How Orono received its Name-Was once styled Jericho and Slab City.

A few old Residents, Mrs. Gairdner, Robert Winter, John Miller, Mr. & Mrs. Odell, Mr. Nelson F. Hall, Mrs. Armstrong, Mr. Lewis Clark, Mr. John Cuttell, Mr. & Mrs. Powers, Thomas Thornton, Mr. Samuel Billings.

It is nearly a couple of years since I resigned my position on the staff of the Orono News, and its readers have not of late heard from me; but as I have just had the pleasure of a hasty visit to the township of Clarke, it has occurred to me to offer a few notes about the old folks I found there still.


I was entertained upon an historic spot, namely, in the home of Mr. R. Moment. Upon the site of this home in which he resides, as nearly as I can make out, there once stood the shop of the blacksmith Underwood, who made the bells to hang on the necks of the cows belonging to the settlers of the early days. When the settlement was emerging from the hemlock bush, which was so thick as to obscure the sun at mid-day, a meeting was called in the bell-maker’s shop to give it a name. It had been loosely styled Jericho, Slab City, and the like, and it was now thought desirable to determine its appellation. Bloomington was a designation, which found much favour at the meeting, but it was discovered that there was a place of that name in Prince Edward County. A man named Beale, who came from Orono, in Maine, and who was a Methodist local preacher, suggested the name of his native place as unlikely to duplicate another in Canada. The proposition found favour with the little body of assembled citizens, and ever since that night, through stress and storm, through fire and flood, Orono it has been.


At Mr. Moment’s, and seated at the same hospitable board, I found Mrs. Gairdner, an old resident of the town and township, and one in who veins courses the blood of the last of the Scottish martyrs, James Renwick. It is a far cry from her youth in Dumfries, to her beautiful old age in the Canadian Orono, but she was busying herself over some artistic needlework with quite as much interest and skill as one might expect of younger folks. The evening of her life is evidently brightened by the ministrations of her pastor, the Rev. Mr. McKeen, of who she speaks, as does everybody else, with affectionate esteem.


I knew I had to go and see Mr. Robert Winter, or else the fat would be in the fire. So I went. I found him to quote a saying of the late Mrs. Tucker, of who, I have many pleasant memories, the same old sixpence. His bark was always worse than his late; and he respects the man who will give him a Rowland for his Oliver. It will soon be fifty years since with nearly six hundred fellow passengers, he was shipwrecked on the Bird Rocks off the coast of Nova Scotia. He escaped, like the rest, with what he stood up in; saving from his baggage one article, that is a china egg, something like those placed in nests to encourage hens to lay. This one, however is adorned with aesthetic figures and flowers, and bears the touching legend A present for a boy. A maternal government took charge of the shipwrecked voyagers and gave each a clean shirt. Mr. Winter relates, with considerable disgust, that after his arrival in Orono, that self-same shirt was stolen from the clothesline. He thinks the morals of the community have improved since that time and that there was need of the improvement. Born at Stockton-on-Tees in the county of Durham, he is, he says, in Durham yet, and in Durham he expects to end his days.


Mr. John Miller is still doing business at the old stand. It is forty-seven years ago, he told me, on the 6th of May, since he opened his shop in Orono. During that time he has seen many rivals come and depart, but he remains rooted to the spot; and the sale of his prime beef, mutton, and so forth, like Tennyson’s bread goes on forever. He hails, by the way, from the land of which Kingsley writes with such charm and enthusiasm in Westward Bo, being a native of West Buckland, near Barnstable. It is a land of song as well as story, for have we not heard the strains:

For oh! Its herring and the good brown beef

And the cider and the cream so white;

O! they are the making of the jolly Devon lads,

For to play, and eke to fight.


will celebrate their golden wedding on the sixteenth of next September, so may be reckoned among the old folks. Mr. Odell is from Croydon in Surrey; Mrs Odell from the fine old city of Ely in Cambridgeshire. They were married and settled in Barnsley in Yorkshire, before undertaking to cross the Atlantic. During a residence of twenty-six years in Orono they have never been burnt out, and that fact, to those of us at any rate who have an intimate knowledge of the history of the town previous to the purchase of the new fire engine in 1895, is exceedingly remarkable. The Odell young folks have all left the home nest but many of those on this side of the sun may be expected home at the time of the forthcoming September celebration.


has been burnt out three times during the fifty years he has conducted his business in Orono. It was in 1835 he came to the township, so that he may now be reckoned among the oldest citizens. The family to which he belonged was of English stock, which had settled in Vermont. From this part Mr. Hall’s grandfather moved to a place near Sherbrooke in the Province of Quebec. Other English families who crossed the lines, and who subsequently found their way to Orono are represented by the Gambsbys and the Moultons.

The former came from Newcastle-on-Tyne and first settled in New Hampshire; and some descendants of one branch of the family may still be found at Lenoxville in Quebec. Mr. Hall has long been esteemed as an unselfish and intelligent citizen, and bids fair to spend yet a goodly number of years in the town he has seen rise from the primitive clearing.


was well, and jubilant over having her son, Dr. Harry, home on a visit. She is a life-long Methodist of the good old school, and came from near Enniskillen in Ireland many years ago. Her brother, the Rev. Geo. Elliott, a graduate of Dublin, lives in Ohio, and has himself given two sons to the Methodist ministry. She lives in the expectation of having a visit from some of them during the coming summer. She told me that her husband, like herself, had come from the other side the herring-pond, but that he was an Englishman, and born in Lincolnshire.


was quite unwell, but his eye retained the good-humoured twinkle of other days. A sprightly youth of eighteen, he came to Orono in 1837 from Elizabethtown, and settled here with an uncle who had previously acquired a goodly piece of land. Some of this Mr. Clark helped to clear, and he ultimately came in possession of it. The northern part of the village is built upon the spot from which he chopped the trees, and the street also passes over it. The Clark’s were an Irish family who settled in Vermont, and came to Canada with the U. E. Loyalists. Mr. Clark’s mother also belonged to one of these Loyalist families-the Johns’, who came originally from Wales, the land of the leek and the lyre. Eldad Johns, whose name is found on the charter in the Son’s Hall, was the name of the uncle whose property Mr. Clark inherited, and there are still to be heard among the older settlers interesting stories of the old man’s kindness and beneficence.


was out again, and busy after being bound and imprisoned by the grippe monster. He came to Clarke in 1835, and settled near Kirby. Yorkshire claims him, as his cognomen indicates; and he was born at Newpark in that county in 1823. His parents as young people, had heard the immortal Wesley preach, and the family had several relatives who were active workers in the establishing of Methodism in the beginning of its history. The Thornton family spent thirteen weeks and three days on the tempestuous sea when they crossed in 1829. Until January 1833 Mr. Thornton remained in Port Hope when he removed to Clarke. At that time it was mostly woods as far south as the Potterville settlement, - now known as Trickey’s Corners. The first sermon Mr. Thornton heard after coming to Clarke was preached by a layman named James Bradshaw who lived some three miles above Bowmanville. It was, he says, preached in a barn on lot 26, concession 7, at that time owned by Mr. Latimore, the father of Mrs. H.L. Powers, of Kirby.


Emeritus-Editor of the News was still to be seen in the office. It is forty years ago since he commenced printing in Orono, and he was twice burnt out. He served his time as an apprentice in his native Leeds, in Yorkshire, where he worked on that great paper The Leeds Mercury. Crossing the ocean in 1841 he worked for some time in the Globe Office in Toronto, afterwards in Port Hope, and then in Newcastle, until his removal to Orono.


I paid a flying visit to Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Powers, who seem to have survived the excitement inseparable from the celebrations of their diamond wedding last March. Mr. Powers told me that he went to school in his native Elizabethtown to William Case Healy, the son of the Rev. Ezra Healy, a pioneer Methodist minister. He has also lively remembrances of the Rev. William Case, after whom his teacher was named. I was almost startled when Mrs. Powers told me she had lately had tidings from her aunt! One finds it hard to imagine such a venerable old lady having an aunt still among the living. But then it is all explained when one is told that the aunt in question is a centenarian.


I did not see, but had tidings of that worthy patriarch, Mr. Samuel Billings. He keeps in fair health, despite his more than ninety years. When he came to Clarke there was no York road and men traveled along the lakeshore. It was he who cut the first trees upon what is now the road north from Renwick’s corners. Indeed, he made all the road there was for some time, as he desired ingress and engross from his own clearing south of the present Gamsby lot. At that time Newcastle had one log house, that of Dr. Herriman; while Bowmanville had a house and store in addition to the saw and grist mill owned by Charles Bowman, of Montreal. In Orono there was one log hut, but wolves and bears and deer abounded.

I met many others with grey heads and grey beards about whom I might write much, but they do not yet at any rate desire to be classed among the old folks, so I must cherish the hope of seeing them in years to come, and of telling their absent friends through these columns whether they are growing old gracefully.






Mr. Thomas Doncaster came to Orono in 1844, so that he has nearly a sixty years remembrance of the place. It was a rough-looking spot when he arrived; and that there was still plenty of bush in the neighbourhood I evidenced by the fact that three saw mills were kept going, one near the Lewis Clark farm residence, one at Waddell’s and the third at Carveth’s grist mill. The nearest store was on the site of Mr. Halliday’s house, south of the village, and was kept by Amos Mallory, brother of the late Mrs. J.L. Tucker.

Mr. Doncaster’s story reads like a romance. When he was quite a young boy he came out from St. Austell, in Cornwall, with his parents and the rest of the family, to St. John, New Brunswick. They did not stay very long, however, but returned to England. Subsequently they all came back to this side the Atlantic, with the exception of the subject of this sketch, who was left at home in the charge of an uncle. As time went on Mr. Doncaster lost sight of his people who had settled in the States, and with whom communication was not so easily kept up as in these days of steam and the penny-post.

When he attained his seventeenth year Mr. Doncaster resolved on leaving England on his own account, and as a family that was in the employment of his uncle was emigrating he arranged to accompany them. After many adventures he found his way to Orono, as already indicated, in 1844, and at length wholly despaired of ever hearing of his father’s family again.

A short time since, however, Mr. Doncaster, by a very happy circumstance, obtained tidings of the whereabouts of his people on this side the ferry, and has had frequent correspondence with a newly discovered nephew Mr. Harry B. Williams, of Boston. Mr. Williams has, it seems, for sometime been engaged in looking up the history of the Doncaster family to which his mother belonged, and has accumulated a moss of interesting facts. Mr. Doncaster’s father, whose Christian name was John, married Elizabeth Grey, the daughter of an Anglican Clergyman, and her grave is in the James Madison Bower’s plot of the famous Greenwood cemetery, L. I. Where she was buried on Feb. 2nd 1850.

It has been truly said that there can scarcely be an old family in England that may not boast of having the blood of William the Conqueror in their veins. Every man must have two parents, four grand parents, eight great grand parents, and so on. By the time you have traced him back for only ten generations you find that he has had no less than two thousand and forty-six progenitors! Now, in the case of an old family established in England for many centuries it is practically impossible that in the multitude of ancestors they can claim there should not be one in some way related to the family of the blood royal. Of late, for instance, somebody has been hunting up the pedigree of the Bartlett family, a branch of which is found in Newfoundland, and has traced them back to Edward! Mr. Williams, in the manner, has been investigating the genealogy of the Doncasters and the Greys. He finds several coats of arms associated with both names, and it appears quite likely that he may be able to establish a claim to descent from the first Grey who came to England with the conqueror in 1066. Once of his descendants married Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII, from whom the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey and other historic personages were descended.

Mrs. Doncaster, whose maiden names was Susan Hurd, was born near Stratton in Devonshire. She came to this country about seventy years ago with her parents, Joseph and Martha Lewis Hurd. For six years the family resided at Cobourg, and then removed to Providence, where Mr. Hurd was for many years a class-leader. At that time Darlington township was mostly a forest wilderness, and Mrs. Doncaster has lived to see a vast change come over the countryside.


Mr. Robert Moment, our Postmaster, Notary Public, etc., is the grandson of a former postmaster of Hull, in Yorkshire, whence many years ago, his father came to seek his fortune. The most careful investigation of the public records of Hull, however, sheds no light on the history of the Moment family. A probable explanation of this silence is found in the fact that the family was most likely transplanted from some other part of the kingdom. For in those troublesome days when the Hanoverian succession still in dispute in the north of England, it was expedient to place only such as were acknowledged loyalists in the ranks of the civil service. Moment is a surname frequently met with in France, and it may be that those who originally bore the name came over with the refugee Huguenots who fled from that country after the horrible massacre of St. Bartholomew, August 24, 1572, for which diabolical outrage the infamous Pope Gregory XIII publicly thanked heaven, and struck a medal inscribed - Hugonotoruan Stranges

Many of these Huguenot families settled in the south of England, and some still remain in Canterbury where their forbears first located. From the first these Canterbury Huguenots have had the privilege of worshipping the Cathedral crypt; and it is interesting to note that the minister appointed as their pastor from year to year is a member of the Montreal Conference of the Methodist church in Canada. His name appears in the list of stations as John R. Barnabas, pastor of the French Huguenot church, Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, England. We may add that whatever doubt there may lie about the Huguenot origin of the Moment family, there is absolutely none about that of the Tourje family which has long lived in our midst. The late Mr. Tourje was descended in a direct line from one bearing his name who escaped across the Atlantic, and who has among his descendants not a few famous men, among whom is Judge Tourje, the well known writer.

Mr. Moment first took up his residence here in 1857. At that time Orono had become a busy place. It sported eight or nine hotels, and sixteen or seventeen stores, at half a dozen of which liquor was sold. The hotels or taverns were compelled to have a license, but there was no license needed by the stores, the only stipulation binding upon them being that they must not sell less than a quart. A barrel of whiskey usually stood in every store, with a dish beside the tap, and customers just helped themselves! At that time whiskey was worth fifteen cents a gallon and it flowed everywhere like water. The place was sometimes howling wild at night, and was noted for its broken heads and black eyes. There is but one counter now where liquor can be bought, and the village is both quiet and respectable. And yes the present writer, not long ago, met a man only a concession or two from the village who vociferously contended that the world was getting worse and the whole creation was going to the dogs! One felt inclined to rebuke the poor old pessimist with the outburst of Disraeli when, in 1878, he styled Gladstone: A sophistical rhetorician inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity, and gifted with egotistical imagination that can at all times command an interminable and inconsistent series of arguments to malign an opponent and to glorify himself.


Mr. G.M. Long came to Orono in 1864 and has been in business here ever since. When He arrived here there was more life and bustle than at present, as there was no railroad to the north, and the grain was all bought hither from that region. Sixty loaded teams would sometimes be in the village before breakfast, and their presence, as may be readily imagined, made the place pretty lively. Mr. Long was born in New York City, with his father, William Long, had come from Londonderry, in Ireland. His mother, was Mary daughter of George and Ellen Mackie McKennet of Donnegal. Her father had been in the police service at Ballyshannon and she met and was married to her husband after crossing Atlantic. Once of Mr. Long’s first memories is that of his father getting him to sign the total abstinence pledge; and he frequently recalls the touching scene with intimate pleasure and satisfaction. Mr. Long, who received the name of George Mitchell, in honour of a ship’s chandler with whom his father worked, lost his father when he was but six years old. Of late, however, he has been able to piece together some family traditions, which have a look of more than probability.

It seems that three brothers of the name of Long, (presumably from Yorkshire) held commissions in the army of King William, and after the war was over two were granted lands near Derry in the north of Ireland, where until lately Mr. L’s people owned property. The third brother is said to have received a grant of land near Dublin, and the family he founded subsequently became Roman Catholics through intermarriage with persons of that faith. Some members of the Long family have been noted for their physical endurance and longevity; the grandmother of our own respected townsman having been able to conduct her own correspondence until she was ninety-three years of age. It was in 1848 that Mr. Long first came to Clarke. At that time he lived at Newtonville, and then he removed, as before intimated, to Orono in 1864. The business he conducts is the oldest established of any general store in the village, and Mr. Long has been a useful citizen, having given a number of years of his life to public duties in the capacity of both councillor and reeve.


December 26, 1901, Orono




By favour of Rev. Wilson of this place, I was permitted to see your issue of last week, and saw therein an article by Rev. Adams, in which my name was conspicuous. One cannot help reminiscences of the past, when prominent circumstances are mentioned. The melodeon circumstance was and is amusing, but I was put at the wrong end of the melodeon. I can vouch for the rest. Dr Noden mentioned was an early teacher in the then, new schoolhouse on the hill, the first or second, I forget which, was rather eccentric in manner, a good singer, and a local preacher of rather limited experience. I recollect one Sunday afternoon; he had planned to go to Rickaby’s Schoolhouse to preach. Now it was an established role for both travelling and local preachers after the service to take ten at Bro. Rickaby’s, and it was a guarantee that if any shortage existed at home, they were sure of a spare, pith some meal at Rickaby’s. Sister Rickaby was a superb housekeeper. Now it happened that Bro. Noden proceeded with the service fairly well, reading the lesson, announcing the text, but as it was unpopular for local preachers to display notes on his subject, he put them in his pocket book; it was not long however before his mind became a blank. He had no alternative, but deliberately hunt for his notes, and when he got them, he told me, he could see nothing but stars; he utterly failed to read a line, he hurriedly left the stand and bolted like an arrow out of the School House, made for Orono, and missed his meal, poor Noden. I don’t think he tried to preach again-Requiescat in pace.

Another character was incidentally mentioned, Daniel Callahan a boot and shoe maker, also a local preacher, had a fairly good mind, had a lovely family, but had the faculty of being disagreeable, and an inconsiderate critic and generally unpopular; he was hesitant in his speech, painfully so. At one time he went over to Tyrone to preach, got through his sermon, asked father Gray to pray; the burden of his prayer was that God would give Bro. Callahan a ready utterance. His untimely death caused me much sorrow, for we were friends.

Dr. Tucker was also unmentioned-yes I remember the doctor when a boy. Milton I think, we called him, small of his age, an excellent student, but at that time I thought constitutionally weak, so much so, that I was surprised at his taking a profession so laborious and exacting on one’s patience and sympathies. I never knew him to do a mean thing when a boy and I are told that his standing on those lines is undiminished-so mote it is. A very few of my acquaintances in Orono are left as far as I remember, all my class in the old Methodist church, are gone over to the great majority. Just at this moment I recollect one, Bro. Robert Winter; I was sorry I did not see him when last in Orono, being quite under the weather. I could not get around, was the cause. Not seeing my old, long tried friend was a disappointment, he was a little excitable at times, but generally correct in his view of things, true as a friend and possessing characteristics of a good citizen. Since my last communication to the News a year or two ago, when visiting at Rice Lake, I came across to catch the R.R. to Port Hope, and took advantage to call on my esteemed friend Dyer, he was in the factory with his son stooping and back towards me doing some tinted work. I feigned a farmer, wanting to sell some wool, but not being familiar with that kind of trade, I soon got rounded up and to my surprise without looking at me, his first words were Christoe. Well I laughed, but nothing would do but I must dine with him. I always esteemed him, although we differed sometimes on church matters; he was always a great enemy to shame; a worker for the salvation of men’ he showed me the beautiful church he had built, and gave me the history thereof. We keep at our house, a bed and a stool for the man of God, and in all my acquaintance, there is no man would be welcome than this very same Bro. Dyer to occupy them.

One word in reference to your old minister Bro. Adams, and on whom may be lain the charge for this communication. A very short acquaintance would convince one that he was English, and fairly well over provincialism, so characteristic of that country. I take him to be a desirable conversationalist, a thoughtful preacher, elucidating with clearness and acceptance. I had the pleasure of hearing him once only, having promised to preach in the Chalmer’s Presbyterian church in the afternoon, I had to bring my best thoughts to the front, and thus I was barred the opportunity. All I will my further, is that be managed to make a good impression here.

He says Mrs. C bears the weight of 77-well sir, in a few months I shall begin my 78th year, yet I write this communication without glasses, and quite rapidly. He also mentions the fact of my being Township Clerk of the Township of Clarke, before that I was also teacher in the village of Orono, to that experience I am indebted to my position in municipal matters in Artemisia, elected as councillor to begin with afterwards in Reeve for sixteen years, and Warden of the large County of Grey for one year, but now I cease seeking for those kind of honours, and am waiting patiently at the station for the train to take my last journey, having I hope a secure ticket, one that will pass muster.

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