OF RED INDIAN RAIDS
In the industrial home of the
county of Norfolk, Ontario, there lives a pioneer Canadian woman who
is forced to reside in an institution because her daughter is too
aged and infirm to care for her. The daughter, who lives in the
state of Michigan, has now passed her 84th birthday.
The mother, according to
relatives whose veracity seems beyond question, is in her 110th
Her name is Mrs. Nathan
Fitch, and well over three-quarters of a century ago she was Miss
Vermina Helmer. She was born in a little village at the mouth of the
Niagara river one year after the close of the war of 1812.
She was christened in the
first Anglican church erected in the Niagara district, attended it
regularly as a young girl and was married there.
After her marriage she moved
to her husband's home in Courtland, Norfolk county, where she
resided until five years ago, when she was brought to the county
home at Simcoe.
Mr. Fitch died approximately
25 years ago, having attained at the time of his death the ripe olf
ages of 82 years.
It was be impossible to
divine that Mrs. Fitch is 110 years old. She retains her vitality to
a remarkable degree, and is able to move about the home without
assistance of any sort.
She is still in possession of
most of her faculties and delights in recalling the time when the
redskins roamed at will through the dense forests of the Niagara
district, only too frequently carrying terror into the hearts of the
pioneer settlers by their spasmodic raids on outlying farms.
She can remember animated
conversation of her parents about the bloody days of 1812-1814. One
incident is firmly fixed in her memory and about this she often
speaks. It was a plague that swept the Indian tribes in this
part of Ontario early in the nineteenth century. Her father and his
neighbors were paid by the government $5 per head for every Indian
they buried. The task occupied their sole attention for several
months, and it was estimated that 3,000 Indians succumbed to the
ravages of the disease in that space of time.
Mrs. Fitch is
undoubtedly the oldest lady in this part of Ontario, perhaps in the
entire dominion. Recently an aged gentleman, to all appearances
beyond the threescore and ten mark, called at the home to visit Mrs.
Fitch. He was her grandson.