Ola Shellington
First name Ola
Last name Shellington
Age 85
Date of birth January 1, 1895
Community Oakland, Scotland


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 Jane Shaver and Duane Brandow interviewing Mrs. Ola Shellington at the Township office in Scotland, Ontario June 26, 1980.

Jane: Could you tell us when and where you were born?

Mrs. Shellington: Well I was born in Norfolk County in 1895.

Jane: Is there anything you could tell us about the circumstances of your birth or if there were any special things that happened when you were born?

Mrs. Shellington: I don't know. I was there I suppose but I don't remember. (laughter)

Jane: How long did you live in Norfolk County before you moved here?

Mrs. Shellington: Eighteen years.

Jane: What was your family like? Did you have brothers and sisters?

Mrs. Shellington: I had two brothers and one sister.

Duane: What were their names?

Mrs. Shellington: Orton Davis, Clark Davis and Leonne Davis. She lives in Australia at the present time.

Jane: What was your mother's maiden name?

Mrs. Shellington: Phoebe VanEvery.

Jane: What kind of toys did you play with when you were young?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh, I know one thing I played with. We had cane seated chairs with those round holes and we just used to love to fill that all up and make as many different figures as we could with nails, big headed nails. (laughs)

Jane: That's interesting. What school did you go to?

Mrs. Shellington: Lynville Public School in Windham Township.

Jane: What was the school like?

Mrs. Shellington: It was a one-room school and it had a great big old black stove and we just about froze to death half the time. (laughs)

Jane: Did you have to walk to school?

Mrs. Shellington: Yes.

Jane: And how far did you have...

Mrs. Shellington: Half a mile, unless we could hook a ride with somebody.

Jane: How far did you go in school?

Mrs. Shellington: Well, I took continuation work one year after my entrance, at that school.

Jane: How many teachers did you have?

Mrs. Shellington: Just one teacher for the whole school. They stayed quite a number of years at a time. The last teacher I had was a Mr. Fairhopper.

Jane: Were the teachers strict?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh, they weren't bad. I wouldn't blame them if they'd have been more strict sometimes. (laughs) No, they were a nice bunch of teachers.

Jane: Did you have a school fair?

Mrs. Shellington: No.

Jane: Did you have a graduation?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh, I don't think so. We had to go to Simcoe to take our examinations and I don't remember anything more than that though.

Jane: How did you spend Christmas?

Mrs. Shellington: Well we spent Christmas one year at our own home. Then the next year we'd spend it maybe at my uncle's down at Bealton and maybe the next year at my aunt's in Brantford. They took turns and went around to all my father's people.

Jane: Were there any special things you did at Christmas?

Mrs. Shellington: We always had a Christmas tree and sing songs at the church.

Jane: Was there any special thing at New Years, did you have a big party or anything?

Mrs. Shellington: No, I don't remember that at all.

Jane: What about Thanksgiving?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh, we always had a good dinner at Thanksgiving time, but I don't think we had any big crowd or anything.

Jane: Was there any special events on the 24th of May?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh, there might have been but we didn't get too far away from home as a rule. We didn't have any cars in those days.

Jane: On July 1st, did they have fireworks?

Mrs. Shellington: Yes, we generally had some fire crackers and so on at home. There was just a very small population out in the country and it wasn't easy to get big crowds together.

Jane: When did you move to Oakland Township?

Mrs. Shellington: (pause) Oh dear, I can't think what year it was. I was eighteen years old. Take eighteen on top of 1895. (laughs)

Mrs. G: That's 1913.

Jane: Okay. Did you belong to any organizations?

Mrs. Shellington: Nothing more than Sunday school and church.

Jane: What kind of things did you do when you were at the dating age?

Mrs. Shellington: (laughs) Maybe I hadn't better tell you. (laughter) Oh I think we behaved ourselves. (laughter)

Jane: Would you go to parties?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh yes, we had little parties around at our homes just the neighbours and young people.

Jane: Were there any movies to go to then?

Mrs. Shellington: No, no. We didn't have any movies when I was (laughs) that young.

Jane: When did you get married?

Mrs. Shellington: In 1917.

Jane: And where were you married?

Mrs. Shellington: I was married in my own home down here in Scotland.

Jane: What kind of a wedding was it? Was it a small wedding? Mrs. Shellington?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh, we had about 30 guests I guess.

Jane: You were married by a minister?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh yes.

Jane: So where did you settle down after you got married?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh, half a mile straight up the town line here. I don't know who lives there now. It's the house after the Catholic School up there, on a farm.

Jane: Could you describe your husband, what he looked like?

Mrs. Shellington: (laughs) Oh I wouldn't know what to tell you. He's about the same height as I am. He had dark brown hair and he wasn't fat and he wasn't thin so I don't know what you'd call him, just a medium sized man. (laughs)

Duane: What was your husband's name?

Mrs. Shellington: Wallace Shellington.

Jane: Did you have any children?

Mrs. Shellington: I had two.

Jane: What are their names?

Mrs. Shellington: Edwin Shellington and Helen Harris.

Jane: And where were they born?

Mrs. Shellington: Right here in Scotland on the farm where we lived.

Jane: Are there any interesting stories about when they were younger?

Mrs. Shellington: Edwin used to like to fish back here in the pond. They were just normal kids I guess, just happy to have enough things to play with and enough to eat.

Jane: Which congregation do you belong to?

Mrs. Shellington: My husband was a Baptist, but I always went to the Methodist Church when I was young. Then when we came to Scotland I went to the Congregational and then it changed to a United Church. That's where we stayed.

Jane: Did you belong to any organizations in the church?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh, I always belonged to the UCW and I guess that's about all.

Jane: How did the Depression affect you?

Mrs. Shellington: Well I'll tell you, we had to count our pennies during the Depression but we managed to get along all right. It was a lot of hard work in those days and we had to do it all ourselves.

Jane: Was it hard raising your children?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh no, I didn't mind that job too badly. (laughs)

Jane: Do you remember both of the wars?

Mrs. Shellington: Yes, I remember about the wars.

Jane: How did they affect you?

Mrs. Shellington: Well the first one, my husband was very ill. What was the matter in those days? You don't know, Mrs. Gatward?

Mrs. G: Oh, T.B.? Consumption?

Mrs. Shellington: No, no. It was more like what we call the flu now.

Mrs. G: Oh yes, they had a real bad flu.

Mrs. Shellington: Influenza, I guess. We were on a farm and had to do most of our own work because there was nobody else to do it, but we lived through it. Didn't spend any more money than we had to.

Jane: Did your son have to fight in the Second World War?

Mrs. Shellington: He never went overseas. In training he got as far as Halifax.

Jane: How did you feel about maybe having him go over? Was it hard?

Mrs. Shellington: Well, I didn't appreciate it too much. But it had to be so that was a11 there was to it.

Jane: Do you have any hobbies or do you sew or crochet or anything like that?

Mrs. Shellington: I used to sew a little bit and I crocheted a little bit. I used to do nearly all my own sewing and I like to quilt.

Jane: What other newspapers were there besides the Expositor?

Mrs. Shellington: Well we used to take the Hamilton Spectator for quite a long time and the Simcoe Reformer. We always got the Toronto Star on Saturday nights and get the movies or the funnies. (laughter)

Jane: Did Scotland have a newspaper?

Mrs. Shellington: At one time. Say, do you know that an interesting thing. You could see it if you go to the museum in Brantford. Do you know our—Linda Shellington?

Jane: I think I've met her.

Mrs. Shellington: She worked in the museum there for quite a long time. She brought out a paper one night for me to look at and it was the copy of the Scotland News. There was a piece in it about the garden party that was given at Joseph Taylor's. That's out where Bill Taylor's used to live, you know on the farm. It told about what a job they had getting everything ready. Then there was an undertaker that lived here and had a factory down where Hunter's pond is. It was right in there someplace that they used to make their own caskets. There were two hotels here and also a lot more stores than there are now. It was really funny to read some of the things that was in that old paper you know.

Jane: Do you remember the first car in Scotland?

Mrs. Shellington: Well, the first one I remember was Charlie Smith's. He had a runabout we called them (laughs), a one seater. We used to think it was quite a lot of fun to get in it once in a while. (laughs)

Jane: What kind of businesses were there around Scotland?

Mrs. Shellington: Well there was a harness shop and Mr. Haliday ran it. There was a barber shop. The big building that was torn down over here (Vandusen Block), that was always a store. I think there were three apartments on the third floor and the second floor was like a community hall. At one tine the high school (the continuation school) was up on the second floor. The Vandusens built that block. They used to have concerts and there used to be a Young Peoples organization there which did quite a lot of plays. I can remember Wal telling about the telephone office that used to be down there in that little place where the Library was at one time. (by the Garden Wall) He said they always used to ring the bell at noon time and at supper time so they'd know when to quit work, I guess. (laughter)

Jane: Do you remember any of the changes that happened here? Like as in roads or parks of that sort of thing?

Mrs. Shellington: There used to be a bandstand up here on the Gore. They always had band practice there on Saturday nights. I don't think there's any parks around that I remembero Oh, yes there was. Up here where Mrs. (Helen) Takacs lives, they always used to have our Sunday school picnics up there. It was nice up there, it's nice yet.

Jane: Do you remember when they paved the roads?

Mrs. Shellington: I remember when we first came here there wasn't any paved roads. The mud here used to be this deep (approx. 2 feet). There were big holes into which buggy'd go down (laughs). Oh boy it was awful! But I really don't remember them paving the roads.

Jane: What kind of clothes did you used to wear?

Mrs. Shellington: When I was sixteen I wore dresses down to my ankle and buttoned or laced shoes. They were big high fellows. Underneath the dresses we had to wear long legged underwear. (laughter) It'd be kind of fun seeing them going around that way now, wouldn't it? (laughs)

Jane: We've talked to other people and they've told us about a picnic that the Sunday school used to have. Did you ever go on that? They went to Port Dover I think.

Mrs. Shellington: Oh yes, we used to go to picnics at Pert Dover a lot of times. We drove the horse and buggy. My dad had a big double seated carriage and we always took as many as we could pile into it. We'd go down there and then everybody put their food altogether and had a good feed. (laughs)

Duane: What sort of things did you do at the picnic?

Mrs. Shellington: We had put in most of our time in the water. Because cut where we were there wasn't any place that you could to unless you went to the creek, but it wasn't like a big body of water. It was quite an outing when we'd get to go to the Bougner picnic at Port Dover, (laughs). Everybody went as well as the Bougners. (laughter)

Jane: Did you ever go to the garden party on the 24th of May? Or was that mostly in Oakland?

Mrs. Shellington: That was here in Oakland. I went to them lots of times. I used to come over here to my Aunt's and go with them.

Jane: What kind of things did they do there?

Mrs. Shellington: They always had a band, a program and a good supper. I guess that was Mostly before I moved to Scotland. I used to get to Waterford and take the train over to Scotland. That was quite an outing. (laughs) (pause) They used to grow a lot of onions around Scotland. (laughs)

Mrs. G: Yes, there was an onion patch. The township had bought that land. It used to be down by the railroad tracks. Then we sold it to CIL.

Mrs. Shellington: Oh yes, that's right. They shipped all their produce from the railway station. There used to be a good station and some sheds and so on.

Mrs. Shellington: Well they used to do a lot of chipping down here at the railway. Mr. Will Stewart lived next door in here (next to the Municipal office). He did the shipping from down there for years and years. He used to ship turnips, potatoes and onions. Art Campbell used to ship from down there too.

Duane: Do you remember anything specific about the train station?

Mrs. Shellington: Yes we used to have about five or six passenger trains each way besides all the freight that went through. I think flight always used to go through in the middle of the night about eleven or twelve o'clock and it still goes through today. On the passenger train you could go most any time of the day you wanted and now there isn't any. I remember getting up to catch the train that went at seven o'clock to go to the Toronto Exhibition. We got back home at about eleven o'clock at night. (laughs) There wasn't any cars then.

Jane: So you mostly went by train or buggy or what?

Mrs. Shellington: We always went to Brantford on the train till we got a car. My dad used to drive into town once in a while with the horse. We'd go down too but it was quite a long trip. But when we wanted to go to Brantford to shop or anything why we just went on the train. It was the quickest and easiest.

Duane: What kind of music did you used to listen to when you were younger?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh, I like band music. I like any kind of music in fact, if it is music. I don't like a lot of this noise. (laughs)

Duane: What's your overall impression of Oakland Township?

Mrs. Shellington: Oh, I think it's improved some in places and other places it's deteriorated.

Duane: Could you tell us where it improved and then where it deteriorated?

Mrs. Shellington: Well I think the buildings are a lot nicer than they used to be. People take better care of their buildings, I think especially since there's been tobacco they've improved the buildings a lot more than what they ever were before. People also keep their homes up better now than they used to.

Duane: So what were the set backs?

Mrs. Shellington: I don't like the looks of the tobacco crop as well as I do the grain crops. I think they're nicer looking, you get a nice field of wheat, rye and oats. (laughs) Of course, there's lots of corn now but—oh I don't know. I'm just old fashioned you know.

Jane: Do you like living in Scotland?

Mrs. Shellington: Sure, I've always liked it here. I don't like it as well now. For example, we don't have transportation in Scotland to get to go any place anymore where we used to have the trains at least. We did have bus service at one time too but now if you haven't got a car you're out of luck unless you've got good feet. (laughter)

Jane: And you wouldn't want to walk all the way to Brantford.

Mrs. Shellington: No, I wouldn't want to walk to Brantford. (laughs) But I guess everything advances in certain ways.


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