"Old days" or "old
times" is a subject which many of the old people delight to talk
about, but very few of the early settlers of Norfolk are left and
therefore these words are for those of my own age, the second or third
crop [generation], and I promise not to bring up recollections but those which may be
pleasant or profitable.
As I have passed the three score
and ten milestone and was blessed with an excellent memory as well as
talent for observation, I am of the opinion that I can interest those
readers of the Star who have any love for the old men and women of
The very first man of whom I have
a good recollection was my own father, Daniel McIntosh. He was called a
farmer, but he was out of his latitude when he undertook any farm stock.
He could build a house or barn, and quite a number of these monuments are
still in evidence in various parts of rural Norfolk and in Simcoe. He
could use carpenters' tools but farming implements knew as much about him
as he did about them or how to use them.
But all the gray haired people
will remember what a splendid chairman he made at any public gathering.
The last time he occupied such a
place was in the winter of 1861-2, at a tea-meeting in the old Methodist
church, Simcoe. It will be remembered that the great rebellion [Civil War]
United States had begun, the Mason-Slidell episode had occurred, and the
Rev. E. Ryerson, d.d., made the mistake of his life in declaring that
"Slavery was a God appointed and God honored institution." Every
one was excited but the chairman and the late Rev. James Preston, who was
pastor at that time. It was probably the cool heads of those two which
prevented a scene that would not have reflected credit upon those
who gave the [occasion].
At a meeting a year or two
previous to the tea-meeting, held at the Old's school house, the great
camp-meeting singer Miliner gave a lecture with my father in the chair.
The subject was "woman," and the lecturer extolled her so highly
that she was far above and out of sight. When he closed, the chairman made
"a few remarks," and took [the] occasion to tell the young men present
that the lecturer had not said anything too good respecting the subject,
and he, the chairman, hoped that the young men would do the gallant act
and not allow any of the young ladies to go to their houses alone.
When he sat down, his eldest boy rose and moved a vote of thanks to the
lecturer, and then said "I think this is an opportune time for the
chairman to acknowledge his great mistake in thrashing his boys for doing
what he now recommends." I never saw him so completely lost for
something to say. He told some of the friends on the quiet, that he never
was taken down till that night.
But my father, with all his
faults, was a splendid man and beloved by nearly all who knew him. He was
a Methodist, but not a bigot. He loved the Bible and never omitted reading
a portion and praying with his family, unless prevented by sickness.
Family worship was as regular with him as day and night.
I feel thankful every day of my
life for such a father.
east of Grandpa Collver's farm in Woodhouse lived Archibald Olds. This old
house still stands and with the farm was recently owned and occupied by a
grandson, Wellington Olds, sold now to strangers.
OThe old man and his good wife
Eliza were good and strong Methodists, and their home was the preacher's
home. They had a large family, six boys and three girls which grew to
manhood and womanhood, but not one of them remains to this day. One of
them, Clark, was a teacher for many years in the little schoolhouse
opposite the Methodist church in Simcoe., He was the most amiable man of
the name and greatly missed when he passed away.
It will be remembered by the
oldest residents of Norfolk that opposite the Olds' farm sttod a
schoolhouse built by the writer's father and Archibald Olds about 75 years
There will be more to say about
that old schoolhouse before finishing these remembrances, but just now let
me call the reader's attendtion to a most wonderful revival of religiob
which began there soon after its erection. I think the meeting was under
the direction of the late Rev. Henry Wilkinson. At all events the meeting
was so well attended hat the house was too small and meeting was removed
to Mr. Olds' new home, where it continued several weeks and was the
greatest revival of religion ever held in Norfolk.
One feature of that meeting must
not be omitted: Uncle Archie, as old Mr. Olds was called, kept a wide open
house. Hundreds of people took their meals there every day. Those who
could not find room in the house slept in the barn. Neighboring women
helped in the cooking and waiting. The strangest part of all was the fact
that for all a very many ate and were satified, the supply was like the
widow's cruise of oil, it became no less, and I had the story from the
owner, Mr. Olds himself. The only one that I can think of who will
remember that revival is the Police Magistrate.
Opposite the Olds' farm and to the
north, was what was known as the Schuyler farm. The owner was John
Schuyler, the father of Hiram, William, James, Francis and three girls,
one of which, Rebecca, became the wife of the late Loder Culver. They were
all ambitious to make money, and were quite a success. They did not
speculate, but worked hard for whatever they accumulated.
Old Johnny Schuyler, as everybody
called him, was a man of powerful physique. He was not quarrelsome, but he
would not allow personal abuse from anyone, as the following illustrates. He was quite active in
politics in his younger days, and a good story was told of him at a town
meeting held at Vittoria. He had eaten his dinner at the hotel and paid
for the same as he came out of the dining-room. Some time after, when he
offered to pay for his horse, the hotel man demanded pay for dinner. Mr.
Schuyler said "I paid for my dinner as I came from the
dining-room." "You;re a liar," said the hotelman. No sooner
had he offered this insult than Mr. Schuyler sized him by the collar with
his left hand and proceeded to warm his ears with the right. This brought
the hotel man to his senses. Suddenly he exclaimed "I remeber now, I
got my pay." "You ought to be satisfied now, as you have been
paid twice," said Mr. Schuyler, and the scene closed.
Mr. Schuyler came from
Pennsylvania and was one of the most successful farmers in the county. His
sons followed in their father's footsteps. They have all passed away.
Francis, the last to go, fell dead between the barn and house only a few
Mrs. Scott was his eldest daughter.
All the boys and girls called her by her Christian name, Mary
Jane, and we all loved her, for she was very kind to children. I well remember
eating many a cookie of her make, and the kind words when giving the
toothsome morsels. She was married, quite late in life to a Rev. Scott,
a Baptist minister, with whom she lived for several years, then left him
because he was brutal and she had no hope of a reformation on his part.
Her brother Hiram was a successful
farmers and during the first 20 years of his married life was the hardest
worker I ever knew. I saw him about 60 years ago take four loads of
cordwood in a day to Simcoe and a cord and a half at each load, and with
an ox team. On Saturdays he took five loads.
He was as good in the church as
on the farm. It was safe to say that no other member of Simcoe Baptist
church did as much for the church as Deacon Schuyler. He was succeeded
on the farm by his only son, William H., who passed away two or three
The next farm to Schuyler's on the east was (and is) the McInally farm.
A fine old Irish gentleman was John McInally, the father of Freeman,
Isaac and John B. There were several girls, two of whom married William
Schuyler and his son Luther. Another became the wife of Mr. Kellum of
Windham, and the fourth was Mrs. Franklin, Jenny. The youngest was Mrs.
Ward Osborne I think there were other daughters but I am not sure.
Yes, there was another -- her Christian name is forgotten. She became
the wife of William Schuyler, the second son of Uncle Johnny. He was
noted for his fine matched horses -- took first prize several years in
the County, and once in the Province. He was not so closed-fisted as
some others of the same name, a Liberal, in politics and liberal in his
every day life. He pursued the even tenor of his way -- didn't care for
bank accounts, but kept out of debt and was a consistent member of the
His only son William resides on
the farm and is much like his father in appearance and disposition, but
not so fond of fine horses. His
three sisters, Mary, Margaret and Tamany, married John Yeager, Walter
Smith of Charlotteville, and Joseph Wycoff [sic, actually Wyckoff] of Woodhouse Gore,
respectively. Of the three I believe that Mrs. Yeager is the only one
living. Wehn those three girls were young woen, they dressed alike, were
good looking and were called, by way of distinction, the three graces.
Old John McInally came to Norfolk
and settled on a bush farm in Townsend, just about 100 years ago. The
first house was built of logs, and stood nearly opposite the old Schuyler
residence. It was there that his children were born, nearly all of them.
They they had a good commodious frame which occupied the site where now
stands one of the finest farm residences in the County.
The old gentleman was a good
Christian, but he stood aloof from the church till on Sunday about 60
years ago. There was a meeting at Olds' schoolhouse onr Sunday afternoon.
At that meeting both he and his wife became members of the old old
Wesleyan Methodist church, and for years were members of my father's class
meeting. None supported the church more faithfully and none more punctual
in attendance at the class, pray meeting and preaching.
His son Freeman became a farmer in
Burford township and raised a large family. Isaac lived and died in
Windham. John B. is still living, but more dead than alive. His four
children were pupils at No. 4 some 40 years since, and the writer was
their teacher. If any better dispositioned children ever lived it was not
my good fortune to know them. Dora, who became Mrs. DeCew, was an
exemplary child. I never saw her after she left school.* Her brother
Cameron must be congratulated for laying up sound wiisdom for use in
mature manhood. I sincerely hope that in finding a wife after so long a
time he has found, as Solemon says, a good thing, and that she will prove
to be a crown jewel, more precious than rubies, to her husband.
John B. McInally's wife was a Miss Randsom** [sic]. She was amability
personanified. It was be very difficult to find a more careful and loving
mother. Many years ago their youngest daughter was taken down with spinal
meningitis. The physician, to save her life had recourse to very powerful
medicine. Her life was saved but her mind was lost. She became the
constant care of her mother, who watched over her for some 40 years with a
tenderness and devotion almost divine.
As there was no hope of the
daughter's mind being restored, friends recommended her removal to
a Home of the feeble minded, as this would remove the burden of care
from the mother. For many years she could not consent to have her child
taken from her. At least she yielded to their entreaties. The daughter
was taken away -- the mother's heart strings were broken and she went to
her final rest. O that mother!
God bless her memory.