EARLY DAYS IN THIS DISTRICT - 1909 Mr. Thos. Cuff

Our reporter yesterday called upon Mr. Thos. Cuff an old and respected resident of Lindsay, to glean from him a little data relative to the early days of Lindsay and Victoria County. When our reporter asked him if he had read the Post article of an interview with John Dovey, he replied, "Yes, but you should have come to me, you should. I was here before there was a Dovey in Canada. Sit down, sir," and, seated comfortably out on Thomas' neat lawn he told me the story of his life.

"I was born in County Cavan, Ireland, and sailed from Belfast in 1831 with my father. My wife is also Irish and came from county Wicklow. My father was and old British soldier and had fought for the King, Constitution and Country in the four corners of the globe, The bloodiest battle he ever saw was with Lord Nelson when he crossed the Arabian deserts to fight Napoleon on the Nile. In 1812 my father was among those who fought at LUNDY'S LANE AND QUEENSTON HEIGHTS when England and the United States were at war. That was his last battle.

When we first came to Canada we settled in Emily, a mile south of Downeyville. PORT HOPE AND COBOURG were the nearest places where we could get anything and we had to tramp though a blaze in the bush to get there, It would not have been half so bad if there had been a trail but there was not, It was simply a blaze in the bush. The OLD WOODMAN was the first boat to ply down the river, It was manned by Mr. Crandell, who received the honorary title of "Captain" and two men, who used two oars each and sailed from Port Perry to Lindsay. Where the locks are now, were then rapids.

When we came to Peterborough in 1831 there was one log house on the Otonabee River, It was the Government house. There were a few shanties, They used to bring emigrants from Quebec by steamer to Cobourg, and then walked to rice lake through the bush and then from Gore's Landing they sailed to Peterborough. As far as LINDSAY is concerned, I remember when Lindsay now, was called Purdy's Mill, because Mr. Purdy was the oldest settler and had built a mill here and I remember when Kent Street was such a thick, dismal swamp it was impassable.

As for OMEMEE it was called Cottingham's village. Mr. Cottingham had built a little mill a year after we came out to Emily. That was in 1832. When I was 12 years old I left my father and moved to Ops, where I worked for a man who, during the REBELLION OF '37 was an out and out rebel. I had to drive a team twice a week to Port Hope and leave some things that had to be put in the wagon by my employer, with his father-in-law in Port Hope. These I learned later, were ammunition, etc., for the rebels. I remember at one time getting up, as I always had to, first in the morning, to get wood and I found two men in the yard with their horses tied to the wagon wheels. They asked if my master was in, I told them he was, and I called him to the door. He took the two men in and opened a keg of cherry whiskey, I donít know what else transpired, but those two men, who were spies, went back quite satisfied and there was nothing rebellious about my master while all the time there were a dozen glittering swords uncovered on the wagon to which they had tied their horses.

In 1838 peace was proclaimed, the same year that Queen Victoria was crowned.

Thomas referred to his talks with men about town to day, and he spoke with settled conviction on the superiority of the early settlers to the present Lindsayites, Of course we can all forgive him for this little bit of pride and unanimously with Thomas, his wife and family continued health and happiness.

WOLVES WERE PLENTIFUL

About the year 1832 said Mr. Cuff, the residents of the Scotch Line in Verulam and on the opposite shore of Sturgeon Lake had to journey to Cottingham Mill where Omemee now stands with the grist on their backs, My father resided near Downeyville and his cabin was a sort of halfway house. When the settlers were returning from the mill they would reach our home towards evening where they would make a scone and draw a cup of tea. After getting rested they would start on their journey home. As it would be late in the evening, they usually took pieces of cedar bark, of which my father always kept a supply, and they would light them and use this as a torch in order to find their way as well as to keep the wolves off. By keeping the torch in motion the flame would last for a long period.

There is a man residing in Emily, named Cornelius Flynn, was three years older than myself, and he could narrate many interesting stories of pioneer days in these regions. He is Irish, and, said, Mr. Cuff, in concluding, the devil himself can't beat the Irish.


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