Transcript:White Family (Memoir) transcription


Related source: MySource:RGMoffat/White Family (Memoir) transcription


by E.F. White (b. 1870)

I was born on March 28th, 1870, on the south half of lot 19, concession 10, the Township of Collingwood, Ontario, Canada, in a log house a few months before the construction of a better house of lumber. The farm is on the east side of Beaver Valley, one of the most beautiful valleys I have ever seen. It is a splendid farming section growing wheat, oats, rye, barley but is not far enough south to grow corn for the grain, though it is grown a great deal for fodder purposes. The valley is especially adapted to the growth of plums, apples, pears, and down nearer the lake, of late years, peaches. When first settled, in the forties, about the only thing they could grow in the way of fruit was wild plums, crabapples, and there were some wild grapes. The wild pigeons, up until about 1875, were very plentiful. I've often heard Mother tell that many a time she had put two dozen into a pie.

The White boys, as they were called at that time, with their sister and her husband, Edward Atkin, took the two lots number 18 and 19 about 1848 and commenced to clear and build homes for themselves, William on the south half of lot 18, Samuel on the north half of lot 18, Thomas Boothby on the south half of lot 19, and Edward Atkin on the north half of lot 19. This gave each of the four families, one hundred acres. Further in this account, will be given more information about the White family and Mother's father, James Smith, and his family.

James Smith settled on the lot at Ravenna, northwest corner where he spent several years before moving first to Richmond Hill and then to Winnebago, Illinois. It was while they were living at Ravenna that Father met Mother, and they were married on Christmas Eve December 24th, l853. As Father wrote in his memorandum book, “T.B. White and M. Smith, married Dec. 24, 1853 in Collingwood Township, Upper Canada, British North America.” [[Person:Martha Smith (206)Mother]] was born January 14, 1835 in Dearborn County, Indiana, U.S., about seven miles from Lawrenceburg and near Elizabethtown which was their post office.

Father, Thomas Boothby White, was born November 18th, 1824 in Ludborough, Lincolnshire, England. He with his two brothers, William, and Samuel and brother-in-law, Edward Atkin, and their sister (Eliza) sailed from Hull, England, on March 14, 1844 and spent four years in the Gore of Toronto before taking up land in Collingwood Township. While in the Gore, Father worked for a man named Sleightholm whose two boys I later met at the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph, Ontario in 1889 – 1891.

Father first built a log house for which he went to the trouble of squaring all the logs and making it an unusually fine house for the time and place. He had expected to be married but something went astray with that engagement and some time later the house caught fire and burnt to the ground. After that experience, he simply rebuilt an ordinary log house. I have heard Father say that in 1851, the first wheat he had was very hard to protect from the red and black squirrels which that year literally infested the woods They were after it in the field, in the shock, and when he got it into the barn he had to cover it with boards and slabs to try to keep it from the squirrels. Later, after thrashing (sic) it, he hauled it on a drag with oxen, to Meaford where he got fifty cents a bushel; payable in trade, and where tea cost a dollar and twenty-five cents a pound. When Father went up to the farm to clear, he took with him an English grammar which he practically memorized. When he needed a new pair of trousers, he made them himself, cutting them with an axe on a block of wood. Father rented his farm for some years to William Vamplalew (sic), whose wife was Father’s sister, Mariah, and devoted himself to carpentering, living part of the time near Heathcote, where Elizabeth, the eldest girl was born, then moving to Collingwood town in Simcoe County. While in Collingwood, Father took an active part in affairs generally. At one time he was teacher in the Sunday School in the Episcopal Church, Chairman of the Public School Board, and Captain of the Volunteer Fire Department. It seemed as though he was firmly convinced that a better place to bring up a family was on the farm and so in March 1870, with six children, Elizabeth, Susan, George, James, Thomas, and Annie, the youngest, they moved to the farm. It was very much against Mother’s wishes because she did not like the loneliness of the farm life and believed there were advantages for the children in the town. When they drove by the little old log schoolhouse and Tom found that was the place they would have to attend, he cried at that prospect. Father told him not to mind, that he would see they had a better school. Very shortly afterwards, he was chairman of the school board that put up a good frame schoolbuilding that still stands today (1926).

The first thing I remember was being down between the sills of a large kitchen and dining room that they were building to the new frame house. It must have been within three years. Then I remember going to Sunday School in the old log church at the corner and being taught my letters from bright colored placards. I remember when a younger brother, Alexander, died on January 14, 1876. Mr. and Mrs. Neil Coleman (sic) [note by Rick Moffat Neil McColman married Martha Green. Her sister, Mary, married Samuel White, brother of T.B. White) were there the night before and I remember the almost-frenzy that Mother was in. (Alexander, b. May 31, 1875). The next morning I remember coming to the foot of the stairs, leaning out of the door while still on the stair, asking how he was, and being told that he was dead. A great thing occurred that year. Father went to the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia [1]. He wrote a good many post cards home, writing very fine and getting almost a letter on each card. Many of these, if not all, are in my possession. After moving to the farm, the following children were born: Edward Francis (self), Robert Henry, Alexander (who died), Myrtle and Herbert Hill.

In 1880, Father built what was known as the "new barn”. It was considered a remarkable barn for the time, being fifty feet high and having a hip roof that gave a great deal of added space higher up inside. The driveway was at the end, and the ample space higher up was of comparatively little use if the crops had to be pitched up there by hand. Years afterward, George Geekill (sic), the new owner of the farm, altered the driveway to the side and installed a hayfork unloader which rendered the space available with less labor. It was a bank barn with stables on the first floor. Father used to fatten cattle for sale each winter, looking to that for one of his main sources of revenue.

The spring after the new barn was built, George, who attended the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph for two years from the fall of 1878, went to Manitoba, remarking that he wouldn’t be home for five years. From Manitoba, he went farther west, finally getting into business at Wallis, Idaho, and at present being on a ranch at Hollister, Idaho. He never visited the old home afterward, though after Mother, Myrtle, Bert and I were living (in 1907) at the southwest corner of Summit Ave and Eighth Street, Cincinnati, he spent a few hours with us one evening while passing through the city. It seemed to me very strange that after being away twenty-seven years he couldn’t spend longer with us. But we couldn’t persuade him to stay longer. George was a clever, capable and ambitious man, but had not made good in his own eyes and had never married. It was a keen disappointment to Mother that he did not stay longer with us but a great satisfaction that she even had a few hours’ visit with him. That night when Bert and I went with him to the depot, he told us that he had the unusual faculty of retaining his sense of direction even when in the dark in a strange, (sic) city and no matter what turning the carriage he was in might go through. While George went to college at Guelph, one of the professors was J. Hayes Panton, teacher of science. He was there when I attended in 1889 – 1891, and was an enthusiastic traveler. He had visited noted places and referred to them very often in his lectures; for instance, the Giant Causeway, the Alps, Yellowstone Park and Mammoth Cave. He visited Mammoth Cave a couple of times during the 80's and I remember hearing him tell in one of his lectures in a church about sitting on the Veranda of the Mammoth Cave Hotel and listening to the katydids, whippoorwills and the colored people sing. In 1920, when Jessie and I visited the cave, we had the same experience and it was delightful. At that time we found a colored man, one of the guides, who had acted as a guide for Professor Panton, not only through the cave, but in his rambles around the surrounding hills. Just here I may give a brief account of our own trip to the cave.

We went in a 1917 Jeffery Touring car. The front seat was a divided seat – I fixed it so we could lift the two parts out and put a bar across. Upon this and across the folded tops of auxiliary seats we put a number of boards about six inches wide, and on this a two-thirds size mattress, this giving us a comfortable bed. We took long a gasoline camping range, bought provisions as we needed them and thus made our trip. It was a most enjoyable trip. We went across the suspension bridge and south through Falmouth to Cynthiana. Going down a hill about five miles north of Cynthiana, something commenced to rattle in the engine. Not being very well acquainted with the car, I could not tell how serious it was. We decided to camp for the night at the foot of the hill. We drew into a gateway and having obtained the consent of the owner, spent the night. It was our first experience of sleeping in the car and although it rained some, we spent a comfortable night. In the morning I started in to take the engine apart, but could not decide where the trouble was so decided to try to get to Cynthiana. The car seemed to lack some power and rattled all the time – but we got there. We found the Harrison County Garage and the mechanic very promptly found the difficulty which was the breaking of a stem-lock on one of the valves. It had rattled and made a good deal of noise but had done no harm. In the course of less than two hours, we were fixed up an started on with kind thoughts to the proprietor of that garage which I have visited several times since. We went south to Georgetown and then west to Frankfort, camping for the second night in a yard by a church in Simpsonville, a few miles this side of Louisville.. We were entertained here by two "widder women", one was very uneasy, apparently having something on her mind. Finally she remarked, “I suppose you two are married." Upon being assured that we were not only married but had four children at home, she then seemed much more at ease, and took up the next thing that seemed to be on her mind, which was the selling of antiques to tourists. The other, "widder woman," told us how the world seemed to be trying to take advantage of a “widder" but gave us some instances that she was so much on guard that she was not even fair to the other person. The next day we went on through Louisville and on to Mammoth Cave, camping for the night in a school yard a few miles this side of Cave City. The next day we reached the cave and found quite a number of other campers there. Among them, we became acquainted with Mr. and Mrs. Larson from Chicago, and Miss Powell, a niece of the manager of the hotel whose home was in Washington. We enjoyed our trip through the cave – but even more, our visit above-ground . We spent three days at the cave, and then with Mr. and Mrs. Larson, and their daughters, upon the solicitation of Floyd Collins drove over to his Father's farm to visit Crystal Gypsum Cave. We went through this wonderful cave and then camped for the night beside the Collins’ home which was on the hill top of the bank of the Green River which runs in a gorge some three hundred or three hundred and fifty feet deep. The next morning Mr. Larson and I went with one of the Collins boys through another cave down on the hillside.

We brought back from the two caves on the Collins’ farm all we could carry of specimens, of which upon the floor of the caves, there were hundreds of tons. Coming home, the Larson's came with us as far as Louisville, they going on through Indiana, we camping again at Simpsonville. We went through Harrodsburg to Shakertown, to Danville and Camp Nelson. to High Bridge and home, having spent twelve days and nights on our trip, which will always be remembered with pleasure.

Another man at Guelph who had known George very closely was James MacIntosh, carpenter, called superintendent of the mechanical department. He had a very high opinion of George’s ability as a carpenter and looked upon him as the best student he had had. As a consequence, he was very friendly toward me, and more than once I spent a very pleasant afternoon or evening visiting him and his wife at their home.

During the summer or early fall of 1881, Father and Mother decided to visit Grandfather James Smith, living at Winnebago, Illinois. I don’t remember who all went with them to take the boat at Collingwood but I was along and remember distinctly that after they got aboard ( and boats were wonderful things to me at that time) Mother sent me up-town to buy something for her at a store. They went by boat to Chicago and were away some weeks visiting a lot of Mother’s relatives around Winnebago, Rockford, and Independence Illinois. They both enjoyed the trip very much and Mother must have specimens of fossils every place she went, for she brought many home with her. They were there at the time of the funeral of President James A Garfield and attended one of the funerals, many of which were held throughout the country.

From about the time I was six years old to sixteen, I attended school every winter and most of the summers at School House No. 5, Collingwood Township, which was a little over a mile from home. All ten children of our family attended this school in succession. Some of the teachers were Wood, Lindsey, Honeywell, Grier, and again the same Lindsey, Alexander, Lawheed, Moore, Fairwell, and Wright. From the very start there was friction between the Foster family and the White family and this persisted all the way through school. The only time the Whites and the Fosters seemed to approve each other was about election time when they both belonged to the same party, the Grits, or the Reformers, as they were called.

In 1924 I met Andrew Foster in Thornbury He said the he understood that I had become a lawyer. When I told him that I had been admitted to the bar, but did not practice law, he expressed pleasure at learning that because he said I would stand a much better show of getting to heaven. He seemed to have the opinion that lawyers stood a very poor show. What experience caused him to feel that way, I do not know.

In 18xx, Father helped Tom to start a planning mill in Clarksburg and a few months later James joined him in the business, which they ran for several years. In 18xx, Annie left home to keep house for them. That meant that six of the children had left home. After Jim left, I think it was in 1886 when I was sixteen years of age, I did the fall ploughing and even today I remember with pleasure those fall days out in the open field with a full view of a section of the valley with its fall colors. The nearest approach to it that I have had since coming to Cincinnati was days spent in the fall on the golf course.

The planing mill business was not a good business, It was like all those other businesses where work is secured by bidding through unintelligent competition and eagerness to secure orders, the prices are kept chronically too low. Some years later they went into the manufacturing of cooperage, especially hoops, and did exceedingly well for several years when changes took place that made it less profitable. William Johnston and John Johnston also got into the business with the White brothers and the connection had factories or sawmills at different times at Heathcote, Duncan, Ko1epore as well as Clarksburg. Ultimately, John Johnston and Tom White, sold out their Kolapore holdings. John went to Saskatchewan, Tom to Parry Sound, Will Johnston sold out his mill on Col1ingvood Mountain and went into business in Thornbury. Jim, having married Kate Rorke, bought the old Rorke homestead at Heathcote, and became a farmer again. At this time Tom is managing the turning factory at Parry Sound, Ontario.

During the season of 1887, I became dissatisfied and Father wanted to know what I wanted. I told him I wanted to go to college at Guelph. He was willing for me to go in the fall of 1889. So during the winter of 1888 and 1889, I went to school to try to better fit myself to take the college course and on October first, 1889, went to Guelph to the O.A.C. I’ve realize now for many years that Father was anxious and willing to do the very best he could for his children. But as children, we did not understand this because we felt he could do anything he wanted to and we did not realize that there were many limitations to what he could do, no matter how willing he was

I don’t remember very much of what Father told us of his boyhood or of his parents. I remember once him telling me of his father of a Sunday being dressed in knee trousers and of his being a finely-built, upstanding sort of man with a good leg. Father seems to have had a boyish pride in his Father's good appearance. The only thing that I remember about the mother was that she was the stricter of the two and was more aggressive in her requirements. I have her picture which was reproduced from one borrowed, I think from Mrs. David White (corrected in handwriting to Whyte in second version) of Thornbury, Uncle William's daughter.

Father told me one day he was working in the stable of the local parson somewhere rather out of sight fixing harness, when the parson returned from a fox hunt. And in speaking of something that had happened, to the stable-man, he used some very forcible and profane language. Father’s head popped up in astonishment and the parson seemed rather abashed when he looked into the eyes of one of his Sunday School pupils. Father told me that the farmers were required to keep sections of their hedges cut low enough to be jumped by the fox hunters and that the hunters had the right to go through the fields.

Father told me once about when he later was working on a farm, he was hauling something with a horse and cart, the farmer whom he was working found him riding on the rear of the shaft and had him up before the magistrate. At the trial, the magistrate asked him if he didn’t know that it was against the law for a person driving a cart to ride on the Queen's Highway. Father asked, "Was I riding on the Queen’s Highway?" The magistrate turned to the complainant and asked the question. With chagrin he replied that it was a private road where he saw him. And so father was dismissed. Father had been riding on the Queen's Highway but had not been seen. And it was a lucky question on his part suggested by the question of the magistrate.

Another story that he told was of a foot-race of the bigger boys at a Sunday School outing to decide who should carry the flag at a small parade. Father got to the place first, but Joe Brown, who many years later often visited us at our home, – I think he was a brother of Aunt Millie, Uncle Williams wife, – came behind Father and jumped a ditch and claimed the honor, intimating that the race ended where he landed. But the parson ruled against him.

Another story that Father told me was of his once being hunting. A rabbit ran across the road and into the grain and after it had disappeared Father pulled the trigger and shot into the grain. To his surprise when he went to look, he found the rabbit dead. Father told me that as a little boy with others, he remembered chasing butterflies and pretending that they were the French. So the war with the French was vividly in the minds of the children. As a young man, Uncle William had joined a society called the Jacobites who were the supporters of the fallen royal house of Stuart. But at that time it could have been only sentimental in its activities and I gathered from Father that he felt Uncle William had made a mistake. But nothing ever came of it.

While at college at Guelph, I was imbued with the idea that I came there to acquire book learning as it seemed to me I had had plenty in the way of bodily exercise and practical farm work. This led me to not realize the value of social life with its contacts, although I participated as much as the average student. Yet later in life, I realized the great importance of social contacts and the cultivation of the ability to move among one’s fellows with ease and mutual enjoyment. I remember when it was proposed to build a gymnasium at the O.A.C. I thought it was a waste of money. The farmers’ boys did not need such. Of course, later I realized how wrong my ideas had been Neither did I understand the importance of literature from a cultural standpoint in addition to the acquirement of knowledge. I was strong for science. Later on, I realized that those studies in college that had appealed to me as most useful and practical in every way, were of least value and the studies that had seemed to me most theoretical and impractical were really of the most value. I didn’t see much use in a farmer studying Shakespeare, and the dead languages, it seemed to me, were dead. Later in life I changed my opinion entirely and now I feel that the study of Latin, and Greek to lesser extent, gives a person power that can be acquired in no other way, and that a knowledge of Latin and Greek and literature in general, need in no way cause a person to be to theoretical. Yet during my course at the O.A.C., I was always active in the literary society which was also a debating society. In my third year, I was president of the literary society which published the O.A.C. Review of which I was also assistant managing editor, – William A. Kennedy, being managing editor, – thus I was on both sides of him, as president, his superior and as his assistant, his second. I had taken part in several debates both at College and at school, before going there. One day at dinner Kennedy and I got into an argument of which I only remember that it resulted in me making the statement that I could win a debate with him on “resolved that civilization was a failure." The debate was arranged for before the literary society. I divided the subject to try prove that the Indian was superior to the white man mentally, morally, and physically and for my authority resorted to Longfellow's Hiawatha and Sketches by Irving. I was enthusiastically voted the winner and some of the students were ready to take the floor in support of my contention that civilization vas a failure. This startled me for I realized that my arguments had been unsound and that my quotations when analyzed would only show the superiority and beautiful thoughts of Longfellow and Irving and did not prove the superiority of the uncivilized Indian. To extricate myself from this false position, I took the floor and admitted that I realized that I was on the wrong side of the argument.

While in College, my closest friend was R.A. Thompson, from Thornton, Ontario,. We were nearly always together and we visited at each other's homes. I was best man at his wedding in 1894 or 1895. Some years afterward, he sold out at Thornton and went to Manitoba, and the latter part of his life was spent near Indian Head where his farm one or two years was given the award as the best-kept farm in the province. The last time I saw him was in the last of July 1914. I spent the day and night with him at Toronto, We sat up until three or four in the morning, talking. I had not been reading the papers much for the last few days and when he told me it looked like war in Europe, I couldn’t believe that those civilized countries would plunge into the horrors of war over what seemed a comparatively unimportant matter. The next day at noon I took the train for Cincinnati, and when I reached there the war was on. In 1925 Thompson, was in a bank at Indian Head and had a stroke from which he died a few hours later. Thompson was one of the strongest men I ever knew but had suffered from high blood pressure for several years.

Another of my friends was A.T. Wianco, of Sparrow Lake, Muskoka, Ontario. Wianco, had some sickness in his first year and so got a year behind us. As I was out three years between my second and third year, we arranged in 1894 to go back together and finish our course. I had secured money by teaching school, Wianco had gotten his the year before by working in the lumber shanties. We roomed together at the right hand of the second flight of stairs rising from the front entrance to the college. And both graduated with our degree of B.S.A. at Toronto, I believe on the eleventh of June 1895.

To come back, in the spring of 1890, I joined the Battery B of Artillery connected with the college and we went to camp for two weeks in June at Niagara-on-the-Lake. As I remember, Tom McCrae was First Lieutenant of our battery, John McCrae was the Second Lieutenant of A Battery. John McCrae later became famous as the author of “In Flanders Fields." My brother George had been a member of Battery B. in ‘79, and ‘80 and in ‘81 had gone with them to camp, or at least to take part with them in competitive shooting at Kingston where, as a result of his good marksmanship, they won the Governor General’s medal. I remember that he had won two medals personal1y for marksmanship. In 1891, I met the father of Tom and John McCrae, who had been captain of the battery when George was in it. At the end of my second year at college, that is 1891, I received my diploma and after camp went home to the farm at Clarksburg. Lodges of the Patrons of Industry had been organized all over Ontario and they had one in School House No. 5, our old School. At the first meeting after I got home they made me a member and after the business program was over , the president, Thomas J. Wright, called for remarks. One of the members, I think , Mr. George Feigen, brought before the meeting some resu1ts of experiments conducted in the feeding of pigs at the O.A.C. He disagreed with the conclusions drawn and put it up to me to explain . This started a discussion which continued until the president said it was time to adjourn. He asked those present to study up on the question and be prepared to take part in the discussion which would be continued at the next meeting. At the next meeting, everyone seemed primed for the discussion which was lively and interesting. At the proper time again, the president said we would adjourn and continue the discussion on pigs at the next meeting. At the third discussion, there was a larger attendance than ever, the discussion was more interesting and taken part in by more people. It was decided to appoint a program committee to arrange for a discussion at every meeting on some subject of interest to the farmers. I was made chairman of the committee and we arranged for a debate or discussion at every meeting. The subjects selected were always of direct concern to every farmer. The attendance even during summer by the busy farmers was good. The membership increased to one hundred and thirty-five. There were some lively times at those meetings, one of the liveliest being precipitated by one of the members making a report that in preparation for an entertainment, another member had helped so much that he had been given free tickets of admission, not having money to pay for them upon which he was promptly informed by the member concerned that he was a liar. This led to a trial, the verdict of which gave the member a chance to apologize, otherwise he was to be dismissed from the order. In reply, he maintained that the man was a liar, that he wouldn’t apologize, and that the trial had not been properly conducted. This led to another trial with a similar report and a similar consequence. In some way, I received information that the next meeting would be packed with friends of our belligerent member and that here would be a rough house. I got on horse back and made a number of calls to make sure of the attendance of plenty of members favorable to the verdict. And when the night came, our friends so far outnumbered the others that nothing started. At one of the discussions held during the summer, the subject was the Bare Fallow vs. the Green Fallow. It had been customary to leave one field bare of crop to be worked all season with the idea of killing he weeds and removing stones, and stumps, and anything like that needing doing. In the discussion, it was brought out very clearly that while this was all right while the land was rich, as the country had become older, the land poorer, and stones and stumps had been largely removed, the greatest need of he land was for plant food and this could be supplied to a great extent by green fallow, that is, by the growth of buckwheat, root crops, etc. At the same time weeds could be attended to. This was very fully discussed at the meeting. At that time nearly all the farmers had a bare fallow. Ten years later in going through the neighborhood, I did not see one bare fallow and in my opinion, that discussion had much to do with the change. In the fall I was sent as a delegate to the county convention of the Patrons of Industry held in Rocklin (manually corrected to Rocklyn in second version.) One of the principle things that came up at that meeting was the idea of getting the government to lend the farmers money for development at a low rate of interest. This has always been a pet idea of some people but I don’t know of any case where they succeeded in securing it from the government. It has never been my good fortune to be one of those people who can keep out of a discussion. And so I got into it and in opposition to the idea.

In the fall of '92, Father and I didn’t get along well and so I decided that it would be better for me to go into Meaford High School for a month to better fit myself to complete the course at the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph, leading to the degree of B.S.A. from Toronto University. So when school opened in January 1893, I was in Meaford, boarding at the home of Mrs. Bell. She had two sons, boys of 8 and 12, and one daughter. The principal thing I remember about the children was that the eldest boy slid off the roof of the woodshed and a splinter about two or three times as large as a lead pencil ran through the calf of his leg and broke off. I ran into the house and got a pair of pliers and gripped the end and pulled it right through and out. When the doctor examined it, he said it was a very neatly done piece of work. The Bell home was near, Wm. Moore’s, Sr. (spelled Moor in second version) and their place was a second home to me. At that time, "Beautiful Joe" of book fame was still alive and I have petted him many, many times. Years later when I visited there again, they told me that when he had died, they buried him in a hallow near the river and with a team of horses has hauled a large boulder to cover his grave. Miss. Marshall Saunders, author of “Beautiful Joe” had spent some time visiting the Moores (Moors,) and from the things she had heard of his life, she used his story as the basis of the book, "Beautiful Joe." [Note by Rick Moffat - Margaret Marshall Saunders AKA Marshall Saunders was the sister of Mrs. Louise Moore.]

The first Friday night after I started school at Meaford, I went home and attended a meeting of the Patrons of Industry at School House No. 5, Township of Collingwood, our old school. I had on long-legged boots and had tramped through the mud. Near the end of the meeting, the president, T.W. Wright, asked me to come to the platform and they presented me with a silver watch and the address which follows.

To Mr. Frank White. Member of Fruit Grove Association No.672 Patrons of Industry.

Dear Brother – As you have decided to enter upon a new course of study, and are about to depart from our midst, we feel that we are in duty bound to convey to you a true evidence of the esteem in which you are held by this community. We know that we will miss your friendly counsels, your genial manners, and your untiring industry while among us. Your aims have been to advance the moral, intellectual and social and financial condition of the members of our literary society. You have exercised a general supervision of the affairs of this association and have greatly assisted in the establishment of a library for our use. You have always been ready and willing to assist in any good work undertaken by us, and labored to improve and elevate the condition of the farmers and laborers generally.

We now beg of you to accept this silver watch as a token of our admiration and esteem. We do not present it to you for its intrinsic value but merely that you may have some tangible memento of the many happy evenings spent together. We trust that your efforts to further educate yourself may be met with marked success, and that your future course be one of happiness and prosperity Signed on behalf of the Association –
F. Brown
H. Parkinson.
E. Shaw.
I. Fawcett.
J. Campbell.
P. McNichol
Dated Jan. 6th, 1893.

I had a good time at Meaford but worked hard. And in the latter part of July 1893, I went to Collingwood and wrote on an examination for a teacher's certificate which would enable me to teach in the districts of Parry Sound and Algoma, without any professional training. I stayed at the home of Colonel John Hogg. We were so well acquainted there that I had no hesitation whatever in going there to stay a few days. After examinations were over, I decided to get a job for the summer. I applied to a farmer at one of the hotels, but he looked me over and said that I wasn’t heavy enough. However, I hired to George Montgomery, living on Pine Street, who was operating his farm out near the foot of the mountain. We batched during the week and came into town on Saturday night. I spent two good months of hard work but satisfactory to both Montgomery and myself. The pay was forty-five dollars for two months’ work.

On Sunday, Father and Uncle Joe called on me and later I went round and visited with them at Uncle Joe’s. I did not understand it at that time but knew afterwards that Father had come down hoping that I would be in a suitable frame of mind to come back to the farm. But I felt resentful because he had told me once that I was always planning to get out of work, when my intention had only been to get him to adopt some methods that I had learned during the two years I had previously spent at the O.A.C. Father at that time was getting to be about seventy years of age and no doubt was feeling the need of some of his boys taking work off his hands. But I did not understand that side of things and our conversation was not such as to encourage him to broach the subject. Two or three days before my two months were up with Montgomery, through Donald McCaig, school inspector for Algoma, I secured the position of teacher at Algoma Mills on thc north shore of Lake Huron. Before going I walked across the mountain to Kolapore and home. Father and Mother were alone on the farm with Bob, Myrtle and Bert, the two latter being 15 and 13 respectively. From a family of ten children at that time all alive, this must have seemed a small family to Father and Mother. I took a boat a few days later at Collingwood for Algoma Mills and arrived there early in the morning of September eleventh of 1893. It was a little village of about thirty-five houses with an element of French-Canadians who worked in the lumber camps and a few families of Indians half-breeds along with a better class of people who held positions on the railroad. The schoolhouse was about 15 x 35 feet in size and was used for church services by preachers of the different Protestant denominations. The thing that struck me most forcibly while walking to the schoolhouse with Captain Murphy was the immense number of tin cans that seemed to fill all the holes and lie in heaps back of the houses and along the edge of the woods. The salary that I went there on was $300 for the year. I secured board at Mary Ann Roach's boarding house, room and board for $14 a month. Miss Roach had two small brothers, a grown brother that did not amount to much and a small sister. Both their father and mother had died the year before from typhoid fever. We lived in a double house and there were quite a number of railroad men boarding there.

School opened that morning with a fair attendance. The most I had at any one time was fifty-two. After school, I walked back to Lake Lauzon and on the way met a half-breed woman and girl carrying bundles of bedding, etc. A little further back, I met an old Indian half-breed and three boys. After telling him who I was, he told me his name was Ben Causley and the three boys were Alex, Oliver and Napoleon. He said they were moving in for the winter to a little shanty on the river bank. Later six of his children came to school and Alex became my constant companion on hunting and fishing trips. They had a big birch bark canoe sixteen feet long. Alex and I were out in it one day when a wind storm came up and we simply had to let the wind blow us to shore where we drew up the canoe and crawled under it. Later that day, we went back to some old lumber shanties and when it came time for dinner, cooked some partridges, as our lunch basket was two or three miles away in the canoe.

During the year that I was at Algoma Mills, Alex and I were regularly (out of school hours) out on the lake or in the woods, so I became quite expert in the handling of a canoe but it was rather foolhardy because I had never learned to swim.

One of the first things I did after arriving at Algoma, was to call on all the families and get acquainted, with the result that the school attendance became a good deal more than they had been accustomed to. Then two weeks after being there, I asked for a raise of salary and received a fifty dollar raise.

It was delightful in Algoma during the fall. But the winter was pretty cold and blustery. In the spring, we arranged to have a school entertainment to raise money to buy prizes for the children as the same thing had been done a year or two before. But as the teacher found other use for the money, there was little enthusiasm. I had had to act as chairman of the meeting, contrary to all the rules of order, but no one else would move a motion that we hold an entertainment. I moved it myself, as no one would second it, I seconded it. Upon putting the motion as nobody voted for it or against it, I declared the motion carried, and we went ahead to arrange for our entertainment. The group present, consisting largely of women and children whose bashfulness accounted for their previous attitude, joined heartily in the arrangements. I got G.C. McQuire , postmaster, to handle all the money. We had the school building packed the night of the entertainment on April 3rd, 1894, and everything came off well. The closing day at school all of the children got books, few of which had previously come their way. We were one book short and I had a report on Hawks and Owls, published by the U.S. Government, full of colored illustrations, which I gave to one of the Causley family to supply the deficiency. I never saw a family more delighted, and I have no doubt that that book is still a prized treasure in some half-breed’s home.

The day after school closed, I walked out the railroad track to Blind River, and then on to the Mississanga River, representing a fruit tree nursery. At dinner time I was at the Mr. McGauley's, a farmer whose farm was on the Indian Reservation. A band of Indians were camped at the mouth of the river and seemed to be really very fine specimens, having come from Green Lake, about a hundred miles north. After dinner I went north and spent the night at Day Mills where Will Hendry, a cousin was teaching. Between there and Thessalou (sic) I found some very fine people, some of them with good farms and orchards. I went on through Thessalon, Bruce Mines and Desberats (sic) to McLean's Landing, crossing over to Richard’s Landing on St. Josephs Island, one of the most delightful spots where I have ever been. Altogether, two weeks were spent on the trip, my commissions just about paying my expenses. Then I took the boat for home.

August was spent at home. Then I visited the Thompsons and went on to the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph to complete my course for the degree of Bachelor of the Science of Agriculture. At the time of the meeting of the Experimental Union, I was largely instrumental in putting on a play entitled "A College Day" which was very successful.

In the fall I had been elected president of the Literary Society and assistant managing editor of the O.A.C. Review. In the spring the boys put on a minstrel show in the Opera House in Guelph, An account of which accompanies this. Commencement at Toronto was, I believe on June 11, 1895 where our class got their degrees conferred by Sir William Muloch. In the meantime, I had secured work in the Experimental Department in the College under Dr. Zavitz. My last day’s work there was on July 31st and then I went home for a few days’ visit. Then, having secured position as teacher at Richards Landing, St. Joseph's Island, Algoma, I took the steamer Midland on August 16th, 1895, for there.

An account of my experiences at Richards Landing and my going to Cincinnati and happenings up to August 30, l895 is contained in another book.

While in Parry Sound as described in another book, Miss Elizabeth Lee Burns of Rockwood, Ontario, daughter of Mr. Alex Burns, whom I had met at Guelph, Ontario, in the spring of 1895, and I became engaged to be married. The Captain Henman, with whom I went to Parry Sound in August 1899, lost his life alone on his boat on a trip from Parry Sound to Thornbury in 1926. He was seventy-eight years of age. In 1890, I visited Miss. Burns, at Parry Sound, and she and I visited Collingwood, where [Mother] lived. We got old Prince, the roadster that we had had [on the] farm and which my sister Annie and I had used so much. [Miss] Burns and I visited Kolepore (although at this writing [Sept.] first, 1926, I don’t remember much about the visit to [Kolepore.]) But we went on and visited my sister Susie, Mrs. Wil1iam [F] Johnston, and her family at Heathcote where Mr. Johnston, [was run]ning a cooperage mill. The thing that I particularly [remember] about this was that upon leading Prince down to the river [to] drink, the bank being slippery, he slipped into the river. [I] pulled frantically on the bridle reins and he tried to g[et out] but could not. If it had not been for some man's telling [me to] let go of the reins so he could swim to the other side , [he] would have drowned. But upon my letting him free he swam to [the other] side where there was a gravel bank and got out. We vis[ited the] old farm and took some snap-shots of the old home.(south [half of] lot 19, concession 10, Township of Collingwood, Gray Cou[nty,] Ontario.) Miss Burns went back to stay with her sister Mrs. Robert G Ard at Parry Sound, while I returned to Cincin[nati.]

On January the first, 1901, Miss Burns and I were [married at] her father's home Maple Lodge, near Rockwood as describe[ed in] a special marriage record book. We took the train for Ci[ncinnati] and went to our home, I believe at 181 Center St, Bell[evue,] Kentucky. Brother Bert had fires going and everything [warm when] we arrived. We found ourselves in a largely German com[munity] and as my wife located a home that we could buy in the [spring on] May first, 1901, we moved to the cottage second below the viaduct on the west side of Fairbanks Ave,(formerly Garfield), Price Hill, Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 1901, Mrs. R.G. Ard and Lee, her infant daughter visited us. We enjoyed their visit and think they did also. (The same two visited us for two weeks in the fall of 1926 and again we had a good time) On October 11th, 1902, our daughter Helen Elizabeth White, was born in the Women and Children's Hospital on West Seventh Street, Cincinnati,. My wife and I boarded some little time before she went to the hospital at 522 West Seventh Street, and we also stayed there for some little time after she left the hospital.

Mary Burns, her sister, came down from Ontario and we moved back to our cottage on Price Hill. It was shortly after that, during a sickness, that we called Dr. Wm. A Geohegan and he has been our physician ever since. Each summer, as a rule, we spent our vacation in Rockwood or Parry Sound and while I would come home early, my wife and Helen would not come until later. In the summer of 1902, we visited Parry Sound and I came home early. The steamer, the King Edward, that my wife was to come on on her final trip, found the weather so bad that she did not call at Parry Sound.

Side Note

The steamer, The King Edward, is referenced in a 1908 Steamboat Inspection report available at Google Books, pages 21, 23, 25 & 26. From this we learn that she was a 571 ton paddle wheel vessel registered to carry 479 passengers. At that time she was operated between Cleveland and Sault Saint Marie.


by Rick Moffat, Feb. 18, 1998 E. Francis (Frank) wrote this account of the White Family on Sept. 1, 1926 when he was 56 years old. I remember reading it as a child in Asquith, Saskatchewan. In 1991 I contacted his son, E. Frank White Jr. who was living in San Diego. I spoke to him once or twice on the phone. Frank was not well, but did send this account when I asked about stories I had heard. Frank died on July 23, 1993.

Frank White, Sr. died Oct. 6, 1930, just over four years after writing this account.

His first wife Elizabeth died in May of 1906. My Grandmother Myrtle White and her mother moved from Ontario, Canada to Cincinnati to help raise Frank’s young daughter Helen. This account mentions that they were there in 1907.

Frank's daughter, Helen later married the son of Dr. Geohegan, mentioned above.

Frank remarried on September 4th, 1909. By this time, Grandmother Myrt had moved to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where she was one of the first Matrons of the Moose Jaw Y.W.C.A. It was during this period that she met Alfred Moffat. They were married in August 1909. Family tradition is that Grandma brought her piano from Cincinnati. I’m not sure if she had it before going there, although it was made in Toronto. My sister has the piano in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.