Bowmanville - The CENTENNIAL! 1894

The West Durham Centennial Celebration turned out a much greater success than the most hopeful spectator anticipated. Providence smiled upon the event with the most appropriate weather and the worthy sires and madams of the district were permitted to take part in the auspicious centenary, and to recount the happenings of the past when the country was young and the hearts of the few settlers were brave. It was a great satisfaction to see so many old residents of this and adjoining counties present. There were also many descendants of the pioneer families here from a distance and many others less fortunate wrote telling how much they would like to join in the celebration but circumstances forbade their participation.

It is a source of unmixed pleasure to the committees who organized the affair that so many citizens and others entered so heartily into the spirit of the celebration. A few tried to discourage the originators in their endeavours and even charged the Editor of THE STATESMAN with selfish desire to glorify himself, but happily the town does not possess many such croakers and the few there are welcome to the satisfaction they can extract from their envious mortification and chagrin because a share of the glory has not been placed to their credit. They are respectfully informed that the affair was a magnificent success.

Among the invited guests there were none who seemed to enjoy the occasion more than our former distinguished representative in the House of Commons, the Hon. Edward Blake, Q.C., M.P., and Mrs. Blake who came down on the boat on Friday and remained till the end. They were the guests at the house of Dr. J. W. McLaughlin, where many old friends and admirers of Mr. Blake called on them and enjoyed a hearty handshake and chat. Hon. Mr. Blake made three short addresses in the course of the program and it was a pleasure, indeed, to his many former constituents to listen to his full, round voice uttering words of congratulation, encouragement and wisdom. We repeat we were all delighted to have Mr. and Mrs. Blake with us on this Centennial occasion.

The opening event was the Centennial Concert and Historical Entertainment in the new Music Hall on Friday evening, when Mr. James McFeeters, the first Mayor of Bowmanville, occupied the chair. The Hall was made cheerful with numerous flags and red, white and blue bunting in great abundance. On and about the platform were Hon. Edward Blake, Con. F. Cubitt, Mr. J. B. Fairbairn, Mr. William Law, Dr. Hillier, Mr. W. F. Allen, ex-Mayor, Mr. A. Younie, ex-Mayor, Mr. H. W. Burk, ex-M.P., Mr. James Heal, Mr. Jonathan Stevens, Mr. J. A. Galbraith, Mr. R. Osborne, Mr. W. Foley, and Mr. George Haines. P.M.

The Chairman delivered and interesting address reminiscent of early days, but our reporter failed to hear it and we are unable to give it to our readers.

The duty of delivering the Centennial Address on "The History of Bowmanville and Vicinity," devolved on Mr. Jas. B. Fairbairn, P.M. and right well and interestingly did he perform his allotted task. We are pleased to be able to reproduce a summary of his admirable address which we feel sure will be read by thousands of our readers whose lives have been more or less associated with the history of the town and vicinity.

On rising to address the meeting, Mr. Fairbairn expressed the gratification he felt that this meeting called to celebrate the early history of Bowmanville, is presided over by the venerable gentleman who occupies the chair. Since he first came amongst us over 60 years ago, he has been intimately associated with its commercial, municipal and religious life. The speaker said that while the early settlers had much to contend with, they came to as beautiful a country as ever it fell to the lot of man to occupy on the planet of ours, with every variety of hill and dale, covered with magnificent forests, abounding in streams and springs of living water, every description of game and fish in abundance, surely it was a goodly land that met the eyes of the original settlers. Referring to the social and friendly feeling that existed among the people, he said there were no distinctions classes or masses in those days. All were ready to sympathize and help one another occupying the same level, struggling for an existence. The feeling of interdependence and personal acquaintance led to attachments among the early pioneer that yet exists among their descendants.

On looking over the large assembly one must be struck with the wonderful change in the matter of dress since those early days. There were no Paris fashions eagerly looked for , the home-spun dress, the calico frock were the prevailing articles of dry goods then in use, but the girls were just as pretty and the few social enjoyments permitted then were entered into with as hearty a neat and real as in the more pretentious amusements modern drawing room. Then there was glorious sleigh drives in the winter. Imagine the grand sleighing, the roads protected by such heavy belts of timber. The snow remained on the ground all through the winter and though the magnificent cutters and sleighs of the present time were unknown, still as much mirth and fun took place in the old fashioned jumper and wooden sleigh crammed full of straw, as does now. He then spoke of the system of charivari that then prevailed, it being an unwritten law at that time, who ever married, no matter what his character or standing might be, that unless he put up the amount necessary to furnish an entertainment to the boys, he had to submit to the ordeal, and so thoroughly organized were those banded together, that it became a serious matter to resist their demands. The speaker referred to a gentleman who came here from Toronto and opened a general store about 1840 and who was not disposed to comply with this prevailing usage having married, the store and house became a regular barracks, and for days and weeks the pandemonium of noise and deviltry were kept up. Happily, however, with increasing intelligence and population the custom died out. At that time a magistrate generally married people. There were no issuer of marriage licenses nearer than Port Hope. The late Squire Fletcher united many in the bonds of matrimony. My father also occasionally did this service for those wanting to enter the marriage state. Reference was then made to the one grand day in the year-The Training Day-when all the gamin and boys looked forward to the great military display. The martial spirit engendered by the stirring events of 1837 and 1838 were then in full force, and the grand muster became a matter of great interest and importance in the eyes of the fustic population as well. He referred to the dress then worn by the officers, the spotless white pants, blue coat with brass buttons, the red sash and peculiar head gear. Col. Cubitt now up in the platform and still commanding the brave 45th Battalion ready now as then to meet the call of duty, held a commission at that time as lieutenant and appeared on Training Day with all the pomp and splendour of the military attire of the time. The speaker referred to the liquor question the purest whiskey was sold at 25cts a gallon, no adulteration, the genuine article, it entered into general use among all the people. It would have been thought inhospitable and bad form either to refuse or to have neglected to offer it at all times to anyone entering your house. There was then no question raised as to the morality or the otherwise of its use. Settlers from the Old Land brought with them the habits of drinking engendered in their native countries. But the drinking usages soon began to tell on the physical and higher well being of the community and early in the forties an agitation began in favour of temperance principles gathering strength year by year, till now at this present time we have as sober a community as can any where be found. It was no small matter in those early days to advocate this great reform. Its early apostles were looked upon as fanatics and lunatics and had to submit to every just and insult all honour then to the noble men and women who stepped into the breach and fought against the evil. Prominent among those who deserve the everlasting thinks of the people of Darlington and Bowmanville for their staunch and able advocacy of the temperance movement, I name the late Rev. John Climie, father of the lamented editor of the Sun who so recently passed away, and the late Rev. John Smith.

In 1838 the only church existing here was a small frame building belonging to the English Church, the Rector of whom the Rev. T. S. Kennedy was the first settled clergyman in this place. Well I remember him in my boyhood days kindly, generous, warm-hearted man, not containing his ministrations to his own people but doing what he could for the community. The Congregationalists had a small church the first minister of who Rev. Mr. Meacham and English gentleman of culture and refinement, laboured here for some time. In 1812 the Wesleyan Methodists erected a large frame building on the hill the west side of the bridge where for many years the pulpit was filled by able and earnest men. The first Sunday school organized-which I attended0was in the same building. The teacher who will be remembered by some in this assembly and well known in the community, was the late Cas. Brown. The Presbyterians became and organized body early in the forties. They erected a large substantial frame church on the site now occupied by the Disciples. The speaker alluded to the difficulties there was at that time in raising money for that purpose. The old subscription list which he had in his procession some years ago showing subscribers all the way from Whitby to Cobourg, the highest, which at that time was a large amount of money, being five pounds. Unfortunately the disruption, which occurred in Scotland, extended to this country dividing the congregation here. The Free Church calling the late Alex. Steel, a scholarly gentleman, who remained some years in charge of the congregation. Reference was also made to the schools, the speaker describing the old school homes at that time a pretentious building with its unpainted clapboards on the outside and its old battered and whittled benches within. No vexed question of ventilation in those days every snowstorm in the winter brought in through crack and crevice and abundance of the beautiful. The school equipment consisted of Kirkman's Grammar, Mavor's Spelling Book, Walkinggame's Arithmetic and the old English reader. The first teacher in this school was John Dyer Bone, the grandfather of J. D. and W. H ______. He was a good scholar, wrote and excellent hand, kindly and conscientious, a good teacher. The next, David Fairweather from Scotland taught for some years. His old scholars will recall with kindly interest a good man and a good teacher. The n ext was Jeremiah O'Leary, father of the O'Leary's of Lindsay, a capital scholar, thorough in his work, he ruled with a rod of iron. Some of the boys who went to that school, among whom I see Mr. Malcom McTavish present, will have a lively recollection of that old oak ruler so unmercifully applied.

The emigration from 1838 to 1845, largely from Devonshire and Cornwall, some from Yorkshire and the Highlands of Scotland, was of marked importance. Those hardy men of the olden time crossed the wide Atlantic in sailing vessels, coming up the St. Lawrence, settling in the almost unbroken wilderness. I remember going with my father in 1836 out to the farm now owned by Mr. Eber Millson at that time occupied by the Lett family. We followed a sleigh track through the woods, here and there a log shanty and few acres of clearance. As a mater of interest to the older people present who will remember Ben. Lett who gained such a notoriety during the rebellion and accused of blowing up Brock's monument. I would say that some fifteen years ago I received a letter from his sister, evidently a lady of high cultivation, in which she gives a pathetic account of their exile from Canada having crossed Mexico in a covered wagon. This by the way.

Those early pioneers brought with them from the old soil strong arms and brave hearts, a love of liberty and trust in God, habits of industry and thrift and sterling honesty. From many a long cabin scattered throughout this township in its early history went up to "Heaven's Eternal King" earnest prayer and fervent praise; and what has been the result? Go through this Township of Darlington note its churches, its schools, its law-abiding inhabitants, and reckon up if you can what we own to those from whom we spring. I regret that time will not permit me to recall the names of those prominently connected with the early history of Bowmanville who have passed over to the great majority. The mere mention of their names would take up too much time. I will, however allude to those who are still with us, and when I mention the names of James McClellan, David Fisher, George Haines, James and Samuel Heal, William McGill, Wm. Pethick, Jonathan Stevens, Abram Younie, Col. Cubitt, Mark Prout, Chas. Honey, Levi Yancamp, H. W. Burk, Wm. Windatt, Stephen Washington, Jacob Neads, Samuel Vanstone, John Frank, Calvin Tyler, E. G. Power, Jesse Trull, ______ Munson, John Allin, it will recall to your minds and to the community at large how much we owe to those gentlemen who were so early and prominently identified with the growth of the town.

The first Agricultural Society largely owes its origin to the generosity and determination of the last Matthew Joness, Robt. Beith (uncle of our present member) Samuel Wilmot, now of Ottawa, Richard Allin, father of Mr. Samuel Allin, David Fisher, late Hon. John Simpson and Duncan McConnachie of Clarke, now residing in town. The speaker regretted want of time, having merely touched a point of interest here and there in connection with the subject of the evening. In concluding his address he urged upon the younger persons present to cultivate toward this their native town a feeling of loyalty. He found as matter of fact many of the young people brought up in Bowmanville and who have gone to other lands and other portions of our own country, speak in glowing terms of admiration and praise not only of their native town but also of their native land. Patriotism is nearly allied to religion even the great apostle to the Gentiles exclaimed with exultation that he was "a citizen of no mean city,' and surely, we, the citizens of this town and growing Dominion may take pardonable pride in saying, we are natives of Bowmanville and of Canada. He concluded his address in the words of a Canadian poet, applicable now as when it was written:

Than this no other land has higher, brighter hopefully

with its innumerable leagues of fertile earth

That wait but human skill and patient industry by

commerce fed

To win her way to _______ as high as any nation

on this varied earth

The balmy wind may breathe more fragrant sighs o'er

other lands

And fairer flowers may in their gardens bloom,

But in stern grandeur and majesty none can ______ the palm away.

Many of the other persons in the audience were stirred with emotion as the scenes of the long ago were again presented to their mind. The musical part of the program was varied and entertaining showing the progress made in this line. Piano instrumentals were skilfully performed by Misses James and Lockhart, Misses Northcote and Tilley, and Mr. W. H. Cawker; Miss Simpson played a sweet, rich air on the violin which was well received; Misses G. G. Armstrong and O. A. Gambay of Orono sang in good voice and were deservedly applauded; Mr. Jos. Halpany supplied the comic singing in usual happy manner and Mr. D. Morrison's Orchestra furnished choice selections.



Bowmanville Sept. 26, 1894



His Honor the Lieutenant Governor, Hon. John Dryden, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. John Hoskin, Q. C., Thos. Conant, Esq., Prof. John Squair, M.A., Prof. A. T. DeLeury, M. A., Commander Law, the Lieut. Governor's Secretary. Mr. J. A. Scarlett and others were met at the station in the morning by the reception committee, consisting of Col. Cubitt, Mayor Loscombe, D. Burke Simpson, Esq., Robt. Beith, Esq., M. P., W. F. Allen, Esq., and Mr. M. A. James, and escorted in carriages to the High School where a reception was tendered to the gubernatorial party after which they proceeded to the new Music Hall where the annual Commencement exercises were held. Particulars of this event will be given next week in this journal.

His Honor the Lieutenant Governor, Dr. Hoskin and a few invited guests were entertained at luncheon by Mr. D. Burke Simpson at his residence, Silver street, while the Honorable the Minister of Agriculture, R. Beith, Esq., M. P., Miss Beith and others were entertained by ex-Mayor Allen at his residence, Beech Avenue.


Before two o'clock and immense crowd of people had assembled on the fair grounds and after inspecting the relics and various other exhibits in the Drill Shed gathered around the horse ring until the distinguished speakers arrived. Shortly after two o'clock Mr. D. Burke Simpson's carriage arrived with the Lieutenant governor and party who spent a short time in looking at the horses in the show ring and making a tour of inspection in the Drill Shed. Other carriages arrived with Hon. Edward and Mrs. Blake, Mrs. B. B. Cronyn, Dr. J. W. and Mrs. McLaughlin; one with Mrs. R. S. Hamlin, Mrs. D. Burke Simpson, Miss Simpson, Miss Greta Simpson; and one with Mrs. John Hoskin, Mrs. F. Cubitt, Mrs. R. Armour and sister, and Miss Armour.

As the gubernatorial party ascended the platform the Citizens' Band played the National Anthem. Col. Cubitt opened the program with a brief review of the early history of this town.


Mayor Loscombe on behalf of the corporation read the address of welcome as follows:

To the Hon. Geo. A. Kirkpatrick, Lieutenant governor Province of Ontario.

We, the Mayor, councillors and citizens of the town of Bowmanville, extend to your Honor a hearty and cordial welcome, on this your first official visit to this town, and hope that when you return hence you will not consider that the time thus expended by you has in any way been misspent.

We are pleased to know that the confidence placed in you when you were selected to become Lieut-Governor, has never been shaken, but on the contrary, that your bearing and deportment since your appointment have been such as not only to uphold the dignity of your high position, but to meet with the approval of all with whom you have come in contact; and we have no doubt that what has been characteristic of you in the past, will prevail in the future, so that when your term of office shall have expired, you will find that you have endeared yourself to the citizens of this Province.. We wish you and yours a happy and prosperous life.

Signed on behalf of the Town of Bowmanville.

R. R. Loscombe, Mayor.

R. Windatt, Town clerk.

Bowmanville, Sept. 22nd, 1894.


James Parr, Esq., on behalf of the Agricultural society, read this address:

To the Honorable George A. Kirkpatrick, Lieut-Governor of Ontario

May it Please Your Honor, We, the President and Directors of the West Durham Agricultural Society, beg to approach your Honor with feelings of sincere loyalty to Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, and to tender you a hearty welcome on this your first visit to the county of Durham. We sincerely congratulate the people of Ontario n the distinguished mark of Her Majesty's approbation conferred upon you in placing you in the position of Lieutenant Governor, and we feel assured that as a good reputation in the past is the best guarantee for the future, you will reflect honour upon your distinguished position and govern a loyal, contented and happy people. We are aware that as a public man you have taken a deep interest in the onward march of your native province and we venture to express the hope that in the people whom you meet today and the exhibits of the produce of the fields, forests and workshops, you will find that the county of Durham h as kept pace with other portions of Ontario. In conclusion, let us hope that your visit to our fair many prove agreeable to you and that we may have the pleasure on many future occasions of extending to your Honor a right royal and loyal welcome.

James Parr, President.

R. Windatt, Secretary:

Hon. Mr. Kirkpatrick replied to these addresses at some length at a later stage of the program.


By unanimous resolution of the Directors and Committee of Management the task of delivering the Centennial oration was assigned to Mr. D. Burke Simpson, barrister, who is a lineal descendant of one of the first families to settle in Darlington, and most ably, eloquently and satisfactorily did he discharge that important function, being congratulated on all hands at the close of his address. Following are a few extracts from the oration:

The orator of the day was Mr. D. Burke Simpson, barrister, lineal descendant of one of the first families who settled here. His theme was "Contentment." He said:-"It gives me pleasure to be with you to-day, and add my words to the cause we have before us. It gives me pleasure to be before you at all times and to assist in a laudable undertaking or commemoration, and when I look over the exhibits to-day, and the faces before me, and contrast them with the pictures which my reading has painted on the canvas of my mind of the time we are celebrating. I can but wonder. Contemplation of the picture, however as indeed of all history, is useful, if we will draw from it the lessons we should, and although this is not a day perhaps for complaining, but is intended for rejoicing, it will afford us no good unless we are able to derive from the reflections it caused, something of good. My purpose will be attained if I am able to make you think but a little, and from that thought e able to rise and be content. The crudeness of the surroundings and deprivations of our old ancestors are subjects with which we are all more or less familiar, as we listened in our younger days to the experiences of our grandfathers and fathers and particularly to our grandmothers. They are all object lessons for us who dwell in luxury and comfort, they are lessons for us to observe when we become dissatisfied or discontented. The landing of my ancestors here in old Darlington, the first of all with their companions, the hard struggle for existence, the constant exposure and work, have become almost as fairy tales. The little bread they wanted obtained by conveying the little wheat they had in a small open boat on the lake with a pair of rough oars and strong arms for power contrast wonderfully with the great mills at our doors. Some of their actions wee oddities to us as ours will, no doubt be to posterity; the old story of the boy going to the mill with his half bag of wheat on one side and a stone on the other side to balance it, on being remonstrated with that he might as well divide the wheat, and the boy's slow reply, after scratching his head, "that stone had served his grandfather and father before him and was good enough for him," well exemplifies the simplicity of them. The means of getting about, as my father did when he and a friend wished to go to Toronto, having only one horse, proceeding on the "ride and tie" principle one man riding ahead, then tying the house and walking on, the other coming u, taking the horse and riding on ahead again, and again tying till they reached their journey's end-contracts wonderfully with the beautiful carriages and cars were now enjoy for almost a trifle. The crude cabins they lived in, again, compared with the palatial farm residences now about us, awaken us to wonder. Yet are we satisfied? Have we that spirit of rest we should have? I am inclined to think the happy and simple lives of our fathers are subject for envy perhaps greater than our luxury, of which our fathers would have desired if they could have lifted future's veil. They were a happy family in those days; few they were, but friends, simple and quiet seldom saw a newspaper, yet earnest and good. Everyman was trusted; his word was as good as his bond; and woe to him who broke his contract. Now how is it: I leave that for you. Are we better than before: I know not.

Education, however, has been the prime mover in our great advances as it is everywhere; and as it becomes more disseminated, and the people as a whole have drunk deeper into its mysteries, then may this country make more progress. My own impression leads me to think that we have only reached that degree as a mass, that we do not know sufficient to thoroughly realize how little we do know. Once it was said by a Governor of Virginia in 1670: -I thank God there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have them for a hundred years. For learning has brought disobedience into the world, and printing has divulged them as libels against the Government. God keep us from both." A most miserable sentence; he might as well attempt to sweep back the ocean with a broom. Advancement as it has been must go on. We owe to education most, and to our own sturdiness the rest. We do want, however, something further, and I note it with hesitation on this day; we want contentment. It seems to me that civilization and its works have come so quickly upon us that the strain is getting too much for us. We are restless, panting, striving, always in a hurry, to much in haste to get rich, not satisfied to go steadily. What with fast trains, cable, telegraphy, telephones, everything becomes one mighty whirl. The world is so close together now that by reason of the difference in time we know of things that have happened in England by the time they have happened: we have actually chained time. Talk about time killing us; we in some sense have chained time, and now our scientists are working on principles which they believe will tend to completely master time and make our lives everlasting, or terminate only at our pleasure. What a picture this would have been for the "first white settlers who landed in Darlington!" Anyone who had stated such would be burned at the stake; but, strange as these thins are, no doubt other strange things will happen, and it is a bold man who will ridicule the possibility of anything which may be announced, even to the selling a round ticket to Mars when she next comes near us. Well, gentlemen, I have long enough trespassed, but I want to express one idea more: study the past, hear all you can of it; appreciate the present, and draw lessons from it. Above all appreciate your country, do not flit away from it, do not give up the reality for a phantom. Stay at home. You have one of the freest countries the sun ever shone upon; a country that one day will be holding its head aloft as one of the leading nations of the world. It must come; the sturdy Norsemen is always the best man. Our climate must make men. Stay at home, choose your profession, whatever it may be, and do it justice. Take care that you choose well, and what you are suited for. If you should be a lawyer, take care you are not a farmer, if you should be a shoemaker, be careful you are not a minister, and if you should be a farmer, avoid that very taking position the schoolmaster. Do not try to put a square peg into a round hole, for if you do both will be ruined; but put the square peg in the square hold, and if that hole proves to be a farm see to it that you are the best farmer in the neighbourhood. Remember that to be content one is rich, and much indeed, and as it has so often been said, with contentment one has no more to desire.

Mr. E. M. Morphy, Treasurer of the York Pioneers, Toronto, made a short speech setting forth the objects, work and branches of his society and then read this poem composed by himself for this Centennial occasion:


We've met to-day to celebrate a double Jubilee,

In honour of the worthy sires who crossed our inland sea;

Brave hardy "Susquehanna" men, who feared not frost or snow,

Such were Durham's heroes, a hundred years ago.

In Canada they found a home, carved out by willing hands-

From woods of beech and ample, now turned to fertile lands,

Like promised land of Scripture "where milk and honey flow,"

Once a wilderness for wolves, a hundred years ago.

"The pastures now are clothed with flocks," all nature hears God's voice

And sings His praises ever more, while husbandmen rejoice,

In homes of peace and plenty, with barns that overflow,

All honour to those pioneers a hundred years ago.

Nor do we trust to fruitful farms, but trade and commerce too,

Our factories are numerous and exports not a few,

Of fruits and dairy produce, good horses, see our show!

Yet don't despise "the oxen," of a hundred years ago.

Our country's blest with inland seas, and rivers long and wide.

Broad prairies, mines and timber lands, our heritage and pride;

While farms so rich produce such crops and mines of riches shew

Investments good, though hid from sight,, a hundred years ago.

This Canada of ours, "bright jewel of the crown,"

That sways the sceptre far and wide where sun can ne'er go down;

Our fathers loved the British flag, all others we forego;

As did those "U. E. Loyalists, " a hundred years ago

A numerous offspring here to-day, like "olive branches" share-

Tho bounties of that Providence, by whose almighty care

Those aged sires were preserved, and worshipped "here below,"

The Author of their mercies, a hundred years ago.

Their harvest day is over, they're gathered sheaves above;

And so will their successors be, when ripened in Gods Love;

"The angels are the reapers, "and all with them may go,

As did our pious fathers, a hundred years ago.

Messre. Burk, Trull, Conant and others


Mr. Thomas Conant of Oshawa was present at the celebration but when called on by the chairman was not near the platform. He handed us his intended remarks and we gladly published them:

I come before, you to-day, as a direct descendant of Roger Conant, who landed in Darlington 100 years ago, along with Burk and Trull, and I may say too, I am the only Canadian descendant, with my little son Gordon of 10 years old from that staunch old U. E. Loyalist.

Perhaps I have suffered as much in my fortune and estate for my forefathers' cause of loyally, as anyone within sound of my voice to-day. If you will kindly bear with me a few minutes until I express a few words, you shall see:

My first Devon English ancestor, who came to America in 1623 was Roger Conant, and he became the first Governor of the Crown colony of Mass, Bazo, in 1628. Up to the time of the breaking out of the revolution of 1776, his descendants -my father's-resided about Boston, and they possessed very large blocks of valuable property, even in that early day, when that most unfortunate struggle broke out in 1776, when father pitted against son, or possibly brother against brother, as it was in my own family's case, my people took the side of England, consequently the new government of the Colonies took away all their lands and properties and they never got one penny for many hundreds of thousands of dollars of very valuable properties. Among my papers I have many deeds made to my forefathers in Mass., before the revolution of 1776, of lands about Boston. Then I say I have suffered as much for loyalty as any one here to-day. I think it may be interesting to you to know that Roger, the emigrant, who landed 100 years ago, along with Trull and Burk, saved only 5,000 sovereigns in gold from Mass. And brought that sum here with him in 1794.

Well, I have tried to write a little poem, imperfect it is I know, but I have done my best on the subject, and here it is:

Two hundred and seventy-one years ago,

Brave Roger came over the sea;

And by him from the old to this Western world,

Was transported our family tree.

He came seeking liberty, fortune and fame,

That he came of right good stock

He proved by his life, for no worthier man

Ever landed on Plymouth Rock,

When the great Revolution swept over the land,

And men were determined to serve

The links that had bound them to Britain so long,

And to be independent forever,

When our forefathers differed, as honest men will,

And one found on each side of the fray,

Some fought with the Patriots, some with the King,

But the Patriots carried the day,

No doubt there was tyranny, taxes and laws,

Too hard for the people to bear,

Yet I am proud that my forefathers fought for the King,

Tho I might not if I had been there,

He proved he was honest in what he professed,

For when the great struggle was o'er,

He followed his flag far away to the north,

Till he reach the Ontario shore.

His one yoke of oxen drew all he possessed,

As he went on his trackless way;

The north star his guide in the darkness of night,

A blaze on the tree in the day.

The snarl of the panther, the howl of the wolf,

Or tread deadlier foe,

Gave warming of danger and perils unseen,

Yet he pressed onward, when lo!

A sound like the noise of a battle afar

He heard with a wondering ear,

And the farther he went, the louder it grew,

Until wonder was changed to fear;

Till at last he stood at Niagara's brink,

Where resistless the water flow:

And with thundering sound leap from the rocks above

To the rocks in the gulf below.

Down the river he crossed, rejoiced he had braved,

The dangerous, pathless track;

For there waved from the staff of fort St. George,

His flag, the old Union Jack.

The King gave a home to all loyalists then,

As in the old Rome they used to do;

So they gave him a grant of the public land.

Because he had been loyal and true.




The concert program Saturday night, under the auspices of Excelsior council, RT. Of T., No. 28, in the Town Hall was an exceptionally well rendered one. The best talent procurable being present and taking part and it may safely be said no pains were spared to make this one of the best concerts of the season. The hall was packed to overflowing and the order during the rendition of the parts taken by the several performers was good. The selections were varied and of a pleasing and humorous mature all of which were well rendered. The program opened and ended with lively piano duets by two well know town musicians Misses Tilley and Northcote. Mrs. Liddy of Hampton, one of Bowmanville's favourites,, sang in a soft rich tone two very sweet songs, and was accompanied by MM. J. Elliott who performed her duty well. Miss Lottie Brimacombe recited in her usual pleasing and agreeable style, "Brave Maggy McNeal" and Miss Byrde, which were attentively listened to. Two piano solos were beautifully played by Miss Annie Louise Singleton of Port Hope, "Home, Sweet home" with variations was very much appreciated by the audience, as was also "The Alpine Storm," which was played with such emphasis and expression. Miss Glover, who is always greeted with enthusiasm, sang in a clear musical voice, "In Old Madrid" and was heartily encored to which she kindly favoured the audience with another selection. The vocal duet by Misses Glover and McLaughlin was well given, their voices blending beautifully. Mr. James Fax, the famous comic singer amused the audience greatly, causing many long and hearty peals of laughter and pleasingly as well as gaily responding to the repeated encores. His comic costumes lent much to the effect of his songs. Miss Mable Tait efficiently played the accompaniments. The evening's program closed with the singing of "God save the Queen" by all the performers.


We were glad to see so many old residents present.

Send this Statesman to your friends that they may read about our celebration.

We have heaps of West Durham history for publication in future issues and we want more.

The proceedings passed off from start to finish without a hitch so complete were the arrangements.

Our notes on the fair will appear next week. The prize list is issued in supplement to this issue.

Mr. D Burk Simpson's oration and his excellent delivery of it have been most favourably commented upon all round.

The full receipts of the Fair so far as reported amount to over $800, which exceeds the revenue of any former exhibition, we are told.

The addresses of Hon. John Dryden were appropriate and practical and greatly pleased his hearers. He is always a most welcome visitor to West Durham.

The Citizens' Band serenaded the Lieut.-Governor at Mayor Loscombe's residence in the evening, where the gubernatorial party were entertained at a High Tea by Mrs. Loscombe.

The town was given a gala day appearance by the artistically dressed windows in the shops and the fluttering of hundreds of flags from public buildings and private residences.

To-day's Toronto Globe editorially says: The centennial celebration of the arrival of the first settlers in the Township of Darlington, in Durham County, which was held at Bowmanville, was an occasion of much interest. Centennial celebrations remind us that we are entering upon the dignity of age.

Complaints against the prize list in order to receive attention must be made to the secretary, R. Windatt, in writing on or before Friday Oct. 5. The Directors will meet on Saturday Oct. 6th at 2 p.m., to hear and determine such complaints if any. The Directors will please bear this in mind without further notice. The treasurer, M. Porter, Esq., will be prepared to pay the prizes at his office on Monday and Tuesday Oct. 8th and 9th.


The collection of old relics in charge of Mr. M. Porter and which he took special pride in exhibiting and explaining to the public, attracted a great deal of attention and as many of the older ones viewed these articles of long ago it recalled the past with all its hardships and pleasures, while the younger ones were amused at the ancient articles used by their grandmothers and great grandmothers. The following is a list as nearly correct as possible:

The first prize collection exhibited by Mrs. H. Abrahams, Solina, Tea kettle owned her mother, soap dish 60 years old, vegetable individuals 115 to 125 years, plate owned by her great grandmother 150 to 200 years, mortar, 150 to 200 years, tea chest 75 yrs, tea pot 65 yrs., crimping iron 70 yrs, tooth brush holder 60 yrs., glasses 75 yrs, baby's cap, 150 to 200 yrs, meat dish, 115 to 125 yrs, sampler worked by her 100 yrs, silk dress and gauntlets 150 to 200 yrs, beer mug 125 yrs, cup and saucer 115 to 125 yrs. cape worn by her brother John Sewell in 1820, book printed in 1753, quilt 200 yrs, quilt 100 yrs, fringe 75 yrs, quilt pieced by her mother on the boat while coming to Canada in 1870.

The second prize collection exhibited by Miss Veale, Bowmanville-A representation of Cleopatra's needle, gun brought to Canada 500 years ago and owned by Geo. Holmon, Eng., for 60 years previous, pair of candle sticks 50 yrs, small black pitcher 200 yrs, bread plates 150 yrs old, piece of red ribbon that passed through the Johnston flood, ivory fan brought from London, Eng., pitcher rare ware 150 yrs., 3 toy dogs came out on the May Flower, candle stick 250 years old 50 years ago; specimen of old English china of 1815, a piece of penmanship written with the foot, several pieces of china without the age.

The third prize collection exhibited by Mr. Ed. Bellman, Bowmanville- Punch bowl, sugar tongs, number of articles made in the reign of Queen Anne.

The forth prize collection exhibited by Mr. J. H. H. Jury-Collection of coins, solid silver spoons 175 yrs, cup and saucer 200 yrs, 3 silver spoons 100 yrs.

Other relics exhibited.

Horn brought from Ireland by Mr. Warren, early merchant of Bowmanville, give to M. J. Proutt in 1840: Indian relic, hair from pony's tail and feather from an Indian cap several hundred years old, owned by W.A. Windatt: veterinary tools used by F. Rogers in 1839; sword used by Jas Heal in 1837; straw fork made in 1841 by David Grippin, Bowmanville, hay fork bought in "York" in 1813, rolling pin made in 1774, owned by Aldon Trull, Columbus; psalm book of 1767, bible 1790, Mrs. E. Henry; slipper worn in 1758 owned by Miss Welch, Bowmanville; silver watch owned for 150 years by the Rogers family; mug 154 yrs, Mrs. M. Porter; tomahawk, skinning knife and other Indian relics, W. E. Pollard; pair of mitts knit in 1824 for Levi VanCamp by his great grandmother; bowl and jug made in 1840 in Bowmanville, owned by Miss Emma McClellan; brass pepper box made in 1518 owned by Mrs. Gale; china cup and saucer, 150 years, Mrs. S. Wright; platter 65 to 70 yrs, bake over, sauce pan, tea kettle owned by Miss Bates; 2 swords and gilt ornament used by Capt. John Burns in the war of 1812 owned by Robt. Burns; whip saw used by Wm. Elford to cut timber for his first house in 1831; looking glass of 1796, sampler worked in 1825, S. S. honour tickets, collection of coins, coin of 1581 used in the time of Queen Bess, Peruvian coin 1828, "Beauties" of the bible 11690, "Memoirs of charlotte Augusta" 1819, "Cottage Magazine" 1831 exhibited C. W. Nunn; music book 130 yrs, A Younie; chair 80 yrs, Miss Bates; first ladder used in West Durham, Dr. Young; pewter platter of 1840 Mrs. E. Carscadden; sampler 107 yrs, McSorley; sword used in Fenian scare of 1866, pipe snuff box brought to Canada 58 years ago, and a cut and saucer the property of Major Boucher of India taken to Australia, brought to England 4 years later and in 1881 brought to Canada, exhibited by T. Kerby; toy coach, 99 years, baby feeder, Mrs. J. Borland; picture, 116 yrs, painting on glass, Mrs. Medland; crewel needle work, 120 yrs, book 94yrs, Mrs. J. Johess; Jack and Jill weather guide, 200 yrs, milk pitcher, 130 yrs, tea pot, 150 yrs. Mrs. John Brimacombe; plate cup and saucer, Miss Butchart; tea pot, 100 years, cups and saucers 160 yrs, goblets over 200 yrs. fluting iron, 80 yrs, brass scales, Mrs. S. Mason, ar; tea spoon, 250 yrs, M. Burk; pair slippers, 97 yrs, Miss VanCamp; pitcher, 200 yrs, Mrs. Medland; photo of a Bowmanville singing class 30 years ago, dinner plate, ink stand made at Bowmanville pottery in 1854;salt cellar, 191 years, German raise work wreath which took 1st prize in Bowmanville 32 years, Mrs. S. F. Hill; preserving kettle, Miss McTavish; 4 ancient books, Miss Neads; piece of wood from the first vessel that sailed up the Pacific coast.



Further account of the Celebration

Speech Delivered by the First Mayor.

This issue of THE STATESMAN is being printed on the actual anniversary day (Oct. 2.) of the first landing of the pioneer settlers in West Durham, one hundred years ago. We celebrated the event a little previously because the directors had fixed the dates of the Fall Fair and it was deemed advisable to hold the centennial celebration on those days. The unprecedented demand for last week's papers convinced us of the wide interest the people are taking in this affair.

We have received a pretty full report of the opening address delivered by James McFeeters, Esq., the first Mayor of Bowmanville, at the Centennial concert Friday night and have great pleasure in publishing it that our readers near and far may enjoy a perusal of its contents. Mr. McFeeters became mayor on the incorporation of the town on the first day of January 1858, Bowmanville having been a police village for 1853.


After a portion of the musical program was rendered Mr. McFeeters said:

We are convened this evening to celebrate the centennial of the first settlement of the township of Darlington, and consequently of the town of Bowmanville. It is now a matter of history, perhaps I may say local history, that in 1794 John Burk, John W. Trull and Roger Conant, hailing from the United States, landed on our shores, and became the first pioneers of this part of the province, cutting out for themselves and their families clearing and homes when the country was dense forest and undergoing such privations and hardships as the first settlers only knew what it was to endure. I think posterity owes a debt of gratitude to the men who left home, friends and country and undertook the trials incident to a new and in a great measure unknown country, and their names and memory should be revered by those who have succeeded them. The trials of these pioneers may be imagined when I say that the late Timothy Soper, whom many of us remember, has said that he was thirty years of age before he wore a leather shoe or boot and that when he commenced housekeeping he often carried a bag of wheat or corn to Port Hope on his back to get ground, there being no mill nearer in those days, yet there was a bright side to all the trials through which these men passed. One of the very things they most dreaded, that is the dense forest surrounding them, was the wealth of the country. The inexhaustible supply of the fuel was a boon and a treasure to the new settler, and the forest furnished him not only material to build his house but also the raw material wherewith to make his crude but in some measure comfortable furniture; also many of his implements of husbandry-his ploughs, harrows, his ox-sled and many other useful but crude articles which in those days were all home made. When he became possessed of a horse he made his own jumper, the early forerunner of our beautiful cutter. When he got two horses he made his own sleigh in the old fashioned style with the high back, as comfortable as our arm chair. The old Canadians were proverbial for making their own shifts and they were great adepts at making all manner of wooden articles for practical use. Give one of the old settlers an axe and a jack-knife and he would make almost any thing out of timber from a whip-stock up to a bed stead. They seemed to inherit this faculty from their ancestors for they too were proverbial as workers in wood, so much so that even more recently they excelled in the making of wooden nutmegs. The people in the earlier times in this country were exceedingly kind and sociable, and would relate to each other their simplest matters. Soon after I came to Bowmanville I commenced teaching school in the old school house where the Bennett House now stands. This house did duty not only as a school house, but as a church for all sects, a town hall and a council chamber. I was frequently called on in the kindest manner by many of the old inhabitants. One day I was visited by an elderly, person, a commissioner. Commissioners in those days occupied about the same position as our magistrates do now. In his interview with me he said "I have got a new pair of pants" and showing them with apparent pride he continued, "these are homespun; we make the cloth at home and my wife made the pants and they fit me in every part. Not a tailor from here to York (now Toronto) could make them better. By jove, they tell me nearly as the members of Parliament now wear pants just like these of mine." I mention this just to show how simple and kind and in every way confiding these people were and how they would manifest their friendship in such a way that to use a homely phrase, you would at once feel at home in their company. Then they confided so much in each other. You would never in those days find a door bolted among the settlers by day or by night and the implements they used and everything about their premises were exposed in the most confiding manner.

When the settlers began one by one to get back into the forest, those living near the line of road which began to be traveled always on retiring to bed put on a fine rousing fire almost in imitation of a small log heap. The fireplace was generally say seven or eight feet wide with a large stone hearth a little higher than the door. On this they would first roll in a large back log on and around which they would pile smaller wood and leave this burning all night, so that if any person making his way home to a point further on and perhaps overtaken in a storm with a load on his back would see the light and making for the same would rest and warm and then go on his way, while not one of the inmates would be aware of his having called.

The cattle in the winter season largely lived on browse, and as the settlers began to make small clearings the animals by instinct if not reason would follow the sound of the woodman's axe so that as the trees fell the cattle would get around them and feed contentedly during the day and go home at evening as satisfied as if coming out of a clover field. In spring this was all changed, cattle and hogs took to the woods so soon as any green thing appeared, and this caused the amalgamation of all animals by whomever owned, and necessitated every settler to have a make to distinguished his cattle and hogs from those of other settlers.

Three of four years after I came to the village, I was appointed township clerk and among other duties had to keep a book containing a record of the marks of all the settlers in the township who were owners of cattle, hogs, etc, and it was somewhat amusing to read its contents. It ran this: Wm. Munson's mark, one slit in top of right ear; David Burk's mark, two holes in top of right ear; Hiram Borland's mark, one hole in top of each ear; and so on, and it was wonderful the large number of names which could be embraced with descriptions and no two of them alike. In the fall each was able to select his own animals, and I never knew any difficulty arising among neighbours by the amalgamation of their stock.

The town Meeting Day was a time looked to with much interest by the old settlers, for then they made the laws and regulations which governed them the ensuing year. On the first Monday in January every settler in the township was expected to be present at the aforesaid old school house. At 10 o'clock the meeting was called to order, a chairman appointed to preside and the business being commenced a town clerk was first appointed, then an assessor, then the collector then a treasure, next two fence viewers which were also valuators of damage done by animals, next the pathmasters for the superintendent of labour on the several divisions allotted them. The important and most exciting question was as to hogs running or not running at large. In the earlier years of settlers in the bush the hogs were permitted to run at large for in the woods they usually got their living but as settlers increased and people began to raise patches of potatoes, corn and other gardens produce, the hogs sometimes coming sweeping round would play sad havoc if the fences were not proof against them. Under these circumstances hostility arose against the hogs being "free commoner." The division of the house at Town Meeting on this question used to be the most exciting and mirthful, but when the business was over and the laws all made everything was as unalterable as the laws of the Medes and Persians and all went home in good humour to carry out the laws and regulations they had made.

I often wondered at the good degree of health enjoyed in those days, few people were ever sick and one seldom heard of a death. The inhabitants were sparse, but the health of the community was good. I tried to attribute it to their plainness of food and out door exercise. I have know families to take usually for their morning meal hot Johnnie cake and leeky butter washed down with a bowl of hot hemlock tea well mollified with home made maple sugar, and they would work hard on it till their noonday meal which would also be a plain repast. Some would squirm at the leeky butter, but people in those days had a remedy for nearly every inconvenience and for this they took an onion before sitting down and eating it till the water came freely from both eyes, then sitting down could take their meal with comfort.

I remember in those days but one doctor from Port Hope to Whitby, Oshawa was not much at the time, it was called Shea's Corner, and consisted of one small store a few houses. The doctor was a plain man but said to be successful enough in his practice. I have know some persons call on him feeling a little out of sorts when he would generally ply the lancet, take off what bad blood they could spare, order than a couple of ounces of Epsom salts, with instructions to live a few days on oatmeal gruel, and he guessed they would soon be all right, and so in a few days they would be wielding the axe as usual and in their normal state of health.

In all my intercourse and association with the old settlers I found them exceedingly kind and friendly with the best of friendship and good will existing among them not only to one another but to all the new settlers who soon began to flood and fill up this section of the country.

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