24 THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO
party travelled in wagons and camped wherever night overtook them. They drove their cows with them, the animals feeding by the wayside and being milked night and morning. The butter was churned in the wagons, the vibration of the rude vehicles assisting in the work of churning. After the family had fairly settled down in Markham, and the first crop was harvested, the grain was carried on horseback over bush trails to Toronto to be ground into flour. Tn the `summerless year,' the awful year of 1816, almost all the grain was frozen and what little was saved was gathered by men wearing overcoats as a protection against the cold."
Josephus Reesor, a son of Peter, in telling of how the original settlers obtained their first food, said that they followed the cattle to the woods. Any plants the tops of which were eaten by the cows the settlers concluded were safe for human food and the roots were dug up to make a stew for the table. Thus, by trusting to the instinct of the dumb brutes, they avoided poisonous herbs. "There was," he said, "only one store in Toronto at that early period and my father rode there and back to purchase supplies. Obtaining a water supply was another problem. Wells were to be found on only a few farms and in some instances water was obtained from pools formed by falling rain. Of at least one kind of food there was an ample supply. Large salmon could then be caught in the River Rouge at Cedar Grove."
The father of William Armstrong, a connection of the Reesors by marriage, planted the first orchard in the settlement. The trees were