern Depot" for Bradford where I arrived just after six.

It was on this journey that I saw a little of what the country in Canada looks like. I had only been through old settled country before, with here and there a bit of "bush" left for firewood; but now I passed through some new cleared land with the fields full of stumps and log huts here and there, and through the Holland River swamp, (which is now cleared up), and then thought I had some idea of the back woods; how soon we think we have learned soemthing. Arrived at Bradford Depot, (station), I enquired my road to the mill, where I luckily found the clerk, who was busy that night, and he gave me an order for admission to the boarding house, where I had supper and was then shown my bed, there being three double beds in that room.

At the front of the house I found my fellow boarders, and part of my future mates, collected, some seated on benches, some playing quoits, some leaning against a fence dividing the yard from the railway; (the house being in the lumber yard, one line of lumber piles being within ten yards of the back of the house), and all indulging in rough jests. A good number of them, like myself emigrants - English, Irish, Scotch, with three of these I struck up aquaintance. One was a pit sawer from Banbury, another a Cornish youth, and the last a carpenter from Brighton. As dark came on we went to bed as our inclination led us. As half pat five we were called by a bell for breakfast, which consisted of the remains of salt pork boiled the day before for dinner, served with bread, fried potatoes followed by bread and butter and that by fat cakes and molasses with tea to drink. At five minutes to six the first whistle blew when all hands started for the mill to be in their places when the whistle blew at six. I was put at first in a gang of six or eight who were making a ditch to go between the river and cistern intended to suppply the boilers of a new mill they were building at a distance of about a furlong from the old one, the road and railroad lying between them. At half past eleven the whistle blew for dinner when I saw most of the hands that lived at the boarding house running as fast as they could for that most desirable place. I thought them a very greedy set of fellows until I arrived at the back of the house where I saw some of the last ones rubbing themelves with the towels and the row of unemployed wash-bowls ready for myself and the few elderly men that was (sic) staying there and so this tremendous rush was only to get the bowls with clean water ready in them without the trouble of pumping it. By the time I was ready the bell rang for dinner when all walked quietly into the dining room and took his place.

Dinner consisted of salt pork boiled with potatoes and some kind of garden vegetable when in season, followed by pies such as apple, pumpkin, and citeron (sic) and finish up with fat cakes and molasses and finished with a cup of tea. At half past twelve the whistle blew for work and at six to "quit", when we got our supper which consisted of bread and butter and preserved fruit and hot cakes and molasses. On Sundays we had a joint of fresh meat roasted, or rather baked, in the oven of the cook stove and sometimes someone or other of the luxuries usual in the homes of even the labourers of the county. It was here I saw green corn eat (sic) for the first time. I was highly amused at the sight but would not be tempted to try it. Perhaps some of my readers have seen a "cob" of corn or Indain corn in some corn dealers window. Well these are fathered when the grain is full not but begun to ripen, and boiled for twenty minutes, and served on the table, the diner takes hold of the stalk end with his fingers of one hand and spreads butter on the cob with a knife held in the other, he then takes hold of the other end of the cob instead of the knife and bites off the grain much the same as you may have seen some one pick a bone. It well repays you for any loss of dignity you may have sustaiend from the awkward looking position, at least I thought so the following summer when I was persuaded at the house of a friend to try just one cob and tried another without any persuading and so thought the Irishman who having arrived on Toronto in September thought he saw peas being eaten in a new way. After having devoured his corn asked the waiter to "Please to put some more pays on this stick."

After a few days I was fetched to work at the mill where there was about seventy men and boys working in about it. It is situated on one side of the Holland River in which the logs lie as they have been brought up the river by small steam tugs from Lake Simcoe. it is a large wooden building two stories high...

A look at Bradford, then and now

  • CA BWGPL PH26583

Municipality :
Community : Bradford
Lot :
Concession :
Description : Last year, Fred C. Cook Public School took an innovative approach to welcoming the kids back to school. Instead of the usual temporary homerooms, followed by classroom shuffles, tears and disappointment - moving some students to a new setting, just as they began to feel comfortable - the school embraced a week-long "Whole School" entry. All during week one, students were divided into teams, not classrooms, and participated in a unit that combined team spirit and fun with course material, in math, history, sports, arts, crafts, language and geography. Last year's theme was "The Olympics", coinciding with the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. The unit was such a success, promoting "a positive school environment", that this year the school has done it again, with a unit titled, "Bradford, Then and Now." A look at the history, geography, crafts and cultures of Bradford West Gwillimbury, the unit drew upon the expertise of local volunteers to give students a multi-dimensional introduction to their own community. The students were divided into "Guilds" - merchants and blacksmiths, tailors, weavers, saddlers, stonemasons and millwrights, eighteen in all. As "Guilds", they traced the origins of the settlers, the agriculture of the area, participated in mathematical activities, played traditional sports, and listened to presentations on topics like "Building Bradford" and "Hurricane Hazel", from special guests who included local historians Barb Verney and George Jackson. Friday was the "grand finale." Gordon Marriott piped in the Guilds for an outdoor assembly, followed by a speech by Mayor Frank Jonkman, and performances by a choir and Irish dancers. Then each Guild made the rounds of the special displays, games and demonstrations. Scotch Settlement Apple Orchard brought bushels of crisp apples, and made cider in an old fashioned cider press. Hank Vanderpost of Vanhaven Farms demonstrated the art of preparing a calf to be shown at a Fair. The students asked questions, and experienced history, hands-on. And only at the end of the week did each child receive a letter, designating their classroom for the year.

Abate - Lotto

  • CA BWGPL 12527

Event Date : Tuesday, April 18, 1950
Event Type : Marriage
Municipality : Toronto
Community : Other - Bradford
Street :
Lot :
Concession : 0
Description : Sarah Marie, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard
Lotto, Toronto, and formerly of Bradford, to Joseph Abate, son of the late Mr.and Mrs. P. Abate of Italy. Rev. Ricardo officiated at St. Agnes Church. Bride's attendant: Miss Beatrice Maltese of Toronto. Groomsman: Mr. William Leo of Toronto. Couple will live in Toronto.

Abbey

  • CA BWGPL 14079

Event Date : Friday, October 09, 1959
Event Type : Birth
Municipality :
Community : Other - Bradford
Street :
Lot :
Concession : 0
Description : A son to Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Abbey, R.R. 1 Bradford. Born at York County Hospital, Newmarket.

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