Month: November 2017

Background: Drovers

  Background: Drovers Early Ontario had appalling roads. It was difficult to move produce and meat from place to place by road and even harder to keep it fresh. Meat spoiled quickly in the heat and death from food poisoning was common. Because Leslieville was close to Toronto and had one of the few relatively good roads, as well as an alternate delivery route by water, it became a place to fatten cattle and pigs for sale at the St. Lawrence Market (also right on the water). Meat was safe only if it was consumed near to where it was slaughtered and processed. Drovers herded cattle along the roads leading into Toronto from the east. All those roads funneled down through Leslieville where there were broad fields in which cattle could be fattened. The grasses growing on the marshy meadows along Ashbridges Bay were rich, nutritious and cheap. As well, canny distillers and brewers used the by-products (including the mash) from their businesses to feed cattle. (It is said that Gooderham and Worts’s cattle were very happy beasts – …

Drovers and Accidents from MUD ROADS AND PLANK SIDEWALKS: LESLIEVILLE 1880 PART 5

  Drovers and Accidents from MUD ROADS AND PLANK SIDEWALKS: LESLIEVILLE 1880 PART 5 by Sam Herbert (1876-1966)   CATTLE DROVERS. In the early days it was quite common to see a herd of cattle being driven along the road on their way to the slaughter house, or to a convenient field adjoining one. The drover and his dog kept the herd moving in the right direction, but occasionally, some boy would throw a few stones into the herd and confusion was generally the result.  The drover would use every word at his command concerning the one who threw the stones, then shouting directions to the dog, the dog barking and the cattle bellowing and raising a cloud of dust. It was anything but a peaceful country scene. Before Heward Avenue was opened through, a large field extended from the Kingston Road to Eastern Avenue, and there were generally twenty-five or thirty head of cattle in the field, that is during the grazing months of the year. There was a small shack in one corner …

Schools from MUD ROADS AND PLANK SIDEWALKS: LESLIEVILLE 1880 PART 4

MUD ROADS AND PLANK SIDEWALKS: LESLIEVILLE 1880 PART 4 By Sam Herbert (1876-1966) SCHOOLS There were two schools in Leslieville in 1880–the Willow Street school, and St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic School. The one I attended was the Willow Street School, at times known as South Park St. School, and Leslieville School. It was a two-room brick building on a large lot, at the corner of Willow Street and Eastern Avenue. It faced Eastern Avenue, and as taken from a history of that time, it “was opened October 1, 1874.” For some time only one room was used. Mr. F.G. Spence was the first principal. On February 15th, 1875, Mr. John Phillips took charge, and on January the 4th, 1884, Miss E. Williams took over the duties as principal. The Assistant teachers in the school from time to time were, Miss Hamilton, November 4th, 1875, Miss Ida Phillips, January 8th, 1877, Miss M.B. Wallace, January 6th, 1879.  Miss Ida Phillips left temporarily to take a course at the Normal School, and returned to duty on September …

MUD ROADS AND PLANK SIDEWALKS Part 3

MUD ROADS AND PLANK SIDEWALKS: LESLIEVILLE 1880 By Sam Herbert (1876 – 1966) TRADESMEN In the early ’80s, a firm of three brothers who kept a grocery store on Queen Street near Seaton came through Leslieville soliciting orders, once a week. The following afternoon the groceries were delivered by another of the brothers in a canvas covered wagon. The name of the firm was painted on both sides of the cover, also the statement “Groceries and Provisions, Tea a specialty.” A grab bag was usually in each box of groceries, and I always helped mother unpack the box until I came to the· grab bag, then I let her finish the job. Our nearest drug store in 1880 and 1881 was near the corner of King and Berkeley Streets, it was kept by a druggist named Lee, and was next door to Little Trinity Church Parsonage. The building is still there. This will give an idea of the conditions in the early days. Background: Leslieville’s First Drug Store by Joanne Doucette, Leslieville Historical Society   …

MUD ROADS AND PLANK SIDEWALKS: Water, Outhouses, etc.

MUD ROADS AND PLANK SIDEWALKS: LESLIEVILLE 1880 (continued) By Sam Herbert WATER SOURCES Our water supply was from a well for drinking purpose, and a large cistern and rain barrels for washing. The cistern was sunk in the ground, the top being slightly above the ground level. It was boarded over, and had a small lid in the centre that lifted off when water was required. I remember on one occasion when dipping up a pail of water, I found the body of a skunk floating. I lifted it out and took it to the end of the garden to bury later on. The lid of the cistern had not been replaced properly and acted as a trap. It all taught us all a lesson as it might have been a child instead. We were without soft water for some time, except from the rain barrels on the other side of the house, while the cistern was being pumped out and cleaned. OUTHOUSES Outside conveniences was the rule, we did not know about anything else, …

Samuel Herbert: Background

  Samuel Sydney Herbert, was born October 30, 1834 in Great Coggeshall, near Colchester, Essex, England. His father was an agricultural laborer and the family would have been quite poor. He was still at home in 1851. His older brother, Benjamin, was blind and 15-year old Samuel worked as an errand boy, no doubt to help the family’s ends meet. Samuel S. Herbert enlisted in the 60th Regiment or King’s Royal Rifle Corps army for a period of 21 years probably when he was about 18 so probably in 1852. Colchester was, and still is, a major military base. Thousands of troops were stationed there during the Crimean War when Samuel S. Herbert was a teenager. He served with the First Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in India and probably helped put down the so-called “Indian Mutiny” in 1857. In 1862 the First Battalion of the Royal Rifle Corps returned to England for several years and was stationed at the Aldershot Barracks. In 1864 they were sent to Ireland. In 1867 they sailed …

MUD ROADS AND PLANK SIDEWALKS: LESLIEVILLE 1880 Part 1

MUD ROADS AND PLANK SIDEWALKS: LESLIEVILLE 1880 By Sam Herbert I would be useless to search for Leslieville on any map of to-day. It simply is not there. A Directory for the year 1871 gives it the following description: Leslieville, a thriving village on the Kingston Road, Township and County of York, named after George Leslie, one of the first settlers and owner of extensive nursery grounds in the neighbourhood. The manufacture of bricks is carried on to a great extent. Stage, to and from Toronto, twice a day. The Montreal Telegraph has an office there. The distance from Toronto is two miles. Mail daily. Population about four hundred. Our family came to Leslieville in the year 1880 and purchased a house and large garden on the east side of what was then Pape’s Sideline, just north of the Kingston Road. At that time there were only four houses on the street between the Kingston Road and the Grand Trunk Railway crossing, the rest was meadow and market gardens. The following are mostly personal recollections …