|Date of birth||January 1, 1935|
- This interview is a part of the Chronicles of Oakland Township, which was compiled in the summer of 1980. Click here to read more interviews in this collection!
This is Duane Brandow and Debbie Urban interviewing Mr. Joe Keresturi at his home in Oakland, Ontario on July 1st, 1980.
Duane: Mr. Keresturi, could you tell us when and where you were born?
Mr. Keresturi: Oh, I was born in Hartford, 1935— Hartford, Ontario.
Duane: Could you tell us when you came to Oakland Township?
Mr. Keresturi: 1954.
Duane: When you first came to Oakland Township what did you do for a living?
Mr. Keresturi: Grew tobacco.
Mr. Keresturi: Down on Lot 8 and 9, concession 3, near Maple Grove Rd.
Duane: How old were you when you came to Oakland?
Mr. Keresturi: Nineteen.
Duane: Nineteen? Did you go to high school?
Mr. Keresturi: Yes. I went to Waterford.
Duane: Oh, Waterford.
Mr. Keresturi: That's before I moved to Oakland Township.
Duane: Could you tell us a bit about your family...like your mom and dad...their names and...
Mr. Keresturi: My dad, he's Alex Keresturi and my mom is Elizabeth and, uh...you want to know where they came from?
Mr. Keresturi: Well they came from originally from Hungary. And they came out around uh, 19...now let me see...just after the First World War. Around 1920 and uh, they settled in.... They lived in Oshawa, Hamilton and they finally moved to Hartford. That's where I was born. And we had nine kids. I was about and I was about the fifth one, I guess. And then, the only reason...they lost that farm there and they moved up here to, uh, well Townsend Township. It's just south of Scotland there. We lived there until I was 19 and I moved over here to Oakland Township.
Duane: When did you get married?
Mr. Keresturi: I was 22.
Duane: Where did you get married?
Mr. Keresturi: In Brantford.
Duane: Oh, in Brantford. What's your wife's name?
Mr. Keresturi: Dorothy.
Duane: And how many children do you have?
Mr. Keresturi: Four.
Duane: And what are their names?
Mr. Keresturi: Joe Jr.—he's the oldest and then Cherylyn, Karen and Kim...Kimberly.
Duane: When you first came to Oakland do you remember any of the businesses that were around here?
Mr. Keresturi: You mean in the town? In the Township?
Duane: In the township or...
Mr. Keresturi: Same ones that are here new. Well, CIL wasn't here. The Agromart wasn't here when I first came. But, there used to be a feed mill across the railway on the other side of the railway. I think it was Don Eddy. And then, I believe ah Lloyd Vivian was still going at their feed mill, there. There really wasn't that many businesses, that I knew of, right off hand. (laughs)
Duane: Could you tell us how someone could join the Lion's Club? (South Brant Lions are in Oakland/Scotland area)
Mr. Keresturi: Well you'd have to be approached by a member and asked to join and then the board of directors...like you to come out to two or three meetings and then your name is put before the board of directors and they, they usually have a vote on it.
Duane: Could you tell us what their aim or purpose is?
Mr. Keresturi: Well it's a Community Service mostly and—first of all and then secondly they—used to be serving the blind, helping; the blind. Send kids away to camp up to Lake St. Joseph. And they help a leader dog—send money to that. And since I've been on there they are helping the deaf too.
Duane: Do you remember any special events that the lions have held in Oakland Township?
Mr. Keresturi: Well, one of them is Summerfest. They purchased that land down there at the park and that's where we had our Summerfest. But this year's cancelled. I don't know if you heard about that.
Mr. Keresturi: Couldn't have it.
Duane: Why couldn't you have it? Or don't you want to say?
Mr. Keresturi: Well, we just couldn't get a liquor permit. And we can't draw a crowd without a liquor permit.
Duane: Yes, that's true. Was there anything else?
Mr. Keresturi: Oh well, well back years ago when they first started I know they held boat races on lower Oakland. That's one big event they had. And then, one time they had a wrestling match right in Oakland at the Township school grounds. And well, they had the regular fund raising things like a feather party, a turkey shoot, vegs.... We used to run snowmobile races but the weather was never reliable so we cut that out. And oh, all winter we have our regular meetings, like two meetings every month.
Duane: Do you know exactly how the Lions got started in Oakland Township?
Mr. Keresturi: Well Waterford Lions sponsored us. That's how it's usually done. Another club sponsors you. And, well two years ago we sponsored a club down in Onondaga. You have to have someone has to go with them to their meetings for a whole year to get them started. It's quite a job.
Duane: Do you know around how many members you have?
Mr. Keresturi: About 40.
Duane: I understand that you were one of the first farmers to grow peanuts or experimenting with the peanut crop. Could you tell us about a bit about that?
Mr. Keresturi: Well there was a group of us that...what we'd call a... there was about 12 farmers got together, so it wasn't totally individual. We were planning on building a processing plant—like cleaning, shelling and grading station because that's one thing that we don't have in Canada. We grew some peanuts to see if it was—we wanted to grow some to see if the crop was viable. And we weren't too enthused about it.
Duane: So, it never turned out that good?
Mr. Keresturi: Not to our satisfaction, no.
Duane: Were there other farmers from Oakland Township involved in it?
Mr. Keresturi: Yes. There's Bill Kicksee, he's from Oakland Township... Do you remember any more Dorothy?
Mrs. Keresturi: Not from Oakland Township. How about Teo Maleki?
Mr. Keresturi: No, he's not in Oakland Township. Well he's got some land in Oakland Township—Teo Maleki but he don't live in Oakland Township.
Mrs. Keresturi: John Klus?
Mr. Keresturi: Yes. That's right, John Klus was a member.
Duane: I also understand that you're a representative on the Planning Board. Could you tell us a bit about that?
Mr. Keresturi: It's planning for housing and community development. It's with planning new sub-divisions and allowing severances and things like that, this idea. That's what you do on the planning board.
Duane: We know that you're on the town council. What exactly are you on the council?
Mr. Keresturi: Councilor.
Duane: Could you tell us when you started?
Mr. Keresturi: About 1973.
Duane: Did you have to get elected?
Mr. Keresturi: No, the first time I was appointed. A regular councilor resigned so the council appointed me to finish his term. And that was about a half a year. Then the following term I had to give it up. Then they had elections and I was elected.
Duane: What exactly, umm do you do when you're a councilor on the board?
Mr. Keresturi: You mean councilor on the Township Council?
Duane: On the Council.
Mr. Keresturi: First, we generally have rules. We discuss rules and we make decisions on what to do and how much to spend and, pay the bills. Then we generally move on to other council business. Any business that comes before the municipality.
Duane: Hew often does the Council meet?
Mr. Keresturi: Generally once a month and then sometimes more than that. When we have to draw up budget to raise taxes that we sometimes meet twice a month. We have a road tour we have in the spring to check the roads. It works out to be about a little better than once a month.
Debbie: Is there anything else in the council? Is there anything more than just besides roads, or any other sort of things that come up?
Mr. Keresturi: Well, we have to look after one thing is fences. We have problems with dogs.
Debbie: Do you put forth by-laws and things like that, too?
Mr. Keresturi: Yes. We have to make by-laws....! don't know...Ask me some more questions and I could tell you. Mainly it's to raise taxes and look after anything that—we had quite a big project with that school—we bought that. And we have to organize a recreation committee. And there's other committees we have to be on—like there's—township council has to look at—have to send a representative to the cemetery board. We have to appoint all these boards, too—the cemetery board...(laughter)
Debbie: Do you hire people for all these different boards?
Mr. Keresturi: Well, we generally we just appoint them. They're not really hired. We don't hire. We only have the road superintendent and the Clerk-Treasurer. Well we appoint a by-law enforcement officer and we appoint people to sit on the community of adjustment and the Burford-Oakland planning board. [For] the Brant Planning Board we just recommend to Brant County, who should sit on there. And then there's the...someone has to go to the library board...and social services at.... And there's another thing we have a lot of problem with, is the garabage— garbage pickup—land fill. I don't know.
Debbie: Oh, that's quite a bit of stuff.
Duane: Do you know who owned the farm that your son is running now before you bought it?
Mr. Keresturi: Well, my dad owned it before that and then Clayton Smith owned it before that.
Duane: Do you know any farther than that?
Mr. Keresturi: Well I got some records if you want me to get them.
(tape shut off)
Debbie: What's that Chrystal Springs over there?
Mr. Keresturi: That's a bible camp and there's a little lake down there.
Debbie: Is that restricted to certain people?
Mr. Keresturi: No. Anybody can go in there, I guess you have to...like if you want to send children there you can send them. They used to bring up a lot of kids from Mexico. Their parents would send them up here to learn English and mix them with the local kids. For two or three years, they were coming by here but I haven't seen them this year. I don't know.
Debbie: Well, is there a building back there or something?
Mr. Keresturi: Yes. There's some little cabins up in the hills here. Down below there's a big pavilion where you have your meals and where they have their meetings. And there's a lodge for the older people and counselors and that.
Debbie: Since you've moved into the area do you have any feelings about it—things you like about it or don't like about it compared to other places that you've lived?
Mr. Keresturi: Well I like it, I like this area, particularly at Maple Grove—is quite close to people—and my family and another I noticed my old man lived in another township and the taxes are quite a bit lower here. (laughter)
Debbie: That's good then.
Mr. Keresturi: So, I'm quite satisfied with...with ah everything around here. Everybody's close. Easy to get along.