|Mrs. Con Eddy|
|Date of birth||January 1, 1889|
- 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 Joanne Vamos interviewing Mrs. Con Eddy at her home in Brantford, Ontario July 28, 1980.
Joanne: Could you tell us where and when you were born, Mrs. Eddy?
Mrs. Eddy: Yes. I was born in the township of Oakland in 1889.
Joanne: Would you be able to tell us anything about the event of your birth that maybe your parents have told you?
Mrs. Eddy: No, I was the last of our family. I have two older brothers. But there's nothing significant about my birth (laughs) I was just another baby, that's all. I can tell you all about Oakland and Scotland. There were exciting things happened in those places. You wouldn't know it by now, but there was.
Joanne: Well, I've got some questions later on but I'll just ask you about your family now. Where exactly did you grow up in Oakland Township?
Mrs. Eddy: Well, I grew up at East Oakland really. Then my father bought a store in Oakland and I lived there till we were married.
Joanne: Could you tell us a bit about your ancestors like who your grandparents were and who your mother and father were?
Mrs. Eddy: Yes, of course. My mother's father's name was Stephen Vivian and he built that house on the south-east corner of Oakland. That's where my mother was born in that. His name was Steven Vivian and he was a carpenter and millwright. He used to help build houses and also he fixed the mills when something went wrong. He went around to the different mills. There was a lot of mills, you see, on Malcolm's Creek. What made Oakland Township so great was that Malcolm's Stream down and all the mills that were built on it. They had woolen mills and carding mills and spinning mills. Of course, there was grain grinding, grain and that.
In Scotland they had grain, grist and flour mills and a lumber yard and a fumiture factory and a spinning—carding mill and everything. Scotland was larger than Oakland. The stream went down to Oakland and one of the Malcolms built a grain mill at Oakland. Then it went on down to East Oakland and a man named Foster built a mill there. He had a mill and a cider press. People made vinegar out of their apples in the fall. That mill is still standing and so is the mill in Oakland still standing; but neither one of them are running.
The one in East Oakland now though—they sent to Germany and bought a mill to grind rye. They do nothing but grind rye and the man that came from Germany to help set up the mill—he liked Canada so well he sent for his family and he's living there. He works with a man names Edmund Smith and they work five or six days a week, 8 hours and they can sell all the rye flour find that's all they milled was rye flour. They sell it mostly to the Jewish bakeries. They sell it to a wholesale house and then they package it and sell it to stores, specialty stores.
My other grandfather came from Scotland and he worked for Susan Smith that was a widow, he married one of the daughters (Charity) and moved to Port Dover. But when he was seventy-five he moved back to Oakland. Now, my father was brought up there. He was born in Dover but was brought up there.
Joanne: What is your mother's name?
Mrs. Eddy: My mother's name was Julia Vivian.
Joanne: Where did you attend school ?
Mrs. Eddy: I attended school at East Oakland in a stone school house. My father went there and my brothers and I went.
Joanne: Could you describe the school to us.
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, it was a one room school house with a great big stove in the centre. And those that sit next to the stove scorch and those that sat next to the window were cold. It used to bum cord wood and you know how long cord wood is. The stove was just as long as that. The boys would fill it up at recess if necessary. They had a wood shed that they did keep it in.
Joanne: What was it like going to school there for you?
Mrs. Eddy: Well, it was quite hard. I started to school when I was five. I would be six in a few days. And I walked a mile and a half to school. But you'd take your lunch you know. The boys had an entry on one side and the girls had an entry on the other. You put your coats here and there was shelves along the end for your boxes for your lunch. In the summer time I never ate a sandwich without looking in it and shaking out the ants. And I've eaten lots of frozen sandwiches too, in the winter time. There was no heat in the entrance.
Joanne: Were there any special events or holidays that you celebrated at school?
Mrs. Eddy: Well what was really nice was May Day, the first Friday in May. We all went and there was no school and we took rakes and we cleaned the yard up. The boys would rake the yard and we'd clean out the inside of the school. I was all called Arbour Day, that's what we called it.
Joanne: Do you know what year the school was built in?
Mrs. Eddy: It is a very old school. It has been made into a house now. I couldn't tell you, but it was there long before my father moved up.
Joanne: So, you grew up on your parents' farm?
Mrs. Eddy: Yes.
Joanne: Could you tell us a bit about the farm?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, it was fun. I loved the farm. I used to work in the field with my father and brothers. At that time there was—the hay would be pitched and stooped in stocks and then somebody had to drive the horses. I'd drive the horses—my brothers were on one side and one on the other pitching on the hay and my tether loading it on top, I never upset the load; once I prit' nearly did. (laughs)
Then we had strawberries and a lovely orchard and that house that we lived in was my husband's great-uncles. He came up as a United Empire Loyalist and he built that house and I thought it was gorgeous. I thought it was most wonderful. He planted the trees and he planted all the Maple trees down where we used to tap them in the spring. And he had a berry patch. He had all kinds of berries. There was red berries, black berries, thimble berries and all kinds of currents.
There was one tree he planted in the front yard— a very tall tree. It was too tall for any ladder to reach the bough and so we could never pick those apples. We always had to wait till the fall when the wind was coming and knocked them down. The nearest I can explain it—they were about that big around, but they were like Macintoshes. They were the greatest apples. There was ,a family of brothers and their name were the Havilands and he claimed he could graft it but it would never grow, John Eddy's father was Charles, brought that up from the States. But he planted all kinds of them: Pear tree and a grapevine and a black cherry tree. It was wonderful. We were fortunate.
Joanne: What kind of farm was it?
Mrs. Eddy: Well, it was grain growing and it was a little heavy. It was um—clay. It was a little slower than the sand farms, you know. But once you got a crop in you had the best crop ever. It was a good farm—very good farm. It had lots of nut trees on it too.
Joanne: Were there any improvements made on the farm? Was there additions made to the home or the barns or anything?
Mrs. Eddy: Right now there isn't to the barn. But right now they've torn that old house down and they've put a new one there. Well you can see, Charles came up in...when is it father?
Mr. Eddy: I don't know. About the 1800s, I guess.
Mrs. Eddy: (pause) Well, the first settlers, come in 1731 you see. But John Eddy was among the Loyalists and they came in 1806.
Joanne: So that's when the house was built then?
Mrs. Eddy: The house would be built shortly after.
Joanne: Into your childhood now. What kinds of toys did you used to play with?
Mrs. Eddy: I broke my mother's heart. I didn't care a bit about dolls and I had dolls and I remember I had a doll buggy too. But I'd rather read.—And I helped my mother. Children were supposed to work.
We lived just a mile from the reserve, you know and I remember, I was quite young. I knew a weed from a bean or a carrot or a lettuce. In the evening my mother and father and I would go out in the garden and one day I was gardening along picking away and I come to a pair of feet—no shoes on them, just a pair of feet. I looked up and there stood an Indian and he had baskets all over him. They used to make baskets and sell them. They'd get reeds from the Grand River, you know. He had them over his head and up his arms and all over. I wasn't frightened. Mother came over and he wanted to know if we wanted a basket and she did. But he didn't want any money. The Indians didn't—they didn't trust themselves. If they had money they'd buy liquor and liquor just makes an Indian wild. Mother wanted to know what he wanted. Well, he wanted old clothes, back pork, beans—anything, anything he wanted. And so she gave him until he said, "Enough"
Joanne: Were—Did you have a place that you went swimming?
Mrs. Eddy: Yes. In this Malcolm's creek. After it left East Oakland's Mill there was a deep hole there—it seemed to empty in out from a woods. And that's where we went swimming. There was a very nice girl that was touch older than the rest of us—Mabel Cunningham and mother would never let me go unless she was going. We had no bathing suits. We just swam in a dress with panties. That's all No bathing suits.
Joanne: Were there any clubs or organizations that you could belong to as a young person?
Mrs. Eddy: Only the church. The church was the only thing. The Cunningham's that lived across the street had a tennis court and I had no tennis racket or ball but they had some and I used to go over and play with Mabel a lot. We played tennis quite a bit. I was fortunate, you know. But there was no clubs. Just school—there was a mission band, that and the church. I sang in the choir when I was twelve years old. I had a good voice but it's gone I'm sorry to say. I had a hemorrhage in my throat.
Joanne: Which church did you belong to?
Mrs. Eddy: Well then there was only one Methodist Church in Oakland. Now, at one time—Episcopalian Church and the Wesley Church. In 1885, the year my mother and father was married, the churches amalgamated. There wasn't enough —see, there was only to start with a couple of hundred people. Of course it grew. And anyway, it amalgamated and it was called the Oakland Methodist Church. It's still there. We just put a window in the Oakland Church in memory of my mother and father. It was just put in a year ago. It's pretty.
Joanne: How were you involved in the church besides being in the choir?
Mrs. Eddy: Well, I went to Sunday School and we had concerts for Christmas, you know. There was a Christmas concert. And, that's about all. I think one year a very energetic minister's wife tried to drill us girls in a flag drill and I was the smallest one. There was two of us. We were partners. The rest of them could do it so much better and the small ones had to lead. We all had flags and red flashes. Oh. I remember that. Then we had a garden party on the 24th of May. Everybody was involved in that. And a picnic up, usually in a woods... usually up at Scotland in my husband)s father's grove. The grove is still there in Scotland. We used to go up there and have our picnic.
Joanne: You've listed a bunch of special events. Is there any other special events at the church?
Mrs. Eddy: No, there would just be the picnics. Oh sometimes, in the winter time they'd have a concert and I know one time there was a quartet from Wilsonville came and entertained. But the most wonderful thing to me, now that I look back was—they got Pauline Johnson to recite. Everybody was so excited that Pauline Johnson was coming to recite. Everybody was so excited. But we'd had other allocutionists from Brantford and they always came in their most beautiful dresses and that amused me. I just loved that. Well, Pauline Johnson was coming and everybody was talking about it and when she stepped out on the platform she was in a plain leather dress with moccasins and had a beaded head band and one feather sticking up. I was so disappointed! (laughs) I was so disappointed but she gave, you know—she has a book, you probably have read her poems. I can only remember one poem that she recited. I could remember her voice. I'll always remember her voice, it was so beautiful. And she recited the song "My Paddle Sings" It was beautiful. I was only young hut I appreciated it then, even if I didn't appreciate her dress.
Joanne: What were Christmases like when you were younger?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, it was wonderful. Every class had to do something. I had recited—oh, and all the Sunday School had a big chorus. Our Christmases were wonderful. The men went up two or three days before and built a big platform and they went down to a cedar swamp and cut two cedar trees. Now to me, cedar is Christmas, not pines or anything. They'd cut two cedar trees and they'd reach just to the roof—they'd cut big ones. The minute you opened that church door you'd small that cedar and you knew it was Christmas. We had driven up lots of times in a bob-sleigh. We'd cover with straw and buffalo robes over that and we'd sit on that and then buffalo robes over us to keep us dry. The horses had bells on— they jingled all up. Oh, it was an exciting time. Everybody did their bit.
Inevitably they tell me—and I can just faintly remember the first time I tried to recite something. It started with, "Dear Mary," and that's as far as I got. That's the first I remember. My father was there and I ran over to him and he said, "Oh, never mind." Everybody laughed anyway. (laughter) I was always in the singing bit. I would be in the chorus and maybe sing a solo by myself. And sometimes they'd put on little plays. The classes would get together and put on plays.
Joanne: How did you celebrate Christmas at home with your family?
Mrs. Eddy: Well, my mother never cooked a turkey. She never knew how but we had lots of chickens. One of my grandmothers was always there but our house was very small. This was before we were to the Eddy's place. We always had chicken, a Christmas cake and a pudding and—that was our Christmas.
I was very fortunate. My father and mother had an organ and my one brother sang tenor and the other bass and my father bass and my mother alto. And believe it or not, I could keep up with them with the soprano. It's too bad you people haven't the memories that I have because, we'd sing and sing and sing until our hearts were raw. I don't suppose you can see that lamp at the very end. Anyway, it never had a cover on it and my dad used to hold that so my mother could see to play the organ. He got so excited one night or so enthusiastic he tipped it and the chimney dropped off. But we didn't have a fire or anything.
And then I remember, I used to have an awfully bad throat. I had tonsillitis many times and I'd be in bed. My father would read to us. My big brothers—oh, they were in their late teens then and they would all come to the bedroom and father would read his story to us. Life was very simple but very wholesome.
Joanne: Did you exchange gifts at Christmas time?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh at Christmas, yes. I usually gave each of my brothers red handkerchiefs. I can remember... (she leaves the room and comes back with a set of miniature china dishes that she owned when she was a young girl)
Back in my mother and dad's room at that time and I wanted to get up and see what Santa Claus brought me. And my father wasn't ready to get up yet. I guess he'd forgotten to take the sleigh out or something but he said, "No Santa Claus hasn't come yet. He won't be here yet." But after a while father got up and I was allowed to go downstairs and see this shiny sleigh. I was so pleased with that. We always had some simple thing. These are what I remember.
Joanne: Did you get together with you relatives at all on Christmas Day?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, always. That's all we did in the winter time, you see. The men didn't have anything to do on the fields. All they had was chores to do. My father had quite a few brothers and sisters you know. And sometimes we'd meet each other. Maybe Aunt Susie was coming to see us and we were going to see her. (chuckles) We'd meet each other. There was no phones, you understand.
Joanne: Do you remember when the phones came in?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh yes, um—in the country, if three persons in a mile would take a phone they'd put it through. And in our mile my father took it and the Burtches and the Cunninghams but my Uncle Meriton which had the next farm wouldn't take it. So he'd come sheepishly over every little bit to use the phone. Finally he got one in.
Joanne: Did you used to celebrate Halloween at all?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Joanne: How did you celebrate Halloween?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, we'd dress up. I remember going down to Helen Bonham's—so that was just a little ways away. And over to the Cunninghams. And we didn't have the things they do now. We just put on old clothes and that. And I remember, mother did buy a mask for me once, but not a face mask. Yes, we used to celebrate Halloween.
Joanne: Do you remember any sort of pranks that maybe the boys used to do?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, only when we were older. My father kept a store, as I said, in Oakland and of course when—there was no inside facilities. Everybody had an outhouse, you know and the big boys in the village would shove over every-bodies outhouse. That vas their Halloween. But one year they never pushed ours over and one of the boys came in and said to father—it was Earnest Graves— "I told them to leave yours alone. It was getting pretty rickety." (laughs) But they did something one night to my father's store—it had a what would you call it?
A place out—a verandah, but a flat top to it. And those boys took my father's (pause) buggy and put it right up on that verandah. Mother and Father slept right in that room and they never heard it. They got up and there was that buggy on top of that roof. Oh, there was lots of things done, I suppose. I just remember those.
Joanne: Did you used to celebrate Dominion Day at all?
Mrs. Eddy: Well, we used to sing a lot. About that time music came in the schools. You were supposed to sing and we used to sing all patriotic songs, you know. "Over The Waves". Now that's something you wouldn't know. That's a pure English song. Then we learned "The Maple Leaf Forever." and uh, what other songs are there? I don't ever remember singing "God Save the King", but they may have, I don't know.
Joanne: It was maybe later on.
Mrs. Eddy: It would be later on. You see, I quit school about 1911 and I never went to BCI (Brantford Collegiate Institute)
Joanne: How far did you go—to grade eight?
Mrs. Eddy: Just grade eight.
Joanne: Did you used to celebrate Thanksgiving at all?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh yes. Maybe one of our aunts or uncles would ask us over. And we might—there was a lot of visiting going on because that's all there was. There was no TV (television). There was no radio. And these's why I know—that's why I could write that book (The Way it Was) There was twelve boys, cousins older than I and I was the thirteenth grandchild and the first granddaughter. They used to talk back and forth and I'd listen you see. And I remember.
Joanne: Did you used to celebrate Easter?
Mrs. Eddy: Yes, oh yes. We celebrated Easter. We always got all the eggs we wanted to eat for faster. One time at Easter morning, my brother Roy came in with a rough grain bag. I don't know whether you know—a jute bag—over his shoulder and he came into the house and he handed these to mother and says, "Here's some eggs now for Easter morning." Mother says, "I got you each one, I thought that maybe that would be enough and maybe the hens would lay more for dinnertime." Well Roy says, "There's—" "I know," she says, "Where did you get them?" "OH!," he said, I took one or two every day for a long time." (chuckles) He said these eggs and some of them were cracked, and some of them were frozen, too. So I know, father came to Roy's rescue. He said, "Oh, I like em fried and I don't mind if they're cracked." We had a lot of eggs for Easter.
And that's the first time I ever received a postcard. It was an Easter postcard. It must have been about 1908 or 1909. I don't know when /the date/ postcards first came out, but I remember them when they first came out.
Joanne: How did you used to celebrate May 24th?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, we had a garden party. Oakland had a garden party always on May 24th. And they had salmon sandwiches. You see, that's the only kind of sandwich that would keep. They had no refrigeration. You couldn't keep meats and nobody ever thought of making an egg sandwich. All the farmers eat so many eggs anyways. (laughs) It would be no treat. But the day before the garden party, well, all the ladies would go—the garden parties were at different places. Some one would offer their place, you see. And this Fred Vivian, he would be the one that would open the tall, tall cans of salmon—red salmon. They'd get a whole case of it for less than 25 cents a tin, you know. And he'd open it and they'd actually mix it up in a small wash tub. Then everybody'd put some vinegar in and pepper and salt and there was lots of tasting going on, you know.
After they got it all done, then they'd sit down at the kitchen table and they had sort of an assembly line. Remember, the broad was unsliced and unwrapped at that time. So somebody had to slice that bread. The next one would butter it. The next one would put the filling on. The next one would put it together and cut it and then it was put on—they'd roll a sheet, a bed sheet. They'd dampen it and put it in a great big clothes basket like we used to have. They put it in there and they'd pile that full. But they made—I don't know how many—and then they'd close it over and take it down cellar. That was what they had, salmon sandwiches. They they'd go around to people and see how many cakes and how many pies would they give. I know mother'd make three or four pies and a couple of cakes and probably a bottle of pickles thrown in.
Joanne: What also did you do at the Garden Parties?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, we had a regular—we had a band, sometimes we'd get the Salvation Army Band from Brantford and sometimes Scotland had a band. If they weren't busy we'd get them and they'd play all the time. But then they'd have a program too. As I said once, we had a drill and there was a Leta Malcolm that used to recite and she recited. I used to sing and a lot of other people did too. You never went away. They always had their own program.
Joanne: Do you remember anything about the band-shell in Scotland?
Mrs. Eddy: I have it for you that—I have a picture of it and every thing, (tape shut off. Mrs. Eddy takes us into the other room to show us her picture and she also recited the poem "The Old Bandshell" By Veleria Malcolm.)
...for 25 cents you could have all the salmon sandwiches you wanted to eat and all the cake and pie you wanted and tea, I don't think they had coffee. And then the men had a tent in the corner and they would make ice cream by hand and make lemonade. They used to buy their lemons from us (Eddy's General Store on the corner of Brant Avenue and Lorne Crescent, Brantford) later days because we had an electric squeezer and my brother told them they could squeeze them here. So they used to get them here on account of this squeezer and they'd make real lemonade. They sold bananas and oranges and everything. They used to make quite a bit of that.
Joanne: When did it start? At noon hour?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh no! Late afternoon. Everybody had to do their chores you know.
Joanne: What kinds of things were there to do when you were at the dating age?
Mrs. Eddy: At the dating age? Well, I was always so busy I didn't have much dating age. No, um (pause) I don't know— the way I met my husband was, I went to my girlfriends for dinner one day. That was a great thing, I always had somebody at our place for dinner or I'd go to somebody else's on Sunday. I went down to Campbell's and he was there. That's where I met Con.
They used to have skating parties on the ponds. The pond at Oakland was not good for skating because when Malcolm built it he was in such a hurry he flooded it and forgot to cut the trees down. So, he thought "Well, I'll cut them down in the winter time." So when the ice got good and thick he went out and cut the trees down but that left stumps. It was wonderful for fishing but no good for skating and swimming. They used to go down to Scotland [to skate]. That's where I met Con was at a skating party down there at Foster's Mill at East Oakland. Well, there was picnics as I said.
Joanne: What were the fashions like when you were a teenager?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, very plain. We all wore hats, that's one thing. When I was twelve years old my mother said to me, "Now it's time you wore a hat." And I have always—I still wear a hat to church. Lots of times I'm the only person in the church with a hat on but it don't matter to me. I get pretty hats you know and uh, not too big a ones at all. But I always wear a hat. Everybody wore a hat. What did you ask?
Joanne: What kinds of fashions?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, I told you about everyone wearing a hat. Well they were just plain dresses as far as I was concerned. The ladies always had a skirt and waist. That was the typical fashion, skirt and waist.
Debbie: What about the length of the skirts?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, they were to the ground.
Joanne: Did you ever wear—Do you remember when they went up in the twenties?
Mrs. Eddy: Yes, I don't think I ever wore a dress to the ground, only—I have long dresses now but I never wore long dresses. They would always be down to around here (above ankle, around shins) But mother's—the ladies dresses were always dirty, dirty, dirty. Mother'd be scrubbing and brushing and shaking. They used to drag the sidewalks. They made a law here that you couldn't spit on the sidewalks because of the women's dresses, you know.
Joanne: What kind of music did you listen to when you were younger?
Mrs. Eddy: The first music we listened to outside of what we made ourselves was on a phonograph. My uncle got a Phonograph, we used—Harry Lotter was a great singer then. I don't suppose you'd know him. "I Love a Lassy! a jolly, jolly, lassy..." He was very Scottish you know ...(singing) "she's a sweet young looring belle." And we didn't listen to any—we had no symphany orchestras, you know or anything like that.
The choir would sometime put on extra music; but I was always in it. I was never listening very much. I remember the first time. I must have been only about ten or eleven and don't know why but the Scotland Baptist Church asked me to sing at a concert at their place. And mother says, "You want Florence to sing?" They said, "Yes." So, I don't know whether you know Mildred Anderson—Mildred Stewart. You ever heard of her—Dr. Stewart, the Andersons? Oh you're too young. Anyway, she played—mother always played for me and of course she played to suit me. Well, Mildred was an accomplished pianist, or an organist. She ran all over the keyboard—she improvised. And I thought to myself, "Well, I know this piece." Loves Old Sweet Song was what I sang and it was very much appreciated. I didn't make a mistake even if Mildred didn't play like my mother did. I can remember thinking to myself, "Well, you know this, sing! She can follow you. You don't have to follow her."(laughs)
END OF SIDE ONE TAPE ONE
Joanne: When were you married?
Mrs. Eddy: I was married in 1916.
Joanne: Where were you married?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh! At the Sydenham Street manse by Reverend Smythe.
Joanne: Could you describe your wedding to us?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, it was very simple. Our attendants was my cousin and his girlfriend, Gordon McEwan and Leta Malcolm. That's all there was to it. And we went to Niagara Falls. (laughs) Everybody went to Niagara Falls.
Joanne: On a train?
Mrs. Eddy: Yes, we went on a train.
Joanne: Where did you settle down after you were married?
Mrs. Eddy: Our first home was at 48 Grand Street (Brantford). My husband worked down here on Jarvis Street. Just down there. He got twelve and a half dollars a week, working from seven in the morning till six at night and from seven till eleven on Saturdays.
I remember bread was five cents a loaf and milk was ten cents a quart. And um—what else was cheap? Bologna was ten cents a pound—sausage, ten cents a pound. We had a few hens in our yard and I'd wait until four o'clock and if there wasn't two eggs for dinner that night I'd go and buy some meat. I could get a nice little roast for 35 cents. Well you see, my husband was just getting twelve and a half dollars a week so it had to go [a long way]. And I had to have a winter coat. Oh, dear.
Joanne: Did you have any children?
Mrs. Eddy: I did—four sons.
Joanne: Where are they now?
Mrs. Eddy: Well, our oldest son is dead. He was a veterinatian. He died in Calgary, Alberta at the age of 58 with a heart attack. Our second son was a science teacher. He's retired and lives in Victoria, B.C. And our third son is Dr. Eddy here in town. And then we had a little boy, Donald, and he died when he was about three months old.
Joanne: Did the World War I years affect you at all?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh yes. In World War I things went up so high—food went up so high. I wasn't married when it started and my father had the store, you know. The doctor came into the store one day and he said, "Tom, why don't you buy a car-load of sugar? It's going to go up." My father says, "A car-load of sugar!" The doctor says, "Well if you haven't got the money for it I'll lend it to you, because it's going to go up." But my father was too—he wouldn't buy it. But it went up to twenty dollars a hundred weight or...
Mr. Eddy: Yeah, sugar got up to 426.00 once.
Mrs. Eddy: It was selling for about three or four dollars a hundred weight. There was a farmer than and he'd come in every week and buy a hundred weight of sugar. The authorities heard that people were hoarding things and so they put a piece in the paper that they were going to search the barns and the places and if they found over a hundred weight of sugar they were going to be fined. So this guy came to me dad and asked him if he'd buy it back.
Joanne: Did the Depression affect you at all then?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, the Depression, we were putting two sons through university in the Depression. And we did it! We were living here then. We've lived here since 1923. We had two boys and one went through for a science teacher and the other one was a veterinarian.
Joanne: Where did they go to university?
Mrs. Eddy: Guelph. Both of them went to Guelph.
Joanne: In what ways did the Depression affect you?
Mrs. Eddy: Affect us? Well of course, we had a store. We could always have what we wanted to eat. But we could only have one pound of sugar a week, even so. We were only allowed it, in the store. And try as you like you couldn't get a hundred pounds of sugar out of a hundred pounds. We had to do every pound packages, you see. And uh, all the store keepers, they told the government that they couldn't get a hundred pounds out. So once in a while we were allowed an extra hundred pounds. But people thought we had everything, you know. They'd come in and ask us if we couldn't give them an extra five pounds of sugar. They wanted to do some fruit up or something. But we couldn't do it. I suppose they thought we were mean but we couldn't do it. Just couldn't do it.
We used to have a man that we knew and he had a gasoline station. See, gas was rationed too and butter was rationed. He'd throw a couple of (pause) gasoline cards on the counter and say, "I want a pound of butter." (laughs) I think we did it. We shouldn't have but we did. But it was awfully hard for one to live alone. A family got along much better than one or two.
Joanne: Do you remember when, you had your first car?
Mrs. Eddy: Well, I remember driving uh, Con remembers—1913 wasn't it?
Mr. Eddy: Yeah, it was. Touring, Ford Touring cars—seven hundred dollars, new. Now they're seven thousand.
Mrs. Eddy: But there was cars a long, long before that. There was a man named Lundy had a car.
Mr. Eddy: And North Anders.
Mrs. Eddy: And North Anders had a car and Edward Eddy had a car. But they were not like the cars today.
Joanne: How did World War II affect you?
Mrs. Eddy: We had two sons in it (pause) affected us a great deal. I never thought we'd see them both back. Edward, the oldest was in the Highland Light Infantry. They wore Scotch outfits, you know, "ladies from hell." And um, it nearly broke my heart—I thought we'd never see him again. He was sent to North Africa and he went up through that Sicily-Italy teacup through there—up through the Rhine. He was there at the liberation of Holland. The Hollanders couldn't do enough for them. They just threw flowers at them and yelled and hollered at them. He said that one woman—it was kind of cool—was there with her daughter and she had a coat and she was trying to get it around them both. So, he threw his blanket at them. He says, "Here, make her a coat." and she just couldn't believe it.
Tom, the second boy was a radar technician. He had a group of boys and they'd be stationed in a remote part of England right on the shore. The Lancaster Bombers would come down and light there and his crew would go in and take out their—what do you call it? Radar and put a new one in. And he wrote home one day and said, "I think I've done my bit. I might as well come home. My radar got forty subs today." So, the tide turned. It was in the paper that the tide had turned.
Joanne: The 1920s—were they as "Roaring" as they said they were?
Mrs. Eddy: Well, everybody had lots of money. Of course we didn't roar too much (chuckles) We were raising a small family. But just the same, um, 1920s were pretty good years, weren't they. They were for us. They were for us, I know, in the store. We bought this building here in 1923 we moved here. But we never could have done that today, I'm sure of it.
Joanne: So, when did you move into Brantford? What year would that be?
Mrs. Eddy: Well, my husband and I moved in 1916. Con moved in 1902 and he moved out west a few years but his people were always here.
Joanne: In Oakland...could you tell us what the stores were like when you were younger and where they were situated and maybe who owned them?
Mrs. Eddy: Well, there was one store where the County offices are today. That was Baldwin's store. And my father's store was down in the hollow there. It's still a store. (pause) They sold everything—everything from a needle to a silk ribbon.
Joanne: Do you remember anything about election time?
Mrs. Eddy: Well I remember father and I think my brothers going down and that was when I was ten or so. They were in a parade and they took brooms and they stuck them in gasoline and burnt them. Was that it, Con?
Mr. Eddy: Yeah, coal-oil I guess.
Mrs. Eddy: Oh, they had a good time. I wasn't in it but I heard about it. But a long time ago now.. .when my father was a little boy he went with his father to vote. There was no—no ladies voted and there was no secret ballot. You just put your hand on the bible raised your right hand—or is it the other way? Anyway, you said the man's name you voted for out loud and that was recorded. Oh, there used to be fights and people got shot. When my dad was little, he used to go with my grandfather to vote and evidently they knew what politics my grandfather was. So they said to young Tom, "You go in, sneak in there. Put your hand on that bible like you saw your father do and say you'll vote for the other person." He went in too, but uh, they kicked him out of course. (Laughter) His father told him to go and sit in the wagon till he was ready to go home.
Joanne: Do you remember anything about the Town Hall in Oakland?
Mrs. Eddy: Oh yes, I remember it very well. There was a great row over that Town Hall. Scotland wanted it, but you see, the Township is a long Township. You know, it was like this. It was a point here and here and here, (she makes shape of triangle in air) Scotland wanted it. Scotland was larger, it was always larger.
They said that the people down like—John Eddy, was on the council and he lived way down at the very end of it and he had to go clean to Scotland. So they decided they'd build it on this big high hill. And it was high then but they've sliced it off now. [The Town Hall] was made of red brick. Would you like me to tell you where they got the red brick way back in that time? Well, you don't know the farms out there do you?
Joanne: I'm not sure. I know some of them.
Mrs. Eddy: There was a man named, um, Cook—George Cook. And my brother did some work for him. In one of the fields there was a drop and it was quite sizeable—size of this room or maybe this house. One side, there was red clay and you know, they made bricks with that clay. My grandfather's house was built from those bricks and that Town Hall was built with those bricks.
Joanne: Oh, we didn't know that.
Mrs. Eddy: I didn't either. I was really embarrassed. I was talking to some schools—I've been doing a quite a bit of talking—and uh, and the teacher said, "Where would they get red bricks at that time of the century?" And I didn't know, but I found out.
Joanne: Do you remember when the Town Hall was closed down and what happened to it?
Mrs. Eddy: When it was up there—it got wracked with wind and rain a lot there, you know. And I don't think it was put up too good. It was during the last—first war they took it down.
Joanne: Do you know what happened to the remains or who bought the land?
Mrs. Eddy: I think some Stratford bought the land. We at one time were thinking of buying it but I'm glad we didn't. But I was always proud of that Town Hall.
Joanne: Were you ever inside?
Mrs. Eddy: Yes.
Joanne: What was it like inside?
Mrs. Eddy: It was one big room with um, like a table on three sides and chairs right next to the wall. And then there was a place here for chairs, you see.
Joanne: And they just held the meetings in it?
Mrs. Eddy: I was only in it once and it was to a recruiting meeting in the First World War. They used to have regular meetings. I went once. I don't know why—just for excitement or something. And that's the only time I was in it. But I've looked up at it and thought how nice it was.
Joanne: Well, those are my basic questions I have to ask you. So, if you want to just talk about your overall impression of Oakland or anything else you might want to say.
Mrs. Eddy: I think it would be more beneficial to you to tell you who the first settlers at Scotland or Oakland and how they happened to come.
It took two acts of parliament before Oakland became a Township. Maybe you knew that. It was attached to Townsend Township, then to Burford Gore and in 1826 it became [Oakland Township] the smallest township in Brant County. [The town] was lined with so many oak trees it became known as Oakland instead of Perth as it was first named. Oakland Township has a very fertile, grain growing land.
The name of the first settlers in l78l were: Thomas, McAlister, Secord, Edy, Elliot, Lloyd, Burtch, McIntyre and Foster. Then in 1806 came the United Empire Loyalists by Nova Scotia. Maybe you know all about this.
Joanne: Well, some of the stuff.
Mrs. Eddy: Captain Finley Malcolm, he was granted land in Burford Gore for his part in the war. You see, he fought with the English against the—the Boston Tea Party, I think it was. And then Sara Malcolm Eddy, that's Con's great-grandmother, Findley Malcolm's daughter, bought land for six pence an acre. They bought concession ten. Among those that came at that time— Finley Malcolm came were the Baldwins, the Westbrooks, the Messecars, Cunninghams, Eddy, Smith, Taylor. Before they can even settle they had to swear an oath of alliance. In face, three oaths: The oath of a-l-l-i-g-r-z-n-i-c-e, pronounce that you smart people, act of supremacy and the oath of aferation. There was three oaths. I have those oaths.
By 1821, when by an act of parliament it became Oakland Township, it was completely settled. Every parcel of land had been taken up. and the last was sold by parliament to Lewis Smith. The rest was Oakland Village. Originally it had been granted to an English captain. Now, England was doing that—they had all this land over here. They had no idea that it was good and fertile and that we would become a great nation. It had no idea. So they were just giving it away. Down along Lake Erie they gave, um, (pause) 3,000 acres to—you know who, tell me—Ryersie. They just gave the land away. You see, they gave this Finley Malcolm a whole section. And then they allowed his daughter to buy for six pence per acre, that's less than cents.
It was completely settled. They had given it to this captain from England. They gave him this hundred acres of land and he came to see it. And he happened to go on the part of the land that was sandy. There was a sandy knoll and that's where he stood. He dug his heel into the earth and saw sand and he thought the whole thing was like it. And that parcel is about an acre of blow sand, which of course was no good for farming crops. He thought the whole hundred acres would be like that so he left it. Now it is a lovely grove of pine trees. You know that grove of trees? It's just down between Scotland and Oakland. That's where it is. Lewis Smith, in 1833 obtained permission from the government to buy it and by 1835 married and settled there. That was my great-grandfather and grandmother.
I have a map of Oakland Township where every parcel of land is laid out and the name under every parcel. There is such a map and we know where there is one. I have the wedding certificate of Lewis Smith in 1835.
Now Malcolm's Creek was a great, great—it started up in the slew, up in the Malcolm's slush land and then it came into a stream, went through Scotland and they put, as I said, they put a saw mill and a carding mill and a weaving mill and put everything. Then it went down to Oakland and they harnessed it there and they put a mill too at Oakland at one time. Then it went to East Oakland and now the Mill's still there and so is the Vivian Mill still there. But uh, they make barley flour now.
The number of people that lived in Scotland village was 796 and at Oakland 110 at that time. But the first Township Council was Eliakim Malcolm, he was Reeve, James Malcolm, John Eddy—that was Con's great uncle, Charlie Chapin, Wellington McAlister and John Toyne— he was the store keeper there and he was the Clerk. And there were six public schools in the Township. Scotland was Congregationalists and they met in Malcolm's Mill for a while and then they got busy and built a church where it is. Now there's a Catholic Church in Scotland and a Jehovah's Witness. And they met in Malcolm's tavern these Township people did. And then they built the red building [Town Hall] and it was on a high hill on the western part of Oakland village—high so Scotland could see it.
Then in 1812 there was something very exciting happened. In 1812 a large group of Americans set out from Detroit and they were going to take this part of Canada. They set out from Detroit and as they came along they burnt all the mills that they came across. They'd go into a farmer's field and kill a cow and barbeque it—or a pig or whatever [they could find] They'd go in the houses and take the bread or whatever food they could. They were more of a militia than anything else.
After burning the Burford mill they went on to Oakland. But they became aware that they were near Brant's Ford. So they thought maybe they could add to their pillage at Brant's Ford. On coming to the river they found it very deep and swift and hesitated to urk their horses across it. Anyway, on the other side was a crowd on the bank. It was thick with white [men] and Indians in war dress. They stood and looked across and after some arrows had whizzed past their heads they decided not to cross but turned about and started back for the village of Oakland.
You know, you'd wonder how they knew that. But they had runners. There was no phone or anything. They had runners that could go through and—all the land was trees. And they had these runners that would go back and forth. [The Americans] didn't know it and they were being watched. Everybody knew everything they were doing.
They stood and they went back and passed through the village of Mohawk which is Mount Pleasant. Mohawk was Chief Brant's main village. And uh, just at the turn of the century they changed it to Mount Pleasant. And [Joseph Brant] donated the burying ground at Mount Pleasant for the whites and the Indians as well.
They burnt the mill at Mount Pleasant and then went on. The by-riders watched all their progress and Oakland was informed they were coming. It was getting dark...you see, they had spent some time going to Brantford and it was getting dark by the time they got to Oakland. The men of Oakland was only 110 you know and so they all met at Malcolm's Tavern to talk over what they would do. They decided to keep off the road, pull all the window blinds, lock the doors but secretly watch and to go home and get what guns they had, which were six and then anything they could fight with: their sickles, their scythes, their axes, their hammers, knives, shovels and hoes. These they all sharpened because they could fight with them. They had to defend their families and that's why they did that.
The Americans came and were surprised to find the tavern blinds drawn and doors locked. But the men were tired and they wanted to eat and rest. They also found the blacksmith shop closed. They came to Malcolm's Creek which ran through Oakland and watered their horses but in the dusk they did not see the mill on the other side up that road. They didn't see the mill, it was pretty dark and they didn't even look for it I guess.
They climbed a hill and found a flat piece of ground to camp on to the right of the road and they put their camp there. All this was known by the Oakland men.
When it became real dark the Oakland men had another meeting at Toyne's store. That was my father's store in the centre. They decided to surprise the Americans and gather before sunrise and attack them while it was still dark. This they did and found the sentry asleep...
One of the Oakland men was marched in the midst of the Americans and taunts were yelled, "This is the way you guard your men." The captain sprang forward. "Throw me my rope!" he called to someone. And someone did and he threw one end of it over a tree limb, made a noose of the other and put it over the Oakland man's head. There had been in Scotland, just newly come just a few months before the Masonic Lodge. And everybody that could really afford it joined and this man was a Mason and he did some fast thinking. He thought, "I wonder if he's a Mason?" Because the Masonic Order had come from the States. The Captain came to tighten the noose—he gave him the Masonic sign—and he stopped. He says, "Really? Are there a many of you?" The Oakland man says, "Quite a lot." So the Captain took the rope away from the man's head and he called to the men to break camp, that they were going to move on. Oh, the men were very mad about that.
In the meantime, there's two of them had seen the mill below the hill and one Brantford man was them go down. So he followed them and he caught them coming out of the mill. It was a fire in many places. But they each had a bag of grain over their shoulders, of course. He yelled at them and shot, but he missed them both because he wasn't a very good shot. But they killed him and that was the only death there.
They went on their way and went down and they burnt all the mills in Waterford and in Simcoe and they were on their way to Long Point. They had some idea that Long Point reached over to the States you see, but it didn't. And so they had to come back and follow Lake Erie around to Detroit.
Well, that was the first one. Then came the Fenians. You've heard of the Fenians. Well, they came a different route altogether. They came through Burford and came right down that side of Scotland, right through the middle of Scotland. Well, this was right up in Malcolm's line, you see. He was a soldier and he got out all his uniforms and all his flags. And he posted men in uniforms every so often along the side of that road. He got all the horses that they could find and they pressed them.... He didn't want them to go down the Oakland road, you see, all their mills were on that and he didn't want them burnt. He knew what would happen. So he got those horses and placed them belly to belly and on each scat put a man with a sword.
Well, the poor Fenians were not looking for a fight. They were frightened. They had met in the States and then they divided. Part of them had gone through Buffalo, part of them through Detroit. They were supposed to have met. The Fenians were tired and they should have met up with these other guys a long time ago; but they hadn't and they were worried. So they went through Scotland without hardly a glance and went through that road past Scotland and went right down to Oakland. On their map they had Oakland marked as where they could get water for their horses, so they went down there. Of course, Oakland knew they were there and they again armed themselves the best they could.
But in the middle of the night the Oakland people heard the battling of two horsemen. Their horses were just leaping, running as fast as they could down Oakland Hollow and up. And then they saw the camp of the Fenians, so they stopped there. That's what they were looking for and they said to the Fenians, "Get back into Detroit because our army has been defeated at Stoney Creek and Lundy's Lane. The Indians are fighting with the English and they're scalping them and they're leaving them dead." Oh, it was terrible. He says, "Get out of here and get back to Detroit as fast as you can." And that's what they did. That was quite shocking, you know for a village to have two things like that; but that's what happened anyway.
Then they had a time about the railroad. In Scotland they had a doctor who's name was Tegart and he had a drug store, and it was Rev. Hay that had the church building. And they had a Continuation School there. This was the first school they built. They had it so that you could really go on to grade ten. Grammar school they called it. Well anyway, the people from Scotland heard that they were surveying for a railroad to go through Oakland. Well that would never do you see, they wanted it. So they sent a delegation to the railroad people. And the railroad people said, "No. It's the shortest way. It won't cost us so much to go through Oakland." Well the [Scotland delegation] said,"We'11 pay for whatever it costs." Con's father, in the 1890s paid $600.00 and he was just one. Now $600.00 in the 1890's was a lot of money and a lot of them paid money so they ran it through Scotland.
You know, it was a great thing for Scotland, because uh, anybody who wanted to go to school at Brantford Collegiate could. William Taylor was one that did. Now you've heard of him. He told me it wasn't so bad in the summer time when you could walk but in the winter time—he had to walk a mile past the station to get to the school. And he did. And he became Senator Taylor. He's still living. And there was another one. Miss Foster (Willemena) did the same thing only she lived in the village of Scotland. But she taught Physical Education at Western University and she did that till she was retired. She lived on the Gore in Scotland. That house—red house. Well, William Taylor and Willemena of Scotland and another lawyer—that's the way they got down [to Brantford Collegiate].
Then there's a change of government and uh, they took the Post Office away from Con's father and gave it to a man named Hooker that was on the other—I don't know...Liberals on account of him being on the right side of the government. And Hooker's had an awful time. They'd make straw effigies of Hooker and burn it. They'd crowd around and they wouldn't go in his store and they made it real nasty. So Mr. Eddy, he went down to Ottawa, didn't he? And he said that he didn't want the office if it was going to make all that trouble. So they offered him a job in Brantford as a custom's position—custom's clerk. But that was an exciting time for people at Scotland. You know, there were exciting times in Scotland.
There was a great story. Well, there was a lawyer that want to school with Willemena Foster and he kind of liked her. But the Fosters were quite wealthy and he thought he'd wait until he got enough money to keep her in the style she was accustomed. But he used to come back every summer to see her. He wore a tall silk hat—everybody wore frock coats then, you know and a cane. And he walked round until he saw her in the garden and then he—off with his hat and "Good morning, Miss Foster," and that's all he came to do. Sometimes she'd ask him to come up on the verandah and talk. So this morning he was gonna ask her to marry him. He was shy by the way—he fortified himself with a drink of liquor. Thought it would make him more hold. So she did, she invited him up on the verandah this morning. They were talking and he asked her to marry him and she drew up, she said, "I'd never marry anybody that drinks strong drink." So, that was that.