124 THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO
matter. "I scooped up," he writes, "a panful of black soil from our clearing, washed it, and got a small tea-cupful of cherry stones, exactly similar to those growing in the forest." He naturally concluded that the pigeons were responsible for the strange growth of cherry and raspberry in the burnt lands.
Becoming dissatisfied with their Sunnidale lot, the Thompsons exchanged it for one in Nottawasaga in the settlement called the Scotch line, where dwelt Campbells, McGillivrays, McDiarmids, etc., very few of whom were able to speak a word of English. Their life here was similar to that of other settlers whose stories have already been told. One incident is worthy of record as it shows the primitive condition of things in a community only thirty-four miles from Barrie. Flora McAlmon, the wife of Malcolm McAlmon, the most popular woman in the Scotch line settlement, died in childbirth, largely due to the fact that no skilled physician or experienced midwife was at hand. Her brother came to the Thompsons to borrow pine boards to make a coffin. Excepting for some pine they had cut down and sawn up, "there was not," says Thompson, "a foot of sawn lumber in the settlement, and scarcely a hammer or a nail either, but what we possessed ourselves. So, being very sorry for their affliction, I told them they should have the coffin by next morning; and I set to work myself, made a tolerably hand-some box, stained in black, of the right shape and dimensions, and gave it to them at the appointed hour." And in this rude coffin the weeping bearers bore the remains of fair Flora