Christmas at the Stafford House

Judy:   “Christmas Day in those days, as now, was a joyous occasion, but we knew that there would not be many presents because our parents couldn’t afford them, but there were second-hand sleighs or toboggans, and gifts that were hand-made or hand-sewn.” 

Roger: ” I remember waking up and being able to see our breath Christmas morning. I remember moving wood, both at home and at school (S.S.#4 Bathurst), as both were heated with wood. Neither had running water. Water was pumped into a pail, and brought inside for drinking and cooking.”

Judy Stafford (standing) Audry Stafford seated, front row, left to right – Jackie Stafford, Roger Stafford and Tim Stafford

Arlene:  “One year Aunt Nellie Rutherford sent us a beautiful Christmas ornament.  It was made of brass and had a circular base, with a brass rod that extended up from the base.  Attached to the rod about halfway down were four angels with tiny rods hanging beneath each, and two bells extending out to the sides. On the base were holders for four small candles, and when you lit the candles the angels began to go around in a circle faster and faster, and their tiny rods would strike the bells and ring very softly.  That was one of my favourite decorations.  I also liked the little cone-shaped paper angels that hung on the tree, and the metal birds with tails made of real feathers that clipped onto the branches.”

Roger: “I can also remember Mom and the girls putting the Christmas cards on strings and hanging them up for decorations. I can remember cutting up Christmas cards from the year before to make the tags for gifts. And there were the bells on the doors. I remember one on the door to the hall and I believe one on the front door. “

Jackie:  “I think that at one time almost everything hung on the tree was homemade.”

Tim Stafford with Arlene Stafford

Tim: “I was not able to sleep Christmas Eve.  I had been warned several times that Santa would leave only potatoes in my stocking if I didn’t sleep.  When I actually did get potatoes in my stocking when I was eight or nine years old I was in shock.”

Judy: “Oh yes, I certainly did get potatoes in my stocking…a very clear message on Christmas morning, and it was probably on more than one occasion.  I wasn’t very surprised either!  We were usually threatened and she always carried through. The only candy I remember getting in my stocking was hard candy, and there was always an orange in my stocking – that was a rare treat as fresh, imported fruit wasn’t usually seen at other times of the year.  Soda pop would also be purchased, but only at Christmas.”

Jackie:   “Mother would put our stockings at the end of our bed when she thought we were asleep, and sometimes we were.  If we had been bad we would have a potato in our stocking, along with a piece of fruit and a bit of candy.”

Roger: “I can also remember getting a potato in my sock one year. Mother had warned me that Santa put potatoes in bad boys’ socks. It shouldn’t have been any surprise to me.”

Judy Stafford and Tim Stafford

Judy: “We received what we considered very expensive gifts from our Uncle Jack Rutherford in Alberta, and were allowed to choose one gift to open on Christmas Eve, and we usually chose his.  There was no ripping off of gift paper – the parcels had to be carefully unwrapped and ribbons, if any, had to be handed over to Mother before they could get mixed up with the discards and boxes, which would be thrown in the cook-stove to burn.”

Arlene Stafford and Judy Stafford

Arlene: “I was always excited to go to Calvin Church, on Christmas Eve. During the service I would usually be whispering to my friends Susan and Jane Munro, who sat in the pew in front of us, until Mother would give me ‘the look’ and then I would try to be quiet.  It wasn’t easy being quiet because I knew so many of the kids there. Looking around the church I saw lots of my friends from school – Patti Jordan, Jutta and Judy Siebel, and Barb Patton.  George Jordan and I were in the same grade, Steve Scott, Harold Closs and Bobby Miller were a grade ahead of me, and then there were the older girls who were a little bit farther ahead in school like Janice Jordan, Karen Jordan and Maxine Closs. After church was over, I would see my friends outside and we’d be talking excitedly about what gifts we were hoping to find under the tree the next morning.”  

Jackie Stafford and Tim Stafford in front of the Stafford House

Judy:   “Parcels from the West, or also known as the ‘hand-me-down box’, would arrive from our Aunts in Alberta, twice a year, with our cousins gently worn clothing – every summer a box of winter clothes, and every winter, just before or right after Christmas, a box of summer clothes arrived.  This was always an exciting time when we would crowd around Mother as she opened the box, and decided who would get what, and if any of the clothing had to be altered to fit us.  I remember a lot of the dresses being brown which was not my favourite colour, but I imagine they were practical as they would not show the dirt.  Mother also made dresses and blouses and skirts – shirts for the boys.  I remember a lovely lilac plaid summer dress Mother made for me, and an identical one in pink plaid for Jackie.  Our shoes were purchased from a factory outlet store in Lanark, and we made that trip a couple of times a year to buy shoes for school. “

Tobias ‘Tim’, ‘Tib’ Stafford checking the Christmas lights on the spruce tree

Roger:   “Dad always put lights up outside, usually on the spruce tree near the door. I often watched the northern lights dancing, or heard the whistle of the train at the crossing back of the house, or the sound of the train itself on a cold winter night. I guess those are a couple of the reasons that cities have no attraction for me.”

Judy:  “Nothing these days will ever replace the sound of the train whistle as it passed back at the tracks around midnight every night, or the sounds of the sleigh runners cutting through the snow on a crisp winter’s night.”

Audry (Rutherford) Stafford, in the kitchen, preparing some Christmas treats

Mother’s Chocolate Fudge

2 Tbsp. butter

2 c. miniature marshmallows

1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 2/3 cups of sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (if desired)

1/2 tsp. salt

Mix butter, milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat..

Stir in marshmallows, chocolate chips, vanilla and walnuts.

Pour into an 8-inch buttered pan. Cool. Cut into squares. Makes 2 lbs.

Tim:  “My favourite Christmas food –    Chocolate fudge with walnuts.”

Roger:  I certainly remember all the toffee and fudge Mom used to make at Christmas. Mother also baked many specialty cookies for Christmas. As Christmas approached mother would review her stock in the freezer only to find much of our favourites had disappeared. I can remember holding the door while one of my siblings with longer arms would lean in and load up on treats from the freezer. I was never averse to a sweet bribe.”

Arlene Stafford making a snowman

Jackie:  “When I was a kid, Mother bought her Christmas candy through the catalogues – Sears and Eaton’s and bought medium size boxes of licorice all-sorts; bridge mixture; and the cinnamon candies.  I think she probably bought other types as well but I remember the ones I liked.  She hid them in the bedroom, and then, closer to Christmas, in the pantry somewhere, and she would go in there now and then with an empty bowl, and magically come out with a bowl of one of those candies.  A great treat because we rarely had that kind of ‘bought’ candy.”

Roger:  “I also remember that Mother would always buy some grapes and Christmas oranges for a special treat at Christmas.  It makes me feel very lucky to be able to go buy any type of fruit all year long.”

Jackie Stafford with niece, Andrea Ryan, eldest daughter of Judy Stafford Ryan

Jackie:   “Christmas Eve was always an interesting time.  Dad would be late from work, delivering milk for Chaplin’s Dairy, and Mother would usually let us eat at the usual time as she was never sure when Dad would turn up.  When he did come home, he was tired and he had a bag of stuff with him.  While he ate his warmed up dinner Mother would open all of the presents he got from his customers.” 

Arlene:  “Dad used to get five or six boxes of chocolates from his customers.  I was always hoping that he would get a box of chocolate covered cherries.  They were my favourite.”

Roger:  “I remember Dad bringing home Christmas cards from his customers in Perth, on the milk route, and Mom opening them up and taking the cash out to put towards a summer holiday.

Jackie:   “On Christmas Eve Dad’s customers would often give him money – usually $1 or $2 dollars and Mother would have little piles of bills.  Sometimes they would know his brand of cigarette and those were great, but the Export A and Players were traded at his favourite store, if possible.  I would love those because we would get the empty tins and I would love to put my crayons in one and some little bits in pieces in another. He also got single packs of cigarettes and they were often his brand.”

Judy Stafford and Jackie Stafford

Judy:   “I remember that Mother didn’t like anyone in the kitchen when she was cooking, and when we were older and came home at Christmas, she would post a list of duties for each of us on the refrigerator.”

Jackie Stafford, Arlene Stafford, and Judy Stafford

Jackie: ” One Christmas, there was a toboggan under the tree for me. Tim already had one, which was a good size, but mine was smaller, and perfect for me. We couldn’t wait to get outside and try it. In those days, there was a lovely hill to the right of the house, part of the land surrounding the barn. We would slide down the hill, and if you went through the gap you ended up in the next field.”

Roger: “I can remember one year, that Uncle Jack Rutherford, sent Jackie and I, aluminum snow-shoe-shaped sliders. We used to try to slide down the hill near the barn, standing up. We seldom succeeded.”

Judy: “We skated and tobogganed. We went down the hill in the field beside the house, and over a low fence, and that caused a few accidents!”

Tim: “In the early part of the winter, if there was a cold snap and not too much snow, the creek would freeze over and I would skate to school (S.S. #4 Bathurst), passing all through the farms, and coming out at the bridge just south of the school. On days when the ice was too thin, I would arrive home soaked to the knees, and Mom would have to dry all of my clothes as best she could on the wood-stove oven door, as there was no clothes dryer then. The skates I used were Dad’s, with extra socks in them.”

Jackie: “We skated until our feet were so cold that we could not get our skates off, so when we were small, we just walked home in them. Mother would get the skates off, and we would sit in front of the open oven door to thaw out our feet.”

 

Jackie Stafford, and niece, Andrea Ryan, in the front yard, Korry’s farm in the background.

Jackie:  “When we were old enough Dad would let us go with him to get the Christmas tree.  As we got older we would sometimes have already selected a few possible trees for Dad to look at.  In the early years we walked back to the bush and brought the tree back on Tim’s toboggan.  I was always half frozen by the time we got back home.”

Jackie Stafford, pulling niece, Andrea Ryan, on a sled, on the side road, near the house.

Roger:  “I can remember trying to find a nicely shaped tree that wasn’t too big, and then getting home and finding it was still too large to go in the house. At one time I can remember Dad nailing a large board to the bottom of the tree to stand it up. That was before we had a Christmas tree stand. I can remember Mom having us check the stand for water to make sure the tree wasn’t drying out too fast. I can also remember all the needles falling off when the decorations were being taken off the tree, and the tree was taken out through the kitchen to the yard. I can remember Mom using some of the boughs cut off to make a wreath.”

Back row: Roger Stafford, cousin Gail Stafford, Jackie Stafford, Judy Stafford, Arlene Stafford. Front row: cousin Peter Stafford, Tim Stafford

Tobias ‘Tim’, ‘Tib’ Stafford, his sister-in-law, Aunt Pat Stafford, and his brother, Peter ‘Pete’ Stafford

Jackie:   “In those days Mother made popcorn, and we strung it on string, and used that as a garland on the tree.”

Roger:  “I can also remember stringing popcorn for decorations.”

L to R: Roger Stafford, Arlene Stafford, Judy Stafford, Audry Stafford, Tobias ‘Tim’ Stafford, Tim Stafford, Jackie Stafford

Jackie:  “Mother bought coloured craft paper, and we cut out strips of paper and glued them together to make a circle, and then a circle within the previous circle, and on and on, until we had a string long enough to go from the corners of the living room to the light fixture in the center of the ceiling.  We usually did them red, green, etc.”

L to R: Judy Stafford, Jackie Stafford, Tim Stafford, Roger Stafford

Arlene: “Board games, and card games were a favourite on Christmas night, after dinner. Everyone gathered in the kitchen, and Mother brought us bowls of fudge, taffy, cookies, and sweet squares. We played Rummy, Monopoly, and sometimes Crokinole, until the wee hours. Mother always bought soft drinks at Christmas, sometimes cola, orange, or root beer. That was the only time of the year we had pop in the house.

Tobias ‘Tim’ ‘Tib’ Stafford and Audry (Rutherford) Stafford, 1968

Judy: “Before the day was out, our Mother would iron the Christmas paper and ribbon, which would be carefully tucked away until next year.  To this day, I cringe when I see anyone rip off gift paper with no thought of re-using it.   We often made our own Christmas wrapping paper in those days, using cut-up brown paper bags, and drawing pictures on with crayons, and tying up the gifts with binder-twine.  We were always appreciative of what we received, because wealth to us was being happy and healthy, with loved ones around to share the joy.”

The Stafford siblings, with their spouses: Back row- Roger Stafford, Sam Wharton, Kevin Wilson, Tim Stafford, Jim Ryan. Front row: Ruth (Parks) Stafford, Jackie Stafford Wharton, Arlene Stafford-Wilson, Marian (Salemink) Stafford, and Judy Stafford Ryan.

Audry (Rutherford) Stafford 1919-2007, Tobias ‘Tim’ ‘Tib’ Stafford 1918-1992

…..and so we’ve come to the end of our Christmas visit to the Stafford House. If you had spent Christmas Day with us you would have never guessed that we didn’t have very much money. Our dinner table was overflowing with food – a huge platter of turkey, bowls heaped with stuffing, a basket piled high with soft homemade dinner rolls, steaming mashed potatoes, gravy, cheese, and pickles, and that was just the main course.

For dessert there was homemade Christmas fruit cake, shortbread, chocolate chews, cherry balls, gumdrop cookies, almond cookies, shortbread, sweet squares, chocolate fudge with walnuts, homemade toffee, licorice all-sorts, bridge-mixture, mixed nuts, and boxes of assorted chocolates.

The Stafford house was filled with laughter, and multiple lively conversations. There were chiming bells attached to the front door and hall door, and Christmas cards displayed, framing every doorway and covering every flat surface in the living room. A fragrant fresh-cut spruce tree graced the corner of the living room, proudly displaying our homemade ornaments, and a few precious glass balls that Mother had saved over the years. Our opened gifts were nestled under the tree, along with the remnants of our stockings from that morning.

By the evening, Mother would be resting on the couch, and Dad would be lounging in his lazy-boy chair. They often discussed the events of the day, while sharing a box of chocolates Christmas night – she preferring the hard toffee centers, and Dad enjoying the soft creams, which worked out very well indeed, over their many Christmases together.

You would have found the Stafford children in the kitchen, playing cards, or board games, sharing a dish of fudge, a bowl of nuts, and some homemade cookies. We’d often be sporting the paper crowns from the Christmas crackers we’d pulled at dinner time. You would have heard genuine shrieks of laughter, and some friendly jabs, many hilarious jokes from Roger, and witty remarks from Tim, with his dry sense of humour. You’d likely hear the girls scolding the boys for some of their occasional off-colour comments, followed by more laughter, and a few groans, as we all complained about how much food we’d consumed, all the while everyone agreeing how delicious it was.

As Christmas Day wound down for another year, one at a time, people began to trail off to bed, weary from the fresh cold air and outings during the busy day, and stuffed full of our Mother’s delicious food.

We hope you enjoyed hearing our stories about growing up, at the Stafford house, and the ways we spent Christmas Day. The sights and sounds and smells from our childhood Christmas are something we carry with us every day.  They lift our spirits in times when life seems cold, and harsh, and unforgiving.  We need only to close our eyes and we are back on the Third Line, walking up the lane, through the yard, and entering the bright, warm kitchen.  We are home again.

Quotes and stories from Tim Stafford, Judy Stafford Ryan, Jackie Stafford Wharton, Roger Stafford, and Arlene Stafford-Wilson, and the recipe for Audry Stafford’s Chocolate Fudge, are excerpts from, “Recipes and Recollections: Treats and Tales from Our Mother’s Kitchen”

Available at:

The Book Nook & Other Treasures https://thebooknookperth.com/shop/

The Bookworm – https://www.bookwormperth.com/

Mill Street Books – https://millstreetbooks.com/

and

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Stafford House: The Post-War Years

This is the house where it all began. It is the place that became the setting for so many stories, so many books; the idyllic backdrop where canopies of Lanark County sugar maples dominated the peaceful grounds surrounding the house.

The home had been in the family since 1936, when Dad’s aunt and uncle, Thomas and Clara Carberry purchased the property, but it truly became the Stafford house, when Mother and Dad returned from the war in 1946.

…..

Audry stared down thoughtfully, her hands cradling the pink and white china tea cup. Was the war really over?, she wondered. It had been so many months, that turned into years, with those dark uncertain clouds hanging over their heads. All they seemed to hear in those days was bad news; news of young lives lost in battles far away. Could it be true? Could they finally get on with their lives now, and spend time together as a family? She’d read about the victory celebrations, and seen photos in the newspapers of the ticker-tape parades, but it wasn’t until she heard from her husband; it was the news that she’d been waiting for…he’d be boarding a ship bound for Canada. He was coming home.

They met at the #8 Bombing and Gunnery School, in Lethbridge, Alberta. She was a pretty young Air Force Corporal, from Edmonton, and he, a dashing young Sergeant from Lanark County. Mother was drawn to his handsome face, and neat appearance. She claimed that she could spot him across the parade square on the base because the crease of his pants was so crisp.

Corporal Audry Rutherford, W.D. Royal Canadian Air Force

Tobias ‘Tim’ Stafford & Audry Rutherford, on a date in Lethbridge, Alberta

In those days, relationships on the military base developed quickly by necessity, never knowing when someone would be deployed to serve elsewhere. Within a few months of their budding romance, the orders came that Dad was to be shipped overseas, to serve at the RAF base in Bournemouth, England. They quickly made plans to marry. Mother would remain on the base, and continue her duties as a Corporal, and Airforce Physical Education Instructor.

On their wedding day, July 12, 1943

Home At Last

There was an unmistakable sense of hope and optimism beaming from every deck on that grey hulking warship as it left the English port, bound for Halifax. It seemed that every man aboard had a permanent smile on his face, a joke to tell, and precious well-worn photos to show the others; of faces they’d be seeing soon, after so many dark and lonely years.

He longed for home. He missed the rugged Canadian landscape; the tall pines, the colourful sugar maples, and the crystal clear lakes and rivers that dotted the Ontario landscape of his youth. Most of all he missed…her. He could almost see her face above the dark rolling waves of the north Atlantic, as the ship sailed closer to their base in Halifax. The constant ache in his heart whenever he thought of her, gradually easing into a sense of purpose. The nervous dread and unsettling fears of war were behind him now, and he had a wife, and two young children to provide for.

The Stafford House

“My Aunt Clara and Uncle Tom own a beautiful property. They said we can come and stay with them until we get settled. I know you’ll be very happy there; I promise. It’s a red brick house, built on a gentle hill, surrounded by lovely shade trees. There are lots of bedrooms, plenty of space for a growing family. There’s even an apple orchard behind the house. When the kids are older we can send them apple-picking, and you could bake us some pies!”, he grinned.

Clara and Tom were approaching retirement age by the time the young Stafford family moved in with them. Clara didn’t drive, and wanted to move to Perth, so that she could get around a bit easier. Maybe it was time for her nephew and his young family to take over the property….

Some Help for the Veterans

Over one million Canadians served in WWII, and in 1944, the Department of Veterans Affairs was created to assist soldiers returning from duty. Their mandate was to ease the way back to civilian life, after so many years of war. The Veterans’ Land Act was one of the programs established so that veterans were eligible for loans to buy land, livestock, and equipment. Over 30,000 Veterans obtained land for farming through this program.

….and so, the young Stafford family was able to purchase the beautiful property from Aunt Clara and Uncle Tom….

Tim Stafford & Judy Stafford, in the driveway at Stafford House

….and many years later, this 1947 photo was featured on the cover of a book…


Tim and Judy Stafford, featured on the cover of “Recipes & Recollections: Treats and Tales from Our Mother’s Kitchen”

Tobias ‘Tib’, ‘Tim’ Stafford with Judy Stafford, at Stafford House, 1947

…and then there were 3

Judy Stafford, baby Jackie Stafford, and Tim Stafford, 1948, at the Stafford House

The family settled in, and bit by bit, it grew in size. Jackie was born, then Roger, and finally Arlene, and the family was complete.

Judy Stafford, Tim Stafford, Jackie Stafford, and Roger Stafford in 1958

Arlene Stafford in the apple orchard, behind the Stafford House

Many years later, the Stafford House, the picturesque yard, and the woodlands surrounding the property would be the inspiration and the setting for many stories and books.

From the early days of spring and the young buds on the trees, gathering sap, and the house filled with the sweet scents of maple, as the sap boiled in a huge pot on the old stove. The shy tulips and daffodils nudging their way out of the cold ground, and the songbirds returning after a long, cold winter.

Summer was filled with the fresh scents of hay, and the rattling, rumbling tractors and wagons parading up and down the Third Line. Trips to Carl Adams’ swimming hole, and Christie Lake on the steamy hot days, and the nightly spectacles of tiny black bats swooping and sailing through the tall maple branches, followed by the sounds of the bullfrogs in the lowlands, and the crickets lulling us to sleep.

Fall was all about colour, from one end of the yard to the other, and as far as the eye could see; spectacular shades of orange, red, and yellow, and the scents of wood-smoke and the sweet ripe apples hanging low in the orchard.

The year always finished the same way, with the magical weeks leading up to Christmas. It was a busy, bustling, time, for baking, stringing lights, mailing cards, repairing broken ornaments, practicing for Christmas concerts, and most of all, waiting for Santa….

Arlene Stafford, Mike, the family dog, and Roger Stafford

…and so, these were the early years at the Stafford House; the weeks and months after the war. They were the busy years, and years of adjustment. They were the years after two young soldiers met on an airbase in faraway Lethbridge, and fell in love, in such uncertain times.

It was because of their love, their hope for the future, and their sense of optimism that the family grew and prospered at the Stafford House. It was where we developed a strong work ethic, a respect for others, and where we learned about the importance of honesty, integrity, and faith.

Today, on Remembrance Day, I will think of these two soldiers, who possessed both the courage and the optimism to forge ahead with their love and their commitment, even in the darkest days, when the world was at war, and for this, I will be forever grateful.

Lest We Forget

‘Poppies’ – watercolour painting, by Jackie (Stafford) Wharton, 2020

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Chaplin’s Dairy in Glen Tay

 

Whenever I saw the big white and pink Chaplin’s Dairy truck pull into the yard, I had only one thing on my mind; and that was their delicious chocolate milk.  It came in small pint-sized glass bottles, and had a round, waxed cardboard cap on the top to seal it in. The cap had a little tab, so that you could pull it off of the bottle, and the pint bottle was the perfect size for small eager hands.  After the cap was off, I was just seconds away from tipping the bottle and tasting the richest, creamiest chocolate milk ever produced.

Chaplin's Dairy milk tab

 

Our Dad worked for Chaplin’s Dairy for decades.  He drove one of the big pink and white trucks, and had a regular ‘route’ of customers in Perth.  He used a big, black, metal carrier to transport milk from the back of the truck to the customer’s front door.  The carrier had eight slots, and each slot held a quart bottle of milk.  He also had a book of order slips. It was a small, thick pad of paper about three by six inches, stapled together at the end.  There was a top sheet that was numbered, a small sheet of carbon paper under that, and a blank sheet at the bottom.  On the top copy, Dad wrote the customer’s name, address, and what they had ordered, along with the total price and that was the customer’s copy.  Because each order was written on top of the sheet of carbon paper, the Dairy had a carbon copy underneath for their records.

Once in a while Dad would bring me to the Dairy and I was fascinated to see the many steps that the milk went through in order to end up on someone’s table.  It was fun to sit in the big truck so high up, and the ride was very different from our car at home.  The truck bounced up and down a lot more, and made a lot of noise, as we drove down the lane, and up the third line toward Perth.  It was neat to look outside, and see how much lower the other cars were on the road.  Every time we’d go over a bump or hill the truck would bounce again, and of course there were no seat belts in those days, so it was quite exciting.

We’d drive along until we could see Nick and Doreen Webber’s house at the corner, and we’d begin to slow down.  Just a bit past Webber’s house we turned right, and Chaplin’s Dairy was a small building on the right side of the road, just up from the corner at Glen Tay.

We’d park the truck, and I would follow Dad into the Dairy.  As soon as he opened the door I could see all of the steam in the air.  It was really, really, humid.  The inside of the building was grey and concrete and the floor was always wet.  Sometimes we’d see one of the Chaplin brothers Cameron or John, and they always wore big rubber boots and the steam rose up all around them.

Because the milk came in glass bottles in those days, a lot of the steam was produced from the big machine that they used to sterilize the bottles.  When the customers were finished with their milk, they would rinse their bottles (hopefully!), leave them on their doorstep for Dad, and he would bring them back to the Dairy that evening.   John or Cameron Chaplin would take the empty bottles and put them through the bottle washer.  The bottle washer washed, rinsed, sterilized, and then rinsed again, so the bottles were sparkling clean and ready for the next batch of milk.

The next machine filled the bottles, then capped them with the little waxed cardboard caps.  There was a large room toward the back of the Dairy, and that was a cold storage room, where the freshly bottled milk was kept.  Most of the time when I visited I saw them bottling homogenized, 2 per cent, skim, and chocolate milk. Sometimes, one of the Chaplins, would hand me a pint bottle of chocolate milk, right off of the filling machine.  I would gladly accept, and thought to myself that if Mother was here she would say that I was going to spoil my supper.  Dad never said anything though, because he knew how much I loved Chaplin’s chocolate milk.

Chaplin’s Dairy was a family business.  The dairy was started by Delbert Chaplin in the early 1900s, and his brother Edgar Chaplin also worked in the business. The Chaplin family owned a large 300 acre farm at R.R 4 Perth and Delbert demonstrated his ingenuity by setting up a method to process their milk from their Holstein herd.  At first he operated the business from their farm, but later in 1935 he built the Dairy building at Glen Tay corners.

Delbert Chaplin

1920  – Edgar Chaplin, (Uncle of John and Cameron Chaplin)

When Chaplin’s Dairy began to deliver milk from the new location at Glen Tay, the quarts of milk were just 5 cents each, and it was delivered by horse and wagon. The milk was not bottled at that time but was distributed to the customers from a large tank at the back of the wagon.  The customer would leave a container on their front step or front porch, and Delbert or Edgar would ladle the milk out of the larger can with a pint or quart measure.

The Chaplin farm was producing an average of 3,000 quarts of milk per day and John, Cameron and their brother Don processed the milk and delivered it in the Perth area.

Chaplin's early milk bottles

    photo: Nancy Gingerich

 

The demand for their milk increased, and they expanded, and made arrangements to have five neighbouring farms supply their business with additional milk.  They were also producing chocolate milk and buttermilk at that time.  They made butter as well, but only to supply their own families and it wasn’t for sale to the public.

Chaplin's truck

L to R: Gordon Chaplin, (Royce Frith seated in truck), Donald ‘Don’ Chaplin

By 1945 the sons had taken over the dairy farm and Don took on the responsibility of managing the farm, but their father continued to be active at the Dairy.   They continued to expand their business and operated for many decades.  They expanded their product line to include grape juice and orange juice.They were successful and respected in the community and were known for their high quality products throughout the Perth area.

Tim Stafford: ” When I turned nine, Mom told Dad that she could no longer put up with  me on Saturdays because of my bad behavior.  That’s the ‘how and why’ of me working with Dad, on the milk truck for Chaplin’s Dairy.

I wasn’t much help at first, but he gave me fifty cents and a chocolate bar purchased at McGlade’s service station, on Gore Street.

Later, when I got my driver’s license, John Chaplin hired me and another high school student, Don Lindsay, to do his milk route, and the Christie Lake cottage route, while he covered the other routes and the ‘inside’ workers for summer vacations.

We were making $25.00 a week, plus we were expected to eat at the restaurants we delivered to on a rotating basis.  The daily meal was paid for by Chaplin’s Dairy.  John Chaplin’s favourite restaurant was Wong’s Chinese, but Don and I preferred ‘The Bright Spot’, where Muz MacLean, Hillis Conroy’s son-in-law worked.  We usually ordered grilled cheese, french fries, and cokes.”

Chaplin's quart milk bottles

Quart milk bottles –  1960s

 

Roger Stafford“I am not positive, but I believe I was about 12 when I started working Saturdays and summers with Dad on the milk truck. The first Summer I worked with Dad, our brother, Tim, was working with Grant or Gary Chaplin.

They were delivering to the stores and restaurants in Perth, and to summer camps and cottages. They drove to Christie Lake to deliver to Cavanagh’s (general store) and the Lodges (Norvic Lodge and Arliedale Lodge) . I believe Tim had been Dad’s helper on the milk truck, prior to me starting to work with Dad.  

We used to be at the dairy by 7:00 a.m., and usually got home between 17:30 and 18:00 in the evenings. When I first started with Dad, we delivered milk out of the back of a pickup with a tarp over the glass bottles to protect them from the sun and cold.  Milk was 23 cents a quart bottle, and 25 cents for chocolate milk. We also had pints and half pints in glass bottles. Whipped cream and buttermilk were also carried on the truck. It was not long after I started that we used an enclosed truck to deliver out of. It was much easier, but it had no air conditioning, and a piss-poor heater. When I worked six days a week in the summer, I earned $6. for the week.”

In 1970 Don decided to sell the farm and a few years later in 1974 John and Cameron made the decision to stop processing the milk themselves and just be distributors.  In total, John worked for 42 years in the business and Cameron for 30. At that time Chaplins were one of the last small dairies that still processed their own milk.  They began to sell milk for Clark’s Dairies in Ottawa.  John felt that there were too many changes taking place at that time and that the cost would be too prohibitive to continue processing their own milk.

The milk industry in the 1970s was changing from glass bottles to paper cartons,although most customers preferred the taste of milk in glass bottles. The process of returning and washing the bottles was becoming too time consuming, and too expensive. The federal government was also insisting that businesses use the metric system.  This conversion would have meant purchasing new equipment because their milk was sold in pints and quarts, and they would have to begin selling in litres.

At the point in time when John and Cameron decided to sell the business, they had 1,000 customers, and a modern fleet of trucks, doing 12 runs per day, with four salesmen.  They also offered a complete line of dairy products which included cottage cheese, eggs and also several types of juice. Their last delivery was made by Cameron, on Sept. 17, 1977 and their milk at that time, was 65 cents a quart.

Chaplin’s Dairy was sold that year to Bill McConachie.  Bill was formerly a driver for many years who brought the milk from Ottawa.  His plan was to begin delivering milk to Smiths Falls, to increase his market.

It’s likely difficult for the younger generation to believe that milk was delivered door to door each day, or that it had no expiry date stamped on the bottle.  The milk was fresh from the cow either that day, or the day before, processed at Chaplin’s Dairy, and delivered right to your door step.  There was no need for an expiry date.  It’s also interesting that they managed to have a pretty successful recycling process of sterilizing the bottles and getting them back on the trucks by the next morning.  That was all accomplished without ‘blue bins’ and recycling plants.

Did the milk taste better in a glass bottle?  Yes, it did; and anyone who has drank it from a bottle will tell you the same thing.  We certainly drank enough of the stuff at our house to offer an opinion on that.  One of the benefits of having your father work as a milk man is that he brought home enough milk for the family, each night, in his milk carrier.  When you are raising five children, that’s a lot of milk.  We were fortunate to have had such fresh milk each and every day and we never ran out.

Chaplin's pint milk bottle

One Pint, glass milk bottle, 1960s

Although the work wasn’t easy, I believe that Dad enjoyed his customers in Perth, and the quick chats had each day.  Whenever Mother and Dad shopped at the IGA on Wilson Street, customers from his milk route would often come up to say ‘Hello’, and exchange a few words.  Dad was well liked, and at Christmas his customers showered him with gifts.  He received many, many boxes of chocolates, packs of cigarettes and one and two dollar bills in lovely Christmas cards.  He was always late getting home Christmas Eve, and part of the reason was that his customers took a few extra minutes to wish him a Merry Christmas, and give him their gifts.

We were fortunate to have grown up at a time when there were family businesses, producing high quality products, and selling them door to door.  At one time we had a milk man, an egg man- (Mr. Greer), and a bread man, delivering right to our door.

As the years passed by, many of the small family businesses have closed down, one by one, and in many cases our products are produced far away by people we don’t know. There are dates stamped on the products now telling us when they are destined to ‘expire’.  We often have no idea what processes are used to make some of the things that we eat, and so we purchase them on faith alone.  Gone are the days when we always knew what we were eating, and even knew the people that made the goods.

Now, we are left with the memories of Chaplin’s, our small, local dairy in Glen Tay. It was a place where we could stop by for a visit and be greeted by John, Don, or Cameron in their big rubber boots, clouds of steam rising all around them. With a big smile they’d pluck a pint of chocolate milk off of the line, and hand it to a little girl from down the road. Their products were made with pride and care, and they were confident that their customers would be satisfied.  For years, Chaplin’s Dairy was a well known business in our community, and their products were enjoyed in Perth and area homes for many, many decades.

 

 

 

(excerpts from ‘Lanark County Kid: My Travels up and down the Third Line’) 

LC Kid

Memories of working at Chaplin’s Dairy – my brothers Tim Stafford and Roger Stafford, excerpts from the book ‘Recipes and Recollections: Treats and Tales from our Mother’s Kitchen’

R and R bookmark image

photos:  Stafford family collection,  Perth Remembered

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving at the Stafford House

Stafford girls framed

“The air was fresh and crisp and had a distinct smell which was a mixture of the dried leaves on the ground and the smoke from the chimneys and the sweet ripe apples that were still clinging onto the branches in the orchard behind the house.”

“Recipes & Recollections: Treats and Tales from Our Mother’s Kitchen”

Thanksgiving at the Stafford House

Everyone came home if they could. By the mid-1970s Tim and Roger were both in the O.P.P., which meant they weren’t always able to be there for family holidays. Judy and Jackie were busy with their careers, and I was at the Perth High School, trying to figure out what I’d do when the time came for me to try my luck in the world.

The setting was postcard-perfect. A big red brick farmhouse, with enormous maple trees displaying their kaleidoscope of fall colours, and at the back of the house were a dozen McIntosh apple trees loaded with ripe red fruit. Warm in the daytime, and cool enough at night for the local farmers to fire up their woodstoves, and that rich scent of wood smoke drifted across the fields, – the perfect fall incense.

As we gathered together, the old house was filled once again with our pockets of conversation, in the kitchen and living room; Dad and the boys talking about cars, and Mother discussing her menu with us, assigning us jobs – “fill up the pickle dish”, “pour the tomato juice into the small glasses”, “fold the napkins….diagonally across”.

In the evening after the meal there were games – sometimes cards, or maybe Monopoly. There were jokes and laughter, and unguarded conversations of the news of the day, and our hopes for the future.

Stafford family card game cropped

left to right – Judy Stafford, Jackie Stafford, Tim Stafford, & Roger Stafford

One of the things we all looked forward to was Mother’s homemade stuffing. (recipe below) The recipe was her mother’s recipe from England. Granny Rutherford’s father was a butcher in Huddersfield, and so sausage meat was the key ingredient, along with dried bread and seasonings.

There were lots of Thanksgiving favourites – the savory pumpkin pie baked in Mother’s light, flaky pastry, the farm-fresh mashed potatoes and homemade gravy, seasoned to perfection, the mashed buttered turnip, and the homemade rolls, fresh from the oven.

There would be many decades of Thanksgivings at the Stafford House on the 3rd Line of Bathurst. The setting was always the same – the sturdy, welcoming red brick house, a spectacular backdrop of maple leaves in orange, red and yellow, as far as the eye could see. The sounds were always the same – the pots and pans clanging and clattering in the kitchen, Dad’s even melodic voice sharing a joke or story with the boys, and the girls talking about the latest fashions, or a dreamy new movie star. The scents were the same outside – the dried leaves on the ground, and the sweet apples hanging from the trees behind the house. Inside the scent of turkey filled the air for hours, and the aroma of the sausage meat, and the homemade rolls baking in the oven.

Those special Thanksgivings still live in our hearts and in our minds – the times when we were all together, back in the old house, enjoying a special meal made with love for all to share, the warm smiles and the laughter, walking through the yard, under the colourful sprawling maples. We were home again.

….

Stafford house modern version

Stafford House

Mother’s Sausage Dressing:

1 lb of sausage meat

2 eggs

1 cup hot milk

7 cups bread crumbs

1 c chopped celery

2 Tbsp chopped onions

1 Tsp salt

4 Tbsp parsley

Method: Fry meat until brown, drain off fat, add the eggs, hot milk, and the rest of the ingredients

recipe from: “Recipes & Recollections: Treats and Tales from Our Mother’s Kitchen” ISBN 978-0-9877026-09

Recipes-recollections-cover Aug 26 2020

http://www.staffordwilson.com

June Brides – Perth & Area -1944-1969

Tim and Marian

“What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer,

the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months,

and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade. “

Gertrude Jekyll

married in June

June Bride
A scene from – ‘June Bride’ – Starring Bette Davis

There are so many things about June that make it a perfect month for weddings. It’s past the rainy season, and not yet into the intense, scorching heat of July.  June also seems like a hopeful time.  Flowers are in bloom, the leaves are back on the trees in full force, and all of the signs of the past winter are long gone, and forgotten.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, and discover some of the blushing brides and dashing grooms from Perth and area.

1944 banner

William Powell – Mary Doreen Prescott  – June 3, 1944

Powell Prescott

Hilton Clifton Rhodes – Barbara Parsons   June 3, 1944

Rhodes Parsons 1944

Henry Hoffman – Alice McCumiskey  –  June 6, 1944

Alice Hoffman 1944

Hoffman McComisky 1944

Hoffman part 2 1944

Eldon Thomas Perrin – Grace Campbell  – June 10, 1044

Perrin Campbell 1944

Robert Martin – Ena Foy     June 10, 1944

Martin Foy 1944

Joanna Hill tea roses

Joanna Hill Tea Roses – large, showy,  and richly fragrant  –  favoured by brides

Wilfred Smith – Anastasia Julia Dillon  – June 12, 1944

Dillon Smith 1944

Bennett – Larocque

Campbell – Relyon

Perrin – Campbell

Sandell – Rowe

Dillion – Smith

married 1944 June 22 Perth Courier

Perth Courier, June 22, 1944, page 10

Raymond Bennett – Ella Larocque

Bennett Larocque

John Palmer –  Irene Poole  – June 20, 1944

Palmer - Poole 1944

1944 Wedding Gown

1944 wedding gown

Thomas Spence – Eva Barrie    June 24, 1944

Spence Barrie 1944

John McDonnell – Madeleine Marion Kirkham

– June 14, 1944

McDonnell Kirkham part 2 1944

James Rodger – Agnes Steele   June 27, 1944

McDonnell Kirkham 1944

May McCreary – Captain A.C. Johnson    June 30, 1944

McCreary Johnson 1944

1945 banner

Earl Perkins – Merway Tysick – June 1, 1945

Perkins Tysick June 1945

Patrick Gouette – Rose Haughian – June 2, 1945

Gouette - Haughian June 2 1945

John Malloy – Mary Isabell Morrison  June 2, 1945

Malloy - Morrison 1945

Judy Garland

Judy Garland and Vincent Minnelli – June 15, 1945

1945 wedding gown

1945 June Weddings

Patrick Gouette – Rose Haughian June 2, 1945

John Malloy – Mary Isabell Morrison June 2, 1945

Ernest Miller – Evelyn Mather June 9, 1945

Earl Perkins – Merway Tysick June 1, 1945

1945 weddings

Evelyn Ferguson – Herbert Ballantyne  June 23, 1945

Ballantyne Ferguson 1945

Ballantyne Ferguson 1945 # 2

Party for Miss Evelyn Mather (Miller)

Evelyn Mather 1945

Miller Mather

John Churchill – Marion Machan  June 6, 1945

Churchill Machan 1945

Churchill - Machin 1945

Gordon Bell – Jennie Tretheway  June 12, 1945

Bridal Shower 1945 Jennie Tretheway

Bell - Tretheway

Doris Truelove – Kenneth Kirkham  June 6, 1945

Kirkham Truelove 1945

Margaret Mitchell –  Gordon Wright  June 1, 1945

Wright Mitchell 1945

Annie Mary Kirkham – Leonard Adam June 12, 1945

Adams Kirkham 1945

Evelyn O’Brien – Arnold Wilfred Brady June 5, 1945

Brady OBrien 1945

Jack Forbes – Pauline Ruth Mesereau  – June 7, 1945

Forbes Mesereau 1945

Rebecca Catherine Hubbs – Raymond Poole  – 1945

Poole Hubbs 1945

Rita Bissonette – Raymond Lally  June 16, 1945

Lally Bisonnette 1945

Margaret Dowdall – Michael George Kerr – June 25, 1945

Kerr Dowdall 1945 # 2

Kerr Dowdall 1945

Leanore  Ireton  – Christopher Perkins – June 23, 1945

Perkins Ireton 1945

Perkins Ireton 2 1945

Jocelyn Mulligan  – Mickey Godfrey – June 30, 1945

Godfrey Mulligan 1945

1946 banner

Ethel June Gardiner – William James Montgomery

June 5, 1946

Gardiner Montgomery 1946

Pearl Lydia Pilitzke – Ivan Benton  – June 7, 1946

Benton Pilatze 1946

 Audrey Cooke – Wallace Calvin Kilfoyle – June 15, 1946

Kilfoyle Cook 1946

Anna Moran – Ronald Smith – June 15, 1946

Smith Moran 1946

Aileen Gertrude Kehoe – Bryan Michael Coyne

– June 1, 1946

Cayne Kehoe 1946

Agnes McColl – Francis Martin Murphy – June 15, 1946

Murphy McColl 1946

Edna Martha Erwin – Harold Isaac Buchanan

– June 8, 1946

Bucchanan Erwin 1946

Daisy Fleming – David Burke  June 14, 1946

Burke Fleming 1946

Nina Dicola – John MacNeill – June 5, 1946

MacNeill Dicola 1946

Ethel McLean – Delmar Thomas Crosby – June 8, 1946

Crosby McLean 1946

Mabel Isobel Scott – Harold Richard Swerbrick

June 18, 1946

Scott Swerbrick 1946

Iris Mary Paterson – Thomas Kent –  June 20, 1946

Kent Paterson 1946

Alma Marion Haley – Mathew Gordon James

James Haley 1946

Margaret Olive Truelove – Patrick Joseph Leonard

Leonard Truelove 1946

Doris Isobel Dodds – Milton Phillips

Phillipe Dodds 1946

Phillips Doods 1946 # 2

Ella Mary Donnelly – Thomas Edward McParland

McParland Donnelley 1946

Velva Fay Popplewell – Percy Boyd

June 25, 1946

Brydges Poppelwell 1946

Olive Frances Truelove-  Stanley Ferguson McDougall

McDougall Truelone 1946

Isabel Clark – John Alexander Moore

Morley Clark 1946

Dorothy Eleanor Allan – Eldon Sargeant –

June 29, 1946

Sargeant - Allan 1946

1947 banner

Miss Marjorie Storie

Marjorie Storie 1947

Albert Ernest Wills – Gladys Sutcliffe – June 2, 1947

Sutcliffe Wills 194

Mary Kathleen Moran – John Edward Smith

– June 14, 1947

Lombardy engagement

Kathleen Moran 1947

A Trousseau Tea for Lula Publow

Lula Publow 1947

St Paul's wedding 1947

Elsie Spooner – Sgt. W.L.J. McOuatt

McOuatt Spooner 1947

Rose Ann McDonald – Robert Milton Purdon

McDonald Purdon 1947

Margaret Wilson – Christian Jensen, June 9, 1947

Wilson 1947

Silver 1947

Lois Publow  – Gordon Sergeant June 9, 1947

Lois Publow 1947

forget me not

Margaret Chaplin – James Kaghnt  June 27, 1947

Chaplin 1947

Norma Helene Mather – Arthur Coleman – June 14, 1947

Norma Mather 1947

Coleman Mather 1947

Newman studio 1947

chaplin code irons 1947

Lucille McGonegal – William McLaren

McLaren McGonegal

Mary McParlan – William John Kerr  – June 7, 1947

Mary McParlan 1947

William Wesley Cameron – Audrey Lillian Wert

June 10, 1947

Cameron Wert photo with text 1947

Cameron Wert story 1947

Stephanotis

Stephanotis was a sought-after addition to bridal bouquets

Jean Spalding – Robert Hendry

Spalding Hendry 1947

Margaret Cameron – Alexander ‘Sandy’ Forsyth

June 27, 1947

Cameron Forsythe 1947

Norine Clark – Wesley Tostevin – June 21, 1947

Clark Tostevin 1947

Mary Frances Brankin – Joseph Alfred Publow

Brankin Publow 1947

peonies snapdragons

peonies and snapdragons – popular Eastern Ontario wedding flowers, in the late 1940s

Mary Moore – John Smith

Mary Moore John Smith 1947

Betty Wilson – Alexander Allan Johnson

June 18, 1947

Wilson Johnson 1947

Florence Elaine Truelove – John Cameron Warren

June 28, 1947

Warren Truelove 1947

1948 floral banner

King Michael of Romania 1948

June 10, 1948 -King Michael of Romania & Princess Anne

Perth flower ad 1948

Ad:   June 3, 1948, ‘The Perth Courier’

Georgia Irene Ferguson – Ernest Peterson  June 23, 1948

Ferguson Peterson 1948

Shaws wedding gowns 1948

Wedding gowns, for sale at Shaws of Perth – June 1948

Jessie May McDonell – Wilbert Russell – June 25, 1948

McDonald Russell 1948

McVeety electric 1948

Norma Margaret Ruth Smiley – Jack W. Buell

Buell - Smiley 1948

Rubinos flower shop

Lillian Irene Truelove – Edward James Bennett

June 2, 1948

Bennett Truelove 1948

Bennett Truelove # 2

Sinclair 1948

Elizabeth May Boles –  Harold Earl McLaren

June 2, 1948

Mclaren Boles # 2

Ruth Taylor – Joseph Nagle

June 7, 1948

Nagle Taylor 1948

Pearl Danylo – John Yurchuk

June 7, 1948

Danylo Yurchuk 1948

pink roses maidenhair fern

Pink roses, maidenhair fern, and baby’s breath

Joan Christine Poole – Stanley James Beaton

June 12, 1948

Beaton Poole 1948

 

Negligee

Brides often purchased, or made, a special negligee, for their wedding night

Muriel Barbara Imeson – George Robinson

Robinson Imeson 1948

Frances Ethel Noonan – George Walter King

June 10, 1948

pink roses

Alberta Blanche MacLeod –   Thomas Auchterlonie

June 12, 1948

King Noonan

1949 floral border

Lucy and Desi

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez June 19, 1949

Newman photos 1949

Gladys Kane – Ronald Anderson

June 4, 1949

Kane Anderson 1949

American Beauty roses

American Beauty Roses

Small Brothers 1949

orange blossoms

Orange Blossoms – popular in bridal bouquets of the 1940s

Eileen Isabel Buchanan – Murray Herbert Dowdall

June 25, 1949

Bucchanan Dowdall 1949

Annie Elizabeth Seabrook- Maxwell Tennyson

Seabrook Tennyson 1949

Delphine DiCola – Domenic Bitondo

June 11, 1949

roses

Carmel Strong – David Parks

June 11, 1949

Strong Parks 1949

Lila Beatrice Cross – Arthur Powers

June 4, 1949

Powers Cross 1949

June Brides Shaws 1949

Carr-Weidgenant 1949

Carr part 2 1949

Carr # 3 1949

wedding cake box

Traditional wedding cake box, tied with white satin ribbon

1940s wedding set

1940s wedding ring and engagement ring set

Scotiabank Perth 1949

Marion Eileen Chaplin – Robert Charles Harrison

Harrison Chaplin 1949

1950 banner

Ethel and Robert Kennedy June 1950

Ethel and Robert Kennedy June 17, 1950

Verna Barr – George Perkins

June 16, 1950

Barr Perkins 1950

white gladiolus

White Gladiolus

Florence Irene Morrow – Kenneth Burns

Morrow Burns 1950

Emma Jean Buchanan – Merrill Gordon Hanna

Buchanan Gordon 1950

 

Hope Chest

 

Alice Theresa Conlon – Carl Anthony Noonan

June 28, 1950

Conlon Noonan 1950

Conlon Noonan # 2

Buckman photographer 1950

Lorna Lett – John Reid

Reid Lett 1950

Bridal Shower for Miss Mary Ewart

Mary Ewart 1950

red and white roses

Traditional 1950s bridal bouquet of red and white roses

Jean Cameron – Jack Dafoe

June 3, 1950

Dafoe Cameron 1950

pink rose corsage

Corsage of pink roses

Joyce Parkinson – Cecil Alexander Cameron

June 3, 1950

Cameron Parkinson 1950

Chantilly lace

Chantilly Lace – a popular fabric in 1950s wedding gowns and veils

Margaret Spall – Arthur Meighen

Meighen Spall 1950

Grace Scott – Archie Allan

June 23, 1950

Allan Scott 1950

Bertha Elizabeth McInnes – James William McLaren

June 15, 1950

McLaren McInnes 1950

1951 banner

Janet Leigh Tony Curtis 1951

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis – June 4, 1951

Rebecca Mary Popplewell – Carl Wesley Bolton

Bolton Popplewell 1951

Kathleen Bernice Wesley – Ian Keith Carruthers

June 30, 1951

Carruthers Wesley 1951

Bridal Shower for Helen McLean

Helen McLean shower 1951

A Second Bridal Shower for Helen McLean

Helen McLean shower # 2

Helen McLean – Harold Day

June 16, 1951

Helen McLean wedding 1951

prayer book

Some brides carried a wedding ‘Prayer Book’

Mary Louise Sproule – Archibald Hilliard Walsh

Walsh Sproule 1951

1950s tulle wedding gown

1951 Tulle wedding gown

Grace Margaret Kelly – Kenneth Mitchell Cavers

June 2, 1951

Cavers Kelly 1951

Dorothy Mae Clayton – Grason Francis Furlong

June 2, 1951

Clayton Furlong 1951

Lillian Elsie Watkins – Gerald Edward Stephens

June 4, 1951

Stephens Watkins 1951

Margaret Rose – Kenneth Campbell

Rose Campbell 1951

Pinocchio roses

Pinocchio Roses

Ruth Janet Millar – Robert Arnold Playfair

June 16, 1951

Playfair Millar 1951

Nora Catherine Hagyard – Dr. John Philip Wickware

June 16, 1951

Wickware Hagyard 1951

Doris Margaret Proctor – Keith Gordon McLaren

June 16, 1951

Proctor McLaren 1951

Edna Pearl Duffy – Kenneth Popplewell

June 6, 1951

Duffy Popplewell 1951

1952

Wedding Gifts in 1952

June 1952 article

June 5, 1952, page 4, “The Perth Courier”

– Engagements –

Shirley Sergeant – Lloyd Rowsome

June 18, 1952

Sargeant Rowesome 1951

Joyce Wedenmair – Morris Bradley

June 28, 1952

Wedenmair Bradley 1952

Mary Anne Bishop – Alvin Elmer Leach

Bishop Leach 1952

Shirley Marie Brady – Charles Robert Dowdall

June 28, 1952

Brady Dowdall 1952

Winnifred Marion Briggs – Howard Roland

June 21, 1952

Briggs Roland 1952

Margaret Gladys Mather – Basil John James Munro

June 6, 1952

Munro Mather 1952

Mary Lillian Pratt – John Leonard Cross

Cross Pratt 1952

Geraldine Amy Butler – Francis Edwin Conlon

June 7, 1952

Conlon Butler 1952

1953

Reba Adeline Lee – Leslie Walter Butler

June 26, 1953

Lee Butler 1953

Mary Eileen Traynor – Ernest Hugh McKinnon

June 27, 1953

Traynor McKinnon

Joan Margaret Doyle – Raymond Walter Oleksuik

Doyle wedding 1953

Francis Albert Nagle – Shirley Ann Coniams

Nagle wedding 1953

Janet Corrine Malcolm – Joseph Earl Felber

June 20, 1953

Felber Malcolm 1953

Joan Maher – Dr. Horace Hurley

Hurley Mather 1953

Lillian Cecelia Smith – William Cornell Arthur

June 13, 1953

Smith Arthur 1953

Lillies of the valley bouquet

Johnston – Nixon

Conlon – Staffen

Bingley – Hart

married 1953

Blair Maurice Bingley – Arlene Martha Hart

June 6, 1953

Bingley Hart 1953

Bridal Shower for Miss Ada Warren

Ada Warren shower 1953

Ruth Elizabeth Devitt – Robert George McTavish

June 20, 1953

McTavish Devitt 1953

1954

Evelyn Moore – Donald MacFarlane

June 6, 1954

Moore McFarlane 1954

Audrey McLaren – Orville Ferrier

June 30, 1954

McLaren Ferrieir 1954

Patricia Tannahill – Chapman Noonan

June 5, 1954

Tannahill Noonan 1954

Elsie Marie Larocque – William Wilson

June 5, 1954

Wilson Laroque 1954

Cheryl Ann Sharpe – Brian Geoffrey McGeachie

June 26, 1954

Sharpe 1954

1955

Patricia Ann Popplewell – Robert Joseph Drysdale

Popplewell 1955

Sylvia Larmon – Donald VanAlstine

Larmon Vanalstine 1955

Lillian Johnston – Jack Wong

June 8, 1955

Johnston Wong 1955

Joyce McDougall – David Ernest Code

McDougall Code 1955

Jean Doris Graham – Elwyn Michael McOuatt

June 1, 1955

McCouatt Graham 1955

Grace Catherine Pennett – Anthony Cauley

June 4, 1955

Cauley Pennett 1955

Geraldine Mae O’Shell – Henry Allan

June 18, 1955

Allan 1955

Laurel Anna Sproule – J. Michael Crosby

June 10, 1955

Crosbie Sproule 1955

Margaret McAdam – Gordon McVeety

June 4, 1955

McVeety McAdam 1955

1956

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller – June 29, 1956

Norma Brown – Terrence Ryan

June 30, 1956

Brown 1956

Norma Churchill – Elmer Burns

Churchill 1956

Doreen Warren – Donald Kirkham

June 30, 1956

Warren Kirkham 1956

Jean Munroe – Gordon Healey

June 16, 1956

Healey Munro 1956

Healey Munro 1956 # 2

Ethel Munro – Harold Clark

June 30, 1956

Munro Clark 1956

Barbara Ann Fraser – Douglas Walter Hogg

June 30, 1956

Fraser Hogg 1956

Marie Margaret Pennett – Gervase Speagle

Pennett 1956

Lois Dowdall – Eric Robertson

Dowdall 1956

Helen Affleck – Robert Thomas Leonard

June 2, 1956

Affleck Leonard 1956

Patricia Lake – William Salter

June 29, 1956

Salter 1956

1957

Lorraine Batoff – Donald Bell

June 17, 1957

Batoff 1957

Teresa Margaret Phelan – Donald Stelliga

June 29, 1957

Phelan 1957

Evelyn McLenaghan – Clive McIntosh Rodger

June 29, 1957

Rodger 1957

Lois Machan – Ronald Kirkham

June 1, 1957

Machan 1957

Margaret Beryl Moodie – Charles Earl Cleroux

June 29, 1957

Moodie 1957

Bridal Shower & Wedding Gift Suggestions – 1957

bridal gifts 1957

June 20, 1957, page 7 “The Perth Courier”

Emma Mae Sills – Donald Bain

June 15, 1957

Bain Stills 1957

Cavers 1957

“The Perth Courier” June 27, 1957 pg.2

Marion Carmichael – George Stedman

Stedman 1957

Aileen Palmer – Robert McManus

Palmer 1957

Margaret Stewart – Norman Inwood

June 15, 1957

Inwood 1957

Rose Marie Flett – Robert Buelow

June 22, 1957

Flett 1957

1958

shoes 1958

1958 wedding shoes

Shirley Theresa McGarry – John Edward McMaster

June 21, 1958

McGarry 1958.JPG

McGarry 1958 part 2

Elizabeth Joyce Smith – Albert Alexander Stoddart

June 28, 1958

Smith 1958

Mary Margaret Farmer – Alexander McGregor

June 28, 1958

Farmer 1958

Harold Armour – Betty Haines

June 8, 1958

Armour 1958

Olive Sheridan – Gerard Pattendon

June 14, 1958

Sheridan 1958

Corsages and Etiquette – from Emily Post – 1958

corsages

mother of the bride 1958

1959

Reta Harris – Melville Dixon

June 27th, 1959

Harris 1959

Ruth MacFarlane – Donald Munro

Munro McFarlane 1959

Robert Thornbury – Faye Wallace

Thornbury 1959

Carl Rodger – Nadine Grosbak

June 13, 1959

Rodger 1959

Dorothy James – John Edward Dunn

June 20, 1959

Dunn 1959

Sandra Isabella Street – Dr. Shuro Mark Sumi

Street 1959

Florence Badour –  James Deitrich

Eileen McGrogen – Charles Deitrich

Badour 1959

Muriel Johnston – William Love

June 5, 1959

Johnston Love 1959

1959 Cavers ad

Engagement Ring ad – 1959

Mary Evelyn Vice – Dr. Kenneth George Marshall

June 13, 1959

Vice 1959

Lydia Hill – George Worden

June 27, 1959

Hill 1959

Anna Anderson – Charles Hall

June 20, 1959

Anderson 1959

1960 wedding

Beulah Kingsley – Robert Girdwood

June 25, 1960

Girdwood 1960

Jean Hughes – James Doyle

June 4, 1960

Doyle 1960

Patrick Crawford –  Anne Shafer

June 4, 1960

Crawford 1960

Charlotte Ann Johnston – Hugh Wainwright

June 25th, 1960

Buffan 1960

Helen James  – John Gemmill

June 10, 1960

Gemmill 1960

1960 wedding dress patterns

Joanie Mae McPhee – Leonard White

June 4, 1960

White 1960

Diane Churchill – Glendon Robert Ritchie

June 18, 1960

Ritchie Churchill 1960

1961 banner

Marie Copeland – William Arnell

June 24, 1961

Arnell 1961

Frieda Jackson – George Kerr

June 2, 1961

Kerr 1961

Shirley Gray – Albert Healey

June 3, 1961

Healey 1961

Norma Haveron –  Malcolm McLellan

June 10, 1961

Haveron 1961

Brides 1962

Evelyn Patricia Clark – Denzel Kinngbeck

June 23, 1962

Killingbeck 1962

Anne Caswell – Robert Stanzell

June 9, 1962

Stanzel 1962

Bridal Shower for Marie Miller

Marie Miller 1962

 

 

Trousseau Tea set

Decorations were often pink and white for a  June bridal shower

 

Margaret Blair – David Bellamy

June 2, 1962

Margaret Blair 1962

Arlie Isobel Dowdell – Archie Reynolds

Arlie Dowdall 1962

Rebecca Arlyn Carson – Allan McMillan

McMillan 1962

Nancy Cameron – Joseph Perkins

June 23, 1962

Perkins 1962

1963 brides

1963

Mary Denise Pennett – William James Close

June 22, 1963

Pennet 1963

Carolynne Wart – John Mara

June 22, 1963

John Mara 1963

Mary Elizabeth Stephenson – Dr. Walter Waddell

June 22, 1963

Stephenson 1963

Shaws 1963

Ad for Shaws of Perth,  Spring 1963

Margaret Anne Noonan – Gerald Ernest Heney

June 29, 1963

Heney 1963

Sheila Tryon – Harold Schonauer

June 1, 1963

Tryon 1963

Acheson's 1963

Ad for Acheson’s – Summer 1963

HY Fund 1963

Ad – HY FUND Photography – summer 1963

Myrtle Isabel Buker – Elmer James Ashby

June 24, 1963

Ashby 1963

Betty Joan Machan – James Edward Closs

June 15, 1963

Machan 1963

1964 pink brides

Helen Evelyn Ramsbottom – Neal Cecil Peters

June 26, 1964

Ramsbottom 1964

Sharon Louise Smith – Francis Edward Badour

June 6, 1964

Badour 1964

Jean Rancier – Davis John Carson

June 27, 1964

Ramcier 1964

Thelma Jean Gemmill – Delmer James Paul

June 27, 1964

Gemmill 1964

Eleanor Erwin – George Gardiner

June 27, 1964

Erwin 1964

Shirley Elizabeth Box – Robert John King

June 27, 1964

King 1964

Grace Roseann Tryon – William Ross Wilby

June 27, 1964

Tryon 1964

Bonita Olive Rogers – Donald Bates

June 12, 1964

Bates 1964

Janis Elizabeth Rae – Gordon Malcolm Stewart

June 27, 1964

Rae 1964

Ruth Ann  Spalding – George Young

Young 1964

Bernard Irvin – Kathleen Vollmer

June 13, 1964

Irvin 1964

1965 for brides

Donna Marie Ferguson  –   Kenneth Hayes Warrington

June 18, 1965

Ferguson 1965

Beverly Jean Stewart – Harvey Lloyd Glen Crosbie

June 26, 1965

Stewart 1965

Reta Jean Burns – Russell Edward Burke

June 26, 1965

Burns 1965

Mary Beverly Tennant – Gordon Gerald Patterson

June 19, 1965

Tennant 1965

Patricia Ann Fournier – Arnold Lawrence Horne

June 26, 1965

Fournier 1965

Carol Anne Stevens – Walter Russell Last

June 16, 1965

Last 1965

pearl jewelry

Pearl jewelry – a favourite for brides through the ages

Merle Joyce Norris – Robert Christopher Cullen

June 26th, 1965

Norris 1965

Jo-Ann Brady – Dennis Cordick

Brady 1965

Catherine Anne Graham  – Barrie Oliver Brennan

June 26, 1965

Brennan 1965

Mary Beverly Tennant – Gordon Gerald Patterson

June 19, 1965

Patterson 1965

1966 brides

 

Sheila Chaplin – Orion Thomas Clark

June 18, 1966

Chaplin 1966

Chaplin – Clark wedding

Chaplin Clark 1966

Mary Joanne Richmond – Brian Brule

June 18, 1966

Richmond 1966

 

Barbara MacDonald – David Clarkson

June 25, 1966

McDonald 1966

 

Trousseau

Trousseau – was often stored in a bride-to-be’s Hope Chest, and included bridal accessories, lingerie, clothing for the honeymoon, linens, and toiletries.

The trousseau featured handmade items crafted by the bride-to-be or her female relatives.  A trousseau might include a smart travel outfit, or ‘Going-Away’ outfit, to be worn when departing the wedding reception. Along with these articles, a bride might also have a special peignoir set, consisting of a nightgown and matching cover, and a nice set of travel luggage for the honeymoon.

A Trousseau Tea was often hosted by the mother of the bride-to-be, to invite the ladies from the neighbourhood to share tea and dainty sandwiches, and squares. Guests would bring small gifts for the bride such as tea towels, mixing bowls, or small kitchen gadgets.

Trousseau Tea

 

 

Trousseau

Items in a bride’s Trousseau

 

Nancy Girdwood – Bryon Haley

June 18, 1966

 

Girdwood 1966

 

 

Barbara Larock – Arthur Lloyd Blanchard

June 25, 1966

Larock 1966

 

 

Mary Elenor Cox – William Devlin Weir

June 11, 1966

Weir 1966

 

 

Gail Rancier – Grant Davis

June 11, 1966

Gail Rancier 1966

 

 

1967 banner

 

Margaret Ann Livingston – William Wiley

June 24, 1967

Livingston 1967

 

 

Joan Stewart –  Brian Billings

June 24, 1967

Stewart 1967

 

 

 

Margaret McParland – Ronald Kerr

June 10, 1967

McParland 1967

 

 

Marjorie Whan – Harvey Tully

June 17, 1967

Tully 1967

 

Tully Whan 1967

1968 brides

Sherry Ann Raymo – Harold James Herns

June 1, 1968

 

Raymo 1968

 

 

Carol Ann Wilson – Frederick Albert Stanzel

June 1, 1968

Wilson 1968

 

 

Gloria Anne Morrison – James Francis Murphy

June 8, 1968

Murphy 1968

 

 

Aubrey Edsel Churchill – Ann Leigh Raynard

June 29, 1968

Churchill 1968

 

Robert Shanks – Wilma Paul

June 15, 1968

Shanks 1968

 

 

Susanne Crites – Calvin Miller

June 26, 1968

Miller 1968

 

Crites – Miller

Crites 1968

 

 

Joan Margaret Murray – Rudy Herbert Hollywood

1968

Murray 1968

 

June Brides of 1969

1969 banner

photo: Tim Stafford of R.R. # 4 Perth, and his June bride, Marian Salemink

Timothy Michael Stafford – Marian Helen Salemink

June 28, 1969

Salemink Stafford 1969

 

Donald Wilmer Paul – Gail Keighton

June 7, 1969

Paul 1969

 

Sylvia Ann Stewart – Wayne Wilbert McNamee

June 28, 1969

Stewart 1969

 

 

Mary Margaret Farrell – Truman Harold Cowan

June 27, 1969

Farrell 1969

 

 

Colleen Sherri Fox – Peter John McTavish

June 21, 1969

Fox 1969

 

Mary Teresa McGlade – John Carl Shannon

June 28, 1969

McGlade 1969

 

June Vernize Wheeler – Edward Earl Carnrite

June 28, 1969

Wheeler 1969

 

Marilyn Emily Marie Wills – Malcolm Graham Dodds

June 20, 1969

Wills 1969

 

Ruth Marilyn Conboy – Ralph Herbert McKee

June 28, 1969

Conboy 1969

 

Linda Marie Smith – William David Riddell

June 28, 1969

Smith 1969

 

Vera Louise Connaty Middleton – Frank Fanning

June 21, 1969

Middleton 1969

 

 

Carol Ann Stanzel – Dennis John Close

June 28, 1969

Stanzel 1969

 

Helen Hastings – John Slaght

June 14, 1969

Hastings 1969

 

 

Janet Faye Robinson –  Peter John Thompson

June 7, 1969

Thompson # 2

 

 

Shirley Edna Maher – Norman Bernard Thomlinson

June 20, 1969

Thomlinson 1969

 

June’s popularity for weddings goes back to Roman times, since the month was named for ‘Juno’, the Roman goddess of marriage.  The ancient legends promise that those who marry in Juno’s month will enjoy prosperity and happiness for years to come.

gold rings

wedding banner

“Oh, they say when you marry in June you’re a bride all your life,
and the bridegroom who marries in June gets a sweet-heart for a wife.

Winter weddings can be gay like a Christmas holiday,
but the JUNE BRIDE hears the song of a spring, that lasts all summer long”

(from the movie: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)

wedding bouquet

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to all of the June Brides and Grooms!

………………………………………………………

 

Arlene for blog

about the author

Author of: “Lanark County Connections: Memory Among the Maples”, “Lanark County Classics”, “Lanark County Kid”, “Lanark County Chronicle”, “Lanark County Calendar”, & “Recipes & Recollections”.

New release

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Maple Trailblazers: Founding Families of Lanark County’s Maple Legacy

maple syrup capital

Did you know that the very first Festival of the Maples was held in Perth, Ontario back in the 1970s?

The story that follows is dedicated to the Lanark County families who played such a significant role, back in the early days, leading up to this annual festival in Perth: Andrew and George Korry, Bowes family of Glen Tay, Ernie and Evelyn Miller family of Glen Tay, Robert McEwen of Prestonvale, Ken VanAlstine of Maberly, Leonard and Tom Adam of McDonald’s Corners, Brien and Marion Paul west of Hopetown, Lanark, James ‘Carman’ and Edna Gibson of Dalhousie Township, Don and Marion Dodds of Clayton, George Coutts of Rideau Ferry, Wheeler family of McDonald’s Corners, and Fulton family of Pakenham to name a few.

Taffy on the Tay

Years ago, many of the local farmers produced maple syrup. Some made just enough for their families, and for others it was a supplement to their farm income, at a time of year that was less busy, than during the summer months. There were also a few dealers in the area that sold sugar bush supplies – Max Miller of Snow Road, Percy Drysdale of McDonald’s Corners, and W.J. Ballantyne in Lanark. James Brothers Hardware and the Co-Op in the town of Perth also sold supplies for maple production. Labels for the bottles were often printed by ‘The Perth Courier’.

James Brothers edit

The Korry family farm was located across the road from our farm.  They owned a medium sized sugar bush, and produced enough syrup to sell locally. Andrew Korry’s son-in-law John Chaplin sold it through his business – Chaplin’s Dairy, door to door, to their customers on the milk routes. Andrew and his son George were very busy for several weeks each spring making syrup, and my brother Tim Stafford worked with them in the bush one season. Extra help was always welcome. They used a team of horses, with a tank mounted on the sleigh, to draw the sap back to the evaporator, at the sugar shack; typical of many other producers at that time.

maple-sap-collocting

The Bowes and the Miller families of Glen Tay also produced their own syrup. I recall  that Art Bowes used to tap quite a number of trees in the mid-sixties. Their land was known as Tayview farm, and it straddled the Tay River -a beautiful setting. At that time they had about 300 acres including hay fields, pastures, and of course maple bushes. Art’s son Doug traveled along with us on our school bus each day in the 1960s, and he often spoke about helping his Dad back in the bush each spring.

Art Bowes maple

spile

The Miller family’s farm, known as Tayside was owned by Ernest ‘Ernie’ Miller and his wife Evelyn (Mather). The Miller family arrived from Scotland in 1809, and their farm was purchased by Ernie’s great grandfather Dodds in 1858. Their kids were Diane, Nancy, John and Ruth. Evelyn was a lovely, soft-spoken lady, and she was my first 4H club leader. I also recall that Ernie was tapping about 1,500 trees back in the sixties, and had about 30 acres of maple woods. Ernie was a forward thinker, and one of his ideas at that time was that sap should be gathered by trucks from each farm, and taken to a large central evaporator – similar to the way that milk was trucked to cheese factories. It seemed through the years that Ernie was into everything. When he wasn’t farming he wrote history books, he researched genealogy, he worked with young people, and it was no surprise to me when he was inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2003.

Ernie Miller

Ernest Miller – Photo by Malak for Cover of Family Herald in support of War Bonds. Photo courtesy of Diane (Miller) Duncan.

The McEwen clan in Ferguson Falls was another family who made their mark in the maple syrup business back in the 60s. In 1966 Robert McEwen of Prestonvale opened up the first pancake house in the area. Originally, Robert made his syrup the old fashioned way, out in the bush, and boiled a cauldron of sap over the fire. Later, in the 1970s I remember that he was one of the first to use plastic pipelines to bring the sap from the trees to one main location. Our Dad knew the McEwen family well, having grown up in that area, and said that Robert often spoke of the difficulties involved in syrup production. It was difficult to find reliable labour, and also challenging was finding the capital to purchase new equipment. Robert was very active in the local industry, and at one time was the President of the Lanark and District Maple Syrup Association.

When the former McEwen Sugar Shack went up for sale, Charles Temple and his wife Susan Snyder bought the property –  the very first day it was on the market.  The property known now as Temple’s Sugar Bush consists of 70 acres of maple bush where 5,000 trees are tapped annually.

Temples

Temple’s Sugar Bush on the site of the former McEwen’s Sugar Shack, Ferguson Falls

…..

Ken VanAlstine in Maberly tapped over 2,000 trees when I was a kid, and he was among the first to use pipelines. He experimented at first, and tapped just 200 trees using the pipeline system, but the rest was collected in buckets, the traditional way, and transported to the evaporator by horse and sleigh.

Horse and Sleigh maple bush

Ken, like other producers in the area, found the cost of hiring labour prohibitive, and found that distributors wanted too much money per gallon. Ken was well known in the area for his excellent quality maple syrup, and said on his best day at that time he gathered 3,300 gallons of sap.

Vanalstine maple syrup

…..

The Ennis family also has a long history of maple production. Their ancestor  Arthur Ennis came from County Cavan, Ireland to Lanark County in 1840, and the family has been producing maple syrup for almost a century.  Their sugar bush is located on the eastern shores of Bennett Lake, at the end of Ennis Road, Balderson,  in Lanark County.   Five generations of the Ennis family have been tapping trees on this property.

Ennis maple

George and Karen Ennis  –   photo –  Ennis Maple Products

Another local family of long-time maple producers is the Adam family of McDonald’s Corners. Leonard Adam and his brother Tom tapped an average of 2,250 trees, and owned about 500 acres of land between them. They were hard workers, and spent many days sawing, chopping, and stacking the 20 cords of wood required for their evaporator.  The Adam family were one of the first to use a brand new style of evaporator which was 4 by 14 feet. They produced enough to sell locally, and the remainder was shipped out West.

Adam article maple

Adam family of McDonald’s Corners  –  ‘The Perth Courier’ – Nov. 28, 1963

maple syrup jug

Brien and Marion (McLaren) Paul of R.R #3 Lanark owned a 575 acre farm, about three miles west of Hopetown, and began maple production in 1953. Marion was raised on a farm near the village of Lanark, was known locally as the ‘First Lady of Maple’, and served proudly as a Maple Judge at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Their kids Kathy, Wayne and Darrell were also very involved in maple production, and provided additional labour for the family business. In 1972 Kathy was crowned Maple Queen in the local competition.

Back in the 1960s the Paul family used two sleighs, one pulled by a tractor, and the other by a team of horses. Brien’s father Raymond Paul often tended the evaporator, keeping a watchful eye as the sweet, fragrant, steam boiled off into the air. Russell Foster and Raymond Watt often assisted the Paul family with their  production. They tapped an average of 4,000 trees at that time, produced about 700 gallons of syrup, and used approximately 30 cords of wood during the season.

Paul's maple prices rise

‘The Perth Courier’ – March 21, 1971

The Paul’s were pioneers in the maple industry, and were very modern in their approach. They were one of the first to install plastic tubing, and an oil fired evaporator. The plastic pipes were attached to the tree spiles, and the sap flowed through the pipes, and emptied into a storage reservoir located behind the evaporator. Brien and Marion were inducted into the International Maple Hall of Fame, and were proud members of the Ontario Maple Producers and the Lanark and District Maple Producers Association.

Paul's maple

…..

Gibson was a name known for their excellent syrup. James ‘Carman’ Gibson, and his wife Edna (Rodger) had a maple business in Dalhousie Twp at R.R. # 4, Lanark. The nearby areas of Hoods and Poland were well known for their fine quality maple syrup. The Gibson family began tapping trees in 1821 with the arrival of James Gibson from Lanark, Scotland. He was the first pioneer settler in the area, and named their new home Lammermoor after the Lammermoor Hills in Scotland. Their five children Verna, Beatrice, Norma, Carol and Earl helped with the operation. The Gibson family also raised beef, dairy on their busy farm, and hauled milk to the Middleville cheese factory.

…..

When locals think of a long running maple operation, the name Dodds comes to mind. They had a substantial sugar bush at R.R. 2 Clayton, in the Lanark Highlands. The Dodds family has owned Springdale Farm for generations, producing maple syrup since 1917, and Don and Marion Dodds, and their sons Bryan and Stephen helped with production through the years. The family has won many awards for being long term maple producers, and Stephen Dodds won the Grand Champion Trophy at Perth Festival of the Maples in 2011. Their long, long, list of awards include trophies for World Champion Maple Syrup, Sugar Maker of the Year, and a memorable meeting with HRH Prince Charles at the Royal Winter Fair.

Dodds family

Dodds family – Don, Marion and Stephen Dodds

…..

One of the maple syrup families that I remember fondly was the Coutts family on the Rideau Ferry Road. I’ll never forget how George Coutts invited local kids to visit his sugar shack.  He would take the time during the very busy season to patiently explain how the maple syrup was made. Miss Norma Devlin from the North Elmsley School was invited each year to bring her grade one class to visit the Coutts farm. George along with his son Kenneth showed the children how syrup was made and even provided the kids with some maple taffy at the end of the tour.

Coutts student tours

In the 1960s the Coutts family tapped about 1,300 trees yearly, and produced more than enough syrup for both the family and for area sales. Maple syrup was produced in the early 1900’s by Archibald Coutts. In 1920, George Coutts purchased an evaporator, and the production of maple syrup has continued ever since.

coutts country flavours

Coutts Country Flavours – 5th generation maple producers

The ancestors of the Fulton family began to tap their maple trees back in the 1840s when John Fulton and his brothers came to Lanark County from East Kilbride, Scotland.  Their large 370 acre farm is located between Almonte and Pakenham, and they have tapped their huge 4,000 tree sugar bush for many, many, generations. Well known for their high quality syrup they have also operated a pancake house for many years, and their sugar camp has been a popular attraction for both area families and visitors.

Shirley Deugo and Scott Deugo of Fulton's

Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush –
Shirley Fulton-Deugo 4th generation, and Scott Deugo 5th generation maple producer

With these, and other long-time maple producers in Lanark County, it’s not surprising that back in the 1970s, there were lots of conversations, up and down the concessions, of hosting a maple festival in the town of Perth. It was Victor ‘Vic’ Lemieux, owner of Norvic Lodge, at Christie Lake, who first came up with the idea, and presented it to the Perth Chamber of Commerce. Thankfully, Vic was successful in his campaign to launch the first festival, with the hope that it would bring people out to celebrate the spring season, after a long, cold, winter.

First festival of the Maples 1975

On April 19, 1975 the very first Festival of the Maples was held in Perth and it was quite an event!

When my friends and I arrived at the very first Maple Festival that Saturday so long ago, part of Gore Street and Foster Street had been closed to traffic, and many local maple vendors had set up their displays. At 10 a.m. the Festival was officially opened by the Ontario Minister of Industry – Claude Bennett. The Perth Legion ladies, and the ladies from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church had displays of delicious home baking for sale, and there were also side-walk sales on Gore Street, and many arts and craft exhibits.

There were a tremendous number of district producers, and many of them offered syrup for sale in different grades, and various sized containers. Pancakes were available for purchase, and free samples of Balderson Cheese were available to anyone who asked, and I recall we went back a couple of times to that booth! One of the most unique displays was a wood-burning evaporator set up on one of the main streets of Perth. I’ve seen a few of those out in the bush, but I never thought I’d see one in town on the main street!

Fiddling and step-dancing competitions were held that day, and I recall Dawson Girdwood saying that some of the best fiddlers from Eastern Ontario were competing in the Open and Junior fiddling classes. The talented Jimmy Heney, one of our neighbours, won the fiddling prize hands down, as he often did, and Karen Grey of Perth was the top step-dancer that night.

The folks in Perth were always  enthusiastic supporters of a beauty competition, and so part of the evening program, at the arena that night ,was the crowning of ‘The Sweetest Girl in Lanark County’. Miss Perth 1975 Michelle Hughes crowned the winner – Maple Queen – Susan Thompson, of Perth.

Over the years, we attended the Perth Maple Festival, and each spring it seemed to grow by leaps and bounds. Every year it seemed that there were more vendors selling their maple goods, more artisans displaying their crafts, and an increasing number of booths and displays. We also noticed a steady stream of tourists coming from Ottawa, Kingston, and even as far away as the States to visit our festival.

festival of the maples crowd

People in Lanark County, understandably, have always taken their maple syrup very seriously. Because of this, it was devastating to many when January of 1998 brought the most destructive ice storm in Canadian history. From January 4th to 10th Lanark County was severely affected by freezing rain, and ice pellets.   Day after day it fell, and accumulated on tree branches, bending their limbs until they snapped off with the weight of the ice. The relentless freezing rain created a thick, heavy coat, damaging both the maple trees and the pipelines in the sugar bushes. Millions of tree branches were caked with the build-up of ice, and became so heavy that they split right off of the trees; severely affecting the sap flow. At the time, there were speculations that it might take forty years for maple production to return to normal.

Through hard work, and good fortune, many of the damaged trees came back, and the maple production resumed within a few years of the ice storm.

ice storm 1998

Many of us, raised in Lanark County, have participated in making maple syrup at one time or another, and know from experience that it’s extremely labour-intensive. We also have a clear understanding of the enormous amount of sap it takes to make a very small quantity of syrup. No matter how modern the equipment or methods, it still takes forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.

40 gallons of sap

Now, add in the hours of labour for the tapping, transporting from the tree to the evaporator, the boiling down, the straining, the bottling, and the labeling. Next, factor in the cost of equipment such as the spiles, the pails or tubing, the evaporation tank, fuel, the straining equipment, the bottles, cans, and cost of transporting to market. The price per gallon really doesn’t sound like all that much anymore now, does it?

So, the next time you pass by the maple syrup display in your grocery store aisles, or visit a maple vendor at his farm, or at a festival, please remember how it’s produced.

Pause a moment, to remember the proud, hard-working, pioneer families who settled in Lanark County, and passed down their knowledge through the generations. Think of the enormous quantity of sap required to make a very small container of syrup. Most of all, please stop and consider the origin of your syrup, and take it from this Lanark County kid – you won’t find any better, more flavourful syrup, than from the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario!

…………..

 

(an excerpt from “Lanark County Chronicle: Double-Back to the Third LineLanark County Chronicle)
ISBN 978-0-9877026-2-3

http://www.staffordwilson.com