THE DAYS OF YORE
A family chronicle
By Myrtle Graham
An eleventh hour attempt to record the lingering lore associated with Joel and Sarah Day for the possible satisfaction of their many descendants in 1967. Surely, few families of modest station have been more harassed by relevant events of history than has the Day family.
Sincere gratitude is due the few who travelled far down Memory Lane for the tales which follow. Indulgence is requested for any inadvertent errors.
Centennial Year, 1967
DAYS OF YORE
“ A wise nation preserves its records”, wrote Nova Scotia’s Joseph Howe one century ago. The same might be said of families, but not of the wise Days. Though genial and hospitable, theirs was a reserved nature, not given to personal diaries and reminiscences. However, commendable service to their church and community, real citizenship, was their contribution down the years.
Happily, precious handed down stories, linked with concise records from authentic Archives, somewhat reveal the sterling qualities of the line of Days, to be traced in this Chronicle.
The Unsettled Years
It is somewhat understood that around 1650, the Days left England for the Palatinate province of the old German Empire? Why? An old history text stated that the ardour of the Protestant Movement among Palatinese held strong appeal at the height of Cromwell’s arbitrary rule in England, with his outlawing 1642 – 1652, of fox hunting, chess, Christmas celebration and attendance at Shakespearean plays or lesser plays.
Many agree that Protestantism records nothing finer that the heroic endurance of the Palatinese and French Hugenots in the face of prolonged attack by the Roman Church. The Days may have shared in that trying experience. The Franco-Prussian War, 1870, with its tyrannical demand that France surrender Alsace-Lorraine and pledge $1 billion to Germany, (payments to be spread over the years to 1910) so shocked the Nations that all praise of the Palatinese was silenced, whereas the Huguenots are still much honoured.
Family tradition has it that after living for 50 years in the Palintine, the durable Days were still English at heart. The yearning to dwell again beneath the British flag, prompted their slow, comfortless sea-passage to Pennsylvania, whither Quaker William Penn summoned troubled Europeans. How welcome the prospect of the tongue and ways of former days! Providentially, the Colony prospered, offering opportunities and education for many walks of life. All seemed well but for a rising desire among Colonials to sever all ties with Britain (not the Days) though many families were bitterly divided on this issue.
Then came the regrettable American Revolution, 1773-1763, sparked by King George lll’s demand that the 13 colonies be taxed to reduce the great debt from the 7 Years War. The Boston Tea Party, the advance on Montreal and Quebec, Bunker’s Hill, the Trenton Affair and Saratoga are but a few of the early events. From Frances, 1779, came the still honoured Lafayette with naval and land forces to aid the Colonies. The war waged on until the final hemming in of the British troops at Yorktown gained independence for the new Republic. Peace Terms signed on September 3, 1883, stipulated that the Colonies should restore all rights and possessions to the U.E. Loyalists who had refused to rebel and cease further confiscation of their properties; that imprisoned Loyalists be freed and persecution of them cease. Instead, indignities multiplied, forcing the Loyalists to seek relief in Canada, then largely a wilderness of forest and wild life.
To Sir Guy Carleton, who had served with General Wolfe at Quebec, fell the task of evacuating the U.E.L.’s to a new homeland. From the New England Colonies, thousands set forth by land and water to Isle St. Jean, (now P.E.I.), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick where Fredericton and many other centres proudly claim their Loyalist beginnings. From the New York Colony, other thousands procured boats to reach Sorel on the St. Lawrence, where they wintered under starkest of conditions to press on to Eastern Quebec, some as far as Kingston, by July 1784. Other Loyalists built and propelled flat-bottomed boats up the Hudson, Mohawk and Oneida Rivers continuing their way to Chippawa, finally reached Lake Erie to settle in what became Norfolk County, a Spartan ordeal involving 40 miles of portage en route!
The Pennsylvania Loyalists, the Days, included, appear to have set forth in 1784, many attempting the rough trails in covered wagons, others on foot with babes in arms and the toddlers and household effects on packhorses. Cows headed the processions for milk to aid the children’s survival. After weeks of tortuous travel, they too crossed over at Chippawa with its ten miles of portage, settling along Lake Erie in what became Haldimand County in 1850. The dense forest, blanketing the fertile soil, offered a stiff challenge to the weary but resolute newcomers. By 1790, patches of corn, potatoes and flax dotted the settlements.
Arduous Early Years in Canada
Not all the Loyalists reached their goal but their heroic struggle to do so adds a glory to Canada’s story. The expulsion of 5000 Acadians, 1755, in family groups (to correct Longfellow) via British ships to southerly Colonies was termed, in 1955, Canada’s finest French Legend. Will the expulsion of 50000 U.E.L.’s, 1783, (no transportation or destination provided) be termed in 1983, Canada’s finest English Legend? In his book, “The Loyalists and Their Times”, Egerton Ryerson, vividly portrays their grim pilgrimage.
On Royal Instructions, Goveror Haldimnad permitted each Loyalist family to draw their tokens from a hat for 200 acres of land, plus 100 for each son on his coming of age. Many dared not attempt tree falling so that their unused became prized heirlooms, though painful reminders of hardships borne by their forefathers. Until Canada established registry offices those tokens were the Loyalists’ sole proof of land ownership. The name Day, does not appear on the records of land grants to the Loyalists of Haldimand. One conjecture is that they may have been craftsmen who played their role in helping found pioneer homes in the forest Primeval, now the fruit gardens of Ontario. Records may be incomplete.
Britain’s compassion for her steadfast U.E. Loyalists was very great, taking on a practical form of basic needs for three years – food, clothing, small tools, a cow, a plough, seed-grain and primitive implements. Also to Britain’s credit is her donation of $30 million in 1790 as token compensation for the Loyalists’ property losses at the hands of the 13 colonies, who refused to make amends.
No records appear as to how the Days fared but historians’ word pictures are eloquent of Loyalists, clad in their shabby frock coats and silver buckled shoes or in hoop skirts and paisley shawls, soon in dire need of warm, serviceable apparel and daily necessities. All this just kindled their ingenuity. They spun thread from shredded bark of the basswood, made clothing from deerskin, cobbled shapeless boats from untanned cow hide, carved dishes and cutlery from wood, used nuts and healthful grasses for nutrition, compounded tea from herbs or sweet fern and pounded their cornmeal in a hollow stump. As flax and wool became available, they spun and wove on improvised wheels and looms. Fortunately conditions improved but better transportation seemed long delayed. By 1867, the Loyalists had given able leadership in the formation of many counties from Lake St. Claire to the Atlantic.
In Joel Day’s family Bible appears the record of his birth, February 13, 1801, the first known Canadian-born ancestor of his branch of the family. As a lad in Halimand he doubtless pondered the price his folk paid that they might dwell beneath the Union Jack. On June 12, 1812, when Joel was but 11 years of age, the U.S. declared war on Britain. General Hull. Crossing into Canada and up the Thames Valley, offered Canada’s 3000,000 people peace and security on condition that they join the 8 million citizens of the United States. General Brock and Shawnee Chief Tecumseh promptly forced general Hull back to Detriot which he surrendered at great cost in arms and troops (whom the Indians’ war whoops had terrified). Many fierce battles followed but only Chateauquay, Chrysler’s Farm and Fort Detroit were commemorated by medals, which are now valuable collector’s items. The Battle of Queenston Heights is best remembered by Canadians because of visits to the magnificent falls and Brock’s tall monument. To youthful Joel, living nearby the Heights, Beaver’s Dam and Lundy’s Lane may all have left harrowing memories of wounded or fallen relatives and friends.
The Treaty of Ghent, signed December 14, 1814, returned all conquests to defender and aggressor alike. Both countries had suffered, Canada all but drained of manpower for her struggling farms and budding industries – a set-back of many decades for so young a nation.
Also in Joel’s Bible, appears a record of the birth, November 1, 1801, of Sarah Terwilleger, his bride-to-be. The Census, 1871, states that she was born in the United States of German parents. Canada’s Archives cites the record of Pte. Abas. Terwilleger serving in the Loyal Regiment, 1783. Was he to become Sarah’s father who migrated to the Oshawa district? The names of Charles, James and Abraham Terwilleger appear on records of E. Whitby Township in the early 1800’s. The name has long been noted in Oshawa on a bakery window, a mailbox a crumbling gravestone etc.
A direct link with Joel Day’s youth stems from his one known anecdote to come down the years. While river-driving logs on the Ottawa, Joel was attacked by an irate Frenchman who left this 19 year old lad with a disfigured ear for life. But what had lured Joel so far east? Had he sought out Oliver Stanton, (Haldiman’s first white baby) who by 1820 was a useful citizen of the Rice Lake District? Or had he visited a possible uncle in Kingston, U.E.L. Barnabus Day, from the New York Colony who had been a Constable, then road builder before using his land token for a farm on Concession 2.
Whatever the chain of events, Joel was presently located on a farm in Whitby Township, and on July 1, 1824, wedded to Sarah Terwilliger. Here they appear to have lived until 1846 when their eldest son Albert, assumed that farm, freeing them to locate at Cedar Creek in Reach Township, near Jarrets, Grahams and Buchanans. Their younger children probably attended the Cedar Creek School, now a French family’s home overlooking the cedars and creek below.
Pioneering by Lake Dalrymple
On learning of the Carden Township survey, 1855, Albert then farming in Reach, set out probably on horseback, to investigate.He filed claim to Crown Lands on the east side of Mud Lake, Formerly called Kechebedobegoog, now Lake Dalrymple. After clearing a site, Albert erected a log house for his wife, Elizabeth Buchannan and three children. His report of Carden evidently pleased his parents who also moved north before 1860. Joel claimed 2 areas of land on the west shores of the lake for his sons, Isaac and Daniel, who at once commenced pioneering. For himself and twins, Joel and James, Joel Sr. claimed an area further south, also securing from Solomon Thompson, his son-in-law to be, a property adjoining the beautiful Point. Here they built a log house, which stood intact until 1962. Son, James, later settled in nearby Mara Township, setting out a large orchard, which bore well until ice storms of 1937. Years of felling and burning of noble trees, followed by pulling and burning stumps, yielded 6 neat Day farms, also those of the Orsers and Thompsons. The strain and toil and the marauding of bears, hawks etc. was relieved by the sociability of settlement bees and by fishing or hunting, which offered welcome table fare for those hard times when cash in hand was a rare experience.
The typical Days of Yore were tall, dark-haired folk of very decided opinions. Marriage with other types accounts for the varying temperament, stature and complexion of the Days in 1967. The McNabb sisters, Mary, Janet and Isabelle, wives of Isaac, Daniel and Joel Jr., gave their sons the Scottish names of Duncan, Andrew and Peter in addition to the former biblical ones, many if which continue in use. Fittingly, a daughter and four granddaughters were named Sarah. Joel is still used, a great, great, grandson, Joel Lee, now living in Africa with his missionary parents.
Sarah Day was a remarkably capable woman whose few spoken words and great industry have become legend. Distrust of oil lamps left her to toil long hours by candle glow, as she carded and spun the sheep wool, then wove and hand-stitched it into garments for her household. Granddaughter, Mabel Day, is the fond possessor of a wool quilt made by this grandmother, over a century ago – a rare relic for Expo 67, were it not too precious.
A treasured reminder of Sarah Day, is a small, brown. Leather bound Psalm Book, printed, 1805 and signed by her, 1816. Within its worn covers appear the 150 paraphrases for song and praise. All 300 pages are brown and limp, inviting gentle care. This unique heirloom may well be the oldest book in Victoria County. May it continue to be cherished by the Days on the Point!
Much relished were Grandmother Sarah’s pumpkin Pies, also her bannocks (large griddle cakes), sometimes made with white ashes in lieu of soda. After burning a log to waves of ashes, the pioneers would skim off the white rims for culinary use. Resourcefulness, the pioneers’ salvation! The old tales of secret finger licking on hot days the great cakes of ample sugar on the high shelf, trickled sweetness.
Grandmother Day’s quaint chair with woven seat and ladder-back is prized by her great, great granddaughter, (Mrs. J.)Kathleen McNiven. Sarah’s crock of hop yeast bread-mix was regularly left to rise on the chair beside the hearth or stove, hence its scorched leg.
Joel Day Sr. was a cooper by trade,(perhaps he learned from his father in Halimand) which was opportue as each home required 50 or more wooden sap buckets and 2 large pails for gathering maple nectar. This handy parent also carved out many man-style neck yokes for easier carrying of those pails. Barrels both large and small, butter trays, ladles and churns all took form under those deft fingers. Until his passing, Joel continued to leach water through hardwood ashes to dissolve potash which when boiled down to a black jelly, was valuable for sale as a soap ingredient or as barter for home necessities.
Canada’s first census, 1871, lists the Days as Germans from Haldimand. The story goes that the sons lightly stated English, Irish and German. The census taker evidently chose the later for uniformity. Ever after those sons proudly claimed their English roots. Charles Day of Midhurst tells of the recent sale in Suffolk, England, of a farm which had been in their family for at least two centuries indicating that not all Days had found Cromwell’s rule to be intolerable.
Joel and Sarah Day were earnest Wesleyan Methodists in whose family home family worship was probably a daily ritual. The nearby McNabbs and Gilchrists were devout Presbyterians, the former’s Gaelic Bible now prized by (Mrs. A.) Greta Day McCrackin. In 1865, Joel persuaded his neighbours to assemble logs for a needed school, to serve also for alternating Methodist and Presbyterian Sabbath worship. Mr. George Jarret was the builder, aided by eager volunteers. From 18-inch pine blocks, Joel cut the sturdy shingles, then thinned one end with a sharp drawing knife. Others chinked the spaces between the logs, to be plastered over for warmth and appearance. Would not the pine aroma lend incense to the atmosphere as worshipers sang, guided by Precentor Colin McNabb! On occasions they waited for long hours for the itinerant preacher from over the Victoria Road or Orillia trail.
Fortunate are they who have perused the excellent essay penned by (Mrs. Jas.) Jessie Ramsay Day on her school days in the log structure. To read her warm, descriptive narrative is to taste the satisfyingly, simple joys of childhood in the 1870’s. (See Carden Schools) Their standard of pioneer living may have been low but the thinking was high, as evidenced by young adults attending evening classes for note singing and literary debate, in that rustic school. It closed in 1896 to be removed in the 1920’s to replace the burned home of Joel’s grandson, John Thompson. It is now gone.
Joel Day organized a Sunday School which son, Isaac continued until 1888 when Frank Thompson took over, aided by (Mrs. James) Jessie Day. In 1896 the Methodists were persuaded to unite with those in Sebright, where the Presbyterians had already joined their new church in 1886. The later became the early United Church in 1918 when the Methodist Church, dear to many Day families, was sold to become a General Store. Its selling price of $400 cleared the debt on the new Presbyterian Manse close by.
Around 1870, twin Joel, by use of four teams of horses, moved his new home across the ice to the Point farm, freeing his aging parents to live in a small cottage on son Isaac’s homestead where now stands a modern home built by Isaac’s grandson, Kenneth in 1936. Joel Day Sr. passed away in 1878, leaving his family the proud memory of his daily industry, integrity and contentment. Were not he and Sarah the rugged roots from which sturdy branches had sprung, to become in 1967, a massive family tree, now in the 6th generation.
Sarah Day spent her sunset years back on the Point farm making home pleasant for son Joel and his then motherless children. In her 80’s she broke her hip and was forced to rest, but with no hospital care available. When again struggling to be mobile, she actually tried to milk cows. With true Terwilleger spirit, she continued to visit her family, climbing in and out of wagon or democrat, with the help of a chair and her sons’ strong arms. She passed away in 1890, full of years and good deeds. Her 50 loving grandchildren had basked in her aura if sincere affection which they returned in full measure. They never forgot her serene presence in white cap and quiet smile. Two grandsons and one great grandson were given the name Terwilleger, a real honour.
Her quaint little clock and Joel’s priceless Bible are prized links with their past. Joel and Sarah Day rest in Mud Lake Cemetery on Day soil, with 4 sons and 2 daughters and 5 of their wedded partners (James’ wife Jessie, at rest in Edmonton). Albert and Elizabeth lie in Dalrymple Cemetery, also on Day soil. Many descendants have now joined their worthy ancestors. May succeeding generations ever remember those sentimental acres!
Of the daughters, Lodice and Sarah are most clearly remembered. Both carded, spun, dyed and wove (even blankets and carpets). They sewed and knitted, as all Day women felt obliged to do, for their families’ well being. Lodice was for long years the capable mid-wife at many childbirths in her community – a ministry beyond price. Daughter Elizabeth lived in Michigan on Reparations from the flooding of their farm to accommodate the Sault Ste. Marie Canal.
Only Centeury farms of Joel and Albert remain in the Day name of grandsons’ Emerson and Russell, their frame homes of the 1870’s vintage, steeped in memories. The home staeds of Isaac, Daniel and the Thompsons are now popular tourist areas of Meadows End, Sunrise Lodge and Dalrymple Park. A handsome new bungalow graces the onetime property of Sarah and Gilbert Orser. Lodice’s , Joel’s and Isaac’s folk are largely located in Ontario and the West; James’ are all in Alberta, Albert’s long branch is scattered from Ontario to the Pacific, overseas and in several states. In contrast, Daniel’s few living descendants reside fairly near the old home. The Orsers are located chiefly in Ontario and BC, the Palmers and Jacksons in Ontario.
The callings pursued by the Day generations point up their diverse talents; many successful farmers. Ranchers, transport drivers and other business men; a number of engineers, one, a patent lawyer with over 40 patents to his own credit; at least seven Christian ministers at home and abroad; a number of accountants and scientists; innumerable teachers, nurses, musicians and stenographers, a home-economist, an interior designer and a computer or two; several tourist operators, top salesmen and technicians; many skilled workers, a few railroad conductors and a police officer; a chef, a town planner and a cemetery caretaker; scores of devoted church leaders and a veritable army of wives, whose love and wisdom are reflected in this far from complete catalogue of successful husbands and offspring.
The Day chronicle draws to a close but a vision lingers; their picking and drying wild fruits for winter use; gleaning and braiding long straws for hats; careful skimming of cream from pans of milk in the milkhouse; forking hay and grain onto high wagons; picking up stones from new clearings; walking behind a one furrow plough; skillfully swinging the big black kettle away from the stone encircled fire, when syrup, sap or potash was done to a turn; being their own blacksmith; splitting rails for snake fences to replace rows of uprooted stumps; being alert for wolves enroute to and from the grist mill; attending a one room log school house for 70 pupils, from 5 to 20 years of age etc.
Happily, the compensations were unique: the closely knit family around the reed organ, singing hymns and ballads, or reciting poetry and reading aloud; maple taffy-pulls, sleigh and cutter rides; haystack treks to the Dalton Rocks for blueberries; box socials and tea meetings for church funds; picking the apples and plums from the first trees planted around the early log cabins. Best of all was the kindness of settlers in time of need.
The Days had early dug and walled up needed wells from which oaken buckets of water were drawn by a rope. Then came the windlass, a horizontal cylinder around which a rope wound as one turned the handle. In the late 1860’s Mr. George Jarret, that builder of caskets, houses etc., added wooden pumps to the list, a real blessing! The Day wells still function but the later iron pump has yielded to the jet age and the chrome tap.
Coupled with the Day sterner qualities and their strong family ties, was real concern for the social conditions in Canada and afar, a challenge to their kindred down the years.
Just come to light is a collection of the Days’ yellowed receipts, haunting echoes of their enforced thrift. Earlier study of them might have inspired a more colourful story, as much can br read between the lines. Does not freer spending of the 1870’s suggest that slowly major hardships had been left behind? This trend evidently continued into the Gay Nineties which saw the Day families enjoying better times and Canada’s increasing accomplishments. Most welcomed were the little red schools and attractive churches, the spreading network of railways and graveled roads. Sanford Fleming’s Standard Time, bumper crops of prairie wheat, pulp and paper mills, top buggies and improved implements, hanging lamps and parlour suites, the promise of Penny Postage in 1889, the prospect of telephones and the dream of electricity in the future. Crowning all was Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, 1897, described by Mark Twain as supreme pageantry, with grandeur for the camera, not the pen. But story and picture did portray for Canada the joy and splendour of the Jubilee Procession. In it their Prime Minister, Sir Wilfred Laurier escorted by the Canadian Hussars and the North West Mounted Police, won the Queen’s personal praise as well as rounds of cheers from the millions of spectators along the 7 mile route. In story, the Jubilee blends beauty and sentiment for happy rereading.
Other Days of Yore? Isaac Day of Orillia, in the early 1900’s of a Creemore family who left England, 1840. Of many Days in East and West Ontario, one branch of whom claimed descent from Lady Jane Grey. Names on all their family trees include Helen, Rhoda, Abigail, Charles, Calvin and Stephen.
Was not the original Englishman named Day given a neat name for his posterity? Now through the magic of design, The Day Sheild honours The Days of Yore and offers inspiration to their followers be their name Almost, Beavers, Black, Brownell, Driver, Eaton, Hall, Middleton, Mohn, Montgomery, Moore, Shephard, Wilks, Wyatt or other name not appearing in the booklet.
But what of the 200th Anniversary of the Days’ reaching Canada? To observe this occasion will each branch appoint a keen historian to keep its tree and history up-to-date?
Away Day booklets, your bygone tales relate,
May acceptance by the family tree be your happy fate.
SURVIVING GRANDCHILDREN OF AND SARAH DAY
(Mrs. O) Mildred Gould Miss Mabel Day
(Mrs. R.) Calista Gould Mr. Albert Day
(Mrs. J. Polly Alsop Mr. Wilfred Day (deceased in 1967)
(Mrs. R. Beatrice Lewis (Mrs. C.) Minnie Fader
TWINS ? Joel and James lead the procession
Evelyn and Gilchrist Day –Grandchildren of Joel
Otis and Alex Gould – Grandchildren of James
Olive and Ann Almost – Great Grandchildren of James
Lorne and Lawrence Leitch – Great Great Grandchildren of Albert
Karen and Sharon Benson – Great Grandchildren of Sarah
Beverley and Barbara Orser – Great Great Grandchildren of Sarah
Lucretia and Betty Graham – Great grandchildren of Lodice
Karen and Kathleen Thompson – Great Grandchildren of Lodice
Susan and Sandra Woodcock – Great Great Grandchildren of Lodice
Kathleen and karen Davis – Great Great Grandchildren of Lodice
Joseph and Joanne Card – Great Great Great Grandchildren of Lodice
Judith and Jackolene Brown – Great Grandchildren of Isaac
Lois and Thomas Brown – Great Grandchildren of Isaac
Robert and William Lowe – Great Great Grandchildren of Isaac
Wedell and Grenville McMullen – Great Great Grandchildren of Isaac
Gratefully acknowledged are the…
Cover Design – conceived and sketched by Mrs. A. Palynchuk, detailed by Mrs. W. Mc Mullen, daughter of Joel I. Day
Preface – Contributed by Reverends A. and B. Day
Precious Pictures – Mrs. R. Lewis, Miss M. Day, Mrs. W. McMullen and Mrs. R. Day
Statistics – The Archives of Canada, Ontario and Queen’s University, Dr. T. Kaiser’s Historic Sketches of Oshawa, many history texts and loyal relatives
Yellowed Receipts – Mr. R. Day
Note: Living in the west, as our family did, we were cut off from all ancestral roots. Nevertheless, we took some pride in being Days, there being only one other family of that name in the directory. Perhaps, for that reason, we were curious about the origin and travels of our forebears. It seemed clear, from our father’s reminiscences, that the Days were English United Empire Loyalists but how did they reach Canada and what sort of persons were they?
One’s ancestry may not be all-important but one wishes to know as much as possible about those shadowy figures who made up the stock from whom one has sprung.
So we are grateful for the following record, which our cousin has painstakingly prepared, that, we who come after may know what manner of men and women they were who give us birth.
Church of Christ Rev. Alfred L. Day
Hong Kong Grandson of Albert Day
Members of the family can inherit no greater legacy from their parents than the precious memories of good and faithful forefathers. This booklet is just the legacy, diligently compiled by on of ourselves. From its pages the descendants of Joel and Sarah Day are able to know those honest, industrious pioneers, not just as names, but as real people who seem to speak to us of their experiences. Thanks to this booklet, we are able to know our family roots as individuals who laughed, toiled, dreamed, worshipped and died. And they were good people!
It is with gratitude that we, the children’s children of the Days of Yore, receive this document of Family Canadiana.
Eaton Memorial Church Rev. Barry B. Day
Toronto, Ontario Great grandson of Isaac Day