ABSENT FROM LINDSAY 47 YEARS—OLD TIMES RECALLED
There was an interesting visitor in Lindsay on Saturday from Emporia, Kansas. Mr. Johnston Bradley came across the border last week to visit his sister, Mrs. C. W. Wright, who lives near Janetville, and to participate in a family re-union. He was in town Saturday and an interesting feature of this was that it’s over forty- seven years since Mr. Bradley set foot in Lindsay. Time brings changes and there was not a spot, not a building that could recall to Mr. Bradley’s mind the Lindsay of olden days. Forty-seven years ago a village of 1,200 people now a thriving town of over 8,000 inhabitants.
THE BIG FIRE.
Curiously enough the last time Mr. Bradley was in Lindsay was three days after the big fire, which took place on July 5th 1861, which destroyed nearly the whole town, then composed of principally of wooden buildings. He was passing through at the time from Head Lake, where he had been fishing, to his home in Clarke township. Mr. Bradley’s recollection of the scene of desolation is a vivid one. The place was almost deserted when he passed through and smouldering ashes were on every hand. J.F. Bradley is 61 years old, though he don’t look it and was born in Liskeard in the township of Clarke. His father was a farmer who had settled in there in the early days of the county. He left Canada when he was but a boy and is now a respected citizen of the state of Kansas. The land of his nativity is still dear to him, however, and he is enjoying his visit to the land of Johnny Canuck.
There are still a few remaining in Lindsay that are recalled by this visitor from Uncle Sam’s domains. Mr. Jos. Williamson, father of Herb. Williamson was known to Mr. Bradley. The former lived at Ballyduff at the time. Dr. Herriman is also indistinctly recalled, but beyond these and a few more of whom faint recollections remain, there are few faces in town at present recognizable to Mr. Bradley.
AN ARDENT FISHERMAN.
It was during the day when oxen were used as beasts of burden that Mr. Bradley last visited this town. He spent one night in Lindsay in passing from Head Lake, where he had been fishing. He was an enthusiastic follower of Isaac Watson, though that gentleman was not known very well in those days, and had driven from his home in Clarke township all the way to Head Lake, beyond Coboconk, to enjoy a few weeks’ fishing. There was a trail marked out for a road and the traveling was hard, to say the least of it. At times horses would sink in mud to their breasts. Trees and underbrush obstructed the trail, and altogether the journey was a trying one. After it’s hardship the pleasure of a quiet fish on the bosom of beautiful Head Lake was only the more augmented.
A MODEST POET.
In the vicinity of Head Lake lived a settler who had married Mr. Bradley’s sister. Another pioneer on the shores of that lake was a man named Adair, evidently a cultured individual. During Mr. Bradley’s stay on the fishing expedition mentioned this man Adair taught him a few verses of poetry had had formed. These verses were on Head Lake and Mr. Bradley remembers them to this day. Below we print them:
Thous Muse so long alienate.
Your client again would implore,
Descend from the Mount of Parnasus
And deign to assist me once more.
In the scene which I now have selected,
Some pleasures with me you’ll partake.
In singing the beauties of nature
On the sweet scented shores of Head Lake.
Head Lake, in the township of Laxton,
In the county that’s named for the Queen,
But few of her brave loyal subjects
Its beauties have ever yet seen.
Though the sun in its diurnal courses
Her domain does never forsake,
There’s no spot in those regions extensive
Can vie with this beautiful lake.
The scene all around is delightful,
Romantic and truly sublime;
It would tax all the powers of a Homer,
To tender them justice in rhyme.
There is fish of all kinds without number,
Here sportsmen great pleasure can take,
For the wild fowl and game in all seasons,
Abound around the shores of Head Lake.
I have traveled, through countries more favored,
Where nobles expended their gold
In vain competition with nature,
Expecting such scenes to behold.
Some thousands, I’ve saw them expended,
By artists whose fame was at stake,
But their efforts all fruitlessly ended,
They never could equal Head Lake.
Had some of our great learned sages
Who studied all nature with care
In the course of their perigrination ,
Just happened by chance to come there.
There senses would be captivated
Their schemes they’d forever forsake,
And spend all their days in contentment
on the sweet-scented shores of Head Lake.
This little poem was afterward recited at a Sunday school picnic, by Mr. Bradley , then but fourteen years old.
A GREAT TRAVELER.
Shortly after the time mentioned Mr. Bradley left home and struck out for himself in the United States. Since then he has traveled much, experienced many adventures of the most interesting nature and has seen many lands. His wandering nature is illustrated by a journey he once made from Emporia to Devil’s lake, a distance of 1,158 miles. The entire distance was traveled in a wagon and team when he got to his journey’s end. Among the curiosities in the possession of Mr. Bradley picked up during his travels is a knife which was found within a few feet of the monument to General Custer, who was massacred by the Indians.
Mr. Bradley struck Pennsylvania when he first left Canada and he worked in the oil fields for ten years. He is a brick -layer by trade and afterwards took up his occupation. Thirty-four years ago he came back to Canada and married Miss. Huston, of Toronto. Canada was the “Land of the fairest” in his opinion. Three children were born and all grown up and have started successful lives. They are Cornelius and John James of Emporia and Mrs. Hinshaw, of Leodesha. Mr. And Mrs. Bradley presently live in a nice little home within a few miles of the former city.
“If I had a nice farm near Lindsay,” Mr. Bradley said to the reporter, “I would rather live in Canada.” Mr. Bradley had a brother-in-law with Canadian troops in the Fenian raid and has many recollections of early history.
ACCOMPANIED BY SISTER.
His sister, Mrs. James Walker, of Devil’s lake, is also visiting at Janetville. A story that is being related at the expense of Mr. Bradley tells how he traveled many miles with her on the way to Canada before he recognized his own sister. Two other sisters participating in the re-union are Mrs. Caroline Heater, of Pennsylvania.As mentioned before Mr. Bradley is an ardent fisherman and he indulged in a little trout fishing expedition the other day and secured thirteen fine fish. He will return home in a month or so, doubtless with the most pleasant recollections of his visit.
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