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FOREWORD

 

In the Spring of 1897 I began a series of trips a-wheel through rural Ontario. These trips were undertaken with the object of obtaining first-hand information, for publication in the columns of The Weekly Sun regarding actual conditions on the farms of the province.

While engaged in that task, and purely by accident, I stumbled on a veritable storehouse of information of another kind altogether. This information was carried in the memories of men and women then still living—memories that went back to the days of the virgin forest, of log cabins surrounded by blackened stumps in the midst of scanty clearings, of bush trails and corduroy roads over which settlers toiled with their grists to distant mills, of old-time logging bees, and of the circuit riders who carried the Gospel message to those real heroes, who at such infinite cost in toil and privation were effecting a conquest in which there was none of the brute triumph of the conqueror or the bitterness of defeat in the conquered.

On the memories of those met with I drew for the material given in a series of pioneer sketches which appeared from time to time in the columns of the press during the period from 1897 to 1914. These sketches, with some further in-

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