Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next

 

236   THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO

give excellent promise at the start and then the rust would come and destroy it. After the rust came the midge, and this continued until we secured midge-proof wheat. Naturally flour was a scarce article. When one neighbour secured a bag or two, this was shared with others, and, when the flour was gone, it was a case of potatoes and corn. Even potatoes were scarce at times. When nuts failed, the squirrels ate our potatoes, and more than once the seed-cuttings were destroyed before they had time to sprout. The flour that was obtained was secured at the cost of heart-breaking toil. One couple sixty years of age, carried their grist nine miles on their backs. A Scotch girl walked eight or ten miles to our place and carried one hundred pounds of flour home on her back. Her way led through an unbroken bush, in which you could see only a few yards ahead and wherein you had to be careful of your bearings to avoid getting lost. When my crops failed, in order to earn money enough to keep things going, I would help my neighbours with their building all day and do my own logging after night fall. At times after chopping all day, I have made barrels during half the night."

William Pierce, a son of Moses, gave a touch of humour to the story of the past. "The first school I went to," said William, "was held in a log shanty, twelve by fourteen feet. The teacher was in the habit of getting drunk, and, when he was incapacitated, his wife took his place. At noon hour, on my first day at school, she locked us in, as she said, to prevent the bears from getting us, while she went to dinner.


Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next