Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next

 

104   THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO

oil was taken at a gulp before the taste was noticed, but it is probable that the weakness for free drinks was cured there and then.

Tragedy was closely linked with comedy in the drinking habits of pioneer days. A young man of eighteen, with Indian blood in his veins, was noted for his strength and courage even in a community where these qualities were a commonplace. He could lift a stone that a team of horses found it difficult to move, and one of his feats was to stand on his head at the pinnacle of a newly raised barn. He could, too, hold his own with the hardest drinkers in carrying his load of liquor. But one day he overdid it. He accepted a wager that he could drink a pailful at one sitting. He swallowed the lot in three gulps, staggered to a fence corner and died.

THE RUGBY SETTLEMENT

Hardships quite as great as those borne by most of the pioneers were endured by the first settlers between Hawkstone and Rugby, on the west side of Lake Simcoe.

"When our people came here in the early thirties," said John Robertson, a son of one of the Rugby pioneers, "they had to bring their flour all the way from Hog's Hollow. The flour was teamed as far as Holland Landing and then carried by boats, manned by Indians, to Hawk-stone. From Hawkstone the settlers packed it on their backs to Rugby, a distance of six miles, and even to Medonte, six miles further on. The flour was usually carried in bags, but on one occasion Grandfather George Robertson car-


Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next