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John Patrick Moffatt, obit- Oil City, Pa.
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This articule by Carden researcher Frances Laver

PACKET AND TIMES June 11, 1955


An event of interest took place in Dalryimple recently when a “Pioneer Night” was held.

The idea had its beginning several years ago when a series of meetings held in connection with the 25th anniversary of the United Church and which brought to light interesting tales of early church days by the older residents. A committee was appointed to do research on early pioneer days and if it was practical, to compile a booklet of such information.

The result was the evening reunion on May 21st when each family was contacted and asked to present the story of their farm and their family.

It proved to be a happy time of reminiscing as Dalrymplites now in other centres came to their old home community to be guests of the present residents.


Mrs. Russell Day was at the piano playing old time favourites. Rev. Mundy acted as chairperson and after O God Our Hope in Ages Past had been sung, he welcomed the guests and called the roll from a book which each had signed when they came in.

The first musical number was by the old choir, called to the front by the first organist of years gone by, Mrs. William Jarrett of Orillia.

Rev. Mundy read a letter from Rev. W.J.H. Smythe, now the assistant secretary of the Mission and Maintenance Department of the United Church and the minister in Dalrymple at the time when the present church was built. He expressed regret that duty kept him from attending but his letter was the second best for it was a chat on paper of former days written in a humorous and interesting vein.


Mr. Russell Day led off the parade of farm stories with an interesting tale of life long ago on the farm of his grandfather, Albert Day, who came from the Township of Reach. He mentioned the stump puller used to clear land, the miller at Bolsover, who ground the grain, exacting a toll of 6 pounds per bushel. Russell still has the original wagon which was often on loan to people to the north who brought their grist that far and borrowed the wagon to complete the journey. He also spoke of the beginnings of the pretty cemetery here.

Mr. Day read an account of the Plews homestead latterly bought by John Fox. The Plews were of English descent and one thrilling story of the farm was a tornado which carried the log house to the valley but spared the children. The account was written by Mrs. May Ivory Campbell whose mother was Agnes Plews.


Mrs. Edith Gardiner gave a splendid account of the Jarrett family and farm, written by the excellent memory of her father, Mr. William Jarrett of Orillia. Mentioned was the trade of coffin maker, practiced by Mr. Jarrett’s father. In 1863, the family moved to the present Norman Wilson farm where they kept the Post Office at the stipend of $12 and out of this the post master was required to supply many a meal when the mails were late as they usually were.

Of interest were the home made harrows and the cradle at which the elder Jarrett was an expert. In 1881, a dreadful fire occurred burning over vast areas. Mr. Jarrett’s father did the carpentry work on the old church in 1879 for $100 and subscribed one thousand feet of lumber.

Mr. Jarrett’s story told of hair raising adventures with wolves. And of revival meetings held then, the potash industry and winter sports as well as many amusing incidents of former days.


Mr. T. Walter Deverell gave a good account of his family story beginning when Joseph Deverell came to Carden in 1885. The family still reside here. He believed the oldest house to be a well preserved log house lived in by Howard Eastcott.

Mr. Deverell was able to tell of the boats made out of large hollow logs and the manner of making lumber and shingles by hand. Indians were plentiful in those days and willing to trade tasty game and fish treats for potatoes and corn.

Before any schools existed, Mrs. Joseph McCracken gave the children instruction in rudimentary education. The new school house was built in 1880.

Mr. Deverell also referred to the Sebright Telephone Company which was created and still serves a large area surrounding Sebright.

Mrs. Alice Fox was called upon but was regrettably unable to speak. Mrs. Fox is a senior citizen with a wealth of experience and memories of olden days.


Mrs. Robert John McCrackin of Orillia spoke of the farm where the third and fourth generation of McCrackins make their home. This was well written and well delivered essay of the early pioneer days when John McCracken was choosing a site for his life’s work. After extensive travel, he came to Carden where he was one of the first members of the Orange Lodge. Several stories handed down through the generations made the sturdy character of John McCracken very real to listeners. Women’s work was outlined, the wool picking bees and spinning bees; they made tallow candles and soap, bread from hop yeast and butter in their wooden churns, sausages and maple syrup and also vinegar from the last run sap. The time was told by sundial and the women always gave a hand binding grain. Early to bed and early to rise were the rules and success crowned the effort of these hardy pioneers. Mr. John Irwin of Orillia gave a concise account of the Irwin farm still in the family.

Chester Graham spoke of the Graham farm and his own holding on the lake shore. The Graham Farm ancestors came in 1877 buying 500 acres of land apparently to provide 5 sons with 100 acre farms. There were 26 acres cleared. The house was built in 1878 and still stands four square. The barns were built in 1880. George Graham framed barns for $1 a foot which may explain the large barns of yesteryear along with a plentiful supply of timber.

On Chester’s home place, Mr. Ritchie, a pensioned British veteran lived a patriotic man who took pride in ringing a bell on the 24th of May for Queen Victoria. Mrs. Wannamaker next lived there followed by Billy “Peg Leg” Elliott. Then John Chrysler held possession of the property. In discussing roads, it seems that the first road was to Bolsover over high land. The road to Orillia was a lengthy affair by the Mud Lake Cemetery, across Mills and Ed Black’s farm to the 11th, across George Hargrave’s farm to the 10th and so to Orillia. The first Narrows Bridge was a floating contrivance.

An interesting account was given by Mrs. Mel Nicholson of Sebright, who spoke of her mother who was Trenier. She was married by one of the early ministers, Rev. Duke. Mrs. Nicholson exhibited a dainty Valentine, received by her mother which was much admired and a crocheted doily in perfect condition.

Mrs. Harry Sperian of Udney told the story of the Robert Samuel McCracken family. It was factually perfect and rich with humour, from her grandmother’s 13 day trip by sailing vessel from County Down, Ireland to present day. She remembered the floor of the old log house which was made of huge logs, the building of new homes. One story of interest was of Grandmother McCracken walking to Sebright with four dozen eggs to buy ribbon for her daughter Bella’s Sunday bonnet. Mrs. Joseph McCracken taught the children three R’s before schools existed with no thought of wages. She was also ready to lend a hand when sickness struck.

The Avery story was not heard which was regretted since the changes on the farm have been more marked than many, from the days of simple farming to rows of modern cottages and tourist facilities.

Mr. Charles McPeak of Midland was one of the out of town speakers who gave a wealth of information in a breezy manner enjoyed by all. He mentioned several of the early settlers and for each he had an anecdote to add spice to the account. Jimmy McDermott, Billy Elliot or Peg Leg as he was known, Frank Markle who owned a small mill, Mr. and Mrs. William Plews, Dan Stewart, William Orser and George Wannamker. He spoke of the excellent axe men who could build without saw or square, the difficulties making bread in houses that were cold and draughty and many tales of early days and dangers that made a most interesting yarn.

Mrs. Ross Fox read a letter telling of the early days of their present farm sent by Mrs. Margaret Tooley, formerly Wilson, who remembered chores of early days and the fishing as well as the fun of working in the sugar bush and gathering a rather plentiful harvest of apples.

The crowd enjoyed a rendition of the “Big Pound Cake” by the quartet of the evening, Mr. Chester Graham, Mr. Robert Westby, Mrs. Ross Fox and Mrs. Russell Day accompanied by Miss Ethel Irwin.

PACKET AND TIMES June 13, 1955


The following is the second and last part of the report on the early farms in this area as reported to those gathered for the Pioneer Night.

The records of the Township of Carden were investigated by the wife of the township clerk Mrs. W.D. Deverell (Veda) and read by Miss Ruthann Deverell. The records date from 1862, when James Bartley and Richard Delaney were reeve and clerk. Mr. John Walsh served as clerk for 51 years until Walter D. Deverell became clerk, a position he has held for 30 years. There were many tax appeals in the good old days.

In 1862 the highest taxes paid were $4.56 on a parcel of 320 acres assessed at $210.00 and owned by Graham Hugh. The rates of pay for councillors was $1 a day with from five to seven meetings annually. Many amusing bylaws were recorded which had no bearing on today’s living. One was a law restricting bathing in nude between 7 am and 8 pm. Penalties ranged from $2 to $40.

Mr. Sid Fox told of his farm from the time his father purchased the hill top farm from the Plews homesteaders. Mr. John Fox owned the first car in Carden and for years butchered for a beef ring. This farm has the general store now owned by Art Radway but for years operated by Sid and Clara Fox as well as the modern home owned by Sid Fox and the McGillivray home.

Mrs. Jack McCaughey (Muriel) told of many transactions which formed the story of that farm, until Andrew McCaughey bought the farm 37 years ago and it is still in the family.


Leslie Thompson of Beaverton spoke well on the Solomon Thompson farm. Solomon Thompson was one of the first settlers, a trapper and a hunter. His wife, Lodice Day and he were parents of Lucretia, the first white baby and a novelty to the Indians in the district. There were tales of doctoring such serious cases as diphtheria and blood poisoning with common remedies and common sense. The story was wonderfully written by pioneer Mrs. Polly Alsop and had been condensed for the evening.

Mrs. Roy Black told the story of their present farm, originally owned by Mr. Isaac Knight but which was passed into the Samuel Fox family in 1860. Five generations of this family rest in the Dalrymple Cemetery and their story is linked with the community through the years. The avenue of maple trees and fine lawns and rock gardens as well as the English style of architecture were mentioned.

The school children sang a happy little song, Let the Sun Shine In. Many of them were descendants of the original pioneers


Miss Myrtle Graham read interesting portions of a lengthy letter received from the Halls of Avery’s Point who were among the pioneer tourists to the Point.

A good tale was told of the Norman Wilson farm where the first Post Office was located. Dalrymple was named after a man who worked in the government post office. H.H. Chrysler lived on the farm and contributed much to community life. Norman and May Wilson took up residence in 1923 and are still there.

Miss Merrill Chrysler did an outstanding piece of authorship and presentation as she wove the story of the Chrysler Farm and family from the time when a 12 year old lad, later the father of John Chrysler crouched in the cellar during the historic battle of Chrysler Farm till the time when in 1856 the father and son tramped through mosquito clouded swamps from Uxbridge to Dalrymple to clear the present Chrysler Farm.

Young John married the charming Miss Elizabeth Plews in the exchange of gloves ceremony. Grandma Plews as she became to be known was Elizabeth’s mother and as an early settler, Mrs. Alice Fox, recalls that she was an outstanding woman being doctor and nurse, attending sick for many days at a time while her own work waited and having great knowledge of herbs and their compounding from books brought by her husband from Prince Albert. Elizabeth inherited wisdom and skill.


When a minister arrived a large gong was sounded and people gathered at the Plews cabins for services, usually sharing a meal and staying for a second service. The huge iron kettle used to make potash and later maple syrup still serves as the Chrysler watering trough.

John Chrysler’s mother was the first person buried in the cemetery in 1866. Mary Chrysler, John’s cousin was the first music teacher in Dalrymple. A stroke crippled John’s father.

One note of interest was when Dr. Bradford Chrysler and Grandpa Plews took a trip to Whitby to vote. Two days to go and two to return and one voted Liberal and the other Conservative.

Lime was burned in kilns to plaster the present lovely old Chrysler home, more than adequate in those days and adaptable to its present use when as many as 20 city weary folk are housed during holidays.

Not even the dog escaped in the industrious family. He was made to tread a slanting table which turned the family cream into butter for use and sale.

Mr. Duncan Turner of Uphill contributed a fine story of the Turner family, who lived in a settlement back of the present W.D. Deverell place on the 8th Concession. Here 10 families lived at one time, with a school. Duncan’s family struck hardship and many deaths due to diphtheria, followed by the death of the mother and a tragic house fire. Duncan remembered the teachers who taught, among them Dr. Ross, who became the early doctor in later years. He remembered making 25 cents a day and later $1 as times improved. The families gradually left the settlement due to inadequate roads and the Turners settled on the present farm where May, aged 8, could begin school.

Mr. Turner has clear memories of earlier councillors and mail arrangements. His ancestors lie in Dalryimple Cemetery.


This completed the evening of stories. Many more were called upon but had been unable to get information or were willing to send it if it was needed. Should a booklet be compiled, these stories would be used in more complete form and such other pioneer lore as could be found would be investigated. ( Dalryimple On The Lake Book) Many names from years ago are missing as Avery, Arthur Thompson, Wes Deverell, Gardiner, Samuel Wilson, George Ivory, Dack, Archie McGillivray and others and it would be interesting to hear more of these sturdy pioneers as well.

A project held in conjunction with the Pioneer Night was a collection of relics in the Orange Hall. This was an amazing collection of the weird and the wonderful. The men viewed a collection of early guns, implements, ox yokes, lanterns, coins, Indian relics, flails, cradles etc. and the ladies enjoyed the china, glassware, baby clothes, hand woven Irish linen cloth from the Campbell home and spinning wheels. Lamps, family pictures and albums and family records brought back happy memories.

The exhibit drew much praise and was open to the public on Sunday when the event continued in an unofficial way as people toured the museum and attended church where rev. Mundy preached an appropriate sermon of faith of Our Fathers. Letters had been received from many guests unable to attend. They were mentioned and it was regretted that they could not be read since many contributed tales of early days. Rev. Lawrence, born in the parsonage here years ago, Mrs. Dick Taylor, a teacher. Rev. and Mrs. Fred Reed, Dr, and Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. May McDonald, Percy Chrysler, Mrs. Isabell Wyatt, Mrs. Gertrude Thrasher and others were mentioned.

The Coordinating Committee of Mrs. Douglas Deverell (Grace). Miss Myrtle Graham, and Mrs. Garnet Stewart, (Margaret) thanked the people who had helped make the evening enjoyable. The Relics Committee – Mrs. Alvin McCrackin (Greta), Mrs. Earl Wilson (Mary Jane), Mrs. Sid Fox (Clara), Mrs. Art Gilbert (Merill). Decoration – Mrs. George Wires (Jessie), Mrs. Art Radway (Ruth). Music – Mrs. Ross Fox (Jessie), Mrs. Jack McCaughey (Muriel), Mrs. Russell Day(Vera),Miss Ethel Irwin.

The chairman. Rev. Mundy who had made the evening financially possible, the men of the community who had cleared the grounds and contributed workmanship and the refreshment Committee , Mrs. Chester Graham (Elva), Mrs. S. Adams, Mrs. Harry Williams (Sadie), Mrs. Bruce Deverell (Violet) and Mrs. Fred Eastcott (Ina) were thanked. Everyone cooperated and worked together as a team.

Greetings were heard from a former minister, Rev. William Parker of Napanee. It was regreted that a second honoured guest. Dr. P.B. Rynard was called away before we could hear his word of greeting.

The quartette closed the evening by singing Count Your Blessings followed by the congregational singing of God Be With You Till We Meet Again.


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