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DUNCAN TURNER FARM STORY

BY GRACE DEVERELL

Mr. Turner’s maternal grandmother came from Ireland.  His mother, the former Mary Kennedy(1836-1820}  lived in Lindsay until her marriage to his father, Mr. John Turner (1836-1922) who came from the Lowlands of Scotland.

John Turner butchered in Thornhill for 5 years, then he made brick in Beaverton.  He came to  lot 22 on the 8th Concession of Carden from Beaverton( 1878).  After coming to Carden he had to carry flour on his back from there to his home here.   mother carried butter from their home on the 8th Concession to Lindsay and traded it for groceries.  She would break the trip by eating dinner in Glenarm.  She also sold eggs in Uphill for 9 cents a dozen.

A sister, Mary Ann died in January (1882) and his mother died in May of the same year.  A year and a half later (1888) his sister Carrie and brother Billy, died with diphtheria and are buried on the farm.  In the fall of the same year their house burned down.  Another was built in June and they were again burned out.  This all meant great hardships for a motherless family and Mr.(Dunc) Turner remembers that he and his brother Jack lived for a week or more on crab apples.

In Mr. Turner’s (Dunc) first experience at working out, he made 25 cents a day, carrying beaver hay on poles.  He next worked for Jack McFadden for 414 a month.  Later he drew logs at Dorset for 61 days for $61. He went to Eldon and worked for Douglas Cameron.  There is a little story in connection with this venture.  When he left home he had 25 cents and no socks.  Mr. Cameron met him at Glenarm, took him to the hotel and there he treated him.  Duncan, being a gentleman, returned the treat thereby spending his 25 cents.  So he had no socks and no money. His employment there lasted for three months at $20 a month.  That fall he went to Sudbury and worked in a lumber camp at $1 a day.  Things were improving greatly.  He took this money home and he and his brother Jack spent it on cattle at $10 a head.  They kept going until they had a herd of 27 head that weighed approximately 1150 pounds.  These were sold at the fabulous price of $32.50 a head.  As time went on they progressed greatly buying more ranch land and more cattle to put on it.  The Marren place, another farm of 200 acres was purchased by Duncan and brother John.  Later (1926) Jack bought the McRae place, Lots 24 and 25 on the 8th Concession of Carden.

Roads travelled were on the 9th to Uphill and Victoria Road and via the 8th to Kirkfield.  There was a shorter road to Uphill but it was practically impassable.

Duncan purchased his present farm in Dalton from John Stewart.

He and his family moved there to be near a school.  His daughter Mary was 8 years old and had not yet gone to school.  The settlers had moved out and there was no school.  There had been ten families in the community.  The first school was a log school on the 8th which Duncan attended.  Later a new one was built a mile west but was later torn down.

The teachers, remembered by Mr. Turner were Dan Lucy, Bessie Thompson (Mrs. Charlie McCarthy),Miss Powers from Lindsay, Nellie McKee from Dorset, Miss Conway, Miss Stevens (Bessie Thompson’s mother and one of the first teachers), Dr. Ross of Kirkfield who boarded at Uncle Bill Turner’s, Miss Hacken, Miss Craig, who married Inspector Reason, Sadie McCaughey (Uphill), Mr. Shannon who also fixed clocks.  Mr. Shannon was here for 6 months but at the end of a month or two he was fired.  So he boarded in Hector Campbell’s hotel in Kirkfield and sued the section for the 6 months wages.  He won.

There was no church in the settlement.  The minister walked from Uphill.  Two ministers he remembered were Rev. Faulkner and Rev. Sieiveright.

The mail came from Horncastle near Victoria Road and was carried by Bill Taylor on horseback.  Then McCarthys took the Post Office and mail could be picked up twice a week.  Mr. McCarthy also brought it on horseback from Hornecastle with a mail bag strapped over horse’s neck.  Next the post office went to John Martin’s.  They carried the mail from Uphill to the Post Office and this was the last one. The earliest Doctors were Dr. Woods and Dr. Ross, both from Kirkfield.  Then Dr. Blanchard and Dr. Grant came to Victoria Road.

Mrs. John Turner made Balm of Gilead salve and stewed wormwood for her family to drink periodically.  People helped one another in time of sickness.

The first Reeve remembered by Mr. Turner was Bill Taylor, next Abe Jacob, Councillors were Jim McKee, Jim O’Neal and James Graham.

The people used to have logging bees and threshing bees. Threshing was done by horse power.

Pastimes were playing horse shoes, dancing and fishing.

The women sheared the sheep and had to remove all the burrs before it was taken to Jack Mackay who carded it.  They then spun it into yarn.

Maple syrup making was in order then, as now but wooden spiles and troughs were used.  The pioneers of the Turner family are buried in Dalrymple Cemetery.

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